Dissecting Baby Boomer Liberalism Like a Frog in Science Class
Evan Sayet's witty polemic The KinderGarden of Eden: How the Modern Liberal Thinks skewers his generation's arrested development.
December 13, 2012 - 9:00 am
Modern Liberalism is an entirely separate ideology, new in its prevalence – and now dominance – to what I call the Modern Liberal era (post World War II through today). In fact, I call it Modern Liberalism only because they typically call themselves Liberals and I felt that any other word would make their prevalence and power appear less than it is. I added the modifier “Modern” to make clear that they are not what they say they are, nor what the Liberals used to be.
– Evan Sayet, pg 11, The KinderGarden Of Eden: How The Modern Liberal Thinks
I think it’s fair to say that Evan’s definitions of Modern Liberalism can apply to the other side of the spectrum too. Just as the Modern Liberalism of the baby boomers has perverted classical liberalism, the Modern, Big Government Conservatism of the baby boomers has perverted the movement of William F. Buckley Jr. and Ronald Reagan. A “compassionate conservatism” that expands entitlements and seeks a utopian foreign policy to democratize the Muslim world bears little resemblance to the Conservative movement of the 1950s through the 1980s that at its heart really just wanted to win the Cold War and free the millions of people enslaved in the Soviet Union.
Here’s a thought I’ve meditated on lately in the wake of Romney’s defeat: when a political movement achieves its central objective then it ceases to exist. The more I’ve studied the history of American conservatism, the clearer it’s become how inaccurate the “conservative” name actually is. Really, the Conservative Movement, or the New Right, was the Anti-Communist movement. The unifying principle? Defeat the Soviet Union.
Hence the Reagan maxim which has emerged as a kind of movement scripture, invoked today any time one would criticize someone else allegedly on “our side”: “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.” This made sense when 80 percent of our problems involved the Soviet Union trying to make the entire planet a prison. But now nobody can name the biggest threat of the day that should unify the movement. The various flavors of social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and defense conservatives each continually jockey for power and influence. This has left too much room for troublemakers, as Ann Coulter observed in March,
“And just a more corporate problem is I think our party and particularly our movement, the conservative movement, does have more of a problem with con men and charlatans than the Democratic Party,” she said. “I mean, the incentives seem to be set up to allow people — as long as you have a band of a few million fanatical followers, you can make money. The Democrats have managed to figure out how not to do that.”
The Baby Boomer Conservatism of today really isn’t a movement. It’s a business and a genre that really cares more about keeping careers afloat than conserving American values. PJ Columnist Ron Radosh highlighted a particularly egregious example of this last month when former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee warmly embraced the antisemitic conspiracy theorist Oliver Stone and his radical historian collaborator Peter Kuznick to promote their Neo-Communist miniseries:
Instead of asking them any tough questions at all, Huckabee allowed them to use their assigned time to spout leftist propaganda without any objection or disagreement. Indeed, at one point, historian Kuznick praised Joseph Stalin and chastised the United States during World War II for not doing Stalin’s bidding, arguing that the U.S. could have come to their aid earlier and not refused a second front in Europe when Stalin wanted it. After all, Kuznick said, Stalin was “anti-fascist” when no other powers were.
Clearly, Kuznick does not realize that in fact Stalin was preparing his alliance with the Nazis during the period of the Nazi-Soviet Pact way before it was announced, and the nature of his anti-fascism was spurious to the core. Indeed, as Foreign Minister Molotov had said in a famous statement, “fascism is a matter of taste.” The NKVD gave advice and aid to the Gestapo, among other things, and the two totalitarian leaders easily accommodated their ideological differences to work together against the West.
Did Huckabee challenge this statement? Not once. Nor did he object when the two repeated their argument about the unnecessary A-bombs dropped on Japan and the United States’ true purpose as a permanent militaristic power based on hegemonic domination of the world on behalf of American corporations.
Indeed, Huckabee went on to agree with them when he argued that Republicans were captives of Wall Street interests, and praised the two for revealing the evils of the American system to viewers of the series. I happen to agree with those who argue that conservatives have foolishly ignored the concerns of the middle class and working class and have failed to address their fears with alternative programs that address their just concerns. But making this point is quite a different one than that the governor made, as you can hear for yourself.
Huckabee ended the program by asking the two what is the main thing they want viewers to get out of their series. The answer, as you might predict, was that the true picture of the United States as the world’s villain become plain and comprehensible. In passing, Huckabee did mention Michael Moynihan’s take-down of their series on The Daily Beast, but he did not let listeners hear anything of what he wrote, nor ask them to defend themselves against Moynihan’s specific examples of deceit on the part of Stone and Kuznick. His only point was to say that there was one negative review. (Clearly, the governor does not read The Weekly Standard, where he would have found my comprehensive critique.)
So I must ask: Why does a well-known conservative and former presidential candidate, who supposedly knows something about foreign policy, give over his air time to two far leftist propagandists, and never argue with them? Why does he, in fact, seem to praise the two for their efforts, and indeed go on to agree with them for being anti-capitalist?
What’s the solution to this? The answer to both a Baby Boomer Liberalism and Baby Boomer Conservatism who refuse to act on the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Some born after World War II have shed their diapers and grown up; Boomer Americanism — a movement to define and promote American values — is the phoenix rising from the ashes of a conservative movement that officially died on November 6, 2012.