Belmont Club

Shadow of the Past

Breitbart’s video, recorded shortly before his death, is literally a voice from the beyond the grave about the past.  The period concerned is not just Barack Obama’s college days, but more generically what happened after 1968.  That’s what Breitbart really seems to want to talk about, what he means when talks about “vetting”.

In that period, if we’re to believe people like David Horowitz, a prominent radical from the New Left, what called itself the Peace Movement was actually a totalitarian conspiracy with possible links to foreign intelligence agencies, which eventually set out to control the Democratic Party, if it has not already.

There is an area of the Democratic Party that is controlled by the trial lawyers and other assorted crooks, but the heart and soul of the Democratic Party is now in hands of the Left, the Left which organized the war against, actually it was a war against the war in Vietnam. …

Social justice is the code words for Socialism and Communism in effect, the totalitarian agenda, but I think anybody looking at the ‘60s and now, has to be really disturbed by how powerful the hard Left is, how deep it reaches into the Democratic Party, how many people join it in the streets, how openly Hollywood, for example, which is not a brave community by any means, it is willing to go out from not just Hollywood, but even somebody like Terry McAuliffe, behind a propaganda film that Michael Moore did, that is worthy of Lil[en]i Reifenstall, this is naked hatred of the United States and its effect is powerful support for the terrorist.

Well we all ‘know’, or so we read, that David Horowitz is just a looney old renegade who’s got an axe to grind against his old pals. None of that directly argues what he’s saying isn’t true.  And I remember my own surprise at learning from a friend how he served as the go between between a Soviet bagman and the Communist Party of the Philippines. Well, maybe he’s loony too.

But it’s the stuff of conspiracy theories all right, equal in scope if not greater than those of the Kennedy assassination, which argue that to truly understand things one has to go back to 1968 and what followed. Because that’s when it all began.

What began, you might ask? Well it. And the indication of its subterranean existence is the narrative. One measure of how famous narrative has become, even when it does not supposedly exist is when it becomes a staple of detective fiction.

Certainly Stephen Hunter, whose character Bob Swagger is back in fine form after a series of comparative duds, is thrillingly caught up in the universe arising from 1968.  In I, Sniper characters meant to represent Jane Fonda, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn are killed by impossibly perfect shots and the blame laid on a thinly disguised Carlos Hathcock.

However the story turns out, all throughout the novel Hunter plays on the motif that one part of the 1960s generation “set up” the other. So the Silver Pony Tails wound up in positions of elite cultural power; “guilty as hell and free as a bird” and those they set up finished up in trailers parked on cinder blocks with nothing to keep them company but a dog and rifle.

These are stereotypes, of course, but maybe public discourse is nothing but stereotypes, as Stephen Hunter himselves observes in the frame-up of the Hathcock character.

“You do not fight the narrative. The narrative will destroy you. The narrative is all-powerful. The narrative rules … a set of assumptions the press believes in, possibly without even knowing that it believes in them. It’s so powerful because it’s unconscious. It’s not like they get together every morning and decide ‘These are the lies we tell today.’ No, that would be too crude and honest. Rather, it’s a set of casual, nonrigorous assumptions about a reality they’ve never really experienced that’s arranged in such a way as to reinforce their best and most ideal presumptions about themselves …

They know for example, that Bush is a moron and Obama a saint. They know communism was a phony threat cooked up by right-wing cranks as a way to leverage power to the executive. They know Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, the response to Katrina was f***ed up, torture never works and mad Vietnam sniper Carl Hitchcock killed the saintly peace demonstrators. Cheney’s a devil, Biden’s a genius. Soft power good, hard power bad. Forgiveness excellent, punishment counterproductive, capital punishment a sin.”

The narrative is all powerful. And to understand where the narrative comes from, Hunter argued one needed to go back to 1968 and follow the links to that era, the Silver Pony Tails and their Soviet contacts. In some sense, Breitbart was claiming in his last video that here was a rock that was at least worth looking under.

Of course fiction, especially thriller fiction, proves nothing about reality, but it tells a great deal about the mythical universe of its intended readers, since a novel’s characters have to live in the world, not as the newspapers describe it, but as we think of it after having read the newspapers. In that universe are unexplained mysteries, enhanced the more by the media’s insistence on hanging a “do not disturb” sign over it.

How to Publish on Amazon’s Kindle for $2.99
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $3.99, print $9.99

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