No Enemies to the Left

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The thing about Oldies pop music is the unexpected insight – illuminated with words often insipid, an accessible poetry distilling an essence of the times. Today’s youth are no different than yesterday’s – idealistic, energetic and secure in their ignorance. Just as back in the Sixties, the older generation watches in sympathy even while fearing their clumsy thrashing about. An old chart topper by an otherwise undistinguished British rock group, “I’d Love to Change the World”, captured the feeling of Sixties youth –as well as of today’s:

“I’d love to change the world

But I don’t know what to do”

But then us Baby Boomers coming of age back then had advantages our progeny don’t. We actually had an education. The immortal Sam Cooke crystalized the problem facing today’s rebels, the crux of our grandchildren’s dilemma, in the lyrics of another song, “Wonderful World”

“Don’t know much about history

Don’t know much about biology

Don’t know much about science book”

Clearly the culture’s uncritical acceptance of “transgender” orthodoxy points to a serious neglect of the subject of Biology. The subservience of science to Science has been so complete that even mathematics is being revised to account for social constructs. But even more telling is the pit into which history has fallen, at the bottom a quagmire from which there may be no escape. Because glimpses of dirty laundry in history books hurt tender feelings, the establishment has shrunk from their duty to future generations, deciding “Let everyone read comic books instead”.

Why has history become so controversial? To be sure history is a can of Play-Doh in the artful hands of those seeking to shape the herd. We are often no more than sheep dodging rocks made of baked Play-Doh flung by would-be shepherds.

The Civil War is of course the favorite punching bag of America’s Left. How can slavery be defended? “Have you stopped beating your wife?” The tortured milieu of the Civil War has become the symbol of “indulgence” for Adorables. Knights of the Middle Ages kneeled before a priest pledging Crusade against the infidel to gain an “indulgence”, the Pope’s blanket pardon for all sins past, present and future. Our own dear Adorables kneel before “priests of the oppressed” pledging crusade against long dead slave owners for an “indulgence”, a conditional pardon for absolution offered by the Church of Righteous Girls, otherwise known as the Democratic Party.

It is clear to even the most casual observer that our Adorables carry a great weight of guilt on their shoulders. How can it be otherwise? Man is born in sin and he knows it. Even if he pretends to innocence in the day, his anxious mind in the dark hours of the night cannot escape the truth. For those who spurn the spiritual rebirth offered by the atoning death of Jesus, there is no escape from the burden, because as Don McLean observed in “American Pie”,

“The church bells all were broken

And the three men I admire most:

The Father, Son and Holy Ghost

They caught the last train for the coast

The weight of our sinful nature slowly crushes us and we desperately seek relief from the invisible burden we carry. The Adorable’s Play-Doh version of the Civil War offers the promise of salvation in battle against infidels long and safely dead, a much safer and less onerous task than battle with the armies of Saladin at the Horns of Hattin offered by Pope Gregory VIII.

The Adorable’s penitence is so much easier than that offered the medieval knight centuries ago. The “indulgence” offered the Knight of the Woke Table involves lip service, a pleasant walk in the sunshine basking in self-righteousness, the chance to throw some rocks. As an added bonus, it’s a really great way to pick up chicks.

Salvation for the medieval knight was the gift of the Pope. One assumes that the Pope caught Don McLean’s train out and is no longer available, so the Adorable must look elsewhere. The Democratic Party is the only existing organization aspiring to absolute moral power and is indeed offering ”indulgence” to those kneeling penitents.

As a history of the Papacy during the Middle Ages makes clear, the salvation offered by men is an expensive, ultimately soul destroying, experience. There is no reason to expect anything different from the Democratic Party, a political entity well along in its evolution into a religious institution.

But as those knights of old found, possession of an “indulgence” doesn’t calm the churning despair of a tortured soul. Killing Muslims in Palestine does not atone for raping peasant girls in French villages. Ostentatious marches down city streets with banal slogans do not atone for a life of undeserved “white privilege”. The forgiveness of sin requires repentance, and only repentence.

In keeping with its aspiration to rule of the spirit as well as body, the Democratic Party has commandments. Are there Ten? I am unsure of the present catechism. As is true of any new religion, the tenets of the faith remain in flux. But on the graven tablets being carried down from the faculty lounges of Yale, just below the 1st Commandment ordaining the Sacred Ceremony of Abortion is the 2nd Commandment – “No Enemies to the Left”.

Interestingly enough, this phrase has a past, a history less visited, Play-Doh stored in an airtight can on an upper shelf safely out of reach. The phrase, “no enemies to the left”, was the declared policy of a man largely forgotten today. Incidentally, a man responsible for far more numerous and onerous chains of slavery – by orders of magnitude – than even dreamt by America’s long gone slaveholders.

“No enemies to the left” was the lodestar of Alexander Kerensky, architect of the 1917 Russian revolution. This is a rather awkward history, a bit like Toto pulling aside the curtain on the Wizard. That is the thing about history. It can be a bit awkward, especially if you eschew a sense of the ironic. True believers and prophets generally avoid the ironies of history. That whiff of deprecating humor is unsettling.

Without getting into all of the unsettling details, uncomfortable in the extreme to those marching Adorables in search of grace, Mr. Kerensky did indeed have enemies on the left. While Vladimir Lenin did not coin the term “useful idiot” to describe Mr. Kerensky, I imagine it a clear picture of his relationship with Kerensky. Mr. Kerensky, in the spirit of Maximillien Robespierre, lit the fire of protest and carefully nursed it into being. But like Robespierre, those unsuspected enemies on the left hijacked Mr. Kerensky’s fire, stoking it into a wildfire worthy of a California summer.

Alexander Kerensky was spared Robespierre’s date with Madame Guillotine, but he found a knife in his back all the same, the left side of his back. Kerensky escaped with his life, one of the few to do so, but the Bolsheviks – Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, et alia – did not repeat Kerensky’s mistake.

The Bolsheviks knew all about enemies on the left, as well as the right, the middle, up or down. Felix Dzerzinsky and his Cheka were not in the business of “indulgences”. Thus the naïve priestesses of the Church of Righteous Girls were no longer needed and ushered into their new home, the communal kitchens of the proletariat. Lubyanka Square, the home of the Cheka, then the NKVD and then the KGB, became the bogeyman used by Russian mother’s to frighten their children. Unfortunately, Lubyanka – unlike the bogeyman – was real.

An interesting sidelight to this dive into embarrassing history is that the description “useful idiot” was actually coined by Lenin to describe his “enemies”; apologists for communism in the West. Even a century ago, there existed tortured souls seeking an earthly salvation, ancestors of the Adorables. Seduced by the promise of sin’s banishment from an earthly paradise, these “useful idiots” blandly lied about the ugly corruption within the earthly Eden that was the USSR.

The really awkward part is that chief among these “useful idiots” was the Adorables Bible, The New York TimesThe Grey Lady, America’s Newspaper of Record. Today, The New York Times functions as the Office of the Inquisition for the Democratic Party, the arm of the party through which Scripture is interpreted, heresy rooted out and “indulgence” authenticated.

Back in the 1920’s & 30’s, Lenin and Stalin were fashioning even heavier chains for hundreds of millions, murdering tens of millions while starving even more millions in manmade famines. During this same time, The New York Times behaved like an infatuated teenager, overcome with a bad case of puppy love for the communist cause. The Times won Pulitzer Prizes by reporting on the manmade hell of the Soviet Union as a bit like the Land of Oz, only better. One wonders when the BLM will break into the offices of the NYTimes, throw rocks through the display case windows, and trash those statues.

Times have changed, but puppy love grows ever sweeter as love’s object recedes into the mists of a rose colored past. The Times never forgot that first love. All through the Cold War years when the Soviet Union was our mortal enemy, The Times was a voice for understanding, for forbearance, for embracing the peaceful and misunderstood communists.

The Times repeatedly told their readers the USSR was not evil, just an innocent victim of Right Wing lies, and arguably a land more just and fair than our own grubby capitalism. One could almost hear their editorial staff in conference rooms humming along to “Tammy”, mouthing the words of another poet, Ray Evans, as sung by Debby Reynold’s;

Does my lover feel what I feel

When he comes near?

My heart beats so joyfully

You’d think that he could hear!

Wish I knew if he knew what I’m dreaming of

The Times, The Times, The Times is in love!

With Glasnost and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, The Times passion for the Russian soul began to cool. Published stories on Russia began to focus on Boris Yeltsin’s drinking and the greed of the oligarchs. The romance was briefly rekindled when President Obama was caught on a hot mike with his opposite number, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, asking for flexibility before Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign –

“ Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved but its important for him (President Putin) to give me space.”

Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you (pause) “

Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir (Putin).”

Obama did get some “space”, with a “reset” in the US relationship with Russia, a “reset” celebrated in The Times. After the re-election of President Obama, in a “surprise” move, Obama shut off aid to the Ukraine in its “territorial dispute” with Russia. The Times was benign in its coverage of Russia’s “territorial dispute”, preferring instead to focus coverage on widespread corruption in the Ukrainian democracy.

But love once broken is fragile. The fault lines that led to the divorce remain. And so it was with The Times and Russia. With the election of Donald Trump and the crisis of “RussiaGate”, The Times woke to the danger Russia represented. Perhaps there may exist common ground between the Social Justice Warriors of the Urban Coffee Shop Cadre and the National Rifle Association.

One of my deepest regrets is the continuing descent by our nation’s press into the slime pits of irrelevant corruption. Shrill cheerleaders pumping up the Fox fans, the cloying certainties of snake oil salesmen, the aggrieved whining of the pampered oppressed. We live in a world tipping over an abyss while today’s journalists either beat the partisan drums or practice virtue signaling, sniveling of the need for “safe spaces” and adequate “trigger warnings” because of ubiquitous “microaggressions”.

In search of something to season the irrelevant logical reasonableness of the Wall Street Journal and the fascist fantasies of The Times, I came upon RT (Russia Times). Despite its strong whiff of London’s Daily Mirror, RT quickly grew on me and is now a regular read. I don’t know what to say. RT is the state controlled and state funded Russian press, but their coverage of both American and world news is definitely worth reading.

I came of age in a time when the press was Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite. I trusted them because I was but a callow youth. However they were indeed trustworthy. They took their responsibilities seriously, acting as the holders of a public trust, keeping us informed of what was important. I was proud of America’s international broadcast voice, the VOA, imagining families behind the Iron Curtain huddled in their basements listening to that voice of freedom while fearing the sound of heavy boots kicking down their door.

That time is gone, vanished down a rabbit hole, and I find myself getting my news from an agent of the Russian Government. In shock, I briefly hallucinate about Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”, singing along with the throaty alto of my own fondly remembered teenage crush, Grace Slick:

“When logic and proportion

Have fallen sloppy dead

And the White Knight is talking backwards

And the Red Queen’s off with her head

Remember what the Dormouse said

Feed your head

Feed your head”

Feed your head indeed. Listening to NPR, reading The Times or the Denver Post reminds ever more forcefully of the vapid nonsense we have fed into our children’s heads, the intellectual emptiness of our schools. Perhaps my generation made no greater error than abandoning personal responsibility for the stewardship of our children. We gave over their minds and beliefs to be formed in schools, in “educational” activities, in college.

Our earnest desire to give them a better life, to see that they got a college education, stares back at us like Banquo’s Ghost. Perhaps even now, Lenin’s ghost smiles at us. It was he who observed –

“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”

But there is something in the human spirit that yearns for freedom. Even though our children have become blind to the great gift of freedom that was theirs at birth, I have hope that they will open their eyes before it is too late. But that yearning in the human spirit makes me think again of Russia.

Could Johnny Cash have been the “Man in Black”, have sung “The Folsum Prison Blues” without spending time in jail, without his recurrent struggles with addiction? The people of Russia know, knowledge soaked into their very bones, what it is to live without freedom. We vilify, even as we laugh at Vladimir Putin and the oligarchs. But has Russia ever had a more liberal and democratic government and economy than now? That is – not counting the soft-porn fantasies of the New York Times.

I don’t often watch the videos on news sites. Videos take too much time and are usually just there for the cheap emotional punch of a talking head’s “gotcha”. But RT has stuff well off the beaten track of domestic political outrage dominating US sites. I remember one video in particular of Russian fighters scrambling to intercept US B-52’s over the Black Sea near the Crimean peninsula. You don’t see the view from the cockpit of a Russian Su-27 interceptor every day.

But there was another video some weeks ago, of a Victory Parade in Moscow’s infamous Red Square. The parade marked the 75th anniversary of the German surrender in WWII, an event that did not even merit a burp in the US media, caught up as they were in the dramas of courageous BLM protestors throwing rocks at police. Of course Russia has had very different historical experiences than the US.

For every American who died in WWII, 50 Russians died. American cities were untouched, not so in Russia. America interned 120,000 people of Japanese descent. The numbers of Russians executed or sent to die performing hard labor in the gulags for political crimes during WWII are uncounted but left a scar that remains to this day. Watching the modern Russian miniseries “Life & Fate” on Amazon or listening to Al Stewart’s “Road to Moscow” will bring tears to your eyes. It is true that America enslaved African-Americans a century and a half ago, but then again – everyone in Russia was a slave at the time.

Back to that video. It was historically interesting – ranks of soldiers marching in the uniforms of WWII, columns of T-34 tanks and Katyusha rocket launchers. But there were a couple of vignettes that caught my eye.

At the beginning of the parade, the senior Russian general leading the parade rode standing in a flagged staff car. As the car passed through the gate entering the square, he made the sign of the Cross. It is interesting to remember that outside of the cancer that was the Soviet Union, the Russian people have always seen their land as Holy Mother Russia.

Well into the parade, the camera swept over the reviewing stand catching Vladimir Putin standing with other notables. In that moment, Putin definitely looked to me like a man caught up in the emotion of the moment, choked up and trying to hold back tears. When was the last time a US President might have been captured in such a moment?

Russia is a different place. Their values, their culture, their hopes and dreams are different than our own. But they are a nuclear power and they are a proud people. It would be well for us to treat them with respect rather than relegating them to the dogsbody role of Adorable bogeyman. Too many of our opinion makers hate the Russia that is, not for what it is, but because of the death of what was.

Among the many admirable traits of Winston Churchill was the ability to put the essence of an understanding into succinct and memorable words. Better than most, Churchill understood Russia. He had this to say about them.

“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

If only our own leaders today could bring such wisdom to their jobs. The Russians, like most people and countries, will do what they see as being in their own interests, interests that have little to do with us. Perhaps if we left them to their own devices, we might find we have a lot in common. There is another song from the Sixties – “Reach out in the Darkness”

“I knew a man that I did not care for

And then one day this man gave me a call

We sat and talked about the things on our mind

And now this man he is a friend of mine”

The world is a dangerous place and we can use all the friends we can get. Germany is showing every sign of becoming – Germany – the Germany of Arminius, of Charlemagne, of Bismarck, of the Kaiser and the Reich. Our troops are leaving and Germany wants them out. The rest of Europe is in the midst of coming to terms with the return of Germany, choosing between an austere and chancy independence or an initially comfortable servitude.

China is feeling its oats in a region we have many friends but few interests or understanding. Iran is another foreign land, feeling its oats in a region where, again, we have many friends but few interests or understanding.

Do we have a more natural ally than Russia, a country with whom we have few frictions points and who shares borders with our enemies? After all, common sense has it that “the enemy of my enemy is my — “

2 Responses to “No Enemies to the Left”

  1. jeff esbenshade says:

    I also watched Walter Cronkite every night at my fraternity house.
    When our houseboys rang the dinner bell we all went upstairs from our TV
    room where we watched the nightly news. Walter would give us the daily
    body count from the days events in Vietnam.We trusted Walter because we
    only had ABC, CBS, and NBC, no Fox,CNN, BBC.

  2. Judy Hoxworth says:

    We rewatched Dr Zhivago last winter and it reinforced the intentions of our government here in America as we have watch this Covid nightmare unfold! It’s putting the fear of GOD in many believers. Amazing how it just came upon us suddenly…just like He said His return would be

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