"To my Dad Gerald Breitbart, and Clarence Thomas, two decent men who inspired me to act."Hmmm. Thomas is my favorited Supreme of the last century +... and he wasn't what I expected to find in Breitbart's book.
Okayyy. Thumbing forward, I glanced over the first couple pages and then saw this on page 3,
"When the Soviet Union disintegrated, the battle simply took a different form. Instead of missiles the new weapon was language and education..."Ok. Now I'm actually reading, not just glancing,
"... and the international left ahd successfully constructed a global infrastructure to get its message out.Yeah... ok, this book is bought. Mine. In the cart it went.
Schools. Newspapers. Network news. Art. Music Film. Television.
For decades the left understood the importance of education, art, and messaging.
Oprah Winfrey gets it. David Geffen gets it. Bono gets it. President Barack Obama gets it. Even Corey Feldman gets it.
But the right doesn't. For decades the right felt the Pentagon and the political class and simple common sense could win the day. They were wrong."
I began reading it late last night, and through this morning, not finished yet, but so far it's a rollicking good read. His descriptions of his parents matches mine pretty darn well, down to the stern talk with his Mom at the depths of his college disollution; substitute his college years at Tulane, Louisiana, with my decade at Travelling Rock Band U, West Coast Campus, and there's a lot of fun (and embarrassing) recollection points.
Those superficial points aside, so far it's a very entertaining and accurate summary of events from the last two decades, and very interesting to get the view from the interior of the early internet Drudge Report worlds entrance of the New Media, and the old media's horror at the noisy uninvited guest.
What sealed the deal and prompted me to post this recommendation of the book, was chapter six, 'Breakthrough', which begins with his wondering how it was that things came to be the way they are today. He (correctly) assumes that today's Marxist left didn't just spring fully formed out of the 1960's, so where did the flight from our American roots come from?
He makes a brief essentialized summary of our Founding Father's conception of things, and then nails it with something I very rarely see, and always am thrilled by when I see that someone else see's what I see. From page 107,
"The Founders' realistic view of human nature and call for limited government and individual liberty found its opponent in the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and, later, Karl Marx. Rousseau thought that people were naturally good and were corrupted only by the development of the surrounding society (he himself was not naturally good, fathering five children out of wedlock and abandoning them all to orphanages). He also thought that modern society, created as it was to protect property rights and life, had destroyed the natural communism that prevailed before the advent of society."YES!!! Damn I love to see that in print. Hard to fight an enemy if you don't know who it is, and too often people pin the our problems to developments that came far too late in the game, and then unknowingly buy into aspects of the real problem, in an attempt to fix things [insert most of modern proregressive republicans here]. As I noted in a recent post,
"Modern political philosophy began when Jean Jacque Rousseau declared that he’d traced the origins of injustice to the first man who fenced off property and called it his own, married a woman and started a family. Everything else in political modernity is rooted in that thought, and it is in absolute opposition to what this nation was founded upon, Property Rights and the family."Back to the book, Breitbart continues,
"To people like Rousseau, the solution to the evils of the current society was the creation of a new "social contract," one based on the "general will." The "general will" didn't need any checks and balances, because it embodied the entire will of the people. And if individuals argued with the general will, they lost.Aside from, IMHO, cutting just a little too much slack to Rousseau, and giving too much originality to Marx, I give that a hearty "Yeah Baby!", and a thumbs up recommendation of the rest of the book for anyone looking for a very readable, entertaining and also informative book on where we are today and where the battle needs to be taken in order to save the day.
Karl Marx's ideas picked up where Rousseau's left off. Unlike the Founders or even Rousseau, he didn't care much about human nature - for him, human nature didn't really exist. In fact, he went further: human natue was produced by surrounding society. If human nature was to be changed, it could be changed only by destroying the surrounding society."
It's not often that someone gets the essentials like he does, and can pin the start of the rot to Rousseau and Marx, without getting distracted by all the rest. I wonder if maybe because of his background in the entertainment industry, Brietbart wasn't overly impressed with where most libertarians and Ayn Rand Objectivists seem to stop and peg as the first cause of our modern troubles, with Immanuel Kant. As important as ideas are, the imaginative expression of them, trumps their sheer cataloging and explanations of most philosophers, Kant especially.
Kant, it's true, was a game changer in philosophy, after him, Nazi Germany and the killing fields of Communism from the USSR through Red China & Cambodia, were all but garaunteed, but Kant mostly just put tomes worth of intellectual justificaiton under the ideas of Rousseau (not that any of Kant's misosophy is valid or worthwhile, but it's long, and B.S's enough to successfully tell the self impressed whim worshiper exactly what it is they want to hear in order to justify whatever it is that they want to do).
But Kant is about as exciting to read as a manual on how to kill yourself by reading dense, boring, twaddle, and he would have gone nowhere, would never have been recognized, without being able to ride upon the inspiration of Rousseau's siren song of naturalistic self indulgence, posing as intellectualism.
And, skimming ahead, that looks like that's probably more than Brietbart bothers the reader with, looks like he moves on to a very brief sentence or two on Hegel and Marx, the path to Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson and the Proregressives, identifies a couple quick quotes that capture the essentials of them, from Teddy Roosevelt,
"To hell with the Constitution when the people want coal!". and Wilson,
"Justly revered as our great constitution is, it could be stripped off and thrown aside like a garment, and the nation would still stand forth clothed in the living vestment of flesh and sinew, warm with the heart-blood of one people, ready to recreate constitutions and laws."and
"Men as communities are supreme over men as individuals"., then jumps to Gramsci & the Frankfurt School, but just that one mention was a thrill for me to see in popular print.
Anyway, if you're looking for a good read, and a guide for how you can help take the battle to where it's going to be the most effective, pick up Brietbart's "Righteous Indignation", and enjoy joining in on saving the world.
Ok, going back to reading the book.