Expert panel discusses how to understand and confront the American leftist movement at Restoration Weekend.
Michael Walsh: My experience with the left, speaking of fighting, goes back to 1967 when I was a 17-year-old freshman in college at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. That might not seem like a great battlefield of ideas, but in fact it actually was and it gave me my lifelong distaste for the left, who I have spent a lifetime combating in various arenas, both literarily in Hollywood, in journalism, etc. I just wanted to share a few observations about the left as we go into this distinguished panel, and something that I’ve written many times that has kind of become a slogan is the left never stops, they never sleep, they never quit. If you think you’ve beaten them, you haven’t. Our problem is we go home after we win and they scuttle right back in and start undermining the foundations of society. So just as when Reagan defeated Carter and then Mondale in two great landslides, and the conservative movement said, “Well, that’s it. We’ve finally beat them, let’s go home,” and then you know what happened after that. You’ve had, what? Sixteen years of Clinton — no even more, Bush, Clinton, Bush; almost another Clinton or a Bush. So the country, as Mr. Farage said at lunch so eloquently, has been like all of the Western democracies, essentially hijacked by a group of people who like to think of themselves as elite, but in fact, they’re not.
One thing that we do have in common with the European elites is that our politicians all go to the same schools. They live in the same neighborhoods in New York City and Washington. They have country houses in the same parts of Connecticut and Long Island. They marry each other. They have affairs with each other on the road. They are just all one big happy family and we are not part of that family, so when you wonder about the origins of media bias it’s almost a tribal thing and that’s kind of what I want to get to here in these brief remarks. Back to 1967, there were two philosophers whom we debated very, very vociferously in the student lounge areas. Remember the Vietnam war was going on and pretty soon we had the awful year of 1968 with two major assassinations and all sorts of things, but the two philosophers that we debated even in music school in upstate New York were Eric Hoffer and Herbert Marcuza. They were sort of the yin and yang of the intellectual struggle for the soul of the baby boomers, and I have a quote from Marcuse from the True Believer, which I think is apposite at this moment. “When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows, and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows them. It is if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to herald the four horsemen of the apocalypse.” This is Eric Hoffer, the famous longshore philosopher telling you that when the left is victorious they come to you in the guise of ivied maidens and garlanded youths, but what comes behind them is hell on earth, and I’ve been trying to warn about this most recently in the Devil’s Pleasure Palace and in other books that I’ve written to explain to you the cultural origins of the left, not the political origins of the left.
One of the things that distinguishes the left, and I think you can all agree looking at what’s going on in the streets right now, is rage. They’re always angry. They’re always angry. Nothing makes them happy, except a bomb hitting this room would make them happy, but generally speaking they are filled with rage, and one of the things I said in Devil’s Pleasure Palace is that rage is the characteristic trait of whom? Satan, that’s right. They don’t like when I call them the satanic left. I have no idea why. I mean it so well, but satanic they are, and right now you’re witnessing them like Blake’s great red dragon whipping that tail around, flailing, trying to sting anything that they can get to take you down. They are so wounded, so angry, and so afraid of what we would do to them because you know what it would be? Exactly what they would do to us if they could. That’s what they fear, and as a dramatist, as a novelist, and screenwriter this constant battle between good and evil, God and Satan, yin and yang, call it whatever you will, is the essence of what we do, and so in Devil’s Pleasure Palace I have argued that culture is what we’re defending, and I was very pleased to hear Mr. Farage in his eloquent speech this afternoon say something that I’ve long said too: principles, not programs. When you argue programs with the left you lose because that’s all they’ll argue. Principles not so much, so being conflict averse as the right tends to be is not a good place for us to be fighting them from.
Let me just read you a very brief excerpt from Devil’s Pleasure Palace, which is available conveniently enough out there in the lobby. Conflict is the essence of history, but also of drama. Without conflict there can be no progress. Without progress there can be no history. Without history there can be no culture. Without culture there can be no civilization, and since nothing in this world or any other possible world is or can be static without the cultural artifact of drama there can be no civilization. The least dramatic place on earth was the Garden of Eden. Then Eve met the serpent and the rest is history. When we’re fighting the left, and I’m sure the rest of the panel will give us other examples how to do that, but I wanted to start out with a kind of basic fundamental issue. We’re fighting them on the deepest grounds possible. As Mr. Farage said, we’re fighting for Western civilization, we’re fighting for Western values, we’re fighting for the Western nation state, and these are things worth defending because they have brought with them all of the technological, moral, and civilizational progress, certainly 90 percent of it that the world has ever experienced, and it came out of the exact conditions that the left is now trying to destroy. They want borders abolished. Then there’ll be no countries. They want open borders so that all the world can be one giant melting pot, and remember this, they will always use your best instincts against you, and that is the trick of fighting the left. They never stop, they never sleep, and they never quit. They will, like Satan, use the best of your nature to get you to destroy yourselves, so when you confront them always remember that this is on an existential level. This is not a political thing. Politics is just the expression of it. This is on and in the deepest roots of who we are as a people. You notice they use that “it’s not who we are” constantly. What they mean is it’s not Marxist cultural who we are. They would never actually try to identify who we are.
So let me close with this. I have lots of lefty friends. I work in Hollywood. If I didn’t have any lefty friends, I wouldn’t have any friends at all, actually, except for Mark here, so the two of us drink once in a while and kind of commiserate, and Bill Whittle and a couple other guys, but it’s a very lonely club out there, but we have to work with them and one of the things I’ve noticed about the left, and I’d be curious to hear if any of the other panelists agree, what the dirty little secret of the left is? Deep down they’re really conservatives. They’re really conservatives. If you look at how they live, how most of them raise their children, the values that we all share in terms of things like child rearing and safety and family. Nobody argues about that. They have to deal with something we don’t have to deal with. We believe in what we believe because it’s who we are. It’s where we come from. It’s the essence of our nature. They must constantly fight between what they say they think and what they really think, and at this moment now is the time to drive that stake right through their dark little hearts. Yeah, so I promised I’d start things off with a cheery note and that is it. Don’t give them any quarter. Be nice. As General Mattis says, be kind, be polite, and have a plan to kill everybody you meet, so that’s how we should engage the left. Thanks very much. We’ll have a good talk about this.
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