Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a Weimar-like period, one in which populist movements are likely to overturn constitutional governments. Edward Luttwak, for example, has suggested that fascism may be the American future. The point of his book The Endangered American Dream is that members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.
At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here may then be played out. For once a strongman takes office, nobody can predict what will happen. In 1932, most of the predictions made about what would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly overoptimistic.
One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. The words “nigger” and “kike” will once again be heard in the workplace. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.
This astonishing video shows the journalist Chris Hedges, invited to give a commencement address at Rockford College, instead being met with an astonishing hysteria because of the anti-war views expressed in his speech:
The New York Times sacked him afterwards.
The speaker wasn’t an antiwar student. It wasn’t an antiwar faculty member. It was New York Times reporter and veteran war correspondent Chris Hedges. Hedges reported from war-torn countries for fifteen years. Hedges spent the last year covering Al Qaida cells in Europe and North Africa. He was a member of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism.
In his new book War is a Force that Gives us Meaning, Hedges writes: “War and conflict have marked most of my adult life. I began covering insurgencies in El Salvador, where I spent five years, then went on to Guatemala and Nicaragua and Colombia, through the first intifada in the West Bank and Gaza, the civil war in the Sudan and Yemen, the uprisings in Algeria and the Punjab, the fall of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, the Gulf War, the Kurdish rebellion in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, the war in Bosnia, and finally to Kosovo. I have been in ambushes on desolate stretches of road in Central America, shot at in the marshes of southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran, captured and held for a week by Iraqi Republican Guard, strafed by Russian Migs-2IS in Bosnia, fired upon by Serb snipers, and shelled for days in Sarajevo.”
But this didn’t stop Rockford College officials from pulling the plug on his microphone three minutes after he began to speak. The college president told Hedges to wrap it up. He resumed his speech as to the sound of boos and foghorns. Some graduates and audience members turned their backs to Hedges. Others rushed up the aisle to protest the remarks; one student tossed his cap and gown to the stage before leaving.
Rockford College’s most prominent alum is Jane Addams, a pacifist who was booed off the Carnegie Hall stage for opposing US intervention in World War I. Addams was the founder of Hull House, a non-profit social service agency, the first president the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and a Nobel Peace Prize Winner.
This interview with Chris Hedges is very good though extremely depressing. I found his critique of Obamacare from the left (in the first few minutes of the video) particularly interesting. I’ve also been struck by how interesting Hedges is as a person whenever I’ve heard him talk auto-biographically.