…forgotten, that is, except by people like this guy. And me. But along the way, in reading about this bastard, we see the following:
Leftism in America isn’t really a political commitment, though of course the left takes and supports a recognizable range of political positions. Leftism is, first and foremost, a fashion accessory that indicates a certain type of social status, similar to a Gucci handbag or a Rolex watch. It is a way to define oneself, and proclaim one’s solidarity with a self-conscious elite, and one’s social superiority to a hated group of outsiders. In America, the higher one rises in position, wealth, power, and status, the more leftward one’s political commitments move. This is counterintuitive at first glance, but it is nevertheless true. All their rhetorical arm-pumping about equality, revolution, income-redistribution, and hatred of Wall Street notwithstanding, left- liberals are primarily the representatives of the ruling class in America. They are not an absolutely dominant ruling class, but that is not for want of trying. They very strongly believe that they have the right and duty to govern all the rest of us.
The defense [of Hiss by the Left] is perfectly understandable if we read it as a claim to aristocratic privilege: Hiss is a member of the governing elite; by definition he can do no wrong! This is the same claim made by any mandarin class, whether the Prussian Junkers in Wilhelmine Germany, the landed gentry in Victorian England, the nomenklatura in the Soviet Union, or the upper-level managerial class in American corporate life today. People in such aristocracies sincerely feel that they have an inherent right to rule, and cannot be brought to book; they are a protected class immune from prosecution.
What happened in the Alger Hiss case was really important per se. But what it reveals about the Left — then and now — is more important still. Read the whole thing. (It’s quite long, but if you read nothing else today…)
I have no idea how plausible this scenario could have been, because it happened jillions of years ago. But it sure makes interesting reading.
Here’s a question for y’all (answers in Comments):
Assuming this were to happen in the near future, and was unavoidable — i.e. we really are all gonna diiiieeeee! — where would you want this giant meteor to strike, just for spite?
a) Washington D.C.
b) New York Fucking City
c) EU headquarters in Brussels
e) Los Angeles
f) Wherever Greta Thunberg happens to be at the moment of impact.
After voting for your #1 choice, feel free to add your candidate locales in Comments.
From Mr. Free Market comes this observation:
As I pointed out to him in my reply, it goes deeper than that. In the old days, people used to leave their back doors open so the deliveryman could check the supplies of milk, butter and eggs in the fridge, and refill as needed.
I leave it to everyone’s imagination as to what would happen should such a service be reintroduced in Britishland today. (Or, for that matter, in any urban center in the U.S.A.)
June 6, 1944 — We will remember them.
Charles Lindbergh was the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air non-stop, in 1927.
Wrong: the first nonstop crossing of the Atlantic by air was by John Alcock and Arthur Brown, some eight years earlier.
Yet while we all remember Lindbergh, Alcock and Brown aren’t acknowledged often, not even by their own country on the centenary of their achievement:
Two WWI heroes made the first transatlantic flight fuelled only by sandwiches, a flask of coffee and raw courage to win £10,000 Daily Mail prize. So why 100 years on is Britain doing nothing to remember these magnificent men?
Oh, please. I can think of several reasons.
- White men
- Worse yet, heterosexual White men
- Didn’t even try to recruit female- or POC crew members
- Leaving from a country stolen from the native peoples by colonialist oppressors
- Using an aircraft once used as a weapon of war to bomb helpless civilians
- Burning countless gallons of fuel, i.e. a leaving a massive carbon footprint
- Showing up less brave, less able people by a pointless act of so-called “heroism”
- Their sandwiches contained meat, and their coffee wasn’t “Fair Trade”.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. I’m just surprised that their existing monuments haven’t been destroyed by now.
When I grow up, I want to be like the recently-deceased historian John Lukacs, who has often been labeled an “iconoclast” (i.e. someone who destroys icons and sacred cows). I think John Willson’s description fits him perfectly:
“John Lukacs is well known not so much for speaking truth to power as speaking truth to audiences he senses have settled into safe and unexamined opinions.”
No better example was when Rudi Giuliani compared the spirit and endurance of 9/11 New Yorkers to 1940s-era Londoners, which the irritated historian called nonsense — he thought (with plenty of justification) that the Blitzed Londoners had had it far worse than New Yorkers.
In addition to all that, Lukacs was an unashamed fan of BritPM Sir Winston Churchill, which is yet another reason to respect him. When pomo historians attempted to downplay Churchill’s wartime achievements, Lukacs shot them down like RAF Spitfires did Nazi Heinkels.
We need more historians like John Lukacs: many, many more. For those who want to read his stuff, I can absolutely recommend two works in particular: Five Days In London and The Legacy of World War II. I’ve read his Budapest: 1900 three times.
Lukacs was 95 when he died, so I have thirty years’ work to do, and I’m going to set myself a goal of reading a “new” Lukacs book (i.e. ones I haven’t already read) every six months.