Sunday, October 17, 2010

Even I

The writer in the Washington Times, Robert Turner, makes it pretty clear he'd like to discuss the larger issue of the Vietnam War, hammering home his point that what the students at Kent State were protesting about was wrong, with horrible consequences. So when he telling about the new information of what they were doing during that specific protest, let's expect he has some bias. Still,
According to Friday's Cleveland Plain Dealer, the tape captured the command "Retreat!" As the guardsmen moved back up Blanket Hill, pursued by rock-throwing protesters, photographer Norman was left behind - apparently too busy taking pictures to realize the guardsmen were pulling back - and quickly was in the midst of angry protesters.

The tape captures one voice saying: "They got somebody," and a few seconds later, male voices shout: "Kill him!" Kill him!" There is then the sound of a .38 caliber revolver shot, followed by a female voice: "Whack that [expletive]!" Three more handgun shots ring out at about five-second intervals, and soon thereafter - in just 13 tragic seconds - 29 of the 77 guardsmen fire a total of 67 rifle shots...
That seems to be focused pretty much on facts, which are either true, partly true, or not. Not much room for an accusation of revisionism there.

Well, I had some bias at the time as well. I sided with the protestors, read James Michener's condensed account of the events in Reader's Digest, and wondered what would happen to me, a hippie pacifist, if the fascist Nixon government proceeded in killing innocent students who only wanted to end an unjust war. I figured that these were flower-in-the-gun-barrel types. Michener, BTW, later came to darker conclusions, according to the NYTimes.
James A. Michener, the author, who concluded in his own study that the killing of four Kent State University students by National Guardsmen was an accident, now believes a conspiracy may have existed among guardsmen to fire on the antiwar demonstrators, United Press International reported last week
The information from the tapes is new. But surely the other information, about the student violence leading up to the protests, the visits by Marc Rudd and Bernadette Dohrn, the SDS presence and declarations of war - not in general, but at Kent State specifically - the previous arrests for violence...surely that information was available at the time as well?

Yet it was entirely news to me this week. Michener, as unrelentingly liberal as he was, must have nonetheless made some reference to the preceding events. Though the NY Times may have reported that the last protest at Kent State was a panty raid in 1958, I didn't read the Times. Heck, my hometown newspaper was the Manchester Union Leader, and William Loeb must certainly have published a stirring defense of the Guardsmen, right on the front page. But then, I was already pretty sure that everything Loeb wrote was twisted so far that it was a lie, and probably disregarded any counter-information about Kent State that came my way. Probably just a case of taking a few innocent facts about the protestors and inflating them to look like dark communist plots.

So I must have known, but erased the memory, letting it fall away in very 1984 fashion. That's pretty scarey to me, because I began my two decade-long march across the political spectrum just a few years later. So not only had I forgotten it by 2010, I had forgotten it by 1978. And actually, by 1973, as we shall see later.

That two decade-long march, with, I think, gun control being the last issue to fall, was haunting, even painful. Yes, the left was going too far with some of their idiot ideas. Yes, they attributed all fault in conflict to conservatives, taking no ownership for any escalation on their part. Yes, they denied realities of human behavior and found pathological reasons behind every action of those who disagreed with them, but I always held to the point that they weren't totally insane, because they were right sometimes. Conservatives had indeed been fascists at times, and that bore watching; so these overheated leftists couldn't be entirely dismissed. And events like Kent State were my evidence for that.

I hated where I was being driven intellectually. I hated the very thought of being associated with those horrible people. The ones I knew were gentle enough, but everyone of my background knew, everyone knew, that if you pushed those conservatives far enough the nutcases among them would rise up and get violent, and the nicer people would just let them. Or worse, would become maddened mobs shouting for blood themselves. Lee Harvey Oswald was quite obviously a conservative nutcase, because hey, he'd been a Marine and liked guns, so how much more evidence do you need? To gradually absorb that Oswald was a man of the left took some time for me, even after learning all the solid biographical information about him.

The excuses I made for violent people of the left... I'm a clever guy, and can make good excuses.

I should be more patient and understanding of liberals, shouldn't I, given my own history?

Here's the take-away thought: liberals regard as ridiculous the accusations that conservatives make, that these movements are infiltrated by communists, marxists, and other off-brands of leftist. This is because they know that 90-95% of the people they encounter who ascribe to those views are nothing of the sort, who even disagree publicly with the 5-10% who seem determined to find a revolution somewhere. The flaw in that argument is that infiltration seems to be a preferred tactic on the left, and 5% is often just fine with them. Why the extreme left does that and the extreme right doesn't I don't know. But it is a peculiarly effective method of asymmetric warfare. Environmentalism isn't a particularly radical or alarming idea, yet they've got plenty of marxists trying to wrestle the movement to their own end. Unionism and social justice are pretty middle-American ideas, but both have barking mad Trotskyites in them. Heck, even panty raids, a pretty mild form of protest against...something-or-other, seems to have had incidents of student activists using them to set the stage for later rebellions. Contrast this with the farther-right groups: Birchers don't infiltrate movements of the right, they argue with people and tell them they are dupes. Randians can't even succeed at taking over the libertarian movements, let alone conservatism. They argue. Even the Tea Parties, with their hardly-radical ideas of smaller government and eliminating corruption, have had difficulty taken over from the Republican establishment despite superior numbers.

It's a powerful tactic. Most movements have volunteers who assent but basically only show up on weekends or with small checks. Full-time activists showing up in volunteer organizations are going to quickly have a disproportionate influence, and the rank-and-file are going to be pretty relieved that someone else is doing the work, because they've got leaves to rake and jobs to go to.

Maybe I'm trying to talk the right wing into trying this infiltration tactic, I don't know. It seems to work. Nah, there's something about it that is essentially dishonest. Can't go there.

I sang this song with Carroll County. Now that you know, as Paul Harvey said, the rest of the story, listen to the personalization of it, the call for war. We were so sure we were the ones who wanted peace, and some of us were willing to get violent to prove it.

The song feels different tonight.


Ymar said...

"The ones I knew were gentle enough, but everyone of my background knew, everyone knew, that if you pushed those conservatives far enough the nutcases among them would rise up and get violent, and the nicer people would just let them. Or worse, would become maddened mobs shouting for blood themselves."

That's the attitude properly taken against Muslims. But they don't, because it would actually be real.

So long as they knew it was a fantasy somewhere in their minds, it wouldn't be as horrible as facing the truth. Even the truth that they purport to believe in.

Ymar said...

"Maybe I'm trying to talk the right wing into trying this infiltration tactic, I don't know. It seems to work. Nah, there's something about it that is essentially dishonest. Can't go there."

That's what countless generations of military professionals said about any new tactic or way of war that didn't fit within their conventional box.

That didn't stop the new way from working better, however. Which is why eventually people stopped making fun of carriers, submarines, and snipers as cowardly and adopted such tactics.

To a French knight, that kind of warfare is cowardly and dishonest, since it does not rest upon the virtues of bravery or being recklessly stupid. Although the latter isn't a virtue usually.

It doesn't matter what people think of a way of warfare. The only thing that matters is whether it works and who it is going to work for.

Ymar said...

If you have problems adapting Marxist literature and methods of warfare to your purported goals, I suggest you look up the American commanders conducting guerilla warfare in the Phillippines under Japanese occupation.

That is a righteous and true model to study.

ELC said...

Tea Partiers: Today’s Hippie Chicks?

Any thoughts?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

ELC - I saw that article. While it has some over-reaches, I thought it was a basically sound idea. Gateway Pundit, I think, used to have a continuing series on pictures from various political movements around the globe, suggesting that the ones with the better-looking young women were destined for victory, because the momentum was with them.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Ymar, I would add, to your second comment, espionage. "Gentlemen don't read each other's mail," was the view in England.

Donna B. said...

AVI - wouldn't it be better stated that gentlemen don't admit to reading each other's mail?

And I have a bit of a personal connection with guerrilla warfare against the Japanese in the Philippines. My uncle was one of the 11 survivors of the Palawan Massacre and my daughter (years later) married a Filipino descendant of some of the guerrillas (though not those involved in rescuing my uncle).

The amazing thing is that the story of my uncle is the bridge that has led (some of) the 1st born American generation of this Filipino family to understand something of their contribution to our heritage.

It's not really much fun when the whole family gets together... there is my husband's son with his Korean mother and his uncle's Japanese bride alongside my Filipino relatives who have no use for either.

It's more than a bit ironic that the French/Scots/Irish/Native American sides of all the families is the one that seems to bind and hold us together.

There really is something to be said for "Western" civilization, don't you think?.

Ymar said...

Donna B, racism is endemic in Asia.

For obvious reasons.

It's what the Left wants to regress us to, actually. Since, after all, that kind of society makes for better slaves. If you can always blame your problem on the Vietnamese, the Chinese, the Japanese, the inferior blood islanders in the Phillippines.... what do you need tolerance and mutual cooperation for?

People do what they are told because they either fear foreigners or hate them. It makes for a good human control mechanism all in all. Efficient that way.

Don't listen to all those anti-Obama racists. They are part of the KKK, dontchaknow.

"AVI - wouldn't it be better stated that gentlemen don't admit to reading each other's mail?"

Gentleman fight duels since they assume the other isn't weak enough to hide behind civilians.

But in circumstances whether the foe is not a gentleman, but a dishonorable enemy of humanity, then there is no reason to limit the solution.

As for Western civilization, only if you exclude Europe. For I don't consider them "Western" any more, if ever they were.

Ymar said...

The Left=kimochi waeri

When the Americans were left on the islands due to the President ordering MacArthur to pull out so they can fight the French in Africa, they entered into a guerilla situation without any doctrine or training to guide them.

Guess where they went to for help. Mao and his little "book".

Some funny comments were exchanged between certain American officers on that matter. Mao recommended one sure fire method of gaining the local's support: conduct pinprick attacks against the occupation forces so that the occupation forces, in a fit of angst and rage, descend upon the local villagers and slaughter them all. This increases support for the guerilla movement. Amongst fishes.

What do you think the American soldiers did after that, did they emulate it and take it to heart? Maybe a little Mai Lai, perhaps.

If you are a brainwashed Leftist, the answer should be obvious. If you are a true ally of justice and liberty, with a solid background in real history, you would know the truth.

Every time a Leftist slash Democrat tries to tell me that they are a superior being, I always remember those that once were. There will always be an episode from which I can draw forth the truth to gain the strength to feel contempt at the Left's numerous lies.

If you don't know what happened to some of those American officers I mentioned, you should find out. Then recall this. The Left didn't dance in the streets like the Palestinians after the Fall of Saigon. No, they toasted each other in their private mansions upon hearing of the Communist advance and victory.

Remember that.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that Michener had changed his mind about the National Guard shootings. You should read his entire book, which was very sympathetic to the Guardsmen. Also, the book stated outright that there were professional revolutionaries at the riots, and very tough, hardened ones at that. Michener did not pursue the matter further--perhaps there was no material to find--but nonetheless was very clear that they were there, that they were not from Kent State, and that they were fomenting violence.

In the most remarkable passage, Michener has several witnesses who claim that they heard an order to "turn and fire" which the Guard obeyed. My memory is a little faulty here, but I believe I recall that several Guardsmen said they heard it too.

Regardless, I recommend the book in the highest possible terms. I have it in storage, and plan to get it soon to see how it holds up.

Ymar said...

The National Guard was called in expressly due to the violence of revolutionary groups.

This is, in fact, called the broken window trick.

You get paid to break a window then you get paid to fix the window. You got 2x the profit, you see.

The revolutionary groups primed the charge by getting the occupation forces to call in more guns. Then the revolutionary groups seeded the protest with agent provocateurs expressly intended to goad the NG into a violent response.

Paid once to create the problem. Paid again to fix the problem. For who was it that gained power and prestige after such an incident? The revolutionary groups, so called "anti-war".

This is nothing new. People in the know aren't surprised by this.

Ymar said...

The Left has enough money and influence now to buy a million Micheners.

If he was craving status and wealth, shacking up with a new paymaster would be the most convenient way to earn his salt.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Ymar - Western Civilization. Would you include the Anglosphere?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Anonymous - I absolutely believe you about Michener's book. But I only saw what I wanted to see, which scares me.

Ymar said...

Concerning Canada and Australia, that's up to them.

Participation in a civilization is voluntary. Removal is also voluntary. Their membership is shaky, but then again, look at what's going on at DC.

Things will play out one way or another if you give it enough time.

After all, Canada only became a country cause they waited around until Britain got around to it.

Anonymous said...

Correction, participation in Western civilization is voluntary. I don't include the various expansionist empires, such as the Mongols and Islamic ones.

Ymar said...

AVI, the reason why the Left consider themselves intellectuals and superior beings on the road of thought and smartness is that it is mostly true.

They do devote themselves to a sort of pseudo intellectual pursuit and they do have smarts and they do think a lot.

But they devote their intelligence to such mental gymnastics as doublethink. Repression, projection, denial, and other mental defenses.

Most of their brain cycles are taken up by such. And you know what, AVI, they are not even aware of it. It is automatic. The smarter they are, the smoother it becomes. Because they have more brain cycles to make it "seamless".

Many Leftists are smart. They just look stupid because they're wasting a lot of their brain cycles on repetitive material.

It's not unnatural for you to have selectively remembered things. It's one of the... benefits, you could say, of Leftist indoctrination. It's how they remain happy, spewing the hate they spew. They don't even realize it, you see.

Ignorance is bliss, especially in a death cult.