Part 6: Filling the Vacuum
by Robert L. Kocher
As was explained in Part 5, Lyndon Johnson was determined not to generate public support for the military action in Viet Nam for the professed reason that he believed it would be a threat to building his Great Society. Essentially he would not publicly support or defend the action himself to any reasonable degree, or to the extent necessary—lest in so doing it would inspire the public.
Instead, there would be a primary focus upon criticism of the American system as a method of creating the need for his election and for a war-on-poverty agenda—concurrent with an absence of criticism of the Viet Cong, the Viet Minh, or Ho Chi Minh. Neither would there be serious criticism of socialism. Socialism was no longer an a priori enemy or evil, but rather an alternative—elements of which showed promise for adoption in this country. This was not just an isolated act by Johnson, but rather was characteristic of two entire administrations (those of both Kennedy and Johnson).
This produced a national ideological vacuum. Within this vacuum the dialogue describing or defining the war came to be entirely dominated by the radical left, which became the only voice—and without serious attempt at refutation by the President, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, or other administration officials. For practical purposes the condition was to continue until Reagan.
Let us look at some of the consequences while integrating earlier information.
Later Consequences of the Ideological Vacuum
At the time of the protest movements of the 60s and early 70s, the alumni newsletter from my university, consistently rated in the guidebooks as one of the top state universities in the country, proudly announced its series of outside speakers brought onto campus for the year. This list consisted of Jane Fonda, Bernadette Devlin, Julian Bond, Betty Friedan, Joe McGinniss, Donald Louria—all of whom received many thousands of dollars a night at a time when money was worth much more that it is today.
It occurs to me that the average age in this country is such that most people in the United States will not know who many of these people were. Most people who are alive today were either not yet born or were infants when Jane Fonda was shown on TV celebrating at a Communist North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, while American men were being killed in the South.
The speakers were what were characterized as extremely far left “activists” or people who were radically critical of American culture.
Jane Fonda had a lot in common with an angry heavy-metal rock-and-roll band. There were lots of booms and crashes and noise, and people who were not too bright could dance to her tune. However, her knowledge of economics, political science, and history was much less than outstanding, and certainly not enough to merit university speaking engagements. What was being supported had no pretense of being an exposition of knowledge, but rather was a declaration of faculty political support and position.
The newsletter said that after “a” (one out of more than a thousand) faculty member complained of “lack of balance” in the lecture series, Sidney Hook, a Democratic Socialist, but a hard-liner on campus disruption, was added to the speaker list. The only acceptable alternative to the extreme radical left was a socialist, according to faculty thinking. That pretty well put the lone faculty dissenter in his place and showed him who was boss. In a period when desperate people were being shot trying to climb over the fences keeping them imprisoned in places such as the Soviet Union, no consideration was given to the possibility of finding speakers critical of the left, or advocating freedom as it was known in this country. It was not considered important that students knew another point of view existed in the academic world. A speaker who reported on Viet Cong terrorist activities would have been declared too divisive to be allowed on campus. Divisive meant there was to be no information allowed that would disturb the complacency of the radical left. Many campuses were kept in a cloak of ignorance, concurrent with continual presentation of the radical left.
Subsequently, this same Midwestern university was the scene of the worse student demonstrations and rioting in its history. It was serious activity, not pranks. Student leftists bombed a major part of the local business district. Due to fear of bombings, the university computer and computation center, which had formerly allowed free access to students and visitors, had to be placed off limits to tours and unauthorized visitors by order of the university president. Could it be that the students were doing what they were being programmed and instructed to do? Few of the speakers whose views the faculty thought important enough to import onto campus would have disagreed with what the students subsequently did.
In 40 years, I have never seen or heard of anyone on the so-called political right who has offered in-depth criticism of the political left being enthusiastically brought onto, and received, in the major universities in this country. World famous semanticist S. I. Hayakawa made a few attempts to speak on eastern campuses as an alternative to the radical left, but was called a fat Jap and booed off the stage by students and faculty determined to impose censorship. Most university students in this country attended an intellectual world of severe censorship where there was, and still is, a virtual intellectual blackout of anything other than leftist theory.
Political Correctness & the Denial of Reason
As I write this, I am reviewing one of the originals, an April 1, 1991. Time Magazine headlining two articles. One of the pieces is “U.S. Campuses: The New Intolerance.” Inside, the campus article begins with the banners, “Upside Down in the Groves of Academe.”
“In U. S. classrooms, battles are flaring over values that are almost a reverse image of the American mainstream. As a result, a new intolerance is on the rise.”
The piece describes an increasing dominance of what could be more directly termed a borderline psychotic or psychotic value system. In the article the value system and concomitant reasoning system is described as an “upside-down world” which “according to an increasing number of concerned academics, administrators and students, is to be found on many U. S. college campuses. And it is expanding into elementary and secondary school systems.”
What was described as having arisen was an expanded “Political Correctness” which was being imposed throughout the course material and on every other aspect of college life, including personal speech on campus. The implementors of this political correctness believe that it is their purpose and duty to bring about social change. Political Correctness means a confluence of the countercultural, the oppositional-defiant, and psychotic/borderline psychotic mental functioning. In less technical language, it means the extreme authoritarian political and lifestyle left.
A major point in the article describes teachers who reject the ideas of rationality and logic. Within this thrust, one of the assertions that is described as having become increasingly prominent in recent years is that rationality is an arbitrary artifact of an equally arbitrary western culture. Rationality is claimed to be an arbitrary invention concocted and imposed to keep mankind imprisoned in an arbitrary psychological and political repression. The decoded meaning of this is a psychotic insistence that any demands upon others, demands upon life, or demands upon government need not be rational or reasonable. It then follows that to the degree that the American political system or government functions rationally or sanely, it is oppressive—and probably should be overthrown. It is a recipe for political chaos. How is anyone supposed to meet demands that are admittedly irrational or impossible? The obvious answer is that it is not possible.
At this point we are confronting advanced psychosis as a primary quality that can not be argued. (Indeed, from its own definition, rationality in any arguments defining it has been prohibited from within the system.) Reality, not argument, is refutation. Psychosis either is or isn’t according to the observation of a sane mind. There must be some agreement on what constitutes basic sanity and basic reality, but in this case there isn’t.
From Tolerance to Coercion
The politically correct/counter-cultural/inver
As incredible as this sounds, what is described in the Time pieces is not the pathological machinations of a group of psychotics off in the back ward of a state mental hospital somewhere (although if we had not been told otherwise it would be thought characteristic of such). This was, and is, real. This is very serious psychopathology with a highly developed component of entrenched thought disorder. These people had at the time, and still have, active input into the control and direction of the educational system and have had for some length of time.
We have long passed a dangerous point in this culture where the enforced systematic inculcation of serious mental disorder has become the function of education. Phi Beta Kappa and Non Compos Mentis are becoming dangerously close to being equivalent certifications. Higher education in this country is dangerous. Let me correct that statement: ALL education in this country is becoming dangerous.
More Funding for Pathology
The problem with the educational system in this country has not been, and is not, lack of funding. The problem is that what we are funding is not education. What we are instead funding is a system of pathology, a war of subversion against our own society, and even a declared war against rationality. Increased funding results in increased pathology instead of increased reading or mathematical ability.
The title “U.S. Campuses: The New Intolerance” is not accurate. It’s far from new. The condition of higher education has been in a psychotic condition for more years than most people know or remember. The Time piece quotes Roger Kimball, author of Tenured Radicals as viewing the condition of American education as the consequence of the coming of age of the academic generation shaped by the political radicalism of the 60s: “Its members, he says, vowed back then to transform campuses into engines of social change; now they are in a position to impose their will.”
My own experience indicates that this is indeed what has happened. Radicals have taken over educational institutions and converted them into preserves for the angry unfit and the borderline psychotic. However, it was also my experience as a university student during the 60s that the campus turbulence of that period did not occur in a vacuum. The campus radicalism of that period did not differ significantly from the views held by faculty radicals. The campus radicalism of that period could not have occurred without the approval, if not direct encouragement, by faculty. Today, students and even the minority of faculty who do not conform to “political correctness” are summarily and immediately expelled from the campus with a vengeance and urgency bordering on panic. In the 60s and 70s the expulsion of left/countercultural radicals was not a significant occurrence. That difference in disciplinary action reflects the bias of the faculties—the same faculties that financially supported Jane Fonda and friends, and brought them on campus as featured intellectuals. Left-wing extremism is not objectionable on campuses and has not been for 40 years—indeed at least since the 30s. Extreme political left disruption to the point of riots and bombings has been viewed as little more than an inconvenient overzealousness in pursuit of idealistic progressivism, while any rejection by students of the enforced borderline psychotic brainwashing to which they are being subjected is judged to be a far more serious matter. The radical left on campus has achieved a one-way leverage of coercion and blackmail such that those who oppose it will be will be academically destroyed, or if challenged, the left will physically destroy the university and surrounding areas to the point of threat to lives. It has been this way for decades.
If the previous generation of university educators had not been in favor of it, the lunatic mess described in the articles would have been nipped in the bud and never happened.
“Social Change” and Viet Nam
The term ‘social change’ is a euphemism only barely applicable here. The ongoing process is one of setting the stage for leftist revolution and continually pushing the public almost to the point where it will explode in rage and kill the bastards. Both sides know it. The campus left doesn’t bother to hide it. They just deny it to your face in a way that’s insulting and sadistic.
Let’s go back once again to the sentence, “The implementors of this political correctness believe that it is their purpose and duty to bring about social change.” That should ring a bell for people following this series on Viet Nam. That’s almost the same exact sentence used to describe the Bennington study in the 30s. The Time writers hadn’t found anything new. What they thought was new had been documented as going on more than sixty years ago.
Except for geographical areas of cultural lag, the educational institutions in this country, from top to bottom, have become little more than the alter ego of an oppositional mentality which is subversive, destructive, hostile to American culture, antagonistic to reality, highly pathological, and determined to misdirect the educational system toward the enforced reproduction of clones of that mentality. Meanwhile, the graduates of our educational system rank below every other industrialized nation in the world in basic skills.
For decades parents have been proudly sending children off to college and the liberal higher educational system has been sending them back as scrambled eggs. The parents who sent their kids off to Bennington sixty-five years ago and had them come back as strangers who had been processed into left wing kooks undoubtedly couldn’t figure out what happened.
How does this relate to the Viet Nam war?
Let’s begin with some polls taken from the 60s for studies I was doing at the time for a possible doctoral dissertation. Some of the details in the references were lost in a flood, but the figures are correct.
A Carnegie Commission on Higher Education survey polled 60,000 college faculty members in 1969. In response to the question, “How would you characterize yourself politically at the present time” the poll of faculty members obtained the following over-all results.
Middle of the Road
There were striking variations in average political position between academic disciplines, the main proportion of the middle-of-the-road and conservatives residing in the hard core sciences. Only 28.9 percent of those in engineering called themselves liberal or left. On the other hand, the social sciences and humanities were almost exclusively liberal-left dominated. That proportion of faculty members characterizing themselves as liberal or left consisted of 81 percent of the sociologists, 77 percent of philosophy professors, 72 percent of political science professors, 69 percent of history professors, 68 percent of those in religion, 66 percent of those in English, and 62 percent of the economists.
Thus, those academic departments responsible for teaching theory and philosophy of government, and social theory—and those most affecting student political attitudes—had become nearly completely liberal-left dominated. They resembled the profiles of the Bennington Graduates 30 years earlier.
These figures were cross sectional among schools. In major schools where the left was dominant, every attempt was made to secure and enforce that dominance to a point of being monolithic. I recently read that when Judge Bork was being considered for a law school appointment there was considerable controversy within the faculty because it was argued the presence of two conservatives would unbalance a 41-person department then composed of 40 liberals and one conservative. So great was the hatred and threat of conservative thought that it took 20 to 40 leftists to counterbalance and drown out the ideas of one conservative with proper certainty. Conservatives were consigned to a state of exile in smaller institutions where every attempt could be made to keep them in a state of irrelevance.
There is a clinker in the statistics because these were self-evaluations, about which more will be said in a few minutes. The political makeup varies sharply between schools.
Disciples Follow Their Gurus
Here is a set of statistics from a Harris analysis commissioned by the American Council on Education in the spring of 1970. In it a cross section of college students was asked two questions about their political identification.
“On most issues do you consider yourself far right, conservative, middle of the road, liberal, or far left.”
“How about at the time you entered college, did you consider yourself far right, conservative, middle of the road, liberal, or far left.”
Here are the percentages of student self ratings in each category as presented in the Harris Analysis newspaper column.
percent when started college
Middle of the Road
These figures show a definite shift in student political position toward the liberal and far left. (They also show a striking similarity to the Bennington figures discussed in the earlier piece on brainwashing and attitude change, as well as to those views held by faculty at the time the student poll was taken.) But the degree of leftward shift was minimized through data presentation. The combining of statistical categories masks the shift in student attitude.
The leftward shift is a progressive phenomenon occurring throughout a student’s study at liberal colleges. The Bennington figures showed the percentages of Republicans declined from 62 percent as freshmen, to 42 percent as sophomores, to 15 percent as upper classmen. God only knows if any survived as seniors. The percentages of socialist and communist supporters increased in a similar way. If the ratio of Republicans to communist/socialists is taken, it is found that the ratio changed from 6 to 1 as freshmen, to a final ratio of one poor Republican soul for every two communist/socialist supporters among upper classmen.
Suppose, however, we were to take a cross section of the Bennington student political positions. This would mean a simple representing everybody, freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. This can be done by combining data for freshmen, sophomores, and upper classmen. This produces a valid measurement of Bennington student opinion saying there were 40 percent Republicans and 18 percent communists and socialists, which doesn’t sound nearly so radical.
So we wind up with two valid statistics, one which says two Republicans for every communist/socialist; and another which says two communists or socialists for each Republican. Both sets of statistics are correct. Which set of statistics accurately presents the picture of the process occurring at Bennington College?
Well, it’s perfectly obvious that anyone who was waiting for the 40 percent of Republicans to miraculously limp through the Bennington graduating class was living in dreamland. It would never happen. It was never intended to happen.
The simple combined cross section statistic, while showing the definite and extreme shift in student political attitudes that occurred, minimizes that shift and fails to provide an adequate picture of the radicalization and polarization of students at the time because it incorporated students in whom the politization and radicalization was only partially completed. Using the Bennington study as a model and extrapolating, one would expect that the senior class Harris students consisted of 2 percent far right, 10 percent conservatives, 25 percent middle of the road, 47 percent liberals, and 16-18 percent leftist radicals.
At this point there is another statistical problem, the validity or questionability of self-labeling in political identification. The Harris analysis employed a classification system in which students rated themselves left, right, middle-of-the-road, or whatever. The question is, was the student who rated himself middle-of-the-road really middle-of-the-road, or did he just think he was middle-of-the-road? What constituted middle-of-the-road within the political atmosphere at that time?
Some idea of this can be obtained by correlating other student attitudes. At the time of the Harris study, 70 percent of students, including at least half of those believing they were middle-of-the-road, agreed “America will be in trouble as long as it continues its arrogant imperialist policies.” Sixty-five per cent of students, including some middle-of-the-roaders, agreed that, “Our troubles stem from making economic competition the basis of our way of life.”
In a University Index poll of 6,000 Midwest college students, only 28.4 percent of students rated the American competitive free enterprise system very favorable in comparison with alternative economic systems. (Midwestern college students, incidentally, were more conservative than eastern and western students.) Being polled were 6,000 well-fed kids sitting in a country that millions of people were trying to get into, while other people were being killed trying to escape from some of the alternative systems being asked about.
In spite of the then-recent or concurrent Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia and similar acts occurring at the time, 69 percent of students did not believe communism was America’s biggest threat.
What happens is that as students, or for that matter non-students, become radicalized, their conception of what constitutes middle-of-the-road also becomes shifted and radicalized. What was believed and self-reported to be politically middle-of-the-road on the college campus of the period was not far from what would be said by Khrushchev or Ho Chi Minh.
The Personal Cost of Politics
Coincidentally, during that period, suicide rates were 50 percent higher among students, than for non-students from the same age group. The greatest tendency for student suicide centered among student intellectuals in the intellectually soft areas of study such as literature, philosophy, or social sciences where there was a coincident concentration of liberalism; as opposed to lesser suicidal tendencies among the tough-minded, vocationally-oriented areas such as engineering and the hard-core sciences which had more conservative professors and students. Engineering and the sciences are notoriously intellectually demanding and stressful, and one would think they would produce the highest suicide rate. Yet, it’s quite the opposite.
The suicide rate varied considerably and reproducibly among schools. As a general rule, the farther left the atmosphere at the school, and the farther left the department, the greater the suicide rate. While the suicide rate for universities and colleges in Los Angeles county was 6.4 per 100,000, the University of California at Berkeley, the fountainhead of left-wing protests in the 60s, produced 17.44, accounting for 34 percent of student mortality. Harvard, also strongly leftward, produced 15.0.
The conversion to, or the acceptance of, the political left, was, and is, not without personal cost. To paraphrase the warning on cigarette packages, involvement in the political left can be dangerous to your health–mental and physical. Generally, people on the political left have empty interpersonal relationships—about which more will be said at another time. If the later resistance to the Reagan-Contra alliance in the 80s seemed suicidal in terms of survival of this country, it was to some extent a sublimation of a self-destructive or suicidal bent in the people supporting that resistance.
Composite poll statistics of students in the last half of the 60s and early 70s produced a profile in which about 65 percent of American college students of the period believed America was imperialistic and repressive of dissent, that the free enterprise system was not very favorable, and that Marxism was not a serious threat. There would be no challenging of these beliefs from their professors, who believed the same things and were guiding students in these beliefs. There would be no challenging of these beliefs from the speakers brought on campus. There would be no challenging of these beliefs in the content of the TV nightly news or special reports. Neither would there be any serious refutation of such views from two presidential administrations in the 60s—and certainly not from Lyndon Johnson and the Johnson administration.
These were cross sectional statistics. Seniors would be far more radical.
The impact would be felt in years to come in important ways. The process being described by the statistics produced Bill and Hillary Clinton. They also produced the political base that voted Bill and Hillary Clinton into office.
Beliefs vs. Truth
If students of the time believed America was imperialistic, then it apparently never occurred to them that we once controlled Cuba, but gave it back to the Cubans. We once controlled the Phillipines, but gave it back to the Phillipinos. We rebuilt our part of Germany and gave it back to the Germans. We controlled Japan, but helped rebuilt it into one of the greatest economic forces in the world and gave it back to the Japanese.
If they believed America was repressive of dissent, then it apparently never occurred to them that the psychotic fanatics they regarded and worshipped as oppressed political and intellectual revolutionaries were making hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars a year from speaking engagements, books, and TV appearances while being hailed as courageous icons of intellect. What passed for censorship or repression in this country would get you $50,000 speaking engagements, book rights, and your own talk show. A year of being censored and repressed enabled one to retire in comfort for life.
There was no winning of the argument because the people involved had been programmed, and were programming each other, with a self-referencing irrationality in which reality was irrelevant and which reality could not hope to penetrate. The fact that basic reality contradicted their assertions was interpreted as evidence that they were intellectuals. There was a compulsive hatred of America and American life that no amount of economic opportunity, no amount of food or material goods, no recognition of the highest standard of living in the world, could change. Unfavorable comparisons were made between America and other systems which truly were repressive and had average living standards far below that of this country. It was exercise in masochism based in sublimation of difficulties in other areas.
Programming prevailed over observable reality. So, 65 percent of American college students of the period believed America was imperialistic, repressive of dissent, that the free enterprise system was not intellectually acceptable, and that Marxism was not a serious threat. Many of those graduating from that period believe the same thing today, 30 and 35 years later. This became the premises of a generation of journalists, newscasters, and writers graduating from that period.
The Deification of Acne
Some of what the kids from that period believed was amazing. Near the last part of the 60s, according to a poll I have mislaid, Che Guevara was considered among the world’s most admired figures by nearly 70 percent of American college students. Who was Che Guevara? Only two things were known about Guevara by these students. He was a young revolutionary associated with Castro. There was a striking picture of him, originally taken in 1960, that was circulated around the world.
Che Guevara looked nothing like that picture, and after having seen that picture no one would recognize Guevara on the street. Guevara had a terrible case of acne. In the peculiar way the light momentarily fell during the informal photograph, the acne came off looking like battle scars and gave his face the appearance of having strong character. Guevara was extremely nearsighted. When the photograph was taken he wasn’t wearing his glasses. The consequent stare gave him a look that was interpreted as his being immersed in a distant idealistic revolutionary vision.
In real life, most people would not have wanted to know Guevera. He physically stunk so foully that the odor was repelling from 15 feet away. He had some sort of psychological quirk such that he disliked baths. Neither did he change clothing. He was a brutal and remorseless killer.
Some of those who believed they were politically committed went through Canada and thence to Cuba to participate in the socialist harvest of sugar cane for two weeks, complete with group singing of revolutionary/socialist songs. Two weeks of this summer camp was more than enough to cement identification with the people and the spirit of revolution. Forty years of getting old and worn out doing it with no other alternative—like the real people in revolutionary Cuba did—would be a bit too much though, so the soft American wanna-be revolutionaries would leave after two weeks and return to college.
Bill Clinton would make a statement of support with a swing through the leftist underground in Scandinavia and from there on to Moscow. Other than a little refinement and slickness in packaging, he hasn’t changed a bit from what he was went he went over there. He and I both know it. Many of the people of his generation know it, and that’s why they put him and Hillary in office.
Merit Scholars and Unabombers
This later-60s generation of unknowingly programmed descendants of a Marxist academic establishment that became institutionalized thirty years before, now conditioned within the environment it created to program and reprogram itself with a reflexive compulsive opposition and hatred, was turned loose upon society. They were ready to go to war against society then, and many have continued to do so by every channel possible since then—whether in politics, in debilitation of the educational system, or anything else. Two of them eventually made it to the White House as a husband and wife team. Many of them would take to the streets in active protest or rioting against the Viet Nam war.
More than a few of them became actual terrorists. The most notable recent example is the Unabomber, a Merit Scholar who once held a prestigious position at Berkeley, who killed and maimed people for decades before being caught. People try to understand the Unabomber. The Unabomber is not as difficult to understand as some who avoid the obvious would wish. Investigators theorize about his family background and childhood. Looking back that far, or exclusively, is not the answer. Look at his professors. Look at his classmates. Look at the speakers brought on campus. Look at the campus environment. He was the perfectly programmable excellent student conformist who bought into it all uncritically. When caught, the Unabomber was primarily one of the last of the perpetually screwed-up products of the 60s leftist protest movements at university training camps who became chronic screw-up terrorists. There were piles of them. During parts of the 60s and 70s there were over 500 bombings a year by left wing groups in America. The Unabomber’s explanations of his beliefs are not far from the middle of the road radical left politics of the period and are certainly not more irrational than the premises of Political Correctness. In fact, under political correctness, where irrationality is no longer to be prohibited or looked upon as irrationality, the Unabomber’s irrationality is quite acceptable as a form of liberation from the artificially imposed punitive oppressive constraints of reason.
Insanity, Commitment, and Viet Nam
The Unabomber’s lawyers were trying to defend him by saying he was insane. When he began in the movements, it was called idealism and commitment to social change.
Did the Unabomber have psychological problems? Indications were he may have. It was a characteristic of people in the movements. Those who didn’t have such problems when they entered the movements, would have them if they hung around very long. Look at the earlier-mentioned correlative suicide rates at liberal institutions. Personal problems created a diffuse dissatisfaction and feeling of unrest which could be sublimated or channeled into a hostility against American culture. This could be directed into becoming the fuel for the protest movements and if such people were suicidal, their suicidal bent could be directed in such a way to make a political statement that would give it personal meaning. The protest subculture steered its inhabitants into self-defeating activities which produced personal dissatisfaction in life that became sublimated into feeding the left-wing movements. Drugs and inherent emotional turbulence created by the so-called sexual revolution were creating massive levels of turbulent life situations. The political left, and the lifestyle left attracted, exploited, and created useful neurotics and psychotics.
A large part of an enraged left-programmed student generation, supported and whipped into a frenzy by leftist faculties, took to the streets and created a nucleus of chaos that expanded to teeter the country on the border of a left-wing revolution in which there was increasingly prevalent direct open support for the enemy in Viet Nam. (To this day there are large numbers of people who supported, and still support, the movements, who will counter by saying the communists in Viet Nam weren’t an enemy and never should have been considered so.) College campuses were exploding. There was rioting in the streets. President Lyndon Johnson conceded that there was no chance of his reelection and left the office. He is described as having been toppled by mobs. The situation culminated in a series of large scale riots at the Chicago 1968 Democratic Convention.
By the end of 1968 the Viet Nam war had spread and a second front was being opened in this country as leftists rioted in the streets and formed revolutionary groups in support of the leftists in Viet Nam. The left-wing media publicized and romanticized their every move. Continued, or successful prosecution of the war would be made difficult or impossible even if the craziness and incompetence of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations could somehow be reversed. The military choices or latitude that the Kennedy and Johnson administrations had would be denied Nixon by the developed condition of near-revolution and civil insurrection willed to him by his predecessors. Ho Chi Minh was winning over here. And he won here.
Several years ago was the twentieth anniversary of the end of the Viet Nam war. The TV news coverage that week reflecting upon that period consisted almost exclusively of explanations of how wrong we were to be there, coupled with self-vindicating comments from people who were protesters during that period. The romanticized assertion was that the North Vietnamese won against all odds only because they were motivated by the righteousness of their cause. There were happy scenes of a young generation of Vietnamese running about with boom boxes and goods on the back of motor scooters in Ho Chi Minh City. There was no mention that the leftists killed millions of people in the North and South, often by means as brutal as any in human history, to produce whatever exists there. There was no mention that the North could have had whatever exists there today without systematically terrorizing and killing people in the South.
The message was the same as was fed to the American public during the war. The messengers were the same, but were now (for the retrospective) 35 or 40 years older. At the time of the Viet Nam war, a president was personally determined not to refute the message. Today, media access is denied to those refuting that message, and fewer people remain each year with capacity to refute that message. With increasing degree, fewer people understand the serious importance of the truth, or even care.