60's weren't all bad. Much, certainly. Most, maybe. But not all.
Even though the effects of the decade have been largely deleterious
to the body politic in general and the cause of individual liberty
in particular there are lessons to be learned from the methods of
that madness. Lessons we can apply to the cause of liberty and limited
is beyond dispute that the radicalism of the 60's has transformed
the American republic for the worse. Those beliefs are there to
be seen, in however perverted a form, wherever you look. The most
visible example was the presidency of Bill Clinton, speaking of
perversions of form. And forms of perversion. Slick built a lucrative
career by pandering to various victim constituencies, the groups
that were part and parcel of the radical coalition of that tumultuous
decade. Gays in the military for the radical gay libbers. Black
churches ablaze, even if only in his imagination, for the black
victimization lobby. Abortion on demand for the femi-nazis. Gay
scout leaders for NAMBLA. Nationalization of millions of acres for
the enviro-socialist greens.
if we set aside his policy pandering, the slick one remains the
poster child of that troubled time. His personal life is the sexual
revolution taken to its inevitable conclusion. Every woman was,
maybe still is, a possible one-night stand, as zipless as anything
Erica Jong ever foisted on the reading public. If it felt good he
did. And it all felt good. And as the most powerful man in the world
there was an awful lot of it available.
in the victory of the 60's lie the seeds of the defeat of the 60's.
In the methods of that ideology's triumph are the means to its demise.
A powerful start has been made here at LRC with many thoughtful
people expressing their views. Every movement has its aspects. Every
aspect has its part to play. And we can benefit from all of them.
leftist movement of those storied days had its foundation in an
economics based on Marx and Engels by way of Keynes. We have the
Austrians and the Mises Institute. It also had a champion, someone
to popularize those ideas in John Kenneth Galbraith. He had a public
face and the ability to translate the Keynsian view into accessible
analogies. We have Lew Rockwell. In my less than humble opinion,
Lew is brilliant. His columns illustrate the truths of the Austrian
model in everyday terms with unfailing clarity. He places the theory
into concrete examples that even I can grasp. And with that graying
beard and snazzy suit he is every bit as presentable as the professorial
Galbraith. Plus, he runs my stuff so you have to love the guy.
it or not, every movement needs intellectuals. Once again the left
looked to Marx. We have them hands down on this front with Jefferson
et al to define basic concepts. I'll give odds on the doctrine of
individual liberty over class envy all day long. On the front lines
they had Marcuse. We have David dieteman. He might not have the notoriety
yet but he has every bit of the intellectual wattage. dieteman's
pieces are always impeccably researched and supported along with
being well and clearly written. And prolific! Have you noticed the
man's output over the past several weeks? I'm lucky to average one
piece a week while David turns them out like Hank Williams turned
out tunes; in greater quantity and higher quality than just about
anyone else. He might live north of the line but you'd never know
was one of the greatest weapons employed by 60's radicals. Think
Mario Savio. Think about the young guys on the steps of university
libraries, clutching bullhorns and going on about "the man"
and "the pigs" and "the power structure." Now
think Myles Kantor and Jeremy Sapienza. Look at the photos that
run with their columns. Theses two guys are honked off. They see
stuff they just do not like and they don't mind telling you, me
or anyone else about it. Good. Tell it like it is, fellas. Go get
revolutionary movement would be complete without a romantic figure.
He must be fearless and unconcerned with danger, willing to place
himself in harm's way. Picture Che Guevara with his long hair, beard
and beret. What a poster! Che looking young, handsome and vibrant
is seriously Romantic with a capital R. Well, we have one of those
too. Have you scoped out Justin Raimondo's picture on the AntiWar.com
site? He appears distracted, like he has big things on his mind
and was too involved in them to be aware of the photographer's presence.
The tousled hair, disheveled shirt and dangling cigarette convey
just the right mix of deadly serious and devil-may-care. And he
is going to Serbia to see the aftermath of imperialism for himself.
What a poster!
need artists. That part will take a while. Or maybe not. My personal
opinion is that we should just take Dylan for our own. He worked
for the 60's and I've always said that if you find something that
works for you, you stick with it. By my reading Dylan has never
been a leftist anyway. When I listen to him, and I listen all the
time, I hear a fierce individualist, distrustful of groups and power
structures, who would rather just stay on his own land and fish,
drink whiskey, make babies and jam with his buddies. I'm all for
paying more attention to parking meters than to our "leaders"
too. How collectivism co-opted that message I am not sure except
that Bob was always more concerned with maximizing his earning potential
than might appear to the uninitiated. During the 60's it was the
leftists who bought the records. It always seemed to me that Dylan
was willing to let them think what they wanted to think as long
as he got paid for it. My man.
there is one more crucial aspect to be covered when considering
the success of the ideas of the 60's and how we can emulate that
success. It is a force that we too often overlook. Ridicule. Subject
the ideas of our enemies to scorn. Make them laughingstocks and
the world at large can never see them in the same light again. I'm
thinking Abbie Hoffman. I'm thinking Mort Sahl. The Merry Pranksters.
The Pieman. And most of all, I'm thinking of the Yippies.
can forget the mockery this bunch made of the Pentagon when they
gathered to surround it and chant in an attempt to levitate the
building as a means of exorcising it? It might be stupid but it
was great TV. Brilliant in its own inane fashion. And the Pieman
is still actively pieing various public figures. He has gone from
being a freedom radical to being one more knee-jerk collectivist,
just like most of the rest of the 60's, but the idea of smacking
someone who wants to be taken seriously in the kisser with a cream
pie is an extremely effective device.
propose to follow the example of the Youth International Party and
be like the Yippies. Now they started off being very earnest, doctrinaire
little radicals but we will skip that phase and cut right to the
chase. They were at their most effective when they were the flag
shirt wearing, pie throwing, Pentagon levitating Yippies. Perhaps
their finest moments of political stagecraft and creative ridicule
came during the Chicago 7 trial when Abbie and Jerry Rubin simply
refused to take Judge Hoffman seriously. Their scorn served to de-legitimize
the entire process. Use it.
a means to that end I hereby declare the founding of the Southern
Liberty Action Party (SLAP), the SLAPPIES. We will be the Yippies
of the 21st Century liberty movement. Our avowed goal
is to make fun of leftists, collectivists and statists of any stripe
including neocons and moderates. They are all oh so earnest. And
they want everyone to take their positions oh so seriously. Well
I don't. Most of what they say is unreasonable, as in counter to
reason. The tripe they spew, the hackneyed and misleading words
they use like "choice," "diversity," "multiculturalism,"
"gender politics," "bipartisanship" and the
rest are straight lines worthy of Margaret Dumont. We will supply
don't know the man personally but I am hereby inviting Jimmy Cantrell
to become a founding SLAPPY. Anyone who can skewer Biff and Baby
the way Mr. Cantrell does regularly is a man I want on my side.
all have something to contribute. Lew and David are erudite. Myles
and Jeremy are steamed. Justin is going to Yugoslavia. Bob is just
heading for another joint. I'll concentrate on heaping scorn on
the self-important, tossing verbal pies in the face of earnest leftists
and doing my best to make a mockery of people who value neither
life nor liberty and whose favored means of pursuing happiness is
to make sure that we can't. Ridicule is the weapon of the SLAPPIES.
ideology will be purely Marxist; equal parts Groucho, Chico and
Harpo. Support the SLAPPIES. Ridicule a liberal today. Join us.
At next year's convention we plan to levitate Teddy Kennedy. We'll
need all the help we can get.
Cobb [send him mail] is
a printer in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. He is a northerner by
birth, a southerner by choice, and a Catholic by the grace of God.