Guns and Communism

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gun store clerk told me recently that many young men come into his
shop offering to sell their entire gun collections. They dump the
weapons on the counter and announce, "I'm getting married and
my fiancée says it's either me or the guns."

anti-gun ideology has burrowed its way into the tenderest corner
of Americans' hearts — the place where love resides between man
and woman.

is nothing so good and lovely as when man and wife in their home
dwell together in unity of mind and disposition," says Odysseus
in Homer's Odyssey. "A great vexation it is to their
enemies and a feast of gladness to their friends."

has vexed her foes and gladdened her friends for over 200 years.
But today, the foundation of America's strength — the family — has
come under attack. An invisible wedge has sundered man from woman.
Thus divided, we cannot defend our rights.

wedge has a name. It is called Marxism.

Comfortable Concentration Camp"

historians agree that modern feminism began in 1963, with the publication
of a bestselling book called The
Feminine Mystique
by Betty Friedan. The conventional account
holds that Friedan was a suburban housewife who became bored with
her life, realizing that her marriage was nothing more than a "comfortable
concentration camp." Three years later, in 1966, she founded
the National Organization for Women (NOW) and became its first president.
Friedan's struggle to break free of the deadening routine of childrearing
and housekeeping was held up as an example for other women to follow.

story, while widely accepted, gives a misleading view of Friedan's
life and motivations. In 1999, Smith College professor Daniel Horowitz
(no relation to my former boss David Horowitz, by the way) published
a book called Betty
Friedan and the Making of the Feminine Mystique
. It revealed
what had previously been known only to the small circle of hard-core
leftists who knew her; that Friedan had never in her life been a
normal housewife or, indeed, a normal anything.


in college, Friedan — then known by her maiden name of Betty Goldstein
— was already a hardline Stalinist, active in the communist movement.
Though Jewish, she supported Stalin's 1939 nonaggression pact with
Hitler. When orders went out from Moscow to all Communist Parties
worldwide to treat Hitler as a friend, many communists couldn't
stomach it and broke ranks with Stalin. But Friedan was among the
loyal few who obeyed.

secret was shared by hundreds of her comrades on the Left,"
though not, of course, by the unsuspecting American public –
who went along with her charade presumably as a way to support her
political agenda,” writes David Horowitz (not Daniel), in a 1999 article called “Feminist Icon Debunked.”

later married a fellow leftist, Carl Friedan, and devoted her life
to the cause of Marxist revolution. Friedan spent her married years
working as a "labor journalist" — a professional propagandist
for the Left. Her full-time maid did the housework. As her ex-husband
Carl later noted, Friedan "was in the world during the whole
marriage" and "seldom was a wife and mother."

"Woman Question"

conventional account implies that Friedan developed her feminist
views in a spontaneous, trial-and-error fashion, based upon her
experience with the "comfortable concentration camp" of
middle-class married life. In fact, Friedan had no need to invent
this philosophy. Feminism — or what we call feminism today — had
been a standard feature of Marxist thought at least since the publication
of the Communist
in 1848. Writing in a June 2000 FrontPage article
called, “Feminism’s Dirtiest Secret,” David Horowitz (again, not
Daniel) observes:

at all a neophyte when it came to the "woman question"
(the phrase itself is a Marxist construction), she was certainly
familiar with the writings of Engels, Lenin, and Stalin on the
subject and had written about it herself as a journalist for the
official publication of the communist-controlled United Electrical
Workers union.

the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had
shocked the world by calling for the abolition of marriage and family,
which they viewed as oppressive institutions. They wrote:

is the present family based on? On capitalism, the acquisition
of private property. It exists in all of its meaning only for
the bourgeoisie… and will vanish when capitalism vanishes. Are
you accusing us that we want to end the exploitation by parents
of their children? We confess to that crime… The bourgeois sees
in his wife nothing but an instrument of production.

and Engels argued for free love, in which everyone would have sexual
access to everyone else. They mocked the "moral outrage of
our bourgeois," who found the notion scandalous.

Our bourgeois
find their main amusement in mutually seducing their wives.

bourgeois marriage is in reality the community of the wives. One
could at best accuse the communists that instead of a hypocritical,
hidden one, they want to introduce an official, open-hearted women's

course, Marx and Engels were men. One has to wonder whether the
notion of communal lovemaking appealed to them for reasons other
than ideological. Be that as it may, generations of Marxists dutifully
strove to put the curious teachings of their founding fathers into
practice. Few went so far as to embrace the extreme of free love.
However, a deep ambivalence toward marriage and family was instilled
in every Marxist heart.

Rude Awakening

the November 19, 1990 issue of Newsweek, a freelance writer
named Kay Eberling ruffled many left-wing feathers with a column
entitled, "The Failure of Feminism." She wrote:

me, feminism has backfired against women. In 1973 I left what
could have been a perfectly good marriage, taking with me a child
in diapers, a 10-year-old Plymouth and Volume 1, Number One of
Ms. Magazine. I was convinced I could make it on my own. In the
last 15 years my ex has married or lived with a succession of
women. As he gets older, his women stay in their mid-20s. Meanwhile,
I've stayed unattached. He drives a BMW. I ride buses.

had accepted the feminist teaching that men were disposable, easily
replaceable, and perhaps not even necessary. But in practice, it
turned out to be women who were left out in the cold, once men were
released from the traditional obligation to protect and provide
for them.

is Better

women like Eberling, feminism proved to be a disaster. But for the
left-wing ideologues who invented the movement, Eberling's suffering
was irrelevant.

is a saying among activists of the Left that "worse is better."
The more alienated and unhappy people feel, the more susceptible
they are for recruitment into the revolutionary cause. For that
reason, many leftists deliberately promote policies that they know
will cause misery, suffering and chaos.

April 7, 2000, I attended a conference entitled, "The Legacy
and Future of Hillary Rodham Clinton," held at the American
Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C. and co-sponsored by David
Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture.

Friedan was one of the panelists. Instead of talking about Hillary,
as expected, Friedan launched into a discourse on the future of
feminism. "Modern feminism has transformed our society for
the better," she said.

the question-and-answer period, a woman in the audience stood up
to confront Friedan. She was Mallory Millett — whose sister Kate
Millett had written the 1970 feminist bestseller Sexual Politics.
Mallory had been converted to feminism by her sister but later renounced

would like to charge Better Friedan with a question…," she
said. "If you think society is so much better off in the last
thirty years, explain the deterioration of the family and the ruination
of the children."

do not see great evidence of the deterioration of the family at
all," Friedan responded. "What happened to the family
is that… we don't have a single model of the family anymore. We
have single-parent families and we have traditional families…"

children run wild," Millett retorted.

and there is no evidence of children running wild. This is, you're
making it up," Friedan sputtered.

shooting each other in the schools," said Millett.

children in this country are doing better than they ever did,"
Friedan insisted.

Bourgeois Enemy

Friedan's view, the skyrocketing divorce rate and the rise in single-parent
families in recent decades were not bad things at all. On the contrary,
they represented a widening of women's choices, a major step in
the right direction.

course, as any child of separated parents can tell you, the dissolution
of a family is a heartbreaking tragedy. Yet it is easy to see why
left-wing radicals such as Betty Friedan welcome and encourage this
development. As the power of the family declines, the power of the
Left grows.

and Engels intuited more than 150 years ago that the family was
the basic building block of the "bourgeois" order — by
which they meant the peaceful, orderly community of hard-working,
tax-paying, middle-class citizens. Marxists have always recognized
the middle class as their enemy. Wherever communist regimes have
taken power, middle-class people have been systematically exterminated
by the millions.

problem with the middle class — from a Marxist point of view — is
that it has a strong stake in preserving stable, democratic government
and in resisting revolution and disorder. That is why, when the
British government feared a communist uprising in 1919, some officials
suggested that the lower classes be disarmed, while the middle classes
— stockbrokers, clerks, university students and the like — be provided
with weapons. The British government felt confident that the middle
class would be its ally in any revolutionary outbreak.

the Middle Class

strategists have long understood that the "bourgeois"
classes oppose them. For that reason, the disarming of the "bourgeoisie"
has been a longstanding project of the Left.

goal was clearly expressed by the socialist writer H.G. Wells in
his 1934 book Experiment
in Autobiography
. Wells believed that mankind was moving
inexorably toward a global, socialist government that he called
the "new world order." He believed passionately in this
movement, but he knew that many would resist it.

Wells predicted, "We shall find ourselves almost abruptly engaged
in a new system of political issues in which the socialist world-state
will be plainly and consciously lined up against the scattered vestigial
sovereignties of the past."

ensure the success of global socialism, Wells advised that all potential
pockets of resistance be disarmed. "Life is conflict and the
only way to universal peace is through the defeat and obliteration
of every minor organization of force," he wrote. "Carrying
weapons individually or in crowds, calls for vigorous suppression
on the part of the community."

and Conquer

a stable, middle-class society, men and women work together to provide
a good home and education for their children and a secure retirement
for themselves. Working as a team, they achieve a high rate of success.
But in a society where men and women are locked in ideological combat,
the system breaks down. Energies are consumed in power struggles,
infidelities, divorce, and child-custody battles and finally in
managing the parade of lovers, therapists, and angry bill-collectors
who enter one's life after divorce.

is bad news for the families involved but good news for the Left.
After all, "worse is better" when seeking revolutionary
change. Frightened, lonely, aging divorcées — or soccer moms
who fear divorce, since they see it happening all around them —
make far better recruits for the Left than women happily ensconced
in stable, loving families.

to the point, angry young men deprived of a father's discipline,
bursting with hormones and unrestrained by traditional notions of
courtship, marriage and "gentlemanly" conduct run wild
in the streets, wreaking exactly the sort of violence, havoc and
chaos that dictators need to justify their crackdowns.

is Enough

April 19, 1994, Bill Clinton appeared on an MTV broadcast entitled,
"Enough is Enough" to push his anti-crime and anti-violence
agenda. Speaking to a group of 200 young people, ages sixteen to
twenty, Clinton promoted a number of extreme measures, including
his new plan for allowing police to conduct random gun searches
in public housing projects without warrants. Clinton explained:

we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution
with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual
freedom to Americans, it was assumed that the Americans who had
that freedom would use it responsibly…

it assumed that people would basically be raised in coherent families,
in coherent communities, and they would work for the common good,
as well as for the individual welfare.

happened in America today is, too many people live in areas where
there's no family structure, no community structure, and no work
structure. And so there's a lot of irresponsibility. And so a
lot of people say there's too much personal freedom. When personal
freedom's being abused, you have to move to limit it. That's what
we did in the announcement I made last weekend on the public housing
projects, about how we're going to have weapon sweeps and more
things like that to try to make people safer in their communities.
So that's my answer to you. We can have — the more personal freedom
a society has, the more personal responsibility a society needs,
and the more strength you need out of your institutions — family,
community and work.

in case any readers failed to get the point, what former President
Clinton said was that the system of "radical… individual freedom"
passed down to us by our Founding Fathers was no longer working.
It had been designed for a situation in which people were raised
in "coherent families, in coherent communities." But now
that these structures were breaking down — as in public housing
projects inhabited largely by single-parent families on welfare
— violence and disorder were on the rise. In such circumstances,
said Clinton, we can no longer afford the kind of "radical
freedom" bequeathed to us by our forefathers. We must "move
to limit" freedom.

for those who might ask precisely how he meant to "limit"
freedom, Clinton offered the specific example of his "weapon
sweeps" policy, which allowed police to invade people's homes
whenever they wished, without search warrants, in order to find
and confiscate guns.

It Be?

is hard to find a better illustration of the "worse is better"
principle in action. Widely known as the "first feminist president,"
Clinton helped channel tens of millions of taxpayer dollars into
leftwing and feminist organizations such as NOW that are ideologically
committed to weakening and breaking up the traditional family.

in that MTV broadcast, he pointed to family breakdown as a chief
cause of violence and disorder. Without "coherent families,"
said Clinton, the Constitution itself could not function. It would
be drowned in a rising tide of chaos — a tide that could only be
stemmed by massive, unrestrained police force.

it be that America's first feminist president understood exactly
what he was doing? Could it be that, given a choice between a "bourgeois"
society of happy, prosperous families and an authoritarian police
state, Bill Clinton actually preferred the latter?

leave this question to each reader to ponder. As the possibility
looms of a new Bill and Hillary co-presidency in 2004, the question
gains urgency with each passing day.

7, 2003

[send him mail] is a New York
Times-bestselling author and cyberjournalist. His latest book is
Seven Myths of Gun Control
from which this article is excerpted and adapted.
He writes for and runs his
own blog site

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