Happy Birthday, Chairman Mao?





Photo credit: roberthuffstutter (Creative Commons)

The reporting on China’s commemoration of the 120th birthday of Mao Zedong all seemed to come from the same angle. Festivities were “understated” (Associated Press). Events were “scaled back” (Reuters). The following headline, which ran on the Fox News website over the AP story, is typical: “China marks Mao’s 120th birthday with low-key celebrations.” The story opens: “China’s leaders bowed three times before a statue of Mao Zedong on the 120th anniversary of his birth Thursday in carefully controlled celebrations that also sought to uphold the market-style reforms that he would have opposed.”

Forget for now the “market-style reforms.” Only three times? How “muted”! That, by the way, was the word CNN used to describe the occasion.

But there’s something wrong with this media picture. Imagine if, on Adolf Hitler’s upcoming 125th birthday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel were to bow three times in front of the Nazi mass-murderer’s statue. Would journalists convey how “ambivalent” (Voice of America’s word for post-Mao China) post-Hitler Germany was about Hitler these days? Hardly. They would most likely write in unconcealed horror over the twisted but enduring appeal of Nazism. Why are we not equally repelled when Chinese leaders bow in front of a statue of a communist mass-murderer? (I examine this double standard at length in my book, American Betrayal.)

The New York Times and CNBC ran headlines wishing “Happy Birthday, Chairman Mao”; but, again, don’t expect similar felicitations on Hitler’s birthday. It’s communists who always get a pass – or a yawn. “Communist Party feeling uneasy about Mao ahead of his birthday celebrations,” the Washington Post reported. With my imaginary Merkel example in mind, the paper’s update would read: “Nazi Party feeling uneasy about Hitler ahead of his 125th birthday.” Somehow, though, it’s hard to imagine news editors being so blasé.

Then again, there is no Nazi Party today, and Hitler is a universal symbol of evil. Why? In defeat, Nazi Party leader Hitler and his slaughters were exposed, judged, and condemned. Nothing of the kind has ever happened to communism; and in China, of course, Mao’s Communist Party won the war. Despite Red China’s successful entry in recent decades into the world market, it remains a totalitarian dictatorship, ruled by the same Communist Party that Mao led and seized power with in 1949.

Also missing from the typical retrospective is the fact that Mao’s seizure of power had crucial American help. During the FDR and Truman administrations, agents and fellow travelers working on behalf of Stalin inside the federal government and related institutions tried to influence U.S. policy to favor the communists over the anti-communist leader and U.S. ally Chiang Kai-Shek. Such influence operators, for example, included Soviet agent Lauchlin Currie, a top White House aide to FDR entrusted, among other portfolios, with China policy.

Aside from the events leading to the Korean War, these communist proxies helped launch Mao’s dictatorship, which stands out for amassing the highest body count in history. At least 65 million people perished due to this man and his monstrous programs of collectivization and “re-education.” Despite the Red Army death squads, concentration camps, and the largest state-created famine in history, Mao and those who bow to him today are somehow still spared the ash heap of history, not to mention the widespread contempt we freely express for Hitler. Why?

It gets worse, and dangerously so. The stigma of association with Nazism remains, but there is no stigma of association with communism. That means there is no stigma either attached to the collectivist policies communists enacted - policies that eliminated freedom and killed 100 million people worldwide.

Consider, for example, the current president of the European Union, Jose Barroso. He led a revolutionary Maoist party in Portugal in the 1970s. That’s long after most of the tens of millions of Mao’s victims had perished, but no big deal. It’s impossible to imagine Barroso in public life today if that party of his had been Nazi, not Communist. Meanwhile, seven out of 27 commissioners who rule the European Union today previously served in Communist parties. As the rights and laws of nation-states in Europe come under EU central control, we have to ask ourselves: Who was it that won the Cold War again?

Of course, the relentless pull of the communist orbit isn’t just in China or Europe. Never having been discredited a la Nazism – on the contrary, having been advanced by armies of agents and sympathizers deep into our institutions – communist, collectivist ideas and policies march on here, too.

As Obamacare kicks in, consider that nationalizing medicine was one of the early programs the Bolsheviks enacted on seizing power after the Russian Revolution. Reaction to this historical fact, of course, is as “muted” as Mao’s birthday party. We have a president whose early mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was a notorious communist and apologist for Stalin and Mao, but ho hum. Imagine, though, if Davis had been an apologist for Hitler instead. Such a piece of presidential biography wouldn’t be so easy to ignore. As Davis biographer Paul Kengor discovered, Davis even had close associations via communist front groups with relatives and mentors of Obama confidantes Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod. Again, if these political ancestors of the president’s brain trust went back to the German Bund, that would be an issue to this day.

But not communism. We only shrug a little over the “scaled back” Mao party in China. Does it matter? In the Roosevelt years, we had Lauchlin Currie in the White House doing what he could to shape events that would ultimately bring Mao and the Communist Party to power in China. In the Obama years, we had another top White House aide, former communications director Anita Dunn, telling schoolchildren that Mao was one of her favorite philosophers.

It isn’t full circle. But “ambivalence” and “muted” reactions to these markers are still dangerous.

 

This commentary appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: roberthuffstutter (Creative Commons)





Is Paula Deen The Worst American Ever?

deen Is Paula Deen the Worst American Ever?

As practically everyone knows by now, multimillionaire TV chef Paula Deen was yanked from the pinnacle of free-market success after admitting to a lawyer taking a deposition in a racial and sexual harassment lawsuit (already Orwellian) that she had used what is referred to as “the N-word” some 25 years ago.

“The N-word”? Here, we give the Victorians a run for their word-mincing money. The offending word, of course, is “nigger”; and no matter how ugly it is, it is hardly taboo when a quick search of iTunes pulls up 2,000 entries for sale featuring the term.

According to the deposition, Deen said the word when telling her husband about the man who had stuck a gun to her head during a robbery at the bank where she worked years ago. She also admitted to using the slur at other non-specific times but said, “It’s been a long time,” adding: “That’s just not a word we use as time has gone on” (unless “we” are in the music business).

So, like President Obama on homosexual marriage, Deen claims to have “evolved,” or at least learned some manners. Nonetheless, her admission disqualified Deen from further participation in public life – at least according to the titans of corporate America. En masse, they ended their lucrative business relationships with Deen. Food Network cut tand ies with her. Then Smithfield Foods. Major retailers – Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, J.C. Penney, QVC – announced they would no longer sell Paula Deen merchandise. Random House also canceled Deen’s forthcoming cookbook even as it was already, in pre-release, the No. 1 top-selling book on Amazon.

Watching Deen’s long fall is almost unbelievable. Judging by these swift, unforgiving actions by corporate America, there is nothing worse than what Deen did (said). That would include, for example, giving aid and comfort to the enemy in North Vietnam while American POWs were being tortured by captors in Hanoi, and while other Americans were still fighting and dying during the Vietnam War. This, of course, is exactly what actress Jane Fonda did before amassing her own exercise-based media empire.

I couldn’t help noticing that in the same People magazine issue that features a Deen cover story (“Inside Her Fall”), actress Winona Ryder offers readers a list of her favorite books. One happens to be “My Life So Far,” a memoir by Jane Fonda. Ironically, Random House is Fonda’s publisher. Another Ryder must-read is “Scoundrel Time,” a memoir by writer Lillian Hellman, who admired and even shilled for Stalin, the Soviet dictator who killed some 20 million people.

Fonda and Hellman, however, make public-square-approved bedtime reading. It is Deen who is anathema, now and probably always. Why? Whether she is as far left as Fonda and Hellman, Deen is no conservative – the most common cause of cultural leprosy. What gives?

The answer lies in the superpowers of the left to shape and guide our responses to all cultural stimuli, something I discuss at length in my new book, American Betrayal.

Deen, 66, may have supported President Obama in 2008; but she is an old, white Southerner, which in good ol’ fashioned Marxist-Leninist terms is still a class of person best defined as “enemy of the people.” Detestable. Expendable. Throw her under the “limousine liberals’” limousine while they, admiring enemies of the Constitution (or U.S. troops), whiz by us in cultural camouflage all the way to the reliably capitalist bank.

And speaking of the reliably capitalist bank, don’t forget Alec Baldwin. The notoriously bad-mouthed actor (and left-wing People for the American Way board member) volcanically erupted on Twitter recently, hurling expletive-laced homosexual insults at a journalist. However, Baldwin, too, remains a public-square-anointed one, apparently secure as pitchman for Capitol One.

It gets more ironic. Also out this month is a Town & Country cover story about Armand “Armie” Hammer, the 26-year-old star of a new Lone Ranger movie. The headline is, “Lone Ranger in Love: He’s from an American Dynasty, but for the New John Wayne, Money and Fame Aren’t Everything.”

American dynasty? The new John Wayne? Young Armie, of course, has nothing to do with the formation of said dynasty, and probably less to do with the writing of the glossy headline. In short, Armie is beside my point, which is this: The Hammer “Dynasty’s” formation was anything but “American” given its deep, twisted roots in Soviet wheeling and dealing.

Armie’s great-grandfather was Armand Hammer (1898-1990), a legendary Soviet “agent of influence” whose fortune began to accrue while in effect laundering money for Lenin’s nascent Soviet Union – no fan, of course, of the bourgeois likes of Town & Country. Then there’s the magazine’s invocation of John Wayne, a legendary patriot and anti-Communist. So outspoken was Wayne, film historian and Wayne biographer Michael Munn tells us, the actor was actually targeted for assassination by Stalin.

Town & Country’s headline isn’t just an example of tone-deafness. By such discordant chords, our history is written over and forgotten, leaving us oblivious to everything – except, of course, that Paula Deen is a racist.

 

This commentary originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.