The current issue of Rolling Stone magazine, its special 40th anniversary issue, reveals almost all one needs to know about the current state of the cultural left. The issue features interviews with people Rolling Stone considers to be
It brings me no pleasure to say that, with few exceptions, the interviews reveal a superficiality and contempt for cultural norms (as evidenced by the ubiquity of curse words) that should scare anyone who believes that these people have influence on American life.
First, the constant use of expletives.
As I wrote in my June 5, 2007, column, (posted below) "'Buck Fush' and the Left," "Higher civilization has always regarded the use of expletives in public (outside of, let us say, theatrical performances) as a form of assault on civilization . . . ."
That is why the amount of public cursing on the left and the way curse words are accepted as part of public and formal discourse may be as significant to understanding the left as anything the left says. It is the left's way of showing rejection of the values of the middle class and of
Chris Rock " . . . Bush f--ked up." "That's a major f--kup." "I say some harsh s--t."
Novelist William Gibson: "The s--t you've been doing for the past 400 years . . . ."
George Clooney: " . . . my sister and I were quizzed on s--t." "Now you're going to hear about all this s--t." "What the f--k's wrong with you?"
Billie Joe Armstrong: "What the f--k are you doing?" " . . . when you say 'F--k George Bush' in a packed arena in
Jon Stewart: "We have a s--tload of guns." " . . . that f--ked up everything." "We f--king declared war on 'em." " . . . the whole f--king thing's ours." "Two vandals . . . can f--k up your way of life." "I'll take those odds every f--king day."
Eddie Vedder: "Why the f--k is he doing that?"
Sam Harris: " . . . any religious bulls--t."
Meryl Streep: "Oh, f--k, why me?"
Tom Hanks: "People have stopped giving a s--t . . . ." "Where the f--k have you people been?"
In response to this, I will receive e-mails cursing me and noting that Vice President Dick Cheney once whispered a curse at Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy -- on the floor of the Senate, no less. These e-mailers -- and, to be honest, some religious conservatives as well -- do not see any difference between cursing in public and using an expletive in a whisper. Many people have lost the ability to judge actions in context or to acknowledge gradations of sin. Is whispering the f-word when one assumes that no one else hears you say it really no different from using that word in a published interview or on a television show?
But even if no foul language were used by so many of those interviewed in Rolling Stone, the absence of serious thought would be enough to fear leftist influence on the country.
Jane Goodall: "We seem to have lost the wisdom of the indigenous people, which dictated that in any major decision, the first consideration was, 'How will this decision we make today affect our people in the future?'"
The romanticizing of "indigenous peoples" is a popular leftist myth, believed not because it is true -- "indigenous people" were just as cruel and raped the land just as much as later groups -- but because it is a way of attacking the Western societies and cultures that replaced "indigenous peoples."
Bill Maher: " . . . [in 2003], it was a relatively small number of young Muslim men. Now, thanks to this clash of civilizations we've created, the threat could come from anywhere."
According to Bill Maher and many others on the left, we Americans created this clash of civilizations. Presumably, prior to 2003 the Islamic world was morally similar to Western civilization. This, too, is a dogma of the left: Before our invasion of
"Ten years ago, in November 1997, 50 Swiss tourists rose early to visit the Valley of the Kings across the Nile from
Bill Maher on Republican opposition to radical changes and expenditures to fight carbon emissions: "I don't understand what any person doesn't get about 'You're going to die too!' I mean, do they have their own air? I could understand that, because they're selfish pr--ks by nature: 'I've got my own air. What do I give a s--t?'"
Another central leftist dogma: Conservatives aren't merely wrong, they're "selfish pr--ks by nature." That's why, as regards manmade global warming leading to catastrophe on Earth, the left doesn't address the challenges posed by many dissenting scientists. The left merely dismisses them as either paid by industry (the Newsweek cover story explanation for all dissent on this issue) or as human beings so selfish by nature that they even deny their own impending deaths.
Again, the vileness of conservatives.
Cornel West: "Black folk in
No matter how improved the lot of the vast majority of black Americans, leftists like Cornel West continue to argue that there is no reason for a black American to be optimistic.
These were entirely typical ideas in the Rolling Stone special edition. Along with the cursing, the picture they paint of the left is not a pretty one.
Every day I see at least one car, usually more than one, sporting a bumper sticker that reads, "Buck Fush."
Apparently, some of our fellow Americans on the left find this message to be profound and witty. But it is not these individuals' presence or absence of wit or profundity that interests me here -- both are so obviously absent, no comments are necessary. It's their contempt for society and their narcissism that demand commentary.
Those blessed with common sense know there is a huge difference between public and private use of expletives. While the holiest among us might never utter an obscenity, most decent, even pious, individuals will use an occasional expletive in private under circumstances that can make its use morally, if not religiously, justifiable (as when using an expletive to describe some evil figure or after a heavy weight fell on one's toe).
But higher civilization has always regarded the use of expletives in public (outside of, let us say, theatrical performances) as a form of assault on civilization. That is why as a broadcaster I am prohibited from saying seven selected words on the air. No one monitors my private conversations, but just about everyone, at least until the 1960s, understood that there was something very wrong in saying such words on the radio or putting them on billboards.
That is why we have, as a society, crossed a line when people put expletives on bumper stickers ("S--t Happens," "Buck Fush") or use them in public in distinguished company -- as in newspaper interviews or campaign fund-raisers. Even the individual who puts a "Buck Fush" sticker on his or her car knows that the real "f-word" would constitute an assault on whatever remains of the concept of decency.
So what does the increasing ubiquity of such stickers tell us?
It says a lot about parts of the left. For one thing, it tells us that leftist anger -- make that hatred -- of its opponents is probably the greatest politically inspired hatred in the country. Certainly there were many on the right who hated former President Bill Clinton, and that hatred did at times reflect poorly on the right. But, to the best of my knowledge, no Clinton-hater ever put a "Cuck Flinton" bumper sticker on a car. Why not? Why didn't any conservatives who hated President Clinton do what some leftists who hate President Bush do and use expletives publicly? After all, "Cuck Flinton" is just as witty as "Buck Fush."
The answer is that parts of the left have little or no belief in the concept of "decency" as traditionally understood by Western civilization. They tend to dismiss such notions as bourgeois anachronisms; they place great value on individuals expressing themselves; and they view self-censorship as a form of fascism.
This latter reason is important: The '60s redefined narcissism as idealism. The individual's feelings became sacrosanct.
That is why the self-esteem movement -- the idea that how an individual feels about himself is far more important than what he actually accomplishes -- arose from the left.
And that is why you almost never hear a conservative say "I am offended" when reacting to a liberal speaker or writer, but it is quite commonplace for a liberal to use those words in reacting to someone from the right.
"Make love not war" was another example of placing one's feelings above other values. That is why it is a very good thing for the world that the previous generation, the one that fought Hitler, didn't believe in making love rather than war.
For more than a few people on the cultural left, public cursing is simply a form of self-expression, just as many on the left deemed graffiti to be. Indeed, public cursing may be defined as verbal graffiti, a defacement of the public square. But the people who believe in the sanctity of the public square are far more likely to be on the right. And that is why you will see and hear far more public profanity on the left than on the right.