Monday, January 30, 2006

Doesn't CBC News use Google? 

In Comments, pale (aka fuddleduck) notes this CBC News article - a poorly-researched story about American Free Congress Foundation founder Paul Weyrich and his latest love song to what he sees as a sneakily clever Stephen Harper strategy.
With friends like these , etc etc.
Anyway, this Weyrich fellow -- who is described in the article only as a "U.S. right-wing strategist" rather than the fascist wing-nut he actually is -- calls same sex marriage and abortion "cultural Marxism". The CBC naively goes on to say "He does not say how these things are linked in his mind to Marxism."
Why doesn't CBC know how to google? Just google "cultural marxism" and you get this page which takes you to this Southern Poverty Law Centre website on their Intelligence Project which gives a detailed and very scary description of a well-established, vile, anti-Semitic, fascist philosophy -- its far beyond just a crazy idea in Weyrich's mind:
"Cultural Marxism," described as a conspiratorial attempt to wreck American culture and morality, is the newest intellectual bugaboo on the radical right. Surprisingly, there are signs that this bizarre theory is catching on in the mainstream.
The phrase refers to a kind of "political correctness" on steroids -- a covert assault on the American way of life that allegedly has been developed by the left over the course of the last 70 years. Those who are pushing the "cultural Marxism" scenario aren't merely poking fun at the PC excesses of the "People's Republic of Berkeley," or the couple of American cities whose leaders renamed manholes "person-holes" in a bid to root out sexist thought.
Right-wing ideologues, racists and other extremists have jazzed up political correctness and repackaged it -- in its most virulent form, as an anti-Semitic theory that identifies Jews in general and several Jewish intellectuals in particular as nefarious, communistic destroyers. These supposed originators of "cultural Marxism" are seen as conspiratorial plotters intent on making Americans feel guilty and thus subverting their Christian culture.
In a nutshell, the theory posits that a tiny group of Jewish philosophers who fled Germany in the 1930s and set up shop at Columbia University in New York City devised an unorthodox form of "Marxism" that took aim at American society's culture, rather than its economic system.
The theory holds that these self-interested Jews -- the so-called "Frankfurt School" of philosophers -- planned to try to convince mainstream Americans that white ethnic pride is bad, that sexual liberation is good, and that supposedly traditional American values -- Christianity, "family values," and so on -- are reactionary and bigoted. With their core values thus subverted, the theory goes, Americans would be quick to sign on to the ideas of the far left.
The very term, "cultural Marxism," is clearly intended to conjure up xenophobic anxieties. But can a theory like this, built on the words of long-dead intellectuals who have little discernible relevance to normal Americans' lives, really fly? As bizarre as it might sound, there is some evidence that it may. Certainly, those who are pushing the theory seem to believe that it is an important one.
"Political correctness looms over American society like a colossus," William Lind, a principal of far-right political strategist Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation . . . and a key popularizer of the idea of cultural Marxism, warned in a 1998 speech. "It has taken over both political parties and is enforced by many laws and government regulations. It almost totally controls the most powerful element in our culture, the entertainment industry. It dominates both public and higher education. ... It has even captured the clergy in many Christian churches."
The idea of political correctness -- the predecessor of the more highly charged concept of cultural Marxism -- was popularized by the mass media in the early 1990s, highlighted by a 1991 speech by the first President Bush in which he warned that "free speech [is] under assault throughout the United States." By the end of 1992, feature stories on the phenomenon had appeared in Newsweek, New York magazine, The New Republic, Atlantic Monthly and the New York Review of Books.
The Wall Street Journal. . . said it posed a "far worse ... threat to intellectual freedom" than McCarthyism. In the pages of The Washington Times . . . Heritage Foundation scholar Laurence Jarvik wrote angrily that "storm troopers" were attacking "Western culture."
Of course, the phrase was basically a politically charged construct that was used to mock the left and even liberals. Challenges to gender bias, efforts to diversify the nation's universities, and similar policies were dismissed as attempts to turn the universities into "gulags" under the thumbs of left-wing thought police. The term was used to attack ideas while avoiding any discussion of their merits.
And it is the promoter of this theory -- Paul Weyrich -- who is now enamoured of Stephen Harper and the Canadian conservatives.
He was the one who emailed American conservatives just before our election to tell them not to speak to Canadian reporters for fear they would say something nutty and thereby jeporadize Harper's election chances. Now he has written a laudatory article about Harper's victory -- the CBC said his story was on the Free Congress Foundation website but they provided no link and I couldn't find it. Anyway, CBC quotes him as writing this about Harper:

"Harper is pleased that the media and many in his own party are nay-saying," he writes. "Harper thinks that such pessimism would lower expectations and give him additional latitude to accomplish his agenda.
"Harper's game plan apparently is to pit the federalist Liberals against the Bloc Québécois and the decentralizing Bloc against big-government Liberals.
"Canadian media understands that Stephen Harper greatly would expand defence spending. He does not like the Kyoto Treaty . . . More importantly, Harper favours participating in the United States missile defence program . . .
"It is not widely known in this country that a Canadian prime minister has more power than a United States president. Harper could appoint 5,000 new officials. (No confirmation is required by the Canadian Parliament.) The prime minister also could appoint every judge from the trial courts, to the courts of appeal to the Canadian Supreme Court, as vacancies occur.
"Harper's partisans believe he could maintain power for four years, during which time Conservatives hopefully would witness many vacancies created by Liberals leaving the courts. The Supreme Court of Canada currently is dominated by Liberals.
"As has been the case in the United States, cultural Marxism largely has been foisted upon Canada by the courts. If judges who respect the Constitution were to be appointed they would confirm that such rights are not to be found in that document. Sound familiar?"
Why, yes, as a matter of fact, it does. But it sounded better in the original German.

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