Over four decades of his political activism Pete Seeger sang and raised money for Stalin, Hitler, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, strong and political labor union monopolies, helping "the poor" by taking wealth by force from "the rich," Ku Klux Klan members and sex pervert misogynists for US President, the Obama campaign, and global-warming-climate-change politics. He represented millions of followers in the American progressive left wing, maybe tens of millions. I believe he was more of a leader than a follower over most of his politically-active life. These were causes that the progressive left supported at the time and that the conservative right stood against, at the time. That so many prominant performers today pay homage to Pete Seeger tells me he was influential and suggests that he was an active agent in supporting these causes, that he made a difference. For example, while Josef Stalin was a shoo-in for ruling Russia, Adolf Hitler's successful rise depended on support from the United States, from America's progressive movement, from the millions who followed Pete Seeger.
While many progressive liberals today reject the specific causes Pete Seeger supported more than half a century ago, they supported those causes then with the same values they bring to the table to support their causes today. While I have known about the common values between then and now, Pete Seeger's obituary opened the door for me to understand they really were the same progressive liberals supporting the horrors of the past and terrible things today. It's not just the same ideas, it's the same people.
I realize almost all my liberal friends and many of my conservative friends don't even see the issues connections between Hitler's and Hillary's campaigns, but they're there and, once we look for facts rather than feelings, they're clear. What requires a greater effort to put feelings aside is understanding that the same well-meaning liberal-progressive people supported Hitler and Hillary and the same conservatives opposed them both, for the same good reasons.
I was raised in a Democrat-liberal household. Like many liberal Democrats, my parents sided with Martin Luther King over George Wallace, but the rest of their causes were liberal-Democrat causes. Our values were wealth redistribution, government control of big business, strong labor unions, gun control, and government funding and control of education and health care. There were active racial objectives, so called "reverse discrimination," and there were claims that the Republicans were nasty, greedy, environmentally-destructive, racist tyrants. Good government was the path to salvation in the United States as it was in the rest of the world. As a smart person, I had some doubts, but alternative points of view didn't find their way into my vision or hearing. I found my way to rejecting organized religion and its conformity, but I didn't yet made that leap in politics until 1975.
In 1975 I read a light-hearted-but-serious book by economist professor David Friedman (son of Milton) called The Machinery of Freedom. This book helped me understand that government was inherently incapable of solving our political problems. It was the first step on my journey to a wider view of politics.
As a smart person, I easily saw the connection between progressive left-wing liberalism and the bad values behind bad things in history. It started with wealth redistribution, government control of big business, strong labor unions, gun control, government funding and control of education and health care, and active racial objectives. Stalin's Russia, Hitler's Germany, Castro's Cuba, and Mao's China all followed the direction of my childhood Democrats and all turned out awful. But the same values executed with the same passion may be enough to convince a scientific mind, kind of like a universal law of graviation applies to all, but my politically-motivated liberal friends were comfortable sharing the same values with Stalin, Hitler, Castro, and Mao so long as they could claim they weren't themselves doing those bad things. They felt absolved of blame. Our liberals in America feel they are better than those evil despots and they could feel the burden of proof was upon me to prove otherwise.
There's a lot more and some of it is a lot uglier, but this is enough to convince me of my opinions. It's not enough to convince others.
Here's the thing. I learned that it's too easy to fall into the intellectual traps of religion and politics. It isn't enough to be logical and confident because it's too easy to believe in principles that are wrong and it's too easy to feel sure of policies that are wrong. One way to confirm that Democratic Socialism, for example, is just National Socialism repackaged is to see the same people believing in both. Then we know their political processes are appealing to the same people for the same reasons.
On 2014 January 14 I read an obituary of Pete Seeger. Here is one of the liberal leaders here in the United States, not just one of the leaders, but one of the most influential, one of the most passionate, one of the most believed, and one of the most admired. I asked a conservative I know who was raised in a liberal home in the days of Stalin and Hitler and he recalled households supporting those leaders for precisely these values. Dinesh D'Sousa, whose work on racism I have known for decades, affirmed the historical connection between liberalism and tyranny, not to mention connecting liberalism with slavery and racism.
Pete Seeger wasn't wrong all the time. He led many American liberals into following Dr. King and his Republican civil rights movement as opposed to the Democrat George Wallace. Of course liberals tell the tale that Dr. King was one of theirs, but during the formation of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, he and the Democrats butted heads over and over as they re-lived the values conflicts of our American Civil War.
As the story is re-told by liberals over decades, Stalin mostly disappears and Hitler becomes a right-wing obsession along with the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and Martin Luther King becomes a Democrat. Democrats told The Big Lie and they got away with it. There are all kinds of rationalizations from the left wing here in America.
In case I want to understand the gullibility of liberalism, to be sure we're being duped and not missing some essential point, we have climate change, the insistance that warming from 1920 to 1998 was caused by fossil fuels used from 1960 to 2019. There are other issues and other forms of climate change, but that's the primary message. At least eugenics had some scientific standing. (I'm told my rejection of global-warming-climate-change is "political" because I subject it to the scrutiny of Isaac Newton's Scientific Method. Shouldn't all scientific theories pass that test?) Pete Seeger believed in global warming with all his passion. He felt it more important to believe what liberals believe than to try to understand what is real and true.
Pete Seeger's biography didn't convince me of anything I didn't believe before. It just made it virtually impossible for my politics to be wrong. We know with the advantage of history how wrong Stalin, Hitler, Castro, and Mao were, and so many other causes in Seeger's belief bucket. Now we know that the people who believed them then were today's liberals a generation or two or three earlier. Now we know that Hitler's supporters and Hillary's supporters weren't just people with some shared values but they were and are the same people. They're the same people, millions of people, singing the same songs, reading the same publications, saying the same political sound bites, holding the same values, voting for the same candidates, supporting the same causes.
I didn't know that until Pete Seeger died. Mea culpa.
A liberal friend of mine was listening to a record of a live orchestra concert in Germany circa 1940 and commented that, "there were actual Nazis in the audience." This is what he missed: Those people believed in the same wealth redistribution, government control of big business, strong labor unions, gun control, government funding and control of education and health care, and active racial objectives that he believes in. If he wants to see what they looked like, I told him, then look in the mirror. They weren't bad people, really, they just believed in bad things, just like Pete Seeger and his millions and millions of followers.
I realize others will draw different conclusions. These are mine.
15:56:37 Mountain Standard Time (MST).
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