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The American left: Edmund Wilson's new breed of fellow traveler

By Michael Moriarty
web posted June 20, 2005

Edmund Wilson

Most Americans haven't read To the Finland Station by Edmund Wilson for the same reason that most Germans don't pick up Hitler's Mein Kampf. To the Finland Station is indeed an odious piece of work, in which a "civilized" man salutes the invading barbarians.

What is a cross between William Jefferson Clinton and Norman Mailer? Edmund Wilson with a cracker's leer and cauliflower ears.

What is Reverend Jesse Jackson really selling? Edmund Wilson with a Southern Baptist's delivery.

Who is the real Barack Obama? Edmund Wilson in blackface.

Why have so many American intellectuals paid so much attention to Henry Kissinger? He is Edmund Wilson with a German accent. That makes him the scariest of the bunch. Even the famous journalist and political gadfly Christopher Hitchens agrees with this assessment of Henry the K.

If you risk To the Finland Station (the American Mein Kampf), pick up the most recent edition with its preface by Louis Menand, author of The Metaphysical Club. Menand says you can find the lie beneath every "paradigm" by noting all the major things the paradigm has intentionally left out. In this case, Wilson's discussion of Mankind's "progressive" spirit leaves out the American Revolution entirely. Interesting oversight, particularly for an American.

The rest of Wilson's book is inspired by the author's agreement with Karl Marx that not only does God not exist, he must be replaced by a God called Society which of course will be worshipped by Socialists who of necessity must always have what German National Socialism had in the 1930s: a Gestapo, although run in the style of Lenin and Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, not Heinrich Himmler. In short, death without prejudice – which is a fairly good description of the United Nation's wholesale abortion policies. Even Mailer agreed, in his most recent example of New Journalism, Why We Are at War, that Man is so depraved he'll need some form of Fascism to keep him in line.

As I prepare to enter the Presidential race in 2008, it helps to simplify, find the common denominators in all the opposition candidates, particularly those primary volunteers of the Democratic Party, and know with some certainty where they will all ultimately be coming from.

William Clinton called To the Finland Station a "marvelous book," and did so while he took the same train Lenin did when he reentered Czarist Russia on the way to St. Petersburg. How could such an obvious and self-declared admirer of the Soviet founding fathers be so fast-tracked to the White House?

Clinton would make the Third Way happen (see my previous editorial on The Third Way To Metaphysical Treason). That is Clinton's title for what the Republican Party seems to have tacitly agreed to. If the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, George H.W. Bush, could almost hand the White House over to Clinton in 1992, the Company of Langley, Va., must have surely been prepared for an entirely new bipartisan agenda. When did that happen?

Under Richard Nixon.

Kissinger's realpolitik amounted to no more than convincing the conservatives that worldwide Socialism was inevitable, the only "realistic" path for the U.S. to take. The previous President, Lyndon Johnson, had instituted the Great Society, a program that made Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal look anemic by comparison. Kissinger was eager to tell Moscow and Beijing that Washington would run the New World Socialist Order. Why did Nixon's first term look like Johnson's second term, including the escalation of the war into Cambodia? Both U.S. political parties had agreed to succumb to Socialism as long as their Cold War enemies knew who would run it.

The children of America knew instinctively that America's founding fathers did not intend for their country to be the bully on the block. Thus the left proved to the right that the human heart will buy a charitable idea, even if the charity is forced at the point of a gun, an Internal Revenue Service summons or a lien on everyone's house and back forty. Canada's surrender to that nightmare has been almost complete.

Here's where the generational fault lines have cracked through the American middle-class majority into which the left has inserted its good intentions, civil unrest, calls to romantic revolution and Woodstock communal lifestyles, in order to make the U.S. a house divided that cannot stand. Couple that with the increasing leftist propaganda for children, that their own parents don't know how to raise them as well as Bill and Hillary Clinton's social workers can, and you have the last half of the American 20th Century in microcosm.

Why did America's leadership concede to so many demands for totalitarian government?

It's because of the Apocalypse. President Ronald Reagan said he felt at times that he was staring into Armageddon. It didn't daunt him, however, and he still ordered the Soviet Union to "tear that Berlin Wall down!"

I say, "Move the UN to Paris, where the seeds of modern day totalitarianism were sown in the French Revolution of 1789. Tear down the Arc de Triomphe and replace it with the UN Building. Take the entire Edmund Wilson fraternity to Les Deux Magots and let them sip wine in the shadow of a collapsing European Union."

For more on Edmund Wilson, read my earlier column The soul of ingratitude: Edmund Wilson at http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/1104/1104edmundwilson.htm.

Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who has appeared in the landmark television series Law and Order, the mini-series Taken, the TV-movie The 4400 and Hitler Meets Christ, a surreal tragicomedy based on the actor's controversial New York stage play.


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