How leftists judge great women
By Bruce Walker
The Left controls public life by controlling what people can learn about the world around them. This includes the news but it also includes history. Orwell put it well: "He who controls the present controls the past. He who controls the past controls the future." Totalitarian control of history does not just mean creating a false past but it means making inconvenient people into "unpersons" cast forever into the "memory hole."
Communists and Nazis did this. Howard Fast describes what happened when he left Communism: "On February 1, I simply ceased to exist on one-sixth of the earth's surface. All reference in retrospect also ceased; so I not only was not, but had never been. Thus, within Russia, no anger, no attack, no argumentation, no refutation, no criticism – but simply a negation. I was not."
In 1933, the very year in which the Nazis took power, Hamilton Fish Armstrong told how Nazis treated opponents: "Their measure of his right to any sort of present consideration is first of all whether or not he was a Nazi. If he was not, he is wiped out…Not merely is he wiped out, but the memory of him is wiped out. It is pretended that he never was. His name is not mentioned, even in scorn."
I describe this process extensively in the third edition of my book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie. Who knew, for example, that the Nazis opposed the Fascist invasion of Ethiopia? Who knew that the Bolsheviks did all they could to help Hitler win, rather than the blasé and silly view of many historians that Stalin was "playing for time"?
What is true of totalitarian treatment of events is also true of totalitarian control of individual lives. Maria Montessori is an icon of permissive education and Western passivism, so the jarringly inconsistent fact that Montessori was strongly supported by Mussolini and Fascist Italy.
In my research of Montessori – in which establishment reference materials either utterly ignore or barely mention her dozen years in Fascist Italy as a principal founder of the Fascist system of public education - I discovered another disturbing fact. These same establishment Leftist "references" of famous and influential women elevate Leftist lightweights onto lists of the most influential women in history and utterly ignore, with only a few exceptions, any influential women who would be deemed conservative.
Even more stunning is how often women whose sole claim to fame was being the helpmeet of some Leftist leader are lifted to the heights of acclaim. In The 100 Most Influential Women of All Time by Deborah Felder, Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt is at the top of the list which includes Mrs. Bill Clinton. Mrs. John Kennedy makes many lists as does Mrs. Barack Obama. The Ladies Home Journal published 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century also lists Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt, Mrs. Bill Clinton, Mrs. John . The Life Stories of 100 Famous Women by Susan and Kathleen Edgar list Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt, Mrs. Bill Clinton and Mrs. John Kennedy. The Timetables of Women's History list Mrs Franklin Roosevelt, Mrs. John Kennedy and Mrs. Clinton.
Beyond these dutiful wives, are other Leftist women about whom the kindest word may be "nebbish" make these establishment lists like: Janet Reno, Madeline Albright, Anita Hill, Jane Fonda and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
With the single exception of Margaret Thatcher, who did the establishment hacks almost never put on their list of important women? Women who were profoundly important and who rose from obscurity into international importance by sheer genius and guts (i.e. they were not Leftist flops, although several began as socialists or feminists.) Consider these forgotten giants:
Phyllis Schlafly's A Choice Not An Echo is widely credited with delivering the Republican nomination to Goldwater in 1964. She was the principal nemesis of the so-called "Equal Rights Amendment." Schlafly's syndicated columns and radio commentaries are throughout the country. She founded the most prominent pro-family think tank in America, the Eagle Forum.
Jeane Kirkpatrick was easily the most influential American woman during the Cold War, with a profound influence on the Humphrey-Jackson wing of the Democrat Party, then an equally profound influence on the Reagan Cold War policy, was a brilliant academician whose public career ended as Ambassador to the United Nations.
Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged has been called the most important book of the 20th Century, and other novels like The Fountainhead are not far behind. She may rightly be called the most eloquent voice against collectivism and statism, yet Rand is left off nearly every establishment list.
Shirley Temple was the biggest child star in Hollywood history and the biggest box office draw of any performer for years. Like Luce, Kirkpatrick and Rand, Temple created her own career and like them she was incredibly intelligent. She was an important Republican in California and a close ally of Reagan, Shirley also served as Ambassador to the United Nations, to Ghana, and to Czechoslovakia in the critical first years after Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe.
Bruce Walker is the author of book Poor Lenin's Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life and a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right.