Feast of St. Andrew Bobola*
Now we all know fascism is a Leftist trait. Hitler and Mussolini were Leftists, not right-wing as can be seen from their respective parties’ ideological primers: national health care, government-merger-with industry, cradle-to-the-grave welfare. Franco was an authoritarian not a fascist: he beat the Reds who sought to take over the country for Communism (while Ernest Hemingway wrote so winningly of this effort) and held government securely until the return of the monarchy which he desired. Indeed, when Hitler demanded that he release Jews who fled there for concentration camps in Germany, Franco refused—and risked an invasion because of it. Yet there you have political correctionists saying Franco rates with Hitler and Il Duce.
As one who was in Austria in 1938 when I was ten—a family ostensibly touring (my father was an officer of the Hamburg-American Line North German Lloyd, the company then owner of two of the fastest ships afloat, the Bremen and her sister ship the Europa—we were in Vienna for theAnschluss…the peaceful acquisition of Austria by a favored son…and then in Germany itself (Bremen, Berlin, Hamburg et al), I noticed the tenseness of a nation girding for war.
American boys wore knickers then, with long multi-colored stockings; German boys wore either short pants or trousers. I felt the mocking laughter zing from German kids when I walked down the street with my Mom and Dad. Many years later I discovered we were there for other reasons. Sure, my Dad, who spoke and wrote German fluently, had been given a bonus for extraordinary salesmanship by his German-owned company—and was a highly regarded member of the then large Chicago German-American community (secretary of the then prestigious Germania Club)…but he had also begun a covert relationship with the Chicago FBI (which became full-time after 1941 where he worked as a translator and analyst of German affairs until `46.)
The mood was, as he later told me, one of idea-repression…but the repression came in subtle ways—not a guy pretending to read the newspaper while his ear cocked to overhear conversation. No the pressure was such from the beginning of Hitler-ism that there was engendered what we now know here as political correctness. The laundry list included these things: of course, nothing good was to be said about Jews…nor even questioningly about Hitler or the 3rd Reich…nothing favorable about comparisons between Germany and the U.S. (the infamous Olympic Games two years earlier were still smoldering where Jesse Owens—a (gasp) non-Aryan-- defeated Hitler’s supposed best athletes). Of course nothing…absolutely nothing…about the outcome of World War I or Versailles…nothing good about FDR… But the political correctness involved not just saying nothing favorable about the preceding but saying good about one American: Charles Lindbergh, of course, who had praised the Hitler regime, hated the Jews as did his old man the left-wing Farmer-Labor congressman from Little Falls, Minnesota-- and had been awarded the equivalent of the Iron Cross for so saying.
A Refugee from Hitler at Saint John’s.
Later when I went to Saint John’s University in Minnesota (1946-50) I came to know Fr. Bernard Strasser OSB. His older brother was Otto Strasser who was an early follower of Hitler, participated in the Munich beer hall putsch but who broke with Hitler largely over Hitler’s deranged anti-Semitism. Because of that rupture, of course, Otto and his brother Bernard had to flee Germany. Bernard came here (his brother staying in Europe where he entertained fantasies of returning to Germany and overthrowing Hitler) and joined the Benedictine order.
At St. John’s, Fr. Bernard taught German (of course) but was very much interested in discussing the Hitler era (after all, when I was a Saint John’s the war had just concluded and Germany was in turmoil). Fr. Bernard told me much more about idea-repression that occurred in those years and basically agreed with what my Father had said: that enforcement came less from a Nazi secret agent hiding behind a lamp post but as an insidious kind of thought-corrective like poison that covered the land.
I hate to break the news to you like this—but in my estimation liberal or left-wing political correctness (there is really no other kind: who heard of right-wing political correctness?) in this country is very much in vogue…almost with the same repulsively repressive context as I understood it to be in Germany. Achtung! You are un-American if you don’t understand the need to “make the rich pay higher taxes in punishment for being successful and exploiting the poor working stiffs.”
Discrimination in Employment Using the People’s Money.
The great sanctum sanctorum idea is civil rights. Now it so happens that by conventional liberal reckoning, I’ve done a fair bit for civil rights myself, having designed as assistant commerce secretary under Nixon…for which I pray for penitential forgiveness daily…a variant of affirmative action known as the 8(a) program or the process whereby government would award federal contracts on a quota basis to minority business and manufacturing firms. It is duplicated, of course, in every city of the nation. By God for doing this I ought to have my own bronze plaques with perpetual vigil lights burning in every NAACP and Urban League office in the country—but on returning to private industry and my sanity I repented of my sin and feel that I unwittingly betrayed a good part of the free enterprise system by depriving racial minorities of the freedom to use their wits and incentive to climb up the ladder as do all other ethnic groups…establishing a bogus sense of “entitlement” for skin color..a pay-back for slavery when their own people in Africa sold them out to white English and Dutch slave traders. .
Now as you realize, even the saying of this…or the writing of it as I just did…is an example of political incorrectness. Yet as a partial originator of a key item of the liberal agenda in 1969-70 I regret that political correctness inculcated by the Left deprives us of even the opportunities to debate this liberal clichéd truism.
I regret to say that even after I participated in this government-sponsored discriminatory program based on race and race alone, I didn’t have the wit to reject it. I ended up rejecting it in order to save my own political skin.
The program was underway in my office and the Small Business Administration over which we had sway…along with every other agency of government on minority enterprise. But the Nixon administration was cognizant of the forthcoming election of 1972. One day in New York city I visited with a famous man who served on our advisory committee—a black businessman from New York city, retired vice president-personnel of “Chock full o Nuts”—a coffee concern. He was Jackie Robinson, the first African American to break the color barrier in the big leagues in modern times. He was then very ill with diabetes which had ravaged his brothers as well.
Jackie called himself an independent. He worked for Nelson Rockefeller in the `50s, both as a consultant and political advisers; he supported JFK for president in 1960; he supported Rockefeller’s abortive run for president in 1968, then switched to Nixon. He was within a year or so of his death (which came in October, 1972). He told me to watch out. He said: I’ve been hearing that the Nixon guys are using federal contracts that you may have sanctioned to cut deals for black support in 1972. That was enough for me. And while I had nothing to do with it, if the deals Ehrlichman was reportedly making in the White House ever got out, I’d take the rap. This is one of the reasons…not the only one…that I grew disillusioned and fought with my boss, the secretary of commerce (Maurice Stans who later headed the finance division of the Committee to Reelect) and the White House crowd.
I have no proof of any deals that were made but I can tell you that His Solemn Majesty Jesse Jackson appeared very-very interested in the program at that time. I could get him on the phone at a minute’s notice. Later after I was fired I went to the Peace Corps and then back home, returning to Quaker Oats. From that vantage point I watched Watergate unfold and saw how the Nixon people tried to hang it all on John Dean. I had known Dean slightly, never had a great feeling for him…but I think what he did in Watergate was an abortive act to save his own skin (but it was too late; he did federal prison time).
In short, I was damn glad I was fired from that job. It turned me sour…very sour…on government discrimination in favor of minorities which is just as bad as discrimination against minorities—in fact even worse since the discrimination is waged out in the open with federal money.
Back to Political Correctness.
Once back in the private sector, I became a rather vocal conservative…you can say I’m vocal, I guess. It’s fair to say I am hotly anti-liberal. And the thing that vexes me the most is the attitude of political correctness that attaches thanks to university intellectuals and the media to liberal ideas. Which brings me to Rand Paul, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky.
Paul spoke out courageously the other day wishing that federal laws mandating integration did not exist. This got him into a great deal of hot water. The Democratic National Committee flooded the news wires with belligerent statements: SEE? HE’S A RACIST! And the headline in the major liberal papers is: HOW DID THE MEDIA FAIL TO SEE THIS UNENLIGHTENED (CODE WORD: RACIST) VIEW IN THE PAST?
Of course quite quickly Paul said that the 1964 Civil Rights Act is “settled law.” And so it is. But the attack dog liberal media won’t let him forget it. And as one who worked in countless political campaigns in two states for a living, I know what Paul said was foolhardy, dangerous and may have jeopardized his election. I think what he said was foolish: water over the dam. But to even say this speculatively is to run the risk of ruin. And God I hate this kind of liberal mind-set that denies or punishes free speech.
In this country you cannot even speak historically about passage of certain legislation without condemnation. That mind-set controls just about 99% of the Democratic party. Interestingly enough, the guy who won Murtha’s seat in Pennsylvania…his former administrative assistant…got elected going contrary to Political Correctness in that conservative district by campaigning pro-life, anti-ObamaCare and anti-Cap `n Trade. This hasn’t come out by the Dems who say his election was a bellwether for Democratic victories this Fall. Show me other districts where Dems will be running on pro-life, anti-ObamaCare and anti-Cap `n Trade. Nowhere. Certainly not in heavy Squid Illinois.
I can tell you I’ve run into thought control myself, in my own beloved Church when my prelate insisted on writing to people I barely know to shut me up from writing on my own blog. With two Ph.D’s he’s walking around with the reputation of high-mindedness and moderation. Not so. The liberal nature…the liberal university background…which I observed at Harvard…insists on Bismarckian, Germanic-style thought discipline. Invested with the bishopric ring as an authentic successor to the apostles, he’s no different. Just thinks he’s immune from criticism. Not while I’m around.
Take a look at WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” and see how the panels are structured, the questions served up by the “hosts”…i.e. Elizabeth Brackett on the subject of education reform, asks a token conservative panelist what his thoughts are…and he starts in on vouchers. She says sweetly “uh, we’ll get back to that subject in a moment…” and turns to another guy who says more tax money is needed, a subject she dwells on lovingly. Then with 5 seconds to go before closing she’ll turn to the first guy and say “apart from the issue you brought up earlier on school vouchers, what solution do you have?”
See what I mean? That kind of stuff. Sly political correctness which is only slightly different than the strategy used by the Josef Goebbles types in media and without who whenever historical retrospective in discussed in, say, civil rights throw up their hands and yell “racist! Racist! Racist!”
_*: St. Andrew Bobola [1591-1657]. Of an aristocratic Polish family, he was born in Sandomir, Poland and became a Jesuit in 1609. He was assigned to a parish in Vilna before he was made superior of a monastery in Bobruysk. When an epidemic of fevers broke out he demonstrated exceptional care in nursing the sick. Later he was sent on a road as a missionary and was very successful in leading whole villages of Eastern Orthodox Catholics into communion with Rome.
Rebellious Cossacks descended and drove Jesuits from their churches and colleges. They took refuge in Podlesia where Prince Radziwill offered them his house at Pinsk in 1652. This was captured by the Cossacks who subjected Andrew Bobola to great torture and demanded he renounce his faith which he steadfastly refused to do. He was scorched, flayed, mutilated and finally beheaded. His body was taken to Moscow by Bolsheviks where it was examined and found uncorrupted. It was removed to Rome but returned to Warsaw where it is entombed in the Jesuit church there. He was canonized in 1938.