Manson and the totalitarian temptation

Two articles on the very same subject although superficially about entirely different things. There is first this: The Charles Manson Fallacy. The second is: 100 Years. 100 Million Lives. Think Twice.

Here is how the first article ends:

The potential for entire social movements to end up sympathizing with visibly pathological murderers with swastikas carved in their foreheads is a persistent potential. All you have to do is let down, for a brief moment, your simplest sense of right and wrong, perhaps because you pride yourself on being upset about some social issue….

Here is how the second one ends:

The stories of survivors paint a more vivid picture of communism than the textbooks my classmates have read. While we may never fully understand all of the atrocities that occurred under communist regimes, we can desperately try to ensure the world never repeats their mistakes. To that end, we must tell the accounts of survivors and fight the trivialization of communism’s bloody past.

My father left behind his parents, friends, and neighbors in the hope of finding freedom. I know his story because it is my heritage; you now know his story because I have a voice. One hundred million other people were silenced.

One hundred years later, let us not forget the history of the victims who do not have a voice because they did not survive the writing of their tales. Most importantly, let us not be tempted to repeat it.

Read them both, which I took down from Powerline Picks where they appeared separately but at the same time.

TO WHICH WE MAY NOW ADD THIS: Charles Manson’s Radical Chic which comes with this very telling subhead:

Some on the left adored him, before and after the murders.

And this is how the article begins:

The history of the postwar period is the history of the struggle against Communism. What’s sometimes forgotten — conveniently forgotten — is that our victory in that struggle was far from assured, and that a substantial swath of the Western intelligentsia and much of its celebrity culture was on the other side. It wasn’t just Jane Fonda and Noam Chomsky, Walter Duranty and Lincoln Steffens. (“I have been to the future,” Steffens wrote after a visit to the Soviet Union, “and it works.”) Eventually, 100 million people would die under Communism as part of the longest and widest campaign of mass murder in recorded human history. As a phenomenon of specifically nuclear terror, the Cold War lasted from 1949, when the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb thanks to the help of the American leftists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, until 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down.

Precisely in the middle of that period came the strange career of Charles Milles Manson, who has just died in a California hospital at the age of 83. Manson’s death, like his life, was wrapped up in the radical politics of the 1960s.

He died of natural causes, his execution having been set aside as part of the temporarily successful progressive campaign against the death penalty in the 1970s. Just as it is easy to forget how pro-Soviet the American Left was at times, it is easy to forget how pro-Manson American radicals were. “First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach. Wild!” That was the assessment of Bernardine Dohrn, the champagne radical who, with her husband, Bill Ayers, participated in a campaign of domestic terrorism, including bombings, and later became cozy with Barack Obama, hosting events for the aspiring politician in her home.

An old question of mine: what do you think of the 1960s – all good? all bad? or a bit of both? I know my answer but I’ll leave that for another time.

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16 Responses to Manson and the totalitarian temptation

  1. stackja

    The Left strange bedfellows.

    “misery acquaints a man with strange bed-fellows.”

  2. pbw

    USA: 44 Years. 60 Million Lives. Think Again.

    All humans are equal, but some are more equal than others.

  3. Michel Lasouris

    I wish that all the perps of such evil as manson wrought should be consciously expunged from history, and only the victim remembered

  4. C.L.

    The Manson family was nowhere near as evil or murderous as Planned Parenthood.

  5. Hamish Marshall

    Thanks Steve. I always say there are 2 numbers that explain the 20th century – 100 million and 1 billion.
    The 100 million is the number of people murdered under communism, whilst the 1 billion refers to the number of people forced into slavery at the barrel of a gun under communism.

  6. Dr Fred Lenin

    All the psycho misfits gravitate to the left ,years ago before the communist socialists closed the mental institutions to give the insane and the former inmates joined the left wing parties they and their descendants are still there ,the media is full of them ,outside they look normal , pull the Trump trigger and they go right off their heads . Reopen the mental institutions and the problem would be solved cheaply .

  7. duncanm

    Teach accurate modern history in all high schools and the useful idiots of the left would disappear in a generation.

  8. duncanm

    apropos the second article — Hungary was seen as the most liberal of the Eastern Bloc..

  9. Rabz

    what do you think of the 1960s – all good? all bad? or a bit of both?

    Some of the music was fabulous, the fashion up until about 1967 was groovy and the social policy outcomes were hideously dire – and we’re still existing with the consequences.

    To paraphrase Kathy Shaidle, “just hurry up and die, you loathsome boomer hippie deadshits”.

  10. HGS

    The 60’s, a time of peacocks. Fancy feathers and pea brains.

  11. pbw

    Reading the first Manson article, I came across this, set in the SDS convention of 1969, following the murders.

    They had fallen under the romantic sway of the late Ché Guevara, or of Mao Zedong. They had gone mad…The single most influential leaders of SDS at that particular moment were Bernardine Dohrn, who was a young lawyer, and her companion Bill Ayers, who was an idealistic educator. Dohrn delivered the most remarkable speech in the long history of the American left, or, indeed, in the history of the political left anywhere in the world. She praised the Manson Family’s murders…

    There follows a quote from Underground, by Mark Rudd (my emphasis).

    There were crazy discussions at Flint over whether killing white babies was inherently revolutionary, since all white people are the enemy. Out of this bizarre thinking came Bernardine’s infamous speech praising Charles Manson and his gang’s murder of actress Sharon Tate, her unborn child, and the LaBiancas. “Dig it!” she exclaimed. “First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!” We instantly adopted as Weather’s salute four fingers held up in the air, invoking the fork left in Sharon Tate’s belly. The message was that we shit on all your conventional values, you murderers of black revolutionaries and Vietnamese babies. There were no limits now to our politics of transgression.

    The names will be familiar. Today’s lunatic left, following eight years of Obama, reaches 1969.

  12. bandit

    I’d offer that the political aspect of the Manson family was about as deep and meaningful as the Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial but it had all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. A creepy looking nut who his lunatic followers associated with Jesus at a time when people were actually religious, rock ‘n roll music when people still thought it was evil, movie stars and directors before we knew they were child rapists and reprobates and a beautiful blonde actress getting stabbed by drug crazed prom queens. Crazy trials where some guy who looked like what Merle Haggard would turn into could stop clocks with his crazyass evil stare. I mean it had it all

  13. Steverino

    Isn’t it chilling that the hatred of white people that was the belief of mad dog lefty radicals in the ‘60s is now a mainstream belief of liberals?

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  15. just hurry up and die, you loathsome boomer hippie deadshits

    Oi! Some of us take umbrage at that remark.

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