[sixties-l] Re: sixties-l-Horowitz as Pat Buchanan

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: Mon Sep 04 2000 - 22:58:26 CUT

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    David Horowitz wrote:

    >Well Jeffrey the question you raise in typically rude fashion is really
    >the crux of what has trapped people yourself in a sixties fantasy life all >these years. It is one thing when you're young to to compare what you see
    >around you to some utopian ideal that has never been and will never be a
    >reality as long as human beings are what they are (and not say genetically
    >transformed intosomething entirely different). It's quite another to grow
    >old and never appreciate what you have (and what you have been given) >compared to what other people all over the world and all throughout history >have been forced to endure.

    Actually. David. I was quite polite. considering the circumstances,
    i.e., your publishing an attack on me without having the common courtesy
    of, at least, sending me a copy of your article. But never mind. What
    should be pointed out immediately is that you did not even attempt to
    answer the question I put to my students, namely, tell me one moment in
    time when there was liberty and justice for all the people in this
    country, or any practical proof that such was ever the intention.
    Surely, with your own background history, which you would acknowledge is
    considerably greater than that of my students, you could come up with
    such a moment that I may have overlooked, and some practical evidence,
    besides cheap rhetoric, that liberty and just for all was ever the
    intention of our "founding fathers" and those who succeeded them.

    Take our Constitution, for example, which ignored the people whose land
    we stole and who were dismissed as "savages," which considered women for
    census purposes only, but which accorded them no rights, or those taken
    in bondage from Africa and considered, again only for census purposes,
    three-fifths of a person. Don't you find that somewhat contradictory to
    the claim in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created
    equal?" That same declaration. much of which I respect, but which blames
    England for holding the settlers back from attacking the "savages?"

    And yes, I do, appreciate what I have and have been given, but I would
    be less than honest if I did not admit that it came at others expense.
    The United States has, I point out to my students, has been specially
    blessed (if I may use that word). Here we took over a land, with a
    minimum of interference from other colonial powers, that was
    extraordinary rich in its mineral wealth and in its abundance of arable
    land. Yet it was never enough. Our greed, or those who came before us,
    was insatiable. We had this thing challenging us called "manifest
    destiny," to spread our borders "from sea to shining sea," and it was
    just too bad for anyone or any country that stood in our way. That
    insatiability, and what we declared was our God given right, has led US
    presidents to dispatch American soldiers to intervene or invade foreign
    soil close to 200 times in our first 200 years--exclusive of the World
    Wars--a record unmatched in ancient or modern times.

    Take for example, the Marine Corps hymn which I used to sing as a child,
    "From the halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli." The first
    reference, of course, is to our unprovoked invasion of Mexico in 1846
    which resulted in the theft close to a million square miles of land when
    we include Texas. I am not aware of anything historically comparable,
    at least not in modern times, but perhaps you can correct me if I am in

    The reference to the"shores of Tripoli," is of course to what we called
    "the Barbary pirates," who wanted the US to pay tribute for doing
    business in its waters, and what was our response, "Millions for
    defense, not one cent for tribute," which certainly indicates how early
    our weapons industry was ready to fleece the public. Whether or not the
    folks in Triplo were "pirates" is beside the point. Do you think the US
    would have allowed foreign ships to poach in US waters without payment?

    >Everybody in America is free to leave. Few do. If America's borders were
    >opened tomorrow there would be a flood of brown and black of immigrants to
    >these shores. There is no exodus of brown and black people today to any
    >country whether Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil or some other >place. That's because black and brown people (as well as poor people >generally) live far better in America, have far more justice and freedom >in America than they do anywhere else in the world. What I mean by this >(unlike you) is very specific: The average black person in America is 20 to >50 times richer than the average black person in Africa. And freer. And >more protected in their individual rights. This is something all Americans >should celebrate while working to make things even better. The fact that >America is a land whose citizens pledge their allegiance to a country which >seeks to provide its citizens with liberty and justice for all is something >to be proud of and to teach our children to be proud of. That's the only >way that the good that America has done for poor people and minorities can >be protected and expanded.

    It takes some money and then in some in one's pocket to leave, but some
    do. US expatriates can be found living all over Europe and there are
    several colonies of Yanks who for quite some time have lived in Mexico.
    Ireland has many Irish who, once they have earned their social security,
    head back home to Ireland, and I am sure that many Brits do the same as
    well. As for alternative destinations, Canada has taken in many
    immigrants, and refugees from the civil war Guatemala have crossed the
    border into Mexico. But all this is beside the point. The reason that
    black and brown people in America are relatively richer, in terms of
    money, than those in other lands can largely be traced to the the
    pervasiveness of Western colonialism and neo-colonialism, almost
    exclusively European in Africa and over the last 150 years, almost
    exclusively American in the Western Hemisphere, with the US and Europe
    sharing the plunder of Asia. (It was interesting to learn from that
    subversive publication, American Heritage, that the Roosevelt family
    fortune originated from the opium trade in China, protected by the
    British during one of the uglier of the many ugly periods in that
    nation's history.)

    You say "The fact that America is a land whose citizens pledge their
    allegiance to a country which seeks to provide its citizens with liberty
    and justice for all is something to be proud of and to teach our
    children to be proud of." The fact? You offer no proof of that. On the
    other hand, we have locked up more than 2,000,000 people in our prisons,
    a figure that represents one-quarter of the world's prisoners. Most of
    them are black and brown and most are locked up for non-violent
    offenses, usually drug related. Now while they go to prison in record
    numbers, for the same crimes in which, according to recently released
    statistics, whites are not sentenced, most white drug users in the upper
    echelons of the economy can indulge their individual needs for that
    tempting white powder with impunity.

    I should also add that the students do not stand for the pledge because
    I have subverted any loyalty they might have to the country or to the
    flag. They have already had that loyalty subverted by the time they get
    to high school, and usually not by any teacher, but rather by their
    local police force which sees them as a threat to the social order that
    they are paid to protect, a social order that is dominated principally
    by rich, white men, that is, the kind of folks that you pal around with,
    like Richard Mellon Scaife, who give you the money to maintain your
    gilded cesspool. There are teachers who actually do help the cops in
    their work, and they, too, are invariably white. Their crime is letting
    their black and brown students know from the first day in class that
    they expects very little from them, and it is generally acknowledged
    that a student's sense of self-worth is an important factor in obtaining
    an education and learning to respect the society that offers it.

    >Your minority students can be forgiven for not understanding how privileged
    >they are to be in a country that teaches its citizens from the early grades >that discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or race is wrong; that has an
    >economy generating more wealth for more people at more levels than any
    >country since the beginning of time. Young people think they know better >than everyone who came before them and they still have the illusion that >people (and therefore societies) can be remade for the bettter if only they >are given the right ideas .

    What an elitist statement! They "can be forgiven." What racist
    arrogance!I would have liked you to come to one of my classes and run
    that line to my students. They would run you right of the classroom.
    They learn not from what they are told but by how they are treated. And
    don't think students in that school, where 40% of the families are so
    poor that their children are eligible for free lunches will be impressed
    to know how wonderful this economy has been for others. And it is not
    just this school. Close to 20% of our children live in families that
    are under the poverty line, a figure that is far greater than one finds
    in any developed country. And when it comes to health care, we remain
    the only developed country where it is not considered a right.

    Your statement that the students "have the illusion that people (and
    therefore societies) can be remade for the bettter if only they are
    given the right ideas," I find mystifying and contradictory to your
    belief that they should be indocrinated into believing in the American
    way of life. Surely, that doesn't mean accepting the status quo? Or do
    you think we have come as far as we can go, and America is already
    perfect. Don't you believe a teacher should challenge her or his
    students to, as the expression goes, to leave the word a better place
    than they found it? if not, you are the subversive, David, but then I
    knew that all along. .

    >You, however, cannot be forgiven for having failed to learn the obvious in >the decades you have had to think about all this since the 60s. To go on >attacking this system and working to alienate young people from it (thus >denying them opportunities they would have if they embraced it), all the >while pretending that there is some other system that can produce the ideal >justice of your fantasies is simply destructive and, in the end, pathetic. >It's time to give it up.

    The young people are already alienated from the system by the time they
    get to high school. What my goal has been is to help them comprehend
    the historical reasons for their alienation and find ways to channel
    their understandable resentments against society into positive channels.
    As for searching for justice, you may have sold what few principles you
    had--obviously, never dearly held-- and become the epitome of what you
    once railed against, but as for expecting me to give up and surrender
    the field to the likes of you, not a chance.

    By the way, David, my offer to debate you is still open. How about on
    your TV show? And, one more thing, I am sure you won't mind if I use
    our exchange as a lesson plan and share it with other teachers. I am
    know the students will appreciate it. It is always good to know what the
    enemy is thinking.

    Jeffrey Blankfort

    > > Jeffrey Blankfort wrote:
    > >
    > > A friend forward this piece of jingoism, worthy of Pat Buchanan, to me
    > > today, in which David Horowitz accuses me of having "a subversive
    > > mission whose agenda is to warn them [my students]against the very
    > > society their parents had freely chosen. The students are addressed not
    > > as members of a free community freely choosing their futures, but as
    > >though they were dragged to these shores (and kept here) in chains."

    > >He based this assumption on my questioning of students who stand for the
    > >pledge of allegiance "if she or he can tell me of any moment in history
    > >where the inhabitants of this land actually enjoyed 'liberty and justice
    > >for all,' and beyond the words
    > >of the pledge, to show me any proof that such was ever intended."

    > >No student was ever able to do so. Now I am making the same challenge
    > >to Prof. Horowitz to see, with his apparent profound knowledge and deep
    > >respect for American history and its traditions, e.g., slavery and Jim
    > >Crow, genocide of the indigenous population, close to 200 interventions
    > >on foreign soil, if he can answer the question.

    > >Perhaps, Horowitz would like to have a public debate on the question?
    > >I'm ready, David. Just name the time and place.

    > >Jeff Blankfort

    > >> David Horowitz wrote:

    > >> salon.com | July 10, 2000
    > >> URL: http://www.frontpagemag.com/dh/dh07-10-00p.htm
    > >>
    > >> The Fourth of July Weekend is normally a time for reflection about
    > >> the American Founding and renewed commitment to its enduring legacy.
    > >> But in recent
    > >> years the anniversary of American Independence has also become an
    > >> occasion to reflect on the way America's heritage is under continuous
    > >> assault by the
    > >> determined legions of the political left. This attack has been
    > >> mounted by an intellectual class based in the media and in America's
    > >> politically correct
    > >> educational institutions. Their inspiration is a set of discredited
    > >> 19th Century dogmas masquerading as "progressive" nostrums, and not
    > >> even the collapse
    > >> of Communism has been able to reconcile their alienated psyches with
    > >> the American cause.
    > >>
    > >> These thoughts were brought into focus by three unrelated but
    > >> thematically coherent incidents that occurred during the holiday
    > >> respite. They include an
    > >> Internet post concerning the Pledge of Allegiance as it is taught in
    > >> our public schools; a dialogue about "patriotism" arranged by the New
    > >> York Times
    > >> between neo-conservative Norman Podhoretz and Nation editor Victor
    > >> Navasky; and the release of Mel Gibson's epic film, "The Patriot,"
    > >> which is about
    > >> this history itself.
    > >>
    > >> The ritual of civic renewal is important to Americans in a way that
    > >> it is not to the citizens of other nations. Their patria have been
    > >> created out of common
    > >> bonds of blood, language and soil. Their national identities are not
    > >> intrinsic - as America's is -- to a set of abstract principles and
    > >> ideas. The singularity of
    > >> the American identity lies in being forged through a conscious
    > >> commitment to what until recently was still referred to as an
    > >> "American way of life." The
    > >> construct "American" was defined by the Founding, beginning with its
    > >> Declaration that announced the creation of a new nation dedicated to
    > >> the proposition
    > >> that all human beings are created equal and that they are endowed
    > >> with a natural right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. To be
    > >> anti-American is not only
    > >> to reject the heritage of this past, but a future that is "American" as well.
    > >>
    > >> Until recently, the public schools in America functioned as a
    > >> crucible of its citizenship. Immigrants who came to America seeking
    > >> refuge and opportunity
    > >> were educated in this social contract by their teachers. At the
    > >> beginning of every school day, students would pledge allegiance to
    > >> the flag of a multi-ethnic
    > >> republic that was united into one indivisible nation by the
    > >> commitment of all its citizens to a common national ideal. For these
    > >> immigrants, public education
    > >> was a process of assimilation into an American culture that had
    > >> pledged itself to liberty and justice for all. But now this contract
    > >> is under siege by radical
    > >> multi-culturalists who condemn America and its heritage as
    > >> oppressive, and valorize instead the culture of the "Other" - of
    > >> peoples this nation is alleged to
    > >> oppress. In this perverse -- but now academically normal - view, the
    > >> world is turned upside down. The nation conceived in liberty is
    > >> reconceived as the
    > >> tyrant to be overthrown.
    > >>
    > >> Hows effective is this campaign? A Zogby poll, taken in January,
    > >> showed that nearly a third of America's college students declined to
    > >> say that they are
    > >> proud to be Americans. This can be considered a direct result of the
    > >> fact that their left-wing professors, as a matter of course, teach
    > >> them to be ashamed of
    > >> their country's present and its history.
    > >>
    > >> The Internet post I came across was from a Sixties list, and it
    > >> encapsulated the attitude that has caused this to happen. The post
    > >> was written by Jeffrey
    > >> Blankfort, a photographer who supplied the media with romantic images
    > >> of the Black Panthers, during their struggles with law and order in
    > >> the 1960s.
    > >> Blankfort is now a public school teacher, and an unreconstructed
    > >> missionary from the hate-America school of radical thought, perhaps
    > >> the most enduring
    > >> legacy of his radical generation to the national debate. This is what
    > >> Blankfort wrote:
    > >>
    > >> "In the schools in which I have subbed and then taught, very few
    > >> students stand for the pledge of allegiance unless coerced to do so
    > >> by their teacher. Most
    > >> of the students have either African, Latin American or Asian
    > >> ancestry. When an occasional student does stand, I ask, in a friendly
    > >> manner, if she or he can
    > >> tell me of any moment in history where the inhabitants of this land
    > >> actually enjoyed 'liberty and justice for all,' and beyond the words
    > >> of the pledge, to show
    > >> me any proof that such was ever intended."
    > >>
    > >> In other words, for Jeffrey Blankfort and his comrades, gone is the
    > >> role of public education as an assimilator of immigrants and
    > >> minorities into the
    > >> American culture; gone, too, is the task of integrating them into the
    > >> opportunities offered under the umbrella of "the American dream." It
    > >> has been replaced
    > >> by a subversive mission whose agenda is to warn them against the very
    > >> society their parents had freely chosen. The students are addressed
    > >> not as members
    > >> of a free community freely choosing their futures, but as though they
    > >> were dragged to these shores (and kept here) in chains. Thirty years
    > >> ago no teacher
    > >> would have thought to abuse his authority over school children in
    > >> this manner. But now educational institutions all the way from
    > >> university to kindergarten
    > >> have been thoroughly politicized by a "post-modern" left that
    > >> respects no institutions and no standards, and for whom everything is
    > >> political, including the
    > >> lives of small children.
    > >>
    > >> This is an authentic movement of sedition, and it is new as well. In
    > >> fact, I have a personal way of measuring just how new. My father was
    > >> a Communist
    > >> teacher during the Thirties and Forties, unfairly purged in the
    > >> McCarthy era from the New York City school system. But not for an act
    > >> like this. For he did
    > >> not, so far as the record shows, violate his classroom trust; nor did
    > >> he intrude his personal political agendas into his lessons. Even
    > >> though my father
    > >> belonged to a conspiratorial party that took its orders from a
    > >> foreign power, it would have been absolutely unthinkable for him to
    > >> attack America in its
    > >> promise ("show me any proof that such [liberty and justice] was ever
    > >> intended") as today's leftists reflexively do.
    > >>
    > >> My father belonged to a party whose slogan was "Communism is 20th
    > >> Century Americanism," and he believed it. The socialism of which he
    > >> and his
    > >> comrades dreamed was incompatible, of course, with the American
    > >> founding. But in their minds the future to which they aspired was
    > >> going to be a
    > >> completion - not a rejection - of the American idea. Accordingly,
    > >> they named their organizations after American icons like Lincoln and
    > >> Jefferson, men now
    > >> routinely demonized by the left as "racists" and (in Jefferson's
    > >> case) "rapists." Even though what Communists like my father really
    > >> wanted was a "Soviet
    > >> Lincoln
    > >

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