I’ve talked recently about effects of the toxic culture, or lack thereof, of our Baby Boomer generation. “Boomerism,” as I call it, is more of a moral philosophy, and less the people specifically born between 1945 and 1964. Boomerism is all about destroying the old virtues and rules of the older generations, and replacing it with the empty non-values that govern our society today. Basically, because there are no rules anymore, our culture and our leaders have defaulted to the law of the jungle, where it’s every person for themselves and people wanting to better society at large — people with civic-mindedness — are seen as suckers.
Some people refuse to believe that this change happened spontaneously, or happened due to the curious factors in play in the 1960s that gave rise to our Worst Generation. Some people believe that the breakdown in society has happened due to some intentional outside force. For some people, this sinister all-knowing outside force was the Illuminati, or the Trilateral Commission, or the nebulous international banking cartel. And for some people — to this day — it is due to that grand ol’ bogeyman, Communist infiltration. Yes, communists are to blame. I am not making this up.
In this tiresome piece by one of the right-wing’s leading shouters, Andrew McCarthy (yes, that is his last name — quite fitting as we shall soon see) lauds a book by some nutcase named Diana West making this claim. After his usual round of self-congratulation for his role as a federal prosecutor for the 1993 WTC bombings (he tries to find ways to bring that up any chance he can), McCarthy goes on to describe what I call the rise of Boomerism, as such:
Despite our seeming victory over the evil empire, we lost the same Cold War at home, to a lasting, corrosive effect, thanks to a “riddling, corruptive drive against what we now regard as ‘traditional’ morality, Enlightenment logic, and cultural memory.”
So far, so good. I agree fully. But then, he predictably goes off the rails in the next paragraph, paraphrasing West:
The “progression from traditional morality to cultural relativism” was not inevitable and passive; it was the result of a hyperactive, corruptive agent: Communist infiltration. Not only infiltration of government, but Communists boring into all institutions of culture and elite opinion, very much including Hollywood, the arts, academe, and journalism. And this was not done idly. This was infiltration with a specific and remorselessly pursued purpose to eviscerate our ideals of right and wrong, the fundament of our capacity to reason and judge.
Yes, these words were actually written (emphasis mine). Written for publication.
This sort of reasoning is comforting to conspiracy theorists like West and McCarthy (either one) for two reasons. One, it gives a definite and easy-to-understand reason for the rise of Boomerism and the fall of the old virtues of civic-mindedness. It didn’t just happen randomly and it didn’t happen just because the failure of a generation — his generation, incidentally. It happened because a bunch of stinking commies made it happen, and they did it intentionally. These commies and their fellow-travelers had a careful plan that they stuck to, and they are to blame.
They are to blame. Aren’t those four of the most comforting words in the English language?
The other reason people like McCarthy and author Diana West like these theories, of course, is due to partisan politics. There is nothing they hate more than the Democratic Party, and there is no more favorite slur they know of than to accuse Democrats of being a bunch of pinko, traitor Commies! They haven’t been able to savor that insult much since the fall of the USSR — how nice to welcome home the old slur, like a dear old friend from long ago, sorely missed. Accusing Dems of being pro-Islamist just doesn’t have the same ring, and it doesn’t give quite the same satisfaction as the good ol’ C-word. Never mind that the parties of today only came into being after the seismic Dixiecrat shift of the mid-60s, long after the alleged period of Commie infiltration during WWII and immediately after. No matter — McCarthy lives only in opposition to the Democratic Party; that is all he writes about; and being able to use his favorite slur is always welcome.
Truth never entered his calculations once. Truth is the least important element for a conspiracy theorist. Whether it is a 9/11 truther, a moon-landing-hoax theorist, or a McCarthy (either one), they came about with their preferred conclusions first, and set about trying to find convincing proof later. That is always the mindset.
So, McCarthy does recognize the disease. But, with partisan blinders so thick that even his fellow conservatives at National Review give pause, he has absolutely no ability to be able to recognize the cause. Perhaps that is for the best for him. Better for him to settle in with comforting illusions, than recognize the vile truth of his own generation.