Norman Podhoretz on the left

The Spring issue of the Claremont Review of Books has not yet gone to press, but it will feature an interview with the incomparable Norman Podhoretz that has been posted online here for subscribers and circulated by the editors in samizdat. The interview is great. Rush Limbaugh flagged it in a segment posted here. Mr. Ace plucked some juicy morsels in a post here at Ace of Spades. The CRB’s idea in posting the interview is, of course, to entice recalcitrant readers to give up $19.95 and subscribe. Here is NP on the ascendant left in the Democratic Party:

Well, some of them say they’re pro-socialism, but most of them don’t know what they’re talking about. They ought to visit a British hospital or a Canadian hospital once in a while to see what Medicare for All comes down to. They don’t know what they’re for.

I mean, the interesting thing about this whole leftist movement that started in the ’60s is how different it is from the Left of the ’30s. The Left of the ’30s had a positive alternative in mind—what they thought was positive—namely, the Soviet Union. So America was bad; Soviet Union, good. Turn America into the Soviet Union and everything is fine.

The Left of the ’60s knew that the Soviet Union was flawed because its crimes that had been exposed, so they never had a well-defined alternative. One day it was Castro, the next day Mao, the next day Zimbabwe, I mean, they kept shifting—as long as it wasn’t America. Their real passion was to destroy America and the assumption was that anything that came out of those ruins would be better than the existing evil. That was the mentality—there was never an alternative and there still isn’t.

So Bernie Sanders, who honeymooned in the Soviet Union—I mean, I don’t know him personally, but I have relatives who resemble him; I know him in my bones—and he’s an old Stalinist if there ever was one. Things have gone so haywire, he was able to revive the totally discredited idea of socialism, and others were so ignorant that they picked it up.

As for attitudes toward America, I believe that Howard Zinn’s relentlessly anti-American People’s History of the United States sells something like 130,000 copies a year, and it’s a main text for the study of American History in the high schools and in kindergarten. So, we have miseducated a whole generation, two generations by now, about almost everything.

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