A Prague Spring washed over the universities in the 1960’s, a seemingly-false grassroots movement sponsored by Communist influences to cripple America’s resolve to resist Communist infiltration across the globe.
All sources showed that these movements – all unabashedly Red, in various shades – were responsible for the widespread unrest that was punctuated by the terrorist resistance and Leftist-provoked killing at Kent State University near Cleveland, Ohio.
Red pressure could be felt from coast to coast. On May 8, eleven people were bayoneted at the University of New Mexico by the New Mexico National Guard in a confrontation with student protesters. It takes a lot of resolve to stand and use the bayonet – and even more resolve to walk into it, unarmed. Universities across the country were ticking bombs, on the edge, with brainwashed leftists planting bombs and threatening revolution. It was crisis time, and the Constitution is not a suicide pact.
It was upon that background that the universities stepped up into bravery; they had to act to restore order. The price of open debate and dissent on campus was paying off in riots, bombings, and the appearance of paid Comintern agents within our midst.
It turns out in retrospect, an earnest and devoted amount of historical study has taken place about that 60’s certainty – of external manipulation of naive students by organized forces, that they were protesting under foreign influence and persuasion, was all horseshit. Regrettable.
It was so clearly horseshit, and so self-evidently horseshit at the time, that it strains credulity to pretend that the whole Red Threat on Campus Hoax was not made-up from the get-go for propaganda purposes (again.)
In the years that have ensued, historians have pried deeply into the origins of the student movement in the 1960’s, assisted by the disclosure of secret documents unexpectedly unearthed in the fall of the USSR. Exhaustive investigation of the revolutionary groups and radical student organizations showed no support from Comintern, the USSR or the Maoists. Recall, these investigations were done by adversarial agencies with as much of a desire to find Red agents on campus as to find them in the Negro Rights movement. And like the Negro Rights movement, there was no external presence. The power was within.
Embarrassingly, these organizations arose from the principles of America and its foundation, that stories of tyranny, freedom and liberty pounded into young heads in repelling the Red Threat, paid off in street democracy – inefficient, childish resistance, violent resistance, but genuinely homegrown resistance. The concept that you need to crack a few eggs to make an omelet, was not Mao but Thomas Paine.
Students reasonably discovered that moms and dads when ballistic not only when their children grew long hair and used birth control, but also called themselves Commies. It’s fun, and it’s a great way for pre-packaged adolescent rebellion, living on the commune and getting all that great free sex (and crabs.)
The Universities, though, could not tolerate the threat unveiled by their loss of control over operations. They had lost control of their students. This could not be permitted again.
I attended a technological universities in the ghastly 70’s, one that is treasured by large industries and defense contractors for supplying the best and most capable operational personnel into the needs of what, most regrettably, Eisenhower entitled The Military-Industrial Complex in his Farewell Speech. See Text.
Few people seem to have pondered the significance of Eisenhower’s speech. Krushchev, and especially the General Staff of the Soviet Army, paid quite close attention to the details of Eisenhower’s speech.
I do not want to wander too far into a tangent, a review of Eisenhower’s speech. However, I do note that he said:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
This little paragraph almost got us all killed. I’ll wander into why, in a later chapter.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocation, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet in holding scientific discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
There are several clear warnings to the USA that Ike left us. We have ignored them all.
Before I went to college, during the ’60’s, student unrest took place at a time when it seemed to many clear-thinking American that some sort of sly and occult manipulation was going on at the highest levels of government. Reformers and politicians with the desire and capacity to reform America, died, assassinated. A hero who undoubtedly saved America in the Cuban Missile Crisis was shot in Texas, his brother five years later when running for office. Martin Luther King Jr. died in April, a few months before Bobby Kennedy. The workings of power in America became intensely mistrusted by the people who nominally controlled them.
What was real, what was true, and what was not true? What were genuine necessities of governance, and what were deceptions? What policies did the government genuinely intend and pursue, and what were unacceptable lies to the governed, who after all, own the government?
The University was no happier than the Government was, having to bear scrutiny from the students challenging its operational methods. Entities – governments, universities, corporations – insist on the privacy of their own internal processes, even from those who own a stake in the operations. They will be glad to disclose their financial quarterlies, but money is the product of operations. The actual daily activities and the rules – in fact, the actual rules, rather than the paper rules – are kept secret.
The goal was inventing Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future, based within the unquestioned confines and axioms of the world today, the Summa of Thinking Within The Box, perhaps.
I am not yet so cynical, I think, to endorse neo-Cartesianism:
I Think I Think
I Think I Am
(to be continued)