Oliver Stone, the American left's answer to Leni Riefenstahl, having drained the swamps of Viet Cong propaganda dry is going to apply his talent for cinematical historical revisionism to WW2 in a Showtime miniseries, "The Secret History of America". Like virtually every piece of left wing historical revisionism, Stone's new miniseries will sweep aside normative history and its villains like Hitler and Stalin, replacing them with the real villain, big business.
The sheer absurdity of 20th century American liberals rewriting all of human history in keeping with their one idee fixe, class struggle, is a demonstration of the lasting influence of Marxist dogma on leading figures on the American left such as Howard Zinn, Michael Moore and Oliver Stone. There is a story about a Communist leader who began a sidewalk address through a megaphone by shouting, "Workers and Peasants of New York". But while that story may seem laughable, his ideological heirs on the left continue to stick to their same rigorous dogma of class warfare, even when they themselves are millionaires.
The very corporate system that Oliver Stone inveighs again, is the one that distributes his movies. Last year Stone completed filming Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, the awkwardly titled sequel to Wall Street, as a timely commercial opportunity in the wake of the economic crisis. The movie stars the expected Hollywood lefties like Susan Sarandon and Josh Brolin, there for a chance to participate in Stone's indictment of big business-- in a movie that will be distributed by FOX.
If there's anything that more obviously punctures the left's narrative about the evils of business, it is that if big business is evil, they themselves are that evil. Stone, Zinn and Moore have become very wealthy men by ranting about the evils of America and big business, while collecting paychecks in dollars from all of the above. While Oliver Stone works with FOX's Rupert Murdoch in Hollywood, Howard Zinn has his Marxist rantings aired on the History Channel (a subsidiary of Disney, Hearst and NBC) and voiced by prominent Hollywood actors. His book, A People's History of the United States, framing all of American history in terms of class struggle, is published by HarperCollins, a subsidiary of NewsCorp... owned by Rupert Murdoch.
Michael Moore's Stupid White Men was published by HarperCollins (again Rupert Murdoch). Since then his books have been published by such small basement presses as Simon and Schuster (owned by CBS) and the Hachette Book Group, the second largest publishing company in the world. The evils of big business indeed.
As a matter of fact, without all those evil multinational corporations, Michael Moore would be riding back and forth to radical film festivals at his own expense, Howard Zinn would be boring students at Boston University and Oliver Stone would be just another NYU film student waiting tables off Union Square. And what's more, they know it too.
The real secret history of America, the one that Oliver Stone would never film and Howard Zinn would never write about, is that the American left would never have had a fraction of the success that they did in the 20th century without corporate backing. There would have been no counterculture in the 60's and 70's without corporate backing and even sponsorship. Without money from a chain of drug stores, Woodstock would never have happened. And how many of the musicians who played there would have ever been heard of without the record industry promoting their music?
It wasn't the grassroots that elected Obama. It was the trial lawyers, unions and Wall Street figures piling money into his campaign, and into the unrestricted coffers of left wing 501's, many of whom also bring on the likes of Moore, Zinn and Stone for speaking engagements. Without big money backing, Obama would still be a small time Illinois State Senator, hitting up the likes of Tony Rezko for some spare change.
The secret history of America is that the two richest men in the country, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are liberal Obama backers who stand for wealth redistribution and socialism. On paper both these men, a monopolist and a speculator, are exactly the sort of figures that the left should be struggling against. Instead they are the left. And without the likes of George Soros, would the so-called left wing grass roots movement, by which I mean the thousands of progressive groups that suckle at the Soros teat, ever have amounted to anything more than angry people in basements?
But for that matter, the secret history of Marxism, that tainted wellspring from which the likes of Stone, Moore and Zinn all drink, is that it would not have existed without the backing and work of Friedrich Engels, at Ermen and Engels. The profits from that textile company went to fund Marx and Engel's work denouncing capitalism and the free market. For decades, Marx lived off Engels' textile factory income, while arguing that capitalism should not exist. Which was a perfectly reasonable to take for a man who never worked for a living, but at the same time wouldn't have had a penny to his name without the labor of workers in a factory that he never saw.
And that indeed is the paradox of the left, that its attacks on the free market are so appealing precisely to those who don't work for a living, both on the corporate and the intellectual side. What connects the likes of Bill Gates and Howard Zinn, George Soros and Michael Moore, Warren Buffett and Oliver Stone, is the very same thing that connected Engels and Marx, in that they don't see any value in honest labor within a free market economy, because they don't engage in it. The businessmen in such an arrangement see the free market as worthless, because they see their own achievements as worthless. The propagandists see it as worthless, because they can get paid without actually working. Both are the same sides of the coin, men who fail to see the most powerful element in a free market economy, freedom and social mobility, because their own privilege has blinded them to it.
The ideology of the left was never that of the common man, but that of the elite. It has as much to do with the working class as Danton, Robespierre, Marx, Engels and Lenin had to do with the working class. In fact invariably the common element is that leftism is the preoccupation of the dilettante sons of upper middle class fathers, who attended university, often hovered around a law degree, but went on to promote revolution instead. And their latter day intellectual descendants are all around us. The ideological spawn of the physically lazy, the intellectually indulgent and the morally weak redesigning the world for the benefit of the working class, a class whose biggest aspiration is to become middle class and send their sons to university, thus perpetuating the same cycle of revolution.
The leading lights of the left in the past have been united in either being aristocrats or wanting to live like aristocrats, despite being born middle class. If they lusted to chop off the heads of kings and marquises, it was only because they wanted to take their place. And with the kings and marquises gone, their only answer was to create totalitarian states with them at the head to engage in perpetual revolutionary purges of the political elite-- a mania that suspiciously recalls aristocratic infighting in the dark days of empires and kingdoms.
And so if there is one fundamental reason that the left so despises America, is that it is because America is anti-elitist. Because instead of making himself First Citizen and nationalizing the country's wealth, George Washington served his time in office and left. It was certainly what the radicals of the time like Thomas Paine despised him for. And that rejection of a an-powerful state and a ruling elite would go on to define America for some time to come. It is why European rulers, both monarchs and prime ministers, would look on the American Experiment with suspicion.
It is why today the American left inveighs against mobs and warns about the danger of anti-elitism. It is why corporate heads and billionaires rush forward to support socialist schemes, because like all aristocracy, they do not believe in the idea of a government for the people, by the people. They believe that an enlightened elite must be the ones to rule the people for their own benefit. And that idea is at the heart of the left's proposals for revolution. When all the empty rhetoric about the peasants and the workers, whom they have never met and have no use for, the working class, whom they would turn into serfs, and the middle class, whom they would grind away, the factory workers, whom they would turn into slaves, and minorities, whom they would use up and dispose of, is stripped away-- that is the left's only real idea of government. A society ruled by the elite and populated by indoctrinated workers, who are happy to be taken care of by their rulers.
The secret history of the left is not the story of basement radicals or mimeographed placards. It is not the story of red flags and strikes. It is not the story of economic theories written by those who had never worked or the story of moralist philosophers who justified mass murder, though those are closer to the heart of things. But they too are only frosting on the cake. The secret history of the left is at its most naked, the story of those who would wield power in the name of their own superiority.