Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Everything old is new again

I have a bad habit, especially when I haven't been to the library in a while, of re-reading old books. That's how I ended up reading once again Helen MacInnes's classic 1950 espionage book Neither five nor three (which I've added to my sidebar). The story is simple: Man returns to New York from service in post-war Germany only to discover that Communists are trying to infiltrate the magazine where he used to work, and that his former girlfriend is unwittingly embroiled in the plot. What makes the book so amazing to me is that MacInnes keeps focusing on the techniques the Communist infiltrators use, and I keep thinking about what's going on today, especially in the media. Please understand -- I am not accusing anyone in our MSM of being a Communist or of dancing to the tune of some shadowy Communist leader. I'm just saying that the same techniques MacInnes describes circa 1950 could easily apply to today's liberal idealogues:

* Petty character assassination (see John Bolton) * professors as propagandizers (see Front Page Magazine and Students for Academic Freedom * Reporting that consciously withholds information (see, for example, this John Leo column about the MSM's failure fully to disclose facts or biases) * Relentless anti-Americanism (check out anything) * The "freedom of speech" cry whenever anyone attempts to attack their ideas, which seems to indicate that freedom of speech applies only to their speech (see the whole Ward Churchill kerfuffle)
Clearly, tried and true tactics die hard. I also get the sense from the MacInnes books that these tactics were used aggressively immediately after WWII, and that, by the 50s, they had failed and America slipped into a decade of all-American complacency. The same tactics seem to be having a resurgence now, and I rather wonder what the next decade will bring. UPDATE: Whoops, I forgot -- the MacInnes book also tackles moral relativism, and for that you can see Dennis Prager's column today.