Seventy-two years ago today, on December 8, 1941—the day after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor—the United States officially entered World World II. We faced some of the same enemies—most notably, Germany—that we had defeated in World War I just twenty-three years earlier.
In December of 1991, just twenty-two years ago, the Soviet Union fell. The United States had won the Cold War. Last year, in a blog comment, I wrote,
But we did not really win the Cold War. We were poised to win, but we failed to deliver the final blow. We could have demanded that Russia turn over its nuclear arsenal in return for economic trade.
Now a generation later, we have un-won the Cold War.
Two decades after winning the World War, we were losing World War II. Now—thanks to the fiddling of Clinton (“It’s the economy, stupid,” but who looks stupid now?), Bush, and Obama (who is doing something far worse than fiddling)—we are losing Cold War II.
We eventually won World War II, but at an enormous cost in innocent life. If we had lost, as we may lose Cold War II, the cost would have been far worse.
While Clinton was President, it was common for journalists to refer to the United States unequivocally as the world’s lone superpower. I doubt that most of the today’s younger generation have even heard of that expression.
The American generation that won World War II is often called “The Greatest Generation.” But it was the worst generation of political leaders—worst up until that time—that squandered the victory of World War I and left us vulnerable to our enemies in World War II.
Our leaders left us vulnerable to our enemies because our leaders—such as President Franklin Roosevelt and those in his administration—were sympathetic to the anti-capitalist ideas of our enemies such as Mussolini and Hitler.
Our leaders today—such as Obama and his administration—are even more sympathetic to the anti-capitalist ideas of our enemies today. Obama and his friends are from America’s newest ‘worst generation’ of political leaders; they grew up in the 1960s and later.
The legacy of the 1960s and later is no excuse for Obama to be the rights-violating, America-destroying nihilist that he is, but it partly explains why he has so many followers.
In my previous post, on the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, I presented a personal account of the evil, New-Left legacy of the 1960s, to which Presidents Kennedy and Johnson contributed. Now I present a personal account of another important contributor to that legacy: John Lennon, who was assassinated thirty-three years ago today.
Before John Lennon and the Beatles, I as a child never observed deliberate ugliness in art of any kind. Yes, there were Picasso and Jackson Pollock in painting, and John Cage and Charlie Parker in music, etc. But as a child growing up in the lower-middle-class Bronx, I nevert saw or heard such ‘art’. That garbage was confined to pseudo-intellectual ‘art’ holes such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I did not hear John Cage on the radio as a car drove by or as I walked past the candy store. I did not see prints of Picasso on the walls of the local diner or in people’s homes. Much of the music I heard was not great, but I never heard noise posing as music. I never saw a painting of disfigured figures. I never heard the f-word in a movie. And I never saw a human being deliberately looking unkempt.
This situation changed when, at the age of twelve in early 1967, I saw music videos on television of the Beatles performing “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.”
For me, the issue was not the lyrics. The issue was seeing successful young men choosing to dress and look like troubled bums, in disintegrated films, with noise on top of and alongside music.
These videos are very tame stuff by contemporary standards. But they opened the floodgates.
John Lennon had talent. Picasso had talent. It is always the talented ones who give credibility to ugliness in art, by personally crossing from beauty to ugliness.
John Lennon did not originate deliberate ugliness in art. He popularized it. He brought it from the museums of modern art and Greenwich Village cafes to the streets and living rooms and classrooms of the Bronx.
The world has never recovered. If not for Ayn Rand explaining why this all happened and why it does not have to be, I would not have recovered either.