The assault on the past, in the U.S. and Russia

Both Russia and the U.S. have something in common:
There are, or have been, elements in each society which seek a revolutionary change in the values and culture, and in the U.S., even the demographics, of their people.

First, the case of Russia:

In Russia, that situation has been described by the great Russian mathematician Igor R. Shafarevich in a magazine article, later expanded to a book (in the Russian language),
“Russophobia”, 1989

A practical suggestion:
"Russophobia" is a densely written work, one I find difficult to read online.
If you print it, and your PDF print software allows 2x2 printing,
i.e., putting four logical pages on each physical sheet of paper,
that may be a good idea.
That works well, starting with either page 1 or 2 and going up to page 39.

Here are two excerpts from the article,
which I believe summarize what he means by "Russophobia".
In section 4, paragraph 4.4, on page 13, Shafarevich writes (but I have added the emphasis):

Let us recall how much effort has been expended to
denigrate our people's history and whole character.
One can see what annoyance is aroused in our authors by
the fear that
our future will be based on this country's historical traditions.

Concerning the term "Lesser People"
(a group which Shafarevich identifies as the cultural revolutionaries),
since that very term may be controversial to some,
perhaps it is worth quoting the full paragraph in which Shafarevich introduces it,
in section 4 on page 14 (but I have added the emphasis):

One of the most interesting students of the French Revolution
(in terms of both the freshness of his ideas and his remarkable erudition),
Augustin Cochin paid special attention in his works to
a certain social, or spiritual, stratum he called the "Lesser People."
In his opinion, the decisive role in the French Revolution was played by
a circle of people that had been established in
the philosophical societies and academies, Masonic lodges, clubs and sections.
The specific features of that circle consisted in the fact that
it lived in its own intellectual and spiritual world:
the "Lesser People" among the "Greater People."
He could have said the antipeople among the people,
since the world view of the former was based on
the principle of the obverse of the latter's world view.
It was there that the type of person necessary for a revolution was developed,
a person for whom
everything that constituted the nation's roots, its spiritual backbone—
the Catholic faith, honor of the nobility, loyalty to the king, pride in one's own history, and attachment to the distinguishing features and privileges of one's native province, one's estate or one's guild—
was alien and disgusting.

The societies that brought together the representatives of the "Lesser People"
created a kind of artificial world for their members,
a world in which their entire life took place.
Whereas in the ordinary world
everything is tested by experience
(for example, historical experience),
there the general opinion decided everything.
What was real was what others believed;
what was true was what they said;
what was good was what they approved of.
The ordinary order was reversed:
doctrine became the cause, rather than the effect, of life.

Second, in the U.S.:

We consider several articles:

An Open Letter to the White Right, On the Occasion of Your Recent, Successful Temper Tantrum
by Tim Wise
The Daily Kos, 2010-11-03

Here is an excerpt (with emphasis added) from that "open letter":

[I]n the pantheon of American history,
conservative old white people [like me, KHarbaugh]
have pretty much always been the bad guys,
the keepers of the hegemonic and reactionary flame,
the folks unwilling to share the category of American with others on equal terms.

Fine, keep it up. It doesn't matter.

Because you’re on the endangered list.

And unlike, say, the bald eagle or some exotic species of muskrat,
you are not worth saving.

In forty years or so, maybe fewer,
there won’t be any more white people around who actually remember that
Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Opie-Taylor-Down-at-the-Fishing Hole cornpone bullshit
that you hold so near and dear to your heart.

There won’t be any more white folks around who think the 1950s were the good old days,
because there won’t be any more white folks around who actually remember them,
and so therefore, we’ll be able to teach about them accurately and honestly,
without hurting your precious feelings,
or those of the so-called “greatest generation” --
a bunch whose white contingent was top-heavy with ethical miscreants who helped save the world from fascism
only to return home and oppose the ending of it here,
by doing nothing to lift a finger on behalf of the civil rights struggle.

It's OK. Because in about forty years,
half the country will be black or brown.
And there is nothing you can do about it.


And by then you will have gone all in as a white nationalist movement --
hell you’ve all but done that now --
thus guaranteeing that the folks of color,
and even a decent size minority of us white folks will be able to crush you, election after election,
from the Presidency on down to the 8th grade student council.

Like I said, this is math. And numbers don’t lie.

A response to Wise's article by Kevin MacDonald is here.

You think things are bad now? Look back 40 years.
by David von Drehle
Washington Post Opinion, 2018-11-20

[An excerpt from the article:]

Forty years. This exercise could be continued, I suppose, as far back as records will take us. Forty years before Kristallnacht, in November 1898, a white supremacist army overran Wilmington, N.C., and deposed the elected municipal government in U.S. history’s only coup d’etat. Incited by speeches and editorials calling for the mass lynching of African Americans, the heavily armed mob drove hundreds of Wilmington families from their homes and gunned down an estimated 60 black citizens while burning the office of a newspaper editor who dared to suggest that white women might consent to sex with black men.

The lesson: Never in the course of human events was everything well and goodness unchallenged. Hatred and vice have always obstructed and opposed the exercise of virtues — of kindness, generosity, comity, humility, honesty and all the others. If we feel these contending forces more sharply in current events than through history books, it’s not because our day is more conflicted, more anxious, more contentious or more dangerous. It’s because it’s our day.

[My [KHarbaugh's] thought: So von Drehle chooses "a white supremacist army" as his vignette from 1898?
The incident, as he describes it, does sound terrible.
But does it really represent what was typical of American in 1898?
To von Drehle, evidently it does.
I am not a historian, but the American history I learned in school featured many positive aspects of American life in 1898.
Is it proper to ignore those?]

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The Lost History of Western Civilization
by Stanley Kurtz
January 11, 2020