When a group of Berkeley proto-PC protesters stymied the head Nazi from speaking at Sproul Plaza, what they were actually doing was exhibiting a deep disrespect for their own mentor. After all, since political correctness was born out of the Reich movement, sprung out of the demented head of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, those Beserkly denizens should have shown proper respect for the fuehrer of their own fervent beliefs. But no…
It was 1967, and not long before George Lincoln Rockwell, head of the American Nazi Party, was blown away. He was advertised to speak at the plaza in front of Sproul Hall, University of California. It just happened to be on the same day I planned to visit my friend studying at Cal. Since that friend happened to be a pivotal protest figure himself, Robert Meisenbach, it seemed kind of precious to view the head American Nazi before visiting a fellow who played a starring role in what became known as the student protest riot of 1960, a forerunner of its time. The so-called San Francisco student riot, which was more of a student martyrdom, occurred in front of the federal courthouse where the House Un-American Activities Committee decided to hold hearings. A contingent of Berkley students decided to demonstrate their disapproval of HUAC. All hell broke loose, and the rest, as they say, is history.
So, on the way to visit Meisenbach, the plan was to stop off and cop a sight of an official Nazi. I’d known a couple of unofficial ones as high school coaches, and a whole lot of other shadow goose steppers, but never had I known what an official Nazi looks like. Or sounds like.
I made it to the place where Rockwell was to speak, Sproul Plaza through Sather Gate. Just inside that gate visitors stepped onto a site where a throng of students a few short years before had gathered to initiate the Free Speech Movement. That was where Mario Savio led the movement and said fuck publicly, saying it was F.U.C.K for Free University under Clark Kerr, the school president. So everyone was cheering free speech. Yay, free speech! Yay, F.U.C.K!
It was possible that day to see George Lincoln Rockwell — the irony of his middle name alone was enough to get me there—but hearing him was another matter. I’d recently read a bit of John Stuart Mill, a liberal who was really a liberal. He was the English philosopher who believed that if one voice was silenced, then there is no democracy. The situation at hand was surely a test of that high-minded principle.
Mill should have been there with me, in sight of the podium set up smack dab in the middle of what came to be called Free Speech Plaza, and standing in the center the fuehrer of the American Nazi party. And Rockwell even looked like a Nazi: swastika arm band, uniform, peaked cap, and all. There were also some brown-shirted boys ranked behind him. But that was all that Mill would have got, because that’s all anyone got: just the sight, no speech.
The minute Rockwell opened his mouth, something came flying overhead and landed nearby. Nothing that looked dangerous. Just a gesture. Couldn’t see where it came from because a crowd had gathered behind me. Then they started muttering. Something else came flying over. Rockwell went back to consult with his guard; then decided to try once more. But there was louder muttering, and then obscenities, and six-million Jew reminders, more obscenities, and a lot of other free speech.
When more litter came at him, one actually landing home, Rockwell marched off without being able to sound a word. Thereby, the people who most honor the Nazi precept of political correctness ran off a model of its father, Adolph Hitler, and his Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels.
For years I carried the misconception that political correctness was Maoist in origin. That was because I’d first heard of it from friends in Santa Cruz in the early 90s. The trolls there used it, and they were Maoists. Everyone waving his little red book; jargheads sniffing the wind. Later I learned that it came from Nazi Germany, first from one Jew who remembered it. (Thank goodness for old brothers testifying.)
What was visible for the first time to me was a phenomenon that went beyond the usual tergiversation one observes in jargheads. It was from the insight of another English writer, George Orwell,
and that was doublethink. In the opinion of this scribe, doublethink is monumental in the explanation of most everything observable today in groups dancing before the Cyclops eye of the camera— like houris dancing for a sultan. While tergiversation is simply never having to say you’re sorry as you switch loyalties, doublethink takes it a step beyond, or rather, a step below. Tergiversation allows the fashion of change the same as the fashionism of dress— like Carlos Santana wearing a Che Guevarra T-shirt, sporting the image of the man who would have him shot in Cuba for his capitalist decadent music. Doublethink alleviates even the consciousness of contradiction.
Perhaps the Cyclops TV eye is not the cause (although one might make a case for it), it is certainly an effect. It formed an active part of Orwell’s prophecy when he opens his novel 1984 (written in 1948) with the television eye watching the protagonist Winston. The actual situation today is a variation on that theme: so many wanting to grab the attention of the Big Eye and whose opinion so many need.
And the politically correct rage causes word and value change accelerated by the Cyclops at mind-numbing rates. A check on that speedy rate might be found in a recently established web page titled twoweeksago.com, in which headlines of a short time ago are presented, the issues people were hating each other two weeks ago and are now forgotten. The mind needs to filter contradictory signals with easeful forgetfullness, otherwise a conflict might cause pain in the safe space. So if these rapidly shifting circumstances cause you to contain two contradictory opinions in two kinks of the same brain, so be it. You are comfortably lodged within the sanctuary of doublethink.
In 1984 Winston worked in the Ministry of Truth to keep people informed. It was the task of the ministry to let people know the great benefits they are receiving from the system (boot production is up) and also to inform them with whom they were at war. When the enemy shifted overnight from Eurasia to Eastasia, it was the ministry’s job to expunge all records of hatred toward the former enemy who’d become the new ally. The citizen, of course, was required to doublethink the deal.
In an example from the real world there was the Russian two-step. First, there were three comrades: Joe, Vladimir, and Leon. Then after a revolution and a few basic misunderstandings between jargon friends– ipso facto abra cadabra— Leon got cut out of the picture. Where was Leon? Hiding out in Mexico under the protection of American union commies before he got whacked. And the masses what did they do? They clearly had to triplethink the whole deal.
In an example from our own demented world, Patricia Ireland, then-president of feminist NOW, defended Billy Jeff Clinton in his philandering with a young intern, engaged in actions uncomfortably close to pederasty, certainly harassment. Ireland was definitely in the land of doublethink. If you remember, this was at a time when men were losing their jobs in the workplace in record numbers for even the utterance of a word that caused discomfort in a female cow-worker. But jarghead Ireland saw no wrongdoing on the part of executive B J Clinton— as boss, married family man, oh yes, and president— indulging in some hanky panky with a very young cow-worker. Clearly, the head feminist was one of the legions securely ensconced in the tranquil arms of doublethink.
So when I saw those folks with their Birkenstocks planted firmly on a patch of ground dubbed Free Speech Plaza and denying the right of another to speak, it not only presented a howling indication of how widespread was doublethink in the kink of the righteous brain, but it was also a foreshadowing of gloom to come, a new dawn of darkness. It foreshadowed enforced silence, not by old-fashioned fascists, but by politically uncorrect fashionists.