The current issue of Rolling Stone magazine, its special 40th anniversary issue, reveals almost all one needs to know about the current state of the cultural left. The issue features interviews with people Rolling Stone considers to be America's leading cultural and political figures -- such as Al Gore, Jon Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, Cornel West, Paul Krugman, Kanye West, Bill Maher and George Clooney, among many others.
It brings me no pleasure to say that, with few exceptions, the interviews reveal a superficiality and contempt for cultural norms (as evidenced by the ubiquity of curse words) that should scare anyone who believes that these people have influence on American life.
First, the constant use of expletives.
As I wrote in my June 5, 2007, column, "'Buck Fush' and the Left," "Higher civilization has always regarded the use of expletives in public (outside of, let us say, theatrical performances) as a form of assault on civilization . . . ."
That is why the amount of public cursing on the left and the way curse words are accepted as part of public and formal discourse may be as significant to understanding the left as anything the left says. It is the left's way of showing rejection of the values of the middle class and of America's Judeo-Christian civilization.
Chris Rock " . . . Bush f--ked up." "That's a major f--kup." "I say some harsh s--t."
Novelist William Gibson: "The s--t you've been doing for the past 400 years . . . ."
George Clooney: " . . . my sister and I were quizzed on s--t." "Now you're going to hear about all this s--t." "What the f--k's wrong with you?" China "doesn't give a s--t . . ." "I don't give a s--t." "This war is bulls--t."
Billie Joe Armstrong: "What the f--k are you doing?" " . . . when you say 'F--k George Bush' in a packed arena in Texas, that's an accomplishment." "I don't have a f--king clue what they're talking about." " . . . all the f--ked up problems we have." " . . . this girl was f--ked up." "Why did I worry so much about this s--t?"
Jon Stewart: "We have a s--tload of guns." " . . . that f--ked up everything." "We f--king declared war on 'em." " . . . the whole f--king thing's ours." "Two vandals . . . can f--k up your way of life." "I'll take those odds every f--king day."
Eddie Vedder: "Why the f--k is he doing that?"
Sam Harris: " . . . any religious bulls--t."
Meryl Streep: "Oh, f--k, why me?"
Tom Hanks: "People have stopped giving a s--t . . . ." "Where the f--k have you people been?"
In response to this, I will receive e-mails cursing me and noting that Vice President Dick Cheney once whispered a curse at Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy -- on the floor of the Senate, no less. These e-mailers -- and, to be honest, some religious conservatives as well -- do not see any difference between cursing in public and using an expletive in a whisper. Many people have lost the ability to judge actions in context or to acknowledge gradations of sin. Is whispering the f-word when one assumes that no one else hears you say it really no different from using that word in a published interview or on a television show?
But even if no foul language were used by so many of those interviewed in Rolling Stone, the absence of serious thought would be enough to fear leftist influence on the country.
Jane Goodall: "We seem to have lost the wisdom of the indigenous people, which dictated that in any major decision, the first consideration was, 'How will this decision we make today affect our people in the future?'"
The romanticizing of "indigenous peoples" is a popular leftist myth, believed not because it is true -- "indigenous people" were just as cruel and raped the land just as much as later groups -- but because it is a way of attacking the Western societies and cultures that replaced "indigenous peoples."
Bill Maher: " . . . [in 2003], it was a relatively small number of young Muslim men. Now, thanks to this clash of civilizations we've created, the threat could come from anywhere."
According to Bill Maher and many others on the left, we Americans created this clash of civilizations. Presumably, prior to 2003 the Islamic world was morally similar to Western civilization. This, too, is a dogma of the left: Before our invasion of Iraq, the Muslim world was populated by peaceful young men; violent Islamists were made by America, not by any aspects of Islamic culture and values. Maher should tell that to the Armenians, to the blacks of the Sudan, to the Israelis, to the Algerians who have lost tens of thousands to Islamic terror, and to the others murdered and maimed by young Muslim men prior to America deposing Saddam Hussein. As noted by a Labor member of the British Parliament in the Guardian this past Sunday:
"Ten years ago, in November 1997, 50 Swiss tourists rose early to visit the Valley of the Kings across the Nile from Luxor in Egypt. Suddenly from the hills came a group of Islamists. They shot, disembowelled and decapitated the tourists." While the American president was Bill Clinton, not George W. Bush.
Bill Maher on Republican opposition to radical changes and expenditures to fight carbon emissions: "I don't understand what any person doesn't get about 'You're going to die too!' I mean, do they have their own air? I could understand that, because they're selfish pr--ks by nature: 'I've got my own air. What do I give a s--t?'"
Another central leftist dogma: Conservatives aren't merely wrong, they're "selfish pr--ks by nature." That's why, as regards manmade global warming leading to catastrophe on Earth, the left doesn't address the challenges posed by many dissenting scientists. The left merely dismisses them as either paid by industry (the Newsweek cover story explanation for all dissent on this issue) or as human beings so selfish by nature that they even deny their own impending deaths.
Princeton Professor Cornel West: " . . . a morally insensitive period from Reagan to the second Bush, when it was fashionable to be indifferent to the suffering of the most vulnerable."
Again, the vileness of conservatives.
Cornel West: "Black folk in America have never been optimistic about the future -- what have we had to be optimistic about?"
No matter how improved the lot of the vast majority of black Americans, leftists like Cornel West continue to argue that there is no reason for a black American to be optimistic.
These were entirely typical ideas in the Rolling Stone special edition. Along with the cursing, the picture they paint of the left is not a pretty one.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”