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Hum of Hate: The Progressive Hive Has a New Queen
by Tom Bethell

(Reprinted from The American Spectator, March 1999)

Beehive Readers who go way back may recall an earlier column [American Spectator, “Capitol Ideas,” circa 1981] in which the beehive was used as a metaphor for the world socialist enterprise — the community of progressives. The Hive image, first proposed by the writer Joseph Sobran, illustrated the key point that liberals and Communists, seemingly distinct, belong to the same Hive. They share the same goals, even if they perform different tasks. The metaphor allows us to speak of their activities as coordinated without having to invoke a conspiracy. The queen bee was the Kremlin, and the worker bees toiled in coordinated fashion to serve the queen without ever taking orders. Real bees work in that fashion. They communicate. They signal openly. They serve the queen. What goes on in their “minds” we do not know and do not need to know. But a careful study of their signaling patterns allowed researchers to decode them.

In the same way, liberals and socialists and communists communicate openly. Their claims and arguments fall into a consistent pattern. There was a period (up to and including the 1930s) when Communists did indeed have to conspire, that is, communicate secretly. Alger Hiss began his career in that period. But by the 1950s open communication had become possible. H.G. Wells foresaw something like this in his 1928 book The Open Conspiracy. Then, less than a decade ago, unexpectedly and swiftly, the Kremlin-centered Hive expired. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, this happens with real hives, too. The workers kill the queen. They surround her and pack themselves in close until she suffocates. In analogous fashion, that may be what happened with the progressive Hive.

The workers didn’t particularly like the Moscow queen. She had far too many faults. She was too weak, in a way, too unfashionable, too impoverished, too undemocratic. The workers wanted something more up to date, something they could be proud of. The Berlin Wall fell, and, in December 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev paid his courtesy call on the Vatican. His steely and revered predecessor, Stalin, had asked, “How many divisions has the Pope?” Now, it seemed, the Pope had won. In effect, the Soviet leader had surrendered. The queen died, and that Hive expired.

The old Hive was finished, but the workers were still alive and well. They began to look for a new leader. It seems now that they have found one. A new Hive is a-swarming. It is not fully in place yet, and its fate is uncertain. There are countercurrents, rival formations, divided loyalties, great battles ahead. Some of the old workers have died and have been replaced by novices. But the old hum is again heard in the air, the hum of hate. It is heard in behalf of the new queen, who lives in a surprising place: the White House. Its occupant must be protected to the death and her enemies swiftly stung. The old war, the Cold War, was lost. But the new war, the Culture War, can be won. The old Queen is dead? Long live the Queen! In isolated pockets, grizzled old capos like Fidel Castro and the man in North Korea still soldier on, loyal to old banners and old slogans. They don’t know that it’s a whole new war out there.

The Culture War has replaced the Cold War, and the United States has replaced the Soviet Union as the world leader of the progressive community.

A few months ago, the workers themselves signaled unmistakeably that they were still supporting the same cause when they issued their familiar attack cry, their tora tora tora: “McCarthyism!” This time, of course, it was “Sexual McCarthyism.” The old fatwa! In the Cold War, it had sent the signal that those unsympathetic to Communism must be attacked. It seemed to be a cry for help. (“We are being attacked for our innocent beliefs.”) But that, of course, was a deception. In fact, it was intended to rally the attack bees. Today, the cry of “sexual McCarthyism” signals that those unsympathetic to what may be called sexual Communism. (“All orifices are created equal!”) are perceived as vulnerable and must be attacked.

Many of those whose drone was heard in the old Hive remain active in the new; same people, same formation, new leadership: Gloria Steinem, Anthony Lewis, Gary Wills, Al Hunt, Arthur Miller, Barney Frank, Arthur Schlesinger, Jesse Jackson, Roger Wilkins, Betty Friedan, Jonathan Alter, Alan Dershowitz, Peter Jennings, Sidney Blumenthal, Lars Erik-Nelson . These are only the better known communication bees in the Hive, which is an entity immeasurably larger than such a list suggests. There are millions more whose names we do not know. Some of the old familiars are dead or in retirement by now — Bella Abzug, Tom Wicker, and Walter Cronkite come to mind — but there are new recruits, some very adept, such as the New York Times columnist Frank Rich.

The Hive, old and new, is the communion of apostasy, the home for heretics, the base- community for all spiritual renegades. Now it is in full cry once more, alive and joyously stinging, with a heroic leader to defend the president of the United States. He has the full resources of the federal government at his disposal, with abortion on demand, foreign aid to dispense (if population-control programs are allowed), mega-bushels of condoms to distribute, “health services” for the Third World. Impoverished Moscow never had it so good.

The best analysis of the old, Moscow Hive was made in the 1970s by a Soviet mathematician, Igor Shafarevich, a friend of Solzhenitsyn’s. He wrote from the belly of the beast, or close to it, for he held a position at Moscow University. His book, The Socialist Phenomenon, published here in 1980, argued that socialism had endured throughout history, usually in the form of one or another Christian heresy. It gives expression to the gnostic urge to rebel — the rebellion of the educated against the constraints imposed by Creation and by God. In earlier periods, when of course the socialist label was not used, it could be identified by its insistent, unvarying emphasis on certain goals: the destruction of private property and of the traditional or “nuclear” family; and above all, the dismemberment of traditional, or orthodox religion. Throughout history, the phenomenon has been obsessed with material equality, and with the eradication of individual and gender distinctions. It wars incessantly against the normal. Shafarevich concluded that a “striving for self-destruction,” for nothingness, for the “death of mankind,” was the true goal of socialism. Instinctively, without stating it or even seeing it as the conscious goal, the socialist phenomenon seeks the death of the human race.

Although the new, American-led Hive has the same goals, its methods and emphasis are different. The great error of the Moscow Hive was that it actually brought into being a society without private property, and so became impoverished. This sapped the Hive’s power. How could such a leader, armed only with rusting nukes, inspire a world revolution? The new Hive is in much better shape. It retains the old animus against private property, which makes people dangerously independent of the state. But property’s role in wealth creation is now grudgingly recognized. No more nationalization. Taxed and regulated, private wealth is tolerated. Also, wealth itself is spiritually debilitating (as the Unmentionable One had warned in the Gospels), and a rich society will more readily abandon the old morality than a poor one. And there’s this: the birth rate drops off tremendously when countries move toward capitalism. All the more reason, then, for a death-seeking Hive to accord markets a little belated respect.

One of the first to see it coming was the Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton. “It has been left to the very latest modernists to proclaim an erotic religion which at once exalts lust and forbids fertility,” he wrote in 1926. “The next great heresy is going to be simply an attack on morality, and especially on sexual morality.” He added: “The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow, much more in Manhattan.” John Paul II might almost have read that. Not long after the Gorbachev surrender he spoke of an approaching “apocalyptic combat” with “the culture of death.” This phrase, echoing Shafarevich, was first used at the Denver youth rally in 1993. “Today, that struggle has become increasingly direct,” the Pope added. It was a struggle with the “works of darkness.” Because the Denver crowds were hot and tired (it was said), his prepared remarks about America’s role in this struggle were omitted, although they had been released to the press. In a subsequent encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, the Pope identified abortion, birth control, and euthanasia as the prime components of this culture of death.

The culture war went international. In 1994, the Pope made extraordinary efforts to derail the UN Conference on Population, at Cairo. With Clinton & Clinton in charge, Hive goals were now uppermost at the UN. Its Program of Action sought worldwide “health services” and “reproductive rights” — euphemisms for the ready availability of birth control pills, condoms, and abortion everywhere. Here indeed the newly invigorated Hive under American leadership was making progress at last. Foreseeing “the shipwreck of humanity,” the Pope mobilized diplomatic delegations around the world, even courting Libya and Iran. “I see an alliance forming between the Catholic Church and the Muslim world against the West. It could really change an awful lot,” said New York’s Cardinal O’Connor (as reported by Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi). A modest success was achieved. Some abortion language was changed. The Muslim world, not yet having undergone either Reformation or Enlightenment, is beyond the Hive’s zone of influence. It also seems to be forming its own hive and is potentially a threat both to the remnants of Western orthodoxy and to the progressive Hive.

The culture of death is nowhere more ghoulishly on display than on the World Wide Web. Its a virtual mausoleum in cyberspace, thanato-linked, hemlock-webbed, death-netted, cryonomically correct, Kevorkian-devoted. In the courses on death education for children, the demons are right out in the open. Read how the body decomposes, enter SuicideChat! rooms, join the worldwide cemetery watch. It’s full-employment heaven for ethicists and other such promoters of cultural quicksand. Hive tycoon George Soros is funding a project on death, intended to “transform the culture and experience of death in America.” A bit behind the times, there, George.

The culture of death is the rotten fruit of the sexual revolution. And as Chesterton foresaw, the United States now provides the worldwide leadership of this diabolical enterprise.

Watching Clinton’s approval ratings soar, a veteran of the Cold War, who had been looking forward to a quiet retirement, ruefully commented: “We were worried about the Bomb, when we should have been worried about the Pill.” It had succeeded in denaturing the American family. It may be that the new Hive does have the American people on its side in a way that it never did with the old fashioned (economic) Communism.

That’s the way Hive floor manager Frank Rich sees it. In January, he urged Senate Democrats to go for a “protracted trial with tons of witnesses,” dragging on until the next election. This might “help resolve the unfinished 30-year-old culture war that has raged out of control since Mr. Clinton took office.” He saw impeachment as a gift that “could end this bloody conflict peacefully” — with a victory for the forces of cultural dissolution. Otherwise, he warned, “our culture war might exceed Vietnam duration.”

Interesting! When Pat Buchanan noticed, eight years ago, that we were in a culture war, he was promptly accused of declaring it. Now they tell us! The war has been going on for 30 years. But Rich is right. It has, too.

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