Sobrans - The 
Real News of the Month

The Growth of the Hive

(Reprinted from SOBRAN’S, July 1999, page 3)

Beehive What I like to call the Hive — the informal socialist apparat that uses “liberal” rhetoric — differs from the classic Left in its avoidance of naming its ultimate goals. Today the old socialists and Communists of yore seem quaintly naive in their ingenuously open espousals of revolution.

In the old days The New Republic could say: “In order to have socialism, we must have a new Constitution.” Socialists recognized frankly that socialism would be impossible under the Constitution, and they didn’t pretend otherwise. The Old Left proclaimed its creed boldly, hoping to galvanize “the masses.”

That changed when the “progressives” saw that honesty, for their purposes, was not necessarily the best policy. Even the “working classes” feared and hated socialism, so there was no prospect of socialism’s winning through either bullets or ballots.

At this point the progressives adopted a subtle strategy: they chose evolution over revolution. Instead of abolishing the Constitution, they would control its interpretation. It would become a “living document,” of fluid and adaptable meanings. If you can’t win by the rules, change the rules! And do it in such a way that most people hardly notice you’re doing it.

Except for its Communist minority, the Hive has never been directed by commands from above. Instead it uses peer pressure, verbal signals, and the amorphous power of “public opinion.” It accustoms the general public to accepting its definitions of discrete “issues,” couched in reformist, seemingly “pragmatic” language, so that the bees — the agents of the Hive — range from conscious ideologues to passive dupes.

The Hive is so powerful in controlling public opinion that it has transmuted its ideology into etiquette. “Politically correct” language, extending even to pronouns, is largely Hive-imposed. “Everyone” is no longer “he,” but “he or she”; homosexuals are “gays”; unborn children are antiseptic “fetuses,” and those who kill them are no longer abortionists, but “abortion providers.” Old words like fornicate, promiscuous, and unchaste are replaced by the bland sexually active.

The archetypal Hive institution was the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1927 its long-time leader, Roger Baldwin, visited the Soviet Union, where he said there was no need for a civil liberties union, since the “working class” already ruled in Russia. Later, two top officials of the American Communist Party would be appointed to the national board of the ACLU. Subservience to Stalin was fully compatible with devotion to American “civil liberties” — as defined by the ACLU.

Liberals revere the ACLU as the “watchdog of the Bill of Rights,” but this depends on whether you count the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments as part of the Constitution. The ACLU never has. It upholds peculiar interpretations of other amendments, using the First Amendment to defend Communists and pornographers. (It likes to point out that it has also defended neo-Nazis and Klansmen, but there’s a big difference: the ACLU has never welcomed such “right-wingers” to its national board.)

In the name of “rights,” the ACLU has actually campaigned to lead the federal courts to strike down the laws of the states, thereby usurping the powers reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment. It has never defended property rights or opposed taxation; and above all, it has made systematic legal war on federalism. All its efforts have tended to promote the socialist model of totally centralized and secularized government. And it has done much to change the U.S. Supreme Court’s understanding of the Constitution, wildly inflating the meanings of a few pet clauses while reducing inconvenient clauses to dead letters. The remaining powers of the states now exist only by the sufferance of the Court.

Not that the Court was hard to seduce; during the New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt appointed a series of Hive liberals — Felix Frankfurter, Hugo Black, William O. Douglas — and subsequent presidents added Earl Warren, William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The ACLU reading of the Constitution has become the standard accepted by the courts, lawyers, legal scholars, and the media. And nobody describes the ACLU as “socialist,” despite its history and the obvious pattern of its pursuits.

The Court scored one of the Hive’s greatest coups when it ruled in 1973 that laws against abortion — state laws, of course — violated the Constitution. This ruling (supported by the ACLU, of course) capped a long Hive campaign of twisting words from their accepted meanings. (Though it says it favors “choice,” not abortion as such, the Hive has no objection, of course, to forced abortion in Communist China.)

Roosevelt himself was an enemy of individual rights; his agenda was collectivist, directed against private property, and he readily used the FBI and IRS to punish his opponents. He also put Japanese-Americans into wartime concentration camps. He showed favor to the Soviet Union from the first year of his presidency through World War II and allowed Communist penetration of his administration. He remains a hero to the Hive.

After Roosevelt’s death Martin Dies, Richard Nixon, Joe McCarthy, and the House Un-American Activities Committee sought to purge Communists in government. To the Hive, this period remains “the era of McCarthyism,” a period of “hysteria” and “witch-hunts,” “one of the darkest moments in our nation’s history.” What this boils down to is that the “progressives,” for once, were on the defensive. Soviet agents, far from being imaginary “witches,” had infiltrated even Roosevelt’s inner circle and the Manhattan Project, enabling Stalin to get nuclear weapons.

Here the Hive’s rhetoric reached its highest level of fluidity. At first, McCarthyism purported to mean false charges against innocent liberals of harboring Communist sympathies. Later, when the taboo on Communism had been struck down, the Hive celebrated even real Communists — the Hollywood Ten, Lillian Hellman, Paul Robeson — as “victims of McCarthyism,” virtual martyrs in the catacombs. Merely to identify Communists as Communists, it turned out, was persecution — “McCarthyism.” Its real sin was not libel, but (accurately) “naming names.” At a deeper level, the sin was principled disapproval of socialism. And the Hive’s real target, all along, was anti-Communism.

Such shifting definitions are central to the Hive’s modus operandi. But most people don’t notice its semantic bait-and-switch operations. Today the media have passively accepted the Hive’s account of the “evil of McCarthyism.” Despite the complicity of American Communists in the Soviet mass murders, the Hive treats them as an oppressed minority of “idealists,” devoted to “civil rights” and “social justice.”

Many Hive causes have had Red roots. I’ve mentioned the ACLU. W.E.B. DuBois of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was an avowed Communist. Such feminist leaders as Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug, and Susan Brownmiller started out as Communists; feminism is not so much anti-male as anti-Christian. The “women’s movement” is the ladies’ auxiliary of the Hive.

The Hive’s three general targets are private property (which provides material independence of state power), the family (which affords loyalties prior to the state), and religion (which claims authority above the state’s). Property is attacked under the guises of civil rights, affirmative action, antitrust measures, discouraging smoking, consumer protection, environmentalism, equality, gun control, and tax equity; the family, under the guises of sexual freedom, contraception, “choice,” “gay rights” (including homosexual marriage), women’s rights, children’s rights, divorce reform, and opposing censorship; religion, under the guises of separation of church and state, state education (in which prayer is forbidden — the Hive’s notion of “religious freedom”), teaching Darwinism as “science,” and demands for female, married, and homosexual clergy. (The Hive even has its theologians, such as Richard McBrien of Notre Dame, who labor to eliminate supernatural revelation and authority from religion.)

The elections of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush showed that the Hive’s hegemony over American public discourse had failed to eliminate popular conservative sentiment. Moreover, the Hive’s Queen Bee died when the Soviet Union collapsed.

I used to doubt that the Hive could continue to exist without the Soviet Union. I was wrong. Bill and Hillary Clinton have given the Hive new life and energy.

Clinton seems never to have been an outright Communist or sympathizer. He advertised himself as a “New Democrat,” unlike the McGovernite left. He gives lip service to property (he favors a “strong economy”), the family (with touching constant references to “our children”), and religion (quoting the Bible incessantly). Nevertheless, the concrete measures he favors always centralize power at the expense of private life, whether the measure is national health care or job leave for new parents. Bill and Hillary (renowned for advocating children’s rights) have won the loyalty of the Hive, which ferociously defended him against impeachment (denouncing “sexual McCarthyism”). Favoring abortion and homosexual rights, they have made the sexual revolution the agenda of the federal government.

The Hive has adapted surprisingly well to the failure of socialism. Faced with the triumph of market economies, it now concentrates its energy against its ultimate target: Christianity. And it has an ideal front man in Clinton, who, Bible in hand, professes Christianity even as he works to subvert it.

During the Cold War, the Hive was anti-American. But under the Clinton regime it has become pro-American. The U.S. Government has replaced the Soviet Union as the Queen Bee, the vehicle of “progress” around the world.

And why not? By now the U.S. Government has abandoned the Constitution and incorporated most of the goals of the Hive. It may not exemplify the old socialist dream, but it’s about as good as it gets.