May 14, 2010

Read Elena Kagan's college thesis and decide if she's "an open and avowed socialist"...

... which is what Erick Erickson has concluded.

ADDED: I've read the last few pages of the thesis, and a key sentence, at page 130, is: "The story is a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism's decline, still wish to change America." Does that sentence imply that its author is included in the "those who... still wish to change America"? Does it imply that socialism is required in order to "change America"?

However you answer those questions, remember that the paper was written 20 30 years ago, when Kagan was a college student. Not only is it likely that she has changed since she was in her early 20s, but it is also nearly a certainty that she wrote to obtain the favor of her teachers in the Princeton University History Department. I think there is a lot more evidence that Kagan knows how to please and win the favor of those with the power to advance her career than that Kagan is a socialist. I'm just going to guess — correct me if I'm wrong — that in 1981, Princeton students were able to discern that their history professors liked socialism.

122 comments:

garage mahal said...

Oh Jesus.

A.W. said...

She is, and Doug Ross' line proves it. much of it just seems arguably to be an analysis of why socialism failed in america. but ross's quotes start to show that she is lamenting this failure.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Oh Jesus.

Keep your orgasms to your self garage. The rest of us don't want to know.

E Buzz said...

Well, it is interesting that we now know who this woman is, in a political sense, yet we have no "official" world on just who the hell Barry Obama is...

Guess we all have different priorities.

A.W. said...

But i will remind everyone, my take on kagan is she is such a poor advocate she only hurts her causes. so as a moderately conservative guy, i fully support this nomination.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I mean in theory, socialism is great and lamenting its failure is pretty much on par as when I was upset when I found out Santa Claus didn't exist. The difference is I was 6 when I figured Santa out and really haven't lamented it since. Not sure what Kagen's problem is.

Pastafarian said...

OK, it's going to take a while to read through a 134 page document that appears to be, all at once, somewhat trivial and self-evident; amateurishly written; and dry and dull.

But at first glance, on page 6, we have:

"...the specter of socialism haunted Americans..."

So, no, this doesn't seem to be written by a proponent of socialism. And her "thesis" appears to be the ground-breaking revelation that yes, Virginia, there are socialists in America.

No shit, Sherlock. What was your first clue?

But I'll keep reading.

Pastafarian said...

That quote I mentioned appears on page 6 of the pdf, on page 2 of the thesis.

Kirstin said...

Any negative inferences will be explained away based on her youth, intellectual exploration, etc.

I still want to see Barack Obama's college transcripts.

mesquito said...

Of Course she was hot for the Reds.

What's more interesting is that Kagan, unlike the First Lady, was actually a literate undergrad.

Pastafarian said...

Up to page 14 now; fighting off waves of nausea and drowsiness...must...go...on.

Seriously, whatever she majored in, I could put my cat through this shit. When I had to write a thesis in mathematics, we were expected to come up with a novel and fundamental truth. This is just a regurgitation of other people's work.


You lawyers are overpaid.

A.W. said...

i think this quote seals it for me: "The story is a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism's decline, still wish to change America."

You know, hope and change.

A.W. said...

and this is where i got that quote from

http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2010/05/elena-kagans-thesis-in-90-seconds.html

E Buzz said...

BHO: "What, a socialist? Me?"

AMERICAN PEOPLE: "Sir, you have nominated a socialist every time, for very position, and have people who cite Mao as a fan."

BHO: "Socialist? Moi? No."

MSM: "No, he's not."

BHO: "See! Told you, not a socialist."

Pastafarian said...

Oooo -- page 14 of the pdf, pg 10 of the text: A mention of cleavage. Now things should heat up.

Original Mike said...

Wait a minute. Back up.

No Santa?

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think there is a lot more evidence that Kagan knows how to please and win the favor of those with the power to advance her career than that Kagan is a socialist.

In other words she could really do well in car sales too.

...Princeton students were able to discern that their history professors liked socialism.

Hell at IU you were pretty safe to just assume it. Discerning wasn't necessary.

For the record, I could care less one way or another about her. Obama is a leftist so he's going to nominate a leftist.

traditionalguy said...

There is a famous quote that went like to be a person under 25 and not a socialist one has no heart, and to be over 25 and still a socialist one has no brain. How did the Socialist youth David Horowitz turn out? As I remember, the reason the gentle actor Ronald Reagan became the greatest enemy of Communism that the world has ever known was because of his close encounters with it in the Screen Actors Guild. Know thine enemy. She is no dedicated socialist because she studied it once.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Wait a minute. Back up.

No Santa?


Sorry to burst your bubble Mike but the big joly fat guy doesn't exist.

But look on the bright side, you have a Democrat as President so that's kind like the next best thing!

Pastafarian said...

It's a little disturbing how glibly she dismisses the work of other authors, probably not just wet-behind-the-ears college seniors like her, who were closer to this topic in both time and space than she was.

She'll say 'but here Smith blundered' or 'once again Jones blundered' and the only proof she offers is a cite from another author that must disagree with them.

So this is what passes for research in the liberal arts, huh?

EnigmatiCore said...

The sentence you just added is not the one that strikes me as being the key one. Rather, it is the last in the following excerpt:

"In the period between 1901 and 1918, the Socialist Party established itself as a visible-- albeit a minor-- political organization. Its growth, although not dramatic, was steady and sure; its outlook on the future was decidedly optimistic. Yet in the years after World War I, this expanding and confident movement almost entirely collapsed. Conditions of American society will not explain such a phenomenon: we must look further to find the causes of U.S. socialism's demise.

"Granted that one city is not a nation, the experience of New York may yet suggest a new solution to this critical problem."

Emphasis mine. This critical problem? I do not see the failure of socialism to take root in the U.S. to be a problem at all, no less a critical one. The author clearly disagrees.

I think it is extremely clear that Kagan was, at the time she wrote her thesis, a socialist. Big deal.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think it is extremely clear that Kagan was, at the time she wrote her thesis, a socialist. Big deal.

It's a big fucking deal!

A.W. said...

look mao ornamanets on the white house christmas tree. che posters, etc. what's the big deal?

that being said, kagan is such a poor advocate for what she believes in, I fully expect her as a justice to drive the rest of the court to vindicate freedom like never before.

Ann Althouse said...

"But at first glance, on page 6, we have: "...the specter of socialism haunted Americans..." So, no, this doesn't seem to be written by a proponent of socialism."

That is an allusion to the first sentence of "The Communist Manifesto," which is definitely pro-Communism. So don't infer the wrong thing from the use of the word "specter."

Pastafarian said...

I'm up to page 33 of the pdf. I don't know how much longer I'll make it; I'm starting to black out now.

She spent several pages pointing out how strong the Socialist Party was among New York's Jews, and how many of them worked in the garment industry; but then she went absolutely nowhere with this, and she's bounded on to internal strife within the party.

I thought she'd say something about the decline of the garment industry or its movement to another region having something to do with SP decline; but no, she just sort of trailed off with that line. Maybe she'll return to it later.

I can't wait. It's like a mystery novel -- I have to fight the compulsion to jump ahead, so eager am I to continue this rollicking adventure.

madawaskan said...

Ya, to Erick Erickson -Bill Bennett was a Socialist....anyways.


If anyone remembers what Redstate did to AJ Strata-they would never care what Erick Erickson has to say.

Oh btw-"Redstate" who's the Commie?...heh.

Rialby said...

"In unity lies their only hope"

"We are the ones we've been waiting for"

Notice the symmetry.

Pastafarian said...

Althouse -- You're right, good catch.

As I continue to read, I do get the impression that she's either a bit of a cheerleader for socialism, or that she wants to appear to be one, for the benefit of her intended audience.

madawaskan said...

Shoot!-Pastafarian makes me want to go read it except-backwards...

Rialby said...

Republican states were explicitly called "Red" during the 2000 election because the media did not want to call Democratic states as "Red" because of the obvious correlation.

A.W. said...

Pasta

I think the best you can say is she is willing to suck up with the left to advance her career. Which begs the question. When she finally reaches the pinacle, and she can't be fired, can't have a pay cut, and truly is unlikely ever to be promoted, what will she be like? at least if you believe her to be just a poser.

Hoosier Daddy said...

She spent several pages pointing out how strong the Socialist Party was among New York's Jews, and how many of them worked in the garment industry; but then she went absolutely nowhere with this...

Does anyone know if Cedarford went to Princeton and became a lawyer?

Just wondering.....

E Buzz said...

"I think it is extremely clear that Kagan was, at the time she wrote her thesis, a socialist. Big deal."

Barry went to a lunatic black-nationalist church filled with assholes and racists and run by a absolute screwjob nutcase for 20 years, what's the big deal? He's merely a pragmatist.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Don't waste your intellect on these people, Ann. They think Goldman Sachs is socialist.

EnigmatiCore said...

Hoosier--

Why is it a big deal? I am not overly concerned with what someone thought back in their 20s.

Further, it is pretty clear that the Democrats are as socialist as they think the public will tolerate. As such, I pretty much assume that most of their appointees will be of that nature.

RightKlik said...

Just like Obama and most of his cohorts, Kagan has made the remarkable transformation from collegiate Marxist to fire-breathing free market capitalist.

madawaskan said...

I boycott Redstate because of Erickson's lack of ethics-concerning free speech and AJ Strata-so I was trying to find the Elena Kagan pdf elsewhere and you get this message from Princeton-

Something about copyright infringement-if you publish the thing in it's entirety.

http://www.princeton.edu/~mudd/news/kagan.pdf

William said...

She is interested in why the cause of socialism failed but has little interest in why the practice of socialism failed.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Don't waste your intellect on these people, Ann. They think Goldman Sachs is socialist.

'these people'...are liberals so tone deaf they can't hear themselves?

madawaskan said...

Hoosier-

LOL! I was thinking the same thing...

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier--

Why is it a big deal? I am not overly concerned with what someone thought back in their 20s.


It's not. I was channeling my inner Biden ;-)

Original Mike said...

No Santa. :(

Pastafarian said...

Typo, page 65 of the document -- page 68 of the pdf. "conslusions" instead of "conclusions".

First I've noticed, but still, how do you allow a typo in a thesis?

Up your game, Kagan!

Paul said...

I'm a right-leaning Republican, but you wouldn't know that from the papers I wrote in college, especially the ones I wrote in history.

My history professor was a liberal Democrat, and I was reasonably sure that had he known I was a conservative, my grades would have suffered. So I made sure he didn't know. I wrote my papers not to express myself or to critically explore issues, but to please my professor.

Were you to infer from my history papers what kind of judge I'd be, you'd get a shock following my appointment to a life-tenured post.

Perhaps Ms. Kagan is a socialist. I don't know. But you'd need something more than history papers from two decades ago to prove it. In fact, history papers from last term wouldn't prove it!

Pastafarian said...

OK, I was unduly harsh in my criticism earlier, of how she'd dismiss authors -- that was just her intro. Now (pg 71) she's getting to the meat of the matter, and explaining why she disagrees.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Barry went to a lunatic black-nationalist church filled with assholes and racists and run by a absolute screwjob nutcase for 20 years"

That I think was a big deal, and was one reason I voted against him.

To me, there is a big difference between a college student embracing a fringe political position before experiencing the real world and a guy continuing to embrace or even tolerate it well into his career.

A monumental difference, actually.

EnigmatiCore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madawaskan said...

Well Erick Erickson slung away at Bob Bennett of all people-and because it is one of those rare states that does the primary by GOP convention a few extremists can make a difference. There is no way in an election by the populace that it would have had such a strong effect-in fact it could have been part of the strategy to "look" influential.

This schmuck is the neo-Pat Buchanan. CNN would have never have hired him otherwise.

I get sick of Liberals playing that damn game where they pick the most unattractive to the general election populace-righties to be the spokespeople for the Right side of the equation.

It's a bullshit game and they have been playing it for decades now.

Original Mike said...

I was of the liberal persuasion when I was in college. I didn't even know there was another way.

I got better.

TheThinMan said...

Kagen's thesis was that the Socialist party died in 1933 from infighting. Gee, what a coincidence: that's just when the New Deal kicked in and having a Socialist party was now redundant. That should have been the thesis.

madawaskan said...

You know the only way to consider Erick Erickson and in particular this attack "[Elena Kagan is] an open and avowed socialist" is if he's a Liberal.

It completely works to the Liberals' advantage-now if she's found to be well short of "open and avowed socialist" it's a relative relief-right?

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm going to follow the Attorney General's lead and not actually read the thesis but instead conclude she's a socialist pinko who was never proud of her country.

Easy peasy

John said...

Kagan really seems to be a textbook example of what is wrong with our elite schools. The woman doesn't seem to have ever had an independent or controversial thought in her life. I think the Ivy Leagues are failing because of the kind of person they admit. Think about it. To get into one of those schools out of high school, unless you are an idiot son legacy or a celebrity, you have to have a 4.0 in high school. I am sorry, but I don't think you can be an independent thinker and go clear through high school and get only As. Teachers have egos. Eventually you will run into one who holds your views against you or one you just don't like or get along with. The only way you get all As is if you are a complete and total suck ass. And that is who gets into these schools. These kids are trained to be careerists from the time their parents get them into the right day care center. You end up with a bunch of admittedly intelligent kids whose only real skill is going along with the group and telling their teachers and superiors what they want to hear. And that seems to be exactly what Kagan was doing at Princeton. Is she a socialist? Who knows. I doubt she knows. All she knows is how to be a craven careerist. She has spent her whole life training at that.

When you think about that, it goes a long way to explaining why so many of our institutions are so fucked up right now. We are turning our best and brightest into mindless go along and get along drones.

Damon said...

So, we are discussing a paper 20 years old that Althouse doesn't even think is relevant to Kagan's current views.

I would ask, what has she done or said that could make us believe she now holds different beliefs. So, she was taught and aced in a socialist environment, she was a professor, she was the dean at a liberal school, and she was nominated by a not so closet socialist (don't blame him nobody believes what he says).

Nothing suggests she holds any conservative values except a few minor superficial acts. Substantively, she is "utter blankness." Pretty sad for a SCOTUS nominee.

Pastafarian said...

OK. I'm done.

I read this for you, Althouse commenters. You're welcome, by the way.

So it looks like she thought that the primary reason for decline of the SP was a split into left-wing and right-wing halves after the revolution in Russia. The left-wing went Communist and lost support during the red scare of the 20s (that resulted partly from how shitty things became in the new USSR, but she doesn't mention that).

Then she mentions that garment industry again, so she did return to that after all, and one final rift in the party from within that industry.

Overall, there does appear to be a nostalgia here for the glory days of socialism, and a sense of loss for what might have been. But there isn't any one gotcha-quote that you can use to demonstrate this -- it's more the tenor of the piece as a whole, and the way that she neglects mentioning the obvious shortcomings of the philosophy itself, and discounts out-of-hand the simple facts that American society allows proletariat to become bourgeoisie, and that even the proletariat have big-screen TVs, as having something to do with the SP's lack of traction in the US.

That's an awesome sentence, by the way. It would feel at home in the warm, steaming pile of shit that I just waded through.

My intuitive feel: She's not really a commie; she's just a world-class ass-kisser that would do anything, I mean anything, for a degree with honors. But I base this on nothing but my own asshole opinion; sort of like most of the conclusions she draws in this "thesis".

How will she now rule from the bench? If I had to guess, I'd say maybe a little more conservative than people think -- if she had to write 134 pages of this shit, she'll probably rebel against it violently just as soon as it's safe to do so.

rdkraus said...

As someone with no interest in cutting Kagen a break, I can't get too excited about this kind of thing.

When I was young I worked for Eugene McCarthy and Fred Harris and was half a wack job socialist myself.

Then I ... grew up ... learned a few things from Milton Friedman ... got away from my liberal parents and college prof's...etc.

Now I'm a libertarian/conservative type. So what she did/thought when she was 21 really means "not much" to me.

If we had a confirmation process, like the one she allegedly favors, where Senators ask real questions, and nominees give real answers, then this type of hocus pocus would not be necessary.

sonicfrog said...

However you answer those questions, remember that the paper was written 20 years ago, when Kagan was a college student. Not only is it likely that she has changed since she was in her early 20s, but it is also nearly a certainty that she wrote to obtain the favor of her teachers in the Princeton University History Department.

+ 1.

When Arizona passed the "ethnic studies ban" earlier this week, I had some flashback moments to my college days. My last semester, I had to take an ethnic studies class to complete my GE requirements. Since I live in Fresno and there is a large Latino population, I ended up taking Chicano Studies. The teacher turned out to be a full boar Angry La-Raza Chicana, complete with the view of "Reconquista", the reacquisition of the native lands of Aztlan - Colorado, California, Arizona, Texas, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon and parts of Washington State. I was disgusted by her views, but since I was only there to get a grade, I wrote stuff for that class, that if found today, would make me look like a raving white hating liberal.

Mark O said...

How does that go?

Fat chicks and Vespas? Something fun you don't admit?

Can we call her Mama?

Hagar said...

The "specter of socialism" did and does haunt Americans, but "socialism" is a very flexible and stretchable term.
The Communist Party of China today runs what arguably may currently be the most successful capitalist economy - this seems indeed to be their "Gilded Age" - yet it might prove hazardous to your health if you - in China - ventured to suggest that the heirs of Mao are betraying his socialist principles!

Original Mike said...

Pastafarian's the man.

Damon said...

@ John

Excellent point that she is a careerist, but that does not mean she does not hold views or even strong views on certain topics. It just means she knows how to couch it and when to keep her yapper shut.

Not everybody is as talented as Barack. He tells you how he thinks and then everybody chooses to ignore it.

GMay said...

"I'm going to follow the Attorney General's lead and not actually read the thesis..."

Ouch!

You know, I shouldn't be shocked that the legacy media gives such a pass to Obama and his merry band of idiots for egregious and lapses of thought. Yet still I am.

When Bush belched forth one of his uncountable malaproprisms, I just used to shake my head and say "what an idiot" and laugh it off.

When Obama and Co. dick up major policy due to their own brand of stpuidity, I still say the "what an idiot part" but fail to find the humor because we're talking about screwing up a wee bit more than saying 'nucular'.

Holder is probably the worst.

Sorry for the O/T

sonicfrog said...

Original Mike.... of course you force me to post this!

GMay said...

"The Communist Party of China today runs what arguably may currently be the most successful capitalist economy..."

Laugher on too many levels there.

Original Mike said...

Yep, I adore that sketch, SonicFrog. Thanks for posting it. There's so much good stuff in it, but being of the physics persuasion, my favorite is probably the list of things that float, which includes "very small rocks".

Come to think of it, maybe Freder Frederson is actually John Cleese. Has anyone ever seen both of them at the same time?

David said...

It's a long read--126 pages. I've done the first 10.

My only take--she wrote very well. Well organized, clear, not much jargon (so far). Much better than the usual academic prose, even though (as Pastafarian points out) it uses some pretty well worn phrases. It's not colorful, but it's good writing.

No wonder she did well in law. This would be good writing in any context at any level--let alone undergraduate.

Alex said...

Another 'red scare' post by Althouse for the hillbillies. Independents so do NOT care about commie-baiting.

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ricpic said...

Shouldn't both teachers and judges make every effort to deny their own bias in evaluating the work of a student or evaluating the arguments put before them in court? And isn't it the breach of a trust, a sacred trust, if they make no effort to overcome their own bias, no matter how difficult it is to attain objectivity? I find it terrifying that it is taken for granted that a student must skew his work to agree with the views of his professor for the sake of a higher grade. Or that Kagan will, of course, favor the liberal agenda over the issue of constitutionality. Shouldn't both teachers and judges be concerned with quality not conformity?

Fred4Pres said...

Oh a panderer on the Court. I feel so much better Ann, so much better.

My guess is she is from the left and will decide cases based on that view. I would care less if she was from the left, but promised to follow the law. My expectations are low.

prairie wind said...

I know that the makeup of the Supreme Court is desperately important but I am already tired of hearing about Elena Kagan. I've been reading for days and haven't learned anything new about her. I stopped reading these comments after the first half-dozen or so.

Isn't the fact that Obama nominated her reason enough to vote against her confirmation? Have we seen anything good come from him yet?

c3 said...

Erik Erickson!!

(note: one less exclamation mark than I gave for Dick Morris)

Mr. Ercikson desperately wants to be taken seriously but he can't help himself with his breathless red meat posts. I used to visit Red State periodically; it has some interesting points but its just so often degenerates into a "sports talk radio" vibe.

Yeah, the Raiders SUCK!!!

I love the update by Mr. Erickson:

I’m getting blowback on this statement.

we're ALL embarrassed by our college thesis'. Isn't this essentially the same argument that Creigh Deeds had against Bob McDonnell:

LOOK AT HIS LAW SCHOOL THESIS!!!!!

Jacq said...

What I would like Kagan to answer, at her hearings, is this:

Is socialism compatible with the constitution, and if not, why not?

The commerce is no obstacle - it's pro non scripto. After Kelo, "private" property is clearly at the disposal of the public.

So if 70% of Americans decide it's time for socialism (or communism for that matter) what recourse for the rest?

raf said...

Original Mike; Hoosier Daddy:

It is not true that there is no Santa, or that Santa is dead. He was just nationalized.

Original Mike said...

He's as good as dead, then.

raf said...

Ricpic: Shouldn't both teachers and judges be concerned with quality not conformity?

Should, could, do... You are a hopeless idealistic romantic.

A.G. said...

However you answer those questions, remember that the paper was written 20 years ago, when Kagan was a college student. Not only is it likely that she has changed since she was in her early 20s, but it is also nearly a certainty that she wrote to obtain the favor of her teachers in the Princeton University History Department... I'm just going to guess — correct me if I'm wrong — that in 1981, Princeton students were able to discern that their history professors liked socialism.

So this is an admirable quality then?

As an actor, Ronald Reagan had communist union thugs calling him with threats to throw acid in his face, and yet he never let up the fight. But I'm supposed to admire a privileged woman who can't even stand up to socialist professors in college? Sheesh.

And further, shouldn't a future SCOTUS nominee have been able to win over her college professors with her superior debating skills (assuming she wasn't a socialist herself)?

E Buzz said...

Hmm, avowed socialist, lady of the left, and also has interesting ideas about curtailing speech.

Now, who are the goddamn fascists again?

Hoosier Daddy said...

So if 70% of Americans decide it's time for socialism (or communism for that matter) what recourse for the rest?

Well if we're going for socialism I just want to get a cool uniform with lots of leather and shiny boots and not one of those drab ChiCom sackcloths with some stupid book.

Oh and women get thigh high boots and leather mini skirts. I could settle for a 75% tax rate with that perk.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Kagan can get the ChiCom uniform though. No boots or minis there please.

Michael McNeil said...

Given the subject of Elena Kagan's thesis, it's worth revisiting, I think, how a prominent American socialist, Michael Harrington (former co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America), answered that same question, in an interview broadcast over a score years ago by the PBS Newshour.

Robert MacNeil: Finally, tonight, we remember political activist Michael Harrington, who died yesterday; he was 61 years old. Harrington began his career as a leftist political organizer, author, lecturer, and teacher in the early 50s. He became co-chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America in 1983. Among his books was The Other America: Poverty in the United States, published in 1962; it was widely viewed as helping set the scene for the Johnson Administration's War on Poverty. I spoke with Harrington a year ago, when he was already suffering from the cancer that led to his death. I asked why he thought socialism had never caught on in the United States.

Michael Harrington: I think that's very complicated, but to just tick off a number of the reasons:

Number one, we're a presidential country, not a parliamentary country. In Canada, so much like us, there's a socialist party which in the polls right now is at about 28-29 percent, which has been 20 percent or better for years. In part that's because in Canada you can vote for your socialist candidate for Parliament, and he or she can then affect the Executive in the Parliament.

Number two: Because the United States in the period when most European workers were becoming socialist, which was the period roughly from 1880 to 1914, in the United States that was the period in which it was more important that you were Catholic, Protestant or Jewish, white or black, Italian, Irish, etc. That is to say, our race, our ethnicity, all of those complexities made it difficult to develop a class consciousness when people were much more ethnically and religiously and racially conscious.

Finally, the most complex of all, in my opinion. There's a sense in which I think America is the most socialist country on the face of the earth right now — which is one of the reasons we don't have a socialist movement. By that I mean that the United States I think has always been one of the most egalitarian, open, non-deferential societies. We've never had any real Tories — any real conservatives — in America. One of the reasons that Canada has a socialist movement is that our Tories went to Canada after the Revolution, and sat around and told the workers that they were human refuse: that they were no good! And one of the things that generates socialist consciousness is having a bunch of upper-class snobs trying to push people down — we've never had it. And, I think, in a crazy way — socially — I've always thought that America is really much more socialist than Sweden!

Reference: Robert MacNeil interview with Michael Harrington, PBS MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour, broadcast 1989-08-02. Transcribed by me.

wv: redring

Jacq said...

Hoosier Daddy, you will wear whatever the hell Michelle Obama wants you to wear.

Now, I've weighed your category of speech and there's frankly no societal benefit to it, so shut up.

Ralph L said...

They think Goldman Sachs is socialist.
No, it's obviously fascist.

Why does she refer to "socialism," when she's really writing about the Socialist Party's decline, not the ideology?

Joe said...

Kagan strikes me as one of those people who is whoever the circumstances dictate her to be. Given that she's a perfect pick for Obama.

HDHouse said...

Reading with comprehension does seem to be a lost art on this blog.

edutcher said...

Hmmm, she was Dean of Haavahd Law and The Zero's Solicitor General. Is this even a question or are we simply debating whether she's a socialist or a small c communist like everybody else in the administration?

sonicfrog said...

The teacher turned out to be a full boar Angry La-Raza Chicana, complete with the view of "Reconquista", the reacquisition of the native lands of Aztlan - Colorado, California, Arizona, Texas, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon and parts of Washington State.

As they used to say in the Regiment of Atrillerists and Engineers, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Last I looked, that was undisputed British territory. Of course, the Lefties never let facts get in the way of a good lie.

Next thing you know, the Schuylkill Expressway will be part of Aztlan.

Original Mike said...

Pastafarian's the man.

Pasta read for our sins.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Kagan can get the ChiCom uniform though. No boots or minis there please.

OK, Chip, the gauntlet's down. Let's see you do that one ;)

dbp said...

Kagan's viewpoint is not consistent throughout her thesis.

Here, she is clearly taking sides: She pronounces it a problem, without distancing herself from it.

"Yet in the years after World War I, this expanding and
confident movement almost entirely collapsed. Conditions of American society will not explain such a phenomenon: we must look further to find the causes of u.s. socialism's demise.

Granted that one city is not a nation, the experience of New York may yet suggest a new solution to this critical problem."

Later she refers to Socialists as "their" twice. Thus distancing herself from radicals.

"Yet if 'the history of Local New York shows anything, it- is·that American radicals cannot afford to become their own worst enemies. In unity lies their only hope."

Sage said...

Dismissing positive evidence that she's a socialist, and asserting that she's "probably changed," something for which there is no evidence, is the sort of bend-over-backwards, chin-stroking, painfully self-conscious centirsm that makes meaningful identification of the facts impossible in America.

The woman quit explicitly sucking up to socialism the second she entered public life, like every other socialist in America, and I can't see why that should suddenly count as evidence that she has radically her convictions.

Greg said...

My sister was a socialist in college.

Still is.

My friends in grad school were socialists.

Still are.

Rumors of the death of Hot Socialism are greatly exaggerated.

Ken Mitchell said...

The problem is that socialism, and even outright communism, are EXCELLENT economic systems - for a convent, or a monastery, or a kibbutz. But like so many technological issues these days, they do not scale well. When there are too many people for each member to personally know every other member, socialism fails.

Since our nation is 300 million+, we're well beyond the range of workable socialistic theories.

TosaGuy said...

From Harrington: "And one of the things that generates socialist consciousness is having a bunch of upper-class snobs trying to push people down — we've never had it. And, I think, in a crazy way — socially — I've always thought that America is really much more socialist than Sweden!"

Today, we do have a bunch of upper-class snobs trying to push people down -- they are called liberals.

Ivan Lenin said...

I think there is a lot more evidence that Kagan knows how to please and win the favor of those with the power to advance her career than that Kagan is a socialist

That pretty much describes any professional socialist. You don't need to believe in socialism to be successful in implementing socialism - quite the opposite. You need to be a cynical power-grabber.

Roger Sweeny said...

I think there is a lot more evidence that Kagan knows how to please and win the favor of those with the power to advance her career ...

Once she has been confirmed to the Court, there is some sense that she has advanced as far as she can go.

But she will certainly want to be thought of as a good, even a great, Justice. Those judgments are made partly be journalists but mostly by history professors and law professors. All three groups are pretty solidly on the left.

If she wants to "please and win the favor of" those who write history (first and later drafts),we can expect her decisions to be fairly "left."

She may well also enjoy the approbation of being awarded honorary degrees and asked to speak at colleges and universities--which will pull her in the same direction.

Though Stevens and Souter were appointed by presidents who thought they would be conservative, they quickly moved left. Clarence Thomas has not. A major reason is that he very explicitly tells himself, "I don't care what the the reporters and professors think. They don't have any power over me."

A.W. said...

the only thing with the "sucking up to professors" theory is that it doesn't explain why she wasn't more balanced. say more less, socialists are disappointed, capitalists were thrilled.

And i would ask what in 20 years would have changed her mind. Sure, she worked for a private business, harvard, but its a funhouse mirror of capitalism that has little to do with what normal businesses deal with and actually encourages love of socialism. sooner or later, if a one walks like a duck and talks like a duck for long enough, you have to conclude...

and put it together with alot of other things. like her argument in citizen's united that the first amendment doesn't apply to corporations at all. it makes me think that if she isn't a socialist, she has been faking it for a long, long time.

Which in some ways would be even scarier.

But I still stick with my initial assessment. she stinks out loud as an advocate, so i am pleased to see her add her voice to the liberal wing. she will be the gift that keeps on giving to the conservatives.

themightypuck said...

I did terrible in college when I wrote what I thought. A girl (later valedictorian) taught me to think about the people grading my papers and write accordingly. Average score went from C to A instantly.

John Burke said...

Ann -- I have persued sections of Kagan's paper and read the whole of the chapters on the Socialist-Communist split and the Socialist-Communist conflict within the New York unions, especially the ILGWU, as well as her conclusions.

Kagan was plainly (at the time) sympathetic to the Communists and leftists within the ILG and almost ferociously hostile to the Socialist union leadership. She repeated on almost every point what were the Communist polemics directed against Morris Hilquit, David Dubinsky and the rest of the needle trades leadership, asserting or implying frequently that the union membership was on the side of the radicals while Hilquit, et al. were in league with the bosses. Anyone with a passing familiarity with the ILG's history and that of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers would know this is pure poppycock. In any case, while the Communists of the 20s and early 30s were interested in using unions as a weapon to foster worldwide revolution, most unions and union members wanted better contracts, not chaos. Even more remarkably, Kagan takes the Communist line about garment industry violence, casting it as having been exaggerated or a matter of both Socialist and Communist sides deploying "thugs." The truth is that Communists sought many times to disrupt Socialist and union meetings and ILG and Amalgamated leaders had to carry pistols to protect themselves against assassination.

It's also fascinating that Kagan did not even attempt to note that the Socialist Party's Presidential candidate (Norman Thomas) peaked in 1928 and as of 1932, most Socialists and the needle trades unions backed FDR while the Communists were still pushing for revolution. It's almost a truism (that Thomas himself acknowledged) that the New Deal dealt the death blow to the Socialist Party, not "sectarianism," as Kagan suggest in her conclusion.

Perhaps she was just trying to please her professor, but it seems unlikely that she would have had to take the Communist side of this historic struggle to do so.

iowahawk said...

I think Ann Althouse is correct: the thesis seems evidence less of committed socialism than brown-nosing student's attempt to please a nutjob lefty professor.

I was an undergraduate about the same time as Kagan (late 70s / early 80s), when most of the younger faculty were 60's chi-chi radicals. What better way to ingratiate yourself (and get that big GPA) by flattering their intellectual pretensions?

No, Kagan isn't some firebrand socialist. She's worse: a careerist, academic ladder-climbing cipher who's happy to buy into whatever groupthink will get her next advancement.

Michael McNeil said...

“The teacher turned out to be a full boar Angry La-Raza Chicana, complete with the view of "Reconquista", the reacquisition of the native lands of Aztlan - Colorado, California, Arizona, Texas, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon and parts of Washington State.”

As they used to say in the Regiment of Atrillerists and Engineers, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Last I looked, that was undisputed British territory. Of course, the Lefties never let facts get in the way of a good lie.


British territory? Only if you consider the United States “British.”

Actually Spain had claims all the way up the Pacific Coast into Alaska — until it relinquished those claims to the United States in the 1819 Adams-Onis Treaty — whereupon, south of Alaska and north of the 42nd parallel, only Britain and the U.S. disputed those territories — and that only until the Columbia Territory was divvied up in 1846.

However, one might also take a look at this map of Aztlan.

edutcher said...

Michael McNeil said...

As they used to say in the Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Last I looked, that was undisputed British territory. Of course, the Lefties never let facts get in the way of a good lie.


British territory? Only if you consider the United States “British.”

Actually Spain had claims all the way up the Pacific Coast into Alaska — until it relinquished those claims to the United States in the 1819 Adams-Onis Treaty — whereupon, south of Alaska and north of the 42nd parallel, only Britain and the U.S. disputed those territories — and that only until the Columbia Territory was divvied up in 1846.


Since Alexander Mackenzie was the first man from the East Coast to reach the Pacific overland, I believed that British claims to Oregon began there. Spain's claim was not transferred to Mexico, however, so Mexico has no claim there, regardless. If I'm wrong, I stand corrected.

SarahW said...

Yes, Ann, and you also voted for Obama.

Your meter for detecting these things have already failed to alarm at the proper moment; you just aren't looking carefully enough.

Cedarford said...

Iowahawk - "No, Kagan isn't some firebrand socialist. She's worse: a careerist, academic ladder-climbing cipher who's happy to buy into whatever groupthink will get her next advancement."

I partially agree with this, but there IS a reason why Kagan chose NYC Jews and their history of communist-socialist struggles. She IS a NYC Jew who no doubt had family, grandparents, neighbors who were part of that radical legacy. Steeped in it. The same group that in and outside NYC were the core of the Soviet espionage network, establisher of Front Groups like the NAACP which was to control the Negro and advance them to socialist/commmunist progress.

Now, as Iowahawk said, Kagan is likely a careerist ladderclimber with no ideological passion.

A new generation of NYC Jew, if you will...

But if this was instead a KKK study written by a Southern guy who had family and neighbors heavily involved in the KKK from the 1880s to the late 1920s (same lifespan as when communism and socialism flourished with NYC Jews)? And had family and friends with segregationist leanings until recently though as a lawyer he was personally a cypher? And he wrote a thesis why the Klan failed, and what lessons could be drawn from it?

My guess is that the Southern Guy would never be nominated to the court. Another Haynsworth, Carswell or Pickering. With opposition headed of course by NYC Jews as his past and cultural milleau and KKK thesis making him utterly unacceptable.
And if he survived to hearings, he would have some explaining to do...despite all evidence he was just a ladder-climbing careerist lawyer. Who personally just said and did whatever was right at the time, afiliating with the right people and networks of the powerful - to advance himself.

Cedarford said...

Hoosier - I am not sure I exactly object to Kagan. I'd like to see her explain her military views, gay agenda views...possibly if she comes with a NYC Jew socialist/communist "flavor" underneath the John Roberts "call them straight as I see them" umpiring approach to Law.

But as a structural matter, after Kagan, I do see the Court's credibility at issue with lop-sided concentration of power and intellectual influence coming from just a few of many centers.
Under Democrat identity politics, "Sacred Diversity" could theoretically be satisfied with 9 "diverse" Jews from NYC (allowing for a couple of black and hispanic converts) and all from Harvard Law.
As NYC would be judged to have all the "diversity of America" needed to give each American a voice on SCOTUS by Democrat rules, and Haarrrrvahhhhd of course selects Law Students for proper diversity.

That seems pretty fallacious to me. The South is 42% of America with it's own cultural and legal traditions. Protestants are a major cultural group with their own long, legal contributions.

Right now, SCOTUS is one from the South, one from the MW, 2 from California and 5 from NYC Metro.
And all 9 come from just two private college law schools in the Country that have formidable mentoring and sponsorship networks in place to advance their creme de la creme and get all the checkmarks checked off from the day they leave campus.
No accident that top legal firms now seek to hire soliciters that had the same professors and background as the Ivy judges in Appelate Courts they petition and represent their well-endowed lobbies in..or private clients...or cause groups.

I see this structural problem as serious and if it continues, even gets worse, undermining the Court as an institution. Higher echelons of law as a closed community, reserved only for those who attend a few elite schools and not other elite schools - populated by Americans from a select few geographic areas...

LonewackoDotCom said...

1. The thesis was discussed a year ago and probably isn't that big of a deal; here's AllahPundit.

2. One thing about this that's hilarious is that BHO's opposition is showing yet again just how incredibly incompetent they are, keeping trying to get her on one minor thing after another. I tried to get r/w bloggers to oppose SoniaS using her membership in a group that gave an award to someone who'd proposed genocide, and all they could do is sit there drooling.

3. Another hilarious thing is that RedState pulled the PDF because Princeton raised copyright concerns. Four years ago I was booted off their site after posting around 75 posts (not just comments) there. Not only did they never give me a valid reason, but they kept my property on their site over my objections and despite them having no legal right to do so that I could find.

If you want to defeat Kagan, find smarter, more ethical leaders than Erick Erickson.

Original Mike said...

No Santa. I’m going home and having a stiff drink.

Harvey says he’ll have one, too.

c3 said...

No, Kagan isn't some firebrand socialist. She's worse: a careerist, academic ladder-climbing cipher who's happy to buy into whatever groupthink will get her next advancement.

If this was from THE Iowahawk, I have one thing to say:

That wasn't funny!

traditionalguy said...

@ Pastafarian...Did I ever tell you how much I enjoy your comments and respect your intellect? Well I do.

A.G. said...

...If this was from THE Iowahawk, I have one thing to say:

That wasn't funny!


True dat.

Kirby Olson said...

They closed it but anyone who was at any time a communist is always a communist in my eyes.

When Obama says he was "drawn to Marxist professors" -- and then tries to laugh it off as a youthful indiscretion, all I can say is that I always thought Marxism was stupid, and thought that anybody who could be attracted to such a thing had to be a retard.

I know, you can't say retard. But what else can you call it?

Fifty years after the Show Trials, and kids were drawn toward communism? Did they literally not know anything?

Is it possible they had never heard of the Khmer Rouge, or even read Orwell?

What kind of retard could get to college and not know that Marxism leads INVARIABLY to a police state?

Kagan is a retard.

Put her on the court if you want to join Sotomayor. But give them bibs so that they don't drool on themselves.

Tom Perkins said...

Isn't any evidence she's more socialist than average reason to condemn her SCOTUS nomination?

Ken said...

As far as pleasing the powerful and being a socialist, they're not mutually exclusive. She's both. A socialist brownnoser.

Trooper York said...

"Kirby Olsen said
Kagan is a retard."

That explains why Andrew Sullivan hates her mother.

Methadras said...

garage mahal said...

Oh Jesus.


What's the matter fatty patty? Finally asking for help?

Methadras said...

Of course she's a socialist. Are people this truly stupid to even ask this kind of question? If she isn't, then her stances imply that she is. If she is, then it's self-evident. Do we need sky writers and captains of the obvious to point this out?

george said...

So, the consensus seems to be that Kagan is a lapdog of some lesser breed. It seems likely she will continue to attempt to curry favor once on the court since that is all she knows how to do with any expertise. If we are lucky she will try to curry favor with Scalia and the majority. If things go the way they normally go she will try to curry favor with the elites on the party circuit.

Kagan seems more acceptable on the surface than Sotomayor. Not being so obvious a racist helps her on that score. But she may harbor beliefs every bit as vile once they are known. I doubt Obama would have picked her otherwise.

former law student said...

This is tons better than Michelle Obama's senior thesis. OTOH, it did not require data analysis.

I don't think the Kagan of 1982 (or even their profs) could be pining for the lost socialist opportunities of the 30s. Although the apparent bottom line: Lefties have to stick together to accomplish their goals -- may frighten some conservatives.

People outgrow their hard-left stage, like P.J. O'Rourke. Remember the old saying: If you're not a socialist at twenty, you have no heart; if you're still a socialist at thirty, you have no head.

former law student said...

Never forget that Althouse chose to live in the state where Socialism had the greatest successes in America.

Randy said...

I'm just going to guess — correct me if I'm wrong — that in 1981, Princeton students were able to discern that their history professors liked socialism.

Yep.

jamboree said...

30 years ago, not 20, but who's counting?

c3 said...

re map of Aztlan.

Haa, note northern New Mexico and its heavily hispanic population. Many are multi-generations in the territory, predating the existence of the state of New Mexico and the country of Mexico. They have a historical contempt for the southern New Mexican recent immigrants from Mexico.

also, re southern Florida on the map
Cubans AREN'T hispanic!

Michael McNeil said...

note northern New Mexico and its heavily hispanic population. Many are multi-generations in the territory, predating the existence of the state of New Mexico and the country of Mexico.

Predating the country of Mexico by a couple of hundred years, and the U.S. state of New Mexico by an additional century.

re southern Florida on the map
Cubans AREN'T hispanic!


Sure they are. For instance, the U.S. Census counts them as “Hispanic.”

Moreover, e.g. dictionary.com (The Random House Dictionary in this case):

“His·pan·ic
1. Spanish.
2. Latin American: the United States and its Hispanic neighbors.

Moreover, that map doesn't call the Cubans of south Florida Hispanic, but rather Latino.

Skipper50 said...

BHO in the White House is better than Santa Clause. After all, Santa only came once a year, BHO is in our face 24/7/365.

Skipper50 said...

Whoops. Did I just spell Santa Claus with an "e"? Must've been thinking of the "sanity clause".