Liberals’ treatment of Michelle Bachmann is rife with all the wonderful double standards we have come to expect from the Left. With few exceptions, feminists have been silent—which is nothing new for them. As David Horowitz recalled in the early 1980s: “I once asked Leslie Harris, the head of the ACLU task force on women, how feminists could continue their support of a man [Ted Kennedy] who was such a prominent abuser of women himself. ‘We know that,’ she said, ‘but he’s down for the political agenda.’”
In fact, it’s a long leftist tradition to think of and treat women this way, dating all the way back to Grandpa Marx. As Ann Coulter wrote in Human Events:
“Karl Marx kept a female slave from the time she was 8 years old, eventually using her not only as a servant but as his mistress, never acknowledging his child with her or paying her at all. She waited on him hand and foot while he explained to the world that profit is the stolen surplus value of the laborer. Like so many liberal icons, Marx seldom bathed and left his wife and children in poverty.”
Phyllis Schlafly, who has spent a lifetime pointing out liberal hypocrisy on issues of gender, says that it’s no wonder liberal women think men are pigs: Their men are pigs.
So, the question is, why are angry leftist politics more dear to the heart of feminism than the treatment of women?
The answer may lie in the roots of the modern-day feminism, specifically the publication of the 1963 manifesto, The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan, a book that has had a terrible effect on modern culture.
The story behind The Feminine Mystique was revealed almost 15 years ago by Daniel Horowitz (no relation to David), professor at Friedan’s Alma mater, Smith College, in his excessively sympathetic biography, Betty Friedan and the Making of “The Feminine Mystique:” The American Left, the Cold War, and Modern Feminism. But there’s more to the story, with some answers recently provided by the extraordinary work of another professor, Paul Kengor, author of Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.
In Dupes, Professor Kengor reproduces a December 1, 1920 letter from the American Communist Party to the Soviet Comintern. It states: “Some time ago we received word from the Comint [Comintern] that they wanted the names and addresses of ‘liberal’ college professors in this country, so as to be able to send them literature for college libraries. Such a list is enclosed.”
Among those on the list is “Paul H. Douglas.” Paul Douglas and his wife, Dorothy Wolff Douglas, were staunch leftists, and in 1927 Douglas traveled to the Soviet Union, where he and his fellow progressives enjoyed a long, friendly meeting with Stalin himself. To his credit, Douglas returned from Russia skeptical of what he saw, but remained on the Left nonetheless—to the left of even FDR and his New Deal. Douglas eventually moved to the center, especially after a tour of duty in the pacific during WWII, where he served with distinction.
The pilgrimage of Dorothy Wolff Douglas, however, is not as redeeming. She divorced Paul Douglas in 1930, and became a Professor at Smith College. Her radicalism never waned. In 1953, the House Committee on Un-American Activities confronted Dorothy with evidence that she had been a member of the Communist Party. The evidence included financial transactions that revealed her to be contributing $600 a month to the Party in membership dues from the end of 1936 to the middle of 1939—information she refused to confirm or deny. In the late 1940s, Wolff Douglass was a senior member of the Congress of American Women, a communist front-group. There is no indication that she was absent from the Party during the intervening years.
How does this involve Betty Friedan?
Friedan arrived at Smith College in 1938. She started taking Professor Dorothy Wolff Douglas’s economics course in 1940, and recalls becoming interested in literature on the Spanish Civil War and communist John Reed’s book Ten Days That Shook the World. More specific, it was in February 1941 that Dorothy Wolff Douglas was able to make a great enough impact on Betty to convince her to adopt communism.
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