The first-time visitor to New York will see a bewildering array of architectural styles, as each building vies for space in a mad, mercenary pursuit of money. It was not always so. Old photographs of New York show a lovely city with a strikingly beautiful skyline, a poem in glass and stone, where each tall building points upward and outward like a Gothic spire.
A similar confusion exists in political circles today. Conservative contends with liberal. Constitutionalists vie with Green Party members. Patriots rail against Neo-Cons as the principal foe.
Our predicament is made all the more perplexing by the deceptive nature of politics in America. At a recent gathering of conservatives in Maine, the speaker relayed advice he recently received from his friend, a Communist. Similarly, Libertarians are active in conservative circles here in Maine, though behind the scenes some are proselytizing occultists. In the most glaring contradiction of all, "our" two Republican senators support abortion and women's rights, ideas with deep roots in the old Soviet Union.
One little-known movie reveals the essence of our political struggle. Released in 1940, "City for Conquest" starring James Cagney and Ann Sheridan, reflects the subtle fault line in American society which was to eventually widen into the gaping chasm we see today.
The thirties were a time of intense spiritual struggle in America. By the end of the decade, the ideals of the earlier Puritan civilization were buckling and collapsing under the twin load of Capitalism and Marxism. The values of honor, loyalty, and purity were proving to be no match for the mercurial temperament and the native cunning of the new rulers of American civilization. New York City symbolized this transformation from the hierarchical values of priest and scholar into the leveling values of the merchant, stock broker, and press lord.
Into this city are born four children, a musician, a fighter, a dancer, and a thief.
Each struggles for life according to his own nature. Cagney's childhood sweetheart, played by Ann Sheridan, is lured away by the bright lights of Broadway, only to be destroyed by her own ambition. To keep her love, Jimmy Cagney relies on the only skill he has, his own two fists. Cagney struggles valiantly against his exploiters, matching love and loyalty against cunning and greed.
Cagney's struggle is our own, though it is a struggle which is profoundly misunderstood. Before the rise of the consumer society, Americans shared a natural love of family, God, and nation. And it is love and loyalty, not wealth, which preserves the life of a civilization. Indeed, one philosopher has rightly asserted that the greater one's love for money, the greater one's hatred for mankind.
This useful principle explains why the fabric of our nation is torn and tattered. Those who exploit the American people for commercial gain strive incessantly to break the natural ties of love and loyalty through ideas such as "The War of the Sexes" "The Generation Gap" or "Class Warfare."
Women are taught to forsake the family in search of rewarding careers. Schools teach young people to resist the ideas of patriotism and religious loyalty handed down by their parents. For maximum economic efficiency, our parasitic exploiters scatter the herd, leaving the weak to be picked off one-by-one. Republicans and Democrats close ranks behind the contemptible falsehood that our nation can be saved through economics alone, to the exclusion of any moral or ethical principle. If America is to be saved, we must learn to view the leaders of both parties as the vile servants of their despicable masters in New York City.
The "Conquest of the City" is an emotionally - rewarding movie which reveals the truth that Americans now labor under an alien, materialist ideology. Our path to victory lies in eradicating this ideology root and branch. We must replace all partisan politics with our own native, and quite natural, love of nation, God, and family. These are the values which will revive and restore America.
Old Embers Column