Harry Binswanger claimed:
As to how bad the current Left is, it is far better than the Left of the 60s
I also understood Binswanger to have the position that it was OK not to vote for Reagan, because the left wasn't so bad then. And it's also OK not to vote for Trump, because the left isn't so bad now.
To better compare the left today with the recent past, I read an article from 1980 which talked about the current and past situation. Emphasis in quotes is added by me.
In terms of philosophical fundamentals, the direction is still downwards.
And it blames Kant.
At the end of the 60's, the leftists acted as if they owned the world. But in fact, their power never extended much beyond the inbred world of today's intellectuals; the leftists never owned, or even grasped the nature of, America.
Today, the leftists have real power. They've had the presidency for 8 years and they nearly had another 4. They own California, New York, Washington DC, and a lot more.
America took the other steps the "doves" demanded: we gutted the FBI and CIA, cut defense spending, abandoned the anti-missile system, recognized Red china, increased trade and exchanges with Soviet Russia, withdrew our support from anti-communist regimes, and gave away the panama canal. The movement has failed, however, in its ideological aim. With each falling domino, from South Vietnam right through to Afghanistan, the spectacular failure of appeasement and the insatiable aggressiveness of Russia have become so clear that even president Carter has felt constrained to declare that he has changed his mind about the Russians.
Obama and Hillary have not changed their mind about the Iranians.
The American public's furious indignation over Iran's seizure of hostages and Russia's invasion of Afghanistan is a dramatic confirmation of the fact that the "peace" movement has not succeeded in extinguishing this country's self-esteem.
This year, Obama paid a fortune in ransom money for the return of Iranian hostages. The American public is not particularly furious that Iran took hostages nor that Obama paid ransom for them.
The anti-technology movement – "ecology," "environmentalism," "conservationism" – is fading rapidly. Remember "Spaceship Earth," "the limits to growth," and "man's rape of the earth"?
That movement is alive and well today. It has massive influence in both government policy and the culture. It has created international agreements. It has killed our soldiers by convincing our military to use worse equipment to be more "green." It has become disrespectable to doubt global warming.
Observe what the left has been unable to achieve. The drive for socialized medicine is stalled. The move to break up the oil companies has been abandoned.
Socialized medicine and the destruction of the oil companies are real dangers today. Those are Obama policies and he achieved a lot. Thankfully Trump favors fossil fuels and has promised to repeal Obamacare.
The best sign of the times is, perhaps, the disappearance of avowedly liberal political leaders. The very term "liberal" has become a stigma, politically.
That's sure gotten worse.
For the first time since the beginning of the New Deal, there are some areas in which the government's power is being rolled back. The gains made by the left have been due to inertia; the left is on the defensive – and they have plenty to feel defensive about.
The left hasn't been on the defensive lately. The main sign of hope here is Trump's victory. But Trump will not be rolling back the government's power much, if at all. Nor will the Republican congress which contains many leftist sympathizers, RINOs, moderates, and career politicians.
In America, there was never any chance that the statists would take over.
Obama and Hillary are statists. Today there is at least a clear chance of statists taking over.
Trump has promised to freeze most federal government hiring and require two regulations be repealed for each new one added. But on the whole he isn't a very good advocate of limited government.
Do the American people, today, really want limited Government? I don't think the majority do.
The economic and political state to which the intellectuals have brought this country is so horrendously counter to the American spirit
The American spirit is in danger. Far too many Americans now identify with its enemies like Obama and Hillary. Far too many Americans have been educated in "progressive" schools. Far too many "Americans" are foreigners, here legally or illegally, who have not adopted American values and do not possess the American spirit.
After every anti-American statement and action by Obama, his policies nearly got a third term. Our culture is in grave danger. Anti-Americanism is everywhere. Western Europe is even further gone down a similar road and provides some dire warnings.
The American pro-reason, pro-freedom, pro-achievement "sense of life" has swung away angrily from the consequences of even semi-statism.
Something like that won us this election, but only barely, and despite the opposition of many Objectivists.
the moral code of altruism will carry us to statism, regardless of short-term backpedalling. Our only hope is finally, fully to reject the premise that sacrifice is moral, and proudly assert man's right to exist for his own sake.
Altruism hasn't gone anywhere. That "only hope" hasn't happened.
At the dawn of the 80's, the left has collapsed, and the right is waiting to be born.
Any collapse of the left was only temporary. The left is strong today. It dominates the media, the government agencies, the public schools, the universities, the non-profits, the technology companies, and the "intellectual" culture.
The left riots in the streets, releases criminals from prison, and says the statement "all lives matter" is racist. The left gets away with ridiculous farces like saying voter ID requirements are racist. The left has given billions of dollars to the leading state sponsor of terrorism and is working to help arm them with nuclear weapons capable of hitting the USA. The left uses the IRS to attack political enemies and uses the FBI and justice department to help cover up their crimes. The left has betrayed our country repeatedly (e.g. leaving Iraq and letting ISIS become a major power) and has the power and influence to get away with all this. (Or they nearly did. We'll have to see what Trump does about this.)
The article the quotes are from is The Swing To The Right by Harry Binswanger. In 1980 he said the 60's left never had much power in America. Today he says the left in the 60s was worse than today. Does he think that Obama had no real power, or that Obama isn't so bad!?