The Death of the Grown-Up


A Review


The subtitle of Diana West’s 2007 book, The Death of the Grown-Up, is How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization.  Having finally gotten around to reading it, in preparation for reading her more celebrated 2013 American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, I am of the opinion that people like Ms. West show by their work how American journalism has been brought down.


Diana West is a mainstream American journalist through and through, and that really tells you pretty much everything you need to know about her book.  She apparently started off very near the top of her profession, that is, for one playing the role of social conservative, by writing as a columnist for The Washington Times.  Her big qualification for the job was that she had a degree in English from Yale University. 


Having read that newspaper off and on since its inception in 1982 and its much bigger rival The Washington Post more regularly over the same time period I can say with some confidence that the main purpose of The Times is to propagandize people of a conservative bent, and the purpose of The Post is to propagandize those of a liberal bent.  Each newspaper, having won the confidence of its readers that they are among friends who think like they do, then proceeds to abuse that friendship by nudging them towards the newspaper’s approved positions.  On the major issues such as explaining political assassinations and false flags like 9/11—alternative explanations of which each routinely denounces as so much “conspiracy theory”—and unquestioned support for the Zionist state of Israel and all wars that the United States might fight on that little country’s behalf, the approved position for each is the same.


These two newspapers generally represent America’s mainstream media, the people who have employed Ms. West for her entire professional life.  Her work and her opinions have appeared primarily, but not exclusively, in those that take a conservative posture, and consumers of those conservative media are the obvious target audience for The Death of the Grown-Up.  Just as obviously, the purpose of the book is to sway that target audience toward identification with the state of Israel, which the reader is to gather represents a fine example of “Western Civilization,” beleaguered by the dark forces of Islam.  We, too—meaning we Americans—are supposedly also under siege by those Muslims, who, if they only could gain the power would treat us just as badly as the Israelis treat the Palestinians, although she would never put it in those terms. 


To reinforce the “us vs. them” impression, she repeatedly uses the expression “Judeo-Christian” to refer to the tradition that stands behind “us.”  She uses it almost as much as she uses the new psychologist’s buzzword, “behaviors,” which is about as pleasant to me as the scraping of a spoon on the bottom of a rough iron pot. 


To drag the reader along on the intended ideological course takes some real doing.  It’s not immediately obvious what the breakdown in the United States of traditional morality and traditional society generally has to do with the supposed world Muslim menace. Here is the bridge paragraph in chapter 7 of the 9-chapter book:


Openness and acceptance on every and any level—from personal to national, from sexual to religious—are the highest possible virtues of the postmodern Westerner.  This makes boundaries and taboos, limits and definitions—anything that closes the door on anything else—the lowest possible sins.  Judgment, no matter how judicious, is tarred as “prejudice” and, therefore, a neobarbarous act to be repressed and ultimately suspended.  Patriotism has been caricatured out of polite society as boorish warmongering.  The overall effect has been to sap the culture’s confidence in its own traditions, even—especially—in the classical liberal tradition that stiffened our spines against Hitler (ever the ultimate evil ed.) in the first place.  The cultural anemia that began to take hold long ago has passively accepted the transformation of America the Western into America the Multicultural (and Western Europe into Multicultural Europe) as a good, or necessary, or even just inevitable thing.  And thus—with the practical disappearance of the nation, or, perhaps better, the culture, that defeated him—Hitler’s revenge.


So the tenuous connecting link between moral and social breakdown in America and the worldwide Muslim menace—but particularly its menace to Israel, as we will see—is the liberal celebration of multiculturalism. 


Well here’s a hard, patriotic very politically incorrect judgment concerning America’s “arrested development” of the sort that West would not approve.  The primary responsibility for the decline of moral standards in the country that she so much decries lies precisely with the group who are intended to be the biggest beneficiaries of the message of her book, that is to say, the Jews.  In light of that fact, it really takes a lot of chutzpah to write the sort of book that West has written, marshaling support for Zionism.


To West, the rise of youthful libertinism and the decline of responsible adult standards just sort of happened, although she does assign some responsibility to Hollywood, the record industry, the television industry and particularly the cable network MTV, and to individuals like the comedian Lenny Bruce and the political radical Mark Rudd. 


We get an early notion of West’s game when she talks about how television programs began to idealize the peer group who seemed to be stuck in a state of perpetual adolescence, as opposed to the traditional family.  What better example of the genre could one put forward than the wildly popular, very influential situation comedy Seinfeld?  But that wouldn’t do.  It’s too obviously Jewish.  So the less popular Friends is the example she uses.  Furthermore, nowhere does West even so much as hint that all those organizations named as responsible for the social breakdown happen to be Jewish owned and run.


Her take on Rudd, the leader of the violent student upheaval that shut down Columbia University for a period is particularly interesting and revealing:


In [their] bid for “authenticity,” civility and decency, too, were quick casualties.  Not for nothing, as noted by Diana Trilling at Columbia in 1968, did a filthy stream of public profanity rush through the various student upheavals.  Indeed, the most memorable words of the movement are four-letter ones.


It was not alone President Kirk who was addressed as a motherf------, Vice-President Truman was a motherf-----, Acting Dean Coleman was a motherf-----, the police were—naturally—motherf-----, any disapproved member of the faculty was a motherf-----.  Rudd’s response to the mediating efforts was “bull----.”…At a tense moment on the steps of Low Library a Barnard girl-demonstrator jumped up and down in front of the faculty line—the faculty were wearing their white armbands of peace—compulsively shouting, “Shit, shit, shit, shit.”


Small wonder, as Trilling also noted, one pun-prone professor dubbed the student revolutionaries, “Alma Materf-----s”


Oddly enough, these cataracts of obscenity were barely mentioned in the press, if at all, no doubt out of reflexive consideration for middle-class sensibilities.  But, as Diana Trilling wrote, this phenomenon was “not of the gutter.”  It was out of the mouths of babes from the middle class, and, as it turned out, few of their middle-class parents were willing to wash out the little darlings’ mouths with soap.  “One discovered that a decent proportion of the decent American middle-class mothers and fathers of these young people, as well as other energetic spokesmen for progress, supported their offspring,” she wrote.  Among the proud parents were the Rudds, with Mama Rudd giving “the proudest and tenderest interview to the Times about how her son the-rebel planted tulips in their suburban garden.”  Up against the garden wall, motherf-----, and all that.  Indeed, roughly two hundred other mothers and fathers joined a Committee of Concerned Columbia Parents “to back their children and further harry the administration.”  Strange conspiracy, indeed.


One would never guess it from his name or from his Wikipedia page, except maybe from the fact that his Army officer father’s first name was “Jacob,” but Rudd is quite thoroughly Jewish.  This is from Rudd’s revealing online essay, “Why Were There So Many Jews in the SDS? (Or, the Ordeal of Civility)”:


My father, Jacob S. Rudd, born Jacov Shmuel Rudnitsky in Stanislower, Poland, immigrated to the United States in 1917, when he was nine years old. My mother, Bertha Rudd, was born Bertha Bass, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1912, the year after her parents immigrated from Lithuania, the only child of the family born in this country. My family was part of the great wave of Eastern European Jewish immigration which lasted from 1880 to about 1920.


Both my parents were raised in Elizabeth, N.J., speaking Yiddish at home and English outside the house.


I invoke [Philip] Roth to let you in on the insularity of the world I grew up in. My family carried the Jewish ghettos of Newark and Elizabeth with them to the suburbs. We may have lived in integrated neighborhoods, that is integrated with goyim (there were only a few blacks in the town) and we may have gone to integrated schools, (of course there were no blacks in my elementary school) but we were far from assimilated, if that means replacing a Jewish identity with an American one. At about the age of nine or ten I remember eating lunch at the house of a non-Jewish friend and reporting back that the hamburgers had onion and parsley in them. “Oh, that’s goyish hamburger,” my mother said. I lived a Philip Roth existence in which the distinction between Jews and gentiles was present in all things: having dogs and cats was goyish, for example, as was a church-sponsored hay-ride which I was invited to by the cute red-haired girl who sat in front of me in my seventh grade home-room. My parents didn’t allow me to go, and, since repression breeds resistance, that was probably a signal event in my career of fascination with shiksas and things goyish, a career which paralleled that of young Alexander Portnoy in “Portnoy’s Complaint.”


This does not sound exactly like the typical middle class American of my generation, antiwar or otherwise.  We were not likely to have been told these things about Rudd by Diana Rubin Trilling or even by her Columbia-professor husband Lionel Mordechai Trilling, both about as Jewish as it gets, in spite of that very WASP-sounding last name.


In contrast with the coy Ms. West, who is apparently Jewish herself but doesn’t seem to be identified as such in any of the promotional literature that I can find about her, E. Michael Jones veritably wears his Roman Catholicism on his sleeve.  Anyone wanting a better understanding of the phenomena that West describes in the first two thirds of her book with considerable verve but with little in-depth explanation would be much better served reading Jones’s Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control.  If you lack the time to read the entire book, A.J. MacDonald, Jr.’s web site gives you a pretty good flavor of what is in it.  Particularly recommended is the long interview of Jones there in which you hear Jones say that the 20th Century battle over pornography in the country was basically a war between the Jews and the Catholics, and the Jews won.


Jones also publishes a monthly magazine called Culture Wars.  West would never mention him or his work, but one can’t help thinking that Jones was her inspiration for the title of Chapter 8, “The Real Culture War.”  To West, of course, the “real” war is between “us” with our Judeo-Christian culture and “them,” those frightful Muslims who threaten us. 


If you are a regular reader and believer of newspaper columns by, say, Charles Krauthammer or magazines like the Weekly Standard or web sites like FrontPage Magazine, you hardly need to read further because you have heard all of her attacks on Islam before.  You might, though, take the opportunity to get your prejudices reinforced by reading her references to the works of the likes of Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, David Littman, and Bernard Lewis. If anyone has ever had anything bad to say about Islam, West seems to have found him.  One may think of her as the somewhat more respectable version of Pamela Geller, who is a bit too gauche and notorious to be referenced by West.


Israel and the U.S. Under Siege


Here we see in Chapter 9 West making a typical attempt to tie the Islamic threat to “us,” Israel and the United States, of course, together:


And so the besieged victim pretends: Daddy doesn’t really want to hurt me; if I’m a better girl, he’ll stop.  Israel pretends: Muslims don’t really want to destroy us, and so we’ll give them land for peace.  Jews in pre-Nazi Europe pretended: The anti-Semites are really right; we deserve a pogrom.  Intriguingly, [Kenneth] Levin writes, “But the book’s themes have a still broader relevance.  Even ostensibly powerful and secure populations, under conditions that entail ongoing threat and vulnerability, can manifest similar trends.”


Ongoing threat and vulnerability, huh?  That certainly sounds like the American condition after 9/11.  Our superpowerful condition may not compare with tiny Israel’s; nonetheless, color-coded terror alerts are practically part of our daily weather report, security procedures have become routine, and open access everywhere has been slammed shut for the duration.  This has placed our population effectively under siege.  And don’t forget the toll of the culture wars.  Those raging battles, which have severed, or at least weakened, the connection between “dead, white males” and “liberty and justice for all,” among other things, have undermined American confidence and purpose.  While similarities between the demonization of Jews in the Diaspora, say, and the demonization of the American white males (dead or alive) are necessarily quite limited, there nonetheless remains a way in which the American male specifically, and the American adult in general, has been subjected to a cultural form of the chronic abuse that Levin pinpoints as a cause of siege mentality.  And it is that siege mentality, he writes, that leads to delusional thinking.


As you see, it really requires some rhetorical gymnastics, in light of all the death and destruction that the Zionists and the United States government have wrought upon the people of the Middle East, to turn the Israelis and the Americans into the victims.


The U.S. siege mentality and much of the Muslim vilification of the final third of the book depends heavily upon the veracity of the official version of the 9/11 and West invokes it repeatedly and extensively.  In the index under “September 11 attacks,” are listed the pages 149-50, 152-55, 161-66, 189-91, and 192. At one point she even blames the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue on the Muslim threat, when, in fact, it was closed in the wake of the Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City, no doubt to reinforce the official story about “militia man Timothy McVeigh” and his lethal petroleum and fertilizer bomb.  She also invokes likely European false flags like the 7/7 bombings in London.


You can be certain that you will never hear anything from West about the failed false flag attack in 1967 on the USS Liberty by Israeli fighter planes and assault boats that left 34 dead and 174 wounded.  Nor will you hear about the likely assassination by Zionists of the leading opponent of U.S. recognition and support for the state of Israel, James Forrestal, or of the letter bombs that Zionist extremists sent to the White House in 1947 in an attempt on the life of President Harry Truman.  Least likely of all is that West would breathe a word about the strong evidence that Israel itself was behind the events of 9/11.


I think of myself as a social conservative, but my prior knowledge had pretty well inoculated me against the bait-and-switch tactics that West employs in her little propaganda tome.  One example of that inoculation was on display in a short poem that I posted on my web site in 2000:


Naval Terrorism


I remember all too well

The USS Liberty,

So when I think of Israel,

It is not in terms of “we.”


CIA Girl?


The Jews are not the only people that West provides cover and carries water for.  Predictably, one of her villains in her story of our cultural undoing is LSD guru, Timothy Leary.  Of course, she presents him completely as the media have presented him, at face value.  But, “Funds and drugs for Leary’s research came from the CIA,” we are told by former Leary devotee, Henry Makow, in “The CIA, Drugs, & Culture Control.” 


That raises the question of how much of the negative turn in popular music that Don McLean captures in Miss American Pie might have been directed by a hidden hand.  An Internet search of “CIA rock and roll” turns up some interesting answers.  We can find a good short summary at “CIA Social Control Through Sex, Drugs, and Rock’n Roll.”  Indeed, West paints with much too broad a brush in her blanket indictment of the corrupting influence of that music genre, ignoring the early classics captured so well recently by the Korean cover group the Barberettes and by the Doo Wop retrospectives one can find on YouTube.


But why would West cover up for the CIA?  It’s the Yale connection, of course.  My guess is that she and Jared Taylor know a lot of the same people, and it’s not through the classroom that they know them.


David Martin

September 7, 2015




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