Here’s a one-star review posted to Amazon.com in January 2011, regarding
Daniel Flynn’s book, A Conservative History of the American Left.
Unreliable book containing errors and sexual slander
By James DeMeo (Oregon, USA)
This book has merit in exposing some of the ugly details of the American left-wing and "progressive" history few people know about. However, the author Daniel Flynn is not an exacting scholar and in many places his citations don’t add up, or he makes outrageous claims without validating references. And in some places, he collapses into use of sexual slander to attack the innocent, right along with the guilty.
Take for example the six or so pages where he mentioned the Austrian anti-Nazi freedom fighter, Wilhelm Reich, who temporarily joined with the Communist Party in Germany against the Hitlerites. Reich later was thrown out of the CP in 1932 for his pro-freedom anti-communist positions. But Flynn cares not for such facts, and so repeats some of the same lies and sexual slander originally hurled against Reich by the very same left-wing Marxist factions. So we have the spectre of an American conservative relying upon left-wing smears from the 1950s media, attacking an American conservative anti-Communist, but referencing only his very early period of youthful European associations. That’s not only historically inaccurate and unfair, but with the added nasty bits of sexual slander, is a typical ploy of yellow journalism.
So Flynn lumps Reich in with the twisted Kinsey group and all the left-radical sexual freedom-peddlers (that’s what Reich called them, in criticism), the sexual extremists of the hippy-movement, which is another fabrication and slander given Reich’s constant emphasis upon the need for love in sexual relations. Reich did advocate things the conservatives don’t like, such as legalized abortion and contraception, and a de-criminalization of youthful romance, as with the Romeo and Juliet example (like it or not, as you will), but his ideas were equally offensive to liberal-progressive ideology, in that he also asserted homoeroticism and S&M were neuroses, and pedophilia a severe sickness against which children had to be protected. But Flynn cares not for facts, and his language in those sections goes typically jokey and sarcastic, which is a cover-up for ignorance. In a few places, he gave a few citations, but they absolutely do not support his views. His only cited reference for Reich was the biography by Myron Sharaf, Fury On Earth: A Biography Of Wilhelm Reich… but there’s nothing in the Sharaf book to support Flynn’s charges, and his citations do not check-out. Read the Sharaf book for yourself, or Reich’s own later writings for details, such as The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Reich Speaks Of Freud, or The Murder of Christ.
It would take pages to provide details, but every decent conservative will maybe be a bit uncomfortable with those extremists within their own group who would turn the clock so far back as to put us all under the boot-heel of the priesthood. Or to give the State even more power to prohibit divorce or contraception, and snoop into our bedrooms. Already we fight against such monstrosities as the TSA groping into our underwear, and the crushing oppression of Islamic Sharia Law as it enters the USA on the heels of progressive liberalism. Should we now want similar oppression by Christian extremists?
The phrase "Kinder, Kircher, Kucher"" comes to mind as what Flynn seems to wish for the USA, though he doesn’t come right out and say it. He merely bashes everything and everyone he considers might lead away from that, healthy or sick. So anyone who fought to legalize freedom to pick your own mate, or to divorce, or to use contraception, and to support women’s rights gets accused of supporting the most extremist of sick stuff, such as polygamy, "polymorphous perversity", and pedophilia. It is a "Kill ’em all and let God sort it out" approach to social criticism, which the reader should beware about. As an alternative, read Jonah Goldberg’s excellent volume Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. It covers much of the same territory, but without the sarcasm, giving a much better education on the issues with accurate citations. And it has no sexual slander to contaminate the important message.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Advocating Slavery, Racism, Ethnic Hatreds, War and Genocide
Mocking Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Equality
Contempt for the Poor, Workers, Farmers, Moderates
The Hidden History of Marx and Engels.