Charles Manson, who for decades existed as an emblem of wide-eyed 60s idealism gone fatally wrong, died last week.
Within moments, leftist scribes rushed to disavow him and to insist he had nothing to do with leftism or the 1960s counterculture.
“Charles Manson Was Not a Product of the Counterculture,” claimed Baynard Woods against all evidence in a New York Times opinion piece:
Apart from the long hair and the casual sex, however, Mr. Manson, who spent much of his life in prison with a swastika carved into his head, had more in common ideologically with far-right groups like the John Birch Society than he did with the anarchic leftism of, say, the Yippies….The paranoid, racist and apocalyptic ramblings of Mr. Manson are the DNA of the reactionary alt-right.
As of this writing, Mr. Woods has not responded to my questions about when the John Birch Society prophesied a race war or, for that matter, even bothered to mention race. Thus I was unable to ask him a follow-up question about his feelings regarding this quote from Yippie leader Jerry Rubin:
I fell in love with Charlie Manson the first time I saw his cherub face and sparkling eyes on TV. His words and courage inspired us.
Even in India they’re trying to shackle Manson to Donald Trump and the Alt-Right. An essay in The Hindu aggressively denies that Manson was in any way a product—and especially not the reductio ad absurdum—of the 1960s counterculture:
Manson had a well-documented hatred of Jewish people, African-Americans and women. Rather than the liberal counterculture movement of the 1960s, his bigoted philosophy bears a disturbing resemblance in some respects with the far-right or alt-right brand of neo-fascism that has mushroomed in certain pockets of U.S. politics recently.
Writing for Raw Story, 85-year-old hippie icon Paul Krassner blames imprisonment and Scientology—Manson for many years claimed to be a Scientologist—rather than the 60s counterculture for molding Manson’s psychology: “Manson was never really a hippie,” he writes.