“History doesn’t repeat itself – at best, it sometimes rhymes.”

I’m not certain what Mark Twain was thinking of when he wrote those words, but I’ve found something that reminds me of that quote. It’s the editorial by John Campbell in the November 1964 issue of Analog.

The editorial is titled, “The Extremist,” and there are a number of places where it seems almost as though Mr. Campbell was writing about the current political situation. The overall point is how little a two-party system does for you if you don’t have a two-philosophy system.

And we don’t, anymore, not really. Most Republicans in office today have positions to the left of many of the Democrats who were in office when I was younger. The default philosophy these days has become “statist” rather than “individualist.” There are still differences between the parties – social issues in many cases, but Democrats don’t trust capitalism much (they tend to sabotage it and then claim the failure as inherent in the system, rather than caused by their actions), and there’s more acrimony and polarization on these issues than what I remember growing up, but, by and large, both parties are proponents of growing and centralizing the influence of government.

The mass media is an accomplice in this because they are left-leaning almost to the point of exclusivity, making them effectively a one-philosophy environment when compared to the American public at large.

Anyway, prefatory remarks dispensed with, the editorial is after the fold. I found that it resonates with the situation in this election, and many other things I’ve read and seen in the past several years, besides. I made mention of some political behavior and the monoculture of the media a couple paragraphs back. Keep that in mind while you read what Mr. Campbell wrote over forty years ago.

The Extremist
An editorial by John W. Campbell

In twenty-five years of editing Analog, I have never before done an editorial specifically concerning a current political campaign. Basically, this one doesn’t concern a specific campaign either – but the cultural philosophy of the United States as shown by the present campaign.

We’ve more or less grown up with the lesson of the viciousness of “One-party government” being dinned in our ears, and various Horrible Examples have been shown us. We, here in the United States have been assured, are far, far better of, because we have a two-party system.

Thanks to Barry Goldwater, for the first time in some twenty years, the United States again has a two-party system. Not since Franklin Delano Roosevelt defeated Wendell Willkie has the United States had even a semi-two-party government.

Perhaps the best way to clarify the issue is to consider the basic mechanisms that four billion years or so of animal evolution have worked out, and tested most thoroughly. Of course, animal life forms don’t have political parties – but they do have sexes. In fact, varous life forms have tried no-sex (simple fission), one-sex (the true hermaphroditic creatures such as the earthworm and snail, and many others) two sexes (“Vive la difference!”) and, as Dr. Muller, the Nobel Medalist in genetics informed me some years ago, three, four, and even up to seven sexes. Not on some weird planet Out There, but right here on Earth.

The no-sex system never got very far – works fine for very simple, very primitive organisms that are not going anywhere of course.

One-sex systems did much better; they evolved such highly complex life systems as that of the earthworm, snail, et cetera.

Some two-sex organisms have pretty well degenerated back to one-sex systems – organisms in which the male is a tiny parasite permanently resident within the body of the female, for example. They progressed to that point, but they don’t seem to be going any further.

The polysexual forms, with three or more sexes, never got very far either. Things get a little too complicated when you have to round up a group of five to seven individuals, and work out a coalition government for the divergent interests.

The true two-sex systems have, beyond any peradventure of doubt, taken control of the planet – both the two-sex animals, and the independently evolved two-sex plants have proven the superiority of the two-party system.

The earthworm is a true hermaphrodite; every individual is both a fully-functional male and a fully functional female, yet each individual must find another individual in order to mate. However – the earthworm doesn’t face that difficult problem human beings do, of having to bridge a wide gap of nonunderstanding to comprehend his mate. A human male can’t think like a woman, and a human woman can’t think like a male; they’re so deeply and fundamentally different, from the very nuclei of their individual cells all the way out, that they can’t take the exact viewpoint of the other. They are, in consequence, forced to view every problem from two different viewpoints, whether they like it so or not.

The happy little earthworm doesn’t have that problem; he can always take exactly the same viewpoint as his mate – because he’s just as male (female) as his mate. Agreement comes so much more easily.

The trouble with agreement so easily won is that a one-viewpoint agreement is extremely likely to miss some important factors. Everybody on Earth sees the Moon exactly the same way – and therefore sees only a little more than half the problem. Not until the Russians orbited an automatic camera-satellite out and took a second-viewpoint look at the Moon did we have any idea what the other side of the problem looked like.

Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Dealers took over the United States, this country has had a two-party system that was, in fact, a one-view point system. Both parties were offering almost exactly the same formula of how-things-should-be – the only difference being that the Democrats claimed they could do it better and quicker, while the Republicans claimed they could do it better and quicker. There was no disagreement whatever on what should be done.

There was one and only one viewpoint – the extreme Liberal viewpoint so dominated that any alternative viewpoint became despicable.

Look carefully at the essence of the Totalitarian, One-party system, and you’ll find that it depends on complete agreement on viewpoint. Hitler used to get ninety-eight per cent Ja votes; there was complete one-philosophy agreement.

The hermaphroditic earthworm has male and female sexes . . . but only one viewpoint.

It isn’t actually a question of a two-party system being needed, but of a two-philosophy system. And that the United States has not had in twenty years or so.


The Liberal viewpoint has become so overwhelmingly dominant that it has been almost impossible to discuss any other viewpoint without being accused of inhumanity, injustice, viciousness and general moral turpitude. And not merely politically has the Liberal viewpoint dominated; nearly all newspaper writers and reporters are extreme Liberals – or would have been called “Extremists” thirty years ago!

Remember that “extremist” is a term applied to someone who disagrees with your philosophy. The man who is starting an insurrection on behalf of your own philosophy you call a “militant idealist.” John Brown helped start the Civil War – but he wasn’t an “extremist” – he was a militant idealist.

But I’ve long wondered what Abraham Lincoln thought of him. Lincoln was trying to solve the problem by persuasion, argument and compromise – by evolution, instead of revolutionary bloodshed. I wonder if he saw John Brown as a heroic idealist?

The press, since Roosevelt’s time, has been overwhelmingly one sided – not merely in editorial comment, but in the reporting of events. No press can ever publish all the things that happen; there must always be a selection of news, simply because of the sheer volume of data. There are, on any ordinary evening, several hundred speeches being given by several hundred speakers before several hundred audiences in a metropolitan area like New York. Which ones should be reported? You can’t report them all . . .

The selection of which ones to report can make all the difference. If the non-Liberal viewpoint feels unjust, antisocial, improper, or downright evil to a man, he will find presentations of that viewpoint irritating, and somehow – they don’t seem newsworthy, when so much more interesting talks are being given elsewhere.

Again, a reporter can’t report everything that a speaker says in a one-hour talk; he has to condense it, and stress only the highlights. But . . . what are the highlights? The points that most acutely ruffle his personal feathers? The statements that seem, to him, to prove the crackpot nature of the viewpoint he personally rejects? It takes only a little lifting out of context to change the entire meaning of a statement – and there’s nothing so subtle as a personal conviction to do that lifting-out-of-context even before you’ve consciously started to write it down. You remember the things that seemed “important” – and what’s more “important” than a statement that you dislike acutely?

In the early part of the current campaign, for instance, Senator Goldwater made some statements about the use of nuclear weapons which were widely – and I might say wildly – published by the Liberal-dominate press. Every major columnist, and major newspaper editor, knows, as a necessary part of his business, the basic doctrines of United States General Staff policy. But not one of those major columnists or editors, so far as I’ve been able to spot, mentioned that General Goldwater’s statements were, in fact, directly derived from standard General Staff School policy doctrines; every paper implied that they were Goldwater’s personal illiberal, extremist ideas.

The Liberals have dominated the philosophy of the country so solidly that the two-viewpoint system necessary to development of any area of living-organism development has been missing. The tendency runs throughout the whole system of the culture today.

It isn’t just political, either; it’s the same one-viewpoint-only system that I’ve been attacking in Physics, in the Professional Medical groups, in many areas. The basic danger is the danger of settling for one philosophy only, for one viewpoint only. The degeneration of a true two-viewpoint system into an hermaphroditic system.

Under Roosevelt, capital-management-property owners – were denied the use of force in defending their properties, while Labor was confirmed in its right to use force. The Liberal doctrine then held that Labor’s use of the sit-in, the strangulation technique of pickets, of forcefully imposed monopoly practices were Good and Just and Fair . . . and, therefore, “not extremist.”

The Liberals are currently a bit disenchanted with Jimmy Hoffa, and some of the other monopolistic Labor leaders.

Currently, it’s being accepted by the Liberals that any minority roup has a “right” to use force, and call it “peaceful demonstration.” They are right to do so, because they are a minority – it’s not necessary to be justified, only to be inferior in numbers.

The liberals are so humanity-stricken that the idea of punishment for crime appalls them; it’s called “vengeance” and various other opprobrious terms. And any lazy slob who won’t work for a living, is an “unfortunate underprivileged individual” who should be helped in his misfortune.


Currently, much of Goldwater’s support is being labeled as a “white backlash,” because the Negro problem has been one of the dominant drives of the Liberals recently. (The Negro is now being granted the same use of force that the Unions were a generation ago; the consequences of two groups, each given an “exclusive” privilege of force to gain their ends in the society is apt to be very interesting.)

I strongly suggest that it is not a white backlash – but an anti-Liberal backlash. That there are millions of solid citizens who are the most excessively fed-up with the idea that every lazy bum is an “underprivileged” individual who needs help. That everybody’s equal – when anyone with half a brain can see that the Universe isn’t built that way, men aren’t built that way, and that it generally doesn’t pay off to try to buck the fundamental nature of the Universe. Only the “humanist doctrine” of the Liberals holds that the laws of the Universe aren’t really the laws of the Universe, but are generated and maintained only by human agreement. That if we all just agree that the Moon spins on its axis every two days, why, of course, it will. We just need to accept a new idea, and things change to fit that idea . . .

It’s apt to be a bit tough on the Negroes – they’re getting slapped by the anti-Liberal backlash, because they are, currently, the Liberals’ pet project.

Incidentally, typically the absolute Liberal domination of the press and even of professional Journals, makes it impossible to publish even careful scientific analyses of the facts of Negro-White racial characteristics if the analyses don’t agree with current Liberal doctrine. I was, personally, curious about the data that was collected in the nine-year study of school children in the Savannah, Georgia, school system, and tried to get hold of the original technical paper.

The work was done by Savannah County school officials; it was processed by electronic computer, under the guidance of University of Georgia scholars. The resultant data and correlations could not be published in any professional journals of psychology, sociology or anthropology in the United States; it was published however, in a Scottish journal. An American journal accepted the raw data on the scores made by Negro children, and the scores made by White children, but only on the condition that the raw data only be published, and that in separate issues, and that no cross-correlations be published.

A one-philosophy system does not permit publication of material supporting an alternative viewpoint, or attacking the officially accepted conclusions. In the words of the song “You gotta ac-centuate the positive, and ee-liminate the negative . . .”

I observed with interest that despite an urgent request signed by a dozen major United States Senators, the Health & Welfare Department refused to allow Krebiozen to be shipped to cancer sufferers who were currently using the drug and desperately wanted it. A one-philosophy system eliminates the negative; the alternative viewpoint is not to be tested or considered, but to be rooted out, demeaned, or in any way possible, removed from competition with the Only Authorized Version.


A press can be free to publish what it wants – and still be ruthlessly censored. If a single philosophy dominates the members of that press, the fact that they are legally empowered to print both sides of the issue is meaningless. It’s like a man suffering from violent agoraphobia, so afraid of open spaces that he can’t bear to step outside his house. The fact that he is not legally imprisoned doesn’t do him a bit of good; he has deep psychological convictions that censor his actions far more effectively than any legal system could.

When a one-philosophy system dominates a culture – a two-party system does no good. And when a second philosophy begins to break through the shell, when an alternative viewpoint begins to make itself heard – the reaction of the one-viewpoint-only group becomes both panicky and virulent.

For the first time in a generation, Americans this year have the opportunity to vote on a two-philosophy ticket. It will be a far less peaceful, a far more emotional campaign than we’ve known in the past decades. But that’s understandable; nobody gets very emotional about voting for Tweedledee vs. Tweedledum, and when the Demicans and the Republicrats are contending … who cares?

This is being written in August, before the campaign really gets started. But that doesn’t make any difference; we can predict this much with fair certainty: Whether Goldwater wins the election or not, he will have made a great and vital change in the American political system. The Alternative Viewpoint will have been replaced in the American political scene.

The Liberal extremists are just as destructive as any other kind of extremist – and they’ve been in complete domination for thirty years. Simply because you’re used to them, doesn’t make them non-extreme. The Eskimos don’t consider the Polar winters extreme, either, remember!

An “extremist” appears to be one with a massively different viewpoint; this doesn’t mean he is an extremist. Like the medical term “quack,” it means, largely, “someone whose methods and ideas I dislike and distrust.” Thus Jesus was, in His society, “an extremist,” while Torquemada, busily torturing heretics, was considered, in the society of his place and time, “a moderate.”

It’s always worth remembering that George Washington was a criminal, with a price on his head. While the Liberals of her day held that Carrie Nation, going around with her famous hatchet smashing up bars, was a “militant idealist.”

It normally takes two viewpoints to begin to get a reasonable evaluation of a dynamic problem.

It’s just that a two-viewpoint system is so much harder to think with. The one-sex system makes things so much less troublesome. If everybody just agreed on the same ideas, just see how much “wasted” time and energy could be saved. No more arguments – no more tensions and disputes – no more doubts and heartaches . . .

No more progress, either.

One Response to “Resonance”

  1. Bunk Strutts says:

    In 1964, LBJ’s smear campaign against Goldwater was unprecedented in that it used black and white TV to do it. Johnson didn’t campaign on his own merits, since he had few, but instead focused on spewing lies about Goldwater.

    After Johnson was elected, the American public was saddled with the greatest and most expensive entitlement programs since Roosevelt’s “Great Society” fleecing. Johnson renamed it “the War on Poverty,” and expanded it. None of those socialist programs has worked, yet we’re paying even more for them today.

    Now we have Barrack Obama, preaching the same socialist mantra. God help us if he gets elected with this group of liberal C-students that comprise congress.