|The Gramsci Factor: 59 Socialists in Congress|
By Charles A. Morse
SC, 158 pgs. US$12.95/C$20.95
The return of one of America's most controversial commentators
By Steven Martinovich
web posted December 2, 2002
According to radio talk show host and prolific editorialist Charles A. Morse, Antonio Gramsci's political legacy continues to live on to this present day. Gramsci, an Italian communist, called for "a gradual transfer of legislative power from elected bodies to appointed bureaucracies where un-natural and authoritarian international socialism could be quietly implemented by force." While one could ask how an expansive agenda could be implemented both quietly and with force, there is at least an element of truth in Morse's contention.
Morse explores that theory and other related issues in The Gramsci Factor: 59 Socialists in Congress, a collection of his essays which has run in the recent past. There is little that the outspoken Morse doesn't take aim at, whether it is his thoughts on Israel and Islam, the connection between white supremacists and the political left or whether the public education system is in fact a communist construct.
Although Morse begins his collection with the essays that the book takes its name from -- which includes that list of 59 Democrats serving in Congress that he alleges are more socialist than progressive -- much of The Gramsci Factor is devoted to exploring issues involving Israel, Islam and the recent history of the Middle East. Given that Morse refuses to be an apologist for the state of Israel and many of its controversial actions, it shouldn't be a surprise perhaps that Morse is particularly critical of Muslims who he accuses of seeking its destruction. Obviously not a member of U.S. President George W. Bush's campaign promoting the idea that that Islam is a peaceful religion, Morse levels charges of Muslim-Nazi collusion during the Second World War and accuses the Arab states of reneging on a 1919 agreement that recognized a Jewish state.
Outside of those issues, Morse tackles thorny questions involving religion, economics, politics and even that old bugbear of conservatives, sex education. It probably was as much of a surprise to Morse as it is to the reader how many different subjects he's ruminated on in the past year or so. It's a testament a Morse's wide-ranging interests, research skills and writing that he's able to cover such a broad collection of topics and be equally compelling whether he's alleging an anti-Jewish bias by Joseph Sobran or answering why talk radio is dominated by conservatives. Although The Gramsci Factor shares the same fault that many similar efforts have, a collection of essays written at about the same period of time can be an exercise in repetition and some are more interesting as historical commentary especially given the November 5, 2002 mid-term elections, there are enough jewels in Morse's collection to sustain interest.
While it's doubtless a temptation, as unfortunate as it is, for conservatives to view Morse primarily as a prominent conservative Jew -- a treasured rarity in America's forum of public debate -- that unfairly pigeonholes him as merely a spokesman for his community. He is much more than that. As a conservative Jew, Morse is appropriately relentless in acknowledging his belief in God and the sanctity of Israel. More importantly, however, Morse is a dynamic spokesman for conservatism in general as this fourth collection of his essays clearly illustrates. While he may not have the same celebrity as his better known peers in the punditocracy, Morse is no less interesting and compelling as those heavyweights.
Steven Martinovich is a freelance writer in Sudbury, Ontario.
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