Monday, September 02, 2013
I tend to be rather uncomfortable with anything remotely lending itself to conspiracy theory, and the full-blown bouts of it -- whether on the right or on the left (and often those two sides of the aisles, at their extreme ends, bend around as though in pews imagined by Escher to blend and merge with each other, as I noted years ago here in "Left/Right Polarity, Convergence") -- repel me.
Indeed, the whole point of my theory of PC MC as I have analyzed it over the years here and elsewhere is precisely to find a way to explain a gargantuan and grotesque misstep -- the West's persistent myopia with regard to the problem of Islam -- without succumbing either to a minimization of the problem at one end, or to a lurid hyperbole of a Dastardly Cabal at the other that would condemn the very same West we are supposed to be concerned to save.
With that said, I am leery of even flirting with a theory resembling a conspiracy, and then by publishing them on my blog and so lending them even the slightest aura of legitimacy. I suppose the reader by this point is itching to see where my Big But is going to come in. Well, if there must be one, at least let it be in the form of an imaginative thought experiment, as food for thought, with no further pretensions.
Before I delve into that, I would like to interject here the truism that if one in principle eschews conspiracy thinking, that of course doesn't mean one must then forswear all talk of political and military enemies, as though enemies in the real world don't exist. And in this context, there have been in history and in the present two large movements of sedition inimical to the free West (not to mention the broader world beholden to the modern West): Islam, of course, and Communism.
About these, and their interesting confluence in certain ways, not only analogical but perhaps also more directly and operationally (viz., politicians, academics and journalists deformed by the darker currents of the Leftism of Socialism and Communism currently doing all they can to enable and protect Muslim Brotherhood infiltrators into American society and government), Diana West's new book American Betrayal has been a provocative study.
Of interest to my topic here is not so much her book itself, but the controversy it has generated, by which various influential conservatives (including the American Thinker webzine and that august bastion of conservatism, National Review) have been trying to denigrate not only the book, but also West's capacity as a journalist and essayist to handle a wealth of scholarly sources that inform her book.
And of more specific interest to my topic here is that wing of conservatives who are numbered as, so to speak, "apostates" from the Left -- indeed, in two of the most egregious calumniators of Diana West, apostates from Communism itself: David Horowitz and Ronald Radosh. For more details and links to West's essays on this, see my previous essay "Shame on Front Page.com" The damage began on Horowitz's flagship website, Front Page.com, where he nearly immediately yanked and purged an initial review of her book that happened to be favorable, only to replace it with an outrageously inept and vicious review by his friend and fellow traveler, Ronald Radosh. Though all this went down a few weeks ago, Diana West is still having to defend herself, because Horowitz and Radosh (among others similarly disposed) have continued to pester her in op-ed salvos and ripostes, only digging their graves deeper like Hamlet's gravedigger and the Emperor With No Clothes rolled into one. In the meantime, I am heartened to know that she has been spending much time writing a detailed rebuttal of Radosh's hit piece on her book, and promises to publish it soon on her blog.
Update: The Gates of Vienna blog reports that the Gatestone Institute -- a think tank riddled with Moderate Muslims pretending to be our staunch allies against the Tiny Minority of Extremists (and one that regularly publishes Raymond Ibrahim, friend of Robert Spencer, friend of David Horowitz) -- has yanked a favorable review of West's book by Clare Lopez, who ironically is listed on their website as a "Distinguished Senior Fellow" of the Gatestone Institute.
I can't wait to see and read Diana West's detailed rebuttal. Merely the brief taste of it she provided readers a while back, in which she addressed an itemized (and very incomplete) list of points Radosh got brazenly and screamingly wrong, read like the analytical version of watching a car wreck in slow motion. I felt enthralled and amazed at how someone supposedly so intellectual and erudite as Radosh could perpetrate such colossal mistakes. It was mind-boggling to contemplate, but irrefutable in West's sure handling of the data in her counter-argument. Similarly devastating was a 2008 response to another Radosh hit piece on M. Stanton Evans, by Evans himself.
Update: And just now, I see that West has posted a most delectable and nutritious commentary on the whole mess by John Dietrich, author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy.
When one fully assimilates and digests what Evans and West (and Dietrich) have to say about Radosh (and by extension, about his close friend Horowitz), the ineptitude is of such magnitude that the mind recoils from the sober explanation that would logically lead to the only plausible explanation -- namely, that Radosh is stark raving insane or has a massive chunk of his brain missing; for this simply cannot be. Well, I suppose it could be; but it's highly unlikely.
A Thought Experiment
Even prior to Diana West's book, careful and rational readers of several recent studies, particularly those availing themselves of archives from the former Soviet Union only available since the late 1980s, had come to learn that Communist agents throughout the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s had been involved in an infiltration of American society and government of alarming proportions -- and thus that McCarthy, far from being unreasonably paranoid about this (as our PC MC culture has taught us), was being rational and patriotic.
Now, imagine you are part of this ongoing Communist enterprise to infiltrate America, and imagine that, as the 60s turn into the 70s and 80s, and Communism begins to be besieged and beleaguered as never before, you scramble around trying to recalibrate the ongoing Revolution. We know that Communists for decades have made sabotage and sedition into a science, cleverly developing tactics such as those articulated by Alinsky. What would be one ingenious tactic to use in the situation of the general devolution of Communism in the latter half of the 20th century?
Why, it would be to develop and deploy plants in the form of pundits, journalists, politicians and scholars who are ostensibly anti-Communist themselves and make a big show of that, thus earning bonafides in the conservative community. And what better sort of anti-Communist conservative could there be than the apostate who once was a Communist himself, but who "saw the light" and crossed over to our side? Of course, one can't sustain a suspicion of all ex-Communists who become anti-Communist. But certainly a red flag (pun intended) comes up when we see the most curious behavior of the likes of Radosh and Horowitz.
And what would be the motive of such plants? Why, to try to direct, if not control, the general conversation about anti-Communism and liberalism and, while conceding ground on less important things (meanwhile earning bonafides as a staunch and stalwart anti-Communist), draw lines around certain things to make them non-negotiable -- so that, when a Diana West comes along who only follows the trail of the data to lead her to cross those sacred lines, one can round the wagons and declare her to be a pariah non grata.
At least three lines, apparently, that Radosh and Horowitz (and, among others, Conrad Black of National Review Online and Thomas Lifson of American Thinker) think must be maintained at all cost is the demonization of Joe McCarthy and "McCarthyism"; the sanctity of the Roosevelt White House; and that, as Radosh and his defenders claim, Harry Hopkins (as close to Roosevelt as Huma Abedin has been to Hillary Clinton) was not a Soviet agent. The problem here is not that they offer a reasonable demurrer, backed up by cogent argument; the problem is that their response is to behave like tyrannical children and try to forbid the discussion from taking place at all. Other lines, perhaps subtler but no less important, seem afoot as well in this sordid and strange business revolving around the Diana West controversy.
This is not merely a matter of the academic interest in 20th century Communism; it may have repercussions in our ongoing process of trying to wake up our West to the danger of Muslims. It may not be a mere coincidence that both Horowitz (as chief editor and creator of Front Page.com) and Radosh are decidedly asymptotic when it comes to Islam and that unicorn called the "Moderate Muslim". What better way to defend PC MC, than to pretend to be against it, meanwhile subtly pushing its meme of the Moderate Muslim -- i.e., pursuing a covert policy of Stealth PC MC? And it also may be no coincidence that one of Radosh's friends on whose perspective he relies is the convert to Islam Stephen Schwartz, who himself made the transition from Communism to Islam (not sure whether he took a breather between totalitarianisms...).