April 01, 2008

I originally planned to devote this blog to three books that had crossed my desk, none of which will likely receive the publicity it deserves. These worthwhile books are Terrence Zuber’s study of the piecemeal, defensive character of German war planning before World War One, Inventing the Schlieffen Plan (Oxford University Press, 2002); Harry Redner’s learned and highly civilized examination of German aesthetic theory in the nineteenth century and the appended observations about the “€œfall of modern art criticism,”€ Aesthetic Life (University Press of America, 2007); and Richard London’s and Richard Smith’s well-documented study of the correlation between black male crime and the rise in white male violence, Religion of Macho (Author House, 2008). My readers are urged to buy and read these works that the mainstream media will probably ignore, to the detriment of the American reading public.

But my wish to treat these monographs with the appropriate detail has been preempted by a problem that needs to be addressed at once. It is the use of our website as a sounding board for moronic anti-Semitic comments like these: Jesus was not a Jew but an Aryan who had taken up residence in the Roman province of Judea; and Jews are behind every human catastrophe that has befallen the Christian West. It is impossible to understate the dangerous fallout from such ranting.

Although the descendant of Jewish refugees from Nazi terror, I am not so much personally insulted by these outbursts as deeply concerned that they are poisoning our common interest. My young Polish friend Juliusz Jablecki has suggested that the offending responses may be coming from government agents who are trying to subvert our activity as traditionalist and libertarian critics of the neocon-liberal establishment. Juliusz pointed out that there is a precedent for this in Communist Poland, where government agents had infiltrated dissident organizations. Another possibility is that neoconservatives, who have already denounced everyone on the Old Right as a neo-Nazi or worse, may be infecting our blog, in order to show that their attacks are accurate.

Although I would not rule out either explanation entirely, it seems to me that Ockham’s judicious warning about multiplying causes unnecessarily may apply here. What has likely happened is that as an isolated right-wing outpost that the neocons have not yet occupied, we are picking up the opinions of kooky right-wingers. Needless to say, if these respondents were equally crazy but associated with the Left, they would be thriving in American academia or providing copy for Jeremiah Wright and Michelle Obama. But as a rightwing magnet, we are now attracting the same kinds of losers who in the 1960s when National Review was still recognizably rightist, would have been sending their unwanted opinions to Midtown Manhattan.   Today such people, however crazy they may be, understand that National Review is no longer where it used to be and that we have come to occupy the niche that magazine and other now neocon-controlled publications used to hold.

That being said, however, there is no reason that this website should tolerate the posting of opinions by hate-mongers who are likely to drag us down. There is after all a difference between acceptable dissent, on IQ testing and disparities in intelligence, the American Civil War, responsibility for World War One, and the pitfalls of democratic regimes, and the spewing of ethnic hatreds. Postings that look like exhortations to Nazi death squads to wipe out Jewish villages in Russia should be kept off this website. The reason is not just that these postings understandably offend real Christians as well as Jews. They also render it impossible to carry out the serious work that our staff has undertaken, in offering criticism of our public conversation, a forum from which we have been kept out by the powers that be. I know that I speak for the management of this website in making my displeasure known. For a very long time the question here has been not whether an obvious scandal should be allowed to continue but what is the best way of removing it


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