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Jul 28

Written by: Diana West
Monday, July 28, 2014 11:46 AM 

From Jeff Nyquist's website:

Further Reflections
on Diana West’s Critics, Part II (see Part I below)

Commentary for 28 July 2014

The mere use of words is futile if you do not know what they stand for.
- Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self

In the controversy over

American Betrayal I am remiss in one respect. I never wrote a proper review of the book. Instead I wrote two versions of a review, and both were rejected by editors. For this I am grateful because in truth I had not invested the time required to properly do the job. I did not fully appreciate the impact of the campaign against American Betrayal, or how effective that campaign had been. For those who have not read the book, it is about the Communist infiltration of the U.S. Government, and the influencing of U.S. policy during the critical years of World War II and its aftermath. The facts reviewed in the book are not entirely new. What was original was the way in which these facts were presented; that is, in order that we might see the big picture with greater clarity. This is Diana West’s special achievement.

This is a book with far-reaching implications. These implications, of course, have yet to be mapped out. For example, we must assume that Soviet agents were not only at work in Washington during World War II. They were also at work in Chungking, Tokyo, Berlin, London and Paris. If the U.S. Government had Communist moles, every other government probably had them. As if to prove my point, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Louis Kilzer wrote a book titled Hitler’s Traitor: Martin Bormann and the Defeat of the Reich (which alleges that Bormann was Stalin’s agent). Here we discover that it wasn’t just a case of Harry Hopkins manipulating Roosevelt. Hitler was manipulated by Bormann, and probably by others we’ll never know about. Many books remain to be written; for example, regarding how Churchill was manipulated, and also de Gaulle. Consider a 1997 article titled How a Soviet mole united Tito and Churchill. Consider, as well, the situation of Charles de Gaulle, as described in the Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations: “In the late 1950s, and especially since the defection of Anatoli Golitsyn in 1961, strong suspicion surrounded the SDECE of harboring Soviet moles who were close to President Charles de Gaulle after he returned to power in 1958.”

Then there was the Tokyo spy ring, of course. Within that organization, Soviet spy Richard Sorge was credited with saving the Soviet Union in 1941. At the Spy Museum website we read, “The spies [of the Tokyo ring] pursued relationships with senior Japanese politicians, garnering information about Japanese foreign policy.” But as we know, Soviet spies do not merely garner information.  Their primary work must have been to influence Japanese policy – as Moscow’s moles in Washington worked to influence American policy. Why did Tokyo fail to make peace with China and solidify a friendship with the United States? It is not an idle question when so many leading Japanese politicians thought the proper strategic direction for Japan was against the Soviet Union. In reminding us that Soviet agents are not merely spies, Mrs. West has laid bare the tragedy of a war that need not have been so costly. And this is why she has been so savagely attacked. This is why her work is called into question.  

Everyone knows the role that Hitler and the Japanese militarists played in bringing about World War II. What about the role of Stalin and his agents? With the exception of Viktor Suvorov’s The Chief Culprit and Icebreaker, no major study has appeared exploring the extent to which Moscow may have connived at the crises of 1938 and 1939. On the other hand, we do have John Koster’s Operation Snow, which shows how Soviet spies succeeded in pushing Japan and the United States closer to war in 1941. Is it thinkable? Certainly, it takes us beyond the “accepted history.” But is the idea so implausible that future authors must be struck from civilized discourse as “conspiracy theorists”? Or are such ruminations consistent with what we know about Soviet active measures (i.e., disinformation). Ask yourself the question: Why is someone attacked, going on a year, for discussing the strategic implications of Soviet penetration of the Roosevelt administration? Unless Moscow is recycling Russia’s old strategies from World War II, with an eye to a repeat performance, why would anyone care?

When the second version of my review of Mrs. West’s book was rejected by a reputable conservative publisher, I assumed it was due to the inadequacy of my own writing, so I asked the publisher for a chance to rewrite the review, and give it a more scholarly tone. The publisher was extremely kind, and wrote a reply which was nonetheless troubling. He wrote to dissuade me from any such attempt. He admitted that America was penetrated by the Soviets during World War II. But writing about this went against “accepted history.” In this matter, Mrs. West should not have been so bold. “That our policy-making apparatus was compromised is also clear,” he explained. But “this is so jarring to the lay reader that” the thesis requires a substantial backing up. I was astonished at this. What about Mrs. West's 900 plus endnotes? Well, it seems that endnotes don’t count if a journalist compiles them. What I want to know is, when and how did we end up in a Kafka novel? Oh yes, we live in a strange world indeed; for if I say the sky is blue, it can only be credited if I am a meteorologist! If “accepted history” is made of such stuff, then “accepted history” is for dolts. This also explains why Radosh’s unscholarly, error-filled, screeds against Mrs. West receive a pass and are given credibility; that is, because he is a historian.

I had assumed that conservatives and anti-Communists would instinctively rally to American Betrayal. In large degree, this did not happen. We see, above, why it did not happen. Of course, a few great names rose to Mrs. West’s defense – like Vladimir Bukovsky and Stanton Evans. We know that both are courageous men. It would’ve been out of character if they had not defended her. Sad to say, this fortitude did not rub off on the “larger” conservative “movement.” It speaks ill of conservatism overall that Radosh’s self-discrediting attacks on Mrs. West were not dismissed out of hand. Instead, these attacks were taken as a warning, translated as follows: “Shut up or we’ll drag your name through the mud too.” And so we find that American conservatives are easily intimidated. Against all reason, Radosh’s bungling attacks on American Betrayal sent a chill through the “movement.” The implication, of course, is that the conservative movement is worthless.

As the publisher had written to me, “I believe Diana is substantially right….” But that does not matter. Someone else now dictates whether a conservative rejects or accepts a book review. What we believe, what is substantially right, must be left to someone with “an authoritative voice.” And how does the would-be ventriloquist of conservatism acquire this mythical status? Of course, no conservative possesses such a voice, so that the problem of departing from “accepted history” becomes insurmountable. We must stay with the Office of War Information, and praise our wartime alliance with Stalin. And we must wait for a ventriloquist from God-knows-where to tell us what nonsense is to follow the current nonsense.

But shouldn’t the decisive point have been that Mrs. West is “substantially right”? And therefore, how are we served by an “accepted history” that is substantially wrong? Shouldn’t this “history” be overthrown? And, further, how did we get saddled with such a history?

Or maybe we should ask how we got saddled with such “conservatives”?

This brings us back to the subject of last Tuesday’s column and Professor Lipkes’s three-part series on West’s book which was published at American Thinker. As postscript to the episode it is worth discussing the “person” of Mr. J.R. Dunn, an editor at American Thinker. This man is typical of our latter-day conservatives in that he is spiritually the opposite of conservative. In last week’s column, without naming names, I singled him out as a “prize pig.” It now appears this description was spot on, especially if we look at Diana West’s correspondence with Dunn at Dianawest.net. Incredibly, Dunn insisted that he could not publish Mrs. West’s reply to Lipkes on American Thinker without first removing her alleged factual errors (which were not errors at all, but intrinsic to her defense).  “I find the superciliousness and scarcely veiled insults troubling, and I’m sure that most readers will think the same,” wrote Dunn, who unselfconsciously concluded the paragraph with an offer to rewrite Mrs. West’s defense with the following words: “If you don’t feel up to it, I’ll be happy to handle this myself. I think you will find this works much better. As the old saying goes, honey attracts more flies than vinegar.”

I asked a journalist friend a hypothetical question about a publication that insisted on editing an author’s response to attacks made on the same author’s work. He said, “The publication would be discredited.” In truth, if you read the full correspondence you will see that Dunn attacks West at the same time he is counseling her to accept his editing. Even as he insults her, she cannot say anything in her own defense that is not ruled out of bounds. She noted that Dunn had “no problem” with Radosh and Horowtiz’s calling her names. Then she listed the insults that Dunn (as editor) had allowed to her critics. This list included, “besmirches conservatism,” has a “crackpot thesis,” is “preposterous,” and a “bad conservative,” “cockamamie,” “warped” with “ugly overtones.”

How are we to understand Dunn’s inconsistency? He allowed Radosh and Horowitz to slander West’s reputation. Then, when return fire was imminent, he cried foul. Isn’t his sudden dislike of insults and innuendo a little tardy? Isn’t it a double standard? And then, when Mrs. West corrected Dunn’s factual errors with links and citations, Dunn’s only comeback was to lose his composure: “Okay,” he wrote – “you have insulted everybody involved in this debate. You have insulted Ron Radosh, you have insulted Jeff Lipkes, and now you’re insulting me.”  Oh yes, the facts are very insulting – when you’re flat wrong.  

I don’t call people names, but Dunn is a special case. It is a fine comedy, indeed, when a man who cannot properly use punctuation tells one of the finest writers of my generation that he can fix her tone; and as his email drips with vinegar, righteously preaches the virtues of honey. I dare say Mr. Dunn attracts plenty of flies without the use of honey. That qualifies him as a very special animal indeed. Since Dunn is an inferior creature occupying a superior position (as editor of a popular webzine), the proper etiquette for him would be a gracious and generous readiness to publish Mrs. West’s response to Jeff Lipkes. In this he would be showing largeness of mind and a confident readiness to let the pigchips fall where they may. If Mrs. West’s tone isn’t right, Mrs. West will be the loser and Professor Lipkes the winner. Yet, as a pig who lacks the confidence of a Napoleon (see George Orwell’s Animal Farm), Dunn knows that Mrs. West’s response would show how a pigheaded editor is ultimately responsible for a vastly unedited 12,000-word slop-bucket that would then stick like piggy-doo-doo on his little piggy snout. In that event the American Thinker would have to be renamed the American Stinker.  

In truth, little piggy is Dunn. He wanted to use any pretext to go “wee wee” all the way home without having to publish Mrs. West’s proofs of his piggy-hood. So egregious a blockhead, in his correspondence with a famous writer, he could not even get the name of her book right. If anyone dares to reproach me with calling a pig by its proper name, I shall quote Cato the Younger in my defense, who at the crisis of the Roman Republic, made the following remarks to the Senate:

For a long time now we have ceased to call things by their proper names. To give away other people’s property is called generosity; criminal daring goes by the name of courage. That is why our affairs have come to such a pass. However, since such is our standard of morality, let Romans be liberal, if they want to, at the expense of our subjects, let them be merciful to plunderers of the exchequer. But let them not … go the way to destroy all honest men.

{Quoted from Sallust's Conspiracy of Catiline, translated by S.A. Handford, Penguin Classics.}

 

Further Reflections on Diana West’s Critics

Commentary for 22 July 2014

 

By ex-Communist, I mean a man who knew clearly why he became a Communist, who served Communism devotedly and knew why he served it, who broke with Communism unconditionally and knew why he broke with it. Of these there are very few….
                                         – Whittaker Chambers, “Letter to My Children,” Witness

Sincerity belongs to the pure of heart, insincerity belongs to the blackheart. The critic reveals his heart by his criticism, the polemicist by his polemic, the sycophant by his sycophancy. In the case of Professor Jeff Lipkes’s three part critique of American Betrayal, posted earlier this month on American Thinker, the microcosm of self-revelation reflects the macrocosm of conservatism’s crackup. In my Commentary for 27 April 2014 I dealt with the Horowitz/Radosh campaign against Diana West. It is now time to confront mainstream conservatism’s failure to come to Mrs. West’s defense. This failure shows us two types of “conservative”: (1) the conservative who (covering himself with mock-scholarship) joins with Mrs. West’s “ex-Communist” critics in denouncing American Betrayal; and (2) the conservative who seeks to occupy a middle position. This latter form of desertion, opening conservatism’s flanks to a double envelopment, is disturbingly in evidence today. In this context, Professor Lipke provides us with an example of both types rolled ambiguously into one.

Lipkes’s series runs about 12,000 words divided into three separate articles. However long and unfocussed the whole might appear, the professor’s critique nonetheless provides a window into conservatism’s degeneration. Of course, some might imagine the professor is concerned with historical fact. Yet we must not to be fooled by outward appearances. Lipkes is an ideologist, and like Mrs. West’s other critics he shows no real concern for truth. For example, he derides Mrs. West for deficient scholarship when her book is referenced by nearly 1,000 endnotes. While Lipkes himself is no expert on World War II, and no expert on the Cold War, he nonetheless postures as such – caught out when he refers to Pavel Sudoplatov as a Soviet “defector.” Even where Lipkes has his facts straight, his facts are beside the point and his judgments bizarre (for example, when he says that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was not a “threat to peace”). In short, he engages in arguments that do not successfully breach Mrs. West’s defenses.

We have reason, of course, to feel sympathy for a professor who is also a “conservative.” This, after all, is what recommends him to us. But he does not write like a conservative. He does not see in Communism “the focus of the concentrated evil of our time.” And so he dislikes Diana West’s idea that Communist agents may have influenced U.S. policy during World War II. This is something he simply will not allow to be true, and which is for him improbable on its face. He also doesn’t want to say that our wartime collaboration with Stalin was dangerous, or that it had long-term negative consequences, or that Stalin was as bad as Hitler. It’s as if the Communist-infiltrated U.S. Office of War Information was still operating and Lipkes stands obliged to present Stalin in a positive light (on account of our wartime alliance with the Communist dictator). Lipkes also takes issue with Mrs. West’s vindication of Senator Joseph McCarthy, and by inference he therefore takes issue with the scholarship of M. Stanton Evans. It is hard to understand why Professor Lipkes sees himself as a conservative at all, since he eschews the conservative interpretation of the Cold War. 

Part I of Lipkes’s critique was titled Diana and Ron: What Was Going On? Part II was Diana and Ron: The Second Front. Part III was Diana and Ron: Backstory. Setting aside the tasteless use of first names, it is the final paragraph of Part III which should command our attention. Here Lipkes ends by insisting that, “A real test of the intellectual integrity of the [conservative] movement is that in the end a truly balanced view of West’s explosive work will become the consensus.” If a Greek chorus chanted the phrase “intellectual integrity,” altered with the phrases “conservative movement” and “consensus,” an oppressive gloom would gradually overtake the listener from the pairing of diametrical opposites; for as the soul itself must know, the term “intellectual integrity” and the word “consensus” are incompatible, especially when used in the context of a political movement mired in corruption. Within the professor’s naïve concluding sentence we find no sense that things have gone very badly for conservatism; neither is there any sense of the shameful corruption which now attends the “good” and “patriotic” cause.

Our politics is now a province of loaded language, bogus concepts and innumerable falsifications. This province belongs to the blackheart, not to the pure of heart. Take any political consensus you please, and you will find it is glued together by lies and backroom deals that leave no place for “intellectual integrity”; for such “integrity” cannot belong to a movement. It belongs only to uncompromising individuals who reject the expedient formulae honored by the ruling Mandarin class to which Lipkes in fact belongs (and thus confesses his belonging). In this context Diana West is not a Mandarin but an individual who has departed from the Party line. As such she has become the designated target of those who brazenly show themselves as enemies of honest debate and inquiry. Such are predisposed to fantasy and falsification, to naked pandering and intellectual short-cuts. If they were not so, they could not succeed with the ignorant multitude, whose approval legitimizes their corrupt practices (turning evil into good, fiction into fact, and the unequal into the more than equal).

Modern movements are mass movements. They require organization and organization signifies bureaucratic leadership (that is, the Mandarin class). All such organizations typically fall under the sway of empty ambitious persons whose venality and untruthfulness are almost boundless. These persons care only about their own prestige, position and pay. If one such person cared about the truth, he would be in danger of becoming “A Man for All Seasons.” And such a man, in their book, would be counted a fool. He would have no standing in their midst, but only curses. The empty ambitious person, rating himself above truth, is the enemy of the truthful. In our day and age, large and successful political organizations run on this enmity. To not know this, and not acknowledge it, is to have entirely missed the history of the twentieth century. To write a concluding sentence as Professor Lipkes has, is to write as a child. It reveals that in political things one is naïve and lacking in judgment; that one already performs the role of dupe for someone or something else – which takes us to the immediate sequel to Lipkes’s essay.

Immediately following the professor’s last sentence about “intellectual integrity” and “consensus” we find two interjections. The first is from Ron Radosh; the second is from Radosh and Horowitz together. Like two bullies waiting impatiently for their turn, they follow in Lipkes’s wake with kicks and punches, and even take a slap at Lipkes himself. The editor of American Thinker, who is undoubtedly a prize pig for arranging this unliterary pugilism, gives no space for Mrs. West to defend herself. Among the punches thrown, Radosh and Horowitz wrote that Mrs. West had besmirched conservatism by allowing the Left to “paint conservatives as a bunch of nutcases.” Finding Lipkes too gentle in his criticism of West, they berated the hapless professor for ignoring “her crackpot thesis….” And they accused him of “doing an immense disservice to the discussion, as well as feeding the McCarthyite fantasies of [West’s] followers.” They further stated that they were “both trying to wage a critique [sic] of an absurd conspiracy theory that has ugly overtones….”

What is absurd and has ugly overtones, of course, is waging a critique. The proper expression that comes to mind is “waging war,” not “waging a critique.” However awkwardly put, the meaning is clear enough. Yet it’s a shame that Radosh and Horowitz do not recognize the talents of Professor Lipkes when it comes to “waging critique.” Consider the following specimen:

It’s possible that [Radosh] sees West as having gone some ways down a slippery slope that descends to the claim that FDR knew in advance about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and did nothing; that Hitler had reasonable foreign policy objectives and that the unpleasant features of the Nazi regime were the result of his borrowings from Lenin; that given FDR’s provocations, Germany, like Japan, had no choice but to declare war on the U.S.; that Barbarossa was a preemptive strike that saved Western Civilization in the nick of time; and that America backed the wrong horse in World War II. At the bottom of the slope is the denial of the Holocaust. [Italics added]

It appears that Horowitz and Radosh have been unfair to Lipkes, and owe him an apology; for Mrs. West is Jewish, and such an insinuation (as above) might prove the kiss of death. In fact, this slander was so cleverly couched and so cravenly inferred (out of thin air) that its radioactivity doesn’t touch Radosh or Lipkes. It was designed to irradiate Mrs. West’s discussion of Communist influence over U.S. policy during World War II as “possibly” on par with Holocaust revisionism. What better weapon could be deployed for killing off an author while intimidating her supporters?

“At the bottom of the slope,” wrote Lipkes, “is the denial of the Holocaust. Think about it for a moment. Ask yourself whether I have taken this sentence out of context, or whether this sentence was originally set down for some malicious purpose. Was the matter preceding this sentence a valid reason for inserting it? I see no quote from Radosh, and no quote from West. There is nothing in American Betrayal to justify it. The thing is purely mischievous, and calculated. It is shameful that American Thinker published it. It is shameful that Diana West was not given space to respond. And it is shameful that these ex-subversives were given the last word as conservative opinion-makers.

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