Vanguard News Network
VNN Media
VNN Digital Library
VNN Reader Mail
VNN Broadcasts

Old October 18th, 2009 #1
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default #1 Joe Sobran Thread

Constitutional Amnesia

July 20, 1999

A conservative legal scholar, who shall be nameless here, has illustrated the trouble with conservatism today: its profound ignorance of the Constitution it should be conserving.

Conservatives habitually object to new federal programs on pragmatic and economic, rather than constitutional, grounds. Program X “won’t work,” it will “cost too much,” it will even “hurt the people it is intended to help.” Never do they simply object that since the federal government has no power to enact Program X, Program X is unconstitutional.

The Tenth Amendment makes the principle clear: Whatever the Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to do, it forbids it to do. “The powers not delegated to the United States [i.e., the federal government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

That’s not a beautifully crafted sentence, but it’s far from the “unedifying truism” and “platitude” our conservative legal scholar says it is. It prohibits the federal government from assuming powers the Constitution doesn’t positively — that is, expressly or by necessary implication — grant. As James Wilson explained at the time, “Everything which is not given is reserved.”

The same scholar makes the common error of calling the Tenth a “states’ rights” provision. It’s chiefly a limitation on federal power. It doesn’t say which of the undelegated powers are “reserved” to the states and which to the people. It merely says that any and all undelegated powers are denied to the federal government.

[Breaker quote: Conservatives have forgotten what their ancestors knew.] The presumptive denial of powers to the federal government is what made that government “federal,” rather than centralized or, in the language of the Framers, “consolidated.” Until Franklin Roosevelt’s time, nobody regarded it as a “platitude” or “truism.” Everybody understood exactly what it meant and how vital it was.

Even Lincoln consistently admitted that the federal government had no power to touch slavery in the states where it already existed. He carefully framed the Emancipation Proclamation as a measure to put down rebellion in the Confederate states. It didn’t emancipate a single slave in the Union states; that step required the Thirteenth Amendment, constitutionally delegating a new power to the federal government.

In 1919 the Constitution had to be amended again to authorize the federal government to impose Prohibition. The Tenth Amendment still had real force.

But during the New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt’s Supreme Court, eager to expand federal power, declared (in United States v. Darby, 1941) that the Tenth “states but a truism that all is retained which has not been surrendered.” In other words, the states and the people were entitled only to powers the federal government hadn’t claimed. The Court substituted the telling word “surrendered” for the Constitution’s word, “delegated.” You “delegate” power to an inferior; you “surrender” power to a superior. This ruling, by draining the Tenth of any force, inverted the whole federal structure, reducing the states to vassals of the federal government.

Where did the federal government claim to get all the new powers the New Deal sought? Roosevelt’s Court inflated the Commerce Clause — which authorizes Congress to “regulate Commerce ... among the several States” — to permit federal control of any activity that might conceivably have a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce. Thus virtually anything the federal government might choose to do became “constitutional,” since virtually anything can be arbitrarily defined as “interstate commerce.”

By that logic, Congress could have abolished slavery or imposed Prohibition by a simple majority vote of both houses, without any constitutional amendment. After all, slavery and liquor certainly had a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce.

Today Congress doesn’t even bother arguing its authority to enact this or that law. It assumes a limitless power to do as it pleases — on gun control, tobacco, “a patients’ bill of rights,” and such entitlements as Social Security and Medicare. So we now live under the “consolidated” government the Constitution was designed to prevent.

The pity is that even conservatives and their legal scholars have forgotten the Constitution and allow their enemies to rewrite the political ground rules. The unequivocal text can’t be changed by the courts or superseded by case law. Lincoln understood it; today’s conservatives don’t.

http://www.sobran.com/columns/1999-2001/990720.shtml
 
Old October 1st, 2010 #2
Antiochus Epiphanes
Ἀντίοχος Ἐπιφανὴς
 
Antiochus Epiphanes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: flyover
Posts: 13,175
Antiochus Epiphanes
Default Joe RIP 9/30/10

rip

osint:
Joe_Sobran Joe_Sobran
 
Old October 1st, 2010 #3
Antiochus Epiphanes
Ἀντίοχος Ἐπιφανὴς
 
Antiochus Epiphanes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: flyover
Posts: 13,175
Antiochus Epiphanes
Default

Adieu
(Reprinted from SOBRAN’S, Fall, pages 1, 3)



Dear Loyal Reader,

The idea for my newsletter came when I was still at National Review (NR) magazine. Beginning with my time at NR, then with my national exposure with CBS Radio “Spectrum” and later as a syndicated columnist, readers would write to me asking for more. I left National Review in 1993. A few months later, my friend Howard Phillips decided to give me the 1994 annual Andrew Jackson Champion of Liberty Award from The Conservative Caucus. It was there that I reconnected with conservative activist and entrepreneur Fran Griffin, whom Howard had asked to organize the event.

Then and now, Fran seems always to be organizing something. She had set up a very successful news conference for me and Phil Nicolaides to launch the Coalition to Avert a Mideast Holocaust, a small but worthwhile effort to oppose the Gulf War in 1990. Because of her conservative beliefs and her instinctive Roman Catholic views on just about everything, I asked her if she would be a business partner with me in starting my own newsletter. She agreed, but I am sure she had little idea of what she was letting herself in for.

Howard Walsh of Keep the Faith, an organization that provides recordings and videos of Catholic luminaries, offered his studio to me to record an audio tape to use as a premium for new subscribers. I quickly penned the 45-minute essay “How Tyranny Came to America” and recorded it. Howard Walsh helped us with a mailing to the 300 people who had attended The Conservative Caucus dinner plus some other names. He also came up with the idea of having “Charter Subscribers,” benefactors who would contribute $1,000 to support SOBRAN’S.

Finally we were ready and in September 1994 we published our first issue. Professional editor Ronn Neff, a libertarian Catholic, was enlisted as our proofreader. Our first issue was September 1994. Our press run was slightly under 500 copies. With word of mouth and a few more mailings, we soon hit 1,000 and then 1,500 subscribers.

By the following year, we had enough Charter Subscribers to hold our first annual benefactors’ party. Without that idea of Mr. Walsh’s, the newsletter could never have continued as long as it has.

As the years went on, I began to see how difficult it is to sustain a newsletter and make it grow. With climbing postage rates and printing costs as well as administrative costs to keep track of the lists, process the orders, and handle the phone calls, it was more involved than I had ever imagined. However, there were some benefits to me through the Vere Company, the corporation that Fran Griffin and I formed as the legal entity for SOBRAN’S The various part-time staff members have always gone out of their way to assist me. I am thinking particularly of Susan Roberson, who has worked for SOBRAN’S. (and a couple of Fran’s other enterprises) since the beginning.

To Fran’s credit, she was able to reduce costs down to the bare bone, enlisting the St. Martin de Porres Lay Dominican Community’s print shop in New Hope, Kentucky, to handle the list management, printing, and mailing of the monthly newsletter. She organized diverse promotional efforts to get new subscribers.

I never realized how much effort it takes to have an ongoing newsletter. In my simplistic initial concept, I envisioned that subscribers would pay about $50 each. If I got enough of those, I could pay costs and have a nice nest egg for myself. I did not foresee how difficult it is to convince a lot of people to subscribe — and then renew — not to mention marketing expenses and endless administrative work for Fran and her part-time staff members. To help us to grow, marketing had to be ongoing and constant. But we always operated on a shoestring and marketing is expensive.

The Wanderer, for which I wrote a weekly column, allowed me to put a little promo at the end of each one. But my loyal partner, Fran, was hard-pressed to come up with the money to do proper marketing.

Over the past five years or so, the newsletter became a labor of love in that it was barely keeping afloat. What I thought could provide me an income in my golden years, was now becoming a worry — especially to Fran Griffin, who is the real reason that it kept going. She engaged in a number of fundraising appeals and somehow was able to make ends meet.

I felt that I had to pursue other writing projects to pay my rent. I then learned that, along with our Charter (benefactor) Subscribers, the print shop of the Lay Dominicans in New Hope, Kentucky, was the real reason that the newsletter could go on. They allowed us very generous terms as long as we kept making some regular payments.

Last year we did an extensive subscription campaign that netted about 300 new subscribers. Earlier this year, I asked you to help, and Fran and I both outlined the monies needed to keep the printed version going. With fewer than 1,000 subscribers now, I was pleased when Fran told me that the campaign was going well and that about $25,000 had come in. That is a large amount considering the number of subscribers. However, it is still short of the goal necessary to pay off the debts and have enough to keep going without getting further in debt.

It has become increasingly evident that the newsletter is too costly to continue — especially when it is so inexpensive to send my columns out by e-mail. I know that some people don’t use e-mail or prefer holding the newsletter in their hands to reading it on a computer screen. The answer to that — although I admit it is not the best remedy — is get the articles by e-mail or on the Web and print them out to read.

Also, at sobran.com, the articles are more attractively formatted and easy to print.

I told Fran this past week that considering my health and financial concerns, it has become increasingly difficult for me to be as productive as in the past.

Fran had a remedy. She proposed that the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation (FGF) be the depository for all of my writings. FGF could sponsor my columns and articles for distribution by e-mail and the Web. FGF could organize and publish a series of collections of my writings. She points out that it is easier to raise money through a non-profit foundation than it is through a for-profit corporation.

Thus a few days ago, I assigned the copyrights for all of my past and present articles to FGF (excluding my Alias Shakespeare book and my unpublished books King Lincoln and I Shakespeare). FGF will be giving me writer’s fees and royalties for articles and collections they are planning. Several benefactors have already pledged to make donations to FGF to enable me to have ongoing writer’s fees for my work, and to help FGF assemble collections of my articles.

With this vehicle for an ongoing promotion and distribution of my works, the time has come to close one chapter and begin another. This will be the last edition of SOBRAN’S, but not the last of Joe Sobran’s writing.

This is a very sad moment for me. I have received so much encouragement, support, and cheer from my many loyal readers over the years. I wish I could keep SOBRAN’S going, but the finances and my health are compelling me to put an end to this fine little journal and begin a new phase of my life.

I need your prayers as I face declining health, energy, and finances. And I hope you will support the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation with a tax-deductible gift to help them to promote my writing.

Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.
All my best,

Joe Sobran

http://sobran.com/articles/leads/2007-fall-lead.shtml

[PS my question--I wonder if Byron's interview footage is available online??]
 
Old October 1st, 2010 #4
Leonard Rouse
Celebrating My Diversity
 
Leonard Rouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: With The Creepy-Ass Crackahs
Posts: 8,156
Leonard Rouse
Default

Quote:
never realized how much effort it takes to have an ongoing newsletter. In my simplistic initial concept, I envisioned that subscribers would pay about $50 each. If I got enough of those, I could pay costs and have a nice nest egg for myself.
Quote:
Over the past five years or so, the newsletter became a labor of love in that it was barely keeping afloat. What I thought could provide me an income in my golden years, was now becoming a worry. . .
Lurking, naive Pat Buchanan fetishists, take note.

Maybe he'll meet Shakespeare. His personal hell would be to find he'd been a Protestant. Here's hoping the bard was Catholic after all.

RIP
 
Old October 1st, 2010 #5
Mike Parker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,311
Mike Parker
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard Rouse View Post
Maybe he'll meet Shakespeare.
I was thinking William F. Buckley.
 
Old October 1st, 2010 #6
Leonard Rouse
Celebrating My Diversity
 
Leonard Rouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: With The Creepy-Ass Crackahs
Posts: 8,156
Leonard Rouse
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Parker View Post
I was thinking William F. Buckley.
Whew. . .the thought.

Surely Buckley, even with his headstart, is on a lower level of purgation than Joe--and that may be giving Buckley way too much credit.
 
Old February 4th, 2011 #7
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default

[Long appraisal by a 'Casey,' whose family apparently helped Sobran, so he has some direct personal knowledge. A couple things I don't like in this article, but on the whole it's a good one.]

Saint Joe
Joseph Sobran and the Tribe

By Patrick Casey


Joseph Sobran at a Nationals game in summer 2007 (photo curtosey of the author)


His mind resembled the vast amphitheater, the Coliseum at Rome. In the center stood his judgment, which like a mighty gladiator, combated those apprehensions that, like the wild beasts of the Arena, were all around in cells, ready to be let out upon him. After a conflict, he drives them back into their dens; but not killing them, they were still assailing him. ~Life of Samuel Johnson

I’d like to make a case for tribal localism by drawing a counterfactual conclusion from my experience with the late Joe Sobran. By the end of this essay though, you will have realized that Joe wasn’t a vehicle for an argument but that the argument is a tribute to the greatness of the man. And more than convince you of the argument’s potency, I hope mostly to convince you of his importance to radical traditionalism and to spur you to read everything you can that he wrote. As Matt Scully eloquently noted, Michael Joseph Sobran was our era’s master of plain-English prose.

Joe was an old friend of my father’s when I met him in 2006 and for about the next three years I hung pretty close to his side. It was an incredibly lucky relationship, more than a privilege really—and that isn’t modesty speaking, it’s conscience: There is a personal debt I owe to a man.

* * *

He may have never written an inelegant sentence in his life and the first thing a person would say about Joe after meeting him was that he never spoke one either. In an era when our discourse is mostly sound bites of stuttering platitudes, Joe’s spoken eloquence may have been his most impressive quality. Even after working next to men like Jim Burnham and Bill Buckley, Jeffrey Hart said Joe was the finest conversationalist he’d ever met, and Jared Taylor made essentially the same point. The National Review editorial on Joe’s death aptly compared his talent in this regard to Milton’s, whose blindness made writing a matter of dictating.

After I got to know Joe, I realized that his constitutional talent for the spoken word put him in a peculiar position as a writer. Spending long hours in conversation with Joe, on his or my porch while he smoked his signature cheap cigars, made me aware that when the rivers of his mind were really flowing, Joe could speak more beautifully than the best prose I’d ever read. His peculiar position as a writer must have been that he tried to write as well as he spoke, different from the rest of us who can only hope to speak half as well as we write.

While talking to Joe, you really felt the full force of those swift and unorthodox judgments he was known to deploy with unmatched eloquence. Joe was never mean-spirited, but he was jarring, and he was the last of an era that took ethnic terms for granted. In his writing, he referred to feminists as “those whores” and was not afraid to begrudge someone their philo-Semitism or refer to “the Jews.”

Matt Scully, in his majestic remembrance of Joe quoted from above, was probably referring to this acidity in Joe’s style as a mark of the loss of his “Johnsonian disposition.” On the contrary, no one got a point across with more power than Joe did when he wrote in frank terms. It was a credit to his courage that he did not allow himself to be bullied by political correctness into writing poorly and stupidly.

In the course of a day, Joe would think up as many anagrams for a single word as he could and carried around an index car and a pen for the purpose, which he would also use to jot down notes and asides worth saving. In his last years his short-term memory was in bad shape, which made keeping track of the note cards nearly impossible, which I always thought was one of the causes of the slowdown in his output of columns.

Joe had so many clever quips worth saving that I figure he’d probably appreciate it if I wrote some of them down for him from memory myself. Most of these were probably from or wound up in a column, but they were all said in the course of some conversation I had with Joe, and I’m only quoting the ones I remember clearly. There were so many more that I can’t quite remember, and I’m kicking myself now for not jotting them down then.

Bill Clinton took to carrying around a Bible because “he didn’t know when he would need to perjure himself.”

Pat Moynihan knew “which side of his bagel was buttered”

George Will was “unforgivably pointy-headed,” and David Frum was merely “that Canadian Zionist.”

Anti-Semitism was the only explanation Joe could think of for making John Podhoretz executive editor of Commentary.

Obama was a “mulatto baby-killer.”

He admiringly called Ron Paul a “freak of nature.”

He said Sam Francis was “the disciple that Burnham always deserved.”

His friend, the moral philosopher Hadley Arkes, was affectionately referred to as, “The brave old son of Abraham.”

Pat Buchanan was simply, “the man I trust most.”

The single time Joe heard Jim Burnham curse was after Nixon decided to support some tin-pot Black Nationalist dictator: “In this world, sometimes you have to throw your friends to the wolves. That’s just the way it is. But you don’t have to spout a lot of Bullshit about “Democracy” while you’re doing it!”

And there are a hundred hilarious baseball stories my memory can’t do a justice to.

The collection of Joe’s essays from the Human Life Review was published under the title Single Issues, but the book is much more than a polemic against abortion. In those essays, Joe basically cataloged and critiqued everything that has changed for the worse in our culture. He liked to quote his friend Hugh Kenner’s maxim that we are always blind to the styles of our time, but Joe’s mind belonged more to Shakespeare’s age than our own, which gave his writing a sometimes bemused tone, as if he was looking at us from the past, wittily reproaching the ugly aspects of modernity, like a time traveler who finds the future a bizarre tragicomedy. With his gently pulverizing blows, Liberalism’s smoldering shibboleths after reading Single Issues seem smothered. It is a fountainhead of social criticism.

I think he was the best American prose stylist in opinion journalism since the first, whom he was similar to in respects, but fundamentally probably more the Sage of Baltimore’s opposite. Joe’s book of collected columns on Bill Clinton rivals Mencken’s writings on FDR. You hear the same effortlessly articulated sentences glistening with detached contempt, the tone of a man outside the circles of power yet somehow above them, sharpening the barbs of his jests with an impish grin across his face. But Joe saw the battle of ideas as finally a war over souls; Mencken said he was really just enjoying the Zoo. There was infinite weight at stake in Joe’s perspective, and you could feel it in his writing.

He considered Clinton’s presidency the final nail in our culture’s coffin; the final triumph of feminists, of women who want to let lead the kind of men who respect women least and are happy to let them abort their bloodline. Joe agreed with Alasdair McIntyre that the barbarians were now inside the gates. He was a moralist with the incisive eyes of a Machiavellian:

Nearly all discussion of politics overlooks a constant but hidden factor: blackmail. We can never know the extent to which our rulers are secretly ruled by others who know their dark secrets. And Washington, like most cities, is full of dark secrets…

Since the 1996 election, for example, it has transpired that Bob Dole was afraid to make an issue of Bill Clinton’s character because he was afraid that his own extramarital affair, many years earlier, might be revealed. I first read about it in the New York weekly The Village Voice at the very end of the campaign…..

Few things are more unnerving than learning that your enemy has learned things you don’t want your own family to know. One reason the two parties seem so friendly to each other is that each is afraid of what the other might do in an all-out fight. Both have a lot to hide. And since keeping secrets is harder in the media age than ever before, the problem is likely to keep getting worse.

However contemptible the men this system has saddled us with thus far in fact are, Joe saw that the system was not healthy enough to select Statesmen mature enough to rule over us with honor and dignity, nor men with enough wisdom to respected the State’s natural limits. The overarching theme of those columns was that Clinton was the perfect specimen of a symptom of a very sick system. Joe knew that a man of Clinton’s vulgar personal values could only rise to power in a society where advocates for cultural disease have too much power. Clinton was the final indignity to a losing century for conservatives; he was a worthy target and Joe took great delight in deprecating him.

* * *

Things had a way of turning back to a matter in Joe’s mind that brought him to tears in front of me on occasion. It occurred in the year after he arrived at National Review in New York City, and it gave Joe’s life a purpose.

Roe v. Wade shocked Joe’s conscience on many levels. Superficially, it was the ultimate act of tyranny from a State imposing itself lawlessly. On an individual level, Joe considered abortion murder—and suicide on the level of civilization. He saw abortion as the issue so many of our problems revolved around, including the masculine problem with modernity.

From his essay “In Loco Parentis”:

Having left the personhood of the fetus formally uncertain (while in practice denying it), [the Supreme Court] has referred the abortion decision to one person alone: the mother. Obvious as this seems, it implies another profound virtual denial, namely of the father’s interest in the life of his own unborn child. This means that a husband has no more standing to prevent the abortion of his child than if he were a vagrant lover; indeed, that he is as powerless as a perfect stranger with relation to either the mother or the child. The woman’s right is unqualified by any rights of the child or its father. More important, that right is unaffected by her membership in the family.

We have gone from expecting brides to be virgins to denying husbands the right to be fathers. If feminists were now demanding that Solomon split their baby, if their novel conception of “health” required killing the disease of children, and if these moral barbarians were going to attack his Church on top it, then Joe thought there was no justice in calling them anything other than whores.

He was probably right that Roe v. Wade was the only single event that ever really mattered to the generation of feminists who won it. Their movement was mostly a war of attrition, except for Roe—Roe was their Revolution; and Joe was our Burke. He brought moral sanity back to many and many have lived a more fruitful existence because of him.

* * *

Joe coined the term Alienism to denote the resentment women, minorities and assorted outcasts have for a masculine, Christian, and European society. The concept was a kind of unifying theory of liberalism, bringing its separate complexes together into a coherent psychology. The idea didn’t stick around long among movement conservatives but it almost perfectly identifies and encapsulates the enemies of radical traditionalism. Joe was a traditionalist Catholic and not a student of Nietzsche, but he did once concede to me that the Anti-Christ made some good points; Alienism is the Slave Morality of our place and time.

He had started to seriously consider the problem of Islam when I met him. Joe found much to admire in the Islamic world. His favorite place to eat was a Pakistan restaurant in Burke, Virginia. Once, while we were enjoying the restaurant’s ambience and cuisine, Joe made the apt remark, “And we think we’re giving them Civilization.” He said he had attended a gathering at that restaurant in the run-up to the first gulf war of critics of Israel’s role in bringing it about. I found interesting his mention of a man who had attended the meal: Jim Webb.

Joe admired Islam without feeling a need to apologize to it, but he eventually came to the conclusion that Islam was Christianity’s antipode: It was Evil. He said he would someday have to write that; but to my knowledge never did, and I hope I’m not betraying his trust by revealing it now. I do so because I think the reasoning that led him to that conclusion is particularly interesting.

The metaphysics of Allah’s Will unsettled Joe. Put simply, Allah’s will was arbitrary— opposite Christianity’s belief in absolute and immutable categories of Good and Evil. The God of Islam transcends those rational categories. Indeed, Allah has no rational character himself. Islamic and Christian metaphysics cannot therefore be reconciled.

Joe was not sure what that meant for America’s future; but he saw that the contradiction could only come to a head; and he sensed that soon the battle would have to be entered in earnest by Rome, and trusted the Pope sensed it too.

* * *

The best way to put the issue of Joe and his Jewish accusers, I hope, is to say that Joe Sobran did not want to live in a world without Jews. He was surrounded by them most of his adult life and he made genuine enemies with relatively few of them. Many had a special place in his heart: Murray Rothbard and Hadley Arkes come most readily to mind.

Joe found the fact that he couldn’t escape the controversy, even despite actually having lots of Jewish friends, rather comical. He would observe something random, work his way through a syllogism, and, with perfect delivery, deduce that it was anti-Semitic—leaving me in stitches. My favorite line was, “I’m not anti-Semitic, but I admit that I’m anti-Semantic.”

In truth, his enemies and even his mentor never gave his perspective on the matter an accurate description, which allowed them to write about it as if it weren’t an obviously sound and sensible position. He once told me a Jewish-American Zionist had written him a harsh letter after Joe criticized John Warner for pandering to Israel on some matter or another. Joe responded by patiently explaining that he had no problem with Joe Lieberman pandering to Israel—those are his people, Joe had said. But if Lieberman was going to pander to his people because they are his people, then Warner ought to be able to decline to pander to them because they are not his people. Joe’s response was so warm that the person wrote back to apologize and sent Joe a donation.

In the forward to Bill Buckley’s book on various people and institutions accused of anti-Semitism, including Joe, John O’Sullivan wrote that Joe’s response to the charge, included in the book, was a “fine example of the polemicist’s art.” Indeed, it is devastating:

The chief polemical project of modern Zionism has been to forge an ideological high redefinition of anti-Semitism that puts criticism of Israel on the same plane with Nazism—as if these were merely different degrees of the same metaphysical evil. And once this bogus continuum is established, even differences of degree don’t seem to matter much. The point of the devil-term is not to distinguish but to conflate. A Buchanan somehow gets no credit for confining his animus to verbal criticism of Israel; there are no venial sins in this department. On the contrary, he is attacked with as much fury as if he’d called for a nuclear strike on Tel Aviv. Yet we all sense something unreal about the accusation: Buchanan’s foes would be as amazed as his fans if he were arrested for actually harming a Jew.

I think that Joe also just enjoyed playing the paradoxical part of the conservative iconoclast. In 2002, he spoke at the Institute for Historical Review. There he declared himself a “Holocaust Stipulator”—which was too clever by half for some of his friends.

Brendan Matt Dougherty was not one of those friends, a fact revealed by his speculation that Joe’s purpose there “seems to have been to finally set himself on fire, and, with an impish grin, blame this inferno on his former friends.” Those of us who knew Joe would never impute such self pitying stunt to him.

Joe simply did not care if neocons and liberals called him an anti-Semite. He made the mistake of taking for granted the supposition that men can speak frankly about politics without their enemies shrieking about “hate speech” like unhinged women. As I said, Joe’s mind belonged more to Shakespeare’s age than our own. He viewed most of his critics as merely accidental contemporaries; Joe simply did not care about their opinion of him.

However brave of Joe his speech before that group of people was—a group that was not after all arguing that Hitler should have killed more Jews but that he may in reality have killed fewer Jews; a group whose thought crime was challenging a Jewish narrative of a crime against Jews—it wound up being foolhardy, costing him a job at The American Conservative and a real chance at a comeback. Whatever company he chose to associate himself with that day, I should add that Joe did not consider those who spoke or wrote about Jews in a certain way worth paying attention to whatever. Snarling was beneath Joe.

Some of Joe’s friend’s still lament what a shame it was that he didn’t just placate his enemies—which ought to imply that defending him is still dangerous. Matt Scully said he had “an obligation to his own talent, not to squander it in pointless intellectual battles when there were so many good and worthy causes that needed him.”

I wonder if those battles are “pointless” to Mr. Scully because they were unimportant or because they were unwinnable. In any case, it seems absurd to blame Joe for thinking they were neither. It would be better if these friends talked instead about what an injustice it was that the brightest writer of their generation had a career almost snuffed out by agents of foreign influence and authorities of PC.

Justice Scalia’s son celebrated Joe’s funeral mass where he spoke of Joe’s “childlike innocence.” Joe knew that the people who mattered to him knew that he was arguing from a principled position, not a deep-seated place of hate. He was a man constitutionally incapable of malice, and plenty of his accusers knew this. When Irving Kristol died, Joe wept, and said to me, “I cannot imagine the world without that man.” As I said before, Joe Sobran did not wish to live in a world without Jews. It was a grave injustice to slander a man of such sentiments with a term to bring an image of rotting corpses into the mind’s eye.

* * *

Whatever his hardship, and there was something definitely monkish about his existence, he was invariably a man of charity. When Joe did have money in his pocket it mostly went to his Church on Sunday; and when he could hardly make a living writing, he never stopped appreciating “all the goodness and beauty in his life that he [had] done nothing to deserve.” Sympathizing with a person’s circumstance or the condition of their soul came naturally to Joe.

He was not, well, an advocate for the gay agenda, but Joe spoke with heartfelt sympathy of a gay teenage couple he observed while growing up in Michigan. He would see them walking down the street together, holding hands. He said they were alienated by the neighborhood. But they looked so happy together that it brought home to Joe the power of human love. And human love was beautiful to Joe; and Beauty was Divine. He would often say to me, “Isn’t Jesus beautiful.

* * *

Joe’s book on the Shakespeare authorship question, Alias Shakespeare, is a delight to read with an open mind. His treatment of the Sonnets in that book would probably be considered a breakthrough in Shakespeare scholarship if Joe had not been claiming they were written by Edward DeVere. Joe might have been the first person to recognize that the manufactured visage of Shakespeare is rather ridiculous and his description of it is priceless: “…intellectual but rather swashbuckling, rather like a psychoanalyst with a dash of pirate in him.”

He was at pains to produce, but ultimately did finish, an anonymously written commentary on some of the plays for a publisher. I never got to read these essays, but they are surely worth recovering. While he was writing them, my father and I attended with Joe a Kennedy Center production of Titus Andronicus, and this story is worth telling:

I was in line with Joe at the gift shop before the show behind a man buying a book of the play. Joe was never more comfortable than when he was around perfect strangers, and he said to the man ahead of us that he would have recited the play to him for free. Now, you have to understand that “childlike innocence” in Joe’s desire to please other people to see that he was not in such instances being an annoying braggart. The stranger shrugged with an incredulous smile and said something polite to Joe that I can’t now remember.

Another point to bear in mind about Joe, and which will help you appreciate the strangeness of the situation from the stranger’s perspective, is that he usually wore pieces of a sort of otherworldly wardrobe out in public. He had this bright purple pair of reading glasses—the color helped him keep track of them—that he would wear, say, to the drugstore or out to the theater. His shirt and pants were primarily something comfortable and sometimes colorful. His beard was spotty and his shoes were usually slippers.

To look at him you might find such exquisite uniqueness off-putting, until, of course, Joe spoke to you. Then you would recognize that the man matched the clothes in a profound way, that his mind was as otherworldly as his wardrobe. So imagine what the stranger of this story thought when this odd-looking and oddly personable man wound up sitting behind him, where Joe softly recited the entire play.

* * *

He was a champion of Federal Appellate Judge Doug Ginsburg, whose failed nomination to the Supreme Court Joe considered a greater loss than that of Robert Bork, and for that reason might be called the first apostle of Exileism, after Ginsburg’s memorable phrase, “The Constitution in Exile.”

It may be worth noting that Joe and Justice Ginsburg were like two tokens of the same type; both men were willing to sacrifice for their principles, that is to say, they were willing to live for them. Many do not know that after he became a sitting judge, Ginsburg was for a time something of a survivalist living in the backwoods of West Virginia. Joe spoke about Ginsburg with genuine reverence. In another dimension, he might have been Joe’s more adventurous older brother.

Joe’s insight that the Ninth Amendment was the key to understanding the Bill of Rights, and thus the key to understanding where modern constitutional jurisprudence had gone wrong was a neglected argument among his generation of Originalists. They viewed the Tenth Amendment as the key to re-shackling the Federal Government’s power, but it was Joe’s insight that the Ninth Amendment was equally important.

Hamilton held that a bill of rights would deny and disparage any sphere of liberty not specifically enumerated by the bill. The sole purpose of the Ninth Amendment was to obviate that scenario. Joe’s point was that Hamilton had been prophetic: We now have a government of few and defined limits rather than a government of few and defined powers. The purpose of the Constitution has been inverted because the Ninth Amendment has been misinterpreted.

* * *

He almost finished his book on Lincoln and the Constitution, entitled King Lincoln, and left me with the only manuscript, which is now in the possession of his saintly publisher Fran Griffin. Joe blamed Lincoln for precipitating the banishment of the Constitution into exile by obscuring its meaning and its status by bringing the Declaration of Independence into the equation of the Union’s fate.

Joe reasoned, as Mencken had before him, that if the Declaration of Independence is a “founding” document in any meaningful sense, then it only makes sense in the context of the Civil War as a precedent for Southern secession (!). The Gettysburg Address was an invalid argument, leaving Lincoln’s aggression with no justification. Joe felt a moral responsibility in the debate: By nullifying the right to secede, Lincoln was ultimately negating an option that could have mitigated Roe v. Wade.

Joe’s portrait of Lincoln in the book might be the best yet. As the most Shakespearean figure in American history, Joe has Lincoln nailed. And for his final adversary, Joe returned in King Lincoln to his first, Gary Wills.

* * *

He briefly ran for Vice President of the United States on the Constitution Party ticket in 2000, soon finding out that it was against the law to make a living as a writer while running for the executive office, so Joe bowed out, literally and figuratively, becoming an anarchist shortly thereafter. Much of his adult life was spent with a battle against some tedious authority of late modernity in the background. His attitude toward crime was rather archaic: A community’s problems are its own; let the State pay them less attention.

This particular incident is public record and, as I will repeat later on, there are things most don’t know about Joe but which befitted the man and his perspective in a strangely well way and are therefore worth telling—things which his biographer will one day have to mention and which those who knew him already know about.

Joe had a quick but not consuming temper, which in this particular instance of road rage did not redound to Joe’s benefit. One of his small children had left in their seat in his car a toy gun he one day brandished at a reckless driver while harried in traffic and wound up getting himself arrested. Patrick Buchanan stood in Joe’s corner with a letter in defense of his friend’s character that he wrote to the Judge.

You might say he was a man whose temperament did not well suit the modern era—mostly to his credit. No harm, no foul, stop hassling me—about a toy—seemed to be Joe’s attitude to the incident. Joe Sobran’s toy gun story belongs to comedy now, but it illuminates an aspect of modernity that a masculine society should reject. Where we were once a nation of men universally bearing arms, we are now a nation where men can be arrested for brandishing toys in public. The incident has both a tragic and a comic aspect about it—and I should add that Joe steadily kept that bemused tone in his voice while telling me the story.

Joe wound up finally a theocratic anarchist. It was a perspective he reached after a lifetime of reading Chesterton and Johnson, leavened by the rationalism of Rothbard and Han-Hermann Hoppe, and settled by his experience with show trials and travails over toy guns. He decided that the secular state would never stop growing, and if limited government was impossible, then the modern state was fundamentally abnormal. Lending any intellectual support to it was thus misguided.

He winced especially at the modern obsession with the State’s compulsory education system, which is to say, the modern obsession with sending our children to obscene schools. He believed that the Church could provide the social hierarchy and moral order a saner society would prioritize. He was a proponent of the Catholic principle of Subsidiarity and his great essay Pensees could be read as an introduction to the philosophy of Localism:

<<I find a certain music in conservative writing that I never find in that of liberals. Michael Oakeshott speaks of "affection," "attachment," "familiarity," "happiness"; and my point is not the inane one that these are very nice things, but that Oakeshott thinks of them as considerations pertinent to political thinking. He knows what normal life is, what normal activities are, and his first thought is that politics should not disturb them.>>

It’s worth noting that this passage is indicative of what Joe did uniquely well as a writer and thinker. Most people would not compare Michael Oakeshott’s writing to music; but he was certainly great at making useful ideas out of fine distinctions. Notice that Joe only quotes the words for those ideas. If ideas are like the notes of a melody, then you could say that what Joe did uniquely well was turn ideas into music.

* * *

He summed up the difference between Jewish jokes and Irish jokes in this way: “Jewish jokes are all about a smart Jew being outsmarted by a smarter Jew, and Irish Jokes are all about a dumb Irishman being outsmarted by a dumber Irishman.” Joe had many faithful Irish friends and Kevin Lynch was one of them; and from what I could tell, Joe’s closest. He wrote a great tribute to Joe for The American Conservative:

He came to New York City and NR in 1972, by way of Ypsilanti, Michigan, and this ever loyal son of the Midwest never gave a sense of being awed by place or company. Why should he be? He came armed. He knew his Burke, his Chesterton, his Dr. Johnson, not to mention his beloved Shakespeare—on whom he had lectured at Eastern Michigan University—and was always ready to fire off a quote from any of them. His timing was exquisite. He would, at the perfectly appropriate moment, offer the perfectly apt quote to illuminate the moral or political point under discussion… He would come up with a quip or quote that would cause the room to erupt, and Buckley’s laughter was invariably the heartiest. No one could have made a smoother transition to life at the magazine.

The loyalty shown to Joe by his Irish Catholic admirers was something I had never seen before. Troupes of them rallied around Joe when he was in the doldrums, finding him a house, refilling his refrigerator, buying him the books he needed, bringing him to the doctor, and generally doing whatever they could to help Joe and his children. Some of those Irish Catholic admirers even welcomed Joe into their homes when he finally had no choice left but to wander. They moved his massive library of books into a commercial storage unit, and they now reside in “a good Catholic home,” as Joe wished, at Christendom College.

The generosities of magnanimous men like Taki Theodorocopulos, Patrick Buchanan, Lew Rockwell and, apparently, Bill Buckley should not go unmentioned. But to those of us of more modest means, this oddly gifted man, Chesterton’s Ukrainian reincarnation, was more than a friend. He was one of our own.

What is often forgotten in the whole affair of his firing from National Review by Bill Buckley is that Buckley fired Joe not because Norman Podhoretz told him to but because Joe dared him to. Buckley had told Joe to stop antagonizing the Jews and that he didn’t need that heathen fan club of Irish Catholics. Buckley denied he said it—the infamous “you don’t need those people” comment—and fired Joe for writing it in his Catholic Wanderer column. Joe very deliberately chose the loyalty of his tribe over the riches of Bill Buckley and Norman Podhoretz’s world.

Bill Buckley was the only subject I never really discussed with Joe in depth. It was too troubling for him. He obviously had a strongly emotional ambivalence towards his former mentor. Their relationship reminds one in ways of Wagner and Nietzsche’s. Every man must purge from his existence that which he loves most, and Joe Sobran loved Bill Buckley very much. He said a number of times to me that he had no regrets; but I didn’t entirely believe that when it came to Buckley. Joe never doubted that he was right and Buckley, wrong. But when he did mention him, undertones of wistfulness were easily detected in his voice. When Bill died, Joe wept for days.

* * *

Joe said that he couldn’t understand how advocates for war could be considered “conservative” when war plainly destroys everything worth conserving. The neocons were bound to turn on him once Joe began thinking like they did: Above all else worth conserving to Joe was blood. He considered the neocon’s means ruthless and dishonorable. Men with a barely disguised contempt for Christian society were pushing a Christian Republic into wars which it should not have been fighting, inflaming Israel’s enemies against us and inviting their wrath upon us, and destroying anyone who pointed this out:

Suppose things were different. Suppose this country’s foreign policy were pro-Arab and anti-Israel. Suppose the president’s cabinet were full of men with names like Mohammed, Omar, and Abdul; suppose many of the major media were owned by rich Arab-Americans; suppose much of the working press, including many of the most famous pundits, were also of Arab ancestry. A parallel situation? Not quite. You also have to suppose that if anyone were to point out that we were hearing only one side of the story in the Middle East, and that U.S. interests were being sacrificed to Arab interests, he’d immediately be branded an Arab-hater and his career might be severely damaged, with his colleagues afraid to defend him even if they secretly agreed with him.

Joe once told me his favorite line in a movie was from The Godfather’s last scene. In a flashback, you see a growing Corleone family bustling around a dinner table shortly after Pearl Harbor. Michael is about to declare that he has, against the wishes of his father, enlisted in the Army. Joe’s favorite line was Sonny’s: “Your country ain’t your blood.” He believed deeply in the singularly clarifying power of that simple idea and in the potency of its implications. In his last article, Joe reiterated that his opposition to U.S. adventurism had always been based on the guardianship of his son’s lives.

That last article of Joe’s is the last word of a very special writer. To appreciate that fact makes reading it terribly poignant, at least for those of us who knew how low Joe’s life sunk those last years and who could hear his baritone voice while reading it. Peter Brimelow should be credited for keeping that beautiful piece unpublished until he did, allowing Joe to have the last word. I hope this essay will lead more people to read it.

Paul Gottfried got it exactly right when he Comments (24) that Joe is a hero to people like me in a way other “paleocon” luminaries are not. If there is any question about Joe’s relevancy because of his stance on immigration, his critics may have a point, although I know for a fact that Joe was ultimately ambivalent on the issue. He was sympathetic to both sides, and it should be explained exactly why.

Joe had many saintly women in his life, and his friend Patricia Alvarez was one of them. She was a Cuban Catholic immigrant who worked for the American Legion in Washington, DC. Though English was her second language, she took care of Joe for nothing save the satisfaction of helping this loveable man. Joe survived her by less than two years; she died of cancer at 55. Joe was not willing to say that America would be a better place with less people like Patricia. But he did agree—and he told me this explicitly—that Buchanan had won the argument.

In any case, it is true that Joe cared less about what happened in New York than he did about what was happening in Rome. That he thought Hispanic Catholics were members of his tribe in a way that the neocons were not should not render him irrelevant to our cause. We don’t all need to be Catholics, but Joe’s life showed us what it means to be a Tribalist. Would that we could all have the courage to be so archaic.

* * *

There was an aspect of Joe that his biographer will one day have to acknowledge and which those who knew him already know about. And that is that there was always a touch of dysfunctionality in his psyche which was only amplified by age.

The turn his career took may have been worse than it needed to be in part because of Joe’s own problems, in particular that of hanging onto his money and his medicine. It is no secret that he was basically hounded to death by the IRS, but that was only half the problem. When his wreck of an office at NR was finally cleaned out, paychecks he never bothered to deposit were found in his desk. When it came to money, he was either a man who’s genes had not caught up to the modern money economy or a man who simply had better things to think about, though that may be a distinction without a difference.

His handicap militated against a strict adherence to his regimen of medicines, which prevented him from maintaining the chemical balance that could have helped him. Superior minds of his kind often are rather absent-minded about matters too particular for their taste. Joe was well aware that his living quarters must have resembled Beethoven’s.

* * *

As I said before, there was something definitely monkish about Joe’s existence. In his style and in his approach to people, Joe Sobran must have looked to God more like St. Francis than Samuel Johnson. And maybe he looked like St. Francis because he was so out of place in the late modern world. And it was his fate to live out of place, in a world that didn’t appreciate him, that prevented Joe from escaping, despite the support of many, the depths of physical and material despair.

The argument I prefaced this essay by mentioning I would be making is merely this: If after losing the earthly rewards he could not have cared less about keeping, Joe Sobran had retreated to a community of Catholics, rather than relying on an inflated web of Catholics, if he had lived in a small town with the ethnic cohesiveness of a tribe, rather than an anomic society in decay, then he would not have been out of place in the world any longer.

The concentrated compassion of a small environment could have compensated for his problems; and the tribe would have been happy to help him, out of respect for his genius, which would have been obviously worth more than the tribe’s surplus. He could have lived as he did in life, cheaply and from charity, but in a much more healthy and harmonious way, and his natural gifts might have flourished to even greater heights. There would have been no IRS to bully him, no elites to blackball him, and probably plenty of friendly strangers to meet.

If he could have lived above this decadent society, rather than being forced to live beneath it, if he had been writing from an overlook instead of underground, what pictures his prose might have painted. One can just see him in some local setting, speaking as he did, reciting Shakespeare or turning some memorable bon mot, next to an audience of captivated locals, hanging on his every word. Then perhaps he might have looked most like Socrates.

* * *

In conclusion, I’m stealing from respondent BloidSoilNative a quote by the man Joe’s writing brings most to mind:

Spiritually, then, we hold that a healthy man does not demand cosmopolitanism, and does not demand empire. He demands something which is more or less roughly represented by Nationalism. That is to say, he demands a particular relation to some homogeneous community of manageable and imaginable size, large enough to inspire his reverence by its hold on history, small enough to inspire his affection by its hold on himself. If we were gods planning a perfect planet, if we were poets inventing a Utopia, we should divide the world into communities of this unity and moderate size. It is, therefore, not true to say of us that a cosmopolitan humanity is a far-off ideal; it is not an ideal at all for us, but a nightmare.

http://www.alternativeright.com/main...azine/st.-joe/
 
Old February 1st, 2013 #8
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default

Sobran's path to anarchism
http://www.sobran.com/reluctant.shtml
 
Old February 4th, 2013 #10
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default

Jefferson Was Right
by Joseph Sobran

In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 — one of the most important and prophetic documents in American history — Thomas Jefferson made a simple and irrefutable argument. The Constitution is designed to define and limit the powers of the federal government. But if the federal government (including the federal judiciary) is the sole, exclusive, and final authority to say what the Constitution means, it can be expected to rule in its own favor, constantly expanding its own powers and usurping the powers reserved to the states.

In short, if the federal government can define the extent of its own powers, we may as well not have a written Constitution, because its whole purpose has been defeated.

Jefferson was exactly right. It took a while before the Supreme Court assumed the power he feared it would, but it finally happened, and on a scale that would have astounded even Jefferson. In 1973 the Supreme Court made its Grand Usurpation, stripping the states of their authority to protect human life itself.

The Constitution had been virtually abolished by “interpretation” — turned into what Jefferson called “a blank paper by construction.” Anyone who thinks Jefferson would be a liberal in our time, by the way, should consider that he recommended that sodomy be punished by castration. He was especially suspicious of claims of “implied” powers in the Constitution (as in his famous debate with Alexander Hamilton over the issue of a national bank).

It doesn’t take much imagination to guess what Jefferson would think of the U.S. government today, when its supposed “implied” powers are virtually infinite and nobody bothers measuring them against the powers expressly granted. When the federal government claims a new power nowadays, nobody even asks just which clause of the Constitution “implies” it. In practice, the idea of implied powers means that the government does whatever it pleases.

The Constitution delegates a few specific powers to the U.S. government, reserving all other powers to the states and the people. It is these reserved powers that were meant to be well-nigh infinite; they were assumed to be too many and too various to list. Yet these powers have constantly shrunk, and we never hear of “implied” powers of the states. The trick of claiming unlisted powers by implication is one only the federal government is allowed to play.

This is a total inversion — and perversion — of the constitutional design. I do not say this merely as a matter of plain historical fact; it is the obvious and inescapable meaning of the text of the Constitution itself. As James Madison put it, the powers of the federal government, being listed, are “few and defined”; the powers remaining with the states, being unlisted, are “numerous and indefinite.”

When the right of the sovereign states to withdraw from the Union was denied, the states lost their ultimate defense against federal usurpations. A new biography of Jefferson skates over the great Kentucky resolutions, except to remark that his arguments “brought him dangerously close to secessionism.”

I had to laugh. Apparently the author has never noticed that Jefferson explicitly approved the right of secession on several occasions. It was he, after all, who wrote the most famous secessionist document in history: the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming not one but 13 “Free and Independent States.” (His grandson George Wythe Randolph would later serve as a Confederate general and secretary of war!)

Jefferson would surely have agreed that Roe v. Wade justified secession. How far we have departed from his philosophy — and from constitutional government.

http://www.imaginativeconservative.o...l#.URAGL2_5_Tp
 
Old February 4th, 2013 #11
America First
Senior Member
 
America First's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Earth
Posts: 3,699
America First
Default

A worthy thread about Joe Sobran, for all to read.

Quote

He briefly ran for Vice President of the United States on the Constitution Party ticket in 2000, soon finding out that it was against the law to make a living as a writer while running for the executive office, so Joe bowed out, literally and figuratively, becoming an anarchist shortly thereafter. Much of his adult life was spent with a battle against some tedious authority of late modernity in the background. His attitude toward crime was rather archaic: A community’s problems are its own; let the State pay them less attention.

unquote

What a surprise, that professional writers can not run for VPOTUS. LOL!
__________________
Isn't it strange that we talk least about the things we think about most?

We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples
to lead our country to destruction.

-Charles A. Lindbergh
http://www.fff.org/freedom/0495c.asp
 
Old March 19th, 2014 #12
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default

How I Was Fired By Bill Buckley

By Joe Sobran


In October 1993 I was fired by National Review, the magazine I’d written for since 1972. It wasn’t unexpected. Bill Buckley had threatened to fire me a couple of years earlier, and he writes in his book In Search of Anti-Semitism that he’d nearly fired me on yet another occasion, of which I’d had no inkling. So this time, when I wrote a column critical of him and disputing his account, it was a near certainty that the axe would fall.

Since my firing, Bill has privately circulated a selection of our private correspondence — some of it deeply affectionate on my part — and my columns about him. I have only one real quarrel with it: it’s not in chronological order. This has the effect of making me look like a hypocrite for professing affection privately while publicly attacking him.

The critical fact is that my letters and columns praising him were written before (in one case, years before) I saw his book, or had any clear idea of its contents. Any reader who notices the dates on the various pieces can see this for himself. At the time I praised him I assumed he was incapable of anything treacherous. It’s disingenuous of him to use what I wrote before this book was published as evidence of my inconsistency, let alone hypocrisy, when the book itself changed my view of him so radically.

To put it bluntly, if you betray a man, you have no right to complain that he isn’t as nice to you as he used to be. That’s the special nature of betrayal: it cancels everything in a friendship. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t still the same man you were before; but you certainly aren’t the same friend you were before. Bill is probably smart enough to figure this out.

In his book, Bill wrote a number of things about me that were shaded in a way that made him look better, and me worse, than the way I recalled it. I wrote at the time that I’d be giving my version soon, but I put it off a while, knowing my version would probably mean the end of my many years at National Review, and I had to think hard before precipitating that.

Bill and I had been good friends for most of the 21 years I’d worked for him. But the friendship was strained in 1986, when he took the side of my attackers in a row over Israel. When Norman Podhoretz and his wife Midge Decter accused me of “anti-Semitism,” Bill wrote a weird public disavowal of my columns on Israel, saying in effect that I wasn’t anti-Semitic, but deserved to be called anti-Semitic. What made it so bad was that I knew he didn’t even believe what he was saying. It was a failure of nerve. That was clear even from the disavowal itself, which included a sweaty digression on Jewish retaliatory power.

Earlier that year, he’d taken me to dinner to warn me of the dangers of being “perceived,” as they say, as an anti-Semite. His book makes it sound like a long campaign to set me straight, but it wasn’t like that at all. Bill didn’t suggest I’d done anything wrong or that he disagreed with anything I’d written. But Norman Podhoretz was mad at me. That was enough. Later that evening when I told Bill about some Irish Catholic fans of mine who told me they prayed for me, he sneered, “You don’t need those people.” Bill denies having said this (I was fired for quoting it), but he said it, all right. In itself it would be a small thing, but it describes his own policy: ignore the Catholics, cultivate the powerful. (Try to imagine him writing a book against abortion.)

I continued in my wicked ways, criticizing Israel as an albatross for the U.S. In May the Zionist apparat went public in its smear against me, throwing the National Review into a total panic. There was hysteria in Bill’s apartment the night he and the other senior editors discussed it: the disavowal had been prepared behind my back. This was the first I’d heard of it. Bill’s statement didn’t even mention the Podhoretzes by name, as if he was protecting their anonymity. Every other published account of the incident, on both sides, spoke freely of the Podhoretzes’ role; but for some reason, National Review tried to pretend they had nothing to do with it. Furthermore, all responses from the magazine’s readers — who were overwhelmingly on my side — were suppressed. (A couple of years later, when the Podhoretzes accused Russell Kirk of anti-Semitism, National Review was the only conservative publication that didn’t even report it.)

I couldn’t understand what the fuss was about. I’d merely applied conservative principles — the things National Review stood for — to Israel: it was a socialist country with no conception of limited, constitutional government, which discriminated against Christians, while betraying its benefactor, the United States, and turning the Muslim world against us. It seemed pretty clear-cut to me, and none of the reasons conservatives gave for supporting Israel made much sense.

Nobody really disagreed with me. That, in fact, was the problem. Nothing creates more awkwardness than saying things people can’t afford to admit they agree with. Disagreement is manageable. It’s agreement that wreaks havoc. If people disagree, they’ll debate you. If they secretly agree with something, but are furious with you for saying it, then they’ll try to shut you up by any means necessary. As Tom Stoppard puts it, “I agree with every word you say, but I will fight to the death against your right to say it.”

Everything about the uproar puzzled me. After all, I was and am a columnist, not a political leader. I sit alone in a room and write things I hope will make sense to someone out there. I don’t ask readers to accept things on my authority; I appeal to what is already publicly known. So what difference did it make what my motives were (supposing the Podhoretzes could know what they were)? Either my 700-word arguments made sense, or they didn’t. Why should anyone get that excited? Why go to such lengths to prevent the relatively few people who like to read arguments from reading mine? But Bill acted as if it were a life-and-death matter.

With Bill’s statement, National Review became, by default, a neoconservative magazine. It had virtually announced that its avowed principles didn’t apply to Israel, and that its conservatism had no real separate existence from that of Commentary or The Public Interest — both of which, in fact, were scooping National Review with feisty anti-liberal journalism. It was so eager to agree with, and especially to get along with, the power Zionists of Manhattan, that it wouldn’t even defend its own from smears.

The most telling issue, in a way, was the Pollard case. Conceived in preoccupation with the Hiss-Chambers case, the magazine couldn’t bring itself to condemn Israel for Jonathan Pollard’s espionage. It demanded the death penalty for Pollard, but amnesty for those who had recruited him and paid him! Moreover, it showed no interest in whether the military secrets Pollard sent to Israel had been passed on to the Soviet Union, as some reports had it.

Here was the Hiss case of the Right. And some conservatives were evading the critical questions just as the Soviets’ liberal partisans in this country had done a generation earlier. What the silence of most conservatives exposed was not disloyalty or treason, but insincerity. All their patriotic words were empty. It was all a game, or a way of making a living.

Looking back, I think I felt a strange subterranean anger from Bill dating from about that time. He didn’t want to tell me how angry he was, because I was in the right. I was saying things — obvious things — he didn’t have the courage to say. It was extremely frustrating to try to argue with him, because he would neither disagree nor concede anything. He would nit-pick, change the subject, accuse me of bad manners — anything but say whether Israel was a worthy ally of the U.S. Once he wrote that I was “prayed over” at National Review, implying that my differences with the other editors were not merely intellectual, but spiritual; I could just picture editorial meetings in my absence, with those present kneeling to beseech the Almighty to guide this straying sheep back to the editorial consensus on Israel. Bill must be among Penthouse’s most prayerful contributors.

When I wrote columns on Israel, Bill would write me peevish notes saying I was “obsessed.” I had my own view on which of us was obsessed. Once, as I say, he said he would fire me unless I retracted a column on the Gulf War he took as implying that he was in effect working for Israel. I not only hadn’t implied such a thing, I hadn’t mentioned him, and hadn’t even been thinking of him when I wrote the column in question; in fact the idea was so bizarre it had never occurred to me, and I was baffled that he inferred it. Now I think he was just looking for an excuse to get rid of me. I saved my bacon by writing a “retraction” whose irony escaped him. But I realized my days at the magazine were numbered. I came close to quitting several times. John O’Sullivan talked me out of it once; and once Bill and I had sharp words, and I told him he needed to learn the difference between an employee and a serf. He backed off for a while, but pretty soon he resumed dropping me ominous notes about columns he didn’t like.

Once I wrote a column about the strange fear of Jews I found among people who were publicly friendly to them. Bill wrote me an angry note about that one too, thinking I had him in mind. That time he was partly correct. He was afraid people would know I was alluding to him. Well, at least I didn’t use his name, which was more consideration than he showed me.

And again I thought, Gee, why all the fuss? I was just a writer. All I asked was to be let alone to write for my little public. Nobody was forced to read me, and my views didn’t seem to be swaying public policy. Yet here was Bill, trying to put pressure on me behind the scenes. And he wasn’t the only one. The Washington Times came under intense Zionist pressure to drop my column; so did my syndicate. They both held firm, showing more spine than Bill did. So I was able to ignore him and write.

In early 1990, as I recall, Bill told me he was writing an “essay on anti-Semitism” and asked for my views on the subject. Thinking he wanted to know what I thought, I wrote him a long memo. He neglected to tell me that I was one of his targets, and that he wanted my views for the purpose of quoting them against me in what became his most talked-about piece of writing in years. What he quoted didn’t do me any harm, but I’d have appreciated at least a Miranda warning before going to all that trouble for him.

Bill’s essay (it later became the first chapter of his book) consumed the entire Christmas issue of National Review. His attack on Pat Buchanan, naturally, got far more attention than his milder remarks about me; coming during Pat’s presidential campaign, it did terrific damage and created lasting bitterness among conservatives. The whole essay (and book) defies paraphrase; Bill never defines “anti-Semitism,” and he compounds the confusion by writing a prose refined of such coarse elements as nouns and verbs.

But most readers thought Bill’s dragging his father’s anti-Semitism into the piece plumbed new depths, even for the era of the Mommie Dearest genre. After all, nobody is easier to expose to public obloquy than your parents; unless they desert you, you are likely to know a lot about them, some of it unflattering. Most of the human race considers it ungracious to take advantage of them. (One of Bill’s recent books was titled Gratitude.)

I think it tells you something about Bill’s real attitude toward Jews that he thinks the way to propitiate them is by offering up a member of your own family — Isaac sacrificing Abraham, so to speak. Actually, it smacks of the Soviet era, when children were urged to inform on their parents; nothing was private. Bill’s own attitude reminds me of the way Stalin was regarded: public fawning, private dread.

Now Bill didn’t really say anything very bad about either Pat or his father, because he didn’t really say anything, period. His late style has declined into something approaching pure gesture, and meaning tends to get lost in it. All he really did — to Pat, Will Buckley, and me — was to juxtapose us with the word “anti-Semitism,” which is in itself enough to create a foul impression, no matter what the logical and syntactical ligaments may be.

Bill himself used to be accused of anti-Semitism and even Nazism, which ought to have taught him something about loose charges. But he learned the wrong lesson: he learned that the best way to be safe from them is to make them yourself. When he caught on to that, he was like a kid with a very annoying new toy — a noisy gun that he points at everyone.

In his essay-book, he continues to avoid mentioning the Podhoretzes’ role, and he refrains from judging their conduct toward his fellow conservatives. In fact, it transpires in the responses to his first essay that he’d made a backstage deal with Norman Podhoretz to prevent me from writing about Israel and related Jewish topics. Imagine an editor giving another editor that kind of control over his magazine! And imagine letting such an arrangement become public knowledge! Why not just put Norman at the top of the masthead?

The finished book turned out to be as turgid as the first essay, except for the parts where others’ replies were printed. I wrote a reply myself, and much of the rest of the book was Bill’s attempt to belittle my arguments without meeting them. He didn’t have the honesty to concede that I’d made any valid points about our “alliance” with Israel. It was one long act of appeasement, aimed only at getting back on the good side of the Zionist apparat.

The book may have done Bill some good, but it didn’t do the Jews any good. Treating fanatical Zionists like the Podhoretzes as normative Jews is no favor to Jews. (You could even argue that it’s an insidious form of anti-Semitism.) The book was written in a sort of nervously meandering prose that sounded as if the author had a gun at his head. It should have come with a ransom note.

In other words, the book is written in fear. Nothing in it suggests any appreciation of Jews, any savoring of distinctive Jewish qualities. Its real message is not that we should like or respect Jews; only that we should try not to hate them. But this implies that anti-Semitism is the natural reaction to them: if it’s a universal sin, after all, it must be a universal temptation. If people are taught that the Jews are hated everywhere, they are not going to draw the conclusion that it’s always the gentiles’ fault. But this doesn’t occur to Bill When he defends Jews, I sometimes feel like saying: “Bill! Bill! It’s all right! They’re not that bad!”

Though Bill professed concern for the survival of the Jews, it was his own survival he was worried about. What he’d told me on the disputed winter night back in 1986 was not that my columns on Israel threatened the Jews, but that they threatened my own future — and thanks to him, that turned out to be partly true. But the Podhoretzes could never have hurt me the way he did.

I felt betrayed by that book, and by Bill’s general conduct on the Jewish issue. But there was more to it than that. His mind had lost its edge. I kept waiting for him to come to his senses, not only on Israel but on other things too. I’d thought the whole conservative mission was to reduce government to “rational limits,” as he once finely put it. But he was getting further and further from the great old state-haters of his youth — Mencken, Albert Jay Nock, Frank Chodorow, John T. Flynn — and going off on benders like writing a book in favor of national service.

Finally it became obvious that he wasn’t going to change. He’s old and set in his ways, and his mind isn’t going to come up with anything new. His preoccupation seems to be protecting his celebrity. That was what I’d threatened: he was afraid that charges of anti-Semitism against me, no matter how unfair, would hurt him, and it was his duty to avoid being accused. In his mind, the accusation itself constituted guilt.

Early in 1993 I heard that he’d spoken on anti-Semitism to a Jewish group and had mentioned me. The next time I saw him I told him to leave my name out of these affairs. “You started it,” he said. I can only guess that he meant I “started it” by getting myself accused of anti-Semitism. I’d certainly given him nothing but loyalty for twenty years. Now he thought he owned the right to abuse my name. He was telling me he had no intention of stopping.

At about the same time, he sent me another note about my column. I’d twitted George Will, one of his pals, and Bill wrote that I shouldn’t do this because Will was on “our side.” I had to stop and reflect on how Bill defines “our side.” His “our side” seems to include a Podhoretz but not a Buchanan. Like most of Bill’s communications, this had a wry interest as self-revelation. He still thought, in spite of everything, that he was my respected mentor.

This summer he wrote an especially contemptible essay on Muslims, arguing crudely that terrorism is encouraged by the Koran itself. I knew where he got that stuff. It was right out of the Zionist agitprop manual. I was reading the same sort of thing in the New York Post, The New Republic, and suchlike rags. I wondered who’d clipped the Koran for him; I doubt he’s ever opened it in his life. Citing the injunction that wives obey their husbands, and apparently unaware that St. Paul says the same thing, Bill suggested that this explains the miserable plight of women in the Islamic world; adding humorously, “To all appearances, the only time men and women get together in Islamic society is when they copulate.”

The clear purpose of that column was to suck up to his buddies. Nothing else. Bill doesn’t even hate Muslims enough to wish to offend them. He was doing it only to curry favor with the neocon crowd, with a touch of gutter humor showing how far he was willing to go. An abject performance. So much for his pose as the Right’s scrupulous foe of bigotry. He was telling Norman Podhoretz, in effect, “Whom thou smearest, him also will I smear.”

“Israel,” he wrote defensively later, “didn’t cross my mind when I wrote that column.” Then why did the column mention Israel? It dragged in the assertion that Anwar Sadat had been murdered by Muslim fanatics for his “civilized attitude toward Israel.” That kind of pandering reference has become so routine in Bill’s writing that I can well believe he didn’t remember having thought about Israel afterward; the gesture has become almost automatic.

That column enraged me. It showed how insincere Bill had been all along. I should have seen it long before, but I’d assumed there had been some conviction, however misguided, behind all the trouble he’d caused me, as well as other conservatives. Now it really sank in: he’d never meant a word of it. Everything was for public and social effect. If the positions of Jews and Muslims were reversed, he would have written the same column about the Jews.

Bill is always on stage: always acting, posing, making empty gestures. He isn’t concerned about their truth or coherence. That’s why he can talk facilely about prayer while he’s writing for Playboy and Penthouse. And that’s why it’s frustrating to read most of what he has written over the past decade or so.

I wrote a column slamming him for his ugly cracks about Muslims. Then I decided the time had come to tell my side of the story about his sycophancy to the Zionist apparat.

When he fired me, Bill replied publicly to my account by ascribing it to “an incapacitation moral and perhaps medical.” That was the typical Buckley touch. He has broken with many people over the years, and his standard response is to insinuate that they have become a little, you know, unbalanced. He himself, of course, represents the golden mean.

But another way to interpret this recurrent situation, with its attendant rhetoric, is that the people Bill has broken with have consistently been more principled than he is — Randians, Birchers, Murray Rothbard, Willmoore Kendall, Brent Bozell, Garry Wills, and others of less renown. His only recourse is to imply that they are fanatical, extreme, obsessive — from causes that are “perhaps medical.” Bill is an overrated debater, but he’s peerless at making others look bad.

I thought I’d miss National Review as an institution, but I don’t. After two decades there I had dear friends, but the place itself was a facade. When I signed on at the age of 26, I thought everyone there would be philosophizing and discussing first principles. There was some of that, but basically it was just a business. Nice, decent, ordinary, though intelligent people. A million laughs, and some terrifically funny guys, from Jeff Hart to Ed Capano to Jim McFadden. Bill could be very funny too, of course, but even he didn’t stand out in that company. What I really miss, as anyone who knows her will understand, is Dorothy McCartney.

But how strangely different it all became from what I’d expected. In the Sixties, when most of the world was going madly leftward, in the insane pursuit of “progress,” Bill Buckley’s conservatism seemed to many of us to be a politics appropriate to the tradition of Aquinas, Dante, Shakespeare, and Dr. Johnson. That tradition seemed implicit in Bill himself, in his refusal to join the flow of what he mockingly called the Zeitgeist. You could see in him the reflection of your own yearnings: for Christianity, for constitutional government, for the free market, for the Old South, for almost every other fugitive “reactionary” principle; and also for the courage to stand in opposition.

Now all that seems only distantly related to Bill’s actual life, like the boyhood memory of a pious old aunt when you are a middle-aged man. Not that his life is discreditable, apart from the things I’ve mentioned; but somehow he belongs more to the world of Phil Donahue than to the world of Dr. Johnson. His conservatism is a conservatism of image, show business, public relations, stock mannerisms; big words, anfractuous grammar, repetitious Latinisms, implying a depth that isn’t there.

What happened to him? Conservatives everywhere speculate on this. I don’t fully know the answer, because it’s partly the mystery of a soul. All I can say is that New York, a Babylon of dizzying distractions, has absorbed him, as it is likely to absorb anyone who stays there too long, and Bill, bored with his early role, forgot what he started out to do. Gravitas was finally swallowed up in celebritas. And by now it may be necessary to stand athwart National Review yelling “Stop!”
 
Old March 19th, 2014 #13
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default

http://www.theamericanconservative.c...ms-mozart-099/

His last major writing effort, never completed, was a book about Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and its relation to the United States Constitution.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/cultur...-joseph-sobran

Last edited by Alex Linder; March 19th, 2014 at 04:58 PM.
 
Old March 19th, 2014 #14
Dave from New York
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 565
Dave from New York
Default

The comments on the first link are repugnant. One slimey yid squid squirts out the "sobran wuz a nazi!" opprobrium and the ballroom of milquetoast pudlickin' commentators go right into defensive, apologist mode.

Buckley's mouldering bones would be so proud.
 
Old March 19th, 2014 #15
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave from New York View Post
The comments on the first link are repugnant. One slimey yid squid squirts out the "sobran wuz a nazi!" opprobrium and the ballroom of milquetoast pudlickin' commentators go right into defensive, apologist mode.

Buckley's mouldering bones would be so proud.
yeah, been reading obit stuff i havent posted here...every jew site has garbage about was he or wasn't he an anti-semite, so dumb. how is our race so fucking stupid that we can't see "anti-semite" for the scam it is?
 
Old March 19th, 2014 #16
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default

Being removed from National Review was only part of Sobran's punishment, which I think illustrates that there was nothing uniquely craven about Buckley's actions. Buckley acted the way successful people in the United States believe they must act if they are to remain successful. Sobran would also lose his position as commentator on the CBS Radio program "Spectrum," where he had been featured for 21 years, and most newspaper outlets would cancel his syndicated column. And he would be blacklisted not only by other mainstream venues but even by many alternative ones, to the extent that he could not earn a living and would spend his later years in poverty, supported by a few friends but abandoned by the powerful. It should be added that even the self-proclaimed conservative opposition to the neoconservatives, the much ballyhooed magazine The American Conservative, would exclude him from its pages. Chronicles, too, would suspend him for a period of time.

http://www.thornwalker.com/ditch/snieg_sobran.htm
 
Old March 19th, 2014 #17
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default

Joe Sobran (1946-2010): Relegated Champion
Jett Rucker

"Revisionism" is somewhat of a misnomer—or is incomplete in its implications, at any rate. The term denotes a process of correction through change—in this case, of the historical record. But in most of the cases published in this journal, it implies much more. It implies a correction of popular error, a sailing against the wind of Napoleon's acid and all-too-true definition of history as "Lies agreed upon." By definition, the content of revisionism is opposed not only by popular belief, but by power elites whose dominance and ease depend upon the continuance of the popular belief. At no risk of usurping the existing terminology, I'll submit "Retrospective dissent" as a better description.

This means, in turn, that every revisionist who publishes his revision under his own name becomes, in doing so, a martyr. Rarely, nowadays, does it seem to cost the revisionist's physical life, but it often costs not only career and reputation, but even to some extent his health, perhaps even his marriage or familial relations.

Some revisionists, perhaps the more fortunate, plunge into the tempest of revisionism with seemingly little to lose. Generally of the younger sort, these stalwarts offer up on the altar of revisionism only brilliant careers still unborn, domestic bliss still only within their dreams. Others experience the opening of their eyes only as wisdom unfolds with age. These, talented and rigorously honest souls to a man (and woman), always—by my definition—have respected professional reputations, devoted families and/or circles of friends, in some cases wide public followings, even high incomes and perhaps the beginnings of wealth. And these, they consign, if not willingly, then still knowingly, to smoke in the flames that burn eternally, like those of Hell, to consume those who would defy the status quo in the defense of truth.

Such a one was Michael Joseph Sobran, in 1991 arguably the best writer in the stable of brilliant writers assembled by William F. Buckley to fill the pages of his National Review magazine with the most-glittering, high-impact, and influential prose ever to be associated with the word "conservative." And it was around 1991, with the launching of the First Gulf War, that Joe Sobran began his long, tortuous descent from the pinnacle of Conservative approbation, influence, income, and security he had attained under the banner of the National Review and its charismatic founder and leader, William F. Buckley. Sobran set out on this course by opposing the First Gulf War and sealed his fate by pointing out that the interests and influence of Israel were critical in propelling the US along the path to this and subsequent wars.

Buckley was not the cause of Joe Sobran's undoing—he was the agent of it. Sobran's undoing was designed and compelled by the agents of Israel, chiefly New Republic Editor Norman Podhoretz and his wife Midge Decter. These dropped on Sobran the atomic bomb of Zionist opprobrium: they said he was anti-Semitic. Worse, they eventually bullied Buckley into confirming their scurrilous charge.

Joe Sobran would have none of it. Besides holding to his initial position without the merest hint of cavil or mitigation, he fired back at his attackers with devastating revelations of their warmongering, imperial, genocidal motivations. Buckley won the fight the only way he could: he fired Sobran in 1993.

As Sobran inquired further into Israeli atrocities and the historical/moral/biblical claims made by Israel's apologists to somehow expiate these atrocities, his attention was drawn to the tortured history of the "Holocaust" of 1933-1945. He eventually found sympathy with, and from, the Institute for Historical Review and its director, Historian Mark Weber. A writer (and eloquent speaker, as Sobran was) must have an audience. Seldom is a writer's audience composed entirely of people who are as glittering, glamorous, wealthy, stylish, or admired as one might possibly wish. And when a purveyor of thoughts and ideas such as Sobran finds audiences that welcome him, the purveyor naturally and instinctively inflects his milieux in the direction of their interests. Even Elie Wiesel began to write in French when the Yiddish vein he had been mining petered out.

Thus it was that, after his split with the National Review, Joe Sobran bestowed progressively more of his genius on two worthy recipients: Catholicism, and opposing the hijacking of American hearts and minds by Zionists.

Where the two of these intersected most-trenchantly, was hatred.

Joe Sobran was the nemesis of hatred. In his columns, he wrestled this devil mano a mano, and he beat it every time. Perhaps the profane charges of anti-Semitism made him take Old Scratch on so frontally and so devastatingly. Consider the wisdom displayed in a quip he made in his section of William F. Buckley's In Search of Anti-Semitism, the book in which Buckley's abandonment of the last pretense of conservative idealism became finally and indisputably visible to all: "The term anti-Semite used to refer to a person who hates Jews. Today, an anti-Semite is a person who is hated by Jews."

Like Lord Acton and Murray Rothbard, Joe Sobran grew more radical as he got older. He was, in fact, a devoted follower of Murray Rothbard, eventually pronouncing himself a "reluctant anarchist." Rothbard may even have influenced Sobran's seminal thinking about anti-Semitism and hatred. The Profile of Murray Rothbard in the Fall 2010 issue of Inconvenient History included a link to his 1990 essay, "Pat Buchanan and the Menace of Anti-anti-Semitism." Buchanan, of course, was a victim of Buckley concurrently with Sobran, and Buckley figures into Rothbard's essay extensively.

Sobran's own magnum opus on the subject was "The Uses of Hate," (http://tinyurl.com/2458jxd) in which he delivered some startling insights on the subject of hatred—particularly the hatred of groups that so obsesses a certain kind of pundit on such notions. "Despite all the rhetoric of bigotry that assails us these days, it just isn't that easy to hate indiscriminately. In fact such hatred seems unnatural — or, if you prefer, idiosyncratic." He continues to remind us of what we know perfectly well—despite the illusory pronouncements of the aforementioned pundits—that hatred is an emotion felt against specific, known (or perhaps not-well-understood) persons, and not against groups of persons with whom the would-be hater is not personally acquainted. Of course, it is not only possible, but frequently attempted, to express, even to encourage, hatred of just such persons-unknown, but such attitudes are at best abstractions, and more-often sheer incitements, to which the human soul ultimately cannot faithfully attach itself. Even Hitler famously arranged for the unmolested emigration of the Jewish doctor who had attended him and his mother in Linz, Austria—the same doctor who characterized the juvenile Adolf as in all ways respectful, polite, and devoted to his mother in a way most-difficult to reconcile with the images subsequently disseminated of the soulless monster Adolf Hitler.

Joe Sobran—like the rest of us continually inundated by incitements to hatred perversely clothed in the trappings of opposition to just such hatred—saw through the entire travesty, and delivered to those of us who would receive it these critical insights. For this, the intellectual powers that be excoriated him mercilessly.

And such are those powers, to the everlasting detriment not only of Joe Sobran, but of you, and me, and of peace and brotherhood quite as well. Joe Sobran resisted them—eloquently, resolutely, politely, and with unassailable recourse, time and again, to fact and reason. And he did so with indomitable courage and heedlessness to his own welfare.

In doing this, his life and works pose a standard to each of us. To bear witness, yes. To do so eloquently, loudly—even, as it may be, offensively to many, yes. To do so resolutely and fearlessly, yes. But above all, to do so confident in the truth and virtue of what we do, and ultimately, in the irresistible need for it to be done.

http://inconvenienthistory.com/archi...d_champion.php
 
Old March 19th, 2014 #18
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default

The Uses of "Hate"

by Joseph Sobran

ARLINGTON, VA — A reader who says he usually likes my columns took strong exception to the one I wrote criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down the Texas sodomy law (The Court Can Do No Wrong). He charged me with "bigotry" and added that I sounded like "a bitter homophobe."

Since I hadn't written about homosexuality as such, or even about the merits of the Texas law, I wondered how he got that impression. It's possible to disapprove of sodomy *and* the Texas law *and* the Court's ruling, and I do. But no matter how clearly you try to write, you can't stop people from reading their own notions into your words.

Needless to say, it's very common these days to respond to an argument by addressing not the point the writer is making, but his supposed feelings about the subject. Was it always so, or has the world taken a turn for the worse lately? I can't say, but few would say we live in an age distinguished by logical thinking. If you reject a political claim made in the name of any category of people, you can expect to be accused of hating all the people in that category.

This kind of thinking has gotten especially silly in the area of "gay rights" and "homophobia," terms too blurry to mean much. It's not that I want to plead not guilty to the charges; I merely want to point out how unrealistic the charges are on their face.

Lots of people disapprove of sodomy and find it disgusting. These attitudes are ancient and are implicit in all our slang and jokes about the subject. But how many people who hold them really hate homosexuals without distinction? Very few, really. The ones who do have often had unpleasant personal experiences that explain their hostility; yet I have a friend who, though he was molested as a boy and completely shares my views on the matter, harbors no special animosity toward homosexuals in general.

Despite all the rhetoric of bigotry that assails us these days, it just isn't that easy to hate indiscriminately. In fact such hatred seems unnatural — or, if you prefer, idiosyncratic.

But some people find a strange moral satisfaction in positing a ubiquitous "hate," usually against "minorities" of one sort or another. And of course this "hate" requires the state to take various actions to protect the alleged victims, to make reparations, to reeducate the bigoted public, and finally to "eradicate" the proscribed attitudes. This stipulated "hate" seems to fill a vacuum in the moral universe, much as the rarefied ether was once believed to fill the emptiness of outer space.

So "hate" endows the state with a vast mandate for correction. Citizens must be treated as potential, even presumptive, bigots. "Discrimination" must be anticipated and forbidden. Ambitious laws and programs must be passed and implemented. Old freedoms — of association, property, commercial exchange — become suspect and must be abridged.

And the scope of the state must be expanded to include even the inspection of our motives. It isn't enough to ban overt "discrimination," since we may be "discriminating" furtively; and because we may be lying about our real motives, the state must also enforce outward compliance with "civil rights" laws (by imposing racial quotas and the like). Meanwhile, more and more things are said to be "discriminatory," including marriage.

All this must be most encouraging to the sort of people who think of the state as an instrument for the complete overhauling of society and human relations. What better starting point for such a project than a presumption of guilt against — well, everyone?

http://www.fgfbooks.com/Sobran-Joe/2...ran100910.html
 
Old March 19th, 2014 #19
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default

Joseph Sobran, RIP
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

The great American writer Joe Sobran died today in Arlington, Virginia, from complications of diabetes. He was just 64. There is much more to say about this extraordinary man, but for now I just want to mention his sacrificing his lucrative career at National Review on the altar of truth. When Joe opposed the first US war on Iraq, ex-CIA agent Bill Buckley first ordered him to submit to the warfare state, and when he wouldn’t, fired him, even calling Joe an anti-Semite. But unlike Buckley and the other neocons who attacked him, Joe was no hater. He simply loved the Prince of Peace.
 
Old March 19th, 2014 #20
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,360
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default

Joe Sobran remembered.
Joseph Sobran will go down as one of the better American journalists, if and when America gets a free press once again. He died just a few days ago, and his pointed and unbiased examinations of Israeli and Jewish lobby shenanigans, tied to the Judeo-Christian lobby, will be long cherished. Bill Buckley fired him from National Review rather than admit he spoke the truth, likely for fear of the Jews. I wonder today what he would have had to say about the firing of Cuban-American Rick Sanchez by CNN, for daring to expose John Stewart and the Jewish lords of the North-East liberal establishment that control the news, as hardly being victims, or poor. Vaya Con Dios, Andy

http://hrp-historicalreviewpress.blo...emembered.html
 
Reply

Tags
#1, joe sobran

Share


Thread
Display Modes


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:20 AM.
Page generated in 0.31645 seconds.