Mentioning the Unmentionable

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare

by Paul Gottfried

A question that might be worth asking is what exactly do the liberal media know about the intellectual Right. Do the New York Times’ editors or the TV spinners of news have any awareness of real conservatives and real libertarians? Do liberals know about the non-neocon rightists who have created a vast running body of political commentary and whose thoughts are readily available on websites and in print?

Most of my esteemed colleagues on the Right, to whom I have posed these questions, respond with an unequivocal "no." Their reasoning is as follows: the liberal media only knows about those on the Right who belong to their fraternity, that is, those who appear on TV, and/or those who, like Max Boot writing in the Wall Street Journal (Jan. 3, 2003), glory in having social access to liberal journalists and news-people. Why would these verbalizers fuss about publications and websites that are written by and aimed at intellectuals situated outside the mass media? The only reason they would make note of such a group is to confirm their preconceived opinion, namely, that the "far Right" is made up of raging bigots who reside in a fever swamp.

Allow me to express my skepticism. It seems to me highly unlikely that the ignorance of the verbalizers is quite as impenetrable as some might believe. In the last few weeks I have encountered remarks, most recently by Katrina Van den Heuvel and Wolf Blitzer in a CNN exchange with Jonah Goldberg, that indicate that the other side knows who we are. Van den Heuvel embarrassed Goldberg by saying that American "foreign policy has been hijacked by neoconservatives outside the mainstream of American values." Blitzer then pushed the envelope by reminding Goldberg "Jonah, you’re one of the hijackers."

Goldberg answered by sputtering impatiently about "this newest sort of conspiracy and fantasy theory that lots of people have out there." He went on to compare Van den Heuvel to "Pat Buchanan in terms of her conspiracy stuff," and insisted, like a Mafia Don testifying about the non-existence of his alleged organization, that "neoconservatives do not call themselves that." Finally Jonah began to vent that "this hijack thing is really sort of a pernicious way of making it sound as if there are these interlopers as some sort of [unintelligible] from Israel. That’s outrageous."

Goldberg was clearly annoyed that Van den Heuvel and Blitzer had brought up the fact that there is a certifiable and literate American Right that strongly dissents from neoconservative politics. Goldberg’s peeve may have been partly fueled by the sense of betrayal by his liberal pals. Despite the fact that the neocons have been generous to a fault in dividing up their goodies, paid for by Mr. Murdoch, with liberal pundits who fill their newspapers and Fox discussions, his interlocutors had not fully returned the kindness. They had alluded respectfully to those whom liberals and neocons are never supposed to mention, save as examples of anti-Semitism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, and racism.

At the very least CNN should go along with the pretence that the only people worth noticing on the Right are Scoop Jackson Democrats or friends of Richard Perle. Heaven knows the outcome if such bad manners are allowed to continue!

But clearly Blitzer and others on CNN understand that there are conservatives who are different from Jonah. Paleolibertarian, paleoconservative, and anti-immigrationist websites have now reached upward of a million people. (LewRockwell.com is better read than National Review, for example, and VDARE.COM is moving up the list very quickly indeed.) Buchanan’s learned diatribe against immigrationists and multiculturalists stayed for months on top of the best-seller list. And paleolibertarian economic historian Tom Di Lorenzo has published a critical book on Lincoln that, to the consternation of the liberal-neocon hive, has sold over 50,000 copies, and changed many young minds.

Equally distressing, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, another person unfit for liberal cocktail parties, has produced a critique of democracy that is drawing international attention; my own joyously insensitive studies of the managerial state and its hegemonic ideologies are beginning to get the same kind of notice. There is also a growing demand for the books of Murray Rothbard and for those of his numerous disciples, which frontally attack the social democratic welfare state.

At the same time, Paul Craig Roberts, Taki, Charley Reese, Scott McConnell, Lew Rockwell, Eric Margolis, Joe Sobran, Joe Stromberg, David Gordon, Scott Trask, Tom Woods, Ilana Mercer, Peter Brimelow, Robert Higgs, Steve Sailer, Karen DeCoster, Tom Fleming, Stuart Reid, Sam Francis, and (more often than not) Michelle Malkin are all taking aim at the neocon empire from the Right. While Pat Buchanan and The American Conservative are eliciting responses on the Left, presumably the media can see that a lot more is coming from the same direction.

If such dissenting voices do not very often get heard on Fox or CNN, and if pubescent neocons are featured there with dismal regularity, the explanation is not hard to find. The liberal establishment is happy as a clam to restrict the political conversation to those like themselves, essentially BosWash, predominantly Jewish, liberals with whom they can agree on every major issue, save, in a few cases, the impending war against Iraq.

Why open the conversation to extremists who hold views that are abhorrent to your side, on immigration, Martin Luther King, and the welfare state? Never mind if these reactionaries oppose American imperialist ventures even more strongly than Tom Brokaw or Wolf Blitzer! Liberal journalists and mediacrats don’t want these troublemakers on their turf, spreading confusion. They may allude to them to rattle Jonah, but never push the game any further. The closest these censors come to acknowledging the sizable number of anti-war critics on the Right is to make references to Pat Buchanan. Since Pat has made it through the veil of silence, there seems no good reason to pretend he’s not there. Just as long as the gatekeepers don’t keep the door ajar for other dissenters on the Right, who (unlike Goldberg) speak and write coherently and who are likely to make the political dialogue too provocative.

January 30, 2003

Paul Gottfried [send him mail] is professor of history at Elizabethtown College and author of, most recently, the highly recommended Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt.

Paul Gottfried Archives

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare
  • LRC Blog

  • LRC Podcasts