Something happened to me this week, which suggests that certain enemies hang around to bite you until you or your enemies depart this world. A few months ago Walter Block and I began assembling a list of “Scholars for Trump,” which some readers of this website agreed to sign. Later Walter and I were told that another academic, Francis Buckley, a professor of law at George Mason and contributor to National Review, was putting together an independent list of pro-Trump authors. Thereupon we established contact with Professor Buckley, exchanged lists (for full disclosure, his list was considerably longer than ours) and agreed that sometimes in October we would try to integrate our two lists. This week the AmGreatness website published its own long list of “Scholars and Writers for Trump” together with declarations of support prepared by what we were supposed to believe were prominent scholars. A few dozen friends asked me over the internet why my name had not turned up on this list. As the author of thirteen books with publishers that include Princeton, Cambridge, and MacMillan and as the writer of numerous scholarly articles in German and French as well as in English, I would certainly qualify as a scholar, at least as much as any of the signatories featured on AmGreatness.
As best as I can piece together the circumstances, it seems that Professor Buckley made an entirely unauthorized use of our list. We never agreed that he was allowed to recycle our list, after he removed those names, including those of the two organizers, which did not resonate with his pals at the AmGreatness-website. Those on our list whom the editors of that website found compatible were contacted behind our backs and induced to sign on to the Amgreatness list. The other signatories, including me, were thrown onto the trash heap. These steps came after what the website editor, Christopher Buskirk, suggested had been an exceedingly fastidious process. Apparently neither Walter nor I, although widely published septuagenarian scholars, was good enough to be on the same list of notables with geriatric neoconservative journalists. Having read an assessment of this list in the nutcase leftist the New Republic, I found myself actually agreeing with its judgment that many of the signatories barely if at all qualify as scholars. At least some of them, as the commentary stated, were “of little scholarly repute.”
Again relying on my limited contacts, it seems that whoever sponsors Amgreatness found me personally objectionable and may not have liked Walter, perhaps for his insufficient Zionism. What I have to assume is that the older neocons who for the moment are backing Trump are establishing the same kind of litmus test they used against designated enemies on the libertarian and paleoconservative Right back in the 1980s and 1990s. Since these powerbrokers obviously have more resources than does our side, they get what they want, particularly when dealing with those running their websites on shoestring budgets. For the record, I no longer identify myself as a “scholar for Trump.” The people with whom I’d have to share that designation includes some of my worst enemies. This is all very unfortunate. As I told the Amgreatness editor after he wrote me a largely incoherent rationalization for his actions, I was hoping that in my old age my longtime neocon enemies and I would be united by at least one “shared enterprise.” Now I know for sure this will never come to pass.
Finally, I should note that if those presented on the Amgreatnes website as Trump’s intellectual shock troop are what they claim to be, I’ll have to reconsider my enthusiasm for the GOP presidential candidate. One reason Walter and I backed Trump is that he seemed less surrounded by neocon “policy advisors” than Hillary. This may no longer be the case. That said, I shall pull the lever for Trump in the voting booth because I wish to prevent the Cultural Marxist dictatorship that might descend on this country if Mrs. Clinton is elected. But I have no illusion after seeing some of the Amgreatness signatories that a Trump victory will bless us with a neocon-free administration. That’s unlikely to arrive, no matter which nominee wins the presidential sweepstakes.