Banishing the Cathars

In the late 12th and early 13th centuries a splinter sect of Christianity became popular in the Languedoc region of Aragon, in what is now France. The movement is known to historians as the Albigensian Heresy, and its adherents are often referred to as Cathars, although it is doubtful whether they used that term to describe themselves. They were persecuted and eventually crushed by the Church of Rome under the leadership of Pope Innocent III. The dénouement was ugly and bloody, as was the case with most religious conflicts in medieval Europe.

From the perspective of the established Christian Church, Albigensian doctrine was definitely a heresy. It was an attempt to resolve what is nowadays known as “the problem of evil”, and the Cathars accomplished this through theological dualism, by positing the existence of two deities, a good one (God) who created the spiritual realm and heaven, and an evil one (Satan), who created the Earth and dross matter. The two deities were in constant battle with one another, and would remain so until the End of Days.

However, it wasn’t their doctrine that made the Albigensians dangerous, it was their political impact. Some local political leaders supported the Cathars, and dissident bishops found it expedient to back them as a foil against Rome. The popularity of the sect sealed its fate, and the Roman hierarchy eventually regained full ecclesiastical control of southern France.

Although it is only figuratively bloody, the current uproar over Diana West’s book American Betrayal reminds me of the reaction to a medieval heresy. There is no room for gentlemanly disagreement: anything that is viewed as an incorrect interpretation of historical events must be ruthlessly exterminated.

Today’s installments in the ongoing drama showed no signs of any return to civility regarding the book. The most prominent of the less-than-courteous reviewers is Conrad Black, who in NRO and The New York Sun referred to Diana West as a “right-wing loopy” exhibiting “jejune dementedness”, among other epithets. Mr. Black provides a long discourse on the history of the Second World War, but it remains unclear whether he has actually read American Betrayal, or whether he simply gleaned snippets about it from reading earlier denunciations of the book by some of its prominent critics.

Ms. West has responded to this latest salvo, also at NRO. Numerous other attacks on the book appeared today, some of them nastier than Mr. Black’s, by various writers from the “mainstream” Right as well as from the Left.

For sympathetic support, see John L. Work, “Carpet-Bombing American Betrayal At Amazon”.

Thanks to Ronald Radosh and David Horowitz, Ms. West’s book has become so controversial that more and more people are airing their opinions about it, both positive and negative. This cannot help but increase the book’s sales, so we owe a debt of gratitude to Front Page Magazine.

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So what’s going on here? Why has a disagreement that should have centered on the reliability of sources and the interpretation of historical material turned into such a deplorable orgy of mud-slinging?

One must assume that the vicious invective coming from the book’s detractors is a sign that this is indeed a political issue, just as the heresy of the Cathars was a political issue. Powerful people feel they have something to lose, and their vituperation is a sign of their desperate determination to hang onto it. What “it” might be — money, social position, academic standing, the respect of one’s peers — is hard to determine. But there’s little doubt that what we’re witnessing is a struggle to defend crucial turf.

Another sign of the heavy political baggage involved is the fact that since the first barrage was launched by Ronald Radosh last week, no prominent conservatives — what I would term “celebrities”, if conservatism had such creatures — have stood up to decry the ad hominem attacks against Diana West by people who have never read her book.

In contrast, ordinary people are standing up and saying that Messrs. Horowitz and Radosh are wrong, and saying it “to their faces” in the comments section on Front Page and other venues. These “little people” must have nothing to lose, because they are fearless about speaking out.

But prominent people… Well, that’s another matter. They stand to lose [fill in the blank here — funding, a seat on the board at Heritage, being invited to make an appearance as a talking head at Fox News, being allowed to publish at prominent sites, having their own books recommended by orthodox reviewers, etc.], so they don’t stand up. They don’t let themselves be counted as opposing the personal attacks on and vilification of a colleague.

The only conceivable explanation for their behavior is fear.

I’m appalled that none of these well-known conservatives is willing to stand up, suck in his gut, throw back his shoulders, and say, “Diana West is a diligent researcher who simply followed investigative leads to reach unpopular conclusions. Treating her this way is WRONG.”

Surely some of them are close enough to retirement to actually say this?

But no: they must preserve their cherished positions in the pecking order of prominent right-wingers. Better that Diana West should go to the stake.

It’s pathetic that Gates of Vienna, of all places, has to be the front line of defense for Ms. West. We are less than a microbe in the conservative ecology. Where are the lumbering dinotheres, for crying our loud?

There is a sad lesson to be learned here, and it has nothing to do with whether Diana West is right or wrong about any particular conclusions she draws. A larger battle is being fought, but much of it is occluded from public view, and not available for scrutiny by the little people.

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Two final notes:

Dr. John Earl Haynes is a noted historian and expert on American communism and Soviet espionage in the USA who has written numerous books and articles on the topic, often in collaboration with Harvey Klehr. He sent us an email earlier today with a link to his latest piece, “Was Harry Hopkins A Soviet Spy?”:

In view of Julius O’Malley’s kind remarks about our work in the course of his posting about Radosh, West, and Harry Hopkins, I bring to his attention Klehr’s and my post on the issue at FrontPage Mag.

Professor Hans Jansen, the Dutch expert on Islam and sharia who is well-known to Gates of Vienna readers, gave the American Betrayal a five-star review:

We all are too busy and have too many things to do. Nevertheless, this book is obligatory reading, not only for Americans, for European as well.

I’m sure we will have more on all this brouhaha later. Unfortunately.

Update: Diana West sends this comment from Professor Hans Jansen, which he gave permission to publish:

The polemics against your Betrayal have a familiar smell: the masters of the guild get angry when someone less worthy than they are ventures into the orchard in which only they are privileged to harvest. The harvest the outsider brought in, they ritually burn.

Previous posts about the controversy over American Betrayal by Diana West:

2013   Aug   11   Diana West: On the Question of “Scholarship”
        13   Yet Another Circular Conservative Firing Squad
        14   Cordon Sanitaire: FAIL
        15   On Reading the Book

48 thoughts on “Banishing the Cathars

  1. This is particularly puzzling as the broad lines of the phenomenon West has described have been known to anyone interested to know, for years. The 1+hour interview with KGB operative Yuri Bezmenov has been passed around since it originally transpired 29 years ago. For almost as long (General) Ion Pacepa has been writing about the Soviet part of the picture that West limns from the American side. It even trickled down to pop culture: in 2007 TNT released a superbly executed miniseries, “The Company” about the infiltration of CIA by KGB. Etc., etc., etc.

    • Pacepa is out to make money by selling books, so it’s not surprising that he should make sensational claims about Soviet espionage. He hath mastered the art of Capitalism.

  2. Diana West’s book comes at a propitious moment, a time when Americans are beginning to see Islam as Communism Redux – but with Allah attached, making the old-liners roll over in their dark atheist afterlife.

    A great many lines is the history of the 2oth century are being redrawn, including the fact that we didn’t “win” the Cold War. Instead, the suicidally ignorant and ham-fisted command economy killed off the system. What has taken its place is ugly, but it more nearly normal. It’s a more openly brutal version of our crony capitalism. Kind of like the Wild West but with drugs, sex and lots and lots of armaments.

    That the Communists infiltrated the US bureaucracy, rebranded themselves slowly until the slide to open socialism became acceptable is no surprise. When Chazzer reverted to his leftist roots, was anyone surprised? It explained his obvious insanity.

    Now Diana West is exposing the vast red underbelly of the highest reaches of American decision -making during the most critical part of America’s 20th century history. The had it all comfortably drawn, villains on one side, saints on the other, a beautifully composed tableau. Along comes this writer – no mere ‘professional’ historian with butts to kiss and a CV to polish but a long term investigative journalist who has experienced attack before – and she has the nerve to repaint their icons, to begin the long process of removing the lipstick from the pigs and the shackles from the evil ones.

    How dare she! Grab the faggots and the stake. Someone get the rope. Be very sure to cut her out of the herd first. Be certain she fully understands she has been abandoned. Bring her to her knees. *Then* get the fire going.

    • Bravo! A glowing defense of Diana West and a fiery put-down of her should-be defenders on the “right.”
      The re-election of Obama shows that “The Long March”
      through our government and the Democrat Party is reaching its goal.

  3. He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present, controls the past. – George Orwell

  4. We now have a president who was mentored by a card-carrying communist, and whose formative influences were all far-far left, and who wrote plainly that in college he sought out the company and tutelage of Marxists and other radicals, and whom a college acquaintance said was undoubtedly a hardcore revolutionary Marxist at the time (and who has given no indication of an intellectual conversion), and who began his political career in a party to the left of the Democrats, and who collaborated with a revolutionary domestic terrorist, etc. — and he has been zealously promoted, defended, worshiped by the mainstream of the Democratic Party, who insist that it’s his critics who are the “extremists.”

    And yet people claim it’s nutty to think that our political establishment could have been infiltrated by communists who exerted influence over policy and affected the way we view our history. Really?

  5. I’ve been holed up with my writing so only now became aware of the whole affair. The latest I found on this at Front Page is a 5400-word article by Haynes and Klehr, obviously experts in the subject, disputing West’s assertion that Hopkins was KGB “Agent 19.” With an adulatory preface by FP editors, 23 foootnotes and lots of of citations and references, the authors dispute this. They confirm the hair-rising actions Hopkins took to further Stalin and protect USSR interest, but focus on the point that he was not formally a Soviet agent and on this base their critique of Diana West.

    For all I know, they may be right and West is wrong — but if she is wrong she has made the same mistake that other highly knowledgeable writers, academics and talking spies have made, as Haynes and Klehr themselves iterate. And it doesn’t matter. What matters is that she exposed Hopkins’s treachery in a book accessible to a broad readership.

    Haynes and Klehr conlude their article with this:

    “Some people would point to Hopkins’ avid pursuit of a “give the Soviets everything they want and ask for nothing in return” and ask “what difference does it make whether he was a Soviet agent or not?” There is an important difference between a policy-maker who advocated and implemented policies highly destructive to American national interests because they had foolish, naive, or even dangerous notions about foreign policy and those who are agents of a foreign power. The first are wrong, the second are traitors. We don’t think an assertion that someone was an agent of a foreign power should be made unless one has convincing evidence. To do so in the absence of convincing evidence is poisonous and contaminates civil discourse. That Hopkins made stupid or pernicious decisions is one thing: there is, however, no convincing evidence that he was a traitor.”

    This reminds me of the ruling regime’s permanent position that lone wolf Muslim terrorists are not Muslim terrorists because an Al Qaeda membership card was not found in their pocket. It’s a specious feint attacking the form in order to avoid the substance. Indeed, just as Islam per se motivates British, French or American-born Muslims to jihad, so Soviet Communism per se motivated not just Hopkins but tens of thousand of Western intelligentsia to act for the Soviet Union and against their own nations before, during and after the war. To run a whole campaign — and I wonder why Conrad Black and Front Page Mag would want any part in it — to save the Stalin tool Hopkins from being a branded a traitor strikes me as the height of sophistry.

    • Saving Hopkins = saving FDR, who is still very much a sacred cow. At least one of West’s prominent attackers appears to believe that she was motivated by a blind hatred of FDR — which is implausible considering that she started out researching a contemporary topic.

      That attacker, like many others, also believes that the New Deal is what cured the Depression, and will cite what he regards as convincing evidence that it did. Some people hold a contrary view, and they too will cite evidence. Should they not write books arguing for their conclusion because people who prefer the other view do not find their evidence “convincing”? How many people does one’s evidence have to convince before one is permitted to express an idea?

      • “Saving Hopkins = saving FDR, who is still very much a sacred cow.”

        This. Neo-Cons in particular (and especially Jewish Neo-Cons) still have a soft spot for FDR and The New Deal.

      • More on this theme:
        Many people write books in which they make pronouncements on topics outside their specific area of expertise (if they have one), based on their good-faith evaluation of the sources they have consulted. This is especially the case in sweeping histories — e.g., histories covering the United States from George Washington to Barack Obama.

        Those who write such books, however brilliant and energetic they may be, cannot conceivably be familiar with every available primary document on every topic they touch. Yet they will make authoritative-sounding statements such as that FDR’s New Deal policies gradually pulled the economy out of the Depression. Other scholars, with more expertise in the economics of that era, have concluded that such an assertion is not credibly supported by the evidence, and that the truth is actually the opposite.

        Why is it okay for some people to make grand pronouncements on topics in which they do not have deep expertise, but it’s not okay for others? Is it not damaging to assert publicly, in a tome that looks weighty and serious, that the New Deal was the correct approach to economic distress when other people adduce evidence and arguments that it was exactly the wrong approach? Could it possibly be a more damaging assertion (if it is counterfactual) than the assertion that Harry Hopkins appears to have been an agent for Soviet communism if the fact is that he merely acted much like one?

    • That distinction may also matter in future years, as people who are not formally members of any Islamic organisation, or any Marxist organisation, yet carried out policies that could have been written word-for-word by such organisations, claim not to be “traitors” because they were not on anyone’s payroll.

      They were only “true believers”.

      Oh well, that’s all right then, eh?

      • I would tend to take the position that if someone at the highest levels of American government adopted policies that could have been written by rabid Marxists and radical Islamists of the worst sort, but did so not because someone was paying them to do so, but because they were “true believers”, then that makes them even worse!

        We all go to work every day and we may have to do something we find unpleasant – something we would not normally do – because our employer tells us we have to do it, and we may do it because at the end of the day, we have bills to pay. This is a form of coercion, we could say.

        But with no financial/coercive element whatsoever, if someone with political power chooses to deceive the people they have been elected to represent and implement policy which is based on Islamic/Marxist principles, and by so doing damaged their country, then that, as I said, is far worse.

        Morally, intellectually, whatever yardstick you want to employ …

        But are such people traitors?

        Only someone pursuing their own agenda would say they are not.

        • The more I think about it the more this seems to be a crucial point: whether the people referred to in Diana West’s book were “traitors” or not.

          And as I have said, if someone chooses to implement Communist policies not because you are on someone’s payroll but because you are a true believer, then that makes you a traitor, all right.

          • I have to concur.

            Those that sell out their country to an enemy that pays well or threatens blackmail might be “turned”, and this may justify an offer of leniency even if getting paid doesn’t really mitigate treason.

            Those that betray their country because they simply honestly believe the enemy cause to be more just are still traitors, but there isn’t the slightest possible benefit to offering them clemency.

            I wouldn’t say that those who betray you for money or because they’ve been blackmailed are really less bad, just potentially sufficiently salvageable to be worth an offer of lesser punishment than their actions deserve.

  6. Truly disturbing that they so ‘preemptively’ jump on a book, who’s time has finally come. The fire is heaviest over the target. Maybe it peels back a little too much of the onion? Hard to tell, but to question Diana’s integrity an credibility is a juvenile proposition. This story so needs to be told.

    There are so many levels of elitist hubris in all this opposition it is hard to sort through. Their strategy? (one has to wonder) But when everyone just came off of reevaluating Iraq, counterinsurgency, and nation building, the least they could do is read it and digest it first, then critique.

    When all the fire comes from one direction, it tells me more about them than their target. Why is it they are so quick to bury McCarthy? Hush Hush! Have they adopted all the Marxist apologetics? The connection with Russia and Islamic radicals has fermented now for decades. And its time for truth rather than their political posturing.

    They sound more like Al Sharpton when taking away his favorite toy. Goody, are we now going to be treated to progressives’ polemic being thrown from mouths on the right? Sure looks it. (But what’s new?)

  7. Why worry about something that is long gone. Why don’t we worry about the issue at hand: The lethal danger directed at the West from Islamists and without hiding their declared intentions. If Islamists / Muslim Brotherhood/ CAIR members have infiltrated the heart of the USA it was/ is done by the USA government no less. Still we call it democracy.

    • Why worry about something that is long gone?

      Oh dear, Hilary’s meme is catching on. That statement of yours matches her now-echoing “What difference at this point does it make?” fury at being cornered on the Benghazi debacle. A table-pounding moment…

      To which the average person would respond: “if we fail to comprehend what really went on in the past then all we have left is what others choose to tell us about those times and we will truly fail to grasp the present”.

      That’s how our children’s government schools produce legions of Marching Morons as history is unleashed from its moorings and replaced with slogans.

      The three discernments a truly moral being must possess are a strong desire to comprehend the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. Each encompasses the others. In the same way a solved mathematical equation is True, it is also elegant and beautiful. And those qualities make it a good.

      Same goes for our understanding of the past, and it is one of the reasons Islam destroys historical objects. A study of the past would lead to idolatry, thus Ignorance is much to be preferred.

      Your impatience to shortcut a a patient unearthing of the past is where your ideas converge with Islam.

      Presentism untethered from its roots is dead.

      • I’ve been refreshing my marx, lenin, stalin et al. It says in The Communist Manifesto, “In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in communist society, the present dominates the past.” So Murad is right, the present danger to the West comes from Islam, but, I must add, economically and militarily also from China, and demographically from Africa and MesoAmerica. But Dymphna is right because few people can grasp that these plagues are destroying the West because people as amiable, hip and handsome as Tony Blair, Jens Stoltenberg and Bubba Clinton have been engaged in monumental treason. So Diana West’s exposure of the treason rampant in the administration of one of America’s most hallowed presidents, FDR, serves a very useful purpose and has a current application. As to the “present dominates the past” commie prescription and the parallel to the “conservative” establishment, the reasoning would have to be so nuanced (and therefore lenghty) that I’ll omit it here.

  8. From his comments, Horowitz apparently thinks that he is trying to preserve the reputation of conservatism. Evidently he does not want to give ammunition to the rabid leftists who might, in Horowitz’s view, leap upon West’s books as an example of the supposed right-wing penchant of seeing card-carrying communists under every bed.

    But this still does not explain the nature of the vituperative, ad hominen attacks against Diana West.

    • Ww2’s official narrative is a sacred cow.

      One OT comment though. The Albigensian Crusade was probably justified. The Bogomiles (Cathars) were heretical Manichaeans. Bogomiles means Bulgars. They were essentially similar to Zoroastrians and probably picked up the idea of a coequal God and Devil from returning troops coming back from the Crusades who were now in contact with exotic religions still extant in the ME.

      France today Wouldn’t exist if the King had not invaded the Cathar Territory and deposed the Duke of Toulouse.

      End note: Bogomile is the root word of the modern swear word Bugger.

      • Correction: Bogomil (no e) does not mean Bulgars. It means “Lovers of God.” Trust me on this. And while they were heretics, they were also highly ethical, peaceful and productive people.

        Moreover, to mangle Christianity into “Kill them all; the Lord will know his own,” as was the way of the Catholic clergy instigating this genocide and other excesses of the Inquisition is gross malfeasance. The loss of faith and active antipathy to Christianity plaguing the West now, especially Western Europe, U.S. West Coast etc. is the price history has exacted for these crimes. To understand the present we have to understand the past.

        • Why hasnt history exacted the same upon other groups, like Mohammadeans for example?

          The problem is that Christians lost their mojo to enforce their order. That is the problem.

          • Maybe, in part, because Christianity (along with the Greek intellectual legacy) has promoted a moral conscience, self-examination, self-criticism. When Western culture airs it own dirty laundry, the anti-Christians say: Look at all the evil caused by Christianity! Away with it! And how dare you criticize Islam when your own side is sinful!

            In Islam, by contrast, there is no self-criticism, at least none that would in any way taint the name of Islam. And within Islamic culture, many actions that we view as evil are considered completely acceptable, even laudable (e.g. killing apostates). So inner cultural criticism is severely constrained, while criticism from outside is answered by “… but the Crusades! the Inquisition! Islam is no worse, you nasty Islamophobe!”

          • But history has! You want me to quote Churchill from 1899 on the Mohameddans; a quote still true today? Mohameddans are thriving today, when they are not killing, mutilating, raping or disfiguring each other, despite the verdict of history. It’s because a more idiotic, weaker, spineless and self-defeating race is now conveniently present: whitey.

            Your diagnosis of “Christians lost their mojo” is misguided. Victorian England and “Belle Epoque” France were the apex of vitality and happiness that that those two countries saw, yet their Christians had long ago lost their mojo. What was not lost is the fond attachment to and pride in Christian culture.

          • That is because everybody is able to read English, so the dirty laundry of the West is for everybody to see. However, few people outside the Muslim world know Arabic.

        • [I find your argument less than convincing.]

          The Christendom has lost its nerve.

          The Cathars were a thorn in the side of keeping out Islam. The French Capetians were perfectly justified in stamping them out. Furthermore the Bonsians and Bulgars were snakes in the grass. They both practiced the same sort of Manechean heresy and betrayed Orthodoxy and Catholicism at key moments. The Bosnians in particular were Bogmils and Once the Turks arrived they promptly converted to Islam. Iranian Shiites are desecended from converts from Manechean beliefs. I will go further with this and suggest to you that the Cathars might well have been converso Moors and corsairs, there were plenty of Muslims in Southern France back then. Plenty of unwilling converts to Catholicism and Cathar ideas would have been a good cover.

          • One thing we cannot and should not do is rewrite history like our opponents do. There is no need, as our history stacks up against that of any other culture.

            And what you are doing is rewriting history in order to justify genocide. This in the context of an article about the murky motives of prominent necocons who object to Diana West’s rewriting of the rewriting of the official FDR history.

            So, in this order:
            1. The Cathars had nothing to do with Islam and their genoicide had nothing to do with keeping out Islam. They were a thorn in the corrupt, sanguine Catholic nomenklatura of the province of Languedoc. The Pope’s main man in this affair, Arnaud Amalric, a devil incarnate, may, in prespective, all by himself cost the church millions of Catholic ex-believers.
            2. There is no proof or even an indication that Cathars had anything to do with Moor or any kind of Muslim origin. The Bogomil- Bulgarian connection is clear though.
            3. The Cathar towns razed in this crusade, and those were major massacres occured, particularly Beziers, Carcasonne (where I visited), Touluse (ditto), Bram, Minerve, etc, etc. were home not only to the Cathars but also many Catholics and even some Jews — but no Muslims. All were murdered, often grossly mutilated before they were grossly murdered (human bonfires etc).
            3. I don’t know of any proof that it was the Bogomils in Bulgaria and and Bosnia that converted to Islam. Mainly Orthodox lived in the former and Catholics in the latter, though Bogomils in lived in both too. To the contrary, the Bogomils, who were not only heretic but also extremely zealous in their faith, were the ones most ready to die for their faith, as they did in France. Many Orthodox in the Balkans who had much to gain by converting to Islam and even more to lose if they did not, e.g. Serbian nobility, converted.

            I have no special sympathy for Bogomils/ Cathars etc. But the crime of gross and most cruel genocide is far graver than the error and confusion sown by heresy. And most importantly, it’s the systems we oppose that rewrite history: mussulmanism, communism, multiculturalism and now, we learn, neoconism too. We cannot oppose them effectively if we fall prey to the same vice.

    • Sorry, that doesnt wash with Horowitz’s FrontPageMag tagline, “Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out.”

  9. Ww2 is a sacred cow. The narrative about it is the New Faith. At some point we will soberly see the “Victory In Europe” as a demographic defeat and the beginning of a period of self criticism and self loathing unmatched in human history. I have virtually no investment in the narrative I’ve been fed about it all. If the Soviet Union had not come into being there would have been no Spanish civil war, no Mussollini and no Hitler. The Czar’s murder and overthrow was the greatest distaster in modern human history.

    • Thus, the toxicity of the “errors of Russia” prophesied by Our Lady of Fatima in 1913. The errors have spread all over the world, even here. So preventable, so sad. Lord have mercy!

  10. It’s long been known that to get liberals to read a book all you had to do was ban it and sales would skyrocket. Perhaps Conservatives have become similarly foxy in their use of negative campaigns to create public interest and sell more books they consider must reads to moderates and even liberals?

  11. First off – I must express my gratitude and relief for your treatment of the Cathar/Bogomil/Albigensian period. When I saw post title, I braced myself for the story that portrays them as misrepresented and persecuted Medieval-era Fundamentalist Christians but soon breathed a sigh of relief. There exists an entire genre of books dedicated to that claim.

    As for Ms. West and her Jeremiah-like treatment at the hands of the self-appointed elite of the conservative movement, I suspect that something strange is going on at FrontPage. The original favorable review, quick volte-face, and the ensuing claims that have become steadily more harsh, accusatory, and mocking have led me to question the credibility, not of the abilities of FrontPage staff, but of their intentions.

    When I first saw the hastily written defense of an individual (Radosh) that had gone out of his way to attack the credibility of Ms. West’s work, it had all the makings of an editorial staff that was faced with the realization that they had bet on the wrong horse but had no intention of admitting such. (I had read other reviews of American Betrayal before this and was taken aback at the tremendous efforts that were being expended to discredit the work). In short, it had damage control written all over it. It reminded me of a workplace conflict in which the wrongdoer runs around, hurriedly presenting his side of the story to all, so that the rest of the staff will assume that he was in the right.

    I also wonder if it is simply that Ms. West was willing to publish that what FrontPage opted to avoid, or jealousy at the fact that Ms. West’s work had more substance than normal fruits of the labors of the staff of that organization. I can’t even leave out the possibility that Horowitz and Co. are not what they make themselves out to be; that they merely play-act, letting some stories in and truly significant ones wither on the vine. Whatever their motivations, I agree that they are afraid of something.

    It is certainly noteworthy that Ms. West has received quite of bit of support from the rank-and-file but continues to be ridiculed by those at the top. Where does all of this leave an organization like FrontPageMag that supposedly is concerned with the doings of the American Left? As the Baron noted, there is such a thing as making it clear that one can not confirm all of the findings or conclusions of any one author without denigrating his or her labors, but they chose the low road.

    • As a long-time reader of both GoV and FPM, I must say that I’m disappointed with FPM. I’m part of the “rank-and-file” who have supported Diana West on that site (writing as “Barbara”). The ad hominem attacks against Ms. West are inexcusable in my opinion.

      Having said all that, I wonder if–just perhaps–FPM is genuinely afraid of stirring up rabid, leftists, who will pounce upon any errors of fact. Even errors of no real consequence. If there are any factual errors or conclusions which go beyond the facts presented, leftists will use these to mockingly smear and accuse the conservative movement of “McCarthyism” and of “finding card-carrying communists under every bed.”

      Many active conservatives have had to deal with quite a lot of this and so–when they are called upon to defend their positions–they don’t want to have to defend factual errors–no matter how inconsequential these errors might be when seen against the background of Diana West’s main arguments.

      I offer this–not as a defense of FPM which has disappointed me–but as perhaps a partial explanation of the vitriol. I do agree that they are afraid of something(s).

  12. I bought the book and will enjoy it. FDR and his idiot wife were jackasses. FDR’s brain trust to a man was in love with Uncle Joe and couldn’t see what a total disaster the USSR was. Many of his brain trust went to the Soviet Union, saw the future and reported back. I don’t care if Hopkins was a Communist on the payroll of the Soviets or not. Hopkins and the rest of his ilk all acted that way. That is what is important.

    Is Obama a communist? Is his entire entourage of losers also communist. Well, I don’t care if they are or not. The truth us that they all act like it so what’s the difference.

  13. Greetings, all — I have enjoyed reading through your comments as we all of us try to puzzle through this bizarre episode and emerge stronger on the other side. I would like to thank all members of the glorious “rank-and-file” who have weighed in against these harsh gatekeepers of “knowledge.” I am up very early this morning to get back to my rebuttal which I believe will go far to provide a new basis for counterattack in this war of ideas, in whatever form.
    Kind regards,

    • Hi, hope you’re doing well & not letting this get to you too much. When I was at uni I was always taught to present facts, logic, arguments – something which R preaches, does he not? Yet if my understanding of recent events is correct, the methods employed by R falls far short of those very standards. (I mean, sending you that email saying you have “lost” is just not cricket.)

      I believe the original assertions made by R about the content of your book are incorrect too (having read one of your articles at your own website arguing for that) which is also very poor form indeed. An ‘academic’ of R’s alleged calibre creating a straw man? Surely not!

      If the actual, specific assertions made by R about what was said in the book are not even accurate, then that’s him torpedoed, end of story.

      Moving on: I recently read Sir Max Hastings’ book ‘Finest Years’ (on Churchill during the war years) and was dismayed by the amount of support in the UK during the war for the Soviets. I seem to recall that Churchill was rather disappointed by the American attitude towards the Soviets at some of the ‘big three’ conferences towards the end of the war as well. The more I read about the war, the more I realise that the simplistic myths we were taught about it are not an entirely accurate portrayal of what actually was going on.

      best wishes,


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