The Full Kowtow

In last Sunday’s post about the “barroom brawl” I wondered whether Andrew McCarthy’s kid-glove treatment of the fracas over Diana West — in particular his omission of any mention of David Horowitz in his account of the affray — would assuage the ire of the powerful conservatives who decided to “take down” Ms. West.

Well, wonder no longer. As expected, Mr. McCarthy’s reticence failed to protect him. Conrad Black has delivered a firm warning to the former prosecutor today in a column at NRO, “The Right’s Schism on History”.

Mind you, his tone in this tract is much more civil than previously, probably because he is addressing his friend rather than chastising a non-“house-trained” “right-wing loopy” who dared to differ with his own view of history by writing a “farrago of lies” in her “jejune dementedness”.

Below are excerpts from Mr. Black’s admonitory treatise:

This is not a return to Diana West’s book. However, Andy McCarthy, a man for whom I have very great respect and whom I like very much, has written a review of it in The New Criterion that, because of its revisionist presentation of a number of historical events, is among the most discouraging political documents I have read in many years. Mr. McCarthy, a former prosecutor and distinguished and perceptive writer of the sensible Right, has frequently inspired me by his writing, and when I met him, at a difficult time in my own former travails, by his conversation also. I confidently turned to his review of Ms. West’s America Betrayed [sic], which readers of this column will find it hard to forget after the robust knockabout the book received here and in her reply to me. The rigor of the review and its application to the book are matters I will address in a letter to The New Criterion, which the editor of that publication graciously invited, as I am mentioned, quite unexceptionably, in the review.

What seriously depresses me are three positions taken in the review. First is Andy McCarthy’s view that the scandalous, cowardly refusal of the mainstream elite of American culture and politics to recognize that America’s Islamist enemies are enemies can be traced to Soviet infiltration of the U.S. government in World War II. It is a fact that alarms and disgusts all of us in this debate, including Ms. West and her more vocal (than I am) critics, but I do not agree about the source of the problem. Second is Andy’s qualified accommodation, as worthy of reasonable consideration, of the claims by Ms. West that Lend-Lease was at least in significant part a mistaken reinforcement of Stalinist totalitarianism to the ultimate detriment of the West; that the Normandy invasion served Stalin’s purposes and enhanced his penetration of Western Europe; that Franklin D. Roosevelt was more or less ambivalent about the comparative virtues of Stalinist Communism and Western democracy (though he acknowledges that FDR disapproved of the barbarism of Stalin’s rule); that the Yalta agreement “gave” Stalin half of Europe; and that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were so significantly influenced in a pro-Soviet direction by Soviet agents and such arch-sympathizers that the distinction between an agent and a sympathizer was academic in the United States. And third, I am distressed by Andy McCarthy’s partial defense of Joseph R. McCarthy and his conclusion that the smear of McCarthy enabled Communism and anti-American reflexes to flourish in the United States through all the intervening years and are responsible for the inadequate general response to the Islamist threat that, I repeat, all the participants in this very heated and prolonged exchange revile in almost equally emphatic strictures.


A schism as profound as this controversy has now become will splinter the Right and render it incapable of united action, and perpetuate the precise condition that Andy decries and mistakenly lays at the door of Soviet wartime infiltration, both directly and through sympathizers. The process of fragmenting the Right, in this now notorious instance, began with Ms. West’s frequently, though not entirely, outrageous book, but for a writer of the stature of Andy McCarthy to take the positions mentioned above, and for The New Criterion to lend the exposition of those opinions the mantle of its earned prestige, is, and to say the least, very worrisome.


…If Diana West and Andy McCarthy and their facilitators split the intellectual Right with a revival of the Yalta Myth and its accompanying defamations, they will push the governance of America into the lap of the soft left-center, the sodden, hopeless lumpenbourgeoisie that will sink and take the country with them into the arms of an unkind Morpheus, nodding before CNN and eating Twinkies.

There is much more to Mr. Black’s essay, and readers may be particularly interested in what he has to say to correct the historical record concerning FDR’s alleged affinity for communism, and to lay the “Yalta Myth” to rest.

To my dismay Mr. McCarthy dropped immediately into a full kowtow before Mr. Black. What can one say about this sudden plunge in altitude? It is embarrassing in the extreme to watch an old scrapper crawl. I had hoped Mr. McCarthy’s Irish heritage might prevail, but it would appear that self-preservation won out:

Re: The Right’s Schism on History

By Andrew C. McCarthy

I have the highest regard for Conrad Black and I’m humbled by the kind words he offers in his weekly column. I also have some substantive disagreements (and, perhaps, some narrowing of what makes for less disagreement than meets the eye), which I will explain in a separate posting. For now, suffice it to say that Conrad’s column is characteristically thoughtful and addresses important concerns about getting history right. No one can sensibly disagree that doing so is vital to how we navigate the future. [emphasis added]

“No one can sensibly disagree”: if this is his final word on the “brawl”, then Diana West has been most emphatically thrown under the McCarthy bus. Or, to be more accurate, Mr. McCarthy has chosen to board the bus that has been driving back and forth over Ms. West’s prostrate form for the past several months.

One more thing: “No one can sensibly disagree” that Planet X is out there somewhere in the starry void, exerting its gravitational influence upon even the largest planetary bodies of the conservative solar system.

For links to previous articles about the controversy over American Betrayal, see the Diana West Archives.

23 thoughts on “The Full Kowtow

  1. What Conrad Black is effectively saying in his response to McCarthy’s support of what Ms West has ‘exposed’ in her book, American Betrayal, is that history has been written and that no one should disturb the accepted narrative!

    I believe his ‘fear of a schism’ being formed among those on the ‘Right’ whatever the ‘Right’ may mean to him, has been thrown into his argument solely as a ‘red herring’ to be used to stifle debate about what should rightly be debated.

    I also believe that it is Conrad Black who should be taking a step back from his own narrative to appreciate that not everything one learns in life is set in concrete. His own narrow view of history, which seems to be the one that we are all familiar with, also shows his lack of openness to new ways of looking at things that we all need to accept if we are to come to terms with those things that have made history, but have for various political reasoning, not been recorded as such.

    And Conrad Black is just plain wrong about Senator Joe McCarthy who knew of the infiltration that was going on inside the American government and in other places, and unlike many of his colleagues at the time, was prepared to take it on! Black in choosing to mock Andrew McCarthy’s defence of Senator Joe McCarthy exposes his, Black’s, closed mind thinking!

    I don’t find Andrew McCarthy’s response to Black as being a kowtow, maybe a less than affirmative response is posted, but that could be due to his friendship with Black?

  2. That Black is so full of [redacted] it’d take a fortnight to [redacted].

    Who do these people think they are?

    The best thing that could happen to that Black character is a spell of [misfortune]. He’d have to face his own mortality & maybe, maybe he’d learn some humility. Let him see his true place on this earth. He’s an insignificant speck of dust, nothing more. Seriously – a [further misfortune] would do that fellow the power of good.

  3. “… because of its revisionist presentation of a number of historical events, is among the most discouraging political documents I have read in many years.” – Black

    Key statement right there eh? Oh dearie me, someone has challenged the received opinion – can’t have that, it’s so …. discouraging.

    John Stuart Mill must be turning in his grave.

    • Don’t forget this:

      “…Mr. McCarthy, a former prosecutor and distinguished and perceptive writer of the sensible Right”

      Ah yes, the sensible Right. The ones like McCain, Graham, Romney, Boehner, Medved, et al, who know that we must compromise with the Left. Always and forever. One compromise after another.

      Not like those Tea Party “wacko birds” with their antiquated notions of free markets and limited Constitutional government.

  4. This is awful. The amount of energy that is being expended on burying valuable information boggles the mind. Mr. Black’s words only serve to illustrate that many who profess to be the good guys are at best stooges. In my opinion, many of the them would be the beneficiaries of far more credit than they deserve by having been allowed the label of stooge. I have little doubt that some of them are running interference for they who have cause to hide that for which Ms. West has suffered for documenting. I also hold that others are so fearful of the big picture that they will stop at nothing to sweep things under the carpet. Either way, I am reminded of the criminal charge in the original version of The Planet of the Apes. Ms. West and her supporters are being accused of “scientific heresy”.

    • I should add that what is far worse is the almost reflexive response of accepting such undeserved criticisms and, like the Baron noted, performing proskynesis before their “admitted betters. It is utterly shameful. Has not one of these people ever stood their ground before a boss or teacher who was purposefully trying to demean a job well done?

  5. Haha! Those guys are predictable. But the review tells us a little about their hierarchy. Will Andrew McCarthy really accept to be treated like a naughty little boy? “Shame, shame Andy Pandy”.

    I totally agree with ONE thing in the review: “Getting the past wrong is a threat to the future”

    If you were an American man in 1920 that really wanted to make a difference for the global Communism – which position would you go for? Would you join the Communist party and agitate openly? (Most Soviet spies in the Western countries were officially conservatives.) Would you join the Republicans or the Democrats? Would you tell even your best friends about your inner thoughts?

    • Maybe that’s part of it. A lot of people may have been faced with going underground and having their desire for power and control stymied, because being a red was acknowledged to be a bad thing – and they resent that, and have a real chip on their shoulder about it.

      Personally I think these guys who are ganging up on Diana West to preserve their version of the truth are insane.

      The truth does not belong to them. History does not belong to them. Other people’s minds do not belong to them.

      So just who the hell do these people think they are, exactly?

      I will NEVER line Horowitz’ pockets in any way, shape or form from this day forward, I know that for sure.

    • Quote:
      I totally agree with ONE thing in the review: “Getting the past wrong is a threat to the future”

      Wrong by whose measure?
      There is no finality of authority in history.
      No canon.
      No faith.
      Only reason.
      Oh, Mr. Black, the world is not friendly to your dogmatism.
      The only place you will ever feel comfortable is with your co-ideologists in the academy.

  6. Mr. Black is worried about splitting and fragmenting the “intellectual Right” because it “… will push the governance of America into the lap of the soft left-center, the sodden, hopeless lumpenbourgeoisie that will sink and take the country with them…” My question is, which planet is he inhabiting? We are already there. America is being governed by such entity. The Right would be better off without people like him. He is appealing to preserving unity of the Right, but it will be a false unity with his type. We should not take seriously his concern for unity. This appeal is phony.

    • “My question is, which planet is he inhabiting? We are already there. America is being governed by such entity.”

      -Why do so few people admit this very basic fact?

    • “… will push the governance of America into the lap of the soft left-center, the sodden, hopeless lumpenbourgeoisie that will sink and take the country with them…”

      Good grief! Reading Conrad Black’s recent reactions creates brings one through a (not-so-)funhouse mirror nightmare environment. The absurd extreme position he takes is securing his credibility into a seriously delusional state. Pity.

      • To paraphrase Ann Barnhardt, we’re already so far past Black’s feared vision that it’s not even visible in the rear-view mirror.

  7. Seeing these grown men behave like this reminds me of a comment once made by Larry Zbysko, when he was commening for WCW:

    “That’s … unmanly!”


  9. The faults of Conrad Black and of Andrew McCarthy are different: Those of the former reflect (again, copiously analyzed by Diana West) the same stealth Communism masquerading as anti-Communism one sees in Horowitz and Radosh; the latter can be forgiven for being a sincerely incoherent blithering idiot.

  10. I wonder if it brings Conrad Black much comfort that the majority in the West would regard a right-winger like Margaret Thatcher as being more of a fellow-traveller to Hitler, than the public regard the left-wing Barack Obama to be a fellow-traveller of Hitler. In the minds of most people in the west, Hitler was not a socialist, was not the leader of a workers revolutionary party.

    That is the commonly accepted narrative, even among most academics: the revolutionary socialist Hitler is positioned in academic discourse as a right-wing, anti-socialist, anti-worker, anti-union, pro-capitalist, conservative christian. There is apoplexy in the media whenever anyone of any prominence points out the similarities between Hitler’s 24 Theses and the policies of all modern “social democrat” parties.

    The likes of Conrad Black do not need to care about the opinion of most people, because popular opinion has no impact on their exercise of wealth and power.

  11. This entire “historical” argument reminds me of the dissention in the Republican party. It’s like listening to the Rove, McConnell, Boehner rinos whining about the tea party upstarts peeing on their parade. Perhaps Rove and Black (amongst others) need to sit down around a bottle and cry about where they went wrong and why they aren’t getting all the respect they feel they are due. And me….well I will just enjoy the revelations that rise to the surface as the gatekeepers are plowed under once again.

  12. Plowing under the gate keepers. Isn’t that exactly what DW did? That is why this entire argument ensued.
    If it didn’t make any difference no one would be remarking on it.
    I find DW’s premise to be compelling and I see current world parallels. I suppose I shouldn’t… We have some very sturdy gate keepers today, willing to villify any dissenter and pass legislation to abort the topic.

  13. WHOO!! I just picked it up out of my mailbox a minute ago! I haven’t even opened it yet. I’m really looking forward to reading it.

  14. I am enjoying reading her book now – so far page 65. The FDR admin had an unexplained favoritism for the USSR that only makes sense if the admin was full of “useful idiots” and worse.

    It has taken me some 60 years to tell the Republican establishment to go pound sand.

    West’s whole point is that we are repeating the same mistakes with Muslim infiltrators, this time to be found all over Obama’s government. This will not end well.

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