The Barroom Brawl: A Retrospective

Five months after the fury over American Betrayal reached its highest pitch, Diana West has taken a look back over the process that Andrew McCarthy referred to as a “barroom brawl”, but looks more like the “knockout game” to me.

Ms. West has hardly been knocked out. She’s too tough to just lie down on the sidewalk and stay there, and has bounced back up to write a piece entitled “No Regrets”.

Before excerpting from her essay, I include some quotes from the latest review of American Betrayal published in a major academic journal, this one from Down Under. A former leftist named Steve Kates had this to say about the book in Quadrant:

No book has ever frightened me as much as American Betrayal. The only thing wrong with reading it is that you find yourself so surrounded by impossible odds that it seems there is no way you can go that isn’t in the wrong direction. Trying to fix things is as bad as just leaving them alone. But because the story the book tells is so incredible, you realise just how unbelievable her thesis would be unless you had read the book yourself.


Having read Blacklisted by History I looked forward to seeing what National Review would make of it, which turned out to be an extended piece written by Ronald Radosh, an author whose name and background I was quite familiar with. Having read the book and then Radosh’s highly negative review, I have mistrusted Radosh ever since to the point where I can only think of him as a far-Left socialist plant here on the Right.


As a result of reading West’s book, I now look on the United States as a big dumb ox, led around by a cabal of its enemies whose intent is to take the beast out to slaughter. It is a very large beast and will not go quietly. But given what you will learn from this book, you will be in some despair in trying to work out what can be done. This is a very troubling book which I nevertheless encourage you to read.

It’s interesting to note that the gravitational influence of Planet X made itself felt even in the antipodes: the editors of Quadrant found it necessary to mitigate the impact of Mr. Kates’ emphatic approval of the book by providing an insert slyly referring to the “interest generated” by the debate and plugging this month’s seminar against the book in The New Criterion.

Below are excerpts from Diana West’s retrospective:

I’ve been mulling how — or even whether — to mark the appearance of six entries on American Betrayal in the January 2014 issue of The New Criterion. The issue contains an essay by editor Roger Kimball and five letters, all devoted to my book, or, rather, to Andrew C. McCarthy’s review of American Betrayal, which appeared in the December 2013 issue.

Why so much ink? The answer is simple. Andy McCarthy, the celebrated former federal prosecutor, noted author and commentator, had the temerity to write positive things about my book in his December review. Like a clanging bell to Pavlov’s dog, this review drove Ronald Radosh and Conrad Black to churn out letters to the editor explaining to McCarthy the error of his ways. By my count, this becomes the fifth, maybe even the sixth piece by Radosh, and the fourth or fifth by Black. Harvey Klehr and John Haynes also write in general protest. I understand that David Horowitz, too, wrote in, but decided to withdraw his letter. (Too bad; I would love to have read Horowitz’s fifth attack.) Meanwhile, editor Kimball asked M. Stanton Evans — who originally endorsed American Betrayal and later published an article entitled “In Defense of Diana West” — to write a lone letter of support. McCarthy then replies to all. By the time all is said and done, the issue, purportedly devoted to Reagan and Thatcher, is also a backdoor symposium on American Betrayal.

Meanwhile, the author of said book sufficiently fascinating to this tiny band of anti-American Betrayal extremists was not invited to comment. The New Criterion didn’t even let me in on the fuss — which is a little like finding out you were the guest of honor, or, in this case, dishonor, at a party you weren’t invited to. Frankly, it’s better that way. Judging by the way Messrs. Black, Radosh and Horowitz are treated in the issue, it’s clear that I would have been a sixth wheel.

Then again, maybe I wasn’t contacted because there is nothing new to respond to. (Not likely.) Or maybe it was because I have never published a book with Encounter Books. (Getting warmer?) The striking fact is, each of my main troika of detractors — Horowitz, Radosh, Black — has published at least one book with Encounter Books, the publishing house New Criterion editor Roger Kimball also leads. Klehr & Haynes, too. Andy McCarthy, also, for that matter. For good measure, Peter Collier, Horowitz’s longtime collaborator, is Encounter’s founding editor, now a consultant.

These conflicts of interest have not been disclosed to readers. They should be — particularly because The New Criterion has not only reviewed the contents of American Betrayal. It has set it itself up as a disinterested arbiter on the events around the book: namely, the sustained campaign against me and the book carried out notably by writers who happen also to be Encounter authors. At the very least, informed readers would have better understood why perusing the arguments about American Betrayal in The New Criterion is not unlike overhearing club members through an open window alternately erupting and smoothing feathers.


So if not a “brawl,” how to characterize these events? In his letter, M. Stanton Evans describes the attack campaign against me and my book as a “mugging.” This, of course, is something entirely different. In a mugging, there is a right side and wrong side — a moral distinction wholly lost in McCarthy’s “brawl” framework. Indeed, Evans further objects to the “moral equivalence” inherent in the brawl metaphor. I would like to expand on this to point out that the brawl metaphor actually elevates the perpetrators of my “mugging”; I, in turn, am denigrated for defending myself. So, too, are the others who rose in my defense against a public attack machine of particularly brutish incivility and shocking mendacity.

Emphasis on mendacity. Distortion. Smears. Fabrications. (I have chronicled them all in The Rebuttal: Defending ‘American Betrayal’ from the Book-Burners.) In other words, this campaign, led by FP, was never about criticism or debate, even heated criticism or debate. It was a protracted and widespread campaign of defamation that even crossed into general hysteria, as when Clare M. Lopez, having written an essay on Egypt that positively mentioned my book, was fired by Gatestone Institute for her “choice of books to promote.” The New Criterion, however, whitewashes all in its easy talk of “polemics back and forth.” Indeed, what the magazine has done in restructuring this “mugging” in the framework of a “brawl” is to palliate, to normalize and ultimately excuse the perpetrators for employing unrespectable tactics in an attempt to discredit and isolate me as a writer, and make my book radioactive — what my rebuttal subtitle refers to as a modern-day book-burning. If they’re all just barroom brawlers … what difference does it make?

I note also another apt description of events as I personally experienced them. In recommending American Betrayal on his Christmas 2013 books list, Jed Babbin offered American Spectator readers this caveat: “Do not be dissuaded by the controversy that has erupted around this book which, if you insist on complete accuracy, would be characterized as a disinformation campaign.

Read the rest at Diana West’s blog.

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

23 thoughts on “The Barroom Brawl: A Retrospective

  1. Looks like Horowitz is somewhere licking his wounds, while Radosh is left to flail with a few useful idiots. And I do indeed believe that this attack on Diana West has exposed hidden leftists among the conservative movement.

  2. Interestingly, if there hadn’t been all the furore I would never have read America Betrayal.

  3. The title of the review is “America, the Big, Dumb Ox.”
    Oooooh. That smarts!
    Andrew McCarthy & Diana West 1
    Radosh, Horowitz, New Criterion et al 0

  4. Restoring McCarthy’s image is crucial to give the American people a historical precedent of foreign infiltration endangering American sovereignty and disloyalty amongst immigrants and minorities so they understand to take the ethnic/cultural composition of the United States seriously when contemplating immigration policy. Restoring McCarthy will also make Americans understand that foreign threats which are usually trivialized and mocked by the left as “Fearmongering” are something to be concerned about, as it would not be the first time America was heading towards the abyss. Any “first time problem” provides people with false hope that it will not end”that bad”. Historical precedents provide the cure for this naivety.

    The left teaches American youth that America is invincible, its the sole cause of war worldwide, and other threats cannot be taken seriously as they do not have the material means the United States possesses. This myth has to die.

    Historical context is everything. Political Correctness derives its power solely from our notion of White/Western History as oppressive, racist and uniquely evil. This is the only reason people actually comply with the demands of Political correctness as formulated by the Frankfurt School. It will take decades to restore a genuine conceptualization of Western History in the context of the barbaric competition the West faced. Restoring McCarthy’s struggle can be proven by making use of the Soviet archives, its something recent and relevant, so it should be the main objective of any American conservative to tackle this issue first. Did McCarthy make mistakes?

    Sure, and Mandela used to sing “Kill the Boer”, he supported the Cuban invasion of Angola and never took the effort to prevent even one “Plaasmoord”. The mistakes McCarthy made don’t close to Mandela’s “hickups”, and the later is an international icon.

    If I had the means, I would produce documentaries promoting the concept of “(Alger)Hissism” or something which rolls of the tongue better. This term would recall the harassment and intimidation people like Anthony Panuch and many others experienced who found evidence of Communist infiltration in the US government.The term would be used to describe the Alinskyite tactics used against everyone who fails to adhere to politically correct standards today.

  5. A direct insight into Roosevelt’s attitude to Katyn – and indeed one of the only recorded occasions on which he was compelled to mention the subject – comes from a meeting he held in May 1944 with George Howard Earle III, a former governor of Pennsylvania and friend of the President’s during the 1930s.

    Rees, Laurence (2012-04-24). World War Two: Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West (Kindle Locations 4196-4198). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Earle had served as American diplomatic minister in Bulgaria, and more recently as the President’s special emissary for Balkan affairs based in Turkey. Now , in 1944, he returned to Washington to give Roosevelt the benefit of his views on the Katyn massacre. Earle had been briefed by a number of intelligence contacts in eastern Europe about the killings and had come to the firm view that the Soviets were responsible for the crime. Before meeting the President, Earle had been warned by an ‘old friend’ of his, Joe Levy of the New York Times, ‘George, you do not know what you are going to get over there [ in the White House]. Harry Hopkins has complete domination over the President and the whole atmosphere over there is “pink”.’ 49

    Rees, Laurence (2012-04-24). World War Two: Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West (Kindle Locations 4203-4208). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

  6. Once in Roosevelt’s presence, Earle outlined the evidence that had made him certain in his own mind that the Soviets had committed the murders at Katyn – evidence that included testimony from Bulgarian and ‘White Russian’ agents, as well as a number of photographs from the burial site. ‘About this Katyn massacre, Mr President,’ said Earle. ‘I just cannot believe that the American President and so many people still think it is a mystery or have any doubt about it. Here are these pictures. Here are these affidavits and here is the invitation of the German Government to let the neutral Red Cross go in there and make their examination. What greater proof could you have?’ ‘George,’ said President Roosevelt, ‘they could have rigged things up. The Germans could have rigged things up.’ Roosevelt was adamant that ‘this is entirely German propaganda and a German plot’. 50 ‘Mr President,’ insisted Earle, ‘I think this evidence is overwhelming.’ Earle also made it plain during the meeting that he was ‘very much worried about this Russian situation. I feel that they are a great menace, and I feel that they have done their best to deceive the American people about this Katyn business, and, also primarily the most important of all, by this dreadful book of Joe Davies’ Mission to Moscow which made Stalin out to be a benign Santa Claus. We never recovered from that. It made such an impression on the American people.’

    Rees, Laurence (2012-04-24). World War Two: Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West (Kindle Locations 4209-4220). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

  7. The Earle story has a revealing postscript. In March 1945 he decided that he ought to tell the world his view about the Soviets, but as a loyal friend of the President’s he first asked for permission to make his observations public. Almost by return he received a note of admonition from Roosevelt. ‘I have noted with concern your plan to publicize you unfavourable opinion of one of our allies,’ wrote the President on 24 March 1945, ‘at the very time when such a publication from a former emissary of mine might do irreparable harm to our war effort. . . . To publish information obtained in those positions without proper authority would be all the greater betrayal. . . . I specifically forbid you to publish any information or opinion about any ally that you may have acquired while in office or in the service of the United States Navy.’ 51

    Rees, Laurence (2012-04-24). World War Two: Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West (Kindle Locations 4226-4232). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

      • Strange how Horowitz flipped his lid when Diana West wrote about all this, eh? Threatened his life’s work apparently. (What nonsense – unless his life’s work is not what it appears to be …)

  8. Just a few days later, Earle learnt in practical terms what the President thought of him. He was on a boat, fishing in a remote lake in Maryland, when suddenly he looked up and saw another boat coming towards him. On board were two FBI agents. They came alongside and said: ‘Mr Earle , we have a letter for you .’ It contained the news that – with immediate effect – Earle had been appointed assistant head of the Samoan Defence Group. This meant he had to leave for the Pacific at once – all because the President had directly ordered the Navy Department to send him ‘wherever’ they could made use of Earle’s services. His son Lawrence, then an officer with American forces in the Pacific , was able to visit his father in this remote outpost. He found him ‘bitter; he was very disappointed – he was very upset that the President had done that to him’. Roosevelt wanted rid of George Earle. And that remains hard for his son to take. ‘I think it was very unusual and very autocratic,’ says Lawrence Earle. ‘Because I mean in a democracy you don’t do that sort of thing, but the President thought in wartime he could do it and he did it. Of course, he got away with it.’

    Rees, Laurence (2012-04-24). World War Two: Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West (Kindle Locations 4234-4243). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

  9. “I now look on the United States as a big dumb ox, led around by a cabal of its enemies whose intent is to take the beast out to slaughter.”

    It is incumbent, yea obligatory, on those who find their inner compass compelled to “go there” in the direction of the vector Diana West has both discovered and articulated inferentially, to come up with a plausible explanation (with facts, would help) for two questions:

    1) Why has this supposed crypto-totalitarian fait accompli of a Marxist conquest of America remained crypto and not exert itself out in the open, such that (for example) a Diana West would not even be able to find the data that bolsters her case, much less publish and promote a book about it?

    2) How has this supposed crypto-totalitarian fait accompli of a Marxist conquest of America actually achieved its conquest?

    A third broader question emerges from these two: What is the nature of this Marxist conquest and why does it allow so much freedom?

    Note: impermissible responses would include such retorts as “What do you mean ‘so much freedom’…?” (snort cackle); or typical conspiracy-theorist logic that interprets any scenario — even ones contradictory to others — as proof of the conspiracy. Rather, what is needed is an explanation that accounts for the strange, and possibly unique, hybrid of Success and Failure in the intents of those who have wanted (and still want) to conquer America.

    • Hesperado, maybe if Diana West had also mentioned in her book – possibly a future edition of American Betrayal, the Nazi influence that has permeated the Republican Party and Big Business as well as the military industrial complex – her book may not have been published.

      There is a connection between the Communists and the Nazis that now dominates the political scene in Washington – old enemies they might be but they are both on the same agenda – that is why there is now so very little difference between both sides of politics and when the time suits, will attack those, for example the Tea Party, who they perceive as a threat to their goals.

      Also, Diana West is now a well known writer with some influence that other lesser writers do not have. If she does decide to expose the Nazi connection let’s see how far she can get with her publishers when it comes time to publish.

      • This would have got her published… Immediately.


        Radosh has come on like Smaug leaping from the lonely mountain to torch Laketown to protect his shiny gold.

        Horowitz scans Mordor looking for the Shirelings come to toss the Ring into Mt Doom.

        It reminds me of the request by the Bundesbank to get their bullion out of Lone… I mean the NY Fed.

  10. All well and good. But the point is to focus on what we have going now and how it’s a direct heir of what we had then.

    This is the money sentence in the Quadrant reveiw:
    “As a result of reading West’s book, I now look on the United States as a big dumb ox, led around by a cabal of its enemies whose intent is to take the beast out to slaughter. It is a very large beast and will not go quietly.” Is that a phrase that applies only to fairly distant history? Does one have to read Diana West’s book or know anything about 1930 -1960 to see that the United States is NOW a big dumb ox led around by a cabal of its (internal) enemies?

    It’s this I wish the muliple reviewers had more insight and courage to tackle. DW at least linked that period to the current Islamization. A perceptive reviewer might find 15 more directions in which the current massive tunneling is proceeding…

    • As long as the historic population has a surfeit of automatic weaponry and a conservative military caste things will be okay. I pray that the average squaddie or GI or grunt etc won’t turn on their own.

    • Takuan, there are some who are perfectly aware of what is transpiring. The Oath Keepers have now activated their training and survival teams.

      Only time and circumstance can now determine where it all ends up.

      • I don’t know to what extent you are following the US news, but much of the armor decomissioned from Iraq has ended with police departments all across the country. Government purchases of ammo so lethal it’s outlawed by the Geneva Convention, therefore obviously for domestic use, approaches probably two billion rounds now. That’s enough to wage major war on a big country for 50 years…
        And then we have the stealth demographic strategy. The US can’t get enough legal and illegal Mexicans into its combat forces, plus Arabs, Somalis and other Muslims, dykes and gays and what have you — all the disaffected elements hostile to traditional America and to Whitey, particularly the Anglo. In the UK, as you must know, the Scotland Yard is set on remaking itself so that it’s at least 1/3 minorities — read Muslims. In nuke-wielding France some 12% of the armed forces is of Muslim-Maghrebian origin. All of these, when the time comes between choosing to obey an order and remaining loyal to one’s own, who will be that “one’s own”?

        Still, our peoples, when they were still peoples, survived worse odds. I am by no means despairing…

        • The major ‘confrontations’ I believe, will be in the large cities when those who are trapped in them by whatever means is used to trap them, will repeat Warsaw Ghetto scenarios all across the Western world.

          Those who can see what is coming no longer live in large cities and have prepared themselves for what may come their way. Whether they can survive the long uncertain years ahead is anyone’s guess.

          By choice, I live on a remote mountain with one road in and out which can be guarded quite adequately by two persons with adequate weaponry. I have a military and police background and know what to expect, whereas many who do not have that background can only guess. I will not go down out without a fight.

          It is easy to paint a graphic picture of the possibilities when knowing the lists of weaponry and munitions being primed against the West, but one must remember that not all those who will be charged with the killing will have adequate training in battleground tactics, they may be well equipped as were the German SS at Warsaw, but they are still human beings who can be killed by those who are resolute in their outlook for survival.

  11. Re: the “brawl” analogy: What actually happened in the pub that day? Well, there was no “brawl”.

    Diana West was having a quiet drink and David Horowitz “glassed” her when she wasn’t looking.

    If someone’s up in court for “assault to injury”, paying a lawyer to say that their victim tried to fight back after the assault had taken place will not impress the man wearing the wig.

    They will be found guilty of assault, and rightly so.

  12. @Hesperado – Good questions…..

    The cultural Marxist takeover was/is not perfect and it focused on doing the most damage with the least effort; very few people actually read history books, and many of those that do are part of the problem. The marxiculti clique did not have inexhaustible resources and therefore did not clear up the debris, so for someone like DW, diving through the vast dumpsters of political trash, there are fine pickings which reveal the truths of the era.

    It is control of the media that has nailed freedom into its coffin, the media can camouflage what it cannot hide. The roofs of most houses have holes in them, but since rain only comes from above, one can guide the water into the gutters and thus keep the house dry. The media can likewise guide public perception down a particular set of paths (memes) thus hiding truths in plain sight. DW came at history from a different angle and could thus expose the holes in the roof.

    In the case of the Muslim Brotherhood, we are all guilty of underestimating the enemy. Political correctness has got us by the ‘short and curlies’ and the more we shout, the more PC squeezes. Cultural Marxism came upon us by virtue of highly motivated ‘believers’ using soviet funding to burrow into the framework of the establishment. Belief and funding are key to this process, to get a good job in our society needs ‘influence’ which can either be bought or gained through participation in a congregation of ‘believers’. There was a time when the congregation of note was Judeo-Christian, but no longer, the Marxist-Atheist congregation quickly became more influential. Now it is Islam that is well funded, so it can choose its candidate; say a mixed race American child in an Indonesian madrassa, it can nurture him and run interference on him using financial muscle to clear a path, get the picture…..

    Like a worm, one can wriggle into the rotting carcass of Congress thin and hungry, and come out stout and stinking. This is the vulnerability.

    • “mixed race American child in an Indonesian madrassa”

      NOT American. NO proof whatever of American. Fake birth certificate. Fake Social Security Number. Fake selective service registration. Etc.

  13. Just a note on The New Criterion–I once hoped that it would be a forum for conservative cultural and political discussion, but this symposium clearly reveals its coordinates. Diana West is right: it is a club, a well-endowed little crowd of nobs which includes former secretaries of State. I believe editor Roger Kimball once said that he never read the comments–not that there are any.

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