Winter Fundraiser 2015, Day Seven
Well, we’re winding to a close here at our winter fundraiser. Today is the final day of the fundraiser proper. There will be a wrap-up sometime tomorrow, which is why we refer to the entire package as “The Octet”.
It’s Sunday morning in the Western Hemisphere, and most of our readers are presumably lounging in the complacency of the peignoir, although it’s a little too early for the sunny chair with the coffee and the oranges and the cockatoo and all that.
You all have been busily making that tip jar clink for the past week, and I can’t tell you how gratifying the response has been. In addition to our own determined efforts, the Western Rifle Shooters Association was kind enough to post a plug for our bleg on Friday. That brought in a lot of new donors, many of them from states such as Wyoming and Arizona where Second Amendment rights are held dear. It was a pleasure to see you all arrive.
It’s put me a little behind in my writing of thank-you notes. For those who haven’t received theirs yet: your acknowledgement will be arriving in your inbox shortly.
Fundraising week really allows us to touch base with our readers. We already know some of you through your comments and emails, but there are a lot of others who would remain unknown to us if they didn’t hit the “donate” button.
A week of “Friends and Neighbors” would be incomplete without mentioning one particular friend. She’s not quite a neighbor, since she lives in Washington D.C., a.k.a. the Forbidden City, the heart of the Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy. However, I can drive to see her in less than a day. So that’s close enough.
I refer, of course, to Diana West, the well-known journalist and author who stumbled into so much controversy back in 2013.
I’ve been friends with Diana for six years or so. Of all the social occasions I regularly take part in, none gives me more pleasure than the gatherings at her house in D.C. Not only is her guest list top-notch — I first met Steve Coughlin, Brigitte Gabriel, Frank Gaffney, and Claire Lopez at her house — but the atmosphere is elegant and her table well-kept.
I customarily refer to her get-togethers as “soirées”, because they usually begin early, before the dinner hour, and their style hearkens back to a time when social forms were important and respected.
Diana had been publishing opinion pieces for a long time before her first book saw print. I admired her work for The Washington Times for years before I met her, having read her newspaper columns in dead-tree media, and then later online in the Jewish World Review.
Her first book, The Death of the Grown-up, was published in 2008. It described the infantilization of American politics and culture, and how this stubborn refusal to grow up was contributing to the decline of our country.
Dymphna had already bought and read a copy of the book before we ever made contact with Diana. It was printed in some microscopic font — it looked like 4pt Times New Roman to me; even back then my eyes were shot — so I hadn’t been able to read it myself.
The Death of the Grown-up was well-received, although I’m sure it must have made some of the literati uneasy, since so much of their stock-in-trade partakes of the infantilized culture. Those who believe hip-hop music has poetic value were unlikely to identify with what Diana had to say.
She started out intending to write an entirely different book, one that would examine the history of Muslim Brotherhood influence in the United States. As background for her research on Islamic infiltration she decided to research earlier infiltration by the Communists, and particularly by agents of influence for the Soviet Union. What she found astounded and dismayed her. She realized that there was another story that was largely unknown to most Americans and cried out to be exposed. The result was American Betrayal, and that’s where the trouble began.
It turned out I couldn’t read the new book either. By the time it was published in the spring of 2013 I had full-blown macular degeneration, and couldn’t even consider looking at it. When July came around and trouble began, I found myself in an unusual position: my friend had been publicly attacked in a most egregious fashion for writing a book that I hadn’t read. Which turned out to be an advantage, in the long run.
Since I hadn’t read the book, and couldn’t address any criticism of it based on the merits, what I noticed was the ad-hominem manner in which Diana was attacked. I know her to be a gracious and honorable woman of great integrity. Regardless of whether any of her conclusions were right or wrong, she didn’t deserve the foul slime that was flung at her. No one who earnestly seeks to uncover the truth should be treated in such a fashion.
That was why I came to her defense. And, strange is it may seem, for a while back there in the fall of 2013, Gates of Vienna was the most prominent venue defending Diana West. None of the major outlets would touch the issue, except to give space to her detractors.
I won’t go into detail about the attacks on American Betrayal. Those who are unfamiliar with what happened may read “Planet X” or “An Addled Barroom Brawler”, or any of the other posts in the Diana West Archives.
In a nutshell: Diana was blindsided by vitriolic attacks from people she had thought were her allies and colleagues. She was described as “McCarthy on steroids,” “unhinged,” a “right-wing loopy,” not properly “house trained,” an “incompetent” who purveyed “a farrago of lies,” and many other similar epithets. In other words, her critics failed to address the merits of her book, but rather engaged in an unseemly and intensely personal attack, one that went straight for the jugular.
The most prominent of the knife-throwers were Ronald Radosh, Conrad Black, and David Horowitz. There were many other lesser lights who went along with the “take-down” in a spirit of me-tooism — or maybe because their funding sources were dependent their agreement with the Wise Ones.
Then there was the curious incident of the dogs that failed to bark in the night — that is, all those colleagues who had previously affirmed Diana’s work and described her as a friend, but were unwilling to speak out on her behalf. And also those whose “defense” was lukewarm at best, most notably the former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who earned the dubious distinction of coining the phrase “barroom brawl” to describe what had happened.
That’s some planet, that Planet X. It exerted a huge gravitational pull back then on people and events, and still does today. Even now I’m no closer to identifying it.
I don’t like to participate in the sort of fratricide that became commonplace in the summer and fall of 2013. Conflicts among various conservative factions are inevitable, but it would be better for all of us if the dirty laundry were never publicly aired. If the ad-hominem mud hadn’t been so viciously flung against a friend I admire and respect, I never would have gotten involved.
After all the lies and misrepresentations and distortions leveled against her, Diana published The Rebuttal: Defending ‘American Betrayal’ from the Book-Burners to set the record straight. I consider it a privilege to be represented among the blogosphere defenders included in the book.
And here’s a video where Diana talks about how she came to write American Betrayal:
The additional “suggested” videos associated with this one should lead you to the other parts of this interview, and to other videos in which she discusses the book.
Saturday’s generous contributors checked in from these places:
Stateside: Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Montana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington
Near Abroad: Canada
Far Abroad: Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK
Our heartfelt blessings go out to all of you. We’re done at last! I’ll post a wrap-up sometime tomorrow.
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