You Don’t Have to Read the Book to Get the Prize

I got on Twitter today to post a quick 140-character pushback against the latest chapter of the old and tired trope against Diana West. Or should I say “tripe” at this point? What words can one use to describe a relentless smear campaign mounted once more against “American Betrayal” and its author?

That’s got to be one tired horse by now.

To my surprise, there was a fellow on there who was all ready to believe the gospel according to National Review Online. Based on his other material, this Mr. Talmadge appears to be a reasonable man. Unfortunately, however, like numerous others he was ready to believe the latest smear simply because of its provenance: we all know National Review Online would never tolerate an untruth on its pages. Ergo, as Mr. T. said, “it could only be a legitimate takedown”. But in his reply to Ms. West’s demur, he also said he hadn’t read the book.

There you go. If National Review says you’re beyond the pale, then you are, and you’d better shut up because they’re not going to quit sliming you. Have these people morphed into Leftists while we weren’t looking? Or are they simply willing to “cop a rhythm, steal a rhyme” from the Left when a popular method of character destruction is so handy? Ah, temptation.

She must be pretty powerful, this Diana West, arch-villainess who dares to stick to the facts she discovered in her research on America’s mid-20th century history. For her efforts, the poohbahs at NRO have dubbed her SWMNBATGUNE: She Who Must Not Be Allowed To Go Unmolested — Not Ever.

Hey, maybe they’ll strike a medal for the occasion(s), or have David Horowitz throw one of his fests to celebrate it. Each time another reviewer who hasn’t read the book publishes his screed, he can show up for his SWMNBATGUNE award dinner (featuring red herrings and sour grapes on the menu). After the award speech, members may retire to the bar for another brawl…

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

14 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to Read the Book to Get the Prize

  1. What I find interesting is that every time they bring this up again… they get more people interested in reading the book. “Talmadge” is just the next Amazon customer as he seems to have an inquiring mind and, after all, what the heck is going on here???
    It’s like when your mother said (in a previous generation) “do not ride your bike to the lake, you’ll fall in and drown.” Of course you were going to ride to the lake and maybe even take a swim!

  2. DW must have struck a nerve, and a very sensitive nerve at that, the question is what are the planetX people trying to hide?

    Or is it just that delusions can be very comfortable, pig in doo-doos type, and the idea that Stalin won hands down is like being hosed down with ice cold water?

  3. The article linked by Diana West at is an excellent explanation of what really motivates the continuing assault on her work. Of course, Vladimir Bukovsky and Pavel Stroilov have their own experiences of the hostility in the academic establishment to accepting the truth about their institutional complicity in the crimes and atrocities of the Soviet Union, and tend to be unsubtle in their characterization of the motivation for this hostility. That is, they ascribe to conscious calculation a pattern of behavior that is actually explained better by understanding that the foundations of “modernity”, with its unlimited appetite for “progress” and belief in the power of science and technology to eventually overcome the defects of human nature, actually trace back to the same sources as Marxism.

    The genesis of much of the modern, secular world view can only be understood fully by going back to Auguste Comte ( can be considered a neutral-positive introduction) and understanding the profound impact his program for eventually abolishing all supernatural ideation from Western Civilization (beginning with Christianity, of course) had on the subsequent history of the world. It is of course obvious that Comte did not emerge spontaneously from nowhere, the dream of creating a total society based on absolute rejection of the existence of any beings greater than mankind (or even equal) has existed since the origin of humanity. But the major innovations which have nearly effected the realization of this program in the elite circles of government, academia, and the mass media, all trace back to Comte. Before Comte’s development of a sophisticated justification for a general program of elimination of all belief that any entities equal or greater than humanity existed, atheistic tendencies were always recognized as an irrational personal prejudice based on excessive pride and self-worship.

    It is not so much that there exists a definite conspiracy to hide the enormous crimes of Communism, but rather that, to the secular modernist world-view, those crimes appear more misguided and less enormous. The ‘establishment conservatives’ would certainly commit such atrocities themselves in pursuit of their own interpretation of the best program to advance “humanity” towards total dominion over nature (God and all other supernatural beings having been neatly defined out of existence). They may well be sincerely anti-communist, but it does not serve their interest to have too many revelations about the degree to which they share a fundamental belief in the idea of “human progress” at ANY cost. Comte’s idea of an explicitly atheist denial of the existence of the supernatural has fallen into disfavor in many circles, the same logic which supports establishment of a “religion of humanity” equally supports the mass worship of a consciously constructed fictional deity, and it is easier and more effective to promote a fake Christianity than to directly challenge such a clearly foundational element of Western Civilization (indeed, it is far better precedented as well).

    In the end, the battle is not between Communism and Capitalism, or Islam and Secularism, or any of the other superficial contests for worldly power which are trumpeted as decisive for the future of humanity. It is the division between those who believe that all humans, and humanity as a whole, are accountable to a higher power and those who insist that there is no higher purpose and destiny than humanity itself…they being uniquely qualified to lead (or be patronized by the leaders) during their tenure.

    At heart, Diana West’s exploration of the crimes of the Soviet Union, and the lack of outrage against those crimes by the leaders of the “Free World”, is fundamentally driven by and feeds a profound reaction against the idea that there are no limits to the crimes the elite may commit “in service to the advancement of humanity”.

    P.S. I have mentioned before that the majority of Muslims, and absolutely all of their prominent religious leaders, are consciously atheists who find it convenient to profess belief in a fake God who says only what they put in his mouth. This primitive form of theocracy, in which religion is cynically bent to the service of the secular leadership of society, is morally offensive to the ‘pure altruistic idealism’ of those who serve ‘humanity’ even if they use similar or identical tactics. But the atrocities and lies of Islam (like those of Communism) are not offensive to them at all, merely inconvenient to their own cause (or not, as the case may be).

  4. Wests’s problem is that she practiced history on a level equal to several professionals, called several paradigms into question, refused to bow to the idols and orthodoxies of the Godless Cathedral. Her research and findings, if you couple them with Harvey Klehr and Robert Earl Hayne, In Denial, present a subject area of history that uses anti humanistic, anti Western and thoroughly ideologized Marxist Leninist and even Stalinist frameworks of understanding. Such historians routinely excuse the violence, brutality and mass murder that are inextricably linked to the Totalitarian Left of the 20th cent. Truly, truly, we have not recovered from these traumas because a humanistic and honest view of them has never been permitted in the academy as a whole.

    • The implicit assumption among the beautiful people is that killing is noble if it is in the service of creating a just, humane society. Hence, the complete lack of outrage to which you and Mr. Chiu refer.

      Perhaps “Yes, but” should be the rallying cry of dreamers and fools everywhere.

      Personally, I never get to “but.” If politicians and intellectuals (who do) had to build a new lumber camp in the Siberian winter wilderness without winter clothing before they could propose new legislation it could only benefit us all. I refer, of course, to Solzhenitsyn’s account in The Gulag Archipelago of certain prisoners dumped off in such a wilderness for such a purpose.

  5. Ron Capshaw’s April 18th article in National Review, “FDR, Truman, and Ike: Not Communists, Just Naifs,” continues the attack on Diana West’s American Betrayal. It includes the same old convincing arguments: “saw a Communist under every bed,” “West avoids such grown-up views.” Why read further? West is obviously a delusional child. Capshaw has one problem though. People have actually read her book. I checked her index and there is no mention of even one Communist under any bed. She does not call FDR a Bolshevik.
    Capshaw begins his argument by retelling the claims of Robert Welch and others. None of these claims are in her book. It is just insinuated that she supports them. He then has a litany of FDR actions that make the president appear to be a solid anti-Communist. FDR saved the capitalist system! The truth is that FDR had a fairly consistent pro-Soviet policy from the beginning. He was not naive and his later concessions to the Soviet Union were not a result of his illness as is often claimed.
    FDR had been informed about Soviet agents in his administration not only by Adolf Berle but by Walter Winchell and possibly others. There are differing accounts of his response to Berle. He either laughed if off or cursed Berle out. According to the Schecters when Walter Winchell told him Alger Hiss was a Communists Roosevelt, “Leaning closer and pointing a finger in my face, he [Roosevelt] angrily said, ‘I don’t want to hear another thing about it! It isn’t true.’” Winchell was not invited back to the White House for several months.
    It is a mystery to me why “conservative” insist on defending Roosevelt. His policies led to the enslavement of half of Europe. Yes, we depended on the Soviet Union during the war. All patriotic American were in a sense pro-Soviet. However, they should have realized that this “ally” was as insidious as our enemies and formed policies accordingly. Capshaw points out the Soviets suffered 25 million deaths during the war. How many of these deaths were self inflicted? Nearly one million Soviets fought for the Nazis. How desperate they must have been to fight for an ideology that considered them subhuman.
    It is true that FDR shared atomic information with the British but not the Soviets. That was not necessary. I suspect that Stalin knew more about our atomic program than Truman at the time of the Potsdam Conference. The U.S. Treasury provided the Soviet Union with a set of occupation currency plates but not the British. Provisions in the Morgenthau Plan and the Yalta agreement put the U.S. government in the business of the slave trade and the engineered famine after the war almost drove all of Europe into the arms of the Soviet Union. Communists played a large role in formulating these policies. They and their sympathizers should be recognized for their accomplishments.

    • These attacks on Diana West go beyond any reasonable presentation. If NRO is going to keep putting up second rate “reviews” which make many claims but don’t back them up with evidence based on her words, it makes NRO look bad. Which is obvious when you read the comment section of Capshaw’s essay.

      These things are all done in the old leftist style: attack after attack and none of them based on reality. In this case, the reality of what Diana West actually said.

      Creepy stuff.

      Cui bono??

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