Diana West is on the loose again.
This time it’s a clever take down of… what else? In her words, “the often perverse National Review”.
This one’s not about a new attack on her. For a change, this is a bout (or a “barroom brawl” as Mr. McCarthy of the perverse Review might sprightly say) between Conrad Black at Perversity and Angelo Codevilla, with the latter writing a review in a recent edition of The Claremont Review of Books.[These embedded links are at Diana’s site].
Wait, wait — don’t click off. If you know anything at all about Diana West’s repeated scourgings by that group of Pontius Pilates at The National Review you won’t want to miss this one.
Ms. West says:
Readers of the often-perverse National Review will have noticed that FDR biographer and convicted felon Conrad Black has opened an extended firefight with Angelo Codevilla over Codevilla’s review-essay in the Claremont Review of Books about Henry Kissinger’s recent book.
“My review’s one and only reference to Conrad Black was to quote his praise of Kissinger’s book: “brilliantly conceived and executed . . . even by Henry Kissinger’s very high standards.” Black construes this as an “attack” on him, of “extreme belligerence.” Who am I to disagree?”
Who, indeed. But such galactic departures from reality are quite routine for Black.
Recall that after scrawling a series of bathroom-wall-style attacks on Yours Truly — “right-wing loopy,” “occasionally aroused cautious hopefulness that she has been house-trained,” “the West farrago of lies,” “jejune dementedness,” etc. — Black turned around in Attack Piece No. 2 (of four) and wrote:
“I am not one of those whom she can possibly include as making an ad hominem attack on her; I don’t know her, and have never commented on her as a person.”
Fantastic! Just as Black imagines “extreme belligerence” where nothing belligerent appeared, he imagines that ever-linkable ad hominem attacks he, himself, committed never appeared.
Makes you wonder if the inestimable Mr. Black suffered any head blows while in the pokey. But perhaps he is simply remaining in character, and a rather down low sporty character it is. His wiki notes that at age 14 he was expelled from school for selling stolen exam papers. In other words, a fundamental disrespect for the law appears to have emerged early.
I’d never examined this man’s life before, being only vaguely aware that he was accused of stealing a lot of money. It turns out to have been an appallingly great deal of OPM — Other People’s Money, with estimates varying between sixty and eighty-four millions of dollars. Is Mr. Black paradigmatic of the elite criminal? Is he the modern poor little rich boy, the one for whom no amount is ever deemed “enough” to fill his boundless emptiness?
Who can ever plumb the mysteries of the human heart, particularly the larcenous wealthy man’s heart? Those millions belonged to someone(s) else but since it is white-collar crime, we never learn exactly who it was he left so bleedingly broke. You can find some of the stories here. What you’ll notice is how long and how expensively the coward Black dragged this out.
George Soros infamously took life savings from British pensioners and French banks. Whom did Black leave busted flat? He is said to have converted to Catholicism, but surely one of the conditions of his reception into the Church would have been restitution to those he harmed? Perhaps not. Perhaps not anymore. He is fodder for atheists. Were I one, I’d certainly put him on a stick and wave him about as an example of the godly.
After spending some time now reading about the man (oh, for a research assistant!), one has to ask what Perversity is willing to do to stay in business. What does it gain a magazine to win the world and lose its soul?
Diana West soldiers on through the rest of their exchange but after this exposure to Black, my fight is gone. Her essay can be read in its entirety here.
For me it is painfully obvious by now that Black isn’t merely mistaken in his reading of others’ work. He plays fast and loose with Truth, leaving her a trampled floozy on the dance floor as he waltzes off to his next
This is a man of bad character, and Perversity does itself immense harm in its continued public association with someone who stole a great deal of money and then lied and lied and lied about it. So what if he went to prison? He still owes big time, including the money it cost taxpayers to prosecute his unrepentant self and then to feed/clothe his sad sack corpus in one of our prisons. I read somewhere that an overwhelming majority of criminals, including this “white-collar” type, have a background of childhood humiliation, abuse and neglect. Knowing nothing of the child behind the man, except for the fact that he was selling stolen exams at age 14, it doesn’t take much moral sensibility to discern the man’s obviously miserable childhood. Yeah, even with all his money and position.
Perversity is a modern example of Lord Acton’s warnings about the link between corruption and power. By taking in Mr. Black, they have lost their former conservative moral gravitas. Quite simply it appears they have fallen to the temptation of continued existence at any cost. Someone ought to tell them there are worse things than dying. One of them is to cynically continue an association they know violates the principles of conservatism itself.
Or is this a sign they continue to mourn the loss of their own rudder when Bill Buckley, warts and all, shuffled off this mortal coil? It’s hard to say, but one thing we can observe with certainty: they are blackguards, the lot of them.