Pontius Pilate Pontificates at Perversity. Again.

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.

Codevilla notes:

“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?”

Diana observes:

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 assassination assignation.

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.

12 thoughts on “Pontius Pilate Pontificates at Perversity. Again.

  1. I no longer check NR on a routine basis because of its shift to the left. So I occasionally miss some interesting info. I read Black’s article and sent the following comment – I have read extensively on the Yalta Conference and this is the first time I have seen it posited that FDR manipulated Stalin into demanding the Western powers attack across the English Channel. “A stroke of genius!” What are you smoking Conrad? “Franklin D. Roosevelt was overwhelmingly successful.” By whose standards? He surrendered the “much less strategically important areas of Eastern Europe;” Berlin, Vienna, Warsaw and Prague (less strategically important areas?). He forced millions of people into slave labor and endorsed a plan to thoroughly destroy the economy of western Europe thus forcing into the arms of the Soviets. Black repeats the fact that the “Russians took 95 percent of the casualties.” How many of these casualties were self-inflicted? Nearly one million Soviet citizens fought for the Nazis. This should have shown FDR who he was dealing with.

  2. I’ve skimmed the NR over the decades and always thought it was nothing more than a rag for statists and their stooges who wouldn’t be caught dead talking to a working class white. Maybe it was Conservative at one time, but I doubt it.

    Looking at who the writers are, it reads like a who’s who of beltway stooges. The cincher for me is fact they promote so-called “Free trade” agreements that are un-Constitutional and that destroy our jobs base and economy is warrant enough to round file the rotting lot of them. Sure it’s good for the top .01% but everyone else, it’s a express train to poverty and permanent unemployment.

    If they can’t stick up for Americans, then they are the enemy as much as a any Jihadi is.

    • Mark Steyn writes for them and he’s no stooge. The Baron tells me this is no longer the case, that Mr. Steyn and Perversity had a falling out some years ago. I searched for information on the particulars of this divorce but my googling skills must be rather mediocre. Nada. Or at least nothing pertinent to the dissolution of their association. However, it’s an ill wind, etc., because I found a most idiosyncratic website: http://popehat.com/ with a fascinating admin list:
      Ken White
      Patrick Non-White
      David Beige
      Grandy Alabaster
      Adam Steinblanched
      Derrick Eggshell
      Charles Ivory
      Clark Bianco

      Hmmm…with a name like http://popehat.com/ they obviously speak with authority…

      Meanwhile, back at the mag…at one time, when Andrew McCarthy was the prosecutor against the Blind Sheikh, he was no stooge.

      In 2002, Ann Coulter published a book delineating the many harassing, impoverishing transgressions of the Clintons against those who dared oppose them. National Review, like The American Spectator was treated to the IRS inquisition. When Obama came along, he simply ratcheted that up to Chicago levels, going on to include right wing grassroots’ orgs like the Tea Party.

      Here’s her book:

      High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton Paperback October, 2002

      I just saw the relevant pages in an excerpt on a Google read page. I’ll see if I can snip it.

      • Well, if one can snip from a Google book, I can’t figure out how to do it. Found instructions for doing a screen cap on my Chromebook, but they don’t work on mine…so here’s what I typed out from Ms. Coulter’s book about the enterprising efforts of the IIRS during Clinton’s time:

        Still not convinced?
        Consider this partial list of conservative groups that have been investigated by Clinton’s IRS: National Review, American Spectator, the Christian Coalition, Citizens for a Sound Economy…the Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association, Western Journalism Center, National Center for Public Policy Research, Fortress America and Citizens Against Government Waste.

        She goes on to say that these are the targets we know about and there are probably others. Strangely, no liberal groups or orgs were put through that expensive process. Anyone remember the hapless Billy Dale? He ran the White House travel dept. As I recall they went after him in order to get a crony into the job. He was a government employee – no one at that level could afford the legal fees to fight the smear. He tried, but they ruined the man. Just because they could.

        Maybe that strange and way-too-close encounter with government’s potential for bureaucratic evil scared the magazine out of any integrity. I’m sure Mr. Buckley’s wealth was greatly reduced.

  3. “Mark Steyn writes for them…”

    Correction; wrote for them.

    They parted ways when NRO slimed their way out of the Mann/fraudster trial and left Mark on his own.

  4. World War II was a watershed event as it was the first time that the narrative was altered to fit the agenda. It also marked the birth of the Fourth Estate as the useful idiot/puppet of the Marxists (not Groucho or Beppo) who had alreasy succeeded in Russia and were working feverishly in China to pull that “White-Headed God” off of His Throne.

  5. ‘American Betrayal’ by Diana West is to me the book that separates the Karl Rove [sycophants], National Review, Conrad Black, statist Republicans from the backbone of the Republican/Conservative/Right Wing in the US – most of us here.

    You read this thoroughly researched book and either understand what happened in the US during those years or you are a liar, an enabler or just plain too dumb to understand anything.

    I began reading National Review and watching WFB on Firing Line in the 1960’s so I go way back. It was my idea to start the Washington Club at the American Spectator back in the early 1980’s when two staffers at TAS took me to lunch in Philadelphia. I have some nice pics of me and R. Emmett Tyrrell at one of those Washington Club dinners. Very enjoyable. PJ O’Rourke was at my table.

    Something goes wrong with these conservative publication after awhile. They get conformist. They lose their edge and their bite. They [apply lips to the posterior of] the Big Republican money and then they lose it. My own idea is not to have these publications in NYC or Wash DC. I mean it’s like starting in the boonies arguing against the power of Caesar and then feeling full of yourself and moving your business to Rome. You are corrupted before you know it.

    Maybe revolution and movements just need to constantly replenished. History says that is the case. Brigitte Gabriel spoke at a church down the road last night here in Montana. That woman has more fire in her than the whole Congressional Republican leadership. One on one she would tear Boehner or McConnell and new [nether orifice] in about 15 seconds. They couldn’t stand up to her. I decided last night to join her ACT for America group that is trying to legislate against the Islamization of our beautiful country. If you don’t know her story, she is Christian Arab from Lebanon who had virtually all her friends killed by Muslims and is really pissed off at them.

    • Mr.Galt you have obviously led a most interesting life and acted at least at the margins of whatever conservatism was before the 20th century re-founders shuffled off and out of the limelight. To have been at table with P.J. O’Rourke is definitely a plum in your cap, a feather in your pie. The others? Not so much.

      You are right about centers and corruption. We fallen men and women are only ever doing the best we can and it’s never quite enough.

      The energy flows down to a younger group – Gabriel and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff and Michele Bachmann and (I can’t think of a man who isn’t squishy on immigration- sorry) – we cheer them on to their turn.

      The Left doesn’t seem to have the problem you describe, of becoming more conformist, at least not in the way you mean here. They become ever more radical and estranged from the average person and ever more divisive. BDS is alive and well and flourishing on American campuses; but to look at the evidence in Israel, it’s not having much effect- e.g., see here: http://nocamels.com/ There is more innovation on that site than I can find anywhere. That it’s in Israel is even better since it proves hatred can’t trump scientific and technological innovation. BDS is the same old garbage. No Camels is my daily/weekly hope page.

  6. Well obviously my opinion will be very unpopular here. I like and admire Conrad Black. He started from nothing and built an empire of newspapers. He STOLE nothing, he merely took his own papers back from his own building. In Canada THAT is not a crime. His crime was that Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien hated him because the UK admired Black and wanted him to be in the house of Lords and French Chretien said No. It was a pissing match. Canada vs Black. One man always loses against the power of the state, right? Read ALL the court transcriptions, not just the ones you linked. Chretien and the Liberals went to work on CB and for some reason I will never know Black chose to be tried in Chicago and please read exactly who his enemies were. Anyway, he took his undeserved punishment very well in his sixties, and mentored kids who were thought to be nothing, and now are educated young men who will no doubt through his positive attitude, will learn s cope with a society that is kind of corrupt, anyway, am I right? I think you should follow Lord Black’s protégés and I will bet you they are doing well. I say Lord Black, because our French Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien at the time hated the UK so much he couldn’t stand a very popular newspaper publisher to be called a lord in the UK parliament. Even though many Canadian publishers in the past have been. I know you like the woman who hates him, but I felt it might be right for just one little Canadian like me, who is NOT JEALOUS of anyone who has made their own wealth, like he did, to stand up for him. He only took back his own papers, he did not steal them. His only mistake was to trust that in Chicago, trusting Americans, he would get a fair trial. Look back in the archives and see how Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant and others defended him. See how his best friends turned on him knowing that the un informed just hate the rich. I apologize for the length of this but I felt you should know that injustice was done to Conrad Black.. He is well know in Canada as a larger than life prickly man who started the best newspaper and when his backstabbers were done that newspaper is a sad little leftie paper, not worth the loonie, that would be a buck to you. I just thought Conrad Black needed someone to defend him, even if it was just little old

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