Diana West on National Review’s Blinkered Existence

Mirroring Ms. West’s occasional (deserved) shredding of National Review is something of an earned right by now. The mag’s strange irrelevance (since Donald of Orange ascended a throne they were so sure he didn’t deserve and could never win) continues bouncing down the road to oblivion. But who on board that tumbrel cares? They’re all the equivalent of trust-funders, untethered from the need for any robust journalism. Surely their fervently anti-Communist founder rests uneasy in his grave.

[The two bolded paragraphs in Ms. West’s essay are my emphasis. Minor formatting changes are mine, also.]

National Review Looks at the Communist Century … and Blinks

by Diana West

It’s really not Britisher Douglas Murray’s fault. He just happened to blunder onto the pages of the wrong American magazine, National Review, to ponder the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. In an essay titled, “The Russian Revolution, 100 Years On: Its Enduring Allure and Menace,” Murray asks himself why it is, 100 million deaths later, that Communism is not held in the same disrepute as Nazism. Noticing whitewash all around, he writes: “While everybody knows the stories of the good anti-Nazis from more than seven decades ago, the heroes of anti-Communism are becoming forgotten.”

Too true — but no small thanks to the biases enforced by National Review, which, I note in the spirit of full disclosure, ran five (5) attacks on my own American Betrayal, a book that explores this same paradox, and even “names names” of some of those same forgotten “heroes of anti-Communism.” (For newcomers shocked by NR’s malignant obsession, I will note also my book received praise from such lights as Vladimir Bukovsky, Angelo Codevilla, Edward Jay Epstein, M. Stanton Evans, Newt Gingrich, and others, which, of course, doesn’t make it bullet-proof, but affords protection from any bald-faced lies by the so-called “standard-bearer of conservatism.”) [See the American Betrayal Archives —D]

In his essay, Murray is dismayed by our campuses, where students “are loosened up,” and throws up his hands over our politics, where Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren (over here), Jeremy Corbyn (over there) are well-received “exponents” of what he curiously calls “the concepts of solidarity, equality, and other benign spillages from the Marxist-Communist worldview.” He notes: “How hard they have worked, these people.”

Who are they, these people? I doublechecked to make sure. He seems to be referring to a string of Labor Party politicians, a Stalinist reporter and historian, Justin Trudeau … almost as if the epic subversion of the West and all of its institutions somehow happened in a fair and square fight at the ballot box.

It’s hard to imagine Murray believes such a thing; however, it is also the case that the editors’ choice of “sidebars” to accompany his main Red Anniversary feature displays a similarly blinkered perspective. These sidebars include:

  • four paragraphs on Solzhenitsyn by Anne Applebaum;
  • three paragraphs on Koestler’s Darkness at Noon by David Pryce-Jones;
  • three paragraphs (and a lede sentence) on Vasily Grossman by Noah Rothman;
  • four paragraphs on Vaclav Havel by Roger Scruton; and
  • four paragraphs on Leskek Kolakowski by Applebaum’s husband, Radoslaw Sikorski.

Giants or notables, all — Russian, German, Czech, and Polish — but not a single entry on an American anti-Communist, or, for that matter, American Communist. It is almost as if the Russian Revolution didn’t very much happen to America as well.

There are many ways to cover its centennial, and this non-American way is one of them. However, it is interesting to consider the lack of consciousness of domestic history such a choice reveals. NR’s 1917 package conveys the impression that America was wholly spared the poisonous ideological onslaught; as if there were no “Red Networks,” no “Red Scare,” no unhealed civil war over the very existence of Moscow-directed intelligence armies, which in effect, had turned Washington, DC into “occupied” territory by the beginning of World War II. Meanwhile, Soviet agents, ideological Communists, fellow travellers, Fabians, and their force-multiplying dupes spent the past century (and more) steadily boring into every other Western institution, from churches to schools and across the culture, seeking to replicate, in varying degrees, the Russian Revolution. (In all too many ways, they were successful.) It is here, in the study of domestic Marxist subversion, where we may find the clues to the Marxist takeover of our institutions, from both without and within. Without such study, it remains outside our ken, as we see in Murray’s failure to offer answers as to why Communism remains a lodestar; why the great anti-Communists have been shunted into the darkness. Certainly, they have been in this salient case at National Review.

It would be one thing to come across such a checkered overview of history in the guest-columns of the “Red Century,” the New York Times running hagiography on Communism. But National Review was founded in large part to promote anti-Communism, and once even employed as editors two of our greatest expositors of domestic Communist subversion: Whittaker Chambers (1901-1961), whose Witness stands as the most vivid chronicle of Soviet networks of spies and agents of influence in Washington, DC; and M. Stanton Evans (1934-2015), whose Blacklisted by History shattered half-a-century of lies and slander about the nation’s greatest anti-Communist legislator, Sen. Joseph McCarthy, with a painstaking work based on newfound and newly released records.

What happened? I suppose National Review’s domestic anti-Communism ran dry by the time Blacklisted by History appeared in 2007 and its editors decided it was a perfectly good idea to run a mendacious and sloppy hit piece on this epic, painstaking work written by the sloppy and mendacious ex-Communist Ron Radosh, who, what a coincidence, would later lead off the anti-American Betrayal disinformation campaign for David Horowitz’s Frontpage.

Funny how this always goes. But once again, it’s quite clear that there’s very little left on the right.

Au contraire, Ms. West: there be a whole lotta Left on the used-to-be-right. You know, those jolly capons of the UniParty establishment who wander the halls in the District of Columbia.

11 thoughts on “Diana West on National Review’s Blinkered Existence

  1. To be honest, I didn’t find this article by Ms. West to be easy to follow. She seems to be making leaps in her thinking which maybe are just about followable by people who understand a lot about her context, but to be honest, I found it hard.

    I keep an open mind though. If she says that Frontpage mag ran a disinformation campaign against ‘American Betrayal’, my mind remains open, to both Frontpage mag, and Diane West, to make their cases. I’ll be reading up.

    • See the material archived on Gates of Vienna re the on-going attempt to isolate and bully Diana West. That archive is linked in my post. We took up the cause when it was ignored elsewhere, or when others said “I haven’t read the book but I stand by [her detractors]”.

      Yes, digging into the particulars is work if you weren’t around then, but not nearly so much as it was for GoV.

      • Yeah, you know Dymphna, I had a cursory look and I figured out it’s just way too much work for me to get a reliable angle on it at this point.

        • I can understand that. But the attempted destruction of Diana West as a scholar and a person of integrity was National Review’s prodromal lead-up to their #NeverTrump. And they treated his ideas in the same cavalier, shallow manner.

          David Horowitz jumped on that – he was far more involved with Communist Marxism than he ever revealed. Fortunately, with Don of Orange, he didn’t do that. It was a luxury he couldn’t afford.

          In both cases, I am left with Cui Bono…

  2. It turns out that, over-aggressive as he may have been, Sen. McCarthy was basically right about what was going on.

  3. Diana West has been basically attacked for her well researched book. If she does one thing well is she has really stirred up intellectual debate as to Communism and its influence in American politics today. Where have all the Communists gone? Have they really been defeated?

  4. Communists have not retreated in the slightest. Cultural Marxism is all the rage in every Western country, so the Communist ideoligues now do their work of destruction in such areas as gender, sexual orientation, race, and their spinoff fields. Is anything more dominant in current discourse? Even BLM and Antifa are cultural Marxists mainstreaming subversion. Yet the Left, against all evidence, does seem in terminal decline, but no thanks to NR.

  5. I don’t know how anyone can argue with Diana. She researches so well and quotes so accurately, it is like arguing with a math text. I have concluded that those trying to tear her down have so many skeletons in their closets that they cannot ever become completely clean, because it requires simply too much courage to admit that one was weak, or worse, at one point in life.

    I don’t think we should be too righteous about this. Her critics on the right are not devils.

    • Her “critics on the right” may not be devils, but their crude, untruthful attacks on her work and her intelligence were diabolical. They still are. Read the archive…she had to publish a second book to address the lies and mis-directions from the soi-disant “principled Right”…I lost my faith in this purported Principled Conservatism.

      See “The Rebuttal: Defending ‘American Betrayal’ from the Book-Burners”


      Just reading the reviews will give you the idea.

  6. I bought American Betrayal before it came out, read it cover to cover, could hardly put it down. If you are at all familiar with the ideas proposed and verified by Ms West it’s an easy read. I’m a retired algebra teacher, reasonably well read, born in England and raised by a Polish Dad and Brit Mom, in SoCal in the 60s. Anti Communist as they come. Great writer and super Patriot, Diana West is well worth your time and research if you’re a GoV reader. Trust Dymphna, read!

    • Thanks for this comment, Tina B. The B worked so hard for so many months on rolling back the tide of vitriol and lies. It’s discouraging when people say the archive of those posts are too much work.

      BTW, I don’t know if you’ve read the review section on that book on Amazon. It’s the most amazing phenomenon – long, thoughtful reviews, often with many comments appended to those individual reviews. That was a genuine conversation among dozens of people. I’ve never seen a review section on Amazon that is even close to it.


      The bottom one-star “reviews” consist, for the most part, of bots who begin “I haven’t read the book, but…”

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