Loopies and Kooks

During the past week Dymphna and JLH have discussed Diana West’s new book, The Red Thread: A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy, which extends the theme of her previous book American Betrayal. I’ll take this opportunity to recycle a graphic I made several years ago. It didn’t draw much attention at the time, because by then the intense controversy over American Betrayal had faded into background muttering. But it was one of my better productions, so here it is again:

This delicious and nutritious breakfast cereal requires some explanatory context.

In the early months (summer and fall of 2013) of the “barroom brawl” prompted by Diana’s book, various indefensibly nasty things* were written by a number of neoconservatives, most of them stars in the David Horowitz constellation.

In one of several vituperative pieces, Conrad Black called her “a right-wing loopy” who had not yet been “house-trained”, and described her book as a “farrago of lies”. In reference to Diana and those who agreed with her, Mr. Black decried the “unutterable myth-making and jejune dementedness, as they hurl the vitriol of the silly and the deranged” (August 16, 2013).

As soon as that little literary delicacy was published, Ronald Radosh sent Diana a triumphant email with the subject line “Conrad Black tears you apart”. To make sure she understood, he enclosed the text of Mr. Black’s essay, with the introduction: “Sorry to upset you once again, Diana, but I’m afraid you’ve lost, big time.”

David Horowitz himself said that she had “organized a kook army”.

Since then Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Radosh have supposedly had a falling-out. I’m not sure about Conrad Black; I haven’t heard much about him recently. However, if I recall correctly, he’s an adamant #NeverTrump guy.

This is just a little taste of the background for the discussion we’ve been having for the last few days.

*   For additional source links to these and other ad-hominem insults, see “An Addled Barroom Brawler”. But it’s been six years; some of them may be stale by now.

11 thoughts on “Loopies and Kooks

  1. Conrad Black has largely come out in support of Trump.

    Whether that’s genuine or because he’s hoping for a pardon, we’ll only know after Trump’s presidency is over.

    I have a bit of a soft spot for Conrad, somehow.

    • I’m afraid any of Trump’s friends who are looking for Trump to stick his neck out to pardon them are bound to be disappointed. Trump did give Scooter Libby a well-deserved pardon, but that was more to send a signal than to actually correct a wrong.

      This is a good place to put my observation that the US is becoming an Orwellian police state, due incidentally to the vast array of draconian penalties and crimes available to bludgeon almost any citizen into a plea deal. I’m thinking of the Hollywood parents who paid to get their kids into prestige universities. They are facing penalties of 20 years or more, unless they plea out for a year or two. By any imaginable measure, bribing a school official, even if done directly, is not worth 20 years. The US is becoming a police state by making the ruin of virtually any citizen possible by hundreds or thousands of vague laws with long prison terms that can be grafted onto almost any charge. Those without the funds to pay the lawyers, or even those with funds, a facing a random process with huge penalties.

  2. I will proudly claim membership in the kook army.
    Horowitz was a lifelong communist until he (IMHO) took the business decision during the Reagan era to flip sides. I’ve always wondered about his over-the-top attacks on West. What are his motives? Did he completely give up his lifelong communism? Or is he a “false defector” who secretly defends the last trenches of his old red network, while using his late-in-life ostensible conversion as camouflage? About West, Horowitz “doth protest too much.”


    • You may be right about Horowitz, though I suspect that it’s more visceral than cynical. I don’t think he’ll ever be able to acknowledge the extent to which McCarthy was right. He would have heard “McCarthy = evil” since childhood. That’s hard to break, especially without a sincere religious conversion and he’s an agnostic.

      • That’s probably the most innocent explanation for DH’s otherwise inexplicable scorched-earth ad-hominem attacks on West and American Betrayal. But I still have my doubts. DH was a professional communist until the Reagan era, when that schtick wasn’t selling anymore, and he simply flipped sides. Part of me resists buying it.

        • You certainly could be right. Whether he’s a sincere defector or a species of double agent, he’s still a good reminder of the deep Red roots of the New Left and its “Progressive” branches.

          Either way, Horowitz is an intellectual who has staked out his turf and won’t tolerate an upstart infringing on it, let alone one like Diana West who is a highly competent researcher. He still argues like a Communist theoretician, too (IIRC, a former comrade of his wrote something to the effect of “once a Stalinist always a Stalinist” about Horowitz’ approach to the conservative movement.)

    • Interesting.

      Here is part of the entry on McCarthyism on “Discover the Networks”. DTN is a vast (and probably aging) compilation of leftist persons groups and their links, sponsored and supported by David Horowitz.

      “Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957) gave his name to one of the most destructive and controversial pathologies in U.S. political history. “McCarthyism” has become synonymous with reckless opportunism, cruel and baseless accusation, and bullying coercion. The way in which the word is used has changed since McCarthy’s brief strut on the national stage, but it is still one of the dirtiest words in the American political lexicon.”


      Is Horowitz a Manchurian Candidate for cultural Marxists, a sincere, but doddering anti-communist, or simply an opportunist extracting money and a comfortable old age by giving his sponsors the kind of website they like to see, and enjoying the genuflections of relatively young journalists in his pay?

      I saw a few videos of Horowitz being asked about the West controversy, and the strongest impression that came across is, he just didn’t want to have to bother with the detailed research and thought that an objective critique of her book would require.

      Incidentally, there is an excellent video on McCarthy’s actual claims and the factual support for them:
      It’s three hours long, but well worth listening to if you have an interest in the era, and want to know McCarthy’s actual goals and objectives, rather than the clownish picture of him painted in both the leftist and neocon press.

  3. Conrad Black has supported Trump since the first day of Trump’s Presidency.

    I have read at least two essays by Conrad Black where he expressed a high opinion of Trump, at least in passing.

    But I did read a piece by Conrad Black which expressed his high opinion of FDR too. Which makes Conrad Black a bit odd among conservatives.

    Perhaps Conrad Black’s response to Diana West is due to her criticisms of one of Black’s heroes, FDR.

    • Perhaps his admiration of FDR is due to his Canadian background.
      FDR is generally regarded favorably among Canadian conservatives.

    • FDR a hero?

      Here is a reasoned discussion of the New Deal and it’s effects on the US and its role in vastly extending the length and severity of the Great Depression.


      To summarize, the depression was caused and maintained by the actions of the Federal Reserve in constantly increasing the reserve requirements of banks and thereby starving the economy of needed investment funds. In addition, the heralded alphabet agencies of the New Deal were actually Stalinist bureaucracies designed to put every nook and cranny of the economy under the centralized control of the administration, with the usual panic and shortages of socialized economies, the latest example being Venezuela.

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