A little update on the latest example of right-wing loopiness – a book by one Diana West asserting that FDR was a Stalinist and Washington under “communist occupation” during the Second World War and after. For a primer on the contretemps, here’s my original post.
I was dismayed by how isolated the push-back against the book – by David Horowitz and Ron Radosh – seemed to be on the right. So it’s worth revisiting the debate after a few days to check in on developments. First up: some good news today. Conrad Black’s review in NRO surely counts as a serious public counter to the legitimization of this conspiracy theory, lumping West’s far right-paranoia in with Oliver Stone’s far-left version. Money quote:
These conspiratorialists are idiots: pernicious, destructive, fatuous idiots. West and Stone and Kuznick are entitled to freedom of expression, though they abuse it with their unutterable myth-making and jejune dementedness, as they hurl the vitriol of the silly and the deranged at people who should be on Mount Rushmore.
Alas, this is not the whole story. What has struck me is the resilience of the support for West – even when any fair reader of the exchanges between her and Radosh would regard the debate over. Check out this post from the Gates Of Vienna blog which compiles a long list of rightwing bloggers’ enthusiasm for West’s position. It brags that Geert Wilder is reading the book, that the American Thinker has reviewed it sympathetically, along with Amity Shlaes and others.
Yes, there has been some pushback and Black in NRO is easily the most significant. But that this kind of loopy paranoia is subject to intense debate among what’s left of the conservative inteligentsia tells you something. And it smells to high heaven.