Category: Polemics & Exchanges

Home Polemics & Exchanges
Post

On ‘Clarence Thomas’

I sure wouldn’t want to cross Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. In his semihysterical, mean-spirited diatribe (Cultural Revolutions, January 1992), he manages to charge Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with perjury, perversion, and racial opportunism. And that’s just for openers. Although I probably lost count, there are some twenty-five negative references to Thomas’s character, ideology, or...

Post

On ‘Germany’

Jacob Neusner, in his “Letter From Germany” (December 1991), assesses the academic apathy of Germany, pointing out that “the National Socialists got rid of the talent as well as the entrenched mediocrity.” Which is to say that Nazism destroyed not just the “drags” of the old Germany, but also the society’s protected classes, and the...

Post

On ‘Homelessness

Theodore Pappas (Cultural Revolutions, November 1991) says, “There is, of course, no long-term answer to homelessness,” but this begs the question. The focus should not be on solving the specific problem of homelessness, but on seeing homelessness as a symptom of modem decay. When the change of focus takes place, a “long-term answer to homelessness”...

Post

On “America First”

Concerning Thomas Fleming’s December Perspective about the America First Committee, anti-interventionists might have taken heart from the statement attributed to Winston Churchill in August 1936 by William Griffen, editor of the New York Enquirer: “America should have minded her own business and stayed out of the World War. If you hadn’t entered the war the...

Post

On ‘Environmentalism’

I enjoyed Jigs Gardner’s “Letter From Cape Breton Island” (January 1992) on the subject of “The New Utopians.” He correctly states that environmentalists are openly Utopian, and as such are full of “cocksure ignorance” in support of Utopian views. A true Utopian has boundless faith in his dream world, and any challenge to that dream...

Post

On ‘Mary Gordon’

J.O. Tate’s review of Mary Gordon’s “writings” (“Feminist Fatale,” September 1991) provided comic relief when sorely needed. I laughed out loud at his deft phrases, and giggles threaten to erupt when I recall it. I’ve never actually “read” Mary Gordon; I tried to once, I really did. I bought a battered paperback copy of one...

Post

On ‘Academia’

Professor Murray Rothbard’s “Letter From Academia,” (Correspondence, September 1991) begins on a Swiftian tone, but ends disastrously. We learn from the last paragraph that the trouble with our universities is the lack of a “reality check,” in other words, that they are not run on the private, profit-making enterprise model. I have always thought, naively...

Post

On ‘Islam’

Tomislav Sunic’s (“The Gulf Crisis in Europe,” May 1991) proposal of an Islamic conversion for neo-pagan Western Europe as some type of alternative cultural synthesis is an eyebrow raiser. But to state that the Moslem religion’s “record of zeal and intolerance is no worse than that of other monotheistic beliefs” is a denial of the...

Post

On Tolitical Correctness’

While I recognize that Paul Gottfried and I clearly have philosophical differences on the nature and goals of education, I feel compelled to address one point in his review of my book in your May issue. Professor Gottfried correctly notes that I hold up the figure of Mark Van Doren of Columbia University as a...

Post

On the ‘Constitution’

While George W. Carey (Opinions, April 1991) reached the right conclusion (“the Constitution of which he [Russell Kirk] writes in this book is, in fact, dead”), referring to Kirk’s The Conservative Constitution, the headline writer could have done better than quoting only the first sentence—”Your Constitution is all sail and no anchor”—of the paragraph from...

Post

On The Institute for Advanced Study’

Jacob Neusner’s fierce attack upon the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton (Cultural Revolutions, December 1990) is not as well-informed nor as balanced as one would expect from a scholar of his eminence. Neusner claims that the permanent faculty of its schools of historical studies and social sciences “are not prominent, though they publish,” and...

Post

On ‘Common-Sense Sociology’

Steven Goldberg’s “Sociology and Common Sense” (March 1991) contains some bits of wisdom, but its central premise is badly flawed. I first encountered the “Common-Sense Sociology Test” as a graduate student in the early 1960’s, and by then it was at least a decade or two old, so its ancestry is considerably older than Goldberg...

Post

On ‘History’

Forrest McDonald’s “On the Study of History” (February 1991) was stimulating. His quick survey of our nation’s ills was pinpoint bombing. I had trouble, however, digesting McDonald’s “the reason we cannot solve our social problems is precisely the reason we can put a man on the moon,” and his allegation that the scientific method “cannot...

Post

On ‘Illegal Immigration’

Thank you for Theodore Pappas’s article (Cultural Revolutions) on illegal immigration in the January 1991 issue. So little is written about the topic that we are grateful when anyone recognizes the problems. A little clarification. There are two kinds of deportation. Most frequent is what agents refer to as “VRs.” This translates into “voluntary returns,”...

Post

On ‘Good News’

The message of the thoughtful and beautifully written articles in Chronicles (December 1990) on “good news” seems to be this: things are very bad and bound to get worse, but if you resign yourself to the inevitable and concentrate on family and friends you may, with God’s help, get through it. If this is “good...

Post

On ‘Your Papers, Please’

I don’t know who Mr. R. Cort Kirkwood is or what his credentials to write about “law” are. His knee-jerk reaction (Vital Signs, November 1990) to efficiently verifiable identification of applicants for special recognition in the United States today compels me to suppose that they are minimal. No one suggests that there be any compulsion...

Post

On ‘Letter From the Lower Right’

Though John Shelton Reed’s December column was engaging and enjoyable, he made a very common error in misstating the old saw about Yanks and Rebs together being invincible. As Mr. Reed put it, “one observer remarked that if he had Confederate cavalry and Union infantry he could whip any army on earth.” The observer in...

Post

On Martin Luther King, Jr.

In “Revolution and Tradition in the Humanities Curriculum” (September 1990), Thomas Fleming repeats the false story that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. plagiarized his Boston University doctoral dissertation. The charge has been made several times in the last year and appears to be spreading like whooping cough among the unvaccinated. Allow me to introduce some...

Post

On ‘National Service’

I have read Theodore Pappas’s review essay (November 1990) in which he advocates compulsory national service and find his proposal quite unconvincing for the following reasons. First, despite the inclusion of military “boot camp,” it is not likely that the courts would uphold the constitutionality of the law because of the “window dressing” nature of...

Post

On the ‘National Endowment for the Arts’

The crux of Jacob Neusner’s (Cultural Revolutions, September 1990) frustration lies in the fact that he is desperately trying to find a “middle position” solution to the NEA funding crisis. There is no middle position to take with NEA, simply because the very nature of its being violates free market principles. Art is a business...

Post

On ‘Women’s Studies’

The first half of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese’s article “Whose Women’s Studies?” (September 1990) seems to be a fair and balanced account of the struggle between passionate feminists, scholars in the field of women’s studies, and those of us who question or oppose feminist efforts to “transform the curriculum.” She admits the central role of radical feminists...

Post

On ‘Natural Technology’

Congratulations on your unique and insightful August environment issue. My only concern is with the article by Frederick Turner. I found his “God is a fetus” natural techno-theology every bit as disturbing as some of your writers have found George Gilder’s microchip messianism. I was warned by a good friend once that if intellectual conservatism...

Post

On ‘Post-Cold War’

Murray N. Rothbard’s “Foreign Policy for the Post-Cold War World” (May 1990) covers much territory in a fine fashion. However, his assessment of the Soviet situation does not rest on solid ground. John T. Flynn prophesied the coming of fascism in the United States without realizing that fascism is merely communism in uniform with white...

Post

On ‘Leviathan’s Children’

Allan Carlson (May 1990) observes the self-serving inclination of certain parts of modern society to free families from the anxieties that modern society itself places on the family. “What,” he asks, “have been the results?” As part of the answer, he posits the rather preposterous notion that Cold War military families are part of an...

Post

On ‘Art Is Always Political’

Thank you for presenting George Garrett’s piece (“Art Is Always Political When the Government Starts Giving Grants,” June 1990) dealing with the National Endowment for the Arts, an extremely complex issue that has been trashed by less informed writers. While my ideological inclination is to demand the abolition of all government funding, I also live...

Post

On ‘Another Life’

C.S. Lewis is a major figure for at least three reasons. He was a great, historian of European literature; he was an important creative writer in the realm of Northern mythology; he was the most influential Christian lay teacher in the English-speaking world in our century. These things are not easily reconciled and present great...

Post

On ‘La Pasionaria of the Beltway’

I have been to Washington exactly twice in my life, and unless you count an airport layover, I remain innocent of the sinful pleasures of New York. On the face of it, it would seem hard to mark me down as a member of “Peggy Noonan’s Beltway claque.” But I get the impression from Jeffrey...

Post

On ‘It’s a Black Thing’

I was shocked at Llewellyn Rockwell’s complete misinterpretation (Cultural Revolutions, March 1990) of what William Raspberry wrote. Until your March issue, I had always assumed that what people wrote in your magazine was reasonably accurate. As closely as I can recall, Rockwell quoted Raspberry accurately, but he took the columnist’s words in an extremely narrow...

Post

On ‘The Other God That Failed’

I am writing to avert any possible confusion between a book recently reviewed in your magazine (January 1990) and a work of my own. To be sure, no one who actually read my book, The Other God That Failed: Hans Freyer and the Deradicalization of German Conservatism, would be likely to confuse it with the...

Post

On ‘A Gildered Cage’

Charlotte Low Allen’s review of George Gilder’s Microcosm (January 1990) seems to miss the book’s most obvious point. Perhaps that is because it is Allen’s purpose to attack Gilder’s message. She is a member of the revolt against the microcosm, a revolt widespread across the political spectrum. Microcosm dives into an esoteric technology to uncover...

Post

On ‘Whose Wealth of Whose Nation?’

William Hawkins (January 1990) is right on target when he states, “American society is far more interested in present consumption than future growth.” I am not sure, however, that “intervention to curtail imports” (whatever that means) is necessarily the answer. Surely dollar devaluation was a political, not a market, “solution”—and that didn’t work out very...

Post

On ‘Peace on Earth’

It is not, as Thomas Fleming says in his February Perspective, a “temptation” to “construct the Kingdom of God in the here and now.” This is, for Christians, a command by our Lord who taught us, in His prayer, that His Kingdom come will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven.    ...

Post

On ‘Enemies of Society’

Professor Arthur Eckstein’s fine review of Pete Collier and David Horowitz’s Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the Sixties (August 1989) calls attention to the fact that the revolutionaries of the 60’s turned themselves into the professors of the 70’s and the deans of the 80’s. Why? Because the universities in the 1960’s were expanding. So...

Post

On ‘Globalization’

Regarding my thesis that the 1929 stock market crash was caused by the imminence of passage of the protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, William Hawkins (Polemics & Exchanges, June 1989) dismisses my findings as the work of a mere “journalist, not an economist.” It was precisely my expertise as a political journalist, not an...

Post

On ‘Those Who Can’t Do . . . ‘

I must commend Jacob Neusner for his review of Profscam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education (June 1989). I should like to note two important scams that Sykes does not address. Sykes would have us believe that professors are, generally, extremely well paid and cites average salaries from prestigious institutions as evidence. But the...

Post

On ‘Letter From Washington’ and ‘Letter From the Southwest’

On ‘Letter From Washington’ In his June 1989 column (“Our Nation, Your Money“), Samuel Francis claims that Carl Hagen’s Progress Party in Norway is one of the right-wing European parties that are nationalist and socialist. In fact, the Progress Party grew out of the Norwegian tax revolt; its platform combines immigrant-bashing with a healthy distaste...

Post

On ‘The Cost of Revolution’ and ‘Burden of Liberalism’

On ‘The Cost of Revolution’ George Watson, in his article “The Cost of Revolution: England and 1789” (June 1989), goes to extensive lengths to distinguish between “revolutions.” Given the “preservative” nature of the pre-1789 experience, one wonders whether the term “rebellion” may be more apposite. Discarding the common dictionary distinction, which hinges on the issue...

Post

On ‘Bright Shining Liar’

From the May Chronicles, top of the first column on page 31: ” . . . General Vo Nguyen Giap . . . apologized publicly for torture excesses. . . . The Vietcong were ‘forbidden to execute the accused savagely’. . . . “ Russ Braley seems to give the ‘Cong name to all the...

Post

On ‘A Lot of Americans’

Albert Einstein once noted that a thing should be made as simple as possible—but no simpler. I am afraid that E. Christian Kopff (Cultural Revolutions, May 1989) has reduced my ideas below an acceptable minimum and distorted them in the process. I have said that teaching is undervalued in today’s university, that we do not...

Post

On ‘Tolstoy Tradition’

Although I enjoyed Sally S. Wright’s “Writing in the Tolstoy Tradition” in the April 1989 issue of Chronicles, I must point out at least one error. The caption underneath the photograph of Nikolai Tolstoy states, “the Macmillan government participated in atrocities in Austria in 1945,” implying that Harold Macmillan was the British prime minister then....

Post

On ‘Historical Revisionism’

A correction on Arthur Eckstein’s excellent essay “Caution: Historical Revisionism at Work.” Eckstein says that Noam Chomsky never visited North Vietnam. That is not the case. The following are excerpts from a speech Chomsky made in Hanoi on April 14, 1970 welcoming the 1970 “spring offensive” of the American antiwar movement. (The speech was monitored...

Post

On ‘Postwar Oxford’

In an otherwise interesting—and occasionally amusing—reminiscence (April 1989) Geoffrey Wagner included one statement that was indisputably tainted. Writing of the “exotic world” of Oxford’s dons following World War II’s conclusion, Mr. Wagner said of them that “nearly all had involved themselves in some sort of fictional fantasy life on the side, perhaps to compensate for...

Post

On ‘House Divided’

Thomas Fleming’s theme in “Life and Death in a House Divided” (April 1989) appears to be support for federalism as a “due-process” means of effecting political change—federalism defined as “every institution that protects individuals from the brute power of the state.” The greatness of the United States of America has resided not in democracy, and...

Post

On ‘Globalization’

In his Cultural Revolutions piece in the March issue, William Hawkins claims that the assertion the Smoot-Hawley Tariff caused the Great Depression has “no grounding in fact or logic.” He attributes this assertion solely to a campaign speech made by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mr. Hawkins is mistaken. In his book The Way the World Works,...

Post

On ‘Caudillo and Generalissimo’

Professor Lee Congdon merits applause for a thoughtful review of two books on Francisco Franco (October 1988). I might raise the point of a number of significant omissions, but this would be unfair. I do, however, take exception to one commission, namely the assertion that Federico Garcia Lorca was shot by the Nationalists in 1936....

Post

On ‘Letter From the Heartland’

I would like to express how much I enjoy reading Chronicles, and particularly the “Letter From the Heartland” that Jane Greer writes. But “Eastern Montana: a gigantic plate of congealed gravy”? Harsh words from Greer (December 1988), one of the unfortunate residents of North Dakota—the state where the interstate curves so that a driver won’t...

Post

On ‘Millions of Fathers’

The comments in your December issue about the anomaly of the laws, as now constituted, that affirm both the woman’s sole right to decide on abortion and the father’s duty to financially support the child once born were very well taken. The fact is that abortion is always justified on the basis of the tacit...

Post

On ‘Our Stumbling Giant’

Having served as a pastor and naval chaplain under the authority of the United Methodist Church, I can truly appreciate Robert Nisbet’s comments concerning “Christian millennialism” (December 1988). Methodism and the National Council of Churches have stuffed that concept into the ears of their adherents at every opportunity. I wish Mr. Nisbet had commented on...

Post

On ‘The Re-Possessed’

In response to Lee Congdon’s review of The Pied Piper: Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream (Chronicles, July 1986), I would like to make the following points. Allard Lowenstein’s affiliation with the CIA is well-documented in the book. My sources in military intelligence and the CIA, while wishing to remain anonymous, are well-in formed....

Post

On ‘Old Adam, New Eve’

Thomas Fleming’s article, “Old Adam, New Eve” (Perspective, June 1986) failed to mention the women in the line of fire between feminists and traditionalists. Sure, we all decry militant feminists who want to turn science, the sexes, art and, indeed, all society into a progressive’s hodgepodge of leftist doctrine and Marxist utopia. But what about...