Side by Side(Reprinted from the issue of April 12, 2007)
On his web site takimag.com, my old friend Taki Theodoracopulos has written a powerful attack on our war criminals, the neoconservatives, who are not only impenitent about having promoted the disastrous Iraq war, but are now, with incredible audacity and utter impunity, promoting the forthcoming Iran war the next stage in what they call World War IV, though I think of it as
Over 20 years ago, I began waving my arms frantically to warn America that these folks were determined to get us into a needless war in the Middle East. Looking back, I must say I was naive: I didnt know, or even suspect, the half of it. I had little inkling of the power of this tiny faction, or of its ruthlessness.
One day around 1988 I ran into Irving Kristol, whom I always liked personally, at a small conservative gathering. He gave me what sounded like a friendly, if blunt, piece of advice: Joe, stop writing about the Jews. Write about the Catholics. Them, you know something about. He sounded a bit sarcastic, but I didnt take it as a threat.
This wasnt the Mafia, after all; true, Irving was called the Godfather of neoconservatism, but that was a joke. And Id gotten much the same advice from Bill Buckley. Threat? It was more like a suggestion that I not lie down on the railroad tracks when that whistle was tooting.
What really drove me was not hate but fear: the fear that my two sons, both in their teens, would be drafted to die in a needless war in the Middle East. Didnt the neocons have similar fears for their own sons? (I guess not.)
What I also discovered in those days was an astounding fear of the Jews, nearly always disguised as fear for the Jews, as if Nazism were a perpetual threat. The people most terrified of the Jews pretended to be defending them from powerful enemies such as me. A certain Lutheran pastor turned Catholic priest was especially adroit at playing this game in his new house. Because I opposed war for the sake of the state of Israel, he suggested that I was indifferent to the slaughter of millions of Jews!
The neocons chief weapon has been their readiness to accuse their opponents of anti-Semitism. Before the 1991 Gulf war they used this one on Pat Buchanan, Sam Francis, and me, among others. Isolationism was one of their gentler charges against us. To this they have added the contradictory charge that we hate America.
Here Bill Buckley lent a hand, asking whether we were anti-Semites a bit like asking whether we were pedophiles. (The question remains like a stain when the answer is long forgotten.) When he later asked me if I thought hed been fair to me, I looked at him incredulously. It wasnt something Id do to a friend, I said quietly.
Within a few years he had given virtual if not nominal ownership of National Review to the neocons and their chipmunk helpers.
And yet, Bill has finally begun to come around. He now opposes the Iraq war, denies that
But what good can it do him at this point? How it must grieve him in his last days to see what they have done to the magazine he created. It must be like having a child kidnapped and raised by strangers of some crazy pagan cult.
By sheer coincidence, I just bought an old Sing along with Mitch Miller and the Gang record. As I was reading Takis piece, my stereo was booming Side by Side, an old song when Mitch revived it 50 years ago. What a perfect anthem for us paleoconservatives:
When theyve all had their quarrels and parted
Well be the same as we started,
Just a-travelin along,
Singin our song,
Side by side
Did Someone Say Defense?
The brainiest of the neocons, or their
In a recent column he notes in passing that the worlds one superpower, the United States, spends more on defense every year than the rest of the world combined.
Dumb question: When you have that much defense, is it all really just defense?
Sure, we can wipe out anything on the planet. No igloo or mud hut can safely defy us. But I can think of other names for that besides defense. In the Orwellian propaganda of the democratic age, defense and war mean pretty much the same thing. It is part of our conventional wisdom that to have peace you must be prepared for war. I used to believe that was self-evident. I also thought I was a good Christian!
The more nukes, the surer the peace. That was the crazy logic of it. Ive come to suspect that if youre really prepared for war, you may just get war.
Money, Politics, and Honor
Hillary Clintons presidential campaign has reportedly raised the staggering sum of
At least they say thats a staggering amount. I cant tell anymore. Isnt that about what big-league infielders make these days?
Dont ask me. I go back to the days when a hundred bucks was a lot of dough. The word trillion was still mostly hypothetical. Nobody thought Congress would ever get drunk enough to spend a trillion simoleons in a single year.
I just read that in 1955 Sandy Koufax agreed to pitch for the Brooklyn Dodgers for $14,000 hardly a staggering sum even then. When other teams offered him far more, he politely declined on the quaint grounds that hed already given the Dodgers his word.
Thats the kind of young man he was. To him a handshake was an ironclad contract. His talent was exceeded only by his honor. The same cant be said for the Dodgers, alas.
The proportion between honor and money (especially the governments paper money) remains elusive. The government giveth and the government taketh away (thats how it giveth), but in any case, the government seldom leaveth alone.
If William Shakspere of Stratford was William Shakespeare, isnt it odd that he didnt even write a sonnet when his little boy died? Regime Change Begins at Home a new selection of my Confessions of a Reactionary Utopian will provoke thoughts and smiles. Well send you a free copy when you subscribe to SOBRANS. If you have not seen my monthly newsletter yet, give my office a call at 800-513-5053 and request a free sample, or better yet, subscribe for two years for just $85. New subscribers get two gifts with their subscription. More details can be found at the Subscription page of my website.
Already a subscriber? Consider a gift subscription for a priest, friend, or relative.
|Copyright © 2007 by The Wanderer,
the National Catholic Weekly founded in 1867
Reprinted with permission
Archive Table of Contents
Return to the SOBRANS home page
Wanderer is available by subscription. Write for
SOBRANS and Joe Sobrans columns are available by subscription. Details are available on-line; or call 800-513-5053; or write Fran Griffin.
|FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.|