TWO FACES OF RONALD RADOSH
I'VE BEEN RED-BAITED BY AN OLD BOLSHEVIK!
By: Justin Raimondo
While my opinion of the War Party's propaganda and tactics has always been low, I never
thought they would stoop to the tactics employed by Ronald Radosh, the neoconservative
author and frequent writer for Frontpage, whose recent piece in the Boston Globe [10/13/02]
characterizes me as nothing but a
. faggot. And a leftist oh yes, and also a
fascist. "The red
and the brown" is the title of this smear job, and it purports to be an analysis
of The American Conservative, the new bi-weekly
magazine edited by Pat Buchanan, Taki
Theodoracopulos, and our sometime columnnist, Scott McConnell. In the course of
misrepresenting the contents of the first two issues, and somehow dragging in Charles A. Lindbergh's infamous quote
about the origins of World War II, he characterizes my contribution to the magazine as
"The American Conservative proudly roots itself in this past by publishing
Justin Raimondo's ode to 'the Old Right [who] knew something about the temptations of
Empire.' Raimondo is a gay conservative activist from San Francisco whose chief claim to
fame is his single appearance on 'Politically Incorrect,' when Bill Maher made fun of him
for being one of the few openly gay supporters of Buchanan."
Gee, after writing two books, and helping to found a website that
attracts some 20,000 unique visitors a day, I'm just a faggot after all. And the neocons
used to call us "haters" and bigots on the campaign trail!
I've told the story of my
encounter with the very over Bill Maher before. Suffice to say that Maher's obsession with
my sexuality and Dweezil
Zappa's vacant gaze made the experience an unpleasant one. And did I tell you that
Maher billed me for the hotel? Tacky doesn't even begin to describe the guy, as
even network executives eventually realized.
As for being a gay conservative activist from San Francisco I admit to being a
San Franciscan, but that's about it. For the record, I have always been an
out-of-the-closet libertarian, as even a cursory examination of my writings would reveal.
Since Radosh brings it up, I'll say this about my personal life: you wish you
had it so good, brother!
Its very telling how the same obsession with separating out "Left" and
"Right" that permeates Radoshs discussion of The American Conservative
seems to preoccupy him, on another more personal level, when it comes to me. I have to be
either "gay," or "straight" as if the complexity of human
sexuality in all its broad range of expression could be squeezed into these two
categories. I had to explain this to Bill Maher, too, which was odd considering how his
job was to hobnob with the Hollywood elite.
It's also very odd to encounter this kind of spiteful rhetoric coming from someone with
whom I've always had cordial relations. I wouldn't normally publish someone's email to me,
because it seems in somewhat bad taste, but in this case it seems almost classy compared
to the utter tastelessness cited above. After the rave review I gave to his book,
Commies, Radosh sent me this note:
"I read your review. Really wonderful. I appreciate greatly the care with
which you conducted your discussion,and your understanding of what I was trying to do in
it. I also appreciate your ability to distinguish my approach from David Horowitz and
Yeah, Ron, too bad I can't say the same about you. You don't even discuss the content
of what I wrote in The
American Conservative, a modest little riff on a theme from Garet Garrett's The American Story.
Instead, it's all about me:
"Now Raimondo runs a Web site called antiwar.com, in which he extols the good
old days of the America First Movement. For a short time, he points out, that movement
included not only conservatives, but socialists like Norman Thomas and, in the period
before the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, the Communist leader Earl Browder."
To begin with, Earl Browder
was never a member or even a fellow traveler, so to speak, of the America First Committee, and I'm surprised
that a scholar of the Old Right, such as the learned Radosh, would make such a glaring
error. Communists were explicitly barred from membership in the AFC, and, at any
rate, as Radosh pointed out on page 31 of Prophets on the Right, the Commies disagreed
with the America Firsters on a fundamental point:
"The Communists, in the period before the signing of the Nazi-Soviet
Nonagression Pact, supported the President's sympathetic attitude toward collective
Indeed, Browder and the Communist Party took the same line that Radosh is now taking
toward toward America First, past and present, by linking them with Lindbergh's alleged
anti-Semitism. The Communists always denounced the AFC as a "reactionary" tool
of the capitalists meant to deceive the workers and after Hitler invaded the Soviet
Union, they were smearing them as "fifth columnists" and calling for their
prosecution for "sedition." Who am I to lecture to the author of Prophets on
the Right: Conservative Critics of American Globalism, a book we give to all our
donors, and which I cite copiously in my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost
Legacy of the Conservative Movement? Surely he knows better or ought to.
The two faces of Ronald Radosh which one is real? The public face, as expressed
in his Boston Globe piece, or the private one, as expressed in his email:
"I do, however, disagree with you strenuously on foreign policy,and generally
am in the neo-concamp, with some exceptions. But your discussions are principled and
serious, and I welcome them. I'll try to address these issues in the new introduction to
Prophets on the Right."
Yes, I admit to being principled and serious, but, again, it's a crying shame I can't
say the same for Radosh. Having dealt with my sex life, he then accuses me, incredibly, of
being a Communist with fascist sympathies:
"Indeed, it seems that Raimondo is now attempting to forge his own Red-Brown
alliance, as Europeans refer to the coming together in post Soviet Russia of right-wing
nationalists and unreconstructed Communists. In August 2001, he even published an article
in Pravda (yes, that Pravda) in which he dismissed the idea that 'America is a civilized
country,'' and, referring to World War II, maintained that 'the wrong side won the war in
What's really galling is that I have to be red-baited by someone who was, for a good
part of his life, an apologist for the Kremlin and a convinced socialist. He and his
neocon confreres may have jettisoned their Commie baggage, but they are still masters of
the lowdown tactics employed by that criminal sect.
On the burning question of whether I'm an agent
of the Mikado, as well as a right-wing isolationist, I'll leave it to the curious
reader to decide by going here
and reading my original piece. Suffice to say that, having shed his old Stalinist
ideology, it seems Radosh has retained the humorless character of the species. And of
course there is the obligatory charge of anti-Semitism:
"As for Israel, last week Raimondo continued to proclaim the myth that 'Israel
had foreknowledge of 9/11,' a claim that puts his Web site in league with the most extreme
anti-Semitic canards coming from the Arab world, not to mention the
poetry of Amiri Baraka."
Gee, I didn't know Carl
Cameron was Arab, and correct me if I'm wrong I could've sworn Fox News
was based in New York, not Riyadh. For the idea that Israel had foreknowledge of 9/11 was
first broached on Fox in a
four-part series narrated by Cameron, in which he said the following:
"There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks,
but investigators suspect that they Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the
attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are -quote
'tie-ins.' But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying,
quote 'evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified.'"
So, is rabidly pro-Israel Fox News spewing "the most extreme anti-Semitic canards
coming from the Arab world"? And I have another news flash for Radosh: Die Zeit, a
generally pro-Israel German weekly of some repute is now reporting that the Israeli
spy operation I've been detailing in this space since last year was indeed watching the hijackers,
which is precisely what I've said all along. You can go here for articles in the
"mainstream" media including Salon, the Forward, and Jane's Intelligence Digest
reporting the facts Radosh thinks he can disappear by calling them
Am I now forced to comment on the "poetry" of Amiri Baraka? Good lord, am I
to be spared nothing? Oh well, here goes: From what one can glean from his ravings, the Official Poet of
New Jersey is saying that 4,000 Israelis didn't show up for work because they knew the
attack was coming. As I pointed out to a black gentleman on a call-in radio interview
during my recent appearance at Washington University, in St. Louis: what makes anybody
think 4,000 Israelis worked at the World Trade Center? Has anyone ever tried to keep a
secret by telling only 4,000 New Yorkers? Fuggedaboutit! I never said that 4,000
people had foreknowledge of the WTC attack, or anything close to it, and Radosh knows it.
To even have to deny it is an obscenity, and Radosh owes me a public apology.
Radosh misconstrues the rest of the writers in the first issue of TAC in a similar
vein: he simply ignores what Kevin Phillips has to say about the dangers of "Wall
Street socialism" and blithely accuses him of being a "leftist." He also
Reid's paean to American culture not to mention his American wife and son
and crudely smears him as a "blame America first conservative." It
doesn't count that Reid, a deputy editor of the Spectator,
supported the Vietnam war: what the War Party wants to know is "what have you done
for us lately?"
Radosh, in short, is a liar. That is the only way the War Party can win: they're lying
to the American people about a nonexistent "threat" to the United States, just
as Radosh is lying his head off about me, without regard for either decency or plain
common sense. And they aren't even very convincing lies.
George W. Bush tells us that Saddam is going to send drone planes over the U.S.
a technology so advanced that we don't even have it! Now that was a whopper, and
about as believable as the wacky idea that my secret plan is to raise Communism from the
grave. Now that is a real canard! I was working for Barry Goldwater for
President when Red Radosh was campaigning for Gus Hall.
Libertarian opponents of this rotten war are being attacked on several fronts: the
print edition of National Review features a piece on the alleged
"split" in libertarianism over the war question, by that noted expert on all
things libertarian, Ramesh Ponnuru. Our sister
site, Lewrockwell.com, comes under fire, along with Harry
Browne, but the job of smearing Antiwar.com was left to Radosh, since we don't even
merit a mention in NR. Oh boo hoo hoo.
What I've always found wonderfully funny, however, is the rave review
the online edition of National Review gives to my last book, An Enemy of the State: The Life of
Murray N. Rothbard, a major theme of which is the evil role played by National
Review and specifically Bill
Buckley over the years:
"In these dark days of ever-encroaching statism, we need Murray Rothbard more
than ever! An Enemy of the State is an engrossing introduction both to this dynamo of
thought and action and to his incisive writings, which are still as fresh as they were
when he wrote them.
the course of economist
and political writer Murray N. Rothbard's tumultuous life, as detailed by Justin
Raimondo in An Enemy of the State he took up the cudgels for the anti-New Deal Old
Right, the anti-war New Left, the Libertarian Party, and for a newly revived Old Right.
But in all of these wanderings, Rothbard as Raimondo demonstrates here
remained absolutely consistent: he was an indefatigable advocate for the freedom of each
individual. He dedicated his life to defending this freedom against all attackers
(whatever ideology they professed), and he did so with brilliant insight and trenchant
Yes, we absolutely do need Rothbard more than ever. It's too bad he is no longer with us.
His spirit, however, is laughing somewhere at the transparent viciousness of the
attacks, and at all the fun we're having fighting his old enemies, the neoconservatives. He fought the
neocons when they were Trotskyists, when they were social democrats-turned-Scoop Jackson
Democrats, and, finally, in their final incarnation as right-wing neo-imperialists. Today,
we're fighting them in his absence, and, inspired by Rothbard, we're doing a damn good job
of it. Why else the recent flurry of drive-by shootings? As Rothbard once wrote:
"For the libertarian, the main task of the present epoch is to
who his friends and natural allies are, and, above all, perhaps, who his enemies
We are hated by all the right people and that is an achievement worth
Justin Raimondo is Editorial Director
He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.
Justin Raimondo may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the October 21, 2002 issue of Ether Zone
Copyright © 1997 - 2002 Ether Zone.
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