I have no regrets in defending Diana either. She stands head and shoulders above her mean spirited, knee jerking, ankle biting, bed wetting and very foolish looking set of detractors.
I’ve been mulling how — or even whether — to mark the appearance of six entries on American Betrayal in the January 2014 issue of The New Criterion. The issue contains an essay by editor Roger Kimball and five letters, all devoted to my book, or, rather, to Andrew C. McCarthy’s review of American Betrayal, which appeared in the December 2013 issue.
Why so much ink? The answer is simple. Andy McCarthy, the celebrated former federal prosecutor, noted author and commentator, had the temerity to write positive things about my book in his December review. Like a clanging bell to Pavlov’s dog, this review drove Ronald Radosh and Conrad Black to churn out letters to the editor explaining to McCarthy the error of his ways. By my count, this becomes the fifth, maybe even the sixth piece by Radosh, and the fourth or fifth by Black. Harvey Klehr and John Haynes also write in general protest. I understand that David Horowitz, too, wrote in, but decided to withdraw his letter. (Too bad; I would love to have read Horowitz’s fifth attack.) Meanwhile, editor Kimball asked M. Stanton Evans — who originally endorsed American Betrayal and later published an article entitled “In Defense of Diana West” — to write a lone letter of support. McCarthy then replies to all. By the time all is said and done, the issue, purportedly devoted to Reagan and Thatcher, is also a backdoor symposium on American Betrayal.
Meanwhile, the author of said book sufficiently fascinating to this tiny band of anti-American Betrayal extremists was not invited to comment. The New Criterion didn’t even let me in on the fuss — which is a little like finding out you were the guest of honor, or, in this case, dishonor, at a party you weren’t invited to. Frankly, it’s better that way. Judging by the way Messrs. Black, Radosh and Horowitz are treated in the issue, it’s clear that I would have been a sixth wheel.
Then again, maybe I wasn’t contacted because there is nothing new to respond to. (Not likely.) Or maybe it was because I have never published a book with Encounter Books. (Getting warmer?) The striking fact is, each of my main troika of detractors — Horowitz, Radosh, Black — has published at least one book with Encounter Books, the publishing house New Criterion editor Roger Kimball also leads. Klehr & Haynes, too. Andy McCarthy, also, for that matter. For good measure, Peter Collier, Horowitz’s longtime collaborator, is Encounter’s founding editor, now a consultant.
These conflicts of interest have not been disclosed to readers. They should be — particularly because The New Criterion has not only reviewed the contents ofAmerican Betrayal. It has set it itself up as a disinterested arbiter on the events around the book: namely, the sustained campaign against me and the book carried out notably by writers who happen also to be Encounter authors. At the very least, informed readers would have better understood why perusing the arguments aboutAmerican Betrayal in The New Criterion is not unlike overhearing club members through an open window alternately erupting and smoothing feathers.