My John Podhoretz Problem—and Ours
Full disclosure: During the late 1990s, I freelanced for John Podhoretz at the New York Post, where he was the Editorial Page editor. We even shook hands once. However, he can honestly deny this, seeing as I wrote under a pseudonym (“Robert Berman”) and never told anyone. [How to Make Change Real, New York Post, June 28, 1998] Being “me” would have been professional suicide in my day job. And in those days, before the current Cultural Marxist internet-facilitated Reign of Terror, stuffy editors insisted on writers using their own names.
However, that business with the Post isn’t my John Podhoretz problem.
In 2007, Commentary magazine, a once-brilliant, once-conservative, Jewish periodical which used to stand for meritocracy, announced that in January, 2009, Podhoretz would take over as editor-in-chief. Podhoretz was hired solely due to his being the son of the magazine’s longtime editor, Norman Podhoretz. Commentary had thus replaced meritocracy with nepotism as the guiding notion of neo-conservatism.
Recently, on March 14, Podhoretz wrote a New York Post column A test for New York; Will pols stand with the rioters? about the three nights rioting following the righteous, fatal March 6 shooting of 16-year-old, black gangbanger Kimani Gray by two cops. (One Egyptian, one Hispanic, since you asked. See my VDARE.com column, Trayvon Martin was Barack Obama’s Son, and Kiki Gray was Jumaane Williams’ Son, but Why Will No Politician Adopt Bailey O’Neill?).
Podhoretz argued that politicians should not support the rioters. But he has spent years vilifying people who even mildly criticize black savagery.
In 2005, when my VDARE.com colleague Steve Sailer satirized Podhoretz’ defense of birth-right citizenship in terms of the latter being a “birthright pundit,” Podhoretz denounced him as “a bigoted, racist scum.”
Podhoretz also spent years attacking my VDARE.com colleague John Derbyshire at National Review, when both were colleagues there. That helped grease the skids for Derbyshire, when editrix Rich Lowry finally caved in and fired Derbyshire for a racial thoughtcrime in 2012.
Indeed, as soon as Podhoretz got posting privileges at National Review’s blog The Corner, circa 2005, he began denouncing Derbyshire.
While I understand that denunciation is central to political polemics, it is highly unusual for a writer to see one’s colleagues as enemies and denounce them.
Last June, in his capacity as editor of Commentary, Podhoretz published articles of surrender in the Trayvon Martin Hoax, in the form of a 2,400-word essay by a David French. [Conservatives and the Trayvon Martin Case, June 2012]
In November, Podhoretz learned to love gay marriage. [A Note, Commentary, November 10, 2012]
In the January Commentary, Podhoretz published a symposium of 52 writers on the future of conservatism—but somehow forgot to invite any conservatives! [What Is the Future of Conservatism in the Wake of the 2012 Election?]
With the exception of Gerson’s promotion of Catholicism’s principle of subsidiarity, a longtime hobbyhorse of his, the article is eerily similar to the repetitious, 40,000-word GOP suicide report that was issued on March 18 by the RNC, on the orders of Chairman Reince Priebus, and which lovingly quotes Gerson and Wehner. [Growth & Opportunity Project, Republican National Committee, March 18.]
Both documents should be called: “GOP to Whites: Drop Dead.” They both pursue the same two long discredited strategies that Conservatism, Inc. hacks have relentlessly promoted since the election:
1. Compassionate (Welfare State) Conservatism Redux: The Party must show people that it “cares” about them. People voted Democrat because they felt that Obama and his party “cared” about them, and was “tolerant”;
2. We must have a mass amnesty of tens of millions of almost exclusively non-white, irredentist, illegal alien invaders, and the party must reach out to Hispanics, blacks, homosexuals, women—everyone but white, heterosexual men, especially Christians, who are to treated with contempt.
Like so many Republican documents these days, both pieces sound as if they had been crafted by Democratic Party consultants.
Repugnant racists from VDare are clogging up the #NRISummit hashtag. You people are a stain on the republic.
John Podhoretz permits no comments by readers at Commentary’s Web site. Oddly enough, the New York Post also recently abolished its online reader comments function.
For an example of what I regard as Podhoretz’ baleful influence at the Post: the day before his op-ed column appeared, veteran Post writer Bob McManus wrote on the same case. But McManus [Email him] once a tough guy, who in 1999 had stood tall against the racial profiling hoax, so pulled his punches that he couldn’t call rioters rioters—instead saying that they “ran riot.” That’s not the same thing at all. [Blame Kimani Gray | The cops were doing their job, March 13, 2013]
Even worse, the Post recently bragged that it had “exposed” a Emergency Medical Services Lieutenant, Timothy Dluhos, as a “racist,” for some un-PC remarks he tweeted about “blacks, Jews, and Chinese.” Not only was Lt. Dluhos suspended by the New York City Fire Department brass from his job, but the NYPD illegally seized two rifles, for which he had permits, from his home. FDNY EMS Lt. spews racist, anti-Semitic tweets, but cried when confronted, March 24, 2013
The Post “reporters” Susan Edelman [Email her] and Candice M. Giove [Email her] bragged further that “The reports sparked an internal FDNY [witch] hunt for [white] medics and firefighters spouting hate on social media.”
Things were not always so bad at the Post. Indeed, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Eric Breindel was its Editorial Page editor, the newspaper heroically fought black supremacism, to the point where (circa 1991) Leonard Jeffries’ City College Black Studies Department once ran off flyers threatening violence against Jews—and employees of the New York Post.
Things have likewise gone to seed at Commentary.
In 1988, the magazine published a classic exposé on racist, black college campus hate crime hoaxes, written by a recently-retired philosophy professor named Thomas Short [A “New Racism” on Campus? by Thomas Short, Commentary, August 1988. I discussed it at length in my VDARE.com investigative report on the Duke Rape Hoax]. I believe Thomas Short would have had no problem connecting the Trayvon Martin and Tawana Brawley hoaxes—yet in 2012, David French claimed to be baffled that anyone would make the connection.
Looking further back in time, the deterioration becomes more dramatic.
In 1963, Commentary published My Negro Problem—and Ours a classic but now practically illegal essay about one man’s experience of violent black racism while growing up white:
Two ideas puzzled me deeply as a child growing up in Brooklyn as a child during the 1930s in what today would be called an integrated neighborhood. One of them was that all Jews were rich; the other was that all Negroes were persecuted. These ideas had appeared in print; therefore they must be true. My own experience and the evidence of my senses told me they were not true, but that only confirmed what a day-dreaming boy in the provinces… discovers very early: his experience is unreal and the evidence of his senses is not to be trusted…. [Yet he cannot] altogether gainsay the evidence of his own senses—especially such evidence of the senses as comes from being repeatedly beaten up, robbed, and in general hated, terrorized, and humiliated.
The Commentary writer then gave numerous examples of experiences he’d had with violent black racists as a boy, emphasizing that such experiences were the lot of all Italian and Jewish boys his neighborhood, while blacks were left alone.
Thirty years later, when the essay was reprinted in a book on Jews and blacks, the author wrote a postscript in which he observed that black racial violence and black anti-Semitism had since gotten much worse.
The almost complete abdication of black responsibility and the commensurately total dependence on government engendered by so obsessive and exclusive a fixation on white racism has been calamitous…. It has thereby contributed mightily to the metastasis of the black underclass—a development which, in addition to destroying countless black lives, has subjected more and more whites to experiences like the ones I described going through as a child in “My Negro Problem.”
In 1963 those descriptions were very shocking to most white liberals. In their eyes Negroes were all long-suffering and noble victims of the kind who had become familiar through the struggles of the civil rights movement in the South—the “heroic period” of the movement, as one if its most heroic leaders, Bayard Rustin, called it. While none of my white critics went so far as to deny the truthfulness of the stories I told, they themselves could hardly imagine being afraid of Negroes (how could they when the only Negroes most of them knew personally were maids and cleaning women?). In any case they very much disliked the emphasis I placed on black thuggery and aggression.
Today, when black-on-white violence is much more common than it was then, many white readers could easily top those stories with worse. And yet even today few of them would be willing to speak truthfully in public about their entirely rational fear of black violence and black crime.
Telling the truth about blacks remains dangerous to one`s reputation: to use that now famous phrase I once appropriated from D.H. Lawrence in talking about ambition, the fear of blacks has become the dirty little secret of our political culture.
And since a dirty little secret breeds hypocrisy and cant in those who harbor it, I suppose it can still be said that most whites are sick and twisted in their feelings about blacks.
The author of the two essays: none other than John Podhoretz’s father, Norman Podhoretz—who was also the editor who ran Thomas Short’s exposé.
Curiously, growing up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the younger Podhoretz himself was repeatedly mugged and humiliated by blacks. [The Upper West Side, Then and Now, By John Podhoretz, Commentary, May 2010 ] Does he suffer from a form of Stockholm Syndrome? Ideological fanaticism? Opportunism?
In any event, he apparently sees the clear denunciation of black wickedness as a personal privilege (by birthright?) that does not extend to right-of-center observers.
John Podhoretz has had a terrible effect on public discourse. It’s bad enough that the Cultural Marxist Left denounces writers who oppose racial socialism as “racists,” “xenophobes,” etc. It’s scandalous that editors putatively opposed to racial socialism fail to support said writers, in order to keep hope alive, and eventually slay the racial socialist dragon, or at least beat it into submission, so that America might remain American, and someday enjoy a new birth of freedom.
Instead, Podhoretz has joined the racial socialists. This is the sort of treachery that robs writers, and the liberty-loving, anti-racial socialist public that searches in vain for their works, of all hope. He’s a capocon.
Why did I deceive John Podhoretz as to my identity, back in the 1990s? Because I didn’t want my life to be destroyed. Back then, I assumed the danger to be entirely from racist blacks and Hispanics; and white leftists.
Little did I suspect that the so-called Right could be just as dangerously vindictive.
Nicholas Stix [email him] is a New York City-based journalist and researcher, much of whose work focuses on the nexus of race, crime, and education. He spent much of the 1990s teaching college in New York and New Jersey. His work has appeared in Chronicles, The New York Post, Weekly Standard, Daily News, New York Newsday, American Renaissance, Academic Questions, Ideas on Liberty and many other publications. Stix was the project director and principal author of the NPI report, The State of White America-2007. He blogs at Nicholas Stix, Uncensored.