In the Washington Examiner, Mark Tapscott asks, “Is there a liberal editor today willing to do for the Left what conservative Buckley did decades ago for the Right?”
William F. Buckley Jr. struck a blow for reason and truth when in 1962 as National Review editor he effectively excommunicated John Birch Society founder Robert Welch from the conservative movement.Welch had for a decade been telling anybody who would listen that President Eisenhower was a “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.”
And, as if it wasn’t bad enough that the man who led allied forces to victory in Europe in World War II was a communist, Welch further claimed that the government of the United States was “under operational control of the Communist party.” He even got specific about it, saying the government was “50-70 percent” communist-controlled.
Welch based his ludicrous assertions on what Buckley called the fallacious assumption “that you can infer subjective intention from objective consequence: We lost China to the Communists, therefore the President of the United States and the Secretary of State wished China to go to the Communists.”
Welch and the Birchers were finished after Buckley wrote in a classic NR piece (The entire controversy is effectively described in this 1965 NR roundup) that the conservative movement could not be credible so long as it was associated with Welch, or anybody else for that matter whose views were “so far removed from common sense.”
The Birchers went away, but the paranoia that gives rise to political lunacy is still with us, it’s just mostly switched sides from the fever swamps of the Right to the fever swamps of the Left. I’m not talking about Hillary Clinton’s famous “vast right-wing conspiracy,” but rather those on the Left who see evil right-wing industrialists behind every conservative political bush.
A few years ago, it was Dick Cheney when he headed the Halliburton Company. Then the fevered Left decided the real power behind conservative success was Richard Scaife. But then Scaife had a much publicized change of mind regarding Clinton and the search was on for a new dastardly right-wing archvillain.
The search is over, for now anyway, because the paranoid Left has decided the real evil genius on the Right is named Koch. Actually, that would be “geniuses,” as in Charles and David Koch. For decades, these two have been funding libertarian-oriented causes, candidates and organizations. David even ran for vice president once, on the Libertarian Party ticket.
But in recent months we have begun to hear “Koch whore” chanted at every turn by leftist bloggers, think tankers and political activists.
Say, it’s almost as if there was a seminal event in recent American history whose root causes so unnerved the left, they had to resort to endless conspiracy theories on top of more conspiracy theories to process the cognitive dissonance of it all.