Sunday, March 5, 2017

Still flogging the dead horse. Literally.

The customary modus operandi of the dishonest is to crucify a man or a reputation or both when that man is dead and can no longer defend himself.  So much easier that way.  In the case of the late Catholic writer Joe Sobran there must always like death and taxes be a constant spitting on his grave so as to impress people that he has committed a thought crime so heinous that it must never, ever be forgotten.

Sobran was a bit of an eccentric but was a superb writer and an original thinker, not to mention one with an inquisitive mind.  That inquisitiveness led him to examine some of the Great Taboos that one must never question.  When he did question them his career was promptly destroyed, more by his "friends" than his enemies.  Sobran would have been good friends with G.K. Chesterton had their lives crossed.  And since Chesterton is ritually dumped upon from time to time for the same reasons as Sobran is it convinces me they would have been the best of friends.

Ron Neff has examined the latest assault upon a dead man, in this column from The Last Ditch.  It opens like this:

Purging Joe Sobran again: the Cadaver Synod
Ron Capshaw at The Liberty Conservative

Our Lord enjoined us to love our neighbors and our enemies. A friend of mine used to add, "Probably because they are so often the same people." 

His wisdom inspired me, when The Last Ditch was first published, to warn Strakon: "The first time this newsletter is attacked in print, it will be in a libertarian publication." And sure enough, the first time we were attacked in print, it was in Liberty magazine (which may have been the only time Liberty took notice of us). 

Similarly, more than six years after his death, Joe Sobran continues to come under attack in conservative publications, this time in The Liberty Conservative. In a kind of Cadaver Synod, Ron Capshaw has given us "The Anti-Semitism of Joe Sobran." The point seems to be, "We conservatives are not anti-Semites, and to prove it, I shall denounce one of our own."

I guess I should not be surprised that anyone considers it necessary to attack a man no longer here to defend himself with some withering funny reply. As Joe once put it to me, "Some people just can't stop thinking about my obsessions."

A bit of background before I continue. Joe and I had met in 1980 and became friends quickly. He started his newsletter, Sobran's: The Real News of the Month, in September 1994, and for all but the last two or three issues of its history, I was its managing editor. I was the manager, editor, and proofreader of his website from 1996 until its replacement by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation's website. All of Joe's columns and essays from that period may be found both there and at, which is still archived on the Internet.

For much of that time, I met with Joe at least twice a week to discuss both business and matters that never found their way into the newsletter or the website. We also got together for social occasions and just to hang out, and I spent a few hours with him the day before he died. During the nearly 30 years of our acquaintance, I probably knew his mind as well as anyone else. (And I'm going to say it here: a comment he made in print which was credited as being one of his best jokes ever was one he stole from me. I was honored.)

Joe Sobran's writings speak for themselves. Anyone who wants to know what he has to say about anything can usually find it in his own words without much effort. But we are not living in an intellectual climate where people make an honest effort to understand what others are saying. Instead, we are living in a time when writers and speakers brazenly misrepresent what others have said. And their readers and hearers are willing to get what passes for information from people who are either dishonest or simply too lazy not to be misinformed. I have therefore decided not to let Capshaw get away with his tired misrepresentations. And in any case, in a Cadaver Synod, someone has to be the deacon answering the charges put to the corpse, and that is the role I propose to fill.

Read the whole article.

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