A fascinating letter in its entirety. Key sections:
As you know, over the years, I was so impressed with your near-daily documentation of developments in the Islamist world that I twice had you on my national radio show — both times face to face in my studio. And you, in turn, periodically cited my radio show and would tell your many readers when they could hear you on my show.
So it came as somewhat of a shock to see your 180-degree turn from waging war on Islamist evil to waging war on your erstwhile allies and supporters on the right. You attempted to explain this reversal on Nov. 30, 2009, when you published “Why I Parted Ways With The Right.”
You offered 10 reasons, and I would like to respond to them.
First, as disappointed as I am with your metamorphosis, I still have gratitude for all the good you did and I respect your change as a sincere act of conscience. But neither this gratitude nor this respect elevates my regard for your 10 points. They are well beneath the intellectual and moral level of your prior work. They sound like something Keith Olbermann would write if he were given 10 minutes to come up with an attack on conservatives.
1. Support for fascists, both in America (see: Pat Buchanan, Robert Stacy McCain, etc.) and in Europe (see: Vlaams Belang, BNP, SIOE, etc.).
Associating the American right with fascism is done only by leftist ideologues and propagandists, not by serious critics. It is akin to calling everyone on the left a Communist. As for the specific examples, forgive me, but in 28 years as a talk show host and columnist, I had never heard of Robert Stacy McCain or of Vlaams Belang. Nor did the BNP or SIOE register on my intellectual radar screen.
I looked them up and found that McCain is a former editor at the Washington Times charged with racist views. So what?
The BNP is the British National Party, a racist group that in the last U.K. general election received 0.7 percent of the popular vote. So what?
SIOE stands for Stop Islamisation of Europe. I perused its website, and while there are ideas I disagree with (e.g., the group does not believe that there are any Muslim moderates), the desire to stop the “Islamization” of Europe is hardly fascist; it is more likely animated by anti-fascism.
Vlaams Belang is a Flemish nationalist political party that won 17 out of 150 seats in Belgium ‘s Chamber of Representatives. From what I could gather from a cursory glance at the party’s platform, it is an ultra-nationalist Flemish party, many of whose language protection and secessionist ideals are virtually identical to those of the Party Quebecois, a party passionately supported by the left.
In any event, what do any of these groups have to do with mainstream American right institutions such the Hoover Institution, the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute; or with mainstream conservative publications and websites such as the National Review, the Weekly Standard, Townhall.com or Commentary; or with mainstream American conservatives such as Bill Kristol, Thomas Sowell, Hugh Hewitt, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Bill Bennett, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, as well as Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh? […]
9. Anti-Islamic bigotry that goes far beyond simply criticizing radical Islam, into support for fascism, violence, and genocide (see: Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, etc.).
I saw Pamela Geller’s site (The New York Times Magazine article about you cited it — Atlas Shrugs — and mentioned nothing remotely approaching your charges against her or her site) and I’ve interviewed Robert Spencer. Your charges against them only cheapen the words “fascism,” violence” and “genocide.”
If you don’t know what I mean by “New York Times Idiotarian of the Year,” see here.