"The right wing blogosphere is receding away from me at the speed of light, and all I can say is good riddance."Who is "receding" from whom, Charles? It's a matter of perspective, isn't it? The rest of us -- including those who consider a rally in Washington against runaway deficit spending and out-of-control government to be a good thing -- are watching you approach the event horizon of a black hole, where the massive density of your own insuperable arrogance creates an overwhelming gravitational force that sucks you into an infinite vortex of nothingness.
-- Charles Johnson, LGF
Let me see if I can explain to you, Charles, what the basic problem is: I am professional journalist, and have been since 1986. As much as I sneer at the snooty pretensions of my own profession -- "Ethics, shmethics" is my motto -- events in recent years have repeatedly brought to my attention what a valuable and honorable trade it has been my privilege to pursue.
Saturday afternoon, I showed up at the 9/12 March on D.C. without a press credential or even a business card (my printer is out of ink, so somebody hit the tip jar). My skill and reputation, however, gained me admission to the backstage area at the Capitol, where I was soon chatting with Rep. Mike Pence and other dignitaries. Indeed, I was also able to gain access for Cynthia Yockey and another journalist.
An ability to gain access to one's sources is indispensible to the job a reporter must do, whereas any a-hole with a laptop can play pundit. My methods of gaining access are sometimes unorthodox, but I'm not going to get beat by the Big Boys of the MSM simply because I'm not one of the Big Boys.
Nobody pays me to have the "right" opinions, Charles -- although there is every reason to believe my opinions are based on a far greater familiarity with facts than are yours. It's difficult to ascertain facts while sitting around contemplating your own navel, issuing Olympian pronouncements, and wondering who you should ban or de-link next.
And so we come to your assertion that my "connections to white supremacist and racist groups are undeniable." Right. My "connections" to Reason magazine, former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, HotAir.com and the Libertarian Party are similarly "undeniable," a function of my chosen career. I only wish I could get an "undeniable" connection to Sen. Joe Lieberman, so maybe somebody on the Senator's committee would get me some on-the-record Democratic lowdown on the IG-Gate investigation, but no matter how outrageously I flirt with the committee's deputy press secretary, she won't leak a word.
Hey, Charles, is it "ethical" for a happily married Christian father of six to flirt with a deputy press secretary? Like I said, ethics shmethics. I'm not getting paid to conduct an ethics seminar. My job is to get the story, and how I get it is proprietary information.
Getting close to your sources, penetrating through the wall of b.s. "official statements" and winning the sources' trust so that they'll tell you facts you need to know even if you can't report them -- well, if you can't do that, don't expect to succeed as a reporter.
As you apparently haven't figured it out yet, Charles, the Southern Poverty Law Center first attacked me after I published a May 2000 Washington Times article based on an interview with author Laird Wilcox:
Researcher Says 'Watchdogs'
Exaggerate Hate Group Threat
By Robert Stacy McCain
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
May 9, 2000
They collect millions of dollars for their crusades against hate groups, but do so-called "watchdog" organizations exaggerate the dangers posed by neo-Nazis and other racist movements?
Laird Wilcox thinks so. A Kansas author and editor who has spent decades researching what he calls "fringe" groups, Mr. Wilcox says the total numbers of active, organized extremists on the right is not much more than 10,000.
"Because of their nature, it's very difficult to come up with firm numbers" for such groups, Mr. Wilcox says, but estimates "the militias are probably 5,000 or 6,000 people. The Ku Klux Klan are down to about 3,000 people. And the combined membership of all neo-Nazi groups are probably just 1,500 to 2,000."
In a nation of more than 270 million people, the small size of such fringe groups represents a tiny danger, yet they are the target of what Mr. Wilcox calls an "industry" of watchdog groups.
"There is an anti-racist industry entrenched in the United States that has attracted bullying, moralizing fanatics, whose identity and livelihood depend upon growth and expansion of their particular kind of victimization," Mr. Wilcox wrote in his 1999 book "The Watchdogs."
Naming such organizations as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), based in Montgomery, Ala., Mr. Wilcox claims "the anti-racist movement has become a massive extortion racket." . . .
Read the whole thing, as they say. Nine years ago, then, I was reporting on a phenomenon that is now widely recognized by conservatives -- the shameless use of accusations of racism for political and personal gain. Having subsequently been targeted for such accusations (as I was never targeted before I wrote that article), I dare say I am now one of the nation's foremost experts on this phenomenon.
My acquaintance with the League of the South and its president, Dr. Michael Hill, began as the result of an assignment I received from my editor at the Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune, Pierre Rene-Noth. It is perhaps worth mentioning here that Pierre is an unrepentant liberal, the half-Jewish son of a French socialist who was forced to flee to America after the Nazi invasion.
Southern heritage and culture, and the remembrance of Civil War history, is not remotely controversial in Rome, Ga., unless some damned Yankee is fool enough to speak ill of the glorious dead, at which point the citizenry quickly assemble and the mendacious carpetbagger is tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, as it is said, and so Pierre's devotion to community news meant that, given my lifelong interest in history ancient and modern, I had a lot of important work to do. My own opinions on such matters were professionally relevant only insofar as they enhanced my ability to pursue the story.
By God, those folks loved me down home. When I reflect on everything I've endured since coming to Washington in November 1997, how I sometimes long to be back in Rome, where my op-ed columns made me such a local celebrity that I could cash a personal check at the grocery store without even showing ID!
Nostalgia aside, the point is that I was pursuing my professional duty when I first came into contact with the League of the South, and of my subsequent involvement, there are many things that people think they know -- on the basis of SPLC reports -- which are not necessarily true. And there are many, many thinks that people do not know.
Again, I have occasion to refer to the Hayekian conception that knowledge is widely diffused throughout society, so that not even the most informed "expert" knows everything. However, there are people with direct knowledge of my involvement with the Southern heritage movement who can attest -- and demonstrate by documentary evidence -- that I was never a "racist" or a "white supremacist" or any such thing.Stogie at Saberpoint makes this clear:
Stacy and I were involved in online discussions (aka "the great listserv debates") with a large group of interested people and, of course, the issue of race and race relations came up and was hotly debated. . . . There were some bigots in the group who wanted to add a racial component to our movement but Stacy (and I and others) strenuously opposed it. Stacy was an outspoken leader of the non-racist faction; he denounced racism as dishonorable and wrong. We fought the bigots together and took a lot of heat for our stand.And this involves a significant error in the 2002 article by gay columnist Michelangelo Signorile, universally cited by those who have attacked me, which Stogie cites sources to correct:
Signorile claimed McCain had posted [a certain statement] to a site called Reclaiming the South. In fact, that site is maintained by [White Supremacist] Dennis Wheeler, who posted emails by McCain, George Kalas, Gary Waltrip and others, from a debate on a private email list. McCain, Kalas, Waltrip, et al., strongly criticized Wheeler's efforts to get the League of the South (then known as the Southern League) to adopt Wheeler's own white separatist views. McCain wrote of such racial views: "[W]e should not stomach the promulgation of odious and hateful doctrines. We must reject all such doctrines. The truth is not in them."Remember this was what I wrote on a private e-mail discussion group in the mid-1990s, before I ever thought about working for The Washington Times. All of those involved in the discussion were Southern history buffs, and none of them were liberals, so that I had no cause to write anything other than my own honest beliefs.
By the time Signorile smeared me, in fact, I had forgotten all about Dennis Wheeler and that e-mail list-serv debate, and it was only because of Signorile's error that I learned that Wheeler had reposted excerpts of that discussion.
Exactly how or why Signorile made such a significant error, I'm not quite sure, but it was as a gift from God to me, because when I went to Wheeler's site, I saw that he had preserved that old argument of mine. Vindicated, you see, by the unwitting acts of two men who considered me their enemy.
Well, some will continue to be mystified by other things I have (allegedly) written or said or done, and I am content to let some mysteries linger. If it suits some people to think of me as a "neo-Confederate lesbian," let Joan Jett speak for me: I don't give a damn about my bad reputation.
Given my own experience, however, I have become extremely reluctant to point the accusing finger of "racism" at others. Is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright a "racist"? I strongly disagree with the idiocies and falsehoods Wright has proclaimed from his pulpit, but as Thomas Jefferson said, "truth is the sufficient antagonist to error," and there is no need to anathematize Wright with the "racist" label.
We ought to be careful, I suggest, about attaching the hateful term "racist" to the ordinary and generally benign attitudes more properly known as ethnocentrism -- the basically rational belief of, say, the Indonesian immigrant that his own interests are linked to the fate and fortunes of other Indonesian immigrants.
If such a man perceives some political or social development as being anti-Indonesian or anti-immigrant, we should not condemn him as "racist" for doing so. Yet the same consideration ought to extend to those who are neither Indonesian nor immigrants. If, for example, the CIA discovered that Al-Qaeda operatives were using Indonesian passports to gain entry to the United States, the suspicion toward and scrutiny of such immigrants cannot be called "racist."
(Hypothetical example to be cited by Andrew Sullivan as evidence of my bigotry toward Indonesians in 3, 2, 1 . . .)
Because racism has replaced blasphemy of the Holy Spirit as the Unforgiveable Sin in contemporary American culture, there are some people who seek a reputation for virtue (at least in their own eyes) by setting their Racism Detectors to "stun."
Anyone who examines this phenomenon will quickly discover nearly all of these people are elite-educated affluent Vanilla-Americans -- rich stuck-up honkies -- who seem to think that becoming a zealous "anti-racist" is their ticket to liberal heaven. In other words, they are self-righteous latter-day Pharisees, and unless they repent, they are doomed to destruction.
When I contemplate what Charles Johnson had done, I hurt. Not for me, but for him.
God has made me strong enough to endure whatever I must endure, and I do not think God will forsake me after having worked so many miracles on my behalf to bring me through so many perils to where I am today.
Charles Johnson has no such comfort. He is a wounded soul who is desperately alone, beyond hope of any assistance he can summon. I do not pray for his destruction, but for his redemption, because my religion forbids me to hate.
And some things a man writes with tears in his eyes.