NRB vs. FrumForum: Gee, I Wonder Who’s Telling the Truth?

David Horowitz and David Swindle have decided to can one of NewsRealBlog’s contributors, Alex Knepper. Knepper, who also contributes to David Frum’s FrumForum, claims that he was punished because “Horowitz is not interested in posts that take Ann Coulter to task over the war in Afghanistan,” and Frum eagerly repeats Knepper’s claims, taking them as—surprise!—more evidence that right-wingers are circling the wagons around their “extremists.”

David Swindle responds to Knepper’s allegations here, explaining that the tone of his Coulter critique, not simply the act of critiquing her, was the issue with his final NRB submission, and that either way, he wasn’t simply fired over a disagreement over tone—it was the last in a string of disappointments (including some, um, interesting views about sex) from Knepper. Knepper fires back here.

As NRB’s editor, Swindle is in a much better position to respond to the specifics if he so chooses than I am, so I’ll leave that to him. But I do have a couple thoughts about which side has more credibility.

First, the idea that NRB can’t take criticism of Coulter is preposterous. I should know—my very first post for the website did just that.

Second, the website is extremely comfortable with passionate disagreement among contributors on a lot of issues, many of which are arguably bigger than what somebody thinks about a particular pundit. A few examples:

Third, as I pointed out last week, we already know that David Frum’s standards of honesty are scandalously low – up to and including REPEATING SLANDER against people if it supports Frum’s agenda. Until Frum owns up to his past misdeeds, every word that appears on FrumForum should be read with extreme skepticism by the handful of readers who still waste their time there.

Is Ann Coulter Out of Her Mind?

I love Ann Coulter, but her latest column, in which she defends Michael Steele’s Afghanistan comments, bothers me. A lot.

Yes, she and Steele are right to call Obama and the Democrats out on their posturing about Afghanistan as the “good war” and Iraq as the bad one. Yes, the populations of the two countries are vastly different. No, I don’t know what the best strategy in Afghanistan is (check out David Forsmark and John Guardiano for two competing schools of thought).

Further, in our zeal to make these points, conservatives must be careful not to lose sight of what our ultimate goal should be in Afghanistan—and whatever we decide, we need to stick to it regardless of who’s in the White House. Ann punts on that question, and I don’t recall her voicing any of these concerns during the Bush years. But Afghanistan is “Obama’s war” might be true as far as it goes, but focusing on that aspect on it diminishes the significance of the war and obscures the core question of whether or not America should be there. And yes, in calling it a war “of Obama’s choosing,” Steele did suggest that it wasn’t worth fighting, and that Democrats held a monopoly on the blame for it.

Coulter suggests we’ve already won in Afghanistan, and that a minimal troop presence there to “prevent Osama bin Laden from regrouping, swat down al-Qaida fighters and gather intelligence” is sufficient (wait a minute—weren’t we trying to leave behind a government & military stable enough to do that on its own?).

What disturbs me most is, near the end, how easily—and suddenly—Ann lends credence to the old liberal trope about “neoconservatives” being for “permanent war.” One would think a pundit who’s repeatedly been on the receiving end of such smears would think twice before deploying it herself.

Come on, Ann.  For years, I’ve defended you as better than this.  Don’t prove me wrong now.

Speaking of Ignoring the American Founding…

Concluding NRB’s recent drug legalization debate is a post entitled, “This is What Happens When the Founders’ Philosophy of Government Is Ignored.”  Setting aside the fact that just how the Founders would have treated drugs remains very much an open question, it seems to me that, given another recent NRB debate, a reminder of what else can happen when America’s founding principles are disregarded is in order. (Content Warning) Read the rest of this entry »

Conservatism Can’t Survive Without the Pro-Life Movement, Part II

In Part I, I argue that it would be politically foolish for the Right to further backpedal or abandon the pro-life cause. Here I want to make the case that the right to life truly is inseparable both from core conservatism and from any meaningful effort to advance conservative ideas—that, in fact, pro-abortion tendencies actually endanger the prospects of those who value limited government, the free market, and strong national defense.

As I explained on June 15, abortion is an affront to the Declaration of Independence. As the unjust taking of a human life, it is wrong for the same reason slavery, theft, assault, honor killings, rape, eminent domain abuse, and individual health insurance mandates are wrong: they are all violations of human liberty and natural rights.  Accordingly, society justly protects its citizens from them via law for the same reason.  As long as conservatism still “holds these truths to be self-evident” that all men have “certain unalienable rights” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and as long as conservatism still accepts that “governments are instituted among men” for the purpose of “secur[ing] these rights,” then philosophically-consistent conservatives have no choice but to oppose legalized abortion. Nobody can support abortion in good conscience without either honestly confronting this conundrum head-on, or asking himself what definition of “conservatism” he’s been operating under all this time.

That pro-choice views are an egregious exception to conservatives’ and libertarians’ pro-liberty rhetoric should be obvious. What may be less obvious—but is no less true—is that such dubious thinking cannot help but undermine other core conservative principles and efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

Conservatism Can’t Survive Without the Pro-Life Movement, Part I (Updated)

The more I reflect on The Great NewsReal Abortion Debate, the more convinced I am that I made a critical error.

I want to revisit the issue of whether or not the pro-life cause is central or peripheral to the conservative movement.  I made clear where I stood on that question—as an egregious deprivation of human rights, abortion should be opposed by every lover of liberty with every fiber of his or her being—but I fear I didn’t go nearly far enough in explaining the implications of the answer.  This essay will explore the practical aspects of the matter; my next one will address the moral and philosophical.

I conceded that I could “basically support” the kind of ‘truce’ David Swindle was talking about, i.e. candidates centering their campaigns on the “two unifying issues” of the free market and defeating Islamofascism. That’s more or less how wartime Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan have run for office anyway (in Reagan’s case swapping out Islamofascism for the Soviet Union), and that’s okay.  I don’t have a problem with our candidates emphasizing some issues more than others to put voters’ most immediate concerns front and center, or to address crises that demand immediate resolution.

However, that doesn’t exempt a candidate from talking about the right to life at all, or from being pro-life.  I have already argued that pro-life principles are inseparable from core conservatism, and that abortion cannot be regarded as merely one issue among many, and I’ll elaborate more on those points in the next post.  But it’s also important because whether or not one is capable of recognizing abortion for the evil that it is, and is willing to do something about it, tells us something about what he or she is made of. I know there are exceptions (Ron Paul is pro-life but deranged, Joe Lieberman is radically pro-abortion, but firm on the war), but I truly believe that strongly pro-life candidates will tend to be of a higher caliber than pro-choice candidates in several qualities that will benefit public servants, and the American people, in all areas: Read the rest of this entry »

The Abortion Debate at NewsReal

David Swindle’s latest entry is here.  I didn’t know what to expect from his inevitable response, but honestly, I’m disappointed to see this argument resurrected once more.  Stay tuned to NRB for my response.

Now Is Not the Time for Truces

Possible GOP 2012 candidate Mitch Daniels thinks we need a “truce” on social issues:

“We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while,” by casting social issues like abortion aside so the next president can focus on fixing the beleaguered economy.

Expecting a backlash if the remarks weren’t explained further, Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack followed up with the governor. He asked Daniels if his remarks meant the next president shouldn’t try to stop the abortion funding in the Obama health care law or put the Mexico City Policy back in place to stop international abortion funding.

Daniels said the United States faces a “genuine national emergency” concerning the economy, budget and national debt and that “maybe these things could be set aside for a while.”

“But this doesn’t mean anybody abandons their position at all. Everybody just stands down for a little while, while we try to save the republic,” the governor added.

Daniels replied, “I don’t know,” when asked if he would issue the executive order every pro-life president has done by instituting the Mexico City Policy Obama revoked.

Given how little our national leaders actually do to end abortion or preserve marriage once they get into office, Daniels’s proposal sounds less like a game plan for “saving the republic” and more like a lazy excuse to not talk about issues he doesn’t feel like discussing.

Joseph Lawler rightly notes that Daniels’s cowardice on the Mexico City policy isn’t a truce, but unconditional surrender.  And so, the Republican march of mediocrity continues…

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