Max’s malice was also on display in the “interview” he conducted with me after the Churchill debate. I put the word “interview” in quotes since he did not reveal to me who he was until the interview was over. Moreover, he had arranged to have half of it conducted by an agent posing as a journalist unrelated to him. The deception was easy since the “interview” took place among a crowd of onlookers and reporters present who had gathered around the FoxNewsChannel camera to watch the Hannity&Colmes segment that was televised immediately after the debate.
For all I know the journalist pretender was actually a journalist, although Max’s article describes him as merely “a friend.” The friend asked me what I thought of Max’s attack in The Nation on the Madison Center at Princeton, a conservative speaker’s program set up by conservative philosophy professor Robert George. I said the attack displayed the totalitarian mind-set of the Blumenthal left. Princeton is a typical campus featuring multiple ideologically leftwing departments and programs and the Madison Center is a lone and very modest conservative effort to bring intellectuals to Princeton who could not get a faculty position at Princeton because of the existing blacklist. The Madison Center is not even a department or a curriculum at Princeton, and yet it was already too much intellectual diversity for leftists like Max. One modest program and Max and The Nation felt the need to stamp it out as a threat.
When I had finished answering, the imposter journalist then asked me what I thought of Max Blumenthal. Still unaware that he was standing next to me, I said “He’s a chip off the scuzzy old block.” The plant asked me how I spelled “scuzzy.” S-C-U-Z-Z-Y. Then he said: “That’s Max Blumenthal,” who glared hard at me and vanished.
Earlier, without announcing himself, a tightly wound Max had asked me why I hadn’t included Kevin McDonald of “Long Beach State” in my book The Professors. It was a “gotcha” question. “Because I have no idea who he is” was my reply. The incognito Max then advised me McDonald was a “racist.” I said, well, if he is and I had known about him, I would have included him. Instead of taking this for an answer he pursued another attack route: “Why did you feature Jared Taylor on your site?” He was referring to an article by Taylor on racial crimes committed by blacks during Hurricane Katrina that somehow didn’t become part of the discussion of racism during the Katrina flap. In the national discussion of Katrina, Bush was accused of racism for failing to be on site immediately in New Orleans but actual racial crimes committed by blacks were rendered invisible.
In printing Taylor’s piece, I didn’t “feature” Taylor in the sense of “Here’s someone who speaks for me or my magazine.” In fact I prefaced his article with an editorial statement dissociating the magazine from his racist views but saying that the information he presented about criminal activity in New Orleans and the hypocrisy of the left’s racial abuse of Katrina should be confronted, particularly since his information came from reliable sources. I said why does it take a racist to raise these troubling issues? I knew the answer, which was that others have been so intimidated by the witch-hunting left that they are afraid to raise them themselves.
Previously, I had written an entire piece about Taylor and why his views were deplorable and should be rejected. I did so not only because that is my view, but because the attempt to pin Taylor’s views on me was already part of a leftwing campaign to slander and discredit me as a racist. Max is an accomplished mud-slinger in this effort, having written an article about Christopher Hitchens and me attempting to link us to neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers.
What my encounter with Max shows is that because of the very liberal nature of what it is trying to achieve, the academic freedom campaign has torn a veil from that segment – the “progressive” segment — of the political left to reveal that it has not changed morally or in its political tactics since the heyday of Stalin. Character assassination rather than political argument is its method of choice, and its scruples are non-existent. Consequently, I have written this not to put the young Blumenthal in his place, but to focus attention once more on the problems created by the moral squalor and intellectual dishonesty of the left.