“An Open Letter to Charles Johnson” by Dennis Prager

I used to read Charles Johnson’s “Little Green Footballs” blog every day. Like most of us, I was also very confused by his complete “180” in views and behavior. I have my own thoughts on the subject, but tt will be interesting see how he responds to Mr. Prager.

On Sunday, The New York Times Magazine featured an article on Charles Johnson, whose website — littlegreenfootballs — had for years been very popular among conservatives and among all those who believed that Islamic terror and Islamic religious totalitarianism were the greatest expressions of contemporary evil. The reason for the article was that Mr. Johnson has made a 180-degree turn and is now profoundly, even stridently, anti-right. This is my letter to him.

Dear Charles:

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 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?

2. Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, Lew Rockwell, etc.).

I agree with the late William Buckley that some of Pat Buchanan’s views could be construed as anti-Jewish; I don’t know who McCain or Lew Rockwell represent among mainstream conservatives; and to label Ann Coulter a white supremacist (or bigot) is slander.

3. Support for throwing women back into the Dark Ages, and general religious fanaticism (see: Operation Rescue, anti-abortion groups, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, the entire religious right, etc.).

“The entire religious right” wants to throw “women back into the dark ages?” As a religious (Jewish) conservative, perhaps I am a member of that group, and I find the charge absurd. The one example you give — anti-abortion — is invalid. To those who regard the unborn as worthy of life (except in the almost never occurring case of it being a threat to its mother’s life), opposition to abortion is no more anti-woman than opposition to rape is anti-man. The only people who wish to throw women into the dark ages are the people you, Charles, used to fight. That is why your change of heart has actually hurt the battle for women’s dignity and equality.

4. Support for anti-science bad craziness (see: creationism, climate change denialism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, etc.).

So, Charles, all those scientists who question or deny that human activity is causing a global warming that will render much of life on earth extinct are “anti-science?”

Has the possibility occurred to you that those who are skeptical of what they consider hysteria cherish science at least as much as you do? In fact, they suspect that — for political, social, financial, psychological and/or herd-following reasons — it is the “global warming” hysterics who are more likely to be anti-science.
Activist scientists, liberal media and leftist interest groups brought us the false alarm of an imminent heterosexual AIDS pandemic in America, the false alarm about silicon breast implants leading to disease and the nonsense about how dangerous nuclear power is. They were anti-science, not us skeptics who have been right every time I can think of.

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