BerubeFebruary 25, 2005
I suppose I should note that Michael Berube has made a stab at responding to my last blog about the picture grid on www.discoverthenetwork.org. I had pointed out that in his lame attempt at a satirical riposte he had failed to address the substantive intellectual issue raised. His response to this is more merriment at my expense (thanks for the publicity Mike) but more vacuity as well. Leftists like Mike love to create imaginary battlegrounds on which they are confident they can win. They like to set up straw men to beat down because they have such a tough time making the argument in the real world and on playing fields that are level.
Yes it is true that leftists like Mike seized on a quirk in the format (the two dimensional grid) to make jokes at our expense. Fine. But there was also a substantive issue the website raised as I believe I acknowledged (and which I have addressed briefly above). Is there an affinity between radical Islam and leftists like Mike that justifies including them all in a database on the left, despite their obvious differences. There is. And I have written a book on it, which Mike obviously hasn't read.
That doesn't deter him of course from distorting and then dismissing my comments about Todd Gitlin without even looking at the Gitlin texts I analyzed in Unholy Alliance to come to these conclusions. But not having to read the texts of course simplifies Berube's task. He also entirely distorts my relation to the Black Panthers -- repeating a lie that Gitlin concocted years ago to the effect that the entire left except myself had turned its back on these thugs. In fact at the very time that I became involed with the Panthers Murray Kempton was comparing Huey Newton to Martin Luther and Mahatma Gandhi and Garry Wills was describing them as put upon heroes (both in the NY Times). There is no excuse for this lie because I have provided the evidence and citations in Radical Son, which was published eight years ago. (But of course Berube and Gitlin haven't bothered to read that before attacking me either). Moreover, so far from being the last one to understand who the Panthers actually were, I am -- among leftists -- the first. In fact it is only through my efforts that anyone today regards the Panthers as the thugs they were. In his book on the Sixties written after the publication of Radical Son which laid out all the gory details, Gitlin himself defended the Panthers as "more sinned against than sinning" and failed to mention their murder of Betty Van Patter, someone he and everyone else in the Bay Area left knew.
In talking with a Salon reporter yesterday about the site, I figured out a solution to the technical issue of having a two-dimensional grid which evidently can give some people a false impression of direct connections that I never claimed -- and the site never claimed -- existed. On Monday I hope to implement these changes and explain them. If Michael wants to engage in a serious intellectual conversation about the nature of the left and appropriateness of the principle of inclusion that governs this database, I will post his arguments on this site.