Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Real Con Job

Fringe Watch has posted "The Real Con Job: John Sharpe's 'Anti-War' Series." The subject of the post is the Neo-Conned series of anti-war books, published by John Sharpe (through his IHS Press/Light in the Darkness affiliate). As documented in the Fringe Watch posts, Sharpe has ties to anti-Semitic, anti-American extremist politics. It is disconcerting therefore, to find that some members of the anarcho-capitalist contingent at ("anti-state, anti-war, pro-market") have contributed to and touted the Neo-Conned books (see here, here, and here). They have let their opposition to the present war blind them to the agenda that animates the Neo-Conned books. Here, with permission, is "The Real Con Job":

The Real Con Job: John Sharpe's "Anti-War" Series

On November 9, 2005, posted " The Case Against This Monstrous War," a glowing endorsement of two anti-war books: Neo-Conned and Neo-Conned Again!. They are put out by the IHS Press, under its Light in the Darkness imprint. As the review opines, IHS "has assembled one of the most impressive lineups of scholars and commentators. . . ever seen on any subject." The bi-partisan authorship spans the entire political range from paleo-conservative Pat Buchanan to Marxist Noam Chomsky. Some contributors are entirely reputable. However, beneath the superficial respectability of IHS Press there lies a web of connections that conservatives should find disturbing.

The problem with the Neo-Conned series is more than impassioned rhetoric, it's a matter of caveat emptor. Unsavory politics lurk beneath the surface. Consider that the founder, CEO, and editor of IHS Press is John Sharpe. The following points should send off alarm bells among his target conservative audience:

1) John Sharpe has a long record of sympathy with anti-American Arab regimes and tries to downplay the horror of 9/11 by blaming it on Israel and the US itself.

2) He promotes socialist/leftist economic theories, through the works of IHS Press' Sheffield Hallam University Press series and the works of the eccentric British "guild socialist" Arthur Penty.

3) He disseminates anti-Semitic publications through a subsidiary called the Legion of St. Louis (LSL).

If it is thought that this last charge is an exaggeration, consider Mr. Sharpe's argument for "sane" anti-Semitism:

Finally, let us not fear the epithet "anti-Semite" as it is used by the enemies of the Faith and of the West. . . . [W]e all then have the courage to respond with the words of Fr. Fahey: "In that sense, every sane thinker must be an anti-Semite" ("Judaism and the Vatican," The Angelus, June 2003).

The LSL is an ostensibly Catholic organization which pitches to traditionalists. But a perusal of the Legion's eclectic offering of books turns up such titles as The International Jew (admired by Adolf Hitler), the writings of British fascist A.K. Chesterton and an anti-Jewish screed by self-proclaimed "white separatist" Michael Hoffman.

To sum up, this exposé is not meant to discuss the merits of the Iraq War. Whatever one's views, it is possible to be concerned about ideological radicals exploiting sensitive issues for their own benefit. What is the upshot? First, political radicals (tied to neo-Nazis) gain the credibility they have long coveted by collaboration with well-known and respected individuals. Second, dissenting conservatives, understandably scandalized by the insanity of mainstream culture, are sidetracked from their real work and are ethically compromised.