Reason Magazine Addresses That 1976 “Holocaust Denial Edition”

Methinks they protest too much…

Reason magazine’s editor Nick Gillespie has an article up wherein he addresses that 1976 “special edition” featuring Holocaust deniers and contributors to neo-Nazi magazines. Let’s see how he acquits the publication:

If you want a preview of just how lame ideological mud-slinging is going to get […] take a look at this pair of articles penned by Mark Ames at pando.com, a Bay Area-based website that, among other things, aspires “to bring more civility into the blogosophere.” The pieces charge Reason with being not a libertarian defender of “Free Minds and Free Markets” but a hotbed for pro-apartheid Holocaust deniers who slavishly do the bidding of David and Charles Koch (cue the monster-movie music, maestro).

Yeah, seriously. A publication that just celebrated “Marijuana on Main Street: The long, hard road to safe, legal pot,” covers the police brutality beat like nobody’s business, and criticized George W. Bush’s “disaster socialism” and his stupid wars for the entire eight awful years he was in the White House, is really a stalking horse for reactionary politics right out of The Turner Diaries.

Those are the (slightly abridged) opening two paragraphs, and the “obviously we’re winning, they are attacking us more” stuff continues for another three paragraphs or so before Gillespie gets to the actual meat of the complaint against that 1976 edition.

(Before we continue, note Gillespie’s juxtaposition of Reason’s more recent positions with a possibly strawmannish claim that the current publication is a “stalking horse” and so on. That’s entirely separate from the issue at hand.)

Moving on:

In the newer post, Ames runs through Reason’s February 1976 issue that was billed as a “Special Revisionism Issue.” He has posted the entire issue, which I had not read before, online here (an incomplete online archive of Reason’s run can be found here at the invaluable unz.org site, which compiles hundreds of titles; we hope eventually to produce our own fully searchable, complete archive at our own site). Ames is correct that some of the contributors to that issue developed an interest in or were fellow travelers with that most pathetic area of study known as Holocaust revisionism or denialism. That scurrilous topic is not the focus of any of the articles in the issue, but the inclusion of contributors such as James J. Martin, who would go on to join the editorial board of the contemptible denialist outfit the Institute of Historical Review, is embarrassing.

Emphasis mine. More: reason.com

It’s a small point in Gillespie’s favor that he admits embarrassment over the association with (e.g.) James J. Martin, but overall it’s pretty much a non-apology if the people featured in that issue had histories of bigotry etc. before Reason invited them. Moreover, the real embarrassment is that nobody at Reason, or associated with the magazine, had the self-awareness to realize that maybe this would be a problem for them. Is it too much to expect an editor to at least have a passing familiarity with back issues?

And so, without further ado…

Austin App! Look at this glowing biography from the Institute for Historical Review (cached):

Dr. App was a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee of The Journal of Historical Review from its inception. His last major speech in America was “The Holocaust Put in Perspective,” delivered at the first International Revisionist Conference sponsored by the Institute for Historical Review, held in Los Angeles over Labor Day, 1979. The speech was published in Vol. 1, No. 1 of the JHR (Spring 1980). In his last years Dr. App several times expressed his satisfaction at the fact that he was able to witness the contemporary worldwide explosion of accomplishment and interest in revisionist studies of all aspects of the Second World War. Those now engaged in this work owe him, as one of the handful of pioneers in a field where pioneering entailed great risk and therefore great courage, their most heartfelt respect, admiration, and gratitude. He was a fighter and a champion in the cause of truth.

James J. Martin! Even this positive eulogy on antiwar.com (cached) has to dance around his association with IHR:

It might interest such readers - and may also appall them - to know that many of the Ralph Myles titles are still available, still at the familiar bargain prices (thirty years at least behind the pricing realities in the publishing world of today) - but they are available from only one bookseller. This is the infamous Institute for Historical Review (IHR), to which Martin sold his remaining stock a few years ago, when he became too infirm to deal any longer with such strenuous work as filling orders from book dealers. Martin was associated with the IHR for the last twenty-five years of his life, a fact that has embarrassed not a few of his longtime admirers and dissuaded not a few potential admirers from ever taking the trouble to take a look at his published writings.

Percy Greaves…!

… okay, he’s one where the connection isn’t so clear. Ames claims that he’s written for the Liberty Lobby but a cursory Google search didn’t turn much up. The most I got was along the lines of this (admittedly evocative) 1992 newsgroup(?) post (cached):

Fourth. Libertarians. This is the War against the State, now and you’d better be on the side of the righteous or kiss freedom goodbye. You who run from revisionist associations because you’re afraid that your liberal friends in Washington D.C. won’t invite you to their cocktail parties—so you can play statist games and pretend you’re changing things—you are incubi and succubi of the movement.

We don’t need you summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.

You at \Libertarian Review\ and \Reason\ who banned articles on Holocaust revisionism and ads for I.H.R. conferences, then attack Sam Konkin for joining James J. Martin and Percy Greaves on the \J.H.R.’s editorial advisory committee, publishing the banned ads and one article by Lewis Brandon—when you know that Sam Konkin has consistently used his name and \New Libertarian\ publications to make libertarianism attractive to \all\ suppressed factions—get out of the movement before future historians conclude that the libertarians of today were hypocrites.

Interesting that this guy calls out Reason for having banned Holocaust deniers, and Gillespie never thought to bring that up.

Finally we come to Gary North, the theocrat who thinks we should publicly execute everyone that Leviticus/Exodus says is an abomination—from homosexuals to disobedient children (like you do). Here’s an extremely illuminating excerpt from a 1998 Reason article about North himself, and keep in mind that when other libertarians are okay with calling him a Christian Taliban, that should send up a few red flags:

Reconstructionists provide the most enthusiastic constituency for stoning since the Taliban seized Kabul. “Why stoning?” asks North. “There are many reasons. First, the implements of execution are available to everyone at virtually no cost.” Thrift and ubiquity aside, “executions are community projects—not with spectators who watch a professional executioner do `his’ duty, but rather with actual participants.” You might even say that like square dances or quilting bees, they represent the kind of hands-on neighborliness so often missed in this impersonal era.

[…]

The continuing, extensive Reconstructionist presence in fields like the home schooling movement poses for libertarians an obvious question: How serious do differences have to become before it becomes inappropriate to overlook them in an otherwise good cause? The printed program of last year’s Separation of School & State Alliance convention constituted an odd ideological mix in which certified good guys such as Sheldon Richman, Jim Bovard, and Don Boudreaux alternated with Chalcedon stalwarts like Samuel Blumenfeld, Howard Phillips, and [R. J.] Rushdoony himself.

Obvious maybe, but unaddressed for at least another 10 years when Ron Paul got into so much hot water for those racist newsletters. This sentiment really encapsulates the fatal problem with libertarianism as a political movement: their “big tent” (well, middling-sized tent but who’s measuring) organizing philosophy is seemingly so desperate that they’re often completely okay with white supremacists, Confederate sympathizers, and Nazi apologists as long as the proper two or three shibboleths are exchanged. Even if there are some sane and decent libertarians (and I have reason to believe there are, if only in the young and not-so-influential wings) this paleo bullshit is a cancer that’s poisoning not only libertarianism as a fringe political ideology, but (as we’ve seen for years now) is also metastasizing into the broader American right-wing.

And jeez, if Holocaust denial and Christian Reconstruction get a pass for so damn long, what isn’t okay for the movement?

UPDATE at 7/27/14 1:20:25 pm by StephenMeansMe


Here’s Gary North defending poor old Hitler from those mean scholars who accuse him of orchestrating the mass slaughter of six million Jews:

Probably the most far-out materials on World War II revisionism have been the seemingly scholarly studies of the supposed execution of 6 million Jews by Hitler. The anonymous author of The Myth of the Six Million […] has presented a solid case against the Establishment’s favorite horror story—the supposed moral justification for our entry into the War.

(Reason, February 1976, p. 39)

North was last seen writing materials for—what else—the “Ron Paul Curriculum.” (cached) And wouldn’t you know it, that old rascal Tom Woods (secession-and-nullification fetishist) is part of it too (cached).

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