Boo, Hiss

Michael Walsh likes to say of the left, “They never stop; they never sleep; they never quit.” Which is why Michael advises that our constant disposition should always be: crush the left.

A small but telling case in point is Alger Hiss. Is there anyone still around who thinks he wasn’t guilty of being an agent of Soviet influence, if not much worse? You’d have thought that Allen Weinstein’s Perjury and the direct evidence from the post-Soviet access to the Venona transcripts would have settled the matter more firmly than climate science gravity.

But amazingly there are still true believers. One of them is the novelist Joan Brody, who has just published Alger Hiss Framed: A New Look at the Case That Made Nixon Famous. Seriously? Apparently so.

I’m not about to read anything so self-evidently silly, and fortunately you don’t have to either, because Harvey Klehr, the Mellon professor of politics at Emory University and author of several fine histories of Soviet espionage, has done it for us and reports on the miserable experience in the current issue of The New Criterion. He does not mince words:

Her book is not only very bad history, but also embarrassingly stupid. She betrays a remarkable ignorance of the American legal system and American government, makes numerous errors, relies on quacks and discredited commentators, and entertains breathtaking conspiracy theories. . .

The arch-villain is Richard Nixon, who stands at the center of a conspiracy so immense that its full dimensions have not been apparent to anyone else who has ever written on the case; it was a “vicious, politically-motivated frame-up, and it has never been exposed.”

Heck, this almost makes it sound worth reading for the comic value alone. Almost. Read the whole thing for a concise but devastating smackdown, which culminates thus:

This farrago of nonsense and garbage is a disgrace to the person who wrote it, the editors and publishers who produced it, and the ideological fools who endorsed it. The only reason to discuss it at any length is to expose its mendacity as an antidote to anyone who has the misfortune to read it.

What you should read instead in The New Criterion. Subscribe here.


Books to read from Power Line