The reader complained that Roberts' columns are "bizarre," make him "come off as a lunatic," and may give the impression to other readers that VDARE.COM is run by "crackpots".
Bottom line: our reader suggested that, for our own best interests, we remove Roberts from our site.
That single letter triggered an outpouring of mail from both conservatives and liberals (I write here as a disgusted Democrat) unlike anything I have seen in nearly three years as Letters Editor. More than a week later, a steady flow of correspondence continues to arrive.
The mail is running about 60 percent in Roberts' favor.
Roberts' columns are controversial among our readers for two separate and distinct reasons:
Here are some samplings from both sides of the fence:
A West Virginia reader:
"Generally, I like to read different points of view, but I must agree with other readers that Paul Craig Roberts is beyond reason. He doesn't present facts to back up his wild theories and appears to have a genuine hatred towards the Bush administration. I am a conservative who admits that I twice voted for Bush. Having said that, I can't tell you how disappointed I am with him, particularly on immigration. A case can be made that he is the worst President in my lifetime.
"On the other hand, Roberts usually ignores any criticism of the dopey Democrats. One has only to look at the Democrat's positions on immigration, education, the economy and homeland security. Some really scary stuff, huh? In a nutshell, what I am saying is that Roberts needs to examine his 'rantings' and determine whether or not he is even close to 'fair and balanced'. I say he is 'looney' left."
A Delaware reader:
"My problem with most of Roberts's columns is that they violate VDARE.COM's stated policy of a 'big tent' for all who are opposed to the irrational immigration invasion. Most of us are not political monomaniacs concerned only with immigration. We consider other issues important like the Iraq War, education, taxes and government corruption.
"However it is vital that we put these issues on hold while we focus on immigration. Mr. Roberts' work, interesting as it is, is disruptive and should not be part of VDARE.COM."
A Kansas reader:
"Whatever you think of Paul Craig Roberts's opinions on neocons and 9/11, VDARE is an anti-immigration site, and Roberts hardly writes about immigration.
"Even if he weren't controversial, his columns are off topic and it's a waste of your donors' money to run them. Roberts is controversial, and divides conservatives other over issues that are irrelevant to the mission of VDARE. COM
"If Brimelow thinks Roberts' views on 9/11, Israel, and neocons have merit, he should start another website devoted to those issues. Should Brimelow continue to post Roberts because of his personal loyalty to his friend of long standing, which is my impression based on [Brimelow's] recent response to critics (read it here; scroll down), he should first consider what's best for accomplishing VDARE.COM's goals.
"Success in ending immigration is more important than personal relationships…especially since Brimelow regularly asks readers to donate money to his site to advance our collective cause.
"I don't care about Israel. Nor do I pay attention to the issues Roberts writes about. Mostly, I ignore him. I want unnecessarily divisive issues to go away. VDARE.COM should avoid creating controversy within the restrictionist movement by eliminating Roberts's columns.
An Ohio Reader:
"I'm a white Anglo-Saxon man of modest means who frequently visits VDARE.COM. My modest income, despite my college education, results from President Bush's insane immigration positions including the abuses he tolerates of the non-immigrant H1-B and L1 visas.
"I often forward VDARE.COM articles to others, including the excellent articles by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts—although they are forceful and reach unpleasant conclusions.
"If VDARE.COM boycotts Roberts' articles, I will neither visit nor promote your site.
"Roberts is hated by the Bush cabal, and so is VDARE.COM. You will curry no favor with our vile antagonists, who seek to destroy America, by not posting Roberts work.
A Colorado Reader:
"Since that letter about Paul Craig Roberts seems to have generated a lot of responses, please add me to the 'Enthusiastic Supporter and Faithful Reader' column.
"Roberts is a true patriot and conservative. I consider that people who claim to be conservative lovers of America but who support George Bush to be contradicting themselves.
"I wish the Bush-lovers would open their eyes to see the destruction wrought upon this nation by Bush and his neocon party. I hope Roberts continues to tell it like it is and annoy the Bush crowd enough to make them see through the wool over their eyes."
A Florida Reader:
"I log on to your website primarily to read Roberts' commentary. If you did not have Roberts I probably wouldn't read VDARE.COM. Roberts is of the few who understands what is going on in the Middle East today and for the past sixty years. I have read Roberts's books.
"Keep up the good work by continuing to post his columns."
Peter Brimelow, who has been a personal friend of Roberts for many years, says that VDARE.COM is a coalition and that his columns will remain. (For Robert's review of Brimelow's Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster, click here). But we continue to beg him, pursuant to many reader requests, to return to writing about immigration.
Robert's columns represent only a tiny fraction—less than 5 percent—of the weekly postings on VDARE.COM. Every day, we feature exclusive essays about immigration. Added to this input are other contributors like Pat Buchanan, the daily letters and our on-going blog.
My take: For those unhappy about Roberts, don't abandon VDARE.COM. You'll miss out on our insights into the "National Question"
And PLEASE don't withhold donations! They sustain us.
On a personal note: Let me share an example of my own. In the mid-1990s, then-New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen had a regular op-ed titled "Public and Private." Amazingly, it won a Pulitzer Prize. Although Quindlen consistently infuriated me, for several years I read her faithfully as if each word was a pearl.
Then one day, cold-turkey so to speak, I stopped reading. And Quindlen became one less headache to deal with.
Unhappy Roberts' readers might consider the same strategy. Skip Roberts and focus instead on the meat and potatoes that only VDARE.COM provides you.
Unless, of course, you actually like him—as so many do.
Joe Guzzardi [e-mail him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor. In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.