A writer named Mark Hemingway [Email] has a piece on NRO called Romney's Radical Roots, [August 6, 2007]in which he attacks Mitt Romney for being friendly with and respectful to W. Cleon Skousen.
Mr. Skousen is "radical" in that he was an anti-communist in ways unapproved of by Bill Buckley, in opposing LSD when it came out in 1960, in protesting against Soviet brainwashing, and later, (he lived to be 90) accusing the "Council on Foreign Relations and the Rockefellers of puppeteering the election of Jimmy Carter to pave the way for One World Government, his new favorite topic."
This is fringe thinking, but it's, how shall I put this, fairly common fringe thinking. And it's not like Jimmy Carter turned out to be a patriot or anything.
There's also something about the Mormon priesthood that used to be limited to whites—a policy that I personally view as a relic of Joseph Smith's era, because I'm not a Mormon myself, and as a non-Mormon, I hold to the view that Joseph Smith made the whole thing up. (This in not meant to be offensive, just a statement of non-belief.I hope our readers who are Mormons will agree to disagree on this, and not tell Hugh Hewitt.)
But Skousen viewed attempts by outsiders to get the LDS to change this policy as Communist-inspired. For all I know, they were Communist-inspired, many anti-racist actions at the time were, and at the time, National Review was willing to say so. Hemingway is not only projecting NR's modern obsession with anti-racism back in time, he's acting like an anti-anti-Communist of the fifties and sixties. He writes
Skousen had written a book entitled The Naked Communist, which even for 1958 is so irrational in its paranoia that it would have made Whittaker Chambers blush.
I would suggest that's an insult to Chambers as well as Skousen, and while Hemingway insists on name-checking WFB's assault on the John Birch Society, Skousen wasn't included in it; in 1954 NR called Skousen's book "A useful elementary book on Communism." The whole thing is an example of what you get when you let young people with no historical memory or training write articles in your magazine. When I told one of our writers, (via IM) about this article, he wrote "Brainwashed kid, no doubt." I replied "28, plays in a rock band, thinks it's weird that someone would speak out against LSD. " That's the new National Review for you. Cleon Skousen was Mark Skousen's uncle, by the way, and he has a tribute to his uncle on his website
I speak and travel all around the country, and wherever I go, one of the most frequent questions asked is, "Are you related to W. Cleon Skousen?" He is known far and wide as a powerful spokesman for liberty, indomitable defender of the Constitution, and indefatigable critic of Communism. He is the author of several dozen books, including The Naked Communist, The Naked Capitalist, and The Miracle of America. He founded the Center for Constitutional Studies, famous for its constitutional seminars around the country.
I hope Mark Skousen won't be the victim of NRO's next guilt-by-association drive-by.