John D. Lofton, Jr. (May 26, 1941 – September 17, 2014)
I just added John Lofton's name to the All Soul's Day roster at my Episcopalian Church. I'm not sure that Lofton, who became an exceptionally fierce species of Protestant, would have approved, but it's been irritating me that his passing on September 17 at the age of 73 has received absolutely no mention, as far as I can see, from the Conservative Movement of which he was once a star.
(Here's his Baltimore Sun obituary John Lofton, conservative and passionate political writer, By Luke Lavoie, September 25, 2014, and there was this note from the American View by Scott T. Whiteman).
Yet in 1975, after the fall of Vietnam, William F. Buckley wrote in his syndicated column:
There is a priceless institution in America called John Lofton. He is a youngish man who used to edit the Republican Party's official newsletter Monday, wherein he took licentious pleasure in reproducing statements by prominent American liberals exactly contradicting their present positions. He is now a syndicated columnist, and not since the days of Westbrook Pegler has anyone felt as free—indeed, as duty bound—to telephone public figures to ask them, so to speak face-to-face, just exactly what did they mean by saying so-and-so.
Take, for instance, the lovely Shana Alexander, a cultural delight who used to write a column for Newsweek. When there is a liberal zephyr in the air, Shana will rustle. And sure enough, just a few weeks ago she found herself saying, apropos of her disapproval of the South Vietnamese refugee problem, "If we know one thing about the government founded by Ho Chi Minh, it is that his social services are excellent: good health care, day care, and educational pro grams abound, especially for the poor." Now you and I and three and one-half million people who read Newsweek would pass over that asseveration without applying our automatic brakes. Not Lofton. Moreover, he proceeds to put in a call to Shana Alexander. He doesn't know her, but that doesn't matter—Miss Alexander, a professional journalist, has put in heaps of to people she doesn't know. Journalists understand that they have responsibilities to fellow journalists. How, Lofton asked over the telephone, does Miss Alexander know this about North Vietnam?
Lest We Forget, July 3, 1975
The per capita income of Vietnam at that time was $85. Alexander refused to come to the phone.
Maybe it was Lofton's intensifying Protestantism that alienated Conservatism Inc., much of it self-consciously Catholic—or maybe it was his early and loudly proclaimed perception that the movement had become a racket. (He was a supporter of Pat Buchanan's presidential campaigns, not a good career move.) He was certainly abrasive, brushing me off with shocking rudeness when I approached him in pre-Reagan Washington. Yet in more recent years he began, out of the blue, to leave sweet comments when I posted pictures of my children on Face Book.
He once remarked, after reading a VDARE.com article, that immigration should be limited to Protestants—which comports more closely with the original character of the Republic than it is now generally admitted—but I could never get him to write up this interesting idea. Let the record show, however, that he bridled at the term "white nationalist" ("What's a white nationalist?" he asked derisively) even before it had been demonized. So if he was a bigot, he was apparently an anti-racist bigot.
Whatever John Lofton was, I regret his passing and pray for him. It is not the least of the tragedies that have befallen his cause and his country that this "priceless institution" was neglected and, until the real history of our time is written, seemingly forgotten