Joe Sobran, RIP.
(Tim) As a subscriber to Joe Sobran's e-text syndicator, last night I was sent word Joe had departed this life. Then friends sent me links to notices of Joe's death at other places including National Review and First Things. Both lamented his passing while going on to regret how Joe's great learning had made him mad. Not angry-mad but anti-Semitic-mad.
He'd criticized Israel's foreign policy, then gone on to point out how toxic Jewish influence on the affairs of men had been visible in the twentieth century in Marxism and the wholesale slaughter of unborn babies--a Holocaust that in simple gallons of blood drowns the evil of the Third Reich. Too, Joe had the chutzpah to point out how Europeans were gagging men who publicly questioned aspects of our received history concerning the Christian/Jewish/homosexual/handicapped German holocaust.
"He's a Holocaust-denier!" they huffed and puffed. But of course, anyone who actually read Joe through the years knew he wasn't denying the Holocaust, but that he had a much larger point--namely, the hypocrisy of public intellectuals...When he said things like "I'm not in a position to judge the historical record of the Holocaust," he was making it clear he wasn't denying the Holocaust, but exposing the hypocrisy of intellectuals who used courts and prison to silence any discussion. In other words: "I'm no expert on that particular holocaust, but when a man who's asking questions gets taken to court for doing so, something is upside down. Not being an historian, I can't judge the matter myself, but it's obvious the questions should be heard and answered in journals and books and debates--not censored by intellectuals who use the courts to do their dirty work."
Joe was trying to make the fight fair. But it wasn't because he had any Holocaust-denial inclinations. He simply hated group-think and cowardice and thought both occurred most frequently surrounding the Jewish race and nation of Israel in the late twentieth century. Seems boringly obvious to me.
As I said quite often, my affection for Joe had long ago grown into love. I deeply grieve his passing and, although a Calvinist of Calvinists, I think I may attend his Tridentine (Latin) funeral mass.
If readers would like to read some of the criticism and defense of Joe's work and life, check out this page.