Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Joe Sobran will be much missed. I met him only once, but I am a great admirer of his writing. The American Conservative wrote this:

The 20th century produced many great conservative writers, but none brought together wit, erudition, and humanity on a single page so well as Joseph Sobran.

At VDARE.com, Steve Fulford included this very appropriate quote from Joe:

Most prejudices aren’t created by official doctrines; they result from popular experience and the slow spreading of a group’s reputation. The first gypsy I ever met — on a street in Rome — grabbed a wad of money out of my hand. I’d been too naive to be wary of her, though my companions had warned me against her.

(Editor’s note: Readers of this post have posted many other wonderful quotes from Sobran in the comments section. Well worth reading. Joe clearly understood exactly what was going on and who our enemies are.) My own favorite quotes, culled from Chapter 2 of Separation and Its Discontents, include the following:

In comments reminiscent of those of Heinrich von Treitschke, columnist Joseph Sobran has also raised the issue of Jewish media control and how it shapes discussion of Jewish interests versus those of the Christian Right:

The full story of [Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential] campaign is impossible to tell as long as it’s taboo to discuss Jewish interests as freely as we discuss those of the Christian Right. Talking about American politics without mentioning the Jews is a little like talking about the NBA without mentioning the Chicago Bulls. Not that the Jews are all-powerful, let alone all bad. But they are successful, and therefore powerful enough: and their power is unique in being off-limits to normal criticism even when it’s highly visible. They themselves behave as if their success were a guilty secret, and they panic, and resort to accusations, as soon as the subject is raised. Jewish control of the major media in the media age makes the enforced silence both paradoxical and paralyzing. Survival in public life requires that you know all about it, but never refer to it. A hypocritical etiquette forces us to pretend that the Jews are powerless victims; and if you don’t respect their victimhood, they’ll destroy you. It’s a phenomenal display not of wickedness, really, but of fierce ethnocentrism, a sort of furtive racial superpatriotism. (Sobran 1996a, 3)

This quote ended with the following footnote:

In another column, Sobran (1996b) quoted an essay, reprinted in the May 27th issue of the New York Times, by Ari Shavit, an Israeli columnist describing his feelings on the killings of a hundred civilians in a military skirmish in southern Lebanon. Shavit wrote, “We killed them out of a certain naive hubris. Believing with absolute certitude that now, with the White House, the Senate, and much of the American media in our hands, the lives of others do not count as much as our own.” Sobran comments that “in a single phrase—‘in our hands’—Shavit has lighted up the American political landscape like a flash of lightning. Notice that Shavit assumes as an obvious fact what we Americans can say publicly only at our own risk.” Sobran lost his position with National Review because of his views on the influence of American Jews on U. S. policy toward Israel.

As indicated in the last line, Sobran paid for his honesty about the Israel Lobby. His departure marked the rise of neocon domination at the Buckley’s execrable National Review and the equally execrable Republican Party. It was a huge loss for conservative thought in America.

The following may be called  Joe Sobran’s Dictionary. These are quotes attributed to Joe. I can’t vouch for the authenticity of these, except for the definition of an anti-Semite (which has become a classic). But they certainly fit his character. A particularly insightful comment, not included in the dictionary, is the  following — very appropriate in an age where the courts routinely overturn popular referenda, such as the recent Arizona immigration law: “Our constitution has never been an impediment to those who rule us.” The same thing happened to California’s Proposition 187. As Sam Dickson notes, the American legal system is a fraud.

Joe Sobran’s Dictionary

anti-Semite: a person who’s hated by Jews

association, freedom of: discrimination

bigot: one who practices sociology without a license

bribe: an irregular transaction through which the citizen may get his money’s worth of service from the government

civil rights: government power used in behalf of large groups

guilt: the deepest vested interest

isolationist: an American who thinks America should behave like other countries

opinion polls: clever devices to make the hostages think they control their captors

political correctness: the felt pressure of enlightened public opinion, under which we sense that certain thoughts, though technically legal now, are already destined to become taboo.

psychoanalysis: a form of aggression for humorless people

public opinion: what everyone thinks everyone else thinks

rich: politicians’ nickname for “other people” (as in “tax the rich”)

rights: authorizations for new areas of government control

rogue nation: a country that behaves like America

voting: trying to say something with a gag in your mouth

Rest in Peace.

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