The reason I need to quote the e-mail I will quote is to show that even the other side realizes how valuable I am.
As Benjamin Franklin said at the beginning of his autobiography, my ego has a lot to do with it, but I would not brag if there were no reason for it.
In this case, there is a very good reason. I am sixty-four years old. I have had two nervous breakdowns, brain surgery and a heart attack. I have been through drug and alcohol addiction and recovery.
I won’t be in a condition to do what I do forever, and it is important to use me while I am.
Only my tiny book team truly realizes how critical this is. Only they put their hearts and souls into waking people up to this fact.
They are getting to be people who can take over when I am hanged or put away in nuthouse.
But they’ll still miss me. This explains why I am to a large extent irreplaceable.
I suffered plenty for taking the side I have taken, but I got away with writing many, many things other people have been destroyed for saying. That is because I’m GOOD at it.
Both of my earlier books written in my own name were more radical than this last one. But both of them were published by mainline publishers and both were critically praised by the liberal Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus, and both were recommended for purchase by the leftist Library Journal.
They praised me through clenched teeth, and said so. They hated what I said, but there was no other professional writer and insider who was in a position to write what I wrote. They admitted that, though they hated what I said, I was a pro who needed to be read.
My present book, Why Johnny Can’t Think: America’s Professor-Priesthood is not as politically radical as the others, especially the first one, A Plague on Both Your Houses. In that book I demanded the preservation of the white race and threatened revolution.
William Rusher ended his Foreword to A Plague on Both Your Houses by saying that if liberals did not back down, “Whitaker will see them on the barricades.” Even the review by the John Birch Society referred to it as “this tough little book.”
So it is hard to explain to someone who is concentrating on violence or hate or revolutionary content why my present book is totally verboten.
The simple fact is that it would RUIN a publisher. Why Johnny Can’t Think: America’s Professor-Priesthood treats all the big book-buying groups as intellectual lightweights. I make FUN of them and I back my laughter with incontrovertible and well-known examples.
The establishment rests entirely on its reputation for Grim Authority. Those people are aware that there is something silly about them, and if the public, as Joe Sobran says in his Foreword, “gave them the horse laugh they deserve,” they would disappear like the Soviet Empire did.
If I was able to do my job, this establishment, which looks as permanent as the USSR did in 1980, will go down amidst laughs, pointed fingers and ridicule.
The point is I am GOOD at what I do, as all the major reviewers have admitted.
My third book is also admired by the other side, though anonymously. To show this I will publish an anonymous e-mail I got and my reply.
The only person who could possibly identify the writer, even if he remembered the incident, would be Alan Bloom, who would not do so if he were alive but who died in 1992 or 1993.
The writer says he is not on the same planet with me politically. He seems to be a respectable conservative with some pretty heavy intellectual credentials. The point is that he does not agree with me, but he sees the depth of what I am doing.
I probably shouldn’t even be writing you. You don’t know me, I’m not
in your league intellectually, and we’re politically on different
But on the theory that everybody enjoys a compliment now and then, I’m
writing you to say that “Why Johnny Can’t Think” is one of the most
profound books I’ve ever read. And what convinced me was your chapter
about Odin, who gave his eye for knowledge. Not wisdom, but knowledge.
In an earlier life, I was being groomed for great things at the feet of
Allan Bloom and Leon Kass. Allan Bloom, as I’m sure you know, was the
guy who talked a Cornell college student named Paul Wolfowitz out of
biochemistry and into politics. Leon Kass now chairs the President’s
Commission on Bioethics.
Early in the process of identifying future neoconservative operatives,
Leon Kass had his students read Rousseau’s “Discourse on the Arts and
Sciences”. As an exercise in reading comprehension, he had them try
to summarize Rousseau’s argument on one page.
He was very impressed with my summary. In fact, he said that he didn’t
think that a much better summary was possible.
Actually, Rousseau’s argument may be summarized in one sentence. That
sentence is “Knowledge should be kept secret from the vulgar masses and
guarded by a tiny elite.” Many years later, Kass told the _New York
Times_ that this book revealed to him his purpose in life.
As I said, Kass today chairs the President’s Commission on Bioethics.
He’s doing his best to keep knowledge secret from the vulgar masses
and confine it to a tiny elite.
Is that the essence of gnosticism or what? But you already know about
gnosticism, I see.
Anyhow, best wishes and thanks for your work.
My reply was,
I don’t know whether you meant you should not have written me for your sake or for mine. Your reply did me a lot of good.
We are both intellectual heavyweights, and, while people who agree with me praise my work as truth, they seldom realize how deep it is.
My first (1976) book in my own name was A Plague on Both Your Houses. It was a populist book expressing grassroots revulsion at both the liberals and their collaborators, mainline conservatives. It was the result of my doing press releases for grassroots movements which they could not do for themselves. It was read and appreciated by those same grassroots protestors.
That book was reviewed for National Review by Jeffrey Hart, an English professor at Princeton, who titled his review “Read This One.” Hart said “The sheer intellectual pleasure of reading this book lies in Whitaker’s coruscating insights.”
The coal miners and country preachers who read my first book would be stunned to learn that if a brilliant man took what they were thinking and expanded on it it would be seen as a series of coruscating insights by college professors.
It struck them as common sense.
Actually, of course, it was both common sense and the brilliance one can make of it. I don’t think differently from any other American with an unshakeable grasp of reality. I just have a lot of real education on top of it. If we had real education today, my writings would be routine.
To say that my work is not appreciated by those who claim to be intellectuals is the understatement of the twenty-first century. I’m used to that, but it is very wearying, and your words are a great help.