Response to Washington Post obit by R.J. Stove

Sunday, 3 October, 2010

Dear Letters Editor:

Your newspaper's obituary of Joseph Sobran, written by Matt Schudel, made the allegation that "He [Mr. Sobran] praised an unabashedly racist publications [sic]."

Leaving aside the grammatical ineptitude of this comment, it bears so little resemblance to what I remembered of Mr. Sobran's few remarks on the subject (the magazine in question being INSTAURATION) that I was moved to refresh my memory as to what these remarks had been.

Sure enough, Mr. Sobran's "praise" for this periodical bore a remarkable resemblance to what most people would call censure.

Mr. Sobran wrote in NATIONAL REVIEW during May 1986 that although he had found INSTAURATION "often brilliant", he also considered that "It assumes a world of Hobbesian conflict at the racial level: every race against every race. Knowing racial harmony is hard, INSTAURATION takes a fatal step further and gives up on it ... the truth is that racial antagonism usually comes from personal experience. And yet that same experience produces personal affections for individuals of other races, affections that rule out, for most of us, total racial hostility."

As if that weren't enough, Mr. Sobran backtracked even from the grudging tolerance toward INSTAURATION that he had here expressed. "My column should have denounced INSTAURATION more vigorously, and anyone else is certainly welcome to do so. I have since learned, for instance, that it favors abortion as a way of controlling the black population."

If I could find after 15 minutes' Google searching the details of what Mr. Sobran actually said (and access to a complete set of hard-copy NATIONAL REVIEW back-numbers would have made the researcher's task even easier), then why could Mr. Schudel not bother to quote honestly?

Yours sincerely,

R. J. Stove
Melbourne, Australia



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