(JNS) In the early 1960s, the conservative movement faced a crisis and its intellectual leader responded appropriately. William F. Buckley, the founder of National Review—the nation’s leading conservative journal of opinion and ideas—took a stand against the John Birch Society. The Birchers were a small extremist group that engaged in racism, anti-Semitism and the spreading of conspiracy theories. Rather than ignore their excesses, Buckley took on the task of purging them from mainstream conservative politics, and ultimately, they were forced to retreat to the fever swamps of American society.
Some 30 years later, Buckley would again be called upon to stand up to hate when he banned both Pat Buchanan and Joseph Sobran from the pages of NR because of their anti-Semitism.
Bill Buckley has been gone for more than a decade. But a new challenge has arisen to the intellectual integrity of conservatism and it remains to be seen whether today’s thought leaders are equal to the moment.
As far as many on the left are concerned, a latter-day Bircher is currently working in the White House.
Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump and the architect of his immigration policies is the bête noire of liberals. The 34-year-old descendent of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe is known for his hard-line stance for strict enforcement of the laws against illegal immigration. He’s also provoked outrage for his advocacy for a reduction in the number of legal immigrants and refugees allowed into the country, as well as changing the criteria under which they might be admitted.
The discovery of a trove of emails from Miller from his time working as a Senate staffer before Trump’s election in which he promoted articles from a website that has at times advocated ideas associated with white nationalists has provoked a storm of criticism.
The source of the emails was the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a liberal group that has a habit of smearing those who disagreed with its leftist ideology as racists or Islamophobes as well as scandals involving its own governance. But 100 House Democrats and some Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Union of Reform Judaism have joined the SPLC in demanding that Miller resign.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jonathan S. Tobin