The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Self-Proclaimed Pagan Rob Taylor Lectures Conservatives on Morality?

Posted on | June 30, 2011 | 42 Comments

In January, I took note of Rob Taylor’s post calling for conservatives to “outreach” to the . . . er, Pagan community:

“As a Pagan I can tell you that I, like many others, strongly support economic freedom, limited government, a strong nationals defense and law and order. Many Pagans are also pro-life, anti-drug and pro-traditional marriage. Should Pagans be turned away because they aren’t Christians?
“The Pagan Right is a vigorous defender of conservative values and classical liberalism in an arena that few other conservatives have access to. It is time the movements were linked together so that both are strengthened.”

Taylor’s argument was highly unusual, advocating a policy unlikely to yield much in the way of electoral addition, as it seems to me Democrats have a pretty solid hold on the idolators of Moloch and Ashtoreth who, as Lisa Graas noted, are not particularly numerous in America anyway.

Readers can perhaps imagine my surprise today when Donald Douglas called my attention to a diary that Rob Taylor posted at Red State:

The Death of Morality and the End of America
. . . The left has long embraced the view that our morality was not only subjective, but a barbarous relic of the past best left behind like all the other great and noble ideas of Western Civilization. The left has promoted the myth that others have no right to judge you no matter what you’ve done, that you should feel no shame no matter how depraved your actions are. And all Americans have to one extent or another embraced that notion. We wallow in our pens of decadence covered in the filth we pretend is freedom and watch the world built on 5,000 years of Western morality burn around us. . . .

What was so striking about Taylor’s sudden emergence as a defender of the “great and noble ideas of Western Civilization” was that, in the process of proclaiming himself a Conservative Moral Arbiter, the pagan decided once again to grind his ax against me.

This is an old grudge of Taylor’s, whose unexplained hatred of me goes back at least to September 2009, when he chose the occasion of the Great LGF Flame War to dogpile on me. Then last December, Taylor used his posting privileges at David Horowitz’s NewsReal blog to compare me to serial killer John Wayne Gacy (!), and when I objected to his malicious defamation, Taylor doubled down, calling my blog a “little LGF like cult of degenerates, ‘Men’s’ movement sissies and neo-nazis,” calling me a “liar” and gay-baiting me (!!) to boot. 

The method of Taylor’s unprovoked attack this time is both familiar and strange:

  • Taylor opens his 1,392-word post by citing the case of Columbia University professor David Epstein, who copped a plea to the misdemeanor offense of “attempted incest” involving the professor’s adult daughter. What is strange about Taylor’s reference to Epstein is that I have covered that case extensively, not only here on the blog, but also writing an American Spectator column about the case and subsequently being the first to report Epstein’s guilty plea. In fact, the June 21 post at The Blaze that Taylor links was prompted by my June 20 post, “Why Is David Epstein Still a Columbia University Professor After Incest Plea?” Why would Taylor begin an attack on me by citing a story that I have covered at such length?
  • After striking his pose as a defender of “5,000 years of Western morality,” Taylor then goes on for four paragraphs about what he calls “a wave of infanticides so common the media barely reports on them.”
  • Next, Taylor makes a striking transition of theme: “But the left is not alone in accommodating and even encouraging our cultural debasement. The right — supposed stewards of Western tradition — have been glad in recent weeks to give the same fellatious treatment to criminals and degenerates for which the left is known.” The unsuspecting reader (not realizing that Taylor is on an expedition of personal ax-grinding) would at that point be forgiven for saying, “Huh? When has ‘the right’ defended perpetrators of incest or infanticide?” But Taylor cites no such example. Rather, he is preparing the reader for the non sequitur leap that follows.
  • Now Taylor makes the leap: “One need look no further than the reaction to Thomas Ball, the child abusing deadbeat father who set himself on fire . . .” Ah! Here we go, then. Readers will recall that my own comment on that New Hampshire case had to do with Amanda Marcotte’s twisted reaction to Ball’s self-immolation. Taylor does not link or reference my post about that, but instead goes after Donald Douglas: “A man who commits suicide is now an idol to people who otherwise will tell you they believe in Christian morality. Correct me if I’m wrong but my Christian friends believe the great warrior Thomas Ball is burning even now for committing the Hell-worthy sin of suicide, but some will still hold this animal up as some sort of hero?” The link is to Douglas’s post about the case, and you can read it and see for yourself whether Douglas (or Dr. Helen or Instapundit, for that matter) are celebrating Ball as an “idol” or “some sort of hero.” 

Taylor’s attack on Douglas is a complete distortion, and next he turns his attention to me:

Or there’s the online right’s reaction to the Courtney Stodden marriage. The 16-year-old aspiring country singer has married her “manager,” a 51-year-old character actor named Doug Hutchison. One would think that decency would demand that people at least feign disgust at the exploitation of a damaged child by a predatory ne’er-do-well who basically purchased the girl from her trailer trash family. Instead the creepy cradle robber has received equally creepy support [link to my June 22 post] from big name bloggers who attempt to titillate their audience [link to my June 23 post] with “child modeling” [link to a 2002 article at Capitol Hill Blue] videos. Worse, one blogger claimed that being disgusted by this or someone intervening on this child’s behalf would be Taliban-like and could “destroy families.” [Link to Donald Douglas’s June 21 post about Stodden.]

Knowing that many people don’t follow links, I’ve added the italicized annotations to show how Taylor has attempted to distort my own writing and to impute bad motives where none existed. Did I offer “creepy support” of the marriage between Hutchison and Stodden? Or did I “titillate” anyone with “child modeling” videos? No and no.

The Hutchison-Stoddard marriage first made headlines on June 20 with an E! Online report and, by that evening, was the subject of widespread coverage as shown at the We Smirch celebrity gossip aggregator. I didn’t notice the story until the next day, when Wombat included it in his “Live at Five” roundup, and didn’t blog about it until June 22. 

Seeking some new angle to a story that was by then already two days old, I noted that Stodden’s mother had vouched for Courtney’s pre-marital virginity and called her “a good Christian girl.” Thus my headline: “A Christian Virgin in Hollywood?

And that is the post Rob Taylor purposely mischaracterized as “creepy support” for a “creepy cradle robber.”

My June 22 post generated a fair amount of comments, so I returned to the topic the next day with a post — based on a Fox News interview with Stodden’s mother — titled, “Teen Bride’s Mom: ‘Courtney Is Used to This Type of Reaction Towards Her’.”

Noting that the Fox News interview provided “lots of comment fodder,” I then offered to “stir the pot by semi-defending this mismatched marriage.” That is to say, I played devil’s advocate, taking the unpopular side in a controversy for the sake of generating a robust argument. To provide further “comment fodder,” I linked video of Courtney competing in the Miss Washington Teen USA pageant, then updated with a video in which Courtney talked about being a victim of cyber-bullies.

Go read my entire post, please, and see if you find any reason to accept Rob Taylor’s accusation that I was endorsing or advocating what he calls “the exploitation of a damaged child by a predatory ne’er-do-well who basically purchased the girl from her trailer trash family.” (Aside: On what basis does Taylor call the Stodden family “trailer trash”?) And while I’m sure Donald Douglas can speak for himself, for the record Douglas didn’t invoke the Taliban, but rather “Taliban Scott Eric Kaufman,” his personal left-wing nemesis.

Rob Taylor goes on with his jeremiad:

America is not salvageable . . .because the majority of Americans have accepted subjective morality. Incest, rape, child murder and exploitation of children can all be rationalized and justified in our society by a people so debased that they promote our moral decay as “progress” or “liberty” and vilify any voice that espouses Western moral tradition.

Bullshit. You have composed this entire 1,392-word treatise for no other reason than your self-serving motive of taking a cheap shot at me (and Donald Douglas, although I don’t know what grievance you bear against him). I certainly am not an advocate of “subjective morality,” and need no pharisaical sermons from a pagan.

Say what you will about Courtney Stodden, she is by her own declaration both a Christian and a Republican.


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