The Other McCain

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

UPDATE: Max Boot Is Still an Idiot

Posted on | August 15, 2019 | 1 Comment


Monday, I noticed an unexplained surge of traffic to my April 14 post with the simple title “Max Boot Is an Idiot,” in which I described the Trump-hating former Wall Street Journal writer as “one of the most overrated neocon gasbags in Washington.” What could have caused this increase of interest in Max Boot’s idiocy? I had no idea, and because I spent Monday driving back from Georgia, there was no opportunity to investigate this mysterious phenomenon. Who cares about Max Boot? Certainly, I never have, even when he was an influential advocate of our ill-fated invasion of Mesopotamia. Once the Bush era ended, so also did Max Boot’s influence, and no one paid any attention to him for the next eight years, but then Boot jumped on the #NeverTrump bandwagon as the vehicle by which he intended to return to relevance. Still, I have made a habit of ignoring him, as every conservative should, so what could explain this week’s sudden uptick of search traffic for Max Boot?

Well, last week, he published a Washington Post column headlined, “Get a grip white people. We’re not the victims,” arguing, e.g.:

Like many of his followers, Trump must imagine that white supremacy is the natural order of things and that any attempt to deliver justice for minorities who have been discriminated against for centuries is an indicator of anti-white prejudice. The most extreme form of this outlook can be found among white supremacists such as the gunman who allegedly slaughtered 22 people in El Paso on Saturday. The suspect claimed to be acting in response “to the Hispanic invasion of Texas” — a state that was part of Mexico before being invaded by Anglos. Even many whites who aren’t driven to violence display a version of this victimhood mind-set. They view accusations of racism as a far bigger problem than racism itself, and blame “social justice warriors” rather than white racists for inflaming racial tensions.

There’s a lot that could be said here: Texas was a sparsely populated wilderness when American settlers began arriving there in large numbers in the early 1800s, and the Republic fought a war to win its independence from Mexico. Is Max Boot’s intent to delegitimize that result? Does he seriously mean to join MALDEF and the National Council of La Raza in advocating the Reconquista? No, he’s just engaged in intellectual laziness of the same variety as his arguments for invading Mesopotamia. As for “justice for minorities” — who shall decide what “justice” is, and which “minorities” are entitled to it? This is just liberal sloganeering, not a serious argument, and notice that Max engages in a sloppy categorical claim about what “many whites” allegedly believe, without even bothering to offer evidence that their alleged beliefs are wrong.

A line-by-line fisking of Max Boot’s column might easily consume half a day’s work for me, but I need not bother, because what caused the sudden surge of traffic to my “Max Boot Is an Idiot” post this week was that Max got a memorable smackdown by a National Review columnist. John Hirschauer, a 2018 graduate of Fairfield University, had his laser guidance system zeroed in on the coordinates of Boot’s idiocy:

In effect, however, Boot sets up a Faustian choice for “white” readers: Side with the white supremacists and their detestable program, or sell your political soul to Max Boot and become one of the self-loathing whites so paralyzed by intersectional deference that they can hardly advance an argument without first reciting that neutered prelude: “As a straight, white, cisgender man with privilege, I . . .”
If Boot believes what he is saying — and I’m not sure he does — and assumes that “many” Trump supporters believe “that white supremacy is the natural order of things,” then he’d do well to provide them with a better set of options than white nationalism on the one hand and political impotence on the other. Surely there is a third way between a full-throated embrace of white identity and a supine adoption of the politics of self-hatred.

This is excellent stuff, and I especially admire the Buckleyesque style of Hirschauer’s prose (“Faustian choice,” “intersectional deference,” “supine”) which reminds me of reading WFB’s newspaper column 40+ years ago and having to look up his fancy words in the dictionary. What happened next was that Max Boot took to Twitter to label Hirschauer a white supremacist and assert rather directly that this column was evidence that National Review had been taken over by a racialist cabal.

A real online donnybrook ensued, with Hirschauer responding forcefully:

Boot makes my point for me: In the world of Max Boot’s creation, there is only Max Boot’s policy preferences on the one hand, and white nationalism on the other. It’s toxic, and predictable from someone who writes so casually about “fears” that plague “white people” as an indiscriminate bloc in the Washington Post.

Others sprang to Hirschauer’s defense and the irony, as Ace of Spades explained at some length, is this is about “Soyboy Beta Cucks” defending themselves against the kind of dishonest smears the rest of us have been dealing with for many years. Rich Lowry and his crew have more than once thrown potential allies under the bus of Conservatism Inc., tut-tutting about the de-platforming of uncouth right-wingers while imagining that the crocodile of wokeness would eat them last.

As someone who counts Peter Brimelow among his friends, it would be easy enough for me to laugh at the discomfiture of Lowry’s gang, but this laughter would be hollow, because every sensible conservative must hope that this episode would inspire the National Review crowd to reconsider their disastrous course of appeasing the Left by sacrificing victims to the bonfires of political correctness. This week’s Max Boot episode, in addition to bringing me a bonus of blog traffic, resulted in Max Boot being given a platform on an obscure cable channel with lower ratings than Spongebob Squarepants:


A few excerpts of Max’s deranged remarks in that interview:

So it’s heart breaking for me to see what is happening to this magazine, which once chased John Bircher’s and anti-Semites out of the conservative movement and now it is indulging in this kind of white supremacist rhetoric. . . .
It was a very strange article, because basically it was saying that, you know, Boot attacks, you know — attacks on white people, you know, are basically driving them into the arms of the white nationalists and they’re forcing them to choose between the white nationalists and Boot and his self-loathing whites. . . .
It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s just incredibly shocking and offensive for me to see this kind of language appear in what is a mainstream publication and it’s sadly, I think, as a reflection of how even mainstream conservative publications are being Trumpified and are going down the same road that you see at Fox News. . . .
No, they don’t want to go the way of The Weekly Standard, which collapsed, but, you know, to my mind, it’s tragic because, again, I revered National Review. I thought as if for something better and sadly I think it’s a sign of how far over the edge Donald Trump is leading, not just the Republican Party, but even the conservative movement, even the intellectual gatekeepers who I think have a lot to answer for in opening the gates wide open to the kind of racism and xenophobia that Donald Trump represents.

Really? Go back and read John Hirschauer’s column in its entirety and tell me where you find “racism and xenophobia.” (Hint: It’s not there.)

You see how Max Boot is following the Left’s lead in an effort to shift the Overton Window so as to expand the definition of “racism” (or “white supremacy” or “white nationalism”) to include just about any opinion a conservative might express. This is part of the problem that Hirschauer was trying to address: If allegedly serious intellectuals are going to start behaving like SJW outrage mobs, incinerating the reputations of anyone who says anything that doesn’t pass their wokeness test, then our First Amendment right to free speech is under threat and — here we come full circle — if the loss of free speech means we aren’t able to have a factual and rational discussion of immigration policy, then political correctness will destroy our entire civilization. Not to endorse any madman’s “manifesto,” you understand, but there is a reason why borders matter. Max Boot would not wish to live in Ciudad Juárez, and yet his open-borders policy preference would have the inevitable effect of turning many parts of the U.S. into Ciudad Juárez.

Anyway, I’ve spent more time on this than it was worth, but I thought readers might need this breaking news: Max Boot is still an idiot.



One Response to “UPDATE: Max Boot Is Still an Idiot”

  1. Max Boot, Bill Kristol, and the failure of the neo-conservatives – The First Street Journal.
    August 15th, 2019 @ 10:42 am

    […] complaining about it. ______________________________ Related articles: Robert Stacey Stacy McCain: UPDATE: Max Boot Is Still an Idiot. ______________________________ Cross-posted on RedState. ______________________________ ¹ – […]