Sam Blumenfeld wrote this the letter to the “Boston Globe” back in 1995 but it could have been written yesterday.
Hysteria on the Left
Chip Berlet’s op-ed piece, “Armed and dangerous,” which appeared in the Globe
on January 6, is not only incredibly inept journalism but reminiscent of the kind of
unfounded “guilt by association” charges attributed to the late Senator Joseph
Nothing that the deranged John Salvi has done, said or written indicates that he
was influenced by any of the well-known organizations mentioned by Berlet, such as
The John Birch Society, Concerned Women for America, or the National Right to Life
Committee. In fact, Salvi ‘s rambling letter, published in the Globe on January 6,
reveals a deplorable ignorance of the aims and precepts of these well established
organizations. I defy Mr Berlet to find one word in the publications of these
organizations that in any way encourages or condones the actions of those who would
kill the providers of abortion. Salvi has only added to the tragedy of abortion, not
As for the meeting held at Burlington High School last November, I was invited to
speak on the subject of education, which I did. I was not told in advance that one of
the exhibitors would be Den’s Gun Shop. But considering the fact that the right to own
and bear arms, protected by the Second Amendment, has been under unrelenting
attack by the liberals, I could understand the rationale of having a gun shop exhibit at
the meeting. But to suggest by the craftiest of innuendos that people browsing at the
gun shop table while pro-life leader Dr. Mildred Jefferson was speaking in another
room indicates that she or the browsers or the exhibitor caused or condoned what
John Salvi did is just about the sleaziest and most reprehensible piece of writing I
have yet read by the promoters of hysteria on the left.
People on both the left and the right have had to deal with those deranged
individuals who feel compelled to perpetrate acts of terror and horror. One does not
blame liberal black leadership for the actions of the black man who shot up the
passengers in the Long Island commuter train. We all understand that there is no way
to control solo individuals bent on committing mayhem.
But the concern of those of us on the right is the government’s potential for
committing mayhem. Even Chip Berlet admitted to me that he deplored the way the
U.S. government handled the Waco atrocity. And it is that atrocity, not abortion, that
has galvanized gun owners into such defensive responses as the militia movement
But perhaps the worst of Berlet’s accusations is where he says that “There is a
growing right-wing social movement that uses theological arguments to encourage
direct confrontation of its targets and tolerates discussion of armed resistance.”
I have been involved in the so-called right-wing movement since 1965 and not once
have I heard of such theological arguments. In fact, I’ve heard just the opposite. Dr. R.
J. Rushdoony, leader of the Christian Reconstruction movement, has strongly
denounced demonstrations at abortion clinics let alone the murder of abortion
providers. He believes, as most Christians do, that only the moral regeneration of the
American people will put an end to legalized abortion.
For Berlet to needlessly alarm the readers of the Globe into believing that
conservative organizations have entered a new, sinister phase of armed confrontation
with the left is not only to grossly misinform this newspaper’s readers but to libel those
of us on the right who have spent the last 25 years writing, lecturing and educating
Americans about the vital issues our society faces.
I also question the judgment of the editor who decided to use such an obviously
provocative illustration and title for a smear article that strongly suggests that we on the
right are moving toward Salvi-type terrorism . I know that the Globe is a staunchly
liberal newspaper, but I never thought it would stoop to such unadulterated, Nazi-like
propaganda. Back in 1938, a young Jew assassinated the German ambassador in
Paris. The Nazi propaganda machine blamed the Jews of Germany for the act of one
deranged youth . The result was Kristallnacht during which Jewish synagogues and
stores were burned and destroyed throughout Germany. The irony is that Chip Berlet,
who thinks he’s defending liberalism, is unaware of how much like Goebbels he has
become. Tragically, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.
Samuel L. Blumenfeld
January 6, 1995