When I was a student at UCLA, I wrote a story about the former co-director of the Drug Policy Analysis Program who had just been convicted of running one of the largest LSD labs in American history. It turned out, he was hired by the university despite serious previous drug run-ins.
In that article, I quoted Mark Kleiman, then the director of the program and a public policy professor, declining to comment about his former colleague. Nowadays, though, Kleiman has plenty to say on the blog he contributes to, The Reality-Based Community. He’s a bit liberal for my leanings, but always a good read. This one from last week is worth a look:
Boy oh boy, did I ever get this one wrong! No hoax: Family Security Matters, a front group for Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, really did run a piece by a failed philosopher called Philip Atkinson calling for a genocidal campaign in Iraq followed by the use of the victorious army to establish George W. Bush as President-for-Life with dictatorial powers. (Full text at the jump; has to be read to be believed.) When this first came out, I was pretty sure I smelled a parody, but it turns out the guy was completely serious. The argument of the piece, to give it an unduly generous label, calls for a diagnosis rather than a refutation. No wonder FSM “disappeared” not only the article (which has even been wiped from the cache) but the author, who has gone from “Contributing Editor” to “unperson” in record time. Winston Smith of the Ministry of Truth would be proud. Presumably the scrubbing means that some semi-grownup somewhere in Gaffney’s operation noticed that Atkinson had finally parted company with even the neocon substitute for reality.