5 thoughts on “Nat Hentoff: Obama’s Snooping — This is America?”

  1. I suppose that I shouldn’t be too hard on Hentoff for his active cheerleading for the ACLU. At one point, they took me on as a cause … they defended me.

    He’s no longer an ACLU fan, happily, and is a fierce defender of free speech. But he’s certainly made some very bad (and very public) judgments in the past.

    More articulate speakers on the side of liberty are always welcome.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  2. Nat Hentoff was not ever – not even for a minute – a communist. He read “Darkness at Noon” as a teenager and never forgot it.

  3. Hmm. I’d looked at Nat Hentoff at some length a couple of decades ago. I’d last paid attention to him when he was shouting for Bush administration members to be tried for war crimes.

    Now I see a person whose recent exploits (including championing free speech issues on campus and elsewhere) cannot easily be reconciled with his leftist history. How very curious. And good for him to have come around to the extent that he has.

    But this does make his current position on the NSA issue much more understandable — especially since old-school leftists and modern conservatives each take a dim view of such government intrusion.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  4. Hah! It was Dalton Trumbo, not Nat Hentoff, that I was thinking of. My apologies; Hentoff now considers himself “reformed” and has become an “anti-communist” in his own words.

    My original comment above is incorrect; it refers to the wrong person. (The Steve Allen exchange is still excellent, though.)

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  5. Odd to consider this old communist an ally. He is funny, though, and his debate with comedian/philosopher Steve Allen (in “The Happy Jack Fish Hatchery Papers”) is classic comedy as well as thought-provoking. This was more Allen’s doing than Hentoff’s, and arose when Steve Allen objected to LA Mayor Bradley having the openly communist Hentoff as a highly visible fundraiser. The two went at it for months, with arguments (in often hilarious terms) over “little-c communism versus big-C Communism” and so on.

    Both men applied their comedic talents — but the core antipathy of Allen to communism was always evident. It was half a century ago, back when liberal Democrat did not automatically mean hard left ideologue.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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