I am used to being sent bizarre things from readers of The American Conservative, but former Ron Paul foreign-policy adviser Leon Hadar’s accusation that I somehow published on National Review Online a pass for Vladimir Putin is unhinged: “Other conservative-leaning pundits perpetuated the meme. Matt Drudge called Putin the ‘leader of the free world,’ while Victor Davis Hanson, who in what sounded like a bizarre S&M fantasy, ruminated that ‘Putin is almost Milton’s Satan — as if, in his seductive evil, he yearns for clarity, perhaps even a smackdown, if not just for himself, for us as well.’”
He obviously has never read the entire op-ed on Putin — or Milton’s Paradise Lost. My point, of course, was to remind us that evil still exists in the world, and comes in faces that confuse or even mesmerize those who are arrogant enough to assume that it is now part of our Neanderthal past. And that is why paleocons criticized the column for apparently being unnecessarily dismissive of Putin. My point to any sensible reader was to warn about Putin’s (“a coiled cobra” and a “Stalin”) evil, which grows the more it appeals to misguided Westerners.