People who visit the website of The New American, and the print publication's ever-dwindling cohort of subscribers, may have noticed the absence of Becky Akers, whose writings -- until recently -- adorned TNA's pages and bandwidth. As of February 15, the date TNA's on-line edition published -- then hastily took down -- Becky's splendid essay "Police: An Army By Any Other Name," she is no longer a TNA contributor.
TNA's editorial collective did this without even bothering to inform Becky of their actions: She wasn't aware it had happened until I contacted her to ask permission to republish the essay on the Republic magazine website. One person familiar with this incident correctly described this as "a very public insult" to Becky, who was arguably TNA's best contributor -- and undoubtedly its liveliest. Appleton discarded her with the familiar arrogant contempt they display toward anyone who -- however productive and valuable he or she had once been -- has come to be regarded as dangerously principled.
(Yes, I'm being sarcastic, but -- as anybody who has attended one of the funereal events called a "Council Dinner," and observed the Politburo-grade solemnity the audience is required to display as they stand and applaud while the Council, suffused with an unearned sense of self-importance, files in to the strains of some suitably pompous and archaic musical accompaniment, would testify -- just barely.)
In the JBS, whenever the Official Line decreed by The Leadership (I pause now to allow those so inclined to genuflect) conflicts with constitutional principles, logic, reason, or fact, the Line must be preserved at the expense of everything else. Of course, the JBS Official Line isn't straight -- that it bends and curves to accommodate outdated ideological assumptions of superannuated hacks like Art Thompson, the imperatives of public relations, "corporate decisions" made by dishonest and self-serving fools like Alan Scholl, or the religious bigotry of incurable narcissists like Jack McManus. But it is the Line, and all else must yield before it.
Becky Akers is the most recent casualty of the JBS's cult-like management model, and the petty, officious, craven people in charge of the organization. She is not the first, nor will she be the last. There are more than a few genuinely talented and decent people who remain on staff at the JBS, but owing to the way the organization operates there's little danger than any of them will have a beneficial impact on it.
Like the former Soviet Politburo it now uncannily resembles, JBS upper management has become an ossified gerontocracy. This isn't a function of age: Ron Paul, unless I'm mistaken, is older than either Art Thompson or Jack McManus, but his commitment to individual liberty speaks to the idealism of youth in a way Thompson's droning harangues and McManus's long-stale bromides never will. Once they have departed (assuming the JBS survives their tenure) the succeeding administration will likely be dominated by punitive, authoritarian personalities like Alan Scholl. I bet that will be wacky fun, indeed.
They never forget and never forgive ...
Few people are better at holding a grudge than those who have done great harm to someone who did no harm to them: