Joseph Sobran American political writer, died from diabetes he was 64
(February 23, 1946 – September 30, 2010)
Academic and professional career
Sobran graduated from Eastern Michigan University and received a Bachelor of Arts in English. He studied for a graduate degree in English, concentrating on Shakespearean studies, following his graduation. In the late 1960s, Sobran lectured on Shakespeare and English on a fellowship with the university.
In 1972, Sobran began working at William F. Buckley Jr.‘s National Review magazine. (During the 1970s, he frequently used the byline M.J. Sobran.) He stayed 21 years, 18 as senior editor, before being removed from the publication amidst controversial charges.
Along with his work at National Review, Sobran spent 21 years as a commentator on the CBS Radio “Spectrum” program series and was a syndicated columnist, first with the Los Angeles Times, and later with the Universal Press Syndicate. In 2007, his newsletter discontinued distribution by the U.S. mail.
Sobran wrote a column for the Catholic newsweekly The Wanderer entitled Washington Watch from 1986 to 2007. He also had a monthly column that appears in Catholic Family News. He wrote the “Bare Bodkin” column for Chronicles. Additionally, his essays have appeared in The Human Life Review, Celebrate Life!, and The Free Market. Sobran was media fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
Sobran was named the Constitution Party‘s vice presidential nominee in 2000, but withdrew in April 2000 citing scheduling conflicts with his journalistic commitments. 
In 2001 and 2003 Sobran spoke at conferences organized by Holocaust denier David Irving, sharing the podium with Paul Fromm, Charles D. Provan, and Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review. In 2002 he spoke at the Institute for Historical Review’s annual conference. Referring to his appearance at IHR conferences, historian Deborah Lipstadt wrote, “Mr. Sobran may not have been an unequivocal [Holocaust] denier, but he gave support and comfort to the worst of them.”Writing in the National Review, Matthew Scully said, “His appearance before that sorry outfit a few years ago … remains impossible to explain, at least if you’re trying to absolve him.”
National Review controversy
Sobran was fired from National Review in 1993 and was accused of being an anti-Semite (most notably by Norman Podhoretz). Podhoretz wrote that “Joe Sobran’s columns … [are] anti-Semitic in themselves, and not merely ‘contextually.‘” Buckley disagreed with Podhoretz’s accusation, noting that he “deemed Joe Sobran’s six columns contextually anti-Semitic. By this I mean that if he had been talking, let us say, about the lobbying interests of the Arabs or of the Chinese, he would not have raised eyebrows as an anti-Arab or an anti-Chinese.”
One such comment was that the New York Times “really ought to change its name to Holocaust Update.“ Sobran claimed that founder William F. Buckley told him to “stop antagonizing the Zionist crowd,” and Buckley accused him of libel and moral incapacitation. Sobran also complained of “a more or less official national obsession with a tiny, faraway socialist ethnocracy.”
At the time of his dismissal from National Review, Sobran wrote that Buckley kowtowed to the liberal Manhattan social elite. Shortly after Buckley’s death in 2008, Sobran wrote that the two had reconciled: “My employment ended unhappily, much to my regret now, but I rejoice to say we patched things up a year or so ago.”
Through much of his career, Sobran identified as a paleoconservative and supported strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In 2002 Sobran announced his philosophical and political shift to libertarianism (paleolibertarian anarcho-capitalism) citing inspiration by theorists Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe. He has referred to himself as a “theo-anarchist.”
Sobran said Catholic teachings are consistent with his opposition to abortion and the Iraq War. He also argued that the 9/11 attacks were a result of the U.S. government’s policies regarding the Middle East. He claimed those policies are formed by the “Jewish-Zionist powers that be in the United States.”
Books and other publications
Sobran was the author of many books, including one about William Shakespeare, Alias Shakespeare: Solving the Greatest Literary Mystery of All Time (1997), wherein he endorsed the aberrant Oxfordian theory that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the true author of the plays usually attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon.
At the time of his death, he was working on two books: one concerning Abraham Lincoln‘s presidency and the United States Constitution, and another about de Vere’s poetry.
He is also the author of:
- Single Issues: Essays on the Crucial Social Questions – Human Life Press – 1983
- Alias Shakespeare: Solving the Greatest Literary Mystery of All Time – Free Press 1997
- Hustler: The Clinton Legacy – Griffin Communications 2000
Sobran has produced a number of published articles and speeches, including:
- Anything Called a Program is Unconstitutional – Griffin Communications – 2001
- The Church Today: Less Catholic Than the Pope? – National Committee of Catholic Laymen – 1979
- How Tyranny Came to America, Sobran’s, n.d.
- Pensees: Notes for the reactionary of tomorrow National Review, December 31, 1985. (extended essay)
- Power and Betrayal – Griffin Communications – 1998
At the 1994 Costs of Wars conference at the Mises Institute, Sobran presented a speech on “Shakespeare on War and Empire”.
- Sobran’s: The Real News of the Month — Official site.
- Archive of Joseph Sobran’s articles
- Archive of Joseph Sobran’s newsletter
- The Writings of Joseph Sobran hosted on David Irving‘s Focal Point Publications website.
- Jared Taylor Remembers Joe Sobran.
- “Joseph Sobran, 1946-2010” by Robert Higgs.
- Not Your Average Joe by Ann Coulter
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