Cultural Revolutions

Fallen Hero

“Let the bloodbath begin.”

That was how my old friend, longtime conservative journalist and Chronicles contributor John Lofton, who shuffled off this mortal coil last month, opened the discussion at Pat Buchanan’s house in 1987 when Pugnacious Pat was contemplating a bid for the White House.

It was vintage Lofton, whom I knew during my days as an editorialist at the Washington Times, when he was a regular columnist.  By that time, he had, unfortunately, fallen under the spell of R.J. Rushdoony, inventor of “Christian Reconstructionism,” a unique take on Calvinism which demands that the penalties prescribed by Old Testament Law be applied to the modern United States.   According to this ideology, adulterers, fornicators, and homosexuals should be stoned to death.

Yet I write not to bury John with this nutty theology, but to praise and remember him.  He was infuriating at times, yet he was one of the kindest and funniest men you could ever meet.

Many a day at the Times, having written yet another column asking rhetorical questions and providing the answer (“zero, zip, zilch, nada!”), the stout columnist alighted upon the mezzanine.  There, in the rarified air of the editorial page, he regaled Tony Snow’s suffering editorialists with stories and one-liners that provoked gales of laughter.  Sometimes the routine went on for an hour.


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