Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A paradox of ostracism








The recent remarks of Lawrence Auster and a couple of his supporters on his blog bring to mind a paradox of ostracism that would be relevant for any sociopolitical movement: What do the members of such a movement do with an individual they have not ostracized, but who himself leans away on a posture of dismissing, in one way or another, the others?

The statement of one of his supporters, GintasWith only about 11 men in this movementalong with his snidely rhetorical question theres a movement?” with regard to the Anti-Islam Movement raised by my previous essayimply that the movement, at best, is virtually powerless and insignificant, or, at worst, effectively non-existent for all who share in the sagacious perspicacity of an Auster. Gintas here is, in effect, and passive-aggressively, ostracizing many people who obviously exist beyond this elevenor, if he pleads rhetorical sarcasm, he is effectively nullifying the power and significance of whatever number exists (pessimistically beyond the sobering assessments we all may make about how little of a minority we are in the face of a dominant and mainstream PC MC). Either of these meanings of his statement would tend to render the anti-Islam activity of Auster (the only one of worth, apparently, out of the already extremely minuscule number) virtually pointless. I mean, our numbers already amount to a minority beleaguered enough, without having to razorcut it glibly down even further in a fit of abstract cynicism.

And, not surprisingly, Auster responded to Gintass cynicism not with a corrective, but with a reinforcement, depicting himself as, apparently, the sole worthy analyst standing alone as the potential nucleus of a movement that has not really begun, but could have begun had it listened to him, and could still begin, would only others heed him anon. Thus, to the pessimistically passive-aggressive ostracism of the others in the movement, as expressed by Gintas, we can add the unrealistically self-inflating and martyred ostracism of the others in the movement as expressed by Auster.

Were an actual conference of the leaders of the Anti-Islam Movement to be convened as I imaginatively analyzed in my previous essay; and, as part of that conference and its central project of hammering out a consensus on an ideological and pragmatic platform, were a discussion on the mechanism for ostracization and whom to ostracize to unfold, would Lawrence Auster, assuming he would attend this conference which (assuming the others would have resisted the anti-Auster campaign no doubt instigated by the indefatigable awake) would have invited him, the question then becomes: Would Auster in that situation entrench himself deeper and deeper on his idiosyncratically irascible island, as he has demonstrated himself so liable to do in disputes with others? And if he did so, would his comportment thus sufficiently cross the line to a kind of self-ostracism? And should this be considered a de facto ostracism of him by the movement? I would say there is no clear-cut answer; for, to reiterate my statement from my previous essay, movements can benefit greatly from minority opinions critical of the movement itself, however cranky and contrarian their messenger may be. Nevertheless, there is a line that can be crossed. It seems that the unofficially reigning attitude on the part of many leaders and members of the movement as it stands now, as yet institutionally amorphous and inchoate, is one of a more or less de facto ostracism of Auster. I would hope, were there in the near future, as I envision, some kind of conference by which to move the movement in transition to a more effective organization, that an Austerunlike a deservedly reprobate Charles Johnsonwould not be deemed automatically beyond the pale.

5 comments:

awake said...

Erich wrote:

"...assuming the others would have resisted the anti-Auster campaign no doubt instigated by the indefatigable “awake”..."

That is funny. So in my defense of Spencer from Auster's unfair and dishonest criticism of his position on Muslim immigration, I am now the origin of the "anti-Auster" campaign? Methinks you give me far too much credit.

So you, Erich, now find yourself the victim of Auster's standard smear tactics on his blog, which is impervious to free speech attmpts, and NOW you take offense?

Auster war right on the money when he was doing the very same to Spencer and you defended him to the bone, but now, since the transgression is against you, it is unwarranted and egregious?

You know the old adage about lying with dogs, don't you?

Erich said...

awake,

"So in my defense of Spencer from Auster's unfair and dishonest criticism of his position on Muslim immigration, I am now the origin of the "anti-Auster" campaign?"

My statement was a speculation set in an imaginative future.

"So you, Erich, now find yourself the victim of Auster's standard smear tactics on his blog, which is impervious to free speech attmpts, and NOW you take offense?"

It makes more sense to take offense after the offense has happened, than before.

"Auster war right on the money when he was doing the very same to Spencer and you defended him to the bone"

I didn't defend Auster; I simply continued to critique Spencer and Auster was agreeing with certain points of my critique. As I recall, Auster went off on some tangents in addition, which did not interest me and so I didn't pay close attention to them. I also saw no reason to defend Spencer when people (such as yourself) in their counter-attacks on Auster in defense of Spencer left the problem of Spencer either untouched, or even actually exacerbated. Most of the time it seemed to be defense of Spencer just for the sake of defending him, not for actually taking a look at the critiques and offering cogent counter-arguments based upon what the critic has actually written. You, and Spencer somewhat more mildly, often engaged in that kind of Austerism, ratcheting up the attacks on straw men that had little or nothing to do with what I was actually arguing.

"but now, since the transgression is against you, it is unwarranted and egregious?"

Only if it indulges in Austerisms, which in this current bout with Auster it has.

awake said...

"Only if it indulges in Austerisms, which in this current bout with Auster it has."

"Austerisms", I like that. Let's incorporate that into a lexicon of dubious debate tactics to go along with "Austerized". Wht do you say to that?

Erich said...

"Let's incorporate that into a lexicon of dubious debate tactics to go along with "Austerized"."

I guess I already have. :)

Tanstaafl said...

austerism - a form of autism whose defining characteristic is an obsession with criticizing others coupled with an extreme sensitivity to criticism from others. Symptoms include paranoia (eg. fears of "lynch mobs") and an overwhelming desire to control all communication. Named for a New York City shut-in notorious for his reductionist social commentary ("non-discrimination", separationism, MMRILS, the Unprincipled Exception).