Monday, November 17, 2008

A thick skull and a thin skin









Recently, I had the somewhat fun, but mostly irritating, experience of getting entangled in an argument with Lawrence Auster.

The full transcript of that back-and-forth wrangle, which took place on a blog called Mangan's Miscellany, I have posted here.

What is revealed from reading that transcript is that Auster has a remarkably thick skull combined with a queerly thin skin. What is wrong with the guy? He immediately goes on the hypersensitive offensive when I post a comment that is critical of his thought and that expresses my musings about what possibly might be behind what I perceive to be certain contortions in his analysis. I was careful to frame my musings in tentative terms. Instead of responding like a normal personby saying No, you have me wrong, and heres whyAuster, with the alacrity of a spring-coiled, wounded panther, pounces back not only unnecessarily, but also with wild and blatant mischaracterizations of what I wrote. And, as if this werent bad enough, he continued to persist in blatantly mischaracterizing my position long after I pointed out meticulously how he was doing so. Adding insult to injury, he didnt even acknowledge, let alone address, the specific points of my elementary defense against his mischaracterizations.

Thus he showed himself to have a thick skull (unable to read my repeated explanations of both my position and of how he kept getting my position wrong), and a thin skin (going on a needless defensive against what he perceived to be an attack by me against him).

Instead of simply responding to the substance of my initial post with a normal responselike, No, you have me wrong, and heres whyhe immediately bristles and goes on a laughably unnecessary offensive against a straw man, since he did not, and cannot, show that what he is defending himself against is anything I actually wrote. What therefore ensues is a quasi-comical meta-debate about windmills that dont exist anywhere except in his strange mind. Even if he had responded initially with something like Your critique against me doesnt offer anything of substance, so I don't think its worth responding tothat would have been infinitely preferrable to the queerly quixotic reaction he manifested.

One of the many indications of Austers hypersensitivity occurs on his blog entry (cf. #6 from the transcript linked above), where he describes my initial post (#1 from the transcript) at Mangans Miscellany as an “attack. All the reader has to do is read that initial post of mine to see that to characterize it as an attack is to exhibit a peculiar over-reaction. Sure, I came out of left field to note that in my estimation Austers analysis of the phenomenon of the false conservativeacquires some curious contortions. Then I speculated about the reasons for this, including a latent Gnosticism in Auster which I then tentatively dismissed, concluding also tentatively (though ostensibly less so) that the source for this contortion in Austers analysis of the false conservative might lie in his tendency to reject the good in PC MC and, by extension, the good of liberal progressa good that is not simplex, but rather complex in its perichoretic symbiosis with bad things. Only an irrationally hypersensitive person would call this an attack.

And only a person with a screw loose would embark upon a quixotic defense against this attackthat includes:

1) blatant mischaracterizations of his interlocutors writings, mostly in their alleged capacity as attacking and wrongly labelling him;

2) repeated ignoring of his interlocutor calling attention to these mischaracterizations and patiently explaining why they are mischaracterizations; and

3) repeated accusations that his interlocutor is not reading what he has written, even while simultaneously doing exactly what he is accusing his interlocutor of doingto wit, by blatantly, repeatedly and copiously mischaracterizing what his interlocutor has actually written!

If any reader wishes to read through the transcript I have provided in the link above and offer a substantive and pertinent refutation of my overall take on this, or on any of the positions I defended in that exchange, I would welcome it. I will not welcome it, however, if the refutation is not an actual refutation, but rather a form of Austerian tilting at straw men and windmills.

Update: I just noticed that Auster posted on his blog that he has responded to me on Mangan's Miscellany. When I read it, I will comment, though I doubt there is anything significantly new to comment on.

I have read
Austers reply now (it is #9 in my transcript which I linked up top), and as I suspected it adds nothing significantly or substantively new. In addition to repeating extant mischaracterizations of my positions and views, Auster adds a few moresome of them even more egregious and blatant than his already extant ones, including pretzelling mischaracterizations of a couple of my refutations of his previous mischaracterizations. But it is becoming too tedious and unbearably irritating now for me to continue reading him in order to continue to demonstrate how he keeps getting practically everything wrong about what I wrote with regard to him on that Mangan's Miscellany blog; so I shall stop.

Second Update: The owner of the
Mangan's Miscellany blog, in his final announcement before his unnecessary shutting down of further comments, generally compliments Auster and makes no mention of Austers egregiously anti-intellectual behaviors in every comment Auster posted with regard to my hypersensitively alleged attacks” on him—anti-intellectual behaviors which in that same comments field I meticulously and intelligently documented and explicated at least three times. Either Dennis Mangan was not reading the comments very closely, or he is as obtuse as Auster is. I cannot think of a third plausible alternative.

35 comments:

awake said...

Auster wrote:

"Consider this. When Sailer wrote that the nuclear destruction of Israel by Iran would be no more significant than a baseball game, that was not considered objectionable or divisive in the paleocon circles; no one except me ever criticized Sailer for saying that. But because I criticize Sailer, well, THAT is unacceptable, THAT is violating the rules of comity, THAT is going over the line!"

"Thus the real hierarchy of moral values in the paleocon circles reveals itself."

When I read Sailer's referenced words in context I deem it unlikely that Auster seriously believes that Sailer's intent was as Auster has caricatured it.

He not only misrepresents another's position, but then proceeds on to castigate the owner of the now made-up position as morally reprehensible.

This is merely a smokescreen, for Auster believes he is always in the right to criticize, yet never rightfully subject to honest criticism that he declares amount to merely an attack upon him.

Auster later states:

"I'm glad to see that there are some comments appearing in the thread saying that there was something objectionable about what Sailer said about Israel, even if the commenters don't agree with me completely. To me, such acknowledgement is a big step forward."

Auster seems to revel in the fact that tacit support for his misrepresentation of Sailer's words seems to validate his false claim on Sailer's character.

Later when Auster is challenged on his position on Iraq:

"To say that I'm not only like the neocons vis à vis Iraq but even more fanatical than they, is a statement of such idiocy that you wonder how the commenter manages to tie his shoes in the morning. Yet this is the kind of idiocy freely thrown around in unmoderated (or, as in this instance, insufficiently moderated) Web discussions, making them generally an unsuitable format for intelligent discussion."

Auster is merely following his protocol on public forums in which he does not exercise total control. Open comments are good when they agree with Auster, but entirely valueless when they are not. Notice that Auster dabbles in name-calling and ad-hominem more than those who are critical of his positions, though he would have you believe otherwise.

Erich, when defending his criticism of Auster noticed and wrote:

"I just noticed now that Auster on his blog characterizes my comments about him as "an attack on me by Hesperado, a.k.a. Erich"...."


And followed with:

"Up above, I already refuted this mischaracterization of my position with regard to my critique of Auster, and before that, there is another lengthy comment by me that clearly shows that Auster is mischaracterizing my position."

Also:

"Auster has thus had plenty of time to see my refutation. Instead of actually addressing my refutation of his first mischaracterization of my position with regard to my critique of him, and offering a counter-refutation point by point, he has compounded his misunderstanding by formally reiterating and reinforcing it on his blog, hours after I already provided my refutation, which he completely ignores."

This is the end result of intelligent debate with Lawrence Auster. He inevitably retreats to his blog to continue with the one-sided discussion in the context he feels is fair and accurate, demonizing his critics as smear artists.

Auster's complaints against you, and formerly against Robert Spencer and Baron Boddissey are always the same. He engages in disingenuous criticism by misrepresenting people's positions and then gets angry when he is called out for it.

It is no different than his moral condemnation here regarding the made up position by Sailer regarding "Israel, Iran and a baseball game".

Conservative Swede said...

Hi Erich!

It's unfortunate how the real discussion disappears in all this. You are bringing up many interesting and important things.

You are all correct in your description of "a sea change in consciousness that itself has many good aspects to it". But such nuanced description get lost on most people. People are in general hyper-ideological, and writings are not read as analysis, but vetted as to whether it's sufficiently true to the cause or not.

I have before described societal development and change as zig-zagging. It's sort of a refinement and extension of the classic pendulum model. But a pendulum does not take us anywhere. Quite as the expression vicious circle doesn't make sense and is better described as a vicious spiral.

The "zigging" vector that we are currently in can be decomposed into two component vectors, one of which represents the "many good" things, the other the junk. Whenever the society has been "zigging" too far in one direction, there will inevitable come another sea change at some point, leading to "zagging". Once again a vector with both a useful and a less useful component.

You also wrote:
If the vast majority of the West are not good, decent and intelligent, then we might as well jump ship now, hunker down in a militia compound and stockpile weapons for the Counter-Revolution.

One of the most important books that has been written is Thomas Kühn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. This is where the term paradigm comes from. However, it's clear to me that this book does not only explain the process of science, but the human mind, and it applies equally well on societal changes.

Which means, we are now at the stage of crisis, so yes we are heading for a revolution. So sure, let's "hunker down in a militia compound and stockpile weapons".

You wrote:
So if we don't assume that the vast majority are not good, decent and intelligent, then how do we explain this strange phenomenon of the sea change in consciousness that has occurred in the past 50-odd years, this major paradigm shift?

Yes, this is the most fundamental question of them all. It's unfortunate that Auster takes no interest in it.

This is the question I have been struggling with the most of all. We should have a penetrating discussion about at some point. I like the sharp and penetrating style of your writing and your thinking, so it would be interesting to see where it leads.

Erich said...

CS,

"You are all correct in your description of "a sea change in consciousness that itself has many good aspects to it". But such nuanced description get lost on most people. People are in general hyper-ideological, and writings are not read as analysis, but vetted as to whether it's sufficiently true to the cause or not."

That could explain why Auster responded the way he did, but I also maintain he has a screw loose. I wouldn't mind it if he had a hyper-ideological stance and criticized my "many good aspects" phrase on the basis that in his view, PC MC does not have any good aspects (or so few it doesn't matter). What I mind is that he mischaracterizes my position as one of unambiguous support for PC MC, and then adds insult to injury after that (in a later comment) by insinuating that I am lying -- if I am not simply indulging in utter incoherence -- when I protest that in fact I do not support PC MC.

Your zig-zagging theory is interesting. It can help to avoid the model of linear progress (I noticed an apparent Auster supporter on that Mangan blog scoffed at my phrase "true progress", but I only meant it in a banal and pragmatic sense, not in any portentously utopian sense).

I'm not sure, however, that the zig-zagging model sufficiently accounts for the peculiar interpenetration of good and bad. In a simplex version of the process, we have society zigging in a bad direction, then after time, it begins to zag back to a good direction. However, the problem I see with PC MC is that society has reached an equilibrium that is a complex bundle of good and bad in tight fusion (this was reflected in
Francis Fukuyama's notorious essay about the "end of history").

"...we are now at the stage of crisis, so yes we are heading for a revolution. So sure, let's "hunker down in a militia compound and stockpile weapons".

I think it's a grave mistake to think this way. It might have been useful 100 years ago, but not now.

You quoted me:
"So if we don't assume that the vast majority are not good, decent and intelligent, then how do we explain this strange phenomenon of the sea change in consciousness that has occurred in the past 50-odd years, this major paradigm shift?"

And added:

Yes, this is the most fundamental question of them all.

But the question must assume that in fact the vast majority ARE good, decent and intelligent. At least, that's my position.

Conservative Swede said...

Erich,

First of all I'm not as concerned about good and bad as you, but that's a longer discussion.

Regarding my zig-zagging metaphore. Think of a snake with a zig-zag pattern on his back. Think that the good direction is to go towards the head. Even if we try for that there will be a drift and it will become a "zig". Next there comes the counter-reaction to that, and while there will be focus on heading for the "head", too much of the counter-reaction will be about completely opposing the wrongful direction of the "zig" and going in the completely opposite direction. The compound result becomes a "zag".

Actually we are in very tilted "zag" right now. The core of everything is to do and be the complete opposite of Nazism. And in this paradigm "Nazism" is interpreted to mean "every kind of European nationalism that existed up until the '30s". No wonder we are killing ourselves...

We need to zig back on track again.

I noticed an apparent Auster supporter on that Mangan blog scoffed at my phrase "true progress", but I only meant it in a banal and pragmatic sense, not in any portentously utopian sense

Yes, this is just another simplistic knee-jerk reaction. I want to see us putting a man on Mars. What's unconservative about that?

"...we are now at the stage of crisis, so yes we are heading for a revolution. So sure, let's "hunker down in a militia compound and stockpile weapons".

I think it's a grave mistake to think this way. It might have been useful 100 years ago, but not now.


It might be a grave mistake not to. And whatever was good a 100 years ago works for us now too (that's why I call myself a conservative).

Nobody said...

You are front page cover material for him? Congratulations!

Tanstaafl said...

Erich,

Have you noticed that Auster's loose screw only seems to appear when the subject touches on jews?

His taffy-like contortions are perfectly consistent with someone who is first and foremost pro-jew and who knows but won't admit that his pro-"white", pro-Christian, and pro-West positions exist only to the extent that they serve that higher priority.

I justify this claim in Suicide vs. Competition.

I relate with your recognition and rejection of PC-MC and your frustration with the endless anti-jihadi racist-facist smear games. Your "Gnosticism → Schism → Utopianism → Leftism → PC MC" view of history is interesting. My understanding is focused on the three most recent phases - tracing Auster's supposed "liberal", supposed "non-discrimination" back to the emancipation of jews.

My attempts to untangle Auster's taffy were as frustrating as he's making it for you. It would help if Auster, who's so hypersensitive and hypercritical about what makes other people tick, were more introspective and/or forthright about his own priorities.

Erich said...

CS,

I see that your zig-zagging metaphor is more complicated. As you described it the second time, it could work for the paradox of progress.

There are two errors that seem to rear their heads throughout modern history:

1) attempts to solidify non-meaning

2) attempts to transform the imperfection of reality into perfection & purity.

The only way that works is the middle way between these two. Islam represents the vanguard of #2. The West is increasingly indulging in #1, with a rather hollow version of the glory days of Leftist-Communist substance taking up some of the slack, but not sufficiently to prevent thrashing around. As the Leftist convert to Islam, Carlos the Jackal, sees presciently from his French jail cell, the only substance left for the Leftist-Gnostic nebula is Islam.

Erich said...

Tanstaafl,

"Have you noticed that Auster's loose screw only seems to appear when the subject touches on jews?

His taffy-like contortions are perfectly consistent with someone who is first and foremost pro-jew and who knows but won't admit that his pro-"white", pro-Christian, and pro-West positions exist only to the extent that they serve that higher priority."

Well, I must demur on this point: support for Judaism and the Jews is a non-negotiable virtue in my book. I realize there is a subsidiary problem of a discomfitting number of Jews who indulge in Leftism and then PC MC; but at the end of the day I chalk this up to the paradoxical health of Judaism, which suppurates into bouts of excess health leading to hectic, morbid fevers of sociopolitical pathology.

"It would help if Auster, who's so hypersensitive and hypercritical about what makes other people tick, were more introspective and/or forthright about his own priorities."

I would just like it if Auster could stop being so Goddamned hypersensitive and stop seizing on the slightest, flimsiest piece of apparent evidence in his interlocutor by which to skewer him, thus botching whatever discussion he happens to be in. I don't care if someone holds opinions I passionately disagree with; what I mind is the way they conduct themselves in getting those opinions on the table. Auster -- to extrapolate the metaphor of the table -- immediately stands up on the table and pulls his pants down and throws mustard on his interlocutor. And it gets worse from there as the dispute ensues. The guy is barmy, and when barmy is combined with rigid, literal-minded, and stiffly lacking in sufficient humor, it's disastrous.

Dennis Mangan said...

"Either Dennis Mangan was not reading the comments very closely, or he is as obtuse as Auster is. I cannot think of a third plausible alternative."

I can easily think of a third alternative: I was getting really tired of moderating a lot of long-winded comments that were going nowhere.

Erich said...

Dennis Mangan,

I wasn't referring to your plug-pulling when I wrote that, but rather to your inaccurate summation of Auster's performance.

Dennis Mangan said...

Then I guess that I'm as obtuse as Auster is.

awake said...

Dennis,

Auster has linked to this thread. What transpired on your blog is typical with Auster. When Erich offered any critical analysis of Auster's possible thought process, Auster went on a tear, wildly misrepresenting what Erich had said and also what he deems Erich to believe in.

Auster then proceeds to take several pot shots at Erich from the safety of VFR where the comments that he chooses to print, and in no particular chronological order, all echo his sentiment of being victimized from "thugs", "anti-Semites" and "lynch mobs" alike.

As you can see from the link he provided about my supposed boasting of teeth bashing, it is all fodder, similar to Auster's obvious misrepresentation of Sailer's position on his Iran and baseball commentary.

My response to "anonymous" on that thread, to reply when he finished "collecting his teeth off the floor" was simply a figurative remark to someone who called out Spencer on a position to which Spencer replied with hard evidence and rebutted. Auster in his audacity would have you believe that it was a physical threat?

Nonsense.

Also, in Auster's latest entry, he states that I was talking about Erich, which is clearly not true. Spencer confused the two temporarily, but I did not. You can also see "anonymous" state explicitly on that JW thread that he and Erich were not the same person. These facts however, mean nothing to Auster, who simply re-writes events and exchanges on his blog to fit his own rhetoric.

Based on the above observations, the other criticisms of Auster's vindictive, immature and dishonest tactics logically follow.

Erich said...

Dennis Mangan responded: "Then I guess that I'm as obtuse as Auster is."

That must mean, therefore, that he carefully read all of my comments, and all of Auster's comments, and still couldn't see the anti-intellectual and illogical fever of Auster as I, in my comments there, meticulously documented and sufficiently analyzed. That would be my sense of "obtuse" with reference to the two alternatives I posed above. I can understand someone not taking the pains to go through my arguments about Auster's repeated mischaracterizations and persistent reiterations and ratcheting up of those mischaracterizations; what becomes remarkable is someone going through those arguments and still commending Auster.

At the very least, a counter-argument is required.

Conservative Swede said...

Erich,

As humans our method to understand things is to reduce it to something simple. But I think you are reducing it a bit too far here. Dennis Mangan's behaviour is more complex. He does see the anti-intellectual and illogical side of Auster's behaviour. He is able to read your description of it and understand it. However, he hasn't understood the full significance of it.

Then he's taking upon him the role (as so many "good" Westerners do) of balance and moderation, trying to balance the positions of you and Auster.The problem is that when one tries to balance between two things, where one of them is beyond the pale, one ends up intellectually corrupted yourself (compare with the never ending story of Western politicians "balancing" their policy with leftists). Which happened to Mangan, you are right about that.

But he's not obtuse (as Auster). The essence of his problem is in trying to be "good" and moderate, which overshadows his inherent ability to identify intellectual and moral corruption.

PS. I see that Auster refers to me as the "the demented Auster-hater". He's always throwing the scariest adjectives in my direction. Which means he fears me more than anyone else. That's good to know. And of course I'm able to hurt him more than anyone else. And if his ankle-biting becomes too annoying I will.

Erich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erich said...

CS, I just saw Mangan's posting about this issue. (I added a comment.)

In his posting, Mangan offers the bare bones of an actual counter-argument to my contention that he must be "obtuse", by saying that, in his closing summation in question, he had, in fact, noted Auster's "ego" and his "prickly" nature.

My response to that inchoate counter-argument is that Auster's conduct in that previous dispute was, as you say "beyond the pale" -- it went way beyond mere "ego" and "prickly". So Mangan continues to not notice how egregious Auster has been. I stand by my "obtuse" characterization -- unless Mangan might admit he didn't read all the text of that dispute, then he could get off the hook by pleading ignorance of all the relevant facts.

I will "acquit" Mangan (to use blode's terms) of the obtuse charge as soon as he offers a persuasive counter-argument -- which would, of necessity, have to include a citation of all the relevant text from that aforementioned dispute.

Tanstaafl said...

Erich,

support for Judaism and the Jews is a non-negotiable virtue in my book

I don't begrudge you, Auster, or anyone else for being pro-jew, but I do question why any non-jew would consider this non-negotiable. Jews have no right to tell non-jews that our virtue hinges on supporting them. The arrogance inherent in the idea is revealed by simply placing any other group into your statement.

How do you regard blacks, muslims, latinos, pacific islanders, homosexuals, etc proposing such a position? Support for victim-group-X is a non-negotiable virtue? Are these not the tenets of what you call PC-MC? Is not the other major tenet that pro-Whites are treated just the opposite of everyone else whether we try to impose pro-Whiteness as a virtue on everyone else or not? Aren't we demonized and persecuted just for being pro-White? In fact under PC-MC any White who doesn't vote for the black candidate is by definition a pathological hater.

Auster is well aware of the absurdities of PC-MC. He writes about them every day. In my encounters his taffy does not arise from being thick-headed or thin-skinned. He attacks "the majority" as "the majority", blaming us for inflicting PC-MC on ourselves and exhorting us to resist it. Then he simultaneously declares jews to be above criticism even though their animus toward Whites is the primary fuel for anti-White PC-MC. His concern for "the majority" springs from and is subordinate to his concern for jews. His taffy springs from his need to disguise this fundamental mendacity. As one of the Anonymous commenters wrote at Mangan's: Auster is saying, "Lets you and him fight."

In Auster's view we "whites" must discriminate ourselves from blacks and muslims. But if you discriminate Whites from jews, as I do, then it can only be because you are a pathological jew-hater. Likewise if you don't support israel. Likewise if you don't capitalize israel or jew. Likewise if you don't immediately erase the comments of anyone he has declared a jew-hater. Anyone who in Auster's estimation is a pathological jew-hater is an enemy he wants shunned and silenced.

Auster fears a world where support for jew-hating muslims is a non-negotiable virtue. He pines for a world where support for jews is the only non-negotiable virtue. I say no to both.

clark.coleman said...

A good deal of the animosity began with the hypothesis that Auster was some sort of intellectual or political Gnostic. Following that comment up with some qualifications to make it "tentative" or "unlikely" is not exactly the same as never having said it in the first place.

Take any of a list of epithets that would be considered offensive to you: communist, racist, Gnostic, anti-American, or whatever. Imagine your response if posters repeatedly said, "It would seem at first glance that Erich is [fill in epithet here]." A couple of sentences later, the poster indicates that this is not necessarily the case, that this was just a tentative hypothesis, he does not necessarily believe this himself, etc. I think you would tire of that kind of argumentation.

If you care to pretend that it is OK to hypothesize that Auster was Gnostic because you later weakened the accusation, go ahead. But I hope one thing you learned from this dialogue was such rhetorical devices are counter-productive.

Erich said...

nobody, I see now what you mean by the blue font.

The way to avoid that is to click "Post Comment" -- this takes you to the area where you can leave your comment, + it has all the other comments in black font with a white background.

Otherwise, I can't figure out how to change the other area that has blue font.

Dennis Mangan said...

I will "acquit" Mangan (to use blode's terms) of the obtuse charge as soon as he offers a persuasive counter-argument -- which would, of necessity, have to include a citation of all the relevant text from that aforementioned dispute.

That's pretty funny. By all means, continue to consider me "obtuse".

awake said...

clark.coleman said...

5:33 PM

Well, you can all see what Clark Coleman said at 5:33 PM. What I got out of Clark Coleman's instructory comment at 5:33 PM is the answer to where Erich erred is he simply asked a question about Auster's viewpoint and motivation, though upon Clark's further review, he had no right to do so.

Auster supersedes most if not all his critics, with Auster's dubious tactics simply being a respected and normative response to baseless attacks against him.

Clark Coleman is a regularly published e-mailer to Auster, solely at Auster's discretion of course. Let no one forget that painfully obvious fact. Speaking of facts, Erich, AKA Hesperado, was also published by Auster, but only in terms of another "fish to fry" in Auster's estimation, his continued baseless assault on Robert Spencer and his caricatured position of Spencer on Muslim immigration.

Auster's own weak reed and sole example, provided by another, in light of hard evidence otherwise explicitly provided by Spencer, belies that very fact.

I hope that Auster re-links his hard proof of this, because when he does, he usually refutes his own slanderous arguments.

Auster has so much to gain for his uniquely intuitive mind, but I wish someone would just take his pistol away as to prevent him from continually shooting himself in the foot.


To Dennis Mangan:

I cannot speak for Erich, and God knows (and public record substantiates) that I disagree with almost everything he says, specifically about Spencer. I believe that he truly feels that his line of questioning is respectful and proper. 'Tis all the more sad.

You Sir, are far from obtuse in my humble estimation.

Erich said...

Tanstaafl,

On the principle of supporting Jews and Judaism, Hugh Fitzgerald has articulated it well (I can't seem to find his essay on this). Off the top of my head, here are the reasons why:

1) Jews are on the front lines of the global jihad

2) Israel represents a beachhead of Western culture and democracy in the heart of Dar-al-Islam (which goes a long way to explaining #1)

3) Jewish culture and religion are a great part of Western civilization: it is significant that the great 20th century philosopher Eric Voegelin (born and raised in Austria, non-Jewish, forced to flee Germany in 1938 due in part to his refusal to betray a Jewish colleage at the university where he taught) began his epic five-volume study of Western civilization, Order and History, with volume one, Israel and Revelation.

4) Jews for the most part do not do any harm to the West, unless you believe in conspiracy tales like "Protocols of the Elders of Zion". The only problem I have with Jewish culture is that it is so profoundly amenable to secularism and liberalism, it has tended to produce an inordinate amount of intelligent and to some degree influential purveyors of PC MC. But Jews are hardly alone in this. If Jews were the only purveyors of PC MC, the entire West would not be dominated by it. And I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theories about evil Jews machinating behind the scenes to destroy the West. For one thing, there is no proof of this, only suppositions coming from highly suspect quarters (not the least of which, the Nazis and Muslims).

"Jews have no right to tell non-jews that our virtue hinges on supporting them. The arrogance inherent in the idea is revealed by simply placing any other group into your statement."

Whether they have a right or not, and whether they are "telling" us that, I nevertheless believe that the West should support Jews and Israel.

"How do you regard blacks, muslims, latinos, pacific islanders, homosexuals, etc proposing such a position?"

Jews, like Greeks, are part of the white West, a major part of the building blocks of Western civilization, in my opinion. I support them agaist Islamic jihad just as I support the Serbs against Islamic jihad.

"Auster ... declares jews to be above criticism even though their animus toward Whites is the primary fuel for anti-White PC-MC."

I don't think Jews are anti-white per se; but too many of them do harbor an irrational animus against Christians and Christianity.

"In Auster's view we "whites" must discriminate ourselves from blacks and muslims. But if you discriminate Whites from jews, as I do, then it can only be because you are a pathological jew-hater."

Why do you make that discrimination?

Erich said...

clark.coleman writes:

"A good deal of the animosity began with the hypothesis that Auster was some sort of intellectual or political Gnostic. Following that comment up with some qualifications to make it "tentative" or "unlikely" is not exactly the same as never having said it in the first place."

Instead of describing the situation from imperfect memory, let's take a look at what I actually wrote in that comments thread:

But the question is: Why do conservatives do this [bend over backwards to "respect" Muslims]? What has changed? Conservatives 60 years ago wouldn't have done this. Now the vast majority of them bend over backwards to "respect" Islam and Muslims. What happened? Perhaps Auster has already written about these questions. It just seems that whenever I read him on issues that get close to these questions, I never see any sense or indication that he has ever asked them and come up with a reasonable explanation. All I see are various different permutations of labels that try to capture that animal the "false conservative", who seem to be sprouting up all over the place, often in highly unlikely places to boot, which makes the puzzle all the more puzzling, one would think. One alternative explanation that might be implicitly lurking in Auster's paradigm is that of the "ecclesiola" -- i.e., the "pure remnant" who alone know the truth, while the vast majority have gone astray. This would be an impermissible explanation, unless one were -- either willfully or unwittingly -- succumbing to the Gnostic temptation to damn the Western cosmion. I tend to think Auster is not doing this, but I'd like to see more tangible and copious indications to make sure.

Here's what we see from this quote from what I wrote:

1) clark.coleman is incorrect in his representation of what I had written when in his description he separated the tentativeness of my theoretical conjecture about Gnosticism from the theoretical musing itself. My wording is clear on this point:

One alternative explanation that might be implicitly lurking in Auster's paradigm is that of the "ecclesiola" -- i.e., the "pure remnant" who alone know the truth, while the vast majority have gone astray.

a) "one alternative explanation" -- among many

b) "that might be implicitly lurking in" -- there it is in my original statement about Gnosticism, not sometime later, as clark.coleman mistakenly describes it.

c) Two sentences later in the same paragraph, I conclude that minor conjecture which was not the main point of my longer comment: "I tend to think Auster is not doing this, but I'd like to see more tangible and copious indications to make sure."

So, contrary to clark.coleman's infirm memory of the matter, I did not hypothesize that Auster is a Gnostic, nor did I say something comparable to "It would seem at first glance that Auster is a Gnostic". What is clear from what I wrote is that I was suggesting one possible alternative explanation for the strange phenomenon of the majority of conservatives (and also the majority of people in general throughout the West) succumbing to liberalism, would be the Gnostic temptation to contract the society of rightly ordered people down to a small group who "know" the truth of order, thereby considering the vast majority and their extant social structures irredeemable. My main point was that Auster doesn't seem to supply a reasonable explanation for why the vast majority of conservatives have succumbed to disordered thinking. This etiological vacuum in Auster's analysis I conjectured can be filled by, among other things, the Gnostic temptation -- which might be implicitly lurking in his analysis. I concluded tentatively that I tend not to think that Auster relies upon this particular way of filling that vacuum.

If someone wrote the same thing about me in a comments section, I wouldn't get all wounded and call it an "attack" and then ride crudely over the nuances of the wording by claiming, "He called me a Gnostic!" And I certainly wouldn't persist in doing that (and continuing to get worse) after the other person patiently, with an evidentiary argument, explained how he had done no such thing.

"If you care to pretend that it is OK to hypothesize that Auster was Gnostic because you later weakened the accusation, go ahead."

As I have argued above, it wasn't ever an "accusation", and it was inherently "weakened" in the original statement.

Nobody said...
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Nobody said...

Erich

I think I found out how to change the colors, and dropped you an e-mail on how separately. Try it and see if it works - should happen even retroactively.

Essentially, you have to go to your dashboard and muck with the settings. I described how in the e-mail.

Nobody said...

Tanstaafl: Auster fears a world where support for jew-hating muslims is a non-negotiable virtue. He pines for a world where support for jews is the only non-negotiable virtue. I say no to both.

Tanstaafl

Why do you think that support for jew-hating muslims is a virtue at all - negotiable or not? I disagree with much of Auster, but in this one, I'm with him, certainly given the way you phrase it here.

I agree with the arguments Erich made above for being pro-Israel, and not being anti-Jewish. I can understand some people having problems with them thinking of themselves as God's chosen people, but that's true about most people of religious persuasion, including those belonging to religions that don't make claims of being exclusive pathways to God(s). Except for Islam, it doesn't imply that an enemity or a supremacy of the members of that groups is required towards the rest of the world, such as Jews vs Gentiles.

I also don't get why Jews are necessarily different from Whites. Jews, like Christians, are a part of Western culture. Jews as a race only applies when one's talking about Semitic Jews from Israel, but not Jews who have long ancestries and origins in Europe or elsewhere in the West.

Tanstaafl said...

Erich,

Why do you make that discrimination? [between Whites and jews]

I make the discrimination because it explains the reality I perceive around me better than if I do not.

I used to think as you do. I was struggling to understand why the West was "suiciding". My denial of the distinction between Whites and jews dissolved only recently when I finally accepted the implications of what in retrospect I had really known my whole life, and what you and most other philo-semitic anti-jihadis are well aware of too: the extent to which jews themselves discriminate themselves from Whites, and that a disturbing number hold animus toward Whites as Whites, telling themselves and everyone who will listen (and so many anti-jihadis do) that their whole history amongst Europeans is one of woe inflicted on them by insane "anti-semites". Consider how lopsided this view is. Do you consider it objectively fair or reasonable?

Auster himself has written of the jewish animus towards "the majority" in Why Jews Welcome Muslims. He credits it as a significant motivation for jewish support for open borders. Other symptoms of this animus are visible in any aspect of PC-MC you might care to examine. It has manifested in ever more explicitly anti-West and anti-White forms since jewish emancipation. The intellectual deconstruction of the West has been led by jews driven by animosity for White Christian culture. Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Franz Boas, Betty Freidan, Stephen Gould, Tim Wise, and Noel Ignatiev. The list is very long.

But Jews are hardly alone in this. If Jews were the only purveyors of PC MC, the entire West would not be dominated by it.

The question is not whether jews are 100% responsible for PC MC. They aren't. The question is why it is not possible in the "judeo-Christian" West, a society which is overwhelmingly non-jewish, that we may not openly discuss and criticize the absurd disproportion of jewish influence in media, academia, politics, law, and finance. Why must we choose between pretending this influence is zero, or of zero significance, or of only positive significance? Why is any criticism of this influence met with strawmen ("conspiracy theories about evil Jews machinating behind the scenes") and ad hominem? Aren't those the very same bogus tactics islam critics are met with?

PC has worked out well for jews. It has been a disaster for Whites. Why should Whites pretend there is no reason to discriminate between us? PC MC doesn't. Jews themselves don't. Not all of them harbor animus toward Whites, but precious few reciprocate your non-negotiable support.

Tanstaafl said...

Nobody,

Why do you think that support for jew-hating muslims is a virtue at all - negotiable or not? I disagree with much of Auster, but in this one, I'm with him, certainly given the way you phrase it here.

I do not support muslims, jew-hating or not. I also do not consider jew-hating a virtue. I was writing of Auster, whose opposition to muslims springs from his concern that they hate jews. My opposition springs from my concern for Whites.

I also don't get why Jews are necessarily different from Whites. Jews, like Christians, are a part of Western culture. Jews as a race only applies when one's talking about Semitic Jews from Israel, but not Jews who have long ancestries and origins in Europe or elsewhere in the West.

Besides what I wrote to Erich above I suggest you read some jewish history. I enjoyed Max Dimont's Jews, God and History. You may discover that many jews do not view "the West" as you or Erich do. For example, many anti-jihadi philo-semites will probably be shocked to learn about what many jews refer to as their golden age. I know I was.

Nobody said...

Tanstaafl: PC has worked out well for jews. It has been a disaster for Whites.

It worked for leftist 'Jews' vis a vis other Whites, but the current existential threat to Jews comes not from Whites, but from Muslims, and in that department, PCMC has been near disastrous for them. Just look at Berkeley or San Francisco. I recall a couple of years ago when the Berkeley City Council wanted to pass a resolution against Israel (probably some boycott over Israeli policies against al Aqsa) and it just narrowly failed. The same Jews who are anti-White are also anti-Jewish or anti-Israel - the Noam Chomskys, the Richard Stallmans, the Stanley Cohens (Jewish lawyer who represents Hamas against Israel, and was also counsel for Hizbullah in that cigarette racketeering case) et al. The ones who aren't anti-Jewish - Debbie Schlussel, Pamela Geller, Mark Levin, et al - aren't anti-White either.

In fact, calling some of the Leftist Jews (who are enemies of the West, including all Whites AND Israel) as Jews is as accurate as describing the ACLU, NOW or NARAL as Christian organizations. Those Leftist Jews are in fact secular, and use their Judaism only as a differentiator from Christianity, rather than an identity of their own heritage the way orthodox Jews like the ones I mentioned above do.

Tanstaafl said...

Nobody,

It worked for leftist 'Jews'

The PC-MC taboo against criticizing jews makes no distinction between left and right. Neither do the West's hate laws.

What matters to me is that San Francisco is a disaster for Whites. Likewise the rest of our homelands. For example, Postville. The Lubavitchers who brought the third world to Postville aren't leftists.

The same Jews who are anti-White are also anti-Jewish or anti-Israel

The ones who aren't anti-Jewish ... aren't anti-White either

I'm more concerned with the fact that under the PC-MC regime the standards for what is considered "pro" or "anti" are not the same for Whites and jews. Using equal standards it is not an exaggeration to describe the West's leadership as generally anti-White and pro-jewish. Whites concerned with survival are ridiculed, demonized and harassed. Jews concerned with their survival enjoy celebration and support. US presidential candidates promise to "do whatever it takes" to defend israel, but they say "we can't possibly deport" even the most criminal aliens invading the country they want to be president of.

Those Leftist Jews are in fact secular, and use their Judaism only as a differentiator from Christianity

Judaism is a very flexible framework (torah, talmud, kabbalah, ...) that has essentially served as a survival mechanism for the extended family who call themselves jews. For many, like the Lubavitchers, it still is. For others PC MC now serves that purpose. It is no coincidence that the pathologization of "racism" began just after the fig leaf of religion was torn away by the Enlightenment.

Erich said...

Tanstaafl,

The overaching problem is PC MC, which because it is dominant and mainstream throughout the West, means that its support cuts across all categories (Left/Right, Jew/non-Jew, etc.)

Unless you can show significant features of Jewishness that are unique factors of the larger PC MC problem, then I must conclude that the reason why most Jews are PC MC is simply because they have two legs and breathe oxygen -- i.e., they belong to the West which is under the thrall of a dominant and mainstream PC MC.

There is thus no analytically useful reason to single out Jews for criticism with regard to PC MC. We should simply criticize all PC MC people, and by default we will end up criticizing a number of Jews, but not because of anything "Jewish" about their PC MC, but simply because they, along with their majority fellow non-Jewish Westerners, enable PC MC.

Indeed, it would be remarkably unusual if the majority of Jews were not PC MC.

Tanstaafl said...

Erich,

Unless you can show significant features of Jewishness that are unique factors of the larger PC MC problem

Isn't this what the PC MC double standard for jews and Whites represents? Do you not believe that under PC MC there is a different standard for anti-jew versus anti-White and pro-jew versus pro-White, or that this is not significant? Do you not think that this double standard is accepted as normal and promulgated and reinforced by the West's media, academia, law, and government, or that a disproportion of jews is in positions of power in these domains, or that the disproportion has increased directly as PC MC has grown? Is this not significant?

There is thus no analytically useful reason to single out Jews for criticism with regard to PC MC.

It is useful. It explains Auster's double standard. More importantly it explains the PC MC double standard. PC MC "singles out jews". Jews had a large and obviously self-interested role in creating PC MC. They have a self-interest in preserving it. Why should those of us who oppose PC MC exclude from criticism any group that benefits from it?

Another useful reason is to get more Whites to recognize that much of the criticism that singles out "whites" which we might otherwise think is coming from people who share our interests is in fact coming from people who do not, and who are instead more concerned about a distinct and smaller group which they consider exempt from their criticism. (For a more glaring example than Auster see Tim "White Like Me" Wise.) Distinguishing the criticism of "whites" who share our interests from those who don't requires discimination that goes beyond skin color. In making this distinction Whites be less influenced by the guilt-tripping from someone they might otherwise have mistaken as one of their own. Thus White tolerance and support for PC MC would diminish.

it would be remarkably unusual if the majority of Jews were not PC MC

You acknowledge then that group X supports PC MC, and they do so because it benefits them. I believe we agree that PC MC harms Whites. If that's not enough of a reason to criticize group X then what is?

Erich said...

Tanstaafl,

"Isn't this what the PC MC double standard for jews and Whites represents?"

While there is a matter of PC MC "respect" for Jews, it's not a matter of Jews being specially favored vis-à-vis whites. It's simply a matter of respecting Jews for being a religious and quasi-"ethnic" subculture. However, as I'm sure you know, this "respect" has been deteriorating rapidly throughout the West as more and more PC MC people link the supposed "crimes" of Israel to Jews, and as the anti-Semitic hatred and violence against Jews by Muslims is more or less ignored. In fact, in keeping with my earlier essays here on "White Muslims: Honorary Browns", I would say that Jews have become "Honorary Whites" -- given that dubious distinction by the PC MC majority who deem whites to be second-class citizens of the world.

"Do you not believe that under PC MC there is a different standard for anti-jew versus anti-White and pro-jew versus pro-White, or that this is not significant?"

As I intimated above, this dynamic has been changing over the past quarter century. Once upon a time, for a brief window of time, perhaps from the late 1940s to the 1970s, what you describe might have been true to some extent. But anti-Semitism fused with hostility to Israel has been altering that dramatically -- and now with the special "Poster Child of the Third World" the Muslims elevated to the most deserving of our "respect", it has intensified, for the Muslims constantly press that button of Israel being "oppressive" and "apartheid", and the PC MC people are disposed to lap that up -- mainly because Muslims are BROWNER than Jews! The darker your skin pigmentation, the more "respect" you deserve, according to the PC MC paradigm. And since Muslims are the most ready to explode (literally and figuratively), they are accorded more respect, even, than blacks.

It really seems that your view on this is outdated. It's almost like you are reading newspapers from the early 1970s. Back then, the British actress Vanessa Redgrave had a difficult time being anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. Today, she would have no problems at all, it would not hurt her career at all, since most of Hollywood, most of the intelligentsia, most of the people, tend to agree with her view that Israel is "oppressive" and Palestinians are poor "oppressed" "freedom fighters" simply trying to survive, and acquiring a fashionable panache of the Che Guevara guerilla fighter against the evil capitalistic exploiters of poor Third World peoples, etc.

Furthermore, any victim of Muslims I support: that goes for Hindus, Thai Buddhists, African pagans, various Christians, atheist homosexuals, Serbian Orthodox Christians, etc. Since Jews are the #1 enemy of Muslims and have been for 1400 years, I cannot see a reason to turn against them,and one gigantic good reason to support them. I don't mind if Jews, as a subculture, happen to fit into the PC MC template of respect -- mainly because Jews aren't doing any harm, like Muslims are. Jews do good for society by and large, unlike Muslims.

Tanstaafl said...

Erich,

The enemy of an enemy is not necessarily a friend. Jews are harming Whites. They have made it easier for muslims to wage their jihad from inside the West. Jewish advocacy and financing have been the sine qua non in pathologizing racialism, spreading marxism and globalism, and prying open our borders and keeping them open. It isn't muslim immigrants or indigenous "anti-semites" who have done these things.

If you recognize the harm immigration is doing you might want to understand how those policies changed over time, and why. I recommend Jewish Involvement in Shaping American Immigration Policy, 1881-1965: A Historical Review.

Since Jews are the #1 enemy of Muslims and have been for 1400 years, I cannot see a reason to turn against them,and one gigantic good reason to support them.

This is not a fair description of jewish or islamic history. Please read some of what can be found via the golden age link I provided above.

It is not "turning against" someone to acknowledge that they distinguish themselves from you, have their own interests foremost in mind, and that you would be best served by behaving similarly. A true friend and ally would respect that view rather than act the victim and paint you as a "hater".

syntec said...

I have been following the highly interesting debate between Eric and Tanstaafl, attentively.

I am referring to the section of the debate alluding to Jewish hedgmony in relation to Gentiles and Western Civilization.

I should point out that I am of 'Jewish' origin myself on my mother's side, but was brought up a Roman Catholic.

I have to say, I largely agree with Tanstaal's arguments regarding which race is really pulling the strings and has been for several centuries now, in our mignificent, but now failing civilization.

The tendency to change sides as a means of preservation and mutual benefit must not be overlooked either.

Gentiles suffer from the fatal flaw of guilt-tripping both self-inflicted and implanted with its alleged onus on the accused to seek atonement of sins both real and imaginery, committed by their respective forbearers whilst ignoring the fact that others equally are not without sin with regards to the doings of forbearers whether recent or ancient.