Monday, July 02, 2007

Like Night and Day

Geza1 sent me this very interesting analysis on the Auster/Kalb issue:

Conservative Swede, look at what I dug up at VFR:

Bolds and Italics are mine.

Charlton G. writes:

An acquaintance of mine recently confided to me, "Frankly, I'd rather live as a God fearing Muslim than end up in the loony, secularist, multicultural hell-hole the liberals are preparing for me and my children."

I thought about what he said and rejected it. Better to die, I thought. Although both visions of the future seem bleak, I could not see throwing over my civilization (and race) to avoid the ghastly twilight of liberal utopia. But the fact that others are considering Islam to be a better alternative to what is happening to us here in the West is disturbing. Naturally, I have no idea how many like this fellow there are. But there may be more than are willing to come forth and admit it, both here and in Europe. (Can you imagine how difficult it must be in Europe for a Christian traditionalist?) I'm just wondering out loud here, but it may very well have occurred to the Muslims that there are others in our midst who will not fight.

To paraphrase the old commercial: they would rather switch than fight.

Lawrence Auster replies:

That's horrific that anyone would say that. Yet the same thing has happened over and over. Whenever the West lost to Islam, it was because of dissatisfaction and divisions within the West.

And now let us compare it to Auster's "critique" of Jim Kalb.
- - - - - - - - - -

Lawrence Auster replies:

Well, here's the entire quote:

Naturally, like other people I have views about which understandings are best. For example, I consider Islam better than contemporary advanced liberalism, the individualistic, nondoctrinal and moralistic Protestantism traditional in America better than Islam, and Catholicism better than Protestantism.

On one hand, I can see this statement as coming from a consciousness that modern liberalism is so evil that anything, including Islam, would be better than it. Islam is not evil exactly; Islam is like a predator that you know will kill you and you have to protect yourself from it, but you don't hate it because it's simply its nature to be a predator, whereas modern liberalism is truly evil.

On the other hand, I think it's a mistake for a Westerner ever to compare Islam favorably to any aspect of the West, though various Western thinkers and writers have done since the 16th century, usually based on some disenchantment with the West. Patrick Buchanan made a similar mistake when he sided against the European newspapers that published the Muhammad cartoons. Buchanan hates the secular left so much he sides with Islam against it. The secular left may be bad, but it is still our bad; Islam is simply our enemy, which, wherever it gains power and to the extent it gains power, will ruin us.

Some thoughts:

1. In the first excerpt Auster is visibly disgusted that anyone could say such a thing, yet in the second excerpt he tries to understand Kalb's reasoning.

2. Charlton G's acquaintance and Kalb's position are identical. Both would rather live in a society that is structured around a monotheistic god (any god at all, no matter how foreign or immoral) instead of an ultra-liberal society yet Auster reacts differently towards both.

3. In the first excerpt Charlton G. says he would not give up his civilization or race for Islam, he even says he'd rather die. Auster does not object. In the second excerpt, Auster makes a point to say that Islam is not evil exactly to make Kalb's position sound a little more moderate. The evil of Islam is important, but not at this stage of the discussion. I think it was an inappropriate time to bring it up because the main issue for Europe is not the morality of Islam but rather its foreignness and how it has the power to change Europe indefinitely.

4. In the first excerpt, Auster states that division is the reason why the West lost to Islam. In the second excerpt, instead of criticizing Kalb's identical position, he criticizes Patrick Buchanan! Buchanan and Kalb both hate secularism/liberalism equally and would take the side of Islam over either yet Auster cannot say that Kalb is being divisive.

5. The second excerpt seems a little muddled. In the first part, Auster says Islam is not exactly evil but liberalism is. Then he goes on to say in the second part that secular leftism (a more advanced form of liberalism) is "our bad" and that Islam will "ruin us" and is "our enemy". If something is evil, it cannot be permitted to exist. If it is possible to eliminated, then it should be. That is how Auster and Kalb view liberalism, they want it gone. Islam is not exactly evil, so it can continue to exist but we obviously know from Auster's other writings that he does not want it to exist in the West. We do not know what Kalb's position is though. In the second part, he is surprisingly more soft on secular leftism which is a more advanced case of liberalism, his language suggests that it isn't imperative for it to be destroyed but should be remedied. He mentions the European connection for secular liberalism and even though it is bad, it is still an expression of us. He does not do the same for liberalism, it's just evil whereas Islam is not exactly evil and is not an expression of us. Islam will ruin us, it is a predator and our enemy, but since it is in its nature, we cannot hate it much like we cannot hate a murderer for murdering because it's in his nature!

6. This was Auster's first response to Kalb's position vis-a-vis Islam and advanced liberalism. He does not mention Kalb by name when discussing his words but Buchanan and the "consciousness that modern liberalism is so evil" make special guest appearances.

Auster was not just being cordial, he simply cannot criticize Kalb at all.

This is very interesting, Geza1. There is an unresolved contradiction within Lawrence Auster. When he independently consults his own brain he gets it right and has his heart in the right place, but when Jim Kalb is around Auster decides instead to comply with his group affiliation to Christianity, which weakens him and hampers his judgment. The interesting thing following this--since the issue has been brought up to the surface, and he opted for moving his position in the direction of Kalb's--is how Auster will act from now on. Will we see him coming to a point where he is more and more protesting against people that he'd see as going too far with regards to Islam? For example in supporting burning of effigies of Muhammad, as Gates of Vienna does? Or against people who goes further than his Separationism, e.g. by advocating the dismantling of the Islamic empire? It wouldn't happen tomorrow, but maybe already next year. It's an open question. Auster is not a constant.

Regarding his description of Islam as a predator that is "not exactly evil", it reminds me so much of discussions I had decades ago with animal rights activists who advocated vegetarianism. They describe the animals as our innocent friends, and therefore we shouldn't eat them. I pointed out, of course, that predators where not so innocent since they broke the "animalistic" command and ate other animals, and suggested to the animal rights activists that this would justify us in killing and eating predators. But no no no, just as Auster says about Islam above, for the animal rights activists the predators only do what is in their nature to do, so they are "not exactly evil", and therefore we should not hate them. We just make sure that they are not so close to us that they could hurt us.

This didn't make sense to me then, and it doesn't make sense to me now.

Lawerence Auster has posted about this at his site. He makes one good point, but misses another more important one. I'll have to get back to it tomorrow. It's way beyond bedtime here now. Lawrence also speaks as if the text was written by me, when it was (mainly) written by Geza1. And the "not a constant" phrase was meant the other way around, than how he took it. That part was unclear by me. I'll have to get back tomorrow in a new post to clarify my position. And it's not about Auster, it's a more general phenomenon that I think that I'm on to. It just became clear to me how general it is, when I saw it in Auster; Lawrence Auster being one of the very best. Recent posts that I made already clarifies some of the things, but anyway I'll get to it back tomorrow too.


Conservative Swede said...

The off-topic comment by Desmond Jones, along with the answers to it, has been moved to the thread Better Green than Dead.

The discussion here is among people who cherish European civilization-- such as me, Auster and Geza1--and want to defend it against Islam. And about our differences within this stance. Since Desmond Jones is an explicit traitor to European civilization who wants it replaced with Islam, he's not even invited to this discussion.

Next time, such off-topic comments will just simply be deleted.

Conservative Swede said...

Geza wrote the following to me yesterday:

I just saw Auster's reply to my Night and Day analysis.

This happened before Kalb expanded on his Islam/Ultra-liberalism theory. In that excerpt wasn't he essentially saying that given a choice between Islam and Ultra-liberalism, he'd choose Islam, much like he'd prefer American Protestantism over Islam, and Catholicism over American Protestantism. He didn't indicate that as a Catholic, he'd rather live in an Islamic society over an ultra-liberal one, but that he considers Islam to be better. Of course we know now that he'd rather live as a Catholic under Islam and not as a Muslim but from that initial post that was not clear. I was comparing Auster's initial shock to the correspondent to his rather sober response to Kalb's Islam/Ultra-liberalism statement which lacked the caveat that of course Kalb meant "as a Catholic". I read Kalb's follow-up on your blog and may have missed an earlier one but, this only mitigates the damage of Kalb's statement, it is still awful in its own right. I think the minimum that you expected from Auster was shock and some concrete criticisms, not him writing out Kalb from Western Civilization, declaring him a traitor and cutting off all correspondence with him.

Continue reading here:

Geza responds to Auster's post