Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's really hard to take this seriously

It's hard to find any substance in Auster's reply to the criticism of him. It's mostly about how I'm a madman, how Atlas is an idiot, etc. But let's have a closer look at this long sentence:

Conservative Swede, of course, is the person who posted regularly at VFR for a couple of years and was very friendly to me, and then, on the basis of single point I made about Islam that he didn't like, suddenly became personally hostile to me and began launching a series of deranged attacks which have continued for the last year, culminating in the below comment, which he concludes by calling me an egomaniacal cult leader and wishing for my intellectual extinction.

Well, that's quite a load -- a stink bomb, should we say?

Let's start with "which have continued for the last year". Well, for the past year I have not mentioned Lawrence Auster at all in my blog. I have ignored him. That's quite the opposite of what Auster claims. The last time I mentioned him was in this post: The clash of the cleavage. And that one was rather making fun of Bernard-Henri Lévy.

Then about "on the basis of single point I made about Islam that he didn't like, suddenly became personally hostile to me". Well, what happened is that Lawrence Auster had enough of my questions to him that he couldn't answer and decided to "excommunicate" me. For the sake of the theater, to make it look "valid", he decided to make a lot of noise and hurl a long string of adjectives at me. I was simply left watching this, while trying to continuing in constructive dialog.

So much for a year ago. And indeed up until then we had had a good and very interesting dialog for a year and a half (most of it by email and never published). We had chosen to focus on our similarities rather than on our differences, and we indeed had many views in common. I had also chosen to overlook the negative sides of Auster, such as his obsessive attacks on Spencer, which were going on already then. In any given situation there are always compromises that you are prepared to make.

But after the noisy personal drama the Auster decided to create in relation to me, it was no longer possible (as well as pretty pointless) to overlook to what extent that he distorts and manipulates his accounts of his interaction with different other pundits. And after his latest excessive, unfair and disrespectful attacks on Robert Spencer, I had enough and decided to speak out. Auster gets away with a lot -- at least in the eyes of his small circle of most devoted readers -- since other pundits do not have the time or the energy to go as far in these brawls, in correcting the distortions of Auster in every single detail, in using his method of bringing up private email conversations, etc. They have more important things to do. So on his little stage, Auster will be declaring himself the winner, as well as the only one being rational, fair and respectful, etc. It's not so hard really considering the methods Auster use. The key is in being devoted, i.e. investing a lot of time and energy into it, while making sure most of the world ignores him.

Auster does not take criticism well. And he hurts the anti-Jihad movement with his excessive behaviour. Take the example of David Yerushalmi of SANE. When he used words as "failure" and "irrational" about certain aspects of Auster's position, Auster takes it as an "aggressive and personal attack". This is not the way to conduct a debate, Lawrence. Just to exemplify what Auster's standard means. He described my theory of the origin of religion as "terribly defective". With Auster's own view, I should see this as an openly hostile and personal attack on me. That's ridiculous.

Auster's standard is, and will always be, a double standard. And you will have to be a VFR devotee in order not to see that. Auster's skin is too thin; he's too good at creating schisms, and at the same time unable to put them aside.

In the case of the brawl with me, the whole affair was a one man show by Auster. I had not done much more than passively watching the different stages of his act of breaking up with me. Part of his act was to claim that it was me who made the decision to "break decisively" with him. This never happened. I've been sitting in the audience, all while Auster has been on the stage, throwing himself on the floor, rolling around as if in pain, then standing up launching an attack, and finally breaking up with me. All of it quite surprising to me. The words he used to describe the situation was all part of this exaggerated theater: such as "aggressive and personal attack" and "openly hostile", his descriptions about "insulting language" in e-mails, me denouncing him as a groupie of a “fifth columnist”, me by implication declaring all of his work as mistaken, etc.; all equally false.

It's really hard to take this seriously.

And regarding how I'm supposedly wishing for his "intellectual extinction". Well, that's the usual Auster exaggeration. I just said that, quite as with Charles Johnson, we do not need him anymore. Quite frankly I do not think we do.

[End of post]


Dexter said...

what happened is that Lawrence Auster had enough of my questions to him that he couldn't answer and decided to "excommunicate" me.

I don't know the details of your exchanges with Auster, but you do realize he has no obligation at all to respond to any "questions" you ask him? With even a brief glance at the site, you can see that he controls what is posted, and he only posts correspondence that he thinks is worthy of display, discussion, or comment. If you don't want to deal with a site that operates on that basis, don't send him email. You can also see, with a brief glance at the site, that he gets a lot of email from a lot of different people. If he's decided it's not worth dealing with you for some reason, it's not like he'll be starved for substantive interactions with people.

Frankly this post shows that you are overrating your own importance and over-dramatizing your disputes with him. After reading this post, it is really hard to take YOU seriously.

Conservative Swede said...


I don't know the details of your exchanges with Auster

You do not even know the basics! Auster and I had friendly email exchanges for a year and a half. He sent me hundreds of emails. Then came the day when I posed questions he didn't like, so he cut the communication and falsely accused my of being personally hostile etc.

You on the other hand assume that I sent him an unsolicited email that he didn't answer, and then I complain about that. Not quite...

If you don't want to deal with a site that operates on that basis, don't send him email.

Sure, I haven't sent him emails for a year. Pay attention to the story here!