Exchange with a neocon

Here is an e-mail exchange I had recently with a nationally known neoconservative author and journalist after he had written an article attacking paleoconservatives as nuts, racialists and anti-Semites.

LA to neocon journalist:

Regarding your article on paleoconservatives, for the record you should know that there are traditionalist conservatives—i.e, people who are committed to preserving and restoring the traditional Western culture in its religious, moral, constitutional, national, and ethnocultural dimensions—who, while critical of neoconservatives such as yourself, are also critical of the excesses of the Buchananites, paleocons, paleolibertarians, neo-Confederates, and so on.

[I then listed several articles in this vein by me and others.]

Neocon journalist to LA:

I’m afraid you are stuck. Antisemitism is the essential, almost defining, ingredient of the new ideology of Buchanan and his (and your) chums. How else can they explain the decline of the West relative to those supposedly irredeemably inferior non-Western peoples? There must be diabolically clever and implacably hostile saboteurs within. I am sure you are acquainted with the writings of Kevin MacDonald, which is treated with great respect by so many in the paleo ranks. Nor is there any escaping the increasingly blatant anti-patriotism of the paleos. Someday somebody will write an interesting dissertation on how so many of the paleos came to love Serbia more than their own country.

For the record, by the way, the only sense in which I am a neoconservative is also the anti-semitic one.

LA to neocon journalist:

If you read any of the things I sent you, you would see that I am concerned about and opposed to what I see as the serious anti-Semitism that has appeared on the right, especially since 9/11… . There are other articulate traditionalist conservatives who are outspokenly opposed to current immigration policies yet are also stand firmly against anti-Semitism.

But I’m afraid you would deny any such distinctions on the right. What you are saying is that any concern about the survival of our culture and nation is intrisically and inevitably anti-Semitic. Your attitude thus helps lead to a total polarization. In your mind and those of your fellow Jewish neoconservatives, any genuine concern about the impact of non-European immigration is REALLY tied in with anti-Semitism. Therefore NO serious criticism of immigration is to be allowed, even the immigration of Jew-hating Muslims. For Jews to take this position is a species of madness. It is a madness that people on the right—people who are NOT anti-Semitic—look at with their jaws agape.

To understand what I am saying, read this brief article, “Why Jews Welcome Muslims.” See also the readers’ comments that follow it.

The correct position is that there is a distinction between rational criticism of Jews and anti-Semitism. On one side of that correct position, the neocons say that there is no criticism of Jews that is NOT anti-Semitic. On the other side of that correct position, the anti-Semitic types seem to believe that there is no criticism of Jews that IS anti-Semitic (just as Muslims say there is no such thing as Muslim terrorism).

The growing anti-Semitism on the right is a terrible thing and must be opposed. I have done so and continue to do so both in personal correspondence and in published articles. But the neocons have also contributed to this polarization by telling people on the right that by the very fact of being concerned about America’s cultural survival they are anti-Semites.

Think about it.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 23, 2002 10:19 PM | Send


Mr. Auster is quite right in his point about the neo-cons (as he usually is). I think the missing item in the discussion is what I would describe as the anti-White, anti-Christian bigotry which seemingly drives some Jewish neo-cons to support the suicidal insanity of increased Islamic immigration. If the Muslims take control, some of the first people to go to their execution will be neo-con Jews - along with their entire families.

Posted by: Carl on December 23, 2002 11:51 PM

The neocons might reflect on what may happen if they continue to push policies opposed by their own voters. The GOP Eastern Establishment was overthrown by Conservatives in the 1960’s. Like Rockefeller and Lodge, they may find themselves without a party.

Posted by: David on December 24, 2002 12:59 AM

Where anti-semitism exists in any potentially threatening form (there will always be the odd crackpots about, whose weird ideas do not threaten anyone), the Christian Community must make sure it denounces it both before the Jewish Community needs to, and more vigorously than the Jewish Community does. This is a solemn moral obligation on Christians, the basis of which needs no explanation to anyone who participates in the VFR Forum. (It is simply the right thing, first and foremost, and I’m sure everybody here sees that. On a more practical level, it happens also that it shows our brethren of the Jewish faith that in this country they are not obligated to stand alone when faced with this sort of threat, but the Christian Community will stand with them, shoulder-to-shoulder. It is right for members of a community to show fellow members that they will come to their aid should they find themselves in peril. And then of course there are lots of more selfish reasons, of the type “First they came for the Jews and we did nothing, … then they came for …, then for …, and then they came for the Christians — but there was no one left to help … .”)

I will add: if only many Jews, including many prominent ones, knew how wrong they were in their belief that anti-semitism is widespread among educated members of the Christian Community in this country! It really and truly isn’t widespread, and it is baffling how lots of Jewish writers and opinion-makers are quick to see anti-semitism where it just does not exist. They would see how little of it there is, if they could pass themselves off as Christians for a period of time. They’d see Christians from a Christian perspective — from the inside, so to speak — and they’d find out for the first time in their lives that anti-semitism as they imagine it scarcely exists.

Finally: “not being anti-semitic” is not identical with “loving every ethnic trait (real or imagined) about American Jews.” Some people dislike certain things (real or imagined) about Jews, just as some people dislike certain things (real or imagined) about Italians, or (real or imagined) about Korean-Americans, or (ditto) about Irish-Americans, or (ditto) about what-have-you — AND just as some Jews dislike certain traits (real or imagined) about Poles, or the Irish, or Southerners, or Anglo-Saxons, or Christians in general.

None of this is any big deal, frankly, and it’s wrong of Jews to get upset if someone thinks they’re “stingy,” or whatever the stereotype is supposed to be. People think Scotsmen, New Englanders, and other groups are stingy too, and the right attitude is not to bother with it, because it means absolutely nothing for the most part, even for the people who are saying it.

In all my experience as a Catholic (a non-practicing, not religious, never-confirmed one), I can say (despite all the polls conducted by the ADL) that the vast majority of Christians in this country and in Europe know almost nothing about Jews, don’t really care about Jews at all, and have nothing whatsoever against Jews. They just don’t think about them, and simply have no interest in them, or opinions of them. They don’t love them, don’t hate them, wouldn’t send them to a concentration camp (and I’m sorry to say, wouldn’t lift much of a finger if someone else sent Jews — 0R ANY OTHER GROUP — to a concentration camp. This last bit is not very nice to say but it is the way most people are, unfortunately, and does not mean they are anti-semitic. It just means they don’t see any further than the tip of their nose. If they did, we wouldn’t keep having charlatans elected to office.).

Probably one of the quickest ways to bore average Christians to death would be to strike up a conversation with them about Jews, a topic which simply does not interest them. If you did strike up such a conversation with them, they’d think you were a little weird, and if you persisted they’d likely start to think YOU were anti-semitic, and would begin to avoid you.

Posted by: Unadorned on December 24, 2002 3:14 AM

Larry Auster writes:
“The correct position is that there is a distinction between rational criticism of Jews and anti-Semitism. On one side of that correct position, the neocons say that there is no criticism of Jews that is NOT anti-Semitic. On the other side of that correct position, the anti-Semitic
types seem to believe that there is no criticism of Jews that IS anti-Semitic.”
He is, of course, correct.

In my experience much of the Christian right support for Israel and jews in general comes from Christian theology in the form of biblical reminders that Christ’s 1st mission was to the jews, later extended to gentiles, who are thus only grafted onto the tree of Christian salvation (the root of Jesse).This Christian understanding ensures a middle road approach in the face of increasing anti-semitic rhetoric on the right.

Adherence to the bounds between rational criticism of jews and anti-semitism is not the sole province of the described traditional conservatives. Some within that umbrella have differing opinions as to level and degree of “restoration” we embrace, but consider ourselves to be mainstream traditional for a variety of reasons.

It is also possible to be a patriotic American, still embrace the Christian Serbians as a race betrayed to Muslim Albanians by an aberrant, anti-Christian and hostile American democratic regime, without also concluding that segregation of some Americans is desirable or otherwise embracing paleo beliefs.

Posted by: sandy on December 24, 2002 5:55 AM

” … and I’m sorry to say, wouldn’t lift much of a finger if someone else sent Jews — 0R ANY OTHER GROUP — to a concentration camp. This last bit is not very nice to say but it is the way most people are, unfortunately … ” — Unadorned

This was clumsily written and seems to imply that I think the average gentile would turn his back on people being killed in concentration camps, which I do not believe. He wouldn’t turn his back on them. I was thinking of the sort of “non-killing” concentration camps (sorry for this ghoulish terminology!) such as the ones the U.S. government put Japanese-Americans into during the 40s. I really should have used some other example than “concentration camps” to illustrate my point. (So much for composing posts at 3 o’clock in the morning, when one should be in bed …)

Posted by: Unadorned on December 24, 2002 9:21 AM

God rest ye merry Gentlemen
May nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day

Posted by: sandy on December 24, 2002 2:21 PM
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