Frum and the paleocons: both wrong
While David Frum
can occasionally be an interesting and useful writer, he is also prone to Orwellian-sized whoppers. Yesterday at National Review Online
, Frum wrote a mostly justified attack
on the extreme, anti-American positions of the anti-war paleocons, which he then connected with their positions on immigration in an attempt to discredit the latter. As some of us pointed out at VFR
, this showed how the paleocons, by marginalizing themselves on the war issue, have also allowed good paleoconservative causes such as immigration reform to be marginalized. But Frum has now gone beyond legitimate criticisms of the paleocons to a re-writing of history. In a follow-up
to yesterday’s article, he claims that it is the paleocons’ supposed extremism on immigration
that has discredited the immigration reform issue and thus prevented the true debate on the subject that the neocons
are supposedly desirous of having!
John Derbyshire suggests that we owe the paleos a debt of gratitude for keeping the immigration-reform issue alive. I think it’s closer to the truth that they have nearly killed it. Think how amazing it is that not even the revelations that the INS sent posthumous visas to 9/11 killers could make immigration a political issue. That tells you something about how radioactive the paleos have rendered the issue. I think too that the paleos’ hostility to the war on terror has inhibited from effectively making a connection between the war and immigration. It’s odd, isn’t it, to say “I want to curb immigration so as to more successfully prosecute a war I oppose?”[Emphases added.]
What Frum has said here is identical to the Big Lie purveyed by Jonah Goldberg last year in his Los Angeles Times
article attacking immigration restrictionists. Goldberg’s piece stated that the paleo immigration restrictionists had “hijacked”—and thus killed—the immigration debate. Goldberg’s implication was that the neocons have all along wanted
to have immigration reform, but that those paleocons
have rendered the issue radioactive through their supposed extremism, particularly their emphasis on the importance of ethnicity and culture. In February 2002 I wrote a running commentary on the Goldberg piece and sent it to several correspondents. Here is one passage from his article, followed by my commentary.
But the multiculturalists provide kindling at every turn. The resulting conflagration draws attention away from what’s really important.
Such as asking what unprecedented levels of immigration—both legal and illegal—do to a culture uncomfortable with demanding assimilation.
Goldberg has now gone over the top in his audacity and dishonesty. When have he and his fellow neocons, minicons and microcons ever asked what unprecedented levels of immigration are doing to our culture? It is the people he’s now attacking who have been asking that question for many years—and getting kicked in the teeth and expelled from respectable society for their trouble. This is Orwellian.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 20, 2003 11:54 AM | Send
This also relates to Goldberg’s accusation that restrictionists “hijacked” the immigration issue. The reality, as immigration reformers are painfully aware, is that immigration is not even on the radar screen of the mainstream conservative movement and the Republican party. So how could the restrictionists have “hijacked” the issue? For the vast ranks of conservatives, the issue has barely existed! And why has it barely existed? Because it’s not allowed to be discussed in its true dimensions, as a matter of the preservation of our culture, peoplehood, and civilization. Clearly the soft Goldbergian approach has not accomplished much, or else the conservative movement and the Republican party would already be on fire with efforts to reform immigration along the “moderate” lines Goldberg proposes.
The deeper point is that without a grasp of the demographic and cultural dimensions of the immigration problem, there can be no grasp of the problem, period, and no practical ability to make any progress with it. The proof of this is that even people who profess not to care about the ethnic/cultural angle, and who criticize immigration on economic or other non-racial grounds, also end up being intimidated and shut down by the strictures against discussing race.
Take a typical moderate conservative along the lines of Goldberg. He says immigration is an important issue and immigration needs to be controlled better in some fashion. He also says that any concern about the ethnocultural dimension of immigration is totally illegitimate. So this guy takes his argument into the public square and finds people attacking him as a racist, based on the principle?which is embraced by the Goldlberg type himself?that any concern about race is wrong. He will reply: “I don’t care about race! I’m not a racist!” But those attacking him aren’t going to accept that. So the issue continues to go nowhere because of the anti-racist ideology that is endorsed by the “moderate” immigration reformers themselves.
There is therefore no escape from dealing with the real issue, which is that America got into this mess by saying that any national or ethnic discrimination in our immigration laws is immoral. The only solution is for people to realize that certain kinds of discrimination are perfectly moral and to be able to defend that position. Until they realize that, they will always be intimidated by the “racist” charge.
Pat Robertson said the other day that the problem was that immigration had been directed away from Europe and toward the Islamic world. If more people began speaking SIMPLE TRUTHS like that, and DID NOT RETREAT WHEN ATTACKED, this whole issue could turn around. It’s the Goldbergs of the world who make that impossible.
Since Frum and Goldberg keep on insisting that any ethnocultural component of the immigration issue be ignored altogether, why did they oppose the Olso “Peace Process” for Israel, with its proposal of an unlimited “right of return” for Palestinians into Israel proper? Neocons who oppose the Oslo Process are exhibiting a higher than usual degree of hypocrisy. At least the leftists are consistent on the issue, they want Israel destroyed along with the US. I suspect that this behavior on their part is at least one of the reasons Buchanan has gone ballistic.
Does it occur to Carl that upright men do not “go ballistic” in this fashion? The fact is that Buchanan and many of his followers in “going ballistic” simply embraced a politics of resentment and gave up any semblance of moral reasoning. Instead of saying that both Israel AND the United States have the right to preserve their ethnocultural identity and national existence, instead of insisting that the neocons support the same right for the United States that they support for Israel, the Buchananites in their anger (an anger further inflamed by the bigotry against Israel that they have sinfully nurtured in their hearts), abandoned the moral principle they supposedly believe in. They said that since Jewish neocons deny America the right to protect its cultural identity, we are going to deny Israel the right to protect its cultural identity—and even its physical existence. In short, the Buchananites have not sought, in the manner of moral men, to redress the double moral standard of the neocons, but have abandoned moral standards altogether by taking a position that is merely reactive and destructive.
Mr. Auster’s analysis is very similar to the one I’ve worked out over recent years. By no coincidence, ever since I found I couldn’t consider myself either a neocon or a paleocon, I’ve called myself an eclecticon.
I applaud your latest post. First, I am an American Traditionalist, not a paleo. I admire many of the Chronicles writers, such as Roger McGrath and Chilton Williamson. They at least stand up on the immigration issue. Frum sometimes seems to agree with us on immigration, then steps back.
I wonder if this isn’t a tactical ploy on the part of the NR crowd? With the Left and Dems behaving so vilely, the neocons see an opportunity to seize the center. They have to purge the hard right and libertarians in order to seem more appealing.
They must think they don’t need the old base any longer.
I don’t see the Frum piece as a “mostly justified attack” on some particular positions that then drags in immigration as an add-on. The point of the piece is to discredit every conservative that doesn’t see America as “remain[ing], in every important way, the America of 1941 and 1917 and 1861 and 1776.” He’s using the war for a purpose.
It’s an essential part of his point that ethnicity and particular culture have nothing to do with making a country — or at least America — what it is. The antiracist card is an essential part of Frum’s rhetorical armory, as the piece witnesses, and he seems to have a real personal commitment to it.
The idea is that if you think there are any really basic problems in American life he has no use for you and you ought to be driven out of public life. It’s all a seamless web:
“They began by hating the neoconservatives. They came to hate their party and this president. They have finished by hating their country.”
A lesson for all of us, I suppose.
Auster is wrong. Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, and even Bob Dole supported immigration restriction and a ban on welfare benefits for immigrants. In spite of this fact, they were denounced by Pat Buchanan over Israel and free trade. Since supporting immigration restrictions only got the GOP slapped in the face, the GOP stopped pushing the immigration issue. Why seem “anti-immigrant” if Pat and Co. then denounce you for not being anti-Semitic as well? The real “Big Lie” is that the GOP never supported immigration restriction, and that this is the cause of the neo/paleo split.
I agree with Mr. Kalb that Frum intends to use the anti-racism card to delegitimize any remnant of our historic culture and nationhood. But that doesn’t mean Frum’s specific criticisms of the anti-war right are untrue or unjustified. For example, is Mr. Kalb going to defend George Szamuely’s statement, quoted by Frum, that the world would be better off if Stalin returned from the dead to contain the evil American hegemon? As Matt and I were saying in another place, http://www.counterrevolution.net/vfr/archives/001283.html#4864,
it’s the paleocons’ own intemperateness, their refusal or inability to engage in rational discussion about the war, and their emerging (and by now undeniable) anti-Americanism, that has allowed Frum to discredit their (good) immigration positions by conflating them with their (indefensible) anti-war positions.
When I used the term “gone ballistic” I intended to convey the idea that PJB has lost all rationality - which I think he has - and has allowed his boiling anger at neocon double standards to blind him to such an extent that he has embraced a double standard which is the mirror image of that employed by Frum, Goldberg & Co. As Mr. Auster mentioned, it is possible to oppose the neocon agenda and support Israel’s right to exist as a viable nation with its own unique ethno-cultural characteristics at the same time. In fact, this position is really the only one consistent with traditionalist principles.
No, I’m not going to defend Szamuely?s statement and don’t understand the question. I was speaking about Frum and not Szamuely.
I don’t just second Carl’s statement, I hundredth it.
Mr. Kalb makes an excellent point about the neocon’s habit of playing the race card. Frum even attacked those who have shown the courage to point out that Martin Luther King was anything but the good Christian American hero who believed in equality under the law. I note that he was unable to refute any of the central facts which have come to light about King (Marxist fellow-traveler, plagarism, continual adulteries, support of racial priveledges and reparations), though. Marcus Epstein, who posts to VFR once in a while, wrote a devasting expose of the real King which first appeared on Lew Rockwell’s site. No one on the left or amongst the neocon crowd has been able to refute any of issues raised by Mr. Epstein. As with the left, they simply keep on repeating the stupid King mythology and refuse to address the ugly facts.
Mr. Kalb initially wrote: “I don’t see the Frum piece as a ‘mostly justified attack.’” But most of the Frum piece was about the paleocon right’s anti-war campaign, and it included quotes such as Szamuely’s. Now, if Mr. Kalb thinks Frum’s attack on, inter alia, the Szamuely quote was not justified, the implication is that Mr. Kalb thinks the Szamuely quote is not objectionable. So my question is a logical one and I don’t understand why Jim doesn’t understand it.
The Szamuely quote is particularly relevant since, when Matt initiated this discussion about Frum’s article yesterday at another thread, http://www.counterrevolution.net/vfr/archives/001283.html#4864, Matt quoted Frum’s quotes of Szamuely on Stalin and of Sam Francis on the white race, by way of showing how the anti-war right had gone so loony and anti-American that everything they said could now lumped together and discredited.
Auster might want to rethink his decision to cheer for Frum. To be sure, the NR piece rides quite a few of Auster’s favorite hobby-horses—paleoconservative critiques of Abraham Lincoln, right-wing anti-warriors, Pat Buchanan—but close to half of it is devoted to attacking concern for our “Euro-America ethnic core.” Isn’t Auster one of the boldest and clearest explicators of this concern?
The concluding four paragraphs make the meaning of Frum’s essay all too clear. The focus is on the “despair and alienation” of the paleoconservatives who reject the idea that our country has “remained, in every important way, the America of 1941 and 1917 and 1861 and 1776.”
When Frum urges NR readers to turn their backs on paleoconservatives, he is referring to Auster whether Auster wants to call himself a paleoconservative or not. I’m afraid all the cheering in the world for the attack isn’t going to save Auster from the neoconservative guillotine.
PS: Auster’s response to Kalb makes no sense. Kalb wrote that, pace Auster, Frum’s attack was not mostly justified. Auster responded by picking out one quote in the story and demanding Kalb defend it. But Kalb never said that he agreed with everything Frum attacks. There’s a very basic logical error at work in Auster’s response.
While I largely agreed with Frum’s criticisms of the anti-war right, I don’t see that I was cheering Frum, or that I have said anything suggesting that I am in any illusions about the neocons. As I’ve already indicated, I’m in agreement with Matt’s point that if we extended a hand of peace to the neocons, we’d end up with a severed stump. I ask Mr. May to read through this current article/discussion as well as the other current discussion I have linked above. I have made several points, criticizing both the neocons and the paleocons, and what I’ve said needs to be seen as a total picture. If traditionalist conservatives are going to get out of their current dead-end, they’ve got to learn to think beyond both the neocons AND the paleocons.
In the end the Frum piece is a dishonest smear that attempts to construct a moral equivalence where one doesn’t exist, so I suppose I can understand an objection to calling it a “mostly justified attack”. Every good lie entails a half truth, and paleos have handed Frum the true half on a silver platter in the time since 9-11. If they hadn’t Frum would more likely have remained the whining universalist utopian ninny that he was before 9-11 rather than one of the key neocons who will write the accepted story of our current circumstances. Paleos have given Frum a valid pretext by which to demonize traditionalism: they have put the weapon in his hands.
The dynamic is not new, of course. The renaissance Popes gave Martin Luther the pretext he needed to rebel to the left in a similar fashion, and the current Roman Catholic heirarchy has in recent decades created another (literally unholy, as in spawned by unholiness) division. The most likely outcome of the current dynamic is, in my view, that the postmodern order will self-destruct in violence and tyranny to make even the twentieth century look benign (Catholics might see this outcome as the Chastisement of Fatima).
That outcome isn’t strictly necessary, though. Repentance is possible, and it must start with traditionalists (just as it should have started hundreds of years ago not with the erstwhile reformers, but with the Roman Catholic heirarchy itself and the trads on the right). Trads must stop being the useful idiots providing fuel to the engine of liberalism. It is a difficult thing: it is asking far more and far better of trads than what we get from anyone else. I acknowledge that. But that doesn’t make it any less necessary.
Just to clarify, I wrote: “Frum wrote a mostly justified attack on the extreme, anti-American positions of the anti-war paleocons.” I did not say Frum’s attack on paleocons, qua paleocons, was mostly justified. I said his attack on “the extreme, anti-American positions” of the anti-war right, qua anti-war right, was mostly justified.
Good clarification. The hyperlink looks like bold type in my browser, so “mostly justified attack” really stands out. Maybe if “mostly justified” wasn’t bold and “attack […] paleocons” was it would read with the right emphasis.
Thanks for the acknowledgement, Matt. To clarify further what I meant by “mostly justified,” here are some excerpts from Frum’s indictment of the antiwar right (mostly coming from the first half of his article) that I agree with:
“These conservatives are relatively few in number, but their ambitions are large. They aspire to reinvent conservative ideology: to junk the 50-year-old conservative commitment to defend American interests and values throughout the world — the commitment that inspired the founding of this magazine — in favor of a fearful policy of ignoring threats and appeasing enemies.”
“But the antiwar conservatives have gone far, far beyond the advocacy of alternative strategies. They have made common cause with the left-wing and Islamist antiwar movements in this country and in Europe. They deny and excuse terror. They espouse a potentially self-fulfilling defeatism. They publicize wild conspiracy theories. And some of them explicitly yearn for the victory of their nation’s enemies.”
“And here is Patrick Buchanan that same day gloomily asserting that the United States would be as baffled by Osama bin Laden as the British Empire was by George Washington: ‘We remain unrivaled in material wealth and military dominance, but these are no longer the components of might… . Our instinct is the strongman’s impulse: hit back, harder. But like British Lobsterbacks dropped in a colonial wilderness, we don’t know this battle, and the weapons within our reach are blunt.’”
“Conspiracy-theorizing: Justin Raimondo, an Internet journalist who delivered Pat Buchanan’s nominating speech at the Reform party convention in 2000, alleged in December 2001 that Israel was implicated in the terror attacks of 9/11: ‘Whether Israeli intelligence was watching, overseeing, collaborating with or combating the bin Ladenites is an open question… . That the Israelis had some significant foreknowledge and involvement in the events preceding 9/11 seems beyond dispute.’ Raimondo has also repeatedly dropped broad hints that he believes the October 2001 anthrax attacks were the work of an American Jewish scientist bent on stampeding the U.S. into war.”
“Yearning for defeat: On January 30, 2002, Eric Margolis, the American-born foreign editor of the Toronto Sun, appealed to the leaders of the Arab world to unite in battle against the U.S. ‘What could Arabs do to prevent a war of aggression against Iraq that increasingly resembles a medieval crusade? Form a united diplomatic front that demands U.N. inspections continue. Stage an oil boycott of the U.S. if Iraq is attacked. Send 250,000 civilians from across the Arab World to form human shields around Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. Boycott Britain, Turkey, Kuwait, and the Gulf states that join or abet the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Withdraw all funds on deposit in U.S. and British banks. Accept payment for oil only in Euros, not dollars. Send Arab League troops to Iraq, so that an attack on Iraq is an attack on the entire League. Cancel billions worth of arms contracts with the U.S. and Britain. At least make a token show of male hormones and national pride.’”
[LA Note: Both the unhinged, conspiracy-mongering Raimondo and the vicious Eric Margolis have been published—more than once I believe—in The American Conservative. Are any Buchanan defenders here going to defend that?]
“Raimondo was more explicit still on March 12, 2003. Speaking of the negative consequences he foresaw of even a successful American campaign in Iraq, he wrote: ‘It is a high price to pay for ‘victory’ — so high that patriots might almost be forgiven if they pine for defeat.’”
As Mr. Auster mentioned, it is possible to oppose the neocon agenda and support Israel’s right to exist as a viable nation with its own unique ethno-cultural characteristics at the same time.</i?
In what ways does Buchanan oppose this? I have never heard him say that Israel must not remain an ethnonationalist state (I think Chomsky has). Do you mean Buchanan’s call for Israel to dismantle its settlements?
In a recent I quoted John Henry Newman to the effect that some factions “are so intemperate and intractable that there is no greater calamity for a good cause than that they should get hold of it.” We might apply this to some on both sides of this rancorous debate: the neocons in their anathematizing malevolence and the extreme anti-war paleocons in their vituperative uncharity.
I gave up on Buchanan two years ago. I should have done so long before. I’m no neocon, but Frum’s critique of the anti-war Paleocon’s is spot on. They have effectively joined the anti-American left and the Muslim Jihadis. Because of this, they have in my opinion given up any right to claim to be conservatives, of any stripe.
Earth to Kim: Buchanan is hostile to Israel’s very existence. When the Israelis finally went into the West Bank last year to clean out terrorists after a year of passively enduring suicide mass murders, Buchanan’s response was to call the Israelis “the mirror image of Hamas and Hezbollah.” At the same time he mainstreamed the Palestinian terrorists as reasonable persons who want nothing more than to stop Israeli settlements, and he makes believe that this depraved Palestinian terrorist culture, which celebrates making its children into suicide bombers, is capable and willing of forming a viable state, if Israeli would just accommodate itself to them. In short, he views Israel as a terrorist state that shouldn’t have the right to defend itself, while he views the actual terrorists as legitimate figures.
Wake up Kim. See Buchanan as he is.
I read the David Frum article in full and could find little wrong about it. He only confirmed my view that the Buchananites and many paleoconservatives are goose steeping their way to their own Nuremburg rally. The similarity of paleo ideology with that of the virulent anti-American and Jew hating ideology of the European “New Right” and Third Positionists is undeniable. I will not be suprised on the day that I see “Death to America! Death to Israel!” splashed across the front of the ‘American Conservative’ or Chronicles.
From the David Frum article:
“They began by hating the neoconservatives. They came to hate their party and this president. They have finished by hating their country.
War is a great clarifier. It forces people to take sides. The paleoconservatives have chosen — and the rest of us must choose too. In a time of danger, they have turned their backs on their country. Now we turn our backs on them.”
Shawn wrote: “I read the David Frum article in full and could find little wrong about it. He only confirmed my view that the Buchananites and many paleoconservatives are goose steeping their way to their own Nuremburg rally. The similarity of paleo ideology with that of the virulent anti-American and Jew hating ideology of the European “New Right” and Third Positionists is undeniable. I will not be suprised on the day that I see “Death to America! Death to Israel!” splashed across the front of the ‘American Conservative’ or Chronicles.”
Speaking of goose “steeping,” [sic] you do a better job of propagandizing than Goebbels ever could.
Congratulations to Lawrence Auster for making Zionism a tenet of traditionalism.
FYI, NR is set to publish this piece as it’s lead story in the Apr. 7 issue. They obviously now view us as a threat whereas before they completely ignored us. It’s too bad for them that virtually no one outside of NYC and DC actually reads NR.
“Congratulations to Lawrence Auster for making Zionism a tenet of traditionalism.”
Isn’t this a false dichotomy, though? Is it strictly necessary to be either unapologetically for everything Israel wants on the one hand (Zionist), or advocate crimes against it and its outright destruction on the other? And aren’t such false dichotomies intrinsically anti-traditional?
Mr. Eubanks writes:
“They obviously now view us as a threat whereas before they completely ignored us.”
It isn’t as though Buchanan has been completely ignored by the neocons up until now. One possible interpretation is that the neocons see this as an opportunity to finish off the paleos; an opportunity created by the paleo response to 9-11.
“Congratulations to Lawrence Auster for making Zionism a tenet of traditionalism.” — Telos
Ohhhh, but Zionism IS a form of traditionalism, Telos. It is not traditionalism for Scotland or for Lombardy or for Dixie or for Flanders or for Austria, any more than the traditionalism of these places is traditionalism for Israel. Every place and people have their own traditionalism.
Can’t you see that when a place asserts traditionalism for itself it is doing what Zionists do when they assert it for Israel? Zionism not only IS an example of traditionalism, but is a particularly striking and successful example of it (perhaps, in ways, an example for others to emulate?).
Notice that former Prime Minister of Israel, Simon Perez, doesn’t seem to advocate Zionist traditionalism, calling those of his coutrymen who do “the Jews” in implicit disapproval.
“Congratulations to Lawrence Auster for making Zionism a tenet of traditionalism.”
I don’t know what it actually means to be called a Zionist as a term of disapprobation. I believe that Israel—like England, like Ireland, like France—is an existing nation that has the right to exist, and I defend her existence against those who would destroy her, of whom there are many. But now that I think about it, since Zionism was the movement that founded the state of Israel, I guess it makes sense to call a person who defends the existence of Israel a Zionist. By this definition, a large majority of the American people, as well as all U.S. presidents since 1948, have been Zionists. (Which I guess is what’s meant by “Zionist Occupied Government.”) By the same token, it would follow that if a person is an anti-Zionist, he is AGAINST the existence of the state of Israel. Thus those who attack other people as “Zionists” are confessing the very thing they vociferously deny: that they themselves are against the Jewish state and want it to cease existing.
An American who, in his own mind and through the use of dishonest rhetoric, self-consciously puts Israel’s interests above those of America’s can legitimately be called a “zionist” in a negative sense, it seems to me. Someone who hates Jews qua Jews and wishes them harm can legitimately be called an anti-Semite, also. There are doubtless many particular people to whom either label legitimately applies (though Mr. Auster isn’t one of them).
There is a paradox here. Part of what a viable traditionalism will require is a proper policing of our own: thus the need to call out anti-Semitism and the negative class of subtextually anti-American Zionism where we see it forming in our own ranks. The other part though is maintaining a civilized space in between where common cause among men of good faith is possible.
That means that terms like “anti-Semite” and “Zionist” should be used in much the same way as military power is used: sparingly, only when necessary, and with overwhelming force.
The problem with that of course is that the global war of words is pervasive, assymetrical, and is waged without any rules of civilized conduct. So sporadic gunfire and explosion is constant. But ideally that shouldn’t impact our intrinsic reluctance to fire the weapon, and our willingness to kill with devastating force if we do choose to fire.
Our context for this principle is neocon traitors (and those like Frum who never were conservative) on the one side, and (many) anti-American paleo deserters on the other. There is no easy solution to finding the right balance of amnesty versus hanging the traitors, but any hope of common cause will require some of both.
Justin Raimondo is about as conservative as Hanoi Jane Fonda.
“Justin Raimondo is about as conservative as Hanoi Jane Fonda.”
that’s not an argument shawn. only blather. why don’t you back up your words with an argument. and i don’t mean your typical non-argument anti-catholic kind.
He doesn’t claim to be conservative but a paleoliberterian. The word “conservative” in modern America has now been rendered devoid of any specific content.
Then why does Buchanan call his magazine The American Conservative? Obviously the word has meaning to him, and furthermore, he seems to think that Raimondo is in harmony with such conservatism, since Raimondo is a contributor.
Agreed that the word conservative has all kind of problems, yet people, including me, keep using it, because it has a resonance and a conventional usefulness and there’s no available substitute.
I only reported what Raimondo has said of himself. The National Review and Weekly Standard have libertarian and even Objectivist (Randian) columists occasionally. Some of these have wrote for Reason Magazine.
I said “specific” content like the word Trotskite, Monarchist or Objectivist would have. I agree that English has not yet developed better political terminology for the right as it has for the left (most of which was imported from Russian). Reactionary?
As a deeply flawed human being, I simply cannot resist the temptation to say I told you so. The neocons are pumped up like Andy Sullivan on steroids now they have their war. Mr. Auster, Matt and others were living in a dream world if they thought that neocons would moderate their positions on immigration reform if they got their way on this war.
In fact, the logic of neocon policy, which is US hegemony over the entire globe, demands immigration. One aspect of US power is demographic growth, which is far more reliably achieved by importing people than trying to improve native-born birth rates. The typical republican sees an illegal Mexican as cheap labor, the neocon sees him (or his offspring) as cannon fodder for their global crusade.
“Mr. Auster, Matt and others were living in a dream world if they thought that neocons would moderate their positions on immigration reform if they got their way on this war.”
Mr. Young assigns an argument to myself and Mr. Auster that we have never made. Indeed, on numerous occasions we have made the exact opposite point; but it seems to be in the nature of this topic that some on the anti-war right will hear “black” when one says “white”.
“Mr. Auster, Matt and others were living in a dream world if they thought that neocons would moderate their positions on immigration reform if they got their way on this war.”
As Matt has already pointed out, neither he nor I have ever said anything like this, in fact we’ve said the exact opposite. So whence comes Mr. Young’s notion that we did say it? My theory is that it’s a symptom of the reactive polarization that has taken over the minds of so many people on the paleo right, who now tend to see things not in terms of ideas but in terms of personalities, of friends and enemies. If someone agrees with your enemy on some particular issue, that must mean that he’s alligned with your enemy on all issues. So, Matt and I had agreed with SOME things that neocons have said, namely about the war and about the antiwar right. Therefore Mr. Young assumes that we’re in agreement with the neocons on other issues as well.
At least, that’s my theory.
Notice the phrase Matt and Mr. Auster stress is in the conditional. However, Mr. Auster wants to know where I got the idea. Well, I am extrapolating from Mr. Auster’s claim that paleos are making themselves irrelevant by opposing this war. Perhaps I extrapolate too much. What exactly does Mr. Auster mean by irrelevance? Irrelevant on what issue(s)? Is the claim that supporting this war would lead to more public support for paleo positions, thus making paleos more relevant in everyday politics? I am seriously trying to understand Mr. Auster’s point about irrelevance.
Mr. Auster may or may not have a point in that neocons are trying to use the (current) popularity of this war to press their agenda on other fronts by associating antiwar conservatives with immigration restriction. However, I don’t think that public opinion on immigration will be seriously affected by whether Charlie Reese or PJB supported this war.
“Is the claim that supporting this war would lead to more public support for paleo positions, thus making paleos more relevant in everyday politics?”
I can’t speak for Mr. Auster, but I think that there was a legitimate post-911 opportunity for paleos to advocate against national suicide via unassimilable immigration. That opportunity would have required taking the issue of physical security seriously, though, and instead paleos have squandered the opportunity; squandered it in part by making an irrational inviolable principle of isolationism and by refusing to even discuss physical security as a serious issue, since doing so would have required — horrors! — tacit agreement with neocons on a few things. Paleos like Buchanan, Sobran, Rockwell, et al had a rare opportunity to make genuine broad scale public advances for traditionalism by using the neocons’ concern for security against them. Instead paleos have chosen, apparently out of ego or some other irrational vice, to commit the equivalent of ideological suicide.
What Matt has rightly suggested is that the paleos should have showed concern BOTH about physical threats AND about the immigration/cultural/demographic threats, saying “we agree with the neocons on the physical threat, but to be serious about the physical threat, we’ve also got to be serious about immigration.” This would have been a consistent, principled, adult position that might have had a real effect on the national debate. But the paleos couldn’t do that, because to side with the hated neocons on ANY issue seems to them total treason, a loss of their very selves. So instead the paleos irrationally ATTACKED the neocons on the GOOD neocon cause of physical security, while becoming almost silent about their own good cause of immigration reform.
They did a similar thing vis a vis Israel. Instead of taking a principled position and defending BOTH the beseiged Israeli nation and our own nation, and calling on the neocons to show the same concern for our own national integrity that they show for Israel’s, the paleos demonized the Israeli nation.
What this pattern of behavior shows, for the upteenth time, is that the paleos are guided not by principle but by resentment. And, as for the ultimate object of the resentment, I do not think it a coincidence that the two groups the paleos hate most, the neoconservatives and Israel, are Jewish.
As for Mr. Young’s question about irrelevance, I’d say the paleos have made themselves irrelevant in two ways. They made themselves irrelevant on the war issue specifically, not merely because they “opposed” the war, but because of the manner in which they opposed it and the arguments they used, which showed they had nothing of value to contribute to the debate. At the same time, they discredited themselves in a broader sense through their embrace of a politics of irrationalism, resentment, and anti-Americanism.
“What Matt has rightly suggested is that the paleos should have showed concern BOTH about physical threats AND about the immigration/cultural/demographic threats, saying ‘we agree with the neocons on the physical threat, but to be serious about the physical threat, we’ve also got to be serious about immigration.’ This would have been a consistent, principled, adult position that might have had a real effect on the national debate. But the paleos couldn’t do that, because to side with the hated neocons on ANY issue seems to them total treason, a loss of their very selves. So instead the paleos irrationally ATTACKED the neocons on the GOOD neocon cause of physical security, while becoming almost silent about their own good cause of immigration reform.” — Lawrence Auster
Just as it was to be hoped that paleos not “throw out the baby with the bathwater” by opposing action against Iraq partly out of resentment at the neos, may it be hoped that neos not do the same by continuing to oppose immigration reform partly out of resentment at paleos? (Neos, of course, feel they have other reasons for wanting open borders — but let not pique at the paleos be one of them please, messieurs les néos. I don’t think it’s unfair to ask that.)