My exchange with Andrew Bostom

Since Robert Spencer is complaining that I’ve posted his e-mails to me without the context of my discussion with Andrew Bostom, which context supposedly justifies all of Spencer’s statements about me as a liar and so forth, here is my entire exchange with Bostom and the two other unnamed notables. Since Spencer’s e-mails kept coming to me and I did not reply, they are not reproduced again here, except for the ones that I referenced in my subsequent e-mails to the group. As you read my exchange with Bostom, compare the substance and tone of my remarks therein with the substance and tone of Spencer’s e-mails to me, two of which are quoted here and all of which are quoted in the parallel entry.

From: Andrew Bostom
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 7:20.a.m.


Please explain to me how you will get beyond writing “No more Muslim immigration”, ad nauseum, in practical terms—politically and legislatively. I want a concrete plan that is consistent with both our currrent laws and political realities, including an assessment of the enormous obstacles to your goal, and how you would overcome them. Otherwise your criticism of others is just angry blather. I’d like all people to engage in aerobic exercise daily, and not consume excess calories to reduce the burden of heart disease and diabetes. I can scream that every day and it will have no impact beyond transmittting the words to the ether unless I outline and engage in a formal plan of action which aknowledges the enormous obstacles to be overcome.

As Paul Simon wrote and sang, “Get a new plan Stan”

From: Lawrence Auster
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 10:18 AM

Andy, as you well know I’ve laid out many times what I think ought to be done in as much detail as is possible at this point, and I will summarize it again below. Why do you act as if I haven’t? It’s not necessary to have an “action plan” toward the passage of legislation. I’m not in the Congress. I’m arguing to the reading public what ought to be done. The very fact of my making that argument affects public thinking and affects what can be done and thus helps create NEW political realities. That is what is known as intellectual leadership. For you to dismiss my consistent logical argument in this area as “angry blather” is an embarrassment to yourself. It puts you in the same class as Spencer—a person who never stops warning as loudly as he can that Islam is the most horrible thing there is, but who never says that the only real way to protect the West from this growing threat is to stop Muslim immigration, and, worse, who ATTACKS people who, unlike himself, do argue consistently on the issue and call on others to do so. You’ve been warning the country about the horrors of Islam for four years in innumerable articles and a large book. Yet you’ve never had a single syllable to say about how to lessen and reverse the actual increasing presence and power of Islam in our country. And yet you have the audacity to attack me, who DOES argue consistently on the issue and who calls on others to argue consistently, for writing “angry blather.”

The practical meaning of what you mean by “angry blather” is, when someone criticizes your friends, and you don’t have a logical response.

Here is what I say should be done, what I’ve been saying over and over since 2004:

1. Declare that Islam is not just a religion but a political movement aimed at gaining power, and therefore the individual beliefs of individual Muslims matter less than the overall presence of Islam among us which strengthens the Islamic political agenda. Therefore (1) Islam is not a religion receiving protections under the First Amendment, and (2) Islam is not welcome in this country. Also declare that America renounces multiculturalism, the idea that all cultures are equal, and that it intends to go on existing as a distinct country with a distinct culture and way of life and will in the future adopt laws consistent with that purpose.

This declaration is the basis of everything that follows.

2. Cease all further immigration of Muslims, from whatever country, with only special individual exceptions for close relatives, etc.

3. Make resident aliens leave. This could start with singling out resident aliens with jihad associations, but then if deemed necessary be upped to include all Muslims resident aliens.

4. Make all Muslims illegal aliens leave.

5. Examine the beliefs, associations, statements, and actions of all naturalized Muslim citizens. Those who are jihad supporters will lose their citizenship and be made to go back to their country of origin.

6. Leave open as an option doing the same with natural born American citizens who are children of Muslim immigrants, as I discussed in my 2004 article at FP, “How to Defeat Jihad in America.”

7. Outlaw all mosques and Muslim schools and Muslim organizations that preach jihad and sharia or that disseminate literature advancing jihad and sharia.

8. Urge other non-Islamic countries to do the same, with the aim of initiating a vast worldwide Rollback of the Muslim “diaspora” back into the Muslim lands.

That’s it.

Also, I have NOT insisted that other people agree with me on all these points, far from it. What I have done is lay out the MINIMUM position that Islam critics need to take to be consistent with their warnings about Islam, in the below article:

The minimum

For any commentator who describes Islamization as a calamity that must be prevented at all costs, here is what I would see as the minimum position on Muslim immigration and the regulation of the Islamic religion that is consistent with such a view:

  • All new mass immigration of Muslims under the national quotas and other general immigration laws, not just from Muslim countries, but from all countries, must stop. Only select numbers of Muslim individuals with particular connections to the U.S., of a family or business nature for example, can be admitted.

  • To the extent possible, all Muslims here illegally must be found and be made to leave (the U.S. made a nice start of that in 2002 and 2003 when it got a large number of Pakistani illegals to depart voluntarily).

  • All legal resident alien Muslims must be subjected to a Robert Spencer-style examination of their beliefs and allegiances. Anyone found to support sharia and jihad, or who on the basis of his background and associations, can be reasonably expected to support sharia and jihad, will be deported. As compared with the outright exclusion of prospective immigrants that I propose above, the milder expedient of a questionnaire is suitable in the cases of legal residents because these are persons who have already been admitted to the U.S.

  • Mosques and Muslim schools must be closely examined and monitored for promotion of jihadist beliefs and those that fail the test will be closed.

That is not the totality of what may need to be done. It is the minimum of what needs to be done. In my view, any commentator who goes on and on about the horrors of Islamization that are facing the West, and who doesn’t support doing at least this much to stop it, is not a serious person and is wasting our time.

Robert Spencer says that Muslims should be asked their views of sharia in order to determine if they are prospective loyal citizens of the West. I think that’s a fine idea. It’s a good thing to get people to tell us their true opinions, so we can know where they really stand. Therefore I think Spencer and other the Islam critics should be asked their views of what ought to be done to stop the Islamization of the West, in order to determine if they are serious Islam critics.

Posted in View from the Right on December 29, 2006 06:48 PM

Andy, I call on you, as well as Spencer, Phillips, Steyn, Glazov, and all the rest of the Islam critics, to adopt a political position minimally consistent with your own dread warnings about political Islam.

Lawrence Auster

P.S. Rep. Virgil Goode has said that Islamic immigration is a danger to our society and ought to stop. Do you support him for saying that, or do you oppose him? Based on your letter to me, you ought to oppose him. So, lay your cards on the table, Andy: do you support or oppose Rep. Goode? Show me where you’re really at.

From: Andrew Bostom
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 10:41.a.m.

Not so fast…Where are the legislative & political details, or are you planning your own Beer Hall Putsch?

The Devil is in the details. You mock what Spencer has done, and chastise him for not adhering to your orthodoxy, but again, what you’ve written is NOT a plan with practical steps towards implementation.

I go back to my obesity/sedentary lifestyle and heart disease/diabetes analogy: at least I have participated in educational programs and efforts by the American Heart Association and the National Institues of Health to put policies in effect that encourage activity and better dietary choices…not that the overall results are all that wonderful (which is also revealing), but a serious effort has been made….Again, I am not just yelling at the public “You are too fat and lazy! Stop eating so much and go out and exercise !!!”

You come up with a real legislative blueprint that makes sense and I’ll be happy to join you !!!!

From: Lawrence Auster
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 11:08.a.m.

So, in other words, you AGREE with my overall aims. You just want a detailed political action plan including a legislative proposal in a form to be presented in Congress. And that’s your only objection?

The demand for a detailed political action plan from me, who am a writer, not a politician, is silly. Any political movement starts with overall principles and objectives. That’s what I’ve laid out. Since you evidently AGREE with my aims, you should support me instead of attacking me. Isn’t it more important to band together on the basis of common principles and aims, and then work out the details later? For you to attack my ideas while demanding tactical and legislative details at this point is to get everything backward. It is astonishing that you agree with my principles and aims, and then you attack me for my supposed “angry blather” and my supposed demand that others “adhere to my orthodoxy,” while you emotionally defend Spencer, who does not share my principles and aims.

However, I will say this. The main constitutional basis of the plan is the determination, which could be made by an act of Congress, that Islam is and always has been a political religion seeking conquest and power, and therefore, as a political movement not a mere religion, Islam does not come under First Amendment protections. No Constitutional amendment is required, only the determination that Islam is a political religion. Now we could fine-tune that. We could say that any variety of Islam that is truly a religion, not a political religion, would not come under this legislation. But I am personally suspicious of that, because, as even Dinesh D’Souza admits, the moderate Muslims, whom he wants us to to ally ourselves with, have more solidarity with the radical Muslims than with us.

By the way, regarding what Spencer wrote yesterday:

Sunni/Shi’ite Jihad coming soon to a city near you. Doesn’t it occur to anyone who reads stories like this that it might not be a good idea to import this problem? Maybe immigration policies need a review? Or is the fog that grips Washington just too thick for that?

Hmm, it sounds as though Spencer, albeit in his indirect and cautious way (a rhetorical question containing two negatives), is expressing a wish that Muslim immigration be ended. Based on your attack on me for calling for an end to Muslim immigration, can we also expect you to attack Spencer for not laying out a detailed political and legislative proposal on how this is to be done? By your lights, what right has he to suggest that we should stop importing Islam, in the absence of “a plan with practical steps towards implementation”? Why the double standard?

From: Robert Spencer
To: Andrew Bostom ; Lawrence Auster
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 1:10.p.m.
Subject: Re: What is to be done about Islam

“…Spencer, who does not share my principles and aims.”

I just affirmed that I did, earlier today, share the principles and aims he outlines here (I am not speaking for anything else he may affirm elsewhere), and am working on practical ways to make them into policy. He responds by ignoring that and affirming the contrary.

Bottom line: Lawrence Auster is, when it comes to my position on immigration, simply not an honest man.

From: Lawrence Auster
To: Andrew Bostom
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 1:29.p.m.
Subject: Re: What is to be done about Islam

Now your friend Spencer—whom you keep including in this e-mail exchange though I do not write to him myself—writes that I am “not an honest man.” You attacked me for my “angry blather” simply for laying out a position on immigration and calling for Spencer, whom I called our “foremost Islam critic,” to adopt a more consistent position on that issue himself. Now Spencer says I am “not an honest man.” Will you defend me from this personal attack and take Spencer to task for making it? Or are you simply the partisan of Spencer? Time to show us what you’re made of, Andy.

From: Robert Spencer
To: Andrew Bostom ; Lawrence Auster
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 2:32.p.m.
Subject: Auster: Truth challenged

Speaking of Auster retailing falsehoods about me, he posted this today: “I’ve also criticized Robert Spencer, who is a Catholic and calls himself a conservative, for uncritically embracing and approving this enemy of Christianity, whom he calls his ‘hero.’”

Ironically enough, I posted this about Hirsi Ali earlier today, but why bother with accuracy if you are the great Lawrence Auster?

From: Lawrence Auster
To: Andrew Bostom
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 3:03.p.m.
Subject: Re: Auster: Truth challenged

added to: Hirsi Ali, the conservatives’ hero, lets it all hang out

I’m happy to see that Robert Spencer writing at Jihad Watch today took strong exception to Hirsi Ali’s disgusting attack on Christianity—the first time to my knowledge that he has distanced himself from her on this point. Spencer seems to be finally waking up to the fact that Ali is not someone to be embraced uncritically, as he did last year when he lauded her as his hero.

I found out about the Spencer comment on Ali from Spencer himself, who wrote to several people including me:

Speaking of Auster retailing falsehoods about me, he posted this today: “I’ve also criticized Robert Spencer, who is a Catholic and calls himself a conservative, for uncritically embracing and approving this enemy of Christianity, whom he calls his ‘hero.’”

Ironically enough, I posted this about Hirsi Ali earlier today, but why bother with accuracy if you are the great Lawrence Auster?

Now there is classic Spencer for you. Instead of simply informing me of the fact, as any normal person would have done, that he had criticized Ali in this instance, he says that I am dishonest and don’t care about accuracy. And why am I dishonest? Because I didn’t mention an article of his that I didn’t know about until he told me about it. Of course, as soon as he told me about it, I added that point to the blog entry. But if I were the liar and smearer that Spencer repeatedly accuses me of being, I would not have added the correction, would I?

From: Andrew Bostom
To: Lawrence Auster ; Robert Spencer
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 3:16.p.m.

Subject: I have one last idea Fellas…

I have one last idea Fellas…We ALL have books to complete…Let’s just put our efforts into that formidable task and help each other get out our mutually reinforcing although not 100% compatible messages, so we can all reach the public and have them decide what sounds tenable. Sound like a plan??

Regardless, it is MY plan for MOI !!!

Signing off on this debate/debacle !!!!!!!!!!!

From: Lawrence Auster
To: Andrew Bostom
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 3:28.p.m.
Subject: Re: I have one last idea Fellas…

Pretty sad response, Andy. You lectured me and insulted my arguments as nothing but “angry blather.” But when it came to Spencer’s attack on my honesty, you had nothing to say against that, and now seek to bow out of the exchange that you started.

There are two ways of interpreting this. You are simply a partisan of Spencer. Or you are a coward.

In any case, you have lost any legitimacy to criticize my writings about Spencer, since it is plain you simply take his side no matter what and will not say a word against his personal smears against me.

I subsequently wrote again to Andrew Bostom saying:

You started this by writing to me attacking me and sending a bcc to Spencer (whom you know I do not write to), which allowed him to write increasingly aggressive e-mails calling me a liar. You’ve taken his side against my legitimate intellectual criticisms of him, but you say nothing against his personal smears of me.

I called on Bostom to “tell Spencer that he’s totally out of line in calling me dishonest and a liar and that he’s got to stop this.” Bostom wrote back:

Maybe I am stooopid, but I don’t see the big insult…This is just silliness as far as I am concerned, and I wish it would stop…

Thus Andy Bostom unleashed Spencer on me by bcc’ing him in our exchange, he did not object to a single one of Spencer’s smears of me, and when I called on him to do so, he wimped out, dissociating himself from the situation that he had helped create. The upshot is that no one in Spencer’s circle will reprove him for his wrongheaded obsessed attacks on me, and he feels licensed to continue in them. However, my criticism of the “Usual Suspects” stands, and I will not be moved from it, notwithstanding the efforts of some of them to isolate and intimidate me.

- end of initial entry -

Jeff in England has kept me focused on the problem of the Islam critics who remain silent about the only real solution to the Islam problem, and he also gave them the piquant name “the Usual Suspects.” He had several comments on the exchange. Jeff of course is a great lover of Bob Dylan, whose songs he paraphrases in the subject lines of his e-mails, some of which, as well as some of his comments, though they are very clever and offered in a spirit of fun, I have, in the interests of not inflaming Spencer further, deleted or abridged.

In reply to my blog entry, “Spencer sticks his toe in the forbidden waters,” Jeff wrote:


You’ve got to laugh. Rather you’ve got to cry. After all these arguments and insults and all his columns and interviews he now realises that it “MIGHT NOT BE A GOOD IDEA TO IMPORT THIS PROBLEM”!! How is it possible these people are considered serious thinkers? How? …



God, the paranoid fantasy land Spencer is in regarding you besides the denial he has been in about Muslims needing to be kept out. He really thinks you are trying to discredit him. As if you were in a million years trying to bring the guy down. Larry, if you were doing that I would have told you. You’ve never tried to bring me down even while trying (and sometimes succeeding) to destroy me in argument. Ditto for every other correspondence I’ve read which you have with people.

Wow, Spencer really can’t be communicated with. Nor could Yerushalmi in a different way. It always amazes me when you discover that a person is really delusional which to me is how he (and Yerushalmi) seems to be about you. He has tried to weave a web of victimhood when deep down he has to know that he hasn’t provided any substantial solutions to the issue at hand.

That’s the key, they have to assume the role as victim to cover their weaknesses in argument. Ironically I admire both Spencer and Yerushalmi for their contributions (as you do) and in the latter’s case for his attempted solution to the Muslim problem even if it way over the top.

Regarding my first reply to Andrew Bostom, Jeff wrote:

Excellent reply to another Suspect. Bostom’s tone of voice can sound nasty and tough but he really is as weak as all the other Suspects. I don’t know how he doesn’t acknowledge the plans you’ve laid out before. Essentially he is moaning about you to cover his own lack of anything to contribute on this issue. So again I agree with your immediate reply and feel that even if your plan is not perfect it is a hell of a lot better than suggesting nothing. What is with these people? It really is like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” They’ve been taken over by identical aliens from pods who have no desire to solve the Muslim problem.

In reply to Spencer’s e-mail of 1:10 p.m., Jeff wrote:


They all have to be dragged to begin to admit that they haven’t been doing their job: provide a solution to the Islam problem. So they cover themselves in more and more tangled webs (I can barely follow them but I laugh at each new one) but I suspect they know very well that you (we) are “right” or have at least that we attempted to do something about the problem and they haven’t. Which leaves them even more feelings of guilt. Which is why they are weaving and tangling all the time. They are in incredible denial the lot of them. Freud must be turning in his grave. But Spencer’s admission, even if he qualifies it (and Bostom qualifies it further) may be some sort of breakthrough in his and the other suspects’ thought processes. Maybe. Finally, your question to Bostom, “why the double standard?” says it all. Why indeed!

David H. writes:

I remember once writing that you will be vindicated someday. It brings me no pleasure to see the liberal “right” behaving in this manner, and like typical liberal behavior is it sadly unsurprising, yet I am encouraged by your show of strength and your resolve not to compromise.

Mr. Bostom wrote:

“Not so fast … Where are the legislative & political details, or are you planning your own Beer Hall Putsch?”

Interesting that he invokes the Beer Hall Putsch of Adolf Hitler. When he could have simply written a coup d’etat, a junta, or simply “putsch.” This choice of words in no way reflects poorly on you, nor is it so easily dismissed as a “glib” remark. Serious thinkers know who in this day and age engages in throwing around accusations like “Nazi,” “Hitler,” and associated names and phrases. Fools who blithely use such comparisons do so at the hazard of revealing their true nature.

Ron C. writes:

I’ve been following the recent exchange between yourself, Bostom, and Spencer.

In some respects, these two, like other “conservatives,” are really liberal when action is demanded. I have noticed how so-called conservatives such as Prager and Steyn come out with a torrent of words “from the conservative side” on any topic yet draw back from taking any action. It has become all too facile for conservative columnists to “word” their way through any problems.

This is why Bostom labels your proposals as a “Beer Hall Putsch” because he perceives—as a liberal—that any willful action is fascist. He wants to stay within the realm of “words” and fears activity.

It has become all too simple to predict how columnists such as Jacoby and Prager will react to situations and what words they will use—as if there were a canon of “conservative” attitudes to be expressed in a certain verbal pattern. And they cannot move outside their verbal frameworks when someone such as yourself asks for action. Their “conservative” verbosity ensures them a platform (and I guess money) without having to commit to any action.

It has actually become very funny for me to read someone like Prager or Steyn who predictably weave certain “conservative” word patterns along familiar lines. And yet one senses that they would not move one finger to ensure that their conservative verbal world became a social, physical reality. Which gives them an aura of simply being Hallmark Cards of Conservatism without any depth.

BTW concerning this astronaut fiasco—all the astronauts involved are married with families—and yet all are romantically entangled with each other. Political correctness at NASA yields dysfunctional relationships … and these people map the cosmos for us … God truly must be laughing …

James S. writes:

In one of your later emails to Bostom you wrote: “So, in other words, you AGREE with my overall aims. You just want a detailed political action plan including a legislative proposal in a form to be presented in Congress. And that’s your only objection?”

The simple, easy, obvious reply to this never came and it would have been next to nothing for him to just say “yes.” Or even “no.” His next email was the one that said he was too busy writing a book to continue. So is he afraid of having to say, having to go on record that he agrees with your overall aims?

Once one is alerted to it, the Usual Suspects’ omission of any clear statement against increasing numbers of Muslims in the United States is easy to see. E.g. Robert Spencer’s recent opening paragraph: “As for illegal immigration, I am opposed to it across the board, and as for monitoring mosques, I have called for it repeatedly—see, for example, this article from March 2003.” A year and half ago I wouldn’t have noticed what R.S. is emphatically not saying here. But then I started reading VFR.

Although I must not be reading VFR close enough: I didn’t know Bostom was a Suspect. You quote him frequently. and it’s always positive. I had the impression that he was a stronger, less public version of Robert Spencer; that he had not yet signed on to Separationism but that that wouldn’t be a problem.

Lastly, I’m trying to think of how he could think you “mock what Spencer has done.” Is Bostom perhaps over-reacting to the VFR treatment of Spencer’s screening questionnaire idea? I think I would have mocked it in the past, when it seemed his only proposed protection against a threat to our civilization, but the added plan that we could then use the answers as a binding contract in order to deport Muslims makes it tougher. BUT, if we’re going to be printing a questionnaire, why not use the first question to ask whether the person is a Muslim? Being a Muslim is a real thing, a status, and so discriminating based on it cannot constitute punishing “thought-crime.” Doesn’t this get around his objection? Some comments on Jihad Watch make this point. What else might Bostom have interpreted as mockery?

LA replies:

If James S. has become a better reader through VFR, the student has surpassed the teacher! I missed the significance of Bostom’s refusal to answer my question that James mentions, and I also missed that trick of Spencer’s that James points to.

I’ve never criticized Bostom on his failure to discuss immigration because Bostom has not been a political writer. He has not been, in the mode of a Spencer or a Phillips or a Prager, warning us in fervid tones that the Muslims are gaining power and this means the end of the world and then remaining stone cold silent about the only way of stopping this from happening. His mode has been much more scholarly, providing information about Islamic doctrine, belief and history, and not dealing with contemporary events. But with the way he attacked me in this exchange, telling me that the ideas I’ve been putting forward on Muslim immigration reform for the last three years (a subject to which he has never contributed a single syllable) are worthless nonsense unless I add a detailed political action plan on how to pass it; and then avoiding the question of whether he would support my ideas if I added such a political action plan; and then standing by passively while Spencer, whom he had included in the discussion, kept calling me a liar; and then refusing to say anything against Spencer’s smears of me even when I called on him to do so; and then dropping out of the discussion that HE had started, makes him a practical ally of the “Suspects.”

Bruce B. writes:

Ron C. writes “Hallmark Cards of Conservatism” in your exchange with Bostom.

That’s a GREAT phrase that should make its way into our vocabulary. Something like “Hallmark Card Conservatism“ would describe the emotive drivel that comes from lots of Republicans and right-liberals. Here’s a good example of yours that I remember. Lots of stuff like this gets passed around work by Republicans and I would wager that it really does influence their voting and even fundamental thought processes.

Also, it seems like the Evangelical Right could be described as “Hallmark Card Christians.”

Forgot to tell you in the last message but your reply to Dr. Bostom was first rate.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 06, 2007 06:53 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):