Asking myself how to deal with SANE

I said that I would be replying to David Yerushalmi’s response to and re-working of my Draft statement on Islam, but have not yet done so. Part of the reason is that I have not been up to serious writing for the last week or so, and part of the reason is explained by what Yerushalmi, under his corporate name SANE, posted at his website today:

Farah is reliable in his assessment of Islam. Tue, February 27, 2007, 01:28 PM 2/27: The only way to save Europe is “to re-evangelize Europe”.

But Auster is even better than Farah. Tue, February 27, 2007, 01:29 PM 2/27: Because he undertands that if we are in any way relying on a transformation by Muslims to save the West and the US from Islam, that is foolish given Islam’s longevity and intractability. However, Auster still holds out hope, we believe irrationally, that the US can somehow “contain”, “quarantine” and “separate” from the world he designates as Islamic. This is irrational because it is impractical and because it essentially gives them a closed-door world to develop WMD and plans to attack to which the best we can do is respond reactively.

We’ve debated this point with Auster, albeit the discussion did not go well because Auster got his feelings hurt. We regret that because his positions on most matters are dead on. While his Separationist doctrine is not practical because it does not go far enough and is only reactionary, it is a major step in the right direction. On our critiquie of this theory, see our Introductory remarks to the SANE Immigration Proposal.

What Yerushalmi does here is similar to what he did in our aborted debate at VFR in early January, and what he did again in his response to my Islam statement. We are supposedly on the same side, with some differences. But then he shifts the discussion to a level of aggressive and personal attack wholly unsuited to the circumstances.

In this case he’s agreeing with my view on the Islam problem which is far closer to his view than are others’; but then he turns around and calls my view, not just inadequate or wrong, but irrational. Similarly, he called my Islam Statement a failure and other such overheated words, then he proceeded to offer his own version of the statement, half of which was copied, word for word, from my own statement (a fact that he didn’t acknowledge). And today he describes as irrational the very position on which he was largely basing his own.

Furthermore, Yerushalmi calls my position irrational, then he complains that I broke off the debate with him. But why does he want to have a debate with someone whose position he regards as irrational? And how can he expect someone whom he calls irrational to want to debate with him?

In short, we are dealing with a kind of Oedipal behavior pattern in which Yerushalmi simultaneously attacks me and copies me; praises me and belittles me; insults me and demands dialogue with me. So well do I know his m.o. by now that the following exchange took place earlier today, before I had read the above posting at SANE:

Reader to LA:

You are linked at SANE under the heading, “But Auster is even better than Farah.”

LA to reader:

I tremble to look at it. David Yerushalmi has an Oedipal obsession with me that is really disconcerting, both lauding/following me and attacking me at the same time.

Reader to LA:

Sorry, when I read further it was unnecessarily uncomplimentary.

LA to reader:

Hah! I predicted it accurately before even seeing it!

Also, I would point out that there is nothing inherently objectionable in agreeing with a person in some ways while disagreeing with him in others. That is normal, and it is not the basis of my problem with Yerushalmi. Indeed, it was understood from the start that we had disagreements and I looked forward to discussing them. What is unacceptable is the intensity with which he does both.

So, what to do? On one hand Yerushalmi is taking substantive positions on what to do about Islam which, though very extreme, are not inherently irrational and may ultimately turn out to be correct (as I’ve said over and over—a consideration he does not grant to my position), and are therefore worth discussing. On the other hand, there is something so manic and destructive in his attitude toward me that I naturally recoil from any interaction with him. What I will do then, when I get around to it, is deal with his substantive positions in the abstract, while not responding directly to him.

- end of initial entry -

A reader writes:

“What is unacceptable is the intensity with which he does both. “

I fell on the floor laughing when I seen this.

Auster is another word for intensity.

LA replies:

Yes, at times it’s occurred to me that DY is my own shadow, come back in super intense form to haunt me.

However, in truth, my behavior is not like his.

David H. writes:

David Yerushalmi wrote:

“This is irrational because it is impractical and because it essentially gives them a closed-door world to develop WMD and plans to attack to which the best we can do is respond reactively…”

As you have stated, Mr. Auster, the apocalyptic predictions of SANE may well turn out to be the only path to our salvation. However, for someone who is in general agreement about the Islam menace so enthusiastically to pronounce your strategies as irrational is quite troubling, and in my opinion, indicative of a desire to monopolize any discussion of an appropriate response. It also seems disingenuous to me; you wrote that we must not permit any attempted manufacture of WMDs, and I do not believe you wish simply to leave the Islamic world alone, without knowing what is occurring within those borders (special forces, spy satellites, recon flights, etc. could keep a watchful eye, and if ANY violation of a very clear anti-WMD policy would occur, the violators would be severely punished). If we also denied them aircraft manufacturing facilities and/or major airfields (dealt with from the skies) and enforced an unyielding closed-borders policy (numerous mines and border patrols with a shoot-on-sight order), they would have no way of delivering the very few weapons that “slip through the cracks”. And if somehow they did deliver a germ or chemical weapon, the punishment would be, as explicitly announced beforehand, atomic attack. Perhaps someone will disagree with these statements, but how can one pronounce them irrational? How are they impractical, or as impractical as invading and occupying the Middle East? This is a war, a real war, not an exercise in attacking 1950’s artillery and old T55 tanks (Republika Srpska) or bombing high schools and passenger trains (Serbia); to expect it to be ephemeral and painless is the epitome of ignorance. It may come to annihilation, I for one will not discount that possibility (not after we saw their true face on September 11); in that case, it will be a job for SAC and the boomers, not the Army or Marines, and certainly not invasion, urban warfare and other nightmares. And if it must come to annihilation, let us first try an unforgiving, yet far less sanguine (for us) strategy like aggressive containment, which if unsuccessful will indicate the unfortunate need for massive destruction, and will not necessitate any evacuation of occupying allied forces before hell rains down upon the enemy.

Lastly, the reader’s comment is inaccurate. True, VFR is a very intense site, but should it be light-hearted, considering the fate of our very civilization is in doubt? He confuses your intensity, i.e. urgency, with the borderline maniacal oscillations of Mr. Yerushalmi. I do not see any correlation, although perhaps “reader” mistook your statement about the almost simultaneous fierce agreement/equally fierce disagreement of Mr. Yerushalmi to mean that you had somehow denounced his passion, which you did not.

LA replies:
Yes, clearly, my position and DY’s position are complimentary. If my strategy did not work, then the West would be ready for DY’s more extreme proposals. For DY to denounce as “irrational” a position that is so similar to his own and that is in fact a necessary prelude to his own shows an inability to engage in discussion, which is why I will not have any discussions with him.

As for the reader, he is free to see similarities between DY and myself. For example, I often criticize people with whom I have much in common, such as Robert Spencer; and DY criticizes me with whom he has much in common. But I do not say Spencer’s positions are irrational; I said they were inconsistent with his views of Islam and inadequate. If DY were to have used more moderate language in disagreeing with me, discussion between the two of us would have been possible.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 27, 2007 09:08 PM | Send

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