Conservative Swede on my “night-and-day” contradictions
From the moment he turned against me the other week (here and here), my erstwhile friendly and supportive correspondent Conservative Swede not only lost his accustomed amiability and began speaking in a hostile and insulting manner about me personally, but he stopped thinking clearly. As an instance of the latter, consider his latest critique of me for my sin of not attacking Jim Kalb’s statement on Islam with sufficient rigor—which of course was the thing that turned CS against me in the first place.
By way of demonstrating my “night and day” contradictions, CS compares my earlier response to a pro-Islam statement quoted by a VFR commenter and my response to Kalb’s three-year-old pro-Islam statement which CS had discovered at Kalb’s website.
Here was the first exchange. VFR reader Charlton G. had said:
An acquaintance of mine recently confided to me, “Frankly, I’d rather live as a God fearing Muslim than end up in the loony, secularist, multicultural hell-hole the liberals are preparing for me and my children.”To which I had replied:
That’s horrific that anyone would say that.Here is Kalb’s statement:
Naturally, like other people I have views about which understandings are best. For example, I consider Islam better than contemporary advanced liberalism, the individualistic, nondoctrinal and moralistic Protestantism traditional in America better than Islam, and Catholicism better than Protestantism.In response to which I gave a “on one hand, and on the other hand” reply, giving my understanding of where Kalb might be coming from, but also disagreeing strongly with his conclusion.
CS says that “Charlton G’s acquaintance and Kalb’s position are identical,” and therefore the different temperatures of my respective responses to the two statements prove that “There is an unresolved contradiction within Lawrence Auster. When he independently consults his own brain he gets it right and has his heart in the right place, but when Jim Kalb is around Auster decides instead to comply with his group affiliation to Christianity, which weakens him and hampers his judgment.”
What CS has missed is that Charlton G.’s acquaintance’s statement and Kalb’s statement, far from being identical, are strikingly different. The former said, “I’d rather live as a God fearing Muslim” than under Western liberalism. Kalb by contrast said that Islam is better than contemporary liberalism, since liberalism in theory cannot tolerate Christianity at all, while Islam can. There was no question of Kalb’s becoming a Muslim, but rather an instrumental consideration of whether Islam or advanced liberalism would provide a better venue for the survival of Christianity. That is an interesting question and one worth thinking about, though, as I made clear, I thought Kalb’s conclusion was very wrong and I would resist living under Islam with all my might.
That CS missed the huge difference between Charlton G’s acquaintance’s professed desire to be an Allah-fearing Muslim and Jim Kalb’s theoretical discussion of whether Islam or liberalism would be friendlier to Christianity suggests to me that it is emotion that is driving CS in his recent campaign against me, not reason.
Let me add that if Jim Kalb had said that he’d rather be an Allah-fearing Muslim than live under modern liberalism I would have called that a horrific statement. But Kalb did not say that.
The same failure to see the differences between palpably different things was evidenced in CS’s earlier attack on my supposed hypocrisy for, on one hand, criticizing Powerline for failing to respond to President Bush’s attack on all critics of the immigration bill as nativists who “don’t want what’s right for America,” and my own failure to attack Jim Kalb with the stringency CS expected of me. CS didn’t see the obvious differences between the two situations. In the case of Powerline, Bush had gravely insulted the good faith, intelligence, and patriotism of all critics of the immigration bill including the Powerline guys who are Bush’s devoted followers. In my case, Jim Kalb had made a point about the nature of Islam in comparison with advanced liberalism. It is wildly off the mark to expect that Kalb’s statement about Islam and liberalism required the same type of response from me that I said Powerline ought to give to Bush’s grave personal insult to them.
This brings us, finally, to what CS sees as the deeper implications of my supposed contradictions: he suggests that in the future I may change my views on Islam in possibly sinister ways, because I am “not a constant.”
Excuse me, I don’t mean to draw undue attention to myself, but Me, not constant on the question of Islam? Whether people agree or disagree with me on that subject, I don’t think many would say that I am not constant about it, to the point of obsession.
KPA, a Canadian citizen originally from Ethiopia who contibuted an article to VFR on the medieval Islamic jihad wars in Ethiopia, writes:
I am sorry to read about the reactions to Conservative Swede to some very salient points on Islam by Mr. Kalb.LA replies:
Thanks to KPA for these remarks. She may want to address her questions directly to Mr. Kalb, at his website, Turnabout, or I can give her his address.David G. writes:
In an earlier entry to you I asked if Jim Kalb had defined himself as a fifth-columnist. You replied that this was somewhat unfair to Kalb and asked me to consider his position in greater depth. Your most recent post clarifies the issue for me and I understand clearly the distinction that you are drawing between Kalb and Conservative Swede.LA replies:
These are cogent and reasonable comments by David G. and for all I know he may be right. My own objection to Conservative Swede’s statements was not the substance of what he said about the possible implications of Kalb’s position on Islam, which was arguable, but the impulsive way he treated Kalb as an enemy based on one brief statement; the ridiculous and baseless conclusions he jumped to regarding my own position on Islam; and the insulting rudeness with which he expressed them.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 02, 2007 09:03 PM | Send