Roberts’s lunacy, brought to you by Vdare

Vdare, a website mainly devoted to the cause of immigration restriction, continues to disgrace itself by publishing the demented Paul Craig Roberts. In his latest Vdare column, Roberts, expanding on his earlier endorsement of the theory that the Bush administration was behind the 9/11 attack, which was also published at Vdare, charges that President Bush and Vice President Cheney are about to launch or “permit” terrorist attacks against the United States in order to justify a war on Iran. He writes: “A series of staged or permitted attacks would be spun by the captive media as a vindication of the neoconservatives’ Islamophobic policy, the intention of which is to destroy all Middle Eastern governments that are not American puppet states.” Yeah, right. Our forces have been in Iraq for almost four and a half years, in Afghanistan for almost six years, and other than the Taliban and the Saddam Hussein regime how many Middle Eastern governments have we “destroyed” during that time?

Roberts wants us to believe that President Bush is pursuing an “Islamophobic” policy. In reality Bush loves the Muslims, sucks up to them, paints them in the most attractive colors possible, constantly says that Muslims are just like us, increases the immigration of Muslims into America, seeks to expand the power and influence of Muslims in the U.S. government and in American life, continues to permit Wahhabi mosques to be built and to operate in this country, allows the Saudis to continue to distribute jihadist anti-American literature in mosques, and prohibits ethnic profiling against Muslims in airports thus requiring the entire American public to be subject to demeaning airport security checks. But the immigration restrictionist website Vdare publishes Roberts’s article charging that this pro-Muslim president—this pro-Muslim immigration president—is really an Islamophobe.

In his demented, topsy-turvy view of the world, Roberts is identical to the left. The left consistently ignores Bush’s hyper-liberal Muslim democratization policy and paints him as an extreme right-wing racist imposing his will on Muslim countries, whereas the reality is that Bush, avowing that Muslims are just like us and love freedom just like us, keeps encouraging them to express their popular will through elections. It takes a particular kind of mental sickness to see a deluded liberal do-gooder as an imperialistic race-hater, but the left manages it, and so does Roberts.

Peter Brimelow’s excuse for publishing Roberts is that Roberts is his friend. Readers have asked me what I mean when I say that the paleo right is afflicted by tribalism and personalism. This is an example of it. For Brimelow, his friendship with Roberts trumps principle, country, truth, everything.

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RG writes:

I used to find some of Roberts’s writing interesting but in the last few years I really have avoided his columns as they do seem obsessed with conspiracies and rabid, out of control Bush hating. We here at VFR have plenty to be upset with Bush over but we try to keep it principled, on issue and rational!

Rick Darby writes:

Publishing Paul Craig Roberts’s wacko columns is egregious, but VDare itself has lost most of whatever value it once had. It’s a gripe catchment area, story after story about how The Invasion is messing everything up. Everything they publish is a variation on a few basic themes. By now almost everybody who isn’t incurably deluded already knows the score.

NumbersUSA is far more valuable, because it understands that complaining by itself is useless. It is a lobbying and, if you’ll excuse the dreaded expression, activist organization. Among its accomplishments is a well designed web site that makes it extremely easy for busy people to fax their Senators and Congressmen. It was an important player in the effort to stop the Bye Bye America bill.

Peter Brimelow keeps asking for donations so he can run the same grumbling pieces by mostly the same writers so he can then ask for more donations. His heart is in the right place, I guess, but he is either a lazy sod or is too busy writing investment advice to bother much with VDare. He has been left behind by the progress toward immigration restriction, and it’s a pity that VDare diverts some of the donated money away from NumbersUSA, Dan Stein’s organization, and others that mix action with words.

Bruce B. writes:

I agree with your assessment of Roberts. He’s out of control and he just helps to reinforce the perception that everyone to the right of mainstream conservatism is a nutcase. Someone like this can do a lot of damage to conservatism. Imagine a new reader who’s a typical Republican but is interested in exploring pre-60’s conservatism. He/she links to VDARE and the first thing he sees is Robert’s loony rant.

I’ve seen the “Islamaphobe” charge thrown around a fair amount by the paleo-right. Yeah sure, Islamaphobia is really a serious problem in our society. All those mosques being burned down !!

Roberts also has a Nazi fixation. He loves to write about the “cabal of neocon Nazis.” This reminds me of Charlie Reese who once wrote something to the effect that the Israelis learned from the Holocaust that it’s “better to be like the Nazis than like the Jews.” Nice, huh!? Yeah, I can really see the similarities there !!

LA replies:

Roberts’s pathology is so similar both in form and content to anti-Semitism that it is highly likely that anti-Semitism is at the core of it. I stopped reading Reese years ago.

The fact that Brimelow is indifferent to the effect his publishing of Roberts has on the immigration restriction movement is further proof of a paleocon psychology that no longer really cares about the immigration issue, no longer really cares about America, but cares mainly about maintaining a solidarity of resentment against America as it now exists, which for the paleocons is symbolized by the neocons. One only needs to read some of Brimelow’s own writings, such as a letter he wrote to Commentary a few months back, to see how gripes—personal gripes—are the main issue for him.

Regarding Roberts’s equation of Nazis and Israelis, and his blaming all Mideast problems on Israel, below is an excerpt from a Roberts column published September 20, 2003 at Here is VFR’s response it at the time, followed by a lively discussion about war-related matters generally. Roberts wrote:

The only weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East are Israel’s 200 nuclear warheads. Israel has the real thing, not a mere desire for a program that might produce a weapon in the future.

It is Israel—not Iran—who has refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

It is Israel that occupies by force of arms parts of Syria and Palestine. Arabs do not occupy Israeli territory.

It is Israel that treats Palestinians the way National Socialists treated Jews by bottling them up in ghettos and assassinating them at will.

On September 18 President Bush declared: “Arafat has failed as a leader.” What Bush means is that Arafat, unlike Bush, has failed to carry out Israel’s orders. Arafat’s support in Palestine far exceeds Bush’s support in the US or Sharon’s support in Israel.

Every day the Israelis bite off another piece of Palestine. Arafat is a “failed leader” because he has not led Palestinians off into the wilderness for 40 years, the better to deliver Palestine up to Israel.

The root of the Middle Eastern problem is Israel’s uncanny ability to manipulate American public opinion and US foreign policy. This unique power means Israel doesn’t have to compromise. Instead, the Israelis escalate and involve us ever more deeply and one-sidedly in their disputes with Arabs.

The inability of the US to impose an evenhanded settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the breeding ground of terrorists.

Bruce B. writes:

“I stopped reading Reese years ago.”

Me too. I just remember him because he was a local columnist here. He was always fawning over the Palestinians. Lots of anecdotes about the wonderful Palestinians he had had dinner with and spoken to and what decent people they were. It was enough to gag a maggot.

LA replies:

Well, in this connection, let’s not forget Scott McConnell’s remarkably revealing (about himself) cover article in TAC in July 2006 (mentioned briefly here at VFR) in which the Palestinians are cast as perfectly upstanding, fine, admirable, innocent, suffering victims, and all—literally ALL—of their problems are caused by Israel’s motiveless intransigence and cruelty.

In Scott McConnell’s reading, Israel is the Iago of nations, willing evil not for a cause, but purely for the sake of willing evil.

David B. writes:

Roberts’ May 28 column is about the only one on the subject of immigration that Roberts has written in many years.

Peter Brimelow should realize that friendship and loyalty is a two-way street. Roberts is disloyal to Brimelow by refusing to criticize the open borders fanaticism of the “elites” he claims to despise.

Note that Roberts is willing to bring the whole population of Mexico to the US if we could get rid of the neocons. What will Brimelow do when Roberts flatly comes out for this very thing?

LA replies:

The article is remarkable. Roberts barely deals with immigration. Each time brings it up, he immediately changes the subject to his own pet issues. Thus a brief mention of illegal alien crime instantly segues into a rant about the neocons’ crimes against humanity:

As for crime committed by illegals or immigrants generally, it pales into insignificance compared to the crimes of the neoconservatives against humanity, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Neoconservatives used lies and deception to lead America into a lost war that has killed and maimed tens or hundreds of thousands of people, made the United States a hated and reviled country, and destroyed our soft power. Neoconservatives have re-established the medieval practices of torture, self-incrimination, and hearsay and secret evidence. By overturning habeas corpus, neoconservatives have laid the foundation for a tyrannical police state. If I could rid America of neoconservatives, I would accept the entire population of Mexico.

He makes another critical comment about immigration and immediately shifts the discussion away from immigration to quotas:

Immigration is a problem because it is occurring on a scale that cannot be assimilated and, thereby is helping to balkanize our country. America is already being balkanized by other factors, the most important of which are the quotas that, in an ironic twist of history, came out of the Civil Rights Act.

But then there’s this, which I missed the first time I read it. Robert says:

“If I could rid America of neoconservatives, I would accept the entire population of Mexico.”

Well, that makes explicit what I’ve been saying about the paleocons for years: they hate the neoconservatives so much that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. If a Mexican conquest of the United States would eliminate the neoconservatives, Roberts would favor it. His hatred of neocons transcends any concern about America.

Unless paleocons publicly denounce this statement by Roberts and publicly call on Vdare to apologize for it and to stop publishing this sick man, they have lost any basis for complaining when the likes of David Frum call them bigots and anti-Americans.

I’ll bet Roberts’ defenders will say that he was only making a rhetorical point that if neocons’ bad policies were eliminated which supposedly exacerbate the effects of immigration, then we could accept all the Mexicans in Mexico, indeed all the immigrants in the world, and it would not harm us. But such an argument would be transparently false. The whole paragraph is about the evil of the neoconservatives, and through the rest of the article he speaks of the relative harmlessness of the Mexicans. So lost is Peter Brimelow in his solidarity with Roberts (and perhaps with Roberts’s resentments) that even Robert’s stated desire that all Mexicans come to America if only we could get “rid” of the neocons did not make Brimelow balk at publishing him.

* * *

Reader John D. wrote to Paul Craig Roberts about his Vdare article in which Roberts charged that Bush and Cheney are planning to commit or permit a terrorist attack against America in order to facilitate a war with Iran.

John D. wrote:

Mr. Roberts,

I am not a Bush administration supporter in any sense of the word. Bush and the neocons have put forth some egregious policies that are detrimental to America in the past half decade. But I must tell you, this article you have written at VDARE has to be one of the dumbest articles I have ever read, even from you. You have absolutely no basis for any of the charges you have made here. You are looking through the tainted lenses of hatred.

I suggest you get a firmer grip on reality before you implode into your conspiracy theories, and take VDARE with you. VDARE was at one time a very valuable site. You personally have lost my readership with this silliness, with VDARE being next to go.

Roberts replied::

what kind of brainwashed total idiot are you? a typical dumbshit Bushite.

LA comments:

Now John D. could not expect a polite or reasoned reply from Roberts, having told him his article was dumb, baseless, hate-filled, and out of touch with reality. But what I find striking is that, despite John’s clearly expressed opposition to the Bush administration, Robert accused him of being a “Bushite.” Why did he do this? Because John had attacked Roberts. From the inflamed paleocon perspective, any strong criticism of paleocons makes the critic, by definition, a Bushite and a neocon. The paleocons are so immersed in their hatred and paranoia toward Bush and the neocons (like Sixties leftists immersed in hatred and paranoia toward America), that the thought does not even occur to them that a non-Bushite, non-neocon—in other words, a person not merely reacting to the paleocons’ attacks on his side—might find the paleocons objectionable.

It’s a further example of the paleocons’ tribalism: Who could possibly object to them, other than a member of the tribe they hate?

John LA:

I may have been rough (as you put it in an e-mail), or a better word might be “harsh”, but what I said to Roberts is in truth as I see it. He had no particulars in his article for which to substantiate his accusations which were excessively far-fetched, leading to my charge of creating conspiracy theories and losing touch with reality. And he is certainly hate filled. The only thing I said to him that might be considered rude, was that it was one of the dumbest articles I had ever read, and I used that word for the lack of a more accurate term in describing it. It is never my intent to be outright rude to anyone, but he simply deserved it, given his overall lack of demonstrating that even a scintilla of intelligent thought went into writing the article.

I must recant a thought that I wrote in an earlier e-mail to you that hoped you wouldn’t waste any more time and energy in exposing this “demented” inconsequential buffoon. I saw the new posting and I am now in total agreement with you regarding whether or not someone like Roberts can be ignored. If a publication is to maintain any type of favorable stature, all of the articles put up for consideration should be judged with integrity, and a certain element of scrutiny. When it allows this type of insane diatribe, the publication’s relevance simply vanishes along with it’s readership.

Thanks for pressing on.

LA replies:

Thank you for seeing this.

* * *

Alan Levine writes:

Thoroughly agree, of course, with your excoriation of Paul Craig Roberts, Despite his self-destructive foolishness in letting Roberts rave on at Vdare, I would place a slightly more lenient interpretation on Brimelow’ behavior, if only for his past services—I have to admit that, although I long regarded mass immigration as dangerous, I did not realize just how catastrophic it was until I read Brimelow’s and Roy Beck’s books.

I suspect that he just doesn’t realize the dangers he exposes himself to by tolerating PCR’s nonsense. That sort of behavior is not unique to him.

By the way, it is worth pointing out that the fanatically anti-neocon paleos like PCR have become even more extreme in their views of the neocons even as some of the latter—I am thinking of David Horowitz and Frontpage, not the ones who began jumping ship only over the Kill America bill—have begun to show some sense in discussing immigration. Yet they rant on as though all the neocons were like Linda Chavez. PCR, however, is alone in preferring Mexican rule to the satanic neocons.

AL continues:

Glancing again at Roberts latest column, I was jarred to note that he not only warned of sinister Bush-neocon plans to drag us into war, but declares that such operations have been carried out by the American government all through its existence. That reminded me of an earlier rant of his in which he explained that in NONE of our wars were we really fighting to defend the USA.

I suppose we have all become accustomed to everyone and his idiot brother, including crazy paleos, calling the US “imperialistic.” I guess that shows how corrupt the whole atmosphere has become over the last few decades. Until quite late in the 1960s, to call the United States imperialistic, except in the purely historical context of the period following the Spanish-American War, was a pretty good sign that the individual saying this was a Communist sympathizer.

Bob Vandervoort writes, under the subject heading, “Don’t waste your time on Paul Craig Roberts”:

The man is a nut and a crank. I can’t imagine why Vdare even continues to run his column. Or the weekly newspaper “Conservative Chronicles.” Even Tom Fleming’s Chronicles, it seems, has dropped him. Maybe Vdare keeps him out of a grudging respect for what he used to be. Nowadays, he never writes anything about race, immigration, and what O’Sullivan calls “The National Question.” Although when he did (in his less cranky days), he was quite good.

LA replies:

I disagree with the idea that because someone is “nutty,” therefore he should be ignored. If he is being published, then he matters. If people are turned off on immigration restrictionism because this hatemonger is published at Vdare, that matters. Politics consists largely of what people say. A political movement or a political publication defines itself by what it says and publishes. Vdare’s publication of Roberts shouldn’t be ignored any more than any other political fact. Roberts’s columns are deeply offensive and they call forth a response.

Bob Vandervoort replies:

Well, maybe we’ll have to disagree on this one. Most publications we read and can think of probably have one or two writers we never bother to read. Some of these writers are especially against what we think conservatives should be about. Yet if we allow these one or two writers to “define” what a certain publication is about, we run the risk of doing what the Left now likes to do with their “guilt-by-association” tactics. (Granted, they say the McCarthyists started it first, with their guilt-by-association tactics—still … ).

LA replies:

It’s beyond me how criticizing a publication for regularly publishing a vile hate-monger is attributing guilt by association. And as for the idea that Roberts is simply nuts and can be ignored, in today’s politics his statements are not that far out, there are a lot of people on the anti-war right who say similar things about neocons and Israel. There are a lot of Jew-haters who charge that Israel or Bush was behind the 9/11 attack. So Roberts is not at all an isolated phenomenon, he is expressive of a movement and a sensibility, and Vdare by publishing him makes itself a part of that movement. I’ve been consistently criticizing the anti-war paleocons for their politics of hate since 2001 and I will continue to do so.

If Brimelow doesn’t like being attacked for publishing a vile hate-monger he can stop publishing him. He doesn’t need to stop publishing him completely, he just needs to stop automatically publishing everything he writes.

I should add another point here. I know that my phrase, “politics of hate,” will make paleocons describe me as leftist or PC, because the left automatically attacks everything that the right says as politics of hate. Does the fact that the left falsely describes everything said by the right as “hate” mean there is no such thing as hate? Of course not. Yet this is the paleocon view.

It’s also another indication of the paleocons’ tribalist mindset. For all too many paleocons, there is no independent right and wrong, true and false, there’s just what group you belong to. There is the paleocon tribe, and there is the leftist tribe, and there is the neocon tribe. The leftist and neocon tribes attack people for “hate.” Therefore the paleocons, in rejecting the left and the neocons, must automatically reject the very concept that there is an objectionable thing called hate. They don’t use their rational and moral faculties to look at various phenomena and try to determine, “Is this hate, is it right, is it wrong?” No, they simply dismiss anything associated with the enemy tribes.

It has been frequently said at VFR that a political movement defines itself by how it deals with the extremists in its midst. Does it criticize them or accept them? If it accepts them, then it deserves the criticism that it itself is extreme. When the Democratic party treats with respect people like MIchael Moore, it is defining itself as a party. When the immigration restriction website Vdare hosts the vile hate-monger P.C. Roberts, it is defining itself as a website.

Dimitri K. writes:

I thought once (though I don’t publish it like Roberts) that if the only way to save America from Muslims would be Mexican invasion, I would prefer it. It occured to me that Roberts’s attitude to neocons (Jews) is similar to my attitude to Muslims—he considers them as an aggressive totalitarian and cruel gang. That attitude is quite common among atheists. They usually refer to some cruel chapters of the Bible, though I believe the reason is really different. They consider the Jews and the God of the Bible as a foreign god, not their own. As a Jew myself I can admit that it is easier for Jews to accept the God because they can consider him as their tribal god.

For other nations, there are two choices: either treat him is a foreign god or as the god of the humanity as a whole. The latter is probably the choice of Christians, that’s why Christianity in some aspects contradicts nationalism. There is an important contradiction, which probably can be solved, but must be addressed somehow. It would be interesting if you as a religious philosopher, address this issue, which is not frequently discussed by religious authors, as far as I know.

LA replies:

Dimitri has raised a profound and troubling issue which I will need to address but can’t now.

For the present, is what Dimitri said true? For example, is it the case that a Christian resonates less than a Jew does to God’s statements to Abraham?

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (Gen. 17.)

But if that’s the case, is it also the case that a Christian resonates less than a Jew does to Jesus’ statements to his disciples?

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (John 15.)

James M. writes:

While I do not think that Paul Craig Roberts is infallible, neither do I think that he is the anti-Christ. And, having read the piece you quote from, I find it odd that you zero in on the Islamophobia comment (which is weak) and exclude the rest of the piece, which is cogent and well-reasoned.

I would like to hear what you think of the rest of the piece—do you believe that Bush is NOT going to attack Iran (see Pat Buchanan’s latest piece)? Do you believe that he hasn’t signed executive orders that will make him the New Fuhrer in the event of an attack? Do you believe that he is NOT capable of selling America down the river for 30 pieces of silver—or for power? It seems to me that this is what you would address, as opposed to launching an ad hominem attack on Roberts. And the history of war-inducing tactics of the West in the 20th century (Gulf of Tonkin, USS Liberty, the Lusitania, the Maine, Pearl Harbor, etc.) makes 9-11 prior knowledge at least plausible, IMHO. As I’ve often said, if Bush REALLY believed that 19 men could bring down the WTC, would he leave the border wide open for the following SIX YEARS, allowing MILLIONS of people into the country?

Neither do you address his fundamental question: “Ask yourself: Would a government that has lied us into two wars and is working to lie us into an attack on Iran shrink from staging “terrorist” attacks in order to remove opposition to its agenda?”

I really like 99 percent of your output—but this one leaves me puzzled.

LA replies:

I didn’t say Roberts is an anti-Christ. I said he’s a maniac.

Which leads to the next point. James says he finds it “odd” that in the midst of a blog entry denouncing Roberts as a deranged maniac, I didn’t stop and take seriously the “rational” parts of Roberts’s article! Why would anyone treat seriously and respectfully the arguments of a maniac? I’m interested in discussions of Bush’s actions and intentions in relation to a possible war on Iraq. I’m not interested in having such a discussion in the context of an article by Paul Roberts, a writer who treats with respect the “theory” that the Bush administration was behind the 9/11 attack.

One cannot act like a raving hater, a conspiracy lunatic, and at the same time expect that people will take one’s ideas seriously. The tragedy of the paleocons I’ve been lamenting for the last several years is that in their obsessive hatred of Bush and the neocons, they ceased being useful and rational participants in any discussion about politics. The main example of this is that in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, instead of focusing on the good arguments that could have been made against the invasion, such as that if we occupied Iraq we would end up holding a terrorist wolf by the ears, they focussed on bigoted and irrelevant arguments, such as that the neocons are evil traitors. Yeah—that was a really persuasive argument against the war, wasn’t it? And then, to top it off, having indulged in this crazed bigotry, which they have never acknowledged or repented of, they complain that their arguments are being ignored.

John D. writes:

I am concerned by the statements of James M. (whose comments in the past seem normally sound) that Roberts article is cogent and well-reasoned. There have been a multitude of conspiracy theories over the history of time regarding a multitude of events and non-events. A conspiracy theory is generally more credible regarding an event that has already taken place because it is constructed around facts relating to the outcome of an event itself such as the attacks on 9/11. There are a few of these theories regarding 9/11 that may be considered well-reasoned if you are to believe that Bush and Co. are indeed the evil geniuses that this kind of success would require, and if you are to ignore some of the confirmed facts that surround it as well. However, the guesswork must be limited to, at minimum, a portion of those facts that have occurred as we know them to be. In creating a conspiracy theory to fit the non-event or future possible scenario (which Roberts does here), the theorist must be willing to indulge himself in an even greater amount of wild speculation, as the theory has to be constructed around something which has not even yet taken place. Anyone who undertakes such a mission engages in the wildest of speculation in order to project that theory and make it seem to be a probable outcome of the non-event that he has imagined.

For James M. to say that Roberts has used cogent and well-reasoned thought in this article ignores what I have just said here about conspiracy theories related to the non-events which Roberts describes to be a probability in the article. Engaging in this large amount of wild speculation which is based on his hatred for Bush and Co. rather than fact can be considered neither cogent or well-reasoned, since it is conceived from emotion, which seems the greatest motivator here.

I am not surprised that LA does not wish to speculate on Roberts speculation.

Alan Levine writes:

I was not particularly impressed by James M’s ideas, which appear to be a slurry of right and left conspiracy theories. Some of the problems here have been pointed out by the earlier comments, but I would suggest that that all this stuff about earlier plots seems to be confused on its own terms:

1) If the Maine was blown up by anyone, it was not by the US government but the Cubans.

2) The war in Indochina had been going on for years before the Tonkin Gulf incidents, one of which actually happened, by the way, even if the second was a false report.

3) The conspiracy theories about the Lusitania revolve around the British government, not ours.

4) I can’t figure out the reference to the USS Liberty, since the attack, whether or not it was delberately intended by the Israelis, rather than being a stupid mistake, did not lead to American involvement in a war.

5) I will not go into the Pearl Harbor thing, but it has always seemed to me that the transformation of the war between Japan and China into the Pacific War looks suspiciously like the results of (gasp!) a Japanese plot. Where could I have gotten that idea?

As for Bush plotting to make himself Fuhrer, he is more likely to be impeached or assassinated, and far more likely to wind up constructing a Presidential Library at Crawford. I might remind James M. that, moral differences aside, Hitler was a far better speaker and far more intelligent than Bush.

Also, it is easier to become a dictator before, rather than after, losing a war.

LA replies:

I’m not the person to whom Mr. Levine’s comments were directed, especially his last comment, but if I were, I would say: touché.

(This discussion has continued here.)

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 16, 2007 09:57 AM | Send

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