The Dreher discussion continues; and Christopher Roach’s attacks on me

Here are three further comments I’ve sent on December 31 and January 1 to the discussion at Rod Dreher’s “Crunchy Con” blog concerning his essay for the Dallas Morning News calling illegal aliens the “Texan of the Year.” The last comment, which has still not been posted, several hours after I sent it, concerns the campaign of character assassination against me by “mansized target,” which I quote in its entirety. Also, Dreher’s blog, hosted at, is, well, bloggy, and you may get only a partial view of the discussion at first. If that happens, click on the link that says “Read all comments.”

First comment

I’m glad that Rod has added that he personally believes that illegal aliens should be deported if caught here. But that idea is found nowhere in the article he wrote. Instead, Rod’s main rhetorical energy is directed against the supposed racists who are the real problem:

“I believe that we should not mistreat these illegal immigrants—that racism and violence against them are wrong, and tests of our character…”

WHAT is Rod talking about? Where is there any question of mistreatment of illegal aliens? This is a phony issue, exactly like President Bush saying that we have to treat illegals “compassionately”—as though, if he didn’t tell us not to do so, we would be doing some terrible thing to illegals. What is this terrible thing that Bush and Dreher are talking about?

The main issue of course has been the Bush attempted amnesty and expansion of legal immigration. The people on our side have been fighting that. So how does Rod’s concern about racist and violent treatment come into the issue? It seems to me that Rod is just saying this in order to suggest “bad people” to his right and thus justify the liberal essay he’s written.

Second Comment

Rod Dreher wrote:

“The impression [the Texan of the Year article] was intended to leave the reader with was that we should either a) take decisive action to stop the inflow, or b) if we’re not going to do that, then get about the business of making these new immigrants part of life in mainstream America.”

Could Rod point us to the place in the article where he presents “taking decisive action to stop the inflow” as a serious option for America? I don’t see it anywhere. What I do see is Rod’s statement:

“If illegal immigration were an easy problem to fix, the nation wouldn’t be at an impasse.”

Which sounds to me like the usual open-borders line that it’s either impossible or so difficult to stop illegal immigration that we might as well not even try.

Also, as I’ve pointed out, there is nothing in the article about doing anything to make the 12 million illegals leave, i.e., enforcement of workplace and other laws that will make America a less viable option for illegals so that most of them will gradually leave on their volition and others will stop coming.

On another point, I think an important lesson in this exchange is that it was a mistake for the DMN to adopt its current “transparency” policy by which it informs readers which individual on the DMN editorial board wrote this DMN editorial. The transparency policy has led to the present absurd situation in which the DMN and Dreher tell us that Dreher wrote the article, and simultaneously Dreher expects us not to react to the article as his work. That is an unrealistic demand to make on people. If the DMN and Dreher wanted us not to see the article as Dreher’s work, they should have stuck to the normal custom of newspapers and kept the article’s authorship anonymous. If they had done so, Rod Dreher would not have come in for this attack and the discussion would have been focused on the Dallas Morning News as a paper, not on Rod Dreher as an individual writer.

That’s why unsigned editorials exist: to express the corporate view of an institution, not to express the views of individuals. A newspaper that says of its own editorial, “This editorial was written by Rod Dreher who disagrees with it,” has made itself absurd.

It has also unfairly put Dreher in an impossible position where he inevitably looks like a person who is not true to his own beliefs, a person who keeps saying, “I personally believe X, but in this article I wrote not-X, but this is not a contradiction, because I’m just a hired hand, and besides, not-X is a reasonable position and I defend it”

Larry Parker writes:

“I have to say, Larry Auster’s continued refusal to make the distinction between a NEWSPAPER editorial and a COLUMNIST editorial is about the most solipsistic thing I have seen on this board, ever.”

Is it really so solipsistic? Consider: Here we are, with Rod Dreher discussing with us the article that he wrote, and yet we’re not supposed to think of him as being responsible in any way for the content of that article. Has Larry Parker ever heard of DoubleThink? That’s what he expects of us.

Third Comment

Prior to last night, I had only glanced at “mansizedtarget’s” attacks on me. Then I read them all. I am struck by Rod Dreher’s allowing pure character assassination like this to be posted over and over in his blog. Does Rod perhaps feel that mansizedtarget’s attacks on me are just recompense for my criticisms of Rod?

In any case, people should know—which I myself didn’t realize until a reader pointed it out to me last night—that mansizedtarget is blogger Chris Roach, whose blog is MANSIZEDTARGET.COM. Roach has had a crazed animus against me for several years, ever since he began making personal attacks on me over criticisms of John Kerry at my website, View from the Right, and I had to block his posting privileges. On a couple of rare occasions since then he has sent me intelligent comments and I’ve posted them, but then he would re-launch his attacks on me and I finally permanently ended all e-mail correspondence with him.

For anyone who is interested, here is the VFR discussion from May 2004 in which Roach was finally barred from VFR. It concerns Kerry’s claims about his war record and whether it was legitimate for non-veterans to have opinions about the issue at all.

In that thread, I wrote:

The lesson is that I should have closed Mr. Roach out of VFR at the first insult he directed against me in this thread. I did not do so then, nor at the second or third insult, because I felt he had legitimate concerns mixed with his anger, and I did not want it to appear that I was running from a debate. But this was a mistake. As I’ve seen over and over at VFR, once a participant in a discussion uses rancorous or insulting or bigoted language, he is indicating something about himself—something which is not going to be changed by any good-faith attempt by others to engage him in a civilized discussion.

This experience confirms me in the policy of instantly excluding commenters when they engage in unacceptable behavior at this site. The fact that they may also be making some arguable points or even valid points will not excuse them. This is the only way to maintain VFR as an environment for civil discussion.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on May 10, 2004 2:34 PM

* * *

I am sorry to assault reader’s sense of decency with this, but for the record here are the comments about me that “mansizedtarget” has posted in the Dreher discussion page. I have been on the receiving end of pure ad hominem attacks before, but this is the worst I’ve ever seen. The effect is quite strange. Even as the other participants, including me, are talking about the issue at hand, “mandsizedtarget,” ignoring the actual discussion, keeps posting one enflamed comment after another talking about what a terrible person I am. My first impulse was to ignore this, since “mansizedtarget” only discredits himself, as is evident from quite a few replies to him in that discussion. Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story. As a reader said to me,

The comments by that blogger were shockingly low and stupid and Dreher should have removed them or at the very least condemned them. In effect, those comments spoke for Dreher. That he didn’t remove them says a lot about Dreher. After reading them many Americans would have been “thrown off” any sort of real dialogue that had been going on. They would have been focusing on this “nutcase” Larry Auster.

Here are mansizedtarget’s comments:

One would think that Auster, who has alienated conservatives ranging from John Derbyshire to David Horowitz and me and now you, would perhaps someday develop enough self-awareness to recognize that his prickliness, harsh tone, unforgiving and conspiracy-minded textual exegesis, and generally crummy personality might be why he’s always getting into conflict with natural allies. He basically is immature and has also been a profoudnly unsuccessful professional writer. The latter is not because he’s a bad writer; he’s often quite good and interesting and thoughtful. But he cannot find a way to get along with other people and is always having fallouts with publishers where he wails about their cravenness and duplicity. My God, this guy needs to chill out and learn to cooperate (and, if necessary, take his meds).

He has once again revealed that his character and personality are fundamentally unsuited to decent interaction with anyone on this Earth other than the most vile sycophants.

Posted by: | December 31, 2007 11:01 AM


Mr. Radley, Auster for reasons I can’t fathom is very thin-skineed, does not give people the benefit of the doubt, and is always attacking fellow conservatives, lecturing people that dare to question him, and generally acting like a pompus know-it-all.

The Horowitz incident is a good example. What kind of classless fool airs all of his disputes with a publisher about editing an article on his blog, particularly when the dispute is ongoing and has not yet been resolved by other means? I don’t always agree with Horowitz; but I had lunch with him once and he struck me as a gentleman with some sense of honor. Auster’s public whining about all of the legions of people who have wronged him shows an entirely different sensibility, a bit more New Yorkish. It’s true, I had a falling out with AFF, but I’ve not made it my life’s mission to wage a campaign against them. I wrote one restrained letter on the incident in Vdare and had a short announcement on my blog. In contrast, Auster has brought up Horowitz dozens of times since then and his tone in this dispute with Dreher, whom I have great respect for, is appalling and juvenile and typical of his lack of sense of gradation and honest disagreement. Seriously, could you imagine Auster cooperating in a business venture of any kind with liberals and moderates, as anyone serious about mainstream journalism must do? No, he knows it all and has all the annoying self-satisfaction of people who get their wealth by inheritance, as Auster has done.

I think his beefs with NR, Chronicles, Amren, Horowitz, Robert Spencer, and every major Republican presidential candidate, numerous commenters and critics reveal someone who has no manners and no class, even though he has a world class intellect. This makes him interesting to read, so long as he’s not going down the road of his all-too-frequent paranoid diatribes.

As for his blog’s popularity, I’m sure it’s because he’s a good writer and says interesting things. There’s no denying that. But that doesn’t mean he’s not messed up in the head, wrong in this instance, and wrong specifically because he has a mediocre, whiny, and very undignified character.

Posted by: | December 31, 2007 12:58 PM


Auster is not an honorable person and his mind is too paranoid to have a profitable discussion. Your perfectly reasonably written editorial speaks for itself. Don’t waste time with him; pretty soon he’ll be counting up the symbols of your comments and engaging in numerological research and other Talmudic reasoning. Think about what kind of person proudly announces that he has walked out on dozens of movies over the years, undoubtedly to the annoynace of his wife, children, and friends.

Posted by: | December 31, 2007 2:22 PM


Auster is attacking the person, and I am reminding people he lacks the character to be taken seriously and he has a bad habit of attacking all persons for the most picayune disagreements.

Posted by: | December 31, 2007 3:26 PM


I’d rather insult Auster here because I think his criticism of Dreher is tactically unwise for conservatives, typical of Auster’s obsession with ideological purity, and also typical of his rude “gotcha” style that he’s used too often. The guy seriously has a screw loose, probably narcissistic or sociopathic personality disorder.

He knows how to reach me if he wants to explain why he’s such an annoying wind-bag, but I don’t expect him to and don’t really care. Dreher is a good man, a good addition to DMN, and has nothing to apologize for. It’s easy, like I said, to be out on a limb if you don’t have a living to make and a family to feed, like Dreher, who has been both prudent and courageous in his advance of conservatism.

Posted by: | December 31, 2007 4:53 PM


Mr. Smith, if I’ve stalked Auster—it’s really terrible you know, he’s had to hire round-the-clock security—then what has he done to Spencer, Charles Johnson, Rod, Ann Coulter, Steve Sailer, etc.? No, I’ve not stalked him. But I’ve done something many people do to rude annoying people: I’ve mocked him, criticized him, ridiculed him, called him out for his undoubtedly embarassing and thoroughly hidden personal biography (i.e., draft dodger), etc. I read Rod’s blog regularly; he happened to be in spat with someone whom I think is unfair and psychologically unstable.

Posted by: | January 1, 2008 11:38 AM

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 01, 2008 04:51 PM | Send

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