Vlaams Belang aligns with BNP; Spencer says Charles Johnson was right

There is a report, contradicted by another report, that the Vlaams Belang party of Belgium has aligned with the British National Party and other parties to form an anti-Islamization coalition. Though Robert Spencer had earlier defended Vlaams Belang from Charles Johnson’s charge that it was a Nazi-like organization, he has now withdrawn his support for VB based on its putative BNP alliance. He writes:

In the recent bitter controversy between Charles Johnson and a group of counterjihadists over the nature of the VB, it does appear quite clearly from this new alliance, if it wasn’t already, that Charles was right.

Spencer takes this position because the BNP is a race- and ethnicity- conscious party, the membership of which is, in the BNP’s words,

open to those of British or kindred European ethnic descent. While we welcome contact and co-operation with nationalists and patriots of other races, and with the many non-whites who also oppose enforced multi-racialism, we ask them to respect our right to an organisation of our own, for our own, as we respect and applaud their measures to organise themselves in like fashion.

However, Spencer does not actually say, with Charles Johnson, that BNP is Nazi-like, and he even grants that it is not. Rather, he explains at length why he finds any race-consciousness, let alone any concern about the preservation of the British race or the white race, to be illegitimate and as something to be shunned. His arguments are reasonable but still wrong. While I will reply in more detail later, the most fundamental reason they are wrong (as I have been pointing out for years and getting smeared by Spencer for doing so) is that Spencer’s deepest and most active beliefs are liberal, not conservative or traditionalist.

Thus Spencer concludes:

The anti-jihad movement, if it is to become mainstream in Europe or the U.S., must articulate a positive vision of defense for the human rights of all people against the ways in which those human rights are contravened under Sharia, and avoid being diverted into side issues and non-issues, or formulating the problem incorrectly. Vlaams Belang, for all its talk about abjuring its past and moving into the mainstream, by allying with the BNP has taking a step in the opposite direction. Europe deserves better, and I hope a better choice will emerge.

At the culminating point of his article Spencer has reverted to liberal rather conservative principles. Instead of speaking of defending Western civilization, or the historic cultures and nations of Europe, from the Islamic threat, he speaks of defending a “positive vision of defense for the human rights of all people.” For Spencer, as always, the bottom line is universal liberal rights, not the concrete civilization and nations of which those rights are but one aspect—and, indeed, not the most fundamental aspect. Our civilization existed for a thousand years before it embraced the modern notion of liberal rights. Furthermore, without those particular, concrete Western societies to uphold those rights, the rights would instantly disappear, since it is only the West that truly believes in individual rights. Furthermore, as the British National Party understands and Spencer does not, to maintain those societies, their respective historic peoples must be preserved as the cultural majority, since without a sufficient degree of ethnic and cultural homogeneity, no society can even exist. This is why BNP’s ethnicity-conscious defense of Britain and Europe is morally legitimate, even from a liberal point of view.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 22, 2008 02:12 PM | Send

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