The mania continues

The thread at Gates of Vienna on the subject of what we can do about Islam had started promisingly but then descended into a level of personal attacks that made me lose interest in it. I hadn’t looked at it in a couple of days, and just checked it out. The discussion has continued, consisting to a large extent of obsessive attacks on me by a handful of commenters, all of which inadvertently confirm what I said in my last comment there, that certain people portray my legitimate intellectual criticisms of well known conservative and anti-jihad writers (and my legitimate and useful disagreements with other commenters at the GoV thread) as personal smears, which then, in my adversaries’ minds, justify real smears against me. Thus one commenter, “UsorThem,” after saying he agrees with my idea of Separationism, launched into an extended attack on me for having “marginalized” Robert Spencer, Melanie Phillips, et al. How could I, a truly marginal writer, marginalize, or even attempt to marginalize, established mainstream writers with far larger readership than my own? Yet none of this matters to UsOrThem. Here’s how he characterizes me:

Claiming that so many of those trying to conduct that education [about Islam] should not be taken seriously, are hypocrites and cowards, is demeaning, unnecessary, and anti-productive to the movement.

This is a despicable lie, having no other intent than to portray me as the complete opposite of what I am and to discredit me in people’s eyes. When did I ever say or hint that Spencer’s education about Islam was not to be taken seriously? When did I ever try to discredit Spencer as such? My criticisms of him have related to certain specific issues which are well known, not to the entirety of his work. I have repeatedly praised him as the most important Islam critic in America. But UsOrThem doesn’t care. He sees me through the prejudicial filter that has been constructed about me at the anti-jihad websites and he attacks me on that basis, recklessly ignoring the facts. He accuses me of having “alienated” other anti-jihadists. It doesn’t occur to him that what has caused this alienation for the most part is the unending dishonest portrayal of me as having smeared other people—that same dishonest portrayal to which UsOrThem is now adding his own lies, thus increasing the anti-jihadists’ alienation toward me.

But as bad as UsOrThem is, Conservative Swede is far worse. He has gone beyond crazed attacks on me to out and out lying. He writes:

Auster does not want to defeat Islam. He thinks it’s “insane”, “madness”, that it’s “playing god”. And in some cases he even refer to it as “monstrous”. But he still hasn’t made clear why. Liberalism on the other hand he considers as truly evil and in need of being defeated. How come he is harder on liberalism then Islam? Why does he think that liberalism deserves to perish but not Islam?

Now of course anyone who has followed that thread and the related discussions at VFR knows that what I referred to as “monstrous,” etc., was a commenter’s proposal that we regard Muslims as vermin and exterminate every Muslim on earth. So Swede is engaged in a deliberate effort to portray my views as the opposite of what they are, to represent me as having said that defeating Islam would be “monstrous” and “insane,” whereas, in fact, everything I have written on the subject for the last several years is aimed at putting Islam in a position where it has no ability to harm us, i.e., at defeating it. True, I don’t think we can destroy Islam, short of killing all Muslims on earth or raining total destruction on every Muslim country on earth.

Swede’s deliberate lies go beyond his long-time personal obsession with me. There is something malignant at work here.

- end of initial entry -

Jeff in England writes:

It seems Swede is inventing the Larry Auster of his fantasies which includes giving you the set of viewpoints he wants you to have, which then enables Swede to condemn you before all. Where is Freud when you need him?

Philip M. writes from England:

“How could I, a truly marginal writer, marginalize, or even attempt to marginalize, established mainstream writers with far larger readership than my own?”

Easy. By telling the truth. It’s the size of the argument that counts, not the number of people who read it. They know that you are right, and that telling the truth has a way of winning the debate…eventually.

LA writes to Philip:

This fury I’ve generated is really something. They see themselves as an orthodoxy that cannot be challenged.

Philip replies:

What was the saying of the RAF during the war? “When you hear flak, you know you’re over the target.” Something like that.

Bill Carpenter writes:

Jeff, it’s not Freud but Girard and Gans that we need, with their theory of mimetic desire. Mimetic desire is universal, but it reveals itself in extreme form when someone gloms on to someone else out of a desire to possess that person’s relationship to some good. The glommer, or imitator, eventually finds that his adored model is in fact an obstacle and a competitor in the quest for the good, and he turns and rends the model, sometimes savagely. For fine examples of this phenomenon, watch Scorsese’s King of Comedy and Mankiewicz’s All About Eve.

I await with interest the time when the effervescent Swede casts aside his vendetta against his former model, Mr. Auster, and instead goes after his current model, Nietzsche.

If you wonder why I call Swede “effervescent,” it’s because of his high-spirited combativeness towards destroyers of the West when he is not consumed in the fires of Austerhasse. “Power first, then a little poetry,” he says of the razing of a mosque in Italy. Unfortunately he too may be a destroyer of the West. Radical in his apostasy, like Nietzsche, he rejects, “In the beginning was the Word,” and instead echoes Faust: “Am Anfang war der Tat.”

LA replies:

It’s an interesting comment. But personally, I don’t feel psychoanalysis is the most appropriate approach in such a case. The guy has an evil intent against me—as another reader said, you can almost smell it coming off the GoV webpage. Evil should be called evil, not explained as a fancy psychological syndrome.

Bill Carpenter replies:

I agree we are in the presence of evil, but don’t we want to understand in what evil consists? Evil consists in knowingly transgressing divine law. The compulsive quality of the attack on you gives it a mixed character, both voluntary and involuntary. I think Swede is drunk with the power he feels, having killed God, and this carries him along as it did Nietzsche in The Antichrist. The first evil is not the compulsive attack on you, per se, but the knowing rejection of God and the good, which in turn leads to further compulsive transgressions, such as the attack on you. Whom God would destroy, he first makes mad.

LA replies:

It’s an amazing thing you’re saying. It goes even further than what I said about him last summer, based on his own statements, namely that in his mind he identified me with the West, so, when he turned against the West, he had to turn against me.

But what you’re saying is worse: that he is in conscious rebellion against God, and, as you put it, is “drunk with the power he feels, having killed God.” So now he feels he can do anything. He can transgress anything. If he can kill God, he can try to destroy Auster. He can consciously tell Big Lies about Auster, and enjoy the sense of power this gives him.

Michael P. writes:

The debate of ideas at GoV has degenerated. As I said earlier, and you too understand (probably better than I since this is your “business”), it is very difficult for people to divorce their ideas from a view of personhood. For my part, it is best just to read and then think. It is why I rarely post, anywhere.

The folks posting at GoV are, for the most part, intelligent, but often get wrapped up making points simply to underscore their own ego. You make your views known, but must hardly hope to convince people who are not interested in looking inward, or interested in understanding what is being said.

LA asks Bill Carpenter:

But you might say it differently than I did. I said he consciously lies, enjoying the power. You said he is compulsively driven to further transgressions. Those are two different pictures.

Bill Carpenter replies:

They are different. I think of him like the sorcerer’s apprentice. He chose to wield the wand, but he cannot control the inflated ego he called into being. So he chooses to attack you, but the he who chooses is a deluded creation of delusion.

Bill Carpenter continues:

Let me add something positive about Swede. He should re-read Dostoevsky and turn his impressive abilities towards the criticism of delusions such as godless freedom and liberal Christianity. Then he can be a defender of the West in good conscience.

Adela G. writes:

Whoa, am I behind the times or what? Here I’ve been waiting for the ascendency of Austerism over the West, only to discover that it’s already occurred. How else would you be able to marginalize “countless thinkers and writers”? I’m surprised UsorThem didn’t refer to you as “O Thou higher Being Whom we abhor”.

Seriously, I cannot think of any effective refutation of such off-the-wall accusations. They’re literally not the words of someone in his right mind. To me, it’s evidence that liberalism is indeed a kind of mass mental disorder. Your attackers draw conclusions that no rational person could draw from what you write.

There’s no point trying to reach people like that, no point in trying to make them see that their response to you is not based on anything you write and is therefore completely irrational. You can only keep writing in hopes of reaching rational people now caught up in liberalism who feel vaguely dissatisfied with it without knowing quite why. There are plenty of them around. Several of your vile sycophants, myself included, freely confess to being former liberals. There are other out there who you haven’t reached yet but will in time. I think they should be your target audience, if you will.

LA replies:

I would just point out that the people you call liberals are all considered by the world and themselves to be conservatives,

Adela G. replies:
Yes, I’m well aware of how wrong the world generally and those individuals specifically are about this, and so much else besides.

They can call themselves “Lawrence Auster” for all I care (though I imagine you might care a great deal). That won’t change the fact that they labor under delusions of modern liberalism and are therefore properly referred to as “liberals”.

LA replies:

You’ve learned your lessons well. Now you’re teaching the teacher. :-)

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 31, 2008 03:53 PM | Send

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