Bruce Bawer denounces the anti-jihad movement

Charles Johnson at LGF has posted an article by Bruce Bawer attacking the anti-jihad movement for aligning themselves with “European fascists.” Bawer’s article is below, along with my bracketed commentary in which I show that his hysterical charges are based, essentially, on nothing. What it really comes down to for Bawer, as well as for Johnson, is that any position short of unqualified support for the homosexual agenda, including homosexual “marriage,” makes you evil. The Johnson-Bawer approach, demanding total submission to the homosexual agenda, would make it impossible for there to be any alliance between liberals and conservatives in defense of the West against Islam. And since most anti-jihadists are conservatives, one wonders where Bawer and Johnson think they are going to find anti-jihadist allies, once they have excluded from consideration all people who oppose homosexual marriage. I think the answer is that they will give up or have already given up the fight against jihad. I think that they will become something like the European left, opposing “theocracy,” by which they mean Christianity as much as, or more than, Islam. Indeed, the title of Bawer’s article at LGF, “Bruce Bawer on the ‘Anti-Jihad’ Meltdown,” which was also adopted by Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic’s website (yes, the Atlantic, which used to be a liberal-centrist magazine and has in the last couple of years, as seen in particular by its inclusion of Sullivan as a regular columnist, turned into an aggressively homosexualist magazine), suggests not just criticism of the anti-jihad movement, but complete dismissal of it.

Here is Johnson’s introduction:

Bruce Bawer on the ‘Anti-Jihad’ Meltdown
limba May 6, 2009

Bruce Bawer, author of While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within and Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom, has issued an unequivocal denunciation of the so-called “anti-jihad” bloggers and writers who are advocating alliances with European fascist parties such as Belgium’s Vlaams Belang. With Bruce’s permission, I’m reprinting his whole post here.

Here is Bawer’s article, with my comments:

Thursday, May 6, 2009, 9:28 P.M. CET: Recently, Andrew Sullivan posted a link to an article about Charles Johnson, the celebrated blogger who has distanced himself from many other anti-jihadists and called them “a bunch of kooks.” Though it grieves me to say so, and though I’ve hoped that things would somehow turn around, Charles is, alas, not whistling Dixie: I can testify that in the last couple of years some significant, and lamentable, shifts have taken place on the anti-jihad front. Writers and bloggers whom, not very long ago, I would unhesitatingly have described as staunch defenders of liberal values against Islamofascist intolerance have more recently said and done things that have dismayed me, and that, in many cases, have compelled me to re-examine my view of them. [He agrees with Johnson that anti-jihadists are “kooks.” What does he mean by this? What is kookdom, and what are examples of kookdom? He gives none. His only evidence is that anti-jihadists have “recently said and done things that have dismayed me.” Is saying something that dismayed Bruce Bawer the evidence and proof that one is a kook?]

Once upon a time, these people made a point of distancing themselves from far-right European parties such as Belgium’s Vlaams Belang—whose most prominent Internet voice, Paul Belien, has declared himself to be fighting for “Judeo-Christian morality” not only against jihadist Islam but also against “secular humanism.” [Ok, then, is opposing “secular humanism” proof of kookdom? But the fact is that basically all conservatives other than libertarians oppose secular humanism, which is really a synonym for liberalism. Now I can understand a life-style liberal not liking the conservative opposition to secular humanism, but is such opposition tantamount to kookdom?] Belien has made no secret of his contempt for gay people and for the idea that they deserve human rights as much as anyone else. [Does Bawer have any quotes by Belien expressing contempt for homosexual people? To say that a person has expressed “contempt” for an entire class of people, without giving any evidence of such expressions of contempt, is a smear, totally unacceptable. Thus, so far, the only evidence-based despicable behavior discernible from Bawer’s article is Bawer’s.] [Also, as Paul Belien informs me (see below), the only statements he’s written about homosexuality have been to oppose homosexual marriage. He has never written about homosexuals as such, let alone expressed contempt for them.] Now, however, many of the anti-jihadist writers who once firmly rejected Vlaams Belang have come to embrace it wholeheartedly. In fact, for reasons unknown to me, this regional party in one of Europe’s smallest countries appears to have become, for a number of anti-jihadist writers on both sides of the Atlantic, nothing short of a litmus test: in their eyes, it seems, if you’re not willing to genuflect to VB, you’re not a real anti-jihadist. [Bawer has reversed reality. The anti-jihadists never made a big deal of Vlaams Belang and in many cases had never heard of it, until Charles Johnson began denouncing anti-jihadists for attending a conference at which Vlaams Belang leaders were among those attending. No one made a deal out of Vlaams Belang. What they made a deal out of was Johnson’s attempt to smear anyone who had any association with Vlaams Belang, because, Johnson said, VB was a Nazi-type party. For example, I knew nothing about VB prior to Johnson’s attack on it. So I looked at Johnson’s charges and “evidence,” repeatedly, and looked up more stuff about VB, and found nothing there to justify his attacks. I had no prior interest in Vlaams Belang. But I saw that it was, as far as I could tell by examining Johnson’s worst attempts to smear it, a legitimate European conservative party that should not be demonized and ought to be part of the alliance against the Islamization of Europe. That was the full extent of my interest in VB. And as far as I am aware, other anti-jihadists’ approach to VB has been pretty much the same as mine. I never saw anyone simply championing VB for the sake of championing VB. They see VB as one ally among others in the defense of Europe.]

I happen to be aware of this new state of affairs because during the last year or so I’ve been scolded by a number of respected and accomplished writers for refusing to make nice with Vlaams Belang. [This is obvious b.s. No one has ever been told to “make nice” with VB. The issue isn’t making nice with VB but whether VB can be present among the anti-jihad coalition, without being targeted by Johnson type smears.] Some of them have done this gently, pleadingly; others, who once addressed me with civility and respect as a fellow independent writer, have taken a harsh and hectoring, and in two or three cases even a condescending and bullying tone with me, as if they’re the bosses of some political machine and I’m an irksome underling who’s deviating from the party line. [He doesn’t give a single example of this hectoring campaign against him, the poor dear. So why should we believe him?] The shift is, frankly, breathtaking. [How can we believe that something is ‘breathtaking” if Bawer won’t even tell us what it is and give us examples of it?] Some of these writers have admitted privately that VB is bad news but argue that the party is nonetheless a valuable ally in the struggle against the Islamization of Europe, just as Stalin was a useful partner in the war on Hitler; others insist vehemently that Belien & co. are terrific folks, and claim that their checkered reputation is entirely the work of Charles Johnson. Never mind that other right-wing European parties, such as Norway’s Progress Party, have explicitly distanced themselves from VB; never mind that in 2006 Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a far more well informed student of Benelux politics than any of VB’s eager new boosters, called VB “a racist, anti-Semitic, extremist party that is unkind to women” and earlier today, while acknowledging that “the party has adjusted its rhetoric and seems to have dropped its anti-Semitic stance,” told me in an e-mail that “it’s very difficult to know whether this [adjustment] is genuine or political pragmatism.” [Bawer makes Hirsi Ali—an anti-Christian bigot who equates Catholics with Nazis and who has repeatedly advocated the banning of Christian and conservative parties—his authority on what is acceptable. So that’s the extent of Bawer’s indictment of VB? That Hirsi Ali doesn’t like it?]

The other day, in the wake of my City Journal piece “Heirs to Fortuyn?”, a couple of anti-jihad writers who had not yet rebuked me for my stance on Vlaams Belang finally got around to doing so. Not only did they send me e-mails taking me to task for criticizing VB in that article; one of them also took it upon himself to chew me out for, in his view, admiring Pim Fortuyn too much and Geert Wilders too little. (Never mind that I’ve defended Wilders frequently and that Wilders has blurbed my new book, Surrender.) Wilders, this individual felt compelled to lecture me, is a far greater figure than Fortuyn ever was. Why? Because, he explained, Wilders stands for “Western values,” while Fortuyn stood only for—get ready for this—“Dutch libertinism.”

Yes, “Dutch libertinism.” The words took my breath away. [He had his breath taken away by someone’s statement that Pim Fortuyn, a flagrant Dutch homosexual libertine, believed in Dutch libertinism? That’s it? That’s something to take your breath away?] During the last few days (while, as it happened, I was visiting Amsterdam) I haven’t been able to get them out of my mind. For a self-styled anti-jihadist—who, by the way, I first met three years ago at the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference in The Hague—to refer in this way to a man who sacrificed his life for human liberty is, in my view, not only incomprehensible but profoundly despicable. This is, after all, precisely the sort of language that Dutch Muslim leaders hurled at Fortuyn during his lifetime. And in the present case the words were plainly aimed not only at Fortuyn but at me—a writer who, like Fortuyn, that great martyr for freedom, is gay.

What the hell, one is entitled to wonder, is going on here? [Again, that’s it? One person criticzed Fortuyn and said to Bawer that while Wilders stands for Western values, Fortuyn stood for Dutch libertinism, and THAT’S the deal-breaker for Bawer? THAT cuts his ties with anti-jihadism?] Why has Vlaams Belang, of all things, become a veritable sacred cow for so many anti-jihadist writers? [Not true, as I pointed out above. No one has ever built VB into anything. All the anti-jihadists’ writings about VB have been about defending it from charges that would have the effect of banning VB and any legitimate European conservative parties from the anti-jihad movement. They have not been about treating VB as anyone’s sacred cow.] And why does at least one of them now take such a staggeringly contemptuous view of Pim Fortuyn? [Bawer just won’t let go of this one comment which changed the world for him. “At least one” anti-jihadist said something about Fortuyn that Bawer doesn’t like, and THAT has turned off Bawer on the whole anti-jihad movement. Bawer is to anti-jihadism as the phony conservative Rush Limbaugh callers are to conservatism, who call Limbaugh and say, “Rush, I’ve been a rock ribbed Republican all my life, but when I heard you say that you’re against gay marriage, well, you’ve gone too far right for me, Rush.”] I can’t honestly say that I understand any of it. But I do know this: when writers who represent themselves as champions of liberty start cozying up to distinctly illiberal parties like Vlaams Belang—and when one of those supposed champions of liberty starts to sound uncomfortably like the Islamist enemies of freedom whom he purports to despise—then there’s something terribly wrong, and genuinely evil, afoot. [I’m sorry to be so repetitive, but I must be because Bawer is so repetitive. For Bawer, the mere fact that ONE PERSON said that the flamboyant homosexual Pim Fortuyn did not stand for Western values but for “Dutch libertinism” shows that something “genuinely evil” is afoot. What can I say? Bruce Bawer is the biggest hysteric and horse’s ass I’ve ever read.]

[end of Bawer article.]

* * *

Paul Belien writes:

Bawer writes:

“Belien has made no secret of his contempt for gay people and for the idea that they deserve human rights as much as anyone else. ”

I have never said or written anything about gay people, apart from the fact that I have voiced my opposition to gay marriage. And I only did so indirectly, here and here.

My wife has been somewhat more explicit.

And the VB officially opposes gay marriage, gay adoption, etc.

Hence, when Bawer says that I (or the Brussels Journal) show “contempt for gays and for the idea that they deserve human rights as much as anyone else” this can only refer to my opposition to gay marriage.

If you do not agree with the gay activist agenda, they say you “show contempt” for them and deny them their “human rights.”

Bawer, when talking about VB, always refers to Hirsi Ali.

Hirsi Ali, too, thinks VB is as bad as Islamism and is preparing a genocide. Her reasons for doing so: the VB opposition to the feminist and gay agenda and to abortion.

That is why, when Bawer and Charles Johnson began to attack me I asked the question: Is this what it is all about?

LA replies:

What it comes down to is that full support for the homosexual agenda, including homosexual “marriage,” is the test of minimal human decency. You can’t just be moderately liberal on homosexual rights. You have to be pedal to the metal for homosexual rights, supporting the most radical social innovation in history, or else you’re evil. Clearly this is the meaning of Bawer’s denunciation of Paul Belien, since all Mr. Belien has done is oppose homosexual marriage, and Bawer says that this means that Belien is denying the humanity of homosexuals and so Mr. Belien is off the charts and must be denounced and expelled from any anti-jihad movement in which Bawer himself would participate.

Bawer’s attack on Belien proves that for many homosexuals, there is no moderate or half-way position. So long as there is anything short of absolute social approbation of homosexuality, in the form of support for homosexual “marriage,” then there is some hold-out of disapproval of homosexuality, which means that homosexuals are still considered unequal as to their basic humanity, which is the moral equivalent of Nazism.

What this means is that modern liberalism, with its demand for the total elimination of all discrimination against cultural and sexual minorities, cannot stop at any point short of the destruction of traditional society. Yes, like Islam, liberalism may compromise temporarily and take breathers, but at its core liberalism cannot compromise and must, like Islam, push for the Total Establishment of Liberalism over the whole earth.

As it says in the hadiths:

And on the Last Day, the bigots will hide behind stones and trees, and the stones and the trees will cry out, “Oh Liberal! Oh true follower of Equality! There is a bigot hiding behind me. Come and kill him!”

- end of initial entry -

Dimitri K. writes:

Since long ago I’ve been sort of suspicious about the political and other preferences of “San-Fransisco bicyclist” Charles Johnson—it’s all about homosexuals. It’s not that I have anything against San-Francisco bicyclists, but sometimes they become too demanding and want all the world to rotate around their preferences.

Hannon writes:

You write

As it says in the hadiths:

And on the Last Day, the bigots will hide behind stones and trees, and the stones and the trees will cry out, “Oh Liberal! Oh true follower of Equality! There is a bigot hiding behind me. Come and kill him!”

That’s hilarious. If that doesn’t convey the supremely merciless nature of two of the greatest perils of the modern age, with one stone no less, then nothing will. Pun intended.

The paragraph just before this one drove this message home for me as well, almost inducing despondency. But the more clear my sense becomes of what modern liberalism is, and what it is up to in truth, I almost have to laugh sometimes. It is so completely insane that the proponents of it take their rubric seriously—and fully expect the outcome will be rosy.

Ron K. writes:

You wrote:

“He had his breath taken away… What can I say? Bruce Bawer is the biggest hysteric and horse’s ass I’ve ever read.”

You realize that, with this, you expose yourself to the charge of hippophobia! Really, an apology to horses is in order.

Seriously, while few “gay activists” are drag queens, every last one is a drama queen. Forcing himself to sound reasonable all these years must have caused a volcanic pressure to build up within, and now he cracks like Krakatoa. Rule of thumb: rights activists will eventually erupt in group stereotypes. (Ask Larry Summers.) Bawer is merely reverting to type.

I first saw this in 1980, at 59th Street and Third Avenue in New York City, when one of those first-run theaters showed a thoroughly forgettable Talia Shire film in which the villainess had lesbian overtones, though nothing was explicit. (I just wanted to see Mrs. Shire in something that didn’t glorify mobsters.) This so riled the proto-GLAAD crowd they staged a protest. Only one or two were on hand, in the sun, for the afternoon show, but when that let out, a loud group of them had made a circle-march in the street, with signs, in the heaviest rain I’d seen in three years in the city. (The only other such circle-march I’d ever come across was in a strike by airline pilots, all of whom have military experience. They were quiet and dignified, in contrast.)

Risking pneumonia in a monsoon to block the 7:30 show of a flick no one would remember the next week? How gay can you get?

This combo of carping, totalitarian impulses, and innate prissiness (or butchness among dykes) was constant during the AIDS whine of the Reagan years—though Reagan’s “inaction” was justified, as AIDS was never a true crisis in America, as it is in Africa.

“VB” (Vlaams Belang), by the way, brought to mind a public service announcement of 40 years ago, “VD is for Everybody.” So I watched it again on You Tube.

This ad is so Aryan, the VB would be embarrassed to use it! But if they did, they wouldn’t have to change a word: “Anyone can ‘get’ VB.” Just not Bruce Bawer.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 07, 2009 12:45 PM | Send

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