Buchanan’s terminal confusions

Paul K. writes:

Notwithstanding his earlier, much-discussed column in which he urged Obama to arrest Pastor Jones, I thought Pat Buchanan made some good points regarding the futility of America’s attempt to find rapport with Afghanis in his September 14, column, “Who Is the Enemy?” Buchanan asks, “What would a U.S. soldier say to an Afghan soldier who asked, ‘If you Americans believe it is the exercise of a precious right to burn our holy book, the Quran, why should we fight beside you, against fellow Muslims, who would fight to protect the Quran?’”

It seems to me that there is no bridging that gap.

LA replies:

Ahh, he’s so mixed up, working his way through tortuous steps in this column toward the truth, but I have no confidence he will get there. He has too many warring agendas in his head. How can one take seriously a person who four years ago was saying that we must never do anything to offend Muslims, but must win their hearts and minds, and who now is saying that Muslims are our enemy, without his referring back to his earlier position that he has now apparently abandoned (or rather he has abandoned it for the time it took him to write this column, before he writes next week’s column, in which he will probably say the opposite)?

And it wasn’t just four years ago, during the Cartoon Jihad, that he was saying we must win the hearts and minds of Muslims. As you point out, just two weeks ago, he was saying that because Terry Jones was interfering with our policy of winning the hearts and minds of Muslims in Afghanistan and endangering our soldiers’ lives there, Obama should arrest him. Now he’s saying that we should treat Muslims as our enemies and declare war against Islam. Buchanan is simply not aware of himself, not aware of the deeply contradictory things he says. He keeps bouncing from traitorous or dhimmi positions to patriotic positions and back again. Not only is he terribly confused, he gives no sign that he is at all aware of his confusions. He is a mess. His deterioration has been manifest since 1999 when he wrote that we would have been better off if we had accepted Hitler controlling half the world; and the deterioration has kept progressing since then.

Paul K. replies:
In 2000, when Buchanan named Lenora Fulani, an African-American Marxist, as his campaign co-chair, I finally realized how flakey he truly is. I sent the quote because I thought it vividly pointed out a paradox in our policy, but I understand that the same point is clear in your post as is.

September 27

John McNeil writes:

Buchanan’s political schizophrenia ties into general paleoconservative animus towards neocons and globalists that becomes an irrational berserker frenzy which leads them to make any mental jujitsu moves they need in order to bring down the “New World Order.” They are not above allying with Muslims, Marxists, and Nazis in order to stop what they perceive as this sinister cabal, sometimes leading into anti-Semitism, but not always. As an example, Buchanan and paleocons aren’t neo-Nazis, but they tend to sympathize with Hitler’s war aims because they perceive that an Allied victory sealed the doom of the white race and Western Civilization. Never mind Churchill and Eisenhower’s opposition to non-European immigration, and Hitler’s Islamic sympathies; WWII is also a sacred cow for the neocons, used to justify any American imperialism, and so the paleocons feel they must deconstruct WWII, making complete fools of themselves and their allies in the process.

LA replies:

You’re right. And think of how this produces a twisted set of contradictory agendas which in turn explain the tortured nature of Buchanan’s writings. One part of him is an old fashioned patriot who instinctively wants to defend America and help it win wars. Another part of him is fighting against America because America is dominated by neocons with an international globalist ideology. Not only is he unable to work his way out of this and other contradictions toward a consistent and principled position—he is not even able to articulate the contradictions to himself. So his columns tend to go wherever the warring impulses in himself are tending at any given moment.

This problem of Buchanan’s becomes worse when we remember that he has never been a thinker—something I realized to my disappointment in 1988 when I eagerly read his political autobiography Right from the Beginning and found there not an articulated view of the world and society, but a collection of emotional attitudes and loyalties that he had picked up at different points of his life and from different influences in his life. So, even when he was at his height as a conservative columnist, and not yet beset with the contradictions brought by his later anti-Israel, Nazi-symp, and Islam-symp attitudes, he was not good at explaining himself to himself. Consider then how much worse this problem grew in later years when his head became filled with deadly contradictions.

Posted September 29

James L. writes:

I think you’re right when you say that Buchanan has a collection of emotional attitudes and loyalties instead of a coherent world view. Buchanan says he is of Irish Catholic and German decent. That’s why he hates The Englsh, especially Churchill, and thinks World War II was unecessary.

His opposition to Israel is likewise emotional. Because Liberalism is destroying traditional America, and Jews seem to be in the forefront of Liberalism; Buchanan and other paleocons would like to see the destruction of what is precious to Jews, Israel.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 26, 2010 04:39 PM | Send

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