Practical objections to anti-Semitism

Brett Stevens writes:

I read with interest your entry, “A reader who had it with VFR,” because we get similar comments on our much-smaller blog. Here are your reader’s objections to you, followed by my standard answers:

(1) “Your insistence that you are the sole judge of what constitutes acceptable opinion on the traditional right.”

This is misdirected. All good writers use force behind their language and express their views strongly. This does not mean they personally are the authority, but rather the subject matter is the authority, and they have discovered more of it. This is no different from a scientist insisting that the Earth is round(ish) and anyone who disagrees is wrong; he has a better model of reality than the other people around him.

(2) Your condemnation of anti-Semites on the right.

Most people take a moral approach to this. In this letter, I do not cover that approach because it has been done by more competent people elsewhere.

Instead, I take a practical direction. To a realist, there is a practical concern to anti-Semitism: it is a red herring. Whatever failings you attribute to the Jewish people, religion, and culture, the problem does not lie there.

The disease destroying the West is Western liberalism. This came from Western people. Blaming another group is dangerous in three ways: first, it fails to identify the actual problem; second, it creates a surrogate which replaces the quest to fix the actual problem; third, it puts us into a state of mind of passivity where we are victims controlled by a vast conspiracy, which causes us both to adopt a posture of helplessness and to lash out in cruel and stupid ways.

I find that I catch flak for several of my views. The first is that anti-Semitism is a mistake; the second is that I do not endorse a classless society or other forms of equality among white people. This offends those who have spent too much time in white nationalism. Their goal seems to be to unite all putatively “white” people into one giant force that will prevail through strength of numbers, ignoring the vast differences between social classes and even different ethnic groups, such as Western, Eastern and Southern European, or even localized conflicts like those in the Balkans or Northern Ireland.

For this reason, I identify myself as a paleoconservative and stay far away from the views that come out of white nationalism. As mentioned above, anti-Semitism will induce learned helplessness and a corresponding viciousness. The far right has attempted to resurrect a white nationalist ideology for sixty years and it has always failed because it is total denial of obvious facts of reality, and will not achieve its goals.

LA replies:

In my own criticisms of anti-Semitism, I have never limited myself to only moral objections. I have always also brought out the sheer amazing stupidity and counter-productive aspect of anti-Semitism as well. So, for example, the anti-Semites / white nationalists are concerned about the Third-Worldization of the West. So what are they going to do about it? Nothing. They’re going to direct all their energy against the Jews, based on the belief that once the Jews are destroyed, all the West’s other racial and cultural problems will be solved as well. So the anti-Semites, in addition to being evil, are among the stupidest people who have ever lived. If they weren’t so vicious and ugly, their stupidity would be funny.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 11, 2012 12:09 PM | Send

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