Even when Buchanan urges the right course, he does so for bad reasons

Patrick Buchanan argues, correctly:
If the Islamic world is so suffused with rage and hatred of us … why should we call for free elections, when the people will use those elections to vote into power rulers hostile to the United States?

But in the center of that correct statement, which I replaced with an ellipsis, Buchanan reveals the rottenness at the center of his being. Here is the full sentence, with the restored part bolded:

If the Islamic world is so suffused with rage and hatred of us—for our wars, occupations, drone attacks, support of Israel, decadent culture, and tolerance of insults to Islam and the Prophet—why should we call for free elections, when the people will use those elections to vote into power rulers hostile to the United States?

Buchanan states, correctly, that Muslims hate us, and he states, falsely, that this hatred is our fault, or rather our faults.

What are these faults of ours?

  • Our support for the Jewish state. Buchanan wants us to help the Muslims destroy the Jewish state, via the “one-state [final] solution.”

  • Our “tolerance of insults to Islam and the Prophet.” Buchanan says we should not tolerate such insults. He condemned in the strongest terms the European newspapers that published the Muhammad cartoons and said that our policy should be “winning the hearts and minds” of Muslims, which for the last 1,390 years has meant only one thing: surrendering to Muslims.

  • Our use of drones to kill Al Qaeda agents who are planning terrorist attacks on the U.S. Evidently Buchanan would prefer that we not defend ourselves from our enemies, as that does not win their hearts and minds. (However, Buchanan did support the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, for which one of his frenzied paleocon allies accused him of casting his lot with the “neocon warmongers.”)

  • Our “wars” and “occupations.” Buchanan leaves out that the 1993 World Center attack and the September 11, 2001 attack took place when there was no U.S. occupation of any Muslim lands. Yes, there were U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia after 1991, at the invitation and request of the Wahabbist Saudi government. In other words, the most devout Sunni Islamist regime on earth wanted our troops in their country, to help defend it. That is not occupation.

Please note: I am not denying that the greatly increased U.S. presence in and attempt to control the Muslim lands since 2001 has exacerbated Muslim hatred of America. Of course it has, and to deny that it has, as almost all mainstream conservatives do, is foolish. But to call it the cause of Muslim hatred of America is a lie told only by Islam apologists, such as Patrick Buchanan.

* * *

Here are some past VFR articles about Buchanan and Islam and Israel:

Buchanan, apologist for terrorists [Buchanan says that the Hamas-led Palestinians justly hate us, because we are practicing “terrorism” against them, and that this “terrorism” consists in our withholding our usual aid from them ever since they elected as their leaders a jihadist terrorist organization devoted to the destruction of Israel.]

Buchanan sides with Muslim terrorists against America and Israel [My account of Buchanan’s appearance on Hannity show discussing my article, “Buchanan’s White Whale.”]

There is a war on terror going on [Discussion following Hannity interviewing Buchanan about my 2004 article, “Buchanan’s White Whale. Several anti-Israel commenters show up and their arguments are exposed.]

Dhimmitude, or dementia? [“But it turns out that there is one aspect of Bush’s post 9/11 Islam policy that Buchanan really likes: the appeasement part, the inviting of radical Muslims to the White House part, the “Islam is a religion of peace” part, and the anti-racial-profiling in airports part. His principle is very simple: do NOTHING that Muslim will dislike, and they will leave you alone.”]

Buchanan’s double dementia [“Buchanan cannot acknowledge the true nature of either Nazism or Islam, because Nazism and Islam both require the destruction of the Jews, and therefore for Buchanan to oppose either Nazism or Islam would put him on the same side as the Jews, which would make Buchanan cease being Buchanan.”]

Buchanan and the Jews: a clarification [Bottom line: it is not true that I’ve never said that Buchanan is anti-Semitic. I’ve said that it’s a rebuttable presumption that he’s anti-Semitic. And he is the only one who can rebut it, by giving a non-Jew-hating explanation why he singles out the Jewish state of all countries in the world for his obsessive hostility.]

- end of initial entry -

LA writes:

Some good conservatives will be offended at my reference to “the rottenness at the center of [Buchanan’s] being.” I want it to be understood that, while I do not like Buchanan, I did not say that out of personal dislike. I said it because I think it’s true, and important. For many years, both in his writings and in his TV appearances, what I have perceived about him is that he is not a man motivated by a love for the good, but a man motivated, in his core, by resentment—a resentment that gives him no rest. You can see it in his face and his manner, how unsettled he is inside himself. Even though he believes in many of the good things traditionalist conservatives believe in, there is something bad at his center, something that drives him to identify with and defend our mortal enemies, such as Hitler, such as Muslim terrorists, such as Islam as a whole.

He defends Islam as good, as a wonderful religion that we should never criticize; and he equates Israel with the utmost evil, as when he wrote, in 2002 (after Israel had endured a year of mounting terrorist attacks without retaliating and finally, after it could take no more, launched an incursion into the West Bank to root out the terrorists) that the Israeli government “is the mirror image of Hamas and Hezbollah.” He has never recanted that monstrous statement.

As I have said many times in general of the paleocons and of the more vociferous part of the anti-war right, I say also of Buchanan: he hates neocons and Israel more than he loves America.

September 26

Dan R. writes:

You have ignored the key word in Buchanan’s full sentence: “if.” Thus the meaning becomes IF we accept these charges as valid. Stating the charges is not in itself acceptance their validity—he is stating the charges as the Arabs see them. And Buchanan’s speaking out against free elections is evidence that he’s implicitly suggesting the charges are dubious.

I don’t think Pat Buchanan hates Israel, and in fact, based on a radio interview with Sean Hannity a couple of years ago, where he backed off from defending his Israel position, I think even he senses he holds a somewhat untenable position. What he does hate are the neo-cons, who have attacked him in the most harsh, career-destroying terms one can use in today’s political world.

As for the idea of “resentment” being at his core, I see it differently. I’ve read his autobiography, Right From the Beginning, and what seems very apparent to me is a love of the time in which he grew up. This theme recurs in many of his columns as well. To resent the destruction of that way of life, which has been the mission of the Left since the late 1960s, is at least in part a healthy reaction.

Pat Buchanan has been the most significant race-realist political figure in modern American times. He has suffered greatly for that, as well as for an independence of mind. He is by no means a perfect political figure, as I too disagree with him on Israel, though clearly not to the same degree as you. However, in the end, as much as I love your writing, there are a handful of things on which I disagree, and this is one.

LA replies:

Buchanan published Right From the Beginning in 1988. In 1988 he was not a person motivated by resentment. He has become such a person since then.

I myself have repeatedly said that the attacks on him as anti-Semitic starting around 1990 concerning his “amen corner” remark were terribly wrong and unfair. I repeatedly defended him from those charges. In that earlier period he was not seriously anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. But I think the unfair attacks on him in that period made him so, or were one of the factors that made him so, and by the late ’90s he was motivated by a twisted resentment of Israel, even though it wasn’t Israel that had attacked him, but American Jews. And, in the manner of people who have such resentments, he began to resent America itself as the land which supports Israel, which among other things explains his downgrading of the threat of Muslim terrorism. See the above linked entry about his appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio program concerning my article on him in which I condemned him for saying that America shouldn’t mind if several of its cities were destroyed by Muslim terrorists.

He has repeatedly advocated accommodation to Muslims in the most blatant, appeasement-style, and dhimmi sense of the word. He has rationalized and excused Muslim terrorists.

As for Israel, he has steadily advocated a position—the one-state solution—that simply and directly means the destruction of Israel, first politically, then physically and bloodily, But according to you he doesn’t hate Israel.

Most of all, his 2002 statement that Israel is the “mirror image of Hamas and Hezbollah” makes him a bad person in my eyes and dismissible, regardless that he may say other things that I agree with. If someone is a bad person, it doesn’t matter to me that he also happens to say some good things. I don’t support or associate with people I regard as bad.

As another example of my approach, an example not related to Israel or Jews, when columnist Fred Reed wrote around ten years ago that “capitalism is as immoral as Communism,” I unsubscribed to his column and stopped reading him. It didn’t matter to me that Reed also said some good things that I liked. A person who equates capitalism with the monstrous evil of Communism is a bad person and I want nothing to do with him. Similarly, a person who equates Israel with the monstrous evil of Muslim terrorists is a bad person and I want nothing to do with him.

That is my position and my moral code. Other people are free to have and explain theirs.

LA continues:

Just as Buchanan can be judged, I can be judged. For example, if there are conservatives who like Buchanan and are so offended by my condemnation of him that they don’t want to read me or associate with me, they are free to make that choice.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 25, 2012 02:31 PM | Send

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