Letters from readers
first publicly announced my health problem
in June 2011, and when, afterward, I posted occasional updates on it, I received many lovely e-mails from readers expressing their concern for me personally and their appreciation of VFR. Perhaps out of a desire not to over-dramatize my personal situation, I chose not to publish almost all of those e-mails but kept them private. In the last two days, since I announced
the most recent turn in my health, I have received many more such messages, and they are so beautiful and meaningful and enlivening that I can’t see a good reason to keep them from the world, including some that are highly personal. Many of them are written in the manner of a summing up and farewell, and so are peculiarly suited for sharing.
David F. writes:
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Roger B. writes:
Mr. Auster, I, and I am sure many, many others, am very saddened to hear of your deteriorating health, you will be missed. I appreciate your clearly stated and logical views, you have a very rare talent for getting to the heart of the matter. I am an atheist so will not offer any religious help but certainly hope that your faith will help and comfort you. For me I can only say that you felt no hurt before you were born, and will not after your demise. I am profoundly sorry, mankind will be the less.
Daniel S. writes:
I am dismayed to hear that your health has again taken a turn for the worse. I will certainly being praying for you in this time of suffering and hardship. Though I contemplate the reason behind human suffering (be it physical, emotional, or spiritual) often, I know that there is no easy or comfortable answer for why it happens or befalls us in such a harsh manner. I can only offer up the hope that is found in the knowledge that Christ too took suffering upon himself and knows it as well as any of us, and that even in the midst of our torments he is there with us. I too remember that statement of the British philosopher Alfred N. Whitehead who once described God as a follow sufferer who can sympathize with us (though he meant something very different by it, I think that statement reflects a profound truth when understood in a Christian sense). Going a step further, I would offer up what Dostoevsky said, that one day all our suffering will be healed and made up for, such is the eternal hope of Christ.
I don’t wish to be too sentimental or preachy here, but I do pray that you find some hope in your time of trial and suffering. And again, my prayers are with you.
Kevin H. writes:
I don’t want to be too bleak about this, but I would like you to know just how much your writing, your opinions, your clear thinking, and now your courage have meant to me. VFR has helped me, guided me in my struggle to understand our society and where we are heading. You have been a beacon to me, truly a ray of light in a dark stage of history.
Please accept my thanks and my prayers. If they are answered, you can expect a breakthrough on the health front. I’ll be thinking of you, and I’ll continue to smoke my cigars in your honour. Safe travels Larry.
Robert Chung writes:
Subject: You are a dying man.
It appears your death is coming soon. Do you have any personal regrets before the end?
Aditya B. writes:
I cannot bear the implications of this post.
The Author of our Destiny decides who arrives, and who leaves, and how. There isn’t much we can do about it.
But you don’t “deserve” this. Lawrence, I can’t bear the thought of the pain and the suffering. Please forgive me—there is nothing articulate about this email, I don’t have any point to make—except—I can’t bear the thought of my Guruji in pain. I can’t bear the thought of a world without my Guruji.
I realize how irredeemable selfish this sounds. I guess all I’m trying to say is. I hope you know what I mean.
Lawrence, please fight back. You can’t go now. And not like this. I won’t blaspheme because you won’t approve of it; and what was the bloody point of learning from you if I turn into a savage the moment you turn your back?
I’m deeply shaken, sir. I know you’re not a melodramatic person and so I am afraid you’re minimizing your condition.
I wish I’d had the opportunity to have a drink (or several). I’ll try and pray, Lawrence. I’ll pray that this isn’t what I think it is, and that we’ll be able to gaze at View from the Right for a long, long time.
G-d be with you. G-d be with us all.
Your devoted student,
I’m very sorry to hear this and am praying urgent prayers for you. Many others have eloquently expressed what your writings and gracious manner means to us all but may I add my thanks for your guidance through the liberal maze. God bless you and may the radiation treatment be effective beyond all expectations.
Lisa F. writes:
This is heartbreaking news from you tonight; alas I have expected this. You have been brave and manly throughout it all. God bless you.
I am very distressed in reading the latest news about your health. I have been a reader for six or seven years, maybe more. While I could hardly call myself a traditionalist, your website has been an eye-opening experience, and I believe there is no writer today that does a better work of explaining the malaise of the contemporary world.
I don’t know to which writer you feel more closely related, but I think than in some ways I consider you a Montaigne of our times, and perhaps one day (maybe when liberalism no longer rules) you will become a classic such as him as well. The reason for this association (which probably exists only in my mind) is not because of similitude of content, ideology or style, but because of the high level of the ideas and the courage to discuss everything, even taboo topics, such as race or suicide (as you did in the now excluded thread, and as Montaigne did here).
I don’t know what else to say, except thank you for your great work and to hope for a miraculous recovery (they do happen now and then). I wish that your work can be edited and published in book form in the near future; while as a blog it probably reaches a larger readership, a book is always a good gift.
Carol C. writes:
After just reading your news about your health, I felt compelled to write. You’ve been in my prayers every night, along with a family member and a long-time family friend who are both battling cancer. I don’t even know what to say except that I will pray that you have the strength to face whatever lies ahead.
As much as I depend on your blog to find the real truth, please take care of yourself first. You are what’s important. We’ll soldier on while you seek the treatment you need. You’ve taught us so well how to do that when facing dark times.
May God be at your side.
With deepest appreciation,
(sister of JC in Houston)
Mark Hackard writes:
I’ve read your work for some time now. I’m very sorry to hear about the cancer. You will be in my prayers; you have my unending gratitude for introducing me to Fr. Seraphim Rose and through him, Orthodoxy. May God grant you necessary strength, and in the Lord Jesus Christ may you find mercy, peace, repentance and salvation.
Thank you. I’m delighted to have brought Eugene Rose to the attention of many readers.
Jeremy G. writes:
I was very saddened to read about the recent horrifying cancer in your brain. It must be terrifying to undergo radiation treatment to your brain. I wanted to tell you how much of an inspiration you’ve been during this horrific illness. You have been clear headed and have not been bitter in any way. You’ve been a real inspiration to me and my wife. We continue to pray for you to have a miraculous recovery and, if not, for you to die with dignity and without pain.
Your Loving Friend,
Debra C. writes:
Words fail me. But let me try. I knew something was wrong when you were so quiet yesterday and today, and so I was much relieved to see this evening’s post, until I read the heading. [LA replies: You mean, if I don’t blog for two days, you immediately assume that my disease has become much more deadly? :-) But this time you were right.]
One thing I want to impress upon you is how deeply your writing has affected me, that is, how VFR has helped to fine-tune and perfect my traditionalist sensibilities. On countless occasions I’ve looked forward to reading your thoughts on an important issue, say libertarianism, and have found myself immersed in a serious and thorough treatment of the subject that in itself helps me fit this new knowledge into a larger framework, a framework that comprises the myriad evil forces arrayed against the conservative’s mind and heart. You help me see more clearly—and in detail—the many facets of unreality that war against the one, true reality, God in Christ.
I depend on you for your wise and elegantly written insights. And I will be lost without them, and I know of no one who even approximates the intellectual rigor, honesty, and clarity, the unique perspective you bring to your writing. Through your diligence and hard work on the blog, dozens if not hundreds of serious-minded and articulate conservatives have been given a forum, an outlet, to express agreement and nuance and sometimes disagreement, but all of it helpful iteration to an understanding of what it is—and what it is not—to be a traditionalist conservative. Your work is an invaluable aid, Larry, to us out here in the trenches. Even my two daughters, their husbands, and my three grandchildren are feeling the positive effects of your influence through me.
I hope you know how much we love you. May God hold you in His everlasting arms and grant you peace, and if it is His will may you be restored to good health.
Adam C. writes:
Sorry to hear about the bad health news. I really enjoy your blog. You have a very clear and intelligent way of writing. The issues that you write about are not passing trifles, trivia, or tabloid gossip, but instead are of vital importance to the continued existence of the United States and Western civilization. I wish you the best in terms of comfort and pain management in this difficult time for you.
Our prayers are with you in your arduous journey. I want to thank you again for all that I have learned in our correspondence, not least of which is more effective writing and grammar. Your clear-sighted contributions to political and philosophical principle, to what is right, have been invaluable to me both in the abstract and practical sense. In an age where these things seem to be vanishing before us, your efforts are a bulwark against the shadows and the darkness.
Recently I was engaged in a good faith discussion with someone who is involved in conservation work in Ecuador. He claimed that all his justification for “the good” of his work to preserve nature stems from his belief in evolution. I took this to actually mean a defense of materialism and asked him how he could derive any moral or value judgment from his stated belief that the universe has no purpose and where no objective meaning exists. He did not answer this question directly but asked me if I thought there was any evidence for a non-materialist worldview. I said “yes” but that it was not empirical evidence, and added that I thought he similarly had no “evidence” that the universe has no purpose, that this was only a bald assertion. Without answering, he cut off the correspondence. Subsequently I discovered many substantive online conversations he has been engaged in regarding fine points of evolutionary theory and related philosophy. No doubt he comes to the fight better armed than me.
Through this conversation I felt buoyed by the extensive writings you have published in this area over the years. It made me think about truth and how the informed and fearless defense of one’s beliefs is so important. I cannot think of a better exemplar and champion of such an approach than yourself. For that I shall always be extremely grateful.
If I can do anything to help or be of service please do not hesitate to ask.
In warmest sycophancy,
Milos C. writes:
I suppose there is not much to say after your latest entry except that I’m deeply saddened by the recent turn of events. You’ll be in my prayers. May the Lord be with you.
Bruce B. writes:
You converted me to traditionalism. Traditionalism gave me hope and inspired me to have a large family. There are people (my younger children—future traditionalists!) who literally exist because of you!
Rick Darby writes:
That is dreadful, Lawrence. But I know you will face whatever is to come with the strength and bravery that you have shown over the years in standing against the false idols of the country, the culture, and the world.
With heartfelt best wishes,
Peter H. writes:
This is awful news and I’m very sorry to hear it. God bless and keep you, Larry.
John P. writes:
I am saddened to hear of this new and terrible development. All my best wishes and keep fighting.
Brandon F. writes:
You are a good man LA. I am very sorry for your suffering. I was moved by your post, especially your reciting Homer to your friend. You are a naturally noble man and I am sure your afterlife will reflect that.
I hope your website will be available after your passing for future traditionalists.
Be assured that the website will be kept online permanently as an archive after I’m gone.
Andrew T. writes:
Lawrence we are thinking of you with misting, teary eyes, our bodies slump as we think of you.
Oh valiant one who gives us nourishment every day! Captain of our intellectual and political sensibilities. We have been spiritually fed by your brilliance, penetrating insight, and consummate bravery and courage.
We are with you in heart, prayer and deepest brotherly love.
With greatest respect,
Stephen H. writes:
I just want to thank you all that you given to me. To say that I am simply at a loss for words is an understatement.
My prayers are with you. All any of us can take with us of any value is our faith in Jesus Christ. I pray that your faith is strong and that God grants us the blessing of your company a while longer in this insane world.
May God bless you!
Mark Jaws writes:
I am so sorry to hear about the latest Auster health developments. Know this—you have been, are, and will forever be, as long as I can draw breath—the closest thing to a hero I could ever have.
God bless you.
Alex B. writes:
It is remarkable that you find the strength to keep VFR going in your situation. You make us proud to be your readers.
Mitchell Y. writes:
I was shocked and disheartened to read about the spread of the cancer to your brain. From your post it seems the prognosis is that any treatment will be a delay rather than a cure. I hope that somehow this is not the case. We need your voice here for a good while longer. Should that not be the case, however, I am sure as a man of faith you will be well prepared for the life beyond this life.
Joseph A. writes:
I sincerely hope that the new treatment works and that you continue to write for many years. However, as the tradition has taught us, let us conform ourselves to the desire that the Lord’s will be done.
Moreover, I wish to thank you for everything that you have given your readership. You mean so much to many people.
You have remained and will remain in my thoughts and prayers. Many blessings to you.
Laura G. writes:
Prayers and hopes for a small miracle. May you return in comfortable health to those many who love you.
I know that many readers tell you about themselves in very personal ways. This is my story: I do not fear death at all whatsoever the slightest. I hope not to have to have extended suffering before death, of course, but I look forward to death with the greatest trust that it will be wonderful and beautiful. That is because I already did so. What happened is that after my first daughter was born I had one of the extremely major infections that can occur. I had been discharged in the usual way in three days and the infection It was recognized late because I thought everyone was supposed to feel absolutely horrible after delivery. The infection had galloped along by the time it was recognized what was happening and I was readmitted. This was way before intensive care units, monitoring, or any of that. In the end, I was in the hospital for over a month before I could limp back home. Anyway, I was lying on the bed and started drifting upwards. Soon I could look back, very far below, and see myself lying there. I felt wonderful and completely intact … nothing like fainting or anything else. Bright, beautiful, very happy, anticipating going somewhere wonderful. Then, as I was about to have risen so far that I was almost unable to see me, I turned back to look way way down and realized that there was a new baby, and leaving was a terribly bad thing to do and not how it should be. I struggled myself (extremely hard to do) back downward. After, it seems my blood pressure had fallen out and all that. In any case, i know with complete certainty that we go somewhere and it is a wonderful place. I know that in the same way I know that the sun will rise tomorrow.
In thinking about this much later, I recognize that all human groups seem to have believed that we go somewhere, and maybe there is a reason for that belief which is more than just refusal to accept a final end. Whatever it will be, though, this event changed my view of everything and made fear of death an impossibility. i don’t speak of this much because I don’t understand why I had the chance to change the trajectory I was on, and to come back, but I am convinced that there is something else that happens, there is something we don’t have access to that is real, and so both humility and courage need to be kept close.
I hope you have some idea of how pivotal your writings and the forum you have held has been. You have deepened every important discussion so greatly. So many subjects could not even come up (still cannot be raised) in any other venue that I know of. THANK YOU over and over. THANK YOU. I regret I was not able to meet you in person, but really truly my heart is with you. With deepest prayers for your health and comfort,
I pray for blessings for you from the Almighty. I am sad to hear the news of your fatal illness. I am, however, heartened to hear that you are now experiencing relief, and maybe some comfort, from the recent intolerable pain and discomfort; I hope and pray that it continues. Please savor every one of those moments, for those are blessings you are receiving.
It is sad to think that a man with such a sharp mind and intellect and an honest man will prematurely leave us here at such a crucial time in history. Nevertheless, you will be leaving a legacy for us and for those after us; your written works and arguments and ideas are powerful and they will outlive us who are alive today and I hope will have an significant impact on the future well-being of our country and civilisation.
God Bless You.
David B. writes:
All I can say is I wish you all the best. I hope with all my heart your pain goes away as it appears to be doing.
A reader writes:
I just wanted you to know that you are in my prayers and I will do my best to incorporate your current situation into my Lenten daily observances.
I pray that our Lady and our Savior will provide you with the intercession and comfort that you require and most assuredly deserve.
Regardless of the outcome, always know that not only do many of us love you on this temporal plane, but there is also a just and loving God that knows you you can bear this burden.
God bless you friend.
I’ve been desolated to hear of the setbacks in your health. Below are a few words of appreciation, to be read only if you have the time and energy.
I discovered your site around 2003 (can it have been that long?) while seeking answers about the Islam threat. As you may recall I sent you many comments for quite a while and eventually formed a blog as an outlet for my thoughts, directly inspired by the discourse on VFR. I’ve been largely silent since then—this has much to do with becoming a father, work commitments, etc., but also from limits to my self-discipline. However, I still read VFR daily. I would like to say to you while I have the chance, that though your insights and commentary are invaluable, what I even value more is your voice. Whenever a new piece of liberal madness arises, my first impulse is to go to VFR and see what Larry Auster says about it. Most of the time of course I know what your general response is likely to be, but to hear you tell the truth the way you do, with your brilliant ability to bring out the essence of the issue, and your humanity, compassion, and, yes, humor, reminds me that however insane things become, what is true remains true, and what is good remains good, and that the people of the West will one day shake off the chains of liberalism, so that heritage Americans and heritage Europeans can begin to rebuild civilization. You may regret, or I may regret, that you weren’t able to turn “traditionalism” into a movement, but the treatment you give to the demons of liberalism shows their essential weakness and vulnerability, even as they ascend to greater heights of temporal power.
I could sing your praises in many ways, but what I really want to say is that you are a friend, and absolutely irreplaceable. I mean friend both in the sense that we feel writers who we love are our friends, but also in the personal exchanges I have had with you over the years. Though I am not one of your major correspondents and you probably don’t even remember much about any of our exchanges, our occasional email contacts have meant much to me, and you have always been warm and generous with your time. It was always uplifting to get a link to my blog on VFR.
Some of your writing on religion and other subjects are also remarkable. Your statement somewhere about how one has to read the Bible keeping in mind what the author is trying to say, and not reading it as a collection of implausible stories and myths upon which to train one’s skepticism—it may seem obvious, but who says this besides you, and so well? It helps me feel hopeful of strengthening my own faith.
Above all I want you to be at peace and comfortable, but I and untold others want you to stay with us.
It was a pleasure to meet you at the 2010 VFR dinner, and to spend some time with you and Laura Wood the next day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art looking at Japanese and Chinese art. I remember you saying at the dinner that you were frustrated because you felt that you still had so much work to do. And yet—you should also be certain that the work you have started will be continued by others until our side prevails.
Do you have someone designated to care for the contents of VFR when you become unable to do so? [LA replies: That has already been taken care of.]
Do you have any personal stories you still want to tell, that readers (in the future, if not now) might appreciate? You remain a bit of a mysterious figure—though you don’t seem to be hiding anything in particular. What kind of real-world experiences, jobs, travels were important to you before you became the Lawrence Auster your readers know? [LA replies: I have two autobiographical accounts I want to write (and if I’m not able to draft them myself, I may dictate them): “How I became a Christian,” and “How I came to write The Path to National Suicide.” And there are other stories I might like to tell too.]
My prayers are with you. Thank you for everything. My 18-month-old will one day know about what you have done.
All best wishes,
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how much your writings have meant to me over the years.
When I was first introduced to your writings by a friend through a link on his blog, they were too much for me. You were too “out there.” Yet I followed more of his links to VFR, and soon thereafter, I became a regular reader. I knew I would never agree with you about some issues, like gay marriage or religion, but I read anyway.
And you know what? You convinced me in spite of myself. You helped me see the light, and I no longer subscribe to any liberal tenet. Amongst other revelations, I have come to see what an abomination same-sex pseudo-marriage is. Even more important, you brought me back to God. For these blessings, and so many others, you have my eternal gratitude.
I regret that I have not been a better commenter, correspondent, or contributor, but I appreciate the thoughtful, thought-provoking individual e-mail messages you have sent to me. I was thrilled and honored to have some of my meager writings presented not only as comments, but also as their own posts.
In addition to this, you have helped me to learn to appreciate my own culture. Thanks in no small part to you, I am reading classic literature again, instead of just popular things, and I have a deeper understanding of art, architecture, and more. Although I am a specialist in the Japanese language and, to a lesser degree, the culture, you have awakened in me the interest I have always had in my own heritage, an interest that lay dormant for too long. Thank you.
Since learning of your illness, I have been praying for you. I pray for your health, your recovery (even though I know it has always been unlikely), and your ability to be productive. I pray for relief of your symptoms and your pain. Now that you are in the hospital, I pray for your doctors and nurses, and that your treatment will go as well as possible.
I realize that many of us who want you to stay with us are, to an extent, being selfish: we want, and need, more of your insight and analysis. In your writing, you cut through myriad falsehoods and misapprehensions to reveal fundamental truths about so many things, and once you have, those truths seem glaringly obvious—but only because you showed them to us. I know we don’t want you to go because we will miss that, and because we will lose a great warrior against the incessant lies being broadcast from every corner. Yet I also know that God has His purpose in taking you to be with Him. My pet theory is that He does not want you to witness the terror to come. You have been a voice of truth, but it has been your unhappy fate to lead, in some ways, a Cassandra-like existence. Regardless, you have led the way in showing us how things could be, what ought to be, and how we might rebuild after the impending calamity. It is my fervent hope and prayer that the wisdom you have shared will help us when, some time in the future, our descendants are tasked with creating a post-liberal world.
You remain in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that you will improve, as much as possible, and surprise all your doctors—again—with your resilience and longevity, yet I know that in all likelihood, we will be mourning your passing sooner, rather than later. It will be a black day, yet still, we shall rejoice, for it will be the day that you go to God.
Thank you, and God bless you.
With my best wishes and prayers always, I remain, faithfully yours,
Jay L. writes:
I am praying for you as you both battle cancer and confront the treatment options before you. I have long been an admirer of your website and of you as well. I am a survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukemia which spread to my brain. I eventually underwent a successful bone marrow transplant in 2003 at the age of 32. The treatment included total body radiation and numerous injections of chemotherapy into my spinal column. These treatments did produce some short term memory loss, but I have learned to cope.
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I share this as a fellow Christian wayfarer whose survival of cancer and of the world we inhabit has been greatly aided by your writings. Your recent remarks on your good fortune in the face of illness brought to mind one of my favorite quotes from Flannery O’Connor as she battled lupus. She writes: “In a sense sickness is a place, more instructive than a long trip to Europe, and it’s always a place where there’s no company, where nobody can follow. Sickness before death is a very appropriate thing and I think those who don’t have it miss one of God’s mercies,”
Lisa F. writes:
I am glad to hear you’re out of the hospital. Thank you for updating us on your condition. I hope that when my time comes to leave this earth, I will be as sober as you.
Thank you, but let’s see what happens. To paraphrase Sophocles on happiness, don’t call a man sober until he has died sober.
Dan R. writes:
The very best of luck in your treatment. As you’ve heard from so many other readers, you have been a guidepost to the times we live in, seeing through the ubiquitous faddishness of our culture, especially by many of those presumed defenders of “the permanent things.” It’s difficult for me to accept what you have appeared to accept. I hope you’re wrong, but if not, I will assuredly have learned something from your grace at the end of the road.
Your blog has been magnificent. It’s the first site I go to nearly every day. You’ve been called “blogger extraordinaire,” and the label fits perfectly. Irving Kristol was one of the most highly regarded intellectuals of the late 20th century, yet it’s often noted that he never wrote a book. Just essays. It’s been my understanding that you have had book-length projects on the table, and you of course have the two immigration pamplets, both marvelous pieces of work, but otherwise you have … just blog posts. And yet, what posts they are! I think you have contributed mightily to the acceptance of the blog form as serious writing, and I’m confident that at some point in the future there will be collections of them made available in book form.
Thanks for all you’ve done. I hope you can continue.
Deborah A. writes:
The health news you have recently posted deeply saddens me. I discovered your blog a few years ago when National Review (!) listed it as a “cool site.” It was always a great pleasure to take lunch back to my cubicle and read VFR, with its clear, graceful writing; a companion to your great insight and understanding. I think of you as my friend, though we’ve never met. I read many blogs, articles, and so on, but don’t expect to encounter this feeling again.
Thank you and God bless you, from a stranger and a friend.
Mark J. writes:
I would like to add my voice to those thanking you for your contributions to our understanding and our society. I have been reading your site daily for more than five years and I have grown to rely on it to get a seriously-considered analysis of the state of our society. Because of your site I no longer consider myself a libertarian, but a traditionalist conservative.
One of your talents is to write about a subject with insight but without anger, hyperbole, or unthinking partisanship. I have difficulty with that; I tend to get angry about my people’s country being given away and it is difficult for me to discuss it calmly, which makes it difficult to change liberals’ minds. A example of what I’m talking about is pointing out the ridiculousness of “conservatives” who crow about Obama’s plunging support every time it drops to the mid-40s from the upper 40s. You do not support “conservatives” reflexively. You call a spade a spade, and it is very helpful.
Assuming you don’t find a way to beat this illness, we are going to miss you badly. I have been perusing conservative blogs since there were conservative blogs and I have never found a voice like yours. It makes me a little worried for our cause. We need people who can think clearly, because our ideas are what are going to win this battle for us in the long run.
One thing I do believe is that when you write something that is true, and you write it well, it lives on. Time passes and untruths and silliness fade away, but writing that illuminates core truths about human nature and the human condition lives on. Your writing has this quality.
One thing I would like to ask is if you have considered writing something in general about what you have come to believe are the important lessons you have learned about life. They say that impending death focuses the mind. Everyone of us will one day be in your situation in one way or another, but for now we aren’t and you have a perspective on life that we don’t yet. I would be very interested to hear you sum up what you think life is about and what matters.
Thanks again so very much.
This is the very question that Socrates asks his elderly friend and host Cephalus in the first scene of
The Republic: “Since you, Cephalus, have traveled closer to death than the rest of us, what can you tell us about that realm and what do you understand about life from that perspective?” Cephalus has a conventional, decent answer, and Socrates does not find it very satisfactory. At the moment, I don’t have an answer at all.
Tadeusz H. writes:
I have made a few discoveries in my life. One of them has been the discovery of VFR.
In very few places I found truth so strongly resonating with the truth in my heart, but expressed much clearer than I could ever have done myself and I thank you very much for that.
You are very much alive so I do continue praying for your recovery.
But if you will have to go I will pray you have a good journey and wonderful arrival.
You are a real man. I take off my hat and shake your hand.
God bless you.
Simon F. writes:
I can’t add much to those who have already conveyed their good wishes and admiration. I have not glimpsed any sign of your health problems unduly affecting the quality or scope of your writing, a sign of good character I can only hope to try to exhibit should similarly-testing circumstances arise. VFR has been an important point of reference in my education over the past few years as I’ve moved away from passively hanging around with the causes and values of the toxic Left, and moved toward a source of hope in the tenaciousness and moral seriousness of its author. Here’s hoping we still have more to hear from you yet.
May God be with you.
Does it upset you to believe that everything you love and hold dear is going down in flames? At least, from I see of your blog. It seems you have turned very nihilistic in your writing saying that America is doomed and “it is their country now.” All I can say is that you don’t seem to have anything left but your fears and hatreds. No love or hope. Do you have anything left to live for? Conservatism was supposed to be about love of tradition, not I hate everything and let it all burn down.
You evidently have never heard of tragedy. You evidently have never heard about a civilization crashing. In your limited view, a person who sees the truth about a civilization crashing is simply a nihilist filled with hate and fear.
But as Yeats said in his poem “The Gyres” (sorry for all the literary and classical references in this thread):
Hector is dead and there’s a light in Troy.
We that look on but laugh in tragic joy.
A reader writes:
As fate would have it, I’m teaching Plato’s Phaedo—the story of Socrates’ last day on earth—this week and next.
Socrates was the original “awkward cuss” who always insisted on telling the truth, no matter how inconvenient to The Powers that Be.
If Socrates were reincarnated today, I think he just might be you.
David G. writes:
I, too, was very sorry to learn about your worsening condition. I remember when I first read about you in Peter Brimelow’s Alien Nation. I did an Internet search and found The Path to National Suicide where you asked readers not to understand you too quickly. I spent some weeks reading your work and even managed to buy a first printing of PNS on-line from a small, book seller. As I read your material I remember thinking, “This is one courageous man.” I wonder if the average reader appreciates what moral strength it takes to write things that are anathema to so many in power, under your own name, nearly each and every day.
You have been able consistently to articulate what remains inchoate in many people. Many of us have felt for years that our culture was slipping away before our eyes, yet we remained passive, locked in the handcuffs of liberal logic which told us that resistance to such change was not only retrograde but morally unconscionable. You opened our eyes to a new vision of the future that is rooted in the wisdom of the past. That is no small accomplishment and I agree with those who have stated, in so many words, that your work will outlive us all.
I can only wish you the best and hope for a miracle recovery for you.
Please accept my thanks and appreciation for all that you have done.
James N. writes:
I have learned so much from you. I hope that what I am able to teach my children will, in some way, suffice as recompense.
I have often imagined the journey you are on as climbing a mountain, with the top hidden in the clouds. One by one, the fellow travelers turn back. The slope is too steep, the journey becomes arduous. But always, someone is alongside, to encourage, to comfort.
Eventually, there is a gate. Maybe it’s grand, maybe it’s humble. Maybe there is a guard, maybe not. In any event, only you can pass through. Even your friend must turn back. You go through, and are lost to sight. Your friend heads back down, knowing that she (he) will be back, not knowing when she (he) is the one who will go through. If it’s her (his) first time at the gate, she (he) will be changed.
I am very happy that you have such a good friend on the journey.
God bless you—both of you.
Robert J. writes:
I’m so sorry to learn about the latest developments on the health front. I wish you the very best and hope that your singular voice will continue to be heard. W
Kathlene M. writes:
I am grateful to have known you through your blog and email. I pray that, however long you may have left, God’s love will surround you and give you peace.
Thank you for your writings, for introducing your readers to Eugene Rose, for helping me be a better thinker and writer, and for contributing to my angst over split infinitives.
Sending prayers of love your way.
Matthew H. writes:
Two weeks ago I decided to cut back drastically on my regular regimen of blog-reading. In a profound sense it really is, as you have said, their America now, so why torture myself watching the whole slow motion train wreck? The only exceptions have been a couple looks in at VFR where I have been deeply troubled to read your recent health postings.
Throughout the crises of the last twelve years there have been a host of sites I have read daily but only one that, for its bracing honesty, hooked me from the time I discovered it, back around 2005: VFR. In a time of impending collapse and oncoming leftist tyranny, you have stood up and spoken the truth with vigor and intelligence. In addition, you have maintained a lively forum where minds can meet to discuss and understand, and thereby better combat, the people and forces that war against the civilization we all cherish. I also know from personal experience that you are a tough and thoughtful critic, for which I am in your debt.
Over the years I have watched a number of people, including my father, battle your merciless adversary. If someday I follow you down that road, I hope I will have the grace and the grit to bear up under it as well as you are doing. I pray that the Lord will keep you in front of your computer for years to come. If that is not his will may he give you peace and comfort in his Holy Spirit.
I remain your devoted reader.
It has been a real privilege knowing you and learning from you, Larry. Whatever small differences we’ve had, I’ve always known you as a man of great integrity and honesty. May God bless you and keep you, and when you meet our Holy King in person please don’t forget to ask His gracious favor for those of us you leave behind in the valley of tears. I hope to see you on the other side when the time for my own journey comes, and I hope to have just a fraction of the grace you have shown in facing this ultimate test.
February 15, 2:44 a.m.
With greatest personal affection,
Zeno C. writes:
The collection of readers’ letters you published is very moving.
Your serenity in such trying times reminds me of “Lapis Lazuli” by Yeats:
All perform their tragic play,
There struts Hamlet, there is Lear,
That’s Ophelia, that Cordelia;
Yet they, should the last scene be there,
The great stage curtain about to drop,
If worthy their prominent part in the play,
Do not break up their lines to weep.
They know that Hamlet and Lear are gay;
Gaiety transfiguring all that dread.
All men have aimed at, found and lost;
Black out; Heaven blazing into the head:
Tragedy wrought to its uttermost.
Though Hamlet rambles and Lear rages,
And all the drop-scenes drop at once
Upon a hundred thousand stages,
It cannot grow by an inch or an ounce.
I’m glad you quoted this:
February 15, 7:00 a.m.
Yet they, should the last scene be there,
Yesterday in this same thread when I was thinking about and quoting another Yeats poem, “The Gyres” (written at about the same time as “Lapis Lazuli” and appearing immediately before it in Yeats’s Last Poems), I felt that I realized for the first time that the line, “[they] do not break up their lines to weep,” is a great leap of genius.
The great stage curtain about to drop,
If worthy their prominent part in the play,
Do not break up their lines to weep.
The lines that follow it explain it:
… Hamlet and Lear are gay;
Their sheer power of mind and heart to grasp and express the terrible truths of life is, finally, a source of joy, not of misery and brokenness.
Gaiety transfiguring all that dread.
Putting this exchange into the fuller context of this thread, I should add that the truth of tragedy is not the highest truth, but it’s part of the truth, especially of Western man.
Matthew H2. writes:
The traditionalist worldview you espouse with such eloquence makes every day a little brighter for me, and for many others. The West has lost its way, and the modern world is indeed nihilistic. But your writings help your readers see the transcendent truth that is out there. Before I began reading VFR, like many others I felt myself drawn to a traditionalist worldview but could not explain why I was drawn to it. But you have made me understand and have opened my eyes to the beauty of traditionalism. Thank you so much for the magnificent work that you do.
On a related note, you are perhaps the finest living example of a gentlemanly intellectual. You really do live the life of the mind, and the delight you take in philosophy, literature, and the precise use of language is wonderful. You are delighted by these things because they are beautiful and transcendent, and that in turn helps your readers see other beautiful and transcendent things.
You are in our family’s thoughts and prayers. Thank you once again. We admire your work very much and appreciate the magnificent example that you set for us all.
Cindi S. writes:
What are we to do without our PITA, “Pain in the Ass,” the teller of Truths?
Praying for you.
(“The Other Pain in the Ass”)
Malcolm Pollack writes:
Thank you for posting all those letters. On reading them I realize I neglected, in my earlier note to you, to tell you what a transformative influence your work has had on me. Your courage in saying things nobody else dared to, the penetration and consistency of your insights, and the clarity with which you explained and defended them were exactly the intellectual nourishment I needed as I worked my way from the blithely libertarian liberalism of my youth toward a wiser and more realistic understanding of the world—and above all, toward recognizing the paramount importance of preserving and defending our cherished institutions and traditions.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that your writing, which I discovered at just the right moment in my own intellectual journey, changed my life. Gurdjieff always said that for those who are genuinely seeking higher understanding, the necessary influences will appear when the seeker is ready for them. He was right. Thank you so very much.
I’m very sorry that I’ve only really begun to get to know you in the past year or so, and in particular, that we never took that architectural walk around your neighborhood in the upper Upper West Side. Now it looks as if we may not have the chance. One always thinks one has all the time in the world. You’d think that by now I’d know better.
I am very glad you are being so well taken care of. I hope the treatments are effective, and above all I hope you will now be spared further suffering.
With warmest regards,
Nile McCoy writes:
This has been tough to write—there will be far more eloquent letters from VFR readers than mine.
I truly cannot find words worthy of expressing the sadness about the terrible downturn in your health. I cannot imagine a world without your wisdom, Mr. Auster. Your blog has been a source of almost daily enlightenment for me. I shall pray that your final chapters of life be filled with courage and grace. May God be with you.
Auntie Analogue writes:
“Men must endure their going hence, even as their coming hither; ripeness is all.”—King Lear, act 5, scene 2
That you may bear all that this temporal world holds for you, may Almighty God grant you His grace.
Supriyo B. writes from Bangalore:
I must be one of your handful of readers from India. I came to know about your blog from a link that was posted by someone else on an Indian political blog a few years back.
February 15, 11:36 p.m.
Just this morning, I was thinking that strangely, despite all that is now available in terms of online news channels and social media, your site has been my only “Window to America.” Yes, those were the exact words that came to my mind.
I always felt, after reading each entry of yours, what an exceptionally fine and clear mind you possess.
I am deeply sorry to hear about your medical condition. A fellow Indian blogger wrote an e-mail to you a year or two ago when you announced your medical condition publicly, that he felt like “Ekalavya.” In the Indian epic Mahabharata, Ekalavya learns the art of archery by secretly watching master Dronacharya without the latter’s knowing anything about it. I think I understand now how he felt.
With your writings, you can given us invaluable insights into the workings of the modern world.
Thanking you again.
Scott in PA writes:
I’m saddened beyond words at this latest development. I first encountered a Lawrence Auster article at FrontPageMag about three or four months after September 11, 2001. I was stunned to find the first public intellectual to advocate the halt of Muslim immigration into the United States. This same idea entered my mind on the afternoon of September 11 and I was dismayed when, in the days following, I found no public resonance with this sentiment until I read your article. I thought that your solitary courageous voice might be the sign of a turn-around. I became a daily reader of your blog. However, in the years to follow, the death grip of liberalism proved too overwhelming a stranglehold on the American mind to allow such heretical views to gain currency. Nevertheless I’m extremely grateful for the edification I received from your blog. I will still hope and pray for miracles: one to reverse America’s doom and one to forestall Auster’s demise.
That article was published in June 2004. However, I wrote an e-mail the evening after the 9/11 attack advocating that once the people who had attacked us had been destroyed, America should withdraw from the Moslem world. (Though I’ve re-linked the VFR post featuring that e-mail many times, I can’t find it at the moment.) In connection with the same, see also my September 2011 entry, “Why I will tune out the official 9/11 commemorations.” My reason:
[T]he result of 9/11 has not been Western self-defense against Islam, but the prohibition of Western self-defense against Islam. And all the official 9/11 commemorations, notwithstanding their patriotic appearance, will carry that message of American and Western surrender.
Randy B. writes:
I am friends with another contributor to your site, Stewart W., and we often have breakfast, where you and your site, as well as others, are topics we discuss.
Yesterday, discussing your health issues and influence, Stewart made the following comment; “When I write to Lawrence, I feel like I need to put on a tie.” [LA replies: I hope you won’t mind if I try to exercise my influence one last time and say that it would have been better if he had said, “I feel as if I need to put on a tie. “Like” is not a conjunction; thus it cannot introduce an independent clause.] I responded that when I write you I will slow down, proof and re-proof, where on other sites I don’t feel the need. Often times I will play my arguments and points against myself, to get a jump on the scrutiny to which you you and others will subject them. Not only you, but a large contingent of your audience, and more importantly your contributors, are in an elite class of mentally acute and well educated, and often display unnaturally high levels of common sense.
My frustration is how to discuss in light of your health issues the definition of time in medical terms. Talking about weeks, months, or even years, seems less important than celebrating the here and now, and the blessing of the time we get to spend with you until you complete your journey. Your footprint is larger than I expect many realize, and your impact profound.
I am educated, but as an engineer that education is largely focused on the technical. I am a lover of history, and have amassed a large collection of associated writings, but I am outclassed by you and the majority of your audience in other disciplines. That division has compelled me to focus on writing, being more clear on intent, to think more deeply than the obvious, to engage in a more meaningful debate with a goal of having proper impact. You have contributed to my education, and, now over fifty, I can attest to the fact that one is never too old to be positively influenced by a good educator.
The thought of saying goodbye is sharp on the tongue, and talking about someone in the past tense when he is very much with us seems callous. What I am more comfortable with is offering my most sincere and heartfelt appreciation, the knowledge that you will always be with me, and I suspect all of us. [LA replies: What a beautiful thing to say.]
I pray your journey will continue at ease as long as the Lord would have it, and that when that journey is complete, you will have not only our blessings and prayers, but also those of our Savior.
My legacy will be my children, yours will be that and much more.
Thank you for everything.
Joseph A. writes:
I read the well-wishes down to B.E.’s, and, somewhat overcome, I started the following message to you:
“I especially appreciate your commentator Zeno’s description of you as our Montaigne. However, as I went through the sincere and thoughtful farewells of so many fellow wayfarers, it occurred to me that I was in the middle of the Phaedo, where the disciples mourn the imminent departure of their friend and teacher, Socrates, while he gives his last lesson. Our hero demonstrates in word and in deed what it means to be a man—to be rational, to be destined for the transcendent. The dialogue is a tremendously powerful work, and it reverberates across the generations in many ways, it seems.”
Then, given the situation and the shared perspectives of your readers, I judged that I should do a search in the thread for a mention of Plato’s work wherein philosophy functions as a preparation for death—and for eternity. Sure enough, another reader brought it up. Nonetheless, I am sending you my original remark. Thank you, again.
Jeanette V. writes:
Lawrence, I am saddened to hear of the latest development of your condition but I am pleased that you are comfortable, at peace, and not in pain. It has occurred to me that our Lord has perhaps answered prayers by letting you have a peaceful passage.
February 16, 1:11 a.m.
I’m not much of a writer and not I’m good with words, I just wanted to let you know how much VFR has helped me clarify my beliefs in the past seven years since I began reading. One of the most important things your blog has done was bring me back to our Savior, Christ. I can’t even begin to tell you how much your observations and wisdom about the ongoing deconstruction of Western Civilization will be missed.
I am currently learning to sing O Rest In The Lord from Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” and I think of you. These words seem to appropriate to me.
O rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him,
And He shall give thee thy heart’s desires.
Commit thy way to Him, and trust in Him,
And fret not thyself because of evil doers.
O rest in the Lord, and wait, wait patiently for Him.
Richard B. sends this from Bob Dylan’s song, “Restless Farewell”:
Oh ev’ry foe that ever I faced
The cause was there before we came
And ev’ry cause that ever I fought
I fought it full without regret or shame
But the dark does die
As the curtain is drawn and somebody’s eyes
Must meet the dawn
And if I see the day, I’d only have to stay
So I’ll bid farewell in the night and be gone.
Paul T. writes:
I know I won’t be able to put into words what your writing has meant to me over the eight or nine years that I’ve been reading VFR. I am confident that its influence is only beginning and that it will come more and more to be seen as central and indispensable to the task of digging ourselves out of the mess that things have become.
I admire you enormously and never more than now.
I hope you continue comfortably and I will keep praying for you.
I haven’t thanked nearly adequately all the friends and readers who have expressed their wishes and prayers for my spiritual and physical well-being. I have to feel that the wonderful relative physical comfort and the sense of peace I have been enjoying for the last few days has been helped by that. The radiation treatment on my brain begins Monday. Let us hope the help continues.
A blogger who doesn’t wish to be named (and whom I spoke to very sternly when we first had an exchange at VFR a few years ago, but we afterwards became more friendly) writes:
Merely want to say thank you—you have been one of the primary inspirations in my intellectual and political maturity.
Warren N. writes:
What does a man say to another he has never met nor will ever meet?
We live in such peculiar times; a form of twilight that normally would seem so stable and enduring, yet we know the abyss is close at hand.
I want to thank you for being a clear, concise, and uncompormising voice for all of us who looked at the present and the near future with dismay and disbelief. You shouted at the top of your voice that “The “king has no clothes!” You gave us a credo which allowed us to be civilized yet defiant.
I am saddened by your fate but want you to know that you made a difference, at least for me.
“Defiant yet civilized.”
I am so happy when I read this, because it means you have absorbed part of the essence of my message.
Jessica K. writes:
Dear Mr. Auster,
I pray that Christ may give you strength and comfort during this difficult time. Your writings have had a truly profound effect on me, and I only wish I could convey how much you’ve influenced my view of this fallen world.
Please know that for all who put their faith in the Almighty, this life is but a shadow of true Life. Whatever happens, you are only at the beginning of all things.
By the grace of God, I pray that you find happiness, joy, and peace.
Roland D. writes:
Thank you for everything.
Your life has been of consequence.
Robert P. writes:
A couple of years ago you chastised me for my uncivilized language and I have tried to use proper English in any post on any blog ever since.
February 16, 9:27 a.m.
I thank you for your giving me citation on VFR. It is more of an honor than you know.
May God be with you.
Terry Morris writes:
February 16, 5:30 p.m.
I have so much to thank you for that I barely know where to begin. Of all of the generous help you have given me over the few years we have corresponded, I am most thankful for your willingness to challenge me directly to clarify my thoughts in writing. Although I feel I’m not as yet a particularly worthy student, this has nonetheless been of great assistance to me, and I have passed on what I’ve learned from your instruction to others within my small circle of influence. And will continue to do so as opportunities arise, and as your lessons penetrate deeper and become more broadly useful to me.
I had hoped to meet you in person before one of us passed from this life, but that now appears very improbable given the current situation. It does my heart good to know that you are at peace and are not currently suffering.
I love you in Christ, Larry, and pray that your final weeks and months in this life will be joyful and happy and full. Your loss will be profoundly felt, but your legacy shall endure for generations to come.
Cindy W. writes:
There’s not much I can add to the comments from your many readers wishing you the best and thanking you for your website and contributions to intellectual debate. Your website is always the first one I read each morning and when I come home from work in the evenings. You have provided so much clarity to my thinking and have given me more courage in openly and unapologetically expressing my traditionalist conservative beliefs. I pray for a miracle and that you will be cured, but if that doesn’t happen, please know that I will always admire your intelligence, honest, and courage.
Steve W. writes:
Reading your site for the past two years has been a real eye-opener and an educational experience for me. You put voice to some of the things I’d always known to be true, but dared not think aloud in this climate of group-think. I credit you for being my Morpheus and freeing my mind from the grip of Conservatism, Inc.
I hope you realize with the flood of e-mails how much your work has enriched this world.
I know that your reward lies in heaven and I pray that your final days are restful and free of pain. God bless you and keep you.
Keith J. writes from England:
A movement needs heroes.
A movement needs to celebrate its heroes.
It is good that a hero be insightful and eloquent.
It is essential that a hero be courageous.
It is essential that a hero can endure.
You have shown that you possess the qualities of insight, eloquence, courage, and endurance.
For those of us on the Traditionalist Right you are a hero.
May the Lord be with you.
Jeremy L. writes:
I have never posted on your site so much as I have been a reader, but know that your intellect, spirit, and soul, have been extremely formative for me. For this I am grateful.
Some doubt if they will see God or themselves at the end. For you the question isn’t worth asking. Though I have never met you in person in this life, I look forward to seeing the true you, you as God intended, in the next.
What a beautiful and original thing to say.
Andrew E. writes:
I remember a time around the summer of 2008, long before your illness had manifested and long after VFR had become an indispensable part of my daily life, when I first had the realization that there would inevitably come the time when VFR would no longer be around, except as an archive. And since, whenever this unpleasant thought would, infrequently, come to mind I would quickly put it out of mind and be grateful that you were still writing every day and I could still read your blog.
I don’t have the words to express how much I will miss you and your work when the time comes. I’m grateful to have finally had the opportunity to meet you at the VFR dinner last December, and if I have children in the future I’ll be able to tell them I knew a great man once.
Thomas Bertonneau writes:
In connection with you, these lines from Tennyson’s “Ulysses” offer themselves:
Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths 60
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
You are an inspiration.
It pains me to hear of your deteriorating health situation. I just want for you to know that I have learned so very much from you, and that your ideas will live on as I strive to pass them on to others and to develop them in my own thinking. To put things in perspective: I have both an MA and a PhD in philosophy from top schools, and I think that you have done as much as any professor of mine to straighten out my thinking and direct me to the truth. I have tremendous respect for you and I am honored that you saw fit to post some of my comments.
Sunday, February 17
I will pray for you as you prepare to enter into your final rest. As Christians, we have the hope that this goodbye is not forever. God willing, I’ll see you on the other side.
I have not the eloquence to express adequately the depth of my gratitude for the work you do, though I would like to forward you this passage from Chesterton’s “Ballad of the White Horse” (from “The King went gathering Christian men,” to “Unhooked his heavy sword”). King Alfred’s noble but seemingly hopeless battle against the darkness of Viking paganism parallels your noble but seemingly hopeless battle against the darkness of modern liberalism, and perhaps also parallels your noble battle against your health problems.
By the way, Alfred won.
God bless you, Mr. Auster.
Brett Stevens writes:
You have been and will continue to be a great influence on all of us. There are so few people who are not caught up in the groupthink and lost to sanity that we need all the nourishing, nurturing and clarity we can muster.
I choose to approach your health issues as you have taught us to think about life. That is to look for causes beyond the material, and at the pattern of the whole, and to recognize that this universe ultimately is a place that cherishes growth and life, and that it does not waste its beauties.
When we were children, we never doubted The Before; it was only when we had to give reasons for it that we began separating ourselves into autonomous agents who had to be causes of themselves, and thus never could recognize a cause larger than themselves.
I trust in that wisdom, and in the perception refracted in hundreds of thousands of events that this is a loving universe, and that it will love you and continue to do so. I believe that in your life you have overcome many afflictions of the spirit, and have triumphed, and that if any of us deserve reward it is you.
Thank you for all that you have done, and as part of my practice of mythic imagination, I will be thinking of you in a warm, safe and beautiful place beyond all compare.
Neil M. writes from Nova Scotia:
I’m writing to express my appreciation for the many insightful and valuable insights you’ve offered on your blog over the years. Having heard of the state of your health, I wanted to add my voice to those of your readers who are deeply grateful for the contributions you have made to the political discourse of your own country and to that of the West as a whole.
If you don’t mind my giving a Gaelic blessing to you: “clach air a chàrn”—may a stone be placed on your cairn.
Your influence in ordering my very disorganized and late-developing intellectual life at the very time that my previously dependable reliance on physical prowess was rapidly faltering, helped me at about age sixty to begin to think and to find new meaning. For that I expect to be eternally grateful. I began, of late, to irritate you at the very time that you were privately enduring a personal battle for life. I regret it. We are the same age. I was looking forward to decades of your vital presence and leadership, both intellectual and spiritual. I’ll make continuing use of VFR’s invaluable archives. It is a blessing that VFR was revealed to me and that it has opened up to me the highest use of the World Wide Web. God bless you. Your candor and grace in the face of your suffering and impending death is a capstone atop your remarkable intellectual and spiritual legacy.
Eternal peace has to come.
Sara R. writes:
What can I say that hasn’t already been said so eloquently by so many?
I believe it was Schiller who said, “The truth lives on in the middle of deception.”
You have stood in the middle of deception and told the truth, and told it eloquently and without rancour. For that we can only be very grateful.
I will mourn the absence of your pellucid thought and expression. It has sustained me on a daily basis for some years now, as it has for many others.
Although I hope you will be with us for some time yet, I know that there is a place in heaven being prepared for you.
A couple of weeks ago I joked to a friend that at my funeral I would sit up in the coffin and correct the pastor on his grammar or English usage. Well, in this thread, I continue to do it my way. For example, several readers have used split infinitives which I have corrected, as I always do. Thus one wrote: “I have not the eloquence to adequately express the depth of my gratitude….” I changed that to: “I have not the eloquence to express adequately the depth of my gratitude….”
Jake F. writes:
I don’t have anything to add to the many letters already sent, except to make them personal: Thank you for the effect your writings have had on my life.
We’re still praying for you every night, though the kids now know that you’re apparently making your last stand. We all wish you a grace-filled exit.
Baron Bodissey writes:
The news of your illness saddened me when you first wrote about it; the news that you anticipate the end imminently makes me sadder still. If the Lord chooses to take you from us, you will be sorely missed.
You are principled man, and a careful, thorough thinker. I almost always agree with your positions, and when I don’t, our differences are minor. May God bless you now and in the hereafter.
Daniel F. writes:
I am grateful to you for helping me to understand the deficiencies of the unqualified “right-liberal” perspective with which I formerly identified. In significant part through your influence, I have come to understand that, to be viable, a society must have a basis in an organic community, a particular living culture and a some kind of shared vision of the good beyond the satisfaction of individual desires. Thank you for your insights, painful as it as sometimes been for me to accept them. May you find peace in your current trial and may you remain in the presence of the Creator always.
Debra F. writes:
Longtime reader, never-ever commenter.
Thank you for your work over the years. I’ve found it invaluable and insightful.
The news of your illness has been something that I’d not focussed on.
That said, when it’s staring me in the face, I am moved to send you my love, too. I added you to my prayers this evening, and trust that God holds you tightly in His Hands for the rest of your life.
Tiberge at Galliawatch grapples movingly with this situation. I’ve met her in person twice at VFR dinners but have never talked at length with her, which I regret.
Diana West has also written very nicely about me.
Christopher C. writes:
You have made a difference in my life—someone I will never personally know. These are a few of those things: My faith was weak. You have made it stronger. My world was small. You have made it wider. My thoughts were unfocused. You’ve helped me focus them. My writing skills were limited. You’ve helped improve them. I was angry. You’ve helped me deal with that. I felt alone. You’ve made me feel that I wasn’t. There are other things too your writing has done for me, but these are some of the important ones. I wanted to tell you. Godspeed.
Jordan Y. writes:
I am very saddened to read about your worsening prognosis, and I hope that there is a chance that you can come through this low point in your medical condition.
I am completely indebted to you for the intellectual and ideological awakening I experienced after starting to read your blog about eight years ago. While I had leanings towards right-wing political conservatism, it was only after learning about your traditionalist world view, and how you applied this way of thinking to culture and politics, that I was able to understand the world around me in a way that was accurate and truthful. In particular, your defense of and belief in an absolute Truth is something I try to apply to my own political opinions and arguments.
As another commentator wrote in a note to you, I am not a religious person. But my checking of your site daily, even hourly, for your latest penetrating and singular interpretation of the matter of the day, has become like a form of religious duty for me. Over these years I have come to depend deeply on your unique race-conscious, traditionalist, pro-West analysis.
You should know that I relate your ideas to people in my life, and that I have even been successful at getting a handful of close friends and even my father to read your site, whether they agree with you or not. You and VFR have had a tremendous impact on more people than you know.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Ryker H. from Mississippi writes:
I am deeply saddened to read of your recent health news.
I have read your blog for only a year or less, but I am profoundly moved by your insight and ability to express what I often feel.
I keep a hand-written journal for each of my two young sons, so that if something happens to me they may know how much I loved them and to serve as a guide, and lastly to know something of me.
I am printing certain writings of yours because in my journals I cannot come close to capturing the point and passion you give. I will pass these printed treasures on to both of my sons.
You will live on through your words in ways you will never know, but I want to say a heartfelt “thank you” in advance. I have been enriched by your gift of sharing.
May God keep you, heal you, and grant you peace.
Glenn H. writes:
For the past few years, it is your site to which I have gone first each day, and several times a day thereafter. It has always been with a mix of eagerness and fear that I do; eagerness because of the intelligence and grace with which you have contrived to depict, understand, and confront the evil of our time, and to work out and convey the ways to fight it, and fear because, at your blog, the evil of our time is revealed in all its wicked horror and menace.
Like so many of your readers who know you only through your work, I feel about you as though you were a personal friend and regard you, on the basis of your work, as a great champion in a consequential and terrible conflict.
Although I differ with you on several important matters, I would never have wanted to have been without you. Now, alas, I will be without you.
Thank you so much for the great work you have done and for the heroic spirit with which you have done it. May the remainder of your days in this world bring as light a burden as possible and may you continue to enjoy the strength of spirit to endure whatever you may have to endure as manfully as you have shouldered your troubles so far.
In light of what I stated above, please allow me to say, Goodbye, dear friend.
James M. writes:
Visiting VFR has been a daily ritual for me over the last seven or eight years, and I have become a profoundly different person because of you. My wife is also different because of you. My children are being raised the way they are because of you. I live where I do because of you. And I go to church because of you. Even though it is a burden to be fully aware of our reality, my entire life is so much better than it would have been, had it not been for you. You have been my teacher, mentor, a moral example, and my hero, and will remain in my mind and heart for the rest of my life.
Thank you for all you have done, for myself and others.
Monte F. writes:
The thought of you brings goosebumps and tears. You have inspired my life and brought so much wisdom to it, you create a barrier from this dark cloud floating over us at all times. The light, love, faith, hope and wisdom has become a safety blanket for me and a window into true intelligence in life. I love you brother. I will pray and fight for you.
I have enjoyed your plain, outspoken truths and have learned much from you. The best thing, though, was your insistence on writing the truth as you see it, unhindered by popular opinion. You have often gone against the grain, without consideration for the social ostracism it brings, even from other conservatives who wish to adopt and preserve liberal fallacies about race, feminism, and other pop ideologies.
Now when I fear writing something that I know will annoy other conservatives, I always think of you. What would Larry do? Then I do it. Austerism is the antidote for group-think, the latter being the most effective obstruction in any search for truth.
Because of your massive moral backbone, my own backbone has been strengthened. Your example has not been overlooked and will never be forgotten. What have you taught me? It is the real meaning of an old maxim: Be True to Yourself.
I love you, Larry.
Julien B. writes:
I’ve been reading the many very touching goodbyes and trying to decide what I should say myself. Most of what comes to mind echoes what so many others have said. Your writings have been a profound and enduring inspiration intellectually. Even when I’ve disagreed with you, I’ve always found that your take on things was so forcefully argued and thought-provoking that I had to reconsider seriously. In articulating such a comprehensive and multi-faceted alternative to the modern world-view that organizes our whole society, you made it possible for many others to think freely about basic issues. Very few people could have done that, and probably many of your readers (myself included) wouldn’t have been able to figure it out without your help. I’ve always been impressed, also, by the moral depth and seriousness with which you approach these issues, even when dealing with topics that most people simply refuse to think about. Maybe your most important influence on me has been to reassure me that it is not only rational to reject liberalism, but that it is morally good—that in rejecting all of that, we don’t cease to be decent people and, on the contrary, we can express our goodness more honestly and more fully. I should add that, while I am not a Christian, your writings have moved me much closer to some kind of theism. I now feel pretty confident that there are higher dimensions of reality, and life as a whole has taken on a happier, more hopeful character. Like many of your other readers, the way I raise my children and live my life will always be shaped by your ideas. Finally, the way you’ve been dealing with your illness and your mortality is very impressive. There’s no knowing how any of us will react, but I can only hope that when my time comes I’ll have some of the grace and courage you’ve shown during this ordeal. I hope and pray this isn’t the end. But if it is, I’m very grateful to have known you—a little, at least, in this strange way. I regret that we never met in person, but despite that you’ve been one of my greatest teachers.
It’s going to be hard when you’re gone, VFR was my morning coffee and paper. You were the news the New York Times was afraid to print.
The apostle Paul, as he saw his life about to end, said this, in a passage that always makes me sad and joyful:
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
God willing, we’ll meet someday.
I have declined to post more and more letters sent to this thread which have explicitly or (as in Gintas’s case) implicitly treated me as though I were a saint with a place saved up for me in heaven. I’ve posted Gintas’ comment because it was a milder specimen of the type than several others. No disrespect intended, but I find these letters embarrassingly exaggerated and inappropriate (though you can’t know what I mean exactly by that, because I have not posted them). I’m just Larry Auster, a flawed and limited human being, and I do the work I’ve done. I have not lived as a servant of God, as Paul did, nor have I transcended my ego and selfish nature. Also, when people declare of their certain knowledge that I am going to a much better place than those who remain alive (which several letters have said and I decided after thinking about it not to post them), by the writers’ own beliefs, isn’t that true of everyone who dies? So what particular meaning does that have in relation to me?
I’ve been divided about whether to post these letters. Though on one hand I felt they were overblown and made too much of me, on the other hand, I felt they were a heartfelt expression of the writers’ feelings, even their love, and thus legitimate and postable for that reason, even though their specific statements about me were not acceptable. Love has its own royal claim and authority and cannot be denied. But still, talking about me as a future saint in heaven is too much.
I wasn’t thinking of you as some super saint or apostle. The thing Paul wrote is a nice passage by a man who has done his work, and is going to his reward, with the end at hand. As he grew older he even came to himself as the chief of sinners. But maybe we are puffing you up too much, and that is not good.
Bruce B. writes:
Well, I doubt you’ll be canonized. Certainly not by the Anglican Communion. But I’m sure your name will figure prominently in the story of those who initiated the turnabout of Western Civilization’s march to extinction.
Mark P. writes:
I do not know what to say to you.
All I can come across is the enormouse influence you have had on my thought over the last decade or so that I have been reading your blog. Your influence on me and the avenues you have opened for me have been as great for me as those of Friedrich Hayek’s works.
Jewel A. writes:
Dear Lawrence, I wanted to be able to say good bye to you before you embark on your journey to that fair country we all dream about. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for saying what needs to be said. Being able to speak the truth so well in an age where words are perverse is not only daunting, but dangerous. You do this well, and, in the end, you will hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Peace on you, dear man, and farewell. I love you.
Paul K. writes:
I’ve been reading the many letters to you. They give me a wonderful sense of the VFR community, of what fine people have been brought together by your writing. It’s a blessing that you’re alive to hear how much you’ve meant to people, like being able to attend your own memorial service.
I am so glad I was able to attend the three annual VFR dinners. During the testimonial portion of the most recent dinner I spoke of how rare and precious people like you are. At this time in our civilization, there are countless pundits expressing their views on television, radio, the Internet, and in print. But among this horde of pontificators, how many are saying anything of value? Only a handful. Most of them oppose the truth and speak only against it.
Among so-called conservatives, I see many who grasp a portion of the truth but are unable to see the whole, or who may have a sense of the whole but lack the courage to swim against the liberal tide. Then there is a small group who actually understand the truth and have the courage to present it—many of your readers are in this category, as are the various bloggers you regularly link to. But even among this small group, how many have your ability to develop fresh and striking insights and present them in the context of a wholistic understanding of liberalism in a way that is clear and persuasive? You are among the few who can do this and it makes you extremely valuable, even irreplaceable.
Like all of your readers, I will greatly miss your daily observations and insights. However, you have already provided us with a philosophical framework that has changed the way we view the world. This is a great legacy and one that will live on.
I have to believe that someday, when serious people look back at our era to try to understand what happened, why we threw away so much that was good, you will be recognized as one of the few who understood what was happening and had the courage to raise his voice against it.
Chris Muir writes:
I read with dismay about your condition; but more than most you will live on in your writings by changing ours.
Pete P. writes:
I have been a regular reader of View from the Right since 2005. I had looked forward to reading your cogent refutations of liberal beliefs for another couple of decades to come. I am sorry that your cancer has turned grave; I hope you have the best possible outcome and can make the most of your remaining time on earth.
For the last few decades, the government, the schools, and the media have worked together to indoctrinate Americans into the false beliefs that the economy needs mass immigration to grow and that America has never had a stable racial and cultural identity. You have done much to ensure that many Americans still recognize that these claims are lies. Your superb writing and compelling argumentation have won many converts to the cause of immigration restriction. America is fortunate to have had you.
Stephen L. writes:
Your current medical condition, which will ultimately lead to your passing, has been very sad news for me. I cannot believe this is happening.
What do you mean to me? Well, you are just like an extremely demanding professor, or probably more on the mark, coach. You demand the best and clearest thought which is philosophically consistent; just like my various athletic coaches demanded perfection from me on the field or mat. Your manner made you, for me, a fearsome figure. Imagine that, a 58 year old accomplished dentist afraid of not being clear! Thank you so much for allowing the development of intellectual clarity in me! When I write to you, I am afraid that my punctuation, grammar, style, paragraph construction, amongst others, is not correct. All men, I feel, require mentors. You are, have been, and will always be a mentor to me. Thank you for your gifts which you have spread wisely.
My beliefs have you meeting my parents and forebears. Tell them I am not trying but doing….
Spencer Warren writes:
Your equanimity and courage are remarkable. Seeing you write of your feeling of happiness, and seeing in the e-mails how much you are admired, respected, and loved, I at once thought of Lou Gehrig. You are a man. A great man.
You have touched not only your legions of readers but countless others with whom we have shared your thoughts and profound insights. One post concerning this subject, which for me sums up the priceless Temple of the Mind you created by opening VFR to so many comments which you edited yourself and structured into meaningful dialogues, was a gentleman’s remark that a conservative site is indeed a suitable place for humane issues because they remind us of the evil propensities of man.
Your admiring and grateful friend,
Morgan F. writes:
I’m Morgan, a long-time reader; I’ve donated and written you a handful of times but you probably don’t remember since I don’t have enough to contribute to the conversation that is worthy enough so I’m usually just a silent reader.
I read the news the first day you announced it, and I haven’t written you since because I’ve been in shock since. My mind has been on you, only.
I want to thank you for:
- Helping me grow politically
- Helping me grow intellectually
- Helping me grow into my role as an adult (a role that it is too easy to avoid, living your life partying in New York!)
Then, once I grew in these ways, you helped me on another level:
- Giving me the confidence to admit my opinions to the world rather than keep them a secret
You have changed me. All of your notions of how to behave are the same notions that was the traditional role of the adult. We’re, sadly, in a universe that, as a result of our removing responsibility from everyone (and giving it to the government) has resulted in a society where too many of us, most of us, deny our most basic roles: to assume the mantle of adulthood, pay our own way, take care of those under our care, support our (metaphorical?) teams, to solve the problems and miseries that come our way—and to do so with a smile, that this is our role in life. You have shown me this for the last years, and your attitude of the last week has doubly shown this to me.
Thank you, and I’m sorry for not being able to express my gratitude more eloquently nor more powerfully.
Selfishly, I hope that there will be a thread on the site about where the other commentators (many of whom are wonderful and I want to read more of them) will continue the conversation, so I can continue reading them there. Maybe we can have a list of the commentators with their own blogs?
Personal responsibility, a standard conservative theme, is not something I have deliberately or consciously stressed at VFR. But if it came through my writings and helped you, that is very good.
Also, I love what you say about the connection between speaking the unpopular truth on one side and adulthood/manhood on the other. I don’t recall seeing anyone state that idea before.
My heart is heavy. I feel as though I am losing a dear friend. You have been such a blessing in my life—more than you could ever know.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Mr. Tall writes:
Mr Auster, I’ve been a silent but increasingly appreciative reader over the past several years. I have been a conservative for many years, but it’s only in the last few that I’ve tried to sound the foundational principles holding up that conservatism. You’ve helped me immeasurably in this growth.
It is not a good time for people like us, and your illness has made it even more discouraging. But I take heart in knowing that God’s will cannot be thwarted, not in the end, and that prophets are sent to speak their words of conviction in the times they are most needed.
I pray for you daily now, and will continue so to do. Thank you so very much for giving so much of yourself to us readers, and for continuing to offer up this gift so courageously.
Paul Kersey writes:
You’ve received scores of these letters by now, and I’ve found myself searching for the right words to say.
It’s been an honor having had the chance to encounter your work at a young age; it’s been an honor having had the chance to get to know someone whose writings had such a powerful influence on my life; it’s been an honor to be able to call you a friend, a mentor in a struggle that has almost no precedence in recorded human history.
With great sadness, I’ve followed the updates you post on your health; with greater sadness has come the realization that VFR will one day cease seeing your daily output, depriving your many admirers of the most cutting-edge dialogue on the Internet.
There is one great consolation—the knowledge that your works will live on, and the ability to pull up your writings and engage in a one-sided dialogue anytime I see fit.
Thank you for being a mentor, and thank you for being a friend.
More importantly—thank you for your courage.
Michael D. writes:
I want to pass on my deep appreciation of your writing. You have provided us all with a stellar example of what is necessary to combat the brutal tide of leftism: not hysterics or hyperbole, but thoughtfully reasoned argument. You have courageously created a strongly dissident body of work under your own name, a rare feat in this age of Internet anonymity and growing Orwellian fear. This action alone shall give us comfort in the years ahead, because we cannot hope to engage our opponents if we begin from a posture of apology or fear. VFR must never perish, not because it is a gospel of truth but rather because it is here that leftism was not granted its usual handicap. Its arguments were expected to carry weight by their substance, not by the political or social forces behind them.
Ultimately this is a battle of ideas, not of brawn. I am not certain that leftism can be defeated. But VFR will continue to be a source of solace to those of us who refuse to submit, and more importantly, a source of knowledge to those who are beginning to doubt progressive dogma. You have accomplished a great deal.
Sean A. writes:
I want to say goodbye and I want to thank you. You don’t know me and sadly, we shall not meet until we meet on the other side. However, you have brought me great joy and have enlightened me on many topics. I feel as though I know you. While I did not always agree with your ideas, I always respected your analysis and point of view. I have been remembering you in my prayers since I read how sick you are and will continue to do so. I also offered up Mass for you on Sunday. Please know that your work was and is worthwhile and may God bless you. Again thank you very much.
Bill S. writes:
I just wanted you to know what an incredible influence your mind and foresight have given me. Have been extremely upset over your situation and wanted you to know you’re in prayers here. We pray for smooth, pain free transition and you find peace.
Through you, I’ve come to discover a deeper level of ‘thinking’ that I had ever been exposed to in university.
I shudder at the void that’s coming. T’aint fair! You’ve made a such a big difference. Thank you and God bless you.
Lisa F. writes:
You have exhibited yourself in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armour of justice on the right hand and on the left. (Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, 2 Corinithians 6.7)
When soon comes the time, may you sleep in the arms of the Lord.
Michael K. writes:
Please know that you have had a deep effect on my life and my entire way of thought. I do not know what we will do without you, as you are irreplaceable.
Richard O. writes:
I’ve been greatly touched by the many letters your friends and admirers have sent you. It’s just so pleasant to have played even a small part in your world and to have been bouyed by the kindness of yourself and your friends along the way. And by the clarity and learning that have always been the essence of VFR.
It has been your great gift to give voice to traditionalism at a time when a host of liberal absurdities have been celebrated by seemingly intelligent and educated people.
Every word they speak is a lie, and I find I can bear their company no longer.
VFR has been my first stop each day. Solzhenitsyn counseled,”Do not live by lies.” You have been a constant source of inspiration regarding the importance of speaking truth.
Larry T. writes:
You have played a central role in my understanding of the world. I’ve learned a lot from you for which I will always be grateful. You are an original.
It’s a blessing that you still find pleasure in being alive.
You will be greatly missed and never forgotten by your readers.
Edward L. writes:
I’m very sorry and saddened to learn of your illness. Let me just say this: no other author has captured my interest as you have done, such that I’ve never been bored for a single moment over the last eight years.
Jonah O. writes:
We have exchanged e-mails a few times over the course of my discovery of VFR. Some of them were magnanimous, some terse. VFR challenged and transformed my worldview. Since I discovered your site in 2010, it slowly became a daily read, and then it became the first thing that I would read each day. It is so rare for such a challenging (in the contemporary context) worldview to be presented with such essential decency and even-handedness, with that mid-twentieth century American sense of equanimity. I enjoyed your jeremiads, your musings, and I enjoyed your jokes. There were some on the non-traditionalist right who made you out to be an almost comically self-serious figure; they were wrong. Your writing has a subtle humor that, once one adjusts one’s senses to detect it, is quite hilarious. It’s conservative humor—the humor of incredulity. It is part of my general outlook now.
It has made me very sad to learn of your suffering. It makes me strangely happy, however, to watch you approach the end that approaches us all with humility and decency. Of course I do not mean that I find anything happy in your untimely affliction, but only that now, as before, you show your readers. perhaps one last time, how difficult and even impossible-seeming situations may be gracefully addressed by normal people with clear minds and good hearts.
You have been a transformative figure in my life. I must thank you and bid you well before your return into the core of the mystery.
Thank you so much for your lovely and eloquent letter. I wish I could adequately thank each person who has written.
As for the notion, put forth obsessively in some quarters, that I am humorless, even pathologically humorless, that comes from people who themselves are incapable of intellectual seriousness, therefore any genuine seriousness offends and threatens them. The existence of intellectual seriousness means that truth exists, truth that matters, and if that’s so, then they are not free to do and write just as they please and spin things out to their heart’s and vanity’s content.
Daniel B. writes:
To hear of your condition has saddened me greatly. Your writing has helped to brighten a dark world. In the plain light of day we do not often like what we see, but it is the world we live in and for all its horror it’s better to see it for what it is then stumble about blindly in the night. I am saddened I will not have the opportunity to meet you in this world, but I look forward to the day we will meet. Thank you so much for all you have done sir, you are a great man. Godspeed. Semper Fi.
Leonard D. writes:
For some time now this letter has been on my mind, then partly composed and discarded. I am greatly relieved that at least medical science has been able to dull the pain you were in.
It is hard to have to write a goodbye. Of course I sincerely hope that you will miraculously recover, as I have for the last year or more. But now this seems extremely doubtful given what you have written about the extent of your cancer. You will die, and probably soon.
I have not written to you much lately, but you should know that I have continued to read you when you did write, and hold you in my thoughts. It is strange to write this sort of a letter to say goodbye to man I have never met, and who I do not see eye to eye with on many things. And yet, for all that, a great intellectual. In the modern world, only autodidacts have any credibility as intellectuals. And you are among those few men whom I read and always find interesting.
Thank you for all of your work over the years. And thank you for the grace and intelligence of our correspondence these past few years. I am proud to name you a friend. I shall miss you. Godspeed.
Your letter makes me feel very good. I hadn’t heard from you in quite a time, and I had the thought that you had been finally put off by my tough stand on libertarianism, and perhaps our other disagreements, namely on Darwinism. I am so happy you wrote.
Best wishes in everything.
Ryan D. writes:
I am deeply saddened to learn of your recent health complications. I will continue to pray for your strength and well being.
Your work has been one of the most influential forces in my current quest to clear my mind of its twenty years worth of exposure to unchalleneged liberal indoctrination. I can say with absolute certainty that your profound words within the VFR archives will continue to challenge and sharpen my intellectual life.
Thank you for showing me that there is so much more to conservatism than waving a flag and chanting “USA, USA.”
Thank you for your bravery and willingness always to state the truth.
Thank you for showing me everyday what it is to be a man of principle, honor, and dignity.
This may sound strange, but sometimes when I read your writings, I cannot help but enter a daydream-like state and wonder how my grandfathers (neither of whom I knew) might be similar to you, Mr. Auster. I have never had the privilege of meeting you in person, but through your thoughtful entries at VFR, it is very obvious to me that you possess the kind of virtuous wisdom that a young boy might find appealing in his own grandfather.
I cannot seem to express properly how much I cherish your influence on my life.
Thank you, and may God forever bless you.
Alex P. writes:
I’ve only commented on your site a handful of times, but I’ve been a fairly faithful reader of VFR for about five years. You have been one of my favorite thinkers: you have expanded my learning and enriched my life.
A brief anecdote: In 2010, I lost a close friend (and fellow conservative) in his early 50s to lung cancer. Both he and I were former liberals turned “9/11 hawks” and “Islamophobes” following the World Trade Center attacks, so he was more than just a buddy, he was an ideological soul-mate. During the 20-month period from my late friend’s diagnosis to his death, he was fanatically devoted to seeking a cure — despite knowing that, as his cancer was only discovered in Stage IV, his chances of making a lasting recovery were slim-to-none. I supported him uncritically during his (ultimately futile) two-year anti-death crusade, but privately wished he’d spend his remaining time leaving behind his thoughts and his wisdom on a website that would continue to enlighten others after his death. Alas, I couldn’t even bring this up with him, as it would tip him off that I really didn’t expect him to beat the disease. As a result, I have decided that if/when I get a death sentence from a doctor, rather than run around the country from clinic to hospital to treatment center, in a desperate attempt to cheat The Reaper, I will instead blog furiously to get down “on paper” a decisive “summing-up” of all the things I’d like to say to future generations. All that race-realism and “Crimethink” that the current PC tyranny normally inhibits us from saying out loud — and in my country can actually get you hauled into court and prosecuted — will suddenly be sayable. After all, what can the Politeness Fascists do to someone who’s already dying? Condemn him to death?
In other words, my “bucket list” consists of the one activity to which you have devoted your entire life. Someone who has written The Truth (to the extent that we mortals can ascertain it) as much and as well as you have, has no need to fear death. You have made your contribution to the world. You have left a legacy — one I’m heartened to hear will stay online after you’re gone. Your work here is done; and it is much appreciated, as these outpourings of affection from your readers in the form of these “premature obituaries” amply demonstrate. You have lived a good life, and also a useful one. Enjoy what time you have left, and know that your influence and your reach has been far wider than you can realize.
Bernd Haug writes:
We have not corresponded much, but I wanted to express my profound sadness about your severe and likely terminal illness.
While I certainly have not always agreed with your opinion, your perspective always earned the attention that it commanded in conservative and reactionary circles. Your influence on the remnant of the west is certainly well-deserved.
Your manful and introspective fortitude in facing your final act is an example to all, yet was entirely to be expected from your work.
I hope that your editorial style in handling comments in such a way that removed the coarseness of Internet debate and promoted the well-argued over the base will find imitators [LA replies: Yes, but it takes a lot of work and devotion to do that. So far the only blogger that has imitated my manner of manually editing and posting comments is Laura Wood.]; I have little hope on that front since most lack the energy that you had in early illness when they are in the best of health.
May the Lord grant you less suffering than can be borne in dignity.
Dale F. writes:
You have had a profound influence on my life.
I was moving towards conservatism in the late 1990s, and 9/11 sealed the deal. But it was your writings—clear, forceful, original, honest—that helped me develop a framework for understanding our history as a nation and as a people. Though I see disaster on every side, that understanding has been a great comfort as well as a foundation for action.
I feel fortunate to have met you at the Preserving Western Civilization conference four years ago. At that conference I met Laura Wood and Vincent Chiarello as well, both of whom have been good influences on me. So that was a wonderful event indeed.
I’m glad you’re with friends on the Main Line. I spent some happy times there in my early twenties—a beautiful area.
I believe your legacy will be your writings and the enormous, life-changing influence they’ve had on so many people. I like many others am deeply grateful for your work.
This website made me realize that black male / white female relationships (me being the product of such) and their dynamics weren’t in my head. The men are more violent and the women are more likely to get killed or hurt.
If you die, may you die later on and not right now.
Clark Coleman writes:
I have been extremely busy, yet you have been in my prayers. My prayers tend to reflect my optimistic nature. I pray for healing and recovery for you, for strength, and for spiritual growth and closeness to God. Some would say that my praying for healing and recovery are some sort of denial of death, a refusal on my part to face the facts. But I have never approached prayer for the sick in a pessimistic way.
I hope that your VFR time, limited by your energy level at the moment, can be spent on the autobiographical entries that you mentioned. I have resisted all impulses to send the sort of news stories that I usually send (e.g. more companies considering dropping health care for employees due to Obamacare, etc.). No doubt these are important matters, but the more autobiographical and philosophical entries are a higher priority while you are weakened by radiation treatment. I might send an optimistic entry or two soon.
May God bless you in all of your life’s endeavors, whether they last months or decades, and may he draw you closer to him in spirit each day, regardless of the treatment outcomes. Many thanks for providing a venue of great discussion, teaching, and debate, where truly iron has sharpened iron for many years.
In my devotional reading recently, I have come across passages that I would never have associated with illness and recovery, except that you are in my prayers. If you get time, read Psalm 62 and Psalm 46. David, and the sons of Korah, were writing of earthly battles, wars and enemies and attackers. I picture the cancer cells as the attackers of which they wrote, and you speaking your faith in the midst of the battle.
Aaron S. writes:
It is with profound sadness that I read of your condition; though, I suppose those who follow your site knew that this was a possibility. Your manful handling of the situation has been a model for us, though the same can be said of so much of what you do here.
I think I have read VFR faithfully since at least 2004. It has become, outside of my family, work, and church, the most constant element in my existence. I cannot imagine having given so much of my time to any other chronicle of “the passing scene,” as you put it. Would that I had contributed more regularly and assiduously, because your responses are always sharp, always sensible, and always fearless. You have done us all the favor of speaking without compromise, and what a magnificent favor that is! It is impossible, after reading your observations, analyses, and insights, not to notice the countless and subtle ways we have given ourselves over to half-truths and outright fictions for the sake of appeasing the liberal behemoth. Upon seeing this—and perhaps more, internalizing it—the very color of one’s days is shifted.
And yet, your invaluable service to the conservative cause and, ultimately, your country cannot be summed adequately in this way. Since there are other voices speaking truth to power, I was trying to figure out for myself why your site in particular has been my favorite, and here is my best stab at explaining it: Lawrence, you possess that rarest of personal qualities, a combination of relentless analytical rigor with measured judgment. “Equanimity” is not quite right here. Instead, it is closer to what Nietzsche meant by “intellectual probity.” Many speak truths. Still others rage at what is ugly. You manage to do both, retaining your balance and admitting mistakes along the way.
You give us the hard truth, but somehow grant us balance and composure at the same time. I know of no one else who does this, let alone with the taste you consistently exhibit. At VFR, I find not only a sane voice, but a genuine source of edification. I am sincerely grateful for what you have done, and though we have never met in person, I will miss you and your efforts dearly.
God Bless and God Speed you.
Carol Iannone writes:
Aaron’s comment is truly beautiful, and beautifully true. Hey, beauty is truth and truth beauty! Now I see it! Your precise and rigorous way of writing is an inspiration and a goad.
Stewart W. writes:
News of your grave condition has had a profound effect. Over the last six or so years that I have been reading VFR and corresponding with you, the insight and clarity of thought you have inspired has brought so much more of the world into focus, I find myself a changed man. Your influence has been beyond that of a respected professor. It is that of an old friend and mentor, as you, and your close friends and correspondents, observe the world and share your insights in ways of which anyone at any age of the world would be privileged to partake.
I recall as my late grandmother became increasingly infirm, she would complain to my father that she felt old and useless, a burden to the entire family. My father would respond that she had spent her entire life teaching us all how to live, and that she was teaching us still. Even now, in your hour of greatest suffering, you continue to teach and mentor, in a way that brings your friends joy through their sadness, a joy we will carry through our lives.
Godspeed on your journey, Lawrence.
P.S. I was thrilled and honored to have you correct my grammar in Randy B.’s e-mail. Such bragging rights!
Dan R. writes:
It’s difficult to read the wrenching accounts of your condition, but I am touched by your desire to maintain the connection to your readers. I think about you often and will miss you. Over the years, amidst the plain of rotted fruit, your writings best exemplify the founding motto of another rotted fruit, National Review: “To stand athwart history and yell ‘stop’.”
I appreciate the one time we were able to meet, as well as have e-mail contact we’ve had.
Jeremy N. writes:
I find a few of the letters of condolence I have read on your website little morbid. I hope you keep fighting for your life with the passion that you have fought for America.
Your writings have been an inspiration to me to better myself; not just to be more right than the fools leading the world’s nations astray, but to attempt to lead a righteous life and lead others to do the same. It will be a loss to the world when you are no longer providing the insightful truths that you have provided for so long. For all our sakes, I hope that moment is a good many years in coming.
Matthew G. writes:
I just finished reading The Path to National Suicide tonight.
Let me express deep gratitude to you for writing such an honest, candid, and prescient work. And I genuinely hope you experience comfort and strength in these difficult days.
Napoleon wrote, “There is no immortality but the memory that is left in the minds of men.” Although no doubt you would disagree, you can rest assured that with your writing, you have lit or sustained enough mental fires to make you immortal.
I was once a kumbaya liberal with an uncritical acceptance of the multiculti tripe rampant in our society, until the Bush-Kennedy amnesty push woke me from my slumber.
As I am about to embark on a somewhat prestigious fellowship in the government, while gearing up for the common citizen’s battle against idiotic or evil politicians, please know that although our national condition is critical, defeatism is not yet prevalent in our national DNA, and it ain’t over until it’s over.
Again, thank you for your work, and don’t ever quit.
Richard K. writes:
There are so very few who can write intelligently and thoughtfully about the issues of today, yesterday, and the future. You are one of the few. If, in fact, you leave us, you will be sorely missed.
Know that you are loved and appreciated.
I think, and hope, you do.
Beth M. writes:
Your website has been my lifeline for years.
I used to despair when I contemplated the mess our country is in, but you have given me hope for the future, both through your own writings, and through the writings of those who comment on your posts. Lately I have begun to remember that the Lord does not need a huge army of people to turn a desperate situation around, he only needs a Sacred Legion.
Thank you so much for providing a home for the Sacred Legion. Ever since the Lawrence Auster Prayer Vigil, I have felt increasingly optimistic about the future.
May the Lord pour out his blessings upon you!
Mike M. writes:
I cannot add to what many have already stated here-you are a rare beacon of truth in the current darkness of the Reign of Obama and his minions. I don’t think this country will ever be the same one that we have known and loved, but thanks to you VFR continues to shine and it encourages my wife and me every day. The Lord bless you and keep you every moment of your life. He has given you very important work here and we are all grateful for your commitment in fulfilling this task. You continue in our prayers and thought.
Winnie C. writes:
I feel compelled to communicate my sincere gratitude to you and—from a stranger—an affection I can hardly explain.
I am but a humble, rather recent devotee of VFR—but, once I did discover it, I was rapt in the daily reading and thinking on both current and years-old content. Doing so has amounted to an exercise in understanding distinctions and seeking the truth—indeed, even gaining the conviction that Truth exists. That Truth is worth nitpicking over. That it is worth making enemies over. That there are others out there in the world who understand this and are seekers and defenders of Truth too—though I may not know them, just knowing them through your site has lifted me spiritually and intellectually.
My discovery of your blog coincided with my conversion from secular agnosticism to Catholicism, and these two discoveries (faith and your blog—and Laura Wood’s) have amounted to a coherence in my journey toward Truth. Your frankness initially rattled me, sensitive to the point of mush as my mind and emotions had become, shaped as they were by mainstream media, suburbia, materialism, entertainment-culture and, most of all, the education system. But, chastened and rescued through a drawn-out and painful process, your essays and commentaries have drawn me out of the muck and blur. I sorrow, but I am alert and awake to the lies and errors—no longer confused by them and no longer merely a victim.
So now I find myself mourning the imminent departures of two men whose authority, courage, precision of mind and hearts for Truth have shown me the way, as true men ought. I will miss you as I will miss my papa, Pope Benedict XVI, my two guideposts of authority, leadership, and authentic manliness.
Knowing you were there—out on the line for me, for my sake, for the sake of your readers and for the sake of the truth—I hope you know how influential and how comforting you have been (and will long remain) in my life.
Thank you, dear Lawrence Auster. You are in my prayers. May God bless and keep you.
E. from Florida writes:
Larry, old buddy,
I think we are at the point in the movie when Dorothy says to the Wizard of Oz that she thinks he has no magic in his bag for her. In your case that means that the medical miracles are at end. So the Wizard tells Dorothy to click her heels together three times and she will go home. And I think you have now accepted that you’ll soon be going home. Those of us who will still occupy this vale of tears for a few years after you’ve departed will miss you, probably more than you can guess.
Sixty-four years isn’t a bad run, if a few years short of your Biblical three score and ten. You accomplished more in your 64 than most folks could manage in 600 or more.
I’ve been lucky enough to have known some of the smartest people on planet Earth during my 65 years here (well, at least they thought they were among the smartest people on Earth). One did win a Nobel Prize (I was impressed, if not humbled). But, when push comes to shove, Larry Auster stands out well above most of them. You have an amazingly rare ability to go where your brain tells you the next logical step should take any one of us. Most people freeze as soon as a forbidden thought raises its head. But not Larry. You follow the logic through to its conclusion. You’ve had a great run. I am very lucky to have known you as well as I have. I will miss you for as many years as I have left and I’ll think of you often.
Some day in the future I’ll be walking along upper Broadway and I’ll see this fedora come bobbing along towards me and I’ll think Larry has come back for a visit. Until then, I’ll see you in my dreams.
Having opened with Judy Garland, I’ll close with Dale Evans. Happy trails to you, till we meet again.
Thank you for this wonderful, kind letter. It touches me deeply. It’s lovely.
Happy Trails to you, too. And (I’m saying this to a non-believer, but since you said it, I guess I can say it too) we’ll see each other again, in whatever form.
Bjorn Larsen writes:
In a sea of thoughts from people who only discuss events qua events and rarely fit the dots together, you stand almost alone in tying things together, forming higher and higher abstractions of events and other abstractions, binding things together into whole systems of thought, leading one to see far-reaching conclusions — this is where you have helped me tremendously.
Our upcoming Proposed Charter for Western Civilization, to be published in at least six languages and which you helped me edit, is a direct result of your deep influence on my thought pattern, leading me to conclude that the problem in our society is not Islam nor liberalism, but rather you and me and all of us, who stand back quietly and let it happen.
Thank you Larry. I always understood abstract thinking, but through our friendship you have enabled a new layer of abstraction in my deliberations— I will take this forward in your image.
Thanks very much for this. I understand exactly what you mean. I also have been indispensably helped by people who enabled me to see things (ideas that I had already been working on for many years) at a higher level of abstraction. My writings at VFR would not be as they are without that help.
Richard W. writes:
I’ve been putting off writing you because I have so much I want to say and have been having a hard time getting it in words.
You have been a great teacher. I have been blessed in life to have several great teachers, all of them in high school and college, except you. I was thinking back on how long I’ve been reading you now, and it came to me what a great gift your site, your daily writings and especially your correspondence with me have been. Through you I have learned a lot and changed as a person.
Even when there are things I don’t agree with you on, I have learned to hold my reaction for a bit and think more. It’s usually a matter of me catching up to something you have already figured out. You are a great teacher, have no doubt about that. I’m sure many of your other readers feel this way too.
Not everybody makes a difference outside their scope of personal friends and family, you certainly have.
I’m sure that you have devoted a tremendous amount of your life to helping me and others like me. That’s the major point.
Lewis W. writes:
Just thought I would drop you a quick line about how much I have enjoyed your View from the Right website through the years. I never email people with thanks, but here I am all the same. So, from an avid antisemite (Lewis33 of Amren and Takimag) I do wish you the best. Common ground, I guess you’d call it.
Your friend and fan, Lewis.
You proudly tell me that you’re an “avid anti-Semite,” and you think I would welcome your fandom and support. How clueless and out of it can a person be? How many times have I indicated in the clearest terms that I want nothing to do with serious anti-Semites and have nothing to do with them? I don’t want your support.
Lewis W. replies:
I understand, take it or leave it…95 percent agreement with each other (I with you) and I will continue to wish you the best for that which you do. I would think a compliment from an enemy might just be the best, but it just shows how wrong I can be.
For a few years I was an avid reader of and occasional contributor to VFR. I finally had to take a sabbatical from reading about the decline of the West on VFR and other sites (not that it was ever far from my thoughts). So it was a sad surprise to visit the site for the first time in a long while and learn of your illness.
It was VFR that made me accept, reluctantly, the truth of race realism. It was VFR that made me see the root of the cultural decay which I had observed from childhood. I can’t say it’s been pleasant to see, but it is better to know a bitter truth than live a pleasant lie.
So, Mr. Auster, let me thank you for what your work has done for our people. I know I am not the only one who was educated and inspired by you, and as bleak as things seem now, if we turn it around it will be in so small part due to your efforts.
You are in my prayers. Thank you.
Gilbert B. writes from Belgium:
VFR has been a daily read for me for about a decade and I thank you for the knowledge you gave me through all those years!
The Path to National Suicide was instrumental in framing the immigration debate for me. I donated a copy to the university library in my town Gent.
Roger Donway (a lifelong Randian, though perhaps now a former Randian, who has often commented at VFR) writes:
My dear Lawrence,
I have been trying to think of what I could possibly say to you in your present condition. One thing at least I can say: that you should know your intellectual light shone so brightly that it reached even me, at the farthest side of the intellectual solar system.
But how I wondered, in the manner of “ave atque vale” (“Hale and farewell,” or, a modern equivalent, “I salute you, and goodbye”) could I begin pay honor to you and your life? Finally, I decided: with the following quotation, which comes from one of the first books that started to turn me in a conservative direction: John Buchan’s Mr. Standfast.
It was from the Pilgrim’s Progress that I read the next morning, when in the lee of the apple orchard Mary and Blenkiron and I stood in the soft spring rain beside his grave. And what I read was the tale of the end, not of Mr. Standfast whom he had singled out as his counterpart, but of Mr. Valiant-for-Truth whom he had not hoped to emulate. I set down the words as a salute and a farewell:
Mr. Valiant for Truth, hail and farewell.
“Then said he, ‘I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble that I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battle who now will be my rewarder.’
“So, he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.”
That is very beautiful. Thank you. That I reached someone at the far end of the intellectual solar system is very very nice to hear.
Jonathan L. writes:
It seemed imperative to say a few words of farewell given how much your writing and thought has meant to me over the past seven years. The demands of job and family have severely curtailed the amount of time I’ve had of late for such things as leisure reading. Yet View from the Right has been one of the few online destinations I would unfailingly visit day-in, day-out. When you first revealed your medical condition I blithely assume it would prove treatable, or that you would be blessed with a medical miracle, or at the very least doctors could find a way to slow your deterioration and give you an extended time of decent health. The news that the cancer had spread to your brain was crushing and heart-breaking to all of us.
Thank you for the intellectual journey on which you have taken me. When I first began reading View from the Right I disagreed with you on many things, and there are still some things I do not entirely agree on. However, by suspending my disbelief and letting your logic and keen observation carry me to their natural terminus, I was enriched beyond all expectation. Intellectually I have drawn nourishment from hundreds of sources over the years; yet yours was one of the few that was completely disruptive—meaning, it did not extend something I already knew or could deduce on my own given enough time. It jolted me into a new awareness.
Here are the two most important lessons I’ve learned in your school:
I wish you as much peace and contentment as is humanly possible in the next few months. I’ve always imagined that in my final moments I would want to listen to a favorite piece of music, something ethereal yet sad, to help ease the passage into the infinite, and so have mentally prepared a list of candidates for that purpose. Do not forget the power of music to heal and reconcile!
- the reality of the transcendent, meaning that what is good and real is not merely the sum of every individual desire and preference;
- the courage to accept nuance and ambiguity, acknowledging that which is bad in the good, and good in the bad. Do not try fitting everything on to the same Procrustean bed of ideology! A starched-shirt traditionalist fan of Dylan and the Beatles taught me this.
Finally, attached is a picture of myself and my boys to show you that this is a real person writing to you. There are many ways to have a piece of yourself go on, and I think in time these two will, through me, find a place in your school.
While it would be impossible for me (and also tiresome for readers) to reply to every letter in this thread, I want to say, thank you so much for this wonderful and moving statement. And thanks for the nice picture of your two little sons lying contentedly in your arms. I hope you won’t mind my saying this, since, as I believe, you’re not a Christian, but it has the blissful peacefulness of a painting of the baby Jesus lying asleep in the manger.
Doug H. from North Carolina writes:
Thank you for your website and all the work you do. Finding you ideas was an unexpected boon for me as I hardly have anyone here with whom I can converse, and, yes, I do not openly declare my views unless the time and place are right . At first, when reading VFR, I was shocked by the power to declare the accepted view absolutely false, yet I know that I am not hating anyone. Now thanks to the wealth of intelligent writing on your site I am locked and loaded for the discussion/argument.
Thanks also for sharing your thoughts in this end time .You give us all out here a gift.
God bless you.
Thank you for what you say.
This is a key realization, that having certain views does not mean that one is a hater, it means that one is simply seeing truth, and therefore is not guilty. When a person—we’re speaking particularly of a white person, and especially a white man—becomes free from the false guilt that the whole society imposes on him, he mentally and spiritually exits the world of liberalism and becomes free to stand straight.
And the same is true, or can be true, of an entire society. If white America were clearly to grasp the fact that whites are not responsible for the deficiencies of blacks, it would cast off its false, paralyzing guilt, stop committing suicide, and begin living again.
See my 350 word article, permanently linked on the main page, Why the truth about black dysfunction is so important.
Dean Ericson writes:
One of the biggest impediments to a renewed white civilization is the moral and mental paralysis brought on by this undeserved racial guilt. VFR has done yeoman’s work hammering away at the damn thing. Someday it will crumble, like the rotten mess of lies that was the Soviet Union. We’ll still have problems to solve, but unless that one is eliminated there won’t be many white men left to solve them.
Ann K. in Texas writes:
I simply want you to know that you have changed my life—and therefore, I believe, all of eternity— with your wisdom. I am profoundly grateful and humbled.
Dear Miss K.:
All I can say in response is “My gosh.” I just do my thing, write the things I write, and look at the effect it’s had on people. I must be doing something right, and it’s bigger than I’ve realized.
Thank you very much for this.
I realize that I portrayed myself as naive and innocent in my previous comment in a way that is not altogether accurate. Of course, I have a purpose in my writing, to affect people’s thinking, and thus to change them. For example, how often have I said that people need to to step outside liberalism and stand on different and independent ground from liberalism and adopt a different stance toward life? At the same time, when I write, I can’t think too much about my larger purposes, it would distract me from the act of writing. What I mainly think about when I write is saying what I have to say as well as I can say it. So it still comes as a surprise, a very pleasant surprise, when I see from these letters how much my writing has affected people.
Steven C. writes:
I am writing to express my thanks for your guidance during the last couple of years that I have been reading your blog. I have made copies of much of your wisdom which I regularly turn to and which I have brought to the attention of my three sons, other family members, and friends. I really do believe the tide is turning. I see you as a kind of Galileo—he began as a man speaking in the wilderness but his wisdom and free thinking won through.
My very best wishes.
Humphrey B. writes:
I have been reading your blog almost every day since 2007. When I first began reading it, I was mainly attracted to your writings on race, because at the time I was an atheist and an anti-Semite, and strongly disagreed with you on most other other subjects. But thanks to the influence of your writings, I have abandoned atheism and anti-Semitism completely, and I now consider myself a traditionalist conservative. The abandonment of atheism in particular has had a tremendously positive influence on my life. I am very grateful for the work you have done over the years, and I am saddened to hear about your state of health. I wish you the best.
This is great to hear. Thank you so much for telling me this.
Anthony J. writes:
I want to thank you for your blog. I have been reading VFR since around 2005 more or less daily and have found it very interesting, with many different topics covered. I have always found your analysis came directly to the point, with your priority always being to understand and come to the truth. I am very grateful for the sustained effort you have put into the blog over the years.
I understand from your posts that the prognosis for your condition is not good, nonetheless I hope that you can somehow be cured. I know that this is unlikely, and therefore I also hope that you experience comfort and manage to accomplish those tasks you have set for yourself in the coming months.
Thank you. That is my aim and urgent hope.
A female reader writes:
We do love you. You will live forever with us in your writings. You are our Tom Paine, your treatise, The Path to National Suicide , is our Common Sense. Your writing is a clarion bell and speaks directly to my heart and feelings. Thank you for your fine contributions. God bless you.
Matthew S. writes:
I’m deeply saddened to hear of your illness. I would be honored to have you count me as one of the many to whom you’ve given enlightenment, encouragement, and companionship through your writings. There are many passages from VFR in my commonplace books, alongside Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Yeats, and other timeless illuminators of the human condition. I pray for your healing. I know, however, that when God calls you home, He will greet you with “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” Thank you for all you’ve done—it’s more than you could ever know.
Dan Mc writes:
Hi Larry, we’ve corresponded occasionally in the past and I’ve been both a reader and a financial contributor to the site, but since you have so many correspondents I thought I’d introduce myself once more, as it’d be very understandable if you didn’t remember me.
Just wanted to give you my greetings and my prayerful best wishes at this difficult time. I hope you are comfortable, and from your posts it appears you are serene (and rightly so), and that is the thing of utmost importance, one might even say of the only importance. This approach to end-things in this world, which we all must face and so should not be astonished by, is nearly always filled with difficulties, but we take comfort in knowing that Christ will lead us to His kingdom, and there will be a happy end. As a friend of mine who is a noteworthy critic in the publishing world often points out, We should never forget that strictly speaking, the Bible (and therefore life itself) is a comedy—it has a consummation and a happy ending; and not only that, the happy ending is itself unending.
I salute you for the clarity and integrity of your thought, and also for your courage in persisting to say things which the established world seems not to wish to hear. That is a noble thing, and although I’m sure you realize that, I can also tell you that it is more noble than you realize. Your writing has taught me a great deal over the years. While I agree with you in substance on a great many things, there are some important areas in which we diverge, but it hardly matters at the moment, does it. By profession I’m a type of artist, and from time to time over the years I’ve had people who saw my work come up to me literally in tears and say, “I had no idea that it could be like that! That was the most ALIVE thing I’ve ever seen!” I feel a somewhat similar thing about your writing. Generally speaking it’s clear and it’s true, and in places we disagree, but dammit, your work is ALIVE.
Also on a personal note, I am very pleased that you are being received into the Catholic Church. I am a Catholic but I’m also rather ecumenical, in the sense that while I think the Church is mostly right, I don’t think other Christian sects are horrible; mistaken, perhaps, in the small matters of this or that, but I’m not at war with them. But I do think that in these hours of your life, the sacraments will bring you great peace and comfort, and the noble truthfulness of the Church will be a great help to you. When you are lovingly received into the peace of Christ and the unity of the Holy Spirit, the idea of a “church” identity will become some trivial thing from the past which you hardly care about.
May God bless you in these trying hours, through which I have full confidence you will prevail.
Gretchen D. writes:
Hello Mr. Auster,
I had sent the brief message below to you back in February, but was not sure if you had received it. By no means do I require or expect any sort of acknowledgement from you—I only wish to convey my deep appreciation for your writing, which has been instrumental in my own journey out of the lunacy of the feminist/libertarian/atheist beliefs which formed my worldview for two decades. Quite aside from my own personal benefit, I believe that you will be widely regarded in the future as a sage. I believe that the light of your intellect as encapsulated in your writings will shine long and far.
Reading of the loving care you are receiving from your close friends gives me such a sense of gladness that they are there with and for you.
If thanks and appreciation from strangers might have any meaning for them, I hope they know that they have it.
Gretchen’s February 22, 2013 e-mail:
A friend and fellow traditionalist has long been urging the poem Ash Wednesday by T.S. Eliot upon me.
Today, I finally decided to read it and contemplate its meaning. The lines excerpted below leapt out at me, as they crystalized what I wanted to say to you but had been struggling to find a way of expressing:
Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
You have been a mentor, a father of thought to so many—myself included. I’ve never met nor corresponded with any of your commenters, and my one brief email exchange with you was negligible (although you did dispense some good advice therein!)—but you have provided a place for us to be united in the quiet of the desert. We have our inheritance.
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,
Under a tree in the cool of the day, with the blessing of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.
With deep thankfulness and heartfelt wishes for your continued deliverance from pain and suffering,
I remain your respectful friend.
Mark Jaws writes:
First, I just wanted to let you know that I have been so moved by your recent postings that I have been moved to tears—even now as I type this my eyes are swelling. In one sense, I am devastated to know that your time with us will likely be measured in months and not years, but I am lifted by knowing that you have received such an outpouring of appreciation, gratitude, and love from your community of admirers. You have meant so much to so many—including me.
Second, I have come to consider you the model of Western Man, and I am privileged to have known you, and to have broken bread with you. Your writings have inspired me in so many ways that I am devoting myself to cataloguing as much wisdom and guidance from them as possible, and using them to inspire others in my community organizing endeavors with the Tea Party. I will pass then on to my children and grandchildren and you will live forever in the minds of those who love liberty and cherish the Western Tradition. When my time comes, I hope to live my last days as you have, with honor and dignity, in the company of good and loyal friends and family members. God bless you, my friend. I will continue to pray for your health and divine grace from above.
Mark, you honor me greatly. I wish we could be together and say goodbye personally.
I have come late to your work, and your words spawn a poignant regret that I did not do so sooner. I expect you are a man with whom I would have been proud to ride, however dark the journey or dangerous the destination. Thank you for all that you have done to defend the right, and to celebrate the Light. Well done.
I will remember you and your work.
Warm regards, and Shalom.
R. (a valued friend who gave me several original and key ideas I then developed at VFR, for example, a constitutional amendment outlawing Islam in the United States, and who ended our friendship several years ago) writes:
I know we have not been in touch in recent years. But I just wanted to wish you the best path possible to where you must go.
I have been deeply affected by your ideas and, even more, by the collective community of your commenters (even hostile). In your hands, while the devil got his due, the exquisite thing was the excerpting and framing of readers comments in a charitable light. It created an astonishing community. You knew lots of other very intelligent, observant people who agreed, more or less, with each other and with you. It will be hard to replace.
A reader writes:
I found your website several years ago through Diana West. I wanted to write you and tell you how much I have enjoyed your work. You are a brilliant , courageous and insightful man. I can’t tell you how sorry I am that you are so ill. I am grateful for every day that you still feel like writing. You have done a great service to all Americans by devoting your marvelous intelligence to the search for truth and by reminding us that our traditions and heritage deserve preservation. Thank you very much for all you have done.
E. from Florida writes:
I’m very glad to hear that you have a probable publisher for your magnum opus even if it is incomplete. I’ve always wanted to read it. I think I knew you before you started it. Even if it’s ten years old it will still be current.
Matt M. writes:
Thank you for your efforts writing and being a light in an ever darkening world. I am writing, like many of your readers, to return the favor for the gift you gave us: not feeling alone. Your approach and point of view were different and refreshing in the bland media that forever views all progress as good and our increasingly barbaric world as a harmonious, global village. Because you made us not feel alone, I write to you to say, please do not feel you are alone. Whatever you feel, you will feel, but know that you will be in the hearts and minds of your readers. Thank you and God bless.
Susan R. writes:
I just wanted to join the many others in thanking you. I stumbled onto your blog about two years ago and through you found Laura of The Thinking Housewife and several other traditionalist conservatives. I can’t express how much your words have changed my thinking and world view. When I first began reading through VFR I have to say it felt a bit like reading forbidden material. Coming from a more mainstream conservative/Republican point of view I just kept thinking, “I can’t believe he’s saying this.” But I came to understand that what you were presenting was more realistic, on race, foreign policy and other issues and a real alternative to liberalism. I have had several instances of cringing inwardly upon realizing a policy or idea I supported was based in right-liberalism and I was wrong. This change in thinking has affected not only how I view broader national and international issues but in our (my husband and I) day to day life. How we dress, eat, how I relate to my husband and care for our home, all has changed for the better with the goal of continual improvement.
I hope what I’ve said relays the profound gratitude I feel to you for teaching me about conservatism that actually wants to conserve what has been good about our nation and Western civilization.
I hope your recent pain treatment kicks in soon and that your remaining time is free of the agonizing pain.
Andrew H. writes:
I’ve read VFR for several years now. It’s really enriched my understanding of many things and I want to say thank you for all the work you poured into the site. Probably millions of words on that site and lots of excellent comments. I sincerely hope your final days—while maybe very physically painful—are somehow tolerable knowing you’ve influenced a bunch of people you’ve never met.
Patrick Paramore writes:
I would not dream of writing to add anything to the wonderful messages you have received that one cannot read without a knot in one’s throat. I want you to know though that you have helped tremendously to put Jesus back at his right place in my life. A year ago I even started going back to Church (Roman Catholic) every Sunday morning when I am not traveling, something I had stopped doing as a young man. And it gives me so much. In the only way that really matters, you have helped save my life!
James S. writes:
I know I haven’t communicated with you in a while. but I wanted to let you know that you changed my worldview when I started reading VFR six or seven years ago as a kid in his early twenties. You really did open my eyes. Thanks so much for that—for being ripe. My thoughts are with you.
You are our blessing.
Phil M. writes:
I have only recently discovered VFR and will be reading and learning from your wonderfully crafted observations after you are gone. I wanted to thank you now, before it is too late to express my appreciation directly. I hope one more email helps lift your spirits as you lift mine.
so, thank you, and I hope every day you have left is wonderful. May the dream float you, and the sea move you back down the shore.
John F. writes:
I have been following VFR for years. While I do not always agree with you, yours has always been a fascinating, challenging and important voice. If we are able to build an effective movement to change fundamentally the direction of our country and the West, your crucial role in this will be undeniable.
In any case, I wanted to write you to thank you for your work, to offer whatever encouragement I can, and to let you know that you are in my prayers each day.
John McNeil writes:
I’m writing this to bid you farewell, since I don’t know how much time you have left. I want to get this to you while you can still read emails.
You have been a tremendous influence on my thinking. I may not have always agreed with you, but even when we didn’t see eye-to-eye, I always recognized that you carried tremendous wisdom and that I should think upon what you have to say. One thing I’ve always admired about you is your ability to maintain a moral standpoint, something that I’ve struggled with as the situation has become more dire, requiring more radical action. Such a moral compass is absolutely necessary for any future nationalist movements; without that, we will be no better than our enemies.
I hope that when your time comes, you will understand and appreciate the fact that you have lived a profound and significant life, something that perhaps many people don’t feel or accept when their time comes. I have faith that your writings and meditations will carry on, long after your passing. You have influenced many, and I believe that others will take up your traditionalist banner, spreading your ideas further.
Back when I first discovered your writings a few years ago, you were a light in the darkness. You are a true American hero, and I mean that with sincerity.
Thank you very much, John. Since you first began commenting at VFR, we have always had a very interesting correspondence. I always highly respected the consistency with which you held to a racialist position in defense of the white America and the white race. But, as you suggest, more recently you seemed to be moving in the direction of racialism without morality, and there was some tension between us on that issue. Now, if I have understood you correctly, you have rejected amoral racialism, and I’m glad for that.
Svein Sellanraa writes:
While I haven’t been reading VFR for as long as many of the other people who are now sending you their notes of appreciation, nor been so deeply influenced by you (I was already a Christian and a traditionalist when I started reading VFR regularly), nor been so regular or perceptive a commenter, I still want to thank you for several things.
First, thank you for the consistent clarity, courage, and profundity of your thought and writing. As many others have already said, it would have made you a leading writer and intellectual in a saner time and place. Second, thank you for bringing so many people to Christ and to traditionalism. Third, thank you for your patronage of The Orthosphere during its first year online, which has helped us immensely in acquiring a large and regular group of readers and commenters. And finally, thank you for reinforcing to me the importance of keeping infinitives unsplit. May you get strength enough and time to finish all your current projects.
Alexis Zarkov writes:
I’m writing to express my appreciation for all your good works. I never knew about VFR until my daughter told me about it circa 2006. You changed her outlook with your incisive and clear commentaries. You also confirmed my own feelings about where America and the Western world are headed. After my first visit to VFR, it became a must read for me on a daily basis.
I think no one else has your courage and ability to say what needs to be said in these troubled times. When most conservatives were optimistic about the 2012 election, you were realistic, and I shared your viewpoint. Every downward random fluctuation in Obama’s polling popularity was taken as proof positive that he was going to lose by most of the conservative commentators. You were almost the only one awake in a sleeping conservative world. Your Path to National Suicide still stands as the seminal work on the subject.
Now comes the difficult part of my letter. From what you write, it seems that your prognosis is not good. I’m hoping for a miracle, but I have to be realistic. At some time in the near future there won’t be an active VFR, and I’m going to feel much diminished by your absence. I regret not having had a chance to meet you, but I’ve done almost no traveling for the last four years because of chronic back pain, and the inability to walk more than a few blocks. I think that this year I will attempt a surgical fix, but I realize that absent a miracle, we won’t have a chance to meet. That’s a big loss for me. I can’t even begin to express how impressed I am at how you are handling your last days. Most people would wallow in self pity, go into a depression, and get nothing done, but you keep going despite the pain—bravo. Pain is a terrible burden to carry. I know that from having had chronic migraines. I can’t even begin to imagine how much you must be suffering. I hope your doctors are giving you their best efforts.
I will write again. I will pray for a miracle. In the mean time, try as best as you can to keep us informed about how you feel, and what you are working on.
Your good friend forever,
This is lovely. Thank you so much. I so much appreciate, not just your respect and regard for me, but, even more, your affection and friendship, which you have never expressed before. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but, for my part, I’ve always felt that there has been a certain stiffness and reserve between us.
I feel terrible for your bad back and migraines. If you have chronic migraines, I believe that you are far more familiar with excruciating pain than I am.
Another thing: from my point of view, which may be unrealistic and escapist, I feel that if I have a few months more of functional and pain-free life, I am doing very well. I may not feel that when my condition starts to turn worse, but that’s the way I feel now. As I’ve been saying regularly since the week the metastatic lesions in the brain were diagnosed, I am happy.
Maybe that’s selfish. I am not truly taking in the reality of my friends’ and readers’ anticipatory sense of loss over my death—and the real loss that they will experience after I die, which they have repeatedly and so movingly spoken of.
Peter K. writes:
Mr. Auster, I want to say this simply and directly:
(1) Thank you. I warmly thank you for your years-long efforts. Your writings have helped me—have helped us all—a lot, over the years.
(2) You cannot be replaced. Your legacy will live on. But know you will be dearly missed!
May the love of God lead you onward in safety.
From a loyal reader.
Thank you. Your “simple and direct” message moves me simply and directly. It makes me feel good.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 14, 2013 03:06 PM | Send
It is especially welcome. as I’m having a very tough day, I’m extremely weak, can hardly stand up. I fell down on the ground for the first time since this episode began, as the nurses on my case have always been obsessively worried would happen. I was walking down the driveway to the street, for a very short walk to the street and back and bit of fresh (and very cold, too cold for me) air, and when I came to the slight slope of the street from the slight slope of the driveway I lost my balance and fell, hitting my hip on the ground. Fortunately I hit my hip on the grassy slope of the front yard, not on the street pavement, and I was fine. A friend who was with me said afterward that with the way I sort of rolled onto the grass as I fell it was a “professional” fall, like something by a stunt man.