I have not made sacrifices.
The blogger Whiskey, with whom I’ve had friendly contacts for years, has written an article in which he very generously praises me. However, one of the main things for which he praises me (as I told him in an e-mail) is not true:
… Larry much like Jesus when tempted, abjured the riches, power, social acclaim, and fantastic career that was open to him if he merely followed the PC path of say, David Frum. The nominal “conservative” who exists merely to bash other conservatives while enforcing the dictates against “crimethink.” Let us be plain, Larry could have made millions and millions of dollars, been on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, FOX, and many other outlets on a weekly basis if he had just betrayed his principles and what he knew to be true. He did not.In fact, I never had the possibility of a remunerative mainstream career. So I did not sacrifice riches and fame. I just did what I had to do, what I was driven by an inner force to do. As I explain in my March 7 article, “How I came to write The Path to National Suicide,” I became a writer not out of choice, but because I felt compelled to write about the subject of non-European mass immigration and its effects on our society. I hated the thought of doing it, until a certain experience, described in the article, liberated me to do it. Once liberated, I plunged into it with all my energy.
As I’ve explained to Whiskey, I’ve never had any mainstream “moves” in my makeup. I’ve been a solitary intellectual seeker and spiritual seeker all my life, and a misfit in mainstream society. I’ve never had a normal career. Even if I had wanted to, I could not have had a mainstream career as a writer, because writing for money or career advancement or fame or influence or any aim extrinsic to the writing itself is simply not part of my personality. Everything I’ve written, I’ve written because it’s been intensely important to me to say something that I had in me to say. I can’t write any other way.
(Qualification: I have done writing jobs for money. And I didn’t mind doing it, I liked it. But generally they were odd jobs that came my way out of the blue, that people offered to me. I never sought such jobs.)
(Further qualification: I’ve written plenty of articles for which I was paid, from the early 1990s until 2007, but the main motive was to express my ideas. And the expression of my ideas ultimately got me expelled from FrontPage Magazine, where I had published about 35 articles between 2002 and 2007. Since then I’ve published nothing in mainstream websites or other publications.)
Whiskey’s description of me as self-sacrificing reminds me of a great scene in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Howard Roark, who now has a one-man architectural practice and has been unable to find a commission for many months, is facing financial ruin. Then he is offered a commission of a lifetime. A major bank wants his design for their new headquarters in Manhattan. It would make his career. But at the last minute, the board of directors summons him to their office and tells him that they’ve had second thoughts and that the design is too radical and “plain” for them. The board member who has been Roark’s champion presents to him with a flourish a re-drawn version of the building’s façade (made by the architecture-student son of another board member) which covers Roark’s design with conventional, traditional features that are totally in conflict with his own, “integrated” style. Roark says he can’t do it, he can’t go along with the changes. The board member who has been championing him is startled and dismayed by Roark’s refusal: “You’re a young man. You won’t get another chance like this.” He asks Roark how much money he has left. He says a few dollars. The man becomes more shocked: “Why do you have to be so fanatical and selfless about it?” Roark, standing there in a daze, mutters, “What did you say?” The man repeats, “Why do you have to be so fanatical and selfless about it?”
Roark presses his drawings to his side and says gently:
“That was the most selfish thing you ever saw a man do.”
I have always related deeply to that scene, both as a great and meaningful scene in itself and with regard to how I understand my own personality. I’m not selfless or self-sacrificing, I do what my self, my creative energy and purpose, intensely needs and wants to do. In my writings I strive to satisfy my standards. That’s not selfless, it is a kind of selfishness, though, I think, a good kind.
Synchronicity strikes again!
I have a pithy saying that I use often to illustrate the difference between selfish and selfless motives, whenever well-meaning people attribute to me selflessness: “I like myself too much for that.” “That” being the opposite of whatever it is the other person is describing as self-sacrificial on my part. So, for example, if someone expresses an appreciation for my willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ in my work, saying they realize I could have just covered the problem up rather than taking the time to correct it, I will generally say something to the effect of, “But, in fact, I couldn’t have just covered it up because I like myself too much for that.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 09, 2013 06:00 AM | Send