Welcome to VFR
Up until the death of Lawrence Auster on March 29, 2013, thousands of devoted fans came to this website everyday, sometimes two or three times a day. They came for Mr. Auster’s brilliant political and cultural commentary. They felt that his unique combination of insight, combativeness, erudition, wit and warmth could not be found elsewhere. He is much missed and this site continues to draw many visitors each day.
Fortunately, Mr. Auster left this abundant archive and it is a generous gift to those who wish to explore it. It includes quick, trenchant analysis of current events; lengthy essays on a variety of subjects; elegant debate and a systematic philosophy of modern decline. The articles featured in the sidebar are especially important and relevant.
Please feel free to quote from the material here. Those who wish to use longer excerpts may request permission here.
Mr. Auster was a “traditionalist” who is best known for his writings on immigration, race, Islam, Darwinism, politics and feminism. His book, “The Path to National Suicide” was a seminal work in the immigration restrictionist movement.
“The Path to National Suicide,” originally published in 1990, was his first book and is regarded, along with Peter Brimelow’s, “Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster”, as a foundational text in the modern immigration restriction movement. In “Alien Nation” Brimelow refers to Auster’s book as “perhaps the most remarkable literary product of the Restrictionist underground, a work which I think will one day be seen as a political pamphlet to rank with Tom Paine’s Common Sense.” His subsequent booklets on immigration have been “Huddled Cliches: Exposing the Fraudulent Arguments that Have Opened America’s Borders to the World,” and “Erasing America: The Politics of the Borderless Nation.”
But it was as a blogger at this website, where Mr. Auster was an indefatigable author and editor, that he found his most popular success. From the year 2000, when he took over the weblog from its founder, James Kalb, Mr. Auster posted thousands of entries, in his concise and elegant style, on “The passing scene and what it’s about viewed from the traditionalist politically incorrect Right,” as stated on its masthead. Mr. Auster also stood duty as moderator and editor for the many comments sent in by readers.
Lawrence Auster was no stranger to controversy and aimed his criticisms not only at obvious targets on the left but also at those on the right whom he saw losing one battle after another. After Pope Benedict XVI apologized for his 2006 speech in Regensburg, which criticized Islam, Auster wrote, “As long as our own principles are liberal, as long as such liberal values as pluralism and tolerance, rather than traditionalist values such as nation and civilization, are our ultimate governing values, we will not be able to oppose liberalism and the liberalism-assisted takeover of the West by the Other. Mainstream conservatism is itself largely liberal. Only a belief system that is non-liberal at its core, namely traditionalism, can save the West.”
Mr. Auster was born in Union, New Jersey in 1949 to Sean Irving Auster, an early electronics whizkid, businessman, and real estate investor, and Charlotte Auster, a homemaker. From the age of 11 he grew up in South Orange, New Jersey, where his older siblings introduced him to classical music and Bob Dylan, both lifelong passions, along with poetry. He attended Columbia University for a year and witnessed the student riots in 1968. He did not like the Ivy League university, which he found too impersonal. He also attended Bard College for a semester before deciding that he needed to educate himself on his own before completing a bachelor’s degree.
In the 1970s, he lived a bohemian life in Aspen, Colorado, playing guitar, reading great works of literature, working at a book store, and, it amused him to recount later, wearing a sandwich board through the streets of Aspen with the menu of a local restaurant. For a while, he was a professional astrologer. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Colorado in Boulder. For a time, he was a follower of the Indian spiritual leader Meher Baba, traveling to India to visit his center there.
He then moved to Manhattan, rented a spartan studio apartment on the Upper West Side in which he lived up until his final weeks, and began an often frustrating search for the right career. He attended law school for a year, but decided he would never make a good lawyer. He worked as an administrator at a private school, drove a cab, read lots of books and worked as a temp. He referred candidly to his “odd and eccentric life.”
“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,” Mr. Auster wrote, late in life. “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 fame or whatever was simply not part of my makeup. Everything I’ve written, I’ve written because it’s been intensely important me to say something that I had to say. I can’t write any other way.”
He discovered his main subject when he was walking through Manhattan one day and, looking at the people around him, suddenly realized that whites were on their way to becoming a minority in America. He said that since he was so firmly convinced of the essential humanity of all people, he felt suited to writing about the controversial subject of race and challenging the crippling plague of white guilt.
Mr. Auster, who never married, was raised in the Jewish religion. He was baptized as an Anglican at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York City in 1990 and then, in the days prior to his death, joined the Roman Catholic Church.
He died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 64, when he was still at the peak of his abilities. His experience with cancer (he survived much longer than most) is well-documented here. He continued posting entries until a few days before his death, when he entered a coma. Not long before, he commented that he sometimes thought he was too admired by some of his readers. And he often claimed that he was not courageous for saying things so politically and socially unacceptable that he would never be admitted into the conventional world of journalism or publishing. He insisted he wasn’t brave. He was just Lawrence Auster.