Lawrence Auster, 1949-2013


Photo: ZeroXero

In addition to many philosophical and theological positions I share, Auster also took a number of such positions with which I disagree. The VDare obituary (see link below) cannot avoid speaking of his irascibility: many seem to think his attitude was unduly intolerant, going beyond what legitimately followed from his strong convictions. It should perhaps have made it difficult for me, as it was for many others, to engage in discussion with him; it seems he simply wasn’t dialogable on many issues where most other traditionalist conservatives are. His criticisms of others also sometimes do seem unfair – that of Pat Buchanan, for instance, who nevertheless generously acknowledged his importance and influence.

Yet the way in which Auster grappled with the big philosophical and theological questions always revealed his seriousness as a traditionalist conservative thinker. The positions for which he is best known and that more than any others made him controversial, those on multiculturalism and immigration, followed from or were at least closely related to his broader intellectual concerns. It is important to go beyond the pamphlets (below) and explore also his writing on other matters, to relate his arguments regarding multiculturalism etc. to and properly appreciate that larger whole. There is a tendency for critics of his kind to get lost in those issues, as the problems related to them increase, in a way which makes them loose sight of the larger and deeper traditionalist truths, and also to reach exaggerated conclusions and advocate simplistic and really narrow-minded solutions. Regardless of the tenability of his more general philosophical, theological, cultural and historical positions, as well as his positions on multiculturalism and immigration, I think Auster at least avoided this general weakness of no longer having sufficient patience for the subtleties of the wisdom of traditionalism. It seems he maintained at least much of the larger perspectives that are needed also for the proper understanding of the specific issues he was best known for addressing.

It is very much to be hoped that the publication in book form of compilations of texts from View from the Right and elsewhere which it is said he prepared in his last days will soon be achieved by those now in charge of his legacy. Although I find the extensive engagement he long maintained with anonymous commentators and correspondents problematic inasmuch as it consolidated and reinforced the general culture of anonymity on the internet (I think he should rather have done what he could to encourage the best anonymous writers to leave this culture behind and begin publish under their own names, which would have done much more good; and one way of doing that is to make their revealing their real identities a condition of responding to and debating with them), his making View from the Right his main forum of publication was in other respects, despite its onesidedness, an interesting and significant move which seems not to have diminished his influence. As Laura Wood now interestingly says (link below), View from the Right will “remain online permanently, as long as the Internet exists”.


View from the Right

Lawrence Auster: A Voice for Traditionalist Conservatism (Unofficial Web Page)

In Memorian: Lawrence Auster – A Great, Sometimes Irascible, Fighter for Tradition (Henry McCulloch on VDare)

Goodbye, Beloved Friend and Mentor (Laura Wood, The Thinking Housewife)

Edit: Gerry T. Neal

Auster’s Pamphlets:

The Path to National Suicide: An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism

The American Immigration Control Foundation, 1990     Web Version

From the Unofficial Lawrence Auster Web Page:

AusterOriginally published in 1990, this 90-page booklet is the first and still the most important work on the cultural effects of open immigration. It shows how the non-discriminatory 1965 Immigration Act led to unprecedented and radical changes in America’s historic ethnic and racial composition, how those changes have led in turn to the weakening and delegitimization of America’s historic culture and national identity, and how that loss of identity, combined with cowardly and wrong-headed fears of seeming “racist,” have kept the white majority from resisting their country’s ongoing dissolution. Mr. Auster’s argument played a crucial role in making the cultural consequences of non-Western immigration a topic of mainstream debate.

Huddled Clichés: Exposing the Fraudulent Arguments that have Opened America’s Borders to the World

The American Immigration Control Foundation, 1997     Web Version

From the AIC Website:

AusterThe struggle for reasonable limits on immigration is a battle of ideas. On the side of restriction is simple common sense: After 30 years of record numbers of immigrants (and unprecedented diversity), it is time for the nation to have a “time-out” from massive immigration.

On the opposing side, the ideas often are a blend of clever evasion, outright distortion, and manipulated sentiments. Immigration enthusiasts tell Americans not to worry because “immigration has always worked out in the past,” or “immigrants work harder than Americans.” Often they cap such “arguments” with the cliché clincher, “We’re a nation of immigrants” – and heart-warming commentary about “huddled masses.”

Such claims, with the force of powerful media behind them, often confuse and deceive the public. What the restrictionist side has needed is a brief and effective analysis to cut through all the deception. Now it’s here in Lawrence Auster’s monograph, Huddled Clichés.

Auster does a splendid job of getting to the heart of issues and refuting the pro-immigration case, distortion by distortion, cliché by cliché. It is an excellent follow-up to his ground-breaking Path to National Suicide.

Knowledge equals success in a war of ideas. Huddled Clichés makes a valuable contribution of understanding and insight.

Erasing America: The Politics of the Borderless Nation

The American Immigration Control Foundation, 2003

From the AIC Website:

AusterErasing America by Lawrence Auster boldly states that multiculturalism and mass immigration are erasing America. The remaining question is just how far the process has gone. From this observation, Auster proceeds to ask why the erasure is happening.

One answer, he proposes, is the flight from reality by American elites. Denying objective and transcendent truths, these elites maintain that truth is whatever they will it to be. With respect to immigration, they claim that America is a “propositional nation,” a floating abstraction with no particular real-world content. Thus, to them, it doesn’t matter how much immigration changes the country.

Auster argues forcefully that the reality of a nation is not a vague set of ideas. Specifically, he maintains, America is an outgrowth of Western Civilization with a particular religious, cultural, linguistic and ethnic character. While all of these categories are flexible, we are now stretching them to the breaking point, which will be the loss of the nation.

Those who deny America’s character, says Auster, dream of utopias where all cultures are equal and total tolerance prevails. Living in a world of self-will, they are totally intolerant of any who disagree, an attitude which bodes ill for our historic freedoms. All affinity toward traditional America, in their minds, is hate, bigotry and racism.

Erasing America is most helpful in these times. It offers patriotic Americans the conceptual framework and moral confidence to defend their true heritage.

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