Friday, November 23, 2007

An Army of Midgets

This essay was posted earlier today at Gates of Vienna.

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Accept disgrace willingly.
Accept misfortune as the human condition.
What do you mean by “Accept disgrace willingly”?
Accept being unimportant.
Do not be concerned with loss or gain.
This is called “accepting disgrace willingly.”

— Lao Tzu, from The Tao Te Ching (XIII)

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Under the streetlightEverybody knows the old joke about the man who encounters an elderly gentleman looking for something intently along the gutter under a streetlight.

“What are you looking for, old fellow?” asks the first man.

“My car keys,” says the old man. “I know I dropped them somewhere in the park.”

“The park!? The park’s across the road! Why don’t you look for them over there?”

“The light’s better over here.”

And so it is with the Counterjihad. Here at Gates of Vienna you’ll find a little zone of illumination, the place where we gather to talk and argue and discuss. Somewhere out there in the murky dark beyond the circle of light the real Counterjihad is going on, but here we are: the light’s better over here.

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I bring all of this up because during the past twenty-four hours the intense hostility directed at Gates of Vienna has expanded to include the Center for Vigilant Freedom. I’ll be dealing with all the latest pernicious nonsense in a future post, but this morning I’d like to harken back to the early days of the current unpleasantness.

The other day, in a long Gates of Vienna comment thread, AngleofRepose reminded me this comment by “Tasty Beverage” in a thread on Little Green Footballs:

LGF has around eight times as many members — something like 20,000, with thousands and thousands more non-members who come here daily just to read the front page.

Gates of Vienna and Brussels Journal are lucky if they get eight comments in a thread. These are marginal people reaching out to other marginal people, i.e., SD and VB.

So all of you bloggers who deigned to set yourselves up as our “leaders” in the Anti-Jihad movement (what you called “Counter Jihad”) — and who organized a conference without talking to or asking us about it first — what we want, what we think — and then decided all on your own that our movement was going to ally with these “questionable” political parties in Europe — you had the unbelievable chutzpah to piss and moan at us lowly peons when we had the nerve to say to you, (our self-appointed leaders, deciding all on your own that we must ally with these people), “NO WAY IN HELL!” —————

Get this in your heads:

We don’t need you.

You need US. Without us, without LGF, you are for the most part isolated backwaters on the internet. LGF is the mainstream, you are the fringe, or otherwise just minor in the grand scheme. Understand? And after the inevitable denunciation and repudiation you are going to receive from LGF if you do not immediately disassociate from these political parties, what you call your “Counter-Jihad” is going to remain fringe and discredited as a cynical, dishonest vehicle of neo-nazis and bigots who aren’t really opposed to islam so much as anyone duskier than you, because they can’t possibly assimilate and believe in “European culture”, even if they are born and raised in it, as their genes preclude them from doing so.

You are never going to convince us that your new “friends” and fellow-thinkers can be trusted. Never — they have too much baggage, even if they have “reformed”, which I doubt. Get this through your thick skulls.

So the decision is yours. You will be formally and publically separated from this flagship, denounced, and you will remain on small, pathetic sites with twenty commenters, where you can all talk to each other about how much smarter you are than LGFers, and how you guys are the ones who will save Western Civilization.

(what a joke)

I suspect Charles is not going to allow all of his incredibly hard work, 365 days a year for the last six years, to be utterly and irreversibly ruined by association with your friends.

Meanwhile, the Lizard Nation will grow ever bigger and more influential, and you will only be able to watch in envy from the sidelines, self-marginalized, and thoroughly convinced that you guys are the real saviors of us all. You couldn’t be more wrong. [emphasis added]

I read this comment when it first appeared, and it’s one of the reasons I quit reading LGF. When people are saying that kind of thing about you in a public forum, you realize that it’s not a place you want to hang out.

Consider the implications of the bolded phrases in the above excerpt:

  • organized a conference without talking to or asking us about it first
  • “questionable” political parties
  • self-appointed leaders, deciding all on your own
  • LGF is the mainstream, you are the fringe
  • the inevitable denunciation and repudiation you are going to receive from LGF
  • You will be formally and publically [sic] separated from this flagship
  • Charles is not going to allow
  • you will only be able to watch in envy from the sidelines

Admittedly, these words are from a lizardoid reader, and were not written by Charles Johnson himself. And I’m sure that Mr. Johnson would deny that the sentiments expressed by Tasty Beverage reflect the official policy of Little Green Footballs.

Still… Mr. Johnson has banned people for saying things like, “I don’t agree with this.” One is led to assume that the commenter’s words reflect the party line, given the tendency of the leader to bring his followers quickly to heel when their views do not align with his own.

Ignoring for a moment the fact that Charles Johnson was indeed invited to Counterjihad Brussels 2007, and has acknowledged that he received the three invitational emails, consider the implications of these sentiments.

  • It is expected that Charles Johnson, the proprietor of the blog Little Green Footballs, shall approve in advance any gathering of anti-jihad groups.
  • No group or groups opposing the Great Jihad may gather for that purpose without notifying Mr. Johnson in advance and obtaining his approval. No party or organization may be represented at such meetings without being cleared with Mr. Johnson, nor may attendees associate themselves with proscribed parties or organizations. No one who has been friends with, talked to, had his photograph taken with, or indeed been in the same room with people belonging to suspicious groups may be invited to such a conference.
  • Violation of these edicts will be punished swiftly and severely by irrevocable excommunication.

Let’s overlook the arrogance, grandiosity, and megalomania implied by the policies outlined above. What about their practical effectiveness?

The weapons of punishment employed to maintain lizardoid ideological purity consist mainly of the flame war and the email spam attack. There is no gainsaying the effectiveness of these methods in dividing and demoralizing the Counterjihad. But how well will they serve our common cause, the struggle to confront and roll back the encroachment of sharia in the West?

LGF fields no candidates in any elections, and is not consulted in the making of government policy. The lizardoids send no lobbyists to Capitol Hill, nor do they introduce legislation in any parliaments. Charles Johnson does not appoint ambassadors to journey to Strasbourg and discuss the latest immigration issues with their EU counterparts. His order does not mobilize armies or scramble air force pilots.

Little Green Footballs is, in short, simply a talk shop, just as Gates of Vienna is. Its traffic profile is an order of magnitude greater than ours, but it’s still nothing more than a talk shop.

Real action occurs elsewhere.

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The LGF comment quoted above includes the gleeful assertion that Gates of Vienna and the Brussels Journal are pitifully small in traffic and comments compared to the huge and influential numbers displayed at Little Green Footballs.

The number of comments at LGF is indeed huge — although quantity does not guarantee quality — and Charles Johnson’s blog is truly mighty in its number of visitors.

But focusing on the traffic or comments at any given blog obscures more important facts. When you consider one blog’s traffic, you’re circling the lamppost looking intently at the sidewalk. Out there in the darkness beyond the little circle of light are more interesting facts; they’re just not as easy to see.

The relative traffic numbers are only significant if you let your ego get snared by such concerns and become pridefully attached to a single blog or website.

What’s being overlooked is the enormous new network that has formed, and is still forming. I don’t know how many bloggers are involved — there are a lot of them — but their numbers collectively amount to far more than those of LGF in terms of traffic or comments.

Add in the forums and other types of websites, the members of political parties, activists, and ordinary folk who are involved but only lurk at the blogs, and the Counterjihad becomes huge.

It just doesn’t show on Technorati, Alexa, or TTLB.

Nobody has a site meter that can track it.

That’s why all of this recent nonsense is not significant. It’s full of sound and fury. It’s annoying and occasionally infuriating, but it’s trivial and transient, and it will pass.

Something is happening out there in the dark that’s real and good and true, something that will make a difference. It can’t be seriously impeded by bloggers, journalists, or even politicians, because it arises from a source which is inherently unstoppable: the people themselves.

I know this because I’m actively involved with it.

Tasty Beverage is right: I’m a nobody. I’m just one guy bloviating here at GoV and emailing people I know and occasionally taking planes to discuss things at meetings. My part is insignificant.

But when all the parts are aggregated, something major takes form. It won’t be obvious for some time yet, but it’s happening out there in the dark all the same.

Everyone is welcome to stay here circling the lamppost, but rest assured: your keys are elsewhere.

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Prominent people and politicians will be the last to climb aboard the Counterjihad because they are so attuned to conventional wisdom and received opinion. Their careers and reputations depend on it. They flee in terror from the accusations of “racism”, “xenophobia”, “Islamophobia”, and “neo-Nazism” flung so indiscriminately in all directions.

Journalists, political leaders, major academics, and CEOs of large corporations will not be among those who initiate dramatic change. They have too much to lose; their stake in the existing system is too great.

Real change does not occur in these circles. It starts out there in the dark and only moves into the light when it has become too large to escape notice. Then, without warning, the tipping point is reached, an alternative way of thinking arrives, and a new consensus forms.

In order to bring these changes about, thousands of unimportant people throughout the West will have to labor without recognition for years. It’s already happening: people are organizing in groups to stop the building of mosques, protest the Islamization of school textbooks, object to the separation of the sexes in public swimming pools, and insist on the enforcement of immigration laws. These efforts will continue, whether or not they obtain the Lizardoid Seal of Approval.

And CVF, along with innumerable other coordinating groups, will help bring these various networks together and keep them in communication. That’s our mission.

Trivial and tedious though these tasks may be, they are not without risk. Consider the example of Lars Vilks, the Swedish artist who decided to draw a picture of Mohammed as a roundabout dog. Such a small and innocuous act! But now he has a price on his head.

Someone asked him if drawing the Modoggies was worth dying for, and he said simply, “Yes, it is.”

We’re nothing special. We’re all nobodies. Our blogs are small, and nobody important reads them. We’ll never be interviewed by Wolf Blitzer or make the cover of Wired. We don’t get to hang out with the movers and shakers or ride first class on airplanes.


Even though we’re midgets, there are a lot of us.

We’re an army of midgets.

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In times of stress or difficulty I find solace in mathematics or poetry, which are my two great passions. Nothing combines both disciplines as effectively as The Tao Te Ching. Within its eighty-one chapters can be found an economy of wisdom, guaranteed to provide a calming focus for the task at hand.

I began this rumination with a passage from Lao Tzu, and am returning to his words, this time from Chapter II, for its conclusion.

Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.
Therefore having and not having arise together.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short contrast each other:
High and low rest upon each other;
Voice and sound harmonize each other;
Front and back follow one another.

Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking.
The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease,
Creating, yet not.
Working, yet not taking credit.
Work is done, then forgotten.
Therefore it lasts forever.


Anonymous said...

The self-righteousness and self-importance of many of Charles Johnson’s “minions” is amusing for just one reason, although there are several. While Johnson and his minions were fat, dumb, happy and voting Democrat pre-9/11, there were those of us who had recognized the threat of both Leftism and Jihad. Johnson’s Johnny-come-latelys now think they own the show.

Epaminondas said...

I advise you, Baron, in all good will, to FORGET Johnson, and deal with the tangible and factual words of Phillip Dewinter himself, who I heard give an excuse for 'white europe' which had it been uttered by Hillary, Carl Levin, John Conyers, or any of that ilk would have us all, both hysterically laughing, and ill.

You know him, why don't you get HIM to see the error of HIS ways, and HIS symbols and HIS words instead, and repudiate such ideas NOT as a metaphor but as both wrong and politically impossible

I have had about a dozen people listen to Dewinter's shire interview. None of them knew anything else (why would we know about flemish domestic issues), but what they heard. Every single person who has heard DeWinter has had the same reaction.

Except for knowing there was a fight going on and the edges of it, neither did I when I first heard it.

Dewinter's words remain those of white supremacy, with an attempted leavening by Clintonista parsing. It is that, and his sliding around on it which convinced me, not anything by Johnson.

It is DeWinter.

To me that is the Schwerpunkt of this. I have heard NO effective refutation, nor has there even been much of any attempt.

No taint of white supremacy, NOMATTER the perceived situation can be allowed to destroy what is, to all the people I know, a bunch of nuts like us to begin with.

It is tough enough. Allies such as that make it HARDER not better.

I am NO newcomer.

Baron Bodissey said...


Actually, I had a long talk on this very topic with Filip Dewinter when I was in Flanders last month. I was wearing the Danish-and-Israeli-flags pin that Anders Gravers had given me in Copenhagen last April. I showed it to him and suggested that Vlaams Belang might want to do something similar, in order to help dispel the notion that VB is an anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi party.

He said, “Oh, yes, we already have those. I can show you.” He explained about the strong support that he receives from the Orthodox community in Antwerp, and the fact that the Chief Rabbi of Antwerp is one of his advisors.

Now, you can say that this is irrelevant, that these Antwerp Jews are like the Jews that support Ahmadinejad, and that their support means nothing, even though there are many more of them who support Vlaams Belang than would ever support Mad Jad.

But consider these three facts together:

1. Vlaams Belang has actively and publicly courted support from among Jews in Flanders, and has received that support;
2. Vlaams Belang is the only party in Belgium that strongly and consistently supports Israel; and
3. The real neo-Nazis revile Vlaams Belang and sneer at their leaders for being in bed with the Jews.

Doesn’t that mitigate against there being any current anti-Semitism in the policies of Vlaams Belang?

I can’t see into Filip Dewinter’s heart. Perhaps he hates Jews, but finds it expedient to court them. Perhaps he used to feel differently in his youth, but has outgrown such a position, just as Robert Byrd has with respect to the KKK.

In any case, I take Christ’s words to heart: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

By their fruits, Filip Dewinter and Vlaams Belang are not anti-Semitic.

As for the demand that he repudiate his alleged past: why is the above not a sufficient repudiation? Why would he need to grovel before certain Americans who know virtually nothing about him or Flanders?

This is the quintessence of arrogance. Filip Dewinter is not going to repudiate anything based on our demands. He is not aware of our demands, and would consider them impertinent and irrelevant to his cause if he were aware of them.

Why would he need to dance to our tune in the first place? What good would it do him to abase himself before the American gods of PC?

O, Faustus, leave these frivolous demands,
Which strike a terror to my fainting soul!

Pastorius said...

That is nice that Vlaams Belang supports Israel. But, Israel is not the only issue. If Filip DeWinter wants a white Europe, then he has a problem on the horizon with an awful lot of people who are not Muslims or Jews; just ordinary immigrants from all over the globe.

Epaminondas said...

Thank you for answering, but it partly misses the point.

My objections have to do with white supremacy and nothing whatever to do with Israel, jews,...etc.

Being clear about rejecting ANY CONCEIVABLE taint of white supremacy as a base of VB, and in rejecting it in the past is groveling to nothing but the equality of MEN, if it can said to be groveling at all.

If it can be said that we shall know them by their fruits, so far it is bitter indeed.

Worse, failure to acknowledge this very real problem will only convince people VB MUST be avoided.

The audience is not me, it's OUT THERE. They vote democratic locally. They have for generations. They will probably elect a democratic senate and house. They will not even begin to consider US if there can be any idea of truth to white supremacy amongst our allies.

I believe that is true today.
To think that denouncing white power is bowing down to PC gods is a very, very foolish mistake.

It is anything but.

It will be the end for all but those who WILL be painted as the YAF was last week.


"Filip Dewinter is not going to repudiate anything based on our demands. He is not aware of our demands, and would consider them impertinent and irrelevant to his cause if he were aware of them."

I don't demand it. He is free to do any damn thing he wants.

And VB will be 'a bunch of separatist whackos who won't renounce white supremacy as a goal'.

We've actually done that one right here.

And that's how it will play.
They should NOT have been at that meeting.
It has only resulted in great negativity.
It has because there is a great question in the minds of honest men and women.
And we are not exactly what I would call a bunch of leftists