Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Toxic Blogosphere

For the past several weeks, ever since I posted this about the October 2007 counter-jihad conference in Brussels, I have dreaded turning on my computer to access my email and the various Internet blogs which I frequent. A whack-a-mole discussion has been raging as to how much support should be given to certain political parties in Europe. In my view, the divide has centered on two opposing positions:

• Go to battle with the troops that you have, i.e., “The enemy of my enemy” is my friend

• Association with certain political parties is dangerous because those parties’ have a history of advocating white supremacism (“a white Europe”) and could lead to the discrediting of all those involved in the counter-jihad

For a summary, please read this by Robert Spencer.

In the course of the discussions in which I’ve been engaged, I’ve been accused of racism, fascism, and stupidity, all from people I considered friends in the blogosphere—the first two accusations because I wasn’t issuing condemnations of the political parties and the last accusation because I made a mistake on the air of The Gathering Storm Radio Show of November 16, when, as WC and I were waiting for an inter-Atlantic phone connection, I mistakenly said that the British National Party was present at the Brussels conference. Please listen to the first half hour of the show. Very informative!

The attempt to correct my on-the-air error by means of a statement at the radio show’s web site led to additional salvos fired in my direction and the making of an even longer statement of correction, which you can read in the comments at the bottom of this page.

I cannot begin to tell you the time that I’ve spent on this rift among the counter-jihadists. I not only have needed to read, read, read about the political alignments in Europe (Another steep learning curve!), but also have spent hours upon hours upon the phone in pursuit of trying to sort out where lies the truth.

Poor Merry Widow! She has listened to me for countless hours! I wonder that she doesn’t disconnect her phone line altogether.

The Merry Widow is but one of those in what amounts to an audience I’ve been holding captive and patiently listening to what I have to say as I have worked through my own thoughts on the controversy. Pastorius, Mark Alexander, and, to a lesser extent because of time constraints, Christine have also been regaled by my mounting concerns.

I cannot begin to catalog the list of others with whom I’ve consulted. In this age of electronic communications, email has been another method of discussion, though neither as fluid nor as effective as the telephone. Here at home, I almost dare not mention again the topic to Mr. AOW, who has listening to me non-stop on the topic for at least three weeks.

In the course of all the various exchanges, I’ve come to feel that nothing I say or do is good enough. Yes, my feelings got hurt. I’ll get over it. No big deal.

Of more concern to me is that I am also seeing manifestations of “My counter-jihad is better than your counter-jihad” and “I’m smarter than you are.” Such is how far we have slid down the ladder of reason and courtesy.

At what conclusion have I arrived? No longer is there one counter-jihad — if, indeed, ever such a unity really existed in the first place. Perhaps that unity was simply wishful thinking on our part. Anyway, I no longer believe that we’re all going to get along. This question still remains, however: Can we all manage to coexist without cannibalizing the counter-jihad efforts? Time will tell, but time can also be the enemy as Islamization proceeds apace in the West.

The last thing which all anti-jihadists need is to be tarred with same brush. After all, when one looks at the various anti-jihadists, we fall at various points on the political spectrum — excluding the far left, of course, which is in bed with the Islamists. In the end, I believe that having separate counter-jihads is not so bad because, unless a hideous event occurs, all counter-jihadists will have to define what is stood for — not merely what is stood against.


WC said...

Great post Always - stand by your guns.

Epaminondas said...

Maybe we should introduce our spouses

Always On Watch said...

It's been a rough several weeks. I had a lot of research to do. The learning curve hasn't been this steep since 9/11.

Always On Watch said...

My husband has been very patient. He fully recognizes the importance of the issue at hand. In fact, he's been very supportive.

But I'm not going to press him on this any more. Enough already!

Pastorius said...

I've been avoiding the subject with my wife. That is counter to my nature, but I recognize that this argument is particularly disturbing.

As for the content of your post, it is a reasonable thing to say that we can all now see there are multiple counter-Jihads. Yes, that is reasonable.

However, as a citizen of the great Western tradition, it is not reasonable for me to sit idly by while my former allies make the argument for aligning with Ethnic Nationalists.

Always On Watch said...

as a citizen of the great Western tradition, it is not reasonable for me to sit idly by while my former allies make the argument for aligning with Ethnic Nationalists

Nor do I expect you to!

I saw your post on ethnic nationalism. Excellent and important.

I, therefore, am distancing myself from the white supremacists. Opposition to Islamization is not enough to forge the kind of alliance needed for the West to survive as a culture.

BTW, did you listen to the audio which Epa posted--the one aboutResolved - we should not be reticent to assert the superiority of western values?

Kiddo said...

AOW--Bless you too, fairy blog-mother. I knew you couldn't go over this cliff too.

Epa has audio? Where? I just want that nonstop!

Always On Watch said...

The audio is of a debate, but Epa isn't in it.

See "David Duke's Defenders...."

Always On Watch said...

I'm a fairy blog-mother?


Pastorius said...

No, I haven't listened to the audio Epa posted. I've read his article though. It was excellent.

Kiddo said...

AOW--take that in the kindest way possible, sorry, I just saw "Enchanted". I could break out into song at any time. I'm just happy that my "Blog-mother" isn't in with these buggers and is sticking to her principles! Way to go!

Conservative Swede said...

Hey AOW,

This past month has been tough for all of us. It's not easy being bombarded with so much hate and disinformation from LGF. Take a break if you need to, just don't give up!

Anyway, LGF is a colossus that is in the process of falling. It's not as big as it used to be, not nearly as good as it used to be, and people are leaving. Look around in the blogosphere and you find many many people p*ssed off by Charles, and finding him paranoid and megalomaniac.

Charles is not doing very well. But he's still big enough to stir up chaos in our movement. But this will be his fall. Reasoned debate about the issues is always welcome and necessary. But regarding Charles his intention of waging a witch hint is just too obvious.

As you a whole stream of the people banned by Charles has chosen to come to GoV. And there the debate is very good. And nowadays the weather reports by Ed Mahmoud are no longer at LGF but at GoV.

AOW: The attempt to correct my on-the-air error by means of a statement at the radio show’s web site led to additional salvos fired in my direction and the making of an even longer statement of correction

Hey, it was very important to get this right. So much disinformation was spread around. It was a detail, but an important one, and am very stubborn about such things. However, your interview was great, and I was so happy that someone did an interview with Elisabeth from Austria. You know, I was sitting right next to her at the conference dinner. And I had been thinking during the whole LGF witch hunt, how said it was that so many good people, such as Elisabeth, who had been at he conference was all forgotten. Well done!

Both Baron B and Fjordman say that I can be hard to deal with, but that I'm usually right. I'm sorry if I hurt you, AOW. That was not my purpose.

Jason Pappas said...

I go away for a few weeks and what a change! Nevertheless, I have a hard time keeping interest in this topic. The point of the matter is that Europe is not going to return to the vicious race-based nationalism of the mid 20th century anymore than it is going to resurrect communism. Both of these movements are dead. The problem today is Islam.

No doubt there will be those who try to exploit legitimate concerns (as fascists and commies have always done) but I don’t believe they’ll have any lasting effect. The people of Europe will find their way and marginalize the phonies. We do best at recognizing our phonies like Dave Duke; and the Republicans have chased him out of the Party. Right now racist-baiting is used as a weapon to silence criticism of Islam. Europeans will iron out their problem and separate the best from the worst.

Pastorius said...


I hope you are right, but upon what evidence do you make that claim?

Jason Pappas said...

Fascism in Italy and National Socialism in Germany were led by establishment intellectuals. Mussolini was a socialist in good standing praised by Lenin when he (Benito) was mayor of Milan (if I remember correctly). He fashioned an ideology that drew on contemporary intellectual trends and had broad support.

Nazism in Germany was in the mainstream. Even before Hitler was elected in 1933, he had broad support in academia. Indeed, his first success came in student elections. Prominent intellectuals in academia supported him, too.

These movements have been thoroughly discredited. There is only fringe support. Much of this support is angry self-styled rebels and some is for shock value. It is often from anti-intellectual gut-based emotionalist over-grown kids.

I don’t expect a revival of communism, either. There are some who talk about the “good old days” but the intellectual momentum is lost.

Pastorius said...

How would you define the intellectual movement in Europe?

What is Ethnic Nationalism?

By the way, I am not saying that Ethnic Nationalism is the movement in Europe. But, I would like to hear your definition of Ethnic Nationalism. And, if you don't mind, I'd like to hear how you think Ethnic Nationalism will play out. Do you think it has any legs?

Jason Pappas said...

I generally reserve the word “nationalism” for a collectivist ideology that views the individual as a part of the whole. I use the word “patriotism” for a dedication to defending shared cultural values, in our case individual liberty, by instituting a strong constitutional form of republican government. Other people blur the distinction and use these words in other manners. What’s important is the distinction. One has to wade through a large stack of articles to get the gist of what others advocate.

In Europe, the EU’s massive regulatory reach has created a collectivist threat that stifles individual initiative best protected by what I’d consider “natural cultural units” generally defined by language. While we have problems with a growing national government, our federal system has generally been a force to protect individual rights. Europe is very different and our example doesn’t translate well for a continent-wide system. A United States of Europe would be a disaster.

Pastorius said...

Ok fine, so what is

Ethnic Nationalism

and if you don't mind

what is the definition of Ethnicity?

what is the definition of race?

Jason Pappas said...

I tend to see ethnic as a poor man’s substitute for culture. It mostly involves trivial things like clothing and food; call it folk culture if you want.

The words ethnic, ethos, and ethics all have a common Greek root. Aristotle discusses the word ethics in his treatise on that topic and notes that it is related to ethos. Ethics, for Aristotle was habits of character exhibited in a disposition or tendency to exhibit excellence. The Hellenic tradition, however, is to rationally examine tradition and select what is true by nature and supported by reason. It leads to universal principles based on human nature. The Hellenistic Stoic tradition furthered this universality.

Thus, the Western tradition is not a conservative traditionalism that adheres to “our way” just because it is the way of our forefathers. The Jewish tradition is more of a “religion of our people.” The Roman tradition was one of expansion and assimilation. It had universalist aspirations especially among the Stoics. Paul was a proud Roman citizen that turned a Jewish reform movement into a universal (in a Greek word, catholic) religion.

I have no problem with trivial or superficial ethnicity. After all, variety is the spice of life. Too parochial a viewpoint at the expense of core Greco-Roman principles makes for an unhealthy turn of affairs. In Europe you have many countries that have a history of having a homogeneous language/culture/religion/customs. Expect much confusion there in the next few decades.

Personally, I believe ethnicity and religion are distractions in political debates. They keep us from addressing the core ethical and political principles, and keep us from reviewing history for empirical support. They are best left in a family setting.

Pastorius said...

I like your analysis.

It is my opinion, however, that bringing ethnicity into a political debate is beyond a distraction. It is dangerous.

My problem with VB and other parties like them in Europe is that they espouse Ethnic Nationalism.

And then they play with the word "Ethnic."

They use it in front of one group of people and the word means "culture".

They use it in front of another group of people and the word means "race".

That could turn into a serious problem.

I don't share your optimism.

Jason Pappas said...

I haven’t followed them enough but I’ll keep my eyes open.

Conservative Swede said...


This is a question for you that is not related to present time politics and ideology, but about the study of history:

What does it mean (in the traditional sense) to be a Swede or a Hungarian? In the traditional sense, who's seen as a Swede or Hungarian? Does common descent have anything to do with it?

To make it the question clearer and simpler, we stick to the time span 1500-1900. It's a question about history and social anthropology.

I also wonder if you consider the existence of nations as the same thing as nationalism? Nations have existed as long as civilized societies have, but nationalism, as we use the word today, is a 18th century phenomenon.

Pastorius said...

That's bullshit.

No one here has made any negative crack about nationalism.

It is true, however, that many in the media do abhor nationalism.

But, we here at IBA, do not.

Here is the definition of Nationalism, CS:

1. national spirit or aspirations.
2. devotion and loyalty to one's own nation; patriotism.
3. excessive patriotism; chauvinism.

I adhere to the first two, and think the third is a misuse of the word.

You seem to willfully misunderstand my words.

Jason Pappas said...

I was suggesting to Pastorius that our experience like Rome’s was one of assimilation. Citizenship was extended (or forced upon) an expanding population. One is an American if one has become like one. Whether this can work members of any demographic group is questionable. It was difficult for American Indians but not so today for South Koreans. It shouldn’t be expected with Muslims (as most will remain Muslims) but Ukrainians will be less problematic.

In my opinion it was harder for eastern and southern Europeans (like my ancestors) of a century ago than for northern/western Europeans. Immigration is problematic in America today because of the magnitude and the hesitation we have in demanding assimilation.

Continental Europe has a different tradition and shouldn’t be compared with America. It doesn’t mean we don’t share the vast wealth of what’s best in the Western tradition. There will be some variations on a theme. Thus, there will be a Italian way of being Western as there is a French way. The silent competition over who does it better would be healthy. Viva la difference!

You’re right that nationalism (for example of Italian nationalism) is more recent than ethnic identity. Being Italian goes back much further. But what does that mean to be Italian or French? Clothing? Food? Music? Literature? The men wear pants in all those countries even if they cuff them differently. Verdi isn’t Bizet but they are both Western. Variations on a theme certainly make for a healthier and sturdier social evolution as long as certain time-tested truths that make for a civil order hold.

Unfortunately all Western nations suffer today from a similar cultural disintegration. If one of us is worse at the moment we shouldn't gloat, the other is on its way unless we turn our cultures around. Often Europe is ahead in facing the jihadist threat but not by much. There will be many mistakes along the way but competing models will make for an interesting comparison.

Conservative Swede said...

Jason: "Continental Europe has a different tradition and shouldn’t be compared with America."


And that's the only point I have tried to get through here at IBA, but to deaf ears.

E.g. assimilation has to be assimilation into something, which means the actual tradition of the given country.

But there is a tendency to see European tradition as evil here, because there is a component of common decent in the tradition of national identity.

In a previous discussion with Pastorius, I used the following parallel:

Imagine eradicating America's national identity, and replacing it with an Israeli model, i.e. based on religion. I can be argued that this is an improvement given the situation we meet with Islam.

Of course this is absurd and even evil. America is what it is because of its history. And removing that is the same as removing America.

However, imposing an American model of national identity onto European nations is the same thing. Equally absurd and dangerous. And could only be implemented with a totalitarian style central command. And then we have come to the sort of things that I consider evil.