Lawrence Matthew Auster January 26 1949—March 29, 2013, picture taken shortly before his death.
America lost Lawrence Auster to pancreatic cancer one year ago today— March 29, 2013.
VDARE.com editor Peter Brimelow immediately noted Larry’s passing, VDARE’s Henry McCulloch wrote a lengthy obituary, and several Dissident Right bloggers, some of whom began maintaining vigils for Auster during the last days of his struggle, paid their last respects here, here, here, here, and many more, including my partner-in-crime, David in TN, and yours truly.
The American Conservative’s Scott McConnell had already written a sort of pre-obituary bizarrely claiming that Auster was reminiscent of Meir Kahane, Sam Francis, and “various European fascist intellectuals” like Robert Brasillach and Julius Evola (though he admitted to not even being familiar with the last two). [Extremism in the Defense of Tradition, February 15, 2013.] Auster responded with characteristic savagery—remember, only days before he died—here.
But the Main Stream Media, Leftist and “conservative”—including outlets like National Review and Front Page Magazine—completely ignored Auster’s passing. Never mind that he had written for them, or that his blog, View from the Right, was one of the most popular, free-standing political blogs on the Web. Never mind the depth and breadth of his postings, covering multiculturalism, black-on-white crime, politics, Christian theology, Homer, popular culture, immigration and the damn Yankees, or his prominent, pre-Internet writing career.
Auster was born a Jew in 1949, but was never observant. He became a hippie in his twenties, and in middle age converted to Christianity, progressing from Episcopalianism to a deathbed conversion to Catholicism.
During the 1990s, Auster was one of the first major writers—with Peter Brimelow and Chilton Williamson—to warn Americans about the dangers of mass Third World immigration. He wrote a series of rigorously-argued essays for the American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF): Path to National Suicide (PDF, 1990); Huddled Clichés (1997); and Erasing America: the politics of the borderless nation (2003).
Path to National Suicide showed, among other things, how the 1965 Immigration Act applied the attitude behind the 1964 Civil Rights Act to the entire world. If one of the consequences of the CRA was that American blacks were to be treated in effect as American whites’ superiors—because whites were to be denied freedom of association—the consequence of the Immigration Act was to make all foreign non-whites legally superior to white American citizens. Auster wrote:
“At a time when increasing racial and ethnic diversity makes the re-affirmation of our common culture more vitally important than ever, we are, under the mounting pressure of that diversity, abandoning the very idea of a common American culture. We are thus imperiling not only our social cohesiveness but, as I will try to show, the very basis of our national existence….
Under this new dispensation we owe, as it were, an obligation to all the peoples in the world to let them migrate here en masse and recreate American society in their image….
“One can only wonder what would happen if the proponents of open immigration allowed the issue to be discussed, not as a moralistic dichotomy, but in terms of its real consequences….
But the tyranny of silence has prevented the American people from freely making that choice….
[A Word to the Reader, introduction to The Path To National Suicide]
Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC) — later, ironically, to become a liberal hero because of his role in the Watergate hearings—was the most prominent opponent of the 1965 immigration bill. Auster recalled: “Senator Ervin argued that the bill did not eliminate discrimination, as its sponsors claimed, but only exchanged some types of discrimination for others.” In Chapter One of Path To National Suicide, Auster quotes Ervin’s epochal challenge to Secretary of State Dean Rusk:
Mr. Secretary…you take the English-speaking people, they gave us our language, they gave us our common law, they gave us a large part of our political philosophy….The reason I say this bill is discriminatory against those people is because it puts them on exactly the same plane as the people of Ethiopia are put, where the people of Ethiopia have the same right to come to the United States under this bill as the people from England, the people of France, the people of Germany, the people of Holland…
I don’t know of any contributions that Ethiopia has made to the making of America. The point I am making is, we discriminate every day in every phase of life, we make discriminations in law, we make them in our personal actions, we discriminate in our opinions…we discriminate by the girls we marry, choose one and object to the choice of another, or they object to us.
The only possible charge of discrimination in the McCarran-Walter Act is that it discriminates in favor of the people who made the greatest contribution to America, and this bill puts them on the same plane as everybody else on earth.”
Finally: I do not think you could draft an immigration bill in which you do not discriminate. I think discrimination is ordinarily the exercise of intelligence to make conscious choices…I think there is a rational basis and a reasonable basis to give a preference to Holland over Afghanistan, and I hope I am not entertaining a very iniquitous thought when I entertain that honest opinion.
[Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Hearings on Immigration Reform Act of 1965, 2/10/65 to 3/11/65., P. 66]
Auster showed how opponents refuted the Immigration Act supporters’ claims that it would increase annual legal immigration by only “8,000” or “60,000”—whereas it actually allowed for potentially unlimited immigration:
[O]pposition witness, Myra C. Hacker of the New Jersey Coalition…. pointed out that the bill would not only increase the number of immigrants under the quota by taking places away from countries that were not using their quota and giving them to others, but that further increases in nonquota immigration would lead to an actual increase of 125,000 over the then current total of 275,000, making a total of 400,000. “However,” she added “the bill offers such broad discretionary powers to the Attorney General that the overall yearly number could well rise to a half million or more. . . . At the very least, the hidden mathematics of the bill should be made clear to the public.”
Auster noted that the bill’s supporters (most notoriously, floor manager Sen. Ted Kennedy) kept from the public the role that the bill would give to “chain migration,” making it in effect a Third World Mass Immigration Act.
Auster’s were powerful words in 1992. They are even more powerful now, in a public culture where speaking honestly about race, or merely in support of America, increasingly results in a professional death sentence.
In Huddled Clichés, Auster demolished one immigration myth after another as factually false (the economic value of mass Third World immigration), vacuous, or emotional nonsense (“we are a nation of immigrants”). But he also wrote:
Even if all of those [romantic Open Borders] assertions were true, they would be completely beside the point. If you learned that a glass of milk you were about to drink contained an ingredient that would make you seriously ill, the fact that the milk also contained lots of vitamins and minerals would not matter to you. Similarly, if current immigration is causing irreversible harm to our country, then the fact that immigration may also provide some benefits is irrelevant. It is the total impact of immigration that matters. Immigration proponents who stress the positive, transient effects of immigration while ignoring the negative, irreversible consequences are engaged in a dangerous con game….
When immigration advocates say that immigration “can’t be stopped,” what they really mean is that they don’t want to do anything to stop it….
Sure, there are many immigrants who do love America—for its fantastic wealth and opportunities, for its freedoms, for its government hand-outs, or for its emerging character as a multicultural society created in the image of the immigrants themselves. But how many immigrants love America as a historic nation and people that they want to join and help preserve?
In my experience, the immigrants who truly love America are deeply alarmed about the fact that excessive immigration is destroying the very things that they love about America. These immigrants support immigration restrictions….
Even if we accepted the premise that America’s whole identity depends on immigration, where would that leave us? If immigration continues as at present, the nation will continue to lose more and more of its historical character and political cohesion, which also means that we will “stop being America.” So, which manner of “ceasing to be America” do we prefer?...
Auster subsequently extended his criticisms of unassimilable foreigners to Moslems, whose immigration he called on the government to halt and reverse in his 2009 speech, “A Real Islam Policy for a Real America.”
Auster’s ability to reach audiences through the Main Stream Media was cut off, due to his insistence on remaining a conservative when outlets such as National Review, where he briefly published, submitted to the Left.
From 2002-2007, Auster was a frequent contributor to David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine, where he penned 39 commissioned articles, including an important exposé on black-on-white rape. Then Horowitz abruptly excommunicated him. It turned out that a race hustler named David Mills, a TV writer who called himself “Undercover Black Man” because he had black ancestry and white appearance, had secretly sent Horowitz a poison pen letter, denouncing Auster as a “racist.” Instead of ignoring or condemning Mills, Horowitz panicked and folded like a cheap suit.
But Auster’s influence was also limited by his unsparing criticisms of allies on the paleo and racial realist Right. Some of them were friends and privately considered his attacks to be treachery. I dunno. I think Auster was a son of Socrates, and felt morally compelled to do what he did, even if it meant burning his bridges behind (or even before) him.
Larry Auster was extremely courageous—but a difficult, nay, impossible man. I speak from long experience. For years, he argued what I considered to be a mistaken position, that the Left believes in “egalitarianism,” “tolerance,” and “non-discrimination.” In fact, as I have pointed out for years, the Left actually believes in power—and is willing to accept the most extreme inequality, intolerance, and discrimination. But Auster proclaimed that, in denying that Leftists had any principles, I was rejecting political science.
Larry and I first met in person at a book release party for Michael Hart’s magnum opus, Understanding Human History, on a sweltering day in 2008, in one of those zillion-dollar, uptown Manhattan apartments that take up an entire floor in a former mansion.
At the party, I was conversing with a beautiful and gracious lady of a certain age, whose interest was education but whose failing memory made serious conversation futile. Larry was sitting nearby, so I recounted a previous virtual interaction I’d had with him.
Larry and I had corresponded via e-mail, but at one point he had demanded that I use the nasty little standard font, as opposed to the larger, more attractive font that I preferred. After that incident, I told the gentle lady, we went for a number of years without talking (or its e-equivalent).
“But he’s talking to you, now!” she piped up.
“No, he isn’t,” I responded, “he’s shoving raisin bread into his mouth to avoid talking!”
It was true.
Later, we saw each other socially for a year or so, as members of a New York Dissident Right dinner club. But neither of us were clubbable and both dropped out. Thereafter, we were reduced to occasionally responding to each other’s blog items.
His blog about my experience during 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, a catastrophe for my beachfront Rockaway community, was vintage Auster. On the one hand, he was kind enough to try to call to see what had happened to me. But then he depicted me as callous because I did not contact anyone to say I was alive. Never mind that I had no telephone, Internet service, or even electricity! I eventually had to travel to Brooklyn, buy a cell phone, and call Peter Brimelow from there.
As the end grew near, Auster and I clashed because he was even discussing his stools at his blog. That’s what happens when you don’t have a wife with whom to share such joys.
A few weeks before Auster died, a publisher showed interest in the huge manuscript on immigration that he had written during the 1990s. He was trying to cut it down by 70 percent, to a 250-page book, when he died. His friends then sought to get the book project done, but I haven’t heard anything about it since. Perhaps this will give them a push.
As time ran out on Auster, he blogged so heroically that I thought he might be in remission. Thus I held back on publishing a humorous blog about going with Lubavitcher Chassidim in a “Mitzvah tank” for an intervention, to bring him back to the Tribe. Alas, my chief advisor knew better.
In 2010, I wrote that Larry Auster was an intellectual slugger who swung for the fences every time at bat. He struck out a lot, but that was the price for all those dingers.
Nicholas Stix [email him] is a New York City-based journalist and researcher, much of whose work focuses on the nexus of race, crime, and education. He spent much of the 1990s teaching college in New York and New Jersey. His work has appeared in Chronicles, The New York Post, Weekly Standard, Daily News, New York Newsday, American Renaissance, Academic Questions, Ideas on Liberty and many other publications. Stix was the project director and principal author of the NPI report, The State of White America-2007. He blogs at Nicholas Stix, Uncensored.