David Thompson
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December 03, 2012


Lurk No More

The result is psychodrama, not class struggle, as liberals strain to find ways in which America is Les Misérables rather than the Kardashians, plagued by this obsession to step in and make everyone (except themselves) the same.

Describes this blog's unofficial mascot, Laurie Penny.

Lurk No More

Oops. Forgot link.



Lurk No More,

Describes this blog’s unofficial mascot, Laurie Penny.

Heh. Well, yes, I think so. Though I doubt many people, including Laurie, would regard her as liberal in any meaningful sense. She’s more a sort of high-maintenance poseur.


Slowly getting it…

"Just because my name is Anjali, not Steve, and just because I’m brown, not white, does that mean I shouldn’t be subject to the exact same criticisms as every other human who screws up from time to time? No, it doesn’t. If we, on the left, continue down our path of labelling everyone critical of a woman or minority as a “racist” or a “misogynist,” how long before we allow those groups to live in a perfect bubble where they can never be called out on their mistakes?"



Fabian Tassano is, as usual, worth a squint:

The concept of underutilised talent may have relevance in biology or psychology, but in economics it is surely out of place, unless one can point to a specific market failure. It could be that 90% of the mental capacity of every person on the planet is unused, but that does not mean that liberating these capacities to allow a massive expansion in supply of landscape paintings and mediocre novels would produce a Pareto-superior outcome.



Review of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, by Greg Lukianoff on Spiked Online

Why are this bunch of semi-Marxists so engaging?



Slowly getting it…

Unfortunately, it’s more than just a matter of getting it, which doesn’t happen half as often as one might hope. People can be obstinately dense when it suits their purposes. It’s also a matter of surrendering the leverage that such manoeuvres make possible. And I don’t see many people itching to do that. Why would they? If a group of foolish and/or unpleasant people have a rhetorical tool that can be counted on to cow and embarrass their political opponents and derail almost any criticism, even when used absurdly and dishonestly, what motive would there be to surrender that advantage?

Nanty Riah

Steyn is entertaining, but if you think he's actually opposing liberalism or Islam(ism) (rather than making a lot of money by extracting the micturation from it), try some of the articles at Larry Auster's site:


And on Hanson:

"I stopped reading Victor Davis Hanson some time ago, regarding him as an unbearably wordy, contradictory blowhard sending out vast flumes of overheated gas in every column..."



Larry Auster reminds me of Peter Simple, tho' with fewer laughs.

carbon based lifeform

"A construction crew working on the campus of Ohio's Sinclair Community College was forced to halt work until it removed a "Men Working" sign that was deemed "sexist" by a college administrator. A spokesman for the college told NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE that the incident, which occurred on November 21, stemmed from the school's "deep commitment to diversity," and that it takes that commitment "very seriously.""


They love that power, don't they?


They love that power, don’t they?

And dogmatic pettiness is such an attractive personality trait.


They love that power, don't they?

Zealotry is its own reward. Imagine the ecstasy at shutting down an entire logging town or stopping drilling in ANWR or forcing a huge company to close its doors or stopping the waters from flowing into the country's most productive farmland.

It doesn't matter what the long- or short-term consequences of the stoppage are: all that matters is that THEY got to play David to an industrial Goliath and don't that make them important.


the wolf

A majority of the electorate has voted itself a size of government it’s not willing to pay for.

I'd correct one thing--the electorate has voted itself a size of government it can't possibly pay for. When the size of the debt exceeds the amassed wealth of the Forbes 400, there simply is no resolution that can be achieved merely through confiscation and shell games.


re. Nanty Riah - certainly not trying to drag the comments off-topic, but Lawrence Auster strikes me as a pathologically humourless man who quite literally isn't able to understand what Steyn is saying about half the time. This impression is based on a very quick read-around through parts of his website, but here's one small example of what I'm talking about; Auster writes: "From the time I first began reading Steyn, in the American Spectator in the mid-90s, friends and I wondered about his name. The guess was that his name was Stein but he had changed the spelling to make it less common. Steyn seemed quite artificial. Then, several years late, I saw an interview or quote of Steyn’s in which he explained that his real name was some very conventional, Anglo-Saxon name like “Anthony Wilson” (that’s not the exact name he gave, but it was something like that), so he adopted a Jewish-sounding name that would stand out more. In other words, he was saying that he was an Anglo-Saxon pretending to be a Jew in order to advance his career in journalism. Later, he seemed to contradict that story as well."


The "Anthony Wilson" stuff rang a bell, so I hunted down the article he's obviously referring to, originally from Canada's National Post newspaper.


Relevant quote (paragraph 16): "I hate writing about this stuff [the Israeli/Palestinian conflict]. I've never been a "Zionist," never written a column on the subject pre 9/11. I'm sick of getting e-mails sneering, "What was your name originally?" (Just for the record, originally my name was "Anthony Wilson-Smith," but you can't get anywhere in modern multiculti Canada with some WASP throwback moniker like that.) To those who always complain that I weep for Jewish children but not Muslim ones..."

Most of Auster's criticisms seem to be along these lines. (He's also concerned that Steyn might be gay because "Sexually normal men do not make constant references to genitals and bottoms" [same link as above].) He just doesn't seem to able to process humour. He also appears to have trouble wrapping his head around the idea that someone could have been born in Canada but raised in England, or that a person could have Jewish ancestry but attend a Baptist church; this kind of thing.

At the link you provide, he takes a sentence of Steyn's in which Mark predicts the Islamization of Europe, and then gets all indignant over the idea that he's advocating said takeover.

It's all along these lines. I think Auster is just a crank.

Spiny Norman

"Oblivious to sarcasm" is not a good trait to have when trying to criticize Mark Steyn (or belittle, as the case may be). Good lord.

Nanty Riah

He just doesn't seem to able to process humour.

Yuck. "Process humour". What a revolting -- and revealing -- phrase. Thank you, USA. Yes, as I said, Auster provides fewer laughs than Peter Simple (who was definitely able to "process" humour), but he sees through liberalism, and liberals like Steyn, in a similar way.

He also appears to have trouble wrapping his head around the idea that someone could have been born in Canada but raised in England, or that a person could have Jewish ancestry but attend a Baptist church; this kind of thing.

No, he doesn't have trouble with it: he is himself a Christian of "Jewish ancestry". Steyn is a shape-shifter: very clever, very entertaining, but with no substance beneath the flash and glitter.

At the link you provide, he takes a sentence of Steyn's in which Mark predicts the Islamization of Europe, and then gets all indignant over the idea that he's advocating said takeover.

He takes much more than a "sentence" and his conclusions about Steyn's attitudes are perfectly rational and coherent. As a neo-con, Steyn gloats over the destruction of Europe: I noticed that for myself long before I saw Auster's critiques. One reason is that, like so many of his neo-con "colleagues", Steyn is a barbarian. The land of Mozart, Chartres, and the Sistine chapel -- but what does Steyn care? It didn't support the Iraq war, so it deserves to die, and WILL die. Boo-hoo.

It's all along these lines. I think Auster is just a crank.

In a liberal world, under liberal "hegemony", being a genuine conservative and a genuine anti-liberal does indeed make you a crank. Your use of the term is again revealing.


Yuck. "Process humour". What a revolting -- and revealing -- phrase. Thank you, USA.

Speaking of revolting and revealing...And "neo-con"? Really...

Spiny Norman


"Neo-con", in this instance, is completely devoid of meaning. It's just a throwaway put-down. Paul-bots typically use it to disparage any conservative who disagrees with them and their prophet.

Nanty Riah

WTP wrote:

Speaking of revolting and revealing...

Well, you start to speak of th... em... bu... t... he... n you resort to the non-conf... or... mist'''s ever---trusty... styli... stic.... t... ic.... ...t...he trail... ing... d... ot... s.......

Where would rhetoric be without them, I wonder?

Anyway, if you can point out what was "revolting", I'll be happy to apologize for dragging the blog down to my level. But you won't, I'm guessing....

And if I've revealed to you that I tend towards membership of the non-positive demographic, in terms of issues around the neo-con community, well, let's hope you're putting those Uncanny Powers of Insight to work for Good Causes.

And "neo-con"? Really...

It's curious how neo-cons and their lackeys don't like the word "neo-con". One might almost start to suspect they feel it's discredited in some way -- associated with (oh, off the top of my head) some kind of failure or incompetence or even (and I'm really taking speculative flight now) blundering, bloodthirsty arrogance. Still, Mel-o'-th'-Mail thinks the cap fits:



And here, by chance, is something Larry Auster himself has recently posted about this completely meaningless term and its launching-pad:

December 06, 2012

Asking a neoconservative a question

On Monday I sent the below e-mail to Jonathan Tobin, Commentary’s executive editor and the chief writer of its blog:

Jonathan Tobin
Commentary Magazine

Dear Mr. Tobin:

I have a very simple, direct question for you.

You supported Obama when he pushed Mubarak out of power and toppled the Mubarak regime.

Do you still think that toppling Mubarak was a good idea?

Lawrence Auster
New York City

Guess what? Tobin hasn’t replied.

I’m shocked.

Here’s Tobin’s page. There is a photo of him there:


His face strikes me as strangely clueless. In particular, his eyes have a disconcertingly vague, unfocused look. He seems like a man permanently abstracted from reality. Which would make him a fit representative of the neocons.


Neo-cons work like the NKVD: you OBEY them, you do not question them. Note that Auster does not prance'n'peacock like Mark "Mr Musical" Steyn or waffle like Theodore "Deep-Thinker" Dalrymple: he is direct, to the point, and (apparently) unanswerable.



Horace Dunn


I couldn't have put it better myself.

Spiny Norman

The more our new chum posts about his hero, the more Lawrence Auster looks like a crank.

Quick question for Nanty: Are we full-fledged, dues-paid "neocons", or are we merely "lackeys"?

And another one: Was 9/11 MIHOP or LIHOP?


"Was 9/11 MIHOP or LIHOP..."

I don't see what any of this had to do with pancakes :-)


blackmamba, you made me look...groan

Nanty Riah



Surely "Heh...?" Or have you left the non-conformist community?

Spiny Norman:

The more our new chum posts about his hero, the more Lawrence Auster looks like a crank.

Quick question for Nanty: Are we full-fledged, dues-paid "neocons", or are we merely "lackeys"?

I'd need to know more before I could answer that. But you are definitely half-wits. Sorry: half-wits..... And I wouldn't describe Auster as a "hero" of mine. I would describe him as honest and insightful, tho'. But honesty and insight aren't things that neo-cons and/or their lackeys care much about. That's why Auster is a crank...............

Mr. X

I happened to come across an article which you might be interested in. It's about liberal Catholics, but I don't think anybody here will have much difficulty spotting the sort of mindset displayed by most of the radicals mentioned on this site:


A few quotes:

Sentimentalism is the force of feel-goodism, the means by which we may cast off the conventions of faith and casually dismiss those institutions that refuse to submit to the trending times and morals. The Sentimentalist trusts his feelings over hallowed authority or the urgings of his reason, frequently answering hard religious questions with some noble-sounding phrase like "The God I believe in wouldn't . . . " (fill in the blank). What fits in that blank is typically some tenet of traditional faith that isn't currently fashionable, some moral demand that pop culture considers impossible—and hence, not worth even trying. Thus the Sentimentalist, while believing he follows the inviolate voice of his conscience, is really sniffing after trends, forming his heart according to the sensus fidelium of middlebrow magazines and public radio. [...]

These charges are easy to make; they are full of modern buzzwords that suggest other buzzwords and people use them as a sort of verbal shorthand, a social coding that denotes at which table one may sit in the societal lunchroom. They signal a bent of mind so "advanced" that it has done away with the need to reason, and is content to let feelings and desires dress up as critical thought. [...]

The Sentimentalist uses such happy talk because it is inexact, squishy, and comfy like a gel insert in a shoe. He willingly trades the clarity of ideas for the feeling that he (as opposed to you) is enlarged of heart and ennobled of mind. Nearly a hundred years ago, long before the sexual revolution, G.K. Chesterton wrote, "We can always convict [Sentimentalists] by their weakness for euphemism. The phrase they use is always softened and suited for journalistic appeals. They talk of free love when they mean something quite different, better defined as free lust . . . they insist on talking about birth control when they mean less birth and no control." [...]

The temptation to lapse into feeling-over-thinking is not unique to our century; it is simply the product of what we might call "Evian reasoning." This refers not to the boutique water whose name, read backward, spells n-a-i-v-e (a happy irony), but reasoning that resembles the thought processes of Eve in the Garden, at the very infancy of human wondering. What sounds good and looks good must be good, and so we should have it, despite arguments to the contrary, or "arbitrary" rulings by an Authority. Eve allowed her imperfect reason to be subdued by her feelings and desires and thus she took the world's headfirst dive into the waters of sentimentalism, which—while shallow—are deep enough for infants to drown in.


Ellipsophobia: The Silent Dottiness. When will we as a society learn to become more accepting?

Okay, Nanty Riah:

"Process" is the word I want. Auster strikes me as a bit Asperger-y. I'm not criticizing him for not being funny (although personally I can't say that the comparison to Peter Simple would really have leapt to my mind), I'm suggesting that his ability to recognize humour - which at least partly involves the capacity to understand, take in, process the cues indicating that something is not intended to be taken literally - is pretty much non-existant.

And I am a Canadian, so at worst I'm USA-lite (that's how we spell it - "lite" - because it reminds us pleasantly of pop drinks). (I hesitate to add that I also have British citizenship, and even a slight mid-Atlantic accent, because I'm afraid that you'll think I'm one of those flashy shape-shifters.)

Anyway, this is all pretty silly and I'll stop mucking up Mr. Thompson's nice civilized comments section with it.

Nanty Riah


Yes, a reasonable comment, but still infecterized by liberalism and yanqui imperialist English. The difference between Auster and Simple is the difference between an analyst of liberalism and a satirist of liberalism. Both can see the pathology, but they have/had different ways of pointing out that pathology to others. Auster does (ahem) understand Steyn's humour and will link approvingly to Mr Musical on occasion:


A strong article by Mark Steyn on the lifestyle of the Grand Sultan Obama which the media doesn’t mind a bit.


Nackey Norm wrote:

*** And another one: Was 9/11 MIHOP or LIHOP? ***

Sorry. Missed that question last time. Tho' I should have expected it, given the intellectual level at which you're operatorizing at. I've come across this so often when dealing with religious believers: question The Unquestionable Truth (liberalism, neo-connery, climate change, etc) and their response is to suggest that you're mentally ill. It's so cheap, so lazy, so satisfying to half-wits. But I promise you: apart from a voice or two (and there's one now), I'm pretty much ok on that front. I don't (there's another) believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy by the lizard-men or even by the neo-cons and their nackeys. It was in fact a conspiracy by a group called Al-Qaeda. I don't like Al-Qaeda and other Islamofascists ((c) neo-con non-conformists everywhere). I don't like their western lackeys either. Give me Mark Steyn over Ken Livingstone any day. But that doesn't mean I overlook Steyn's big flaws. Nor do I overlook Auster's smaller flaws. And I try not to overlook my own flaws (smallest of all) when I decide what to believe. That's difficult, but it's an essential part* of not being a half-wit.

*I suspect y'all'd prefer (as non-conformists) to say "key component".

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