Okay, I've had my drink, and my good night's sleep. And then I spent my whole morning skimming through Lawrence Auster's hundreds (I mean, really - hundreds) of posts attacking Peter Hitchens, Mark Steyn & Melanie Phillips - not to mention Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, etc.
I usually just skip these posts of his, 'cause I find them so depressing and counter-productive. But this time I forced myself to pay attention.
And I'm sorry to say that I can only conclude that our own commenter Ilion is correct: Mr. Auster regularly engages in downright misrepresentation of the oddly chosen targets of his rhetorical wrath.
But you don't have to spend hours searching through his archives, like I did, to see this in action. All you have to do is check out our exchange (such as it is) in the thread linked above:
"Steve Burton calls Peter Hitchens 'Christopher Hitchens's smarter younger brother, and a sound traditionalist conservative if ever there was one.
"Anyone who seriously believes that Peter Hitchens is smart, let alone smarter than his evil (and smarter) brother, and anyone who agrees with P. Hitchens that the BNP - the only force challenging the British establishment - must be opposed at all costs, might want to read some of my articles on P. Hitchens and the BNP..."
"...it's just silly to deny that Peter Hitchens is smart - unless you're prepared to relegate well over 99% of the human race to the ranks of the un-smart.
"But it seems that the closer people get to your own position, the more furiously you denounce them for whatever disagreements still remain - as witness your ceaseless jeremiads against Mark Steyn & Melanie Phillips.
"I simply can't understand why you do this..."
"When I have written many articles on a given subject, such as I have on P. Hitchens and especially on Steyn, explaining repeatedly and precisely why I take a certain position, and someone like Mr. Burton comes along says [sic] that he 'simply can't understand why' I take that position, then I must regretfully that [sic] Mr. Burton refuses to read what is in front of him. I simply can't understand why he does this.
"In any case, his refusal to take in my clearly argued reasons for my position on Hitchens and Steyn, and his assertion that I take those positions not for the reasons I have argued in many articles, but out of some perverse egotism, namely that the closer to my own position a person supposedly is, the more 'furiously' I denounce him, then it becomes clear that mr. Burton not only refuses to read and understand my plain meaning, but that he is indulging in baseless and ugly smears against me."
"Mr. Auster: I thank you for your reply.
But it is precisely *because* I 'read what is in front of [me]' that I find your take on Peter Hitchens, Mark Steyn, & Melanie Phillips so baffling.
"These three are among the most effective voices in the world today in raising doubts about the wisdom of mass immigration in general, and mass Muslim immigration in particular.
"So why can't you give them a little credit?"
"Steve Burton has basically called all my critical articles about Mark Steyn out and out lies. According to Burton, I don't disagree with Steyn for the reasons I've laid out, I disagree with him because Steyn's views are 'really' very close to mine, and for sick ego reasons I need to put Steyn down. That, according to Burton, is why I write what I write.
"That's what Steve Burton would have people believe about me. Burton thinks he's as pure as the driven snow. But he behaves like a smear artist.
"In behaving this way, he evinces the standard left-liberal approach to conservatives. Liberals never grant to any conservative position the minimal respect of treating it as a reasoned, good faith position. All conservative positions are portrayed as symptoms of dark and irrational forces of resentment, hatred, fear, cynicism, and political calculation."
* * * * *
Well. What can I say?
Dear Mr. Auster: I am not an inarticulate person. If I had wanted to accuse you of "perverse egotism," I would have written: "Lawrence Auster is a perverse egotist." If I had wanted to call all your critical articles about Mark Steyn "out and out lies," I would have written: "All of Lawrence Auster's critical articles about Mark Steyn are out and out lies." If I had wanted to claim that you don't disagree with Steyn for the reasons you've laid out, but because for sick ego reasons you need to put Steyn down, I would have written "Lawrence Auster doesn't disagree with Steyn for the reasons he's laid out, but because for sick ego reasons he needs to put Steyn down."
But I didn't write any of those things. All I wrote was that "I simply can't understand." And I wrote that "I simply can't understand" because I simply can't understand.
Sometimes (to coin a phrase) a cigar is just a cigar.
And now, I fear, I must add your misrepresentation of what I wrote to the list of things that I simply can't understand about you.