Friday, March 29, 2013

Lawrence Auster dies ... and lives

The great essayist has departed this life.

During his final illness, one correspondent after another wrote to remark that their thinking, their values, their lives had been changed by their encounter with him.

I must say something similar. Lawrence helped dispel many of my areas of ignorance. He tuned up lazy thinking on my part. I didn't and do not agree with all he wrote; he sometimes had harsh words when I disputed him, both online and in personal correspondence. Yet -- and this suggests his largeness of spirit -- he never held a grudge, and continued to link to this blog from time to time. (Invariably those links brought far more traffic to Reflecting Light than almost any other posts I have written.)

Lawrence's moral courage continually astounded me. He committed daily thought crimes against the religion of multi-culturalism. He spoke honestly about racial issues, to the point that unquestionably many "progressives" would have jailed him if they had had the power. Yet neither was he an ideologically bound conservative -- he could make subtle but important distinctions that eluded even some of his supporters. Without him, it would have taken me a lot longer to get it that "neo-conservatives" are wolves in sheep's clothing who have nothing to do with genuine conservatism.

As of today, it looks like he lost every battle. The transformation of the United States into a Third World country is nearing the goal line. Virtually nothing he spoke for has come to pass; so much that he denounced has happened or looks like it will happen. He gave us millions and millions of closely reasoned, engagingly written words that failed to change the course of events. A lesser man would have turned into a bitter misanthrope, perhaps decided his life's work was quixotic and not worth the bother.

Yet he went on, saying things that it often seemed only he could say, in ways that only he could say them.

It is not mere sentimentality to believe that Lawrence Auster's eloquence, wit, and sharpness of mind will continue to be influential -- even in generations to come, I suspect. He may yet be seen as a powerful force in a turnaround, a rebirth of traditional conservatism.

SAY not the struggle naught availeth,
   The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
   And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
   It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
   And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
   Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
   Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
   When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
   But westward, look, the land is bright! 

 Arthur Hugh Clough

For now, Lawrence, for you, it is time to rest.


YIH said...

I too am saddened. Surprised or shocked - no, last night when I checked there I noticed that nothing had been added in four days and the first thing that came to mind was ''that's not laptop trouble''. Nor that it was Laura Wood that entered the final post. Though neither would confirm it for quite reasonable privacy reasons I suspected that was who he was with, her posts had gotten sporadic as well.
I pretty much agree with what you wrote, and yes, that's how I found you.
Rest in peace, Mr. Auster.

Anonymous said...

He will be greatly missed.

Stogie said...

This morning when I turned on my computer I noticed your post in my blog listing -- "Lawrence Auster dies...lives." My heart fell, and I hurried to his site to confirm the awful news. We knew his death was soon coming, but still it is always a shock to confront the actual event.

You and I think a lot alike, about many things, and I have come to see you as one of my favorite writers, a kindred spirit. Lawrence Auster was a superb writer, but Rick Darby is no slouch either. I read your words and sentiments, and feel that I could have written the very same thing.

I will miss Larry Auster, a beloved mentor. He is on the other side of reality now, and we will see him again.

Paul Weston said...

Thank You for this wonderful tribute Rick. Larry Auster was not just an intellectual giant, he was a good and brave man as well.

Bulan Sabriel said...

I am sure Lawrence would have appreciated the sentiments.

Anonymous said...

God bless Lawrence - I will never forget him.

zazie said...

yesterday night, in a concert-hall, I listened to Strauss' "ein helden leben" ; I could not help linking this music with Lawrence Auster whose departure I had learnt in the afternoon....He was a genuine hero I think, speaking the truth in a time of falsehood. God bless him.

Rollory said...

"he never held a grudge"

This is simply, blatantly, measurably untrue.

He held grudges deeper and longer than any other political commentator I have seen. On the occasion of someone writing something touching on one of his topics, he could (and very often did) respond with a litany of complaints and details about years-past disagreements and slights that other people would have shrugged off long ago.

If he did not hold a grudge against _you_, it is merely because you did not happen to find a reason to disagree with him - and to state said disagreement - on matters where he considered disagreement to be unacceptable. Anyone who HAS done so, no matter their reasoning, no matter how politely and carefully phrased and how well-supported with fact their argument, has had personal experience both of how vicious he could be, and - if they tried to overcome the dispute via any means other than grovelling apology - of his ability to nurse grudges indefinitely.

I am making a big deal of this because it IS a big deal, and it ties in to WHY his efforts on every front that you consider important resulted in unmitigated failure.

Anonymous said...

View from the Right was the sort of blog you could check several times a day and usually find something worthwhile to read. Over the last five years or so his blog was one of the main sites through which I found out about new blogs to read. He helped cut through much of the twisted thinking in mainstream conservatism, for instance the mistake of assuming "bad faith" on the part of liberals when they advocate for nonwhites. He had the most sensible possible view on Islam, which was that we shouldn't try to "crush" it but, rather, merely separate the West from it.

He articulated the possibility of a hypothetical new consensus, in which whites would stand up for themselves and thereby inspire loyalty in Jews and other nonwhite groups. I have to wonder if this consensus will ever come about. He wrote in support of whites, but it was always a reserved sort of support. For instance, he never rejected the term "racism," but instead insisted that it still had validity with a carefully defined meaning. I once asked him if he would be interested in joining an advocacy organization for whites, and he said that he preferred to advocate for the more general cause of decency.

Personally, I miss his blog and find his passing away to be a sad occasion.

Hal K

Rick Darby said...


I meant that while he sharply criticized me from time to time, on VFR and in email, he continued to link to me and quote approvingly (often to my surprise after the most recent encounter).

Your experience was different; point taken.