Letter to Charles Johnson of LGF
EuropeNews November 4 2008
By Henrik R Clausen
I notice that you keep lashing out at Vlaams Belang and Brussels Journal, accusing them of White Supremacism and crypto-Nazism. Really, I don't understand what drives you. Since I'm not registered at LGF personally, let me comment directly.
Belien lashes out at me again, calling me a "Stalinist" and a "Nazi" (simultaneously! that's a neat trick).
He didn't. What he wrote was:
Apparently, the man still adheres to the Stalinist (or Nazi) methods of the past. One of these Stalinist (or Nazi) principles is the principle of guilt by association.
He didn't call you a Stalinist or a Nazi, only that you happen to apply some of their principles: One of them is purging people in disagreement, which we've seen from LGF lately, most notably Fjordman who was reviled and chose to leave. Another is, as Belien notes, the guilt-by-association trick, which is true. This also invites the mob mentality so effectively utilized by these two ideologies.
When Belien uses those two in the same breath, he's on solid historical ground, as we frequently are in Europe. Both were socialist, totalitarian & highly militant. Both were (eventually) defeated with indispensable help from our American friends. And both used very similar tactics of intimidation and forced labor camps to deal with dissidents.
But what shows the similarity better than anything else was an exhibit in Moscow some years ago. I believe it was entitled "Hitler & Stalin". It systematically compared elements of both systems: Architecture, 5- and 4-year plans for the economy, music, rewriting history, military parades, art and more. Look to one side, and you'd see the Nazi stuff. Look to the other side, and the USSR variant would be on display. It broke the back of USSR romanticism, and many an old Babushka left the exhibit crying, fundamental beliefs shaken up.
Belien is aware of this. As are many other Europeans, the deep similarity between the two is widely known. The most important difference is probably that the Soviets won WWII (at great expense), and that they were more inept, and thus a less acute a danger than the Germans. That caused four decades of confusion, ending with a wall falling in 1989 and the USSR dissolving in 1991. Totalitarian Islam is a rerun of this ideology, including the scapegoating of Jews or other more or less fictional minorities ('class enemies', anyone?), but this time in an explicit religous dress-up. Nazism was semi-religious, Soviet communism atheistic, now we're facing a fully religionized challenge.
Nice company Paul Belien runs with.
This, exactly, is guilt-by-association at work.
People make mistakes. My friends make mistakes. When they do so, I attack their mistakes, not my friends. When I make mistakes, I expect my friends to tell me. Not that I'm a bad person (I believe strongly in the basic goodness of every human being), but that what I've done is a mistake, due to such-and-such. Then I expect them to either tell me that I'm misjudging the situation, or that they apologize for what they've done. Sometimes both.
Belien is, in a polite way, patiently trying to tell you that you are making a mistake. OK, so he posts a picture of gays on his web site. That may be quite offensive to you, I wouldn't know. Some may find male homosexuality revolting. But decent people would never attack Bawer or other gays simply for being gay, it's their problem. Nor would Belien, or other of my friends at VB or elsewhere, for all I know.
The problem is now, as far as I see, that you have created a self-perpetuating myth of VB and anyone associated with them being some kind of evil, crypto-WP, violence-inciting blockheads, and that Europe is going down the drain because of the strength of this movement. Many people, who respect you intensely for your work against Idiotarians and Islamofascists, are taking your word for the existence of such a movement in Europe, and are intensely disgusted over Europe for it. Fortunately, there isn't any such movement.
Let me look at one part of this, the ITS: Yes, the ITS has some severely block-headed members from France, Romanian & Bulgaria. Le Pen is fading into obscurity already. No need to worry about him.
For the two Balkan country MEP's, I consider their attitude, and the fact that they actually get elected (well, appointed in this special case) to the European Parliament to be a sign of under-education in democracy in those two countries. They are intensely poor (I've been there, repeatedly) and are just waking up to a democratic Europe that they never belonged to at any point in history. They suffered Communism longer than any other European country (save Belarus - they're special), suffered fascist regimes between WWI and WWII, were under the Austrian-Hungarian Empire before that, and earlier still were ruled by the Ottomans. It takes time and hard work to grow democracy - something they may need a helping hand with. Blasting others (the VB) for being in a working group with these people avails nothing.
I don't see that what Belien writes in his BJ article constitutes a 'disgusting attack' on Hirsi Ali or Bawer. Actually, he quotes a couple of strange statements by those two fine people against the VB, not the other way around. There is an interesting point where Bawer & Belien disagree, namely on the matter of Christianity's role. Bawer believes it to be less significant, Belien, as always, considers it fundamental. That's not a huge issue - in particular considering that Christianity, at least since 1648, has a pretty good record of leaving space for individual liberties. Before that the picture is more complex, but the Peace of Westphalia marks the beginning of Europe being more secular than religious. We wish it to remain that way.
I sincerely hope that the trenches have not been dug too deep, and that we can step back from this mudslinging, concentrate on the task at hand, look at each other and notice that no fascists can be eyed anywere. Heck, there are also people, like the Daily Kos, who considers LGF neo-fascist & racist. We take that smear with a shrug, too. Then resume the important work we have at hand, accepting and appreciating that we don't agree on every aspect of how it is best approached. It is a richness, and actually classical European, that we have so many different ways to skin a bear. Some of them just have to work.
Henrik Ræder Clausen, Denmark