Lawrence Auster Has Died

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Lawrence Auster.

His death was not unexpected — he had been chronicling the process of his dying for a number of months — but it is a sad occasion nonetheless.

I almost always agreed with Mr. Auster, and when I didn’t, our differences were relatively slight. He had a rare gift for clear thinking and concise explanation. I don’t know of anyone who can quite fill his shoes. He will be sorely missed.

Requiescat in pace, Lawrence Auster.

20 thoughts on “Lawrence Auster Has Died

  1. Mr Auster can never be replaced. One very particular aspect of Larry’s character was his desire for truth, which he placed before personal friendship. Some thought this a negative, but I found it endearing and am devastated by his death. Rest In Peace Mr Auster, we will never see your like again.

  2. Laurence Auster was a man who did not achieve what he might have, not through error, but through a close to fanatic intolerance of every other conservative person he could find to disagree with. He was profoundly correct in his perceptions. He stood out, often alone, in his denunciations of bad thought, bad doctrine and bad morals. However, agreement with him or with his purposes was never sufficient. He seemed to want more: a rigid and unreflective obedience. The number of sincere conservatives of high intellect or attainment he has savaged for their failure to say what said, exactly as he had said it, must number in the dozens. I can recall so bold a denouncer of political Islam as Mark Steyn being ridiculed for failing to propose their immediate expulsion from the United States. It is my conclusion over the course of what is now a fairly long life that a true conservative must not merely believe some things, he must express through his treatment of other people an abiding faith in human possibility and a charitable approach to his fellow man, sinners though we be. Auster was a tormented genius, and a great deal of the torment was self-generated. His intolerance was so great even the cells of his body rebelled. I have no doubt his soul is now reflecting upon this fact from the abode of peace, where he can bask at last in the love of Christ. I wish him well, I regret his pain, but someone inside that man was dying to get out, and has at last succeeded.

      • Am sorry, but Timothy Denton’s comment was correct.

        Auster was smart and incisive; but he was sometimes wrong, even mean-spirited. Perhaps he needed a wife, as so many men do.

        His work will live on, and should.

        Here is a praising eulogy, well written and with a mere suggestion of the unfortunate aspects of Mr. Auster’s way of interacting with others.

        http://www.vdare.com/articles/in-memoriam-lawrence-auster-a-great-sometimes-irascible-fighter-for-tradition

        • I think that both Mr. Denton and Mr. Camery have completely misunderstood Lawrence Auster. He was not fanatically intolerant of every other conservative. He never sought unreflective obedience in his readers.
          No, he strove for the truth. He wanted to find it, and wanted others to seek it, too. He held others to the same standards he held himself. In his critiques, he never shrank from telling the truth as he saw it, even if that meant ruffling feathers, or outright alienation.

          Taking your example, he did not ridicule Mark Steyn; rather, he pointed out that Steyn did not go where his thinking logically followed. He still read Steyn, praised him for his good ideas, but never let up in pointing out Steyn’s shortcomings as he saw them. He saw in Steyn a potential to be more than he is, and wanted him to manifest it.

          In a similar vein, he criticized Robert Spencer for not following through on the logical consequences of what Spencer pointed out. For accurately summarizing Spencer’s non-position on the immigration of Moslems, Spencer accused Auster of “calumny.” Yet even after this, Auster continued to read Spencer and praise him for what he got right (again, as Auster saw it).

          Lawrence Auster had the rare ability to hold thoughts without making those thoughts part of his self-identity. For too many people, their thoughts are themselves, so when one of their ideas is criticized, they take it personally. Auster did not do this, and did not expect others to do so (though they clearly do). Those who came under his criticism all too often failed to understand that it was not the person he was attacking, but their idea(s).

          Yes, he could come off as prickly, perhaps even mean, but when he tore apart an idea or a position, his purpose was to get at the truth, not to hurt people. There is a difference.

          “Tormented,” Mr. Denton? Only insofar as he saw the West needlessly destroying itself.

          R.I.P., Lawrence Auster. You are missed.

    • I agree with your comments on poor LA’s rigidity. However, I think it was the disease talking. Of course this could be a chicken-and-egg issue, but still…

      After I went to his site for the very first time, not too long ago, I didn’t understand something he said and politely asked him, through email, to elaborate. He did explain why he took the position that he did, but then lashed at me. I got back to him, explaining that there was no reason for him to treat me so rudely, that my question to him was innocent and sincere, I wasn’t trying to be a smartass or anything. He replied, apologizing. And I forgave him with my next email to him and in my heart.

      I didn’t realize he was seriously sick. Illness messes with your brain, not only the body. Perhaps it magnifies any faults or tendencies that you have. LA wanted people to understand, and agree with, him; this need was greater maybe than in the rest of us. I recall what Cardinal Lamberto, the character in Godfather 3, said: When the mind hurts, the body cries out. How Lawrence’s mind must have hurt! So glad that he is at peace now, or at least I hope so.

  3. The other day, Takuan Seikyo linked to Laurence Auster’s site. Auster was writing how he wanted to get right with God. I was moved in the naked honesty of that statement which embarrassed and compelled me to the same state of mind.

    Thanks, LA.

  4. Thanks Lawrence Auster. We shall carry on the fight as best we can, but not entirely without you, for we are all the wiser for knowing your mind through your words. Rest in Peace.

    EscapeVelocity

  5. What Mr. Denton said. He is precisely correct in his assessment of Mr. Auster whose rigid intolerance served, in many instances, to forestall the sort of alliances that would have well served his cause.

    • Lawrence Auster was an absolute – hence his refusal/inability to compromise. It’s a position few either care to adopt or indeed are able to adopt, but somebody’s got to do it. Thank goodness Mr Auster did.

  6. Pingback: LAWRENCE AUSTER: JANUARY 26, 1949 – MARCH 29, 2013 | earthman's blog

  7. Lawrence Auster was a singular man. Impeccable integrity twinned to a formidable intellect, he was a gift to conservatism. As Henrik did, I found it telling that he died on Good Friday for I often thought he was a tortured soul.

    I will be thinking of him on Easter morning and for many mornings to come. It is good they’re leaving up his website and also considering publishing some of his work.

    He reminds us all that we do not need to agree on all points with someone to find their work of great and lasting value. I remember his strong remonstrations to the Baron regarding the appearance of our site. His aesthetic tended toward the spare while the Baron is drawn to the patterned, the many-colored, and often complicated designs. Mr. Auster could never understand why the Baron loved all that ‘busyness’.

    I am glad I knew his work while he was still in the world (though I could never figure out his commenting system. Just as well). I will continue to wonder for a while about the mystery of the human heart as personified by this complicated and very private man who, on occasion, showed us his inner self. To say that I will “miss” him is to miss entirely the point of an intense absence which is simply a logical extension of his presence, isn’t it?

    Lawrence Auster didn’t merely die. He ripped a hole in the canvas of mortality and stepped through it to the other side. He didn’t look back.

  8. I treasure the small correspondences I had with him. (Mostly over his contretemps with Vanishing American.) It was a privilege to correspond with someone who I knew would be holding me to such exacting standards of logic and reason … even if I didn’t always agree with his position. We should all have such examples to inspire us to speak our minds and stand our ground – even if we stand alone.

  9. I am very sad about his passing. I will certainly miss him. The fact that he died on Good Friday certainly sounds symbolic. On the other hand, I don’t understand why God made him suffer so much. The intense physical suffering he had to undergo doesn’t sound fair or deserved. This is shaking my faith in God somewhat.

    Why are some of you writing that he was “tormented”? In what way was he tormented? I didn’t get that at all. He had exacting standards. He was frustrated with the world. He was perhaps rigid. But does that amount to “tormented”?

    Another thing I thought about when I was perusing his photographs was the fact that he sometimes pointed at people’s photographs and made conclusions about their personalities (with which I often but not always agreed). When I look at his pictures, I see a conservative or a traditionalist. I absolutely cannot see the man depicted in his photographs as a liberal. If I knew nothing about him, and somebody asked me: “Can you guess what this man’s views are?”, I would definitely say that he was a conservative – without hesitation. It’s not the clothes or the hairstyle, it’s something about his facial expression. But I can’t put my finger on it.

    His cousin, Paul Auster, on the other hand, looks like a liberal in his photographs. I know that they were estranged. I wonder if Paul Auster would come to his cousin’s funeral. I would want him to.

  10. Lawrence Auster was the intelletually onservative big brother many of us sorely need. I had the pleasure of dining with him on three occasions. If he was “tormented,” it was in the sense of not knowing precisely what to do (beyond his writing) to save our civilization. We immediately bonded, because together, we could have made a considerable man – his mind, and my penchant for community organizing, which he very much admired. Like him, I was born Jewish (on my mother’s side), and converted to Christianity, although at a much earlier age. I consider his greatest service to our movement (the Tea Party is still alive) his no-holds-barred discussion of (liberal) Jewish influence on our culture.

  11. I was not one of his close friends, but knew him well enough to have correspondence and to know some of the details of his life. His “Path To National Suicide” shook the ground under my feet. I would also say he was not “tormented,” except in the sense that he could not release from his mind the reality of the West gleefully skipping into oblivion. There are moments when I also see the reality of where we are headed, and I am filled with panic and despair and my fingers form into a fist. Then I move on to other distractions. Lawrence could not easily do so, and it sometimes resulted in forms of dogmatism. He was one of our luminaries, one of our captains, so of course he could not sit and listen to the violins while icebergs kept crashing into our hull. He was alive, at arms, sounding the alarm, trying to whip up resistance.

    May God bless him and hold him in the palm of His hand for doing so.

    We can best honor him by continuing the struggle, in his memory.

    If we succeed in our struggle, we will ideally remember him and those like him in a Hall of Honor. If we fail, none of us or the world we tried to save will be remembered anyway.

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