One thing to keep in mind about Pat’s career: he’s a great guy. He’s one of the kindest, most considerate people in public life. (Full disclosure: Pat quotes me several times, citing my VDARE.com articles on the “racial ratio”—Affirmative Action beneficiaries vs. benefactors i.e. losers—and the real meaning of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores among others).
Buchanan has made himself into exactly what you would want in a political intellectual: famously pugnacious in argument, but a gentleman who fights fair and feels the other side is entitled to its say. He wants to win arguments, but not suppress and personally destroy his opponents.
Buchanan, advisor to three Presidents and winner of a New Hampshire presidential primary, has been “in the arena” (to use Teddy Roosevelt’s phrase) since the 1960s. Active engagement for decades with the political process typically narrows the imagination and constricts the soul. (To see what I mean, just read skeptically Matt Bai’s long, sympathetic article Does Anyone Have a Grip on the G.O.P.? on Republican Establishment operatives like William Kristol and Vin Weber in last week’s New York Times Magazine.)
Buchanan’s career in politics goes back to Richard Nixon’s comeback in the mid-1960s. Unlike so many others, however, Buchanan has emerged from all those years and all those conflicts wiser, more judicious, more empathetic, more broadly informed, and more principled.
In contrast, neoconservatism, which strikes neutral observers as equally tribal in motivation, has unleashed so much violence over the last decade precisely because of its pretenses to universal benevolence. If you root for some other team than the neocons root for, well, that’s not just an accident of birth, as Buchanan understands. Instead, to a neocon, rooting for the wrong team is proof that you are, as Richard Perle and David Frum used to say, evil.
Worse, you aren’t supposed to get the joke when it comes to neoconservatism. If you realize why neocon claims to be repairing humanity are funny, you are worse than evil.
– from Steve Sailer’s awesome review of Pat Buchanan’s new book, Suicide of a Superpower
O.K., as your biggest (only?) neocon fan, I have to respond to this generally awesome review (can “generally” modify “awesome”? — does anyone care? — back to the post). When I was a punk high-school kid, my Dad used to cut out various Sun-Times opinion pieces for me to read all the time and the ones I remember as being particularly well-written and forcefully argued back then were usually written by Pat. (As an aside, it is funny now to even consider the Sun-Times running a Pat Buchanan editorial, I suspect half the staff would quit or have a heart-attack, but times change and papers decline). Around the same time Pat was a regular on “The McLaughlin Group” and his appearances on that show get at the heart of what you speak to in your review when you talk about Pat and his style — he was always forceful and smart but at the same time he had fun, he knew how to laugh — he was humane.
Then came the 90s and I sort of lost my mind and became a secular, DLC, Clinton-loving, liberal who didn’t pay all that much attention to serious conservative ideas. So I lost track of Pat as he ran for President and wrote all those books. Then in the aughts, when I was in full post-9/11 neocon mode, I thought Pat read sort of crabbed and sour whenever I bothered to check him out in The American Conservative (which I still did from time to time as I was interested in what he had to say), particularly when he was writing about the Jews. Anyway, then over the past couple of years as I became the Fake Herzog you know and love, I formed my views on immigration and more broadly, Western Civilization. And if I go back and read Pat on immigrants and American culture, he is a delight. And when I read him on what I still consider his wrong and frankly borderline anti-Semitic views on American Jews and our relationship with Israel (which goes all the way back to 1991), I have to approach him in the spirit of Christian reconciliation — I want Pat to repent because I know there is a lot of good in him that is otherwise misguided.
That’s also why I think you are wrong in what you write about both Pat and the neocons with respect to foreign policy (and really any policy idea) — we don’t think of policy as just one big game in which my tribe beats your tribe and the winner takes all. I don’t think even you think like that. I would humbly suggest that Pat honestly believes that it is in the interests of the common good of the United States that we not get involved in wars in the Middle-East — he thinks this is the right policy for all Americans, even American Jews who he thinks are misguided. Just like I think Pat is wrong about foreign policy and that Americans of all races and ethnicities will be safer of the U.S. has an aggressive/hawkish foreign policy and attacks or contains those states who support or aid terrorists (like the Taliban in Afghanistan, like Saddam in Iraq, like Iran, like North Korea, etc.) We can agree to disagree — that’s how democracy works.
Anyway, to end on a positive note, I urge my readers to listen to Pat talking about his new book with a couple of great conservative morning personalities, Don and Roma, here in Chicago. As I said earlier, Pat is at his best talking about immigration, Christianity and American culture. God bless you Steve for your tireless work on these issues and God bless Pay Buchanan — a great American patriot and conservative public intellectual!
P.S. This post took me forever (you guys love your links at VDARE!) because I can’t work on it during my lunch break at the City. When I try and go to VDARE here is the message I get:
It is shameful that the City chooses to block VDARE but I have no problem going to the SPLC website.