Lawrence Auster 1949-2013

lawrence_auster_1949-2013Early this morning, one of the brightest lights of right-wing thought moved on from this world. As an American who enjoyed the idea and reality of America, Lawrence Auster was not “new right” in the European sense of co-opting leftism with rightist motivations, but since America had already done that with neoconservatism, he went to the next step and rediscovered a roots conservatism that few can understand in this time of a civilization distanced from its origins.

Auster’s story is one of triumph: of a man beating his own demons and coming to accept his love for the world and the divinity within it, of a man beating back illusion of multiple layers, of someone who could use his piercing mind not to generate tangential theories and ideologies, but to peer directly into the substructure of reality itself and build his theories on that. In a time when wishful thinking is the foundation of most politics, Auster presented a stable and commanding perspective.

For details of his life, Laura Wood’s eulogy is the best place to read; for a guide to his thoughts, visit his blog View From the Right and read the “Key VFR articles” in the lower right-hand column. There is too much to Auster to summarize with honesty in a single article.

Instead, it makes sense to celebrate two of the principles that Auster shared with all good conservatives: interactive realism and reverent love. Interactive realism is the ability to recognize the rules of the world and know how they can be manipulated without leading to disaster; reverent love requires a religious type of outlook on the world, in which one sees a transcendental point of view underlying all that is good and bad in perpetual struggle on earth.

Where his original writings show an aggressive pragmatism, Auster developed his views by struggling in inches and not feet over the fundamental questions of epistemology, ontology and metaphysics. It was this painstaking attention to detail, and to correcting imbalances and thus improving perception, that he became one of the most insightful realists of our time, and also one of the best voices arguing for, if not religion, a view of the world as an outgrowth of divinity.

We have lost a great thinker, but in every loss there is a contrast, and it shows us each what we must do to become more like the vision of existence that we adore. As such, this loss will spur others on to be better, to work smarter, to be more diligent and to be more perceptive. As for Mr. Auster, in honoring his belief (and not incompatible with my own Perennialist outlook), I choose to believe as he did, that he is in a state of the divine and watching us with unending compassion from the heavens.

12 Comments

  1. RIP L.A. says:

    Rest in Peace Lawrence.

  2. RiverC says:

    In Orthodox Tradition, it is sort of implicitly thought that one who dies in Holy Week or Bright Week (the week after Easter) is already ‘among the angels’. This works only from the standpoint of the person not actively seeking to die on those days, granted.

    As we say, May His Memory Be Eternal.

    1. Ted Swanson says:

      That’s awesome. I love that. I’ve never heard of that.

  3. [...] Stevens of Amerika also has an article about Auster as [...]

  4. Sad says:

    Thank you Brett. I woke up today hoping to see some more of insights, but now hope instead he is in a better place.

  5. crow says:

    Lucky Lawrence. He gets to stop thinking, at last.
    Maybe that’s his best message to all those still busily engaged with it.
    Don’t think about life. Live it.

    I’ve decided that when I die, I’d like to be instantly forgotten, as if I’d never lived at all. So nobody loses a single moment of their own lives, mourning the end of mine.

    1. NotTheDude says:

      I would hope to have done some small good in the chain of life. My memory is not important for very long, but my example can have some bearing on the lives of others. I am a man, which is one thing, and ongoing life is another that I was a part of for awhile. Whatever! I’m too young to not live!

  6. gg says:

    two words on the future: silver revolution.

  7. Attila says:

    Rather than think about life after death- isn’t it better to try to find out
    how to LIVE FULLY before death?

    NOW is NOW and NOW is LATER , except it’s a hell of a lot LATER.

    1. crow says:

      Pondering ‘life after death’ may lead to great insight into the nature of life during life, as well as what happens after. I know it can turn out that way. However, individual results may vary.

    2. Yeah, fella, you must be new here. When people die, we like to think that they go to an OK place and that they’re still in existence somewhere. Otherwise, all that good in them just goes away. Otherwise, it’s too heartbreaking to go on. This guy’s writer buddy just died and he’s trying to make sense of it. Maybe you can let it go for just this once.

  8. Robert B says:

    Thank you for posting this obituary.

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