Accept disgrace willingly.
Accept misfortune as the human condition.
What do you mean by “Accept disgrace willingly”?
Accept being unimportant.
Do not be concerned with loss or gain.
This is called “accepting disgrace willingly.”
— Lao Tzu, from The Tao Te Ching (XIII)
Everybody knows the old joke about the man who encounters an elderly gentleman looking for something intently along the gutter under a streetlight.
“What are you looking for, old fellow?” asks the first man.
“My car keys,” says the old man. “I know I dropped them somewhere in the park.”
“The park!? The park’s across the road! Why don’t you look for them over there?”
“The light’s better over here.”
And so it is with the Counterjihad. Here at Gates of Vienna you’ll find a little zone of illumination, the place where we gather to talk and argue and discuss. Somewhere out there in the murky dark beyond the circle of light the real Counterjihad is going on, but here we are: the light’s better over here.
I bring all of this up because during the past twenty-four hours the intense hostility directed at Gates of Vienna has expanded to include the Center for Vigilant Freedom. I’ll be dealing with all the latest pernicious nonsense in a future post, but this morning I’d like to harken back to the early days of the current unpleasantness.
The other day, in a long Gates of Vienna comment thread, AngleofRepose reminded me of this comment by “Tasty Beverage” in a thread on Little Green Footballs:
LGF has around eight times as many members — something like 20,000, with thousands and thousands more non-members who come here daily just to read the front page.- - - - - - - - -
Gates of Vienna and Brussels Journal are lucky if they get eight comments in a thread. These are marginal people reaching out to other marginal people, i.e., SD and VB.
So all of you bloggers who deigned to set yourselves up as our “leaders” in the Anti-Jihad movement (what you called “Counter Jihad”) — and who organized a conference without talking to or asking us about it first — what we want, what we think — and then decided all on your own that our movement was going to ally with these “questionable” political parties in Europe — you had the unbelievable chutzpah to piss and moan at us lowly peons when we had the nerve to say to you, (our self-appointed leaders, deciding all on your own that we must ally with these people), “NO WAY IN HELL!” —————
Get this in your heads:
We don’t need you.
You need US. Without us, without LGF, you are for the most part isolated backwaters on the internet. LGF is the mainstream, you are the fringe, or otherwise just minor in the grand scheme. Understand? And after the inevitable denunciation and repudiation you are going to receive from LGF if you do not immediately disassociate from these political parties, what you call your “Counter-Jihad” is going to remain fringe and discredited as a cynical, dishonest vehicle of neo-nazis and bigots who aren’t really opposed to islam so much as anyone duskier than you, because they can’t possibly assimilate and believe in “European culture”, even if they are born and raised in it, as their genes preclude them from doing so.
You are never going to convince us that your new “friends” and fellow-thinkers can be trusted. Never — they have too much baggage, even if they have “reformed”, which I doubt. Get this through your thick skulls.
So the decision is yours. You will be formally and publically separated from this flagship, denounced, and you will remain on small, pathetic sites with twenty commenters, where you can all talk to each other about how much smarter you are than LGFers, and how you guys are the ones who will save Western Civilization.
(what a joke)
I suspect Charles is not going to allow all of his incredibly hard work, 365 days a year for the last six years, to be utterly and irreversibly ruined by association with your friends.
Meanwhile, the Lizard Nation will grow ever bigger and more influential, and you will only be able to watch in envy from the sidelines, self-marginalized, and thoroughly convinced that you guys are the real saviors of us all. You couldn’t be more wrong. [emphasis added]
I read this comment when it first appeared, and it’s one of the reasons I quit reading LGF. When people are saying that kind of thing about you in a public forum, you realize that it’s not a place you want to hang out.
Consider the implications of the bolded phrases in the above excerpt:
- organized a conference without talking to or asking us about it first
- “questionable” political parties
- self-appointed leaders, deciding all on your own
- LGF is the mainstream, you are the fringe
- the inevitable denunciation and repudiation you are going to receive from LGF
- You will be formally and publically [sic] separated from this flagship
- Charles is not going to allow
- you will only be able to watch in envy from the sidelines
Admittedly, these words are from a lizardoid reader, and were not written by Charles Johnson himself. And I’m sure that Mr. Johnson would deny that the sentiments expressed by Tasty Beverage reflect the official policy of Little Green Footballs.
Still… Mr. Johnson has banned people for saying things like, “I don’t agree with this.” One is led to assume that the commenter’s words reflect the party line, given the tendency of the leader to bring his followers quickly to heel when their views do not align with his own.
Ignoring for a moment the fact that Charles Johnson was indeed invited to Counterjihad Brussels 2007, and has acknowledged that he received the three invitational emails, consider the implications of these sentiments.
- It is expected that Charles Johnson, the proprietor of the blog Little Green Footballs, shall approve in advance any gathering of anti-jihad groups.
- No group or groups opposing the Great Jihad may gather for that purpose without notifying Mr. Johnson in advance and obtaining his approval. No party or organization may be represented at such meetings without being cleared with Mr. Johnson, nor may attendees associate themselves with proscribed parties or organizations. No one who has been friends with, talked to, had his photograph taken with, or indeed been in the same room with people belonging to suspicious groups may be invited to such a conference.
- Violation of these edicts will be punished swiftly and severely by irrevocable excommunication.
Let’s overlook the arrogance, grandiosity, and megalomania implied by the policies outlined above. What about their practical effectiveness?
The weapons of punishment employed to maintain lizardoid ideological purity consist mainly of the flame war and the email spam attack. There is no gainsaying the effectiveness of these methods in dividing and demoralizing the Counterjihad. But how well will they serve our common cause, the struggle to confront and roll back the encroachment of sharia in the West?
LGF fields no candidates in any elections, and is not consulted in the making of government policy. The lizardoids send no lobbyists to Capitol Hill, nor do they introduce legislation in any parliaments. Charles Johnson does not appoint ambassadors to journey to Strasbourg and discuss the latest immigration issues with their EU counterparts. His order does not mobilize armies or scramble air force pilots.
Little Green Footballs is, in short, simply a talk shop, just as Gates of Vienna is. Its traffic profile is an order of magnitude greater than ours, but it’s still nothing more than a talk shop.
Real action occurs elsewhere.
The LGF comment quoted above includes the gleeful assertion that Gates of Vienna and the Brussels Journal are pitifully small in traffic and comments compared to the huge and influential numbers displayed at Little Green Footballs.
The number of comments at LGF is indeed huge — although quantity does not guarantee quality — and Charles Johnson’s blog is truly mighty in its number of visitors.
But focusing on the traffic or comments at any given blog obscures more important facts. When you consider one blog’s traffic, you’re circling the lamppost looking intently at the sidewalk. Out there in the darkness beyond the little circle of light are more interesting facts; they’re just not as easy to see.
The relative traffic numbers are only significant if you let your ego get snared by such concerns and become pridefully attached to a single blog or website.
What’s being overlooked is the enormous new network that has formed, and is still forming. I don’t know how many bloggers are involved — there are a lot of them — but their numbers collectively amount to far more than those of LGF in terms of traffic or comments.
Add in the forums and other types of websites, the members of political parties, activists, and ordinary folk who are involved but only lurk at the blogs, and the Counterjihad becomes huge.
It just doesn’t show on Technorati, Alexa, or TTLB.
Nobody has a site meter that can track it.
That’s why all of this recent nonsense is not significant. It’s full of sound and fury. It’s annoying and occasionally infuriating, but it’s trivial and transient, and it will pass.
Something is happening out there in the dark that’s real and good and true, something that will make a difference. It can’t be seriously impeded by bloggers, journalists, or even politicians, because it arises from a source which is inherently unstoppable: the people themselves.
I know this because I’m actively involved with it.
Tasty Beverage is right: I’m a nobody. I’m just one guy bloviating here at GoV and emailing people I know and occasionally taking planes to discuss things at meetings. My part is insignificant.
But when all the parts are aggregated, something major takes form. It won’t be obvious for some time yet, but it’s happening out there in the dark all the same.
Everyone is welcome to stay here circling the lamppost, but rest assured: your keys are elsewhere.
Prominent people and politicians will be the last to climb aboard the Counterjihad because they are so attuned to conventional wisdom and received opinion. Their careers and reputations depend on it. They flee in terror from the accusations of “racism”, “xenophobia”, “Islamophobia”, and “neo-Nazism” flung so indiscriminately in all directions.
Journalists, political leaders, major academics, and CEOs of large corporations will not be among those who initiate dramatic change. They have too much to lose; their stake in the existing system is too great.
Real change does not occur in these circles. It starts out there in the dark and only moves into the light when it has become too large to escape notice. Then, without warning, the tipping point is reached, an alternative way of thinking arrives, and a new consensus forms.
In order to bring these changes about, thousands of unimportant people throughout the West will have to labor without recognition for years. It’s already happening: people are organizing in groups to stop the building of mosques, protest the Islamization of school textbooks, object to the separation of the sexes in public swimming pools, and insist on the enforcement of immigration laws. These efforts will continue, whether or not they obtain the Lizardoid Seal of Approval.
And CVF, along with innumerable other coordinating groups, will help bring these various networks together and keep them in communication. That’s our mission.
Trivial and tedious though these tasks may be, they are not without risk. Consider the example of Lars Vilks, the Swedish artist who decided to draw a picture of Mohammed as a roundabout dog. Such a small and innocuous act! But now he has a price on his head.
Someone asked him if drawing the Modoggies was worth dying for, and he said simply, “Yes, it is.”
We’re nothing special. We’re all nobodies. Our blogs are small, and nobody important reads them. We’ll never be interviewed by Wolf Blitzer or make the cover of Wired. We don’t get to hang out with the movers and shakers or ride first class on airplanes.
Even though we’re midgets, there are a lot of us.
We’re an army of midgets.
In times of stress or difficulty I find solace in mathematics or poetry, which are my two great passions. Nothing combines both disciplines as effectively as The Tao Te Ching. Within its eighty-one chapters can be found an economy of wisdom, guaranteed to provide a calming focus for the task at hand.
I began this rumination with a passage from Lao Tzu, and am returning to his words, this time from Chapter II, for its conclusion.
Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.
Therefore having and not having arise together.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short contrast each other:
High and low rest upon each other;
Voice and sound harmonize each other;
Front and back follow one another.
Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking.
The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease,
Creating, yet not.
Working, yet not taking credit.
Work is done, then forgotten.
Therefore it lasts forever.