I’ve been delinquent in responding to comments and posting recently because I haven’t had access to a computer for a bit. I read Jeremy Lott’s “In Defense of Hypocrisy” on Friday and I’ll have a review up in a bit. For now, more e-mails to Auster that went unpublished.

In a thread titled Does prosperity make us too soft to survive? a reader stated that we in the west are too full of pity for the less-fortunate to control immigration. Auster responded:

This sounds like material determinism. If people’s views are as thoroughly determined by their economic situation as the reader suggests, then what’s the point of discussing politics, ideas, culture, at all? If any prosperous society must become so soft that it commits suicide via open borders, then human history and progress are rendered absurd. I assume that human history and human civilization are not absurd. Therefore I reject the reader’s determinism.

To that I replied by email with a subject heading “”I assume that human history and human civilization are not absurd.””:

We often rightly lambaste the left for the ludicrous assumptions they make. Why do you make such an assumption and base your predictions for the future on it? Would you like to offer some support for why we should believe your assumption is correct?

In reply Auster said “Aren’t you being just a bit picky and tendentious with me?“, to which I responded:

No, I am not. If you have been reading Steve Sailer’s site you noticed the absurdities going on in a certain California school district. The reason for this is that the officials take it as an axiom that all children are academically equal and that schools must be reformed until all have equal performance. The alternative is apparently just too horrible to contemplate. You have similarly taken it as an axiom that you can keep both prosperity/progress and what you cherish in western Christian civilization. I do not necessarily think this is the case. I think with prosperity the trends in public opinion described by Joseph Schumpeter and Brink Lindsey (though I am more optimistic than the former and less enthusiastic than the latter) will continue. I see no connection between my subjective evaluation of Western civilization (I happen to like it) and the probability that it will preserve itself. From history I know that many previous civilizations were just as appreciated by their inhabitants and they collapsed anyway (I think a descent toward mediocrity is more likely for our own, at least in the relatively near term). Why should my own be different? So you say if our discussing these matters will have no impact then human history and civilization are absurd. I would instead state that the universe does not care what you or I think and to insist otherwise is truly absurd. If you are wrong about your civilization being preservable from the changes going on you might consider devoting less time to performing CPR on a victim of decapitation and more to your immediate friends and family, so it is not a meaningless or irrelevant hypothesis. Personally, I am able to carry on my life with the recognition that someday everything I cherish will have vanished (at least by the heat-death of the universe) without having too much trouble getting out of bed in the morning.

He didn’t reply to that.