Alien versus Predator

Alien versus Predator

by Ilana Mercer

For the purpose of making your way adaptively and smartly in a society that is systemically anti-white, you need to understand what distinguishes Critical Race Theory from Marxism and quit the socialism/Marxism theoretical escapism, for once and for all.

Get this into your head: for conflict in society, Marxism fingers social class; critical race theory saddles whites. You, if you are white!

More on this do-or-die distinction in my latest YouTube video, “Distinguish Critical Race Theory From Marxism: Your Life Depends On It!”

David Vance and I further flesh out the Marxism vs. Critical Race Theory vexation in our weekly, Wednesday chat.

Whatever conservatives think of Marxism—and this writer follows the antiwar, anti-state, free market Austrian School of economics—Marxism in the origin is serious political economy; an intellectual treatise with gravitas. Critical Race Theory is a priori gibberish.

Scrap that: befitting the boors who originated CRT anti-whitism—the theory is based on reasoning backwards: if B then A; if white then … complete that sentence with all manner of evil that comes to mind.

We also discuss uni-party politics, the futility of it, and the war on MAGA folks, all 74 million of us. And, prompted by David, I might have thrown in a quip about plagiarism made way back, in a witty joust between Oscar Wilde and James McNeill Whistler—two giants of the West your kids should know, but don’t, because of critical race rot.


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Hi Ho, Silver! Away!

The Lone Ranger and Silver, 1956, credit Wikipedia

Hi Ho, Silver! Away!

Bill Hartley on late divorce

Predictably, Bill and Melinda Gates’ separation has attracted a great deal of attention: the eye watering size of their personal fortune made sure of that. Prompted by this the BBC4 Today programme interviewed a divorce lawyer. She explained that the demographic of her casework has altered. These days it’s mostly people like the Gates, in their sixties, who are seeing her about divorce. The statistics support what she had to say. As long ago as 2009, whilst divorce in other age groups was falling by 11% per annum, there was a rise of 4% among the over sixties and the trend appears to be continuing.

The lawyer went on to cite various reasons for this trend; couples ‘grow apart’, mortgages have been paid off and pensions assured etc. Anyone with divorce in mind can find a great deal of ‘advice’ available online. Interestingly the source tends to be lawyers themselves and who can blame them? Obviously this is a growing market and they want a share. Looking beyond, even the media isn’t impartial when it comes to the post divorce experience. A recent edition of The Times featured a fifty something woman, looking somewhat younger than her years, talking up the benefits of single life. Naturally it suits some people but there was little mention of the drawbacks.

Much of the advice available is silent on the economic and collateral damage which may flow from late divorce. Instead the theme is generally that separation and divorce will open up a whole new way of life. This needs to be viewed with considerable scepticism. Another law firm’s website floridly describes this kind of divorce as ‘a last gasp at freedom and self expression’. As if there are legions of over sixties out there craving the chance to sling on a rucksack and head for Kathmandu. The warm and cuddly term used by the legal profession for this kind of break up is ‘Silver Divorce’.

When researching the question of late life divorce it soon becomes apparent that what passes for advice is in reality marketing. After all lawyers want the business and if it lies in this area then they’ll do what they can to encourage people. In contrast, Saga also offers advice about divorce. Not being lawyers theirs is rather more impartial and doesn’t automatically assume it’s the man’s fault. Presumably Saga have also realised that the newly liberated will need the right kind of holiday to recover.

Talking of fault, one American law firm adopts a blatantly sexist approach on its website. Here, it’s always the man’s fault. Men are ‘having affairs’ or ‘abusing drugs and alcohol’. Its British equivalent might mention an obsession with railway modelling or fishing. Not that it matters, as the ‘Behaviour’ clause in British divorce law is very elastic.

Assuming that the more obvious marital transgressions are likely to show themselves at a much earlier stage and be a cause for divorce, then marriage as mere coexistence probably isn’t unusual. Perhaps if behaviour of this sort has been a long time in gestation, then reaching pension age brings it into sharper relief. Interestingly there seems to be no recognition among most sources that external factors might have had an impact. Men in particular often make sacrifices in pursuit of their careers, for example getting caught up in the long hours culture.

It takes effort to drill down and locate impartial advice. What’s there doesn’t make for comfortable reading and is unlikely to fit with the lawyers’ upbeat version. For example, one half of a couple may have no idea about managing finances. Differences in pensions may also need to be addressed. The overarching message if you can find it is: divorce hurts your finances whoever you are. The Prudential estimates that divorced couples are on average 16% worse off than those who haven’t taken this course. Armed with this cautionary statistic it makes one wonder if an attempt to salvage the situation might be the best course of action. After all it can’t always be the case that such marriages are irretrievable. It may take two people to make a marriage uninteresting and the person wanting out might usefully consider the role they played in reaching this stage. Afterwards no amount of evening classes or volunteering to go behind the counter at Age UK may improve things.

The most obvious change will be the loss of the matrimonial home, since it’s unlikely either party will be able to afford to remain. Couples can eventually grow to lament the loss of a large comfortable home full of memories, to be replaced by the anonymity of a flat. Then there is the collateral damage which can destroy other relationships, notably with children. As one commentator put it, they may learn far more about their parents’ relationship than children should ever know.

If life alone fails to turn out as expected then there is the over sixties dating market.   Unfortunately it seems to be full of divorcees rejected by their spouses, reduced to marketing themselves as interesting people who just happen to be available. Their presentational skills tend to be rather poorer than the lawyers who got them there in the first place. For example, those whose interests go as far as ‘nights in, days out’.

Often senior daters encounter the remnants of situations similar to the one they helped create. Anecdotal evidence is easy to find. For example, the woman who was (briefly) dating a man who had been so cleaned out by his divorce that he was reduced to living in a camper van. They would go out on dates in his ‘home’. Another was so desperate to get back his old life that by the third date he had taken over the kitchen of his new friends’ home, much to the dismay of her adult children. One demonstrated devotion (or desperation) by insisting on accompanying his date on shopping trips to the women’s wear floor of the local department store. Divorced males relate how a few dates can lead to a woman establishing a foothold by embarking on a cleaning frenzy around their homes.

A high profile divorce case has had the effect of illuminating a change in society which previously received little notice. Whilst there is plenty of advice available it should be treated with caution. Many of the sources have a vested interest. Failure to go beyond and consider wider, sometimes less quantifiable aspects, means those embarking on a late divorce might be walking out on more than they realise.

William Hartley is a former Deputy Governor in HM Prison Service 

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Tolkien’s Defence of Christendom

Edward Burne-Jones, The Beguiling of Merlin, credit Wikipedia

Tolkien’s Defence of Christendom

by Mark Wegierski

[This essay is based on a presentation co-authored with Wojciech Szymanski, M.A., which was read at the Fantastic Literature Conference 2016 (Religious Topics in Fantastic Literature) at the University of Lodz (Lodz, Poland), September 19-20, 2016.]

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) is widely regarded as the archetypal author of fantasy in the modern period, or what is called “high fantasy”. Some have said that Tolkien both inaugurated and closed out the high fantasy subgenre, since anything that follows him is bound to appear derivative. Over the years, there has been a wide-ranging debate on whether Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (originally published in three volumes in 1954-55) are “pagan” or “Christian” in spirit. The presence of the Elves and other fantastically imagined races, as well as the veneration of nature, are said to make these works more “pagan” – rather than rooted in Christian monotheism.

In real life, however, Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic. There have been a number of works tracing Tolkien’s Catholic inspiration for the so-called Middle Earth legendarium, or the Arda Mythos as it is sometimes called. Notable among these works is Craig Bernthal’s Tolkien’s Sacramental Vision: Discerning the Holy in Middle Earth (Second Spring Books, 2014). Given the psychological matrix of devout Catholicism from which Tolkien’s works sprang, it would hardly be surprising if his creative endeavours did not carry at least a tinge of Christian underpinnings.

To quote Bernthal:

One of Tolkien’s great appeals to readers is that he offers a world replete with meaning at every level. To read and reread Tolkien is to share his sense of wonder and holiness, to be invited into the presence of a “beauty beyond the circles of the world”. It is to fall in love with a universe that has a beginning and an end, where good and bad are not subjective choices, but objective realities; a created order full of grace, though damaged by sin, in which friendship is the seedbed of virtues, and where the greatest warriors finally become the greatest healers.

The vision enunciated by Tolkien could be termed “pre-modern”. It hearkens back to the idealized Middle Ages of Christendom, to a world – as Tolkien put it — of  “less noise and more green”.

Obviously, Tolkien’s works did not arise ex nihilo. There was a societal and cultural context out of which his works sprang. Tolkien was deeply shaped by pre-World War One Britain, a society where propriety and decorum and so-called civilized values were still upheld. That society was to be sorely tested by the Great War, in which Tolkien fought heroically. The original inspiration of the hobbits was said to be the ordinary British “Tommies” who were living in the trenches (“holes in the ground”). This elevation of hobbits representing so-called ordinary people rising to extraordinary heights of courage is one of the main themes of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

At the same time, Tolkien had a profound appreciation of the role of hereditary monarchy and aristocracy, which he saw as being increasingly under attack in Britain. The Elves were clearly “natural aristocrats”. Also, part of the vision of Tolkien as a Catholic living in the British Isles was a sense of tragedy. For centuries since the time of Henry VIII, Roman Catholics had faced varying degrees of persecution in the British Isles, especially under Oliver Cromwell. The fact that the Elves are increasingly harried and diminished throughout the unfolding of the Middle-Earth legendarium may be a reflection of this sense that Roman Catholicism was increasingly attenuated in the British Isles. Oliver Cromwell could be seen as a possible inspiration for the figure of Sauron. Indeed, as Lord Protector, he has been considered a precursor of the twentieth century dictators.

For certain Roman Catholics, the British Isles were under the occupation of a hostile, usurping dynasty, the Hanoverians. The yearning for the restoration of the Stuart dynasty was epitomized by the Jacobite Rising of 1745, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Edward Stuart). The romantic resonance of the historical desire for a Stuart restoration may play a part in an over-arching theme of kingship in The Lord of the Rings. The third volume, indicatively, is titled, The Return of the King. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a tension existed between the wish to be a “good Englishman”, on the one hand and the desire to be a “good Roman Catholic” on the other. The dynamic arising from the attempt to resolve this contradiction was one of the origins of the Arda mythos.

Tolkien’s works had certain precursors. Britain was the locus for the Arthurian legends and their literary renderings. Tolkien had read George Macdonald’s and William Morris’s fantasy works. He also had high respect for “Beowulf”, the great Old Anglo-Saxon poem. Another influence was the epic poem “The Ballad of the White Horse” (1911) by G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), portraying an idealized King Alfred. Much of Tolkien’s creativity was shaped by his interactions with the Inklings group, especially C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), whose own children’s fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia appeared in seven volumes between 1950-1956 – beginning with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Like many great classic works of dystopia, science fiction, or fantasy, Tolkien’s works are driven by the specific invented terms and languages used in them. The invention of language is a vital element of what Tolkien called the “subcreation” of a world, and Tolkien placed an enormous amount of effort into the construction of specific vocabularies. Nearly all of the special words appear in the ongoing flow of the text, without being italicized. Of course, these special languages are not created ex nihilo – they are based on languages formerly used in human societies. His most prominent invented language, two varieties of Elvish – Quenya and Sindarin, — were based on a combination of Latin, Old Norse, Old Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, and Finnish elements, to name just the most prominent influences. The relation of the Elvish languages to the Middle-Earth setting at the time of the War of the Ring is analogous to that of Latin to the various European cultures in more modern times.

Tolkien’s writing can be compared to the sword-and-sorcery subgenre, typified by Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories. While the latter can be considered a response to an over-regulated and over-bureaucratized world, it also contains an element of cheapness, vulgarity, and gracelessness, especially in the less salubrious examples of this subgenre. The contrast with Tolkien’s own writings could not be more striking.

Some have argued that Tolkien’s promulgation of a “warrior-ethic” is more pagan than Christian. One sees in these works a robust, stalwart fight against various enemies. Heroic resistance to one’s enemies is often said to be a pagan, not Christian trait. Indeed, the various denominations of Christianity today are often weak in facing their adversaries. They seem to be talking all the time about “forgiveness”, about “turning one’s cheek”, and so forth.

The key to understanding that these works of Tolkien as actually more Christian than pagan in spirit is that they refer to an earlier phase of Christian history, to the defence of Christendom. The notion of Christendom hearkens back to the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, when most Europeans lived within an over-arching religious-political-cultural complex that permeated their lives to an extent unimaginable today. Christendom was also something that had to be robustly defended. Over the course of close to 1,500 years, European history was punctuated by a series of great battles and sieges that held back various (mostly) Eastern adversaries. Here, one indeed finds a stalwart, robust resistance to various enemies. One can think of such decisive conflicts as Chalons (451 AD), Tours (732 AD), the Great Siege of Malta (1565), the sea-battle of Lepanto (1571), and the siege and battle of Vienna (1683). Much of this conflict was a struggle against the Ottoman Turks, who were deemed “the sempiternal enemy of Christendom”.

In British history, likewise, there were three conflicts that seemed to fit the template of “defending civilization”. First of all, there was the stand of the legendary King Arthur and what remained of Roman Britain, against the Saxon invaders. Secondly, there was the later resistance of the Anglo-Saxon King Alfred – the only English monarch surnamed “the Great” — against the Danish Vikings. And thirdly, there was the struggle of Irish King Brian Boru against the Vikings.

There is little doubt that Tolkien’s writing was meant to echo in many readers’ minds, several instances of the heroic resistance of “the men of the West” against various enemies. The defence of Christendom is evidently the conceptual template for the defence of what Tolkien, in these fictional works, calls “Westernesse”. The adversaries of Westernesse attack from the south and east, as was historically the case in Europe. Also, Tolkien names one of the southern powers, the Corsairs of Umbar – which obviously brings to mind the Barbary Coast Corsairs – that had plagued Mediterranean Europe for centuries. And he calls the tribes of men recruited by Sauron, the Southrons and the Easterlings.

In The Lord of the Rings, as in Europe’s historical battles for survival, the struggle, first against Morgoth, and, subsequently against Sauron, stretches across millennia, with many great battles and sieges. The struggle reaches a crescendo when Minas Tirith stands against the hordes of darkness. Both the historic and fictional struggles can be described as epic in scope.

The Middle Earth legendarium is ostensibly set in the dim prehistory of our current Earth. Tolkien claims to be working from some ancient manuscripts which have come into his possession. The time-frame of the works is thus said to be occurring before the period of historical Christianity. This allows the heroic resistance to evil to be portrayed without being explicitly tied to revealed religion.

Tolkien portrays hordes of monstrous, evil creatures (in addition to the tribes of men recruited by Sauron) on the march against the forces of good. This does not correspond to any “realworld” situation – as the greatest enemies of men have been other men. Perhaps Tolkien’s point is that human beings in themselves, living in their human societies, have a choice to become either more like the demonic orcs — or more like the angelic elves. This suggested typology of angelic elves/demonic orcs points to moral universalism – as all human beings can make a choice for good or evil.

In The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Tolkien offers a typology of resistance to evil that does not explicitly invoke revealed religion – but at the same time valorizes such virtues as heroism, loyalty, friendship, and modest romantic love. Thus, it opens up the possibility of making these virtues attractive to those persons in late modernity who have fallen away from revealed religion, as well as those who are still believers. The absence of revealed religion means that the works can appeal to all persons of goodwill, regardless of their religious beliefs, or lack thereof. When writing the works, Tolkien very consciously downplayed elements of fictive religions, especially in regard to the free peoples. In his later years, Tolkien became worried that the works could constitute something like a basis for a cult, which was certainly not his intention. In the 1970s, Tolkienian fantasy became the mainspring of fantasy role-playing games, typified by Dungeons and Dragons (released in 1974).

Another argument for the Christian, rather than pagan, nature of these works, is the figure of Boromir, in The Lord of the Rings. Boromir is the most obviously Nietzschean figure in the Fellowship of the Ring. He argues that the power of the Ring should be used to oppose all the enemies besetting the Free Peoples. His succumbing to the lure of the Ring could be read as a warning against the exercise of an unbridled “Will to Power”.

Whereas paganism mostly concerned itself with the thoughts, feelings, and actions of supposedly great men and women of high station, a respect for humble people has been identified as part of the intellectual heritage of Christianity. In historic Christendom, it was held that persons of all classes had a role to play in defending and upholding Christian society. Medieval morality-plays often featured a poor man going to Heaven, with the rich man who had held him in contempt, going to Hell. What Pope Francis has called the Church’s “preferential option for the poor” has been viewed by some cutting critics (notably Nietzsche), as nothing but a “slave morality”. Tolkien’s exaltation of the humble hobbits is clearly Christian in inspiration.

It appears that one of Tolkien’s goals in writing these works was to try to encourage a Christian-patriotic revival, in the face of various evils of the late modern world. Presumably, by reading his works, people would become aware that better, higher, and more noble things could be aspired to. Nevertheless, Tolkien had a capacious and imaginative mind. He welcomed various putatively positive tendencies, regardless of which part of the spectrum they came, exhibiting an affinity for elements of the 1960s counter culture. Indeed, one the greatest breakthroughs of the popularity of Tolkien’s works occurred among U.S. college students of the 1960s. This could be characterised as a convergence between “bohemian Toryism” and the hippies.

In 1978, the iconoclastic fantasy and science fiction writer, Michael Moorcock, published a cutting critique of Tolkien and similar fantasy writers, under the title “Epic Pooh”. He claimed that these works embraced a typology similar to A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories, meant to comfort rather than challenge. He considered it a literature of escapism which refuses to deal with the issues raised by the real world. However, Tolkien was certainly well aware of  “the crisis of late modernity”, and seemed in fact to want to offer a positive and healthy antidote to it.

While his work can certainly inspire ecological and cultural resistance to the more negative aspects of late modernity, it lacks the dimension of a nuanced critique when it comes to current-day technology, and its impacts on the human person and psyche. Such critiques are more properly the province of dystopian and science fiction subgenres like cyberpunk.

The political geography of Middle Earth, as noted above, is almost entirely that of historical Europe. The forces of freedom are centered in the west, while the invasions come from the south and the east. So, Tolkien could be accused of being “Eurocentric” and “too Christian”. However, these aspects of the works have not been a barrier to their diffusion and enjoyment around the world.

Sociologist Mark Wegierski is a science fiction and fantasy aficionado. He writes from Toronto

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The Elephant in the Room

BLM, credit Wikipedia

The Elephant in the Room

by Ilana Mercer

Prior to being shot in the head this week in a melee at a wild party, Sasha Johnson, of the British chapter of Black Lives Matter, had big plans for whites. Johnson had been “calling for a ‘racial offenders register’ that would see those guilty of ‘microaggressions’ banned from living in multicultural communities and prevented from working in certain industries.” “If you live in a majority-colored neighborhood you shouldn’t reside there because you’re a risk to those people – just like if a sex offender lived next to a school he would be a risk to those children,” she fulminated.

Johnson’s call for a “racial offenders register” for whites is a perfectly pragmatic application of the Critical Race Theory (CRT). And while this theory was made-in-America—it has, like many a destructive American creed, been energetically exported around the world. British agitators are certainly improving upon the plans hatched for whites by their brothers-in-arms stateside. To wit, Johnson once pinned a tweet to her profile which read, “The white man will not be our equal, but our slave. History is changing. No justice, no peace #BLM.” Believe Johnson and her ilk, for they are dead serious—and deadly.

Stateside, there have been attempts to outlaw the CRT poison percolating throughout American schools. Tennessee has led the way. Other states have introduced measures to ban or curb anti-white propagandizing by the nation’s eager pedagogues. Alas, the intellectual means of production remain firmly under the control of progressives. As part of the lucrative “racial-industrial-complex” (a Jack Kerwick coinage), CRT enjoys muscular advocates. Its adversaries, however, are weak and flaccid.

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ENDNOTES, June 2021

Edouard Frederic Wilhelm Richter, Scheherazade, credit Wikipedia

ENDNOTES, June 2021

In this edition: French song, from Chandos Records; RPO plays English music on BBC Radio 3, reviewed by STUART MILLSON

A sensuous musical delight from the balmy rural byways of France this time, courtesy of Chandos Records: an album entitled, Chère Nuit, in which the soprano, Louise Alder, joins pianist Joseph Middleton for an enchanting sequence of music from ‘La Belle Époque’.  The title of the collection – Chère Nuit – is taken from an 1897 song of the same name by Alfred Bachelet (1864-1944) – a subtle craftsman of music, but not a well-known figure. This five-minute piece, marked Molto tranquillo, evokes a dreamy, yet intense nocturnal atmosphere. More frivolous contributions come in the form of Satie’s Je te veux (again, a work dating from 1897); a fin de siècle version, perhaps, of Edith Piaf’s Je ne regrette rien. Satie sets the words of poet, Henry Pacory:

‘I have no regrets
And I have but one desire:
To live close to you, so close,
For the rest of my life,
… That your body may be mine
And that all my flesh be yours.’

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Virgil’s Aeneid

Virgil Reading from the Aeneid, painting by Ingres, credit Wikipedia

Virgil’s Aeneid

G.B. Conte (ed.), Publius Vergilius Maro: AENEIS, Editio altera, De Gruyter, 2019. Pp. IX-LI; 1-384, reviewed by Darrell Sutton

It is always a happy occasion when a critical text of a classical author is released. Much more opportune is the event when G.B. Conte places in the reader’s hands an original text that is accompanied by an expansive apparatus, one that makes it easier for students to form their own judgments. The first edition was reviewed at length. The changes made in this edition are for the better. This review is concerned rather with whether Aeneus’  adventures are set forth shrewdly in the unclouded horizons of a newly revised and edited text.

Virgil needs no introduction. The Aeneid is one of the great treasures of Western civilization. Herein the adventures of Aeneas are wonderfully told. Departing from Troy, he faces one obstacle after another before arriving in Italy. His enemies are gods and men. The poem’s originality is well known to readers of its Latin text. Conte knows Aeneas and his worlds.

In the Ad Lectorem (MMXIX) section, Conte reminds the reader of C.G. Heyne’s (1729-1812) remarks about the difficulty of Virgil’s texts (difficile est Virgilium…). Therefore a sound-minded guide is needed. We concur. He also says that errors were gradually introduced into the texts; but that not all of what has been transmitted is corrupted. He has respect for certain previous critics. Richard Bentley (1662-1742) and Emil Baehrens (1848-1888) provided emendations and are to be remembered. Continue reading

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Reign Check

Landscape in Scotland, by Gustave Doré

Reign Check

by Stuart Millson

The Scottish National Party won a majority of seats at May’s Holyrood elections, but Scots remain divided over the future of their country. There is a chance now to restore the fortunes of the United Kingdom with a new vision for Britain.

On the eve of May’s elections to the Scottish Parliament, the headline-writers for the Scottish edition of The Sun excelled themselves. With the SNP predicting a surge in its support – and with the former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, leading his own breakaway party (Salmond predicting a “super-majority” for secessionists at Holyrood), hubris was very much in the air, north of the border. The rainy Caledonian skies did nothing to dim the enthusiasm of the SNP’s seemingly unassailable leader, Nicola Sturgeon, who was photographed – with her SNP-branded umbrella – on the streets of Glasgow, greeting supporters. Yet, for the wits at The Sun, it was time for – a reign check: an opportunity for voters to think again about a ruling party in Scotland which, during the Holyrood enquiry into the recent and complicated Alex Salmond enquiry, did not entirely give the impression of complete openness; an opportunity to show the SNP inner circle and party faithful that, perhaps, not everybody in the country shared their single-minded desire to break away from the United Kingdom, in favour of “independence in Europe”. Continue reading

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The Writer’s First Commandment

The Writer’s First Commandment

by Ilana Mercer

“The proper aim of education [was] to make virtue habitual.”— Leonard Roy Frank, my friend & editor of Random House Webster’s Quotationary

In his 2004 foreword to my book Broad Sides, Peter Brimelow, the man who penned everything there is to say about America’s immigration disaster in 1996, wrote this:

“… somewhat to my surprise, it is actually quite rare for this most emotionally intense of columnists to draw on … personal experiences. What seems to motivate Ilana, ultimately, is ideas.”

In this tradition, on February 6, 2017, I wrote a column titled, “Are Liberals Turned-On By Turning The Other (Gluteus Maximus) Cheek?” In it, I expressed the kind of—dare I say?—outsized idea that has animated my writing for 21 years. To quote:

“The pale, liberal patriarchy is a pioneer in forever scrutinizing itself for signs of racism and deficits in empathy toward The Other, while readily accusing others like it of the same. It’s as though liberal men derive homo-erotic pleasure from bowing-and-scraping to assailants and ceding to racial claims-making.”

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The Emergence of Media: Humanity’s Endgame?

Paul Klee, Senecio, credit Wikipedia

The Emergence of Media: Humanity’s Endgame?

by Mark Wegierski

This writing is as an attempt — building on the insights of figures as intellectually diverse as Marshall McLuhan, the lesser-known media theorist Harold A. Innis, Canadian philosopher George Parkin Grant, Noam Chomsky, and Camille Paglia — to develop a “unified field theory” of the relations between media and society.

The effect on society of the emergence of electronic mass media (and their immediate precursors such as cinema) has been profoundly underestimated by most thinkers, or interpreted in trivial terms. One initial observation is that there are considerable differences between the mass media before the emergence of the Internet as a mass medium, and afterwards. The real birth of the Internet was in 1995, with the creation of the first websites which could be accessed by everyone who had a computer with an Internet connection. With ever-faster connections and ever-faster microcomputers (personal computers) the Internet spawned all kinds of new media developments that had never really been possible before, or had been prefigured only in some kind of fragmentary form. Thus, to look at the impact of the earlier media (mainly cinema, television, and the VCR) and then to try to examine the multifarious impacts of the post-1995 Internet, are largely separate questions. Continue reading

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Power Slave

Statue of John C. Calhoun, credit The Charleston Chronicle

Power Slave

Calhoun; American Heretic, Robert Elder, Basic Books, New York, 2021, hb, 640 pp. Leslie Jones reviews a masterful biography

Senator John C Calhoun, that tireless and intrepid champion of slavery, was born in South Carolina in 1782. His father, a wealthy surveyor and slaveowner, hailed originally from Northern Ireland but emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1733. Concerning Calhoun’s Scots-Irish ancestry, author Robert Elder observes that in Ireland, Scottish Presbyterians like Calhoun’s grandfather had to pay a tithe to the established Anglican church but were barred from holding office by the Test Act of 1704. Their second class status made them receptive to the notion that a people had a right to resist, even to change their government, as maintained by sometime Scottish Presbyterian minister Francis Hutcheson, in his Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy (1747). By extension, citizens of a colony, such as those of North America, had the right to separate from the mother country if they felt oppressed. Calhoun had evidently imbibed his father’s anti-British and libertarian sentiments. That government was best, according to Patrick Calhoun, “…which allowed the largest amount of individual liberty compatible with social order and tranquillity”.[i]

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