Current Affairs and Comment
“Implicit racism” as a “medical condition”
K R Bolton condemns the conflation of politics with psychiatry
There has been a general trend in academia for several generations to de-legitimise views that are contrary to the dominant liberal foundations of post-1945 Western society. A primary aim of this movement is to portray illiberal views as mentally questionable. It is part of a political agenda masquerading as objective scholarship, and has aims akin to the use of psychiatry as a political weapon in the USSR. This paper briefly considers the implications of a new study that suggests that ‘racism’ is a treatable medical condition.
The portrayal of one’s political opponents as ‘insane’ and in need of psychiatric treatment was used to wide effect in the USSR. It served to both discredit the targeted subject and generally place whatever political views he had as being beyond the pale of normal society; perhaps as even ‘dangerous’. It was not until 1971 when the psychiatric reports of six Soviets dissidents were smuggled to the West that it was concluded that there was a “gross abuse of professional practice in the USSR”. This had begun in the 1930s when ‘political patients’ (sic) were committed to a psychiatric hospital in Kazan. The scenario that was maintained in the USSR for decades was that a dissident would be arrested for “anti-Soviet activities,” examined by a psychiatric commission, “and found to be insane and not responsible. This eliminated the need for a trial”.  Professors Block and Reddaway wrote:
“The authorities’ goal is to ensure future conformism and compliance. In addition, to label the ideas of a dissenter as a manifestation of madness is an easy and convenient way of discrediting the group he represents. How could any normal person agree with such nonsense when even the dissenter himself, after a little medical acutance, sees that he had propagated pure fantasy?” 
Block and Reddaway explained that in 1950 at a meeting of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Professor Andrei Snezhnevsky founded a new school of psychiatry in which schizophrenia came to be the diagnosis most commonly applied to dissenters, as well as ‘paranoid personality disorder’. Dissent was viewed as a ‘symptom of several mental illnesses’.
However, the Soviets’ Western counterparts in the social sciences have been no less zealous in establishing the limitations on what is a ‘normal’ political opinion and what is to be de-legitimatized as ‘personality disorder’. For this purpose the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory was enlisted. This had been established in Weimar Germany, and it exponents had then moved en masse to the USA under the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Foundation, where it was re-established as the Institute of Social Research, in New York City, with the help of Columbia University. In Germany the Marxian-Freudian synthesis of revolution and sexology had not been well-received by the orthodox Communists, but it received a ready welcome in the USA where the Frankfurt School became a major influence in the social sciences, much like Franz Boas, et al in cultural and social anthropology. A team headed by Theodor Adorno produced the seminal study, The Authoritarian Personality. The purpose was to prove that those possessing what had traditionally been normal social and moral values were latent fascists afflicted with personality disorder. In particular, ‘fascist’ personality traits emerged within the traditional patriarchal family. Survey questions used to determine the level of one’s authoritarian personality disorder included the degree to which one feels affection and gratitude towards parents, a concern at moral decline, a belief that the arts should be uplifting rather than sordid, and that sex criminals deserve particularly sever punishment. If you tick the boxes on such questions then you are mentally troubled, having an ‘authoritarian personality’, and therefore latently ‘fascist’, according to an ‘F’ (for “Fascist”) scale.
In the Shadow of Critical Theorists & Soviet Psychiatrists
The use of psychiatry to maintain the domination of liberal ideology continues. The study that has been media-hyped to suggest recognition of racial differences is related to abnormal cerebral activity is the by-product of a study on the heart drug Propranolol, which is claimed might ‘cure’ racial bias. An Associated Press report states:
Experimental psychologist Dr Sylvia Terbeck, from Oxford University, who led the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, said: “Our results offer new evidence about the processes in the brain that shape implicit racial bias. Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality. Given the key role that such implicit attitudes appear to play in discrimination against other ethnic groups, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings are also of considerable ethical interest”.
Two groups of 18 participants took part in the study. Each volunteer was asked to undertake a ‘racial Implicit Association Test’ (IAT) one to two hours after taking propranolol or the placebo.
The test involved categorising positive and negative words, and pictures of black and white individuals, on a computer screen. More than a third of the volunteers had a ‘negative’ IAT score, meaning they were biased towards being non-racist at a subconscious level. This was not seen in any member of the placebo group.
Co-author Professor Julian Savulescu, from Oxford University’s Faculty of Philosophy, stated: “Such research raises the tantalising possibility that our unconscious racial attitudes could be modulated using drugs, a possibility that requires careful ethical analysis…”
Sylvia Terbeck et al seem no less enthusiastic about the possible applications of their findings than the news media that reported the findings. They state that “negative evaluations of minority groups’ are of particular importance in today’s increasingly cosmopolitan world”  Despite the judicial and socio-moral taboos against what the paper calls “automatic negative attitudes associated with out-group members”, these responses remain “a live and a potent influence”. “Automatic negative attitudes” are in common parlance known as instincts. While the instinctual might be repressed by laws, guillotines or bullets, sociobiolgists, ethologists, or analytical psychologists might contend that the unconscious drives that have evolved over millennia when repressed could result in greater perils.
The authors of the study used tests to uncover implicit attitudes as distinct from explicit. Explicit attitudes are easily suppressed, but the implicit are intrinsically more subtle. Hence, even the most liberal of subjects can be found to be afflicted with ‘implicit’ bias towards an ‘out-group’. Terbeck et al proceed from studies indicating that race bias or, as it is termed, bias towards ‘ out-groups’, has a measurable physiological reaction. Studies are cited that show increased amygdala activity when a white subject viewed faces of unknown black people. This increased amygdala activity has been correlated with the scores for the implicit association test (IAT) measuring unconscious ‘out-group’ bias:
“In the present study, therefore we employed propranolol to test the hypothesis that emotional responses influenced by noradrenergic transmission play a mediating role in implicit but not in explicit forms of prejudice”.
The conclusion was that “propranolol significantly reduced implicit but not explicit racial bias. This supports our hypothesis that noradrenaline-mediated emotional responses play a role in the generation of implicit negative racial attitudes, and supports prior theorising suggesting a greater affective component in implicit attitudes”.
Apart from hyper-tension and other heart-related problems, this genre of medication is used to alleviate social anxiety, and general tension, symptoms of stage fright, tremor, nervousness, and fear. “Propranolol inhibits the actions of norepinephrine as a neurotrasmitter that enhances memory consolidation, modifying behavioral responses to past experiences. Norepinephrine has been described as an essential modulator of memory through its ability to regulate synaptic mechanisms… Emotional arousal leads to activation of the locus coeruleus with the subsequent release of norepineprine in the brain, resulting in the enhancement of memory’, caused by changes in synaptic strength”.
What one might note here is that the medication actually inhibits normal responses from the unconscious: that of acting on experience, and one moreover that would be an important survival mechanism. What elements of the news media and academia seem therefore to be enthusiastically applauding is the potential to repress through medication normative responses to external stimuli that are an innate part of the unconscious as it has evolved through millennia.
Another aspect of the study is that only whites were tested. It is thereby implied that only whites are regarded as having negative implicit responses to racial differences. However, the tests are biased both in subject choices and in analysis, based on a preconceived dogma regarding the undesirability of reflex responses to external stimuli that are the result of unconscious survival mechanisms, akin to our unconscious suspicion of snakes, for example. The analysis and study was conducted on what seems to be an assumption that whites are racially bigoted, and that this is a reflection of abnormal mental processes, rather than considering the possibility of deeper evolutionary factors that are now regarded as abhorrent on the assumptions of certain ideologies.
The extension of the conclusions can be easily made in regard to attitudes on immigration, multiculturalism, and other government policies. One might arrive back at the same rationale as that used by Soviet psychiatry towards dissidents, and the conclusions of Adorno et al. Normative reactions – the result of millennia of social, cultural and biological evolution – are identified as mental disorders that require eradication. Behavioural modifications have in the past been treated with electro-shock therapy and some quite horrendous mental institutions such as that established with Central Intelligence Agency backing to experiment on behaviour modifications. Now it seems the groundwork is being laid for the possibility of medicating those who are regarded as having socially unacceptable views.
Mass medication against ‘racism’?
Will such ideologically motivated assumptions differentiate between a ‘skinhead’ convicted of beating an immigrant and of scientists who continue to insist that ‘race’ has a biological basis and that there might be substantial innate differences between races in several important areas?
If such a scenario is regarded as being improbable one might consider the recent treatment meted out to Dr. James Watson after he commented that black Africans on average have a lower intelligence quotient than whites. He was quoted as being “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really”. An immediate reaction was the cancelling of Watson’s popular lecture at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre, on the basis that the “comments were beyond acceptable debate”. Professor Steven Rose of the Open University, a founder member of the Society for Social Responsibility in Science, commented that such ‘racist’ attitudes were ‘genetic nonsense’, and that Watson “should recognise that statements of this sort have racist functions and are to be deeply …regretted. Making statements of that sort is certainly a great day for the British National Party but it’s a sad day for scientists and racial harmony”.
Rose et al confound a scientific opinion with a political agenda. Social policy should be predicated on reality as far as it is determined at any given time. It is the place of scientists to offer the facts; that of politicians to consider those facts in relations to social policy. One might perceive in the dogmatic reactions to Watson that some subjects are beyond acceptable debate. Similarly, when ‘Antifa’ mobs invaded the lecture room of Professor Arthur Jensen, that was not scholarship, it was political agitation. The outraged comments by Rose and others reinforce the suggestion that ‘Caucasian racism’ is a type of cerebral dysfunction that might be eliminated by medication. Could Watson, and indeed a large number of other scientists whose analyses run counter to egalitarian suppositions, therefore become candidates for medicinal behaviour modification?
Terbeck et al do not refrain from suggesting that propranolol could indeed be used to medicate those who are afflicted with implicit ‘out-group’ prejudice so as to ensure conformity in the ‘increasingly cosmopolitan’ world:
“Given the important role that implicit attitudes appear to play in overt forms of discrimination against out-group members, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings might also be of practical interest, and require careful ethical consideration”.
Further research is required to see if “sustained propranolol treatment” could effect what amounts to permanent behaviour modification.
An ironic aside is that Terbeck et al cite the Manual of the Eysenck Personal Inventory among their references.  Hans J. Esyenck, one of the most significant psychologists of our time was, like Jensen and Watson, pilloried as a ‘racist’ for his views on race and inherited intelligence. Might he also have been a potential subject for treatment with propranolol to cure his ‘implicit’ racism?
K R Bolton is a Fellow of the ‘World Institute for Scientific Exploration’. He is a contributing writer for Foreign Policy Journal. His articles have been published in the Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies; Geopolitica (Moscow State University); India Quarterly; International Journal of Russian Studies; International Journal of Social Economics; Instanbul Literary Review; Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies (Trinity College), etc. His books include: Babel Inc.; Perón and Peronism; The Psychotic Left; Artists of the Right; Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific; The Parihaka Cult; Revolution from Above; The Banking Swindle
 Sidney Blocak and Peter Reddaway, ‘Your disease is dissent’, New Scientist, 21 July 1977, 149. See: K. R. Bolton, ‘Sex Pol Ideology: The Influence of the Freudian-Marxian Synthesis on Politics and Society’, Journal of Social, Political & Economic Studies, Vol. 35, No. 3, Fall 2010
 T. W. Adorno, E. Frenkel-Brunswick, D. J. Levinson and R N Sanford, The Authoritarian Personality (New York: Harper & Bros., 1950)
 K. R. Bolton, op. cit., 331
 Ibid., 332
 ‘Heart disease drug combats racism’, The Telegraph, London, March 7, 2012; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9128888/Heart-disease-drug-combats-racism.html (accessed April 5, 2015)
 Sylvia Terbeck, Guy Kahane, Sarah McTavish, Julian Savulescu, Philip J. Cowen, Miles Hewstone, ‘ Propranolol reduces implicit negative racial bias’, Psychopharmacology, February 2012, 419
 Arthur Keith, The Place of Prejudice in Modern Civilisation, Aberdeen University rectoral address, 1930. A. James Gregor, ‘On the Nature of Prejudice’, The Eugenics Review, Vol. 52, No. 4, January 1961
 Terbeck, et al, op. cit., 420
 Ibid, 422
 James A. Bourgeois MD, ‘The Management of Performance Anxiety’, Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 19, issue 2 (1991), 17, 21, 23
 Keith Tully and Vadim Y Bolshakov, ‘Emotional enhancement of memory: how norepinephrine enables synaptic plasticity’, Molecular Brain, May 13, 2010; http://www.molecularbrain.com/content/3/1/15 (accessed April 14, 2015).
 Gordon Thomas, Journey into madness: medical torture and the mind controllers (London: Bantam Books, 1988)
 Stephen Adams, ‘Nobel scientist snubbed after racism claims’, The Daily Telegraph, London, October 17, 2007
 An obituary comments: ‘His assertions, which came amid the social and political turmoil of the late 1960s, stirred critics to call him a racist. His lectures were disrupted by angry mobs, bomb squads handled his mail and irate colleagues mounted a campaign to formally censure him’. ‘Arthur Jensen dies at 89; his views on race and IQ created a furor’, Los Angeles Times, 2 November 2012
 Terbeck, et al, 424
Living in the shadow of fascism
Mark Wegierski considers the ideological consequences of the Second World War
Seventy years after its end, World War II continues to shape the world. One of its main ideological results was the general discrediting of Western traditionalism and the delegitimizing of the possibilities of a “democratic Right” — or of a “social conservatism of the Left” — that is to say, various possible symbioses of traditionalism and liberal democracy.
Although it may seem quite remote from many persons (especially young people) today, we are in fact living in the shadow of the anti-traditionalist consequences of the Second World War. Recoiling from the horrors of Nazism, an evil ideology that was buried in the rubble of Berlin, Western countries such as Canada have reacted viscerally against anything that smacks of “right-wing” or “traditional” notions (albeit often misconceived and caricatured) with the result that an almost continual, uninterrupted, unremitting left-liberal surge has overtaken those societies.
Indeed, countries such as Canada today are on the “cutting edge” of late modernity. Canada is increasingly becoming a nation without history, or historical memory. Lacking a context or mooring in a richly textured sense of history, most Canadians today are cast adrift on an ever-thinning, improvisational present moment, driven by consumerism, pop-culture, and a few “politically correct” clichés about the past.
As a person of Polish descent who has studied history extensively, the author hopefully has a certain insight into totalitarianism – whether of the Nazi, Soviet, or politically-correct left-liberal variety. Although the latter is ostensibly non-violent and does not produce mounds of corpses – it is extremely thoroughgoing in the upholding and imposition of its ideas, as well as being what its critics would call “soul-killing”. And some would indeed cite the vast number of abortions in current-day Western societies as suggestive of actual mass-killing. As J.R.R. Tolkien has acutely observed — “evil always takes on another shape and grows again.”
The new evil was not only the manifest cruelty of the Soviet empire, to which East-Central Europe had been notoriously betrayed, but also a rising miasma of trends and tendencies that would eventually drive most Western countries into a socially disintegrative mode. Three major prophets of this new mode were Dr. Kinsey (who — according to perceptive critics like Judith Reisman — manifestly misrepresented the reality of sexual behavior in an attempt to create the very tendencies he purported to describe); Dr. Spock (who introduced highly distempering errors into the understanding of how to raise children); and Dr Timothy Leary (the Sixties’ guru and “youth drug culture” advocate).
Although many European patriots, conservatives, and traditionalists had fiercely opposed Nazi Germany, as of 1945, the entire “right-wing option” stood discredited in the eyes of the broad masses of most Western countries. In today’s world, those who continue to hold the ideals of such World War II heroes as Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, or Wladyslaw Sikorski (the preeminent leader of the Polish Government-in-Exile and Commander-in-Chief of the Polish armed forces in the West) are often considered retrograde reactionaries.
It is possible to see the respective histories of a country like Poland since September 1939 (the beginning of an ongoing calamity for that nation whose consequences continue even to this day) and Canada since the 1960s as being tragic in the case of Poland and tinged with tragedy in the case of Canada — owing in both cases to forces, which although apparently dissimilar, often end up being quite alike in their disdain for living, breathing, actual societies and peoples.
Many Western countries such as Canada – under the direction of their “politically-correct” elites (or pseudo-elites) — appear to have lost their confidence and their belief in them selves. They have embraced low birthrates, and high immigration policies, which, when coupled with the refusal to exert meaningful assimilatory pressures on the new immigrants, may indeed render these countries long term future increasingly problematic. What may be particularly troubling is the unidirectional nature of developments such as social liberalism, multiculturalism, and high immigration, all of which tend in one direction, i.e., towards the ever-increasing subversion of traditional society.
Indeed, it did not take too long for the Left’s “long march through the institutions” to get underway. During one year at the alleged height of “McCarthyism” in the United States, a young William F. Buckley, Jr. went around talking to thousands of professors in the social sciences and humanities at prestigious U.S. universities. Only two or three actually admitted to being “conservative” and that was at the height of the “reactionary Fifties”! What may be concluded from this is that, in almost every sector of society, left-liberalism has been winning one spectacular victory after another, rapidly pushing further and further into all areas of social terrain. Authentic traditionalist conservatism in the U.S., but especially so in Canada, has, despite some apparent electoral successes, been run ragged for at least the last quarter century. As to the outlook for some parts of Western Europe, it is evidently dystopic indeed.
The only exception to this appears to be the economic sector. However, it should be understood that, with their manifest social prevalence in educational, academic, media, cultural, judicial, and administrative sectors, especially in Canada, left-liberals can well allow the existence of a large, dynamic private sector that functions to efficiently produce the economic goods that they want to give to themselves and to their client-groups. There is also a major difference between social conservatism (emphasizing family, nation, local communities, and traditional religion), and fiscal/economic conservatism. If one looks closely enough, one can see that fiscal/economic conservatism alone can, in fact, coexist with varieties of left-liberalism (as typified by the many technocrats in the Canadian Liberal Party today). And, while the Canadian Liberal Party held the federal government for many decades of the Twentieth Century, it embraced, for most of that time, what could be called a “traditionalist-centrist” consensus. So-called “right-wing Liberals” (such as John Turner, who invoked residues of a more substantive Canadian patriotism in his resistance to the Canada – U.S. Free Trade deal), as well as “social conservative” Liberals, had fragmentarily persisted into the later decades of the Twentieth Century. However, by today, it is manifestly clear that such residual tendencies in the Canadian Liberal Party are being driven out, especially social conservatism.
It may also be noted that such parties as the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (the predecessor to today’s ultra-politically-correct New Democratic Party in Canada) were social democratic in economics, but mostly socially conservative on issues of family, nation, and religion. Some of these residues may be considered to have persisted in the NDP’s criticisms of globalization, and their stated concern for “average, ordinary Canadians”.
As for today’s Conservative Party, it in fact appears to have embraced fiscal/economic conservatism as virtually the sole “permissible” manifestation of conservatism. The leadership of the party has been running away from any overt manifestations of social conservatism.
We have come to a social environment in Canada today where any more substantive notions of traditionalism and conservatism, have been purged with particular thoroughness from the academic world – as well as from the education system and from most of the news media, and from both high- and pop-culture. And, for a number of decades now, it could be perceived that the Canadian administrative and juridical structures have been deployed mostly on behalf of left-liberalism. The result of this is that conservative and traditionalist ideas, especially those embracing a more substantive patriotism, are usually only inchoately expressed, in an untutored fashion, by some of the general populace, and so can be easily subjected to pejorative scorn and discredited.
The question that now faces Canada is sharp. Is it going to be “politics-as-usual”, a continuing slide in the direction the country has been going for at least the last thirty years, or will there be a belated attempt to generate some real countervailing tendencies – such as an attempt to tame the excesses of multiculturalism and of social and cultural anomie? It is possible that an uninterrupted continuation of the slide will result, in the next twenty to forty years (a mere sliver of time in terms of world-history), in the almost-inevitable social and cultural dissolution of Canada.
MARK WEGIERSKI is a Toronto-based writer and historical researcher
Marx out of ten?
On May Day, Mark Wegierski wonders what remains of value in Marxist thought
Karl Marx and his intellectual collaborator and patron Friedrich Engels established a heritage of thought which is said today to be nearly-universally discredited, yet which has both today and historically also attracted a surprising variety of supporters and defenders, across virtually the entire spectrum of left, right, and centre.
The Marxian tradition is evidently more multivalent than its identification with the former East Bloc system, nominally called “Communist” — suggests. Marx might well have had some serious disagreements with the current-day Left – and most certainly with the current-day left-liberal establishment.
This essay endeavors to avoid either the simplistic condemnation of Marx common among some anti-Communists, as well as the panegyrics which had been de rigueur in the former Eastern Bloc — which, along with the various depredations of the system — have today reduced Marx’s intellectual cachet far more in East-Central Europe than in the United States, Canada, and Western European societies that never experienced the “worker’s paradise.”
There are a number of interpretations of Marx’s thought which may be termed “mainline” — and a number which may be termed “dissident.” Intellectually-speaking, Marx brought a certain zest into political philosophy, as well as a sharp style of writing that tries to tenaciously “get at” what certain political and philosophical pronouncements “actually say.” He may indeed be characterized as one of the modern “masters of suspicion.”
He combined in what was — at that time — a new, interesting way — philosophical thinking, the claim of being scientific, and what should accurately be called “ideology” or “polemics.” Some of the “mainline” aspects of Marx’s thought include his central concept of desire for human liberation, the ferocious condemning of economic inequality, and a doctrinaire atheism, materialism, and hatred of traditional religion. Indicatively, Marx’s chosen motto for his doctoral thesis was the quote from Shelley’s Prometheus – “Above all, I hate all the gods.”
However, Lenin’s elaboration of Marx’s “dictatorship of the proletariat” seems to have been little more than a carte blanche for the exercise of power of a narrow ruling group that was supposed to be putting Marx’s egalitarian dreams into reality. To borrow the Marxian terminology, the “ideological superstructure” of the promise of the Communist utopia at the end of the road — where the state would famously “wither away” — was utterly unreflective of the reality of the brutal, coercive, totalitarian “base.” The fact that Soviet Marxism-Leninism and Maoism arose in so-called “backward” societies like Russia and China suggest that they had more in common with what Marx had disparagingly termed “the Oriental mode of production” — rather than “scientific socialism.” The depredations of the North Korean, North Vietnamese, and Pol Pot regimes are well-known today. The reception of Marxism in Africa also led to massacres, and usually intensified the underlying problems of those societies. In Latin American societies, Marxism appeared to have acquired an almost romantic mystique, as typified by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.
The reception of Marxism in America, Canada, and Western European countries was somewhat different from that in Russia — in the former societies, it seemed to truly have vast intellectual cachet and was apparently based on the appeal to “liberation” and “humane values.” The “liberation” aspects — especially in regard to the so-called Sexual Revolution — were given a huge play in the 1960s and post-1960s period, whereas over several decades of the Twentieth Century many people believed that what was somewhat imprecisely called Communism was simply about ensuring a decent life for the laboring masses. The fact that the imposition of Soviet Communism on Russia and especially on the East-Central European countries during World War II and its aftermath proceeded by means of mass slaughter and massive repression and indoctrination was generally ignored.
Paradoxically the highly-disciplined Marx-inspired parties and movements were admired by the far right in various European countries, especially France and Germany. Whereas ultra-traditionalists such as Oswald Spengler looked to the socialist parties as vehicles for conservative social restoration, the German Nazis (National Socialists) identified with the harsh, totalitarian as well as anti-Jewish and anti-Polish aspects of the Soviet Communist regime. It should be remembered that between August 1939 to June 1941, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were close allies, united by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The admiration of the Nazis for the Soviet regime was, of course, for mostly different reasons than those of the legions of Western liberal “pilgrims” who genuflected before Stalin because they perceived Soviet Communism as the “progressive” utopia.
Among the more fruitful re-interpretations of Marxism were those carried out by the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Horkheimer, et al.). The Frankfurt School has now become a curiously bivalent tradition, which has inspired some of the most serious critics of what is considered the current-day “managerial-therapeutic regime” (such as Paul Piccone, the late editor of the New York-based scholarly journal, Telos) — as well as providing one of the strongest buttresses of that system, i.e., the theory of “the authoritarian personality.” The psychological critique of “personality” at its most pointed considers “authoritarian” political identifications a form of mental illness to be eradicated by mass conditioning, and, if it is discovered in an individual, to be “cured” by semi-coercive “therapy.” However, the Frankfurt School’s deep-level critique of consumerist, consumptionist society — which could be seen as one of their main contributions to intellectual inquiry — is clearly evocative of traditionalist cultural conservatism.
Another fruitful re-interpretation of Marx’s thought can be seen among the so-called “social conservatives of the Left” — such as William Morris, Jack London, George Orwell and Christopher Lasch. In the age of the pre-totalitarian and pre-politically-correct Left, John Ruskin, a nineteenth-century aesthetic and cultural critic, could say, “I am a Tory of the sternest sort, a socialist, a communist.” However, these figures could probably be placed more in the ambit of “utopian socialism”, “guild-socialism”, or “feudal socialism” — tendencies which were polemically condemned in Marx and Engel’s The Communist Manifesto.
Another interesting off-shoot of Marx’s thought is the Syndicalist system represented by Georges Sorel, as well as by varieties of Anarchist ideas. The Papal encyclical De Rerum Novarum certainly was a reaction to Marx’s thought — and so-called “Catholic social teaching” tried to embrace what were seen as the positive aspects of Marx’s critique of capitalism and of extreme social inequality, while avoiding its iconoclastic radicalism and potential for abuse by power-hungry ideologues. G. K. Chesterton’s Distributism and C. H. Douglas’ theory of Social Credit were two further attempts to maintain the rights of decent small-property holders and workers against the depredations of monopoly finance-capital, without recourse to violent dictatorship.
Given the apparent irrelevance of “classical Marxism” by the 1960s — especially in regard to such areas as its underdeveloped theories of psychology, art, religion, and literature, and its thin materialism — there arose varieties of “neo-Marxism.” The presence of “neo-Marxism” allowed for the countering of the more common criticisms of earlier Marxist thought, which were now simply categorized as describing a “vulgar Marxism” that the new Marxist theorists did not themselves hold. In the attempt to “rescue” a more subtle Marx, great attention was paid to Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 – which were fully published in English only in 1959.
There were also, among the leading innovations of neo-Marxism — especially in the thought of Frantz Fanon and Herbert Marcuse – the embrace of social outcasts, racial and sexual minorities, and the Third World, in the face of what were characterized as the “embourgeoified” white working classes. What classical Marxism had disparagingly termed the “lumpenproletariat” now became to a large extent the focus of revolutionary energies for the neo-Marxist theorists.
Also important for neo-Marxism was Antonio Gramsci, whose claim to fame was the idea — in contrast to classical Marxism — that the “ideological superstructure” would actually bring into being the social and economic facts of “the base” — hence the need for “an intellectual war of position” and “the march through the institutions” in order “to capture the culture.” The existence of, and need to engage in, “cultural warfare” — can be seen as an idea with great cachet in virtually every part of today’s political spectrum. Indeed, it is arguable that what was actually happening in the 1960s in America was the creation by the now-deracinated haute-bourgeoisie of new ideological structures that would allow it to re-establish its dominance over the working majority. The triumph of the working majority in America — when a factory-worker was able, by his own labor, to earn enough to support his wife and family — was to be short-lived.
These new ideologies combined counter-cultural lifestyles, mass media saturation, juridical and administrative social engineering, consumerism, and corporate capitalism, which led to ensuring again the hegemony of a narrow ruling group. Policies such as mass, dissimilar immigration and (what is now called) outsourcing were driven by the impulse to strengthen the consumerist-capitalist system — a system which was, of course, much different from nineteenth-century bourgeois capitalism.
Conversely, Paul Edward Gottfried, a leading American paleoconservative theorist, has argued that the Communists in the Soviet Union and East-Central Europe, as well as Communist party members in Western Europe, were, to a large extent, socially-conservative. Indeed, the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) (as the Communist party was formally called in Poland) after 1956 had certain nationalist elements. It may be remembered that the quasi-“Trotskyite” opposition to the PZPR in the 1960s, characterized the PZPR as “too nationalist”, “too traditionalist” and “too conservative” — in fact, they openly called it “fascist.” Indeed, it could be argued that the main thrust of the Mensheviks, Trotsky and his disciples, and such figures as Rosa Luxembourg has been to be more consistently anti-nationalist, anti-traditionalist, and anti-conservative than “mainline” Communism.
Gottfried’s central argument is that, as the Communist and former Communist Parties in Western and East-Central Europe mostly embraced capitalism, consumerism, multiculturalism, and anti-national high immigration policies, they objectively became less, not more “conservative”. The East-Central European Communist Parties’ embrace of capitalism also appears to have been characterized by the phenomenon of what is called “the empropertyment of the former nomenklatura” (in Polish: uwlaszczenie nomenklatury) – which was mainly achieved through the sell-out of state industries to former Communist party insiders and foreign companies at ridiculously low prices. So the former Communist party insiders have in many cases become fabulously wealthy, capitalist bosses.
It had also been suggested in the 1970s and 1980s that the Soviet and Eastern European Communist regimes — with their “ruling Party caste” (nomenklatura) were ripe for a “true Communist revolution.” Indeed, in many Western countries — though probably to a lesser extent in Poland — much of the rhetorical appeal of the Solidarity independent trade-union movement (which was said to be truly representing the Polish working class) was based on echoes of Marxist thought.
However, what can be said of the situation today, when the economic “shock-therapy” which supposedly represents capitalism, has bitten hard, especially in Poland? The contrasts of wealth and poverty in Poland have arguably increased beyond anything seen during the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL). It could be rhetorically asked, is now actually the time for a “true Communist revolution” in Poland?
It could be maintained that Marxism, like most ideological systems, conveys a partial truth. In the nineteenth century, who could in good conscience support the exploitation of decent working people by various luxuriously-living overlords? Serious and reflective traditionalist thought had always been opposed to the cruel impositions of various iniquities. The arising of the labor movement in the nineteenth century was precisely what was needed to counter the monstrous power of capital.
In the minds of many Western liberals, Communism became associated with “decent values.” As the recently caught elderly British woman-spy said of the Soviet Communists, “They only wanted to give medicine and food to their people.” Obviously, what has happened is that the idealism of nineteenth-century workers’ protests has been grotesquely transferred to Stalin’s regime.
Interestingly enough, the Western apologists for the Soviet Union were virtually at their apogee precisely during what was later called the Stalinist period. It appears that when the Soviet Union was at its most “utopian” — and claiming to create “a new human life” — support for it was the strongest among Western intellectuals. After it had become more authoritarian (for example, under Brezhnev) rather than totalitarian — it no longer excited the same degree of enthusiasm among Western intellectuals. One does see today, however, a return to aggressive defenses of Soviet Communism — and even of Stalin — among some Western Marxist intellectuals.
In the twentieth century, Western societies have moved through various wrenching social revolutions and transformations — whose radical nature is not always apparent to observers. In today’s consumerist, consumptionist society in America and Canada, the labor struggle is usually seen as part of a broader, left-liberal coalition of rich liberals and “recognized minority leaderships.” Traditionalists and members of the so-called “disaligned Left” such as Christopher Lasch would be hoping for a renewed labor struggle that could be detached from doctrinaire left-liberalism — and from its putative acceptance of the ruling structures of the current-day managerial-therapeutic regime.
If one is looking for what is good in Marx-inspired thought, there is clearly the aspect of social protest against exploitation. There is also the notion of comradely struggle for a better world. At the same time, persons struggling against injustice should be careful to properly identify what true injustice and victimization actually consist of, and to avoid falling into the trap of excessively-ranging ressentiment. For example, before the 1960s, the social democrats in most Western countries (such as the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation party in Canada), while ferociously fighting for equality and the betterment of the working majority, accepted most elements of traditional nation, family, and religion as simply a part of pre-political existence, which they had no desire to challenge. They were thus economically socialist, but socially conservative. The causes which animate much of today’s Left (such as multiculturalism, feminism, gay rights, and cultural antinomianism) would have alienated many of them. There is clearly something inappropriate happening when a wealthy, privileged, left-liberal arrogantly condemns a decent, careworn, working man for the latter’s supposed racism, sexism, or homophobia.
In conclusion, in today’s world, when capitalism, as exemplified by globalization, is so overwhelmingly international (or transnational) and anti-traditional, the more independent-minded and less-politically-correct Left should be re-examining the importance of nations, nationalism, and nationhood as well as various traditionalisms, as part of the possible resistance to the incipient hypermodern dystopia.
MARK WEGIERSKI is a researcher and writer based in Toronto
Gaddafi has the last laugh
Ilana Mercer meditates on unintended consequences
When they destabilized Libya and overthrew strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 the U.S. and its Canadian and European allies unleashed a series of events that accounts for the steady flood into Europe of migrants from North Africa. There are, reportedly, “up to 1 million” poor, uneducated, possibly illiterate, predominantly male, and by necessity violence-prone individuals, poised to board rickety freighters in the Libyan ports of Tripoli and Zuwarah, and make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, to southern Italy. The 900 migrants who perished off the coast of Libya when their vessel capsized embarked in Zuwara.
Zuwara has always been “famous for people smuggling,” notes Richard Spencer, Middle East editor of The Telegraph. “The modern story of Zuwara and its trade in people,” says Spencer, whose newspaper has documented the genesis of the exodus well before the U.S. press awoke to it, “was a key part of the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s relationship with the European Union.”
The “indigenous, pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa,” Berbers, as they are known in the West, have long since had a hand in human trafficking. As part of an agreement he made with Silvio Berlusconi’s government, “Col. Gaddafi had agreed to crack down on the trade in people.” For prior to the dissolution of Libya at the behest of Barack Obama’s Amazon women warriors—Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power—Libya had a navy. Under the same accord with the Berlusconi government (and for a pretty penny), Gaddafi’s admiralty stemmed the tide of migrants into Europe.
Here’s an interesting aside: because he cracked down on their customary trade, the Zuwarans of Libya rose up against Gaddafi; the reason for this faction’s uprising, in 2011, was not the hunger for democracy, as John McCain and his BFF Lindsey Graham would have it.
Back in 2007, Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair also shook on an accord with Gaddafi. Diplomacy averse neoconservatives—they think diplomacy should be practiced only with allies—condemned the agreement. The “Deal in the Desert,” as it came to be known derisively, was about bringing Libya in from the cold and into the 21st century. In return, and among other obligations, Gaddafi agreed to curtail people smuggling.
Ever ask yourself why so many northern and sub-Saharan Africans flocked to Libya? As bad as it was before the West targeted it for “reform”—and thus paved the way for the daily privations of the Islamic State—Libya was still one of the mercantile meccas in this blighted and benighted region.
As dumb as “W” was in unseating Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, he acted wisely with Gaddafi. Both George Bush and Bill Clinton, before him, saw to it that, in exchange for a diplomatic relationship with the U.S., Gaddafi abandoned terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
Africa has always provided what the cognoscenti term “push factors” for migration: “Poverty, political instability and civil war … are such powerful factors,” laments Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organization of Migration in Italy. More recently, the Middle East has been the source of the flight. The chaos and carnage in Iraq is ongoing—has been since the American invasion of 2003. Of late, the civil war in Syria, in which the U.S. has sought to topple another strongman who held it all together, has displaced 4 million people. Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have absorbed hundreds of thousands of these refugees, as they should. But there are at least 500,000 more war-worn Syrians ready to be put to sea.
Programmed from on high, Europeans, like Americans, are bound by the suicide pact of political correctness to open their borders to the huddled mass of Third World people, no matter the consequences to their societies. Gaddafi was without such compunction. In 2010, he openly vowed to “turn Europe black,” unless the neutered Europeans rewarded him handsomely for doing the work they refused to do: patrol and protect their coastline.
“Tomorrow Europe might no longer be European, and even black,” roared Gaddafi, “as there are millions who want to come in. We don’t know if Europe will remain an advanced and united continent, or if it will be destroyed, as happened with the barbarian invasions.”
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton cackled barbarically when she learned of the demise of Col. Gaddafi, but the colonel is having the last laugh.
ILANA Mercer is a paleolibertarian writer, based in the United States. She pens WND’s longest-standing, exclusive paleolibertarian column, “Return to Reason.” She is a contributor to the preeminent libertarian site Economic Policy Journal and to Junge Freiheit, a German weekly of excellence. Ilana is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, an award-winning, independent, non-profit, free-market economic policy think tank. Ilana’s latest book is “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Her website is www.IlanaMercer.com. She blogs at www.barelyablog.com.
The “right-wing Green” critique of America
Arguments presented by Mark Wegierski, on the 45th anniversary of the first Earth Day
Based on a draft of a presentation for the 2013 Conference of the Polish Association for American Studies (PAAS) (Eating America: Crisis, Sustenance, Sustainability) (Wroclaw, Poland: University of Wroclaw, Department of English Studies), October 23-October 25, 2013
Green or ecological/environmentalist ideas, which are sometimes instantiated by capital-G Green parties, are usually identified today with the Left. For example, there has been a Green-Red alliance in Austria. In Canada, the Green Party won its first seat in the federal Parliament in the May 2011 election. The leader of the Canadian Greens, Elizabeth May, has been generally supportive of the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (Canada’s social democrats), and opposed to the currently-ruling Conservative Party. In the highly important 2000 U.S. Presidential election, Ralph Nader ran as a third-party candidate under the banner of the Green Party. Some have argued that, in drawing away some support from Al Gore, Ralph Nader coincidentally assisted George W. Bush in eking out a narrow win.
Despite its strong association with left-wing parties, Green philosophy has also appealed to tendencies that could be denominated as “right-wing”. Some academic and popular political discourse in America has been very critical of these “right-wing Greens”. It is often suggested that they are hijacking or appropriating Green ideas to promote a “far right” agenda. Among their most vociferous critics is the watchdog body, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has branded most of these tendencies as “hate groups”. However, the labeling policies of the SPLC have themselves come to be considered as tendentious in recent years. Perhaps people should make up their own minds about the right-wing Greens, by examining the evidence.
Their main publication is probably The Social Contract journal, based in Petoskey, Michigan. Evidenced by this journal, its contributors eschew extremism. For example, they support large elements of the early twentieth century capital-P Progressive movements in America. In their very marked opposition to mass, dissimilar immigration, they frequently mention its deleterious effects on poorer Americans, especially African-Americans. The leading American politician associated with this tendency is probably Richard D. Lamm, formerly the Democratic governor of Colorado.
On the basis of the ideas of certain “pessimistic scientists” – who have sometimes been termed “the right wing of the Enlightenment”, the right-wing Greens have worked out, over the last five decades, a consistent and thoroughgoing critique of current-day America. Unlike most persons on the self-described right, this critique is delivered with minimal reference to organized religion. Deeply critical of various aspects of current-day American society, of both corporate consumerism, and of redistributive welfare policies, both the commodity-consumption mode of life and the so-called managerial welfare-state are perceived as anti-ecological. Pointed questions are asked about the bureaucracy, such as the ratio between the costs of administration, and the amount of money delivered to the actual needy person – and about how much real wealth massive government bureaucracies have ever produced. They consider that the ecological idealism which was possibly the best part of the 1960s movements, has failed to find much practical instantiation today — America has become more commercialized and paved-over in the interval, and big corporations are more powerful than ever.
Although not usually religious, right-wing Greens criticize materialism when exercised at the expense of a holistic approach to the human being living in nature. They argue that despite the attempts of some exponents of the welfare-state to distinguish between the “bad” materialism of corporate consumerism, and the (supposedly) “good” materialism of redistributive welfare-policies, the differences are minimal. Welfare-state proponents often claim to disdain economic values in favor of “social” issues, but in many cases, their programs and policies amount to little more than getting themselves and their various client-groups “a bigger share of the pie”. It is argued that a genuine sacrifice in the welfare-state administrators’ and propagandists’ consumption-lifestyle, on behalf of something like the ecological future of the planet, is comparatively rare. One of the most obvious inducements to conservation of such resources as electricity is to charge market prices for them, yet this is usually considered as leading to impermissible inequity.
Certain pitfalls among commonly held environmentalist arguments are discerned by right-wing Greens, notably the encouragement of a power-grab by so-called big government, by the creation of vast adjudicating agencies. Some exponents of right-Green philosophy infer that strictly emphasizing property rights could be a salutary corrective for environmental abuses. One of the most frequently employed arguments concerns “the tragedy of the commons” – the title of a famous 1968 article by biologist Garrett Hardin. It is argued that land or other resources held as “commons” tend to be mercilessly exploited, which leads to increasing environmental degradation. For example, why should anyone limit their water-consumption if they are receiving it for free (or almost free), and know that even if they limit themselves, others will use as much as they wish? Indeed, the frequent absolving of individual responsibility today is seen as incompatible with serious conservation efforts.
They also aver, citing a long line of earlier American conservation efforts – represented by figures as illustrious as President Theodore Roosevelt — that arguments for conservation should be focused on the preservation of a national ecological heritage, not necessarily on an abstract “planet”. Indeed, it might be markedly more difficult to make arguments for sacrifices in one’s own consumption, if one’s national resources will invariably be drawn upon by ever-increasing immigration, and ever-increasing populations abroad. For example, the Kyoto Accord would probably have had almost unanimous support in Western countries in its first year, if it had been extended to China and to India or, indeed, to the entire world.
Opposition to high immigration policies is prevalent amongst right-wing Greens. They stress the totally unprecedented size of immigration numbers today. The proposed so-called comprehensive immigration reform that failed to be passed by the U.S. Congress (and which President Obama has now largely carried out by Executive Order) they consider a massive amnesty coupled with an immigration “surge”, which they do not hesitate to label as “nation-breaking” in its consequences. They estimate that it will quite quickly bring at least 30 million people into America as citizens (the illegal immigrants and their direct offspring). They also argue that the introduction of mass immigration after the 1960s has made the titanic effort of integrating American blacks all the more difficult. And they emphasise the possible consequences of massive population increases on what remains of the American wilderness.
The Sierra Club, one of the leading ecological organizations in America, was not hostile to arguments about restricting immigration in earlier decades. But as a result of a maneuver in the mid-1990s, in which they were essentially offered a huge donation (over 100 million dollars) on the expectation that they would stop talking about the immigration issue, they have dropped the subject entirely from their agenda. David Gelbaum, the donor, was quoted as saying: “I did tell Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me.” (Kenneth R. Weiss. “The Man Behind the Land.” Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2004). Carl Pope was an executive of the Sierra Club at that time. Indicatively, various “alternative”, “reform” candidates in the Sierra Club executive elections – who said they would be willing to consider immigration matters – have not fared well in recent years.
Unlike much of the U.S. right, right-wing Greens do not hesitate to support family planning policies in Third World countries, and have not been opposed to the legalization of abortion and contraception in U.S. society. Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb (1968) is still sometimes cited by them concerning out-of-control population growth, especially in regard to the situation in some Third World countries. They certainly take notice of the disparate population growth rates between most of the Western world (with rapidly aging populations), and most of the Third World (where most of population is very young). Insofar as most Western societies are unwilling to maintain important distinctions between citizens and non-citizens, and unwilling to properly secure their borders, the danger they perceive is that virtually the whole world will eventually be characterized by overpopulated urbanized areas with stressed infrastructure and dwindling nature.
What the right-wing Greens have most in common with most Green thought is their well-considered critique of the current-day belief in a “perpetual growth” economy. They argue that “perpetual growth” is in fact a belief — that it cannot be sustained over the long term. They frequently point toward what would be the apocalyptic effect on the environment of extending the typical U.S. lifestyle across the planet. Extrapolating the possible ecological consequences of a compounding GDP increase (which is largely coterminous with ever-increasing consumption and resource-use patterns) over a period of a few hundred years is indeed alarming. The maintenance of what are (by any historical measure) the comparatively very high living standards of a Western welfare-state can probably only occur with the intensifying despoliation of the natural environment; or with net negative population growth.
Various resource shortages (food, water, etc.) are discussed by right-wing Green commentators and in particular, the so-called peak oil theory. (Among the more mainstream works concerned with resource collapse is James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century (2006)).They uphold the notion that persons should live, as far as possible, frugal, economically modest, and abstemious lives. They believe that, even as ever-greater wealth is generated today, American society loses many of its earlier good habits that would allow it to utilize and carefully conserve that wealth toward ensuring a long-term, sustainable existence. They see great waste at most levels of American society, extending from the grotesque lifestyles of many entertainment and sports celebrities, to the very comfortable lives of the managerial corporate and administrative elites, even to the careless resource-use habits of some welfare-recipients.
They maintain that older, lower-middle-class and working-class people generally live the most abstemious, self-sacrificing, “conservationist” types of existence. Conversely, the so-called “bourgeois bohemians” or “bobo’s” (this term was coined by prominent commentator David Brooks), who claim to be “progressive” and environmentally-sensitive, usually have far more conspicuous consumption habits. The right-wing Greens call out those self-described environmentalist activists who actually live lives of great luxury, and in fact consume far more than those in the lower-middle and working-classes, who are today expected to make the environmental sacrifices.
Various globalization tendencies, such as so-called Free Trade, outsourcing, and the bringing of cheap labor into America, especially through illegal immigration, are criticized by conservative Greens. They argue that so-called cheap labor mostly serves the interests of “the plutocracy” (or what today have been called “the one percent”). They point out that supporters of the recent “amnesty and immigration surge” legislation have included some of the wealthiest persons and companies in America, who are part of various pro-immigration lobbying efforts that have spent close to 1.5 billion dollars (US) since 2007.Lamenting the disappearance of millions of American industrial jobs, many of which have now apparently been shifted to places like China, they insist that the maintenance of “hard industries” is still important for the future of any great nation.
In 1988, The New York Times commissioned an op-ed piece from Edward Abbey, the famous environmentalist and radical writer, on immigration issues. However, after they saw it, they refused to publish it, nor did they even give him his kill-fee (the fee paid to commissioned authors if their article remains unpublished). “Immigration and Liberal Taboos” (1988) is an argument for immigration restriction, on the grounds of environmental preservation as well as national interest.
In the October 1998 issue of Harper’s, there appeared a remarkable ecological /environmentalist article, “Planet of Weeds” by David Quammen – “Earth will soon support only survivor species – dandelions, roaches, lizards, thistles, crows, rats. Not to mention 10 billion humans. A grim look into the future by David Quammen.” One of the favorite books of conservative Greens is French author Jean Raspail’s The Camp of the Saints (1973), a dystopia which portrays Western civilization overrun by mass Third World immigration. Some of the dystopian science fiction films which are suggestive of their concerns, are: Silent Running (1972); Soylent Green (1973); The Road Warrior (1981); Blade Runner (1982); District 9 (2009); Dredd (2012); and Elysium (2013). One should also mention the unusual environmentalist film, Koyaanisqatsi (a Hopi term for “life out of balance”) (1982).
The right-wing Greens frequently cite Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) as an inspiration. They also appreciate the ecological dimensions of J. R. R. Tolkien’s writing. They point out that traditionalist philosophy shares with ecology a profound disgust with the late modern world, a critique of current-day capitalism, and an embrace of healthy and thrifty living — rejecting the current-day, ad-driven, consumption culture of brand fetishism and profligate waste. The commonalities and convergences of traditionalism and ecology have been pointed out by, among others, British political theorist John Gray (formerly at Oxford, now at LSE) in his insightful essay, “An agenda for Green conservatism.” (See Beyond the New Right: Markets, Government and the Common Environment (1993)). John Gray has also published, among other works, a sharp indictment of globalization — False Dawn: the Delusions of Global Capitalism (1998), which a reviewer has characterized as written “with all the dash and recklessness of a Polish cavalryman”. In 2012, Roger Scruton, often considered one of the leading conservative thinkers of the contemporary era, released his book, How to Think Seriously About the Planet: The Case for an Environmental Conservatism (2012), which was a revised edition of his earlier work, Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet (2011).
On July 1, 2013 (Canada Day) the right-wing critique of immigration was offered unexpected support by David Suzuki, a prominent Canadian environmentalist usually identified with the Left. During an interview with a Quebec reporter, he openly stated that “Canada is full”, and that the country – in those southern areas which were easily habitable — was near to exhausting its carrying capacity. He also made the argument that Canada, by drawing the more enterprising people from Third World countries, was doing a disservice to possible progress in those countries.
The conservative Greens are linked to the American Agrarian thinkers today, typified by Wendell Berry (who is also an acclaimed fiction writer), Bill Kauffman, and the website, frontporchrepublic. Rod Dreher coined the term “crunchy cons” to describe a subset of pro-ecological traditionalists. The grand old figure of American conservatism, Russell Kirk, certainly had “bohemian Tory” tendencies, and characterised the automobile as “the mechanical Jacobin”.
Western welfare-societies are the very opposite of premodern “stable-state” (or “steady-state”) societies, according to conservative Greens. They suggest that had the resources offered by the consumptionist welfare-state over the last fifty years been carefully husbanded, they could have possibly lasted for centuries — relative to previously available material standards of living for most of human history and humankind. They suggest that the Western-derived, socially-liberal, multicultural, consumptionist welfare-state might well be only a very brief episode in human history, before some kind of massive dissolution into chaos, or, possibly some sort of new re-integration, takes place.
In conclusion, the right-wing Green outlook involves re-examining many central ideas of current-day America, in the hope of achieving a more stable-state society. It offers a possible way out from current-day mega-crises and mega-dilemmas.
Mark Wegierski is a Toronto-based writer and historical researcher
The Demography of Evil
Ilana Mercer demands a “victims of communism” day
April the 15th marked Holocaust Memorial Day. Nearly everyone knows about the industrial killing of 6 million Jews, for no other reason than that they were Jews. “Serious historiography” of the subject has ensured that The Shoah, Holocaust in Hebrew, is “consigned to posterity”; its lessons remembered and commemorated throughout the civilized world.
Although she failed to dignify the Armenian genocide of 1915, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour certainly covered the Holocaust, the killing fields of Cambodia, Bosnia, northern Iraq, Rwanda and Darfur, for a 2008 documentary about genocide. In the interest of pacifying its Turkish allies, American officialdom has generally aped Amanpour, refusing to implicate the Ottomans in the mass murder of up to 1.5 million Armenians, 100 years ago.
This month, Kim Kardashian and Pope Francis, in order of importance, remedied the Armenian “omission.” The Pontiff called the massacre “the first genocide of the 20th century.” The Armenian-American reality TV star, her posterior and the rest of her entourage, visited the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia, to pay their respects.
There is no philosopher of Hannah Arendt’s caliber, today, to give dignity to the victims of the systematic starvation of the Boers by the British, during the Second Boer War. Fifteen percent of the Afrikaner population was rounded up, interned and starved to death–27,000 women and children. The image of young Lizzie van Zyl, who died in the Bloemfontein concentration camp, ought to be engraved in popular memory. It is not! When she died, Lizzie looked like the Jewish bags of bones who perished in the Nazi death and concentration camps.
Mention of Hannah Arendt is a must since this remarkable philosopher illustrated the similarities between “our century’s two totalitarianisms,” the Nazis and the Soviets. Arendt’s “Origins of Totalitarianism” spoke to a truth unmentioned until the publication of “The Black Book of Communism”. Both “systems massacred their victims not for what they did (such as resisting the regime) but for who they were, whether Jews or kulaks.”
If anything, “The Black Book” treads too lightly when it comes to qualitative comparisons between the Nazi and “Marxist-Leninist phenomenon.” On the quantitative front, “Nazism, at an estimated 25 million,” turned out to be distinctly less murderous than Communism, whose “grand total of victims [is] variously estimated at between 85 million and 100 million murdered. … the most colossal case of political carnage in history.”
Qualitatively, the “‘class genocide’ of Communism” is certainly comparable to the “‘race genocide’ of Nazism.” In its reach and methods, moreover, nothing compares to Communism’s continual, ongoing invention of new classes of “enemies of the people” to liquidate. “Mass violence against the population was a deliberate policy of the new revolutionary order; and its scope and inhumanity far exceeded anything in the national past.”
The fact that socialists and communists are still voted into power—with swagger in Greece—demonstrates that communists, despite their murderous past, “belong to the camp of democratic progress,” whereas the Right is forever open to suspicions of unforgiven fascist and Nazi sympathies.
The Jewish people have carried out “the solemn obligation to keep the memory of its martyrs alive in the conscience of the world.” The civilized world has internalized the methods and meaning of the Final Solution. As “The Black Book” observes approvingly, “Hitler and Nazism are now a constant presence in Western print and on Western television.”
Alas, although “their practices were comparable,” the “moral auras” of Nazism and Communism are still “antithetical.” “The Communist project” is permitted to claim “a commitment to universalistic and egalitarian goals, whereas the Nazi project” is said to offer only “unabashed national egoism.” The liberal world has refused to similarly stigmatize Communism. “The status of ex-Communist carries with it no stigma, even when unaccompanied by any expression of regret.”
“Even more skewed is the situation in the East. No Gulag camps have been turned into museums to commemorate their inmates; all were bulldozed into the ground during Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization. The only memorial to Stalin’s victims is a modest stone brought to Moscow from the Arctic camp of Solovki and placed in Lubyanka Square (though well off to the side), where the KGB’s former headquarters still stands. Nor are there any regular visitors to this lonely slab (one must cross a stream of traffic to reach it) and no more than an occasional wilted bouquet. By contrast, Lenin’s statue still dominates most city centers, and his mummy reposes honorably in its Mausoleum. Throughout the former Communist world, moreover, virtually none of its responsible officials has been put on trial or punished. Indeed, everywhere Communist parties, though usually under new names, compete in politics.”
The regime that was launched “in Sarajevo in 1914 and ended in Moscow in 1991” turned “mass crime into a full-blown system of government.” “Crime [was] the defining characteristic of the Communist system throughout its existence.”
“Islamo-Nazies” is how rightists have taken to dubbing the ISIS Islamists. But nothing beat the communists when it came to the execution by “firing squads, hanging, drowning, battering, [even gassing and beheading], poisoning; the destruction of the population by starvation, through man-made famine, the withholding of food, or both; deportation, through which death can occur in transit (either through physical exhaustion or through confinement in an enclosed space), at one’s place of residence, or through forced labor (exhaustion, illness, hunger, cold),” all meticulously planned and documented by the central authorities.
Perpetuated by the Left and acquiesced to by a perpetually frightened Right, the double standard adopted toward Communism is “scandalously out of line with the century’s real balance sheet of political crime.”
It must end!
On the week in which we commemorate the Holocaust, let us remember the forgotten victims of Communism who, too, were exterminated for who they were:
U.S.S.R.: 20 million dead
China: 65 million dead
Vietnam: 1 million dead
North Korea: 2 million dead
Cambodia: 2 million dead
Eastern Europe: 1 million dead
Latin America: 150,000 dead
Africa: 1.7 million dead
Afghanistan: 1.5 million dead
The international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power: about 10,000 dead
As suggested by Ilya Somin of “The Volokh Conspiracy”, a “Victims of Communism Day” is long overdue.
ILANA MERCER is a paleolibertarian writer based in the United States. She pens WND’s longest-standing column, “Return to Reason” and is a Fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. She is a Quarterly Review Contributing Editor. Ilana’s latest book is Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa. Her website is www.IlanaMercer.com. She blogs at www.barelyablog.com
Libertarian Anarchism’s “Justice” Problem
Ilana Mercer grapples with “the nit and the grit” of reality
To the extent that the Constitution comports with the natural law—upholding the sanctity of life, liberty, privacy, property and due process—it is good; to the extent it doesn’t, it is bad. The manner in which the courts have interpreted the U.S. Constitution makes the Articles of Confederation, which were usurped in favor of the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention, a much better founding document than the Constitution.
THE SIN OF ABSTRACTION
Unless remarkably sophisticated and brilliant (as only Hans-Hermann Hoppe indubitably is), the libertarian anarchist invariably falls into sloth. Forever suspended between what is and what ought to be, he settles on a non-committal, idle incoherence, spitting venom like a cobra at those of us who do the work he won’t or cannot do: address reality as it is. This specimen has little to say about policy and politics for fear of compromising his theoretical virginity.
Suspended as he is in the arid arena of pure thought, the garden-variety libertarian anarchist will settle for nothing other than the anarchist ideal. And since utopia will never be upon us, he opts to live in perpetual sin: the sin of abstraction.
Indeed, arguing from anarchism is problematic. It is difficult to wrestle with reality from this perspective. This is not to say that a government-free universe is undesirable, on the contrary. However, the sensible libertarian is obliged to anchor his reasoning in reality and in “the nit and the grit of the history and culture from which it emerged,” in the words of columnist Jack Kerwick.
This mindset maligned here is not only lazy but—dare I say?—un-Rothbaridan. For economist and political philosopher Murray Rothbard did not sit on the fence reveling in his immaculate libertarian purity; he dove right into “the nit and the grit” of the issues.
And the “nit and grit” for this not-quite anarchist concerns the problems presented by the private production of justice.
COMPETING THEORIES OF JUSTICE
A belief in the immutably just nature of the natural law must elicit questions about the wisdom of the private production of defense, as this could, in turn, give rise to legitimate law-enforcement agencies that uphold laws for communities in which natural justice has been perverted (in favor of Sharia law, for example).
It’s inevitable: in an anarcho-capitalistic universe, fundamentally different and competing views of justice (right and wrong) will arise. And while competing, private protection agencies are both welcome and desirable, an understanding of justice, predicated as it is on the natural law, does not allow for competing views of justice.
How, then, does one reconcile this inevitable outcome with the natural law and the emphasis on the search for truth as the ultimate goal of justice?
To let the victim forfeit—or choose his own form of—redress for certain misdemeanors is fine. Many legal solutions are a result of mediation and other perfectly private solutions to non-violent offenses.
To leave punishment for murder, rape and other violent crime to the vicissitudes of the victim or his proxies is, however, unacceptable. The likelihood that in a stateless state-of-affairs, a victim or her proxies will choose to let a violent offender go free in favor of financial restitution cannot be ignored or tolerated. It matters not that such an eventuality may be rare, or that similar injustices occur under the state. These should never happen. Not under the state. Not under anarchy.
Furthermore, does the voluntary forfeiture of just retribution not imply, in the case of murder, that the right to life is a right the victim’s surrogates may choose to alienate or relinquish at will? How else does one construe this position?
The danger of reducing justice, in cases of violent crime like homicide, to a negotiated deal amounts to moral relativism and is a recipe for nihilism.
Anarchists also ignore that a violent offender presents a clear and present danger to others, and that his fate, at least in a civilized society, is the prerogative not only of the victim.
Libertarian anarchists will correctly counter that, under a minimal state and certainly under the state today, criminals could—and do every day—get away with murder. This is because the justice system is horribly flawed. This fact is insufficient a reason to support a state of affairs where, as a matter of principle, proportional, moral retribution will not necessarily be the goal of justice. The kind of justice sought in anarchy would depend on the victim, not so? It is unlikely that she will support unconditional love—euphemized these days as restorative justice—as an antidote to rape. But if she’s of the Left, it’s quite possible.
Conversely, under a system in which competing theories of justice prevail, personalized “justice” may well take the form of vendetta. For example, and as one anarchist retorted: “If a woman is raped, she could demand proportional restitution (e.g., whatever fines imposed on the criminal necessary for the emotional harm caused her, including castration and the unexpected forced rape of the criminal). The criminal would simply be enslaved to the victim (or her punishment agency, more likely, if she didn’t want to deal with him), until repayment had been met. The court could decide, for example, that for restitution, the rapist is to pay the victim $1 million and be violently raped himself.”
What if the offender dies due to castration or forced rape? Is that proportional justice? What was suggested above is barbaric vigilantism.
Under anarchism, the proposal above could be adopted as a matter of principle rather than as an aberration to be rectified. Civilized, moral retribution should aim to avoid such barbarism.
JUSTICE FOR ALL VS. CLIENT-CENTERED JUSTICE
As was observed, victims could demand disproportionate punishment and the enforcement agency would comply. Not all victims, moreover, will be covered by private protection agencies. Who ensures that justice is meted in cases where individuals cannot afford or opt not to contract with a private protection firm? There is little if no incentive for such an agency to pursue a dangerous offender who has not harmed their client. Do we, then, rely on good Samaritans to take up arms and hunt down the offender? Or do we as a society, through the common law, make a public declaration of the few abiding values we wish to uphold?
To the extent possible, there must be a commitment, however imperfect, to justice for all and not only for those who’ve contracted with a private protection agency.
So while the current criminal justice system is often egregious in its approach to victims, the libertarian’s characterization of the private production of defense as “victim-centered” is misleading. It is client-centered.
Again, that we suffer depredations under the state is insufficient an argument for making this state-of-affairs a viable, “principled” option, which would likely be the case under anarchy.
Finally, libertarian anarchists often make their case with wacky references to anarchism in small homogeneous societies—Medieval Viking Age Iceland—or even less convincingly, among the murderous tribes of Africa. For some loopy reason, they prefer this no-man’s la-la land to the followers of John Locke.
I don’t conceal my preference for Western tradition, nor the positive view I hold of the accretive genius of the common law. Ultimately, it is better to distinguish good from bad arguments than to separate anarchist from minarchist positions. The goal of libertarian justice should therefore be to advance just, rights-based positions.
ILANA MERCER is a paleolibertarian writer based in the United States. She pens WND’s longest-standing column, “Return to Reason” and is a Fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. She is a Quarterly Review Contributing Editor. Ilana’s latest book is Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa. Her website is www.IlanaMercer.com. She blogs at www.barelyablog.com
Bill Hartley recalls the notorious prison riot
Twenty five years ago in April 1990 the worst riot in British penal history took place at Manchester’s Strangeways prison. Much has been written about the event notably the report by Lord Justice Woolf and doubtless more will appear during this anniversary year. The consensus was that the riot occurred because of the appalling conditions that prisoners had to endure. Well, as someone who was there I have an alternative theory to offer.
It was a very different prison system to the one we have today. Back then one cynic described the Prison Service as a working class organisation with middle class aspirations. And it was run with an iron fist by the working class; recruits tended to come in from the declining industries, for example the former trawler men who ran HMP Hull or the ex miners of HMP Leeds.
Conditions in the big northern ‘local’ prisons were squalid. Years of under investment had seen to that. I remember once going into the roof space above ‘I’ wing at HMP Liverpool to discover rubble from wartime bomb damage had been dumped there and forgotten about. Strangeways wasn’t the worst. For sheer awfulness Leeds topped the lot. Prisoners entered its reception area down a flight of steps plunging into a subterranean world designed by the Victorians to subdue new arrivals. Above was a soot blackened jumble of buildings whose silhouette was said to resemble Windsor Castle. There was a landing for psychiatric cases. Cell doors had been adapted and fitted with what officers called cat flaps. This allowed hospital staff to feed potentially violent prisoners without unlocking them. In a mildly humanitarian touch these flaps were left open to allow prisoners some sight of other human beings. For the newcomer it was an unnerving experience to have to walk a straight line along the centre of the landing. Deviate and you risked being grabbed by arms hanging out of the cat flaps.
The thing was that prisoners accepted these conditions as normal. It was assumed that if you went inside then you entered a decayed and overcrowded version of what the Victorians had created. Cells were larger than strictly necessary because their design envisaged single occupants who would need space to do whatever work was given them. In 1990s Strangeways three prisoners could find themselves in this space with no work to do. Rex Bloomstein’s famous 1979 documentary introduced the public to what life was like in the prison. Eleven years later things were starting to change and the clamour for reform had finally reached the ears of prisoners. I actually heard prisoners complain of being locked up for ‘twenty three hours a day’. Admittedly an unemployed prisoner was locked up for an awfully long time but simple arithmetic should have told them that the daily routine made twenty three hours in a cell impossible. Such was the power of propaganda.
My first inkling of how serious the situation was at Strangeways came during my time as duty governor at HMP Liverpool. I was called down to Reception to monitor the arrival of some prisoners. With the disturbance at its height many had surrendered before being moved to other jails. This group though were different. They were sex offenders freed by Strangeways staff who had the presence of mind to release them before withdrawing. I encountered a group of men white faced and shivering in shock and fear, conscious as I learned later that they had narrowly escaped a beating or worse.
Subsequently I was sent to Strangeways as negotiations advisor to assist the night commander of the incident. By then the hold outs were on the roof and the jail was a surreal place to be. Our operations room was the clothing store, close enough to manage the incident but protected from missiles flying down from the roof. At intervals claxons would blare, this being an attempt to keep the rioters awake and on edge. With care it was possible to approach the central rotunda of the prison. Here they had erected scaffolding for a painting job. One can imagine how lethal a scaffolding pole thrown from height could be. This inadvertent provision of ammunition for the rioters was one reason why it was decided not to retake the jail. The fact was though that the initiative had been lost in the first few hours. Lord Woolf chose not to blame the people on duty because presumably he knew a command and control failure running right to the top when he saw one.
A man like Lord Woolf would have been appalled by the conditions he found but working class prisoners were rather more accepting. Indeed a report around that time by the Chief Inspector of Prisons described HMP Liverpool as having ‘the worst levels of deprivation in any English prison but the highest morale among prisoners’. It really depended on how the staff ran the jail and the relaxed approach in Liverpool kept the place quiet.
It’s my belief then that what happened wasn’t a spontaneous protest against conditions but rather a quirk of northern working class culture. Liverpudlians and Mancunians don’t get on. Usually they are at opposite ends of the East Lancashire Road but there used to be many stories about friction in Warrington – Runcorn New Town, where sections of each tribe had been dumped.
Liverpool had its share of sex offenders: Rule 43s as they used to be called. Someone had the idea of locating them on the prison’s ‘H’ wing that would then be a dedicated unit managed for those classed as ‘vulnerable’. They certainly were. Exercising on ‘H’ yard had to be abandoned after the sniper on neighbouring ‘G’ wing struck once too often. He was an anonymous prisoner with a catapult who could fell sex offenders with considerable accuracy. No-one minded much until officers realised they too might be at risk.
The prison didn’t have enough Rule 43s to fill ‘H’ wing and it was unthinkable that ‘ordinary’ prisoners could remain there. An approach was made to Strangeways to take all their Rule 43s. This was accepted with alacrity since Rule 43s were considered a nuisance to manage. In exchange the prisoners from ‘H’ wing were sent to fill the vacant spaces at Strangeways and they were not happy about going there. A factor contributing to the stability of a local prison is the sense that though a man is incarcerated he is still close to home.
The prisoner who began the uprising in the chapel that Sunday morning was Paul Taylor from Birkenhead, a former Liverpool prisoner. Night after night I sat with the commander as the numbers upon on the roof slowly dwindled and noticed that the last hold outs were mainly Liverpool men. You won’t find any of this in Lord Justice Woolf’s report but it leaves me thinking that wrecking Manchester’s prison was a Liverpudlian thing to do.
Bill Hartley, who worked in the prison service, writes from Yorkshire
Get off your Knees, Gov. Pence! (You’re not in a Gay Bathhouse)
Ilana Mercer enlists in the culture wars
Pretend the U.S. is as free as the Founding Fathers intended it to be. In this authentically (and classically) liberal America, no one can tell free men and women what to do with their property, namely their bodies, their abodes and their businesses.
The individual living in America as it was meant to be is free to run his business as he wishes, associate with those he likes, dissociate from those he dislikes or disapproves; hire, fire, rent to or evict from, invest and disinvest, speak and misspeak at will.
This hypothetical free man is at liberty to bruise as many feelings as he likes, so long as his mitts stop at the next man’s face. So long as he harms nobody’s person or property, our mythic man may live as he wishes to live.
Americans have been propagandized for so long; they no longer grasp the basic building blocks of liberty. A crude reductio ad absurdum should help:
A retail store selling Nazi memorabilia opens its doors in my neighborhood. I enter in search of the yellow Star of David Jews were forced to wear during the Third Reich. The proprietor, decked out in Nazi insignia and regalia, says, “I’m sorry, we don’t serve Jews.” “Don’t be like that,” I say. “Where else can I find a pair of clip-on swastika earrings?” The Nazi sympathizer is polite but persistent: “Ma’am, I mean no disrespect, but back in the Old Country, Jews murdered my great grandfather’s cousin and used his blood in the leavening of the Passover matzah.” “Yeah,” I reply. “I’m familiar with that blood libel. I assure you my own mother’s matzo balls were free of the blood of brats, gentile or Jewish. No matter. I can see where you’re coming from. I’m sorry for your loss. Good luck.”
There! Did that hurt?
Did I rush off to rat out my Nazi neighbor to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice? Not on your life. A principled Jewish libertarian (with a sense of humor)—who believes in absolute freedom of association and the rights of private property—would doff his Kippah and walk out.
Similarly, if a restaurant refused to serve a gay family member and her partner; why would we wish to compel its sincere owners to wait on us? Why make them uncomfortable? Why not take our business where it’s wanted?
Ultimately, anti-discrimination law banning the private discrimination just described is inconsistent with freedom of association and the right of private property.
“That right to discriminate is the very essence of freedom,” remarks Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute. “That’s why people came to this country, to escape forced associations—religious, economic, political, or otherwise.”
Not all jurists have a good understanding of liberty.
While poor, hapless Governor Pence has a far better handle on freedom than legal positivist Judge Andrew Napolitano—the Judge condemned the spirit of a law that grants a defendant a legal standing to argue his case in a court of law—Pence lacks the TV persona’s bombast.
Get off your knees Gov. Pence; you’re not in a gay bathhouse (where only gays are, presumably, welcome). Muster a coherent defense of the bedrock of a free republic—and of civilization itself: the rights of private property and freedom of association.
Why do men like Mr. Pence, who understand these principles all too well, buckle before a mob of lobotomized tyrants with the intelligence of a Miley Cyrus?
I’ve read Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I believe the relevant section is a modest thing: “… the court or other tribunal shall allow a defense against any party and shall grant appropriate relief against the governmental entity.”
This small clause came as a surprise, unaware as I was that American courts deny a manifestly religious defendant the right to mount a faith-based defense. The legal defense reclaimed by the Indiana law is thus almost pitiful. How illiberal have U.S. courts become if a defendant has no legal standing to argue his religious convictions.
Canada operates an extra-judiciary Human Rights Tribunal that, likewise, affords its victims none of the traditional defenses Canadian courts usually allows. For example, mens rea, or criminal intention—the absence of the intent to harm—is no defense in this Tribunal. Neither does “truth” qualify as an argument in a “court” that prosecutes thought crimes. If he denies the Holocaust, a defendant in these Canukistan courts cannot assert a sincere belief in this conspiracy.
The absence of due process in Canada’s Human Rights apparatus makes it one of the most oppressive instruments at the state’s disposal. Not for nothing is it referred to as a Kangaroo Court.
And it is a Kangaroo Court that says yes to the Twinkie Defense*, and no to the faith-based defense.
*Editor’s note: The Twinkie defense as used in the trial of DanWhite, who murdered San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. Twinkies are junk food with a high sugar content
ILANA MERCER is a paleolibertarian writer based in the United States. She pens WND’s longest-standing column, “Return to Reason” and is a Fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. She is a Quarterly Review Contributing Editor. Ilana’s latest book is Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa. Her website is www.IlanaMercer.com. She blogs at www.barelyablog.com
The “We Need to Have a Conversation” Malarkey
Ilana Mercer deconstructs a liberal take on immigration
You know just how scholarly a policy paper is when it is studded with a clichéd expression like “we need to have a conversation about …” The pop-phrase is familiar from these farcical usages:
“We need to have a conversation about race”—when, in reality, we do nothing but subject ourselves to a one-way browbeating about imagined slights committed against the pigmentally challenged.
“We need to have a conversation about immigration”—when such a “conversation” is strictly confined to a lecture on how to adapt to the program of Third World mass immigration. This particular “conversation” involves learning to live with a lower quality of life, poorer education, environmental degradation; less safety and security, more taxation and alienation.
In this mold is a policy paper by Jennifer Bradley, formerly of the liberal Brookings Institute. Bradley had a stroke of luck. Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report found fit to link her essay on his eponymous news website site. Titled “The Changing Face of the Heartland: Preparing America’s Diverse Workforce for Tomorrow,” Bradley’s Brookings Essay would have been more honestly titled “Get-With the Program, Middle American. Demography Is Destiny.”
Disguised as scholarship, the Bradley essay schools Middle America at length on how to prepare its diversifying workforce for tomorrow. Thus, for example, she states that “America is on the cusp of becoming a country with no racial majority, where new minorities are poised to exert a profound impact on U.S. society, economics, and politics.” The implication here is that this seismic shift is due to a mystic force beyond the control of the host population, rather than to willful policies in which the native population has never had a say and will likely never have one.
Bradley’s particular concern is with “two demographic shifts.” The one is the aging of the predominantly white (and presumably productive) generation of Americans born after World War II. Another is the concomitant influx of “Mexicans, Hmong, Indians, Vietnamese, Somalis, Liberians, and Ethiopians.”
“According to the Minnesota State Demographic Center, the Asian, black, and Hispanic populations in the state tripled between 1990 and 2010, while the white population grew by less than 10 percent. This trend will continue,” warns Bradley: “From 2010 to 2030, the number of people of color is expected to grow twice as quickly as the number of whites.”
There goes that mystic force again.
“As Minnesota and the region go, so goes the nation,” states Bradley, matter-of-fact.
As Bradley sees it, a feature of the diversity explosion in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Midwest microcosm is a widening “race-based education and achievement gap” that will “become a drag on workforce growths unless something was done to reverse these trends.”
Translated, this means the immigrant population isn’t measuring up.
I can think of a few unexplored options to narrow the gap described. One is to welcome immigrants who’ll add value to the economy, rather than drain taxpayer resources. Bradley, however, is here not to strike up a true conversation—which would include exploring all options—but to dictate the terms of the “conversation.”
Indeed, the raiment of scholarship she sheds as quickly as a prostitute sheds her clothes (only less admirably; working girls deserve respect). Bradley brays about the need to “reframe the conversation about race-based education and achievement gaps in Minneapolis-St. Paul—turning what had been a moral (and insufficiently effective) commitment to its underserved communities into an economic necessity. Leading figures from the worlds of government, business, and academia, and public and private groups throughout the region [all stakeholders, but you] are now trying to figure out how to undo the effects of decades of neglect, tackling the problem from many perspectives and with an ever greater sense of urgency.”
Because the imported population is failing to achieve parity with the host population, Bradley has inferred that the newcomers are “underserved”; that they require more resources, when the fault could just as well lie in the kind of incompatible immigrant being privileged by policy makers. The essay’s premise is that America is “underserving” her immigrant population, when it is the other way round:
Averaged out, the immigrant population is underserving the American economy.
In this “conversation,” the social “scientist” recommends throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the causality quagmire. The mass-immigration imperative, moreover, is presented as the antidote to a declining birth rate and an aging population, when in fact mass immigration is the excuse statists make for persevering with immigration policies that are guaranteed to further undermine civil society and shore up the Welfare State.
Demographics need not be destiny. The West became the best not by out-breeding the undeveloped world—not due to huge numbers—but because of human capital; people of superior ideas and abilities, capable of innovation, exploration, science and philosophy.
The Grotesquely Stalinist FDR
Ilana Mercer debunks a still iconic President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is not the man to quote in support of the market economy. He was, after all, the president who gave America the assault on free-market capitalism known as the New Deal. He also capitulated to communism at Yalta, 70 years ago. There, in February of 1945, he and Winston Churchill met with Joseph Stalin, a genocidal butcher who dwarfed Adolf Hitler, to divvy up the world.
By the time the “Big Three” convened in the Crimean city, the region had long been subdued and decimated by the Bolsheviks. In November and December of 1920 alone, Crimea had been the site of a massacre of 50,000 souls. Kulaks, Cossacks, Ukrainians; priests, White Guards, socialists, nobles, Mensheviks and bourgeoisie: entire groups had been branded as counterrevolutionaries-by-class, designated as sub-humans worthy of extermination. That is if the Reds’ revolutionary utopia was to come into being, which it did.
For simply being who they were or if caught talking out of turn, anyone in communist Russia could be made “a head shorter,” in Trotsky’s “delightful” turn-of-phrase.
Why, Roosevelt and Churchill had just missed the deportation, in 1944, of the Crimean Tartars. According to The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression that “800-page compendium of the crimes of communist regimes worldwide”— “of the 228,392 people deported from the Crimea, 44,887 had died after four years.” Still, the Anglo-American leaders saw fit to sit down with Stalin to “map out the postwar world,” ceding Eastern Europe to “Uncle Joe,” FDR’s affectionate moniker for the communist mass murderer.
In fairness, Churchill does not deserve to be lumped with FDR as an appeaser and enabler of ultimate evil. Churchill was avowedly anti-communist. He detested Stalin. For this very reason, FDR considered Churchill a “reactionary … an old incorrigible imperialist, incapable of understanding [Stalin’s] ideological idealism.” Against the wishes of Winston Churchill, Roosevelt agreed to “give Stalin what was not his to give,” noted historian Paul Johnson, in his History of the American People. Churchill went along with FDR because he was desperate for American financial support.
Like many pseudo-intellectuals of his time, explained Johnson, Franklin Roosevelt was “grotesquely Stalinist.” Against all evidence to the contrary, he regarded the Soviet Union as a “peace loving democracy, with an earnest desire to better the conditions of the working peoples of the world.” As to FDR’s advisers in Moscow: they considered Stalin a benevolent, genial democrat. Indeed, “this monster, who was responsible for the death of 30 million of his own people,” was regarded by the American administration as “exceedingly wise and gentle.”
One can well understand why the medieval blood ties that tethered some Ukrainians to the Russians would have been severed by the criminal communist regime, which targeted the Ukrainian breadbasket with a vengeance. The communists robbed the Ukrainian peasants of their fertile farms, forced them into slave labor by corralling them into state-owned, collective farms, and systematically starved them by requisitioning most of their grain. The peasants had been left with a fraction of the amount of grain required to sustain life.
Yet these heroic, individualistic farmers rose up against the Reds.
The slogans of the Ukrainian peasantry, in 1919, were “Ukraine for the Ukrainians, down with the Bolsheviks and the Jews (whom they associated with the Bolsheviks), free enterprise, free trade.” Besides the standard mass executions, in order to wipe out this class of people, Stalin devised a diabolical man-made famine which killed up to 10 million.
Fast forward to Kiev, circa 2013, where Ukrainians tore down the statue of the founding father of Bolshevism and a mass murderer in his own right. But that man, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin still reposes in a mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square.
Why, pray tell?
President Roosevelt had his lucid moments. Or moment, rather.
According to Johnson, “When asked what single book he would put into the hands of a Russian communist, Roosevelt replied: The Sears, Roebuck catalog.” Sears, Roebuck was one of the great American companies which, through mass production and mass marketing, made available to America’s own Kulaks the luxuries that were previously enjoyed only by her rich.
Today, libertarians will often favor Russia in its dispute with Ukraine and the West. So where are those tell tale signs of liberty we libertarians look for, when we throw our support behind this or the other side? And where, pray tell, are those “made in Russia” labels? Other than crude and commodities; Kalashnikovs (AK-47s) and Vodka —what does post-communist Russia peddle?
Ilana Mercer is a paleolibertarian writer, based in the U.S. She is a contributor to Junge Freiheit, Germany’s finest weekly, and is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. Her latest book is Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa. Her website is www.IlanaMercer.com. Follow her on Twitter. “Friend” her on Facebook.
Silence; we’re studying for our pregnancy test
Ilana Mercer deplores the stupidity of Generation Y
“Silence; We’re Studying for Our Pregnancy Test”, (2008), “Your Kids: Dumb, Difficult and Dispensable” (2010), “Higher Education Is A Hard Row To Ho” (2014): the author of such titles is well aware of how stupid, on average, American millennials are. She has been for some time.
The 2010 piece aforementioned warned that “the electronic toys our dim, attention-deficient darlings depend on to sustain brain waves are made, for the most, by older people,” and that “the hi-tech endeavor consist in older Americans and Asians uniting to supply young, twittering twits with the playthings that keep their brainwaves from flatlining.”
According to my sources in the high-tech industry, for every useless, self-aggrandizing Gen Yer, a respectful, bright, industrious (East) Asian, with a wicked work ethic, waits in the wings. The millennial generation will be another nail in the coffin of the flailing American productivity.
Encounters over the years with a relatively smart cohort, through this column, have solidified these impressions. Oh yes: I did my patriotic part. I attempted to employ a Millennial or two. I found them to be incapable of following simple written instructions. Their interactions were, moreover, pathologically personal, never professional.
Now, confirmation of these anecdotal impressions comes courtesy of researchers at the Princeton-based Educational Testing Service (ETS). Sponsored by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the ETS researchers found that, “Not only do Gen Y Americans trail their overseas peers by every measure, but they even score lower than other age groups of Americans.”
Millennials in the U.S. lag in literacy, “including the ability to follow simple instructions, practical math, and— hold on to your hat — a category called ‘problem-solving in technology-rich environments.’” Worse yet: “Even the best-educated Millennials stateside couldn’t compete with their counterparts in Japan, Finland, South Korea, Belgium, Sweden, or elsewhere. … Altogether, the top U.S. Gen Yers, in the 90th percentile, scored lower than their counterparts in 15 countries.”
This includes millennials with masters degrees and doctorates. Our best and brightest managed to best their peers in only three countries: Ireland, Poland and Spain. Much as Charles Murray has documented in his seminal “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” the results obtain irrespective of class and race.
Rejoice! America is becoming an egalitarian Idiocracy.
Let us anchor these general findings about the nature of the Gen Y Beast in particular examples from the passing week.
A few students at the University of Oklahoma were caught in flagrante, singing a racist ditty while white. The cretins of cable were in high dudgeon. CNN’s Brianna Keilar crisscrossed a black student, Meagan Johnson, about her experience with racism on the UO campus.
Oh yes, replied the girl. She had indeed endured the indignities of racism at the UO. “We experience forms, different forms of racism on our campus all the time. It wasn’t shocking at all.” Keilar requested examples. Right away, the student replied that her “overall experience at OU has been a great one.” It was vital, she added, for “the University of Oklahoma … to focus on diversity across our campus. … it needs to be a campus wide effort to make OU [a] more diverse and more inclusive place.”
Here was an example of an educated lass who was incapable of comprehending and answering a straightforward question. Encouraged by Keilar’s effusive praise—”I love your perspective on this Megan”, she gushed — the girl went on to cop to experiencing “racial microaggression”: She had been asked for lessons in twerking and complimented on her weave.
A pedagogue, presumably, had taught the girl about “microaggression.” Race Robocop Keilar responded with compliments. Thus was this Millennial’s mindlessness reinforced.
Millennials have been pre-programmed and praised for stupidity. They’ve acquired an education yet they remain uneducated. For an educated young American would know that racist speech, too, is constitutionally protected speech. And an educated young American would know that, as professor Eugene Volokh teaches, “It’s unconstitutional for the University of Oklahoma to expel students for racist speech.”
It would appear that when the neocortex is underused, the reptilian brain takes over.
Hysteria and heightened emotions are the hallmarks of the Millennial Mind. They can “whip up a false sense of mass outrage” with ease. The Spectator’s Brendan O’Neill calls these walking dead dodos “The Stepford Students.” They sit “stony-eyed in lecture halls or surreptitiously police beer-fueled banter in the uni bar. They look like students, dress like students, smell like students. But their student brains have been replaced by brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to conform. To the untrained eye, they seem like your average book-devouring, ideas-discussing, H&M-adorned youth, but anyone who’s spent more than five minutes in their company will know that these students are far more interested in shutting debate down than opening it up.”
Black, liberal and bright—oops; I committed a “microaggression”—comedian Chris Rock recently confessed that he avoids doing his stand-up routine in front of millennial audiences. “You can’t say ‘the black kid over there.’ No, it’s ‘the guy with the red shoes.’ You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.”
In the Orwellian universe in which your kids are suspended, words speak louder than actions. Drunken youths sang a nine-second ditty while white—they did not defraud, steal, vandalize, beat, rape or murder anyone; they merely mouthed ugly words.
Unkind cuts, however, called for an exorcism. On cue, a petrified Waspy man, OU President David Boren, proceeded to perform the rituals that would soothe his unhinged charges. While Boren failed to fumigate the fraternity, tear his clothes; rub earth and ashes on his noggin and dress in sackcloth—he did shutter the doors to the dorm and board up its windows. A vice president of diversity was appointed. Soviet-style investigations launched, and summary expulsions sans due process carried out.
Tyranny, as we know, strives for uniformity.
In synch with their pedagogic pied piper, University of Oklahoma students gathered for prayer vigils, marches, demonstrations and lamentation. Burly athletes wept. One Oklahoma football lineman “decommitted,” or was committed.
This menagerie of morons—this institutionalized stupidity—would be comical were it not so calamitous, as shown by the research commissioned by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The “Flying Salzburger”
Stoddard Martin considers the enigma that was Zweig
Among German-language authors of the first half of the 20th century Stefan Zweig is now being re-positioned near the top. Some contemporaries saw him as in ‘the first rank of the second rate’, to use Somerset Maugham’s self-deprecation; Hugo von Hofmannsthal, whom Zweig briefly succeeded as Richard Strauss’ librettist, put him several rungs beneath that.[i] In the moments of depression which darkened his later years Zweig may have seen truth as well as envy in such relegation. He was lucky however to have huge numbers of admirers, a public which bought his books in the hundreds of thousands, fellow humanists who shared his ideal of a finer pan-European order and above all an adoring young second wife, who followed him in a restless search for a final resting-place and finally joined him in suicide there.
From a literary point of view Zweig belonged to the last great era before writing was overtaken by other media as a principal means of telling stories and promulgating ideas. From a political point of view he belonged to a last gilded age before world war disfigured Europe. Child of privileged Jews in fin-de-siècle Vienna, he was one of its most famous sons by 1920 when with a fellow-writing first wife he decamped for a hill over Salzburg. There he busied himself on the novellas and plays such as he had churned out since his early twenties. He worked indefatigably, travelled peripatetically and cheated on his wife shallowly. In a life devoted to the written word, he was a manic collector as well as a producer. He gave public readings and lectures about culture far beyond his imploding Germano-phone sphere. And as his fame spread, his tendency deepened to explore of acts of danger, daring and will.
He wrote mini-biographies of great men – Balzac, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche – building them into the popular Baumeister der Welt series, based not so much on research as on analysis. He sought to discover what he called the lebenskurve and in effect to create literary-historical equivalents to the psychological case-studies being written by his friend and fellow Viennese Sigmund Freud, a reluctant inclusion among his subjects. Analysis of great men morphed into pinpointing crucial moments, the Sternstunden as Zweig called them, on which history pivots. High-risk explorations, visionary inventions, inspiration via mass emotions, creativity against physical odds, vain leaps after fortune, persistence in the face of defeat… Zweig zeroed in on the obstacles he saw men as having to face if mankind as a whole were to move forward: Balboa in sighting the Pacific, Scott in the Antarctic, Lenin in Petrograd.
One can hardly read of these heroic cruxes, all in the present tense, and not feel Zweig’s febrile excitement. He was a man in a hurry in an age which had an appointment with destiny. His vignettes, full of hope of beating the odds, were also haunted ever by spectres of downfall. Rouget de Lisle composing ‘The Marseillaise’, Grouchy’s lack of initiative at Waterloo – Zweig had vast interest in upheavals of the previous century and naturally sensed that in a few years’ time some of his readers might be burning his books. Anxiety stalked, but he did not let it impede the drive of his prose or choice of his topics, which belonged to the frightening Zeitgeist. Like Freud, this child of Austro-Hungary reviled Woodrow Wilson for ‘the failure of Versailles’. He grew as ardent in promoting pacifism and European union as malign contemporaries were in inciting war and race hatred. Hitler was a contemporary compatriot. Goebbels and Rosenberg read his books. Suicide with younger wives would happen in the Berlin bunker too. Victim and victimizer came from contiguous milieux.
In fiction Zweig specialized in the long story and wrote only one novel. Like his Sternstunden, his collected tales have recently been made available in English by the elegant Pushkin Press. Cloth-bound and printed on good paper, with decorative colophons to demarcate the text, these books are objects that the bibliophile Zweig might have approved. And the tales match their covers in quiet smartness, with a variety of styles and subjects including something to seduce a life-savvy aunt as well as wide-eyed boys. Like Maugham, Zweig had a knack for narration and a feel for human nature; yet unlike that often spiteful ironist, he had a suffering soul. Hard hearts may accuse him of sentimentality, but few now will be able to read ‘In the Snow’ – a Jack London-like tableau of the population of a ghetto freezing to death when fleeing pogrom – without appreciating the prescience of this carpet-slippered son of Vienna to the catastrophe others of his kind were shortly to undergo.
By the mid-1930s Zweig was in full flight from the arrival of the mad expressionism of National Socialism, with which his overwrought style and enthusiasms had aspects in common. In a book recently published about his last years, George Prochnik does not flinch from recognizing such ironies. The Impossible Exile shows Zweig as a figure in whom the disease of the age was ever apparent, and never more so than at his end. Where in a world beset by furies could an individual of devout European culture turn? London took him, for a time; he retreated to Bath, tried to idealize it but eventually found English sang-froid insipid. New York took him, also for a time; he retreated to a quaint hamlet on a bluff overlooking Sing-Sing but found it a prison. America enjoyed bounty while Europe convulsed in war and its citizens starved. Zweig, rich from both inheritance and book sales, was beleaguered by indigent fellow-refugees wishing introductions, begging cash. On top of it all, where in the U. S. could one find a proper café, that institution so central to Viennese cultured life?
If the detail sounds banal, it is crucial to the tale Prochnik tells. For it is not just Zweig in exile whose plight he analyzes but the condition of flight from Hitler’s Europe altogether, especially for Jews who in a few generations had gained and now were losing the splendeurs et misères of high civilization. Where to go, who to be, what language to write in? One may have been ‘saved’ – that is, to have found shelter in the United States – but what then? The world they knew had vanished. They wandered hither and thither, haunted, bickering with one another, hating while at the same time being obliged to love where they had come to. Zweig’s solution? to penetrate further into new worlds, another land of the future – Brazil. Nature in the hills overlooking Rio was gorgeous, the coffee to die for. And that was it. Fully cut off. Utter deracination. At age sixty, the man was played out. And worse tragedy, whose promptings can never quite be known, is that his young wife should like some Brünnhilde of mythic opera have chosen to cast herself into this personal Götterdämmerung with him.
The finale has caused much speculation: Laurent Seksik published a novel about it in French in 2010, now available in English from Pushkin and as graphic text from Salammbo. The latter makes Zweig’s story accessible for those who are unlikely to read his massive oeuvre or more challenging works proliferating about him[ii]. Whatever the dominant motive for his melodramatic end, the novel musters its probable elements: his exhaustion, his wife’s asthma, the melancholy of exile, horrors engulfing those of his kind left behind, a killing nostalgia, temperamental allergy to the new and a bourgeois mittel-European fragility in face of carne-val masses… The pagan new age birthed no ‘terrible beauty’ for Zweig. It was no ‘country for old men’ in either metaphysical or physical senses. Suicide is a pathetic response, however, and surely no country for a loving young wife. On the basis of the evidence, it is hard not to construe that the great writer was at his exit neither a worthy exemplar nor a responsible husband. But let us be kind. His end, like London’s[iii], was above all a Faustian price to be paid for having poured out popular books of brilliance year after year.
[i] Hofmannsthal called Zweig sixth-rate, as Oliver Matusek reports in his biography Three Lives, which I reviewed in a more extensive essay on Zweig for QR at the beginning of 2013
[ii] Such as Rudiger Görner’s excellent critical study, published by Sonderzahl but not available in English, discussed in an extensive note to the above-mentioned essay
[iii] I have in mind the sudden death of the exhausted Jack London, which many believe to have been by his own hand. The suicide of other played out writers of Zweig’s period and after comes to mind too, those haunted by the Auschwitz spectre such as Primo Levi and others who simply couldn’t face loss of powers such as Ernest Hemingway
Books under review:
Shooting Stars: The Historical Miniatures, trans Anthea Bell (Pushkin, 2013)
The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig trans. Anthea Bell (Pushkin, 2013)
The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World, George Prochnik (Granta, 2014)
The Last Days of Stefan Zweig, Laurent Seksik with Illustrations by Guillaume Sorel, trans. Joel Anderson, adaptation Kelly Smith (Salammbo, 2014)
Stoddard Martin is an author, publisher and academic.
This article is adapted from material published in the Jewish Chronicle
It’s the Presidency, stupid
Ilana Mercer observes how the liberal media protect their own
Big media are all about the angle, the spin. Look to the overarching theme that runs through each and every news story. Be hip to the meta-narrative being peddled.
A perfectly logical statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in February, was framed by CNN anchorette Brooke Baldwin as “controversial.” In view of rife, Islamic anti-Semitism in Europe, Mr. Netanyahu told “all of the European Jews, and all Jews wherever [they] are [that] Israel is the home of every Jew.”
To the rational individual, unburdened by the obtuse thinking of a teletart, Netanyahu’s statement was utterly uncontroversial. It follows from an irremediable reality: the subordinate states of the European Union refuse—and no longer have the power—to properly and vigorously defend their innocent, Jewish and Christian citizens from an identifiable threat.
Another example of the meta-shaping of news came courtesy of Fredricka Witless, whose intellectual prowess I chronicled in “Joan Rivers: Antidote to PC Totalitarianism”.
Ms. Witless used leading questions in an interview with a man she introduced as the “controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks.” In a free society, a painter—impressionist, realist, muralist, cubist, cartoonist—would never be considered controversial. He harms no one in the fulfillment of the requirements of his benign profession.
However, with her leading question, wittingly or unwittingly, Fredricka Whitfield was essentially asking an innocent cartoonist, who ekes out a life hiding from Muhammadans, whether he felt responsible for crimes perpetrated by his assailants. After all, the criminals were spurred by his drawings of their prophet.
Leading questions suggest a certain reality. They force defensive replies. They shift blame. They invert morality and reality.
Likewise has the logic of the debate been lost in the hyperventilating over Mrs. Clinton’s unorthodox email account. The dynamic at play: hound Hillary Rodham Clinton for lesser, technocratic offenses, thus allowing her to gracefully evade responsibility for serious war crimes: the war on Libya, for one, Benghazi, for another.
Clearly, the woman who cracked the whip at Foggy Bottom at the time had resolved to run the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, as one would an open community center. This was meant to telegraph to the world that the war she and her she war-lords (Samantha Power and Susan Rice) launched was a success, when in fact Hillary’s gunpoint democracy in Libya has been as fruitful as Genghis Bush’s faith-based forays into Iraq and Afghanistan.
As evidence for the meta-narrative at play, consider the major, left-liberal media—the “circle jerk” leading the charge against Mrs. Clinton. It began with President Obama’s first press secretary, Robert Gibbs with CNN groupies like Brianna Keilar and Dana Bash. And with Ron Fournier of National Journal. He chimed in, calling the former secretary of state’s habit of conducting the affairs of state via a non-governmental e-mail address a “scandal; seedy, sanctimonious, self-important, slick.” Just in case, Fournier was careful to offer these disclaimers:
“I admire [the Clintons’] intelligence and passion and empathy. They’ve been good to my family. I’ve actually long thought that she has the potential to be a better president than he was.”
Not for nothing are they called the Stupid Party. Republicans have fallen for what I suspect is not so much a deliberate tactic on the part of the liberal media, but a reflexive strategy. GOPers are implicating Mrs. Clinton in statute violations which caused barely a stir when flouted by their own.
Gwb43.com, anyone? This private, Republican National Committee domain, from which five million emails were alleged to have been expunged, in 2007, stood for “George W. Bush, 43rd.” The Federal Records Act and the Presidential Records Act were purported to have been violated by the likes of Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, White House Deputy Director of Political Affairs Jeffery Scott Jennings, President Bush’s Senior Adviser Andrew Card. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was alleged to have been in-the-know. Then White House Spokesperson Dana Perino put a pretty face to the affair.
Hillary Clinton is to Benghazi as Les Aspin Jr. is to “Black Hawk Down.” Aspin, Bill Clinton’s secretary of defense, marooned the American men he sent to Mogadishu, Somalia, in October of 1993. The “Black Hawk” went down. But so did Dr. Aspin, at the behest of President Bill Clinton, who fired him.
The email line of attack on Hillary is not worth a straw. It lets her go scot-free for crimes the likes of which her own husband would have sacked her.
Ilana Mercer condemns premature forgiveness
Of New York Times columnist David Brooks it has been said that he is “the sort of conservative pundit that liberals like.” Not being a conservative or a liberal, I find him consistently wishy–washy and inane, without a controversial or interesting thought in his head.
Although it comes close, Brooks’ “Act of Rigorous Forgiving”, dealing with the antics of NBC’s Brian Williams, is not a complete dog’s breakfast of a column. The aspect of the Brooks column that piqued this scribe’s curiosity is that of forgiveness.
“Williams’ troubles”, you’ll recall – as chronicled by The Daily Beast – “began with his false account of a March 2003 helicopter ride during the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which he told, with dramatic variations, on David Letterman’s late-night talk show and Alec Baldwin’s radio show in March 2013, and repeated on his own Jan. 30 newscast—only to recant it and apologize five days later after Stars and Stripes blew it out of the sky. Now he’s also facing scrutiny for stories of possibly untrue exploits during his 2005 coverage of Hurricane Katrina, and even whether, as a volunteer teenage firefighter in Middletown, New Jersey, he saved one (or maybe it was two) puppies from a burning house.”
Brooks’ trouble is the breakneck speed in which he shifted into a discussion of forgiveness. Is this not premature? Brooks, moreover, is also plain wrong in claiming that transgressors are treated “barbarically” when they “violate a public trust.” In a culture steeped in moral relativism, this is simply untrue. Paris Hilton began her public life with a self-adoring pornographic video. It only increased her profile. Likewise Kim Kardashian has been bottoms-up ever since her maiden performance. Her sibling, as vulgar, has visited the White House. Barack Obama was economical with the truth when he vowed, “You can keep your healthcare if you want to,” but all was forgiven and forgotten. The president’s latest falsehood is that ISIS is un-Islamic and that “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.” These fables are cut out of whole cloth. The same goes for the web of lies woven on the matter of WMD in Iraq.
Still, boilerplate Brooks is tempered by some solid points about the need to perform penitence before being granted clemency:
“… the offender has to get out in front of the process, being more self-critical than anyone else around him. He has to probe down to the root of his error, offer a confession more complete than expected. He has to put public reputation and career on the back burner and come up with a course that will move him toward his own emotional and spiritual recovery, to become strongest in the weakest places …”
“It’s also an occasion to investigate each unique circumstance, the nature of each sin that was committed and the implied remedy to that sin. Some sins, like anger and lust, are like wild beasts. They have to be fought through habits of restraint. Some sins like bigotry are like stains. They can only be expunged by apology and cleansing. Some like stealing are like a debt. They can only be rectified by repaying. Some, like adultery, are more like treason than like crime; they can only be rectified by slowly reweaving relationships.”
Indeed, penitence, especially in the case of a sustained, prolonged pattern of abuse, can “only be [achieved] by slowly reweaving relationships.”
To simply demand forgiveness because one has said sorry without convincingly and consistently acting sorry, and to proceed further to conduct one’s self like a victim because the victim has failed to extend an instant pardon: this is unpardonable. To shift the guilt onto the injured party for not granting that minute-made clemency: this too is beneath contempt.
Alas, flash forgiveness is not the province of Christians alone.
Jews, too, it would appear, have moved into the realm of pop religion. “According to the Talmud,” I was recently lectured, “a person who repents is forgiven his past and stands in a place of righteousness.” No mention was made of the hard, lengthy work of “slowly reweaving relationships.” The demand was for forgiveness in a New York minute. Also conspicuous by its absence was chapter-and-verse proof for the alleged Talmudic injunction to decouple easily expressed feelings from difficult-to-do deeds. (And even if the edict exists, unless just in natural law—it would amount to an argument from authority.)
My guess is that instant expiation flows more from the values of the 1960s than from any doctrinal Christian or Jewish values. Whichever is the case, the corollary of the current practice of no-effort forgiveness is that “it not only abolishes the necessity of repentance; it abolishes sin itself.”
Posturing, positioning and electioneering
Derek Turner anticipates a possible transformation of the political landscape
As the general election campaign limps into its last months, politicians have been working hard to sway what is expected to be an unusually unpredictable race. There is a widespread if unfocused public dislike of mainstream politicians, who are increasingly seen as being out-of-touch and corrupt, and this has thrown old calculations and understandings into disarray.
Polls have long shown the Tories and Labour within small percentages of each other, the Liberal Democrats doing poorly, and the SNP, UKIP and maybe the Greens showing strongly, perhaps even deciding power in a hung parliament. Almost every vote is being fought for, and few seats now are really considered completely “safe” by Conservative or Labour tacticians. Scottish seats long reliably Labour may be lost to the Scots Nats, strangely made stronger by losing the independence referendum, because along the way they attracted almost half of Scottish voters, including many younger ones. Labour may also lose votes to the Greens in one or two English constituencies (which is why David Cameron demanded they be included in TV debates). On the other side, some Conservative seats in England are endangered by UKIP, who even where they do not win may divert enough votes to ensure a Conservative loses. A night of democratic drama is promised for 7th May, probably followed by a period of jostling, during which lines drawn will be erased, inalienable principles will be alienated, and enemies will become ‘frenemies’.
Despite this campaign’s complexity, in some ways it is traditional in tone, with Conservatives as always emphasizing their real or supposed competence and Labourites their real or supposed compassion. Conservative arguments are strengthened by the apparent ineptitude of Eds Milliband and Balls, who combine physical strangeness and gaucherie with unfortunate memory lapses. Oddly, they have so far desisted from attacking Labour on one of the fronts where it is most vulnerable – that party’s atrocious record in its one-party state Northern towns, where it has for decades presided over inefficiency, sleaze and ethnic pork-barrel politics, to the extent of abandoning thousands of children to sexual exploitation. Meanwhile, Labourites assert that Tories are heartless plutocrats, only concerned for the wealthy – and this meshes with a cultural meme that unites Anglican archbishops with the furthest fringes of the Left. Neither Cameron nor Milliband arouse much loyalty or liking even within their own parties, and unimpressive election showings will lead to leadership challenges.
The rise of smaller parties has been accompanied by much closer scrutiny of their policies, because these may now actually matter. SNP economic policies for independence were predicated on the former high price of oil and being able to repudiate the Scottish share of the UK national debt – and they have not yet readjusted to the British status quo, or the fall in oil prices. They find it difficult to explain how they can combine cutting the deficit with increasing spending by £180 million by 2020. Luckily for them, as they are still British there are still London bankers to blame and English taxpayers to bilk, and the SNP’s new leader Nicola Sturgeon is making a determined power play by threatening to reverse the gentlemanly convention that Scottish MPs do not vote on English-only matters. The Greens have also been ridiculed for some of their more outré ideas, such as dispensing with the royal family and army, while party leader Natalie Bennett has come very publicly unstuck in two major interviews.
But the chief target of ideological artillery has been UKIP, which is still making the transition from single-issue pressure group to fully-manifestoed party, and some of whose personnel have said indelicate or sometimes idiotic things, chiefly about immigration. In some ways, this campaign is more about UKIP than whichever combination of what Nigel Farage calls “legacy parties” governs after May 7th. UKIP is arguably the only truly insurgent party contesting these elections, because the others all offer ‘middle ground’ variations on similar themes – supranationalism + ‘progress’ + political correctness. UKIP therefore constitutes an existential threat to cosiness, and is eliciting great fear and hatred.
Other parties may have their candidates ridiculed and their policies questioned, but only UKIP candidates are automatically suspected of being morally reprehensible. Whole websites are devoted to attacking UKIP, and zealots have disrupted some of their meetings. Channel 4 has gone to the trouble of broadcasting a highly tendentious docudrama, UKIP: The First Hundred Days about what might happen if Nigel Farage were to be elected Prime Minister. The SNP has ruled out any kind of cooperation with UKIP, even though they resemble UKIP in their civic nationalism and suspicion of geographically and (supposedly) culturally distant elites. The recent spike in Green membership seems more a circling of generic Leftist wagons against the whooping Apaches of UKIP than with mass eco-epiphanies. Labour politicians have often denounced UKIP as unspeakable – although not so often lately, as they feel UKIP coming close behind them in some constituencies, and strive to convey the impression that they have developed responsible policies on immigration. David Cameron’s throwaway remarks of a few years ago about UKIP being the haunt of “fruitcakes and closet racists” are now a major embarrassment to him, as two of his MPs and many activists have already gone over to UKIP and others may follow in the near future, especially if UKIP does better than expected.
UKIP is both boosted and hampered by its unvarnished quality, on the one hand being able to claim authenticity, on the other being frequently embarrassed by policy inconsistencies or candidates’ gaffes. Whatever happens in May, the party is destined to become more streamlined and professional, and this will lead to different problems – fickle protest voters will start to see UKIP as becoming too much like other parties, while old guard activists will start to perceive that they or their ideas are being squeezed or sold out. But these problems still lie mostly in the future, and for now UKIP seems likely to deliver a salutary shock to the moribund mainstream, which may effect actual change. For this, all who claim to believe in democracy really should be grateful.
Derek Turner is a novelist and writer and the former editor of Quarterly Review. His personal website is – www.derek-turner.com
Barack Obama misunderstands Islam
Ilana Mercer makes the case
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is not Islamic, announced Barack Obama, during a White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (with an emphasis on violence inspired by the Judeo-Christian tradition). “They [ISIS] are not religious leaders, they are terrorists,” he asserted—an assertion that begs the question, as it assumes that a terrorist cannot be a religious leader as well.
President Obama further ventured that when we call them “Islamic,” we grant ISIS the “legitimacy” for which they thirst, for they are “desperate to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors in defense of Islam.” Yet another non sequitur: Christening the group Islamic or not is unlikely to change that its members and a good many Muslims across the Ummah regard ISIS as thoroughbred Islamic.
What else did Obama—who espouses Christianity—proclaim in the name of the ISIS Islamic eschatology? Obama claimed that ISIS has “perverted the religion [of Islam]” and that it is peddling a “twisted ideology used to incite others to violence.”
“Weighing in on matters of Islamic theological debate,” warns Graeme Wood, editor at The Atlantic, is something Western officials would probably do best to avoid. “When he claim[s] that the Islamic State [is] ‘not Islamic,’” Obama, in fact, has “drifted into takfir waters,” explains Wood, for “non-Muslims cannot tell Muslims how to practice their religion properly.”
“In Islam, the practice of takfir, or excommunication, is theologically perilous,” cautions Wood, in a seminal exposé on the Islamic State entitled “What ISIS Really Wants.” “If a man says to his brother, ‘You are an infidel,’ the Prophet said, ‘then one of them is right.’ If the accuser is wrong, he himself has committed apostasy by making a false accusation. The punishment for apostasy is death.”
The theologically and existentially perilous practice of takfir, notwithstanding, Obama is incorrect about ISIS being antagonistic to Islam. Wood portrays “the group [that] seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom,” as Islamic as the Prophet Muhammad of the later, Medina period. He decries as “dishonest” the “campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature” and that it is indeed following “specific traditions and texts of early Islam.” “The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. … the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.”
“Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, ‘the Prophetic methodology,’ which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail.”
“We can gather that [the caliphate state] rejects peace as a matter of principle; … that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.”
And he has it on good authority. While Obama was offering up nostrums to the nation, Graeme Wood was speaking to leading authorities, among them “Bernard Haykel, the foremost secular authority on the Islamic State’s ideology.” This Princeton scholar “regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance.”
“People want to absolve Islam,” he told Wood. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.’ Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. ‘And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else.’”
“In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. ‘Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,’ Haykel said. Islamic State fighters ‘are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.’ … Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically … ‘embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion’ that neglects ‘what their religion has historically and legally required.’ Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, [says Haykel], are rooted in an ‘interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition’.”
Widely quoted in Wood’s ISIS exposé, Haykel takes a position not dissimilar to that of “the greatest theologian alive,” my appellation for Pope Benedict XVI. It is this: “The only principled ground that the Islamic State’s opponents could take” to justify their belief that ISIS is un-Islamic “is to say that certain core texts and traditional teachings of Islam are no longer valid. [And] That really would be an act of apostasy.”
Which is precisely what Obama persists in doing.
Until the Islamic reformation is codified, those in the know—know-nothing Obama is not among them—will look upon the Islamic State as a religious, literalist, millenarian, apocalyptic group that is as Islamic as the Prophet and his band of belligerents during the Medina years.
Truth – that’s so yesterday
Ilana Mercer considers celebrity journalism
Facts are a journalist’s stock-in-trade. He cannot be cavalier about the truth. Nevertheless, Brian Williams, the suspended iconic managing editor and anchor of NBC Nightly News, embellished liberally about events he covered in the course of a limelight-seeking career.
As it transpires, Williams’ helicopter did not come under enemy fire in Iraq, in the early days of the war. Nor did his Ritz-Carlton hotel take on water during Hurricane Katrina, in 2005. The body he “witnessed” floating by that establishment would have had to be floating in a few inches of rain, the precipitation in the French Quarter. Neither did gangs “overrun” the Ritz-Carlton, nor dysentery afflict its guest, despite the story the intrepid Williams disgorged to the contrary.
The public has yet to receive a full accounting of Brian Williams’ journalistic transgressions, but the press is already riffing on the merits of Christian forgiveness. Who said Christianity isn’t invoked, occasionally, in the service of the progressive project?
A USA Today journalist minimized the gravity of Williams’ fibs. “Journalists have been known to occasionally exaggerate their exploits. … Williams’ seemingly genial personality and likability could work in his favor,” he noodled. Another USA Today reporter, exposed by Newsbusters, attempted to coat Williams’ self-serving fables with a scientific patina, by invoking Elizabeth Loftus’ research into the amalgam of influences that make-up “false memories.” Democrat Clintonite Lanny Davis echoed the “false memories” meme.
Others in the “trade” proclaimed to be “rooting for Williams.” “There is no glee in watching a titan of journalism fall.” “A good person who made a big mistake,” vaporized Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. “I come not to praise Brian Williams, nor to bury him,” equivocated another. And it was boilerplate David Brooks to write as though with himself in mind (along the lines of, “What if the Williams fate befalls me?”). Prematurely, the New York Times’ neoconservative-cum-liberal columnist demanded forgiveness on behalf of Williams.
In mitigation—there’s been a great deal of that—Williams told tall tales not about the news, but about his imagined role in the dramas he covered. From the ethical perspective, Brian Williams’ reportage is not really tarnished by this petty self-aggrandizement; his character is.
Not for nothing have his colleagues, left and right, formed a protective barricade around Williams. With few exceptions, the media-complex within which Gilded Ones like Williams slither so effortlessly is mired in corruption—the kind this scribe did not encounter in the structurally more conservative Canadian industry. It is anathema in Europe too, I am told.
Conflict of interest is at every turn. Major anchors—the gifted and gorgeous Megyn Kelly too, sadly—beaver at sculpting a celebrity persona. They hangout on late-night shows. They hobnob with the hosts to curry favor with them, “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central being their professional Shangri-La.
Over and over again do the celebrity journos, then, relive their moments of glory with their own fans, holding out hope for the next invitation. Lovingly—self-love being the operative word—do they track their media appearances from their respective network seats. The better-looking flaunt their assets over fashion spreads in high-gloss magazines.
Almost all—your favorite opinionators, too—attend the annual Sycophant’s Supper, where they cozy up to Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé Knowles. (Kudos to the few, such as former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, who’ve excoriated the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, or who’ve refused to attend, irrespective of the political affiliation of the man ensconced in the White House.)
The annual White House Sycophants’ Dinner is where the most pretentious people in the country—in politics, journalism and entertainment—convene to revel in their ability to petition and curry favor with one another, usually to the detriment of the rest of us in Rome’s provinces.
Those gathered at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, or its Christmas party, are not the country’s natural aristocracy, but its authentic Idiocracy. The events and the invited say a great deal about the press, its ethics and code of conduct.
Like nothing else, the Sycophant’s Supper is a mark of a corrupt politics and press, as the un-watchful dogs of the media have no business frolicking with the president and his minions. This co-optation, however, is the hallmark of the celebrity press, in general. The days following these glitzy events, the Gilded Ones spend genuflecting to … themselves.
What else? Celebrity journalists marry their sources and hop right back into their roles as reporters. Their colleagues in this circle jerk are none the wiser. Examples: CNN and ABC’s Claire Shipman who wed Obama press secretary Jay Carney. Campbell Brown, formerly of CNN, is hitched to Romney adviser Dan Senor. “Meet the Press’” Chuck Todd is married to and gives an occasional shout-out to Democratic strategist Kristian Denny Todd.
The presstitutes straddle the fleshpots of D.C. with the skill of a Department of Justice that bestrides the roles of defender in court of the Infernal Revenue Service, as well as the agency charged with investigating the tax collector. All of them ride us like the asses we are.
No better than the lobbyists and the politicians they petition, the presstitutes move seamlessly between their roles as activists, experts and anchors; publishers and authors; talkers and product peddlers; pinups and pontificators.
To wit, former White House press secretary Dana Perino is also editorial director of Crown Forum, the country’s foremost “conservative” print, where she supervises the further “Closing of the American Mind,” to use Allan Bloom’s famous title.
Oblivious to a conflict of interest, Megyn Kelly promotes husband Douglas Brunt’s books from her perch at Fox News. In the same vein, CNN’s Brooke Baldwin entertained Cousin Sgt. Charlie Mink as her self-styled expert on prisoner interrogation in Iraq. On the same network, Suzette Malveaux (law professor) is legal expert of choice to Suzanne Malveaux (anchor). The two are twin sisters.
The list of professional incest is long.
Vanity, not veracity; narcissism, not integrity: these are the tools of the trade among America’s celebrity journalists.
Now please lead me to the Vomitorium.
Ilana Mercer traces the origins of a death cult
For the neoconservatives, ground zero in the creation of the Islamic State (ISIS) is the departure of the American occupying forces without a Status of Force Agreement (SOFA). At the behest of President Barack Obama, or so the allegation goes, the American military decamped, in December of 2011, without securing an SOFA. A residual American military force in Iraq was to be the thing that would have safeguarded the peace in Iraq. Broadcaster Mark Levin regularly rails about the SOFA amulet. Most Republicans lambast Obama for failing to secure the elusive SOFA.
So high is Barack Obama’s cringe-factor that conservatives have been emboldened to dust-off another awful man and present him, his policies and his dynastic clan to the public for another round.
The man, President George W. Bush, did indeed sign a security pact with his satrap, Nuri al-Maliki, much to the dismay of very many Iraqis. Although the agreement was ratified behind the barricades of the Green Zone, journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi “spoke” on behalf of his battered Iraqi brothers and sister: he lobbed a loafer at Bush shouting, “This is a farewell… you dog! This is for the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!”
Saddam Hussein—both dictator and peace maker—had no Status of Force Agreement with the U.S. He did, however, use plenty of force to successfully control his fractious country. Highly attuned to the slightest Islamist rumbling, Saddam squashed these ruthlessly. When the shah of Iran was overthrown by the Khomeini Islamist revolutionaries, the secular Saddam feared the fever of fanaticism would infect Iraq. He thus extinguished any sympathetic Shiite “political activism” and “guerrilla activity” by imprisoning, executing and driving rebels across the border, into Iran. It wasn’t due process, but it wasn’t ISIS. This “principle” was articulated charmingly and ever-so politely to emissaries of another empire, in 1878: “My people will not listen unless they are killed,” explained Zulu King Cetshwayo to the British imperial meddlers, who disapproved of Zulu justice. They nevertheless went ahead and destroyed the mighty Zulu kingdom in the Anglo-Zulu War (1879), exiling its proud king.
Ask any ordinary Iraqi struggling to eke out an existence in what remains of his pulverized homeland, and he’ll tell you: “Keep your Status of Force Agreement. Give us back the Iraq of Saddam Hussein.” True, the Kurds were not in a good place. And Shia madrasas were regularly shuttered. But some reconstruction was underway. Democratic plans were being drafted (albeit slowly). A “nonaggression pact” and a “cooperation council to promote economic and cultural development” had been established with the Arab neighbors (Kuwait, not so much). Best of all, Iran was on the run.
A 2012 Zogby poll, highlighted by The American Conservative, questioned Iraqis about the impact on their lives of the American invasion. “For the most part, Shia and Sunni Arabs perceive almost every aspect of life to have become worse or not [to have] changed.” And this was in Iraq BI: Before ISIS.
Not long after the “great” American troop surge of 2007, Global Policy Forum questioned Iraqis, too. (This was more than Bush had done when he ordered that bombs be dropped on their neighborhoods.) What do you know? With the surge and without an SOFA, Iraq was oh-so violent. By September, Iraqis were still citing a “lack of security and safety in general” as one of their most pressing existential concerns.
The answer to the question, “Who do you blame the most for the violence that is occurring in the country?” placed the U.S. up there with al Qaeda and foreign Jihadis as the root of all evil. Harmony being what it was in Iraq during the halcyon Bush years—Shia blamed Sunni and Sunni blamed Shia for their respective woes.
Guess who, in 1994, had advised against an invasion he went on to orchestrate, in 2003:
“….if we had gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over and took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world. And if you take down the central government in Iraq, you could easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have, the west. Part of eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim. Fought over for eight years. In the north, you’ve got the Kurds. And if the Kurds spin loose and join with Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.”
This astute, if utilitarian, analysis was that of Bush’s Vice president, Dick Cheney. The architect of the invasion of 2003 had counseled against it in 1994. The man’s predictions have come to pass.
The Bush SOFA specified a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces by Dec. 31, 2011. Despite negotiations thereafter, Iraqis rejected any further infringements on their sovereignty.
In short, it was not the departure from Iraq that guaranteed the rise of ISIS aka ISIL but the invasion of Iraq.
The Camel Ate My Homework
More reflections on a massacre, from Ilana Mercer
The Fourth Estate has moved the country into the Third Dimension. The media lie so much, that when stuff happens that scares them, they no longer know where to turn for the truth.
For now, mainstream media have stopped meditating on Charlie Hebdo, and moved on to the weather and other woes. But something changed after this month’s strike, carried out by French recruits to Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
The frightful events that unfolded in Paris seemed to have triggered something of a come-to-Jesus moment among members of the media. For example, before Charlie Hebdo, supernova Megyn Kelly’s everyday “expert” on Islam was one Brooke Goldstein. Unless good looks qualify one to expatiate on Islam, Goldstein was—still is—gormless.
However, right after Charlie Hebdo, Kelly traded Goldstein for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is both victim of and an expert on Islam. Lo and behold, Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch made the rounds, myth-busting about Islam and its Prophet. The New York Times was really running scared: its editors solicited a piece from the pen of Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s rightist Front National. While she did not quite counsel pulling the drawbridge up, Le Pen questioned the wisdom of inviting “waves of immigration, both legal and clandestine” into the West.
Like lab rats, media are maze-bright, no more. Other scribes found solace by levitating in the Parallel Universe, pretending that in the Hebdo massacre we had a Whodunit to unravel. “Both the motive and the identity of the perpetrators are still unknown,” intoned a cipher at Slate. For a while, Wolf Blitzer of CNN was all wide-eyed wonderment, too. Across the pond, the constabulary in Hamburg, north Germany, informed its citizenry that the motive for an attack on the Hamburger Morgenpost, a newspaper that published the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, was “still under investigation.”
Just as some mediacrats still pretend the phrase “radical Islam” is not a redundancy, others make believe that the motive for shooting up a place of business while yelling praise for the Prophet is a mystery. Unless authorities say otherwise.
Disaffected, disadvantaged, disenfranchised is how progressives prefer to depict the murderers in their midst. After all, progressives hail from the school of therapeutic “thought” that considers crime to have been caused, not committed. Misbehavior is either medicalized and outsourced to state-approved experts, or reduced to the fault of the amorphous thing called society.
The most famous advocate of the-Camel-Ate-My Homework theory of criminal culpability is Barack Obama. Obama’s flabby assumption has it that the poor barbarians of France’s burbs have been deprived of fraternité. “Europe needs to better integrate its Muslim communities,” lectured the president.
Libertarians are also guilty of a social determinism that flouts their philosophy of individual freedoms. For the sins of man, hard leftists blame society and libertarians saddle the state: U.S. foreign policy, in particular. A war of aggression, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and torture are thus “principal catalysts for this kind of non-state terrorism,” argued Ray McGovern.
“The-state-made-me-do-it” argumentation apes that of the left’s “society-made-me-do-it” argumentation. Both philosophical factions, left and blowback-libertarian, are social determinists, in as much as they implicate forces outside the individual for individual dysfunction.
Myself, I despise U.S. foreign policy as deeply as any Muslim. But it would never-ever occur to me to take it out on my American countrymen.
In the context of free will, and in a week in which we remember the Holocaust, Viktor E. Frankl rates a mention.
Dr. Frankl came out of Auschwitz to found the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy. The philosopher and distinguished psychiatrist said this of his experience in the industrial killing complex of Auschwitz-Birkenau: “In the camps one lost everything, except the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
To plagiarize another Jew (myself): “You can see why liberals have always preferred Freud to Frankl [my family included]. They retain a totemic attachment to the Freudian fiction that traumatic toilet training is destiny.”
Dr. Frankl lost his beloved young wife in Auschwitz, yet told poignantly of finding her, if figuratively, in a tiny bird that flitted close by. If this man was able to discover the reality of free will and human agency in a laboratory like Auschwitz, so too can Muslims find the will to respond adaptively to events that enrage them and are indeed unjust: Western foreign policy.
The idea that the Brothers Kouachi and thousands of their coreligionists in the West who’ve joined ISIS were driven by “disaffection” to do their diabolic deeds conjures a skit from the “Life of Brian,” John Cleese’s parody of Judea under Rome.
In what is a typically Jewish dialectical session, Reg and his band of anti-Roman rebels are debating the merits and demerits of the enemy. So, “What have the Romans ever done for us?” asks Reg. “The aqueduct,” ventures one rebel. “Sanitation” pipes-up another: “Remember what the city used to be like?” A third praises the roads. A fourth, the public baths. Exacerbated by the growing list of Roman improvements, rebel-in-chief Reg responds: “All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health—what have the Romans ever done for us?”
By the same token, what have those “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” ever done for their Maghrebian immigrants (les beurs, as they are known)—apart from replacing the mud huts of their ancestors with subsidized housing and modern plumbing, giving them schools, job-training institutes, cradle-to-crypt welfare, health care and, my personal favorite, the Musée du Louvre?
While Obama sounded a bum note, British Prime Minister David Cameron acquitted himself well with this take on criminal culpability: the murderers in our midst “have had all the advantages of integration,” they’ve “had all the economic opportunities that our countries can offer.”
A Modest Proposal
Ilana Mercer does some lateral thinking
He adopted the religion of peace and forthwith proceeded to shatter the peace of his countrymen.
In the waning months of 2014, Quebecer Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo in the back, at Canada’s National War Memorial in Ottawa. Zehaf-Bibeau then stormed Parliament, but was dispatched by a sergeant-at-arms before he could do further harm.
The mother of the martyr, Susan Bibeau, is a “deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.” Mrs. Bibeau has done quite well as a Canadian bureaucrat, acquiring “homes in Montreal and Ottawa.” Her errant son told mommy dearest of “his desire to travel to Syria,” a fact she revealed only after the butcher’s bill came due; following Zehaf-Bibeau’s lone-wolf, wilding rampage on Parliament Hill.
Why would a convert to Islam want to travel to Syria? To visit the ruins? And why would a Canadian civil servant, who described her son as a misfit, not report Zehaf-Bibeau’s destination of choice to the authorities? In any event, it transpires that said authorities had been investigating Zehaf-Bibeau, but had yet to determine whether or not to confiscate his passport.
Before Michael Zehaf-Bibeau came another Quebecer called Martin Couture-Rouleau. Like Bibeau, Rouleau went to war with his countrymen upon converting to Islam. He rammed his car into two Canadian Forces members near Montreal, one of whom died of his injuries.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Couture-Rouleau was known to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS, and had been closely monitored. These authorities were confident that Couture-Rouleau and 90 other suspected extremists “intended to join militants fighting abroad.”
So what did the Canadian security apparatus do to forestall an attack on Canadian soil? First, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police staged an intervention. The Mounties tried to “talk Couture-Rouleau down” from his murderous mindset. Convinced that the therapeutic intervention succeeded, the Mounties then stopped monitoring him. Oh, and they also took away Couture-Rouleau’s passport.
The New Year brought us the Brothers Kouachi, who carried out the assassinations at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris. The brothers ate, slept and breathed “radical Islam.”
When Chérif Kouachi was not making a dash for Jihad Central in Syria—only to be stopped and arrested by the foolish French—or planning jail breaks for other Jihadis; he was recruiting French Muslims for no other than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his Iraqi operation. Al-Zarqawi is the fellow who had been admonished by Ayman al-Zawahiri (Bin Laden’s Capo Bastone) for being too … ruthless. Yes, Chérif’s mentors and compadres inhabited the revolving door of mosque and prison.
As to Saïd Kouachi: Other than welfare, the only thing he earned in France were frequent-flyer miles to Yemen. There he hung out with the would-be underwear bomber and the American al Qaeda preacher, Anwar al-Awlaki.
The Russian state security had informed the FBI and CIA that one of Boston’s own, Tamerlan Tsarnaev of the Boston Bombers Team Tsarnaev, undertook similar “vocational” training in Dagestan. The agencies, however, were more concerned about keeping terrorist tourism alive, than keeping Americans in the land of the living.
The point here is not to belabor well-known, accepted outrages. Instead, I’d like to float a modest proposal.
The Canadian government continues to “revoke passports from extremists so as to prevent them from traveling to-and-fro Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State (ISIS).” Oddly, the same government will often opt to charge Jihad-minded men with “attempting to leave Canada to participate in terrorist activity.”
Revoking a home-based Jihadist’s travel documents is worse than dumb; it is a dereliction of duty. It demonstrates that whatever it does, the state acts irrationally—and certainly against the interests of those whose safety it has been entrusted to protect.
Naturally, no individual should be arrested for harboring wicked thoughts or hanging with wicked people. But when he leaves the Occident with the intent to train to wage war on his neighbors—this Jihadi must be stopped from re-entering the good country.
Let the West’s homegrown Jihadis wander from the killing fields of one crap country to another, like the nomadic hired guns they are.
By nature, this modest proposal is defensive (not to mention decisive) and, thus, eminently libertarian.
There are well over 3,000 Western fighters that have traveled to assist ISIS and its offshoots in forging a caliphate. They return with murder on their minds. They must not be allowed back into Western countries.
Citizenship is nothing more than a political grant of government privilege; a positive, state-minted right. Citizenship is not a natural right. Yet these state-stamped licenses—citizenship and attendant travel documents—are honored, at the cost of innocent lives.
Alas, the Monster State is inherently both stupid and evil. Like a primitive organism, it answers to nobody and nothing but its reflexive need to grow.
To wit, the Monster State refuses to protect its people from plagues. It welcomes high-risk travelers from the Ebola hot-zones. Simultaneously, it quarantines aspiring fighters for Jihad here at home, in the West, so the homeland is the only arena in which they can act-out.
The nightwatchman state of classical liberalism would keep killers out of the country, not in the country.
An Islamic Industrial Revolution?
Bill Hartley explores the putative contribution of Islamic civilisation to the development of industrialism
Recently I came across a critique of a book The Cultures of the West; A History by Clifford Backman. According to the writer, Backman proposes the idea of a ‘Greater West’ that involves the Islamic world as co-participants in most significant developments of the modern era including the Industrial Revolution. Having travelled extensively in the Middle East I am willing to admit that the people of the region have shown themselves very skilled at managing scarce resources, notably water but an Industrial Revolution?
Actually Professor Backman isn’t alone. There are a number of Islamic scholars travelling in the same direction, for example Salim Al Hassani in his essay ‘Filling the Gap in the History of Pre-modern Industry: 1000 Years of Missing Islamic Industry‘ which also suggests that the Islamic world was at it too. Well I’ll leave Professor Backman’s views on most things to others but I suggest that it would have been difficult at the time for an Industrial Revolution to take place in say France (no offence) never mind the Islamic world.
In the interests of fairness I recently put the idea to a group gathered at Neville Hall in Newcastle, home of the North of England Institute of Mining Engineers. Standing beneath the portrait of a past Fellow one G. Stephenson Esq. we were a multi-ethnic collection from a range of disciplines: engineers, an academic historian and a mathematician, all with a shared knowledge of industrial history. The response I received was one of mild incredulity with people pointing out to me that never mind the Islamic world or even Europe – the Industrial Revolution was a British phenomenon.
Professor Backman et al in their eagerness to include the Islamic world are missing the point. An Industrial Revolution could only come about if the right conditions were there on two levels. Without these then extending credit to a distant culture is a non starter.
The first requirement for an Industrial Revolution is coal and the incentive to use it. Britain is an island and the primary fuel source timber also happens to be an important building material. This meant tree cover was rapidly denuded, to the extent that there was less of it in the sixteenth century than there is today. As a consequence there was an earlier recourse to coal in Britain than in European countries with access to greater timber reserves.
Mr Al Hassani cites developments in the use of wind and water power in the Middle East. He’s correct of course but just as the windmills of the Netherlands were an excellent way of grinding corn or draining the polders, these were pre industrial techniques with an obvious drawback, best explained by quoting the historian AE Musson who noted that the use of steam power freed us from the ‘tyranny of wind and water’ both of which were unreliable and inconsistent sources of energy.
Obviously anyone mining coal will first go for the shallow deposits. Once these have been worked out then it’s necessary to dig deeper. This creates technical problems often associated with drainage. Solving these helped accelerate the Industrial Revolution via the introduction of the steam engine which was first used in mines. Even then it took a further seventy years for the final strand to fall into place; Abraham Darby learning how to make coke from coal, removing the impurities so it could be used in iron making. This freed the smelting of iron from being a charcoal based woodland craft and took it into the era of industrial mass production, which is why Darby’s forge at Coalbrookdale is a World Heritage site.
The second level was human; the ability and willingness of people to invent and innovate. Writers attempting to share the credit and portray it as some sort of multi-cultural exercise, might usefully compare conditions in this cool damp island off the coast of Europe with the Islamic world. Of course it would be unfair to dismiss achievements in the Middle East because they lacked the essential raw material for an industrial revolution. Leaving aside Professor Backman’s ignorance of the history of technology, what he and his fellow revisionists also choose to ignore in their books and pamphlets surprisingly enough, are the cultural factors which brought about the Industrial Revolution in Britain. It certainly wasn’t superior education, for example George Stephenson and his fellow locomotive builder Timothy Hackworth received nothing more than what we would today call a primary school education and even that was incomplete.
In Britain what men like James Watt, George Stephenson, Richard Trevithick and others had was the freedom and the incentive to innovate. They operated in a land which had not been devastated by the wars of the eighteenth century and where a patent system existed to reward inventors for the fruits of their labour. Such people operated in the right intellectual framework which welcomed the development of scientific knowledge and shared ideas through a network of philosophical societies. Underpinning this was the Protestant work ethic.
In contrast the values of the European enlightenment were anathema to the Islamic world because they challenged the authority of religion.
There is an irony when talking up Islamic involvement in the Industrial Revolution. Repressive regimes and religion still suffocate human creativity in parts of the Islamic world and the only way some of these countries exploit a fossil fuel today is on the back of technologies developed during the Industrial Revolution. Whilst earning revenue from this source they refuse to allow their human capital the freedom that was available to those pioneers of the Industrial Revolution in Britain.
William Hartley is a freelance writer from Yorkshire
Bagatelles for a Massacre
Ilana Mercer meditates on the latest “victory” of the West
WINNING IN THE WEST. A French “documentary maker”—a title everyone with a camera assumes these days—told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the West was winning. The docu-dude felt that the people of Europe were displaying a winning resistance to the imposition of Islamic blasphemy laws.
How was the West vanquishing the enemies of free speech? In response to the craven massacre of staff at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, hundreds of thousands of Europeans—in Barcelona, Brussels, London, Paris, Nice, Lyon—came out en masse to plonk teddy bears on sidewalks and point pens and pencils to the heavens. “Winning,” as Charlie Sheen would say.
The winners also flaunted their feelings with placards that read: “Je Suis Charlie” and “Not Afraid.” The CNN signatories to the dhimma “pact of surrender” celebrated the triumphant “outpouring of art in response” to the executions in Paris. Meek, wishy-washy drawings popped up everywhere. An example: Patrick Chappatte’s New York Times cartoon, in which a sunken-chested white male sheds a tear, holds a flower. The caption: “Without humor we are all dead.” Fierce.
The terrorists in the midst of the winners were in for more blows. A plural option was added to the rallying cry “Je Suis Charlie”: We are Charlie Hebdo—Nous Sommes Charlie. “Say no to terrorism” was another winning slogan.
Then there was the showy and meaningless parade in Paris. The world’s leaders united against murder, an insight that was already well within the ken of leaders of the ancient world (Ten Commandments?). The charade of charlatans featured the very people responsible for legislation that authorized the round up, around them, of “54 people … for hate speech or other acts insulting religious faiths, or for cheering the men who carried out the attacks.”
THE SWORD IS MIGHTIER THAN THE PEN. No wonder author Martin Amis spoke of clichés of the mind and the heart. The orgy of sentimentality and helplessness came with its share of clichés. Particularly enveloping in its preposterousness was “the pen is mightier than the sword.”
Remember the iconic scene in the film “Raiders of the Lost Ark”? Challenged to a duel by a scimitar-wielding, keffiyeh-clad Arab, Indiana Jones draws a pistol and dispatches the swordsman without further ado.
In my (allegorical) more accurate adaption, the roles are reversed. The Prophet Mohammad’s avenger faces his somersaulting Western offender, who comes at him with a pen, convoluting about freedom of expression, inquiry and conscience. How does Mohammad’s mercenary respond to the penman’s lofty ululations? As Indiana Jones did: he aims his automatic weapon and drops the prophet’s offender.
Before Charlie Hebdo came the 12 Danish Jyllands-Posten cartoons. In 2005, JP drew cartoons that joined Muhammad to the violence that disfigures the Muslim world. While clucking about the sanctity of free speech, countless commentators climbed into the Danes. The illustrators were called juvenile, obnoxious, Islamophobic, even immoral. They were accosted for doing nothing to advance enlightened argument; of acting in “terrifically bad taste”; and indulging in “gratuitous provocation, not worthy of publication,” to quote some of the pieties disgorged by politicians and pundits.
Having been where Charlie Hebdo finds itself today—a catalyst for eruptions across the Islamic Ummah (now innervating the West)—Flemming Rose, JP’s cultural editor and publisher, knows of what he speaks. He informed BBC’s HARDTalk that the sword is mightier than the pen. “Violence works.” The great Danes of JP will not reprint “Charlie Hebdo’s post-attack front cover.”
FREE SPEECH FARCE. Far and away the best commentary about the Charlie Hebdo headache was that of Sean Gabb of the British Libertarian Alliance. Unable to stomach “the smug chanting of politicians and media people,” in countries where “[a]lmost every day … someone gets into trouble for opening his mouth,” Dr. Gabb wondered: “Where for them are the defenders of freedom of speech, now more fashionably than bravely holding up pencils or waving candles?
“I believe that the writers and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo had the moral right to say whatever they pleased about Islam, or anything else,” argued Gabb. “But I also believe that Luke O’Farrell and Garron Helm should not have been sent to prison for being rude to or about Jews. Nick Griffin should not have been prosecuted for saying less against Islam than was published in Charlie Hebdo. The Reverend Alan Clifford should not have been threatened with prosecution in 2013, when he handed out leaflets at a gay pride march in Norwich.”
Indeed, just this week, a teenager was jailed in West Yorkshire, for posting a video clip of himself flushing then burning his Koran. To the north, the Scottish Police warned its charges via social media: “Please be aware that we will continue to monitor comments on social media & any offensive comments will be investigated.”
“In general,” Dr. Gabb remonstrated, “we are free to say only what the authorities want to hear. Even when the law does not cover dissent, there are administrative or economic punishments. See, for example, the UKIP members [of Britain’s rightist Independence Party] who were denied the right to foster children, or the difficulty that dissident writers have to find paid work.”
CAUSE CÉLÈBRE FOR CULTURAL LEFT. “Suppose the attack had not been on a cultural leftist magazine, but on the headquarters of the [rightist] Front National, and the victims had been Marine le Pen and the party leadership,” posited Dr. Gabb. “Would all those city squares have filled with people reciting Je suis le Front National? I hardly think so. Nor would the media have given blanket and uncritical coverage.
Dame Helen Mirren would hardly have sported a pencil brooch at the Golden Globes had Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders fallen prey to the peaceniks who’ve threatened to take his life.
“Indeed, we had our answer before the gunmen had opened fire,” claims Gabb quite credibly.
Consider the deceased Dutch, anti-immigration activist Pim Fortuyn, Theo van Gogh, descendant of Vincent van Gogh—slaughtered like a pig on the streets of Amsterdam for a docudrama depicting the subjugation of women in Islam and in Islamic countries—and Lee Rigby, the British soldier who was carved up by a Muslim wielding a meat-cleaver, on a south-east London street.
“When Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh and Lee Rigby were murdered no less barbarously, we were all urged to moderate our response. In the first two cases, we were told, with more than the occasional nod and wink, that the victims had brought things on themselves. As for the third, the protest demonstrations were broken up by the police.”
Concludes Gabb: “Cultural leftists have the same right not to be murdered as the rest of us. So far as the present lamentations indicate, they are seen by the directors of public opinion as having a greater right.”
Ilana Mercer reads the riot act
It used to be that Justin Raimondo was more discerning about the women he welcomed into the Antiwar.com fold. Here is how Mr. Raimondo welcomed this writer:
“A major confetti-throwing welcome on the occasion of Ilana Mercer’s first regular column for Antiwar.com. Ilana is a principled longtime libertarian and literally an international figure: she’s an ex- Israeli, ex-South African and ex-Canadian, now a permanent resident of the U.S. And it isn’t only her prose that’s beautiful. She’s opinionated, she can write, and she’s a lot of fun. Give her a warm welcome by checking out her column”.
“Respect,” as Ali G. —the creation of comedic genius Sacha Baron Cohen—would have said.
I sincerely hope Mr. Raimondo is not losing his grip on this important outfit. For no sooner had contrarian libertarians celebrated the voluntary departure of Cathy Reisenwitz —than one of Raimondo’s new columnists unleashed herself on this writer, rabbiting on about racism. Just like Reisenwitz.
This is ironic, because, Mr. Raimondo – a life-long, creedal libertarian – had smoked Reisenwitz out for characterizing Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell and Hans-Hermann Hoppe as racists. I don’t expect Justin to defend me too; he and I have had a fractious relationship (although I was under the impression that some respect for each other’s commitment to liberty accounts for the détente. I do expect Justin to call off his hound-dog. No boot; just Kibbles ‘n Bits (it’s for her own good).
The paper trail of one Lucy Steigerwald is short, the topics well-trodden, the angle never entirely original. Nevertheless, this second-hander has enough to say about my column. What she has to say is terribly predictable, tedious and, now, time-consuming (opportunity costs mounting).
Long-time readers of this space will have figured out what it is that I’m being fingered for. A bit of hyperbole has gotten me into hot water. For asserting that “whites don’t riot and loot”, I am said to be swimming in polluted waters. Steigerwald has diagnosed me as suffering “certain propensities for racist generalizations.” Strictly speaking, I should have anticipated the response of Steigerwald, and written that “in contemporary America, whites are less likely to riot and loot than blacks.” In any event, corrective feedback to that effect would have been appreciated and acted upon. Instead, I find myself fending off a bloodhound scenting her prey. “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fem, Steigerwald Has Smelt The Blood Of A ‘Racist.” Once started, nothing will stop the frenzy of a Steigerwald (who has twice now criticised me).
Steigerwald’s worldview belongs to a tyrannical, joyless tradition. The hateful habit of policing what people say for political propriety; intimating that they are somehow defective on those grounds alone and deserve to be purged from “polite” company; scrutinizing literature, music, art, television or comedy for signs of so-called sexism, racism, elitism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and meanness—this belongs squarely to the tradition of cultural Marxism. “Political correctness, especially in libertarian circles, is cultural Marxism masquerading in libertarian clothing,” warns Hans-Hermann Hoppe. It is “an intellectual joke, indicating the loss of all common sense and, propagated by self-described libertarians, seriously harmful to the intellectual reputation and further development of libertarianism and libertarian scholarship.”
Indeed, what kind of libertarian polices speech for propriety, and alights on those who violate standards set by the PC set? An excuse for a libertarian! Like left-liberals, they’re the kind that are afflicted with the same spineless conformity; a deformation of the personality euphemized as political correctness—are incapable of appreciating a script or book; a painting or symphony; a stand-up routine, if only because the material and its creator violates the received laws of political correctness. As far as promoting the demonstrably false racism meme—what speech is racist, what slip of the pen (like mine) or tongue deserves outing; which feelings are bigoted; the kind of humor that is off-color; the fears of The Other that are verboten—this kind of left-libertarianism is indistinguishable from left-liberalism on this front.
On the matter of my alleged “propensities for racist generalizations,” here’s my reply, taken almost verbatim from Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa (pp. 41-42):
“My answer to those who’d fault me for daring to make broad statements about aggregate group characteristics, vis-à-vis crime [or rioting], would be as follows: generalizations, provided they are substantiated by hard evidence, not hunches, are not incorrect. Science relies on the ability to generalize to the larger population observations drawn from a representative sample. People make prudent decisions in their daily lives based on probabilities and generalities. That one chooses not to live in a particular crime-riddled county or country in no way implies that one considers all residents to be criminals, only that a sensible determination has been made, based on statistically significant data, as to where scarce and precious resources—one’s life and property—are best invested”.
For me, the road to freedom lies in beating back the state, so that individuals may regain freedom of association, dominion over property, the absolute right of self-defense; the right to hire, fire, and generally, associate at will. As a paleolibertarian, however, my idea of liberty is never propositional–it is not a deracinated principle, unmoored from the realities of history, hierarchy, biology, tradition, culture, values. The paleolibertarian grasps that liberty has a civilizational dimension, stripped of which the libertarian non-aggression axiom, by which we all must live, cannot endure.
Race is never an organizing principle in my work. You have to be an idiot to say so. I am, however, a bit of a misogynist. And for good reason.
2014: The Year of Living Racially
Ilana Mercer looks back in anger
My man Richard Sherman said something that kicked off the 2014, year-round, banal, racial back-and-forth that parades as debate in the U.S.
Other than that the Seattle Seahawks are my team, on account that they’re from my neck of the woods; what I know about American football is dangerous. So naturally, I was rooting for, if not watching, the Hawks, when, following their victory over the San Francisco 49ers, Sherman said That Thing. And from their citadels of stupidity, U.S. mainstream media—conservatives, liberals and libertarians—went into full St. Vitus mode.
“I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like [Michael] Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get. Don’t you ever talk about me!”
Sherman sounded good to me. Still does. The man was pumped, as men ought to be in a testosterone-infused game. The Seahawks’ cornerback was correct to point out that his “outburst,” following the “defensive play that sealed his team’s trip to the Super Bowl,” was an extension of “his game-time competitiveness.”
“Let’s not make thug the new N-word,” pleaded John McWhorter, a scholar of color, whose intellectual and moral authority in the culture stems primarily from the concentration of melanin in his skin cells, not from the force of his argument.
As in January of last year, I still don’t get the reason for the fuss over what Sherman said. His boisterous bit of theatre set in motion some racial, national free-association, which no man or woman with a brain cell to rub between them can follow.
Speaking of mindlessness, in February, the president of black America launched his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. Barack Obama claimed “this initiative” as his “lifelong goal,” “even after he leaves office.”
To go by Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” “rising inequality and declining mobility,” as well as “widespread decay in moral fiber”—these are as serious and widespread problems among “white, lower-status, less well-educated Americans,” as they are among the black and Hispanic communities. It was against this backdrop that Obama signaled his intention to deploy his signature initiative to keep at least $200 million belonging to “leading foundations and businesses,” for “programs aimed at minority youth of colour.”
“Winning” means “spinning.” In April, the media-run, Barack Obama witness-protection program got a boost: a secretly recorded, racially charged private conversation between one Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, and his mistress du jour, a dark-haired Jenna Jamison look-alike. Joy! Here was another cover for a “news” media that had refused to cover the many outrages and scandals of the Obama presidency.
CNN took a break from its non-stop, no-news vigil for missing Malaysian Airline Flight 370 to ride the Sterling racism ass. Hard. And from abroad, the president who promised to see to it that ebony and ivory would live together in perfect harmony told the world that the U.S. “continues to wrestle with the legacy of race, slavery and segregation,” a lie he would repeat throughout the year.
August saw the start of Trayvon Martin round two. The shooting death, in Ferguson, Missouri, of Michael Brown (black) by police officer Darren Wilson (white), sparked country wide unrest among the perpetually restive, when the officer was vindicated by the grand jury. It transpired that prior to being gunned down; Brown had robbed a convenience store and tackled the cop.
In their shared hatred for white America, Attorney General Eric Holder and Mr. Obama were like two peas in a pod. Both rushed to racialize what was strictly a law-and-order incident. “I am the attorney general of the United States, but I am also a black man,” declared the AG to his black constituents.
Hitherto, the president of black American had been mum about cops, soldiers or white kids coming under black attack. But he just couldn’t put a sock in it when it came to his personal affinity for Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. True to type, Obama saddled a “deeply rooted” racism plaguing the U.S. for the mishaps between cops and the communities of color they police.
One among many pig-ignorant panels on CNN—this one comprising Marc Lamont Hill and two interchangeable females—magically coalesced around a consensus parroted widely in pixels and print across the country: there was absolutely nothing racial whatsoever about the latest attack upon whites by blacks, this time of a store keeper in Memphis, Tennessee. Only a week back, the same sort of empaneled fools were intoning in unison about the ostensible racism behind the Ferguson killing ad nauseam.
Well, of course.
Memorable to a majority marginalized was Martha MacCallum’s plainspoken, Fox News column about Brendan Tevlin. The blond, blue-eyed anchor’s words reached deeper than the convoluted fare of most: “A 19-year-old, suburban boy. Strawberry blond, athletic, bright and smiley. … When I look at this picture of Brendan Tevlin, I think, he could have been my son.” Brendan Tevlin of New Jersey was murdered by Ali Muhammad Brown, an African-American. A precious boy’s death at the hands of the detritus of humanity did not rate a mention by Big Media and its protégé.
Alas, white commentators—liberals, conservatives, even libertarians—and their fans converge on matters racial. All are constitutionally primed to convulse hysterically over race.
Take Judge Andrew Napolitano. A left-leaning, highly principled libertarian, the judge wrote a hot mess of a column,asserting that in Ferguson we saw “the error and perversion of the grand jury,” not to mention a “toxic mixture of a black underclass and a white power structure and the corrupt advantages people on the make and people on the take can exploit from it.” That’s left-libertarianism for you: In-thrall to postmodern constructs like “power structure,” “white privilege,” the left-libertarian’s tinny, rigid adherence to bogus theory is often foisted on facts that don’t fit. Thus did John Stossel mar a perfectly reasonable column on Ferguson,” with a nod to the endemic racism meme.
As far as promoting the demonstrably false racism meme—what speech is racist, which feelings are bigoted; the kind of humor that is off-color; the fears The Other that are forbidden—conservatives too are indistinguishable from liberals. Consider the witty email exchange between a Sony executive and a producer concerning Obama and his racial proclivities. Leaked as it was by hackers, these emails were ruled by Megyn Kelly of Fox News to be wrong, racist and racially insensitive: all the dumb things liberals say about risqué expression.
Lesson no. 1: When they rabbit on about race, America’s chattering classes—blacks, whites, Democrats, Republicans and libertarians alike—exhibit an unthinking habit of mind. These are individuals (for they are not individualists) who’ve been trained by their political and intellectual masters to respond in certain, politically pleasing ways.
Don’t listen to them! Americans are not racist.
Despite the mindless racial merry-go-round manufactured by American media and cognoscenti, I suspect even liberals may have internalized another important lesson of survival: Never elect a black liberal president again.
That’s lesson no. 2.
A Christmas Story
Ilana Mercer Talks Turkey
Described by a critic as “one of those rare movies you can say is perfect in every way,” “A Christmas Story,” directed by Bob Clark, debuted in 1983. Set in the 1940s, the film depicts a series of family vignettes through the eyes of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker, who yearns for that gift of all gifts: the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.
This was boyhood before “bang-bang you’re dead” was banned; family life prior to “One Dad Two Dads Brown Dad Blue Dads,” and Christmas before Saint Nicholas was denounced for his whiteness and “merry Christmas” condemned for its exclusiveness.
If children could choose the family into which they were born, most would opt for the kind depicted in “A Christmas Story,” where mom is a happy homemaker, dad a devoted working stiff, and between them, they have zero repertoire of progressive psychobabble to rub together.
Although clearly adored, Ralphie is not encouraged to share his feelings at every turn. Nor is he, in the spirit of gender-neutral parenting, circa 2014, urged to act out like a girl if he’s feeling … girlie. Instead, Ralphie is taught restraint and self-control. And horrors: the little boy even has his mouth washed out with soap and water for uttering the “F” expletive. “My personal preference was for Lux,” reveals Ralphie, “but I found Palmolive had a nice piquant after-dinner flavor—heady but with just a touch of mellow smoothness.” Ralphie is, of course, guilt-tripped with stories about starving Biafrans when he refuses to finish his food.
The parenting practiced so successfully by Mr. and Mrs. Parker fails every progressive commandment. By today’s standards, the delightful, un-precocious protagonist of “A Christmas Story” would be doomed to a lifetime on the therapist’s chaise lounge—and certainly to daily doses of Ritalin, as punishment for unbridled boyishness and daydreaming in class. Yet despite his therapeutically challenged upbringing, Ralphie is a happy little boy. For progressives—for whom it has long been axiomatic that the traditional family is the source of oppression for women and children—this is inexplicable.
Perhaps the first to have conflated the values of the bourgeois family with pathological authoritarianism was philosopher Theodor Adorno. Adorno’s formulations on authoritarianism have informed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In general, the consensus among these rights’ advocates has been that the traditional family’s hierarchical structure disempowers children. The solution: let the State destabilize the parent-child relationship via policies that would define and limit the power of the parent, while increasing the power of child and political proxies.
While America’s founders intended for the family to be left untouched as “the major source of an orderly and free society”—Dr. Allan Carlson’s words—politicians and jurists have decided to the contrary. What was once the economic and social backbone of American society has been inestimably weakened by both the Welfare State and the Supreme Court—what with the latter’s redefinition of family and marriage, and the former’s incremental steps to trounce parents as the child’s primary socialization agent.
Culturally, the family has been demoted to what Charles Sykes once termed a “Therapeutic Family.” Having “adjusted itself to the new demands of the social contract with the Self,” wrote Sykes in “A Nation of Victims,” “the modern family has ceased to inculcate values.” Instead, it exists exclusively for the ostensible unleashing of “self-expression and creativity” in its members.
Progressives have triumphed. Very little remains of the unit that was once a vector for the transmission of values in American society. Women and children are less likely than ever to have to endure the confines of this bête noire of a family, with its typically “oppressed” mother, old-fashioned father and contained kids. Nowadays, women are more likely to be divorced, never married, or to bear children out of wedlock.
Unencumbered by marriage, women are also more prone to poverty, addictions and sexually transmitted diseases. Their children, a third of whom are being raised in households headed by a mother only, are paying the price in a greater propensity for poverty, and higher dropout, addiction and crime rates. Witness the black family. Having survived the perils of slavery, it was still intact until the 1930s, when the dead hand of the Welfare State finished it off. As a social unit, the black American family is near extinct.
Contemporary America’s familial fragmentation—sky-high divorce rates and illegitimacy—has translated into juvenile crime, drug abuse and illiteracy. Yet despite all the State has done to “liberate” children from the strictures of the traditional family, ask any “emancipated” child and he’ll tell you: more than anything, he yearns for a mom and dad like Ralphie’s.
Indeed, lucky is the little boy who has such a family. Luckier still is the lad who has both such a family and … a BB gun.
Like the family depicted in his charming Christmas film, Bob Clark and his own son are dead and buried—killed by a big beneficiary of Uncle Sam, the criminal alien.
Innocent Actor in Sovereign’s Snuff Film
The Garner Affair – Ilana Mercer rests her case
Despite its elegant simplicity, the libertarian law is difficult to grasp. This I realized pursuant to the publication of “Eric Garner: 100% Innocent under Libertarian Law.” Some of the smartest, polymathic readers a writer could hope for were easily bullied into believing that by failing, first, to submit to the sovereign and question Him later—Eric Garner had undermined some sacred social compact.
A small-time peddler is killed-by-cop for selling single smokes on a New York street corner. Yet so befuddled were readers over the application of libertarian natural law to the Garner case that they insisted against all evidence that Garner’s was an understandable death by “civil disobedience.”
“I certainly would applaud those who resist truly immoral laws (like ordering someone to commit torture),” equivocated one writer, “but I am leery to suggest massive civil disobedience of petty regulations which may, in fact, just give rise to more oppressive government to ‘restore law and order.’”
Yes, the poor sod who dared to purchase and dispose of a couple of loose smokes had committed “massive civil disobedience.” Fearing the Sovereign’s vengeance, some of his fellow citizens felt obliged to calibrate just how daringly Garner should have deviated. Did he raise his voice excessively? Did he wave his arms too energetically? Yet these are all utilitarian, not principled, considerations.
Other readers beat on breast. They were hopelessly “torn” between my verdict—Garner was an innocent actor in the sovereign’s snuff film—and the proposition that Garner had an obligation to prostrate himself before the law to his overlord’s exacting specifications. By failing to do so, Garner had somehow invited his fate.
“Torn” is a word that better comports with images of Gloria Swanson or Marlene Dietrich in mid-swoon. What in bloody blue blazes is there to be “torn” over, the right of a man to stand on the curb with a few “loosies” in-hand, and stay alive?
In claiming that Garner was innocent in natural law, I was—or so I was informed—guilty of implying that he had no moral obligation to obey state-enacted positive law. Woe is me—and woe betides that rascal who counselled that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Here’s the rub about the rudiments of libertarian law. While we all have ideas about what is moral and what’s immoral, libertarianism doesn’t! It has nothing whatsoever to say about morality per se. When libertarians say this or the other is wrong in libertarian law, they mean the following and the following only: unprovoked, an initiated aggression against B or his “legitimately owned” property – that’s it!
Libertarianism is thus concerned with the ethics of the use of force. This and this alone is the ambit of libertarian law.
The foundation of libertarianism is the non-aggression axiom. “The non-aggression axiom is the lynchpin of the philosophy of libertarianism,” explains Walter Block:
It states, simply, that it shall be legal for anyone to do anything he wants, provided only that he not initiate (or threaten) violence against the person or legitimately owned property of another. That is, in the free society, one has the right to manufacture, buy or sell any good or service at any mutually agreeable terms. Thus, there would be no victimless crime prohibitions, price controls, government regulation of the economy, etc.
The concept was unremarkable among 19th century classical liberals, who were Russell Kirk conservatives by any other name. Nowhere was the self-evident nature of natural law more evident than in the matter of Eric Garner. According to a “nationwide USA TODAY/Pew Research Center poll,” “Americans by nearly 3-1” agree the police officer was responsible for the death of Eric Garner.
What is immoral is not necessary illegal and vice versa. It is, arguably, immoral to legislate preferences in employment for certain employees, based on the concentration of melanin in their skin. Yet racial set-asides are perfectly legal in some precincts around the country. Conversely, it is utterly moral to sell an item that belongs to you, as Garner did. However, it was illegal for Garner to sell said items, even though he was in his moral right to trade.
Naturally, there are very many difficult moral issues over which natural-rights libertarians—as opposed to Benthamite, utilitarian libertarians—will argue. Abortion is an example. Based on the non-aggression law, some libertarians hold that abortion is legal in libertarian law, because a woman owns herself and may evict anything from her body. To punish her for exercising dominion over her own body, they claim, would be wrong—even if we think abortion immoral. Other natural-rights libertarians disagree with this position. They say that abortion is aggression against a living, non-aggressive, sentient being.
The debate is mired in morality. But it always returns to what should be legal or illegal in a truly free society: based on the non-aggression law, should we or should we not proceed with force—for that is what law is—against a woman for what she does to her body.
Law is force. Every time our overlords in DC legislate (unconstitutionally, for the most), they grant their gendarmes permission to aggress against an innocent citizen who’s been criminalized. Every new law and regulation licenses law enforcement to initiate mostly unjust, unprovoked force against an innocent, sovereign individual and/or his lawful property—an individual who has done harm to nobody.
Competition in a free society is not aggression. “Eric Garner was not violating anyone’s rights or harming anyone by standing on a street corner and peddling his wares.” The shopkeeper who sicced the cops on Garner had the right to pursue profits. He has no right to the profits he had before the competition arrived on the scene, not in a free-market.
Ultimately, libertarianism’s elegant minimalism as to what is lawful and what’s unlawful comports with the American idea of individual sovereignty, subject to limited, legitimate authority.
John Press proposes a new paradigm
CULTURISM AND CULTURISTS
‘Culturism’ is the opposite of multiculturalism. Whereas multiculturalists believe we should celebrate our national diversity, culturists, (those who advocate culturism), believe that we should seek unity by assimilating citizens into our traditional majority culture.
Multiculturalists do not believe America has a traditional majority culture. For them, Muslim history is just as American as European history. Furthermore, if culturists assert that America is not a Muslim nation, multiculturalists call them ‘racist.’ Culturists believe America has a unique traditional culture, as well as a right to protect and promote it.
As such, using the word ‘culturism,’ (positing an alternative to multiculturalism), and identifying oneself as a ‘culturist’ are political acts. Culturists hope that these words will spread, counter multiculturalists’ abuse of the epitaph ‘racist,’ and reframe political debate within the West.
This article will first consider the rhetorical uses of the words ‘culturism’ and ‘culturist.’ After that, it will look at culturist domestic and foreign policy. Therein, it will contrast culturism with individualism and globalism. Lastly, the article will suggest academic uses of the terms. However, the public need neither agree with every policy suggestion, nor understand every nuance, to deploy these words.
CULTURIST VERSUS RACIST
Multiculturalists’ theoretical basis and rhetorical strategy have easily exploitable weaknesses: while urging the public to ‘celebrate diversity,’ the multiculturalists’ positions assume a thin definition of cultural diversity; this manifests itself in their calling interlocutors “racist” whenever they mention a negative aspect of cultural diversity.
Culturists understand that cultural diversity is very wide and creates measurable effects. Some cultures celebrate ‘honor killing;’ not all cultures celebrate freedom of speech; not all cultures celebrate education; some cultures shame teenage pregnancy, others celebrate it. Cultural values vary in significant ways, many of which Westerners cannot celebrate.
When pressed about such issues, multiculturalists often deny that negative attributes are actually parts of the cultures under discussion. For example, President Obama insisted that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam. For multiculturalists diversity is limited to food, fashion and festivals. At their cores, multiculturalists tell us, all cultures cherish the same ‘humanitarian’ values.
When culturists bring up cultural problems, multiculturalists frequently call them ‘racist.’ By deploying the words ‘culturist’ and ‘culturism,’ we can steer the conversations back to the topic of cultural diversity, “We are not discussing race. We are discussing culture. I am a culturist.” The words ‘culturism’ and ‘culturist’ by overtly referring to culture help to counter attempts to label discussions of cultural diversity as racist.
Culture and race sometimes overlap. But they are essentially different. Islam, for example, is not a race. Muslims come in all colors. People cannot change their race but they can change their culture. Frank discussions of culture can improve all of us.
Many people of conscience understand that blindly celebrating all diversity is problematic. Simultaneously, they sincerely despise racism and understand its divisive nature; they do not wish to be associated with racism or racists. As a result, when witnessing anti-social behavior they remain silent. The term ‘culturist’ will allow them to re-enter polite public discourse.
Furthermore, invoking culturist logic will give social institutions finer tools of analysis. Social scientists routinely assert that cultural groups’ disparate levels of academic and economic achievement prove western societies are racist. This fuels intensive searching for “hidden” institutional racism. This analytic mode tarnishes the reputation of Western nations and builds minority resentment.
Cultural behaviors provide a more direct and quantifiable explanation for educational and economic achievement disparities than institutional racism does. For example, on average, Asians spend more time studying than other ethnic groups. Studying is a measurable cultural variable. Measuring and publicizing this variable can help ameliorate achievement disparities.
A black American named Scott Hampton recently published a book entitled Culturism: The Real Reasons People Dislike African-Americans- And Race Has Nothing to do With It. Hampton’s book systematically criticizes black underclass behavior and then provides cultural corrective measures. Thus, Culturism empowers minorities.
Racism is ill informed and divisive. When discussions degenerate into unfair accusations of ‘racism,’ they are constricted. And, as cultural diversity is real and important, our society and institutions, as well as minorities themselves, need to be able to discuss it. Utilizing the words ‘culturism’ and ‘culturist’ facilitates such discussions.
A CULTURIST DOMESTIC POLICY
Western nations have worked hard to end ‘racial profiling.’ However, such profiling often happens on a cultural basis; it is, in fact, ‘culturist profiling.’ Racial profiling – targeting persons solely on the basis of their skin color – would make no sense. But, cultural diversity being both real and statistically demonstrable, culturist profiling is rational.
For example, based on statistics, we should employ culturist profiling in airport security. Young men named ‘Muhammad’ should receive extra scrutiny. People named ‘Muhammad’ are overwhelming Muslim. Young Muslim males commit the vast majority of terrorist attacks. Elderly Korean women have never committed terrorist acts; they should be passed through airport security quickly.
The preceding culturist policy would be statistically based. We could refine the criterion if we find a statistical correlation with any other demographic information: for example, having visited certain countries. And this policy is not essentialist. If, in the future, Muslim terrorist acts cease and elderly Korean women begin committing acts of terrorism, the policy should be reversed.
Culturist profiling would be challenged on the basis of individual rights. In addition to challenging multiculturalism, culturism provides a counter-balance to decontextualized individualism. What follows is a necessarily short discussion of the interaction between individual rights and culturist rights.
Historically, America has given culturist concerns standing in the law. For example, zoning laws prohibit strip clubs from being near elementary schools; we do not broadcast pornography on public airwaves. In such rulings, the rights of the individual get balanced against the requirements of a healthy culture. Using such a lens, we can see that America has traditionally been a culturist nation.
Individual rights are increasingly used to protect anti-social behavior. However, if Western society does not survive, even fundamental individual rights will cease to exist. Philosophers and jurists should discuss whether culturist measures, such as restricting foreigners from staffing airport security positions, help our culture safeguard itself more than it violates our traditions. But aggressive, uncompromising individualism is unreasonable, dangerous, and counter to our culturist traditions.
While a multiculturalist curriculum aims at making western students ‘global citizens,’ a culturist curriculum would steer them towards being proud Westerners. Multiculturalists object that by implication, culturist curriculum denigrates Old World cultures. Culturists note that Third World cultures create the poor economies, lack of mobility and violence that people flee from. Multiculturalists counter that no cultures are better than any others. Culturists counter that such attitudes not only undermine patriotism, they undermine all attempts at inculcate values.
A CULTURIST FOREIGN POLICY
All nations in the world are, in practice, culturist. Iranian schools promote Iranian nationalism. Japan’s schools lie about their World War II behavior. Mexican schools present Mexico’s side of the Mexican–American War. In much of what follows, as with the domestic curriculum suggestion, the culturist position is simply the international default position.
Culturist foreign policy assumes ‘Clash of Civilizations’ reasoning: the West, the Muslim world, and China are vying for power and dominance. Herein the culturist position counters the widely asserted ‘globalist’ position as well as the concomitant ‘human rights’ regime. The globalist – human rights position frequently unilaterally violates Western sovereignty and imperils our existence. Western culturism prioritizes Western interests.
The West can use the concept of ‘human rights,’ to aggressively shame non-Western nations. But, we must be aware that, in fact, human rights are ‘Western rights.’ China believes neither in democracy nor freedom of speech. Iran does not embrace freedom of religion. If the West falls, no other nation will promote human rights. To protect, human rights, we must protect the West. Such rights are best secured by referring to them as ‘Western rights.’
Concomitantly, culturists reject many of America’s military actions in the Middle East. Among other justifications, America is supposedly in Iraq and Afghanistan to turn them into Western-style, progressive democracies, with freedom of speech, separation of mosque and state, and – eventually, presumably – rights for homosexuals and women. But culturists assert that not all cultures agree on fundamental ‘human’ values; the nature of Islamic culture arguably dooms our Middle East projects.
Culturists respect sovereignty more than globalists do. Iran being an Islamic theocracy is not the West’s concern. However, Iran’s developing nuclear arms and Middle Eastern nations harboring terrorists threaten the West. Therefore, culturists would consider bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities as well as any nation harboring terrorists. However, the goals would be disarmament, punishment and deterrence. Culturist logic precludes any subsequent ‘humanitarian’ actions aimed at rebuilding the Islamic nation and transforming it culturally.
Returning to domestic policy, culturists would drastically limit immigration from Muslim nations. Additionally, culturists would curtail Mexican immigration into the United States due to the population’s concentrated numbers, historical border dispute with the United States and low levels of educational achievement. These immigration policies do not violate any international rights. Just as there is no international right to be in China, there is no international right to be in Western nations.
As other civilizations, the West has a culture and a right to protect it. Western rights only protect Westerners and our culture. Just as we have no right to build churches in Saudi Arabia, Western rights do not give Saudi Arabia the right to build mosques in the West. We need not accept political asylum seekers as neither China nor Iran do. For those who advocate ‘human rights,’ making sure the West is safe and solvent best protects such rights. Protecting the West must take precedence over unilaterally imposed globalist human rights concerns.
Culturism can cause paradigm shifts in academia. For example, American historians frequently characterize the notion of Manifest Destiny, whereby Anglo-Americans sought to spread across the northern western hemisphere, as ‘racist.’ However, illiteracy, poverty and unstable democracies are endemic across Latin America. Protestant-based culture is conducive to first world, progressive national outcomes. Invoking a culturist perspective, we can reframe many of America’s historical polices as positive examples of rational culturism, rather than confirmation of our shameful, irrational and racist tendencies.
Culturism also seeks to integrate academic disciplines. Biologists and anthropologists can tell us what culturist policies are implied by group protection and promotion behaviors. Political philosophers can debate whether these suggested policies promote our traditional sense of responsible liberty more than they violate it. And psychologists can measure the actual cultural impact of such policies. Thus, universities can cooperate on culturist goals.
Many nuances of culturism have not been included in this discussion. The book, Culturism: a Word, a Value, Our Future, details how culturist thought illuminates and coordinates academic disciplines and suggests more policies. Likewise, Scott Hampton’s aforementioned book demonstrates how minorities might apply culturist thought to improve their communities. And Edwin Dyga’s recent article, ‘The Future of Australian Conservatism,’ examines culturism’s place in Australian political life. Yet, you need not understand all of the implications of culturism to call yourself a ‘culturist.’
As the growth of multiculturalism attests, much political discourse and policy takes shape around rhetorical catch phrases. ‘Culturism’ and ‘culturist’ cost nothing to deploy. Yet, in countering multiculturalism, they could reap great political dividends. A single media figure using these words could quickly make them ‘go viral.’ Challenge multiculturalism. Take action. Spread the words today.
John K. Press, Ph.D. is the author of Culturism: a Word, a Value, Our Future. He currently teaches at Namseoul University in South Korea. www.culturism.us has more information.
Fight the Classroom Idiocracy with the Literary Canon
Ilana Mercer educates her masters
The fraught relationship between state and society carries over into classroom and town hall. Something of a commonplace in police state USA is the scene in which a citizen is arrested for speaking his mind to a public official, pedagogue or politician.
Our story begins with a dad, William Baer, a lawyer, I believe, who resides in New Hampshire, the state whose motto is “Live Free or Die.” For speaking out of turn at a school board meeting, Baer was cuffed and carted out of a forum of educrats and obedient parents, herded together at the Gilford high school. An arrest and a charge of disorderly conduct followed—Baer, after all, had exceeded the talk time allotted to him.
“It was basically, you make a statement, say what you want and sit down,” the dad told a local television station. “‘Sit down and shut up’ … [is] not how you interact with adults.”
In the background to the online YouTube clip of the event one can hear the dulcet voice of a female emcee, delighting in the petty abuse of power over a powerless parent.
Mr. Baer was protesting a novel which was required reading in his 14-year-old daughter’s English class: “Nineteen Minutes” by home girl Jodi Picoult. (One of Australia’s finest writers, also the copy editor of Into-the-Cannibals-Pot-Lessons-for-America-from-Post-Apartheid-South-Africa, this writer’s last book, relates that every time he gets on a train or a bus, there seems to be some female or three reading a Jodi P. “masterpiece.”).
Easily more offensive than the salacious sex scene on page 313 of Picoult’s novel is the rotten writing throughout:
“‘Relax,’ Matt murmured, and then he sank his teeth into her shoulder. He pinned her hands over her head and ground his hips against hers. She could feel his erection, hot against her stomach. ”
… She couldn’t remember ever feeling so heavy, as if her heart were beating between her legs. She clawed at Matt’s back to bring him closer. “‘Yeah,’ he groaned, and he pushed her thighs apart. And then suddenly Matt was inside her, pumping so hard that she scooted backward on the carpet, burning the backs of her legs.
… (H)e clamped his hand over her mouth and drove harder and harder until Josie felt him come.
“Semen, sticky and hot, pooled on the carpet beneath her.”
The book’s titillating topics—bullying, school shootings, teen sex and pregnancy—verge on the political. Inculcating kids early on with these cumbersome, constricted constructs serves to stunt young minds. The young reader is intellectually disemboweled, as he is steered into thinking along certain narrow, politically pleasing lines.
Look, the value each one of us places on consumer goods and cultural products in the marketplace is subjective. This Subjective Theory of Value, so central to the excellent Austrian School of Economics (my own school of thought), however, should not be confused with the objective standards that determine the quality of a cultural product.
You might prefer to purchase one of Toni Morrison’s God-awful tomes, but the objective fact is that she’s no match for Shakespeare and never will be. Likewise, based on complexity, skill, mastery and intricacy—it is immutably true that B.B. King is no match for Johann Sebastian Bach.
Irrespective of popular preference, there are objective, universal criteria that make some cultural products superior to others.
The ignoramuses present at the school board meeting are beyond help. Not so the fine Mr. Baer’s daughter.
Schools will puff their reading lists with substandard titles of mass appeal. Parents need not do the same. This list is for William Baer—and all parents who wish to feed young minds with richly textured, inspiring, gripping, superbly-written works that will forever after remain unmatched*:
- “Ivanhoe” by Sir Walter Scott
- “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas
- “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe
- “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson
- “Arabian Nights” by many Arabic geniuses
- “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens
- “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens
- “Oliver Twist” by the same genius
- “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain
- “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain
- “Tom’s Midnight Garden” by Philippa Pearce
- “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C. S. Lewis
- “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper
- “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo
- “Around the World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne
- “The Black Stallion” by Walter Farley
- “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë
- “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë
- “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
- “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen
- “Mansfield Park” (ditto)
- “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding
- “Middlemarch” by George Eliot
- “Silas Marner” by George Eliot
- “Daniel Deronda” by George Eliot
- “How Green Was My Valley” by Richard Llewellyn
- “The Good Earth” by Pearl Buck
- “1984,” by George Orwell
- “Animal Farm” by George Orwell
To spice things up for the precocious young reader, do add Edgar Allan Poe, Roald Dahl’s “Kiss Kiss” and “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.”
Without the literary canon, young minds are doomed to become as dim and sclerotic as those of the educators who assign them the second rate reading material aforementioned.
The literary canon is the best antidote to the educational Idiocracy.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: Ilana Mercer has asked me to add the complete works of Balzac, Flaubert, Melville, Shakespeare and Tolstoy to this edifying list
Ferguson: thankful for the Founding Fathers’ legal legacy
The American race riots – Ilana Mercer gets real
Grand-jury deliberations were conducted behind closed doors. The decision was announced at night. It was too dark. Jurors were given too much information to absorb. The St. Louis County prosecuting attorney was not sufficiently involved in the proceedings. The latter, Bob McCulloch, was too “cold” in sharing the hard facts of the case with the public. His remarks were excessively long or redundant all. The police were too passive in their response to the pillage that followed the unpopular decision.
These are a few of the complaints voiced by the “Racism Industrial Complex (RIC)” against a grand-jury decision in the shooting death of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. A quorum of ordinary Americans has determined that Officer Darren Wilson was not “the initial aggressor,” that the officer “acted in self-defense”; that he “was authorized to use deadly force,” in a situation in which he found himself being punched—and then bull-rushed by a demonic-looking mountain of flesh, Michael Brown.
Brown’s interactions with Officer Wilson would have been fueled by a consciousness of guilt which likely amplified the young man’s aggression. For prior to being shot, a surveillance video had surfaced of Brown roughing up and robbing a shopkeeper. The “Big Kid” was no gentle giant; he was a brute. At the time of their fateful encounter, Officer Wilson suspected Brown of robbing a convenience store.
“The Racism Industrial Complex (RIC),” explains the term’s originator Jack Kerwick, “include the majority of journalists and commentators in corporate media; most academics in the liberal arts and humanities departments of America’s colleges and universities; entertainers; and politicians. In concert, they labor fast and furiously to ensconce within the American consciousness the idea that blacks and other racial minorities are perpetual victims of ‘white racism.’”
Commensurate with the “RIC” narrative, Michael Brown’s blackness is mentioned always in mitigation; Wilson’s whiteness as an aggravating condition.
Right away, the governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, promised “a vigorous prosecution.” Feeling the heat from the head honchoes of the “Racism Industrial Complex” (Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama), Nixon had sought to indict the white officer as a gesture to the Brown family. It is alleged, moreover, that Missouri’s governor and the DC “RIC” are behind the meek response to the November riots, underway across the country.
I hate to say it, but these riots are an object lesson as to what transpires in certain chaotic communities when the police practice peaceful resistance.
Let’s face it: had St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, a Democrat, opted for an open, probable-cause hearing before a judge, as opposed to convening a grand jury, the “Racism Industrial Complex”—forced to face a decision not to its liking—would be decrying the despotism of this single judge. They’d be calling for a jury of the people’s representatives, as bequeathed by the Founding Fathers, in the 5th Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The grand jury institution, as legal analyst Paul Callan has explained, “was actually created by the Founders to provide a wall of citizen protection against overzealous prosecutors.”
Had the decision been revealed in the AM, the RIC herd would have argued for a night-time reveal.
Had Mr. McCulloch meddled with the jury, he’d still be accused of rigging the outcome against Brown.
Had McCulloch hand-picked the evidence for the grand jury, instead of providing the 12 jurors with access to all of it—a “document dump,” brayed Big Media—he’d have been accused of concealing information.
Had the cops moved to curtail the crowds from “venting” over “legitimate issues,” caused by “the legacy of racial discrimination”—they’d have been convicted of police brutality.
As to the affective dimension, McCulloch’s alleged frigid demeanor: a silent majority whose “culture” is being crowded out still finds such WASPY mannerisms comforting and familiar; a sign of professionalism, dignity, decorum and rationality. Profoundly alien and disturbing was the wretched excesses of Michael Brown’s mother (Lesley McSpadden) and her new husband (Louis Head)—both of whom have had brushes with the law—howling “Burn This Bitch Down.”
Regrettably, at the time of the shooting, this libertarian column had expressed the opinion that Brown was the victim of murder-by-cop http://www.ilanamercer.com/phprunner/public_article_list_view.php?editid1=783. I was wrong. Far from the militarized mob, a remarkable process has unfolded in Ferguson. Praise for it belongs to Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch and a grand jury selected by a judge, in May of 2014, long before the shooting occurred.
McCulloch’s remarks were impressive. They revealed the exhaustive scope of the search for truth undertaken by a grand jury that was left to its own devices. Since the text of the statement has not been disseminated, I’ve summarized some of it for interested Americans. Particularly brilliant is the manner in which McCulloch co-opted the DC “RIC” in support of the rule of law, in Ferguson, Missouri:
St. Louis county police conducted an extensive investigation at the crime scene together with agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, at the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder. Together they sought out witnesses and gathered additional information over a period of three months, beginning on the day of the shooting death of Michael Brown. Fully aware of the growing concerns in parts of the community that the investigation and review of the death would not be full and fair, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch decided to hand over to a grand jury all physical evidence related to the case, all individuals claiming to have witnessed any aspect of the events and any and all related matters. The grand jury comprised of 12 members of the community.
Federal investigators worked closely with local law enforcement, with the St. Louis county police and persecutor and Attorney General Holder and his department vowing to follow where the evidence led. These federal investigators shared information with St. Louis county investigator and vice versa. In addition, the Department of Justice conducted its own investigation and performed its own autopsy. Yet another autopsy was carried out by the Brown family and all information was shared and collated. All testimony before the grand jury was immediate forwarded to the DOJ. Eyewitness accounts were compared with the physical evidence. Many witnesses contradicted their own statements and the physical evidence.
As an example of witness testimony that contradicted the physical evidence McCulloch offered numerous statements that claimed to have seen Officer Wilson stand above Michael Brown and fire many rounds into his back. Others claimed that Officer Wilson shot Mr. Brown in the back as he was running away. Once the autopsy was released showing that the deceased did not sustain injuries to his back, statements to that effect were retracted. Others admitted they had, in fact, not witnessed the shooting.
All statements were recorded and presented to the grand jury before the autopsy results were released. There was no “document dump,” as some media claimed. Two of Bob McCulloch’s assistants presented the information to the jury in an organized, systematic manner. All jurors heard every word of testimony and examined every item of evidence presented. McCulloch described a proactive and engaged group working since August 9th to do their due diligence. In the course of 25 days, the jury dissected over 70 hours of testimony and listened to 60 witnesses. They heard from three medical examiners and many other DNA and forensic experts. They examined hundreds of photographs and looked at various pieces of physical evidence. They were instructed in the law and presented with five possible indictments. Their burden was to determine, based on all the evidence, if probable cause existed to determine that a crime was committed and Daren Wilson committed that crime. There is no question that Officer Wilson caused the death of Michael Brown by shooting him. However the law authorizes an officer of the law, and all people, to use deadly force to defend themselves in certain situations. The grand jury considered whether Officer Wilson was the initial aggressor, or whether he was authorized to use deadly force in the situation and acted in self-defense.
They were the only people who examined every piece of evidence and heard every witness. They debated among themselves. After an exhaustive review of the evidence the grand jury deliberated further over two days to arrive at their final decision. And it is that no probable cause exists to file any charges against Officer Darren Wilson. They returned a “No True” bill on each of the five indictments. All the evidence, witness statements included, was made public.
Not even the unethical, ongoing, subversive interventions from the attorney general of black America and the president of black America, on the side of the Brown family, swayed a grand jury guided by the search for truth. For fact-finding is the essence of the law—the law is not an abstract idea of imaged social justice that exists in the arid minds of the perpetually aggrieved.
Unfortunately, “the Racism Industrial Complex” (RIC), also sees law as a weapon, to be co-opted to its ends.
We should give thanks for a prosecuting attorney and grand jury who grasped the evidently archaic idea of ordered liberty. This is a good outcome for American justice.
Don’t get “Grubered” by W’s Groupies
Ilana Mercer ruminates on the rise of executive power
On Fox News’ “The Five,” one female host energetically involved in genuflecting to George Bush turned to another, a former prosecutor and lingerie model, to solicit her “constitutional take”—those are shudder quotes—on President Barack Obama’s impending executive amnesty. A better constitutional authority on presidential powers than Kimberly G-string is Jonathan Turley, professor of law at George Washington University.
For some time, now, Turley, a liberal, has been warning of “the expansion of executive power,” even testifying—to no avail—on Capitol Hill, numerous times, to the rise of an “über-presidency,” in the person of Obama.
In what was a further twist of the screw for Democrats, the talented Turley was selected by House Speaker John Boehner “to represent [the House of Representatives] in a lawsuit against the Obama administration.” While the “suit challenges changes the administration made to Obamacare without congressional authorization,” as reported by the Powerline blog, it must, by logical extension, delve into the “shift toward the concentration of executive power” and the consolidation of the “imperial presidency.”
Still, the powerhouse conservatives at Powerline are already grumbling that Turley—”a hero of the left” during the equally violative George-Bush era—is too much of an extremist when it comes to “restricting presidential power.” Turley, you see, is nothing if not consistent. He has applied to Obama’s predecessor the same constitutional principles he is applying to Obama, and has made clear that the “imperial presidency” didn’t launch with President Obama. In particular, Turley has contended that Bush’s “counter-terrorism efforts were lawless and unconstitutional,” and that Bush committed war crimes.
At the time, the professor had fretted a lot over the cruelty of dunking Abu Zubaydah or placing bugs in the bug-phobic prison cell of this al-Qaida operations chief—hardly a violation of the natural law. Indeed, in Turley, the GOP has a stickler for the letter of the law, not the higher moral law. If anything, Turley’s torture tempest provided a cover for complicit journalists, jurists, politicians and pointy heads, who all skirted the real issue: the imperative to prosecute Bush, Cheney, Clinton and Kerry for invading Iraq and vanquishing an innocent people.
Tapping Turley to prosecute Obama’s overreach is a clever strategic move on the part of the Republicans. Powerline conservatives need not worry excessively about the liberal professor’s case against Bush’s enhanced interrogation methods. Torturing the torture issue served to throw the country off-scent, to the great advantage of the puppet master himself; it concealed an unjust war, waged by Bush with Democratic assent. Of this war crime, most Democrats were as guilty as Republicans.
Barack Obama’s cringe-factor has crescendoed—so much so that conservatives feel comfortable about dusting off an equally awful dictator, Bush 43, and presenting him and his dynasty to the public for another round. However, when James Madison spoke of “war as the true nurse of executive aggrandizement,” he was speaking not only of Obama.
“Speak softly but carry a big stick—the stick being executive power,” preached another Republican tyrant, Teddy Roosevelt. While Turley will be tackling the constitutional quagmire posed by Obamacare, immigration is the latest legislative stick with which Americans are being stuck.
Greg Gutfeld, the one and only neoconservative on that current-affairs show mentioned who entertains and occasionally edifies, is correct about the “broken” inchoate verbiage: “Our immigration system is broken” is a euphemism for the refusal to enforce immigration law (against certain ethno-racial groups). It is statist semantics; Orwellian Newspeak; a linguistic trick to lead Americans to believe urgent action is required.
The structure of the Obama argument for this Brownian legislative motion around immigration is that: 1. Congress has failed to do anything, ergo, He must do something. 2. Matters can’t be left as is, “broken.”
The premise for each is wrong:
On No. 1: From the fact that Congress has not passed an immigration bill—it doesn’t follow that one has to be passed.
On No. 2: That some sectional interests in the U.S. have bought or acquired special privileges and favors—doesn’t mean that all Americans need an immigration bill. (The New York Times has some ideas about the politics of immigration reform, which it did—surprise, surprise!—voice in “The Big Money Behind the Push for an Immigration Overhaul.”
Back on “The Five,” Georgie-Porgie groupie Dana Perino was waxing fat about “W’s” socialist-realism style paintings. W’s art is not quite “murderabilia”—”collectibles related to murders, murderers or other violent crimes”—but it is certainly the “artwork” of a mass murderer (ask ordinary, innocent Iraqis). No wonder the art of Bush Jr. has the same solipsistic, barren quality present in the paintings of John Wayne Gacy Jr.
So: Don’t get “Grubered” by immigration illogic. And don’t get “Grubered” by GOPers who’re trying to rehabilitate their preferred tyrant.