Cathy Reisenwitz Redux: Steigerwald, Oy Gevalt!
By ilana mercer
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 “regimist” Cathy Reisenwitz from libertarian activism —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 libeling 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 prose turgid, the topics well-trodden, the angle never original. Nevertheless, this second-hander has enough to say about my column (begun in Canada, circa 1998). What It 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” (from “Eric Garner 100% Innocent Under Libertarian Law”), I am said to be swimming is very polluted waters. The dodo Steigerwald has diagnosed me as suffering “certain propensities for racist generalizations.” Strictly speaking, I should have anticipated the response of tinny automatons like Steig whatshername, and written that “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 for her prey: “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fem, Steigerwald Has Smelt The Blood Of A ‘Racist.'” Oy gevalt! Once started, nothing will stop the “fee-fi-fo-fem’s frenzy” of a Steigerwald (who has twice now maligned me).
Steigerwald’s worldview belongs to a tyrannical, joyless tradition. The hateful habit of policing what people say for political propriety; snidely 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 “[a]n 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, “lite libertarians”—they’re the kind that is 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.
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.