Author Archives: ilana mercer

Trashing Populism: Dim-Bulb Academic Vs. Deplorables


By ilana mercer

To say that academic elites don’t like ordinary folks is to state the obvious.

To them, Lanford, Illinois—the fictional, archetypal, working-class town, made famous by Roseanne and Dan Conner—is not to be listened to, but tamed.

A well-functioning democracy depends on it.

Taming Fishtown—Charles Murray’s version of Landford—is the thread that seems to run through  a new book, “The People vs. Democracy,” by one Yascha Mounk.

You guessed it. Mr. Mounk is not an American from the prairies; he’s a German academic, ensconced at Harvard, and sitting in judgment of American and European populism.

If only he were capable of advancing a decent argument.

“The number of countries that can plausibly be described as democracies is shrinking,” laments Mounk (“Populism and the Elites,” The Economist, March 17, 2018):

Strongmen are in power in several countries that once looked as if they were democratizing … The United States—the engine room of democratization for most of the post-war period—has a president who taunted his opponent with chants of ‘lock her up’ and refused to say if he would accept the result of the election if it went against him.

 

Elites ensconced in the academy are likely selected into these mummified institutions for a certain kind of ignorance about political theory or philosophy.

Plainly put, a chant, “lock her up,” is speech, nothing more. This Trump-rally chant might be impolite and impolitic, but on the facts, it’s not evidence of a “strongman.”

Notice how, deconstructed, nearly every utterance emitted by the technocratic and academic elites turns out to be empty assertion?

Even the subtitle of the book under discussion is sloppy political theory: “Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It” implies that democracy is the be-all and end-all of liberty. Quite the opposite.

America’s Constitution-makers did everything in their power (except, sadly, heed the Anti-Federalists) to thwart a dispensation wherein everything is up for grabs by government, in the name of the people.

Today,” claims our author,  “the popular will is increasingly coming into conflict with individual rights.” To this end, “liberal elites are willing to exclude the people from important decisions, most notably about immigration in the case of the European Union.”

He has excluded Americans from the immigration, decision-making equation. But they, too, have been eliminated from decision-making on these matters. Perhaps the anti-populism tinkerer, for Mounk is no thinker, views the levels of “exclusion” in the US, on this front, as acceptable.

Perhaps he thinks that the flow of up to two million into the US every year—changing it by the day—is done with the right degree of democratic inclusion. (How about a federal referendum on immigration, to test that?)

The popular will is fine—provided it restores the obligations of government to its constituents, not to the world, protects nation-state sovereignty, respects the founding people of Europe and the West; and protects their traditions, safety and identity. For example, by eliminating the weaponization of political concepts against The People. In the context of immigration, constructs that have been weaponized are multiculturalism and diversity.

If anything, populist leaders who want to denuclearize constructs which have been weaponized by the state are authentic leaders. The opposing elites are the interlopers.

Your common, garden-variety academic is selected and elevated in academia precisely because of a pre-existing condition: a globalist, deracinated disposition.

For that matter, humanity does not have a right to immigrate en masse to the United States or to Europe. There is no natural right to venture wherever, whenever—unless, perhaps, migrants can be confined to homesteading frontier territory.

Regrettably, the developed world is running out of frontier territory to homestead.  Besides, the only potential immigrants who still have that frontier spirit are South-African farmers. But American and European elites are uninterested in refugees who are ACTUALLY and actively being killed-off.

That would be too much like preserving “white privilege,” which is certainly not what Mounk’s about. He moans, instead, about dangerous populists, and how they’re “willing to dispense with constitutional niceties in the name of ‘the people.’”

Which “constitutional niceties” have populists dispensed with? Repealing statutory, man-made law the Left, invariably, depicts as fascism, when in fact repealing positive law is often liberating; strengthening the natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“Politics,” our author continues, “is defined by a growing battle between illiberal democracy, or democracy without rights, on the one hand, and undemocratic liberalism, or rights without democracy, on the other.

It’s hard to know what to make of such bafflegab, only that the author’s political theory has been through the progressive smelter. Democracy unfettered—social democracy, Third Wayism—adopted by all “free” nations, the US as well, in antithetical to the liberty envisioned by the American Founding Fathers.

Why so? Because in this fetid democracy, every aspect of individual life is up for government control. The very idea that a few hundred clowns in two chambers could represent hundreds of millions of individuals is quintessentially illiberal. And impossible.

The kind of “undemocratic liberalism” the author sneers at is likely the classical liberalism of the 19th century, where the claims the mass of humanity could levy against individuals in a particular territory were severely curtailed, if not non-existent.

Finally, what would an academic be without a brand of demeaning, economic reductionism? The lumpenproletariat are economically distressed. That’s Yascha Mounk’s final diagnosis. That’s why populism is surging.

Tossed in their direction, Chinese-made trinkets will do wonders to improve the mood of this seething, racist, mass of Deplorables. Then Mounk and his friends can move in to make the right decisions for us.

Harvard’s Chosen’s One chalks populism up to “the laws of globalization.” Deal with it or die.

Or, as advocated by Kevin D. Williamson, a NeverTrumper formerly of National Review:

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets … The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.” (“The Father-Führer,” March 28, 2016.)

 

You see, working-class “losers” are being labelled illiberal fascists for—wait for it!—wanting a local economy around which to center flesh-and-blood communities.

A real Heil-Hitler moment!

This populism-detesting academic (Yascha Mounk) is a theoretical utilitarian and bad one at that. He refuses to “grapple with the nuances” of the issues that make for misery or mirth among ordinary men and women. Instead, he grumbles that his gang of “technocratic elites” needs to moderate its ambitions, given that they’re not working with much (dumb Deplorables).

Here’s the truth about the nationalism against which the political and pedagogic elites rail:

[It] has often been cast by the historically triumphant Left as fascistic. Yet historically, this Right rising has represented broad social strata: It has represented the bourgeoisie—middle-class, liberal and illiberal, standing for professional and commercial interests. It has stood for the working class, the landed aristocracy, the (Catholic) clergy, the military, labor unions, standing as one against the radical Communist or anarchist Left, which promised—and eventually delivered—bloody revolution that destroyed organic, if imperfect, institutions. (“The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed,” p. 234

***

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

Advertisements

Nullification Is Justice’s Jaws of Life


By ILANA MERCER 

Planning for a show-down, a column of 1,500 Central Americans, largely from Honduras, has been beating a path to the Mexican-American border.

Some report that the column has been halted; others dispute that. Interviewed by Reuters in Mexico, a sojourning mother of seven—what are the chances none is an MS13 gangster?—signaled her intention to proceed to the US, if only to teach President Trump a lesson.

Yes, “Make America Great Again” to you, too, Colindres Ortega.

Organizers and participants in this farce aim, very plainly, to publicly demonstrate that the US doesn’t have borders. Led by anti-American agitators, the procession catalyzed the urgency of action to stop an ongoing invasion. 

Whether it arrives or not, the caravan is a positive bit of theatre. For one thing, the actors are quite correct. The US doesn’t have borders. For another, the caravan vividly exposes the antagonists in this ongoing tragedy: our overlords in DC. All of them.

To narrow the indictment a tad, note the extent to which the Democrats and their news media have avoided mentioning or covering the caravan. At a time when Democrats are fielding populists like Conor Lamb (who won in Pennsylvania) and former rodeo champion Billie Sutton (he hopes to govern South Dakota)—the mess on the border damns them like nothing else.

It’s these villains who’ve agreed to laws that permit anyone—other than white South Africans—to arrive at that border, do their Les Misérables act, claim to face a “credible fear” back home, get a court date, and bolt like so many rabbits, to be seen again only at the voting booth, the welfare office, the DMV and at DACA demonstrations. They’re the malcontents holding up signs that read “America is racist.”

What all the veiled allusions to “catch-and-release loopholes in American immigration law” imply is this: Ostensibly, there’s no way to turn interlopers away once they plonk themselves on the US border, demand a translator and spin some yarn.

So far, President Trump has “signed a proclamation ordering the deployment of the National Guard to the border with Mexico.” This changes nothing. It remains illegal to defend the border by turning these particular trespassers away.

Other than stare these brazen people down, what will the National Guard do? Change diapers, as they did during the 2014 rush on the border?

Flash back more recently to January of 2016, when candidate Trump began alluding to “President Obama’s irresponsible use of executive orders” having paved the way for him, Trump, to also use them freely if he won the presidential race.

“Amen,” I said at that time—provided Trump uses executive power to repeal lots of laws, not make them.

After all, we live under an administrative “Secret State.” Very many, maybe most, of the laws under which Americans labor need repealing. The only laws that should be naturally inviolable are those upholding life, liberty and property, for those are natural rights.

Candidate Trump had gone on to promisingly proclaim that, “The one thing good about executive orders [is that] the new president, if he comes in – boom, first day, first hour, first minute, you can rescind that.”

All of which speaks to a broader truth: There is nothing sacrosanct about every law imposed by an overweening national government and its unelected agencies. “At the federal level alone,” the number of laws totaled 160,000 pages,” in 2012. By broadcaster John Stossel’s estimation, “Government adds 80,000 pages of rules and regulations every year.” (How long is the Constitution?) According to the Heritage Foundation, “Congress continues to criminalize at an average rate of one new crime for every week of every year.”

America has become a nation of thousands-upon-thousands of arbitrary laws; whose effect is to criminalize naturally licit conduct. Rather than uphold individual rights, most positive law (namely statutory, man-made law) regulates or criminalizes the business of life.

Laws passed in violation of the natural rights of the people, and by altogether skirting the will of the people’s representatives, need to be nullified. Like the laws making it illegal to repel unwanted invaders, who intend to wage welfare on their hosts, and sometimes worse.

Executive orders, President Trump has issued galore. But relatively few pertain to stopping the invasion ongoing. Needed are executive orders that sunder laws dictating that invaders-cum-“refugees” are to be processed rather than expelled.

Let the president suspend the scam that is the United States Refugee Act. Subject to review, yada-yada-yada. Let the president untether the US government from the Trojan Horse and shake-down scheme that is the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Again, subject to blah-blah-blah.

In working on behalf of refugees worldwide, private American charities dwarf the US government. Private non-profits do what they do unobtrusively, ethically, with minimum overheads and personnel. They don’t rely on confiscatory taxes! Most importantly, charities disburse aid and empower refugees without entering into agreements and entanglements with supranational bureaucracies, a thing that serves to indenture and endanger Americans, stateside.

In this post-constitutional era, nullification of unjust laws through executive orders is what’s necessary. It’s inevitable that correctives to the corrosive, self-sustaining, intractable actions of the state take the shape of action and reaction, force and counterforce in the service of liberty.

In this unfortunate but inescapable scheme of things, nullification is justice’s Jaws of Life, properly considered a political power tool to pry the people free of bad laws.

***

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

When Merit-Based Hiring Is Deemed Racist, Bridges Fall Down


By ilana mercer

As individuals, we want the best doctors treating and operating on us, the best pilots flying the airplanes we board, the best engineers designing the bridges we cross, the best scientists inventing and bringing to market the medicines and potions we ingest.

Yet the American Idiocracy is moving to equate merit-based institutions with institutionalized racism.

Tucker Carlson, likely the only merit-based hiree at Fox News, recently divulged that a member of the Trump administration was overheard (by a thought-police plant) expressing a preference for merit-based recruits for his department.

Egad, and what next!

Google, a tool of the Idiocracy, appears to have scrubbed its search of this latest episode in “The Closing of the American Mind.” However, it’s no secret that the education system already excludes the most naturally gifted, independent-minded individuals from fields in which they’d excel.

Race preferences notwithstanding, requirements for social activism of the right kind, for volunteerism and worldviews of the left kind, for working exclusively toward the best grades: These are things girls do better than boys. 

In any event, when the best-person-for-the-job ethos gives way to racial and gender window-dressing and to the enforcement of politically pleasing perspectives; things start to fall apart. 

A spanking new bridge collapses, new trains on maiden trips derail, Navy ships keep colliding, police and FBI failure and bad faith become endemic, and the protocols put in place by a government “for the people” protect offending public servants who’ve acted against the people.

As in this writer’s birth place of South Africa, the U.S. government has a pyramid of hiring preferences. Guess which variables feature prominently in its considerations? Complexion or competency?

Consider the procurement pyramid that went into destroying the steady supply of coal to South-African electricity companies. Bound by Black Economic Empowerment policies, buyers buy spot coal, first from black women-owned suppliers, then from small black suppliers, next are large, black suppliers, and only after all these options have been exhausted—or darkness descends, whatever comes first—from “other” suppliers.

The result: An expensive and unreliable coal supply and rolling blackouts.

Everywhere, media are congenitally incurious and corrupt. They aren’t digging. But it’s likely that similar considerations will go a long way in explaining the collapse of a Florida university campus pedestrian bridge, under which people were pulverized.

So far, the attitude of those who’re doing this can be summed thus: S-it happens. Deal.

As for the public; it receives no follow-up and learns to demand none. Hence, “The Closing of the American Mind.”

But if American institutions continue to subordinate their raison d’être to politically dictated egalitarianism, reclaiming these institutions, private and public, from the deforming clutches of affirmative action will become impossible.

It might already be impossible.

For example: Former FBI agent and patriot Philip Haney was dismissed by Barack Obama from the Department of Homeland Security and is nowhere to be found in the Trump Administration. This brilliant man’s goal was to do his job: stop Muslim terrorists in the US.

Alas, the intricate program and extensive network of contacts Haney developed were nixed, because political priorities had come to dominate the agency. As a result, innocents died.

Treason? I’d say so. So, where are the purges?

What were once merit-based institutions are being hollowed-out like husks through preferential, non-merit-based hiring, quotas, set-asides, not to mention the policing of thought for political propriety.

No longer beholden to the unifying, overarching value of merit, institutions, moreover, become riven by tribal feuds and factional loyalties—both in government and in business alike, where it is well-known that newly arrived “minorities” hire nepotistically.

Across the American workplace, the importance of “meritocratic criteria” such as test scores or “minimum credentials” has been downplayed, if not downright eliminated as “inherently biased against minorities.”

The U.S. government hasn’t had an entrance test since … 1982. It abandoned both the Federal Civil Service Entrance Examination and the Professional and Administrative Career Examination (PACE) because blacks and Latinos were much less likely to pass either of them.

In academia, law schools have lowered the bar in admissions and on the bar exam. Universities run a “dual admissions system”—“one admissions pool for white applicants and another, far less competitive, pool for minorities.”

The institutionalized American “quota culture” has been imposed by administrative fiat, courtesy of the “The Power Elite”—that engorged “administrative state” under which Americans labor.

For the purposes of conferring affirmative action privileges, American civil servants have compiled over the decades an ever-growing list of protected groups, “as distinct from whites.”

In addition to blacks, the list entails mainly minorities such as Hispanics—Chileans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, and Mexicans—Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Asian/Indians, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Cambodians (and homosexuals).

If the kind of immigration policies instituted by the über-left American Idiocracy (it includes most Republicans) continue apace, the institutional tipping-point will be reached in no time.

The reason is the “immigration-with-preference paradox,” first noted by Frederick R. Lynch, author of “Invisible Victims: White Males and the Crisis of Affirmative Action” (1991).

Once mass immigration became a bipartisan policy, millions of imported non-black minorities were—still are—given preference over native-born American citizens. No sooner do these minorities cross the border, legally or illegally, than they become eligible for affirmative-action privileges.

These preference policies govern both state- and big-business bureaucracies, which seem to have voluntarily (and energetically) embraced them, if only to subdue their white workforce.  

It goes without saying that “those who came to this country in recent decades from Asia, Latin America and Africa” did not suffer discrimination from our government, and in fact have frequently been the beneficiaries of special government programs.”

There’s a world of difference between compelling minority recruitment to equal the proportion of minorities in the population and enforcing majority recruitment to equal the proportion of the majority in the population.

In South Africa, the majority is targeted for affirmative action: 75 percent of the population! In the U.S., it’s the minority. 

South Africa underwent an almost overnight political transformation. One day a white, relatively well-educated minority dominated all institutions; the next, a skills-deficient black majority took over. Nevertheless, South Africa’s hollowed-out establishments are a harbinger of things to come in the U.S., where minorities will soon form a majority.

If American institutions have not yet collapsed entirely under the diversity doxology’s dead weight; it’s because the restructuring of society underway is slower.

Again, this will change once minorities in the US form a majority, as they soon will due to continued, unabated, mass immigration from the Third World.

**

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

Trump’s Phone Call To Putin


By ilana mercer

“This is just a truly astonishing moment coming from the White House podium,” tweeted MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt. Like the rest of the media pack-animals she hunts with, Ms. Hunt had been fuming over President Trump’s telephone call to Vladimir Putin, congratulating him on winning another term as president.

Reliably opposed to a truce were party heavies on both sides. Sen. John McCain joined the chorus: “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” he intoned.

Another Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley, told a reporter testily that he “wouldn’t have a conversation with a criminal. I think Putin’s a criminal. What he did in” Iraq, what he did in Libya … Wait a sec? Remind me; was it Putin or our guys who wrecked those countries? So many evil-doers on the world-stage, it’s hard for me to keep track.

“When I look at a Russian election, what I see is a lack of credibility in tallying the results,” sermonized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I’m always reminded of the elections they have in almost every communist country.”

Actually, what the International Election Observation Mission found in Russia’s presidential election of March 18 was far more nuanced. Why, in some ways the Russian elections were very American: In the difficulty dissident candidates have in getting on the ballot, for example.

Ask Ron Paul or all those anonymous, aspiring, independent, third-party candidates about the US’s “restrictive ballot access laws and the other barriers erected” by the duopoly to protect their “de facto monopoly in America,” to paraphrase Forbes.com.

As for jailing journalists, frequently for life: Not Russia, but an American ally, Turkey, is the world’s biggest offender. But hold on. Isn’t Trump turning on the Kurds to pacify the Turks? Maybe it’s something the Saudi’s said. Go figure.

What doesn’t change is the interchangeability—with respect to any peaceful overtures made by President Trump toward Russia—of the Stupid Party (Republicans) and the Evil Party (Democrats). And yet, the same self-interested individuals protest, periodically, that Trump’s recklessness risks plunging the country into war.

The president wants to cooperate with the Russians. International confrontation being their stock-in-trade, the UniParty won’t countenance it. Politicians in both parties have not stopped egging Mr. Trump on, rejecting the détente he seeks with Russia, and urging American aggression against a potential partner. Yet, incongruously, in October of 2017, a Republican Senator, Bob Corker, saw fit to complain that the president was “reckless enough to stumble [sic] the country into a nuclear war.”

To please and curry favor with an establishment that detests him and is vested in the geopolitical status quo—POTUS even signed sanctions into law against Russia.

Cui bono, pray tell? Who benefits from this standoff?

General Barry R. McCaffrey has The Answer. The Trump congratulatory courtesy call to Mr. Putin shows the president’s refusal to protect US interests, tweeted the general.

“US interests” or your interests, sir? Who benefits here? Ordinary Americans, or the media-military-industrial-complex; the swamp organism Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address: “The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – … felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government … [of] an immense military establishment and a large arms industry.”

Not to mention the attendant barnacles who suction onto the ship of state: professional TV talkers, think tank sorts, self-anointed intellectuals (who’re not very intelligent). All are vested in an American-led order, so long as they get to dictate what that (martial) order looks like.

The same political flotsam “argues” against President Trump’s desired détente with Russia using the following logic: If the “master of the political insult,” Donald Trump, “declines to chide Putin,” to quote NBC and CNN standard issue “analysts”—something is off. Ergo, Trump is beholden to Putin and to Russia. The Russians have something on him.

Such a line of “reasoning” fails basic logic, simply because it’s inexhaustive. In other words, there are other, highly plausible explanations as to why the president is not warring with Russia, not least that diplomacy is a good thing; that POTUS ran on a promise of peace with Putin; that he had articulated, as a campaigner, an idea entertained by most Deplorables. Namely that Russians are at odds with Islam and ISIS; that Putin is a Russia First, nationalist, whereas our Anglo-Europeans “allies” are Islam-friendly globalists.

Had POTUS kept pressing the perfectly proper positions he ran on, he might have retarded the Russia political wildfire, now raging out of control. Philosophical consistency would’ve served him well as an antidote to the political opportunism around him.

Instead, President Trump has surrounded himself with appointees who deliver a message discordant to his. What comes out of the White House is an ideological cacophony.

Hiring different perspectives in business could well be a strength. But it’s a weakness when politics and policy are in play. Needed to advance a political agenda is a team that shares the political philosophy underlying the agenda.

MSNBC’s Miss Hunt and her political clones were particularly galled by Sarah Sanders. The White House press secretary was asked whether the Russian election was free and fair. She replied: “We don’t get to dictate how other countries operate.”

What’s outraging our neoconservative-Jacobin establishment is that the White House is practicing, if only fleetingly, what another American president counseled in a bygone Independence-Day speech: detachment and diplomacy in foreign policy.

[America] goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.

 

The man who’d be casting pearls before swine today was John Quincy Adams. The sixth president of the United States (1825-1829), son of John Adams, spoke truths eternal on that July 4, 1821.

 

***

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

Trade Deficits In The Context Of State-Managed Trade And Systemic Debt


By ilana mercer

In the turbulent times of Trump, it seems like an eternity, but last week, Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic advisor, resigned from his position. President Trump had asked “Cohn directly” if he could be relied on to help implement tariffs. Cohn said no, by Bloomberg Politics’ telling. Hours later, he was out.

Asked and answered—also in the presence of Mr. Cohn, back in November of 2017—was another important question. At the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, august CEOs, a room full of them, were asked if they’d increase capital investment in American workers, pursuant to Trump’s business-friendly tax plan. A pitiful few raised their hands.

Globalist Gary, as he was known by the near-extinct Bannon faction of the West Wing, remained unperturbed. Formerly chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs, the affable Democrat had formed part of the Kushner-Cohn opposing axis, in this fractious White House.

Cohn had helped pass the Trump tax plan, which—judging by the election outcome in Pennsylvania’s Trump friendly, 18th congressional district—might not have been a legislative chart-topper.

For Mr. Cohn, it’s always been big business above all. But Trump’s promise to pass tariffs, the kind Mitt Romney proposed in 2012, and George Bush passed in 2002—Cohn would not tolerate because, as big media keeps mouthing, “he’s a free-trade guy.”

Though it’s true that Cohn’s successor, TV economist Larry Kudlow, similarly bills himself “a free-trade guy”; untrue is the idea that the US, or any country, for that matter, practices the ideal of free trade.

Free trade is an unknown ideal.

What goes for “free trade,” rather, is trade managed by bureaucratic juggernauts—national and international—central planners concerned with regulating, not freeing, trade; whose goal it is to harmonize labor, health, and environmental laws throughout the developed world. The undeveloped and developing worlds generally exploit and pollute as they please.

One of the promises Candidate Trump had made and hasn’t yet violated was to simply make these statist organs and trade agreements work for the American people. To wit, the president believes in reducing trade deficits.

Far be it from me to endorse tariffs as a means of reducing trade deficits. I am only here questioning the totemic attachment free-traders have to trade deficits, given that Americans live under conditions of systemic debt and state-managed trade that is anything but free.

If free trade is an unknown ideal, it is quite appropriate to question the alleged glories of an aggregate, negative balance of trade, in this “rigged system,” as Trump would say.

As to systemic debt: Yes, libertarians ought to oppose tax increases, which is what tariffs are. We hold that voluntary exchanges are by definition advantageous to their participants. Trader Joe’s, my hair stylist and the GTI dealer—all have products or skills I want. Within this voluntary, mutually beneficial relationship, I give up an item I value less, for something I value more: a fee for the desired product or service. My trading partners, whose valuations are in complementary opposition to mine, reciprocate in kind.

Ceteris paribus (all other things being equal), there’s nothing wrong with my running a trade deficit with Trader Joe’s, my hair stylist or my GTI dealer, as I do—just as long as I pay for my purchases.

And there’s the rub: The data demonstrate that we Americans, in general, are not paying for our purchases.

Americans, reports Fortune.com, actually have more debt relative to income earned than Greeks. “Indebted U.S. households carry an average credit card balance of $15,706, according to NerdWallet.”

Corporate America is likewise heavily leveraged.

The Federal government is the definition of debt. The U.S. national debt is over $20 trillion without federal unfunded liabilities. Those exceed $210 trillion, by Forbes’ 2017 estimate. Total public debt as a percent of Gross Domestic Product, announced the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is 104 percent.

Our improvident government’s debts, liabilities and unfunded promises exceed the collective net worth of its wastrel citizens.

Given these historic trends, it seems silly to dismiss the yawning gap between U.S. exports and U.S. imports as an insignificant economic indicator.

Because of decades of credit-fueled, consumption-based living, the defining, current characteristic of our economy is debt—micro and macro; public and private. Unless one is coming from the pro-debt Keynesian perspective, is this not an economically combustive combination?

Non-stop consumption—enabled by government monetary and regulatory policies—has coincided with a transition from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based one; and from an export- to an import-oriented economy. For some reason, this reality continues to excite the febrile imaginations of Beltway libertarians.

Libertarians at CATO, for instance, love that, historically, America’s annual trade deficit has been rising: “[t]rade deficits do not cost jobs. Rising trade deficits,” they say, “correlate with falling unemployment rates. Far from being a drag on economic growth, the U.S. economy has actually grown faster in years in which the trade deficit has been rising than in years in which the deficit has shrunk.”

Much to CATO’s delight (presumably), the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced, in 2017, that “the goods and services deficit was $53.1 billion in December, up $2.7 billion from $50.4 billion in November, revised. … Year-over-year, the average goods and services deficit increased $6.1 billion from the three months ending in December 2016.”

In arguing their point, trade-deficit deniers point out, correctly, that America ran trade surpluses during the Great Depression. But from the fact that the US had trade surpluses during some very bad times—it does not follow that the nation’s current trade deficit is inconsequential as economic indices go. It could just as well mean that the economic fundamentals today are worse than they were during the Great Depression; since this country has never before been as deeply and systemically in hock as it currently is.

Far from comprising discrete parts, the economy is ineluctably interconnected. The trade deficit belongs to a nation enmeshed in debt.

Contra the Keynesians who control the economy—and whose thinking many free-traders appear to be propping up intellectually, in their indifference to credit-fueled consumption—real wealth is created not by printing paper money and galvanizing the globe’s governments to buy our government’s bonds, but by the production and consumption of products.

Considering that an abundance of goods, not money income, is what makes for an increase in wealth; it’s not unreasonable to want to see a natural shift take place in the U.S., from an economy founded on consumption and credit to one rooted in savings, investment and production.

 

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

South Africa Land Theft: Crappy Constitution All But Allows It


©2018 By ILANA MERCER

Up until, or on the day, a predictable calamity unfolds in South Africa, you still find Western Media insisting that,

* No, there’s no racial component to the butchering of thousands of white rural folks in ways that would make Shaka Zulu proud.
* No, the mutilated, tortured, white bodies of Boer and British men, women and children aren’t evidence of racial hatred, but a mere artifact of good old indigenous crime. No hatred crimes. No crimes against humanity. Move along. Let the carnage play on.

And the latest: To listen to leftist, counterfactual, ahistoric pabulum served up by most in media, a decision in South Africa’s Parliament to smooth the way for an expropriation without compensation of private property came out of … nowhere.

It just so happened—pure fluke!—that the permanently entrenched, racialist parties in parliament used their thumping majorities to vote for legalizing state theft from a politically powerless minority. Didn’t see that coming!

And still they beat on breast: How did the mythical land of Saint Nelson Mandela turn into Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”?

How did that country’s “vaunted” constitution yield to “the horror, the horror” of land theft?

Easily, even seamlessly—as I’ve been warning since the 2011 publication of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa,” which provided the analytical edifice for what’s unfolding; and the only viable solutions before a metaphorical Masada. Or, a last stand. You can pile more murders, more corruption, more horror atop the same analytical foundation; but, distilled to bare bones, the truth about South Africa remains unchanged.

To wit, there’s a reason the South African Constitution is loved by US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg! “If I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” she told Al-Hayat TV, “I might look at the constitution of South Africa ….” The woman who’s spent her years on the Bench trying to make the US Constitution more like South Africa’s should know a thing or two.

An abiding truth studiously finessed by the news cartel is that Cyril Ramaphosa—the latest Sexy Beast to regale the West from the Sacred Grounds of South Africa—promised to be gentle about land theft. Oh, yes: One of Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign promises was to finally get down to the business of the people: stealing private property, an inherently aggressive, coercive act.

Since replacing Jacob Zuma as president, Ramaphosa has endeavored to “speed up the transfer of land from white to black owners after his inauguration two weeks ago.” (It used to be that “conservatives” viewed stealing a man’s property as a crime and a disqualifier of sorts. But Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, a fellow South African, gets behind the notion that Ramaphosa has been “a moderate throughout his career, whose negotiation skills helped bring about a peaceful end to apartheid.”)

Before Ramaphosa, Zuma too had “called on parliament to change South Africa’s Constitution to allow the expropriation of white-owned land without compensation.”

Unlike so many celebrity journos involved, both men know that said constitution is no bulwark against state expropriation. Or, against any “public” or private violence, for that matter. As a protector of individual rights to life, liberty and property, the thing is worse than useless—a wordy and worthless document.

Take Section 12 of this progressive constitution. It enshrines the “Freedom and Security of the Person.” Isn’t it comforting to know that in a country where almost everyone knows someone who has been raped, robbed, hijacked, murdered, or all of the above—the individual has a right to live free of all those forms of violence?

Here’s the rub: Nowhere does the South African Constitution state whether its beneficiaries may defend their most precious of rights. Recounted in “Into The Cannibal’s Pot” is example after example, and attendant analysis, of innocent victims of crime punished and prosecuted by those who swore to uphold the constitution. These victims are punished for merely and minimally defending their so-called constitutionally enshrined rights.

The African National Congress (Mandela’s party) has always, not suddenly, disregarded the importance of private property, public order and the remedial value of punitive justice. Innocent victims of crime under its regime are regularly forced to defend themselves in their own homes on pain of imprisonment.

A right that can’t be defended is a right in name only. Implicit in the right to life is the right to self-defense.

It’s why I contended that South Africa’s Constitution is descriptive, not prescriptive—full of pitch-perfect verbal obesities that provide little by way of recourse for those whose natural, individual rights are violated.

Certainly, self-defense verges on an offense in the new constitutional democracy. For example, the Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act stipulates that, “Before you can act in self-defense, the attack against you should have commenced, or at least be imminent” (“Cannibal,” pp. 29-30). How is that feat calibrated? Wait until you feel the blade or the bullet before defending your life? Alas, to avoid incarceration, you must find a way to calibrate a defensive response within your own castle.

With the advent of the constitutional Firearm Control Act of 2000 (FCA)—the Safety and Security Minister unveiled “an arsenal” of stricter gun-control laws, decreeing that “non-threatening” home invaders would no longer face on-the-spot justice. Should a South African awaken to find a malefactor standing by the bed, he shall have to hold his fire and attempt to ascertain the intruder’s manifestly acquisitive—and almost certainly murderous—motives.

For dispatching an assailant in your home, with a licensed firearm, you will generally be arrested and charged with murder or with attempted murder, if unsuccessful. It’s pro-forma. To add to their woes under South Africa’s Constitution, acting in self-defense while white will often see a self-defense offender publicly shamed as a “raaaaaacist” (p. 29).

To repeat, in a country where almost everyone knows someone who has been raped, robbed, hijacked, murdered, an oleaginous ANC official decides whether a woman, black or white, truly needs a handgun for self-defense. This process can take years. Reasons the South Africa Police Service—revamped and thoroughly integrated, racially—gives for denying an application are: a “lack of motivation,” “your husband can protect you,” “the police will protect you,” “you are too young.”

Talk about an “eff-off” attitude!

As for equality before the law: The South African Bill of Rights is contemptuous of it. The Bill of Rights enshrines group rights and allows for compensatory and distributive “justice.” The state’s confiscatory powers may be used to redress “past injustices.” “… To promote the achievement of equality; legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken.”

I told you: The Constitution already allows a good deal of mischief in the name of the “greater good,” including land expropriation in the “public interest.” Thus the Expropriation Bill of 2008: It is the precursor to the current land expropriation process. So where, pray tell, was the news cartel when it was floated as an impetus for land nationalization?

With the 2008 Bill, the dominant ruling party had empowered itself—and “any organ of state, at any level of government”—to take ownership and possession of property “simply by giving notice to the expropriated owner.” “The state would make the ‘final’ determination of the compensation due, subject only to a limited form of court review.”Both movable and immovable property has always been up for grabs—”livestock and farming implements, residential homes, business premises and equipment, patents, and shares.” The 2008 Bill was temporarily shelved before the 2009 elections, but not forgotten. It led naturally to talk about nationalization. (“Cannibal,” p. 74.)

In March 2010, a plan was tabled in Parliament for turning “all productive land into a national asset leased to farmers.” Such sentiments are hardly new. True to a promise made in Mandela’s 1955 communistic Freedom Charter, the ANC has already nationalized the “mineral wealth beneath the soil” and the water rights. (Has the mummified media ever wondered out loud why Cape Town has run dry?)

Thereafter, to supplement the Expropriation Bill, the Party had published a policy paper that warned, among other planned infractions, of the need to water-down the already weak property-rights provision in the Constitution.

All along had the entrenchment of a property clause in the South African Constitution angered judicial activists, who conflate the protection of private property with the entrenchment of white privilege. (Hence the subtitle of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot”: “Lessons for America …”) Their fears were overblown. Back then, I wagered that nationalization would necessitate but a minor tweak to the Constitution, since the latter already allows all the mischief mentioned.

The Hobbesian choice which the ANC had always planned to present to white farmers was between making them mere tenants of the state (by declaring all productive land a national asset under state control) and, on the other hand, “placing a ceiling on how much land individual farmers can own.”

Which, in practice, limits economies of scale, and with them successful commercial agriculture.

“One farmer, one farm” was how Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF thugs described this policy.

The South African government still asserts that it is merely putting in place a “mechanism for taking back failed farms from black farmers.” Echoing its claims is another great mind, Breitbart’s Mr. Pollak. He has dignified the excuse that the “target of land reform, … would be ‘unused’ land,” black and white—assurances even the liberal “South African Institute of Race Relations had exposed as ‘a red herring to conceal the State’s more plausible intention to wrest control of agricultural production from white commercial farmers.” (Citation in “Cannibal,” p. 74.)

Since the dawn of “freedom,” in South Africa, and as a matter of daily practice, commercial farmers, mostly white, have been terrorized and threatened with land claims. As if this were not bad enough, they can now expect nationalization.

In case Zimbabwe is a distant memory, the nationalization of South Africa’s farms will increase unemployment in the agricultural sector, and with it, rural poverty. That will guarantee mass migration to the cities, with all the attendant problems which this exodus poses. Also, it will undermine South Africa’s ability to meet its food needs and deter investment in the country.

And these, so help us, are the positive aspects of land parity.

Most damningly, the country’s constitution has a clause devoted to “Limitation of Rights.” Apparently, the constitutional “scholars” who compiled the document saw no need to protect the rights of minorities “that [had] not been victims of past discrimination.” The possibility that the fortunes of hitherto un-oppressed minorities might change did not occur to the occupants of the Bench.

 

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

The Teachers’ Pets Of Douglas High, Florida, Can’t Think Straight


By ilana mercer

“In America,” observed as Oscar Wilde, “the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.”

So it is with the activist kids who’ve emerged from the Parkland, Florida, school massacre of February 14th, in which 17 of their own were murdered.

Each one sounds like the proverbial teacher’s pet, groomed to take a monolithic message to the media.

Like their educators, these one-track minds “don’t impress me much.” The National Rifle Association (NRA) they invariably frame as big, bad and greedy; government as not big enough, generally good and certainly benign.

There are, indubitably, good arguments to be made against the NRA. The kids—who managed to be, for the most, rude, ungrammatical, sanctimonious and smarmy—failed to muster them.

Trained pets that they are, the dogged media kids of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High seemed capable of focusing only on the one causal factor to the exclusion of all others: guns, their legal purveyors and their law-abiding owners.

The students who were front-and-center on the idiot’s lantern were unwilling to hold the shyster sheriff, Scott Israel, and his notoriously iffy Broward County department, responsible for—there is no way to finesse it—enabling, indulging, even grooming killer Nikolas Cruz over years. To students, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO) was blameless. Lackluster logic led them to the NRA alone.

One young media darling told of his love of Civics classes. This, while refusing to consider the state’s role in what were systemic and systematic failures.

Reliably derelict and criminally negligent, Sheriff Israel and his Broward County law enforcement didn’t “slip-up.” As a matter of progressive policies and philosophy, sheriff and officers had decided against protecting the people they had sworn to protect.

The BSO has been practicing the progressive penal abolition and restorative justice models of crime “prevention.” Yet our auditioning activists have refused to do their basic civic duty: hold this branch of government accountable for its end of the civic compact.

Out of the mouths of babes we hear that officer Scot Petersen and his compadres—they milled about outside Douglas High, while inside children were being riddled by bullets—were mere NRA scapegoats.

Almost unanimously unmoved were the kids by the fact the BSO had received 45 desperate calls over years, detailing homicidal threats made by the killer and violent, deviant altercations in which he was embroiled. Thirty-nine times had the Broward Sheriff’s officers visited the Cruz home in seven years. A critical mass of criminality and pathology was discounted by law-enforcement in ways at once callous, stupid and depravedly indifferent.

The one civic-minded kid could recite the purpose of a bicameral legislature, but cared not a bit about the imperative of government to protect life, liberty and property. Or, about the role of the Second Amendment in mitigating the effects of such a dangerous government. Likewise was the FBI given a pass for being  every bit as criminally culpable as the Broward County sheriff and his lawful crime syndicate.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is a repeat offender.

Coined by Patrick Pool, a national security and terrorism correspondent, the term “Known Wolf” denotes the relationship between the FBI and the dangerous criminals it’s supposed to neutralize. In almost all of America’s major terrorist attacks—and in the Florida, Parkland, school shooting, too—the FBI failed to stop well-known wolves. As far as I can tell, Parkland is the first time this rogue agency has admitted wrongdoing.

The good news for those of us who view government as the greater evil: The NRA has now been pitted against the FBI, and that’s an extra check on power.

Back to the kids: To top it all off, when asked what would make him feel safe enough to return to school, teacher’s pet du jour replied: “legislation.” He’s not going back to school until anti-gun legislation has been drafted.

Here’s a quick verbal drill for children whose minds have been turned into mush by menopausal, hippie teachers (those with the Y Chromosome, included): There’s an active shooter in school. What do you do? Reach for legislation? Remind the frenetically active shooter that he is flouting the legislation? Not quite.

You shelter in place, hunker down, look for an escape, run to a designated panic room or shelter. All the while, you hope the officers who took an oath to protect you don’t take a hiatus, as did Sheriff Scott Israel’s officers.

Another mantra kids keep regurgitating is that “authentic” learning requires complete freedom of access, open spaces and indiscriminate inclusivity. All cardinal lies and illogic.

To that effect, teachers have already been waxing fat: “Security makes us feel sad.” [Isn’t feeling sad better than being dead?] “We’re here to learn and to teach.” [Since when are safety and scholarship mutually exclusive?] Ultimately, the strength of ideas rests on their relationship to reality. Contrary to the teachers who’re force-feeding students their uniform and uninformed ideas, the schools must be fortified.

Fortresses are facts of history. If young ignoramuses learned more history and less “social studies” and the imperative of activism; they’d know that since antiquity, fortification has protected and facilitated civilization.

Learning requires peace of mind. If fortress conditions are a prerequisite for survival—if fortification keeps the barbarians at bay—then the rational mind will find tranquility in security.

As a traditional libertarian, never a libertine, this writer agrees with the activist students of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High on one matter. If anything has been affirmed by the heartbreaking murder of 17 people, it is that teens should not own guns. Even a cerebrally compromised biology teacher at a progressive school would surely second that, in individuals so young, the capacity for higher-level abstraction and advanced reasoning is not fully developed.

An effort by retailers, not by regulators, to limit gun purchases by teens (practice and proficiency can still be pursued under adult supervision), should, ideally, be accompanied by efforts to repeal the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, smuggled into the Constitution by statute, to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, and artificially swell the ranks of Democratic voters.

Kids are Democrats by default.

And, if 18 is too young to vote, or to purchase firearms—18 is also too young to enlist!

“We are going to outlive these old men in congress,” declared a Douglas High School activist defiantly. Ageism is apparently quite fine when leveled at older white men. Well, then, let us agree that the wily “old men” in power should not be allowed to entice the young and the gullible to serve as cannon fodder in the recreational wars they routinely prosecute.

**

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

« Older Entries