Category Archives: history

The Uniqueness of Western Law


By Richard Storey

“When accordingly it is inquired, whence is evil, it must first be inquired, what is evil, which is nothing else than corruption, either of the measure, or the form, or the order, that belong to nature.” (Augustine)

The study of Western Civilization has been all but eradicated.  This was no accident but, rather, an aggressive policy of leftist academe which has used exclusionary tactics to dominate and pervert the culture and purpose of our universities since the 1960s and 70s.[1]  But, for us students, driven underground, Western history is the greatest treasure trove of almost every faculty.  Not least of these is natural law.  Read more

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Why All Three South-African Presidents Supported Robert Mugabe


By ilana mercer

On November 21, after 37 years in power, Zimbabwe’s dictator, Robert Mugabe, resigned in infamy.

By contrast, the late South African leader, Nelson Mandela, was revered in the West. His successor, Thabo Mbeki, was well-respected.

Yet over the decades, both Mandela and Mbeki lent their unqualified support to Mugabe.

When the baton was passed from Mbeki to the populist polygamist Jacob Zuma, the current leader of South Africa’s dominant-party state, little changed in the country’s relationship with Zimbabwe.

Why?

And what is the significance of the support Zuma and his predecessors, Mandela and Mbeki, have lent the Zimbabwean dictator over the decades?

Wags in the West love to pit the long-suffering African people vs. their predatory politicians. As this false bifurcation goes, the malevolent Mugabe was opposed by his eternally suffering people.

While ordinary Africans do seem caught eternally between Scylla and Charybdis, the government of Zimbabwe—and others across Africa—doesn’t stand apart from the governed; it reflects them.

Consider: Early on, Mugabe had attempted to heed “a piece of advice that Mozambican president Samora Machel” had given him well before independence. As historian Martin Meredith recounts, in The State of Africa (2006), Machel told Mugabe: “Keep your whites.”

Mugabe kept “his whites” a little longer than he had originally envisaged, thanks to the Lancaster House agreements. These had “imposed a ten-year constitutional constraint on redistributing land. … But in the early 1990s, with the expiration of the constitutional prohibition, black Zimbabweans became impatient.”

Nevertheless, noted African-American journalist Keith Richburg, “Mugabe remained ambivalent, recognizing, apparently, that despite the popular appeal of land confiscation, the white commercial farmers still constituted the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy.”

Restless natives would have none of it. Armed with axes and machetes, gangs of so-called war veterans proceeded to fleece white farmers and 400,000 of their employees without so much as flinching. In the land invasions of 2000, 50,000 of these squatters “seized more than 500 of the country’s 4,500 commercial farms, claiming they were taking back land stolen under British colonial rule.” (CNN, April 14, 2000.)

These Zimbabweans assaulted farmers and their families, “threatened to kill them and forced many to flee their homes, ransacking their possessions. They set up armed camps and roadblocks, stole tractors, slaughtered cattle, destroyed crops and polluted water supplies.”

The “occupation” was extended to private hospitals, hundreds of businesses, foreign embassies, and aid agencies. The looting of white property owners continued apace—with the country’s remaining white-owned commercial farms being invaded and occupied.

This may come as news to the doctrinaire democrats who doggedly conflate the will of the people with liberty: These weapons-wielding “mobs of so-called war veterans,” converging on Zimbabwe’s remaining productive farms, expressed the democratic aspirations of most black Zimbabweans. And of their South African neighbors, a majority of whom “want the land, cars, houses, and swimming pools of their erstwhile white rulers.” Surmised The Daily Mail’s Max Hastings:

[M]ost African leaders find it expedient to hand over the white men’s toys to their own people, without all the bother of explaining that these things should be won through education, skills, enterprise and hard labor over generations.

At the time, former South African president Mbeki had chaired a special session of the United Nations Security Council, during which he ventured that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe. Some American analysts had therefore hastily deduced that Mbeki, who was president of South Africa from 1999 until 2008, was “a sidekick to the man who ruined Zimbabwe.”

How deeply silly. And how little the West knows!

Mbeki led the most powerful country on the continent; Mugabe the least powerful. The better question is this: Given the power differential between South Africa and Zimbabwe, why would Mbeki, and Mandela before him, succor Mugabe? Was Mandela Mugabe’s marionette, too? Yet another preposterous proposition.

The luminaries of Western café society were not the only ones to have given Mugabe a pass for so long. So did very many blacks.

“When Mugabe slaughtered 20,000 black people in southern Zimbabwe in 1983,” observed South-African columnist Andrew Kenny, “nobody outside Zimbabwe, including the ANC, paid it the slightest attention. Nor did they care when, after 2000, he drove thousands of black farm workers out of their livelihoods and committed countless atrocities against his black population. But when Mugabe killed a dozen white farmers and pushed others off their farms, it caused tremendous excitement.”

“Whenever there is a South African radio phone-in program on Zimbabwe, white South Africans and black Zimbabweans denounce Mugabe, and black South Africans applaud him. Therefore, one theory goes, Mbeki could not afford to criticize Mugabe,” who is revered, never reviled, by South African blacks.

Bar Zimbabweans, blacks across Africa and beyond have a soft spot for Mugabe.

Writing in the Mail & Guardian Online, left-liberal journalist John Pilger further untangled the mystery of Mbeki and Mugabe’s cozy relationship:

“When Robert Mugabe attended the ceremony to mark Thabo Mbeki’s second term as president of South Africa, the black crowd gave Zimbabwe’s dictator a standing ovation.” This is a “symbolic expression of appreciation for an African leader who, many poor blacks think, has given those ‘greedy’ whites a long-delayed and just comeuppance.” (July 7, 2008.)

One need only look at the present in Zimbabwe “to see the future of South Africa,” lamented Kenny. When Mugabe took power in 1980, there were about 300,000 whites in Zimbabwe. Pursuant to the purges conducted by the leader and his people, fewer than 20,000 whites remain. Of these, only 200 are farmers, five percent of the total eight years ago, reported the Daily Telegraph, in 2008.

Although most farmland in South Africa is still owned by whites, the government has signaled its intention to change the landowner’s landscape. “Having so far acquired land on a ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ basis, officials have hinted that large-scale expropriations are on the cards.” (BBC News, February 29, 2008.)

In South Africa, the main instrument of transformation is Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). This requires whites to hand over big chunks of the ownership of companies to blacks and to surrender top jobs to them. Almost all the blacks so enriched belong to a small elite connected to the ANC. BEE is already happening to mines, banks and factories. In other words, a … Mugabe-like program is already in progress in South Africa. (Citation in Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011), p. 150.)

This reality the affable Mandela, the imperious Mbeki and Zuma, their successor, all accepted without piety and pity. These South African strongmen were, in a manner, saluting the Alpha Male Mugabe by implementing a slow-motion version of his program.

Back to the original question: Why have the leaders of the most powerful country on the continent (Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma) succored the leader of the most corrupt (Mugabe)?

Simply this: When he socked it to the whites, Mugabe cemented his status as hero to black activists and their sycophants across South Africa.

 

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

Why Hatred Of Whites Is Here To Stay


By ilana mercer

Not so long ago, mere mention of the deliberate murder of whites in South Africa—country folk and commercial farmers, in particular—was called “racist.” “Raaacist!” the media collective brayed when candidate Trump retweeted a related “white genocide” hashtag.

It’s still “racist” to suggest that the butchering of these whites, almost daily, in ways that beggar belief, is racially motivated. Positively scandalous is it to describe the ultimate goal of a killing spree, now in its third decade, thus: the ethnic cleansing of white, farming South Africa from land the community has cultivated since the 1600s.

Be thankful for small mercies: At least the international media monopoly is finally reporting facts, such as that just the other day Andre and Lydia Saaiman, aged 70, were hacked to death in Port Elizabeth. (Imagine being chopped up until you expire.)

Or, that the elderly Bokkie Potgieter was dealt a similar fate as he tended his small, KwaZulu-Natal holding. Potgeiter was butchered during the October “Black Monday” protest, which was a nation-wide demonstration to end the carnage. Internationally reported as well were the facts of Sue Howarth’s death. The 64-year-old pharmaceutical executive was tortured for hours with … a blowtorch.

This black-on-white murder spree has been ongoing since a dominant-party political dispensation (mobocracy) was “negotiated in my homeland for South Africans. (Learn about “The American Architects of The South-African Catastrophe.“) But while the criminal evidence is at last out in the open, the motive for these hate crimes is only mumbled about for fear of offending the offenders.

In South Africa we find a criminal class, born into freedom after 1994, that burns with white-hot hatred for whites.

Why?

The South African state’s stout indifference to the plight of whites does not exist in a void. Witness the steady, anti-white venom the dominant-party cobra-head, the ANC, spits out. “The de facto situation is that whites are under criminal siege explicitly because of their race,” writes a South African historian, cited in “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa” (2011).

“The black criminal collective consciousness understands whites are now historical fair game.”

The physical, existential vulnerability of white South Africans flows from a confluence of historical antecedents that have placed them in a uniquely precarious position. “The white minority surrendered political dominance in return for non-racial constitutional safeguards.” By forswearing control over the state apparatus, whites ceded mastery over their destiny, vesting their existential survival in a political dispensation: a liberal democracy.

In a needlessly optimistic assumption, whites imagined blacks too would be bound by the same political abstractions, and would relinquish race in favor of a constitutional design as an organizing principle in the society they now controlled.

Having “surrendered without defeat,” for a tepid peace, Europeans are, moreover, particularly and uniquely vulnerable within this political dispensation because of their history on the continent. Remedial historical revisionism notwithstanding, South Africa—with its space program and skyscrapers—was not the product of the people currently dismantling it. Rather, it was the creation of British and Dutch settlers and their descendants.

For what they’ve achieved and acquired—and for the original sins of apartheid in South Africa; slavery in America—whites are the objects of envy and racial enmity.

The observations of liberal, African-American journalist Keith Richburg are particularly pertinent here. Richburg believes that on the Dark Continent, tribal allegiance trumps political persuasion and envy carries the day. He cites the fate of the Tutsi—an alien, Nilotic African people, who formed a minority in Rwanda and Burundi—among the Hutu who are a Bantu people.

The Hutu have always resented the tall, imposing, attractive Tutsis, who had dominated them on-and-off since the 15th century. When Hutus picked up machetes to slash to bits nearly a million of their Tutsi neighbors in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, they were, on a deeper level, contends Richburg, “slashing at their own perceived ugliness, as if destroying this thing of beauty, this thing they could never really attain, removing it from the earth forever.”

Are shades of this impulse alive in the savagery inflicted on the European “settlers” of South Africa (and Zimbabwe and the Congo before them)? Who can say for sure? This much I know: Empowering political majorities in Africa has helped, not hindered, the propensity of hostile masses to exact revenge on helpless minorities.

It would be a mistake to believe, as the American ruling Idiocracy preaches, that minorities in the US—soon to form a majority—will relinquish race and tribe as unifying principles, in favor of the US’s constitutional design.

Like South Africa, America is a creation of (northwest) European settlers. And it is in Man’s nature to dislike those who are unlike him—all the more so when they, as a group, have accomplished what he has not.

 

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

Libertarianism Is Going Medieval 


Libertarianism Is Going Medieval
By Richard Storey                                                                                

I have long-believed that the realisation of anarcho-capitalist principles would most resemble the stateless societies of Medieval Europe.  After all, there seems no other time or place where such an ordered anarchy has existed, nor which warrants Rothbard’s description of a ‘gorgeous mosaic’ of self-governing communities.  Yet, most others have rather envisioned some future ‘Ancapistani’ sci-fi utopia – the aesthetics of Blade Runner tempered by the mild-mannered industriousness of Star Trek, perhaps.  Now, however, it seems that many right-libertarians, disillusioned with such hyper-individualistic caricatures, are on the verge of agreeing with me; but, how and why? Read more

Why Conservatism Inc. Beats Up On America’s First Nations


By ilana mercer

The Indian tribesman’s claim to his ancient stomping grounds can’t be reduced to a title search at the deeds office. That’s the stuff of the positive law. And this was the point I took away from a conversation, circa 2000, with Mr. Property Rights himself, Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

Dr. Hoppe argued unassailably—does he argue any other way?—that if Amerindians had repeatedly traversed, for their livelihood, the same hunting, fishing and foraging grounds, they would have, in effect, homesteaded these, making them their own.

Another apodictic profundity deduced from that conversation: The strict Lockean stipulation, whereby to make property one’s own, one must transform it to Western standards, is not convincing.

In an article marking Columbus Day—the day Conservatism Inc. beats up on what remains of America’s First People—Ryan McMaken debunked Ayn Rand’s specious claim that aboriginal Americans “did not have the concept of property or property rights.” This was Rand’s ruse for justifying Europeans’ disregard for the homesteading rights of the First Nations. “[T]he Indian tribes had no right to the land they lived on because” they were primitive and nomadic.

Hoppean Homesteading

Cultural supremacy is no argument for the dispossession of a Lesser Other. To libertarians, Lockean—or, rather Hoppean—homesteading is sacrosanct. He who believes he has a right to another man’s property ought to produce proof that he is its rightful owner. “As the old legal adage goes, ‘Possession is nine-tenths of the law,’ as it is the best evidence of legitimate title. The burden of proof rests squarely with the person attempting to relieve another of present property titles.” (Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa, p. 276.)

However, even if we allow that “the tribes and individual Indians had no concept of property,” which McMaken nicely refutes—it doesn’t follow that dispossessing them of their land would have been justified. From the fact that a man or a community of men lacks the intellectual wherewithal or cultural and philosophical framework to conceive of these rights—it doesn’t follow that he has no such rights, or that he has forfeited them. Not if one adheres to the ancient doctrine of natural rights. If American Indians had no attachment to the land, they would not have died defending their territories.

Neither does the fact the First Nations formed communal living arrangements invalidate land ownership claims, as McMaken elucidates. Think of the Kibbutz. Kibbutzim in Israel instantiate the principles of voluntary socialism. As such, they are perfectly fine living arrangements, where leadership is empowered as custodian of the resource and from which members can freely secede. You can’t rob the commune of its assets just because members elect to live communally.

Conservatism’s Perennial Piñata

Columbus Day has become an occasion for neoconservatives, conservatives and their followers to vent their spleen against American Indians. And woe betide the deviationist who pens anything remotely fair or sympathetic about, say the genocide of the Indians, the trail of tears or the relegation of Indians to reservations. Berated he will be for daring to lament the wrongs visited on the original inhabitants of this continent on the grounds, mostly, that they were savages.

Come Columbus Day, the same hackneyed observations are disgorged—as though these repetitions cut through the left’s rhetoric of moral superiority; as if these shopworn shibboleths challenge a cultural script that upholds the myth of the purity of primitive life, juxtaposed to the savagery of Western Culture. They don’t.

I mean, who doesn’t know that natives were hardly nature’s custodians? This fallacy was popularized by Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s panegyric on the Noble Savage. Pre-Columbian America was no pristine natural kingdom. Native tribes likely engaged in bi-annual forest burning to flush out the species the Indians most wanted to hunt. There was the stampeding, during a hunt, of herds of animals over a cliff. Used repeatedly, some buffalo jumps hold the remains of hundreds of thousands of animals, with patterns of local extinction being well-documented. Where agriculture was practiced in the central and southern parts of America, evidence from sediment points to soil erosion, which was, too, likely ongoing before the arrival of Europeans.

It’s old hat that the Americas are scattered with archeological evidence of routine massacres, cannibalism, dismemberment, slavery, abuse of women and human sacrifice among native tribes. In no way can these facts mitigate or excuse the cruel treatment natives have endured. For is such exculpation not the crux of the neoconservative creed, against which President Trump ran? “The world is up to no good. As a superior ‘nation,’ let American power remake it in its image.” By hook or by crook, if necessary.

Neoconservative deity Dinesh D’Souza likes to claim Native-Americans were decimated not by genocide or ethnocide, “but by diseases brought from Europe by the white man.” Not quite. In his magisterial History of the American People, historian Paul Johnson, a leading protagonist for America, details the rather energetic “destruction of the Indians” by Andrew Jackson.

Particularly poignant are Red Eagle’s words to Jackson, on April 14, 1814, after the president-to-be had rampaged through villages, burning them and destroying crops in a ruthless campaign against the Indians east of the Mississippi:

“I am in your power. My people are gone. I can do no more but weep over the misfortunes of my nation.” Jackson had just “imposed a Carthaginian peace on 35 frightened Indian chiefs,” forcing them to part with the lion’s share of their ancestral lands.

Equally moving is the account of another philoamerican, philosopher and historian Alexis de Tocqueville. The Frenchman describes a crowd of displaced Choctaw warriors—having been subjected to ethnic cleansing (in today’s parlance):

“There was an air of ruin and destruction, something which gave the impression of a final farewell, with no going back; one couldn’t witness it without a heavy heart. … it is an odd coincidence that we should have arrived in Memphis to witness the expulsion, or perhaps the dissolution, of one of the last vestiges of one of the oldest American nations.”

As they heap contempt upon native American societies—conservatives, with admirable exceptions, are at the beck and call of African-Americans. Most conservatives agree about the legitimacy of African-Americans’ eternal grievances (“the fault of Democrats,” they intone). The same establishment offers incontinent exhilaration about the greatness of African-American heroes (MLK über alles). And the only piss-poor argument mustered in these quarters for raising, rather than removing, statues for the South’s heroes is, “We need to preserve our history, horribly flawed with respect to African-Americans, mea culpa.” Or, “Who’s next? Jefferson?”

Conservatives are constitutionally (as in physically) incapable of arguing the merits of the great Robert E. Lee, something Lord Acton managed on solid philosophical grounds.

Here’s a theory as to why Conservatism Inc. uses American Indians as its perennial piñata, while generally acceding to the aggressive demands for permanent victim status levied by African-Americans.

Plainly put, among African-Americans, the extractive view of politics prevails. People seek and aggressively obtain an advantage from positions of power. Unlike African-Americans, Native-Americans have little political clout and even less of an extractive approach to politics.

In short, the First Peoples are politically powerless and proud, making them an easy target.

 

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

What I Like about Edward Gibbon


What I Like about Edward Gibbon
by Richard Blake

Edward Gibbon (1737-94) was born into an old and moderately wealthy family that had its origins in Kent. Sickly as a child, he was educated at home, and sent while still a boy to Oxford. There, an illegal conversion to Roman Catholicism ruined his prospects of a career in the professions or the City. His father sent him off to Lausanne to be reconverted to the Protestant Faith. He came back an atheist and with the beginnings of what would become a stock of immense erudition. He served part of the Seven Years War in the Hampshire Militia. He sat in the House of Commons through much of the American War. He made no speeches, and invariably supported the Government. He moved for a while in polite society – though his increasing obesity, and the rupture that caused his scrotum to swell to the size of a football, made him an object of mild ridicule. Eventually, he withdrew again to Switzerland, where obesity and his hydrocele were joined by heavy drinking. Scared by the French Revolution, he came back to England in 1794, where he died of blood-poisoning after an operation to drain his scrotum. Read more

Reflections on the importance of the medieval English parliament


Reflections on the importance of the medieval English parliament
Keir Martland
(Feast of Michael and All Angels, 2017)

What was the importance or significance of the mediaeval English parliament? This is a vast question and my thoughts on it are particularly difficult to articulate, but I think it requires a lengthy process of ‘setting the scene’ to begin with. To put the disputes between kings and representative institutions in their proper context, it is important to consider earlier mediaeval notions of law and kingship. The early mediaeval ‘customary law’ was not one of sovereignty, like the Roman law – whose famous maxim put it ‘whatever has pleased the ruler has the force of law’ – but one of compromises worked out according to a few immutable principles. In such an understanding, law – being the law of one’s fathers – was good because it was old, and old because it was good, and law was sovereign. The king was under the law, bound by it, and his very existence was predicated upon it. Indeed, the mediaeval Icelandic constitution functioned well without a king for centuries, with only one part-time ‘government employee’, a single lawspeaker. Furthermore, since ‘feudal’ relations were essentially personal ones of reciprocal rights and duties, territoriality, like sovereignty was alien to the mediaeval social and political order. As Frank van Dun has it in his essay Uprooted Liberalism and its Discontents, “…power rested on personal allegiances between freemen. Thus, the feudal lord-vassal relationship was not a transitive relation…” Tacitus’ words might well be applied to the early Germanic or barbarian societies, ‘Nec regibus infinita aut libera potestas’ (Their kings are not unlimited or free). Read more

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