Category Archives: Ancient History

NEW COLUMN: How Democracy Made Us Dumb

America, Ancient History, Democracy, Democrats, Egalitarianism, Elections, History

NEW COLUMN IS “How Democracy Made Us Dumb.” It’s currently on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

An excerpt:

From the riffs of outrage coming from the Democrats and their demos over “our democracy” betrayed, infiltrated even destroyed—you’d never know that a rich vein of thinking in opposition to democracy runs through Western intellectual thought, and that those familiar with it would be tempted to say “good riddance.”

Voicing opposition to democracy is just not done in politically polite circles, conservative and liberal alike.

For this reason, the Mises Institute’s Circle in Seattle, an annual gathering, represented a break from the pack.

The Mises Institute is the foremost think tank working to advance free-market economics from the perspective of the Austrian School of Economics. It is devoted to peace, prosperity, and private property, implicit in which is the demotion of raw democracy, the state, and its welfare-warfare machine.

This year, amid presentations that explained “Why American Democracy Fails,” it fell to me to speak to “How Democracy Made Us Dumb.” (Oh yes! Reality on the ground was not candy-coated.)

Some of the wide-ranging observations I made about the dumbing down inherent in democracy were drawn from the Founding Fathers and the ancients.

A tenet of the American democracy is to deify youth and diminish adults. To counter that, I’ll start with the ancients.

The Athenian philosophers disdained democracy. Deeply so. They held that democracy “distrusts ability and has a reverence for numbers over knowledge.” (Will Durant, “The Story of Philosophy,” New York, New York, 1961, p. 10.)

Certainly, among the ancients who mattered, there was a keen contempt for “a mob-led, passion-ridden democracy.” The complaint among Athenians who occupied themselves with thinking and debating was that “there would be chaos where there is no thought,” and that “it was a base superstition that numbers give wisdom. On the contrary, it is universally seen that men in crowds are more foolish, violent and cruel than men separate and alone.” (p. 11)

Underground already then, because so subversive—anti-democratic thinking was the aristocratic gospel in Athens. Socrates (born in 470 B.C.) was the intellectual leader against democracy and for the even-then hated aristocratic philosophy. Socrates’ acolytes, young and brilliant, questioned the “specious replacement of the old virtues by unsocial intelligence.”

The proof of the foolish, violent and cruel nature of the crowds is that the crowds, not the judges, insisted on making Socrates the first martyr of philosophy. He drank the poison at the behest of the people.

No wonder Plato, Socrates’ most gifted student, harbored such scorn for democracy and hatred for the mob—so extreme that it led this controversial genius to resolve that democracy must be destroyed, to be replaced by his planned society; “the rule of the wisest and the best, who would have to be discovered and enabled.” …

READ THE REST. NEW COLUMN, “How Democracy Made Us Dumb,” is currently on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

Ignorance Legitimized And Institutionalized In ‘Women’s and Gender Studies’ Departments

Ancient History, Cultural Marxism, Education, English, Gender, Intelligence

It’s safe to say that Brittney Cooper, I mean Prof. Brittney Cooper, is not an outlier in the American academy, but is part of a certain establishment.

That bastion is the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, of which there are very many across the country. It serves as a citadel of pseudo-intellectualism, a way to create a class of “scholars” on paper.

Prof. Brittney Cooper, who has a B.A. in English, was jabbering banalities about the horrors of Trump on MSNBC (10/3/019), when she blurted out that Trump was “delegitimating” wrongdoing, or something.

“Delegitimating” is a “word not found in the Dictionary and Encyclopedia.”

Like the word she used, Prof. Cooper’s field of study is bogus.

“Intellectual disciplines were founded in ancient Greece and gained a considerable impetus from the work of Aristotle who identified and organized a range of subjects into orderly bodies of learning.” (Keith Windschuttle, The Killing of History, 1996, NSW, Australia.)

By the standards set by the Greeks, disciplines such as women’s studies, or black studies, or LGBTQ studies are intellectually incoherent; they don’t qualify as intellectual disciplines.

UPDATED (9/30/019): Mises Institute in Seattle: Why American Democracy Fails

America, Ancient History, Argument, Democracy, Ilana Mercer, Intelligence

I spoke at the Mises Institute’s annual gathering in Bellevue, Washington, Saturday, September 14.

I was asked to address the dumbing down inherent in democracy.  The title of my presentation was “How Democracy Made Us Dumb,” or “Democracy As Idiocracy.

Indeed, the greatest thinkers (before Hans-Hermann Hoppe)—the Athenian philosophers—distrusted democracy. The Athenian thinkers held that democracy “distrusts ability and has a reverence for numbers over knowledge.” The Founders agreed.

Thinking in opposition to democracy is part of our heritage, yet you won’t hear a critique of democracy in mainstream circles, conservative or liberal.

Many thanks to Jeff Diest for his introduction—and for including me in this well-attended event. Liberty still flickers in Washington State.

The podcast is up. A YouTube is to follow.

UPDATE (9/30/019): YouTube of “How Democracy Made Us Dumb.”

NEW: John Quincy Adams is Turning in His Grave

Ancient History, Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Founding Fathers, John McCain, Political Philosophy, War

THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS “John Quincy Adams is Turning in His Grave.” Read it unabridged on WorldNetDaily.com, The Unz Review, and the Mises Institute’s Power and Market Blog, where it’s titled Trump’s Call to Putin.” This week’s column appears on Townhall.com, too, where it’s slightly abridged.

And excerpt:

“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.” …

… READ THE REST:  “John Quincy Adams is Turning in His Grave” (Townhall.com) is also on WorldNetDaily.com, The Unz Review, and the Mises Institute’s Power and Market Blog, unabridged.