Category Archives: Etiquette

Manners: A Species Of Morals (Can’t Bother To Answer Your Mail? Read On)

Ethics, Etiquette, Morality, The West

Other than to hate mail or rude mail, I respond to all letters I receive—to each and every one. Many thousands since 1998, which is when I got my first newspaper column. Due to time constraints, my replies are laconic. But if a reader has bothered to read my work and comment on what I have to say—then it’s only decent to acknowledge the gesture.

I haven’t always been firm in this resolve, but I try my very best. If a colleague writes, I generally reply, whether I like them and their stuff or not. Ignoring a correspondent is a way of demonstrating contempt for that individual. If such contempt is deserved, well and good. If not; it is the unresponsive “interlocutor” who deserves contempt.

Most opinion-merchants, however, don’t reply to their mail. That smacks of hubris and pride, almost always unwarranted, as most are so uninspiring and mediocre. One wonders what they’re playing at, and why they’re not more humble.

A Golda-Meir zinger comes to mind. It’s a relic from a time when false humility was at least still practiced: “Don’t be so humble, you’re not that great.”

George Will once wrote that “manners are the practice of a virtue. The virtue is called civility, a word related—as a foundation is related to a house—to the word civilization.”

A riff on the Meir quip might go as follows: Can’t be bothered to answer your mail? “Don’t be so arrogant, you suck.”

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WASPocracy Replaced By An Idiocracy

America, Christianity, Education, Etiquette, History, The Zeitgeist

Now that America’s “unofficial but nonetheless genuine ruling class” has been destroyed, Joseph Epstein reminisces longingly about the lost and great benefits to society of this untitled aristocracy’s sense of noblesse oblige.

Epstein, however, wrongly suggests America’s “WASP establishment” has been replaced with a “meritocracy—presumably an aristocracy of sheer intelligence, men and women trained in the nation’s most prestigious schools.”

The WASPocracy was replaced by an Idiocracy.

The prevailing wisdom until now has been that the WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) “stood for all that was uptight and generally repressive in American culture.” But those who could not wait for their demise are suddenly bewailing it:

… the WASP elite had dignity and an impressive sense of social responsibility. In a 1990 book called “The Way of the Wasp,” Richard Brookhiser held that the chief WASP qualities were “success depending on industry; use giving industry its task; civic-mindedness placing obligations on success, and antisensuality setting limits to the enjoyment of it; conscience watching over everything.”
Under WASP hegemony, corruption, scandal and incompetence in high places weren’t, as now, regular features of public life. Under WASP rule, stability, solidity, gravity and a certain weight and aura of seriousness suffused public life. As a ruling class, today’s new meritocracy has failed to provide the positive qualities that older generations of WASPs provided.

I like this. I’ve always said that IQ is in the math-intense fields of inquiry and study:

Apart from mathematics, which demands a high IQ, and science, which requires a distinct aptitude, the only thing that normal undergraduate schooling prepares a person for is… more schooling. Having been a good student, in other words, means nothing more than that one was good at school: One had the discipline to do as one was told, learned the skill of quick response to oral and written questions, figured out what professors wanted and gave it to them.


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Fix News Falters, But Flatters

Conservatism, Ethics, Etiquette, Ilana Mercer, Media

When “‘Obama, Love Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry’” was first published and circulated, Megyn Kelly led her show with the exact reference and column title, even cuing the music from “Love Story.” Did she or her producer have the decency to credit the column? You know the answer to that.

Our editor sent me this comment: “yep, par for the course—still kinda cool though.” He’s right.

Indeed, as documented in “Glenn Beck Awakens To The Color Of Hate Crime (But Fails To Credit Those Who Went Before),” this is not a first for big, conservative media—generally challenged in the originality department. Passing off the often-idiosyncratic ideas or references of others as their own is “par for the course” in these circles.

Personally, I experienced Sean Hannity as a cordial gentleman—disarmingly charming—who was generous on air in his praise for my work and controversial position. (Perhaps the only position I’ve taken that I’ve come to deeply regret, even though it is probably philosophically correct.)

Debbie Schlussel, however, has had a different experience, detailed in “Why is Sean Hannity Deliberately Ripping Me Off?”.

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Letters From South Africa

Colonialism, English, Ethics, Etiquette, History, Morality, Old Right, Paleolibertarianism, Political Correctness, South-Africa, The Zeitgeist

Manners are much more than a veneer. The ability to act courteously, professionally, and be mindful of etiquette in dealing with others is a reflection of something far more meaningful: one’s mettle. Columnist George Will once wrote that “manners are the practice of a virtue. The virtue is called civility, a word related—as a foundation is related to a house—to the word civilization.”

I began writing commentary in 1998, for an outstanding, hardcore, Canadian community newspaper (which was bought out and brought to its knees by the pinko-neocon media chain that monopolizes opinion in that country). Ever since, I’ve replied to almost every letter received from readers, unless abusive, or unless exchanges became—or become; as this obtains today—self-defeating, unproductive or sapping in any way.

In any event, letters from South Africans are especially precious. Although I’ve done my share (at a cost, professional and personal) for the people I’ve left behind in the Old Country, one is forever plagued by (irrational) survivor’s guilt. Letters help assuage this nagging (irrational) feeling.

This one comes from a man whose identity (shared in the missive) I’ve removed for his own safety:

Sent: Friday, August 30, 2013 2:23 AM

Dear Ilana,

I cannot tell you how I got hold of the title of your book “Into the Cannibal’s Pot”. After having read an abstract I immediately decided to order the book. It wasn’t available in the —– Branch (—-, Pretoria) of Exclusive books and I had to wait a week for it. Since then I cannot wait for evening time so that I can lay my eyes on the book.
We are bombarded every day with apartheid and the despicable aspects thereof. And I am the first to admit that it was wrong and that it led to so much sufferings among the black people in South Africa. And government ministers and other officials cannot wait to attribute every inefficiency/misconduct and whatever, to the “evil” of Apartheid. The whole (dark and hopeless) Africa uses colonialism as an alibi for their inefficiency.
What is never said or mentioned is the benefits that colonialism brought for the SA or the continent.

In your book you made mention of the fact that Dr Verwoerd in 1956 said that SA blacks have the best life compared to any African country. I whole-heartedly agree and I once wrote an article which was placed in Rapport about this matter. In fact, with the abrupt power transfer, so many things just “…FELL FROM HEAVEN” for them: High salaries, fringe benefits and whatever. Apart from that they got a country with good infrastructure and numerous other things (which is degenerating day by day). I don’t have to tell you!

But I just want to thank you for this book. For so long I have been waiting for somebody with the guts to have a balanced view. I still refer people to view what is happening in the only (two) African countries which never experience colonialism, namely Liberia and Ethiopia. Liberia is the third poorest country on earth. And Ethiopia is not far from there. Just imagine what SA would have been without colonialism.

It is time my black brothers start acknowledging what benefits it brought to SA. But I know it will never happen because their alibi (and that of the whole Africa) will fall flat. Who will they have to blame then?

I am 60 years old now, ILana. I grew up extremely poor and I had to pay for my own studies. Today I have a BA, BA(Hons) and MBA. I was an officer in the SA Army until 1996 when I took a severance package as a Colonel. I know how much integrity we had in the system. And I am glad that I was part of the “old” system.

Again thanks for your book. You must be an amazing human being.

Best regards

Note: My apology for my poor command of English. I am a boertjie! [Afrikaner]

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Mum’s The Word About The Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex

Conservatism, Critique, Ethics, Etiquette, Government, Healthcare, Military, Morality, Republicans

Mark Levin the radio Mouth could be heard inveighing against what is surely a sickening specter: “Healthcare lobbying on K Street.” As The Hill divulged:

More than 30 former administration officials, lawmakers and congressional staffers who worked on the healthcare law have set up shop on K Street since 2010.
Major lobbying firms such as Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, The Glover Park Group, Alston & Bird, BGR Group and Akin Gump can all boast an Affordable Care Act insider on their lobbying roster — putting them in a prime position to land coveted clients.
“When [Vice President] Biden leaned over [during the signing of the healthcare law] and said to [President] Obama, ‘This is a big f’n deal,’ ” said Ivan Adler, a headhunter at the McCormick Group, “he was right.”
Veterans of the healthcare push are now lobbying for corporate giants such as Delta Air Lines, UPS, BP America and Coca-Cola, and for healthcare companies including GlaxoSmithKline, UnitedHealth Group and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

This, no doubt, is ANC-style corruption; the stuff of banana republics, carried out with considerable aplomb and within the bounds of what is considered The Law.

You won’t hear conservatives like Mark Levin protesting or even mentioning the tentacles of The Thing that enervates every corner of the American government, economy, foreign policy, you name them: the military-industrial-Congressional complex, where corruption and “influence peddling” are the order of the day.

Over to the formidable Chuck Spinney:

… SPINNEY: Right. Let’s say I’m the program manager for the F-16 in the Pentagon. I get a call from one of my wholly owned subsidiaries over on the Hill on the armed services committee. “We got it funded for you guys, but those guys in the House are gonna screw us.” So you know, “You got to do something.”

So all I have to do is I call up the program manager at the prime contractor, who I know because I work with him on a daily basis. And say, “Hey, we got a problem.

“The House is gonna kill our program. The Senate’s on board. Turn on the pressure.” Well, at that point, I don’t have to do anything in the government. The rest of it takes care of itself because the people whose future it…are at hand are gonna work overtime to solve that.

The contractors then start calling up the subcontractors. They unleash the fax attacks. They unleash the emails. And then of course they start calling the lobbyists, the Gucci shoe crowd on K Street, and say, “Hey, you got to start beating the… beating the pavement in the halls of Congress. We need some newspaper op-eds.” The whole process takes care of itself. One phone call turns it on.

MOYERS: Who gets the money?

SPINNEY: The contractors get it. The Congressmen get it, you know through… they get the power because they keep getting voted back in office. They may also get some Congressional contributions. But I think the bigger benefit is the power, the stability of their job.

And remember the people in the Pentagon that are promoting this thing are basically… they’re also creating a situation where they can roll over and get into that sector and make the big bucks. All you have to do is look at the number of retired generals working for defense contractors.

MOYERS: The revolving door?

SPINNEY: Yeah, yeah. The revolving door.

… Over in the Pentagon, we’re not holding people accountable.

I think basically here is you have in Congress the oversight committees for defense, which are essentially the armed services committee. And the defense appropriations subcommittees in both houses are so tied in to the Pentagon and the defense contractor base that essentially oversight has been displaced by what some of us call overlook. They’re basically watching the money flow out the door and encouraging it to go.

And basically it’s in members of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s best interest to keep the money flowing. It’s in the Pentagon’s best interest to keep the money flowing.

MOYERS: Because?

SPINNEY: It’s in the defense contractors’ best interest to keep the money flowing. Because it’s the military industrial Congressional complex and this is their way of life. They live on the money flow.

MOYERS: The military industrial Congressional complex?

SPINNEY: Right. Which I believe was a term that Eisenhower considered using in his speech, but he dropped the reference to Congress.


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Paula Deen, Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell

Conservatism, English, Etiquette, Free Speech, Political Correctness, Pop-Culture, Race

“Paula Deen, Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

“…Blaming Old-South culture—as the prototypical knaves of conservatism are doing— is … unlikely to help exculpate Paula Deen in the minds of the morons who judge her for her words, rather than for her deeds. The bad old South macro-narrative is as ineffective in mitigation as is pointing out that Deen misspoke because of a near-death experience. ‘A black man [once] burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head,’ recounted Deen. ‘I didn’t feel real favorable towards him.’

It is for the same reason that the young mother, seen here in a video gone viral being kicked and punched repetitively and mercilessly by a burly black man, should watch her words in the future. The home of the mom was invaded by the man, who delighted in brutalizing her in front of her toddler.

Instead of sticks and stones that break bones, there can be no doubt that the mother from Millburn, N.J., would have settled during that terrifying attack for the kind of cuss words that ‘will never hurt me’—’cracker,’ to quote Trayvon Martin, RIP.

But those who watched the persecution of the mom from Millburn and the tycoon from Georgia took away a different lesson than the one implied by that wise old adage.

Mind your mouth, mom! The hate crime you endured will not mitigate or explain any future slip-of-the-tongue. You may stereotype an elderly, highly successful white woman, based on her tribe’s past wrongdoing; but you dare not attach statistical significance to the misdeeds of a black man, because of his group’s considerable contribution to crime. …”

Read the complete column. “Paula Deen, Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell” is now on WND.

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