Category Archives: Ilana Mercer

Readers’ Remarks On ‘Into The Cannibal’s Pot’ & Pence Column

Etiquette, Ilana Mercer, Liberty, Morality, South-Africa

Manners are a species of morals. Other than to hate mail or rude mail, I try and 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. Sometimes I slip up. 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.

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

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.”

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

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.”

Here are some gratifying notes, received in response to “Get Off Your Knees, Gov. Pence! (You’re Not In A Gay Bathhouse),” a hot favorite.

Naturally, I replied these and to others.

From: W.J.
Sent: Friday, April 03, 2015 9:17 AM
Subject: “Into the Cannibal’s Pot.”

Just read your advice to Gov. Pence and was reminded that I wanted to complement you for what is without a doubt one of the most important and brilliantly written books I’ve ever read (“Into the Cannibal’s Pot”). Sadly, what passes for “conservatism” in America today can’t seem to grasp that individual discrimination is the essence of freedom. Sanctimonious conservative talking heads, who seem to believe that Indiana is all (only) about freedom of religion and are incapable of registering a connection to “civil rights” legislation of 50 years ago, would do well to read you.
Thank you for being a beautifully intelligent voice in the wilderness of 21st century American political discourse. And thank you for finding your way to America – your arrival in your adopted homeland has come none too soon.

Sent: Friday, April 03, 2015 8:03 AM
Subject: Get Off Your Knees, Gov. Pence (You’re Not In A Gay Bathhouse)

Ilana —

A friend of mine forwarded me your excellent column. You did a terrific job of articulating one the basic aspects of liberty (enshrined in the First Amendment): the freedom of association. I live in Indianapolis (and know Mike Pence slightly). This issue has become so polarizing here, and, as you noted, the law itself is innocuous. …

… At any rate, please keep writing. You have a great gift for expressing important ideas through everyday examples.

Best to you,


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On ‘Bill Martinez Live’

Ilana Mercer, Ilana On Radio & TV,

Tomorrow, March 2, I’ll be chatting with Bill Martinez of the eponymous Bill Martinez Live show, reaching 280 Markets via CRN.

Time: The ungodly hour of 7:06 AM PACIFIC TIME.


A Modest Libertarian Proposal: Keep Jihadis OUT, Not IN

Brian Williams: Member Of Media Circle Jerk


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Josh Gelernter On South Africa

Ilana Mercer, South-Africa

SOUTH AFRICA. Many thanks to uncle David Cumes who sent me notice of Josh Gelernter’s mention, in National Review. Writes Mr. Gelernter:

Before the end of apartheid, South African writer Ilana Mercer moved, with her family, to Israel; her father was a vocal opponent of apartheid, and was being harassed by South African security forces. A 2013 piece on World Net Daily quotes Mercer as saying, with all her anti-apartheid chops, that “more people are murdered in one week under African rule than died under detention of the Afrikaner government over the course of roughly four decades.”

Let’s hope Mr. Gelernter takes note of the exhaustive work done in “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa” (2012), not least of The Cannibal’s analytical framework.

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I Said ‘Sentimentality'; Steyn Says ‘Screw Your Hashtag Solidarity’

Ilana Mercer, Islam, Jihad, Media, Terrorism

It doesn’t happen often, but just this time it feels good to be able to say, for once, that my “Show Of Solidarity Or Sentimentality? Winning À La The West” (01.07.15)—a post pertaining to the pens-up “defiance” in the wake of the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo—is considerably milder than Mark Steyn’s version of the same sickened sentiment (Jan 9, 2015):

MARK STEYN: These men were exceptionally brave. Most of the people expressing solidarity with them are not that brave. … And to be honest, it makes me vomit to see people holding these Princess Dianafied candlelit vigils, and using the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie – I am Charlie -and in effect appropriating these guys’ sacrifice for this bogus solidarity. It makes me sick to see all these ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ cartoons that have appeared in newspapers all over the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Australia, everywhere, from other cartoonists, again expressing solidarity with these very brave men – but not doing what they did…

These guys are dead because back in 2005, these Danish cartoons were published in an obscure Jutland newspaper, and a bunch of fanatics went bananas and started killing people over them. So a couple of publications on the planet, including mine in Canada, and Charlie Hebdo in Paris, published these cartoons… Le Monde didn’t, and the Times of London didn’t, and the New York Times didn’t, and nobody else did. And as a result, these fellows in Charlie Hebdo became the focus of murderous rage. If we’d all just published them on the front page and said “If you want to kill us, you go to hell, you can’t just kill a couple of obscure Danes, you’re going to have to kill us all”, we wouldn’t have this problem. But because nobody did that, these Parisian guys are dead. They’re dead. And I’ve been on enough, I’ve been on enough events in Europe with less famous cartoonists than these who live under death threats, live under armed guard, have had their family restaurant firebombed – it’s happened to a Norwegian comedienne I know – have come home and found their home burned, as a Swedish artist I know happened to. And all these people doing the phony hashtag solidarity, screw your phony hashtag solidarity. Let’s have some real solidarity – or if not, at least have the good taste to stay the hell out of it.

(A somewhat related critique of Steyn is here.)

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UPDATED: A Sad Christmas Story (Letter From Assistant Director Of ACS)

Christianity, Crime, Family, Film, Ilana Mercer, IMMIGRATION

“A Sad Christmas Story” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

Described by a critic as “one of those rare movies you can say is perfect in every way,” “A Christmas Story,” directed by Bob Clark, debuted in 1983.

Set in the 1940s, the film depicts a series of family vignettes through the eyes of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker, who yearns for that gift of all gifts: the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.

This was boyhood before “bang-bang you’re dead” was banned; family life prior to “One Dad Two Dads Brown Dad Blue Dads,” and Christmas before Saint Nicholas was denounced for his whiteness and “merry Christmas” condemned for its exclusiveness.

If children could choose the family into which they were born, most would opt for the kind depicted in “A Christmas Story,” where mom is a happy homemaker, dad a devoted working stiff, and between them, they have zero repertoire of progressive psychobabble to rub together.

Although clearly adored, Ralphie is not encouraged to share his feelings at every turn. Nor is he, in the spirit of gender-neutral parenting, circa 2014, urged to act out like a girl if he’s feeling … girlie. Instead, Ralphie is taught restraint and self-control. And horrors: The little boy even has his mouth washed out with soap and water for uttering the “F” expletive. “My personal preference was for Lux,” reveals Ralphie, “but I found Palmolive had a nice piquant after-dinner flavor—heady but with just a touch of mellow smoothness.” Ralphie is, of course, guilt-tripped with stories about starving Biafrans when he refuses to finish his food.

The parenting practiced so successfully by Mr. and Mrs. Parker fails every progressive commandment. By today’s standards, the delightful, un-precocious protagonist of “A Christmas Story” would be doomed to a lifetime on the therapist’s chaise lounge—and certainly to daily doses of Ritalin, as punishment for unbridled boyishness and day-dreaming in class. Yet despite his therapeutically challenged upbringing, Ralphie is a happy little boy. For “Progressives”—for whom it has long been axiomatic that the traditional family is the source of oppression for women and children—this is inexplicable.

Perhaps the first to have conflated the values of the bourgeois family with pathological authoritarianism was philosopher Theodor Adorno. …

… Read the complete column. “A Sad Christmas Story” is the current column, now on WND.

UPDATE (12/28): A Treasured Letter From Assistant Director of “A Christmas Story.”

Hi Ms. Mercer,

I want to thank you for the article you wrote on “A Christmas Story”. Bob would have really loved your opening paragraph.

My name is … I was a friend of Bob’s in addition to being his 1st Assistant Director on most of his movies, including “A Christmas Story” and “Porky’s.

Both Bob and Jean Shepard had “Jewish” sensibilities and there were plenty of the tribe working on the set and in the executive substructure.

In fact, the sign of the Chinese restaurant that the Parker’s went to was called Bo Ling. I mention this because the name of that restaurant was Bob’s recognition of my MOTHER’s contribution to his career.

The story of Bo ling occurred when my family was driving from NY to south Florida in 1961. It was getting late and we were all hungry when my mother shouted that there was a Chinese Restaurant at the next exit. Dad pulled off and as we drove up to the building we all realized that there was no restaurant but a bowling alley with the neon light of the “L” was not lit, hence Bo ling was later immortalized in the movie.

The only critical point that I would make is I think you should have mentioned that Bob and Arial were killed by a drunk driver, who happened to be an illegal alien. [

Again, I really enjoyed reading your article. Even after all these years it is still in the public consciousness and Bob would have loved that too.


Dear KG,

This note means a great deal; it’s of historic significance.

Thanks for the pointer against my point on illegality. Here is my counter to it, excerpted from an older article:

Bob Clark, director of one of the most delightful films ever made, “A Christmas Story,” and his 24-year-old son were both killed by a drunk, unlicensed, allegedly illegal alien. Geraldo and Jacoby, the teletwits of amnesty, both asserted that the illegality of the perp is irrelevant to the crime. “It’s not an illegal alien story; it’s a drunk driving story,” Geraldo noodled on “The Factor.”
Geraldo was serious, although he should not be taken seriously. So here’s my next question: For the Geraldo/Jacoby crushingly stupid claim to stick, they would have to demonstrate that had this drunk, illegal alien been stopped at the border or been deported, his victims would have nevertheless suffered the same fate.

Thus illegality matters to this story of lives lost. Had the Overlords in DC not facilitated the unleashing of this illegal individual, Bob and his son would be alive, at least on that day.

Warm regards,

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Rest In Peace, Dennis O’Keeffe

Family, Ilana Mercer, Intellectualism, Liberty

I met Dennis O’Keeffe, of blessed memory, at a Liberty Fund colloquium entitled “History, Citizenship and Patriotism in Liberal Democracy,” where Dennis—a professor of sociology at the University of Buckingham and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs—was in his element.

David Conway, a mutual friend and a stellar scholar too, had invited me to partake in an exchange of ideas with some of the finest minds in Britain. With his twinkling blue eyes, sonorous voice, and beautiful mind, Dennis was the star. Not only was he a beautiful mind; Dennis was a beautiful person to know and be around. A patrician, the dashing Dennis was also kind, sweet, humble; with an uncanny ability to engage intellectually and personally with interlocutors.

Needless to say, that the idyllic and breathtaking setting of the Ockenden Manor in Cuckfield, West Sussex, England, and the intimate quorum—only fifteen people partook—was conducive not only to the exploration of ideas, but to the forging of an enduring friendship.

Dennis and I were in epistolary contact until That Fateful Day, also the beginning of the end. From May 2006, until Dennis’ last missive to me, on November 11, 2010—we exchanged close to 100 emails. In his last letter, Dennis wrote:

Dear Ilana

I will happily write a foreword to your book, “Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South Africa.” You can send me the text electronically I guess. … I suspect you are up against a mix of fear and sentimentality. This is much the same in the British case. The issues are of vast importance, both philosophically and practically. If South Africa goes down the toilet, down the Zimbabwe road, the outlook for Africa will be even grimmer than it is already.


Upon the publication of his last book, “Edmund Burke,” also in 2010, I introduced Dennis to my readers, via a two-part conversation. The titles should give you an idea of what fun Dennis and I had:

* “Thomas Paine: 18th Century Che Guevara” (10/22/2010)

* “The ‘Moronizing’ Of Modern Culture” (10/29/2010)

I love you, Dennis O’Keeffe.
Preach It in Heaven.

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