It doesn’t often happen that Bill O’Reilly makes our John Stossel look, well, silly. But “Billy” did just that (April 31). I can’t find the TV clip, but when asked to explain why blacks were vastly overrepresented in violent crime statistics, Mr. Stossel, essentially, came up with the standard libertarian reply: The state made them do the crimes. As I put this reasoning in “Beware of ‘Absolut’ Libertarian Lunacy”:
“For the sins of man, hard leftists blame society, and hard-core libertarians saddle the state. ‘The State made me do it’ is how Stossel’s social determinism can be summed-up.” (June 6, 2009)
Last year Chicago had more than 500 murders; the vast majority of both victims and killers were black males. The Factor asked John Stossel to evaluate the stats. “It’s wrong to focus on Chicago,” Stossel asserted, “because other cities are worse and it’s also wrong to focus on race. It’s much more your fault because if you weren’t supporting the drug war the drug laws would go away and most of this crime would go away.” Stossel turned to the fact that most violent crimes are committed by blacks and Hispanics. “Monica Crowley talked about the wreckage of liberalism and you talk about welfare chaos. We’ve sent the message that you’re a victim and you can’t participate in the white capitalist world. People used to lift themselves out of the ghetto but now they’re being told that they can’t.” …
Here I answer my pal Myron Pauli, who, while a fierce individualist, all too often falls into the blasé libertarian, collective group-think, whereby only Ron Paul escapes blame for his imperfections (such as the incessant noodling about Congress’s need to declare war—as if the imprimatur of cockroaches turns unjust wars into just ones—or calling a focus on immigration in tough economic times a function of xenophobia; cleaving to the left’s tack on so-called endemic racism, being a career politician, on and on).
Myron’s Facebook comment below is a response to this week’s WND column, where I very specifically home in on Maggie Thatcher’s manifest individualism and cerebral acuity, not her policies.
As a libertarian nerd, I will often claim that the most beneficial people are often anonymous innovators who come up with a medical or device breakthrough to benefit the world (who invented the thermostat?)…. – on the other hand, politicians are mostly parasitic – the best benign politicians like Thatcher are the ones who foil the MALIGNANT designs of the Footes, Galtieris, and Brezhnevs. Hence, she was a Giantess in a field of pygmies (of course, she might have accomplished more had she stayed in chemistry or took over her father’s store- a great lady nonetheless).
MY REPLY: Thatcher was no pigmy, however which way you slice it. Be it in her role in a laboratory, bringing us one step closer to the delights of soft-serve ice-cream (the left denies her involvement, naturally), or smashing the unions and keeping the England she loved out of the EU.
You are repeating the usual libertarian echo chamber/mantra: Apply a single analysis to each politician other than Ron Paul, of course, whose every indiscretion is ignored, and every endeavor, even parasitic, is elevated.
The independent, unaffiliated writer should fight for intellectual virtue against the Idicoracy and the mediocrity. Without those intellectual standards, there can be no liberty. For those attributes, Mrs Thatcher is to be lauded. It is careless to dismiss these gifts of hers so rare in the populace and the people, for these attributes were enormously influential at the time.
Pundit-cum-philospher Jack Kerwick once observed how virtually impossible it is to reduce the size of the state. As a practical matter, it is well-nigh impossible to choke the modern, Western managerial state without a coup, or without shedding blood, as Thomas Jefferson advised.
Let’s see the brave theoreticians, confined to their safe theoretical perimeters, waffling into the ether, accomplish what Mrs. Thatcher accomplished: smash the unions, defend Britain from Brussels, privatize so many of Britain’s Sovietized industries, prohibit subsidies to industry, on and on.
Was she flawed? Most assuredly. (As a longtime antiwar libertarian, I’d be the first to say so.) But even more flawed are those who dismiss her with the pat libertarian analysis of, “Oh, she didn’t achieve a market anarchy. I can go back to snoozing, rather than apply my intellect to an assessment of what she did do.”
“Feminism is a form of collectivism. The sludge of feminist thought was as foreign to Margaret Thatcher’s supple mind as originality is in the collective consciousness of Dana Perino and Kimberly Guilfoyle.
Big hair, an overbite, botox and mind-numbing banalities: These best describe the female hosts on Fox News’ ‘The Five,’ a current-affairs panel, on which Lady Thatcher’s achievements were being claimed for womanhood.
To be fair to the pair from ‘The Five,’ a procession of equally vacuous panelists, plonked on other God-awful, dual-perspective chat forums—now multiplying on TV—had all rattled on about Margaret Thatcher qua woman.
The solipsistic sorority known as feminism was alien to Mrs. Thatcher, who was a methodological individualist, if ever there was one. The ‘Iron Lady’ would have had nothing but contempt for the mediocrities claiming her achievements for their communal sisterhood.
The causes of the late Mrs. Thatcher—who served as the United Kingdom’s prime minister from 1979 to 1990, and passed away this week—were those of “individual men and women” and their families.
As Lady Thatcher famously averred, feminism was poison. ‘No! No! No!’ The Lady was not for feminism. Within parliament, Prime Minister Thatcher had disavowed “little sir echo’s” acquiescence to the colossal collective of the European superstate. From without parliament, she would have extended the same scorn to little miss echo’s campaigns for gender-driven sectional interests.
The force of Mrs. Thatcher’s thinking and leadership flowed from a fierce independence of mind that precluded an affinity for the black hole of feminist thought—the collapse of which becomes increasingly likely as its center of gravity grows heavier. (Yes, women—especially feminists—risk vanishing into self-centeredness and self-preoccupation.) A bona fide feminist at the Guardian got it right. Mrs. Thatcher, she fumed, had no empathy for woman-centric whining, preferring the company of men.
Such was Lady Thatcher’s individualism that she even hand-bagged Thomas Jefferson for what she perceived as his flawed expression of the American Mind …”
UPDATE I: No To The EU. It says a lot about collectivism’s historic, unstoppable momentum that Margaret Thatcher was ousted as prime minister of Britain, in 1990, because of one of her most prophetic and patriotic insights: that against the European superstate. She famously insisted that, “We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European superstate exercising a new dominance from Brussels.”
UPDATE II: Libertarians will and should continue to debate whether Margaret Thatcher truly reduced overall government outlays. While economic growth outpaced government growth during the Thatcher years, as The Spectator’s Jonathan Jones observed, “Government spending actually rose by 17.6 percent in real terms under Thatcher.”
We might, in addition to all else, ponder why, given the privatization Thatcher accomplished—National Freight, steel, gas, telecoms and water—Mrs. Thatcher failed to tackle Britain’s National Health Service. Alas, there is so much one woman can do. To ignore her towering intellect and her patriotism, so unusual today among the Anglo-American traitor class, is worse than stupid.
UPDATE IV (4/12): The Republican Teletwits are Feminists. Jeff P writes:
Ilana, Very well written piece capturing so many of the essentials of Lady Thatcher. However as regards the two ladies of The Five, I didn’t at all sense that they were/are leftist feminist supporters and am of the belief or at least the impression that they would agree with your statements about Lady Thatcher vs liberal feminism. I do want to tell you however, that I believe you do the quality of your essay a disservice with the ad hominems of “botox, big hair, and overbite.” I think it is within bounds to draw the analogy of the feminist sludge to Thatcher’s supple mind as originality to the collective consciousness of Perino and Guilfoyle. Just my thoughts.
Never said they were leftist; but they are neocon-Republican feminists. Which, I suppose, is left, in my book. All Republican TV tarts (bar Malkin and Coulter who are serious commentators, but are not invited on panels b/c too smart for their hosts) are feminist lightweights. Think about what individualism versus feminism involves. The constructs deployed by the many Dana Perinos and Kimberly Guilfoyles, festooning panels all over the networks, are invariably gender-centric.
The two were incapable of addressing Mrs. Thatcher’s thinking, other than to chirp on about her contribution to making them feel better as women; brightening their prospects as females. Well, she should not have, because Mrs. Thatcher was nothing like them.
In any case, their discourse is feminist, not individualist.
As to the bite. Writing has to be biting and sharp, not boring and agreeable. If you back up the bite with facts, and I do my best—then one should have some fun. Those two broads are thick. Why are they there speaking to the nation? Why are all these panels bedecked with such silly sorts? Because these women will never say anything remotely provocative or original. Never have, never will.
Considering that a knife—I’m sorry, a knife-welding individual, not that Piers can tell the difference—went on a rampage today, at the Lone Star College campus, Texas, knifing 15 students—one would expect to hear a lot more in the future about closing that knife loophole.
The Cape Parrot Project is one of my favored charities. Owned as I am by an Un-Cape Parrot (a genetic relative to the wild Cape Parrot), I’ve had the privilege of experiencing first-hand the intense brilliance of these precious Pois (mine is Poicephalus fuscicollis; the Cape Parrot is Poicephalus robustus). We rescued Oscar-Wood from a cage in a store, where he had languished for 4 years, plucking his feathers down to the pink skin beneath. This, after having been sold into the trade by a well-known breeder in Hawaii.
LOOK at him then (2009):
Another heartbreaking image (2009):
Here Oscar-Wood is today (2012), fully flighted, nesting in a bag of tortillas. This state of relative well-being has come about only because I work from home and am able to give him the attention and freedom he requires to thrive. And still he plucks; once acquired, this neurotic habit is hard to eliminate.
Oscar-Wood has a facility with … wood (all parrots require wood, preferably from a tree, in the wild):
WARNING. Do not try the above at home. By all means, rescue an abandoned and abused parrot, but do not fuel the wicked pet parrot trade, which everywhere and always involves breeding mills, inhumane by definition. As to wild-life traffickingg … words fail.
Those who’ve bothered to get to know a parrot in flight, if hobbled horribly by the walls of a house (the Cape, for example, can fly hundreds of kilometers in a day), know this: Out of a cage, free to be adorable and impossible as only hookbills are—parrots are so much smarter than any of the domesticated animals (and than some of your neighbors).
Even showmen such as parrot whisperer Clint Carvalho attests that the larger parrots are “twenty times smarter than dogs.” I’m not sure how Carvalho quantifies his findings, but these sound about right.
Know a politician with this magic macaw’s problem-solving skills? Tan’s Japanese admirers are enthralled. As well they should be. Watch Tan solve an impossible magic-cube like puzzle:
What’s positive about Carvalho is that, unlike your average avian dabbler, he has realized that parrots acquire rudimentary language (often greater than those acquired by the bumper crops of illiterates US public schools produce) through conditioning and cognition, just as kids do.
The cognitive capacities of the parrot, however, match his emotional needs.
Unlike dogs and cats, birds are wild animals, ill-suited to captivity. Moreover, they’re flock animals who wither without the physical proximity of a feathered family with which they fly, forage, communicate and mate, often for life.
The trade is fueled by consumer demand.
Being slaves to authority and convention, the mass of humanity doesn’t much like or appreciate the independent-minded individuals among them. Imagine the fate of a creature as smart, as independent-minded and as individualistic as the parrot?
Consider the attendant cruelty of excluding parrots from assorted public-awareness campaigns. Funds are invariably solicited for and awareness raised over the airwaves about abused and needy dogs and cats. Not so for parrots. Despite their popularity as pets and their prevalence in American homes, natural disasters come and go without any mention of the plight of the Psittacine victims.
Most people know about the popular African Grey parrots of central and western Africa, but very few people know about Africa’s most endangered parrot, South Africa’s Cape parrot. Today, there could be as few as 800 Cape parrots remaining in the wild and they are considered Critically Endangered due to continued habitat loss, poor nesting success due to lack of nest cavities, a severe Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease epidemic, historical persecution as a crop pest, and illegal capture for the wild-caught bird trade. If Africa was to lose this “green and gold” ambassador of some of our last-remaining Afromontane forest patches, it would be a sign of very bad times to come… We would have lost one of the last Afromontane endemics clinging onto these forests through their own ingenuity and collective intelligence. Intensive logging in their forest habitat, persecution (e.g. being shot or caught in nets and clubbed to death), nest poaching and mist-netting adults for the wild-caught bird trade, and very little or no conservation intervention, has left the Cape Parrot in ruins with an aging populations in declining physical condition. We need to intervene now and stimulate positive change for Cape parrots in the wild
JP: Point taken, but parrot are picky about friends and partners. The chances of a friendship being struck up are greater when the other parrot is of the same species. Personally, I recommend against taking on two parrots. That’s much like planning for one toddler and learning that you’ll be giving birth to twins. It’s never easier. Better that you be a good parront to one parrot than shortchange both and yourself. Of course, if you do not work, or your work is not too demanding (because parrots are), have a large enough house and homestead (maybe even place for an outdoor aviary)—by all means. Caring for parrots under the right conditions is rewarding. There is nothing like the love of a parrot, once earned.
Baby is currently doing lapse from his cage to kitchen cupboard (or what’s left of it; our kitchen has not been renovated and we’re delaying that job until we can think of how to parrot proof Sean’s planned maple-wood cabinetry).
Oscar-Wood is also talking up an storm. Singing his musical repertoire; knocking, and then demanding, “Hello, hello”; asking if I’m going, “Bye-bye-bye?” and if he’s been a “bad bird?” He’s also doing his raspy chest cough, because he knows that sound worries me. Should I dare to attempt to bathe him (parrots bath themselves pretty thoroughly), it’s an indignant, “Hey, hey!” Tell me that’s not a very decent attempt to communicate.
“Why Americans Should Know and Care About South Africa,” by Jack Kerwick, was published by FrontPage Magazine. “Decent people everywhere should be aware of the suffering and death that are part of everyday life in South Africa,” warns Jack, as he honors the memory of the “flesh and blood human beings who have been victimized by the predators who have taken over “the Rainbow Nation.” Kudos to Dr. Kerwick.
1) First up is the lie that I lionized Eugene Terre’Blanche, the murdered leader of South Africa’s Afrikaner Resistance Movement. In the “War on White South Africa,” I had reported on the manner in which the controversial 69-year-old Mr. Terre’Blanche was bludgeoned to a pulp with pangas and pipes by two black farmhands. At the time of his death, the old Afrikaner had not threatened anyone. But vampiric liberals (and, evidently, neocons) bayed for the blood of men like Terre’Blanche, and celebrated his death. That we libertarians defend the life of a non-aggressor offends them. Unlike the liars above, we are civilized that way.
2) Next is the bogus accusation that “Mercer’s family escaped South Africa”: yet more lies. While I indeed left South Africa as democracy dawned (at my husband’s wise insistence; we went straight to North America: Canada first, and then the US)—my father, Rabbi Ben Isaacson, still resides in South Africa. Ditto most other members of my family. They have not emigrated from the democratic South Africa!
3) Finally, there is the wrongheaded claim that I am racist because I acknowledge that crime and other variables have a racial dimension, which is what a perfectly conventional multiple regression analysis would reveal too. (Perhaps liberals should ban that statistical methodology because of the statistically significant correlations it reveals.)
I do discuss demographics vis-à-vis crime in South Africa and the US quite openly, as I believe this discussion is perfectly congruent with individualism—and with the methods of the social sciences.
“Generalizations, provided they are substantiated by hard evidence, not hunches, are not incorrect. Science relies on the ability to generalize to the larger population observations drawn from a representative sample.”
“In all, no color should be given to the claim that race is not a factor in the
incidence of crime in the US and in South Africa. The vulgar individualist will
contend that such broad statements about aggregate group characteristics are
collectivist, ergo false. He would be wrong. Generalizations, provided they are
substantiated by hard evidence, not hunches, are not incorrect. Science relies
on the ability to generalize to the larger population observations drawn from a
representative sample. People make prudent decisions in their daily lives based
on probabilities and generalities. That one chooses not to live in a particular
crime-riddled county or country in no way implies that one considers all
individual residents there to be criminals, only that a sensible determination
has been made, based on statistically significant data, as to where scarce and
precious resources—one’s life and property—are best invested.”
In all, “I cop to Western man’s individualist disdain—could it be his weakness?—for race as an organizing principle. For me, the road to freedom lies in beating back the state so that individuals regain freedom of association, dominion over property, the absolute right of self-defense; the right to hire, fire, and, generally, associate at will.”