Category Archives: Intellectualism

Trump’s List

Intellectualism, Intelligence, Justice, Law, The Courts

Amy Coney Barrett: How can one fail to be impressed by this 46-year-old mother of seven, former Notre Dame law professor and clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia?

Speaking on Fox News (7/5), constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, certainly an intellect, intimated to Jason Chaffetz that none of the justices on Trump’s list quite matches Neil Gorsuch for intellect. Turley sagely advised that the president “choose intellect, not optics.”

As Micky Kaus grumbles, the Federalist Society vets for Roe v. Wade. But do they vet for Flores? Making sure Trump doesn’t pick a Bushesque act-of-love justice seems like Job #1 for border controllers right now.

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul support Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), for reasons they don’t specify. They say he has fine principles. Well, what are Lee’s principles?

Principle is important. So is intellect.

This Washington Post item is crammed with grammatical mistakes. Mismatched subject and verbs, for example. Disgraceful. But here is, “Trump narrows list for Supreme Court pick, with focus on Kavanaugh and Kethledge.”

St. John’s: The Most Rigorous College In America & What Every Young Mind Needs

Education, Human Accomplishment, Intellectualism, Intelligence, Literature, Logic

According to data reported by Tucker, only 31 percent of Americans who graduate from college can read a complex text/book.

By the same data’s telling, American kids are the dumbest in the developed world (facts I was reporting 14 years ago, already. In addition to the two hyperlinks provided, click “Education” to go back in time).

While our kids know less and less, their grades are only getting higher. The vaunted GPA is meaningless, except to give an idea of a student’s grades in relation to the inflated marks of his peers.

The most common grade given (the statistical mode?) in American college courses is an … “A.” “Forty-three percent of all letter grades are As.”

An exception to the rule is St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico (there is a Campus in Annapolis, MD, too), whose core curriculum is centered around what we call The Western Canon:

The great books (and works of art and music) upon which nobody contemporary has improved. (Everybody needs to be humbled by these works. I recently read some Plato abbreviated, after which I felt very small indeed. It’s all been said and thought-out before by the Greats. For example, an insight articulated and carefully thought-out in Into The Cannibal’s Pot; it was there. Plato said it already. Of course I was chuffed; it felt good. But how sad that this heritage—and with it the humility that comes with a recognition of true genius—is not being handed down.)

The video begins 4:22 minutes into the Tucker segment. (Tucker is a gem. The only gem on Fox News.)

St. John’s College admits only 800 and is producing the renaissance men and women of America.

ALL “freshmen must learn ancient Greek. ALL seniors struggle with quantum physics, along the way, as do they have to grapple with calculus, learn how to do differential equations, study Hegel and Kierkegaard, Karl Marx and Adam Smith.”

“St. John’s is sailing against every trend in American higher education.”

Their “students read 200 serious books over the course of their education.”

Only 800 students qualify in admission and all must undergo this rigor.

This is the traditional liberal arts education that our greatest minds (thinkers, scientists, Founding Fathers) would have undergone 100 plus years ago. (Was not Thomas Jefferson a scientist and a philosopher and an all-round genius? Indeed he was.)

It’s an all-required curriculum. Everyone is required to take courses of equal rigor. There are no majors, no minors. No hiding. No skewing the grades Bell Curve.

Minds thus enriched can go on to become whatever they want, having been given the intellectual wherewithal to think, and the tools to both appreciate intellectual history, draw on it and from it.

American education is an exercise in egalitarian idiocy. In my option, educational egalitarianism and idiocy does the greatest harm to the gifted child.

And isn’t that the aim? To give all children the feeling they are equally gifted?

Ultimately, wonderful young minds should not be abandoned to the evaluation standards of what are mostly sub-intelligent, near-illiterate educrats, who’ve been disseminating dumbed-down subject matter, in institutions of “learning” in which everyone is a winner.

 

UPDATED (3/12): About ‘Sea Changes,’ A Magnificent Immigration Novel (And The Mercer ‘MeToo’ Moment)

Britain, Culture, English, Ethics, Europe, Ilana Mercer, IMMIGRATION, Intellectualism, Literature

My friend, British author Derek Turner, will have to forgive me. This discursive post, my second about his superb novel, Sea Changes (here’s the first), begins with … me. I guess women are having a reckoning of sorts. Mine is quite a bit different. But I, too, have had a “Me Too” moment, albeit intellectual, not sexual (true traditionalists consider the latter a private matter).

Part of an ancient “Me Too” aphorism by the great Rabbi Hillel says this:

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

So, here I go.

Over the 20 years in which I’ve out-written most weekly columnists of my philosophical stripe, only a handful of individuals on the Old Right have publicly expressed respect for- and intellectual honesty about my work. Mr. Turner, the gentleman under review, for one. Another is a younger newcomer, the wonderful Jack Kerwick, a man with a moral compass. Still another is Ron Unz, the first publisher (other than the ever fearless WND) on the hard right to feature my weekly column, without any censure or reservation, as any intellectually honest publisher would. (Some of the old chaps won’t even follow me on Twitter, or pretend I don’t exist. Shame. Poor things. Reality bites.) The last, for now, is Tom DiLorenzo, a friend forever. Bill Scott, crusader against police brutality, is a gem of a friend, too.

Check the comments on the Unz Review. The same readers who prostrate themselves to the male writers (fluffy, wordy waffling from the old boys, notwithstanding) hate on Mercer, who happens to be the only featured female columnist on the Unz Review. As I surmised, this is Small Man syndrome.

Bring it.

Yes, the Mercer column is outré, but its quality, philosophical consistency and powers of prediction ought to have secured it a regular slot, given its fiercely anti-war stance, on prominent libertarian and paleoconservative sites.

On the bright side, the attitude to my work over 20 years from these quarters has been the best proof of its quality. In this context, I am reminded of another gifted Brit (Derek Turner is English), comedian Alexei Sayle. When asked what he does when he watches a really talented, young satirist performing, Sayle replied with brutal self-deprecation: “I go back stage and tell him he’ll never make it.”

On the other hand, the German Right doesn’t seem to have an intellectual-honesty issue when it comes to my work. They have generally sought me out (the Mercer column was a regular on Junge Freiheit). And in a justly glowing review of Derek’s book, Sea Changes, an Alt-Right reviewer says this:

“Ilana Mercer, author of a book on Trump and renowned conservative intellectual, praised Sea Changes for its analysis of the prospects for the West and the necessity of defence.”

The German writer quotes a section of my fabulous advance praise. I excerpt the rest, because amidst billowing verbiage from others, I believe I succinctly captured the novel’s essence best (alas, the Mercer blurb, predictably, didn’t make it onto Amazon):

“Well written, meticulously researched and thought out, Sea Changes, Derek Turner’s first novel, succeeds mightily in bringing to life the prototypical players in the Western tragedy that is mass migration. The reader becomes intimately au fait with the many, oft-unwitting actors in this doomed stand-off: small-town conservative folks vs. progressive city slickers; salt-of-the-earth countrymen against smug, self-satisfied left-liberals. Ever present are the ruthless traffickers in human misery: both media and smugglers. Like it or not, the dice are loaded. In this epic battle, the scrappy scofflaws and their stakeholders triumph; the locals lose.”

Back to the German reviewer:

“What Jean Raspail started with Camp of the Saints and Michel Houellebecq continued with Submission has now been carried forward. The latest novel to hit the German market borrows from both of these books and carries them forward. Sea Changes by Derek Turner is now available for purchase. The novel provides an overview of events and inside them the story of the long, slow suicide of a European nation. Whether England, France or Germany, the situation is the same. The problem is ‘refugees’ and their quite understandable search for a better life. The theme of the book is how a truly arrogant elite ignore reality because it is obsessed by ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’. The novel shows the reality of the unchallenged multiculturalist establishment. ….”

[SNIP]

Another aspect about Derek’s book that I liked a lot (it went unnoticed by other “male” reviewers): Sea Changes is manly in that Derek packed it with details about masonry, weaponry and history. The book is technically dense. I like that. Other nerds will enjoy that aspect, too.

Sea Changes by Derek Turner is available on Amazon.

UPDATE (3/12): Lookie here. I found Mercer male hounding from 2006: “How Sexist Are Libertarian Men?

The Conservative Cult Of Dr. Martin Luther King, Communist, Plagiarist, And Worse

BAB's A List, Communism, Conservatism, Cultural Marxism, Ethics, History, Intellectualism, Left-Liberalism, Morality

I almost lost my lunch listening to a radio rerun of Sean Hannity’s odes to Martin Luther King Jr.  To declare the schmaltzy, sub-intellectual fare of  King Jr.  to be the greatest thinking ever is to kill one’s intellectual credibility and affront the history of thought. I read Plato—yes yes, he was a statist—and I think, “Just wow,”and “what genius.” I listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech, and I think, “Oprah,” and “what kitsch.”

Barley A Blog correspondent Dr. Boyd Cathey fills in the blanks:

For the past thirty-five years (officially since 1986) the third Monday in January has been celebrated as a federal holiday, Martin Luther King Day. Federal and state offices and many businesses either close or go on limited schedules. We are awash with public observances, parades, prayer breakfasts, stepped-up school projects for our unwary and intellectually-abused children, and gobs and gobs of over-the-top television “specials” and movies, all geared to tell us—to shout it in our faces, if we don’t pay strict attention—that Martin Luther King Jr. was some sort of superhuman, semi-divine civil rights leader who brought the promise of equality to millions of Americans, a kind of modern St. John the Baptist ushering in the Millenium. And that he stands just below Jesus Christ in the pantheon of revered and adored historical personages…and in some ways, perhaps above Jesus Christ in the minds of many of his present-day devotees and epigones.

It seems to do no good to issue a demurrer to this veritable religious “cult of Dr. King.” There are, indeed, numerous “Christian” churches that now “celebrate” this day just as if it were a major feast in the Christian calendar. In short, Martin Luther King has received de facto canonization religiously and in the public mind as no other person in American history.

Mention the fact that King plagiarized as much as 40 percent of his Boston University Ph.D. dissertation [cf. Theodore Pappas, Plagiarism and the Culture War: The Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr, and Other Prominent Americans, 1998, and Martin Luther King Jr Plagiarism Story, 1994], or that he worked closely with known Communists throughout his life, or that he advocated American defeat in Vietnam while praising Ho Chi Minh, or that he implicitly countenanced violence and Marxism, especially later in his life [cf., Congressional Record, 129, no. 130 (October 3, 1983): S13452-S13461]—mention any of these accusations confirmed begrudgingly by his establishment biographers David Garrow and Taylor Branch, or mention his even-by-current-standards violent “rough sex” escapades (which apparently involved even under-age children) [cf., Cooper Sterling, January 13, 2018]—and you immediately get labeled a “racist” and condemned by not just the zealous King flame-keepers on the Left, but by such neoconservatives like James Kirchick and Dinesh D’Souza who supposedly are on the Right.

Indeed, in some ways Establishment “conservatives” such as Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry (National Review), D’Souza, Glenn Beck, the talking heads on Fox and the furious scribblers at The Weekly Standard, and many others, not only eagerly buy into this narrative, they now have converted King into a full-fledged, card-carrying member of “conservatism inc.”—the (contemporary) “conservative movement,” a “plaster saint” iconized as literally no one else in our history.

Celebrating King becomes a means for these ersatz conservatives to demonstrate their “civil rights” and “egalitarian” bona fides. The neocons, with their philosophical and ideological origins over on the Trotskyite Left of the 1930s and 1940s, when they made their pilgrimage towards conservatism in the 1960s and 1970s, brought with them a fervent believe in a globalist New World Order egalitarianism that characterized Trotskyite Marxist ideology, and the determination to redefine and re-orient the traditional American Rightwing, and to re-write, as well, American history.

Thus, the purges of the old conservative movement in the 1980s and 1990s—there was no room for Southern conservatives like Mel Bradford, no room for traditionalist Catholics like Frederick Wilhelmsen or Brent Bozell Sr., no room for paleolibertarians like Murray Rothbard, no room for Old Right anti-egalitarians like Paul Gottfried, and no room for “America Firsters” like Pat Buchanan … And those traditional conservatives who were too significant in the “pantheon of greats,” like a Russell Kirk, they attempted to simply whitewash and give new, cleaned up images and identities (part and parcel of their “rewriting” of conservatism). Thus, Kirk’s opposition to the civil rights bills of the 1960s and 1970s, his staunch arguments against egalitarianism—are all swept under the carpet or carefully ignored.

In this, in fact, the dominant necons have joined with their cousins on the “farther Left,” to the point that Bush consultant guru and Fox pundit, Karl Rove, could boast that hardcore Marxist/Communist historian Eric Foner (who lamented the collapse of Soviet Communism) was his favorite historian (when examining Reconstruction) [See Dr. Paul Gottfried’s incisive critique of Foner and those “conservatives” who have praised him, “Guilt Trip,” The American Conservative,” May 4, 2009, pp. 21-23].

King Day becomes, then, for the Conservative Movement an opportunity for it to beat its chest, brag about its commitment to civil rights and the American “dream, the unrealized idea of equality (that is, to distort and re-write the history of the American Founding), and to protect its left flank against the ever increasing charges that it could be, just might be, maybe is—“racist.”

And for the “farther Left,” that catapulting cultural Marxist juggernaut that continues to move the societal and political goalposts to the Left, King Day becomes as a major ideological blitzkrieg, a weaponized cudgel used to strike down and silence anyone, anywhere, who might offer the slightest dissent to the latest barbarity and latest “advance” in civil rights, now expanded to include not just everything “racial,” but also same sex marriage, transgenderism and abortion on demand. Martin Luther King–that deeply and irredeemably flawed and fraudulent figure imposed upon us and our consciousness—has become an icon, a totem, who serves in martyred death the purposes of continuing Revolution.

The heavily-documented literature detailing the real Martin Luther King is abundant and remains uncontroverted and uncontested. During the debates over establishing a national “King Day” in the mid-1980s, Senators Jesse Helms and John East (both North Carolinians) led the opposition, supplying the Congress and the nation, and anyone with eyes to read, full accounts of the “King legacy,” from his close association and collaboration with the Communist Party USA to his advocacy of violence and support for the Communists in North Vietnam, to implicit support for Marxist revolution domestically. Ironically, it was Robert Woodson, a noted black Republican, who highlighted, in a lecture given to honor the “conservative virtues of Dr. Martin Luther King” at the Heritage Foundation on November 5, 1993, the difficulties in getting black advocates of the older generation to respect King’s role as a Civil Rights leader. According to Woodson, as quoted in an excellent essay by Paul Gottfried,

“When Dr. King tried to bring the Civil Rights movement together with the [Marxist] peace movement, it was Carl Rowan who characterized King as a Communist, not Ronald Reagan. I remember being on the dais of the NAACP banquet in Darby, Pennsylvania when Roy Wilkins soundly castigated King for this position.” [Paul Gottfried, “The Cult of St. Martin Luther King – A Loyalty Test for Careerist Conservatives?” January 16, 2012]

But not only that, behind the scenes there were voluminous secretly-made FBI recordings and accounts of King’s violent sexual escapades, often times with more than two or three others involved in such “rough sex” trysts; and of his near total hypocrisy when discussing civil rights and other prominent civil rights leaders. It is, to put it mildly, a sorry record, scandalous even by today’s standards…Indeed, King makes Harvey Weinstein look like a meek choirboy in comparison.

But you won’t hear any of that mentioned by the slobbering Mainstream Media or the media mavens on Fox News. In fact, such comments will get you exiled to the far reaches of the Gobi Desert and labeled a “racist,” quicker that my cocker spaniel gobbles down his kibble.

THERE IS MORE HERE.

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~ DR. BOYD D. CATHEY is an Unz Review columnist, as well as a Barely a Blog contributor, whose work is easily located on this site under the “BAB’s A List” search category. Dr. Cathey earned an MA in history at the University of Virginia (as a Thomas Jefferson Fellow), and as a Richard M Weaver Fellow earned his doctorate in history and political philosophy at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. After additional studies in theology and philosophy in Switzerland, he taught in Argentina and Connecticut before returning to North Carolina. He was State Registrar of the North Carolina State Archives before retiring in 2011. He writes for The Unz Review, The Abbeville Institute, Confederate Veteran magazine, The Remnant, and other publications in the United States and Europe on a variety of topics, including politics, social and religious questions, film, and music.