Category Archives: Logic

UPDATE III (11/29): Did Stefan Molyneux Fail To Properly Credit Ideas From My Book, ‘Into the Cannibal’s Pot’?

Ethics, History, Ilana Mercer, Intellectualism, Logic, Morality, South-Africa

The implication in this Southern Poverty Law Center article is indeed that, in a 2015 video, vlogger Stefan Molyneux liberally used the material from my book, “Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa,” published in 2011.

The authors at SPLC hate me just as much, so they don’t care to harp on unethical use of material they had traced to me (“Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa”), if there was any. Still, their facts imply that no attribution was made or  direct credit given to me for a Molyneux podcast based on the rather idiosyncratic ideas that came from a chapter in Cannibal titled “APARTHEID IN BLACK AND WHITE: A Strategy for Survival” (pp. 65-70).

Writes the Southern Poverty Law Center:

In 2015 Molyneux published a video wherein he quoted an unnamed historian who claimed that “Apartheid wasn’t an expression of racism but concern over the survival of the white population.” The source for this quote is Ilana Mercer, a paleolibertarian writer and pro-Trump activist. Mercer’s 2011 book, which forms the basis for Molyneux’s YouTube video, is entitled “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa.” The tome received a glowing review from Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance website. “Apartheid was never based on a theory of racial supremacy; rather, it was a survival strategy for the badly outnumbered Boers,” the review reads. This is a mirror image of Molyneux’s sleight of hand: a decontextualized racism is deemed immoral but it is argued that Apartheid makes sense. The real message Molyneux and Taylor are delivering to their audiences is that the application of racial discrimination in South Africa was essential to ensure white survival (read: dominance) and that force and laws should be applied to keep different races apart.

Of course, the ideas in my chapter, “APARTHEID IN BLACK AND WHITE: A Strategy for Survival” (pp. 65-70), are not quite those expressed by the second-handers.

In any event, one gets accustomed to such lowly practices in this business. But if this is indeed true, and Stefan Molyneux had failed to fully credit this author for ideas that are nearly verbatim from “APARTHEID IN BLACK AND WHITE: A Strategy for Survival” (pp. 65-70)—then this is a new low.

Citing one’s sources is the very essence of ethical thinking and writing. If you don’t, you can’t claim to be an ethical thinker, much less a thinker. You lose all credibility.

It’s also so unmanly—and oh so very common. Yuk.

UPDATE I (11/27):

As was said, “Citing one’s sources is the very essence of ethical thinking and writing. If you don’t, you can’t claim to be an ethical thinker, much less a thinker. You lose ALL credibility.”

Ever wonder why Stefan Molyneux, and many men on the so-called hard right (some of whom came well after me), have never asked me (one of the few people who knows the ins-and-outs of apartheid South Africa) on their shows to speak to matters South African (or to any other matters)?

A LOT OF men are simply uncomfortable with certain women. (Hint: Young blondes showcase them better and are easier to best.) As a result, libertarian men (or mini-men) end up mouthing crass, historically wrong, right-wing talking points, on their shows, about my birth place. Coming from libertarians, this laxness is a disgrace.

At least credit your sources if you don’t want to engage the writer! Before Into the Cannibal’s Pot, nobody spoke about South Africa in any meaningful way in the US, other than the praiseworthy WND reporters, and one or two others liberally credited in my book. You see, I cite my sources (primary and secondary) religiously. Again, many of the johnny-come-lately sorts whom the Mini-Men aforementioned (or hinted at) interview on their limited shows speak a load of right-wing crap about South Africa.

Still and all, some ideas are too idiosyncratic to be generic—which is the case with a hell of a lot of what’s in Into the Cannibal’s Pot.

UPDATE II (11/28): “The Art of the Ego: Review of Stefan Molyneux’s Stupid Book”

If you can get past the author’s redundant liberal preening (it sullies a solid piece), Alexander Douglas makes short work of Stefan Molyneux’s short-on-logic book.

… Molyneux’s first few chapters outline some basic principles of logic. His explanation of ‘logic’ is as terrible as you might expect from someone with neither qualifications nor natural talent (see this review). Molyneux is one of these people who thinks that (barely) being able to do the First Figure Syllogism is ‘knowing logic’?—?the logical equivalent of the Astonishing Human Calculator who can add single-digit numbers in mere seconds or Sir Andrew Aguecheek who can speak languages without book. The really telling thing, however, is how Molyneux deals with his own ignorance. …

… Here is what he says about abduction, for example … Now, many people don’t know what abduction is. Nothing wrong with that. And you might find yourself in an exam, where you’re asked to define abduction, and maybe you missed that lecture, or you drifted off, or you just can’t remember. Then you might just write some bullshit, hoping to get a few marks. Perfectly acceptable behaviour. But if you’re writing a book on reasoning, and you remember that abduction is a form of reasoning but you can’t quite remember what it is?—?can you imagine in that circumstance just writing down some bullshit and hoping to get a few marks? Wouldn’t you just google it or something? Imagine being so devoid of intellectual humility. …

… It does help to show that, while logicians have no claim to be any better at informal reasoning than anyone else, there is such a thing as being godawful at informal reasoning. I’m not sure I knew that before looking at this book. But Molyneux is as bad at reasoning as he seems to be at everything else. Yet somehow, through some Dunning-Kruger pathology, he seems to regard himself as good enough to educate others. He is desperately in need of education himself, although I wouldn’t blame you if you preferred to put him ‘through the fist’ (“There are only two ways to resolve disagreements: through The Argument, or through the fist”). …

Myself, I’ve never been able to get through anything Molyneux writes. Other libertarians, systematic thinkers all, have said the same. My favorite, David Gordon, calls Molyneux’s arguments “often preposterously bad.”

“A (Tiny!) Bit More on Molyneux,” also by Alexander Douglas, delves into the problems of logic.

UPDATE III (11/29/018): On crap output and arrogant overreach. As someone who labors over every sentence she puts out (to the best of my abilities, which are respectable but far from infallible), these points, as made by a professional logician, are good.

Alas, and as noted by Tocqueville in the 19th century and Solzhenitsyn in the 20th, conformity of thought and anti-intellectualism are powerfully prevalent among Americans (the kind who follow Stefan Molyneux type Svengalis) .

Molyneux on logic just humiliates himself. And frankly it’s irritating to have spent years of hard study trying to master some elementary logic and then have some pontificating fraud claim the right to lecture others without doing any work at all

An Open Letter on Jordan Peterson and Stefan Molyneux” By Alexander Douglas.

UPDATED: About An Inspiring Young Man Who Knows He Has Things To Learn

Education, English, Intelligence, Kids, Logic, Reason

The stories about youths ruined by the education system are legion. My own encounters over the years confirm that students are taught to never question the state of their knowledge; to work to a grade and to not doubt the value of that grade.

Students and parents mistakenly believe that grades correspond to the state of their knowledge. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Adoring parents enforce these misconceptions, enabling bad teachers, and giving pedagogues (mostly mediocre or sub-par minds) ample cover.

In this context, I seldom give interviews, because young interviewers, while genuinely interested, poor things, are unable to grapple with substance and content.

I feel for these promising young minds. They’ve been deprived. They most certainly have not been taught to distill, analyze and question information. Unable to grapple with content, young minds resort to process-oriented gibberish:

“How do you feel about… What made you … Who inspired you.” Sorry, old chap. That’s not going to cut it. It’s what you ask the traditional Agony Aunt.

See, your kids are taught by women and their house-trained boys. So they look at the world not in search of substance, data, insights; but by escaping into different states of feeling.

Having said that, I am so happy to report that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a young Millennial. He had “reached out”—scrap that phrase, please, use “contacted”—with a request for an interview.

After reading his questions to me, I replied somewhat curtly by saying that his were questions better addressed to a YouTube fresh face or some young social-media sensation.

I explained why and told my young interlocutor I’d be glad to look over his revised questions once he got his bearings.

I had expected that he’d huff and puff as ego-maniacal Millennials usually do, when criticized.

But what a pleasant surprise awaited.

The young conservative replied thus:

OK. That’s definitely right. I enjoy your writing very much. Will get back with different questions. Thank you very much

My reply to his:

I knew you could be pushed to grapple with material. You’re better than the previous questions you sent, smarter. Give me a week and I will get back to you with answers to new questions. Good for you for being a good sport.

 

Came his reply:

Thank you for encouraging me. I really appreciate it … [and other stuff I won’t share]

AND MY YOUNG INTERVIEWR’S REVISED QUESTIONS ARE SHARP. They’ll be shared when answered.

Pushing good minds in the right (and Right) direction, provided they don’t suffer hubris, can work.

UPDATE:

No. Traditional, teacher-centered learning is the only way to begin to reverse progressive, child-centered miseducation. Restoring hierarchy is essential.

School Shootings: A Moral-Health, Not Mental-Health, Problem

Education, Kids, Logic, Pop-Psychology, Pseudoscience, Psychiatry

The NEW COLUMN IS “School Shootings: A Moral-Health, Not Mental-Health, Problem.” It’s now on WND.com. An excerpt:

The tele-experts assert that to do what he did—kill 10 and maim 13, at Santa Fe High School, in Texas—Dimitrios Pagourtzis had to be insane.

Likewise, Nikolas Cruz—killer of 17 in Parkland, Florida—and many shooters before him: All were victims of mental disorder. Or, so say the experts.

Come to think of it, the structure of argument coming from conservative and progressive corners is the same:

Conservatives blame mental health.

Progressives blame the National Rifle Association.

Both factions see the locus of responsibility for these murder sprees as beyond the reach and bailiwick of the individual and of what were once formative and corrective institutions: the church, for example.

As the language deployed in the culture might suggest, crimes aren’t committed, but are caused. Perpetrators don’t do the crime, but are driven to do their deeds by a confluence of uncontrollable factors.

The paradox at the heart of the disease theory of delinquency is that causal theoretical explanations are invoked only after bad deeds have been committed. Good deeds, however extravagant, are in no need of extenuation.

The evidence our tele-therapists advance for a killer’s “madness” is … the murder or murders he has committed.

Whatever the logical fallacy the psychiatrists commit—circular reasoning or backward reasoning—thinking people can agree: This is bad logic.

Fact: When they suggest a shooter is sick, they do so based on the fact that he committed murder.

Let’s run with this “logic”: The reductio ad absurdum of what the mental-health mavens are saying is that to kill, an individual must be deranged.

Does that not imply that the default condition of humanity is goodness?

Indeed, evil has been cast as a symptom of illness. It’s certainly so if to judge by the language used by the experts. …

… READ THE REST. “School Shootings: A Moral-Health, Not Mental-Health, Problem” is on WND.com. And on The Unz Review, Constitution.com., etc.

UPDATE IV (5/22): ‘Haters Gonna Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate …’

Anti-Semitism, Family, Gender, Ilana Mercer, Law, Logic, Political Correctness, Pop-Psychology

As my dearest first cousin says, “You need to duck, cuz, and let the sh-t hit the wall.”

Quit trying to convince pathological haters you’re a good gal or guy, because, well … “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

And they’ll hate you, even when you transform yourself in their image.

If people harbor hate for you—speak it and act it—there’s nothing you can do to transform that hate. Surround yourself with those who don’t think you’re drek. Surround yourself with people who know your heart and with whom you have reciprocal relationships.

In a related context, an articulate reader, a lawyer, reacted strongly to the habitual hatred this writer receives on the Unz Review:

imbroglio says:

Until recently, I’ve been an avid reader of the UNZ review one of whose leading contributors is Ilana Mercer. Ilana has great insight informed by natural gifts and the benefit of having lived in various cultures. Because of her (((background))), Ilana draws the mocking ire of trolls who hope to discount the value of what she says by means of their ad hominem attacks on her ethnicity. As we say in the legal world, argue the facts. If you haven’t got the facts, argue the law. If you have neither the facts nor the law, call your opponent unflattering names and argue to the jury that though the defendant didn’t commit the crime, he could have or at least he would have which makes him as guilty as if he had committed the crime.

Free speech enables people to say what they want. But there are consequences. When the UNZ Review lends itself to Jew-bashing, which is better done by those who write for Takimag and whose skill, in that regard, has been refined to a finer art than UNZ readers seem capable of; Ron Unz and his contributors lose credibility and start to become cliché and uninteresting. In addition, the men who engage in this business – I’ve yet to see a woman do so – come off as weasels and wimps. Let the P.C. crowd do as it pleases, its denizens are hardly avatars of healthy gender relations, but though a guy may take sharp issue with a woman, no self-respecting man would demean a lady with the kind of snide and baseless insults Ilana seems to attract.

There are two kinds of Jew-bashers: the ruthless, intelligent sociopaths who’d inflict violence on Jews if they thought they could get away with it. Their presence on this site is rare. More numerous are the clever but vacuous Jew-bashers who tend to end up as cannon fodder in their personal lives, conflicts and contests that have little to do with Jews. UNZ may find their comments useful, but why that would be so escapes me.

*****

Why, thank you sir—especially for fingering the unmanly men who suffer small-man syndrome.

Fact: There are other Jewish writers on the Unz Review. But they are men. They receive mostly obsequious, boot-licking adoration from the “weasels and the wimps.”

At play here is more than Jew-bashing. It is that the miserable, mediocre men in the Comments Section (for the most) hate it when a woman out-thinks men.

As a defender of men, this saddens—it’s been a huge disappointment—but it is, nevertheless, true.

Like the reader, I prefer the American Renaissance’s practice of a modicum of comments moderation. The Comments on said site are edifying even when negative.

An example of edifying criticism is the reader on Townhall.com. His comments yielded the 5/17 column, “Whodunit? Who “Meddled” with Our American Democracy?” (Part 2).

But hey, The Unz Review is private property. And weasels and wusses don’t scare me. I write my weekly piece, generally to positive reviews. (UPDATE III (5/21): Have done so since 1999, for almost 20 years.)

And I avoid reading the words of the weasels and the wusses as a real man would avoid email spam advertising penile enhancements.

BRING IT, BITCHES!

UPDATE I via Facebook:

Myron Robert Pauli Ilana Mercer: (1) There are, tragically, very few really good columnists of any sex M,F,LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ – and you are one of them. (2) Even among good writers, there are not too many women – not sure why {politically correct answer is the Intergalactic Sexist Conspiracy} – but there are just a few. (3) Can one find anti-Jewish/Zionist whatever stuff on the Unz sight – yes, and more than I would like to see but I try not to get into a pi$$ing contest with every skunky inference on the planet – one never “wins” these contests (4) Ironically, I am finding precious little to read in the Washington Post op-eds – I almost think it is the identically same op-ed “Trump Is Hitler” with a computer randomly toggling sentences and then putting a random name of Dana Milbank, Fareed Zakharia, Eugene Robinson, Jennifer Rubin, Greg Sargent, Kathleen Parker, Richard Cohen, Fred Hiatt, R2D2, … whomever’s turn it is for the by-line of the “Trump Is Hitler” op-ed-du-jour (5) On the latter point, I am not claiming this because I think Trump is perfect but to quote Johannes Brahms when someone pointed out that the last movement of his first symphony resembled a theme in Beethoven‘s Ode to Joy, “Any ass can see that!”. (6) Thus, it is the people who point out that the Iraq war was an impending disaster – the people who have the foresight to not follow the “prevailing” stupidity that I admire the most (such as Ilana).

UPDATE II via Twitter:

UPDATE IV (5/22): Wanda’s generosity of spirit means more than she knows.

Wanda De Lange Zanzi With dictionary by my side, I adore reading the workings of your mind. As a female you inspire me as a female… You have already and continue to teach me to think logically and laterally without gender (class, culture and or race) emotion, on many issues. As a female South African that says a lot, which, perhaps, would be greatly misinterpreted by a gazillion other people. Thank you for inspiring me to think.