Category Archives: Paleoconservatism

UPDATED (9/29): Interview: Ilana Mercer, Part 2: Lady Paleolibertarian

Argument, Conservatism, Critique, Ilana Mercer, Neoconservatism, Paleoconservatism, Paleolibertarianism, Political Philosophy

Interview: Ilana Mercer, part 2: Lady Paleolibertarian, By Dissident Mama on Monday, September 28, 2020.

Dissident Mama, aka Rebecca Dillingham, is my kind of lady, too. She writes:

So we got to know Ilana Mercer a bit in part 1. Now, the paleolibertarian wordsmith takes full command of her keyboard and her craft, and takes no prisoners in this explosive followup. Simply put, she ain’t skeered.

Even though I’m a recovering mainstream journalist by trade, I’ve only been at dissident blogging a few months shy of four years. And here’s my big takeaway: there is no point to alternative political writing and cultural criticism unless you’re willing to ruffle tail feathers and call a spade a spade. Anything less than connecting the dots, calling out your conclusions (no matter how socially unacceptable), and vehemently smashing sacred cows is just rhetorical masturbation.

Forgive my colorful language, but really, time is of the essence, and if truth is not your game but caring about fashionable opinion is, well, I’d personally rather watch paint dry. THAT is why I admire Ilana Mercer. She writes with bang, not a whimper. She’s my kinda lady.

READ Rebecca’s interview: “Ilana Mercer, part 2: Lady Paleolibertarian.”

Part 1 is “Ilana Mercer, part 1: Roots, writing, & resistance,” By Dissident Mama on Friday, September 25, 2020.

UPDATED (9/29):  Southern gentlemen know a thing or two.

I have been following you, Ilana, since you started writing articles for WND, then here on your blog, etc. You once said in answer to some statement of mine that, “I could be a southern belle.” Well, from one old Southern guy, “You are a southern belle in my book. True southern women will never be democrat or republican as they are too strong and too independent in their personalities to be.
They know what and who they love and who they don’t and their husbands have to tread lightly with their demands. I am eighty three now and still a follower of your wit and truth. Keep at it, my friend, what you say is worthwhile. High schools and Universities have stolen a few generations of young southern women, so you light up my day. Maybe you can wake some of them up also, I pray so.

Interview: Ilana Mercer, Part 1: Roots, Writing, & Resistance

Canada, Conservatism, Critique, Ethics, Etiquette, Family, Ilana Mercer, Journalism, Paleoconservatism, Paleolibertarianism

Interview: Ilana Mercer, part 1: Roots, writing, & resistance, By Dissident Mama on Friday, September 25, 2020.

I gave an interview to an up-and-coming young star, Dissident Mama, aka Rebecca Dillingham. She writes:

“It’s been a long time in the making, but here it is: the first installment of my two-part interview with the always provocative and poignant Ilana Mercer. Part 2 should be published on Monday. Keep your eyes wide open for that – it promises to be explosive!”

The tagline at Ilana Mercer’s website is “Verbal swordplay for civilization.” Ain’t that the truth. The self-described paleolibertarian has been wielding words and fighting the good fight since well before I even thought about fleeing the clutches of feminism-atheism-socialism. She’s both provocative and poignant – a difficult thing to pull off anytime, much less in our postmodern dystopia.

I remember first stumbling upon Mercer at World Net Daily back in my neocon “daze” in the early 2000s. I recall being moved by not only her tenacity, but her cerebral style. Being such a prolific essayist, I then found her articles during my libertarian/ancap phase. And again, her writing spoke to me. Now, I’m what you’d call a paleoconservative/Southern traditionalist, and yet, there she is again: writing articles that say things we all want to say but don’t know how, or planting seeds for new thinking.

Now, I don’t always agree with Mercer. I’d say she speaks my language on most matters, but that’s really not what draws me to her work. When you read Mercer, you know that she’s coming to her conclusions through principled inquiry, deep research, a passion for justice, and an impatience with the insanity. In other words, she’s rational but on fire!

And Mercer can see through so many of the charades. Perhaps this is due to her years of experience or because, as Jack Kerwick says, “Ilana is in much greater supply of that ‘manly virtue’ than are most male writers today.”

As Southern stalwart Dr. Clyde Wilson explains of Mercer, “This is one libertarian who knows that the market is wonderful, but it is not everything.” Intellectual honesty like that is hard to come by these days, and that’s why Mercer’s writing is so damn good: it’s fearless and succinct. Bold and challenging. Accessible and engrossing.

Moreover, anyone who’s forever banned from Facebook, pegged as a hater by the SPLC, and given accolades by everyone from Peter Brimelow and Vox Day, to Tom Woods and Paul Gottfried, well, they’re pretty cool in my book. Plus, Mercer has become what I would call a mentor and a friend. So, for those of you who don’t already know her, please meet the never-to-be-duplicated Ilana Mercer. And folks who are already familiar with her and her independent streak, get ready to have your socks knocked off.

MORE… Ilana Mercer, part 1: Roots, writing, & resistance, By Dissident Mama on Friday, September 25, 2020.

 

 

The American Greatness Advantage

America, Argument, Nationalism, Nationhood, Paleoconservatism, Paleolibertarianism, Political Philosophy

In figuring out what makes “American Greatness” great, I’ll work my way back.

This writer has written a radical weekly column for two decades, in which firmly held first principles and a reality based analysis have combined to yield a predictive bit of writing (fun, too) on the most controversial and pressing issues of the day. From race to trade deficits to anarchism to immigration to populism: as a valued reader put it, “We’ve learned to trust you.”

My latest effort, a radical—but dare I say rigorous?—deconstruction of the racism construct, is as good a weapon as you get against the violent proponents of racial subjugation.

Your Anti-Critical Race Theory Analytical Ammunition:
1. ‘Systemic Racism’ Or Systemic Rubbish?
2. Was The Cop’s Knee On George Floyd’s Neck ‘Racism’? No!’?
3. “Ethnocidal ‘Critical Race Theory’ Is Upon Us Like White On Rice
4. “Racist Theory Robs And Rapes Reality

These hardcore tracts have found a home with American Greatness, but not with even one of the publications claiming my own ideological affiliation. For these, timidity, intellectual atrophy and excommunication is de rigueur.  (To quote from The Editors below: “Regular excommunications have sapped the life and urgency from a movement once known for its intellectual vigor.”)

On the other hand, when the famous development economist Jeff Sachs implied a column I wrote about F. W. de Klerk was racist, American Greatness editor in chief didn’t retreat. Instead, she shot back as cool as a cucumber: “Reading is hard.” Fighting words indeed. Funny, too.

So what kind of thinking has allows “American Greatness” to calmly take on the intellectual enemies of America, and harness the sharpest arrows in our intellectual quiver to fight the rot?

In their own words:

“Our Declaration of Independence from the Conservative Movement”
By The Editors • July 21, 2016:

American Greatness aims to be the leading voice of the next generation of American Conservatism.

Divisions made evident during the 2016 Republican primaries made the need for a new journal of American conservatism undeniable. The soil of the conservative movement is exhausted. It needs fertilization, re-sowing, and diligent cultivation if it is to thrive again. And while we will always owe a debt to the giants of the movement who have gone before us, we cannot slavishly attempt to relive the politics of 40 years ago.

It is not just that other journals have become unmoored from the principles of free government or calcified in their thinking; it is that they were founded on principles that were either insufficient or in conflict with the timeless principles of the American Founding.

As time has passed the errors in their foundings have become more pronounced. They have now culminated in intellectual stagnation and a tiresome policy orthodoxy (passing mindlessly for principles) that does not permit growth within or of the movement. Today, movement conservatism offers the American people not a choice, but an echo of the Left. Because of this, American Greatness is not an alternative to movement conservatism; it is a refounding of a distinctly American conservatism based upon the self-evident principle of human equality and the rights that flow from it. Just government exists to protect and promote these rights and is therefore necessarily limited, constitutional, and republican in its form.

Again: this year’s primary fight is not the cause of conservatism’s divisions or its current crisis. Those causes preceded this political moment and have been clear to the creators of this journal for some time. No candidate or accidental turn of events promises to—or can—bring about the necessary salvation.  Any salvation or redemption that comes to American Constitutional government must come by the virtuous action of the sovereign people of the United States, not from a sophisticated band of policy experts who arrive at answers they unilaterally deem “correct.”

What American Greatness Is Not

We are not political partisans. We hold no brief for any particular  candidate or policy prescription. On electoral matters, the editors are agnostic. We do not exist to tell anyone else how to vote. We can be neither vindicated nor embarrassed by the personal successes or failures of any candidate or collection of them in this or any other election year.

Similarly, American Greatness does not advocate any particular policy orthodoxy. We insist on clear distinctions between principles (permanent and enduring understandings of justice and right) and policy (objects for the realm of debate and politics to be guided by prudence as well as by principle). It is likely, however, that even in our internal discussions, we will have disagreements about where, precisely, the one ends and the other begins. We do not see that as a cause for alarm.

The best policy to advance a principle at any given time is, by its nature, changeable. These are arguments that will play out according to the politics of the moment. But we know that when people become accustomed to doing something in a certain way, even when that way is failing, it is difficult to convince them that it is possible to accomplish the same goals in some other, better way. We think lively and spirited debate about these questions, therefore, is healthy, necessary, and liberating.

Finally, although American Greatness owes an intellectual debt and its inspiration to the Journal of American Greatness (henceforth, JAG) and to some of its contributors, we are not the re-emergence of that much-admired effort.

We regret the passing of that manful but anonymous project, which sought to come to terms with the meaning of our current political moment by considering what may be called  a “Greatness Agenda” for America. (The fact that the contributors to JAG felt that anonymity was necessary speaks to the enormity of the problem of our times.) We intend to pick up where the other journal left off, recapturing some of its arguments and expanding upon them.

But our real object is more comprehensive and our methods aim to be more expansive in their reach. We believe that American conservatism has lost its way and, as a result, it has lost much of its original appeal. The once-vibrant political movement that nominated Barry Goldwater, elected Ronald Reagan, and defeated global communism has become ossified and unthinking to the point that conservative intellectuals act like priests mediating unknowable truth to the masses and administering the sacraments of conservative orthodoxy. Regular excommunications have sapped the life and urgency from a movement once known for its intellectual vigor.  We intend to offer guidance and clarity to a spent movement by reclaiming the ideas and traditions upon which this country and our system of free government is based.

There are clues to what’s gone wrong in our past, but a slavish attachment to the ideas and policies of the past is not a way to advance or conserve our principles. Indeed, it is–precisely–the problem. We do not, in fact, seek to conserve any principles. They exist regardless of our action or inaction. We can only hope to have intelligent debate about how best to explain and defend those principles and the constitutional regime based upon them.

What American Greatness Is

We hold that America—much like movement conservatism—has lost her way. The nation has succumbed to  division and faction, infected by the insidious and  foreign virus of identity politics which has robbed Americans of our true identity as one people. We’re undermined further by an ever-growing centralized administrative state, which robs us daily of the opportunity to participate in governing our own lives as free and equal citizens under the rule of law.

Government has grown remote, unresponsive, and increasingly unaccountable. While many movement conservatives acknowledge these problems, they have failed to persuade a majority of American voters. What’s more, movement conservatives remain stubbornly unpersuaded by voters’ plain rejection of their solutions.  To their credit, the American people have, through common sense and hard experience, rejected the lie that their opinions about their interests and the laws that govern their lives are irrelevant. Likewise, most rank and file conservatives are unimpressed by the half-measures offered by a conservative movement that is more about conserving itself than conserving the people’s sovereignty.

So we do not condescend to tell our readers for or against whom they should cast their ballots  nor do we collectively contend that we are in possession of some “special expert knowledge” about their interests or some speculative good that is beyond their own poor powers to understand or to reach. We seek a higher level of conversation than that and a readership capable of coming to its own conclusions about how to use its franchise. We seek a revival of real politics.

Our editors, contributors, and writers agree that the staleness of the movement came about as a result of too much focus on the word “conservative” and not enough focus on the word “American.” Conservatives have suffered from a kind of elite insularity that pulled their focus away from broader, more American, interests and instead zeroed them in on the interests of their movement, its leaders, and its financial backers. In essence, it has become a kind of faction and has lost the ability to make an appeal to those who are not born into its concerns. It became a movement of conservative Americans instead of a movement of American conservatives.

Our object is a rediscovery of the American part of conservatism’s efforts. What, in other words, are we trying to conserve? And what are our prospects in this present political moment for conserving it?

As our name suggests, we understand the current dissatisfaction with our political institutions and the political polarization of our times to be a direct result of the failure of both political parties and the intellectual movements that direct them to advance an agenda for American greatness. Moreover, it is a failure to understand why such an agenda is so sorely needed.

A proper care and attention to the principles of America requires a serious effort to discover effective means of advancing, not just of conserving, those principles. America is a nation born in and of revolution. It is a radical appeal to a universal standard of justice and right, but it is also a limited appeal on behalf of one people who exist in this one place. As such, America’s principles have always taken the form of a proposition that needs constant affirmation and defending in every generation.

Americans are born but they must also be made. This means a diligent attention must be paid to the opinions and interests—expressed or implied—of the American people in its totality and as it actually exists.

In understanding that the American people are the rightful and sovereign rulers of their country, we cannot forget,as Lincoln reminded us, that in America “public sentiment is everything.” …

… READ THE REST… “Our Declaration of Independence from the Conservative Movement”

UPDATED (8/22/): NEW COLUMN: Was The Cop’s Knee On George Floyd’s Neck ‘Racism’? No!

Conservatism, Free Speech, Law, Left-Liberalism, libertarianism, Paleoconservatism, Political Philosophy, Race, Racism, Reason

NEW COLUMN IS “Was The Cop’s Knee On George Floyd’s Neck ‘Racism’? No!” It featured on Townhall.com, WND.COM, the Unz Review, and Newsroom For American and European-Based Citizens.

It is currently a feature on American Greatness:

“Was The Cop’s Knee On George Floyd’s Neck ‘Racism’? No!” It is the second in a series deconstructing the racism construct. For the first, there is also a quick YouTube primer.

Excerpt:

Racism consists of a mindset or a worldview that boils down to impolite and impolitic thoughts and words written, spoken, preached, or tweeted.

If that’s all racism is, you ask, then what was the knee on George Floyd’s neck? Was that not racism?

No, it was not.

Judging from the known facts, the knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck was a knee on a man’s neck. That’s all that can be inferred from the chilling video recording in which Floyd expired slowly as he pleaded for air.

Floyd begged to breathe. But the knee on his neck—“subdual restraint and neck compression,” in medical terms—was sustained for fully eight minutes and 46 seconds, causing “cardiopulmonary arrest.”

There are laws against what transpired between former Officer Derek Chauvin and Mr. Floyd.

And the law’s ambit is not to decide whether the offending officer is a correct-thinking individual, but whether Mr. Chauvin had committed a crime.

About Officer Chauvin’s mindset, the most the law is supposed to divine is mens rea—criminal intention: Was the officer whose knee pressed on Floyd’s neck acting with a guilty mind or not?

For fact-finding is the essence of the law. The law is not an abstract ideal of imagined social justice, that exists to salve sensitive souls.

If “racism” looks like a felony crime, then it ought to be prosecuted as nothing but a crime and debated as such. In the case of Mr. Chauvin, a mindset of depraved indifference seems to jibe with the video.

This is not to refute the reality of racially motivated crimes. These most certainly occur. It is only to refute the legal and ethical validity of a racist mindset in the prosecution of a crime.

Surely, a life taken because of racial or antisemitic animus is not worth more than life lost to spousal battery or to a home invasion.

The law, then, must mete justice, in accordance with the rules of evidence, proportionality and due process. Other than intent, references to the attendant thoughts that accompanied the commission of a crime should be irrelevant—be they racist, sexist, ageist or anti-Semitic.

Ultimately, those thoughts are known only to the perp.

To make matters worse, legions of libertarians and conservatives have joined the progressive establishment in the habit of sniffing out and purging racists, as though they were criminals.

Sniffing out thought or speech criminals is a no-no for any and all self-respecting classical conservative and libertarian. We should never persecute or prosecute thought “criminals” for utterances not to our liking (unless these threaten or portend violence). …

READ THE REST. LATEST COLUMN IS currently a feature on American Greatness:

UPDATE (8/22/20):

Loup-Bouc:

Fine article, Ms. Mercer. Unlike all other Unz Review authors who have addressed the Floyd case, you apprehend accurately/correctly much of the pertinent law. ..I observe that you have written a fine article. Brava.

This essay is the clearest and most effective explanation as to why racism and other bad ideas are not criminal. Of the numerous Mercer essays I have read, this is the best. Thank you.