Category Archives: Paleoconservatism

Historian Clyde N. Wilson Reviews ‘The Trump Revolution’

Donald Trump, Elections, Ilana Mercer, Literature, Paleoconservatism, Paleolibertarianism

Dr. Clyde N. Wilson has reviewed “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016), in Chronicles magazine, the flagship publication of principled paleoconservatism. “Sounding The Trump” was in the October 2016 issue of Chronicles (subscribe). A short excerpt:

In important ways, a revolutionary process has begun. So argues Ilana Mercer in the best extended analysis yet published of the Trump phenomenon: “Trump is getting an atrophied political system to oscillate” in “an oddly marvelous uprising.” For us revolutionaries there is still a long way to go, but we are entitled to a “modest hope” that “an utterly different political animal, Donald Trump, might actually do some good for the countrymen he genuinely seems to love.”

It is not Trump who is transforming American politics, the author asserts; “it’s the people of America doing the transforming.” Trump is the first politician in a long, long time who has regarded America as a country rather than a “proposition” and has actually spoken to and for “the people.” Far from being “divisive,” his plain speaking has enthusiastically united large numbers of Americans. …

… “White Lives Matter Less” has been, in Mercer’s words, “the creedal pillar” of our public life. Without ungraciousness to any, Trump has shown that it is OK for white Americans to declare that they have had enough of “the pigment burden” that has been piled on their backs. This paleolibertarian author does not disguise her disgust at the fashionable statism, indistinguishable from the collectivist left and without a clue to what “free trade” really means, that passes for libertarianism today. …

… as Mercer points out with tough realism, … In this post-constitutional time, it may be that “the best liberty lovers can look to is action and counter-action, force and counterforce in the service of liberty.” A president hoping for reform will face 160,000 pages of federal laws and regulations and relentless sabotage by the Banksters, Bombers, Bureaucrats, and Busybodies who now govern us. He cannot be a moderate if he hopes to accomplish anything.

On “Mercer’s Menckenesque ability to coin memorable phrases describing the empowered fools of our time,” Professor Wilson’s asks: “Does any contemporary writer do it better?”

Finally, a reviewer with a sense of fun; someone with the good sense to have a hearty chuckle at this verbal swordplay:

Mercer on the media: “news nitworks,” the “War Street Journal,” “idiot’s lantern,” “unsharpened pencil,” “tele-tarts,” a “circle jerk of power brokers,” “one-trick donkeys,” “celebrated mediocrities,” “another banal bloviation,” the “cable commentariat as a cog in the corpulent D.C. fleshpot.”

Mercer on our rulers and would-be rulers: “parasites in waiting”; “nation-building at the point of the bayonet makes [Hillary] barking happy”; “Banana Republicans”; “dwarf-tossing” (William Kristol’s promotion of nonentities as Trump alternatives); the “quaint expectation that voters, not party operatives, would choose the nominee”; the “silent majority that dare not speak its name”; “what our crypto-leftist conservatives are ramming down our proverbial gullets are dogmas, not values”; the “master-servant relationship between Republicans and the Religious Right”; the “think tanks’ industry for the god of war”; “neoconservatives speaking like Tocqueville but acting like Robespierre”; “neoconservatives standing athwart every valid form of American conservatism yelling stop.”

What a review and what an honor! Subscribe to Chronicles here.

Occasionally Neoconservatives Annoy The Left A Little

Conservatism, Education, Left-Liberalism, Neoconservatism, Paleoconservatism, Paleolibertarianism

Jason Riley, of the War Street Journal Editorial Report, was joined by the rest of crew, on Fox News, to swank about being invited and disinvited to speak across the nation’s left-liberal campuses. The rest, Bret Stephens, Mary Kissel, Mary O’Grady, all expressed disinvitation envy.

Following Allan Bloom’s  impressive Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students (1987), neoconservatives have been quite good at addressing multicultural political correctness in the modern academy, the replacement of the Western canon with bogus disciplines—political constructs, really—devoted to relativism, anti-racism, anti-sexism and anti-elitism studies. They were good at pointing out that “current works promoting multiculturalism written by women and minorities had replaced the classics of Western civilization written by the DWEMs, Dead White European Males,” to quote Phyllis Schlafly, in “Advice To College Students: Don’t Major in English.

On freedom of speech, neocon establishment circuit speakers limp along as well (although you won’t hear them introduce the deciding variable: private property. Where? On whose property do you wish to speak?)

For the rest, neocons seldom  challenge students on matters racial (except to blame Democrats and left-liberals for the plight of blacks), on foreign policy (some liberals actually like American military interventionism as much as the neocons), on Islam (OK, except for a few bad Abduls) or on immigration (a net positive).

Jason Riley should try never having been invited in the first place to speak to those campus “conservatives.”

I guess he could argue the marginalized Old Right is just not as smart as he and his neocon buddies. Paul Gottfried’s learned scholarship on American conservatism exposes the neocons as not very smart at all.

Donald Trump has certainly run rings around them.

Political Philosophy Is Not Like Sexual Orientation

Ilana Mercer, Labor, libertarianism, Paleoconservatism, Paleolibertarianism, Political Philosophy

Here’s my one reply to comments at The Unz Review about “The Curious Case of WND’s Vanishing, Veteran Paleolibertarian”:

Political philosophy is not like sexual orientation: You don’t just come out to the world, call yourself a thinker, and expect to be get embraced. You shouldn’t get away with that, although some try and succeed.

You do the bloody hard work, day-in, day-out. You write, you think; you get panned or praised; and you get up and do it again the next day.

You can’t just come out every day and proclaim, ‘I’m a perfect paleolibertarian, I believe everything Murray Rothbard said. Look at me, ain’t I neat, unlike Mercer,” not having written a coherent systematic sentence in your life.

And by systematic I mean, don’t just parrot the greats! The work involves, yes, applying the political philosophy as you see it to the political reality, doing it in fresh, new ways, without fear or favor.

You can’t sit on the fence, lazily, proclaiming your purity; forever suspended between what “is” and what “ought to be,” and revel in your immaculate conception (while throwing stones at me, as so many in this community have done).

In a word, you can’t be lazy, smug; an intellectual nullity that tears the hard-working down (love split infinitives).

As to The Mercer Image posted at The Unz Review: The editor organizes the page and the images on it; not the writer/myself. The Unz Review is a tightly edited website.

Why would anyone familiar with the ways of the press, print or pixels, imagine I posted a picture of myself at The Unz Review. Ridiculous!

The point of the essay is simple. My work over 2 decades (voluminous) speaks for itself. Good or bad.

It is systematic; it is paleolibertarian. Any scholar of substance would locate it squarely in the paleolibertarian tradition. Such a scholar might also distinguish a salient thing that sets this thought apart from some of those surveyed in the volume under discussion. As I wrote in defense of John Derb:

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 may regain freedom of association, dominion over property, the absolute right of self-defense; the right to hire, fire, and, generally, associate at will.

As for Israel: Why not ask the Ron Paul 2007 campaign why it commissioned a brief think piece from me and adhered to its tenets pretty well throughout the campaign—until someone likely told Paul that Mercer was un-kosher, and until someone instructed the campaign to quit calling on Mercer?

“Unshackling Israel,” mentioned in “Is Ron Paul Good For Israel?,” was commissioned by the Paul camp and repeated on the Paul campaign trail to good effect.

[SNIP]

The article under discussion: “The Curious Case of WND’s Vanishing, Veteran Paleolibertarian.”

UPDATED: People Tend To Look Dumb When They Manipulate/Deny Reality

Ethics, libertarianism, Objectivism, Old Right, Paleoconservatism, Paleolibertarianism

“Intelligent Dasein” at Unz Review on “The Curious Case of WND’s Vanishing, Veteran Paleolibertarian”:

Intelligent Dasein says:
• Website
April 17, 2016 at 1:00 am GMT • 200 Words

Not only that, but I’ve just checked Wikipedia’s page on paleolibertarianism, and Ilana Mercer’s name doesn’t appear there once, as of this writing. On the other hand, her own Wikipedia page is quite detailed and prominently identifies her as a paleolibertarian thinker. Curious.

I would think that anyone interested in this subject would be anxious to mention Ms. Mercer, …

I’m a paleoconservative myself, a Catholic Traditionalist, and therefore I don’t eschew Throne-and-Altar statism, as I gather paleolibertarians probably would. However, in the few months I’ve been reading Ms. Mercer, I’ve been duly impressed with both her arguments and writing style. An unforgivable omission indeed.

And yes, about and against statism: Myself “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 may regain freedom of association, dominion over property, the absolute right of self-defense; the right to hire, fire, and, generally, associate at will.”

UPDATE (4/17): My comment, posted in reply, under Comments at The Unz Review:

Political philosophy is not like sexual orientation: You don’t just come out to the world, call yourself a thinker, and expect to be get embraced. You shouldn’t get away with that, although some try.

You do the bloody hard work, day-in, day-out. You write, you think; you get pelted or praised; and you get up and do it again the next day.

You can’t just come out every day and proclaim, ‘I’m a perfect paleolibertarian, I believe everything Rothbard said. Look at me, ain’t I neat, unlike Mercer,” not having written a coherent systematic sentence in your life.

And by systematic I mean, don’t just parrot the greats! The work involves, yes, applying philosophy as you see it to the political reality, doing it in fresh, new ways.

You can’t sit on the fence, lazily, proclaiming your purity; forever suspended between what “is” and what “out to be,” and revel in your immaculate conception (while throwing stones at me, as so many in this community have done).

In a word, you can’t be lazy, smug; an intellectual nullity that tears the hard-working down (love split infinitives).

As to The Mercer Image: The editor organizes the page and the images on it; not the writer/myself.

Why would anyone familiar with the ways of the press, print or pixels, imagine I posted a picture of myself at Unz Review. Ridiculous!

The point of the essay is simple. My work over 2 decades (voluminous) speaks for itself. Good or bad.

It is systematic; it is paleolibertarian. Any scholar of substance would locate it squarely in the paleolibertarian tradition. Such a scholar might also distinguish a salient thing that sets this thought apart from some of those surveyed in the volume under discussion. As I wrote in defense of John Derb:

“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 may regain freedom of association, dominion over property, the absolute right of self-defense; the right to hire, fire, and, generally, associate at will.”

As for Israel: Why not ask the Ron Paul 2007 campaign why it commissioned a think piece from me and adhered to its tenets pretty well throughout the campaign—until someone likely told Paul Mercer was unkosher, and until someone instructed the campaign to quit calling on Mercer?

“Unshackling Israel,” mentioned in “Is Ron Paul Good For Israel?,” was commissioned by the Paul camp and repeated on the Paul campaign trail to good effect.