Category Archives: Pseudo-intellectualism

UPDATED: V-Day For Vagina-Centric Libertarians? Not So Fast. (‘Brutality’ Alert)

Feminism, Gender, libertarianism, Liberty, Paleolibertarianism, Political Philosophy, Pseudo-intellectualism

At EPJ, where “V-Day For Vagina-Centric Libertarians? Not So Fast” is now published, Lila Rajiva and myself exchange opinions about whether I was right or wrong to avoid naming the individuals discussed in the column.

Lila Rajiva March 28, 2014 at 12:37 PM

I think we should be truthful. She and Tucker ARE widely published so what’s the point of saying they are non-entities?

They are not. It just makes you sound as over-emotional as they are.

That was one thing with which I disagreed in this otherwise excellent piece.

Dispassion and professional standards entail that when you read someone, you should cite them. Leave “vanishing” people to the state and to propagandists and hypesters.

Reply
ILANA MERCER March 28, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Respectfully, you’re wrong. You are looking at this storm in a C-Cup from the insular world of the libertarian. My piece was written for a wider audience. Good or bad, the bigger picture is that the two alluded to are insignificant, the one more so than the other. The one has the run of a publishing house, and, unethically in my opinion (as it involves a conflict of interest), uses the imprint to publish some of his own books. Yet these books have hardly any buyers (Amazon rank #649,120). My contention that in the bigger picture these people are unknown entities is correct. The female of the duo is certainly a non-entity. Given her aptitude, no matter how well promoted she is, and no matter how much she suctions face to camera, she will never muster an opinion or an analysis that isn’t second-hander material. She’s not working with much. To properly gauge the significance of these two one has to exit the libertarian orbit. Thus, addressing non-entities by name is unnecessary in a piece meant for popular consumption. On this topic, my dear friend and mentor, the influential and talented Walter Block, demeans himself and his stature by constantly addressing nobody bloggers by name, rather than just dealing with their arguments, to the extent these sorts make these.

Reply
Lila Rajiva March 28, 2014 at 2:40 PM

@Hi Ilana,

I agree with you in the wider world. But, in the wider world, since they are unknown, they don’t need to be rebutted at all.

However, in terms of libertarian in-fighting, everyone knows who Tucker is…

Still, it was an excellent piece. I am sick of this waving of the V. I actually thinks it’s some kind of propaganda offensive that began in 2012 with Naomi Wolf’s book.

Get us to talk, one way or other, about genitals all the time. Mainstreams the stuff, like the Lewinsky trial did.

Reply
ILANA MERCER March 28, 2014 at 3:16 PM

I see what you’re saying, Lila. As expected, we both make valid points. “Respec,” as Ali G. would say.

Ms. Rajiva is funny in the comment below. A woman with a sense of humor. Wicked (or “brutal”). Lila has to admit, though, apropos our exchange above, that the “brutal” wordplay (or swordplay) on this and other libertarian sites is an example of “inside baseball.” Everyone on here knows what is being mocked. But few outside our orbit will understand. This goes to my point about not needing to name names when addressing a wider audience.

Lila Rajiva March 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

I think it’s grossly BRUTALIST and a violation of the civil rights of Tucker, Reisenwitz & the rest
to pit one whole Mercer in full throttle against them.

It’s downright violent and violence will not be tolerated… unless we’re for it.

I call for UN sanctions, economic sanctions (no more blintzers for you, Ms. Mercer), and carpet-bombing…..

Let the humanitarianism begin…..

UPDATE: VIA FACEBOOK:

David Colpo writes:

If the names of writers obscure to the general population aren’t worth publishing, then why bother refuting their equally obscure arguments to that same audience?
59 minutes ago · Like

Ilana Mercer replies:

David Colpo, b/c I care about truth and reality. And as a libertarian I care about Mises. I care about libertarianism. I don’t care for–or about—the people who are trying to make libertarianism appealing to throngs of bimbos by lying about white, old men in order to make them palatable and politically correct. As if, there was anything wrong with Mises the way he was.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

‘Metaphysical Racism’

Pseudo-intellectualism, Race, Racism, South-Africa

BY DAN ROODT

Sipho Hlongwane had to reach all the way to Slovenia (a little volkstaat that violently revolted against the nation-building of the old Yugoslavia) to discover the term “postmodern racism” in a tract by Slavoj Zizek (Living in postmodern racism, www.bdlive.co.za, November 11). I remember more than 10 years ago Claudia Braude introduced us to “subliminal racism”, which let her label all media in South Africa racist.

No doubt South Africa harbours a large variety of “racisms”: postmodern, subliminal, imagined, symbolic, public, private, and so on. Like the patient on Sigmund Freud’s couch, the country is in search of a “cure”, which could be either a rugby quota or another huge dose of black economic empowerment. Like a manic depressive, the Democratic Alliance seems to be vacillating on how racist South Africa really is, hence its recent volte face on more draconian affirmative action.

If racism had to end tomorrow, most of our academics would find themselves without jobs, not to mention politicians! So South Africa is married to metaphysical racism forever. Even in those “end times” referred to by Zizek, there will always be racism. Even if the dollar is replaced by Bitcoin and peak oil takes us back to ploughing with oxen, racism will survive as both an explanation of the modern world’s origins and its remaining inequalities.

American Craig Bodeker made a beautiful, minimalistic, black-and-white (in the cinematographic sense) documentary called “A Conversation About Race.” He interviewed people of all races on the streets of Denver, Colorado, asking them whether they thought “racism” was still a big problem in the U S. Of course, everybody thought so. Many of the subjects stated: “Racism is everywhere.”

Few people had any direct experience of racism, but they discerned it in other people’s body language, in their use of euphemisms or being patronised by others. One black man “who dates interracially”, as he described it, was complimented on being “a good dancer” in a club by a white man. He thought it was a racist comment as the man would not have complimented a white man in the same way. So the compliment, like the insult, may be construed as racism.

It seems that racism is the real motor of history, as opposed to Karl Marx’s class struggle or Friedrich Nietzsche’s will to power.

It follows that, like sin, metaphysical racism is insurmountable. It permeates our lives and contaminates our discourse. The radioactive cloud recently released from Pelindaba was much less of a danger than racism, which must explain why almost no one took any notice of it, while every day we agonise about racism.

(Also published as letter in Business Day.)

*****

DAN ROODT, Ph.D., is a noted Afrikaner activist, author, literary critic and director of PRAAG (which features my weekly column). He is the author of the polemical essay, “The Scourge of the ANC”.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATE II: Zakaria Second-Hander Speaks On Syria (The Syria & Libya MO)

History, Intellectualism, Media, Middle East, Paleolibertarianism, Pseudo-history, Pseudo-intellectualism

Fareed Zakaria plagiarizer is big in America primarily because of his reliably banal, unoriginal brain. This “gift” is a prerequisite for maintaining the establishment’s status quo. Or, as Jeff Tucker calls it, the “statist quo.”

The equally uncontroversial WaPo—they passed on the Edward-Snowden scoop—has seen fit to feature Zakaria’s hardly scholarly “analysis” of Syria. (Try Efraim Karsh, Professor of Mediterranean Studies at the University of London. The late, anti-imperialist scholar Elie Kedourie was especially interesting.)

It’s hard to know where to begin to dissect Zakaria’s tired stuff. Zakaria Second-Hander reproduces the old colonialism canard, according to which the sorry state of the Middles-East (and Africa) are blamed (by leftists of the liberal and libertarian variety) on borders drawn by colonial forces “along ahistorical lines.”

Wait a sec, didn’t Shaka Zulu consolidate his empire and commit genocide against the region’s tribes before British penetration proper into South Africa?

Zakaria also assumes (like an ass) that dominant minorities have arisen in the Middle-Eat due to … colonialism’s inorganic border-drawing (that’s my descriptive, in case Fareed finds something worth …borrowing, sans citation).

You’d be better advised to read Amy Chua’s remarkable work on market-dominating minorities (or, as she calls them in chinglese “market-dominant minorities”).

Much more than Zakaria’s idiocy, Steve Sailer’s brief observation about the Alawites will tell you something about why they came to dominate (intelligence? Emphasis is mine):

“The Alawites are another complex ethnicity with deep roots. They are despised by the Sunni majority as not being true Muslims. (Alawites are said to celebrate Christmas and Easter.) When the French took control from the Ottomans after WWI, most of the Sunnis shunned joining the colonial security forces. But after centuries of Sunni oppression, the Alawites thought that getting paid by European experts to use guns and push Sunnis around was a great idea.

And here’s tired Zakaria via the WaPo:

He compares Syria’s war to the 15-year civil war in Lebanon and the war that erupted in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein. In both cases, the wars were as much about vicious competition between sectarian groups as they were about the decisions of military and political leaders. In both cases, power ended up shifting from minority to majority sects. In both cases, civilians were massacred, and minorities suffered terribly. The difference, perhaps, is that the United States took heavy losses in Iraq but stayed out of Lebanon.

His case, then, is that Syria’s war is not something that the United Stated can stop or alter. Zakaria has no illusions about the pain and terror of Lebanon’s civil war but says that the United States was right not to involve itself. (He also points out that Reagan’s decision to bow out in 1984 did not exactly destroy American credibility in the region.) He points to the war in Iraq; even though the United States toppled Iraq’s minority dictator and quickly moved power over to a government that represented the broader population, that did not prevent hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, the formation of many civilian militias that did terrible things and the infiltration by al-Qaeda and affiliated groups. In this thinking, intervening in Syria will not stop the war’s violence, which is after all more about competing sects than it is about the decisions of one leader. …

Yawn on.

UPDATE I: An interesting take on Syria from Jack Kerwick, except that it is predicated on a notion I have a hard time accepting: Obama is NOT an ass with ears, but is quite smart. Moreover, the country doesn’t care about BHO’s strategy. For the first time in a long time, the people are against war. They don’t care about political posturing. Wow. Just wow. I’m so happy.

UPDATE II (9/7): Personally I think Jack here outthinks BHO. The Libya case, which all new antiwar-warriors are ignoring, is textbook as far as BHO’s Syria MO goes, is it not? In other words, Obama did exactly what he is doing now in the case of Libya, except that there he ignored Congress.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: Author Of A Book About Her Vagina Faults Edward Snowden For Not Discussing His Privates (Or Hers)

Conspiracy, Feminism, Gender, Intelligence, Pseudo-intellectualism, Sex, The State

Only in America could a woman like Naomi Wolf come to be regarded as a philosopher-king. The author of a book about her own vagina has found fault with Edward Snowden for his clarity, eloquence and familiarity with the law under which he will likely be prosecuted.

Well of course Wolf would be discomfited by Snowden’s piercing clarity; after all her strong suit—her comfort zone—lies not in the cerebral cortex but down South.

Actually, scratch that: Wolf’s vagina, or so I read in the unanimously bad reviews her book got, is in as bad a shape as her brain.

UPDATE (6/17): Here are excerpts from Edward Snowden’s Q & A at the Guardian. Warning to Naomi Wolf and others burdened by fishy logic: Nowhere does Snowden mention Wolf’s vagina (the title of her …book). Ergo, he is probably “Not Who He Purports to be.”

1) Why did you choose Hong Kong to go to and then tell them about US hacking on their research facilities and universities?

2) How many sets of the documents you disclosed did you make, and how many different people have them? If anything happens to you, do they still exist?

Answer:

1) First, the US Government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal, and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime. That’s not justice, and it would be foolish to volunteer yourself to it if you can do more good outside of prison than in it.

Second, let’s be clear: I did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets. I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous. These nakedly, aggressively criminal acts are wrong no matter the target. Not only that, when NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash. Congress hasn’t declared war on the countries – the majority of them are our allies – but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we’re not even fighting? So we can potentially reveal a potential terrorist with the potential to kill fewer Americans than our own Police? No, the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the “consent of the governed” is meaningless.

Q: Why did you just not fly direct to Iceland if that is your preferred country for asylum?

Answer:

Leaving the US was an incredible risk, as NSA employees must declare their foreign travel 30 days in advance and are monitored. There was a distinct possibility I would be interdicted en route, so I had to travel with no advance booking to a country with the cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained. Hong Kong provided that. Iceland could be pushed harder, quicker, before the public could have a chance to make their feelings known, and I would not put that past the current US administration.

1) Define in as much detail as you can what “direct access” means.

2) Can analysts listen to content of domestic calls without a warrant?

Answer:

1) More detail on how direct NSA’s accesses are is coming, but in general, the reality is this: if an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc analyst has access to query raw SIGINT databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want. Phone number, email, user id, cell phone handset id (IMEI), and so on – it’s all the same. The restrictions against this are policy based, not technically based, and can change at any time. Additionally, audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications. For at least GCHQ, the number of audited queries is only 5% of those performed.

Question:

What are your thoughts on Google’s and Facebook’s denials? Do you think that they’re honestly in the dark about PRISM, or do you think they’re compelled to lie?

Perhaps this is a better question to a lawyer like Greenwald, but: If you’re presented with a secret order that you’re forbidding to reveal the existence of, what will they actually do if you simply refuse to comply (without revealing the order)?

Answer:

Their denials went through several revisions as it become more and more clear they were misleading and included identical, specific language across companies. As a result of these disclosures and the clout of these companies, we’re finally beginning to see more transparency and better details about these programs for the first time since their inception.

They are legally compelled to comply and maintain their silence in regard to specifics of the program, but that does not comply them from ethical obligation. If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the Intelligence Community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?

MORE.

Join the conversation on Facebook.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

The Dumb Generation’s Hand-Held Devotional

Education, Family, Human Accomplishment, Intelligence, Pseudo-intellectualism, Science, Technology

In “Your Kids: Dumb, Difficult And Dispensable,” it was observed that, while “Hollywood and the rest of the glitterati and literati make abundantly clear in all their tired scripts and messages that the older generation has nothing on the youth, especially when it comes to technology smarts—this is manifestly false. The electronic toys our dim, attention-deficient darlings depend on to sustain brain-wave activity are made, for the most, by ‘older people’ with advanced engineering degrees.”

In my opinion, the reason highly creative individuals in hi-tech are able to create for The Kids is that they have enjoyed the benefits of a less laissez faire, more traditional education, involving a core curriculum—and if lucky a literary canon—the hardest of sciences, discipline, all coupled with parental moral instruction and guidance.

Now it appears that these hi-tech elites are designing gadgets that stunt an already stunted generation.

WARNING. This NYT article about the effects of time spent interacting with electronics on socialization and intellectual development is itself a product of a disorganized mind. The writer seems incapable of deciding—and developing a systematic argument—as to whether a child’s focus on these passive, quick-fix electronic stimuli detracts from overall healthy socialization or stunts the ability to be alone.

Missing is a line or two as to the two states-of-being—solitude vs. togetherness—being facets of a healthy psyche.

I live with an individual who is intimately involved in the design of some wonderful gadgets. Yet he himself hardly uses them in the little spare time he steals for himself. They frustrate him; they don’t seem to satisfy his creativity or sate his intellect. His greatest pleasure is found in composing and playing complex thematic pieces of music in his home studio. To do so he follows eternal, timeless rules of composition. Low-tech, if you like.

Myself, I have no interest in hand-held devices. I use my well-appointed PC for work. Away from the PC—during a jog, for instance—I think. Ideas flood my mind during physical exertion and solitude. On the rare occasions that we both go away on vacation, we do not take our work along.

Devotional-articleLarge-v2

More @:

“Your Brain on Computers.”


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

The Managerial State’s Media and Medical Lapdogs

GUNS, Individual Rights, Propaganda, Pseudo-intellectualism, Pseudoscience, Psychiatry, Regulation, The Zeitgeist

I had feared that the reaction to this week’s column on the pornography of public grief, now on LewRockwell.com, would be as angry as the reaction to my “Bullied ‘Jail Bus’ Lady: Fearful Fatty, Not A Hero.” Was I in for a happy surprise!

The letters have been overwhelmingly full of gratitude and relief for my having expressed what readers were thinking.

Here is a smattering:

Sent: Friday, December 21, 2012 10:42 AM
To: imercer@wnd.com
Subject: RE: The pornography of public grief

You are a Modern Prophet. You have identified the real affliction that humanity is either willingly blind to, or naively blinkered.

Regards,
JT

Friday, December 21, 2012 1:42 PM
To: ‘imercer@wnd.com’
Subject: Public Grief!

All I can say about your article on public grief is…”AMEN”. … Thanks for your articles. I have always appreciated them, I should have said so before this.

JB, Texas

Friday, December 21, 2012 4:28 PM
To: imercer@wnd.com
Subject: The pornography of public grief

Very good piece.

Interested in you book “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa”

Having lived in SA for five months.

John

Friday, December 21, 2012 4:38 PM
To: imercer@wnd.com
Subject: EXCELLENT!!! (THE PORNOGRAPHY OF PUBLIC GRIEF
)

Hello Ilana,
It has been several years since we exchanged emails, and it has been some time since I’ve caught back up with your intellectually masterful musings.

Your piece said what I, and I think many others, have been thinking since the awful news broke last week. And nobody has said it better than you with this:
“At the root of it all is the rejection of the existence of unadulterated evil. Rather than accept the reality of evil – s–t happens, live with it and be prepared to proceed against it – misconduct has been medicalized.”

Thank you so very much for your strength to stay true to your moral and intellectual compass.

Wishing you peace and prosperity,

CB, OH

Friday, December 21, 2012 10:00 PM
To: ilana@ilanamercer.com
Subject: Thank you

Your article brought clarity to me of the feeling I have had about the circus and exploitation of the grieving process of the families and friends of the victims. The national media avoids the issues, use any excuse not to make news and create entertainment ghoulish at the least.
Sincerely,
HS

*************

Needless to say, the media as master of ceremonies is sustaining the puke factor. And the ostensible defenders of our sacred right to defend our lives are looking like clobbered seals on ice floes.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint