Category Archives: Addiction

NEW COLUMN: Wage Walls, Not Wars

Abortion, Addiction, Ilana Mercer, IMMIGRATION, Law, libertarianism, Paleoconservatism, Paleolibertarianism, Political Philosophy, The West, War, War on Drugs

NEW COLUMN IS “Wage Walls, Not Wars.” This “Big League Politics” Interview about paleolibertarianism is now on WND and the Unz Review.


BIG LEAGUE POLITICS: Being a preeminent paleolibertarian thinker today, how would you define paleolibertarianism and how does it differ from standard paleoconservatism?

ILANA MERCER: First, let’s define libertarianism. libertarianism is concerned with the ethics of the use of force. Nothing more. This, and this alone, is the ambit of libertarian law.

All libertarians must respect the non-aggression axiom. It means that libertarians don’t initiate aggression against non-aggressors, not even if it’s “for their own good,” as neoconservatives like to cast America’s recreational wars of choice. If someone claims to be a libertarian and also supports the proxy bombing of Yemen, or supported the war in Iraq; he is not a libertarian, plain and simple.

As to paleolibertarianism, in particular, and this is my take, so some will disagree. It’s how I’ve applied certain principles week-in, week-out, for almost two decades. In my definition, a paleolibertarian grasps that ordered liberty has a civilizational dimension, stripped of which the just-mentioned libertarian non-aggression principle, by which all decent people should live, will crumble. It won’t endure.

Ironically, paleoconservatives have no issue grasping the cultural and civilizational dimensions of ordered liberty—namely that the libertarian non-aggression principle is peculiar to the West and won’t survive once western civilization is no more. Which is why, for paleoconservatives, immigration restrictionism is a no-brainer.

By the way, the statement is not meant to be culturally chauvinistic. There are indigenous tribal people (say, in Brazil) who’re peaceful and pastoral. I mourn their culture’s near-extinction, as well.  Where such extinction has been brought about by the West’s chauvinism—it must be condemned.

In any event, paleoconservatives would typically grasp that libertarian principles would not endure in certain cultures. Libertarians, on the other hand, have had a hard time linking civilizational issues with the libertarian axiom of non-aggression. What do I mean? Libertarians will chant, “Free markets, free minds, the free movement of people.” Let’s have ‘em all.

They don’t always explain how these principles are to endure once Western societies are overrun by individuals from cultures which don’t uphold these principles. (From the fact that our own societies are turning out liberty hating individuals—it doesn’t follow we should import more.)

On the other hand, paleoconservatives are far less focused on the state as an evil actor and often appear more concerned with culture wars: gay marriage, cannabis, pornography, abortion. The paleolibertarian rejects any attempts by the state to legislate around the issues of:

Abortion: Completely defund it is our position.

Gay marriage: Solemnize your marriage in private churches, please.

Drugs: Legalize them and stop the hemispheric Drug War.

Wage walls, not wars.

As a creedal paleolibertarian, I see the road to freedom, primarily, in beating back The State, so that individuals can regain freedom of association, dominion over property, the absolute right of self-defense; the right to hire, fire, and, generally, associate at will.

Foreign policy—specifically, no meddling in the affairs of other countries!—is the be all and end all of both paleoconservatism and paleolibertarianism. Don’t let any of the radio or TV personalities fool you.  If he or she liked, justified or rationalized Bush’s Middle-Eastern wars or Trump’s dabbling in Niger—he or she is no paleolibertarian. (Tucker Carlson is a fabulous paleoconservative.)

Both variants are for small government and big society. Again, more so than the paleoconservative, the paleolibertarian is radical in his anti-state position, sometimes even advocating a stateless society.

BIG LEAGUE POLITICS: In what ways does your political thought differ from CATO institute libertarianism? …

…  READ THE REST. NEW COLUMN IS “Wage Walls, Not Wars.” The interview is now on WND and the Unz Review. It was conducted by correspondent Seth Segal for Big League Politics. A version was published on Nov. 23, 2018.


UPDATE III: Is Justin Trudeau a Trauma Victim? (Left-Liberal Discourse)

Addiction, BAB's A List, Canada, Drug War, Education, Etiquette, Left-Liberalism And Progressivisim, Pseudoscience, Psychiatry, Psychology & Pop-Psychology

Justin Trudeau is no genius, but he seems to limp along despite what some would consider a traumatic childhood. This Barely a Blog exclusive features Stanton Peele, America’s leading, liberal addiction counterculturist, and fellow crusader against the Drug War.

Is Justin Trudeau a Trauma Victim?
By Stanton Peele

Justin Trudeau seems to be a highly successful survivor of what might be considered a traumatic childhood.

I am often cited for my opposition to famed Vancouver addiction doctor Gabor Maté’s trauma theory of addiction—that all addiction can be traced back to childhood trauma, and vice versa. Maté believes such trauma causes permanent brain damage. I find Gabor’s theory reductive, pessimistic, and fatalistic. Most people, after all, outgrow their childhood traumas, as they do their addictions. (I have argued with Gabor about all of this.)

This debate was brought to mind for me by Justin Trudeau’s election as Canada’s prime minister. Mr. Trudeau, after all, didn’t have a happy childhood. We know this because his mother has written about their fractured family life. Margaret Trudeau, herself the daughter of a Vancouver MP, was depicted as a flower-child. She met Pierre Trudeau when she was 18 and he was the Minister of Defense. She married the much older Mr. Trudeau when she was 22 after Pierre became PM.

Her married experience was deeply unhappy. Despite remaining married for 13 years and having three children together, the couple were habitually at odds; they separated after a half-dozen years of marriage and Margret pursued for a time a jet-set lifestyle. Margaret was often at loose ends both during the marriage and afterwards, as she has described in several memoirs, and was hospitalized for “mental illness.”

There are perhaps three theories for Margaret’s psychological problems: that mental disorders have nothing to do with people’s life experience or personality but are simply inbred, that she was always flighty and unstable. Or, finally, that being in a high-profile marriage with a stern, controlling man thirty years her senior was the worst possible situation for someone with Margaret’s disposition. Or maybe it was all three.

“From the day I became Mrs. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a glass panel was gently lowered into place around me, like a patient in a mental hospital who is no longer considered able to make decisions and who cannot be exposed to a harsh light.”

Not very good to hear, or to experience, coming from your mother.

But Justin seems to have weathered this all rather well. In fact, he seems to be the beneficiary of both his parents’ distinctive assets. In the first place, you need to be intelligent and ambitious to become prime minister of a major nation. [Presumably, Stanton, what you say would apply, by logical extension, to George Bush and other dynastic rulers? Justin Trudeau is a rich boy like Jeb Bush, born to privilege, including easy access to the office of PM—ILANA.]

Yet Justin wears these traits well. He doesn’t seem to think of himself as above everyone else (an attitude his father often conveyed). He, as observers have noted, meets and mingles with everybody and considers every citizen and resident of Canada a person on par with himself. This openness and absence of inflated self-importance would seem to come from his mother.

Margaret Trudeau has weathered her own storms, as she wrote in her most recent memoir, published in 2015, The Time of My Life: Choosing a Vibrant, Joyful Future. I know everyone, Canadian or otherwise, has good feelings about this resolution for Mrs. Trudeau. It seems that people are often able to find their own successful level given the opportunity and support to do so.

Meanwhile, Justin’s becoming PM must be quite a source of pride and achievement for her. The two remain extremely close: a picture of an adoring mother and her newly elected son gazing lovingly at one another affirm this impression. (Pierre died ten years ago.)

For his part, Justin does not present himself as an injured victim, the unhappy product of an unhappy marriage. He seems to have born these stresses, thrust on him as a child through absolutely no desire or effort of his own, without resentment. True, he didn’t immediately rise to the top of society, first working as a bouncer, a boxer, a Santa-shopper, and a snowboard instructor before entering politics. [So would you and yours bounce around the world in a zen-like state if you had the family fortune to fall back on—ILANA.]

On the other hand, becoming Canada’s Prime Minister at age 43 (his father was elected at age 48) doesn’t exactly put him in the slow lane, either. Justin has never given the impression that he feels like an abandoned child, or the son of broken marriage or a traumatic childhood. He seems to recognize and appreciate, rather, that he had a privileged upbringing involving parents with disparate, but distinctive, gifts.

It’s all a matter of outlook, isn’t it?

In particular, Justin didn’t become a drug addict. Rather, unlike the scion of another famous political family who opposes pot legalization due to his own drug problems, Patrick Kennedy, Justin favors marijuana legalization. This attitude too seems to have come from his mother. Margaret was once charged with possession of marijuana for having a package of weed delivered to her home. “I took to marijuana like a duck took to water,” she said.

I don’t think she smokes now.

Stanton Peele, Ph.D., J.D., is the author (with Ilse Thompson) of Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict. His Life Process Program is available online. His book Addiction-Proof Your Child is a model for the emerging area of harm reduction in addiction prevention. Stanton has been innovating in the addiction field since writing Love and Addiction with Archie Brodsky, He has been a pioneer in noting addiction across substances and activities, in creating harm reduction therapy, and in the nondisease understanding of addiction, as well as in formulating practical, life-management approaches to treatment and self-help. He has published 12 books, and has won career awards from the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies and Drug Policy Alliance. His website is

UPDATE I: Response to Facebook comments:

We libertarians apply the same set of principles without bias to the political class. Justin Trudeau is manifestly moronic, as is “W” (Jeb is not nearly as dumb as “W” and Justin). All are entitled brats. So what if Justin’s mom and dad fought. Let them all decamp to Africa to experience real suffering. Stanton Peele is, however, hardcore in Diseasing of America: How We Allowed Recovery Zealots and the Treatment Industry to Convince Us We Are Out of Control. A very rigorous book.

UPDATE II: Unable, or unprepared, to courteously address my readers, as to the uneven standards implied in a column submitted by himself to Barely a Blog, Stanton Peele writes:

Liana – Can you remove the piece from your website? It was a bad match, I fear.

The snootiness.

My reply:

The name is ILANA.

And no—not after the time spent inputting, adding links (as you, Stanton, did not provide HTML code) and editing text.

One would think you’d be more appreciative of the feature and the generous mention and promotion of your seminal book, Diseasing.

Unseemly behavior.

ILANA Mercer
Author, Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa
Columnist, WND’s longest-standing, paleolibertarian weekly column,
Contributor, The Unz Review, America’s smartest webzine & UK’s Libertarian Alliance,
Fellow, Jerusalem Institute for market Studies (JIMS)

UPDATE III (11/1): Jack Kerwick uses precision-guided words and phrases—a “scandalous degree of unprofessionalism and hyper-emotionality,” “academic conformity,” “abuse of power”—to describe the anti-intellectual atmosphere during his Ph.D “sentence” at Temple University, dominated by left-liberals who won’t brook dissent (like the encounter above).

Drug Use, A Normal Part of Life. DEAL!*

Addiction, Pseudoscience, Psychiatry

An old friend, Stanton Peele, Ph.D., is an addiction expert who’s always streaked ahead of the pack. Still does. When I interviewed him for two of my Calgary Herald columns, in 2000, he was emphatic about avoiding the either/or, do or die, fatalistic attitude to drug use, promoted—in a self-serving and unscientific fashion—by the enabling professions and their stakeholders.

This Dr. Peele is still doing. In “We Need to Normalize Drug Use in Our Society—Deal With It!,” he explains why “drugs are … part of the range of normal human behaviors,” not a disease. (Read it here.)

Indeed, we all know users who function on a very high level. They don’t call themselves addicts. Many of them work in Silicone valley. “‘I’ve used every class of drug you can imagine,’ says one rather productive individual.

When I tell people who’ve signed off on the medical theory of addiction—baseless in science—that I’m hopelessly addicted to chocolate. Seriously addicted. They laugh. Oh, no, you can only be addicted to “real” drugs. Chocolate is my drug of choice. It is my personality or character that ensures I don’t consume 5 slabs of the stuff a day (I was doing 3, plus a quarter cake, daily, during the holidays), grow fatter every day, develop higher blood pressure, etc. But I think of chocolate ALL THE TIME.

Back when I interviewed Dr. Peele, I was consuming my body weight in chocolate a year (I weighed 50 kg, then). My husband did the math because we could not really afford it. Since I did not suffer ill effects, I never thought of this uncontrollable craving as an addiction. Now that I can no longer consume copious quantities without expanding, blood pressure rising, etc.—the fact of an addiction that needs controlling has been thrown into sharp relief.

I’m sure you have a similar story to relate.

* Deal: “A verbal expression denoting that fate cannot be changed.”

The Goods on Grain and the Big Agra-Government Alliance

Addiction, Free Markets, Government, Healthcare, Propaganda, Regulation, Science, The State

Here’s an excerpt from part II of my conversation with Karen De Coster, CPA. “The Goods on Grain and the Government-Big Agra Alliance” is now on WND:

KAREN DE COSTER: … It’s … amusing to see how often “essential” and “grains” are used together, and no, grains aren’t essential for robust health. For starters, they are not nutrient dense. Additionally, they are loaded with carbohydrates, hence their addiction. For many people, it’s not much different than eating sugar. When considering the importance of the three macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein, and fat – carbs are the only one not essential to sustain life.
Yet grains are cheap thanks to the existence of powerful political-business alliances robbing taxpayers to redistribute booty to Big Agra. To counter the anti-white attack of earlier years (white potatoes, white flour, white rice), the whole grain campaign was created. The government and its assorted offshoots – grain lobbies and national nutritional organizations in cahoots with the medical establishment – ramped up the crusade to brainwash consumers on the whole grain question. The Whole Grains Council still uses the slogan “Eat Grains at Every Meal.”
Unfortunately, people are still walking around in the fog of the unknown, believing that whole grains are, as you noted, “essential” for life and health. The government-Big Agra alliance established grains as the foundation of the federal food pyramid, and since that time we have witnessed 30+ years of mounting obesity and the prevalence of modern disease. The industrial food system is churning out a zillion gimmick products to leverage the pro-grain propaganda, and the marketing whizzes excel at throwing simplistic slogans at consumers through advertising channels. Still, people order wheat bread in restaurants, and most of it is nothing more than white bread with caramel coloring added. And they don’t have a clue! They think they are making the “healthy” choice. Other breads are labeled “whole grain,” but they only contain a portion of whole grain flour. Understandably, people are confused by the terminology of wheat, whole wheat, and whole grain. Most of this market is very deceptive.
Not only are grains not essential, but it’s also important to remember that grains can be destructive to some people. We have not evolved to eat grains, and some people cannot adapt to grains without suffering adverse health effects. Furthermore, grain eaters become sugar burners instead of fat burners, and then they can’t understand why they keep getting fatter on their “healthy” diet. Another point that most people don’t understand is that modern wheat is not your grandfather’s wheat. Modern wheat has been cross-bred and hybridized many times through the years, so its molecular structure has taken a drastically different form.
Grains contain anti-nutrients (gluten, lectin, phytic acid), and our bodies cannot break down these anti-nutrients. That is why many traditional foodies will soak, sprout, and ferment grains, even though those traditional methods don’t necessarily make grains a whole lot more digestible.

MERCER: What did you cook for your Christmas feast?

DE COSTER: Pastured ham from a half hog that came from Melo Farms, my pork/chicken farmers. The pig led a happy pig life, spending her days foraging the pasture and eating organic supplements. Probably something made out of fresh-grown yams, too. I get them from a local farmer who is not a big government certified organic, but he doesn’t spray and he applies organic methodology. Lastly, Brussels sprouts are a great early winter vegetable here in Michigan. I have a huge stalk fresh-picked. For drink, I get fresh-made Michigan apple cider (Honeycrisp apples) from Hy’s Cider Mill. I make drinks with the cider, local honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and perhaps something to “spike” it up.

Part II of my conversation with Karen De Coster is “The Goods on Grain and the Big Agra-Government Alliance,” now on WND. (Read Part I on

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