UPDATE III: Magic Manhattan, Matters of the Mind (&, Yes, Manhattan’s Magnificent)

America,Ilana Mercer,Individual Rights,Intelligence,libertarianism,Liberty,Political Philosophy,Rights,South-Africa


I am back at my desk after a magnificent trip to Manhattan, where it was my distinction and delight to address the New York City Junto gathering as the featured speaker for the month of May.

The title of my address was “Natural Rights in ‘Into the Cannibal’s Pot’: Abstractions or Facts of Life?”

For his generous and gracious hospitality I must thank the formidable force behind the NYC Junto forum, Victor Niederhoffer, Ph.D. Dr. Niederhoffer, with whom I enjoyed a late night snack after the lively event, is a well-known “professional investor,” trader and speculator. In other words, a man of the free, glorious, financial markets. He founded Junto in 1985, as a discussion group for people who treasure liberty (and, yes, the great Gene Epstein was present).

Dr. Niederhoffer puts NYC Junto guests up at The Harvard Club of New York, established in the late 1800s. I hope to have an image or two for you of the setting, later this week.

The turnout was good and the interactions most enjoyable.

The courteous organizers (Rudolf Hauser, Iris Bell and Linda Peterson) had prepared an introduction to this scribe and her work. It was posted at Junto.org, here. Not being a man who is easily scripted, Dr. Niederhoffer made a valiant attempt to stick to it. But after a few sentences, he gave up and said something to this effect:

“All I can tell you is that you can’t win an argument with this woman. I’ve tried and failed.”

As we say in Hebrew, “Dayenu.” Coming from Victor Niederhoffer, that’s more than enough for this woman.

At the time, when Dr. Niederhoffer and I had had the exchange to which he conceded defeat, I replied thus: “It takes a man and a gentleman to know and say what you’ve said. There are too few of those these days.”

More materially, the quality of recognizing, respecting and heeding intelligence speaks to who a man is. You cannot learn this quality. It is rare, as it demands—and coexists with—a healthy and happy ego.

Other than Dr. Niederhoffer, I have met one other man very recently who has this quality. Otherwise, not a day goes by when one is not saddled with the enormous opportunity costs, personal and professional, that accompany dealing with an ego-driven Idiocracy.

For idiots are invariably malevolent. Oscar Wilde said it best in one of his plays: “She thought that because he was stupid he would be kindly, when of course, kindliness requires imagination and intellect.”

UPDATE I: Here is a very blurred image. I have a few more, also blurred, that I will upload to the Facebook photo album, eventually.

May, 2012, Ilana @ NYC Junto:

UPDATE II: When the punishing publication process of Into the Cannibal’s Pot culminated in a book on Amazon—also The Only Shop in Town—hundreds of my readers wrote in private to share their impressions with me. I say again to all new readers and friends made what I’ve said to the aforementioned readers over the year. The conversation must take place in public, on the forums that exist for the purpose of spreading the word about—and discussing—these ideas.

Of these, Amazon is the most vital to The Cannibal’s cause. Please post your reviews to Amazon. Those who’ve done so over the last year have heard from me (and have my deepest appreciation).

Otherwise, all topics are discussed on BAB (Barely a Blog), which I personally moderate and maintain, on Facebook (ditto), Twitter, and in the Comments Sections appended to the WND and RT weekly articles.

UPDATE III (May Eighth): In reply to Sunny Black, see the new BAB post, “Manhattan Le Magnifique.”

5 thoughts on “UPDATE III: Magic Manhattan, Matters of the Mind (&, Yes, Manhattan’s Magnificent)

  1. Steve Hogan

    You desperately need a photographer, Ilana. Next time you are in my neck of the woods, I’d be happy to snap some shots. They’ll be in focus too!

  2. Rebel Without a Clause

    There’s nothing natural about “Natural Rights”. Like all else, they grow out of the barrel of a gun. The Reds and Globalists well understand this, which explains their ceaseless push for “gun control”. It also explains precisely what the flashpoint for Civil War II will be: a desperate gun-grab by the Regime. HardRights, if not Libertarians, get this too: Springfield Armory is selling M1A’s faster than it can produce them, with backorders extending months into the future.

  3. Contemplationist

    Great talk Ilana. Was a delight to be present and meet you. I must say i was surprised myself by how (relatively) orderly the proceeding went. They re-arranged the podium and the orientation of the chairs for a more formal event.

    [I mentioned a lesson you taught me in “Manhattan Le Magnifique.”]

  4. james huggins

    Mercer, I’m glad you’re back. You know how insecure I am when you are gone. To “Rebel”: Govt gun grab is an all too possible scenario. I think they will try to start slowly, as they have already. Waco was a thinly disguised grand stand play to frighten the public about cults with automatic weapons. Of course the bumbling feds botched it and turned it into a disaster. Likewise Ruby Ridge and Fast And Furious. Wish I could buy an M1A. Can’t afford one. I’ll have to stick with my old reliables. Of course my Dad always said “Beware the man who shoots his gun of choice because he can probably shoot it well.”

  5. sunny black

    I’d like Mrs. Mercer’s opinions on her impressions of Manhattan as a great modern city. I lived there for a few years, and at the time I considered it “Greatest city in the Universe”, etc. Since then I’ve lived in a handful of cities in the U.S. and abroad (I have no use for ‘Greatest Ever…’ designations now.) In retrospect, I can see the case for NYC, but I have no desire to live there anymore.

    In the past 3 and a half years I view it more as a cesspool of sorts. A big theme-park of a once great city. But I’m certain my opinion is clouded by Bloomberg and the state and local taxes, as well as the pretentiousness of the Lefty cliques in media and fashion that define parts of the town. I felt I was paying extra for the (faded) prestige of living in NYC, and today, with more of a business background, I consider Manhattan overpriced and overvalued. (If NYC was a stock I’d have shorted it a few years back).

    A TV critic wrote that the TV show Mad Men was a vision Ayn Rand would find interesting. The Manhattan skyscrapers, Don Draper as the model Randian protagonist with the no-nonsense masculinity. But, I suspect if Rand saw how the city itself operates today, she likely wouldn’t care much for it, skyscrapers and all.

    (Also, while Draper represents an elite creative force in his field of advertising, would Rand care much for advertising itself as a worthy profession? Nothing of lasting permanence or value is made. And whatever the creative juices involved, advertising is, today at least, about crowd manipulation to the lowest common denominator.)

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