At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Ilana Mercer v. Judge Napolitano: A Look at Two Types of Libertarianism

posted by Jack Kerwick

It looks like some 11 million illegal third world immigrants will soon become American citizens as Congress prepares to provide for them “a pathway to citizenship.” 

Amnesty is coming our way.

Meanwhile, another event makes national news as it is announced that women will no longer be prohibited from engaging in combat. 

A certain type of libertarian cheers both developments, and for good reason: underlying both is one and the same conception of liberty.

That is to say, the idea underwriting both of these issues is the idea that liberty or freedom is as self-evident and universal as is the most basic statements of mathematics. It is an idea of liberty that is as indifferent—utterly, thoroughly indifferent—to culture and history as is 2 + 2 = 4. 


Though they broke American laws in so doing, those millions of immigrants who entered our country illegally were simply acting on their “right,” their liberty, to pursue happiness for themselves and their children.  Similarly, women have “a right,” a liberty, to fight to on the front lines of war if they so choose.

Judge Andrew Napolitano is an example of a type of libertarian who thinks along these lines.  

The Judge eviscerated Arizona Governor Jan Brewer when she signed SB 1070 to help Arizonans deal with the ravages of illegal immigration that it had been suffering for years.  And he also has never put up any kind of resistance to amnesty.  Instead, Napolitano has remarked that if “our rights come from our Creator—as the Declaration of Independence declares,” then “how can they differ because of where our mothers were when we were born?”


With respect to the administration’s decision to lift the ban on women in combat, Napolitano claimed to be “thrilled.”  While on a Fox News panel last week, the Judge noted what he perceived to be the irony involved in the fact that it is a “collectivist president” who has decided “that people should be judged as individuals and not as members of groups [.]”  Napolitano lavished praise upon the President for relegating to the dustbin of history “the old military prejudices against…women,” ideas rooted, “not in facts,” but “often…in ignorance, bias and prejudice [.]”

This latest development, Napolitano believes, is a victory for liberty and individualism, for “each person in the military will [now] be judged for combat, leadership and command based on their skills and ability—not some group they are a member of based on the consequence of birth” (Emphasis added).


For this type of libertarian, a person’s gender, like his or her race, ethnicity, culture, and history itself, is a mere “consequence of birth.”  There is another type of libertarian, however—a conservative libertarian, if you will.

The great apostle of modern day conservatism, Edmund Burke, is among the more well known representatives of this type.  For our generation, though, it is to a Jewish woman, a former resident of Israel and South Africa and the daughter of a Rabbi, to whom conservative libertarians can turn to find their most able defender.  Her name is Ilana Mercer.

Mercer recently singled out Judge Napolitano’s brand of libertarianism as “left-libertarianism.”  Left libertarians like Napolitano, she notes, regard “liberty” as “an abstraction. Apply it ‘properly,’” she says, “and it will work everywhere and always.” 


From the perspective of left-libertarianism, “liberty is propositional—a deracinated idea, unmoored from the reality of history, biology, tradition, hierarchy.” 

In reality, Mercer continues, liberty has a “civilizational dimension.” It cannot be reduced, as left-libertarians would have us think, to the sole principle that no person should aggress against another. 

Though a Ron Paul supporter, and no fan of any of his rivals in the GOP presidential primaries, Mercer took the Congressman to task when he blasted Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum for allegedly disliking Muslims and Muslims and gays, respectively.  “A candidate who dismissed the national questions, namely immigration, affirmative action, the centrality to America of Christianity and the English language, etc.—fails to appreciate the civilizational dimension of ordered liberty,” she wrote.


Burke would agree.  So too would many of America’s founders agree with Mercer that liberty must be “ordered.”

These great advocates for ordered liberty would also agree with her verdict that when liberty is defined against “the consequences of birth,” as the Judge Napolitanos of the world define it, it degenerates into disorder.



The Final Part of My Interview With Leftist Academic Leon Marlensky

posted by Jack Kerwick

Below is the fourth and final part of my interview with leftist academic, Dr. Leon Marlensky.

JK: Getting back to my original question: If women and—

LM: At the risk of sounding rude, may I interject just one more time?

JK: I doubt that I could stop you even if I wanted to.  What is it?

LM: Even I have been using the word “women” to describe the estrogen-endowed members of the human species.  But “women” and “woman” both reflect and further Western patriarchy. Both terms are parasitic upon, or derivative of, “man.”  There is no surer way to guarantee the preservation of the systemic misogyny to which women have forever been subjected in the West than by continuing to use this awful word: woman.


JK: Then why have you been using it?

LM: This is the thing about structural injustices.  The injustices, like sexism, are embedded in our very concepts, in our very language.  “Woman” is a term of convenience. But you are correct—

JK: I am?!

LM: Yes. For now on, I will use, and will urge others to use, “estrogen-endowed” in place of “woman.” 

JK: Wonderful.  You can probably detect the sarcasm in my voice when I say that I’m glad that I finally got through to you on this score.

LM: Understood loudly and clearly.

JK: Now that that’s established, maybe I can finally return to my question.

LM: I know where you were going Jack.  It is true that I think that people of African descent, other racial minorities, and the estrogen-endowed living in what European men chose to call “America” are indeed just as guilty as white men for White, Male, and Christian Supremacy.  Regardless of the place that they occupy in our social hierarchy or the rhetoric to which they resort, everyone and anyone who continues to reap the benefits of the injustices that had been done to minorities and women, anyone and everyone who eagerly avails her or himself of the blood money on which America and the West were built, has blood on her or his hands.


JK: Wow. So whether it is Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell, or Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright—

LM: They are sellouts all of them.  Ditto with whether it is Gloria Steinberg or Phyllis Schlafly of whom we speak.  Farrakhan, Wright, Obama, Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey—they decry racism out of one side of their necks while basking in the fame and fortunes that whites make possible.  The “black” writer George Schuyler once said of Malcolm X that Malcolm should’ve “loved the white folks,” for without them, no one ever would’ve known his name.  I am saying something similar here.

Yet, of course, it isn’t just famous and rich people of African descent, other non-European lineages, and the estrogen-endowed who legitimize the oppression and exploitation of minorities and the estrogen-endowed.  It is every single such person who enjoys the higher standard of living in what men of European stock insist upon calling “America” who are also guilty of this crime.


JK: So even those who style themselves radicals, progressives, or revolutionaries are actually nothing of the sort.  Is this what you are getting at?

LM: Progressive?! Who is progressive?!  Barack Obama?!?! Hillary Clinton?!?!  It makes about as much sense to say of Obama and Hillary that they are progressive as it would make sense to say of a Jew who became one of Hitler’s Brown Shirts that he or she—uh, she or he—was progressive, or a person of African descent living in what whites call “America” who enslaved other people of African descent that she or he was progressive.

If the Obamas and Hillaries of the world can be called “progressives,” it is only because they advance the progress of White Male Supremacy.  Our radicals are a la carte radicals.  They are cafeteria revolutionaries.  They arbitrarily select some features of the West to condemn as racist, sexist, etc. while relying upon—clinging to—others that are no less racist and sexist.


JK: I must admit,Leon, you are nothing if not consistent.

LM: Hold it. Logical consistency is an intellectual virtue only in the West.  It assumes a rigorous dichotomy between being and non-being.  It assumes that the world consists of individual, distinct “substances.”  These, however, are assumptions that Eastern peoples reject.  For Hindus, Confucianists, Taoists, and other philosophical traditions of the East, the world is a single harmony, each part being inseparably linked to every other.

The so-called “law of contradiction,” then, far from being the most fundamental principle of all thought, is but another Eurocentric construct that has been imposed upon all peoples everywhere.


JK: So, you are not consistent?

LM: I refuse to play this game.  Whether you commend me for my consistency or criticize me for my inconsistency, you still approach me through an incorrigibly Western frame of reference. You continue to elevate a culturally-specific conception of Reason above all others. 

JK: Ok, ok.  We are about out of time, Leon. So that my readers can know a little more about you, would you care to briefly share with us your research interests?

LM: It would be my pleasure. My interests lie in two areas. 

The first is the treatment—the theologization—of erectile dysfunction in texts of the Medieval and early Modern eras.

JK: I didn’t know that this issue was addressed at all in the literature from these periods.


LM: Oh, it’s addressed all right, just not explicitly.  But once these texts are deconstructed, however, it becomes plain that the surface discourse, the dominant voice, suppresses other discourses, discourses regarding the sterility, the impotence, and the delayed ejaculation of their authors’ contemporaries—and maybe even the authors themselves.

JK: Uh…ok.  And your other interest?

LM: The specieism involved in fighting bacterial infections. 

JK: What?!

LM: A bacteria is a living species, correct?  Like all living things, it is has an interest in preserving itself.  This interest should be respected, even if it may at times be necessary to kill bacteria. But to eliminate it without batting an eye, as human beings routinely do, is to elevate our own species above that of bacteria.


There is another problem.  When species prey upon one another, their numbers are controlled and the world is safe. But inasmuch as humans spare not a moment to destroy bacteria before it destroys them, the human species threatens the planet with overpopulation. 

JK: Not that I wanted to get into this now, but I am curious: What, in your judgment,Leon, should be done about this?

LM: I think that, eventually, in order to spare Earth from the ravages of the sort of virulent specieism that humans—white humans especially, via the Father of all instruments of domination, science—unleashed upon all other species, and bacteria particularly, the federal government needs to launch a massive program by which it determines when it is permissible to combat bacteria and when it is not permissible to combat it.

JK: Well, thank you Leon, but, by now, I have definitely heard enough.

LM: Has it dawned on you that the word “heard,” like the words “seen” and “saw,” are ableist?  Not everyone can hear, after all.  And not everyone can—

JK: Thank youLeon!        




My Interview With Leftist Leon Marlensky: Part III

posted by Jack Kerwick

This, the third installment of my interview with leftist par excellence, Dr. Leon Marlensky, was supposed to be my last.  It took an unexpected turn, though.  The fourth installment will be the conclusion of the interview.

JK: So,Leon, you think that racial minorities and women in America are just as culpable as white men for promoting what you call “white supremacy?” 

LM: I declare them just as guilty as those white men of today who benefit from White Supremacy as well as those of yesteryear who enslaved people of African descent and slaughtered the indigenous peoples of what we today call America.  I declare them just as guilty as those white men who forced segregation upon women and people of African descent—


JK: Whoa. Excuse me. I know what you mean when you refer to the segregation of blacks—

LM: Correction: people of African descent.  In earlier times, whites relied upon their whips, guns, and knives to corral so-called “blacks” into slave ships and then plantations.  Today, whites continue to corral folks of African descent, except now they have traded in the physical weaponry for the ideological weaponry of abstract, homogenizing categories like “black.” And whites have turned from the slave ships and plantations to the ‘hoods, all offices of government, Hollywood, academia, professional sports and every and any other area of our society where they can ease their own racist fears by keeping a close eye on the objects of those fears.


JK: Well– -uh, wait. You have said a couple of things that I would like for you to elaborate upon.  The race thing we can talk about in just a minute. As for women—

LM: Jack, there are no “races.”  The concept of race is an exclusive term devised by whites to justify their oppressive designs over the rest of the world. It is an instrument of Eurocentric power.

JK: Ok, ok. Moving right along.  What did you mean by “the segregation” of women?

LM: Uh, Earth to Jack: have you not noticed that nearly fifty years after the “whites” and “colored” signs came down we still have “men” and “women” signs hanging over restrooms all across this country?  Haven’t you noticed that there remains gender segregation in virtually every department store in America?  There is a clothing section for men and a clothing section for women; shoes for men, and shoes for women, sports leagues for men, and those for women, etc.  Hell, even parenting is segregated along gender lines!  Only a woman can be a mother, and only a man can be a father. 


Have you ever considered any of this?

JK: No, I can’t say that I have.  But let’s leave this behind.  I want to return to something you said a moment ago. If today’s black—uh, if those people of African descent who are today politicians, academics, businessmen—

LM: Ah hem.

JK: Uh, businesspersons?

LM: Well, that’s not as inappropriate as businessmen, for it isn’t only men who are in business.  But if you think about it, even “businesspersons” is less than acceptable, for—

JK: Leeeeon, please, I just want to spit out this one question for you!

LM: I’m sorry, Jack. We can get right to it after I make this point.  Just as our everyday language is contaminated with racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and Christocentric bigotry, so too is it ridden with specieism.  Your last remark confirms this. 


JK: Once more, Leon, I’m not following you.

LM: “Businesspersons” may be gender-neutral, but it is not species-neutral.  However, there have been and remain both non-human animals as well as plants that have been involved in business ventures of various sorts.  And yet “businesspersons” glosses over this fact.  Non-human animals and plants appear in television shows, commercials, films, and so forth. 

Not only do we marginalize non-human animals and plants via the word “businessperson.” But the unrelenting anthropomorphism of our Disney culture insists upon imposing human traits upon them in popular art.

I would prefer that we drop “businesspersons” as well as “businessmen” and, instead, opt for the word “businessbeings.

The fourth and FINAL part of my interview with Leon Marlensky will be published soon.



Obama and “the Fundamental Transformation” of America

posted by Jack Kerwick

Barack Obama’s second term is now officially underway.  His speech on Monday, in addition to his first term, makes it all too clear that his promise to “fundamentally transform”America is one promise that he’s determined to keep.

Sadly, and incredibly, far too many moderate and conservative-minded folks—including commentators!—still fail to grasp exactly what Obama meant when he made this now infamous pledge.  Not Rush Limbaugh, though.  Rush most certainly did grasp Obama’s meaning.  Moreover, he was one of a relatively small handful of prominent figures on the right who had the backbone to translate its meaning out loud.

Obama, Rush told his listeners, wants to ruin the country. This is why he hoped that Obama would fail.


Rush knew what those first Western philosophers from before the time of Socrates knew: fundamental transformation involves the extinction of one being and its replacement by another.

That which has been fundamentally transformed essentially ceases to be.

Rush, along with others, has repeatedly insisted that Obama wishes to destroy the country as we have always known it.  Not quite.  Obama, rather, wishes to destroy the country as he has always known it.  There is a huge difference between these two perceptions of America. 

Being the committed leftist that he is, the America of old as Obama sees it is a place mired in iniquity. It is a place that is and has always been too white, too Christian, too racist, too sexist, too homophobic, too xenophobic, and so forth.  The America of old, the pre-Obama America of the President’s leftist imagination, consists of “Second Amendment absolutists,”—John Wayne type gun nuts and knuckle dragging Bible thumpers.  This is the America that was founded in the genocide of America’s indigenous peoples and the enslavement of Africa’s.


And this is the America that must be, as Obama euphemistically puts it, “fundamentally transformed.”

This is the America that must be destroyed.

In its place, Obama seeks to replace it with another idea of America, the sort of utopian land for which leftists the world over have been longing for as long as leftist ideology has been with us. 

In this new America, the gross inequalities in income and wealth that arose courtesy of “the individualism,” “states’ rights,” and “capitalism”—i.e. constitutional government—of the pre-Obama America will be forever remedied.  The so-called “browning” of America that began in earnest nearly fifty years ago with the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 will be perfected as the new America becomes the first genuinely “multicultural” country on the planet, the country of which, as Time magazine put it in explaining why it chose to make him its Man of the Year, Obama is both “symbol and author.” 


But for all of this to occur, the old America must be fundamentally transformed.

The country’s “fundamentals”—the Constitution and the federalized structure of government that it delineates—must be destroyed.  

Note, change, even dramatic change, is not the same thing as a fundamental transformation. As even the great apostle of conservatism, Edmund Burke, observed over two centuries ago, not only is change inevitable.  Insofar as it is indispensable to the conservation of society, it is desirable.  Fundamental transformation, though, is something else entirely.

For instance, the Jack Kerwick of 2013 is dramatically different, in all sorts of respects, from the Jack Kerwick who was born almost forty-one years ago in 1972.  But I am still, ultimately, the same person today as I was then.  Thus, I am justified in describing these changes as changes that occurred to me, changes that I experienced over the course of my lifetime.   These changes have been gradual and continuous, not abrupt and radical. 


The example of marriage should suffice to show the chasm between change and fundamental transformation.  Anyone who has ever been married knows that unless spouses make changes in themselves, their marriage will be doomed. Similarly, anyone who has been married knows equally well that unless spouses refrain from even suggesting that their partners undergo a fundamental transformation, the marriage will be doomed.  

The desire on the part of one spouse that the other undergo a fundamental transformation is nothing less than the desire for a new spouse.

And the desire for one’s country to undergo a fundamental transformation is nothing less than the desire for a new country.





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