The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection$
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewIlana Mercer Archive
Trashing Populism: Dim-Bulb Academic vs. Deplorables
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • B
Show CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

To say that academic elites don’t like ordinary folks is to state the obvious.

To them, Lanford, Illinois—the fictional, archetypal, working-class town, made famous by Roseanne and Dan Conner—is not to be listened to, but tamed.

A well-functioning democracy depends on it.

Taming Fishtown—Charles Murray’s version of Landford—is the thread that seems to run through a new book, “The People vs. Democracy,” by one Yascha Mounk.

You guessed it. Mr. Mounk is not an American from the prairies; he’s a German academic, ensconced at Harvard, and sitting in judgment of American and European populism.

If only he were capable of advancing a decent argument.

“The number of countries that can plausibly be described as democracies is shrinking,” laments Mounk (“Populism and the Elites,” The Economist, March 17, 2018):

“Strongmen are in power in several countries that once looked as if they were democratizing … The United States—the engine room of democratization for most of the post-war period—has a president who taunted his opponent with chants of ‘lock her up’ and refused to say if he would accept the result of the election if it went against him.”

Elites ensconced in the academy are likely selected into these mummified institutions for a certain kind of ignorance about political theory or philosophy.

Plainly put, a chant, “lock her up,” is speech, nothing more. This Trump-rally chant might be impolite and impolitic, but on the facts, it’s not evidence of a “strongman.”

Notice how, deconstructed, nearly every utterance emitted by the technocratic and academic elites turns out to be empty assertion?

Even the subtitle of the book under discussion is sloppy political theory: “Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It” implies that democracy is the be-all and end-all of liberty. Quite the opposite.

America’s Constitution-makers did everything in their power (except, sadly, heed the Anti-Federalists) to thwart a dispensation wherein everything is up for grabs by government, in the name of the people.

Today,” claims our author, “the popular will is increasingly coming into conflict with individual rights.” To this end, “liberal elites are willing to exclude the people from important decisions, most notably about immigration in the case of the European Union.”

He has excluded Americans from the immigration, decision-making equation. But they, too, have been eliminated from decision-making on these matters. Perhaps the anti-populism tinkerer, for Mounk is no thinker, views the levels of “exclusion” in the US, on this front, as acceptable.

Perhaps he thinks that the flow of up to two million into the US every year—changing it by the day—is done with the right degree of democratic inclusion. (How about a federal referendum on immigration, to test that?)

The popular will is fine—provided it restores the obligations of government to its constituents, not to the world, protects nation-state sovereignty, respects the founding people of Europe and the West; and protects their traditions, safety and identity. For example, by eliminating the weaponization of political concepts against The People. In the context of immigration, constructs that have been weaponized are multiculturalism and diversity.

If anything, populist leaders who want to denuclearize constructs which have been weaponized by the state are authentic leaders. The opposing elites are the interlopers.

Your common, garden-variety academic is selected and elevated in academia precisely because of a pre-existing condition: a globalist, deracinated disposition.

For that matter, humanity does not have a right to immigrate en masse to the United States or to Europe. There is no natural right to venture wherever, whenever—unless, perhaps, migrants can be confined to homesteading frontier territory.

Regrettably, the developed world is running out of frontier territory to homestead. Besides, the only potential immigrants who still have that frontier spirit are South-African farmers. But American and European elites are uninterested in refugees who are ACTUALLY and actively being killed-off.

That would be too much like preserving “white privilege,” which is certainly not what Mounk’s about. He moans, instead, about dangerous populists, and how they’re “willing to dispense with constitutional niceties in the name of ‘the people.’”

Which “constitutional niceties” have populists dispensed with? Repealing, statutory, man-made law the Left, invariably, depicts as fascism, when in fact repealing positive law is often liberating; strengthening the natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“Politics,” our author continues, “is defined by a growing battle between illiberal democracy, or democracy without rights, on the one hand, and undemocratic liberalism, or rights without democracy, on the other.

It’s hard to know what to make of such bafflegab, only that the author’s political theory has been through the progressive smelter. Democracy unfettered—social democracy, Third Wayism—adopted by all “free” nations, the US as well, in antithetical to the liberty envisioned by the American Founding Fathers.

Why so? Because in this fetid democracy, every aspect of individual life is up for government control. The very idea that a few hundred clowns in two chambers could represent hundreds of millions of individuals is quintessentially illiberal. And impossible.

The kind of “undemocratic liberalism” the author sneers at is likely the classical liberalism of the 19th century, where the claims the mass of humanity could levy against individuals in a particular territory were severely curtailed, if not non-existent.

Finally, what would an academic be without a brand of demeaning, economic reductionism? The lumpenproletariat are economically distressed. That’s Yascha Mounk’s final diagnosis. That’s why populism is surging.

Tossed in their direction, Chinese-made trinkets will do wonders to improve the mood of this seething, racist, mass of Deplorables. Then Mounk and his friends can move in to make the right decisions for us.

Harvard’s Chosen’s One chalks populism up to “the laws of globalization.” Deal with it or die.

Or, as advocated by Kevin D. Williamson, a NeverTrumper formerly of National Review:

“The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets … The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.” (“The Father-Führer,” March 28, 2016.)

You see, working-class “losers” are being labelled illiberal fascists for—wait for it!—wanting a local economy around which to center flesh-and-blood communities.

A real Heil-Hitler moment!


This populism-detesting academic (Yascha Mounk) is a theoretical utilitarian and bad one at that. He refuses to “grapple with the nuances” of the issues that make for misery or mirth among ordinary men and women. Instead, he grumbles that his gang of “technocratic elites” needs to moderate its ambitions, given that they’re not working with much (dumb Deplorables).

Here’s the truth about the nationalism against which the political and pedagogic elites rail:

“[It] has often been cast by the historically triumphant Left as fascistic. Yet historically, this Right rising has represented broad social strata: It has represented the bourgeoisie—middle-class, liberal and illiberal, standing for professional and commercial interests. It has stood for the working class, the landed aristocracy, the (Catholic) clergy, the military, labor unions, standing as one against the radical Communist or anarchist Left, which promised—and eventually delivered—bloody revolution that destroyed organic, if imperfect, institutions.” (“The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed,” p. 234)

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook,Gab & YouTube

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Academia, Elites, Populism, Working Class 
Hide 13 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Anonymous[429] • Disclaimer says:

    “Bafflegab” Another great stinger, Ms. Mercer. You express more wisdom about dsmocracy and American history than all those bafflegabbers put together.

  2. Finally, what would an academic be without a brand of demeaning, economic reductionism? The lumpenproletariat are economically distressed. That’s Yascha Mounk’s final diagnosis. That’s why populism is surging.

    When you’re really important, as is the really important person mentioned, you need somebody to look down on. Else why bother thinking great thoughts? Why bother with being really important?

  3. CK says:

    When you see someone important/relevant/human from the USA saying: “… it is time to recognize and take in the South African farmers as they are victims of state sponsored genocide.”, then you will know that the dialogue has changed. Until then: Same shit, different millennium.

    • Replies: @Linda Green
  4. Ben Frank says:

    When leftists complain about reduction in democracy, what they really mean is reduction in mob-rule. The media dictates to the compliant mob what to think and how to vote.
    Populism is when people stop listening to the media and start believing their own eyes.

  5. Terrific article and comments. I like the guts that Ilana Mercer always shows in telling it like it is. It bothers me that some 64,000,000 or so voted for Clinton, a definite sociopath or psychopath but the DSM in medicine doesn’t have a diagnosis of such -paths now. Most of the haters I see vote strictly along a party line called Democrat. This does not mean that I believe Republicans have much to show either.
    The die hard Democrat Bolsheviks that I observe get all their news from one newspaper and some news shows on the TV . This is my observation. They would have nothing to do with this interesting site (Unz Review) and others. TRUTH IS IRRELEVANT. TRUTH IS WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE.
    What has gone on reminds me of the Spanish Civil War. South Africa and Rhodesia already got toppled by the USA mainstream media and the European snobby Bolsheviks disguised in “democracry”. The Bolshevik and anarchist groups and others tortured and killed over 6000 Roman Catholic priests and near 400 nuns starting around 1935 and ending in 1939.
    I see the Trump haters and the haters of deplorables like me getting hysterical with the hate they showed since 2016. I do believe the masses of these SJWs and leftists would resort to murdering many common people.
    I do not belong to a party but I guess I would be a populist.

    During Vietnam I studied up on what the Rhodesian Army would do. I followed the fate of South Africa and Rhodesia since the late 60s when I was in the US Marines. Ilana Mercer updates us on what the mainstream media won’t tell about South Africa and Zimbabwe.

    Ivy Leaguers are often smug and they start most of our wars. When I was in med school I was degraded by many Ivy leaguers when I outscored them on exams. I quietly watched the behavior of the privileged haters who were never told to clean their own houses because they always had some illegals coming in to do it for them. I came fro a poor area. I kept quiet. My brother dabbles in physics and math. I had an IQ of 143 and a dean knew it (he was a terrific man) but I always let others talk their talk. They don’t know what the walk is- they live in a fake world brought to us by the mainstream media. they adhere to human traits like greed, envy, jealousy, avarice.

    Terrific comments here and the quote about populism is terrific. Where did that quote come from?

  6. Gringo says:

    “Strongmen are in power in several countries that once looked as if they were democratizing … The United States—the engine room of democratization for most of the post-war period—has a president who taunted his opponent with chants of ‘lock her up’

    “Lock her up” was based on Hillary’s documented breaking of the law regarding classified information, an investigation carried out before Trump was elected. Herr Dr. Professor Mounk also neglects to mention that Trump also stated he wouldn’t prosecute Hillary- although she clearly broke the law.

    and refused to say if he would accept the result of the election if it went against him.”

    As opposed to Hillary’s refusing to accept the results of her losing the election.

    Does Herr Dr. Professor Mounk make lame arguments? Yes.

  7. @CK

    We will do exchanges from Atlanta, not outright import. The Africans need the Atlantans, as about as large a professional class of blacks exist in Atlanta as anywhere in the world. We southerners want these professional Atlanta based blacks to begin to care about their own people more than their ongoing litany of complaints against the native whites. We will consider trade of Atlanta blacks for white Afrikaners.

    BTW we do not need the Afrikaners, but Africa desperately needs the professional class of blacks that are found in Atlanta. A trade seems apropos should the various parties express interest in such an arrangement. The Afrikaners interest in local based agriculture is needed in various areas and as such they will likely find our continent to their liking.

  8. You guessed it. Mr. Mounk is not an American from the prairies; he’s a German academic, ensconced at Harvard, and sitting in judgment of American and European populism.

    I suppose it’s completely superfluous to point out that Mounk is Jewish.

    • Replies: @Haxo Angmark
  9. @Malcolm X-Lax

    no more so than pointing out that

    Ilana Mercer is also a Jew.

    it’s even possible that Ilana’s failure to mention that Yascha

    is a Jew

    is related to the fact that she’s a Jew.

    • Replies: @Malcolm X-Lax
  10. @Haxo Angmark

    I don’t think she thinks she was putting anything over on us. Here at Unz I’m pretty sure Ileana knows “da goyim know”, to borrow a phrase.

    • Replies: @Haxo Angmark
  11. @Malcolm X-Lax

    actually, Mercer-Issacsohn closed down comments at her site some time ago precisely to prevent race-realists like you and I from roosting there and spreading enlightenment on the Jewish Problem . And as Vox Day has pointed out (his Jew-wise site used to be linked at hers; not anymore) Jews, members of a wandering, trans-national Tribe, cannot be a member of any nation but their own. So, in calling Yascha M. a “German”, she was quite definitely dissimulating.

  12. MacNucc11 says:

    Funny how the deranged Kevin Williamson so offhandedly dismisses Trumps curing the opiate addiction facing this country. Who knew his speeches had that much benefit?

    • Replies: @Twodees Partain
  13. @MacNucc11

    “Trumps curing the opiate addiction facing this country.”

    When did he do that, and how did he do it? The FDA and DEA are currently committed to banning a southeast asian botanical, kratom, claiming that it is an opiod, but I’m unaware of anything else being done by the Trump admin to even address the existence of an opiod addiction epidemic.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Ilana Mercer Comments via RSS
The Surprising Elements of Talmudic Judaism
The Shaping Event of Our Modern World
Analyzing the History of a Controversial Movement