Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa by Ilana Mercer

I did this interview via email.

 1. LUKE: How eager was the publishing world and then the reading public for the messages of your book “Into the Cannibal's Pot”?

 ILANA MERCER: As is often the case, the “publishing world” was at odds with the reading public. The public was extremely eager for the message of “Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa.” With the exception of the book’s heroic publisher, whose words of wisdom your readers can read on “The Cannibal’s” Amazon page (“This is a book about ideas and ideology,” he writes.) The courage and forethought of Stairway Press of Seattle paid off. The book has done well, given the fact that mainstream publishers ran from it horrified. The “Preface” to the book, available through Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature, details the ridiculous responses my agent received from what conservatives and libertarians consider their go-to imprints.

 2. LUKE: What are the chief lessons for America from South Africa's decline?

 ILANA MERCER: One crucial lesson, and I quote form the “Introduction” to “Into the Cannibal’s Pot,” is that “a highly developed Western society can be dismantled with relative ease. In South Africa, this deconstruction has come about in the wake of an almost overnight shift in the majority/minority power structure. In the U.S., a slower, more incremental transformation is under way. It began with a state-orchestrated, historically unparalleled, mass importation of inassimilable ethnic groups into a country whose creed is that it has no creed any longer.”

The US is fast becoming a mass of competing interests, in which the politically weak vie to keep more of their rightful property; the politically powerful fight to get their paws on that very property. Democracy is especially dangerous in such ethnically and racially divided societies, where majorities and minorities are rigidly predetermined and politically permanent. Like South Africa, America is destined to degenerate into a dominant-party state. Thirty years on, when the immigration Rubicon is crossed, the population of our country will be poorer, less educated and more welfare-dependent. One party will represent this majority. This party will serve as an instrument of perpetual oppression of the minority by a politically powerful majority, just as the African National Congress does in South Africa.

3. LUKE: Given the decline in South Africa since the end of apartheid, do you, in retrospect, give apartheid more credit? Do you think your father was right to protest apartheid?

ILANA MERCER: My book distinguishes between natural rights and political rights. Man is endowed with natural—but not necessarily political—rights. People fuss about apartheid having denied the majority its democratic rights (the vote). Citizenship rights, however, are not natural rights. It is natural rights that the law ought to always and everywhere respect and uphold. In denying blacks these rights, apartheid was reprehensible. To quote from “The Cannibal”: "In its police state methods—indefinite detention without trial, declarations of a state of emergency—apartheid destroyed the individual defenses of equality before the law, the presumption of innocence, habeas corpus and various other very basic freedoms. That the apartheid regime contravened natural justice by depriving Africans of rights to property and due process is indisputable as it is despicable." (Page 231.) Dad was right and heroic to oppose apartheid before it became fashionable to do so; he was wrong to place his trust in the ANC and in what I’ve termed “raw, ripe democracy.”

 4. LUKE: What do you think about Israel absorbing about 80,000 Ethiopians and calling them Jewish? Do you expect more non-Jews around the world to identify as Jews if it will get them into the prosperous modern state of Israel? Should Israel fall for this scam? Do you expect Israeli Ethiopian Jews to assimilate into Israel and to reach the same average levels of success as Ashkenazi Jews achieve? Do you think all peoples and races and religions are equally suited for flourishing in a first world economy such as Israel's or America's?

 ILANA MERCER: I believe that very many Russians have done just that—immigrated to Israel for a better life claiming Jewish ancestry. Unlike America’s preferred immigrants, these Russians are said to be right-leaning and nationalistic. However, Israeli leaders seem far more inclined than America’s louts to do what’s in their countrymen’s best interests. Bibi Netanyahu wants to retain Israel’s national character. He said as much recently to members of Israel’s Manufacturers Association. And I quote the Israeli PM: “We suffer from a problem that actually stems from Israel’s economic success,” he said, explaining the problems that arise from the breached border with Egypt. “We have become almost the only First World country that can be reached by foot from the Third World. We are flooded with surge of refugees who threaten to wash away our achievements and damage our existence as a Jewish democratic state.”

 Unlike the Demopublican quislings, Benjamin Netanayu doesn’t suffer any blind spots when it comes to the very real potential of Third-World refugees flooding Israel and transforming his country for the worse, forever.

As to the other part of your question: I’m not up on the Ethiopian issue, but I see societies as a reflection of the individuals that make them up, and individuals as a reflection of their actions. Thus, I have no doubt that certain Israeli Ethiopians will do very well in Israel. As an individualist, race as an organizing principle doesn’t work for me. Rather, the road to freedom lies 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.

 *** ILANA Mercer is a paleolibertarian writer, based in the United States. She pens WND’s longest-standing, exclusive paleolibertarian column, “Return to Reason.” She is a contributor to the preeminent libertarian site Economic Policy Journal, and is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, an award-winning, independent, non-profit, free-market economic policy think tank. Ilana’s latest book is “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Her website is She blogs at