200 of 208 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2011
"When South Africa was governed by a racist white minority, it was scorned by the West ... Now that a racist, black majority government controls the country ... it's the toast of the West." Classical liberal columnist, writer and former South African Ilana Mercer deconstructs the new democratic South Africa, a country where government corruption, rape and murder are all in a day's work. Scholarly and readable, Mercer gives a detailed account of the country's history, from the early days of the Dutch settlers, all the way through to Colonial rule, apartheid and beyond to the nation's current state of being dismantled from the bottom up, quickly becoming in the authors words "another Islamist friendly, failed African state."
Continually correlated with past and present day America, as the title suggests the book carries with it a lesson. A clarion call if you will to anyone who respects the rule of law and the basic principles of liberty. She illustrates how with relative ease a society can wither away, or in South Africa's case be hacked to pieces with a machete.
"Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa" tells the true story of South Africa not the sugar-coated, multi-cultural utopia the Western liberal media and their conservative counterparts will have you believe.
98 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2011
I won't go into the heart-wrenching descriptions of the savage crimes perpetrated by South African blacks against the few whites that remain in that nation today. I will say the level of cruelty is not analogous to being a human being. It's not human to do what these armed thugs are doing to families, raping women, murdering husbands, fathers and sons, violating infants... They've become worse than animals... savages who have no respect for life, whose hatred for whites has taken over their very core and transformed them into primordial killing machines with no conscience and no heart.
And as these barbarians wander the country, preying on their victims, the South African government has made it nearly impossible for terrorized whites to legally defend their lives and their loved ones against these bloodthirsty troglodytes.
Their recourse? Rape insurance that provides policies for victims of rape just in case they get AIDS from their rapists, which is entirely possible in a country where garlic and beetroot, as well as rape of infants is considered "medication" for the HIV positive thug. And because the African National Congress (ANC) has no regard for life or property (at least not when it comes to its white citizens), justice is nonexistent.
"'Before you can act in self-defense,' remonstrates Anton du Plessis of the Institute for Security studies, 'the attack against you should have commenced, or at least be imminent. For example, if the thief pulls out a firearm and aims in your direction, [only] then you would be justified in using lethal force to protect your life.'"
If you stop to contemplate the severity of the threat against you, you could very well watch helpless as armed thugs gang rape your loved ones. If you take action, you could be arrested and charged for defending your life. Additionally, thanks to the Firearms Control Act of 2000, firearms licenses which were previously valid for life, have to be renewed, the renewal involving reams of paperwork, testing, fees and other hoops that could drag on for years. Effectively, the majority of lawful firearms owners in South Africa no longer have the right or the means to protect themselves from armed marauders.
But this is from a woman's perspective... from a gun rights advocate's perspective.
From a simple human being's perspective, Ilana describes - honestly and directly - the true nature of this principle we call "democracy." She doesn't beat around the bush or dance around uncomfortable race issues. She states facts - facts that may be uncomfortable to those who have forgotten how to discuss race with dispassion and objectivity. Many of you know my feelings on unchecked democracy. It's tyranny of the majority - and no matter how you couch it, it's still tyranny. So what happens when a previously-subservient race takes over a nation, aided by well-meaning governments and celebrities ignorant of the unintended consequences of their actions?
In the case of South Africa, the ANC made sure that the blacks were properly "compensated" for their years of inequality under the Afrikaners. Propped up by the westerners as a successful democracy, the ANC implemented policies of redistribution that allowed the government to take any property - anything from land to livestock - for any reason. (Sound like a familiar eminent domain policy, America?) South African land is now a "national asset" to be redistributed according to the will of the majority. The majority just happens to be South African blacks, most of whom believe they're entitled to whites' property and livelihoods by virtue of being previously oppressed. Blacks have preference in hiring, preferential treatment in courts and relative ease when stealing (legally) property they covet from whites.
Currently the minority in South Africa lives in terror - victimized by the tyranny of the majority and aided and abetted by the West, where intellectual elites sing the praises of democracy improving the lives of previously oppressed blacks. What Ilana describes is revenge at its most foul - a majority that has apparently set out to destroy those whom it perceives to be the enemy - an enemy judged by its skin color - an enemy that they plunder, rape and have set out to destroy.
Don't think it can happen here?
Think affirmative action quotas. Think preferential hiring. Think eminent domain.
Into the Cannibal's Pot is a warning to America. I have no doubt that if we allow our government to continue confiscating our land, mandating hiring practices to private companies and violating the basic principles of liberty, we will be heading in the direction of South Africa. If we allow racist regimes to be lauded as just by politicians, regardless of which race wields control, who formulate foreign policy accordingly, we won't be too far behind South Africa when it comes to sheer cruel prejudice and injustice. And if we laud these regimes as moral, ethical and fair, what's stopping us from following in their footsteps?
Maybe not now, but gradually.
140 of 148 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2011
Into the Cannibal's Pot reveals what happens when an advanced nation built by European people upon Christian principles is deceived by the Cultural Marxist dream of racial egalitarianism and in the name of justice and liberty surrenders political power to an African majority that had never shown the capacity to create or sustain a free, just, and civilized society. What we have witnessed since the end of Apartheid is African political leaders in South Africa dragging that nation down to the same violent, primitive and tribal existence found in every other failed African government, and for the same reasons.
Ms. Mercer's book tells the real story of South Africa in the face of almost universal silence by the Liberal Media in the West. Her candor and lack of political correctness is refreshing and her application of the lessons of South Africa to America is instructive. Her book is a timely warning of what can happen when a nation leaves its core principles for the sake of poltical expedience and phony compassion and equality. I was very impressed with her book and look forward to reading more from her in the future.
109 of 116 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2011
It's always spring somewhere. Once upon a time there was the post-colonial Black African spring that turned into bloodbaths in short order. Now, decades later, the bloodbaths continue. The optimists insisted, based on a belief in egalitarianism, people were fungible; that x, given the opportunity, could be inserted for y and an ordered society would continue apace. South Africa and Zimbabwe (among many others) have proved otherwise and the optimists have been reduced to closing an already blind eye to the consequences.
Ilana Mercer's "Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America from post-Apartheid South Africa", will have none of that. South Africa, once her home, is put front, center, and under a microscope. The lessons for America are clear and found in Zimbabwe and South Africa she insists i.e., the changing of an ordered society of high-intelligence people sharing the norms of civilization into a disordered society of rudimentary Communism, black/minority empowerment (entitlement), and black/minority dispensation (freedom from culpability).
"Into the Cannibal's Pot" features an invaluable contrast of past and present throughout the book, the past/present of Ian Smith/Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe, deKlerk/Mandela-Zuma South Africa, and is best represented in the U.S. by pre 64' Civil Rights Act America and present day America. Many believe and Ms. Mercer concurs and makes a case that The Civil Rights Act has put us on the road to Zimbabwe with no hope of laughs or a happy ending.
The optimists who look up as we descend, Ms. Mercer points out, are the usual suspects pushing for leveling, pulling for the underachiever, excusing the maladjusted, and all the while ignoring the resultant demolition of society and ultimately the bloodletting that in her South Africa has reached genocidal proportions.
Those easily distracted, bought off cheap, impenetrably obtuse, willfully impercipient and dog faithful to a cause but mole blind to effect will likely object to the book for no other reason than it insists on connecting the dots - Zimbabwe, South Africa, America, pernicious devolution (three of the four definitions for `devolution', common, formal, and legal, apply and are demonstrated in the book).
"Into the Cannibal's Pot" is an eye opener; thorough, skillfully and courageously presented, and utterly conclusive in making its case against social engineering, leveling, pandering; and utterly damning of not just the destruction of societies and people but especially the willful disregard of the world - not in not noticing but in having noticed and failed to point fingers, name names, and call a culprit a culprit.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2011
The modern West is dominated by Politics of Guilt. Where once there was focus on universal rights and liberties, today the managerial welfare states obsess over special entitlements (now mistakenly called "rights") for particular "disadvantaged" or "underprivileged" victim groups. While the urge to redress past wrongs is fine in principle, elementary logic dictates that it cannot be accomplished by perpetrating new wrongs.
Mercer makes no apologies for the apartheid. She doesn't hold back in describing its violations of many economic freedoms, natural, political and personal rights. Yet the current tyranny of the majority violates them ALL. Murder statistics indicate that more South Africans die per week under "democracy" than had died in government detention over the four decades of apartheid (p.1). Blacks and "coloureds" also find themselves victimized, but the violence against white Anglos and Afrikaners is just about institutional. "Kill the farmer" is chanted by the ruling party officials, and white farmers die; the officials shrug it off as just a bit of harmless fun. Particularly vile is the phenomenon of gang rape, which has its own colloquialism: "jackrolling" (p.16).
Mercer makes a brief mention of her own family's fight against apartheid, but this isn't a book told from a personal perspective and playing on emotions. Instead, Mercer is standing up for principles that were once the foundation of the West. No more, it seems. Instead of liberty and justice for all, South Africa got a tyranny of the majority. The ANC, whose beliefs are a mélange of tribalism and Communism, doesn't mind in the least - but shouldn't the West? If it is "racist" to point out when a majority-black government systematically violates the lives, liberty and property of its non-black subjects, how about when it does the same thing to its own, black citizens? Should anyone get a free pass on human rights, just because they were colonized or mistreated in the past?
ANC's racism is not just hateful, it is also stupid. Mercer quotes hard data to show that BEE is destroying South Africa's economy (Chapters 2 and 3), that murdering Afrikaner farmers is lowering food production and ruining the farmlands. SA was once able to feed itself, and the standard of living of its black majority was much higher than in all other African countries. Now it imports food (p.79), and its economy is falling towards Zimbabwe.
Ever cognizant of patterns and principles, Mercer documents the plight of the Boers with an eye on how the dismantling of South Africa's state and society - both Western structures - could likely be replicated in the West itself (Chapters 5 and 6). Multiculturalism, politics of guilt, "reverse" discrimination, all these things have already eroded the principles of equality before the law, natural rights and limited government. It doesn't matter if the conflict is racial, ethnic or religious; the same pattern of subversion can apply anywhere. Yesterday it was Botswana, today Bosnia, and tomorrow it could be Belgium.
Take, for example, the "Islamic Declaration" of the late Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic, which Mercer quotes (p. 195) in a chapter on South Africa's experiences with Islam. Izetbegovic, revered as a statesman and philosopher throughout the Muslim world, wrote of the impossibility of coexistence between Islam and non-Islamic governments, and advised that Muslims ought to mount a takeover as soon as they become sufficiently numerous. But to point this out is "Islamophobia," and against the law in some European countries.
Nor is the situation in South Africa purely black-and-white. Mercer notes the dissent of the Zulu and their conflict with the Xhosa-majority ANC. She also quotes reliable statistics that the country's black majority was far less than enthusiastic about ANC rule prior to 1994. "Perhaps most blacks, no less than most whites, realized that being disenfranchised in a functioning state was preferable to being masters in a failed one," Mercer concludes (p. 224). The only thing worse is being disenfranchised in a failed state. That way lies extinction. The stupid insistence of the West on an Anglo-American style of democracy in heterogeneous societies such as Bosnia, Iraq or South Africa only breeds violence and destroys the legitimacy of the state in question.
Mercer is a classical liberal, who values the natural rights of life, liberty and property. She shares the conviction of America's Founding Fathers that unrestricted democracy is hostile to these values, as politics quickly deteriorates into the have-nots helping themselves to the property of the haves, using the ballot box instead of bullets. Of particular interest is her distillation of Hans-Hermann Hoppe's argument from "Democracy: The God That Failed" in Chapter 7 (p. 228-29). It would be entirely academic, were it not for the real-life example of South Africa.
While it is true that the Afrikaner minority ended up surrendering and accepting majority rule with no safeguards - which was in effect a betrayal by its leadership - it has to be noted, as Mercer does, that a significant contributor to this capitulation was the ostracism by the rest of the Western civilization. Afrikaners refused to fight the entire world. As a result, they are slowly being wiped out. Isn't the world that forced them into this situation at least somewhat responsible for remedying it?
Given that the West was pushing the strongest for unrestricted majority rule, there is little hope it will somehow reverse course and demand a stop to the ANC abuses. Some Afrikaners may find a future elsewhere and emigrate, as Mercer ended up doing. But four million of them? The West doesn't want them - their very existence upsets the "progressive" applecart. If they stay under the present government, they will share the fate of Rhodesians. Secession is a legitimate option, but one that would be opposed both by the ANC and the West. Does that mean the Afrikaners ought to perish? Many European nations seem to have lost the will to survive. If the Afrikaners choose to fight for their rights, Mercer may someday write a sequel - an inspirational, instead of a cautionary tale.
52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2011
I just finished reading "Into the Cannibal's Pot" by Ilana Mercer. It's an interesting, perspective-shifting read!
Until recently, I've been on the opposite side from Ms. Mercer on Afrikaner-related issues. As a graduate student at Duke University, I had the privilege of studying and traveling with a former General Secretary of the SA Council of Churches and staffer of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. At his invitation, I spent 3 months in Cape Town working with Congolese and Burundian refugees. I learned plenty during my three months working for the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, and remain extremely grateful for the experience.
Looking back on my time in South Africa, I now recognize a common theme - a simmering, palpable disdain shown by some colleagues and acquaintances toward all things Afrikaner. I didn't know any better, so I shared in that disdain. Ms. Mercer's compelling account of life as an Afrikaner farmer in the new South Africa makes me wish I'd been more assertive in listening to the Afrikaner perspective. I simply cannot fathom how fearful life must be for many Afrikaners today. I suspect I would have done all I could to protect my fragile civilization if confronted with the violent chaos of the new South Africa.
Thanks to Ms. Mercer for writing so strongly and convincingly on life in the new South Africa. I'm looking forward to picking up a copy of her earlier book "Broadsides".
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
The deepest questions an individual faces in life concern his or her posterity. Where will your children have the best chance of survival, success, and raising their own families? She quotes Russell Kirk, who said eloquently that society is a community of souls, joining the dead, the living, and those yet unborn. It coheres through what Christians call love of neighbor, facilitated by a shared language, literature, habits and heroes. Mercer goes back to these deep questions at every turn in this philosophical analysis of the differences among the societies she knows. Though she has chosen to live in the United States, she is deeply critical of the direction it is taking. She would not claim to have found her "community of souls" anyplace she has lived. I, your reviewer, am a Mayflower descendent who has abandoned the United States to raise a second family in Ukraine to escape the despair and self-loathing which seems to have paralyzed my adult children, and to escape the increasing dangers to life and property which Mercer sees the same way I do.
Mercer is a libertarian. She believes, like the American founding fathers, that people are endowed by their Creator with different levels of ability, and should be allowed by a free society to rise to whatever position their merit would entitle them. This puts sets her in opposition to any scheme in which society's goods are distributed on the basis of race or tribe. This is, of course, exactly what is happening in both the United States and South Africa. Without apology, societal resources are being redistributed in the name of affirmative action to minorities with enough clout to extort them out of the bureaucrats, who are not merely spineless, but complicit in such schemes because they expand their own power.
In South Africa the beneficiaries are of Nelson Mandela's Xhosa tribe. The losers are above all the whites, but also other tribes such as the Zulus. In the United States the beneficiaries are Blacks and Hispanics, the losers are above all white males. However, one notes that reverse discrimination also works against the interests of Jewish and Asian Americans with regard to college admission, and other minorities such as Native Americans, who are not so politically savvy, seem as often as not to be left out because they can be cynically overlooked.
Mercer's version of South African history is a story which I had not read elsewhere and is well worth reading. She takes particular interest in Nelson Mandela, who is enshrined as a saint in the United States, never the subject of a critical word from either Republicans or Democrats. He turns out to have been in his youth just another angry Marxist African. A small degree of sophistication, some incredible luck, and the support of a credulous Western press, and the naïve hopes of Western governments propelled him to the presidency. Defying all common sense, the white government and world advisors led South Africa to an unvarnished winner-take-all, majority rule type of democracy. Better models were available: the federal system from the United States, or various parliamentary systems. Totally predictably, the African National Congress took power and has never relinquished it.
I knew from press accounts that South Africa was a very dangerous country. Mercer emphasizes that this is not by accident, and the victims are not random. The criminals and the police are in cahoots, and white victims find little justice. Particularly oppressed are the farmers, almost 10 percent of whom, more than 3000, have been murdered since 1994 under the new South Africa. Mercer pleads their case at length, and underscores the cynicism by which Western governments refuse to recogize victims of egregious racial hatred when said victims are white.
She takes an almost prurient interest in the most heinous of crimes, such as raping babies under the shamanistic belief that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS, and the sadistic rapes, tortures and murders of white women by gangs of blacks. South Africa's police have stopped maintaining reliable statistics, and stopped releasing any statistics at all in many cases. The United States does a much better job. The FBI crime statistics do categorize perpetrators and victims by race. Even though Hispanics are lumped in with whites, significantly inflating the apparent rate of white crime, blacks commit several times more violent crimes than whites. I had read an analysis of these FBI statistics in a document called "The Color of Crime," available online.
Mercer emphasizes the degree to which hatred and envy drive black on white crime. This should be intuitively obvious. What is interesting is the fact that the governments of both South Africa and the United States stubbornly refuse to recognize that blacks could hate whites. Their dogma is that the hatred goes only one way.
Her most powerful chapter is entitled "Why Do WASP Societies Wither?" What is this death wish that we have? Why do we WASPs flagellate ourselves for supposedly unpardonable sins in our past, such as colonialism and slavery? It is absurd. All of these things are five generations or more in the past; United States was never much of a colonial power. Though my ancestors were in the United States at the time of slavery, they were Northerners. Methodists and Presbyterian abolitionists. Rather than having anything to be ashamed of, I should be proud that they led the battle to do away with slavery. The irony is that the United States was far from the only country to practice slavery, but together with England, and at considerable expense, it was at the forefront of eliminating it. As Mercer points out, South Africa pours scorn on the United States for our history of slavery, absolutely ignoring the much longer, continuing history of slavery in the Muslim world. Instead, they embrace the tyrants of the Muslim world as their comrades in arms against the evil white man. Mercer calls it a combination of envy and opportunism. The Africans envy our material wealth, and they have learned that they can shake us down pretty successfully.
The question of why we WASPs are such pigeons, such dupes to this sort of manipulation is interesting. Why are we committing cultural suicide? We hate ourselves, We feel guilty about our past, we feel guilty about bringing children into our world, we feel guilty about taking any pride in, or even teaching our history. Mercer says that this is a particularly WASP problem. Jews do not have a proclivity to such self-loathing. They have thick skins; they have been picked on and called names for generations. Mercer attributed to our pietism, the teachings of our religion. I'm not sure that she has a full answer to the question, but it is certainly one worthy of investigation. On this topic, one thing I enjoy about Ukraine is that it has no sense of national guilt. In recent centuries it has been the victim of aggression by Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Austria, and Turkey. Among others. It is unapologetic about what happened to Jews here; after all, it was a Soviet Jew who directed the Holodomor in which three million Ukrainians, my wife's ancestors among them, died. Today all Ukraine wants is to be left alone to enjoy its new sovereignty. The people are happy being who they are - a wonderful change from the University of Maryland campus where I was six years ago, where the message I got from all quarters was that as a white male I should be embarrassed even to breathe.
Born in South Africa, Mercer immigrated with her rabbi father to Israel in 1965 when his advocacy for democracy in South Africa made him an outcast. She returned in the 80s to study, marry, and start a family, after which she immigrated to the United States via Canada. She writes with personal authority, and on the strength of having read very widely in many fields and languages. Her "Cannibal's Pot" title - taken from Ayn Rand - is a bit provocative. Don't let it deceive you into thinking she is a doctrinaire anything. She is her own person, and has a tremendous story to tell. I'm glad to share a bit of it here.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2011
Ilana Mercer has a gift for the written word that cannot be taught. She also has a brilliant mind grounded in fierce intellectual and moral courage. The result of this talent and courage is Into the Cannibal's Pot, a meticulously documented work that also manages to read like a page-turner given the power of the writing.
Perhaps you, like me, were indoctrinated at a young age about the evils of Western man, his rape of more earth-friendly cultures, his inherent racism given the power he yields in the socities he's conquered. You may have sat dumbfounded through it all, wondering how one group of people could be so bad while everyone else could be so good. A simplistic description of modern academia, perhaps, but one that anyone who's sat through an insufferable liberal arts course at most universities would probably recognize. Mercer blows the lie apart, demonstrating the adversity overcome by Afrikaners as they brought prosperity to a part of the world that had never seen it, the beneficial growth enjoyed by Afrikaners and blacks alike as a result of this culture, and finally, the systematic betrayal of this culture and disaster in the aftermath.
This book is no apology for apartheid, but instead a clear lesson in being careful what you wish for. The unthinkable hardship endured by South African whites may not get a lot of airplay in the West, but it is real, and it may be coming to a place near you if contemporary trends of rewarding sociopathic behavior continue.
This book was clearly a labor of love, difficult to read in certain places due to the graphic horror described, but I'm sure just as difficult for Mercer to write. Mercer's is a unique voice, a unique talent, and an honest account that must be told. Buy this book and your eyes will be opened.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2011
Ilana Mercer's personal experience, including the loss of family members and friends powerfully validates her research, scholarship, and personal observations of the collapse of the formerly safe society of South Africa. SA really does turn into one's worst nightmare. She makes no justification for apartheid, but presents the manifold cost of moving to "direct democracy" without any sort of protection for the white minority. This minority has been the source of SA's place as a world economic power and safely ordered society. The increasing absence of this minority influence is seen in the most painful consequences.
I can remember as a college student in the 1970's a conversation with a student from the former Rhodesia, which left me with a sense of the inevitability of what was coming. It was not until reading Mercer though, that I had a sense of the inexpressible loss which has occurred. First reading the book on Kindle am now re-reading a hard copy in order to make notes as needed for reference.
Into the Cannibal's Pot is recommended without hesitation or qualification.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
Having read this book in only a few days, I know more about South Africa and America and the Constitution and founding principles this week than I knew last week. I was fairly riveted by this book. We're so spoiled in this country that we don't really look at things very seriously or closely, and it is shocking how much we, generally speaking, don't know about the world we live in. I appreciate that someone can come here from somewhere else and see things that we're not seeing, and can open our eyes to some extent. The similarities between the Leftist agenda in So. Africa and in Washington are staggering. The complicity of the West in the ruination of So. Africa is amazing. What has happened to So. Africa, and is happening now, should cause every American to sit up and pay attention. The difference between what is happening there and what is happening here is a matter of nuance and style and technique. And something else to rethink is what we mean by terms like democracy and republic and state sovereignty and rights. We're a lot further off the track than we think we are. If you want some real perspective and some clearer vision politically, this book provides it.