Decius Responds to Critics of “The Flight 93 Election”

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 September 12, 2016|
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decius responds on flight 93 election

Reposted with permission from The Claremont Review of Books.

 

Well, that was unexpected.

Everything I said in “The Flight 93 Election” was derivative of things I had already said, with (I thought) more vim and vigor, in a now-defunct blog. I assumed the new piece would interest a handful of that blog’s remaining fans and no one else. My predictive powers proved imperfect.

Which should cheer everyone who hated what I said: if I was wrong about the one thing, maybe I’m wrong about the others. But let me take the various objections in ascending order of importance.

First is the objection to anonymity and specifically to the pseudonym. Anonymity supposedly proves that I am a coward, while the use of “Decius” shows that I am a hypocrite. What am I risking?  I freely admit that I don’t expect to die. But I do have something to lose, and may well yet lose it. I could easily have not written anything. How could speaking up possibly have been more cowardly than silence?

Second is the objection to my invoking Flight 93. I refer such objectors to Stanton’s words at the death of Lincoln: “Now he belongs to the ages.” Heroes always belong to the ages. For all of recorded history, men have drawn inspiration from, and made analogies to, their heroes. Speaking only of us Americans, for more than 200 years, we’ve been making Bunker Hill analogies, Gettysburg and Picket’s Charge analogies, San Juan Hill, Belleau Wood, D-Day, Okinawa, Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh, and so on and on. But all of a sudden this is “disgusting.” It’s quite obvious that what’s really disgusting to these objectors is Trump. Which they could say forthrightly without recourse to the cheap, left-wing tactic of feigned, selective outrage over a time-honored rhetorical device that goes back to the Greeks, which conservatives are perfectly happy to use when it suits their immediate interest.

Some also complained about the aptness of the analogy: the plane crashed! Well, yes, and this one might too. Then again, it might not. It depends in part on what action the electorate chooses to take. The passengers of Flight 93 roused themselves. They succeeded insofar as that plane did not hit its intended target. The temptation not to rouse oneself in a time of great peril is always strong. In another respect, the analogy is even more apt. All of the passengers on Flight 93—and all of the victims at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon—died owing in part to a disastrously broken immigration system that didn’t then and still doesn’t serve the interests of the American people. Which also happens to be the core issue at stake in this election.

A third objection is that Trump is immoderate in the Aristotelian, or personal, sense and I don’t take that into sufficient account. I have even been lambasted for acknowledging, but not going into detail on, Trump’s faults—as if that theme hasn’t been done to death elsewhere. Trump is not the statesman I would have chosen for this moment. My preferences run toward Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, Reagan, and the like. Trump doesn’t measure up to any of them. But his flaws are overstated. One of the dumber things often said about Trump is that “you can’t trust him with the nuclear codes.” This statement, first, betrays a complete lack of understanding of nuclear command and control. More important, it’s an extraordinary calumny, one that accuses the man of a wish or propensity to commit mass murder on the scale of Pol Pot. On what basis does anyone make such an accusation? Can Trump be erratic, obnoxious, and offensive? Of course, he can be all that and more. But while these qualities are not virtues, they may well have helped him punch through the Overton Window, in which case I am willing to make allowances.

For this objection to be decisive, Trump’s personal immoderation would have to be on a level that aspires to tyrannical rule. I don’t see it. Not even close. The charge of “buffoon” seems a million times more apt than “tyrant.” And even so, one must wonder how buffoonish the alleged buffoon really is when he is right on the most important issues while so many others who are esteemed wise are wrong. Hillary Clinton launched the Libya war, perhaps the worst security policy mistake in US history—which divided a country between two American enemies and anarchy, and took a stream of refugees into Europe and surged it into a flood. She pledges to vastly increase the refugee flow from the Middle East into our communities (and, mark my words, they will be Red State communities). Trump by contrast promises not to launch misguided wars, to protect our borders, and to focus immigration policy on the well-being of the currently-constituted American people. Who is truly more moderate: the colorful loudmouth with the sensible agenda or the corrupt, icy careerist with the radical agenda?

The fourth objection is that I, or what I advocate, am/is immoderate, dangerous, radical, imprudent, and so on. This is a large claim that will require significant exploration. To those of you who complained about the length of the other one, best to tune out now.

My use (once each) the terms thymos and virtù was taken as evidence that I am advocating a politics of “great daring” or some such. I’d like to be generous here and just presume this is a misunderstanding. I suggest to anyone who holds this interpretation to look at the specific contexts in which those words were used. The former referred to go-along, get-along conservative intellectuals, who could do with a double dose of thymos. Several writers on the Left obligingly made the point. Good conservatism adheres to the parameters we set for you. You may say this, but not this. If you do and say what we tell you to, your reward will be that we will call you racist Nazis a little less. Also, what we allow as “good conservatism” will drift ever leftward, so that something we permitted a year or two ago is subject to revocation without notice and you better get on board immediately or the deal is off. Conservatism has accepted this “bargain”—hence its lack of thymos—yet amazingly thinks of itself as standing firm for eternal principle. But when I write in praise of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character, education, social norms and public order, initiative, enterprise, industry and thrift, and prudent statesmanship; when I warn against paternalistic Big Government, the decay of our educational system, and the cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions—time-honored conservative themes all—the Left responds with “insane,” “deranged,” “chilling,” and “poison.” And the same conservatives who cite adherence to conservative principle as their reason for opposing Trump side with…the Left.

As for the reference to virtù, the context was my recommendation of that supremely radical and immoderate act of…voting.  Has it come to this? Merely advocating that people vote for a candidate who promises to further their interests—and the nominee of one of the two major parties in a party system that traces back to 1800 at least—this is now immoderate and “daring.”

That is of course exactly the way the Left wants to frame this election. The same way that they define for us what acceptable conservatism can and cannot be, they now assert the right to choose—or at least veto—our candidates. And we supinely go along.

A point from the earlier essay is worth repeating. Conservatives have shouted since the beginning of Trump’s improbable rise: He’s not one of us! He is not conservative! And, indeed, in many ways, Trump is downright liberal. You might think that would make him more acceptable to the Left. But no. As “compassionate conservatism” did nothing to blunt leftist hatred of George W. Bush, neither do Trump’s quasi-liberal economic positions. In fact, they hate Trump much more. Trump is not conservative enough for the conservatives but way too conservative for the Left, yet somehow they find common cause. Earlier I posited that the reason is Trump’s position on immigration. Let me add two others.

The first is simply that Trump might win. He is not playing his assigned role of gentlemanly loser the way McCain and Romney did, and may well have tapped into some previously untapped sentiment that he can ride to victory. This is a problem for both the Right and the Left. The professional Right (correctly) fears that a Trump victory will finally make their irrelevance undeniable. The Left knows that so long as Republicans kept playing by the same rules and appealing to the same dwindling base of voters, there was no danger. Even if one of the old breed had won, nothing much would have changed, since their positions on the most decisive issues were effectively the same as the Democrats and because they posed no serious challenge to the administrative state.

Which points to the far more important reason. I urge readers to go back through John Marini’s argument, to which I cannot do anything close to full justice. Suffice to say here, the current governing arrangement of the United States is rule by a transnational managerial class in conjunction with the administrative state. To the extent that the parties are adversarial at the national level, it is merely to determine who gets to run the administrative state for four years. Challenging the administrative state is out of the question. The Democrats are united on this point. The Republicans are at least nominally divided. But those nominally opposed (to the extent that they even understand the problem, which is: not much) are unwilling or unable to actually doanything about it. Are challenges to the administrative state allowed only if they are guaranteed to be ineffectual? If so, the current conservative movement is tailor-made for the task. Meanwhile, the much stronger Ryan wing of the Party actively abets the administrative state and works to further the managerial class agenda.

Trump is the first candidate since Reagan to threaten this arrangement. To again oversimplify Marini (and Aristotle), the question here is: who rules? The many or the few? The people or the oligarchs? Our Constitution says: the people are sovereign, and their rule is mediated through representative institutions, limited by written Constitutional norms. The administrative state says: experts must rule because various advances (the march of history) have made governing too complicated for public deliberation, and besides, the unwise people often lack knowledge of their own best interests even on rudimentary matters. When the people want something that they shouldn’t want or mustn’t have, the administrative state prevents it, no matter what the people vote for. When the people don’t want something that the administrative state sees as salutary or necessary, it is simply imposed by fiat.

Don’t want more immigration? Too bad, we know what’s best. Think bathrooms should be reserved for the two biological sexes? Too bad, we rule. And so on and on.

To all the “conservatives” yammering about my supposed opposition to Constitutional principle (more on that below) and who hate Trump, I say: Trump is mounting the first serious national-political defense of the Constitution in a generation. He may not see himself in those terms. I believe he sees himself as a straightforward patriot who just wants to do what is best for his country and its people. Whatever the case, he is asserting the right of the sovereign people to make their government do what they want it to do, and not do things they don’t want it to do, in the teeth of determined opposition from a managerial class and administrative state that want not merely different policies but above all to perpetuate their own rule.

If the Constitution has any force or meaning, then “We the People” get to decide not merely who gets to run the administrative state—which, whatever the outcome, will always continue on the same path—more fundamentally, we get to decide what policies we want and which we don’t. Apparently, to the whole Left and much of the Right, this stance is immoderate and dangerous. The people who make that charge claim to do so in defense of Constitutional principle. I can’t square that circle. Can you?

(To those tempted to accuse me of advocating a crude majoritarianism, I refer you to what I said above and will say below on the proper, Constitutional operation of the United States government as originally designed and improved by the pre-Progressive Amendments.)

One must also wonder what is so “immoderate” about Trump’s program. As noted, it’s to the left of the last several decades of Republican-conservative orthodoxy. “Moderate” in the modern political (as opposed to the Aristotelean) sense tends to be synonymous with “centrist.” By that definition, Trump is a moderate. That’s why National Review and the rest of the conservatives came out of the gate so strongly against him. I admit that, not all that long ago, I probably would have too. But I have come to see conservatism in a different light. To oversimplify (again), the only “eternal principle” is the good. What, specifically, is good in a political context varies with the times and with circumstance, as does how best to achieve the good in a given context. The good is not tax rates or free trade. Those aren’t even principles. In the American political context, the good is the well-being of the physical America and its people, well-being defined (in terms that reflect both Aristotle and the American founding) as their “safety and happiness.” That’s what conservatism should be working to conserve.

Trump seems to grasp that the best way to do so in these times is to promote more solidarity and unity. The “conservatives” by contrast think it means more individualism. Neither of these, either, is an eternal principle. Prudence calls for a balance. Few would want the maximized (and forced) unity of ancient Sparta or modern North Korea. Only fool libertarians seek the maximized individualism of Ayn Rand. No unity means no nation. No individualism means no liberty. In an actual republic, a balance must be maintained, which can require occasional course corrections. In 1980, after a decade of stagnation, we needed an infusion of individualism. In 2016, we are too fragmented and atomized—united for the most part only by being equally under the thumb of the administrative state—and desperately need more unity.

Which means that Trump, right now, is right and the conservatives are wrong. His moderate program of secure borders, economic nationalism, and America-first foreign policy—all things that liberals and conservatives alike used to take for granted, if they disagreed on implementation—holds the promise of fostering more unity. But today, liberals are apoplectic at the mere mention of this program—controlling borders is “extreme” but a “borderless world” is the “ultimate wisdom”—and the Finlandized conservatives aid them in attacking the candidate who promotes it. Conservatives claim to deplore the way the Democrats slice and dice the electorate, reduce it to voting blocks and interest groups, and stoke resentments to boost turnout. But faced with a candidate explicitly running on a unity agenda they insist he is too extreme to trust with the reins of power. One wants to ask, again: which is it, conservatives? Is Trump to be rejected because he is too moderate or because he is too extreme? The answer appears to be that it doesn’t matter, so long as Trump is rejected.

So that’s my “immoderate” case for Trump: do things that are in the interests of lower, working, and middle class Americans in order to improve their lives and increase unity across all swaths and sectors of society. And in so doing, reassert the people’s rightful, Constitutional control of their government. “Dangerous.” “Extreme.” “Radical.” “Poison.” “Authoritarian.”

Which points to the fifth objection: in giving reasons for Trump, I oppose the Constitution and support “authoritarianism.” First of all, I don’t even know what the latter is—beyond the discredited Adorno study that the Left still uses to tar everyone to its right as Nazis. If we simply go by the wiki definition—“authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms”—that sounds to me much more like the administrative state than anything Trump has proposed. Or do you mean “fascist”? Then say so. I have some idea of what that is. Or do you mean “tyrant”? I certainly know what that is. Are you saying Trump is one, or wants to be, or that I welcome either?

More risible—downright intelligence-insulting—is to read liberals accuse conservatives of wanting to trash the Constitution. Really. The Left has been insisting for more than a century that our Constitution is fatally flawed, written for another age, outmoded, hypocritical, hopelessly undermined by slavery and racism and sexism and property requirements, and so much else. Conservatives who argue for originalism and strict construction and federalism—sticking exactly to the letter of the Constitution—are called racists because everyone supposedly knows that the former are mere “code words.”

This is a very large topic, and for those interested, there is an equally large body of scholarship that explains it all in detail. For now, let’s just ask ourselves two questions. First, how do the mechanics of government, as written in the Constitution, differ from current practice? Second, how well are the rights Amendments observed? As to the first, we do still have those three branches of government mentioned. But we also have a fourth, hidden in plain sight within the executive, namely the bureaucracy or administrative state. It both usurps legislative power and uses executive power in an unaccountable way. Congress does not use its own powers but meekly defers to the executive and to the bureaucracy. The executive does whatever it wants. The judiciary also usurps legislative and, when it’s really feeling its oats, executive power through the use of consent decrees and the like. And that’s just the feds—before we even get to the relationship between the feds and the states. As to the second, can you think of a single amendment among the Bill of Rights that is not routinely violated—with the acquiescence and approval of the Left? I can’t.

All this happened because, for more than a century, the Left has been working at best to “change” and “update” the Constitution, and at worst to ignore it or get around it. This agenda is not hidden but announced and boasted of. Yet when someone on the Right points out that the Constitution—by design—no longer works as designed, that the U.S. government does not in practice function as a Constitutional republic, we are lambasted as “authoritarian.”

That’s a malicious lie. The truth is that the Left pushed and dragged us here. You wanted this. We didn’t. You didn’t like the original Constitution. We did and do. You didn’t want it to operate as designed because when it does it too often prevents you from doing what you want to do. So you actively worked to give the courts and the bureaucracy the last word, some of you for high-minded reasons of sincere conviction, but most of you simply because you know they’re on your side. You said it would be better this way. When we opposed you, you call us “racists.” Now that you’ve got what you wanted, and we acknowledge your success, you call us “authoritarian” and “anti-Constitutionalist.” This is gaslighting on the level of “If you like your health care, you can keep your health care.” Exasperating and infuriating, yet impressive in its shamelessness. But that’s the Left for you: l’audace, l’audace—toujours l’audace.

My argument was and is a lament. I differ in no respect from my conservative brethren in my reverence for constitutional government in general or for the United States Constitution in particular. No respect, it seems, but one. They seem to think we are one election away from turning everything around—only, you know, not 2016, but the next one when we can run Cruz. Whereas I fear we are one election away from losing the last vestiges forever.

Which brings me to the final two objections, which are really the same: I am said to be insane, and my insanity is supposedly evident from my contention that things are really bad, when in fact they are not that bad.

I would be overjoyed to read a convincing account of why things are not that bad, why—despite appearances—the republic is healthy, Constitutional norms are respected, the working class and hinterland communities are in good shape, social pathologies are low or at least declining, our elites prioritize the common good, our intellectuals and the media are honest and fair. Or if that’s too big a lift, how about one that acknowledges all the problems and outlines some reasonable prospect for renewal? But only if it’s believable. No skipped steps and no magical thinking. Dr. Conservatism needs to do better than his habitual “Sorry about the cancer, here’s a bottle of aspirin.”

If someone writes such a piece, I promise to read it and try to be persuaded by it. You might be doing me—and others whom I have misguidedly misled—a great favor. Only a fool would choose pessimism for its own sake. In my case, it chose me, against my will, because in current circumstances it just seems more plausible—in greater alignment with the observable facts—than optimism. But if I’m wrong, have at it. That’s what I meant by my reference to the agora. Arriving at the truth is hard enough with open, honest debate. It’s impossible without it. So flay me, by all means, and I will try to learn something.

I would also be overjoyed to be persuaded that the country into which I was born, which I have always loved instinctively, and which I was taught to love at the deepest theoretical level, is not in grave peril. Or if it is, that it can be saved even after eight more years of “fundamental transformation”—which means administrative state consolidation and managerial class entrenchment.

Alas, my venture into the agora has not yet changed my mind. Every four years the electorate becomes more unfavorable to Republican candidates, owing above all to mass immigration, which so many Republicans still self-sabotagingly support. We could not even deny reelection to Barack Obama, whose first term was a dismal failure by every measure, because he was able to overwhelm us with sheer demographics. “Quantity has a quality all its own.” It will be worse in 2020 than it is now in 2016, just as 2016 is worse than 2012. Not to get all Rubio on you, but they know exactly what they’re doing.

If Hillary wins, there will still be a country, in the sense of a geographic territory with a people, a government, and various institutions. Things will mostly look the same, just as—outwardly—Rome changed little on the ascension of Augustus. It will not be tyranny or Caesarism—not yet. But it will represent, in my view, an irreversible triumph for the administrative state. Consider that no president has been denied reelection since 1992. If we can’t beat the Democrats now, what makes anyone think we could in 2020, when they will have all the advantages of incumbency plus four more years of demographic change in their favor? And if we can’t win in 2016 or 2020, what reason is there to hope for 2024? Will the electorate be more Republican? More conservative? Will Constitutional norms be stronger?

The country will go on, but it will not be a Constitutional republic. It will be a blue state on a national scale. Only one party will really matter. A Republican may win now and again—once in a generation, perhaps—but only a neutered one who has “updated” all his positions so as to be more in tune with the new electorate. I.e., who has done exactly what the Left has for years been concern-trolling us to do: move left and become more like them. Yet another irony: the “conservatives” who object to Trump as too liberal are working to guarantee that only a Republican far more liberal than Trump could ever win the presidency again.

Still and all, for many—potentially me included—life under perma-liberalism will be nice. If you are in the managerial class, you will probably do well—so long as you don’t say the wrong thing. (And, as noted, the list of “wrong things” will be continuously updated, so make sure you keep up.)

Professional conservatives seem to believe that their prospects will remain yoked to that of the managerial class. Maybe, but I doubt it. Eventually their donors are going to wake up and figure out what the Democrats and the Left realized long ago: conservatives serve no purpose any more. Then the money will dry up and—what then? To the extent that our “conservatives” soldier on eo nomine, life will be a lot worse for them than their current, comfortable status as Washington Generals. They will have to adjust to dhimmitude. I can’t tell if they don’t understand this, or do and accept it. Then again, what difference, at this point, would that make?

For the rest of you—flyover people—the decline will continue. But things are pretty bad now yet you can still eat and most of you have cars, flat screens, and air conditioners. So what are you complaining about?

Keep in mind, this is the best case scenario. Which leaves open the larger questions raised in the prior essay that gave so many the vapors: how long could that possibly last? And what follows when it ends? The #NeverTrumpers don’t even attempt to answer the second because their implicit answer to the first is: forever. Who knew they were all closet Hegelians? Yet I’m called nuts for raising doubts.

Can we at least finally admit, squarely, that conservatism has failed? On the very terms that it set for itself? I don’t mean that in an accusatory or celebratory way—I’m, quite sad about it, honest!—only as a matter of plain fact.

One of those who most objected to the Flight 93 analogy also accused me of “sophistry.” I remind him that, according to Aristotle, “the Sophists identified or almost identified politics with rhetoric. In other words, the Sophists believed or tended to believe in the omnipotence of speech.” Is that not a near-perfect description of modern conservative intellectuals, or at least of their revealed preferences? Except that one wonders what, in their case, is the source of that belief, since they haven’t been able to accomplish anything in the political realm through speech or any other means in a generation.

One can point to a few enduring successes: Tax rates haven’t approached their former stratosphere highs. On the other hand, the Left is busy undoing welfare and policing reform. Beyond that, we’ve not been able to implement our agenda even when we win elections—which we do less and less. Conservatism had a project for national renewal that it failed to implement, while the Left made—and still makes—gain after gain after gain. Consider conservatism’s aims: “civic renewal,” “federalism,” “originalism,” “morality and family values,” “small government,” “limited government,” “Judeo-Christian values,” “strong national defense,” “respect among nations,” “economic freedom,” “an expanding pie,” “the American dream.” I support all of that. And all of it has been in retreat for 30 years. At least. But conservatism cannot admit as much, not even to itself, in the middle of the night with the door closed, the lights out and no one listening.

I tried to tell it, and it got mad.

About the Author:

Publius Decius Mus
Publius Decius Mus, or "Decius," is a Contributing Editor of American Greatness.
  • vdorta

    If that is possible, this is better than the original. Publius, please keep writing.

  • Eric Johnson

    I stand by my opinion that this is not so much the Flight 93 Election, but actually the Gettysburg Election and that Conservatism is the one wearing the gray.

    As you may well know, Gettysburg was the last time the South ever took to the field in an Offensive Campaign. After Lee’s loss in the fields of Pennsylvania, the South was stuck playing reaction to whatever Grant chose to do. Lee won a few battles, but Grant still turned to March south. Retreat and defend, retreat and defend, retreat and defend until there was nowhere left to run and no strength left to fight.

    Shapiro made the argument in his reply that this was Dunkirk. Now I have never been to an Ivy League school but I have watched the History Channel. To that I pose the question of what island do we retreat to and who is going to give us Lend-Lease support? To this Con Inc has no answer, which is a real shame.

    • Stilicho

      We have been defending and retreating since the 60s. We will lose the ability to even do that if Hillary wins.

  • QET

    Grazie.

  • Bill Kristollnacht

    ‘Sophistry’ was used by Midget Ben Shapiro in his hysterical. frothy mouthed tirade.

    His butt hole must have been burning like an out of control tire fire when he wrote it.

    He must have run out of this-

  • jack dobson

    Thank you, although there was no real need for a defense. “The Flight 93 Election” will be remembered as the most influential political essay of our time–if it still can be legally reprinted after January. Conservatives who outright dismissed it either are liars or in denial; there may be some overlap.

    I do quibble some with you here:

    “My argument was and is a lament. I differ in no respect from my conservative brethren in my reverence for constitutional government in general or for the United States Constitution in particular. No respect, it seems, but one. They seem to think we are one election away from turning everything around—only, you know, not 2016, but the next one when we can run Cruz. Whereas I fear we are one election away from losing the last vestiges forever.”

    Although you gently touched on it, you differ in a major respect. Conservatives who claim to revere the Constitution really don’t if they step aside and allow the progressive project to deliver the death blow. Perhaps denial doesn’t allow them to admit this will be the death knell if Clinton prevails. Perhaps quite a few of them are intellectually and ideologically dishonest. It already strains credulity to pretend we aren’t in a post-constitutional era.

    Your need for anonymity speaks volumes to how close we are to absolute tyranny.

  • If the Constitution has any force or meaning, then “We the People” get to decide not merely who gets to run the administrative state—which, whatever the outcome, will always continue on the same path—more fundamentally, we get to decide what policies we want and which we don’t. Apparently, to the whole Left and much of the Right, this stance is immoderate and dangerous. The people who make that charge claim to do so in defense of Constitutional principle. I can’t square that circle. Can you?…Or do you mean “tyrant”? I certainly know what that is. Are you saying Trump is one, or wants to be, or that I welcome either?

    There is a problem with your logic here. For “the people” to either control the administrative state or dismantle it would require concentrating enormous powers in the hands of the elected president. The president would need the power to hire and fire millions of officials, to reorganize or shut down departments, to alter or roll back thousands of different administrative orders. And if a president actually wanted to defeat leftism, not just offer a temporary reprieve, he would need to pack the Supreme Court and have it declare the universities a illegal and unconstitutional established church, and then defund and retire all professors who were engaged in the production of ideology. He would need to cut off leftism at the root. Altogether, such power would in fact be in fact greater than the powers of many historical dictators.

    If a president could do all that, he could do anything, including arranging the continuation of his own personal rule forever. Or perhaps worse, if the president did step down after his allotted years, and elections were to be held again, the powers vested in the president would have been so expanded, that the stakes of the election would be insanely high. Elections would likely turn violent, and perhaps result in civil war.

    So it seems to me that if you really want to dismantle the administrative state, there is still a bullet here that still needs biting. Because I’m not seeing how it could be dismantled without giving the president extraordinary powers. In which case, people are correct to call your piece “immoderate” and “dangerous.”

    • Stilicho

      Basically, Trump is our Sulla. To do what is necessary to preserve the republic is to destroy it.

    • You’ve presented a massive straw man nowhere alluded to in the piece. If the president can create an administrative bureacracy he can dismantle it, no need for “concentrating enormous powers”, what’s needed is the man with the will to do it. Defeating leftism is a generations-long cultural crusade, NOT a political one. Politically the bleeding needs to be stopped, the rest is up to the people to combat if they want to.

      • If the president can create an administrative bureaucracy he can dismantle it, no need for “concentrating enormous powers”

        Much it was created by FDR, and he was pretty damn close to a dictator. He was basically like Putin: He used airwave licensing laws to control the media; he used the flow of New Deal funds was used to buy entire voting blocks to ensure re-election; he scared the courts into rubber stamping his programs; and he ruled for life.

        Defeating leftism is a generations-long cultural crusade, NOT a political one.

        Well it seems to me like the original piece made a great argument that this hasn’t worked at all.

        The left controls the entire education system, the entire university system. If you want to be legally eligible for numerous high paying jobs — lawyer, accountant, architect, doctor, civil servant — you are required by law to subject yourself to 16 to 19 years of an indoctrination system controlled by the left.

        A new brood of social justice warriors emerges from this university system every year, ready for the “next Civil Rights movement” and they attempt to infiltrate every media outlet of importance, from ESPN to CNN, from Google to Twitter.

        Because of this, conservatives cannot win the PR battle when fighting the culture war. For example, in Boston in the 1970s, when those on the right used the same tactics as the civil rights movement in order to protest their kids being forcibly bused into schools in the ghetto, the media all portrayed them as the villains. The last conservative president to seriously question the role of the universities and the permanent administrative state in governing was Nixon. And the media destroyed him and turned him into a lasting symbol of ignominy, for crimes that were far less than many of the crimes committed by the presidents that preceded him.

        The left also has the laws tilted in their system. Corporations face laws against “disparate impact” in hiring practices and creating a “hostile workplace environment.” These laws are very subjective, and many corporations could easily be construed to be in violation of them. Thus, corporations have huge incentive to signal solidarity with leftwing social causes, and to fire employees who are too far to the right on race or sexual issues. (Where too far to the right is ever changing — I heard a story out of Google recently where an employee was reported to HR for arguing against affirmative action on an internal comment thread).

        Do you recall the story of Havel’s green grocer? 95% of people are that grocer. They eventually bend to power. They put the rainbow flag on their Facebook profile, or the Black Lives Matter sign on the store, because that is what “good people” do, their universities, public schools, and prestige media say so.

        So no, if you or the author actually want to defeat leftism, then you need to control the institutions that tell people what to think. If you do not control those institutions, you cannot change the culture.

  • Shep

    Looks like this is why Hillary “short circuits”

  • Jonathan

    I think the U.S. will have a military coup sometime in the next few years. That will complete the country’s “fundamental transformation” into a shadow of its former self.

  • Andrew Foglia

    I find a lot of points here unpersuasive, but perhaps further explanation would help:

    (1) You say the argument that Trump can’t be trusted with the nuclear codes (a) betrays an ignorance of nuclear command and control and (b) baselessly assumes that Trump wishes or has a propensity to commit mass murder.

    Let’s start with the second sub-point, which to my eyes misrepresents the concern about Trump. The trouble with nuclear weapons is that one does not have to be a crazed mass murderer to commit mass murder with them. Erratic and vindictive—or even just careless—will do just fine. I haven’t heard many people accuse Trump of wishing to commit mass murder. But given his tendency to overreact to slights (real or perceived), his statements extrapolating that tendency to foreign affairs (e.g., promising to shoot Iranian ships if they harass U.S. ships), and his confusion about nuclear deterrence, it doesn’t seem baseless to worry he is more likely than most to escalate a conflict with nuclear weapons. But I’ll cop to ignorance of nuclear command and control. So tell me, what exactly is it that stands between Trump’s pique and nuclear warfare? Perhaps the command structure includes many trustworthy safeguards against insane or just imprudent orders. But given that we’re talking about nuclear weapons, it bears mentioning that the odds of an unnecessary launch don’t have to rise that high to exceed my risk tolerance.

    (2) You say you don’t see Trump as aspiring to tyranny. I wonder what you make of his open admiration for strongmen, his threats to curtail press freedom, or his assurances that soldiers would commit war crimes at his behest?

    (3) You say that Trump promises not to launch misguided wars. Why should anyone believe him?

    (4) You characterize your previous article as, among other things, “praise of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character, education, social norms and public order, initiative, enterprise, industry and thrift, and prudent statesmanship.” How do you weight these goods? How does Trump advance each of them? Your argument seems clear, if unconvincing, with regard to public order and prudent statesmanship. I think many conservatives have a harder time seeing Trump as a net positive for virtue, morality, religious faith, character, education, or social norms. What if Trump is actively harming important democratic and social norms (e.g., “don’t incite violence against political opponents”; “don’t make race-based assumptions about people”)? Does his commitment to securing the border make up for that?

    (5) You wonder how it can be that “[m]erely advocating that people vote for a candidate who promises to further their interests—and the nominee of one of the two major parties in a party system that traces back to 1800 at least—. . . is now immoderate and ‘daring.’” This is disingenuous. You know perfectly well your opponents’ premise is that Trump is unique among modern major party candidates in his intemperance and his disregard for democratic norms. You just happen to disagree with that premise.

    (6) You suggest the reasons Trump enrages the left, despite some relatively moderate policy positions, are that (a) he might win; and (b) he might actually challenge the administrative state.

    The first point, about Trump’s electoral chances, strikes me as implausible but also not that interesting. It’s not clear that Trump is closer to winning in 2016 than Romney was in 2012. And the left’s and #nevertrump right’s revulsion for Trump was plain in the primary—back when few thought he would win the primary and almost no one thought he would stand a chance in the general election. It seems pretty unlikely the hatred is connected to his electoral prospects except in the general sense that we wouldn’t be talking about Trump at all if he weren’t a politically significant figure.

    The point about the administrative state I find baffling. Perhaps I haven’t been following Trump’s own comments closely enough, but I can’t think of a single thing he has said that suggests he intends to challenge the administrative state, let alone roll it back to pre-New Deal levels. Justice Scalia didn’t even go that far in his originalism (Justice Thomas, on the other hand…). What exactly is the basis for this claim?

    (7) You say that Trump is running on a program of solidarity and unity. That’s true to a point. But the criticism is not that Trump seeks unity: it’s that his vision of unity excludes wide swathes of the electorate. There’s a reason non-white, non-straight Americans oppose Trump in record numbers, while white nationalists crow that Trump stands for them.

    (8) You say “[t]he Left has been insisting for more than a century that our Constitution is fatally flawed, written for another age, outmoded, hypocritical, hopelessly undermined by slavery and racism and sexism and property requirements, and so much else.”

    I honestly don’t know which leftists you are referring to here. The ones on the bench certainly don’t think of the Constitution as fatally flawed. Imperfect, sure. But the rhetorical move several generations ago was to argue not that it was hopeless but that it was, by design, a living document capable of yielding new meanings. That characterization has fallen slightly out of fashion among liberal jurists, but more because originalism’s challenge forced some theoretical (and some merely rhetorical) updates, not because there has been any widespread rejection of the constitution as broken or illiberal.

    I’m certain there are leftists who oppose the Constitution, full stop. But I doubt very much they’re a majority.

    (9) You ask if we can “think of a single amendment among the Bill of Rights that is not routinely violated—with the acquiescence and approval of the Left?”

    Try the Third.

    I don’t think it’s crazy to wonder if the administrative state has degraded democratic institutions. But your overheated rhetoric doesn’t serve the argument. I’m waiting to hear why you think Trump would do anything at all about the administrative state.

  • tharru

    This is an excellent set of apologies (in the Greek sense of the word) founded upon an even more excellent original essay. Decius is wrong on his position of the Alt Right but absolutely spot on regarding his criticisms, and his analysis of the failures, of ‘conservatism’.

    An active member of the Alt Right published in both Radix Journal and TheRightStuff.biz for my part I can only offer two of my own essays regarding central concepts at play in both this defense and the original attack drafted by Decius:

    http://therightstuff.biz/2016/07/11/understanding-totalitarianism/

    http://www.radixjournal.com/journal/2016/7/23/who-are-you?

  • Andrew

    The administrative state is a positive and necessary development. It is a requirement for the implementation of good, science-based governance. The risk of abusively countermajoritarian behavior is, in my opinion, adequately safeguarded against by judicial review.

    • jack dobson

      Europa mortuus est.

      I will pass on the fate of all administrative states. Plato had the sequence down pat.

      I no longer can tell if comments such as yours are parody. In the event it isn’t, any faith in judicial review needs to be revisited.

    • Absolutely fact-free insanity. Governance isn’t a science. The failure and destructive effects of the New Deal and FDR’s “Brains Trust” gave us reams of evidence for this 80 years ago already.

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    Conservatives make a virtue of losing.

    They need to go.

  • Will Windsor

    “the question here is: who rules?”

    This is quite right, and who do we see ruling? yes, the Oligarchs, but what is the character of these Oligarchs and the managerial class that does their bidding? To all that have eyes to see and ears to hear it is the Jewish elite. The beating heart of the left and the globalist Oligarchy is Jewish in character and nature. And this comes as no surprise to those of use who understand the history of Jews as a group of rootless cosmopolitans dispersed throughout European nations.

    Yes, many whites have adopted the globalist agenda of the oligarchs, but the root of this agenda and the spirit that sustains it are the Jews. I need not press my point as most everyone knows this to be true when they look at the disproportionate representation of the institutions that work actively to subvert and ultimately destroy traditional America: Media, Academia, Banking/Finance, Law (supreme court), Hollywood, and so forth.

    Indeed immigration is the single greatest issue and threat to Western Civilization. But what is the genesis of this immigration and open borders movement that is sweeping across European nations. There are 2 main catalysts: (1) the 1965 immigration act, (2) the Destabilization of the Middle East. As to the first, most have heard of the 1965 act (God bless Ann) but the distinctly Jewish activism, promotion, and lobbying behind the legislation is left out. Jews fearful of a solidified European America pushed for the 1965 immigration act and succeeded in having it passed with the purpose of ethnically dividing America (believing a divided America protected and benefit outsiders like Jews from the ire of a homogenous polity fed up with Jewish antagonism –history has proven this to be true).

    The second catalyst is another group of Jews known as the Neocons who fabricated the Iraq war, pushed for the Libyan crisis, supported the Syrian war, and directed US foreign policy to serve as an Israeli surrogate weakening and destabilizing Islamic states that threatened Israeli hegemony. The result has been the worst invasion of European homelands in history, one that will destroy our very people and civilization if not stopped and reversed. What has been the Jewish response? They have continued to promote the migrant waves into Europe while Israel refuses to take so called “refugees.”

    You see, the question really is about who rules. And we are ruled by a Jewish elite, both in fact and by acquiescence. If we ever hope to achieve real victory over leftism, then we must recognize who the heart and soul of the left really is, and unite against them, only then will we succeed.

    Anybody who wants to read the full account for themselves with all the real facts concerning the Jewish involvement in the US and its detrimental impact can read Kevin MacDonald’s “Culture of Critique” or start with a primer by reading Pat Buchanan’s piece on the Neocons titled “who’s war”

    • Bill Kristollnacht

      Excellent comment, couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • Sam

    The case for slight optimism

    Another magnificent piece by the aptly named Publius Decius Mus.

    Your indictment of the conservative movement is 100% correct but your pessimism about the coming election being the turning point is slightly incorrect if well argued.

    As has been pointed out by eminent economists of the Austrian school (predicted the last crisis) and Donald Trump there is a huge bubble waiting to burst in the system. Among them is the historian Gary North who much before this election pointed to 2020 as the election for taking back this country. Why? Because the next president will be a one term Hoover and will discredit whatever party is in power regardless of the policies just like Republicans and laissez faire were tarnished, unfairly by 1932. (see Paul Johnson Modern Times chapter 6) But such is history and while I want Trump to win I don’t want his thinking (America first) to be discredited for a generation. On the other hand if immigration is not completely changed than it is over.

    Conservatives have to realize the corrosive effect of immigration. As the person with the twitter name libertarian realist has pointed out there is no constitutional republic in a minority white country. These are the blunt facts:

    http://i2.wp.com/thealternativehypothesis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Bigger-vs-Smaller-Government.png?w=728

    I represent a unicon because I belong to those minority groups yet I can see clearly see that it is not tenable. Conservatives can’t/won’t confront the implications and instead retreat to believing that Hispanics are “natural conservatives” and that blacks can be lured “off the liberal plantation”. It is this realization that made Ann Coulter act as a praetorian guard for Romney in 2012 and now for Trump. The new emerging right is founded/awakened on this simple fact:
    No immigration reversal means no constitutional republic.

    What has characterized this election is a realist reaction or awakening on the right. Conservatives can’t accept this premise because it tells them they have to fight and therefore no longer be, in the words Max Boot “the kind of right-winger a liberal wouldn’t be embarrassed to have over for cocktails”

    The administrative state will be stopped but it won’t be because conservatives have convinced anybody about eternal principles. It will because of Herbert Stein’s Law “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop”. The future generation of politics will marred by a battle within the administrative state for dwindling resources. That is what the debt crisis and much more importantly, the entitlement crisis holds. The system continues because the money is always flowing to the federal state but this will finally reverse when the Great Default begins*. The same crisis will hit Europe for the same reason. If you have any doubt that this entitlement crisis will happen and won’t be handled before it is too late see the reaction of house liberal Thomas Friedman to Rick Santelli when confronted with Ponzi scheme nature of the entitlement system.

    Richard Haas as head of the bipartisan foreign policy sees what is coming in his piece, which will be hailed after the crisis for precognition, in Foreign Affairs. He knows that in an either or situation, the American empire abroad will ditched in favor of entitlements at home.

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2010-10-16/american-profligacy-and-american-power
    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2010/12/gary-north/the-establishment-is-in-despair/

    So we have victories ahead but they are by default (in both senses of the word) and with what demographic electorate will we rebuild the Republic in coming crisis? This is where Trumpism retains its importance.

    Imagine this horror which I will call return of the Washington Generals scenario

    Trump loses, Hillary gets amnesty, crisis hits and the time for the next realignment happens and there is a chance to do a FDR and shape the coming politics. Will Trump run again or is it more likely that Trumpism will be discredited and generic conservatism triumphs again? We know the answer and the outcome will more of the same.

    The Publius Decius scenario:

    Trump wins and gets immigration solved and realigns conservatives and the country on the issue. Crisis hits and Trumpism is blamed. This is easy to imagine because Trump represents battle with free trade and immigration+war in short. “Hoover II !”. But in performing the immigration job he inadvertently saves conservatism for a while longer unless they take his immigration policy to heart going forward.
    In that case Trump’s historical function will be, unintentionally, sacrificing himself for the greater good.

    Assuming that the bubble will be impossible to recover from for a president Trump, what then is the ideal scenario? The ideal is this:

    Hillary wins, Trump announces same day that he is running for 2020.
    Hillary gets no amnesty from gridlocking republicans, crisis hits and she becomes a lame duck. Any republican frontrunner for 2020 automatically wins and probably in a rout. Trump has already called the recession in advance so he would get (and take) credit. Thereafter he and the right will have great mandate to change this country during a crisis favors fiscal prudence.

    http://www.garynorth.com/public/15380.cfm

    * The Great Default is not a single event but rather the long process of reckoning the long drawn entitlement crisis and how to slice and dice the current programs to amend the broken entitlements. The formost national accounting expert Laurence Kotlikoff has been warning about this for years but to deaf ears. Nobody cares.
    http://teapartyeconomist.com/2012/08/10/11-trillion-increase-in-debt-in-one-year/
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-08-08/blink-u-s-debt-just-grew-by-11-trillion.html
    http://www.garynorth.com/public/14791.cfm

    • RAM500

      Don’r revel in our hitting rock bottom. It won’t necessarily cleanse us. Could be the opposite, so don’t bring it on.

  • XSANDIEGOCA

    If Trump loses, it will be Game Over. Anyone who thinks there will be a comeback in 2020 or 2024 or ever is delusional. The prospect of this is quite sad. I can remember Goldwater. What was that old joke, “If you vote for Goldwater, we will go to War in Vietnam!”. I did and we did. Is there anyone out there who does not regret putting LBJ into office? Anyone? We never recovered from LBJ and I daresay Hillary represents the final nail in the coffin.

    • Aaron1960

      If Hillary wins, I’m thinking Wisconsin John Doe prosecutions (without a reasonable court to turn to) on a national level with this current news media breathlessly accounting every republican arrest as imprisonment of another Emmanuel Goldberg.

      • XSANDIEGOCA

        We go to the Dark Place.

      • MyLyingEyes

        Not getting the reference. Emanuel Goldberg wasn’t a spy.

        • Aaron1960

          You gotta read up on what republicans went through in Wisconsin during Scott Walker’s tenure as governor there. Just Bing (not google) John Doe prosecutions, Wisconsin. Never said Goldstein was.

          • MyLyingEyes

            You said GoldBERG. There is/was a real person called Emanuel Goldberg. Emmanuel GoldSTEIN of Orwell’s “1984” makes more sense.

  • Marvell

    Anonymity is necessary because the left has a policy of attainder for any who violate even its mildest precepts. It is necessary to the resistance, as it has been for partisans through the ages.

    • jack dobson

      While true, the High Priests of True Conservatism, Inc., can go full fascist rather quickly, too. From the people who run this site in a previous piece, “I Am Decius:”

      “Who is Decius? Who is the author of The Flight 93 Election that has Conservatism, Inc. frowning in consternation? This is the question of looming importance to the leading lights of Conservatism, Inc..”

      Look around at some of the dinosaur conservative sites such as National Review to see how the remnant High Priests reacted to Decius. It’s rather left-wing.

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  • Conrad O’Connor

    Great stuff. Like Decius, I am a lifelong conservative who has come to view Conservatism Inc. with contempt. Like him I was mystified at how conservatives could claim that 2016 was a lost cause, but 2020 or 2024 would be winnable, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

    Then it hit me – I’ve seen this spiel before. I’m a lawyer who represents asset managers. The business model is to get a lot of funds under management, buy some assets, and collect an annual management fee based on the value of the assets. At the end of the fund’s term you sell and, if you make a profit and exceed your performance threshold, then you get a big incentive fee or carried interest.

    But if the manager has done a lousy job and knows the assets stink and there will be no incentive fee, then he stalls. The annual management fee is his steady paycheck, and he absolutely has to avoid selling the assets because then the investors will find out he’s been carrying them at an inflated value. So he comes up with every excuse conceivable to extend the fund’s term. “We can’t sell now. The market’s down because of [insert excuse: financial crisis, cheap oil, expensive oil, strong dollar, weak dollar, etc. — I even saw one manager blame it on bird flu].”

    And so it is with Conservatism Inc. They know perfectly well that 2020 will be harder than 2016, and 2024 more out of reach yet. It doesn’t matter. The game is not to win, but to pretend and extend, keep their cushy gig and get one more year of mortgage payments or junior’s college tuition paid for.

    • jack dobson

      I even saw one manager blame it on bird flu

      That made me laugh and I’m tempted to ask what the held asset was. Great analogy.

      • Milton Orgeron

        In that case the asset was probably chicken sh_t.

      • RAM500

        Don’t you know about the bird?

    • RAM500

      How can they rally the very people they most despise? The people they won’t deign to talk to? But Trump does it and they’re furious.

  • lMattW

    My concern is that if Trump wins this huge right-reaction that is in large part fueling him will be appeased and will die down, the media will hammer everything the executive branch does (most of it rightfully so), and he’ll be a 1 term president not getting anything done, not being able to permanently reduce immigration.

    If Hillary wins it will fuel this reaction and even though she’ll be converting as many non-citizens to citizens as possible to secure a 2nd term I don’t know if that’ll be enough to overcome what will surely be even greater white consolidation on the right.

    It’s gonna be interesting regardless of what happens. It’s just a shame Trump’s not 10 years younger.

  • N0 0ne

    Well done.

  • Severn

    The anti-Trump “right” are animated by a particular ideology, one which is completely at odds with Trumpian conservatism.

    Spend any time examining the writings of the Trump critics and it is clear that that their vision of the ideal world is utopian, universalist, elitist, and internationalist. They detest Trump because the conservatism he represents is pragmatic, particularist, populist, and nationalist.

    It would take a lengthy essay or even a book to make this case in detail, but I’m simply going to state here that conservatism or classical liberalism, in the sense that these things were understood by figures ranging from Edmund Burke to the American Founders, were much closer to Trump’s vision than to that of the anti-Trumpers. In fact the anti-Trumpers outlook has more in common with the Jacobins of the French Revolution or with Woodrow Wilson than it does anything which can properly be called conservatism.

  • Severn

    One must also wonder what is so “immoderate” about Trump’s program. As noted, it’s to the left of the last several decades of Republican-conservative orthodoxy.

    While Trump’s program represents a sharp break with the last two decades of “Republican-conservative orthodoxy”, it represents a return to that which constituted Republican-conservative orthodoxy. from the birth of the Republican party right up until the 1990’s. From Lincoln to Reagan the GOP was a protectionist party. It was also an isolationist party, if we use the definition of isolationism employed by the anti-Trump Republicans. Trump represents an attempt to reassert the ideals which used to be core of the Republican party.

    • RAM500

      Remember Teddy Roosevelt?

  • Bettenguy

    Even if one of the old breed had won, nothing much would have changed,
    since their positions on the most decisive issues were effectively the
    same as the Democrats and because they posed no serious challenge to the
    administrative state.
    .

    I can’t take anyone seriously who says this about the two parties. It shows an utter lack of knowledge about our current system that I wonder if the person writing this sentence has any understanding at all of our current national divide and how it translates into politics and the ability of parties to accomplish anything.

    • RAM500

      Of course! Our side is doomed to failure because it won’t challenge the prevailing “reality” as you see it. But it can mouth all the right stuff as it withers.

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  • Bill Kristollnacht

    Here’s a great short video of Mark Blyth talking about Trumpism vs. Globalization and Brexit.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Imagine Trump declaring Unconstitutional an act of congress or a decision taken by the SCOTUS.

    I’d love to see it.

    O, of course most Americans would go mental but Trump could give a Presser in which he could execute a thumbnail sketch of the “Equal” Branches of Government and tell the voters they can express their agreement or disagreement with him in the next election thereby actualising a govt of the people.

    I’d love to see the public sputtering of the arrogant bastids of The SCOTUS and just imagine the delight watching the Clinton Cult (The Media) hissing and slithering around (The Clinton Cult is the political version of Scientology but not as reasonable).

    O, and the theme song for the Trump campaign should be:

    https://youtu.be/SbMFQZ4ey1U

  • Melanie Heisey

    Thank you for writing this. I’m stuck in the sphere of people hating on Trump, and it’s hard for me to find any reasoned voices standing outside the bubble.

    TBH I strongly dislike Trump as a person. I don’t think we’d get along if we were in a room together, and I can’t quite bring myself to respect anything he stands for. However, I’m also aware of the degree to which my contempt for Trump reflects a general contempt for the average american. I believe he is in fact a phenomenal representative for those interests. He does not represent abstract humanistic principles and strategizing like my friends and I want him too, but this isn’t necessarily *about* the kinds of metrics that we want to measure people by. I find myself immensely frustrated how unwilling my peers are to put themselves in others’ shoes.

    • RAM500

      In many respects, Trump is a nationalist, moderate pre-McGovern Democrat. Just what a guy from Queens used to be (the actual, not the Archie Bunker caricature). Not the ideal, but way better than the commies we now have in DC.

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  • Clark Coleman

    ” But those nominally opposed (to the extent that they even understand the problem, which is: not much) are unwilling or unable to actually do anything about it. ”

    But when one of the Senate Republicans was willing to go to the wall to challenge the cozy GOP Establishment alliance with the Democrats, Donald Trump later attacked him for being unpopular with his Senate colleagues. What a charge to make if Donald Trump is truly an enemy of the administrative state!

  • Billiam

    It was a good article, and has me re-thinking things. I’m not a Trump supporter yet, but, your reasoning makes sense. Let the fools go off on their emotional rants. That’s just a sign of the times we live in. Myself, I’ll ponder, and likely re-read both columns, and continue to think on it.

  • RAM500

    Paul Ryan epitomizes the problem among “our” politicians:
    1. In 2012, he let Biden stomp all over him.
    2. As Congressman, he earnestly generated and presented documents to vote on but had no real plan to gather enough public support to overcome resistance in and out of government. Mustn’t get tough! Gotta be nice!
    3. As Speaker, he immediately eased into Boehner mode on everything. The Donors have spoken!
    4. …but he still puts out plans—to proclaim his own virtue.

    As for many of “our” intellectuals, their main drive is to become respected, rich, and famous for their token opposition to the death of the Republic.

  • RAM500

    Or, better yet, grow up and eschew this crap.

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  • SimonDonoghue1

    Trump is a crook. Period, full stop. He basically did a wink and a nod in that direction during his acceptance speech at the RNC. He’s not just brash and vulgar (which didn’t disqualify a LOT of presidents). He is unfit to be president. She may be as well —- but in his case, I don’t see how anyone with principles can support him unless your hatred of the current system has become irrational.

  • Tim_S

    “Every four years the electorate becomes more unfavorable to Republican candidates, owing above all to mass immigration, which so many Republicans still self-sabotagingly support. ”

    OK. While I certainly don’t support unselective “mass immigration” of any and everyone, we do face a big problem here: middle-class birth rates that aren’t adequate to replace ourselves. And we’re not alone. The entire first world faces that problem. And that is the real reason many non-liberals support immigration. Unless a whole lot of young marrieds suddenly start having a whole lot of unprotected sex with each other at the right time of the month, we end up like Japan, which is doomed to increasing irrelevancy as its average population age rises and its productivity and economy stagnates. Eventually, you either allow immigration, or you perish. Which would you prefer?

  • Leslie Piper

    Read the current missive. Possibly short-term Stockholm syndrome, but my brain agrees with you a lot.
    Not so much with your theses, but enjoying your spirited presentation…of what? You have read greatly and widely; to follow up your authorial mentions, as I did once with Aldous Huxley, would be a good education in itself.
    Which is where I make my standard ‘literary criticism’ argument: why trot out authorities? you may be talking to the same folks as those who read your literary canon also; if you wish to reach us benighted ones you might try Christ’s method. (ahem) Talked of fish to fishermen and taxes to tax collectors, I believe.

    We really are the intelligent schlumpfs (?) you think we are, smart, but not caught, disciplined, trained and educated in a focused manner. We are all Americans, mostly, even those of us with a prejudice toward a post-Metternichean Political System. So anything you can do to bridge the gap would help…just remember, contemporary ninjas do NOT wear black outfits with masks and try to rob banks with poisoned arrows; they dress like the presidents and vice-prexxies they are, and they have the authority.

    Like in ’07, they were ‘IN’ and so was the fix. You fear the wrong people and things, my friend. It ain’t me, babe, it ain’t me you’re lookin’ (out) for.

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  • designatedhitter

    Your justification for using a pseudonym is bogus, particularly in light of your accusations that your opponents are the ones who are cowards.

  • MyLyingEyes

    Obama and Clinton are Jews? Who knew?