Farewell Decius and Safe Landing

Regular readers of American Greatness know that among the names on our masthead is Publius Decius Mus. “Decius,” as he is generally known around here, has been a contributing editor at AG and has worked with us since we conceived the idea, early last spring, of reviving a place for sharing the kinds of arguments he and his compatriots once shared at the (now defunct) Journal of American Greatness.  

Decius seized upon that opportunity, and he delighted many of our readers with his fearless ability to take-down movement conservatism’s assumptions that now serve more as thoughtless pieties than as serious principles, as well as his disinclination to spare the rod for the unchallenged heroes of Conservatism, Inc. You can read Decius’s many contributions to revive the truly American character of American conservatism here.

But today we come not to bury Decius—as we hope and trust that his work will be appearing in our pixels once again—but to wish him well in his new endeavor serving as senior director of strategic communications at the National Security Council. We are, of course, delighted with his selection, though his presence here will be sorely missed.

As we explained in our founding editorial statement, “although American Greatness owes an intellectual debt and its inspiration to the Journal of American Greatness . . . and to some of its contributors, we are not the re-emergence of that much-admired effort.” We aim to promote and build upon those intellectual arguments, but we are also aiming to reach a larger audience of Americans than just intellectuals. We hope to inspire a new movement of Americans dedicated to recovering the best of what is in our past and applying it to what will be an even better future.

With that, we give you once again, the essay that started all the fuss, “The Flight 93 Election.” Safe landing, Michael. We are grateful beyond measure for your piloting thus far.

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48 responses to “Farewell Decius and Safe Landing”

  1. Only in America can a policy advisory to George W. Bush and Rudy Gulliani be considered anti-establishment…

      • Ironically enough, it might have been when some former residents of Damascus were relocated to his neighborhood. In modern America, you don’t take the road to Damascus, Damascus takes the road to you.

  2. Certain members of Conservatism, Inc., surely are elated Decius has been unmasked. I’m glad he is “senior director of strategic communications at the National Security Council.” The author of “The Flight 93 Election,” the most influential political essay of the modern era, should be senior speech writer, though.

    The Trump Administration has a knack to attract huge talent, and I’m nowhere near tired of winning, Mr. President.


      • He’s a national security communicator. He’s definitely the right man for the job.

    • YCSTA: I’m nowhere near tired of winning, Mr. President.


  3. I come from people who disparage pointy headed intellectuals. I joined the military (enlisted, field artillery), went to college with a triple major and on to grad school where I studied Arabic and advanced statistics among other things. I’ve worked all over the world as a journalist, data scientist, etc. I currently work overseas which is why I have a pseudonym. All that to say that this clown is the pointy headed intellectual that my kin referred to. He has no business being anywhere near our national security. Neither does the puffed up one Bannon. There are good people out there – better than me – who understand the threats and, more importantly, the realistic means of tackling them. We don’t need another God damned word smith who fancies himself a public intellectual telling them what to do. For your country’s sake, go back to writing second rate nonsense on these websites. You’ve already passed your highest state of incompetence here.

    • It’s great that you are able to take a break from bragging about your own towering genius long enough to sneer at this particular “pointy headed intellectual”.

      • Only to point out I have the qualifications to spot a bullsh!tter when I see one. Disturbing to see them elevated, and tragic for this great country. Otherwise who or what I am would be none of your damn business. Did you serve? Didn’t think so. Go away.

      • Your delusions of masculinity impress me no more than do your delusions of being intelligent. If you want to be regarded as a smart guy – and the non-stop braggadocio displayed in your commenting history indicates that you very much do so desire – then try making intelligent arguments for a change.

      • I wish I could convey to you folks who – maybe I’m wrong – I sense spend your lives in these fora what a danger these people are. And I am conservative on many issues. But I know it’s useless. So apologies for getting nasty and personal. It is only the twerp who has been elevated to a position he doesn’t merit that is my interest. And people like that disturb me because they have no experience in ends means testing, and I don’t believe in learning by doing at that level. As Pascal said of people who have some knowledge but not aware of their limits: these people mess the world up and get nearly everything wrong. I hope these guys prove to be great for our country. But I haven’t been impressed with their ideas or competence so far.

      • He only supports real men with combat experience advising on national security like Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer.

      • You don’t have to support a dangerous CIA analyst to know that Decius is a damned idiot that has no idea how dumb his writing was.

      • I don’t understand your scorn for this person and the ad hominem nature of your attacks. Do you know this individual? Are you suggesting that the advisory staff surrounding our last President was somehow superior to Decius, that they had the qualifications he lacks, or that their ideas were better than his? He is only one of many advisors and so wouldn’t you expect any ill-advised courses of action or perspectives he might promote to be effectively contained by those others? Did your triple major include any kind of political theory, philosophy or science? Because it sounds like you scorn the very idea itself and not just this particular individual’s own brand. Are there advisors to either Trump or Obama who you do hold in high regard, as having the qualifications you believe necessary? Is there even one individual whose qualifications are as weak as you say Decius’ are whom you believe knew what he/she was doing anyway and had sound ideas/advice? And would you do us the favor of being specific: what ideas of Decius’ are wrong/dangerous, and what would you advise in lieu of them?

      • I think both Mattis and Tillerson have great leadership and experience. They are good picks both in keeping with Trump’s rogue style as promised since they don’t follow rules of who you are supposed to nominate but excelled in professions with skills directly to the job. Tillerson may turn out to be one of the best Secretaries of State since Baker III in fact. But we cannot know now. The one worrying thing about Mattis is he was fired for insubordination over Iran. And Trump certainly would not want someone who would decide he could freelance. But other than that he has a stellar reputation.

      • You sound like Matt Damon’s character in The Good Shepherd: “This is our country, the rest of you just live in it.” I did not serve in the military but have many family members who did/do. I understand the attitude, but holding the majority of the residents of “this great country” in contempt makes you no different from the people Trump voters want to oust from their positions of authority. The thought that our only choice is that of which party of qualified experts will make all our decisions for us and insult us when we dare question them is, to put it mildly, maddening.

      • It’s about the quality of his writing and his past experiences which do not afford him the ability to provide wise counsel. He might do well to remember that a minority interpretation of the Prince was that it was actually intended as bad advice for the Medicis to bring them ruin. If I were Putin I would be thrilled to have these clown in there. I suspect this the true view of Alexander Dugin who wants to crack the western alliance.

      • Odd, I find the quality of his writing to be superb, at least the Decius essays. But now that his identity has been revealed I can’t say I can recall ever reading anything else by him. But it seems to me he is too far down the counselor ladder to be able to do much damage, if that is what concerns you, which I also find odd in light of your regard for Mattis and Tillerson. And I find odd as well your concern for the “Western alliance.” Such an alliance was intended to function, and like all such alliances can only function, as a defense against catastrophic, existential threat, like a full scale military invasion of a member nation. Anything short of that–and every crisis since NATO’s formation has been short of that–reveals the cracks in the edifice that were always there, unsealable. It seems to me that NATO has for a long time been an alliance in name only, but you may have a different and better perspective from your position.

      • Provide counsel? Why do you think Strategic COMMUNICATIONS staff provide counseling?
        And obviously you’ve never read any of Anton’s writings on Machiavelli.

    • Personal attacks aside, do you disagree with his recent writings or not?

      • This is the only thing I’ve read. I came here because this was supposed to be the genius apologia for the Trump regime. It is not terrible, but not something I would expect to see for a person to end up at that elevated a position. And it’s not the right background for that job. A great deal of philosophical heavy breathing with little substance. If you have a recommended article that is better happy to read it and hope it will demonstrate a superior intellect. I’m not an NRO guy. I’m conservative on social issues and an institutionalist neo-Keynesian on economics. But my graduate work in economics was at a more conservative institution where we read a lot of Sargent. So I’m familiar with more conservative modeling.

      • I have read this thread and I read ‘Flight 93’ when it first appeared. So I have to ask “Bob, why are you such a dick?”

        So you have an opinion. You know the saying about opinions. Well, the Decius article was well received by many despite your “opinion.” Why don’t you take you opinion somewhere else. I am not impressed with you, your background, or your feeble attempts at denigrating the writings of Decius, whomever he might be.

      • In the Flight 93 article you can read that Decius states that he was not an original Trump supporter. The point of the article was that if nothing was done to change course in some way, the results of a continued Obama / Clinton path would be the destruction of the country / capitol. The people who diverted Flight 93 did not prevent the plane crash, they did prevent the intended destruction. His point was that something had to be done to change course in some way. Let us all hope that Trump is able to do that.

      • Yes I understood his argument. But I don’t believe the overall notion that we’re on a crash course. Technology is changing society and the nature of the economy. These are challenges to the prevailing order that the Trumpist diagnosis has misspecified and the prescription is concomitantly off-base. Add to that a high degree of incompetence. Anyway, I expect Trump to be gone this year unless Bannon has his way and pushes the country to war in a last ditch effort to enable Trump to expand his ambit under the aegis of a wartime president. Most likely target is Iran.

        The wealthy and powerful around the world read a sense of unfairness into a very well established demographic pattern wherein middle and upper class people have less kids than the poor people. Eventually this means that those poor people will gain numerical and then real political power in a democratic society. That’s a phenomenon everywhere, usually masked in authoritarian countries by not having or faking census data. But the answer that we have traditionally given this in the US has been to make sure the system allows mobility which means providing a decent floor and making sure that there isn’t a ceiling created by inherited wealth. Bannon and company want to remove the floor and harden the ceiling. Every society that has done this becomes stagnant. America is a dynamic country and the policies being pursued now threaten that. Other countries are building innovation – we’re still the destination of choice, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. The Trump ideologues are flying the plane into a ceiling of their creation.

  4. “Senior director of strategic communications at the National Security Council.” Is this a promotion? Not to naysay, but it sounds like a flack job, not one for an establishment balloon-popper. I hope I’m wrong. /Mr Lynn

  5. Congratulations Michael! Well deserved, and thanks for all you did in the election ! You are a true patriot!

  6. The Flight 93 essay was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read. It’s not surprising that he was just a Trump plant, given how intellectually dishonest, borderline retarded, his writing was.

    • He reminds me of Jim Jones and his cult members have been drinking the koolaid for a while.

      • Yeah, I just don’t get how so-called “intellectuals” fall for this kind of stuff. It is mostly populist nonsense supposedly rationalized “because I read a lot of stuff”.

  7. Bummer. I guess Decius is unsure that he can match the relevance of his Flight 93 essay, and so has run off to hide somewhere in the NSC … or so he says. Does the NSC actually publish a list of their staff? Is that even really his photograph? Is there an expose in the making somewhere around here? I guess I’ll have to wait for Gawker to uncover the truth.

  8. Godspeed Decius. I read JAG with baited breath and was blown away by Flight 93. You know more about Trumpism than Trump himself. Go forth and Make America Great Again…

  9. Michael Anton’s appointment is another victory for America and another great selection by the Trump administration!
    Congratulations all around.

  10. Michael Anton is easily the most clear headed and succinct Inside the Beltway Thinker/Writer I’ve ever read in the lat 2 years.

    ‘Flight 93’ was The Best. I have it permanently bookmarked and read it almost 100 times.

    To me, that’s how good it is.

    Then I learned today he was on Trump’s Team.

    I was shocked…in a great way.

    Michael Anton is a cool dude, we can’t let people like Bill Kristol and David Brooks and Jonah Goldberg bring him down.

    Anton needs our Grass Roots Level Support.

    We hear any BS out of the mouths of NeoCons or Liberals…eff them…WE stand up and attack them.

    This picture below explains them…they will stoop at nothing until we’re dead.


  11. Decius is a hero for many reasons. My favorite is that he made #NeverTrump butts pucker and heads explode.

    Congrats and good luck, Decius/Michael– We’ll be counting on you to help Make America Great Again!