Last fall, current Deputy Assistant to the President Michael Anton set off a firestorm with a pro-Trump essay titled “The Flight 93 Election.” Anton argued that the election of Hillary Clinton was so threatening to America that she could be likened to the terrorists who took control of the doomed 9/11 Flight 93, intending to use her victory as a missile to destroy what remained of American republicanism. “Charge the cockpit”—elect Trump despite all his manifest deficiencies—“or die.”
The year since that essay has shown one thing above all: Anton was an optimist. Successfully charging the cockpit did not result in anything other than a ratcheting up of the decades-long war over America’s soul between a Left that finds America deficient and a Right that sees everything American government has done since 1912 as deficient. (That’s what attacks on “Progressives” mean). The result is the daily tribal war chants anyone politically aware sees and hears around them, a cacophony that has only led to louder, clearer, angrier chanting.
We did not just have the Flight 93 Election. We are at the beginning of the Flight 93 Decade.
“Well, that’s a cheery Christmas thought,” you might ironically say to yourself. But to quote the most infamous character from the world-famous, good versus evil movie franchise, whose latest installment (in its 40th year!) is launching this weekend, “search your feelings; you know this to be true!”
The Democratic Party has reacted to its stunning defeat with a one-word mantra: Resist. Driven by the mania of its left wing, Democrats are embracing a strategy of pure opposition with an admixture of calumny thrown in for good measure. Their cause is so pure, the evil of Trump so manifest, they contend, that anyone who might disagree with them or even seek a broader anti-Trump coalition (think Bill Kristol) is no better than Trump himself. Those who have condemned McCarthyism are now repeating its central flaws, exaggerating the evil that does exist, and throwing genuinely innocent people into the fire in the pursuit of purging anyone associated with their foe.
Which leaves the Republicans, who have reacted to Trump’s unexpected victory in two diametrically opposed ways. The establishment Republicans have moved heaven and earth to co-opt the White House, stacking its appointments with their allies and presenting the president with barely warmed-over versions of the policies they have advanced for decades. The tax cut bill they are on the verge of passing, for example, violates almost all of Trump’s promises, doing little to nothing for working-class and middle-class taxpayers and in exchange vastly reducing taxation of capital in almost every form it takes. This isn’t Trumpian concern for the middle class: this is Romneyism unmodified.
Oppose the Left—Then What?
The Trump voting base, meanwhile, is reacting by doubling down on its vitriolic opposition to the Left. How else to explain Roy Moore, who has taken on all factions of the GOP and the entire force of the Left with a worldview that can only charitably be called antebellum? Forget the allegations of sexual misconduct, as disqualifying as they might have been in a less charged era. This is a man who agrees with radio hosts that every amendment after the 10th is problematic, who says that America was better when families were stronger even if there was slavery, and who takes Vladimir Putin’s opposition to homosexuality as a sign that maybe he and Putin have more in common than he thought. Whatever he may actually mean by these things, there was a time when his rhetoric alone would have pushed him out. But such are our times that so long as he is opposed to the Left, he commands the allegiance of the Right.
One might think I’m exaggerating. But how else to explain the data I just saw from a national poll from the Public Research and Religion Institute? In their recent American Values Survey, 54 percent of Democrats say Republican policies “are so misguided that they pose a threat to the country.” Republicans believe the same about the Democrats: 52 percent of Republicans say Democratic policies pose a threat to the country, too.
America has faced a moment like this before, and it wasn’t pretty. The 1860 election had four parties running, but it was effectively a two-party race: A Northern party and a Southern party. In each, a candidate represented a viewpoint that effectively said the other side’s priority was so misguided that continuing it posed a threat to the country. Abraham Lincoln’s Republicans, which viewed the spread of slavery as unacceptable, won the Northern primary with Stephen Douglas’ Democrats by winning every free state but one. John Breckenridge’s Southern Democrats, who viewed the spread of slavery as essential to the maintenance of that peculiar institution, won the Southern primary by carrying eleven of the fifteen slave states. The Civil War followed.
More Conflict Ahead
America is not on the verge of a shooting civil war, but the Flight 93 Decade will see a protracted democratic civil war between two sides who command political majorities in our two major parties, which thus effectively makes every election a battle to the death between two mutually antagonistic adversaries. In a shooting war, one side wins and subjects the other to its rule without the defeated side’s consent. That is how the dispute that led to the Civil War was ended. But since that cannot by definition happen in a political contest, the prospects for escalated political conflict remain incredibly high.
Each side already sees this and worries that, the exigencies of war being the operative framework, the other side will start to suppress their ability to speak and organize. The right points to the episodes on college campuses where conservative speakers are protested, sometimes violently. The Left points to Trump’s regular blasts against the press and wonders if their freedom to criticize will soon come under legal assault. Neither side is wholly right about their wildest charges, but neither are both sides wholly wrong. If the political adversary is really a mortal foe, then it begins to be clear that normal tolerance of opposing viewpoints becomes a weakness rather than a strength.
And this is why Anton’s essay was optimistic. The Flight 93 Election assumes that once the cockpit is seized it will remain in control of the party who seized it. In fact, we are the passengers in a plane where the cockpit is under constant assault and moving from one side to the other with such rapidity that the plane itself is being turned and shaken, leaving the passengers increasingly nauseous and unable to leave their seats from the terror. The only way to right the plane and stop the terror is to stop the conflict, and that cannot happen in a democratic system when normal democratic rights—the ability to contest control of the cockpit—are maintained.
I am not arguing one side should impose their will, only that it is logical that one side could. I am mindful of Thucydides’ famous description of internecine civil conflict in the Greek city-states during the Peloponnesian War. Then, the battle between democratic friends of Athens and oligarchic friends of Sparta meant “reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question inaptness to act on any.” This continued dog-eat-dog conflict destroyed the cities afflicted and “the moderate part of the citizens perished between the two, either for not joining in the quarrel, or because envy would not suffer them to escape.”
A Middle Way to a Majority
Fact is, democratic politics offers us a way out of Thucydides’ hell, a way to stop the Flight 93 Decade from ever happening. That involves how the two sides in this interminable conflict deal with the moderate members of the American polity, and with how the moderate members view one another.
If one side was to craft an approach to the conflict that reaches out to the moderate members of the other party, the 40 percent or more of each group who in the words of the PRRI survey either think the other side’s ideas are “misguided but not dangerous” or “are moving the country in the right direction,” then one side can gain the upper hand in the battle for the cockpit. Having a less extreme argument would help to lessen the other side’s hatred while simultaneously adding numbers to one side’s cause.
To borrow from Thucydides again, both “justice” (having the better argument) and “necessity” (the fact that continuing the old debate will mean one side inevitably loses again and again) would move America back towards a normal politics.
Failing that, the moderate citizens could take matters into their own hands and form their own party. Forty percent of each party combined translates into 40 percent of the electorate, enough if unified to beat both extremes under our first-past-the-post voting system. This could not be done in the Civil War-era because the combat was inherently sectional: uniting Northern and Southern moderates would not have changed anything. But our current two-party system is merely convention: it can be changed at any time by people if they believe changing it advances their interests. That’s what French President Emmanuel Macron did earlier this year, combining centrists with moderates from the left and right to form a new party that swept to power against the two extremes.
I know this might leave many readers cold. This moderation might be thought to be “a cloak for unmanliness.” But let’s think through the alternatives before we decide.
If the Left wins with an unmodified agenda, surely it will seek to finish the work the incomplete post-Civil War Reconstruction failed to accomplish. A transformative Left would surely use federal regulation, law, and tax preferences, backed by force if necessary, to weaken and thereby transform the institutions that undergird resistance to its policies: churches, the military, businesses, and elements of the media. The yoke of that Reconstruction would, in turn, lead to more “forceful” reaction, which in turn would lead to more “forceful” impositions. Surely that is not an America in which we want to live.
But the same is true of the Right. Would a victorious and unmodified Right be satisfied with universities, media, and entertainment largely under the control of its foes? Would not some form of regulation and control be in the offing, often under the guise of “fairness” or “balance”? Would that be an America we want to live in?
And why would the states controlled by the Left stand for this? The states backing the Democrats are now largely contiguous, wealthy, and on the coasts. In an age where regional discontent leads to calls for secession in Catalonia, Scotland, and elsewhere, why should California and New York consent to be ruled by people from the Heartland whom many consider to be yokels? And would the rest of America really want to fight to keep the Silicon Valley and Manhattan within our country by force? Or would they tell the people whom many view as un-American tormentors not to let the door hit their behinds as they leave? Would you really want to live in a divided America?
Toward a New Americanism
American citizenship is ultimately based on shared ideals. If we no longer have those and cannot find those, then our only choices are secession or subjugation of one half of the nation by the other. But that cannot be what our deepest longings are for; it cannot be what patriots died at Lexington to build or soldiers gave the last measures of their devotion on countless battlefields around the world to establish.
For me, I am what Mike Pence told the Republican convention he is: a conservative, a Republican, and a Christian. But I would add another item that, in a political sense, precedes all of those: I am an American. I hope as we approach a season that unites the eternal fight for liberty (Hannukah) with the promise of universal brotherly love (Christmas), that you, dear reader, can make the same statement for yourself. And with that declaration of those few simple words, “I am an American,” we can begin to take back our country from the frightful horror of a Flight 93 Decade.
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Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say “the cities backing the Democrats” because Democrat enclaves are almost invariably urban, while the majority of Republicans are rural. Even California is, based purely on landmass, majority Republican.
Basically the Democrats control entertainment and computer tech, and the Republicans control food, oil, and industry. It would be an entertaining fight.
Let’em freeze in the dark, with an empty stomach and no smartphone or computers that run!
If only reason and dispassion were the main ingredients of current political stew. They are not. President Trump is the pivotal player in this political drama because on the one hand, he accepted the mission to undo the damage of the Obama years and defeat Clinton but on the other hand, which Democrat/which establishment Repub has accepted the legitimacy of President Trump’s election? Strictly from the policy perspective, President Trump has delivered a determined conservative agenda, but have the McCains or the Kristols on our side, chosen to work with the President to undo what Obama managed to do in 8 years? And Dems/media simply bounce from one specious accusation to another. Establishment Repub – see Boehner, McCain, Collins, Flake – have been willing to work with the Dems. Which Dem has been willing to work with the Repubs? Bottom line: conservatives must win at the ballot box supporting determined leaders. A third party, a party of moderation, will not be viable at the ballot box for much more than a decade.
A decade is overly optimistic, IMO.
“Would you really want to live in a divided America?”
Well, yes. I’d rather be materially poorer than exist in the moral cesspool and irrationality that characterize the new Left. Abortion? Transgender indoctrination in schools? Homosexual “marriage”? Socialism? Open borders? Pass.
I, for one, would welcome a national breakup along ideological lines.
Is no shooting war imminent? Well, some on one side are bunkering up with stockpiles of water and ammo, whilst the other seeks to disarm them using any excuse necessary — including wanton violence. 1860, perhaps not, but 1775?
And ten years ago Mencius Moldbug started writing a blog called “Unqualified Reservations” that predicted that every effort to recover the republic would fail because of design flaws in the original structure. Do not waste your lives on a hopeless venture.
There will be no protracted civil war within the Republican Party. It is, however, a party that is dying a slow death and debacles like Alabama are more proof of it. So-called populists and evangelicals, who welcome a child molester into their ranks, will see their kind dwindle in number. It will take years, perhaps a decade or so, but the number of people who claim they proudly supported Trump and Moore will decline.
There will be no “subjugation of one half of the nation by the other” regardless of the outcome of the 2018 and 2020 elections, which will be a repudiation of Trumpism and Bannonism. The real question at hand is whether the Republican Party will ever understand who far it has strayed from the party’s founding principles and, if so, whether it will make any effort to adhere to them. And above all, whether it will embrace Lincoln’s moderation, as his most famous student once brilliantly put it in the tenth chapter of the definitive account of the teachings of Lincoln.
If the Republican Party cannot return to Lincoln, it deserves to die and be replaced by a new party, dedicated to those principles.
Ridiculous. How do you seek moderation in suicide? What this writer fails to grasp is that Flight 93 passengers knew they where doomed if they did not act but we’re probably doomed if they did. They chose to act and in so doing, most likely saved the lives of hundreds of other Americans. They chose to live as free men, even briefly, rather than being enslaved on a suicide mission.
That’s the choice we have. We are enslaved by debt. We are being invaded by millions of foreigners. We are being replaced as a population. On even a moderate trajectory, the American republic will only last another century at most. Our children will be poorer with less political voice. And their children will be a ridiculed and preyed upon minority in the country their ancestors created.
In this scenario, breaking up the country is moderation compared to having another Civil War. The belligerents in the cockpit have another choice: give the other side parachutes and let them secede.
The “choice’ we have is whether we will allow ourselves to be governed by extremist demagogues, committed to no objective whatsoever except their own glory and wealth, or by men and women who adhere to the principles of the Declaration and an appreciation for the moderation that makes the perpetuation of our republic possible.
The catastrophic mistake American Greatness makes is that it is of no concern to them whatsoever that we be ruled by an extremist demagogue, a kleptocrat who stokes pointless culture battles on individuals like a washed-up NFL quarterback while his Wall Street friends hoover up middle income wealth with an outrageous tax cut bill that will leave us and our children with an additional $1.5 trillion in debt…before the cost of servicing that debt is compounded over the next several decades.
Yes, we are enslaved by debt but this Administration proposes to compound our debt.
No, we are not “invaded” by millions of foreigners. The vast majority of these foreigners, some of who are undeniably criminals and should be fully prosecuted and deported, are here to take jobs most Americans would never dream of taking.
The meaning of the sentence “We are being replaced as a population.” is unclear but if what is meant that non-whites are “replacing” whites “as a population”, the only advice I can give is to deal with it. There isn’t going to be a mass purge of non-whites in the United States, nor should there ever be.
The United States was not founded to be a “white nation”. Any dream that a “white nation” could live forever on the North American continent died at Appomattox. That the Confederate dream of a slave empire ruled by white men died when Lee surrendered to Grant is a historical fact, but the meaning of this defeat is still lost on Lost Causers that this dream had to die, that what had become of the United States in the 1850s was in fact of nightmare that would have horrified the Framers of the Constitution, who believed that in agreeing to slaveholder demands the course the ultimately extinction of slavery had been set.
Republicans, rather than lamenting the amendments to the Constitution that expanded freedom to former slaves, guaranteed equal protection under the laws and guaranteed women the right to vote, must genuinely embrace the self-evident truth that all men are created equal. We are endowed with those rights by God and it is not within our rightful or moral power to deny those rights.
Perhaps Decius was right that the republic is doomed to die. But in rushing the cockpit we should ask ourselves whether it is better to die in the service of honor or to live in the service of dishonor? Over the last two years, the majority of Republicans have chosen dishonor.
The Confederate dream was not “a slave empire ruled by white men”. That is a laughable notion which you just dreamed up. Almost all Southern soldiers were not slave holders and did not fight to retain their nonexistent slaves. They fought for the same reasons as the Revolutionary generation, self-determination. Yes, the U.S. was founded a a White nation however which can be seen in the first act of Congress limiting immigration to people of European decent.
Immigration policy shouldn’t be a jobs program for the world’s destitute. It should be based on how best to improve the lot and lives of American citizens. No one has ever suggested a mass purge of non-whites but enforcement of immigration law would encourage the repatriation of 10s of millions of foreign born folks, most of whom are not white.
You would be well served by brushing up on your American history.
Read Alexander Stephens’s “Cornerstone Speech” (March 21, 1861, delivered in Savannah, Georgia) which reads in pertinent part this:
“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.] This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”
The whole of this speech, given by the Vice President of the Confederate States of America, must be read in its entirely to fully grasp the mora depravity of the Confederacy.
Of course the United States was founded by white men, but it was never understood that the United States would be a White Nation, a nation in which the subjugation of blacks by whites would be perpetual. When Taney argued in Dred Scott that “blacks had no rights which the man was bound to respect, he thrilled Southerners, slaveholders and working class whites alike, in his direct repudiation of the principles of the Declaration, the Constitution and the language of the Northwest Ordinance.
That a pro-Trump website, American Greatness, fuels neoconfederate beliefs which Calhoun and Douglas would be perfectly comfortable with, is a sad testament to how far so-called conservatives have strayed from their country’s, and party’s, founding principles.
Is there some reason you conveniently forget to mention that he’s a wonderful demonicRat?
Well, I’m simply shocked!!!
Except that your example of a binary white/black America is a distraction. Yes, of course we know that they came as slaves, and all the rest of the narrative, but still they were here ancestrally, and if they came involuntarily they have a right to make the decision whether or not to stay, and if they do they must be accorded equality.
Your argument fails when numerous other groups have joined us, coming here illegally, demonstrating nothing but contempt for the Constitution and American culture as we traditionally know it, sponging off the public teat on welfare, bringing crime, drugs, and “multiculturalism”–even to the extent of refusing to learn English. So don’t tell me about America’s “founding principles” until you are willing to cast out those who won’t abide by them.
We just finished 8 years of being ruled by an extremist demagogue, a kleptocrat who stoked pointless culture battles on individuals like George Zimmerman while his Wall Street friends hooverd up middle income wealth with a takeover of the medical industry that left us another 10 trillion in debt.
As usual the GOPe troops like you follow the path of least resistance into the Democrat slaughter house.
The kleptocrats Trump and Murdoch, who have bankrolled the very establishment Republicans and Democrats you believe you are mocking by supporting them, will keep your attention by talking about irrelevant figures like an NFL quarterback while they rob our children to finance their own tax cuts — tax cuts that will mean virtually nothing for most of us.
You’re a fool!! The forking money that I make is not the damn governments, piss off..
No, he is a thief. He would just have government hold the gun instead of himself.
Unless you eat caviar with Donald, Rupert and Sheldon at Mar a Lago, you and your children will be paying more to the government and getting less in return. That’s the point you and other Trump supporters refuse to acknowledge, that he has you eating crumbs out of his palm while you — and the rest of us — will be enriching the very establishment you believe Trump is taking down. Every analysis of the tax cut bill shows that the benefits of the tax cuts are heavily weighted toward the rich, who have no intention of “creating jobs” with their new wealth.
If you’ve got wealth in stocks, whether in your 401k or a brokerage account, this tax cut bill will be gold for you. But if you don’t have a robust stock portfolio and are a W2 employee you’re getting nothing out of this bill. And if you have children, or plan on being here in 2024, they’ll be picking up the tab for the 1.5T additional (beyond the 20T we have now and the close to 27T in debt we’ll have at the end of Trump’s second term. Just saying this isn’t your problem doesn’t make it not your problem. The annual service on the debt, which is a real thing, will continue to grow to a point where it will ultimately require tax increases on you, and me, and there’s no escaping that no matter how much you’d like to wish it away with rhetoric like “The forking money that I make is not the damn governments.”
Look at what just happened in Alabama and Virginia. Expect more of the same in 2018. Trump’s orgy at our expense will soon come to an end.
You can’t possibly believe that you can stop the enrichment of the establishment do you, they hold all the cards?? Look at the Clintons and oblammers, now worth hundreds of millions!!! There’s absolutely no denying that lowering taxes helps everyone, so it stands to reason that the more you have the more you will gain!! Get over it, neither you nor I can change that, no matter how much we might not like it!! IT’S OUR MONEY NOT THEIRS, they can get by with spending less for a change;-)
“There’s absolutely no denying that lowering taxes helps everyone, so it stands to reason that the more you have the more you will gain!!”
“stands to reason” LOL!
Freddie, think of it this way: Say the new tax bill allows you, Freddie, to keep $100 more of your money and takes an additional $100 away from me, Party of Lincoln. That’s great news for Freddie, but it’s bad news for Party of Lincoln. In no way does Party of Lincoln benefit from paying more in taxes even though Freddie pays less in taxes. No economy theory, putting aside common sense, tells us that someone who gets a tax increase gets to spend the money of someone who gets a tax cut.
And unless you’ve been living under a rock the last two months you would know that there are losers under the tax bill. No one denies there are winners, but not “everyone” is a winner under the bill. Not even close.
If your argument is that you’re a winner and that’s all that matters to you, that’s ok. Those in political power have every right to enjoy the spoils of victory. But the profile of winners and losers in this tax bill are obvious. And unless you work on Wall Street or for Apple or expect to gain an inheritance payment of over $20 million, you’re getting crumbs compared to their winnings. And not only will most Americans get crumbs under the bill, some will actually see an actual tax increase And for those who do get crumbs, those crumbs go away when the lower tax rates expire…while the corporate tax rates stay on the books.
Good luck eating those crumbs!
I have zero interest in what the media or the Democrats want to lie about, I see no problems with cutting taxes across the board, say 25% or so. It’s the lawmakers that want to complicate everything so that they can be seen to hand out special favors in return for money and power over everyone. The electorate needs to stop sending these people to Washington!! I want everyone to be a winner in this not a select few, it Isn’t Uncle Sams money!!
Here you go, do some learnin!!
Lessons on economics from Trump’s go-to softball pitcher on Fox News, “The Money Honey”?
Next I’m sure you’ll tell me to some learnin’ on immigration policy from Ann Coulter, criminal justice policy from Jeanine Pirro and the history of American race relations from Sean Hannity.
No, no more learnin for you, we wouldn’t want your head to explode from all that raw data;-) Stick with all of those liars, it’s much safer for you gutless snowflakes!!
Right, because anyone who doesn’t bend knee to the state media on Fox News is a “snowflake”. Good luck with your crumbs.
Stick with things you know, like coloring books, because Fox is one of the few that isn’t “state” media, although they seem to be heading that way:-( Not sure why it’s so hard for some people to look at both sides and not be able to figure out who’s full of shit!! Oh that’s right you’re too chicken to even look:-(
Here’s some crumbs you can chew on, lots more where that came from and lots more crumbs to come;-) Pretty much all of oblammers dribblings are either history or soon to be!!
Our children’s children are already in debt they can never payoff. The treasury intends to continue selling that debt for as long as there are buyers and there are buyers because as bad off as the US is,it is still a better investment than anywhere else. When the party finally ends the US government will do what every bankrupt nation does, repudiate it debt.
In 2016 Trump was the only candidate fighting the battle that must be waged. Perhaps he was lying, but his actions to date do not support that view. There is a swamp and it has sold the US to the world. The intention of the Paris Accords was to strip the remaining wealth of the country and give it to an UN bureaucracy to distribute. Meanwhile using the same accord end the American lifestyle through increased energy costs. The reason we had almost no growth in the economy under Obama was no growth was allowed. Trump has changed all of that.
You keep insisting that government somehow should continue taking the trillions that they take and if they don’t, the little guy is going to get screwed. The only way this would be true is if welfare and bureaucratic wealth transfers made people wealthy. They don’t.
Tax cuts that mean virtually nothing for most of us? Because every penny taken from someone else is a good thing? We are not trillions in debt because government has not taxed enough. Spending is the issue by miles which you would know if you had a modicum of intellectual honesty, which you clearly do not.
We cannot simply walk away from the TRILLIONS in debt we owe the nation’s creditors. If the US were default on its debt obligations we are in serious, serious trouble. Trump actually proposed, famously, this at one point during the campaign and he got hammered for it by economists from the left and the right. Put in the simplest terms, the United States federal government cannot avoid servicing the federal debt. As the federal debt rises, so does the annual cost of servicing that debt, which in plain English means the amount of revenue that is collected from taxpayers — your money and my money — that is paid to bondholders. Increasing debt servicing costs isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so long as the economy continues to grow. We can increase our debt service in actual dollars but as long as it’s a relative small fraction of the total cost of running the federal government it’s literally not a serious problem. The problem arises when the percentage rises to the point where taxes must be raised to in effect pay for the additional debt service costs or where payments for services must be reduced to accommodate the increased percentage of the budget the debt consumes.
So any fantasy that we can ignore the federal debt forever must be disabused. Trump and his Wall Street friends believe there’s room in our federal budget for the additional debt we’re taking on with this bill, which not even Mnuchin’s analysis claims “pays for itself”. Everyone in DC agrees that the tax bill adds, even after accounting for the economic growth that the tax cuts will generate, roughly 1.0 to 1.5 trillion in debt over the next 10 years.
For Trump, that’s ok. And it may be ok, but we at least need to acknowledge that this tax cut bill, whose benefits accrue almost entirely to wealthy taxpayers and corporations, will have to be paid for in some way. There is no free lunch when it comes to federal debt, regardless of which fantasy scenario we choose to believe.
And if you’re answer is that we don’t need a federal government anyway, that we can get rid of Medicare and Medicare, abolish Social Security, cut the defense budget back to Jimmy Carter levels, I’m telling you that the American people will never accept cuts in federal spending to that degree. Sure, we could abolish the National Park Service or maybe the Federal Trade Commission, but that would save fractions of pennies of the federal dollar and in any event the American people would never accept that either.
The delusion that American Greatness indulges in is that we can somehow go back to the level of federal spending that was the case in the pre-Civil War era or even the pre-Wilson era. There is zero chance that Americans will ever agree to abolishing Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security, which together eats up about 2/3 of federal spending. Of the 1/3 that’s “discretionary” spending, the military eats a little over half but let’s call it 50%. And of the remaining 1/6 of federal spending, good luck with trying to abolish that. Even the most ruthless budget cutting scenario of that 1/6 of the remaining federal budget (let’s call it 4 trillion for easy math) — which works out to 666 billion — we can at most squeeze out maybe 100 billion, which is not a lot of money.
The real money to be squeezed out of the federal budget, without any question whatsoever, is in Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security spending. I actually trust that you, Marshall, would be willing to step first in line and be willing to forego your Medicare and Social Security benefits when you’re eligible to receive them, but I guarantee you that the vast majority of Americans would go batshit at the first politician who proposes to slash, really slash, Medicare and Social Security.
We have to be honest with ourselves. Tax cuts today means someone pays the debt service tomorrow, unless you actually have a plan to get the American people to eat massive cuts in Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security 5-10 years from now. And what I’m telling the august authors of American Greatness is that that is never, ever going to happen. Seniors even in red states like Alabama, South Carolina and Oklahoma will exercise their right to bear arms if Washington politicians start slashing their benefits.
You, sir or madam, are a complete moron.
More “Proposition Nation” happy talk from the College Republican dorks. These neoconservatives, these Scoop Jackson Democrats, these Wilsonian idealists, these faux-Straussians- they’re like the undergrads who read a ton of political theory along with some Constitutional law without apparently ever having bothered with the basics of Western philosophy or civilization. Junk food addicts.
Sure, let’s all be idiot lemmings and do whatever Trump tells us. That strategy our asses kicked in Virginia and Alabama. Anyone paying attention knows a blue wave is forming for next year’s elections and even the Senate now could go back to the Dems.
What the voters now know is that Trumpism means nothing except whatever Trump wants. What he wants is fame, power and wealth. So we Republicans have given it to him, even at the cost of our own party’s honor.
By all means, keep supporting Trump and Moore. But don’t say you weren’t warned.
Authors of this blog please note the resort to ad hominem attacks here, the only rhetorical tool left.
There. Fixed that for you.
Identity politics is strangling us. This article is an excellent companion piece to Mr. Olsen’s… http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=12320
I understand Mr. Olsen’s point, though I think it would be clearer if he was able to describe what ‘moderate’ means in this context. It has the same ring as ‘centrist’ which essentially meant the Left gets their identity politics and the Chamber of Commerce gets open borders for immigration and ‘trade’ and everybody waits for the demographic shift to give Democrats control of the Federal government forever.
How is this hypothetical moderate Democrat different in effectiveness from a moderate Muslim?
We have decades of experience with moderate Republicans. Moderates go along to get along and follow the loudest most threatening lead, which is usually a Deomocrat trailing money behind.
Name me one time when America has not been divided. The problem now is that one side is pure evil, paving the way for the antichrist.
Some of us realized years ago this country is headed for civil war because the Left’s agenda is antithetical to the Constitution. It’s just a matter of time until people wake up to it or surrender to the Left without a fight.
Henry Olsen makes a huge mistake with: “Democrats are embracing a strategy of pure
opposition with an admixture of calumny thrown in for good measure.” should read “Democrats are embracing a scripted strategy of pure calumny using the façade of opposition to support the calumny.” The bigger problem is no one on the ‘right’ or other side does anything but react to the deliberate lies, labels, whatnot. And, Olsen missed 1920-1928, so I am returning to being ‘increasingly nauseous and unable to
sleep from the terror’ with a reminder from Victor Davis Hanson on Feb. 20, 2017: When Normalcy Is Revolution
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/02/02/when_normalcy_is_revolution_132958.html and what VDH forgot to cite: Warren G. Harding’s campaign was The Return to Normalcy after eight years of Wilsonian “progressivism” since 1912:
Holy monkey from a temple in India that learned to smoke from tourists and pilgrims
I recall a about 15 years ago noting moderates do not make history. I know from my personal observations they tend to just be blobs who will veer towards whoever scares them the most, is the better dresser, has the best smile or hair cut, etc. but they never organize themselves and try to impose their vision. Mostly because they really don’t have one.
Mr. Olsen mentions Macron as an example a centrist and other centrists coming together to fight of the fringes. I’m no expert on French politics, but I don’t remember anyone portraying that political campaign in such a way.
Who writes this crap?
Ah if only the statists could surrender to the people.
If only the people would forgive the statists their promises of entitlements they can’t keep.
Unable to do so the Statists decided to import a new people to replace the old…but they’re not enough to win but plenty enough to enrage the natives.
Rather like the arguments made a couple of years ago when running the debt higher and creating $34 Trillion from thin air – not to worry we owe that money to ourselves! Yes we do don’t we? And what happens when “We” come to collect and it’s gone?
This is a bankruptcy settlement that has been successfully racialized by desperate bankrupts trying to hold onto power and a people who want what they were promised…even though they know it’s gone.
The successful racialization of our troubles since 2012 has now truly opened the door to Hell since BLM started shooting police – and the police turned their backs. The back turning was a Tectonic power shift. America’s defenders police, military and veterans all come from the same families and clusters of families. Shoot one…shoot them all. That Genie will not be moderated back into the bottle.
As for partition our geography does not support it, it demands that the winner take all. Manifest Destiny is fancy 19th century language for “look at the map.” Nor does our human geography support it.
As for Trump he wants to grow/Reagan our way out of this and it won’t happen. We’ll see who he really is or isn’t when he gets cornered and he’s about to be…somehow I don’t see him quietly resigning or off to Jail.
As for the moderates to be consumed is their fate – not unjustly in this case for they’ve compromised everything, promised all to everyone and moderated over our ruin.
Your appeal to weakness smacks not Sir of unmanliness but of delusion. As does your certainty of peace.
Someone’s got to win and they won’t do it democratically.
Unfortunately Henry, without agreement on common principles, there can be no basis for a civil society. Those of us on the small government right clearly do not believe that everything that came after 1912 was wrong: we do believe that the creation of the administrative social democratic entitlement-welfare state was fundamentally at odds with our country’s principles. We also believe that by creating an unelected administrative elite, creating a large class of people who are dependent on government (in many forms), and by placing virtually all areas of life within the public realm, it becomes impossible for the personal to become anything except political, and thus for politics to become inherently personal. The result is what we have today. Common cause and common values are impossible if my life, property, labor, and good opinion can be coerced by others via a majority vote (and sometimes not even a majority vote), and vice versa. And that’s merely the political aspect.
It is impossible to have any sort of discussion with people who reject an independent reality, knowable through reason, to say nothing of objectivity, truth, logic and facts. What sort of education is possible under such an environment? What sort of culture? I will grant you that the Creationists and the like on the “right” are wrong. I will not grant you that they are typical of those of us who stand for reason and scholarship. What is the common ground? There is none.
In all of the above there is one common theme: the progressive movement by its own admission (pre-1912 as well as post) explicitly rejected American principles and sought to change them, whereas the rest of us did not. However wrong on specific issues some of us on the right may have been, we have been so only to the extent that we ourselves did not live up to fundamental American principles, which incidentally is true of the progressive left too. The problem is that for the small government conservative right, those were bugs, not features, whereas for the left, the opposite was and is true. Until there is candor on this point, there cannot be any reconciliation. We didn’t start this. We must either fight it or yield to it.
False moral equivalence is problematic. I am happy to compromise with people who share common principles because a compromise is just that, a mutual adjustment based on a commonly agreed principle. I do not see that any form of compromise is possible with someone who wants to rob me because they don’t recognize my right to my property, labor, time or judgement.
If we can’t agree, then we’re going to have to fight it out until someone wins. It’s not a great future, but it at least holds out the prospect that if we fight, we might win. If peace is more important than freedom, then yes, opt for bi-partisanship. Interestingly, your idol Mr. Reagan rejected that very point regarding the USSR. Until we have someone do the same in the domestic context, we’re no better than those who wanted détente.
I am all for going along to get along and for everyone minding their own business. I suspect that the harpies on the Left are not quite so inclined. And, considering that we have all the guns, I don’t think that they’ll ultimately be forcing us to do anything.
The Republican / Conservative party is the party of DEATH!!
But first a definition: CONSERVATIVE:
adjective 1. holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.
synonyms: traditionalist, traditional, conventional, orthodox, old-fashioned, dyed-in-the-wool, hidebound, unadventurous, set in one’s ways;
http://www.unionleader.com/article/20171112/OPINION02/171119882/1004/opinion garrison Keillor conservative
noun 1. a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.
synonyms: right-winger, reactionary, rightist, diehard;
LIBERAL: tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition
I have found that, almost without exception, stupid is a word that has almost no meaning other than being a bit mentally slow. But this does not include those who destroyed the space shuttle in the same way as they did the Columbia, or Donald Rumseld who got us involved in the ongoing expensive mess that is Iraq, thus showing that they learned exactly nothing from our adventures in Viet Nam. So I define STUPID as being unwilling or unable to learn new stuff. Note how this fits with the definition of Conservative above.
As nouns the difference between conservative and conservation is that conservative is a person who favors maintenance of the status quo or reversion to some earlier status while conservation is the act of preserving, guarding, or protecting; the keeping (of a thing) in a safe or entire state; preservation.
Life is all about change. Systems and people that can change and adapt to a changing environment thrive. The only things that do not learn and change are dead. In order to live and thrive in fast changing environments, like the one in which we live, requires the ability to quickly learn new stuff about the environment, like Anthropological Global Warming, as opposed to living in denial.
Now for some evidence. Not alternative facts. One can spin various statistics, especially ones pertaining to income and rates of poverty and money, as the RJ’s favorite columnist, WAR, does. But some statistics just can not be spun.
For example, I give you life expectancy, homicide rates, rates of incarceration, teen pregnancy, rates of illness whose basic cause is generally some combination of stupidity and poor eating habits IE obesity, viz COPD, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, infant mortality rates, (those are actual infants who have been born as opposed to theoretical children like fertilized eggs, though red states have much higher rates of abortions also), maternal mortality rates etc. In those areas, red / conservative / republican states lead the nation by wide margins. Many of these problems are probably due to the fact that red states spend a lot less on health care. A joke here in Nevada is “where do the rich and powerful in Las Vegas go for good health care? The answer is McCarran” One of the very few of the red states that do not lead in these areas is Utah.
For other areas, like income, education; as in you either graduated high school, went to college and / or graduate school or did not — hard to fudge those figures. Well. that is where blue states lead. Also since, as MR. Root is so fond of pointing out, blue states also have higher tax rates. Yep. And they almost always pay more to the federal government than they get back in taxes, as opposed to the red states who are almost all, as Mr. Romney was fond of saying, takers. Blue states, cause they charge more to their citizens in taxes, actually pay their own way, as opposed to the red states that have so many uneducated, sick, drug addled criminals and need to take from the blue states.
Here is another factoid. Every recession, except one, going back to 1967 has come under a republican administration, usually after several years in office. You remember Bushes parting gift to the US after his gift of Iraq right? the great recession. Speaking of which, the top tax rate is, if anything, inversely correlated with economic growth. Again, you can look it up. So, the republican party is not only responsibly for killing people, (see health info above), but they also tend to kill the economy and economic growth.
One more note. I said that it is hard to spin some statistics. Yet conservatives can almost manage a way. For example I found a site http://www.netadvisor.org/2015/11/03/democrat-blue-states-have-46-percent-more-murders-than-republican-red-states/ (almost definitely conservative, but they like to claim that they are unbiased) that says that blue states have 50 percent more murders than red states. Well duh… They also have more than 60 percent more people, 188M vs 115M, using their outdated 2015 statistics of the population. Red states have a higher murder rate. Showing that while figures do not lie, liars, usually conservatives / republicans do figure.
Conservatives like to point out how the blue states have the worst finances. Perhaps, but with few exceptions, “facts” about money on entities the size of states can be spun, and are determined by various “principles of accounting”. For example blue states have high rates of personal debt. But if the people there have high incomes, this is not a problem. But this fact is hard to spin: The states with the highest bankruptcy rates are almost all red states. Blue states have low bankruptcy rates. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/highest-bankruptcy-rates-states-counties/
I make these assertions after checking numerous sites on line just as you can. If you like being poor, sick, with poor education, a lot of crime and abortions and premature death, by, on average, five years, just keep voting republican.
There is one area where republicans/conservatives (RC’s) are pro life. Zombie people. Legal people created by governments. Corporations. Yep. RC’s do everything that they can to feed them and their operators at the expense of actual living people. Maybe RC’s are the zombie party.
Just a thrill that you’ve come visiting here, Doug!
What would really be interesting is to lock you and “Party of Lincoln” in a room, to see if either of you could survive a few hours of the other’s verbiage.
I am sorry. But as far as I can tell the present republican party has the same connection to Lincoln as — well the teachings of Jesus have to Evangelical Christians. That is essentially NONE!!
Or I just might not understand your point, if there is one. I have aspergers and do not do abstractions well unless it is math or science.
Oh, OK, I’ll try again, Doug: You have nothing coherent to say, and you do it at great length.
The fact that you find my remarks not coherent may be more a reflection on you than me. Perhaps you can point to a specific phrase or sentence or paragraph that was not coherent. But I doubt it.
While doing some research I came across several articles that all indicate the same thing and that follow from the definition of conservative: a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.
Of course if you are adverse to change, then you will be unwilling or unable to learn new stuff since, by definition new stuff is associated with change. And not learning new stuff is the hallmark of stupid. The one exception if that you swallow anything that a recognized authority figure tells you. Also known as obedience to authority or authoritarianism.
This also explains why less than 10% of working scientists — you know those funny guys whose life’s work is all about new stuff — identify as conservative. And why universities tend to be liberal. Cause you know — learning new stuff.
So that stuff that I came across. All indicate the same thing. Conservatives are adverse to change. And are fearful. And do not like much of anybody or anything that is different from them or outside of their tribe / echo chamber.
All pointing to and congruent with your finding any but a limited set of ideas to be incoherent.
That “The party of Lincoln” thing:
The change began to develop quickly. Two weeks after the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, the Republican National Convention in San Francisco nominated for the presidency Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, one of the handful of Republican senators who had opposed the measure.
You can read more here: https://www.thenation.com/article/when-republicans-really-were-party-lincoln/
Well, Doug, I’m a conservative who’s a retired physicist (PhD, University of Chicago) and who does a lot of reading and writing, especially about immigration but also about a lot of other policy subjects. And in physics, I continue to learn new things.
One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that liberals are resistant to recognizing reality, such as the existence of largely-fixed human nature (presumably a product of evolution). Liberals also insist on repeatedly bringing back things that have been shown not to work, often disastrously. Socialism is a prime example.
But the immediate issue here is your writing (specifically, your writing here). It’s a blowsy mess. For example, this paragraph:
“I have found that, almost without exception, stupid is a word that has almost no meaning other than being a bit mentally slow. But this does not include those who destroyed the space shuttle in the same way as they did the Columbia, or Donald Rumseld who got us involved in the ongoing expensive mess that is Iraq, thus showing that they learned exactly nothing from our adventures in Viet Nam. So I define STUPID as being unwilling or unable to learn new stuff. Note how this fits with the definition of Conservative above.”
“… destroyed the space shuttle the same way as they did the Columbia …” What’s that even about?
As the famous physicist Wolfgang Pauli would have said, “It’s not even wrong.”
I was tempted to reply to you but then decided I would just laugh. It must be simply horrible to be so dependent on government. I pity you.
And you know that I am dependent on government because??? Oh yes. Right wingers have all knowledge. I keep forgetting that. You, on the other hand have no dependency on gov. Nope. You grow your own food, have your own well, do not use roads, and like Roy Moore only more so ride a horse. No cars or roads for you.
Because you are simply to stupid to be anything else. It is quite obvious. Pathetic really.
LOL. So either $4,000,000,000,000+ a year or no roads?! Nothing in between?! Could we build a couple of roads for $3,000,000,000,000? Idiot.
There’s some interesting analysis here, but it’s in a bit of a bubble. I wonder how Mr. Olson might modify his argument considering the hegemonic power America holds and wields globally.
I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment and the argument. But the loss of the education system to the left, seems to have produced moderate leftists entirely comfortable with totalitarianism. It is not clear that there exists a moderate 40% withon the body politic with enough remnant self restraint for the basic concepts of liberty to survive. In fact, I would suggest, if we cannot regain some presence in education I suppose we have lost. Ignoring the temporary success of whatever rear guard action we pursue, the majority of the US population is being indoctrinated into anti-Americanism.
The choice is simple:
Follow the lead of the GOPe, which has failed every test of conservatism and has also failed to win elections, or
Go on a different path. A Flight 93 path.
The GOPe won’t stop the left. At best, they’ll allow the Left to sentence the U.S. to death, and negotiate for a 6 month stay of execution.
Mr. Olson gets close but (it is respectfully submitted) misses (or omits) the key point: Progressivism seeks to overturn the American Founding and replace / displace it with a Collectivist / Globalist system. The path to the “moderates” is to reawaken (reintroduce as our K-12 and college system has purged) an understanding of our history and founding principles. If we restore our American founding, the “right-wing” suppression that Mr. Olson seems to fear will not occur, because that is not compatible with our founding. FWIW, I discuss this at great length in my book (“Communiques From The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy”) and in my contributions / posts on http://www.trevorloudon.com.
Well said Mr. Olsen. One question – how did this ever get published by American Greatness?
How about a Government that when the Dams spillway desperately needs to be rebuilt and your in a drought but you
know the rains will come they fix it. In other words doing their job, following the law, and not bankrupting the next
generations for ever.
Although the current condition of mutual animosity between the Right and Left is undeniable, it has been delivered to us by the Left. It has been the Left’s policy for many decades to indulge hysterical, red-faced rage toward its political opponents. For a long time now, the Right has sought to assuage the Left with reasoned argument and an appeal to a sense of proportion. In the meantime, the Right has endured a firestorm of invective, moral preening and condemnation.
Simply put, we have had enough.
For many years, we Conservatives have prayed for deliverance from the wretched excess and demoralizing condemnation from the Left. We have longed for an oppprtunity to fight them. The ugliness of our contemporary political discourse is what this fight looks like.
If anyone were to take the time (or waste it) looking back at my earliest posts in Disqus they would find I was of the camp of appealing to the middle to find joint solutions. But I have come to think that was my dalliance with a Neville Chamberlain solution. How misguided, as the center left continues to work in lockstep with the far progressivist left the center-left has shown no inclination to work with the Republican Congress on the major issues. They had their chance to help overhaul O-Care and sat silent instead.
Since March I am solidly in the Churchill camp–“We will fight them on the beaches. . .” . To hell with compromise. Take the cockpit and set gun emplacements at the door.
“Would a victorious and unmodified Right be satisfied with universities, media, and entertainment largely under the control of its foes? Would not some form of regulation and control be in the offing, often under the guise of “fairness” or “balance”? Would that be an America we want to live in?”
If you mean by “guise” a pretext of “fairness” or “balance,” are you rejecting the notion that those qualities are often lacking in those established industries for transmitting information? The left used to decry the end of the “fairness doctrine.” But its end as government regulation doesn’t mean that the values it was intended to embody aren’t worthy for guiding principles. Does the middle you hold up as the savior to the current political war not believe in the basic premise of an open contest of ideas being debated for the citizens of the country? Lacking that, the “middle” is defined with those who have the power to do so by virtue of their control over the dominant distribution channels of information.
The greatest area of suppression of debate and consequent media ability to define its middle position is around immigration. That’s not surprising as it is seen as the path to a demographic victory of the left. Trump’s immigration positions had lots to do with his being elected, and the resulting massive opposition by the those who saw it delivering to them control of the country.
The GOP donor-class’s self-serving delusions or willful denials about what it will bring (while they currently profit from it in the presence) bodes ill for their future counterparts, but they couldn’t care less. They hope to forestall the consequences with gerrymandering and other such techniques during their lifetimes. The reality is that those who wish to forestall having the country be determined by immigration demographics really have very little political representation. GOP politicians may fear backlash from their rank and file voters but that’s about the extent of the obstacles to the path of decades that it’s safe to assume represents the real wishes of those in our government.
If you read comments, I’m a fan of yours. But this essay is a dream without particulars and the particulars are everything.
In Plato’s Republic it doesn’t take long to get to the gripes of money and of self-made men.
There may be insurrections and the like in our future but a full scale civil war is unlikely, IMO. You have to have that 30% of the population with the energy. The Right is more likely to be in possession of that energy because real or imagined dispossession can energize people.
Go back and read De Tocqueville and see what it was that he thought made us a solid nation. He predicted we would devolve into who we are today.
Our unraveling will not be spectacular and if it is, impositions are unavoidable.
A thorough polling on money and neighbor would be a welcome read.
There is a far, far, far, far, far more simpler solution. One that is, in all actuality, inevitable and quite frankly, desirable by both sides: An amicable separation into two (or three) countries. What’s that you say? Can’t be done? The Soviet Union, with no history of democracy did it. We can’t, you say? Really? Huh? Commies can and we can’t. Who’d a thunk. Establish a Mutual Defense Treaty, and a Fair Trade Treaty, and call it a day. They HATE us, we disagree with them. Why in the Hell should we not live peaceably among our own? The two sides will never reconcile, and I, for one, don’t want my kids and grandkids fighting these ridiculous battles every day for the rest of their lives when there is an easy solution. Overlay a map of the U.S, on Europe then tell me it can’t be done. Nonsense. Who wants to live with people who hate you and always will? Adios.
I don’t just disagree with them, I hate them. 100,000,000 were murdered by their ideology in the 20th Century alone. If I didn’t have children, I wouldn’t favor a separation being peaceful. The Tree of Liberty is long overdue a watering.
The “moderation”‘ that the author suggest ISN’T “Flight 93”. What Flight 93 suggest is to throw all principles and morals out the window and vote for the person who advocates “Burn the party Down”…..hence Donald Trump. We as Conservatives are faced with “Drain the Swamp” of McConnell and company or “Swim in the Cesspool” with Trump and Bannon. I take neither !
“If one side was to craft an approach to the conflict that reaches out to the moderate members of the other party” is the crux of the biscuit. Republicans have done so, repeatedly, but the DNC and Media cannot allow Republican majorities to succeed at anything. Case in point: Durbin’s planned sabotage of the recent budget/shutdown talks – clearly sanctioned by the DNC leadership, and coordinated with the media for maximum impact, killed the talks.
this is a wonderful idea, but Democrats are at war, and actively sabotaging any peace talks.