Our Bankrupt Nomenklatura

Donald Trump is now in the midst of another coup frenzy that has the Left accusing him of being crazy. But he already took the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test. It was a simple cognitive exam and he aced it, as would most people. The Left, remember, had called in a Yale psychiatrist to testify that Trump was demented, during the lulls between the first impeachment, the serial “Russian collusion” hoaxes, the emoluments clause psychodrama and Robert Mueller’s “walls-are-closing-in,” “turning-point,” and “bombshell” investigation.

Perhaps the wrong public figures took the test.

At times, former Vice President Joe Biden is unaware of which town, indeed which state, he is in. He slurs his words often. Biden strings together unconnected thoughts that result in utter incoherence—not alleviated by his near shouting emphatics or fits of pique at reporters.

Sometimes, Biden forgets names, and referents, and appears befuddled generally. His biography is mythical. He cannot address Ukraine and the role of his son, Hunter Biden, because, after all, what would a truthful person say? That the vice president of the United States allowed his wastrel son to become a multimillionaire by leveraging his father’s office with foreign corrupt governments? And was Biden’s moral lapse atypical, or rather reflective of prior ethical laxities that destroyed his two earlier presidential bids when he variously lied about his bio, plagiarized, and used a variety of racially insensitive remarks of the sort that would have characterized most others as racists.

Shouldn’t Hillary Clinton also take the MoCa Test? At times she seems completely delusional—or is she a bit unhinged?

In one of the strangest paradoxes in American history, Clinton apparently does not accept or cannot remember that she hired Christopher Steele, a foreign national, through the use of three deceptive firewalls—the Democratic National Committee, the Perkins Coie law firm, and Fusion GPS—in order to smear candidate Trump from bought Russian sources. She also simply will not admit that other campaign aides in 2016 were working to get dirt on Trump as well from disgruntled Ukrainians.

While fleeing from this reality, she had concocted a fantasy that Donald Trump won the Electoral College not because her hare-brained campaign team sent her southward to win a “mandate” by flipping unflippable red-states Georgia and Arizona, while neglecting a supposedly secure blue wall in the north.

Now she apparently believes an erstwhile, post-election ally, third-candidate leftist Jill Stein, was a Russian “asset” used by Moscow to draw votes from her candidacy, while current Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard likewise is in the de facto service of the Russians. Who knew that outsiders Trump, Stein, and Gabbard were all Russian moles variously working against Hillary’s interests?

And all this from Hillary Clinton, who inaugurated the 2009 disastrous Russian appeasement scheme known as “reset” by pushing a red plastic Jacuzzi button in Geneva, and who was instrumental in green-lighting North American uranium sales to Russian interests, which interests through third parties had donated to her foundation and indirectly paid Russians to interfere in the 2016 election to destroy her opponent?

Mitt Romney often was seen as the pinnacle of silk-stocking Republican sobriety and judiciousness. He was a gentleman who did not stoop to reply in kind to the smears leveled at him by the Obama team in the 2012 campaign—from putting dogs on his car roof, to being a youthful hazer, to an elevator-owning elite, to the husband of an equestrienne, to wishing to poison the air and starve the poor.

Romney used to like reality-television star and businessman Donald Trump, at least in the sense of making occasional trips to Trump Tower to enlist his endorsements. No doubt he thought he was legitimizing the outsider Trump by allowing the latter to endorse him. But after the implosion of the once impressive 2016 Republican primary field, Romney assumed the mantle of senior establishment Trump foe. If he played by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules with Barack Obama, he certainly did not with Donald Trump, blasting him frequently as a fraud, con, dishonest, a bully, and greedy—clueless that instead Trump served as some sort of sharp planer that ripped off the thin, shiny mahogany veneer pasted over our particle-board establishment.

Romney seems to have entered Hillary/Biden fantasyland by admitting to being a “lurker” on social media—one who adopts an anonymous and secret Twitter account (in Romney’s case under the nom de guerre “Pierre Delecto”), to channel and encourage nice stories about himself, and to attack vicariously those who do not share his views or self-admiration.

In other words, Romney, of all people, has now entered the unhinged territory of former Obama EPA director Lisa Jackson, who created a fictional royal persona “Richard Windsor” to communicate with green activists and others, without leaving an official EPA footprint. (Why do our government officials favor these foreign-sounding pseudonyms—or do we remember former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s handle “Carlos Danger”?)

These people should not be considered by any stretch of the imagination our “establishment” at least if there any positive sense left in the world. Yet they are typical, not aberrant of a habit of equating appearances, credentials, and demeanor of not necessarily talented people as proof of excellence and deserved authority. Where you live, what school branded you, what title, past and present, you can parlay, whom you know, and whom you married somehow have ended up far more important than what you actually have done. They remind one of played out “senators” from the last generations of the Roman Empire.

Eminent Scoundrels

The curious fact about the moral meltdowns and exposés of the sharks Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein was not that their respective sexual assaults were at all surprising in such polluted and target-rich waters.

The surprising development was that both were ever outed, given that their felonious behavior went on for years under the noses of the elite whom they enriched, befriended, leveraged and compromised—a fact often the object of jest among our celebrity social activists. Their downfall apparently was not due just to their own well-known sexual coercions and perversions, but mostly from becoming too ostentatious, too public, and too haughty about both.

That narcissism drew attention and put their elite compromisers and compromised in an untenable position of aiding and abetting molesters and assaulters. And so, when both became more liabilities than assets, then the elite was “shocked” about what had gone under their noses. Both Weinstein and Epstein were nefariously cynical. They grasped that the power, the money, the influence and the fun that these two parlayed far outweighed the ethical considerations of their friendly circles. 

The top echelons of our intelligence agencies largely have been similarly discredited. Before Trump, both John Brennan and James Clapper, respectively CIA director and director of national intelligence, lied under oath to Congress—and paid nothing for doing so. Or rather their past prevarications became good CV items for the new fake news industry. From them, we respectively once learned that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was largely secular and that jihad was a mostly a non-violent expression of personal growth and discovery. In their world, drones never hit bystanders, the intelligence agencies never spy on Americans, and the two of them never lied under oath. Both leveraged their past service and security clearances into lucrative cable TV analyst contracts—and often editorialized about ongoing investigations in which they were either knee-deep or of which they later became targets.

The strange thing about James Comey was not his serial leaking to the press, his deception of a FISA court, his effort to subvert the Trump candidacy by peddling a false dossier and using informants, or even warping the Clinton email investigation. Rather, the rub was that Comey was not aberrant, but rather the apt expression of the Washington, D.C. culture of the FBI, at least as epitomized by his conniving and often deceitful associates such as James Baker, Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and Peter Strzok, who did not worry much about ruining the lives of others.

Page and Strozk apparently post facto classified Comey’s presidential memos as merely confidential to preclude their ex-leaker-boss’s felonious exposure. And the two seemed to have texted about reworking the 302 interview memos of the Michael Flynn ambush, again post facto, to ensure he seemed guilty of lying. Anywhere there was a major FBI scandal of the last three years, Peter Strzok was to be found—the Comey-McCabe go-to fixer when there was rigging to do.

Perhaps once a Clapper, McCabe, or Strzok begins to spill his proverbial guts to preclude a felony charge, the entire structure may come crumbling down—and spark Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to hit the accelerator to use the impeachment hysteria as the last firewall between the complete collapse of the corrupt Obama elite intelligence hierarchy.

Celebrity Nothings

The National Basketball Association is going the way of Hollywood, as its hip, cool, woke athletes turn out to be lions as they so often trash their own culture of freedom, and mice when they squeak homilies about their Chinese paymasters.

We are learning that sports and film are industries of outspoken, moralistic scolds who as opportunists rail at supposed unwoke Americans as they do the bidding of fascistic Chinese authoritarians. Harvey Weinstein thrived in Hollywood for so long because he did on the sexual level what the Chinese did on a financial one—bet that almost every star, producer, and director would abdicate moral responsibility in return for power or money or both, and as Medieval penance, then virtue signal about the trivial to square the selling of the soul in matters fundamental.

Adam Schiff is a Harvard Law School graduate and, as he reminds us, for a time a federal attorney. But once he powered his way onto the national stage, it is hard to find any statement of his that has proved to be true. Were he not in Congress, but again a regional federal attorney he long ago would have been fired for unprofessionalism and perhaps illegal behavior as well.

For nearly two years, he winked and nodded to the country that he had seen damning classified information, which, of course, being upright Schiff, he could not disclose but would shortly lead to a Trump impeachment, removal, resignation—as he sped the process along with periodic leaks to pet journalists. When Schiff felt the presidential Ukrainian call transcript was too nondescript, he simply made up his own version, before redefining it as a parody when people noticed.

He has now created an impeachment hysteria on the basis of second- and third-hand gossip, bundled together by a former intelligence officer, Trump opponent, and Biden associate, who under the guise of a “whistleblower” first met Schiff’s staff to translate his rumors into legalese before notifying the inspector general—a process about which Schiff flat out lied.  

Schiff’s notion of an impeachment inquiry is to forbid transparency, to hector hostile witnesses in closed session and to publicly praise obsequious ones, and then to step out to cameras, furrow his brow, bite his lip, and lecture that he had never seen such “incriminating” disclosures the substance of which he, unfortunately, cannot disclose, as he leaks distortions to the leftwing media. Schiff’s Star Chamber seems merely a desperate last stand to derail ongoing audits of Obama-era officials by damaging Trump to such a degree that he has no authority to ensure the continuation of Justice Department and inspector general investigations.

Cattle Brands

What explains the bankruptcy of the elite?

We have confused credentials with merit—as we learned when Hollywood stars and rich people tried to bribe and buy their mostly lackadaisical children into named schools, eager for the cattle brand BAs and without a care whether their offspring would be well educated. 

Graduating from today’s Yale or Harvard law school is not necessarily a sign of achievement, much less legal expertise. Mostly, entrance into heralded schools is a reminder of past good prep school grades and test scores winning admittance—or using some sort of old-boy, networking, athletic, or affirmative action pull.

Being a “senior” official at some alphabet government agency also means little any more outside of the nomenklatura. Academia, the media, and entertainment industries are likewise supposedly meritocratic without being based on demonstrable worth. Otherwise, why would college graduates know so little, the media so often report fantasies as truth, and Hollywood focus on poor remakes? Take all the signature brand names that the Baby Boomers inherited from prior generations—Harvard, Yale, the New York Times, NPR, CNN, the Oscars, the NFL, the NBA, the FBI, the CIA, the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, and a host of others. And then ask whether they enhanced or diminished such inheritances?

A country over $22 trillion in debt, with an open border, an existential conflict with China, and a West in cultural and demographic decline, for two years was told falsely that Donald Trump supposedly knew of a meeting in advance at Trump Tower, that James Comey would supposedly testify that he never told Trump he was not under investigation, and that Trump would soon be indicted, resign, or impeached. The amount of elite energy spent replaying the embarrassing progressive 2016 loss and trying to abort the Trump presidency before the 2020 election, remember, was the product of our best and brightest, the top echelon of our law enforcement and intelligence communities, and our most esteemed political and media elite.

To paraphrase an assessment found in Tacitus’s Agricola, the current American nomenklatura has all but ruined our institutions and branded all that success.

Get the news corporate media won't tell you.

Get caught up on today's must read stores!

By submitting your information, you agree to receive exclusive AG+ content, including special promotions, and agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms. By providing your phone number and checking the box to opt in, you are consenting to receive recurring SMS/MMS messages, including automated texts, to that number from my short code. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help, STOP to end. SMS opt-in will not be sold, rented, or shared.

About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004, and is the 2023 Giles O'Malley Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and the Bradley Prize in 2008. Hanson is also a farmer (growing almonds on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author of the just released New York Times best seller, The End of Everything: How Wars Descend into Annihilation, published by Basic Books on May 7, 2024, as well as the recent  The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump, and The Dying Citizen.

Photo: (Getty Images)

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.