A longer version of this essay first appeared at The American Mind.

Revolution 2020

Our revolution is by the ruling class—a revolution from above. Crushing obstacles to its growing oligarchic rule is the proximate purpose. But the logic that drives the revolution aims at civilization itself. What follows describes how far along its path that logic has taken America, and where it might take us in the future depending on the election’s outcome.

Aristotle, in Book 5 of the Politics describes how revolutions kill regimes (such as America’s) that balance the contrasting interests. As the balance between any complex regime’s components shifts over time, the revolution may be barely perceptible providing that those who impose themselves, whether from above or below, do so without adding insult to injury. But, if the party that seizes power destroys the friendship that had bound the several parts, even trifling incidents can spiral into all-consuming violence. Today, the oligarchic transformation of America’s republic is turning violent. But oligarchies born of violent revolution tend quickly to degenerate into some kind of tyranny, or one-man rule.

The U.S. Constitution had codified as fine a balance between the powers of the many, few, and one as any regime. Its authors, however, were under no illusions about the efficacy of “parchment barriers” to prevent interests from coalescing into factions against the common good. During the 19th century, interests and opinions in the South and the North coalesced into antagonistic ruling classes that fought the century’s bloodiest war. In the 20th, the notion that good government proceeds from scientific expertise, as well as the growing identity between big business and government, fostered the rapid growth of a single, nationwide, Progressive ruling class.

The ruling class was able to transform America’s constitutional regime because its collective partisanship bridged the natural divisions between the federal government’s parts, the states, as well as between public and private power.

Progressive Oligarchy in America

In America, as everywhere else, government regulation of business meant the twains’ coalescence. This reorganization of liberal societies was first codified in Italy’s 1926 Corporation Law as fascism’s defining feature. Before World War II commenced, every Western country, America included (through FDR’s New Deal), had adopted similar legislation. In America, however, it became ever clearer that membership in the U.S. corporate oligarchic ruling class depends primarily on sharing the proper socio-political opinions. 

The European tradition of government by experts reaches back beyond Napoleon and Hegel to royal techno-bureaucrats. That is why the fascists, who were part of that tradition, never made it as totalitarians. America’s growing oligarchy, however, always had a moralistic, puritan streak that indicts opponents as bad people. More and more, America’s ruling class, shaped and serviced by an increasingly uniform pretend-meritocratic educational system, claimed for itself monopoly access to truth and goodness and made moral as well as technical-intellectual contempt for the rest of Americans into their identity’s chief element. That, along with administrative and material power, made our ruling class the gatekeeper to all manner of goods.

Progressivism’s foundational proposition—the American way of life suffers from excessive individual freedom and insufficient latitude for experts to lead each into doing what is best for all—is the intellectual basis of the oligarchy’s ever-increasing size, wealth, and power. This theme has resounded from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. “Listen to the scientists,” they say. The American people’s indulgence of private ease and comfort, our focus on families, religious observance, and patriotism, has made for every secular sin imaginable: racism, sexism, greed, etc. Hence, America is a sick society that needs to be punished and to have its noxious freedoms reformed.

That is why the revolution that created the American oligarchy has nothing in common with Karl Marx’s original revolution “from below,” other than “overthrowing the pillars of the house.” Ours is the Party-centered oligarchic revolution from above that Vladimir Lenin outlined in What Is to Be Done? in 1902. Lenin is the template of the Soviet and every Communist regime. In our revolution too, everything—always and everywhere—is about the Party. 

Upbuilding the Ruling Class

Ever since the 1930s—and especially since the 1960s—the ruling class chided Americans for insufficient commitment to education, to wellbeing for the poor and disadvantaged, to a healthy natural environment, to public health, as well as for oppressing women, and above all for racism. The campaigns for remedying these conditions produced mostly the ostensible objectives’ opposites while increasing the numbers of the oligarchy’s members, their wealth and power, endowing them with socio-political clientele, as well as with levers for manipulating them.

In 1950, Americans at all levels of government spent 2 percent of GDP on K-12 education and 0.37 percent on higher education. In our time we spend 4.4 percent on K-12 and 1.9 percent on higher ed of a GDP that is about 10 times as large. These expenditures have dumbed down the nation to the point of mass illiteracy at the bottom and, at the top, to herds of college graduates ignorant, haughty, debt-ridden, and fit only to enforce government edicts against Americans they despise. But the money also built up and entitled a class of monied, self-indulgent, educrats—mostly administrators.

Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir had reminded Americans to preserve our country’s beauty and bounty for all. But beginning in the 1960s the ruling class started using conservation as an excuse for restricting the public living on and profiting from the land. Now they want to outlaw building new single-family homes. The wealthy have prospered, all others have suffered.

Since 1965, the War on Poverty has consumed some $22 trillion. It swelled and solidified America’s underclass, but enriched countless contractors, consultants, and members of the “helping professions.”

Whatever else these initiatives have done, they have increased the number of people whose livelihoods depend on government. Since 1965, the number of direct employees has more than doubled to 22 million, whose pay exceeds that of persons who actually perform services that people want. In short, they surely have created a lot of patronage.

One initiative—sold as the pursuit of justice for black Americans—has empowered the U.S. ruling class with power that, more than all the other campaigns combined, has fueled its members’ sense of entitlement to rule fellow citizens it deems moral inferiors. That sweet, heady sense of superiority—not any love for blacks—is what drives it.

The longstanding campaign for “civil rights” had rallied the country against the obvious negation of the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws.” But as liberals fought state-imposed racial segregation, they had come to equate justice with the forcible imposition of racial integration resulting from countless personal choices. The Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, also gave impetus to all manner of efforts to reform society by legal-administrative force. 

The decision itself was not based on the plain, unequivocal meaning of the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection of the laws,” meaning that any state establishment of racial preference, regardless of its intention, violates those words. Instead, Thurgood Marshall based his decision on “science,”—that is, on the claim that black children could feel and learn normally only in a racially mixed environment. Quickly, “scientific” conventional wisdom made “benign” or “remedial discrimination” by race official U.S. government policy.

This also confused legally established segregation with private personal choices. This confusion was the basis for Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed discrimination in “public accommodations” on the basis of race. This had become about forcing personal choices. The Civil Rights Act turned out to be the little law that ate the Constitution, turned “civil rights” into a ruinous socio-economic scam, and poisoned American society.

Bitterly, to ensure that the law’s logic would roil the lives of its sponsors as it was roiling his constituents’, powerful House Rules Committee Chairman Howard W. Smith added language that outlawed discrimination on the basis of sex. In the law’s lengthening legal shadow, even speech that some may construe as insufficiently hostile to discriminatory anti-discrimination has become punishable civilly as well as criminally. Thus, willy-nilly, the law established what was quickly recognized as “protected categories” of persons—negating the American Republic’s bedrock: “all men are created equal.” 

Government became a partisan in endless strife. 

Race (and sex, etc.) is yet another set of excuses for transferring power to the ruling class. The oligarchy is no more about race than it is about education, or environmentalism, or sex, or anything else. It is about yet more discretionary power in the hands of its members, for whom not all blacks (or women, or whatevers) are to be advantaged—only the ones who serve ruling class purposes. A ruling class of ever-decreasing quality has resulted.

Motivating the ruling class’ clients to break down resistance to revolution, though their concrete interests might well run contrary to those of the oligarchy, requires inducing them to share in the revolution’s logic of hate for its targets.

The Logic of Hate

I noted that this revolution’s logic leads to no logical end. That is because 

the logic that drives each turn of our revolutionary spiral is Progressive Americans’ inherently insatiable desire to exercise their superiority over those they deem inferior. … The logic’s force comes not from the substance of the Progressives’ demands. …Rather, it comes from that which moves, changes, and multiplies their demands without end. That is, from the Progressives’ affirmation of superior worth, to be pursued by exercising dominance: superior identity affirmed the inferior’s humiliation. 

Affirmation of one’s own superiority by punishing inferiors is an addictive pleasure. It requires ever stronger, purer doses of infliction, and is inherently beyond satisfaction.

In short, the progressive ruling class’ intensifying efforts to oppress those they imagine to be their inferiors is far less a choice of policy than it is the consequence of its awakening to the powers and privileges to which they imagine their superior worth entitles them. It is awakening to hate—for whomever does not submit preemptively. America’s potentates fear the millions of Americans who voted for Trump, who gave his party control of the House and Senate, and who will surely vote for folks who these potentates really should fear. 

The Trigger

As time passed, the ruling class’ arbitrariness and contempt increasingly tried the patience of ordinary people. 

During the 2008 financial panic, however, it fatefully flaunted its united contempt for the rest of Americans. Republican President George W. Bush, Republican presidential candidate John McCain, the overwhelming majority of Republican politicians and institutions, the literati from the establishment Left and Right were of identical minds with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, regarding measures to be taken—to which three-quarters of the public objected to no avail. Insult having awakened substantial numbers of Americans to the differences that had been growing between America’s rulers and ruled, they looked to push back. 

At the time, I wrote that “The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century’s Northerners and Southerners—nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, ‘prayed to the same God.” By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God ‘who created and doth sustain us,’ our ruling class prays to itself as ‘saviors of the planet’ and “improvers of humanity.” But as our ruling class put the rest of America beyond the proverbial pale, what remained of friendship among the American republic’s components drained away. 

By 2016, I wrote that, regardless of who won the upcoming election, the United States of America had crossed the threshold of a revolution, no one could know how it would end, and that we could be sure only that we would look back on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as relics from an age of moderation.

Identity Unfolded

Events since 2016 have surprised by the ever-increasing speed with which this revolution’s logic has unfolded. 

No one imagined that the Democratic Party—the party of government, of the entertainment industry, of the educational establishment, of the judiciary, of corporate America, the party of the ruling class—that this party, having lost the 2016 elections, would refuse to accept popular rejection and launch a full-court “Resistance” against the voters who had rejected them. 

But the ruling class was not resisting some kind of onslaught. The election’s outcome had resulted from the general population’s resistance to the ruling class further solidifying its oligarchy. The self-described “Resistance” of the ruling class began as a mere protest against, explanation and excuse for, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. But, as its identity unfolded according to its logic of hate, one thing led to another. 

The Democratic National Committee’s July 2016 throwaway lie that the Russians had hacked its emails became a four-year national convulsion about Trump’s alleged conspiracy with Putin. Ruling-class judges sustained every act of opposition to the Trump administration. Thousands of identical voices in major media echoed every charge, every insinuation, non-stop, unquestioned. 

The Resistance made it official ruling-class policy that Trump and his voters’ racism and a host of other wrongdoing made them, personally, illegitimate. In 2016, Hillary Clinton tentatively had called her opponents “deplorables.” By 2018, the ruling class effectively had placed the “deplorables” outside the protection of the laws. By 2020, they could be fired for a trifle, set upon on the streets, prosecuted on suspicion of bad attitudes, and even for defending themselves. 

This happened because the Resistance rallied the ruling class’ every part to mutually supporting efforts. Nothing encourages, amplifies, or seemingly justifies extreme sentiments as does being part of a unanimous chorus, a crowd, a mob. Success supercharges them. The Resistance fostered in the ruling class’ members the sense that they were more right, more superior, and more entitled than they had ever imagined. It made millions of people feel bigger, and better about themselves than they ever had.

Note well that the black-clad burners and looters were the very opposite of a proletariat and that, Marxist rhetoric aside, they never attacked the wealthy or the powerful—not Wall Street, nor major corporations, certainly not any government, never mind Google, Facebook, or Twitter—America’s most powerful monopolies. Instead, they received financial contributions from these sources. No. The violent ones were as troops in the service of the powerful, out to crush rebellious subjects. Some Marxists! 

And yet, as 2019 ended, the U.S economy’s vibrancy, the incompetence with which the ruling class had waged a resistance that had grown tiresome, made it likely that Trump would be reelected.

“Intersectionality” Beats Conspiracy

The full story of the COVID-19 pandemic and of the riots that followed is beyond our scope. The readiness and ease with which the ruling class turned these into something like a coup d’état might lead one to imagine a vast conspiracy. But the ruling class’ single-minded hate coordinated diverse groups more coherently than were a general staff to have coordinated them. 

In January 2017, Dr. Anthony Fauci had ruminated publicly about how the next epidemic to hit America could redound to Trump’s disadvantage. Other ruling class figures went on the record to the same effect. When it did, they exploited it following the logic that already possessed them. Yet they were able to do it only with Trump’s help.

In January, when Trump cut off travel from China and Europe, the ruling class indicted him for racist excess. Fauci and the CDC claimed that the virus was not contagious to humans, and Democratic officials urged people to attend big gatherings. 

After contagion became obvious they and the media, following Fauci, spread estimates that the virus would kill some 2 million Americans, that U.S. hospitals would be overwhelmed, and insisted that Trump urge Americans to avoid contact with one another for “15 days to slow the spread” and “flatten the curve” of infections. Trump took that unnecessary, but possibly politically analgesic step. 

But then Trump let himself be persuaded to extend the suggested “lockdown” indefinitely subject to such conditions as the CDC might make for “reopening.” Thus having made “lockdowns” his own, did he largely disempower himself, enabling and legitimizing the ruling class’ seizure of powers reminiscent of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Foremost of these is the exclusion of criticism of itself from public circulation. But also among them is the banning of church services and other voluntary organizations, interactions among neighbors, as well as closing small businesses, which reduced communications largely to one-way, top-down conveyance via TV of whatever the ruling class might decide. 

Thus did the oligarchy manage to convince the public to let it treat a virus the infection/fatality rate of which (circa 0.01 percent) is either equal to or lower than that of the average of seasonal influenzas, as if it were the plague. Worse, they convinced us that, for the sake of public health, the public should acquiesce in restrictions—such as quarantining uninfected persons and staying indoors—that reverse the logic of quarantine. 

This was medical nonsense. But the “lockdowns” made perfect political sense because they disadvantaged primarily the sort of people who vote conservative. The lockdowns also made ordinary people more economically dependent on government, while enriching those best connected with it.

Most remarkable has been the unbroken consistency with which every part of the ruling class’ entourage joined the campaign while piggybacking its own priorities to it—to the complaisance of all the others. Teachers’ unions, for example, conditioned returning to the classroom on the government banning charter schools, Black Lives Matter (BLM) claimed that “white racism” must be treated as another public health menace. All other components supported them. All signified solidarity by demanding that all Americans wear masks, even outdoors, and that those who don’t be jailed. Meanwhile they insisted that persons convicted of rape, robbery, and murder be released.

The riots that began depopulating America’s major cities in late May are “intersectionality’s” apotheosis. Along with Antifa, an organization of violent Marxists and anarchists, BLM organized the physical side of the ruling class’ campaign of intimidation against the American people. Yet the riots may be intersectionality’s downfall because ordering people to tell each other things they know to be untrue is the most hazardous of political power grabs. 

A New Regime?

In 2020, demanding that people apologize for their whiteness and show other signs of submission on pain of being fired had become routine. In 2016 it would have been difficult to imagine the 2020 level of ruling class presumption, virulence, and violence. Violent bands roamed America’s cities with official complaisance, acting as the ruling class’ officious enforcers of powers without a logical end. 

Freedom of religion? Filling churches and synagogues, celebrating baptisms, weddings and funerals can now land you in jail. 

Freedom of speech? You may now be punished for failing to declare what is ordered, even if you don’t believe it, or even for failing to attend a political re-education session or by not showing due deference therein. 

Freedom of assembly? Only for those on the side of the ruling class. 

Property? If you forcibly defend it against the mob, Democratic-controlled states and cities will jail you. They will also prosecute you for defending your life.

None of this was done by laws passed by elected representatives. All was done by all manner of officials’ and bureaucrats’ edicts, and discretionary actions supported by the media and corporations. Leaderless, the American people by and large obeyed a regime that had become an oligarchy served by thousands of its clients, eager to hurt opponents financially, socially and physically.

Whatever may happen, it is safe to say that, on the Right side of American life, conventional conservatism is dead, as is political moderation.

The Other Side

The major question overhanging our revolution is how all this has affected the Right side of American society. The deplorables are angry. But so what?

Why have conservatives mostly obeyed perverted authority? Did the ruling class succeed? Is the revolution over? 

A minority are conservatives who yearn to preserve something already gone, rather than revolutionaries for their own cause. Most have felt sandbagged by Donald Trump’s and the Republican Party’s verbally combative but toothless reaction to the oligarchic revolution. They waited in vain for them to use the active and passive devices available to deprive the ruling class of its government-derived powers: commanding and prohibiting, funding and defunding, hiring, firing, rewarding and punishing, accrediting and discrediting, punishing violations of freedom of speech, religion, and assembly, of basic civil rights. Private persons cannot easily defend themselves while their own officials don’t.

In 2020, the oligarchy’s impositions pursuant to COVID-19, as well as the riots forced millions to look beyond conventional leadership. They have made existential choices. Having been accused of racism, etc. and sensing that the powers-that-be stacked the deck against them, millions look upon the powers-that-be as enemies. No one could know for sure how much the empowered oligarchy had cowered ordinary people’s resentment or inflamed it. The fact that some two-thirds of respondents told pollsters that they are afraid publicly to voice their views suggests much. 

Untold thousands moved out of cities and Democrat-ruled states, and millions more wished to do so. Yet more people clogged the roads out into maskless America as for breaths of fresh air. Countless persons whose jobs or careers had been wrecked have been forced to look for ways to live the rest of their lives. Whatever may happen, it is safe to say that, on the Right side of American life, conventional conservatism is dead, as is political moderation.

The 2020 election will not be the least of the ways in which these changes will manifest themselves, because regardless of its outcome, the election cannot diminish the oligarchy’s hold on America’s institutions nor alter the revolution’s driving logic, nor extinguish the rest of America’s commitments to itself, nor return America to what had been normalcy.

2020: Who You Gonna Believe?

When the American people vote on November 3, they—like the proverbial husband who walks in on his wife in flagrante—will choose whether to believe what they are told or what their senses tell them.

The ubiquity, depth, and vehemence of the ruling class’ denigration of Donald Trump renders superfluous any detailing thereof. Suffice it to note that not a day in four years has gone by without the news media hyperventilating or ruminating on some allegation of Trump’s wrongdoing or wrong-being. For what? Again, the list of subjects is so exhaustive that it is easier to note that there is hardly any mortal transgression of which he has not been accused. To the extent one depends on the media’s narrative, one cannot help but believe that Donald Trump is the enemy of all good things, responsible for all that is bad. 

The media protects, fosters, embellishes, each and every member of the “intersectional” coalition. It labels as false and/or as “hate speech” facts and arguments that counteract its narratives. The ruling class need not worry about truth. Physicians in America and around the world use hydroxychloroquine successfully against the COVID-19 virus? True, but banished as politically incorrect. Riots, arson, and looting are causing so many to relocate from America’s major cities as to cause urban vacancies and a house-building boom in the country? Fact. But politically incorrect fact, indeed racist. Repeat: “mostly peaceful protests, mostly peaceful protests.”

To win the 2020 election, the oligarchy staked its legitimacy, whole. Win or lose, this election has already changed American politics in ways not entirely friendly to the oligarchy.

The intersectional coalition’s actions and demands have made far too explicit that crushing America’s “deplorable” population is its essential objective. How many Americans are willing to join the privileged ones in confessing their neighbors’ sins in exchange for the hope of being the new order’s oppressors rather than the oppressed? Do most Americans really believe that the authorities ought to have the powers they exhibited during the COVID affair, and do they see the “mostly peaceful protests” as part of a brighter future for themselves?

Since 2016 the ruling class has had the luxury of acting as if the “deplorables” were lifeless punching bags. On November 3 they will find out to what extent that may not be so. After the election, the politicians bidding for leadership of conservatives will make Trump look like a milquetoast. As the ruling class tries to suppress them, it will also have to deal with allies who have already shown themselves impossible wholly to control, and whose violence will spur the conservatives to fiercer resistance.

What If the Rulers Win?

Victory for the Democratic Party is a recipe for violent strife. 

The lack of moral-political authority at the head of the ruling class has been arguably the most important and least remarked fact of public life in 21st-century America. Most visibly since 2008, its leaders have led primarily by pulling rank—calling attention to their own elevated stations in government and society—and by courting the coalition of groups driven by intersectional hate. 

These leaders—the elected officials, the deep state bureaucrats, the corporate and finance chiefs, the educrats, etc.—may enjoy the fruits of their electoral victory only to the extent of the losers’ complaisance and of their ability to satisfy the intersectional’s ambitions and hates. Moderating and meshing these contrasting requirements would be hard even for exceptionally astute and potent persons. But neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris has talent, personal following, or moral authority. Hence, the winners would be hostages to the war that their own activists would wage against the rest of America, and to their resistance.

For most ruling class notables, enjoying and parceling out victory’s prerogatives is the revolution’s point. They would prefer to minimize disruption of the economy and avoid violence. For them rubbing the deplorables’ faces in excrement is mostly an instrument of conflict. 

But for the intersectionals, it is the revolution’s very objective, its driving logic. For them, hurting and humiliating the deplorables in every possible way is electoral victory’s foremost prerogative. Determined as the chiefs may be that the intersectional tail must not wag the revolutionary dog, fact is that each and every part of the intersectional coalition sees itself as the dog.

After 2016, and especially in 2020, officials of the Left, acted as laws unto themselves regardless of law, according to the principle “stop me if you can.” 

The Trump Administration’s passivity validated their decisions. All manner of bureaucrats, corporate officials, and employees—indeed anyone who wielded any kind of authority—came to believe that they had the right and duty to police, to command, and punish whoever offended their sensibilities. The alleged offenses matter little and the truth not at all. Even after accusations prove to be hoaxes, the narrative’s usefulness and being on the right side is all that matters. 

During the post-2016 period, the intersectional groups’ adherents became more numerous, more radical, and more independent. Following the Left’s victory in 2020, attorneys general, agency potentates, mayors, corporate officials who are part of or partial to these groups would see their ways clearer than ever to act against deplorables: investigations to harass, lawsuits to bankrupt, arrests to defame, seizures of property, firings, “cancellations,” restraining orders, custody of children . . . there is no limit to how people can be hurt by willful uses of power. All of the above portends assaults on deplorables increasingly pervasive, unpredictable, and violent. 

The deplorables know what is coming, and that they have no alternative but to respond in kind. They would not accept the legitimacy of the Left’s victory in 2020 any more than the Left accepted the Right’s victory in 2016. Why should they? They would retrench behind such state, local, and private means of resistance as they may have, while urgently seeking effective national leadership. Having learned the hard way that self-assertion to the point of violence is now America’s only effective political currency, they would respond to challenges with force. The revolution’s logic would play out in a series of confrontations. The revolution’s next stage would depend on these confrontations’ outcomes.

In sum, the Right is likely to emulate the Left’s 2016-20 resistance to the best of its abilities and limits of its powers. And since an empowered Left is likely to be far more kinetic in its response to resistance than Trump has been, violent clashes would be inevitable.

At all levels, officials of red states are the deplorables’ first line of defense. And indeed, during the post-2016 period some such officials used tactics similar to their Leftist homologues: refusing to enforce dictates from above, and declaring their jurisdictions “sanctuaries” for one or another cause. Correctly, they judged that just as the Trump Administration was not going to send federal troops to California to enforce immigration laws, nobody was going to send force majeure to their jurisdictions to govern in their stead. Were the Left to win in 2020, that assumption would be tested. Every U.S. agency has a SWAT team. The Biden-Harris Administration’s appointees would surely want to use them in confrontations with red jurisdictions and with private groups of deplorables.

Though the material balance of forces would be heavily weighted on the Left’s side, it would not prejudge the outcomes simply because government agents are unaccustomed to opposition. They are check-collectors rather than heroes willing to suffer harm for a cause. Believing in nothing, they are unlikely to go beyond initial skirmishes into guerrilla war against an armed population fighting for a way of life.

Some have suggested that such a victorious leftist administration could restrain its base by offering sinecures, and that only a lack of money would limit its ability to do so. But it is doubtful that money would extinguish the taste for raw force to which so many had become accustomed in 2020. Hence, violent confrontations, all over the country, would be virtually certain.

Where these confrontations led would depend on how the Right side of American life organized itself politically after Trump’s defeat. The 2016 Republican primaries’ unambiguous lesson was the voters’ wholesale rejection of the Republican Party’s establishment. Nothing that has happened since then would make establishment Republicans any less disgusting to deplorable voters.

In short, American politics’ Right side will be looking for leaders eager to do unto the Left what the Left has been doing to them, for leaders who organize effective resistance, and who offer a prospect for saving their constituents’ way of life. The race for leadership would center around the besieged deplorables’ plight. This would mean organizing nationwide measures such as tax strikes and other actions to nationalize opposition to local instances of injustice, perhaps interposing conservative elected officials between citizens targeted by injustice and their tormentors. It would mean fostering and leading campaigns of civil disobedience. 

After 2016 the Left had pretended to be frightened of populism. It would be incumbent on whomever would lead the Right side of American life after 2020 to give them real reasons to fear it.

If, in the event of the Left’s victory in the 2020 election, the Right does not come up with such leadership, the ruling class’ inability to control the inevitable clashes between the intersectionals and the deplorables really is likely to lead to a civil war that only the military can end. That might end the revolution on the usual terms: right is the interest of the stronger.

What If They Lose?

Donald Trump’s reelection would not end our revolution any more than the ruling class’ victory would. The revolution’s essentials would remain and its logic would continue to unfold. 

The ruling class would remain pressed by the deplorables on one side and its chosen intersectional instruments on the other. After an electoral defeat, it would be even more reluctant to dismount the tiger it rides. More than ever, the intersectionals would be the source of the Democratic Party’s identity. Virtually without obstacles under Trump I, the intersectionals’ aggrandizement would continue under Trump II.

But Trump’s reelection would reduce the intersectionals’ confidence a bit and give the Right side of American life a bit more leeway as it chooses new leadership. In this slightly calmer atmosphere, the beginning of the 2024 election cycle would open a host of possibilities.

After Election Day, Trump, even victorious, is a spent force. From the day he declared his candidacy until some time in 2018 he embodied the deplorables’ hopes for salvation. Thereafter until the 2020 election, he embodied the certainty that his defeat would mean the choice between subjection and war. 

Few if any of his voters will delude themselves that his second term could be better than his first, during which they have lost more of their country than in the previous half-century. But the deplorables’ fate is tied to Donald Trump—until election day 2020. The morning after the 2020 election, the deplorables’ agenda resets to 2016—with the vital difference of urgency. That means instantly searching for new leadership, and urgently getting behind it.

Donald Trump having vaccinated the deplorables against what Theodore Roosevelt used to call “the unbridled tongue and the unready hand,” candidates for leadership of the Right side of American life will have to present themselves by actually leading their fellow deplorables effectively to resist and reverse what officious and official policy by potentates high and low are doing. There is no substantive difference between the sort of leadership that the deplorables will demand in the wake of Trump’s reelection from what they would have demanded after his defeat. The problems are the same. 

In either case, they would have to lead protests, lawsuits, boycotts, campaigns for legislation, for legitimizing or de-legitimizing all manner of potentates, as well as explaining how to reestablish the American way of freedom on a sound basis for those who want to live it. But having won at the polls and having a nominally friendly administration, the deplorables’ leaders would have the luxury of picking their fights with strategic consistency.

The revolution long since destroyed the original American Republic in the minds, hearts and habits of a critical mass of citizens. They neither want nor are any longer able to live as Americans had lived until recently. Loudly, they declare that the rest of us are racists and guilty of other horrible “isms” that make us unworthy of self-government. No one can undo that. The longer we pretend to live under precisely the same laws the likelier we will end up killing one another. We must not do that. Sorting ourselves into compatible groups is part of the American genius and tradition. More of that has been happening and more will happen yet.

The greatest benefit that would come from the Left’s defeat in the 2020 election is the possibility that it may become possible to convince the ruling class, if not the intersectionals, that such accommodation is the best deal they can get. But the intersectionals are violent enemies who must be dealt with as such. Fortunately, there are more spoiled children among them than heroes.

About Angelo Codevilla

Angelo M. Codevilla is a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University and the author of To Make And Keep Peace (Hoover Institution Press, 2014).

Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

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3 responses to “Revolution 2020

  • I try to answer, but AG won’t allow me. They moderate my comments meaning they are removed as soon as I leave the site although I use no profanity and do not advocate violence. It seems angelo codevilla is a bit thin skinned when he is criticized. This new format won’t even allow me to see your lengthy comment.

  • Ok, perhaps we can try again as today my comments seem to post. Here are your remarks in quotation marks:

    “You arrogant idiot. You’re still not explaining your irrational and comical trust in this or that state or federal institution of this rapidly collapsing Rome circa 474 AD. I’m sure you were one of the Mattis fans in 2017.”

    First of all, I may be arrogrant, but I am far from an idiot. Second, I don’t have and have never asserted any trust, comical, or otherwise. Those are your assertions to include our republic being a “collapsing Rome Circa 474 AD.” I disagree with you.

    ” Look at that sh*tshow now. I grew up in Yugoslavia, a smaller version of communism-ridden and ethnic diversity/ethnic politics-ridden America, and watched its long descent into similar societal, political, constitutional and ethnic impasse and chaos, fought in its breakup and the ensuing wars and saw how inept everyone and everything, including beloved institutions and leaders, really are.”

    The fact that you grew up in a sh*tshow in Yougoslavia may explain why you think everything you wittiness and experience is a sh*tshow. America is nothing like Yugoslavia. In fact, there was no Yougoslavia before Tito. It has historically been divided by religion and ethnic hatreds and rivaltries. Tito the communist was the only leader strong enough to unite it and by using brute force and, he was only able to do that due to the brutal experience of WW2 and t he Nazi occupation. It seems you don’t even know much about Yougoslavia’s history much less America’s history.

    “When this country goes Yugoslavia 2.0 all of its institutions will shatter or splinter. So will the various facets and layers of what you here call “the military”.”

    I say again. America is not Youslavia 2.0. So far our institutions haven’t splintered, not has our military. All we have are the assertions of a possible Chinese, or Russian bot, or maybe worse, a
    Democrat Troll? No one is fooled much less beguiled by you. Trump is challenging the ruling elite globalists who would sellout America. Americans support him. He was elelcted once and my assertion is he will be reelected again in 34 days. You will still be a no body,non entity with a phony screen name. It’s morning in America. You’re a loser.

    “Already your “intel community” is working against you, and for the international / internationalist globalist cabal and communist China by extension. You think the military, in any of its alotropic modifications, will carry water for you?? LOL! I’d give my life’s savings to see Trump use the military against the Swamp and the communist vermin in the streets. It’s just that they prefer steady, controlled descent of America and leveling of its good fortunes with the fortunes of the third world.”

    First of all, that’s the difference between America and Tito’s communist Yugoslavia where you grew up. We don’t use troops against the swamp, or communist agitators and rioters in the street. If Trump finally manages to get the country and its institutions working as they should, it will be the law that finally cleans out the swamp. They are criminals hiding in the bureaucracy and allowed to do so by AG Sessions, Barr and other corrupt officals. If we fix what’s wrong, it will be by lawfull process. As for rioters and Marxists in the streets, they are a police problem. They occured only in Democrat cities where Democrats wanted them to sway an election. I doubt it will work. When Trump did send federal police to Minn it was over in less than an hour. The threat of Federal police was enough to shut down Seattle. If I try to give the advantage of the doubt, that you are legitimate and well intentioned, ie sincere than I find you are wildly incapapble of making any sort of evaluateions or judgments. Here in America, we do not throw the baby with the bath water. We preserve our institutions and our respect for the rule of law because that is what makes America America. Foreign adversaries have often mistaken that for weakness. It is not. It is our strength, one of our strengths and while the last 30 years have consisted in governmental treachery and corruption, Trump is the corrective. We will see, if he is reelected and, if he is successful.

    “There’s a lot of careers and money to be made in this controlled landing of America into a 3rd world cesspit state. Joint chiefs of staff, SecDef, generals, colonels, brigade commanders, NatGuard f*cktard weekend soldier batt. commanders. Governors, mayors, SWAT and regular cops on the beat. What do they care? They have careers to pursue, mortgages to pay, mistresses to bang, and like surfing porn in the peace and quiet of their offices when they’re not playing lib kingmakers behind the scenes.’

    No doubt much of what you say is certainly correct. That has been the story of the last 30 years, except you generalize too much. Not all the governors and not all the mayors, certainly not SWAT TEAMS and not 99.9% of police either. Every police and sheriff’s union and association has endorsed Trump. Pull you head out from up your arse and look around. SWAT teams are part of local police departments. They are the elite, special forces of the police world. They especially support law and order and Trump. Nine Democrat mayors in the Democrat state of Minn. have endorsed Trump. Plenty of mayors and governors around the country have done the same. Could you possible be that stupid, uninformed, or are you a Chinese bot, or a Democrat troll? It really doesn’t matter. It is not incumbent upon me or anyone to know everything about everyone. We just know you are wrong and more, full of schit and bluster.

    “You think some unit or even an entire force (military or police/parapolice) will put their lives on the line for your wishes? Nobody will. With bills to pay and easy work to do under any regime they’ll pick the latter. Remember that school cop who was hiding while a psycho kid with an AR-15 was mowing down kids in that school in Broward Country, FL? That’s your military. Pension First, not America First.”

    “Yeah I remember the Democrat cop coward from t heDemocrat community who finally got the police they deserve. I also remember all the other cops who charged into the line of fire even while he hid. One coward does not a country define. Will the real idiot please stand. No that isn’t our America you communist jerk. That’s the Democrat’s, their sheriff, their policies in Broward county, Fl. It’s not Florida, stupid. Florida will go for Trump. And neither Florida, Broward county, or you know anything about our military. Go ahead and make a mistake.

    ” Change my mind.”

    Well that last bit right here appears to be the clincher. It’s what scum bag trolls always say because they get paid by the line. FU we will see you on Nov 3rd. loser.

  • I try to respond to Mark Belle’s comments, but this is the screen that comes up

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