This Is How I See It

Personally, I’ve figured that the statues honoring Confederates in public squares should be moved for some time now – can’t remember exactly when it occurred to me, but it was nigh to 20 years ago. Here’s why:

At the end of the day, the Confederate leadership decided to break up the nation because an election didn’t go their way – and it signaled that the long-held Southern dominance over the national Executive was coming to an end. Demographics decreed that: the population of the North was not only much larger, but was growing much faster. No matter how you sliced it, eventually the Southern leadership was going to be on the outside looking in. They didn’t want that – so they decided to set up shop for themselves. And that is what started the war – wars always being started by someone desiring something they don’t have title to. The reality is that if the South hadn’t gone out, Lincoln would have led a minority government in DC and probably would have failed for re-election. But the Southern leadership wanted their out so bad that they deliberately engineered the election of Lincoln by splitting the Democrat vote…and then used Lincoln’s election as their excuse for secession. Such people, quite simply, do not deserve places of honor in any American city.

Now, as for the soldiers – that is a bit of a different story. I always honor soldiers who do their duty – and can feel nothing but sympathy for those who stayed true even in a losing cause. But even then, people like Lee broke their sworn oath. You might have heard of the Oathkeepers groups out there…people who (correctly) hold that their oath to defend the Constitution doesn’t end the day they get out of the military. This is true – there was an expiration of my enlistment, but there was no expiration for my oath. I’m bound by it until the day I die. So was Lee – if he felt that he couldn’t fight against the South (as his duty commanded) then his only course of action was to refuse to fight, at all. He choose to break his oath and fight against that which he had sworn to defend. A statue honoring him is, in my view, just wrong.

To be sure, for the Left, this is all just Step One. Step Two is where they demand that statues and memorials to the Founders be torn down. The people causing the ruckus on the left don’t hate particular things about America, they hate the very idea of America. They view our history as nothing but a compendium of evil and they won’t be happy until all that is destroyed and some sort of Progressive Utopia (ie, a totalitarian dictatorship) is imposed on the United States. But just because the Left is lunatic, doesn’t mean we have to defend everything they attack. I think our best course of action, as Conservatives, is to urge that all Confederate memorials be moved to museum-like settings. Obviously, the national cemeteries must remain inviolate, but we also must not destroy the statues and memorials…but they can be moved and placed in a setting where they educate.

That said, I’m not about to be lectured on what is right and wrong by people who hold that abortion is a morally good thing. No Progressive who holds such views has any business telling me what I should or should not do. And I do not have to disavow racists because I am not a racist. I have nothing to do with them; they are not part of any political or social coalition I belong to. Just take a look at the emblems they carry and you know, instantly, that they are not part of any patriotic, Conservative, Christian, American grouping. They are largely pagans; they hate the United States as much as the Progressive lunatics do (you might see a couple American flags at their events, but pride of place is given to Confederate and Nazi symbols) – they, too, despise all that has come before (other than Confederate leaders, of course) and wish to impose upon the United States their own form of totalitarianism. Trump, as I noted before, was right to condemn “all sides”. Odd day in America when the only political leader who gets it right – who has the courage to speak what is obviously true – is President Trump. My estimation of him went up quite a lot with that comment.

I’m also not going to be lectured to by supposed Conservative “leaders” who say that I must do this or must do that or I’m betraying Conservatism. All I can say about modern American Conservatism is that it didn’t even manage to defund NPR – if this is “leadership” then I don’t want it. People who just lose gracefully to Progressives who shout “racist” at the drop of the hat hold none of my respect – I won’t follow them anywhere.

We are slouching towards Civil War, folks. People who know least – antifa and alt-right – are most sure about everything. They are setting up fights (helped by the left, mostly, because they feel it is tactically in their best interest) which, one day, might degenerate into mass violence. Junior-league Leninists (as I called them many years ago) are desperately calling forth a Franco to fight them.

Now, just why is this happening? Because they don’t know – and they don’t know because they weren’t taught anything relevant or true. I pointed out on Twitter today that both the antifa and alt-right people are products of the public schools and pop culture that the left has created and owns outright. We Conservatives had nothing to do with this – other than the negative effect of not really doing anything to stop it (largely because our so-called leaders were afraid of the fight). If kids aren’t taught the glory of America, then they will go for some other form of glory…people want a cause; take away the cause of making a more perfect Union, and some other cause will arise. Did you see the picture of those alt-right nimrods? They were clearly middle class white kids – children who have had it soft their whole lives. They’ve got nothing to really complain about…but, there they are, hating their own nation and their own people…and getting into battle with other middle class kids (who are also, in their large majority, white) who have had it soft, but also hate their own nation and their own people. Into the vacuum of not telling kids about Valley Forge, Shilo and Guadalcanal rushes the twin lunacies of Communism and Nazism. I read that one of the leaders of the white racist groups was, a few years back, a Occupy Wall Street activist…don’t know for sure if it is true, but it doesn’t surprise me in the least. These kids have nothing in their brains of merit, and so they are easy prey for anyone with a con to sell…and I can see them falling for different cons in succession.

As I see it, now, our job as Conservatives is to just push back with all our might against this – and against both sides. Don’t get drawn into the Progressive game of “condemn the racist” because no matter what we say on it, the left will still call us racists. Also don’t fall for twaddle about “don’t punch right” which the alt-right is trying to sell. Punch back (rhetorically, of course) against everyone who hates this nation, the reason for their hatred be damned. This is the greatest nation in human history – we are the good guys. We’ve fought Nazis and Communists before and we must keep doing so. The survival of our nation as a Republic is at stake over these next few years – we either push these fools back into the ash heap of history, or our nation is gone.

Senator Flake’s Defense of the Establishment

I want to dig rather deep into Senator Flake’s anti-Trump op-ed, because it perfectly encapsulates what I think is wrong with a certain species of Conservatism. His bits are in block quotes:

Who could blame the people who felt abandoned and ignored by the major parties for reaching in despair for a candidate who offered oversimplified answers to infinitely complex questions and managed to entertain them in the process? With hindsight, it is clear that we all but ensured the rise of Donald Trump.

Your first clue is “oversimplified”. You see, you might think that the problem of lax enforcement of our laws is, well, lax enforcement of our laws – but you’re wrong! It’s complex. Sure, all complexities tend to work in favor of letting Progressives get their way and/or get away with it, but it’s complex! Trust us!

I will let the liberals answer for their own sins in this regard. (There are many.) But we conservatives mocked Barack Obama’s failure to deliver on his pledge to change the tone in Washington even as we worked to assist with that failure. It was we conservatives who, upon Obama’s election, stated that our No. 1 priority was not advancing a conservative policy agenda but making Obama a one-term president—the corollary to this binary thinking being that his failure would be our success and the fortunes of the citizenry would presumably be sorted out in the meantime.

How dare we Republicans make it a goal that Obama be a one-term President! Oh, what’s that you say? The Democrats have pledged to try and make Trump a less-than-one-term-President? And have dreamed of doing a “Watergate” on every GOP President since Nixon? Who cares about that! That is one of their own sins in this regard! We GOPers are better than that – so, let’s not have any of this nonsense about trying to make a Democrat a one-term President.

It was we conservatives who were largely silent when the most egregious and sustained attacks on Obama’s legitimacy were leveled by marginal figures who would later be embraced and legitimized by far too many of us. It was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued. To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. And tremendous powers of denial.

I’ve been sympathetic to this impulse to denial, as one doesn’t ever want to believe that the government of the United States has been made dysfunctional at the highest levels, especially by the actions of one’s own party. Michael Gerson, a con­servative columnist and former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, wrote, four months into the new presidency, “The conservative mind, in some very visible cases, has become diseased,” and conservative institutions “with the blessings of a president … have abandoned the normal constraints of reason and compassion.”

Just ignore all that bit about W being “selected, not elected”. Also, for goodness sake, please don’t remember all that “Chimpy McSmirk BusHitler” stuff. Pretty sure we need you to forget all that violent fantasies that Progressives entertained about President Bush, as well. And, if you really want to be cool, forget all those times you’ve been called a racist, sexist, homophobic bigot.

More important that we fear that “instability” – you see, when things aren’t going along just as they have, it is bad. Don’t ask why it’s bad: it just is. You are supposed to be shaking in your boots that Trump isn’t doing things like everyone else! Please be frighted. Pretty please? With sugar on top? If you won’t be frightened, then how am I to convince you to give power back to those you rejected last year?

For a conservative, that’s an awfully bitter pill to swallow. So as I layered in my defense mechanisms, I even found myself saying things like, “If I took the time to respond to every presiden­tial tweet, there would be little time for anything else.” Given the volume and velocity of tweets from both the Trump campaign and then the White House, this was certainly true. But it was also a monumental dodge. It would be like Noah saying, “If I spent all my time obsessing about the coming flood, there would be little time for anything else.” At a certain point, if one is being honest, the flood becomes the thing that is most worthy of attention. At a certain point, it might be time to build an ark.

This is far more revealing than Flake meant, I’m sure. They hate that Trump tweets. They say they hate it because it is vulgar and chaotic – but what they really hate is that Trump is able to speak directly to the people. This bothers them because they know it signals and end on the Establishment monopoly on forming the American mind. It doubly bothers them that they know their Progressive buddies who run Twitter can’t afford to shut Trump down.

Under our Constitution, there simply are not that many people who are in a position to do something about an executive branch in chaos. As the first branch of government (Article I), the Congress was designed expressly to assert itself at just such moments. It is what we talk about when we talk about “checks and balances.” Too often, we observe the unfolding drama along with the rest of the country, passively, all but saying, “Someone should do something!” without seeming to realize that that someone is us. And so, that unnerving silence in the face of an erratic executive branch is an abdication, and those in positions of leadership bear particular responsibility.

Apparently, being erratic is a crisis? You see how he’s doing this? He’s piggy-backing the idea of impeachment on to the notion that, somehow, Trump is just bad. He hasn’t broken any laws; he hasn’t done any un-Constitutional acts (you know, like using the IRS to attack his opponents – say, Senator Flake, did you urge the impeachment of President Obama over that “erratic” action?); but he’s got to go! Once again: please be afraid!

There was a time when the leadership of the Congress from both parties felt an institutional loyalty that would frequently create bonds across party lines in defense of congressional prerogatives in a unified front against the White House, regardless of the president’s party. We do not have to go very far back to identify these exemplars—the Bob Doles and Howard Bakers and Richard Lugars of the Senate. Vigorous partisans, yes, but even more important, principled constitutional conservatives whose primary interest was in governing and making America truly great.

Funny how that time of institutional loyalty always worked out to a Republican President being done in or at least harmed by his fellow Republicans. Where were the Democrats who went out to advise President Clinton that his perjury had forfeited his ability to be President? A Democrat who even made a peep about Obama’s pen-and-phone actions? The whole concept of institutional loyalty is bull – and Senator Flake knows it. There should be institutional loyalty, but there isn’t; and never really has been. We have partisan elections to determine which partisan policies we’ll pursue – and if the Congress and the White House are of the same party, they are just going to go on with it. The only difference is that there are always Republicans who are willing to undermine the evident will of the American people in creating either a Republican Congress and/or a Republican White House. Thanks, Senator! We definitely gave you our votes and campaign cash so that you could cut us off at the knees!

But then the period of collapse and dysfunction set in, amplified by the internet and our growing sense of alienation from each other, and we lost our way and began to rationalize away our principles in the process. But where does such capitulation take us? If by 2017 the conservative bargain was to go along for the very bumpy ride because with congressional hegemony and the White House we had the numbers to achieve some long-held policy goals—even as we put at risk our institutions and our values—then it was a very real question whether any such policy victories wouldn’t be Pyrrhic ones. If this was our Faustian bargain, then it was not worth it. If ultimately our principles were so malleable as to no longer be principles, then what was the point of political victories in the first place?

The “period of collapse” started on January 20th – that is when some of us on the right decided, “you know, if the Democrats are going to play by certain rules which unfairly advantage Democrats, so will we”. We hear much of Conservative “principles”, but I’d like to know what set of Conservative principles has kept Planned Parenthood at the public trough for decades, even though we’ve often had the power to de-fund it? What got our higher education system to become a bastion of leftist tyranny against Conservatism without Senator Flake doing anything about it? You know, a Congressional majority has many way of applying pressure, Senator – why is no pressure ever put against Progressives advancing their cause? Why do your vaunted Conservative principles always work towards hamstringing our side, not theirs?

Meanwhile, the strange specter of an American president’s seeming affection for strongmen and authoritarians created such a cognitive dissonance among my generation of conservatives—who had come of age under existential threat from the Soviet Union—that it was almost impossible to believe. Even as our own government was documenting a con­certed attack against our democratic processes by an enemy foreign power, our own White House was rejecting the authority of its own intelligence agencies, disclaiming their findings as a Democratic ruse and a hoax. Conduct that would have had conservatives up in arms had it been exhibited by our political opponents now had us dumbstruck.

It was then that I was compelled back to Senator Goldwater’s book, to a chapter entitled “The Soviet Menace.” Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, this part of Goldwater’s critique had seemed particularly anachronistic. The lesson here is that nothing is gone forever, especially when it comes to the devouring ambition of despotic men. As Goldwater wrote in that chapter:

Our forebears knew that “keeping a Republic” meant, above all, keeping it safe from foreign transgressors; they knew that a people cannot live and work freely, and develop national institutions conducive to freedom, except in peace and with independence.

The election was hacked! I had no idea that any Republican Senator was subscribing to the Russia Collusion twaddle, but here it is. I don’t know if Flake believed this and thus became anti-Trump or if he was anti-Trump and thus believed it out of a general desire that Trump be terrible. It doesn’t matter. It’s a hoax; a myth; something that doesn’t exist. But the anti-Trump people are, seemingly, going to run with it. As for having affection for strongmen…an argument can be made to not have relations with dictatorial regimes. That does include Russia – but it also includes China. Funny how I never seem to hear one of these “principled” Conservatives demanding we break it off with China…even though China is vastly more powerful than Russia and is clearly preparing a military force designed to fight us. And you know why they won’t go after China: Corporate America is making too much money in China.

So, where should Republicans go from here? First, we shouldn’t hesitate to speak out if the president “plays to the base” in ways that damage the Republican Party’s ability to grow and speak to a larger audience. Second, Republicans need to take the long view when it comes to issues like free trade: Populist and protectionist policies might play well in the short term, but they handicap the country in the long term. Third, Republicans need to stand up for institutions and prerogatives, like the Senate filibuster, that have served us well for more than two centuries.

We have taken our “institutions conducive to freedom,” as Goldwater put it, for granted as we have engaged in one of the more reckless periods of politics in our history. In 2017, we seem to have lost our appreciation for just how hard won and vulnerable those institutions are.

“Plays to the base” is Establishment-speak for “talks about issues the yokels care about”. “Grow and speak to a larger audience” means, “make pathetic gestures in favor of Progressive policies in the hope that it’ll get me a good mention in the MSM”.

And, of course, he’s in favor of retaining the filibuster – because it helps Democrats to hamstring the GOP. That he knows full well Democrats will dispense with it at the first opportunity is just of no matter to people like Senator Flake. He doesn’t care about things like that – far more important to a “Conservative” like Flake is that things remain as they are…with Progressive policies ruling the roost; with corporate taxes kept low; with plenty of cheap labor for the Chamber of Commerce donors…and with a docile GOP base worked up to vote GOP every couple years, but never angry that the GOP fails to deliver.

I really have done with all that. Trump isn’t a threat to the United States – Senator Flake is. Flake is far more polite than Trump, but Flake’s politeness is masking the utter destruction of the United States of America. If we Conservatives/Republicans abandon Trump and go along with the likes of Senator Flake, all we’ll see is the slow imposition of a totally Progressive ideology – in other words, the end of our Republic because Progressives aren’t actually in favor of freedom (they have a different concept of freedom from us – to them, freedom is about not having want; for us, it is about not having masters).

I’ve got no hostility towards Flake. He is who he is – he is a product of the Establishment, defending the Establishment. The fact that he’s Republican rather than Democrat is really no more than a reflection of the GOP’s electoral advantage in Arizona. Had Flake been from, say, Oregon then he’d pretty much be the same…but he’d be a Democrat Senator from Oregon and in spite of this or that particular view, would mostly be wedded to the idea of keeping things as they are. We voted for Trump to end that – whether the prime motivation was outright support or just a desire to keep Hillary out, the thing about it all was a rejection of things as they are. We still don’t know if Trump can deliver, but rely on it that if he fails, we’re still not going back to Senator Flake, hat in hand, to ask him to return us to business as usual. For fifty years we waited for Senator Flake’s sort to take the power we gave them and do something we wanted – they couldn’t even de-fund NPR. Forget it, Senator: we’re done with you. Your op-ed will impress your fellow Never Trump people and get you a pat on the head from the MSM. Congratulations. Hope you like it.

Some Thoughts

Boy Scouts are now Brownshirts and Senator Collins says that she voted against proceeding on the health care bill because, I quote, “we must proceed carefully”. Anyone get the feeling we’re through the looking glass here?

I can see what Trump is doing in regards to Sessions and Tillerson – and, yes, I get it that both men would be wounded and offended by it all. But, still, we’re now six months into the Trump Administration and State is still blaming the Israelis for the terrorist attacks they suffer (as well excising the word “genocide” to describe what ISIS did) while over at Justice we’ve yet to see any move against the rank corruption of DC. I understand, further, that Obama staffers are still in policy-making positions…I know we can’t just fire them because they are protected by civil service laws: but why can’t they be given offices in the basement of the Old Executive Office building with a rotary-dial phone and a computer loaded up with Windows 95? To keep anyone hired or promoted by Obama in a policy-making position merely means we keep someone who will do their level best to protect Obama’s legacy; protect Democrats in general, and undermine Trump’s policies at every opportunity. We have buckets of well-qualified people out there – hire them and put them into the positions of influence. Personnel is policy – as soon as Trump has his personnel, his policies will prevail in the Executive branch.

I see some Never Trump screeches about Trump’s apparent desire that his troops be loyal to him and his program. I simply don’t get this, at all. Of course Trump’s people must be loyal to Trump. What is the point of having people who aren’t loyal to you? DC politics is a nasty, knee-to-groin business. Do you think Obama was ever about having people around who wouldn’t get with the program? I didn’t blame him in the least for having loyal troops: he was elected to enact a certain set of policies and everyone who worked for him simply had to be ok with that. If they weren’t, they should go – and be forced out, if the didn’t quit. So, too, with Trump. He’s got a specific set of plans to get done and he needs people who will do them…who will set aside personal ambition in favor of helping President Trump enact his agenda. If the people don’t like this agenda, then they can toss him out in 2020 (and curb him in 2018). That is the way this works – it is the way it must work. We have partisan elections to determine which set of partisan policies we’ll go with. Duh!

The bottom line is that Tillerson and Sessions (and all Secretaries) have to get on board – and get rid of the Obama-bots. They can’t be trusted. I tend to like Tillerson and Sessions…but if at the end of the day they are going to be of the opinion that an Obama hold-over can be trusted, then they have to go.

Meanwhile, DWS’s IT guy was picked up at the airport, apparently planning on fleeing the country (one rumor I’ve seen is that he wired $300,000.00 to Pakistan before trying to leave). This could be huge – but here’s the bizarre thing: the other rumor today is that he was only fired after he was arrested. Remember: it has been months since it came out that DWS’s IT guys were doing some possibly criminal activities and this means he was kept on the payroll even after this stuff came out. I’m greatly interested in what information can be retrieved from those hard drives. Here we are, still yammering on about Trump-Russia when a gigantic, bring-down-the-whole-swamp scandal might be unfolding before our eyes. Stay tuned.

Some Thoughts on Trump/Russia

I was kind of out of the loop – MSM-wise – for the past week, but from checking social media, I guess the Trump/Russia thing is still, well, a thing. This is what is fascinating me about it – “the latest revelations have now caused some Conservatives to doubt Trump’s innocence”, appears to be a line of thought out there. This, to me, is the height of absurdity. Remember, the basic premise of Trump/Russia is “Trump colluded with the Russians to change the 2016 result”. To be sure, getting a Progressive of Never Trump “Conservative” to admit this is well nigh impossible, but that is where it comes from: the stark belief that Trump couldn’t possibly win, and so the explanation for the result must be found in some nefarious plot.

As I’ve said in the past, no matter how good or complex your equation is, if it is based upon 1+1=3, then everything that comes after that will be wrong. Right now, with the meeting between DTJ, Jr and a Russian, the conspiracy theory is taking a step back from things immediately surrounding the election and saying, “aha! Here’s where the collusion started! Don’t you see, now, you Tumpster morons!”. But that is just to try to say that we start with 1+1=2, then go on to 2+1=4 and, presto! Impeachment for Treason! I think what happens is that too many people feel they must obsessively follow – and comment upon – the daily MSM Narrative. This leads people, who engage in this pointless exercise, to somehow come around to the idea that something true (in this case, a definite meeting between DJT, Jr and Russians) can retroactively verify a falsehood. Sorry, guys, but a lie remains a lie no matter how many true things you try to place around it to lend the lie credibility. It is, in fact, a rather old trick of the propagandist to surround his lie with true things – makes it hard to attack the lie and allows the liar to defend those things which are true.

The bottom line is that Trump won the election fair and square – he was the better candidate, the smarter man, the more energetic campaigner, the guy who spoke better to the hopes and fears of the people; he was, in short, everything Hillary was not…and no amount of you wanting it to be Hillary as the better person will change reality. Secondly – and crucially in this idiot-fest of a Trump/Russia issue – PUTIN HAS RECEIVED NO BENEFIT FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP. If Putin hacked and rigged the election to change the result from Hillary to Trump, what did he get for it? First-rate anti-missile technology to Poland. Increased oil and natural gas exploitation in the USA. A vigorous commitment by President Trump to stand by NATO. A willingness – at least on paper – of our European allies to increase defense spending. The US standing firm in Syria and undercutting the Russian position there. Increased US hostility towards Iran’s ambitions. A promised US Naval and military build up. Each and every one of these things works against Russian ambitions. If Hillary had been elected President, does anyone want to argue that any of them would have been done? If Putin bought Trump, then I’d hate to see what an opponent of Putin works out to…

So, no, the revelation that DJT, Jr met a Russian doesn’t impress me – except in the amateurishness of it all. A seasoned political operation would have sent a low-level functionary to the first meeting. But, on the other hand, the very fact of this political amateurishness is part of the appeal of Donald Trump. He doesn’t think or operate like our politicians – who are always about covering themselves and retaining plausible deniability. In the end, I think all of this is backfiring on Trump’s critics. I’ve yet to meet a single person in real life who is remotely interested in this Russian thing. There would have to be some proof – and there will be no proof because there was no way for Putin to alter the election result in Trump’s favor, even if Trump and Putin wanted it to happen. We’re talking about an objective impossibility which is being used by Trump’s opponents in an attempt to bring him down. It won’t work.

Legal Insurrection has some good observations about this, as well.

Do You Want a Battle, or a Debacle?

When France was invaded by Germany in 1940, they (and the British) were crushed in the opening battle and the British (and some French) were forced to evacuate at Dunkirk. In most telling of history after that, it is a brief statement that when the Germans resumed their offensive towards Paris and the rest of France, the French were quickly defeated. There wasn’t much to tell, as it goes – and most histories then concentrate on how the French went about surrendering. But it didn’t really have to be that way.

In the disaster, the French government called Maxime Weygand to command France’s armies – he had been a prime aide to Marshall Foch in the First World War and it was hoped that he had learned something of fighting a successful battle from him. It didn’t work out that way. Weygand, of course, was an experienced commander – an expert, as it were. What he choose to do was to line what remained of the French forces in a continuous line from the coast to Switzerland and issue solemn orders for the men to fight to the finish. This they actually did – the defeat of France was mostly not the fault of the fighting troops (there were panics at some crucial moments, but such things happen in wars even in the best of armies). They were, of course, defeated – because they didn’t fight a battle in the real sense. They just stood where they were and, eventually, Germany’s overwhelming weight of numbers wore them down until they broke.

There was another way to do it, though. Charles De Gaulle, then a brigadier general only recently given command of a new French armored division and then brought into the government as an assistant Minister of War, offered the idea that all of France’s remaining tanks and motorized forces should have been grouped into two large masses and when the Germans broke through the main line, launch counterattacks against any exposed flank the Germans offered. As DeGaulle put it, that would have at least been a battle, rather than a debacle. And if you think about it, it might even has stopped the Germans. It certainly would have made them pay a much higher price for victory…might have changed the whole course of the war. There was a huge debate among the French as to whether to surrender or to move the government to France’s Algerian colony and continue the war from there. The defeatists – among whom a leading light was Weygand – wanted to surrender. De Gaulle wanted to fight. The defeatists won the day…but, in the end, Weygand is merely remembered as the man who quit and then truckled to the Germans while De Gaulle is a towering hero for the ages.

I bring this up because in 2016, we essentially faced that – spread our forces in a thin line and let our opponents grind us down, or concentrate our force in a mass of maneuver and take the fight to them at their vulnerable points. We had our people who wanted to essentially surrender and see if we could use servility to induce our opponents into being nice, and we had other people who wanted to roll the dice and take whatever risks were necessary in the hope that some victory, even if imperfect, resulted. You know how it came out, at least in the short term. The crushing – and, perhaps, permanent – defeat was averted.

I’ve watched on Twitter as the “blue checkmark mafia” went nuts these past few days – first over Trump’s insult to Mika, then over Trump’s tweet about body slamming CNN. I’m serious: they have really lost it. Found one particular Conservative actually asserting he wished Obama were back in office. Do you realize how stupid that would be? We’d now have a permanent liberal majority on the Court. We’d not only have all the regulations Obama put into place in 2016, but a host of additional regulations. Our productive economy would still be getting killed so that cronies of the Democrats could get special advantages. All Executive agencies would continue to be used against Democrat opponents. It just goes on and on like that…but, “wish Obama was back”. Why? Because Trump put out some outrageous tweets?

I’ve checked Trump’s Twitter feed – I don’t follow him because my basic principle on Twitter is to follow no one who is too famous (you can always easily look them up – and when they tweet something interesting, usually a couple hundred people in your feed will retweet it). But, I decided to go through it.

Tweet 1: lauding our armed forces.
Tweet 2: noting the stock market is up.
Tweet 3: a pledge to keep fighting for the American people.
Tweet 4: razzing CNN with that body slam.
Tweet 5: pledging to take care of our veterans.
Tweet 6: pledging to keep using social media to communicate with the people.
Tweet 7: razzing CNN.
Tweet 8 and 9: pointing out that use of social media helped him win in 2016.
Tweet 10: noting a concert in honor of our veterans.

Two out of ten razzing CNN, the rest just talking up various things, including a couple of important issues. But over the last day, it was Tweet 4 which everyone obsessed about. This isn’t a problem with Trump, folks: it is a problem with people who hate him and thus pick out the things they don’t like, and make out like it’s the end of the world. Get a grip, people.

I hate to break it to our experts, but the people Trump insults are, well, worthy of being insulted. I don’t do it. You don’t do it. And that’s fine – but Trump does it, and he’s fully justified in doing so. I’ve been thinking and trying to remember a time when Trump launched the first punch in one of these social media battles, and I can’t recall any. I’m sure there were some, given the nature of things – but I’ll bet the overwhelming bulk is Trump responding. And with Mika and Joe, Trump had a lot to respond to. These were not people making nice-nice and then set upon by an arrogant bully…they were slinging mud fast and furious for months, and then Trump let them have it back for a moment. An argument can be made for Trump to hold fire – but, on the other hand, President Bush (whom I’m still proud to say I supported), didn’t hit back…and he was just as mercilessly raked over the coals. If the only upside for Trump in being polite is that once he’s out of office he’ll be favorably compared to the current GOP leader, then I can see why he’d choose to fight back. And, another thing: a refusal to hit back is often interpreted as a sign of weakness. Bottom line: if you don’t want Trump getting into a social media battle with you, you’re best bet is to not insult him. I don’t see him too often going after anyone who argues policy with him…in fact, I think he’s ok with honest disagreement about the best way forward. Might even want to hear about a different way forward; he doesn’t seem worried about someone else coming up with the best idea (even though he might make it his own and later laud himself on his brilliance in doing what someone else thought up).

Another thing: I don’t see any upside for Conservatism in helping the left to destroy Trump. I’ve been told that it is wrong for me to refuse to criticize Trump on all and sundry – but I still don’t see it. There will be plenty of criticism from the left for Trump’s tweets…the world doesn’t need my input on that. And Conservatism doesn’t need me helping to destroy the only possible vehicle I’ve got at the moment to advance Conservative principles. My view is that if Trump says some outrageous thing, let others talk about it…let’s, instead, talk about policy and how we can convince Trump to advance as much Conservatism as possible. That seems to me to be a far more constructive use of my time and effort.

We’ve got a situation here – we managed to deflect our opponents in 2016. We’ve got a real chance to do things, but we’re also still very much at a strategic disadvantage. It’ll take years – perhaps decades – before we can really shift the balance of power enough in our favor that even a periodic loss of power won’t undo what we’ve accomplished. The Democrats are playing a long game, and so should we. They are expecting to be back in power in the by and by and their job, as they see it (and they are right to see it like this, from their perspective) is to hamstring Trump and the GOP as much as possible. To prevent as much undoing of Progressive policies as possible. To keep as much as they can of what they had on January 19th, 2017. Our job is to press back as much as we can – to start eroding what they did; to take away not just the results of their power, but the things which allowed them to achieve those results (Trump greatly reforming the EPA is one very crucial thing in this – and just one of many important reforms he’s doing). Helping tear down Trump just means the Democrats get back into power faster – and thus can more easily reverse what has been done. Support Trump – get him re-elected in 2020 and try to get Pence in there in 2024, while doing our best to keep GOP control of Congress and the States, is what we need to do..so that slowly, step by step, we can gain the real, long-term power necessary to reform our nation.

The Never Trump people wanted us to line up and be defeated in 2016 – so that we could graciously surrender and hope for the best. Now they are trying to defeat their own side, so they can get around to that gracious surrender Trump robbed them of. I prefer to stick with Trump – holding what power we have and attacking where we can, getting what victories which present themselves. Hoping that we’ll be able to keep our opponents at bay long enough to enact deep, real reform. I prefer, that is, the battle in hope rather than the surrender in hope. Maybe I’m wrong – and maybe even if I’m right it won’t work. But I’d rather be defeated after a battle than after a debacle.

Hail the Republic of Idiots

There has been much talk about experts of late – ’round about the time the very inexpert (in politics, at least) Donald Trump came along, all of a sudden, our experts were full of worry that we yokels were not paying sufficient attention to the experts. I’ve written on this before, but I want to quote a longish passage from one of the works of Chesterton – who lived at the dawn of the Age of Experts:

Now the peculiar peril of our time, which I call for argument’s sake Imperialism or Caesarism, is the complete eclipse of comradeship and equality by specialism and domination.

There are only two kinds of social structure conceivable — personal government and impersonal government. If my anarchic friends will not have rules — they will have rulers. Preferring personal government, with its tact and flexibility, is called Royalism. Preferring impersonal government, with its dogmas and definitions, is called Republicanism. Objecting broadmindedly both to kings and creeds is called Bosh; at least, I know no more philosophic word for it. You can be guided by the shrewdness or presence of mind of one ruler, or by the equality and ascertained justice of one rule; but you must have one or the other, or you are not a nation, but a nasty mess. Now men in their aspect of equality and debate adore the idea of rules; they develop and complicate them greatly to excess. A man finds far more regulations and definitions in his club, where there are rules, than in his home, where there is a ruler. A deliberate assembly, the House of Commons, for instance, carries this mummery to the point of a methodical madness. The whole system is stiff with rigid unreason; like the Royal Court in Lewis Carroll. You would think the Speaker would speak; therefore he is mostly silent. You would think a man would take off his hat to stop and put it on to go away; therefore he takes off his hat to walk out and puts it on to stop in. Names are forbidden, and a man must call his own father “my right honorable friend the member for West Birmingham.” These are, perhaps, fantasies of decay: but fundamentally they answer a masculine appetite. Men feel that rules, even if irrational, are universal; men feel that law is equal, even when it is not equitable. There is a wild fairness in the thing—as there is in tossing up.

Again, it is gravely unfortunate that when critics do attack such cases as the Commons it is always on the points (perhaps the few points) where the Commons are right. They denounce the House as the Talking-Shop, and complain that it wastes time in wordy mazes. Now this is just one respect in which the Commons are actually like the Common People. If they love leisure and long debate, it is because all men love it; that they really represent England. There the Parliament does approach to the virile virtues of the pothouse.

The real truth is that adumbrated in the introductory section when we spoke of the sense of home and property, as now we speak of the sense of counsel and community. All men do naturally love the idea of leisure, laughter, loud and equal argument; but there stands a specter in our hall. We are conscious of the towering modern challenge that is called specialism or cut-throat competition — Business. Business will have nothing to do with leisure; business will have no truck with comradeship; business will pretend to no patience with all the legal fictions and fantastic handicaps by which comradeship protects its egalitarian ideal. The modern millionaire, when engaged in the agreeable and typical task of sacking his own father, will certainly not refer to him as the right honorable clerk from the Laburnum Road, Brixton. Therefore there has arisen in modern life a literary fashion devoting itself to the romance of business, to great demigods of greed and to fairyland of finance. This popular philosophy is utterly despotic and anti-democratic; this fashion is the flower of that Caesarism against which I am concerned to protest. The ideal millionaire is strong in the possession of a brain of steel. The fact that the real millionaire is rather more often strong in the possession of a head of wood, does not alter the spirit and trend of the idolatry. The essential argument is “Specialists must be despots; men must be specialists. You cannot have equality in a soap factory; so you cannot have it anywhere. You cannot have comradeship in a wheat corner; so you cannot have it at all. We must have commercial civilization; therefore we must destroy democracy.” I know that plutocrats have seldom sufficient fancy to soar to such examples as soap or wheat. They generally confine themselves, with fine freshness of mind, to a comparison between the state and a ship. One anti-democratic writer remarked that he would not like to sail in a vessel in which the cabin-boy had an equal vote with the captain. It might easily be urged in answer that many a ship (the Victoria, for instance) was sunk because an admiral gave an order which a cabin-boy could see was wrong. But this is a debating reply; the essential fallacy is both deeper and simpler. The elementary fact is that we were all born in a state; we were not all born on a ship; like some of our great British bankers. A ship still remains a specialist experiment, like a diving-bell or a flying ship: in such peculiar perils the need for promptitude constitutes the need for autocracy. But we live and die in the vessel of the state; and if we cannot find freedom, camaraderie and the popular element in the state, we cannot find it at all. And the modern doctrine of commercial despotism means that we shall not find it at all. Our specialist trades in their highly civilized state cannot (it says) be run without the whole brutal business of bossing and sacking, “too old at forty” and all the rest of the filth. And they must be run, and therefore we call on Caesar. Nobody but the Superman could descend to do such dirty work.

Now (to reiterate my title) this is what is wrong. This is the huge modern heresy of altering the human soul to fit its conditions, instead of altering human conditions to fit the human soul. If soap boiling is really inconsistent with brotherhood, so much the worst for soap-boiling, not for brotherhood. If civilization really cannot get on with democracy, so much the worse for civilization, not for democracy. Certainly, it would be far better to go back to village communes, if they really are communes. Certainly, it would be better to do without soap rather than to do without society. Certainly, we would sacrifice all our wires, wheels, systems, specialties, physical science and frenzied finance for one half-hour of happiness such as has often come to us with comrades in a common tavern. I do not say the sacrifice will be necessary; I only say it will be easy.

Chesterton was writing before the experts left the factory and office and ensconced themselves in the government bureaucracy – but it is all the same. We must be bossed because in order to get things done properly: we idiots must be compelled to do it. And no debate! No long-winded speeches and objections from people who, at all events, don’t know what they’re talking about. We don’t really need elections and then debates in Congress – we really just need a President with a Pen and a Phone; a bureaucracy which will make up the rules as it goes along; a Supreme Court which will merely ratify what the experts decree.

The experts, of course, would have a case if they at least got things right from time to time. But, they hardly ever do – and when they do strike gold, it is more explained by happenstance than design. The reason for this is that the experts are still, well, human beings. In the aggregate, no smarter than anyone else out there. The chance that a CEO, General or President will be a genius is as small as the chance that any given musician will be a Mozart – almost zero chance, that is. Geniuses do come along; no one knows why nor can anyone predict where or when. When they come, the can shake up society in astonishing ways – some times in quite alarming ways. But you can’t take it into account – it’ll happen when it happens, and all anyone can do when confronted with a genius is deal with it. But almost all people at almost all times are not geniuses. And in this fact is why, on the whole, experts are the worst possible people to have in charge – once they self-select themselves and isolate themselves from the currents of society they lack sufficient input to arrive at valid decisions.

As long-time readers know, I have a fund of knowledge about history. What I’ll say now – and I really don’t like saying it, because it smacks of bragging – is that my knowledge of history runs to the encyclopedic. Something made me pick up one of my father’s books of history around about 1975 and I simply never stopped reading. So, I am an expert, as it were, in history – and thus pretty up on what people do and why they do it. But I’ve also got an advantage that more recognized experts don’t have: lacking credentials, I have nothing to fret about on the score of ability and I am also quite comfortable in talking about things, even deep things, with people who simply lack the knowledge I have. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve been caught short by the opinions of the ignorant – how something they will say or some point of view they have will shake the vision I have and bring it into great clarity…or even lead me down paths I never suspected. That is what the loud and unruly debate of a vigorous democratic Republic is for – to bring to light things we might not have considered. You simply cannot run a society unless everyone has their loud and boorish say. Unless the idiots, that is, are deeply involved in the creation of policy, the policies will certainly fail.

Had we been engaged in a genuine give-and-take debate among all the citizens, we simply would not have done some of the bone-headed things we’ve done. Take, for instance, Vietnam – a full airing of what was going on and what was proposed would have certainly run to the creation of a better policy regarding that. I know this because it certainly couldn’t have run to a worse policy. Take any political problem you like and run it through your mind – think what would have happened had there been a real debate, rather than decrees from on high. When did we have the debate about how many people should move here? When did we have the debate about what public education should be like? Where was the endless, contentious discussion about what trade policy is best with China? There has been no real debate – things are worked out by the experts and they present their findings to us, and demand we just go along…and subtly (and, these days, less and less subtly) call us wicked morons if we dissent from their shiny, new policy proposal.

It all comes down to what you want. If you want a tyranny which will decree, then advocate for that. But if you want freedom, then you can only have it when it is brash, loud, ugly and messy. The idiots must be in charge, or you simply won’t have a Republic.

Never Trump: Let Me Explain This to You

Hey, hey, LBJ: how many kids did you kill today?

Thus went the chant of the 60’s radicals. We’re supposed to call them “anti-war protestors”, but if they were anti-war, they would have been just as opposed to the war being waged by the government of North Vietnam as they were displeased with the American effort. Of course, they had nothing bad to say about North Vietnam’s war. This is because it wasn’t about being against the war (or war, in general) but about being against the United States and its South Vietnamese allies winning the war. And, so, led by hard left radicals, the protestors set about saying the most outrageous, slanderous and cruel things they could about American leaders. I bring this up because there’s a direct line from that chant to the slogans being used today by protest groups led by hard left radicals.

Whatever one wishes to say about President Johnson and the Vietnam War (and I’ve got plenty of negative things to say on both subjects), the bottom line is that Johnson was the leader of the good guys during the war (as was Nixon, after him). This is not to say that Johnson didn’t do wrong: he did plenty wrong. But he wasn’t the bloodthirsty, hate-filled monster the protestors made him out to be. And while those protestors were chanting their slanderous cruelty, it was taken as a given that no one was supposed to say the same things back at them. People back then who pointed out that the protestors were mere stooges of Communist aggression and were working for the eventual murder and enslavement of millions were considered the kooks. People outside the pale of decent society. The only people allowed to be nasty were those of the left – and then it was a requirement that everyone else treat them as if they were reasonable, responsible members of society.

Post-Johnson, the Democrats learned their lesson: make sure the hard left never has bad things to say about you. Do that, and you can do whatever you want and the only slanders will be launched against Republicans. Democrats could have done the honorable thing and continued to fight the hard left, but it was much easier to co-opt the hard left (money talks, folks – and he who can dispense bags of government cash to Progressive groups will find they have a life-long friend). Much easier and it provided a convenient attack dog – any time a Republican got out of line, out came the Progressive protestors to slander said Republican. And, over time, the hard left Progressives managed to gain full control of the Democrats…and, now, it became the rule that Democrats could act like hard left people (ie, say nasty things which were untrue about their opponents) and be immune from like criticism.

Back in October I wrote and article called You Can’t Say That About Democrats. I was a bit astonished – it was after Trump had rudely got into Hillary’s face during the debate and just hammered her relentlessly. The pundit class were sure that his performance had done him in. We know, now, that it didn’t. But at the time, I wasn’t at all sure that Trump had done himself a favor with that because I, too, was of the unconscious opinion that no matter how outrageous Democrats and the overall left behaved, we weren’t allowed to be like them. They could call us racists, sexists, homophobes, Nazis, fascists; they could riot; burn; loot; threaten violence…they could do whatever they wanted and we could never do a darned thing about it.

But, as it turns out, we can – or, at least, Trump could. Throwing away the Cracker Jack Book of GOP Politics (which has the GOP ritually committing political suicide every election – though some times winning in spite of themselves because Democrats are just really, really dumb when you get down to it), Trump just went at it…and as someone who grew up and thrived in the rude, vulgar and rather cut-throat world of real estate development, he simply did what came natural to him: punched back whenever he was hit. And punched back very, very hard.

And this is something, especially, that Never Trump didn’t get then, and don’t get now. With the recent fracas over Trump’s tapping accusations, we see it writ large. We’re not supposed to say things like that! In spite of the fact that President Obama proved himself both a bald-faced liar (“you can keep your plan”) and someone willing to allow government power to be used against his opponents (IRS scandal), we were still not supposed to mention it – not in any serious way which would cause him any grief. That is just unkind, you see? Its the sort of thing, if said at the swell parties, which would result in a frosty silence and no more invitations to the swell parties. Trump just went ahead and said it. And you darn well know he’s right! Given what we know of Obama and his team it would have been astonishing if the power of government wasn’t use against Trump. And I think they felt they need to, as well.

I don’t buy the claim that Hillary, et al was shocked on election night. She wouldn’t have gone to Michigan and Pennsylvania if she was supremely confident until, say, 9 pm Eastern (as the story goes) that her election was in the bag. I personally think that by late October there was enough evidence of a seismic shift in the race to scare the bejabbers out of Team Hillary and the Democrats – and, so, the last minute efforts in the “Blue Wall”…and, likely, last minute attempts to find something, anything, on Trump that might shift it back towards Hillary. That is where the attempted effort to tap Trump’s communications came from. Nothing, it would seem, was found (or we would have seen it, by now), but there was still enough there for a campaign of innuendo to be used…and that started towards the end of Obama’s Administration when orders were given to spread the collected data far and wide with the certainty that plenty of people would leak the results to the MSM.

But all that is coming out of it is slander, at the end of the day. Trump is not a Russian stooge (his foreign policy actions demonstrate this conclusively); Trump’s team is not at the beck and call of corrupt Russian business interests. There simply was no Russian hacking of the election, nor any Russian shifting of the election results. But for weeks now we’ve had this lie spread daily by the MSM and the Democrats…along with the accusations that Trump is a racist, sexist Nazi out to destroy all that is good and decent in the world. And for people like the Never Trumpers, the rule still is that we can’t say anything bad about Democrats. But, as Trump went, screw that. Of course we can – because they are being very bad people right now.

Plenty of very strong arguments can be made that Trump shouldn’t have been the GOP nominee. I’ve heard them – I made some of them. But once Trump became the nominee, it became an imperative to ensure his election. Obama had just spent 8 years corrupting American politics. Slush fund payoffs to favored groups; crony-Capitalism to donors; abuse of Presidential authority; refusal to enforce the laws fairly; the relentless use of dishonesty to advance Obama’s political goals…all of this ground up and gravely coarsened American political life. Hillary would have continued this for another 4 to 8 years, to the massive detriment of the United States. In fact, if we had wound up with 16 years of what Obama gave, we might have found our nation fatally wounded. To be sure, no one could tell what Trump would actually do – he made a lot of promises, but we all know about politicians and their promises. But, still, given what we knew about Obama and Hillary, we simply had to take a chance on Trump. For all the talk (very prevalent in Never Trump circles) that Trump represents a moral decline for the United States, the actuality is that he represents a moral step up from Obama and Hillary.

I get it that Trump hasn’t lived a life of Christian virtue. I get it that his new-found respect for religion may not be genuine (though, ever trying to live a life of Christian hope, I’m proceeding on the assumption that it is genuine). I get it that, personally, he can be quite vulgar. But has he ever had someone arrested for making a video because having that person arrested advances a political lie launched to cover up a massive policy error? No. Trump’s personal moral failings are one thing – but they pale in comparison to the betrayal of public trust represented by both Obama and Hillary. A politician who breaks the public trust while holding political power has put the lives, fortunes and sacred honor of every American at risk. Trump, only in office for a few weeks, simply hasn’t had the time to do the wrong that Obama and Hillary have done – and Hillary certainly would have continued to do, had she won. Trump may never betray the public trust as Obama and Hillary have.

Seeing as Obama and Hillary were just awful and that their supporters are continuing to act in a terrible manner, I see nothing amiss in Trump punching back. Why shouldn’t he? The only reason is the old rule that we can’t say that about Democrats. But that rule was written by Democrats to protect themselves from their actions as Democrats. Heck with that. I don’t see why we have to play nice while they play dirty. Sure, I’d like a political life where everyone treats the other fairly and we debate only solid aspects of policy. But that is not the world we live in. We don’t live in it because Democrats can’t live in it. A real debate about any issue will cut against what Democrats want – if not in total, then in enough to undercut the ability of Democrat to retain and exercise power.

As for Never Trumpers, I’d like to point out that if you got your way and forced Trump out of office then what we’ll get in replacement is a Democrat who will do precisely what Democrats do – lie, bribe, grift, use the power of government against opponents, enact ever more repressive laws against anyone who doesn’t toe the Progressive line. Trump may fail – only time will tell on that; but to help him fail is merely to help the Democrats. We must help Trump succeed – and that means meeting him honestly and fairly. When he does well, congratulate him. When he does poorly, offer fair criticism and suggest alternatives. When Democrats attack, fight back. That last bit is very important. It was disgusting the way some Republicans were quick to jump on the anti-Trump train as soon as the Russian story broke. What purpose was there in seconding Democrat complaints save to help Democrats back into power, where they can go about making life miserable for us? Why do something like that? I honestly don’t understand it.

I don’t understand it because there is no Democrat result which can be worse than any Trump result. No matter how bad you wish to think Trump is, the Democrats are worse – worse for us, worse for the nation as a whole. Until they are really and thoroughly defeated and go through their own wilderness time and rebuild themselves into a fair and honest political player, our only rational act is to do what we can to keep them out of power. This doesn’t mean become a Trump cheerleader, but for goodness sake, don’t jump in with them against Trump. There’s no upside to that. They are just trying to claw their way back into power so they can get back to bribing themselves and screwing us over.

It is time – past time, really – for everyone to make their choice. What do you want? Do you want the United States to do well, or do you want to tear down Trump because that makes you feel better? Remember, tearing down Trump – while making you feel better – will result in Democrats back in power. I fully expect that some of the stalwart Never Trumpers of today will find themselves, by 2020, full-fledged Progressive Democrats…arguing that a vote for Warren/Booker is a vote for decency. But for most Never Trumpers, I’m hoping that there is a turn to the better hope – a hope that Trump can do well; that we can help him do well. And by doing well, making our nation a better place to live. Let the Democrats do what they do. Don’t help them. Even if you don’t want to fight for Trump, don’t fight for them. Fight for America – and right now, the only way to do that is to somehow or another help Trump do what is right for America.