The Great Turning Point

A bit from Mark Steyn:

The sexual-identity left and the Islamic imperialists have certain things in common: both dislike having to listen to opposing views, and so are ever more openly hostile to freedom of speech. Yet deep down both parties know these two surging forces of cultural evolution cannot co-exist – that the Lancashire Constabulary Transgender Unit marching behind the Forty-Four Ways to Slaughter the Infidel Study Group in the Lancashire Pride Parade is merely a passing phase: It’s as if the World and Opposite World were wedged into the same physical space like overlaid telephone area codes. One will shrink, the other will expand.

Which would you bet on? As I say here, diversity is an interim stage, and, as we already see in certain parts of London and Brussels and Malmö and Toulouse and Frankfurt and on and on, what comes after diversity is the grim uniformity of Islam. And, as I say here, in the end the brave, transgressive left will give up even their bedrock freedom – sexual identity – as they have abandoned all those older, quainter freedoms like free speech. In the face of growing Islamic hostility, men will cease to marry men, and men will cease to be women, and policemen will quietly mothball the bi-cruiser.

Some years back, my father handed me a copy of Hilaire Belloc’s The Great Heresies. Given Belloc’s vigorous Catholicism, I don’t think the book ever got a large amount of interest. A lot of people probably thought when it came out, “hey, its just a Catholic mouthing off about silly heresies” and took no great notice of it. But it is, to me, one of the most important books written in the past century. It very much repays reading and after reading it, you’ll have a vastly better understanding of where we came from and why we’re in our current position. Steyn’s article got me thinking of this passage from Belloc’s book:

Strange as it may seem, there are a certain number of highly educated men, European gentlemen, who have actually joined Islam, that is, who are personal converts to Mohammedanism. I myself have known and talked to some half-dozen of them in various parts of the world, and there are a very much larger number of similar men, well instructed Europeans, who, having lost their faith in Catholicism or in some form of Protestantism in which they were brought up, feel sympathy with the Mohammedan social scheme although they do not actually join it or profess belief in its religion. We constantly meet men of this kind today among those who have travelled in the East.

The other day I was listening to a show on Catholic radio and the host was discussing a conversation he had had with a German some while back. The gist of it was that the host explained to the German that his country fell for Nazism – and is now being swamped by Islamism – because it gave up it’s ancestral, Christian faith and thus could not stand against new faiths, of whatever sort. The host contrasted Germany with Poland and pointed out that Poland remained Catholic – strongly so – and so was able to endure a century of division and foreign rule and then, in turn, rejected and fought against Nazism and Communism…and today still stands firm against Muslim inroads.

The problem, you see, isn’t that Muslims are moving to Europe – nor that non-Americans are moving to the United States – but that the people of Europe (or, more accurately, their leaders) have lost their faith and thus do not convert the new arrivals. It wouldn’t matter in the least if the primary ethnic group of the United States in 2117 were Nigerian provided that said people had been fully converted to the American ideal. Just as it wouldn’t matter if in 2117 the primary ethnic group of Europe were Arab provided said people had been converted to the European ideal. The slight difference is that the American ideal is embodied in the Declaration of Independence while the European ideal is embodied in Christianity – most specifically Catholicism, but at least as long as it is Christian, it is European.

As Belloc noted – and the book was written more than 80 years ago – there were already highly educated, but faithless, Europeans who were already in line with Islam. Not so much in believing the whole run of Islamic belief, but in believing that it was superior to their ancestral beliefs and was better suited to the human condition. But the catch – and they didn’t see it then, or now – is that the way Europe is only happens because it is Christian. Had the Arian heresy triumphed in the 4th century, then Europe would not have become what it became. Arianism was very much like Islam in that it denied the ultimate divinity of Christ and thus, had it won, European civilization today would likely be very much like Muslim civilization is (my bet is that Islam never would have arisen, as such: Mohammed would have just become an Arian). But Europe in the 4th century remained Catholic Christian and so developed along the lines we know from history – but now Europe is no longer Catholic Christian (my guess is that, overall, no more than 20% of the European population is Christian) and so it has nothing to fight against Islam with…nothing to fight for, that is. And given a choice, I believe the European (and American) Ruling Class would much prefer a triumphant Islam to a revived Christianity.

Part of this is because Islam does have the appeal of simplicity. Remember, it’s primary disagreement with Christian dogma is the divinity of Christ. You’ll not find anyone write or speak with more respect and reverence for Christ (and his mother) than a Muslim…but he denies that Christ is God. Given that Christ isn’t God in the Muslim view, there’s no need for all those sacraments which, especially, the Catholic Church maintains. You don’t need a priest. You can pray anywhere (there are Mosques, of course, but as you can easily see just by looking, a Muslim can discharge his religious duties anywhere quite simply). Islam seems clean and easy – it is certainly much easier to understand than Christian dogmas such as a the Trinity. Additionally, most modern, Progressive ideologies firmly reject the idea of free will – and Islam is very much about all being God’s will while humans only do what they were ordained to do. If the Progressive West is to have a religion, Islam is more likely to be it than anything else.

There would be not much to it, you see? I can easily see our radical feminists adopting the burka in order to free themselves from the “male gaze”. Official Muslim condemnation of usury would be seen as a nice anti-Capitalist touch (it isn’t actually true that interest isn’t charged in Islam, by the way). Your basic Ruling Class person won’t have to give up much to convert to Islam. They’d still be rich and in charge. True, there would be no more topless women on European beaches and popular culture would be highly constrained, but that wouldn’t prevent a rich person from indulging in all sorts of oddities behind the walls of his secured palace; nor in setting aside special areas where sin is abundantly available, but only for the select few (the Ruling Class doesn’t really like the idea that the unwashed masses are currently able to get into swank areas, anyway). It would go badly for open homosexuality – but in the hierarchy of victim status, Muslim trumps gay anyways; and it’s not like you couldn’t still be gay, it would be just that the annual Pride parade would be cancelled.

If you wonder why our Ruling Class, especially in Europe, appears utterly blind to the threat, look no further than the fact that they have little to fear from it. It isn’t their way of life that will be radically altered, but yours. And they are quite ok with that. You might like your Christianity and your Constitution, but such things are entirely meaningless to the Ruling Class. They like power and wealth and are determined to keep it – and if that means importing a new set of voters and eventually joining them, they won’t bat an eye at it. This is why it is crucial that we concentrate on what is most important, and not allow ourselves to get side-tracked into blind alleys. It isn’t, ultimately, the Muslim refugee who is your worry, but a Ruling Class that doesn’t like you.

This makes the election last year stand out all the more starkly. Trump, warts and all, is an American patriot. He loves his country – as it is (or, more accurately, as it was a few decades back). He wants to make it that way, again – strong, dynamic, filled with reverence for what we’ve done and determination to outdo the past. I don’t know if Trump knows the ultimate wellsprings of his nation’s greatness, but he certainly understands that those who have been running the show largely reject whatever it is that made America great. He instinctively knows that if we give up what we are, we give up all we have. Something else will replace it – because a vacuum of any type will always eventually get filled. Getting after those who are in charge thus becomes the primary effort of everyone who cares to save the nation. And anyone, of whatever alleged political complexion, who doesn’t want to get after those in charge has effectively ranged himself on the other side.

The Great Turning Point is this: that we’ll either chase the Ruling Class from power, or they’ll hand us over, bound hand and foot, to a successor civilization. Back in the 20th century, they wanted to hand us over to Socialist totalitarians, now they’ll just as easily hand us over to Islam. In either case, they don’t care because they are certain they’ll still remain in charge. That they might well be wrong about this is immaterial – it is what they believe (and, come what may, after the end of our civilization most of them will still be on top…just as in the various turns in other civilizations a traitorous Ruling Class still managed to ingratiate itself with the new rulers…plenty of Byzantines converted to Islam and helped run the Ottoman Empire after 1453, after all; the Russian Imperial general Brusilov became a Bolshevik; the German officer corps sold itself to Hitler for as little as 100,000 marks a year…). Getting rid of these people in charge is Job One. It is really the only job we have – and if that means sticking by Trump and just generally fighting and pushing back all the time, that is what it will have to be. It’ll be worth it, if we win.

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Balancing the Political Sides

Kurt Schlichter has a new bit up at Townhall – it hits a point I’ve made recently on Twitter:

So, my finger-wagging True Con friends, what’s your plan? How do we go from liberals abandoning the Rule of Law, and such ancillary and associated components of a society based on liberty like free speech and free enterprise, to a liberty-based society operating under the Rule of Law? “Elect more True Cons!” isn’t a plan; it’s an aspiration, and not much of one. I don’t need another cliché, or another citation to general principles, or some variant of my new favorite, all-purpose get-out-of-having-an-actual-plan-free card, the old “We’re better than this” line.

He goes on to note his personal plan: pain. Causing as much pain to liberals as can be achieved in the hope that it will eventually get them to back off. It is certainly a better plan than the idea of doing nothing and trying to pretend that all is well and we just need to get rid of Trump and figure out some way to get Jeb! or Kasich in there. Trump goes down and we all go down with him. There is no separating ourselves from Trump save by agreeing with the left – and agreeing with the left, especially right now, is fraught with the gravest peril for all people who believe in freedom.

Right now, the left is making the demand of “no enemies of the left”. This is an old, Bolshevik tactic. They used it to prevent anyone on the left from opposing them…and then picked off each non-Bolshevik part of the left in turn: starting with the farthest “right” of the left and eventually eating their own who couldn’t stomach the worst aspects of Leninism. When you say “no enemies on the left”, you essentially allow the farthest left tail to wag the political dog. “No enemies on the left means” that no matter how completely radical the far left gets, you can’t say anything against them lest you be classed as a fascist enemy of the people. Until at least part of the left says, “we have enemies on the left”, then they stand foursquare in opposition to all we believe and must be battled on each issue without letup. You think you can make a deal with the left to get rid of Trump and all you’ll find is that you’ve dropped Trump in favor of Lenin.

And, so, everything left is currently our enemy. Even the most decent and reasonable leftist you know is, for now, simply part of antifa. Until such decent leftists turn against the far left and help us to push them completely out of political influence, it will have to be that way. I don’t want it to be this way. I don’t like it to be like this. But it is what it is. Any weakness at this point just helps the left – even if you are just trying to be nice to that swell Progressive friend of yours (I’ve got some, myself), all you’re doing is helping the people who smash windows and beat up people who have a “Nazi haircut”.

And this is where the so-called True Conservatives simply have rocks in their heads right now – so consumed with hatred of Trump (who dared to annul their expertise by winning what they said he couldn’t win), that they have set themselves into a position where they are assisting the most far-left radical elements in the United States. Forget their soft-voiced condemnations of antifa violence – look more to the way they’ve gone ballistic over the pardon of Joe Arpaio. That shows you where their heads are, and how dangerous they are to the side of Conservatism. Everyone with any sense at all knows that the conviction of Arpaio was set in train in a spirit of political vindictiveness. Arpaio was doing things the left didn’t want, so they got a judge to say he was doing it wrong, and then another judge to “convict” him of not doing what the other judge said to do. There is no merit to the case against Arpaio – what he did was a political act to be decided by the political process (and, as it turns out, he was booted from office by the voters at the last election). But the left isn’t having any of that – Arpaio violated not the law, but the demands of the left and so he had to be punished. And for many decades, we on the right have sat still for things like that..Trump just said, “no more”.

It is good that the left has now been informed that using the courts to punish political actions is over. This is one of the most important things Trump has done as President and it benefits every single Conservative official and office holder in the land. To hold Trump’s action wrong because you think that Arpaio was wrong is asinine – political suicide of the most stupid sort. It doesn’t matter if Arpaio was wrong – more wrong was the left trying to send him to jail for what he did. So-called Conservatives are saying that Trump’s action violates the rule of law – perhaps it does, but so does trying to send a man to jail for doing things in the course of his official business. Unless Arpaio was taking bribes or some such, no judicial actions should have been launched against him, at all. And the only way we’ll get back to an America where political differences are solved entirely by the political process is to make using non-political means painful to the left.

You can have two types of government: Royal or Republican. A dictatorship or a democracy. There is something to be said for Royalism/Dictatorship…it allows for a bit of flexibility and tact in the performance of government actions. The downside, of course, is if you have an evil king or dictator. Better, of course, not to have any king or dictator because you can never tell who will be the bad one (or which one might turn bad over time – Nero’s first five years as Emperor were actually a model of excellent Royalist government…and then he went nuts). Better to have a Republic – but a Republic only works when it has rules and they are strictly enforced on everyone. You will have Rules, or you will have Rulers: take your pick. I prefer Rules. Right now, however, we have no Rules because the left has arrogated to itself the power to impose new Rules or set aside old Rules at will, as they determine whether or not they help or hinder the left. Each leftist out there is a supreme Autocrat, able to instantly decree whatever comes into his or her head at the moment and insist that we all toe the line. We are to just tremble and obey. I don’t like it like that – and I want my Rules back. The only way I can see to get them back is to demonstrate to the non-insane portion of the left that, on the whole, they would prefer Rules, themselves. And if this takes my agreement to pardoning Joe Arpaio in an irregular manner, then so be it. It is a lot less outrageous than someone getting beaten to the ground by an antifa mob because he wasn’t antifa.

Unless we are to live under a system of brute force, we must have a political balance. Indeed, it must be an artificial balance. Even if one side is 10 people and the other side is 1,000, the system must be set so that the two sides have the ability to thwart the other. Eventually the tiny minority must knuckle under to the prevailing notions of the broad majority – but not easily, and not before that tiny minority secures at least some of it’s demands. Our system is messed up right now because there is no balance – the left has set it up so that whomever has the power can just steamroll over everyone else. The left has gotten away with this because each time our side has gained power, we have refrained from exercising it as the left does. We have to be a lot more flexible about such things if we are to teach the left that they want the losers to still have a say in what goes on.

Yes, we are better than that – we won’t, say, send people to jail like the left does over mere policy disagreements. But even refraining from such egregiously tyrannical actions, there is still much we can do to demonstrate to the left the sweet reason of, well, being reasonable. The pardon was one thing. Making a move to deny federal funds to colleges which suppress free speech is another. Regulating tech giants who use their dominance to suppress free expression is another. Lots of things – and we’ll have to do them. Eventually, enough pain will be inflicted that the sane portion of the left will jettison the antifa types. Probably with a feeling of relief, I should add – do you think anyone really wants to be politically chained to people who wear masks and beat up people? But they’ll only unchain themselves from antifa if we essentially force them to…to give them a choice between going down to permanent defeat with antifa, or getting rid of antifa and making themselves acceptable to a broad electoral majority. Only this time, when they get back in, they’ll hopefully remember how bad it can be when you’re run over roughshod by the winners in the next round.

There can once again be general political balance in the United States – where the policy differences are relatively small and everyone can look at the other side and see reasonable people who merely disagree on the best way to shared goals. But that can’t be while one side is lawless, and is ever more enthralled to the far left radicals who simply hate the United States and all it stands for. Trump, consciously or not, is doing what we on the right should have done 40 years ago – and it is time for all of us who want a just, free and reasonable society to get on board.

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.