The Dull Man’s Burden

One of the remarkable things in my time has been the precipitous decline of the so-called conservative movement. Even if you were on the paleocon side of the great fight, you could not help but admire some of the writers and thinkers on the other side. Unlike the Left, which has always tended for preachers, rather than thinkers, the people writing for the Buckleyite and neocon outlets were often quite bright and original. They even permitted a sprinkling of heretics, which made their publications worth reading.

Over the last decade, anyone with the least bit of originality has been purged from their sites. Scan The Weekly Standard or National Review and what’s interesting is how dull it all feels now. It’s like reading the internal newsletter of the postal service. That’s being kind, as these sites often resemble a cargo cult. They hire guys like Ben Shapiro to spin the oldies, hoping they will be magically transported back to 1994. If you are engaged in this world from the Right, there is no reason to read these publications. They offer nothing.

This post before the holiday by Jonah Goldberg is good example. Goldberg now plays the role of “senior fellow” for Conservative Inc., so he gets the job of dong the theoretical stuff for National Review. He’s their man of ideas now. Goldberg made his career as a snarky Gen-X jokester, making conservatism sound fresh. Of course, the implication was that the Left was correct about conservatives being humorless stuffed shirts. Shecky Goldberg’s quest was to make conservatism fit for the Catskills. Now, he is their big ideas man.

I understand very well that conservatives often bristle at the idea they need to change with the times. As the famous line from (the far from famous) Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland, goes, “where it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.”

But we forget that the conservative movement’s strength came from the fact that it was armed with new arguments from diverse intellectual sources. More important, its vigor stemmed from the fact that these various strains of conservatives were eager to argue among themselves. There are arguments aplenty on the right these days, but the vast majority of them are arguments over a specific personality — Donald Trump — not a body of ideas. And to the extent that there are arguments about ideas, they tend to be subsumed into the larger imperative to attack or defend Trump.

This is from a guy who repeatedly said that large chunks of observable reality are “morally repugnant” and therefore off-limits. It’s a bit tough to have “new arguments from diverse intellectual sources.” when the prevailing assumption is that those ideas and sources are outside what is morally acceptable. Of course, whatever it once was, mainstream conservatism is a no longer a vigorous debate about moral and political philosophy. It is merely a shopping list of talking points acceptable in the managerial elite.

Even in the mundane areas of public policy, the so-called conservatives are startlingly obtuse in their observations. Trump’s diplomacy in Asia, for example, is a genuine sea-change in American policy. He has craftily linked North Korea’s behavior to US trade relations with China. He is making the master responsible for the servant. This is actually resulting in real progress on a half century problem. Yet, the experts of Conservative Inc. remain baffled by what’s happening.They still think North Korea is a Soviet client.

The great Eric Hoffer observed that the difference between a movement and a practical organization lies in the goals of the members. In a political movement, the people joining do so to attain a political goal, something that is bigger than themselves. In a practical organization, people join out of self-interest. They act in order to advance up the ranks of the organization. A rat like Dinesh D’Souza was willing to be a neocon assassin, because he thought it was a good career move. The organization man is not a man who dreams.

That’s been the case with the conservatives for a long time now. The pioneers may have been motivated by ideological zeal, but they built practical organizations. Buckley-style conservatism, by the 1980’s, had become a lucrative career path for the man good with his letters and careful to never color outside the lines. More important, the organization was positioned within the managerial class, rather than opposed to it. An obsequious writer could work for both National Review and a liberal TV network.

Another byproduct of this is the boiling off of anyone with the least bit of creativity. If the in-house intellectual is a vapid airhead with a fetish for 1980’s pop culture references, you are no longer an intellectual movement. The result is a collection of dull and uninteresting people left to figure out how to keep the racket going. That’s the point of Goldberg’s cri de guerre. The old act is no longer pulling in the crowds, so they need a new act with new actors. The trouble is, the dullards left in charge are not up to carrying the burden.

Judging Trump

From time to time recently, people have asked me if I have second thoughts about this post from a few months ago. I was a tiny bit more critical than normal, but in my defense, I have no sense of humor on the gun issue. There are certain issues that draw a bright line between the chosen and the damned. Guns are one of them. There’s no “sort of getting it right” or “only being a bit wrong.” You either get it or you don’t and I still don’t think Trump gets it, but he has shut up about it. He went to the NRA convention, so I’ll give him a pass.

That said, I’m still waiting for Trump to deliver on the stuff that is important to me. Despite the bold talk on immigration, he has so far been an economic populist, rather than a national populist. His best work has been on trade, where he has gotten tough on China and re-opened the NAFTA deal. He’s also dismantled the climate change apparatus inside the Department of Energy and cut a ton of regulations. These are all good things and in another age, I’d probably be over the moon. But, it is not another age. It is now.

Despite making lots of noise on the issue, nothing much has changed on the immigration front. The wall is no closer to reality than it was two years ago. The number of guest worker visas has increased, rather than decreased. The DACA issue is still out there, as Trump now waits on the states to solve the problem for him. He put a complete dunce in as secretary of DHS, making things worst on that front, rather than better. Worse yet, that perfidious weasel Paul Ryan is quietly trying to sneak an amnesty through the House.

In fairness, the immigration issue is not an easy puzzle to solve. No reasonable person should have expected sweeping reform in the first two years of his presidency. The fact is, a third of the GOP is bought and paid for by the open borders lobbies. Another third are so utterly clueless on the issue, they don’t know where to start, even if they wanted to push the issue. Still, Trump has been outfoxed and outworked by his opponents on immigration. He seems to like talking about immigration more than doing anything about it.

All that said, he has a lot of time to make things right and he has shown an extremly rare ability to address his own errors. The gun issue is a good example. He was making all of the usual mistakes on guns, then he wised up and reversed course. Most politicians are the opposite of a fine wine. They get worse with age. Because he is not an ideologue, Trump learns from his mistakes and adjusts. Maybe on the immigration front we see the same sort of growth we saw on guns. There’s still time to get a lot done.

The bigger issue though, the thing now looming over his entire presidency, is the wide ranging conspiracy engineered by senior elements of the intelligence community. A few months ago it looked like a handful of radicalized mid-level bureaucrats. What’s becoming clear is this was a conspiracy hatched by the men at the top of the intelligence community, with help from the White House, to not only help Hillary Clinton, but engineer a coup after the election to get rid of Trump. This reality has to color any assessment of Trump.

Think about the stones it takes to face off against the intel community. They literally know all of your secrets. In the case of Trump, they have the secrets of his friends, family and business associates. Even if they can’t ruin him, they can ruin people he knows. It was 18 months ago that Chuck Schumer warned Trump about doing this. When Schumer said, “Intel officials ‘have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you'” he was not being flippant or rhetorical. We now know the intel community has been at this for a while.

It’s not just the fact that the intel community has the capacity to spy on everyone and appears to be spying on everyone. It’s that these are vicious, craven people lacking a moral compass. It’s ironic that James Comey was fond of accusing his people of lacking a moral compass, when it is now clear the guy is a sociopath incapable of knowing right from wrong. Clapper and Brennan have no scruples whatsoever. There’s also the fact that on the CIA side, they still have guys who kill people on behalf of the American deep state.

Now, we can’t know how much Trump knows, or how much much he knew back in the campaign about the spying. It is entirely possible that honest people had told him what was happening long ago. We do know Mike Rogers went to Trump Tower after the election and warned Trump about this operation. Once in office, Trump would have been briefed on a lot of things related to this. Even if he thought it was just a handful of crackpots in the FBI, it took mighty big stones to take the issue head on.

One of the funny things about these times is they are entirely unexpected. Back when Trump came down the escalator and started talking like Pat Buchanan, I recall thinking, “I can’t imagine a scenario where I vote for him, but I never imagined anyone saying these things again either.” Trump is turning out to be the most consequential president in our lifetime, which is not something any sane person could have imagined two years ago. I think we have to withhold judgement on him until these great events of this age unfold.

Voting Your Skin

Way back in the olden thymes, when Pat Buchanan was challenging Bush the Elder in the GOP primary, I found myself in a working class Irish bar talking politics. The TV in the bar was on the local news and they were doing a segment on the race. A male and female were beside me at the bar and were chatting about the race. The woman said something like, “I can’t vote for Buchanan. He a racist and I can’t vote for a racist.” The male sort of nodded along. He was clearly just going along with it because that was the easy route.

I think that was the point when I began to realize politics, at least for me, was only going to be for entertainment purposes. I did not fully comprehend the implications of what was happening, but in retrospect, Buchanan’s run was the beginning of the great unraveling of the Reagan coalition. The old sandwich attack was back, except this time, the bottom would include many whites attracted to the blue flame of social justice. Upper class whites had found a way to woo them back. The virtue of the multicultural paradise was the lure.

Of course, the managerial coalitions, that evolved in the 90’s and ran through the Obama years, were built on a lie. The managerial elite, particularly the corporate side of the house, had nothing but contempt for working class Americans. They developed a particularly healthy disdain for normal white people, as seen in their jihad against companies like WalMart. This was the heart of the Sailer Strategy for Republicans to regain the edge in elections. Now it appears the Progressives are beginning to come to terms with it too.

With the 2018 midterms months away and the 2020 presidential election cycle approaching rapidly, Democrats are considering how to improve their poor showings in 2014 and 2016. The party has been debating — sometimes heatedly — how to do this. Which voters should they target? How should Democrats target them?

But here’s what’s clear: White voters have been fleeing the Democratic Party, and that’s a big reason Democrats are looking to rebound from back-to-back losses.

Whites have slowly but consistently moved away from the Democratic Party. These recent losses are on top of Democrats’ losses among Southern whites during the 1960s and 1970s after Democrats’ support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Bill Clinton won 49 percent of the white two-party vote in 1996. Al Gore won 43 percent in 2000. John F. Kerry won 41 percent in 2004. Barack Obama won a slightly larger share in 2008, but then dropped to only 39 percent in his 2012 reelection bid. Hillary Clinton got the same percentage as Obama.

Obama was able to mask the Democratic Party’s weakness among whites by prompting record-high turnout among African Americans, as well as strong turnout from other Democratic-leaning minority groups. Hillary Clinton was unable to generate the same level of enthusiasm from racial and ethnic minorities.

What some on the Left are beginning to notice is called math. If you increase your share of a large voting block, like say white people, you get more votes that if you increase your share of a small voting block, like Hispanics. This was the point Sailer made a long time ago, one that Donald Trump took to heart in his 2016 campaign. There’s also the fact that the black vote is maxed out and the Hispanic vote has proven to be quite fickle. It takes a massive effort for the Democrats to get that vote out in strong numbers.

I used the American National Election Study data to show that many whites view the Democratic Party as moving further away from their own positions. This is true both when whites are asked to assess the positions of the parties generally and on a variety of specific issues such as government-sponsored health care and the government’s role in providing employment.

My research suggests this combination of political “sorting” and changing white perceptions of the Democratic Party has resulted in an almost eight-point swing in white vote choice. That lines up well with actual vote returns. White votes were split between the two parties about 50-50 in the 1970s — but in elections since 2000, that has become closer to 60-40 in favor of the Republican Party. Democrats might be gaining more votes from Latinos, Asians and other emerging demographic groups, but they are losing whites as a result.

Furthermore, the demographics of the white voters who are likely to support Democrats are different from the white voters who supported the Democratic Party in previous decades.

Most notably, while the Democratic Party is winning a lower percentage of whites overall, a greater proportion of college-educated whites are voting for Democrats. Attitudes on social issues in particular have become stronger predictors of voting behavior in recent elections; economic attitudes have become more important, too, but were already quite a strong predictor to start with.

The reason for this phenomenon is another temporary factor. College educated whites can afford to avoid many of the realities of multiculturalism. At least they think they can, by moving to ex-urban enclaves. That’s something this study missed. The suburban white boy vote started to move toward Trump in the last election. Despite the hand-waving from the Left, these voters are waking up to the reality of the demographic age as well. It’s playing out in their neighborhoods now and they are responding accordingly.

There’s also something else that left-wing analyst don’t get and that is the intensity of the white response. In the South, whites are much more keenly aware of race and therefore more attuned to voting on racial lines. When it matters, whites will come out hard for their team. The white vote is much harder to split using the normal subversive tricks. This is starting to play out on the national level as even areas close to the Canadian border are seeing violent African and Hispanic migrants dumped into their communities.

As an aside, take a look at the comments of that Post story. You see many of the usual auto-responses from people who think it is still 1968. You also see many more normal responses from people who get it. It takes time for this type of culture changes to seep into all the nooks and crannies of a society, but people are slowly waking up to the demographic reality of our age. While we still bother having elections, white people will increasingly choose to vote their skin over all other considerations.

Serendipity

In early December of 1241, the great Mongol army was camped on the Hungarian plain, poised to invade Europe “all the way to the Great Sea.” In the spring, they had defeated the Hungarian army at the battle of Mohi and spent the summer and fall ravaging eastern Europe. By autumn, all of the lands east of what is now modern Germany had been subdued by the Mongols. There was no army between the Mongols and the Atlantic Ocean capable of stopping them from ravaging the rest of the continent.

Then, in the middle of December, Ogedei Khan, the Great Khan, died on a hunting trip, most likely drunk. He was well known as a drunkard and the legend is he fell of his horse while drunk. Regardless of the reason, his death required all of the Mongol leaders to return home and select a new Great Khan. That meant the Mongol Army, instead of sacking Europe, returned home. It was one of the strange, fortunate events that probably made it possible for Europe to be Europe. The Mongols were not known for their mercy.

To put this into some perspective, the Mongols invaded what is now Iraq, known in the 13th century as the Abbasid Caliphate. This was the third caliphate, whose rulers were descended from Abbas, the uncle of Muhammad. Baghdad was the capital and at the time, one of the most advanced cities in the world.  The Mongols sacked the city in 1258, putting anywhere from 200,000 to one million people to the sword. They destroyed the city, filled the canals and stole or burned everything of value. It was an annihilation.

At the time, Baghdad was the center of the Islamic world.The Grand Library of Baghdad may have been the most important center of knowledge on earth at the time. It had books ranging from medicine to astronomy. The 36 public libraries in the city were also burned. Of course, the scholars and learned people who used those books and libraries were murdered. What was once the center of Islamic learning was destroyed. The population of the city and surrounding areas did not recover until the 19th century.

The point of this is that serendipity often plays a definitive role in humans affairs. At the dawn of the 13th century, there was no reason to think Europe was about to rocket ahead of the rest of the world. Through the Middle Ages, Europe slowly began to develop more advanced societies and develop a high culture, but they were still playing catch-up with Asia and the Middle East. Yet, the totally unexpected and unpredictable events of the Mongol invasions, radically changed the trajectory of Europe and the Middle East.

In retrospect, it is easy to look at a singular event like the Great Khan dropping dead just when his armies are about to sack Europe and see the significance. Once you read the story of the Mongol invasions, you know the West dodged something close to a meteor strike. The Siege of Baghdad, and its subsequent obliteration, is probably the great inflection point in the history of Islam. There’s no doubt that Islamic intellectual curve bent sharply downward because of the Mongol invasions and destruction of Baghdad.

The thing is, serendipity can also be the result of great stupidity. The Mongols initially tried to establish trade relations with the Khwarezmid Shah, who ruled the lands between the Mongols and the Abbasid Caliphate. The trouble was the caliph and shah hated one another and conspired to keep each other from making a deal with the Mongols. It’s a matter of dispute, but some historians argue that the Mongols never would have invaded if they could have struck a deal. They took the rejection as an insult and invaded.

This brings us to some rather interesting serendipity of our own age. In 2015, there was no reason to think the 2016 election was going to be anything but more of the same. The smart money said it would be Bush versus Clinton to decide the title. If not Bush, then one of the Bush family flunkies. Then like the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, Trump entered the race and altered the political trajectory of the empire. Not only has this event extinguished the Bush wing of the GOP, it is threatening the neo-liberal world order.

How did this happen? Mostly it is due to Trump getting angry about how the political class has treated him. Like all rich guys, he had spread his money around to buy friends in the political class. He never had any respect for them, but if you want to do business in the world you have to do business with the people who run it. According to people who know him, what got Trump interested in running is being disrespected by the people in the chattering classes. The political class simply ticked off the wrong guy.

How this improbable event happened is going to be debated for a long time, but there is no debate about the consequences. Imagine if Clinton were president. The CIA meddling in our politics would only have accelerated. The corruption of the FBI would never have been revealed. In fact, it would have metastasized. People like to focus on the policy issues that would have been different with Clinton in power, but without the miracle of Trump, Washington would be ruled today by a dumpy old Caligula in a muumuu.

Here’s another bit of serendipity. Even if Trump won, much of this would never have come to light if not for two wholly unnecessary actions taken by the Democrats. One is the nonsense about Russian hacking. For no other reason than spite, the Left embraced this ridiculous narrative. The demands for an IG investigation of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton e-mail stuff came from liberal Democrats. They were the ones who demanded it, after blaming Comey for the election loss. Two dumb decisions have changed the world.

Thoughts On The Coming Events

Since it appears we are going to have lots of political news break over the next few weeks, I thought it might be a good idea to do some more political posting, which I have not been doing much of lately. The IG report on how the FBI handled the Clinton e-mail crimes is due out this week or next. Trump is laying the groundwork to fire Mueller and possibly behead his own Justice Department. It’s midterm season and there will be a summer battle over the next round of government budgets. Lots on tap this summer.

The first item is what we see happening with the FBI spying scandal. I must admit that I followed initially it because I liked boasting about having predicted it. Then I moved into cynical mode, assuming it would be swept under the rug like all of the crimes perpetrated by our rulers. I may have been wrong on that score. The people slowly unearthing the details and revealing them to the public appear to be extremely savvy political operators. I see now why the Democrats tried to assassinate Devin Nunes. He is a dangerous man.

One of the rare things in American politics these days is the smart politician who is not desperate to ham it up for the cameras. Nunes, Grassley, Goodlatte and their staffers have carried out this probe in a way we just never see. They took turns nibbling away at bits of the story, working with IG Horowitz, while quietly confronting the FBI and DOJ each step of the way. The level of coordination is what I find intriguing. It feels like maybe there is an inside player making sure everyone in on the same page and working their role.

On the other side of the ledger, the insane things coming from the Brennan camp are jaw-dropping. For the former CIA head to not-so-subtly threaten the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader on social media is incredible. Either the guy is insane or he really feels he is bullet proof. That would be an incredibly ballsy move to do behind closed doors with no witnesses. This guy is basically telling the political class they better remove the sitting president or else. It is not the sort of thing I ever expected to see in my lifetime.

What it could mean, is that off-camera, there’s a change in opinion. This assault on Trump was led by a well known group of people, the same people who ran the phony-baloney NeverTrump campaign. Brennan’s nutty public statements may reflect his sense that the tide is now running against him and his cronies. He’s not taking twitter because people are taking his calls. You have to think that the leaders of both parties would like to get away from this whole thing and the easy way to do that is turn on the conspirators.

The other aspect to this is Trump has played his hand about as well as possible. The press will focus on his handling of the Mueller stuff, but what Trump has managed to do is much more strategic. Look at his polling. Normally, even saints lose support after waves of bad press. Trump has managed to bob along around 50%, slowly creating an image of himself as David fighting Goliath. The Mueller problem, in light of the spying scandal, now looks like part of the elaborate scheme to thwart the will of the people by Washington.

That’s going to give him enormous amounts of political capital in the coming months. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of a popular president. The Ryan faction, which is bottling up all reform efforts in the House, has to be wondering if they picked the wrong team at this point. With their leader quitting to cash in as a lobbyist, we may see that coalition within the GOP start to fracture this summer. The tell will be if Ryan steps down early and we get a new Speaker. My guess is he is gone by Labor Day.

A long forgotten element of the intrigue in Washington is the Clinton e-mail scandal. That’s supposedly the next item IG Horowitz will report on and it is the reason he is has been digging around in all of this stuff. Many of the characters involved in the spying scandal were involved in the cover-up of the Clinton e-mail scandal. The main target is Andrew McCabe, so we probably learn just how much jeopardy he is in over this. Whatever caused Mr. Magoo to fire him, despite not wanting to do it, is in that reports.

Something Chuck Schumer said two years ago should be revisited. He publicly warned Trump that “Intel officials ‘have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you'” meaning Trump should not take on the FBI. Maybe it was just Schumer flapping his gums, but maybe there’s more to it. It is safe to assume that guys like Brennan were abusing their power for a long time. There may be another game afoot, behind the scenes, to rein in an intel community that has been out of control for longer than the public currently knows.

Finally, I used to compare Trump to the Asimov character “The Mule” because I saw him as the destroyer of the current order. I still think that is largely true. The one thing common in all of these scandals is the participants operated on the assumption that Trump can never win. It is not just that he could not get elected. They have been playing the game assuming that he had to fail eventually. The body of official Washington would expel him like a foreign object. Instead, everything is falling to pieces and Trump keeps winning.

It is going to be a fun summer.

The Rock Fight

The on-going investigation into FBI shenanigans trundles on and it is easy to be a bit cynical about the whole thing. It’s clear that the DOJ and FBI are stalling, hoping the Democrats take the House thus relieving them of their duties to Congress. The modern habit of the Washington elite giving themselves a pass for their bad behavior, should lead sensible people to assume nothing comes of this. After all, it involves some of the biggest players in the semi-permanent Washington ruling class and they are above the law.

On the other hand, the list of people who tangled with Trump and then came to a bad end is long enough now to think it is not a coincidence. The mass media and the NeverTrump loons like to paint the guy as a buffoon, but he is a very savvy political athlete. What makes it work for Trump is that when guys like Eric Schneiderman go up in flames, it looks like Trump was not involved, but curiously prescient. The fact is, Trump plays rough and the people in the FBI scandal have every reason to fear retribution from him.

That’s the thing with Trump. He is a genuine politician, who does not have his head in the clouds or frets about getting a little dirty in a street fight. This is something we have not seen on the Right in national politics since forever. Reagan, on occasion, would throw some sharp elbows, but all of his worshipers since then have either confined themselves to the world of forms or found a reason why their principles prevented them from getting into the fight. The result has been a once sided drubbing of the Right by the Left.

The great Sam Francis observed this about the America Right a long time ago. The Old Right, as he called what think of of as CivNats, lived in the world of ideas. They operated under the assumption that their ideas would take human form and do the practical work of politics without the creators leaving their salons. You hear echos of this with libertarians and TruCons today. Every discussion ends up with them quoting some theorist and waving around their Cato supplied pocket Constitution like it is a magic talisman.

On the other hand, the New Right, as he labeled the neoconservatives and Buckleyites, were willing to engage in practical politics, but assiduously within the rules, as currently written.This meant they were always captive to those rules. This gave the Left the whip hand, as they could change the rules whenever the Right was getting the upper hand in politics. The Buckleyites and neocons, instead of challenging the managerial state, have been absorbed by it and have become its champions. Sam Francis predicted this.

The fact that neocons and Buckleyites have been assimilated into the Borg that is the managerial class is evidenced by the people participating in the FBI scheme. You have neocons, their former critics and hard thumping Progressives working together in this conspiracy. Further, the extreme Left, that operates the mass media, is endlessly promoting the narrative cooked up by the conspirators. Whatever minor quibbles these people have with one another, defending the managerial state comes first.

It’s why, to some degree, the alt-right and its fellow travelers punch so far above their weight and scare the people in charge. Outside of a few basic ideas, the alt-right is non-ideological. Put three of these guys in a room and they have ten different arguments, depending upon how the alcohol is flowing. At the same time, this loose collection of the like-minded is willing to engage in ad hoc guerrilla war against the managerial class, mostly for the laughs. It is, in part, why the managerial class has over reacted to them.

That brings us back to how Trump is handling the seditious plot, currently being exposed by Congress and the Inspector General. The Right side of the managerial class is puzzled and frustrated by Trump’s unwillingness to put on his good government cap and yap about the process. The ridiculous bleating from National Review types about his boorishness or his recklessness reveals a central fact about Trump and the emerging political movement he has set off. Trump is not of the Old Right or New Right, and neither are his supporters.

For it’s part, the Left is unnerved by his success at undermining the Mueller plot, while exposing the FBI treachery. They are grasping the reality of Trump. He’s not a guy committed to winning them over with theory or looking for a way to join the club. Popular lore says he set off on this journey because he was insulted by the snubs from the political elite. The people peddling it hope it means he wants to join their club and will do so on their terms. It turns out that Trump is looking to bust up the club and make his own.

There’s a lesson here. A culture war is a zero sum game. The ground you gain can only come at the expense of the people in charge and there can never be peace. Complex political theories and carefully elucidated principles have no place in a culture war, or even a political war. It’s a rock fight and that means you have to use whatever is handy to take out the other guy. After you win and secure his turf, then you take a break and maybe use the off-time to think about theory. Principles are for the victory party.

The Sedition Lobby

I take some pride in the fact that I sniffed out the FBI scandal long before the media had any idea what was happening. The whole Russian hacking thing was such nonsense, that it had to be a cover for soemthing else. The subsequent machinations of the FBI and DOJ made it clear that they were hiding something. Of course, we now know that some members of the FBI and DOJ were engaged in domestic spying on the Trump campaign, for purely political reasons. We are now starting to get a sense of who is really behind it.

This post from Conservative Tree House is a bit meandering, the guy really does need someone to organize his thoughts, but it reveals an important fact about this case that has not been made public. That is, the root of the scandal is not the FBI, but the CIA. The guy who got this thing going was former CIA Director John Brennan. He’s been an anti-Trump rage head for a long time. It appears that he is the guy who initiated the surveillance of the Trump campaign and set off the FBI conspiracy to get Trump.

What appears to have happened is Brennan, or his people, contacted a trusted friend of the neocon family for some help. Stefan Halper is the guy fingered by the Tree House guys as the most likely candidate for the job. He is a good candidate, as he did meet with Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. If you look at the career of Halper, he has been in these fever swamps¹ for a long time, so it is not unreasonable to think he was working for the anti-Trump loons. It’s also possible there were others used in this caper.

The way it works is he reaches out to these guys and gets them thinking they have been spotted as men on the come. Low-level types with big ambition are always looking for a chance to talk with the big shots, so Page and Papadopoulos were easy marks and they took the bait. Then he engages them in discussions that he can then claim were initiated by them. He passes it along to his friends in the CIA, but the CIA cannot spy on citizens in the US, so they pass it along to the FBI as a friendly bit of inter-agency cooperation.

At this point, no one knows what was passed on from the CIA to the FBI. That’s the crux of the ongoing battle between Congress and the FBI/DOJ. It is well-established now that the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign and Trump Tower. Their explanation for why they did this is laughable nonsense, so the question is why did they do it and what was the pretext. Most likely, they used what the CIA manufactured, along with the phony dossier and possibly an FBI plant in the campaign, to get the FISA warrant and spy on Trump.

Since the mass media has been instructed to give this story a good leaving alone, it does not get the attention it deserves. What started out as maybe some bungling and perhaps petty malfeasance among middling FBI people, has now progressed up to include the former CIA Director, former Attorney General and Former FBI Director. Those are some pretty big fish. They are also the sorts of people who meet with the President and his top aids on a regular basis. This is looking like what the Left says Watergate was about.

What makes this more serious than Watergate is that the crimes committed here reveal a malice of forethought. The people caught trying to cover-up Watergate and other campaign shenanigans did so after the fact and mostly as non-participants. The people involved in this caper acted with a clear intent. They set out to trap some Trump people so they could then spy on the Trump campaign, including Trump himself, with the goal of ending his campaign. When that failed, they decided to try and remove him from office.

In what is turning out to be the proof of this post from five years ago, there was Russian meddling in the last election. The trouble is, the Russians were working with US intelligence to undermine the campaign of Donald Trump. That meddling may not have stopped at the election, but may be continuing to this day. In fact, according to that linked article in The Hill, the FBI was trying to enlist Oleg Derispaska in their scheme to link the Trump campaign with Russian espionage. You cannot make this stuff up.

There is another element here. The NeverTrump operations was a purely neoconservative operation, led by the current pope of the neocons, Bill Kristol. John McCain has confessed to having played a role in the phony dossier. Stefan Halper is a neocon fellow traveler¹. Bill Kristol’s son-in-law, Matthew Continetti, helped finance the dossier. Everywhere you look in this scandal, you find neocons. It’s almost as if these people have some sort of hidden agenda, that they were willing to do anything to promote, even if it meant sedition.

¹A reader (lars hemmer) pointed out that my short-hand description of Halper as a neocon was inaccurate. He’s more of a intel community insider, who has been a some time neocon fellow traveler, when convenient and hostile, when convenient. I changed the original post to reflect that correction. Thank you lars hemmer.

Particles and Waves

There is a concept in physics called the wave–particle duality. The current scientific theory holds that all particles also have a wave nature. A simple way to think of it is light can be the flashing you would see from a signal lantern, but also a range of colors depending upon the wave length. Similarly, history can be described as the great forces sweeping men along like corks bobbing around the sea, the wave nature, but it also can be described as events, set in motion by great men, the particle nature.

The fact that both are most likely true, is probably at the root of our inability to learn from the past. People in the present will naturally look for figures in history to emulate, thinking if they act like them, they will get the same results. The trouble is, the forces that acted on men in the past were different from those of the present. Similarly, people often assume they are “on the right side of history” meaning they are riding historical forces that have an inevitable end. They foolishly ignore serendipity and the actions of important figures.

Consider what has been going on with the FBI scandal that appears to be heading to some sort of denouement this summer. On the one hand, the managerial inertia of an agency that has come to see itself as the policemen of the ruling class, drove all of these people into something close to treason. There’s simply too many people involved for it to be viewed as just a conspiracy. Frankly, guys like James Comey are too dull and mentally fragile to have followed along with a conspiracy. He was dragged along by events.

On the other hand, this on-going crisis has come to a head due to the actions of men. If Trump was a slightly different guy or had better advisers, this crisis would be at a different stage at this point. Similarly, if the oleaginous Rod Rosenstein had fallen down a flight of stairs on election night, the events he set in motion after the election, most likely would not have occurred. While all of these men are being pushed along by social forces much larger than them, they are not without agency and their actions alter the flow of events.

Interestingly, this crisis has a lot of similarities to what happened with Soviet espionage in the last century. In the early 20th century, being a communist or some sort of boutique socialist was a fashionable thing for ruling class types in Britain and America. That’s what it was though, fashion. At least that’s what people in the ruling classes assumed. The problematic communists were the trade union organizers. During the war, the main concern was with those sympathetic to the fascists. No one doubted the elites.

The people who decided to become spies for Russia in the last century, were largely drawn from the elites of America and Britain. These were not people drawn from the lower classes, bitter at their condition. Alger Hiss had a great life. What started as an immature fascination with communist ideology developed into a group identity. These people were pushed along by a sense of communal identity that took on a life of its own. Spying was affirmation and confirmation. Their conspiracies confirmed what they believed.

The same thing is on display with this burgeoning FBI scandal. The intelligence community still selects from the best and brightest of the American elite. This sense of elite status, within the managerial state, seems to have metastasized into a belief, in many of these people, that they are a class of priestly warriors. Like the men and women who spied for the Soviets almost a century ago, the people in this present conspiracy truly believed they were acting honorably. Comey called his book “Higher Loyalty” for this reason.

Where the comparison with Soviet espionage breaks down is that the spies did not represent a threat to the intellectual underpinnings of the system. Granted, the people in charge could no longer trust people from their own ranks to be loyal to the state, but that was manageable within the system. This FBI scandal is a direct threat to the very structure of the managerial state. Replacing the people is not going to fix the fundamental flaw in the system. The managerial state is devouring popular government.

History is not simply the playing out of a great narrative, even though it fun to frame it that way. The people involved in this have agency. They can and will do things that shape the forces acting on them. Sometimes serendipity changes the course of events. Ögedei Khan got drunk and died unexpectedly, thus forcing the withdraw of the Mongol army from Hungarian plain, rather than sweeping into the heart of Europe. The course of Europe was forever changed, because the Mongol ruler had a serious drinking problem.

That may be what we are witnessing with this FBI scandal. The great paleoconservative thinkers saw the managerial state forming up half a century ago. They could imagine it slowly swallowing up the institutions of American society, including the state itself. They could not see the unexpected. Trump’s election and the popular revolt going on may be revealing things to the political class that truly frightens them. This FBI scandal could be that bit of serendipity that changes the natural course of events.

The Death of the Alt-Right

I’m fond of saying, we learn more from failure than success. Anyone who has been fired from a job or had a career set back learns this lesson. In addition to learning what not to do, you learn something about yourself and your ability to handle adversity. Coming home without a job means re-evaluating everything about your life. Nothing focuses the mind quite like the thought of homelessness. On the other hand, once you get through it, you discover that you are more resilient and resourceful than you previously knew.

That’s something Richard Spencer and the people associated with him should keep in mind as they figure out where to go now. The story arc of the alt-right, at least this chapter, is coming to a close. The decision by GoDaddy to confiscate his domain, at the urging of a coven of black women, is the final insult. The symbolism of this was not lost on Spencer’s former allies. The always classy Jared Taylor mentioned it last week and Greg Johnson jumped on it as well. The alt-right is at rock bottom right now, without a lot of friends.

The good news for the alt-right is their basic message still resonates with their target audience, so they can have a second act. The fact is, the alt-right was always just a younger, more explicit iteration of paleoconservatism. Those old guys operated in a world that had always been more than 80% white, so they took that as a given. The younger generation is fully aware of current demographics and where it is heading. Otherwise, the foundation of paleoconservatism and the alt-right are the same – race realism.

That’s another bit of irony. The alt-right may be finished, but the reality of race and identity is blossoming. Everyday more and more people take note of what’s happening in the country and in the culture. The Left has done us a huge favor by making miscegenation their preferred method of selling product. Millions of middle-class white fathers have suddenly found it necessary to have the talk with their kids, particularly their teenage daughters. In the end, our best asset may be the triumphalism of our enemies.

That means the demise of the alt-right probably makes very little difference. Whatever aspirations Richard Spencer had for his movement, it never could get beyond being a pithy marketing label. Whether it was timing, the changing political landscape or his own shortcomings as an organizer, it never moved from internet aesthetic to a real world organization. The berserk black ladies, who got his domain seized, may have done us all a favor by killing off something that should have died after the 2016 election.

That does not mean the alt-right cannot come back, after a hiatus and refit. History is full of political movements that sputtered and coughed in the early going, only to emerge as a real force. Again, we learn more from failure than success. On the other hand, other organizations can learn from the failure of the alt-right and avoid making the same mistakes. The people behind Identity Evropa seemed to have gone to school on the failure of the alt-right. Sometimes, the best you can be is a warning for others.

As far as Spencer, his career is in a ditch at the moment. Everyone is lining up to kick him while he is down, which is unfortunate. Whatever his failings, it took a lot of courage to be the face of the alt-right. He is someone who has always had plenty of attractive options in his life. He could just as easily been a college professor or magazine writer. He did not have to make himself the face of an identity movement. Yeah, he has less to lose than a guy with a mortgage and a career, but he had better options too.

Fitzgerald wrote “There are no second acts in American lives” but he was completely wrong about that. America is the land of second and third acts. A man with talent and tenacity can overcome a lot of failures and wrong turns. Richard Spencer has a ton of talent and personal charisma. He is still young, so he has time to pick himself up, dust himself off and begin his second act. GoDaddy confiscating his intellectual property may have been a glessing. He’s now free to begin creating something new.

That’s the thing people need to come to terms with in this age of upheaval. These movements that spring up are just pieces on the game board. The great battle is between the old thinking of egalitarianism and the new thinking of biological realism. The movements that spring from these two tectonic forces are temporary manifestations. A group like Black Lives Matter will have a run and then implode. The alt-right has had its run and has dissolved. Something new will replace it and new people will lead it.

The Moral War

One of the stranger bits of the current year is how people all over the ideological map are claiming to be “woke”, “aware” and “red-pilled” despite believing things that directly contradict things other “woke”, “aware” and “red-pilled” people believe. The millennial Jewish girl is woke about the patriarchy, while her last boyfriend is red-pilled on the JQ, mostly from having dated her. The concept, having clarity of “what’s really going on” used to be exclusive to conspiracy theorists, but now it is common in outsider politics.

The truth is, the truly woke understand that the current crisis is not a dispute between tribes or a dispute about facts. It is a moral war where one side controls the moral paradigm and imposes their will on the rest of us, in the teeth of objective reality. The current fight is about control of public morality, not public institutions. Facts and reason only play a supporting role in this fight. Being right on the facts helps win respect, thus giving one moral capital. The point of the game being to define public morality.

A useful way of understanding this is a post on National Review about health insurance policy. Ostensibly, it is about some “conservative” solution to providing universal health insurance. It’s got all the usual stuff we have come to expect from the pseudo-experts in the commentariat. What’s not so obvious is the implied embrace of the moral orthodoxy on health care. That is, our collective moral duty is to make sure everyone, even non-Americans, has health insurance and presumably, free access to health services.

A few decades ago, exactly no one thought it was our collective moral duty to make sure everyone has health insurance and the same level of health care as everyone else. We understood that poor people had to rely on charity. In the 1970’s, the free clinic, where young doctors volunteered as part of the training, was a staple of poor neighborhoods, especially urban ghettos. No one thought they were a failure as a citizen because the blacks in the ghetto did not have access to world class health services.

Today, the political class starts with the assumption that only a thoroughly immoral person does not dream of a world where everyone gets health insurance and access to the finest medical care. Since this is impossible in a world of choice, the default assumption is that the state must take control of the health care system. That means the “far right” is debating “their friends on the Left” about what color drapes to use in the health care commissar’s offices. The Left won the moral argument and everything else follows.

It’s why the emerging resistance to the prevailing moral order has to focus on the moral side of the fight, rather than appeals to facts and reason. There are things that can be factually true, and morally abhorrent. Ethic cleaning, for example, is an effective way for one population to solve a problem of another population. As we now know, Europeans are the result of just such a process. While the efficacy of genocide, from the perspective of nature, is undeniable, we consider it to be morally repugnant and work to prevent it.

With rare exceptions, like cannibalism in times of starvation, the moral always triumphs over the factual. What we see as moral, and immoral, is determined not just by what our rulers tell us, but also by what our peers say. We naturally trust the people close to us first and then to the people who seem to share our interests and then the people who look and sound like us. It is what Steve Sailer calls the circles of trust. We will embrace the morality of our kin over the morality of strangers, even when those strangers rule over us.

Over the last several generations, the people who now rule over us have used every weapon in their arsenal to break up our circles of loyalty. The war on families, communities, schools, the sexes, are all part of an instinctive strategy to break the natural bonds of loyalty that form public morality. It’s why having the facts on our side has never meant a damn in political debates. A deracinated public, untethered from its traditions and alienated from its neighbors, inevitably accepts the morality of the ruling elites.

This is the ultimate red pill. The sermons blasting from the megaphones of the mass media may be offensive and insane, but they provide a moral framework. The lack of a credible alternative means most people just fall in line. This has the added benefit of providing social proof. It’s hard to be against what is being preached to you when no one else is speaking out against it. People naturally want to be led, but they also naturally want to be seen by their peers as moral people. Moral confirmation is very powerful magic.

This is why the challenge to the prevailing orthodoxy has to be a challenge on moral terms, not facts and reason. Appealing to people’s sense of propriety will also be more effective than appealing their reason. This only works if the people making the appeal have standing and can provide the sort of social proof people crave. It’s why Jared Taylor has worked so hard to build an organization that offers an alternative moral framework, but also an alternative community, where people can rebuild those circles of loyalty.

It is a fact of history that no revolution has succeeded when the ruling elite was unified and had moral authority. Social change, whether it is a great wave of reform or an outright revolution, blossoms in times when the elites are in conflict. The cracks arise when the people begin to doubt the moral authority of their rulers. The challenge is to create that alternative moral framework and communities that embrace it. Only then will elements of the ruling class seek to be tribunes of the people and challenge their brethren.