Lesson Of Trump #3

Note: I have a post up behind the green door on the 1997 movie The Devil’s Own, starting Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford.


Perhaps in the future, this day will be called day zero of year zero, signifying the official closing of one era and the start of a new one. The installation of Joe Biden as president marks the end of the old civic nationalist America and the beginning of the new managerial state. Competitive elections and open debate of the old era have been swept away in favor of ceremonial elections and speech codes. The managerial class has formally seized control of the country.

No one can look at what is going on in the country and think any of it is normal or that returning to normal is possible. Even if Washington wanted to return to normalcy, the last few months cannot be unseen. Joe Biden will take the oath of office behind layers of razor wire, guarded more than a full army division. The imperial capital looks like it is under occupation and it very well may remain this way. The new regime is extremely paranoid, convulsed by increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories.

This is the big lesson of the Trump years. The nature and psychology of the managerial class began to transform after the end of the Cold War. Little by little it was becoming a closed and insulated culture sitting atop of the general culture. The system looked the same from the outside, two parties competing for votes and the right to dispense the benefits of power, but inside it was changing. It was becoming a distinct culture and the people in that culture were becoming class aware.

Viewed in this context, the 2016 election of Donald Trump was the catalyst for the final phase of this process, the end of which is unfolding now.  The political system in America is now a closed shop, like a sports league. Just as you cannot buy a sports team without first being approved by the other owners, you can no longer win a federal election without first being vetted by the managerial class. The razor wire barriers are the manifestation of this closing of the managerial elite.

It is not just the political marketplace that has been closed off. America is no longer a market economy. This is another thing that has accelerated into plain sight during the Trump years. The shuttering of the social media site Parler is a great example of how the marketplace no longer exists in a conventional sense. All of its vendors gave up their business with the company, because the people running those firms are loyal to their class, not the abstract principles of the marketplace.

This will become increasingly clear as the new regime takes control. The big economic players like the banks or the tech giants are no longer subject to the marketplace in any meaningful way. For example, if angry consumers swore off Amazon, not much would change for Amazon as they control the logistics for the companies those angry consumers would use in place of Amazon. Mastercard can black list anyone because they are a part of a cartel that has no competition.

This will be the hardest lesson for people to accept. Every generation of Americans walking the earth right now has been conditioned to believe the marketplace is the final arbiter of all disputes. Despite all that has gone on, most people cannot accept that there is no marketplace in large swaths of the economy. They still respond to the bogeyman of socialism, despite the fact America has been a socialist country for close to a century now. We are now a command-and-control economy.

Of course, all of this is coming with something even more ominous. For example, the tech giants volunteered to work with the FBI to get the protestors they have now labeled insurrectionists, which is an important change in tone. This public-private partnership comes naturally, as the people involved see one another as members of the same class, at war with the same enemy. Silicon Valley is officially the signal intelligence arm of the surveillance state.

This year the regime will roll out the Covid passports, which will be required to get on public transport. Soon, they will be required to do anything. This is the beginning of the social credit system, where your internal passport is essentially a report card that is constantly updated based on your behavior. It starts with public health but will quickly moves to public safety. Surveillance capitalism will come into full bloom tarted up with the language of public safety and defending democracy.

In total, what the Trump phenomenon has revealed is the America most people thought was their country is gone. Politically, economically, demographically, and culturally, the old American has been replaced with this new society. The great reset, as the new regime bills it, is a dictatorship of the managerial class. That class is now largely closed off to the rest of us. Just as the nomenklatura had the house on the embankment, the managerial class has the walled institutions.

This is why the new regime is willing to bust up many of the institutions that had been instrumental in creating. Public distrust of the media is no longer important, as the new class is no longer subject to the voters. The media companies no longer worry about the audience, because what are you going to do, start your own Amazon? Create your own Hollywood? Mitch McConnell supports another impeachment, because he knows the party system is a farce. His loyalty to his class is what matters.

Michael Anton was right that Donald Trump was the Flight 93 president. Like that flight, the story was motivated by hope, but it was doomed from the start. Like that flight, it crashed and now can only serve as a warning and a rally point. For the new regime, it is a warning that their subjects will fight back if given the chance. For the rest of us, it is reminder that we can fight back, but success is not guaranteed. Resistance only works when no one has any illusions about what is being resisted.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

Lesson Of Trump #2

One of the ironies of the Trump phenomenon is that his most ardent supporters and his many opponents focused on the man, when it was never about the man. Ten years ago, no rational person would have picked Donald Trump as the face of populist discontent, much less the most consequential political figure in generations. When he ran, it was assumed it was a publicity stunt, as he had spent his life as an entertainment gadfly, finding ways to draw public attention to his real estate schemes.

Yet, as the Trump era draws to a close, both his supporters and his enemies have developed a political cult around the man. His supporters are sure he has some last trick up his sleeve to do something to save the country. His opponents are sure he has some trick up his sleeve to steal their democracy from them. So much so, in fact, they have turned the tiny internet fad called QAnon into a subversive conspiracy. There are more anti-Q fanatics now than genuine followers of it.

The thing is, Trump was always an opportunist. In fact, he is the extreme expression of the opportunist, which is how he went from Queens landlord to one of the most famous and successful real estate developers in the world. Real estate, especially the business of high-profile resort properties, is about opportunity. You find a deal before everyone else and cash in before the next big thing. Trump got rich finding the next big thing before everyone else realized that it was the next big thing.

Trump got into politics for all the same reasons everyone else runs for office in a modern liberal democracy. He wanted affirmation. Unlike the narcissistic robots that fill up both parties, Trump saw an opportunity outside the system. The swelling ranks of disaffected whites, unhappy with both parties, looked a lot like a neglected property with tremendous promise, if the right investor came along. Most important from Trump’s perspective, they were a motivated seller.

The first eager seller was Ann Coulter, who was one of the most prominent celebrities to get on the Trump train. Well before anyone thought Trump was a serious threat to the Republican nomination, she was saying he would not only win the nomination but win the general election. Queen Ann completely bought into Trump being the daddy she had been waiting for her whole political life. She went to war for Trump the man, believing he was the answer.

She was not alone in thinking Trump was the savior. The alt-right that had been forming up on-line in the Obama years also went all in on Trump. They convinced themselves he was the American Pinochet. Mike Enoch of The Right Stuff jumped on the Trump train with the same enthusiasm as Ann Coulter. Richard Spencer was a full-blown MAGA man. The alt-right went to war for Trump in the 2016 election, so much so that even Hillary Clinton felt the need to notice them.

The trouble is, Trump was never that man. He could never be that man. He could never have won the nomination and the general election if he was that man. Only an opportunist with no regard for what he was saying could have gamed the system the way he did in 2016. Unlike Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot who came before him, Donald Trump won because he was not constrained by the truth. Like every opportunist, he was only focused on exploiting the opportunity.

Of course, when this reality became too obvious to ignore, many people jumped off the Trump train and became droning critics. Like jilted lovers they could not stop talking about how the mean old orange man did them wrong. They were not wrong to point out Trump’s faults. Their error was in thinking he was their savior or that any man can be the savior in this political system. They were sure and remain sure that you can vote your way out of the defects of liberal democracy.

There are three lessons here. One is that Trump could never have existed without the realty of the masses that supported him. He was just a front runner, a guy who jumped to the head of a wave of people coming to terms with the fact that we are entering a new era of politics. With or without Trump, those people exist and will continue to exist with the same grievances and concerns. Just because the dull knight vanquished their champion, does not mean they cease to exist.

Another lesson is there is no way to reform this system. The sort of person who can win an election is either a careerist sellout like every member of the GOP or an outlandish outsider with no ability to govern. The only way forward for dissidents is to focus on building outside the system. A third of all adults and close to half of white people no longer think the system is legitimate. Every day the people in charge convert more people to this view with their authoritarian actions.

The final lesson here is that the old political labels are no longer relevant. That is what the Trump era demonstrated. It is no longer about conservative versus liberal or red team versus blue team. It is not socialism versus capitalism. It is about those who live in the lie of liberal democracy and those who live in the truth. If you live in the truth, you not only oppose the people running the system, but you also oppose the system that allows these criminal aliens to rule over us.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

Lesson Of Trump #1

Note: The Monday post is up on Taki. The general theme this week will naturally be about the installation of The Pretender onto the throne. I also have a movie post up behind the green door. If you are not a subscriber, you need to be.


As the military begins the process of installing The Pretender as the figurative leader of the American Empire, it is a good time to take stock of what has happened over the last five years. From the perspective of political psychology, the world all of us inhabit today is a vastly different one from the world of 2015. This includes the dissident right, which has been transformed by the Trump experience. In the before times, politics was all shades of gray, while today it is in black and white.

An obvious example is Conservative Inc. The Obama years were tough for those rackets, as it became clear to many conservative people that these guys cared more about how the Left thought of them than in advancing their issues. Compounding it was the refusal to address the failures of the Bush years. Even so, they really thought they could keep peddling hyper-violent Progressivism to conservatives, as long as they decorated it with pictures of Reagan.

That racket smashed onto the rocks of the Trump experience. Traffic for the old school neocon sites collapsed. The Weekly Standard folded. These people revealed themselves to be a blend of old school confidence men and petulant, nasty liars who hate the people they claim to represent. They still have an audience of chumps unable to smarten up, but otherwise Conservative Inc. has no audience. They exist because the Left thinks they are useful for now.

Further to that point, Libertarian Inc., a subsidiary of Conservative Inc., has also been exposed as a long con. The stripping of our ancient liberties by global enterprise should have been a great cause for libertarians. After all, systematically stripping people of their ability to exist is pretty much what libertarians claim to oppose, but the major organs were silent. A combination of graft and perfidy kept them focused on echoing Progressive talking points about the evil Donald Trump.

This has revealed something else. The dissident right is not ready to be the Dissident Right, despite the growing numbers. This is a problem that dates to the 1980’s when Conservative Inc. started to purge dissenters from their ranks. Instead of working to build new structures outside of and opposed to official structures, dissidents kept trying to get back inside the official tent. The result has been a ragtag army living on the land outside the walls of the city. It remains so.

Probably the biggest change, one we see evolving in front of our eyes as the military is called in to install The Pretender, is that the parties are a fiction. Until very recent, most dissidents thought the way forward was to work through the two-party system and get “our guys” into office. Again, this dates to the 1980’s. Buchanan tried and failed to unseat the neocon Bush. Perot tried and failed with his third-party to cleanse the land of the neocons. Trump tried and failed to reform the Republican Party.

The reason all these efforts failed is the party system is a fiction. The core of each party holds the same opinions on the important issues. They are bankrolled by the same collection of billionaires and international interests. The parties have tentacles that reach into various camps, but the main body of the system serves the people who bankroll American politics. A politician with close ties to the CCP can maintain his seat because the Chinese are a major backer of both parties.

This is the big change for dissidents. Trump was the last opportunity to keep dissidents engaged in the fiction of democracy. His own perfidy and his treatment by the political class has disabused dissidents of their faith in the system. The people in the streets at the Epiphany Uprising were not there because they still believe in the Republican Party, Donald Trump, or the system itself. They were there, being cheered by tens of millions from home, because dissidents lost their faith in the system.

Further to that, it is finally dawning on dissidents that what motivates the Cloud People is not what motivates the Dirt People. For generations, the Right insisted that the Left is driven by the same logic as everyone else. This was always false, and part of the long con played on the public. This is, in part, why conservatives lost every battle in the culture war. The people on the other side of the barricades, celebrating their victory over us, are not us and they do not think like us.

This is probably the most important lesson of the last five years that is finally sinking into the thick skulls of the dissident right. The Cloud People are not motivated by greed or a lust for power. They have those things. They are motivated by a sense of identity that starts with a hatred of the Dirt People. Their sense of self begins with not being anything like the people over whom they rule. This is why they hated Trump. He was an intruder from the other side injected into their world.

While many are disappointed with the Trump years and Donald Trump the man, the last five years have been a clarifying experience. The anger, emotion, disappointment, frustration, even the violence, are the result of a fog lifting. Five years ago, most people were sure about politics. Now that the fog has lifted, people are looking around and seeing it was always a big lie. The people who perpetrated these lies are on the other side of those barricades, giving the rest of us the finger.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

Reno To Damascus

As the Trump story arc reaches a conclusion over the next few weeks, there will be a lot of writing and talking about the meaning of the last four years. The racketeers of the conservative movement have already concluded that the last four years were just an anomaly and they can go back to the same old rackets. Like career criminals, they learn nothing from the past. Others appear to have been chastened by the experience and are coming out of the other end questioning their old ways.

One of those post-Trump men appears to be the editor of First Things, the conservative religious journal founded by Richard John Neuhaus. The editor, R. R. Reno, published this in the old left-wing magazine Newsweek, in which he sounds more like Pat Buchanan than the typical conservative. In fact, his essay probably would have been accepted by the old paleoconservative journal, Chronicles, as an olive branch to mend the three-decade rift between First Things and the paleos.

What makes Reno’s post interesting is that he was a fervent anti-Trump advocate the last four years. He participated in the now infamous National Review symposium, in which they demanded the rules of the Republican Party be changed to prevent Trump from winning the nomination. His contribution was to offer up the left-wing slur that Trump was a fascist in a business suit and that the people supporting him were stupid and disgusting. They were “trumpster diving.”

There seems to be a great deal of spiritual distance between the 2016 R. R. Reno and the 2020 R. R. Reno, at least in tone, if not substance. In fairness to Reno, he has not been a running dog lackey of Conservative Inc. He has been more of a barking dog around the conservative caravan, as it follows the Left from fad to fad. Often a critic, but never an opponent and always there by the caravan at each stop. He is a critic of conservatism, but one welcome at their events.

This is not a new posture by Reno. During the 2016 Republican primary he made some very sensible observations about Trump and the dynamic in the primary. While most of the conservative racketeers were in the streets rending their garments to show their liberal masters, they were horrified by what was happening, Reno noticed the obvious and was willing to say it. That said, he made sure to underscore that he thought Trump was a “dangerous figure in our public life.”

This is not the first time the First Things crew has struggled to maintain their position as friendly critic of conservatism. Back in 1992, they found themselves in a similar spot when Bill Buckley was purging the paleocons. Most of what First Things claims to support fall on the paleo side, but the money and good living were on the neocon side, so they threw in with Buckley. As George Washington once said, no man is so virtuous as to refuse the highest bidder.

Now, to be even more fair, Reno and the First Things crew could simply be working the same racket they have for years. On the one hand they advocate traditional conservative positions on culture, economics, politics and so on, while publicly opposing anyone that attempts to build a political movement on those issues. They supported the Buchanan message, but not the messenger, for example. They sympathized with the Trump voters, but opposed their candidate.

We will know soon enough if the social conservatives from Conservative Inc. had an epiphany during the Trump years. The rally scheduled for January 6th in the Imperial Capital is both unprecedented and a harbinger. Unlike the Buchanan or Perot movements, the Trump movement will outlive its founder. The people who voted for Trump did so knowing that the time for reform is running out. Many now think it has run out and it is time for something to replace the corrupt system.

Where the establishment social conservatives like R. R. Reno come down with regards to things like the America First movement, led by Nick Fuentes, will reveal if they are just running the old grift or have had an awakening. CPAC is next month in Orlando Florida and AFPAC will be holding their event there at the same time. Last year AFPAC drew hundreds and this year will be even bigger. The people getting tens of thousands in the streets of DC are building a genuine movement now.

For social conservatives like Mr. Reno and the First Things crowd, Fuentes and his groypers should be their ideal vehicle. They can be a little coarse, for sure, but that’s true of all young people. Otherwise, they make a clean presentation and are not afraid to express their Christian faith as part of the politics. While the First Things people are at CPAC next month, they should consider swinging by AFPAC. Mr. Reno could sit down and have a chat with Fuentes. It can be arranged.

The question for social conservatives with regards to politics is what compromises should be made in order to participate in the system. This was the dilemma faced by Buckley and his conservative movement. In their case, there was no compromise they were unwilling to make in order to have a place at the table. For social conservatives to avoid the same fate, they will from time to time need to back someone who is willing to go inside and flip over those tables.

That should be the takeaway for someone like R. R. Reno. Trump was always an imperfect leader, but he was available and willing to go inside the Temple and toss over those tables. He was never a savior, just a disruption in the system. The people who voted for Trump understood this, for the most part. They knew if he busted things up, then it would open the door for the social changes long advocated by social conservatives and the writers of journals like First Things.

The great mistake of the American Right was to accept the proposition that the Left gets to pick their leaders. The Left told them to jettison Buchanan and the paleocons, so they did and got nothing for their trouble. One lesson of the Trump phenomenon is that this does not have to be the rule. Social conservatives can pick their own leaders and make their own tables. That should be the lesson to the leaders of social conservatism as they come to terms with Trump.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

The Lessons Of Trump

An old bit of wisdom is that you should never try to con a con man. This advice is not aimed at con men, of course, but at honest people. Grifters are intuitively dishonest, which means they instinctively work every angle to some advantage. Normal people are simply unable to think like this, even when they are trying to do it. Their scruples get in the way of their scheming. This is something that Trump should have had in mind when he took office four years ago. It was his first mistake.

Trump came to Washington thinking he was smarter, more clever and more resilient than the people he had mocked for so long from his couch. There’s no question that most people in politics are stupid. Without a government grift, they would end up peddling replacement windows door-to-door. But politics in a liberal democracy does not select for smart people. It selects for clever and ruthless people. Washington is the major leagues for the most clever and ruthless.

To his credit, he did outfox them from time to time, but after a while, they began to get the measure of him and figured out how to out-clever him. The FBI scandal is a great example of how they simply outmaneuvered him to delay the process. More important, they got him to drop it as a campaign item. What should have been a key part of his campaign as a populist champion went unmentioned. Time after time Trump tried to play their game and every time he came up a loser.

Similarly, Trump came to Washington under the mistaken impression that his opponents would follow the rules and abide by their own rhetoric. After all, he won the election, the people have spoken, time for the winner to enjoy the fruits of victory. That’s how it is supposed to work in a democratic society. From the very beginning he assumed these people would play fair, despite the fact he knew they spied on him in the campaign and tried hard to cheat him out of his victory.

This is a great example of the civic nationalist disease. This is a malady that is most pronounced in men of Trump’s generation. The civic nationalist loves rules and fully expects his enemies to play by those rules. In reality, the ends justifies the means mentality of the Left has poisoned the entire ruling class. These are people devoid of honor and virtue. Playing by the rules, especially their rules, is a sucker’s play, one Trump never figured out in his four years.

No matter how many times the political class kicked him in the groin, he refused to accept this reality. The strange thing is he campaigned in the most unconventional way, preferring rallies to the formula popular with the political industrial complex. He was a refreshingly unconventional politician in his campaign, but he was thoroughly conventional in his governance. In office, he played by the rules of Washington, while Washington made the rules up as they went along.

Probably his biggest mistake in office was in not seeing the FBI scandal as a purely political affair, rather than a legal one. He was conned into thinking it should be handled by the courts as a criminal matter, when he should have used it as a political hammer to bludgeon official Washington. By the election, all of the classified information should have been leaked and revealed. This would have kept Washington petrified about what he may release if they got too aggressive with him.

This would have fed into the subplot of his campaign. It was always Trump the reformer against the political class. Instead of working with Republicans like he was one of them, he should have treated them as part of the problem. Trump needed to be Harry Truman running against a corrupt establishment. He would have accomplished more and he would have provided a clear reason to support him 2020. Instead he kept trying to be accepted by people who detested him.

Stylistically, Trump the salesman was an amusing bit of comic relief in the 2016 election that probably won him the benefit of the doubt. The trouble was, he kept selling his voters after he had won. The campaign is about promises, while governance is about delivering on those promises. Trump did some good things in office, but he never spoke of them, instead preferring to keep promising to look into new things and maybe do other things. It quickly rang hollow with his voters.

The great lesson to learn from the Trump era is that winning the crowd is useless if you don’t have a plan to put it to some purpose. Trump is not an ideologue, which allows him to be pragmatic. That’s a great asset in politics, as long as you have the secret list in your head of things you want to do in office. This is what makes the Left so powerful as a social force. They never lose focus on their goal. They know why they seek power, so they adapt and keep moving forward.

Trump never seemed to know what he wanted to do in office. Like all civic nationalists, he has this vague notion in his head of what America should be, but he was never able to translate it into policy. The closest he came was the many administrative changes made to the immigration process. He never spoke of those, because like all civic nationalist, he preferred to dream of the mythological America where everyone happily abides but the rules of the republic.

There are many other things that can be put in the list of mistakes by Trump over the last four years, but the overriding theme is this. Trump never rose above the petty and practical to grasp his historical moment. Like everyone else is Washington, he had no vision of the future. As a result, he got bogged down into the swamp he promised to drain, playing petty politics, squabbling over small issues. The moment called for a man of vision, but instead got a pitchman from Queens.

Promotions: The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

President BoomerCon

In his most recent podcast, John Derbyshire makes the point that there is little hope of getting any sensible immigration reform out of the current Congress. Paul Ryan is an open borders sock puppet, determined to undermine any effort at reform. Even if the House managed to pass something, the Senate is unlikely to take it up. They have no interest in the topic, beyond amnesty. Just as important, President Trump has largely lost interest in the topic, other than the occasional tough talk about illegals and his promised wall.

This reality is vexing to immigration patriots, who correctly see this as a bit of a betrayal, as well as a supreme act of stupidity. Cracking down on illegal immigration is very popular and most voters now support curbs on legal immigration. A big reason why Trump is in the White House is his tough talk on immigration. This is what set him apart for the dullards in the GOP primary and what motivated working class voters in the general. In theory, at least, the failure to follow through on immigration should be bad for Trump and the GOP.

That’s not the case. Trump has a higher approval than Obama and Reagan at the same point in their terms. That’s not entirely a fair comparison, as both inherited economies in severe recession, as well as massive reform projects. On the other hand, both came in with a massive mandate to push through their reform agendas. Trump, in contrast, entered office with a hostile uniparty and a divided public. Throw in a berserk mass media, gripped by the NeverTrump fever, and it is quite remarkable that his polling is so strong.

It turns out that despite what the cool kids of the alt-right have to say about the Boomers, pleasing that generation turns out to be good politics. Trump is of that generation, born in 1946, so it is not surprising that he would be good at appealing to those voters. He’s also a guy who understands the mathematics of politics. Boomers are a bit more than a third of the adult population, but close to half the voting population. This is because older people vote in higher numbers than younger people. Pleasing half the voters is good politics.

Boomer politics, of course, are very close to what we call civic nationalism. Even those on the liberal end of the spectrum tend toward the orderly and law abiding, even though they embrace big government solutions. It makes sense. Baby Boomers came of age in a prosperous and orderly age, when America was still close to 90% white. That means they continue to have a high trust in political and social institutions. Despite what his critics say, Trump has operated like a good government conservative who believes in the system.

Take a look at his two big achievements thus far. One has been the systematic dismantling of the regulatory regime that had built up under George Bush and Barak Obama. This is one of those civic nationalist things that appeals to people who believe in the fundamentals of the country. Similarly, his tax bill fits in with the general sense that all Americans need is a little freedom and to keep some of their own money. Put the two together and Trump’s big achievements are right out of the CivNat playbook.

Of course, Trump’s growing obsession with the black vote is right in the wheel house of the baby boomer voter. Despite 70 years of failure on race relations, the Boomers still believe blacks can be fully integrated into white America. More important, they still seek the approval of blacks, which is why getting a selfie with one of the three blacks at CPAC is a phenomenon on twitter every year. Trump getting the seal of approval from Kanye West resonated with his base, which is why he made such a big deal of it.

So far, the best way to describe Trump’s presidency is as a rollback of the past three administrations to something closer to Reaganism. In fact, Trump seems to be using Reagan as a model. Look at his approach to North Korea. Rather than the bellicose approach of the neocons or the indifferent appeasement of the neolibs, Trump has brought back Reagan’s peace through strength doctrine. It’s a different age and a different set of circumstances, but the underlying philosophy is right out of the Reagan playbook.

Getting back to the immigration issue, what Trump seems to understand, and what immigration hawks have missed, is that baby boomers have not abandoned their immigration romanticism. They still think it is groovy that people come to America “yearning to be free” just as long as they do it legally, get a job and pay taxes. In other words, there has been no change in attitudes with regards to immigration as a cultural or racial issue. Boomers still think immigration works, as long as you have the right laws.

Trump appears to have figured this out so he has modulated his immigration approach to be heavy on the illegal side, but supportive of the legal side. That explains his strange obsession with giving the DACA people amnesty. It’s not just an effort to drive a wedge into the Democrat coalition. Trump wants to be seen as supporting the immigrants “who have followed the rules” because he knows his voters get weak in the knees over that stuff. He wants to be the guy who supports immigration, as long as it is by the rules.

The lesson here is that American politics is still controlled by baby boomers, whose politics are rooted in an America that is fading away with them. While this cohort dominates elections, their attitudes will be the center of gravity for our politics. As a politician, Trump has figured that out , so he has adjusted to it. What that means is the Overton Window has not moved all that much, with regards to the big issues facing our society. The actuarial tables need more time to make that happen.

Not My President

There’s a long debate in Dissident Right circles about the political acumen and the integrity of President Trump. One side looks at all the zig-zagging and flip-flopping on DACA and concludes that Trump is just a liar, who has figured out how to con well-meaning white Boomers. The other side looks at the same issue and sees a strategy intended to move the ball forward on the immigration issue as a whole. His latest antics over the gun issue, however, suggest that is he’s just a stupid bullshitter who got very lucky.

The gun issue has always been the one thing in American politics where you can reveal both the integrity and the intelligence of someone. Gun grabbers are always very stupid or very dishonest. Sometimes they are both. The 2A people are often just reflexively opposed to gun grabbing, without having thought it through, but gun grabbers are never honest or informed. It is the main reason that the NRA has been so successful. They have been blessed with an enemy incapable of honesty and unwilling to learn the facts.

Now, that enemy includes President Trump.

Trump knows even less about the gun issue than he does about marital fidelity, so no one on the 2A side figured he would be our champion. The assumption, to this point, was that he knew enough about politics to just avoid the topic and not get in bed with the gun grabbers. On an issue like guns, doing nothing is usually the best course. Most states are sensible on guns, so letting the states handle it is good for us. Instead, it turns out that Trump is making the classic Republican error of taking advice from his enemies.

It would be one thing if Trump did the DACA rope-a-dope, promising to sign a bill that everyone knows has no chance of becoming reality. His moves on DACA are pure politics and done with an eye on an eventual Supreme Court hearing. This gun grabbing lunacy he is spouting is damaging to the cause of gun owners and it reveals Trump to be a mendacious blockhead, with no idea why he is in the White House. It is no longer possible to argue that his maneuverings are 4-D chess. Trump is simply an unreliable liar.

What’s most offensive to the 2A community about what Trump is doing is that he is legitimizing options our side has worked for generations to de-legitimize. One is the option of using non-democratic methods to get around the people and impose gun control. His determination to ban bump-stocks by fiat is dangerous lunacy on its face. Worse yet, his endorsement of extra-judicial confiscation of guns on mental health grounds, elevates a crackpot scheme of the Left to something worthy of public debate.

Put another way, this jackass has undone generations of hard work by the very people who put him in office. Not even that feckless nitwit George Bush did something this egregiously stupid. Even Barak Obama was unwilling to go this far. This idiocy is right up there with Poppy Bush breaking his tax promise in order to get the Democrats in Washington to like him. It worked. They loved him, which was why he was a one term president. Trump is now setting himself up to follow Bush into the void of stupidity.

Now, the counter argument you will hear is that Trump is just playing more 4-D chess and this will amount to nothing. Well, a smart politician would know enough to not do that with this issue. This is not a parlor game. The pro-gun voter has no sense of humor on this stuff and they have zero tolerance for limp-wristed politicians too afraid of the girls to do the right thing. Speaking only for myself, I’d vote for a gay black Muslim over Trump right now. That’s right. I’d vote for Obama over Trump, just to send the 2A message.

I think everyone who voted for Trump understood they were getting a guy who would be long on bullshit and short on tangible accomplishments. The point of voting for him was to send a message, but also legitimize populist issues. Trump was the guy who would flip over the tables and discredit the status quo, opening the door for ambitious politicians to run on patriotic issues like immigration reform. Trump would build his wall, end some of the egregious immigration abuses, but the real work would be up to those who come next.

So far, Trump is looking like he is not going to deliver anything other than blowing his own horn every day and maybe dodging prison in the Mueller probe. Worse yet, the trade-off for his vanity will be the undermining of the one cause that truly defines what’s left of old stock America. By legitimizing gun-grabbing and executive fiat, he has just made it possible for the next President Obama to DACA the gun issue, by issuing new gun laws via executive order. Trump is proving to be one step forward and ten steps backward.

The one lesson of the Trump era is to not put too much stock in what Trump says. He is, after all, a bullshitter. He’s also a guy who will wheel on a dime if he senses he is on the wrong side. He is rather shameless in that regard. Still, the damage he has done to the cause of gun rights is incalculable and it will not be forgotten. Unless he eventually signs off on some bold pro-gun laws, lots of his voters will choose to spend the election day at the range come 2020, rather than cast a vote for a duplicitous gun grabber.

Things Are Looking Up

A pretty good rule of politics is that your enemies will always give you terrible advice. It is a lesson the so-called conservatives and Republicans have never learned. The Left offers them advice and they jump at the chance to take it. The corollary to this is you know you are doing something right when your enemies try to steal your issues. The Tories figured out that UKIP was getting traction on immigration, so they moved right on the issue and offered a referendum on Europe. It worked, even though it tanked Cameron’s career.

We have not seen much of that since the start of the populist revolt led by Trump in the GOP primaries. In fact, the GOP went the other way. The higher Trump’s polls rose, the more they rejected Trump’s issues. It was a weird thing, but the Republicans are not called the stupid party by accident. Even after he won, his own party is struggling to come to terms with the new reality. The Left, in contrast, is good at politics, so seeing some rumblings on the their side about adopting nationalist themes is interesting.

Across the Western world, center-left parties are in trouble: In Germany, Austria, France, and the Netherlands, social democrats have suffered historic electoral defeats. Right-wing populists, meanwhile, have scored a series of victories, including Trump’s election, the vote for Brexit, and the continuing erosion of liberal democratic institutions in Hungary and Poland.

But while many people take for granted an inherent contradiction between nationalism and left-wing politics, there simply isn’t one, either historically or philosophically. Throughout the 20th century, progressives mobilized for social justice most successfully when they spoke in the name of national solidarity rather than focusing exclusively on class-based interests or on abstract notions of justice. Left-wingers often cite the adage that patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel — and with good reason. But it is important to also remember that a deep sense of national commitment underpins the egalitarian institutions we hold dear.

The historian Michael Kazin put it mildly when he wrote that patriotism “is not a popular sentiment on the contemporary left.” The influential British left-wing commentator George Monbiot has equated patriotism with racism: To give in to patriotism, he writes, is to deny the plain truth “that someone living in Kinshasa is of no less worth than someone living in Kensington.”

Yet in giving up on appeals to national solidarity, the left has forgotten the basic political argument that served it so well in the past: that out of the ties that bind together our national communities emerges a deep commitment to the well-being, welfare, and social esteem of our fellow citizens. This recognizes a basic moral intuition: We have deep and encompassing obligations to those we consider our own, based on a shared sense of membership in a community of fate — or more simply, based on our shared national identity.

American Progressives are pegged as fanatical ideologues, but that misses an essential feature of the American Left. They can turn on a dime and reverse course if it has practical value. In the Clinton years, Bill Clinton scoffed at homosexual marriage. Even Obama seemed to be revolted by the idea. Yet, they spun around on a dime and embraced the whole rainbow collation of sexual deviants when it suited them. Hillary Clinton ran her 2016 campaign on the not so subtle theme that she was an old lesbian.

Bernie Sanders did a lot of damage in the 2016 primary because he had a reputation for left-wing populism. You can be sure that he regrets abandoning his closed borders position that he held for decades. There’s a good bet he would have done much better if he had embraced a halt to immigration as a way to help the working class. The alt-right guys will tell you that some of guys came to their thing from the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democrat coalition. You can bet Democrats have noticed this as well.

None of this should suggest the Left is about to go alt-right, but when old liberal warhorses are on the ropes, because the “New Americans” are voting for their own, you can be sure there is some soul searching going on now. The math says the coalition of fringes only works if the fringe types are just a supplement to the core white vote that has always voted Democrat. Once the fringes decide they want to be in charge, and they have the numbers to make it happen, there’s no room for whitey at the top of the party.

It’s hard to know where this will go. The Left is committed to identity politics and to open borders, but that does not mean they cannot find a way to adopt populist and even nationalist language. On the other hand, the Left has pivoted on issues when practical politics demanded it. Regardless, It really does not matter from the point of view of populists and nationalists. If the other side is trying to figure out how to steal these issues, it means these issues are working. It means we’re doing something right.

The Fate of the NeoCons

The term “neocon” has been a fixture of political debates in America for the last 40 years, being both an epithet, sobriquet and honorific. In the 80’s, a white person in the commentariat using the term was doing so as a stand in for “hawkish liberal Jews” and he would most likely be called an anti-Semite. It became very important to neocons for people not to notice they were all liberal Jews. After the Cold War, Progressives started attacking the neocons, so the squealing about antisemitism lost its potency.

The truth is, the original neocons were never conservative. Many were Trotskyists, but most were just very liberal Jews who wanted to use up America’s wealth to fight their ancient enemy, the Russian empire. Otherwise, they embraced the cosmopolitan Progressivism emerging on the Left. Probably the most generous description of neoconservatives was that they were anti-communists, who integrated into traditional conservatism in the effort to prosecute the Cold War. That was the spin, at least.

The years since the end of the Cold War has revealed them to be something else. The berserk, preternatural hatred of Russia is now a major component of neocon arguments, which is why they never shut up about Putin. After the Cold War, neocons opposed efforts to integrate Russia into the modern global economy and they have advocated in favor a hostile foreign policy toward Russia. They backed intervention in South Ossetia and they were behind the coup in Ukraine that has plunged the country into chaos.

Neoconservatism has also curdled into a bizarre hatred of Trump, with many neocons indulging in the most bizarre conspiracy theories. The people defending the FBI in conservative publications are all neocons. Here’s Ben Shapiro defending the FBI. Here’s Jonah Goldberg defending the the coup plotters. Of course, the chief nutter of the NeverTrump club is Bill Kristol, whose son-in-law bought dirt on Trump from the now infamous Democrat dirty tricks operation, FusionGPS.

In the interest of accuracy, a major cause of neocon hatred of Trump is money. For eight years these guys were rubbing their hands together thinking about the great jobs they would land in the Jeb Bush administration. Jonah Goldberg’s old lady spent 2015 shopping for outfits, anticipating a six figure job in the next Republican administration. When you add up the book deals, salary, speaking gigs and insider dealing, Trump was a million dollar catastrophe for each of the leading lights of neoconservatism. Of course they’re mad.

That can explain some of the bitterness over Trump, but none of these guys are skipping any meals. John “Thanks Dad” Podhoretz takes $400,000 a  year in salary just from his limited work at Commentary. Goldberg lives in a seven figure home in one of the most elite suburbs on earth. Max Boot just signed on with the Washington Post, where he probably makes $250,000 per year to write a weekly column. All of these guys were born into the world of “high pay, but low work” lifestyles that define the commentariat.

What really vexes them, is the the fact they can no longer hide in the weeds of Buckley Conservatism. They used to be able to pass themselves off as conventional conservatives, who just had an active interest in foreign policy. Now, it is eminently clear that there is nothing conservative about them in the least. Whatever hand waving they offer in favor of traditionalism and normalcy, is always in the form of “Of course we should defend X, but let’s not waste political capital on that when we should be doing…”

Reverting to their liberal roots is one thing, but it is hard to see what is American about them, given their advocacy against Americans. When a central plank of your philosophy is that native stock Americans need to be replaced, you’re un-American. Steve Sailer once described neoconservatism as “invade the world, invite the world” and it was an excellent observation. The growing recognition of this truth, seems to be turning neocons in to outright, anti-white bigots. They despise you for noticing what’s happening to you.

You see it in this Jonah Goldberg column the other day. The debate over immigration has made plain to white voters that the divide in Washington is between those celebrating the “browning of America” and those who oppose it. The Trump Effect is making that increasingly clear to voters. The people opposing Team Brown, want to preserve their communities and their culture. There is nothing more conservative than that, but the neocons have now taken to calling this a cult, an obvious reference to you know who.

Neoconservatism has come a long way from when Irving Kristol wrote “Confessions of a True, Self-Confessed ‘Neoconservative'” in 1979. The world has changed since the concepts that came to define neoconservatism were developed. Of course, all of the guys who founded it are dead. The people leading the movement today are mostly the ne’er do well sons of the founding generation of thinkers. The “Thanks Dad Chorus” that is modern neoconservatism is a very good example of reversion to the mean.

Of course, what Eric Hoffer observed about causes is true of the neocons. “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” In fact, this is true of the entire ecosystem that is mainstream conservatism. The Buckley crowd are just squeezing out every last dime from National Review, trading on nostalgia to fleece Baby Boomers of donations. Commentary Magazine has a dwindling readership of septuagenarians worried that Hitler really did not die in that bunker.

Even so, Jews in America have faced little in the way of Antisemitism. That’s something white Americans have always celebrated. So much so that no one thought much of the emergence of Jewish triumphalism in the last decades. If that triumphalism curdles into anti-white ethnocentrism, then that could change. When you see a guy like Jonah Goldberg appropriating the title of James Burnham book for his next screed against white people, you have to suspect this is all going to end poorly.

Do We Have A Brutus?

For most people, the name “Brutus” brings to mind the Roman politician, who took a leading role in the assassination of Julius Caesar. Because the winners write the history books, he is also remembered as a villain, the guy who murdered the great man and sent the Roman Republic careening toward authoritarian rule. That’s probably not fair to Brutus or the other members of the Optimate faction. Julius Caesar was no friend of the Republic, despite being the leader of the Populis faction, but that’s how it goes with history.

There is another Brutus, one who is relevant to our age. Lucius Junius Brutus is remembered as the founder of the Roman Republic. Until the fifth century BC, Rome was ruled by a series of kings. According to Livy, The son of Tarquinius Superbus raped a noblewoman named Lucretia, who was a relation to Brutus. There was already great discontent with the behavior of the king and Brutus had many other grievances, but this was the tipping point. Brutus led the revolt against the king and established the Republic.

The story itself is worth relating. After she had been raped, Lucretia summoned Brutus, her father, Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus and Publius Valerius Poplicola, whose name the Founders would use when promoting the Constitution. After she told them what had happened and how she had been dishonored, she committed suicide by stabbing herself with a dagger. Brutus pulled the dagger from her chest, held it up and immediately shouted for the overthrow of the Tarquins. The revolution started at that moment.

Hidden in that story, which is most likely apocryphal, is the logic of republican virtue and republican morality. Free men fight and die for their honor, for their liberty and for their posterity. It is a form of rule based on a set of ideals, rather than a practical arrangement among men. A king is a pragmatic compromise that works now. A dictatorial committee is just the best way to establish order in the moment. A republic assumes men are not angels, but it assumes each generation will generate enough virtuous men to maintain it.

Our first Brutus is remember as an example of that republican virtue, not because he established it, but because he sacrificed for it. Brutus became the first consul of Rome. During his consulship the royal family tried to subvert the republic in order to regain the throne. This is remembered as the Tarquinian conspiracy. Among the conspirators were two of Brutus’ sons, who were sentenced to death. Brutus gained great respect among his peers for stoically watching as the sentence was carried out.

We are a long way from those times, but we have similar challenges. The emerging conspiracy among career political appointees and intelligence officials, a conspiracy to overthrow the orderly functioning of the republic, is not a lot different from what the Romans faced 25 centuries ago. It’s not very different from what faced them five centuries after the founding of the Republic. In the former case, a Brutus was able to rise to the challenge. In the latter, another Brutus was not able to answer the call.

In the current crisis, there are some similarities to both events. Those plotting against republican order are doing so claiming Trump is an authoritarian. They see his very existence as proof of some hidden conspiracy to overthrow democracy and install Trump as the 12th invisible Hitler, returned to usher in the Fourth Reich. That sounds ridiculous, but not unlike the plotters against Caesar, the people scheming to get Trump, justify their actions, not on merit, but against what they imagine Trump is secretly plotting.

Those defending the plotters believe it too. Like the conspirators, they have no choice but to believe it. They are calling the release of the memo a constitutional crisis, implying a grab for power by Trump. They have to go down this path, turning everything on its head, otherwise they are the villains. They need to see themselves as the white hats and they need the public to see them as that too. The men who assassinated Julius Caesar justified murder, by imagining themselves as the defenders of Rome for the same reason.

On the other hand, we have Trump, maybe the last man in the Imperial Capital, who still believes in the old ideal of America. Trump is a true civic nationalist. He is the first president in many generations to truly sacrifice in order to serve in office. He’s a man of old weird America. He even sounds like where he comes from, which is no longer typical of a member of the political class. He came into office believing that his victory would be enough to convince the political class to go along with his reform program.

On the other other hand, Trump is the guy tasked by history to impose order on a chaotic American political world. Much in the same way Julius Caesar was faced with a choice between obeying the rules and permitting chaos, Trump is faced with the choice of letting things go on as usual or imposing the rule of law. If he yields to the will of the Senate, so to speak, he risks undermining the constitutional order. If he goes against the political class and business as usual, he risks war with the old guard and all that comes with it.

Trump is both the tribune of the people and the defender of the prevailing order. He is in a strange position, in that he is pushing for the sorts of reforms popular with the Populis faction and tasked with defending the order that makes it possible for the Optimate faction to exist. He is Lucius Junius Brutus, overthrowing the current order, but he is also Marcus Junius Brutus, motivated by a desire to defend the old order. It’s like the confluence of two rivers of Western history. Time will tell if we have the Brutus to save the republic.