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.


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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.


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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.

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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.

President Coach

When I was a kid, I played a lot of sports. The one coach I hated was my freshman football coach, whose name I no longer remember. He was the classic Type-A personality, at least what popular culture has come to think of it. The guy was always on edge, ready to explode into a purple faced rage, which meant everyone around him was always on edge too. The guy found a way to get under everyone’s skin. He had some way to needle every player on the roster, often with some sort of nickname that stung a little bit.

The thing is though, the guy managed to squeeze out more from the roster than logic said was possible. In my case, I was always just at the point of wanting to bash his skull in with my helmet, but I channeled those pleasant thoughts into execution. I was not giving that prick the satisfaction of making a mistake. Even though I hated the guy, he did make me and my teammates better players. That meant we had more success on the field. I still recall the joy of winning with my teammates, but I don’t remember the coach’s name.

My guess is everyone who played sports growing up had at least one of these types of coaches. Bill Parcels was famous for playing head games with his players. He was big on keeping every player on edge, even his stars. At the NFL level, the psychological aspects of coaching are more complex, but the underlying strategy is the same. You make the players doubt themselves in a way that results in their natural hyper-competitiveness kicking in, so they push themselves to the edge of their potential.

I’ve been thinking about this watching Trump torment Congress, especially the Democrats, over immigration. He’s not just making the open borders people nervous with his rhetoric. He is getting under the skin of his allies and his own staff. The blockheads in the gentry media are calling it the Jell-O strategy, but it is a safe bet that none of them ever went outside as kids, much less played competitive contact sports. In the world of high-pay, low-work professions, the hard driving boss does not exist.

What Trump is doing with his comments about DACA, in particular, but immigration in general, is keeping the issue boiling. That is Trump’s natural style of negotiating, but it has the benefit of keeping immigration patriots slightly ticked off and highly engaged in every aspect of the process. Congress has seen their e-mail flooded with messages opposing amnesty. Their voicemail boxes are constantly full. This puts pressure on Congress to do a deal and get the issue off the agenda for the midterms in ten months.

Steve Sailer compares Trump to George Steinbrenner. It is a good comparison as they both have a similar style. Both men understood that pressure reveals character. The great players, the great deal makers, rise to the occasion when under pressure. On the other hand, the fakers and losers crack under pressure. If you read Trump’s book or listen to people with whom he has done deals, you see that he is always looking to bring things to a boiling point, where everyone is under the gun to get something done.

That’s what Trump is doing with DACA. He’s cleverly made this the goal of the Democrats, thinking they will push themselves to the breaking point to get it. At the same time, the laundry list of immigration reforms has become the all or nothing end game for immigration patriots. Trump’s public statements are keeping the good guys fired up and willing to hammer Congress on the finer points of immigration. Every time Trump says something positive about DACA, the phone lines melt in Washington.

There is no question that this style of managing people does get the most from those willing to give their all. It also boils off the people who like to talk about maximizing their opportunities, but unwilling to do what it takes to accomplish it. In the realm of sports, this result in better teams. Bill Parcells was a wildly successful coach because his style gets the maximum from the roster. Trump’s success as a businessman and media personality is largely built on getting the most from top people in their respective fields.

Whether this will translate to politics is hard to know. One constant that comes through from people who have done business with Trump is that he is exhausting. The never ending competition and wrangling over details wears people down. In business, you can always get new people when the old ones wear out. In politics, you can’t easily get new supporters. His style could end up exhausting his base. How many times can someone call their Congressman, enraged about immigration or trade policy?

That’s a question often asked of sportsball coaches. How long before they wear out their players? How long before the team stops responding? The great ones seem to get that and they make sure to reward their players so they keep wanting more. Trump’s zingers on twitter or when speaking in front of a crowd may serve that function. He has an uncanny way to saying the obvious in a way that outrages the enemy and amuses his supporters. Perhaps that’s enough for President Coach to get us over the goal line.

An Immoderate Age

Last week, this ridiculous article in the New York Times generated some attention on alt-right social media, mostly because it allowed for some petty bickering. Anytime the media does a story on alt-right people, the guys not mentioned take the opportunity to say bad things about the guys that were mentioned in the story. John Derbyshire said everything that needed to be said about the Times piece in this post at VDare. In it, he referenced his old column on the topic and the corresponding version from Jared Taylor.

Taken together, it is good example of how the hive mind is unable to address reality on its own terms. Mx. Audrea Lim, of the New York Times piece, cannot consider the possibility that there could be more than two opinions on a subject. For her and the others in the Progressive hive, there are good people, the people inside the walls, and bad people, those outside the walls. The good people hold the correct opinions, while the bad people have other opinions, that are all bad. That’s as much of the world she needs to know.

As you see with Derb and Taylor, there is a wide range of opinion on the Dissident Right about subjects like race, identity, immigration, race-mixing and diversity. Even the alt-right has a diversity of opinion on these subjects. Calling any of these people “white supremacists” is about the dumbest thing possible, but it is just one of the many scare phrases Lefty has for those outside the walls. Not only are there few, if any, white supremacists on the Dissident Right, there are more than a few non-whites.

The fact is, the Dissident Right, in all its permutations, exists because our Progressive overlords lack the capacity to understand nuance. Take miscegenation, for example. It is a fact of life that some very small number of females, of any race, will have a mating preference for males outside their race. Males are far less choosy, as their biology favors the shotgun approach to reproduction, while the female favors the rifle approach. This reality is just salt in the stew of life and if left alone, nothing anyone need worry over.

For people in the hive, this is an impossibility. You either completely and totally embrace something, or you completely and entirely reject it. It is why they squeal about homophobia if you are not enthusiastic about the latest perversions. The Progressive mind cannot accept the possibility of being indifferent to something. It’s why our television shows and movies are now packed to the gills with race mixing. Even though our rulers live like Klan members, there is no limit to the amount of race mixing they will pack into the culture.

The hive minded also struggle with abstract reasoning. Richard Spencer likes using the concept of an ethnostate to explain his opinions on race and identity. It’s a useful way of getting people to break free from the concrete world of the here and now to imagine an alternative ordering. Spencer is not advocating for a new country to be carved out of Canada as a new white homeland. It is a mental model meant to illustrate certain points about race and identity. The hive minded, however, assume he wants a honky homeland.

Diversity is the salt in the stew. Some races like more than others, but no people wish to be overrun by people not like them. The Chinese have always been careful to limit the number of non-Chinese into their lands and limit where they can go in China. Africans tend to murder anyone not in their tribe. Europeans, in contrast, are fine with cosmopolitan cities, where you see lots of diversity, as long as the home team remains in charge and atop the social structure. Like seasoning, diversity works in moderation.

That’s the core problem in the modern age. Our rulers lack anything resembling moderation. If a little immigration is good, then they want unlimited immigration. If a few temporary guest workers is good, they want the entire white workforce replaced by helot labor from over the horizon. The vulgarity of having Americans train their foreign replacements at places like Disney is driven by a near total lack of moderation. If one Hindu is good, a whole building full of them will be heaven on earth!

We live in an immoderate age. We saw that in the past election and we are seeing it now in the efforts to craft immigration reform legislation. No one would oppose a small, limited amnesty for some illegal invaders, who have been here for a long time. As long as it comes with tough measures to limit further invasions and protections against future backsliding on the issue. Trump’s wall creates a permanent lobby in Washington in favor of border protection. Programs like e-Verify alter the hiring culture to prevent labor abuse.

The package of proposals from the White House is reasonable and sensible. It is a practical response to a public policy problem. If the the compromise includes legalizing a few hundred thousand invaders, a civilized people can accept it. But the people in charge are incapable of moderation, which is why they blew up the talks and are demanding a blanket amnesty with no conditions. Again, the hive minded can only understand the world in binary terms. It is those inside the walls versus those outside the walls.

There is no reasoning with fanatics. As much as many on our side want to believe that practical issues are what’s behind the multicultural madness, the fact is the people pushing it are not reasonable people. They are all or nothing people. That’s why this cannot end well. The people in charge either succeed in pulling the roof down on the rest of us, or the rest of us are forced to do what is necessary to dislodge the lunatics that have seized the high ground of the culture. Moderation is not the answer to fanaticism.

This will not end well.