The Leverage President

One thing about the Kavanaugh drama that did not get much attention, but warrants some attention, is how Trump leveraged the event to transform the Republican Party into his party, one that is looking to him for leadership. Just listen to some of the things GOP senators are saying now and it is as if they have gone through some sort of religious experience. Not only are they operating like a real political party, they are standing up to the Left’s morality play. It’s a remarkable transformation in just a few weeks.

Two moves by Trump seem to have set all of this in motion, as well as making it possible for Kavanaugh to get confirmed. One is Trump did not take the bait and get into a media fight with the Left over the fake charges. In fact, he remained remarkably quiet, even as the media tried everything to goad him. Maybe it is just his natural inclination to not go through the door his opponents open for him, but he seems to know that was part of the trap Feinstein, Katz and Bromwich had cooked up over the summer.

The other thing he did was put the whole thing on the Senate GOP, particularly Mitch McConnell. This was the key move. By explicitly saying he was leaving the issue to the Senate to resolve, the focus shifted from him to the Senate. More important, it put the Republicans in a bind. They could either face the wrath of the Left or they could face the wrath of their voters next month. Trump correctly figured out that survival still counts for something in the GOP, so McConnell had no choice but to get tough with the Left.

What this says is Trump is getting better at being president and better at using his brand as a weapon in Washington. I’ve said since the beginning that Trump is a very rare guy, who instinctively knows how others view him. He uses your perception of him as part of the sales pitch. It’s why many people find his boasting to be so amusing. When he does it, his supporters feel like they are in on the joke. They get that he knows it is boast and that it irritates the Left. He turns what his critics call a character flaw into an asset.

That’s the thing with understanding Trump, something a brilliant observer pointed out three years ago. Trump operates like a famous real estate developer. He is always looking to leverage his assets in order to take advantage of whatever opportunities that may present themselves in the future. In the case of the Kavanaugh hearing, his best play was to stand aside and let Mitch McConnell handle it. If the nomination failed, Trump had a card to play against his party. If the nomination went through, Trump could take credit.

This is not the 4-D chess nonsense the BoomerCons used to say. Trump is not a master strategist, in the sense that he is four moves ahead of everyone. It’s that his inclination is to always play the game, any game, in order to maximize his options when it is his next turn. That’s how the world of commercial real estate development works. You can never know what opportunities will present themselves next, so you make sure you are in a position to seize on whatever pops up. Trump’s applying this to Washington now.

You see this with the Rosenstein situation. The thorn in Trump’s side right now is Mueller, simply because he has the power to be a nuisance. Mueller is supervised by Rosenstein, who is clearly compromised in the FBI scandal. When Congress demanded the FBI documents be declassified, Trump was ready to leverage it. That gave him the excuse to review all of the requested material, without anyone claiming he was meddling in the investigation. It also forced Rostenstein to address what was in those documents.

At that point, Trump had leverage on Rosenstein. It’s why days after Trump decided to hold off on declassifying the documents, the left-wing media was running stories about how Rosenstein was going to be fired. Those stories most likely came from the camp of the conspirators. They just assumed that once Trump knew the facts, he would fly into a rage and fire the crooked Rosenstein. Instead, Trump put a saddle on him and is now riding him around Washington. Trump now controls Rosenstein and Mueller.

That’s unlikely the end game. I’ve always thought that Trump is waiting until after the election to make his next move in this thing. Instead, what he has been doing for the last year is maneuvering so that he has options no matter what happens next month. There’s a very good chance that what Congress has uncovered, what is in those secret files, implicates former Obama officials and maybe a few high ranking Democrats. That’s pretty good leverage for Trump if he is suddenly faced with a hostile House and Senate.

The other play if the election goes poorly is to simply dump all of it out during the lame duck session after the election. At which point he can fire Mueller and Rosenstein, while demanding Sessions appoint a second special prosecutor to handle the FBI scandal, including the role of Mueller and Rosenstein. That assumes there are some real bombshells hiding in those secret files. Given the panic in the FBI and DOJ about the effort to declassify them, it is a safe bet that there is some bad stuff in those files.

Of course, it is now looking like the brown wave the liberal media has been predicting is not going to happen. Left-wing outlets are now talking about maybe a very narrow House win and losses in the Senate. Given how the Left has fallen into a depression over the Kavanaugh loss, it is not out of the question that the GOP holds the House. Winning has a funny way of motivating the winners and demotivating the losers. If this momentum carries the GOP to victory next month, then the options for Trump multiply.

The Wizards

In the 1980’s, one of the great puzzles for conservatives was how left-wing economists could not bring themselves to acknowledge the obvious. The Soviet economic model was a failure in absolute terms, as well as relative terms. Even long after the Soviets collapsed, guys like Paul Krugman remained puzzled by the inability of the communist system to keep pace with the West. His answer was that the Soviets either lost their will or lacked the moral fiber to make revolutionary socialism work in the face of capitalist cynicism.

As Greg Cochran has pointed out, the failings of socialism were obvious to anyone willing to look at what was happening behind the Iron Curtain. Once the Soviet Empire fell, it was undeniable, but economics never paid a price for being so wrong. In fact, the status of the field went up in the years following the Cold War. Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz become something of a shaman to the ruling class, despite a miserable track record. He’s another guy who thinks the morality of socialism should make it work.

Now, part of this is something that John Derbyshire pointed out in his infamous review of Kevin McDonald’s book, The Culture of Critique. “Jews are awfully good at creating pseudosciences—elaborate, plausible, and intellectually very challenging systems that do not, in fact, have any truth content.” In fairness to John, he was summarizing what McDonald had written, but he largely agreed with the assertion. There’s a fair bit of this in economics, where smart Jews often play clever games arguing against observable reality.

That’s a fun point to make, but that’s not the reason for economists to be wildly wrong about so much, yet immune from criticism. By now, someone in the field should have pointed out that Joseph Stiglitz is a crank. Someone like Christine Romer, who was Obama’s top economist, was completely wrong about the effects of his stimulus plan, yet she was rewarded with a plum job in the academy. In most every field, even astrology, being that wrong is disqualifying. In the field of economics, it has no effect whatsoever.

Now, it is fun to mock economics, but it really should be a useful field and play a positive role in public policy debates. There are useful observations that come from the field, with regards to how people respond to various economic policies. In theory, the economics shop should provide objective analysis of government performance, policy proposals and basic data about the state of the economy. Government is about trade-offs and with regards to domestic policy, economics should provide the details of those trade-offs.

Of course, there are reasons for the field being a useless mess. One reason is that economics is not science. It is a basic set of immutable truths swimming in a sea of pointless analysis, clever models that mean nothing and wishful thinking. Then there is the fact that there is money to be made in putting your stamp on the polices of one party or the other. When Christine Romer was selected by Obama, it was the golden ticket to elite of the New Keynesian Economics cult. She and her husband are now senior clerics.

There’s something else that can be teased out of this phenomenon and that is the corrosive effect of democracy on objectivity. Democratic forms of government lack legitimacy, because they start with the assumption that anyone can hold any office within the system. No one is going to respect the office of legislator if the job can be won and held by anyone. Even in a republican form of government where you have to pass through a process to stand for office, the assumption is that anyone can enter the process.

Unlike other forms of government that can rely on the blessing of the religious authority, democracy inevitably obliterates any threat to itself. Christians like to believe that the decline in faith corresponds with the rise in public corruption, but it is the reverse. The spread of democracy is what drives the decline in faith. Everywhere democracy becomes ascendant, religion moves into decline. This is an observation Muslims have made, which is why they oppose democracy, and specifically American liberal democracy.

That need for moral authority is still there, so inevitably democratic system evolve a civic religion and before long a civic clerisy. This intellectual elite, supported by the political elite that control the democratic institutions give their blessing to the whims of the office holders. The role of economist is that of the court astrologer in Persia or Merlin in the court of King Arthur. They appear to be consulting hidden knowledge to find the correct policy answer, but they always end up endorsing whatever their patron desires.

The other side of this coin is there is no reason for the political class to attack their court magicians, even when they are completely wrong, because they will need them to bless the next set of polices. The worst thing that happens is what you see with Romer. Her and her husband have lifetime positions at an elite university. Stiglitz gets treated like the senior shaman by all sides of the political elite, because someone has to fill that role. It’s a lot like how the Catholic Church handles pedophile priests, when you think about it.

The Civil War

Something the old paleocons recognized in the 1980’s, was that the new conservatism of Bill Buckley was doomed to fail, because it started from the premise that the current political arrangements were legitimate. Since the Left had defined those arrangements in the 20th century, it meant the New Right was going to become corrupted by its willingness to operate within the Progressives rules. For example, if you agree that segregation is evil, there are only a narrow set of policy positions you can support with regards to race.

That is, of course, exactly what happened. Instead of being a moral philosophy that stood in opposition to Progressivism, it became a foil. Conservatives were the controlled opposition, who gave legitimacy to left-wing ideas by opposing them and then ultimately embracing them. If you embrace the premise, you inevitably embrace the ends. The debate is about the middle part. It’s why conservatives have spent decades trying to accomplish the goals of the Left, without embracing the means of the Left.

In the context of the Cold War, this debate between the Left and Right, was mostly about economics and foreign policy. As much as the conservatives tried to paint the Left as a bunch of Bolsheviks, the Right never seriously challenged the Left on socialist policies like public pensions, socialized medicine and anti-poverty programs. Similarly, the approach to the Soviets was a debate about how to best manage it. The exception was Reagan’s talk of roll back, but that was mostly rhetoric. He was more than willing to bargain with them.

That’s something to keep in mind with the battle over what will come to oppose the latest iteration of Progressivism. The Ben Shapiro types who are endlessly punching Right by demanding America be defined as an idea, rather than a place and people, are embracing the main argument of the Left. They have different notions of what those ideas mean and how they should be implemented, but fundamentally Ben Shapiro agrees with the Left that America, or any nation for that matter, is just a set of ideas, not a place and people.

This new conservatism must end the same way as Buckley conservatism ended. That is, as an amen chorus for the Progressive state. If you agree that the new definition of a nation is post-national, as in not being defined by borders, language and people, then the debate is what defines the new state. If you further agree that the new state is defined by ideas and a set of values, then the only thing left is to figure out who defines those ideas and how will they be enforced. Eventually, an agreement is reached.

This notion of the state as a post-national, post-Christian theocracy is not without real consequences. It may seem ridiculous, but when the people in charge believe in something, no matter how absurd, the people pay the price. You see that in the Kavanaugh fight. Big shot intellectuals are starting to notice what people on this side of the great divide have been saying for years. If society is defined by “who we are” then someone who dissents must be excluded from that society, by force, if necessary.

In that context, splitting the difference could no longer be passed off as moderation. It was cowardice. Any Republican who voted against Kavanaugh (and, of course, any Democrat who voted for him) would thereby exit his party. Just as the congressional vote in 1846 on the so-called Wilmot Proviso revealed that the fault-line in American politics was about slavery, not party, the Kavanaugh nomination shows what American politics is, at heart, about. It is about “rights” and the entire system that arose in our lifetimes to confer them not through legislation but through court decisions: Roe v. Wade in 1973 (abortion), Regents v. Bakke in 1979 (affirmative action), Plyler v. Doe in 1982 (immigrant rights), and Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 (gay marriage). The Democrats are the party of rights. As such, they are the party of the Supreme Court. You can see why Ted Kennedy claimed in a 1987 diatribe that the Yale law professor Robert Bork would turn the United States into a police state. For Democrats, an unfriendly Supreme Court is a threat to everything.

That means the country itself. The general Democratic view that has hardened since the 1960s is the one expressed on many occasions by Barack Obama. The United States is not a country bound by a common history or a common ethnicity—it is a set of values. That is an open, welcoming thing to build a country around. But it has a dark side, and we have seen the dark side during the hearings. If a country is only a set of values, then the person who does not share what elites “know” to be the country’s values is not really a member of the national community and is not deserving of its basic protections, nice guy though he might otherwise be. Such people “belong” to the country in the way some think illegal immigrants do—provisionally.

Back at the founding, opponents of the new Constitution argued that the new political model would inevitably result in the supremacy of the court. Anti-federalists argued that the Supreme Court, as defined under the Constitution would become a source of massive abuse. Beyond the power of the executive, the court would eventually come to dominate the legislative branch. This is exactly where we find ourselves today, where both sides of the ruling elite view the court as the only source of legitimate moral authority.

That’s why the Kavanaugh fight was so vicious. Progressives fear the court could define “who we are” in such a way that excludes them. It’s also why guys like Ben Shapiro are not just wrong, but dangerously wrong. By going along with the general premise of a country being just a set of values, he is committing suicide on your behalf. He has a place to go if things don’t work out here. If the definition of “who we are” turns out to not include you, where are you going to go? More important, where are they going to send you?

That’s why this new notion of the state can only end in horror. Since the Greeks, political philosophy has assumed that a society is a group of related people, with a shared history and shared space. The debate was over how best to organize society, to match the temperament and character of the people. This new model allows no room for debate and no tolerance of dissent. Like every totalitarian ideology, it has to end in a bloodbath as the fight to define “who we are” results in the pruning of those who are deemed “not us.”

The Survivor

Something that has gone unremarked in the latest outburst of female hysteria is why these purple-faced rage-heads we see on television and on social media, call themselves survivors. The word turns up in all of their materials and their self-descriptions. It’s clear the word has taken on a spiritual meaning, imbue with sacred properties. The survivor, they insist, is incapable of error or dishonesty. We must not only believe survivors, we have to follow their orders. To do otherwise violates some unexplained, yet sacred code.

The first thing that comes to mind is the literal aspect. What it is they have survived? The claim is they are survivors of sexual assault, which is a strange thing to say since no one actually dies from sexual assault. The law defines assault as “an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.” Therefore, sexual assault is the credible threat of unwanted sexual contact by someone with the present ability to do it, but not the act itself. That’s a different crime.

No one dies from a threat, so the idea of being a survivor of a sexual assault, at least in the narrow sense of the law, is a bit ridiculous. Most likely though, these women are using “assault” colloquially, as in a physical attack. Even so, this has two problems. One is no one dies from sexual assault as currently defined. Even rape is non-lethal. The victim could die from the physical encounter that preceded or followed the actual rape itself, but we have moved into a realm of crime no one includes in the definition of sexual assault.

If we are to take them seriously, we have to stick with present reality when defining sexual assault. In the current age, sexual assault means anything from a dirty joke to a woman being pressured into sex. Somewhere in that range is the woman who got knee-walking drunk and woke up with her panties on her head. Even allowing for the alleged trauma that ensues, these are not things one survives. It’s like saying you survived a parking ticket or a rainy week of vacation. Sexual assault is something you endure and move on.

The other problem is the concept of survival is not passive. It is active, which is why people get applause for things like surviving a ship wreck or fighting off a shark attack at the beach. It was not dumb luck, at least not exclusively, that saved the person. They fought for their life in order to overcome the threat and live. Exactly no one has died from being hit on by the boss, so you don’t get special credit for having endured it until you found a new job or the guy got canned for being a creepy perv in the workplace.

That may sound monstrously indifferent, but that is the point of examining something objectively. An objective view of what we are seeing, therefore, must include the very real and very intense emotion we see from these women. The purple-faced shrieking does not validate their claims, but it does suggest they really believe this stuff. They truly believe they have gone through some transcendent ordeal, a purifying trial that has altered them in ways that only those who have experienced it can understand and appreciate.

That’s the clue as to what may be going on here. Purification rituals are common to religions in all times and all places. For example, baptism, according to the Catholic Church, is the ritual through which we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God and members of the Church. Conversion to Judaism requires full immersion in a Mikveh, a ritual purification bath connected to a natural spring. In the Greco-Roman world, the mystery religions were those that required initiation of some kind.

We have in modern times the phrase “trial by fire” which we understand to mean a potentially lethal ordeal that also purifies the survivor. They come out the other end of the experience, changed by it in way that can only happen through such an ordeal. Soldiers, for example, who experience heavy combat are assumed to have been changed by the experience. The assumption is the act of survival requires skills and deeds that are otherwise never required. The survivor therefore gains special knowledge as a result.

Within the Progressive coalition, various tribes have creation myths that hinge on the concept of the survivor. American Jews have turned the holocaust into something that dwarfs the flight from Egypt. Integral to what it means to be a Jew has always meant survival. God’s chosen people are always under assault, but they survive because they are God’s chosen people. Surviving the Nazis not only bestows special status on the victims, but it feeds into the sense of Jewish identity as a people under assault.

Black have a similar origin myth. Like the Jews, they were in bondage, but unlike the Jews they never fled oppression. Instead, they were transferred to a different form of oppression in the form of institutional discrimination and segregation. Their survival as a race and their ongoing fight for freedom is what defines blackness in America. The “black body” stuff that turns up in Afrocentric literature is a mystical implementation of the assertion that blacks are under constant physical threat and what defines them is the fight against that threat.

White women find themselves at a loss to match blacks and Jews in terms of victim status. The concept of intersectionality is an effort to become victims by proxy. Since the only thing white women have to complain about is white men lusting after them, they have to find something else. For a long time, feminists have been trying to compare their “struggle” with that of blacks and Jews, but it is a tough sell. Comparing Becky’s struggle to get that promotion, with slavery or the holocaust, does not go over well.

That seems to be where the “I’m a survivor” stuff comes into the mix. Claiming special victim status because your great grandfather had to ride in the back of the bus does not hold up to someone claiming they were assaulted last week. For Jewish women this is like hitting the lottery. They get to remind everyone that they lost family they never knew in the camps, but now they can say Haven Monahan grabbed their boob at a college party. So far, black women have not jumped on this, but maybe that is a bridge too far.

In other words the anger being directed at normal people by these enraged women probably has nothing to do with the rest of us. It is a battle within the Progressive cult over status within the cult. Brett Kavanaugh was just a convenient prop to be used in what amounts to a morality play. That’s the other side of it. This drama allows people in the audience to display their piety, by how they react to the show being staged. It’s why white and Jewish male Progressives have been falling all over themselves in support of this.

The Game Of Chicken

A corollary to Hanlon’s Razor is”never attribute to behind the scenes scheming what can more adequately be explained by chance.” It’s always tempting to think there is some great design or designer behind events, but most of the time chance is the real hand pulling the strings. Humans in general simply lack the ability to see more than a few moves ahead and usually just react to what is in front of them.  We’re seeing this in real time as the Senate prepares to vote on the Brett Kavanaugh nomination this week.

The game began when Mitch McConnell decided to schedule the hearings and vote on the nominee before the election. He calculated that it was good politics for the Republicans and tricky politics for the Democrats. They have half a dozen Senate seats up this time in very Trump states. Now, McConnell correctly figured that the Democrats would have to go nuclear on the nomination, so he and the GOP brain-trust convinced Trump to go with the cleanest guy on the list. Kavanaugh had been vetted many times, so he was safe.

That was the first mistake by McConnell. Despite being in Washington for a lifetime, he somehow failed to notice that the Left never abides by its own rules. When their rules work against them, they either ignore them or make up new rules, swearing that the new rules are ancient traditions handed down by Moses. That’s what they did here by hiring the Jewish lesbian to troll for middle aged women willing to swear Kavanaugh assaulted them in the time before anyone could verify. They were going to #metoo him into withdrawing.

Given the climate in the world in which the beautiful people live, this seemed like a clever ploy to Feinstein and Schumer. After all, they could count on the cucks in the GOP to run screaming into the darkness at the first sign there was heresy afoot. In other words, they never thought they would have to actually produce witnesses. That’s why Feinstein leaked the anonymous letter she was holding since the summer. She figured all she needed was a good whisper campaign run by the fake reporters in the media.

Despite spending so much time with Kavanaugh, they appear to have misjudged how he would handle being smeared. It also reveals how petrified white men in the Democrat coalition feel right now. They just assumed Kavanaugh was as scared about this stuff as they are right now. Either way, the judge turns out to be a Boy Scout, who thinks he has a duty to defend his honor in public against these smears. His speech last week resonated with white people, who are the only demographic that still believes in fair play.

Another miscalculation by the tribal leaders of the coalition is they assumed Trump would light up Twitter about these attacks. That would allow them to shift the focus from their attacks on an innocent white man and instead make this into a fight against the pussy-grabbing womanizer in the White House. Instead, Trump was strangely quiet, saying it was up to the Senate to decide. Trump’s instinct was that this was working to his favor so he could just stand aside and let the Democrats dig their own grave on national television.

An interesting bit from the Hill story on the Democrats is this:

The lawmaker said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is urging undecided centrist Democrats to wait until three undecided Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) — make their positions known.

“He’s telling them, ‘Keep your powder dry.’ That means you don’t have to decide this — wait and see how it plays out. There’s some speculation that Kavanaugh may not last,” the lawmaker said. “They always vow to stay right until they don’t.”

A second Democratic senator said there’s widespread disbelief in the caucus that Kavanaugh is holding on.

“I just had a conversation with a colleague who said they couldn’t believe he hasn’t dropped out yet,” the second lawmaker said Monday evening. “There was a time he could have done it gracefully and could have protected the Supreme Court.”

In other words, all along the tribal elders were telling the members of the coalition that they would never have to actually vote on Kavanaugh. Just as we saw with vulnerable Democrats being forced to vote for ObamaCare in 2010, the tribal leaders of the coalition have no qualms about lying to their members or putting them at risk.It is what allows them to be so brazen, but it also means being reckless. The Democrats may have blown up their chances to win the House and could lose some Senate seats, as well.

The game is not over yet. McConnell really was out foxed on the smear campaign, which is a reminder that he is no Machiavelli either. The hysterical reaction of Lindsey Graham to the discovery that his “colleagues on the Left” were willing to lie to him, should be a useful reminder that the average GOP politician is quite stupid. The fact that Feinstein has not been reported to the ethics committee is another reminder that the GOP will play fair even when they know the other side plays dirty. We’re not dealing with geniuses here.

Thus we find ourselves in a strange game of chicken. The Democrats are praying the FBI pulls their bacon out of the fire by finding anything they can use to force Kavanaugh to retire. Otherwise, they will have to vote. On the other hand, McConnell has to wonder if his three super-cucks will fink on him at the last minute, thus blowing up the GOP’s chances in the November election.Those vulnerable Democrats have to be wondering if it makes sense to be in a party that is so willing to throw them to the wolves, just for the sport of it.

Of course, what this sorry episode reveals is that the people who have been building the coalition of non-whites is not as clever as they assume. They are dishonest and devious, for sure, but they can’t see around corners. What they always rely upon is their ability to turn the virtues of white people into vices, that they then use to sow division in the white population. A point that can’t be made enough is that if whites thought like Jews or blacks, there would be none of this. After all, 60% is still a majority in a democracy.

A Rotten Elite

Long before Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, the Roman Republic stopped being a serious political entity.  The system was still a well thought out and conceived system of governance, but the people operating could no longer be trusted to operate it. The Roman political class could no longer trust itself, because the political class was no longer dominated by serious men. The proof of that was not just its collapse, but the fact that men like Marius and Sulla existed and needed to exist in order for the system to stagger on.

The old line about people getting a government they deserve always comes up whenever someone points out the defects of democracy. It’s circular reasoning but an effective way of not addressing the real issue. That is, a people with a capable ruling elite can get along and be happy with just about any form of political system. A people who need the restraint of democracy or a strong constitution to tame their ruling classes is a people with a ruling class incapable of operation a constitutional government and abiding by its limits.

What this means is the people don’t get the government they deserve, so much as they get the government their ruling class deserves. Even that does not explain why it is that the ruling elites of a society can go rotten within a generation or two. The human capital of America in the 18th century was certainly different than that of today. The ruling elite it produced was very different from today. But, the population of America a century ago was not that much different than today. We’re a little browner, but materially much better off.

As the circus of the Kavanaugh confirmation unfolds, it is important to note that the people creating the circus are not the brown ones. Sure, they were the opening acts, but the main stage is populated with geezers produced by the ruling class of a half century ago. Diane Feinstein is the representative of a the generations that produced the cultural revolution of the 1960’s, not someone from the current age. In other words, the American ruling class started going sour a long time ago. We’re just getting to smell the rotting corpse of it.

You have to wonder if if events like this are what gives the remaining serious men the idea of toppling over the system. In the Roman Republic, the one place where merit counted was in the military. There were plenty of politics, of course, but ultimately a man was what he showed on the field of battle. Read accounts of Caesar in Gaul and the man was not just a great general. He was a lion on the field. While there were plenty of old men in the Roman senate who served their time in the legions, none were the equal of Cesar.

No matter how sophisticated a society, men judge other men by the simple calculation of whether they can take them in a fight. You have to think that the men running the military look over at their civilian leadership and wonder why they are taking orders from clowns like they see in the Senate. This must be especially true of the junior officers, most of whom by this point have done tours in Afghanistan and the Middle East. As patriots, they have to be looking at the civilian leadership with nothing but contempt.

That’s not to say we are about to have a military coup. It’s always possible, but the one place where civic nationalism is strongest is within the military. The one place where multicultural lunacy is strongest is within the senior leadership ranks of the services. The civilian leadership remains cautious enough to make sure the top brass of the military are just as feckless and craven as the civilian side. Even there though, the ingredients are in place for a young and ambitious officer to start thinking about a short cut to the top.

Putting the military coup aside, watching the Kavanaugh circus should be a reminder that America is one serious crisis away from collapse. The financial crisis of 2008 was so terrifying to the elites, because they sense the fragility of their position. The central bankers were able to contain it and limit the damage to the public, by pushing the costs off into the future. The US debt now stands at $21.4 trillion for a reason, but you can only charge off the costs of a crisis so many times. At some point, the elites must act.

It’s clear that the political elite of America is incapable of handling a genuine crisis. They struggle to do the basics of government now. They still have not written and passed a budget for next fiscal year. This is ground floor stuff. If they cannot handle the simplest of tasks, how will the “world’s greatest deliberative body” manage to debate a response to a genuine crisis? The answer, of course, is they won’t because they can’t. Instead, they will look around for the strong man to arrive and take over the task from them.

That’s what we are seeing with the Kavanaugh hearings. Serious men would never have allowed a handful of deranged matrons, suffering from the typical middle aged female hysteria, to disrupt this process. Generation after generation since Gettysburg, the political elite has grown weaker as the quality of the ruling elite has declined. Maybe the system is to blame. Maybe the breeding patterns of the elites are to blame. Maybe it is just an example of reversion to the mean. Either way, our elites are no longer elite.

The Cult of Neoconservatism

The word “cult” is a term often abused by Progressives, because it carries with it negative connotations. They like to us it to slander their enemies. Frankfurt School types convinced the world that Nazism, for example, was a cult, in order to make their case that anyone finding fascism appealing is not just mistaken, but crazy. Progressives picked up on this to brand their enemies as well. Still, it is a useful concept as the cult seems to be a feature of human behavior. We have records of cults going back to the Bronze Age.

In the modern sense, we think of a cult as having certain features, like a charismatic leader and a sense of isolation. A cult always has a set of beliefs that are so convincing to the adherents, in terms of defining their existence and their relationship to the world, that they almost seem brainwashed. It’s as if they are controlled by them. The identity of the cult and its purpose becomes the identity and purpose of the adherent. As a result they operate like an ant farm or a beehive. The suicide cult is the extreme example of this.

Neoconservatism has many of the features one would associate with a cult. The members are increasingly isolated from the rest of the world, both physically and emotionally. There is the sense of the embattled minority, ready to martyr themselves for the cause. The members seem to operate in an ideological fog, unable to recognize the massive disconnect between their beliefs and observable reality. Then you have the fact that to the neocons, their ideology is perfectly rational, but to outsiders it seems dangerously nutty.

The late great Eric Hoffer pointed out that all mass movements can get along without a god, but they always need a devil. You see that with the neocons. They don’t have the charismatic leader, like we normally associate with cults, but perhaps to the adherents, Bill Kristol is charming. Despite his unpleasant demeanor and long list of failures, they do seem to venerate him. Still, what holds the cult of neoconservatism together is their list of devils, that are all cast as a manifestation of the great authoritarian villain.

That comes through in this piece by Anne Applebaum in the Spectator. The piece is a good example of the paranoid fantasy. Mx. Applebaum is a neocon rage head, who specializes in scanning the eastern horizon for signs of Alexander III of Russia. The neocons all have an obsession with Russia that borders on the pathological, which leads many to assume it is biological. As a result, resistance to cosmopolitan globalism in the east is cast by the neocons as the return of authoritarianism and you know who.

A feature of neoconservatism that is shared by Progressive Jews is they are haunted by the thought of exclusion. Being left out is their greatest fear. This manifests as an abhorrence to limits, borders and clear definitions. This mania for formlessness has been picked up by other tribes of the Left. Feminists, for example, rage against biology, because definitions of sex are by nature exclusionary. The BLM activists toppling over statues do so because they hate whitey, but also because it is not their history.

This is why neocons favor open borders and recoil in horror at efforts to restore some sense of national unity. When the neocon thinks of borders, he thinks of fences and then starts to think about you know who. You’ll note that the the bad guys of the Visegrad are talked about by neocons as an implementation of the all-purpose bogeyman, the authoritarian Übermensch. The neocons, like liberal Jews, have this imaginary, all-purpose bogeyman, that manifests in the real world, but exists in the world for forms.

Another cult-like aspect of the neocons is their internalization of fundamentally irrational and contradictory ideas. For example, after 9/11, the neocons advocated importing millions of Muslims into the US, while at the same time advocating the bombing of Muslim homes and villages.  People can be forgiven for thinking the creation of the “home grown” terrorist, the pissed off Muslim living in the West, radicalized by US foreign policy, is intentional. To people inside the neocon cult, however, this all makes perfect sense.

What argues against calling neoconservativism a cult is how well it fits in with the other two pillars of the ruling orthodoxy. The heirs of William Bradford, with their neo-covenant theology and sense of communal salvation, fit in neatly with Progressive Jews and their paranoid fear of exclusion and anti-majoritarian animosities. Together, they domestically form the Progressive orthodoxy we see today. In a way, the neocons are a complimentary piece, that extends this mode of thought into the areas of foreign policy.

On the other hand, American Progressives are showing all the signs of devolving into a cult, with their strange siege mentality and bizarre internal logic. The fact that their pantheon of heroes are referred to by three initials may not a pointless affectation. It could be part of the ritual of sacralizing their former leaders. Perhaps the inevitable move by the neocons back to the Left, is the completion of some cosmic puzzle. Or perhaps like a UFO cult, they see it as the final piece of the cosmic puzzle, signifying the end times.

In a seriousness, there is a strong case that neoconservativism is now a cult, one based on an obsession with public policy and haunted by nightmares of the authoritarian bogeyman. Their inability to adapt to present reality, in fact they are becoming more extreme in the face of disconfirmation, is the sort of thing you expect from a cult. Perhaps it runs its course peacefully disappearing into the dustbin of history. Still, prudence suggests caution as end times cults tend to end with a bang, rather than a whimper.

A Tribal Dilemma

For as long as anyone reading this has been alive, Jews in America have been firmly on the Left of American politics. Milton Himmelfarb famously quipped that “Jews earn like Episcopalians, and vote like Puerto Ricans.” It’s not just voting patterns. Jews have been the intellectual engine of the Left since the Second World War. Members of the Frankfurt School took up positions in the American academy, transforming the soft sciences into a cultural force. Jews were front and center in the radical movements of the 60’s and 70’s.

Jews are not a monolith, despite what some may claim. There are divides within American Jewry and some degree of geographic diversity. German Jews that came to America in the middle of the 19th century have different cultural patterns than the Pale of Settlement Jews who arrived in the early 20th century. There are sectarian divides, as well, with Reformed and secular Jews having different cultural patterns than conservative Jews and the Orthodox. Still, the bulk of of Jews fit neatly into the stereotype of cosmopolitan Jew.

For liberal Jews, the world is becoming increasingly complicated as the American Left becomes not just the coalition of non-whites, but the coalition of anti-whites. For a long time, liberal Jews were able to be allies to non-whites, arguing for greater access and participation, while also being viewed as white by heritage Americans. As the American Left becomes anti-white, this is no longer possible. In the world of identity politics, it is impossible to hold two passports. Everyone gets one team and only one team.

Another complication is that Team Brown is not all that fond of Jews. Blacks have always had a bitter relationship with Jews, despite Jewish support for black causes. Hispanics are casually antisemitic at levels most don’t understand. The Left has also always had a complex relationship with Israel. The BDS Movement that flourishes in Progressive bastions further complicates things. Most important though is the fact that the brown hordes see Jews as white and therefore the enemy, regardless of their politics.

This does not mean that Jews are about to be evicted from the Progressive coalition, but the winds are certainly blowing that way. As much as resistance to globalism is viewed as a force on the Right, the Left’s hostility to order, any order, a legacy of the Frankfurt School, means trouble for anyone trying to harness the forces of the Left. Look around the rest of the English speaking world and you see a similar phenomenon. The Left’s anti-Zionism is slowly curdling into a quiet hostility to Jews in the generality.

The neocons are the obvious exception to the stereotype of liberal Jews. In the 60’s and 70’s some disaffected Jewish intellectuals made the journey to the Right, mostly over the issue of the Soviet Union and Israel. Their embrace of cultural conservatism was a matter of necessity, in order to fit into the Republican coalition. Critics have described them as Trotskyites, because of their advocacy for revolutionary democracy around the world and their lust to use military power to “move history in the right direction.”

The situation for neoconservatives is vastly worse than for liberal Jews. The neocons went all in on opposition to Trump’s primary run, launching the NeverTrump movement and then worked to undermine Trump in the general. It was a disastrous miscalculation as it probably helped Trump tap into the deep well of resentment among whites toward the neocon elite that captured the party in the Bush years. Rather than remaining in the coalition debating policy, they have placed themselves at odds with the Trump coalition.

Even though people like Jonah Goldberg could probably waddle back over to the Left, most neocons don’t have that option. Opposition to an aggressive foreign policy has been a plank of the American Left for generations. The hyper-violent neoconservatives and their desire to invade the world is never going to work. Then there is the general opposition to Israel and support for the Palestinians. Add in the explicit identity politics of the modern Left and there’s simply no way to square neoconservative ideas with the modern Left.

Taken together, what’s shaping up for Jews in America is a political arrangement where they have no natural home. Liberal Jews are increasingly at risk in the Left coalition due to looking a bit too pale for Team Brown. The new opposition that is forming up in opposition to Team Brown is explicitly white, as well as nationalist and populist. While it is not explicitly antisemitic, despite what some claim, it will certainly be hostile to the sort of cosmopolitanism Jews have historically preferred. Jews could be left without a home.

Ironically, Jewish exceptionalism is turning out to be their undoing, as they have managed to transform the American Left and the American Right. Domestically, the Left is every bit as radical and disruptive as anything the Bolsheviks imagined. On foreign policy, the Right is as revolutionary as the communist radicals of yesteryear. The result is a political class at war with itself and at war with the majority population. It is beginning to look as if the Jewish century is curdling into a Jewish disaster for Jews in America.

That said, Jews are the most adaptive people in human history. There’s no reason why Jews in America could not simply throw in with the white majority. Just as the neocons broke with the Left over opposition to the Soviets, perhaps liberal Jews will break with the Left over the issue of identity politics. After all, in a balkanized country, the only way for a tiny minority to survive is to attach to the most powerful tribe. Given the options on Team Brown, Team White is going to look like a better option, assuming the option is open.

The Managerial Clique

The political philosopher James Burnham is usually credited with coining the phrase managerial state. In his seminal work, The Managerial Revolution, he theorized about the future of world capitalism. He was a former communist, like a lot of intellectuals of the period, so he thought about social organization from that perspective. He was mostly wrong about the evolution of capitalism, but he did describe an emerging phenomenon that is with us today. That is the semi-permanent managerial class that runs American society.

Paleocons would later pick up on the phrase and the concept to critique both the conventional Right, as well as Progressives. Sam Francis, Joe Sobran, Paul Gottfried and others would describe the managerial elite as an amorphous collection of bureaucrats, politicians and academics that occupies the important institutions. This class maintains power by not only controlling the institutions, but also public morality. Gottfried described it as a theocratic religion, that uses accusations of impiety as a shield against challenges.

Like most theorists of his age, Burnham had an understanding of capitalism shaped by the materialist philosophy of Marx. Therefore, he could not conceive of an economic model evolving as a weapon used by a new class that formed out of the bourgeoisie. The paleocons understood this as they lived it. Their friends and family were often members of this new class. Paul Gottfried was a college professor, for example. They could see how a hybrid form of capitalism was used by this new class to maintain power in America.

Even the paleocons missed an important aspect of this new class. It’s something rooted in the nature of man and that is the extreme provincialism in the managerial elites. Despite their claims to worldliness and cosmopolitan affectations, these are people with the worldview of burghers. They may pronounce foreign words with a foreign accent, but their knowledge of anything outside their tiny bureaucratic universe is limited. With few exceptions, theirs is a world of small cliques conspiring against others for bits of turf.

We see this in the unfolding conspiracy within the FBI and the DOJ to subvert the last election. Taken in total, the FBI portion of the conspiracy looks like something you would see in high school, where the nerds plotted some caper against the jocks. Like teenagers, they did most of their plotting via text message. This is not the work of sophisticated actors operating on the world stage. This is the work of a small collection of clerks and functionaries. It’s petty provincialism directed at an outsider viewed as a threat.

This last week, this pettiness was underscored by the revelation that Rod Rosenstein was plotting against Trump. It could be a caper run by the neocon loons that are now infiltrating the New York Times and Washington Post. More likely, given the source is FBI memos about meetings with Rosenstein, this is the small group of FBI plotters stabbing at a former ally for personal reasons. Andrew McCabe was more concerned with someone he viewed as a rival in his little world, than he was with the over all plot to subvert Trump.

This is the nature of the managerial revolt we see going on, as well as the resistance to the Trump agenda within Washington. It is not a collection of policy professionals with deep philosophical differences with the White House. It’s pods of overgrown college students throwing tantrums about petty turf disputes and hurt feelings. Look at the nature of the push back against declassifying documents. It’s cliques of coevals operating from purely personal motives. For most of these people, this is just another playground dispute.

That’s the nature of the managerial class now. When you start to look at the people in these various cliques, you see that they often share more than just a cultural and class background. They grew up with one another, went to the same prep schools and worked with one another for years. Once one member of the clique lands an important position in the bureaucracy, he sets about recruiting his friends, classmates and neighbors to join his team. It turns out that the Dunbar number applies to the managerial class too.

The crisis we see in Western liberal democracy may be rooted in this feature of the managerial class. The bureaucratic government of Diocletian was like a super tanker plodding along through the sea. It was hard to steer, but even harder to stop. It’s strength was in the sheer force of its size. The modern bureaucracy has evolved not to defend the secular leadership through sheer force. Rather, it has evolved to serve the narrow interests of the bourgeoisie class who populate it, as a way to defend their interests.

Like all things that evolve within a democratic framework, the time preference of this class is very high. The plotters within the FBI, for example, were more concerned about jostling for status within their clique, than what could happen after the election. Judging by the text exchanges between Strzok and Page, it appears these two had the time preference of the typical ghetto dweller. None of these people thought much about what would come next or what could happen if their emotional needs were not properly satisfied.

Since the dawn of human settlement, the point of the state has been to maintain the power and position of the people in charge by protecting the interests of the people. The king gets to be king, and all that comes with it, by defending his people from threats. This requires a low time preference as the king expects to be king tomorrow and maybe even have his heirs sit on the throne when he is gone. Even a republican form of governance is designed to serve the interests of the property holders, who obviously have long term interests.

The managerial class that has subsumed western public institutions, exists to expand and protect the interest of these petty cliques, at the expense of the public. It’s not just parasitic, in terms of undermining the middle and working classes. It is parasitic within its own institutions. Since what matters is status within the clique, which has a transactional relationship within the institution it occupies. No one within the clique can think long term about the good of the institution. All they can do is borrow the language of the institution.

Constitutional Conservatives

In response to my latest podcast, a listener asked why I was hostile to the “constitutional conservatives” given that I would prefer to live in a society that abides by something close to the old American constitution. After all, the tricorn hat crowd just wants to return to the old order as defined by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That’s a fair question and it is certainly true that most people in dissident politics came from some form of official conservatism or libertarianism. As such, most everyone here prefers ordered liberty.

The first problem with self-identifying as “conservative” in any way is that the label has been thoroughly corrupted. When someone like Jonah Goldberg is considered the face of conservatism, the label no longer has meaning. Goldberg started out on the far Left working for Ben Wattenberg at PBS. His “journey” to the Right got him only as far neo-conservatism, which has always been a Progressive heresy. The fact these people are allowed to call themselves conservative says conservatism is a meaningless label.

Even if you want to tease out the neocons on the grounds that they are fifth columnists with loyalties that transcend American politics, what’s left is nothing more than 1960’s left-libertarianism and some ostentatious Bible waving. The self-styled “Bible believing Christians” are about as Christian as Hinduism. Their bespoke brand of religion is a product of the therapeutic culture, not Western civilization. Of course, Left-libertarianism has always been little more than the accounting department of Progressivism.

The point is that like the word “fascism” the word conservative carries with it baggage I have no interest in totting around. Any effort to “reclaim conservatism” is either a waste of time or doomed to subversion and corruption. Dissident politics is as much about rejecting the people who man the barricades of the prevailing orthodoxy as it is rejecting the orthodoxy. The problem with Buckley conservatism was never just about ideology. It was the sort of people who saw it as a useful vehicle that was always the problem.

As far as the argument in favor of “returning to our constitutional principles” is concerned, it is important to understand that one reason why we are where we are now is those constitutional principles. The men who wrote the document and assembled the political order at the founding, did so to lock in their positions in the elite. Winners not only write the history books, they write the constitutions. What those men of the 18th century did not contemplate and maybe could not contemplate, is the rise of American Progressivism.

A small child alive at the time of the Constitutional Convention, if he lived a long life, could have seen the birth and death of the American Republic. Within one generation, it was clear that the constitutional order created in 1789 was not going to hold together. The Hartford convention was in 1815. Of course, not long after the issue of slavery and the irreconcilable difference between the American South and Yankee New England made clear that the constitutional order was untenable. That order ended at Gettysburg.

The point here is while those “constitutional principles” sound appealing to our modern ears, the people who actually lived them did not like them very much. Interestingly, the romantics for the 18th century politics have the same problem as fascist romantics, in that they never wonder why their ideal was a complete failure. The fascist ideal can sound pretty good, until you look at the actual results. The same holds for the constitutional republic, as designed by the Founders. Whatever its merits, it collapsed in a lifetime.

Even if you can argue that with some modifications, the old order can be made to work, accounting for Progressive efforts to undermine order, the problem is the same one faced by libertarians. That is, short of a violent revolution followed by a good bit of genocide, there is no going back to the old system. The people in charge will never permit it. That’s why they are tolerant of constitutional conservatives. They merely function as the court jesters of the neoliberal state, keeping the people busy with pointless political activism.

Putting all of that aside, ask a constitutional conservative if he would like to bring back slavery. Ask him if he would like a return of freedom of association, where citizens are free to discriminate. The best you will ever get from these people is a willingness to limit the vote to tax payers or property holders. They can’t even talk honestly about the role of women. Most of what the Founders believed is now considered disqualifying racism, sexism and ethnocentrism and the conservatives would agree with the Left on it.

The simple truth is that conservatism has been utterly worthless in stopping the march of Progressivism through the institutions of America. If the Founders came alive today and gained power, the first people they would hang would be the conservatives on the grounds they collaborated with the enemy. For as long as I’ve been alive, the Left’s greatest weapon in the culture war has been the so-called constitutional conservatives. In every fight, it has been these people who have counseled surrender and accommodation.

Just as mobsters wrap a victim of a hit in a carpet and toss him in the nearest dumpster, the goal for us it to wrap the so-called conservatives in their constitution and dump them into the dustbin of history. If there is to be a society in North America where white parents can raise white children, white people have to stop thinking there is an orderly solution to a lawless society. The people in charge have no respect for the spirit of the laws, much less the letter of the laws. When enough white people figure this out, real change is possible.