Estates of the Realm

For a long time now the pattern of American presidential elections has been that the primaries wrap up in late spring and early summer. The two candidates begin to take shots at one another leading up to their conventions in July. The Republican usually lacks the money to run an air war, so that leaves the Democrat free to pound away in key states with TV ads. The media, of course, swings in on behalf of the Democrat with a relentless drumbeat of attack ads telling us that the Republican is Hitler again.

Then we have the conventions and both parties begin running their ads and doing big campaign events. The media is still in the satchel for the Democrats, but the quantity of noise from both sides diminishes the impact of the media. They are left to cover speeches and interview people from both camps, usually swooning over the Democrat and playing gotcha with the Republican. Then we get the debates and the sprint to the finish as both sides focus on the toss-up states.

This time we are seeing something weird and different. The media is doing their part, but it is mostly the so-called conservative media leading the charge against the Republican. The Democrats have been running ads in the swing states, but they are mostly nonsense videos of Hillary from twenty years ago. They can’t show her today because she looks like death and sounds like she is about to turn someone into a toad. That and she appears to be struggling with serious health issues.

Trump is running his campaign away from the media and not running any ads. Instead he is doing these big events where thousands line up to hear him make his pitch. Trump is running the sort of campaign presidents ran in the 1940’s. The only thing missing is the train, but his private jet makes it a lot like the old whistle stop tour. He lands, does a speech and is off to the next town. On a weekly basis, Trump jousts with the media over their latest attack, but otherwise he has not done a lot of it.

We are seeing something strange this time. It is as if we have three elections going on at the same time. The Democrats are keeping Clinton hidden away for fear people will notice she is seriously unwell. Someone struggling with a cognitive disorder is better off in small rooms with a few people and that’s what we keep seeing. Her events are lightly attended, but there does seem to be an effort to keep her from standing in front of a large crowd. They probably worry that she could topple over like Bob Dole in ’96.

The other election campaign is the Trump barnstorming tour where he does these stadium shows for thousands. They are not running ads to promote these things. Instead, they are relying on word of mouth via social media. They also get local media coverage. Trump is deliberately banning the big foot media from his events and he is not paying for a plane to ferry around the press like we have seen in prior campaigns. Trump is running the first high-tech, grassroots presidential campaign in history.

Finally, we have the mass media election. This is where members of the media debate one another over the latest events. They used to count on the Democrats to supply the copy and some flaks to help sell this to the public, but this time is a bit different. Hillary’s poor health and long criminal history are preventing her campaign from putting her or her close allies in the media for fear someone may accidentally ask a question.

There is a medieval vibe to all of this as the estates of the realm are now fully insulated from one another. There’s also the obvious divisions within the estates, as there were in 18th century France. The media, serving as the First Estate, has a credentialed and high-born top with a rough and tumble, low-born bottom. The nasally twats writing at the NYTimes or appearing on the chat shows all popped out of elite colleges and come from upper class families. The bloggers and twitter monsters are uncredentialed rubes from the country.

You could argue that the forces behind Trump within the political class represent the noblesse de robe while the people backing Clinton are noblesse d’épée. The third estate, just as in 18th century France, is not entirely on the side of the former, but is not all that happy with the latter. The bourgeoisie, in our case, are academics, the vast array of business interests that feed from the public trough and those who profit from global capitalism. You are, in all probability, a free peasant.

It is not a perfect analogy and it is not intended to compare modern America to 18th century France. Sadly, we will not get to lop off the heads of the first estate when this is all over. It does help clarify the current crisis. The people chatting on TV don’t know you and they have no idea what you read or why you read it. The things discussed on blogs like this are as alien to them as proper dining etiquette is to you. Modern American society is now highly compartmentalized and fragmented and we see that in the campaigns.

43 thoughts on “Estates of the Realm

  1. Sadly, we will not get to lop off the heads of the first estate when this is all over.

    We’re getting close to the head rolling phase, and that isn’t in question. What is in question is who’s head is going to roll, ours or theirs.

  2. If this campaign and current events have shown anything; it’s that A.) There isn’t anything wrong with the Second Amendment, but B.) It’s the First Amendment that’s seriously broken.

    The Second Amendment should be coming into it’s full flower as the last, best guarantee of the rights of the people in the near future. The First Amendment, having become totally distorted from the imaginings of the Founders, has shown itself to be completely corrupted and at odds with the intentions of those who wrote the Constitution. Newspapers are bad enough. Going from a plenitude of different voices in every city and state to a cadre of identically educated and indoctrinated drones, owned by a handful of men with similar ideological bent. Then the technologies never imagined; the radio, the Television, and the Web. Of those, today only the Web holds any similarity to the original ideal.

    Pity that Hal Clement (Mark Twain) wasn’t born early enough to be available as a consultant. “Any man that does not read the news is uninformed, any man that does read the news is misinformed”.

    If it is now considered correct to disparage and call for an reinterpretation of the 2nd then we should Trump that (see what I did there?) with a serious re-writing of the First.

  3. What I see is Trump running a campaign of strategy and using Sun Tzu at his word. Chief among these being:

    1. “The worst strategy of all is to besiege walled cities.”
    2. “Make your way by unexpected routes and attack unguarded spots.”
    3. “If it is to your advantage, make a forward move. If not, stay where you are.”

    In addition, what has impressed me the most has simply been his willingness to speak the truth about people, things and situations. He knew he couldn’t take on the MSM directly so he is going around them while calling them out on other media. He has caught everyone, and I mean everyone, off guard which is good for him and I am sure, very alarming for the status quo. He is playing is own game on his terms. The only thing being more or less out of his control is the timing of big campaign things.

    But the other truism about warfare is “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” Napoleon Bonaparte

    And Hillary and the DNC have been shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly, never mind the baggage they have to carry and hide.

    • One of my favorites is, If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.

      • I always wondered about that one. Does that mean that somewhere upstream someone is taking out your enemy for you?

    • The thing about Trump is he is not a narrative thinker. In modern politics, everything is done in accordance with the narrative. Jeb Bush started his campaign with a narrative and everything he said and did was carefully scripted to fit the narrative. It’s why he was destroyed by Trump. Jeb was all prepared to defend his narrative, but he was lost when he needed to defend himself.

      Trump is not like that. He is an opportunist. He goes into a fight looking for an edge that he can exploit in order to win. He keeps poking and prodding until his blade hits something soft and then he goes all in on that spot. It’s why his story has been slow in developing this summer. It took him a while to figure out where Clinton was weak. His softer style, the trips to Milwaukee and Louisiana are all part of painting Hillary as a cold, sociopath. His pitch to blacks is all about exploiting her weakness with humans. It may not gain a single black vote, but it sure works on honkies who suspect Hillary is a machine sent from the future to destroy America.

      • Why in the hell would anyone take any time at all to figure out where Clinton is weak? It’s a target rich environment, from her lies and corruption to her health.

        • Strangely, I think that works for her. Calling Jeb low energy worked because it focused people on that one issue to the exclusion of all others. It was different from everything everyone else was saying about him. The whole Lyin’ Ted thing took a while, but it eventually became the thing people associated with Cruz. Hillary has been a public crook for so long, calling her crooked is not knew. It sounded a bit hokey. Casting her a soulless cold-hearted insider may work at two levels. It fills in the blanks on Trump as the champion of the people. the compassionate hero of the little people. It also casts her as the defender of the status quo, the insiders, the powerful. People like the white hat versus the black ha drama and the press can’t help but fall for it too. Most important, it neutralizes the weapons the Democrats love the most.

          • I liked “Crooked Hillary.” I use it at work. I tell one guy at work he’s voting for Crooked Hillary whenever he brings up some press distortion of DJT.

      • But in his plain talking, straight talking way, he is simply “knocking some sense into da heads of doz in da hood.” No one has done that before. Yes, the Academics and Think Tanks on the Right have always pointed to the studies about socio-economic issues, but those in the hood don’t give a rats pitootey about that. Past elections and politicians would always pussy foot around the issues without speaking in street language they can understand. Get real with them and some will listen. Well, seems like the Milwaukee speech hit home for many. Even for those who have not voiced a change in their preference (as many have already done in some polls) are at least “thinking” about the truth he spoke about the plight of the Black Man and the abuse they have suffered at the hands of the Democrat party.

  4. My husband and I are old and set in our ways. Utter plebeians. We eat dinner early (5:30-6:00) off of one plate, using a fork, sometimes a knife, as we watch the news, usually Fox Five. We make snide remarks toward the token liberal du jour in between chewing and swallowing. By 6:30 I have the kitchen cleaned up and we’re ready to finish getting our daily dose of the blue pill news. Then we watch an hour of recorded TV because the only shows we are interested in come on too late. Plus we can fast forward through the commercials.

    Until recently.

    We find we are over the blue pill news and we discovered that Justified is on Amazon Prime ( i might have passed over this gem if not for the previous discussion in here). Our evening routine has changed. By 6:30 we are deep in Kentucky.

    Want to know how tired we are, the unwashed masses, out here in the real world where the elites have no idea what we think or how we live?

    Raylan Givens for president.

      • Art for VP would be a good strategy because then he could move to first spot after eight good years of kicking a$$ and taking names. Since we are only into the first part of the second season I can’t predict how Boyd will unfold but even with his history he might be a good Top Cop – he knows how the criminal mind works. Takes one to know one.

        Just an observation from an old wordsmith – I know fictional representation is always exaggerated and it’s common to make Appalachian southerners talk with an obnoxious drawl (I live in Atlanta so I know what we talk like). But the thing that stands out for me is the syntax. With the exception of the nimnals and morons, even the fourteen year old Loretta can put a well ordered sentence together, using multiple syllable words. This is a glaring contrast to the grunts and growls language the drug dealer used with Rachel’s brother in law. Compare this to Boyd’s response to Ava when she questioned the note he left for her on the fridge. He said he was ‘terse’. How perfectly perfect is that?

        Maybe I’m too sensitive but I get the impression it’s a form of making fun but to me it just looks like they are presenting hillbillies as having a better command of the English language than most of our gubmint edumacated can’t-even-make-change nitwits. Go figure!

        • One of the things I like about Justified is there doesn’t seem to be an assumption that all Southerners are, to paraphrase the great Mark Steyn “stump-toothed losers whose idea of fun on a Saturday night is a bottle of ‘shine and a bunk up with his sister.” I’ve lived in the North my whole life- Upper Midwest, New York metro and for the last 25 years New England. I hear people say things about the South and Southerners that they would never say about any other group, with the possible exception of Irish Catholics.

          • Southerners are the government-approved scapegoats, still paying the price for their ancestors’ desire to bug out 150 years ago. They will keep paying until we get a 50-state secession. Dump D.C.!

    • Our country should have many more bridges, buildings, streets, and schools named for the immortal Elmore Leonard.

  5. There’s also the decadence parallel. I don’t know who Marie Antoinette is, Hilary or Michele, but look at the lives these people lead. I hope to never hear the words Martha’s Vineyard again for the rest of my life.

  6. I’m trying to figure out how mainstream science will attempt to put Trump and Zita together, perhaps through Putin and his evil USSR scientists. This time around, nothing is out of bounds.

  7. It looks like you may have reversed which candidates the noblesse de robe and noblesse d’épée tend to back.

  8. It looks like you may have reversed which candidates the noblesse de robe noblesse d’épée tend to back.

  9. “Sadly, we will not get to lop off the heads of the first estate when this is all over. It does help clarify the current crisis. ”

    Speak for yourself, ZMan. I’ve been keeping up my knitting on my DeFargian shawl and all their names are in the pattern already. I’ll unravel them in my Lubiyankaesque basement one by one….

    Just stand up against that small window there.



    Hold still.


  10. No, I’m no free peasant. By your reckoning I’m a bourgeois. I know all about which fork to use and can be snobbish about such things. And yet all my political sensibilities are with the peasants. I should be a card-carrying member of the hard left, and yet… everything they believe is based on such complete misconceptions of how the world actually works, their idea(l)s are disastrous in practice, and maintaining that world view necessitates such gross lies and distortions that only someone completely brainwashed could conceivably stand uttering them. It just ain’t so.

    To go on with your analogy, I feel like a convinced atheist with a position in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. I frequently feel like saying, “You do know that’s all errant nonsense, don’t you?” but am in no position to do so. (No offense to Catholics, it’s just an analogy.)

    It never fails to astonish me how things that could be said without much concern when I was growing up now can easily result in firing, banishment from civil society, and even legal action. How could this have happened in the space of just a few decades?

    To get back to the direct content of this post, the present election is so sui generis (as folks in my class might say) that it’s impossible to guess at the outcome on the basis of prior experience. Will DJT emerge triumphant and crush the elderly Smaug (and then what?) or will the ancien régime dupe the peasants yet again?

    All I can say is that if the latter possibility turns out to be the outcome in November, then it’s ‘game over’ for sanity.

    • There were plenty of class traitors in the French Revolution. The Marquis de Lafayette was the most obvious example. I think in the current crisis, there are many in the academy who side with the peasants and chafe under the extremism of the theocrats in charge. I just listened to James Miller’s interview with Greg Cochran and at the end Miller talks about how he had to edit it for fear of what may happen if his peers heard some of what Cochran said. This cannot continue. Loads of fanatics end up in the humanities, but the bulk of academics are genuinely curious about the work and want a free floe of ideas.

  11. I’d shift the categories a bit. I look at academia and all NGO’s, foundations and nonprofits including hospitals and large health care systems as the new monastic estates, and the professors and credentialed class as the new First Estate. Anyone in a position protected by the government with a license helping them to participate in a monopoly, either occupational or in a business, anyone who is eligible for a government pension or one guaranteed by govt either via civil service, teaching, firefighting, police work, and so on, is in the Second Estate (noblesse del la robe, noblesse d’epee) keeping in mind that privilege does not now and did not then guarantee wealth. Many nobles were impoverished. The rest of us make up the Third, the ones Peggy Noonan described as the unprotected. We are the ones who wonder how we are going to qualify and pay for health insurance. Who don’t have a foot in the door at city hall or the hospital. The ones the elites try to buy off with welfare rather than do anything to even out the playing field by (heaven forbid) giving up a privilege or protection. In fact we are the ones they claim have privileges based on such ridiculous things as skin color, when they know damn well that privilege is obtained via government power and NOTHING else.
    So we live in a proposition nation where we are all supposedly equal but where in fact the whole shooting match is based upon who can pull the most advantage out of the government and where doing so only serves to help the already advantaged and make their instrument of expansion, government (read some Carroll Quigley) stronger.
    This cycle needs to be broken. If it means giving a few hundred thousand of our non-peers a close shave, I say, what the hell. Let’s build a guillotine.

  12. For me, this is a profound paradox I am only beginning to understand. Even after studying it since the time my mother told me she thought Bill Clinton must have stolen Ken Star’s girlfriend in college and that’s why he (Ken) is so bitter. It is like opium drifting out among the masses where they inhale deeply and dream of strawberry fields and Lucy in the Cloud with diamonds.

    Z-man’s Trifection Election piece above addresses it in part. In the West we have become peoples with separate worldviews and living within the confines of a sick ménage à trois. The Dirt person wants to go home, but those from Cloud won’t let go.

    Below are two (2) examples showing the depth of fear on behalf of the status quo. See how they shill their world view to those who they want to believe so badly. So badly, indeed. They will sell it so hard they will even look beyond what is true to the point where realism becomes pessimism (# 1) and until the Crazy Crackers are the Neo Bin Laden’s (#2).

    It would be funny, except # 1 below was texted to me by one of my friends to “cheer me up”. This guy is a business owner and a conservative who hates Trump because he is an arrogant blowhard.

    And, therein lies the ultimate paradox: They only way to help those who are about to drown is to help them to remove their finger from the Dike.

    1.) In this piece David Brooks seems to be as thrilled with the status quo as when he first fell in love with the crease in Obarry’s pants, hence, no mention of dirty little details such as the ongoing collapse of Obommycare, skyrocketing national debt and the disastrous foreign policy leading us to WWIII):

    2.) And in this piece, the status quo has found the real enemies of state; and they are Righty, Whitey and Mighty:

    • Yes, our wonderful athletes. My husband couldn’t understand why the guy made up the robbery story. I told him that the guy is a jock. Jocks are used to people looking up to them and think they can get away with anything (remember Lance Armstrong?)

      The other article is beneath contempt. You might want to read Congressman Greg Waldens speech on how unfairly those ranchers were treated.

  13. The weird thing is DJT DOES know “proper dining etiquette” , and he is still with US. I attribute that to a sincere love of this country, hope I’m right.

  14. When we start rounding up the Press for the guillotine, can I help bring in Scott Pelley? He is the most despicable piece of work I’ve ever seen.

    I keep thinking about the Theodore White Making of the President books. I wonder what the story of this election would be like?

  15. HEY! I know which one is the fish knife.
    OK, I MAY get a bit fuzzy with the charger, and the actual dinner plate.
    And escargot tongs are WORTHLESS to me.

    • Really. Even down here in the South most of us don’t eat peas with a knife anymore.

      CaptD, the charger is the horse. Generally much bigger than the dinner plate.

  16. A related weird disconnect: Back in school, we were taught that presidential campaigns are supposed to be aspirational. The candidate lays out a vision of exactly how life is going to be that much greater when we elect him and builds his campaign around that. (e.g. “vote Obama and no one will ever call you a racist again”). If there’s a message from the Hillary ads I’ve seen (and what genius decided to make half the photos black-and-white?), it’s “vote for me, and the chocolate ration will be increased from 40 grams to 35 grams.” **And the talking heads are perfectly ok with this.** “Know your place, prole!” seems to be the subtext — and, often, the text — of just about everything coming out of the media. They’ve always thought of themselves as our priests, dispensing absolution and assigning penance, but back when they’d at least *try* to cover it up a little bit. Now it’s just “hear and tremblingly obey,” all down the line. What’s the track record of success of that particular tactic, I wonder?

    • The Hillary ads are pretty close to what I’d make if I were trying to satirize her campaign. She seems to be running the 1992 campaign she always wanted to run or maybe the 2008 campaign she thinks she should have run. The one that comes to mind is the one telling us how much she like kids. The first thing that comes to my mind is “You’re supposed to like kids. Only a monster hates children. Why would anyone need to tell me they like children?”

      • Yeah, it’s bizarre. Those ads are Boomer nostalgia all down the line. Is that really the demo she’s trying to mobilize? Outside of the blacks, the one contingent she’s got firmly locked up is “I never owned a lava lamp or an acid rock record, but really really wish I did.” Isn’t she supposed to be pitching things to the “hip” young kids out there? Unless there’s some groovy retro Daddy-o thing out there the kids these days are “into” (do kids still say “into”?). This election helps me to remember that liberals really are out-of-touch elitist retards — they only seem like scheming Machiavellian political super-genuises compared to their opponents.

        • Is she perhaps making only a pro forma effort to be on the safe side, while expecting Diebold and George Soros to bring in the votes she needs? Is this perhaps the reason for the urgency of the mass immigration?

Comments are closed.