In defense of Trumpist conservatism 1

This article by William Voegeli at the Claremont Review of Books is presented as a review of The Conservative Sensibility by George Will, but reads as the author’s own animadversions on contemporary conservatism. The Right Now, it is titled.

We found very little in it to agree with. But we confine ourselves to arguing against a few passages which we consider most mistaken.

Quotation:

Trump could be seen as a culmination, revealing intentions and qualities inherent in the conservative enterprise all along. [That] interpretation is one shared by some of Trump’s conservative admirers as well as nearly all of Trump and conservatism’s most vehement critics. “If Trumpism was the Right’s end point,” asks historian Timothy Shenk, co-editor of Dissent magazine, “then wasn’t it an act of naïvety—maybe even complicity—to pretend there was more to [conservatism’s] story than crude bigotry?”

What “crude bigotry”? Not a trace of it in Trump or – therefore – in Trumpism. But Voegeli does not contest the allegation.

Quotation:

The Never Trump differences with the larger part of the Republican Party and conservative movement are profound, but its objections to the progressive agenda are increasingly difficult to specify. The main problem, as Never Trumpers see it, seems to be that progressivism is bad politics rather than bad governance. As Bulwark policy editor Mona Charen recently complained, Democrats’ ineptitude and the power of their far-left wing prevents the party from discharging its “overriding obligation”, which is to keep “the Q-Anon-indulging, Putin-friendly, truth-optional, insurrectionist party from returning to power”.

Surely Voegeli should declare with indignation that the Republican Party is not “Q-Anon-indulging, Putin-friendly, truth-optional, insurrectionist”.

And what are those “profound” differences? Do they exist? Or is Never Trumpism nothing more than shallow personal antipathy?

Quotation:

[E]very Biden proposal approved by Congress and deplored by conservatives—every executive branch appointment and policy decision rendered by those officials, every judicial appointment and ruling delivered by those jurists over the next 40 years, every spending increase crammed into a reconciliation bill—could have been prevented or mitigated if Trump had displayed a modicum of responsibility, restraint, and intelligence. What are we trying to conserve? Well, significantly less now than there would have been but for Trump’s signature blend of solipsism and nihilism.

Neither solipsism nor nihilism characterize Trump. Nothing could be further from him than either of these isms, and nothing could be further from his followers than nihilism.

When was he irresponsible?

Restraint? Did he not show restraint  – especially in foreign relations, and when he might have used the military to quell the murderous violence of Leftist mobs in (for instance) Seattle, Portland and Baltimore and did not (perhaps unfortunately).

As for intelligence – was it unintelligent rulership that gave us four years of prosperity, dissuaded foreign dictators from aggression, and made an astonishing rapprochement between Israel and certain Arab powers?

Quotation:

This dereliction of a party leader’s duties is a miniature of Trump’s dereliction of a national leader’s duties. Despite Trump’s outsized personality, Trumpism started out as about something—above all, repudiating Bush-era nation-building, entitlement reform, and immigration amnesty. Some of what Trump promised got done, while most of it proved harder than he made it sound in 2016. But since Election Day 2020, “All that is left of Trumpism are Trump’s grievances and aspirations,” as Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote this year in National Review. The entirety of Trump’s agenda now is to “restore his tarnished honor and make credible his belief in his own victory”.

Trump’s “dereliction of a national leader’s duties”? No mention of the unprecedented campaign of sabotage, the sustained lies, the vicious conspiracies hindering him. And If Trump’s own “tarnished honor”, and the victory he won being snatched from him by fraud, obsess him to the exclusion of anything else, why does a massive majority of the Republican Party continue to support him, as is the case?

What else has he proved he cares about? Chiefly: making America great again and saved from global socialism; upholding the rule of law and equality of all before the law; sealing the southern border; encouraging American manufacture; lowering taxes, ending inflation, achieving full employment; making America energy independent; augmenting America’s military strength; handling foreign enemies with personal tact while keeping an iron fist in the kid glove; ending racist indoctrination in the public schools and the universities; opposing abortion on demand; preventing the sexualization and prurient corruption of children; and, above all, protecting individual liberty.

If liberty is the highest value – and doesn’t American conservatism hold that it is? – all forms of collectivism are abominable, and the Never Trumpers are politically blind.

The leader Britain needs speaks of the need for freedom 1

Nigel Farage addresses The Freedom Association, Friday, February 4, 2022:

 

 

Posted under Britain, Conservatism, liberty, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Monday, February 7, 2022

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Conservatism now 3

In the January 2022 issue of The New Criterion there is a debate about conservatism, its “merits and limitations”, its “proper meaning and vocation”.

The main difference of opinion is over whether conservatism needs to be focused more or less on “the common good”.  The argument – as always between thinkers on the same side of a wide political-philosophical division – is significant to those pursuing it, but likely to seem slight to the unengaged.

There is broad agreement that conservatism is struggling to survive.

The triumph of anti-conservatism  is undeniable. In Michael Anton’s essay, he gives an account of how the enemies of conservatism on the Left have ruined our institutions and every aspect of our culture. We think his horrifying description of the wreck is true. To the question whether conservatism can recover, he concludes no certain prognosis can be made. While he hasn’t entirely given up hope for it himself, he deplores the failure of his fellow conservatives to recognize the critical condition it is in.

In his introduction to the debate, the editor, Roger Kimball, quotes this by Michael Anton:

If conservatives are right about the importance of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character and so on in the individual; if they are right about sexual morality or what came to be termed “family values”; if they are right about the importance of education to inculcate good character and to teach the fundamentals that have defined knowledge in the West for millennia; if they are right about societal norms and public order; if they are right about the centrality of initiative, enterprise, industry, and thrift to a sound economy and a healthy society; if they are right about the soul-sapping effects of paternalistic Big Government and its cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions; if they are right about the necessity of a strong defense and prudent statesmanship in the international sphere—if they are right about the importance of all this to national health and even survival, then they must believe—mustn’t they?—that we are headed off a cliff.

And Kimball comments:

It seems to me that Anton was quite right when he went on to observe that it was “obvious that conservatives don’t believe any such thing, that they feel no such sense of urgency, of an immediate necessity to change course and avoid the cliff”. 

Conservatives, Kimball thinks, should feel such an urgency, such an immediate necessity, and should act to save conservatism from extinction:

Our basic problem … is not so much a poverty of understanding as a paralysis of will. The real problem conservatives face is not in formulating sophisticated principles but in effectively confronting the juggernaut of progressive usurpation. For decades we have been living with the one-way ratchet of liberal imposition. The harvest is a situation in which conservatives are considered legitimate only when they embrace progressive aims. Conservatives, in other words, have conspired in their own eclipse. Meanwhile, the true sources of value—not government but the family, the churches, and our educational institutions—have been twisted out of all recognition. The answer to this tyranny lies not in the framing of better arguments but in the deployment of a more efficacious politics.

We at TAC have an enduring difference of opinion with the majority of our fellow conservatives over religious faith. We do not think that the churches are, ever have been, ever will be or could be a “true source of value”.  We agree with the rest of Anton’s (and Kimball’s) summary of what conservatism is, what is good about it.

Is Kimball right that conservatism as a political force requires urgent action to save it from extinction?

Can it be saved from extinction by any means, or is it doomed?

Posted under Conservatism by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 1, 2022

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Rousing Arizona 2

Question: Who attracts the greater support, the more enthusiastic crowd, the more votes: Trump or Biden?

The pictures provide a clue.

At the Turning Point Action conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, July 24, 2021, President Donald Trump told supporters that Democrats cannot win elections without cheating.

“The facts are coming out,” he said. “The truth is being uncovered and the crime of the century is being fully exposed.”

Turning Point USA, hosting the event, is a young conservative group.

Read more here.

Video of the event (very long) here.

Posted under Conservatism, liberty, nationalism, Populism, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, July 25, 2021

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No equality before the law 3

Paul Allard Hodgkins carries a large red "Trump 2020" flag inside the Senate chamber during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.FBI

PAUL ALLARD HODGKINS

KNIGHT TRUMPIST

Breitbart reports this:

A man who engaged in non-violent protest at the Capitol on January 6 was sentenced to eight months in prison this week for obstructing an official proceeding, while hundreds charged in violent riots last summer have seen their cases dropped.

Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, of Tampa, Florida, was sentenced Monday after he pleaded guilty to a single felony count of obstructing an official proceeding, after he was identified in videos and photos inside the Senate chamber carrying a Trump 2020 flag.

Absurdly –

U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss told Hodgkins, “Although you were only one member of a larger mob, you actively participated in a larger event that threatened the Capitol and democracy itself. The damage that was caused that way was way beyond a several-hour delay of the vote certification. It is a damage that will persist in this country for several decades.”

Mona Sedky, an assistant U.S. attorney argued, “Imposing prison time “will send a loud and clear message to other would-be rioters that if and when they’re caught, they will face a serious sentence. So there won’t be a next time.”

Will it indeed?

Let’s see what clear messages against rioting are being sent from the courts:

Hundreds of people who were arrested in connection with riots last summer have seen their charges dismissed.  There were 485 arrests in Manhattan, but 222 had their cases were dropped and 73 got lesser counts. Another 40 cases involved juveniles and were sent to family court, and 128 cases remained open. In the Bronx, of 118 arrests made, 73 cases were dismissed, 18 cases remained open, and there were only 19 convictions on counts like trespassing that carried no jail time.

There  were already more than 300 arrests on federal crimes since George Floyd’s death – violent crimes including arson for throwing Molotov cocktails and burning police cars, and injuring law enforcement.

About one-third of the cases were for crimes in Portland, including assaulting a deputy U.S. marshal with a baseball bat, setting fires and setting off explosives at the federal courthouse and throwing rocks at officers. [But] federal prosecutors in Portland have moved to dismiss almost half the cases. Of 96 cases the U.S. attorney’s office filed last year charging protesters with federal crimes, including assaulting federal officers, civil disorder, and failing to obey, prosecutors have dropped 47 of them. Only 10 people have pleaded guilty to related charges and two were ordered detained pending trial, but none had yet gone to trial. The penalties levied against any federal defendants largely consisted of “community service, such as working in a food bank or encouraging people to vote” [!].

Four rioters who took part in pro-BLM riots last summer did receive jail time, however, but for setting fire to the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct headquarters and causing $12 million in damages. There was an estimated $1 billion-plus in riot damage after Floyd’s death — the most expensive in history.

The message this record conveys is clear enough, but it is not a warning against rioting.

The message is: “Vote Democrat and support BLM to help destroy America.” 

Posted under Conservatism, Law, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, July 23, 2021

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No 46

Donald Trump was a great president. He is a great man. But too good, too kind, too tolerant. His excessive restraint was a weakness. He was overcome by the bad, the cruel, the bigoted Left.

Kurt Schlichter wants and expects a Strong Man next, to restore America to its political senses; the Man who will wield the power of No.

He writes at Townhall:

Get ready for Strong Man Populism. The bad guys – the soft elite who think it can hold onto the societal power it inherited, but did not earn, through petty oppressions – will call it “authoritarianism”. Of course, they like authoritarianism when they are the authority – that’s why they feel no compunction about remaking our country and culture without bothering with obtaining our buy-in. But history teaches – not that they would know it, because they have never been taught it – that a backlash is inevitable.

We’re going to turn to someone who won’t be deterred by cultural caterwauling, who will not be satisfied with a status quo ante that is deeply anti-American, who will ruthlessly use his power to reclaim our society for us, and who will wreak vengeance on our enemies.

That last one is important. They must learn never to do this again.

We’re going to elect a Strong Man Populist because the current crisis is intolerable …

Drug-addled hobos, junkies, and degenerates infest our cities and, increasingly our suburbs. The elite answer is, of course, to destroy the suburbs.

Our teachers, in the rare cases they teach, teach our kids to hate our country.

Our warriors, in the all too common cases they war, lose, and also teach our kids to hate our country.

Our voices are silenced, we have no institutional advocates; the institutions designed to vindicate our rights won’t. …

But when the ordinary ways to have our voices heard are closed off to us, we’ll find extraordinary ones.

Trump was one. He was a warning. But he was, despite the mass-micturition of the elite – no radical. He had no desire to lay waste; he wanted to rule, but as a member of what he did not understand was a terminally ill ruling caste. Remember how he was caught up in institutional prestige – this college was great, that company was respected? This, as well as the fact that he showed up without a Rolodex and needed to rely on a bunch of establishment acolyte-kissers, made him too weak to truly use his power. Yet even with his limitations, he did many amazing and consequential things.

The Strong Man Populist coming soon will not have that weakness. He will not hesitate to use his power to clean house, to prosecute the criminals, to defeat our enemies, both foreign and domestic.

He will unleash the power of No.

No, hobos, you can’t live on our streets.

No, criminals, you don’t get to commit crimes.

No, Pentagon, you are going to focus on winning wars.

No, academia, you do not get to take our money and use it to turn our kids into little commie saps.

No, tech jerks, you do not get to decide what we can read and say.

No, climate cultists, we are not going to live in caves because of your bizarre, quasi-religious weather obsession.

No, media, you do not get to be partisan advocates and also treated like neutral truth tellers.

No, Democrats, you don’t get to steal elections.

No.

No is the weapon of the Strong Man Populist; it is our weapon. It is a rejection of elite hegemony, and the ruthless use of power to enforce it. And it is coming.

The establishment should have heeded the warning that was Donald Trump. But if it was smart enough to do that, it never would have botched its cultural curation so spectacularly that it made him necessary.

The best part of the coming Strong Man Populism will be watching them cry.

Yes, there are times when Schadenfreude is fully justified – and in any case irresistible. May such a time come soon!

But can such a Strong Man be found?

Can he already be seen on the political horizon?

Would you vote for him?

Posted under Conservatism, Law, liberty, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 12, 2021

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Conservatism: the unending battle 9

What is the nature of conservatism in the English-speaking world?

Extract (slightly revised) from Thatcher’s Thinkers: Anecdotes of a Bit-Player by Jillian Becker at New English Review:

Conservatism is not optimistic. It envisions no utopias. It expects no human being to transcend human nature. Its highest political value is personal liberty protected by law. It wants to preserve the achievements of the past, add to them as the era permits, and hand on the augmented heritage to new generations. It is not against changes, but against Change, against Transformation. And it knows that to preserve and extend traditions and accomplishments, the guardians must fight unremittingly forever.

Posted under Conservatism by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, July 6, 2021

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What is worth conserving now? 8

The Left, a passionately destructive movement, has won. The Right has let it win.

Where now can those who want to live what had become the normal life of the West – being safely free under the law, having children, enjoying family life, gaining knowledge and prosperity, contributing talent and labor, pursuing happiness  – look for the preservation and protection of that normality?

Not to any institutions we can think of – government, police, army, intelligence agencies, courts of law …

Not to the Republican Party. Not to any conservative organization or grass roots movement.

Does that mean that the greatest civilization in human history, begun in the Renaissance and launched by the Enlightenment, is now over and done with? Is this the suicide of the West?

Having taken away the security of equality under the law; having put an end to real education; having wrecked the arts; having, in short, destroyed in a few decades the greatness that had taken centuries to build, the destructive Left now concentrates on putting an end to the human race itself – by sterilizing it.

Pedro Gonzalez writes at American Greatness:

The first thing we have to accept about the culture war is that the Republican Party and the conservative movement have lost.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the battle of the biological sexes, lost without a shot fired.

In the United States, Congress generously provided $5.7 million in taxpayer dollars to the National Institutes of Health for a study wherein children as young as age 8 received puberty-suppressing, cross-sex hormones that will render them permanently infertile.

Nationally, Republicans like Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem have capitulated to the queer zeitgeist. Hutchinson vetoed a measure to ban castration for minors suffering from gender dysphoria, also known as “gender-affirming therapy”.  Noem effectively killed a bill intended to restrict transgender participation in women’s sports. Even when they had the upper hand over Democrats in Florida and Texas, limp-wristed Republicans performed silent retreats from transgender sports bills, allowing Democrats to run the table.

Conservatives accept the Left’s premise that transgenderism is normative and, therefore, something to be glorified and even celebrated when they speak of the “rights” of the transgendered. The alternative, in this view, is rank bigotry and perhaps even violence. But this is a false choice.

No one should suffer abuse, but rather than exalting the virtues of our transgender culture, the Right should reject the normalization of what is essentially a pathology connected to staggering suicide rates.

An order wherein underage boys can receive hormone blockers to hinder the growth of their penises, and have male genitalia “reconstructed” into female genitalia, is not worth preserving.

Yet –

This is the order the conservative movement and Republican Party seek to preserve. They do not reject it but only protest that treatment should not be taxpayer-funded and that sports remain free of biologically unfair competition, blind or indifferent to the dishonor of it all.

A civilization that legalizes the sterilization and mutilation of its children has put itself on a path toward suicide by robbing its sons and daughters of the ability to procreate even as birth rates plummet.

It has chosen to die a humiliating death. 

But transgenderism is only the latest failure of conservatism and the GOP, which has surrendered on everything including immigration, criminal justice, and reparations.

There is, therefore, no reason to be “conservative” because to be conservative in America today is to preserve an order that has lost its legitimacy, and the right thing is not to conserve but destroy it and institute something else. The Republican Party, as it stands, is and will continue to be an obstacle to this cause.

What “something else” can be “instituted”? How? When? By whom?

America goes 5

As the Catholic Church did in ages past, and Islam still does, the Left strives to bring every nation, and every last member of every nation, under its rule: a rule not of law but of lawyers, law-makers and law-breakers; bureaucrats, bankers, communication controllers, billionaires.

In America there are still tens of millions who refuse to comply, and they are being treated as heretics, infidels, and pariahs. If you are a Trump supporter, or in the least degree opposed to the Leftists who have seized the executive branch of government and now control both houses of the legislative branch, you are likely to be forced into conformity and unquestioning obedience. The means to be employed will be cutting you off from the services you need to live a normal life.

Through institutions of government and enormously powerful corporations, the heresies of patriotism, populism, anti-tribalism, individualism, and defiant defense of free speech, private property, arms bearing, and the teaching of reading writing reckoning and history to your children, will be punished.

You will be denied the services of banks, credit card companies, the internet, social media, insurance companies, the national health service, schools, universities. It will be very hard for you to find a job.

There will be degrees of deprivation. If you are a mild offender, you may be allowed some health care, for instance, and a low-paying job. If you are a grave offender – one who goes so far as to persist in speaking well of Donald Trump – you may face long imprisonment. An active attempt to reinstate him could be ruled a capital offense.

If you capitulate and submit, your life will not be easy. Your record will be held against you.

Even if you always supported the Left and voted the totalitarians into power, you will receive only the information that the rulers choose to allow you. You will have no way of knowing – unless by chance you personally witness a reported event – whether what you are being told is true or false.

Bruce Bawer writes at Front Page:

I’ve been ranting for years about the perfidy of the left. At times I’ve been accused of exaggerating. On rare occasions I feared – or hoped? – that perhaps I was exaggerating. In fact I can now see that these people are worse than I ever imagined. Worse than most of us ever imagined.

Worse than even Donald Trump “with all his insight” imagined.

He went into office determined to clean up the swamp. He was tireless. But not tireless enough. No mere mortal could have been tireless enough. Trump had denounced the swamp in apocalyptic terms, but it proved to be even deeper and more extensive than he knew. It reached into the upper echelons of the intelligence community and the military, into cabinet departments and the judiciary.

Not only did the Democrats try to derail his campaign and then his presidency. Even people whom he appointed to White House jobs proved unreliable. Far from being too suspicious, he’d been too trusting. He’d appointed two-faced D.C. insiders. He’d trusted people who turned out to be snakes in the grass.

The news media, with very few exceptions, made it their task to thwart his progress and poison his name with a constant flow of disinformation. They said Trump had told people to drink bleach. They said he’d called neo-Nazis “good people”. They said many other outrageous things that they knew were outright lies. They relentlessly repeated the charge that he did nothing but lie, lie, lie, when in fact it was they, the media, who were constantly feeding us lies. …

When enemies of Trump, and of freedom, created violence and mayhem in cities around the country, they were whitewashed, protected, and even praised by the media, by Democratic politicians, and by police officials. In a debate with Trump, Biden said Antifa was an idea, not an organization. Congressman Jerrold Nadler called it a myth.

Meanwhile Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gave BLM $3 million. While the leftist gangsters went unpunished, citizens who tried to protect their homes and businesses from destruction by them were arrested by the police and demonized in the media. If you tried to spread the truth about all this on social media, you were shut down by Silicon Valley bosses who said you were lying.

And then the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

Republican officials in the states affected by the steal sat on their hands. State legislatures, ditto. Even the justices he’d named to the Supreme Court refused to hear Texas v. Pennsylvania, absurdly maintaining that a state didn’t have standing to challenge the conduct of a presidential election in another state.

Trump’s supporters, ever civilized, waited patiently while every possible means of stopping the steal was dutifully exhausted. When it came down to the final vote certification in Congress, an army of [between 600,000 and 2,000,000!) MAGA folk gathered peacefully in Washington to show that they had Trump’s back.

Then a tiny percentage of them foolishly entered the Capitol building. And a tiny percentage of that tiny percentage – at least some of whom seem to have been Antifa goons – caused minor damage. Most of them appear to have milled harmlessly around the building, leaving paintings and statues untouched. The contrast with the conduct of Antifa and BLM insurgents during the previous year could hardly have been more striking. …

One of those people, an Air Force veteran named Ashli Babbitt, was shot dead by a Capitol Hill policeman. She didn’t do anything to provoke the shooter. It was impossible not to think of George Floyd, the career criminal who, on May 25 of last year, died while resisting arrest after committing a crime. Floyd was black; the arresting officer was white. In the ensuing months, Floyd’s death was used to justify rioting, arson, and vandalism by Antifa and BLM agitators, none of whom ended up being killed by a cop.

But nobody’s making a martyr out of Ashli Babbitt.

I’m not saying anybody should. I’m just saying that after four years of reportage that routinely demonized Trump, sugarcoated his opponents, and cruelly mocked his supporters, and after an election that was blatantly stolen yet described in the media as eminently fair, those supporters could hardly be expected not to explode – especially since they’d seen, during the previous few months, one leftist explosion after another rewarded with praise.

But they did not explode.

On January 6, Biden, oozing faux solemnity, addressed the ongoing situation on Capitol Hill. After months of referring to Antifa and BLM thugs as “protesters”, he called the non-violent people who’d entered the Capitol a “mob” of “domestic terrorists” who, in an action bordering on “sedition”,  had made an “unprecedented assault…on the citadel of liberty….This is not dissent, it’s disorder”.

He wasn’t alone. In one voice, people who’d spent months cheering leftist violence expressed horror at the breach of the Capitol building and blamed it on Trump. Once the Capitol was secured, the planned challenges to the vote steal were scuttled and the election of Biden and Harris duly certified.

Whereupon the left – and not just the left – moved with the swiftness of lightning.

Accusing Trump of having incited the Capitol breach, [Speaker] Pelosi and [Senate minority leader] Schumer raised the possibility of using the 25th Amendment to deny him his last few days in office …

And she absurdly introduced a proposal to impeach him for a second time, though he had only a few days more as president. .

Republicans who were never strong Trump supporters to begin with were quick to profess outrage at Trump’s purported provocation. Cabinet members Elaine Choi and Betsy DeVos quit. The Wall Street Journal called on Trump to resign. Senator Pat Toomey gave a thumbs-up to impeachment. Forbes warned companies not to hire anybody with a Trump connection.

Both Twitter and Facebook deplatformed Trump, and when he shifted from his personal Twitter account to the POTUS account, Twitter silenced that one, too. Other enemies of the left were also kicked off social media – among them Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon. Facebook ejected the WalkAway movement, in the process deleting countless heartfelt posts by ordinary citizens explaining why they’d quit the Democratic Party. YouTube took down a video by Rudy Giuliani. Amazon, Google, and Apple removed Parler, a “free-speech” alternative to Twitter and Facebook, from their app stores. The CEO of Mozilla, developer of the Firefox browser, wrote an essay entitled “We Need More than Deplatforming.”

(Yet the social-media accounts of the Chinese Communist Party and Ayatollah Khamenei remained untouched.)

Pelosi tried to get the military to stop taking orders from the President. …

She urged the Chiefs of Staff to mutiny against their commander-in-chief! (They refused.)

The director of ABC News spoke of “cleansing” the Trump movement after January 20, whatever that might mean. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who’d taken the lead in challenging the vote steal, to be expelled from the Senate. Simon & Schuster canceled Hawley’s contract for a book about cancel culture. Biden likened Cruz to Goebbels. …

There’s no intrinsic magic about America that protects it from becoming Mao’s China or Stalin’s Russia. Only utopians believe in the perfectibility of man. People are people. And some of the people who are now, or are about to be, in power in the United States would, if accorded enough power, do far more to those of us who falter in loyalty than merely take away our social-media accounts.

Indeed, as scary as the situation may be right now, one thing’s for certain: worse is on its way. The Democrats now control both houses of Congress and are about to be handed the executive branch. The totalitarian-minded elements in that party are on the ascent, backed up by Silicon Valley, the legacy media, and much of corporate America.

Bruce Bawer thinks that by “listing, arresting, and imprisoning ‘enemies of the state'” – as, he reminds us, was done in the terrible reign of Stalin, and under the brutal tyranny of Mao –

These people will overreach. Their lists will grow so long, their cancelations so widespread, that, as happened with the Reign of Terror, everyone who isn’t clinically insane will finally realize that things have gone too far and will, in one way or another, put an end to the madness.

He asks:

But how far will things have to go before that happens? How long will it take? And how many lives will be destroyed before it’s over? These, alas, are the all too sobering questions that have yet to be answered.

In the meantime, those of us who care about liberty will simply have to do our best to keep enduring the daily tsunami of evil ideology, fake news, and contempt for decent people, and to continue hoping that the true and good will yet prevail.

Much as we would like his optimism – such as it is, sorrowful and tentative – to hearten us, we are less sure that such a realization will come, or that “the true and good will yet prevail”.

What has happened seems to us to demonstrate that there is a tragic weakness in freedom and tolerance. They permit those who value neither to exploit them to gain the power to abolish them. 

The once and future president? 8

Will Donald Trump return to lead America and the world?

Conrad Black thinks that he could.

He writes at American Greatness:

It is a tainted election, with a poor result and a disquietingly unprepossessing presumptive president-elect.

A tainted election it is. And the [probable] president-elect Joe Biden is certainly unprepossessing, but the pejorative is too weak. More to the point, he is senile and corrupt.

The writer goes on:

The current president did great damage to himself by his frequent lapses into boorish self-obsession.

Conrad Black has often criticized President Trump in those terms, lending strength to the unjustified contumely flung at him by his enemies. (Too many commentators who generally support him, feel compelled to ritually note something about him they disapprove of, as if to cover themselves from accusations of poor taste or weak discernment.) Donald Trump is not obsessed with himself, but with the desire to make America more prosperous, more happy, more great. He has a great talent for the comic riposte, with a perfect sense of timing, and often laughs at himself.

Example:

His haters call him “Orange Man”; so he finds fault with the lightbulbs Obama wanted to make state-approved and compulsory by saying, “They make me look orange – has anyone noticed that?”

And when insults are flung at him, as they constantly are in the most vulgar, filthy, vicious, murderous terms, he can and does retort, chiefly by applying apt tags to their names – never vicious, never cruel, never obscene, never outright lies as are those they apply to him.

Examples:

They say he is disrespectful of women (which he is not), so he retorts, truthfully – naming his most persistent female denigrator – “Only Rosie O’Donnell.”

They say he is a misogynist – and yet, with puritan tight lips, they also accuse him of adultery and prurience. True, he indulged in locker-room boasting about his prowess at sexual conquest – as men do. His haters wail that it is an immense stain on his character, making him a threat to all women. Thousands of the loathsome army of feminists put on pink hats and took to the public square to pretend they had been deeply insulted. They are the same sort of women who defended Bill Clinton against justified accusations of actual sexual exploitation and even rape.

They pretend to be appalled that he called Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man”. Considering that no name would be bad enough for that murdering communist dictator, “Rocket Man” was mild enough, and more importantly it stigmatized him for the menace that he was, firing off rockets that could carry nuclear warheads.

The president stood unflinching and unshaken as insults were flung at him continuously as hailstones, and they made not a visible dent in his composure – yet they call him “thin-skinned”! Battalions of haters with powerful means to do him harm hampered and undermined him in every way they could dream up, accusing him of absurd crimes and disgraceful actions which they knew to be pure fiction, yet he steadily proceeded to do great good for his country, and to spread peace in the world at large.

They say he is a racist. But he has worked all his adult life with and among people of many races and has never shown the least trace of race prejudice. To justify this accusation they say he called Mexican aliens entering the US illegally “rapists” – which too many of them, whatever their number, were and are.

They say he is anti-Semitic. But not only are members of his own family including some of his grandchildren Jewish, no American president has ever done as much for the Jews as he has done. No leader of any country has done as much. His amazing achievement of brokering peace between the Israelis and the Arabs alone has earned him a place among the great leaders of history.

They say he called neo-Nazis “good people”, which is a flat lie. That he encourages “right-wing extremism” though he never has and never would. That he welcomes the support of the KKK. He does not. The KKK was founded and manned wholly by his enemies, the Democrats.

Even some of his friends and supporters blame him for habitually writing short messages to his followers on Twitter. How else should he communicate with the millions of them when the media refuse to report the truth of what he says or what he does? Conrad Black grants him that, saying: “In a pioneering way, he used social media to communicate directly with the public and successfully countered the traditional political media.”

Some of those friends speak of him as being “flawed”, as if a there could ever be a human being – even that revered Jew who they say lived in the age of Augustus – who is not “flawed”.

Conrad Black is one of those friends. But his admiration for Donald Trump is nevertheless strong. He writes:

He also had an outstanding  term of achievement in the face of unprecedented obstruction and illegal harassment, as well as the almost unanimous and hysterical antagonism of a totalitarian opposition media. And so he’s being evicted.

The new administration comes in for serious censure:

Taking his place is a ramshackle coalition of big media, big money, big tech, big league sports, Hollywood, most of Wall Street, and an odious ragtag of urban guerrillas masquerading as civil rights crusaders. … The Democrats … have been effectively taken over by socialist, self-hating whites, white-hating blacks, and guilt-ridden renunciators of any recognizable version of American history and values. …

The political atmosphere is so charged, it is intolerable.

Donald Trump narrowly won his campaign in 2016 against the bipartisan post-Reagan political class that he and an adequate number of his countrymen believed, with a plenitude of evidence, had thoroughly misgoverned the country. The previous 20 years under administrations and congresses of both parties had been an unsatisfactory time of endless, fruitless war in the Middle East and an immense humanitarian refugee disaster, the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, millions of unskilled immigrants pouring illegally across the Mexican-U.S. border, unfavorable trade arrangements, and China advancing by leaps and bounds at America’s expense. Trump effectively ended almost all of that and eliminated unemployment and oil imports as well. 

Much, probably all, of the good that President Trump did will likely be undone by the corruptocracy coming to power.

Conrad Black, consolingly, declares that the incoming administration will fail:

The celebration of Trump’s enemies will soon bore the public and the media will soon cease to lionize the ungalvanizing Biden and his entourage of political manipulators and faction-heads. There will be little leadership, little unity, and they will be to the left of the country, stalled by the Congress, and generally tedious and ineffectual. The times will not be gentle and the attempt of Anthony Blinken and John Kerry and the other quavering Obamans to sanitize the world and collegialize the Western Alliance will be an almost total failure.

He conjectures that Donald Trump could return triumphantly to power :

If he holds his fire for a year and allows the mediocrity and ineptitude of Bidenism … to be exposed in its infirmity, Trump will make the greatest American political comeback since FDR came out of his convalescence from polio and rolled his wheelchair into the White House, which would be his home for the remaining 12 years of his life.

A return of the great president is deeply to be desired. But the ramshackle coalition of Leftist forces that Conrad Black describes is united in one thing – a passionate determination to take away every existing and imaginable means and opportunity the Right could make use of to regain power.

As our commenter Cogito has several time pointed out, the reign (so to speak) of Donald Trump can be likened to that of the Emperor Julian (361-363 C.E.). Emperor after emperor had allowed the dark tide of intolerant Christianity to spread over the Roman Empire. Julian tried to stop it. But he was killed in battle before he had succeeded. For a little while there was light, but when he was gone the darkness came back and Europe remained stagnant for a thousand years.

We would liken it also to the decade of Margaret Thatcher’s leadership in Britain. She tried, against ferocious resistance, to stop the advance of socialism. For a time the British people were free and prosperous, share-owning and property-owning. Then swamp creatures in her own party and the opposition defeated her and the decay of the kingdom resumed.

While Donald Trump has been in the White House, America has enjoyed prosperity and freedom. Was it nothing more than a brief bright interval in a time of Western decay that is now again gathering pace?

Or will President Trump return?

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