Today marks the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day across America. Social media accounts of politicians from both sides of the spectrum are competing today to see who can honor Dr. King the most. Republican leaders and pundits are perhaps even more enthusiastic than the left in the way they revere Dr. King and his fight for civil rights. The same conservatives who denounce the George Floyd riots, Critical Race Theory being taught in schools, and affirmative action in universities will fall over themselves to put Dr. King on a pedestal.
In the entire history of our republic, only two men have been honored with national holidays: George Washington, the father of this nation, the greatest American in history, who remains first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
It makes sense: Dr. King is, in a way, the father of modern America. The social revolutions of the 1960s created an entirely new country, even if many people still do not realize it. Despite speaking about his desire for the United States to “live out the true meaning of its creed,” King’s actions permanently altered the nature of our society.
Author Christopher Caldwell wrote a fantastic book last year called Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties, in which he looked at the massive upheavals our society has experienced since that decade. In that book he examined how the actions of men such as Dr. King, President Lyndon Johnson, and even President Ronald Reagan all affirmed this revolution, this transformation into a completely new country, despite their allegedly good intentions.
The political divides of the past fifty years are really about the New America trying to displace the Old.
The Old America is mostly made up of conservative Republicans. We believe that the founding of this country was in 1776, that the true meaning of America is found in freedom and liberty, that our founding documents are the Declaration of Independence, and that our biggest hero is George Washington.
The New America is mostly made up of progressive Democrats. They believe that our country was founded in the 1960s, that our values are inclusivity and equity, our founding documents are the “I Have a Dream” speech and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and that the true heroes of this country are civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr.
Acolytes of New America have been working hard to erase any trace of Old America from both our discourse and our very geography. What sort of message does it send for Republican leaders to genuflect before the very architects of this destruction?
Referring to this bifurcation of America in Age of Entitlement, Caldwell says:
American politics had re-sorted itself around that question—which came down to the question of whether one had benefited from or lost by the transfers of rights, goods, and privileges carried out under the new constitutional dispensation that began in 1964. The Democrats were the party of those who benefited: not just racial minorities but sexual minorities, immigrants, women, government employees, lawyers—and all people sophisticated enough to be in a position to design, run, or analyze new systems. This collection of minorities could, with discipline, be bundled into an electoral majority, but that was not, strictly speaking, necessary. The hierarchies of government, the judiciary, and the corporate world were Democratic in their orientations. Sympathetic regulators, judges, and attorneys took up the task of transferring as many prerogatives as possible from the majority to various minorities. Republicans were the party, as we have noted, of yesteryear’s entire political spectrum, of New Deal supporters and New Deal foes, of the people who would have voted for Richard Nixon in 1960 and the people who would have voted for John F. Kennedy. The lost world of that period seemed an idyll to many Americans. The parties represented two different constitutions, two different eras of history, even two different technological platforms. And increasingly, two different racial groups.
Republican leaders go out of their way to honor Dr. King for two reasons, I think: First, they want to demonstrate their anti-racist bona fides, trying to head off the usual name-calling and accusations that are deployed against any conservative who does not toe the progressive line, and second, they want to draw a distinction between the ideals that Dr. King supposedly stood for and the modern edifice of social justice and identity politics. Yet as Caldwell explains, that edifice was built on Dr. King’s work!
Republicans and others who may have been uneasy that the constitutional baby had been thrown out with the segregationist bathwater consoled themselves with a myth: The “good” civil rights movement that the martyred Martin Luther King, Jr., had pursued in the 1960s had, they said, been “hijacked” in the 1970s by a “radical” one of affirmative action, with its quotas and diktats. Once the country came to its senses and rejected this optional, radical regime, it could have the good civil rights regime back. None of that was true. Affirmative action and political correctness were the twin pillars of the second constitution. They were what civil rights was. They were not temporary.
Despite appealing to Americans’ belief in the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Dr. King’s actions helped bring forth a new society based on an unwritten constitution of forced equity and government interference. It was King’s luck, so to speak, to be gunned down before anyone could witness the inevitable fruit of this poison tree. He died a hero before he could become a villain. His martyrdom has allowed people from all sides to claim his mantle, from race-baiters like Al Sharpton, Marxists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, even the pro-life movement appeals to King’s ideals. Every year, Christian conservatives march Dr. King’s niece, Alveda King, out to explain that his true legacy is conservative, despite every other member of his family marching in lockstep with the progressive left.
Millions of conservative Republicans have grown up in post-1960s America, and thus have no frame of reference to compare our new society. MLK Jr. Day was enshrined as a federal holiday in the 1980s, and for many of us it has always been a part of our culture. Writing in Chronicles Magazine nearly forty years ago, arch-conservative Sam Francis warned that the deification of Dr. King would inevitably lead to the destruction of pre-1960s American icons:
It is merely a matter of time before the Confederate flag is surrendered, along with local statues of Confederate veterans and heroes, “Dixie,” and most other memorials of antebellum civilization. Their passing may not be a cause of mourning among many outside the South (or many within the South, for that matter), but the same logic that compels their abandonment reaches further. The three most prominent monuments in Washington, DC, are those dedicated to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Is there a schoolchild in the United States today who does not know that the first two were slaveowners? Is there any literate person in America who does not know that none of the three was a racial egalitarian, that every one of them uttered statements that make Jimmy the Greek sound like an ACLU lawyer? The same argument that drives Mr. Snyder from his low but honest trade and pulls down a banner commemorating the last stand of a desperate people will demolish the obelisk and temples that memorialize the major statesmen of the American nation.
Francis was a prophet. The last decade has seen the elimination, not just of the Battle Flag and Confederate statues, but of memorials to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and even Abraham Lincoln. These men represent an America that is, in the eyes of many in power today, dead and gone. The New America founded by Dr. King cannot tolerate symbols of the Old America to remain.
Why should I bring this up on MLK Jr. Day? Why rain on the parade of Republicans who want to honor a civil rights leader? Why not just let sleeping dogs lie? Can we not just honor Dr. King together and remember his words of freedom and equality?
Because truth matters. Dr. King may have had some lofty ideals, and he certainly gave a good speech, but not only were the consequences of his actions bad for our country, he himself was not the saint we think he was.
Digging into Dr. King’s life brings up all sorts of issues that should trouble us, issues that should not be swept under the rug in the name of hagiography:
If you read Dr. King’s interview with Playboy Magazinein 1965, you might notice that his words bear a striking resemblance to the Marxist race-baiters of today. He calls for more government spending on black communities, he makes excuses for race riots, and he calls Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater a “racist” and Alabama Governor George Wallace “Hitler”. It is all too familiar, no?
Conservatives might not like to admit it, but the road to George Floyd started with Martin Luther King Jr. Replacing Independence Day with Juneteenth started by replacing George Washington with Dr. King as the most important man in American history.
By all means, let us proclaim the words of the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” By all means, let us reinforce some of the good things that Dr. King spoke of in his speeches. But we should not rewrite history. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. planted the tree that is now bearing such poisoned fruit in our society. To place him equal to George Washington in the American pantheon is to endorse that fruit, and diminish the heroes that truly built this country.
If America was a movie, the lights would come on after our victory in World War II, or perhaps after we won the Cold War in 1991. But real life does not stop, and the American people must decide how we shall live in the time after the end credits.
Today I recorded a short video remembering former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas who died yesterday at the age of 98. I look at the man, his times, and the worldview that animated his generation as compared to our own.
Watch or listen here, or listen via your favorite podcast app.
French journalist and commentator Eric Zemmour announced his candidacy for President of the Republic today, with a speech that should be required reading for patriots not only in America but throughout Christendom. I would like to read for you the speech translated into English. May it inspire you as much as it has me.
Kyle Rittenhouse did nothing wrong, but both the Marxist left and establishment right have spent the last year attacking him. Yet it is not just Kyle that is under attack, but you and me, our right to self defense, the ideal of masculine virtue, and the very fabric of Western Civilization.
In this Thursday afternoon stream I discuss the ramifications of World War I on history, the chaos that is engulfing our country and how we can overcome it, and I read several poems that have relevance to our current situation.
Watch or listen here, or listen via your favorite podcast app.
In this Friday afternoon stream I talk about how the conservative worldview better reflects reality than leftist fantasy, and what happens when the narrative diverges too far from what people can see with their own eyes.
Watch or listen here, or listen via your favorite podcast app.
I am back at my desk for the first time in quite a while to talk about new developments with the blog and podcast, conservative sacred cows, the 2020 election, supply chains, and what might happen with Taiwan.
Watch or listen here, or listen via your favorite podcast app.
At long last, here is the fourth of five eventual re-recordings I plan to do. Episode 4 was the worst of the early episodes, as I used my low-quality laptop microphone to record, and I did not prepare a script but instead spoke off the cuff based on a sparse outline. For this recording I transcribed the episode and then rewrote it to be more concise and coherent, with tremendously superior audio quality.
A study of history can give us an idea of how things will play out over the next few decades, but modern society completely fails to teach history to young people. This has led to an ignorant population that believes whatever they are told, and is unprepared for what is to come.
Monday was a day like any other. I felt my alarm go off inside my head, courtesy of my jawbone implant. It has been there since I was a child and I often forget it even exists. The sounds and voices that I hear seem to come from inside my own head.
The sound I hear this morning is that of birds singing, and I slowly wake from my dream. It was a good dream; I was I was with my friends enjoying a cold and satisfying McFlurry® with OREO® cookies. (I never paid to have ads removed from my implant, but I don’t mind the sponsored dreams. They’re actually rather pleasant.)
I prepare for the day while the voice inside my head runs down my schedule. It counts down a timer during my shower, reminding me of how many carbon credits it will cost me if I take longer than the prescribed two minutes. By the time I was dry and dressed, my breakfast was ready. I quickly ate my insect soy patties as the voice in my head reminded me of how nutritious it was and how every ingredient had been ethically sourced. I tried to pretend it tasted good.
My podmates all finish their morning meals at about the same time. Everyone is staring straight ahead, catching up on the news and social media through text and images broadcast straight onto our eyes. Sure, we are aware of each other, but there is nothing requiring any interaction between us. As soon as we finish our meals we put our masks back on as we have been trained since birth to do.
I put on my coat and secondary mask and headed out the door, just in time for my regularly scheduled Uber. I glance out the window as the self-driving vehicle takes us down packed city streets. In the back of my mind I have an inkling that the real streets are dirty, dingy, and strewn with trash, but the imagery on the inside of the windows looks so real that I almost forget. I watch peaceful scenes that make me think of idyllic times, such as the 1990s, times I never knew but assume must really have existed.
We stop, and exit the vehicle in an orderly manner. I look up to see where we are: the clinic. Yes, it is Monday, which means our weekly vaccination appointment. We shuffle forward into the line, as screens all around remind us of how vaccination is our civic and moral duty. I look into the camera at the checkpoint to verify my identity, hold out my arm for the masked and visored nurse, feel a pinch as I get the jab, then walk out the exit. Another driverless Uber waits to take me to my job, where I’ll be posting on social media on behalf of my employer all day.
Sometimes I wonder if this is how humanity was meant to live. This really is a utopia, no crime, no poverty, no hunger. Everyone is happy – the self-scored wellness surveys always show 99.9% satisfaction. Yet something my grandfather said before he died has stuck with me all this time. Years ago, in an unguarded moment, he complained that the system had turned humans into animals, or enpeecees, as he said. He told me that when he was my age, people could go wherever they wanted, and had the freedom to think. But what about crime and poverty, I asked him? He said those were just facts of life, part of the human condition. I felt angry with him at the time, and dismissed his rant as just one of those things believed by older ignorant people. OK Millennial, I said under my breath. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe he knew something I didn’t, that there was something we had forgotten.
A buzzing noise in my ears brings me back to reality. I blink my eyes and return to the present, and focus on my work. Feelings like that always pass. Nobody else seems to have such thoughts, so I know I am probably wrong. The old human was greedy, wrathful, violent, and unhappy. The modern world is truly a utopia, and I am lucky to be alive to live in it.
On August 15, 2021, the Taliban took control of Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, nearly twenty years after American and coalition forces ousted them in our post-9/11 invasion.
Our two-decade occupation of that country, intended to transform a land of disunited barbarian tribes into a modern liberal democracy, failed in spectacular fashion, faster than anyone had thought possible, with the whole affair broadcast live on social media. The chaotic scenes in Kabul throughout the month of August reminded many of the evacuation of Saigon in 1975 after the fall of South Vietnam. Worse, in fact: during the writing of this essay, suicide bombs exploded in the Kabul airport, killing dozens of people, including American servicemen.
The fall of Afghanistan and the failure of our long mission there raises several hard questions that all Americans must consider.
Why have we thrown away so many lives in the cause of nation-building abroad?
Why are our leaders so invested in foreign wars, even in the face of mass public opposition?
Why did the United States – the greatest country in the history of the world – fail to accomplish its missions in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, or the many other places to which our troops have been deployed?
The United States of America was born in the fires of revolution and built on the foundation of liberty. Yet our founders did not believe it was our job to foment revolution or export liberty to the rest of the world. In 1797, President George Washington famously warned against entangling ourselves in European alliances. In 1821, future President John Quincy Adams echoed Washington’s warning, saying that while America would support in spirit the cause of freedom throughout the world, we should not spend our own blood and treasure on behalf of others. “She goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” he said.
At some point along the way our country’s mission was changed. In 1898, we defeated the remnants of the Spanish Empire and took over their colonies, from Cuba to Guam to the Philippines. In 1917, we entered the Great War, sending millions of soldiers to Europe to, as President Woodrow Wilson put it, “make the world safe for democracy.” In the late 1930s and early 1940s, we lent money and equipment to Britain, France, and later the USSR to help them in their fight against Nazi Germany, joining the war ourselves after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. For really the first time in our history the eyes of America were turned outward toward the world. Our young men saw action in North Africa, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and dozens of small islands in the South Pacific. It was also during World War II that the United States first became interested in the Middle East. Those backward Arabic kingdoms, until recently under the thumb of the Ottoman Empire, were sitting on trillions of dollars’ worth of oil – oil that would be necessary to power the massive American war machine in the future.
The aftermath of World War II saw American troops remain abroad to enforce the new world order as well as protect our exhausted allies from the new threat of Russian communism. Rather than sending them out on a mission with measurable aims, our troops were now expected to permanently garrison far-flung outposts of our empire. President Harry Truman made this explicit when he declared that the policy of the United States would be to contain Communist expansion throughout the world. The Truman Doctrine was a major shift from our previous policy of noninterference and would involve our country in many conflicts over the next forty-five years. The “domino theory” postulated that if we let one nation fall to communism, then it would start a chain reaction that would lead to the entire world being overcome by the hammer and sickle, and we would then face invasion of our own shores. “We have to fight them over there, so we don’t fight them here,” we were told. Does that sound familiar?
When North Korea invaded their southern neighbors, intending to impose communism on the whole peninsula, the United States led a coalition of United Nations forces to defend democracy once more. We fought to a stalemate in Korea, and tens of thousands of US troops remain there protecting a tenuous peace to this day.
With Korea still fresh in our memories, we allowed ourselves to be pulled into the quagmire that was Vietnam, losing fifty thousand brave young men in a futile attempt to prop up a corrupt government against the fanatical devotion of Ho Chi Minh and his own Russian-backed communists. Despite having won a massive landslide in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson was so unpopular in 1968 that he did not even bother running in his own primary. Former Vice President Richard Nixon won the election that year on a platform of peace with honor. To that end, he authorized an increase in strategic bombing, not only of North Vietnam but of neighboring Cambodia as well, slowly withdrawing American ground troops at the same time. After winning a 49-state landslide in 1972, Nixon announced the Paris Peace Accords. The US would withdraw completely from Indochina, while North Vietnam would return prisoners of war and respect the autonomy of the south.
By this time, the United States was tired of war. Congress was fed up with how Presidents Johnson and Nixon had prosecuted the war with little oversight, and so they passed the War Powers Resolution over Nixon’s veto in 1973. The law now required the president to seek congressional approval before deploying troops for an extended mission. Consequently, Nixon’s successor President Gerald Ford could only watch helplessly as the North Vietnamese Army overran Saigon in 1975. The images of our staff and Vietnamese refugees escaping from the roof of a CIA safe house are seared into our national memory.
America’s military reputation had been seriously damaged in Vietnam. The Cold War continued through the 1970s, but without the sense of imminent destruction that had accompanied it during events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1963. The American military was only used for small actions against weak countries such as Grenada and Panama. while the Soviet Union became bogged down in their own Vietnam when they invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Their invasion, and our support of the Mujahideen rebels, once again threatened to inflame tensions between the two superpowers that had cooled in the years after Vietnam.
The concept of terrorism began to seep its way into public consciousness during this time. In 1983, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah bombed the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, in response to our intervention in their bloody civil war. Seventeen Americans were killed. Five years later, more than two hundred and fifty people were killed when terrorists working for Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi blew up a Boeing 747 flying over Scotland. Before 9/11, Islamic terrorism was a nuisance, but it never loomed very large in the public consciousness. As late as 1993, James Cameron’s film True Lies featured Islamic terrorists as comedic villains.
The Cold War still dominated American attention during the 1980s. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was heralded as the beginning of the end of communist domination of Europe, and the USSR itself collapsed two years later. It was the fabled “end of history”. With nuclear war suddenly no longer seemingly imminent, the United States felt freer to engage in military action. As the Soviet Union was falling into the dustbin of history, America decided to involve herself in a territorial dispute on the other side of the world. Iraq, whom we had supported in their war against the hardcore Shiites of Iran, had invaded their tiny neighbor of Kuwait intending to annex them and claim their vast oil reserves. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, once an ally of the United States, mistakenly believed that one – we had tacitly approved his invasion, and two – that we had become a paper tiger, easily dealt with if we tried to intervene. Saddam had assembled the fourth largest army on earth and promised the “mother of all battles” to anyone who stood in his way.
President George H. W. Bush assembled a coalition of nations and issued an ultimatum to Saddam: leave Kuwait or be removed. Some political leaders in the United States urged caution, worried that Iraq would turn into another Vietnam. When the invasion, Operation Desert Storm, finally, came, it was a resounding success that silenced naysayers for a decade. In a magnificent hundred-days campaign, the US-led Coalition completely defeated Saddam’s army, driving them out of Kuwait with the US suffering fewer than 150 killed in action. President Bush’s approval rating skyrocketed as most Americans celebrated the victory. Support for the troops was at an all time high, and Lee Greenwood’s patriotic ballad God Bless the USA played constantly on FM radio.
America was back! With the breakup of the Soviet Union, the world had a single superpower for the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire. Our overwhelming victory in the Persian Gulf signaled to the rest of the world that we could take on that mantle. Rather than returning to a pre-World War II “America First” attitude, we doubled down on globalism, pledging our blood and treasure to maintain what President Bush called the new world order. Rather than waging wars of conquest, we would now be using our military for humanitarian reasons, to ensure that all people had food, water, medicine, and freedom.
Despite our agreement with Saudi Arabia to maintain troops in their country only for the duration of the Gulf War, we found reasons to keep them there far longer. After Saddam Hussein brutally put down a rebellion by the ethnic Kurds in the north of Iraq, the United Nations imposed a “no-fly zone” over the area, and the US Air Force enforced this mandate from the skies. Our leaders gave us good reasons for our remaining in the Middle East, and the idea that our presence might cause resentment among people there was casually dismissed. We are the USA, the world’s only superpower, and there is nothing we cannot do.
Little did we know that we had already reached the peak of American military and cultural superiority.
The first cracks in the image of our invincible military power appeared soon. Just two years after the Gulf War, the United States intervened in a civil war in Somalia that was causing famine and starvation. The United Nations was supplying food and medicine to the Somali people, but a brutal warlord named Mohamed Farrah Aidid began attacking the aid convoys and confiscating the goods. To stop these attacks, President Bill Clinton authorized an incursion by American special forces to capture the warlord and his top lieutenants.
The mission quickly went awry, and two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by Somali militias. American troops mounted a heroic rescue mission, but several soldiers were killed. Video of Somalis dragging the bodies of American troops through the streets of Mogadishu was like a knife in the heart of the American psyche. Our invincible military, which had so recently won a nearly flawless victory, was now being humiliated in Africa.
Though the overall mission in Mogadishu was a success, the experience left the American public less willing to risk our troops on humanitarian causes. President Clinton withdrew our forces from Somalia entirely, a move decried by his Republican opponents as showing weakness. Was pulling out of Somalia the right choice? Unfortunately, we might have been in a no-win scenario already. Antiwar activist Scott Horton wrote a book in 2017 titled Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, in which he explains the history of our involvement in the Middle East and the many mistakes we have made along the way. In the book he claims that Osama Bin Laden, who at the time was a veteran of the Afghan Mujahideen, was disappointed that President Clinton withdrew our forces from Somalia after the Black Hawk Down incident.
“Though Bin Laden later cited this withdrawal as proof America was ultimately a weak adversary, at the time, just two years after the first Iraq war, the Al Qaeda leader claimed he sought to bog down the US in a ‘war of attrition’ there.”
Ever since the invention of the airplane, strategic bombing has been the holy grail for political leaders. It is a way to cause damage to the enemy without much risk, especially since post-World War II we have seldom been challenged for air superiority. Yet air strikes are often more bark than bite, more flash than substance. Factories can be rebuilt, and military equipment can be repaired. On the other hand, local populations subject to our bombs only hate us more for causing such death and destruction and become more loyal to their leaders who are fighting against us.
Despite the relative ineffectiveness of strategic bombing, it remains a favorite tool for American leaders. They can come to their citizens and say they are accomplishing something, punishing those who have harmed us, while avoiding putting troops in harm’s way. No American president wants to be responsible for the deaths of American soldiers, nor for the pictures of flag-draped coffins that inevitably follow.
September 11th, 2001 changed everything. Four airplanes were hijacked. Three buildings were destroyed. Three thousand Americans were killed. Our sense of security in our nation and in our airports forever shattered. The American people demanded revenge, and airstrikes would not be enough this time. In a meeting with lawmakers, new President George W. Bush said:
“When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.”
The American people were united in their desire for resolute action. Intelligence reports suggested that 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden was hiding in Afghanistan, which was under the control of the Islamic extremist government the Taliban. The United States demanded that the Taliban turn over Bin Laden and senior Al Qaeda leadership, and when they refused, we launched an invasion intending to topple the government and capture or kill the terrorists.
Afghanistan occupies a unique place in the world, both geographically and historically. The region lies between China to the east and the Persian and Arab world to the west, with Russia to the north and India to the south. It is crisscrossed by mountains such as the Hindu Kush and the edge of the Himalayas, with sheltered valleys in between. This unforgiving land has been home to many different tribes, cultures, and religions. Today, the Pashtun people are the most numerous, but there are significant communities of Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras, Turkmens, Balochs, and more.
When Alexander the Great conquered his way from Greece to India, he apparently found Afghanistan difficult and inhospitable. Years later, the Silk Road made its way through the Khyber Pass on its way from China to Persia, leading to many different people setting foot in this land. The region was often a flashpoint between great powers and experienced a blending of very different cultures and beliefs. At various points throughout history, Afghanistan was ruled by the Greeks, the Persians, the Hindus, and even the Mongols. Islam eventually became the predominant force in the land, and by the mid-1800s a Muslim king sat on the Afghan throne.
Because of its strategic location, many great powers have involved themselves in Afghan affairs. In the 1800s, Britain and Russia played the “Great Game,” a series of geopolitical maneuvers to use Afghanistan as a buffer between the Russian Empire and British India. To that end, Britain invaded Afghanistan three times over the course of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The First Anglo-Afghan War ended in a humiliating defeat for the British Empire, the Second led to British control over Afghanistan and the Third, while a British tactical victory, saw the United Kingdom permanently withdraw from the region. This withdrawal presaged the collapse of the British Empire just three decades later.
The Afghan monarchy survived for several more decades before falling to a coup in 1973. The ensuing military dictatorship was itself overthrown by the Communists in 1978. The new government’s hold on power was very shaky, so their Soviet backers decided to intervene in their favor. The Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 outraged the western world. President Jimmy Carter responded with what historians call the Carter Doctrine in early 1980, warning that the United States would consider any act of aggression in the Persian Gulf region an attack on our interests. We began building military bases throughout the Middle East to counter the Soviet threat as well as to project our power more forcefully in the area. President Carter ordered a boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, and Presidents Carter and Reagan both authorized secret deals to send weapons to the Mujahideen, the alliance of Afghan tribes fighting against the Communists.
In the 1988 film Rambo III, Sylvester Stallone’s action hero travels to Afghanistan to aid the Mujahideen, bringing the conflict to American cinemas. During the film, one of the American soldiers mocks his KGB captor, saying:
“Every day, your war machines lose ground to a bunch of poorly armed, poorly equipped freedom fighters. The fact is that you underestimated your competition. If you’d studied your history, you’d know that these people have never given up to anyone. They’d rather die than be slaves to an invading army. You can’t defeat a people like that. We tried. We already had our Vietnam! Now you’re gonna have yours.”
Would that our own leaders had remembered that thirteen years later.
The Soviets withdrew in 1989, and their puppet government fell just a few years later. However, the USSR itself did not even last that long, collapsing in 1991. People were beginning to believe that Afghanistan was truly the “graveyard of empires”.
After the fall of the Soviet-backed government, the Mujahideen alliance crumbled, and the tribes resumed fighting their vicious civil war. Into the fray stepped a group of Pashtun Islamic scholars from Kandahar called the Taliban. Having once supported the Mujahideen, the Taliban promised to end both the fighting as well as what they considered the pernicious influence of western culture in their country. The message of the Taliban gained them a large following, and soon they were able to defeat the other tribes and take control of the country. After conquering Kabul, they declared themselves the leaders of the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and imposed strict Sharia law on their people. Women were made to wear full burqas and were often not allowed to leave their homes without a male escort. Western culture was entirely forbidden, movie theaters were closed, and western music and literature were banned. The Buddhas of Bamiyan, enormous ancient statues carved fifteen hundred years ago into the mountains of the Hindu Kush, were destroyed on the orders of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. When Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda terrorists were expelled from Saudi Arabia, the Taliban offered them shelter in Afghanistan.
So it was that the United States and our coalition partners invaded Afghanistan in October of 2001. President Bush promised that this would not be another Vietnam. At first it seemed that he would emulate his father’s quick and decisive victory in Desert Storm ten years prior. American Special Forces dropped into Afghanistan and connected with the Northern Alliance, a confederation of tribes and former Mujahideen that had been fighting the Taliban for five years. This coalition quickly ousted the Taliban from Kabul, Kandahar, and the rest of Afghanistan’s major cities. The US State Department worked with the leaders of the Northern Alliance to form a new representative government for Afghanistan.
Had we ended our mission there, it might have gone down in history as another American military triumph. Unfortunately, most of the Taliban leadership, as well as Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, had escaped from their mountain hideout of Tora Bora into Pakistan. Many accounts lay the blame for Bin Laden’s escape on US General Tommy Franks, who inexplicably refused to call for reinforcements to take Tora Bora before the senior Al Qaeda leadership could run for the border. The question of how and why Bin Laden escaped has plagued our country for nearly twenty years. Was it sheer luck, incompetence, or worse? Some antiwar activists have long suggested that American leadership let Bin Laden go, needing a scapegoat for future military actions.
Rebuffed by the US-backed provisional government, Taliban leader Mullah Omar launched an insurgency in 2002, and the United States and our allies settled in for the long and difficult task of securing a free and democratic nation in this war-torn region.
On the eve of the 2001 invasion, Steve Sailer looked at the prospects of a military adventure in Afghanistan through the lens of Rudyard Kipling’s short story The Man Who Would Be King and its 1975 adaption directed by John Huston. In the story, the characters Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnahan (played by Sean Connery and Michael Caine in the movie) decide to hike into the remote valley of Kafiristan, in northeast Afghanistan, and set themselves up as kings. Their plan seems to work at first, as they use their experience in the British Army and their superior weaponry to turn uncivilized tribes into an elite force. However, their adventure ends in tragedy when they fail to appreciate local customs.
Sailer predicted that our invasion would likely turn out the same way – initial success, followed by a long-drawn-out tragedy should we choose to remain and try to build a nation in the wilderness. He wrote:
“Those who advocate that we stay in Afghanistan long after Osama bin Laden and the Taliban are dealt with should ponder Kipling and Huston’s parable.”
Steve Sailer, September 26, 2001
As usual, Steve Sailer was absolutely right. Before Bin Laden and his lieutenants had even escaped from Tora Bora, our leadership was already moving on to their next target.
Rather than concentrate on pacifying Afghanistan, the Bush Administration decided instead to expand the Global War on Terror. In 2003, the United States government charged Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with breaking post-Gulf War UN resolutions aimed at preventing him from committing genocide against the Kurds and for developing weapons of mass destruction. President Bush proclaimed the Bush Doctrine, which held that the United States had the right to preemptively attack foreign nations and terror organizations that threatened our safety and security. What a far cry this was from the doctrines of non-interference laid out by George Washington and John Quincy Adams. Nevertheless, at the time the American people were scared that 9/11 was only the beginning of a deadly campaign of terror.
After 9/11, President Bush had gone to Congress seeking approval to use military force to hunt down the terrorists who had committed the attack. Rather than granting this request with a very limited scope, as then-Congressman Ron Paul had wanted, Congress instead passed an open-ended bill that gave Bush and future presidents nearly carte blanche to fight a war on terror throughout the world, including Iraq. Rather than declaring war on Al Qaeda, or even on the Taliban regime that sheltered them, the Bush Administration instead launched a War on Terrorism, as if something so abstract could ever be defeated by military action.
The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force has since been used as a perpetual blank check by the Bush, Obama, and even Trump administrations to deploy troops anywhere in the world. Despite only a few dozen elected leaders remaining in Congress since the 2001 vote, the AUMF continues to be used to justify intervention in foreign nations to this day.
To listen to our political leadership and news media at the time, we had to invade Afghanistan, as well as Iraq, in response to the 9/11 terror attacks, which were committed by extremists who hated us because of our freedoms. Yet how many Americans at the time knew that we had maintained a military presence in the Middle East for more than twenty years? The Carter Doctrine had turned the Persian Gulf into an extension of the American empire. After the Gulf War, rather than leaving, we maintained bases throughout the Arab world. It was precisely this extended presence that animated Osama Bin Laden in the first place: he was offended that “infidels” – American troops – were stationed in the holy land of Mecca and Medina. This is not to say that Bin Laden was justified in his campaign of terror, but the simplistic rationale given to us by our leaders and journalists did not tell the whole story.
In hindsight, the threat of Afghanistan and Iraq to the citizens of the United States appears to have been overstated. It raises the question: did the government use 9/11 and the Bush Doctrine as an excuse to launch a series of endless wars across the globe? Had Iraq not turned into a quagmire so quickly, would we have continued invading other nations throughout the world?
In Fool’s Errand, Scott Horton tells of retired General Wesley Clark seeing a memo in the Pentagon explaining which countries were in our cross-hairs. Horton writes:
“The memo included a list of seven countries to be the subject of US regime-change policies in the new War on Terrorism: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. None of the governments of these countries supported Al Qaeda or threatened the United States.”
Scott Horton, Fool’s Errand
The existence and veracity of this memo seems likely, considering that we have used our military to attempt regime change in most of the nations on that list.
The United States invaded Iraq in 2003, with the aim of regime change. Overthrowing the leadership of Syria has been US policy for the better part of the last decade as well. US Special Forces are known to be active in Sudan and Somalia, though this garners little attention. And, of course, the United States famously intervene in Libya during the Obama Administration. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bragged about helping to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, an action that destabilized the entire region and led directly to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi in 2012. Images of the body of Ambassador Chris Stevens being dragged through the streets recalled the horror of Mogadishu nearly twenty years previously. Clinton, of course, famously dismissed the entire Benghazi tragedy in congressional testimony:
“What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, January 23, 2013
The last country on the list, Iran, has long been the target of neoconservative warmongers in and out of the government. Recall that the United States supported Saddam Hussein of Iraq in the 1980s as he fought against his neighbor to the east. To this day there are think tanks and news websites dedicated to whipping the American people to support an invasion of Iran. Older generations remember the coup that overthrew the Shah in 1979 and the captivity of our embassy staff. We are told that the Iranian ayatollahs are hell-bent on apocalyptic war, and that if they manage to develop nuclear weapons, then they will undoubtedly destroy Israel and the United States. One might suspect that the purpose of our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s was to put our troops in a position to encircle Iran, which lies between the two nations. Thus far, no president has taken the bait to attack Iran, and hopefully none ever will.
The reality of Middle Eastern politics is much more complex than what we hear on the nightly news. The Iranian Shiites are working with their Syrian and Qatari allies, as well as militias in Iraq and Yemen, to try and gain hegemony over the region. In response, Saudi Arabia has been attempting to build a coalition of Sunni Arab states, as well as the Jewish state of Israel, to oppose Iran. While this is all very fascinating, none of it requires American military involvement.
Unfortunately, by the early 2000s the conservative movement and the Republican Party had become almost entirely identified with military adventurism. In a previous essay, I traced this phenomenon back to the era of the Vietnam War. Despite the war being started by Democratic Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, by 1969 the war had become identified with the Republican President Richard Nixon. The antiwar movement that had risen under President Johnson became allied with all sorts of left-wing causes, which compelled the right-wing to come out in favor of the war. While many musicians made antiwar ballads, for example, conservative country stars like Merle Haggard sang in support of the war and of our troops.
When Vietnam veterans returned home and faced mockery and ostracism from antiwar protestors, conservatives responded with unconditional support for the military. This reached a fever pitch during the Gulf War and continued into the Global War on Terror. In the days after 9/11, the entire country was united in their desire for retribution. However, as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began to drag on without end, a new antiwar movement developed, coming mainly from the left. Conservatives still believed that it was important to support the troops, and that supporting the troops necessarily meant supporting the wars.
Mainstream media latched on to the antiwar movement in the mid-2000s because they were reflexively anti-Bush. Except for Fox News, which remained pro-war from the start, news outlets began condemning the wars and highlighting American losses, as well as showcasing atrocities such as the torture at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. Free-speech advocate Julian Assange and his Wikileaks platform, which exposed the killing of civilians by US forces, were lauded by the left-wing media. Mainstream media focused their attention on our failures every day; Cindy Sheehan, a mother of a soldier killed in action in Iraq, was highlighted for months on end.
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts challenged President Bush in 2004 and attempted to appeal to both sides. He presented himself as having faithfully served his country in the US Navy during Vietnam, but he also highlighted his opposition to that war. CBS News’ 60 Minutes program tried to drive a wedge between President Bush and his military-supporting voters by presenting forged documents that claimed Bush had gone AWOL during his tenure in the Texas Air National Guard.
President Bush won reelection by a narrow margin and continued our adventures in the Middle East. As in Afghanistan, the initial invasion of Iraq had been a success. The US military succeeded in overthrowing Saddam Hussein, who was later found hiding in a hole in the ground. He was tried, convicted, and executed by the new democratic government we had quickly assembled. As with Afghanistan, however, an insurgency against our occupation soon developed, and by 2006 Iraq was in the throes of a deadly and chaotic civil war. The deterioration of our military strategy, highlighted by the left-wing media, helped the Democrats take over Congress in the 2006 midterm elections.
Both Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Clinton of New York campaigned for the Democratic presidential primary in 2008 on an antiwar platform. Obama was able to trump Clinton’s antiwar record by virtue of not having been in the Senate for the 2001 and 2003 votes to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively. Clinton, on the other hand, had initially voted for both before turning against them. Yet something strange happened when Obama was elected president that year. The antiwar movement that had so consumed the left wing basically evaporated, almost overnight. Cindy Sheehan no longer received invitations for interviews on cable news. The daily litany of combat deaths and American atrocities ceased. Outside a principled group of antiwar activists who opposed the wars on moral grounds, most of the attention disappeared now that a Democrat was in the White House. Legitimate antiwar activists who had pinned their hopes on Obama to end the wars were soon left bitterly disappointed. Even after Navy Seals killed Osama Bin Laden himself at his safe-house in Pakistan, the wars continued.
President Obama did not follow through on his promises to end the wars nor did he close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. On the contrary, Obama expanded the wars, deploying additional troops to Afghanistan and even diverting troops from Iraq into neighboring Syria. He even began large-scale drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen, and several other countries, often with extensive collateral damage – military jargon for civilian casualties. A loose association of the remnants of Al Qaeda and other Sunni Muslim militias had coalesced into a would-be caliphate: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIS quickly took control of a large geographical area in the Middle East, and videos of western soldiers and journalists brutally beheaded by ISIS fighters dominated the news.
The geopolitical situation in the Middle East was never black and white, but it became extremely confusing in the 2010s. The Obama Administration decided to prioritize regime change in Syria, claiming that President Bashar Al-Assad was a dictator who was killing his own people. The American government sent money, material, and troops to aid the rebels who had been fighting Assad in a civil war, even though many of these rebels were themselves aligned with Al Qaeda and ISIS. American news media attempted to distill the various conflicts into a simple good guy / bad guy paradigm, but few people knew what was really going on. The conservatives who had once strongly supported intervention began to tire of the constant war, and this new right-wing antiwar movement found its voice in Donald Trump.
Trump was never shy about sharing whatever thoughts came into his head. He destroyed sacred cows on both the left and the right during his 2016 presidential campaign. He called Senator John McCain of Arizona – the GOP presidential nominee from 2008 and a POW during Vietnam – a loser, and he said that President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was a huge mistake. Trump promised to do what Obama did not – destroy ISIS and then bring the troops home. Rather than rejecting this heretical speech, Republican voters embraced it, sending Trump to the White House in one of the biggest political upsets in American history.
With a Republican president in office who wanted to stop the endless conflicts, mainstream media completed the transformation that had begun in 2008 and now fully embraced forever war. In early 2017, President Assad of Syria allegedly used chemical weapons against rebel forces, so President Trump responded with a targeted airstrike against a Syrian chemical plant. This was perhaps the only time in his entire term that left-wing news media praised Trump, calling him “presidential” because he fired some missiles. The military brass, all of whom had risen through the ranks during the Global War on Terror, and who had survived President Obama’s ideological purges of the Pentagon, were entirely in favor of maintaining our military presence in the Middle East until the end of time. Many of these generals obfuscated, lied, and outright disobeyed President Trump’s orders to bring the troops home. Far from being the heroes that conservatives had long believed them to be, military leadership was exposed an arm of the deep state bureaucracy that hindered and fought our elected president for more than four years.
General James Mattis, supposedly the “mad dog” of the Marine Corps who had fought in the initial Afghanistan invasion, resigned as Trump’s Secretary of Defense rather than obeying the president’s order to withdraw the two thousand troops that Obama had left in Syria. In the leadup to the 2020 presidential election, several active military brass and intelligence officers publicly denounced President Trump and called on Americans to throw him out of office. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley allegedly refused to follow Trump’s orders to use military force on the deadly rioters in the summer of 2020. The military leadership, most of whom were wholly committed to the cause of endless war, had no use for a president who was trying to put a stop to their schemes.
Why is the deep state, media, and the military leadership so invested in endless war? Why is it that no matter who we vote for, the troops remain deployed at the fringes of the American empire?
In 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower warned in his farewell address of what he called a growing military / industrial complex. In the 1940s, the United States had pushed our factories into overdrive to create the military equipment necessary to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. After the war, these companies continued to innovate and produce material to keep up with the Soviet Union in an arms race that could decide the fate of the world. Yet once a system like this is created, it does not simply go away once the crisis has abated. By 1991, when the Cold War ended, there was too much money and capital at stake to simply dismantle the massive array of defense contractors and lobbyists that were designed to produce weaponry to fight the Soviets. Like all government programs, their priority shifted to justifying their own existence. They needed a new enemy to fight.
There are many jokes about how temporary government programs never go away, even if the crisis for which they were created is long gone. Our massive standing army was needed to save the world from the communists starting in the late 1940s, and now it is needed to save America from the terrorists. It always works the same way. Remember being told more than a year ago that we were only locking down for two weeks – “fifteen days to slow the spread,” they told us? Now we are looking at never-ending lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccine passports.
The same deep state bureaucracy that has been running our government from the shadows for the past six decades has a vested interest in keeping us deployed abroad, whether in Afghanistan or in any of the other dozens of nations we are currently engaged in. In Fool’s Errand, Scott Horton says that the military / industrial complex and the deep state bureaucracy are really the same thing:
“Their priorities now vastly outweigh those of the civilian population, just as Eisenhower had cautioned. The necessity of emergency has been their mandate to maintain power, and it appears that they will never let it go. None of these things really have anything to do with helping the people of Afghanistan or even securing true American national defense interests there. Instead, the economics of politics create a conspiracy of a thousand separate interests and motives, none of them significant enough to justify the policy on their own, yet they somehow add up to a bureaucratic inertia that has thus far proven impossible to restrain.”
Scott Horton, Fool’s Errand
As I alluded to in my essay on the failures of the conservative movement, a cadre of socially liberally yet fiscally conservative activists migrated to the right in the second half of the 20th century. These neoconservatives were extremely anti-Communist, but not for the same reasons most right-wing Americans were. Many of the original neoconservatives were Trotskyites, who believed that Joseph Stalin had betrayed the purity of the original socialist revolution. They fled their homes in Russia and eastern Europe and allied themselves with American social conservatives to defeat the Soviet Union. In reality, the neocons had little in common with American social conservatives outside of their shared hatred of the USSR, but they successfully merged the concepts of conservatism with unchecked militarism. With the Cold War ending, these neoconservatives needed a new conflict to keep this alliance alive. 9/11 provided the perfect justification. Who could possible object to invading the country that harbored the people who killed three thousand Americans? The nation’s feelings were summed up by country star Toby Keith:
“Now this nation that I love has fallen under attack, a mighty sucker punch came flyin’ in from somewhere in the back. Soon as we could see it clearly through our big black eye, man, we lit up your world like the fourth of July.”
Nineteen terrorists had committed the atrocity of 9/11, and they were backed by a few hundred others. Yet our elected leaders and neoconservative thinkers did an incredible job of using our desire for vengeance against those that harmed us to justify endless intervention, invasion, and occupation for the next twenty years. If the neoconservatives and deep state warmongers learned one thing from Vietnam, it was that high casualties are the one thing the American people will not tolerate. More than fifty thousand Americans never came home from the jungles of Indochina, which combined with the compulsory draft fed the antiwar movement of the 1960s and 70s. The Global War on Terror, on the other hand, has neither the high casualties of Vietnam nor a draft. This has allowed the bureaucrats to conduct their military adventures long after most Americans have forgotten about the whole thing.
The American people have notoriously short attention spans and quickly acclimate to the new status quo. Now that we have been involved in the Middle East for decades, it can seem controversial to suggest changing that situation. Recall the Republican-led Congress pushing a bill that would have prevented President Trump from withdrawing our troops from Syria, just a few years after the same Congress had opposed President Obama’s initial deployment. There is also an element of binary thinking involved. Americans who grew up during the Cold War grew accustomed to a world that was split between good and evil. The Russians were the bad guys, and we were the good guys. When Russia invaded Afghanistan, they were the bad guys, so we had to help the good guys. President Bush elucidated this view when he divided the world into two groups in a speech shortly after 9/11:
“Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”
President George W. Bush, speech to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001.
Today, that binary view is even more embedded in the American psyche. College campuses and even grade schools now teach from an intersectional perspective, looking at culture through a Marxist lens that divides everyone into two groups – the oppressed and the oppressors. The media/academia complex is therefore able to appeal to both sides’ binary thinking – the right feels a duty to intervene in nations such as Afghanistan because we must stop the evil terrorists, while the left feels a duty to stay there to ensure that oppressed minorities such as women and gays are protected from the evil oppressors in the Taliban.
We can see both sides at work as globalist leaders attempt to justify our endless wars.
In 2018, General H.R. McMaster, who was formerly a commander of US troops in Afghanistan as well as President Trump’s National Security Advisor, went on Peter Robinson’s Uncommon Knowledge show to explain why we must remain in Afghanistan forever:
“It’s not a bad investment. It is a good idea. Think of it as insurance, insurance against a return of these murderous groups that want to kill our children. It’s a myth that despite this vast investment of blood and treasure that nothing has been gained in Afghanistan.”
H.R. McMaster, Uncommon Knowledge October 23, 2018
When President Trump signed a withdrawal agreement with the Taliban in early 2020, his former National Security Advisor John Bolton argued that we had a moral imperative to remain in Afghanistan indefinitely. After the agreement was announced, Bolton tweeted his disapproval:
Even former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who campaigned for the 2004 Democratic presidential primary on a platform of withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, complained when President Trump began withdrawing troops from the Middle East. Replying to a tweet by former Obama staffer Ro Khanna, Dean wrote hysterically:
This is what we call “mission creep”. We went to Afghanistan in 2001 ostensibly to destroy Al Qaeda and topple the Taliban, but now our supposed national security experts say we must stay there indefinitely, not only to prevent all future terrorism, but also to ensure that children can go to school and women enjoy equal civil rights. If this is a justification for indefinite occupation, then why not invade every other country that does not share our values? Saudi Arabia still adheres to a strict interpretation of Islamic law, should we invade and occupy Riyadh and force them to ban the burqa? Singapore imposes harsher punishments on petty criminals than we are accustomed to here, should we invade their little island and force them to adopt American jurisprudence? Should we invade Mexico and Central America to put a stop to drug crime?
Even if we accept the premise that we have a right to invade and occupy foreign nations to force them to adopt American values, this only raises the question of what exactly are American values? If you are of an older generation of conservative, you believe that American values are freedom, liberty, a good work ethic, a belief in the Christian God, fairness, true justice, and the right to pursue happiness without government interference. However, look at the American values being spread across the world by our government and NGOs today – extreme feminism, homosexual propaganda, transgender dogma, and agnosticism, if not outright atheism. Do you feel comfortable supporting this kind of worldwide evangelism? We rightly condemned the way the USSR exported atheistic communism during the Cold War, but 21st century Americanism might well be worse.
During the month of June – the so-called “Pride Month” celebrated by every American politician and corporation – the US embassy in Kabul tweeted a picture of a rainbow flag. The fact that this might offend the Muslims in Afghanistan that we are trying to convert to Americanism did not bother the embassy staff; I suspect they took a perverse joy in pushing something so controversial onto their hosts.
Several thinkers on the right have been using the phrase “globohomo” to describe this new American secular religion. The “globo” refers to globalism, the idea that national borders are outdated and that we are all citizens of the world, with no distinct culture worth protecting. The “homo” can refer either to homosexuality, their preferred vector for attacking the family, which is the foundation of all society, or homogeneity, the idea that we must all be made to think and believe the same. Globohomo activists spread their religion with more passion than the most zealous 19th century Christian missionaries. Recall that Congress overrode President Trump’s veto of a spending bill last December that included all sorts of insane budget items, including ten million dollars for “gender programs” in Pakistan. Republican leaders balk at spending money on American citizens, claiming it is creeping socialism and too expensive, but there is no foreign aid too big for our government to cheerfully fund. Our occupying armies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the rest of the world are just agents to assist in exporting globohomo propaganda to every corner of the planet.
Last March, when it still seemed like our occupation of Afghanistan might go on forever, foreign policy pundit Richard Hananiaposted a long Twitter thread about a US government report on gender equality in Afghanistan. He first notes that there are no native Afghan words for “gender,” and facetiously remarks that, “the US will need to help change the language, maybe introduce new pronouns to accomplish its mission.” Reading through the document, Hanania reports incredulously that the US created gender quotas for the Afghan parliament, which predictably led to sexual harassment of female representatives. The report also says that many of these female representatives had never visited the places they were supposed to represent. The same issues came when the US tried to impose gender quotas on the Afghan National Army as well. Hanania concludes his thread by referring to the Afghanistan Papers expose, which quotes a USAID worker complaining that gender equality was often the central goal of every single project in the country and noted that it caused resentment and revolt among the Afghans.
Remember the Afghanistan Papers? They were a collection of damning exposes of our occupation that were compiled and published in late 2019. These papers revealed that much of what was reported to the American people were outright lies, and that our mission there was an abject failure. We were spending literally trillions of dollars, that rather than being used to create a modern democratic country and ensure safety and stability for the Afghan people, were instead being diverted to NGOs and warlords alike. Rather than instigate a thorough review and reconsideration of our policy there, they were quickly forgotten.
Perhaps we could have rebuilt some semblance of civilization in Afghanistan had we adapted to the local culture rather than attempting to force 21st century Americanism on the population. In a piece this week for the British news magazine The Critic, Gawain Towler remembers meeting the last king of Afghanistan Mohammed Zahir Shah around the same time that US forces were beginning their mission to topple the Taliban. Towler wonders if, rather than trying to create a democracy in Afghanistan, the US and coalition allies should instead have restored the king to his throne. Sure, Americans have an innate disgust for the whole concept of monarchy, considering how our country began, but Zahir Shah had some advantages that our puppets Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani did not. For one thing, he already had legitimacy, as he and his family had ruled over Afghanistan during its golden age between the Third Anglo-Afghan War and the coups of the 1970s. Second, monarchy has some advantages over democracy when attempting to rule a land of distinct tribes such as Afghanistan. However, the US government never seriously considered the option. Towler says:
“The US, though it was aware of the possibilities of an Afghan solution to an Afghan problem, and a solution that could have utilised the residual loyalty of the Afghan peoples, decided against. The rest is dour, bloody history.”
Gawain Towler, August 17, 2021
In its arrogance, the US decided to impose not only democracy but our twisted 21st century values on the Afghan people. It was never going to work, not in twenty years, not in two hundred, but our military and political leaders continually demanded that we remain there forever. Even today, as the last Americans are being evacuated from Kabul and the Taliban is firmly in control of the country for the first time in nearly twenty years, some neoconservative pundits are demanding we go back into the fray. Mainstream news media is lambasting Joe Biden over the catastrophe in Kabul, claiming that his decision to follow through with President Trump’s withdrawal was a mistake. While some conservatives are happy to see the legacy media finally find fault with Biden, we should not be too quick to celebrate. The only reason they attack him now is to try and return us to the paradigm of endless war that our globalist deep state wants to continue.
Some of their rationales have become farcical. Numerous articles have been published in the past two weeks lamenting the billions of dollars’ worth of rare earth minerals known to be in Afghanistan and complaining that our withdrawal means that China will soon be making deals with the Taliban to extract them. This is yet more mission creep, more excuses for us to never leave. In Fool’s Errand, Scott Horton addressed the mineral issue, had been brought up by US commanders such as General David Petraeus. He writes:
“Did the generals really think the American public would be impressed by such arguments? That the US Army should militarily occupy a country in the heart of Eurasia indefinitely because a few American companies might be able to make some money mining lithium there someday? Apparently.”
Scott Horton, Fool’s Errand
Why did the same country that defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in less than four years fail to defeat the Taliban and establish a modern Westphalian nation-state in Afghanistan in twenty?
Perhaps we were never meant to win at all. In a 2011 interview, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange explained his theory of why we continue to occupy foreign nations:
“Because the goal is not to completely subjugate Afghanistan. The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the United States, out of the tax bases of European countries through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. That is the goal, i.e., the goal is to have an endless war, not a successful war.”
Even if we really were trying to win, Afghanistan is a difficult place to fully conquer. Whereas Japan surrendered in 1945 when faced with doomsday weapons that could annihilate entire cities, Afghan rebels shrugged off the loss of their cities and faded into the mountains. All they had to do was wait us out. As the saying goes, we have the watches, but they have the time. The Taliban learned the same lessons from history as the North Vietnamese. More than two thousand years ago, the Roman general Fabius Maximus faced a similar situation. The Carthaginian warlord Hannibal Barca had invaded Italy and annihilated every Roman army that stood in his way. Fabius realized that he could not defeat Hannibal in open battle, so he instead spent years harassing the Carthaginians, keeping his army alive and intact until the Romans could send an invasion force under Scipio Africanus to threaten Carthage itself.
The Fabian Strategy has proven to be the best way for an inferior force to defeat a more powerful aggressor. George Washington utilized this strategy in the American Revolution, only giving battle to the British when he had the advantage and keeping his army alive and intact the rest of the time. While Washington won several important victories against the British, such as at Boston and Trenton, perhaps his greatest feat was withdrawing from Long Island after a defeat. So long as Washington and his army survived, the British could never declare victory. Washington knew that time was on his side. If he could keep his army intact in the face of trained redcoats, disease, and the inevitable loss of morale, then eventually the British Parliament would be unwilling to continue spending the money and lives it would take to defeat him.
Our political and military leaders have forgotten this important lesson ever since the United States became a world power. Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese communists used this strategy against us, as did the Taliban rebels in Afghanistan and the insurgency in Iraq. In 2007, President Bush appointed General David Petraeus to implement a new counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq, but this failed as well. There was nothing we could do in the Middle East to shake the correct perception that we were an occupying army imposing a foreign culture on a proud people.
The people of Afghanistan have always been a loose confederation of tribes who would rather not have to work together with each other. Our attempt to impose democratic rule in this environment was doomed to failure, especially since our idea of democracy involved propping up globalist bureaucrats and corrupt warlords. The first president of our puppet government was Hamid Karzai, a warlord who was educated in India and had raised funds for the Mujahideen in Pakistan. His successor, Ashraf Ghani, was a globalist bureaucrat that had lectured in American universities before returning to Afghanistan to take up the mantle of leadership. The Roman Empire used to take the sons of conquered barbarian chieftains and raise them in Rome, immersing them in Roman culture, then returning them home to serve as puppet leaders. The American globalist empire does the same thing. While men like Karzai and Ghani looked good on paper to the American bureaucrats running the show, they never achieved much popular support in their own countries.
The various warlords we propped up in an effort to achieve democratic legitimacy were even worse. Many were corrupt, skimming millions of dollars intended to aid the Afghan people and build infrastructure. Many pundits have suggested that the supposed “three hundred thousand” troops in the Afghan National Army that Joe Biden bragged about earlier this summer never really existed anywhere but on paper, just cover for millions of dollars laundered through the Afghan government.
Pederasty was widespread, and the American government covered up the systematic rape of boys by Afghan army officers and police chiefs for fear that the truth would erode trust in the puppet government. If you were a regular Afghan citizen, how would the American occupation look to you if you knew the truth about the corruption and mass rape that was going on with our tacit approval? What would you do if the Taliban came in and promised to put an end to such things and expel the foreign occupiers? Is it any wonder that many cities and army units simply surrendered to the Taliban during their August offensive rather than fight to protect an illegitimate and degenerate regime?
One of the issues with the way we went about our occupation was that we lacked objective knowledge about the local political situation. Once tribal warlords learned that we were tracking down members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, it became a game of settling old scores. Without knowing any better, American forces likely ended up arresting or killing people who had nothing to do with terrorism. The people who rose highest in our puppet government were the warlords who knew best how to manipulate their American allies.
In Fool’s Errand, Scott Horton says:
“The US has intervened all over, picking winners and losers based on bad or scarce information, making political compromises with terrible criminals, and sowing the seeds of future distortions of power.”
Scott Horton, Fool’s Errand
Later in the book, Horton explains how locals would manipulate our troops by accusing their enemies of being Taliban. He says
“By always choosing to see each conflict as a fight between good guys and bad guys, the US creates self-defeating policies and makes new enemies they have to deal with later.”
Scott Horton, Fool’s Errand
The Taliban has learned their own lessons from the past. Military strategist and author William S. Lind describes a concept called Fourth Generation Warfare, which moves beyond the old idea of armies facing each other in the field. The Fabian Strategy can be seen as a form of Fourth Generation War, especially when it is a non-uniformed irregular force that can blend in with civilians when not fighting the superior army. This is exactly what the Viet Cong did in the 1960s, and what the Taliban insurgency has done for the past twenty years. Another component of Fourth Generation War is the moral high ground. In 2001, the United States easily held the moral position, as we were seeking justice for the horrific atrocity of 9/11. The longer we stayed, however, the more we lost that high ground. Today we are seen as an occupying force, allowing and even abetting corruption and perversity among our allies. The Taliban, on the other hand, has been able to claim the moral high ground, at least in their own country, by promising to oust the occupiers, get revenge on corrupt collaborators, and restore order and security to a war-torn nation. It is interesting to watch these past few weeks as the Taliban has stopped short of the mass bloodshed that western journalists have predicted. It is as if the Taliban has realized the moral factor of Fourth Generation Warfare and are, at least publicly, at least for now, attempting to hold that position.
A final reason that the Taliban was able to defeat us in Afghanistan is a problem that affects every area of American life today. Globalists believe that the values they espouse are universal, common to all mankind, rather than restricted to any specific culture or people. In his 2004 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush said:
“We also hear doubts that democracy is a realistic goal for the greater Middle East, where freedom is rare. Yet it is mistaken, and condescending, to assume that whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and self-government. I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again.”
President George W. Bush, January 20, 2004
But what if our definition of freedom is not what other cultures prefer? We envision freedom as growing up without government oppression, of having an opportunity to work for a living, support a family, and own a nice house with a white picket fence. We believe that freedom means we can choose how we worship, or if we believe at all. We believe a proper society is one based on democracy, and the idea of one man / one vote. Is that what Afghans want? Is that what Iraqis want? Is that what Somalis, Vietnamese, and Russians desire? The purpose of nations and borders is to allow people groups to create governments and societies that fit their needs. This is the essence of nationalism, and the basis for the Westphalian system. The values of Western European Christians were so successful at creating the most prosperous society in history that we forgot where these values came from and assumed that they were simply common to mankind. Why would an Afghan not want the same white picket fence that symbolized the American dream? Besides, abstract ideas such as democracy and liberty are meaningless without concrete things such as security, food, and medicine. In our zeal to export democracy to Afghanistan, we allowed corrupt warlords to interfere with those concrete needs.
The Taliban won because they believed in something, while we have become so tolerant, so inclusive that we no longer believe in anything at all. In an article for Tablet Magazine, Lee Smith wrote last week about a concept drawn from the medieval historian Ibn Khaldun called assabiya, or group solidarity. Smith writes:
“Its awareness of itself as a coherent people with a drive for primacy is frequently augmented by religious ideology. The stronger the tribe’s assabiya, the stronger the group.”
Lee Smith, August 18, 2021
Smith explains how assabiya is often stronger in more primitive peoples, but as civilizations develop, they lose that social cohesion. An advanced civilization like the United States has less internal loyalty than a primitive tribe like the Taliban. We have superior military technology, but they have something we lack: a reason to fight.
People fighting for a cause will often defeat mercenaries who are only fighting for a paycheck.
My friend Dan McKnight is a Marine Corps veteran and the founder of the antiwar group BringOurTroopsHome.US. As the Taliban advanced on Kabul, McKnight lamented the waste of blood and treasure in the Afghan quagmire:
“Eighty-nine billion [dollars] in equipment and training for the Afghan military was paid by you and me. 20 years and nearly 4000 lives. For what? For the Afghan civil war to continue… a war they’ve been fighting for 40+ years. They simply pushed the pause button on their civil war for 20 years while we occupied their country under an unconstitutional Authorization Of Use Of Military Force.”
Dan McKnight, August 13, 2021
What hubris we had! Everyone from President Bush to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol thought they could accomplish what the Soviet Union and the British Empire could not. They all thought that the lessons of history did not apply to the invincible United States of America. A common refrain back then was that the response to 9/11 must be overwhelming, lest the world think that the United States was weak, and take advantage of that weakness to erode our supremacy. Ironically, our failure to pacify Afghanistan over the course of twenty years has left us weaker than ever.
In the 2010 film Iron Man II, the villain played by Mickey Rourke says to Robert Downey Jr.’s title character:
“If you could make God bleed, then people will cease to believe in Him. And there will be blood in the water, and the sharks will come.”
The sharks are beginning to circle. Just hours after the Taliban took control of Kabul, Chinese state media published an article warning that the US will not be able to protect Taiwan when (not if) the CCP decides to fully annex the island:
“Once a cross-Straits war breaks out while the mainland seizes the island with forces, the US would have to have a much greater determination than it had for Afghanistan, Syria, and Vietnam if it wants to interfere.”
Global Times, August 16, 2021
The United States has tacitly guaranteed the safety of Taiwan, the last remnants of the old Republic of China, in case of invasion by the Communists. But if I were Taiwan right now, I would not count on American support.
Consider that the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union for global supremacy lasted forty-five years. The era of the US being the sole superpower has been ongoing for thirty years now, and twenty of those thirty years have been spent in Afghanistan. What a waste of an opportunity that few nations in history have been fated to receive!
With the humiliation of the US military, intelligence agencies, and diplomatic corps in Afghanistan this year, look for them to take out their frustration on us. The massive national security apparatus put in place after 9/11 that was used to hunt down Al Qaeda and other Islamic terror groups is coming home. Over the last few years, the deep state bureaucracy has been working to portray conservatives as the new threat. Military and intelligence leadership have been claiming that supposed “white supremacists” are the greatest threat to peace and safety in America, and after the January 6th protests at the Capitol, anyone who voted for President Trump is seen as a potential insurrectionist. Resistance to mask and vaccine mandates is also being portrayed as domestic terrorism. The few outspoken activists who criticized the creation of this national security apparatus in the early 2000s have been proven correct. The deep state military / industrial complex must keep churning, and it does not care if its targets are Afghans, Iraqis, or American conservatives.
To resist the tyranny that we all know is coming requires a change in perspective.
First, conservatives must let go of the reflexive and unconditional support that we have always given the military. Today’s armed forces are not the red-blooded American men charging into battle to defend our freedoms that they once were. Rather, today’s military embodies the worst aspects of woke ideology – the anti-white racism of Marxist Critical Race Theory, full acceptance of homosexual and transgender propaganda, and a firm belief that the purpose of the armed forces is to bring about social change rather than win wars. The armed forces of the United States are today more likely to be used against us than to defend our freedoms.
Our military leadership is full of over-decorated men and women who have not achieved valor in the field but instead have risen through woke schools and think tanks, and who mouth the correct platitudes. A meme went around social media last week showing Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in World War II and later President of the United States, compared with Mark Milley, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The overweight Milley has more medals on his chest than Ike, despite never having won a war, or conquered anything larger than a buffet table. Milley demonstrated why he has risen to his current post earlier this year when he testified to Congress that his priority was understanding the so-called “white rage” that drives conservative Americans and Trump supporters.
Our military no longer deserves the unreserved devotion of the American people. Patriotic Americans should stop looking to the military as a viable choice for a career or training. Stop sending your sons (and your daughters) to this arm of the deep state. I would like to see conservative veterans forming unofficial militias throughout the land, giving young men the benefit of training that will serve them well in the future without woke indoctrination and the risk of being deployed to maintain the globalist American empire.
Second, we should take a lesson from the Taliban. Obviously, those men hold values and beliefs that are antithetical to our American Christian heritage, but their tactics deserve serious consideration. In 2002, the Taliban had been annihilated, and its few remaining leaders were hiding in caves or in exile abroad. By 2021, they had taken over every major city in Afghanistan. Rather than pretending they were “winning” all along, or trying to vote in a rigged system, the Taliban adopted the mindset of dissidents and insurgents in their own country. They did not grab their guns and assault Kabul on day one, but instead spent time, energy, and money building organizations and relationships throughout the country. They demonstrated to citizens and tribesmen that they would do a better job of ensuring their safety and security than the American-backed government. When the time came for their final offensive, most of the groundwork had already been laid: many cities and armies simply surrendered, and some even joined the Taliban on their march to the capital.
What does that mean for an American resistance against Marxist tyranny? It means we cannot assume that once a civil war begins that we will automatically win. It means we must build our own dissident organizations and start forming alliances of red communities and states. It means we, our families, and our friends must become antifragile, because the heavy hand of the federal government is coming for us. We must do the hard boring work of building a shadow society that will be ready to run a new nation someday, rather than waiting for a Caesar to call us to battle in the streets.
Third, we must understand who our tribe is. Recall Ibn Khaldun’s concept of assabiya, or group solidarity. In places like Afghanistan, a person’s first loyalty is to his family and then his tribe, not to such an abstract concept as a country. For many years, the United States was a triumph over tribalism, as immigrants from England, Scotland, Germany, Russia, Poland, and Italy left their tribal loyalties behind and gave their allegiance to the nation that was America. We thought we could impose the same civic nationalism on a nation like Afghanistan, which has proud tribes with cultural memory going back thousands of years.
For many years, conservatives have repeated the slogan “my country, right or wrong.” We must think smaller. Tribalism is returning to the world. The demographics of our country are rapidly shifting from being dominated by the descendants of European Christians, to a mélange of tribes and nations from across the globe. Ironically, the importation of refugees from the many countries we have intervened in over the past twenty years since 9/11 has helped accelerate the demographic decline of our own nation. The shared culture, heritage, beliefs, and values that once united us are now sources of division, strife, and even hatred. The coalition of angry tribes that forms today’s Democratic Party wants to keep us divided so that we will not pose a threat to their rule. They want to keep us focused on abstractions like the flag, a sports team, or party labels. They know that if the historic American nation were to unite as one, nothing could stop us. The Taliban, for all their obvious faults, believed in themselves. We must do the same. No more apologizing for our ancestors or proclaiming ourselves above petty partisanship. We must rediscover the same nationalist zeal, the same reason for being that our founding fathers were so confident in.
Finally, we must look forward, not backward. America as we know it is done. There is no returning to the 1990s, the 1950s, or any other time when things were better than they are now. While we can look to the past for inspiration in building our future, we must remain focused on what is to come. We cannot undo the results of the 2020 election, and even if we could, not even Donald Trump was able to stem the tide of degeneracy that is washing over our nation, nor the creeping totalitarianism being pushed by the deep state bureaucracy. Reclaiming the culture is a tough road; why not build our own culture outside the rotting corpse of americana? Reforming the public school system is nigh impossible; better to build a new system based on homeschooling, private schooling, and online learning, with an emphasis on tradition, the classics, and the Great Books. The same goes for churches, corporations, and our very government. Did the Taliban attempt to reform the corrupt Karzai and Ghani government? No, they created a more attractive alternative.
The same Toby Keith who sang such a defiant ballad calling for revenge on America’s enemies in 2001 sings a different tune now. This summer, he released song for Independence Day that includes the line:
“Seems like everybody’s pissin’ on the red, white and blue; Happy birthday America, whatever’s left of you.”
The United States as we know it does not have much left in the tank. Our own domestic enemies are attempting to use this time of decline to establish a tyrannical state that would be the envy of totalitarian dictators throughout history. We must seize the opportunity to build a new nation once again dedicated to freedom and liberty.
In his piece for Tablet Magazine, Lee Smith writes:
“It’s frightening to see American leadership pulling America apart at the seams. And it’s shocking to see our constitutional order ripped to shreds as the establishment undercuts property rights, imposes capricious public health regulations, mandates experimental medical treatments, and holds political prisoners. But the lesson of Ibn Khaldun is that these destructive policies are simply indications that a cycle that has been repeated through the ages is once again in motion. To watch history erupt in our own timeline is indeed terrifying, but it is part of the natural order of human societies.”
Lee Smith, August 18, 2021
Empires rise, and empires fall. That is the great lesson of history. No nation is exempt from these ironclad laws. Is it just coincidence that several great empires spent their final years in the mountains of the Hindu Kush? The British Empire dissolved thirty years after their withdrawal following the Third Anglo-Afghan War. The Soviet Union collapsed a mere two years after they withdrew from Afghanistan. How long does America have before we face the same fate?
This episode has been a long time coming. I have had a draft waiting for more than two years, but the events in Kabul this month convinced me that now was the time to talk about America’s forever wars.
Our loss in Afghanistan in the summer of 2021 marks the end of the longest military engagement in American history. What did we gain in the mountains of the Hindu Kush? Why did we think we could succeed where Britain and Russia both failed spectacularly? Why do our leaders insist on indefinite military deployments throughout the entire world?
In the podcast I mention a British “tactical defeat” in the Third Anglo-Afghan War. This is in error; the British won the war. However, they nevertheless withdrew from Afghanistan afterward. The humiliating and surprising defeat came in the First Anglo-Afghan War in 1842.
I mention that the monarchy falls to a Communist coup in 1978. This is also in error. A military coup overthrew the monarchy in 1973, which was itself overthrown in 1978.
The famous picture of a helicopter evacuating people from a roof in Saigon was from a CIA safe house in the city, not the US embassy.
H.R. McMaster was President Trump’s National Security Advisor, not Secretary of Homeland Security.
Finally, the most unforgivable error is that Dan McKnight of bringourtroopshome.us is a Marine Corps veteran, not Army.
In this Saturday morning livestream I talk about the impending fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, and what that means for America going forward. I discuss the history of United States in war, especially in Vietnam, and I look at what our withdrawal portends for us and for the world.
Watch here, listen here, or subscribe in your favorite podcast player.
I recently wrote about Christopher Caldwell’s thesis that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 introduced a parallel and superior unwritten constitution that has been used to erode the rights of white Americans in the name of enforcing equity of outcome between racial groups. As Caldwell says, it was not designed to disenfranchise white men per se, merely that it added extra rights to everyone else, which has the same effect.
Steve Sailer wondered about that, and so he asked Google if whites have civil rights. The search engine indicated that this was a novel question that nobody had ever asked before. Just like the word “diversity,” the phrase “civil rights” is merely a euphemism to indicate special rights for minorities, so the idea of whites having civil rights is essentially a contradiction in terms.
Sailer has some suggestions for how to remedy this problem, assuming that our judges and Supreme Court still recognize our original Constitution. He is perhaps more optimistic than I am, but the essay is worth reading in full. The greatness of our Constitution is in its protections for individual liberties, but the fatal flaw is that few in our government care anymore.
Many conservatives who believe that the 2020 election will be inevitably overturned and Trump returned to office explicitly or implicitly refer to this post. You might hear them saying “fraud vitiates everything” as if it were a magical incantation. I was curious about the foundation of this argument, so I examined the case in question.
In 1878, Justice Samuel Miller wrote the majority opinion in the case of United States v. Throckmorton. Apparently a certain man, W. A. Richardson, had petitioned for a land deed in California, and in doing so had presented documentation from a Mexican bureaucrat who had administered California prior to the Mexican-American War. It was later discovered that these documents were not authentic, rather they had been created after Mr. Richardson had applied for the US title.
In his opinion, Justice Miller refers to several other cases where fraud was alleged after a judgment. He is very careful to not overstep the doctrine of rex adjudicata which says that a judgment once made should not be re-litigated. This is the civil version of the double jeopardy rule in criminal cases – once a defendant is exonerated, the government cannot charge him again for the same crime. The purpose of rex adjudicata is to prevent people from wasting the court’s time by suing and counter-suing the same issue over and over again.
Justice Miller cites a “Mr. Wells” who wrote on the subject of rex adjudicata. In the citation he quotes this Mr. Wells writing:
“Fraud vitiates every thing, and a judgment equally with a contract; that is, a judgment obtained directly by fraud, and not merely a judgment founded on a fraudulent instrument; for, in general, the court will not go again into the merits of an action for the purpose of detecting and annulling the fraud.’ . . . ‘Likewise, there are few exceptions to the rule that equity will not go behind the judgment to interpose in the cause itself, but only when there was some hindrance besides the negligence of the defendant, in presenting the defence in the legal action. There is an old case in South Carolina to the effect that fraud in obtaining a bill of sale would justify equitable interference as to the judgment obtained thereon. But I judge it stands almost or quite alone, and has no weight as a precedent.”
United States v. Throckmorton, Paragraph 16
Let us take a moment to define our terms. According to Merriam-Webster, the word “vitiate” means to make faulty or defective, to debase in a moral or aesthetic sense, or to make ineffective. The legal usage of the words seems to be the third definition, to make ineffective. Therefore according to Wells, fraud (once proven, of course) in a contract or a judgment renders the whole thing moot. However, in that same citation, Wells says that only a specific kind of fraud will invalidate a contract or judgment – if the judgment was simply “founded on a fraudulent instrument” then the courts would not reopen the case.
Later in his judgment, Justice Miller refers to a Massachusetts court decision regarding a divorce case that involved fraudulent testimony. He quotes Massachusetts Chief Justice Shaw who wrote:
The maxim that fraud vitiates every proceeding must be taken, like other general maxims, to apply to cases where proof of fraud is admissible. But where the same matter has been actually tried, or so in issue that it might have been tried, it is not again admissible; the party is estopped to set up such fraud, because the judgment is the highest evidence, and cannot be contradicted.”
United States v. Throckmorton, Paragraph 22
Do you see yet what is going on here? The blogger at State of the Nation quoted Throckmorton and claimed that the SCOTUS “categorically” asserted that “fraud vitiates every thing.” However, the case itself shows these words to be quotations by Justice Miller of previous cases whose outcomes were contrary to what the State of the Nation author is suggesting. Both the Wells and Shaw citations are essentially saying “fraud vitiates everything, but…”
Indeed, the Shaw citation works against the claim that United States v. Throckmorton means that Trump will be reinstated. In that case, Chief Justice Shaw specifically wrote that the fraud in question was not admissible because the decision had already been made. He did not allow the divorce case to be re-litigated. Throckmorton itself was dismissed by Justice Miller for lack of jurisdiction. What does that mean for Donald Trump in 2020?
First, in Throckmorton Justice Miller is only dealing with contracts and judgments. The case had zero to do with elections. This is a basic category error made by the bloggers at State of the Nation, and perpetuated by people sharing the screenshot or repeating the phrase. (I suspect that most people do not bother going back to the source.) The blogger at State of the Nation attempts to fit a square peg into a round hole:
“The same U.S. Supreme Court ruling also determined that fraud vitiates contracts. An election is essentially a binding contract between the electorate and the elected. This indispensable social contract is irreparably broken through voter fraud and election cyber-crimes as the public trust is profoundly violated.”
Ironically, just two years prior to Throckmorton there was an actual disputed presidential election. Democrat Samuel Tilden of New York apparently defeated Republican Rutherford Hayes of Ohio, but three southern states remained up in the air months after the election. Allegations of fraud were made on both sides. In the end, a congressional committee came to a compromise wherein Hayes would receive the disputed electoral votes, but he would then as president withdraw federal troops from the South and end the era of Reconstruction. This election provided the template for a suggested commission that might have been created had the 2020 election not been so successfully stolen.
While not going as far as these conservative activists want, Throckmorton seems to allow for re-litigation in some cases, while not setting any hard precedents. However, electoral law is its own beast. The office of President of the United States is established in Article II of the US Constitution, and the method for electing the president is laid out in Section 1:
“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”
US Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 2
Election Day is also established by the Constitution:
“The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”
US Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 4
This is one place where the unilateral changes made to election law by governors and state bureaucrats should be reasonably challenged. The Constitution says that the Electors shall be chosen on “a day” not “multiple days”. Early voting is clearly unconstitutional.
The method for electing the president is that each state chooses Electors, who then convene in December to cast their votes. Those votes are counted and certified by a Joint Session of the new Congress the following January. The winning candidate is then sworn in on January 20th. There is nothing in the US Constitution that compels states to choose their Electors in any specific fashion. In the early days of the Republic, state legislatures simply selected Electors. Today, all fifty states and the District of Columbia choose their electors with popular elections. (Remember, when you vote for president, you are not really voting for the president directly, but for the Electors who will cast their votes on your behalf.) Two states – Maine and Nebraska – split their electors somewhat proportionally, while the others are winner-take-all.
Unfortunately for those who are hanging on to hope of Donald Trump being reinstated after audits prove electoral fraud, there is no constitutional mechanism for this. No matter what fraud or illegal activities took place in the lead-up to the 2020 election, constitutional mandates were followed. Every state certified their own presidential elections, and the Joint Session certified the Electoral College votes. I am not aware of a time when Electors have been “recalled” after the fact. Even if a state such as Arizona voted to recall their Electors, I do not believe it would have any practical effect.
The time for investigating and dealing with the fraud was in November and December of 2020, before certification took place in the state legislatures and the Joint Session of Congress. Yes, those legislators, congressmen, and senators who certified those votes knowing that fraud had taken place were spineless. The January 6th protest was used as an excuse to ignore the fraud entirely. The Republican Party should have fought harder, but they rubber stamped this thing because they were afraid of what would happen if they took a controversial stand.
As for the audits themselves, even the “general doctrine” that “fraud vitiates everything” requires proof of that fraud. I am afraid that we will never get the proof we want. Too much time has passed, and the ballots and voting machines have been touched by too many hands. As they say on TV, the crime scene has been hopelessly contaminated. We will likely see a lot of evidence of fraud, but outright proof? I doubt it. Besides, there is nothing will convince CNN and the left that this was anything less than the most secure election in history. We are beyond the point where truth and facts matter.
President Trump will not be reinstated next month, or at any other time before Inauguration Day 2025. Anyone saying so is either misinformed or selling hopium to desperate conservatives. We should definitely push for more secure elections, but I believe the most positive outcome of the audits is to convince rank-and-file conservatives how broken the system really is. Our elections have been fraudulent for many years, as both sides utilize underhanded tricks to get their guy across the finish line. Recall that the 1960 presidential election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon was decided by a few probably-fraudulent votes in a handful of corrupt counties in Texas and Illinois. The votes we cast have little relation to the numbers that appear on the screen at the end of the day, and these audits are only going to confirm that sad fact.
America will not be saved by putting Donald Trump back into office. Magic words and incantations do not change the fact that we are living in an occupied country. We must fearlessly face the truth at all times. The way forward is to build local communities of like-minded people who will weather the storm to come. Whether it is totalitarianism, secession, or civil war, having a tribe of men at your back is the only way to preserve and defend the remnants of Western Civilization.
As protests erupt this month in Cuba, many Americans are wondering how we should respond. Should we intervene, oust the Communists, and restore democratic rule? Or should we leave them alone? How should the America First movement deal with Communist Cuba?
In this Thursday afternoon livestream I talk about my latest podcast and essay, why I do not focus on the minute details of politics, Malcolm X and nationalism, Christopher Caldwell’s essay on the Pilgrim Fathers, the tragedy of the American Indians, and all the chaos that is going on in the world today.
Watch here, listen here, or subscribe in your favorite podcast player.
Our founding fathers recognized their moment in history. After nearly two centuries of growth and development as English colonies, the settlers of the New World had developed into their own unique nations. After throwing off their allegiance to the British crown, they had a unique opportunity to create a new government from scratch. These men – John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and more – understood the gravity of the choices they would make. They carefully crafted a constitution that balanced the necessity of a strong central government with the desires of the states for sovereignty. The Bill of Rights codified protections against many of the infringements and injuries that governments had engaged in for all of human history.
For more than two centuries the Constitution has been the supreme law of this land, and it remains a source of pride for patriotic Americans. It was fit, as John Adams said, for the “moral and religious people” that our ancestors were.
The purpose of this Constitution, beyond simply the creation of a government, was to ensure that the liberties our Founding Fathers had fought and died for would endure. The Preamble to the Constitution explains it clearly:
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The Constitution of the United States of America
Has the Constitution held up as a guarantor of our freedoms? Has it protected the liberties of the posterity of our Founding Fathers? Governments, courts, and even private companies have been slowly chipping away at the freedoms we once took for granted. America today is a multi-ethnic empire, home to many different groups of people, many of whom have no loyalty to our founders or their ideals.
Despite our Constitution, despite our laws, the historic American nation is losing its country.
The decline of the United States of America has been a slow process. At times it is so gradual that we do not realize it is happening at all. We become comfortable with the status quo, and we only notice the most recent outrage. Most Americans still believe in the Constitution. Conservatives trust it to protect us from the worst progressive indulgences. Even Marxist progressives pay lip service to the Constitution despite seeking to undermine it in service of their evil vision. However, I do not believe that the Constitution is the true supreme law of the land.
Author and journalist Christopher Caldwell argues persuasively in his book Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties that the civil cights acts of the 1960s inadvertently created a new constitution that is at odds with, and even supersedes our original Constitution. These laws gave the government a mandate to fix inequities in society, even if at the cost of our constitutional rights. Caldwell writes:
“The changes of the 1960s, with civil rights at their core, were not just a major new element in the Constitution. They were a rival constitution, with which the original one was frequently incompatible—and the incompatibility would worsen as the civil rights regime was built out.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
The reason that Caldwell calls civil rights a “rival constitution” is because any time there is a conflict between our constitutional rights and racial equity, courts rule in favor of equity. Whereas equality means that all people are treated the same before the law, equity means that all people must achieve the same outcome. This is, of course, nonsense. While we are indeed all equal before God and the laws of men, we are not equal in all ways. There are physical, mental, and emotional differences between all people. Furthermore, racial groups – being extended families writ large, as Steve Sailer puts it – have certain characteristic strengths and weaknesses as well. Yet the dogma of equity assumes that any difference of outcome between the races is prima facie evidence of racism and discrimination.
The word “racism” once meant prejudice against individuals based upon their ethnic background or skin color. It meant using the force of law to discriminate based on race. Today that definition has been expanded to mean any disparity between racial groups, or even so-called “microaggressions”. The charge of “racism” today does not even require ill intent. Critical Race Theory teaches that racism is systemic; that is, it is integrated into the very structure of Western Civilization and is all around us like water is to fish. There is no rational defense against this charge of racism, so there is no point in trying to argue.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 set in motion a chain of events that dramatically altered our country. Whereas the New Deal established that the government had a duty to take care of its citizens’ basic needs, Civil Rights gave the government a mandate to create equity between racial groups by any means necessary.
Conservative parents are making headway this year in the fight against the Marxist ideology of Critical Race Theory in public schools. Christopher Rufo has done great work exposing how schools and teachers’ unions are using this evil, racist, anti-white, anti-American ideology to indoctrinate millions of students. A common refrain from conservative activists is that CRT betrays the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. and the original Civil Rights Act. Caldwell argues, however, that CRT is merely the logical result of Civil Rights, and that the well was poisoned from the start.
I understand that for many conservatives, especially those who were around in the 1960s, criticizing civil rights is like criticizing America – it is beyond the pale. Only racists would have a problem with civil rights, no? Yet look at what civil rights have wrought – anger, strife, and more racial division than ever before. Polls consistently show that black Americans are more pessimistic about civil rights today than they were fifty years ago. Conservatives will try to square this circle by portraying affirmative action, CRT, and the so-called “racial awakening” of recent years as a betrayal of civil rights, but I believe this is just avoiding an unpleasant truth.
The iconoclast webcomic Stonetoss recently published a picture of a workman diligently breaking a small edifice labeled Critical Race Theory while ignoring the giant structure behind him labeled affirmative action. The implication is spot on, but the artist could have gone even further, showing a massive city-sized monument labeled civil rights.
“Republicans and others who may have been uneasy that the constitutional baby had been thrown out with the segregationist bathwater consoled themselves with a myth: The “good” civil rights movement that the martyred Martin Luther King, Jr., had pursued in the 1960s had, they said, been “hijacked” in the 1970s by a “radical” one of affirmative action, with its quotas and diktats. Once the country came to its senses and rejected this optional, radical regime, it could have the good civil rights regime back. None of that was true. Affirmative action and political correctness were the twin pillars of the second constitution. They were what civil rights was. They were not temporary.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
Mr. Caldwell’s book is worth reading in its entirety, but I will summarize some of his arguments here. Before I read the book myself, I had not considered the way in which civil rights superseded our Constitution. It was an epiphany that explains so much of what is going on in our country.
In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. This decision overrode a previous Supreme Court decision, Plessy v. Ferguson of 1896, in which the Court had ruled that segregation was not necessarily a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment so long as facilities were generally the same.
While we can generously assume that the Supreme Court had good intentions with Brown – segregated facilities for black students were often subpar – they opened a can of worms that is still vexing us today. The Court’s decision did not contain any suggestion as to how to rectify segregation, only that it must be fixed. Once the order for desegregation was applied to private facilities as well as public, there would be no limits on the power of government to fix any inequity, no matter how small. Caldwell writes:
“But in constitutional terms, the decision was arbitrary and open-ended. Brown granted the government the authority to put certain public bodies under surveillance for racism. Since the damage it aimed to mend consisted of “intangible considerations,” there was no obvious limit to this surveillance. And once the Civil Rights Act introduced into the private sector this assumption that all separation was prima facie evidence of inequality, desegregation implied a revocation of the old freedom of association altogether.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
As Caldwell explains it, the Civil Rights Act was designed to rectify certain injustices in a specific part of the country, but it instead opened the floodgates to various interest groups and communities who saw a way to bypass the Constitution. At first it was all about achieving racial equity between blacks and whites, then feminist groups began using the same process, then homosexuals, and now every group except white males has found in the language of civil rights a requirement for government action. The result is that the entire mechanism of government has been turned against white men, the very descendants of the people who created this country in the first place.
There are many who claim that it is racist to say that white men built America. After all, we are a “nation of immigrants,” right? I maintain that it is not racist to honor one’s own heritage. Nobody should be ashamed of their people, whether they are descended from Europeans, Africans, Asians, or Native Americans. Everyone should be proud of who they are. The people who are derided today as “white” are descended from England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Russia, Poland, Norway, Bohemia, and a hundred more places. The people who founded the United States of America were of mostly English descent, who happen to have light-colored skin. While that is controversial today, it remains the truth.
Recall that even before the American War for Independence, the North and South developed very differently. The nascent Industrial Revolution took hold in the diverse North, while the South quickly grew prosperous due to a handful of cash crops, especially cotton. Spanish colonists in the 16th century had intended to use Native American Indians as forced labor, but humanitarian efforts by priests such as Bartholomew de las Casas convinced them to spare the natives this indignity. Unfortunately, plantation owners, still in need of labor, turned east, to Africa.
Slavery has been a part of the human condition since the dawn of time. When Roman legions conquered barbarian tribes, those they did not slaughter were brought back to Rome and sold in massive slave markets. African tribes would enslave their neighbors, and the Islamic empires of northern Africa enslaved native Africans. Slave traders looking to supply the New World with forced labor did not go to Africa because they hated dark-skinned people, rather it was because that was where slaves were for sale. The sadistic white slave hunters of Alex Haley’s Roots, who captured entire tribes of black men and boys, surely existed, but usually traders simply bought slaves at the existing markets.
Slave labor has always been a short-term solution to a long-term problem. While it certainly makes rich plantation owners richer, since they have no need to pay competitive wages, it depresses the prospects for poor whites in the same area. The antebellum south had no middle class to speak of. This is the same problem that broke the economy of the Roman Empire, and it is the same problem we see today as corporations prefer to import a servant class of migrant workers from south of the border rather than pay competitive wages to Americans.
With slavery becoming the backbone of the southern economy, but never taking hold in the industrial north, battle lines were naturally drawn according to geography. The Mason-Dixon Line became a metaphor for the social and political division between the North and the South. The American Revolution was an alliance between the industrial, Puritan, abolitionist north and the agrarian, rural, slave-owning south. The division between these peoples had existed prior to the migration to the New World. The ancestors of the northern Puritans had been on one side of the English Civil War in the mid-17th century, while the ancestors of the southern Anglicans had been on the other.
This alliance between North and South created a unique American nation, separate from the mother country of Great Britain, and the breakdown of that alliance resulted in the Civil War. The core of America, what we call the historic American nation, is descended from one side or the other, or both. My own ancestry is from both – I have ancestors on one side who fought to preserve the Union, ancestors on the other who fought for Southern independence, and many on both sides fought for America in 1776.
The issue of slavery was always contentious. Despite what children are being taught in public schools today, even southern slaveowners like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were troubled by the institution. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson writes:
“…in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labor. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.”
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia
Modern historians and students have struggled to make sense of the inherent contradiction of a slaveowner declaring that slavery was evil. Most just wave it away by saying that Jefferson was a hypocrite, and that he should be unequivocally condemned in hindsight. But let us look at it rationally: Slavery existed, and one man was never going to end it singlehandedly. Thomas Jefferson owned a plantation, a plantation that needed labor to survive. Should he have freed all his slaves and hired workmen to replace them? Slavery was so embedded in southern culture that few white men would have been willing to do “Negro work”, and the costs would have put the plantation at a significant disadvantage. The same would have been the case if he had paid his slaves a living wage. In this situation, is not the most humanitarian course to treat your own slaves as well as possible, while laying the foundation for future abolition?
In any case, Jefferson so hated the institution of slavery that his original draft of the Declaration of Independence blamed King George III for its import into America. It was removed before the final version, so as not to antagonize the southern colonies. Yet the specter of slavery haunted the new nation. The slave trade itself was abolished in 1807, by which time about four million Africans were laboring in the American south. The question of what to do with this situation was one of the primary concerns of politicians and statesmen in the first half of the 19th century. Should slavery remain legal? Should new territories and states in the west be allowed to have slaves? What about slaves who escaped into the abolitionist North?
Finding compromises between the North and South was the chief aim of the early statesmen of the Republic. Men such as Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Stephen Douglas made their names in the debates over slavery. Despite numerous political compromises over the expansion of slavery into the territories and the status of fugitive slaves, the two sides only grew more polarized. Abolitionists, convinced of their own moral superiority, refused any compromise over what they considered a black and white issue, while the hardcore southern fire eaters drew a staunch line regarding their “peculiar institution” and refused to budge as well.
Great Britain had also abolished the slave trade in 1807 and had even tasked the Royal Navy with patrolling the west African coast to enforce that ban. In 1833 they abolished slavery entirely, mostly due to the efforts of Englishmen such as John Newton and William Wilberforce. There are several reasons why abolition was simpler in Britain than in the United States. For one, the British economy was not as dependent upon slave labor as the American South. Also, Britain paid slaveowners for their confiscated property. Whether slaves should be morally considered “property” is beside the point – for them it was a capital investment that was wiped out with the stroke of a pen. American abolitionists refused to countenance such a compromise, however, since they considered slavery a moral question, not an economic one. The fact that abolition would surely financially ruin the South was of no concern to the northern abolitionists.
It is ironic, considering how obsessed with race we are today, that American discourse in the first half of the 19th century was obsessed with the question of slavery. It was race that made American slavery so pernicious. As I have said, slavery has been a part of the human condition forever, but in America we associated forced labor with a certain race of people. The debate in America was not simply about the morality of slavery itself, but the standing of the African people. Were they human beings, entitled to the same rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution to white people? The peculiar institution of slavery brought an entire population to our shores, creating a permanent underclass in American society – of course there was going to be conflict. To a certain degree, I do not take issue with the idea of black solidarity today. I believe that the descendants of slaves here in America have a stake in this country. As Malcolm X said, “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.” The question is, can we have unity today? Is it possible for the descendants of slaves to share this nation with the descendants of the Founding Fathers?
Tribalism is the history of the world. Human beings have always felt a closer bond with kin than with strangers, and so we naturally form families, clans, tribes, and nations. The word “nation” comes from the Latin word natio which means “birth”. At its most basic level, a nation is really an extended family of people who are bound together by blood, by shared history, by shared beliefs, and by similar desires about how to organize society. This world is full of nations, and each one is unique, which is why it makes sense for each nation to have its own state. We call the belief that each nation should be allowed to rule itself “nationalism”.
The original form of nationalism from the 19th century was a belief that people of the same ethnicity, culture, and language should unite to rule themselves. In those days, Germans, French, and Italians were spread throughout various kingdoms and empires, but the nationalist movements of the mid-1800s inspired them to form nation-states, throwing off kings and emperors in a wave of revolution. Today, nationalism is about not wanting to be part of a multi-ethnic empire like the United States.
It is a conceit of both left and right that America is different from other nation-states in that it was based upon an idea, rather than a specific people group. Under this formulation, an immigrant who becomes a naturalized citizen is just as American as a descendant of 17th century pioneers, and it is racist to say otherwise.
We assumed that, in the inexorably march of history, tribalism had been replaced by universalism. The values that developed in Western Civilization had become so successful that we forget how unique they really were. We assumed that every culture, ever nation, every tribe desired the same sorts of lives that we had come to cherish. Yet one only must read the news to see how that is not the case.
Many of the values we consider to be universal are being derided by the woke Marxist left. The Museum of African American History and Culture, a division of the Smithsonian Institution, recently published an infographic describing the supposed ideas and habits that make up so-called “whiteness”. Among these pernicious things are rugged individualism, the nuclear family, an interest in history, a belief in hard work, a commitment to being on time, an appreciation for beauty, and a sense of justice. We make a grave mistake when we believe that our values are shared by every nation and people group on earth.
Practically speaking, it is obvious that America is home to many different nations today. Olympic finalist Gwen Berry made headlines last month when she pouted like a child on the podium while the national anthem was playing. She complained that she felt slighted, because our national anthem was racist toward “her people”. When an activist like Berry speaks of “her people,” she does not mean all American citizens, rather, she means black Americans. To the ears of white conservatives, with their universalist viewpoint, this sounds strange, even offensive. The modern media establishment encourages ethnic pride in every modern group, except for one. The historic American nation is not allowed to take any pride in our heritage lest we be slandered as white supremacists. Even though we are all labeled as “white,” we are supposed to keep pretending in universalism even as every tribe and nation around us are not ashamed to work for their own interests.
White America and black America are parallel nations within the same state. No matter how much we flagellate ourselves for the sins of slavery and racism, no matter how much we preach universal values, it does not change the facts. We are different peoples, with different beliefs, different cultures, and different ways of running a society.
Our forefathers did not see a future where black and white America lived together in harmony. In his autobiography, Thomas Jefferson wrote:
“Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.”
Thomas Jefferson, The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson
Well, you might say, that sort of thinking is old-fashioned. We are more enlightened now. After all, many conservatives will say, America is unlike any other country on earth because it was founded upon an idea, not upon any particular race or culture. As long as you believe in the words of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, then you are just as American as anyone. Even if that were true, it requires that we all buy in to those words. What happens if that changes? What is America without the Constitution?
Christopher Caldwell tackles that very question in Age of Entitlement:
“Where a shared heritage is absent or unrecognized, as it is in the contemporary United States, all the eggs of national cohesion are placed in the basket of the constitution. Hence a paradox: With the dawn of the civil rights era, the U.S. Constitution—the very thing that made it possible for an ethnically varied nation to live together—came under stress.”
Christopher Caldwell, The Age of Entitlement
Civil rights were designed to heal the divide in our country and allow men and women of all races to achieve the American dream, but they deepened our divisions instead.
The Civil War brought an end to slavery, and threatened the unique culture of the American South. Radical Republicans such as Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania wanted to crush the defeated Confederacy, remaking it into a multiracial state. President Abraham Lincoln disagreed, wanting rather to bring the rebellious states back into the union as quickly and peacefully as possible. After Lincoln’s assassination, the Radical Republicans tried to bend President Andrew Johnson to their will, even impeaching him, but they were unsuccessful.
Nevertheless, Reconstruction was a time of great change in Dixie. The South had been destroyed by four years of war, and northern carpetbaggers were coming in to buy up land at bargain prices. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery, which was good, but those four million ex-slaves now needed to find work and places to live. General William T. Sherman had famously promised former slaves “forty acres and a mule” to call their own, but this promise was disregarded by the federal government.
The 14th and 15th Amendments gave citizenship and the vote to freed slaves, and President Ulysses Grant used the power of government to enforce these new rights. Many areas in the South elected Republican for the first time ever as grateful African Americans cast votes for their benefactors. The former leaders of the Confederacy chafed under this new arrangement and conspired to regain power. The original Ku Klux Klan was formed at this time and fought both the freedmen and northern carpetbaggers. Many former Confederate soldiers continued fighting a guerrilla war against the north – Jesse James’ outlaw gang was one famous case.
The disputed election of 1876 ended in a compromise wherein Republican candidate Rutherford Hayes carried the South in exchange for ending Reconstruction and withdrawing federal troops. Once done, the new South quickly returned to the status quo. Former Confederate officials regained political office, and they set about crafting laws to maintain their own power. Freed black slaves had been guaranteed citizenship and the right to vote, so the southern leaders came up with workarounds such as the grandfather clause and poll taxes to prevent them from exercising those rights. Segregation was enforced by government fiat, from hotels and restaurants to schools and even train cars. These laws were collectively known as “Jim Crow”.
It was this two-tiered society that Civil Rights was supposed to repair. The rest of America looked at the apartheid system in the South and said it had to go. Southerners resisted – Governor George Wallace of Alabama proclaimed, “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” – but the ball was rolling. Brown v. Board of Education ordered the desegregation of public schools, but enforcing that decision was another matter. In 1957, Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas ordered his National Guard to block admittance of black students at Central High School in Little Rock, but President Dwight Eisenhower responded by federalizing the Guard and allowing the students to enter the school.
According to Christopher Caldwell, there were two perspectives on the fight for civil rights in the 1950s and 60s. These perspectives were classified by sociologist Alan David Freeman as those of outsiders and insiders, or perpetrators and victims. To the white majority – the perpetrators – civil rights meant removing barriers to success for blacks and other minorities. To the black minority – the victims – the promise of civil rights was not equality under the law but equity – they wanted the government to use the full force of its power to make them as rich, prosperous, powerful, and satisfied as everyone else. If the former perspective was correct, then it was done, accomplished with the stroke of a pen. The latter, however, required ever-increasing government involvement in our daily lives, and the abrogation of many of our constitutional rights. Caldwell writes:
“The legislation of the mid-1960s made legal equality a fact of American life. To the surprise of much of the country, though, legal equality was now deemed insufficient by both civil rights leaders and the government. Once its ostensible demands had been met, the civil rights movement did not disband. It grew. It turned into a lobby or political bloc seeking to remedy the problem according to what Freeman would call the victims’ view: “lack of jobs, lack of money, lack of housing.” The federal government made it a central part of its mission to procure those things for blacks. The results were disappointing on almost every front—naturally, since the country had never signed up for such a wide-ranging project.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
Natural rights such as the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, property rights, and freedom of association have long been recognized by liberal statesmen as inalienable, protected – implicitly and explicitly – by the Bill of Rights. In our new society, however, the desire for racial equity trumps any of these rights. We can speak freely, so long as it is not so-called “hate speech”. We have the right to our own property, but we cannot deny services based upon race or other protected characteristics. We have the right to associate with whomever we choose, so long as there is no appearance of racial disparity. Do you see how this works? As Christopher Caldwell said, “The problem is that rights cannot simply be “added” to a social contract without changing it. To establish new liberties is to extinguish others.”
The problem with the Civil Rights Act and subsequent laws was that they were incredibly open-ended and vague. In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled in Griggs v. Duke Power Company that private businesses were prohibited from using aptitude tests on potential employees because they resulted in disparate outcomes between whites and blacks. Even though the Civil Rights Act itself had specifically allowed for aptitude tests, Chief Justice Warren Burger ruled that any disparity of outcome meant that they ran afoul of the government’s new mandate to enforce racial equity. Caldwell writes:
“Government could now disrupt and steer interactions that had been considered the private affairs of private citizens—their roles as businessmen or landlords or members of college admissions boards. It could interfere in matters of personal discretion. Yes, this was for a special purpose—to fight racism—but the Griggs decision made clear that the government was now authorized to act against racism even if there was no evidence of any racist intent. This was an opening to arbitrary power. And once arbitrary power is conferred, it matters little what it was conferred for.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
Civil rights opened the door to all sorts of rent-seeking by various interest groups. The fact that civil rights came about at the very time that our government opened our borders to the world with the 1965 Immigration Act led to many unforeseen consequences. Laws designed to rectify past wrongs were seized upon by people who had no connection to slavery or Jim Crow. Caldwell says, “Reforms conceived for a country that was provincial, dutiful, and 4 percent immigrant are not necessarily well suited to a country that is cosmopolitan, hedonistic, and 15 percent immigrant.”
Today, every possible intersectional group uses that door to extract resources from the American government, at the expense of the historic American nation. Yet it is still in the area of race relations that we see the greatest changes occurring in our society. Everything is viewed through an intersectional lens. If Rip Van Winkle had gone to sleep in 1921 and awoken today, a quick glance at news headlines would have him wondering why 21st century America is so obsessed with race in general, and the black race in particular.
It is true: Events and ideas are all viewed through a racial lens. Last summer, Time Magazine published their infamous cover story on the Great Reset, as several writers laid out their vision for a post-covid world. Several of the essays were about how the new world would better serve the interests of “diversity” and “people of color”. Even coverage of the covid pandemic itself has a racial component – every time I open YouTube, I am prompted to watch a video about how covid has affected so-called “communities of color”. The Democratic Party recently introduced a bill to enforce health equity, claiming that systemic racism has left minorities in a more vulnerable position regarding their health than white citizens. The text of that bill, House Resolution 666, is straight out of Critical Race Theory handbooks. Its introduction refers to the Museum of African American History’s description of so-called structural racism. You will recall that this museum’s publications said that everything we take for granted in a civilized society, such as a good work ethic and the nuclear family, are representative of “whiteness” and therefore racist.
A few years ago, conservative media had fun with a story that asked if peanut butter and jam sandwiches were racist. Today that kind of thinking is normal in media. Nothing is allowed to exist without questioning its relationship with racism and the black community, even outside the borders of the United States. These attacks on the historic American nation are just a part of a worldwide assault on Western Civilization itself. In Britain, the BBC recently tweeted, “Rural racism in Dorset: Why is our countryside 98% white?” to which Steve Sailer innocently replied, “Because whites are indigenous to rural Dorsetshire and nonwhites are not?” The article attached to the BBC’s tweet quotes several minority residents in Dorset who complain about “subtle racism” such as people looking at them while they are out and about. Sailer continues, “The project of the 21st Century is to dispossess whites of the very nice countries they have built, so the fact that whites are indigenous to rural England seems like a racist conspiracy to the dispossessors. The slightest resistance, such as staring, must be crushed.” This “dispossessionist mindset”, as Sailer calls it, is the reason why the historic American nation is being driven out of the country our fathers created. Marxists view society as a zero-sum game – for black Americans to succeed, white Americans must be forcibly diminished.
This obsession with race has created a class of black journalists and activists who believe the world revolves around them. Gwen Berry’s over the top tantrum upon hearing The Star-Spangled Banner on an Olympic podium, as if she had just been told that the ice cream machine at McDonalds was broken, is just the beginning. The New York Times editorial staff is filled with black female writers who complain in the paper of record that someone asked to touch their hair twenty years ago. Not to be outdone, Asian writers complain about being stereotyped in elementary school. The fact that Asians actually have higher average wealth and income than white people makes their chase for victim clout all the more pathetic.
One would be forgiven for believing that the demographics of America were similar to South Africa, where black Africans are a large majority. The constant focus by media on black issues has certainly skewed our perspectives – recent polls show that the average American believes that our country is 33% black, while a sixth of Americans believe that blacks are an outright majority. The truth is that only 12-13% of Americans are black.
Nevertheless, nothing is safe from the demands by black activists to make it all about them. Even though the NFL is 70% black, activists complain that there are not enough black coaches. The NFL has long had something called the “Rooney Rule” that says that teams are required to interview a black coach for any available vacancy. For a while in the late 90s and early 2000s, Minnesota Vikings assistant coach Leslie Frazier was the token minority interview.
Movies, music, and even advertising are overwhelmingly focused on African Americans. If you can stand to watch commercials, try to count the number of white men – there are not many. Couples are often mixed-race, if not entirely black. Any time a black actor is snubbed for an Oscar nomination, activists complain on social media, accusing the Academy of being racist. This year, everyone expected the late Chadwick Boseman to win Best Actor, so much so that the Academy rearranged the schedule of events to put that category last, so they could end the program on a tribute to the Black Panther actor. Journalists were shocked and surprised when Anthony Hopkins won the award instead, and the program ended awkwardly.
Perhaps the biggest area of black egocentrism is the insertion of Africans into every area of history and culture. On the fringes of the internet, you will find websites claiming that Cleopatra was black, or that Beethoven was actually black. In more respected publications you will hear that America was entirely built by African slaves. Besides being patently false, this claim erases the work of millions of American pioneers. Sure, slavery was the foundation of the southern economy, but what of northern industrialism? What of the railroads, roads, and bridges that crisscrossed the continent? What of the brave families who packed everything they owned into a Conestoga wagon and crossed the wide prairies for Oregon and California? What of the men who fought and died in the War of Independence, and every American conflict since then? What of the more than six hundred thousand men – mostly white – who died to free black Americans from slavery itself? This libel is a deliberate erasure of the historic American nation, more dispossession in the name of racial equity.
The recent establishment of Juneteenth as a federal holiday is another nail in the coffin of white America. While its proponents claim that it is a “long overdue” recognition of the abolition of slavery, and that it will not detract from other American holidays, both premises are false. The purpose of elevating Juneteenth – an obscure holiday celebrated in a small region of Texas – is to keep the idea of slavery and racism at the fore of public consciousness. It is yet another reminder to white Americans that we are irredeemably racist, and that we must sacrifice our property, our money, and our heritage as penance. Both Scott Greer and Tim Pool, from two different perspectives, have argued that the rise of Juneteenth will necessarily diminish July 4th, our true Independence Day. If a municipality has scarce resources, for example, will they put them toward a citywide celebration of Independence Day, thus incurring the wrath of woke activists, or will they give the squeaky wheel grease by celebrating Juneteenth instead? This is not just academic – the city of Evanston, Illinois recently canceled their 4th of July parade (citing covid) but sponsored a pride parade and a Juneteenth parade last month.
Remember that modern discourse sees everything through the lens of race. What is Independence Day but a celebration of hypocritical white slaveowners? Indeed, just last week the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets spent the holiday weekend trashing the idea of Independence Day, specifically the American flag itself, claiming that it represented whiteness and conservatism rather than America as a whole. I would not be surprised to see serious calls from influential people in the next few years to do away with both the flag and the 4th of July altogether.
In fact, we are already seeing the first signs of this disavowal of old-fashioned patriotism. Mara Gay, a black woman who writes for the New York Times, spoke about how “uncomfortable” she felt seeing trucks flying the American flag. The New York Times itself followed up those statements with a long article about how the flag is becoming identified with white people, and that patriotism makes minorities (aka the New York Times editorial staff) feel unwelcome. The American people have loved their country for centuries, but now that pride is demonized by ivory tower journalists because it hurts the feelings of a few nonwhite people. The Marxist left is much more comfortable with the various rainbow flags of homosexuality and transgenderism, or of the “Black Lives Matter” flag. The woke commissars who run our State Department even sent out a memo recently allowing embassies to fly the BLM flag. Is that not a fitting display of the conquest of this country and the dispossession of the historic American nation?
An obsession with race, and with African Americans specifically, is also evident in news coverage. Not only does every story have a racial component, but all of the major news outlets decided last year to start capitalizing “black”. They claim this is because “black” refers to a specific culture, a specific group of people. Obviously, they are not capitalizing “white” as that would be racist. There is a song going around that is being called the “black national anthem,” and it has even been played at NFL games in tandem with The Star-Spangled Banner. Would it be fair to call the latter the “white” national anthem? Of course not, that too would be racist. You see, however, how the black community is recognized as its own nation within the borders of the United States of America. This is encouraged by our elites, while any unity of white Americans is discouraged, or even criminalized. In our Orwellian times, black nationalism is good but white nationalism is bad. As I said, I have no problem with black nationalism – more power to them – I simply believe that all ethnic groups, including white people, should have the same right of association.
Education is another area that has been completely taken over by black egoism. In the 1960s, violent black supremacists occupied college offices and demanded more money for black student unions and for black studies curricula. Today, public schools, colleges, and universities have entire departments dedicated to so-called “diversity” and spend millions of dollars on diversity endeavors. Ethnic studies, as well as feminist studies, queer studies, and other classes devoted to intersectional interest groups, are more common than STEM. James Lindsay recently acquired a complete list of books used in the social studies program at Albuquerque Public Schools, and every single title is about race or other intersectional identities. I am heartened that the public is waking up to the pervasive spread of Critical Race Theory in public schools, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Christopher Caldwell points out that this has been the case for a long time. He writes:
“It was fair to say that ethnic studies had taken over not just college curricula but even primary and secondary school history teaching. In 2008, education professors from Stanford and the University of Maryland asked 2,000 eleventh and twelfth graders to name the ten most significant Americans who had never been president. Three standbys of Black History Month—Martin Luther King, the anti-segregationist protester Rosa Parks, and the escaped slave Harriet Tubman—ranked 1, 2, and 3.”
“Diversity” has become the code word for black representation – I recall news media claiming that the nearly all black cast of Marvel’s Black Panther was “diverse”. Every institution in America is required to bend the knee to this new god. Caldwell writes:
“’Chief diversity officers’ and ‘diversity compliance officers,’ working inside companies, carried out functions that resembled those of twentieth-century commissars. They would be consulted about whether a board meeting or a company picnic was sufficiently diverse.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
Once you see how race-obsessed our modern discourse has become it is impossible to un-see. Diversity has indeed become a new god in American secular religion. Caldwell again writes:
“After the Army medic and self-taught Muslim fanatic Nidal Hasan killed 13 people at Fort Hood in Obama’s first year in office, Army chief of staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., said, ‘Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.’ For Casey, to be accused of racism was literally a fate worse than death.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
The status of our national capital is an ongoing and controversial issue, and of course race plays a part. According to the Constitution, an area was to be set aside, distinct from any particular state, as the site for the capital. The New Deal and World War II massively expanded the federal bureaucracy, and those bureaucrats had to live somewhere. Many moved in to the swampy land of the District of Columbia, and soon those people clamored for the same voting rights as state residents. Congress and the states passed the 23rd Amendment in 1961 which gave residents of DC the right to vote in presidential elections. Congress also devolved their own constitutional authority over the District to an elected mayor.
Right now, the Democratic Party is demanding statehood for DC, which would reallocate at least three representatives and add two more senators to our Congress. The District, home to nearly a million people, is approximately 48% black and 45% white, and has voted overwhelmingly Democrat in every presidential election since the passage of the 23rd Amendment. We all know which party stands to gain from DC statehood. Yet the Constitution stands in the way of simply declaring it so by an act of Congress… or does it? I would not be surprised to see an activist judge, ruling according to our new constitution of civil rights, declare that DC must be granted statehood because to withhold it would be racist to a place with large black population.
Sometimes courts still forget that our Constitution has been superseded by civil rights. The New York Times recently complained that the Constitution stands in the way of the Biden regime’s plan to award covid relief money exclusively to people of color. The article quotes Syovata Edari, who owns a chocolate shop in Wisconsin, complaining that she did not get the $50,000 from the government that she expected. She said, “It doesn’t surprise me that once again these laws that we fought and died for, that were intended to benefit us — to even the playing field a bit more — are being used against us.” Steve Sailer facetiously replied, “I mean, sure, the 14th Amendment sounds like the part about “the equal protection of the laws” applies to everybody, but we all know that it’s good for the government to discriminate against whites.”
Where to begin? Ms. Edari claims that “her people” fought and died for rights that were intended to benefit them. Who died to free the slaves? The historic American nation made a massive sacrifice of its own blood to free Ms. Edari’s people from servitude, but there is no gratitude for that today. While she made sure to mention that the 14th amendment was meant to “level the playing field,” the rest of her quote shows that she thinks the purpose of the amendment was really to give special privileges to blacks.
The fact that some judges are following the “old” Constitution by writing injunctions against the regime’s plan to increase “equity” by showering money on minorities is considered a problem by our elite media. What does this portend for the most coveted racial prize of them all: reparations?
Black activists have been increasing their demands for reparations for slavery, even as the actual time of slavery recedes further and further into the past. Black intellectual Ta-Nehisi Coates famously called for reparations several years ago, and many leftists have jumped on the train behind him. The website Vice published an article a few weeks ago with the headline “America’s First Black Billionaire Wants His Reparations Check, Now.” Yet if you ask any of these people how much they are owed, how much to consider the supposed debt paid, you will not get an answer. They will always demand “more”. It will never end. In their eyes, the blood of six hundred thousand American soldiers was not enough to pay this debt. More than fifty years of welfare and affirmative action was not enough either. Not even the higher standard of living for the descendants of American slaves compared to their free cousins in Africa is considered a worthwhile recompense. No amount of money will stop the demands for more, more, more.
The Vice article claims that $14 trillion would be enough to “close the black / white wealth gap,” but this is short sighted. Despite what Marxists believe, wealth is not distributed from the top down, but created from the bottom up. The millionaire next door has wealth because he worked for it, making sacrifices and wise investments for many years, not because he was given a check from the American taxpayer. You could shower $14 trillion on black America and in ten years most of that money would be gone, and then what? We would hear yet more demands for reparations and affirmative action.
In the name of racial equity, we have essentially repealed our Constitution, spent trillions upon trillions of dollars, and now we are in the process of erasing our very history because it offends the sensibilities of black Americans. One of the unspoken conditions of reconciliation after the Civil War was that the South could honor their heroes. Charles Francis Adams Jr., scion of the great Adams family of American mythos, wrote after the war that, “…The essential and distinctive feature of the American Civil War, as contrasted with all previous struggles of a similar character, was the acceptance of results by the defeated party at its close.” The South, for the most part, gave up their dreams of independence, and in exchange, the North allowed the South to retain their heroes and unique culture.
The Battle Flag was incorporated into the designs of many southern state flags. Statues of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and many other Confederate leaders were erected throughout the South. Southern writers wrote glowingly of the so-called “lost cause” and romanticized antebellum Dixie. For one hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, this was accepted as a reasonable expression of southern pride.
But this pride cannot continue to exist in a world where everything revolves around black sensibilities. Rather than being a symbol of rebellion and southern pride, the Battle Flag has been recast as a deliberate racist insult toward black Americans. Reframing it in this way caused many Republicans to feel like they had to join in calls for its removal. Nikki Haley, then Governor of South Carolina, ordered it taken down from the State House in Columbia. The fact that Haley, a second-generation immigrant who had no stake in the heritage of the state she led, was the one to remove the flag was especially galling to many proud southerners. A fear of taking a controversial stand was another rotten fruit of civil rights. Christopher Caldwell said:
“Plainly the civil rights acts had wrought a change in the country’s constitutional culture. The innovations of the 1960s had given progressives control over the most important levers of government, control that would endure for as long as the public was afraid of being called racist.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
All the media and political establishment must do to get Republicans to obey is to threaten to call them racist. The GOP gave in on the Battle Flag because they were afraid of the association it now had with racism, slavery, and Jim Crow. Save for a few brave people on the fringes, most of us are still afraid of being called racist. Those on the fringes who are not afraid are tarred as white supremacist by both the left and the right, are banned from social media, fired from their jobs, and essentially exiled from polite society. The rest of us go along with absurdities, lies, and the erasure of our heritage in exchange for being allowed to make a living and support our families.
Few Republicans were willing to defend either the Battle Flag or Confederate statues. At the time of this writing, the House of Representatives has just passed a bill that would remove not only Confederate statues from federal offices in Washington, DC, but also those of antebellum leaders such as Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, who supported slavery and secession. Military bases which carry the names of Confederate generals are in the process of being renamed, as the GOP joined Democrats to override President Trump’s lame duck veto late last year.
Throughout the country, memorials to Confederate heroes are being torn down, often with municipal support. The cities that raised these monuments in the first place have come under the control of Marxist whites as well as radical black activists. In Memphis last month, the body of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was literally dug out of the ground to be moved to an obscure museum hundreds of miles away. One might have thought that digging up the bones of your enemies was something that went out of style hundreds of years ago. Apparently not.
The case of Robert E. Lee is emblematic of this destruction of the past. Once considered the epitome of the southern gentlemen by South and North alike, Lee has now become the symbol of evil white men. Both Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower considered Lee to be one of the greatest Americans in history, but that is not enough for the woke iconoclasts. Hundreds of schools, roads, and parks have been renamed in the past few years in the quest to erase the name of Lee from history. Christopher Caldwell recently wrote an essay for the Claremont Review of Books on the ongoing reevaluation of Robert E. Lee, which you can read here. In that essay he writes:
“…as the present generation has radicalized around race ideologies, opinion on Lee has become more frenzied and passionate than it has been since the height of the Civil War. He has suddenly become an object of hatred. The reputation for decency and honor that has clung to Lee since his death, even among the historians most critical toward the Confederacy, has not softened this new hatred but stoked it—as if the reputation itself were an insult launched across the centuries.”
Christopher Caldwell, “There Goes Robert E. Lee”
Robert Edward Lee was the quintessential southern gentleman. Far from being antithetical to the American spirit, he was in the very heart of it. His home in Arlington, Virginia overlooked the Potomac River, about thirty miles upstream from George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation. The two families were linked in several ways, actually. Lee’s father, “Light Horse Harry” Lee, was a Revolutionary War hero, and had been the man who famously eulogized Washington as “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” Robert E. Lee himself married Mary Custis, the granddaughter of George Washington’s stepson. When Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865, he carried George Washington’s sword at his side. After the war, Lee served as president of Washington University in Lexington, Virginia, which was renamed Washington and Lee University after his death.
Modern historiography of the Civil War paints the Confederates as rebels, of course, but we must remember that they saw themselves as the true successors to the Revolution and the Spirit of 1776. Four of the first six presidents were Virginians, and men such as Robert E. Lee saw themselves as the successors to those great heroes. Had the Confederacy won independence, it would have looked to the same Declaration of Independence as its own heritage.
Even as late as the 1970s, already in the age of civil rights, Robert E. Lee remained a figure of reverence in American discourse. In 1975, Congress voted to posthumously restore Lee’s citizenship; only ten representatives voted against the measure. It was really in the last ten years, during the so-called “racial reckoning,” that Lee has been cast as evil. Because race is now the primary concern for media figures and historians alike, the very fact that Lee owned slaves has become the only thing worth knowing about the man. The details about Lee’s life and his relationship with the institution of slavery are not important to modern eyes. Yet like Thomas Jefferson, Lee had a complex relationship with the peculiar institution. There are stories about how he taught his slaves to read and write, and about how he took the Eucharist side by side with a black man. Like Jefferson, Lee seemed to find slavery itself distasteful, and treated his own slaves as well as he could. He fought for the Confederacy not because he supported slavery, or even secession, but because he believed it was his duty as a Virginian.
Christopher Caldwell points out in his essay that the museum at Appomattox Courthouse downplays Lee and Grant in favor of a narrative that is once again all about race. “Appomattox is about Grant and Lee,” he writes. “Lee cannot be offered a different role in the story of the Civil War without altering the meaning of what Grant did, what Appomattox meant, what the Civil War settled, and what the United States stands for. If Lee is a racist scoundrel, then Grant is either a gullible man or an accomplice.” Yet this is exactly what the woke mobs believe. They have declared that we must not only erase Lee, Jackson, Davis, and Forrest, but also Grant, Lincoln, and even Theodore Roosevelt. I do not doubt that we will soon see serious calls to blast away the faces of our American heroes on Mt. Rushmore.
Contrary to what people such as the 1619 Project’s Nicole Hannah-Jones believes, there has never been a time in American history when slavery was not controversial. It has been an institution that Americans have struggled with since the very first African slaves stepped foot in the New World. Yet as Christopher Caldwell notes, whereas our fathers struggled with slavery as a matter of liberty, today we only look at it through the lens of race. The abolition of slavery was once considered the moral imperative for the historic American nation who had founded their country in the name of freedom and equality before God, but today it is considered the achievement of black Americans despite the obstacles of white supremacy and racism. The role of white Christians in abolishing slavery has been erased, because it is inconvenient to a narrative that says whites are irredeemably evil.
A few months ago, Haitian documentary filmmaker Raoul Peck published a four-hour miniseries on HBO called Exterminate All the Brutes with the premise that white Europeans are uniquely responsible for the very concept of genocide. Amidst overly dramatic reenactments of evil white men torturing poor blacks and American Indians, Peck weaves a story of brutal men who conquered the world, exterminating darker-skinned peoples wherever they were found. Not mentioned once in the documentary were the names Lincoln, Wilberforce, or Ulysses Grant. It is one thing to discuss a peoples’ sins, but it is quite another to do so while ignoring their virtues.
The reason why race has been injected into American discourse in this manner is nothing less than to erase the historic American nation. Our fathers built the greatest country in the history of the world – the shining city on a hill – and the fact that we, their posterity, are still here is unacceptable to the dozens of other ethnic and interest groups who want a piece of the pie. Civil rights remade our Constitution, reorienting our government away from protecting our natural rights and toward rectifying every possible complaint by ethnic minorities. The Democratic Party has become a coalition of all these groups, each of whom seeks to lay claim to the United States of America, and each one united in their hated of white people. While the Republican Party is resisting the pull to become explicitly identified with white Americans, that is their inevitable destiny. Christopher Caldwell writes:
“American politics had re-sorted itself around that question—which came down to the question of whether one had benefited from or lost by the transfers of rights, goods, and privileges carried out under the new constitutional dispensation that began in 1964. The Democrats were the party of those who benefited: not just racial minorities but sexual minorities, immigrants, women, government employees, lawyers—and all people sophisticated enough to be in a position to design, run, or analyze new systems. This collection of minorities could, with discipline, be bundled into an electoral majority, but that was not, strictly speaking, necessary. The hierarchies of government, the judiciary, and the corporate world were Democratic in their orientations. Sympathetic regulators, judges, and attorneys took up the task of transferring as many prerogatives as possible from the majority to various minorities. Republicans were the party, as we have noted, of yesteryear’s entire political spectrum, of New Deal supporters and New Deal foes, of the people who would have voted for Richard Nixon in 1960 and the people who would have voted for John F. Kennedy. The lost world of that period seemed an idyll to many Americans. The parties represented two different constitutions, two different eras of history, even two different technological platforms. And increasingly, two different racial groups.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
The divide between Democrats and Republicans has been growing starker every year. Today, the gulf between the two parties is greater than at any time since the secession winter of 1860. While there have always been disagreements between the parties, until recently one could admit that both sides believed in America. Today, the Democratic Party is a coalition of nations who are united in their desire to tear down the United States as well as Western Civilization as a whole. The Republicans, for all their spinelessness, for all their fecklessness, are the only major party standing up for the historic American nation. Again, Caldwell writes:
“Those who lost most from the new rights-based politics were white men. The laws of the 1960s may not have been designed explicitly to harm them, but they were gradually altered to help everyone but them, which is the same thing. Whites suffered because they occupied this uniquely disadvantaged status under the civil rights laws, because their strongest asset in the constitutional system—their overwhelming preponderance in the electorate—was slowly shrinking, because their electoral victories could be overruled in courtrooms and by regulatory boards where necessary, and because the moral narrative of civil rights required that they be cast as the villains of their country’s history. They fell asleep thinking of themselves as the people who had built this country and woke up to find themselves occupying the bottom rung of an official hierarchy of races.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
Caldwell goes on to say that by recasting America as an idea, rather than the inheritance of its founders, we dispossess ourselves. The right believes that the “idea” of America consists of liberty and equality, but the left has redefined those terms to mean welfare and equity, at the expense of America’s white majority.
I am afraid that civil rights were a mistake. Perhaps it was necessary at the time to find some way of rectifying the racial issues in the Jim Crow South, but the Civil Rights Act opened Pandora’s Box, leading to many of the issues that plague this country today. Until we on the right admit this, we will never fix the problem. Unfortunately, it is difficult to speak any form of truth these days. At the end of his book, Caldwell correctly notes that the establishment of civil rights as a superior constitution necessitates extreme censorship. If we were allowed to openly speak the truth about what has been going on for the past fifty years, then we might have a chance of undoing it. Our ruling regime cannot take that chance. The Bill of Rights says we have freedom of speech, but that freedom does not extend to criticizing the new constitution built upon civil rights, nor the interest groups that benefit from it. Everything from anti-black racial slurs to factual FBI crime statistics are entirely verboten under our woke censors. We mock the Chinese government for cracking down on people who make fun of Premier Xi Jinping but try making fun of George Floyd over here in the land of the free. Caldwell writes, finally:
“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was, as we have noted, a legislative repeal of the First Amendment’s implied right to freedom of association. Over decades it polarized the political parties and turned them into something like secret societies, each of them loyal to a different constitutional understanding. Democrats, loyal to the post-1964 constitution, could not acknowledge (or even see) that they owed their ascendancy to a rollback of the basic constitutional freedoms Americans cherished most. Republicans, loyal to the pre-1964 constitution, could not acknowledge (or even see) that the only way back to the free country of their ideals was through the repeal of the civil rights laws. The combination was a terrible one—rising tensions along with a society-wide inability to talk or think straight about anything.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
It is not racist to desire a homeland for your people. Our ancestors fled Europe for many reasons – religious liberty, escape from the constraints of a strict class structure, a chance to become wealthy, or even just a desire for adventure in the New World. We should not be ashamed of our forefathers, but celebrate them, warts and all. We are their heritage; we are the posterity for whom they wrote the Constitution in the first place.
The dispossession of America began with the best of intentions in the 1960s. The fruits of civil rights are not only the loss of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, but also the extreme censorship necessary to maintain that dispossession. Everything I have written in this essay is enough to make me persona non grata in polite society. I am already banned from Twitter, and I cannot be fired from my job, but there are millions of Americans who are not in such a fortunate position. They are forced to keep their mouths shut, to silently acquiesce to the loss of their own country. This is a tragedy.
The nation is not the state; the nation is the people. It is time for our people to take back our country. Stop apologizing for historical wrongs. Stop compromising on things like Juneteenth, hoping that it will buy you some good will. Stop hoping for an easy return to the America you once knew. We have an opportunity to build a new homeland out of the ashes of the old, to fulfill our Founding Fathers’ promise to protect the blessings of liberty for their posterity.
The only way through this time of crisis is forward. The historic American nation – the last and greatest outpost of Western Civilization – must survive. As long as you and I are still here, raising families, teaching our children our history, our stories, and our faith, then, by the grace of God, it will.
Nearly two hundred and fifty years ago, the Founding Fathers of the United States created a Constitution to protect the hard-won freedoms for themselves and their posterity. Today, that posterity finds themselves being pushed out of the country their forefathers bequeathed to them. What can we do to reclaim and protect our homeland?