For a change of pace, I talked tonight about the history of presidential elections in America going back to 1896. History builds on itself, so knowing our own history gives us perspective about our present. It is a bit wonky, but if you enjoy political history, maps, and numbers you might find it interesting.
(I did not record separate audio for this one, as it loses a lot if you cannot see the map.)
Last night, Yelp announced that they would begin labeling businesses that have been accused of racism with a warning sticker on their site.
I brought this up on last night’s livestream.Yelp has long been a racket, using their position to demand money in exchange for gaming the review system. If you do not pay for their services, then they will nudge negative reviews to the top of your business page while burying or even hiding positive reviews. They will even post ads to your competitors on your own page. On the other hand, if you purchase their services, they will generously allow positive reviews to appear.
This new endeavor goes further, however. By threatening to label businesses as “racist,” Yelp is giving a heckler’s veto to the most dishonest and vile activists in our society. If you have ever walked through downtown in a major city you see rainbow flags and BLM signs in every shop. Sometimes this is virtue signaling, but often it is an implicit plea to the rioters, looters, and arsonists that have plagued our cities all summer to leave this business alone. Imagine now if a group of leftist activists walk down the street of your city, or even of a small town, demanding that businesses post rainbow flags or BLM signs. If they refuse, then these activists go online or find a friendly news reporter to write a story on how this business owner is an unrepentant racist and homophone. They then send that story to Yelp, who slaps a big scarlet R on that business’ page for every potential customer to see.
This is nothing short of extortion on the part of a disingenuous movement that seeks to divide and destroy our nation. It is another marker on the decline and fall of America. The extreme left, which preaches black superiority, malleable genders, and intolerance toward the Christian heritage of the United States, enjoys the support of 95% of big businesses in this country. Nevertheless, they continue to portray themselves as the brave underdogs fighting a system of established oppression and white supremacy. Critical Theory demands this sort of narrative. Yet what happens when the oppressed become the oppressors?
I canceled my Yelp account last night after I saw the announcement. You should too. The only reason these converged businesses can still preach their anti-American rhetoric is because millions of conservative families still support them. Turn them off. Cancel your Yelp account. Stop shopping at stores that hate you. Stop watching sports leagues that denigrate your values before, during, and after every game. Stop paying for Netflix to distribute pedophilia. As sci-fi author and outspoken Christian Brian Niemeiersays, stop giving money to people who hate you.
They do hate us. They want us dead and gone, our children brainwashed, and our very history erased. This is bad enough, but we should stop funding our own cultural destruction.
Addendum: Twitter user yoopermamapointed out that even supporting the police might be enough for Yelp to declare a business “racist”. Imagine a customer coming into a restaurant or store and seeing a blue line flag, hung in support of local police. They could report that to a friendly journalist or directly to Yelp and claim that it made them feel “unsafe”. Remember that the left has redefined racism to mean an original sin that every white person is guilty of. That is the core of Critical Race Theory, and Yelp is going to actively enable racial pogroms against white conservatives.
This afternoon I appeared on The National Pulse TV show with Raheem Kassam to talk about Joe Biden’s tenuous relationship with the truth. Catch the whole episode here – my segment is near the beginning, but it’s all worth watching.
“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” So wrote poet W.B. Yeats in the chaotic time following the First World War. In those days, Western Civilization was struggling to make sense of a conflict that killed millions of people with industrial efficiency, a global pandemic that killed millions more, new technologies such as the automobile, airplane, telephone, and radio that were changing their ways of life, and new ideologies that were destined to erase centuries of development of human liberty and freedom.
The world of 2020 is in some ways similar to that of 1920. News happens fast, and society is changing so rapidly it is nearly impossible to keep up. So far this year we have had the Democratic House of Representatives impeach President Trump over a phone call to a fellow world leader, a global pandemic that, no matter how deadly it will have been in retrospect, has been used as an excuse for all sorts of tyrannical overreach, a summer of constant riots in our major cities as the angry left seeks to tear down the structures of our society, and all this in the most contested presidential election campaign since 1860.
As if there has not been enough tinder piled on the bonfire, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last night after battling several maladies over the past few years. Rather than retiring during President Obama’s term, which would allow him to appoint a progressive replacement, Ginsburg held on, planning to step down during the administration of the first woman president. Like many on the left, Ginsburg could not conceive of a scenario where Hillary Clinton did not defeat Donald Trump, yet here we are. Once that happened, Ginsburg’s only hope was to wait out the Trump Administration, however long that would take. Alas, she could not hold out, and now the 2020 election has its flashpoint.
The Supreme Court was already going to play a part in this election. The Democratic Party has openly admitted that they will stop at nothing to steal this election. Progressive judges in swing states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan have already ruled that mail-in ballots must be counted after Election Day. Hillary Clinton admonished Joe Biden not to concede on Election Night no matter the circumstances. Democrat and media wargamers have played out scenarios that involve blue states threatening secession if Trump is not removed from office. Just across the horizon sits the Supreme Court, waiting to be forced into the fray.
Recall that in 2000, a close vote in Florida between Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore triggered a recount. The entire presidential election hung upon the outcome of this recount, as Florida’s electoral votes would make either Bush or Gore the winner. After the first recount confirmed Bush’s narrow victory, the Gore campaign sued, demanding hand recounts in heavily Democratic districts and also demanding that certification of the vote be delayed to allow these recounts to happen. After the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Vice President, the Bush campaign appealed to the Supreme Court. In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled that a hand recount in only certain districts violated the doctrine of equal protection under the law. In a further 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the vote had to be certified by the date written in Florida law. George W. Bush won Florida, and therefore the presidency.
In the succeeding twenty years since Bush v Gore, America has only become more polarized. If we face a similar situation, the Democratic Party will not accept the results the way Al Gore eventually did. Rather, they will call on their paramilitary thugs to riot in the streets, Democratic and NeverTrump Republican elected officials will call for a “bipartisan commission” to oversee the vote counting, and the left will urge military generals to arrest President Trump and force him out of office. We could already be facing a full coup this winter, and that was before Justice Ginsburg passed away. Now, a divided Supreme Court might only amplify the chaos. Judges across America will be making rulings about vote counting and the validity of mail-in ballots, and any Supreme Court decision that ends 4-4 means the lower court ruling will stand. This could create a patchwork of rulings across the country. Some states might end up with two slates of electors, one for each candidate, as is what happened in 1872. Both Trump and Biden could claim victory based on one court ruling or another, and there will be no arbitration that either side will accept.
The best way to stop this chaos before it starts is to make sure that the Supreme Court has its full slate of nine justices before Election Day. Despite what the Democrats and their media friends are saying right now, it is entirely possible and proper for President Trump to nominate a replacement justice, and for Senator McConnell to bring that nomination to a floor vote. Nobody doubts that the Democrats would do the same thing if they were in this position – they tried it in 2016 when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to succeed the late Antonin Scalia. McConnell and the Republicans held firm, refusing a vote until after the election. This gambit could have failed utterly had Hillary Clinton won, in which case she surely would have withdrawn Garland in favor of a much more radical progressive leftist.
The Republican Party has 53 senators. Only 50 are required for confirmation – Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie. That means that the GOP could lose up to three senators and still win the confirmation fight. Mitt Romney of Utah will surely try to grandstand here, just as he did when casting a vote to convict President Trump during the impeachment earlier this year. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also enjoys stabbing her own party in the back every chance she gets. Susan Collins of Maine can be unpredictable – it was her support for Brett Kavanaugh that pushed him across the line in his own contentious confirmation fight two years ago. Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and even Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are all facing tough reelection bids, and could be tempted one way or another in hopes of saving their campaigns.
It has become a cliche, but this year is truly the most important election of our lifetimes – perhaps since 1860. If the Democrats win the White House and the Senate, they will radically reshape the government to ensure their permanent power. They will likely grant statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington DC, adding four senators to the Democratic majority. They will likely also pack the Supreme Court, adding as many justices as they can to make sure it stays a bastion of progressivism for all time. The silent majority of conservatives in America are looking for hope in these dark times. President Trump has shown us a way forward, but all too often the Republican Party and even Trump’s own administration have dashed those hopes in the swamp of our federal bureaucracy. This, however, is the moment we have all been waiting for. This is the moment when they can reward our trust in them, and show that they care about saving this country from socialism, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism. Will they step up to save America, or will they back down in the face of media pressure?
President Trump, at least, seems to understand the gravity of the situation:
This week I published a podcast and an essay about the spread of Critical Theory in our society. This dishonest ideology teaches that white men are the source of everything wrong throughout history, and that we have built social structures that reinforce our racism and white supremacy. Christopher Rufo has been digging into the use of Critical Theory in federal government employment, and last week Tucker Carlson had him on his show. We all know that President Trump watches Tucker, so this is one of the best ways to expose the president to information that his staff might otherwise shield him from.
Tucker gets results. Yesterday evening, the Director of the Management and Budget Office Russ Vought issued a statement saying that federal agencies must cease spending taxpayer dollars to force their employees to sit through seminars based on Critical Race Theory and so-called white privilege:
It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date “training” government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda
The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions.
Cultural Marxists have been using Critical Theory to divide Americans and weaken Western Civilization for nearly a century, and the fact that it has become embedded in employee training programs throughout the federal government is an indictment on conservatives who should have nipped this in the bud decades ago. This is a great start, but the rot runs deep, especially in our K-12 and higher education systems. We have a long way to go.
Last month, CNN aired video of buildings on fire in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rioters had torched several used car lots and vandalized dozens of businesses, and several people were dead after clashes between antifa and those who were defending private property. Over the top of this video, CNN displayed a ribbon of text explaining that these were “mostly peaceful” protests. This now-common occurrence on cable news goes beyond the gaslighting that I have mentioned in the past; it is an assault on reason and truth itself.
The foundation for any rational discussion is the concept of truth. There can be no honest debate between one side which says that the sky is blue, water is wet, and fire is hot, when the other side disagrees with those basic truisms. Nearly twenty-five hundred years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle put it this way: “A is A”. It seems obvious, and something that goes without saying, but the idea that there it is possible for human beings to understand real concrete rational truths is at the basis of all philosophy, science, mathematics, and history. While there is room for debate about the value of money, the effects of increased taxation, or the relative greatness of Shakespeare’s works, there can be no debate that A is A, or that two plus two equals four. Yet it is exactly these fundamental truths that are under attack as a result of a generation of postmodern critical theory propaganda.
“Two plus two equals four” is one of the very first ideas we teach our children, because everything else builds from that basic truth. On one level, the ability to do higher math and to apply it to real world problems requires knowledge of basic arithmetic. On a deeper level, having understanding that certain things are always true no matter the context paves the way for understanding abstract things. Rational thinkers have long known how important it is to base empirical claims on solid truth and have often used this little equation to demonstrate that concept:
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
It seems inconceivable that there could be any possible disagreement on such a basic fact.
Last week I reread Orwell’s famous novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” for the first time in twenty years. When I read it in high school, I found it interesting but not very applicable to modern society. Indeed, in reading Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” at the same time I found Huxley to be the more accurate prophet. As Neil Postman wrote in “Amusing Ourselves to Death” in 1985, “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley fears was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much those that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”
For most of the 90s and even the early 2000s, I agreed with Postman’s view that our world was more Huxley than Orwell. The fact that Orwell’s iconic Big Brother, the semi-mythical leader of the Party who watched your every move, had became the name of a reality TV show seems to have proven Huxley right. We did not need pervasive government surveillance, because we were held captive by our own devotion to mindless entertainment. Yet something has changed in the last five years. While information is still being diluted by mindless nonsense, the world of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” has been slowly converging upon us. Mass surveillance is indeed becoming commonplace. Corporations, rather than government, are unpersoning people who says things that are deemed hate speech. Yet the worst part is what Orwell feared the most: our very language, and even the concept of reality itself, is being redefined before our eyes.
Nearly a century ago, German philosophers at the Institute for Social Research, better known as the Frankfurt School, came up with a concept called Critical Theory. The driving force behind Critical Theory is a desire to tear down every philosophical idea in human society, deconstruct it, and rebuild it through a lens of oppression. In the 19th century, Karl Marx had redefined economics by reconstructing it as a constant struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat classes. What Marx did for class and economics, the Critical Theorists of the Frankfurt School did for everything; many on the right call the philosophies of Critical Theory “Cultural Marxism” for this very reason. By recasting every social interaction as based on oppression, Critical Theory not only identifies the issue but also proposes its solution, that is, that human society must be completely deconstructed and rebuilt from the ground up. That means every structure of our society that we take for granted – history, philosophy, science, math, language, the family structure, political systems, etc. – must be torn down in the name of freeing humanity from so-called oppression.
Over the past few decades, Critical Theory has become the foundation of higher education in America. It has even spawned spinoffs such as Critical Race Theory, which preaches that all human society is built on white supremacists oppressing people of color, and feminism, which preaches that all human society is built on men oppressing women. All of these offshoots are built around the idea that one group of people is oppressing another group of people, and that this system of oppression is at the heart of every social structure on earth. Intersectionality is the idea that all of these systems of oppression are intertwined, and so the end result of Critical Theory is the demonization of one particular group of people – heterosexual white male Christians – as the perpetrators of everything bad that has ever happened in human history.
I have mentioned the 1619 Project several times over the past year, because it is a perfect example of how Critical Theory is not only used to reinterpret the past, but also to rewrite it. The 1619 Project says that the entire American Revolution was all about maintaining slavery and white supremacy in the New World. Boston Tea Party? White supremacy. The Battle of Lexington? White supremacy. The alliance with France? White supremacy. The Declaration of Independence itself? White supremacy. This reductionist view of history is not only wrong but dangerous, as it teaches black children that they are justified in using violence to take back a country that was “stolen” from them, while teaching white children that they have no claim on the land their fathers lived and died to build.
The traditional historical view of American independence is that the thirteen colonies had developed into separate nations from the mother country of Great Britain. They chafed under British taxes and regulation and resented the rule of a King and Parliament half a world away who saw the colonies as nothing more than raw materials. The colonists initially desired reconciliation and negotiation, but once open war came to America, t hey declared their independence and founded a new nation. Contrary to what many people now believe, slavery was a huge issue. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson recognized that slavery was incompatible with their belief that “all men are created equal.” They knew that a reckoning would happen someday. But the Critical Race Theorists do not think too deeply about their positions, because they disagree about the fundamental concept of truth itself. It is hard for rational people like you and I to understand this, but the authors of the 1619 Project honestly believe that they are creating truth in their writing. They would say that what we consider to be the true historical record is just “our truth,” and that our truth is based on oppression and white supremacy, therefore we are morally bound to discard it in favor of their superior truth.
We on the right are accustomed to debating people with whom we agree on the fundamental truths of the universe. For example, when John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon debated in the summer of 1960, they both agreed that America was a great nation that was a force for good in the world, much less that two plus two equals four. Their disagreements were built on top of those premises. We have a hard time debating the modern left, because we find little common ground, even when it comes to empirical facts. The modern left not only believes that America is a bad country, and always has been, but they are even trying to convince us that two and two do not necessarily equal four.
A few months ago, mathematician and critic of social justice James Lindsay posted sarcastically about how Critical Theorists would dismiss two plus two equals four as a Western imperialist colonialist concept. This innocuous statement started a firestorm on Twitter, attracting hundreds of people who believe just that. A PhD student and self-described “teacher, scholar, social justice change agent” named Brittany Marshall tweeted “…the idea of 2+2 equaling 4 is cultural and because of western imperialism/colonization, we think of it as the only way of knowing.” She was not alone. Numerous social justice activists in academia and media jumped on the train, each one explaining exactly how two plus two does not have to equal four and that saying that it always does is an example of oppressive white supremacy in action.
Yet the idea that two plus two equals four is not, as these people believe, inherently western, colonialist, or white supremacist. Universal truths such as this are the foundation of all knowledge. How can we know anything if we do not know what is true? Without basic math, we could not build a horse-drawn wagon, much less a spaceship that can land on the moon. As Orwell said, “Physical facts could not be ignored. In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an airplane they had to make four.” Perhaps this abandonment of empirical truth is partly to blame for the shoddy engineering we have seen in our country over the past decade, from collapsing bridges to derailing trains to faulty airplanes. Like a Cargo Cult, we have forgotten how our ancestors built things, and just assume that is just happens organically.
Yet even a philosophy that says two and two can make five is doomed to failure as well, because it is built on a lie. In “The Soul of Science,” authors Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton argue that basic mathematics are necessary for understanding the deeper truths of the universe:
“In mathematics, it appears that we have access to truths that go beyond experience. Upon what, then, are they based? For Pythagoras and later for Plato, the answer was that mathematics is part of an ideal world – a realm of abstract principles that gives rational structure to the material world.”
Saying that two plus two equals four might be obvious to us, and heretical to Critical Theorists, but there is something profound contained in that simple phrase. Without it, we would lack any basis for rational thought at all!
I wrote a long post last year about how the United States has become a post-truth society. Nowhere is this more evident than in how Critical Theory has warped our education system. The same people dismissing the idea of concrete truth as just a “western colonialist perspective” are the ones teaching our teachers, the ones who ultimately decide what is taught to fifty million public school students every year. These poisonous lies have wound their way through every facet of our society. Public universities are forcing white students to sit through classes that berate them for the color of their skin. Government agencies are paying millions of dollars to corrupt consultants and forcing their employees to go to seminars where they deconstruct their “whiteness” and learn to take the blame for all the problems in our country. Television, Hollywood, and news media build their ideas on the basis of Critical Theory, without necessarily saying as much, so anyone who watches them is subtly and continuously propagandized.
The effect of dismissing empirical facts is becoming obvious throughout society. Words have lost all meaning, causing discourse between opposing sides to be pointless. Media calls left wing violence “free speech” while right wing speech is labeled “violence” that makes people feel “unsafe”. Our media constantly calls the massive riots that have engulfed our cities this summer – riots that involve vandalism, property damage, arson, theft, assault, and even murder – they keep calling them “peaceful protests”. President Trump gave an Independence Day speech at Mt. Rushmore about the greatness of America, and the New York Times called it “dark and divisive”. Iowa Congressman Steve King spoke in favor of western civilization and the media called him “racist”. These definitions are fluid, of course, being applied unequally depending upon one’s political positions. Joe Biden can call Barack Obama the first African American who was “bright, clean, and articulate” and rather than being accused of racism, the media laughs at good old Joe. On the other hand, people on the right are assumed to be racists and white supremacists by virtue of our very existence.
This systematic redefinition of words was explained by George Orwell more than seventy years ago. The heart of his novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is not necessarily the totalitarian government or constant surveillance, but the way in which the ruling party uses language to control thought. The Party is continually recreating language into what is called Newspeak, the object of which is to reduce the vocabulary of its citizens until they cannot even conceive of an unpermitted idea because there is no word to describe anything outside of Party authority. Orwell explains that Newspeak renders such ideas as “freedom” or “democracy” entirely meaningless, while a word such as “love” can only be applied to one’s loyalty to the Party rather than feelings of affection for family or friends.
See how this is happening in our culture today: Free speech by someone on the right is redefined by the media and the left to mean violence, while leftist violence is redefined as free speech. When Ann Coulter or even the milquetoast Ben Shapiro visited college campuses to speak, they were denounced by the left as having committed violence and making minorities and so-called marginalized people feel “unsafe”. Yet when mobs of antifa and BLM rioters torch a business and assault anyone in their way, our concerns about safety are dismissed as racism and white supremacy, and we are told that rioting and looting is the “language” of marginalized and oppressed people, and are therefore protected speech. This is literally Orwellian, and straight out of the Critical Theory handbook. Antifa and BLM activists have recently taken this to a new level, chanting that “silence is violence!” Even trying to stay neutral is not good enough for the vanguard of the socialist revolution.
As I record this, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is accusing President Trump of “inciting” these nationwide riots. When we hear the word “incite,” we picture a rabble-rouser firing up his followers to commit acts of violence. Yet President Trump has done nothing of the kind. In fact, it is Trump’s followers who are on the receiving end of most of this violence. Indeed, the real incitement has come from people like Biden’s vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, who said that the riots should continue, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who called for her followers to confront and harass conservatives in public, leftist media outlet NPR which is promoting a book called “In Defense of Looting,” and professional blackface-wearer Shaun King who called for blacks to attack churches, deface Christian statues, and threatened every police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Yet the left and our media blames Trump. This is literally blaming the victim. Saying that Trump has “incited” these riots is like when they said a cartoon “incited” Muslims to attack foreign embassies a few years back. This is no different from blaming a woman in a short skirt for being raped. By this logic, the very existence of conservatives, Christians, and unapologetic white people literally “incites” violence from the left, and we are to blame. This is Orwellian.
One of the most obvious redefinitions in recent memory has been the word “racism”. The idea of racism is fairly recent; before a century ago it was natural that people of different ethnic groups would have preferences for members of their own group. When the Baby Boomers were growing up during the Civil Rights movement, racism came to mean unfairness toward one group, or having negative stereotypes about other ethnicities. Most conservatives still hold to this definition. When they hear the word “racism,” they picture the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross to intimidate a black family, or some slack-jawed southerner using racial slurs to describe African Americans. Many of these good-natured conservatives do not realize how completely the left has redefined that word. There is a strain of virulent leftism that began in the Frankfurt School, was nurtured in college campuses across America, and has now taken control of most of our corporations, news outlets, and even government organizations. The official dogma of these people is that all white people are racist. They also say that black and other so-called marginalized people are incapable of racism, because they do not have “institutional power”. Even coming off of eight years of a black president, with a black attorney general, in a world where every major corporation obediently intones that “black lives matter,” even as being black in America opens doors to massive subsidies in the name of affirmative action, we are still told that we have white privilege. Simply existing as a white person makes one guilty of racism under this new definition.
James White of Apologia Church in Arizona has taken notice. On one of his recent livestreams he said, “Obviously we live in a day, once again, we all know it, 1984, completely fulfilled, take every word, redefine it to mean its opposite, but then use it amongst people who are still using the old vocabulary, with the new meaning, so as to create utter chaos in society.” This is exactly what the left has done. They accuse us of being racists according to their new definition while counting on rank-and-file conservatives of hearing the old definition. When they call Congressman Steve King, or Nicholas Fuentes, or Michelle Malkin, or anyone else who dares to notice something politically incorrect “racist,” too many conservatives assume that these people must be on the same level of the cross-burning KKK of a century ago, and they rush to denounce these horrible racists lest they too be tarred with the same brush. This is cowardice, plain and simple.
As I explained last year in my essay on the post-truth society, the left is always engaging in “motte and bailey” arguments. Remember that motte-and-bailey was a type of castle that was popular in Europe about a thousand years ago that consisted of a stone keep built atop a raised earthwork called a motte, surrounded by a walled courtyard called a bailey. The inhabitants of the castle lived and worked in the bailey, but when an enemy attacked, they could retreat to the relative safety of the motte. In a motte-and-bailey argument, someone can argue from a very liberal definition of a word or concept, only to retreat to the safety of the motte when defending their argument. You see this in the example of racism that I just mentioned. When on the attack, they define racism as white privilege, an original sin that all white people are born with. Yet if they ever have to defend themselves, they retreat to a linguistically conservative definition of racism, which is the same one that political conservatives have believed all along. This is not discourse, rather it is verbal sleight-of-hand. This is Orwellian wordplay.
Like Big Brother in “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” the modern left is redefining language to the point where reality itself is malleable. After all, according to Critical Theory there is no such thing as objective truth, only conflicting narratives of oppression. Without even realizing it, we are being conditioned into our own version of Newspeak that prevents any meaningful discussion of political or social ideas. We cannot talk about racism when everyone has a different definition of the word. We cannot have a national discussion about the root causes and possible solutions to this summer’s riots when we all have completely different views on the nature of incitement. This is the goal of the left, and of the Frankfurt School: to deconstruct language to the point where we have no ability to express thoughts that stray from the party line:
The word gay once meant happy, now it means homosexual.
The rainbow was once a symbol of beauty, and for Christians, a reminder of God’s promise after the flood. Now it means homosexual.
Conservative, reactionary, traditionalist, and nationalist all used to mean varying flavors of political theory. Now they all mean “racist” or “Nazi”.
For that matter, “Nazi” once referred to a specific political party in 20th century Germany that had very specific views, but now it means any white person more conservative than Bernie Sanders.
A liberal used to mean someone who believed in individual freedom, but now it is barely distinguishable from totalitarianism and socialism.
Even the words “male” and “female” have lost all meaning in the modern era. We are told that a big ugly man with makeup and a dress is just as female as a feminine woman, and if we disagree then we should be censored, fired, and maybe even imprisoned as punishment for our wrongthink.
Again, this is literally Orwellian.
In “Nineteen Eighty-Four, the protagonist Winston Smith is captured by the Thought Police and tortured until he conforms to their image of reality. His torturer explains:
“You believe that reality is objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident… But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes; only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be truth IS truth.”
In other words, reality is whatever we say it is.
One of the most striking characteristics of the Party in “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is the concept of doublethink. Party members are trained from birth to have the ability to hold on to contrary pieces of information and to recall each one at will, reciting and believing it with all sincerity. For example, early in the novel Winston is dismayed to have learned that the ration of chocolate from the government was going to be dropped to thirty grams per week. However, the Party later cheerfully announces that the chocolate ration would soon be raised to twenty-five grams per week. The citizens of Oceania, rather than noticing this obvious lie, buy into it completely, cheerfully thanking Big Brother for his generosity. The ability of Party members to engage in doublethink is called crimestop by Orwell:
“Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments…”
The American left has gone all in on doublethink. To be a Democrat today means:
Saying at one moment that there are no riots, merely peaceful protests, and the next, with a straight face, that the riots are all Trump’s fault.
Not only having been anti-war in 2006 but pro-war today, but pretending that you have had a consistent position the whole time.
Believing that homosexuality is genetic and unchangeable, while transgendered people can change their sex through drugs and surgery.
Believing that the Democratic Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam’s blackface picture in his yearbook is not disqualifying, but that former GOP Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott’s harmless compliment to centenarian Senator Strom Thurmond in 2002 was.
Being able to criticize the Chinese travel ban in February as racist and xenophobic and then turn around in April and say it did not go far enough.
Believing that masks were useless in March of this year, but required now, with no realization that you have switched opinions.
The left engages in Orwell’s crimestop every day. If you show a leftist a picture of a man claiming to be transgender beside a picture of a real woman, they will not be able to articulate a difference. Perhaps they are not even pretending – crimestop comes as naturally as doublethink once you have trained yourself. This is why arguing with the left about crime statistics, for example, is so difficult. You can show them plainly that blacks commit a disproportionately higher number of violent crimes per capita than whites, and they will act as if you are talking gibberish. No matter what facts you employ, their answer is always the same: You are racist.
Doublethink is a natural side effect of the erosion of truth. Once you discard truth as a foundational concept, and replace it with competing narratives, then there is no reason to be bound by any one idea. Switching between contradictory premises is as simple as changing the channel on the TV. Like the Party members in “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” many of our elected officials and media figures have so completely internalized this modern doublethink that they do not even realize they are doing it. They have zero cognitive dissonance. Truth is whatever we say it is at any given moment.
The final component of the thought control in Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is in the way the Party constantly rewrites the past. The main character of the novel, Winston Smith, is a worker drone for the Ministry of Truth, which is (as he says) concerned with lies. The job of the Ministry of Truth is not only to broadcast daily propaganda, but also to continually go back and “fix” past newspapers, books, and other media to make it match current doctrine. For example, if Winston’s nation of Oceania goes to war with Eurasia, then Winston must go back and alter records to say that Oceania was always at war with Eurasia. Eventually they make peace and go to war with the other superpower, Eastasia, at which time Winston has to go back again and change things to match the new situation. “Who controls the past controls the future,” the Party says. “Who controls the present controls the past.” Without any documentation to back up their memories, citizens are forced to accept the new reality and alter their thinking to match. Anyone who disagrees is obviously insane, right?
This too is going on in America today. The 1619 Project is one example of rewriting the past to fit today’s narrative. Even recent events are being memory-holed. The truth that Michael Brown was shot after assaulting a shopkeeper and attacking Officer Darren Wilson has been replaced with the lie that he had his hands in the air when he was murdered by a racist policeman. The truth about the virtues of our Founding Fathers is being replaced by a narrative that they were all horrible people because of the existence of slavery. On the other hand, the truth about black criminals such as George Floyd and Jacob Blake are also being erased in favor of a narrative that paints them as innocent and wonderful human beings who were attacked by racist police simply because of their skin color.
It is not only facts that are being reinterpreted. Everyone has an inner sense of beauty and aesthetics, but those too are being twisted by our cultural content creators. Truth, beauty, and love are all being perverted. In “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” Orwell explains that in the ultimate socialist utopia, “There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness.” In America today, marvelous marble statues of our heroes are torn down by angry mobs, while graffiti and vandalism are promoted as authentic art. Former first lady Michelle Obama, who is… homely by any objective measure, continues to appear on fashion magazines, while First Lady Melania Trump is blacklisted, despite being a literal supermodel and one of the most objectively beautiful women on earth.
Traditional feminine beauty is despised, while three-hundred-pound land whales are held up as a new standard of beauty. White nuclear families are called Nazis, while dysfunctional homosexual relationships are put up on pedestals. The great works of Rembrandt or Michelangelo are dismissed as white colonialist culture, while the farce that is modern art is praised. Modern architecture seems deliberately made to kill your soul, while classical buildings make one feel proud to be human. The difference between ugliness and truth was displayed during the competing National Conventions last week. The Democrats trotted out aging drug-addled rockers and disgusting young pop stars who seem obsessed with bodily functions, while the Republicans capped off their convention with a magnificent performance by an Italian opera singer. Do not let anyone tell you that beauty is purely subjective.
Once you dismiss empirical truth, all you have left is narratives, and the left believes that their narrative is superior. Many on their side truly believe this, that there is no such thing as truth, and so when they see us arguing for what we call “truth,” all they see is a narrative of oppression. In their minds, the only reason anyone would promote such oppressive narratives is out of selfishness and greed. St. Antony, a Christian monk of the third century, once said, “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.’” Postmodern discourse is utter madness. Critical Theory is working to remove all traces of truth, facts, and even beauty from society and replace them with their preferred narratives.
G.K. Chesterton saw it coming a century ago:
“We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening a mob with the news that grass is green.”
Yet this is not just about propaganda. They are not just seeking to convince us that we are wrong, and they are right. English writer Theodore Dalrymple explains:
“Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.”
If we accept the lie that George Floyd was murdered by racist cops, then we are divorcing ourselves from the truth. If we go along with the absurd lie that a castrated man is a woman, then we are killing part of our own souls. We become complicit in the insanity, and eventually we become part of the system itself, turning and pointing at thought criminals and demanding they be punished for not joining us in the big lie. A perfect example of this phenomenon is superstar NFL quarterback Drew Brees, who tweeted out support for the American last spring. Brees, a white man, father, and patriotic American, did not realize that the paradigm had shifted this year and was quickly attacked by the left for daring to oppose the BLM movement. He retracted his statement, gave an apology, then did penance by attacking President Trump for continuing to support the flag.
Like Winston Smith, we torture our brains until we actually believe that two plus two can equal five, if we want it enough. During his mental reprogramming, Winston cries because his logical mind cannot conceive of two plus two being anything but four. His torturer responds, “Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
George Orwell did get everything perfectly right. He thought the government would ban sex to control people, but today we are flooded with sexual imagery. Huxley was more correct here – sex is not banned, but rather is made meaningless. Orwell also thought the government would control all information, but today information is controlled and manipulated not by a central government but instead by a multi-headed leviathan consisting of government departments, so-called hatewatch groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Big Tech monopolies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. It is these Big Tech companies that are the modern-day Ministry of Truth. During the panic over COVID19, these companies appointed themselves the arbiters of medical truth and banned anyone who suggested treatments such as hydroxychloroquine that were considered politically incorrect. After a young man named Kyle Rittenhouse shot two antifa thugs in self defense in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week, both Facebook and Twitter banned users for expressing support for Kyle, while allowing or even promoting support for the violent antifa rioters. While these companies are not the government, they have become nearly as powerful, and can easily ruin one’s business or one’s life without a second thought.
What Orwell got right, however, is the way in which Critical Theorists are redefining language so as to control our thoughts. The endurance of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is a testament to how accurate Orwell’s observations of the socialist mindset have been. Consider that words and phrases that I have used in this essay such as “Thought Police,” “Newspeak,” “unperson,” “memory hole,” “wrongthink,” “doublethink,” and the “Ministry of Truth” were all coined by Orwell in his book; yet they have become common in our vernacular.
Truth exists and it matters. Two plus two will always equal four, no matter what Twitter, Facebook, Google, Harvard, or the SPLC say. The lesson of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is that human beings are easily malleable. If we do not have a foundation of truth, we can be made to believe anything. We must maintain that foundation. Build a library of old books. Download copies of articles and videos before they are inevitably altered or destroyed. Teach your children the empirical truths of the universe. Our fathers built the greatest society in the history of the world because they believed in truth. We are the heirs of a civilization that was built upon the twin pillars of Greek empiricism and the capital T Truth that God revealed through His Scripture. Those pillars are under heavy attack today from the socialist left, the Critical Theorists, and all the other enemies of God and truth. When the dust settles, truth will still be truth. A will still be A. Two plus two will still equal four.
Everybody has heard the parable of the frog in hot water. Supposedly, if you toss a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will feel pain and jump out. However, the story goes, if you put a frog in cold water and slowly raise the temperature, it will continually acclimate itself and not realize that the water has become dangerous until it is too late. A real frog would probably notice the increasing temperature and leave the pot before being scalded to death, but human beings often lack that sort of foresight.
Consider the changes that we have experienced in the United States of America over the past century. If Rip Van Winkle fell asleep in 1920 and awoke today, the world would be nearly unrecognizable. Technology has changed, for sure, but even greater changes have happened at the cultural level. Society’s views on marriage, family, religion, immigration, foreign policy, the value of work, and basic decorum has undergone tremendous shifts over the last hundred years. Sometimes public opinion and morality evolves naturally, but sometimes it is pushed with purpose. Consider that just twelve years ago a large majority of Americans were against gay marriage, so much so that even the Democratic primary candidates all agreed that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. This was followed by a massive propaganda barrage coming out of politics, media, entertainment, and academia, to the point where a majority of Americans today support so-called gay marriage.
We, the frogs in the pot of water, often do not notice these changes, or the speed at which they take place. We are distracted by our daily lives, the tremendous amount of entertainment options before us, and the minutiae of day-to-day politics. Sometimes it is helpful to step back and see exactly how much has changed, to compare today with a picture of yesterday. Only by being honest with ourselves about the state of our culture can we seriously prepare to restore it. Come with me on a journey back in time:
Imagine for that it is the year 1955. You are a young family man, a veteran of World War II, living a quiet and happy life. Television is just entering the zeitgeist, and you are considering purchasing a set for your family. You sometimes worry about nuclear war, considering the Soviet Union is testing their own atom bombs, but that is a distant care. You go to work each morning in a factory putting bolts on car frames, then you come home to your modest suburban house and spend the evening with your wife and three children. On Saturdays you mow the lawn, repair minor household issues, and play with the children On Sundays you take the family to the local Methodist church and spend the afternoon with friends and family. Life is good.
Science fiction books and movies have really become popular lately, and you cannot get enough of them. You fondly remember seeing War of the Worlds in the theater just a couple of years ago, and The Day the Earth Stood Still before that. You have a stack of books by Asimov, Bradbury, and Heinlein that you read before bed each night. The future looks amazing – in just a few years, humans will surely discover space travel, computers, new medicines, and by the end of the century they would no doubt be colonizing other worlds. Human potential seems limitless.
Some of the books you have recently read suggest a more depressing future, however. Robert Matheson’s “I Am Legend” was just published a few months ago, telling the story of a sole survivor of a global pandemic. Reading that had left you shaken. You wonder… what if things go wrong? What if technology proves too powerful for mankind to control? What if the old human vices of greed, anger, and envy override our desire for a better world, and plunge us back into another genocidal war? What if a new disease destroys 90% of the population? What if a totalitarian government comes to power and uses modern technology to oppress their people? What if the good times are just a temporary aberration in the long human history of poverty and conflict? It seems far-fetched, no?
Imagine you pick up a new science fiction book written by a famous author. This book takes place 65 years in the future. In this telling, mankind has not yet colonized the stars; rather we turned our attention toward making life as convenient and comfortable as possible for the people of earth. Technology in this book is amazing – men, women, and children all have handheld devices that connect them to a global information net, allowing them to instantly recall any piece of data, from song lyrics, to historical pictures, and even to live video of events happening on the other side of the world. Cars are sleek and fast, with computer-controlled autopilots and satellite-assisted navigation. Washing machines, refrigerators, coffee makers, thermostats, and doorbells all connect to the worldwide info net to operate as automatically as possible. People can order any product that is manufactured anywhere on earth and have it dropped on their doorstep the next day. You think about the vacuum cleaner that you just bought for your wife last Christmas. In the novel, those have gone out of style and now everyone owns a robot that cleans the floors all by itself during the night.
Work has become simpler in the future. As you crack your knuckles, sore and raw from turning wrenches all day, you read about how most Americans work behind desks now, or even from the comfort of their own home. The info net makes it so a man can earn a living from anywhere, carrying an impossibly tiny computer screen with him wherever he goes. Many Americans do hardly any work at all. Some go to school for years upon years, others do odd jobs as taxi drivers or food couriers, and some are just paid by the government simply for existing. You wonder how such a culture could come about – after all, none of the other men you know would be shameless enough to give up working for a living.
As you continue reading this story, you are struck by how soulless this future world has become. The government requires everyone to wear face masks, even in the privacy of their own homes. They say it is to protect people from a deadly virus that is sweeping the globe, but some characters wonder if this is actually true. The author himself does not seem to come down on any solid position. Yet most people dutifully follow the rules, making grocery stores look like hospital wards. Everywhere they turn, characters are reminded to maintain a certain distance between themselves and others. The result is a sterile public square, where you are unable to see facial expressions, and people fearfully keep their distance lest they catch the virus, or worse, be admonished by government agents and shamed by millions of people watching live video. This sterile, antiseptic world feels like the far future of Clarke’s “Childhood’s End,” where humanity has made enormous technological advances but lost any reason for living. You suddenly feel a new appreciation for the warm social interactions that make up your day – the firm handshake of the pastor at church, the smile on the faces of children you pass in the street, the hugs from family members visiting from afar. We would never allow things to go that far, you think.
You remember feeling unnerved by the idea of the ubiquitous Thought Police after reading Orwell’s “1984” a while back. This novel seems to have the same idea, without the catchy name. People are told to watch what they say, not only in person or in print but also in the millions of messages that are passed back and forth across the info net. Saying the wrong thing can get one banned from the net or even fired from his job. Huge corporations maintain an ever-shifting list of thoughts that are considered wrong, and if you are found to have ever had one of these wrong thoughts you are blacklisted from society. The net remembers things you said years or even decades ago, and specially trained informants will often dig through your history to find something incriminating. This leads people to guard their thoughts carefully, and it is often difficult to determine what someone genuinely believes. For many people, socially approved slogans have completely replaced independent thought, and breaking this conditioning is nearly impossible. Public discourse has been reduced to discussions about television shows and sports games, while any subject of value has been made off-limits.
The family is unrecognizable as well. You look around at your household – you, the husband and father, are the breadwinner, while your wife keeps the home, raises the children, and takes part in social events in the community. Your three children attend a good school where they learn science, math, history, and grammar. Yet the hypothetical future you are reading about has discarded that structure, calling it backwards, racist, sexist, and wrong. Men and women both go to work, often leaving their children with a nanny or in a centralized care center run by other women. Few men and women even bother getting married anymore, rather they have sexual relations with whomever they please, and sometimes live together before separating. The few who still live in the traditional manner are sneered at as backwards and prudish. Children now grow up in families of two mothers, or two fathers, or even three or more people. They often have numerous half-siblings, or sometimes no siblings, as many parents specifically want only one child. Children are taught that sex is just a social construct, and that if they want, they can take drugs or have surgery to change themselves into the opposite sex, or something in between. Parents have little control over what their children are taught, sending them to schools that force this new and modern worldview on them starting at age five. You shudder at the thought of your children’s school turning into the nightmarish propaganda machines that you are reading about. Thankfully, it seems impossible that such a world could ever come to be.
News media is unreliable in this future world. According to the author, the United States triumphed in the Cold War without resorting to nuclear annihilation, yet American journalism became its own version of the Soviet Pravda, where the only way people knew something was true was when news media officially denied it. Citizens instinctively distrust the news, and they only read and listen to stories that support their existing biases. There are hundreds or even thousands of channels on the info net delivering news and entertainment, but the line between those two things is blurred. You would think that in a future where everyone has the ability to record and to watch live video at any given moment that the truth would be easy to discern, but the opposite is true: media spends much of their time telling you not believe what you just saw.
You are confused about a few things. The author said in the introduction that America won the Cold War in this timeline, yet there are outspoken politicians in America pushing for socialism. The author said that black people gained equal civil rights in the 1960s, yet racial strife seems to be a driving factor in for future strife. Future citizens have instantaneous access to the sum of all human knowledge, yet the process of learning, philosophy, and science has degenerated into name calling, accusations of excess privilege, and endless deconstruction. None of this makes any sense.
The streets are not safe in this future world either. Big cities, which in your own time are places full of wonder, demonstrating the heights of human architectural ingenuity, are now broken down, dirty, strewn with trash and feces and leftover hypodermic needles. At night, roving bands of angry young people come out and burn down buildings and fight with police officers, who seem powerless to stop them. Sometimes a character in the story makes a wrong turn while driving through the city at night and finds his car surrounded by these feral youths, who surround him, hit his vehicle with rocks and clubs, and demand he stop and allow them to beat and rob him. Panic runs through his body, and he wants to floor the gas and escape, but he remembers the story of the last man who did that – he went to prison for life. Where are the police to keep order, you wonder? Where is the government?
Government in this world is entirely broken. You think of your own government – President Eisenhower is a calm and fatherly influence on the country, and despite being of the opposite party, Senator Johnson and Speaker Rayburn work together with the president to maintain peace and prosperity. Despite their disagreements, Congress is full of serious adults. Not so in the novel you are reading. Politicians are childish and vain, going on the info net and calling each other infantile names and using gross profanity and vulgarity. Politicians abuse their authority to investigate and undermine their opponents rather than engaging in serious debate. Politics in the future is full of hatred and violence, and it feels like open warfare is primed to break out at any moment. You are almost afraid to turn the page. Is the author already planning a sequel where America is plunged into a second civil war?
You think about how far humanity has come in your own lifetime. You remember growing up in the Depression – times were hard, but families stuck together and helped each other, and they made it through okay. You remember marching through France in 1945, seeing the depths of human depravity in war and even genocide. That was behind you now, and both you and the world were recovering from the experience. Why would anyone choose to go backwards, to return to a time of violence, of wanton destruction? Why would anyone want to read about such a depressing future?
You have had enough. You close the book and toss it in the trash can. None of the conveniences of life promised by this vision of the future are worth the soullessness and social destruction that has been wrought upon the country you love. Why bother reading this garbage when all it will do is depress you? You look out your bedroom window, feeling wistful. The last hints of sunset are fading on the horizon, and the stars are beginning to appear in the sky. You can still hear children playing in the summer twilight, children without a care in the world. It is 1955, and America’s best days are ahead of her. She has conquered tyranny, created unlimited prosperity, and there is nowhere to go but up.
Now, return to the present day. Take a look around. Check the headlines. Take a walk to the grocery store and look at the faces of the shoppers. Drive through downtown Portland, Detroit, or San Francisco – if you dare. Do not bother asking if such a situation can happen here – it already did. What would have been a dystopian horror in 1955 is our reality today. Consider the world that we have lost; the world that was taken from us. Consider how we can build that world again.
This post has been a long time coming. It has been sitting in my drafts folder since January of 2019, just a few weeks after I first created this blog. I have long believed that a blind faith in the continued existence of the indivisible United States of America is a weakness that prevents us from doing what is necessary to prepare for her eventual fall. The message of this blog and podcast is not hopelessness, but preparation. Those who do not read history are condemned to repeat it, while those that do are condemned to play the part of Cassandra.
Nearly two years ago I had the idea to start a blog and a podcast that chronicled the decline and fall of the United States as it happened in real time. I remember reading stories about bridges collapsing and trains derailing and I wondered how future encyclopedias would write of this era in American history. I realized that they would sound just like our own entries on the end of the Roman Empire, or the Ottoman Empire, or many other bygone civilizations. I was not the first to notice this trend, of course. Aaron Clarey wrote his magnum opus “Enjoy the Decline” nearly a decade ago, and many other pundits and thinkers have been writing about the downward trajectory of American culture for even longer than that. Vox Day famously predicted that the United States will have collapsed in some fashion by 2033. I have humbly tried to add my voice to the chorus, to create a contemporary record of the decline and fall of a once-great nation, and to give whatever advice I could to those who would preserve her memory when she is gone.
Every empire, every great civilization rises and falls. Sometimes that fall is gradual, as when the Western Roman Empire slowly collapsed, leaving Europe a patchwork of formerly barbarian tribes that eventually grew into the kingdoms of the medieval era. Sometimes it is sudden, as when the French Revolution toppled the ancien regime seemingly overnight. Sometimes it is gradual, then sudden, as when the Austrians – the successors to the long-lived Holy Roman Empire –found themselves unable to keep pace with the great powers in World War I and were picked apart by the victorious allies. Sometimes a shell of the old empire remains, as with Great Britain after World War II. Sometimes a civilization collapses, only to be reborn as something different, as when the Roman Republic transformed into the Empire. It remains to be seen which form the ultimate fall of America will take.
Despite these examples from history, there are many in America who, even today, believe that it cannot happen here. The United States of America is special, they say, and the regular patterns of history do not apply to us. Some believe that there is an exceptionalism about the American people that will save us from the same historical forces that have destroyed other empires in the past. Some even suggest that there is a magical quality in our very dirt that makes us different. Many conservative Christians believe that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are inspired by God Himself, just a step below the level of Holy Scripture, and that the American people are a modern-day version of biblical Israel – chosen by God to spread the gospel throughout the world.
After all, many of America’s founders saw something uniquely divine about the way this country was born. How else can you explain how a ragtag band of colonial soldiers defeated the greatest military power on the planet? By any rational account, George Washington and his army should have been finished several times over, but they nevertheless claimed a final victory at Yorktown. How else can you explain how the United States rose from obscurity to become the greatest industrial, economic, and cultural power the world has ever seen? In the blink of an eye, our country went from exploring the continent to exploring the moon. It is clear that God has blessed America throughout her history.
In 1938, as war loomed on the European horizon, Jewish American songwriter Irving Berlin revised his 1918 version of “God Bless America” with some new words:
While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free.
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer:
God bless America, land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.
One could argue that this prayer on behalf of the American people worked. While Europe and Asia were devastated by war, the United States thrived, coming out of the conflict with the greatest economy in the world. As the Cold War began, America stood for Christianity and freedom, while the godless Soviet Union stood for secular atheism and slavery. God blessed America indeed. Yet what did we do with those blessings? We sent tens of thousands of young men to die in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. We fomented revolution throughout the world, ostensibly for the sake of freedom. We threw off the shackles of Christian morality in the 1960s. We outsourced the very manufacturing economy that once provided good jobs to millions of American families. We won the Cold War, then imported the very socialist ideas that doomed the Soviet Union in the first place. While the eastern European nations that suffered the most under the yoke of Communism have come out of the crucible with renewed Christian fervor, we used our freedom to engage in all sorts of degenerate ideas and practices.
The song “God Bless America” became popular again after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, being sung everywhere from baseball stadiums to the US Capitol Building. As we watched foreign agents using our own technology against us, killing three thousand people in a single morning, we once again united as a nation to implore God to bless our country and to keep her safe from the dark night. Yet that unity did not last long, and it is difficult to see exactly how God has blessed us this time. Sure, our economy quickly recovered, and we have not suffered any further attacks of that magnitude, but now we face internal and external pressures like never before. America needs God more than ever now, but does God still want America? The question few on the conservative Christian right dare to ask is “Why should God bless America?”
Despite what some conservatives believe, the American people are not the capital-P People of God. That distinction belongs to the worldwide capital-C Church, which is the Body of Christ. The United States might once have been useful to God for the furthering of the Gospel, but that utility seems dubious today. Later in this piece I will take a discuss some of the reasons why God might not be inclined to continue blessing America as He once did, but first, let us walk through the history of God’s original chosen people.
The book of Genesis teaches that the people of the world built the Tower of Babel in order to reach and perhaps even conquer Heaven, so God scattered them by giving them each a different language. Out of the chaos He picked one man, Abram, and called him to come out from the pagan tribes and follow Him alone. Calling the man Abraham now, God promised that he would be the father of many nations. Three generations later, however, Abraham’s descendants were forced to leave the land of the promise for Egypt due to a famine. Their Egyptian hosts eventually decided to enslave them, and for four centuries the people of Israel toiled in a land that was not their own.
The people persisted, so God decided to let them have what they wanted and let them have it good and hard. Their first king, Saul, was everything a king should be – tall, handsome, strong, charismatic – yet he ended up going mad. The second king, David, did not initially look the part but eventually made Israel into a regional power, despite his own personal failings. David’s son Solomon ruled over a golden age for Israel, building a magnificent Temple and expanding their borders to their greatest extent. His son, however, could not maintain control and the kingdom fell into civil war. The House of David ruled over the Southern Kingdom of Judah after the Northern Kingdom of Israel split away.
Throughout the Old Testament, God continually promised Israel that He would protect and nurture them as long so long as they did not worship other gods, yet Israel could never seem to hold to that bargain. Immediately after the civil war, the northern kingdom began worshiping idols due to their isolation from the Temple in Jerusalem. God delayed His judgment for several centuries, however, continually giving them a chance to repent, but eventually He allowed the bloodthirsty Assyrians to conquer the northern kingdom and scatter its people throughout their empire.
The southern kingdom fared somewhat better, but eventually they too met the same fate. The story of the kingdom of Judah is of apostasy followed by restoration followed by apostasy again. A wicked king leads the people into idolatry, then a good king restores the Law of Moses and proper worship, only for another wicked king to undo it all again. God eventually had enough. He allowed King Nebuchadnezzar to lay waste to Jerusalem, demolish Solomon’s Temple, and carry away the people of Judah into slavery in Babylon.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
Rather than using our freedom to honor our Lord and follow His ways, we squandered it on libertinism and degeneracy. Perhaps we are not so different from ancient Israel after all. Like America in the year 2020, God had extended His grace to the people of Judah because of the faithfulness of their fathers. Yet the patience of God is not eternal. Eventually He will exact judgment. The books of Isaiah and Ezekiel depict God’s message of doom for the people of Judah. In these prophecies, God explains not only how His people will be punished but specifically why they are being judged. Like an unfaithful wife, the people of Israel continually left their first love for the temporary pleasures of the world. God gave Israel its just deserts by allowing it to be plundered by the very foreign powers they envied all along.
Yet the love of God is greater than we can comprehend. Despite their sin and idolatry, God allowed His people to return to their promised land. King Cyrus of Persia, after conquering the decadent Babylonians, allowed the Jews to go home and rebuild the Temple. There they stayed for several more centuries. The Persians eventually fell to Alexander the Great, whose generals ruled vast territories after his death. Judas Maccabeus led a revolt against King Antiochus, and for a brief time, Israel was a free nation again. In the year 63 BC, Roman general Pompey the Great was on a tour of conquest in the east. Two rival claimants to the Israelite throne approached Pompey, each offering bribes to secure his support against the other. This was short-sighted, however, as Pompey besieged Jerusalem and established Roman hegemony over the land. By the time of Christ, Israel was now Judaea: just another province of the vast Roman Empire.
It was in this place at this time that God chose to introduce His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the event that all human history had been building to, and it was the entire reason that God called Abram out of the paganism in the first place. The prophets of God had been telling of the coming Messiah, or Savior, for two thousand years. After Christ’s death and resurrection, many Jews heard His message and followed Him, becoming the first Christians. Yet the Jewish establishment resented Christ, denouncing Him as a liar, a charlatan, and a rebel. They had expected a Messiah who would free the Jews from Roman oppression, not one who would die for their sins. They persecuted the early church, but soon had bigger things to worry about. About thirty years after the Resurrection, the people of Judaea revolted against the Roman Empire. Titus, son of the Emperor Vespasian, laid siege to Jerusalem and eventually took the city by force. Like Nebuchadnezzar before him, Titus destroyed the Temple and carried off its riches to a foreign capital. Our Lord Jesus had known it was going to happen and had wept over Jerusalem before His death.
Several decades later, Simon bar Kokhba raised the remnant of the Jews in rebellion yet again. Some Jewish rabbis even proclaimed him to be the long-awaited Messiah who would finally throw off the Roman yoke. Yet it was not to be. The Romans once again took Jerusalem, this time forcibly scattering the Jews into what would become a two-millennium diaspora that only ended in 1948 with the establishment of the new State of Israel.
For a long time, the Christian Church believed that the destruction of the Second Temple and the scattering of the Jews were God’s judgment on the people of Israel for rejecting Jesus Christ, in the same way that Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the First Temple was judgment for their idolatry. This view has become politically incorrect today. After the Holocaust, many Christian leaders have been hesitant to condemn the historical Jewish people for much of anything out of fear of being labeled anti-Semitic. That is a discussion for another day, however. My point is that if God allowed such destruction to be visited upon His Chosen People back then, what hope do we have in America? If God does not judge America for our evil choices today, then what can we make of His justice? Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of the late evangelist Billy Graham, once said, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
When the Visigothssacked Rome in AD 410, it was the first time in eight hundred years that a foreign army had breached the gates of the eternal city. A century after Constantine, many Christians had already begun to associate the political power of Rome with the spiritual power of the Church. Watching their holy city on fire shook their faith tremendously. St. Augustine had to remind them that the true Kingdom of Heaven was not geographically located in a specific place on earth. God was bigger than Rome, and the sack of Rome did not mean the end of Christianity. In fact, it was only the beginning. Many conservative Christians, especially evangelical Protestants, see the United States of America as the New Rome, the modern political center of the Christian Church. We tend to ignore anything that happened between the Resurrection and the American Revolution. Like the 5th century Christians, however, we need a reminder that God is bigger than our national borders. Jesus Christ is not American. The Christian Church existed before American was founded and will endure long after America is gone. We must have the right perspective.
What of the United States of America in 2020? What have we done to deserve God’s continual blessings?
The great sin of the people of Israel was idolatry – abandoning the worship of the one true God in favor of idols carved by hand. We tend to think of idolatry as an ancient sin that does not affect us today, but consider this: How many times have you gone to a Sunday church service and seen men and women wearing football jerseys? How many parents have outsourced the teaching of truth to their children to mass media? How many so-called Christians place so-called “social justice” above the truth of the gospel of Christ? As I speak, a new secular religion is developing in America. This religion is based on racial division, on socialist economic theories, and it makes government our new god. Is this new American religion any different than when Israel turned to Baal and Asherah?
While our media makes headlines out of every death from COVID-19, our nation is still quietly murdering more than 200,000 unborn children per month. Even our conservative Christian elected officials find it difficult to muster the political willpower to stop government funding of abortion mills like Planned Parenthood, much less ban the barbaric practice entirely. Even when undercover video revealed that Planned Parenthood literally sells baby parts, most of America could not care less. Since the Supreme Court imposed legalized abortion on America in 1973, more than sixty million unborn babies have been brutally killed. That is more than ten Holocausts worth of human beings. Do we seriously expect God to bless America after all that?
Our media and public schools are pushing sexual propaganda on children as young as five years old. Pedophiles, homosexuals, and transgender activists have gotten themselves put in charge of curricula in our schools and are using their position to groom our children. Libraries host demonic-looking drag queens to propagandize children in the name of tolerance. Even cartoons are used to sexualize young children. One of the most grievous sins of ancient Israel was offering up their own children in sacrifice to the pagan god Moloch. Today in America, too many Christian parents offer up their children on the alter of inclusivity and tolerance, allowing them to be brainwashed and turned into broken degenerates. Even some conservative leaders tell us that transgenderism and drag queen story time are ok, just alternate lifestyle choices that we have no right to criticize. Our society castrates our boys and mutilates our girls, and when we speak out, we are called intolerant and hateful. Is God going to bless this America?
The United States could once have been called a Christian nation. Our founding documents all paid proper homage to God as the source of morality and justice in the world, and God was still a reality in media, in politics, and in schoolrooms as late as the 1960s. Today, nearly any public acknowledgement of the reality of God is denounced and censored in the name of tolerance. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, written to keep the federal government from establishing a specific denominational church such as the Church of England, has now been used to erase Christianity from the public sphere altogether. Courts force cities to remove crosses from public memorials, and schools go out of their way to pretend that Christmas and Easter do not exist. We have been propagandized to believe that traditional religion is something best kept to ourselves, even as the secular social justice religion is pushed down our throats at every turn. Should God bless an America that has explicitly rejected Him?
Public morality is a joke nowadays. Before the 1960s, people still committed fornication and adultery, and they were still covetous and deceitful, but everyone agreed that there was an objective moral standard. Today, not only have we erased the standard, we have inverted it. Chastity and faithfulness are mocked. Honesty is ridiculed. Whereas Christianity traditionally preached that there were seven especially deadly sins, the modern secular religion has turned those sins into virtues. Pride is now celebrated, especially pride in the most degenerate practices. Envy is at the heart of socialism, which is becoming more popular each day. Lust is promoted all over mass media. It would be one thing if Americans were simply falling short of a moral ideal – nobody is perfect. However, today we glory and boast of our great sins. Do you expect God to bless an America that calls good evil and evil good?
Charitable organizations take your money to make their CEOs rich. Government taxes us to death in order to fund foreign wars and promote gay rights in Africa. The conservative movement could not even conserve the women’s restroom. Churches skip the gospel in favor of meaningless pablum and social justice nonsense. Tens of thousands of young people are dying from hopelessness in our cities and rural towns while we send missionaries to China. American Christians are too busy watching sports on television to care that their nation is rotting away. Young people are leaving American churches because they see through the façades, never realizing that that the capital-C Church is more than this pale imitation, and that the real Jesus Christ is more than they can imagine. Why should God bless an America that has allowed all these things to go on?
Thomas Jefferson once said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” Do you expect God’s justice to sleep forever, and His grace toward the United States to remain in place for all time? If God judged Israel, then surely God will judge America.
If you are wondering what God’s judgment might look like in the future, I have some bad news for you: It is already happening.
Dr. James White of Apologia Church mentioned in one of his recent livestreams that one of the effects of being under God’s judgment is the placement of weak and unscrupulous judges over the people. Look at what our courts are doing today: District court judges are making things up as they go, abusing their authority to turn this country away from its traditional legal foundations. Rich, powerful, and politically connected people get away with most anything, while the average Joe is punished. Anarcho-tyranny reigns in this country, from the highest levels of government down to the local district attorneys. Over the last fifty years, the Supreme Court has foisted upon us abortion, gay marriage, and transgender rights. Just last week they ruled that the State of Nevada could open casinos while closing churches. Is being ruled by such capricious judges a sign of God’s blessing or of God’s judgment?
The culmination of God’s judgment upon Israel was when He allowed Assyria and Babylon to carry them away to exile, far from their promised land. In America today, the opposite is happening. Rather than being carried off to foreign lands, our lands are becoming foreign to us. The posterity of America’s founders is being drowned out by new immigrants who have no loyalty to our fathers or their philosophies. In fact, many new Americans are outright hostile to the heritage of the very country to which they came. The Israelites had to watch as pagan foreigners tore down their monuments, even the glorious Temple of Solomon that was the center of both their religious and cultural life. Here, we too are forced to watch pagan foreigners tearing down our monuments. The statues of Robert E. Lee, Christopher Columbus, and Teddy Roosevelt are only the beginning, mind you. It will not be long before the woke faithful are sandblasting Stone Mountain and Mount Rushmore, toppling the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and bulldozing Mount Vernon and Gettysburg.
The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “may the Lord make it like that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God’s sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.
Nearly four centuries since Winthrop’s sermon, we look back and see the truth of what he said. America did become the city on a hill, an example of greatness and godliness to all mankind. Yet it also has become the “by-word throughout the world” that he feared. “God is not mocked,” the Scripture says, yet America is mocking God every day, and there will be a reckoning.
President Ronald Reagan invoked Winthrop’s sermon in his Farewell Address, suggesting that America was still a shining city on a hill. However, Reagan’s “morning in America” was only a brief respite on the road to judgment. Like King Josiah of Judah, who rediscovered the law and rededicated his people to the proper worship of God, President Reagan might have bought us a few more years of grace. Nevertheless, he could not stop our inevitable decline and fall. Perhaps the tenure of President Trump will be seen in the same light someday.
Roosh V, the former pick-up artist turned Orthodox Christian, said on Twitter this week that, “It is coming to an end that we live with ease and comfort from the inheritance of the greater men who lived before us.”
America is already under judgment. It is too late to go back and fix things now. Empires rise and empires fall and asking God to bless America in her current state is farcical. The same God who allowed Israel to be wiped off the map is not going to save an even more decadent America. If God would not stop the Goths and the Vandals from sacking Rome in the 5th century, why should He stop the ongoing sack of America in the 21st?
There is a silver lining to all of this, however, and that is that God always saves a remnant of His people. When Babylon sacked Jerusalem and carried the people of Judah off to exile, a remnant returned and rebuilt the Temple. When the Romans sacked Jerusalem and scattered the Jews to the four corners of the earth, a remnant believed in Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah. When the Muslims overran nearly all of Spain, the tiny Christian kingdom of Asturias survived and began the long Reconquista. When God finishes judging the United States of America, be assured that a remnant will survive to continue living out the gospel of Jesus Christ. This remnant will be purified by the fires of judgment – they will not be lukewarm like the modern American church has become. Following the zeitgeist is always the easier road than standing up for eternal truth, but a reckoning is coming. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Pray that you and your family will be part of the remnant. Raise your children in such a way that they will be prepared to lead that remnant back to the hard and narrow way. Do not let yourself become too attached to creature comforts, cheap trinkets, or nostalgia about the America that was. Do not be like the Jews who were looking for the wrong Messiah because they longed for a return to the golden age of yesterday. There is no going back, only forward. Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war; with the cross of Jesus going on before.
We have grown soft over the past few decades. Our future is not likely to be so. It has been incredibly easy to be a Christian in America up until now. Think about the life of a Christian in 2nd century Rome or 8th century Spain. Picture the life of a Christian in Communist China or Iraq today. That is the future that surely awaits the Christian church of America in the coming decades. Last weekend, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church held services against an explicit ban by the governor of California, who threatened to shut off their water and power if they proceeded. It was a bold stand, but it is nothing compared to the courage that will be needed in the future. Yet it is in persecution that the Church is forged and refined. At the close of his sermon on Sunday, MacArthur proclaimed that, “This is not a problem to be feared. This is a triumphant hour for the Church to be the Church.”
Let us close with a prayer that God bless America once again. Remember, though, that America is not just a place, and it is not merely an idea. America is a nation; it is a people – specifically the people who came to these shores hundreds of years ago. Remember that one of the reasons our fathers came here in the first place was to worship God outside the constraints of both Rome and Westminster. Let us pray that God bless our families and our communities, that God bless our children and their children, and that God preserve in us a remnant of Western Civilization and the America that was, and perhaps will be again. May God will find us faithful when having faith is difficult. May we be the remnant that will endure the hard times to come.
Throughout the month of June 2020, a motley group of black activists, antifa rioters, and lazy bums occupied half a dozen city blocks in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. This Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or Capitol Hill Occupy Protest, depending on who you ask, stood for weeks as a symbol of inspiration for the socialist left and of derisive mockery for those on the right. The day after protesters claimed the streets and put up barricades, Seattle’s extreme left-wing mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted, “The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone is not a lawless wasteland of anarchist insurrection – it is a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world.” A month later, after several people were murdered in street fights in the CHAZ and the protesters made their way to her house, Durkan began singing a different tune. Finally allowed to do their jobs, the Seattle Police Department quickly cleared the occupation.
The CHAZ was an example of left-wing localism, and like most left-wing attempts at community autonomy it failed spectacularly. Some people in the CHAZ started a garden, but it was clear from most of the pictures that they had no clue as to what they were doing. If not for the pizzas delivered from a nearby Dominos, the denizens of the CHAZ might well have starved long ago. These people had absolutely no plan for self-sufficiency. The city of Seattle generously provided them with portable toilets – I hate to think about what it would have smelled like without them, much less with them. The modern socialist conception of community is a bunch of activists holding hands, singing songs, speaking truth to power, spraying graffiti on other peoples’ property, and marching for some vague and undefined concept of justice. However, they have no plan for food, water, waste, electricity, or the other things that separate humanity from the animal kingdom. Many of us on the right at least share the desire to escape the system. We envy our forefathers who left Old Europe for the New World, and then left the crowded east coast for the Old West. Many of us dream of escaping the rat race and building a cabin in the woods or a ranch in the prairie.
The socialist believes that human nature can be changed, with greed and ambition able to be removed from ourselves so that we can live in perfect cooperation. Left-wing communities are built upon this idea, relying on the cooperation of its members to survive. We all know that human nature is in fact unchangeable, which is why these experiments inevitably fail. Conservatives know that mankind is greedy and ambitious, and so our communities are based on the idea that we all contribute to society by doing what is best for ourselves and our families. Most right-wing experiments in self-sufficiency are never heard of because they quietly succeed. Only in cases where something goes horribly wrong, such as at Ruby Ridge or Waco, do they make the news. On the other hand, left-wing experiments usually fail, as the CHAZ did. The Oneida community in New York was a proto-socialist commune that existed for a few decades in the mid-19th century, which was still more successful than the hippy communes that have been tried ever since. It is ironic that, for all their socialist pretensions, the people of the CHAZ developed social structures such as walls and barricades, armed security, and strict vetting of visitors – the same things for which they call President Trump “fascist”.
The left-wing socialist worldview is of a nation built from the top down. They believe that the ideal government is one where all the smartest people are in charge, micromanaging the entire country from a distant capital. This sort of central planning means that government bureaucrats will decide how much money you earn, what goods and services will cost, what your children must learn in school, and how the land in your city or town is used. Government officials will decide what is allowed on television or YouTube, and what you can say on social media, in print, and even in person. Many leftist pundits and politicians in America look longingly at Communist China, where the government can decide to raze a village to put up a new factory, run freeways across any piece of land they please, or force millions of people to move across the country, all in the name of industrial progress. Here in the United States we have pesky things like property rights that get in the way of these utopian dreams. Many leftist pundits also envy the ability of the Chinese Communist Party to censor speech and control thought, and want to bring that to America as well.
It was this very idea of a distant tyranny that our founding fathers rebelled against in 1776. King George III and his Parliament had tried to micromanage the colonies from across the Atlantic Ocean. Many of these colonies had developed from the ground up – creating their own charters and representative governments – and they naturally resented the control exerted by their faraway monarch. They declared their independence, not only from Great Britain, but eventually from the idea of monarchy altogether. The new United States government would be one in which power ultimately resided with the people, growing from the ground up rather than the top down. The very words of the Declaration of Independence speak to this idea: “…to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This was indeed a revolution against the idea that kings were chosen by God to rule a people, or even that kings derived their powers from the consent of their lords. America was a populist nation from the very beginning.
The original thirteen states met together as sovereign bodies to form a confederation, joining themselves together under one flag for the purposes of defense and organization. The question of whether these sovereign states had the right to ever leave this confederation was not firmly answered until the Civil War. For the first century of the United States, the government in Washington DC was not interested in micromanaging the lives of its citizens, but instead remained focused on big picture issues. It was not until the progressive revolution of the early 20th century and the enormous expansions of federal power through the New Deal and Great Society that the federal government became interested in your personal life.
Today we find ourselves in an essentially totalitarian society, where a central government influences almost everything in our lives, and there is no way to escape its reach. The federal government has become an invisible yet ever-present third party to nearly every interaction and transaction within our communities. Every industry has mountains of federal regulations that businessmen must navigate lest they be fined out of existence, and that is on top of regulations at the state and city levels. Because our national bureaucracy has grown so powerful, activists on all sides spend a lot of time, energy, and cash to take control of that beast of a federal government. More than two billion dollars was spent in the 2016 presidential race, while more than ten billion was spent in House and Senate races in each of the last two election years. Every two and four years we fight like mad to see who controls the whole thing, while mostly ignoring what is happening at the local level. Too few Americans can name the president, vice-president, and their state’s senators and congressman. Of those who can, how many can name their own mayor and city council, or county commissioners? This is surely not how our founding fathers intended for this country to work.
The strongest civilizations in world history were always built from the ground up. The Roman orator Cicero summed it up over two thousand years ago: “The first bond of society is marriage; the next, our children; then the whole family and all things in common.” A man and a woman join themselves in marriage, which is the lowest and strongest bond in society. From that marriage come children, a family. These families join with people of the same background, the same beliefs, and the same common heritage to form communities. These communities form cities, and then states, and then a nation. Former House Speaker Tip O’Neil was fond of saying that “all politics is local.” The place where you can exert the most influence as at the lowest level – first in your own family, and then in your community, and then in your state.
A community is a group of people who trust each other. When a group of people shares a common culture and heritage, trust is high. There are still small towns in America where people do not feel the need to lock their doors at night, and where a man’s word is still his bond. A community where everyone knows everyone else, speaks the same language, goes to the same church, and trusts each other is one in which people do not fear being taken advantage of, or accosted by strangers and criminals. These are small remnants of what once made America great in the first place. Think about life before telecommunications were invented: A man’s community was everything to him. The life of a solitary mountain man was not for most people. A man and his neighbors shared and traded with each other, often went to the same church, and belonged to the same fraternal organizations. If there was a war to be fought, all the men of the community would join up together, and even fight together. For the pioneer and the city-dweller alike, community was life, but solitude was death.
Telephones and automobiles began the process of scattering communities across the country, while jet airplanes made it possible to go anywhere in the USA in less time than it took a man on foot to walk to the nearest town. Today, the internet enables a man to live in a cabin in the woods and still make a decent living working from home. The modern world has dissolved our old communities, leaving more than three hundred million Americans each with our own individual connections to the central government rather than to each other. Whereas atomization and solitude were deadly in the old days, now it is almost encouraged. Turn on the news, or social media, and you can join with millions of other spectators in watching the daily life of politicians, celebrities, actors, and musicians, while remaining blissfully unaware of what is going on in your own neighborhood. Such an atomized society is in danger of becoming entirely dependent on a central government to meet their needs, rather than trusting our own local communities. As our connections with the rest of the country have grown, we have gone from being a high trust society to a low trust society. We have become familiar with the national news stories and personalities while fearing the unknown in our own neighborhoods. Hence, we lock our doors.
While many conservatives were focused at the top – the White House, the Senate, the Supreme Court – the left slowly and surely took over our communities. Over the past few years, various left-wing groups – many of whom are funded by George Soros – have been spending a great deal of money to get their candidates elected to local positions such as District Attorney and Secretary of State. What the right realized perhaps too late is that people in these positions have much more opportunity to influence or even ruin our lives and our communities than do the people in Washington DC. We have all seen the stories about rioters being released from jail with no charges filed by Democratic prosecutors while law-abiding people who host a church service or open a hair salon in violation of the coronavirus lockdown face prison time. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, a black man running for reelection amid his own scandals, charged the police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks last month with felony murder, even though the officer was just doing his job. Just this week, a California couple was charged with a hate crime for painting over a giant “Black Lives Matter” mural that was stenciled into a city street. The District Attorney charging the couple is Diana Becton, who was elected in 2018 with support from a George Soros-funded political action committee. Elections matter; local elections matter!
I often lament the anarcho-tyranny that is going on throughout our society, but in a way, we have let this happen. While we were distracted by the national stories and the political horse races, the left just walked in and took control of our cities and towns. We tend to grow complacent during good times, taking for granted our local elective offices and figuring that they will continue to operate as they always have. We look at the presidential election map, see that our state has been red for the last fifty years, and figure everything will be okay. Then one day we wake up and see our local prosecutor is charging a driver for failing to allow themselves to be beaten by an angry mob. We see our local elections officials certifying obviously fraudulent votes. We see our local Republican leadership suddenly full of progressives who took over the party because they were willing to spend the time and energy to do it while we sat at home posting on Twitter. We look at the electoral map and suddenly realize we are living in a blue state.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to represent my community as an alternate delegate at my state’s Republican Convention. Political conventions are one of the few remaining expressions of pure American tradition, along with county fairs, rodeos, and high school football games. (Is it any wonder that these are the things are being canceled by extreme left-wing governors?) It was at this event that the state party platform was finalized, that party officers were elected, and that measures were drafted to be sent to the GOP representatives in the legislature. This is where the direction of the ship of our state was decided. Over the next few months, the engine of that ship will be revved as party volunteers work hard to get out the vote for Republican candidates.
I know that the Republican Party is far from perfect. They tend to pander for minority votes, they are far too quick to apologize, and they often attack our own side with much more vigor than they spend fighting the left. However, elections in America are usually a binary choice, and the Republican candidate is almost always going to be the better option for liberty and freedom. Third parties in America simply do not work. At the presidential level, a third party has not won a single electoral vote since 1968, when Governor George Wallace carried the South. Libertarians and Greens sometimes gain ground at the local level, but like most of us their attention is usually diverted by the national elections. Whatever political capital the Libertarians gain at the local level is always wasted on quixotic campaigns by candidates like Gary Johnson or Jo Jorgenson. The best way for American patriots to fight for the cause of liberty is to work within your local Republican Party. Local politics are important, but 99% of people simply go to the polls for the big elections and assume that everything else is in good hands. It is up to you to be those hands.
A great example of this is the 2012 Republican presidential primary. Mitt Romney became the nominee, while outspoken libertarian Ron Paul came in a distant third. However, many young people were inspired by Paul’s stance on liberty and so made the time to gain influence in their local parties. They pushed for more liberty-minded positions in the party platform and took over many party officers’ seats. Actions like these are not as exciting as presidential rallies, but they make a difference over time. One could argue that the groundwork for President Trump in 2016 was at least partly laid by the Ron Paul faction in 2012. We tend to think about party leadership being comprised of a brahman class of Ivy Leaguers sitting around making rules in distant smoky rooms, but like America herself, the parties are built from the ground up. One day you go to a local party meeting, the next you are at the convention, you volunteer to knock on some doors, and in a few years you are a Precinct Committee Officer, or a District Chairman, or even the State Chairman. The future belongs to those who show up.
In general, the Right wants to be left alone, while the Left wants to impose a totalitarian socialist state. This puts us at a disadvantage right off the bat. Many on our side did not even realize we were under attack until it was too late. Astoundingly, there are some who still do not take the left’s war on America seriously. Some on the right still give the left the benefit of the doubt, assuming that we can all peacefully disagree over policy. Some still believe that we can vote our way out of this mess, or that the courts are going to save us. Many on the right assume that when the shooting starts, our side will easily win. None of these things are guaranteed. The left is organized, while we are not. The left has a vision of what their America could be, while we cling to rose-colored memories of the America that was.
No man is an island. As much as we all fantasize about retreating to our wilderness redoubts and holing up in our guarded compounds to wait out the coming storm, that is not realistic for most people. Security will not be found in mountain hideouts but in your local community. We must regain the sense of community that our forefathers took for granted, before telephones, the internet, and 24/7 cable news directed our attention elsewhere. As the entropy of our nation increases, the importance of maintaining close ties with your neighbors grows. When the federal government finally collapses under its own weight, then it will be up to governors and legislatures to lead their sovereign states again, as it was before the Civil War. If the socialist left completes their revolution and takes over Washington DC, then the strongest resistance will be from solid red states such as Oklahoma, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, and West Virginia. In states that have already fallen to the progressive revolution such as New York or California, remember that many counties in these states remain solidly conservative. Once secession starts happening – and mark my words, it will, one way or another – these red counties will find themselves united as lines on the map are redrawn.
As the decline and fall of the United States continues accelerating in the coming years it is important to know who will have your back. All politics is local, and America is built from the ground up. The time to start building community is today. You can find allies all around you: in your local political party, your local Chamber of Commerce, gun clubs, homeschool groups, and even neighborhood associations. If you look around and find that you are the only conservative in your city, then perhaps it is time to move. Remember, though, that our media has a vested interest in convincing us that we stand alone. They fear a united conservative citizenry in America. Even in blue states and blue cities, there might be more on our side than you think. Perhaps they are waiting for you to reach out and build the bonds that will form a new community. Just as it was three hundred years ago, solitude means death, but the tribe, the community, will live. The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives. Build your pack today so you can survive what is coming tomorrow.
I assumed that I would eventually be banned from Twitter. They eventually come for all truth-tellers: Milo Yiannopoulos, Zerohedge, Laura Loomer, Katie Hopkins… they will surely ban President Trump the moment they think they can get away with it. This week, the priestly censors came for me.
Oddly enough, it was not for my viral tweet suggesting that, in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, that President Trump should rule like a king. It was not for my habitual use of the “drooling retard” meme. It was not even for my retweets of notorious thought criminals like Nick Fuentes, Ann Coulter, or Jon Del Arroz. No, it was for an entirely innocuous tweet reminiscing about the boxes of food that graced my kitchen counter as a child:
Perhaps an algorithm went overboard looking for any mention of Aunt Jemima, after the Quaker Oats company inexplicably bowed to mob pressure to remove the character from their artificial syrup products. Rather than deleting the tweet and serving my twelve hour sentence, I appealed, because this ban was capricious and absurd.
Thirty-six hours later, no response. Sure, it would have been quicker in retrospect to simply give in. But that is what they want us all to do. They want us to simply accept their arbitrary and capricious rules, granting them the moral authority to determine what speech is acceptable in the public square. I do not wish to grant them that legitimacy. Twitter, Facebook, and Google have captured a near-monopoly of social media discourse, and are now using their power to decide what we are allowed to discuss. It is long past time for the government to treat these companies as common carriers. The phone company is not allowed to disconnect you because you said something they disagreed with; so it should be with social media.
I am just a small person in the grand scheme of things; a writer and thinker with a few hundred followers. This (hopefully temporary) ban does not impact my ability to pay the bills or provide for my family. What if it did, though? What if I had a business that relied on Twitter or other social media outlets to gain and maintain clients? What if I sold books or other content through social media? Social media companies should not have the power to ruin someone’s livelihood on the whim of some low-level social justice warrior employee. I know of many content creators on YouTube who were making a good living, only for the company to suddenly demonetize their entire library without explanation. This is wrong, but this is also a warning that we should be careful about relying on companies that hate us.
I have learned a few things from this short vacation from Twitter. First, I did not realize how much I had come to rely on Twitter to keep up on breaking news. I do not watch TV, and I generally stay away from big news websites. I follow a wide enough variety of people on Twitter that if something important or interesting happens, I hear about it fairly quickly. For the past two days I have felt like I am living in a bubble, blissfully unaware of what is going on in the wider world.
Second, there exists an entire alternate universe of people who have been banned by mainstream social media. The problem with finding free speech replacements for Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube is that there are so many options. The reason Twitter is the modern day public square is because that is where the public is. No other platform has as many people, from President Trump himself to CEOs, journalists, professors, authors, movie producers, and millions of regular people like me. Every alternative platform bills itself as the new and better Twitter, but how do you choose? One exile might choose Gab, another chooses Parler, another chooses Minds, and another chooses Mastadon. Scott Adams recently promoted Locals, while Ramzpaul has moved over to Slug. If you want to keep in touch with them all, you have to sign up for half a dozen new services. Nobody has time for that.
In any case, I signed up for Parler and followed a few people. It looks like Twitter, but many of the people who post there are exiles from Twitter. Conservative activist Laura Loomer, for example, was banned from all the mainstream social media sites years ago, but she has a prominent presence on Parler. She is currently running for Congress in Florida and seems to be the frontrunner. Yet she is not allowed to speak on most social media platforms. That sounds like election interference to me.
Finally, with so much happening in the world I was hoping to do another livestream soon, but I realized that most of the people who would be interested in watching are on… Twitter. That is where most of my audience is. Streaming without Twitter would be like talking to myself in an empty room. Clearly I need to diversify my presence on the web.
Again, I am just small potatoes here. I doubt I was targeted in any way; most likely an algorithm was too aggressive and Twitter just drags their feet on appeals as a matter of policy. My story, as well as those of the much more prominent writers and thinkers who have been summarily banned, shows that we need regulation of this new public square in order to ensure our speech remains free. Libertarians can argue all they want about how Twitter, Facebook, and Google are “private companies” but the simple truth remains that these companies have enormous power over what can and cannot be discussed in public. In an age when schoolchildren are being doxxed for not sufficiently supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and where public figures are being fired and blacklisted for holding beliefs that run counter to the social justice zeitgeist, the need for free speech is greater than ever. We, who hold truth as a virtue, must fight for the right to speak that truth in public. The alternative is to give in to the persecution; to become an underground resistance to the totalitarian thought police.
I hope to have my Twitter account back soon. I will not give in, unless they force it, but I will wait out the appeal. In the meantime, find me on Gab and Parler, and maybe a few more alternative platforms soon. I also encourage you to visit and subscribe to the blog’s Telegram channel for updates and discussion.
Dan Carlin is one of the best podcasters in the business. While it takes him six months to put together just a single episode of the Hardcore History podcast, it is always worth the wait. He tells the story of what happened in history like few others can. In addition to Hardcore History, he has another podcast called Common Sense where he discusses current events within the context of history, sort of like the one published here. He presents himself as a centrist, which works well for teaching history, but listening to Common Sense makes it clear that he has a left-wing worldview. On a recent episode, Carlin was talking about why he thought President Trump was different than his predecessors, pointing out his Twitter account, exaggerated rhetoric, and executive orders as things that were not normal for the office of the Chief Executive. His point seemed to be that the unprecedented resistance to President Trump – from news media, both the Democratic and Republican party establishments, and even from within the federal government itself – was fomented, even justified, by Trump’s apparent perversion of normal politics.
With respect and trepidation, I must disagree with Mr. Carlin. I suggest that it was Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, that broke presidential politics.
Let us go back to the beginning. The peaceful transfer of power is one of the defining characteristics of American governance. Throughout world history, succession has always been a flash point for conflict. Medieval societies codified the rules of monarchy and primogeniture precisely to avoid a civil war every time the old ruler died. You can see that kind of chaos in 3rd century Rome, where a new emperor rose every couple of years in the midst of nearly constant conflict. Even with these rules, conflict still arose at the margins. When King Henry I of England died, he had no sons (his son and heir Henry the Young King had died in a shipwreck.) He had named his daughter Matilda as his heir, but a woman succeeding to the throne was not one of the commonly agreed upon rules, so conflict followed. The lords of England supported a cousin of the royal family, Stephen, and this led to decades of conflict called the Anarchy. This is also why King Henry VIII was so obsessed with producing a son: his dynasty would fall into chaos if he did not ensure the succession.
In 1788, George Washington won a unanimous vote of the electors to become the first President of the United States. He was reelected in 1792 but chose not to run for a third term in 1796. This is important: had he run, he would have easily won again, and likely would have died in office. This would have established the precedent that the presidency was a life term, and future presidents would also have stayed in office until they died. Instead, Washington stepped down, establishing the precedent that presidents should not seek more than two terms in office. His successor was his Vice President, John Adams. When Adams ran for reelection in 1800, something remarkable happened: he lost. Adams was challenged by his Vice President Thomas Jefferson, a one-time friend who was now a fierce rival. In many nations throughout history, even to this day, when an incumbent leader loses an election he does not go quietly into retirement, but instead uses his remaining power to invalidate the election and remain in office. Sometimes he uses the military to arrest his opponent. Yet Adams did none of these things. Though stung by the rejection of his country and the ascendance of his rival, he did not throw a national tantrum but instead simply packed his things and went home to his farm in Massachusetts.
This too established a precedent. Every four years, the American people had an opportunity to replace their leader with someone else. In 1824, when no candidate received a majority of electors, the House of Representatives selected John Quincy Adams, despite the fact that General Andrew Jackson had received the most popular votes. Rather than raising an army and marching on Washington, as a jilted Roman general might have done, Jackson instead traveled the country speaking out against what he called the corrupt bargain made between President Adams and Congress. Four years later, Jackson was overwhelmingly elected to the presidency, and continued his populist campaign for two terms.
Even the election 1860 was not a departure from the doctrine of a peaceful transfer of power. When Abraham Lincoln was elected president, the southern states who feared his abolitionist aims did not raise their militias and set out to stop him from occupying the White House. Instead, they voted to leave the union. While northerners considered this an act of insurrection, it was not violent – they simply chose to leave rather than trying to work with a leader that they detested. It was Lincoln who raised troops and invaded the South.
Franklin Roosevelt was the first to break the two-term precedent. He was first elected in 1932, taking power early the following year. Little did the American people know that they had just elected a president-for-life. By 1940, the Depression was nearly over, but war loomed on the horizon. Hitler had invaded Poland in September 1939 and was threatening France and Britain. President Roosevelt was committed to supporting the Allies, but isolationist sentiment in the United States prevented him from too much outright support. As the election of 1940 approached, Roosevelt decided that he himself was the indispensable man in America, and that nobody else could possibly have the knowledge and experience to handle the coming crisis. Note that this is the same rationale used by every dictator throughout history.
Roosevelt won a third term in convincing fashion, partly by campaigning as an opponent of American involvement in the escalating war. Pearl Harbor changed that, and Roosevelt led America into World War II. With the war going well and Roosevelt’s popularity sky-high in 1944, Roosevelt saw no reason to step down, easily winning a fourth term. Party insiders were well aware of the president’s ill health, but rather than admitting this to the American people, they instead made sure that Vice President Henry Wallace was replaced on the ticket by their preferred man, Senator Harry Truman of Missouri. Roosevelt would die just weeks after being sworn in for his fourth term, and Harry Truman would be forced to deal with the ramifications of the war, including having to make the decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan.
In his hubris, Franklin Roosevelt had given in to the temptation that George Washington had wisely resisted. George Washington was called “the American Cincinattus” for following in the footsteps of the famous Roman dictator who laid down his power when the crisis was over. Roosevelt, on the other hand, could rightly be called the American Caesar. Many dictators throughout history start off as democratically elected leaders, only to consolidate their power and remain in office until they are deposed or die in office. Adolf Hitler, in fact, became Chancellor of Germany the same year that Roosevelt became President, and died just a few weeks after Roosevelt did. There will always some new crisis or problem that necessitates the suspension of the normal precedents and rules. Roosevelt cited the ongoing Depression and the outbreak of war in Europe as reasons to abandon the old norms. Hitler had used the Reichstag fire as an excuse to grant himself emergency powers. Just this year we have had governors and mayors using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to exercise invasive powers at every level of society, while the civil unrest of the past few weeks will surely lead to ever more expanded government powers. It is the same playbook every time.
After the death of President Roosevelt, things mostly returned to normal in the White House. American voters, concerned about the another FDR coming along someday, gave the Republicans a large majority in both the House and the Senate who proceeded to pass the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution which prohibited future presidents from serving more than two terms. While President Truman decried this as an unconstitutional constraint upon the will of the voters, he retired in 1952, his prosecution of the Korean War leaving him deeply unpopular. Every president thereafter left office and entered a quiet retirement. Rather than continuing to fight political battles, former presidents instead worked on cementing their legacy, building their libraries, and engaging in non-partisan work for various charities. In the latter half of the 20th century, former presidents rarely criticized their successors. We resumed the tradition of the peaceful transfer of power. For example, after a contentious election in 1960, the losing candidate Vice President Richard Nixon dutifully attended the inauguration of the incoming President John Kennedy. In 1976, Jimmy Carter defeated President Gerald Ford, yet Ford graciously attended Carter’s inauguration as well. It is important for the American people to see their leaders, who might have viciously attacked each other on the campaign trail, come together and engage in the same rituals that have accompanied our presidential transitions ever since the time of George Washington.
The contested presidential election of 2000 was the last great stress test of our political system. When the ballots were counted, Governor George W. Bush of Texas had defeated Vice President Al Gore by a few hundred votes in Florida, giving Bush just enough electoral votes to win the presidency. A general recount in Florida confirmed this victory. The Gore campaign sued in order to keep counting past the deadline, as well as to do extra hand recounts in pro-Democratic counties. The Supreme Court voted 7-2 that recounting only blue counties violated the equal protection clause, and 5-4 that Florida could not continue counting past the deadline. George W. Bush was duly inaugurated president on January 20, 2001. To his credit, Al Gore did not raise an army and march on Washington, though some of his supporters surely wished he had. The Democrats complained and stewed for the next four years, but they allowed the system to work. I am not so sure that this same situation would have had the same outcome if it occurred in the contentious time we live in today.
When Donald Trump was inaugurated president in January of 2017, President Barack Obama sat nearby, as is tradition. What appeared to be the usual peaceful transfer of power was actually cover for a secret coup that had already been set in motion. Nobody knew at the time that Obama had been secretly working with the FBI and the Justice Department to spy on the campaign and transition team of President-Elect Trump. Nobody knew that Obama, Susan Rice, Sally Yates, James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and even Vice President Joe Biden were all involved in a plot to wiretap the Trump campaign and to fabricate evidence that they were somehow colluding with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election and subvert American democracy. This conspiracy makes President Nixon’s coverup of the Watergate burglary look petty by comparison. While not quite on the level of using the military to prevent an opposing leader from coming to power, this was darned close. A president who abuses his authority over the law-enforcement and counter-espionage entities within his government to covertly attack his successor has absolutely no precedent in American history.
The purpose of this investigation was to prevent President Trump from having authority over the Justice Department, to winnow away his supporters from political positions, and to eventually oust the president himself, whether through impeachment or by forcing him to resign. Trump had appointed General Michael Flynn, a thirty-year veteran of military intelligence, to the post of National Security Advisor, which would have had authority over the very investigation that the Obama Administration was secretly conducting. Rather than allow this to happen, the conspirators fabricated a charge of lying against General Flynn which forced him to leave office and spend the next three years fighting bogus charges. With Flynn out of the way, the conspiracy was allowed to continue unchecked, leading to the Mueller investigation, the so-called whistleblower report about the Ukraine phone call, and more. This is exactly the sort of behavior you expect from a banana republic, not the Executive Branch of the United States of America.
Anyone who paid attention to President Obama’s tenure in office should not be surprised that he would engage in such deceitful actions. People like Dan Carlin, well-meaning but invariably left leaning, do not see the many ways in which Obama broke presidential norms because they generally agree with the outcomes. When a president is pushing an agenda that you believe in, you are less likely to call out the ways in which he is bending the rules, cutting corners, taking advantage of loopholes, or ignoring precedent. You are just happy to see “progress”. Nevertheless, Barack Obama was unprecedented in many ways. Let me be clear, however, that his skin color has absolutely nothing to do with any of the following points.
Unlike every previous president, Obama grew up outside of traditional American culture. I am not a birther – I believe he was born in Hawaii – but he was raised in a much more international manner than our previous chief executives. The Bushes and the Kennedys were born into American wealth. Bill Clinton grew up in a poor family in Arkansas. Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer in Georgia. Yet Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to a globe-trotting mother who had studied at the East-West Center in Honolulu. His father was a Kenyan nationalist that he would barely know. His mother moved to Indonesia and married Lolo Soetero, an Indonesian Muslim who worked for the government. Obama’s childhood then was somewhat chaotic, being spent in Hawaii, Indonesia, and sometimes with his grandmother in Kansas. He did his undergraduate studies at Occidental College before moving on to Columbia and Harvard. While in college he alternated between portraying himself as a regular American named Barry and an exotic foreigner named Barack. He entered politics in the Illinois legislature, but his first attempt to attain higher office was thwarted by longtime Democrat powerbroker Bobby Rush. When Obama challenged him for his House seat in 2000, Congressman Rush accused Obama of not truly representing the African American community. This accusation was undoubtedly true: Obama was not descended from slaves, and he was born just as Jim Crow was ending. Neither he nor his family had the same experiences as the African American families that had come out of the south to cities such as Chicago.
Steve Sailer suggests that Obama was raised and groomed to be a diplomat or State Department bureaucrat, someone who could bridge the divide between the United States and other cultures. After all, his mother was educated at the East-West Center in Hawaii, which was explicitly created to find common ground between the United States and Asia. This is what brought Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, into contact with foreign men such as Barack Obama Senior and Lolo Soetero. Yet something strange happened. Rather than shuffling off to an unremarkable career in bureaucracy, Obama rocketed to the White House with breakneck speed. How? Why?
Obama’s rise to power was in part due to his skin color. While conventional wisdom about the United States suggests that we are biased against non-white people, the very fact that Obama was half black meant that he could step into the role of “first black president”. A white Barry Dunham who followed the same career path would probably never have made it to the US Senate, much less the White House. As the first serious black presidential candidate (Jesse Jackson’s 1988 primary run notwithstanding), Obama was a blank slate upon which all of America could paint their aspirations of achieving the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. The fact that he had very little political experience, and absolutely no executive experience, actually helped him here, as he could become whatever people wanted to see.
Barack Obama has never been shy about playing underhanded if it helps him win. In 1996, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners invalidated the signature submissions of every other Democratic candidate except for Obama, who then won the primary unopposed. In the 2004 Senate race, his cronies got a court to unseal divorce records for his Republican opponent Jack Ryan, which caused him to withdraw, allowing Obama to win once again essentially unopposed. (The GOP flew in Alan Keyes to run in Ryan’s place, but that carpetbagging attempt failed spectacularly.) Before he had even won his Senate race, Obama gave a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that had media figures tingling. He was immediately anointed as a future president, despite having nearly zero real accomplishments to his name.
During his long campaign for the presidency, Obama always portrayed himself as a uniter, someone who could bridge the divide between blue states and red states, blacks and whites, liberals and conservatives. Once in office, however, his tone changed drastically. He used his filibuster-proof majority in the Senate to pass Obamacare, making promises he could not keep to moderate Democratic Senators in exchange for their support, and then ramming the bill through reconciliation without regard for congressional rules. This naked partisanship resulted in a huge Republican victory in the 2010 midterms, regaining the House of Representatives only four years after losing it in the Democratic landslide of 2006. When President Clinton faced this same situation in 1994, he engaged in political triangulation – moving to the right on some issues in order to compromise with the new Republican majority. Obama, however, chose the opposite tactic. He simply ignored the Republican House, proclaiming that he had a pen and a phone, and did not need to work with Congress to enact his agenda. And enact it he did. Just after the 2012 election, he issued an executive order to cease prosecution of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.
Despite campaigning as a uniter, Obama was most definitely a partisan fighter. He told a crowd of Hispanic activists that they could punish their enemies by voting for him. His first Attorney General, Eric Holder, proclaimed himself “the president’s wingman” and promised to use his position to help “our people,” meaning African Americans, not Americans in general. While media today would have you believe that President Trump is controlled by Putin, it was Obama in 2012 who was secretly working with the Russians. At a conference with Putin’s right-hand man Dmitri Medvedev, Obama was caught unawares by a hot microphone saying,
On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space. This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
Imagine such a hot-mic moment like this for President Trump.
The fact that Obama used his authority to spy on the Trump campaign should not have been a surprise. This is the same President Obama that weaponized the IRS to attack conservative non-profit organizations, while lavishly distributing federal grant money to progressive organizations. This is the same President Obama that surreptitiously wiretapped reporter Sheryl Atkinson’s computers because she was working on stories that the administration did not like. Like third-world dictators, Obama was never shy about using his powers to elevate his friends while attacking his enemies. Only in the west is that behavior universally condemned. In many cultures, the entire point of political power is to reward your friends and attack your enemies.
Obama has not followed the traditional path of a former president either. Rather than sitting back and tending to his legacy and finding charitable projects, Obama has led the charge in criticizing President Trump and his Administration. Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Obama set up a new office in Washington DC where he could continue to coordinate resistance against the new president. Again, this is not like American politics as usual; this is like a banana republic.
My point with all of this is to say that it was really Barack Obama who changed things. President Trump is the natural Hegelian antithesis to the excessive partisanship of the Obama Administration. If Obama had governed from the left-center like Bill Clinton, or had stayed above the fray like George Bush, then the Republicans would probably have gotten away with nominating another milquetoast establishment figure like Marco Rubio or Mitt Romney. Instead, we saw the naked will to power on the part of the left in general and Obama in particular, and voted in someone who promised to fight for the forgotten men and women of America against the deep state bureaucracy that had taken over our government. Trump is not the outlier; he is the natural follow-up to a man like Obama.
I believe that the 2008 election will go down in history as the last time America saw a peaceful transfer of power. Obama beat the feckless John McCain fair and square, and not a single Republican took to the streets, rioted, or tried to undo the results of the election. Even in 2012, after four years of recession and embarrassment, Obama was reelected, and again not a single Republican threw stones or tried to burn down buildings. Yet when Trump won in 2016, the left was unleashed. They rioted in the streets. They demanded recount after recount. They tried to pressure electors to change their votes. They used the last few moments of power in the Obama Administration to begin a bogus investigation that sought to hamstring and eventually oust the new president. They used impeachment. Now they have military leaders writing editorials denouncing the president, with some on the left demanding a military coup. Imagine what November of 2020 will look like. Imagine 2024, and 2028.
If President Trump wins reelection this year, all hell will break loose. The Democrats did not accept the results of the 2016 election, and they surely will not accept them in 2020. The street fights and political battles will make the last four years look calm in comparison. On the other hand, if Trump loses, then few on the right will believe it was done without rampant fraud. Many states have already switched to mail-in ballots, using the pandemic as an excuse. We know Democrats cheat at the polls, and mail-in ballots only make their job easier. If the Democrats do win, however, they will immediately set to work making sure that they never lose again. Say goodbye to the electoral college. Say goodbye to the Supreme Court. Say goodbye to the separation of powers. Say goodbye to the integrity of our elections.
No matter what happens this year, hindsight will show that American democracy ended a long time ago. Our political process has been irrevocably broken; we just do not realize it yet. In their lust for power, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party set us on a course for chaos, and there are no brakes on this train.
Friday night I recorded my second livestream, this time with a better camera. In this stream I ask if the good times are over for good, talk a bit more about Justin Amash, look at the way the FBI framed General Flynn, and take milquetoast conservatives to task for fighting harder against the right than the left. Check it out!
No matter where you look, our society feels like it is rapidly spinning out of control:
The response to the coronavirus pandemic might well be worse than the virus itself, as our economic shutdown has now displaced thirty million American workers.
Supply chains have been disrupted, and some are predicting massive food shortages across the entire world.
The left is using the virus as an excuse to push their entire wish list from open borders to green energy to 1984-style surveillance.
China is ascendant in the world, using their military to bully their neighbors and their propaganda machine to cow Americans who question our relationship with them.
Migrants are still coming to civilized nations, crossing both the Mediterranean and Rio Grande at will.
The whole world is hurtling down the road like a runaway truck, with no way to hit the brakes. How can we disengage before we utterly crash? Where is the off-ramp from this highway to hell?
Let us start with the economy, which was running at full steam just two months ago: Unemployment was below 3.5%. The stock market, which includes all our retirement accounts, was at record highs. The housing market was expanding, and new construction was happening everywhere. The response to the coronavirus pandemic has shattered that strong economy, yet the cracks were there for anyone to see. Unfunded state liabilities continued to increase, without hope of being fulfilled. Federal deficits continued to be more than a trillion dollars a year, and the growth of our national debt showed no signs of slowing. Much of our economic expansion had been driven by infinite debt, as the Fed continued printing nearly free money. The employment numbers masked some problems too, as many of the new jobs over the last decade went to temporary migrants rather than American citizens. Outsourcing has only increased over the last decade, and the massive spike in unemployment brought on by the pandemic response is unlikely to stem the tide. President Trump last week signed an executive order to limit immigration and work permits, but the big business interests that have an outsized voice in the Administration managed to carve out exceptions for foreign tech and farm workers.
The time to patch these cracks was before a global emergency, not during one. Once we are in the middle of a crisis, corporations and elected officials feel the need to take drastic measures to “save” the economy. As soon as the crisis began every big business came to Congress hat in hand demanding a bailout. After all, when the market crashed in 2008, the government declared all these businesses “too big to fail” and bailed them out with taxpayer money. In a real free market economy, there is no such thing as “too big to fail”. Ideally, we would let airlines, banks, and other corporations go bankrupt in order to clear the deck of over-extended and inefficient corporations. Bankruptcy is not dirty word; rather it is a vital part of a free market. Over-extended businesses and diseconomies of scale need to be partitioned and sold off to satisfy their creditors, not given a cheque from the taxpayer that allows them to continue operating inefficiently. Yet there are few elected officials with the courage to do what is necessary to fix the fundamental problems of our economy. Anything that is worth doing will inevitably result in electoral losses. The American people, having been fed media propaganda for generations, will not accept a politician who takes these problems seriously. Instead, we demand pat answers to hard questions. Instead of fixing the problems, elected leaders just kick the can further down the road, hoping to have retired into a comfortable lobbying gig before the bill comes due.
The pandemic is also showing the vulnerability of our supply chains in multiple ways. When China locked down in January and February, this started a chain reaction that is just beginning to reverberate through the world economy. So many of our essential goods are manufactured in China now, from electronics to antibiotics to the raw materials for most everything else. This was bad enough before Europe and the US locked down as well, and now every industry in the world is facing Armageddon. It has taken this crisis to demonstrate how weak we are left by relying on foreign nations for our supply lines, especially belligerent nations such as China. Back in the 1980s and 90s, our leaders thought they could liberalize China by normalizing trade. After all, open cultural exchange with the Soviet Union brought down that Communist juggernaut, so why not China? However, in this case the reverse happened, and the Chinese Communist Party corrupted America. Corporations such as Google and Apple happily work with China to censor the internet and crack down on dissidents, the NBA and Hollywood prostrate themselves before their new Chinese benefactors, and American media outlets reprint Chinese propaganda because it serves their short-term anti-Trump narratives.
Disentangling us from China will likely be difficult. Big corporations have found it lucrative to fire American employees in favor of foreign temp workers, who are cheaper and easier to control. In addition to corporate outsourcing, China has also taken full advantage of our education system. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese students come to America to learn engineering while we waste our time teaching our own young people grievance studies. Like big businesses, universities will resist any effort to stop the flow of foreign students. Once again, it would take politicians with more courage than we currently see in Congress to stop this cycle. Globalist elites see themselves as beyond such petty distinctions as citizenship, so they see no reason not to sell out to China if it helps their bottom line. For the elites, this pandemic is not an existential crisis like it is for the little people, but rather an opportunity for greater wealth and power. The time to solve these issues was before this mess began.
Our food supply might also be in danger. A few days ago, the CEO of Tyson, the country’s largest chicken producer, put out an ad saying that this shutdown is going to destroy the market for meat. I have seen stories and pictures of chickens and hogs being destroyed because farmers say they are unable to get them processed. Whether that is true or not, I do not know. I do know that far too much of our meat industry is controlled by foreign owners, who heavily depend upon migrant labor, and that it is far too centralized in the hands of just a few corporations. While a meat shortage would be devastating for the American people, the globalist left seems to be looking forward to it. Over the last year the media has been pumping out stories about meat being bad for your health as well as for the environment, and that we should switch to eating soy protein or bugs instead. Many on the carnivore right wondered about the purposes of this propaganda barrage. Well, here we are, and the American people have been primed to accept a future where we eat insects instead of hamburgers. However, it should go without saying that while we eat bugs and soy paste, the elites will still be eating steak at Davos.
The globalist left is advancing on the domestic front as well. While the Trump victory in 2016 was a blow to their totalitarian dreams, they were not vanquished completely, and the last few years have seen them redoubling their efforts to permanently crush us under their boots. They have raised their derangement to a fever pitch, and as soon as they control the government again, they plan massive retribution. This pandemic is giving them the opportunity for a trial run of authoritarianism:
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered stores to stop selling “non-essential” items. The government bureaucrats who decided what was considered “non-essential” banned such things as lawn tools and seeds, which a rational person would think of as being important in the face of uncertain times.
The Democratic governors of Massachusetts and Colorado ordered gun and ammunition stores to be shut down, despite the increased risk of lawlessness and danger due to prisoners being released for fear of infection.
Governor Andrew Beshear of Kentucky ordered churches closed on Easter Sunday, without exception for drive-in services. He sent State Patrol officers to churches to record license plates of congregants in order to cite them later.
These dictatorial orders are less about protecting citizens from a virus than about simply enforcing the will of these petty tyrants. On Good Friday, the Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee tweeted:
“We respectfully ask that churches in our area not move forward with “drive-in” worship services or any other kind of public assembly. Allowing people to gather, even in their cars with the windows rolled up, will be considered a violation of our directives.”
Did you catch that? “…a violation of our directives”. This is not about public safety; it is about humiliating American citizens into respecting the unconstitutional authority of our elected officials.
Of course, as is usually the case, the laws made for the little people do not apply to the big people. After closing non-essential businesses in New York City, Mayor Bill De Blasio went out to his favorite gym. After telling Chicago citizens to stay home, Mayor Lori Lightfoot went out to have her hair done. She had the chutzpah to defend her decision, saying “I’m the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye.” The mask has come completely off, and our bureaucratic tyrants are telling us to our faces that they are more important than us. The concept of “public service” has been inverted in America today. Rather than facing a single tyrant like King George III, we have thousands of little tyrants, each doing their best to interfere in our daily lives in a way that King George never could have dreamed.
In Arkansas, a twelve-year-old girl was playing basketball outside by herself, so city officials removed the basketball hoop. Police in Colorado found a man playing t-ball with his six-year-old daughter in an empty park, and they arrested him, putting him in handcuffs in front of his little girl. These stories go on and on. It is insane, but this is what America is like in the age of a thousand petty tyrants. However, keeping people out of public parks is just the beginning. The Atlantic recently published a piece extolling the virtues of authoritarianism and censorship:
“In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong. Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.”
Remember when the left was in favor of free speech, free expression, and an open internet? Those days are long gone. Today’s left looks at the authoritarianism of Communist China as an example, not a warning. Of course, the big question left unanswered here is who should decide what is compatible with society’s norms and values? I doubt the writers of The Atlantic would consider traditional American values to be their goal. A century ago, our norms and values were unabashedly Christian, with emphases on hard work, personal liberty, and the importance of the family. Today, powerful cultural forces are working to change our so-called norms to something much more sinister: Socialism and dependence upon government; collectivism rather than liberty; and the destruction of the traditional family. The people in charge of enforcing these norms are social justice warriors at Twitter, Facebook, and Google who boast of their mental illness and declare that transgenderism, homosexuality, atheism, and even pedophilia are all right and proper while traditional American values are on par with Naziism. These are the values that The Atlantic, and the rest of the globalist progressive left, want to impose upon you and your children.
How did we let this happen? Where was the off-ramp from this cultural freeway? Conservatives ceded control of the culture in the 60s, and the left never looked back. Even as the Communist experiment failed in the Soviet Union, the American left was content to march slowly through our institutions, turning public schools, universities, television, music, comic books, and everything else into instruments of cultural destruction. Where were the conservatives? Sitting on a cruise ship lobbying for tax cuts. Where were the Christians? Whistling past the graveyard while their children were converted under their noses. I often hear conservative Christian friends talk about reclaiming our culture, as if a few Bible verses posted on Facebook can reverse a century of cultural decline. That ship sailed three generations ago. The time to fix this was when the left made their first assault upon our defenses, not when they have all but won and are just mopping up the few who remain. Imagine if we tried to fight Nazi Germany by sending our children to the Hitler Youth to act as missionaries for American culture. Absurd, right? Yet that is exactly what millions of Christian parents have done over the last three generations: They sent their children to be brainwashed in progressive prisons and while naively expecting that an hour or two of church every Sunday would counter the damage.
With regards to international diplomacy, the world is due for a major conflagration. War was once a regular occurrence in the affairs of nations – as Clausewitz said, war is politics by other means. In the first half of the 20th century, hundreds of millions died due to war and the accompanying starvation and genocides. The “small” wars we have engaged in since Vietnam have lulled us into a false sense of security about world peace. It was just over a century ago that World War I was fought over land, colonies, and diplomatic insults. Ironically, learned men had been writing during the first decade of the 20th century that war was obsolete. They believed that the new global economy of the 1900s made war impossible, that nations were two intertwined to possibly go to battle. Sound familiar? Nuclear weapons have been a deterrent to war between great powers since the end of World War II, but the pressure cannot keep building forever. The current diplomatic situation looks a lot like it did before World War I, with an ascendant China in place of the Kaiser’s encircled Germany.
Chinese elites believe that this is their time. If the 1800s were the British century and the 1900s were the American century, then why should the next hundred years not be the Chinese century? China has an old and proud culture, and they were the jewel of world civilizations a thousand years ago. By the Industrial Era, however, they had been eclipsed by the west, culminating in a humiliating defeat at the hands of the British who fought to keep the opium trade going. The Chinese have long memories, and they still aspire to be the greatest civilization in the world. They have been working patiently toward that end since 1948, and their work has finally started bearing fruit. Today, China has a massive economy, and consider themselves at the forefront of technological development. They are building a navy that can project power throughout the region, and perhaps even challenge the mighty US Navy for dominance in the South China Sea. They know that time is on their side. Over the last half century, America has become weaker and more dependent upon nations such as China for supplies, while China itself has become stronger. They are propagandizing our children in our own schools using fronts like the Confucius Institute. While the coronavirus pandemic is generating support for decoupling from China, it might be too little, too late. What happens tomorrow if China decides to finally seize Taiwan? What happens if they decide to occupy disputed islands in their region? Does America stand up and say stop? Or do we back down rather than risk World War III? China can afford to play chicken here, much more than we can. China’s collectivist culture would not hesitate to sacrifice a hundred million men to win a war, while our culture would not have the stomach for such death and destruction.
We missed the off-ramp to stopping China thirty years ago, before they reached this point of cultural, economic, and military dominance. We should never have normalized trade relations with a country that is willing to kill millions of their own people on the road to progress. We should never have allowed them to use our universities to train their engineers and researchers. We should never have allowed them to wantonly steal our intellectual property, proprietary designs, and even nuclear secrets, as well as to spy on our elected officials. Now it could be too late. There might be no way to stop China from achieving the dominance they desire. Our best hope is to disengage as much as possible and return manufacturing to within our borders.
International diplomacy might be the least of our worries, however. Demographic change looks likely to end our nation soon anyway. Vdare.com recently published a chart showing the decline of the white population in New York City over the past century:
In 1910, it was 98% white. This was the New York City of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, of Jay Gatsby and Captain America, of King Kong and The Miracle on 34th Street. Today, however, that number is down to 32%, and possibly lower, depending on how you count Jews. (Many Jewish people online identity as white when it suits them, only to draw a contrast when it does not.) I believe the world should have a variety of cultures and ethnicities. Yet this wholesale replacement of our people is not cultural diversity, rather it is cultural genocide. Cities and countries that were once filled with people of western European descent are being occupied by other races and cultures, while any word of criticism is called racist and is grounds for censorship and ostracism. If someone on the right points out how demographic change is altering American society, they are denounced as white supremacist Nazis. If someone on the left does it, as the ambitious Georgia politician Stacy Abrams does, it is considered a good thing, and inevitable.
Of the twenty-five largest cities in America, only seven are still majority-white in 2020, and zero of the top ten. Our great cities have become miniature earths, with varying proportions of ethnic groups from across the world. Globalists call this beautiful, as if our cities were merely snow globes full of different colors. Yet what does this diversity portend for the future of America? The descendants of African slaves who migrated to Detroit and Philadelphia after World War II have no reverence for the founding fathers; in fact, they most likely hate them as racist white slave owners. Same for the Hispanic population that is rapidly increasing in our southern states. As each of these different cultures gains more political power, they are going to use it to transform our country into something it was not. Once again, the globalist left will call that a good thing, saying that America has always been evil, racist, and white. (Note how they often use the word “white” as a pejorative.) Those of us who descend from America’s founding fathers are having our civilization conquered by force, but the worst part is how we are made to celebrate our own annihilation.
The seeds for this sad end were sowed many years ago, but even as late as 1965 we were still a Christian nation of mostly western European descent. Our leaders, many of whom traced their American ancestry back to Ellis Island rather than Valley Forge, told us that we must open our doors to the whole world lest we be accused of that dreaded word, racism. So we dutifully opened our doors, and now our country is permanently changed. Other nations have occupied our great cities, and the only rational ways to take them back are abhorrent to our own values.
Europe faces the same problem, with migrants from Africa and the Middle East pouring in every day. Turkey uses these migrant mobs as a weapon against Europe, restraining or unleashing them as it suits their purposes. The last few weeks have seen clashes on the Greek border as migrants try and force their way past fences and guards. It feels like these clashes could escalate at any time to all-out war. These migrants have been told by globalist organizations that Europe and America are theirs for the taking, and that they have the right to live here for free, and to take advantage of our generous welfare. Centuries ago, Muslim armies crossed into Europe with the belief that their god willed them to conquer the world. The only difference then was that Christendom was willing to defend itself. Today we simply open the gates and invite our conquerors into our homes. The resistance to this cultural genocide by the Greeks is a welcome sign, but again, possibly too little, too late. The time to stop this invasion was before it started, but our culture had long since lost confidence in itself and so saw no reason to stand in the gap and say stop.
Our civilization is driving toward the edge of a cliff at breakneck speed. The brakes no longer work. The last off-ramp was passed many miles ago. All we can do is hold on, or maybe try our luck and bail out the door before it is too late. The only thing that is for sure is that we have passed the point of no return. Our country faces a reckoning, and the forces of history have gathered at our gates to deliver it. There is no saving America as we know it now; we had our chance decades ago and blew it. Yet it is imperative we survive the coming crash so we can still be here to rebuild again.
A few days ago, I mentioned to family and friends that we were about to witness a preference cascade for canceling large gatherings and switching to remote work as much as possible. I did not expect how quickly it would occur, nor its magnitude. As I write this, the NCAA has cancelled March Madness, Major League Baseball has cancelled Spring Training and delayed Opening Day, the NBA, the NHL, and MLS have all suspended their seasons, numerous events from Coachella to SxSW to E3 have been cancelled or postponed, schools and universities throughout the country have closed indefinitely, and even Disneyland is preparing to shut down. Governments and organizations, seeing what has happened in Italy over the past two weeks, are taking the COVID-19 outbreak seriously and looking to contain or at least slow down the pandemic.
No matter what happens with the virus, these cancellations are already going to leave a mark on our economy. Think about all the industries that depend upon events and travel to survive. March Madness is a huge part of the income for hotels, restaurants, bars, and drivers in the cities that host each game. For some vendors, events like E3 or SxSW are the linchpins of their entire revenue stream. No matter what steps the government or Federal Reserve take to mitigate it, we will see a significant economic contraction over the next year.
Our nation has had recessions before. Recessions are necessary in a healthy economy, like a forest fire is occasionally necessary to burn away the deadwood and leave room for new growth. Like a fire, recessions can harm a lot of people in the process. However, once we come through, we can enjoy another long period of growth and prosperity. More interesting, I think, are the long-term societal changes that will occur due to this outbreak.
Working from home is going to become more socially acceptable. We have had the technology to enable telecommuting for decades now, but many companies have resisted thus far. Working from home means an employee is out of sight of management, which worries some bosses. Employees at home can be distracted, and collaboration is more complicated. With the COVID-19 outbreak forcing businesses to move to a work-from-home model, I think both employers and employees are going to decide that it is not so bad. Telecommuting means less traffic, and less gasoline usage. It means less eating unhealthy food for a quick lunch before getting back to your desk. It means less disease transmission. It means less overhead for office space, electricity, janitorial services, etc. Rather than paying for an entire office, a company can rent some space at a server farm and have all their workers connect remotely from the comfort of their own homes. Working from home also changes the paradigm for childcare. Rather than having to make arrangements to send children to daycare or a babysitter when school is out, they can just stay home with their telecommuting parents.
Speaking of school, this outbreak is also going to make a lot of people realize how obsolete the public school system really is. Homeschoolers have known this for years, but even normal folks are going to see how much easier it is for children to learn at their own pace using online resources than it was to send them to a seven-hour prison sentence every day. Even as local officials throughout the nation considered closing schools to try and slow down the pandemic, they hesitated. Not because they were concerned about the education of America’s children, but because the public school system has become a de facto daycare and meal service for millions of children. For a child who wants to succeed, public schools are often a hindrance. While school closures might be temporarily inconvenient, they will be a demonstration of how well a driven student can learn when he can go at his own pace and has the sum total of all human knowledge at his fingertips.
This outbreak is also going to put a dagger in the heart of globalism. For nearly thirty years now, corporations have been cutting costs by outsourcing work to developing nations. It’s cheaper to pay Chinese factory workers pennies, to manufacture products and then ship them back to America, than it was to pay American workers prevailing wages. Yet this outbreak is exposing the flaws of this design. It was bad enough that outsourcing took good jobs away from American workers, but now we see the dangers of having our supply lines controlled by a foreign, sometimes hostile, nation. With China basically shut down for two months, we are starting to see shortages of goods that we once took for granted. More than just our cheap trinkets, China supplies us with many of the raw materials we need for vital industries.
President Trump has been warning against entanglement with China for many years, even before he ran for high office. As president, he has been trying to disentangle us from China, using tariffs and new trade deals to bring manufacturing back to our own shores. This outbreak is just a minor stress test compared to what could happen in the future. Imagine if China suddenly declared war on us; what happens to our vital industries if their factories are all in enemy territory? Divesting from China and making our own stuff again will be a positive effect of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Nationalism and national borders work. Nations that closed their borders early have seen only mild outbreaks, while nations like Italy that remained open have borne the full brunt of this pandemic. Viruses do not respect borders, but they require human hosts, and humans can be contained. The very concept of the quarantine is about keeping viruses immobile by restricting the movement of the people that carry them. People who use this crisis to demand open borders are dangerous ideologues who should be ignored. People who say it is racist to say “Wuhan virus” or complain about bigotry toward Asians are not serious about saving lives, rather they are just using this outbreak as an excuse to attack their political enemies and push their globalist agenda. Nationalism saves lives, while globalism kills.
If nothing else, the outbreak has been a reminder to us all about the basics of hygiene and controlling disease transmission. Antibiotics and other advances in modern medicine have left us complacent about the power of disease. In the old days, disease was a constant terror, something that could strike without warning and decimate entire nations. The Black Death killed more than a third of Europe’s citizens in the 14th century, returning several more times before fading into history. Just over a century ago, the Spanish Flu killed more people than both world wars combined. Now more than ever we should take steps to keep ourselves and our families healthy, so that when we do inevitably get this or any other viral outbreak, we are prepared to survive it.
The next few months are going to be interesting. We are going to see many companies flirting with bankruptcy, as their planned revenues go up in smoke. We are going to see new industries rising to fill the gaps as people change their daily lives to contain this outbreak. We are going to see government clumsily attempting to keep the stock market from cratering, which will probably only prolong the inevitable crash. This is all just a taste of what the future holds. The decline and fall of America is not going to look like the zombie apocalypse, but will be a series of sudden changes like this followed by eventual acceptance of the new normal. Don’t freak out, don’t panic, but do keep your head about you and be prepared to adapt and overcome.
We know that we live in a declining civilization. Anyone with eyes to see understands that we are not the men that our forefathers were. Our ancestors built monuments, conquered kingdoms, and tamed the vast wilderness. They crossed the oceans in wooden ships and crossed the prairies in covered wagons. They were not afraid to risk everything and venture into the unknown. Their wars were great rather than petty, and their bravery was lauded rather than mocked. Our grandparents’ generation survived the Depression, won World War II, created the atomic bomb, the computer, and the jet engine, and set foot on the moon. Yet the comfortable lives they created for us have left us soft, coddled, and weak, a condition made even worse by the knowledge that we are made for something greater than this. Author Chuck Palahniuk spoke for the men of our generations when he wrote:
We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.
In Palahniuk’s story, Fight Club, the protagonist takes this longing for greatness to an extreme, by first fighting other men barehanded in an effort to regain the vitality of life, and then by committing terrorist acts in the hope of bringing down the system that has enslaved us. I think that desire to tear down the system is latent in a lot of men today. While I’m sure most of us don’t really want to watch our families and our friends go through hell, there is something in us that would secretly welcome the breakdown of society. Author H.L. Mencken summed up this feeling when he said:
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
I mentioned back in Episode 22 how every generation has a belief that they are the last generation on earth, and that something – climate change, Mayan prophecies, the Second Coming of Christ – is bound to happen any day now that will end everything. While some fear the apocalypse, others welcome it. While the decline of the United States is evident to most anyone at this point, there are many who are hoping for the fall to be dramatic rather than mundane. Young men throw around the word “boogaloo” to describe the hoped-for conflagration that will sweep away the remnants of our old decadent society and usher in a new era of masculine virtues. Some men buy a gun to protect their family but hope that they never have to use it; while others pray someone tries to break in that night. I think we all envy our ancestors in that they had opportunities to prove their bravery that are denied to most of us today. There are no more wild continents to win, kingdoms to conquer, or oceans to cross. “Born too late to explore the world,” the meme says, “born too early to explore the galaxy.”
I think this explains some of the reaction to the recent coronavirus outbreak this year. Some dismiss the whole thing as overblown, but many are prudently stocking up on food and medical supplies, just in case the worst happens. A few, however, secretly wish for this to be the apocalyptic event of our lifetimes. Is it any wonder than stories about the end of the world are so popular? We watch movies like Planet of the Apes, 28 Days Later, or the Matrix, vicariously living through an apocalyptic tale where the shackles of polite society are lifted, and we can hoist the black flag.
Rather than surviving the modern world by knowing the bus schedule and how to move data from one computer system to another, we would instead survive by our strength, our wits, and our courage. As boys, many of us grew up reading books like “Hatchet” and “My Side of the Mountain” and dreamt of having the chance to live off the land, untethered from our ordinary lives. Sure, Tom Hanks looked like he went through hell in the movie Castaway, but I think there is a little part of all men that wants a chance to test themselves against unforgiving nature. Trees and plants grow best when properly pruned, and forests need the occasional fire to clear out the deadwood and make room for new growth. Our founding fathers understood this well. Thomas Jefferson expected that each generation would have to fight its own revolution, saying:
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
The post-World War II generations illustrate a decline from glory. The men who won the war came home looking for a quieter life. They invented the concept of the suburb, a neighborhood that was neither in the city nor the country, where families could gather together and raise children in peace and safety. The men who performed heroic deeds in the war rarely talked about them. They had nothing to prove, to themselves or to anyone else, and would rather focus on living a peaceful life and raising a happy family. Yet something went wrong. Masculine virtues began to be redefined by a media interested only in selling more junk. For the first time, television enabled images of war to be beamed directly into our living rooms. The carnage in Vietnam was surely no worse than in World War II, yet now we could see the things that our grandfathers had refused to speak of. The pointlessness of the war was the worst part. Unlike the clearly defined good and evil of World War II, we watched our young men killing and dying in the jungles of Indochina for no apparent reason. Our society took the wrong message from the failure of Vietnam, deciding that masculinity itself was barbaric and must be bred out of the human race.
In the 1970s, women began entering the workforce in greater numbers. Rather than being our partners in raising strong families, women became competitors for raises and promotions, and beneficiaries of government welfare. Media propaganda started convincing women that they should take on the most extreme characteristics of masculinity – aggression, assertiveness, and even violence. Our current cultural landscape promotes a view of women that strips away her femininity and leaves her consumed by traits that would be considered brutish in a man. More than one book has been written telling women that they need to interrupt more in business meetings. The newest Star Wars and Marvel movies feature female characters whose only flaws are that they are not assertive and violent enough. The feminine virtues such as empathy, kindness, caring, nurturing, and beauty are downplayed as relics of a sexist patriarchy. Women are told that they should not worry about how they look, as if there is no objective difference between a thin and lovely woman with long hair on one side and an obese tattoo-covered purple-haired grouch on the other. Feminists tell a young woman that it is wrong to do nice things for her husband or her children, and that she should put herself first.
On the other hand, the same propaganda teaches men to act like the most extreme versions of women. The modern man is supposed to be submissive and meek, quietly standing back while women run the show. He is told to be open about his feelings and to wear his emotions on his sleeve. Ambition is shunned while physical fitness is downplayed. “Real men,” they say, should not worry about how strong or fit they are or how much testosterone they have. They should be satisfied with their weak soy grip and their “dad bod” pot belly. While it was called a crisis when standardized test scores showed girls falling behind in math and science, boys falling behind in other subjects is considered right and normal. Society wants us to be mediocre, and since mediocrity is the path of least resistance, most men today settle for just that.
The modern American diet doesn’t help either. Our ancestors lived off of meat, but today meat is shunned as barbaric and out-of-date. Modern men are expected to eat soy, industrial seed oils, and ultra-processed meals that come out of a box. Modern men assume that it is normal to be fat and weak by the time they reach their 40s, and that heart disease and diabetes are simply things that inevitably happen when you get old. What can you do? The conspiracy theory would be that governments and corporations know that weak, sick men are easier to control than the kings we used to be. The reductive view is just as likely, however. Corporations create food that is cheap to make and addictive to the consumer in order to maximize profits. “Bet you can’t have just one,” the old potato chip commercial said. Health is a secondary consideration, and even then, only in so far as they can advertise according to the conventional wisdom of the day. The anti-meat crusades of the late 20th century enabled food manufacturers to replace healthy fat with poisonous sugar and carbohydrates and then market their products as “healthy”. Big Tobacco was broken in the 1990s because they used drugs and advertising to create a product that was addictive and attractive. Big Food has yet to meet their own reckoning, despite causing untold millions of early deaths with their own poisonous products.
The 1990s saw the first stirrings of awakening by American men to the spiritual quagmire they found themselves in. Fight Club was written in 1996 and adapted into a popular movie the following year. In the early 2000s, bloggers began writing about the struggles faced by modern men and sharing ideas on how to break out of our cultural ennui. Men woke up and realized that they had no power in American life. They had been taught that America was the land of the free, but they found themselves working mindless 9-5 jobs in order to pay for the mortgage, the car payment, and the numerous useless distractions that make up the modern life. The woman you married could, at any time, leave you, take away your children and your possessions, and use the force of government to confiscate all your money for the next twenty years. It was bad enough before, when the government took a third of your paycheck to fund foreign wars and welfare programs. Now you have to pay the rest to the woman who betrayed you and the children you are no longer allowed to see. The American man was once a king, and his home a castle, but today we are reduced to chattel. Is it any wonder that the male suicide rate has been ticking steadily upwards for decades now?
Some of the early blogs focused on men’s rights or social issues, but it was the pick-up blogs that really struck a nerve. While some men saw the state and direction of society and wanted to go back to the golden age of the past, the pick-up artists instead decided that since the world was burning anyway, they might as well have fun while they could. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die,” said the prophet Isaiah in the Bible. Or, as “Captain Capitalism” Aaron Clarey says, “Enjoy the decline.” The three most prominent pick-up bloggers were Rollo Tomassi, Roosh V, and Roissy, who later called himself Heartiste. Each of these initially used their platforms to teach young men how to meet and seduce women, and men flocked to their blogs and forums seeking this forbidden knowledge. These nascent communities began to realize that meeting women was not an end unto itself.
What these young men truly yearned for was an escape from the soul-sucking modern culture that tried its best to emasculate them. In bloggers such as Roissy and Roosh they found stark truths that were not being told in schools or in churches. Many Christian churches were still stuck in a post-World War II mindset, teaching young men that they must just be themselves, find a good girl to marry, and God would take care of the rest. They failed to see that modern society had turned against Christianity and masculine virtue, so disillusioned young men sought answers elsewhere. Author C.S. Lewis actually identified the problem more than half a century earlier, writing in The Abolition of Man:
In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
The Christianity of modern America has become feminized and trite, failing to provide an alternative to our lost culture and instead reinforcing its worst aspects. The masculine heroes of the modern church are not strong biblical leaders like Moses, David, or Jesus Christ Himself, nor bold men of history like Alfred the Great, Roger Williams, or Billy Graham. Today, the alpha male of the modern church is a skinny-jeans-wearing latte-sipping tattooed pierced worship nasally-voiced worship pastor.
These blogs eventually moved beyond simple pick-up tips, as their communities began to question what it meant to be a man. They came to the same conclusion as King Solomon who lamented that all the pleasures of the world had left him empty. Three thousand years ago he wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes, “So I became great and surpassed all who were before me… and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” The men of these online communities found that they wanted more than fleeting pleasures, but instead longed for what their fathers and grandfathers had: a family that loved and relied upon them, a society that supported these bonds, and a God worth believing in.
Roosh V is the most interesting story to come out of the so-called manosphere. He made his name in the 2000s writing books and blog posts teaching young men how to sleep with as many young women as possible. He traveled the world, exploring exotic locations and interacting with all manner of women, and then reported his results. He seemed to recognize early on that this was not the ultimate goal of life, however. He created a web forum called Return of Kings that invited those disillusioned young men to come and share stories of how they were triumphing over the malaise of modern culture. He tried to organize real-life meetups, but these were disrupted by feminists and soy-boys who could not tolerate free-thinking masculinity. When he lost his sister to cancer a few years ago, Roosh took the final step on his journey from libertinism back to tradition. He became a Christian, joining the Orthodox Church of his Armenian ancestors, and unpublished all of his books that taught men the art of fornication.
I believe that Roosh has taken the same journey that many thousands of anonymous men have made over the past two decades. We awoke to the realization that our culture is actively trying to stifle and harm us, and turned to hedonism – using women, movies, video games, or anything to try and retain some happiness in life. After a while, we realized that these were empty pursuits, and we wanted more. Rather than seeing the decline and fall of America as an excuse to live free of responsibility, we now see it as an imperative to build families and communities that will not only survive the fall, but thrive as we build the next phase of western civilization. There is no guarantee of success in this endeavor. The forces of malaise and mediocrity have grown powerful, and their boot is upon our necks. But our calling is a noble one. Each of us has only one life to live on this earth, and death awaits us all. What will you leave behind when you are gone? A collection of video games, or a growing family that honors your memory as a man who had a life worth living?
Thomas Babington Macaulay said it well in his Lays of Ancient Rome:
Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods?
We all know deep inside that something is not right in our society and that we were made for better things. The time has come to stop lamenting the loss of a past age of kings and start building a new one. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn claims the crown he was born to wear after proving his courage and bravery in defeating the armies of the Dark Lord. In Tolkien’s mythology, kings were a special breed of men. They were tall and strong, with unmatched wisdom and knowledge, and their very hands could heal the sick. Not just any man could take up the throne and declare himself king; Aragorn did so because he had the right bloodline and ancestry. He was not a usurper but was instead coming into his rightful inheritance. It was Tolkien’s view that enlightened monarchy was the best choice for human government, however he qualified that by explaining that there were no more men left that he would trust in such a position.
Unlike Aragorn, we do not have Elves or angels in our ancestry, but we are made in the image of God. Our mortal bodies were created to manifest, in a small way, the incomprehensible glory of God himself. As children of the Most High God, we are princes, we are kings of our own domains, accountable for our actions and our stewardship to the King of Kings Jesus Christ. Our kingdoms are bequeathed to us by our fathers and their fathers, who worked and fought and died in order to pass on their heritage to us. Do not let malaise, propaganda, and the path of least resistance steal that heritage from you. Our calling is not to grow fat and sick while simply counting the days until our inevitable death. We are heirs of three thousand years of western civilization, of Solomon and Alexander, Bach and Beethoven, Rembrandt and Raphael, Shakespeare and Cervantes, Augustine and Aquinas. Don’t be the one to drop the baton. Don’t let the flame of the west be extinguished forever. My fellow kings, the task of building the next civilization rests with you.
If Donald Trump wins reelection in November, it will mark an unprecedented four consecutive two-term presidents. The last time there were three was in the early 19th century, when Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe all served two terms. John Quincy Adams, elected in 1824, failed to win reelection when he was defeated by Andrew Jackson’s populist uprising. History shows us that unseating the incumbent president is always a long shot.
The last time a president lost his bid for reelection was nearly thirty years ago, when President George H.W. Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton. The 1992 election, however, was a perfect storm of problems for the elder Bush. Mere months before the campaign, Bush enjoyed a level of popularity few presidents could even dream of after the successful Gulf War. However, a worsening economy soured voters on the president, especially when he broke his explicit pledge to not raise taxes. Many Republicans turned to the insurgent campaign of independent candidate Ross Perot, who promised a businesslike approach to government. NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, was being debated at the time and had support from both parties. Perot warned that free trade would lead to massive outsourcing and a decline of manufacturing jobs in America. (History has obviously proved him right on this count.)
The Democratic field that year was initially weak, as nobody wanted to challenge the popular president. Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton ended up with the nomination, and presented himself as a young, hip, empathetic figure, contrasted with the older, unflappable, President Bush. Bush was a member of the Greatest Generation, who had fought in World War II – Bush himself had been shot down over the Pacific. Clinton, on the other hand, was a Baby Boomer, young and fresh-faced, who came out of the hippy movement of the 1960s. Clinton had avoided the Vietnam War, which hurt him with military veterans. However, with Perot splitting the conservative / libertarian vote, Clinton came out on top, despite falling well short of a majority of the popular vote.
Since then, no president has lost his bid for a second term. Clinton easily defeated Bob Dole in 1996, as a strong economy and few foreign conflicts gave voters no reason to change. In 2004, President George W. Bush improved on his initial numbers from 2000, defeating the weak John Kerry. Finally, despite a poor economy, Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney in 2012. Of all the reelection campaigns in recent memory, this one should have been harder for the sitting president. The economy, which had crashed just before Obama took office, was still incredibly weak. Unemployment was high and wages were down. The Republicans nominated what they thought would be a solid ticket: Mitt Romney was a former governor and businessman and running mate Paul Ryan was known as a budget guy and policy wonk. Yet Obama basically coasted to reelection. Why?
For one, there was no Ross Perot in 2012. The populist nationalism that would explode in 2016 through Donald Trump was still simmering beneath the surface. The Tea Party movement, originally formed in reaction to Obama’s tax and healthcare positions, had long ago been coopted by the GOP establishment who redirected its energy toward the usual Chamber of Commerce platform of low taxes without regard to the national questions of immigration and culture. Romney himself tended to treat Obama with kid gloves, even as the president and his surrogates ferociously savaged Romney in the campaign, even going so far as accusing him of killing a man because Romney’s company had laid him off at one point.
So, what does that mean for the 2020 election? If you go to any left-wing social media group, you might come away thinking that Donald Trump is the most unpopular president in history, and that the Democrats could run a mannequin and still win easily. However, this ignores both history and the preferences of the country as a whole. Trump won in 2016 by promising to control the border, renegotiate trade deals, bring our troops home, and fix the economy. While his work on the border is ongoing, he is making progress – illegal crossings have significantly decreased in recent months. He has taken care of bad trade deals, is working on withdrawing troops, and the economy is booming. While the COVID-19 outbreak might cause some economic issues, it might well recover by Election Day. In short, the president has kept most of his promises and the economic situation of most American people is better now than it was four years ago.
An incumbent president has access to the largest megaphone in the world. Every tiny utterance of President Trump is headline news. More than 73 million people follow the president on Twitter, receiving messages unfiltered by mainstream media. For many low-information voters, picking a candidate is more about brand recognition than policy positions. Who in America has a more well-known brand than Donald Trump?
The current crop of Democratic contenders does not inspire confidence, either. In 1992, the Democrats nominated Bill Clinton, who was able to create a large contrast with President Bush. In 2020, the Democrats will be nominating either the outright socialist Bernie Sanders or the fanciful and forgetful Joe Biden. Both men are, believe it or not, older than President Trump! Because the odds of ousting an incumbent president are so high to begin with, that is the time to swing for the fences and take a chance with your nominee. The Democrats are either too afraid to step outside mainstream conventional wisdom, or they believe their own hype about Trump’s vulnerability.
Barring some black swan event in the next nine months, Donald Trump will be reelected and become the fourth consecutive president to serve two terms. In the late Roman Republic, power grew increasingly concentrated into the hands of a few, as single-term consuls were replaced by men serving many consecutive terms, and eventually into dictators-for-life like Sulla and Caesar. I hope that President Trump is able to use his second term to finish the job of draining the swamp, otherwise he will end up being only a speed bump in the decline and fall of America.
Each new generation develops its own way of sharing ideas. While the printing press, telephone, radio, and television all shifted the paradigm of how ideas propagate throughout a culture, the development of the internet and social media have exponentially accelerated that shift. The 1930s generation listened to President Roosevelt on the radio, the Baby Boomers grew up watching television, and even Millennials grew up watching cable news. No generation has had the sheer variety of news sources as Generation Z has today, however, and it is this variety that is shaping our world today.
The 2010s especially saw an explosion of alternative media channels, and the lines between content creator and content consumer became increasingly blurred. While the network and cable news organizations struggled to maintain their control over the flow of information, social media and YouTube allowed anyone with a voice to attract an audience. Four million people tuned in to watch Tucker Carlson last week, leading all evening cable news hosts. More than six million people watched the most recent Democratic presidential primary debate, a new record. Meanwhile, Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, better known as Pewdiepie, has more than a hundred million subscribers on his channel. Sure, that is quite an outlier – Pewdiepie has been the most-subscribed content creator on earth for half a decade now. Yet it is clear that Generation Z is influenced much more by personalities on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram than they are by the legacy media.
Generation Z would often rather watch a Twitch streamer than play video games, and watch YouTubers break down a movie rather than watch it themselves. Whereas video games in my generation were stigmatized as an anti-social activity, gaming for younger people is inherently social, whether they are walking about playing Pokemon on their phones or voice chatting with their friends while playing Minecraft or Fortnite together. The younger generations are looking outside the traditional information channels, and the established media does not like losing their gated pasture. When legacy media celebrated the recent banning of Generation Z conservative Nicholas Fuentes from YouTube, they claimed it was because they oppose so-called “hate speech”. However, the real reason seems to be that they simply do not like the competition. Established news organizations have long enjoyed their position as the gatekeepers of knowledge in America, but their ability to control the flow of information is quickly dissipating in the modern era of social media.
Social media has changed the way in which ideas spread throughout a culture. In the long ages before the printing press, ideas were transmitted slowly. Books were hand-copied by monks, which meant only the rich could afford them. Traveling storytellers and bards brought cultural ideas from place to place at the speed of horse, or even slower if they traveled on foot. Culture developed and changed extremely slowly, because new ideas could only spread slowly. The printing press democratized ideas by making books cheap enough that most people could afford them, which spurred advancement in nearly every field. The Protestant Reformation, for example, followed directly on the heels of the printing press as lay people could suddenly afford to buy their own Bibles and see what they actually said instead of only relying on the clergy. The Renaissance began just a few years later as lost knowledge of the classical world began spreading again. It was the printing press that enabled American patriots to spread their ideas of revolution throughout the thirteen colonies. Thomas Paine could write up a pamphlet, print a thousand copies, and have them handed out to people from Boston to Virginia, spreading his seditious ideas very rapidly through colonial society.
It was this spread of ideas that sparked the American Revolution. In societies where information is tightly controlled, it is sometimes difficult to gauge how popular your own position is compared to your friends and neighbors. Sure, you could talk openly, unless you’re in East Germany or North Korea, but even then you still have the bubble effect, where you might assume that your views are more popular than they really are because you surround yourself with like-minded people. Pamphlets in pre-revolutionary America showed people that they were not alone, as writers such as Paine put into words what a lot of people were already thinking.
If the printing press democratized ideas, social media is democracy on steroids. Someone like Thomas Paine still needed access to an expensive printing press, not to mention the infrastructure for delivering those pamphlets after printing. Today, the world is full of bloggers, YouTubers, Twitch streamers, Twitter personalities, and Instagram influencers. Whereas Paine’s pamphlets could reach thousands in Colonial America and Great Britain, modern influencers can reach a worldwide audience using nothing more than a smartphone. You could even run a successful blog with no investment besides a library card if you really wanted to. Despite their claims of devotion to democracy, legacy media is doing everything they can to stop this information explosion. CNN recently aired a segment explaining that they are the only news source trustworthy enough to tell you that a banana is a banana and an apple is an apple. Washington Post added the slogan “Democracy dies in darkness” to its masthead, even as wages an endless campaign against the democratically elected president. The mainstream outlets have also used every trick in the book to try to silence and censor alternative sources of information. They have used their influence to get people and groups they disagree with banned from Twitter and YouTube, and sometimes even dox anonymous content creators. These mainstream organizations had grown powerful in their position as the gatekeepers of ideas, and they very much would like that position back.
The founders of our country recognized the importance of the spread of ideas in their own revolution and crafted the First Amendment to guarantee the rights of free speech and a free press. Modern technology has enabled anyone with internet access to have their own printing press, so to speak. Despite this, legacy media insinuates that the First Amendment protects journalists as a class, and they use that logic to justify their censorship of alternative voices who are not, in their view, legitimate press. Even conservative media has fallen into this pattern. During the 1990s and 2000s, conservative media played the role of counterculture to the left’s media monopoly. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh were rebels against a censor-hungry mainstream media. Today, however, the conservative media establishment uses the same tactics as the left to shut down ideas from their right. Last autumn, America First groups led by Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey tried to engage the establishment conservatives of TP USA and Fox News. The establishment cabal, led by milquetoast conservatives like Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk, responded by calling them racist and trying to get them banned and deplatformed – the exact same thing that they accused left-wing media of trying to do to them. Despite the mantra about competing in the marketplace of ideas, it seems that powerful conservatives are no different in their desire to be gatekeepers of truth than their counterparts on the right.
Yet as the early internet pioneers liked to say, information wants to be free. It is hard to destroy an idea once it is out in the open. There is something called the Streisand Effect on the internet that describes what happens when the rich and powerful try to censor an idea. It was named after actress, singer, and general narcissist Barbra Streisand, who in 2003 tried to remove pictures of her Malibu mansion from the web. This backfired spectacularly, as the attention generated caused people to share the pictures far and wide out of spite and anger that someone would attempt such censorship. The act of trying to hide the information made it even more popular than before. The more technology enables ideas to be spread more quickly and easily, the more difficult it is to censor those ideas. In the 1500s, ideas were spread when the literate class read books, but only those with presses could write them. In the 1900s, ideas were spread by the television to the masses, but only a few companies controlled the airwaves. In 2020, ideas are spread by clicking “share” on a 50 kilobyte meme, and that is hard to stop.
The word “meme” was coined in 1976 by biologist Richard Dawkins to describe the way in which a concept or idea spreads and evolves as it moves through a population. This compares with the way a gene that contains biological information changes through many generations of reproduction. Like genes, a meme can spread through a culture, becoming subtly altered as it comes into contact new people. In modern web parlance, a meme is usually a picture with some text that spreads through various online communities. There is no way to predict or control how or why any particular meme will become popular. Big corporations and established politicians have tried to engineer their own memes, but they usually fail. Many of the most popular memes over the last two decades were started by anonymous users on 4chan and from there spread to other social networks.
Let’s talk about 4chan for a moment. You might have heard it described by mainstream news as a scary place on the internet, where hackers collude and where anti-social young men plot evil deeds. In reality, 4chan began as an image board for anime fans. Because of its entirely anonymous nature, it quickly gained a following for people who wanted to rebel against the established culture. There have always been countercultures in the world. The beatniks and hippies of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s were themselves counter to the prevailing culture of the day, which was socially conservative. At some point, these rebels grew up and took control of the culture, becoming the very “man” they once raged against. Today’s counterculture is conservative and traditional, because it is those things that are being crushed by the dominant forces of social justice. When 4chan began it was full of Millennials rebelling against the social order of the late 90s and early 2000s. Today, it is full of Generation Z – Zoomers – who are rebelling against the globalist homosexual multicultural social justice establishment of 2020. Concepts such as reading the Bible, going to church, marrying and building a family – these are the countercultural ideas being spread among the younger generations today.
Let’s look at an example of how a meme can influence people in a way that you might not expect. The pro-life movement began in 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that states did not have the authority to ban abortion. Despite billions of dollars, despite nearly fifty years of Republican politicians campaigning on promises to outlaw abortion, this barbarous practice still occurs routinely across America. The pro-life movement has tried to change hearts and minds, but it is a slow process, especially in the face of our dominant media and culture that treats abortion as if it were a secular sacrament. Pro-life activists march on the Capitol every January, proclaiming their support for unborn children, while various advertising campaigns have been tried with little success. The general idea in our culture is that the pro-life movement is made up of old church ladies, or worse of evil men who just want to exercise control over women’s bodies. Conventional wisdom says that young people are growing more pro-abortion every year. However, there is a traditional counterculture that goes unseen by both the left and the right, and they are generation ideas in a new way. I came across a meme recently, one that likely originated on 4chan but eventually found its way to Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and other social media. It shows childlike drawings of boys and girls, calling them “aborted older brother,” “aborted daughter,” and “aborted sister”. The “aborted daughter” meme has statements written in crayon such as “Hi Mommy, I miss you. It’s ok, I’m glad you have a good life.” The “aborted sister” meme has others, such as “I wish I could hug you. I’m sure Mommy had a reason; did I do something bad to her?” These concise memes have probably done more to change the minds of young people on abortion than half a century of the pro-life movement.
Clausewitz said that politics is war by other means. Well, memes are information by other means. Older generations always complain that young people have short attention spans. In that case, memes can deliver a lot of relevant information in just a few seconds. It is not just the younger generations, however. Life moves fast in 2020. Nobody wants to sit down and watch three hours of dignified debating, as we did in 1858 when Abraham Lincoln challenged Stephen Douglas for the Senate. We ingest information as fast as possible – Twitter is 280 characters or less, TikTok videos are only a few seconds long, and memes are just a single image with only a few words. President Trump has fully embraced this new reality, and he uses his Twitter feed in the same way that President Roosevelt used radio in the 1930s. Trump can easily bypass the gatekeepers of knowledge and connect directly to the people. Vox Day has written much on the difference between rhetoric and dialectic. While we like to think that we are logical beings who appreciate a rationality, the truth is that most people respond more to emotional rhetoric than to a reasoned argument. This is not a new concept; Aristotle was saying the same thing more than two millennia ago. Memes are a terrific method of transmitting ideas because they are almost entirely rhetorical, but often carry with them the seed of logic that grows into a rational idea the more you see it.
The other advantage to memes is that they are almost infinitely applicable. Ever since there were newspapers, there have been political cartoonists. Political cartoons are not usually amusing, rather they serve to jam a bunch of ideas into a single box that preaches to the choir, whether on the right or the left. In the late 19th century Thomas Nast famously began using a donkey to represent the Democratic Party and an elephant to represent the Republicans, and that shorthand has stuck. Perhaps the closest analogue to the old political cartoons is the webcomic. There is one in particular that has hit the cultural zeitgeist like no other and that is Stonetoss. According to the social justice left, the author of Stonetoss is a Nazi who should be banned and censored. A better term, however, would be iconoclast – the sort of person who relentlessly skewers the politically establishment in the way that the left used to appreciate when they were not culturally dominant. I have found a few Stonetoss comics that communicate a certain message in three or four panels better than an entire essay. Here is the example I mentioned in last week’s podcast:
This single comic so succinctly demonstrates how advertising has turned into a propaganda platform for social justice warriors who want to remake society, with no thought to the product they are ostensibly trying to sell. Lest you think that this satire is unrealistic, there was recently a fast food ad that did exactly what the comic suggests, showing more footage of a homosexual couple than any of the food that they want to sell.
The genie is out of the bottle and there is no going back. As much as the rich and the powerful establishment would like to impose 1984-style censorship on us, the existence of the internet has made it possible to share ideas at the speed of light. Now that the globalist left is culturally dominant, it was only natural that a traditional and conservative counterculture would develop as young people seek an alternative to the degeneracy and misery of our modern world. While Orwell said in 1984 that if there was hope it lies with the proles, John Derbyshire summed up our modern world when he said that if there is hope today, it lies in the comments section. Mainstream media has their narrative, but the truth will find a way out as long as there are people brave enough to question what they have been told. There might be no way to stop the decline and fall of America, but, like our revolutionary fathers, the ideas we pass around today will form the basis of our new society in the future.
Here is a list of alternative media sources that I suggest you follow. It is by no means exhaustive. Some are meme or comic artists, some are independent journalists, and some are amateur pundits and commentators. Check them out, bookmark them, and follow them on multiple platforms in case they get banned from the mainstream sites.
We all know the image of Lady Justice, best represented by the statue atop the Old Bailey in London. In one hand she holds a scale, to determine the truth, and in the other she wields a sword, to dispense punishment. Her eyes are often depicted blindfolded, because justice is supposed to concern itself only with the facts of a case, not the wealth, ethnicity, or character of the accused. This ideal has been turned on its head in modern society. Today we have two parallel tiers of justice in America: One for the rich, the powerful, and the politically-favored, and another for the rest of us.
Last week, the Justice Department announced that it would not be charging former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe with a crime, despite the fact that he publicly lied under oath. Ironically, it is this same crime that was allegedly committed by General Michael Flynn, President Trump’s original choice for National Security Advisor. The FBI asked to interview Flynn, ostensibly about the allegation of election interference, but they concealed their intention of targeting him specifically. There is evidence that the FBI agents who conducted the interview were extreme anti-Trump partisans who deliberately altered their records of what Flynn said in the interview in order to indict him for supposed perjury. While Flynn has had the book thrown at him for more than three years now, McCabe got away with the same infraction.
We see this same process at work all over our government. The Mueller investigation targeted Trump confidant Roger Stone with various process crimes, and prosecutors recently recommended a sentence of nine years for the old man. That is more than many violent rapists or drug dealers receive. The Mueller team previously charged former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort with various minor crimes, but was able to put him in jail, and he was in fact kept in solitary confinement on the orders of an anti-Trump judge. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta is free, despite doing some of the same things. In fact, Podesta and Manafort actually worked together with the same firm when the crimes were supposed to have occurred. Clinton herself committed numerous crimes during her tenure as Secretary of State for President Obama, but the FBI and Justice Department declined to charge her with anything. However, other not-so-famous people who were charged with similar crimes were put in prison without mercy.
Another example in the news recently involves the opioid fentanyl which is responsible for thousands of overdose deaths in recent years. John Kapoor, former head of the drug company Insys, was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to five years in prison. However, fraud is putting it lightly. Kapoor and his company were found to have not only pushed for their fentanyl-containing drug Subsys to be massively overprescribed, but they even bribed doctors to get it into as many hands as possible. The FDA estimates that more than eight thousand people died as a direct result of Kapoor’s malfeasance. On the other hand, low-level drug dealers are often given much longer sentences, despite only being responsible for one or two deaths. Why is the former CEO given such a light sentence?
I could go on. Whether or not you are charged and convicted of a crime in America today depends greatly on who you know and how much political power you wield. Democrats accused President Trump of election tampering because he wanted to investigate obvious corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently running in the Democratic presidential primary. Apparently, investigating possible criminal activity by a candidate is “election tampering”. According to this logic, simply declaring oneself a candidate for high office is enough to insulate you from any criminal investigation. On the other hand, these same Democrats had no problem with Obama’s FBI investigation Trump’s campaign team, and that investigation continuing into the Trump Administration itself. This is simply “who, whom” from the Democrats – anything that undermines their enemies is by definition good, while anything that attacks their own corruption is by definition bad. While this is a perfectly rational strategy for obtaining and maintaining power, it has nothing to do with the American idea of equality before the law.
The ancient world had no law under which nobility and peasantry alike were ruled. Laws were laid down by one king, then amended or replaced by another. Priests often had their own set of laws that they enforced. Outside of civilization it was simply the law of the jungle. The idea of the “Common Law,” a set of rules that was straightforward, everlasting, and applied equally to all, was one of the most important bedrocks in the development of Western Civilization. Before this concept was defined, law was simply a tool wielded by the powerful to use against everyone else. The idea that a king should have to follow the law that he gave his subjects was nearly unthinkable. Laws really were for the little people. In theory, the king was God’s representative on earth, and it was his job to sit in judgment of his people. Forcing the king to follow the law made no sense under this system. When the English nobility forced King John to sign Magna Carta in 1215 it was a watershed moment in the development of human rights. The men present at Runnymede that day declared that no man – not even the king – was above the law.
The Common Law also meant consistency, so that men knew what the law was from one day to the next. Even as late as Renaissance-era England, Parliaments could pass what was called a Bill of Attainder that declared, without a judge or jury, that a particular man was guilty of a particular crime. Parliaments would also pass “ex post facto” laws – making something that was legal yesterday illegal today, and then prosecuting people based on what they did yesterday. Both of these things were explicitly banned by the US Constitution. The philosophy of the Common Law was deeply ingrained in the founding fathers of the United States, permeating everything they wrote. The Constitution was written to be the supreme law of the land, above presidents and congressmen and judges, setting up a balance of power so that no one man could, like Julius Caesar two thousand years ago, amass ultimate authority in our nation. The founders built into the Constitution an amendment process that required super majorities of both Congress and the States, preventing one faction or party from altering the Constitution on a whim to serve their short-term interests.
The US Constitution disallows bills of attainder, as well as ex post facto laws. However, the modern bureaucratic state has found ways around these proscriptions. For example, Congress cannot pass bills of attainder that declare someone guilty, but they can endlessly investigate and subpoena anyone for any reason, and if that person says anything that is less than one hundred percent truthful, even if it is an innocent mistake, they are prosecuted and imprisoned for perjury. The FBI routinely pulls this stunt, as they did with General Flynn. It is a cheap trick to use when you cannot convict someone for actual crimes. Ex post facto laws might not be allowed, but our legal code has become so convoluted that it is often hard to tell at any given moment what is lawful and what is not.
The Constitution also disallows double jeopardy, a system in which the state could continue to prosecute someone until they succeeded in getting a jury to convict him. Today, once you are exonerated in a jury trial, you cannot be tried again for the same crime. The way around this is to use civil court to do what criminal court cannot. O.J. Simpson was acquitted by a jury in his criminal trial for the murder of his ex-wife and her lover, but his former in-laws successfully sued him in civil court for “wrongful death” and were able to deprive him of most of his fortune. While most Americans would agree that Simpson was clearly guilty, something about the way he was punished seems antithetical to the American ideal of justice.
The use of process crimes to obtain convictions that were not otherwise possible has been around for a while. The Treasury Department famously could not find enough evidence to convict Chicago mobster Al Capone of illegal activities, but they could prosecute him for not paying taxes on his ill-gotten fortune. Obviously, Capone did not report his illegal revenues on his tax returns. As with O.J. Simpson, taking down Capone was clearly a good thing, the way it was done was surely another chip in the foundation of the Common Law in America. Today, government agencies use process crimes as a matter of course in their prosecution, whether it is of real criminals or simply of various sorts of political dissidents. The phrase “anarcho-tyranny” describes a system in which one group of people gets away with egregious crimes, while another is punished for the slightest infraction. Does that not sound like America today? Victor Davis Hanson has written about illegal immigrants from Mexico living around Fresno, California, and completely ignoring laws regarding zoning or illegal dumping. Meanwhile, white businessmen in the same region can barely conduct business due to the complexity of regulation laid upon them by the state. See also the push to legalize any crime committed primarily by black Americans, such as fare evasion in Washington DC, while calling for stronger punishment for crimes committed by less-favored ethnic groups.
The consistency of our laws is also not what it used to be. With so many laws on the books, the government cannot enforce everything, so there ends up being a lot of discretion involved in choosing what to prosecute and what to let go. President Obama’s Executive Order for the children of illegal immigrants, for example, did not change the legality of their presence in the United States, it merely instructed federal agencies to stop enforcing immigration law. This sort of capriciousness is a throwback to the time of ancient kings, who chose what laws to enforce based upon whatever criteria they considered important at the time. Today, being prosecuted is often a function of whether you are a member of a protected class or not. Are you rich and powerful? Are you a member of a favored ethnic or social group? Whether or not a crime was committed is secondary in this calculation.
There are clearly parallel systems of justice in America. The rich, the powerful, and the politically connected can get away with anything while the average American is subject to ever-changing laws that can entrap him at any moment. Former prosecutor Harvey Silverglate wrote a book a while ago called “Three Felonies a Day”, suggesting that there are so many twisted and even contradictory laws on our books today that a prosecutor could literally charge any random American with three different felonies on any given day should he so choose. The result of such a system is that prosecution and conviction are not borne out of a search for the truth regarding an obvious crime but are instead dependent on the whims of the people in power. Additionally, the use of plea bargains further removes truth from the so-called justice system. Prosecutors are increasingly charging people far beyond the scope of any actual infraction, so as to create such a threat point that the accused is basically forced to accept a plea bargain. Even for people who know they did not commit the crimes they are accused of, the risk of a guilty verdict putting them away for decades and ruining their business, their family, and their lives is so great that many will agree to plead guilty to a lower charge, despite their innocence.
Probably the greatest constitutional protection of our civil rights is the doctrine of innocent until proven guilty. In many older legal systems, the burden of proof was upon the accused to prove their innocence rather than upon the prosecutor to prove their guilt. Proving guilt is difficult, but proving innocence might be even harder, even if the accused is truly innocent. Our founding fathers would rather have a justice system where a few guilty people escape punishment than one that routinely imprisons innocent people. This too has been turned on its head by our modern bureaucratic state. Look no further than the investigation and impeachment of President Trump – the Democrats’ talking point was consistently that neither the Mueller Report nor the Senate trial actually “acquitted” or “exonerated” the president. In their opinions, he was guilty, and it was up to him to prove his innocence of whatever charges they threw at him. This twists not only American law but a thousand years of western European legal tradition entirely backwards.
The same idea powers the ever-expanding surveillance state. The government is constantly demanding more oversight over our daily lives, whether through cameras on the streets, mandatory reporting of financial transactions, or backdoors into our encrypted devices and applications. Police, border agents, and airport security demand the right to invasively search you with no probable cause. Edward Snowden proved that the NSA has been spying on Americans for many years now. Their usual excuse is that if we have nothing to hide then we have nothing to worry about. However, they maintain different rules for their class of people. The rich and the powerful are accustomed to getting away with their crimes, but they consider the average American to be guilty until proven innocent.
One of the most important corollaries in a belief in a common law is a belief in meritocracy. The conceit of America was that it was a classless society in contrast to Europe with its royal families and nobility as well as its hereditary offices and positions. While this might never have actually been the reality of America, it was at least the ideal we all aspired to. Children were taught that they could do anything, be anything in this country. Sometimes it actually happened. Abraham Lincoln was nobody special until he challenged Stephen Douglas for the Senate and made a name for himself, eventually reaching the White House. Harry Truman grew up on a farm in Missouri and ended up overseeing the end of World War II as president. While Donald Trump was wealthy and famous before becoming president, he came into the election as a true outsider, and remains the only President to be elected with no previous government or military experience. It happened outside of political office as well. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos started off in prosperity, but they both became the richest men in the world by creating things that changed the way we lived. Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash grew up in poverty and both reached the heights of fame. However, while numerous, these examples are the exceptions that prove the rule.
Today, entrance into the upper crust is largely a product of patronage. The existing upper classes engage in a huge amount of quid pro quo, trading favors and influence like prisoners trade cigarettes. The children of presidents provide an easy example here. Chelsea Clinton received numerous high-profile internships and lucrative board positions despite having accomplished almost nothing on her own. Same with the daughters of Presidents Bush and Obama. Perhaps the most egregious example is Hunter Biden, younger son of former Vice President Joe Biden. By his mid-forties, Hunter Biden had accomplished little, but had been given cushy jobs as the son of a high-ranking Senator. By the time his father was Vice President, Hunter was given a naval commission under a special program that did not require boot camp or training or anything like that. Despite this easy entry, he was discharged due to drug use shortly thereafter. Yet having connections means never having to hit rock bottom. Hunter was immediately given a sinecure position on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company that paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, despite having little-to-no experience with natural gas, or with Ukraine, for that matter. So much for meritocracy.
The left seemed very concerned about President Trump entering office as a rich man, but what about the opposite? How often do you see people enter elected office and then somehow become obscenely wealthy? The Obama family was moderately well off before the White House, but after leaving they have been awash in money as companies offer them huge sums to get in their good graces. The value in paying Bill Clinton $500,000 for a speech, for example, is not that it will generate that much more productivity, but that it is an unregulated contribution, a bribe even, that will be remembered and rewarded later. Elite politicians, business leaders, and celebrities live for so long in a world of luxury that they forget what it is like to be an average American. They start to actually believe that the laws do not apply to people like them. They never have to wait in line at an airport or fight traffic on city streets. They do not have to clip coupons for groceries, compare cell phone plans, or anything else to try and stay within a limited budget. Their only interaction with the average man and woman might be watching them on TV now and then or at carefully staged town halls – they certainly do not rub shoulders with the hoi polloi on a regular basis.
The extreme upper class exists in another world, one that runs parallel to the one the rest of us inhabit. If we lose our job, we desperately search for a new one, hoping that our meager savings can survive until then, and hoping that there are no medical emergencies while we are in between insurance. For them, losing a job just means picking up the phone and asking for a lucrative sinecure on some other board or an easy lobbying gig in Washington DC. John Bolton, President Bush’s ambassador to the UN and President Trump’s former national security advisor, famously hung around buildings in DC while unemployed and tried to talk politics with anyone who would listen until he got a new position. If you or I tried that, we would rightly be labeled a bum who needs to get a real job. If we are accused of a crime, we can only find the best lawyer we can afford and hope that truth will win out over the massive weight of our legal system. For them, they simply send one of their high-powered attorneys on retainer to make the problem go away. When someone rich and powerful is finally given justice, it is often because the system has no more use of him. Harvey Weinstein was protected, until he wasn’t. Jeffrey Epstein was protected, until he wasn’t. How many people are still protected from prosecution for doing things far worse than many already in prison?
This two-tiered system of life and of justice in America is not a good sign for the health of our Republic. The left likes to talk about income inequality, but an even greater sign of the decline is in inequality of justice. When millions of normal Americans see the famous politicians getting away with the same crimes that would send them to prison, they lose all faith in our government and our society. This is how revolutions begin. The American people will not stand for this much longer. Something has to give. Every new injustice adds more fuel to the fire. Conservative commentator Jesse Kelly said it best:
All nations end. That’s just life. When they tell the story of the breakup of America, having one set of laws for normal people and one set of laws for people in the government club will be part of our breakup story. Nations can’t last like that. https://t.co/rOVCi4PhAB
I am not the only one to make the comparison of Michael Bloomberg to Marcus Crassus. Earlier today on Twitter conservative commentator Jesse Kelly made the same observation after reading a long piece by Raheem Kassam at National Pulse. I briefly mentioned in my piece that Bloomberg made his fortune by gaining a monopoly on financial information systems for traders and journalists. Kassam’s piece goes into much greater detail on exactly how he accomplished that and what that sort of control means for his campaign. In short, we have a man who has nearly endless money, his own newspaper chain, and exactly zero principles who is trying to buy the White House.
To celebrate Washington’s Birthday (despite it having been bastardized into “Presidents’ Day to honor his mediocre successors), here are some notes about each president. This is not an exhaustive biography of every president and his place in history, merely some quick thoughts:
George Washington: “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” He set the standard by which all future presidents are judged, and still stands alone.
John Adams: Principled to a fault. Would have enjoyed the VP position more in its 21st century form.
Thomas Jefferson: His idealism sometimes failed (as when he supported the French Revolution) but it also motivated him to expand our horizons.
James Madison: Wrote the Constitution and gave us the Bill of Rights. Much of what is good about America is due to his work.
James Monroe: Known for his eponymous Doctrine, and for being the only president to have a foreign capital named after him. Only president besides Washington to run essentially unopposed, in 1820.
John Quincy Adams: As principled as his father. The last of the old guard revolutionary elites. Benefited from the “Corrupt Bargain” in the election of 1824.
Andrew Jackson: The first populist president. He spoke directly to the people and acted on their behalf, no matter what the bureaucracy wanted.
Martin van Buren: Last president until George H.W. Bush in 1988 to win the White House as sitting VP.
William Henry Harrison: The anti-war Whig party got their first win by running a war hero general. Too bad he died not six weeks into his term.
John Tyler: First VP to succeed to the presidency. Made enemies on both sides by doing so. Later supported the Confederacy.
James K. Polk: Was not even a candidate until the divided Convention. Made three promises. Achieved all three then retired. A good model to follow.
Zachary Taylor: The Whigs win again with another war hero. They lose again when he dies in office. Bad luck.
Millard Fillmore: The last Whig president. That’s all I have.
Franklin Pierce: The Whigs tried their luck a third time with a war-hero general, running Winfield Scott in 1852. Pierce won easily. America probably wanted a refund after the fact.
James Buchanan: Didn’t do anything about the growing divide in America over slavery.
Abraham Lincoln: Revered today for keeping the Union together, yet he was the one who chose to start a war to do it. Bad on civil liberties too.
Andrew Johnson: A Southern loyalist Democrat unexpectedly has to deal with a Republican Congress that wants to annihilate the South. Gets impeached for standing up to them.
Ulysses Grant: Great general. Not so good president. First president to explicitly write his memoirs after office.
Rutherford Hayes: Actually lost the election, but the South switched their electoral votes to him in exchange for withdrawing Federal troops.
James Garfield: Exemplified the late 1800s presidency – quietly running the government and rooting out corruption. Shot just four months into his term.
Chester Arthur: Another late-1800s president. Failing health kept him from doing too much.
Grover Cleveland: Everyone knows he served two nonconsecutive terms. Think about that though – his successor messed up so much that the people went back for a second look.
Benjamin Harrison: Grandson of former President Harrison. Lasted longer in office. The last president to wear a glorious beard.
William McKinley: Proved that populism was still not a golden ticket by defeating the indefatigable and popular William Jennings Bryan twice. Pressured into starting a war based on faulty intel. Hmm.
Theodore Roosevelt: Maybe the most larger-than-life president of all time. Unabashedly pro-American.
William Taft: If Teddy was larger-than-life, Taft was simply large. Should have won in 1912 if Teddy’s ego didn’t ruin it.
Woodrow Wilson: Maybe the worst president. Income tax, Federal Reserve, direct election of Senators, expanded suffrage, war, civil rights restrictions. The seeds of everything wrong with America today.
Warren Harding: Super corrupt. Might have been legitimately impeached had he not conveniently died. His best decision, besides dying, was his VP.
Calvin Coolidge: Humble and soft-spoken. Understood that the best government is one that gets out of our way. One of the best.
Herbert Hoover: Not the laissez-faire leader our textbooks claim. An engineer by trade, he rebuilt Europe after WWI, and figured he could rebuild the economy with the right tools.
Franklin Roosevelt: I wonder if voters knew in 1932 that they were electing a president for life? Not quite the dictator that Germany, Russia, and Italy had in the same era, but cut from the same cloth.
Harry Truman: Humble, yet stuck with the choice to use nukes in his first month in office.
Dwight Eisenhower: Great president, great general, great man. Highest-ranking general since Washington, yet in two terms he did not start any wars.
John Kennedy: The last Democrat to be stridently anti-Communist. He was more useful to the Democrats dead than alive.
Lyndon Johnson: Third coming of Wilson, after FDR. Massively expanded government. Won greatest landslide in history in 1964, but so unpopular by 1968 he dropped out of his own primary.
Richard Nixon: Master politician. Got in trouble because suddenly doing what all presidents did was now wrong. Huge victory in 1972 belies conventional wisdom about the 60s generation.
Gerald Ford: Pardoning Nixon killed him politically, but it was the right thing to do.
Jimmy Carter: His win in 1976 was the only Democratic victory between 1968 and 1992.
Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator. Boldly spoke directly to the people. His 1986 amnesty still haunts us today though.
George H.W. Bush: Seemed very humble and soft-spoken, but must have been different behind the scenes. Former head of the CIA, involved in Iran-Contra, and who knows what else.
Bill Clinton: Master politician like Nixon. Started the trend of replacing actual policy with cliched platitudes. 1994 triangulation was masterful but forgotten by modern Democrats.
George W. Bush: His 2004 reelection is the only time since 1988 that a Republican has won the popular vote.
Barack Obama: Most of his accomplishments have already been erased. Will be an historical footnote – “The first black president.”
Donald Trump: A true outsider – the first president to win election despite no electoral, military, or governmental experience. Faces opposition like no president in history, yet has been so-far successful in reshaping the executive branch and judiciary.