Comments on The Flight 93 Election. Let’s Roll


From reader Dean Ericson and from many other sources, the required must-read “The Flight 93 Election” by Publius Decius Mus at the sober Claremont Review of Books. If you support Hillary or are a “never” Trumper, which is the same, you are particularly encouraged to read it.

What follows are only a few highlights (not necessarily in order) and comments. More to come as The Choice nears. Since the original, Mus has published an answer to criticisms, and these where appropriate will be threaded in.

2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.

Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.

Hillary is guaranteed Doom, says Mus. She will not be “business as usual”, something we can “get through.” After however many years she makes it without coughing out the last of her lungs, this country will never be the same. Trump is at the least a chance of survival: “one must wonder how buffoonish the alleged buffoon really is when he is right on the most important issues while so many others who are esteemed wise are wrong.”

Even if you don’t (yet) believe Trump is not the fool he has been painted, one thing is certain sure: “conservatives” have been of no help.

One of the paradoxes—there are so many—of conservative thought over the last decade at least is the unwillingness even to entertain the possibility that America and the West are on a trajectory toward something very bad. On the one hand, conservatives routinely present a litany of ills plaguing the body politic. Illegitimacy. Crime. Massive, expensive, intrusive, out-of-control government. Politically correct McCarthyism. Ever-higher taxes and ever-deteriorating services and infrastructure. Inability to win wars against tribal, sub-Third-World foes. A disastrously awful educational system that churns out kids who don’t know anything and, at the primary and secondary levels, can’t (or won’t) discipline disruptive punks, and at the higher levels saddles students with six figure debts for the privilege. And so on and drearily on. Like that portion of the mass where the priest asks for your private intentions, fill in any dismal fact about American decline that you want and I’ll stipulate it.

Conservatives spend at least several hundred million dollars a year on think-tanks, magazines, conferences, fellowships, and such, complaining about this, that, the other, and everything. And yet these same conservatives are, at root, keepers of the status quo. Oh, sure, they want some things to change. They want their pet ideas adopted—tax deductions for having more babies and the like. Many of them are even good ideas. But are any of them truly fundamental? Do they get to the heart of our problems?

No. Yet “if [conservatives] are right about the importance of all this to national health and even survival, then they must believe—mustn’t they?—that we are headed off a cliff.”

They don’t believe it, though. Not really. Too many of them want to retain the status quo. Mus (as others have) casts conservatives as the Washington Generals, the team that’s paid to lose. At least they’re still on the court.

Let’s be very blunt here: if you genuinely think things can go on with no fundamental change needed, then you have implicitly admitted that conservatism is wrong. Wrong philosophically, wrong on human nature, wrong on the nature of politics, and wrong in its policy prescriptions. Because, first, few of those prescriptions are in force today. Second, of the ones that are, the left is busy undoing them, often with conservative assistance. And, third, the whole trend of the West is ever-leftward, ever further away from what we all understand as conservatism.

If your answer—Continetti’s, Douthat’s, Salam’s, and so many others’—is for conservatism to keep doing what it’s been doing—another policy journal, another article about welfare reform, another half-day seminar on limited government, another tax credit proposal—even though we’ve been losing ground for at least a century, then you’ve implicitly accepted that your supposed political philosophy doesn’t matter and that civilization will carry on just fine under leftist tenets. Indeed, that leftism is truer than conservatism and superior to it.

Poor Ross Douthat! Perhaps he think he’ll won’t be forced to put a pinch of incense in the fire for his left-handed support of Hillary. You’d think a man as well read in history as he would realize that it is folks like him that are the first on the line.

A Hillary presidency will be pedal-to-the-metal on the entire Progressive-left agenda, plus items few of us have yet imagined in our darkest moments. Nor is even that the worst. It will be coupled with a level of vindictive persecution against resistance and dissent hitherto seen in the supposedly liberal West only in the most “advanced” Scandinavian countries and the most leftist corners of Germany and England. We see this already in the censorship practiced by the Davoisie’s social media enablers; in the shameless propaganda tidal wave of the mainstream media; and in the personal destruction campaigns—operated through the former and aided by the latter—of the Social Justice Warriors. We see it in Obama’s flagrant use of the IRS to torment political opponents, the gaslighting denial by the media, and the collective shrug by everyone else.

It’s absurd to assume that any of this would stop or slow—would do anything other than massively intensify—in a Hillary administration. It’s even more ridiculous to expect that hitherto useless conservative opposition would suddenly become effective. For two generations at least, the Left has been calling everyone to their right Nazis. This trend has accelerated exponentially in the last few years, helped along by some on the Right who really do seem to merit—and even relish—the label. There is nothing the modern conservative fears more than being called “racist,” so alt-right pocket Nazis are manna from heaven for the Left. But also wholly unnecessary: sauce for the goose. The Left was calling us Nazis long before any pro-Trumpers tweeted Holocaust denial memes. And how does one deal with a Nazi—that is, with an enemy one is convinced intends your destruction? You don’t compromise with him or leave him alone. You crush him.

The emphasis is mine—and it should be yours, too. Next time some idiot calls you a “racist”, say “I’m a sexist, too.”

Solutions? What do you mean “solutions”? He said it at the beginning. Fight.

If it hadn’t been abundantly clear for the last 50 years, the campaign of 2015-2016 must surely have made it evident to even the meanest capacities that the intelligentsia—including all the organs through which it broadcasts its propaganda—is overwhelmingly partisan and biased. Against this onslaught, “conservative” media is a nullity, barely a whisper…

Second, our Washington Generals self-handicap and self-censor to an absurd degree…Our “leaders” and “dissenters” bend over backward to play by the self-sabotaging rules the Left sets for them. Fearful, beaten dogs have more thymos.

Yes, Trump “departs from conservative orthodoxy in so many ways that National Review still hasn’t stopped counting.” So what. In almost any category you can mention, except perhaps hair care, which is a wash, whatever you can say bad about Trump you can say worse about Hillary.

The key realization is that you are not voting for Hillary: you are voting for the permanence of leftism, for the dominance of the system, the end of the republic. Did you think if you elected her you’d get only her?

[Conservatives strategy] is insane. This is the mark of a party, a society, a country, a people, a civilization that wants to die. Trump, alone among candidates for high office in this or in the last seven (at least) cycles, has stood up to say: I want to live. I want my party to live. I want my country to live. I want my people to live. I want to end the insanity.

Yes, Trump is worse than imperfect. So what?

So “simply building a wall and enforcing immigration law will help enormously, by cutting off the flood of newcomers that perpetuates ethnic separatism and by incentivizing the English language and American norms in the workplace.”

And if it doesn’t work, what then? We’ve established that most “conservative” anti-Trumpites are in the Orwellian sense objectively pro-Hillary. What about the rest of you? If you recognize the threat she poses, but somehow can’t stomach him, have you thought about the longer term? The possibilities would seem to be: Caesarism, secession/crack-up, collapse, or managerial Davoisie liberalism as far as the eye can see…which, since nothing human lasts forever, at some point will give way to one of the other three…

But for those of you who are sober: can you sketch a more plausible long-term future than the prior four following a Trump defeat? I can’t either. [First ellipsis original.]

If Hillary wins it “will represent, in my view, an irreversible triumph for the administrative state…The country will go on, but it will not be a constitutional republic…If you are in the managerial class, you will probably do well—so long as you don’t say the wrong thing.”

My bet, if Hillary wins, is on managerial Davoisie liberalism. But if you argued for Caesarism, I wouldn’t try to talk you out of it.


  1. Yawrate

    I’ve read the essay twice now and Mus has laid it bare. We are finally where we thought we’ve been numerous times–at the end of conservatism. A Clinton victory means conservatives of all stripes will be driven into capitulation or hiding. Further, we will find ourselves in a condition of permanent progressive oligarchy that much of Europe is dying from.

    Pence 2016

  2. What continually amazes me is that intelligent people, people who argue for the primacy of empirical evidence to form a conclusion, believe anything that Trump says. They ignore his past support of Democrats, including his cozying up to the Clintons, they ignore his tacit support of abortion by kind remarks about Planned Parenthood and about his sister, the judge who attempted to void banning partial birth abortion, his pledge to further increase our entitlement debt and enhance the coming budget catastrophe by unfunded child-care proposals, by refusing to disown the alt-right anti-semitic support of people like David Duke, etc., etc, etc.
    I refuse to agree to Briggs designation of #Never Trump as pro-Hillary. That is as unwarranted a conclusion as saying that because I agree that climate changes, I argue for man-made global warming. I detest Hillary quite as much as I do Trump, but the election of either will be a disaster for this country.
    My own Flight 93 solution is to vote for Gary Johnson, with all his faults, and hope that the election will be thrown to the House of Representatives.

  3. “This is the mark of a party, a society, a country, a people, a civilization that wants to die.” Very true, though few ever actually will admit it. Americans want their country over-run by Mexicans, South Americans and others. Americans don’t mind the violence, the anger, don’t mind working to support these people (note the idiot tech workers that train their foreign replacements—I wouldn’t do that at gun point, yet these idiots routinely do it), don’t mind their values destroyed, don’t mind losing their electricity, cars, jobs, etc to save the planet. Americans are just plain stupid and/or lazy. You can yell at me all you want—it won’t change it. Only yelling at the people dismantling the country will help, and I just don’t see that happening. People prefer captivity and the hope of a daily feeding to actually fighting for freedom. When people are okay with being captives, you can’t help them.

    As for so-called conservatives behaving like liberals, look what happened after JFK was assassinated. Kennedy ran on independence and what you could do for your country. Johnson opened a candy store and gave away free candy. It was all about what your country could take from the producers and give to the lazy, non-producing under the lie of “helping”. That stuck except during the Reagan years and is now the American mantra. Of course, jobs are going overseas (Ford just went to Mexico—not oversease, but not the US—where, by the way, JMJ, they can pollute without any problem) so there’s going to be difficulty coming up with cash and workers to run the candy store. Look at Europe—it’s America’s future and it’s what people want. At least enough to keep electing Speaker of the House Judas and all of his very rich buddies replacing the tech workers, President Santa Claus, etc.

    Welcome to 1984 and Brave New World—which I now understand were voluntarily walked into, not imposed by the government.

  4. Luis Dias

    To say that Hillary is the certain Doom when Trump is on the ballot is something so profoundly at odds with reality that I just think you should completely reevaluate the things you’re eating. Clearly you have been poisoned with chemicals that are lurking between your neurons and firing memes instead of ideas.

    Regardless it’s funny as heck to see you finally accepting Dawkin’s invention out of pure tribal politics. Typical partizan hackery.

  5. James

    “If you support Hillary or are a “never” Trumper, which is the same,”

    I didn’t think I’d see the false dichotomy show up here. I’ve heard this from both Hillary and Trump supporters when I say I will vote for Johnson. Turns out my vote will actually count 3 times. For a (very good) blog that also talks Aquinas, not addressing or considering the possible double effect also makes me sad.

    The above should not be taken as support for Hillary nor a rejection of Trump.

    I’m with Bob, though (and well said). My vote for Johnson is a vote for more than 2 (1) parties so that way everyone stops this annoying square peg in round hole nonsense that’s we’ve had for so long. The brits got brexit and they have more than two parties. Seems like its worth a shot.

  6. James

    Notice also that wherever you find Trump ‘support’, it is never actually support. It is always “the other is worse”, never (or rarely) “Trump is good”. This is a hint.

    The fervor for Trump is like that of the joy for Bernie. Someone popped up and starting saying things near to views held closely but never uttered much in the public sphere. After that, the people felt ‘represented’ and praised their candidate, regardless of any past or future changes in views. Barring that, they railed on people who were not with them. The candidate is an empty vessel to put all your hopes and cares (like most candidates before) and gosh darnit, if you aren’t filling the vessel like I am then you must detest and be against the things I love!

    I can’t stand democracy.

  7. Jim Fedako

    Briggs, et al. —

    Please define “conservative orthodoxy” in terms that are eternal, not part of some ideological journey that is but a few steps behind the Left (nor the product of a general movement from Left to Right that has left us with neoconservatism in place of conservatism).

    As used today (anyway), conservatism is a question-begging epithet (ala. Jeremy Bentham) that morphs with the times — it is as relative as any term used by the Left.

    Prove me wrong.

    As I said, define it in terms that are as true today as they were 20, 50, 100, 250, etc. years ago.

    Note: Of course, no such definition is forthcoming. Why? Because conservatism means exactly what the user wants it to mean … today. That the definition progresses with time is as certain as death and taxes.

  8. Allow me to make another point: the Flight 93 analogy made by “Mus” (I distrust articles by people who are afraid to put their own name to their opinion) is faulty in the following respect. The heroes of Flight 93 sacrificed their own lives to save our country from a great disaster. Voting for Trump may be an effort to save our country from one disaster, Hillary Clinton as President, but it will not prevent another disaster quite as bad, or possibly worse, the election of Donald Trump as President. So voting for Trump is not a sacrifice to avert disaster, it’s choosing an alternative disaster.

    Let somebody convince me that Trump will not be a disaster for this country, and I might change my mind. But I haven’t seen any arguments either in this blog or elsewhere that do that, only arguments that raise the spectre of unlimited immigration

  9. Michael 2

    Conservatism conserves. That’s it; that’s what it means. What exactly is being conserved will vary according to each persons’ sense of what exists and thus is subject to being conserved, but in my opinion includes life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  10. Jim Fedako

    Michael 2 —

    You proved my point with this phrase, “but in my opinion includes.” Not very eternal, is it?

    As I said, “Because conservatism means exactly what the user wants it to mean … today.” And as you redefine life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the means to obtain those, you will redefine conservatism.

    Note: By the way, the Left also claims their ideology also includes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Seems the Left and the Right (based on your views) have the very same ends, with slightly different means.

  11. Hack

    Bob, you continue to amaze me that you can’t see other peoples point of view. Plus in some ways you seem to be misinformed, Trump did disavow David Duke, the media wanted him to disavow Duke over and over again which is just a game which Trump refused to play. Yes, people know Trump supported Democrats, was at the Clinton’s daughter’s wedding etc. Trump is a business man in the heart of a Democrat stronghold in the north east, any business man there better support Democrats or they are going to have a very difficult time. Is Trump pro-life? NO. Again, his supporters know that.

    You don’t seem to get it that conservative supporters of Trump know he is not a ‘conservative’ in the traditional sense on all issues. But what have ‘conservative’ pundits and politicians done lately for the US? Nothing really, in fact they have give conservatism a bad name. Trump talks straight to the people, he does not play these political word games. Could Trump be lying? Sure, but we have been lied to and mislead by the GOP (and democrats) for over twenty-thirty years. Thus people want an outsider, Trump is not perfect, but he is an outsider.

    I do understand your point of view, you want the near perfect conservative candidate or nobody at all. Got it. No problem. Other people see the country self destructing and see that it needs something different than the same old political games as usual. Again, I know many will say Trump has fooled his supporters etc, etc. Well that may be, but they have been repeatedly fooled by the GOP so they would rather take a chance with an outsider.

    It is also apparent that since Trump does not talk like an elitist, many ‘educated’ people just don’t like him. Which I find rather funny with ‘educated’ people having open minds and all. Finally, something many average people find refreshing is that Trump takes on media critics instead of running/hiding/apologizing profusely like ‘binders full of women’ Mittens and all of the rest of the GOP when they are attacked.

  12. Hack, I do indeed understand your argument and those presented in this post and elsewhere. I don’t agree with them. Trump may have disavowed David Duke (after some prompting), but he does not disavow the alt-right followers of David Duke. My wife attended a local meeting where our Republican Senator, Pat Toomey was speaking. One of the Trump supporters asked him “are you going to stop aid to Israel and get rid of all the Jewish war-mongers in the government?” (This isn’t an exact quote, but it’s close.)
    Even more important than what a candidate says about public policy are the clues to his / her character. Are you going to argue that Trump has shown himself to estimable in this respect. (And I know the arguments that will be presented to counter that–look at Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, etc.–saying there have been past Presidents with character defects does not justify electing one with known character defects.)
    And Trump has one very important character defect: lack of impulse control. I don’t have to spell out scenarios where this would lead to national and global disaster.

  13. Nate

    Publius makes the best, most cogent case for Trump.

    I would add:
    Our middle class is drowning in self-centered libertine Madison Avenue hipster facebook-individualism, while at the same time the administrative interest-group run state babysits the growing lower class.

    What remains of the blue collar hard-work-pays-off lower class and the first-generation middle class is out in full support of Trump, because their bullsh*** detectors still work (As David Frum summarizes Trump’s case, even as he disagrees: “We are governed by idiots.”)

    The technocrats, elites, upper-middle class “libertarian” silicon valley folks, hipsters, have all been suckered one way or another into, as trump says, “Bad Deals”. Trump is a bad candidate. Lots of flaws. But he wants America back. And so do i.

  14. Nate, Trump says he wants America back. Has he ever in any of his speeches mentioned freedom, self-determination, cutting down government?

  15. Jim Fedako

    Michael 2 —

    Additionally, the phrase, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” is the product of the Left. So, to invoke that phrase, you are positioning yourself as being on the Left.

    Ask yourself where you would have stood in 1775. A conservative would have been a king-defending Tory. Not so patriotic is it?

    You may want to consider Classical Liberalism. Not the Johnson platform based on a mish-mash of neocon and leftist ideals, but a true system of ethics that also includes life, liberty, and property (the pursuit of happiness, so to speak).

    Of course, to become a Classical Liberal, you will have to drop any hint of jingoism, but that is the price required to live based on the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


    Careful on the David Duke association.

    Take anyone’s Facebook page, and assuming they have more than a few friends, it will take just a few hops along the nodes of their network before you find them “associated” with someone perverse and vile (at least making perverse and vile statements).

    And I really mean everyone. You and me included.

    But we cannot impute the values of held in a distant node to the person under consideration. At least we shouldn’t. And we don’t, until it comes to politics, of course.

  16. Jim Fedako

    Oops. The David Duke comment is actually in response to Bob Kurland.

  17. Nate, if you believe that he’ll do what he says, then you have an argument. On the other hand if you look at how he has backed and forthed on many positions, including immigration, you have to wonder. And particularly if you see that he has added umpteen billion dollars to the entitlement debt by his child care proposals, without any way of paying for them.

  18. Michael 2

    Jim Fedako writes, “As I said, ‘Because conservatism means exactly what the user wants it to mean … today.’ “

    Trivially true. All words mean whatever the writer wants them to mean.

    “And as you redefine life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the means to obtain those, you will redefine conservatism.”

    My definition hasn’t changed much all these many years. It is unlikely that my definition will become your definition. Nothing has been “re-defined”; rather, I define for me and you define for you.

    “Note: By the way, the Left also claims their ideology also includes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Life? Except for their own offspring. Liberty? So long as you are not Republican. Pursuit of happiness? Sure, so long as you strictly obey safe spaces, trigger warnings and hate speech codes.

    “Seems the Left and the Right (based on your views) have the very same ends, with slightly different means.”

    I consider the difference in means to not only be substantial, but the very essence of the difference between right and left.

    Left (socialism): You will provide me with life, liberty, and happiness.

    Right (libertarian): I will provide me with life, liberty and happiness.

  19. Jim Fedako

    Michael —

    You continue to prove my point that conservatism is a question-begging epithet – devoid of meaning, other than as a tribal shibboleth, I suppose.

    I’ve asked for a definition that is eternal. I did not ask for your opinion.

    This is the best I got out of you, “Conservatism conserves. That’s it; that’s what it means.”

    I’ll leave it at that.

  20. Michael 2

    Jim Fedako writes “So, to invoke that phrase, you are positioning yourself as being on the Left.”

    The Old Left had some pretty good ideas. The New Left does not. I am more or less libertarian and my vote and support should not be counted on as a done deal by the right or by the left.

    It may well be that the French left had these lofty ideas, but then, they destroyed themselves in the Time Of Terror.

    “Ask yourself where you would have stood in 1775.”

    I have no idea where I would have been in 1775. Perhaps I would have been an Inuit freezing my butt off.

    “A conservative would have been a king-defending Tory.”

    Agreed. Conserve is to “not change.”

    “Not so patriotic is it?”

    On the contrary, not-changing is extremely patriotic.

    “You may want to consider Classical Liberalism.”

    It seems that I already have.

    “Of course, to become a Classical Liberal, you will have to drop any hint of jingoism”

    I see, you invoke the No True Classical Liberal fallacy (AKA, No True Scotsman fallacy). True Classical Liberals would never use slogans or mottos, nothing like “liberty, equality, fraternity or death” made famous in the pre-United States as Patrick Henry’s famous “give me liberty or give me death” statement.

    “And I really mean everyone. You and me included.”

    As I do not use Facebook or twitter it is unlikely that I am digitally linked to anyone vile but I take your meaning. One of my best friends was vile. I am not vile unless of course you think I am. Surprisingly, I am vile and not vile simultaneously, something like Schroedinger’s Cat, it depends on who is making the judgment rather than anything I actually do or be.

  21. Michael 2

    Jim Fedako “I’ve asked for a definition that is eternal. I did not ask for your opinion.”

    They are one and the same. My opinion is eternal. Very likely so is yours.

    This is all you will ever get on a blog. Opinions. This is all you will ever give.

  22. MattS

    A vote for Trump is a vote for WWIII.

  23. Jim Fedako

    Michael 2 —

    ““A conservative would have been a king-defending Tory.”

    Agreed. Conserve is to “not change.”

    “Not so patriotic is it?”

    On the contrary, not-changing is extremely patriotic.”

    Huh?!? Is Derrida ghost-writing?

    So you would have defended the king while defending life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness against the king. And been a Patriot all around.

    Something about cognitive dissonance seems apt here.

    Isn’t arguing both sides simultaneously considered a mark of the Left? (Likely a mark of the Right as well)

    It’s a good that you live in a time that cherishes such logic.

  24. Thank you Yawrate for that link to a fine article on Conservatism by Jonah Goldberg. By the way, did you not know that Jonah is one of the most ardent #Never Trump ‘ s?

  25. Jim Fedako

    Bob —

    Funny thing is Jonah Goldberg is a neocon, thought he doesn’t like the term (though he likes the policies) because it is used as an epithet at times.

    I am still looking for a definition of conservatism that stands the test of times (to overuse an idiom).

    Anyone —

    Got one? Then at least we can argue from the same context.

    If not, here is my definition: Conservatism, as defined today, is simply the user’s reaction to the Left. It is the screech emanating from fingernails scratching behind the tug of the Left — an ad hoc collection of views that (nominally) justify yesterday over today and tomorrow.

  26. Michael 2

    Jim Fedako writes “Huh?!? Is Derrida ghost-writing?”

    I have no idea. It seems like a strange question to ask.

    “So you would have defended the king while defending life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness against the king. And been a Patriot all around.”

    Were I in the armed forces of the king, then yes, I would have defended the king and it would have been counted as patriotic. Were I instead in a militia of Pennsylvania, then I would defend Pennsylvania and it would be counted patriotic. What is not patriotic is changing your colors.

    The pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is not a military goal but an economic goal endangered by socialism under any guise, and yet “good” socialism can enhance these things were it ever to happen.

    “Something about cognitive dissonance seems apt here.”

    Well then don’t keep it a secret. As soon as you have thought about that “something” do please write about it.

    “Isn’t arguing both sides simultaneously considered a mark of the Left?”

    Yes it isn’t. I consider an ability to argue both sides a mark of intelligence and wisdom. I could probably argue your points of view better than you (once I find out what exactly they are).

    “It’s a good that you live in a time that cherishes such logic.”

    That it is!

  27. Jim Fedako

    Michael 2 —

    You win the award for equivocation. Congrats!

  28. Michael 2

    Jim Fedako “here is my definition: Conservatism, as defined today, is simply the user’s reaction to the Left.”

    That is brilliant. I have written similarly on many occasions. The right does not define itself; it is defined by the left. There is no actual existence of the “right” in any definable way it is !left (not-left).

    But not-left is somewhat vague and can take many different shapes, including some that seem “left” but are extremely totalitarian.

    Politics is a “monopole”. On a Venn Diagram, you have the universe of all people, then an “attractor” in the middle, a circle that for lack of other word I will call the Party, also “hive” or “herd” is somewhat descriptive. It is the social magnet around which all human activity is defined, words are defined, that sort of thing. I mean, what makes Oxford so special it defines words? Nothing beyond being at the center of the Great Attractor, the heart of the British Empire that defines English for all English speaking people.

    Moving away from that center goes in infinite directions with infinite variety; there cannot be another “center” although little clusters can form here and there.

    The Left, therefore, isn’t really “left” is is the center. The “right” doesn’t exist except in the imaginations of the left that created the right and what it means to be right.

    Can there be “more left” than left? Definitely. But the most meaningful measurement is not direction but magnitude (distance) from the center.

    The distance vector is liberty. In one direction liberty is known as “anarchy” and is generally unstable and short-lived. In another direction liberty is Republicanism; a distribution of social controls to local units where it is appropriate to do so. This maximizes cultural recognition while creating the appearance of liberty; people are free to do what everyone in a community wants to do anyway. They don’t encounter legislative barriers imposed by someone thousands of miles away.

    Were everyone civilized and educated, libertarianism would be best. It is nearly so in Iceland. They have the kind of liberty that Americans used to sing songs about but seldom hear in the past 40 years. But that requires a homogenous culture with shared goals, shared sense of right and wrong and shared behaviors. The United States cannot ever have “libertarianism” as a system of culture and government.

    That leaves a republican style of government as best, which is what was created over 200 years ago, unique on all the Earth. America’s “left” has drifted off that center and is attracted to the Great Attractor: The Ordered Society of Sir Thomas More’ as described in “Utopia” and somewhat dystopically by George Orwell in both “Animal Farm” and “1984”.

    America’s left is exemplified in the animal kingdom by a herd of sheep willingly following a shepherd that will keep them safe. They are motivated primarily by fear. The appropriate political strategy is therefore to induce fear while at the same time offering a solution: Global warming (fear) solution (carbon tax).

    America’s right is attracted to a heirarchy headed by a strong leader. The animal kingdom equivalent is a wolf pack. They are motivated primarily by hunger. The appropriate political strategy is to offer food (ie, jobs and imperialism to an extent).

    Sheep fear wolves; Democrats fear the right. The right mostly thinks the left are idiots but don’t fear them in the way the left fears the right. The right simply prepares for the inevitable conflict when the sheep, which hugely outnumbers wolves, revolt. The shepherds of the sheep (politicians of either party but mostly Democrats) know that despite vastly superior numbers, wolves have teeth. So, prior to this conflict, pull the wolves’ teeth (ie, disarm them).

    France showed the way in its Time of Troubles. The same is coming soon to a theater near you.

    But there’s a third kind. The movie “American Sniper” portrayed it quite well: Sheepdogs. Neither wolf nor sheep; protects sheep but is armed like a wolf. That seems to be me. I was/am career military and yet not a wolf, not interested in taking what you have yet I resist you taking what I have. I will protect you even if you are my enemy, yet of the herd I am appointed to protect, because that is my duty.

  29. John Watkins

    Conservatism is (or should be) Tradition. The traditional morality of The Church. Not ‘churches’, plural. And while this will infuriate most people, it is absolutely (and eternally) true. Rebellion against the Church has produced all others. The West began to crumble in 1054. We’re coming up to its millennial anniversary.
    As for ‘perfect candidates, remember the famous womanizer, Don Juan, who saved the West at Lepanto. Don Juan, Don Trump. It’s worth the bet.

  30. Whatever the result, American politics will never be the same. The Republican Party as an ideological force is finished. People are concerned about survival, not corporate tax rates and free trade. America has become Weimar Germany!

  31. Michael 2

    John Watkins wrote “The traditional morality of The Church. Not ‘churches’, plural.”

    Yes, plural. “The church” is an invention, a convention. It underwent, and continues to undergo, revisions; each of which sometimes produces a splinter, sometimes a big one (Eastern Orthodox for instance).

    “And while this will infuriate most people, it is absolutely (and eternally) true. Rebellion against the Church has produced all others.”

    Good heavens. Is anyone here infuriated? Anyone? Rebellions didn’t happen until the rebellion against the Church? A big rebellion took place against Moses and is why the Ten Commandments aren’t the original commandments. They were a replacement. There have been rebellions within rebellions since Adam and Eve.

  32. Dean Ericson

    Publius’ excellent essay came as a welcome beam of light brilliantly illuminating our awful dilemma. It was thorough, well written, and filled with profound and simple insights. And Publius certainly hit his mark, with devastating results, as evidenced by the anguished howls of wounded Conservatives. It was a great service to those of us seeking to resist America’s leftward drift. I look forward to more work from The Claremont Master, Publius Decius Mus. (And thanks to this blog for helping publicize him.)

    America was established as a Liberal Republic. Its founding character was Enlightenment, revolutionary, and post-Christian. Since the founding we have progressed along a trajectory implied by those principles. That is why we move inexorably left. Even our Conservatives are conserving, or intending to conserve, Liberalism. There has been no fundamental opposition to Liberalism, an opposition that wasn’t standing on Liberal ground. So we slid down the slippery slope of progressive leftism and ended up here, waiting to be exterminated by our Progressive Masters who are up in the cockpit of Flight 93 determined to crash us into the All- People’s United Soviet Socialist Republic of Globalstan.

    So now we see the need for a genuine Right, a Right that doesn’t stand on the ground of Liberalism saying, “me too, but not so fast!”, as our Conservatives do, but rather stands on its own firm ground, in genuine opposition to Liberalism. That is what the Alt-Right is trying to do. It is an alternative to failed Conservatism. That is why many Liberals who are also Conservatives abhor it – it isn’t Liberal. (And so what? – for most of its history Christianity wasn’t Liberal, either.)

    The non-liberal aspect of the Alt Right that most confounds and scandalizes Liberals of all stripes, left and right, is its open embrace of racism. Not racism as defined by the left; a vicious and bizarre animosity for different skin colors – an absurd and contemptible straw man. It is right to observe that races exist, they are real, they are important, and are ordained by God as a legitimate category of human distinction. It is right to respect race and want to preserve it. It is wicked to seek to destroy it, as leftists are hell-bent on doing, as least as regards the White race. It is right to support Black racial pride and Asian racial pride and all the others. Jews have been some of the most successful racists in history and their very survival may be credited to a passionate and legitimate commitment to racism; good for them! It is good and right and moral to be a racist. It is evil, genocidal and moronic to be anti-racist. That Conservatives joined with Liberals to destroy whites is shameful. That Conservatives would roll over and wet themselves anytime a leftist called them a racist instead of righteously defending their own is outrageous and contemptible.

    We are not going to take that crap anymore. We are not going to be mushy, bumbling, losing Conservatives. We are going to be right, as in righteous. And recall that when Jesus ascended to Heaven he went to sit at the Right Hand of God. And note in Michael Angelo’s painting of the Last Judgment that the Blessed are to the Right of Christ, while the Damned are on the Left. And then, there is Right, and wrong. I’m going Right, and I’m going Trump.

    There are many different strands big tent movement now What exactly that is may be debated but some principles are firm and one of them must be a confident and principled defense of Racism

  33. John Watkins


    Um, all the things you cited are actually Church rebellions. Israel and New Israel are one and the same.

  34. This comments sections is so full of self-righteous, fart-sniffing cucks that I can’t help but think that America deserves to die. You unutterably retarded, narcissistic, self-centered, atomistic, anti-Christian nihilists are so giddy about virtue-signaling your superiority to the single greatest Presidential candidate in the past 100 years; it is a testament to the veracity of everything written in the Flight 93 article (and its follow-up). This is a civilization that yearns for oblivion. FEEL THE JOHNSON, HERP DERP. I LOVE ABORTION, GAY MARRIAGE, ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, AND DUDE WEED LMAO. I HATE THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. OF COURSE I AM A CHRISTIAN WHY DO YOU ASK HAHAHAHAHA KILL MEEEEEEEEE…

    Go read “In Trump We Trust.” Perhaps based Ann Coulter can soothe your jimmies.

  35. Michael 2

    John Watkins wrote “Israel and New Israel are one and the same.”

    Not exactly. Israel is either the name of a nation or the name of at least one person for whom the nation is named.

    Saying “the Church” can have considerably different meaning depending on where you are. In Salt Lake City “the Church” is Mormon. In Germany and Norway it is Lutheran.

  36. There is no merit to the points in this post at all. It is ridiculousness.


  37. Bob K: Reality says these are your two choices, or the Green Party, or Libertarian, whatever. In the past, not voting for the Republican meant allowing the Democrat to win because most said voters would have gone Republican. I don’t think that’s true this time. Voting for Johnson, etc, may actually take votes away from Hillary. If you can’t vote for either candidate, then don’t. You live with your choices just like everyone else does.

    It amazes me the you KNOW the outcome of a Trump presidency. You don’t even say “probably”. You KNOW. How is it you KNOW?

    Luis Dias: Typical progressive non-comment addressing none of the real issues. At least you’re consistent.

    James: Again, based on past voting, voting third party is voting for the Democrat. This time it may not be so. In 2008, I voted Libertarian because I knew Obama was going to win and no vote of mine would change that (Yes, Bob, I KNEW). Not so in 2012. However, again, everyone lives with the consequences of their votes. Third party is a sure way to never have clear consequence because you can always say you didn’t vote for either candidate. Definitely the least guilty option. I don’t think people put their hopes into a candidate. That fantasy died years ago. They’re trying to be the least afraid.

    Jim F: The Left means their lives but no one elses. Until recently the Right seemed to be interested in more people, but that is fading fast, as this election is bring into clarity.

    MattS: Feeling melodramatic today?

    Mark Citadel: I tend to agree with you. We waited too long and were too apathetic. It’s unclear if we can fix this or if nature will haul us out to the woodshed.

  38. JMJ: And you’re right in there with an utterly useless comment, showing only that you have no points or arguments.

    Bernie: May be time to lay off the pharmaceuticals. Seems to be making you less than coherent, assuming you are ever coherent.

  39. Sheri, of course I don’t “know” what Trump would do as President. I don’t have a crystal ball, and I’m not God with His Middle Knowledge of the possible futures. I try to infer what he would do from his actions in the past and what he is doing at present. It doesn’t seem to me that many people are trying to make such an inference.

    It’s conceivable, if unlikely, that the Holy Spirit would touch him were he to be elected and that he would have a conversion. But I can’t trust that, although I will pray that it will occur if he is elected. (I wouldn’t pray for his death–that’s not the way to go, but impeachment?)

  40. Jim Fedako said (and I just noticed it).

    ” Funny thing is Jonah Goldberg is a neocon, thought he doesn’t like the term (though he likes the policies) because it is used as an epithet at times.”

    That’s not correct. The term “neoconservative” applies to former democrats and liberals who became disenchanted with the Left during the 60’s and 70’s.
    I quote from the Wikipedia article:

    “The term “neoconservative” refers to those who made the ideological journey from the anti-Stalinist Left to the camp of American conservatism.[4] Neoconservatives typically advocate the promotion of democracy and promotion of American national interest in international affairs, including by means of military force and are known for espousing disdain for communism and for political radicalism.”

    Many of them were Jewish, and published in the Jewish periodical “Commentary”. So the term has become an epithet because, in my opinion, it represents a genteel form of anti-semitism.
    Nevertheless, applied to Jonah Goldberg that definition fails. He was never a liberal, but even in college (Goucher) promoted the economic libertarianism of F.A. Hayek (a conservative position nowadays, a classically liberal position 200 years ago). So, even though Jewish, he is not a neocon. I myself am ethnically, if not religiously Jewish, and changed from a liberal in 1992 to a conservative, not because of foreign policy, but because of the Democratic policy on abortion. So you can, if you wish, call me a neocon, if it suits your fancy. Although how the term is relevant to the cogency of one’s arguments escapes me.

  41. Jim Fedako

    Bob —

    Please. I thought only the Left argued from positions of supposed political correctness — positions of feigned outrage (oh, wait, you are from the Left by your own admission). Why argue when you can simply impugn and silence debate?

    Since you brought up the Wikipedia article, I assume you saw the section, “Notable people associated with neoconservatism.” So why did you not mention that Goldberg is listed along with the other usual suspects (e.g. Jeb Bush, Gingrich, Bennett, McCain, Romney, etc.)?

    So the article you referenced to impugn me agrees with my position. And you chose not to mention it. Strange or telling. I’m not certain which.

    Next time argue fair.

    Notes: Hayek is considered a conservative today? Seriously? Have you read his works and compared them with the nonsense espoused by Goldberg? And you still make that claim? Wow.

    Additionally, you change to conservatism based on one issue? And you simply annulled your social, economic, and foreign policy issues and adopted what? Hayek? Please.

  42. John

    Bob K. I suggest that we do not know what Trump will do. But, we can compare the environment he will face vs. the environment Hillary will face. When we do, we see that Trump is by far the lesser threat.

    Trump will face universal hatred from the media, and much of Congress including some Republicans. Hillary will face a fawning media, and no more hatred from Congress.

    Trump will be more likely to appoint Republicans. In fact, unless he really is a full Trojan Horse, he will certainly use Republicans as advisors and as the bench from which he appoints. He will face pressure from his base to appoint constitutionalists to the court.

    If Trump is horrible, he will be impeached, and we will have a reasonably conservative Republican as President. If Hillary is impeached or steps down due to health, we will have another progressive.

    To me, the argument of voting for Trump is simple: he is far less likely to lead us to doom, regardless of his inclinations.

  43. Bob K: I wish I could come up with a term for the constant refrain that “people who don’t agree with me do not understand the problem or the situation”. I suppose “can’t be wrong syndrome” is as close as it gets. I see it all the time in global warming—if you don’t agree, then you didn’t understand or read about or think about the problem. It is a very narcissistic behaviour and very, very common. You write using very certain language, while in reality you can’t back up that certainty—“but the election of either will be a disaster for this country”. Will be, not probably will be, seems likely to be, but WILL BE. You complained that people who look at empirical evidence don’t look at Trump (actually, we do—we just don’t draw the same conclusions you have) then use language that indicates certainty where there is no certainty.

    “Nate, Trump says he wants America back. Has he ever in any of his speeches mentioned freedom, self-determination, cutting down government?” What makes you think that’s what people want? Cruz was for this and lost. My senator “Santa Claus Enzi” easily won re-election by promising all the goodies in the world for Wyoming (then crashing his Santa sleigh and leaving us high and dry, but who notices?). His opponent was for smaller government, freedom and self-determination. That’s not what people wanted. They wanted Santa Claus. No one actually wanting less government is going to win. Everyone wants more government—the problem is everyone wants the government to work for them, not everyone else. So the handouts basket is huge and people keep on reaching in.

    I am surprised that you don’t trust that the Holy Spirit would touch Trump is elected (how do you know Johnson isn’t in the service of Satan?). What you’re saying is “God’s not going to fix the mess we made”, right? (You really hate Trump, don’t you?)

    Gary Johnson is pro-choice, is he not?

    Jim F: Conservatism is whatever you want it to be, just as all political philosophies are. A definite clear definition would not allow for political double-talk. Politics has no clear language and hasn’t for centuries, if ever.

    All: What this whole discussion and election illustrates is no one has any faith in our system of government or in other people anymore. It’s a war zone out there and someone is going to fight to the death in this. It’s not about America or what is right, it’s about winning against a MONSTER from whatever side you happen to oppose. Politics was always contentious and the immediacy of the internet, combined with the ability to skew people’s information via deletion and lazy people who only read “trending”, has made this much worse. The civil war was fought over slavery—owning other people. Now, the problem seems to be the government owns everyone and a civil war is certainly brewing since civil discourse is dead and buried.

  44. Jim Fedako, I’ll quote from the article:

    “Jonah Goldberg argues that the term [neoconservative] is ideological criticism against proponents of American modern liberalism who had become slightly more conservative[13][19] (Both Lipset and Goldberg are frequently described as neoconservatives).”
    I call that a stretch to label someone as a “neocon” or “neoconservative”. I repeat: the term is used quite often, not necessarily by you, as a code word for Zionist and associated labels.
    And if you want to ascribe to me political and social positions to which I don’t subscribe, go ahead. I gave the motivating force for my change in political world view; I didn’t go into a complete biography.
    And now I’m out of here. This post and comments is bending my commitment to follow the Rule of Benedict in internet discourse.

  45. Yawrate

    Bob, Yes I knew that but I thought that looking at how others define conservatism would be helpful regarding the back and forth that was on display.

  46. Bob —

    You violated that so-called rule when you feigned outrage and impugned my character. That you now claim refuge behind the rule is hypocritical to say the least.

    The issue is not how Goldberg feels regarding the term neocon. The issue is whether he can be termed a neocon — which you referenced article does, though never mentioned by you (suspicious and telling).

    We are done since I take issue with your character and dirty (to say the least) argument by insinuation.

    You obviously kept your leftist sensibilities when you (supposedly) converted to the so-called Right.

  47. Fedako, you’re quite right. I apologize for implying that you were an anti-semite by using the term neocon. I’ll consider your other insults (or comments) and reflect on what I should do to improve. Please do not bother to reply to this since I am going off this blog for a while. It’s too much of a temptation to violate the way I should act. By the way, The Rule is a collection of rules that tell one how to behave as a Christian. It is not a “so-called rule”.

  48. Michael 2

    Bob Kurland wrote: “The Rule is a collection of rules that tell one how to behave as a Christian. It is not a so-called rule.”

    It is for Alinsky purposes: Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

    Part of argumentation strategy is to (1) figure out what you think your rules are so you can be held to them or failing that (2) impose on your opponent a set of rules that maybe he will believe (then accuse him of failing).

    Be cunning as serpents but harmless as doves. The Pharisees tried this rule on Jesus to no avail several times, the famous one being whether it was acceptable to give tax money to Caesar. They were guilty of bad logic, the fallacy of the false alternatives and did not see the simple third way. So find the Third Way. The left tends to think binary, only two ways existing which your opponent will lay out for you to choose from, one of which is his preference and the other so bad that nobody should choose it. Sometimes I accept the faulty offer, sometimes I don’t.

    This is also an opportunity to lay out some ideas of your own while everyone else swallows camels and strains at gnats. When I came back from Iceland (stationed there in the Navy), my father called me a “neocon”. I’d never heard the term in my life and for the next two years tried to find out from my father what he meant by it. That was many years ago and he never explained and I still don’t know what he meant by it; but all such epithets tend to mean “I don’t like you.”

  49. Rhetocrates

    This comment section is a lovely little show.

    True, you can stand on your principles. But if you do that, you will die on them. Are the principles of conservatism truly worth dying for? I think not.

    Tradition is not Republican.

  50. We know for certain progressives will not die for their beliefs, which makes me wonder why conservatives are so stupid as to not tell the progressives where they can go.

  51. Michael 2

    Rhetocrates “This comment section is a lovely little show.”

    As compared to a lovely big show.

    “you can stand on your principles.”

    That is a distinct possibility.

    “But if you do that, you will die on them.”

    All will die. When I die I hope it is said of me that I stood on principles.

    “Are the principles of conservatism truly worth dying for?”

    I rather like General Patton’s comment about making the enemy die for his country while living for one’s own.

    At any rate, if you have been following these comments (seems maybe you haven’t) you will realize there are no “principles of conservatism”.

  52. Rhetocrates

    No, Michael 2, that’s rather my point.

  53. Jade

    Matt, you do realize that this pepe frog that (which rightfully represents Trump), is a symbol of white anti-semitic supremacy movement, right? So is it fair to say that your views now aligns with these — and I will not hesitate to say this — deplorables?! I know we haven’t been in touch, but what in the world has become of you?!

    I have always voted republican in past elections. But this will be the first time I will vote democrat because there is NO WAY I will sit by and let a BUFOON run this country backwards. He is a racist, fascist, xenophobic, misogynist, wanna-be-dictator, sociopath, demagogue, habitual liar, and a narcissistic pig. When Trump says, “let’s make America great again”, what he really means is “let’s make America RACIST again”.

    The only thing Trump cares about is Trump, even if he has to drag this country through the mud. Don’t kid yourself, if you think Trump stands behind conservative principles! Trump has NEVER been conservative — even now he can’t tell you what the conservative principles are! In fact that man has NO principles (as we understand principles). The only guiding rule that Trump follows is his need to feed his raging egomania.

    As far as I”m concerned the GOP is dead when they threw principles out the door and made this buffoon their candidate.

    It is country first before party for me! And I will make the GOP know of my disapproval when I vote democrat up and down the ballot in November.

  54. John

    Just because some racists adopt Pepe does not mean that every one does.

    As to ” He is a racist, fascist, xenophobic, misogynist, wanna-be-dictator, sociopath, demagogue, habitual liar, and a narcissistic pig. ”

    No, he is not racist. He is not xenophobic – he just, like many of us, is concerned about the impact of unchecked immigration on our society. There is no evidence that he is a sociopath. I don’t think he’s a wanna-be-dictator, but there is no way we can tell. He is a habitual liar and he is narcissistic.

    Now, there is only *one* alternative – Hillary. She is a race baiter. She supports policies of uncheck immigration that will do even more damage to Americans than Obama’s policy already has. She is most likely a sociopath, and certainly a narcissistic habitual liar, and clearly criminally corrupt. And, most importantly, she is allied with the forces of darkness – the forces that do not respect the Constitution or rule of law, and that are *demonstrably* fascist in their actual practice of punishing people for thought crimes – such as a refusal to participate in gay “weddings.”

    If you are going to vote Democrat up and down the ballot, then:

    You already were going to, and support the Democrat Party’s fascist nature, their anti-American immigration and foreign policy, and their corrupt liar of a President.

    Or, you are just a bitter fool.

  55. John

    Correcting my first sentence. The association of racists with Pepe does not mean that all who use the Pepe meme are racists.

  56. I read it. I was underwhelmed. This election is still a choice between collectivism and collectivism.

  57. Commenter 97

    If you accept the premise “if you don’t try, death is certain”, or think it’s plausible, the question is – why are you still discussing this on the public Internet?

    I think ‘Mus’ is right and those of us who follow Pepe need to find our own ‘safe space’. The time may be approaching when blogs like this will be shut down as hate speech and there will be no legal, public way for dissidents to communicate. Learn about i2p and start using it.

  58. John

    So you see no difference between the two candidates?
    I’ll stand by my analysis: that Trump is likely to be far less bad, because he will be constrained by Republicans against his worst instincts on moving left, and by the press and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) from anything else.

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