Mark Blyth

Mark Blyth makes more sense than anyone I have heard about what has happened to our economies, US, Canada, China, and the world. I suppose he is left wing. I could not care less. He makes sense to me. Try him and see. Brexit, inflation, low interest rates, income stagnation, and a great deal more is explained. He is also quite clear (in the Q&A) that Trump is going to win the next election, and he is no fan of the Donald. But he thinks he is some kind of genius at transforming the US and the global economy.

I will believe in a climate crisis when our leadership acts like they were in a crisis

The Obamas’ new digs on Martha’s Vineyard

Today’s sermon is on the purchase by Barack Obama and his dreadful wife of a place worth $14.85 million on Martha’s Vineyard, an island formed by the last continental glaciation, ironically. I need not dilate on the evident inconsistency of building a multi-million dollar house and land by the ocean which is expected to rise and swamp it. If he really believed in the dangers of melting glaciers, he might decide that Colorado was just the ticket.

Martha’s Vineyard stands off the coast of southern Massachusetts. Together with Long Island and Nantucket, it was formed by rubble pushed ahead by mile high ice fronts of the latest glaciation, which ended a mere 9-11,000 years ago, depending what latitude you are on the planet. when the ice retreated, the gap between Martha’s Vineyard and the Massachusetts shore became Long Island Sound.

But I digress. I had heard the phrase which is the title of this piece and went to Google to find its source. Someone has said it before me and I thought it should be the title, but I like to attribute quotes to their sources.

No such luck. I invite the readership of Barrelstrength to try its hand at finding who spoke this phrase. All you will find is quotations from Greta Thunberg, the sixteen year old Swedish climate fanatic, and page after page of denunciations and supposed refutations of climate science, climate alarmism, and climate catastrophism. So as I began with the evident hypocrisy of the Obamas settling on the shores of Martha’s Vineyard, I end with the worse problem of Google’s failures as a search engine.

Is David Berlinski the smartest person in the world?

I don’t know. I do not have the wit to figure it out. But he has a clear sharp and deeply well informed mind. Treat this conversation as a part of your liberal education, in the proper sense of that word. His book Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions sticks a skewer or two into some targets, such as Richard Dawkins, who badly need a skewering. His other books are highly recommended too.

If you want a very short indication of why I think he is so smart, hear his exposition of innate capacities residing in human beings at 28:30. How is it that a child taken from an Amazonian tribe of head hunters could be sent to be educated in Boston and that, as a real possibility, it could eventually excel in mathematics at the MIT. We can can conceive of such a thing happening, however unlikely. What does it mean for the Darwinian theory of evolution that a whole set of capacities can lie dormant in a human being for 50 or 500 thousand years and suddenly be evoked by a change of circumstance? How come the kid from a tribe of head-hunters never exposed to civilization could, if taken out of that circumstance, excel in mathematics, or, for that matter, at diplomacy?

One has only to think about this possibility for a minute to realize that Darwin’s theory is radically incomplete. Gigantic features of human life cannot be explained by evolutionary theory.

And that is just an example.

Trumpophobia #5: Absurdistan

Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine this week:

“President Donald Trump is absurd. His presidency is absurd. His party is absurd. We have known this ever since that absurd journey down an escalator, and the surrealism has only intensified since. Perhaps it takes a sane foreigner, not subject to years of almost hourly Trump abuse, to point out the obvious. We have no Executive branch in any meaningful or serious sense. We have a joke that’s wearing thinner by the day. There is no institution or company in America, small or large, that would allow Donald Trump to run or represent it for more than a few days — because most sane institutions see immediately that a rape-y racist with no knowledge base or capacity to learn is an embarrassment, and a huge liability. If appointed the head of, say, a local library on January 20, 2017, Trump would have been fired by January 21.”

Sullivan continues in the same mode of frustration, shame and derision, about Trump’s economic policy, his appearance, and his narcissism.

“He is a tragic farce, driven by and captive to a form of narcissism that is, quite simply, incompatible with any form of responsibility. He is delusional. And the only persuasive thread of his reelection pitch — that the economy is booming — is beginning to fray. And that could make his absurdity even worse: “We know that a humiliated narcissist must release his narcissistic rage somehow.”

After last week’s ugly behaviour towards the Danish Prime Minister about the proposed purchase of Greenland, I could begin to see some of the justification for the outrage. If only a bit. So it was a pleasant refuge to be with two other Trumpophiles last night. One of them was a European immigrant of long ago to the United States, a successful boat builder and designer.

My friend’s point was that everything Trump is doing is necessary to get control of the vast increases of the US population that have occurred in the last sixty years. In 1960 US population stood at 180.7 million people. In 2017 it stood at 327.2 million: it less than doubled. In Canada, the population in 1960 was 17.9 million people, whereas it is 36.9 million, which is more than double the 1960 figure. There would be few in Canada who would object to the level of immigration to Canada. Why the difference in feeling about population growth through immigration?

The essential feature of Canadian (and Australian) immigration is the points system that assures us we are creaming off the best the world has to offer. The problems with US immigration policy are many, but most of it concerns the inability of the US authorities to be more discriminating. Most of their immigrant streams are qualified by family unification, rather than by their talents. And the quasi-open border on its southern frontier is allowing a huge influx of illegal migrants. A useful description of how US immigration works (or does not) is given in Peter Brimelow’s Alien Nation, still relevant after twenty four years, since the law has not changed.

The other feature of President Trump’s regime that we were able to see – it takes a little space of tolerance – was the following. No President in my memory has demonstrated having as much fun with the job as Trump. Every day he makes a move; he takes apart an opponent. He shucks and jives. He distracts. He whacks. He appeals to the kind of low information voter who likes to watch wrestling. Those who have seen the connection between Trump and professional wrestling are on to something. Trump’s vulgarity dismays the upper classes, and enthuses the lower, for his regime. I feel a little perverse, perhaps, but I really enjoy Trump as an entertainer. “Life is a tragedy to those who feel and a comedy to those who think.” Trump is high comedy, and no one is calling him on it.

Above all, Trump is enjoying his job and his own performance. I know it goes with being a narcissist, but his attitude is also compatible with being conscious of doing a good job.

I know, the idea is scary. For a good and rational description of what Trump and his regime are up to, try Peter Zeihan’s latest video presentation. The whole purpose is to overcome the effects of all the off-shoring of US jobs that has occurred in the last forty years. Whether he succeeds or not is unknown, but that he is trying is a certainty.

The Narrative

I shall never forget the anecdote by Malcolm Muggeridge who was speaking of an early version of the Narrative back in the 1930s, when he worked for the Guardian. Unsure of a position that the paper was supposed to take, he shouted down the hall at his editor and asked: “What’s our position on corporal punishment?”. His editor rolled his chair to the doorway and said: “Same as capital punishment, only more so”.

Out of the myriad of daily events, the Narrative is the simple story plucked out for attention. For example, blacks kill whites every day in the United States, and it isn’t part of the Narrative. Blacks kill even more blacks every day than they do whites, by far, and that isn’t part of the Narrative, either. But if the police kill a black man, that is part of the Narrative, and it will never be let go, because the Narrative says that most black males are being killed by white police, even though the Narrative never says so in plain terms. The reader is left to infer it – because it is not true and can be shown not to be true.

Dean Baquet

Slate magazine reports that Dean Baquet, senior editor of the New York Times, assembled the entire news staff and announced that he has shifted the line on Trump for the next few years from Trump, agent of Putin to Trump, racist.

Baquet is speaking: “Race in the next year—and I think this is, to be frank, what I would hope you come away from this discussion with—race in the next year is going to be a huge part of the American story. And I mean, race in terms of not only African Americans and their relationship with Donald Trump, but Latinos and immigration. And I think that one of the things I would love to come out of this with is for people to feel very comfortable coming to me and saying, here’s how I would like you to consider telling that story. “

And later in the talk to staff:

” I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage. You all are going to have to help us shape that vision. But I think that’s what we’re going to have to do for the rest of the next two years. “

I do not think that enough attention has been paid to this event. The announcement by Baquet tells us that the Narrative is supreme guide to what will be covered and how, what will be called “news”, what the focus will be. There is no better indication of the truth of Thomas Jefferson’s statement that ‘man who read nothing at all would be better informed than a man who read newspapers’. But more than this, it shows that, in the environment in which we live, our media have been caught overtly deciding the interpretation to be given to news, if news is the right term for what is published by the New York Times.

As usual, Steve Sailer has an excellent piece on the Narrative in TakiMag.

Enjoy your news, people, it is as contrived as you have suspected.

Trumpophobia 4

Matt Taibbi nails it in the most recent Rolling Stone. He captures the complete detachment of those who claim to be for the American working class and the American working class itself, by relating the carnival atmosphere at a Trump rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. His report, though thoroughly hostile to Trump himself, breaks through the pretensions of our Social Betters to expose the relevant fact: Trump is enormously popular with broad sections of the American people, people who are despised by the media and ignored by its political class. Revenge of the Deplorables, Part II will be in a theater near you.

Trump in Cincinnati August 2019

Taibbi writes: “Back on Pete Rose Way, a meager crowd of 100 or so protesters remains gathered across the street. A few anguished-looking college-educated types hold a banner reading “Hate Has No Home Here.” Walking up and down their side is a young activist with a bullhorn.

“I hate to break the bad news to you,” he shouts across the asphalt divide. “Trump doesn’t give a shit about working people!”

“Fuck you!” one of a trio of young MAGA dudes shouts in reply.

“His buddies are laughing and high-fiving. They’re having a blast. The anguish of the lefty protesters is the best part.

“Throughout Trump’s speech, spectators came down to taunt the libs. It got tense enough that a row of helmeted cops showed up, stringing patrol bicycles end to end in the middle of the street to create an ad-hoc barricade.

“He’s a fucking con man,” the would-be Ortega on the other side is chanting now. “Don the con . . . All power to the working class!”

“We are the working class, buddy!” an older man shouts. More laughs.”

We are the working class” – that is the truth, and everyone in the transaction knew it.

Taibbi states the obvious, which in a time of deceit and nonsense becomes a revolutionary act.

“The average American likes meat, sports, money, porn, cars, cartoons, and shopping. Less popular: socialism, privilege-checking, and the world ending in 10 years. Ironically, perhaps because of Trump, Democratic Party rhetoric in 2020 is relentlessly negative about the American experience. Every speech is a horror story about synagogue massacres or people dying without insulin or atrocities at the border. Republicans who used to complain about liberals “apologizing for America” were being silly, but 2020 Democrats sound like escapees from the Killing Fields.”

Exactly. Trump is going to crush the Democrats. This uncouth monster will have another four years, and not a single besser-wisser upper class toff and Volvo-driver will be able to do anything about it. Nor will any of the woke swarms of the multi-culti, or privileged and over-promoted black progressive bourgeoisie, be able to stop it.

It will be a pleasure to watch their heads explode, though after all these years it is dispiriting to see them incapable of responding intelligently to the political challenge of Trump. The reason they do not respond intelligently to Trump is that to do so would signify that they knew there were wrong about something. As they are infallible, or so they believe, they will lead the charge the same old way at the same old enemy and be destroyed in the same old way he has done before.

Is it not time for some of Trump’s enemies to admit publicly that, as a politician, he is very smart? Is it not time to learn from defeat?

Trumpophobia 3

3. Differentism versus inclusivism

By far the most interesting cause of people voting for Trump is explained by reference to one of the enduring divisions of the human species, writes Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic Monthly.

Of the several views of why people choose Trump over his opponents, one is the important discovery that some people do not like or react well to differences. As Friedersdorf explains the research, this has less to do with racism as such than with ‘differentism‘, of which race-ism, tribal-ism, national-ism are examples, but which do not exhaust the categories of differences.

In one sense this is a big obvi-ism. As Jonathan Haidt explained better and more generously in The Righteous Mind, people differ along several axes. Psychological research has identified six such axes, of which procedural fairness and equality of outcome are the two that most engage the ‘liberal’ mind. Group cohesion/treason and the sacred versus the profane are two other such differences, and naturally conservatives score higher in concern for the sacred and for group cohesion.

The author on whom Friedersdorf relies is Karen Stenner, who wrote “The Authoritarian Dynamic“. The treatment accorded the more conservative personality type by Stenner is far less generous that Haidt’s. Stenner seeks to pathologize the syndromes. From the Amazon book blurb:

” This book addresses that question by developing a universal theory of what determines intolerance of difference in general, which includes racism, political intolerance, moral intolerance and punitiveness. It demonstrates that all these seemingly disparate attitudes are principally caused by just two factors: individuals’ innate psychological predispositions to intolerance (“authoritarianism”) interacting with changing conditions of societal threat. The threatening conditions, particularly resonant in the present political climate, that exacerbate authoritarian attitudes include, most critically, great dissension in public opinion and general loss of confidence in political leaders.”

Friedersdorf describes Stenner’s methodology as follows:

” Stenner began her research with a questionnaire that probed the attitudes of her subjects toward child-rearing. Their answers indicated the extent to which they think that it’s more important for kids to obey their parents, have good manners, be neat and clean, and follow the rules—or alternatively, that it’s more important that they are responsible for their own actions, and creative, curious, independent thinkers who follow their own conscience and show good judgment. Designed to provide an unobtrusive, bare-bones measure of each subject’s fundamental stances toward conformity and difference, the child-rearing questionnaires were scored and the subjects arrayed from most libertarian to most authoritarian.”

It is entirely natural that child-rearing has a huge impact on how personalities develop. It is also evident that there is continuum between rule obeying behaviour and independence, and moreover, that there is no inherent superiority whereby the curious and independent minded are to be placed above the obedient and conformist, though liberals might like to think so. Or do they confess to believing in a cognitive and moral superiority to people like themselves? Of course they do.

Stenner observed that “fears regarding immorality and crime, claims about the critical need to reestablish some normative order, and elaboration of plans for accomplishing this” occupied the bulk of “their psychic space,” consuming a hugely disproportionate share of their time and energy.”

Who defines hugely disproportionate?

“Ultimately,” Stenner contended, “much of what we think of as racism, likewise political and moral intolerance, is more helpfully understood as ‘difference-ism,’” defined as “a fundamental and overwhelming desire to establish and defend some collective order of oneness and sameness.”

Both Stenner and the coverage of her book by Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic Monthly constantly insinuate that concern for a normative order is, in some real fashion, an aberration, a morally inferior position, and that it connotes political “authoritarianism”, a political doctrine, rather than “communitarianism”, which has a much more agreeable sound. If you read a conservative thinker like Thomas Sowell or the British philosopher Roger Scruton, you would gain an entirely more generous perspective on concern for a normative order. Concern for the general state of society, for community and for public and private order is not the exclusive concern of the anxious, the ill-educated, or the authoritarian. People who raise their children to analyze and make intelligent choices are not simultaneously without concern for the state of society.

Indeed, I call the current obsession with diversity and inclusion “inclusivism”. It is a doctrine that holds, for instance, that the student body of a cognitively elite institution should be constituted by racial or ethnic groups in proportion to their presence in the general population; that differences in incarceration rates or rates of being shot by police cannot justifiably be different according to race or ethnicity, but must be uniform across society as a whole. The failure or inability to make relevant and justifiable discriminations is the bane of modern society.

Stenner describes the phenomenon as “innate psychological dispensations to intolerance” and calls it “authoritarianism“. This is a dreadful failure to analyze properly and a gross insult to some of the attitudes that have elevated us from living in caves. Some people are intolerant of dirt and disorder, of rodents in the basement, of shit in drinking water. What is tolerated or not tolerated lies on a spectrum. Some people think there needs to be a decision in any given society to drive either on the right or the left, but not both. Some people are rule enforcers, some rule breakers. When to obey and what rules not to obey is a matter of the most careful judgment. Personalities differ in their propensities to conform or break rules, and these propensities are to some extent capable of being different according to political or religious regimes.

The pathologization of political difference begins in Stenner’s characterization of those who want a rules-based order as “authoritarian”. Her analysis, and that of Friedersdorf reporting on it are no more than another form of snobbish condescension towards those whose anxieties for a sense of community are greater than their own.

At the root of all such characterizations of Trump supporters lies the firm belief that those who do not like him are cognitively and morally superior.

Trumpophobia 2

Maximilien Robespierre

Today I am writing on the subject of the reasons why those who oppose Trump explain his support among a large block of Americans. The subject is vast and I do not pretend to be comprehensive. Over time I hope to catalogue, however partially, the reasons why Democrats and others of the political Left insulate themselves from the realization that they are losing a large political battle for the soul of the United States, when they think they are winning it.

  1. Fear

Joe Lansdale writes in the Texas Observer on the subject of why his neighbours will vote for Trump:

Trump has provided a dark, dank hole into which these folks can dump whatever it is they’re mad about ….

“Guns are a symbol of fear, but they are also a symbol of power, a way for the everyday person to feel important and potent, to be a participant in the great game show of life. Guns have replaced the previous religion of Texas, which was football, and Trump is the high priest. Fear sells, and it stimulates. Trump and his cronies constantly tell us, without actual facts, how bad crime is and how evil all foreigners are — especially if they dress funny — and they repeat over and over the false information that the economy is on the verge of collapse and you better build that bunker and stock up, because if you don’t, all you’ll have for protection from the certain rise of crazed liberals is harsh language.

“This is a world so many conservative Republicans feel they can control. A frightened world. A world where the happily stupid, bless their little hearts, can thrive within their own fear-based mythology. A place where those with and without teeth, with and without educations, will happily pull the lever for the Great Pumpkin come Election Day.”

2. Language

A more sophisticated interpretation comes from The Atlantic Magazine’s George Packer. His discussion begins with Victor Klemperer’s writing on the subject of the use of language in Nazi Germany, where Klemperer lived in hiding throughout the Second World War.

” Klemperer was a literary historian, and to preserve his mental balance under Nazi rule he used his diary to continue doing the academic work from which, as a Jew, he was officially banned: He studied the language of the Third Reich. He recorded how, after Hitler took power, certain words in various forms—Volk, fanatisch—soon became ubiquitous in public and in private; how religious terms imbued the ruling ideology; how euphemisms such as evacuation and concentration camp were coined to make massive crimes sound bureaucratically legitimate; how the German language grew impoverished and uniform; how Nazi language became a total system outside of which Germans could no longer think, and which did the thinking for them, to the bitter end.”

“Klemperer seems to be describing Trump’s speeches.”

” Compare this to the language of Trump’s populism. There’s not a breath of inspiration in it. The crowds attend his rallies for red meat—Hillary Clinton, Ilhan Omar, Mexicans, the media, corrupt “elites” of various kinds—and go home satisfied. Nothing whatsoever is asked of them. Their hero never paints a convincing picture of what American greatness would look like— “

” The strength of Trump’s populist language lies in its openness. It requires no expert knowledge and has no code of hidden meanings. It’s attuned to some of the strongest currents in American pop culture, and it gives rise almost spontaneously to memorable slogans—“Build the wall,” “Lock her up,” “Witch hunt,” “No collusion,” “Make America great again.” It’s the way people talk when the inhibitors are off. It’s available to anyone who’s willing to join the mob.”

Having settled to his satisfaction why Trump’s rhetoric is working, because it resembles the simplifying tendencies of language in the Third Reich (bad, bad Nazis), and that all you need to do is be ready to join the mob, he proceeds to examine why the rhetoric of Trump is more satisfying than the rhetoric employed by the political Left. Here he gets to the interesting admission, that the rhetoric of the political Left is unattractive. His insights are profound.

“The crudeness of Trump’s rhetoric makes it both dangerous and politically potent. By contrast, the language of the contemporary left is anti-populist. Its vocabulary, much of it taken from academia, is the opposite of accessible—it has to be decoded and learned. Terms such as centered, marginalized, intersectional, non-binary, and Eurocentric gender discipline separate outsiders from insiders—that’s part of their intent, as is the insistence on declaring one’s personal pronouns and showing an ability to use them accordingly. Even common words like ally and privilege acquire a resonance that takes them out of the realm of ordinary usage, because the point of this discourse is to create a sense of special virtue.”

“The language of the left creates a hierarchy of those who get it and those who don’t. Mastering the vocabulary is a way of signaling entry into a select world of the knowing and the just. The system is closed—there’s an internal logic that can be accepted or rejected but isn’t open to argument or question. In this sense, though much of the language of the left has academic origins, its use in the public square is almost religious. The abandonment of language that brings people in rather than shutting them out is one of the left’s many structural disadvantages in American politics today.”

‘A sense of special virtue’, ‘an internal logic than can be accepted or rejected but isn’t open to argument or question’ – these are emphatically the terms upon which the political Left chooses to conduct itself. It is anti-rational in the highest degree.

Over the course of a lifetime dealing with Leftists, it has been my observation that their prevailing motive is a sense of self-assigned virtue. The likely consequences or actual consequences of a policy are not the basis upon which it should be judged, but only the degree of virtue one feels in imposing it. Thomas Sowell describes this dynamic well in “The Vision of the Anointed”. He calls it self-congratulation as the basis for social policy. Hence no learning is possible or required, since the feedback from policy to consequences is decisively broken.

I recall the first time I heard the term correct applied to politics. It was in 1975 or thereabouts. A young PhD student in the Trudeau the Elder regime said the question being asked on the Yale campus where he took is degree was “are you correct?”. He meant it in the Marxist sense: that politics was not a matter of persuasion and belief but of scientific deduction. Your answers to political problems were correct or not in the same sense that your answer to 2+2 was correct or not.

“An internal logic that can be accepted or rejected but isn’t open to argument or question”.

And the pundits think those who favour Trump are ignorant, fear-driven and irrational. Maybe they know what sort of people they are dealing with: a bunch of Robespierres leading zombie armies of the night.

Trumpophobia

I am surrounded by Liberals and Democrats. “Not my President” stickers can be found in the summer colony I inhabit in July and August. Conversations have to be carefully managed to avoid any serious discussion of the Donald. Known Trumpists gather in small groups and exchange significant winks. A sentence is sufficient. This is probably as it should be, or as good as it ever can get. It is Volvo territory, and the chattering classes are firmly convinced that the United States has been taken over by an uncouth narcissist who opposes all the good things in life.

I agree that Trump is uncouth and an egotist, and I don’t care. You ask why? Because every time the President gets into a spat with some sacred cow of the Left, the range of what can be said by others expands. The most recent example was his taking on of the Congressman from Baltimore, an American black politician. Trump called his district in Baltimore a rat-infested dump, and after all the outrage of the left (racist! racist!) , it became possible to talk about the poverty and lack of civic virtue of the black population of Baltimore, and by extension, of all the other violence- and rat-infested cities governed for too long by Democrats, sustained by black majorities. Racist indeed. We are allowed on occasion to point out realities, as long as we can bear the opprobrium of the Left. But it takes an ice-breaker like Trump to call spades, spades.

The best of anti-Trump invective comes from Andrew Sullivan in New York magazine. It should be read, despite everything that is wrong with it, because it is the best expression of the concerns that a certain class of American has about Trump. Never mind that it is overwrought, partizan, snobbish and ultimately even silly. Sullivan compares the American Republic to Rome, and gives a useful precis of how Rome transformed from a Republic into a dictatorship over the course of a century or two of political turmoil, civil war, faction war, and occasional massacres.

Sullivan’s main points regarding Trump are as follows:

” If republicanism at its core is a suspicion of one-man rule, and that suspicion is the central animating principle of the American experiment in self-government, Trump has effectively suspended it for the past three years and normalized strongman politics in America.”

” He has also definitively shown that a president can accept support from a foreign power to get elected, attempt to shut down any inquiry into his crimes, obstruct justice, suborn perjury from an aide, get caught … and get away with all of it. “

“But when the president himself declares the system he works in is rigged, when he opines that electoral fraud is rampant, when he accuses his own FBI and intelligence services of being corrupt, he accelerates this process of delegitimization.”

” The second case against complacency is that a key branch of government that can and should restrain presidential overreach, the judiciary, is being methodically co-opted for the cause of executive power.”

“And the third is precedent. If republican virtues and liberal democratic values are a forest of traditions and norms, Trump has created a vast and expanding clearing. What Rome’s experience definitively shows is that once this space is cleared, even if it is not immediately filled, some day it will be.”

” A republican president respects how the system works, treats power as if it is always temporarily held, interacts with other agents with civility, however strained, and feels responsible, for a while, for keeping the system alive. Trump simply has no understanding of any of this. His very psyche — his staggering vanity, narcissism, and selfishness — is far more compatible with monarchical government than a republican one.”

The whole of Sullivan’s article, except for his precis of Roman history, proceeds from of a lack of insight into several important features of US politics, which have been present since Hamilton and Jefferson went at each other with equal acerbity and suspicion in the 1700s.

Paranoia: the republic is always in danger from the plots, misdeeds, and of concentration of power in the Presidency, which in principle should be restricted to executing the laws that the Congress has passed (as people of this school maintain when the President belongs to a party they oppose).

Lack of historical perspective: power has been concentrating in the Presidency since Teddy Roosevelt, and not just in the regime of his distant cousin Franklin. You could look at the criticisms of Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus (the freedom from arbitrary arrest and seizure) in the Civil War as an example of Presidential concentration of power and suspension of civil liberties

Assault upon norms: Trump has consistently refused to take shit from a media class that has been determined to destroy him and whose animus against him and impotence is revealed daily. People elected him to fight back against the smothering liberal consensus and he has, successfully. He does not need press conferences when he can reach millions through tweets.

The case for Trump is most succinctly made by Conrad Black: that after 32 years of the family regimes of Bushes and Clintons, where a Bush or a Clinton was either a president, vice-president or secretary of state, something ended the soft-left passivity and decline. That event was the Trump election.

Nothing in the past three or four years has surprised me more than the hysterical and fact-resistant reaction of liberals to Trump. It is as if the totalitarian instincts of the American liberal – by which I mean leftist – have been given free range. Everything they accuse Trump and his followers of being: racist, ignorant, anti-immigrant, white supremacist, seems to have been the cover for a snobbery so gigantic it defies description, or in my case, understanding.

The useful portions of the American public, the people who drive ambulances, police the streets, fight the fires, build and repair cars, the genuinely civic minded, occasionally church-going, and non-fanatical American working class, and the rest of the civic core of American society, has been held up tp the opprobrium of people whose living is earned treating in symbols and information.

The people who have received university educations seem, by and large, to be anti-Trump, and I doubt not they cloak themselves in concern for the norms and practices of republican government. It seems to me however that the Gramscian long march through the institutions is bearing fruit, and that a class of people falsely and wrongly educated in American “educational” institutions is being told their views are wrong and that they are superfluous. As indeed they are. Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned.

Anyone who doubts that Trump will crush his opposition in the next election is not paying attention. This certainty – as near as life and fortune allows – is becoming obvious even to some Democrats. I am taking bets.