The IG Report

So, the much awaited Inspector General from the Department of Justice is out. I haven’t yet read it, and may not bother. I increasingly detest bureaucratese, and since retiring, avoid it whenever possible. But it is important, and I’m interested, but Mollie Hemingway read it so I don’t have to. In my experience, she often comes to very much the conclusion I would, never exactly, but often close. So, what does she say, in one of those annoying Federalist 11 things posts? 🙂

  1. [And this is perhaps the most important takeaway of all. Who the author reports to and supports matters, especially when many things are subject to interpretation.]Learn How To Interpret An IG Report
    The best way to understand an inspector general (IG) report is less as a fiercely independent investigation that seeks justice and more like what you’d expect from a company’s human resources department. Employees frequently think that a company’s human resources department exists to serve employees. There’s some truth in that, but it’s more true that the human resources department exists to serve the corporation.

    At the end of the day, the HR department wants what’s best for the company. The FBI’s IG Michael Horowitz has a good reputation for good reason. But his report is in support of the FBI and its policies and procedures. As such, the findings will be focused on helping the FBI improve its adherence to those policies and procedures. Those who expected demands for justice in the face of widespread evidence of political bias and poor judgment by immature agents and executives were people unfamiliar with the purpose of IG reports.

    The IG is also a government bureaucrat producing government products that are supposed to be calm and boring. In the previous report that led to Andrew McCabe’s firing as deputy director of the FBI and referral for criminal prosecution, his serial lying under oath was dryly phrased as “lack of candor.” In this report detailing widespread problems riddled throughout the Clinton email probe, the language is similarly downplayed. That’s particularly true in the executive summary, which attempts to downplay the actual details that fill the report with evidence of poor decision-making, extreme political bias, and problematic patterns of behavior.

  2. FBI Agent Who Led Both The Clinton and Trump Probes Promised He’d Prevent Trump’s Election
  3. Comey Mishandled The Clinton Probe In Multiple Ways
  4. Comey Is Slippery And Weird
  5. FBI Has A Massive Leak Problem And Is Doing Nothing About It
  6. FBI Almost Got Away With Ignoring Clinton Emails On Weiner Laptop
  7. Breathtaking Bias
  8. Clinton Got Breaks, But Some Backfired
  9. Obama Lied When He Said He Knew Nothing About Hillary’s Secret E-mail Scheme
  10. FBI Agent Joked Clinton Associate Who Lied Would Never Be Charged, Questioned Legitimacy Of Investigation
  11. FBI’s Insulting Response

 

Other than the first, I just gave you Mollie’s bullet points, she documents them well, and you do need to read them, which you can in her article, 11 Quick Things To Know About The Inspector General’s Report.

And that last one is very troubling. The FBI doesn’t think it has a problem. It does, it has gotten to the point that a fair size plurality of the electorate is calling for its abolition, and with cause. It is out of the control of anybody, and its bullying practices are increasingly abhorrent, as it’s seen that it is no longer properly enforcing the law, but persecuting individually selected people.

After reading a fair number of reports in the last couple days, I think this is the fairest one, not glossing over problems, but neither contributing to the witchhunt. On the other hand, more often than not lately, the worst interpretations have been the most correct, but one continues to hope for a bottom to the swamp. But we may not be to it yet.

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Populism: the Last 50 Years

Frank Cannon at The American Spectator has some thoughts about the assassination of Robert Kennedy 50 years ago this month. Yeah, 1968 was quite the year, a major watershed, seemed like it then and it has proved so.

His impact has resonated well beyond 1968, however. As my late friend Jeff Bell argued in his book, Populism and Elitism, Robert Kennedy’s short-lived campaign drew strongly on populist impulses — that is, an optimism about the ability of people to make decisions about their own lives, rather than relying on elites to do it for them. This approach seemed to be giving Kennedy the momentum in the race, until that fateful moment on June 5th:

Kennedy’s assassination on the night of the California primary put a halt to that effort, not just for 1968 but (in large part) for the decades since. No subsequent liberal leader has made an effective effort to develop a form of left populism… Subsequent polling in 1968 found many white Kennedy voters lining up for Richard Nixon and George Wallace, although, with great difficulty, [Hubert] Humphrey got some of them back by the November election. But no Democratic presidential nominee has ever done as well as Humphrey with these voters in the five elections since. In short, the effort to keep the Democrats’ majority coalition together with a more populist appeal began and ended in the three months of Robert Kennedy’s campaign.

That is, I think beyond question. Many of Kennedy’s policies didn’t appeal to me, even then, but he did, then and now. In truth, of the brothers, with what we know now, he is the only one who does.

In addition, it strikes me that perhaps this is where the traditional liberalism was mortally wounded, as misguided as much of it was, in my view, it was honest and really did want to help people. What we have now merely uses people in an attempt to take and keep power.

In 1964, with the nomination of Barry Goldwater, the Republican Party had taken its first tentative steps towards a conservative populism. Since the 1950s, it had been defined by such leaders as Dwight Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller, who could best be described as conservative elitists. However, beginning with the tumultuous election campaign of 1968, this ground quickly began to shift. Richard Nixon and his “silent majority” powered a counter-conservative Republican populism, culminating in the election of Ronald Reagan a decade later. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party came to be dominated by elite progressives, who had begun to gradually take over vast swaths of the culture and American institutions.

Since then, this state of affairs has come to predominate, though not without a few twists along the way. After Reagan, the conservatives who had found success with him during his presidency formed their own elite establishment, best represented by institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce, which dominated conservative policymaking, elevating business-friendly policies to the detriment of more populist issues — at least until 2016.

And then came Trump, the heir of both Bobby Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. The author makes the point that Trump is different still again. Rather than conservative, he is anti-progressive (and a lot of that is conservative in nature). But it also owes a fair amount to Teddy Roosevelt, and his love for “The Strenuous Life”.

And in some ways, I suspect it is a very specifically American thing. We really are different, rowdier, prouder, and more passionate about our system, than pretty much anybody in the world. That doesn’t (and never has) precluded us from cooperating with other organizations who have similar goals or opposing those who would overly compromise freedom in any place or time. The main difference really, is that it is the almost unfiltered views of the American people. And the ‘elites’, left and right, don’t like that one bit, but that is how you get more Trump, longer.

Tommy Robinson and Liberal Democracy

Over the weekend Paul Mirengoff of Powerline wrote an article called Getting “World Order” Wrong. It’s a very good one. Here’s some…

In this post called “Getting Italy wrong,” I argued that when EU types say populism threatens liberal democracy they usually mean it threatens their policy preferences, which often are not particularly democratic. The same is largely true, I think, of complaints that Donald Trump threatens the “world order.”

This story by Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post — “In Trump, some fear the end of the world order” — is full of moans that, as the pompous Donald Tusk puts it, Trump is challenging “the rules-based international order.” But how is Trump doing this?

Through tariffs? What rule prohibits Trump from imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum? I disagree with Trump’s decision to do so, but surely the rules-based international order does not depend on the absence of these tariffs. Canada imposes ungodly tariffs on U.S. agricultural products without threatening the world order. Why should our tariffs threaten it?

They don’t. Eurocrats and their friends are just using buzz words to defend their economic interests.

And that is the exact truth, what Donald Trump threatens is a lot of corporatist rice bowls. Those people who aren’t good enough to make in on their own and so run to the government to protect them from those who are.

You know, maybe he does threaten the world order, if so he does so by attempting to reintroduce the American order, where merit is the sole determinant of success. It’s never been quite that clean-cut, of course. Paul Revere founded the Revere Copper Works to make the copper bottom for the USS Constitution, and Abraham Lincoln was a railroad lawyer (and a good one). But both of them, and many others provided real quality for a realistic price.

Now what we have in most instances are people providing shoddy merchandise and services for an inflated price which includes a kickback for the politicians.

And do not think it doesn’t carry beyond business either. Why is Tommy Robinson in jail (or gaol, if you prefer)? Because he threatens the system, which enriches politicians who turn a blind eye to abuses, like industrial scale rape and abuse of working-class girls, for a price. The British system can no longer exist in sunlight but must hide in the shadows of the night to exist. It is that corrupt.

And so in time-dishonored fascist fashion, Robinson was frog-marched through a risible parody of a conviction, for not much and consigned to a prison where he has a fair chance of being murdered. If he is, his blood will be on the government of the United Kingdom. This is such a bad thing that it is a parody of the infamous star chamber which the Stuart kings used to try and defenstrate Parliament.

The Dutch MP Geert Wilders spoke to a very well attended rally in Whitehall not long ago to demand Robinson’s release. His address is here.

This is the ‘liberal democracy’ (two lies for the price of one!) that they are so very afraid that Donald Trump and America, in whose name he acts, will tear down.

By God, I hope so!

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell spoke to what we call the Rump Parliament. I think his comments just as applicable today:

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place,

which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.

Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.

I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.

Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!

The time has again come, all across Europe.

The Mighty Endeavor

My traditional post for June 6th, seen most years…

General Eisenhower speaks with members of the ...General Eisenhower speaks with members of the 101st Airborne Division on the evening of 5 June 1944 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prologue:

Seventy-four years ago, night before last a Royal Air Force Group Captain delivered a weather briefing to an obscure American general. The general had an operation planned and the weather was very iffy. But, that general, who was a staff major in 1940 said, “OK, let’s go”

And so after planning and deception efforts reaching back to before Pearl Harbor, an operation was launched. It would invade France’s Normandy peninsula. Its name was OVERLORD.

It was a huge risk, and there was no ‘Plan B’. If it failed, obviously that general’s career would end, his name was Eisenhower, by the way, so would his boss’s General Marshall, and probably his boss Franklin Roosevelt, for this was 1944, and it was an election year. The Prime Minister, and government, of the United Kingdom, would fall.

But the real damage was none of these, these were individual men, and their fate, while important, was not critical. What was critical was that Central and Western Europe would become the prize of the war between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. This was the very last chance for freedom in and of the west.

And so, in one of history’s momentous decisions, GEN Eisenhower said, “OK, let’s go”.

For planning purposes, everything had been planned to happen so many days before or after the day of execution, which up till that time had always been called “D-Day”. It never would be again. Because it was a singular operation, unlike anything seen before, and never seen again.

Prelude

Starting at about 0200 on Tuesday, the sixth of June, 1944, forever afterward known as D-Day, the United States 82d Airborne Division, and the 101st Airborne Division, the British 6th Airborne Division, the Canadian 1st Parachute Battalion, and other attached units parachuted into Normandy, more than 13,000 paratroopers. carried by 925 C-47 aircraft. The drops were badly scattered by winds and flak but eventually, the units were able to consolidate and achieve their objectives. They also demonstrated how disruptive “little groups of paratroopers” can be to an enemy. They were joined later in the day by another 4000 glider-borne troops.

Shortly after 0630, the American 2d Ranger Battalion landed at Pointe de Hoc to begin their epic, and costly battle to take the bluffs, which held 6 German 155 mm guns.

The Main Event

U.S. Army troops wade ashore on Omaha Beach on the morning of 6 June 1944, although planned for the morning of 5 June, but delayed one day due to weather in France.

Gold, Sword, Juno, Omaha, and Utah, are now names which will live forever in the iconography of freemen, but on 6 June 1944, they were merely code names, for the five beaches. At early dawn Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey gave the order to launch the invasion, I like to think that he actually used the traditional naval command, “Land the Landing Party”. If so, what a landing party: From the United States: 1st Infantry Division, 4th Infantry Division, 29th Infantry Division. From the British Army: 3rd British Infantry Division,  50th British Infantry Division. From the Canadian Army the  3rd Canadian Infantry Division. They were supported by 12,000 aircraft under Air Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, coming from the 8th United States Army Air Force, the 9th United States Army Air Force and the Royal Air Force’s 2d Tactical Air Force. The invasion fleet consisted of over 6,300 vessels ranging from battleships like the USS Texas to LCVPs that could land a squad of infantry.

It was a very near run event, as the current was high, the water was choppy, and the Germans had been reinforced. 12 Medals of Honor were won this day, including one by Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., (awarded posthumously) as well as a Victoria Cross. But the lodgment was secured and 11 months later Nazi Germany surrendered.

They went into battle with a prayer from America led by the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas — whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them–help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen.

This is not meant to be a history of the operation, that would take several bookshelves and has been done, my purpose here is to commemorate these men and show how their achievement has altered history.

Aftermath

Most of you know the rough outlines of the story, the British stalled trying to take Caen. In fairness, the British could not afford to take casualties, remember they had lost almost an entire generation merely 26 years earlier. The Americans attacked into the bocage country of Normandy, which the American Army, as always designed for movement, found very difficult. The best explanation may well be that of “an irresistible force meeting an immovable object”.  Eventually, the force triumphed and 3d United States Army debouched onto the plains of France, stopping only when they ran out of gas in the approaches to Germany. As we have said, 11 months later, Nazi Germany surrendered.

Historical Consequences

But the invasion was a gamble, what would have happened if it failed? Undoubtedly, the Americans would have transferred whatever forces were left to the Mediterranean to be part of Operation Dragoon which landed in the south of France 2 weeks later. This could never have been a war winner though, the best it could have done is tied down some German forces from moving to the Eastern Front. So, the war in Europe would have ended with the Red Army conquering Germany, and who’s not to say they wouldn’t have come on through France as well. Simple prudence would seem to demand it, while the American emphasis would have been transferred to the war against Imperial Japan. The result is Europe from Portugal to the Urals, and from Lappland to Italy dominated by Moscow. But the Invasion succeeded due to the Valor of the English speaking peoples. There is a Churchill quote taken from his speech to the House of Commons on 18 May 1940 that comes to mind.

We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God’s good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old.

On Tuesday, 06 June 1944, the Americans and the Canadians, supported by the conquered people of Europe, in concert with the British Army, guarded primarily by the British Fleet, that promise was made good.

But it doesn’t end there either, for, without this successful invasion, the Soviets would have controlled all of Europe, and probably still would. Would Britain have survived, for that matter would North America? It’s not for us to know, neither is it a sure thing.

But certainly, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact would not have fallen as soon as 1990, thus making Europe from Portugal to the Urals and the North Pole to Sicily free.

As he often did, President Reagan said it better than anyone, when addressing those American Rangers we spoke of earlier, at the 40th anniversary of D-Day he said.

…The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — at the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe de Hoc.

These are the men who took the cliffs.

These are the champions who helped free a continent.

These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life…and left the vivid air signed with your honor….

This was the spirit that animated the entire force that conquered fascism, In the words of another great general, “They came, They saw, and They Conquered”. And so the lighted torch of freedom was maintained for another generation. But the struggle continues.

Seriously, but not Literally

This could be a book review, except all I’ve read is the Amazon excerpt, which was enough to sell me the book, which I’ll likely read today – it’s that good. What book is that? This one: The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics, by Salena Zito and Brad Todd, Crown Forum, New York.

Thing is, I’m one of the people she’s writing about (no, not personally) but their background is my background, it is our shared history – in the breadbasket and manufactury of America. We are the people who elected Trump. Why? Because we had simply had enough of what many, likely most, of us see as the uniparty.

Time for something new. And Trump speaks our language, blunt, to the point, always looking out for America First. It was Zito that first described so well how we take Trump, then and now: We take him seriously, but not literally. That’s also how we take each other. How a Brooklyn born, Manhatten based multi-millionaire builder/CEO manages to sound like us is remarkable, but he does, and on 20 January 2017, a president of the old America took office. After all, he is the President of the United States, not the freakin’ world.

Fred Siegal of City Journal has a good review of the book up there, here is an excerpt from that.

Despite Trump’s narrow margin of victory—just 77,000 votes—in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Zito and Todd see the 2016 election as representing a tectonic shift in America’s electoral plates. “Far from a fluke, the 2016 election was a product of Obama’s globalist conceits that produced defective trade deals, open borders and an aggressive secularism.” Trump’s victory was his triumph, not the Republican Party’s.  Neither the two-time Obama voters who switched to Trump nor the habitual nonvoters who came out to the polls in 2016 saw much to rally around in the GOP. Their ties are to Trump, a finding with implications for the upcoming midterms.

“Eighty-nine percent of Trump voters represented in the Great Revolt Survey agree with the statement ‘Republicans and Democrats in Washington are both guilty of leading the country down the wrong path,’” Zito and Todd write. An Iowa voter insisted that the “only person that is able to turn me against Trump is Trump.” Similarly, in economically hard-hit Ashtabula, Ohio, east of Cleveland, a voter said: “So to ask me what would extricate me from Trump would be like asking me to remove me from myself, from my family, and from my community.” The most important issues for voters in the authors’ survey were “restoring manufacturing jobs, protecting Medicare and social security and appointing conservatives to the Supreme Court to protect religious liberty being threatened by assertive Hilary Clinton Progressives.” One interviewee said that NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, “is no longer an acronym—it’s a noun, and a profanity.”

It’s interesting that as this goes on, not to mention the hysterical bleating from the Democrats and the Never-Trumpers (in whom I fail to discern any difference) the president’s support from Hispanics and Blacks is starting to rise, not surprisingly, a rising tide really does lift all boats, and their lives are getting better. Even most of the Republican party seems to be starting to see the light, not least because it’s fairly easy to primary a candidate, even to the Senate level, especially with a popular president providing the tar and feathers.

Zito and Tod see American politics as a tectonic process, huge groups crashing into each other and changing. They have at least a fair amount of right. The morphing of the Whigs and others into the nascent Republican party in the 1850s was one. Don’t forget they fielded their first candidate for president in 1856, Lincoln was only the second. The Democratic Party’s switch to Progressivism in Wilson’s term, soon followed by Roosevelt paved the way for the welfare state.

This may well be the next, as the center of America, the people (and their sons and daughters, and grandsons and granddaughters) who fight America’s wars, build and fix America’s machines, and feed the world, once again bring their common sense, reality-based outlook to the governance of the country.

I don’t think it will end with Trump, either, there is an optimism in the air. And when the most open and largest market in the world starts flexing its muscles, the world will change, and not for the better for snowflakes and bureaucrats anywhere in the world. Have I mentioned that the Atlanta Federal Reserve is predicting an annual growth rate of 4.7% in this quarter? We’ve only just begun.

There’s an old Negro spiritual that says it well:

Get on Board, little chillun’, Get on board.

 

Repristinating America

So Donald Trump is President, and things are looking up. Really, they are. The world is settling down as the word gets around that the sheriff, knows how to use not only words but the Glock on his hip. There are rumors of war (and trade war), but there always are when America asserts itself. But who really wants to fight America, apart from two or maybe three other powers, an American brush fire war is an existential struggle for existence. Not since Edwardian days has one power been so dominant. That one got out of hand and led to the Great War when Britain did the honorable thing (arguably) and played continental power (quite effectively) but in winning the battle lost the war.

Daniel Oliver at The Federalist had some good thoughts along this line the other day. Let’s take a look.

Conservatives tend to be skeptical of joining great political movements because they tend to be skeptical of both politics and movements that are great. They prefer the little platoon, the shire, which they know to be safe—or at least probably safer than what lies beyond. Not all politics may be local, but all politics that isn’t local tends toward the totalitarian, however far short of it it may actually fall.

That sounds almost like a philosophy of government—though not a government that any American alive today has experienced. But times can change, and they have with the election of Donald Trump. Conservatives who have been asking, “Where do we go from here?” have discovered the answer may be: “Where Donald Trump is going.”

Most conservatives and many Libertarians saw the conservatism of William F. Buckley Jr., the founder of modern American conservatism, as a compromise (today’s Libertarians tend to see it as just compromised). Buckley was a free marketeer who opposed radical social experimentation. But he accepted the superstate (even knowing it was a threat to freedom at home) because it was necessary to do battle with the threat to freedom from abroad: communism, the force of darkness that threatened the globe for almost half a century.

That’s true enough, my formation as a conservative came from reading Buckley, and his formulation still resonates with me. Sure Communism is gone (other than the US Democratic party, and such) but big government always has totalitarian tendencies, but to a point (and a very limited point) has necessary functions.

One could read about those in the US Constitution, and the totalitarian tendencies in almost everything the federal government has done since Wilson was President, with the partial exemption of Reagan, and the much more complete one of Coolidge. But there are still dragons to slay, and borders to secure. So we need much more of a state than McKinley needed, faster transportation and communication (mostly) has made it so.

Skipping a lot that you should read, let’s continue…

So what should a conservative polity look like? It comes as a shock—like a Bob Mueller raid in the dark of the night—to realize that many of the policies promoted by President Trump are out of the conservative playbook.

Trump is no pious Christian, but he is proud of his role, synecdochically significant, in making it safe to say “Merry Christmas” again. He has wooed people who cling to their Bibles (and to their guns). And he may be the most anti-abortion president we’ve ever had.

Trump prefers America to other countries, a preference reported as scandalous because of his accurate, if … famously unusual, description of some of those other hell-hole countries.

Trump seems naturally federalist—e.g., in wanting to get rid of those “lines around the states” that restrict the health insurance companies from writing policies on people who don’t live in their states. He seems instinctively opposed to the superstate: his deregulation efforts have already gotten America moving again, and he’s making it easier to fire workers who work for the federal bureaucratic leviathan state.

He seems to care about communities that have had their middle class jobs shipped overseas. The free trade purists have their arguments: they tell us that free trade makes the world richer, and that may be true. But the US share of world GDP has gone down in the last 15 years, while the share of the Industrializing Six countries has gone up.

Could it be that “Make America Great Again” qualifies as a modern formulation of an ancient truth, even if not written in Carolingian minuscule? Many Americans, perhaps excluding the editors of some national political journals, would agree.

I’m going to leave it there, mostly because this is getting long. But he’s correct, Buckley, through us, may have made the greatest conservative convert in history, in Donald John Trump, or alternatively, and not entirely unlikely to my mind, he always was conservative, but played the corrupt New York business game to win, and so no one knew.

I doubt he knows himself or cares. And you know, I don’t either, actions speak much louder than words, that may be the lesson of lessons the teens have to teach us this century. And so we have that rarest of things, a repristination (see the article) of not only a great power, but it’s people. Because, you know, it hasn’t felt this good to be an American since the early sixties (with a reprise in the ’80s).

MAGA, Indeed

 

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