America's Glass Is Half Full
It is too easy to get caught up in the political moment and conclude that the glass is half-empty. From a perspective extending across years and decades, profound transitions are currently occurring that provide hope. Coming months and years will undoubtedly be chaotic, but eventually and inexorably, America will emerge far stronger. There are many silver linings in the gathering stormclouds.
In 2016, two outsiders engineered hostile takeover attempts of the two establishment parties chosen as their vessels: Sanders and Trump. They represented a revolt of debt slaves against oligarchic masters. Sanders (who never registered as a Democrat and only caucuses with them) was deprived of the Democrat nomination by Hillary, Inc., while Trump’s takeover continues apace. Decades were required to establish the underlying conditions leading to this populist revolt.
The Bragg indictment of Trump was a gift and unforced error. Bragg singlehandedly cleared the primary field for Trump, allowing Trump to concentrate on the 2024 election and causing his supporters to open their wallets. The indictment was a litmus test for Trump’s opponents. His political insider rivals failed; only Ramaswamy, the outsider, passed. Others who flunked were the GOP senators. Kevin McCarthy passed with flying colors. Many of us were skeptical when Trump endorsed him for speaker, but has he not been refreshing in that role?
In the years immediately ahead, it does not matter what individual politicians believe, only how attuned they are to political winds. Witness Sinema and Manchin. Or McCarthy, who transmuted from a hack to a Trumpian. He and numerous others are examples of Trump’s methodical GOP takeover. The RNC will continue its descent into irrelevancy, alongside the world’s oldest political party, the Democrats. Alchemists attempted to transmute elements; Trump transmutes politicians.
When the USSR collapsed, its leaders were revealed to be decrepit and corrupt. Similar senescence has calcified the American/globalist uniparty leadership, many of whom are antiques. The 2024 campaign is now underway. Democrats are confronted with somehow having to quickly clear out Biden and Harris to make way for His Newsomness, without losing core constituencies. Good luck with that. In 2016, Trump was in the vanguard of those decrying Chinese hegemony. Almost two years ago, every Democrat senator voted for the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act to handcuff China and join the parade Trump led. Some might be on the Chinese payroll but are forced to pretend otherwise.
In political skirmishes, it is easy to perceive your side as the underdog. But put yourself in the establishment's shoes. Democrats have no bench, and the inevitable internecine implosion of a party erected upon a foundation of identity politics is entertaining to behold. Many Democrat politicians plan to retire rather than face 2024 voters. Efforts to stave off the inevitable (Trump indictment; J6 prisoner gulag; IRS intimidation of Matt Taibbi; flooding the nation with illegal aliens, rioters, and criminals) are symptomatic of desperation, not strength. Or narcissistic insanity generated by desperation.
Every civilization experiences a crazy time, testing existential limits and marking the end of the democratic experiment after a couple of centuries. Democracy is not eternal. Our founders designed a system to postpone the inevitable. Few tyrannies are worse than a late-stage democracy. While unpleasant, these revolutions always resolve in the transfer of wealth and power back from the oligarchs to the masses.
The historian Will Durant summarized the chaos of civil war that preceded the Augustinian reformation, yielding two centuries of stability across the Pax Romana:
[In] the summer of 29 [B.C., Octavian] reach[ed] Italy. There almost all classes welcomed and feted him as a savior and joined in a triumph that lasted three days. ... The lusty peninsula was worn out with twenty years of civil war. Its farms had been neglected, its towns had been sacked or besieged, much of its wealth had been stolen or destroyed. Administration and protection had broken down; robbers made every street unsafe at night; highwaymen roamed the roads, kidnaped travelers, and sold them into slavery. Trade diminished, investment stood still, interest rates soared, property values fell. ... Rome was full of men who had lost their economic footing and then their moral stability; soldiers who had tasted adventure and had learned to kill; citizens who had seen their savings consumed in the taxes and inflation of war and waited vacuously for some returning tide to lift them back to affluence; women dizzy with freedom, multiplying divorces, abortions, and adulteries. Childlessness was spreading. ... On the sea piracy had returned, rejoicing in the suicide of states. ... Greece ... was ruined; Egypt was despoiled; the Near East ... peoples hated Rome as a master who had destroyed their freedom without giving them security or peace.
Sound familiar? Rome was a Democrat's fantasy, minus fentanyl and drag queen story hours. Durant noted that the Senate was by then a hollow shell, and statecraft was in the rearview mirror. The Senate was glad to cede power to an actual leader, Augustus.
Or as Caroll Quigley described this phenomenon more clinically:
[E]ach civilization is born in some inexplicable fashion and, after a slow start, enters a period of vigorous expansion, increasing its size and power, both internally and at the expense of its neighbors, until gradually a crisis of organization appears. When this crisis has passed and the civilization has been reorganized, it seems somewhat different.
Only those of us now navigating a parallel crisis can begin to grasp the forces that led us to this juncture. People in future centuries will find all this incomprehensible. Rome and other civilizations survived this storm and went on to greatness. So will America. The times demand strong, benevolent rulers. Such leaders will be identified and installed. Trump is a template others will follow. His role is to create new norms. The old ones are spent. He initiated a process that will persist long into the future.
It was impossible for the billionaire class, with their narcissism and condescension, to perpetually assault the rest of us without eventual repercussions. While Trump can fill stadiums on 48 hours' notice, his bipartisan rivals struggle to fill high school gyms. The desire for a return to normalcy becomes overwhelming. This is no historical anomaly, but a scenario every civilization experiences. The outcome is preordained; only the specifics, however troubling in the short run, remain to develop. Trump may not be Jesus 2.0, but he is the leader these times demand.