Saturday, February 11, 2017

“Where Are We Headed?”

…I was asked by a friend, in reference to this piece at the Zman blog.

Before I offer my reply, a couple of lines from the Zman blog post; the basic idea is that the only way to clean house is for Trump to play the strongman:

For the last three decades, probably longer, the guys allegedly on the side of the rest of us, have been obsessed with playing by the rules. The thing I don’t fear is that Trump will “go too far” or fail to respect the rules of the game. I don’t care about those rules anymore. Those rules are the bars of the cage.

In reference to the Ninth Circuit judges ruling against Trump’s immigration order:

If what it takes to break the stranglehold this cult has on society is a dictator willing to toss a few judges from a helicopter, then sign me up for dictatorship.

With the brief introduction out of the way, my reply (slightly modified) to the query: where are we headed?


It is difficult to contemplate because it has the potential to be very personal; also because there are few - if any - places that one might comfortably use as refuge.

I think of Codevilla, who I reviewed here.  From his conclusion:

We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end.

Trump isn’t the fear; it's what comes after Trump.  It's what the people will demand - those on the right will demand a more overt police state (in addition to taking matters into their own hands), and who can blame them?  Those on the left will increase their looting and burning until the police and those who take defense into their own hands start shooting.  How that circle of violence ends, who can say?

I think of the French Revolution - and one of many reasons I do not have wishes along the same line as presented in the Zman piece; the first strongman might cut the heads off of your enemy, the next strongman will decide you are the enemy.  In the end, anyone who had the inkling to stand up to the strongman is headless and dead - then what?

This does not mean I have a reasonable alternative to the Zman’s wishes; again, where we are headed is a difficult question to contemplate because there are no good answers.  The best I can offer is for men of goodwill to make common cause with Trump on those issues where we have common cause; he is the first president in my lifetime to make allowable much which has been previously unallowable in terms of discussion and action.

Beyond this, the only peaceful way out is secession and decentralization; even at least some on the left are now speaking favorably of this.  Unfortunately, neither Trump nor any president will likely want to be known as the president who disbanded the United States.  Anyway, we also know both the bloodshed and how this ended seven score and twelve years ago

It would be nice to have a Gorbachev.


  1. Zman is taking on the Left Wing tactic of making monsters of people they dislike and saints of people they do like. Hopefully very few people in the USA and UK feel this way. If not then we are doomed.

    The US Government is competing with the UK Government to be the most expansive spy state in history with the ability to view the most detail on the lives of their subjects. This power goes far beyond the reach of the previous dictators of the world. Stalin, Hitler, Robespierre and the like would be envious of the abilities of the US and UK governments to spy on their own citizenry.

    The US Government not wanting to be outdone by even the worst authoritarians, has used the increasingly complex regulatory state to imprison vast numbers of people beyond those dictators of the past.

    Zman seems to want a Pinochet type to come to power in the USA when the worst damage to capital of the US Government is nowhere near the damage the fully Communist Allende regime accomplished in Chile.

    You are correct that Trump has made previously taboo discussions commonplace and has even gotten the authoritarian left discussing decentralization.

    1. Your assessment of Zman is accurate.

  2. I have been thinking about last line above:
    "It would be nice to have a Gorbachev."
    I am not so sure. It would be easy in the short term to have Gorbachev and have him give in to any and all US demands. But Gorbachev had promises of constrained NATO expansion and some others (Broken the US Government and NATO) that allowed Russia to have a nation. With the recent US Government belligerence I think that the USA and Russia are better off with a calmer tough guy like Putin at the helm in Russia.

    I say this because the Russians themselves and their military in particular will not stand by and allow their close friends and critical bases to be taken over by the US Government or NATO. I believe this to be true with or without Putin. In fact Putin has become more popular and has made his position all the stronger by putting up a fight in the Crimea and in Syria. I am not sure about Syria, but if the Russians lose the military base in the Crimea then Putin will lose a whole lot more. No US or NATO politician has this incentive.

    Trumps on the other hand has looked stronger and improved his position by withdrawing or hinting at withdraw in these areas. It is only now that Trump is going against his pledges to less bellicose than his predecessors that he seems weak.

    1. I mean a Gorbachev for the US. Gorbachev offered the example of peaceful death to an empire - a rarity, I think.

      Under his leadership, the USSR came apart relatively peacefully. Given the strife and tensions in the US, it would be a nice outcome if this is the worst of what the country goes through in the coming years.

    2. BM:
      What are you thoughts on Trump that he seems stronger advocating for peace versus Hillary and all of the war nuts?

    3. I have written on this often, to summarize: I had two reasons to favor Trump over Hillary, 1) he said so many things that ran contrary to the establishment, and 2) he said he will talk to Russia and Putin.

      Either would be reason enough to find him infinitely better than Clinton or any of the war nuts.

  3. When I read your penultimate paragraph, I thought to myself: "Gee it would be nice to have a Gorbachev." (for the U.S., Bogey).
    Then your final sentence proving that you agree with me so completely, only way ahead of me!
    Well done, Bugster.

  4. From the Zman piece:

    "Totalitarians attempt to change the world and human nature, by controlling all aspects of society, including the granular aspects of the political system"

    That is one way to look at it. However, words like totalitarian and authoritarian are very unclear and used in a similarly pejorative way as is fascism. Reality itself is totalitarian. Truth is totalitarian. Nature is totalitarian. They allow nothing outside themselves.

    There is no doubt an ugly authoritarianism. Namely the sycophantic deference given to the dogs of the system by burger plebs. But if I was to argue in favor of "totalitarianism" (I do), I except to be met with people thinking I am some kind of lunatic. Since who would support generic-evil (tm) for its own sake?

    Plato laid out a case for totalitarianism in the Republic. Should we say Plato is literally Stalin?

    Totalitarianism is not an attempt to change human nature but to adapt human organizations to it. The goal is to completely remove competition for power and allow for people to live according to their nature.

    Libertarianism is no different, and you will encounter many who are unwilling to see my point on this, but all too often libertarians are complete internationalists/globalists who want to see their schemes of rights implemented the world over. To their mind if you fall outside of this scheme and don't comply with it, you are a criminal or morally wicked (or both).

    Is, for example, Wenzel's PPS where children can be thrown out of airplanes for being stowaways really less totalitarian than the Third Reich? I would argue it is more "totalitarian" (and uglier) because it IS at odds with human nature and natural law.

    In other words. Ideology is totalitarian. Liberals (remember libertarians are radical liberals for the most part) like to pretend otherwise but that is their Big Lie. I have to meet an ideologue of any stripe that wasn't interested in seeing their worldview codified into law.

    The political system will and must be totalitarian. The only 2 questions to my mind are "who is king?" and "how big is his kingdom?"

    1. "The only 2 questions to my mind are "who is king?" and "how big is his kingdom?""

      Very good.

    2. "I have to meet an ideologue of any stripe that wasn't interested in seeing their worldview codified into law."

      I am anarcho-capitalist (more or less) and have no such desire. Libertarians who think as totalitarians simply have not thought things through, or they aren't really libertarians. NAP prevents such a wish from being anything but a completely unrealistic fantasy.

      Each polity might prefer to be totalitarian; that is certainly arguable. However a framework of Panarchy would allow (relatively) peaceful coexistence of polities. It is the extension of the idea of religious tolerance into the political sphere. 300 years ago no one would have believed different religions (except outliers like Islam) could exist side by side; yet here we are.

    3. A few points.

      First of all anarchists like Keith Preston, and yourself, who talk about Panarchy are the most consistent of your ideological stripe. I am not very hostile to your thinking, though I find it unrealistic.

      However if what you say is true you are not much of an ideologue, namely "an adherent of an ideology, especially one who is uncompromising and dogmatic."

      Furthermore, when you talk about a framework, or scheme, you are talking about something all encompassing, no matter how flexible it appears. And inside that scheme, of these polities, you would in theory choose one. Would you not be trying to find one in which your values and interests are codified at the exclusion of other values? IMO, "totalitarian" as we understand it now is entirely the product of liberalism, as too I believe is anarchism. This is the hat trick liberalism performs. It claims to be flexible and for freedom yet denies anything outside itself legitimacy.

  5. I don't think we have a choice--it's going to have to end in bloodshed. Trump allowing Flynn to be axed by the MSM shows he's a giant blond pussy. He can't do the job, poor baby has never gotten his hands bloody, time for him to change that.

  6. Here's a purely practical observation: the Left is made up of mobs of millennial snowflakes whose idea of a fight is hitting someone in the head and running away. When the gloves come off and the vets in this country do the work that will need to be done at that point -- it won't last long. 10 minutes maybe. Of course, the snowflakes will probably have the Chinese Army as their QRF. The Chinese will definitely take longer to put down than the snowflakes.

    1. Don, I have thoughts along the same line. I may develop this further in a subsequent post - I want to chew on it for a bit.

    2. Don, the vets are supine vis-à-vis their paymaster - the STATE.

      Military people are used to taking orders - they are not, as a class, brilliant, independent thinkers who are entrepreneurs and innovators.

    3. China will have its own worries when the world economy crashes. America cannot be invaded from without. As to military just taking orders, sounds like an opinion of someone who has never been in the military.

  7. A confederacy of fifty independent states would solve the problem politically. But economically, the banking/merchant classes would not stand for it.

  8. "even at least some on the left are now speaking favorably of this"

    There are always rumbles on the left for secession with a rightist president/congress, and vice versa. I don't expect it is serious. I contacted the person in Oregon who registered a ballot initiative to secede, but he quickly withdrew it, I don't know why. Maybe he got a visit from some thugs.

    There is actually one other way out, and that is Panarchy. However the idea seems little known which makes it less likely. Too bad, it might work pretty well if we tried it.