Restatement on Flight 93

Restatement on Flight 93, by Publius Decius Mus. This is a follow up to the widely acclaimed The Flight 93 Election, which considers the various objections to that article.

Establishment conservatives do what the leftists want, in return for crumbs from the table of power and state rewards:

Several writers on the Left obligingly made the point. Good conservatism adheres to the parameters we set for you. You may say this, but not this. If you do and say what we tell you to, your reward will be that we will call you racist Nazis a little less. Also, what we allow as “good conservatism” will drift ever leftward, so that something we permitted a year or two ago is subject to revocation without notice and you better get on board immediately or the deal is off. Conservatism has accepted this “bargain” … yet amazingly thinks of itself as standing firm for eternal principle.

But when I write in praise of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character, education, social norms and public order, initiative, enterprise, industry and thrift, and prudent statesmanship; when I warn against paternalistic Big Government, the decay of our educational system, and the cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions—time-honored conservative themes all—the Left responds with “insane,” “deranged,” “chilling,” and “poison.” And the same conservatives who cite adherence to conservative principle as their reason for opposing Trump side with…the Left.

Establishment conservatives have allowed the left to making voting in your own interests somehow “bad”:

[T]he context was my recommendation of that supremely radical and immoderate act of…voting. Has it come to this? Merely advocating that people vote for a candidate who promises to further their interests … is now immoderate and “daring.”

That is of course exactly the way the Left wants to frame this election. The same way that they define for us what acceptable conservatism can and cannot be, they now assert the right to choose — or at least veto — our candidates. And we supinely go along.

Trump is not particularly conservative or liberal:

Trump is not conservative enough for the conservatives but way too conservative for the Left, yet somehow they find common cause. Earlier I posited that the reason is Trump’s position on immigration. Let me add two others.

The first is simply that Trump might win. He is not playing his assigned role of gentlemanly loser the way McCain and Romney did, and may well have tapped into some previously untapped sentiment that he can ride to victory. This is a problem for both the Right and the Left. The professional Right (correctly) fears that a Trump victory will finally make their irrelevance undeniable. The Left knows that so long as Republicans kept playing by the same rules and appealing to the same dwindling base of voters, there was no danger. Even if one of the old breed had won, nothing much would have changed, since their positions on the most decisive issues were effectively the same as the Democrats and because they posed no serious challenge to the administrative state.

The real state of government:

[T]he current governing arrangement of the United States is rule by a transnational managerial class in conjunction with the administrative state. To the extent that the parties are adversarial at the national level, it is merely to determine who gets to run the administrative state for four years. Challenging the administrative state is out of the question …

No it’s not. That’s the point of a blog like this, by the way.

Trump is the first candidate since Reagan to threaten this arrangement. …

When the people want something that they shouldn’t want or mustn’t have, the administrative state prevents it, no matter what the people vote for. When the people don’t want something that the administrative state sees as salutary or necessary, it is simply imposed by fiat.

Trump is mounting a constitutional challenge, in a very fundamental way. Like Brexit, the issue is democracy — who is in charge?

To all the “conservatives” yammering about my supposed opposition to Constitutional principle (more on that below) and who hate Trump, I say: Trump is mounting the first serious national-political defense of the Constitution in a generation. He may not see himself in those terms. I believe he sees himself as a straightforward patriot who just wants to do what is best for his country and its people. Whatever the case, he is asserting the right of the sovereign people to make their government do what they want it to do, and not do things they don’t want it to do, in the teeth of determined opposition from a managerial class and administrative state that want not merely different policies but above all to perpetuate their own rule.

It’s not 1980, so running the Reagan agenda yet again is not appropriate:

In 1980, after a decade of stagnation, we needed an infusion of individualism. In 2016, we are too fragmented and atomized — united for the most part only by being equally under the thumb of the administrative state — and desperately need more unity. …

Which means that Trump, right now, is right and the conservatives are wrong. His moderate program of secure borders, economic nationalism, and America-first foreign policy — all things that liberals and conservatives alike used to take for granted, if they disagreed on implementation — holds the promise of fostering more unity.

But today, liberals are apoplectic at the mere mention of this program — controlling borders is “extreme” but a “borderless world” is the “ultimate wisdom” — and the Finlandized conservatives aid them in attacking the candidate who promotes it.

Immigration and borders is the big one.

Every four years the electorate becomes more unfavorable to Republican candidates, owing above all to mass immigration, which so many Republicans still self-sabotagingly support. We could not even deny reelection to Barack Obama, whose first term was a dismal failure by every measure, because he was able to overwhelm us with sheer demographics. “Quantity has a quality all its own.” It will be worse in 2020 than it is now in 2016, just as 2016 is worse than 2012. Not to get all Rubio on you, but they know exactly what they’re doing.

This election is the most important for the US and the world since 1980:

If Hillary wins, there will still be a country, in the sense of a geographic territory with a people, a government, and various institutions. Things will mostly look the same, just as—outwardly—Rome changed little on the ascension of Augustus. It will not be tyranny or Caesarism—not yet. But 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. It will be a blue state on a national scale. Only one party will really matter. A Republican may win now and again—once in a generation, perhaps—but only a neutered one who has “updated” all his positions so as to be more in tune with the new electorate. I.e., who has done exactly what the Left has for years been concern-trolling us to do: move left and become more like them. …

Still and all, for many—potentially me included—life under perma-liberalism will be nice. If you are in the managerial class, you will probably do well—so long as you don’t say the wrong thing. (And, as noted, the list of “wrong things” will be continuously updated, so make sure you keep up.) …

Can we at least finally admit, squarely, that conservatism has failed? On the very terms that it set for itself? I don’t mean that in an accusatory or celebratory way—I’m, quite sad about it, honest!—only as a matter of plain fact.