Forgotten Things: Benghazi, Afghanistan, Israel…

 

I’ll pick a bone with @jameslileks, whom I like.  I’m just using him as an example since he is a widely-liked public sort of person around here.  @roblong comes in for a bit too, and the involvement of both of these guys stems from their appearance on the 13 October 2023 Ricochet “Flagship” podcast:

In that episode, both Long and Lileks gave barn-burner openings about the apocalyptic signs around us in our own country, on campuses on the left generally, and pervading everything.  The first ten minutes of the show after intro music and such is well worth the time, and I just haven’t gotten to the rest yet.


Rob Long: 02:40 – 05:10:  He admits (with manly forthrightness) that previously, he had somewhat poo-pooed claims of anti-semitism from Jews and sundry, and is now shocked at the flat-out blood thirst on campuses where he thought there were merely bleeding hearts.

Lileks:  10:50 – 13:10:  Describes the wicked efforts and intent of the Marxist left in the US and the popular cover story used to disguise it, and points out that “This is what they mean, actually — this is how it plays out.  This rot has been working at the timbers of American civilization for decades, and now we’re seeing the manifestation of it all around.  Perhaps we have been misguided for an awful long time” on the left’s efforts on immigration, culture, tolerance, etc.


Right and good, and I confess that I still have not gotten through the whole podcast.  Been busy.  Well, doesn’t this sound like two men who have been shocked out of their complacency?  Eyes newly opened to the horror movie trope in real life that the call is coming from inside the house.  I believe both of these men in their moment of shock.

And then, time goes by.  Not much.  Just enough.  So Lileks, in a post today, responded to a @drbastiat post, some of which I reproduce here:  Every High Civilization Decays by Forgetting Obvious Things.

The world is going crazy. North Korea, Afghanistan, Ukraine, China, Iran, Russia, Israel, and many other countries have noted the sudden instability created by America’s apparent inability to recall that without a strong military, it doesn’t matter how many drag queens get government-funded abortions in their home state.

The leadership of Victoria’s Secret and Budweiser recognized their mistakes, and are attempting to correct them. The recovery of those companies is far from certain.

Will the leadership of America recognize their mistakes in time to correct them? Will America be able to recover from the insanity of the past 5-10 years? That is far from certain.

Some mistakes, you don’t get to make twice.

Lileks’ response somehow misses the very points he himself made in the podcast, quoted far above.  From his post:

Public faith in institutions is usually rote and casual, at least in a stable polis. We’re used to assuming that the managerial layer is reasonably competent, because everything around us generally works. Our everyday interactions with the state are not characterized by corruption or blatant incompetence. My local department of transportation puts up signs that says the road work will be finished on a certain date, and it is. But when a few key institutions fail all at once when stress is applied, we notice the failings in other institutions. [continued below]

So far, so good, despite the trains-run-on-time-ism.  I am sure that if Hitler or Stalin personally took over the running of this country, the trash would be picked up without interruption.  But then comes the business-as-usual urge to diagnose the malfunctioning citizens who actually want to get us off the “decades of rot” program, which has seen both political parties quite well off and American citizenship shrunken as if some mysterious inflation of anti-American concerns somehow makes our national identity worth less and less each year.  So I read the following as yet another anti-Trump and anti-populist whine, despite Lileks having beautifully made the case for populism on the podcast!

[continuing] We begin to doubt the competency of the entire class that floats on top, and are more receptive to a personality or movement that promises a clean sweep.

Which, to be honest, will bring a new set of problems. They will be set aside for later, because the wonderful imperative of the NOW will carry everyone along in its buoyant currents  until everything runs up against the iron laws of the universe. [emphasis added – bdb]

Were we supposed to support Kevin McCarthy and unaccountable Omnibus spending in order to dodge the iron laws of the universe?

No, I’m sorry, but it’s not the Gods of the Copybook Headings limping up to explain once more, but the very literal Marxists who are shutting down our speech, our commerce, our travel.  This country is succumbing to a textbook Marxist onslaught and yet a great wide class of otherwise magnificent Americans are somehow unable to see it for more than a day or two at a time!  Is it a weakness?  A failure?  A conceit?  In the same post as the quotes immediately above, Lileks describes some of the recent turmoil as more of a “Ridiculous Elites” problem than actual civilizational problems.  But the point Bastiat made is that we can only afford so much of this nonsense, and we may well be over that line.  And it’s the same point that Lileks himself makes, describing the cultural rot flying under the radar in the guises of tolerance, multi-culture, accepting “refugees” and so forth.  “This is how it plays out.”

I won’t throw stones too hard at those who despair one day and then rally to fight the next.  I do it.  We all do.  At the same time, accountability means admitting and accepting it, and trying to minimize it.  It’s easy to admit the attack while its victims are still bleeding.  It takes more fortitude to maintain your heart as a stone after the rifles have cooled.  Memory is life.

And so I expect, with no malice, that Rob Long will hop off the wagon in short order as well. My heart goes out to @roblong in his brutally frank self-assessment within the first five minutes of the show.

Not because I believed as he did (certainly not within relevant memory), but because so may of us have been saying for so long that yes, things are that far gone.  His horror is on a spectrum, including that of Col. Nicholson (Alec Guiness) in Bridge on the River Kwai, when he discovers that his piecemeal, norms-and-expectations-based do-gooderism was actually in the service of a galloping evil.  “We’ll be the most civil, most honorable, most tolerant, most non-judgmental, most there-there tut-tutting force for decency the world has seen, upholding our standards of decorum and allowing those who shout grievances some leeway.”

I am not throwing stones here.  I respect Long for his gob-smacked self-assessment.  Some things wake you right the Hell up and show you that it’s not the crack of morning on the day of the evacuation, but broad daylight and the enemy has already overrun your village.

But…  within a month (three tops!) Long will be back to where he was, and this is not a knock on Long.  This is just how people are.  Intervening facts and events will conspire to assist the newly awakened into going right back to sleep.  This is just how people are.

The exceptions are rare enough that I’ll stand by this general statement even if proven gleefully wrong in the current example.

“Elite” is a slippery term, and I forget where I came across my favorite treatment.  Somebody described a cultural elite that is not limited to those of power and comfort, but includes also those such as schoolteachers who parrot the right views.  They certainly see themselves as fellow members of an intellectual and moral elite, right beside you, pal with the AOCs and Garrison Keillors of the world, the uniformly Marxist-Democrat late-night funny show hosts and their ink-stained joke-writers, the David Berlinskis and Bill Kristols and even some people closer to our own hearts.  I can wrap it up in a single word:  Trump.

Damn, I hadn’t meant to mention Trump except in passing, but this is why he pops up everywhere:  If you never saw your way to actually supporting Trump as the right tool at the time, then you will probably never sit comfortably among those who see these existential threats to the country, and indeed, to civilization.  And you will forget these things which we remember, and when we describe the damage, the rate of descent and the altitude already lost, and the finite time remaining, you will tend not to believe us.  This is fine.  You will always be a tourist amid the base, speaking conservatism as a second language.

This doesn’t make such people my enemy, but it does mean that I have to keep an eye out for the inevitable betrayal.  Nothing lasts forever.

.

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  1. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Some people just don’t know how to hold a grudge.  They wrongly think that this essential survival skill is somehow inappropriate.

    • #1
  2. DrewInWisconsin, Demagogue 🚫 Banned
    DrewInWisconsin, Demagogue
    @DrewInWisconsin

    BDB (View Comment):

    Some people just don’t know how to hold a grudge. They wrongly think that this essential survival skill is somehow inappropriate.

    I nurse my grudges like newborn babes (even though they are now many years old). I care for them like much-loved pets and take them out and exercise them regularly.

    • #2
  3. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    DrewInWisconsin, Demagogue (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Some people just don’t know how to hold a grudge. They wrongly think that this essential survival skill is somehow inappropriate.

    I nurse my grudges like newborn babes (even though they are now many years old). I care for them like much-loved pets and take them out and exercise them regularly.

    I carry a grudge like most men carry their car keys — at the ready when not actually in use.

    • #3
  4. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    I will support Israel’s right and duty to smash Hamas whatever it takes, because: Israel has a right to exist; Hamas is by constitution, by action, and by example a manifest, willful threat to Israel’s existence; and Hamas is the “elected” or whatever leadership of Gaza.  I will always support Israel’s right and duty to smash Hamas, and I have ever since the days of greenhouses and Saint Pancake.

    Note that Israel is not flattening the West Bank, yet the West Bank is all up in solidarity with Hamas.  Israel’s restraint is as principled as it is practical, and I do not begrudge them the military necessities to smash Hamas.  Hamas swims welcome within a population — that population has put itself in harm’s way.

    GAME ON.

    • #4
  5. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    • #5
  6. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    BDB (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Demagogue (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Some people just don’t know how to hold a grudge. They wrongly think that this essential survival skill is somehow inappropriate.

    I nurse my grudges like newborn babes (even though they are now many years old). I care for them like much-loved pets and take them out and exercise them regularly.

    I carry a grudge like most men carry their car keys — at the ready when not actually in use.

    You have such clever aphorisms. I’m mostly clumsy. 

    • #6
  7. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    I believe that the person standing still on the train tracks, seeing the train 50 yards ahead, believes the train will stop for him. In time. Right up to the time it does not. They do not believe in existential threats. Complacency comes readily when you yourself are comfortable. Just think how so-called preppers are (still) mocked. Deciding to do  something comes very hard. Writing or chatting to friends about it is easier. The exemplar subjects in your essay are not so different to others in any other time, I think, except maybe the reach of their writing or chatting. The aggressors know this and are patient. They never stop. Satan is patient. My (tired) local example is the (maybe lazy, maybe worthless) teacher in any grade in the nearest school district know they can out-wait the questioning, complaining, most tedious or aggravating parent, because there are vacations and other distractions and the child of that tedious parent will go on the the next grade.

    Citizens (not unreasonably) believe their direct power to be limited. But many of them would use that power more strongly if given more direct, specific, long-lasting and sincere acknowledgement and encouragement. Also known as leadership. Publicly stating what one stands for and will fight for.  Isn’t that what Trump (and Churchill long before him) had that citizens responded to? Isn’t that which the authoritarians resent and work to intimidate?  They do not want freedom of faith, of education, of capital, of property, of movement. Of gas stoves. But citizens must choose to reject the authoritarians. Outreach -active outreach -from the individuals with the reach and the words would go a long way to encourage the average citizen. Confirm that survival is important. Accept that even people you may like are not genuine.

    • #7
  8. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I think what you describe is a hazard for highly intelligent, secular-minded folks (and, yes, I know that includes you bdb), even if they have “center right” leanings. In fact, “center right” may very well be predictive of the “inevitable betrayal.”

    It’s very hard to accept that “the end is near” — especially when you don’t believe there’s anything after. 

    P.S. I have not listened to the flagship (in years) so I’m taking your word for it.

    • #8
  9. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    EODmom (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Demagogue (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Some people just don’t know how to hold a grudge. They wrongly think that this essential survival skill is somehow inappropriate.

    I nurse my grudges like newborn babes (even though they are now many years old). I care for them like much-loved pets and take them out and exercise them regularly.

    I carry a grudge like most men carry their car keys — at the ready when not actually in use.

    You have such clever aphorisms. I’m mostly clumsy.

    Very nice of you to say so — I enjoy reading your work, and frankly, I’m just riffing on Drew.

    • #9
  10. Franco 🚫 Banned
    Franco
    @Franco

    So much here, BDB!

    I don’t know where to start 

    In no particular order 

    “Elite” is a slippery term, and I forget where I came across my favorite treatment.  Somebody described a cultural elite which is not limited to those of power and comfort, but which includes also those such as schoolteachers who parrot the right views.  They certainly see themselves as fellow members of an intellectual and moral elite, right beside you pal with the AOCs and Garrison Keillors of the world, the uniformly Marxist-Democrat late night funny show hosts and their ink-stained joke-writers, the David Berlinskis and Bill Kristols and even some people closer to our own hearts.  I can wrap it up in a single word

    Spot on. And the slippery ness comes from this type of person. I know personally many of these people more than most. Friends and relations Harvard Law, Princeton a (step father)  and many of his friends, but also people I know who live in NYC and feel it’s their duty to read and worship the New York Times cover to cover.

    When they hear ‘elites’ they think it means Hollywood celebs, elected officials CEO’s and billionaires. But my ex-friend, smart Connecticut gal who is always ‘nice’ looks benignly down on the yahoos in middle America and their lifestyle. It’s lot of lifestyle judgement behind the animus. 

    It’s sad that a construction worker in Pennsylvania doesn’t have time to read the Times(or the education to appreciate it) and those voters should just listen to us smart people.

    Many elites are completely unaware or their abject ignorance. They can find ignorance in others – it definitely exists – but there are many things we can be ignorant of, and these people don’t seem to realize that. 

    The more self-aware will tip their hat to this but they really don’t want to understand because of lifestyle. 

    And they want to complicate everything!

    They love nuance and equanimity and act is though every problem can be solved by debate and consensus and persuasion through reporting facts and using language. They rely on their intelligence and every problem looks like it needs to be solved with their unique intelligence and understanding.

    Now we are back to ‘simple’. Unfortunately.

    They should have listened to us rubes. 

    We should have a balance between simple and complicated. Border wall. Simple.

    Let’s not get over-invested in other people’s problems when our own country is in distress. Simple.

    Our country is profoundly destabilized as a result of all this nonsense. Nonsense also with the gender dysphoria the weird affirmative action stuff, everything is ‘race’ and division, wonton propaganda and psyops, cancel culture…corruption at every level and more…

    Call me paranoid but a good bit of this looks intentional.

    We should not be surprised we have come to this. 

    I’m going back to cite other fascinating parts now…

     

    • #10
  11. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Franco (View Comment):
    They should have listened to us rubes. 

    There’s something G.K Chesterton said about democracy and “distributed wisdom” — I believe in Orthodoxy, but I can’t find it now. This is what “the elites” are missing in their arrogance. Well, that and any semblance of common sense. 

    For example, I discovered a sticker on my (heavy duty) plastic milk jug congratulating me for not using a paper-thin plastic bag. This is “green” idiocy, which would deprive the planet of CO2 in order to “save” it. Greenies appear not to know that photosynthesis requires CO2 and depriving plants of it will brown the planet, not green it. Such incoherence comes from the supreme arrogance of people like Barack Obama declaring CO2 a pollutant. You cannot make this shite up.

    • #11
  12. Franco 🚫 Banned
    Franco
    @Franco

    Rob Long: 02:40 – 05:10:  He admits (with manly forthrightness) that previously, he had somewhat poo-poo’d claims of anti-semitism from Jews and sundry, and is now shocked at the flat-out blood thirston campuses where he thought there were merely bleeding hearts.

    Im not sure if it’s only antisemitism. I think it’s a very ugly revenge fantasy using another group as a target. There’s underlying rage and it’s easily directed at the victim.Piling on. Look at any street fight prison riot or episode of Mutual of Omahas Wild Kingdom. 
    We have civilization, they don’t. The internet and international travel and very rapid migration has weakened nations and empowered global tribes. These tribes are curated and cultivated by nefarious forces.

    Islam is by far the most powerful global tribe.

    Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose

    But I think soon we will be just fighting for our lives.

    In other words people evil people like to gang up on perceived victims. The target.

    These are the very same people who will, and are , happily incarcerating and terrorizing Trump supporters.

    Jews are just the present victim which is why I stand with them. We’ve imported a culture that has permeated throughout our system Everyone knows it’s wrong to be antisemitism right? Not people who live in any Muslim countries and their cultural diaspora. And now consider how our liberal enlightened Americans  demonized Trump supporters. These people would happily send them to the camps alongside the Jews 

    These people are in large part zombies. They will hate who they are told to hate. Supposedly Israel has done some bad things for a long time. They’ve never heard the other side and are jumping on the latest hate-fashion. Notice these people are unable to acknowledge there are multiple perspectives. They’d just rather hate.

    Rob’s epiphany might be conflating the mob piling on the victim with a kind of closet antisemitism that is now revealed. I think for the most part, these college kids are ready to hate anyone.

     

    • #12
  13. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Franco (View Comment):
    I think for the most part, these college kids are ready to hate anyone.

    They are primed to hate by name or merely by description, anybody in the father role.  Western Civ, Christianity, Judaism, responsibility, paying back your loans, house rules — any of it.

    They are primed to adore, to follow, to support, to schtup, any rogue who comes along.  The feminized men who refuse to take responsiblity to oppose the forces of decay and dissolution are just as plumped for the invader, and get the same frisson as a bad girl eager to dishonor her family and then see the look on Dad’s face, proud of her black eye.

    Judaism and Israel are among the ur-fathers of western civilization.  Modern Greece became modern and irrelevant, and is therefore no longer the “problem”.  The northern European contributions to Western Civ are largely filtered through the british Empire, which is of course reviled, but it’s already conquered.  The Empire is gone, and the UK is a mere skinsuit presently animated by the Saracen horde.  Only Israel represents the deep roots, particularly as a revived Ur-heimat.

    They hate Israel for the same reason that the Muslims do — they came from it and rebel against it — and fail.

    Well, this is all quite ramblesome and poorly constructed.  Call it a work in progress.

    • #13
  14. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Oof. I’ve a lot to answer for here. ;) Let me pick this out:

    So I read the following as yet another anti-Trump and anti-populist whine, despite Lileks having beautifully made the case for populism on the podcast!

    Then you quote my late-night (hic) post:

    [continuing] We begin to doubt the competency of the entire class that floats on top, and are more receptive to a personality or movement that promises a clean sweep.

    Which, to be honest, will bring a new set of problems. They will be set aside for later, because the wonderful imperative of the NOW will carry everyone along in its buoyant currents  until everything runs up against the iron laws of the universe. [emphasis added – bdb]

    And you respond:

    Were we supposed to support Kevin McCarthy and unaccountable Omnibus spending in order to dodge the iron laws of the universe?

    Nnnno, I’m not casting these matters in the day-to-day political scrum. I meant that someone comes along who the right really likes for solid reasons, and we really get the root-and-brach overhaul. At the very least there’s the problem of repopulating the institutions; a bit more difficult is constructing new institutions to replace them; somewhat worrisome is having it all attached to a particular personality instead of a movement in a party; inevitable is the reassertion of human politics into any new set of institutions that have replaced the old, which leads to factionalism, purges, counter-revolution, and all that other messy stuff the French excelled at in the late 18th century. 

    • #14
  15. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

     In the same post as the quotes immediately above, Lileks describes some of the recent turmoil as more of a “Ridiculous Elites” problem than actual civilizational problems.  But the point Bastiat made is that we can only afford so much of this nonsense, and we may well be over that line.  And it’s the same point that Lileks himself makes, describing the cultural rot flying under the radar in the guises of tolerance, multi-culture, accepting “refugees” and so forth. 

    I think we can balance the podcast remarks, the post, and Bastiat’s assertion by saying I don’t think we are over that line, for good, yet. We can argue about that, of course. It certainly does look bad. But if we are over that line, mid-level banking execs would not be fired for social media posts praising Hamas, and sitting Presidents would excoriate Israel for being an illegitimate settler regime. 

    Most people do not know this over-the-line stuff is happening. When the normies learn about it, they don’t like it. No sir, they don’t like it at all. Then again, every time I think that’ll be a force to help save the country and culture, I think of Winston and Julia talking about the proles. 

    • #15
  16. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Oof. I’ve a lot to answer for here. ;) Let me pick this out:

    So I read the following as yet another anti-Trump and anti-populist whine, despite Lileks having beautifully made the case for populism on the podcast!

    Then you quote my late-night (hic) post:

    [continuing] We begin to doubt the competency of the entire class that floats on top, and are more receptive to a personality or movement that promises a clean sweep.

    Which, to be honest, will bring a new set of problems. They will be set aside for later, because the wonderful imperative of the NOW will carry everyone along in its buoyant currents until everything runs up against the iron laws of the universe. [emphasis added – bdb]

    And you respond:

    Were we supposed to support Kevin McCarthy and unaccountable Omnibus spending in order to dodge the iron laws of the universe?

    Nnnno, I’m not casting these matters in the day-to-day political scrum. I meant that someone comes along who the right really likes for solid reasons, and we really get the root-and-brach overhaul. At the very least there’s the problem of repopulating the institutions; a bit more difficult is constructing new institutions to replace them; somewhat worrisome is having it all attached to a particular personality instead of a movement in a party; inevitable is the reassertion of human politics into any new set of institutions that have replaced the old, which leads to factionalism, purges, counter-revolution, and all that other messy stuff the French excelled at in the late 18th century.

    Well, that’s a solid reply and I’m glad to hear it, occifer.

    You’re derned right that the rot has been decades, and the rancid fruit is arriving.  I’ll be happy to remind anybody about the connection between those.

    • #16
  17. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    In the same post as the quotes immediately above, Lileks describes some of the recent turmoil as more of a “Ridiculous Elites” problem than actual civilizational problems. But the point Bastiat made is that we can only afford so much of this nonsense, and we may well be over that line. And it’s the same point that Lileks himself makes, describing the cultural rot flying under the radar in the guises of tolerance, multi-culture, accepting “refugees” and so forth.

    I think we can balance the podcast remarks, the post, and Bastiat’s assertion by saying I don’t think we are over that line, for good, yet. We can argue about that, of course. It certainly does look bad. But if we are over that line, mid-level banking execs would not be fired for social media posts praising Hamas, and sitting Presidents would excoriate Israel for being an illegitimate settler regime.

    Most people do not know this over-the-line stuff is happening. When the normies learn about it, they don’t like it. No sir, they don’t like it at all. Then again, every time I think that’ll be a force to help save the country and culture, I think of Winston and Julia talking about the proles.

    Well, full circle covers all the bases.  Set phasers to Kill, just in case.

    • #17
  18. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    If you never saw your way to actually supporting Trump as the right tool at the time, then you will probably never sit comfortably among those who see these existential threats to the country, and indeed, to civilization. 

    I disagree. I didn’t vote for Trump the first time, but I had friends and family who did, and I understood their reasons,  and agreed with many of them. Disagreements on this-or-that did not prevent me from sitting comfortably with them, because at the bottom, we had a set of shared concerns. I did vote for him the second time, because hell naw to that superannuated mumbly-puppet for the new left. 

    And you will forget these things which we remember, and when we describe the damage, the rate of descent and the altitude already lost, and the finite time remaining, you will tend not to believe us.  This is fine.  You will always be a tourist amid the base, speaking conservatism as a second language.

    Well, I hope that YOU isn’t me here, but if it is, we can discuss all the things Trump did and said throughout his entire public and political life that went contrary to conservatism. Those of us who’ve been speaking it as a primary tongue since the rise of Mr. Limbaugh sometimes thought Mr. Trump  didn’t spend enough time with the Duolingo app. But I’m sure the same could be said of me, for this issue or that. 

    But that was then; what now? One could excoriate those who do not realize that DeSantis is a sharper, more finely honed tool with actual experience in the fields.  To nominate the older, slower guy half the country hates, suggests they don’t really think it’s as late as it seems. Or they think that the only man in this great broad nation who can fight the decline is Donald Trump. Which is ridiculous. 

    • #18
  19. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Anyway, thanks for taking my words seriously, and taking issue with the contradictions! That’s why we’re here.

    • #19
  20. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    BDB (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    I think for the most part, these college kids are ready to hate anyone.

    They are primed to hate by name or merely by description, anybody in the father role. Western Civ, Christianity, Judaism, responsibility, paying back your loans, house rules — any of it.

    They are primed to adore, to follow, to support, to schtup, any rogue who comes along. The feminized men who refuse to take responsiblity to oppose the forces of decay and dissolution are just as plumped for the invader, and get the same frisson as a bad girl eager to dishonor her family and then see the look on Dad’s face, proud of her black eye.

    Judaism and Israel are among the ur-fathers of western civilization. Modern Greece became modern and irrelevant, and is therefore no longer the “problem”. The northern European contributions to Western Civ are largely filtered through the british Empire, which is of course reviled, but it’s already conquered. The Empire is gone, and the UK is a mere skinsuit presently animated by the Saracen horde. Only Israel represents the deep roots, particularly as a revived Ur-heimat.

    They hate Israel for the same reason that the Muslims do — they came from it and rebel against it — and fail.

    Well, this is all quite ramblesome and poorly constructed. Call it a work in progress.

    No, this is good, very good. I hadn’t thought of it like this before. Rings very true.

    • #20
  21. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    James Lileks (View Comment):

     

    And you will forget these things which we remember, and when we describe the damage, the rate of descent and the altitude already lost, and the finite time remaining, you will tend not to believe us. This is fine. You will always be a tourist amid the base, speaking conservatism as a second language.

    Well, I hope that YOU isn’t me here, […]

    Nope — Generic you, which is why it appears here and not much elsewhere.  One wishes one were better at using “one” without coming off twee.  One suspects that one would agree.  Er, the other one.

    • #21
  22. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Anyway, thanks for taking my words seriously, and taking issue with the contradictions! That’s why we’re here.

    Which contradictions?

    heh.

    • #22
  23. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    DrewInWisconsin, Demagogue (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Some people just don’t know how to hold a grudge. They wrongly think that this essential survival skill is somehow inappropriate.

    I nurse my grudges like newborn babes (even though they are now many years old). I care for them like much-loved pets and take them out and exercise them regularly.

    Sometimes my grudges are born premature. 

    • #23
  24. Raven Inactive
    Raven
    @Raven

    EODmom (View Comment):

    I believe that the person standing still on the train tracks, seeing the train 50 yards ahead, believes the train will stop for him. In time. Right up to the time it does not. They do not believe in existential threats. Complacency comes readily when you yourself are comfortable. Just think how so-called preppers are (still) mocked. Deciding to do something comes very hard. Writing or chatting to friends about it is easier. The exemplar subjects in your essay are not so different to others in any other time, I think, except maybe the reach of their writing or chatting. The aggressors know this and are patient. They never stop. Satan is patient. My (tired) local example is the (maybe lazy, maybe worthless) teacher in any grade in the nearest school district know they can out-wait the questioning, complaining, most tedious or aggravating parent, because there are vacations and other distractions and the child of that tedious parent will go on the the next grade.

    Citizens (not unreasonably) believe their direct power to be limited. But many of them would use that power more strongly if given more direct, specific, long-lasting and sincere acknowledgement and encouragement. Also known as leadership. Publicly stating what one stands for and will fight for. Isn’t that what Trump (and Churchill long before him) had that citizens responded to? Isn’t that which the authoritarians resent and work to intimidate? They do not want freedom of faith, of education, of capital, of property, of movement. Of gas stoves. But citizens must choose to reject the authoritarians. Outreach -active outreach -from the individuals with the reach and the words would go a long way to encourage the average citizen. Confirm that survival is important. Accept that even people you may like are not genuine.

    “Accept that even people you may like are not genuine.” That is a major truth which should be accepted by all.

    • #24
  25. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    One could excoriate those who do not realize that DeSantis is a sharper, more finely honed tool with actual experience in the fields.  To nominate the older, slower guy half the country hates, suggests they don’t really think it’s as late as it seems. Or they think that the only man in this great broad nation who can fight the decline is Donald Trump. Which is ridiculous. 

    It continues to grate when people who are all about personality insist that MAGA is all about personality. It’s projection, and this short paragraph illustrates that. The biggest problem with Donald Trump? Personality. The biggest advantage of Ron DeSantis? He’s not Donald Trump with his troublesome Trumpy personality. So half the country hates Donald Trump; perhaps that’s so. How many hate DeSantis? Or, how many will hate DeSantis once they’re at all aware of who he is? Can’t know that for sure, but I suspect somewhere in the range of 50-60%. Why is that? Trump’s personality haters have high overlap with the position haters, and in modern America, position hate (or team based hate) dictates personality hate more than personality hate dictates position/team hate, at least as it applies to figures on the right, although I think it’s an unevenly applied general principle. Besides, DeSantis can’t even get a quarter of the Republicans.

    Otherwise, to me, DeSantis has lost some perception as being sharp. First, having mostly favorable opinion from the MAGA crowd, it was a curious move to make a challenge in that lane (I know, I know: no one owes anybody anything, etc etc). It’s even more curious that he makes move-on noises and gestures concerning the hoaxes, coups, and riggings. I know, I know, some don’t see it that way. He’ll have the worst of both worlds if he somehow manages to claw his way to the nomination: distrust from some of MAGA/AF as a pretender combined with independents’ perception of him as MAGA extremism magnified.

    Finally, I know that Trump isn’t “the only man in this great broad nation who can fight the decline”. Anyone can do it, but few have done it or even talked about it – even when we had the trifecta! – for fear of frightening the suburban women and losing some yet-to-be election never mind the actual power and leverage we possess right now.

    • #25
  26. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    BDB:

    Damn, I hadn’t meant to mention Trump except in passing, but this is why he pops up everywhere:  If you never saw your way to actually supporting Trump as the right tool at the time, then you will probably never sit comfortably among those who see these existential threats to the country, and indeed, to civilization.  And you will forget these things which we remember, and when we describe the damage, the rate of descent and the altitude already lost, and the finite time remaining, you will tend not to believe us.  This is fine.  You will always be a tourist amid the base, speaking conservatism as a second language.

    This doesn’t make such people my enemy, but it does mean that I have to keep an eye out for the inevitable betrayal.  Nothing lasts forever.

    All of the post is wonder. Especially like the paragraph about Trump.

    Also, have to call out the wonderful GIF.

    • #26
  27. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    BDB:

    Damn, I hadn’t meant to mention Trump except in passing, but this is why he pops up everywhere: If you never saw your way to actually supporting Trump as the right tool at the time, then you will probably never sit comfortably among those who see these existential threats to the country, and indeed, to civilization. And you will forget these things which we remember, and when we describe the damage, the rate of descent and the altitude already lost, and the finite time remaining, you will tend not to believe us. This is fine. You will always be a tourist amid the base, speaking conservatism as a second language.

    This doesn’t make such people my enemy, but it does mean that I have to keep an eye out for the inevitable betrayal. Nothing lasts forever.

    All of the post is wonder. Especially like the paragraph about Trump.

    Also, have to call out the wonderful GIF.

    We’re onto you.

    • #27
  28. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Well, I hope that YOU isn’t me here, but if it is, we can discuss all the things Trump did and said throughout his entire public and political life that went contrary to conservatism. Those of us who’ve been speaking it as a primary tongue since the rise of Mr. Limbaugh sometimes thought Mr. Trump didn’t spend enough time with the Duolingo app. But I’m sure the same could be said of me, for this issue or that.

    Agree. I didn’t decide to vote for Trump in 2016 until I was in the voting booth. I thought he might be putty in Pelosi and Schumer’s hands. He might have if they’d tried to woo him. After he won, I expected conservatives to follow Milton Friedman’s guidance to create the conditions for unsavory people to do the right thing. Instead, too many ostensibly on our side worked to take Trump down. Some apparently just so they won’t have to admit that they’d been wrong and could say, “I told you so.” He couldn’t explain why he did things to the public, but his gut instincts got him to the correct choice a lot of times.

    But that was then; what now? One could excoriate those who do not realize that DeSantis is a sharper, more finely honed tool with actual experience in the fields. To nominate the older, slower guy half the country hates, suggests they don’t really think it’s as late as it seems. Or they think that the only man in this great broad nation who can fight the decline is Donald Trump. Which is ridiculous.

    There is a large group of voters who see Trump as the incumbent, the 2020 election was a farce, and the system is broken. I don’t see the other primary candidates addressing this. It’s still early and I’m not paying that close of attention though. Maybe someone has. They seem to think that we finally got rid of Trump, things are back to normal, and we can return to 2012. People may think that 2020 was all above board but they’re not going to win over those Trump supporters by ignoring those concerns. It’s probably a sign of the times that instead of the anonymous Publius we have the anonymous Cat Turd who expresses the thoughts of many, “Don’t care. Voting for Trump.”

    • #28
  29. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Republicans who refused to vote for Trump once he won the nomination have lost all moral standing to tell me to support any other candidates, ever.

    For years, I have held my nose and voted for the Nominee like a good primary voter. When push came to shove, establishment Republicans and establishment conservatives turned their backs on the Republican base. 

     

    I would be embarrassed and ashamed to admit I did not vote for Trump in the election in 2016. That does not seem to be the case for others is hard to comprehend to me. 

    • #29
  30. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):
    Cat Turd who expresses the thoughts of many, “Don’t care. Voting for Trump.”

    It is the only thing left to do. It is the only way to give the finger to the elites. 

     

    • #30
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