Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “The bunch of us have never got along….”

 

Ann Althouse posted a quote from a Times of London piece by P.J. O’Rourke. The entire O’Rourke piece is behind a paywall so I don’t know how the following quote fits in with the entirety of his point — whether it is the germ or simply one of many observations — but for my purposes, I will assume it’s the essence:

Trump wasn’t elected because Clinton was cordially detested. What American presidential candidate since George Washington hasn’t been? She was dull on the stump. But if dullness were politically fatal, the entire American political system would have been in the cemetery with President Harrison since 1841. (He gave a two-hour inaugural address in freezing rain, then caught a cold and died a month later.) Clinton’s ‘popular vote’ victory was and is inconsequential. America, since its founding, has had a devolved system of voting for the president that eschews nationwide first-past-the-post to give more obscure regions (our Scotlands) a greater say than weight of population would allow. She and Trump knew the rules. The cheating would have been different in a different game. Russian electoral interference was doubtless factual but doubtfully culpable. I’ve spent time in Russia. The idea that the Russians could fine-tune America’s enormously complex machinery of election is … I’ve driven Russian cars. And there’s no use blaming Trump’s election on the rise of populism. ‘Populism’ is an epithetic catch-all in use whenever the ideas popular with the good and the great aren’t popular…. America is what you get when you turn a random horde of people loose in a vast and various space. Some came here on the make, some on the run, some were dragged here involuntarily as slaves, some were chased here by poverty, oppression or bigotry and some were here already and were defeated by disease and demographics until they became foreigners in their own country. The bunch of us have never got along….

[emphasis added]

The text bolded and italicized is inalterably true. And, weirdly, it is sort of comforting. Not that it wouldn’t be better if it weren’t true, but if affords context for our current political moment. And that context is important in considering how to conduct political warfare going forward.

Our Founders created a system for a moral people (as John Adams defined it). And then we populated (and de-populated) the nation as O’Rourke describes. We fought a Civil War (badly) with units cobbled together from our various states. That is not a critique of federalism, it is a reference to the reality that the nation with a single flag was composed of vastly different regions, our population was not a complete melting pot. More like a stew but not the diversity “salad” that is being promoted today.

The great irony of a”common culture” that was only made real in the last 50 years is how divisive it really is. But it is nothing new. Marx did not create class warfare. It always existed except when put down by the superior force controlled by the “ruling class” whomever and wherever it might be. The American genius was to use party politics to redirect warring energy into votes with relatively few lives lost in the process.

And so it is that we come to the great battlefield of 2020. I submit that there are three armies on the field: the Nationals, the Progressives, and the Anarchists. You can assign them various party identifiers but they are the main groupings for which there is a common core within each. The Nationals are the Trump coalition — seeking the use of political power to variously have government leave them alone and to pursue their own interests within a safety net of national defense and freedom from abject poverty. The Progressives are an avaricious group seeking centralized power and the rent-seeking benefits from that power. Their party identity and support is, shall we say, “flexible” with regard to the means of achieving and retaining power. The Anarchists simply like to break things. They are not numerous, but are a force multiplier for the Progressives, and thus are in an alliance forged through the Progressive’s dark funding network. But Anarchists are not a reliable ally because once a primal force is let loose there is no means for restraint. They are tactical nukes contained only by the size of the bomb itself.

The Nationals cannot live free unless Progressives and Anarchists are defeated. Progressives and Anarchists can be defeated but not eradicated because they are inherent aspects of the human condition. And because there will always be people with these tendencies the war never ends unless the Progressives prevail. And yet history tells us that wherever Progressives prevail impoverishment and societal implosion follows and everything has to start all over again.

So the battlefield of 2020 is intense, but not unusual. But what is unusual is that more people are coming to understand that they have a personal stake in the outcome. That is due to the conduct of the Anarchists funded and empowered by the Progressives. A bit more theft and control by Progressives could be shrugged off, but Molotov cocktails and bullhorns in neighborhoods cannot be. The outcome of this battle will shift the lines in the broader war more significantly than any other contest in living memory. And the people know it.

So how does this inform political warfare going forward? First, it swells the ranks of the Nationals. Second, it underscores the consequences of defeat that is essential for making a determined and focused fighting force. There is time for peacemaking, but only after the victory is assured. We know the intensity of the Anarchists and we know the unrelenting greed of the Progressives. Thus we know this is a battle that calls upon our entire strength and will.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 13 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. GrannyDude Member

    I do feel comforted, Rodin! Thank you! 

    • #1
    • September 20, 2020, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama ToadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I know it’s a movie, but did anyone see Gangs of New York?

    We’ve had riots and violence before. Last time I checked, we’re all still human…

    • #2
    • September 20, 2020, at 9:41 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Bob Thompson Member

    Rodin:

    The bunch of us have never got along….

     

    Part of what it means to be an American.

    • #3
    • September 20, 2020, at 9:44 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  4. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I do feel comforted, Rodin! Thank you!

    I wish I shared your comfort. I fear that our “strength and will” will not be enough.

    • #4
    • September 20, 2020, at 9:57 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Tex929rr Coolidge

    This paragraph is perfect:

    “And so it is that we come to the great battlefield of 2020. I submit that there are three armies on the field: the Nationals, the Progressives and the Anarchists. You can assign them various party identifiers but they are the main groupings for which there is a common core within each. The Nationals are the Trump coalition — seeking the use of political power to variously have government leave them alone and to pursue their own interests within a safety net of national defense and freedom from abject poverty. The Progressives are an avaricious group seeking centralized power and the rent-seeking benefits from that power. Their party identity and support is, shall we say, “flexible” with regard to the means of achieving and retaining power. The Anarchists simply like to break things. They are not numerous, but are a force multiplier for the Progressives, and thus are in an alliance forged through the Progressive’s dark funding network. But Anarchists are not a reliable ally because once a primal force is let loose there is no means for restraint. They are tactical nukes contained only by the size of the bomb itself.“

    • #5
    • September 20, 2020, at 11:45 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  6. Flicker Coolidge

    I keep thinking that if the Democrats stage a win by falsifying a few hundred thousand votes, (1) it will not be provable (at least in any time frame that makes a difference) and (2) it will lead to a form of civil disobedience and shooting.

    • #6
    • September 20, 2020, at 11:57 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge

    If anyone on the left wanted to blame the actual factors leading to a Trump victory, they would have had to acknowledge these two things, in addition to the rise of populism:

    One) Bernie Sanders promised Progressives a New Deal, and he was to be the New Deal leader. Then as the DNC stabbed him in the back, politically speaking, during the first hours of the Democrat Convention in July 2016, he just sat there and he took it.

    He then went on to allow the DNC to transfer to Hillary Clinton the monies his supporters had deliberately given him. Again, he just sat there and took it. And forced us to watch as a candidate many of us detested benefited from our support of him.

    These actions are the actions of a political tool. Many of us immediately decided something was “off” about the situation.

    Two) Since Bernie was out and Hillary was in, those of us who had been keeping up on corrupt activities exposed via the Assange-based Wikileaks reporting on DNC emails soon realized that Hillary was even worse than we had thought. (And many of us thought she was very bad.)

    ####

    • #7
    • September 20, 2020, at 12:12 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. TBA Coolidge

    “Stay out of my way, and I’ll stay out of yours,” is the only true peace. 

    • #8
    • September 20, 2020, at 3:33 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Rodin: So how does this inform political warfare going forward? First, it swells the ranks of the Nationals. Second, it underscores the consequences of defeat that is essential for making a determined and focused fighting force. There is time for peacemaking, but only after the victory is assured. We know the intensity of the Anarchists and we know the unrelenting greed of the Progressives. Thus we know this is a battle that calls upon our entire strength and will.

    Beautifully said, @rodin.We must remain strong, support and encourage each other, and never give up the fight. As you say, we will always have these destructive types in our midst, and we need to count on others to see the dangers and join us. Thanks!

    • #9
    • September 20, 2020, at 6:12 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Suspira Member

    Rodin: Trump wasn’t elected because Clinton was cordially detested.

    Hesitant as I am to disagree with the invaluable O’Rourke, I must. I think that’s exactly why she was defeated. Most people vote for someone they like, or at least, they recoil from voting for someone they can’t stand. HRC’s unlikability was a huge factor in 2016. Trump’s unlikability is a huge factor this time around.

    How this will play out on Election Day (Week? Month?) is anyone’s guess.

    • #10
    • September 21, 2020, at 10:32 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Rodin Member
    Rodin

    Suspira (View Comment):

    Rodin: Trump wasn’t elected because Clinton was cordially detested.

    Hesitant as I am to disagree with the invaluable O’Rourke, I must. I think that’s exactly why she was defeated. Most people vote for someone they like, or at least, they recoil from voting for someone they can’t stand. HRC’s unlikability was a huge factor in 2016. Trump’s unlikability is a huge factor this time around.

    How this will play out on Election Day (Week? Month?) is anyone’s guess.

    I think O’Rourke’s use of the word “cordially” conveyed “mildly”. I think PJ would agree that many voted against Hillary with a white-hot passion.

    • #11
    • September 21, 2020, at 10:36 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Suspira Member

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Suspira (View Comment):

    Rodin: Trump wasn’t elected because Clinton was cordially detested.

    Hesitant as I am to disagree with the invaluable O’Rourke, I must. I think that’s exactly why she was defeated. Most people vote for someone they like, or at least, they recoil from voting for someone they can’t stand. HRC’s unlikability was a huge factor in 2016. Trump’s unlikability is a huge factor this time around.

    How this will play out on Election Day (Week? Month?) is anyone’s guess.

    I think O’Rourke’s use of the word “cordially” conveyed “mildly”. I think PJ would agree that many voted against Hillary with a white-hot passion.

    Hmm. I would think “cordially” means “strongly.” My computer dictionary says this: with intense feeling: he was cordially detested for his brutality and injustice.”

    • #12
    • September 21, 2020, at 7:26 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Rodin Member
    Rodin

    Suspira (View Comment):

    I think O’Rourke’s use of the word “cordially” conveyed “mildly”. I think PJ would agree that many voted against Hillary with a white-hot passion.

    Hmm. I would think “cordially” means “strongly.” My computer dictionary says this: “with intense feeling: he was cordially detested for his brutality and injustice.”

    I stand corrected. :)

    • #13
    • September 21, 2020, at 7:40 PM PDT
    • 2 likes