Into the Great Unknown

 

What we can say with certainty about the incoming government is that the values it brings into office are antithetical to our own. We know that: it’s a matter of public record, and we understand the fact of it even if we may be unsure of the magnitude of our disagreement. The incoming administration and the new Democrat-controlled Senate will wish to transform the country in ways we loathe. This much is certain.

Beyond that, we don’t really know very much. Systems composed of people are complex, responding, and adapting in ways that are hard, often impossible, to predict. Sometimes a single individual, event, or virus can shift the entire political equation in unforeseen ways. We just don’t know; those who speak with certitude about the future demonstrate a lack of wisdom proportionate to their confidence in the predictions they make.

How will the Democrats deal with the deep schism within their own party? Will a 50-50 Senate allow the kind of radical changes many of us fear the Democrats will try to pursue? How long will Biden be able to maintain the fiction that he’s capable of carrying out the functions of his office, and how will his seemingly inevitable departure take place? What will happen in 2022 as a result of what seems likely to be poor decision-making from the Democrats over the next two years? How will our relationship with China evolve and/or deteriorate, given the leverage our adversary quite probably has over Biden’s corrupt and degenerate son?

We don’t know. We could win in a landslide in 2022. The Senate could be stymied by one or two prudent and/or cowardly Democrats who think it wise to avoid doing something so profoundly stupid as packing the Supreme Court, bringing in a new state, or opening the borders. Or they might do everything we fear, and America could be entering a new dark age. For that matter, China could share another virus with us, the next one worse than the current one to which we’ve grotesquely over-reacted.

We don’t know. So the fight goes on.

Don’t burn bridges between yourself and true allies. Find points of agreement on the right and lean into them. Encourage optimism in the face of the unknown. Avoid people who are too quick to accept and preach defeat: they don’t know the future any better than we do, and there’s nothing to be gained, neither strategic advantage nor honor, by surrender.

Be wary of people who argue for strategic losses, who say it’s better to lose the next fight because it sets us up to win later. The future becomes exponentially harder to predict as it recedes in time and as the chain of events lengthens. Fight for the most conservative plausible win in every case, because we really don’t know where a loss will take us. Keep it simple: try to win each battle as it comes up.

Most Americans hear only one side, that of a smug technocratic left ignorant of history and consumed with hubris. It is up to conservatives — people like us — to expose normal Americans to the facts and ideas they won’t otherwise hear, but that they will usually find persuasive because conservatism is closer to the truth, closer to what actually works and has been shown to work.

So now we go into the unknown together. And there are a lot of us.

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  1. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    You are a wonderful voice of wisdom and prudence, Hank.  Thank you.

    Let’s hope for the best and keep in mind that great quote of Otto von Bismarck’s: “There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.”  

     

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    It’s been fascinating to watch the number of people who predict the future with certainty. I think some of us do that because that future makes sense to us, whether it’s disastrous or positive. So we lean on that belief, because it’s something to hold onto. But as you say, Hank, there’s no way to know what the future holds. Yes, the Democrats can cry they are going to transform government, but we don’t know what they will actually try to do, or whether they’ll be successful. So as uncomfortable as it makes most of us, living in a state of “not knowing” and being open to possibility probably serves us best. Great post.

    • #2
  3. Dave of Barsham Member
    Dave of Barsham
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Henry Racette: Don’t burn bridges between yourself and true allies.

    • #3
  4. David March Thatcher
    David March
    @ToryWarWriter

    Joe Manchin is already in the press saying hes not going to watch the Senate get damaged and has pledged to not repeal the filibuster and or pack the courts.

    Which given Biden wants a return to ‘normalcy’ means nothing truly awful senate wise will get passed.

    Its basically a return of the rent seekers for the next 2 years.

    Good news legislatures, who control elections just got a good idea of how the other side operates, and are going to take steps to remedy the situation.  

    That coupled with redistricting means not much will happen to crazy outside of foreign policy the next few years.

     

    • #4
  5. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    David March (View Comment):

    Joe Manchin is already in the press saying hes not going to watch the Senate get damaged and has pledged to not repeal the filibuster and or pack the courts.

    Which given Biden wants a return to ‘normalcy’ means nothing truly awful senate wise will get passed.

    Its basically a return of the rent seekers for the next 2 years.

    Good news legislatures, who control elections just got a good idea of how the other side operates, and are going to take steps to remedy the situation.

    That coupled with redistricting means not much will happen to crazy outside of foreign policy the next few years.

     

    That is my hope. As regards your closing sentence, I’ll point out that Biden has a lot of executive authority in terms of regulation. I think that could easily be the most consequential — and negative — impact over the next four years.

    • #5
  6. David March Thatcher
    David March
    @ToryWarWriter

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    David March (View Comment):

    Joe Manchin is already in the press saying hes not going to watch the Senate get damaged and has pledged to not repeal the filibuster and or pack the courts.

    Which given Biden wants a return to ‘normalcy’ means nothing truly awful senate wise will get passed.

    Its basically a return of the rent seekers for the next 2 years.

    Good news legislatures, who control elections just got a good idea of how the other side operates, and are going to take steps to remedy the situation.

    That coupled with redistricting means not much will happen to crazy outside of foreign policy the next few years.

     

    That is my hope. As regards your closing sentence, I’ll point out that Biden has a lot of executive authority in terms of regulation. I think that could easily be the most consequential — and negative — impact over the next four years.

    Regulations in favor of corporate rent seekers, which will run into the hundreds of judges who are going to be differently inclined.  

    • #6
  7. DonG (Biden is compromised) Coolidge
    DonG (Biden is compromised)
    @DonG

    We are going to find out just how much power the Legislative and Judicial branches have granted the Executive office.  I fear it will be oppressive…very, very oppressive.  I expect that we will have few friends and allies in the culture as the Age of Karen is upon us.  She has no principles and there is no limit to her virtue signaling and professed guilt. 

    • #7
  8. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    • #8
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    It’s been fascinating to watch the number of people who predict the future with certainty. I think some of us do that because that future makes sense to us, whether it’s disastrous or positive. So we lean on that belief, because it’s something to hold onto. But as you say, Hank, there’s no way to know what the future holds. Yes, the Democrats can cry they are going to transform government, but we don’t know what they will actually try to do, or whether they’ll be successful. So as uncomfortable as it makes most of us, living in a state of “not knowing” and being open to possibility probably serves us best. Great post.

    I take villains at their word. See Hitler.

    The future holds that the destruction of America which has been ongoing my whole life will continue, accelerated. 

    Things will continue to get worse. It is not up to me to prove otherwise, because that is how things have been going. You show me the black swan event that will change it all.

    • #9
  10. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    Well, no. Some have promised not to do those things. And Joe Biden has also promised to cure cancer during his first term (though I don’t think anyone remembers that). Politicians promise all sorts of things they can’t deliver.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    If I bump into you on the way to the gas chambers I’ll give you a cigar. Until then, maybe it would be good to step aside and let people who haven’t yet thrown in the towel give it their best.

    • #10
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    Well, no. Some have promised not to do those things. And Joe Biden has also promised to cure cancer during his first term (though I don’t think anyone remembers that). Politicians promise all sorts of things they can’t deliver.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    If I bump into you on the way to the gas chambers I’ll give you a cigar. Until then, maybe it would be good to step aside and let people who haven’t yet thrown in the towel give it their best.

    It is funny, Henry, that you assume that if I were at the Alamo, I’d have given up, even though I knew it was hopeless.

    You may not know this, but it is both possible to think the end is hopeless and to keep on fighting. When I tell you I have stopped fighting, then you can castigate me for it. Telling me to get out of the way when I am still shooting is rude.

    • #11
  12. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    Well, no. Some have promised not to do those things. And Joe Biden has also promised to cure cancer during his first term (though I don’t think anyone remembers that). Politicians promise all sorts of things they can’t deliver.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    If I bump into you on the way to the gas chambers I’ll give you a cigar. Until then, maybe it would be good to step aside and let people who haven’t yet thrown in the towel give it their best.

    It is funny, Henry, that you assume that if I were at the Alamo, I’d have given up, even though I knew it was hopeless.

    You may not know this, but it is both possible to think the end is hopeless and to keep on fighting. When I tell you I have stopped fighting, then you can castigate me for it. Telling me to get out of the way when I am still shooting is rude.

    Bryan, that’s fair, and I apologize for making that assumption. I’ll try to do better, at least where you’re concerned.

    I find it particularly challenging dealing politely with people who tell me that the cause is already lost. I think it perhaps makes it harder for others to hear defeat proclaimed from the folks they know are on our side. It’s demoralizing, and it makes it harder for those in the middle, those less sure of the value of persevering, to press on. It’s hard to rally the troops when some are saying, in essence, “we’ve already lost.”

    I’m sure I overcompensate, and that is probably as annoying to many as it is to me when I hear people announce defeat. Again, I’ll try to be a little more thoughtful about that.

    • #12
  13. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    Well, no. Some have promised not to do those things. And Joe Biden has also promised to cure cancer during his first term (though I don’t think anyone remembers that). Politicians promise all sorts of things they can’t deliver.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    If I bump into you on the way to the gas chambers I’ll give you a cigar. Until then, maybe it would be good to step aside and let people who haven’t yet thrown in the towel give it their best.

    It is funny, Henry, that you assume that if I were at the Alamo, I’d have given up, even though I knew it was hopeless.

    You may not know this, but it is both possible to think the end is hopeless and to keep on fighting. When I tell you I have stopped fighting, then you can castigate me for it. Telling me to get out of the way when I am still shooting is rude.

    Bryan, that’s fair, and I apologize for making that assumption. I’ll try to do better, at least where you’re concerned.

    I find it particularly challenging dealing politely with people who tell me that the cause is already lost. I think it perhaps makes it harder for others to hear defeat proclaimed from the folks they know are on our side. It’s demoralizing, and it makes it harder for those in the middle, those less sure of the value of persevering, to press on. It’s hard to rally the troops when some are saying, in essence, “we’ve already lost.”

    I’m sure I overcompensate, and that is probably as annoying to many as it is to me when I hear people announce defeat. Again, I’ll try to be a little more thoughtful about that.

    Thank you for understanding. I understand it is hard to hear. I pay money to speak my mind here. I just want to be able to state my case someplace. I am sorry if my case is demoralizing. Imagine how it is in my head.

    • #13
  14. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    Well, no. Some have promised not to do those things. And Joe Biden has also promised to cure cancer during his first term (though I don’t think anyone remembers that). Politicians promise all sorts of things they can’t deliver.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    If I bump into you on the way to the gas chambers I’ll give you a cigar. Until then, maybe it would be good to step aside and let people who haven’t yet thrown in the towel give it their best.

    It is funny, Henry, that you assume that if I were at the Alamo, I’d have given up, even though I knew it was hopeless.

    You may not know this, but it is both possible to think the end is hopeless and to keep on fighting. When I tell you I have stopped fighting, then you can castigate me for it. Telling me to get out of the way when I am still shooting is rude.

    Bryan, that’s fair, and I apologize for making that assumption. I’ll try to do better, at least where you’re concerned.

    I find it particularly challenging dealing politely with people who tell me that the cause is already lost. I think it perhaps makes it harder for others to hear defeat proclaimed from the folks they know are on our side. It’s demoralizing, and it makes it harder for those in the middle, those less sure of the value of persevering, to press on. It’s hard to rally the troops when some are saying, in essence, “we’ve already lost.”

    I’m sure I overcompensate, and that is probably as annoying to many as it is to me when I hear people announce defeat. Again, I’ll try to be a little more thoughtful about that.

    Thank you for understanding. I understand it is hard to hear. I pay money to speak my mind here. I just want to be able to state my case someplace. I am sorry if my case is demoralizing. Imagine how it is in my head.

    That’s an excellent point, Bryan, and you’ve prompted me to rethink my approach to what I’ve characterized as defeatest speech. I think it hurts the conservative cause, and that’s most of what I care about, but you’re absolutely right that paying members have a right to speak their minds.

    I encourage people to try to remain positive, because that will help us in the fight. But I’m going to stop making snarky comments about it.

    • #14
  15. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    I am doing a new series on my blog, entitled Annals of Tyranny.  My first post is up, referring to two new WSJ stories from today.  One is the installation of the “rubber-stamp Congress” in Venezuela.  The other is the story of Communist China rounding up all the opposition leaders in Hong Kong.  My readers can decide for themselves if they want that kind of country here, and what happens when free people elect tyrants (like Venezuela).

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Thank you for understanding. I understand it is hard to hear. I pay money to speak my mind here. I just want to be able to state my case someplace. I am sorry if my case is demoralizing. Imagine how it is in my head.

    Why would you wish that on friends?  :-)

    • #16
  17. Chris Gregerson Member
    Chris Gregerson
    @ChrisGregerson

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    Adding new states is a problem.

    A win in the senate in 22 will allow the rule changes back to now. So that’s not a forever problem.

    Court packing done once can be done again under the aegis of normalizing senate rules.

    So I think it’s not time to panic but time for outreach, listing, and formulating policies that will win us a majority nation wide vote.

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    Doesn’t it take a bunch of votes from both houses and ratification by the states to add a state? Answer – yes. That ain’t going to happen given the state legislature’s composition.

     

    I don’t think state legislatures have to approve, only Congress.

    • #18
  19. Chris Gregerson Member
    Chris Gregerson
    @ChrisGregerson

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    Doesn’t it take a bunch of votes from both houses and ratification by the states to add a state? Answer – yes. That ain’t going to happen given the state legislature’s composition.

     

    I don’t think state legislatures have to approve, only Congress.

    Your going to make me look at the constitution at this hour? 

    • #19
  20. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    • #20
  21. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    Doesn’t it take a bunch of votes from both houses and ratification by the states to add a state? Answer – yes. That ain’t going to happen given the state legislature’s composition.

     

    I don’t think state legislatures have to approve, only Congress.

    Your going to make me look at the constitution at this hour?

    State legislatures have to approve constitutional amendments, but not adding states.

    • #21
  22. Chris Gregerson Member
    Chris Gregerson
    @ChrisGregerson

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    Doesn’t it take a bunch of votes from both houses and ratification by the states to add a state? Answer – yes. That ain’t going to happen given the state legislature’s composition.

     

    I don’t think state legislatures have to approve, only Congress.

    Your going to make me look at the constitution at this hour?

    State legislatures have to approve constitutional amendments, but not adding states.

    Right there.

    • #22
  23. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I encourage people to try to remain positive, because that will help us in the fight. But I’m going to stop making snarky comments about it.

    I’m Mark Camp and I approve of this message.

    • #23
  24. David March Thatcher
    David March
    @ToryWarWriter

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    Doesn’t it take a bunch of votes from both houses and ratification by the states to add a state? Answer – yes. That ain’t going to happen given the state legislature’s composition.

     

    I don’t think state legislatures have to approve, only Congress.

    Your going to make me look at the constitution at this hour?

    State legislatures have to approve constitutional amendments, but not adding states.

    But in order to add a state you need 2/3rds of both the Congress and Senate to agree.  Good luck on that any time soon.

    https://people.howstuffworks.com/new-state-in-us.htm

     

    • #24
  25. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    David March (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    Doesn’t it take a bunch of votes from both houses and ratification by the states to add a state? Answer – yes. That ain’t going to happen given the state legislature’s composition.

     

    I don’t think state legislatures have to approve, only Congress.

    Your going to make me look at the constitution at this hour?

    State legislatures have to approve constitutional amendments, but not adding states.

    But in order to add a state you need 2/3rds of both the Congress and Senate to agree. Good luck on that any time soon.

    https://people.howstuffworks.com/new-state-in-us.htm

     

    Where is the 2/3rd in the Constitution?

     

    New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

    The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.

     

    • #25
  26. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    David March (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    Doesn’t it take a bunch of votes from both houses and ratification by the states to add a state? Answer – yes. That ain’t going to happen given the state legislature’s composition.

     

    I don’t think state legislatures have to approve, only Congress.

    Your going to make me look at the constitution at this hour?

    State legislatures have to approve constitutional amendments, but not adding states.

    But in order to add a state you need 2/3rds of both the Congress and Senate to agree. Good luck on that any time soon.

    https://people.howstuffworks.com/new-state-in-us.htm

     

    Where is the 2/3rd in the Constitution?

     

    New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

    The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.

     

    Bryan, David is probably thinking of the Canadian Constitution. ;)

    Here in the US, a simple majority vote is sufficient.

    • #26
  27. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Good post Henry. There’s wisdom here. One thing we need to insist as a party is a curtailing of mail in voting and returning to only one day voting on Election Day. Failure to have this I think will be at a great detriment to conservative values. 

    • #27
  28. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    Thanks for the bracing splash of optimism. It does not come naturally to me, but I’m going to try to avoid sinking into a funk. I know worst-case scenarios rarely play out, so I’m holding on to that.

    • #28
  29. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    David March (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    What we know is they have promised to eliminate the fillibuster and pack the court and add two states.

    When that happens, will you finally admit I was right and we lost, or will you forever say that we are not done yet, even as we are lead to gas chambers?

    Doesn’t it take a bunch of votes from both houses and ratification by the states to add a state? Answer – yes. That ain’t going to happen given the state legislature’s composition.

     

    I don’t think state legislatures have to approve, only Congress.

    Your going to make me look at the constitution at this hour?

    State legislatures have to approve constitutional amendments, but not adding states.

    But in order to add a state you need 2/3rds of both the Congress and Senate to agree. Good luck on that any time soon.

    https://people.howstuffworks.com/new-state-in-us.htm

     

    Just to be clear, as maybe it’s been a while since you dealt with these details, but Congress consists of both the House of Representatives, and the Senate.  So “Congress and Senate” doesn’t really work.  The Senate is one part of Congress.

    • #29