Today is the 4th anniversary of the appearance of one of the most memorable political essays in American history, “The Flight 93 Election,” written by the pseudonymous author “Decius.” It began with this memorable attention-grabber:

2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.

Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.

Decius turned out to be Michael Anton, and I had forewarning about the article because he roughed it out while visiting me on vacation a couple weeks before. People still talk—and argue ferociously—about Michael’s essay, and now he is back with a full length sequel, a book about this year’s election, The Stakes: America at the Point of No Return. Michael starts our conversation with an account of how what he thought would be an obscure essay became a sensation, and how the political scene in the country has sharpened more ominously since Trump’s upset win four years ago. 

You can read an excerpt of the book—the concluding chapter—here, where he says “There’s little wrong with President Trump that more Trump couldn’t solve.” (See also Angelo Codevilla’s review of the book, “‘Finger in the Dike’ Election.

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There are 4 comments.

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  1. Dr.Guido Member

    Thanks for a great 55 minutes!

    • #1
  2. RufusRJones Member

    Dr.Guido (View Comment):

    Thanks for a great 55 minutes!

    I listened to it twice. Really good.

    • #2
  3. Steven Hayward Podcaster
    Steven Hayward

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Dr.Guido (View Comment):

    Thanks for a great 55 minutes!

    I listened to it twice. Really good.

    Twice!!  You’re a great American!

    • #3
  4. Wolfsheim Member

    I listened to the interview with Michael Anton on the Ricochet Podcast with Peter Robinson, Rob Long, and James Lileks and was most favorably impressed. This discussion too was all the more a delight.

    I am an old man, living far from the United States, but with (adult) memories of the country back when when Prof. Anton was born. Then too it was divided, but that was, of course, before the “march through the institutions.” The stakes are surely now higher than any time in my lifetime.

    It may be hard for the younger generations to understand how unpopular the left was in the old days. Having been, in my foolish youth, a part of it, I was astounded when the elites, including the media, began to support it. Now it all makes depressingly logical sense: it’s simply a matter of power.

    I keep thinking of Harry Lime in The Third Man:

    “Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don’t. Why should we? They talk about the people and the proletariat, I talk about the suckers and the mugs – it’s the same thing. They have their five-year plans, so have I.”

    Then comes Holly Martins’ haunting line: “You used to believe in God…”





    • #4
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