Friday, May 6, 2016

What Trump Has Destroyed

It is pretty clear, now that he is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party that Donald Trump has destroyed the Republican Party that was.

Of course, he has not destroyed the Republican Party, only the basis on which the Republican Party has operated for the last 30-40 years. I mean the Republican Party informed by a Buckleyite conservatism that declared the John Birch Society beyond the pale and the Republican Party infused with Jewish neoconservatives like Irving Kristol, liberals famously mugged by reality.

The reason was explained by self-proclaimed reactionary Mencius Moldbug in his blog back in 2008-09. It is the fact of the Cathedral, the secular-religious church of secular liberalim in the media, the schools, the foundations, and the universities and the liberal activism culture. Their church orthodoxy defines what you are allowed to say and what you are not allowed to say in America. Further, the two political parties in the US, following George Orwell, are the Democratic Party as Inner Party, that gets to rule when it is in power, and the Republican Party as the Outer Party, which just gets to govern when in office.

I take the rise of Trump as the great Republican unwashed declaring that they just can't take it any more, being silenced, being tame zoo animals of the Outer Party when the Inner Party adherents get to do and say pretty well whatever they want provided it follows Inner Party orthodoxy.

The voters are saying that the politics of accommodation, of going along to get along with the Inner Party and its Cathedral bishops in the media and the academy, is just too humiliating. They just can't take it any more; they just have to break out. They feel, in other words, that they have nothing left to lose.

In this sense it is true to say that President Obama has destroyed the Republican Party. By going full partisan on his signature legislation and by humiliating Republicans in repeated clashes, he has destroyed the faith of the rank-and-file Republicans in their leaders.

In my view, the president made a strategic mistake. The fact is that, over the last century, the left has operated what Margaret Thatcher's associate Keith Joseph called a "ratchet effect." Every leftist reform ratcheted up the size and the power of government, and has never been pushed back to the status quo ante. If this is true, it is never necessary for the left to go flat out as if the next conservative government would repeal and reverse their agenda. The record is that the reverses are temporary and partial, and the left soon gets to turn another click of the ratchet.

President Obama could have implemented his stimulus, his Obamacare, his Dodd-Frank, with Republican votes. He would not have got as much passed, but the next liberal president would come back a generation later and crank the ratchet another step. Instead, he has encouraged his sluggers to hit it out of the ballpark, and humiliate the opposition.

President Obama is a man of the left and its mechanical systems. He ought to know that action and reaction are equal and opposite. And so the powerful thrust of his dominatory politics has created an equal and opposite reaction. The mass of white working class peasants, that were wandering around without a political home for a generation, have swarmed in desperation into the bourgeois citadel of the Republican Party and will probably have changed the Republican Party forever.

Really, we should thank the president. As conservatives we are hesitant to take a wrecking ball to the United States to implement our glorious conservative vision. We know, following Edmund Burke, that at the end of such a road is the gallows. But President Obama, with his narrow leftist world view, has swung the wrecking ball at America, trying to smash the opposition. Instead he got him a Republican House in November 2010, a Republican Senate in 2014 and now a populist rebellion in 2016.

This is folly, because the Democrats are the Inner Party, and liberals are the ruling class. A sensible Inner Party wants to keep things on an even keel. It wants to keep the Outer Party politicians properly docile, but not insulted. A sensible Cathedral wants to make sure that the proles are respectful of their betters, but wants to avoid humiliating them enough to get them angry.

So, provoked by President Obama, Donald Trump has kicked over the old three-legged stool of the Republican Party: national-defense, economic, and social conservatism. The new party will have to fit a new leg in, to represent the needs and the agenda of the much-maligned white working class. Put in terms of my Three Peoples theory, it means that the Republican Party will no longer be a party purely for the People of the Responsible Self. It will have to accommodate the white working class, and appeal more to People of the Subordinate Self.

That will probably force the Republican Party closer to the political center. Republicans dream of dismantling the big government structures of the 20th century, but the great mass of the American people don't. Grandpa wants his Social Security. Grandma wants her Medicare. Young mothers want their baby-sitting service. And so on.

Of course, eventually big government will run out of other peoples' money. But not yet. As Kevin D. Williamson writes, government learns nothing. All it knows is taxing the people to reward its supporters. Until the very moment that the money runs out. Hello Venezuela.

Then, and only then, will we learn. As we have to start over.

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