Politics, et Cetera

A publication from The Political Forum, LLC

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

They Said It:

“Destiny guides our fortunes more favorably than we could have expected. Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is nobel, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth.”

What giants?” Asked Sancho Panza.

“The ones you can see over there,” answered his master, “with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long.”

“Now look, your grace,” said Sancho, “what you see over there aren’t giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone.”

“Obviously,” replied Don Quijote, “you don’t know much about adventures.” 

Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraDon Quixote, 1605.

 

ONLY TRUMP CAN SAVE US NOW?

Now that Donald Trump appears to be the inevitable Republican nominee, the equally inevitable national freakout has begun.  Protesters are running around the country screaming and hollering at the candidate, punching his supporters, and unlawfully blockading roads near where rallies will be held.  Republicans are planning the salvation of or their escape from the formerly “grand old party,” figuring ways to run as independents, or trying to deny Trump the nomination.  Meanwhile, Democrats are teaming up with their media supporters – which is to say the entirety of the mainstream media –to destroy Trump by insisting that he is Hitler reborn; that his policies are fascist, that his supporters are brownshirts, and that he must be defeated by any means necessary.

For our part, we find this last bit fascinating for a number of reasons, none of which are related to the fact that the Democrats would make such a claim.  After all, they have called every Republican since Goldwater “Hitler.”  For starters, we find these comparisons fascinating because the reasoning behind them is inevitably so feeble that it raises serious questions as to both the intelligence of these Democrats and their ability to engage in serious analytical thought.  But the situation is also fascinating because the conservative intellectual elite seems totally incapable of making a cogent argument against these comparisons.  Instead, they inevitably counter them by insisting that anyone who even considers mentioning inter-bellum Germany or Hitler as a historical precedent must be deemed unserious and unworthy of consideration by polite society.  And this leads one to believe that they are as dumb as the Democrats.

The boiler plate Democratic comparison stipulates that Trump’s desire to protect the border and to monitor Muslim immigration are suggestive of the Holocaust; that his supporters are violent and mean and ugly and probably smelly too, which makes them like Nazi thugs; and that the Republican party itself is responsible for all of this since it did nothing to stop the incipient Nazism within its ranks, which predated Trump, and has actively aided Trump’s rise in the belief that he can be controlled.  Paul Ryan is Paul von Hindenburg . . . or something.  And whatever happens, it’s all the Republicans’ fault.  Over the weekend, Eric Weitz, the Dean of Humanities and Arts and Distinguished Professor of History at The City College of New York, penned an instant classic of this genre.  To wit:

The lessons to be learned from Weimar Germany are not the ones we hear and read about today.  Weimar Germany did not collapse under the weight of its various crises.  It was actively destroyed by a conservative elite – noble landowners, high-level state officials, businessmen, army officers – that chose to ally with the Nazi Party.  As we watch the Republican establishment’s ineffectual flailings to stop Donald Trump, it’s worth remembering that Weimar Germany’s old-style conservatives never really liked Hitler and the Nazis either.  To them, the Nazis were too loud, uncouth, low class.  But they admired Hitler’s nationalism, his promise to revive Germany’s great power status, his opposition to democracy, and his anti-communism.  And they were either indifferent to or actively supported the Nazis’ anti-Semitism. . . .

The real issue is not whether Trump is a modern-day Hitler or Mussolini.  The problem lies deeper: with the social and political mores that have made possible his crude nativism and contempt for social progress.  Democrats and Republicans alike have been marveling at his success as if it were a bolt out of the blue.  Yet for years now Republicans have been bowing before the idol of radical conservatism.  They have cowered before the tea party and have stashed the party coffers with immense contributions from the Koch brothers’ operation.  The people who are now struggling to stop Trump are the same ones who made his views salonfähig. [i.e. “acceptable in polite society”].

This is, to borrow a phrase from Bentham, nonsense upon stilts.  Consider, for example, Weitz’s opening claim that “Weimar Germany did not collapse under the weight of its various crises,” but instead was “actively destroyed by a conservative elite.”  Yes, Weimar Germany may well have suffered from the betrayal of its elites, but to say that this betrayal mattered more than the “crises” is flat out dishonest.  It is historical revisionism of the worst sort, performed by Weitz strictly for the purpose of disparaging and marginalizing conservatism.  Weitz is a liberal and he thinks that conservatives should be ostracized simply for having the gall to disagree with him.  They’re worse than Hitler, you see.  They’re Hitler’s enablers.

To make matters worse, Weitz, of all people, should actually know better.  He is a bona fide expert on utopianism, specifically as it relates to racial identity and genocide.  Among other books, he is the author of A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation, a generally well-regarded account that documents the ideological similarities between the totalitarian regimes that perpetrated large-scale genocides in the 20th century.  All of which is to say that Weitz should know that men like Hitler – or Stalin or Pol Pot – don’t just emerge from nowhere, whether or not they have the tacit support of the “noble landowners, high-level state officials, businessmen, army officers.”  They are formed and elevated in a rich and unstable milieu of ideology, yearning, disappointment, collapse, deprivation, overindulgence, and economic CRISIS.  And even then, their supremacy hinges on the collaboration of “progressive” and idealistic elites far more than revanchists or reactionaries.

The fact of the matter is that we have a great deal of knowledge about Hitler and his ilk, from a rather impressive list of scholars, all of whom spent a great deal of time digging around, learning the secrets of utopian totalitarianism.  They studied how the Third Reich happened, discovered what enabled Stalin’s purges, and hypothesized when it might be necessary to worry that the promise “never again” is nearing its expiration date.  Interestingly, none of them spent a whole lot of time assessing the impact of isolated businessmen and army officers in his analysis of these movements.  Indeed, such trifling concerns AND interesting historical minutiae may make for an interesting historical tale, but they do little to advance our overall knowledge of the totalitarian phenomenon.  For that, we have to look at larger, societal concerns that transcend mere politics.

Among those who have greatly enhanced our knowledge of “utopian” regimes and their genesis is Norman Cohn, the British historian whose name probably appears more in the Political Forum’s apocryphal citation list than almost any other scholar.  Cohn, along with Eric Voegelin, was among the first to notice and to expound upon the similarities between contemporary totalitarianism and medieval Gnosticism – or millennialism, if you prefer.  Cohn assembled the first (and best) exhaustive history of medieval millenarian movements, analyzed the similarities and differences between them, and then offered his warning to (then) present and future generations about the potency of utopian movements that appear superficially secular but which exhibit many of the same characteristics as the chiliastic uprisings of the Middle Ages.  Cohn argued – and largely proved – that the conditions, the approaches, the promises, and the end results of all these movements were remarkably and unmistakably consistent and could be identified easily in retrospect and in some cases contemporarily as well.

In the concluding chapter of his classic The Pursuit of the Millennium, Cohn made a point that should be rather unsettling to present-day readers.  Specifically, he argued that these medieval movements – and, by extension, their contemporary quasi-religious heirs – tend to occur in times of social and economic dislocation and among populations that are rootless, cut off from traditional social support mechanisms.  He put it this way:

As we have seen again and again in the course of this book, revolutionary millenarianism flourishes only in specific situations. . . Revolutionary millenarianism drew its strength from a population living on the margin of society — peasants without land or with too little land even for subsistence; journeymen and unskilled workers living under the continuous threat of unemployment; beggars and vagabonds — in fact from the amorphous mass of people who were not simply poor but who could find no assured and recognized place in society at all.  These people lacked the material and emotional support afforded by traditional social groups; their kinship-groups had disintegrated and they were not effectively organized in village communities or in guilds; for them there existed no regular, institutionalized methods of voicing their grievances or pressing their claims.  Instead they waited for a propheta to bind them together in a group of their own. . . .

Because these people found themselves in such an exposed and defenceless position they were liable to react very sharply to any disruption of the normal, familiar, pattern of life.  Again and again one finds that a particular outbreak of revolutionary millenarianism took place against a background of disaster: the plagues that preluded the First Crusade and the flagellant movements of 1260, 1348—9, 1391 and 1400; the famines that preluded the First and Second Crusades and the popular crusading movements of  1309—20, the flagellant movement of 1296, the movements around Eon and the pseudo-Baldwin; the spectacular rise in prices that preluded the revolution at Münster.  The greatest wave of millenarian excitement, one which swept through the whole of society, was precipitated by the most universal natural disaster of the Middle Ages, the Black Death; and here again it was in the lower social strata that the excitement lasted longest and that it expressed itself in violence and massacre.

But the rootless poor were not only shaken by those specific calamities or upheavals that directly affected their material lot — they were also peculiarly sensitive to the less dramatic but equally relentless processes which, generation after generation, gradually disrupted the framework of authority within which medieval life had for a time been contained.

Now, anyone who has paid any attention at all to the current presidential race has to find this at least a bit unnerving.  Two candidates in this election have based their entire campaigns on the notion that there are literally millions of people in this country who fit the description given above.  And one of these candidates is, of course, all but certain to be the Republican nominee.

Though their rhetoric and emphasis may vary, both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders speak primarily to the dispossessed, to those living on the “margins of society” and whom the changes brought about by globalization have left in an “exposed and defenceless position.”   As the “one percent” continues to get richer and as even the stock markets continue to respond to the central banks’ stimulus, making the economy seem far stronger than it is, the “marginalized” continue to struggle, to get by day-to-day, to live “under the continuous threat of unemployment.”

For Trump voters, the parallels are even more ominous.  As we have discussed in these pages over the last few weeks, Trump’s fans are those who have been hit the hardest by both globalization AND by the social and familial changes wrought by the sexual revolution.  If you were to go looking for a demographic populations that lacks “the material and emotional support afforded by traditional social groups” and for whom traditional “kinship-groups have disintegrated,” you might never find a more perfect example than today’s white working class.  No churches, no families, no jobs, no supports system at all.  These are America’s new underclass.  And they mirror the medieval underclass described by Cohn almost perfectly.

Add to all of this the “disaster” of the Great Recession, the global health concerns related to mosquito-borne pathogens, and the unmasking of the erstwhile stable supreme “authority” as a shallow and self-indulgent caste, and you have a pretty potent revolutionary concoction.

We should point out here – because Cohn didn’t really have the opportunity to do so and because the likes of Eric Weitz are unlikely to – that this is precisely the type of revolutionary environment that characterized Germany in the 1920s.  Weitz insists that Weimar Germany has been mischaracterized and slandered by those who don’t understand its beauty and charm.  Weimar Germany, Weitz writes, was a “great democratic experiment” in which “Germans had greater political freedoms than ever before.”  It produced “a vast program of public housing moved hundreds of thousands out of dank tenements into modern, light-filled apartments” and “public health clinics” that “offered sexual counseling to a population that physicians claimed lacked fundamental knowledge about reproduction and the pleasures of the body and lived in sexual misery.”  Additionally, “Literature, philosophy, music theater and film all flourished.”

All of that is just super.  But all of it is also characteristic of a society undergoing massive economic and social upheaval, a society on the verge of collapse and descent into violent and revolutionary fervor.  Weimar Germany may have constituted a wonderfully progressive experiment, but it was also a proverbial tinderbox, which eventually exploded.  To pretend otherwise is to be willfully ignorant.  And to pretend further that this parallel is not the one that is most striking in comparison to our own present-day condition is nothing short of intellectual malpractice.

Of course, Cohn is not the only of the great intellects to examine the causes and the omens of the decline into totalitarianism.  As we have noted before, the inimitable Hannah Arendt quite literally wrote the book on the subject.  Her classic The Origins of Totalitarianism may be the richest and still least utilized resource in the study of ideology and violence produced in the last 100 years.  We have mined it countless times for countless insights.  It is both invaluable and, as with Cohn, unsettling in the current political moment.

Before delving into Arendt’s lessons for the Trumptastic election of 2016, we want to take a brief step away from the authors who write on totalitarianism and engage the authors who write on Trump, the people who believe that Trump constitutes a unique and heretofore unimaginable threat.  In this case, we want to engage for a moment the recent work of David Brooks, a columnist for the New York Times.

David Brooks is, at least nominally, a conservative.  He is also, however, a bit of prig.  Despite his long and storied career and some very astute observations, Brooks is likely to be remembered as the guy who nearly fainted at the perfection in the crease of Barack Obama’s trousers (seriously).  Brooks is a cosmopolitan conservative, if such a thing can actually exist, and he is horrified at the views, desires, and political predilections of the canaille, the common folk who dare to demand a say in the function of the government.  Last week, he admitted publicly that he doesn’t have a clue what is going on, although he knows he doesn’t like it. His confession/concession read as follows:

The question is: Should deference be paid to this victor [Trump and Trumpism]?  Should we bow down to the judgment of these voters?

Well, some respect is in order.  Trump voters are a coalition of the dispossessed.  They have suffered lost jobs, lost wages, lost dreams.  The American system is not working for them, so naturally they are looking for something else.

Moreover, many in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation.  We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough.  For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.

Good heavens.  Somewhere, Pauline Kael is rolling over in her grave, thinking what an ass Brooks must be.  “Trump voters” are normal people.  They happen, more or less, to think that the system is rigged against them, that big government serves only a small group of people and serves them well.  They think that the government and its various hangers on – the ruling class, if you will – have grown fat while the rest of the country has grown far leaner than it would like.  They’re fed up.  And they’re tired as all hell of people like David Brooks, who think of them as exhibits in a zoo, as intellectually stunted creatures from a different place, a different world, who must be talked to slowly, treated delicately, and “socially intermingled” with.

In another piece – this one written last fall and published by the New York Times Style Magazine – Brooks tells the story of his “$120,000 Vacation.”  He wrote:

I was in Turkey as a temporary member of a 52-person group that was bouncing through Four Seasons hotels on a round-the-world tour.  You put down roughly $120,000 a person and for 24 days you fly around the earth in a Four Seasons-branded private jet, taking off in Seattle and stopping in, among other places, Tokyo, Beijing, the Maldives, the Serengeti, St. Petersburg, Marrakesh and New York, going from Four Seasons to Four Seasons, with various outings off campus offered at every two – or three-night stop.  I was joining the tour for days 15 through 21, which would take me from Istanbul to St. Petersburg to Marrakesh, after which I would return to New York.  If Magellan had had his own 757 and a global archipelago of sumptuous breakfast buffets, his trip would have been something like this.

My job was to report back on the merits and demerits of such pampered high-end travel.  If you wake up in Tanzania in the morning, take a dinner cruise along the Bosphorus in the evening and jet off a few days later to tour Catherine the Great’s palace in Russia, are you really seeing the world?  Or are you just playing spectacularly expensive hopscotch?  Is this luxury — or a fast-moving bubble from which to view the world?

Luxury comes in many forms.  There’s the luxury of opulence.  There’s the luxury of excess.  Then there’s the luxury of service — having people around at each instant to take care of stuff so you can think about something else.  This trip had a lot of the latter luxury.  When I left the tour and returned to real life, I endured shambolic security lines, inexplicable delays and a four-hour layover sitting on the floor of the Casablanca airport, thinking it was nothing like the movie.

Poor David.  Eventually, he had to give up his luxury and join the rest of us, the common folk.  In the meantime, though, he learned a few things.  The people who take these trips are rich, but not too rich.  They too are members of a “stratified” class structure in supposedly class-free American society.  And they’re not on the top.  They are not the real big shots’; they’re just normal folk, like you and us.  Or . . . well . . . maybe not like you and us, but certainly like David Brooks, who doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that this trip was not part of his job so much as it was a perk of his job, a benefit granted to a mover-and-shaker who is important and can do important things.  He can’t do anything for the people with whom he does not “socially intermingle,” but he can do something for the sponsors of his luxury trip and, by extension, for the people who agree with him and share his perceptions of the important things in life.

This, in turn, brings us back to Hannah Arendt.  Arendt, recall, was interested in the origins of totalitarianism and the circumstances under which totalitarians may take power.  One of her most critical observations was that in which she detailed the socialist and National Socialist pursuit of a scapegoat, one against whom the people could be unleashed and on whom the people’s misfortunes could be blamed.  As she writes in the following passage, that scapegoat bears more than a mild resemblance to our own ruling class, people like David Brooks in particular:

According to Tocqueville, the French people hated aristocrats about to lose their power more than it had ever hated them before, precisely because their rapid loss of real power was not accompanied by any considerable decline in their fortunes. As long as the aristocracy held vast powers of jurisdiction, they were not only tolerated but respected. When noblemen lost their privileges, among others the privilege to exploit and oppress, the people felt them to be parasites, without any real function in the rule of the country. In other words, neither oppression nor exploitation as such is ever the main cause for resentment; wealth without visible- “function is much more intolerable because nobody can understand why it” should be tolerated.

Anti-semitism reached its climax when Jews had similarly lost their public functions and their influence, and were left with nothing but their wealth.  When Hitler came to power, the German banks were already almost judenrein (and it was here that Jews had held key positions for more than a hundred years) and German Jewry as a whole, after a long steady growth in social status and numbers, was declining so rapidly that statisticians predicted its disappearance in a few decades.  Statistics, it is true, do not necessarily point to real historical processes; yet it is note-worthy that to a statistician Nazi persecution and extermination could look like a senseless acceleration of a process which would probably have come about in any case . . .

Only wealth without power or aloofness without a policy are felt to be parasitical, useless, revolting, because such conditions cut all the threads which tie men together.

Some historians have criticized Arendt for this particular idea, suggesting that she blamed the victim here, arguing that the German Jews somehow had it coming.  We doubt seriously that this was her intention, but we certainly can’t say for sure.  In any case, her broader point – and the one that Tocqueville made first – is nevertheless applicable in a more general sense.  People who enjoy the trappings of wealth and power – e.g. cushy post-Congressional lobbying jobs, cushy post-bureaucracy investment banking gigs, comfortable salaries that enable them not to have to “socially intermingle” with the riff-raff and $120,000 vacations – but who have no real power to affect the economic and social conditions in the country are seen as parasites on society.  As Brooks so ably demonstrates, the ruling class in this country has just cause to fear the masses, ample reason to think that the people don’t care one whit for them.  David Brooks can’t really do much.  But he sure does seem to enjoy not doing it.

Now, given the arguments we’ve made up to this point, it might seem that we too are worried that Donald Trump is the American Hitler.  But we’re not.  Indeed, we think that Trump may be the only one who can save the American republic.  Let us explain.

We think it is more than fair to say that conditions in the West – and in America in particular – are sufficiently unsettled as to pose a serious risk to democracy as we know it.  The economic and social upheaval of the last four decades has destroyed the erstwhile status quo, leaving millions of people confused, unsettled, and at risk of imminent catastrophe.  The revolution in religious belief and practice has contributed to social-sexual behaviors that have utterly wiped out traditional kinship relationships, leaving vast swaths of the population with no support network other than that provided by the omnipresent state.  Meanwhile, the nation’s elites have grown fat and complacent, losing touch with the realities that dominate everyday life for the overwhelming majority of the nation’s people.  These elites – the ruling class – enjoy privileges and luxuries far beyond those imagined by even the wealthiest and most powerful potentates just a few decades ago, and yet they produce nothing of tangible value.  All of which suggests that conditions are ripe for revolution of some sort.

At present, this “revolution” is contained.  It is being managed precisely as the Founding Fathers would have hoped, through the mechanisms of the political system.  But that’s not to say that there is no risk of more substantial turmoil.  The people’s anger and rage are palpable.  The parallels between our own age and Weimar Germany are substantial and substantive, suggesting that there is much about which to worry.

At the same time, the contemporary United States is a mature democratic republic, whereas Weimar Germany was always a temporary experiment at best.  The institutions of the republic are, at least at present, sufficient to preclude a descent into authoritarianism by the likes of Donald Trump.  This means that all of the huffing and puffing over Trump is all but certainly either fabricated or foolish.  More to the point, we suppose, the hysteria over Trump is actually and perhaps intentionally misdirected.  There is a risk, we think, but it does not come from Donald Trump.

Over the past seven-plus years, the constitutional order has been greatly compromised.  The President of the United States took advantage of the current disorder to enhance his power and that of the state.  And for the most part, the very same elites who are now horror-struck at the prospect of a Trump presidency were complicit in Barack Obama’s power grabs.  They are now beginning to wake up to the risks posed by executive overreach, but only because they fear that they will not agree, politically, with the next overreaching executive.  Should that fear be placated, however, their objections will likewise vanish.  And therein lies the real risk.

In 1964, the great political theorist Eric Voegelin delivered a series of lectures at the University of Munich.  Among other questions, Voegelin sought to explain how and why the German elites were coopted and converted to National Socialism by leaders of the Nazi movement.  Specifically, what “spiritual” conditions enabled the descent of the entire German nation into murderous totalitarianism?

These lectures, which were published under the title Hitler and the Germans, contain a long and fascinating discussion on the conflict between “first reality” and “second reality,” concepts which Voegelin had introduced elsewhere.  “First reality,” he posited, is what we might call actual reality, “the expression of spiritual substance.”  “Second reality,” by contrast, is developed in the absence of spiritual substance and is an “artificial reality.”  Voegelin “identifies” second reality with “ideology,” warning that when “second reality” becomes socially dominant “there follow the massive disturbances of social order with which we are all too familiar,” that is to say, totalitarian Gnosticism.

In his tenth lecture in Munich, Voegelin discussed this conflict of realities more directly, using Don Quixote as model.  The discussion is fascinating and horrifying:

In the second volume of the novel, which contains the third expedition, the matter will again become much more complicated.  For Cervantes continues the stories of the first volume, recounting the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, which have been published and are known — as in fact they were — throughout Spain.  And when Don Quixote leaves for the third journey, everyone already knows who he is and who Sancho Panza is.  Therefore it happens that members of the Spanish nobility, a duke and a duchess, receive him and create situations, on their own initiative, where they enter into his tomfoolery and make fun of him.  So, a new social factor appears, which accepts the divertissement, or rather makes the story a divertissement for an otherwise unemployed and bored nobility sitting on their estates who enter into and encourage the whole tomfoolery.

I have introduced the expression “divertissement,” which comes from Pascal.  It is a matter of a determinate social class, which is indeed in the first reality but bored by  it — that again is a condition of moral decline up to a certain level.  It is now ready to fall in with a second reality under later circumstances of a revolutionary type and, so to speak, to join in the intellectual playing about because it’s fun.  After all, this is something different from the daily routine, which has become boring.  So here you have already a whole series of differentiations of behavior with regard to the problem of first and second reality.  First, the man who generally lives in and imagines a second reality, that is Don Quixote.  Then the second, who joins in, and under certain circumstances enters and is dragged into, the second reality, like Sancho Panza; but for this, one still needs the transformers.  And then you have the intellectual who is bored with the situation and ready to go along with ideas dished up to him that do not agree with the first reality, because that is much more stimulating than his daily work. . . .

Now here we have a series of criteria introduced for what second reality is.  First, if tomfoolery becomes general, then it will become socially dominant; and it is particularly seen as socially dominant and correct if it is decked out with authority.  Thus you have the condition of a totalitarian regime — where determinate ideologies are prescribed and propagated to those under subjection to the state, and which must therefore be OK . . . .  So, if the people who are in authority say it, then it surely cannot be false.  Either we must all have been stupid, or we must all have been clever compared with the others and they are all stupid; and if we had believed them, then we would have been stupid, and so on.  You see here, how all these phenomena, which I have empirically described, are already anticipated in Don Quixote in the analysis of the tension between first and second reality.

The point of all of this is to say that the second reality – the ideology and the precursor to totalitarianism – can be kept in check, as long as only the leader (Don Quixote) and his followers (Sancho Panza) are engaged in it.  The danger becomes far more substantial and tangible when the elites (the duke and duchess) join in the recognition of second reality out of sheer boredom and frustration with first reality, which is to say with their everyday lives.

In our current political situation, there is exactly zero risk that the country’s elites will participate in Donald Trump’s second reality.  Even if Trump is as horrible as they say he is, and even if the spiritual condition of the people is as broken as they fear it is, the second reality will not become socially dominant because the elites will resist.  They will protect the institutions necessary to withstand the descent into ideology and totalitarianism.

We cannot, however, be as confidant of the elites’ resistance to a second reality in the event that someone other than Trump is elected president.  They did not put up much of a fight against the man with the mighty crease in his pants, and they are unlikely to put up much of a fight against the lady in the pant suit either.  They like her – not as much as they like her socialist challenger, mind you.  But they like her and agree with her enough that they would gladly quell their boredom by participating in her increasingly wild and uncompromising flights of fantasy.

Donald Trump may be a boor.  He may be a “vulgarian.”  He may be lots of things people of refined sensibilities are inclined to dislike.  All of this we will gladly concede.  Heck, the guy may even be a totalitarian wolf in sheep’s clothing his detractors say he is.  But even if he is, he will not succeed, because the elites and institutions they man will do the responsible thing and resist him.

They will not resist Hillary Clinton, however.  And they would not resist Bernie Sanders.  Indeed, they would become complicit in either one’s enforcement of second reality.  Neither one is Hitler, of course, but that’s not to say that he or she couldn’t do a great deal of damage by tilting at the windmills of the republic.

Copyright 2016. The Political Forum. 8563 Senedo Road, Mt. Jackson, Virginia 22842, tel. 402-261-3175, fax 402-261-3175. All rights reserved. Information contained herein is based on data obtained from recognized services, issuer reports or communications, or other sources believed to be reliable. However, such information has not been verified by us, and we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness, and we are not responsible for typographical errors. Any statements nonfactual in nature constitute only current opinions which are subject to change without notice.