"The Fight 93 Election"

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Claremont's op-ed entitled "The Flight 93 Election" by Publius Decius Mus is another entry in the most-important-election-ever sweepstakes, in which the author whines that:

"A Hillary presidency will be pedal-to-the-metal on the entire Progressive-left agenda [and] will be coupled with a level of vindictive persecution against resistance and dissent."

He decries "the shameless propaganda tidal wave of the mainstream media:"

If you haven't noticed, our side has been losing consistently since 1988. We can win midterms, but we do nothing with them. [...] And, aside from 2004's lackluster 50.7%, we can't win the big ones at all.

He then goes on to complain that "the deck is stacked overwhelmingly against us. I will mention but three ways:"

First, the opinion-making elements--the universities and the media above all... [...]

Second, our Washington Generals self-handicap and self-censor to an absurd degree. [...]

Third and most important, the ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty means that the electorate grows more left, more Democratic, less Republican, less republican, and less traditionally American with every cycle. As does, of course, the U.S. population, which only serves to reinforce the two other causes outlined above.

"Trump is the most liberal Republican nominee since Thomas Dewey," he continues, while mostly praising Trump's "right stances:"

On trade, globalization, and war, Trump is to the left (conventionally understood) not only of his own party, but of his Democratic opponent. And yet the Left and the junta are at one with the house-broken conservatives in their determination--desperation--not merely to defeat Trump but to destroy him.

He does warn darkly of "the Left's iron grip on every school and cultural center," while asserting that "The election of 2016 is a test--in my view, the final test--of whether there is any virtù left in what used to be the core of the American nation."

The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf writes that the essay is "so at odds with the conservative tradition, or any coherent attempt to fuse it with the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, that one wonders if the enterprise now shares more premises with conservatism's flagship publication National Review or the leftist journal Jacobin:"

The essay is an attempt to change the minds of conservatives who refuse to support the GOP nominee. It doubles as a barely disguised rejection of conservatism itself, stoking panic in hopes that conservatives embrace what is essentially right-leaning authoritarianism.

Freidersdorf calls the essay "flagrant sophistry that should embarrass The Claremont Institute:"

What were they thinking? The author would have Claremont Institute readers believe that the only way to safeguard virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, and character is to be led by an erratic reality TV host best known for his greed and crassness! [...] Strip away the clever writing and this is idiocy. But Decius is not an idiot. He has ingeniously smuggled a radically anti-conservative agenda into a conservative think tank.

He believes that "conservatives know deep down that supporting Trump is antithetical to what they purport to believe:"

...that hysteria and hyperbole in forecasts about putting a Clinton is back in the White House for four years is more a function of the indefensibility of Trump than any actual threat his opponent represents. For some, partisan loyalty manifests whatever is necessary to justify it. [...]

To return to his own preferred metaphor, Decius is, in fact, like a man trying to rally those around him to rush the cockpit of an airplane... but unlike Flight 93, there are no terrorists aboard the flight. Decius is the one who represents a threat to passengers.

...just as Trump represents a threat to the nation.

Freidersdorf refers to Greg Weiner's analysis as "one of the best retorts to the essay," and I am inclined to agree. Weiner writes:

He consequently invokes the vivid image of "the Flight 93 election" in which the choices are to storm the cockpit and risk death (Trump) or to sit pat (Clinton) and perish for certain.

Those are stark choices indeed, and one of two possibilities is available. Either they are wholly detached from reality, in which case Decius has rejected prudence as the conservative virtue par excellence, or they are true, in which case Decius accepts the anticonstitutional and thus anticonservative proposition that the President straddles the Constitution like the Colossus stood astride the harbor at Rhodes.

In either case, the Flight 93 image indicates a regime diseased, one whose fate hinges on a single presidential election. That is never healthy and almost never reality. 1860 and 1864? Yes. But 2016?

"There are, of course, thoughtful people who find Trump distasteful but Clinton unacceptable," Weiner concludes:

But all of them should beware the rhetoric of crisis. "The election 2016 is a test--in my view, the final test," Decius warns by way of conclusion, "of whether there is any virtù left in what used to be the core of the American nation." Yes, it is a test. The test is whether we have the constitutional virtue--not the Machiavellian kind--remaining to resist the apocalyptic rhetoric of those who want us to believe it is the last one.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on September 9, 2016 7:32 PM.

the fight for public universities was the previous entry in this blog.

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