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Wars and Rumors of Wars

Iran

The United States has been in a proxy war with Iran for years. It has been fought with hard and soft power, in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. Iranian special forces have been conducting unconventional warfare (UW) operations in Iraq while US forces have conducted foreign internal defense (FID). This is all certainly not new.

I suppose one of the most interesting and ironic things to come out of the death of Qassem Soleimani was the mad rush of youngsters checking the Selective Service website to see if they would be drafted. There was such a panic the website was overwhelmed. No worries little girly boys, the military is not going to pull you out of your Gender Studies college program. You are not needed.

In terms of the morality of killing a man as an individual, well that is something else to consider. Ever since Sherman and Lincoln made it fashionable in the Western mind to ignore centuries of jus ad bellum principles, the gateway to assassination was opened wide. It began with burning cities, progressed to firebombing and now to outright assassination – we have devolved far but that is another topic.

The middle east is something of a pickle. It has been such since the 1920s and the attempts by the major powers to carve up countries where none previously existed. It persisted through the 20th Century with governments supported by the West that were often totalitarian. Perhaps the very best thing we could have done is let it all work itself out in the early 1990s. To allow a stong Shiite and a strong Sunni duality to check one another. Perhaps right after the Cold War was the time to walk away and let them work it all out. Alas, that is not the nature of power, it never seems to just back away.

Here we are, thirty years on. The Sunnis in Iraq are impotent, Iran is unchecked, in the Islamic world only Saudi Arabia can stand against them and despite all the money the Saudis spend on defense they are a paper tiger, inept and inefficient. What to do?

On principle, it seems that stepping away is the wisest and most moral option. Practically I am not certain that is possible, or perhaps better stated, realistic. Americans are too concerned with their own comfort. Folks left and right, would not long tolerate a situation where Iran was able to dictate oil prices and availability. I may be a man that detests war while realizing the necessity to fight when forced to but I also understand the mindset of those in the world around me. The most fervent statists will call for escalation, the most radical liberals will call for appeasement but neither will suggest pulling away. Therefore, if there are only two realistic options on the table, engagement through appeasement and stalwart willingness toward aggression, I begrudgingly and sadly must side with the later (with caveats and perhaps, in the end, I retreat back to a position of principle that says let it be).

Let us just state something right away. The US is not going to invade Iran. I am aware of no plan in existence to invade Iran. I am aware of plans that involve conflict, even ground conflict with Iran in various places and in certain scenarios, but if a plan to actually invade Iran exists, it is theoretical and perhaps more of an exercise of the mind rather than something any professional takes seriously.

Iran is large, much larger than Iraq. It is more capable militarily than Iraq. To be certain its military is nothing close to a peer competitor but they are not incompetent. Iran benefits for the lessons of the US’s previous attempts at regime change. They would not simply dig in their 523,000 man military, (583,000 if you count the paramilitary MOI), and await shock and awe. Geographically, Iran occupies strategic high ground in the Straits of Hormuz. They have intra-theater assets that can cripple the oil supply of Saudia Arabia and punish Isreal. They are much more capable of bringing the mother of battles to the middle east than Saddam ever was, and all thinking people know this. Threatening to hit 52 critical sites in Iran may give them pause, maybe. Then again, maybe not, if the US hit four times as many sites it would not eliminate Iran. I suspect the immediate Iranian response will be subterfuge and something more subtle, activities focused on making the US take more overt action. They have all the advantages through that strategy. Events like the September attacks on Saudi oil fields, which Iran conducted with plausible deniability and impunity are likely future response.

Iran is the honey-badger in this fight, and they just don’t care. This is a tough nut to crack, perhaps too tough.

Philosophical and Political Worldviews

We often view the world through a limited perspective and fail to see the larger narrative, the foundational differences in world views. A liberally inclined person may look at some conservative ideas and see totalitarianism. A conservative invariably does the same. Neither is absolutely wrong, but it is also unlikely that when a person right or left speaks these words or has these thoughts that they understand why this is true.

Within the umbrella of the philosophy of the Enlightenment, within the context of millennia of Western political, philosophical and theological thought, both left and right, conservative and liberal ideas of freedom, economics and government exist side by side. They are complementary, they share the same basic world view. Conservatism and liberalism, left and right, in the Western tradition, are based upon realism, rationalism, and acceptance of truth – this is Classical Liberalism.

The image above represents the various ideations of thought that derive from the Enlightenment. Obviously there is a vast swath of difference across this spectrum but at the core the most rigid forms of republicanism and the most liberal forms of scientific socialism share in common an acceptance of materialism, rationalism, realism and objective truth. From right to left, there is a difference in agreement as to what constitutes objective truth but everything that is true to the Enlightenment, everything above the ‘cut line’ agrees on the foundational world view, there is an agreement that truth exists.

Postmodernism

The Enlightenment itself was subjected to a counter-revolution, beginning with Immanuel Kant and continuing through philosophers like Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche and finally to the modern era and postmodernism. The counter-revolution was a slow but steady assault on the ability of men to know truth and finally of the existence of truth at all.

This shift perverted the classical liberalism philosophical spectrum. Without an understanding of the nature of man, universal truths, natural moral law, and natural rights the poles of the spectrum devolved into dangerous ideologies. Far-right republicanism gives birth to statism, far left progressivism gives birth to pseudo-marxism and totalitarian communism. Finally, a third way was born to address the inadequacies of perverted classical liberal ideologies, fascism, a phenomenon that can exist on the right and left of the spectrum below the classical liberal cut line.

The great political divide we observe at almost all levels of the process is a direct result of the abandonment of truth, or perhaps agreeing that truth exists. No longer does the definition of liberal or conservative reach across the spectrum to some degree as it did under a classical liberal view, no longer is there a middle. To be certain, there are still those that term themselves conservative and liberal but almost all on each side have succumbed to various postmodern ideological influences. This must invariably lead to some sort of totalitarianism, a form of fascism.

Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or a mode of discourse that rejects the possibility of reliable knowledge, denies the existence of a universal, stable reality, and frames aesthetics and beauty as arbitrary and subjective. It can be described as a reaction against scientific attempts to explain reality with objective certainty, recognizing that reality is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own personal circumstances. It is characterized by an attitude of skepticism, irony, or rejection toward the grand narratives and ideologies of modernism, often denying or challenging the validity of scientific inquiry, or declaiming the arbitrariness of the aesthetics of artistic works or other artifacts of cultural production, or questioning various assumptions of Enlightenment rationality.

Postmodernism relies on critical theory, an approach that confronts the ideological, social, and historical structures that shape and constrain cultural production. Common targets of postmodernism and critical theory include universalist notions of objective reality, morality, truth, human nature, reason, language, and social progress. Postmodernist approaches have been adopted in a variety of academic and theoretical disciplines, including political science, organization theory, cultural studies, philosophy of science, economics, linguistics, architecture, feminist theory, and literary criticism, as well as art movements in fields such as literature and music.

Wikipedia

Why This Matters

Everything that derives from postmodernism is poison to the Western tradition, right reason, morality, and ethics based upon truth. Critical Theory, as applied to Critical Race Theory, has divided the populace by reigniting racism. Feminist Theory has destroyed the family. It has slipped into traditional organizations such as:

  • Most of mainline Christianity in the form of Social Gospel
  • The Southern Baptist Convention and the acceptance of Critical Race Theory
  • The core ideology behind the formation of the megachurch growth, seeker-sensitive and emergent church movements – Peter Drucker, the Leadership Network The Gospel Coalition and others.
  • Almost all of academia.
  • Neoconservatism, neoliberalism and progressivism – meaning most of the Republican and Democratic parties and most of the organizations and individuals that advocate in the public square for either are affected in some way by postmodern ideology.

My daughter asked me recently, “how can two sides look at the evidence and issues related to Trump’s impeachment and see the facts so differently?” The answer is simple: people are incapable of thinking from first principles and agreeing on the existence of universal truths. And so it is, so long as the vast majority are mired in bad ideology the situation will persist and intensify.

Twitter Neophyte

I do not know a lot about Twitter. I really only just began to use it. I think I just got into my first Twitter skirmish, and it was informative.

Like all good stories, this one begins with “so there I was”. I posted a piece on James McPherson and the 1619 Project controversy and I noticed that a person with Ph.D. behind their name (honestly who does that on Twitter), posted a comment about how disappointing and sad it was that McPherson and other historians would criticize the project, and that “the way we do our work is important”. This person is a professor of history at a major university, criticizing another historian, an accepted expert on the subject at hand, and stated it was “sad and disappointing” that McPherson would find fault in this project.

I am no fan of McPherson, but he has written a lot on the subject of slavery, and this other person I have never heard of.

I commented essentially that if they were sad about McPherson’s critique and could not see the error themselves that spoke more to their qualifications than his and that good methodology was a friend. Ok, yes, perhaps provocative, but at the time I thought it appropriate. Their original post was a provocative attack as I read it.

The first reply I received was that my post was “embarrassing because I had obviously not looked at the person’s bio”. A blatant appeal to authority, a clear fallacy. I replied that I had noticed but it did not matter to me and my assessment stood as written.

What was most interesting was what followed. A trove of lemmings chimed in. Some said I could not comment on the issue because I am a white guy (who says that out loud). Others that I was mansplaining because the Ph.D. in question is a woman, or that I am a misogynist, etc. etc. ad nauseum. They conjured all of that from a few simple words from me, amazing.

As I said, perhaps I do not know a lot about Twitter. Perhaps a new guy with no followers ought not to call out someone with 2K drones following their words, ready to pounce. Maybe real Twitter wars happen when one guy with a bunch of lemmings says something to another guy and then their little ducklings fight it out.

This entire thing reminded me of a forum I followed years ago. Every once in awhile controversy and disagreement would break out. There was one camp on the boards that followed a guy called Jeff. Jeff appealed to authority all the time, he claimed to have been there and done it and that alone was enough to make his opinion better than others. He had a following that bought into his story no matter how banal his opinions at times. When disagreements would break out between the various factions, and Jeff was not online, there would be 20 posts from his followers with a variation of “wait to Jeff gets online and squares you away”.

Jeff would eventually post, usually to personally attack the credibility of the person making a counter-argument with one post. That would be followed by twenty or thirty “jeff told you, enough said” posts. It was insane.

I believe that is what Twitter might be. Echo chamber insanity, appeals to authority, bandwagoning, confirmation bias and a slew of other fallacies.

I have read that Milinials primarily get their news from Twitter. That is a bit troubling and not a small bit confusing. We have lost the ability to talk to anybody that does not agree with us, 100%, I perhaps count myself in that number as well. Without dialogue, a republic cannot long stand.

Update: Soon after posting this I had a dialogue with a socialist, a man that pointed out that Critical Theory was opposed by true socialist, who knew. Perhaps there is some use for Twitter. This man and I would never have spoken otherwise, me a paleoconservative and he a socialist, I would have happily proceeded to conflate the progressive and socialist ideologies together lock-step. It seems it is possible to actually talk on Twitter, and to learn something.

James McPherson and the 1619 Project

I once wrote in a review of James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom that,

James McPherson is a master of prose and storytelling as evidenced in Battle Cry of Freedom. He has mastered the art that Shelby Foote noted many historians lack, that of telling history in a way ordinary men will read. However, for all his skills at penmanship McPherson makes several critical errors in Battle Cry, errors common to his generation. It is likely that the influence and ascendance of this work and the myriad of others in the same vein will be short lived in the realm of serious scholarship on the causes of The War.

James McPherson’s central theme within Battle Cry, in his words, “the multiple meanings of slavery and freedom, and how they dissolved and reformed in the crucible of war”. His work is typical of most historians of his generation in that it rejects the thematic and topical analysis of events utilized by previous scholars.

(PDF) Review of Battle Cry of Freedom. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325986945_Review_of_Battle_Cry_of_Freedom

My opinion of his worth as a historian has not changed. He is an accomplished storyteller but he is a man of his generation, he shares flaws common across most historians trained the 1960s. There was a trend, beginning after WWII and the collapse of the academic and political old right, to tell the narrative of the United States from a more left and decidedly more centralist point of view. Much of the discussion and scholarship in the first half of the 20th century had dealt with the examination of sectionalism, original intent, and states’ rights. In the 1950s and going into the 1960s the standard narrative was less comprehensive, looked less deeply for the complexity of issues that divided America in the mid 19th century and came more and more to talk just of “rebellion and slavery”.

While I admire his ability to tell a story, I remain unconvinced of his view of American history in the 19th Century. It was, therefore, extremely curious to learn that McPherson and other historians publically called out the New York Times for errors in their 1619 Project. It seems the NYT journalist, that is folks that went to school to tell stories and master the written word as opposed to the study and analysis of history, went too far afield in the ever-evolving new American narrative. Painting American history essentially as one long list of events designed exclusively to dominate and manipulate black folks. That was too much, even for folks like McPherson. You can view their letter to the NYT here.

I applaud McPherson and his partners in this effort. It is dangerous, increasingly dangerous, to speak out against anything of the radical agenda. oftentimes those that are punished the worst, canceled the hardest and suffer the most, are left-leaning folks that fail to toe the line or speak up when things go too far astray.

It has caused a bit of a stir on Twitter, with half-baked defenses, incompetent lemmings and false historians and journalists coming out of the woodwork to defend the NYT.

More on the Failure of Classical Liberalism

Being for liberalism or democracy (the two are distinctly different things!!) is not the default Christian position. Many Protestants, and American Protestants in particular, have a very bad habit of thinking Christianity and democracy go hand in hand. They do not. Christianity, for the vast majority of history, has existed in non-democratic contexts and often thrived. There is nothing wrong with celebrating the achievements of liberal democracies because the achievements are impressive, but the defenders of liberal democracy downplay the weaknesses of this form of government, which we are starting to fully appreciate.

( Daniel Strand )

The dialogue intensifies. No longer is the idea that there is perhaps something fundamentally flawed with what has become of classical liberalism just a subject for stuffy academics in tweed. Common-sense informs us that there is a significant disconnect between the metaphysical reality that has been integral to Western Civilization and our current culture. Things simply do not make sense and many people have a difficult time understanding just how we got here. Many are starting to wake up to the fact that arguments over the Constitution, limiting government and culture are destined to fail and that subtle but certain authoritarianism is a distinct possibility.

My book, Retrenchment, is an additional, if meager, contribution to this dialogue, began perhaps as far back as 1981 in our current era by Schaeffer, fleshed out by Hoppe, masterfully articulated by MacIntyre, and finally given a name by Dreher. The idea that the very thing many hold so dear, “the ideals of democracy and Americanism”, may have gone terribly wrong and is poised to end in socialism and authoritarianism or soft totalitarianism is difficult to swallow. Most ‘conservatives’ have come to believe in American exceptionalism, how could it have all ended up so wrong? We need a lot more ordinary folks, like me coming to understand, talk about and write about this issue. It will not just go away nor self-correct.

These are tough issues, and the implications and questions these issues raise are uncomfortable. Yet, they are vitally important. We need those Kirkean guys in tweed and the old men sitting around as country stores, each in their own ways to begin discussing thee issues.

Things have changed, the culture is lost and is not likely to be gained back. As Hoppe pointed out in Democracy, the God that Failed, western democracies began to move toward failure since the mid-19th century. The idea that government is a moral agent, a propensity to expand governmental power and forgo Constitutional constraints were the hallmarks of this demise. Not that the culture has abandoned truth, and long-held Christian metaphysical reality, we see the cost of all of this – if only just now in a glimpse. Worse is to come I am afraid.

A Peak at the Authoritarianism to Come

Virginia is poised to be a test case of sorts, a formerly ‘red’ state with historic roots of respect for natural rights to life liberty and property and a large gun-owning population now under the control of radical progressives. The incoming legislature, buttressed by a progressive liberal governor is foaming at the mouth to test the limits of its power. Virginia Senate Bill SB 16   “It is unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, purchase, possess or transport an assault firearm” and makes such actions a Class 6 felony. (The American Spectator) The definition of “assault weapons” is pretty broad meaning that many Virginia citizens, law-abiding citizens might find themselves faced with surrendering their property or losing their liberty, both violations of natural rights protected under the Constitutions of Virginia and the US.

This is no small matter.

Already there is posturing in Virginia and in Washington with bellicose words and subtle threats. 75 counties in Virginia have passed ordinances or resolutions stating county police and sheriff departments will not enforce laws that violate the right to bear arms. This is a direct plea to the common law principle of the sheriff acting as an intermediary between the people and other powers. Under common law, the sheriff had a duty not only to enforce the law but to protect the people from external oppression and tyranny. Many that hold to the concept of natural rights protected under the Constitution have theorized for years that a fight such as this might come down to good sheriffs performing their higher duty.

This inconvenient historical fact has not escaped the radicals either in Richmond nor Washington. Some are suggesting that the governor use the National Guard to carry out confiscations, others have advocated defunding sheriffs departments that do not toe the line. The governor mentioned recently curring off the power and water to those that do not comply.

Of course, all of this is premature. If SB16 passes, which it probably will, it will be tied up in court for months or years. That is really not the point of all this. The radicals know they will not be grabbing any guns come March or April of next year. This is really a show of force. They are forcing the issue in a state where such talk was once unimaginable. They are forcing real Americans to react, to become afraid and to show their hands. Talk of empowering sheriffs departments to resist bad laws is important and necessary but it brings the topic to the surface and allows the radicals to attack the notion long before the court cases are settled. They now know exactly which counties and which sheriffs might actually stand up, they have a target list.

In Retrenchment, I discuss Saul Alinsky who essentially wrote the rule book for the radical progressive movement in Rules for Radicals.  There can be no reprieve to the traditional viewpoint he advised.  Radicals must press the issue deep, ridicule, isolate and ostracized opposing views until the revolution is complete and the opposition silenced. He pointed out that Lenin was happy to use the ballot box as long as the other side had the guns but that Lenin was pleased to consider bullets once his side had the guns.

Alinsky also preached polarization, isolation, and ridicule as methods the left should use. Now that county boards and sheriffs have stood up to identify themselves the radicals know who to individually target. It is all an almost perfectly applied strategy out of Rules for Radicals.

Another point that Alinsky made was that the leaders of the progressive revolution must always find new targets to assault so that the mobs and supporters do not get bored. Alinsky did not have a lot of confidence in the base supporters of radicalism to really understand the issues, he thought leaders needed to help them. One method to help was to always present new issues and new fights and to focus on wins.

Gun control, a historically hotly contested issue, is an easy win for the radicals at this point. They have already won as much of the culture war as is possible at the moment, it is too soon for the next stages of that fight. But gun control, that is something they can push with a vengeance.

Even if SB16 ultimately fails in court, this test case will move the ball forward. They are frontally assaulting a former red state and hundreds of thousands of real Americans living there that cherish their rights. It is bold, audacious and just the beginning.

What we should find most disturbing in all of this are the words the radicals are using. They carelessly toss about the notion of using the National Guard, which is not the militia but is really just the part-time Army at this point. And using this army to go to the homes of citizens to enforce the law and take property. Let that sink in for a moment. These people are saying this out loud and without shame. They are willing to send an army to private citizens’ homes, potentially to do violence. We fought a revolution over that issue among others, now the radicals have come to see the power of the Government and of violence as a positive good. A tool they may use to complete their revolution.

If they so callously believe this is ok in this case do you believe for a moment they will not apply the same logic to future brilliant ideas they codify into law? Religious liberty, free speech, freedom of association? Do you honestly believe any of those notions are sacred and sacrosanct in light of these developments?

We are on a perilous road toward authoritarianism. The loss of the Cultural war by traditional America was never about marriage or monuments, it was about principles. It was a fight against one side saying that good ideas and intentions ought to outweigh natural rights and common-sense. It was a fight against one side telling everyone else what to think and believe. Now they show their full hand and their willingness to do violence against those that oppose them.

Afghanistan Papers

The American Conservative posted piece calling the revelation of the Afghanistan Papers a #MeToo moment, with all sorts of former military folks and ‘experts’ coming out of the woodwork to say they knew also.

I have written about Iraq and Afghanistan since my first rotation in the middle east. I did most of my writing under a pseudonym ‘ElCid’, but it never would have been difficult to out me, I never hide where I was, what I did nor my rank and affiliation. I was not alone, there were many others, many posted on places like Soldiers for the Truth before that organization changed its focus. I was anti-war after my first rotation, not because I do not see the necessity of war, it was because I saw the futility of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I knew it early as a young man sitting in Shuras with village leaders, us passing out money to the old men were supposed to give to young men to get them to work instead of plant IEDs, it was obvious the old men sent the village idiots out to pick up trash for our money while the IEDs were still planted. I knew it sitting with Kurds in northern Iraq and them asking me tough questions about loyalty, trust and US policy that I could not honestly answer because none of it made any sense to me based upon true principles. It was obvious after going back much later to see the same spots that were once ‘tamed’ blow up in conflagration, nothing from before lasted. I knew it when assigned to train both Iraqi and Afghani troops, the appetite of higher-ups for ‘good news stories’ was insatiable. If you could not produce at least one storyboard per day talking about how great they were doing in their training or operations you were a failure, it did not matter that nothing good was going on, people made stuff up. It was most obvious working with a counter-terror finance team created as a result of SIGAR that MILLIONS of US dollars were being paid out to shell companies that directly or indirectly financed the adversary.

And the metrics, bafoons sitting in massive operations centers looking at elaborate COPs (massive digital displays) filled with drone feeds, metrics, and sundry data. It often reminded me of the body count nonsense for Vietnam, as a student of history, I wondered how we could be so stupid and foolish. Commanders thining that digital feeds and communications might allow them to actually understand what was going on.

If I am a hypocrite because I stayed in and went back for many more rotations, I will accept that title. I did it because I believed people that hold principles dear ought to serve. I also stayed because it was what God created me to do. A lot of people of conscience that I served with stayed for the same reason.

I am skeptical of those that want to make a now big deal of saying they knew, to come out like a hero and gain accolades in the media, especially those that did one rotation and got out years ago. If they knew, they ought to have been screaming the truth. Speaking up while one’s career might have been jeopardized would have been brave. Jumping on the bandwagon now because the MSM will give you a voice is a form of virtue signaling.

Hallmark Too

When Chick-fil-A fell and Kowtowed in the terrible event that will be remembered as the Cowtow of 2019 many suggested that if Christian Chicken could succumb to radical progressive pressure, no company large or small could. It seems now, that in addition to the traditional presentation of ‘gay’, as in sappy happy, Christmas movies on Hallmark the company now will promote the LGBTQ agenda as well. Less than 24 hours after Hallmark announced it would remove advertisements featuring a lesbian wedding they announced the following-

This is not surprising. It is the nature of the age we live in. The radical progressives are no longer the radicals – they own the culture.

If this upsets you or perplexes you, this means you are now the radical, the outsider looking in on a culture you do not understand. You are in the minority. It is time more folks came to fully understand that.

Things fall apart, the center cannot hold

When The People see the Government as Illegitimate

There have been several news articles of late quoting a Trump supporter as saying something like “there will be a Civil War if Trump is impeached”. These are click-bait pieces, intended to rile up a certain segment of the population with images of white men in their 50s or 60s with MAGA red hats and shotguns storming the steps of Congress.

On the face of it, this is simply preposterous. On a deeper level, there is something to this idea. No, not that Trump supporters would take to the streets in violence if the Senate actually impeached him and actually try and overthrow the government. That is not the real danger. The real danger is the government itself already looks pretty illegitimate to a lot of folks right and left. Impeaching a president, now, in this great divide, with clowns in office, right and left, could only serve to further delegitimize the government itself.

The far left sees the government as oppressive, its police forces unchecked and the government as a tool of inequity. The far-right sees the government as the champion of the destruction of traditional America and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property. Everybody left, right and middle sees the federal government as incompetent and mired in silliness. It is not a far jump from thinking something an incompetent joke to actually seeing it as illegitimate.

No there will not be a Civil War if Trump were to be impeached but the pendulum does swing, and it is swinging harder with each iteration. Trump was a logical counter-reaction to Obama, the Alt-Right to Antifa, one party’s witch hunt is a reaction to the others when they were in power. The witch hunts will not stop, the pendulum will not stop swinging and the government will not suddenly start appearing more legitimate or competent. Ineptitude, investigations, chaos, and pettiness are now the very best Congress can provide America, no matter which party is in charge.

Somebody, one side, will eventually grow tired of the pendulum and violence will ensue someday. It is likely now, not just theoretical. It could take a year, or twenty, but a government cannot rule without violence once it becomes illegitimate – the Federal government has either crossed that line or is rapidly approaching it, it all depends upon your perspective. The apathy demonstrated by most is an absolute sign of this illegitimacy, a testimony equal to the anger and agitation on the far right and left.

An illegitimate government either crumbles, the least likely outcome, or resorts to violence to combat violence, to shore up its power in a vacuum of legitimacy. Authoritarianism often follows illegitimacy.

The cultural war has devastated a lot more than American traditions, it has polarized politics to such a degree that the government can no longer actually function to fulfill its purpose.

We elect guys with nicknames like “Tricky Dick” and “Slick Willie” and wonder why those men have scandal. We elect a guy that is first generation with a middle name of Hussain and investigate his ties to Kenya. We elect a fellow that demonstrates amorality in his personal life and we are shocked by his audacious tweets. But Americans elected these men, and perhaps as Hans Herman Hoppe pointed out in Democracy, The God that Failed that is the problem, the voters or more specifically democracy is the problem. Hoppe was echoing Alexis de Tocqueville’s sentiments about great requiring good. Americans elected these people, and despite the flaws of their choices, they expected the government to get to work. And perhaps that is the problem.

If the government is illegitimate and there are clowns running the halls of congress and bafoons regularly occupying the White House, whose fault is it? This is not a right or left issue, Trump cannot be the best and the brightest that conservatives might have found, he does not even qualify as a conservative in my mind. But have you taken a gander at the debate stage of the left recently? Are those people the best and the brightest from that side? Some of the Democratic offerings even propose eliminating the last “check on stupid” the Founder’s placed in the Constitution, the Electoral College. That is a brilliant idea!

If the government is illegitimate, it is because the electorate is at fault. We elect these people. We are the clowns.

Humpty Dumpty has taken a fall and no amount of effort can put him back together again. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.