Considering American Exceptionalism

America, in many ways, is exceptional. We are blessed with vast resources, a history, and lineage that provided us with a framework of law built at its core centuries ago around universal law, natural law, and natural rights. We have inherited from those that came before us a culture that was hardworking, ambitious, and tethered to truth. Through accident, sloth, and sometimes willful rebellion we have denigrated those gifts, but in the times that we are still good, we can be exceptional.

But we are not perfect, we are not morally superior, we are probably not even blessed because it is preordained that we must be. We certainly have not always been good, right nor just. We are not perfect.

We are also not what Howard Zinn would paint us as, nor the politicized caricature the NYT foisted upon the world recently with the 1619 project. Even where Zinn or those that contributed to the 1619 project approach truth they do so from a flawed perspective. If you find poison in a well upstream all that flows downstream is suspect.

We could spend hours, hundreds of pages, and endless conversations related to what the post-moderns got correct in their original protests to the Western way and by extension the American system. Their original, foundational questions were not wrong, they were also not unique. But for the sake of brevity and sanity, we can dismiss postmodern criticism of our system because they lead to absurdity, confusion, and no solutions.

In 1930 twelve southern academics and writers collaborated in I’ll Take My Stand. Their criticisms of industrialization versus agrarianism were those of cause and effect, of culture, and quality of life. Profoundly, these men, arguing for both how we live and the quality of the world we live in were not so different than later objections inspired by postmodernism.  Inside of those criticisms is something true.

We could go on, perhaps to review the work of Russel Kirk, Thomas Fleming, and others, it would be a long and enjoyable journey, one that a person could spend a lifetime perusing, but we might boil down the central them to one paraphrased statement.

The balance between liberty and order, justice and truth, righteousness and liberty, and good government and tyranny is perilous. Idealism unchecked is dangerous, human nature when unaccounted for and unrestrained is dangerous. Tradition is important, accidents of history occur and they become part of us. Who we are is who history made us to be and that is important as a start of who we might become.

Recently John Zmirak was rightly railing against conservatives that make a living peddling fear of tyranny and oppression to come while at the same time kowtowing to the new illiberal order. He asserted that some of these believe America was founded poorly and that the only way out is for it to fail and some future generation o start anew. We disagreed briefly on the second point, I see major flaws in the founding, yet I also see the accidents of history and our traditions have given us what we have, you fight for what you have and endeavor to improve it. But there is something to be said for the disagreement John highlighted within the world of ideas.

To those that operate in that rarified air of ideas, and historical and legal interpretation, I would say, there really is something to the claim that our founding is not exactly what the story of American exceptionalism says it is. This is true too of Lincoln and others.

Centralization was inserted into our system by a cabal early on. (I use cabal intentionally with no implied additional meaning). When the Federalists conspired to ignore their charter to modify the Articles of Confederation, used every crisis (whether contrived or leveraged to advance their solution), and executed a coordinated propaganda campaign to gain compliance from the masses - they set in motion and made possible what we see today.

[C]entralization is both contrary to the received traditions of the American people and has proven negative to all aspects of good governance and society – excluding order which cannot long last once all else is lost. The paper is divided into two sections with an introduction and conclusion. The first is a historical survey of the ideas and events from the 1760s to 1868 and comprise the Revolution, formation of the Republic, and establishment of the New Order.

Centralization has proven false, dangerous and a negative path because it is fundamentally contrary to nature, human nature, and natural law, and must invariably lead to less mortality, less liberty, less prosperity, and ultimately less happiness.

In essence, everything the antifederalists feared, everything that Calhoun warned of – these and more have been the fruits of centralization and nationalization. One could even argue that the reduction to the mean, man swallowed in a sea of sameness that he is incapable of influencing has exacerbated the influence of bad philosophy, skepticism, relativism, and humanism; these have further separated man from God and religion that honors Him. (article here)

I am happy to sit any day with anyone that operates in the world of ideas and discuss the entire premise. Leave credentials and titles and the door and we will take turns purchasing beverages.

But frankly, we do not live in the world of ideas. Augments over if and how the Federalists' goal of building a unitary executive and central state were real and if they had historical impact will not fundamentally change the future, not now. Those were arguments for 2019.

The Fundamental Question

For simplicity, two broad and general political worldviews.

  1. The System Works
  2. The System is utterly corrupt and does not work

Obviously, those two camps have numerous subdivisions, conservatives, liberals, and progressives can and do fall in each camp. Let’s keep it simple and focus just on conservatives that now (13 December 2020) see the system and utterly corrupt and dysfunctional (a group that grows by the day).

At the very heart of this group, we find ‘truthers’, Don Quixotes that have for years chased down oddities. Sometimes their searches for truth led them down wrong paths but at the core, they always knew that things are not what we are told. Functionally they agree with the arguments in the centralization paper listed above.

Most of us are familiar with some of the arguments, there is a grand conspiracy that has existed for centuries and within that conspiracy, there are now secret and not so secret groups that seek to seize power and control us and the world economy.

If you paid attention to these groups and the various versions of the theory you understand the accusations of collusion between Freemason founders in America, bankers, Jesuits, and others. Before 2020, most people dismissed these theories publicly, even if they entertained them to some degree privately.

In 2020, after observing almost all of our institutions lie to us repeatedly and in a coordinated way to tell us that what we just witnessed with our own eyes is not true, many folks began to pay attention to long dismissed theories. When the World Economic Forum began to talk openly about a Great Reset, many more listened.

The Fundamental Answer

We will never know all the details. We will likely not know if there was a conspiracy that existed across generations, whether the ambitions and goals of the Federalist in 1790 that manifested as reality in our time was all part of a bigger plan. Frankly, that does not matter. We do not need to know all the details right now.

We can see the nature of the thing. The warnings and protests of the anti-federalists came true, they were right about the Federalists. The warnings of John C. Calhoun in the mid-nineteenth century and the twelve southerners in the mid-twentieth came true. The warnings of the John Birth Society from the 1950s and 60s have manifested. We do not have to be able to piece all of the parts together and know every connection to see the nature of things. The warnings came true, we can look back and see that there were connections between people that had a role in moving us to this point and we can look and listen to people speaking that want to take us further.

We do not have to prove or disprove all the conspiracy theories to now see that something has been up, and most likely did not just begin. Whether that was an innocent transmission of ideas or something more intentional does not matter. We see the effect; effects always have a cause. When you see an effect build across time and can attribute small incremental events (causes) to the growing effect and then find tangible connections to those involved you know enough.

The Glue That Holds It Together


There is only one force that could deceive intelligent and free people long enough, deep enough and over enough time to foundationally shifting a culture from freedom and righteousness to tyranny and unrighteousness.

A Word of Caution

Knowing that the system is rigged, understanding that somebody has collaborated to hijack both our perception of reality but also perhaps our future does not mean that we can fully understand who and what that is right now. It also does not mean we can fully understand who to trust.

I have a video and article I plan to release on 20 January 2021, I think by then more of what I believe may be the truth of all the movements I see afoot may manifest in a way that people will listen and understand.

Be careful.

The Way the Word is and is Not

Many people, from common and ordinary observers to those that read and think deeply on the issue, wonder about the very nature of the world we live in.  Nothing makes much sense.  A grandma in Bismarck North Dakota that only sees the world through Facebook and the nightly news and a philosopher schooled in the classics, history and public policy wonder the same thing. Something is ‘off’, things have changed and are changing in a way that does not comport to the standard explanations.

With much amusement, some in the ‘mainstream’ observe that the fringes have begun to accept conspiratorial explanations for the way things are. To be certain, much of what one sees bandied about as facts and justification on the margins left and right is easily attributed to false interpretations of easily explainable events and circumstances. That is perhaps the problem with conspiracy theorist, they see the boogeyman beyond every action, they reach too far.  Also, many sensationalize the phenomenon, and make an industry of creating and perpetuating the conspiracy narrative, Alex Jones comes to mind.

I contend and continue to contend, that the world is as it is at present because of the diffusion and expansion of bad philosophy into bad ideology and then into bad public policy, education, academics, theology and world view. (B. Clark 2019) In the West, we valued the wrong philosophers from the Enlightenment and this led to an abandonment of the Western tradition of common-sense and Christian metaphysical realism. It is easy enough to explain how Postmodernism through bad philosophy, once accepted begat bad ideology and defused into all elements of culture and how this will eventually lead to totalitarianism or authoritarianism.  (B. L. Clark 2019)

Through the lens of the arguments above, combined with a Christian worldview that says human are fallible and imperfect, it is possible to understand the world as it is without further theories or explanations.  Since this is the most obvious, reasonable and sufficient reason it is one I have accepted and continue to accept.

However, there are some things, some coincidences that seem just too strange to be mere coincidence.

For instance, Trump remains an enigma to me.  His election is explained by some as a populist reaction to the changes mentioned above, perhaps something of a last counterattack of the ordinary man. Perhaps.  His behavior in office has been perhaps the most curious thing to me.  I have commented more times than I can now count after he tweets something that most consider outrageous that he is either unhinged, like some claim, or a genius. He either has absolutely no idea what he is doing or he is well aware and doing it as part of a plan.  His communication strategy is just too bizarre when compared to what the ‘experts’ would say he should do, to be anything other than one of those extreme poles. If he is unhinged, then the Democrats would be correct to want to impeach him.  If he is executing a genius strategy of communication that speaks to his base and circumvents his distractors, he is either a masterful demagogue or part of something bigger.

A populist demagogue, that speaks to his base and confounds his enemies and their allies in the mainstream media is not necessarily dangerous, and perhaps what we need in a time of confusion. This would be a reasonable, logical and sufficient explanation, and perhaps the most likely.

Perhaps the most interesting explanation is that Trump is merely part of something bigger.  This is what QAnnon suggests and what the supporters and interpreters of QAnnon ‘drops’ suggest.  Outrageous, right?  Perhaps, maybe even probably.  I am disinclined to see complex conspiracies where simple solutions suffice.

Jeffery Epstein and the curious and odd events surrounding his life and death gave me pause to wonder. The list of people that associated with him, visited his island and other properties are extraordinary, the rich and powerful from politics and industry all there at one or time or another.  The only notable figure to be embroiled in the scandal is a rather dense spare royal heir, Andrew.  The fact that mainstream media killed the Epstein story, to begin with, is troubling. The subsequent murder of Epstein, before his trial, before he had to chance to name names and cut a deal, while in solitary confinement and protective custody - that is beyond curious.

Let’s back up for a moment.  I stated earlier I do not ascribe to conspiracy theories to explain the explainable, but that does not mean I have not found them entertaining and interesting over the years. I have been aware of certain themes and permeations of the prevailing conspiracy theories since the early 1990s.  One theme that has been present in most theories I read as a form of entertainment was the concept that elites colluded not only for power and access but that sex and sexual perversions played a central role in their ideology.  Pedophilia was often mentioned as an element of the conspirators.

Naturally then, when presented with the facts of a man like Epstein, with obscene wealth, a list of social associates that transcend political parties and reach into board rooms, and state and local government and at the center of it is sex, sex trafficking, and underage girls all culminating in a mysterious murder, apparently by the guards, while in protective custody - that is something to ponder. Did all of these conspiracy people have pieces and parts of the story right all along?  Certainly, they went to extremes at times, they reached too far to see the conspiracies hand in too many events, but were they fundamentally right about some of it?

I do not know.  It all seems too fantastic of a story to even consider.  But how else can one explain major media outlets initially killing the Epstein story, his death, his bizarre list of associates and major medias refusal to dig in and question people like Bill Clinton or Bill Richardson or demand access to the 1,000 other sealed names.

The Epstein story intrigued me, so I dug a bit and stumbled upon imagery of his complex at his island. The internet, it seems, was paying a lot of attention to a temple building on the Island. Here is an example of the sorts of stories I initially ran across.

This takes us back to another theme that has been present in the general conspiracy narrative since the 1990s and perhaps long before. The claim is that the conspirators make heavy use of symbology and that their core ideology aligns in some ways to paganism, perhaps mixed with mysticism. Folks across the interwebs have dissected the symbology of the Epstein temple and compared pieces and parts to patterns and symbols in other places, displayed by other public figures. Perhaps just coincidence, perhaps reaching in some cases but the theme has been there from the start, and now we have this provider of pedophile experiences to the rich and famous with a temple - odd. This is not to say the conspiracy folks are right, but they have been saying that this is the reality as long as I have paid any attention to them, for 30 years.

Invariably, my searches brought me to the discovery of QAnnon, a phenomenon I was unaware of until very recently.  I admit I was perhaps slow in the uptake on this.  I spent the last couple of years ignoring social media and the domestic news cycle for the most part. My initial conclusion about this person or group is It is one of the following (in order of most fantastic and difficult to believe to most likely):

  1. It is just what they claim to be.
  2. It is a complex, well-conceived and orchestrated information campaign by Trump and close Trump insiders.
  3. It is a flakey hoax that has leveraged the populism of Trump and combined it with elements of existing conspiracy theories to craft a narrative.
  4. Some combination of all of the above.

Let’s begin with item#3, I have not read any refutations of QAnnon to this point, I do not need to as I can craft enough on my own.  Also, if I want to examine the first two possibilities, I will have to accept the premise that mainstream media outlets would certainly put enormous effort into crafting a false counter-narrative.

A flakey, opportunistic hoax is a reasonable sufficient explanation. However, there are so many odd things that one would have to accept as coincidence, FISA Gate for one, and then of course Epstein. Is it actually possible that the entire current impeachment mess is a result of an attempt to cover up and detract from what was a literal coup attempt by Obama, Clinton and others?  That is a fairly extraordinary proposition, but very little of this entire drama, beginning with fabricated intelligence documents and spying on the Trump campaign make a lot of sense. Those two events are significant, bigger than Watergate ever was.  They represent a sort of desperate departure from the rule of law one expects in a banana republic.

If QAnnon is just a flakey hoax, it has hit on some elements of truth, some facts that should be alarming and some aspect of reality that we are not shown on the nightly news.  This is not to say the person or persons are what they say they are or that the interpretations of the QAnnon drops are correct.  It is to say that, just as I began this piece, something in our world does not make sense.

This leads us to item#2, that QAnnon is part of a trump driven information campaign. The ‘drops’ began in 2017 and by 2018 Q advocates were openly appearing at trump rallies and given interviews at the Whitehouse. One of the elements Q-ers use to validate the ‘drops’ by Q is ‘proofs’ - either first published photos of items close to the President or timestamps that correspond with Trump twitter posts.  These ‘proofs’ indicate to followers that Q has access to the POTUS.

In light of the question, I raised earlier about Trump and his tweets, QAnnon and the theory that it is part of a Trump information campaign make much more sense.  In some ways it is brilliant.  Trump tweets harsh words in plain language, items that frustrated the mainstream and befuddle traditional media. This language and the reaction of his opponents appeals to his base.  QAnnon, in this sense, is the explanatory arm of the campaign.  It provides the meat behind the words, the meta-narrative.

In a world where Trump was never going to get a break from the media, and one where perhaps illegal activity such as FISAGate and fabricated intelligence really exist, it seems rather ingenious to create a platform to work around the entire system. I am not saying it is moral or ethical, I do not know all the facts, but taken for what this theory of the existence of QAnnon says it to be, it is inarguably ingenious.

This leads us to the most disturbing of these theories.  What if QAnnon is what it is presented to be, some group of intelligence insiders in collusion Trump and key Trump insiders.  What if the election of Trump was not just a populist movement, but a populism combined with insiders that worked to thwart efforts of traditional power brokers to retain power by illegal means?  What if there really is a group of folks that have loosely colluded over time, perhaps a long time, to secure power at numerous levels in and out of government, in media and in corporations?  What if this group really does adhere to an ideology that has religious elements, symbolism and perhaps even a propensity toward sexual perversion?

On the face of it that is fairly outrageous, difficult to accept and perhaps even preposterous.

It is preposterous if in thinking about his cabal of conspirators’ you conceptualize something like a controlling, all-powerful, secret organization that exercises power across time and national boundaries. Think here of a legion of doom, James Bond sort of super-villain organization, with secret hideouts etc. That is obviously absurd.  This is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind, and it is dismissed as ridiculous as soon as it appears.

What if it were something else?  Instead of an all-powerful organization with a written creed, a chain of command and a discernable organization it is instead a loose association, a web of association.  Instead of controlling all things in all places it has varying degrees of power and influence in different places at different times.  It influences and manipulates much more than controls.  Instead of a rigid organization with creeds and an organizational chart, it is something more like a group of like-minded folks that share ideology, invite others into the circle of circles over time.   Instead of a centralized mechanism by which people are placed into positions, it is really more of an ad hoc process, people are brought into small circles, organically rather than deliberately.

Such an organization, not really being a real organization at all, could grow, and exercise influence slowly over time.  To be certain, there would be some that are closer to forming a core cohort, the usual suspects that attend the Bilderberg for instance. There would be powerful families that have been part of the cohort for longer periods of time, particularly those that got rich through what Kevin A. Carson calls  “the subsidy of history”. (Richman 2012) There would be individuals with enormous wealth that would be seen as prime actors and supporters of some agenda, think George Soros for instance. And there would be many organizations that would push and advocate pieces and parts of the plan.  However, none of that needs a central organization nor a master plan, and if one existed in the minds of a few not many would need be aware of it.

In fact, many people doing the yeoman’s work of the overall plan would not need to even understand there was anything larger going on, and many would actively deny that such was even possible.

If this cabal of conspirators is a decentralized, loose organization of the nature I just described it would not exercise total control.  A situation like Jeffery Epstein being arrested would occur, there are still many decent people around in positions of power.  A guy like Trump, against all predictions, could win an election against folks one might rightly expect are knee-deep in the middle of the evil side.

Such is the narrative that Q paints.  The cabal in their description is powerful, it has hooks in many places, but it does not control everything.  It simply cannot, not yet, most people still believe in the rule of law and some notion of liberty.  If such a cabal exists, it was still in the process of consolidating power and shifting events in 2016.

If the narrative Q paints were to be true, the most alarming thing would not be that it were true, that groups of people have loosely worked together to shift events toward less freedom and more control.  The most terrifying thing would be that the election of Trump and the assertion by Q that after Trump weathers this impeachment process the virtual hammer will begin to fall on members of the cabal.

Here is the crux.  If Q is on point and telling the truth they claim the ‘good guys’ are winning this whole thing.  They claim that after Trump weathers the last assault, impeachment, indictments and arrests will be widespread of a large number of folks involved in nefarious activity.  This leaves only five possibilities.

  1. Trump is not removed from office and then proceeds to more publicly speak of the cabal and arrests and indictments proceed.
  2. Trump is not removed from office, but nothing but talk, innuendo, investigation and the same old Washington dram ensues (Q was a deception)
  3. Trump, despite the extremely low probability, is removed from office, and it all seems odd. (Perhaps Q was telling the truth and the cabal is more powerful that assumed)
  4. Trump is not removed from office, but is assassinated, never taking any direct action against the cabal Q claims exists (might this mean Q was correct)

Of all those possible outcomes, #2 seems the most likely. If that means that Q was an information operation by some core Trump group, with his knowledge and consent, no matter how brilliant of an operation, I would be disgusted.

If any of the other occurs, we will all have to sit back down and reconsider what we really think is going on in the world. If #3 happened I would really scratch my head, removal from office is such a low probability event at this point. If #4 happened, well I would be convinced, that something dark and nefarious was at work in the world.

Strauss and Howe predicted the chaos of the 2000s, the 2008 financial crisis and the election of Trump.  They predict a transformative change to come soon in their work in The Fourth Turning. (Strauss and Howe 1999) Change is coming, good or bad.  Whether Q was a force of good, a hoax, or disinformation, only time will tell.

I have said all of the above to simply say, the world seems not to make a lot of sense to me right now.  I simply do not understand how we have come to this, this mess, discord, and absurdity.


Note to the Government guys:  I have noticed your IP addresses, perhaps because of my 2nd Amendment Post and I will perhaps see more because I said the A word above in the same sentence with POTUS.  Get real fellas, read my words and move on, nothing to see here.  I did not say I wanted to see such happen nor that someone should do such. I was speaking about what this would all look like if some crack-head loser actually did that.  I believe this Q stuff is probably either bunk or disinformation. Spend your time on real problems.  However, since you are here, might I suggest you read A Blessed Life, I am harmless, I still hold to the same oath we both took.


Clark, B L. 2019. “From Radical Progressivism to Authoritarianism.” SSRN Electronic Journal.

Clark, Barry. 2019. “Fourth Turning Clash of Inter-Civilization Cultures Thesis.”

Richman, Sheldon. 2012. “How The Rich Rule.” The American Conservative.

Strauss, W, and N Howe. 2009. The Fourth Turning: What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny. Crown/Archetype.