November 30, 2022
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
The Oncoming Second American Civil War:
Donald Trump and the Failure of Conservatism
Much of the talk recently among the “conservative chattering class” has been about how the “movement” must somehow “move on” from Donald Trump (without overly alienating his base) and take a serious look at alternatives, most notably Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, with lesser—and far less distinguished—papabile such as the incredibly ambitious Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, and even the discredited buffoon Chris Christie of New Jersey, in tow.
Building up to President Trump’s announcement of another run for the White House on November 15, and then with a crescendo effect afterwards, Republican politicos, consultants, congressmen, and the Murdoch media (through its voices the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal, with less strident flurries on Fox News) echoed the same mantra: “Trump is not the man for the GOP in 2024!” And it was up to the “party” (read=elites) to select someone more—how should we say it?—more smooth and agreeable, less confrontational, less likely to “shoot-from-the-hip,” and more apt to bring over those brainless soccer moms, while reducing the unrelenting attacks spewed forth by the legacy media. In other words, what the Republican Party needed was a nicer, quieter, better groomed and mannered figure who could essentially get us back to more halcyon times. Essentially, the GOP needed to go back to its now traditional role of perfunctory opposition to the Leftist tsunami, while, in effect, only slightly impeding the Left’s inevitable advances in and capture of all our social, cultural and political institutions.
Examples of this pusillanimous political posture within the GOP abound plentifully, most recently in the vote on the absurdly-called Respect for Marriage Act to enshrine same sex marriage nationally requiring the federal government to recognize a marriage between two people if the marriage is valid in the state where it was performed and guaranteeing that such a marriage is given full faith and credit, regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. Leading up to the US Supreme Court’s outrageous and unprecedented Obergefell decision in 2015, the Republican Party supposedly opposed such an aberrant constitutional view. Indeed, various GOP elected leaders pledged that they would strongly support the traditional moral view of their constituents, the overwhelming opinion of a majority of Americans. Thirty states had already adopted constitutional amendments defining marriage as between one man and one woman, including my home state, North Carolina, in 2012, where the vote was 61% to 39%.
But since Obergefell, not hardly a peep. Mostly just acceptance.
And indeed, in the recent vote, twelve Republican senators crossed over and insured easy passage, with such unprincipled chameleons like Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) defending staunchly his vote by declaring ingenuously that the act “maintains the status quo with respect to same-sex marriage that was set forth by the Supreme Court….”
Same sex marriage is just one such issue; there are countless others where “conservative” opposition has proven to be little more than a paper tiger, engaged in shadow boxing, while ceding the way clear for an advancing, all-encompassing radicalism.
Public education? It has been taken over, literally, by the radically “woke” left, as have most colleges and universities. And the reaction of conservatives? Complain and grouse about, talk and write about the insanity which has captured academia and our children. And the solution? In addition to remaining motionless as if blinded by headlights, maybe just throw more money at the problem! Here in North Carolina where the General Assembly is dominated by Republicans, just name a few more political/financial cronies to the board of governors for the university system who will…do nothing!
Where are the fearless Republicans to at last arise and state the obvious: that our public education system has failed miserably, and that the schools (physical plants) need to be sold off to consortia of parents and private organizations, with the appropriate tax monies going directly to the parents who must have complete school choice? Such a program would, certainly, require time to implement, but can anyone think of a better way to stanch the destruction of public education?
Where are the conservative/Republican voices advocating radical reform? Again, mostly silence.
Illegal immigration? Republicans promise to do something, perhaps even impeaching Biden’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, for his utterly disastrous “open door” approach and his de facto support for porous American borders. But does anyone think that Kevin McCarthy and congressional Republicans will actually go through with that threat? After all, this is the same party that desperately attempted to find a compromise with the radical Dems over “dreamer” citizenship. Does anyone seriously believe “conservatives” will, once in power, actually begin to expel illegal aliens now situated here in the US? Oh, yes, Governors DeSantis and Gregg Abbott have staged a few highly publicized transferals of a few illegals to places like Martha’s Vineyard, which were, of course, experiments in symbolism. But where is the firm promise to remove those several millions who have come in since Donald Trump left office?
The silence is deafening.
The list of conservative promises, followed then by conservative collapse and full acceptance of those very positions once so strongly denounced is appalling.
What more evidence do we need to confirm the verdict, rendered nearly 150 years ago, by great Southern writer Robert Lewis Dabney on the “conservative” party:
“This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn.
“American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it he salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious, for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always—when about to enter a protest—very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its ‘bark is worse than its bite,’ and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent rôle of resistance.
“The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it ‘in wind,’ and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy from having nothing to whip….”
Which brings me back to Donald Trump and 2024.
I have a friend who is fairly-well acquainted with GOP politics. Although he supported Trump in 2016, like some establishment Republicans he is dead set against another Trump campaign. When I questioned him, he responded with the usual complaints:
“Trump is a walking time-bomb.” “He shoots from the hip and says crazy things.” “His mannerisms and language will not attract ‘independents’ and suburban voters.”
Then, the clencher from my friend: “Trump’s endorsed candidates lost big in 2022, and he will carry the GOP down to defeat in 2024.” Yet, as Bloomberg admitted on November 15, 2022: “The record of Trump’s endorsed candidates who were on the ballot last Tuesday was 236-38, with eight races still being decided….” Not a bad record at all for a walking time-bomb!
And most recently, of course, the meal with Ye and controversial activist Nick Fuentes, which the news media, including the so-called conservative media, was quick to pounce on. Here was the “smoking gun” (to paraphrase the leftover Bushite Karl Rove) that would “sink” Trump. Yet few proceeded to unpack the facts of case, that as even NBC News admitted, Trump had been in a way set up and did not realize that Ye was bringing along Fuentes, about whom Trump had no real knowledge. As reporter March Caputo wrote:
“Trump was walking into what may have been a trap in Mar-a-Lago’s gilded halls…. Trump has since said he didn’t know Fuentes or his background when they dined together, a claim Fuentes confirmed in an interview…. One longtime Trump adviser, who didn’t want to go on the record criticizing his preferred candidate, said it was clear that Fuentes’ presence was part of a headline-grabbing setup. ‘The master troll got trolled’….”
Without hesitation GOP elites, from Mitch McConnell and the loathsome Mitt Romney to Mike Pence, jumped up and down and denounced Trump, either by name or implicitly.
My friend did the same, as if this was some sort of kiss of death. Yet, I reminded my friend that the very same types of situations abounded in the Republican primaries and general election in 2016. Who does not recall the infamous “Access Hollywood” story with Billy Bush (October 7, 2016), which was supposed to sink the Trump candidacy? Or, how about the Donald asserting that “thousands of Muslims celebrated 9/11” on roof-tops across the Hudson River in New Jersey back in 2001. Reports finally made public in December 2015 confirmed Trump’s position: “Just a couple of blocks away from that Jersey City apartment the F.B.I. raided yesterday…there is another apartment building, one…was swarming with suspects — suspects who…were cheering on the roof when they saw the planes slam into the Trade Center.”
Oh, yes, and the epithets and nicknames that Trump applied to his GOP opponents—remember “little Marco,” “lying Ted,” “sleepy Jeb”—each of those was supposed to be a self-inflicted dagger wound which should have or would have ended Trump’s momentum.
Then there were the condescending neoconservative plutocrats at National Review and the DC think tanks, the ex-Bushite Never Trumpers, the pitiful epigones of Bill Kristol, George Will, Max Boot, and others. Remember them? They have never gone away. A few of the less principled ones, for example a Nikki Haley—once staunchly anti-Trump, then cozying up to him and cooing into his ear, and now once again steadfastly standing up against his “vitriol,” are back at their workbenches devising plans how to stop him.
Now these termites come out once again, employing the same tactics and same invective, in which the legacy Leftist media is more than eager to join in and cheer on.
The latest “golden boy” to appear on the scene is Governor Ron DeSantis, and already the campaign war drums are beating on his behalf. My friend Dr. Brion McClanahan of the Abbeville Institute rightly cautions (November 28, 2022) against jumping on a DiSantis bandwagon. As he writes:
“DeSantis would be something entirely different, and when National Review starts making the case, you need to be worried. You see, when people like Jack Geraghty think a President Ron is a good idea, that can only mean one thing. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. DeSantis is a great governor, arguably the best in the United States at the moment. But Geraghty likes him because he would be more like George W. Bush than Donald Trump….”
As I told my friend there are some worrying aspects to DeSantis which need to be aired.
Consider Geraghty’s headline (his article appeared in The Washington Post): “DeSantis would pave the way for a post-Trump GOP return to normal.” Are we allowed to question his definition of “normal”? Is it not a return to the old, defecated, totally bankrupt policies and philosophy that have only confirmed Robert L. Dabney’s acute understanding of American “conservatism” nearly 150 years ago?
Geraghty praises DeSantis as a “non-threatening” politician, who would make “moderates” and independents feel better, “not fearing that he’d burn the country down in a fit of rage because he thinks someone wasn’t being fair to him.”
But that was Trump’s original point, and one I emphasized strongly in a previous essay I authored back on November 4, “Will Donald Trump Bring on the End of History?”
We do not need at all a “return to normal,” that is, a return to the no-longer-viable political culture that existed before Trump…a system that has become truly noxious and poisonous for any devotee of older American traditions, a system now which only enables and advances a thorough and feculent Leftist agenda in every aspect of our lives.
Whether he realized it or not (and there is substantial evidence that he did not), in 2016 Donald Trump ran to not just overhaul our morally decrepit and virally dangerous system, but to replace it, essentially returning to the wells of our past, discarding the farce which is modern “liberal democracy,” and actually returning power and authority to a citizenry that has been progressively castrated at the behest of the Behemoth conglomerate of big government/big corporations/big tech dictatorship, itself part of a massive globalist reset.
That he failed in many aspects—terrible appointments and horrible advisors, a belief that somehow he had to placate the GOP establishment, a lack of political acumen—yet nevertheless he scared the bejesus out of the elites, out of the Deep State, out of the dominant progressivist controllers over things like education, immigration, and an asinine globalist foreign policy. That was—and is—something that a Ron DeSantis is not most likely to do, nor for that matter, any of the pygmy-brained wannabees such as Haley or Christie.
The final verdict may be out on DeSantis, but we know that a Trump presidency in 2024 would bring our enemies out into the streets even more frenetically and violently than ever before. And that event would result in the complete disappearance of their veils obscuring their obscene hatred for what the late Sam Francis called “middle Americans,” AKA MAGA Americans.
As I wrote on November 4, bringing all the various issues to a perhaps violent head finally may be, tragically, the best (and only) way to undo the infectious and fatal dross which has converted the American nation into a veritable cesspool of ungodly evil and moral turpitude, both at home and in its dealings abroad. It could force American citizens to finally do something, take a stand, arm themselves, protect their communities against wanton rioting and violence and decay. Communities, perhaps states, would be forced to act. And in the process perhaps Americans would discover an older America, with its older Constitution, its ingrained and protected rights and duties derived from God, its defense of the liberties guaranteed to us by the Framers.
I employed the case of the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, previously. Certainly, no one wishes for full-fledged civil war. But Spaniards learned eighty-five years ago that some things—religious Faith, heritage and tradition, rights guaranteed to us by natural and Divine law—are more precious than Jack Geraghty’s deceptively attractive but fatal “return to normal.”
So, I repeat: bring it on, sooner when there still may be a chance to succeed, not later.