WASHINGTON – Think of the last time an anonymous think-piece captured the imagination of the public so completely, the server hosting the article melted down.
Rush Limbaugh calls the commentary "a nuclear bomb."
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And it starts like this, with the Never-Trumpers in the Republican Party the target of the indictment: "2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You – or the leader of your party – may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees. Except one: if you don't try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances."
Authored by "Publius Decius Mus" and published by the Claremont Institute in California, the article has social media ablaze after Limbaugh quoted widely from it, something he seldom does, and hailed it as explosive analysis key to the election of 2016. It's also a wholesale indictment of conservatism over the last 30 years.
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Publius, whoever he or she is, may have just made it very difficult to make the intellectual case for the Never-Trump movement.
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For those who can't get past the server logjam, here are some juicy outtakes:
- "[T]hose most horrified by Trump are the least willing to consider the possibility that the republic is dying."
- "If you're among the subspecies conservative intellectual or politician, you've accepted – perhaps not consciously, but unmistakably – your status on the roster of the Washington Generals of American politics. Your job is to show up and lose, but you are a necessary part of the show and you do get paid."
- "Let's be very blunt here: if you genuinely think things can go on with no fundamental change needed, then you have implicitly admitted that conservatism is wrong. Wrong philosophically, wrong on human nature, wrong on the nature of politics, and wrong in its policy prescriptions. Because, first, few of those prescriptions are in force today. Second, of the ones that are, the left is busy undoing them, often with conservative assistance. And, third, the whole trend of the West is ever-leftward, ever further away from what we all understand as conservatism."
- "All of Trump's 16 Republican competitors would have ensured more of the same – as will the election of Hillary Clinton. That would be bad enough. But at least Republicans are merely reactive when it comes to wholesale cultural and political change. Their 'opposition' may be in all cases ineffectual and often indistinguishable from support. But they don't dream up inanities like 32 'genders,' elective bathrooms, single-payer, Iran sycophancy, 'Islamophobia,' and Black Lives Matter. They merely help ratify them."
- "A Hillary presidency will be pedal-to-the-metal on the entire Progressive-left agenda, plus items few of us have yet imagined in our darkest moments. Nor is even that the worst. It will be coupled with a level of vindictive persecution against resistance and dissent hitherto seen in the supposedly liberal West only in the most 'advanced' Scandinavian countries and the most leftist corners of Germany and England."
- "For two generations at least, the Left has been calling everyone to their right Nazis. This trend has accelerated exponentially in the last few years, helped along by some on the Right who really do seem to merit – and even relish – the label. There is nothing the modern conservative fears more than being called 'racist,' so alt-right pocket Nazis are manna from heaven for the Left. But also wholly unnecessary: sauce for the goose. The Left was calling us Nazis long before any pro-Trumpers tweeted Holocaust denial memes. And how does one deal with a Nazi – that is, with an enemy one is convinced intends your destruction? You don't compromise with him or leave him alone. You crush him."
- "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. What gives?"
- "Oh, right – there's that other issue. The sacredness of mass immigration is the mystic chord that unites America's ruling and intellectual classes. Their reasons vary somewhat. The Left and the Democrats seek ringers to form a permanent electoral majority. They, or many of them, also believe the academic-intellectual lie that America's inherently racist and evil nature can be expiated only through ever greater 'diversity.' The junta of course craves cheaper and more docile labor. It also seeks to legitimize, and deflect unwanted attention from, its wealth and power by pretending that its open borders stance is a form of noblesse oblige. The Republicans and the 'conservatives'? Both of course desperately want absolution from the charge of 'racism.' For the latter, this at least makes some sense. No Washington General can take the court – much less cash his check – with that epithet dancing over his head like some Satanic Spirit."
- "This is insane. This is the mark of a party, a society, a country, a people, a civilization that wants to die. Trump, alone among candidates for high office in this or in the last seven (at least) cycles, has stood up to say: I want to live. I want my party to live. I want my country to live. I want my people to live. I want to end the insanity."
- "Trump's vulgarity is in fact a godsend to the conservatives. It allows them to hang their public opposition on his obvious shortcomings and to ignore or downplay his far greater strengths, which should be even more obvious but in corrupt times can be deliberately obscured by constant references to his faults. That the Left would make the campaign all about the latter is to be expected. Why would the Right? Some – a few – are no doubt sincere in their belief that the man is simply unfit for high office. David Frum, who has always been an immigration skeptic and is a convert to the less-war position, is sincere when he says that, even though he agrees with much of Trump's agenda, he cannot stomach Trump. But for most of the other #NeverTrumpers, is it just a coincidence that they also happen to favor Invade the World, Invite the World?"
- The answer to the subsidiary question – will it work? – is much less clear. By 'it' I mean Trumpism, broadly defined as secure borders, economic nationalism, and America-first foreign policy. We Americans have chosen, in our foolishness, to disunite the country through stupid immigration, economic, and foreign policies. The level of unity America enjoyed before the bipartisan junta took over can never be restored. But we can probably do better than we are doing now. First, stop digging. No more importing poverty, crime, and alien cultures. We have made institutions, by leftist design, not merely abysmal at assimilation but abhorrent of the concept. We should try to fix that, but given the Left's iron grip on every school and cultural center, that's like trying to bring democracy to Russia. A worthy goal, perhaps, but temper your hopes – and don't invest time and resources unrealistically. By contrast, simply building a wall and enforcing immigration law will help enormously, by cutting off the flood of newcomers that perpetuates ethnic separatism and by incentivizing the English language and American norms in the workplace. These policies will have the added benefit of aligning the economic interests of, and (we may hope) fostering solidarity among, the working, lower middle, and middle classes of all races and ethnicities. The same can be said for Trumpian trade policies and anti-globalization instincts. Who cares if productivity numbers tick down, or if our already somnambulant GDP sinks a bit further into its pillow? Nearly all the gains of the last 20 years have accrued to the junta anyway. It would, at this point, be better for the nation to divide up more equitably a slightly smaller pie than to add one extra slice—only to ensure that it and eight of the other nine go first to the government and its rentiers, and the rest to the same four industries and 200 families."
- "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. If they cannot rouse themselves simply to vote for the first candidate in a generation who pledges to advance their interests, and to vote against the one who openly boasts that she will do the opposite (a million more Syrians, anyone?), then they are doomed. They may not deserve the fate that will befall them, but they will suffer it regardless."
Yes, it has set off a firestorm of controversy – and, some would say, clarity – about the high stakes of the 2016 election.