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Gore Vidal, American Empire, and on Re-reading Claudius the God

Imperator Claudius 

I have been watching biographies on the late and highly talented American writer, Gore Vidal, who lived from 1925 to 2012. Vidal grew up on the floor of the US Senate, as a page boy to his blind grandfather, Senator Thomas Gore, a southern populist. Vidal was at the centre of American public life for decades, as a writer, essayist, TV guest, controversialist, and occasionally as an aspiring politician. He was gay and out from a young age. He turned to Hollywood and became a highly successful scriptwriter for movies and television, made a pile of money and retired to the coast of Italy with his life partner of many years. From his vantage point he continued to write and to criticize the American Empire, as he saw it.

A BBC documentary on Vidal is here,  and his lectures on the American Presidents is here. Plenty of good material on him can be found on youtube. He makes for witty, stylish, and agreeable conversations, except if he thought you were a fool. Informed of the death of Truman Capote, a rival gay American writer, he was said to have said that it was “a good carrer move”.

Vidal was the first to proclaim that the Republican and Democratic parties were two wings of the same party, the ownership party. Campaigning for the Democratic primary in California against Gerry Brown, Vidal showed up at an unemployment insurance office and told the plaid-shirted working class people that the United States was a conspiracy against people like them, in the most Brahmin of Southern accents. They could believe him because he was so authentically American upper class, and he was saying the truth.

When he saw Obama’s Presidential acceptance speech from the comfort of his living room, he turned to the camera and said “This is the end of the Republican Party”.

I have had plenty of occasion to think about that comment in recent days. Did Obama’s election signal the end of the Republican Party? A good case can be made that Trump ‘s election was the reaction of people like those California white unemployed to whom Vidal was speaking so many years before. A plausible argument can be made, as Peter Zeihan does, that each of the American major parties are undergoing a once in eighty years morphing of their electoral bases. And it can be plausibly argued that the party changed least by recent events is the Democrats. It still remains a fragile coalition of minorities, cemented if at all by wokeism, but it is the more committed of the two parties to the maintenace of Empire.

The Democrats are in the main the war party. And if the war party, then the party of Imperial America. It is no accident that the heads of America’s state security agencies, FBI, NSA and CIA, were openly agitating against Trump during his recent presidency. Why? I think because Trump signaled the end of Imperial America, of America acting as world cop. It might be dragged back into that role again by the force of events, but if you believe the analysis of Zeihan, America is retreating from its post WW2 role as guarantor of the sea lanes and world policeman. A decade of chaos and small wars is about to be upon us.

Which leads me back to Gore Vidal. He thought that the US started to go off its constitutional limitations when President Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase without the permission of Congress, and that it went further astray when President Lincoln used the civil war for a vast accretion of power to the federal government. This led to Teddy Rooselvelt seizing the Philippines as America’s Pacific bastion, and you know the rest. Truman capped it all with the national security state of the 1950s.

I call this kind of reasoning “impossibilist”. Vidal had an idea of what America ought to be like, and he was nowhere satisfied that his vision of constituional restraint had been followed. So it is easy when you are as bright, accomplished and privileged as he undoubtedly was, to set your self a standard so high that it could never be attained. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t right; it is just that realtity did not turn out as he wanted.

If you are in the mood for a meditation on the nature of Imperium, read Robert Graves’ I, Claudius and Claudius the God. I was reminded of Vidal because  Claudius was acclained Emperor  by the Praetorian Guard immediately after the assassination of his nephew Caligula, but Claudius was by avocation a historian, amd the reign of Claudius reads like what Vidal would have been like if Imperial responsibilities had been thrust upon him. By no means was Claudius an Imperialist, he was a Republican by sympathies, but the days of the Republic were forever a foreclosed past, and there he sat, in the throne of command, deluding himself that he could retire from his responsibilities and take up writing history once more.

I have toyed with the idea of a history in the manner of Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars – another great read – that would start at Truman or Eisenhower (the Caesar Augustus of the American Rome) and carry on for the next 150 years or whenever the United States finally fell. It would assume, as its core premise, that whatever the United States had orginally intended itself to be,  it had been transmuted by global responsibilties after World War 2 into an Imperium. Naturally the  only game in town was the Presidency. The side players were the Senate and the House of Representatives, with occasional deference to the augurs of the Constitution, the Supreme Court. China,  Russia, Afghanistan,  and Europe have walk-ons  just as Parthia, the Germanic tribes, or the provincial Roman elites would figure in the histories of the Roman Caesars.

What is now delicious gossip and insider knowledge will become assuredly known in the passage of years:  about the sexual proclivities of Emperor Lyndon Baines Johnson (the Tiberius of this metaphpor), Bill Clinton (very hetero) his wife Hillary (lesbian but more discreet), Obama (yeah, you know it), or the insider treatment of Emperors Nixon and Trump – both deposed for angering the Imperial Party. All that is now considered to be opinion, marginal, secret, or conspiratorial, will then be known as common facts, and it would only take a future Gore Vidal to write it down in a novel, and call it “Imperium, the first twenty Caesars” to be published in 2257. I say it will take a political insider like Vidal to write such a book. Some people are born too far from the councils of the Great to understand what it means to decide upon peace or war, or when it is time to assassinate a rival, or when it is time to fake an election. But a boy raised on the floor of the US Senate as a page to his blind Senator grandfather Gore, now that is an environment where, I suspect, any such future Suetonius will come from.

Both Machiavelli and Thucydides were once insiders who used their defeats and exiles to invent, respectively, political science and history. But novelists who turn to gossipy inside histories, like Vidal and Suetonius, have an enduring place in the canons of good writing. Even if they are wrong, or perhaps, especially if they are wrong, in their political causes and beliefs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Megan Kelly and Dave Rubin

I find Megan Kelly to be as sharp as any political observer in the United States, and I found her analysis of the end of Trump to be discerning. (We may need to overcome our lust to hear her properly, but listen to her carefully).

  • Republicans have become good at winnng elections and have been poor at fighting the culture wars.
  • Democrats control the media, sports, high-tech, Hollywood, academia and half the country does not feel represented on all the information that comes back to them publicly.
  • This leads to the feeling that everything conservatives think is wrong
  • She doesn’t think conservatives have a future on big media, and it will need a Peter Thiel to establish a new platform.
  • Wokeism was dealt a blow in this election. The media lost this one.
  • The idea of “Defunding the police” killed the Dems in this election.
  • She has no time for people who obsess about politics, about those who may say the wrong thing but who are good people.

 

I am beginning to believe

 

Late October. Thank heaven for the length of autumn because if we had to adapt overnight, or within a month, to winter I think we might expire from the shock. So we need September, October and most of November (usually) in which to adapt mentally and spiritually to the season of deprivation ahead. The pleasures of Christmas are merely a hiccup in the stately procession from warmth and gladness to cold and darkness and back out again by February, March or April, depending on your latitude and your hemisphere.

The evidence of my own eyes in the American Presidential campaign tells me a different story than the polls. Manufactured crowds of maybe a couple of dozen or real ones of a couple of hundred for Biden and Harris, immense throngs for Trump. What this requires me to do is to imagine that the polls in which Biden is leading, and the armies of sycophants in the media, are manifestations of the same disinformation that characterized the original Trump-Clinton contest of 2016. The polls are being manipulated (likely), or the methodology is wrong (more likely), or the shy Trump voter feels that he gains nothing by telling a pollster how he feels (most likely).

If, as seems likely to me, that Trump wins on Tuesday, it will come as a surprize to millions of people who have dwelt exclusively inside the media whale. If I am wrong and Trump loses, there will be no suprize but only the exhultations of the Usual Suspects, for four more years. Trump will be excoriated and the riots will continue, and the attacks on civilization will intensify.

 

Engage Google Image  search “Biden rally today” and “Trump rally today”. See what you get. The first picture below is from Breitbart, the next two were produced by a search.

 

trump-kamala-rally-getty-youtube

 

 

 

 

The Kielburgers explained: transferring wealth upward under cover of high-mindedness

 

The main thing, says Eric Weinstein, at 2:00 into the interview,  is to find an ideology or sentiment that covers your trail. Thus wealth transfer upward to the elites can take place under cover of “we are the World”, concerts for Africa, or for the American farmer. “The dominant narrative of a time is a false narrative disguising how we can make money during that time.” [roughly] “There was some process by which globalization was a betrayal of your countrymen.That thing was the Davos idealism, which is now cratering because it was a wealth transfer program posing as a philanthropic effort.”

I may not agree with Eric on everything, but I agree with him on many many subjects. And one of them is his clear sighted take on how the noble vision has been used to disguise and legitimate the transfer of wealth from the working classes to the rich.

But back to the Kielburgers, those grifters. Do you see how it is done? Pose as champions of social justice. Get youth and politicians behind you. Ensconce yourself in the crowd of mega-rich. Virtue signal all the time. Find a narrative in which you are point men for world-scale caring and concern Shift the funds into real estate.

The Queen was overheard to say about one of the Kielburgers, when she was on tour in Canada, that he was a model little politician, or words to that effect. Don’t say we weren’t warned. One of the rotten aspects of Her Majesty’s job is to greet cordially people you know from the bottom of your heart are greasy-pole climbing frauds.

 

ImageMoments ago

just informed the Commons finance committee that in addition to the $312,000 paid to Margaret Trudeau for speaking at WE Day events she was reimbursed an additional $167,944 in expenses. So a total of $479,944. #cdnpoli #WEscandal

Eric Weinstein stands up at the right moment

I am overwhelmed by the amount of things to blog about. Riots, mayhem, pandering to blacks, moral posturing, Black Lives Matter, professors being fired, diversity inclusion and equity, anti-white ideology.  But I can raise a hand to salute Eric Weinstein on his balanced and incisive attack on the movement to defund police, and the reasons why it is nonsense.

On the other hand, he takes twenty minutes to say what the redneck cracker said in twenty seconds.  But he takes an adult and balanced approach. Moral posturing is the death of the search for the right moral balance. “You are opening the gates of hell” says Eric. And indeed we are.

 

 

War after Civilization

Thomas Hobbes - Wikipedia

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

Some redneck speaks the truth (below) about defunding police.  I find that the best exponents of what it would be like to live in the “nasty, short and brutish” world of a sovereign-less world envisaged by Thomas Hobbes are Americans, perhaps because they are so close historically to a world without externally imposed order. Some of them escaped authority at the time of the Revolution and have never been tamed since. The redneck in question bears a surprising resemblance to Thomas Hobbes, portrayed above. Coincidence?

 

 

The joys of not paying attention

The recent media kerfuffle about some boys from Covington high school and their supposedly awful attacks on some poor old Indian have turned around into a media catastrophe. The leftist press got everything wrong – no surprise – but was apprehended in the act, and had to back off. The entire incident will be forgotten in a week. I present this as an important reason why I try not to participate in the blogging of outrage.

In the time the entire event arose, spread, was refuted, and collapsed, I had to go to hospital for a cardiac procedure. (I am well thank you). The slight risk of actual death has a wonderfully concentrating effect on the mind. I turned to youtube videos about saw mills and cabin building. They are my way of engaging in escapist literature.

More than this, they concentrate me into practical efforts that bring exercise, accomplishment, and deep satisfaction in their wake.

The net tendency of Internet participation is to be constantly aggravated. If you are like me, it will be offended by the leftist assault on reason, history, religion, males, the white race, Christianity and morality. If you are anti-Trump, then everything happening these days will be offensive to you sensibilities. The best way to regain your poise and equanimity is to stop paying attention to the shadow play of politics.

Hokum and voodoo

I realize this is not what a political blog ought to say. Yet I am more concerned with my own health and sanity than I am with Trump, Trudeau or any of the dozens of points of concern, such as Brexit, Venezuala, or building pipelines in Canada. We have to remember that the reasons why we are conservatives is that most of life lies beyond and outside of politics, and it is to those wells that we go to draw our spiritual water.