It’s Not the Flight 93 Election
On the ridiculous ramblings of Publius Decius Mus
Perhaps if we had the great brain of Donald J. Trump, “The Flight 93 Election,” might reveal itself as something other than incoherent nonsense. Or, perhaps the recent essay by Publius Decius Mus in the Claremont Review is in fact the hilariously overwrought gibberish it appears to be. It contains elements of truth, as we are sure the Unabomber Manifesto did too, but it reads like some kind of crazy amphetamine-fueled carnival ride. Either way, we want off.
Aided by the Latin to English dictionary his mom gave him for his birthday, Publius Decius Mus has in turn given us a stinking pile of pretentious horse manure masquerading as conservatism. “The Flight 93 Election” is the same old Trumpian garbage perfumed with a sprinkling of classics references and big words. It is the alt-right dressed up as William F. Buckley for Halloween. (Seriously, “Davoisie”? Is that even a word? Apparently, to Decius it is…as in “sophists who help the Davoisie oligarchy.”)
Decius writes with the pompous self-certainty of a college freshman just completing his first semester of Philosophy 101.(“Pecuniary reasons also suggest themselves, but let us foreswear recourse to this explanation until we have disproved all the others.”) Periodically, he adopts the hysterical urgency of a hallucinating meth addict. In the event of a Trump loss, he writes, the “possibilities would seem to be: Caesarism, secession/crack-up, collapse, or managerial Davoisie liberalism as far as the eye can see.” (Davoisie again!)
His argument rests on a carefully constructed straw man. Intellectual conservatism as feckless incrementalism that “reeks of failure.” Brushing aside the Republican revolution of the 1990s, welfare reform, and the fall of communism, among others, he claims that “our side has been losing consistently since 1988.” This is because in his distorted world, “our ‘leaders’ and ‘dissenters’ bend over backward to play by the self-sabotaging rules the Left sets for them.” (As in that great leftist plot, the United States Constitution.)
Decius claims to be conservative yet rejects its fundamental tenets. Small government and civic renewal are “conservatisms typical combination of the useless and inapt with the utopian and unrealizable.” adding that, “decentralization and federalism are all well and good, and as a conservative, I endorse them both without reservation. But how are they going to save, or even meaningfully improve [America]?” This is something no actual conservative would ever say. Decius can drop the “I’m a conservative just like you!” act.
So, Decius tells us, the apocalyptic horror of even one day of Hillary Clinton requires that we reject conservative principles altogether for the lunatic embrace of Donald J. Trump’s crude nativism and identity politics. Those who refuse to comply are unfit to call themselves conservatives. Anything less than complete allegiance to Donald J. Trump is not only a vote for Hillary Clinton, it is a wish for our national doom.
The U.S. is not one election away from destruction. A Republican House and Senate ensure Hillary will be constrained in her ability to accomplish her agenda. The Senate will have substantial control over appointments and will be in no mood to be deferential to leftist Supreme Court picks.
The cards will be stacked against her in 2020. As Ben Shapiro observes, there is a good argument that this not as the “Flight 93 Election,” but the “Dunkirk Election,” in which “conservatives had best save their army for a later date when the reinvasion of the continent becomes possible.”
Trump seems largely driven by narcissism rather than adherence to any particular set of principles conservative or otherwise. He has simply found the Republican Party to be the most fertile feeding ground for his rapacious vanity.
The question of voting for Trump cannot be framed in terms of conservatism versus liberalism. A President Trump could very well turn out to be either. If you believe as we do that the most significant factor guiding him is not policy in the best interest of the nation but how he is viewed personally, governing philosophy is flexible.
The question is will Trump, in pursuit of feeding his wildly outsized ego, accidentally be a better President than Clinton would? And, further, will there be enough of a Republican party left when he is through with it to elect real conservatives and enact actual reform? This is an open question.
But, any argument based on Trump’s policy views is null and void. Decius’ ponderous pseudo-intellectual ramblings notwithstanding, if we do end up holding my nose and voting for Trump we will not resent those who decline to do the same.