A Crack in the Cathedral

    The Dark Enlightenment of the Trump Phenomenon

    As we approach the one-year anniversary of the glorious consequences of the Great Reckoning, it may be worth our while to reflect on the meaning of it all.

    Anyone who was not living under a rock (or atop a pillar) will remember how the Cathedral media, being the major media outlets, spent an entire election cycle proclaiming that the crown belonged to Saint Clinton Herself, and if you didn’t agree, you were a racist-sexist-homophobe-Nazi-garbage-fire-of-a-human-being. Holla, Deplorables!

    No doubt you, dear reader, have experienced a great deal of grief from your blue-pilled family members over the holidays. For the uninitiated, the concept of the Cathedral represents the idea that in contemporary America, real power is held by the organs of mass propaganda: the higher education system, which generates the ideas, and the mainstream media which is responsible for manufacturing consent for them.

    The Cathedral media went to great lengths to generate support for Clinton and cudgel all opposition into submission.

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    And yet, in the crucial hour, destiny was disrupted. A fault was found in our stars.

    Despite all the predictions of the polls, despite all the assurances of inevitability from the Cathedral media, despite all the shrill denunciations and hysteria from the left, the Great Reckoning arrived with all the political shock and landscape-leveling awe of a dinosaur-terminating asteroid.

    Clinton lost. Trump won.

    Now, we’ve had over a year since the event itself for everyone and their mother to generate explanations. An op-ed in The Guardian points the finger at naïve Millennial feminists, the perennial vast-rightwing-conspiracy, and Bernie Sanders. What a coalition! Michelle Obama told women who voted for Donald Trump that they didn’t like their own voices—they only liked “the thing you’re told to like.” Let that sink in for a moment. Appreciate the acerbic, citrus taste of irony.

    Clinton Herself blamed Comey and “Russian WikiLeaks.”

    Here’s a thought: what if the election was a crack in the Cathedral? On the morning of November 8, 2016, your average progressive could tell themselves some version of the popular progressive narrative:

    Today we will make history by electing America’s first female president, Hillary Rodham Clinton. After thousands of years of patriarchal oppression, a woman will sit in the Oval Office. America has always been a racist-sexist-homophobic-transphobic-fatphobic hellhole, but now, after eight years of Obama, we’re poised to make history [herstory!] and secure a permanent and eternal progressive hegemony! #ImWithHer

    Take a moment, dear red-pilled reader, to contemplate how very rude was the shock of the Great Reckoning. It was the shock of destiny disrupted. The organs of mass correct-opinion-making had flatlined overnight. What happened?

    In the aftermath of the calamity that had befallen them, some Democrats decided to dare the unthinkable. They actually talked to voters who had flipped from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016. In so doing, they discovered a very different story. What they found was actually rather interesting. Here is an excerpt:

    The poll found that Obama-Trump voters, many of whom are working-class whites and were pivotal to Trump’s victory, are economically losing ground and are skeptical of Democratic solutions to their problems. Among the findings:

    50 percent of Obama-Trump voters said their
    incomes are falling behind the cost of living, and another 31 percent said
    their incomes are merely keeping pace with the cost of living.

    A sizable chunk of Obama-Trump voters — 30 percent — said their vote for Trump was more a vote against Clinton than a vote for Trump. Remember, these voters backed Obama four years earlier.

    42 percent of Obama-Trump voters said congressional Democrats’ economic policies will favor the wealthy, vs. only 21 percent of them who said the same about Trump. (Forty percent say that about congressional Republicans.) A total of 77 percent of Obama-Trump voters said Trump’s policies will favor some mix of all other classes (middle class, poor, all equally), while a total of 58 percent said that about congressional Democrats.

    Take a moment to appreciate this. Take a moment to think about what this actually means.

    The Democrats are the party of entitlements. As I have argued before, they are the coalition of government goodies and handouts, and as such, essentially parasitic upon the productive population. How does the Democratic message -the Democratic power-strategy- work? Simple: they convince their client populations, their coalition members, to vote Democrat in exchange for a slice of redistributed pie. In a former age, they no doubt would have described this power strategy as 'we’re looking out for the little guy', but now it would be more accurate to say; _'We’re looking out for the self-defined interests of persons of various statures and genders, races and abled statuses against the cishet straight white males, and so on, and on.'

    It would be too easy to point to Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches. C’mon, Donald Trump has how many properties named after him? And yet, Clinton underperformed among many of the minority groups the Democrats were counting on- and absolutely cratered among working-class whites.

    I say again, What if the Great Reckoning was a crack in the Cathedral?

    Could it be that voters were getting tired of an increasingly expensive and failing Obamacare, which Clinton wanted to revise and expand? There is, in fact, a case that the Obamacare price hike ahead of the election is precisely what led to the Great Reckoning.

    How are we to reconcile these two threads, a poor Democratic economic message, and increasingly expensive entitlements? Is there a way to square this particular circle? It’s actually remarkably easy to account for these two themes. Hillary came off as out of touch and elite-focused at essentially the same time as the consequences of an over-expansive welfare state mounded up on the backs of the American taxpayers.

    Meanwhile, Donald Trump was stumping for a message of Make America Great Again. He was taking a stand for jobs over welfare, for work and responsibility over handouts and dependency, and for aggressive self-assertiveness and national pride rather than effete, politically correct leftism and globalism.

    Clinton stood solidly in the leftist tradition of redistributionism, but her elitism meant that voters saw insincerity. Coupled with the sticker price shock of Obamacare, perhaps some of them saw through a crack in the Cathedral walls. Additionally, it isn’t too hard to see how Clinton’s message was inherently less appealing than Mr. Trump’s. She was correct and proper and espoused helping the usual leftist client populations while stolidly ignoring the majority of Americans. Trump was brash and unfiltered and this attitude alone became a symbol of defiance. I’ve waited until now to bring up political correctness, but I actually do think it played a role.

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    Recently, I listened to this conversation on the subject, involving the one and only Steven Pinker, as well as Brendan O’Neill, Wendy Kaminer, and Robby Soave. The panelists all made a variety of interesting observations and arguments, even pointing to data which suggests that disaffection with political correctness was high, and did indeed play a role in the outcome.

    Here’s Soave on the subject:

    There is evidence beyond just the anecdotes. A mathematician,
    _Spencer Greenberg, found that people who thought we are too P.C., people who thought we are too P.C. as a country, that was the second most reliable indicator for whether you were likely to vote for Trump. The only more powerful indicator was whether you were actually Republican. It's also important to note that Trump was the candidate of resistance to political correctness, not just as a general election candidate, but as a primary candidate. He was the one who tells it like it is.

    And here is Spiked Editor Brendan O’Neill:

    Yeah, I still think that if you want to know why Trump won, you only have to look at the response to Trump's winning. You only have to look at the meltdown of the media, the ongoing meltdown of the media that descend into daily hysteria. They've slightly given up on the return to fascism, return of Hitler thing, which they indulged for months. They've kind of drifted away from that, but they're still staying quite hysterical. You only have to look at the Twitterati, which every day is pumping out endless hand-wringing tweets about Trump and his voters and how ridiculous they all are, or you only have to look at the constant search by Hillary, her team, and all those people who likeHillary for some neat explanation for why Americans went so mad and voted for someone so unpalatable. There's this real mystification among those who are supposed to know about politics, this real sense of confusion among those who are supposed to have their pulse on the political realm about why Trump won. I think that tells us a lot about why Trump won.

    The full transcript is available here.

    Pinker also makes some interesting remarks, but those warrant a future article all to themselves. Here’s the point I’d like to zero in on. At the exact same time that tens of millions of voters were feeling the pinch of the over-expansive welfare state, they were also feeling the effects of stultifying leftist political correctness. If the two themes seem unrelated, consider this hypothesis: both represent strategies for gaining power.

    As a strategy for gaining power—let’s use the term power-strategy—the leftist project of the welfare state depends on net benefits-payers and net benefits-receivers, rather than mutual cooperation. One could quite fairly say, then, that it is parasitic upon a host population or host body. Similarly, the power-strategy represented by the leftist project of political correctness relies on bullying and intimidation in order to gain power within the broader culture.

    Are we looking at a parasite’s strategy for, in essence, gaming its host?

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    Observation 1: the left needs men and whites—so particularly white men—to pay the taxes to fund their war-chest-and-sacrament, the welfare state.

    Observation 2: leftist Politically Correct rhetoric consistently disempowers males and whites, particularly white men as the combination of the two. Why are white men so angry, the Cathedral media rhetorically inquires? Why, because their advantages have been eroded, of course! In riposte, I refer you again, dear reader, to the advantages of net tax-paying.

    It isn’t even necessary to believe that this is 1) an association that is conscious in the mind of the average leftist, or 2) the centrally-planned sinister plot of some shadowy cabal. Rather, the model of the feedback loop works quite nicely: an intolerant minority agitates for some desired change; for whatever reason or combination of reasons, they gain the support of institutions, such as the Cathedral, which amplify their concerns and encourage others to take up their cause.

    Much like Darwinian evolution, selection that facilitates adaptation to an environment is all that is required to make sense of the evolved creature. It’s easy enough to observe that the triumphs of yesterday become the established mainstream of today, and will be deemed insufficiently progressive tomorrow.

    Apply this to the leftist parasitic power-strategy, and one can see the pattern clearly. Obama staked his legacy on his signature law. Bernie Sanders effectively promised voters a vaporwave-themed air-castle of handouts, unsustainable even with a massively-matching price tag. Hillary Clinton staked her campaign on her  ability to deliver a much more realistic -but still lavish- bundle of goodies.

    Hillary Clinton also played the leftist identity politics game like a boss.

    Ask yourself this: if a political movement or party relies on exploiting you in order to provide handouts to someone else, are they better off celebrating you, or convincing you that you need to do your duty in service of a greater good?

    And if you are, for example, a part of a group whom they depend upon exploiting (a host group, let us say), what strategy makes more sense? Should they celebrate your group and its unique contributions, or should they convince you that you need to pay your fair share—perhaps with a significant dose of identity-based guilt? Which makes more sense? Which strategy is more likely to evolve and persist?

    Let’s not stop there. Suppose you are a member of a group that the same aforementioned political party or faction has identified as a client group, a group to be won over with favors and handouts. On an individual level, are they better off selling you a message of self-reliance and personal responsibility, and celebrating your strength and ability to exercise these virtues? Or does it make more sense for them to sell you a message that they will protect you from those evil people who are trying to victimize you?

    Could it be the case that many voters, facing the prospect of another four years of dreary, stultifying, dare I say vampiric political correctness, and the sticker price shock of Obamacare and the promise of more of the same economic vampirism, simply rebelled?

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    There are no doubt many threads which historians will seek to connect in making sense of the Trump phenomenon, including a great number which I have not engaged with here.

    My own belief is that the combined effects of the wars of the Bush administration, continued at great length under the Obama administration, mass surveillance, the Great Recession, and deteriorating race relations under Obama, among others, were all factors that played a role. We should not lose sight of the central fact that the Cathedral candidate failed despite all the forces of politically correct opinion arrayed on her side. The improbable challenger, a brash, boorish, blunt-spoken showman who refused to apologize for gaffes that would have sunk any other candidate, succeeded in the teeth of all established wisdom, making an absolute mockery of all predictions.

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    As the histories are written, they will pick over the factors I have discussed here, others I have mentioned only in passing, and doubtless still others I have not addressed. However, they will still have to agree that what occurred was a tremendous political upset: a great many of the people did not do what they were expected to do. The forces of correct opinion and right-think were faced with abject defeat.

    The host fought back against the parasite.

    The impenetrable, indomitable mystique of the organs of propagandized mass opinion and manufactured consent was shattered. It was a rebellion against ever-increasing economic exactions, against smug and yet hysterical political correctness, against a spreading cancer that threatened to divide and consume the healthy tissue of the civilizational body. It was a declaration of purpose, a declaration of intent, a declaration of will to not be bound and intimidated, forced into mouthing the lines written by the dispensers of correct opinion, the pious sermonizers, and sententious censors.

    It was, perhaps, a crack in the Cathedral.

    Julius Roy-Davis

    Julius Roy-Davis

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