It’s Not 1968

Imagine if you will a certain business. It is founded by prudent men, and because of this, it grows and prospers. One of the effects of this prudence is that, as soon as the business is profitable enough to allow them to do so, the founders make sure that a certain amount of capital is available in reserve should they ever need it. Having been around the block a few times, they understand that any business hits setbacks, recessions come and go, investments sometimes fail for unforeseen reasons, unexpected crises often come up at the worst times, and that having a reserve to dip into when hard times come will allow the business to limp by until things get better.

Years pass, and the business eventually ends up hiring many impressively-educated but less-prudent young men. As they slowly rise through the ranks, some of them begin to question whether capital reserves are necessary at all, or if that’s just old-fashioned thinking that innovators such as themselves have rendered obsolete. They don’t understand why they should leave a pool of perfectly good capital sitting around doing nothing when they could pump up the business’s quarterly earnings numbers by putting it somewhere else that generates short-term profits (and increases their quarterly bonuses along the way).

Just then, a massive crisis hits the business, as a major investment starts to very visibly and publicly go bad. A shareholder revolt begins; they accuse the CEO (not unjustifiably) of having made this investment without having done due diligence, and then having dithered for far too long about what to do when it started to fail. The CEO resigns; a new one seems to bring things under control, but then gets caught in a scandal and ends up having to resign as well. Two more CEOs come and go in quick succession before someone is finally found who brings stability to the business. He begins to rebuild, including doing his best to refill the capital reserves, which were dipped into very deeply during the crisis. Many were sure that the business wouldn’t survive the crisis and, in truth, it was only the fact that the capital reserves were as deep as they were that ended up keeping it out of bankruptcy. Still, the damage done has meant that despite the best efforts of this new CEO, the reserves never quite get refilled to the point they were before the crisis.

A few years later, one of the impressively-educated young men ends up rising to the position of CEO, at an unprecedentedly young age. Like all of his peers, he seems to have learned nothing from the crisis other than the fact that smart, impressively-educated young men like himself should be running things instead of the dumb old fuddy-duddies who were in charge before. He believes himself smart enough that keeping capital reserves around anymore is unnecessary. Slowly, almost unnoticed, he begins to drain it away for use on other, more immediately profitable projects. For a while, this seems like a workable plan. Nothing comes up that would require the business to dip very deeply into the gradually shrinking pool of remaining reserves, and everyone counts on the idea that there will always be plenty left for the rare occasions when they need it. Some more years pass, a few CEOs of the younger generation come and go, and everything seems fine.

And then, over the course of a single horrible year, a succession of disasters hit the business, one right after the next. The last of these involves some underhanded boardroom maneuvering to oust the then-current CEO on a pretext of having put up a weak response to the year’s events (ignoring the obvious fact that none of the Board members could really have done any better). The irony of this is that he rose as a reformer, calling back to the greatness of the prudent founders and even trying to refill the business’s capital reserves. To what extent he ever did, it ends up being too little, too late. The Board installs a figurehead from within their own ranks. This is when they get a very unsettling message, delivered by an angry group of shareholders: according to their reckoning, the business’s capital reserves have just hit zero. If they had been as deep as they were during the first crisis, then perhaps, as happened back then, the business could have ended up barely scraping by to see better times. But this time, those reserves, which were never fully refilled after the first crisis, are gone, and with no credible plan to come back from the current crisis on offer, the shareholders are getting ready for a fight. Some of them go public, and the business’s stock price tanks – no amount of shilling from friendly news outlets is enough to stop it. Creditors start to send curt letters demanding to be paid. A bankruptcy court beckons.

Thanks to Charles Hugh Smith for this simple but effective visual aid.

* * *

As I would expect of you, dear reader, you have of course figured out that this is a metaphor for the current situation in which the nation finds itself. The first crisis is, of course, the 1960s, and the bad investment is the Vietnam War. The CEO who tried to rebuild is Reagan, and the younger CEO who failed to refill the reserves is Clinton. And the single horrible year is without doubt 2020. So far, so good – but here we reach the key to the entire metaphor: the fact that in our world, the “capital reserves” to which I’m referring aren’t of monetary capital, but of social capital, and the profits taken are measured not primarily in money, but in political power.

Well, political power is plain enough to understand, but what is social capital? Put simply, it is the bond that exists between people within a certain society; it is their sense of mutual trust, loyalty, obligation, and responsibility; it is what makes us say “We are one; we are all in this together”. These are the ties that bind a nation; that bind a people together. Once these bonds are severed – once the reserve of social capital reaches zero – then there is nothing that can hold things together but brute force. And this is where conflict begins.

Here it is worth noting that revolutions, uprisings, and civil wars basically never happen because of a single event or provocation from the government. It’s always decades worth of a slow build-up of resentments and grievances, some well-meaning attempts at reconciliation, compromises that worked for a while and then fell apart, disastrous misjudgments that seemed like a good idea at the time, false starts, heat-ups, cool-offs, points at which it looked like it would all blow over and everything would be okay, and many, many voices who were convinced that it was all unthinkable and could never happen. At each point of failure along the way, reserves of social capital were depleted a little more.

Again, this is a gradual process, and it is easy to believe that because a nation has made it through one crisis – or two, or five – by the skin of its teeth, that means it can make it through an infinite number of crises. In fact, many take exactly the wrong lesson away from making it through a brush with bankruptcy – either of monetary capital or of social capital. My dad once told me, “It’s not people’s failures that kill them; it’s their successes”. For example: someone might drive drunk once, wreck their car but survive, and decide then and there that drunk driving is a terrible idea and never do it again. But another person may drive drunk once, make it home safely, and convince themselves that means they can handle it just fine. So they’ll do it over and over again, each time a little drunker, and each time increasing the odds that they’ll end up dead a little more. Eventually, inevitably, the odds will catch up with them.

This is an essential part of the spirit of permanent revolution that drives the left. They understand that they made it through the first crisis with essentially no pushback at all – in fact, the crisis of the 60s only ended with appeasement. From abortion to Affirmative Action to mass Third World immigration to the abandonment of our allies in Vietnam, the Boomers and their parents bought 50 years of peace by giving the left essentially everything they wanted. If we had been wise and farsighted, we would have drawn the line early. But as typical, especially of those two generations, the nation went for short-term benefit and thought nothing of leaving their grandchildren stuck with the consequences.

But fanatics can never be appeased, and this only served to convince the left that their inclination toward permanent revolution – ever-more outrageous and insane demands – was an infinitely winning strategy. And so they pushed harder and harder, eventually demanding such once-unthinkable things as the extinction of the White race, the abolishment of all borders*, the de facto criminalization of traditional Christian teaching, and the persecution of anyone who speaks out against them. They have done so convinced that the reserves of social capital which prevented the rise of any effective resistance to them and the civic institutions that they had captured would never run dry. For a long time, it looked like they were right.

And then came the Great Crisis of 2020 – the lockdowns, the riots, and the stolen presidential election. To say that it has drained our reserves of social capital dangerously low would be an understatement. Finally now it is the right that is saying once-unthinkable things, as words like “nullification”, “revolution”, and “secession” ring through the air for the first time in living memory. And of course, in the face of this, the left has only intensified its drive for permanent revolution. At this point, nothing foreseeable could replenish a supply of social capital this low, and the only thing remaining in our elites’ bag of tricks – a foreign war – would only make things worse. We are very, very close to hitting zero.

Which brings us to perhaps the most important question in terms of your own individual readiness for what’s to come: Just how close are we? How long do we have until we reach the point of social capital bankruptcy, and the next step – be that war, balkanization, tyranny, or the rise of a Caesar – begins? The truth is that I don’t know exactly. Depending on your point of view, it may take more time than you’re expecting, or less. A year ago, I would have said it would take 20 or 30 years; now I fear it come much more immediately – anytime from literally tomorrow to perhaps, at most, ten years hence. But it will happen; what I can say for sure is that the events of this year have made what is coming inevitable, and sooner rather than later. We aren’t the country we were in 1968, and the 2020s just don’t have the social capital reserves necessary to leverage the kind of Great Cooling-Off that we had in the 1970s**. There won’t be any buying of two generations’ worth of peace this time – that trick worked once, but it won’t work again.

Prepare yourselves accordingly.

(*I do, of course, understand that mass immigration of immiscible people from alien cultures has had a terrible effect on our social capital as well. But is that a cause, or an effect of the depletion of social capital brought on by permanent revolution? Perhaps it is both. Either way, it is not the cause of our current situation, and only accelerates a process that has been underway for a long time now.)

(**Here I want to emphasize that I don’t expect a perfectly even, linear progression toward the inevitable. We will see flareups and cooldowns along the way, including some points at which things may even seem for a while be headed back to “normal” [whatever that might mean to you]. But these will be relatively brief – we’re not getting another half-century of calm, as our parents and grandparents managed to. The can will not be kicked very much farther down the road.)

What Next?

As I write this, it appears that the Democratic Party has successfully stolen the presidential election of 2020. There is no doubt that Donald Trump will mount an aggressive legal campaign against the massive, obvious ballot fraud that handed the election to his opponent. But that is unlikely to be enough to save his presidency. He simply doesn’t have enough friends in Washington at any branch or level of government. The entire town, including the establishments of both parties, just can’t wait to see Donald J. Trump disappear over the horizon so they can get things back to normal. Of course, some in his own party will make obligatory gestures of support, but in the end, nobody there will stick their neck out for him. He will be left wounded and alone, and the Deep State will finish him off. That will be the end of the Trump Era.

There will be many postmortems of this era written in the coming months, from people on all sides of the political spectrum, and you will be sick to death of reading them before very long. So I will keep mine brief. In the end, Donald Trump made the classic error of many brash reformers who arrived in a stagnant, corrupt capital promising to take on the system, and who ended up getting chewed up and spit out by it. He forgot that the proper sequence of events is: first you consolidate power, and then you implement your agenda. It seems rather obvious to say that before one takes on powerful, entrenched interests, one should take the time to fill every possible position in one’s administration with smart, loyal subordinates. They say, for example, that by the end of his time as Premier, Leonid Brezhnev had just as much power as Josef Stalin ever had, and that was precisely how he did it – everyone in any position of power in the USSR was a friend of Brezhnev, and thus whatever their friend asked them to do, they did. But Trump’s personnel choices were a chaotic rolling disaster from the beginning. He fired loyalists like Mike Flynn and indispensable men like Steve Bannon who had gotten him where he was, replaced them with mediocrities or traitors, and put up with them long after it became obvious that hiring them was a mistake. He would take to Twitter and publicly complain about people he had hired and had the power to fire for months instead of quietly explaining to them that they wanted to spend more time with their families and showing them the door. There were good reasons for the anti-nepotism laws passed after the presidency of JFK, who had made his younger brother Attorney General. Presidents must often say “no” to advisors, sometimes dress them down and remind them who the boss is, and occasionally even fire them – all of which is much harder to do if they have a close personal attachment to them. Trump kept his bubbleheaded daughter and her shifty, tone-deaf husband on as unofficial advisors with no government salary or on-the-books title, thus circumventing the letter of the law and ignoring the wisdom behind it. This led him into blunder after blunder that a man like Bannon would never have let him fall into.

In addition to this, Trump had the power to purge his enemies from every three-letter Deep State spook agency in Washington, but he didn’t do it, even after Chuck Schumer obligingly played Littlefinger to his Ned Stark by warning him not to trust them and telling him they had “six ways from Sunday” to get at him and remove him from office. Having survived one way from Sunday in the form of the failed impeachment attempt, he seems to have completely discounted the notion that there might be five more left. There is an old saying that “if you shoot an arrow at the king, you’d better not miss”. This is because if you do, the king has to behead you – if he lets traitors go without consequence, if he signals that there is no price to be paid for attempts to betray and overthrow him, then there will be no end of ambitious men who will take the gamble because it has no downside. In our modern age, of course, we do not behead traitors, but any president with a rational personnel policy would have conducted sweeping purges after the failed impeachment. His enemies even expected him to do this, and yet it really never came. Most of the people who challenged him never even lost their jobs, despite the fact that Trump had the absolute, unquestioned power to fire them. With an election he knew was rife for massive fraud on the horizon, he continued to ignore the danger before him. A cagier president would have made a point in early summer of strongarming Republican legislatures in swing states into not allowing mass mail-in voting at all, but beyond some angry Tweeting, Trump did nothing substantive about the issue, making the typical mistake among failed brash reformers of counting on his popularity among the masses to save him. This brings us back to Stalin, who famously once quipped that “It doesn’t matter who votes, but who counts the votes”. The fix was in, and now Trump is out – he still has the support of the masses, but short of the very unlikely (and very foolish) scenario of them deciding to march on Washington en masse to take the Establishment “À la lanterne”, there is nothing they can do to help him.

Trump’s failure to get Obamacare repealed during his first summer in office should have been a warning to him about the necessity to consolidate his power before attempting any more ambitious policy measures, but he seemed to have learned basically nothing from it. Thus he wasted irreplaceable time that he should have spent carefully building his power on achievable, non-critical “nice-to-haves” like renegotiating NAFTA and a brief spate of better relations with North Korea. There’s nothing in particular to complain about in these per se, but the price paid for them was too high. In the end, the Trump Era will prove to have been an exercise in “too little, too late”.

So where do we go from here?

It is worth pointing out that back at the beginning of his administration, I warned that Trump should be properly viewed as a temporary roadblock in the path of the Establishment, and that the primary value of his term in in Washington, whether four years or eight, was to buy precious time for us to prepare for what comes next. I hope you took the opportunity to do so; if you didn’t, there’s not much time left, and you had best get started immediately. To reiterate what I’ve said elsewhere, my recommendations are: Get out of the big cities, even if you have to take a massive pay cut to do it. Move to a 90% or higher white small town in a red state. Move toward working a blue-collar job or running your own business. Make friends in your community; do favors for people and become someone they’d want to stand up for. Buy guns and learn how to use them; get your concealed carry permit, and take reputable training courses when you can. Speaking of which, take a reputable first aid course, too. Stock up on food, water, and medical supplies. Learn how to hunt, fish, find (or make) clean water, and grow a garden. Start producing at least some of your own food. Learn how to do everyday house and car repairs on your own. Join a local church, make peace with God, and get yourself in a good place spiritually. It’s impossible to know right now exactly how or when what is to come will unfold, but these steps will put you in the best position to get through the highest number of the most probable scenarios.

As for political action going forward, it is now plain for all to see that voting was never going to save us, and that the current system will never be reformed from within. That said, I encourage all who can to continue to vote for as rightist a candidate as you can, for every position you can, in every election that you can. Just see it realistically, for what it actually is: a chance to throw sand in the gears of the Establishment; to slow it down as much as possible to buy us every possible moment to continue preparing. If there is one election that I advise you to pay particularly close attention to once you reach your new small-town home, it is the one for your local sheriff. It may be true that people you’ve never met and have no control over who live in a distant capital decide which laws will be passed, but it is the county sheriff who decides which of them will actually be enforced. This is no small thing, so make sure that the right man gets the job.

And as to those guns you’ve recently bought, some cool-headed counsel is in order. First, no matter how enraging the chaos you see on television may be, do not engage in any random or senseless acts of violence against any real or perceived enemy. Furthermore, do not go off to some big city with your AR-15 to confront Antifa or Black Lives Matter, or any other communist front group. I feel sorry for the people who live there, but they made their political and social choices, and now it is up to them to either live with the consequences of them or come up with their own remedy for them. Also, give up any idea that you’re going to be part of a “Patriot Army” that is going to storm Washington, DC one day to restore order and “make the bastards pay” for bringing us to this point. That’s a fantasy, and a dangerous one. Any use of force must be both local and purely defensive in nature. Be ready to band together with your neighbors to protect your own – your property, your family, your community, your liberty – from anyone who comes to threaten them. But don’t go off on a damn fool quest to rescue people who don’t want to be rescued, or to save an empire that’s in the early stages of finding out that there’s really no such thing as “too big to fail”.

As a corollary to this, remember that conquering America from without is essentially impossible, but making it functionally ungovernable from within is easier than anybody gives it credit for. The pattern of every dismal low-intensity conflict fought by a great power over the past century has been that the central government has controlled the big cities, but that its ability to consistently enforce its will has essentially ended at the city limits. There’s a reason why both the Soviets and the Americans derisively referred to their puppet Prime Ministers in Afghanistan as the “Mayor of Kabul”.

For this to be the case in the decreasingly-United States of America, the most important change will be a mental one. It will involve giving up the traditional American attitude toward government and replacing it with something more like the traditional Chinese attitude toward it. That American attitude has always been one of deep civic trust and duty; of participating in the system and abiding by the law even when you disagree with it. This is why the police and military in America have consistently been revered as heroic protectors of a legitimate order. But the Chinese attitude toward government has always been: “What the Emperor doesn’t know, won’t hurt him”. When word gets out that the Emperor’s Inspector General is coming to town, the streets are cleaned, the gambling dens are closed, the black markets where they sell all the things that the Emperor says you can’t have get cleared out, everyone puts on their finest silk robes, and when the Inspector General gets there, they bow deeply and proclaim their loyalty to the Emperor through teary eyes. The Inspector General is cheered and banqueted, everyone tells him how happy they are with the state of things, and his every order is obeyed immediately and to the letter. Then, a few days later, as the Inspector General’s carriage disappears out of sight down the road out of town, everything goes back to normal – the gambling dens and black markets reopen, the street sweeper goes back to drunkenly sleeping through his shift, those uncomfortable silk robes go back in the closet, and people remark to each other how happy they are that the jackass Inspector General sent by that bastard of an Emperor is gone.

This is a very alien attitude to Americans; civic virtue and belief in the legitimacy of our political system are more deeply ingrained in us than in any other people on Earth. It is a core part of our identity, and more than one observer has called it America’s true religion. Such things are not easily shaken. And yet, what we are going through now has undeniably begun to do just that. Make no mistake: no matter the outcome of the current legal wrangling over the election, and no matter the actions of the two men who want to be declared President, a Rubicon has indeed been crossed. And what does that mean? It is an act that can’t be undone, a point passed from which there is no coming back. No matter who ends up in the White House at the end of January, half the country will believe that they just saw an American presidential election stolen in plain sight right in front of them. The other half will believe that it came within a hair’s breadth of it – closer than they ever thought possible, and close enough to call any future election results deeply into question. Public trust in the system will end up shattered, and once that happens, it is near-impossible to restore.

For those of us who are of a more forward-thinking and revolutionary mindset, this is a good thing. We know that before the Great Divorce must come the Great Disillusionment. As in any divorce, the first step is admitting that the current arrangement is beyond fixing – that nobody is happy with it, and that there’s no reason to believe it will do anything but get worse. This involves a painful process of mourning for what was, and for what could have been, but won’t be. The MAGA crowd and the normiecons out there are just beginning this process. We who are farther along with it should be patient and sympathetic toward them. Right now, they’re in shock, still holding onto the hope that the system will right itself at the last second and that clever lawyers will undo this travesty in court. One is reminded of their faith that Jeff Sessions would put Hillary Clinton in prison, or that Bill Barr would prosecute the Russiagate coup plotters in the FBI, or that John Durham would do something-or-other that never ended up happening, either. After Joe Biden is sworn in, that shock will turn to anger. Donald’s Trump’s most lasting accomplishment – the one that he unwittingly sacrificed his second term for – will prove to be goading the Establishment into dropping the mask and showing the normies who they really are and how the system really works. This will be hugely redpilling; in time, it will change everything. It will give the normies the moral permission they need to stop following Washington’s edicts. As long as those were onerous but seemingly passed legitimately, the normies would grumble but obey them. But when the normie perceives that those decrees ended up in place due to outright fraud perpetrated by a crooked system, they won’t. That system only works now because the vast majority of people voluntarily obey the law even when they disagree with it. When an irrecoverable legitimacy crisis makes them rethink that, ungovernability begins.

As for you, friends, the most important thing you can do right now is to come to terms with the fact that life as you knew it a year ago is over. The country, the society, the whole world that you lived in a year ago is gone, and it’s never coming back. If you loved it, cherish its memory. But don’t try to hold onto it – that will be used as a weapon against you. Evil people will promise you that if you submit to them, they will bring that world back. But they can’t, and they wouldn’t really want to do it even if they could. I wish I could tell you that what lies ahead will be pleasant or easy, but it won’t be. You’ll need to be strong and sane in an insane world in order to get through it. But if you are, the distant future can be brighter. That much, in all sincerity, I promise you.