X Close

The dawn of America’s monarchy Pretenders to the throne will be annihilated

(Al Bello/Getty Images)


February 22, 2024   6 mins

When James II was deposed in 1688, and replaced by William of Orange, it was a bloodless affair. That so-called “Glorious Revolution” gave England a constitutional monarchy — as well as a remarkably nonviolent political order.

In the centuries that have followed, not a single monarch has been assassinated, and only one Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval, has suffered such a grim fate. And he was killed not by political rivals, but by a merchant with a grievance. Before 1688, though, deposed kings and other politically inconvenient royals often faced a darker end than the exiled James II. Royals including two Edwards, Henry VI, and Mary, Queen of Scots, either died mysteriously in captivity or were executed publicly.

This is not especially surprising. In a monarchy proper, as opposed to the constitutional kind, political legitimacy rests not in the system so much as in the person of the monarch: a king only becomes meaningfully a king when enough powerful people perceive him as having that special extra something that elevates him to royalty. And a pretender is someone else competing to be seen in this light — either by the same cadre of the powerful or by a rival cadre. In this situation, the only sure-fire way to eliminate the risk posed by a pretender is to eliminate the pretender.

Whatever name Vladimir Putin gives his system of government, its operations in practice make more sense in monarchical than liberal democratic terms. Take, for example, the death in prison of Alexei Navalny last Friday. While of course reprehensible from a democratic perspective, his death was wholly predictable from a monarchical one. For Navalny was, in effect, a pretender to the Russian throne, with considerable public and international support behind his protests against Putin’s regime. Thus, much as with Henry VI in 1471, the only way to eliminate the threat he posed was to eliminate him.

Writing against the French Revolution, the Savoyard reactionary Joseph de Maistre argued, in 1794, that the government of a people is not something that can be composed in the abstract; rather, it emerges from the distinct history, culture, and disposition of the people as a whole. With this in mind, we might suggest that, notwithstanding superficial changes of regime, from the Romanovs through Stalin to Putin, Russia has never really abandoned rule by tsar and aristocracy.

This is more difficult to grasp from the vantage-point of the anglophone West, though. For here we’ve grown accustomed to thinking of the Anglo-Saxon model as the only sane and decent way of doing politics. First formalised in the 1701 Act of Settlement — then, across the Atlantic, stripped of its vestigial monarchy 75 years later by the Declaration of Independence — this model views politics as properly a contest of ideas rather than individuals, conducted in a political space that at least aspires to neutrality. Political rivalries, in this order, are to be contained via a matrix of shared norms — one that, importantly, includes a convention of not imprisoning, persecuting, or bumping off one’s rivals.

But this modus operandi has arguably only come to seem so self-evident and eternal by virtue of the outsize role played first by the British Empire, and subsequently by the American one, in shaping the modern West. Both these regimes share a common intellectual and religious legacy and, initially at least, some considerable common demographics. But today the Old and New Worlds are diverging increasingly sharply — including in political outlook. Notably, in today’s England, even supposedly insurgent Right-wing parties colour dutifully inside the conventional political lines. By contrast, the Anglosphere nation now most openly debating direct autocratic rule is the Land of the Free.

There, after Biden’s victory, Trump was mockingly linked to James II. More recently, though, jibes about an impotent king in exile has morphed into mounting anxiety about a Caesar-in-waiting. Those on the Right have made their contribution, not least via mischievous memes comparing the profile of Trump’s son Barron with surviving images of rulers from classical antiquity. And Trump himself has done little to assuage those who fear he aspires to Caesarism, declaring recently that he would not govern as a dictator on election “except on day one”.

In response, Republican Never Trumper, Liz Cheney, has warned of “a sort of sleepwalking into dictatorship in the United States”. Is this really happening, though? In a political attention economy that incentivises hyperbole, it’s hard to say. But if it is, the surest evidence in favour of an American tilt towards autocracy comes not directly from Trump, or even from neoreactionary writers or online shitposters. Rather, it lurks in the political class, in the tiers just below Presidential incumbents or hopefuls — and especially in the weaponisation of American institutions as tools of political persecution.

“Autocracy lurks in the political class — and especially in the weaponisation of American institutions.”

This is, increasingly, a bipartisan strategy. On the day Navalny died, a court in New York City ordered Donald Trump to pay a $354 million fine in a civil fraud trial, one of a plethora of ongoing efforts to impeach or otherwise hamper Trump via the courts. Trump now claims himself subjected to a Putinesque campaign of persecution, calling the ruling “a form of Navalny” and declaring: “If I weren’t running [for president] none of this stuff would ever happen.”

Two days before the Trump fraud ruling, meanwhile, a parallel Republican mobilisation of the formally neutral institutions of justice produced a special counsel report, which found Biden had “wilfully retained and disclosed classified materials”. When the special counsel nonetheless declined to prosecute on the basis of these findings, this was interpreted as further evidence of partisan abuse of neutral institutions, and denounced by Republican House Conference Chair Elise Stefanik as a sign of the “unAmerican, two-tier justice system that exists in Joe Biden’s America”. The outrage only grew louder the following day, when a key witness in the Trumpist attempt to impeach Joe Biden was charged by the FBI with fabricating allegations about the President and his son taking bribes.

To be clear: I am not taking a stance here on the truth or justice of any of these allegations or campaigns. Nor, unlike Trump, am I drawing an equivalence between efforts by Republicans and Democrats to wield American state machinery against their political rivals, and the tendency of Vladimir Putin’s enemies to die in plane accidents or (like several English medieval royals) mysteriously in prison. Nonetheless, it should be clear that a new consensus is solidifying among the American political class: one that departs increasingly dramatically from its British constitutional forebear.

In this emerging order no one expects to persuade their opponents. This is perhaps understandable: polarisation is now so acute in the Land of the Free that almost two-thirds of young Americans would reject a prospective partner based on incompatible politics. There is no point contesting ideas, if people’s loyalties are tribal. But if this is so, how do you win? The answer appears to be: by capturing institutions, then going after the other tribe’s leader. There is no such thing as neutral regulatory, governance or administrative infrastructure in this existential struggle against political opponents.

A similar institutional trench warfare is also being fought today in Poland. Since the deposition of the conservative PiS party, a coalition led by former EU President Donald Tusk has taken over and fired key personnel from the state broadcaster, is legislating to pack the judiciary, and is also reportedly preparing to prosecute key PiS officials. Supporters see these actions as an “iron broom” sweeping out anti-democratic distortions. Opponents, though, view Tusk’s efforts themselves as the assault on democracy.

But perhaps again this makes sense from de Maistre’s perspective. Poland’s tradition of liberal democracy is so short as to be practically non-existent. The country enjoyed four years as a fully independent democratic state, from 1922 to 1926, and then another 13 between the end of the Cold War and before EU accession in 2004. Otherwise, the lands and peoples known as Poland have been ruled with vacillating boundaries by an assortment of monarchs, strongman rulers with largely cosmetic parliaments, and Eastern or Western empires.

Thus the face-off between Tusk and PiS represents, if anything, a reversion to the Polish norm, following a brief outlier effort at doing politics on something like the Anglo-Saxon model. And seen across the globe and through time, this is also more generally true: Anglo-Saxon liberal democracy is the outlier, and assorted forms of autocracy and empire are the historic and cross-cultural norm. So perhaps we should greet the competing claims of institutional capture now emanating from America’s rival factions with a measure of fatalism, even if these suggest that American political-class support for the legacy Anglo system is fading.

And again, perhaps, from de Maistre’s perspective this development makes sense. For while its founding political order drew heavily from England both in sensibility and in core assumptions, it is less obvious why modern America should continue in this vein. A “propositional nation” from inception, over time the Land of the Free has become, by design, ineluctably less Anglo in demographic terms. And seen thus, it is perhaps unsurprising to note how many American culture war issues, from statues to “whiteness”, cash out as disputes over how (or whether) to value the nation’s Anglo cultural legacy.

Following the same de Maistrean logic, it’s to be expected that as the demographic composition of a nation changes, so too will that nation’s emergent — as opposed to written — constitution. It is not unthinkable that one casualty of this change might be the once-unshakeable baseline of public support for a style of procedural politics strongly associated with America’s early Anglo-Saxon Protestant settlers.

What will emerge in its place? Will a rapidly-diversifying 21st-century America find itself, by virtue of its changing composition, more inclined towards more autocratic governance? Certainly, albeit in a less violent fashion than Russia, an order seems to be emerging in which victory requires more than just defeating opposition parties: it necessitates the annihilation of rival pretenders. And in turn implies the replacement of a politics of ideas, by one of divinely marked persons. Should this order consolidate itself, it will, whatever the window-dressing, be a monarchical regime.

At present, the keenest supporters of American diversity are generally also those loudest in expressing anxieties about a putative Trumpian Caesar. It will be ironic in the extreme if it does turn out that the real bulwark against autocracy was America’s now rapidly dissolving Anglo heritage.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

moveincircles

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

166 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago

Interesting and thoughtful essay for sure. I don’t think demographic changes are causing the shift away from democratic norms. The same dynamics are occurring in Australia and Canada, and they are still very Anglo Saxon, although this is rapidly changing.

I have to admit – I’m totally fascinated by this topic. How has it evolved that virtually all the institutions have become captured by a far left ideology and the Democrat Party?

It’s astonishing really. The bureaucracy, the security state, big tech, finance, the regime media, the judiciary, academia and culture all share a homogeneous ideology that favours one political party over the other. The people who wield institutional power are basically aligned against half the country.

Trump is feeling the wrath of these institutions, but he’s not alone. The institutions are going after Musk as well. And where does it lead in the future? Today it is Trump and Musk, will it be any garden variety Republican 10 years from now? I don’t know what the future holds, but it is disturbingly unhealthy.

George K
George K
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“ and Canada, and they are still very Anglo Saxon”.
Hardly. I live in the great Toronto area( I’m not Anglo) , whites are minority here, let alone Anglos
Given huge immigration flow from India and china , it’s a matter of near future when the Anglo way of life will be seriously questioned

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago
Reply to  George K

The institutions are still dominated by white men and women. There’s not nearly as much diversity as the US. Most of the diverse faces are newcomers.

David Yetter
David Yetter
5 months ago
Reply to  George K

The important thing about Anglo-Saxonness is not the racial composition, but the Common Law. Canada debanking the protesting truckers without any semblance of due process was more destructive of its Anglo-Saxon character than wave upon wave of Indian and Chinese immigrants.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The institutions are turning against the very people they were built to serve. They have become irreparably noxious and need to be either destroyed or repurposed from the ground up.

Cal RW
Cal RW
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

JV – isn’t Musk playing a lead role in big tech, finance, regime media, and culture?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago
Reply to  Cal RW

I’m not sure you’re saying here – that the institutions are not dominated by left wing ideologues? Musk is a notable heterodox thinker and the state is going at him hard.

Cal RW
Cal RW
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I was trying to figure out what you meant by high tech institution. If the high tech institution it is a cabal of the leaders in the high tech industry then I would think that Musk would be a key figure in it – possibly a leader.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
5 months ago
Reply to  Cal RW

Well, Musk is clearly a maverick – in Silicon Valley as well as US media generally.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Are Zuckerberg etc really ” left wing ideologues “?!. I’m very sceptical of that claim.

It’s often cost free virtue signalling going on. The US is also one of the most unequal societies in the West.

Some might even consider the “woke” issue the mother of all diversion!

Saul D
Saul D
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

How has it evolved that virtually all the institutions have become captured by a far left ideology and the Democrat Party?

It might be better seen as the Democratic Party has been captured by the institutions as the political manifestation of the public sector. At one point it was much more of a party of blue collar workers in private industry, (a group that largely lost their home and political power, which is why Trump does well).
The reason for the capture is relatively simple. Right-wing governments tend to want to curtail the size of public spending to reduce tax rates. A rational public sector employee or public sector contractor, concerned about pay, job and career, would therefore be against any rightwing party on self-interest grounds. This encourages them to actively support, and possibly join, any party that would put more money into public services. And the same rational public sector employee would be disinclined to employ or promote anyone not in favour of more public spending – so it metastases over time.
The result is that as the public sector and public-funded work grow relative to other forms of labour, it then it eventually ends up being a dominant political constituency in elections. If we’re not careful, the party and administration start to fuse and the administration starts to act for the benefit of the party, cursing the taxpayers if they vote differently.

Terry M
Terry M
5 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

That is the underlying problem – government grows because it cannot be put out of business, unlike private businesses.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
5 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

As the social democratic state grows and acquires more spending power so it attracts growing numbers of rent-seekers – until it ceases to serve the wider public at all.
A good example is the UK housing market, where prices have been artificially inflated by both dominant parties – via fiscal and monetary policy – to the point where nothing can be done about the rapidly widening class divide that is the main consequence. When Theresa May rather timidly suggested that some of the beneficiaries of this vast and unearned upward transfer of wealth might actually pay for their own social care the loudest howls of outrage came from the Guardian, FFS.

J Chase
J Chase
5 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Spot on, and government employee unions are a big part of the problem in the US. I live in the Washington DC area, which has slowly become more and more Democratic, like a glacier. The impact on the law (judges, prosecutors, & juries) has been dramatic.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Not that I’m a fan, but Musk at least contributes something to society. What will Trump’s legacy be?

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Well he did have a fairly successful presidency; the many benefits of which has been detailed in the comment section of other Unherd articles. Or did you not know that he had been President, Clare?

B Davis
B Davis
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

That’s an interesting question.
Depends on how you measure it, doesn’t it?
As an entrepreneur, over the last 50 years he’s employed probably tens of thousands of people. That seems a significant legacy, in and of itself: the provider of an income stream to — who knows — 20,000 families? Musk’s fortune is larger so presumably his ‘income streaming’ is greater.
As a public figure, he’s contributed a kind of bluntness to the typical political mush-mouthed dialectic which is long overdue.
As a President he presided over any number of initiatives, some successful, some not, some should have been and weren’t. He did not get us involved in any new wars (which usually is a good thing). And, as is standard for every president, he receives the accolades for a strong economy.
But of course an implication of that kind of question is that the individual so questioned does not have a ‘substantial’ legacy, let alone a timeless one…vs all those other presidents who….do??
It’s true, Trump did not win a Civil War or sign an Emancipation Proclamation. He did not guide our nation through a world war. He did not end the Great Depression. He did negotiate the Louisiana Purchase. He didn’t lead our troops in battle to found a new nation or defeat the Nazis. Nor did he even write or sign the Declaration or the Constitution. But really, of the 46 men who have occupied that seat, who has? What’s Biden’s legacy other than staggering inflation, corruption, and vote buying? What’s Obama’s? (other than greenlighting the execution of bin Laden) What’s Bush’s? Carter’s? Kennedy’s? Johnson’s? Hoover’s? McKinley’s? Adams? Go down the list.
In any case, it’s safe to say that his legacy is greater than our own and more significant. We may expect and dream about a transcendent presidency, but they’re hard to come by.

Jean Baue
Jean Baue
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“How has it evolved that virtually all the institutions have become captured by a far left ideology and the Democrat Party?” Uh…maybe we should ask the university professors who taught them. I’m sure they weren’t lecturing on The Golden Rule or The Beatitudes. I’d guess Marxism was sprinkled liberally throughout all their courses.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

And let it be! Apt analogy between autocratic tactics of the Washington and Brussels-via-Tusk establishments.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
5 months ago

Consensus politics requires common ground, and diversity, by definition, is the enemy of common ground. As our ability to reach any kind of consensus diminishes, not surprisingly the result is a less functional democracy and the perception that the country–not the nation, because the nation increasingly doesn’t exist–can only be ruled by fiat. Historically speaking, republics tend to be small and monoethnic, while large and multiethnic countries tend to be empires.
His critics called Nixon’s White House an “imperial presidency”, but the real imperial presidency is emerging now. The legislature has fecklessly abrogated most of its powers to the executive or the judiciary, so that the person of the president, who nominates judges and appoints bureaucrats and increasingly rules by decree, has become more important than ever for those who wish to enact their administrative (I really, really wanted to say “legislative” there) agenda, and thus presidential electoral campaigns have become more bitterly and savagely fought than ever before.
I have no expectation that either of these trends will or even can be reversed.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
5 months ago

You make many good points. The expression “multicultural society” is an oxymoron. There can be, and often have been, multicultural states. Examples that spring to mind are Yugoslavia, the Turkish Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union. You may notice that these polities have a couple of things in common: they no longer exist and, while they did, they required a strong central government to keep them together.

Jules Anjim
Jules Anjim
5 months ago

I agree that gender and identity politics are out of control, and that the well-spring of wokeness – academia, legal and corporate activism – needs to be put in its place. And I agree that it’s pretty hard to see in which universe a doddering octogenarian like Biden is the cream that rises to the top of the American political system, only to be left floating there once spoiled, while everyone tells you to take another big gulp of the delicious fresh milk.
With that said, it is hard to imagine in what universe Donald Trump is the answer to this problem, given his incomparable vanity and superficiality make him an even more ideal trojan horse for even narrower vested interests (be they religious, nativist, isolationist, economic).
While powerful vested interests typically never have much qualms about undermining democratic principles or institutions to pursue their ends, it is another thing altogether to make it your stated political platform, cheered on by the institutional GOP and its supporters in the media, as if this is just a benign balancing out of too much wokeness.
The woke may be today’s enemy, but autocrats will ultimately make an enemy of anyone who challenges them. When Trump is finally disposed of by the passage of his electoral or corporeal limits, Americans will be left to reckon with a political system that gives them even less power against the global economic dynamics that have shaped their domestic discontent.

Jules Anjim
Jules Anjim
5 months ago

.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Jules Anjim

Don’t expect a reply sir!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

Funny, Charles!

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
5 months ago

Mary is a great writer and I enjoy her articles, including this one, but reading her articles about the US reminds me just how much Europe and the US have and continue to diverge from one another and how, from de Tocqueville onward, it has been frustratingly difficult for Europeans to truly understand the US.

The US is not Europe. It is not, and never has been, one nation in the same way England, Germany, France, or Russia were. Germany is a nation with its own people, its own language, and its own culture. Germans will still be Germans whether or not they live in Germany for many generations, sometimes centuries. We can still have a sensible conversation about ethnic Germans living in France or Czechia or Poland. A conversation about ethnic Americans sounds like, and is, nonsense, unless you’re referring to the very small population of Native Americans living on reservations. The concept of how governments can come to reflect nations, cultures, and peoples is fascinating, but it presupposes that there be an underlying nation, culture, and people to reflect. I submit that in the case of the US, there really isn’t a whole lot there to reflect. What little there is, though, suggests that Trump and Trumpism are not out of character.

There are very few threads that go back more than a few decades in American history, but they do exist, and they stand in stark contrast to Europe in particular. Europe was a nation of many different religions, ethnic groups, tribes, cultures, and peoples, existing near, but largely separate from, one another, divided as they were by language and feudal societal organization. The legacy of feudalism and the reality that external threats from competing cultures and peoples produced, I contend, a certain level of deference and loyalty between people within these groups, particularly it has inculcated a higher default level of trust and loyalty shown by lower classes of people towards the upper class within their cultural group. The common observation that Europeans have more respect for their governments, civil servants, and aristocrats than Americans have for theirs is no accident.

Though most of America’s original inhabitants came from Europe, there never was a truly dominant culture. Even prior to the revolution, the US was a mixture of Dutch, Scotch, German, French, Welsh, English, and many other European peoples. They were united by nothing so much as the decision to leave their culture and homeland, presumably out of some dissatisfaction with one or another aspect of said culture and homeland, be it a religious divergence, generational poverty, or whatever other reason. Thus, the US has a tremendous complex of deep resentment built into its collective psyche. Americans may have had little in common, but the one thing they did have was a certain level of dissatisfaction with their lot in life wherever they had been. Successive waves of immigration have radically altered the culture and ethnic makeup of the country, but only further reinforced this self-selective contrarianism. It is thus difficult to understate the rebellious streak that runs through American history. Nearly everybody who is here today is here because their ancestors got fed up with some ruling class somewhere sometime in the past, so much so that they decided it was a better bet to uproot themselves and their families and leave entirely. It can be (and has been) said that burning the American flag is one of the most American things an American can do. In a nation with no culture or ethnicity of its own, the absurd becomes perfectly reasonable. Protest, rebellion, disenchantment, revolution; these are some of the very few threads that cut through successive waves of cultural change to the very bones of what makes the US what it is, a very different political animal than anything else filed under the generic headline of ‘western culture’.

The blinders come, in my opinion, from the fact that the US and Europe, due to the recent history of the World Wars and the reality of the US as a global power, share a relatively integrated and culturally homogeneous “western” ruling class. Do not be deceived into thinking they or anything they do is reflective of Americans on the ground. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read any poll numbers and they will tell you that the level of trust the American people have in their government, media, and nearly every other institution where power is concentrated and exercised, is at an all time low, and getting lower. The shenanigans that our current ruling class is engaged in is not at all popular with the American people, even those like myself that aren’t particularly supportive of Donald Trump. Trump’s popularity has gone UP, not down, each and every time he has been dragged into a courtroom. I assume these people can read the news as well as I can, so why they keep doing it is anyone’s guess. Why does a man who finds himself at the bottom of a deep hole ask for a shovel? I don’t have a good answer, but generally speaking, I’d say there’s an element of misunderstanding the basic problem and a failure of imagination in trying to come up with reasonable solutions. In this specific case, my best guess is they’re using an increasingly globalized (meaning westernized, Europeanized) template to govern a people that weren’t very European two centuries ago, and are even less so today.

Here’s something most non-historians won’t be aware of. During the run up to the American revolution, America made many diplomatic overtures to England seeking to peacefully reconcile their differences. Many of them were appeals directly to the Crown, King George III to intervene and overrule acts of Parliament. The colonists by and large viewed the king as their legitimate sovereign, but felt that the Parliament was a bunch of lords and aristocrats who they had not voted for and elected and who thus had no legitimate authority over them. The colonists hoped that appealing to a monarch to break the power of aristocrats would solve their problems without the need for violence. That was two and a half centuries ago. Now, a lot of people are looking to Trump to break the power of aristocrats and overrule and override other non-elected bodies nationally and internationally. In context, it’s not such a great leap from where we started after all.
Americans never had a problem with autocracy as so long as they got to pick the autocrat, the autocrat did more or less what they demanded, and their basic freedoms were not infringed. America has had other quasi-dictatorial rulers throughout its history who ruled more like medieval monarchs (or like Putin, De Gaulle, Erdogan, or Orban) than most modern Europeans would be comfortable with, men whose power was not based on their ideas or the political system, but, like Napoleon or Caesar, on the raw force of their personality and popularity. Most of them have monuments in Washington and have their pictures on our currency, which should tell you how Americans really feel about autocracy in principle. Both Roosevelts, Lincoln, Jackson, and even George Washington himself, spring immediately to mind. I had a suspicion America was ripe for another sort-of tyrant to put the ‘fear of God’ back into the aristocrats and global oligarchs about a decade before Trump graced us with his august presence on the political stage, though I admit I hoped for better than him.

The politics of ideas that comes out of the European, particularly the British, tradition Mary speaks of in idealistic terms is a nice mental picture that Americans, being a more pragmatic lot, have historically been quite content to toss out the window whenever expedient. America and its people were never a good fit as stewards of European culture and civilization on a global scale. A globalized westernized civilization with the US at its center was bound to fail sooner or later. The Trump phenomenon must seem utterly baffling to European audiences, who are quite properly worried about what Trump might do and how it might affect them individually and collectively. Trump himself leaves much to be desired on a number of levels. Many of his own supporters would concede as much. The phenomenon of his rise to popularity and possible re-election, though is completely and utterly consistent with American history and the American character, chaotic, rebellious, and chimeric thing that it is. Consider that a warning from this American about the nature of the beast.

Darwin K Godwin
Darwin K Godwin
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

As an American, I concur with this fascinating observation. In VE Day, 8 May 1845, my blessed grandmother walked out of her Texas shack and fired her shotgun into the air with a mighty whoop. Her kin were coming home. She has passed on, but I’m sure our extended family has more unregistered firearms than chili recipes. Sadly, all those firearms were lost in a boating accident some time last year.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Outstanding.

Terry M
Terry M
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Americans may have had little in common, but the one thing they did have was a certain level of dissatisfaction with their lot in life wherever they had been and a belief that in America things would be better.
That last part is important. During the largest waves of immigration, immigrants came to America because they heard the streets were paved with gold and it was a land of the free. They were optimists and believed hard work would pay off.
Today, not so much. Many are looking for better jobs, but very many are looking for handouts. And there are too many handouts to be had. And they are not aware of the founding philosophy of America.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
5 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

I admit that living in Kentucky, my experience with recent immigrants is rather limited. The few in the area tend to work as farm laborers or in construction and what not. I encounter very few of the people trying to get benefits you mention. I don’t doubt some are motivated by this, and that this is a bigger problem now than in ages past, but as with tales of streets paved with gold, I believe expectations of living easy on government benefits are similarly unrealistic. I don’t blame the immigrants for acting in their own self interest. I blame globalist politicians and their corporate backers who share an interest in courting new voters and holding down wages. Like the underpaid factory workers in the places where American factories were moved, immigrants promised sanctuary in the USA are victims of the same aristocrats for whom globalism is a moral rationalization for their accumulation of ever greater power and wealth.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Thanks for your near essay long comment. That’s why I appreciate UnHerd and sometimes go right for the comment section ..

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Great post.

Sally Owen
Sally Owen
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Excellently put!


Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
5 months ago

What happened to that 500-ship Dutch navy that landed in Devon in 1688? I suppose you are going to tell me that its soldiers just marched over to Port Isaac and set up the scenery for the Doc Martin series.
Let’s get real. The Dutch invaded and put their chappie on the throne so they could get the French sorted. And they did, after bringing central banking to London and running the National Debt up to 250 percent of GDP by June 1815 when the Duchess of Richmond’s ball was followed by a spectacular fireworks display at Quatre Bras and Waterloo.
Rather than talk about monarchy let’s talk about the oppressive oligarchic regime of the educated class that has dominated and oppressed the ordinary people of the West with its big government and World Wars and regulation and Making Things Worse for workers, women and blacks.
Trump just represents a Hail Mary pass into the end zone hoping for a touchdown but probably an interception. (How about that Yank football stuff).

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

If James II hadn’t ‘lost his bottle’ he should have easily have ‘seen off’ that rather small, poxy, Dutch/German and Danish Army that William the S* domite brought with him.

Like wise William’s English supporters would have suffered the traditional death of being “Drawn, Hanged and Quartered*, as they so richly deserved.

(*As Lord Jonathan Sumption, KS describes it.)

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
5 months ago

Braine-l’Alleud

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
5 months ago

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that this is happening at a time of celeb influencer culture. One in which political parties serve and are identified by the person standing at their head and not the opposite.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

That is basically the story of modern American history. It’s not a recent phenomenon – only the medium has evolved.

Daniel Chalkin
Daniel Chalkin
5 months ago

Having been involved in politics in the UK I was shocked, perhaps naively, at how sectarian elected members and activists are. Mary has put it far better, but I’ve long noticed the abandonment of convincing people an idea is worth fighting for, in favour of just arguing that the other party is just bad.

I think this is a result of our media class and the political parties chasing too wide a voter base, as well as the passing of real power to the civil service. I’m not sure how we go back to a less sectarian politics.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
5 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Chalkin

Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:
 First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.
Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

Here we are.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Chalkin

Power has passed not to the civil service but to the free markets and finance. Government always works through the civil service – what else do you expect? Government has neutered itself and the civil service along with it.
The reason parties gave up on convincing people that an idea was worth fighting for was because there was nothing substantial left to fight for. Free market ideology won the day and they were powerless to effect meaningful change.
With “take back control” etc. we are seeing a rejection of this dominance of finance and free market ideology but for now the cognitive dissonance is preventing those on the right from realising it.
National sovereignty is the route back to a less sectarian politics. That means not only taking power back from the globalist post-war consensus but also from the market actors and global corporations it assisted.
Then we’ll really be forced to choose which we prefer. Prosperity or sovereignty. We are indulged in an illusion of both at the moment.

Daniel Chalkin
Daniel Chalkin
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I think my point was more along the lines that the politicians have largely been taken out of the decision making process except for at the very end of it, with the civil service or independent organisations deciding on the choices the politicians eventually vote on. In my view it should be the other way around, indeed that is what we are led to belive the system is. But it most definitely isn’t.

“The reason parties gave up on convincing people that an idea was worth fighting for was because there was nothing substantial left to fight for”

I used to think this too, around the time of the coalition but I wouldn’t agree that it was because the free market won the day, although it is more efficient 90% of the time. I’ve since realised, though, that there really are ideas worth fighting for if we want to preserve our culture and nation.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Power has passed not to the civil service but to the free markets and finance. 
As if these were separate groups. They all belong to the same elite. And all have the same motivation, which is to feed at the trough of the state.
ï»żThere’s no reason we have to “choose between prosperity and sovereignty” at all. Prosperity doesn’t come from the activities of rent-seeking global corporations, bureaucracies and NGOs. It comes from thriving small businesses and autonomous local institutions.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
5 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Chalkin

” I’ve long noticed the abandonment of convincing people an idea is worth fighting for, in favour of just arguing that the other party is just bad.”

This has developed over the last decades. However, I’d say it doesn’t really start with the media or politicians – it starts with the people. The media and politicians have seen that people are decreasingly interested in debate and have acted accordingly.

People have got dumber. The majority seem to just join a tribe that they feel most aligns with their views and stay there, not thinking about individual issues so much. They’ll believe the lies their own side says and be outraged by their oppositions lies.

Also, politics is much more complex than in the past. When societies were structured much more simply it was easier to see which side was representing you – it’s much trickier to do that now.

Cal RW
Cal RW
5 months ago

Loved the article but don’t buy the overall thesis. Is there a deep state conspiracy against Trump? Are the institutions of government organized and aligned against Trump? My take is different. In the three decades prior to Trump announcing for the Presidency, he and his organization had 4,095 law suits against them. This was a 30 year period before he decided to run for a government office. Basically the guy didn’t follow rules and laws. He never has. But he had money and learned from his father, and lawyer Roy Cohn, how to bulldoze little guys and saps that followed the laws and rules. One of the many anecdotes I recall was from a small piano store owner. He had a family business and was excited when he got his contract with Trump. He supplied most of his inventory of pianos to several of Trump’s Atlantic City hotels and casinos. When it came time to pay for the pianos, Trump would only pay a fraction of what he contracted. He told the piano store owner to sue him if he didn’t like it. The small family piano store owner could not afford to take the Trump organization to court. He ate the cost and it took several years to recover. That is Donald Trump and there were 4,095 legal actions against him before he ran for the Presidency. What he is facing today is not a deep state conspiracy and is nothing new; his current legal predicament is similar to what he faced all his life. The big difference now is that he is on a much bigger stage and trying to steam roll government organizations, agencies, judicial offices, and employees that are sworn to defend the country’s laws and regulations. Here is a reference for the 4,095 lawsuits against Trump: https://www.azcentral.com/pages/interactives/trump-lawsuits/

Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
5 months ago
Reply to  Cal RW

Why the down votes?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago
Reply to  Cal RW

Both can be true. Trump is sleaze bag who has used lawfare to serve his own interests, and the institutions are lining up to knock him down. Very informative comment though. I appreciate that.

Cal RW
Cal RW
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I like that we have institutions that can knock down wealthy and powerful sleaze bags that think the laws do not apply to them. As far as it being selective prosecution targeted at Trump, I don’t buy it. The Biden Administration Justice Department opened investigations and appointed special prosecutors against Joe Biden and his son. Both Biden special prosecutors are officials appointed by Trump administration. They actually have levied charges against his son. They also have brought charges against Democratic Senator Bob Menendez.

Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
5 months ago

What is worse: a genuine choice between a demagogue and a deep state puppet in the US, or little choice between two sides of the Uniparty in the UK?
At least in the US, people will turn out to vote.

j watson
j watson
5 months ago

Author trying to be too clever with some wide sweeping historical dialectical – Hegel or Marx the Author is not.
Should go and read up two key things which explain much. Firstly the growth in multi-millionaires and the v rich at a time of low growth and cost of living crisis for not just the poorer in societies but the middle classes. A massive transfer of wealth is underway and it’s in the wrong direction. But it’s deliberate. It’s not some metro-blob behind this. That’s a convenient scapegoat cleverly promulgated by the control of media by the same class of multi-millionaires. These control and own ‘assets’. They probably own your mortgage as you read this as well as why we have a housing shortage – why increase supply and reduce profit? They favour a model that increasingly concentrates wealth and power in their hands.
Secondly go and look at what happened to US campaign finance rules last decade and the role of PACs with unlimited spending. Want to know why many feel disenfranchised? It’s because the same v wealthy not only own your economy they own your politics too.
Trump of course, idiot though he is, does instinctively tap into some of this sense of disenfranchisement. But of course as a multi-millionaire himself he’s not going to change it at all. Maybe folks have that sense that at least if he causes chaos someone responsible will pay. But they won’t of course. They be comfortably sipping their champagne elsewhere.
Go and follow the money Mary and get out of the pseudo science analysis stuff. It’s hoodwinking you and many others.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
5 months ago
Reply to  j watson

In the London suburb where I live pretty well every homeowner is a millionaire or multi-millionaire. And the public sector professionals are the wealthiest of all. That’s where the ‘massive transfer of wealth’ has gone. But let’s pretend not to notice, eh?

Andrew R
Andrew R
5 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You’re not a fan of Mary Harrington’s writing, perhaps it’s because she adeptly picks apart what has been described as post democracy, otherwise known as NGOcracy or more commonly… “The Blob”.

Neo liberalism and NGOs have worked in tandem to deprive the electorate a voice, while creaming off the wealth through a variety of means.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
5 months ago

Interesting discussion, but I don’t buy into the thinking. In particular, I don’t see the sun of any monarchy dawning over Washington, DC and democracy fading into a sunset.
Something does trouble me, though, and the murder of Alexey Nalvany in his arctic prison brings that to the fore. (He may or may not have been murdered in the usual sense, but his death was anything but natural.) What troubles me is the darkness of a Democratic descent into legal persecution of a political opponent — the elitist-mob attacks on Donald Trump.
The attacks began even before he was elected in 2016 when the FBI filed false evidence to get a warrant to spy on his campaign in Operation Crossfire Hurricane. Then the attacks piled up. The two-year Mueller Russia investigation that crippled his presidency. An impeachment for an innocuous conversation with Ukraine’s then almost unknown Volodymyr Zelensky. Bans by Twitter and Facebook for inciting violence. An impeachment for the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol. The January 6th House committee investigation. A civil fraud case for exaggerating his net worth. A civil rape/defamation case brought by Jean Carroll. Then, for the first time in American presidential history, one, two, three and then four criminal indictments with 91 counts spread among them. Finally, ballot disqualification cases in several states.
Donald Trump has spent $50 million already just to defend himself in these cases, and will likely spend another $50 million before he’s done. But there’s a lot more than that. Damages in two civil suits have already been awarded totaling over $500 million against him.
First, Jean Carroll accused Donald Trump in her 2019 memoir of raping her as they both fooled around trying on lingerie in a department store dressing room about 30 years ago, and then defamation when he denied it. Though the time to bring criminal actions had passed, she could bring a civil suit. Two juries awarded her an astonishing almost $90 million, even though she had no idea even the year in which she had been raped and her only evidence was her own claim. She paid zero attorney’s fees (those were paid by Democratic donors) and was represented by Roberta Kaplan, the attorney who also represented Christine Blasey Ford in her equally fantastic attempted rape claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Second, New York attorney general Tish James accused Donald Trump of fraud in a civil case that, in an abuse of process, grew out of a criminal investigation. He was accused of inflating his net worth by lying in a financial statement he would give to lenders and others. Trouble is, that’s standard practice in New York commercial real estate. Yet a crotchety 76-year-old judge whose female law clerk sits beside him on his elevated bench decided in a bench trial to put all Donald Trump’s properties in receivership, fine him over $400 million, and ban him from doing business in New York.
The four coming criminal lawsuits are equally ludicrous. In the first case, to begin on March 25 in New York, Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg is relying on two star witnesses: a big-breasted stripper, Stormy Daniels, and a felon who pled guilty to bank fraud, tax fraud, perjury and campaign violations, Michael Cohen. (The porn star had been represented by a lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who became a media star and was talked of as a presidential contender. He was then convicted of fraud and will spend decades in prison.) Even most Democrats think this case is fatally weak. Should be a circus.
Another case was supposed to start in Washington DC on March 5, but it has been put on hold as an issue about presidential immunity has made its way to the Supreme Court. It still sits there while the court decides what to do with it. When it does go forward, a conviction on its four vague counts of fraud and conspiracy against the United States is almost assured, as the prosecutor Jack Smith, the judge Tanya Chutkan, and the jury pool (in a district where only 5% of voters voted for Donald Trump) have all shown their bias against him.
A case in Georgia state court is also on hold as it turns into a reality television show. Prosecutor Fani Willis, a black woman who is staunchly Democratic, hired her unqualified friend Nathan Wade in November 2021 to be her lead counsel on the case. At some point, he (a black man) became her lover. Whether the sex started before his hire or after has become a crucial point as it may lead to her being kicked off the case against Donald Trump. The proceedings were on television, and it was riveting to watch. Fani Willis was in full attack mode as a witness (shouting, for example, “you lie!” at a defense lawyer), so much so that the judge would have put her in jail if she was a normal witness. And the lawyer for the prosecutors brought in a surprise witness to try to prove an irrelevant sexual assault allegation against another witness. Entertaining, in a way, but none of it has anything to do with justice.
The final case in Florida is not on hold but seems stalled for now. The judge Aileen Cannon was appointed by Donald Trump four years ago, and she has been accused of bias in his favor. This case involves about 100 classified documents that were scattered thinly among a hundred boxes in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home/resort hotel. Some boxes were in a bathroom, some on a stage, and some in a locked closet. The case might have been stronger if current president Joe Biden were not found to have hundreds of pages of classified documents in his home and office as well, among them some in a torn and untidy box stored with the junk in his garage. Special counsel Robert Hur found that Joe Biden was guilty of the same crimes as 30 of the 40 counts against Donald Trump, but said Joe Biden shouldn’t be prosecuted because no jury would convict a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory”. When interviewed he could not remember when he was vice president (even I remember it was January 2009 to January 2017), and although he talks often of his beloved son Beau’s untimely death due to brain cancer, he couldn’t place the date of his death (it was in 2015) even within several years.
This all sounds farcical and in some ways it is, but it’s also deadly serious. The Democrats are trying to bankrupt Donald Trump and put him in prison until he dies there. Seriously. Right during an election where polls show Donald Trump leads Joe Biden (by a small margin) in the race for the presidency.
I’ve been a lawyer in the US for almost 40 years, and my faith in our justice system has been tested before, but nothing like this. Comparisons to Russia are apt. What happened to Alexey Navalny was tragic and heartbreaking, but depressingly, expected. This I never expected to see. Not in America.
Alexey Navalny himself saw the parallel of him and Donald Trump. After Twitter and Facebook banned Donald Trump in January 2021, Alexey Navalny wrote an 11-tweet thread on Twitter on January 9, 2021. He was no fan of Donald Trump, but he pointed out that the political censorship of Donald Trump was 80% of what the Russia government had done to him. Different in degree, maybe, but an attack on free speech just the same.
Just so, the vicious legal attacks on Donald Trump are different in degree but the same in substance as the show trials of Alexey Navalny. Half the country thinks Donald Trump should be president. Half the country thinks he should die a pauper in prison. Sadly, the Democrats may well be the ones with the political power to work their will. If they do, forget fairness. Forget impartiality. Forget freedoms. Forget democracy.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Thank you for that wonderful exposition of the “land of the free”.
I for one never doubted it.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
5 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

You are skipping one question: Might Trump actually be guilty on some of these charges? How can that be determined? If he is guilty, what should happen? Do you believe that because he is running for President he should be immune from prosecution, no matter how brazenly he breaks the law? The big difference is that Navalny is pretty obviously innocent. It is not quite that obvious with Trump.

It is pretty clear that the Democrat side is doing what it can to promote the cases against him (I am not that stupid), but that does not prove that he is innocent. The case against Gawker was paid for by Peter Thiel, but that does not prove Gawker innocent either. As Cal RW reminds us in another comment, Trump has been operating that way forever. He has been breaking the law, f**ck*ng over people, and always got away with it because his victims were too weak to stand against him, and no one cared enough to intervene. Now he has got to where a lot of people do care enough to stop him, and all of a sudden his victims are able to fight back. Trump may be outraged that his native right to do whatever he likes and scr*w anybody else is being challenged, but then Trump is, well, Trump. Why is this not just a case of ‘what goes around, come around?’

You say that

Half the country thinks Donald Trump should be president. Half the country thinks he should die a pauper in prison. Sadly, the Democrats may well be the ones with the political power to work their will. If they do, forget fairness. Forget impartiality. Forget freedoms. Forget democracy.

But surely you are not that naive that you think Trump will provide fairness, impartiality or freedoms to his opponents? How can you justify the outrage? If you think this is just a fight without rules that is your privilege, but at least you should accept that the Democrats have just as much right to fight dirty as Trump does.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Totally agreed. This is based.
The motivation for pursuing Trump may be political but that doesn’t avoid the fact that he has actually committed crimes. In response to the fraud case we saw so many defences of “who hasn’t committed a little mortgage fraud??”
The difference between Navalny and Trump is not that Navalny is innocent but that rather the crimes are corrupt. America’s laws and legal system are fine. The issue is not that Trump is being prosecuted or persecuted now but that he got away with it for so long.
Trumpy types had no problem with the illiberal justice system when it was unfairly persecuting racial minorities whilst overlooking rich-people crimes. Now that “law and order” has extended to one of their own they’re questioning the system.
I also love to hear all these conservatives talking the virtues of enlightenment liberalism when they cheered Trump’s packing of the courts for 4 years and seem to be completely comfortable with the concentration of power in the executive branch.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

What did Trump get away with, and “for so long”? An inflated property value doesn’t cut it, not when the bank made money on the loan and testified in his defense. Seriously, what are all these crimes that he is guilty of and how come no one on the left took issue with Trump until he ran for and won the presidency?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The Democrats reek of desperation


Terry M
Terry M
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

If proposing a ‘too-high’ value for one’s property were a crime, then EVERY house that is offered for sale at one price and then sold at a lower price is a crime since the offer price was too high.
And how about those flea markets where scarves are offered for $20, but when you offer $10 it is sold?
Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime. Lavrentiy Beria and today’s Democratic Party

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
5 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

That’s not what Trump was found liable for in NY. He was found liable of swearing under oath that his 7,000 sq ft condo had 30,000 sq ft in it (and similar lies). It is probably technical civil fraud – but the ‘technical’ is important, because this happens all the time and is never the basis for a lawsuit where there are no damages. The company issuing the loan did its own investigation into his credit worthiness, issued a loan, was repaid with interest and had no complaints.
The *only* reason this ‘technicality’ was prosecuted was because the defendant was Donald Trump. People have very limited understanding of how laws work, but ‘technical’ violations are extremely common but ignored because they result in no harm.
To adapt Wittgenstein: “If law is to be a means of governance there must be agreement not only in definitions but also (queer as this may sound) in judgments.” In the US we claim to agree on definition but no longer agree on judgments. Or to put it a different way, the US is most definitely creeping into the rule of man, not of laws. Very sad.

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Whitewater served the same purpose for the Clintons. When it was pointed out, it was promptly ignored.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

No, Whitewater was investigated and no crime was found.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The point is that the charges would never have been bought had he been a democrat
I bet we could put you lifer under a microscope and come up with a few charges

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I assume you would have no problem with being arrested and jailed for J walking?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

How many of these charges against Trump would make it t court in the UK? What’s actually striking, given the massive resources being devoted to keeping him out of the White House, is how flimsy they are.

Sudo Nim
Sudo Nim
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Proof that Trump “actually committed crimes”?
Because you could save the prosecution a ton of money if you can provide that.

Darwin K Godwin
Darwin K Godwin
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Many of Trump’s supporters know that it is they who are collectively on trial. 81 million up against the wall for having the audacity to question the State. Reasonable arguments have jumped the shark.

Saul D
Saul D
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Two tests to apply. Firstly, if it was someone other than Trump doing these things, would they be prosecuted and punished in the same way? Is there equality under the law.
Secondly, is this a ‘normal’ use of the law or is it relying on making the law fit the person? The law is not a weapon to be used against people you don’t like.
So Trump (boo hiss – baddie) is due equality under the law. If he is prosecuted for mis-handling classified documents, then Hillary and Biden should be too. If his overvaluing merits a huge fine, then every property developer and seeker of business loans in the world needs to be fined (businesses are quitting NY due to the increased legal risk). If he can be penalised on a he-said-she-said case with no evidence then so can everyone.
The law targets crimes, not individuals. The person in the dock shouldn’t matter – everyone should have the same justice. In a common law system, if the precedent is created it needs to be followed through for all cases. There can’t be a law for one side and a different law for the other side.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
5 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

A few points here:

On the classified documents, Biden cooperated in handing them back, whereas Trump systematically obstructed and tried to hang on to them. He also showed off top secret document to random guests to prove what a big man he was. Biden did not, AFAIK.

On the defamation case (civil case, right?) Trump refused to respect court decisions and continued his defamation afterwards. The jury might legitimate have answered the question: ‘How big a fine will it take to get that man to shut up, as the court has told him he must?’ Even if he thinks he ought to have won, he must still respect the fact that the court says otherwise.

On the loans, it is not really an excuse for signing a false statement that ‘everybody else does it too’. Try that one with a false expense claim to your employer – or a false declaration to the IRS – and see what it gets you.

Trump is on record as trying to subvert the election result. ‘I know I have won big, just find enough votes to prove it’. Pushing the VP to refuse to confirm the accepted result. Pushing various states to disregard the result of the vote. Inviting and encouraging the invasion of the Capitol to pressure congress to give him what he wants. And – as one of the Supreme Court justices said, an attempt to take power does not become legal just because it is chaotic and ineffective.

Anyway, not all crimes get prosecuted. ‘Why did you not arrest the other guy’ is not going to get you out of a speeding ticket. Getting justice means that if you are innocent the law must find you innocent. It does not mean that it must take your innocence for granted and refrain from prosecuting you.

Finally, the party that impeached Bill Clinton and won an election on ‘lock Hilary up’ is really not in a position to get all outraged about lawfare. Unlike the various people that Trump has done business with over the years (see Cal RWs post) Trump is at least big and ugly enough to look after himself.

Terry M
Terry M
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The difference on the docs is that Biden NEVER had authority to have them in the first place. He stole state secrets. Trump merely tried to keep them – for his defense against the very thugs who are after him now.
It does not mean that it must take your innocence for granted and refrain from prosecuting you.
Not a fan of innocent until PROVEN guilty, I see.

can't buy my vote
can't buy my vote
5 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

Exactly right. The privileges that apply to a President regarding classified documents do not apply to a Senator, VP or Secretary of State (Hillary).

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
5 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

Eh? So nobody can ever be prosecuted because everyone is presumed innocent?! I think you are misunderstanding something fundamental there…..

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Biden actually showed classified documents to his ghost writer.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

What’s tragic about this is that if the target of all this palpable lawfare were someone from your side of the political divide, you would be defending that person as vigorously as others on here are defending Trump.
It does seem as if this argument can no longer be settled by debate.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
5 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

It does seem that the argument cannot be settled by debate, yes. But AFAIAC that is because not a single one of the Trump fans here can see a single reason why anyone should prosecute Trump for anything, or why there is anything wrong with trying to subvert the election result with no evidence except a gut feeling that you could not possibly have lost. With that starting point, what is there to debate? If you could admit that he maybe should be prosecuted for something, we could discuss which attempts are over the top.

But no, I am not a tribal Democrat to start with (anti-woke, among other things). If there is evidence for someone doing something seriously wrong, I’ll back a prosecution (with more or less enthusiasm, but I am willing to be convinced). Not Bill Clinton, for having sex with a willing woman. Not Hilary, for a flipping email server. Whitewater was OK to start with – I am sure they were guilty of something – but with Whitewater, like with Russiagate, like with Biden, you accept there is nothing when the evidence does not come forward. But not with Kavanaugh either. He was a Republican hack that should never have got near the Supreme court, but that is a matter of not being qualified. You cannot disqualify people for having been frat boys, once.

Anyway, if you have a good example of a liberal victim of lawfare, try me and let us see.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Well, Hillary reduced a perfectly viable country to a rubble-strewn wasteland in order to get a ratings boost in an election year and, had she been elected, would no doubt have polished that particular skill in all sorts of other areas before destroying all the associated emails. Trump is certainly not a virtuous man but I don’t think anything he has done begins to compare with that.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
5 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

That is an almost unhinged remark. What precisely did Hillary Clinton do? She wasn’t actually ever President, right?!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

She was the senator without whose enthusiastic support Bush would never have got the Iraq war off the ground and the US Secretary of State without whose connivance Sarkozy’s Libyan coup would have been a non-starter. We’ll be paying the price of her warmongering for the rest of our lives. Go away and read the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs report on the so-called Libyan civil war.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
5 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Her mad cackling at Ghaddafi’s gruesome death put many Americans off.

David Yetter
David Yetter
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The more relevant comparison on classified documents is not with Biden, but with Hillary Clinton. There was a prima facia case not merely of negligent handling of classified information, but of intentitional mishandling, in her use of an ill-secured “home brew” server for official business, and there is also a prima facia case of obstruction since she destroyed hard drives relevant to the investigation. But she was let off scot-free because the FBI director made up a mens rea clause that’s not in the statute against negligent handling of classified documrent. Add to that Biden being let off, while Trump is pursued as was Gen. Petraeus, and the poor bloke who was sent to the stockade for sending some classified intel over Yahoo!Mail to try to save his unit in Afghanistan, and you get the clear picture of a two-tiered justice system in which Democrat politicians have privilege (in its original sense of having a private law that applies only to them).

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I note R does not mention the Presidential Records Act.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter F. Lee

I had never heard of it. But what is the point you are making?

From Wikipedia it does indeed prohibit the use of non-official accounts, but it looks like it only covers the president and vice-president. So not Hilary Clinton (though there are surely other laws or regulations there).

The law ‘changed the legal ownership of the President’s official records from private to public‘ which makes it strange to argue (as Trump does) that it means he is entitled to keep those records and is immune from the law no matter who he manages them.

The law applies equally to the president and vice president, so any protections given to th Donald would seem to a0pply to Biden as well.

For the rest, common sense (as opposed to law) would suggest that it can be tricky to separate classified from unclassified completely when a (vice) president leaves office, which would argue for a certain flexibility in getting the mess sorted out afterwards. If people cooperate with the sorting out it would make sense to let it go at that. If people deliberately try to retain documents they no longer have a right to hold, teh law should kick in.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Biden cooperated?? That’s not just naive but wrong. He did NOT cooperate for the DECADES he continued to illegally hold classified documents from his time as a Senator. His legal team decided to “cooperate” at the same time this other legal team (DOJ) decides to raid his likely opponent’s estate to retrieve documents. Hmmm…
Before you accuse me of being a Trump fan like you have many others, I detest Trump. But the ridiculousness of the Democrat assault on rule of law, and Western notions of Due Process and equal application of the law are so brazen and antithetical to our ideals that Democrats have forced many non-Trumpers to support him. That there are any left to support the present autocrat is beyond me!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

This is the esseance of the whole thing.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
5 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

This is absolutely the correct test. No one has ever been prosecuted by the state of New York for the crimes Trump was in the absence of a victim. That’s a simple fact. And it raises a critical question: is the law being used to target someone, or is it being impartially applied so ensure that no one is above it?
There is a second test to determine whether the cases are legitimate or vengeful. No prosecutor can be an agent of justice by using the law to target a single person. Both Alvin Bragg (NYC DA) and Leticia James (NY AG) were elected on promises to “get Donald Trump” (exact words uttered during their campaigns.)
Jack Smith in DC may be legit. Florida may be legit. But NY and Georgia both fail miserably on both tests.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
5 months ago

Unfortunately, every sane person who believes in the foundations of democracy has to vote trump. The democrats only have themselves to blame for that.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
5 months ago

I am sure that there were several prosecutors once elected on promises to ‘get Al Capone’. Do you think that disqualified them from the office?

Saul D
Saul D
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Nope. Prosecutors were appointed by Hoover after the Valetine’s Day Massacre. Capone had agreed to plead guilty on prohibition and tax offences as part of a plea deal (the judge denied it). Trump is firstly, not a killer or mobster or hoodlum, and secondly, strongly protesting innocence and unfair treatment.
The reason I think we get grumpy here, and end up having to take what looks like a Trump-side when it isn’t, is that what the Democrats are doing is extremely dangerous – as bad as what’s being done to Assange. You don’t have to be pro-Trump to realise the Democrats have lost their sense of boundaries – any means to get at an opponent, picking and chosing who they prosecute, lying and smearing with fake documents. Trump pre-2015 was a ‘good guy’ – the Clinton’s invited him to Chelsea’s wedding, he supported reform candidates like Jesse Jackson. When he came down that elevator the world changed. And it changed again when the donkey-candidate beat the DNC’s shoe-in – someone who is visciously political with an organisation that was not going to take it lying down. Russia Collusion was their hoax. They created the documents and fed them to friendly FBI. And one of many to undermine the elected candidate.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
4 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

While I do think the former President behaves somewhat like a mafia don personally, I think equating him to one of the most murderous gangsters of Prohibition is a little much. And Saul is correct that local DAs were not generally elected 100 years ago, and US Attorneys (it was a federal prosecution) are not elected anyway.
However, the answer to your question is “yes”. I would favor a DA candidate who said “I will end the scourge of moonshine-fueled violence”, or “I will put away those who have gotten away with murder for too long”. I would have a problem with “I’ll use the full power of my office to destroy Al Capone” by name. Bills of attainder are wrong. Prosecutions of attainder are too.

Anne Barlow
Anne Barlow
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I don’t usually comment. But I have to say the long commentary from Carlos Danger was worthy of serious consideration. For once someone has presented an accurate account of the viciousness and injustices of the actions of the Democrats in their unhinged view of Trump. Regardless as to whether Trump bears some guilt, I don’t think any one can say that justice has been served- no jury was called to called to deliberate on his so called “fraud” case. No damage was caused to anyone. No complainants. The bias of the judge and prosecutors against Trump has been publicly admitted by both. Trump has not been officially charged of the accusation of causing a Jan 6 insurrection, despite the fact that he has been judged on just that. Did they find him guilty enough to impeach him twice? No. Trump can also fight, be obnoxious, and lie like his opposition . However a rule for one must be a rule for all. Blatant injustice is not an option. If the Democrats are permitted to continue the absolute extreme injustices they have inflicted on this one man, and on countless other innocent victims – as in the hundreds they are holding in jails for having attended the Jan 6 riots, many with no trials, God help America; and God help western civilization .

Tony Price
Tony Price
5 months ago
Reply to  Anne Barlow

I believe that it was the case that Trump’s lawyers, i.e. himself, declined to have a jury trial. And the banks were damaged in that they charged a lower rate of interest because of the false declarations.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Don’t forget the tax payers of New York state and the city of New York.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The tax authorities don’t rely on financial statements like these.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
5 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

No, Donald Trump’s lawyers did not decline to have a jury trial. The judge in the case decided that it was to be a bench trial. And the banks were not damaged. They did not rely on the financial statements in determining the interest rate. They did their own due diligence and relied on the representations made in the deal documents. (When I was an associate at a big law firm, I had to grind through that kind of due diligence for banks on high-value loans like this. I know how it works.)

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
5 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Sorry Tony you are absolutely wrong. This case could only be decided by a Judge.

Terry M
Terry M
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Trump did not pursue Hillary in 2017-2021 despite the ridiculous claims she made and continued to provide support for while he was president. So, I certainly do believe Trump will be more impartial than his opponents – DUE TO HIS TRACK RECORD.
You, Rasmus, have a severe case of TDS.

can't buy my vote
can't buy my vote
5 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

Trump could not order a prosecution because that falls to the AG. In any case Comey’s statement that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case” effectively ended any hope of prosecution.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
5 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

I’d say on this exchange Rasmus is by far the most reasoned. “stop the steal” etc. Come off it, we all heard it with our own ears, for goodness sake! There are a number of Trump can do no wrong fanboys on here.

Everybody who criticises Trump isn’t suffering from something called TDS.

There is a wider point which is the almost unbelievable faith many on the Right put on this narcissistic, self interested individual who endlessly falls out with people on his own side. He fairly recently for example gave the Democrats loads of ammunition against Ron de Santis – so much for a strategic conservative view!

Yes, he’s very popular (for some reason) with many Americans – but he is detested by even more.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I would otherwise completely agree with you, but for one fact. Mr. Trump has spent the sum total of 4 years in public office and was the first POTUS in recent history to leave with less than when he entered. Joe Biden and the Clintons have spent over 75 years in public office in total and have enriched themselves to an enormous extent while “serving”. If you honestly believe that Sleepy Joe and Hillary are innocent of the many crimes committed while in office, certainly more serious crimes than whether a couple fooled around in a dressing room 30 years ago, or if the man exaggerated his net worth to bankers, then there is no hope for us.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I think you are missing the point made by Carlos Danger, namely, that the legal actions against Doinald Trump are politically motivated, and that the legal system has exhibited serious bias. Mr Danger has not commented on the guilt or otherwise of DT. He has made the case that even the guilty should be given a fair trial. What we see happening is a Democratic Party who see such danger in a Trump presidency that they are justified in acting like Vladimir Putin (short of assasination) to prevent it.

Brian Lemon
Brian Lemon
5 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

“Half the country thinks Donald Trump should be president. Half the country thinks he should die a pauper in prison.” It’s not at all so black-and-white.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
5 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Yes, but the article is just saying that the republicans are beginning to respond in kind, with their own partisan legal attacks, meaning that the preceding Liberal norms will not be maintained

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

I was raped by my ex-boyfriend. It was in 1985 or 1986. I can’t remember. I also don’t know what month it was, although I do remember it was in the evening. I remember that his name was Richard, but I don’t remember his last name. It’s called repressing the memory of a traumatic event. I almost never think about my rape, becauseI don’t want to. A woman’s ability to remember every detail of a long ago rape does not mean she’s lying.
Kimberly

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I also want to mention that Mike Pence also had boxes of classified documents in is house. Should he be charged like Biden, who was also a Vice President?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
5 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

I agree there is a real.artempt to “get Trump”” but your bias is obvious. So shouts of “imprison Hilary Clinton” etc are just tickety boo? Or outrageously refusing to accept the results of an election. Yes, yada, yada. But not a single US court has found on his favour Poor, innocent Donald Trump.

Frank Carney
Frank Carney
5 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

My takeaway from your interesting comment, and all the others hereunder, is that the US has a politicised judiciary, and that that is a fundamental flaw in US democracy.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

A very thoughtful analysis. Thanks.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
5 months ago

Yesterday in the mother of all parliaments, the Parliament of the United Kingdom, normal procedure was broken by the supposedly non-partisan Speaker. He did so because, in his own words, he feared for the safety of Labour MPs. He broke with procedure to allow a Labour Party amendment to be debated on a day reserved for the Scottish Nationalist Party so that Labour MPs with large M#sl#m constituencies could publicly and visibly satiate increasingly threatening demands by the Mu$l1m community. Needless to say, threats of communal violence subverting constitutional procedure is unprecedented in over 400 years of UK parliamentary history and the Speaker has now apologised for what he also realises was a dangerous precedent. Clearly something has changed and what has changed is very obvious.

This one event helps explain why institutions have become so polarised. The institutions fear that their broad church of liberal, enlightenment thought is at risk. Ordinarily this would make no sense since the institutions got to where they are thanks to the consensus of the very people they now fear. This however is no longer true, in one generations the old people will become a minority and the new people come from very different value systems. The established consensus needed for there to be a debate of ideas is very obviously slipping away due to demographic change as so well illustrated in Parliament yesterday.

The reaction of the institutions is instinctive and obvious: the institutions themselves have to become bulwarks against a rising tide of unenlightened views to cement in place liberal, enlightenment values. The most obvious way to cement change is by law, binding supra national rules, and independence from democratic control. Of course this makes the institutions politicised and therefore polarising. It also unintentionally empowers more radical elements in the institutions to push their own agendas far removed from the consensus the institutions are trying to protect. This has accelerated the polarisation.

Ultimately, institutions and law cannot fossilised the liberal enlightenment. The enlightenment ideals must be alive and kicking in the hearts and minds of the next generation born and raised here. Our demographic crisis and the wave of adult migration ensures that won’t be the case. The lamps of the enlightenmrnt really are going out all over Europe, and we shall not see them lit again.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

CENSORED AT 0853 GMT.
For use of the wonderful word WH*REMASTERS!?!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

How very depressing, however we have had worse crises and dealt with them accordingly.

Well short of 400 years ago, as you well know, that champion of the gentry, one OLIVER Cromwell Esq felt compelled to dissolve Parliament on the 20th April 1653. The following account of those proceedings has a VERY modern ring about it. Perhaps History will soon repeat itself?

“Cromwell commanded the Speaker to leave the Chair, and told them they had sat long enough, unless they had done more good, crying out “You are no longer a Parliament, I say you are no Parliament”. He told Sir Henry Vane he was a Jugler, Henry Martin and Sir Peter Wentworth, that they were Wh*remasters; Thomas Chaloner, he was a Drunkard; and Allen the Goldsmith that he cheated the Publick: Then he bid one of his Soldiers take away that Fool’s Bauble the mace and Thomas Harrison pulled the Speaker of the Chair; and in short Cromwell having turned them all out of the House, lock’d up the Doors and returned to Whitehall.“*

(*Thomas Salmon’s account, of 1723.)

Darwin K Godwin
Darwin K Godwin
5 months ago

I appreciate your historical insight. So applicable, and we have forgotten.

William Amos
William Amos
5 months ago

Cromwell’s funeral arrangments at Somerset House should be read as a tonic to this well known anecdotal expression of his no-nonsense approach to formalism and ceremonial:
“…The fourth room was completely hung with black velvet, the ceiling being of the same. Here lay the effigy of his Highness, with a large canopy of black velvet fringed, which hung over it. The effigy was of wax, fashioned like the Protector, and placed lying upon its back; it was apparelled in a rich and costly suit of velvet, robed in a little robe of purple velvet, laced with a rich gold lace, furred with ermine. Upon the kirtle was a large robe of purple velvet, laced and furred as the former, with strings and tassels of gold. The kirtle was girt with a rich embroidered belt, wherein was a sword richly gilt, and hatched with gold, which hung by the side of this effigy. In the right-hand was a sceptre; in the left, a globe. Upon his head was placed a purple velvet cap, furred with ermines suitable to the robes. Behind the head was placed a rich chair of tissued gold, whereon was placed an Imperial crown, which lay high, that the people might behold it”
It goes on, and went on, for many weeks.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
5 months ago

Nice account, but you’ve been reading too much Hilary Mantel. This was Oliver, not Thomas, as I’m sure you know perfectly well! (Luckily there’s an edit function…)

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Sue Sims

A Freudian slip, mea culpa!
Thank you.

Grumpy Old Git
Grumpy Old Git
5 months ago

Er… A remarkable achievement in 1653 by Thomas Cromwell, since he was born in 1485 and died in 1540.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Grumpy Old Git

Indeed, glad to see you are paying attention! Thank you.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Ah yes enlightenment thinking was all about adherence to the traditions and procedures of the past.
“We have to do it this way. Why? Well it’s the procedure we did in the past.” – Voltaire.
Is the argument really that old school enlightenment liberalism would have preferred to limit the parliamentary debate because that’s just the way we’ve always done it? “I’ll defend to the death your right to say it… provided you speak on the correct days and at the correct times of course.”
If you truly want to restore enlightenment values to politics and -more importantly- to our press then I’m all for it. But as far as I can see people only moan about the decline of liberalism and rationality when their side is losing.
It is extremely common amongst the writers and commenters here. Their only justification is a kind of leninist one which calls for an illiberal implosion so they can start again from the enlightenment ideal.
We had that same approach with neoliberalism. But they never shrunk the state, they just kept on using the state again and again to further their aim of rolling back the state.

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Is the argument really that old school enlightenment liberalism would have preferred to limit the parliamentary debate because that’s just the way we’ve always done it? 

No, the argument is that parliament should not conduct its business based on threats of violence. You’ve left that part out. You’ve also argued as if the commenter was upset about the novelty of this parliamentary procedure, rather than the fact that the traditions of parliament were set aside in the face of safety concerns for MPs.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You write about “old school enlightenment liberalism” as if it were some ossified system of thought which was set in place, never to be evolved. In doing so, you ignore (or are ignorant of) the long history which led to such an enlightened state.
It wasn’t, as per the Soviet Union and now Putin, dumped upon the country in the fashion to which that country had become accustomed, but brought gradually into being through a lengthy and painstaking series of trials and error, mini-revolutions, stretching back over a thousand years. To blithely commit such a process to the dustbin of history is nothing less than mindless vandalism.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It’s more that traditions and customs act as a societal support structure. In removing or destroying them without understanding why they came about in the first place, we risk knocking out a key support element in our society which could very well bring the whole edifice down around our ears. Those who propose quick changes also tend to be those less affected by them.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
5 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Excellent comment.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
5 months ago

Who remembers Hardt and Negri’s Empire? Old neo-Marxist political philosopher Toni Negri cast the US as the new Rome based on largely the same constitutional model to create an innovative separation of powers.
Now their Republic is in similar crisis. There I think the distant influence of China is as pertinent as the post-colonial politics of an advanced multicultural society.
Either way, the barbarians are already within the gates and the Caesar best fit to preserve the republican older will have to rule with an iron fist. Little wonder their political class are fascinated somewhat more with Russia than China.

0 0
0 0
5 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

China has done no such thing, were doing it all to ourselves with no outside influence, were basically doing work form them. This is what happens when a society has to much security, prosperity and comfort. Its a society going through the usually cycle of decadence, death and rebirth as seen throughout history.

0 0
0 0
5 months ago

Donald Trump is not a hero, he’s nothing more than a vein, ambitious, unscrupulous upstart who saw an opportunity due to having some kind of sense of the social moment at the given time and saw me an opportunity to advance himself, without understanding the what the role he was assuming would entail for him. I think on some level he understands what trouble he’s gotten himself into and what forces that he has inadvertently set in motion, both good and bad. But he only understands that only as far as his own personal interest, he doesn’t grasp the full picture in its entirety. He’s too self-absorbed, shortsighted, and parochial to understand any that as well as just simply incurious, overconfident mentally self isolated in his own mental bubble understand it all.
Despite all that, I see some good stuff happening as a result of this, he moved the sacred stone, it started accidentally a movement that actually confronting what’s wrong with the country. But despite that he’s not really up to the task of being the leader for that movement, he’s been rather reluctant to do the duties such a role requires him and not particularly keen to do what’s being asked of him by the movements acolytes. It’s too much work and too much responsibility that he doesn’t want, and was never really all that interested in them in the first place, they were just means to an end, his end, even though on a personal level you might have actually believed in them, they don’t motivate him as a person. Even more interesting, some of the ideas that been fooling around the movement he’s been rather hostile towards, such as anti wokeness. And also regardless of what happens to him, I don’t see thing working out for him in the long run regardless of how things turn out in the best scenarios. If he somehow manages to beat the the charges against them and becomes president again, he’s likely going to be as chaotic yet ineffectual as his last one was and probably won’t get anything meaningful done, and will be even more so because he will be too preoccupied with revenge and unlike the last one, most all the smart and capable people have been run out of his circle.
And once he’s out of the presidency, what role will left for him to play? He’s no longer going to be in a position really to hurt or help others, thus no longer be useful to other people and will become useless to others or be able to instill fear in them. He has no real political machine at all, and what passes as such as a farce full of useless sycophants who do not help him in any meaningful way or who could eventually betray him. He has no true allies because he drives all the potential ones away out of fear and jealousy, and makes enemies of them. And when it comes to Mass appeal, save for members of his small yet fanatical personality cult, your average Trump supporter is either indifferent to him on a personal level or don’t really like him all that much. I don’t think even members of his personality cult don’t really love him, he’s really just someone they can live vicariously through that’s a form of wish fulfillment to bring meeting and purpose to their boring and unfulfilling lives, as well as vent their frustrations and resentment against the world, and eventually the euphoria will wear off and they’ll move on to some other obsession else after getting bored with him.
The result of this is that more competent and hopefully better people can will take up his mantle whether he likes it or not(He won’t). I see when that happens, Trump will attempt to sabotage the prospects of those who will replace him and resort to increasingly desperate stunts to maintain relevance and control, all the while undermining the very movement he accidentally created. He would rather see it and the Republican party burn and then see anybody else control them. Because for Trump, the mere idea of being forgotten, irrelevant, and ignored is terrifying to him. At this point I believe he’s becoming increasingly a liability to populist cause in America rather than an asset at this point.

Darwin K Godwin
Darwin K Godwin
5 months ago
Reply to  0 0

Perhaps. One thing is for certain, you have enough insight to write a biography on the man. However, I will vote for him, flaws and all, because a mean right hook thrown by an ugly man is a pleasure to behold when it lands on the jaw of a pretender.

0 0
0 0
5 months ago

It’s biden’s organized barely passing mediocrity versus Trump’s purposeful yet chaotic incompetence. Neither of which can fix anything, and both men show themselves not to do very well in crises, too prone to panicking and too obsessed with optics and more interested covering their asses. Neither of which truly represent the country people in any way meaningful. Biden is a figurehead for the establishment that doesn’t care about the interest the average American, despite his middle-class Joe gimmick and the only person Trump represents is himself, despite how he styles himself. Biden represents the cowardice and vapidness of the ruling class, well Trump represents its vanity and irrational exuberance, Trump also embodies it’s Id while Biden embodies its superego. I’m thinking about just sitting out the election, neither candidates I find appealing at all, and I don’t think my vote really matters because I live in a blue State and thus im behind enemy lines lines when it comes to electoral college.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago
Reply to  0 0

How does any of this make four more years of Team Biden the preferred option? It’s not like Trump hasn’t held the office. He did and there is a record of what happened – economic growth, net exporter of energy, no new wars, record low minority unemployment, etc. You’re right that he’s not a hero. No one says he is or expects him to be. But he’s not a Bond villain, either, not when compared to the bumbling husk of a man who has the title of president.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Please remember Alex the Trump presidency does not exist in the mind of those like 00. Trump has been subject to one big smear job ever since 2016. The MSM just parrots the DNC because they know hardly anybody will do any due diligence and ferret out the truth. But there is hope, MSM is failing and right wing podcasts are prospering in the US.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
5 months ago

I would not be so sanguine about a supposed Anglosphere commitment to political non-violence – quite a number of politically inconvenient individuals have met with very convenient and well-timed multiple-shot suicides or freak accidents. One might mention Dr. David Kelly, Jeffrey Epstein, numerous potential witnesses from the Kennedy assassination investigations, journalists investigating the CIA … I could go on and on.
Also, the notion that Navalny was in any sense a pretender to the Russian throne is ludicrous; it is a figment of the West’s complete ignorance of Russia and of wishful thinking. Putin is facing opposition in Russia, but not from the neoliberal side, which was thoroughly discredited by the Western-supported looting of Russia in the 1990s. Putin’s opposition – currently thankfully not very strong – comes from the militant extremists who think Putin is being far too soft.
It bears reminding that Lenin and his Bolsheviks did not topple the Tsar – the Tsar was forced into abdication by Kerensky and his middle-of-the-road Mensheviks, and they in turn were ousted by the Bolsheviks. The West’s mind-addling Putin Derangement Syndrome and historical illiteracy risks repeating history.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
5 months ago

Brilliant Mary. The phrase that chills is the ‘weaponisation of institutions’ to annihilate opponents. Brexit was a civil war minus the pikes. It has mutated but its ideological ferment and nasty class war front is far from over. We have seen how EU progressives first debased the traditions of Parliament in an open coup to reverse a popular mandate. Spiderwoman and Gina and others then turned to their base camp – the new Human Rightsy Law machine – to trigger Lawfare UK. A muckier battle was also waged by the entitled scummy Rejoiner heads of the Blob/Progressive State to assassinate all the Brexit leaders. All would be bullied out of power for attending leaving dos or meetings with cake on desk or for telling their snowflake civil servants to work ie Bullies. In other words, it is unfolding here just as much as in America. State media law and the State are all weaponised. The degradation of civic society amply in evidence last night. It just lacks to showbizzy madness of Trumpian politics.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
5 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I’d say UK institutions are much less weaponised / politicised than US ones, for now at least. All the challenges to Brexit have ultimately failed and there appears to be almost zero possibility of that being reversed.

William Amos
William Amos
5 months ago

When James II was deposed in 1688, and replaced by William of Orange, it was a bloodless affair. That so-called “Glorious Revolution” gave England a constitutional monarchy — as well as a remarkably nonviolent political order.

I think the Scots and the Irish would dispute that. Aughrim, Boyne, Drogheda, Killicrankie, Glencoe and later Culloden were required before the sword was put down in the Three Kingdoms.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago

Pearl clutching over what Trump might do while Team Biden actually does things more typical of dictators than democratically-elected officials is the height of irony. Trump didn’t engage in lawfare against political opponents. He didn’t weaponize the Justice Department, FBI, and other agencies. He didn’t collude with social or legacy media to silence anyone. If anything, he elevated certain journos from obscurity by engaging with them. Jim Acosta comes to mind.
Liz Cheney presided over a kangaroo court that never bothered to see the Jan 6 videos for themselves, relying instead on staffers, and then trying to get rid of certain footage. Besides, anyone concerned about a rising desire for authoritarian govt need look no further than the American academy, which is full of people who are not that keen on freedom, as this says: https://committeetounleashprosperity.com/

Daniel P
Daniel P
5 months ago

What has been made clear, from the CIA and FBI’s involvement with Russiagate, to the ongoing lawfare against Trump with its very often creative twisting of the law, is that we no longer live in a democracy. Not sure what it is yet, but it is not a democracy.

And clearly, whatever we live in now, there are no fixed rules apart from do not disagree with the administrative state, the deep state, or the entrenched but unelected political class.

I would not randomly pick Donald Trump to be the person to resist this transformation. He would not be the first person I would think of or select to govern the nation, but as of today, he is the only viable vehicle we have to purge and reset our governmental institutions. Once that happens, it will be easier to reset our other institutions such as academia.

Like it or not, like him or not, Trump is what we have to work with and we do not have time to wait another 4 yrs for another shot. So, I will vote for him.

And, for those outside the US with an interest in seeing it not become an authoritarian power, it might be a good idea to support him too.

Howard S.
Howard S.
5 months ago

From my viewpoint here in the United States, and from someone who has followed closely the campaigns of every Presidential want-to-be since my high school days and the 1960 Presidential nominating convention, this article is right on the money. And, sadly, this article would never be permitted to see the light of day in any of our own oligarch-controlled mainstream news media. A Seth Rich or even a Jeffrey Epstein can be removed with extreme prejudice, as they say in the war movies, and the mainstream media can be relied upon to prevent any real discussion of the event. A major Presidential contender is something different; The Oligarchs need to destroy him, but have to choose a different path rather than a “failed robbery attempt” (in the case of Seth Rich) or a suicide in a federal prison where a perfect storm occurred: some cameras weren’t working, other cameras were pointed in the wrong direction, and the guards watching the prisoner decided to take an unauthorized smoking break outside for the fifteen minutes it took for the prisoner to be strangled. We have become different than Putin’s Russia only in degree.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

It is probable that there are Epstein videos.. it is possible that they are in the hands of Mossad (who might have set up the whole scam in the first place?).. Only Trump can withstand the scandal (he already has form for sex abuse)..
If Trump is elected the fallout from CIA tapes etc could be cataclysmic for US (+ other Western leaders?) and royalty alike..
We might have a great reset after all but not the one envisioned. Interesting times.. I give Trump a 50:50 chance of staying alive long enough to drain the swamp.

john zac
john zac
5 months ago

Very thoughtful essay only the political power lies behind the financial system. Virtually every politician is expendable, no one knows for sure what happened to Navalny. Was it his handlers, natural circumstances, or his opponent?

Liakoura
Liakoura
5 months ago

“To be clear: I am not taking a stance here on the truth or justice of any of these allegations or campaigns”.
I’m not convinced!

Simon Templar
Simon Templar
5 months ago

(Mary’s brilliant analysis has been sadly ignored by far too many commenters, who have spun their own side-threads for or against Trump. This is a shame because her essay is extraordinarily insightful and should be discussed on its merits!)
The political battle of the ages: Monarchies (based on individual tribal powers) versus Democratic Republics (based on debating ideas under the will of the people) is the only true spiritual battle of human rights. What Mary exposes is that many “democratic republics” are nothing but monarchies in disguise. We know this. DPRK (North Korea), with it’s literal worship of the Kim dynasty is a modern prime example.
Monarchies have never gone away. They are the most resilient fact of human life, that humans have survived under the power of a tribal chief (Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander, Rome) until another stronger one deposes them. The prophet Daniel predicted all this. But what Daniel also predicted was that another kingdom, a completely different one, would arise that would destroy all the typical kingdoms, the ones where power flowed from the top down. This new Kingdom occurred when the ruler of the universe was born as a baby and established a kingdom where the King, Jesus, was the most humble person who ever lived. This radical kingdom created (and creates) goodness from the bottom up. It declares that all men were created equal and endowed with rights from God, and consequently, that power is bestowed to the government by consent of the governed. This radical philosophy changed history, but very slowly. It took centuries for Martin Luther to rediscover the doctrine of grace, and for the Bible to be read in the common languages, setting humanity free to participate in this new life, this new kingdom.
But the old system of tyrant powers was not eliminated. It just changed clothes. Today it puts on the clothes of virtue, equality and democracy but behind the scenes, it sets up the old way: Power flowing from the top down, creating once again a nation of slaves to a political elite class, an oligarchy, instead of from the bottom up, as Jesus instituted.
The only way America can get back its birthright is for Donald Trump (or one like him) to gain power legitimately, and then relinquish it again, restoring true government of the people, for the people, by the people.
Will he do it? He said he would only be a dictator on day one. I’m inclined to believe him.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  Simon Templar

As we say in Cork: “I hope it stays fine for you!” ie Good luck with that final wish of yours.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
5 months ago
Reply to  Simon Templar

Christianity today is nothing like the radical movement it started out as. Quite the opposite.

As for Trump relinquishing power having won it – I can barely imagine a less likely event. He’s already had the opportunity once and that’s not how it worked out.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
5 months ago

Interesting piece, but whoever wrote the headline got wildly carried away.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago

No mention of the Peasants’ Revolt under Julian Assange, rotting away in an English dungeon? The similarities with Navalny’s plight -attempted murder by dark state agencies and accusations of acting for foreign states – too tempting surely to ignore?..but it seems not.
Navalny’s support in Russia has never exceeded 5% but no mention of that either.. in some accounts Navalny is accused of being a US stooge supported by the CIA like Zelenskyy but no mention of that either.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago

The use of the word Democracy is bandied about far too much. It hasn’t been seen since Ancient Greece. What we have are democratic elections of very undemocraticall SELECTED candidates in a rigged game where only the giants (well funded puppets) can win.
And our so-called democracies are in fact Parliamentary democracies where the elected member can do whatever s/he wants with no recourse to the people; and who then makes promises they have no intention of keeping to gullible voters who buy the same snake oil over and over.
It is the contributions from the super rich (bribes) that decide what is to be done, not the people. Western countries are in the hands of amoral, greedy ‘bribees’ who are merely the machine operators. Any mention of Democracy onthecurrent situation is a sick joke.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
5 months ago

“competing claims of institutional capture now emanating from America’s rival factions”
In the US at least, this is a false equivalency of factions. The left has captured almost all institutions completely. What institutions has the right captured? State houses through democratic processes?
Mary pretends like the Hur report is a right wing product, when it was commissioned by Biden’s henchman Garland. The report clearly reports Biden’s criminal behavior but then recommends against prosecution – oh those dastardly Republicans!
Of all the lawfare abuse in the US presently, all seems to be prosecuted by one side, popping the narrative of this piece.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
5 months ago

How is it that Mary can say what no one else is willing to and so eloquently that she gets away with it when anyone else would be cancelled and raked over the coals?

B Davis
B Davis
5 months ago

Two reasons for that:
1) She only ‘sort-of’ said it. “To be clear: I am not taking a stance here on the truth or justice of any of these allegations or campaigns.” I understand the impulse to stand apart from the fray…and playing the ‘objective observer’ can be fun…but by deliberately NOT taking a stance, she understates the size and significance of the Left’s continuing efforts to drive “The Great ReSet”, and everything that entails (including, very definitely, the accompanying ‘Great Diktat’ (re: Wealth redistribution, Reparations, Climate Change, Green Energy, etc.). The lean towards ‘monarchy’ (and the ability of ‘experts’ to tell us what to do and how to do it) is a key part of the Progressive Agenda.
2) On a much more mundane level, this is UnHerd…and she is Mary Harrington. Both are fine as they are, needless to say (it’s why we’re all here) but both are tiny stones, causing tiny ripples in Very Big Ponds. And most of what is uttered here remains, as they say, ‘un-heard’….to the detriment of those un-hearing.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
5 months ago

Laugh, Mary I think you’re trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Political rivals are dealt with in more systems than monarchies.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
5 months ago

Mary! This is a wicked thing to write. There is nothing that I and my fellow Americans dislike more than inevitability.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
5 months ago

America’s monarchy?
One President was in fact a King for a short period of his life.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

Superb essay Ms. Harrington, with historical antecedents that provide context missing in virtually all other media. The U.S. may not survive the upcoming presidential election, or in surviving it, become a place unrecognizable from its former self.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
5 months ago

“There will be no half-measures!”

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
5 months ago

I am reminded of a conversation I had with some american colleagues in early 2016. I said are you really going to elect Donald Trump as president? to which the answer was “Hell no!” So it will be Hillary then? to which the answer was “We don’t even speak that name.”
My theory then is: when faced with picking the least worst candidate, the Americans ended up with the least corrupt but also least mentally stable option. This might have been ok had it not been for the insane way the Dems then tried every undemocratic way to thwart him and Trump answered in kind.
The 2024 election looks like being the 3rd in a row where Americans are faced with picking the least worst option, however if the two parties can work out how to select 2 decent candidates in 2028 so after the election it is possible for everyone to at least live with the result, even if they don’t like it, then it all goes back to the way it used to be.

Christine Novak
Christine Novak
5 months ago

You say, “it would be ironic if the real bulwark against autocracy was America’s now rapidly dissolving Anglo heritage.”
Why irony? It is the bulwark. And that bulwark is being taken apart piece by piece.

Su Mac
Su Mac
5 months ago

Some really intereating points, thank you. The idea that a shift in the geographical origins of the population will allow them to tolerate a political system that their Anglo Protestant forebears would not is fascinating. Puts another twist in the border wars saga.

Zaph Mann
Zaph Mann
5 months ago
Reply to  Su Mac

Inter-eating points – says it all. Succinct winner of the week. I’m being forced to ramble on though to get this past the AI vetting app.

Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo
5 months ago

More something novel to chat about at a cocktail party than a real possibility. Those who reflect at length on issues of the future of true power offer cogent arguments that the greater danger to the developed world (including China and even India if it fully arrives there) lies in the tension between the colossal tech companies and national governments. A neo-feudalism in which the handful of tech behemoths are the eminence gris of real power both economically and politically behind governments ill-equipped to effectively control them could render moot the differences between methods of governing.

Xi Jinping has already seen this and is trying to bend Chinese tech to the will of the CCP and firewall China from foreign tech, but the jury is out on whether that can be accomplished without killing tech innovation. The latter would send China back to the third world. The unprecedented power of tech to control information, which will only increase with AI, is already a dominant factor in achieving political outcomes. Democratic governments–notoriosly ineffective at managing the real concerns of its citizens–may devolve to merely the repository of ceremony (as the British Monarchy), a bureaucracy to execute the will of the tech hedgemons, and a source of perpetual election entertainment for the masses via the legacy media outlets that thrive on controversy and spectacle. Remember, Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post and Elon Musk owns X (nee Twitter). In the pre-Musk Twitter era, 98% of its content mediators self-identified as Democratic. In the last US election Meta (Mark Zuckerberg) used its resources to identify which voting districts in the US skewed Democratic and then gave millions to fund only those election boards so that they would have robust budgets to fund mailed ballot initiatives and third-party ballot collection programs known to yield more Democratic than Republican completed ballots. Totally legal, totally cynical, and unreported by legacy media.

The other very real possibility for the future of governance in the US is a continued deterioration, not to monarchy, but to the cyclical swings between hard left and hard right that typify politics in all of Central and South America. If the political and administrative turmoil in the US effects the erosion of its economic base sufficiently, the US might more conceivably devolve into a Brazil or Argentina more than into a monarchy.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
5 months ago

The take-away from this is that no one knows how to lose gracefully anymore, because losing is not seen as the turning of Fortune’s wheel, that will one day bring renewed success. Losing is now seen as forever.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
5 months ago

Very perceptive. But not sure if we can look across to the States and think we are much better. The UK is run by an un-democratic caste that has no interest in sharing the political forum with its opponents. The state broadcaster, the police, academia, the civil service, even the military support the new monarchy without allowing space for the pretender in waiting. This will accelerate under a Labour government. The liberal democracy that followed the Act of Settlement is an aberration in history, where a weak monarch and two rival factions preserved a fragile truce following the Civil War, where each faction lacked the strength to wipe out the other.

B Davis
B Davis
5 months ago

“In a political attention economy that incentivises hyperbole”. Indeed.
But Ms. Harrington fails to trace the problem’s roots deeply enough. Yes, behind the Coifed & Prepped Talking Heads…behind the staged performances before the frustrated Mobs, yes — we find the ‘political classes’, the ‘institutions’, not the literati exactly but the ‘politierati’ who use whatever leverage they might possess to elevate one and deprecate the other. In fact we find the ‘deep state’ whose primary allegiance is blob-like, bureaucratic inertia and bloat.
But beneath all that, the beating heart within the Woke political class which dominates our Institutions, is the Academy. The sad and increasingly pathetic fact is that what has been taught by our ‘best & brightest’ for the last 70 years plus is Leftist Dogma… Progressive True Belief, poured like honeyed revelation into the ears of the post-modern enlightened. From the Silent…the Beat Generation on, our intelligentsia…the leaders of our corporations, the university presidents, the media moguls, our movie stars, our troubadours, the bottomless pocketed billionaires who’d “Love to Change the World” (as Alvin Lee put it) … they’re are all graduates of Woke. What we see and where we live is the Frankfurt School writ large… a Perfect Freedom / Human Emancipation / Moral Relativity / Self-Actualization; Critical Theory as the only possible path to the Great Awakening, et al. What is celebrated, enabled and encouraged is nothing less than social revolution, the breaking of the Western, Patriarchal, Heteronormative, Cisgendered, Colonialist, Racist, Misogynistic, Capitalist Oppression Paradigm.
“The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.” Foucault
Of this increasingly acrimonious Blue/Red, Woke/Anti-Woke division Mary declares, “There is no point contesting ideas, if people’s loyalties are tribal.” But, the thing is, they’re not tribal. The old Democrat/Republic divisions were tribal…but they were tribal disputes within the very boundaries provided by the “shared norms” Mary notes. Democrats and Republicans still played golf together; families intermarried…and what was Democratic, over time, became Republican and visa versa. Voting was not life & death because both candidates wanted essentially the same things…and everyone stood up to say the Pledge of Allegiance and salute the flag.
No, what we witness now is different.
The opponent is not simply wrong, mistaken, or misled… he is evil. And it is an evil which stands (per Obama) on the “wrong side of history”. The Great Satan, for the Left’s ‘politerati’ , is the same one identified by Mao’s own Cultural Revolution. We all fight (every Revolutionary Son & Daughter) the Four Olds (Old Ideas, Old Habits, Old Cultures, and Old Customs), and those racist idiots who stand by them. It is the Deplorables, clinging to their guns and religion (meaning, of course, Christianity)…it is Toxic Masculinity, Heterosexual Hegemony, Traditional Marriage, the Sexual Binary, the Nuclear Family, the very idea of Merit, and the fact that cruel & insensitive Capitalism valued Efficiency and Effectivity higher than polar bears. Shall we punch some Nazis in the face?
For those on the Left, who’ve drunk the KoolAid, compromise is anathema.
“Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.” Barry Goldwater’s words back in ’64 are now the marching orders for the Progressive True Believers…and it is this philosophy, the fundamental, bone-deep conviction that the End really does justify the means, which has opened the door to the weaponization of everything in order to destroy their very own orange-haired Satan (along with the Great Unwashed who know no better (and who will require significant re-education).
If, indeed, there is the threat of autocracy, then that threat comes from the Left who remain absolutely convinced that they know best, what’s best … for everyone. No reason to debate when the Truth stands Revealed…there on the right side of history….at the end of the rainbowed arc which bends towards Lennon’s dream…
Imagine there’s no heaven… No hell below us … Imagine there’s no countries… Nothing to kill or die for…And no religion, too…Imagine no possessions… I wonder if you can….No need for greed or hunger… A brotherhood of man
So what’s a perverted justice system if that perversion leads to Perfection?

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
5 months ago

During 2020, thousands-upon-thousands of progressives stormed and looted the American temples of productive capitalism – namely, the largest cities throughout the US – destroying upwards of $2 billion in economic value in that year alone, and killing dozens of innocent people along the way. 
The economic damage inflicted during 2020 is still being felt in some of these cities. For example, witness the downward death-spiral of San Francisco while in the hands of its political leaders.
Republicans across the nation were outraged and mortified at this economic and personal destruction, whereas Democrats largely encouraged, or, at a minimum, ignored the price tag of the (ongoing) damage to the US economy. $2 billion and the death of a few cities wasn’t going to destroy the entire US economy in their eyes.
A few months later (in 2021), a few thousand Republicans and Libertarians broke into the US Capitol, desecrating the temple of US government. Democrats were outraged and mortified, whereas Republicans largely didn’t care or ignored the event. In the eyes of conservatives and many libertarians, fewer than 2,000 unruly-but-unarmed citizens weren’t really going to overthrow a country of over 335 million citizens. On the other hand, Democrats still talk about January 6 as a defining moment in US history – an ‘insurrection’ in their eyes that almost brought the entirety of the United States and 335 million citizens to their collective knees.
While we admittedly grow less religious as a society – in terms of individuals adhering to an organized religion – the religious tendencies still remain within our DNA and these tendencies are now being superimposed upon other institutions that were never fit-for-purpose to serve in a religious or moral function. 
The outcome is that the coercive power that government institutions wield in society has become the Left’s new religion. Democrats are now these institutions’ High Priests – they have become modern-day puritans who seek to burn heterodox ‘witches’ at the stake by destroying innocent lives and careers through the abused power of their institutions.
This is one of the largest reasons that independent-minded Classic Liberals and Libertarians tend to find greater alliance and common cause with conservatives these days than with the progressives who have ideologically captured many (most?) governmental institutions.

Brian Matthews
Brian Matthews
5 months ago

>To be clear: I am not taking a stance here…
Then one sentence later:
> Nor, unlike Trump, am I…

Just took a stance there.

Or at least indicated a leaning. A very tiring occurrence on this site, from pro-BREXIT authors who buy into the cheap smears against Trump and his supporters. Hard to understand.

Bernard Stewart
Bernard Stewart
5 months ago

“this model views politics as properly a contest of ideas rather than individuals, conducted in a political space that at least aspires to neutrality”
Well put, and makes me realize how fast we are drifting from this ideal in the UK

Tom K
Tom K
4 months ago

An interesting article but really, Ms Harrington should have paid a little more attention at the start when she peddles long-debunked 17th and early 18th century propaganda about the so-called Glorious Revolution. It may have been bloodless as far as London was concerned, but there were three kingdoms involved, and the 1688 coup kicked off a bloody descent into war across Scotland and Ireland, starting with the Willhemite War in 1689, that didn’t wholly end until after the rout of the last remaining Jacobites in 1746 at Culloden.
Many, not just Catholics, were outraged at the notion a rightful king could be deposed in favour of a foreigner with no claim, installed under the dubious fig-leaf of joint monarchy, and supported his policies of Tolerance towards those (not just Catholics) worshipping outside of the established national churches.
In a very clear end explicit sense, this was a war against relgious tolerance, and there was very little ‘glorious’ about it. Don’t believe everything you read in Wikipedia.

Peter Collins
Peter Collins
4 months ago

No monarchs assassinated since 1688? Louis 16 of France was executed during the French Revolution. Czar Nicholas was executed during the Bolshevik Revolution. Just two examples that come to mind. It’s difficult to take this article seriously with such an egregious error in its third sentence, unless one wants to quibble whether execution is not assassination.