Three questions for Richard Hanania
"It is sad to let them trap you in so little a box."
Richard Hanania used to suck—he tells us so himself. This is the hardest kind of post to write. And if I do say so myself—not having anything to hide, since I never tried to protect my pseudonymity—I think he does as good a job with it as anyone ever has:
Recently, it’s been revealed that over a decade ago I held many beliefs that, as my current writing makes clear, I now find repulsive.
I sympathize. I did not write stuff like Richard wrote—standard fare for the early “alt-right”—but I certainly read it. I even learned from it. For saying I was “not allergic to white nationalism”—which I am not, anymore than I am allergic to Ukrainian nationalism, Turkish nationalism, or Mongolian nationalism, let alone Zionism, Ras Tafari or the Juggalo Nation—I have been, and surely will be again in future, beaten up by the same sweet, lovely people who are trying to beat up Richard Hanania right now. So be it. Sweet friends, I’m still here. So are you! We all have our parts to play.
I hope these sweet people fail. I hope Richard keeps his book deal with HarperCollins, and all his nervous but good-hearted moderate institutional allies. In fact, I will go and pre-order a copy of his book right now. Health and long life to his foundation! Cheers to the Salem Center at UT Austin! Let us raise our glasses to Bryan Caplan! We all have our parts to play.
Yet I am not allergic to our sweet friends. My grandfather was an American Stalinist—could I be allergic to him? When he marched into Germany, he looted a copy of history’s most notorious children’s book. Today, in 2023, it lives next to my Little Red Book and my portrait of Robert E. Lee. Anyone who could be an “anti-fascist” could be a fascist—Hitler said that some of his best stormtroopers were the ex-KPD men. And some of the DDR’s best apparatchiks were ex-NSDAP men. Worms always turn.
Nor do our “classical liberals”—as we’ll see—have any excuse for smugness about these old “ideologies.” Friends, the line between good and evil runs through every human heart—including yours. The most dangerous men are those who deny this—those who think themselves utterly incapable of evil. Hitler himself thought this way! Everything our historians think they know about the Holocaust is thoroughly true. And almost everything else about that war that seems like it could be a lie, is.
History is not a Marvel movie. Nothing in the human story is alien or “repulsive” to me. To claim to be “repulsed,” to be “allergic,” is true or false. If it is false, it is a lie—it is shameful to let your enemies force you into a lie. If it is true, it is a confession of moral and philosophical smallness. As a philosopher, you cannot defeat your enemies—you can only exceed them. It is sad to let them trap you in so little a box.
If you think about it for five seconds, you will realize that each side in a war is blind to some truth, some vision of the good, seen clearly by its enemies. No one but a few psychopaths would sign up for a war of evil against good. Nothing could ever happen this way. Nothing ever did.
Hanania, who was and I hope still is on track to being a Respected Public Intellectual (a good gig, but don’t expect anyone to be reading your books in 20 years, let alone 50), writes eloquently of his youthful follies and the motivation behind them:
When I try to reconstruct my emotional status and reasoning of 12-15 years ago, a few things stand out. First, there was the desire to just adopt a posture that was the polar opposite of those I considered political enemies. So if liberals lied a lot about race, I needed to speak “harsh truths,” without much careful thinking about whether I was actually getting at truth or simply being similarly dogmatic. If they denied the overwhelming evidence in favor of heredity being important for individual outcomes, then I had to be a caricature of a genetic determinist. They required PC-speak, so my tone of course needed to be as offensive as possible.
When you do this—when you inhabit your enemy’s caricature of their enemy—you are living in their frame. This is especially true when you let them trap you into a lie, like Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial is the heroin of history—it is almost impossible to escape from. It feels incredibly right and is completely wrong. They are strong enough to lie—you are not. Read some real history instead.
There is even a case that the Holocaust itself was a result of this error—that in World War II, the Germans inhabited the false caricature of the “Hun” that Allied World War I propaganda created. When the Hun was a lie, it was in all the papers. When Hitler made the lie come true—the Times covered it up. Was that good for the Jews?
In the 1920s, the victorious democrats offered the Germans a choice between Anglo-American liberalism and its opposite—its opposite, as defined by Anglo-American liberalism. Its opposite—the Hun. Not satisfied with their Weimar experience, the Germans chose—its opposite. Was that good for the Jews? And yet—
Léon Degrelle—of whom Hitler said, “Had I had a son, I would have wanted him to be Degrelle”—denied the Holocaust for 50 years. He was a right-wing Belgian political intellectual who wound up as a general in the Waffen-SS. In 1945 he escaped to Spain in a stolen plane. He died in 1994. Are you afraid to read his World War II memoir? Can you only exist inside your little, little box? “Quite an experience, to live in fear.” Watch these videos, in order.
What would you say to Degrelle? Could you expand his frame? I’m not sure I could—but I know how I would try. Here is the text of his speech—on the same website that young Hanania wrote for. Are there any sentences you agree with? Are there any that Hanania’s cancellers would agree with? Turn off the Marvel movie. Could you argue with a Nazi? Or would you just have to kill him? If the latter—what kind of “small-l liberal” are you, really?
Yes, the reasons why the early “alt-right” that gave us “Richard Hoste” drew so many young and talented people, often to their later sorrow, to its obscure blogs and forums, were partly pathological. They were not entirely pathological. The reasons why the National Socialist German Workers’ Party drew so many young and talented people, generally to their later sorrow, to its Nietzschean crooked cross, were also partly pathological. They were not entirely pathological. Once you dismiss them as entirely pathological, you are living within a lie, a box, a false history you can never escape. The cure for lies is never, ever more lies.
When you act out as the “heel” in your enemy’s kayfabe narrative, you are doing them far more of a service than if you merely served them. You are, in fact, a cuck. However—when you do merely serve them, or even if you lie and pretend to serve them, or even if you do not serve them but only live, and encourage others to live, in their little box—you are also a cuck.
This is my problem with Richard Hanania. Across his journey from white nationalism to “small-l liberalism,” nothing about Hanania has changed. He has not just cucked. He was always a cuck. He was a cuck then and he is a cuck now. He sucked then, and he sucks now. He is one of the best young Respected Public Intellectuals working today—he may even be the best. But that says more about now than about him—about our stunted life in this little box.
And can he learn and grow and change? Sure. Hasn’t he already shown us that? He has. Peace and best wishes, Richard. Never stop thinking—never stop fighting. Most people who suck only suck because they set the bar too low. Dream a bigger dream! Dream of something marvelous… dream of something outside the box.
Three hard questions
But if he is tempted to contest this judgment—let him answer some hard questions. Richard:
Are your takes always sincere?
I ask because you said this on Brian Chau’s podcast (everyone should subscribe):
RH: You can build a faction or you can build a movement that agrees with you. Or you can walk around, try to move every other movement, slightly, incrementally towards your preferences, right? You could do sort of what I’m trying to do, like make a right wing that’s less religious and less, like sort of, you know, prole.
And maybe to the extent that I can influence EA’s, you know, make them like sort of less woke and then sent back and influence liberals, you know, make them less woke and maybe see the good things and avoid their most harmful impulses.
I think that’s also a strategy that people should think of or maybe just do one of these. I mean, to do all these things is very ambitious. But to do it for like 1 or 2 groups I think is is plenty for most people.
BC: I don’t know. That seems very unsatisfying to me. I don't know why. Maybe it's just a kind of personality type thing.
RH: You want to be like the big man, like the philosopher who just comes down from the mountain and, like, gives the world, like, the commandments and have everyone.
BC: Not necessarily the philosopher. I want to be the follower. I just want this movement to exist.
RH: You want the joy of fighting for a righteous cause. Not to have to hold your nose and say these people are slightly better on average than these other people. I get it. I mean, the libertarians are close. I mean, they’re close enough to me that I can, in good faith, support most libertarian movements and causes and individuals. So whatever. Close enough.
BC: What libertarian individuals? Like, Paul Ryan?
RH: Paul Ryan’s cool. I like Paul Ryan.
BC: I don’t.
RH: [Laughs.] Come after me. I don’t care.
BC: [Laughs.] I don’t actually know. I wasn’t paying attention back then. I don’t really know—
RH: Paul Ryan’s passion in life is ending the gerontocracy, cutting Social Security and Medicare. That’s all you need to know.
It is a terrible thing to be an intellectual in a world ruled by the intellect. The feeling of having an impact is dizzying, disorienting, terrifying. Murray Rothbard—one of the 20th century’s greatest intellectuals, the inventor of modern libertarianism—once put forth “Rothbard’s Law:” that every intellectual spends the most time on the subjects he is worst about. And to prove it, Rothbard, when his intellectual power became so manifest that he felt that terrible sensation of impact, thrashed around between the John Birch Society, the Black Panthers, and the Libertarian Party. Sad!
J.R.R. Tolkien’s books are among the most lasting works of the 20th century not just because they appeal to children, but because their appeal to children runs parallel to moral themes that even a middle-aged man has to sweat when grappling with. And no question in his work is greater and more pregnant than the question of the Ring’s corrupting power—and why Gandalf or Elrond doesn’t just set himself up as the anti-Sauron, an FDR or Churchill to Sauron’s Hitler. With… Stalin as Saruman? Tolkien, of course, always denied that his epic was an allegory. But you gotta wonder.
When Richard Hanania, who had long since stopped being “Richard Hoste,” who had even gotten laid, realized that the combination of his talent and his credentials could be compelling to more than just the readers of Counter-Currents, he felt what Bilbo felt when he found the Ring of Gyges. He felt the power to matter.
He realized that if his Substack posts were compelling enough, if his foundation got enough media hits, he could even influence policy—he could maybe drive legislation—he might even bend the ear of Paul Ryan. Hanania likes to cite Robert Trivers’ work on motivated cognition and self-deception. Physician, heal thyself.
Motivated cognition is a terrible end for a true philosopher. Especially now, Richard Hanania will never, ever speak to Paul Ryan. Not that Paul Ryan even still matters. Not that, as anything like a statesman—as if any such thing existed in our benighted age—Hanania, for all his errors, is far beyond Paul Ryan. But—
What should a philosopher do? What should a shoemaker do? A shoemaker should make shoes. Fortunately, the world is not run by shoemakers. Shoemakers have never found the Ring of Power. Shoemakers do not become more important if they can get men to wear long pointy shoes. So the shoemaker has one job: to make good shoes at a good price. And men’s feet do not look like carrots and they do not trip over their toes.
In my view, a philosopher should make philosophy. He should be sincere. He should tell the truth as he sees it. He should not be a troll. He should not be a shill. Trolls are cucks, in a backward way. Shills are just cucks. A politician, like Paul Ryan, does not have opinions; he has positions. A philosopher, like Richard Hanania should be, does not have positions; he has opinions. But a Respected Public Intellectual…
When I started writing on the Internet 15 years ago, I had no audience and no impact. No one cared what I thought and I liked it that way. All I had was opinions. Now I have an audience—but I still try to just have opinions. I am not a Respected Public Intellectual and I will never be one, insh’Allah. And my takes are always sincere. Why else would I be praising Léon Degrelle? Am I being bribed with secret Nazi gold?
Yet I do live in the real world. But I have noticed that in the real world, the nominal “impact” of bending Paul Ryan’s ear, or whatever, which is the sad currency of the Respected Public Intellectual, is fool’s gold. Everyone takes it seriously and pretends it is real. Sometimes, rarely, it is slightly real. Generally everyone just pretends, and the pyrite vanishes in a bookseller’s season. Who reads the Respected Public Intellectuals of the ‘70s, the ‘80s, the ‘90s?
No, the philosopher who wants a real impact should be… a philosopher. Often he will go entirely unread in his time—often he will have to wait not until he is discovered, but until he is rediscovered. “A prophet has no honor in his own country.” But then his impact will not be a trickle, but a tsunami—and his descendants (if their copyright survives) will have the royalty stream of a Marx, a Rand, a Plato. He will be dead—but in his life, he will have his honor. Try it, Richard. You really are better than this.
Are you actually a classical liberal?
I ask because, in your apology, you segue directly from:
The more I looked at the data, the more I became convinced that liberalism simply worked. Steve Pinker’s books of the last decade are irrefutable on this point. Nonetheless, many pundits and intellectuals continue to argue that what we need is not sensible reform—for example, what I argue should be done with civil rights law—but an overthrowing of the entire system and a move to a new “postliberal” order. I’m convinced that most of them are just projecting their personal unhappiness onto the rest of the world, just as I once did.
If the worry is that migrants might vote for socialism or commit crimes, then the answer is not to exclude people from society or otherwise discriminate against them based on group averages, but to attack socialism and crime directly. The Bukele miracle saw an order of magnitude drop in the murder rate in El Salvador within a few years, and it did not involve changing the demographics of the country.
No. But it did not involve classical liberalism, either!
In fact, the “Bukele miracle” involved a complete overthrow of the entire system of classical liberalism—of jurisprudential protection of human rights. It even involved arresting journalists! Ay de mi! Classical liberalism, it turned out, was the primary mutation that gave El Salvador a murder rate near 100 per 100,000. Cancel it with the stroke of a pen—and the nation’s cancer is cured. Bukele should get the Nobel.
Pinker has simply oversampled WEIRDness. Liberalism “simply works” in Iceland. Anything would work in (21st-century) Iceland. Iceland is roughly as hard to govern as Burning Man. It is not only postpolitical—it is post-human. Nietzsche’s Last Man is a natural libertarian and needs no government at all—just condoms, seed oils and weed.
But in the rest of the world—the world that is still human—normal human politics still operates, and Aristotle has not been superseded by Steven Pinker. In the rest of the world, which we call the Third World, the replacement of preliberal political philosophy with liberal political philosophy has a name. We call it decolonialization.
When we count the violent deaths that we can attribute to this process—start with the Partition of India, and work forward—we soon surpass the Holocaust. If we broaden it to encompass all the applications of Western political philosophy to previously nonliberal societies—thus folding in the whole Black Book of Communism—we are easily in nine figures of accelerated human mortality.
Moreover, look at the Third World today! While the revolutionary period of the 20th century has largely burned out, vast swaths of the globe—lacking the lucky genius of a Bukele or a Kagame—are mired in chaotic, corrupt, incompetent government. Seventy years ago, TIME Magazine called the Belgian Congo “a tropical cornucopia”:
The Belgians compare the Congo with the state of Texas, though in fact the Congo is bigger and far richer in its natural resources. The Congo's gross national product has tripled since 1939. Money is plentiful. Belgian investors take more than $50 million a year in dividends alone. Once the Congo depended exclusively on mining and farming; today it manufactures ships, shoes, cigarettes, chemicals, explosives and photographic film. With its immense reserves of hydroelectric power (a fifth of the world's total), the Belgians expect the Congo to become "the processing plant for all Africa."
Look at it now! What substance was added to the Petri dish, but the magic elixir of Dr. Pinker? Our virologists did a better job of stopping bat coronaviruses, than our liberal political scientists at bringing peace, order and human rights. Does anyone have eyes?
Today, there is no better ongoing natural experiment in the combination of normal, non-WEIRD human populations with a classical liberal, British-derived system of government, than the beautiful “Rainbow Nation” of South Africa. Richard, I encourage you to read the memoir of liberal Afrikaner André de Ruyter, who for three years had the misfortune of being the CEO of Eskom, South Africa’s electricity company. You’ll see why the power is out 8 hours a day.
You talk about “migrants” without considering the legacy systems, old 20th-century laws that no one really believes in anymore, that hold back the real pressures of human migration. As you know, Richard, being a classical liberal, no person is illegal. Your human rights as a person do not depend on the GPS coordinates at which your mother squeezed you out. How could they? Isn’t this just a blatant proxy for racism? How repulsive…
By 2050, there will be 2 billion Africans. What percentage of these people would make the rational decision to exercise their human right to move to North America? 25% seems low. What does it actually cost to transport a human being across the Atlantic? What would be the container-ship fare for this new Middle Passage? Breathes there an African so broke that he can’t afford a couple hundred bucks to move to paradise?
Imagine the country you now live in. Add 500 million African immigrants, and you will see why South Africa in the 2020s looks like a piece of the future that fell into the present—your future, Richard, and mine. And our children’s:
What’s especially hilarious is that the founding prophet of true 19th-century classical liberalism, none other than John Stuart Mill, understood this perfectly. As he wrote: “I myself always have been for a good stout despotism, for governing Ireland like India.” John Stuart Mill: repulsive? Fascist? Racist?
Richard—please comment. How did Mill go so wrong? How, as a “classical liberal,” do you “attack socialism and crime”—not just in Iceland or Vermont, but in Louisiana or South Africa? How, as a data-driven social scientist, considering the result of the last 30 years, would you have voted in the last illiberal election in South Africa, in 1994?
Do you actually expect your therapies to work?
As a monarchist, I have an easy solution to the question of government. People always admit that the best government is a good king—then ask how we will get a good king. The answer is easy: we should replace our current oligarchy with Frederick the Great.
Then these people ask me how we can re-animate Frederick the Great. I admit that this is a research problem. Modern medicine has made great strides, however. Maybe he can be cloned from dirt in his tomb? Maybe something something AI?
Our Respectable Public Intellectuals love to propose “solutions” that rely on similar levels of magical thinking. To wit, Hanania:
An anti-wokeness agenda would involve, at the very least,
1) Eliminating disparate impact, making the law require evidence of intentional discrimination.
2) Getting rid of the concept of hostile work environment, or defining it in extremely narrow and explicit terms, making sure that it does not restrict political or religious speech.
3) Repealing the executive orders that created and expanded affirmative action among government contractors and the federal workforce.
One reason to be optimistic is that much of this work can be done without having to pass laws, which is almost impossible to do on controversial issues in the current environment, but through the executive branch and the courts.
Through the courts! In fact, the “concept of disparate impact” does not exist in civil-rights law—nor does “affirmative action.” These laws are entirely color-blind. The legislators who wrote them were perfectly clear:
Senator Hubert Humphrey said that the bill “would prohibit preferential treatment for any particular group,” and then promised that if the bill had any language “which provides that the employer will have to hire on the basis of a percentage or quota related to quotas... I will start eating the pages.”
Quotas happened. American race communism (ARC) was justified—through the courts!—on the basis of “diversity.” Senator Humphrey kept eating his steaks.
Moreover, the enormous generational political effort required to put six Republican justices on the Supreme Court has had zero effect. Race quotas in college admissions will remain—as they remain in California, which has banned them. The Court has just required colleges to stop asking students about their race. So the students have to tell. We have merely added another layer of mendacity and hypocrisy to the septic tank.
By treating “the law” and “the courts” as automatic and impartial machines above sovereignty and power, Hanania is betraying the uselessness of his political science PhD. (Has he even read the Italian School?) He is asking his gullible readers to labor long and bring forth another mouse—by passing a new law which declares that the old law means what it has already said for the last 60 years!
And why have the Republican justices—after such long labor—delivered no more than a slap on the wrist to American race communism? After saying such clear and true and encouraging things, like “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race?” Surely when the Chief Justice of the United States, in his august black robe, tells us that 2+2=4, we can all hold up… four fingers?
Au contraire. The Chief Justice of the United States is not stupid. He knows that there is no way to end race communism with a court order. The fact that it took over the country—the public sector and the private sector; federal, state, local and corporate—not only without any legal approval, but directly in contradiction to civil-rights law—which not only is colorblind, but requires colorblindness—tells us that no law and no court order has the power to defeat this terrible force.
From a political-science perspective, the most important decision in the history of America is Dred Scott, because Dred Scott established that courts are not above power. The goal of the Dred Scott majority was frankly political: to prevent the Civil War by stopping the antislavery movement. Narrator: it didn’t work.
As Stalin said: “how many divisions does the Pope have?” Even when Republicans control the Supreme Court, there is no way for them to punish lower courts. They can only issue a decision at a time. Masterpiece Cakeshop’s owner, even after winning his glorious 7-2 victory, is still being litigated into oblivion.
The Supreme Court can unleash the power of a movement with the will and force to rule. Civil-rights law, which was written to confirm a uniformly color-blind America, could unleash the power of race communism. No law and no court has a thousandth of the power it would take to put this regime back in the box.
Chief Justice Roberts, a crafty and realistic fellow, understands this perfectly. He might want to end race communism, but he really doesn’t want to try to do it and fail—and the harder he tries, the worse he will look. So much for “sensible reform.”
How can we imagine this “sensible reform” being implemented? Sweet friends: please do not quote me out of context. I am not proposing this, but reducing it to absurdity. Let us imagine ending wokeness in the wrong way—which would still not work, but would work better than anything Hanania or Rufo can imagine.
We would take a tip from the Canadians—or for that matter, the Coloradans—and set up a parallel system of kangaroo courts. These organizations would be staffed by fanatical classical liberals—or, since there is inherently no such thing as a fanatical classical liberal, just fanatical Christian racists (if enough of these can still be found), or men’s rights activists, or all of the above—this would be an intersectional fascism. or just straight-up white supremacy, or something. These Sondergerichten would be empowered to fine any company, school, or agency practicing race-based hiring, admissions, etc—as an administrative punishment reviewable, of course, by the courts.
Does this feel retarded? Of course it feels retarded, because it is still using oligarchic methods to defeat oligarchy. It would probably still fail. Oligarchies want to oligarchy. The classical liberals, or racists, or whoever, would lack the energy and devotion of their prog enemies. Sooner or later they would get owned, and the kangaroo courts would turn into just what they are now. No reform is possible—even retarded reform.
I prefer Roberts to Hanania, Chris Rufo, and the rest of this new generation of pundits who imagine that a new oligarchy can displace an old oligarchy. Roberts at least knows he is a grifter—or, at least, knows his decisions are purely symbolic. Perhaps he hopes that this symbolism will produce some kind of intellectual leadership around which some new power will coalesce—but he knows he does not have the power to really act. This makes him useless, but at least not dangerous.
Richard—are you sincere? Do you believe “wokeness” can actually be rolled back by this kind of “sensible reform?” I have trouble deciding whether I prefer a world in which you, and your type of Respectable Public Intellectual, is clueless, or insincere. Whichever world this one is—it is the world we live in.
What do I think would work? I suspect that Roberts, Hanania and Rufo would agree with Machiavelli on what would work—absolute monarchy:
To found a new republic, or to reform entirely the old institutions of an existing one, must be the work of one man only.
As I have often said, America has only one problem: kinglessness. The problem with America is all the Americans who think they understand political science better than Machiavelli. Whenever you see any problem with American governance—from a free-range lunatic to a gain-of-function experiment, from a land war in Asia to a preteen sex-change clinic—the ultimate cause is always the same: the incomplete memetic propagation of Chapter IX of the Discourses on The First Ten Books of Titus Livius.
In an absolute monarchy, there is no need for oligarchical kangaroo courts. The king is the head of all agencies, the CEO of all corporations, the dean of all universities. Nothing will prosper which violates his will—anymore than white supremacy can prosper at Harvard. He does not even need to pretend to have a process for canceling American race communism—its survival at any level is just a management failure, as nakedly inappropriate as salesmen taking kickbacks, teachers selling A’s, or janitors stealing office supplies.
By definition, an absolute monarchy has no need for laws in the oligarchic sense—the king is above the law. There is no court above the king, who is the sole chief judge—a Supreme Court of one. More subtly, an absolute monarchy has no need for a virtuous and enlightened elite—only a talented and capable elite. Power in a monarchy flows from the top down, not the bottom up. Napoleon was neither radical nor reactionary; nor did he care about the ideology or religion of his civil servants, or what side they had been on in the Revolution. He cared only whether they could do their jobs.
The great mistake of the “anti-woke” pundits of the 2020s is that, living as they do in an oligarchy which pretends to be a democracy, they cannot imagine any solution to their regime which is not oligarchic or democratic. They seem to have found some abridged copy of Aristotle which only includes 2/3 of the political forms—by far the rarest two in human history, too. The story of man is the story of governments—of human collective action.
If the pundits are thinking oligarchically, they demand new laws and/or new elites. The new elites will have the right ideas and the right virtues. The new laws will order everyone to do the right things. The new regime will be the right people, doing the right things, just as the old regime was the wrong people doing the wrong things.
If they are thinking democratically, they demand new memes and ideologies. These righteous new ideas must appeal to voters and lead them to elect righteous statesmen who make righteous public policies. If there are no more statesmen with philosophies of government, only politicians whose only goal is to get elected—the only solution is to elect politicians who are really statesmen. Perhaps instead of Frederick the Gteat, we could exhume, say, John Adams?
It is true that since (without the Ring of Gyges) no man can take power by himself, the road from oligarchy to monarchy must involve either oligarchy or democracy—almost certainly the latter. If we have trouble imagining Americans deciding to elect a king, we have to remember that Americans—like the Roman predecessors we have always loved to larp—only disdain the word “king.” The emperors never called themselves rex; and if we wonder whether American voters could elect a king in fact if not in name, we have to remember that they did exactly that in 1932.
Could they do the same thing in 2024? It seems improbable. Yet as Sherlock Holmes said: when we rule out the impossible, all that is left is the improbable.
And the great advantage of the 21st-century voter is that he is not square. He is not a Norman Rockwell voter, attached to Puritan civic virtues at the navel of his soul. Nor is he the spergy social-science voter of mid-century Harvard America, convinced by the best statistical arguments in the marketplace of ideas.
The 21st-century voter, regardless of age, is a child. He is frivolous, vain, whimsical and ironic. We are fortunate to live in the most ironic age in history. As Bronze Age Pervert, who is not gay, has said: “learn that I don’t understand the gay idea of irony.”
This voter is not convinced by virtues or statistics. He is convinced by dreams, visions, stories and jokes. A dream of the return of kings is far more compelling than all the homilies of virtuous diversity and the statistics of increasing economic productivity. When true philosophy is the most marketable philosophy, true change is imminent.