"Like all men in Babylon, I have been proconsul; like all, I have been a slave."
|Dec 16, 2020||124||29|
Vae victis! If the election was indeed stolen, it was stolen fair and square. Whatever happened is as final as Bitcoin. 2020 remains a chef’s kiss from history’s meat-kitchen. You do get a year like this every few decades.
The Supreme Court has sent a clear and lovely Schmittian message. No court or other official authority will ever consider the substance of Republican allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 elections. All will be rejected on procedural grounds by the courts, and mocked with maximal hauteur in the legitimate press. Maybe some agency will even have to go through the tiresome kabuki of investigating itself.
These tactics will always work. They always do. There will never be any kind of neutral, official, systematic or forensic investigation into any real or apparent irregularities—not even one that goes as far as the comical 2016 Jill Stein recount. (Which had to stop because it found that someone, presumably Russians, had been stuffing ballot boxes (or more precisely, tabulators) in Wayne County.)
Moreover, no one should have ever expected anything else. Carl Schmitt told us that “the sovereign is he who decides the exception.” There was no exception here—so the sovereign has decided. Schmitt, a German and a gentleman (if a bit of a Nazi), would never have said: the sovereign is he who can say, “fuck you.” But he’d probably agree.
The world works this way. It has to work this way. It should work this way. We do have a few things to say—but first, you have to deal.
America’s water-polo elections
Let’s face facts. There is nothing historically un-American about election skulduggery. Not only is it traditional, it may even be proper. If your party gets outskulduggled, that tells us something—just as if you lost a real head-bashing contest. It tells you that the other side was strong and your side was weak.
Woe to the defeated, Brennus said! And chucked his sword upon the scales—which the whipped Romans had to balance in gold. They remembered that whipping for a long time. Maybe they even turned a profit on it in the end.
While skulduggery is wrong, in a sense it is right; because an election is a proxy for civil war. Perhaps the best analogy is water polo. Above the water, water polo is a sport with a referee. Under the water, anything goes—these guys are twisting each others' balls all afternoon. (And their lawyers are twisting each others’ balls about the rules.) Also, if you do not play the underwater game, you are playing wrong and will just lose.
Since balloted elections are actually designed to destroy information—that secret-ballot thing—the bottom layer of every election, the trust layer below anything the security layer can touch—is pure agar for any and all ball-twisting fuckery. The security of an election is a consequence of the thickness of this layer and should be treated as such. Also, if you do not play the underwater game, you are playing wrong and will just lose.
If any election system were fuckery-proof, would it need election observers? Also: is there any system in America that counts or tracks citizens precisely and reliably? Also: is there any system in America that you would trust to mechanically distinguish everyone’s signature from some random scrawl? Also: what stops anyone running a voting station from slipping ballots in at the end of the day, while crossing off the names of people who didn’t vote? There is plenty of evidence that there is no election fraud—and plenty of evidence that no one is looking for it, or even could find it.
We know exactly what a genuinely secure physical and electronic counting system looks like. It looks like Vegas. We know exactly what a genuinely secure 21st-century voting system looks like. It looks like Sweden, Mexico or even Iraq.
Ours looks nothing like any of these things. It looks, in fact, like a typical American shitshow. (Or, as the New York Times put it in 2016, horror show.) And anyone who lacks quick and savage comebacks for the above questions is ill-positioned to educate us out of this Bayesian prior.
The lottery in Albania
The big brain knows America is a Third World country. The galaxy brain knows America has always been a Third World country.
The latest scientific study ranks US election integrity below every country in Europe; with Mexico and Peru; above Belize, and below Jamaica. If the New York Times told you about irregularities in the election for President of Jamaica, would it shock you?
A look at Mexican election security—which, like Europe’s, is full of simple mechanical safeguards—suggests that our grade is inflated. We seem more like… say… Albania. Why would it be hard for Albania to run a secure election? Well…
Albania is a country in which the most trusted form of legal identification is still a bill from your “private” utility company. Its government does not even know, to within 10 million people or so, how many human beings are even inside its borders. In 2020, the state of Albifornia sent out 200 billion Albanian leks in bogus unemployment claims. The idea of conducting any reliable human count in this data shantytown, especially once the Albanian Postal Service gets involved, is itself inherently hilarious.
(Of course, Albania invented all of modern technology and has many private databases which know how many hairs are in your nose. These databases are there to torment you with ads and serve no useful civic function.)
If anyone in this Albanian security environment assures you that anything is secure, treat him like someone who tells you that the Ganges is clean enough to drink. So it might be! He has a case to make to you, not you to him. No one in any other security context has any concept of requesting a proof, except by demonstration, of insecurity. And a lack of insecurity demonstrations is anything but a security proof.
Basic detective-novel theory
When searching for malfeasance, investigators are trained to look for the holy trinity of motivation, propensity and opportunity. We have just talked about opportunity. The motivation to win is obvious—what about the motivation to break the rules to win?
The winner of this election was the party of consequential ethics: the belief that the ends justify the means. To claim that no one in America believes it is right and important to save the country from Donald Trump, or that no one believes it is right and proper to perform direct action—such as diddling some little piece of paperwork—to save the country from Donald Trump, is just to confess one’s own disingenuity.
As for whether the United States has a historical record of election skulduggery, the student will enjoy this primary source from 1976. While 1976 was a long time ago, someone was already a senator then. Why shouldn’t the same political organization willing to do whatever it had to do in 1976 exhibit the same propensity 44 years later? Has this stuff stopped happening, or has it just stopped being talked about? Corrupt organizations, unless really defeated, grow more brazen and corrupt—not less.
While this is a good picture of propensity, opportunity and motivation, these three factors are not sufficient to investigate a potential offense. The sovereign should never go on fishing expeditions. Before we ask whom to suspect, we have to ask whether anything has happened at all. There is no crime without an actual and concrete event.
Something moved the needle
On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, did something happen? Two things did. One of them has an explanation.
We know that two things happened because we have a nearly-perfect seismograph of events: the election prediction market, now large and sophisticated. In any liquid and sophisticated market, expected events do not move the market. Major market moves therefore correspond to new and unexpected information.
We saw two major reversals of the prediction markets, which went from roughly 15-85 to 85-15 and back again: one on Tuesday evening, and one on Wednesday morning. On Tuesday evening, the market learned that Trump was outperforming the major polls. What did it learn on Wednesday morning?
Whatever that event, it was not expected. At least, anyone who expected it could have made a lot of money. No one makes money by knowing what counties report late. And the data available to professional traders is just as good as that available to both the media, and the campaigns. The Trump campaign thought it was winning. Did the Biden campaign think it was losing? Or…
Yet it is still not impossible for me to imagine that this second event was somehow something subtle, fresh, beautiful and clean, like a raft of suburban Republican wine moms realizing, at the last possible moment, that Black lives matter, and rushing to cast their last-minute postal votes. Science, too, can prove this theory—auditing a random sample of ballots, for the telltale pinot-grigio stains…
I do think I think like a scientist. I know something happened. I just want to know what happened, and why. From my knowledge and experience of American history— if I can still say this on the Internet—there has never been a historical period when our elections were clearly free from fuckery. I therefore find fuckery to be a reasonable Bayesian prior. But, like the citizens in Starship Troopers, I would like to know more.
If this thesis is true, it’s actually kind of cool that 20 years into the 21st century, the ghosts of LBJ and Ballot Box 13 are with us still. By fighting and winning the fuckery war, by cranking up the old heirs of Tammany one more time, the Democratic Party shows that it is a still a thing, it can still bring it, it can still play, it deserves to rule.
Soccer players call this being “physical.” If you remain an electioncuck, I offer you this argument for free: it is the best case I can make for your sorry quisling soul. The case that might makes right is in fact extremely sound—why not just come out and make it?
The purpose of difficult thought
So we have an event to explain and a thesis that explains it. Our thesis has satisfactory cases for motivation, propensity and opportunity. It also has considerable eyewitness support—as do UFOs, of course, and Bigfoot. Perhaps it would anyway.
But the parallel between the prediction market reversal, the (supposed) counting pause (I might be more sure of “the pause” had I seen it with my own eyes, but I had already demolished enough cognac to kill Bigfoot), and the famous pauses of ganked elections in recent world history—notably the Mexican “se cayó el sistema” election of 1988, so sensitively retold by Narcos Mexico—is far too poignant to ignore.
You may be a cuck. But at a certain point, you really do have to ask whether your wife is cheating on you. This investigation is a systematic and objective one—and you want the answer to be no. For if you want it to be yes, you don’t even need to investigate.
The reason to understand this question is not to somehow re-elect Donald Trump. No one I know is more pro-Biden than me—my whole net worth is in popcorn futures. Also, it’s now impossible, anyway. Technically he could still legally win, by persuading Mike Pence to count only his own electors. He would have to have balls and he doesn’t.
The reason is to regain our ability to think calmly, reasonably, collectively and in public, in the presence of a vast tornado of political fear and loathing. If we can think about this, we can think about anything; and we only regain abilities by using them.
Time passes quickly after an election. The statute of limitations on “the steal” is short. As time passes, this question grows less important. Consistent with Patmore’s law, as it grows less important, it grows easier to talk about. Therefore this is the right time to talk about it—not because it is still useful, for it is not; only because it is still hard.
But we have said enough about the election. Let’s move on to the tornado around it. While this tornado wants to think about us—we would rather think about it.
The message and logic of power
It's important to recognize what courts are literally saying. When a court uses the doctrine of standing—not a timeless pearl of the ancient English common law, but a political invention by progressive judges in the 1920s—to decline a case, they are literally saying one or both of two things.
The first is that no one asking is entitled to ask. The second is that any legal process in this case would waste the court’s time. This same august Court has time to declare on behalf of a pedophile that half of Oklahoma is legally an Indian reservation.
This message goes well with polls that tell us that most of the loser's voters think the election was stolen. The message to these people—at least two-thirds of Republicans, say 50 million—is clear.
They are ignorant and deranged. They do not matter. They cannot matter and they will never matter. They are not entitled to ask. Pretending to answer would be a waste of time. Objectively, all these statements are completely true, or almost completely true.
Yet the 50 million are still a problem. A democracy in which the losing party routinely and effectively delegitimizes the election is not a stable democracy. No one is thrilled that this seems to be the new normal. It is not surprising that the system tries to solve this problem, for it is a real problem. But we can learn something by its approach.
If you feel confident in the integrity of some system, and someone questions that integrity, your natural impulse is to check its integrity one more time, as exhaustively and transparently as possible—unless you think being convincing is unimportant.
The system does think the problem of convincing 50 million people, many of them heavily armed and mentally unstable, matters. What if a sincere, ingenuous response would only convince 10 million of them? That's still, like, 200 army divisions.
If you are afraid of what you might find, though, you take a different tack. You use every possible approach to avoid any kind of investigation, except good ones. Good investigations are shallow and friendly. Bad investigations are adversarial and deep.
No one has ever done any kind of adversarial investigation or systematic forensic audit of American elections at a national or even state level. No one can responsibly say they have any idea what any such investigation would find.
And without the full powers of the KGB or the Gestapo in their prime, no such thing could conceivably be done even between November and January. So the Court is in a sense right—but not in a sense that anyone literally believes or would dare to say. This is what’s so cool about stealing the Presidency: though hard, it’s easy to get away with.
Even from the perspective of the official opposition, the path of investigating the election is inherently a giant shitshow, whose possible outcomes are (a) failing anyway, or (b) succeeding, and creating a bigger shitshow—a second Trump administration, which would inherently start in a state of near-civil war. From the official perspective, (a) is a minor success and (b) is a (hysterically exaggerated) world-historical disaster. The result: no one serious wants to go there.
Therefore, greatly desiring to change the hobbits’ minds, unwilling to take the risk of actually auditing an Albanian election, which might even turn out fine but also could emit a shitshow of almost arbitrary scope, the system reaches for its usual plan B. It activates… the Gigaphone.
Fully armed and operational
This active-denial system, the crowning achievement of 20th-century psychological warfare technology and the fundamental backbone of 21st-century democracy, is a kind of gigantic Paris-shelling railroad-gun bullhorn of pure proof by assertion.
At a certain caliber, assertion is no longer assertion. It is insistence. Increase the volume still further, and it becomes torture. The Gigaphone can indeed demonstrate the security of the election. Given arbitrary power—it can demonstrate anything.
The Gigaphone’s huge microwave dish hoses the unruly hobbit-mob with unendurable levels of red-hot contempt. With its throttle turned up to 11, the NYT's headlines are ripped from the Rodong Sinmun, cat-lady middle-school teachers reading the New Yorker expect Waffen-SS paratroops to crash through their skylights, and the nation's airports resound from lounge to lounge with the subtle sounds of TV Mille Collines. (All this is completely decentralized, of course. No one orders it—it just happens.)
The hobbit is simply embarrassed into compliance by his elven betters. The ideas he believes become a dangerous mental disease. This diagnosis is written into history. The sooner he gives up this nonsense, the better. To help convince him, we'll make this idea quasi-illegal. The sooner he gives it up, the less his life will suffer. Eventually he can be fired for staying an idiot. Everyone will agree that he deserved it.
This is Popper’s paradox of tolerance. Popper discovers that every real regime must have the apparatus of the Inquisition in its back pocket. If it hesitates to deploy its intellectual rack and thumbscrew, it will be replaced by a regime with no such qualms.
Popper, read logically, advises the Nazis to repress the Communists, the Communists to repress the Nazis, the liberals to repress both and both to repress the liberals. From his “open society” he comes all the way around to Hobbes, Schmitt and Machiavelli. Next he will tell us, in Esperanto, that “the earth is nothing but a vast bloody altar.”
There are only two problems with the Gigaphone. One is that it does not have to be right to work. It is unaccountable even to reality itself. Its only limit is power. Given infinite power, it can blast anything into everyone’s head.
The second problem is that the Gigaphone does not have infinite power. It has a fixed caliber. It only goes to 11. It is currently being operated either at, or close to, 11. 11 will almost certainly work. What if next time the system needs 12?
The election and Trump himself are already in the past. They are cooked. Trump stepped in front of the beam one too many times, and ran out of his famous luck. There is no reason to remain in the energy cone of the Gigaphone. But he made it show its full power level, and not just this time—and that it can never take back.
The constitution and the press
We learned something else about the real constitution of America: that it is the press, not the courts, with the sacred power to inscribe official reality. The Fourth Estate is the highest estate, not the lowest—and always has been.
This election and its aftermath have once again reminded us that there is no serious or major institution in the United States, the Supreme Court certainly included, willing to challenge the mainstream press. There is nothing even slightly new about this.
When the New York Times wrote, in an overly-frank tweet it later deleted, that the role of declaring the winner of a presidential election falls to the news media—perhaps much as the role of declaring the winner of an Imperial election once fell to the Praetorian Guard —it said the quiet part out loud.
Fundamentally, the Times was right. And just a few weeks later, we would see it prove itself right—as might has a right to do. “Might makes right” is not an ideal but a fact. But might is power and power is government. The Times can never remove that ring. Ride once with the King, young man, and the saddle-marks will never leave your ass.
The press is a fundamental organ of government. Every government has a ministry of truth or some agency like it. A decentralized truth ministry, like ours, works the best. We are used to thinking of centerless things as better, because they are more varied. If a decentralized press coordinates on one perspective, it might as well be centralized— we do not need to understand why or even how it self-coordinates.
We can therefore treat both its nominally decentralized structure, and its nominally nongovernmental status, as fundamentally fictitious. Considering the legitimate press as a camouflaged arm of the state suggests new paths to systemic accountability. It also explains anomalous yet true observations—like the Times’ unfortunate tweet.
In our real constitution, the “news media” is much more powerful and important than the Supreme Court—let alone the totally fake and lame “electoral college,” this weird 18th-century game of human chess. It is quite right and proper for the Department of Truth to declare the truth of the election. Similarly, the Department of Defense is out there defending us and the Department of Agriculture takes care of, like, plants—duh. And is it not clear that, of all the departments, Truth is the most puissant?
The Times has its own form of government: literally, a hereditary absolute monarchy. This is a curious choice for the center of the center of power in a democratic country. Could that be how Chinese people feel about their system of capitalist communism?
For Americans to see that this medieval kingdom not only compares apples-to-apples with the Supreme Court, but in fact matters much more than that Court, is a complete violation of the whole American political tradition. Yet this idea is not at all new. It is older than the Constitution.
Everyone with a high-school education has heard the term fourth estate. And anyone who did AP Euro knows “estate” means "branch of government." It doesn’t take no Aristotle to realize that, by putting its strongest branch of government—its ministry of truth—outside the government, the American school of constitutional architecture has only managed to create an unaccountable government above the government. Surely the Praetorian Guard in its day was no less sovereign, though I trust the Times more.
No surprise that at the historical and reputational core of this epi-government, we find an arrogant, capable, unaccountable hereditary monarchy. George III, call your office.
The robed conservacon
Next to so grand a tradition, what are a few lawyers in black robes? They are nothing—”men who allow themselves to be nothing,” in the famous words of VS Naipaul.
When we think about the emotional energy that has been poured into the Republican Party—mostly consisting of people who feel sincerely that the reason they vote, they care, and they donate is to protect their whole world and way of life—we see a whole boomer generation that, convinced by the power of the Warren Court to turn 1950s America into 1970s America, genuinely thought of the real purpose of Presidential election victories as less about “policy,” then about slowly, surely, randomly racking up points on this nine-point scoreboard. A generational game, like the left’s slow rise…
The right's biological luck in this game has been, frankly, amazing. Almost amazing enough to be suspicious. And then they turn around and see that when they win these points, at the cost of generations of energy and emotion, they win—nothing. They do not even win issues; sometimes they lose, sometimes they stall. They never win power.
In the 1980s, Republicans realized that the revolution of the 1960s had swept away all of America’s prestigious institutions, and nothing was left. Since they still had a fair dose of 20th-century energy left, they set about producing a new leadership class. The cream of this crop—the absolute cream, completely top people, sharp as a tack—are the Court's core conservacon majority: Roberts, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett.
The deep conservatives on the Court—Thomas and Alito—came of age when there was no right-wing establishment at all. So they had to learn to think for themselves. Like many, they became addicted to this awful habit. Even when it is obviously not in their best interest, they cannot give up thinking for themselves.
All the conservacons—the entire Republican establishment—are absolutely worthless for the purpose of obtaining power. You need only look at them to understand why. They missed their life calling. They should have been real-estate agents. Every one of the conservacon Justices would have been a top performer—in the statewide 1%.
Most Republicans do not understand their ‘80s leadership class and its ‘80s philosophy. Besides their realtor souls—a charming, unimaginative type of human being, not at all inconsistent with the highest levels of energy and intelligence, not at all revolutionary material—their primary flaw is philosophical and even educational. They have simply been taught the wrong things. This bad philosophy has burned itself into their brains and they are too old to fix.
Young conservacons are taught to believe that America has the best government in the world, ever; that its ideas are the best ideas in the world, ever; and that its institutions are the best institutions in the world, ever. Yes, sadly, these institutions are ailing. But it is not their present form that is ideal—only their ideal form is ideal, of course…
That ideal America can be restored by our new conservacon establishment, which sees itself as an elite force of regenerative stem cells, planted in these ailing institutions to restore their freshness and youth and squeeze out any lurking leukemia. The vision of the Federalist Society is that their acolytes get these important jobs, and do them right—making America America again, you might say. But is it working?
The power of the Federalist Society to get jobs for its members is not at all in question. By this standard, the Federalist Society is a smashing success. As for do them right—what does that even mean? When you get there—you don’t even know what it means.
Maybe you don’t know what it means. You do know what it means to get bad press, though. As well as good press. Your institution is what it is; naturally, doing your job well means defending your institutions. Which means getting them good press... and soon, you’re wagging your tail like a dog at the offal-door of the Truth Department.
And yet since at least the ‘80s, it has been obvious to even the dogs in the street that America’s clear human decline is caused not by damage to her ideas and institutions, but by those ideas and institutions themselves.
The conservacon always gets nowhere, not because he is a bad person, but because he has the wrong goals. He is trying to repair what he should be trying to obliterate. He is oblivious to what he should be trying to preserve, which is not our garbage ideas and our corrupt, bloated institutions, but our beautiful land and wonderful people. What if America prevailed not because of its philosophy, but despite it? A heavy thought, man.
The conservacon’s spiritual inclination to just ignore obviously unsolvable problems is therefore intense, and probably has much to do with his nonchalant attitude toward election shenanigans. Ultimately the source of his practical errors is the bogus history he believes, which leaves him fighting with a landscape that constantly surprises him. While it’s tough to be a general without a map, it’s even tougher to be a general with the wrong map.
A fine example is the struggle against the Warren Court and its consequences. From the ‘50s to the ‘80s a full house of liberal Justices wrote a liberal revolution into law. But they did not invent this revolution. They merely announced it.
Had biology provided that same era with a crop of centenarians from the Harding administration, instead of lending the Court’s credibility to the revolution, that same revolution would have used the “nine old men” as a foil, then beaten or ignored them.
The truth is that the prize is not what it seems. The apparent absolute sovereignty of the Court is highly misleading. While it appears that the Supreme Court's word is final, the general experience of American history is that it can be used to endorse power; it can be used to delay or resist power; but it cannot be used, at least not conventionally, to defeat power.
In the 1850s, the Justices attempted to prevent the Civil War by using the supposed sovereignty of the Court to permanently quash what they saw as the cause of the impending war: the antislavery movement. In the 1930s, the Justices tried to stop the New Deal by using their sovereignty to write libertarianism into constitutional law.
In the first case they were brushed aside and in the second they surrendered. Only a fool would disregard these history lessons, and there are no Supreme Court seats set aside for fools. In fact, it may even be difficult to get a fool appointed. Vae victis!
And if this analysis is true, look at what it says about the conservacons. The general mindset of the ‘80s conservacon, quite understandable considering the shock of the cultural revolution, is the mind of Moses leading his people through the desert. All good, but Moses has a big responsibility. He needs to know where he’s going. He needs to know what’s on the other side of the desert.
For the leader who leads his flock not through the desert, but into the desert—what can we say? The burden of all leaders—or leadership classes—is a special one. For the leader who only pretends to be a leader, who harrows instead his flock, who leads them into death valley and fleeces them as they drop—there is only the coldest circle of hell. There he pleads that it was an accident and he could do no better. He is probably lying.
Of course, winning the Supreme Court is not the only conservacon plan. All the others are sterile and doomed, too. To be fair, they were much more defensible in the ‘80s.
The market for dreams
Ross Douthat, the Times’ house intellectual, talks of Trumpworld’s “dreampolitik.” T.E. Lawrence wrote: all men dream, “but not all equally.” True it is that Trump sold his voters a dream. And does the Times sell any dreams, Ross?
As we all too often see in human conflicts, if the Trumpist view of the conservacons is essentially correct, the conservacon view of the Trumpists is also essentially correct. Their lessons too are written on the wall.
All men dream—some with their eyes open, some with their eyes closed. As Lawrence said, it is the open-eyed dreamers who are dangerous, for they act their own dreams. Men with closed eyes, though, have also been known to act their dreams. These men too are dangerous—but mainly to themselves.
The irony is how this happened. For all sad words of tongue and lips, the saddest are these: he believed his own clips. This error is common, and understandable, among those the press flatters. Yet a subtler version afflicts also those it scourges.
The press made such bank off Trump that, as I write, their accountants are panicking—perhaps congratulating the conspiracy on pushing Biden through, but also inquiring subtly as to whether it might be possible, maybe next time, like for a change, for some little bird to program the Dominion machines to elect Mussolini, Franco, even George III—if possible in the midterms pls thx.
But money is not all they made. They made Trump and his supporters believe them. Not that the press convinced the Trumpists that they themselves were bad—that never happens. The press just convinced the Trumpists—and Trump—that Trump mattered.
Actually he was orders of magnitude from mattering. 99.9% of “his” employees in the “executive branch” did exactly what they would have done “under” Mrs. Clinton. All he had done by winning the election was to come one step closer to mattering.
But that was one step too close. How could power keep Trump from coming another step closer? By convincing him that he was already there, and already mattered. Since this was what they wanted to hear, this wasn't hard. Psychological warfare is a brutal art and, like aikido, loves to snap your joints with your own momentum.
Every mountain Trump touched was a molehill. His enemies made it a mountain in their minds. He and his friends, being small and weak people who did not actually deserve to rule, chose to believe them. Now their elbows bend in the wrong direction.
Typically, the Trump Administration leaves one true Ozymandian legacy: a half-finished fence, across half the Mexican border. Whoever let himself get snowed by the “natural barriers” dodge had never heard the parable of Nasreddin’s tomb. Trump's fence can be pierced in minutes with cheap power tools, and can be rendered irrelevant simply by not fixing these holes. Apparently it was essential, because security, to be able to see through it. It is painted black, though, as Trump ordered.
There is a fine line between a dream and a joke. Dreams are often funny. Jokes often have a surreal, dreamlike logic. The distance between where America is, and where America ought to be, is too vast a distance for any exercise in reason to span. It is the distance of a dream—or a joke.
The problem was not that Trump dreamed, and his supporters dreamed with him. The problem was that it was only a dream. While all men dream with closed eyes, these dreams are blind, and evaporate in the light; and we are right to let them do so. If we hold on to them, or we even act them out, we are scripting our own destruction.
To dream with open eyes is a great responsibility. It cannot be done with blind dreams. The open-eyed dream can be even be funny. The joke cannot be on the dreamer.
Was it even the Democrats who stole the election? Maybe proximately—but not in any serious spiritual sense. A event so great can only be attributed to one party. It was God —one of our most important gods, the god of failure. (Robert Graves once joked that if the Romans had bicycles, they would have worshiped a goddess Punctura.)
Trump had no way to succeed, so the sooner he failed the better. God made him fail. God hacked the voting machines. God performed the experiment. God got the results. And God sacrificed the animal.
And what has God taught us? What was Trump for? God, in my humble opinion (atheist here), has taught us something amazing—absolutely worth the price of admission—a timeless lesson absolutely worthy of God’s legendary reputation.
While Charles Maurras called the defeat of France in 1940 a “divine surprise,” our short, hilarious Trumpenreich was a divine marketing experiment. The world-historic purpose of Trump was to validate the market for dreampolitik.
With Trump as his instrument, God has taught us beyond any doubt that, fucked as America may be, fucked as America is, we still have a market for dreams. Indeed we are so fucked that only dreams can save us. We’re going to need better dreams, though.