In the Name of The Father, and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit, Amen.
ORBIS NON SUFFICIT
SOLUS DEUS SUFFICIT
On page 156 of his treatise on national sovereignty and intelligence, Advice to War Presidents: A Remedial Course in Statecraft — a treatise directed at the Administration of POTUS George W. Bush — Angelo M. Codevilla writes:
Prestige is worth fighting for because it is a currency in international affairs that often buys peace more cheaply than blood or money. Cicero arguing to give Pompey the kitchen along with its sink in order to crush Mithridades:
Therefore consider whether it is right for you to hesitate to continue to support enthusiastically a war in which we are defending Rome’s reputation as a great power, the safety and security of our allies, the principal sources of our tax revenues, and the fortunes of a very large number of individual citizens — all matters intimately connected with our national interest.
Prestige is what one has when one is admired and feared simultaneously. Prestige is respect given freely rather than merely compelled. Basically, prestige is earned by adherence to proper conduct, to include proper statecraft. Hold fast to the truth and you will have prestige. Period! That’s how it’s done. That’s how it works.
The prestige you have is directly proportional to the strength with which you bind your consciousness to the truth. It is that simple.
POTUS Trump speaks often of America (USA) being respected again by leaders of other nations and their citizens. He means prestige, beyond respect.
Between POTUS Ronald Reagan and POTUS Donald Trump, America was not respected, although Americans, especially military personnel, mostly were. But not the civilian leadership and less and less the senior military leadership, for their refusal to condemn idiocies compounded by their civilian bosses.
Titans of American industry and business, especially tech, disgraced themselves, showing themselves beneath respect, not to mention bereft of prestige, by acquiescing to foreign claims on their assets and not demanding that USG insulate them from theft by foreign powers.
Then Donald and Melania Trump get themselves elected POTUS and FLOTUS. Everything changed. All the angles had to be recalculated. USA prestige was clearly returning to Washington, who panicked at the prospect.
Suddenly a capable, moral gentleman and a stunningly beautiful, moral lady — St. Augustine: Beauty is the radiance of Truth. — were in the White House, who had not seen the likes since Ronald Reagan or perhaps even Calvin Coolidge or Teddy Roosevelt.
Against this bright background, the rot in politics, news and entertainment suddenly stands forth for all to see, self-exposed and self-exposing. (The rot in academe and ecclesia — who birthed the rot in politics, news and entertainment — has been self-exposed and self-exposing for some time now.)
Here, out in the chatter class, are indications of the prestige question receiving rumination-towards-restoration:
Angelo M. Codevilla: The Tipping Point
I commented to an acquaintance:
Yes, DoState at least since early Roosevelt years was what at the time was called “pinko,” meaning Commie red with a patina of US loyalty white. Same today, to include also CIA and much of DOD, DHS, etc. “The Swamp” it is called now, includes better than half of Congress.
It was to that “pinko” element that Joe McCarthy pointed. He was right, very right, but not knowledgeable enough to keep his flanks protected.
McCarthy was part of the “Who Lost China?” movement, meaning who in USA supported Mao against Chiang Kai-shek/Nationalists? It was of course DoState. Korea, also, until the North came south, was entirely a DoState show. MacArthur had no responsibility or authority there, until Kim Buck Too went south at Mao’s instance and Stalin’s help and DoState’s insane (Pro-Commie) stewardship of the South was in trouble from DoState’s philosophical brethren up north.
Red Commies take Pinko Commies for traitors in two directions and are right about that, so they kill them, reasonably enough. DoState had to beg MacArthur’s help. Meaning, American boys and girls had to die to save DoState’s “pinko” insanities to muck up somewhere else another day. Like in Libya, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran.
The “Who Lost China?” movement was a big deal in the late 40s and 50s, even into the 60s in USA. There was no lack of discussion of what was actually happening, but a grasp of the depth of its anti-Americanism was not widely appreciated. US DoState “lost China,” as pinkos would with their philosophical brethren. They didn’t lose it, they helped it (Mao). Today DoState and CIA are philosophical brethren with Jihadis. That old statist blood does tell. This is one reason I am delighted State is losing personnel. They have been monsters for decades.
Spengler: Angela Merkel’s Feet Of Clay
A natural conservative majority exists in theory, but does not exist in practice because no German party can articulate a coherent, let alone an acceptable, message of German particularism. I do not anticipate a good outcome from this polarization. It is nonetheless instructive that even the long-suffering Germans do not want to be Guinea pigs for globalism.
Can we articulate an acceptable message of American (USA) particularism? I think so, I think it starts with “we have no titles of nobility” and goes from there to multi-racial and multi-religious. We are akin to Russia and India in those regards, although India remains beset, in practice at least, by baleful effects of the caste system, which was hardened by Britishers’ titles of nobility, which they maintain still(!).
Perhaps at some future date the Alternative für Deutschland might become part of a natural majority along with the Christian Democrats and Free Democrats, but it first needs to purge leaders like its Vice-Chairman Alexander Gauland, a Putin crony who thinks Americans are “a people thrown together at random without their own culture.”
No truth at all to that assertion. Americans make their own culture, have done so, are doing so. The German, Gauland, is referring to race-based nationalism. We do not have that here. We have Constitution-based patriotism. And we have no titles of nobility. That is wonderful culture. The German is merely saying, as a German right-winger would, that he considers anything not race-based nationalism not culture. Well, Germans and some others have put that notion at trial and had their swords removed from them.
Victor Davis Hanson (VDH): Never Mind ‘Trumpism’: What Is ‘Deplorablism’?
[Name of a second political party?]
Richard Fernandez: The End Of Prestige
Glenn Reynolds: The Suicide Of Expertise
[Experience and expertise are inversely proportional.]
Pat Buchanan: Unserious Nation
[Four unserious previous administrations anyhow.]
Mike Sabo: We Need A New Elite
F. H. Buckley: Trump Is A Breed All By Himself
In that summer of 1969, there was the vast but momentary promise of Woodstock, a music festival, all peace and love. Joni Mitchell compared it to Eden.
We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the Garden.
The bible was The Whole Earth Catalog, which preached the odd combination of communes and rugged individualism. Its opening line and motto was “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” Did the editor, Stewart Brand, hear the echo of the serpent tempting Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit? Ye shall be as gods.
[William F. Buckley liked to say, quoting political philosopher Eric Voegelin, “Don’t immanentize the eschaton.”]
Update 1: Here is one way to throw away prestige.
Update 2: As stated in the first sentence of this post, the question of authority and its location is the central one of this era. Here from Glenn Reynolds is more evidence of the accuracy of that observation.
AUM NAMAH SHIVAYA