Analysis, Charles, Left-Liberalism, Popular, Post-Liberalism, Social Behavior, Social Justice Warriors, Wars To Come
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Against Counsels of Defeat

To defeat your enemy, you must know your enemy. Therefore, we must know what the Left is. I use a consistent core definition—the Left is those who follow the prime commandments of limitless emancipation and forced egalitarianism. You can further define the Left by example, beginning with the revolutionaries of 1789, and drawing a line through the Paris Commune, the Bolsheviks, Mao, and the cretins of 1968. Where does that line extend today? At this moment, most would say it has emerged as “wokeism,” the self-given catchall term for those consumed by the latest iteration of Left ideology. Quite a few on the Right fear wokeism and predict its dominance in apocalyptic terms. I am here to preach the opposite; I will explain why wokeism (which I will call late-stage leftism, or LSL) is no special threat, rather merely a manifestation of the centuries-old scourge of the Left, and a devolved, last-gasp one at that.

Over the past thirty years, the Left has conquered every center of power in America. What this implies for our future divides the modern Right. Pessimists point to statistics and past trends to counsel that some decades-long horror is our future. Optimists, rarer than the pessimists, acknowledge that such data appears against them, but they appeal to history and a higher level of generality, to principles of reality and human nature they believe dictate a new hope. On the pessimist side, very recently an article by N. S. Lyons received wide play; it is worth reading, and I will to some degree use his piece as a foil today (or go here for a follow-up from Niccolo Soldo). Or for a take centered on the related decay of Christendom, you can read another recent well-received article by the philosopher Chantal Delsol. (Another eternal pessimist is Rod Dreher, whose proffered solution, the Benedict Option, has no provision for any defensive action against attack, and is therefore pure fantasy.)

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To counter these, I can’t point you to any notable optimist pieces, except by me. Unalloyed optimism exists mostly on the pagan or vitalist Right. You do get some optimism from people like Michael Anton and the Claremont Institute, along with analysis such as Anton’s recent excellent article “Unprecedented,” but it is very tempered optimism. Nonetheless, I am right and the pessimists are wrong. The evidence set out by the pessimists is true, as far as it goes, but we must always avoid the temptation to put blinders on ourselves by predicting the continuation of the thing that is happening, which is the error into which pessimists have fallen.

This is not to say that LSL can be defeated by electoral action in the present dispensation. There is no political solution. We will not return to earlier times, when it seemed like Left and Right were reasonably balanced (though even that balance was just an illusion, at least since roughly 1920). Certainly no prominent political opponent of LSL, say the estimable Christopher Rufo, fighter against the anti-white program of Critical Race Theory, has any chance whatsoever of accomplishing anything lasting, if LSL, that is to say, the Left, is not first broken completely and permanently. If Rufo won everything he wanted—let’s say some set of aggressive legislative action, not struck down by the courts, which was then actually enforced and enforceable, what would our reward be? The world of 2018, and the same teachers now barred from teaching CRT instead doing it on the sly, with the approval of all those who oversee them, while continuing to add fresh Left offenses to mankind such as sexual grooming of young children. No, the idea of a leftist in American life must be made akin to the idea of a Hittite in American life—an impossibility, because none remain. That’s not feasible working inside our current structures, which are wholly within our regime’s, that is, within the Left’s, control.

Nor is our elite going to abandon LSL on their own, realizing that it contains the seeds of their own destruction. Far too many of the elite are committed ideologues of the Left, and those who are not, while when we win they will certainly join the new dispensation, shedding their past ideas like so much worn clothing, are not going to now swim against the tide. This is particularly true when, in our nearly completely fake economy, massive financial rewards accrue to those who are Left, and ruin awaits anyone who betrays today’s Popular Front. Change is only going to come when we bring it about ourselves, at a moment dictated by larger forces (for more thoughts about which you can read my recent analysis of Stephen Kotkin’s Uncivil Society, about the 1989 fall of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe). As Lenin said, timing is all.

We should be prepared, and to be prepared, as I say, we must understand. I want to discuss what is perhaps the most common trope across the Right—that LSL is a religion, sometimes even called the “New Faith,” with the implicit (or explicit) corollary that being a religion makes it much more powerful and hard to defeat. This is completely wrong. (It is relevant that once, long ago, the “New Faith” was Czesław Milosz’s term for Communism.)

It is true that the beliefs of LSL are largely metaphysical beliefs—as with all Left movements, the questions are not policy questions, such as the appropriate marginal tax rate, but existential questions. The Left has always offered, and LSL also offers, an approach toward transcendence, toward participating in some greater effort, outside of and bigger than the individual, making his life seem meaningful. LSL tends even more toward transcendence than past Left incarnations. First, our society as a whole no longer offers any meaning, for most people, through traditional channels, which necessarily fuels a search for new meanings. And second, LSL’s myriad internal inconsistencies and stupidities require some overarching framework that supports the suspension of disbelief, such that the adherent does not have to notice he lives embedded in insane beliefs that are disconnected from reality.

But it is false that these “faith-beliefs” have an “iron grip on the individual and collective mind” (in the words of Lyons). He argues that liquid modernity is the laboratory culture in which LSL flourishes—what he fails to see is that this flourishing is merely like the scum of bacteria on an agar plate, wide but not deep (though even Lyons says that those actually subscribing to LSL are, by surveys, less than ten percent of the population). If the twentieth century taught us anything, it is that if the masses become ideologized, they will switch their ideology if it fails them, or even just if it becomes socially desirable to do so, often to one they hated the day before. The most famous example of this is how, as Patrick Leigh Fermor and Sebastian Haffner noted in descriptions of their time spent in 1930s Germany, huge numbers of Communists and Social Democrats changed allegiance overnight from Marx to Hitler—and then away from Hitler a few years later. Far from an iron grip, political ideologies tied only to earthly transcendence are cast off, by most, as easily as a snake’s skin. Certainly, a few individual ideologues (Lenin comes to mind again) keep the faith through thick and thin, but such men are vanishingly rare. If the Right can break its sclerosis and become ascendant, most of those adhering to LSL will rapidly adhere to the new political tendency in town.

You can see the weak grip of LSL, and how it differs from a real religion, in practical matters. First, adherents of LSL never, ever, are willing to, or do, suffer in the least for their beliefs. Quite the contrary—they are always rewarded, usually (and intentionally) at the expense of others who are not as fiercely demonstrative of their beliefs, or who, horrors, are not believers. LSL is therefore not really even an ideology (which, as James Burnham defined it, is “a more or less systematic and self-contained set of ideas supposedly dealing with the nature of reality . . . and calling for a commitment independent of specific experience or events.”). A religion is certainly an ideology, and it is true that for almost all LSL adherents, no possible experience or event would change their beliefs, since they are disconnected from reality—but the most modest incentives would, which shows the supposed religion simply does not have the hold of a true religion. Which is why modern Left ideologies are subject to preference cascades that destroy them.

Second, LSL has no reach as a creed outside of a narrow slice of atomized and dying Western cultures. You will have noted that BLM riots in 2020 kept well away from Hispanic inner-city neighborhoods, or any part of the country where white people and law enforcement not in thrall to LSL lived. A few astroturfed protests occurred in other Western countries where LSL already exists, but no new converts were made. LSL simply can never convert most cultures; it can damage the cultures in which its filth has managed to find a foothold, namely decayed Western cultures, but is powerless beyond that. It has no universal pull. Try organizing a BLM arson fest in Moscow or Budapest; the citizens will beat you to a pulp before the policemen arrive to do it again. Third, those in the grip of LSL have extremely few children; all successful religions encourage many children. Seen a Shaker lately? No, you haven’t. My point is not so much that LSL will die out from lack of children, it is that a religion that promises nothing positive about the future, such that children seem like a good idea, is not an actual religion. LSL is thus nothing like early Christianity, or early Islam, or Mormonism; it is not a religion in the ways that matter. (I suspect that all those who claim LSL is a religion are not strongly religious themselves.)

Nonetheless, by the pessimists, the erosion of Christianity in the modern West is often compared to the waning of paganism in Rome, with the conclusion that LSL is the new Christianity, replacing the old religion, and with the implication that we face millennia of its dominance. I am not sure how much the first part of this analogy holds up, but I am sure the second part is silly. What will be remains to be seen, but LSL bears nothing but surface comparison to early Christianity. That, in Delsol’s words, a normative reversal can occur when a new religion takes hold, and that LSL is a reversal of everything Christian, while true, is a logical fallacy if used to prove that LSL is the new dominant religion. It is accurate that LSL is filling, in part, the void left by an ebbing Christianity. It does not follow LSL is itself a religion. Rather, it is grasping at straws by an unmoored elite realizing that it offers nothing of value and that its days are numbered; they have been weighed in the balance and found wanting, and they seek anything that will let them pretend this is not true.

An underlying dynamic on display in LSL, which tends also to create behaviors that mimic religious belief, is elite overproduction, something Peter Turchin made famous as a partial explanation for our society’s instability. By showing how zealous you are to those with rewards to distribute (almost all stolen from those not Left), you can get a leg up in the rat race for a limited number of positions with adequate pay and prestige, even though you lack any relevant abilities or qualifications. (This effect is made less powerful because the job market in America is still somewhat free. By contrast, Communist regimes were the sole employer, giving them an unparalleled ability to force compliance; LSL has less power over employment, though obviously a great deal in some areas, and total in the professional-managerial elite.) Lyons says LSL adherents have somewhat alleviated this dog-eat-dog competition by “creating their own job market,” that is to say, by erecting a complex of jobs available only to the Left to perform LSL work. Maybe so, but that merely stretches out the day of judgment, and you can’t levitate fake forever. And anyway all this is just one, extreme, manifestation of that the vast majority of jobs in America today are BS jobs, adding no value whatsoever to society. It is self-limiting, because eventually the stupidity will be squeezed out of the economy by simple operation of reality.

A second pillar of Lyons’ argument is that LSL is here to stay because, as a percentage, the young are by far the farthest left age cohort. He argues that such cohorts do not change their views over time, and thus change is generational and therefore slow. (Tanner Greer has expanded on this argument.) Lyons cites what everybody cites: Robert Putnam’s analysis in Bowling Alone. But Putnam only studied a few decades in postwar American history, when America was still strong (though with the growing problems Putnam identifies, and many more), and that was a unique time and place. I disagree that cohorts stay the same as a historical matter; as I noted above, in most of the twentieth century, mass ideological change within all cohorts was common. (Along similar lines, other recent American generations, X and Z, were also supposedly in thrall to the Left when they were young, and they are not anymore.) Today’s young have not converted to LSL as their permanent creed. They are lost, and quite a few have grabbed hold, for one reason or another, to this set of beliefs. This tendency is abetted, to be sure, by the hardcore, long-duration-thinking Left, and its control of tools of indoctrination, including social media, which creates great pressure to unthinkingly adopt political stances. Wikipedia, to take just one example, is aggressively curated to be an engine of Left propaganda. The effect of that propaganda, incorporated verbatim in innumerable crappy term papers, is, however, more analogous to casting a spell than to true indoctrination. When you live within a delusion, leaving it does not require conversion, but merely disillusionment. In this case, that disillusionment is provided by any alternative source that exposes Wikipedia’s lies (and the lies of the young’s teachers). Fear of this dynamic is one major source of the current Left rage and hysteria over Joe Rogan.

That the young are not actually wedded to LSL is evident for another reason—LSL is not primarily a political philosophy, it is a mental illness, the sour fruit of safetyism, feminization, and the internet. (To be fair, Lyons agrees with this.) And that was before the insane reaction to the Wuhan Plague turbocharged mental illness among the young. Really, much of LSL is a type of hysteria (which no doubt accounts for its distinctly feminized characteristics), and hysterias are not lasting—when you slap a hysteric across the face, she calms down. (Boys, don’t hit girls.) When somewhere between 15% and 50+% of those born after 1996 say they are on the homosexual spectrum (a spectrum that is itself pure fantasy), reality has long since left the building and is burning rubber for the county line. We are living in a diseased fantasy, not a political frame. I think it clear that youth LSL is not some fearsome monolith, but merely the last wobbles of a top whose spin is coming to an end. It’s dramatic, but it’s indicative of system failure, not power. When the top falls over, everything will be reset.

This becomes even clearer if you examine the historical antecedents to LSL, Left movements that had actual coherence. Certainly the ideology of the revolutionaries of 1789 was pernicious and anti-human. It denied reality—but it had not become completely unmoored from reality, believing that it could be changed by wishing. Yet it still destroyed itself, because the ideologues trapped within it could not stop their train from hurtling ever further Left, until common sense overtook society and Left leaders were sent posthaste to the guillotine. Unlike LSL, however, if you look at the French revolutionaries, or at the Bolsheviks, or Mao, it is true that these movements had many of the indicia of a religion. Famously, many Old Bolsheviks, when executed after show trials in the 1930s, went to their deaths willingly, seeing themselves as sacrifices necessary to advance the greater, inevitable historical goal. (This was memorably portrayed in Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon.) Even the Communist satellite regimes of postwar Eastern Europe had many who believed, as Milosz detailed, in the New Faith. But LSL is the farce stage of Left history; its decline in comparison to its predecessors merely proves its “late-stage” character. No adherent of LSL will die for LSL; he won’t even suffer the least discomfort. In fact, he demands additional comforts, in the form of rewards, financial and emotional, and when he cosplays at direct action in the street, he inevitably flees if confronted with any opposition, or if the agents of the regime assigned to guard and protect his attacks fail in their duty. The young gender nonbinaries of LSL, and Antifa girly-men, are not today’s Red Guards, nor will they ever be, because the first time the face of one is smashed in, the rest are going to stay home. Nor is any metamorphosis of LSL towards the harder-edged past movements of the Left on the horizon. Nobody is coming to save the soyboys of LSL from their own stupidity.

Intelligence and competence, not just bravery, is another area in which LSL is sorely lacking relative to its historical forebears. If Ibram X. Kendi is your high priest, which he is for LSL adherents, you are in trouble, because he is an obviously stupid grifter, albeit one with a generous endowment of low cunning. He is not like Trotsky, or Lenin, or Stalin, or anybody who ever accomplished anything of substance on the Left. That’s just one example, though. Every prominent proponent of LSL I can think of has low general intelligence and zero charisma (most are heinously ugly to boot, probably not a coincidence). Those on the Left with high intelligence either object to LSL, seeing that it is harming their goals and plans, or much more often, simply keep silent (and perhaps are changing their views internally; we will find out). Either approach will not bear fruit; they are stuck on the freight train hurtling down the tracks toward the inevitable Left crackup.

So what would defeating LSL look like? Lyons asks “who’s going to stop?” the pro-CRT teachers, and by extension, LSL generally. A good question, but baked into that cake is that nobody is even trying. We have a pretty good idea of what would happen if real force were used. If a strong society passed appropriate legislation, and this was enforced, not only by the courts and the administrative system, but by social pressure, and by extra-judicial incentives and punishments against persons and property as necessary, CRT would disappear overnight. Some of its proponents would, or would be forced to, leave town, but most would simply toe the new line, abandoning their living within a lie, what Milosz called the self-deluding practice of Ketman, and soon come to support and believe in the new line. This isn’t possible in isolation. I mean a total remaking of society is necessary first, not just electoral success with minor follow-through quickly frustrated by the real powers in the regime, who are not elected. But once we have that, we have an easy path to defeat LSL and all its adherents.

Perhaps the most arresting claim of Lyons’s piece is “But it seems to me the woke revolution [analogous to Mao’s], as co-opted by the elite [as Mao intended], is being tailored to point not towards dissolution and lawless chaos forever, but towards a reordering that brings with it a great centralization and unification of power.” This sounds dangerous, but is not likely, nor does Lyons offer any reasoning for how our fragile regime could accomplish anything of the sort, when it cannot keep the lights on or the shelves stocked. The ascendancy of the Left in America today, the result of the long march through the institutions, was based on a very definite historical moment, coming after World War II, with ever-growing economies fueled by petroleum and technology, and a ruling class not sufficiently attuned to the dangers of Left ideology. The totalitarian panopticon is not arriving, and there will be no centralization and unification of Left power, which has already passed its high water mark. In fact, technology will exacerbate the inevitable collapse of LSL, a lesson we can learn from the collapse of Communism in 1989 (again, my piece on Kotkin’s book is really a companion to this piece). It is true that the Right has no interest in a counter-march. That’s because the Right doesn’t offer transcendence. It doesn’t have to offer a counter-ideology, however. It only has to break the power of the Left, remove recalcitrant leftists from the body politic by any means necessary, and offer a competent path to human flourishing. That it does not offer a counter-ideology will make it much stronger and longer-lasting in the long run.

Big talk, big talk, say my readers. How do we get there? Let’s talk about practical matters. As many, including Lyons, have pointed out, the enormous amounts of money available to, and spent by, the Left is a problem. Most visibly this is the hundreds of billions spent annually by the massive Left complex of foundations, NGOs, and so forth, from the Ford Foundation on down. Less visibly this is the regime media complex, which uses its money to broadcast continual propaganda, Anton’s Narrative and Megaphone. It’s not only the promulgation of such propaganda; the money also allows its creation, as in sending reporters to locations of important events, where they baldly lie, but are able to create an appearance of verisimilitude by their physical presence. The Right has, by comparison, a tiny percentage of these financial resources—far less than one percent of them, maybe a hundred times less than one percent. And most of the time it uses its financial resources poorly, usually to help advance the goals of the Left, as those trusted by ordinary people on the Right betray them to curry favor with the Left.

What’s the solution? That’s easy. Seize the money; all of it. I would (will?) simply confiscate all wealth of any foundation, NGO, entity, or person that has participated in any meaningful degree in furthering the goals of the Left. This includes facially neutral groups such as Catholic Charities, which in practice are used by the Left, for goals such as forcing aliens here illegally onto communities that have no desire for their presence. The money of any very rich person (say, owning above net assets of $10 million) who has substantially contributed to Left causes will also be confiscated (including assets held outside the United States, on pain of imprisonment or worse). Laurene Powell Jobs, George Soros, Bill and Melinda Gates, Larry Fink, and all other hugely destructive people (most of whom either did not earn, or stole, their money) will be permitted to retain only a nominal amount of total assets, perhaps $50,000. (Many will also be lustrated and rusticated, but that’s another story.) True, if the power to create these outcomes arises, it will likely be as a result of, or downstream from, economic collapse and other spicy events, so many of these fortunes may not be as great, but that does not change the general principle, which is of crucial importance. The money, of course, will be redirected to appropriate ends, including rewarding those who took risks to defeat the Left.

How will this happen? Lyons correctly says that the Right will do nothing even if given great electoral victories in 2022 or 2024. What he ignores is that the Right doesn’t have to do anything; the Left will get the party started for them, because they cannot help themselves, and their reach always exceeds their grasp. There is no way the Left can dial back their program, their demands, to something that does not eat itself; they cannot limit themselves, even as LSL exhibits obvious increasing divergence from reality. Like the scorpion on the turtle’s back, it is in their nature. Lenin could change course, for a short time. Not today’s Left, mostly because they are stupid, but also because there is no single leader, no Blue Caesar, and there cannot be, as I have outlined elsewhere. As Malcolm Kyeyune has ably illustrated, using the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as a historical precedent, the Left already deployed all its possible power in 2020. There are no more adherents to gain, no more power centers to conquer; from here, their power can only erode, and when your house of cards is built on sand, trying to deploy the same range of power again is unlikely to be a winning strategy—especially when the regime is facing an economic catastrophe, combined with a humiliating comedown from superpower status. Much of the power of LSL is a function of LSL projecting that it is powerful; it follows that when this spell is broken, its power will collapse, in a step function, as most collapses are. Lyons refers to a possible “Second Woke Crusade.” Yeah, that’s not going to work out; their violence cannot extend beyond where it did without receiving much more violence, and much more effective violence, in return, and that assumes that people do not decide they can improve their situation by destroying the Left—if they do, the regime will be overthrown within days, just as was Nicolae Ceausescu.

Most people are fed up, more than you might think—but as under late-stage Communism, the regime expends inordinate resources trying to keep those opposing the regime silent and separated, feeling isolated and alone. But if you want some amusement, and some optimism, listen to Kid Rock’s latest release (though you will have to have a high tolerance for bad language). Maybe it is true, after all, as the internet’s disappointed pioneers once hoped, that you can’t stop the signal.

It’s inevitable that we win—or rather that they lose. (René Girard has some interesting things to say to this point.) The precise mechanism I cannot say. Certainly, at some point a preference cascade will enable the Right to destroy the Left. What will replace it is not necessarily better; our society has huge problems beyond simply having been poisoned by the Left. It is possible that, as James Poulos predicts, or hopes, the resilience of Christianity might create a religious revival, something Delsol rejects. I only predict the broad outlines, but those are, in short, that the Left is going to lose its power within the next ten years (probably only after widespread violence, however), and that LSL will be looked back on as the equivalent of mesmerism.

What if I’m wrong? I could be wrong about many things, or at least many things I predict for the future. One often hears, quoting Adam Smith, “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.” But he meant economic ruin, not cultural ruin, and he would have found the pathologies of today’s ruling class nearly incomprehensible—most likely comparing it to the Rome of Emperor Heliogabalus, though that was only a pale shadow of the nastiness of today’s ruling class regime. Yet, if the regime stays stable for decades, despite my confident belief it is on its last legs, and only awaits the inevitable crisis, I’m going to look stupid. One doesn’t want to be a Millerite, rejiggering one’s prophecies every time the apocalypse fails to arrive. If twenty years from now, everything is the same, but worse, I’ll look very foolish. I’ll take that bet, though. And if I am wrong, maybe I will join the winning team, and announce my new status as a non-binary twinkletoes. Or I will take up full-time gardening. Many possible futures await.

You may say my Sullan solutions are insane. No, they are simply inevitable, and there are none so blind as those who will not see. Hold a mirror to your face, and look not at your face, but over your shoulder, at history. You will see I am right.


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60 Comments

  1. Christian Orton says

    While optimists are more rare, it seems, they are popping up like weeds in a lawn trimmed only a few days before. And from all over. Whether it’s Dave Rubin, former progressive who now works at The Blaze with Glenn Beck (who has had his own repentance and rebirth it seems, not only politically but personally), or my favorite listen: one Michael Malice.

    Malice is an anarchist and while I am not, I do appreciate how clearly and precisely his view allows him to diagnose the real problem spots in our culture, especially in government. I’ve learned so much from reading your thoughts over the past few years and Malice is right there as well. His fame came about after he visited North Korea and produced a book “Dear Reader” written from Kim Jong Il’s POV.

    I’m currently reading his compilation of anarchist essays, “The Anarchist Handbook,” which has been very educational. Malice will be publishing a work entitled “The White Pill” by the end of the year in which he makes the case for optimism for the future, that the good guys will win in the long run. If you were to follow him on twitter, you’d think he was someone not worth paying attention to (he’s a troll in the likes of Andy Kaufman if Kaufman was on Twitter – and still alive). But he is a very well-educated and gifted historian.

    You might assume he has something beneficial to say to society since he had two episodes of the Joe Rogan Show in which he appeared as a guest removed from Spotify. But he’s got a few episodes on Lex Fridman’s show that are great introductions to his thinking (and his unique wit – again, birthed from Kaufman, it seems. As you can probably see, if you’re familiar, he runs in that social circle that’s comprised of Rogan, Jordan Peterson, Lex Fridman, Bridget Phetasy and Dave Rubin (and Bret/Eric Weinstein, too).

    All that to say, there are a lot of optimists out there that I’m finding. But they’re all on podcasts and YouTube and thankfully have rapidly growing audiences. Check out actor Russell Brand’s recent videos on YouTube. Even one calling out the elite ruling class’s efforts to use Jan 6th as accumulation of power. And he’s got 5 million subscribers!

    One reason I’m optimistic is that so many young people, teenagers and young adults, just lived through two years of communism (still ongoing, especially as I learn this morning Canada’s government is attempting to freeze funds from the new platform raising trucker funds, GiveSendGo) and they all listen to Rogan, Tim Pool, Russell Brand, Hotep Jesus, Malice, etc. who are frankly enemies of the State at this point. These kids have listened to hours of these people and then to have CNN and politicians tell them they are dangerous…how do you think teenagers will respond? Rebellion, of course. Malice’s “The Anarchist Handbook” is self-published and on Amazon for around $20 and yet it’s been a best-seller (often in the top-10). That tells me there’s a lot of skepticism and cynicism that’s been produced as a result of this insanity.

    As I was telling a friend today, “You do realize so many students have seen their peers locked in separate schoolrooms for either being unvaxxed or refusing to wear a mask, their friends even arrested for protesting masks, their father’s business shut down because of fear…you don’t think that’s sitting in their minds forming who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?”

    Maybe I’m overly optimistic or missing something big, but I think things are changing for the better. It’ll be messy as the powers currently fight to retain their power (see Canada), but all good progress is hard and messy.

    • Charles Haywood says

      Yes. I have been banging this drum for some time (long before Hanania, about whom I am of mixed mind, since often he seems contrarian for contrarian’s sake, and a tireless self-promoter–but maybe I’m just jealous!)

    • Charles Haywood says

      It is probably true that women will have to be given a very reduced role in political public life for any society to flourish.

      • Evergreen says

        Rather than “seize the money; all of it,” maybe a conceivable grace would be to remove the word “sex” from civil rights law so that civil society can heal from what was done to it over many decades; maybe even from the 1880s, per “The American Sex Revolution.”

        • Charles Haywood says

          Half measures won’t work, I’m afraid. If Congress removed the word, Justice Gorsuch would just read it right back in, as he did with so-called transgender special rights in Title VII. No, there is no political solution.

  2. Hail Maximum Leader. This was a welcome tonic in an otherwise dreary February. From your lips to God’s ears, Charles. Though it may entail much suffering, I just want to live long enough to witness the denouement of the LSL. If it unleashes a similar dollop of euphoria to that I experienced at the fall of the Soviet Union, it will be more than enough to carry me to my grave in peace.

  3. William P. Baumgarth says

    Thought provoking essay. My present guarded optimism is somewhat connected with our ruling classes’s lack of leadership virtue. I see no prudence, nor moderation, nor justice. More importantly, courage is radically absent. When one of the barbarian horde ( the Gauls I think) invaded the Capitoline Hill, they discovered that the Roman senators had not fled. Indeed, these gentlemen were sitting in such immobile fashion upon their senate seats, awaiting the sword, that the invaders took them for statues. Our national representatives, on the other hand, last January 6th, took to the hills, boarding themselves up in their Congressional office and , by their own admission, cringing with fear of the “insurrectionists.” My current optimism is rooted also in my appreciation for the actions of the Canadian truckers, “essential” workers who value freedom and express that value eloquently. I was particularly moved when one of these heroes addressed Tucker Carlson as his hero: the movement needs its rhetoricians. A former Reichskanzler might have had an excuse for hiding in his bunker: the Red Army was in town. What excuse can Mr.Trudeau give, though, regarding his bunker demeanor: fear of his fellow Canadians? As the Maoists put it, the Powers That Be are, in essence, “paper tigers”.

  4. I’m all for Sulla but he had an Army.

    Now the veterans [and so the police and military] are there for the taking.
    You see you are incorrect to say The Left seized *all* the power centers.
    They did not take force; to wield force you must be force, you must be a soldier, policeman, veteran. You must take the risks and earn your credibility, As Justin Trudeau is finding out.

    But there is nothing to defect to !
    Violence makes men very serious, they live with serious choices and consequences.

    “it falls of it’s own weight”….no.

    There must be a side for force to defect to – or at least stand aside from [see DOD staying in the barracks Jan 6. A battalion of experienced volunteers could have freed the nation].

    Nothing exists in their way, nothing exists for the last unclaimed – but most critical core of power – force to join, or at least stand aside and let it win.

    500 veterans could have freed DC and so bettered the nation on Jan 6 Sir.

    The opportunity despite what you think may not come again.

      • If anyone fights they must be supported no matter what, including however unlikely the Canadians [war and history are strange].
        Canadians, Secessionists, Cannibals – any group at all.

        That support must be full including in the flesh.
        Why?
        Because if they are crushed we are all dead.
        If no one fights be sure half or more of us are – the Left has it’s ways, as does Finance.

        We fight or die.
        We let things slip to this choice.
        Anyone fights the rest of us march, or we’re dead.

  5. Patrick Brehon says

    Sulla had an Army.

    As it happens the current one is available, if only someone gave it something to defect to..

    • Charles Haywood says

      This was basically my point in the earlier article (on the future ascent of a Caesar).

      • There is lacking only something that is an organization to defect to…Caesar and the rest weren’t just someone’s they had legions already. Octavian had been training with the Legions to invade Parthia for some time. They did not rise in the forum and it just happen.

        [A Lepidus at this point would be fine.]**

        Anything serious that can be defected to will be defected to – which is why so much effort goes into keeping anything from coming into existence. The enemy is well aware of how precarious their perch is..
        Serious means life or death. No soldier or policeman will defect to a protest, nor veteran.
        Death sobers you and your choices are serious [this is a very serious choice for fighters; victory or death].

        **interestingly Lepidus almost stormed the Capitoline the night of Caesar’s murder but Antony unsure of his footing stopped him. Poor Lepidus.

  6. Observer says

    Great piece. One thing I had hoped to see but didn’t was a take on corporatism. This is a blind-spot common to our side, probably due to residual conservatism. When you mentioned charitable foundations funding radical organizations, you didn’t note the fact that most of this funding comes from corporations. Even distinguishing the government from corporations makes little sense today, as they are headed by the same people. Like Dick Cheney they simply rotate from one to the other as needed. Corporatism and all the harm it has done to middle America is part of LSL. My idea of winning is when Walmart is chased out of towns across the US. There won’t be positive change without a dramatic shift back to small and local business.

    • Charles Haywood says

      Entirely correct, and I certainly include corporations among the targeted “entities.” As it happens, I am writing a long piece of which this is part, for a third-party publication, and I have of course castigated corporate concentrations of power and leftism before.

      • Observer says

        I hadn’t seen your review of Wu’s book. My apologies if I mischaracterized your view.

        Thinking further about your essay, it occurred to me that we need to bring the idea of factions back into our political discourse. Factions were known to the ancients and now we are seeing their return. They represent independent power bases at odds with the common good and are therefore destructive. Factions appear during periods of decline.

        If we look at your LSL through the lens of factionalism the disparate and seemingly contradictory parts make sense. We might call the current power elite the “plutocratic faction”. The adoption of Wokism by this faction plays two key roles–roles that every faction needs: first, it gives members a way to express loyalty to their faction and its symbols (an old phenomenon that we call “virtue signaling”), and second, it gives the faction a means of rewarding its dependents. The latter mirrors Malcolm Kyeyune’s view that Wokism is, at heart, a jobs program. Wokism, therefore, is instrumental, a means to maintain the faction’s dominance, whether or not the faction leaders believe in it is irrelevant.

        Factions are a useful concept because they allow us to see historical parallels and to make predictions. For example, we can see echoes of our factional strife in ancient Greece (Thucydides) and Italy (Machiavelli). We can predict that factionalism will grow. Factions beget factions, once on this path there is no turning back. We have already seen the stirrings of a populares faction with the election of Trump. The nature of factional conflict explains the extreme hostility the plutocratic faction has for Trump.

        • Charles Haywood says

          True, up to a point. But ideology as a driving force behind faction is a purely modern, Left thing. (Well, one might argue that earlier Christian religious struggles involved something similar.) Thus, although I agree in large part about the jobs program/elite overproduction analysis, by itself it does not capture all that is going on.

          • Observer says

            Your description of late stage leftism is accurate, no argument there. But our situation is not “unprecedented” nor is it a purely modern thing. States or civilizations follow a trajectory that leads to decline. The ancient Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Renaissance Europeans, and even more recent writers understood this and warned us about it. We aren’t immune, despite what we tell ourselves. Of course the cycle expresses itself through the unique historical conditions of a given society. Beyond surface phenomena the pattern is always the same.

            The signal attribute of a state in decline is corruption. By corruption I don’t mean mere bribery, I mean a widespread turning away from virtue and the common good towards factional and self-interest. During the decline phase, institutions, government and private, themselves become corrupt. The fight is against corruption.

          • Charles Haywood says

            True, but this confuses the cycle of regimes with elements of our current time that actually are unprecedented. Anton’s linked article is a good place to see what fits into what bucket.

  7. Renee Tupaz says

    My Twitter thread somehow led me to your essay. Amazing writing, best analysis that I have read of the Left-Right divide.

  8. Karen Susan Bradford says

    If the optimists are correct, then we don’t have ten years. This country would be too far gone in that time frame. I think if you’re correct in this assessment, then total rejection of this lunacy needs to happen in less than five years. What worries me is growing movements we are overlooking right now because we are distracted by this nonsense. I do think there are sup-groups who are still actively trying to destroy America and are quietly operating in the wings and just as insidious. We need to get our eyes away from the screens and book pages and begin interacting with fellow citizens and really listening to them.

  9. William P. Baumgarth says

    I am grateful for the breadth of scope of the themes covered by our host and commented upon by our readers. If I may go back to an earlier discussion, the review of The Victorious Counterrevolution seems to me especially germane. If I recall properly, one factor contributing to Franco’s success was the ability of the Nationalists to keep the supply chain open: food reliably appeared on the tables of those residing in the Nationalist sphere of authority. The actions of the Canadian truckers come to mind: the Left may control the cities and monopolize dialectical disputation, but the Right potentially controls the roads. What will the ruling class do to the dissident drivers: jail them all, build new prisons to house them, fine them, label them “deplorables”? And will the Powers That Be give crash lessons in truck driving to its current equity and inclusion officers to replace the jailed drivers? The military might be conscripted to perform this role, but that will compete with its potential involvement in wars in Eastern Europe. The progressive urban areas are in danger of literal starvation, which gives me little solace, since I reside in one such domain. One minor benefit: we now know who the “essential workers” really are.

    • Charles Haywood says

      Yes; this point occurs in various of my writings, but in practice, a conflict of this kind clearly favors the Right.

  10. N. DuBay says

    Hi Charles, I thoroughly enjoyed your essay as I have many others in the past. One question I have for you, as an optimist in this realm, is how the coming ESG push would/could affect the decline of LSL? I am guessing you’re familiar with ESG in some of our financial institutions and large corporations. It seems as of late that entities like Blackrock have near monopoly influence on many of our large companies in the US. It has been known that Blackrock plans to invest more money in development and growth of corporations with higher ESG scores. One thing I am beginning to notice now is how many corporations are going “woke” seemingly without a market-driven explanation. Certainly Visa or Target are not merely concerned with attracting more BIPOC customers. (Maybe they are?) But I am hard-pressed to find any TV commercials which cast a heterosexual white couple as leads, for example. My fear is that ESG is leading from behind and the woke decisons/directions we are seeing corporations follow are merely priming us and them for an ESG-based (read social credit score) world. What are your thoughts here? Thank you for your time and dedication to this site and your podcast.

    • Charles Haywood says

      Thanks! Yes, I’m certainly familiar with ESG, and also familiar with the idea (pushed recently by the problematic James Lindsay) that ESG scores are going to be a type of social credit score. This is certainly true on a corporate level (and one of the many reasons why I explicitly listed Larry Fink as one of those to be expropriated, not to mention jailed). A few thoughts:

      1) Corporations are most certainly not pushing LSL marketing because they’re concerned with attracting more BIPOC customers. Note that black people are more conservative on social issues than whites; I can assure you most black people aren’t happy with trannies and so forth in their ads. Nor do I think they are happy that they are grossly over-represented in ads; it’s patronizing to anyone with any common sense. Rather, those ads are directed at AWFLs, so they can feel virtuous and superior, and as racial humiliation by those running the ads, to signal their Left bona fides. As to this latter, I have before analyzed corporate behavior as regards Left signaling; I don’t have much to add, although since I wrote that piece (and some others) it’s obviously gotten more extreme.

      2) I’m not worried in the least, for reasons outlined in this piece (and the earlier one on Kotkin’s book—I may review Kotkin’s other book, on the collapse of the Soviet Union, to make a trilogy), about ESG/social credit scores for individuals. Even if our regime weren’t on the edge of collapse, it lacks the power, coherency, and competency to implement any such thing. And that’s ignoring that people won’t put up with it for much longer, as the Freedom Convoy shows. Oh, they’ll put up with it to a degree, but between opposition and incompetency, it’ll erode any ability to actually implement. The end of them putting up with it will arrive with the economic crash—as I always say, people will put up with annoying stuff now because they do not think they can improve their situation by attacking the system, because they can still put food on the table, watch Netflix, and so on. When that stops, so will the regime.

  11. chris says

    About preference cascades.. Covid has let loose an open authoritarian side in our elites. It was there all along, but that’s what a pref cascade is, a release of covert opinion. Nothing was said about whose opinion! Nor about whether they comprise a reversal of the openly stated opinion instead of a big step further into that opinion. They really, really hate us!

    You’re looking for a sudden rightward realignment of the youth: the transgender evidence seems to point to a revealed preference of cashing out entirely. To swing right means confronting a great army of enemies, already among us, who have (I would imagine) been long anticipating that this weirdness will stop, and will themselves reveal their own preferences with much less cognitive dissonance, dithering and gnashing of teeth.

    Anyhow. Have you noticed how much Michael Malice looks like Nicolai Ceaucescu?

    And also I’m quite excitied to see Delsol referenced here. I heard MartyrMade strongly recommend her Icarus Falling, which I’m in the middle of. I’d never heard of her before last week. Is it not excellent the way these currents flow? Her book, incidentally, seems quite solid and perceptive, even prophetic (it’s 30 years old maybe), if a bit heavy on Frenchified paradoxes and carrying Boomer baggage. Maybe you review it.

  12. Dragan says

    Notice that half of the population’s behavior during Covid, after Jan 6. How obedient they behaved, and how they gobbled every word by the MSM – from the Russian collusion to the “free and fair” elections. As I grew up in the Former Yugoslavia, even though the indoctrination started from an early age, we really never fully trusted the Communist regime. The gullibility of the leftist Americans is astounding. I am reading the biography of Arthur Jones, the inventor of Nautilus (the old breed American), and learning the American school system in the past was teaching, besides civics, weapon safety, and LATIN language, along with Greek Classics, and I am talking elementary education. I believe Americans were better off, and happier even during the depression era – they never expected Government to lift them up. FDR destroyed America and set it on the path where is today.

  13. Christian Orton says

    “Notice that half of the population’s behavior during Covid, after Jan 6. How obedient they behaved, and how they gobbled every word by the MSM”

    I’ve seen a massive shift in my social circles where more than half of the old school Democrats and more than half of the progressives I know are completely done with COVID. And completely done with Biden. We went from a community where you could clearly tell who voted Left vs. who voted Right by who was wearing a mask while out walking to a place where it now appears silly to wear a mask at all, and those people are looked at like you would someone on an episode of “Hoarders.”

    It’s been an interesting shift because even my best friend, a progressive, is once again talking politics with me. Only this time instead of evangelizing for his leftist politics, it’s all about how corrupt our government is, left or right, and what to do about it.

    All that to say, I think the Cathedral (the leftist politicians and corporate media) have pushed so many lies and acted in absolutely undeniably despicable and inhumane ways that even some of their loyal followers are having to separate. Which is good, obviously, but even better that I’m seeing the shift (again, in our neighborhood, but a large neighborhood!) from “I’m a Democrat” to “I just want to be your neighbor.” Those toxic “We believe in…” signs are disappearing even.

    I think maybe we are about to, or have, hit the watershed where people realize that they just don’t want politics in their lives the way it has infected everything over the past decade.

    But the next election cycle could tell us more.

  14. Dragan says

    Hi, I hope you are right, but I believe “Pandemic fatigue” or inflation is only the one aspect the Left might have wavered a little. Although you couldn’t tell that by watching CNN or reading Twitter comments. As long as Trump is in the picture, and most likely he will run and win the GOP nomination the establishment won’t rest. They will continue to manufacture lies, Congres will continue to “investigate Trump’s role on Jan. 6” and with certainty will come up with the “smoking gun.” I am surprised the GOP is (mostly) still sticking with “The America First” movement, for the first time they attempt to be in the touch with the base, and that’s more out of the political survival instinct than the genuine nationalist-populist belief, since they are in my judgment all Liberal-light. Charles is right, they won’t be able to put together such elaborate mechanisms in motion again as they did in the years before the 2020 election (and if not for Covid it still probably wouldn’t work)

    https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/

    They showed us how unreasonable the Left was during Trump’s presidency, how will they take the possible Trump’s victory in 2024? I expect not too well. I wish Trump read Junger, Schmitt or at minimum listen to The Worthy House. But I doubt Trump read a book in his life or listened to anyone.

    Best wishes!

  15. A great weakness of our Government from the beginning is that at the approach of an enemy Congress is allowed to flee.

    They did this numerous times before the British, on 9/11 and again on January 6.

    We have had one noble Congress and that was the Declaration of 1776. A high bar to be sure, but one never even aspired to or attempted since. Soldiers are executed for such cowardice.

    I would hope the Maximum Leader would require whatever Parliamentary arrangement we’ll unavoidably suffer will have statutes that if they flee instead of flight they shall lose all offices, votes and be sentenced to penal battalions for the duration of conflict.

  16. I would dispute the claim that you do not see the adherents of today’s left make “sacrifices” to their religion/ideology. While it is undeniable that they, in their march towards exemplifying Fukuyama and Nietzsche’s Last Man, do seek comfort as the highest good, and certainly do not search for a glorious death, you can still find aspects of religious sacrifice among them.
    Every time you see a white person get killed by a pack of raving thugs in South Africa and the parent of said dead white person gets up and rather than condemn the killer, apologizes for their privilege, that is a religious sacrifice https://www.buzzworthy.com/mom-forgives-the-unforgivable/
    Every time you see white people do literal baptisms at a George Floyd memorial and then ritually kneel before the idol, that is a religious sacrifice. Every time you see tatted-up sluts laugh and brag about how many abortions they’ve had, that is a religious experience as well. The modern left might have lost the willingness to die or fight for the most part, but so did the late Romans.

    • Charles Haywood says

      Yeah, there’s something to that. But in each of these cases, the personal utility, in University of Chicago terms, of the person making the “sacrifice” is going up as a result of the sacrifice.

    • Carlos Danger says

      A little different topic perhaps, but it was very interesting to me how the left was so completely cowed by the Texas abortion law.

      My expectation was that Texas abortion doctors would continue performing abortions in civil disobedience. Only fines and possible loss of license were at stake.

      Defiance of the law, with financial support pouring in from deep-pocket liberal groups in Texas and especially elsewhere, seemed a given. They would have soon won, I think.

      But no. No one was willing to sacrifice themselves for principle. Meekly, they (with one exception) obeyed. And are still obeying. Surprising.

      • Charles Haywood says

        Yes, this is fascinating, and suggests that the Left is largely a paper tiger. I think that is also the correct interpretation of the recent events in Canada. So once we win by force, as I keep saying, the vast majority of those mouthing Left principles will simply adopt the new fashionable principles. I talked about this in both my recent third-party podcasts.

  17. Surfguy says

    Off topic, but has anyone noticed the resemblance between Russel Crowe and Ron DeSantis?

  18. goodlander says

    My concern that wokeism may prove rather durable was not really addressed here.

    I agree wokeism is not a religion nor are these even cherished beliefs. In fact the ideas seem intentionally absurd and self-contradicting such that subscribers must continually demonstrate the capacity for doublethink, and greengrocer-style signaling. The performative quality of it fills the void of every room not explicitly hostile to it. The effect is that the Left gains a powerful shibboleth with which to distinguish friend from foe, and the right gets the oxygen sucked from its lungs wherever strangers gather.

    And that is why I worry LSL may not be so LS. The Left’s current configuration while lacking in virtue, competence, and intellectual rigor has nonetheless optimized for durability insofar as durability means the suppression of opposition. By making it near impossible to make money by producing wrongthink the regime smothers the emerging counter-elite in the crib. At the same time you must admire the left’s genius for inventing bullshit jobs to give their friends and finding ways to make their enemies pay their salary.

    My fear is that as reality asserts itself against the ridiculous ghouls who rule us, civilization will greatly diminish. Even the left will hate what they’ve built but there will be nobody to surrender to as all the would-be Caesars and Napoleons will have been figuratively (or literally) aborted. In such circumstances the current order could shuffle on like a decaying zombie for decades.

    You seem to predict escaping this state of affairs via eruption into violence that the Left will instigate, like a sort of marshmallow test for the power mad, which will result in their defeat. Only in our circles could this be considered an optimistic view!

    • Charles Haywood says

      There is no doubt the external trappings of what we have gotten used to as “civilization” will diminish. No more flowers from Chile in January! But my thesis is that no matter how crappy the society or how badly education and abortion have harmed the supply of possible leaders, such men are inevitable in every age and time.

  19. Basil says

    For just a moment I was pleased to have stumbled upon this blog, an interview with the knowledgeable Luttwak is a good sign as are discussions of some conservative and right-wing texts that deserve to be more widely read.
    But then it quickly turns out that what is on offer is just the familiar unedifying spectacle of a resentful and self-important autodidact boasting about his half-digested reading experiences, the scribblings of an overgrown repressed teenager compensating for his feelings of impotence and insecurity by acting quite loud and tough and faux-messianic, in other words, just another Jordan Peterson or Ayn Rand victim like a million others. It is a comical and pathetic display and it probably won’t end well, just as it didn’t begin well with the laughably pretentious and assuming blog title.
    The self-identification as nouveau riche is the beginning of wisdom here. It denotes lack of discrimination, maturity, and knowledge in intellectual no less than in aesthetic matters.
    I suggest getting an education – that is, working on mastering a serious intellectual discipline, take your pick – before attempting any more of this. You may discover that matters are much, much more complicated than they appear to you at present.
    With love from Switzerland
    Basil

    • Charles Haywood says

      This is worthless and silly, a mere chain of insults, without specifics. Boring. I will mention, however, that I am quite good-looking too, not just smart and rich. I doubt if you are any of the three.

  20. Basil says

    Well, that’s true, it is boring and also quite rude. But it is heartfelt and I needed to get it out. At least I commend the considerable drive and energy that’s on display here. If only it could be channeled in more worthwhile ways.

    • Charles Haywood says

      I am still waiting for the specifics. I suspect I will be waiting a long time. Like forever. Not to mention that something being “heartfelt” is, without more, worth exactly nothing.

  21. Basil says

    I was being specific in my admittedly graceless diagnosis of the intellectual morphology here, a diagnosis with which I’m not asking you to agree but which I offered in some seriousness.

    I don’t mean to distract you from your publicly conducted self-finding project any further. Perhaps unselfconsciously, or perhaps intentionally, it stands in the time-honoured tradition of the American confessional, renewal, and awakening style. The entries here share the sermonizing, evangelical, and regrettably self-righteous style and tone of wokism though not wokism’s content. But content is secondary. Intellectual style and form go much deeper.

    Evangelical self-assurance is a useful quality in undergraduates where it can be leveraged, when carefully frustrated, to facilitate genuine discovery. Let them enjoy and then get over the flushed intoxication of a first fumbling reading of Nietzsche or Lenin, Schmitt or indeed de Beauvoir. In intellectually ambitious grown-ups, on the other hand, one would hope to encounter a greater facility for doubt, a greater degree of hesitancy, a greater respect for the enormous difficulty of the questions that matter.

    And thus I bid you goodbye.

    • Charles Haywood says

      Sigh. Being specific about a claim that relies on facts not made explicit is not being specific; it is being precise.

      And, of course, the classic “I have to go now!”

      All of my self-assurance is entirely justified and wholly (and both specifically and precisely) supported by both facts and reasoning, which anyone is free to criticize. That requires work, though.

  22. Dixie Serb says

    Here is an interesting assessment from the Russia. It looks like we will also need the “Kiss of death” to spark our “metamorphosis” here in the West.

    “…we now see active measures being taken by Putin’s administration to shut down the Liberal media and to strip the enemy oligarchs of their assets. In practice, this will mean the government taking greater control of key industries and Putin putting his people in charge of them. The end result should look quite similar to the Chinese model, which Putin has often praised before in the past for its ability to defend national interests and promote economic projects that are in line with the government’s own stated goals. This synthesis between the state and big business has been defined by Marxists in the 70s as the agreed upon textbook definition of Fascism even though it was practiced by Monarchies, Communist states, National Socialist states and literally every single nation state in history during times of war or economic crisis.”

    https://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2022/03/08/the-great-russian-restoration-the-purge-of-the-liberal-media-and-rumblings-of-economic-nationalization/

    • Charles Haywood says

      That’s really no different than what we have here, of course. We have a Left oligarchy that controls vast swathes of the economy, notably all media and technology, and openly cooperates to achieve political goals with Left politicians, and to suppress dissent. I’m not opposed to this. What I’m opposed to is the Left having any power.

  23. Dixie Serb says

    And that’s the crux of it all. How can we doslodge them, short of the violent overthrow? Trump is once again in the picture, and talks the good talk (again) but he still has the traitorous, useless GOP in tow. If Trump start pledging ‘the trains to run on time’ I will be listening. But I am afraid as you said. There is no political solution.

      • Christian Orton says

        With all the anti-Russian propaganda and Facebook and Instagram allowing violence towards Russians, you have to wonder if they try to revive the Trump is a Russian spy crap knowing half the population will become activists on social media and force support for a Trump investigation.

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