The phony Romans

“The embrace of demographic determinism is self-defeating: it causes the right to cease any attempt to do the hard work of persuasion and winning new voters.” This sentence wraps up the American conservative argument in pretty wrapping, for “demographic determinism” is nice talk for racism. Whoever comes here, they are who they are and can never be anything else. This is the argument used for centuries to require special treatment for Africans. Tucker Carlson used it recently when hcae said if demographic – there’s that word again – trends continue, Texas will turn blue and between it and California dominating the electoral college, no more Republican presidents. That assumes the GOP can never come up with policies that might appeal to a broader reach of people. Oh, wait! That “demographic” is Mexicans and their brown skin keeps them from understanding the real America. So no matter how many serve in our military, no matter how many rise to public office, and no matter how many serve the country in professional capacities, they will remain forever Mexicans and all that entails. Wouldn’t you like to know what that entails in little Tucker’s mind?

Well, we pretty much have it in a notorious essay written for a conservative journal encouraging Americans – real Americans, of course – to vote for Trump. It’s all about the genes and I will quote liberally (oops!) from the essay to make it clear just what the author means. He wrote under the famous Roman name, Publius Decius Mus, but is Michael Anton, serving in the Trump administration. (Mus means mouse and the other two names are typical Roman names) It is no accident that Anton chose a Roman name because the word republic is thrown into the conversation by conservatives to mark their territory. Rather than the U.S. being a democracy with a republican form of government, people of Anton’s persuasion insist we are a republic and therefore unbeholden to any democratic forces.

But let’s get to the essay and the mind of Mus where we will see this demographic essentialism in full bloom. Think Steve Bannon mated with Strom Thurmond.

The Wikipedia article warns against applying essentialism to humans:

“In medical sciences this can lead to a reified view of identities – for example assuming that differences in hypertension in Afro American populations are due to racial difference rather than social causes – leading to fallacious conclusions and potentially unequal treatment.[6] In general believing that social identities, such as ethnicity, nationality or gender, are the necessary characteristics of people which define who they are, can lead to dangerous consequences. Essentialist and reductive thinking lies at the core of many hateful and xenophobic ideologies.[7] Especially older social theories were guilty of essentialism.[8] (see Kurzwelly, Rapport and Spiegel, 2020).”

Social Darwinism would fall into this category. To this day you can read disparaging remarks about the Boas school of anthropology which led the way in dismantling the theretofore dominant paradigm of human nature with racism at the heart of the notion of inferior and superior people. And you can read slighting references to the supposed absurdity of not recognizing that some people are superior to others. I know lots of people who are superior to me, my handyman, for instance. He can do things and understand things quite beyond me.  I speak both English and Spanish, he only Spanish. Am I a superior being? Nonsense.

It is my opinion that most racists are as shallow in their perception of human beings as was the great scientist, Louie Agassiz as described by Stephen J. Gould. Agassiz arrived in Washington from France and was repulsed by the many Black servants around him. I have noticed some people just cannot get over the fact that not everyone speaks as they do, maybe a dialectal accent or a foreign language. “Don’t they know it’s a spoon?” they complain. Sad.

So here goes Mus.

First, on the first page, he stipulates to the following conservative complaints about America (brace yourselves, it’s long and stupid):

“illegitimacy, crime, massive expensive intrusive out-of-control government, politically correct McCarthyism, ever-higher taxes, ever-deteriorating services and infrastructure, inability to win wars against tribal, sub-third world foes, a disastrously awful educational system that churns out kids who don’t know anything and can’t or won’t discipline disruptive punks, and at the higher levels of education saddles students with six figure debts for the privilege”. ….. and that’s it for now.

I would start moving toward Mus’ essentialism by noting the word ‘tribal.’

Over against his litany are set the values of the conservative element in American society. I list those here:

“virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character in the individual. Sexual morality and family values [Mus wisely puts family values in quotes], education to inculcate good character and to teach the fundamentals that have defined knowledge in the West for millennia [toward essentialism again, note the place of the West as underlying these values and also the time span as millennia, taking us back to the Romans – yes! the rapacious slave-dealing Romans, our model citizens in a REPUBLIC! and don’t you forget it!], societal norms and public order, initiative, enterprise, industry and thrift in a sound economy and healthy society, strong defense and prudent statesmanship in the international sphere………. and contrarily, the soul-sapping effects of paternalistic Big Government [caps his] and its cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions.”

The key elements here are the appropriation of the classical world of ancient Rome by extending the West back “millennia” and the West itself as the undergirding of American values.

Mus presents the conservative pov as insisting the liberal-left present reality and future direction is incompatible with human nature and must undermine society.

Really? What would be the conservative understanding of both human nature and human society? Catholic Church doctrine? Libertarian doctrine? Neoclassical economics doctrine? The Southern Way of Life doctrine? We all love to speculate on human nature, whether we take one of those politico-philosophical stances or something closer to science like evolutionary psychology, anthropological theory, historical determinism, demographic determinism – oh, wait! That’s what Mus wants us to look at. This will be fun. It seems to me that tinkering with society, with man’s ineluctable nature via things like food stamps and welfare checks, is no worse than tinkering with nature Herself. Clearing forests, rooting up the prairie, rechanneling rivers, connecting lakes via canals, building sea walls to hold back the ocean, putting gases into the ozone, brain surgery, those are all tinkering with nature. If getting rid of food stamps and introducing school choice via vouchers can be done to counter the pernicious effects of leftist social and educational programs, then why can’t we counter fracking with laws against it? Either tinker all the way or not at all. I’m all for letting cancer takes its course (Not really); stop interfering with the way things were meant to be.

What happens when we unpack these many claims? They fall apart. Once I corresponded with a Latin teacher who defended Charles Murray’s claim to have found a fundamental IQ gap between “races” as “pure empiricism.” When I pointed out that most Blacks in the U.S. were part White (using the racialized terminology), he replied, “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that.” So with Mus, we have to ask who got counted in crime statistics when he invokes the good old days of low crime. Maybe as law enforcement services were extended to the Black part of town more reports on crimes were turned in by the police. In the last four decades, Blacks have spread out through the community and so are now counted as part of crime statistics. My wife remembers officers bursting into her parents’ home (the “We don’t need no stinking warrants” school of police work) when a party was going on (can you imagine? all that dancing and card playing? Those Negroes!!) to rough people up. They were not so visible when something got stolen or a fight broke out. Ah, the Code of the South.

This gets to number one of Mus’ three questions “that matter:” how bad are things really? Mus cites the top 40: 32 genders, elective bathrooms, single-payer, Iran sycophancy, “Islamophobia,” and Black Lives Matter [see my post of this date, 10-12-20, BLM]. I won’t deal with single-payer because conservative arguments gush forth to maintain the strangle hold on health care of many institutions (hospital conglomerates, the AMA, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies). Most people I talk to forget the bring up the obvious stumbling block beyond greed: a common sense approach that protects the security of not only these institutions as they adapt to the new single-payer system but the many employees of these institutions; it will take years to feather in, i.e. to soak in these entities and spread out the stress of change. Conservatives love to scare the public with visions of companies worth millions and employing thousands of people being reduced to dust in a socialist armageddon. Bernie Sanders didn’t help us any with his phony revolution.

But to less easily disposed of arguments: surely the 32 genders have exercised huge stress on restaurants. Those 30 other bathrooms took up all their patio and bar space. So back to two genders with ……. well, this is gross, but many years ago a humorist named King (help me with his first name) wrote about a public toilet attendant named Mahmoud whose job was to swipe your butt with a mecurochrome soaked bottle brush as you stood up – hygiene. So we could have Mahmoud check your gender – drop ’em or lift ’em – as you walked in. Seriously, as if this deserved serious consideration, the hatred of conservatives for non-conformists is matched and even surpassed by their over covered-up weirdnesses. Ever wonder about Lindsey Graham?

The elective bathrooms derive from the sick, repulsive, twisted liberal habit of treating people not like us with respect. It’s true. I am a liberal and I treat conservatives with respect, which is far harder than treating a child molester with respect (which I have done – treated one with respect, I mean). Some people, like me, are uncomfortable using the bathroom in the presence of a female. If the female is transgendered, then I’m OK because I can play to either side I want. Once in Moscow a buddy of mine and I stepped into one of the few outdoor public restrooms only to find a babushka in there cleaning. I asked her how long she’d be, we’d wait, and she said, “Davai, davai” go on. So we did. Not a real problem. You can use the little boys’ right alongside me. 🙂 God knows where we find these public intellectuals with such bizarre obsessions.

Iran sycophancy. We are sycophants of Iran? Does the Ayatollah know about this? A book I read on Iran is titled The Ayatollah Begs To Differ. I am sure such flippant titles enrage Mus who, like conservatives everywhere, see adversarial relationships as duels to the death. OK. Too bad they don’t feel the same way about Russia. But that aside, the thorn in my side is the way conservatives consistently present the inviolability of financial of financial transactions but insist that we should not have given Iran back its money. I would guess their concern is that Iran will use its own money, which is what that was, to buy weapons. Isn’t that better than us supplying the weapons ourselves, at taxpayers’ expense, to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and other defenders of liberty? Guess not. Still, we wanted a nuclear deal and we got one. The notion that Iran would ever stop developing their bombs for Israel program is as silly as us being able to detect cheating on their part. Of course they would not stop, because they are EVIL. And we would fail to detect their cheating because our NSA monitors graduated from the aforementioned horrible American schools (unless something happened between their senior year of high school and their first year at MIT). See? It all fits together like a proper conspiracy.

“All I need to know about Islam I learned on 9/11,” so speaketh the American public intellectual. It is just lovely how the mystic workings of ages old hatreds slither into our current affairs. The enmity between Protestant England and Catholic Spain persists down to this day in hostility toward Mexican immigrants; the Crusades have given us our hatred of Islam. Ah, tradition.

I must recuse myself from a discussion of Blacks Lives Matter. #1 I have Black children and #2 I wear a BLM mask. My son knows how to handle cops. #1 Sport a veteran license plate and #2 talk football. OTOH, my daughter is terrified. But isn’t that the point of terrorizing Black people? To keep them terrified. Ah, tradition.

With Mus’ determination that a Clinton presidency would have unleashed untold persecutions against resistance, we face the reality of the liberal tiger. Vicious beyond belief. However, the tiger may turn out to be interested only in being left alone. Another anecdote in my quiver comes from pinning down a minister on his charge that liberals were attacking Christianity. Rather than give him an Amen, I pulled one of those liberal tricks: I asked him for an example. It took a while (like pulling teeth) but it turned out that the “attack” was a polite request from a gay human rights group to the governing body of his denomination for their ministers to tone down the anti-gay rhetoric. I asked if there had been a demand that the denomination’s interpretation of the Bible on homosexuality be excised from sermons or anything like that. No. But being asked to stop preaching hate was a bridge too far. After all, how can you attract a crowd – I mean congregation – without preaching hate and fear? What is it about us liberals that we don’t understand that. Mus certainly understands that.

Mus presents us with a conundrum: do we believe our lying eyes or the conservatives? To him it is obvious that Obama used the IRS to “torment political opponents.” The possibility that a media avid for scandal would have pounced on that is dismissed by referring to media denials of such action as “gaslighting.” Nothing like using a Washington buzz word to display your public intellect. Some Christian right organizations were investigated by the IRS, right along with other entities that hit the red button in their tax filings, just like you and I would. Your corner bodega suffered a twelve million dollar drop in evaluation last year? Some bodega! Let’s check it out.

Mus sees no way out. Conservatives are pusillanimous. They fear being labeled racists and crazies on the far right have abetted that by being actual nazis. Too bad but no matter because “the left” has always called conservatives nazis and fascists (for the record, I’ve always despised the way some liberals throw those words at anyone to the right of them and now that we have a genuine fascist in the White House, what can they say that won’t elicit a yawn?). There is a case, made eloquently by Stuart Stevens, that racism has been at the heart of the GOP effort to gain office ever since Goldwater. “Pat” Manion and other early Goldwater promoters expressed dismay at the civil rights planks in Democratic platforms; although MLK was a ways off, just the words Negro rights was an oxymoron to them.

Mus makes a crazy claim in the face of human suffering, that winning state legislatures does the GOP no good because those lawmakers do nothing with midterm victories. What about anti-abortion measures, voter suppression tactics, anti-gay and other sexually sensitive moves? They have been sadly successful. States who have elected those legislators and approved ballot measures and propositions to deprive citizens of basic rights need to be labeled. Those of the old Confederacy need no more marks of shame (slavery, Jim Crow, defeat, religious fanaticism) but states outside that exalted circle should also receive the label of shame. Major businesses have often signaled they will not locate in those states with such laws. THAT, along with Hollywood and pop music, are what have conservatives all adither.

Here is classic conservative angst: “…. the opinion-making elements -the universities and the media above all – are wholly corrupt and wholly opposed to everything we want, and increasingly to our existence.” This requires a separate essay but I’ll make a few acerbic observations. Many of us have suffered through the marketing professor hectoring us about cis-genderism. I am really liberal and am not sure what cis-genderism refers to. This points to one of the weaknesses of conservative arguments that step away from ancient truths as they see them: they pick up on some truly weird lefty thing most of us liberals have never heard of and decry it for ruining all of society. A neocon on one of the listservs I was on highlighted Arizona math standards as indicative of the insanity in education. I and my buddy are old Arizonans and had not heard of this educational innovation that was burning through mathematics instruction here. His charge was that the state had switched over to teaching something called Aztec math. This was a clear indication of the near future where graduating students would be trying to balance their checkbooks with Aztec math. Since we were in the public school system we surely would have heard of this bizarre entry into our field. After quite a bit of research, my friend discovered that a teacher down in Tucson had developed a lesson with his Hispanic, primarily Mexican-American, students in mind to show them how the Aztecs had developed a mathematical system different (using a different base) from ours and learning that would not only promote pride in their ancestors but sock in their understanding of the base system in math.

One lesson!!! That was bringing about the downfall of Western civilization – oops, forgot: Western Civilization. These personal anecdotes cannot be dismissed. They reveal the hysterical nature of conservative thought, born of fear. BTW, the neocon who brought this up to frighten us all is a very erudite, decent and extremely competent person. He just is driven by fear.

In fact, I will pursue this with him in mind.

The concept of White privilege offends Mus’ sensibilities. How can those “broke hillbillies,” as he calls them, be seen as having any privilege. If Mus would slip off his guccis and tip off to West Virginia, he might get a sense of the advantage a White skin confers. But he will not put himself in any such position. When I entered a Black church as a skinny White kid as was treated well, so much so I kept going back for three years without any semblance of theological affinity, but I was a fish out of water. So many different customs, speech patterns, beliefs – all somewhat foreign to me (think Chris Matthews trying to get a handle on Evangelicalism). I grew a great deal, learned a great deal, got a wife out of the deal, and came out ahead. While I never approached their theology, I did see the sense that their lives made. They lived under conditions I could not know – Phoenix was pretty much a Southern town then – and still worked, raised kids, and did those things I was just embarking on. Why won’t Mus immerse himself in the lower orders; he doesn’t have to pull a black-like-me stunt, just hang out with the hoi polloi to see how being Black works in the society, on the ground.

The same guy who thought Arizona’s children were being taught prehistoric Aztec math fulminated against Ahmadinejad’s appearance at American universities (I believe the main protests against his speaking revolved around Columba U.). The outrage was that he was allowed to speak and that students were allowed to hear him. Seems pretty straight forward to me: Rule #1 shut your enemies up. The way you do that is to declare that all public spaces – media, education, military, governmental – be off-limits to people you do not like. There are a lot of countries where that makes perfect sense, but not in this one.

The feebleness of conservative responses is shown by the GOP’s honoring of Rush Limbaugh and crediting him and his loud mouth for their victories. Sean Hannity, too, is as quiet as a Mus.

The word ‘thymos’ comes up, as it does in so many popular pieces (bottom 7% of frequency), to label the sense of – definitions vary – spiritedness, totally lacking in contemporary conservatives according to Mus. But it sure as hell gives the imprimatur (to wallow in Latinity) to his classical education.

Here lies the key quote: “Third and most important, the ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty means that the electorate grows more left, more Democratic, less Republican, less republican, and less traditionally American with every cycle. As does, of course, the U.S. population, which only serves to reinforce the two other causes outlined above. [He refers to the loss of the opinion-making elements and the self-censorship of conservatives]” He believes the left, the Democrats, and this junta he keeps referring to will no longer need to even pretend to respect “democratic and constitutional niceties.”

That got him in hot water. And this is where essentialism has struck most deeply in him. the third world foreigners cannot learn republicanism, liberty. Mus does not care that a good number of Republican Party stalwarts have names like Cuccinelli and Scalise, whose ancestors of only two or so generations were listed below Blacks in value as workers. So here I must agree with him; those Italians certainly do not understand liberty. Republicans have said Obama did not understand America. Apparently these Republican Italians understand America no better than any other Republican since they are willing to betray the country to Russia, undermine our sacred vote, and force toddlers to wave bye-bye to their parents….. forever. Not only is that not liberty, it is not humanity.

Ian Haney-Lopez spells out the use of code words among the right. Traditionally American recalls the parting words of a retiring teacher from my old school which had become 45% Latinx: “I signed on to teach American kids. I’m glad I’m leaving.” Now why can’t these foreigners find liberty here? The answer is simple: it’s not in their blood. Update that to not in their genes. The way conservatives of Mus’ ilk conceive of human behavior, it is guided by race. Another blog here is titled We the Who? It focuses on the expanding definition of “we the people.” Reading Albion’s Seed makes me sad that its author will never publish a similar volume on the South or on any other part of the country. But that book alone is providing me with specifics to shore up my construction of current society being built up from earlier elements. Sarah Palin voiced her admiration for real Americans. What were we to think she meant? She offset McCain’s reprimand of the woman who did not trust Obama because he was an Arab. Yeah, Baby, we’re still in the fold. We don’t like identity politics because WE are the only identity, which answers the question, We the Who?

Something happens to thinkers like Mus. Ephemeral, abstract notions are reified. Musings become sharp-edged. Activities must be targeted and every hour must be profitable. There is no doubt the Republicans have been working like dogs since the 50s. Like mad dogs, because they frothed at the mouth in rage at the changes they saw in society. That brings us to the politics of resentment and rage. Where does it come from? No time here for sociological analysis but some of it has been ginned up by the GOP itself. Fox News and even less hinged outlets give their audiences plenty to fulminate about: gangs of minorities roaming the streets mugging nice White people, hordes of aliens sweeping across our border like so many Mongols, big-mouth Blacks taking over the television screen, kids thinking they have rights, our trusted leaders attending sensitivity sessions. It’s all going to hell in a handbasket. Oh! And having to dial one for English. Next English will be done to #7 – IN OUR OWN COUNTRY!

Yet Mus thinks the anti-immigrant crowd has no spokespersons.

According to Mus the absolute value on the left is open borders. To be honest, I have no idea where he gets that from. There have been a few people who have observed that both our northern and southern borders experience a lot of back and forth, the trade being quite profitable to us. The massive influx of what amount to refugees from Mexico in the 90s resulted from a push-pull effect: the failure of the corn market for Mexican farmers and the need for labor en el Norte. Vastly over-simplified, yes, but essentially what happened. But that is over now. In fact, just as lots of Blacks are moving back South, so lots of Mexicans are going back to Mexico. Not assimilated Mexican-Americans but actual Mexicans. Mus does not understand that because, remember, once a Mexican, always a Mexican. They will never learn to love real American music like Kate Smith and Lawrence Welk and will cling to their Mariachi crap. It’s in the blood, remember.

Here’s the kicker: right after this thoroughly racist rant, Mus complains that the academic-intellectual lie has it that America is inherently racist. What a bunch of hooey! shouts Mus. Just because I said “those people” can never learn liberty because they are “those people,” does not smack of racism in any way. Hey, Mus. How many beers a day do you drink? One or two? Yeah, sure. Denial is a powerful thing. Say it now: “I don’t see color.” But I do know that a brown skin prohibits one from tasting or experiencing liberty. What’s racist about that? Huh? I don’t use words like porch monkey, spear chucker or jungle bunny so I can’t be racist. I just talk about demographic determinism. Back in 1963 I was working in a book store and noticed two books on race: The Geography of Intellect and Race and Reason. I have the latter on my shelf and have read it. It is a bit primitive. Just an example: Putnam’s book, Race and Reason, ridicules attempts to compare Western music with African, referring to the latter as “beating on tom-toms.” I have had conversations with people who have an up-dated version of that with a totally opposite attitude toward race, militantly claiming the equality of all people. But they think of African music as being “free and spontaneous” and love it for that, which is a completely wrong view of music that requires training and apprenticeship and is possessed of rigid structures, some of which permit improvisation just as in Western music. These latter people would be open to learning more about African music and gaining a realistic view of it; the former “tom-tom” crowd would designate any attempts to investigate African music as political correctness run amuck.

This refusal to see the construct of race, or better, caste, as the warp and woof of American society is nothing more than the old Southern claim of being the true benefactors of the Negro, taking care of them and preserving them from the horrors of industrial labor in the North. Casting aspersions on the master race is a no-no. Just ask Col. Culpepper.

Talking about docile labor that comes cheap reveals his obsession with Mexican migrants here without papers, not Indian engineers and Chinese doctors.

Like so many Trumpers, Mus attacks his own kind. He despises conservatives for their complacency in losing elections (where has Mus been?) and thinking Americans will discover their natural conservatism (isn’t it obvious that Americans in general are both conservative and liberal, enjoying the socialist policies of SS and Medicare while resisting calls for socialized medicine? – a little schizophrenic?). He especially hates conservatives in the “junta” for calling for more (more, more, more, as he puts it) immigration and continuing to lose elections (again, ignoring the state houses and legislatures in GOP hands – but he’s trying to make a point, I guess). Could it be that some voters see through the GOP racist tropes and reject it? Nah! Not for Mus.

A cautionary tale (I just found out that a “cautionary tale” has a specific structure, beginning with a broken taboo, so Mus’ taboo is foreigners: don’t let them in! Note Trump’s tale of the snake – when the snake bites the kind person who nursed him, the snake bites him and shrugs, saying, “You knew I was a snake when you brought me in.” Wonder if he was a rapist, too.) is Angela Merkel’s Germany where she shouts more, more, more after yet another rape, shooting, bombing, or machete attack. Please, oh please note the ‘machete attack’ reference as it invokes those third world others with all their savagery (but they sure can sing and dance); our good people kill you with AR-15s like the civilized people we are.

Mus lauds Trump for saying he wants to live; he also wants his party, his country, his people to live. That might have worked had he paid attention to COVID. Is it too harsh to savor the possibility of Trump dying from the very disease he sentenced a couple hundred thousand Americans to die from? He thinks Trump wants the insanity to end. What is this insanity, do you think, as Mus conceives of it? My guess it is things he doesn’t like. That is, I am beginning to think, the essence of conservatism: if you don’t like it, it is against civilization and must be resisted.

This passage is pretty telling: Pat Buchanan had the right idea but he failed. The three pillars are trade – Dick Gephardt was right on that one; war – Ron Paul was right on that one; immigration – Tom Tancredo was right on that. Only Trump has seen the essential connectivity (Trump???). But what is the essential connectivity? I leave that to others, but looking at immigration, the racial component is obvious and perhaps on war where we should fight only wars that benefit our people directly. I would love to see what Mus would say is the essential connectivity. Mus seems to think that a higher consistency overrides barriers like the Constitution. But maybe I’m wrong about Mus. Further on, though, there is a hint: Trumpism is defined as secure borders, economic nationalism and America-first foreign policy.

These are worth unraveling. “Stupid” is how Mus describes immigration policy, but he does not mean the welter of conflict and confusing laws and policies, he means – my assumption – letting in the non-White people fleeing Communism. He thinks that disunited the country. What he calls the junta is the post-war consensus on most things except civil rights. It worked well for a lot of people, with prominent exceptions. The cultures arriving here with their people, just like immigrant workers tend to come with their spouses, kids, parents, etc., get the label ‘alien’ from Mus. Somehow, the cultures of White people as perceived  by Mus (Mexican gueros, Indian high caste, Middle Eastern pale people?) are unalien… inalien… not alien. Oh, yes, Norwegians; they are the base line. Leftists here have designed institutions that do not assimilate but resist the concept. Mus wants to fix that but sobs over the way “every school and cultural center” is in the iron grip of the Left. Oh, I left out the crime and poverty we import along with those alien cultures (poor Italians don’t count…. at least not any more since so many are Republicans).

What would a cultural center and school that did not oppose assimilation look like? We have plenty of examples, e.g. all of the public schools. To me, a cultural center by definition embodies a particular culture, a place where you can go and sing old country songs, speak the language, eat the food, and sit under the flag always carefully displayed beneath the American flag. I don’t know what Mus is talking about other than that cultural centers I’ve seen for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans feature English and citizenship classes. But schools are insidious: they do everything they can to remove barriers to learning. So they might provide food (against poverty), civics and economics classes (for citizenship), counseling (against delinquency) and many, too many for teachers’ well-being but necessary, other services. So where does the insidiousness come in? Some of those students go on to be successful and to appreciate the government that enabled them. Yes, that government filled with America haters, leftists, cannibals… all abetted by an FBI filled with agents dedicated to the overthrow of the American Way of Life. When these foreigners becomes successful, they pay taxes and thus have a claim to a voice, to a vote. And they are not even Norwegian!

Here is where we see Mus go off the deep end: building a wall will cut off “the flood of newcomers that perpetuates ethnic separatism.” Incentivizing the learning of English is an easy one since 97% of Americans already speak it (the dummies on the right have never figured out that if you let businessmen lure Mexican workers here so there is a constant flow, you will always have some new arrivals who don’t know English yet). American norms in the work place should be promoted, according to Mus. Just what does he have in mind? I recall with some bitterness that Black workers were reprimanded and even fired for wearing their hair in fashions not used by White people…. until Bo Derek. Mus fails to note that the ethnic separatism goes one way, Whites rejecting non-Whites. Major figures in American intellectual and political life were upset in the seventies by movements like Black Power and Chicano Power and First Nations and so on; they had never been confronted by militant ethnic groups. Only Whites had been militant in the form of the Klan, America Firsters, etc. Being good liberals, what I think Mus means when he refers to the “junta,” they were used to championing these ethnic groups, not dealing with them as challengers to the status quo. We see a series of books and major articles over the decades decrying just what Mus talks about, the disuniting of America; in fact, Arthur Schlesinger wrote a book with that very title (1991). Recall the ministers who wanted King to slow down: which is reprinted and read throughout our school systems, their letters urging him to back off challenging White authority or Letters From a Birmingham Jail? Which is why Mus sees the schools as hotbeds of radicalism; think of the shame of it all, Blacks voting, a Black president…. Heaven forfend!

In the same paragraph he crushes it with a call for more equitable distribution of wealth. He’s been reading Karl Marx, I guess. What’s wrong with a good American name like Adam Smith?

Over many paragraphs I get the impression that by the ‘junta’ he means that vaguely liberal swath of heavy-hitters who lead the country in all fields, whether they lean left or right. Back to the consensus of post-war America. Taylor Branch tells the story of Lyndon Johnson and one of his aides hot for civil rights. Johnson taught school in the poorest region of Texas, made up mainly of Mexican-Americans (later Chicanos, not Latinx – no wonder Mus is confused). That brought Johnson to the brink of realizing something needed to be done. His aide had watched in admiration and chagrin as Black mess stewards swarmed up and out on the deck of their ship under attack to man AA guns against Japanese planes, leaving themselves wide open to enemy fire, only to return to serve the White officers. Like Johnson, he thought, “Something is wrong here.” Johnson and his aide probably counted as liberals, but they were not liberals like we think of now yet they turned the country around and rejected the caste system. What does Mus want?

I am not sure how Mus means us to understand virtu with a grave accent on the u. According to Wikipedia it is a word used by Machiavelli to evoke a certain spirit that is a combination of…. well, here is Wiki again (time to donate): Virtù is a concept theorized by Niccolò Machiavelli, centered on the martial spirit and ability of a population or leader,[1] but also encompassing a broader collection of traits necessary for maintenance of the state and “the achievement of great things.” So I think this definitely gets to what Mus wants to see in the country, a martial spirit – maybe local militias to threaten government officials who get out of line – but also ability. Did Mus not know who Trump is? Ability? Competence? It’s hard to maintain a state, let alone achieve great things, when you are as totally incompetent as Trump. All Mus had to do was talk to a NYC businessman, banker, investor, builder, developer, or politician to find out about Trump. Which of those is part of the deep state? No one would expect Mus to respect journalists, but all those other New Yorkers knew Trump. That’s why Trump had to deal with the Russians via Deutsche Bank to raise money. But Mus has set them aside as part of the junta. I do that when I clean my house up, I have a big box in each room where I throw inconvenient items – like truth.

And Mus winds up with a clarion call to – you guessed it – the “core” of the American nation. Gee, who might that be? Back to Palin’s real Americans, right? Of course, denial is in the air and anyone suggesting he means White people will be hammered. He did not say White, just as saying “hard working Americans” does not mean White. It is just that that is how White people hear it. Trump is the first candidate in a generation who pledges to advance their interests, the interests of the core. And Trump’s adversary is dismissed in parentheses: “(a million more Syrians, anyone?).”

The Flight 93 essay is found here:










Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *