Donald Trump and the Spirit of Democracy

When considering what will happen in the future, it is important to consider what we know and do not know about the present. I do not know who will sit in the Oval Office on January 22nd. If it is President Trump, I do not know by what path he will choose to remain— whether he will ascend by laws of paper or of iron. I liken Americans’ situation right now to an audience in a theater who has just seen the end of a famous play gone wrong. The actors are senile, and their lines never came out right. Behind them, the set was collapsing. The show supposedly ended, but we can now see rustling behind the curtains. This essay concerns not what is happening behind the scenes, which most people cannot know, but what is going on in the audience: the astonishment of the theatergoers, the tension in the air. Remember that one of the biggest events in American history was a play gone off script, and that when the smoke cleared, our nation was changed forever.

Theater, in fact, is a perfect metaphor for liberal democracy. The faces the audience sees are not the ones that control the show. For every actor there are dozens of crew members, directors, musicians, and others in the background, and owners and shareholders behind them. Similarly, in liberal democracy, the voters see the politicians, but they don’t see the bureaucrats, poll workers, and party staff who form and shape our government, nor the lobbyists and donors who control the system through their money. Moldbug called this phenomenon the Cathedral, but he might as well have called it the Theater, for the ordinary people inside it act not like worshippers but like role-playing members of an interactive charade called representative democracy. 

The role of the President within this theater is as a kind of stage king. When you ask the question “who rules America?” most people will say “the president” because that is who they see giving the speeches and who holds the nominal power. Like in any good play, the other actors on stage have their own desires and lines, but in the end the king is supposed to make a deal with congress and get things done. Of course, things are more complicated. Deals don’t get made onstage; the actors onstage don’t do the bidding of the people who supposedly sent them there, yet there are still consistent policies pushed to further the interests of the men behind the curtain. 

This is all common knowledge on this side of the Internet, to the point of being a platitude. What people forget is the PURPOSE of the whole charade. A Cathedral without worshippers is just a building, likewise a Theater without an audience. The whole Cathedral’s legitimacy stems from the appearance that elected representatives of We the People make laws with the consent of the governed, and other unelected officials (who are still representative) will wisely enforce those laws. It stems from people trusting the news to keep them “informed citizens” of either the red team or the blue team, and trusting at least one team enough to root for it. It stems from Americans believing in the idea that ultimately, laws rule our country and not men like the other great powers of history. It stems from the idea that our voices matter and our votes count; even if you don’t like the law, the script goes, an average citizen like you can work within the system to elect politicians who will change it, and if enough other citizens are concerned, it will happen. The audience must participate for any of it to make sense, because they think it’s their show.

Here is my thesis: despite all the talk of Trump as an American Caesar or a king, he is in fact the last gasp of real democracy in our country. He may use illiberal means to reach power, but his claim to legitimacy is that he is the true winner of the election, which was stolen by an irredeemably broken system. Conversely, the Cathedral uses the paper laws of “our democracy” to install a senile puppet as a skin suit for the tyranny of various moneyed interests. To continue the theater analogy, the audience is realizing amidst the turmoil who actually controls the show. Trump is not a military Caesar, he is a popular actor on Broadway playing Shakespeare’s Caesar. The audience is watching him be betrayed not only by the Senators on stage, but by the stage crew and the owners of the theater who have a vendetta against the actor’s life. The crowd is preparing to swarm the stage to save their star. This is Trump’s primary strength: as Sidney Powell once said, the entire system is against Trump and the only ones who support the Trump team are his supporters, the American people.

The most important essay on the election so far has been Yarvin’s Vae Victis, which points out this naked power grab is nothing less than the Cathedral putting a stop to the show. In that essay, Yarvin points out that election fraud is not new in American history, and that it needs to be accepted as a potential factor in the election. Yet there is a huge difference between fraud in the past and the steal of 2020. Election fraud in the past was usually either corrupt urban machines exerting their power over their region, or else a thumb on the scale such as in 1960 or 2000. In other words, the general system could maintain its legitimacy while fraud could either be written off as “just a New York/Chicago thing” or else maintain plausible deniability. But in 2020, any narrative of how fraud happened must include a vast conspiracy, which implicates, at a minimum, election officials in half a dozen states, state and local legislatures and governments, judges up to the Supreme Court, and billionaire donors who are all complicit in stealing the presidential election while nonetheless allowing the Republican Party to gain House seats and state legislatures. The entire apparatus of the American government is implicated in such a belief, which almost every Trump supporter holds, and Stacey Abrams is now bragging about stealing the Senate in January. The Cathedral has never unmasked itself in such a way before— it does not care at all about the people it has just disenfranchised, but humiliates and insults them further.

To show you how egregiously the Cathedral has revealed itself, let’s go over the timeline of the past few months. Many states had implemented vast new mail-in systems (famously low-integrity, and banned in many other countries) to supposedly fight COVID-19. Huge numbers of dubiously verified ballots came in before and after the election date. The night of the election, Trump was winning overall, until the water pipe supposedly burst in Atlanta and there was a pause in six different states, after which huge numbers of Biden votes come in and flipped him the vote. (For reference, sudden pauses in counting votes have been the cause of violent revolution and civil war in various nations.)  After this, despite many obvious anomalies, recorded videos, and eyewitnesses, no one in the entire Democratic Party has ever once bothered to try to explain any part of Biden’s sketchy “victory” at all. To the contrary, they have treated anyone remotely skeptical of the results with the utmost scorn. Poll workers gave election monitors no way to observe, cheered as they were escorted out of the room, and in one case gave them bracelets with poop emojis on them to mark who they were. Social media outlets and YouTube censored news relating to election fraud, and the Biden campaign hired foreign shills to flood the Internet with pro-Biden memes and messages.  The Republican state officials waffled but were ultimately impotent, even as the entire judiciary including the Supreme Court threw out almost all lawsuits without once hearing evidence. Now, state officials are destroying evidence, resisting subpoenas, and defying court orders. The Uniparty doesn’t give a damn about the law, or anything but collectively obtaining power.

As Yarvin said, the Democrats stole this one fair and square. The game is rigged, the ref has been bought, one team’s players have decided to blow the game, and the umpire is looking the other way. The institutions of liberal democracy are giving results, which are certified and verified as the truth by all the other institutions as all contest is dismissed. The letter of the law supports Biden, for the investigators declare that the procedure was followed and the judges found nothing wrong with the results. 

The problem, as Mark Twain said, was not what the government didn’t declare, but what they did declare that just wasn’t so. Censoring knowledge in an ostensibly liberal society with Internet access isn’t easy— even from the beginning it was obvious to millions of people that the election was stolen. Fox News didn’t report on election fraud, so half their audience left for OANN and Newsmax. Shills flooded 4chan, but the anons there still did statistical analysis and news reporting. Twitter put “fact-checking” labels on all kinds of tweets, but people still got the news out anyway. Against the entire centralized media and government apparatus arose an army of Facebook boomers, anonymous autists, and independent investigators. They were greatly aided by the public hearings in different states along with the actions of Trump himself. And they helped a new and powerful counter-narrative take root among Trump’s supporters.

These people are at least 45% of the country and seventy million people, they are convinced the system is fundamentally illegitimate, they are some of the most productive people in America, and they are not going away. The powers that be have taken every step imaginable to ostracize and torment them: close their businesses, cause chaos and crime, destroy their monuments, slander their entire history and race. Quite frankly, I believe this insulting stimulus bill was the last straw, rubbing everyone’s nose in the fact that our leaders of both parties care more about faraway countries and ensuring cheap labor than they do their own people. The spirit of 1776 is in the air; a couple weeks ago, Republicans broke into the state house of Oregon while standing off with cops and beating up journalists, and almost every Republican I have met is calling for violence even if they are not yet very good at inflicting it. The most law-abiding and industrious people on Earth have awoken from their slumber, and what Donald Trump represents is nothing less than the spirit of democracy over the corrupt traitors who have usurped its law.

And who are these leaders who stand against the American people? We are ruled by geriatric narcissists who believe they will live forever— look at the various oligarchs and realize that a majority of them are over the median American life expectancy. Nancy Pelosi is 80, Klaus Schwab is 82, George Soros is 90. For God’s sake, Henry Kissinger, who was just fired by Trump, is 97 years old! The irony of the oligarchs titling their project “Great Reset 2030” is the fact that most of the resetters themselves will not be alive to see it come to fruition. No, it is the last gasp of a dying order, the last attempt by feeble and dying men to keep their grip on the world, not by the strength of their faded hands but by poisoning everyone until we are all too weak to resist. In America, they cannot use much force; they can assassinate individuals, shoot up compounds like Waco, and hire felons and junkies to start riots, but even a hundred organized men like Cliven Bundy’s militias will force them to back down in the end. And this is why these oligarchs hate and fear the brotherhood of men. It is why America’s laws regulating estrogenic chemicals in the environment are weaker not only than Europe’s but than China’s, why our food is filled with poison and our media with sterile sexuality, why our “education” demoralizes and why our streets are filled with strangers. It is why they will try to overthrow any government which does not follow them— one of Biden’s first policy priorities will be to overthrow the governments of Hungary, Poland, and Brazil. Because these oligarchs are parasites who can only rule over an inverted order.

But the old tricks don’t work anymore, because the husks of the institutions of democracy no longer inspire anyone. The oligarchs depend upon the lies to be able to rule at all, the lies that this election has expelled forever in the hearts of Trump’s supporters. If you think that this makes no difference, look at Ceausescu in Romania: he ruled with an iron fist, until one day, the Soviet Union was discredited, people lost respect for him, and a mob lynched him. When you look at how America is ruled right now, consider that so far there has been pretty much no right-wing political violence at all despite less aid given than anywhere else in the developed world. But the conservatives no longer trust the police, nor do they trust their state or national governments: they only trust Trump. Again, the Cathedral has done nothing but spite, provoke, and starve them, to the point that many of them will be forced to resort to violence simply to be able to reopen their business or even stay in their homes.  People in right-wing circles are afraid that there will be a false-flag attack blamed on “white supremacists,” but at this point, I suspect that if someone (including a federal agent) shot up a CNN building or even a Democrat governor’s office, they would be revered and not hated by Trump’s supporters, sort of like the sheriff who semi-endorsed the militia members in Michigan a few months ago when they plotted to kidnap the governor.  The media would not want to report on incidents like this, because they know that if someone tarred and feathered their governor or Senator it would inspire copycats. If the attacker targeted innocents, the Trump supporters would suspect the Feds. (I am not endorsing violence, by the way.)

 This outburst of democratic spirit in Trump’s post-election movement coincides with the point at which democracy cannot be trusted anymore by the majority of people. Every election in the past 10 years or more is now suspect. The American Republic is dead, because it no longer commands the allegiance of the majority. Accordingly, the left is DEAD as a creative force, existing only as a specter to exercise power.  It can still muscle through things it wants, but it has no solutions to the problems of our day, and is still fundamentally loyal to the current order. If Trump wins, leftism is crushed, because its institutions will have to be destroyed, and if Biden is President, it is still crushed— there are no Bernie supporters in Biden’s cabinet, only vultures. The only real way forward is on the right. There will be two main factions in American political ideology from now on: conservatives who believe in the Constitution as an ideal despite hating the current institutions and right-wingers who reject the Constitution and wish to replace it. These two will work together against the oligarchs, but the Constitution and the question of how our country ought to be ruled will be the main debate in American politics. 

The conservatives will be sort of like the modern Communist party in Russia: older people who remember the old ways and want to go back to them, in this case back to when the American Republic still ran right. They may support martial law in the short term, but the idea of liberal democracy still appeals to them, even if only as nostalgia. The latter wing is still emerging. It will be comprised of a combination of many movements: former Republican rejects like paleocons, conservatives who changed their minds, and elements of the far right. This faction will suffer from great internal contradictions, but will support using some kind of strongman to represent the interests of the people. This faction will also be helped by the fact that relatively few people under the age of 40 strongly support democracy as an ideal.  Trump, though belonging to the first faction, will be an inspiration to the second if he stays in power: even if he doesn’t go full Putin, he will warm people to the idea of a centralized leader. 

Following this, normal Republicans right now are adrift. They support President Trump, and they want to follow him. Many would die for him, like the caller on Rush Limbaugh’s show. (Who would die for Biden?) But their world is falling apart before their eyes. The GOP has been revealed as obvious controlled opposition, and everything these people thought they knew turned out to be wrong. And this is where the various sections of the online right must and will come in. Yarvin correctly mentioned that Republican leaders have the souls of real estate agents. No one has ever taught your average Republican how to be brave or face adversity, and many are physically obese from decades of poor nutrition. But they mean well, and they will reach out to anyone who has answers. They have all kinds of questions, and have opened up almost overnight to suggestions. Why is it so hard to lose weight? Who really controls our country? Why is everything so ugly nowadays? How can we be courageous and have faith?  This is how a real movement is built, and is a tremendous opportunity for anyone to educate and spread simple messages. 

I conclude by stating that the nominally democratic institutions of our day neither represent the will of the American people nor our interests. Trump, by contrast, represents both by fighting the oligarchs. Trump is therefore the last champion of democracy in America, for the American electoral system will never again enjoy the prestige that it used to. Trump will go down in history as one of the most consequential American presidents alongside Lincoln and FDR: whether he stays in power or not, he will have presided over an enormous transition of the structure of the American government, representing the ultimate gasp of the Republic’s promise of government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

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