I made fun of Hillary Clinton going to a big $100,000 a plate fundraiser at Lady Rothschild’s beach house while Louisiana was underwater last month. I want you to read this story from The New York Times about her fundraising, in particular these passages:
Mr. Trump has pointed to Mrs. Clinton’s noticeably scant schedule of campaign events this summer to suggest she has been hiding from the public. But Mrs. Clinton has been more than accessible to those who reside in some of the country’s most moneyed enclaves and are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to see her. In the last two weeks of August, Mrs. Clinton raked in roughly $50 million at 22 fund-raising events, averaging around $150,000 an hour, according to a New York Times tally.
And while Mrs. Clinton has faced criticism for her failure to hold a news conference for months, she has fielded hundreds of questions from the ultrarich in places like the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, Beverly Hills and Silicon Valley.
“It’s the old adage, you go to where the money is,” said Jay S. Jacobs, a prominent New York Democrat.
Mrs. Clinton raised about $143 million in August, the campaign’s best month yet. At a single event on Tuesday in Sagaponack, N.Y., 10 people paid at least $250,000 to meet her, raising $2.5 million.
If Mr. Trump appears to be waging his campaign in rallies and network interviews, Mrs. Clinton’s second presidential bid seems to amount to a series of high-dollar fund-raisers with public appearances added to the schedule when they can be fit in. Last week, for example, she diverged just once from her packed fund-raising schedule to deliver a speech.
Mr. and Mrs. Clinton have occupied a particular place in the social fabric of the enclave. Over the past several summers, they have spent the last two weeks of August in a rented 12,000-square-foot home with a heated pool in East Hampton and in a six-bedroom mansion with a private path to the beach in Sagaponack. This year, the former first couple stayed in the guesthouse of Steven Spielberg’s East Hampton compound built on nine acres overlooking Georgica and Lily Ponds.
Try to say with a straight face that this woman is anything but the Queen of the Davos Set. In terms of social status, and being wired in to the globalist establishment, compared to her, the vulgar billionaire who lives part time in Mar-a-Lago is damn near a proletarian.
Keep these oligarchic tableaux in mind when you read this pseudonymous piece on “The Flight 93 Election,” appearing in the Claremont Review of Books. The author lands some wincing blows on Conservatism, Inc. Check out this passage:
One of the paradoxes—there are so many—of conservative thought over the last decade at least is the unwillingness even to entertain the possibility that America and the West are on a trajectory toward something very bad. On the one hand, conservatives routinely present a litany of ills plaguing the body politic. Illegitimacy. Crime. Massive, expensive, intrusive, out-of-control government. Politically correct McCarthyism. Ever-higher taxes and 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, at the primary and secondary levels, can’t (or won’t) discipline disruptive punks, and at the higher levels saddles students with six figure debts for the privilege. And so on and drearily on. Like that portion of the mass where the priest asks for your private intentions, fill in any dismal fact about American decline that you want and I’ll stipulate it.
Conservatives spend at least several hundred million dollars a year on think-tanks, magazines, conferences, fellowships, and such, complaining about this, that, the other, and everything. And yet these same conservatives are, at root, keepers of the status quo. Oh, sure, they want some things to change. They want their pet ideas adopted—tax deductions for having more babies and the like. Many of them are even good ideas. But are any of them truly fundamental? Do they get to the heart of our problems?
If conservatives are right about the importance of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character and so on in the individual; if they are right about sexual morality or what came to be termed “family values”; if they are right about the importance of education to inculcate good character and to teach the fundamentals that have defined knowledge in the West for millennia; if they are right about societal norms and public order; if they are right about the centrality of initiative, enterprise, industry, and thrift to a sound economy and a healthy society; if they are right about the soul-sapping effects of paternalistic Big Government and its cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions; if they are right about the necessity of a strong defense and prudent statesmanship in the international sphere—if they are right about the importance of all this to national health and even survival, then they must believe—mustn’t they?—that we are headed off a cliff.
But, says the writer, look at what conservatives do, or rather, don’t do. They’re proposing that things continue as they are, with some rightist pruning. The writer continues:
How have the last two decades worked out for you, personally? If you’re a member or fellow-traveler of the Davos class, chances are: pretty well. If you’re among the subspecies conservative intellectual or politician, you’ve accepted—perhaps not consciously, but unmistakably—your status on the roster of the Washington Generals of American politics. Your job is to show up and lose, but you are a necessary part of the show and you do get paid. To the extent that you are ever on the winning side of anything, it’s as sophists who help the Davoisie oligarchy rationalize open borders, lower wages, outsourcing, de-industrialization, trade giveaways, and endless, pointless, winless war.
All of Trump’s 16 Republican competitors would have ensured more of the same—as will the election of Hillary Clinton. That would be bad enough. But at least Republicans are merely reactive when it comes to wholesale cultural and political change. Their “opposition” may be in all cases ineffectual and often indistinguishable from support. But they don’t dream up inanities like 32 “genders,” elective bathrooms, single-payer, Iran sycophancy, “Islamophobia,” and Black Lives Matter. They merely help ratify them.
A Hillary presidency will be pedal-to-the-metal on the entire Progressive-left agenda, plus items few of us have yet imagined in our darkest moments. Nor is even that the worst. It will be coupled with a level of vindictive persecution against resistance and dissent hitherto seen in the supposedly liberal West only in the most “advanced” Scandinavian countries and the most leftist corners of Germany and England. We see this already in the censorship practiced by the Davoisie’s social media enablers; in the shameless propaganda tidal wave of the mainstream media; and in the personal destruction campaigns—operated through the former and aided by the latter—of the Social Justice Warriors. We see it in Obama’s flagrant use of the IRS to torment political opponents, the gaslighting denial by the media, and the collective shrug by everyone else.
It’s absurd to assume that any of this would stop or slow—would do anything other than massively intensify—in a Hillary administration. It’s even more ridiculous to expect that hitherto useless conservative opposition would suddenly become effective.
The writer’s basic point is that yes, Trump is problematic, but at least he offers a chance of things changing. Whatever Trump’s character flaws, at least he’s right on trade, immigration, and non-interventionism — three policies that have to change, says the writer, to keep the Republic from going over the cliff. The writer says that conservatives who recognize what a Hillary presidency represents, but who can’t stomach Trump, need to confront what four years of a Hillary presidency is likely to mean with regard to the trends they see as dooming the Republic.
Read the whole thing. He’s talking to conservatives like me.
One problem is that Trump may be right on those three issues — he’s certainly far closer to my own position than Hillary — but his character flaws are not incidental. I don’t find it hard to think about voting for him because I disagree with his policies, at least not strongly. I find it hard because I think he’s reckless, amoral, and a liar.
Then again, I think Hillary is superficially prudent, amoral, and a liar too. The difference is that Hillary’s predictably bad, in exactly the way the writer of this piece says. Who knows what Trump would do? The writer says that’s what makes it worth taking a chance on him, and he’s right. But it’s also true that Trump, because of his instability and recklessness, might do something genuinely terrible that inadvertently starts a war. The devilishness of Hillary Clinton does not make Trump any less of a devil himself.
In any case, I can respect this writer’s position — that as bad as Trump is, voting for Hillary would seal the Republic’s fate, ergo a vote for Trump is a desperate, storm-the-cockpit opportunity — without sharing it. It’s because I’m so pessimistic that I think nothing political is going to alter meaningfully our trajectory, because the core reason for our decline is moral and spiritual. Both of these candidates are symptoms, and both would, in their different ways, accelerate the decline. People who think the Benedict Option project is about restoring a Golden Age that never existed fundamentally misunderstand it. It’s about building long-term Christian resistance to the country’s likely future — a future that’s probably coming no matter who wins in November.
If you are liberal or moderate, you surely feel that you have no choice but to vote for Hillary, given the alternative — especially because under Hillary, you’ll get all the social liberalism you could possibly want (though it’ll be Obamaism with an inhuman face). I get that. But you should admit to yourself that you’re voting for the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and most of all, Davos. Given that, I’m not so sure you have grounds to get super righteous about people who are voting Trump because they cannot abide four more years of rule by the American globalist elite.