Home/Rod Dreher/Needed: American Yellow Vests

Needed: American Yellow Vests

Straight outta Paris! (NYT video screenshot)

One of my favorite correspondents is an Asian-American reader who does not share my religious beliefs, but who always makes me think. He wrote just now to say:

It’s nice having people like you to do the talking for the rest of us, largely because you say what many of us cannot afford to say. But, regarding the situation in Afghanistan, it’s not so much that I can’t afford to say anything about it, it’s that I have nothing to say.

The situation is utterly indescribable. I was, still am, and always will be a proponent of withdrawal. Current events prove that our efforts and sacrifices there served no purpose, whatsoever. This fact is something many veterans found difficult to confront over the years, but, as you wrote earlier, something’s changed. Many veterans are now very openly admitting that the entire effort was for naught. Maybe it’ll mean something, one day. But, for now, it means only defeat.

The fact we’re leaving in such disgrace is what’s most indescribable to me. The idea that this is in any way acceptable, even as the cost of being able to leave this war behind us, is unfathomable. Some folks apparently need to be reminded that thousands of Americans still lay in harm’s way and the Biden administration has all but abandoned them. Take a look at what the Defense Secretary had to say at today’s press conference:

The Left wants this man to be remembered as a trailblazer, the first Black Secretary of Defense in American history. But what he really deserves to be remembered as is someone who abandoned Americans in a hostile country. Totally unbecoming of his post.

Of course, he deserves an utterly dishonorable president, so the apple clearly doesn’t fall far from the tree:

The White House is depending on the Taliban to give evacuating Americans “safe passage” to the Kabul airport just six weeks after President Biden said that he doesn’t trust the terrorist organization.

Get that? The commander-in-chief is banking on the good faith of our enemies to secure safe passage for his people. And nothing more needs to be said about how he and everyone else were AWOL during this entire crisis until now.

Meanwhile, our brave soldiers are dealing with Mission: Impossible at the Kabul airport. I don’t want to be in their shoes right now:

But here’s the real crazy thing – Afghanistan isn’t even that big of a deal, not in the long run. Just as we survived the fall of Vietnam to the Communists, we’re going to survive the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. It’s just not that important to us. If we’d been able to get our people out without this turning into the disaster it’s become, it’d just be a story on the evening news nobody really pays attention to.

No, the debacle matters because it proves something we’ve known for some time now:  our leaders, our ruling class, our credentialed masters, are utterly worthless. They’re nothing. To even consider them people is generous, because who does what they do to us? They turn us against the thousands of White men who fought in these wars and deliberately sow racial division within society. They promote poisonous narratives about this country that lead to only one logical conclusion: national suicide. Their court jesters (Hollywood) release movies and TV shows that promote racial fear and hatred (mainly towards Whites), none of which can be reconciled peacefully or in unifying fashion.

Meanwhile, our country is being gripped by a snarling three-headed monster consisting of the border, the crime surge, and the economy. The Biden administration and the broader Left has shown no interest in securing the border and reducing illegal crossings. This, despite the fact leaked audio has proven the administration is aware a crisis exists. Regarding crime, take a look at some of the stuff that’s happened in this country in the last few days:

At least 16 people shot in 90 minutes in New York City.

New York man accused of setting 13 fires to outdoor dining structures, trash

Texas woman shot at nearly 50 times, killed while pulling into her garage, deputies say

Does this look like a stable country to you? The crime surge is real. Everyday, normal Americans of all races have turned against the sentiment of “defund the police” and concerns over crime are showing up in polls. There was an article from a week or two ago talking about how citizens, together with private security, have had to create an “underground government” because the real government has been totally absent in their city. One police officer even noted that it feels like the country’s at “civil war.” It’s worth nothing that both citizens and law enforcement point the finger at city officials. [Note: He’s probably talking about this article from Portland, Oregon. — RD]

As for the economy, don’t ever believe the Biden administration’s spin. Inflation’s here to stay and the economy isn’t doing well despite all the government spending:

Jeffrey Gundlach, a financial analyst, said a while back, that if not for government spending, the economy would likely suffer a double-digit decline in GDP. In other words, a collapse. This economy is hanging together by threads and it’s only a matter of time before the jig is up.

I know you observe current events from a cultural perspective, but the culture wars sure seem inconsequential in the fact of these very real, tangible issues, don’t they? And those in charge have no answer for it. I think they know it, which would explain why they’ve chosen instead to focus their ire on the American people. They certainly can’t blame a foreign country, that’d be xenophobic! No, we blame Americans, the most nationalistic and patriotic Americans, because they just wouldn’t surrender their country, culture, and way of life to the cosmopolitans and globalists.

I wrote to you a while back that I don’t favor a revolutionary approach to solving out problems, be it from the Left or Right. I still don’t. But, I can tell you’ve also become somewhat resigned to the fact it may very well come to that. I, too, at this point, feel like it wouldn’t bother my conscience one bit if, as you pointed out, the nationalist/populist Right would find themselves “a leader who means business.” A dictator is a step too far, but so is allowing these narcissistic clowns set this country ablaze in an act of righteous indignation.

It’s worth nothing that both citizens and law enforcement point the finger at city officials who implement lenient policies towards criminals, including violent ones. Parolees are being arrested, then released on bail. Since when do people who violate parole get to go anywhere besides straight back to prison?

And take a look at this interview between Pres. Biden and George Stephanopoulos. This is our president:

End of letter.

A reader in Ireland writes:

Regarding Ireland and Paul Kingsnorth’s sense of something changing in the national mood of the country, well I think that we have been on that slippery slope for a while.

Democracy has been a joke here since we were compelled to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty because we didn’t give the “right” answer the first time.

All our larger political parties are essentially singing from the same hymn sheet. There is no real opposition. The Church has been cowed. The mainstream media exist to set the cultural agenda, silence dissent and occasionally criticise the government on things like housing or the economy.

It has been said that Ireland as a nation is too small to hold more than one idea at a time. We haven’t got enough truly independent voices.

The ruling class all know each other personally.

At the present time they are following the same liberal woke agenda on everything from sex to immigration to climate change.

The only good thing is that we can now read columns like yours which wasn’t possible before. Maybe that’s why things seem to be becoming more oppressive. The ruling elite don’t feel quite so secure anymore. They are desperately trying to control the narrative.

When I was in Dublin two years ago, the Yellow Vests protests were going on in France. The cab driver taking me to the airport was listening to the news on the radio, which reported on it. He was a man who looked to be in his late fifties.

“We’ve got to do something in this country,” he said. “The people who run it are ruining the place. The inequality is something. They’re only out for themselves.” He denounced the ruling class bitterly.

“It could lead to a civil war,” he said. I thought he was joking. He wasn’t. I asked him if he would join the Yellow Vests if they got going in Ireland.

“Yes,” he said.

Moving on, writing in the Telegraph (paywalled), Allister Heath tells some harsh truths. Excerpts:

No empire is eternal: all eventually fall amid hubris and humiliation. The heart-wrenching, humanitarian calamity that is the botched Afghan retreat is merely the latest sign that the American era is ending: Washington is no longer the world’s policeman, and an unsettling future of clashes between expansionist, authoritarian regional powers beckons. …

Twenty years on, America’s global plan lies in ruins, its elites confounded on almost every issue, the stupidity and incompetence on display over the Afghan withdrawal confirming that they don’t understand the rest of the world, and aren’t fit to govern their own country, let alone the globe. Blinded by a simplistic universalism, they no longer understand religion, tribalism, history, national differences or why countries want to govern themselves.

Wherever one looks, America’s blueprint has failed. Take Washington’s support for a United States of Europe with its army, constitution and “eurodollar”. Brexit signalled the beginning of the end of that dystopian construct: others will leave the EU, because of the coming migration crisis – tens of millions will seek to move from Africa and the Middle East, and there will be toxic attempts at “distributing” migrants across the bloc – or because of a populist uprising or economic implosion.


America’s internal problems are immense: its constitution is broken, its predilection for second-rate gerontocrats such as Biden unrivalled. Racked with self-doubt, its elites in the grip of a bizarre “awakening” centred around a nihilistic, ungrateful self-loathing, it no longer has values to sell, neither capitalism nor democracy nor the American dream. How can people who live in terror of “micro-aggressions” find it in themselves to defeat real evils? As to the public, it doesn’t want to know about the rest of the world: how, under such circumstances, can the US empire not be in terminal decline?

… The West has lost control: there will be mass population movements, currency wars and battles over natural resources. The American empire at least believed in freedom and democracy; what replaces it won’t even pretend to be liberal.

It’s good to know that a major institution like Bank Of America has kept its head. Oh, wait … hang on … Chris Rufo is calling with news:

Bank of America Corporation has implemented a racial reeducation program that claims the United States is a system of “white supremacy” and encourages employees to become “woke at work,” instructing white employees in particular to “decolonize [their] mind[s]” and “cede power to people of color.”

Earlier this year, Bank of America’s North Carolina and Charlotte market president Charles Bowman announced a new “equity” initiative called United in Action, in partnership with the United Way of Central Carolinas. According to documents I have obtained from a whistleblower, BOA executives launched the initiative by encouraging employees to participate in their “Racial Equity 21-Day Challenge,” a race-training program funded in part by the bank and built on the principles of critical race theory, including intersectionality, white privilege, white fragility, and systemic racism.

One the program’s first day, Bank of America teaches employees that the United States is a “racialized society” that “use[s] race to establish and justify systems of power, privilege, disenfranchisement, and oppression,” which “give[s] privileges to white people resulting in disadvantages to people of color.” According to the training program, all whites—“regardless of one’s socioeconomic class background or other disadvantages”—are “living a life with white skin privileges.” Even children are implicated in the system of white supremacy: according to the program materials, white toddlers “develop racial biases by ages three to five” and “should be actively taught to recognize and reject the ‘smog’ of white privilege.”

Read it all. We are ruled by bad, crazy people. Where are our Yellow Vests?

UPDATE: Reader Jonah R. comments:

Today I got correspondence from both a local museum and our county school system referring to the “double pandemics” of COVID and “racial injustice.” The attempt at cultural revolution while everyone is scared, tired, and confused is really disgusting.

In Baltimore, where they’re no longer arresting or citing people for a wide range of antisocial crimes (at the direction of the police commissioner, the mayor, and the DA, all of them African Americans), they have such a huge cop shortage that the mayor is asking–practically begging–the federal government for 100 federal officers to help with violent crime, because they’re down 392 officers and 14 detectives. You’d think that would be major news. I doubt anyone outside of Maryland even knows it.

Meanwhile, in the city’s attempts to appear as if it’s “defunding the police” (rather than inspiring police to leave in droves), in bad neighborhoods they’re employing a corps of “Safe Streets” personnel trained in de-escalation. Two of them have been shot and killed so far this year, including one of the organization’s leaders, who devoted ten years of his life to trying to broker peace. His killer, who shot him in the head, had another homicide charge from 2012 but was apparently out roaming around.

In Washington DC, the mayor who pacified dupes by painting “Black Lives Matter” on a city street has now, in response to violent crime, lifted all overtime restrictions for DC cops and is adding 170 cops to the city force.

The mayor of Atlanta just unveiled a $70 million “violent crime” program that includes hiring 250 more police officers.

So, does anyone want to break it to all of the white, NPR-listening, yard-sign-planting fools who live in safe neighborhoods that the “defund the police” movement is over, the goals of “Black Lives Matter” are evaporating, and we have more pressing needs right now than–as they’re doing in my county–scrutinizing the names of every road and school for “racism”?

Now that we’re looking at another fall and winter of masks and other (or new) restrictions, people are angry and tired. People like Rod should take heart: this creepy neo-Maoist cultural revolution is far more fragile than it seems. The shame that is the botched Afghanistan pullout is sticking to Biden. Start sticking all of this violent crime on failed city, county, and state leaders. They won’t be able to refute it.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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