Home/The State of the Union

Top General Promised to Spy for CCP in Event of Conflict with US

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley promised to warn the Chinese if the duly elected commander-in-chief ordered military action against them.

U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley (L) stands alongside China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) General Li Zuocheng during a welcome ceremony at the Bayi Building in Beijing on August 16, 2016. (Mark Schiefelbein/AFP via Getty Images)

Feast your eyes on this headline from the venerable Washington Post: “Top general was so fearful Trump might spark war that he made secret calls to his Chinese counterpart, new book says.” 

In other news, “Top intelligence officials were so fearful Kennedy might [REDACTED] that they [REDACTED].”

WaPo, CNN, and a few other outlets reporting details from sometime deep-state mouthpiece Bob Woodward’s forthcoming novel, Peril, seem blissfully unaware of the spin they’re applying to the story. Let’s run through what actually happened.

Four days before the presidential election, Milley made a secret call to Gen. Li Zuocheng, head of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, assuring him that they were still friends. “General Li,” the highest-ranking officer in the most powerful military in the history of the world pleaded, “you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”

How very thoughtful.

The mental gymnastics required to spin this into the grand theory of “Orange Man Bad” are astonishing, but they’re right there for all to see: Trump was off the rails—we know this because, well, trust us—and the adult in the room stepped in to ensure peace and security for generations to come.

Speaking of peace—the CNN report notes that one reason Milley thought Trump was losing it is that…he wanted to bring American troops home from the twenty-year war in Afghanistan. Somebody killed the commander-in-chief’s plan, which (CNN informs us) was actually “Trump going rogue.”

Of course, “going rogue” might more aptly describe a military officer who, without informing his civilian bosses, promises our chief rivals to slip them vital information in the event hostilities break out, giving the CCP time to prepare or even preempt any American action.

[Apropos of nothing I’m, uh, just going to leave this here.]

Article III, Section 3, Clause 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

Nor does Milley’s misbehavior stop with a wink-wink nudge-nudge to an old Chi-com chum. In a Jan. 8 private phone call with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the octogenarian California pol—claiming that the president had gone crazy—asked the four-star general how they might edge him out of the military chain of command, at whose top he sits. Milley, who was eagerly investigating such avenues himself, responded simply, “I agree with you on everything.”

Though it never came to that, Milley does seem to have laid the groundwork for such a move. That same day, the chairman summoned senior military officials to his office in the Pentagon for a secret meeting. Despite the fact that the chairman of the joint chiefs is not legally vested with any command authority, and that the president is the sole legal commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces, “Milley instructed them not to take orders from anyone unless he was involved.”

Milley then went down the line, looking each man in the eye and demanding he confirm and assent. Woodward and coauthor Bob Costa write: “Milley considered it an oath.” (Presumably to him, not to the Constitution or anything silly like that.)

In all this, we are told, Mark Milley is the hero and a consummate patriot.

Listen. Sometimes, the only way to stop a coup is for the senior officer of the armed forces to usurp the powers of the constitutionally elected head of state. Who says democracy has to die in darkness?

leave a comment

Howdy, Aren’t We Lucky to Have Ya, Dan

Dan Crenshaw is the greatest Texan since Sam Houston—or maybe ever!

(USDA/Wikimedia Commons)

A few years back, during a Turning Point USA Trump rally in Florida, I watched as Rep. Dan Crenshaw waved his red impeachment “no” vote card to a crowd of thousands while President Trump beamed and embraced him. I knew at that moment, seeing him wrapped in Trump’s adoring arms, I was looking at one of the great statesmen of our time. 

It was a typical performance from an extraordinary man. In today’s GOP, Crenshaw is a star—a Fox News darling who represents the party’s future. Good looking, well-spoken, and a war hero, he checks all the right boxes. There are very few congressmen with his talent and television appeal. In fact, he is the right’s AOC, the great conservative hope. 

Moreover, Crenshaw is totally unlike other politicians. Before he is a congressman, he is an intellectual. His speeches aren’t just mere stumps; they’re veritable symposiums. During that same rally, he pulled an enormous powerpoint up to educate the crowd. It read “CONSERVATISM = CLASSICAL LIBERALISM.” We were enlightened. We had never encountered a politician with such a grasp of intellectual history. His disquisition marched on for an hour longer. Inspiring. 

His Harvard-educated genius doesn’t stop there. He has since explained that tariffs are part of what he calls “the loser mentality.” He has stood firm for red-flag laws, unmoved by plebes who wonder about constitutionality. In defending mass immigration, he displays unflinching moral superiority to the xenophobic masses. He is a leader on conservative environmental solutions, endorsing the green GOP American Conservation Coalition and the Texas Oil & Gas Association in the same year. His clear-eyed foreign policy vision boldly stands against defeatism and proclaims “endless wars” to be a fallacy. In fact, he reminded us that critics of the war are to blame for the fall of Kabul—not the heroic Afghan Army. Most recently, he bravely belittled voters concerned by the possibility of election fraud, telling them “you’re kidding yourselves” and insisting “I’m not wrong” when faced with blowback from the uneducated crowd.

I don’t have enough room to fully endorse U.S. Representative Daniel Reed Crenshaw’s principled conservative brilliance. I can only suggest buying his magnum opus, Fortitude. It is even endorsed by the other great leader of our time, Condoleezza “Condi” Rice. 

In short, we should feel blessed that the foretold Republican Messiah is here. After three decades of searching, we have finally found our next Ronald Reagan. Actually, that’s an understatement. Surely, Dan Crenshaw is a much greater leader than Ronald Reagan—at least, according to Dan Crenshaw. And he should know; he’s never been wrong before. 

leave a comment

New York Never Forgets

While the events of September 11 will fade from the national ethos, it won't in New York

I woke up early on Saturday and made the trek to New York City this weekend to catch a show and remember the Americans who lost their lives that September day 20 years ago.

I was just three years old on September 11, 2001. I do, shockingly, have vague memories from that day, mostly because my mother was panickedly calling my father as she was getting me ready for preschool. He was already at LAX preparing to board a flight that morning. I understood that something bad—no, something wicked—was happening to America, but I was mostly too young and, being from California, too far removed to understand the gravity of what was happening. That was gathered later in life as I learned more about the politically important events of the early aughts, examining their significance in the context of my own childhood and how our nation has arrived at this crucial juncture.

Now, I live in Washington, D.C., far from my hometown in southern California, but just a few hours down the road from the Big Apple. I’ve been to New York a few times prior and visited ground zero on two occasions; but never on 9/11. I felt a kind of obligation to be there for the 20th anniversary, and was more than willing to pay the series of pilgrimage taxes, mostly thanks to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, on my northward journey to better understand those who lived through, and are still living with, the effects of these attacks.

The hotel was less than a block away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in midtown. The cathedral served as a place of refuge and prayer for community members—some of whom were still covered in dust and ash—in the immediate aftermath of the towers collapsing. Twenty years later, family and friends of more than 300 firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11 gathered to memorialize their loved ones whose names reverberated off of the city’s concrete from the loudspeakers. A procession of hundreds of New York Fire Department (FDNY) firefighters, each carrying a flag to represent a fallen comrade, marched in their blue uniforms in front of St. Patricks to the solemn sound of bagpipes.

Well into the night, firehouses kept their garage doors open, as families and friends of past and present firefighters greeted each other in tearful embraces, and placed wreaths, bouquets, and candles at the doors. As I peered inside one of these midtown firehouses, which lies at least 60 blocks northeast of where the World Trade Centers once stood, I saw a monolith with the names and faces of at least nine firefighters from that small firehouse who perished on 9/11. That was devastating on its own, but then I thought of the at least twenty other firehouses positioned between that one and ground zero, and extended the damage to those other firehouses, which likely intensified based on proximity. This realization made it feel like someone had reached into my chest and grabbed hold of my heart to stop it from beating.

My generation’s coming of age and the drawdown of the war in Afghanistan will all contribute to the events of September 11 likely fading in the national ethos in the next two decades to a certain degree—an inevitability of history. But, it won’t in New York, where the city’s servants have made a concerted effort to keep the memories and traditions of those who fell before them alive.

leave a comment

Moral And Bio Hazards

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn't stop to think whether they should.”

I wanted to take a second and further expound upon the scientific nitty-gritty of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Grant Notice for EcoHealth Alliance made public by the Intercept Monday.

Over the span of five years, Fauci’s department within the National Institutes of Health, transferred more than $3 million to EcoHealth Alliance, including $600,000 for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, for research on bat-borne coronaviruses and other respiratory pathogens in China. While NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and the NIH have maintained that the NIH was not funding controversial gain-of-function research, where viruses are genetically altered or tampered with in laboratory settings to make the virus more transmissible or dangerous to humans, some in the scientific community are pushing back against this claim, given the contents of the Intercept’s recently released documents.

I’ve already discussed how these new documents elucidate the incompetence of our technocratic elites—just the latest in a steady stream of events that suggest our alleged moral and intellectual betters haven’t the slightest idea of what they’re doing. But, I wanted to delve a little deeper into the science that was carried out using U.S. taxpayer dollars.

In the more than 900 pages obtained by the Intercept through Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, it shows that grant money was used to create novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses. EcoHealth Alliance combined a spike gene from one coronavirus with genetic information from another, which researchers found had the capacity to infect human cells. The research team also found three of these lab-concocted SARS-related coronaviruses had viral loads that were 10 to 10,000 times higher in humanized mice relative to that of the bat-borne viruses used to make them. At least one of these manufactured SARS-related coronaviruses, which had not been publicly disclosed prior to the release of these documents, demonstrated enhanced pathogenicity in humanized mice compared to the bat-borne virus used to create it.

As Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) told John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) in Jurassic Park, “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn’t stop to think whether they should.” (what can I say, as a kid, I wanted to be a paleontologist).

I’ve chuckled at the thought of that quote over the course of my review of these documents because, to me (a layman), what EcoHealth engages in seems like the very definition of gain-of-function research. But, I’m not alone. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University told me that EcoHealth’s experiments fit the definition of gain-of-function research both during and after the three-year federal moratorium. “The documents released this week show–unequivocally–that the 2014 and 2019 NIH grants to EcoHealth with subcontracts to WIV funded gain-of-function research as defined in federal policies in effect in 2014-2017 and potential pandemic pathogen enhancement as defined in federal policies in effect in 2017-present,” Ebright said.

After the gain-of-function moratorium was lifted, the NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adopted the Potential Pandemic Pathogens Control and Oversight (P3CO) Framework to review any experimental activities that could be considered gain-of-function research.

But, this process is riddled with problems of its own. Ebright said, “The P3CO Framework relies on NIAID and NIH to identify research proposals that include potential pandemic pathogen enhancement and to forward the identified proposals for a HHS-Secretary-level risk-benefit assessment,” which is something an NIH spokesperson acknowledged themselves in a report published by the Daily Caller News Foundation. Furthermore, most of the P3CO deliberations take place behind closed doors, as previously pointed out by Harvard Professor of Epidemiology Marc Lipsitch.

“Anthony Fauci, and the NIH Director, Francis Collins, have failed, across the board, to identify and forward proposals for review, thereby effectively nullifying the P3CO Framework.”

The moral hazard apparent in these activities is strikingly obvious. The NIH and NIAID have a vested interest in making sure the United States is on the cutting-edge of medical and scientific advancement, and appropriate grant money—for better and for worse—to parties like EcoHealth to accomplish that goal. To delegate itself the authority to trigger a self-audit is lunacy to anyone who wants to see these unelected bureaucrats actually held accountable for engaging in risky research. The technocrats know this; they aren’t stupid (politically, at least). The whole point of preserving their authority to redefine terms and alter or create bureaucratic procedures to suit their own fancy is to eschew all responsibility, even if their actions created the preconditions for a global pandemic.

leave a comment

Speaking for Trees

The trees we love stand as a symbol of strength, continuity, and memory.

Family dinners in my parents’ house are usually tame. Politics, controversy, and the happenings of the community generally don’t phase us. We’ve been through America’s wars, political turmoil, and crises. Life moves on. But once every few years, linemen from the utility companies come out to ruthlessly prune our oak tree back from phone and power lines. Heads explode, unfriendly calls are made to the offending company, and we collectively mourn the oak as it once was and never shall be again. We can only take solace that it wasn’t cut down like so many others. 

I’m writing about our oak only to make the case that everyone should have a tree. Trees are essential in a backyard, a park, a city sidewalk, or even in a pot. I’m not going to make the conservative case for tree-hugging. I’ll leave it to the “science” to convince you of the environmental merits of trees. The value of shade on a hot August day is self-evident. 

There’s not a recorded age for our tree. Rumor has it that it’s been around since before Rome. More reliable family sources ballpark it at a little over a century old. Regardless, the oak tree is sacred. It’s a symbol of strength, continuity, and memory. In a lot of ways, it is one of the last physical reminders of our past. My great-grandfather smoked a pipe in the shade of the oak. My grandparents and parents grew up in its shadow. My brother and I climbed it as kids. There’s enough sentimentalism about the oak to fill a book.

The case for trees is much more fundamental than mere sentiment, though. Trees define peoples and places in a way no other ubiquitous natural feature can. Four states take their nicknames from their trees. Toomer’s oaks are sacred to Auburn University, and General Sherman still reigns over the redwoods of Northern California. I don’t endorse it, but people have gone to jail for their trees. They understand that Maine would be detached from its sense of place and being without its famous fall foliage. California would be much reduced without the redwoods, and the quiet comfort of a shaded neighborhood block can be stolen by the ruthless drive for efficiency so typical in contemporary life. Another forest gone, another row of tract housing for sale. Little by little, America becomes unremarkable, undefinable, and placeless. 

So bid defiance to the bland and the soulless. Plant a tree, care for a tree, or take up the cause of my family and fight off the utility company. In the end, we’ll all keep a little bit more of what’s ours. I’m not asking you to become a local Lorax, but it’s time some of us start speaking for the trees. After all, they speak volumes for us. 

leave a comment

On Copperhead Road

Texas's heartbeat abortion bill is as "wise as serpents."

It’s a good day for the unborn in Texas, as the state’s heartbeat abortion law passed in May goes into effect. The measure makes it illegal for doctors to abort a child for whom a heartbeat can detected—generally, after the sixth week of pregnancy.

Currently, the Supreme Court’s precedent allows doctors to abort unborn children up until they are viable outside the mother’s womb, when the child is already significantly more developed than at six weeks. Now, Texas joins Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Carolina in putting such a law on the books, its second attempt since a similar 2016 law was overturned by the Supreme Court.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “the matter only arrived at the Supreme Court on Monday, centered on the preliminary question of what rules should apply in Texas while abortion providers continue to challenge the ban in lower courts.” The Journal notes a federal appeals court halted trial court proceedings in the case for now, and declined to block the ban from taking effect.

Significantly, however, the structure of Texas’s ban prevents the usual harangue of activists from suing government officials who would be responsible for enforcing such a decision, as they have done in every state that has passed such a bill.

The Journal explains:

Abortion-rights advocates typically challenge new restrictions before they go into effect by suing the government officials who would be in charge of enforcing the law. But Texas lawmakers devised a measure that shifts enforcement from the state to private parties. Under the terms of the six-week ban, private parties can file civil lawsuits against any person who allegedly performs or aids a banned abortion, or who intends to do so. Under the law, a successful suit entitles the plaintiff to collect at least $10,000 in damages per abortion challenged.

State officials emphasized this feature of the law in papers filed Tuesday afternoon with the Supreme Court, arguing it was among many reasons abortion providers weren’t entitled to an emergency order blocking the law.

“This court cannot expunge the law itself. Rather, it can enjoin only enforcement of the law. But the governmental defendants explicitly don’t enforce the law,” Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton and other state officials told the high court.

As The American Conservative senior editor Rod Dreher wrote last June, after the Supreme Court struck down Louisiana’s heartbeat law, the SCOTUS jurisprudence on abortion is mangled at best.

“Can anyone understand SCOTUS abortion jurisprudence? Can it ever be applied logically? I think it can, if you understand this principle: Pro-lifers must lose,” Dreher wrote.

Yet the Texas legislature, at least for now, has found a way to wrest a meaningful victory from the judicial mire—and power back from a legislating judiciary. It’s more than a victory for life; it’s a model for conservatives in state legislatures to follow, who have any real desire to protect the American way of life beyond what they can post on their campaign websites. If the Texas law succeeds in stymying abortion activists, it shows that conservatives actually can win battles, and when we aren’t winning, maybe it is due to a lack of cunning, not just a system rigged against defenders of innocent life at every turn.

The Gospel of Matthew has words to the wise, as true in politics as in any other aspect of life in exile: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” We can continue using the same timid approaches, and hope against hope we aren’t devoured, or we can learn to outsmart the wolves. Texas did just that.

leave a comment

Introducing “Taking the Mask Off”

It’s far past time for the COVID regime to end.

In March 2020, our public health officials embarked on a major public relations effort. The novel coronavirus had arrived in the U.S. from China, and a fearful American public scrambled to stock up for the apocalypse: toilet paper, canned goods, bottled water, and face masks.

So U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams took to the media to get an urgent message out. “Americans get scared when they feel like they’ve lost control,” Adams said then on Fox & Friends, “There are things people can do to stay safe… [but] one of the things they shouldn’t be doing, the general public, is going out and buying masks. It actually does not help, and it has not been proven to be effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus amongst the general public.”

Times have changed.

Now, almost 18 months later, these face coverings have become ubiquitous. After a temporary reprieve over the summer months, when vaccine optimism reigned, mask mandates are back across the country. Children are starting another school year with faces covered. Younger grades may not know a time when seeing classmates’ smiles was allowed. The mask has superseded its [dubious] medical benefits, and is now a potent symbol of right-thinking.

Our public health “experts” seem determined to extend their power to vaccine mandates as well. With the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, Big Business—and the government of at least one of our major cities—has moved quickly to force employees and patrons to get the jab. “My body, my choice,” was always a cynical platitude. They never meant it.

We must remember that this was all a choice. No, not the arrival of a deadly disease from China, but the concerted effort to radically alter daily life in response. It’s a choice driven by fear, by a failure to come to terms with our own mortality. And all the while, the goal posts shift, from “15 days to stop the spread,” to “flatten the curve,” to vaccines, COVID-zero, and on and on and on.

Enough. It’s far past time for this insanity to end.

So I’m proud to introduce “Taking the Mask Off,” a new series from The American Conservative. We will call out the hypocrisy of our public health regime. We will highlight the toll lockdown measures and mask mandates have taken on our families and communities. We will urge Americans not to accept a “new normal”. And we will actually “follow the science”, offering alternatives for what a balanced public health policy might look like.

We will, quite literally, take the mask off the COVID regime.

COVID-19 is here to stay, joining the countless other maladies that affect our fallen human condition. The loss of life at the hands of this deadly disease is tragic. Far more tragic would be a society in which living is lost, in which we are unable to pursue that which makes life worthwhile.

We at TAC hope to play a small part in preventing this greater tragedy.

leave a comment

Caring About Home

The people of Galveston, Texas, know and love where they are from. The denizens of D.C.? Less so.

General Bernardo de Galvez, on Virginia Avenue, near the State Department (Wikimedia Commons)

When I first moved to Washington, D.C., I sought out a statue of the Spanish Revolutionary War general Bernardo de Galvez. He’s the namesake of my hometown: Galveston, Texas. I found it directly in front of the State Department, wholly engulfed by a homeless encampment. Drugs, trash, and strung-out users lay all over the lawn. I had come to send a picture of the general to my family, to show them our representation in the nation’s capital. I left without taking a photo at all. 

Galveston is a city constantly reminded of its mortality. In my short lifetime, it’s been hit by four major hurricanes and countless tropical storms. It’s the site of the deadliest natural disaster in American history: the 1900 Storm. Local businesses paint flood-level markers on their walls with the dates and names of major storms. Many of the markers stand several feet above my head. 

It has always been remarkable to me that a long-irrelevant cotton port constantly subjected to natural destruction has maintained such care for itself. Galveston is home to the oldest churches in Texas and many of the most beautiful. The Bishop’s Palace dominates its main thoroughfare, accompanied by the Moody Mansion and countless Victorian marvels that once belonged to cotton merchants and shipping tycoons. Even the average home in the city is a small Victorian, likely restored two or three times over after enduring a century of storms. 

People in Galveston don’t have a superb explanation or philosophy for their city. It’s just their home. It’s a beautiful place with a beautiful history. Statues still stand. The streets are largely clean; the police take care to contain crime to the smallest radius possible. They just want their kids to enjoy living there. They want their kids to know who came before them. They’re not going to let vandals take that away from them. 

That all is a clear contrast with Washington. Vandals are not only tolerated, but occupy the highest public offices. Washington is the most powerful city on earth and the wealthiest in America. Cleaning the city up would be easy, and it would pay dividends for America’s image around the world and help burnish perceptions of the political class. But instead, brutalist atrocities cruelly named after L’Enfant accompany homelessness, crime, trash, and drugs. Crumbling infrastructure and public parks unsafe for children sit just blocks from the Capitol and the White House. There’s no public policy benefit to this. There are no white papers that advocate filth. They can’t even blame hurricanes. 

The capital is a town filled with vandals—nihilists who hate their history, themselves, and the children they don’t and won’t have. Some live in cramped apartments, others in Kalorama mansions, and a few in the White House. They pretend to be an enlightened ruling class, but they can’t even pick up the trash on their own streets. 

The people in Galveston are ship crewmen, restaurant workers, fishermen, and roughnecks. Some are artists, surfers, and nurses. Most don’t have master’s degrees, fewer still have read Aristotle. But they maintain their community of souls, and they love their homes. It’s time for Washington, D.C., to dust off the statue of General Galvez and learn from the people it once represented. 

leave a comment

The Other Exodus

Urban exodus is nothing compared with what's happening in American small towns.

Stuffed between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, in a fold of land that shares borders with both Missouri and Kentucky, is a town called Cairo, Illinois.

Alexander County, the county to which Cairo belongs, is losing people faster than any other county in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday:

In a nation where more than half of all counties saw population declines during the past decade, nowhere fared worse than Alexander County in far southern Illinois.

Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, the county lost 36.4% of its residents between 2010 and 2020, Census Bureau data released this month shows. No other county lost more than 30%.

The exodus amounted to roughly 3,000 people and lowered the county’s population to 5,240. The declining numbers are putting added pressure on already stressed local government finances and leaving the remaining residents questioning whether there’s any future here. A yearslong plan to revive Cairo’s port may be the area’s last hope.

Not too many centuries ago, this providentially-located town was prime estate for both agriculture and trade. Today, roughly 80 percent of all inland barge traffic in the U.S. passes Cairo, but barges aren’t sufficient to keep a town thriving in the 21st century. Significantly lower taxes in the town’s two neighboring states means there is no gas station in Cairo: The Illinois gas tax is more than double the rate in Kentucky and more than triple what’s charged in Missouri, the Journal reported.

The census data show that population growth—despite the much-hyped urban exodus caused by Covid-19 lockdowns, and a housing market that confirms a scramble for suburban life—is still plodding its usual path, with big counties growing and smaller ones shrinking. Or perhaps it’s too soon to tell of any lasting effects from 2020. In either case, it’s clear that most small towns, especially along the lower Mississippi River, are in worse condition than ever. This region has consistently higher unemployment and poverty rates, as well as lower life expectancy and steady population loss, as the Journal notes.

What’s happening to our towns is not news to most Americans, yet our ruling class seems incapable of offering real solutions. The rallying cry to “shop local” during the bleakest months of 2020 were touching, but hardly a concrete plan to save the brick and mortar of American Main Street. Places like Cairo need more than a stimulus check (in fact, there’s a good case to be made that such forms of government largesse are just digging such towns into an even deeper hole). What’s to be done?

Russia’s Main Street offers one possible solution. Cutting back unemployment is another first step. One thing is certain, that without a swift realignment, there will be little left, if anything, of the once-thriving heartland by the time we’re raising the next generation.

In describing the causes that led to the French Revolution in The Ancien Regime and the French Revolution, Alexis de Tocqueville points to metropolitan Paris, and its tendency to absorb more and more of the population, economy, and political attention of the entire country. He quotes Montesquieu: “In France, there is only Paris, together with the remote provinces, because Paris has not yet had time to devour them.” The result is a government with a bloated head, and no life left in its body, ripe for revolution.

Preserving our towns is a project for innovative minds and determined souls, and has as much to do with protecting the delicate balance of republican government as it does the very real problems of unemployment, overdoses, and suicides we see in such devoured towns. Most important, it’s a job for the urgent, as many, like Cairo, may already be beyond repair.

leave a comment