Flight 93 Election (analysis)

A couple weeks ago, when I first came across the now famous ‘Flight 93‘ article, I skimmed the first few paragraphs without giving it much further consideration…the crux of the article is that America is doomed if Hillary becomes president, but with Trump there is at least a fighting chance, even if the odds are long. We can either ‘charge the cockpit’ to have a shot at living (or in the case of America, saving the country), or do nothing and certainly die.

But people kept talking about it, so I decided to investigate further, reading the article thoroughly, as well as its follow-up. Judging by the conversational tone, verbosity, attention to detail, sesquipedalian sentences, and rich punctuation, the the article sounded similar to a very popular reactionary blogger who recently went on hiatus, and my hunch was confirmed in the follow-up, in which he writes: Everything I said in “The Flight 93 Election” was derivative of things I had already said, with (I thought) more vim and vigor, in a now-defunct blog.

The first thing that struck me is how much faith he has in the system….possibly even more than I do, and some say I’m ‘too optimistic’. When I began bogging about NRx, I took a different approach, advocating incrementalism (rolling back democratic values and institutions) and possible minarchism, in contrast to monarchy or secession, and the last paragraph of Restatement, as well as overall both essays, seems to echo this theme, focusing on policy (like welfare, taxes and other policy reform) within the current constitutional republic framework, versus more far-fetched or drastic measures such as eschatology, deracination, ‘exit’, or monarchy:

One can point to a few enduring successes: Tax rates haven’t approached their former stratosphere highs. On the other hand, the Left is busy undoing welfare and policing reform. Beyond that, we’ve not been able to implement our agenda even when we win elections—which we do less and less. Conservatism had a project for national renewal that it failed to implement, while the Left made—and still makes—gain after gain after gain. Consider conservatism’s aims: “civic renewal,” “federalism,” “originalism,” “morality and family values,” “small government,” “limited government,” “Judeo-Christian values,” “strong national defense,” “respect among nations,” “economic freedom,” “an expanding pie,” “the American dream.” I support all of that. And all of it has been in retreat for 30 years. At least. But conservatism cannot admit as much, not even to itself, in the middle of the night with the door closed, the lights out and no one listening.

However, many reactionaries believe the ‘system’ is irreparable, advocating ‘accelerationism’, in which America’s decline is deliberately hastened so it collapses and from the ruins can be ‘restored’. Others advocate pacifism, because fighting democracy with democracy is, ultimately, only a win for democracy. And that Trump, despite his best efforts and good intentions, is merely a cog of a broken machinery. This is probably why there was some push-back in response to Flight 93.

But still…I’m surprised by what seems like somewhat of an about-face on his part. ‘American dream’? It sounds cheesy, and few who are alive still believe it. The ‘American dream’ is more a construct, really (the phrase was originally a marketing slogan by Federal National Mortgage Association). Also the ‘small government’ stuff reads too similar to libertarianism, which the author repudiated on many occasions. But I agree that I would rather have the government focus less on the lives of individuals, and instead pay more attention to not wasting public resources on ineffective programs and or entitlement spending.

From Flight 93:

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.

Yeah all of this is true. Part of the reason why America is unable to ‘win’ any wars it because it’s not allowed to win in the traditional sense of total annihilation of the enemy (which if pressed America is capable of doing). Instead, America has to engage in ‘nation building’ , which is much harder. The higher educational system need reform to a large extent, as millions of millennials are graduating with debt and no good job prospects to show for it.

In the followup, I was also surprised he considers Churchill an example of ‘good leadership’, considering Churchill [1] seems antithetical to a lot of what NRx stands for. Although his essay was intended to be an endorsement for Trump, and any obvious allusions to NRx were avoided, a better example could have been chosen. Of course, I could be wrong, and a Google search for NRx writings on Churchill didn’t yield much.

But overall, the author raises a valid point about how mainstream conservatives (akin to the Washington Generals) ‘always lose’ and how Trump departs from this trend. It’s not really a new message, and it didn’t need 3,000 words to convey, but interesting nonetheless.

[1] got his butt handed to him in the battle of Gallipoli, pulled Britain int multiple wars, and acted on personal vendettas at great loss of civilian life (bombing of Dresden), all of which contributed to the decline and demise of the British Empire and the softening of the already weak monarch