Another day, another couple hours spent researching someone in the White House who’s willing to burn down the whole country in hopes that one day we’ll resemble the America that he (because of course it’s a he) wants us to be. So let’s meet our dapper fellow, Michael Anton.
For starters, as you can obviously tell, our guy likes fashion. He likes it so much that he actually wrote an homage to Machiavelli’s The Prince, appropriately-titled The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style. While I have no problem with anyone liking fashion or writing about it under a pseudonym, I think anytime someone writes about anything through the lens of the 16th century political theorist whose most famous work argued for and endorsed “immoral behavior, such as dishonesty and killing innocents, as being normal and effective in politics” – especially when that someone is now a senior official in the national security apparatus – it deserves to be highlighted.
Enough about that for now. What I really want to talk about is how in September of 2016, Anton, formerly a speechwriter for those bastions of goodness Rudy Giuliani and Rupert Murdoch, wrote a piece – under the byline of a third century BC Roman consul obviously – which started like this:
2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees. Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.
The piece, aptly called “The Flight 93 Election”, works backwards to make the ideological and academic argument as to why Trump was actually an amazing option. The piece spends its time pleading the case that liberalism has killed the American dream, conservatism is dead and our only chance is to give the keys to a dumbass who probably can’t even drive a car, let alone fly a plane.
After veering through traffic and making a few pit stops to criticize Black Lives Matter, universities, the media, trans rights and single-payer health care, he finally arrives to the part of America he most clearly despises: those pesky immigrants.
Third and most important, the ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty means that the electorate grows more left, more Democratic, less Republican, less republican, and less traditionally American with every cycle.
By contrast, simply building a wall and enforcing immigration law will help enormously, by cutting off the flood of newcomers that perpetuates ethnic separatism and by incentivizing the English language and American norms in the workplace.
So now we see where his attacks stem from: a desire for a purer and more wholesome version of America. One that probably looks lot more white than it does right now. And definitely a desire to keep the white, male ruling class in power – something that Trump’s handlers/enablers have made a top priority.
And that’s the really scary part here, how much Trump is being led into the darkness by these racist, deceitful advisors surrounding him and clamoring for his approval. Because as Anton wrote in a less-discussed piece back in March 2016 that laid out the foundations of Trumpism (which is actually a thing):
But Trumpism, while not yet a coherent body of thought, points the way to one. Trump himself—no man of ideas, to say the least—is unsuited to the task of thinking through what his popularity means or how to build on it. Others will have to do the real work.
So while Anton and his ilk tear down the state with the lazy mindset of “we’ll probably sink anyways, so let’s just let this piece of moldy sourdough bread captain the Titanic”, we don’t need to just let it happen to us. We can’t just let these motherfuckers run amuck in the White House with their fatalism and their pessimism. While accountability has been one thing that the Trump administration has managed to elude us on so far, we will find a way to right the ship and bring back the balance of power. I think that process started last weekend when Congress went back to their home districts and got yelled at.
And about that fashion stuff from before, that wasn’t just a cheap shot, it was a reminder. A reminder that just because someone has fancy suits doesn’t mean that that they can’t be racist and evil. This is evidenced by the Nazis, which had Hugo Boss-designed Hitler Youth uniforms.