I’m glad he wrote this, because I’ve been asking this question for the past 3-4 years and have been coming up blank. The only answers I’ve been able to come up with to the question “How can America reunify and become a strong country again?” were:
- It can’t.
- The national news media is widely recognized as the source of division and tension, and is be completely shut down and eliminated, along with potentially social media as well.
- We have a full-scale civil war in which one side wins decisively and effectively wipes the other side out, or at least beats them so badly they become like a conquered people and have to basically concede every last point of the culture war.
- People realize secular, urban, post-industrial, materialistic society is a terrible way to live and we become a largely agrarian nation once again, like we were at the time of the founding. Basically, half the labor force quits, moves to the country and starts farming. This could even be encouraged with a new “40 acres and a mule”-type policy for the 21st century.
Thankfully Anton is much smarter than I am and sees a viable way out of this dire situation America appears to be in:
“And now here we are: in so many ways, more divided than we were in 1860—in so many ways, not even a “we” anymore. Restoring American unity in this climate sounds almost comically impossible. How to restore unity after five decades and counting of Cold Civil War—the rancor of which only seems to intensify month to month?
I have some ideas, which I will get to. But first, let’s understand what is meant by “unity.” It does not mean a unanimous vote in the Electoral College, such as George Washington won twice. It doesn’t mean return to the bipartisan consensus of World War II and the first decades of the postwar, Cold War era. It doesn’t even mean anything like the 1972 or 1984 49-state landslide—which can almost certainly never be repeated.
“Unity” in the American political context—really, for any republic, and one may say for republicanism simply—means a shared set of basic goals and assumptions. It doesn’t mean everyone has to agree on everything or even like everyone. Indeed, a unified republic may nonetheless be quite divided in certain respects. Historically the most common division in any republic has been economic, with religion and culture providing the underlying bedrock of unity. Divisions between patricians and plebeians over sharing spoils and offices continually wracked Republican Rome, but the city also remained fundamentally unified, as Rome, with both classes speaking the same language, worshiping the same gods, adhering to the same morality, and committed to Roman greatness and glory.”
The class warfare rhetoric sort of died out after the 2012, giving way to racial warfare rhetoric.
“To say the least, there does not appear to be any shared interest or bond of unity underneath contemporary America’s bitter Red-Blue divide. One side loves America, the other hates it—or can tolerate it only for what it might someday become, were the Left’s entire program to be enacted without exception. One faction, or most of it, is religious in the traditional sense; the other invented the god of wokeness, which it worships with Dionysian abandon. One side speaks only English, the other boasts of the literally hundreds of languages now heard in America’s Blue precincts. One side insists that the ultimate moral imperative is to punish the other—who in turn understand that morality requires fairness and equal justice under law.
What would partisans of either side cite as something they share in common with the other? The land itself? But they each go to great lengths not to live anywhere near one another. “The economy?” It’s been reengineered to benefit one side at the expense of the other. As for the culture—that reliable unifying bond throughout most of history—to ask is to laugh, and cry, at the same time.
The merest shred of cultural unity would seem so far out of reach as to be scarcely worth trying for, at least for the foreseeable future. I don’t believe the country can continue indefinitely without any semblance of a common culture, but focusing right now on a near- and medium-term impossibility would be folly. Which leaves us with economics.
Even that’s going to be hard enough. How to do you reconcile—much less unify—a fundamentally rural, small-town and small-city manufacturing-agricultural economy with an urban and affluent-suburban finance-information-managerial economy? Especially when the profits of the latter so depend on strip-mining the resources—outsourcing the industries and replacing the labor—of the former?
The seemingly paradoxical answer is that one side needs to gain and keep—electorally!—the upper hand for a while: specifically, the side that has been getting the short end of the stick for the last generation at least. Its leaders will of course, and of necessity, use their power to benefit their side—their base—but they must also use it to right the ship, to rebalance and benefit the whole.”
Read the whole thing. Anton is top-0.1%-tier intelligent and has obviously thought about this a great deal.
But basically his point is that the coastal urban financial elite has exploited the living hell out of the rural, blue collar middle/working class for over 30 years now, and if we’re ever going to heal and reunify as a nation, we need to find some sort of equilibrium in the urban-rural dynamic, because it’s way out of whack.
That means more Trump. Because he’s the first president in a long time that actually gives a damn about the flyover states. He’s the first president in a while that is not advocating for the moneyed interests against the everyday America.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction–well, Trump is the reaction to three decades-plus of the Power Establishment’s utter disregard for anything but their bottom lines.
Trump is the chickens coming home to roost. He is the bill coming due, the lights coming on at bar close. He’s the party crasher. And he was made inevitable by the way the Beltway, media and financial elites completely neglected the American people and left them to wither and die. They outsourced manufacturing to China and it hurt the working class, but they didn’t care because their profits went up. They let Big Pharma get rural America hooked on painkillers and opioids because it was good for Big Pharma’s bottom line–and because they were far removed from the real-world effects of the opioid crisis. They barely lifted a finger to stop illegal immigration–which cost the working class jobs– and allowed hundreds of thousands a year to come in legally to take the jobs of middle class and even white collar workers.
Virtually every policy enacted by the ruling establishment–Democrat or Republican–over the past three decades has benefitted the elite at the direct expense of everyone else. And in 2016, the people left holding the bag decided they’d had enough.
Living creatures either adapt or die. They either recognize and address threats, or they are killed. They seek equilibrium when things get out of whack. Trump was the forgotten masses collectively making the conscious decision to adapt, rather than die. They realized the Romneys and the Bushes and the McCains of the world were not on their side, despite the fact that they were Republicans. They realized that voting for those Democrat-lite stooges was not only getting them nowhere but would eventually be their ruin, and so they turned to a guy who was not on the Establishment-Approved Menu of presidential candidates. Trump represented real opposition to the Leftwing globalist agenda, rather than the illusory and purely rhetorical opposition represented by the GOP Establishment. As Anton puts it:
“No party representing the interests of the rural, small-town and small-city manufacturing-agricultural population currently exists. The Democrats long ago abandoned “the common man” in favor of their high-low coalition. The Republicans would seem to be the country party—certainly, they get a lot of their votes from such people—but in practice GOP office-holders and donors are just as, if not more, likely to side with the interests of the ruling class and “global capital” over those of their own ostensible base.”
Trump was the first candidate to come along in many, many years whose platform actually reflected what the party base wanted. The fact that his 2016 campaign was so different from his GOP Nomination rivals was not proof that he was “not a Real Conservative,” it was proof that he was the only one who cared about the voters.
And there were many voters who flipped from Obama to Trump. It was not just Republicans who put Trump in the White House. This is because the elite’s self-centered plundering of the country was indiscriminate and affected people from all walks of life. Basically, everybody who wasn’t in on the scam was the victim.
So Trump needed to win in 2016 to begin to restore some semblance of balance to the country. And he needs to win again in 2020 because four years was not enough to undo and rectify all the damage the elite did to the rest of the country. Eight years may not even be enough to turn this country around.
The country cannot and will not survive if we go back to the parasite-host relationship that has characterized the past 3-4 decades. The political and financial classes create nothing of real value yet have bled the people that do dry, i.e. the blue collar workers, the farmers, the small business owners, the middle class. Not only this but they have been waging full-scale cultural warfare on them and are explicitly trying to dispossess them of their history and their homeland.
Anton is right: if this country is ever to be made whole again, then there needs to be a great rebalancing between the “Two Americas” that have emerged in recent years. The balance of power in this country is way out of whack. Everything you’re seeing in the culture right now–the riots, the looting, the protests, BLM, Antifa–is an orchestrated reaction by the Ruling Class to the threat Trump poses to their power.
But Trump staying in office and continuing to implement his America First agenda might be the only hope this country has of not only unifying again, but surviving altogether.