Do American Conservatives Want Regime Change? And What Would That Look Like?

Michael Anton writes for the summer 2023 edition of the Claremont Review of Books:

The core problem with discussing solutions to truly momentous problems, at least from the right, is that anything that might work is too fundamental and astounding to gain a fair hearing. What’s more, even stating such possibilities is more likely than not to get the speaker canceled. Whereas anything that can be discussed openly is all but certain not to work…

Not just coming up with solutions, but communicating them in a way your audience understands, without getting yourself killed, calls for the most delicate judgment, a fine literary hand, and prudence that would impress Aristotle himself.

So what are the things that might improve life in the first world that are unsayable?

* We have to recognize harshness of life and people. I’m more of a Hobbesian (who saw the state of nature as brutal) than a Lockean (who saw the state of nature as leading to cooperation). Recognizing the flawed and selfish nature of people means we need ways of disciplining people. We need to give people incentives for good behavior and punishments for bad behavior.

* Recognition of the tribal nature of people.

* Recognition that almost nobody cares about out-groups.

* Recognition that the more people have in common, the more likely they are to feel at ease with each other and to cooperate.

* Recognition of the power of hero systems. Everybody has a hero system. Most people get it from their community, noted Ernest Becker. Liberalism and leftism are the hero systems that thinks they have transcended hero systems. Most people seem unaware that their hero system is a product of contingent circumstances, and it is this subjective hero system that drives liberals to condemn imaginary sins such as racism, bigotry, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia and the like while people on the right condemn sins that are imaginary from a liberal perspective such as gay sex and trans identity and drug experimentation.

* We live in a post-modern world. There’s no one narrative that adequately explains reality. Still, some narratives are more helpful for group cohesion than others. We should promote those (nationalist narratives).

* We’re all locked in an iron cage together and nobody is coming to save us. To survive, you want to become as strong as possible because you never know what might happen. The most important task for a nation-state is to survive.

* Different people have different gifts. Different plants and animals have different gifts. Different dog breeds have different gifts. When dogs kill people, those dogs are usually rottweilers and pit bulls. When people kill people outside of war, these killers are usually from a group easy to identify — young dumb men with gloomy prospects. We should regularly stop and frisk them as per predictive protocols. We need broken-windows policing.

* The more stable and cohesive you are, the better. The more divided and unstable your competitors, the better for you. We need government and social policy that incentivizes cohesion and social trust. So that means policies that reward hard work and punish slacking, that reward achievement and hurt those who act in an anti-social manner. For example, much of help for the homeless and the poor should be conditioned on regular drug and alcohol testing. For privileges such as drinking alcohol, gun ownership and drivers licenses and some forms of welfare and perhaps even the right to have children, people should need a number of law-abiding citizens vouch for them. Most horrible behavior, such as murder, comes from people who lack bonds. We should incentivize people to form bonds so that they can then enjoy the good things of life. We need to supplement our individualist society with prompts towards forming groups that take care of each other. We should allow churches and synagogues and other groups to offer health insurance and other benefits to its exclusive members. We need to get rid of much of the civil rights legislation passed in the 1960s and beyond and return to the traditional rights of private property and freedom of association.

* For the normal person embedded in a group, his purported racism, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, prejudice and the like are not the opposite of morality, but the proper foundation for morality. This bloke loves specific people and is loved by them and thus he has an in-group and a hero system and everything he needs for meaning and morality. Such a person is less likely to engage in reckless behaviors than those who are unmoored.

* “Anti-Semitism is as natural to Western civilization as anti-Christianity is to Jewish civilization, Islamic civilization and Japanese civilization.” (Maj. Kong)

* You could do worse than the TV show Yellowstone for wisdom about life:

* “Until they find a cure for human nature, a man must stand with his people.”

* “Mister, I don’t know you, but if you’re wearin’ that brand, you must be a bad man.”

* “Should is a useless word, almost as useless as hope.”

* “A man who puts a hand on a member of my family never puts a hand on anything else.”

* “No one has a right. You have to take a right, or stop it from being taken from you.”

* “Lawyers are the swords of this century. Words are weapons now.”

* “It’s the one constant in life. You build something worth having, someone’s gonna try to take it.”

* “All men are bad, but some of us try really hard to be good.”

* Marginalized movements attract marginalized people. Nothing great can be built by losers.

* There are no solutions. Only tradeoffs. (Tom Sowell)

* There’s no magic key to unlocking how the world works. The closest thing we have to a magic key to reality is the predictive power of IQ for large groups. Goodness, for example, requires empathy, which is a form of abstract thought, and the capacity for abstract thought is measured by IQ. If a thousand 80 IQ people spill a drink on the floor of a public gathering, a thousand 100 IQ people spill the same amount of liquid, and a thousand 120 IQ people spill the same amount, the higher IQ groups will be more diligent about cleaning up the spill.

* If you want to preserve native life, you have to restrict invasive species.

* If it becomes socially acceptable for minority groups to pursue their own interests without regard to the majority’s interests, majorities will start acting in their own interests without regard for minorities (see India under Narendra Modi).

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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