The Case Against Clinton

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So… today (transatlantic time difference notwithstanding) is the day. The first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will take place tonight in New York. I can hardly wait. This is, as I said in my post last week, the most important debate of our era. It will greatly influence, if not decide, the course of America’s future. Should Trump exceed the low expectations people have of him, the chances of his winning a majority in November will be massively enhanced. Should he make a fool of himself, his chances will sink very low indeed. This would be thrilling if it wasn’t also so nerve-wracking.

Anyway – to mark this momentous occasion, I will present here fifteen of the strongest (in my estimation) objections to a Clinton presidency. If Trump is to triumph at the debate tonight, he will need to focus on these points above all others.

1. She refuses to name the enemy.

Like President Obama, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly refused to the use the term ‘radical Islam’ when discussing terrorism in general and ISIS in particular. Contrary to what the mainstream media suggests, this is really no trifling matter. The phrase ‘radical Islam’ is itself a watered down and liberal framing of the problem (a more honest commentator would just say ‘Islam’). For Clinton to stop short of going even this far shows that she is either unwilling or unable to recognise (and thus deal with) the biggest challenge facing the civilised world.

2. She is dripping with other people’s money.

Unlike Donald Trump, who has largely funded his campaign out of his own pocket, Hillary Clinton has received hundreds of millions of dollars in donations. The individuals and organisations who have stumped up this money will have done so for a reason. What has she promised them? We simply don’t know. And that is a problem.

3. She is arguably unfit to lead.

No-one knows for certain the true condition of Hillary Clinton’s health. Though many on the internet have busily speculated, the facts remain, for now, obscured behind a haze of spin and denial. According to Clinton herself, she is more than physically able to govern and has sought to prove this by, among other things, opening a jar of pickles. The episode in which the Democrat nominee ‘overheated’ and was left unable to walk properly following a 9/11 commemoration event says otherwise.

4. She has no clear agenda.

Donald Trump, for all his faults, has been admirably candid about which direction he plans to take the country in upon winning the general election. His opponent is a very different story. Never in the last fifty years has a vaguer agenda been offered by a major presidential candidate than that which is now advertised by Hillary Rodham Clinton. So undeniable is this shortcoming that even the Democrat’s most die-hard supporters have elected to focus their campaigning almost exclusively on the weaknesses in Trump’s manifesto. Rarely has any solid, clear, feasible policy been set out either by Clinton herself or by those affiliated with her campaign. This strongly suggests to me that Clinton has a secret, under-the-table agenda, written up, in large part, by her donors (see point 2).

5. She is underwhelming.

Hillary Clinton has virtually no charm at all. This much is evident from the meagre crowds the nominee has managed to draw at her lacklustre ‘rallies’ over the past few months. Even during the primary season, the nominee was totally outclassed and outperformed by her very able and inspiring opponent Bernie Sanders, to whom many millions of Democrat voters remain attached. This matters because, as president, Clinton will be responsible not only for the smooth running of the economy and public sector, but also for rallying the troops against America’s enemies and picking the country up after terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Does anyone really believe she is up to this?

6. She is a throwback.

Hillary Clinton’s political views, if indeed she has any, were brewed in the same pot as her husband’s. While I am too young to recall Bill Clinton’s administration with any clarity, I have read widely enough to discern that in terms of foreign policy, national security and immigration (the three major issues of this election), his regime was close to hopeless. Hillary Clinton has not once sought to distance herself from her husband’s record. She has not stated any meaningful disagreement with his agenda, and from this it is very fair to infer that she offers more of the same.

7. She is a lawyer.

Hillary Clinton’s main career outside of politics is law, the traditionally favoured occupation of the political mountebank. Other examples of law-graduates-turned-politicians include Barack Obama and Tony Blair. I don’t think I need to say anymore.

8. She is coastal and out of touch with America’s heartland.

The secret of Donald Trump’s success is not, as the media alleges, his star-power and celebrity connections. It is his ability to connect and convincingly communicate with the denizens of America’s ‘flown-over’ country, AKA the heartland. Though Clinton has attempted during her campaign to touch upon the issues affecting this blighted region, her appeals have fallen on deaf ears. She is simply too coastal and too urban to be taken seriously when discussing the opiate epidemic or the decline of manufacturing. Trump, on the other hand, has, via his business dealings, genuine credentials on the meat and potatoes issues facing rural and impoverished communities.

9. She has ties with some of the worst regimes on the planet.

The Clinton Foundation, Hillary’s pet project, has received and given support from and to some of the worst governments in the world. These include (but are not limited to) Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Morocco, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. While North Korea has yet to be explicitly embraced by the foundation, you would be a fool to rule it out entirely.

10. She is arrogant.

Hillary Clinton believes she deserves to win simply on the strength of her being a woman. This is a monumentally arrogant and presumptuous mindset to display at a time of real political strife and uncertainty.

11. She is a threat to the 2nd Amendment.

Hillary Clinton is not a pro-gun candidate. Indeed, on this matter, she is arguably more problematic for the advocates of private gun ownership than Barack Obama has been.

12. She is humourless.

Even the most vociferous and committed of Donald Trump’s critics acknowledge that the Republican possesses a sense of humour, a layer of humanity beneath his political sheen. At his rallies and in media interviews, the New Yorker has consistently displayed an ability to take matters lightly where appropriate (and yes, occasionally where inappropriate also). Hillary Clinton, by unpleasant contrast, is businesslike to the point of sociopathy.

13. She believes climate change is a more immediate threat than ISIS.

Not much elaboration is required on this point. I will only say that while climate change may or may not be a crisis in need of addressing, ISIS clearly represents (in the view of any reasonable person) the most pressing and urgent short-term threat to the stability of America and the greater modern world.

14. She is conventional on healthcare.

I tend to disagree with most right-wingers on the issue of healthcare provision. I support (and am immensely grateful for) the free treatment offered by the UK National Health Service. Though I imagine the idea might prove unpopular in the short term, I believe that America should strive to institute a similar system. Healthcare is no different – in my view – from the fire and police services. One should fund them with taxes, not private finance.

Hillary Clinton, as she has never sought to deny, is happily wedded to the set-up known unofficially as Obamacare – a wretched and ill-thought-out jungle of bureaucracy that has led, directly or indirectly, to thousands of job losses. Against this, Donald Trump, quite refreshingly for a Republican, has said many nice things about the British and Canadian health systems. If the New Yorker is able to shift conservative opinion on this, America would profit greatly. Clinton, like many of Trump’s foes in the GOP, offers only conventional and misguided thinking.

15. She is Hillary Clinton.

D, LDN

Justifying the Extraordinary: Trump and the Debates

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In seven days time the first of four presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will take place in Hempstead, New York State. It is probably fair to say that no such debate has been as hotly anticipated in recent memory as this one now is. The debate marks the biggest test Donald Trump has faced since the launch of his candidacy for the Republican nomination back in 2015. It represents a vital trial of the New Yorker’s presidential character, professionalism and natural wit.

Hillary Clinton, now lagging behind Trump in many national polls, will be placing a lot of her hopes on the debates. Unlike Trump, the Democrat is a natural when it comes to conventional political combat. She – and her team – will be hoping (and expecting) Trump to be suffocated by the polite constraints of traditional procedure and to show his unease by lashing out wildly at Clinton’s character, appearance, dress sense, femininity, etc. Put simply, they hope and expect Trump to suffer a meltdown.

Whilst I would love to say that Clinton’s strategy is unrealistic, I cannot, as it is perfectly feasible. Trump’s Achilles heel, as he has proven time and time again, is his volcanic and unpredictable personality, his tendency to hit back after every real or perceived slight with much greater force and immaturity than is required or appropriate. All Clinton has to do in these contests is provoke that kind of reaction. All she has to do is poke the tiger until it growls.

This is the most obvious and likely strategy for Hillary to pursue, but there are other possibilities open to her. The rabidly pro-Clinton Washington Post made the following suggestions for their preferred candidate: “Take (Trump) up on his word. He said he “regrets” certain things. Invite him to apologize to Judge Gonzalo Curiel or the Gold Star parents of Capt. Humayun Khan… Another tactic is to press him on empty and unintelligible answers. Trump rarely completes a sentence or can articulate any level of detail about his proposals. When Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and CNN’s Dana Bash tag-teamed, forcing Trump to explain what was in his health-care plan, it became patently obvious that he had a whole lot of nothing to offer. She can certainly take a page from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s book (used against Rubio) in pointing out that Trump repeats the same platitudes. Tell us, Donald, what’s your plan to reduce crime in Chicago? Have you ever sat down with law enforcement?… There are oodles of issues (such as the nuclear triad) about which Trump knows nothing. Challenge him to spell out his stance on net neutrality, the South China Sea and student loans. In other cases — the minimum wage, repayment of U.S. debt and immigration, of course — he has been all over the lot. Force him to pick a position and explain why he has said the opposite.”

The first presidential debate will be held at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York

The first presidential debate will be held at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York

Trump’s strategy for the debates is less clear at this point in time. When asked about his intended approach, the Republican has wisely dodged the question, explaining that he would prefer to not give anything away to the opposition prior to the event. We can thus only speculate.

I have a inkling that Trump’s strategy will hinge on portraying Clinton, as he has done all through his campaign so far, as ‘crooked’, dishonest, corrupt and in the pocket of the financial elite; an image he will then contrast with his own man-of-the-people persona.

The email scandal will undoubtedly be raised repeatedly, with Trump going off track and questioning Clinton directly about the thousands of inexplicably deleted messages. He will also link these questions to the issue of the Clinton Foundation and its highly suspicious ties to foreign leaders (including foreign and Islamic dictators).

The Clinton Foundation is coming under intense scrutiny

The Clinton Foundation is coming under intense scrutiny for its ties to foreign regimes

This approach will carry Trump some of the way, but not all of it. He will need to have more strings to his bow prepared if he is to the win the debate outright.

To arrive at the best strategy for winning the debates, Trump would do best to look at what has carried him through the process thus far. I would say that, more than anything else, it is his credentials relating to the Islamist threat that have won over the hearts of patriotic American voters (including true liberals and Democrats). His positions on ISIS, Muslim immigration, Syrian refugee policy and other connected issues have been wildly popular with a broad cross-section of American society. Pushing hard on Clinton’s weakness on Islamism will pave the way for a very important ideological touchdown.

It is possible that in the days that remain before the November election there will be another Islamist atrocity somewhere in the world, perhaps even in the Western World*. This will serve as a timely reminder of how extraordinary the problems we (as a civilisation) face really are, and thus how inappropriate it would be to elect an ordinary candidate to solve them.

ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State

ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State

The Islamist challenge is so total and grave that all other issues melt under its heat. Trump and his team must realise this fact and base their approach on it. Sure, there are problems with the American economy which require ironing out; sure, illegal immigration from Mexico is undermining American sovereignty and nationhood; sure, the trade deficit with China is growing at an alarming rate.  But none of these issues are new or so extraordinary as to justify the American electorate taking a risk on a provocative and unconventional candidate (and that, undoubtedly, is what Trump is). Trump’s presidency is so unique and strange a prospect that he must build an equally strange and unique context in which it will seem appropriate and necessary. The only way he can achieve this, in my opinion, is with reference to the Islamist threat.

At the debates, Trump must be specific about how he will deal with this extraordinary issue. Soundbites, however popular they may be, should be avoided. It simply isn’t enough to say things like “We need to get tough and we need to get smart.” This is so vague as to be meaningless. Trump must map out a strategy for pulverising Islamism, demolishing it so severely that it will not dare raise its evil head for decades to come.

*Today, as I write, debris is once again being cleaned up from the streets of a Western city. In Manhattan, NYC, two bombs have exploded, injuring almost thirty innocent civilians. Meanwhile, in the peaceful, Scandinavian-American State of Minnesota, eight people have been stabbed at a shopping mall, the attacker allegedly interrogating potential victims as to their religious beliefs prior to attacking them.

These are indeed extraordinary times. They require an extraordinary leader. Next week in New York, Donald Trump would do best not to try and make himself seem ordinary, but rather embrace his uniqueness, tying it to the uniqueness of the times in which we find ourselves.

D, LDN

Why the Alt-Right is Too Alt for Me

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Internet subcultures are so often exaggerated in scale and importance by the mainstream – offline – media that most reasonable folk tend instinctively to dismiss reports of their influence as hyperbole. Such was the case when Hillary Clinton devoted almost an entire speech to warning America of the insidious agenda of the ‘alt-right’, an internet coalition of racists, misogynists and Islamophobes allegedly in cahoots with the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.

Strangely, and unlike so many cyber phenomena reported in the media, the tribe to which Ms Clinton referred is notable for being very real, or at least very widespread. Though there is no single agenda or set of principles agreed upon by the alt-right, there is certainly a general Weltanschauung strong and clear enough to gravitate like-minded people towards it. This worldview is well-described in the following YouTube comment taken from under a video of the Clinton speech: “We (the alt-right) are anti neo-libs. That is the only reason we are alternative. Neo-libs/cons have been the conservative mainstream since 9/11. We are a backlash against that. Neo-cons are not real right.”

By ‘neo-libs’ and ‘neo-cons’ (Neoliberals and Neoconservatives) the commenter is likely referring to a consensus known elsewhere as the ‘New World Order’, the 1%, or (vaguely) as ‘Zionism’.

Rumours of a 'New World Order' have gained currency on the right-wing fringe in recent years

Rumours of a ‘New World Order’ have gained currency on the right-wing fringe in recent years

These labels, although having little to do with each other in fact, are used as synonyms for the force that is actively shrinking the world into a liberal, multi-racial, multi-cultural free-trade zone, in yet another word – the force and ideology of globalisation.

The idea that conservatives should be pro-globalisation is actually a very recent one. Traditionally, as the alt-right notes, right-wing political thinkers have been strongly nativist and culturally protectionist. The shift in conservative thought, beginning during the Reagan-Thatcher era, to laissez faire globalism is attributed retrospectively to the influence of non-native forces, often (predictably) to that of the Jews (sometimes referred to in euphemism as ‘capitalists’/’big business’/’bankers’/’the banks’).

The alt-right wishes to return the conservative movement to where it was before that transition; before economics became more important as a right-wing principle than blood, soil and culture; that is, before paleo became neo.

The alt-right has no single birthplace, but there are nevertheless a few websites and forums indelibly associated with it. Prime among these sites is the Japanese-cultural forum 4chan and in particular the /pol/ (politically incorrect) messageboard. Here, a right-wing political consensus has become entrenched, often (but not always) expressed with dark humour, that has subsequently bled out into the wider internet universe, evidenced by the broad use of memes like Pepe the Frog as well as words and phrases like ‘degenerate’ and ‘dindu-nuffin’ (the latter invention being used to refer sarcastically to African-American criminality).

The English-language messageboard 4chan is commonly associated with the alt-right

The English-language messageboard 4chan is commonly associated with the alt-right

The alt-right is connected to, but distinct from, the ‘Dark Enlightenment’ phenomenon I have written about previously. Unlike the latter, the alt-right is more realistic and less philosophical. While the Dark Enlightenment recommends absurd initiatives like the abolition of democracy and the return of divinely-appointed’ Kings, the alt-right prefers to concern itself with more achievable and substantial ideas, such as the abolition of third-world (non-white) immigration, building an opposition to political Islam and degrading the influence of certain varieties of feminism. This down-to-earth-ness is a large part of the reason the alt-right, unlike the Dark Enlightenment, has become a force to be reckoned with.

I have no idea whether this site would or should be considered part of the alt-right blogosphere. I only know that it has never been so described – and certainly not by me. I am, in my estimation, far too moderate, too much of a bleeding heart, to integrate smoothly into that crowd.

Though I recognise that races exist, I have never been a racist or a racial nationalist. Though I accept that certain varieties of feminism have inflicted great damage upon Western civilisation, I am not opposed to the idea of sexual equality, nor dismissive of the disadvantages women still face around the world on account of their being female. Though I recognise that he has joined the right side of the Syrian civil war and made constructive and wise comments about the bombing of Libya, I do not support or make excuses for the authoritarian, anti-democratic administration of Vladimir Putin. And so on…  The alt-right is simply too alt for me.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is bellowed by many on the alt-right

Russian President Vladimir Putin is beloved by many on the alt-right

Is the movement as dangerous as Hillary Clinton is making out? The answer depends almost entirely on who is asking the question. If you’re a white, Christian, heterosexual male resident in the Western World, then the risk this movement presents to you is minimal. If, however, you are Jewish, homosexual, black, south Asian or atheist, I would be very cautious about taking the movement to heart.

There are decidedly ugly currents within the alt-right that are not adequately represented by its spokespeople. Milo Yiannopoulos, a Jewish-Greek homosexual, may well be regarded as the crown prince of the movement at present, but it does not follow that the general masses huddled under its banner agree with his lifestyle or look kindly upon his ethnicity. On the contrary, more often than not, the alt-right foot-soldier is loudly hostile to both Jews and homosexuality. If you require evidence of that, just spend an hour or two browsing the /pol/ board on 4chan yourself.

Anti-Semitism in particular runs through the alt-right like colours run through a stick of seaside rock. It is both below and behind it, providing a vital support to the worldview espoused by its adherents. The West is being taken over by foreign elements, they agree, because a hostile elite is conspiring against the natives. One need not refer to the hostile elite explicitly. Innuendo will do. Innuendo did the job in the thirties, too (sorry, Godwin).

A variant of the anti-Semitic 'happy merchant' meme

A variant of the anti-Semitic ‘happy merchant’ meme

I do admit that the alt-right is correct on some very important issues. On Islam, for example, the movement is reliably clear-headed and refreshingly consistent. On the virtues of a Trump administration, too, the movement is providing a much-needed counter-force to the almost universally anti-Trump mainstream media. The problem is the movement doesn’t seem to possess any kind of intellectual brake. It swerves habitually all over the place, sometimes finding itself on a main road and sometimes blindly ploughing through a field. This youthful unpredictability might make hopping on-board an attractive prospect for political thrill-seekers, but not for anyone else.

I suppose, if we must manufacture labels for ourselves, I am more of an alt-liberal than an alt-rightist. And I am not alone in that. There must be millions of people like me, scattered around the political spectrum, living unhappily in temporary ideological accommodation. It is high time we had a real home to go to.

D, LDN

Beck Vs. Trump – The Death of Abstract Patriotism

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Coulter addresses the Conservative Political Action conference (CPAC) in Washington

As you may have heard, conservative commentators Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity aren’t getting along with each other at the moment. Over the past few days, the two men have used their respective soapboxes to trade well-mannered – but cutting – pot-shots, all the more surprising for the fact the two were once close personal and ideological friends.

At the root of this newfound animosity lies the 2016 election and specifically the nomination and candidacy of Donald J. Trump,

Hannity, an employee of the Fox News Network, has thrown his lot behind Donald Trump’s presidential bid with great enthusiasm, becoming over time the most reliably pro-Trump voice on the mainstream media.

Glenn Beck, a former employee of the Fox News Network, has, by stark contrast, reacted to Trump’s nomination with damp-eyed despair and tremulous unease. On his popular ‘Blaze’ media network, Beck has repeatedly refused to endorse the businessman (despite considerable pressure from his subscribers) and argued passionately and consistently that Trump represents a grave threat to American stability and democracy, perhaps even greater than that posed by Hillary Clinton herself.

Glenn Beck's Blaze network has been one of the few conservative broadcasters to oppose Trump following his nomination

Glenn Beck’s Blaze network has been one of the few conservative broadcasters to oppose Trump following his nomination

This disagreement between Beck and Hannity (and by extension between Beck and Trump) represents in microcosm a much larger philosophical cleavage in the American conservative movement.

As must be clear to even the most casual political observer, Donald Trump is not a ‘conservative’ of the traditional American style – or at least not of the modern American style. True, he supports a strong military and emphasises patriotism and law and order, but he also opposes (or treats with suspicion) the growth of economic globalism and the concept and ideology of American foreign policy. True, he celebrates the record of past Republican greats like Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln, but he also trashes the record of recent Republican leaders like George W. Bush.

Trump is not a tribal Republican, or a tribal conservative. With his notion of ‘America First’, he is a self-conscious throwback to the old, pre-World War 2 American right-wing; the school of thought which argued that America is, for all its greatness, a country like any other country; that America is exceptional, but not so exceptional that it is duty-bound to make itself representative of the variety of the world.

Trump is also a much less religiously-minded candidate than recent conservative leaders. Though professedly a Christian, he does not make frequent references to his faith and nor does he frame his policies with religious language or support them with religious explanation.

Most importantly of all, Trump would appear to agree with the Old Right idea that America has an original and organic culture, distinct from and superior to those of other Western countries, which must be protected from the transformative effects of mass immigration.

Pro-Trump posters often feature Old-Right or 'nativist' language.

Pro-Trump posters often feature Old-Right or ‘nativist’ language.

Glenn Beck represents a very different breed of reactionary, as opposed to Trump’s way of thinking as can be imagined. A self-described constitutionalist and religious fundamentalist, Beck elevates only the most abstract and intangible aspects of America, prioritising concepts like faith, freedom and flag over real-world issues like demographics, economics and jobs. Beck adheres to and celebrates a philosophical-spiritual conception of America, while Trump bases his patriotism more-or-less in reality.

The United States has always been in some ways an experiment. Numerous eminent figures, from Thomas Paine and Ralph Waldo Emerson to Ronald Reagan and Christopher Hitchens, have discussed America as a concept and ideology as well as a flesh and blood nation. This is quite unique, globally considered. Nobody discusses (seriously at least) the idea of Austria, the concept of Algeria, or the meaning of Burkina Faso. America is different. It can be (and often is) thrown into the abstract.

America is ‘freedom’. America is an ‘experiment in self-government by the people’. America is the ‘material form of the constitution – and thus of the enlightenment which produced it’. And so on. These lofty philosophical conceptions of America have dominated its politics for centuries.

As an article on the right-wing website RedState put it: “The United States is a unique animal. Not only is it a country, but it’s also an idea. People around the world don’t just dream of coming to America, they dream of becoming Americans. Many have and continue to risk their lives to do so. It’s one thing to risk your life escaping the Soviet Union, Communist China or even Communist Cuba. Those people were or are running from something, trying to go anywhere else. It’s another thing altogether to risk one’s life to come to a place… And that place is more often than not, America…America is somewhat unique in the history of mankind – or at least in the last 2,000 years. People may dream of moving to Paris for the romance and the food, but they don’t dream of becoming a Frenchman… One almost has to go back to the Roman Empire to find something similar to the idea of America. There, outsiders not only dreamed of living in Rome, they also dreamed of becoming Roman… and could do so. The idea of becoming a Roman citizen actually meant something beyond just living in the Empire or being subject to its laws.”

The United States Constitution

The United States Constitution

Trump represents, perhaps more than anything else, a dramatic deviation from this way of thinking.

Trump sharpens America, with everything he says, into something tangible and worldly. He considers America with reference to how it has been and can be, as opposed to how it might be on some ethereal, philosophical plane of thought. He is a realist – and like all realists he is inevitably accused by his opponents of being ‘crude’ and ‘simplistic’. America, for Trump, is not an academic thesis. It is a community of living, breathing human beings. Those who (like this blogger) possess a degree in politics and economics dislike this idea precisely because it isn’t something you need a degree in politics and economics to understand.

As the reader will recall, during the primary contest for the Republican nomination, Trump’s only real rival was Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a man who had been, prior to Trump’s lightning ascendency, the favoured choice of the party’s grassroots. Cruz represents, even more than Beck, a patriot of America at its most intangible. His political rallies during the primary season were hardly political rallies at all. They were more like Baptist conventions or prayer meetings. Cruz talked about salvation and virtue more than he talked about tax and immigration. He referenced the aspirations of the constitution more than he referenced the aspirations of the voters themselves. He spoke almost exclusively about America as idea. And the voters were fine with that, but only until Trump offered something more down-to-earth.

Texas senator Ted Cruz speaking at a political rally

Texas senator Ted Cruz speaking at a political rally in 2015

The US constitution that Cruz and Beck so adore is a fine set of principles. Let there be no confusion about that. It is not, however, a piece of holy script which should, in every case, over-rule the lessons of empirical reality. It is also unhealthy (and rather sinister) to experience or suggest an emotional response to it. Glenn Beck has been known to cry when talking of the constitution. He has spoken favourably of writers like W. Cleo Skousen, a Mormon fundamentalist who implied in his bestselling work ‘The 5000 Year Leap’ that the constitution was a perfect, divinely authored document, almost as infallible as the Bible itself. This is fanatical thinking. It is madness. And it is no wonder in this sense that Beck backed Cruz, with all his lip-trembling devotion to America as sentiment, as philosophy, as spiritual idea.

Trump, like Samuel Huntingdon before him, understands that America is not an abstraction, unresponsive to changes in worldly reality, but a material something, as vulnerable to worldly forces as any other material something. Unlike the idea of America, the reality of America will not necessarily be the same thing if the people are replaced over time by mass immigration. As Herder proposed, a nation’s culture is the product of its people, not the other way around. The changing situation on the ground in America matters immensely as to what is to become of America.

Slowly but surely, and despite a long tradition of supposing otherwise, Americans are coming to regard their country as something real, substantial, mortal and delicate. Even if Trump goes on to lose in November, that genie will not easily be forced back into the bottle.

D, LDN.

Phoney War: Why a French Burkini Ban Would Be Meaningless

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Burkini

In September, 1939, after the Nazis had triumphantly rolled their tank battalions over the corpse of the Polish defence forces, there began a period now referred to by historians as the ‘phoney war’.

This period – which lasted roughly eight months before terminating dramatically at the Battle of France in 1940 – saw little to no actual military activity in Europe, despite the war being officially underway and there being no diplomatic solution considered feasible by European leaders.

That is not to say that nothing happened. There were, of course, war-like gestures by both sides, such as the digging of trenches, the erection of barbed wire fences and other military deterrents etc… What was missing, what made the war phoney, was the absence of any pro-active initiatives, any real engagement of the enemy, either with policy or force of arms.

In regard to Europe’s confrontation with Islamism, we have been locked in a period of phoney war for over ten years now. In this period, no real battles have been fought, or at least none to any great consequence. Only war-like gestures have been made. Nothing big. Nothing loud. Nothing enough to scare the pigeons.

The burkini ban proposed by the French government last week is one such gesture. Though the ban (which has since been blocked in the French courts) was greeted initially by some in the cultural-defence community as bold and meaningful, I cannot for the life of me think why.

Woman wearing the 'Burkini' swimsuit in Nice, France

Woman wearing the ‘burkini’ swimsuit in Nice, France

The burkini ban was simply a token move by the French government designed to convince the smaller-skulled among the French public that it cares, that it is willing to do something about the threat of Islamisation.

By itself, the ban would have done nothing at all to improve security, guarantee the secular character of French society, or even liberate the women concerned from their religious obligations. Indeed, it may have even robbed them of liberty, since, given that Muslim women are governed ultimately by their husbands, such women would almost certainly have been ‘advised’ to avoid the beach rather than risk breaking Quranic law.

The ban would contribute nothing. It was nothing – nothing pretending to be something.

To avoid the charge of picking on the French here, it should be noted that many such token gestures have been enacted or proposed by the British and American governments also. I can still recall the fanfare and fake controversy when the Home Office announced that it would be no longer acceptable for Muslim women to wear the veil in their passport photos. Imagine that…

The Niqab - often referred to as the 'Burka'

The Niqab – often referred to as the ‘Burka’. No legal restrictions on Muslim dress have been successfully enforced in Western nations.

Whatever explanations they manufacture for their apathy, the truth is that the governments of the West are simply too scared to take any serious action to combat the Islamist threat. And, to be fair, it isn’t difficult to imagine why they would be.

If the reader is on Facebook – and has a representative selection of friends on this site – he/she will have observed with dismay the absurd intensity of the backlash against the burkini initiative these past few days.

Self-defined Liberals, both in France and outside of it, have branded the idea ‘fascist’, ‘totalitarian’, and (of course – drum roll please….) ‘RACIST”. The idea was even said by some to violate the rules of feminism and sexual equality – including, it should be noted, by Muslims themselves, who ordinarily have scant regard for the notion of female empowerment.

In the Independent newspaper columnist Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan went further than most by pressing the accusations of racism and feminist betrayal into one incoherent lump, arguing that French feminism is itself explicitly rooted in “colonialism and imperialism.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong,” she wrote, “but I thought this was a pretty black and white thing we feminists were agreed on. An article of faith if you will: Thou Shalt Leave Women To Do As They Will With Their Own Bodies. France, often posturing itself as the beacon of feminism because apparently feminism was born of the French Revolution… should surely know this article more than most. And yet, here it is – the French state itself – forcing women to wear or not wear certain clothes! Incredible!…Muslim women are posited always as victims of their dress who require liberation from the French authorities. And here’s the catch: this French desire to liberate Muslim women and the positing of Muslimness as ‘oppositional’ to Frenchness has a long and bloody history (in the colony of Algeria).”

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken in support of the Burkini ban

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken in support of the burkini ban

The comment section beneath this article contains numerous criticisms of Khan’s leaky reasoning, but just as many agreeing voices. Khan is, furthermore, in the solid majority within the closed world of the Western press and the activist mainstream it feeds.

In France, Britain and America, protests against the burkini ban have been staged outside French embassies and cultural centres. On the internet, petitions have been drawn up and generously endorsed with signatures from right-thinking undergraduates and bearded Guardianistas.

If this timid, pointless gesture cannot pass into law without triggering such hysteria, one can well understand why our governments are averse to doing anything more profound.

I will not here deal with the specific arguments for and against the burkini ban in France (or elsewhere), since the initiative is too meaningless and tokenistic to merit our consideration. Instead, let us consider (for contrast) a meaningful, serious policy; one with which the governments of the West could take the fight to the Islamist forces threatening our way of life and physical existence. To do this we must necessarily turn away from Europe and look to America.

The Donald Trump speech I referenced last week (which addressed the issue of US foreign policy) advertised many novel and impressive strategies for pushing back against the Islamist ranks. Of these, one stood out to me as particularly commonsensical: namely, the drawing up of an ideological test for prospective migrants to the United States prior to their admission. This brave idea is logical and reasonable not just for the US, but for the entire Western world.

Donald Trump addresses supporters in Ohio

Donald Trump addresses supporters in Ohio

As Trump explained, this would be no different in practice to the tests used (effectively) by many Western nations during the Cold War. As with Communism during the Soviet era, Islam (Trump still insists, for political reasons, on calling it ‘radical Islam’) represents a massive and feasible existential threat to the social and governmental norms of all Western countries. It is only natural, therefore, that the West should take the same precautions now as were put to use then.

What would such an ideological test look like? No-one knows for certain (Trump has the habit of being rather vague). I can only say at this juncture what I think it should look like.

Here are some suggested questions for Trump’s ideological test (and I write these fully in the knowledge that they are too extreme even for Donald Trump’s campaign):

Q1: Do you recognise, understand and accept a causal relationship between the strength of Islam in a country and the backwardness of that country?

Answer required for a pass: Yes.

Q2: Do you recognise, understand and accept that what attracts you to the Western world is the cultural superiority (freedoms, secularism and sophistication, etc.) of the Western world?

Answer required for a pass: Yes.

Q3: Do you recognise, understand and accept that those things you wish to escape by leaving the Muslim world are the natural and inevitable by-products of Islamic culture?

Answer required for a pass: Yes.

Q4: Do you believe women, homosexuals and followers of non-Islamic religions should have the same rights and freedoms as anyone else?

Answer required for a pass: Yes.

And finally: Q5: Do you swear on the Quran to put your commitment to the liberal, bohemian values of the West over and above any commitment you retain to the Muslim faith?

Answer required for a pass: Yes.

While imperfect and incomplete, I think this little questionnaire would go some way in filtering out the more honest Islamists from among the migrant hordes. Lying (a virtue in Islam) is obviously a possibility, but, even in that case, such an interrogation would nevertheless succeed in putting unwelcome thoughts in previously closed minds.

When the phoney war is finally over, and when the competing sides are clearly identified and ready for an honest confrontation, I believe Muslim immigration to Europe and America will be outlawed entirely. But we are not at that stage yet. The war of gesture vs. gesture still has a lot of life left in it – not to mention appeal.

All people, of all backgrounds, are naturally inclined to oppose confrontation and support the status quo. Even during WWII, the British, German and French populations were almost certainly relieved by the break in hostilities offered by the phoney war. They knew deep down that it couldn’t last. They knew deep down what the Nazis were really about. But they wanted space to breathe, to continue life as normal. It is no different now.

Ultimately, of course, the same thing will get us out of our comfortable trenches as got the French and British armies out of theirs in 1940. We will have no choice.

D, LDN

Japan Visa & Trump Update.

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Dear all,

I’ve been occupied this past week with obtaining a visa for Japan and so haven’t had the time to write anything of worth.

I did, though, find the time to watch Donald Trump’s foreign policy address in Ohio and so will briefly offer some thoughts on that.

This speech, in my opinion, was exactly the kind Trump should have been making from the beginning of his campaign. He was focussed, restrained, reasoned and lucid, never once lowering the tone with an unnecessary insult or boring the gathered with a worn-out anecdote. He didn’t insult anyone in playground terms, make any crazed accusations, etc… He stayed on-topic from beginning to end.

If you haven’t seen the speech yet, I thoroughly recommend watching it:

The press reaction the address has been tellingly muted. Unlike Trump’s previous speeches, there was no off-the-wall remark for the media to get their teeth into. Instead, they were forced to analyse the actual content and themes of the speech, to treat each point seriously, and offer, if they could, a reasonable and coherent rebuttal of them.

And they couldn’t, of course. The plan of action Trump outlined was close to perfect. In particular, his plan to introduce an ideological test for prospective migrants and travellers from the Muslim world (as well as a temporary ban on immigration from certain countries) will be hugely popular with every patriotic, thinking American.

It would be wonderful if the speech in Ohio marks a new beginning for the Trump campaign. If he can keep up this new style for the next 3 months, Hillary Clinton is toast.

D, LDN

 

Is Trump Imploding – and What Would It Mean If He Is?

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According to the pundits of the mainstream media, it looks increasingly likely that the US election in November will be a landslide victory for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her only genuine rival, Donald Trump, is all but out,  they say, having wrecked his chances of winning over the ‘moderate majority’ with a series of astonishing lapses of judgement and discipline.

I wish I could say with certainty that these pundits are wrong, but I can’t. To do so would be to place hope over observable reality.

The truth is the past fortnight has been by far the worst of Donald Trump’s short (if dazzling) political career. In rally after rally, the New York mogul has allowed his tongue to get the better of his political intelligence, making statements that can at the very best be described as ‘ill-advised’ and at worst as ‘politically suicidal’. 

And of these clangers, surely none seems destined for greater infamy than the following comment the Republican nominee made in Wilmington, North Carolina on Tuesday, August 9th: “If she (Hillary) gets to pick her (supreme court) judges, (there’s) nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said,  before adding, “although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Now, there are two ways in which this remark can be interpreted. One interpretation – one that gives Mr Trump the benefit of the doubt – is that he was simply suggesting ‘2nd amendment people’ might be able to organise into a legal, peaceful political force and persuade the Clinton regime to pick pro-gun judges. Another interpretation – that which the media has uniformly preferred – is that Mr Trump was suggesting – jokingly or not – that pro-gun activists assassinate Ms Clinton before she gets the chance to pick any judges.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is gaining in momentum following a series of Trump controversies.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is gaining in momentum following a series of Trump controversies.

It doesn’t really matter which interpretation is correct – at least politically speaking. The remark, whatever its meaning, was stupidly vague, needlessly provocative and incredibly unwise.

Donald Trump is not the idiot many liberals make him out to be. He is a clever, competent businessman, a graduate of the prestigious Wharton School of Finance and the son of successful professionals. He must have known as soon as the remark left his lips that it was the vocalisation of a grave error of judgement.

Personally, I do not believe Donald Trump would ever sincerely advocate political violence. It just isn’t the kind of man he is. Those people who know him personally  are unanimous in their testimony that the billionaire is. at heart, a kindly, charitable and honest person; much softer and gentler in private than in public. He is not a Putin, in other words, let alone a Hitler.

But even his supporters must be honest enough to admit that remarks of this kind are a gift to the opposition. Even we should acknowledge (in the spirit of tough love) that if such provocations continue to issue from Trump’s mouth, the November election is almost certainly destined to result in a Clinton rout.

As I said at the top, the media (both in America and Europe) have been quick to interpret the recent controversies as signalling the death knell for Trump’s entire campaign. In the words of the (liberal and pro-Hillary) New York Times: “The effort to save Mr. Trump from himself has plainly failed. He has repeatedly signaled to his advisers and allies his willingness to change and adapt, but has grown only more volatile and prone to provocation since then, making comments that have been seen as inciting violence and linking his political opponents to terrorism… Advisers who once hoped a Pygmalion-like transformation would refashion a crudely effective political showman into a plausible American president now increasingly concede that Mr. Trump may be beyond coaching. He has ignored their pleas and counsel as his poll numbers have dropped… And (even) Mr. Trump has begun to acknowledge to associates and even in public that he might lose. In an interview on CNBC on Thursday, he said he was prepared to face defeat.”

Trump rally in Orlando, Florida.

Trump rally in Orlando, Florida.

Of course, no-one can really say for sure whether it is ‘all over’ for Trump at this stage. It is still far too early to jump to any conclusions. Nevertheless, at the time of writing, Hillary Clinton enjoys a terrifying 8 point lead over the Republican in most national polls. That lead represents a massive turnaround from just a few weeks ago, when Trump led in most polls by an average of 2 points. To be honest – and there is no point in being dishonest – this looks very grim indeed.

We – the Western World as a whole – simply cannot afford for Trump to lose in November. If the New Yorker fails to resuscitate his campaign in the next three months, America will find itself led by one of the most corrupt, opinion-less and manipulative executives in living memory.

Let there be not a doubt in your mind, reader; Hillary Rodham Clinton is considerably more dangerous to America’s well-being than Barack Obama ever was.

Unlike the current CIC, Mrs Clinton is not an ideologue. She is something far worse than that. She is an opportunist, a beneficiary of funds and a puppet of the special interests that have so corrupted American politics for decades. She will not, as president, do as she wants. She will do as she’s told. And that (in my opinion) is a million times more unpredictable, dangerous and sinister than the stable, pedestrian liberalism of Barack Hussein Obama.

Barack Obama has been far less damaging to America than Hillary will be.

Barack Obama has been far less damaging to America than Hillary promises to be.

In Trump’s own words: “Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and even theft… She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund, doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others… in exchange for cash, pure and simple. Pure and simple.”

At several of his rallies Mr Trump has listed many of the foreign countries known to have lent material support to the Clinton campaign – states which include such beacons of liberty as Algeria, Morocco, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. What, I ask, do they have in common?

Like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton is notorious for refusing to use the words ‘radical Islam’ when talking of the crimes of ISIS, preferring to use more culturally vague terms like ‘terrorism’, ‘murder’, ‘criminality’ and ‘violence’. Perhaps the list of nations backing the Clinton effort goes some way in explaining this, but not all the way.

The UAE is friendly with the Clinton campaign.

The UAE is friendly with the Clinton campaign.

While Clinton is not – as Trump needlessly alleged – the ‘co-founder’ of ISIS, she is nevertheless on the same page as ISIS in regard to certain vital regional issues. Clinton is, for example, quite fanatical in her insistence that Bashar al-Assad (a man who has done more to combat ISIS than anyone) is the greatest evil currently active in Syria and has spoken more often in criticism of his regime than of the band of maniacs currently at war with it.

This stance would appear to be in sync with a school of thought devised in the murkier corridors of the neo-conservative movement; one which argues that ISIS, far from being a grave threat to America, may ultimately be good for it; that if ISIS can overthrow the Assad regime, even by instituting a medieval theocracy in its place, then that will benefit the US by knocking out a long-standing threat to its regional interests  – (by which they presumably mean the Assad government’s stockpile of chemical and biological weapons, some – but not all – of which have been dismantled).

This is all hypothetical, of course; but given the intransigence of the Clinton campaign, we can only be hypothetical. And that, in many essential ways, is just the point, isn’t it? 

Nothing is for certain with Clinton. She has no clear agenda. Everything about her is blurred behind a film of dust, money and Middle-Eastern smog.

So please, Mr Trump – play a smarter game. Stop giving the press exactly what they want. Stop feeding them headlines. Stop lighting unnecessary fires. There is no honour in losing on principle in this election. The stakes are considerably too high for that.

D, LDN

Milo Yiannopoulos: The Good and the Bad

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Few stars are rising faster at the moment than that of conservative writer/broadcaster Milo Yiannopoulos. Virtually unknown just three years ago, the Greco-British journalist, 32, is now fast approaching the kind of iconoclastic status attained by such writers as Gore Vidal and HL Mencken (both of whom expended considerably more time and effort to achieve it).

What can explain this success?

Well – for one thing, Yiannopoulos is a quite formidable debater, and it is for this talent that he is primarily known. Type in ‘Milo Yiannopolous’ into YouTube and many of the videos returned to you will have titles containing words like ‘destroys’, ‘eviscerates’, ‘owns’ and so on… These are not exaggerations. Yiannopoulos has a unique way of making the people he engages seem naive, foolish and weak-minded. He is even – I have found – able to achieve this effect when the other person is in the right; and there is surely no greater testament to a debater’s skill than that.

Yiannopoulos is not merely good with words, he is good with emotions, presenting his side of any argument in a relaxed, self-assured and matter-of-fact style that naturally makes the arguments of the other side seem less certain, more bizarre and fundamentally weaker. In this sense he reminds me in speech of Mark Steyn in print. Both put to use the same rhetorical trick – the insinuation – quite deliberate – that they know they are right. Both treat contrary points of view as amusing, forgivable, even charming eccentricities. Yiannopoulos and Steyn are not trying to make the other side look stupid, so they have us believe, they are trying are help them understand reality – and by arguing this way, they do make them look stupid. There is surely no better way of wounding an intellectual’s reputation than to sympathise with his failures and politely excuse his errors.

Yiannopoulos’s writing, though less spectacular than his debating, still passes with ease any quality test for the journalistic mainstream. Here is a representative excerpt from an article taking down the goodwill-bloated ‘astrophysicist’ Neil Degrasse Tyson:

“Neil deGrasse Tyson is a philistine with no love of learning except for popularisations and oversimplifications that serve his political purposes… (He) constantly situates himself in the big brain league, but he has done nothing in his life to demonstrate that he belongs there — and a lot to suggest he doesn’t…. (He) claims to have been “mentored” by Carl Sagan, for instance. Yet it appears this “mentorship” boils down to little more than a couple of traded letters. If Tyson thinks that qualifies as mentorship, I wonder what he’d call my nocturnal liaisons with other men who share his skin colour. Adoption?… As dumb as Tyson is, his fans are even more preposterously thick, which is probably to be expected given that they’re all liberals. But the extent to which they hoover up and retweet his contradictory and brainless provocations is matched only by the hilarity of the occasional social justice car crash, in which the politics of grievance that Tyson likes to encourage comes back to bite him.”

But neither Yiannopoulos’s skill in writing or debating can fully explain his meteoric ascent. Beyond the mechanics of his profession, Yiannopoulos is himself remarkable. For one thing, he is gay. Indeed, if homosexuality can be graded, he is very gay; audaciously, flamboyantly so. He is also Greek, Jewish and Catholic. This exotic quality, brim-full of apparent contradiction (Gay, Jewish, Catholic, Conservative – are not words used to being in each other’s company), has combined with Yiannopoulos’s oratorical (and occasionally bitchy) style to produce a ready-made object of media fascination. Yiannopoulos gets ratings up in a way no other public commentator has since the death of Christopher Hitchens, a person with whom the journalist bears many important similarities.

Like Hitchens, Yiannopoulos expresses with intelligence arguments traditionally expressed with stupidity. Though I do sympathise with many right-wing concepts, it is nevertheless a fact of politics that the conservative side of the political spectrum attracts more dullards than the liberal side. Many – perhaps the majority – of those inclined to oppose Islam, for example, do so in a crude, yobbish style that puts off the discerning classes and fails to excite anyone else.

Yiannopoulos is successful precisely because he refines gut-sentiments into intelligent arguments. People watch Yiannopoulos debate Islam on television and scream ‘That’s what I think!” or “That’s what I’ve always said!”. He articulates feelings many desperately want to – but cannot – put into words.

So, that’s the good. Now for the bad.

Despite the considerable talents I have described, Yiannopoulos is not without his faults. He has, for one thing, consistently demonstrated a worrying lack of intellectual discipline; a tendency to seek controversy (for its own sake) over positive political impact. On twitter the writer has repeatedly engaged in pointless arguments with entirely apolitical pop-cultural figures, most recently Leslie Jones, the simple-minded comedienne and star of the much-maligned 2016 Ghostbusters remake. After a brief back and forth over various trifles, Milo made a joke implying that Jones (who is admittedly unfeminine looking) is actually a man. This comment then led to Yiannopoulos’s twitter account being deleted by the administrators of the site – (he is still banned).

Was this necessary? Did it serve a purpose? I don’t think so.

Like this author, Yiannopoulos is an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump’s 2016 bid for the US Presidency and has written countless articles explaining this support, most of which have been reasoned and compelling. But on this matter, too, he has a tendency to drift into inexplicable weirdness. Yiannopoulos often refers to Mr Trump in a sexualised voice as ‘Daddy’ and once stated that the “trashier” the Republican nominee becomes the more he loves him.

Now, I have no moral objection to any of this, but surely such unseriousness runs the risk of undoing the good work the journalist has done elsewhere. Once again I ask, is it necessary? Does it serve a purpose? Does Milo wish to be a neo-Orwellian truth-teller or a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother? Christopher Hitchens or Pete Burns? One cannot combine the two aspirations indefinitely.

The atheist Voltaire once remarked that the only prayer he had ever offered was ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous’. I can well imagine Islamists and Leftists offering this same plea to the Almighty in view of current political circumstances. On the issue of Islam – as on many others – we are so far in the right that a misstep on our part is probably the best the opposition can hope for. Milo and others would do well to bear this in mind.

On balance, I am of the opinion that Milo Yiannopoulos can be a very effective soldier for the anti-Islamist cause. His oratorical skill, humour and minority-status make him a very difficult target for the Left to hit with their favoured weaponry. They cannot possibly call Milo, a gay man of partially Jewish descent, irrational or paranoid for worrying about the advance of ISIS. They cannot possibly accuse him of being a Nazi, a White nationalist, or a possessor of ‘privilege’ (the Left’s favourite buzzword of the moment). Milo’s exotic qualities form a wall of confusion around his arguments, giving them a better chance of being considered for what they mean rather than as an extension of who formed them.

And while there are those who will object outright to the inclusion of an actively gay man in the conservative movement, one must strive to remember that the threat of Islam is so broad that it will necessarily require an equally broad coalition to prevent its success.

If you find the right’s embrace of Yiannopoulos strange, you’ll be even more surprised by what the future holds.

D, LDN.

Staring into the Abyss: Germany’s Sad Decline

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An article in the Daily Telegraph last week reported that a group of Muslim men recently swam ashore onto a nudist beach in Germany and abused the women relaxing there, calling one of them a ‘sinner’ and a ‘slut’, and going on to threaten everyone gathered in a mixture of German and Arabic. At the foot of the same article, the reporter offered a larger context for the incident, recounting a worrying list of related events in the EU’s largest nation over the last few weeks:

“(First) a 27-year-old Syrian refugee blew himself up outside a bar in Bavaria in what was described as an attempted Islamist attack which injured twelve people….On the same day, a pregnant woman was hacked to death by a Syrian man in the German town of Reutlingen… Last week, a teenage refugee from Afghanistan attacked passengers on a regional train in Bavaria with an axe, seriously injuring four of them, after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State in a video posted online….(Finally) the worst attack was carried out by a German-Iranian teenager who gunned down nine people outside a shopping centre in Munich on 22 July.”

And shortly after the article cited was published, a suitcase loaded with deodorant cans exploded outside an immigration processing centre in Zirndorf in Bavaria. It is not yet clear whether the package was designed as a makeshift bomb or whether the incident merely represents a (very bizarre) coincidence.

This is happening, lest we forget, in Germany; an economic powerhouse and one of the most important countries in the Western World. This is happening in the homeland of Kant, Nietzsche, Heine, Goethe, Planck and Beethoven. This is not happening in Iraq or Somalia. This is happening in Germany.

In response to this unprecedented chaos, Angela Merkel, the woman to whom the most blame belongs, has been stone-facedly defiant. Against all evidence and logic, the Chancellor claimed the open-door asylum policy she initiated just requires more time to work; that integration, though a slow process, will eventually bear desirable fruit; that terrorism and the beginnings of a widespread civil conflict are simply the birth pangs of a new and better order for natives and immigrants alike.

There is no way of changing the mind of someone this deluded. If she truly believes what she is saying, Chancellor Merkel has succumbed to the kind of magical thinking rarely encountered outside of psychiatric wards and millennial cults. If she truly believes that one million Syrian and Afghan single men, almost all of them fleeing nothing more than the natural consequences of their own culture – a culture to which they remain perversely wedded – will in time blend seamlessly into Northern European civilisation, then she is ill and dangerous; unfit to lead even a scout troop.

But she is not, sadly, untypical of the German political elite.

As a recent editorial noted: “For historical and understandable (reasons), German politicians are wary of acknowledging, first, that there are questions about whether all immigrants can smoothly integrate into Western societies and accept Western values and, secondly, that some voters have legitimate worries about the arrival in their country of people whose attitudes seem far removed from their own.”

It is perhaps this historical handicap that Islamists are pinning their hopes on. And it’s a tactic that may just work.

How many times have you heard in the UK or US that anti-Muslim sentiment is ‘reminiscent’ of German propaganda against the Jews in the 1920’s/30’s? How many times have you heard in the UK or US that ‘Islamophobic’ political leaders are ‘reminiscent’ of Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler? Now think how successful such slurs have been in these countries; how they have successfully made taboos out of commonsensical concepts and obvious realities.

In Germany, a country still overcast by the chimneys and moral blackness of the Holocaust, this is a hundred times more effective. Here, the Left possesses all the trump cards they require to shut down sensible debate and set the mainstream narrative all must follow to get a public hearing. They did this successfully after Cologne, and they will do it successfully after every additional outrage. The horror of Hitlerian ideology is such that anything seems preferable to agreeing with a single part of it – even if the part in question was never Hitler’s to trademark in the first place; such as patriotism and the will to national-cultural self-defence.

The backdrop against which all this is happening is worthy of noting. Just a few months ago, the toxic pseudo-memoir ‘Mein Kampf’ was republished in Germany (albeit in prohibitively bulky, heavily annotated form) for the first time since the Second World War. After less than a fortnight, the volume found itself on the national bestsellers list, and public interest in Hitler and the Nazis spiked on internet search engines.

In a loosely related development, the leadership of the main patriotic opposition party in Germany – Alternative for Germany, or AfD – has recently been dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism, a charge that is vigorously denied by party officials, but to which much press attention continues to be dedicated.

The ghost of Hitler is rising again in Germany. And whether this ghost is illusory or substantial matters little. Its effect is all that counts. The Muslims currently terrorising the country have no greater ally than this national curse. It may well prove to be the deciding factor as to whether Germany steps back from the abyss or slips irrecoverably into the darkness.

What can be done about this in the short term? Well – for one thing, the German people must make sure to remove Angela Merkel from power. Anyone else will do for now. By removing Merkel a message will be sent from the public to the political class that the policies the Chancellor has initiated are unacceptable and democratically illegimate.

As to who would make the best replacement for Merkel, my first choice would obviously be Frauke Petry, the beautiful and strong-minded leader of the AfD. With that being said, any accusations of anti-Semitism must be fully addressed by the AfD leadership if international alliances are to be protected and maintained. Given Germany’s recent history, some back-bending by its patriots is only to be expected, even if it seems on occasion like an excessive and unnecessary exercise.

It would be hyperbolic and unconvincing to call this crisis, as some are, the ‘end’ of Germany. It isn’t necessarily the end of anything. It is however a crisis with the potential to trigger the unravelling of modern Germany’s ideological consensus; the progressive and pleasant Weltanschauung, built upon rubble and regret, behind one of the longest periods of affluent stability in Germany’s short and chequered history.

D, LDN