We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

In short, by 2013 the Republican Establishment had proved itself so alien to the domestic concerns of that majority of Americans who dislike the direction in which the ruling class is pushing it, that the party was becoming irrelevant. Despite the Bush Administration’s disastrous commitment to Nation-Building however, the memory of Ronald Reagan’s and Dwight Eisenhower’s forceful, levelheaded patriotism still lingered about the party.

But by urging war on Syria more vehemently than Obama, the Republican Establishment may have finished off the Republican Party, as we know it. Surely it has discredited itself.

Angelo Codevilla

20 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • rfichoke

    The part about Reagan is important. A lot of the older Conservatives raised during the Cold War became enamored of the emotional appeals on behalf of dissidents like Sharansky and Solzhenitsyn. There was a lot of rhetoric about the inherent desire for individual liberty and so on. I think this self-satisfying rhetorical candy became the goal for a lot of people, divorced from the context that made sense at one time.

    I think that’s what I’m seeing here with local supporters of Lindsey Graham and John McCain.

  • Larry Sheldon

    The GOP needs to paint its elephant white. And that is NOT a racist remark.

  • Paul Marks

    The memory of Ronald Reagan is rather selective.

    After all he reacted to the blowing up of hundred of marines in Lebanon (by the Iranian puppet “Part of God” that is fighting for Assad today) by RUNNING AWAY.

    Surely the occupation of Lebanon by Syria and the direct murder of hundreds of American citizens (the marines) by an organisation allied with Syria, was far more of a justification for war (with Syria and its puppet master Iran) than anything Assad may or may not be doing today.

    As for the “Republican establishment” – few people take any notice of them.

    As far a most people are concerned (even leftists who read Time magazine) the voice of the Republican party is Senator Rand Paul.

    And I rather doubt that Senator Rand Paul has been beating the war drums in relation to Syria.

    Whether “the establishment” like it or not – Rand Paul has become “the Republican party” in the eyes of most people.

  • CaptDMO

    I’m curious which subscriptions Angelo Codevilla has harvested such “interpretations” of historical psychology from.
    Slogans indeed.
    Intellectually indefensible if subjected to “peer” review, In My Humble Opinion.
    Of course, I’m biased.

    “But by urging war on Syria more vehemently than Obama, the Republican Establishment may have…”etc

    I’m going to need a list of who ELSE that includes. Talking head pundits, EX-politicians, and EX-appointed “advisors” excluded of course.

    “Paul Marx: ” Whether “the establishment” like it or not – Rand Paul has become “the Republican party” in the eyes of most people.

    Well, the “New Republicans” anyway, but we have another name for the de facto “NOT business as usual” Third Party in the US, don’t we?

  • Paul Marks

    Rand Paul is indeed the leading voice for those who want a smaller (and less interventionist) government.

    Now let us see who supports him – and who does not.

  • Laird

    “Rand Paul is indeed the leading voice for those who want a smaller (and less interventionist) government.”

    True enough, I suppose (although I would have used “a” rather than “the” leading voice), but he is far from “the ‘Republican party’ in the eyes of most people.” I think most people view him much as they did (do) his father: as a rather eccentric voice of a certain body of thought within the Republican party. Yes, there is talk of him running for President in 2016 (I think that’s premature, and he isn’t experienced enough, but then that was also true of Obama so what do I know?), but he is definitely out of the mainstream among Republicans. He gets a lot of attention in the (leftist) precisely because he is a maverick and doesn’t toe the party line. How much those within the party (and its supporters) listen to him is another matter entirely, though. Frankly, my opinion is, not much.

  • Richard Thomas

    Rand Paul may have little more traction as he’s a bit more hawkish than his father (though I suspect that may be a calculated ploy). It seems many republicans have a bit of a blind spot where it comes to the military not being aligned with principles of liberty.

  • Richard Thomas

    And for what it’s worth, since this whole Syria thing came up, I’ve heard a lot of Republicans saying exactly the same thing that they were dissing Ron Paul for saying not 12 months ago.

  • Whether “the establishment” like it or not – Rand Paul has become “the Republican party” in the eyes of most people.

    Well I wish you were right, Paul, but I think not. I can only hope that one day that is indeed the case.

  • RRS

    Some of Professor Codevilla’s later pieces (not his major works) seem to me to have lacked broad foundational analysis, or have involved the construction of straw men, without identifying the straws used (or their source).

    It is probably true that at the various state and local levels there are “Establishment” groups which dominate the organization of the Republican Party and selections of candidates. This is probably particularly true in the states consistently dominated by significant (overwhelming)Democrat majorities in both state and federal representations.

    By current observations, it is hard to identify a national “Republican Establishment” of the type on which the Professor bases His rhetoric.

    The rhetoric is clever, but one must be careful to recognize the possible flaws in its foundations – the clay feet of the idol.

  • rfichoke

    I don’t think it’s a calculated ploy on Rand’s part. He realizes there is some middle ground between the American military as “preeminent guardians of freedom and democracy” and “imperialist capitalist running dogs.” It has been difficult to take a position between those two extremes for a long time in public discourse.

  • rfichoke

    RRS is right about the state and local establishment. But it’s pretty bad even in reliably Conservative states like mine. Since the GOP is nearly uncontested, everyone who wants a piece of the pie joins the party.

    The national establishment is mostly corrupt local people who worked their way up, and professional campaign consultants who live in the DC media bubble. All of their friends are leftist media insiders and academics. I don’t think it’s far off to say that the New York Times and Washington Post editorial pages set national policy.

  • PapayaSF

    After all he reacted to the blowing up of hundred of marines in Lebanon (by the Iranian puppet “Part of God” that is fighting for Assad today) by RUNNING AWAY.

    Well, if you don’t count the shelling by the US Navy.

  • Larry Sheldon

    I think I see an awful lot of “cherry picking” and reductio ad absurdum here.

    The Republican party (what ever that turns out to mean) and the GOP, RNC, John McCain, et cetera et alia does not speak for me and vice versa.

    I have neither skills nor patience enough to run it all to ground, but let me pick one area as an example of what I mean.

    “Republicans [or name referring to a Republican [are|is] [for|against] bombing Syria and have toggled from being [against|for] bombing Syria.”

    The words “bombing Syria” have no useful definition. Some people are in favor of conducting war against the human rights violators (I was one until my betters decided to piss away all of our resources in such things as bird and bat killing machines, shutting down our excellent medical care system, and saving polar bears from penguin predation).

    Some people are in favor of helping the Islamist/Communist forces take over yet another government and thereby gaining free rein to commit atrocities at well (Seems to describe out current government pretty well).

    There are other groupings, people for stability in the area, people in support of the only government in full-scale toleration for diversity, people that realize that internecine warfare is the way people in the area have conducted their lives for a very long time and are probably not going to change except under force of arms that is no longer available (this latter grouping is probably where I am now).

    One last comment to be sure I have been clear: I am registered as a “Republican”–that used to matter at most in primary elections here in Nebraska and earlier in California. Does not even matter there much anymore.

    At no time did it mean that I slavishly support the machinations of the RNC, the GOP, the Republican Party, or any collection of the self-serving politicians who fly one of those flags. Most pointedly I do not support any collectivist-“liberal”-communist-Marxist-socialist.

    As near as I can tell I am a small “r” republican with some leanings toward the desirable aspects of anarchy.

    Please. When you say “bombing Syria” please say what those words mean to you.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird nails it. We in the echo chamber can find some things to like about Paul the Younger, but the Establishment is still painted a grimy yellow and keeping on happy-happy terms with the other team. I dunno if it’s the status or the power. What power?!

    RRS–the Establishment may be held together chiefly by the glue of inertia, but it does seem to be holding. Rep. Bachmann got no party support at all (maybe partly her own fault in not picking good advisors), but McCain’s still there, so is Lindsey Graham. Then there’s Boehner…. Well, there are a few who really do seem pretty good, but they’re sure not among the Republican Elite.

  • Paul Marks

    Laird and Perry – it is up to ordinary people.

    If they do not turn up to support Rand Paul in the Iowa Caucus events and the New Hampshire Primary (and so on), they have only themselves to blame.

    “We would not just sit on our backsides – if someone gave us a lead”.

    Well someone has given a lead.

    Now let us see who supports him, and who does not.

    Victory is not impossible – ask those two far left “gun control” Dem State legislators who have just been defeated.

    The media supported them, they had unlimited amounts of money (from Bloomberg and the rest of the establishment elite) and they had seats specially drawn to favour them.

    Yet they still lost.

    The enemy can be defeated.

  • Paul Marks


    Yes President Reagan did order the battleship to shell in response.

    But that did not defeat the “Party of God” (still the most powerful force in Lebanon) or their Syrian and Iranian backers.

    O.K. “Running” away was too strong – I apologise for that.

    But it was still DEFEAT – and it is no good pretending it was anything else.

    If the Shia killing Americans (and American allies such as the French force – and abducting British people, for which the Reagan actually rewarded them by trading weapons for hostages) does not justify war, how does the Shia gassing Sunnis (who would be just as quick to gas them) justify war?

  • RRS

    P M O-

    what makes Hezbollah the “most powerful force in Lebanon?” Weapons?

    Is Hezbollah an instrumentality (proxy ) of or for the Persian theocratic oligarchy? [I use Persian to differentiate the diversity of the many peoples of Iran]

    War, in the classical sense requires an enemy. It should be apparent that the enemy of the Persian theocratic oligarchy Is Western Civilization, particularly in the representative form of the United States and the American people and their culture.

    We have not yet accepted, as we probably should, the intent of that designation as enemy. That intent is to enforce a decision (the function of classic war) as to the culture that shall be permitted (by those with means and will) to exist.

    Perhaps it may be possible to avoid classic war by actions that will diminish the means and will of that intent, at least to the point at which that oligarchy may be required to spend its efforts upon reorganizing and reestablishing means, rather than exercising them.

    To that end, actions less than classic war can be and should be taken to reduce the facilities (proxies such as the present Syrian regime, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.) by destruction if necessary, of the means for the exercise of their will.

    That is not to say that those actions will be taken; nor that there is the public will or administrative competence for a corrective actions. Rather, it is a description of the vulnerabilities we face, which could be mitigated if the facts were faced honestly and realistically.

  • RRS

    The following is a brief excerpt from civilization and its Enemies, by Lee Harris (2004):

    They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.

    The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours.

    [emphasis added]
    H/T Glenn Reynolds @ Instapundit today.

  • Paul Marks

    RRS – yes “The Party of God” in Lebanon would not be nearly as a important (might not even exist at all) without Iran.

    The Enemy – yes a vitally important context. Those who wish to destroy you regardless of what you do to try and please them.

    One would have thought that, after thousands of years of unjust attacks, Jews at least would understand the concept of The Enemy.

    Yet there are many Jewish intellectuals (in the United States and elsewhere)who refuse to accept the existence of The Enemy.

    “We must have done something to provoke them….” – no the only thing you are guilty of is breathing.

    “If only we acted in such-and-such a way they would not hate us any more….” – they would still hate you.

    It is a bitter lesson – but all human beings have to learn it.

    There are evil people out there and they want to kill you just because you are breathing.