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Thoughts on Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech

For me, the most important thing about President Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech, apart from the splendour of what it says, is that, thanks to the internet, we can all of us, if we wish, read the entire speech, without depending upon any of those people whom Instapundit refers to as Democratic Party operatives with bylines to tell us what they merely want us to think that Trump said. We now live in a world where those old broadsheet “newspapers of record” have been reborn, and are now readable at no extra cost by anyone with an internet connection.

I’m a libertarian, and what I really want is a really libertarian enclave of territory, somewhere in the world, which will really prove to the world for ever the superiority of all of my opinions about how the world should really be, over the opinions of all others. But meanwhile, I’m the sort of libertarian (which nothing like all libertarians are) who will settle for the actually existing United States of America, as it is now is and as it has been since it was founded, a vast but very imperfect nation, constantly disfigured by unfreedoms imposed upon it by collectivist would-be despots of one sort or another, yet constantly disappointing those same despots with those pesky freedoms which it started out by proclaiming. Likewise, American military might is frequently hurled by careless American adventurers at places that ought to be left to solve their own problems, in a way which only makes such problems even worse. Nevertheless, the world is surely a better place than it would have been had America made no attempts of this sort to bully it into behaving better. A world that consisted only of the Old World would surely be a much duller and poorer and more brutal place.

The New York Times and the Washington Post, echoed by many other organs in America and beyond, have described Trump’s speech as “dark and divisive”. Well, it was a bit divisive. It divided Americans into two camps. In the one camp are violent looters and rioters and despotic cancellers, and their enablers in slightly less impolite society, like the people who run the New York Times and the Washington Post. In the other camp are all the many Americans of the sort who feel approximately as I do about America and its flawed and violent but nevertheless inspiring history.

I especially like what Trump said about how the fundamental principles of the USA meant that those principles would, in the end, put an end to slavery and legally imposed racial discrimination. The fundamental principles bloody well took their time, but they eventually did just this.

Here, in case you doubt me, is how Trump said this:

We must demand that our children are taught once again to see America as did Reverend Martin Luther King, when he said that the Founders had signed “a promissory note” to every future generation. Dr. King saw that the mission of justice required us to fully embrace our founding ideals. Those ideals are so important to us – the founding ideals. He called on his fellow citizens not to rip down their heritage, but to live up to their heritage.

To call this speech racially divisive, as many have, is a flat out lie.

And, a “dark” speech? Again, I don’t think so. Naive and optimistic, starry-eyed even, historically over-simplified, yes, maybe all of that. But “dark”? Hardly.

But what of Trump’s enemies? The rioters are saying: “Screw America, smash America!” Their Democrat enablers indoors are saying: “America, you want this to stop? Vote for us, and then we’ll stop it. Meanwhile, it’s all Trump’s fault.” That’s rather “dark”, isn’t it?

Trump’s America, aka “America”, is now resisting this uprising, and the uprisers and their enablers are now turning on each other. The rioters and outdoor looters, after all, have no love at all for Democratic Party insiders. On the contrary, they regard them as the people who stole the Democratic nomination from them and their man in 2016. Other rioters merely hate the rich and the powerful in their entirety, including those paying the wages of the people urging them to riot.

It is now – is it not? – almost entirely in Democrat-governed places that the rioting, and now the crime waves consequent upon the hobbling by Democrat politicians of local police forces, are happening. Those McCloskeys, rather inexpertly waving their guns at rioters outside their nice big home are classic Democrat insiders. As is the Mayor of Seattle, who only shut CHOP down after her own home had been attacked by rioters.

So, I want Trump’s America now to prevail and its enemies now to retreat in ignominy, many of them also to prison, because of their various crimes, indoors and outdoors. We win, they lose, as President Reagan said when asked about how to settle the Cold War. Reagan also made very “divisive” speeches about that big old misunderstanding, didn’t he? After which the Good Guys did win and the Bad Guys did lose. Again please.

In this same spirit of melodramatic divisiveness, I would like now to suggest that the way that the writers of the New York Times and the Washington Post, and their many imitators, are using the word “dark” is blatantly racist. These people are assuming that to be “dark” is to be bad. This is the language of white supremacist slave-owners. Next thing you know, they’ll be referring to African Americans as “darkies”.

I’m kidding, but I also sort of mean it. I entirely get what the wokist media are trying to say, and are not trying to say, with the word “dark”. Punishing them for being racist for using this word in this way is not a rule I’d want to see universally applied. On the other hand, rules of exactly this perverse sort are the rules that these people have been unleashing upon others. So the wokists now deserve, if not actually to die by this rule that I just made up, then at least to be chucked out into the streets for a while, there to think about what they’ve been doing.

But my basic point here is that you don’t need to take my word, or anyone else’s word, for any of this. Trump’s speech itself, the complete text of it, is worth a second link. Read the whole thing. And as I said at the start of this, be glad that you can.

LATER: Further thoughts from me about Trump’s speech in a piece entitled Trump as Republican Party Reptile. This is about how his Mount Rushmore speech echoes a piece by P.J. O’Rourke in the 1980s, about an epic journey across America in a Ferrari.

16 comments to Thoughts on Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech

  • Clovis Sangrail

    Hear, hear!
    I could say lots more, but it would be gilding the lily.

  • Jacob

    Next thing you know, they’ll be referring to African Americans as “darkies”.

    They already did. I have a copy of Mark Twain’s masterpiece “Life on the Mississippi”. The original word “nigg*r” has been systematically replaced by “darky”.
    Nothing is sacred these days.

  • […] just did some Thoughts on Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech for Samizdata. Here is the complete speech of Trump’s that I was on about, and to which I […]

  • Paul Marks

    The speech of President Trump was very good – but will he back it up with ACTION?

    There needs to be an Executive Order that the Federal Government will not cooperate with any any organisation (commercial not not) that practices VIEWPOINT DISCRIMINATION – what the late Justice Scalia rightly considered the biggest threat to liberty in the modern Western World.

    If you can loose your job and be otherwise persecuted for just peacefully expressing your political and cultural opinions then the 1st Amendment is a Dead Letter – people have been dismissed and persecuted for things they have said or written THIRTY YEARS ago.

    As for the Democrats – they may not be formal Marxists, but they are very much “Fellow Travellers”. They accept the Frankfurt School doctrine of attacking Freedom of Speech and all other basic liberties as “Repressive Tolerance” (Herbert Marcuse).

    One (just one) appointment to the Supreme Court will the end the 1st Amendment the 2nd Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights.

    Senator Cruz has a written book on exactly what the Democrats will do – if they win in November.

    It will be the end of what is left of liberty in the United States – and without America the rest of the West can-not-stand.

    The Democrats must be defeated in November – the alternative is a long dark night of tyranny (with any dissent outlawed as “Hate Speech”), with no one now alive seeing liberty again.

    As for most of the Corporations – their “Social Responsibility” Fellow Traveller behaviour has been utterly despicable.

  • Eric

    Naive and optimistic, starry-eyed even, historically over-simplified, yes, maybe all of that.

    It’s a speech. Only the Cubans listened to speeches long enough to contain all the nuances of history, and not willingly, I suspect. And I doubt those speeches actually contained anything of the sort.

  • bob sykes

    Trump speaks for me.

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)


    Yes, I know it was a speech. And I know that great speech-makers simplify. I was not complaining about the speech, as my entire posting made very clear, from my very first sentence onwards. My point was not that it should have been more nuanced and more complicated. You are right that this would have been less effective. My point was that it was a particular sort of speech, a naive, bright, positive, optimistic, starry-eyed sort of speech, rather than a dark speech.

    Accordingly, it might have made a bit of sense for this speech’s critics, of whom, to repeat, I am not one, to say that this speech was too bright and too optimistic, because at least it was bright and it was optimistic.

    But calling it dark made no sense at all.

  • bobby b

    Brian Micklethwait (London)
    July 7, 2020 at 1:57 am

    “But calling it dark made no sense at all.”

    It made perfect sense to those people who would never in a million years consider reading a speech by Trump but who needed some unifying theme with which they could scornfully dismiss whatever he said.

    I’m guessing JournoList lives. “Dark” just came up in too many separate responses to think this wasn’t a group effort.

  • Disillusionist

    Remember, these are the same people who make it quite clear that African Americans are utterly incapable of obtaining a driver’s license, raising families without Government assistance, or competing on a level playing field for, well, pretty much anything (other than using it as an actual playing field), and can hope for nothing higher than to form mobs demanding that white people give them something. Of course they think that “dark” is a pejorative.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Agree with the Reagan point. People get all misty-eyed about Reagan these days but conveniently forget how much stick he got back in the 1980s and before for telling it like it is. For instance, go and read his “Time for Choosing” speech from 1964.

  • I’m guessing JournoList lives. (bobby b, July 7, 2020 at 2:36 am

    I’m guessing (hoping) that’s just a way of saying it (a bit English-understatement style 🙂 ) and that you are in no doubt that (under whatever new name) it lives.

    I recall feeling sure that JournoList was alive and well and doing ill in late January 2016 and have vague memories of feeling pretty sure at earlier times.

    I can’t be bothered to look, but I’m guessing the black driver transformed into a luxury white car isn’t only on ABC. 🙂

    As you say, it is the shared word or phrase that often gives it away.

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    Almost exactly four years ago the usual suspects covered Pres. Trump’s 2016 convention speech like this:

    Washington Post: Donald Trump’s dark speech to the Republican National Convention, annotated

    CBS: Donald Trump offers dark vision of America in GOP convention speech

    New Yorker: Donald Trump’s Dark, Dark Convention Speech

    Scott Adams, who calls himself an expert in persuasion, noticed the ubiquitous use of ‘dark’ at the time. He called it “weapons-grade persuasion”, beyond the skill of normal political advisors. He speculated that the Democrats had consulted an expert pursuader, possibly Robert Cialdini. According to Adams, when Cialdini was asked whether he had advised the DNC he said, “no comment”.

    JournoList or not, this new spate of ‘dark’-ness certainly looks like another co-ordinated effort at controlling the narrative.

  • […] Micklethwait after his piece at Samizdata had some thoughts he shared on his blog. Both articles are excellent but I found the latter more […]

  • Sam Duncan

    “After which the Good Guys did win and the Bad Guys did lose.”

    Well, we thought they did. I’m beginning to wonder.

    “I’m kidding, but I also sort of mean it. I entirely get what the wokist media are trying to say, and are not trying to say, with the word ‘dark’.”

    Can there seriously be any doubt that if the President himself had described a speech by his predecessor as “dark”, they would be at the front of the mob calling for his “racist” head?

  • Paul Marks

    Only a minority of people will hear and see what President Trump said.

    Most people will only know what the Corporate Media tell them – a “Big Business” media dominated by MARXIST (for they are Marxist) ideas.

    Will truth defeat the lies of the Corporate Media and the Marxist dominated education system (the schools and universities).

    We will know with the election of November 3rd.

    For, bad though it now it is, the level of censorship and lies we see now is NOTHING compared to the tidal wave of censorship and control (including of dissent “Hate Speech” on the internet) if the totalitarian Democrats win.

    It is not an exaggeration to say that what is left of liberty will be destroyed if the totalitarian Democrats win in November – one Supreme Court appointment (just one) and dissent will be named “Hate Speech” and destroyed.

  • Paul Marks

    It is now clear that most of Big Business and the “liberal” establishment generally, wish to see some version of the People’s Republic of China “Social Credit” totalitarian system established around the world.

    Look, for example, at how the Covid 19 virus has been used to push the agenda of tyranny. The establishment may not have created it – but they have certainly used it.