It was never supposed to happen like this.
Political theorists from James Madison to Hans-Hermann Hoppe already proved that pure democracy was doomed to failure. The masses’ appetites for more and more favors and subsidies would never end. They would only become more ravenous as politicians realized that the path to power was to promise more free stuff than the competition. Thus, we were doomed to live in a society sliding ever onward toward ruin, incapable of saving itself. This was an iron law of history and nothing we could do could change it.
Or so we thought. For the first time perhaps in all of US history, we have a democratic referendum that could actually begin to roll back the decline. While the West drowns in a sea of alien migrants from incompatible cultures that openly hate white civilization, we have an opportunity to wall out the invaders and put our nation first.
While the Left tries mightily to rekindle the old Cold War against a “homophobic” Russia, we have the opportunity to reach out in brotherhood and understanding with the other White superpower. While our former middle class devolves into a jobless, heroin-addled proletariat, we have the opportunity to reject the globalist managerial trade regime and fight for the interests of our own people. And while our entire culture ruthlessly suppresses dissent from the very forces that are destroying it, we have the opportunity to begin to speak freely again.
In short, the presidential election offers us a referendum on the single most important issue for our civilization: whether to choose health, vitality, and life or to slide onward toward decay and death.
But what is most astounding of all is that we have gotten to this point not through any natural process, but rather through the will of one man deciding to challenge the iron laws of history.
No theory of democracy would have accounted for Donald Trump. All the theories we had could only predict continued decline. And they were all correct—to a point. Yes, democracy creates bad incentives and, yes, we can generally expect people to follow the incentives they are given. But what about a man who simply ignores the systems and incentive structures that society has in place? A man who is motivated by his own convictions of right and wrong, even if doing what is right comes at a great price, and therefore should, by all rational economic calculation, do what is wrong?
Such are the great men who truly make history. We can never anticipate their emergence, because they emerge only by their own free will. As Thomas Carlyle, the great exponent of the so-called “great man theory” put it:
[N]o Time need have gone to ruin, could it have found a man great enough, a man wise and good enough: wisdom to discern truly what the Time wanted, valor to lead it on the right road thither; these are the salvation of any Time. But I liken common languid Times, with their unbelief, distress, perplexity, with their languid doubting characters and embarrassed circumstances, impotently crumbling down into ever worse distress towards final ruin;—all this I liken to dry dead fuel, waiting for the lightning out of Heaven that shall kindle it. The great man, with his free force direct out of God’s own hand, is the lightning. His word is the wise healing word which all can believe in. All blazes around him now, when he has once struck on it, into fire like his own.
Oh, how those fires are spreading.
Half a world away, Serbian protesters against American imperialism parade through the streets in Donald Trump t-shirts, while their Slovenian counterparts chant “You’re fired!” at a rally against the Muslim invasion of Europe. Julian Assange, once a hero to “open-government” liberals, now claims the distinction of being the Left’s second most hated person, who their own presidential candidate wistfully dreamed of murdering in a drone strike..
The former libertarian Stefan Molyneux has turned his back on the old jeremiads about “universally preferable behavior” and now claims, in a recent podcast, that the entirety of his life’s work culminates in Donald Trump’s election. And intellectualized alt-right millenials, who would previously spend their time debating the respective merits of Evola and Heidegger, now tweet into the dead of night on behalf of a man most famous in their own lifetimes as the star of a reality show none of them ever watched.
The one thing our Time wants most is a hero. Accustomed as we are to the Age of the Last Man, we are used to everything being narrow, vulgar, and small. Nothing captures the spirit of our age better than the recent news report that the tower of Germany’s Gothic Ulm Cathedral—the tallest in the world—is now being eroded by urine and vomit.
The gutter morality foisted on us from kindergarten through graduate school reviles Christopher Columbus—who crossed uncharted seas and laid the foundation for civilization to arise out of the fetid swampland of the New World—but praises the bravery of “Caitlin” Jenner and Black Lives Matter looters. Popular TV shows like Game of Thrones depict worlds where the few people of honor and principle meet grisly deaths at the hands of Machiavellian social climbers who practice incest and other sexual perversions. Sports stars take steroids and disrespect the flag, Hollywood celebrities donate millions to charities aimed at dispossessing the toiling masses in who watch their movies, and corporations train their employees to be “sensitive,” “inclusive” poodles who never allow interesting or controversial thoughts to get in the way of the company’s bottom line.
Meanwhile, the approved opposition offers no alternative better than a bland economism. For the perfect example, look to libertarian Jeffrey Tucker, who attacks Carlyle and Great Men in a girlish screed at the Foundation for Economic Education. (His article is most notable for its total indifference to addressing any of its ostensible subject’s actual arguments, instead trying to prove at length that this Victorian Scotsman was Literally Hitler.) According to Tucker, it is not “great men” but “the small lives of the bourgeoisie” toiling away in “Adam Smith’s pin factory” who make the world turn. Rather than put our faith in superior individuals (did I mention Hitler did that?), we should praise the factory workers whose labor allows us to buy smartphones at 7% less than before. But while someone needs to make consumer goods, why should economic consumption be valued more highly than nobility?
Against the ubiquitous drabness and mediocrity of modern life, Donald Trump represents greatness and strength. In a time when victimhood is considered noble, Trump brags about his wealth and success. While once great and thriving cities—the Detroit of Henry Ford, the Baltimore of Mencken and Poe—degenerate into hollow husks ravaged by tribal gang warfare, we have a man who rose to wealth and fame on the dream of building the most beautiful skyscrapers in the world. While everyone around us celebrates the low, Trump Tower reaches up to touch the heavens. His vision evokes Ayn Rand at her most Nietzschean:
I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. Particularly when one can’t see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel.
Despite the mewling protestations of “individualists” like Jeffrey Tucker, the visions of Great Men is the real triumphs of the individual. It is only through the act of individual will that Donald Trump made his mark upon the world, from electrifying the New York skyline to horrifying the smug bien pensants of K Street and Rockefeller Center. It is through that same individual will that Trump chose to defy everything we knew about history and society and prove that the crises of our times really can be held at bay if only we can find a hero with the will to do so.
Of course, the outcome is far from certain. We all know the forces arrayed against us—in the end, they may prove too powerful. If they are, Trump might pay mightily for daring to challenge the powers that be. Others have already commented on the damage he has inflicted on his own brand, which he previously marketed toward the same elites who now hate him most. Even worse, our managerial elite has created such a Byzantine legal code of economic regulations compounded with criminal penalties that the average businessman is estimated to unknowingly commit three felonies in a single day. With laws like these, it would not necessarily be difficult for a Clinton administration to dredge up some violation of the criminal code and, in a reversal of Trump’s recent promises, throw him in prison.
But martyrdom is its own form of heroism. In his willingness to risk it all, Trump encapsulates the Faustian spirit—the soul of the West—which pushes past our limits to grasp for greatness even against the threat of damnation. And in doing so, through the strength of his will, he has opened up a future where defeat remains possible, but is no longer preordained.
Those of us who, in Jeffrey Tucker’s phrase, live “the small lives of the bourgeoisie” did not make this happen. Instead, we may be witnessing a remarkable feat rarely seen in history: a decaying civilization that saves itself through the courage and direction of a single man. If Trump wins, we may Make America Great Again. But the message his victory will send will have repercussions far beyond that. It can begin the process of making ourselves great again, making Europe great again, making western civilization and the White men who built it great again . . . And then, with the renewed vigor of a people finally shaking off our self-imposed mediocrity, we may find greatness beyond the bounds of earth, among the stars, and in unknown galaxies not yet conquered.