Radix Journal

Radix Journal

A radical journal

Author: Cecilia Davenport

A Woman’s Touch

Editor’s Note: Recently the Economist had a brief article on women and the Alt Right. Our very own Cecilia Davenport was quoted, however, the results were a bit…economized. We’ve taken the liberty of reproducing Ms. Davenport’s full answers to the magazine below:

 

Editor’s Note: Recently the Economist had a brief article on women and the Alt Right. Our very own Cecilia Davenport was quoted, however, the results were a bit…economized. We’ve taken the liberty of reproducing Ms. Davenport’s full answers to the magazine below:

The Economist: I’m wondering if you might be able to tell me a bit about what attracts you to the alt-right/white nationalist movement. What about the movement’s politics speaks to you?

Cecilia Davenport: I was originally drawn to the alt-right long before the Trump phenomenon or the internet troll fever of the past two years. I think I was searching for an intellectual movement that genuinely challenged the status quo of liberal modernity, so when I encountered some of the thinkers who shaped the ideas of the alt-right early on, I was taken with this whole new world of ideas that opened up.

It appealed to me on philosophic and aesthetic grounds primarily, and still does. For example, pre-modern philosophy—Plato, Aristotle, the ancients—always struck me as being more real, more sensible, more sane than anything neoliberalism has created. But I also never deluded myself that we could return to some kind of golden age located somewhere in the past. The idea of archeofuturism—a term coined by Guillaume Faye of the French New Right—resonates with me. There are certain unchanging principles, aspects of nature, of human beings, that are eternal. But they can be recast in new circumstances, new worlds. Though man has a nature, he has an incredible ability to shape and adapt to the world around him. It is possible to move forward without losing sight of what is real.

E: I’m also interested in understanding women’s place within the movement. For instance, what is the movement’s view about women’s roles in American society? Does it encourage feminism and female leadership & empowerment? Why do you think there are so few women in today’s alt-right movement?

CD: There are a variety of views about this on the alt-right; it’s important to note that not everyone has exactly the same views on the value and role of women in society. I think most people on the alt-right, men and women, agree that the sexes are morally equal but materially very different, and further, that we aren’t just ghosts in a machine, that our bodies are coextensive or incarnate with our identities.

Men and women are made to fulfill separate yet complementary roles. Biologically speaking, just like we assert that race is real, sex is real: and is, in fact, the most fundamental distinction in humanity. I’ve never met a man on the alt-right who wanted less for their women than happiness and fulfillment—but we believe that feminism does not make women happy or fulfill them. I thought this long before I discovered the alt-right; I was heavily influenced early on by conservative thinkers such as Allan Bloom and Harvey Mansfield, so it was a major point of convergence.

I think most men and women on the alt-right agree that a woman’s unique ability to have children and affinity for child-rearing is nature’s highest role. At the very least, alt-righters want women to have the option to stay home and raise a family if that’s what they want to do. This is not only unpopular in modern society, but often mocked as a valid choice. Furthermore, our economy is set up to prevent the vast majority of couples from being able to make that choice: it is very difficult for most American families to survive on a single salary, if not impossible. I would argue that in a healthy society, this would be possible for every family. All we want is the freedom to pursue our own happiness. Along these lines, the policies advocated by Ivanka Trump about maternity leave for all American mothers, whether working or at home, was one of the best pieces of domestic policy I’ve seen proposed in my lifetime.

As for female empowerment, there’s nothing that has made me feel more empowered in my life than supporting and being supported by a strong man. I think that men and women are better off when we stop fighting nature and allow our distinct identities to shine through, working together as a team. Again: just like race is real, biology is real. Why do so many fight it?

As Richard Spencer and others have explained, it’s true that women are less likely to join a vanguard political movement than men are. That said, I don’t actually think there are “so few women” in the alt-right. Personally, I know of at least a few hundred. Think of it this way: just as the polls in England couldn’t encompass the Brexit vote, and just as the polls in America couldn’t pick up Trump voters, the usual methods for looking for women on the alt-right don’t work. I’m a bit unusual with my blogging, twitter presence, and conference attendance. You see alt-right women a lot more at private gatherings. Most women keep to the shadows a lot more, which is to be expected, I think. Married women especially want to shield their children from the harm that could befall them if their political views were known. Men are, by nature, more likely to take risks: and there are real risks involved in being active in this cause.

E: Finally, what did you make of Donald Trump’s statements about and treatment of women? (I’m referring here to the audio tape about grabbing women “by the pussy,” the multiple allegations of sexual assault, calling women “pigs,” his statements like, “It doesn’t really matter as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass” etc.) Why didn’t his sexism deter you from voting for him (assuming, in fact, that you did vote for him)?

CD: It didn’t bother me because I think there were much bigger issues at stake in the election than how Trump spoke to or about other people. I think women care a lot more about sparing those they love from dying in unnecessary wars, or being subject to violent assault by illegal immigrants, or becoming marginalized in a country their ancestors created for themselves and their posterity.

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The Winter of Our Discontent

  

The industrial revolution wasn’t the beginning of our discontents. No, what Weber calls the disenchantment of the world begins further back, some say with Machiavelli, some say with Luther—in fact, both were probably required to break the incarnate medieval spell. In any case, those of us who have found ourselves on the Alt-Right have almost undoubtedly viscerally experienced the hollowed-out character of the age: for most of our lives, we’ve wandered through a dead world.

 

“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization, and, above all, by the ‘disenchantment of the world.’ Precisely the ultimate and most sublime values have retreated from public life either into the transcendental realm of mystic life or into the brotherliness of direct and personal human relations.” —Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

The industrial revolution wasn’t the beginning of our discontents. No, what Weber calls the disenchantment of the world begins further back, some say with Machiavelli, some say with Luther—in fact, both were probably required to break the incarnate medieval spell. In any case, those of us who have found ourselves on the Alt-Right have almost undoubtedly viscerally experienced the hollowed-out character of the age: for most of our lives, we’ve wandered through a dead world.

What Weber spoke of was summed up in Nietzsche’s famous proclamation: “God is dead.” We killed him. When the early moderns (Machiavelli, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke), decided that God was not coming to save mankind and that mankind must instead conquer nature to save itself, it embarked upon a seemingly splendid and glorious endeavor that finally resulted in flat-souled consumers. “Many have imagined republics and principalities which have never been seen or known to exist in reality…” Machiavelli’s famous break with the ancient philosophers and the Church was simply a foreshadowing of Nietzsche’s three words.

The phrase “the disenchantment of the world” made a comeback three years ago when former editor of First Things, Joseph Bottum, wrote a famous essay in which he essentially surrendered the culture war on the issue of same-sex marriage. In many ways, Bottum’s argument, confused as it was, was indisputably true: the culture war was lost anyway. His logic turned on the question of whether an understanding of natural law was even possible in our disenchanted world. Allow me to quote extensively from Bottum’s essay:

“Indeed, once the sexual revolution brought the Enlightenment to sex, demythologizing and disenchanting the Western understanding of sexual intercourse, the legal principles of equality and fairness were bound to win, as they have over the last decade: the only principles the culture has left with which to discuss topics such as marriage.”

Those consequences were, in essence, the stripping away of magic—the systematic elimination of metaphysical, spiritual, and mystical meanings. Science, Francis Bacon told us, could not advance in any other way. Real democracy, Diderot explained, would not arrive “until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” When the Supreme Court gave us the infamous “mystery passage” in the 1992 abortion case Planned Parenthood v. Casey—“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life”—the justices were merely following out to its logical conclusion the great modern project of disenchantment.”

“The goal of the church today must primarily be the re-enchantment of reality.”

“We should not accept without a fight an essentially un-Catholic retreat from the public square to a lifeboat theology and the small communities of the saved that Alasdair MacIntyre predicted at the end of After Virtue (1981). But there are much better ways than opposing same-sex marriage for teaching the essential God-hauntedness, the enchantment, of the world—including massive investments in charity, the further evangelizing of Asia, a willingness to face martyrdom by preaching in countries where Christians are killed simply because they are Christians, and a church-wide effort to reinvigorate the beauty and the solemnity of the liturgy. Some Catholic intellectual figures will continue to explore the deep political-theory meanings manifest in the old forms of Christendom, and more power to them, but the rest of us should turn instead to more effective witness in the culture as it actually exists.”

I’m not ultimately interested in whether Bottum’s argument about whether natural law can be understood in the modern world is correct. His general analysis of our predicament seems nevertheless true.

There are various reactions to disenchantment: over the top romanticism, LARPing, existentialism in its various forms, neopaganism, traditional liturgical Christianity—all of these are more healthy than an embrace of decayed reality, but none seem to be enough to overcome the modern world. We pretend that we’re asleep, hoping to awaken to a midsummer night’s dream. But we’re awake. The dream isn’t coming. Nothing is coming.

And then there was 2016.

What is truly remarkable is that a project that many men and women, not to mention the oldest human institution on earth, have undertaken and failed to carry through over the past several centuries—the re-enchantment of reality—was made possible this year by Donald Trump and meme-making shitlords on the internet. It isn’t just that history began again on June 16th,2015—it isn’t that the past 18 months felt like a dizzying dream—it’s that slowly, and then all at once, reality felt real again. That’s the thing about enchantment: you feel more alive, and more real, not less. Both the natural and the supernatural world come alive. Each present moment is more pregnant with meaning and feeling. Time stands still and speeds up all at once. And so on.

Perhaps we needed something like a king to rouse us from our waking nightmare. Perhaps there’s no rational, non-supernatural explanation for it at all. But enchantment has returned. There may be no going back to a pre-Enlightened world, but for the first time in all our lives, there is hope for a new world, a time that is redeemed. We can look forward to 2017 with the renewed faith that in this brave new world, there will be time for you, time for me, and time for our people.

As Lawrence of Arabia said, “the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” We often culturally appropriate Hertzl’s famous line, “If you will it, it is no dream.” But perhaps in 2016 we were given a gift: the gift of understanding that it takes more than will. It takes enchantment.

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Gilmore Girls: An American Tragedy

“This whole thing is dead to me, anyway. It died with Richard.” – Emily Gilmore, Fall. Was the death of Richard Gilmore the death of White America? It’s not that…

This whole thing is dead to me, anyway. It died with Richard.” – Emily Gilmore, Fall.

Was the death of Richard Gilmore the death of White America?

It’s not that the Gilmore Girls revival is less White than the original show; it’s that it’s more honest. The original Gilmore Girls was a White liberal utopia: a single mother raising her young daughter in an idyllic, wacky, all-White village in Connecticut (except for some Koreans and one disdainfully snobbish mulatto Frenchman—we’ll come back to him). Known for its snappy dialogue and charming absurdity, it was a difficult show not to like—anecdotally speaking, I know almost as many men as women who quietly enjoyed Gilmore Girls, usually introduced to it by their daughters or girlfriends.

But of course, the original Gilmore Girls was a lie. In the real world, a sixteen-year-old pregnant rich girl who ran away from home wouldn’t stumble upon a Brigadoon-esque village and grow up to become a successful businesswoman while her genius daughter/BFF goes to the equivalent of Choate and then Yale. In the real world, women who make as many bad decisions as Lorelai Gilmore does aren’t happy, nor are they seemingly rewarded for all of them. But the world of Gilmore Girls was a world set apart, a frozen episode that looked like early 2000’s America on the surface but really hearkened back to a more idyllic time.

I went into the revival expecting more of the same. In the final episode of the original series, we’re left with a Lorelai who has finally gotten back together with Luke the diner owner, and a Rory who has turned down a marriage proposal from her long-term boyfriend Logan Huntzberger, in order to pursue a career in journalism. This latter decision was one of the more signal-y moments in Gilmore Girls history: the girl-power ending where she proved she didn’t need no man! I predicted a revival that showed a plucky reporterette, fully satisfied with her career; a script that covered over the reality of culture that tells women they don’t need marriage, of the sick society in which we live where ‘empowered’ women slowly eat themselves to death after returning from their desk job every evening, alone except for a cat or two.

But I was wrong. The Gilmore Girls revival, wittingly or otherwise, reveals the rot of American society—especially in comparison with the original. The difference is so striking that I have to believe it was not entirely intentional on the part of the show creator; rather, it is indicative of a distinct change in social mood that has taken place between when the show ended, in 2007, and today.

The new Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life takes place over the course of a year, broken into four 90-minute episodes: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. (Obligatory disclaimer: I am going to spoil the ending.)

In the original show, there was very little political propaganda. This was one of the most appealing things about it. Lorelai made the occasional George Bush joke, sometimes mocked her wealthy WASP parents for being Republicans, and Rory had a Planned Parenthood poster in her dorm room, but that was basically it. (Of course, the original premise of the show was pro-life, so they had to balance it out somehow). In general, this was incredibly refreshing compared to the constant political signaling in network television shows at the time, and compared to what’s on television now it’s like a different world. But the reboot is a different story. Suddenly, the town of Stars Hollow is engaged in gender activism, with earnest plans to put on a gay pride parade that never materializes due to a lack of homosexual town residents. (Hard to believe given the sudden prominence given to homosexual townsfolk.)

But far more striking is the change in the character of Michel Gerard. Michel, an overbearing, impeccably-dressed Frenchman with a thick accent and a penchant for Celine Dion, is a White-presenting mulatto who works at Lorelai’s inn, The Dragonfly. The original character of Michel was infamously sexually ambiguous; he of course fit a certain gay stereotype, was a little too close to his mother, etc. Nevertheless, there were occasional references made in passing to dating women, and never any made to male liaisons. Within the first 20 minutes of the reboot, in the first scene involving his character, Michel is discoursing scornfully about his male partner Frederick’s desire to adopt children. Why the dramatic change?

The answer is pretty simple: the original Gilmore Girls was a break from reality, while the reboot is almost unbearable in its reality. The past 8 years have been dramatic in their psychological effect on American society, and it is reflected here. But it’s more than that, in the world of the show. The mirror has crack’d from side-to-side; Richard Gilmore is dead. And with the patriarchal Gilmore gone, the order of things begins to break down, especially for the three female Gilmores.

Emily

You don’t move or change ever. There’s a picture of you in the attic that Dorian Grey is consulting lawyers about.” – Lorelai to Emily, “Spring.”

The change in Emily is the most dramatic over the course of these four episodes. Unlike the two younger Gilmore girls, Emily is marble-constant, an American matriarch to make Tocqueville proud. As she points out to her unwed daughter Lorelai, who has been “roommates” with Luke the diner owner for 8 years, she, Emily, was married to the same man for fifty years. Her loss at his death is incomprehensible to someone like Lorelai. Ever her husband’s champion, after Lorelai makes a characteristically embarrassing scene at her father’s funeral, Emily chides her thus: “Your father was a great man, a pillar of the community, a man amongst men. And you dishonored him today like this in his own house.” None of the other males in this world come close to Richard Gilmore. The implication runs throughout the show: we shall never see his like again.

Much like the unappreciated WASP patriarchs who held America together for so long, but who also oversaw its slow doom, Richard died having paid for his illegitimate granddaughter’s education at his alma mater, Yale, where she learned—what, exactly? Richard died without having to seriously confront the fantasy he built around Rory, Yale, and ultimately, America itself.

Over the course of the year, Emily is in a tailspin. “I don’t know how to do this,” she says to Lorelai at one point. “Do what?” “Live my life.” It is a jarring thing to watch: Emily Gilmore, the woman who knew every customary form, the woman of exquisite taste, who could never bear to let anyone see her falter: spiraling.

Even her beloved Daughters of the American Revolution chapter holds no joys for her now. (This is where I think the show breaks continuity with the original character, but for the sake of argument, we may chalk it up to grief.) The DAR, of course, represents another aspect of the collapse of the American regime; we may recall that it was one of the only national organizations that fought the 1965 Immigration Act tooth and nail, alongside the American Legion. And if there is one thing Emily devoted her life to, besides her family, it was the DAR. Finally, in an outburst at a DAR meeting, Emily says the most un-Emily line of them all: “I can’t spend any more time and energy on artifice and bullshit.” This betrays more about the script-writer than about Emily, for Emily Gilmore before this would never have really considered her work for the DAR to be artifice: the seemingly frivolous work of choosing curtains and tablecloths and china patterns was an expression of an attempt to hold a fraying society together. As Emily says before she walks out the DAR doors, “This whole thing is dead to me anyway. It died with Richard.” Without Richard Gilmore, there’s no point in trying to save America anymore.

Lorelai

You never do anything unless it’s exactly what you want to do. You never have. You go through life like a natural disaster knocking down everything and everyone in your path.” – Emily to Lorelai, “Winter.”

Fact check: True.

Lorelai is as flighty and selfish as ever, so there isn’t much new ground to cover here. She and Luke have lived together since the end of the series, never married, and apparently never even discussed having children, so it suddenly becomes an issue now. With Lorelai nearing the age of fifty, she can’t have children, and so surrogacy becomes a plot device that goes nowhere (but allows for some great scenes with the inimitable Paris Gellar, who breathed life into the whole depressing mess). Between the surrogacy drama and going to therapy with her mother, Lorelai works herself up into a real midlife crisis, deciding to go and hike the Pacific Crest Trail a la the book and movie Wild. Granted, I know nothing about either, but while the whole adventure seemed out of character—until she doesn’t actually go through with it—there was a certain pathos to the conversations she had with other women seeking solace in the wilderness. As the lonely ladies sit around a fire drinking boxed wine, one of them says, “I’m so glad I’m doing this. I almost did ‘Eat Pray Love,’ but my miles were blacked out. So here I am.” She later adds: “God, I hope this hike works. I need a new life so badly.”

Lorelai realizes that she doesn’t actually need a new life, and goes home to Luke having discovered that all she wants is to get married to him, leading to one of my favorite lines of the show: “I’ve gotta tell ya, before this thing goes on, the only way out is in a body bag.”

As infuriating as Lorelai is, she finally grows up enough to marry the man she loves. That’s something.

Rory

You’re glowing! You must be in love.” – Emily to Rory, “Winter.”

But Rory isn’t in love.

She’s not in love with her boyfriend Paul, whom she has dated for two years and whose existence she regularly forgets. (The callous treatment of forgettable Paul is supposed to be funny, but comes off as cruel.) She’s not in love with her work. She doesn’t even seem to be in love with her lover, Logan Huntzberger, who, it turns out, she has been having an extended sexual relationship with, we can assume for many years. Logan is engaged to a French heiress, but Rory stays with him whenever she’s in London, which seems to be quite often. In the series finale Rory turned down his offer of a diamond ring and a life together—apparently only to exchange it for the life of a mistress, a high-class call girl. This is why it is almost impossible to have any sympathy for the girl when Logan tells her that his fiancé is finally moving in, and that they’ll have to conduct their liasons in a hotel in the future. It suddenly dawns on Rory that she is, indeed, the other woman—and that rather than romantic, her life looks tawdry.

Lacking sympathy for Rory is the popular thing to do in reviews of the reboot, but for the wrong reasons. Sure, it’s true that Rory comes across as a spoiled child who has never been called to account for her poor choices. And yeah, her career isn’t going well. But it seems to me that that’s not because she’s arrogant or entitled: it’s because her heart just isn’t in it anymore. Even when she steels herself to get something done and goes out into Manhattan to interview people for a ridiculous story, instead of successfully completing her task we are treated to the cringiest scene of the entire show, when she returns to tell her mother that she’s had her first one-night stand with a man in a Wookie costume. (Yes, at this point she’s still supposedly dating Paul and sleeping with Logan.) She expresses no horror at her own disloyalty, but only at her choice of partner.

So who, or what, does Rory love?

She expresses a sincere nostalgic love for her ex-boyfriend Dean when she runs into him in the grocery store. And she drops everything to save the Stars Hollow Gazette from extinction, even taking over as editor—a truly thankless task.

It’s clear that Rory is in love with her childhood. Stars Hollow, her first boyfriend, and her mother are all emblems of this. Other reviewers see this as a failing; I do not. There’s nothing wrong with loving a place and trying to make it better, even sacrificing more prestigious dreams in order to do so. In some ways, Rory makes peace with this over the course of the episodes. She finally makes a clean break with Logan; she begins writing a book about the story of her relationship with her mother; and of course, in the shocking final scene, she tells her mother, “I’m pregnant.” While the show creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, has suggested that Rory might have an abortion, the reviewer at Vox was horrified that Rory might actually think of keeping the child:

“Is this really what Rory wanted for herself? Or is she too deeply wedded to the mythos of Stars Hollow to know what her own desires are at this point?

The narrative’s cheerful, almost totally uncritical sublimation of millennial women’s individual agency to the cause of more babies is utterly enraging. To accept this plot as a natural conclusion to the show means either rewriting Rory herself into a passive noncommittal bore, or twisting Stars Hollow itself into something unrecognizable: a distorted version of American life where individual dreams and goals are repressed and subsumed into the larger collective. Stars Hollow, in this view, becomes a pro-life argument for the need to continue the legacy of Stars Hollow at any cost — even if it means dismantling the dreams of one of Stars Hollow’s finest.

It’s an abysmal, bittersweet way to part with a beloved fictional town. Rory will have the illusion of happiness, surrounded by community and family. But if 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that false comfort won’t make America great again, and it definitely won’t make Rory Gilmore great again.”

You see, the real tragedy would be having a community and a family, and thinking of yourself as happy. The horror!

Conclusion

The transformation of the town and its characters shows us that nothing is free of politics after the era of Obama, not even Stars Hollow.

Emily Gilmore is never really going to recover, because her world is gone.

Lorelai is getting married but isn’t going to have a child, while Rory may have a child, but isn’t getting married. It’s unclear whether or not she’ll have her baby, but either way, it won’t be raised with a father, just as Rory wasn’t raised with one. It’s a fatherless world. No fathers, no kings, no Richard Gilmores.

And yet the show isn’t really capable of pretending that everything is fine. The darkness shines through the charming humor, which isn’t as charming as it used to be. The gods left the earth a long time ago, but this seems to be a world entirely bereft of men. The result isn’t a feminist fantasy: it’s just sad.

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American Caesar

Leading up to the election, Radix Journal will publish a symposium, “The Meaning of Trump,” drawing writers from across the Alt Right. This is Cecilia Davenport ‘s entry The rise of Donald…

Leading up to the election, Radix Journal will publish a symposium, “The Meaning of Trump,” drawing writers from across the Alt Right. This is Cecilia Davenport ‘s entry


The rise of Donald Trump is a world-historical event. Since Trump came down that escalator, we’ve been living in a strange historical interlude; it has almost been as if he restarted history, but simultaneously somehow sped it all up. I think we all feel that, to some degree: the Current Era, dating from June 16, 2015, has brought new oddities and miracles every day, to which we one and all continue to exclaim, “What a time to be alive!” But the interlude ends soon. The British historian A.J.P Taylor famously called the failed revolution of 1848 “the turning point in history when history failed to turn.” No matter what the outcome of the election, history will turn in November 8th.

Why Trump? No one else could have done what he has done. Whether consciously or not, he did as Machiavelli advises in Chapter IX of The Prince. In discussing how to come to power, Machiavelli suggests that the best course for a new leader is to come to power with the help of the great, and then betray them, turning out to be a champion of the people. Because of this, they will be all the more grateful, because they didn’t expect anything from you. The people then perceive you to be acting freely, even though you may have long-term self interest in mind. This way you appear as the savior and liberator of the people against the great. Notice that Trump says in every speech, “I didn’t have to do this, folks.”

Now, Trump came from the world of the oligarchs, even though he elbowed his way into that as well; a boy from Queens, muscling his way into the world of Manhattan real estate. But when he entered the world of politics, recall that, at first, the elites couldn’t believe it. It took months for it to settle in that this campaign wasn’t an elaborate prank. That disbelief gave way to the attitude most in that class still seem to hold towards him: hatred and fear. They hate him because he betrayed them. They fear him not only because he might succeed, but because they think him mad. Only a madman would risk all of the status, the money, the powerful friends, the influence! Our apolitical managerial class of oligarchs can’t imagine another reason to risk all of those things. For what? Ambition? Greatness of soul? “Love of country?” You must be joking. Their minds can’t grasp the higher things.

Donald Trump has shown himself to be a remarkably political man. He is illiberal in a serious sense; he does not imagine politics to be a game. He understands at a gut level that the stakes are life and death: not just the life and death of individuals, but of nations. Leaving aside the sheer Caesarian force of will it must have taken, time and again, over the course of these months, to continue to consistently raise the issues of immigration, national sovereignty, and anti-globalism, even in the face of new pressures and attacks at every turn—Trump has created and sustained a significant popular movement of support. They love him. And he warmly and repeatedly insists that he loves them too.

But can he govern? Is America redeemable? I certainly didn’t think so before the Current Era. But as Ivanka said at the RNC, “Come January 17, all things will be possible again.” Trump will have to govern as he ran, like a Caesar. Like Caesar, he excels at theatrics and spectacle, and he must use this to sustain popular support, which will help ward off backstabbings and impeachment. The Trump rallies should continue; indeed, he should abolish the White House press corps and eliminate the media middle man, holding his press conferences before the people instead. He must continue to take the “slings and arrows” of the oligarchs (or, at least, appear to) on behalf of the people. He must continue to be their voice.

And what of us? We must become both Marc Antony and Octavian to his Caesar. In life, his loyal friend and advisor; in death, his champion and heir.

The Roman Republic needed Caesar to finish it off. There could be no Octavian without Caesar to clear the way. Just so, the Alt-Right needed Trump. Win or lose, history turns because of him.

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