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The Missing “Buckley-Factor” in Publius Decius Mus’ Historic Essay

If you haven’t heard, a fellow (I assume) named Publius Decius Mus penned an anonymous, 10-page essay at the Claremont College website, entitled the Flight 93 Election It’s a near-masterpiece, even historic.

It’s also long, but not above anyone’s head, even millennials, if they only put their whole minds to it. It’s what you might call a 4-dotter, where paragraphs are connected by the author with logic, one to the other, completing a nearly complete picture of the Trump candidacy and what it means to the nation and conservatism, and finally, with William F Buckley’s assistance, the constitutional position of the average American.

The essay is an explanation, more than an attack, on the position held by the #NeverTrump crowd, but as you can imagine, many took offense anyway. Clearly, Publius Decius Mus’ logic isn’t shared universally.

Nor was it, for my conservative tastes, complete. As a unified theory, it missed a point, which I will raise below, after I’ve dispensed with the teat-fittery, for you see, whether intentional or nor, Publius Decius Mus’ arguments are generationally based, between a group that has largely been around, and have the benefit of experiences millennials, and most Gen Xers, can’t claim. That’s a pure statistical reality. We’ve been around more.

So, when Rush Limbaugh brought this essay to the general public’s attention last week, it caused a firestorm of controversy, while also possibly producing an unstoppable wind-change in the election itself, in that it depicted the reality of a Hillary Clinton victory in November in stark, even harsher terms than anyone (other than me) has portrayed to them. So while some have complained loudly and bitterly I believe that many anti-Trumpsters are edging closer to voting for him anyway, based on PDM’s Flight 93 metaphor.

(While I have argued virtually every point raised by PDM for several years, his presentation is immaculate, chalkboard perfect in connecting dots; a thing I could never do as well, especially without lapsing off into profanities, which explains why I understand the teat-fitter of the NeverTrumpsters as well as I do.)

But amidst this sea-change, there is some cause to believe that Ben Shapiro may have shifted course in the other direction, against Trump, which is teat-fittery writ large, and why I detour to mention him. He may be arguing against his own logical inclinations. At least, my son, who follows Ben more closely than I do, and, being closer to the same age…32 to 45…believes, and Ben has led him to think, that he will hold his nose (God, how many times have we been asked to do that since 1992?) and vote for Trump anyway.

But I didn’t get any hint of that in reading Ben’s screedposte at DailyWire, so you be the judge.

I still believe Ben Shapiro to be the best of his generation, but unless he can look into his future and see a bigger duck on a big pond some day, which comes with experience, maturity, and heaps more knowledge than he currently possesses, not to mention just a dash of humility, and compare it with being a big pissant in a shallow pool of warm pee today, where truly he is swimming at the top of his class, and quite profitably, I hold out little hope for him in say, 10-15 years. I’ve tried to save Ben in the past in this regard, so can only offer him my best wishes going into the final few weeks, for if things go as they seem to be, Ben, like the unlucky president of William and Mary, who went from first to worst by choosing the wrong side in 1776, only making the list of Forgotten American Tories, or What-Might-Have-Beens instead of Great American Colonials as he assumed. Things like that can happen fast. We simply have no time for foot-stomping teat fits. All that remains to be seen will be how many of these bright minds will, in 2017, become Great American Wreckers, as Ben Howe at RedState, and his colleagues there have professed to assist Mrs Clinton in every way they can, stating she would do the country less harm.

So, in another way, this election could indeed be many NeverTrumpsters own Flight 93, and they know it. This election is about their celebrity, their status, and their bank accounts. They’ve given less thought to American conservatism than Milo has about kissing a girl.

About PDM’s Flight 93 metaphor

Now, I’m an historian and analyst, and my paying gigs for nearly 20 years was in using historical models to assess what are the possible and likely outcomes of certain kinds of political regimes coming to power. I learned my craft in the then-Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc, 1991-2010.

It has long been my position, considering the clear intentions of the Left in this country, made manifest in the past 7 1/2 years under Obama, but even back to the Clinton years 1992-2000, that the Left is moving headlong toward a type of authoritarian government while leaving roughly 80% of the citizenry powerless. There is at least 500 years of history, including recent history, which proves how these experiments work out. I came to know this intimately from the bottom-up in the old Soviet Bloc, where virtually every Russian believed that Lenin died because he was going a little soft on the people, and too slow in driving them, only six years after he started the whole affair.

So I have always proceeded under the assumption that there are no limitless number of tomorrows for the people to restore their rights and power via the ballot box and electoral process.

Still, I have many friends near my age who simply cannot allow themselves to believe that such a thing could occur, to “think the unthinkable” as Ronald Reagan might have when looking out over Congress when he gave a State of the Union address in 1984, or GW Bush most certainly did if someone warned him that the greater threat to America might have come from the home front Left rather than Islamists in the Middle East. He would never have allowed himself to believe the true motives of Pelosi and Reid. And on that, he was wrong, perhaps fatally. He should have known better. But this coming from the whippersnapper generation, who were still in high school (or less) on the first 9-11, who should pause to listen to them… except maybe only younger whippersnappers?

If Publius Decius Mu were trying his Flight 93 metaphor in court, Shapiro would stand no chance with his arguments where the Rules of Evidence were in play, and a jury of adults, but not of the Harvard Law Faculty, were sitting in judgment. He’d be laughed out of court.

About PDM’s Washing5ton General’s analogy that anti-Trumpsters are quite content to be the paid foils of the Liberal Establishment if the pay and celebrity was good enough. A more circumstantial case here, but certainly George Will’s relationship with the Washington Post has established all sorts of credibility for that way of thinking. I don’t think anyone argues that if one is to be successful inside the Beltway is that their success will be as a satellite in a planetary system in which the American Left is the sun. Interestingly, Shapiro offered little in the way of evidence or defense of his own motives other than his own sincere motives.

Shapiro did little to allay the Washington Generals comparison (who were way before his time) but he could look up a fellow named Bill Spivey, a childhood hero of mine, who played for the Generals in the 50s. The analogy was perfect.

What Publius Decius Mus missed was to fill out the picture of the stakes

I don’t know how my millennials betters do it, but when I was in my 30s I was a practicing Army lawyer and spent more time learning than telling people what I knew. I worked for senior officers who are in the history books. I studied just to keep up. And when I found an idea that was new or challenging, I immediately retreated to my closet (a little New Testament lingo there) to evaluate it. It was an acquired habit, and over the years Pascal, CS Lewis, Chesterton, and Tolkien have all sent me there. But mostly I turned to “National Review” and William F Buckley, Jr.

One such comment is the basis for this essay.

I call it the Buckley-Factor, take from his quote:

wfb faculty of harvard

After I came back from the USSR in early ’92 I wrote WFB and asked him if he actually meant those words.

He replied, as always, in a brief 4-word note probably typed on that little typewriter sitting in his lap in the back of his car, while being driven to the airport, “You bet I did.”

I asked that question because of an incident that occurred to me in Ukraine around Christmas, 1991, at the home of a law professor: (I retell this story at every opportunity, as it was my road-to-Damascus moment about the Constitution, first driven home to me by William F Buckley with that quote. In Ukraine that true purpose was revealed to me by some college professors.

I’ve told this story before, of the time in 1991 I attended a birthday party for a law professor at a university in USSR Ukraine. Around three tables pushed together, in a dimly lit room, in early-winter, there were twelve, mostly academicians, all standing, glasses held high, while the host’s son would go around and fill each glass with a home-brew vodka in a very traditional Russian round-robin series of toasts. When this parade finally ended at the head the table, the host asked me to speak on his behalf. Just a little in my cups, and having nothing un-foolish to say right off the top of my head, I steadied myself and reached into my inside pocket and pulled out my trusty Cato Institute edition of the Constitution, and read from it aloud, more specifically, Jefferson’s famous lines of the Declaration, one slow phrase at a time, so it could be translated. “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

At the time I didn’t know these words by heart, but I do now.

What happened next is why.

Common  words to many Americans,  I swear, I don’t think any of those Soviet professors had ever heard them before, for upon finishing, I looked up to see every person assembled crying, tears pouring down their cheeks. There wasn’t a single smug been-there-heard-that look in the crowd. I’m sure the vodka helped. Then after we had eaten, three of the professors, continuing a constitutional Q & A begun before the meal, rushed up to say “Mister, Mister, now we understand Amerika Constitution. Is simple…even Ivan Ivanovich (the Russian Homer Simpson) can pursue life, liberty, happiness without permission of state.” (Emphasis mine …and theirs.)

As Father Mulcahy of the old M.A.S.H. television series once said: “How can you see something like that and not be changed?”

Only a day or two ago, Hillary Clinton called these Homer Simpsons “deplorable.” Last year, George W Bush called these same people, who elected him to office, “nativists” – and between the two Bens they have been called every name in the book, from hayseed, redneck, goober, hillbilly, illiterate…

… and yet there is Bill Buckley saying he preferred being governed by them than Ben Shapiro’s faculty at Harvard. And then there are those law scholar-babes in Ukraine who heard Jefferson’s word and were moved to tears over the revelation of a simple truth.

So, what does this highest of truths mean to our intellectual betters among the anti-Trumps?

I even published a book, “Famous Common People I have Known” (which is available at Amazon).

Like our friend, Lady Penguin, who has said she will wear the name “deplorable” with honor, I think it is time we rededicate ourselves to the people about whom the country was created, its C-students, from whence all our A-students come, lest these little ungrateful sonsabitches have forgotten the shoulders they stand on.

They can’t be conservatives if they do not understand the miracle of both our creation as a free people, and our success as a nation, from C- to A-student because of it.

Evening Bells in Russian

Authored By vassarbushmills – Unified Patriots