Contra: The Good, Bad, and the GAE
Catching up, anti-neoconservative action, against the globalist American empire.
I had the privilege of attending the Claremont Institute’s Lincoln Fellowship recently. Ten days of discussing, debating, and, well, drinking.
Our lot was a mixed bag that included paleoconservatives, traditionalists, and Nietzscheans. We had former Trump administration people, activists, organizers, lawyers, professors, writers. The most remarkable aspect of the event is that although we all came into this from different sides of the political spectrum, we mostly agreed on the path forward, on the uselessness of the old conservative consensus and prescriptions. I was not expecting to leave with lifelong friends, comrades-in-arms, but I did. Despite everything, the wind feels like it’s at our backs.
Anyway, this edition is playing catch-up. I am so far behind on content, so here’s everything that’s happened since the last newsletter.
First, I want to show off the covers of the two most recent issues of Chronicles. I’ve got articles in both, and I am really excited to hear what people think of them—and the cover designs.
My August column is about how rootless corporations, major financial institutions, and the federal government are poised to fundamentally change the way Americans live by separating them from property ownership.
For September, I’m writing about how the ruling class uses tragedy not to inspire Americans but to shame them. 9/11 became politically useful only to compare it to January 6 to claim the latter was worse. It’s still behind the paywall here.
Subscriptions start at $5/mo for one year. Do it.
Here's everything I've written and said since the last issue.
Trump Has Lost His Magic
Recently, even QAnon types have been souring on Trump.
The summertime auguries bode badly for former president Donald Trump, who has made a business of harmlessly splashing his feet in the Rubicon. He has reportedly made up his mind about running for president again in 2024 but won’t say whether he’ll cross the river yet—so you’ll just have to keep giving him your money to find out. Naturally, people are growing bored and frustrated with the spectacle.
QAnon supporters are probably Trump’s most fervent followers, and they received his recent rally in Wellington, Ohio, with a sigh of ennui. Apart from the standard artillery blasting traitorous RINOs, Trump railed against the rising tide of crime and ridiculed ‘woke’ generals. But the diehards snored. ‘Judging by the Trump-supporting normies I live with, they were bored with his speech,’ said one QAnon devotee, articulating the general mood of the online movement. ‘I support Trump but this is getting ridiculous.’
Read the rest in The Spectator.
America the Lonely and Rootless
For American Greatness, I wrote about how a party and movement that could finally offer a platform that lets people raise children and put down roots where they live would dominate elections and change the country for the better.
If humans are by nature social animals, then 21st-century patterns of work and life are fundamentally mismatched to our nature and needs. Polls, surveys, and bloodless data are not necessary to tell us what we feel in our bones, even if we can’t get it to reach the tips of our tongues. But sometimes numbers can help us adumbrate the intangibles.
In May, the Survey Center on American Life reported some figures on the antisocial nature of the times. Researchers found “Americans are marrying later than ever and are more geographically mobile than in the past—two trends that are strongly associated with increasing rates of self-reported social isolation and feelings of loneliness.” We are more mobile, more technologically connected, and yet more atomized than ever. Cars, trains, and planes have done as much to tear us apart as they have to bring us together.
Rest is here.
The Meaning of Juneteenth
I wrote this piece hoping that it would be something that in a decade or three from now would still be relevant, something to help people understand the moment.
Another holiday overshadowed Independence Day this year. Black Independence Day, also known as "Juneteenth," took center stage at PBS’s annual televised Fourth of July celebration, as singer Vanessa Williams performed "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the de facto Black National Anthem.
"It's in celebration of the wonderful opportunity that we now have to celebrate Juneteenth," she told the press while promoting the PBS show, in which the 19th overshadowed the fourth throughout.
Juneteenth, in truth, marks the death of the old American nation and the birth of a new one, clawing out from the chest of the Republic in a nightmarish vision that would make Ridley Scott squirm.
The rest is in Chronicles.
My last subscriber column was about the unholy matrimony of conservatism and coomerism.
Over the weekend, Charlie Kirk and his team ejected late quadragenarian pornographic actress Brandi Love from the Turning Point USA conference in Tampa, Florida. Apart from being a prolific and unrepentant lady of the evening, Love is a sometimes writer at The Federalist, a popular conservative magazine.
She had purchased a VIP ticket and sat through a few speaking events before being shown the door ahead of the second day's festivities. "We regret to inform you that your [conference invitation] has been revoked," read TPUSA's email to Love, adding that her money would be refunded. "This decision is final."
TPUSA is not known for being a particularly serious or socially conservative outfit. But Kirk's decision to evict Love indicates a change in the wind, one that sparked a squall of scathing criticism from influential conservatives. To his credit, Kirk has stood his ground.
When the CIA Kills Americans
Veteran spook John Sipher asked a very stupid question recently. Can the CIA, which is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, be a bad organization? The answer is: they probably killed an American DEA agent.
There is an old saying, supposedly a Chinese curse. “May you live in interesting times.” One of the most “interesting” aspects of our time is the intelligence community donning the “woke” warbonnet as it circumambulates the altar of social justice.
In a spat with politically homeless journalist Glenn Greenwald, John Sipher, a veteran of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, posited that organizations committed to progress, as the agency claims to be, cannot, by definition, be the bad guys. “What’s wrong with you?” Sipher asked Greenwald, who had the gall to criticize our modern-day praetorians. “Do you truly believe that a large organization of educated and diverse Americans are tyrants and support authoritarians?”
The short answer is: yes, emphatically so. Not long ago, the agency allegedly strung up a diverse American named Enrique “Kiki” Camarena when his patriotism flew him too close to the sun.
The Eyes and Ears of the King
I wrote about the growth of the security state for Chronicles magazine. What the US empire did to Afghans and Iraqis, it would eventually do to Americans.
Armed with a $2 billion war chest, the Capitol Police announced its plan to open field offices outside Washington for the first time. New imperial outposts are planned in California and Florida, with more to come across the country as the Capitol Police intend to monitor Americans from sea to shining sea. As part of this change in mission, new toys are required.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently approved a request by Capitol Police for the loan of eight “persistent surveillance systems,” technology originally deployed by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. What empires do to foreigners abroad, they eventually do to citizens at home.
The system allows for persistent, high-definition, night-vision-capable surveillance of vast geographical regions. Capitol Police officials remain reticent about how and against whom this technology will be used—and luckily for them, as an agency of the legislative branch, they are exempt from the prying eyes of the Freedom of Information Act.
I joined Tim pool for a talk about anarcho-tyranny, the surveillance state, and more. This was fun.
Is the Conservative Movement Dead? What Must Replace It?
I interviewed with John Zmirak, a senior editor at The Stream, on my favorite subject: why the conservative movement has failed and where we need to go from here. John is a great guy, he has been very supportive of my work, for which I am grateful.
John Zmirak: Thank you for taking time to answer these questions. Can you please explain what you mean by speaking of “the Right” instead of “conservatism”? How has the conservative movement failed or self-destructed?
Pedro Gonzalez: I’m not a conservative because when I look back at the history of the conservative movement in the United States since the post-war era, I see a legacy of fleeting and false victories that ultimately amount to an uninterrupted record of failure. For years it has, as Samuel Francis wrote, contented itself with “retreat into elegant reprimands of the establishment rather than advance to a principled confrontation with it.” Paleoconservatives on the margins of polite society were among the first to acknowledge that the movement has been a failure on its own terms.
Rest is in The Stream.
How Joe Biden Became A Trust Buster
Believe it or not, the Huffington Post quoted me and placed me in a favorable light recently. Check it out.
“There is this real sense that these major corporations, the most powerful financial institutions in the country, are leaning left,” said Pedro Gonzalez, a fellow at the conservative Claremont Institute think tank who identifies as a right-wing populist. “This kind of stuff does breed a real enmity culminating in a desire for antitrust action―taking a hammer to Amazon and smashing it to pieces.”
Credit to Daniel Marans for this.
For the GOP, ‘Limited Government’ Is for Voters, Not Donors
I am once again calling for the destruction of the conservative orthodoxy.
The Republican Party has long sung the refrain of limited government and free markets, reprimanding their constituents about the dangers of intervening in the economy. Big government and boycotts, they say, are for Democrats—we may not like what private companies do, but, hey, that’s capitalism!
All of that, of course, is a lie, or at best a hypocritical half-truth. The GOP is happy to intervene in the economy to benefit its financial backers—while claiming principled objections to using government power to aid the voters who put them in power. Consider the following examples:
In July, Axios reported that more than a dozen GOP state treasurers had threatened to withdraw assets from large financial institutions if they agreed to decarbonize their lending and investment portfolios, which would harm the energy industry. Republicans promised to use the power of the purse to make banks feel the pain were they to reduce their lending to companies involved in fossil fuel development.
Rest in Chronicles.
Just How America First Is the America First Policy Institute?
Probably one of the worst grifts to emerge in the post-Trump era is the America First Policy Institute. It’s run by Brooke Rollins and advised by Jared and Ivanka Kushner. Its ambassadors specialize in calling people to their right “racist.” Naturally, it is the official Trump think tank. Ann Coulter, God bless her, tweeted this story out in a flurry three or four times.
Two roads have diverged in the America First wood. On the one hand, the populist, grassroots, anti-establishment caravan; on the other, the establishment, grifter and, most importantly, official movement. The ironically named ‘America First Policy Institute’ and its dunces are leading the latter. Its newest ambassador, Daniel Di Martino, is illustrative of their type.
Di Martino is a Venezuelan immigrant and activist in the United States on a student visa, telling Americans that they’re racist for disagreeing with him about how to run their country.
After then-president Donald Trump issued an immigration ban amid the pandemic last year, the Daily Caller hosted a debate on its implications between populist author Ryan Girdusky and Di Martino. Shortly before that, Di Martino wrote in the Washington Times, ‘I’m afraid that Mr Trump’s immigration restrictions are transforming America from the welcoming, shining city on a hill I want to fight for into a dark, closed-off nation’. Unfortunately, Di Martino did not give up on the shining city and return to Venezuela or Spain, where he also holds citizenship.
Read more here.
“White People Aren’t Being Replaced and It’s Good That They Are”
The latest census data point toward whites becoming a minority in this country sooner than later. Some people are ghoulishly celebrating that fact. I talked about this in my latest Tucker Carlson segment below.
Against the Globalist American Empire
Talking about Afghanistan, neoconservatism, and liberal internationalism with Curt Mills, senior reporter at The American Conservative, and Arta Moeini, director of research at the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy. This is a format that I hope to continue doing under the Chronicles flag.
Lastly, I want to include a few articles about the current big topic: Afghanistan. Probably the best coverage right now is happening on Substack. Here is a useful timeline of events.
The U.S. Government Lied For Two Decades About Afghanistan
Glenn Greenwald writes:
“The Taliban regime is coming to an end,” announced President George W. Bush at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on December 12, 2001—almost twenty years ago today. Five months later, Bush vowed: “In the United States of America, the terrorists have chosen a foe unlike they have faced before. . . . We will stay until the mission is done.” Four years after that, in August of 2006, Bush announced: “Al Qaeda and the Taliban lost a coveted base in Afghanistan and they know they will never reclaim it when democracy succeeds. . . . The days of the Taliban are over. The future of Afghanistan belongs to the people of Afghanistan.”
For two decades, the message Americans heard from their political and military leaders about the country’s longest war was the same. America is winning. The Taliban is on the verge of permanent obliteration. The U.S. is fortifying the Afghan security forces, which are close to being able to stand on their own and defend the government and the country.
Ignore The Fake "Experts"—The Real "Catastrophe" In Afghanistan Was Always The War Itself
Michael Tracey writes:
It’s always enlightening to observe when corporate media organs temporarily transition from their standard posture of shrill, nonstop, apocalyptic threat-inflation about the supposed existential danger of conservative Republicans and find a different, less overtly partisan drum to beat for a while. That’s certainly what has been happening in the past several days, as the longest war in US history finally comes to a preposterously overdue close. Significantly more money, adjusted for inflation, was spent by US taxpayers on state-building in Afghanistan than was spent on the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II. And yet huge sectors of the media, in their pea-brained emotionalistic frenzy, have decided to impart the theory that just another few weeks/months/years of “conditions-based” US military engagement would’ve produced a withdrawal that passed all the requisite tests for nice-looking “optics.”
Americans Don’t Need to Worry About Afghanistan
Jordan Schachtel writes:
With the full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan underway, many in the commentariat and foreign policy credentialed class have taken to claiming that Kabul will come back to bite us in the future, and that this “Graveyard of Empires” will inevitably haunt us in the near future.
But that just couldn’t be further from the truth.
While Afghanistan is a land of strategic trade routes and rich natural resources, the nation state itself is an entirely irrelevant actor on the world stage. From a security perspective, there is zero risk coming from an Afghanistan free of an American military presence.
We Failed Afghanistan, Not the Other Way Around
Matt Taibbi writes:
The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) some years ago identified “$15.5 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse… in our published reports and closed investigations between SIGAR’s inception in 2008 and December 31, 2017,” and added an additional $3.4 billion in a subsequent review. All told, “SIGAR reviewed approximately $63 billion and concluded that a total of approximately $19 billion or 30 percent of the amount reviewed was lost to waste, fraud, and abuse.”
Thirty percent! If the overall cost of the war was, as reported, $2 trillion (about $300 million per day for 20 years), a crude back of the envelope calculation for the amount lost to fraud during the entire period might be $600 billion, an awesome sum. It could even be worse than that. SIGAR for instance also looked at a $7.8 billion sum spent on buildings and vehicles from 2008 on, and reported that of that, only $343.2 million worth “were maintained in good condition.” They added that just $1.2 billion of the original expenditure was used as intended. By that metric, the majority of the monies spent in Afghanistan might simply have gone up in smoke in bogus or ineffectual contracting schemes.
Richard Hanania at the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology also has done a good job on this topic, debunking neoconservative talking points.
Hanania has a collection of his Afghanistan content here.