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Militant Normals
How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy
By Kurt Schlichter
Center Street
HC, 288 pgs. US$27
ISBN: 1-5460-8195-X

Instruction manual for the masses

By Daniel M. Ryan
web posted October 15, 2018

Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our DemocracyIn his kick-off, Kurt Schlichter said that his book will never be used as a text in a political-science class. That’s a shame. In an impossible universe, Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy would be assigned after a laborious plow-through of James Burnham’s The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom. Counsellor Schlichter’s tome complements Burnham’s in two ways. First of all, Militant Normals makes pellucid Burnham’s finding that freedom is preserved in a system of rivalrous elites that are too jealous of each others’ power and prerogatives to coalesce into a single ruling class. Secondly, Burnham wrote for the ages; Schlichter writes for the here and now. As such, it’s an incisive - and funny - instruction manual.

America is formally based on the sovereignty of the people, but in the real world this sovereignty is limned in the same way that William III and Mary II’s was. The people have the prerogative of choosing whichever political elites they want in charge, and a (de facto) veto power they can exercise when they get mad. Like William and Mary, the people can exercise these powers without having to justify themselves.

Bill and Mary Normal correspond well to Machiavelli’s ruled-type. They are not that interested in power; they want a reasonable level of security and prosperity. They don’t mind elites in charge of important institutions so long as the elites: a) are competent at running them, and b) treat the Normals with dignity. Contrary to class-warfare fantasies, Bill and Mary Normal do not have a taste for class conflict. So long as the elites fulfill the above two criteria, and at least pretend to be patriotic, Bill and Mary don’t mind them being in charge all that much. It’s only when elites fail to discharge these duties that Normals get restive. As Machiavelli observed, the ruled-type do not rebel unless they’ve been seriously provoked.

This is the theme of Militant Normals. The new political division is not between Left and Right, it’s between Normals and Elites. The former are becoming Militant because the Elites have become self-aggrandizing, aggressive, fanatical: all fuelled by an entitlement mentality that would leave a sixth-generation welfare recipient in awe. Underneath their mask of moralism, the Elites are driven by raw power-hunger. Their power-mania have pushed the Normals to become militant.

Militant Normals is a lot more nuanced than a tract written by a five-o’clock-shadow populist. Schlichter makes it very clear that Elites have always been part of America and that America has always had a need for some. The main reason is that ordinary folks have lives, and benefit from a competent political class to look after politics and governance. In the modern age, ordinary folks also have need of people with specialized, technical, scientific, organizational and managerial skills. There is a place for an Elite because there are jobs that only an Elite can do. Power, prestige, and recognition are the rewards for the Elite. Normals even went along with some self-serving so long as it was restrained. Above all, Elites had to keep in mind that they got their rewards courtesy of the sufferance of the people and act accordingly.

The rise of the Militant Normals is a result of the Elites breaking that compact. Pumped up by the sophistries of the Frankfurt School, Elites found their end of the compact too “repressive?.

One of the insights in the book is that the Elite faction has extended its reach way beyond real Elites through tribalism - not the tribalism you’ve heard of, but tribalism of values. Schlichter says more than once that a person can join the Elite faction no matter how little his accomplishments in the real world. Skippy the X-box champ and Becky the barista can join the Elites and be treated as such (unless they support someone like Bernie Sanders) because the real Elites, a small minority, are savvy enough to be chummy with Skippy and Becky. The pay-off for Skip and Beck is a superior attitude: the feeling that one is a cut above the pedestrian Normals who work jobs, get married, go to church, try to raise their kinds right,, have an immediate need for safe neighbourhoods and working infrastructure, volunteer, serve in the military, fight America’s wars and love America. A Normal is aghast or enraged at Hillary Clinton taking her “deplorables? excuse overseas and insulting about half of the country in front of foreigners. Elites think it’s wonderful. Just like they think it’s wonderful when a “woke? CEO not only fires but also publicly humiliates a hapless employee because of something he posted. Significantly, given the Elites imbibement of Cultural Marxism, they cheer on a woke CEO who acts like the old-socialist’s caricature of a callous bourgeois.

Not coincidentally, the ideological dividing line between Elites and Normals is globalism versus nationalism. Ideological Conservatives like to find that globalism is half-good, but the brutalized facts show that the Elites went for globalism because nationalism restrained them and their wills to power. A globalist economy means the corporate Elites can fill their pockets even more through outsourcing. Globalist Wilsonism means there’s always an excuse to plump for a war that Elites have no interest in serving in. A globalist ideology provides a rationalization for political Elites to up-end consent of the governed by importing a new voter class. Affluent Elites enjoy the benefits of illegal immigration while shielding themselves from the, uh, externalizes. Globalism as an ideal means that Elites lose a lot of qualms about fouling the national nest, which includes turning winnable wars into quagmires.

To make the divide clear, Schlichter depicts a representative Normal in Chapter 3 and a representative Elite in chapter 5. The former is a guy from Fontana, California. He graduated from high school, served with honour as a Marine, got wounded in combat but not so much that he can’t work. For that, he considers himself profoundly lucky, as he witnessed one of his compadres slaughtered. He tries to get a job in his dad’s line of work, roofing, but finds that every contractor either hires illegal immigrants gladly or is obliged to so as to not price themselves out of the market. He has to endure crime and lousy infrastructure because the Elites consider neither a priority. Every time he has to accept help from the VA hospital system, he gets a taste of real socialism. He’s become dispossessed in his own country.

The representative Elite, who Schlichter dubs Kaden. grows up in the affluent part of Los Angeles, has woke professional-class parents but is really raised by illegal-immigrant nannies. His schooling is a hybrid of participation-trophy coddling and fierce competition for an Ivy League slot. He soaks up trendy causes along with lefty values, both of which combine to inflate his ego. He’s so distant from Normals, the first veteran he meets is his roommate at Columbia U. He goes into journalism, now puffed up to the point of outright narcissism, and decides when he graduates that he’d like to be an influential pundit without doing the scut work of old-fashioned reporting. His heroes all brim over with the right kind of opinioneering; why shouldn’t he?

Damningly, Schlichter shows how Elites have not only slipped free of their moral responsibilities but also shucked off their performance responsibilities. This age is unique in that it’s the first time that Normals have become Militant and the Elite have not met their demands. Today’s Elites are too fanatical to sensibly bend the knee to the sovereign people. The fuel of #resist is thwarted power hunger; so is the Deep-State attempt to sabotage President Trump after he won according to the rules of the Constitution. Like so many Normals, Trump is being screwed over after playing to win and winning fair and square.

Donald Trump’s Presidency is the cumulation of a slow boil that stretches back to the ‘70s. Had America not been so bedevilled by Elite hostility and dysfunction, there’s a chance that Trump would have been shellacked like Barry Goldwater. It's the unbridled arrogance of Elites that had a major hand in Trump’s victory, not to mention Trump’s own Normal streak. As for Hillary, she was the fitting candidates of the Elites as she combined arrogance, an I’m-entitled attitude and incompetence.

Your humble reviewer has only scratched the surface of Militant Normals. Beneath Colonel Schlichter’s funny wisecracks and trial-lawyer smoothness is a real instruction manual for our times. If you’re a conservative who’s either ideological or has imbibed Elite values, you really need to learn from this book. In the final chapter, though he avers that the Normals are sure to win in the end, Col. Schlicher forecasts some rough times ahead – especially if Trump’s Presidency is followed by a revenge presidency. Ever since the bailout of ‘08, the Elites have not yielded to the outrage of the Normals. They show no signs of doing so. This unprecedented arrogance says there’s a long, tough political war ahead, even if it’s a war that Normals are destined to win. The Elites’ almost cultish arrogance bespeaks a protracted conflict, one in which there will be more Brett Kavanaughs and ordinary schlubs whose humble careers are wrecked by a Twitter mob.

There’s an off-chance it might flare up into a civil war. Those Elites who smugly brag about Blue-State America making up two-thirds of the GDP are oblivious to Machiavelli’s injunction that the graveyards of history are littered with elites who relied on money and mercenaries to do their fighting for them. How fitting for a corpus of blithe, clueless Elites who might as well have adapted The Prince into their own instruction manual. ESR

Daniel M. Ryan, as Nxtblg, is spinning his wheels at Steemit.

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