Major Loot

In 2014, Hobby Lobby purchased a tablet containing an excerpt from the Epic of Gilgamesh, perhaps the oldest epic work of literature in Western Civilization.  The tablet is 3500-years old, and Hobby Lobby won the tablet in a Christie’s auction, paying $1.6 million for it.  Hobby Lobby displayed the tablet in its Museum of the Bible, which houses a number of rare and ancient artifacts.

Now, Hobby Lobby has forfeited the tablet to the US Department of Justice due to it shady provenance.  It seems that the original seller falsified a letter of provenance to show that the tablet had entered the United States before laws against importing rare artifacts were enacted.

To make matters worse, Christie’s apparently knew that the letter was questionable, but withheld that information.

Unfortunately, that means Hobby Lobby took one on the chin financially.  I’m not sure what the fate of the original smuggler is, but I imagine he’s long gone and living the sweet life.

The bigger question, though, is what should be done with such artifacts?  Current US policy seems to be to return them to their country of origin.  While that might seem to the be simplest policy, is it really best for the preservation of the artifacts—and our cultural heritage?

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The Joy of Romantic Music II: Bedřich Smetana’s “The Moldau”

Last Friday I wrote of the beauty and power—the sheer joy—of Romantic music, a topic I’ve covered once before on this blog.  In writing last week’s post, I noted briefly that Romantic music is nationalistic, which was certainly true in a number of cases.

Europe following the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars was a hotbed of political activity and nationalist sentiment.  The Congress of Vienna (1815) redrew the map of Central Europe, reducing the hundreds of German principalities, bishoprics, duchies, baronies, and the rest into about a dozen political units, hoping these larger Germanic kingdoms would serve as a bulwark against future French aggression.  They did, and more—under the steady Realpolitik of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Prussia gradually grew to unite these new lands into the Second Reich—a unified Germany.

Meanwhile, smaller nations chafed under Austrian or French influence.  Bohemia—now part of the Czech Republic—fought against Austrian political rule and the German language that came with it.  Bohemians championed the revival of their native Czech language, and began revisiting Czech folklore and music as the resting place of the national spirit.

This process was not unique to Bohemia or the Czechs, but today’s featured piece, Czech composer Bedřich Smetana‘s The Moldau, is a prime of example of how nationalist musical ideas can capture beautifully a sense of a place, while also transcending national identity and borders.

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Where the Right Goes From Here

Lest I be cast as a “doomer”—one who has given up on President Trump’s noble attempt to win the re-election that is rightfully is—it seems likely that our ruling elites will assure Biden wins the presidency.  I still believe that Trump is the rightful victor; that the election was stolen from him; and that the evidence of widespread voter fraud is compelling enough to throw, at the very least, the election to the House of Representatives.

Remember, we live in a world that still argues that John F. Kennedy’s campaign did not manipulate vote totals in Cook County, Illinois to flip the State away from Nixon in 1960, thereby assuring Kennedy’s victory.  What we saw in 2020 was the Cook County strategy writ large.  We should fight that manipulation to ensure the integrity of future elections, but I fear the damage is done.

Again, I hold out hope that Trump will be vindicated and that justice will be served.  Nevertheless, as conservatives, we should adopt the distinctly conservative course of preparing for what comes next.  Even if our dream scenario comes to fruition, it only buys conservatives time.  Either way, we’ve got to consider seriously where we’re going, and our place in a society that increasingly rejects us and our interests.

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TBT: Trump Stands for Us

With the 2020 election still on the ropes, it’s easy to get discouragedWe’ve witnessed Democrats get away with voter fraud for decades, so what makes this election any different?  Add to the mix the moralizing self-rationalization that surely must motivate many of the poll workers perpetuating the fraud (remember, these people think they are saving the country by doing everything possible to remove Trump from office), and the situation seems dire at times.

But we can’t give up on our man.  Donald Trump didn’t give up on us.  Yes, I know he mildly denounced the Proud Boys, but as even Gavin McInnes noted, Trump probably doesn’t even really know who the Proud Boys are.  Maybe he should, but if he knew the PBs, he’d probably applaud their patriotism.

Leave that aside.  President Trump delivered—big time—for his supporters.  Three Supreme Court justices.  Hundreds of lower court judges.  Lower taxes.  No more critical race theory training for federal employees.  Substantial protections for religious liberty.  A roaring economy.  And, quite frankly, common sense.

In looking back to November 2019’s archives, I found this post from 4 November 2019, “Trump Stands for Us.”  It’s a powerful reminder for why we love Trump, and how he’s fought for us.  Now it’s our time to fight for him:

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Quick Friday Morning Fraud Update

Today is my busy day in the unorthodox rotating schedule at my little school, and I didn’t have the foresight or energy to post something last night.  So before that first bell rings and the long day of mind-molding begins, here are some reflections and thoughts on the latest election news:

It’s looking more and more like the election is going to drag on for weeks to come.  The deliberate slow-walking of vote counting in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina just opens up the door for more and more fraud in those States, though the Trump campaign and its internal pollsters seem optimistic about all four States.  There will be a recount in Wisconsin, and almost certainly in Michigan.  Pennsylvania seemed clearly in the win column for Trump until corrupt Philadelphia officials started stuffing the ballot boxes.  Even the sheriff there has refused to enforce the court order allowing—requiring!—the Trump people to observe the vote counts.

The gall of the progressive Establishment at all levels is appalling, but it suggests their utter contempt for the rest of us.  These people hate us because we don’t embrace their kooky weirdness and abnormality—because we just want to live quiet, peaceful, God-fearing lives.

Fortunately, even if Biden wins, Republicans look poised to hold the Senate, and even picked up seats in the House.  If we can pull out a majority in the House, a Biden presidency will be a lame duck from day one.  Voting all over the nation suggests a repudiation of radical progressivism—defund the police, Antifa riots, etc.  When I have more time, I’ll write further about the potential future of national conservatism.  This Rod Dreher piece does a good job of summing it up, though (indeed, that’s my source!).

More to come.  Keep praying, and remain ever-vigilant.

—TPP

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Trump’s Pages of Accomplishments

Looking at national polls and predictions, it’s easy to get discouraged about President Trump’s reelection prospects.  Even with Joe Biden losing his mind, and the pick of a radical, authoritarian Kamala Harris as his running mate, “Sleepy Joe” is managing to stay up by hunkering down.

On our side there’s grumbling that Trump hasn’t done enough—on immigration, on law and order—and those aren’t entirely warrantless grumbles.  Republicans squandered—perhaps intentionally—an opportunity to fund the construction of the border wall while they controlled both chambers of Congress.  John McCain pompously and vindictively voted to keep the odious Affordable Care Act in place, a clear parting shot at Trump.  Trump did not seem to offer a robust response to the CHAZ/CHOP fiasco, but is now belatedly defending federal property in Portland, Oregon.

Those critiques aside, it’s worth remembering what Trump has accomplished—and he wants you to be reminded.  That’s why he gave Breitbart a six-page document of his achievements.  They are substantial—and make him one of the greatest presidents of the last fifty years.

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The Tuck for President

The 2020 election is looming, and while Trump is struggling at the moment, I am praying that he can pull out another victory and another four-year term.  The stakes are high:  a Trump victory, at minimum, allows us to forestall a progressive Armageddon for another four years; it also undermines both the Never Trumpers (who can no longer write off Trump’s 2016 victory as a “fluke”) and the ultra-progressives.  I don’t think the modern Democrat Party has much of a moderate wing left, but that small, dying minority might be able to convince the Party that going full-on progressive is a bad move.

A Trump defeat, however, would be catastrophic.  Z Man wrote Tuesday that a “Democratic sweep” would essentially mean the end of elections in America—at least, the end of meaningful national ones:

More important, there is no electoral option either. The Democrat party is actively cheering on this lunacy. Joe Biden is running an extortion campaign, where a vote for him means an end to the violence and Covid lock downs. How realistic is that when his party is cheering for the mayhem, promising to take it to a new level after they win the final election. It is not hyperbole to say that a Democrat sweep in November means the end of elections. What would be the point?

Trump’s defeat would also embolden the Jonah Goldberg/David French neocons of Conservatism, Inc., who are essentially abstract ideologues offering token resistance to the Left.  There’s a reason the joke “The Conservative Case for [Progressive Goal Here]” exists, because National Review tends to put up tortured, weak resistance to the progressive fad of the moment, before finally caving and accepting the latest lunacy as a “bedrock conservative principle.”  What conservative site goes around pitching “magic mushrooms” as conservative—and has done so repeatedly?  The conservative publication of record possesses the quality and depth of a college newspaper.

Regardless, Trump’s defeat would mean not just Biden’s marionette presidency, in which ultra-progressive handlers pull the strings; it would also mean a return to boring, ineffectual, tired, defeated neoconservatism.  National conservatism, social conservatism, traditionalism, populism—these movements and others, which have enjoyed a renewal since 2015, would wither on the vine—or see themselves pruned from “respectable” Beltway “conservatism.”  That would only hasten the victory of progressivism in the absence of any real opposition.

But there is hope.  2020 looms large, but 2024 is is not that far away.  On the Right, there is a good bit of speculation about who will fill Trump’s shoes.  VDare offers one compelling optionTucker Carlson.

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Populism Wins

A major lesson of the 2016 election was that the neoliberal consensus of the prior thirty years was not the panacea its advocates claimed.  Trump’s candidacy was premised on the notion that the national government should work for the interests of the nation’s people, not on behalf of globalist concerns and aloof cosmopolitan elites.  Government could be reformed to strengthen the nation, rather than operating as the piggy bank for and protector of internationalists.

It’s interesting to reflect how entrenched the assumptions of neoliberalism were prior to 2015-2016.  When Trump began his historic campaign, virtually no one on the Right was talking about tariffs, other than Pat Buchanan (and a long essay on the necessity of a trade war with China that Oren Cass wrote for National Review in 2014).  The outsourcing of jobs overseas was assumed to be a short-term sacrifice that would result in more efficiency (ergo, lower prices on consumer goods) and more skilled jobs here.  We were a “nation of immigrants,” so we’d better throw the doors wide open.

With Trump’s election, a long-dormant populist wing reemerged, consisting both of conservative Republicans and disgruntled Democrats.  Tariffs became an important foreign and domestic policy tool.  A trade war with China soon began, and the United States renegotiated the NAFTA agreement with Mexico and Canada.  Manufacturing jobs began returning to the United States, and immigration laws began to be enforced (so long as those Hawaiian judges didn’t get in the way).  The economy, rather than contracting as the free trade hardliners warned, grew exponentially, and even now is recovering at a remarkable clip after The Age of The Virus temporarily sidelined it.

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#MAGAWeek2020: The Tuck

This week is #MAGAWeek2020, my celebration of the men, women, and ideas that MADE AMERICA GREAT!  Running through this Friday, 10 July 2020, this year’s #MAGAWeek2020 posts will be SubscribeStar exclusives.  If you want to read the full posts, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.  You’ll also get access to exclusive content every Saturday.

Read my two-part biography of Theodore Roosevelt (with your $1 a month subscription!) here and here.

I dedicated the first two days of #MAGAWeek2020 discussing America’s manliest president, Theodore Roosevelt (Part I, Part II).  TR’s influence on the nation and the office of the presidency reverberate to the present, both for good and ill, but his impact is substantial.  One of his most vocal modern apologists—and a man with immense public influence—is the Uncuckable One:  Tucker Carlson.

There are a number of influential figures on the Right that surely have contributed to the greatness of the United States—Milo, Gavin McInnes, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, etc.—through their reporting and commentary.  All have done real yeoman’s work, at great personal and professional risk, to advance conservatism, specifically America First nationalism.  Tucker Carlson, however, is able to reach an audience—and present America First ideas to that audience—so large, his influence scuttles congressional bills.

Even more importantly, it seems GEOTUS Donaldus Magnus himself listens to The Tuck.  More significant still, Carlson never backs down and never apologizes for his positions, instead defending his views with sharpness and tact—and a charmingly boyish laugh.

To read the rest of today’s #MAGAWeek2020 post, head to my SubscribeStar page and subscribe for $1 a month or more!