....and a failure of the American people and political classes.
A few days ago I listened to Triggernometry's interview with Sam Harris. I think his take on Trump was both right in a sense, and wrong. However I don't agree that it is for the media and vested economic interests to subvert democracy, Harris thought the conspiracy to hide the Hunter Biden Laptop story was just.
In the novel Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams presents the character of Zaphod Beeblebrox, a stupid narcissist who is the elected president of the Galaxy. I started to pay attention to Trump when he was elected and, rapidly, he confirmed my initial impression, that he was a low-IQ narcissist. Once I'd established that, whilst the particularities of his actions may have been unpredictable, the general pattern was all too predictable, hence boring and of little interest to me.
The national leaders I want are people who I can imagine taking orders from, even to the degree that those orders don't make sense, but I know this person knows things I don't, so I execute those orders. Out of recent UK prime ministers, I thought Blair was such a leader, catastrophic mis-judgment on my part, and Cameron. Indeed the Cameron/Clegg government was, to my mind, the best government this country has seen for many decades. I would also have felt at ease being led by Kemi Badenoch or Rory Stewart.
Being a stupid narcissist Trump would never had won my loyalty.*1 That is not to say that Trump wasn't a useful idiot. His supporters are right in claiming that with him in charge Ukraine would never have been invaded by Putin and his rabble of orcs.
It is therefore surprising and disappointing that the American political system would have put forward two wholly unfit people for the 2016 presidential election. Even more disappointing is that the American people voted such a stupid buffoon in. (And yes, I accept that Boris Johnson was a buffoon, the difference is he wasn't stupid.) However against this appalling failure is cast a great success.
That success was that Trump was reined in by the system of government. He wasn't able to go crazy and when the time came he was removed from office despite his all-to predictable resistance (predictable for the stupid-narcissist paradigm). So it should fill us with some hope that there is a hard core within the US government that gives a stuff about American strategic interests. I can only hope that the same is still the case in the UK, but with the woke takeover of the culture extending into law, and even police and military, this may be a vain hope.
Harris was right in his diagnosis of Trump, but wrong in that the US people and political system had the right to decide to choose a totally unfit man for president. We all have the right to make the wrong decision, as long as we knuckle under, take responsibility, and don't gripe when the chickens come home to roost. However, with the benefit of hindsight we can now see that, especially when compared with his successor, the power that held sway as Trump played at president produced a remarkably good result and became adept at surfing the wave of Trump's behaviour to good effect.*2
And as for Trump's successor. I find it disturbing to see a woke cabal, having cruelly wheeled an obviously senile man into place, busy damaging the interests of the US and the West. And in the process making the West seem week to the barbarians at the gates, an exigency posing an ever present threat to all civilisations.
*1 Note that stupidity is orthogonal to narcissism, one can also have intelligent narcissists.
*2 It may seem inconsistent of me to both support democracy and support the 'secret state'. This is not the case, for example: In the fallout of the coming winter of discontent we could easily end up with a hard-left labour government. Democracy can make mistakes. Short of the sort of coup d'etat that may occur in some countries, it is necessary to have a tradition-imbued hand on the tiller that will occasionally take steps to prevent the vicissitudes of the voting public from committing serious damage to the interests of the nation or its culture.
For example, the left's solution to a doubling of domestic energy bills is to print more money, while supporting strikers' demands for more wages, both factors will further fuel inflation and the left's solution to that will be to double down on printing money and more strikes for more wages. As previously under the hard-left, we will see the sort of situation that wrecked the UK in the 1970s and required the distasteful medicine prescribed by Margaret Thatcher to correct things.
That this regulation seems to have slept through the hard-left Woke Totalitarian takeover of the UK does not put me at ease. But think of what I am saying as a sort of smoothing system to prevent a single government from doing too much damage in its four year slot.
As a teenager, full of idealism and no responsibilities, I despised the 'secret state'. Now as a man in my mid fifties, with responsibility to those for whom I provide and duty to my staff, I see the benefit of such a fall-back.