Back this past November 2018 Patrick J. Buchanan celebrated his 80th birthday. For those of us who have known him over the years and counted him as a friend it appears as if time has stood still—it seems only yesterday that Pat was holding forth on CNN’s “Crossfire,” and that he was running for president, first as an insurgent Republican against George H. W. Bush in 1992 (he received 23% of the GOP primary vote that year), against Bob Dole in 1996, and then as the Reform Party candidate in 2000.
Who can forget his memorable “culture war” address at the 1992 Republican National Convention, in which he declared forthrightly that “there is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself,” and that “we must take back our cities, and take back our culture, and take back our country.”
Although too many Republican voters and conservatives refused to admit it at the time—indeed, found that speech far too apocalyptic or “negative”—was it not, in retrospect, spot on? A veritable and accurate vision of what was looming ahead for this nation, and a warning, a kind of shot across the bow, of the GOP elites who adamantly refused to oppose and in large measure continue to refuse to oppose in any effective manner the progressivist revolution occurring in America?
In a sense it was like the late Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech (April 1968) in England, foreseeing the decline of that once-great nation and the invasion of swarms of Muslims immigrants who would change the face of the country, and the accompanying cowardice and utter decay of Great Britain’s once-stouthearted governing class, imprisoned in their own anteroom of extinction.
Pat had crossed over the Rubicon. But back then too many citizens did not see, did not understand what was occurring in our country. Pat did.
And for that he was attacked.
For his assaults on the Neoconservative globalist elite that dominated the Republican Party, and in many ways, still does, he was shunned and considered persona non grata in most GOP circles. Unlike fellow Republicans he did not see American-imposed untempered democracy and sloganeering about an illusory equality as the panacea for the world’s problems.
On immigration Pat was forthright. In December 1991, on ABC’s “This Week With David Brinkley” weekly news magazine he stated the obvious: “…if we had to take a million immigrants in, say Zulus, next year, or Englishmen, and put them in Virginia, what group would be easier to assimilate and would cause less problems for the people of Virginia?” The answer was, of course, undeniable, but the elites in both political parties would have none of it.
Because of his unwillingness to blindly support the policies of the state of Israeli and its lobby in the United States—recall his statements on “The McLaughlin Group” that “Capitol Hill is Israeli occupied territory” and, in 1990, that “there are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East – the Israeli defense ministry and its ‘amen corner’ in the United States,” even old allies like William F. Buckley turned on him, accusing him of anti-semitism (see Buckley’s book-length essay, In Search of Antisemitism, 1992), and pro-Israeli Neocon zealot Charles Krauthammer charged him with making “subliminal appeals to prejudice.” Yet friends like Murray Rothbard, Justin Raimondo, Jack Germond, Al Hunt and Mark Shields stood by him and staunchly defended him against these attacks.
His newspaper columns, always concise, well-written and on target, predicted and heralded accurately what was happening to and in America. Even more, his thirteen published books, written over some forty years, have crystallized and elaborated as hardly anyone else has what the Founders’ and Framers’ old republic was actually about, the manifold attacks on it, and what was required to preserve and restore it.
Consider the titles of some of them:
The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to the Goals of the Global Economy (1998), a powerful indictment of soulless global finance capitalism which was destroying the American heartland and native American industry.
A Republic, Not An Empire: Reclaiming America’s Destiny (1999), a clarion call against America’s overextended internationalism, against the madness of globalism, and a summons for “America to come home” and address its own very serious and growing problems.
State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and the Conquest of America (2006), written ten years prior to the present rancorous debate over immigration, a powerful warning concerning the future of the United States—and in a sense, a follow-up to an earlier book, Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasion Imperil Our Country and Civilization (2002).
And, perhaps the most incisive, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive until 2025? (2011), in which Pat “shouted from the rooftops” like Cassandra at the Siege of Troy: “[Am] I destined to prophesy truth, but not to be believed until too late?”
These works, unvarnished and in their developed fullness, were a call for America to return to its wellsprings, to recover what was being lost, and a warning of what would happen if not.
In a very real and palpable sense Pat Buchanan foreshadowed the “Make America Great Again” counter-revolution which saw Donald Trump elected president in 2016. In a certain way, the Trump candidacy was not really about Donald John Trump or his abrasive personality. He was rejected by the GOP elites and makers-and-shakers, he was shunned by Wall Street, he was attacked by the highly paid Republican consultant class and dismissed by the “holier-than-thou” party-plutocrat Never Trumpers, because of what he represented.
Like the dragon Fafnir in Richard Wagner’s Siegfried who mutters, “I’ll keep what I hold—let me slumber,” the Republican establishment preferred to, as John Milton has Satan say in Paradise Lost, “reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.” Better to guard position and wealth and the remnants of power, even if only as second-rate collaborationists in the ongoing revolution—and all the while professing to the rest of us that they were opposing it.
Trump became a larger-than-life symbol elected by the “small people,” the dairy farmers in Wisconsin, the construction workers in Ohio, the middle class folks—the “deplorables”—who had seen their social fabric shattered and their family units severely stressed, and who, in their desperation finally reached the breaking point in November 2016. Neglected and scorned by both parties, clinging to an economy that had largely passed them by, inhabiting a “fly over country” (to quote leftist novelist Philip Roth) beset by economic depression, opioids, and cultural breakdown, they opted for a bull-in-a-china shop, because no simple establishment conservative was willing or capable of engaging in the “slash-and-burn” tactics so desperately required.
They knew Trump was far from perfect, he was not an Insider who knew the ways of the immense house of political prostitution and poltroonery, otherwise known as Washington DC. And intuitively they understood that he might have to accede to certain demands of office and compromises, that he would be fiercely attacked, and that once he had torn the scab off to reveal the evil and fearsome machinations of the firmly-rooted Deep State, there would be all Hell to pay.
And so, despite the president’s manifest failings—including most critically his selection of some horrid advisors and Neoconservative counselors who seek to undercut his stated agenda from within, his mixed signals in foreign policy, his cave on the importation of more legal immigrants, and his at times apparent unwillingness to “go for the progressivist jugular” –Donald Trump’s very presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue opened a door ajar, revealed the ugly and demonic face of the Deep State which had increasingly exerted its control over us all. It was there for all to see—the raving and unleashed “presstitutes” at CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post—the unhinged solons in Congress who hope to topple the president through endless investigations and manufactured crimes and infamy—the near totality of academia that froths at the mouth at the mention of his name (while incubating generations of crazed lunatic students).
With or without Donald Trump, that door has opened just a crack, and our enemies in the Deep State—the Media, establishment Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives, the cowardly Republicans still subservient to their Big Business donors, the decrepit and rotting “conservative movement,” Hollywood, academia—all know that things will never quite be as they were once before 2016.
Try as they may those militants of the Deep State are hard pressed to put the genie back in the lamp. Via social media (and they are attempting to regulate that too) and other means of communication, a populist and national opposition exists and will not easily go away. And just as in Europe, it will continue to challenge the managerial control, the authoritarianism so implicit and real that once envisaged a steady march to triumph.
Yet, that counter-revolution, that reawakening, is by no means a guarantee of victory for those who would make America great again. The epigones of the establishment, the unhinged progressivists, the smug Never Trumpers, and the self-erected arbiters of our culture have unleashed a vigorous and vicious response in which no prisoners will be taken, no quarter given. We may be witnessing the first stages of a real and armed civil war.
As we look back at recent history, as we examine how we reached this point in our national epic, as we raise—if only slightly—the specter of real counter-revolution, let us recall and salute the lifetime of labor and service of Patrick Buchanan, who continues to write some of the most incisive commentary around. Indeed, he is still a prophet, as he continues to look presciently into both the present and the future.