Michael Anton on the Founding, the failures of Conservatism, Spiritual Warfare, and more

Article author: 
Mark Granza
Article publisher: 
IM - 1776
Article date: 
September 22, 2021
Article category: 
Our American Future
Medium
Article Body: 

Michael Anton is an American conservative essayist, speechwriter, and former senior national security official in the Trump administration. In 2016, under the pseudonym Publius Decius Mus, he wrote The Flight 93 Election, an influential essay in support of Donald Trump’s campaign which was subsequently credited by various media as the one that made the argument that got the President elected....

 

Mark Granza: In a recent essay you wrote that: “It is at least theoretically possible that the [American] founders got it right but that their arguments, and the regime based thereon, were too fragile to survive for long because one or both were (are) eminently susceptible to corruption.” Where do you think the founders’ arguments might be most corruptible or fragile?

Michael Anton: ...  I basically derive that from the ancient political philosophers, who argue essentially that you cannot rationalize politics. So I think it’s at least possible that they might consider the American founding as a project that can’t work, because it presumes a level of rationality amongst the people that, in their view, doesn’t and can’t exist. Politics, they’d say, is contentious and irrational and it involves the passions...

 

Mark Granza: It seems that the composition of the American people has changed beyond anything the founders would recognize. Is it possible that the United States has changed to such an extent as to make the founder’s vision unattainable for America today?

Michael Anton: I guess when I get gloomy I worry about that. But then when I’m feeling optimistic, I think no, some of that spirit is still there, and we may see it emerge and push back against some of the craziness that’s going on today....

Conservatives oppose the racial hatred so weakly and ineffectively that it amounts to non-opposition. That said, I think it’s less true today than it was even a year ago. The events of last summer along with the exposure of CRT [Critical Race Theory] since were so horrific that they stirred the Right and caused it to be more active against this stuff.

I’ve read this great column by Pedro Gonzales recently [a very similar one by Scott Greer appeared in American Greatness a few months prior], in which he said that if we keep dancing around and refuse to say that much of what the left is spewing is simply anti-white hatred, we’re going to lose....

 

Mark Granza: Absolutely. Since we’re here, I’d like to talk about the role of Free Speech...

Michael Anton: For the founders, Free Speech is essential for two reasons. The First Amendment covers speech and religion, and I don’t think those two concepts are divisible for the founders. You own your body and you own your mind. So you have to be free to believe what you believe, or the society you live in is fundamentally a tyranny.... And you can’t have elections without deliberation. And you can’t have public deliberation without free speech. And so without free speech the very foundation of the republic goes away...

 

Mark Granza: In a recent podcast with PostModern Conservative you talked about the Regime’s rhetoric, and how its attempts to exclude increasing numbers of people from the systems will eventually lead to the point where so-called “deplorables” will have no access to resources left. At which point, you said, they will be forced to revolt and start building parallel structures. Do you think that’s the only scenario where people will revolt?

Michael Anton: I don’t think that’s the only thing that would get people to revolt. I do think though that that surely will...

I actually use mandatory vaccines as an example, and this was pre-Covid. I can see a revolt arising if not with this vaccine then with the one down the line....

 

Mark Granza: One last question Mr. Anton. It’s 2040.... The Right has regained power and now controls the institutions.

Michael Anton: Well, first I’m seeing a functioning border, both at the Southern border, at the airports, and all ports of entry where we’re keeping track of who’s coming in. There are only lawful entries. And workplaces throughout the land are required to check a worker’s legal eligibility. Personally, I’d like to see no immigration for the foreseeable future - America does not now need more people....

 

This interview appeared on IM—1776 an online magazine of philosophy, cultural, and sociopolitical analysis:

"We live in an age of soft tyranny. Our elites have stopped caring about what is good and what is noble and fully embraced sin and weakness clothed as virtue. Trust in our institutions has almost fully collapsed, and yet, as those in power increasingly expose themselves as frauds and charlatans, in what is probably the last desperate attempt to protect their undeserved privileges, their control over our lives has reached unprecedented levels.
 
As that happens, most outlets who claim to be the true resistance and hold the solution to our problems have not only been unable to fully grasp the extent of wickedness and corruption among those in control, but also failed to come up with any meaningful and practical alternative, either by paying lip service to a past nowhere to be retrieved or relying on the very same ideas that have brought upon our current collapse.
 
It is this magazine’s intention to challenge the consensus among that type of resistance, expose the limits of our mainstream conservative movements and start thinking of a way forward that fully recognizes the seriousness of our situation."