Conventional wisdom would have us believe that Rambo III did not age well, particularly its dedication "to the gallant people of Afghanistan." In fact, the film has taken on even greater significance than it initially had. ‘Our’ Wilsonian-on-steroids ruling class still believes in the elusive gallantry of the Afghan people, in their nonexistent desire for “democracy.” The mujahideen whom our government armed across the region and whom Rambo fought with are the same men who now decapitate and torture Americans and organize terror attacks across Europe and North America. We have been maneuvered into making the same mistakes the USSR made in the Middle East; even as the film captures the dying days of the Soviet empire, it holds up a mirror to our own.
After two decades, America has made a peace with the Taliban. In these two decades, we lost seven thousand men in five wars, with over forty thousand wounded. Unknown trillions of dollars were wasted. We have nothing to show for our efforts; we are actually far weaker than we were when we started on the path to Hell. Three decades after the end of the Cold War, Deep State operatives have continued to needlessly and counterproductively make Russia, which should be a great natural ally, into an enemy, driving it into our real enemies’ arms. President Putin is an example that the Dissident Right should look to; such strides could have been made in combatting China and Islam, yet we were deceived into undeclared hostilities.
Three years after the events of First Blood Part II, Rambo has remained in Thailand. Colonel Trautman approaches him with another mission, a CIA-sponsored operation to supply the Afghan mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet Union. As Trautman shows Rambo photos of atrocities (such as “chemical warfare” …ring any bells?) committed against civilians, he tries to persuade him to join. Their exchange:
“I don't know how much you know about Afghanistan. Most people can't even find it on a map! But over two million civilians, mostly peasant farmers and their families, have been systematically slaughtered by invading Russian armies. Every new weapon, including chemical warfare, has been used to eliminate these people. And they've been very successful, at many levels. I assume that you're out of touch with the current state of the war. But after nine years of fighting, the Afghan forces are now getting Stinger missiles, and are now beginning to hold their own against the airstrikes. Except for one region. Apparently, the Soviet commander there is exceptionally brutal, as those photos indicate…We want to...investigate the problem firsthand.”
“And what that's got to do with me? I put in my time…my war is over…Do you really think we can make a difference?”
“If I didn't, I wouldn't be going.”
“It didn't before.”
“That was another time.”
“I like being here, I like working here. I like belong into something.”
“You do belong to something. Not this. When’re you're gonna come full circle?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You said that your war is over. I think the one out there is, but not the one inside you. I know the reasons you're here, John. But it doesn't work that way. You may try, but you can't get away from what you really are…There was a sculptor and he found a stone, a special stone. He dragged it home and he worked on it for months, until he finally finished. When he was ready, he showed it to his friends, and they said he had created a great statue. The sculptor said he hadn't created anything. The statue was always there…We didn't make you this fighting machine. We just shifted away the rough edges.”
“Colonel, I'm sorry. But it's gotta end for me sometime.”
Trautman unintentionally exposes the futility and idiocy of putting American lives on the line for a country that most Americans cannot find on a map, an insignificant patch of desert that has been marinating in blood for centuries. Even if we were to validate that it was valuable to engage in proxy warfare with the USSR, our involvement with the mujahideen was patently unnecessary. Clearly, whatever goodwill we established with the Afghans was infinitesimal, and the Soviets defeated themselves without our having to assist them. Rambo asks the prime question that any American leader should ask when contemplating the use of force: “What’s that got to do with me?”
Trautman also displays the sheer madness of the ruling class when he states that this time, we can make a difference. This is manifestly fallacious. Our leaders continue to make the same wrongheaded decisions, time after time; every single one of our foreign entanglements since perhaps the Mexican War or the Spanish-American War has been an unmitigated disaster. Iraq is a failed state. Afghanistan remains in the hands of the Taliban. Syria has been leveled, its once-protected Christian population decimated. There are slave markets and a civil war raging in Libya. Rambo is done. He recognizes that there must be an endpoint. He is exhausted, much as our empire is today, the wind gone out of our sails.
Though Rambo claims that his war is over, Trautman pushes back, arguing that Rambo still has a war raging inside of him. This is more, however, than just a reference to the psychological trauma that suffuses Rambo’s being. Trautman uses the illustration of a sculptor chipping away at a stone to raise the intriguing issue that the military did not create Rambo, but rather cleared away the chaff to reveal the killer that always lay within. Trautman asserts that Rambo will never be able to transcend himself, to escape what he really is. We are left with the question, just who and what is Rambo? Does this mean that the innocence of the nation that Rambo represents was always an illusion? Perhaps, as D.H. Lawrence put it, “The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has not yet melted.”
Trautman proceeds without Rambo, and the mission is botched. All of the men are killed, and Trautman captured by the Soviets for interrogation. Rambo is informed that Trautman has been seized, but the American Embassy refuses to organize a rescue; officers, it thus appears, are just as expendable as the enlisted. Rambo, aware that he is alone and will be disavowed if captured, sets out to save his friend. With scant assistance from the mujahideen, Rambo infiltrates the Soviet base, reaching Trautman just as he is about to be burned with a flamethrower. Rambo rescues his former superior and they make their escape. Aided by the mujahideen, though of course Rambo does the bulk of the work, they rout the Soviets and make their way across the border into Pakistan.
Two conversation fragments are worth probing. The first is a portion of the Soviet commander’s interrogation of Trautman:
“You're alone here. Abandoned by your government.”
“You talk peace and disarmament to the world, and here you are, wiping out a race of people…You started this damn war, now you have to deal with it!”
“And we will. It is just a matter of time before we achieve a complete victory.”
“You know there won't be a victory. Every day, your war machines lose ground to a bunch of poorly armed, poorly-equipped freedom fighters! The fact is that you underestimated your competition. If you studied your history, you'd know these people never gave up to anyone. They'd rather die than be slaves to an invading army. You can't defeat a people like that. We tried. We already had our Vietnam! Now you're gonna have yours!”
The Soviet commander might well have been a time-traveling American general from the present day. Victory is always just around the corner, just over the hill, “just a matter of time.” Trautman’s advice to the Soviet should have been transcribed, printed, and distributed to every American general and politician. At the time, America had indeed had its Vietnam; we have now had a pitiful procession of consecutive Vietnams. A superpower brought to its knees, unable to win a war and conquer a Third World peasantry on camelback, armed with twenty-year-old AK-47s.
The second conversation fragment is a statement one of the mujahideen leaders makes to Rambo: “What you see here, are the Mujahideen soldiers, holy warriors. To us, this war is a holy war. And there is no true death for a Mujahideen, because we…consider ourselves already dead. To us, death for our land and god is an honor.” Perhaps one of the reasons we are unable, or perhaps merely unwilling, to defeat the desert people is the very fact that we know that we are fighting for nothing. Again, we must be clear that while the war may be for nothing, or for a shadowy something, an “American interest” that actually runs counter to our interests, the American soldier does fight in our name; his life is valuable. While the mujahideen jihadist fights a holy war for his god, we half-heartedly fight for a farcical idea, an amorphous “value” that has no content. How could we possibly be expected to win with this discrepancy in motive?
Rambo, the fourth installment in the franchise, is the ultimate epitome of the Wilsonian delusion of our secular “human rights” theocracy, of the pitfalls of interventionism. The film opens with a montage featuring news footage of the 2007 Saffron Revolution in Burma, involving fighting between Karen Rebels and the State Peace and Development Council, the military junta which then ruled the country. The montage shows war crimes, sex slaves, and child soldiers, in an orgiastic frenzy of violent mayhem.
Following the events of Rambo III, Rambo has remained in Thailand as a ferryman and snake catcher at a local river attraction. He is approached by a group of American missionaries who ask him to guide them into Burma. The fact that the Americans are missionaries is crucial, a reflection of the missionary spirit held over from the era of imperial conquest. The White Man’s Burden still exists in a permutated form; America continues to shoulder the obligations of a civilizing mission if no longer a Christianizing mission, to “make the world safe for democracy” and other nebulous “American interests.” This remnant of a Christian duty, hijacked by the Leftist theology of neoconservative universalism, is used as a cudgel to bludgeon our hearts into taking whatever action the rulers of the darkness of this world wish us to. As aforementioned, though, the interventionism of value exportation is an imperial phantom, doomed to failure. The twin missions of Christianization and conquest were the animating spirit of European supremacy, of American Manifest Destiny. Once those missions evaporated, and in the aftermath of World War Two, we were left without a spirit. All that remained was a dying light and a looming shadow.
Though the interventionist is nothing but a will-o’-the-wisp that leads us ever deeper into ruin, and though he always loses the war, he always wins the battle. When the choice is between intervention and nonintervention (or isolation, the oft-deployed and purposely pejorative term), intervention will always win. Intervention wins because its pathos is a different beast than that of America First. The former is one that allows us to feel morally superior, to continue to envision ourselves as a superpower, to fill the hole left vacant by a Christian charity now departed; above all, though, the interventionist pathos allows the ruling class to turn a blind eye to the misery of our own people, the sun setting on our country. The latter is one that healthy nations must employ, that its own people and its own citizens are the only necessity; this is easily assailed from the Left as “selfish”, as if our nation, now in its death throes, has no problems, and it is instead the Global South that our dwindling resources should be wasted on.
When the second staged “chemical attack” occurred in Syria, before it had been exposed as a fabrication, I was skeptical. Just as the first “attack” resulted in mass American airstrikes, drawing us into the civil war, the second appeared primarily to serve as a pretextual justification for more serious American intervention, including the possibility of placing soldiers on the ground. My grandfather, the greatest Christian man I have ever known, believed media reports of the attack. Born in 1933, he had grown up in an America whose institutions had only just begun to decay; the news had not yet dropped its mask or been exposed for what it is. He believed that it was our duty to intervene on behalf of the Syrian people; never mind that, just like Hussein, Assad was the only force holding back nihilistic jihadists and keeping Syrian Christians alive. I argued with him from the America First position; he sincerely could not accept it. He was compelled by the false consciousness of moral duty, implanted from without.
A common interventionist argument, used even by some who did not support our Middle Eastern quagmires, is that we had a moral duty to intervene in the demonic barbarism that occurred on an industrial scale in the Rwandan Civil War and the First Congo War. One friend was aghast at my assertion that we did the correct thing by not acting. He asked me, “So you would have just let all of those people be slaughtered?” I calmly said, “Yes.” This is the strong stomach that our leaders often lack. When we consider the apocalyptic nightmare in Vietnam, can we imagine what jungle warfare in sub-Saharan Africa would entail? Why should an American life be spent on that dark continent, mired forever in a chaos that can never be ordered?
Rambo’s exchange with the missionaries illuminates much of the preceding discussion:
“Burma’s a war zone.”
“That’s what people call it, but it’s more like genocide than war. Anyway…we are aware of all the risks. Our church is part of a pan-Asian ministry located in Colorado. We’re all volunteers…who bring in medical supplies, medical attention, prayer books, and support…help change people’s lives.”
“Are you bringing any weapons?”
“Of course not.”
“You’re not going to change anything.”
“It’s thinking like that that keeps the world the way it is.”
“Fuck the world.”
The leader of the missionaries gives up, but his wife, the beautiful Sarah, continues to work on Rambo, who tells her to “go home.”
“We need to go and help these people. We’re here to make a difference. We believe all lives are special.”
“Some lives, some no.”
“Really? If everyone thought like you, nothing would ever change.”
“Nothing does change.”
“Of course it does. Nothing stays the same.”
“Live your life, because you got a good one.”
“It’s what I’m trying to do.”
“No, what you’re trying to do is change what is.”
“Maybe you lost your faith in people, but you must still be faithful to something. You must still care about something. Maybe you can’t change what is, but trying to save a life isn’t wasting your life, is it?”
The missionaries are in the bondage of their own hubris. They genuinely believe that they can change Burma, that their medical supplies and prayer books can create a lasting change. This hubris, idealism by another name, is not necessarily to be condemned. As Christians, we must believe that we can make a difference, and even in the face of probable doom, must still try. But what must we try to do or accomplish, and why? This sentiment is easily manipulated. We are not called to build a utopia or embark upon a fruitless journey toward the consummation of some ephemeral “Progress”. We are called to be in but never of the world. Rambo realizes that the world cannot be saved, or even changed. He wants no part of it in any case. He has seen a lifetime’s worth of crushing agony, and pain permeates his vision. While all lives may indeed be special, Rambo here advocates another kind of idealism, that love for one’s own. He cautions Sarah that she should return home and live her life, because she has a good one. He is warning her not to follow the path that he charged down. He loved his home so much that he lost it forever.
Sarah’s final appeal to Rambo’s pathos, that “trying to save a life isn’t wasting your life”, appears to be successful. Rambo agrees to transport the missionaries. Clearly, he knows that yes, indeed, the quest to save lives often is the waste of one’s own life. This pathological altruism is partially responsible for the Camp of the Saints invasion of Europe and North America, as well as a motivating factor, as we have discussed, in our foreign adventurism. The fact that Rambo nevertheless relents suggests to me that although he doesn’t believe her, a large piece of him still wants to. Though he remains a philosophical noninterventionist, his heart drives him into physical intervention. Hope is an addictive drug.
En route to their destination, Sarah speaks to Rambo as he pilots their boat. Her husband doesn’t even want to speak to the veteran, saying, “He’s been paid.” Sarah replies that Rambo would not accept any payment. This hearkens back to the oppositional civilian-military dichotomy of First Blood, insofar as those that employ men like Rambo to do their dirty work do not deign to associate with them, thinking themselves superior. Rambo tells Sarah that his father may be alive in Bowie, Arizona. He observes river pirates, and asks Sarah what she wants to do. She tells him to proceed, saying, “We should keep going. We made a commitment.”
The pirates spot them, and board. They ridicule the “white fools” and demand that the “whore” be handed over into sexual slavery. Rambo, as he is wont to do, kills them all. Shocked, the ungrateful missionary leader, Sarah’s husband, screams, “What did you do?! We came here to stop the killing! Who are you to-” Rambo cuts him off, choking him, and says, “Who are you?! They would have raped her fifty times and cut their fucking heads off. Who are you? Who are any of you?” Sarah defuses the situation, declaring that they must go on because “we made a commitment. I know you don’t believe in what we’re doing, but it’s our life. Our choice.” Once more, Rambo admonishes, “You’re not gonna change anything.”
This incident is a perfect example of Western naïveté with respect to the extreme hatred and gruesome violence directed at us by the Global South. We simply cannot comprehend this type of horror, though we do experience similar incidents on a smaller (though no less brutal) scale in our blighted urban areas. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina provides a case study, as do the horrific murders in Wichita, Kansas, and Knoxville, Tennessee, respectively in 2000 and 2007; there are a litany of similar cases. The now-ceaseless reports of Muslim atrocities committed across Europe provide yet more examples. The 2018 decapitations of two young Scandinavian women in Morocco are another, as is the film Taken, which portrays another naïve young American girl in Paris abducted and sold into sexual slavery.
Upon their arrival at the missionaries’ destination, Sarah’s ungrateful husband severs ties with Rambo, telling him that they will take a different route back. He petulantly tells Rambo that “I have to report this…taking a life is never right.” After he walks away, Sarah says goodbye to Rambo. She says, “I don’t know what to say.” Rambo replies, “Then you shouldn’t say anything, should you? Good luck.” She gives him her necklace, a small wooden cross. They part ways.
The missionaries are almost immediately abducted in a grisly SPDC attack on the village they are working in. The pastor of their church contacts Rambo to lead a team of mercenaries on a rescue operation, explaining, “I requested help from the embassy, but they can’t help. Not in Burma, and not in time.” Once again, the American government is portrayed quite negatively; any myth that we subscribed to wherein our rulers can be counted on to protect us has been thoroughly tarnished by the Rambo franchise. As Rambo forges a machete, he thinks to himself:
“You know what you are, what you’re made of. War is in your blood. Don’t fight it. You didn’t kill for your country, you killed for yourself. God’s never gonna make that go away. When you’re pushed, killing’s as easy as breathing.”
This internal monologue recalls Trautman’s sculptor analogy, that Rambo, and by extension our nation, was not transformed into a killer, but rather always was. Rambo seems to have internalized this and, in Trautman’s parlance, “come full circle.” He seems to have reckoned with who he is, and in this moment stops fighting it, allowing “war” to become him again. Rambo apparently still adheres to his “first blood” doctrine, reacting only when pushed. The most intriguing line here, though, goes to his motivations: what was it all for? Did Rambo, as he claims, kill for himself rather than his country? This is likely a reference to the inherently personalized experience of war; once a war is initiated, though the soldier does fight for a Cause, for God, for Hearth and Home, the heat of battle refines his motivation to something primal: kill or be killed. The grand metanarrative is subsumed and crystalized into an individualized struggle.
As Rambo ferries the mercenaries to their destination, their leader, a former Australian Special Air Service soldier, makes vulgarized restatements of Rambo’s philosophical noninterventionism. Of the missionaries, the man says, “You stick your noble nose into other people’s business, you get fucked up or you get dead…Now it’s God squatters. They come over here, spouting all that shit, and expect the whole world to work like their fucking neighborhood. Well, it doesn’t. So, they send in the devil to do God’s work.” When they arrive, the man tells Rambo to wait with the boat, refusing to let him join their operation. The mercenaries make their way to the village, and gag at the aftermath of the slaughter. SPDC soldiers arrive and proceed to massacre villager captives; outnumbered, the mercenaries stand by. Rambo emerges from the jungle, armed only with a bow and arrow, and kills every hostile.
The mercenaries have had enough and decide to abort the mission. Rambo stops them and argues, “There isn’t one of us that doesn’t want to be somewhere else. But this is what we do. Who we are. Live for nothing or die for something. Your call.” He is essentially making the same argument that Sarah made to persuade him to transport the missionaries, coupled with his “full circle” recognition of his identity as a soldier. Though he wishes to be “somewhere else”, this somewhere lies forever out of grasp, on an infinitely receding horizon. He, like our nation, must be animated with a mission to survive. The question thus becomes: What is our mission? What do we live for? Perhaps a more incisive question remains: How often do we get to die for something, for a Cause?
Rambo leads the mercenaries on the rescue. In the SPDC camp, the commanding general occupies himself by raping a young boy. The mercenaries free all of the missionaries save for Sarah, and abandon her and Rambo. Rambo liberates Sarah, and lures a group of soldiers into activating a British Tallboy bomb dropped during World War Two, the unexploded ordnance of empire. The mercenaries and missionaries are recaptured, but just as they are to be executed, Rambo hijacks a Jeep mounted with an M2 Browning machinegun. He opens fire, and alongside this onslaught the mercenaries and the Karen Rebels, late to the festivities, destroy the SPDC detachment. Sarah’s holier-than-thou husband kills one of the SPDC soldiers. As the abyss looks back yet again, Rambo savagely disembowels the commanding general. Sarah and her husband survey the carnage that their decision to intervene wrought, and Sarah cries.
As Rambo closes, the scene parallels the beginning of First Blood. Rambo, wearing the same standard-issue jacket and duffel bag that he had all of those long years ago, walks along the road in Bowie, Arizona. He comes upon a bucolic ranch. The mailbox reads ‘R. Rambo.’ As he gazes at the ranch, we can imagine his thoughts; this is that “somewhere else”, that “homecoming” that he was denied. This is everything he killed for, everything he would have died for, everything he was never permitted to enjoy or to belong to. He looks up the road, perhaps contemplating whether he should just keep going. He turns back toward the ranch. Twenty-six years after Vietnam took him, Rambo goes home.
Rambo: Last Blood
When Rambo returned home, he found a family. His sister died of cancer and her abusive husband abandoned their daughter, Gabrielle. Rambo essentially raised his niece as his own daughter. They remained on the ranch, where Rambo lives a quiet life training horses. Photos adorn the walls of his home, featuring a young Rambo with his Medal of Honor and an older Rambo raising his niece. Just by looking at these photos, one would assume he had led a happy, normal life. He has excavated a massive tunnel system for reasons that seem tied to his experiences in Vietnam. Walking inside them, he is haunted by a flashback. The sounds of gunfire and terror rage, while two voiceovers play. President Johnson declares, “Make no mistake about it. We are going to win.” General Westmoreland asserts, speaking of the Viet Cong, “I can assure you that, militarily, this strategy will not succeed.”
Gabrielle has grown up to become a beautiful young woman, about to go off to college. Riding on horseback with Rambo, she asks him, “Did you know what you wanted to do at my age?” He immediately replies, “Yeah, I wanted to be a soldier. Even before your age.” Later on, Rambo allows her to throw a small party in his tunnels. She receives a phone call, and appears troubled. Her friend Gizelle, living in Mexico, has tracked down Gabrielle’s father. After the party ends, Gabrielle approaches Rambo, and says, “I need to go to Mexico.” He instantly replies, “Why would you want to do that?” She explains that she needs to ask her father why he abandoned them. The rest of their conversation:
“Because he’s not a good man.”
“…my world is a lot different from yours.”
“No, it’s not, it’s worse.”
“No, it’s not. People don’t just act bad for no reason.”
“…you don’t know how bad it is. I know how black a man’s heart can be. There’s nothing good out there, Gabrielle.”
“Well, maybe he’s changed.”
“Men like that don’t change. It only gets worse…I haven’t changed. I’m just trying to keep a lid on it, every day.”
“…you can’t protect me forever…You said you did what you thought was right and left at seventeen, and nobody stopped you.”
“I wish they had.”
Rambo is taken aback at Gabrielle’s naïveté, asking her why on earth she would ever want to visit the war-torn hellhole of Mexico. He knows exactly what lies in wait in the outer darkness of the Global South, that “there’s nothing good out there.” He knows that men are not good, that we are all evil, varying only by degree. He knows that there is often no reason whatsoever for evil, for the blackness of a man’s heart. He sees her unspoiled innocence and wants nothing more than to protect it at all costs, to keep her flame from ever being extinguished. Rambo earlier stated that he had always wanted to be a soldier, but here acknowledges that he wishes somebody had stopped him. Who else could he have been? He also concedes that despite appearances, he has not changed. He has merely developed a heightened ability to control the pain that festers within.
He makes her promise him that she will not go, but, of course, she disobeys him. Dressed in a cute outfit replete with a mini skirt, she drives across the border into Mexico; we feel an apprehension that she is traveling like a lamb to slaughter, a modern-day Karin of The Virgin Spring. As narcos check her out on the street, she knocks on her friend Gizelle’s door. Gizelle is Untermensch envy personified, an accurate representation of the resentment that Third World barbarism feels for the Western civilization it is now conquering. If they cannot have what we have, they at least wish to despoil us of it. Each word that the woman speaks drips with hatred, but she continues to lull Gabrielle into thinking she is only jesting. One of the very first things she asks Gabrielle is if she is still a virgin; the extreme significance of this will be appreciated later. As the gorgeous Gabrielle sits in the putrid squalor of the apartment, Gizelle says, “You know I can feel you looking around…Life down here, it ain’t easy, my sister. You do what you can.” Gabrielle replies, “Yeah, I get it.” She doesn’t, though. She can’t. Gizelle stares lustfully at Gabrielle’s gold bracelet.
Gizelle takes Gabrielle to see her father. She asks him why he left, and he heartlessly tells her that he did so “because one day, I looked at your mother and you, and realized you both didn’t mean anything to me anymore…I wasted time being with you and her. And she fucking dies and leaves me with you, who I never wanted. Any more questions? You don’t need to come back.” While Gabrielle is speaking to her father, Gizelle waits in the car and talks excitedly on the phone; she hurriedly hangs up when Gabrielle runs back to the car in tears. She just wants to go home, but Gizelle insists on taking her to a nightclub to have a few drinks and “calm down.” In the club, as a narco hits on Gabrielle, he drugs her drink. Gizelle has sold her into sexual slavery.
Gizelle calls the Rambo home and claims that Gabrielle never returned after visiting her father. Rambo, knowing better than to trust any Mexican so-called ‘law enforcement’, vows to find her, departing at once for the border. Rambo interrogates Gabrielle’s father, telling him, “All of this shit is because of you. I should’ve broken your fucking neck ten years ago.” As Gizelle walks to her apartment, she finds Rambo waiting. She tells him that they were separated at the nightclub, and Rambo observes that she is wearing Gabrielle’s bracelet. As it was her mother’s, he knows she would never have given it away. Threatening her with his Bowie knife, he forces her to take him to the club. He spits, “You sold her out. She was your friend.”
At the club, Gizelle points out the narco that drugged Gabrielle. Rambo lets her go, and follows the man out to his car, torturing him for information. When he obtains Gabrielle’s location, he uncharacteristically goes in half-cocked, unprepared for the cartel’s sophisticated lookout system. Rambo is surrounded, and the cartel leader seizes his wallet, including his picture of Gabrielle, observing, “This whore’s in our house.” Dozens of the men brutally beat Rambo to within an inch of his life. He continues to gasp, “Let her go.” One of the men suggest that they throw him in acid, but the leader lowers himself to speak to Rambo. Holding Gabrielle’s photo in front of his face, he says:
“Juanito Rambo…these girls mean nothing to me or my customers. In my world, they’re nothing. They’re not people. They’re just- they’re just things…I would not have paid attention to her. But now I will. Because you coming here has made it very bad for her. We would have just trained her, used her, and sold her. But now we’re gonna make an example of her. I’m gonna let you live. You’re gonna think about this every fucking day of your fucking life. Until you can’t think anymore.”
The leader orders his brother to “put your mark on him and his little bitch too. Make it deep.” The man gouges an ‘X’ into Rambo’s cheek, and then enters the brothel to do the same to Gabrielle. She is dragged out in front of a hallway full of bloody and battered sex slaves, and he slices the ‘X’ into her cheek. For four long, uninterrupted days, Gabrielle’s life is one of monumental despair. She is injected with heroin over and over again, raped daily by dozens of men, and beaten into submission. The cartel’s kapo of the sex slaves order the women to “just do your job, all night. If it’s forty, fifty men, too bad. You don’t stop until you’re told to.”
Last Blood calls attention to the power and demoniac inhumanity of the Mexican cartels, but barely scratches the surface. They practice Aztec cruelty, operating human slaughterhouses in which they cut still-living victims’ faces off and dismember them, keeping them alive until only a torso and head remain. They capture the butchery on video, and torment victims’ families with it. Over ninety-eight percent of murders in Mexico are never investigated; the probability of a crime actually being reported, investigated, and resolved is roughly one percent. These cartels control the Mexican economy and the state, buying politicians openly; allegations abound that the past several Mexican Presidents have been on the cartel payroll. These cartels control the international drug trade, constituting what might be the largest criminal organizations ever created. The Mexican people are so demoralized that they elected a President whose strategy is appeasement; they’ve given up fighting. The Mexican state is outgunned, its monopoly on violence long since evaporated. We have a failed state on our southern border, and we are kidding ourselves if we say that these outfits do not already operate untrammeled in the alien communities across our nation.
Rambo, unable to think of anything but “how scared she must be, what she’s going through”, finally recovers and tracks his niece down. Armed with a hammer, he attacks the brothel. Though they are able to, the other slaves are so paralyzed by the terror their tormentors have inflicted that they refuse to leave. He comes upon a nearly unconscious Gabrielle, crumpled on a filthy and soiled mattress, her battered arms dotted with crude injections. He gently places her in the passenger seat of his truck, and leaves for Arizona. He is taking her home. In the car, they converse. He gives her back her mother’s bracelet, and they reminisce about riding their horses. He desperately tries to keep her from shutting her eyes.
“You came back.”
“I’m gonna get you back home.”
“No. You didn’t do anything. We’re gonna go home, and everything’s gonna be good. It’s gonna be all right…You got so much life left. You got so many things you gotta do. So many things. When I came home a long time ago, you were so young. I was lost. I was a lost man. And then I met you. And I saw something that I didn’t think I’d ever see anymore: good in this world. Some innocence. And I had a family that I never thought I’d ever have. And raising you, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. And I thank you for that. Thank you. You’re like the-”
A single tear falls from her cheek, and her hand slips from his arm. From what must be a mixture of drugs and the exhaustion from a lifetime of anguish sustained in only four days’ time, Gabrielle dies. Like the daughter I never had. These are the words her death prevented him from uttering. Rambo sobs, “Oh, God…I’m sorry…why not me?” Rambo drives on after a time, coming to a pathetic barbed-wire fence. A sign is posted that announces this pitiful excuse for a fence as the United States Border, reading both “Do Not Enter” and “No Entrar.” Visibly furious, Rambo crashes through in his truck. This is, along with the opening scene of Sicario: Day of the Soldado, a profound statement on our vulnerability. In that film, jihadists enter our nation through the Mexican border and proceed to suicide bomb a grocery supercenter.
Rambo, blaming himself, stands vigil at Gabrielle’s grave. Her grave is marked with her high school graduation photo, in which she beams, full of promise, as well as flowers and a wooden cross signed by all of her friends. Some of the messages include ‘Paz’, ‘Never Forget’, ‘Less Pain’, and ‘Love’. These messages belie something a bit darker than the benevolence of mourning friends, and that is their naïveté, again juxtaposed with Rambo’s world-weariness. Their world is one of peace and love; the reality of rape, murder, and extreme grief is incomprehensible to such people. Perhaps this is for the best.
Rambo declares, “There’s nothing for me here. I’m just gonna move around. Like always.” Before he begins his wandering, however, he plans for and sets in motion his last mission. He booby-traps his land and tunnels, readies his weapons, and prepares for doomsday.
Rambo is driven now purely by vengeance. As he explains:
“How is it ever done? When I look at something so innocent, and I see that face never have life in it again, how is it ever done? I want revenge. I want them to know that death is coming, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. I want them to feel our grief and know that’s the last thing they will ever feel.”
Rambo returns to Mexico and decapitates the man who sliced his and Gabrielle’s faces, pinning her photo to his heart with a knife. He drops the narco’s head out of the window of his car as he speeds back across the border for home. Having murdered the cartel leader’s brother, Rambo watches and waits for his targets to bring the fight to him. They were all dead the moment they laid eyes on Gabrielle. Rambo frees his horses to ensure that there is no collateral damage.
The cartel, armed with advanced military weaponry (so much for “gun control”) enters Arizona through one of their numerous tunnels, hassle-free. They swarm Rambo’s ranch as he stands at Gabrielle’s grave. In some of his most ingenious and macabre methods yet, Rambo systematically kills every single one of his slain niece’s torturers, saving the leader for last. He tells the man, “I want you to feel my rage, my hate, when I reach into your chest and rip out your heart! Like you did mine.” His prey cornered, stuck to the barn door with knives, Rambo cuts his heart out, tearing the still-beating organ from his chest and throwing it to the ground. “This is what it feels like.”
During his bloody revenge, Rambo detonated his tunnels, destroying his ranch. His happy home has been turned into a smoldering infernal Hell, littered with corpses. This mirrors the transformation of our nation writ large, our agrarian idyll shattered and transformed into a Third World ghetto, equal parts slum and strip mall. It is important that we are only shown two polarities in this film, Eden and Gehenna, Heaven and Hell. Outside the hearth of Rambo’s picturesque ranch, there lies only a satanic night, the agonizing chaos of Mexico that slowly reconquers our Southwest as Aztlán. Aside from the brief intrusion of Gabrielle’s friends, no outer world seems to exist outside of Rambo’s nest besides the world of death. Are these worlds interdependent? Can one exist without the other? It is thus even more overwhelming to leave the quiet, joyful isolation of the ranch to be cast into the deep end of the lurch. This shows us in the starkest terms yet that when we leave the safety of the land that we love, we should expect nothing but pain. This lesson is easily extrapolated and applied to our foreign policy as a whole. What do we expect when we allow ourselves to be deceived and manipulated into wandering where there be dragons?
As the film ends, the wounded Rambo makes his way to his porch and rocks in his chair. In a voiceover, he delivers a wonderful coda:
“I’ve lived in a world of death. I tried to come home, but I never really arrived. A part of my mind and soul got lost along the way. But my heart was still here, where I was born. Where I would defend to the end the only family I’ve ever known. The only home I’ve ever known. All the ones I’ve loved are now ghosts. But I will fight to keep their memories alive forever.”
Rambo encapsulates his simultaneous estrangement and inextricability from the nation that he loves. While he was away on its behalf and upon his return, he was permanently separated from it, unable to ever fully come home. Despite this separation, his heart nonetheless remained tethered to “the only home I’ve ever known.” All of the pain that he has suffered serves as a testamentary paean to all of the loved ones he has lost. America is a fine place and worth fighting for, worth killing for, worth dying for; if for nothing else, for the memories of those who have been stolen from us. This final Rambo film closes in a montage of scenes from each installment in the series, reinforcing the aforementioned call to never forget. The last image we are left with is Rambo on horseback, riding into the distance.
Which way, America?
Part 1 of America Astray may be viewed here.
Far from being mere action films, the five installments of the Rambo franchise present us with the tragic history of how our foreign policy went awry, of our innocence stolen, our paradise lost.
American intervention in Vietnam might arguably be viewed as the beginning of the end. The fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incident mirrors other fabrications by which we were duped into supporting wars, such as the intelligence agencies’ assurances of “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. More recently, staged “chemical attacks” in Syria were promoted to attempt to draw us into yet another perpetual desert war. The nightmare of Vietnam left permanent pockmarks on the national psyche, and fully completed the separation of military from civilian life. Vietnam shattered the myth of American military hegemony and left legions of veterans permanently and irreparably physically and psychologically hobbled, unable to reintegrate themselves into and enjoy that which they suffered so much to save. My use in the preceding sentence of that word “save” is not meant to imply that the Vietnam War, or in any of our wars since the War of 1812, was waged in order to “save” America, or even a single American. But while this must be recognized, it is vital that, without devolving into military deification, we never lose sight of the fact that our soldiers do fight for us, regardless of the outcome. The men that serve in our armed forces did so because they believed they were serving their nation.
There are several great films about the foreign policy disaster. The Deer Hunter captures the hollowing-out of our industrial core and working class, the consequences of a citizenry that has turned its back on veterans, and the dark reality of post-traumatic stress disorder. Deathdream, a retelling of Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw”, illustrates the Vietnam-induced addiction and psychological trauma that prevented veterans from rejoining society through the vehicle of allegorical horror, depicting a killed veteran being wished back home by his mother; upon his return, he is a vampiric zombie that destroys his family and home. The narrative follows the pyrrhic logic of the war itself, whereby the village was burned in order to save the village, as well as the peril of empire. We reap the blowback, destroying ourselves through intervention just as the boy’s mother suffers the consequences of her intervention in her son’s death. In one key moment, as the undead veteran kills a doctor, he says, “I died for you, doc. Why don’t you return the favor?” Southern Comfort is another Vietnam allegory, wherein a detachment of Army National Guardsmen in Louisiana is stalked and murdered Viet Cong-style in the swamp by local Cajuns. It is First Blood, though, that claims the prize for most devastating Vietnam film, because it most fully examines the aftermath, the false homecoming that our veterans were treated to.
As John Rambo enters the frame, he comes upon a Northwestern idyll, replete with a sparkling lake and children playing, the America that he believed he fought for. He sees a woman outside, hanging clothes up to dry, and makes his way toward her. Rambo asks her where he can find an old Army buddy; she replies that he was killed by cancer, the result of Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam, that it “cut him down to nothing.” Rambo now realizes that he is alone in the world, the man having been his last surviving friend. This reference to the invisible wounds of Agent Orange foreshadows the psychic scars that Rambo is afflicted by.
He continues up the road, with nothing but his standard-issue duffel bag. Walking along the road into Hope, Washington, Rambo is spotted by the Sheriff; the policeman slows, and asks him what he’s doing. Immediately and unilaterally hostile, the Sheriff says, “You know, wearing that flag on that jacket, looking the way you do, you’re asking for trouble around here, friend.”
He orders Rambo to get in the car, and proceeds to drive him to the outskirts of town. As they pass through the town, the veteran asks where he can get something to eat, and the Sheriff replies that he can stop somewhere thirty miles up the highway. The following exchange ensues:
“Is there any law against me getting something here?”
“Why are you pushing me?”
“What did you say?”
“I haven’t done anything to you.”
“I ask the questions…we don’t want guys like you in this town. Drifters. First thing you know we’ll have a whole bunch of you guys…this is a quiet little town…boring. That’s the way we like it.”
After dropping Rambo off just past the bridge exiting Hope, the Sheriff smugly says, “Hope this ride helped you out.” The flag on Rambo’s jacket, the one which the Sheriff said was “asking for trouble”, is the same flag that the Sheriff wears on his: the American flag, like the Sphinx a blank screen onto which anyone may project his ideology. To be sure, our flag has one objective meaning; it has simply been obscured by hundreds of years of misuse, of being coopted by the rulers of the darkness of this world, of giving glory to damnation and salvation alike. To accomplish the sinister ends of faceless men, the ruling class packages its lies in an American flag perfumed with the aromas of freshly-mown lawn and apple pie; the sons of the South that are deluded into this Big Lie enlist to serve as expendable pieces on a chessboard drenched in shadow. This disquieting interaction, rage quietly bubbling below the surface, is the first of many illustrations throughout the film of the resentment underlying the dichotomy of civilian and military. A simplified description of this tension is civilian fear of and revulsion and shame for the military which acts in its name, and the concurrent military disdain for the varyingly apathetic, ungrateful, and disconnected civilian whose name it acts in.
The Sheriff drives away, and the defiant Rambo walks back across the bridge. The policeman observes him in the rearview, and reverses, asking, “Where the hell do you think you’re going?” He exits his car, hand on his gun, and with excessive force arrests Rambo. Though he tells the Sheriff that his Bowie knife is for hunting, the Sheriff dismisses the explanation; the weapon serves as his pretext for the arrest. He confiscates the knife, and charges the veteran, whom he calls “just another smart-ass drifter”, with vagrancy, resisting arrest, and carrying a concealed weapon.
Inside the jail at the police station, Rambo gazes at the bars on the windows and experiences a nearly debilitating flashback to his time as a prisoner-of-war, wherein he lies in darkness at the bottom of a pit, excrement is poured on him from the slats above, and the deafening sounds of the impenetrable Vietnamese jungle surround him. A particularly sadistic police officer rips Rambo’s dog tags from his neck, further stripping him of what little of his identity still clings to him. The officers then physically strip him, revealing his torture-scarred body; one officer is taken aback, saying, “What the hell has he been into? We should report this.” The aforementioned sadist beats Rambo to the floor with a nightstick and brutally pressure washes him. To forcibly shave him, the same officer chokes him with a baton, provoking another of the memories indelibly imprinted on the veteran’s psyche. Ropes bind Rambo to a wooden cross, displayed in a tableau of the crucifixion; a rope drawn across his neck tightens and chokes him, just as the Hope police officer is. As the sadist sharpens the razor, Rambo sees a North Vietnamese officer brandishing a knife against his cheek.
His civilian American tormentors are thus made inseparable from his enemies in Vietnam, one tyranny exchanged for another. Is this the government that he pledged his life to? This begs the profound question of just what it is that our soldiers enlist to defend: is it the Nation, or the State? Is it the people, or the abstracted and corrupt government? Multiple Supreme Court rulings have already clarified this with respect to our police officers; policemen, sworn “to protect and serve”, have no duty to protect individuals unless several stringent qualifications are met. Their duty is to the State.
Rambo fights his way out, reclaiming his knife but not his jacket, and escapes on a motorbike. He leads the Sheriff on a high-speed pursuit into the forest; when the Sheriff crashes his car, Rambo waits to see him exit the car before continuing deeper into the wilderness. The Sheriff presses dogs and a helicopter into service. Cornered, Rambo climbs down a sheer cliffside into a massive gorge. The sadistic officer from the jail, armed now with a high-powered hunting rifle rather than a baton or a razor, shoots at him from the helicopter, aiming to kill the veteran. Rambo is thus forced to take a leap of faith into a tree, seriously injuring himself on the way down. As the sadist continues to fire, Rambo throws a rock at the helicopter. The rock hits the windshield, and the startled pilot wavers, causing the police officer to fall to his death.
Trying to de-escalate the situation, Rambo, his hands up, attempts to negotiate. The officers atop the cliff open fire, striking him. He runs into the woods, and the Sheriff sends his men and the dogs after him. They discover that Rambo was a Green Beret in Vietnam and a war hero, the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. One officer exclaims, “Jesus, that freak?” The Sheriff vows to “pin that Medal of Honor on his liver.” As the officers pursue Rambo in dense forest, he employs the guerrilla tactics of the Viet Cong, the abyss which gazed back. He disables each officer, one by one, concluding with the Sheriff. Allowing the man one more chance to de-escalate the conflict, Rambo says, “I could’ve killed them all. I could’ve killed you. In town, you’re the law. Out here, it’s me. Don’t push it, or I’ll give you a war you won’t believe. Let it go.”
But of course, the Sheriff cannot let go. He calls for a mobilization of the State Police and the National Guard. We are treated to a newscast from the lying press, the fraudulent media whose well-deserved moniker is the Enemy of the People. The journalist, a seal barking the party line, tells the credulous citizenry that Rambo “killed one deputy sheriff and tried to kill six others. Only their skilled training and police enforcement techniques saved their lives. Word now is that the fugitive will be in custody in a matter of hours.” Never fear, the brilliant authorities have the crazed veteran under control. Nothing to see here.
An officer reports that the deputies, including the sadist, had brutalized Rambo and provoked this conflagration; the Sheriff dismisses this, inexplicably and disingenuously claiming that Rambo could have come to him about it. U.S. Army Colonel Samuel Trautman appears at the operational camp, telling the Sheriff that he was Rambo’s commanding officer in Vietnam. He says, “I’ve come to get my boy…I didn’t come to rescue him from you. I came to rescue you from him.” The Sheriff derisively declines Trautman’s offer of assistance, stating that Trautman simply wants to cover the situation up because “one of [his] machines blew a gasket.” This throwaway mechanical metaphor is often used to speak of combat veterans; they are ‘broken down’ and ‘rebuilt’ in training, à la Full Metal Jacket, and when they return home, any issues they may suffer, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, is explained in these terms as some sort of catastrophic mechanical failure. This furthers the dehumanization that our apathetic, if not outright hostile, society treats veterans with.
Trautman warns the Sheriff that Rambo is a master of attritional guerrilla warfare, and tells him that if he continues to pursue Rambo, he had best not forget “a good supply of body bags.” Trautman surmises that Rambo took a radio from one of his pursuers, and advises the police that he will likely maintain radio silence. One officer attempts to lull Rambo into surrender by declaring, “You have our word that your services to your country will be taken into consideration, and you will receive fair treatment.” Cold comfort. The Sheriff requests Trautman to get on the radio, and successfully elicits a response from Rambo. In their conversation, Rambo makes several telling statements, including: “They’re all gone, sir. They’re all dead…down to the bone. I’m the last one, sir.”; “There are no friendly civilians.”; and “There wouldn’t be any trouble if it weren’t for that cop. All I wanted was something to eat. But the man kept pushing…they drew first blood, not me. They drew first blood.”
Rambo has lost every single one of his band of brothers. All of his friends are gone. He is now damned to wander the lonely roadways of an inhospitable country. He might be said to exist behind enemy lines; the eyes of a grateful nation once fixed now turn away, afraid to meet his gaze and reckon with the consequences of what the men that they elected have done, afraid to reckon with the actions taken in their name, the enormity of pain borne in their honor. Rambo also emphasizes that he did nothing wrong to initiate this war; all that he asked was for a place where he could get a bite to eat. This appeal to “first blood” is a deceptively simple formulation of just war as retaliation for injustice; he did nothing but mind his own business and try to live his life in whatever small modicum of freedom that remained to him, and he was attacked. He was hounded and browbeaten for no reason other than that he served his country. Any nation that does not hate itself should, as our Founders did, promulgate this noninterventionist doctrine. America First is First Blood; in other words, we respond if and when our blood is drawn.
A group of National Guardsmen, having finally tracked Rambo down using the radio signal, are too terrified to follow him into the abandoned mineshaft that they think he is hiding in. One speaks for all of them, including the leader, when he says, “I do this part-time. I didn’t sign up for this to get killed.” These weekend warriors signed up to play G.I. Joe, to feel like men, not to put their lives on the line. They have no sense of duty, nor of honor. They employ a rocket launcher to fire into the mine and kill Rambo, a move presaging our current era of military decline and rise of war at a distance. Our best and brightest now rarely enlist in the armed forces, and as time passes our military engages less and less in combat and more and more in the desensitized video-game simulacrum of remote drone strikes. After thinking they have killed Rambo, they pose on the ruins for a photograph; their leader promises to mail it in to Soldier of Fortune. When the Sheriff orders them to dig to recover the body, one protests, “I gotta be back at the drugstore tomorrow!”
The Sheriff gloats to Trautman, “Special, my ass. He was just another drifter that broke the laws.” Trautman replies, “Vagrancy, wasn’t it? That’s gonna look real good on his gravestone at Arlington. Here lies John Rambo, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, survivor of countless incursions behind enemy lines. Killed for vagrancy in Jerkwater, USA.” This yet again underlines the horrific treatment that veterans receive at the hands of the country they signed up to fight for. Whether or not we agree with the wars our leaders and their ventriloquists engage us in, we must acknowledge it is we who allow them to retain their positions of power, that it is we who allow ourselves to be deceived and maneuvered into war after war, and that although our wars are meaningless and the deaths they engender unnecessary, the soldier still fights for his country. For us. His death, and his life, is everything but meaningless.
A country that treats its soldiers this way is manifestly sick, ailing with a terminal illness. The acrimonious divorce between civilian and military, coinciding with the decline of American military power generally, appears to have occurred in the aftermath of World War Two, appearing during the Korean War but not being fully realized until Vietnam. As a result, most Americans are totally untethered from the institution of the military; though we do not hesitate to adorn our vehicles and businesses with “Support Our Troops” stickers, we only deign to notice the military in order to criticize it for perceived atrocities. Noblesse oblige has died; the heirs of aristocracy used to serve as leaders on the frontlines, and now the ruling class participates in war only by deciding to send in more working class deplorables to die for whatever oligarchic interests have been deemed to be “American.” In the absence of civilian investment, the institution was allowed to degenerate into an experimental social justice laboratory under the Obama Administration, as is documented by Hasson’s Stand Down.
Rambo escapes the mineshaft the Sheriff believes him to be buried under and hijacks a transport carrying an M60 machinegun. He crashes through a police roadblock and enters the town, proceeding to wreak havoc on Hope by blowing up a car dealership, gas station, and gun store. He disables the electricity and shoots out a storefront, creating disorienting chaos. Rambo then launches his final assault, firing on the police station. As he stands over the Sheriff, military looming over civilian, ready to make the kill and end the war he never wanted, Trautman intervenes. He orders Rambo to stand down, saying, “It’s over.” Rambo replies, sobbing in a miserable rage:
“Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don’t turn it off! It wasn’t my war. You asked me, I didn’t ask you. I did what I had to do to win, for somebody who wouldn’t let us win! Then I come back to the world, and I see all those maggots at the airport, protesting me, spitting, calling me a baby killer and all kinds of vile crap! Who are they to protest me…Unless they’ve been me and been there and know what the hell they’re yelling about! …civilian life is nothing! In the field we had a code of honor…I was in charge of million-dollar equipment. Back here I can’t even hold a job parking cars!”
He continues by telling the story of a Vietnamese child that approached Rambo and a friend with a shoeshine box. The boy pestered the two soldiers, and Rambo’s compatriot finally assented. Rambo stepped away for a moment, and his friend opened the box. It was wired with explosives, and blew him to pieces. Every day for seven years, Rambo remembers: “My friend is all over me! …I’m trying to hold him together, I put him together, his fucking insides keep coming out, and nobody would help!”
Rambo thus elucidates the psychic trauma that constantly reverberates in his mind, the ceaseless barrage of images that he is assaulted by day after day. From the moment he returned to America, he was met with unjustifiable vilification. This extreme form of antiwar activism, a performative expression of moral superiority, included spitting on returning veterans, throwing blood on them, and calling them “baby killers.” This last is especially vexing, for it takes quite a bit of gall for the infanticide-worshipping Left to refer to a veteran as a “baby killer.” The antiwar movement at this time was coopted by the anti-American Left, maneuvering the patriotic Right into supporting the Vietnam War, full steam ahead, when it should have fought against it tooth and nail. If you did not support the war, you were deemed to be a Communist; unhelpfully, the antiwar dissidents generally were.
Something similar occurred with respect to the Old Right after the attack on Pearl Harbor, itself manipulated into being by Roosevelt. By wrapping the war in an American flag and presenting it as inextricable from patriotism, the interventionists of the Roosevelt Administration dealt the coup de grâce to the America First Committee. If you did not support the war, you were deemed an unpatriotic dissident, and perhaps even a National Socialist. In the aftermath of World War Two, the Cold War was inseminated, and the Old Right subsumed into the general anticommunist Right that eventually gave birth to the neoconservatives.
Rambo: First Blood Part II
Rambo: First Blood Part II, much like Rambo: Last Blood would be over three decades later, was dismissed as a reactionary “right-wing conspiracy theory”. Its plot, which will be explored in full detail, deals with Rambo rescuing American prisoners-of-war, or POWs, that had been intentionally left behind in Vietnam by our government. Though swept aside as the mere narrative machinations of a mindless action film, the POWs referenced in the film were almost certainly real; this film thus sheds light on what is undoubtedly one of the greatest single betrayals ever committed against our nation by the ruling class.
Ron Unz rediscovered an explosive, yet virtually ignored in the mendacious press, exposé by the late Sydney Schanberg. Their work is here summarized; all of the research here detailed comes from their labors. Schanberg was considered one of, if not the, foremost journalistic authorities on the Vietnam War; his work netted him a Pulitzer Prize, two George Polk awards, two Overseas Press Club awards, and the Sigma Delta Chi prize for distinguished journalism. His book on Cambodia formed the basis of the Academy Award-winning film The Killing Fields. Schanberg also served as one of the senior editors at The New York Times, when that paper’s name still meant something. For years, Schanberg gathered exhaustively sourced documentary evidence, both of the intentional abandonment of hundreds of American POWs and of the subsequent cover-up, that could easily be investigated, yet the lying press breathed not a word of it. This is all the more surprising considering that Schanberg pointed to the late Republican Presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, as the central figure in the cover-up.
Unz has documented seriously compelling evidence to suggest that McCain’s war record was largely fabricated, including the torture claims that catapulted him into political stardom as the ur-patriot; in reality, there is evidence to demonstrate that McCain collaborated with the enemy as a propagandist, a fact which was later forgotten so as not to embarrass McCain’s high-ranking father, who had been a central figure in the cover-up of the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, in which hundreds of Americans were killed or wounded. It appears from Schanberg’s reporting that McCain used his likely-fabricated POW status to sweep the abandoned POWs under the proverbial rug.
After the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the Vietnamese ransomed their French POWs; the French government paid the price, and their men were returned. Schanberg’s sources revealed that after the American withdrawal, the Vietnamese made the same demand; though President Nixon assented to a $3.25 billion payment and 591 prisoners were released in 1973, including John McCain, Congress refused to authorize the “humanitarian assistance” funds because of the shattered maxim that “America doesn’t lose wars.” As the years dragged on and nothing was done, the existence of the POWs became nothing but a political liability to be hidden at all costs. As such, the American public was kept in the dark, our POWs condemned to a lingering death.
According to Schanberg, “there exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a special forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington—and even sworn testimony by two Defense secretaries that ‘men were left behind.’” Schanberg believed that the number was “probably hundreds.”
Schanberg discovered that throughout his Senate tenure, McCain worked tirelessly to hide this information by codifying prohibitions to keep POW documents classified. Presenting himself to the public as a champion of veterans and our most famous POW, McCain instead behaved as the opposite. In 1991, veteran and family pressure resulted in the creation of a Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, chaired by John Kerry, although McCain was the most important figure on the committee. McCain was not alone, though; every Administration since Nixon’s was complicit in the tragedy. Schanberg concluded that the Senate committee, though publicly pledging to finally get to the bottom of the issue, privately colluded with the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. Future Vice President Dick Cheney and future Secretary of Defense Robert Gates led the respective organizations at the time.
In 1990 and 1991, the ‘Truth Bill’ was introduced to unseal all POW documents from World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam. The legislation was killed both times. Instead, in 1991 the ‘McCain Bill’ was enacted, which had the effect of making it virtually impossible to unseal any POW records. In 1995, POW advocates had strengthened the Missing Service Personnel Act to make officials criminally liable for intentionally concealing POW evidence. In 1996, McCain led the attachment of an amendment which eliminated the criminal liability and reduced the military’s obligation to search for and report missing men. McCain consistently referred to all of the evidence (“documents, witnesses, satellite photos, two Pentagon chiefs’ sworn testimony, aborted rescue missions, ransom offers apparently scorned”) as the “bizarre rantings of the MIA hobbyists.”
McCain smeared POW activists, all of whom were veterans and the family members of the missing, as “hoaxers,” “charlatans,” “conspiracy theorists,” and “dime-store Rambos.” He “browbeat” witnesses who offered evidence before the committee, ruthlessly attempting to discredit them. Some of the family members were screamed at, insulted, and brought to tears; one group of family members, including an elderly mother in a wheelchair, were “roughly pushed aside.” His common refrain was that his patriotism was beyond reproach, a totally misdirected obfuscation. One of the men who had been in McCain’s prison camp, Col. Ted Guy, wrote an open letter to the Senator taking him to task for the abuses he hurled at activists, asking, “John, does this include Senator Bob Smith and other concerned elected officials? Does this include the families of the missing where there is overwhelming evidence that their loved ones were ‘last known alive’? Does this include some of your fellow POWs?”
Dolores Alfond, the sister of a missing airman, was one such target of McCain’s abuse. She asked the committee about PAVE SPIKE, a program by which motion sensors were dropped by the Air Force to pick up enemy troop movements; the sensors were regularly monitored. The devices also allowed men on the ground, such as downed airmen or POWs, to manually enter data into the device. All data were regularly collected electronically by U.S. planes flying overhead. Alfond stated, “without any challenge or contradiction by the committee, that in 1974, a year after the supposedly complete return of prisoners, the gathered data showed that a person or people had manually entered into the sensors- as U.S. pilots had been trained to do- no less than 20 authenticator numbers that corresponded exactly to the classified authenticator numbers of 20 U.S. POWs who were lost in Laos.” A scarlet-faced McCain screamed at the woman, accusing her of “denigrating” his “patriotism.” His victim reduced to tears, his mission complete, McCain left the hearing.
In 1993, an American scholar, Stephen Morris of Harvard, found a damning document in the recently opened Soviet archives. The document, a 1973 briefing of the Vietnamese Politburo by General Tran Van Quang, stated that 1,205 Americans were held in prison camps- a far cry from the 591 that were released. The briefing stated that many would be held for ransom after the peace accords as bargaining chips. Despite former National Security Advisers Brzezinski and Kissinger contending that the document appeared to be genuine, American and Vietnamese officials both disavowed the document, contending that decades earlier, parties unknown had placed a fabricated document in the Soviet archives. A February 2, 1973, New York Times article quotes intelligence officials as expressing shock at the low number, stating a massive discrepancy between the number of released men and their intelligence estimates.
On the same day that the aforementioned New York Times article was published, President Nixon himself relayed to the Vietnamese Prime Minister that “U.S. records show there are 317 American military men unaccounted for in Laos and it is inconceivable that only ten of these men would be held prisoner in Laos.” Nixon must have reconciled the irreconcilable when he announced less than two months later that “all of our American POWs are on their way home.” That April, the Pentagon followed suit, announcing “that there was no evidence of any further live prisoners in Indochina.” Schanberg reports that the then-head of the Pentagon’s POW/MIA Task Force, Roger Shields, was summoned to the office of Deputy Secretary of Defense (and future Texas Governor) Bill Clements, to hash out “a new public formulation” of the POW issue. Shields swore before the Senate committee that Clements had told him, “All the American POWs are dead.” Shields replied, “You can’t say that.” Clements then repeated, “You didn’t hear me. They are all dead.”
In 1992, two Secretaries of Defense, James Schlesinger and Melvin Laird, testified before the committee that there were unreturned prisoners. Schlesinger said that based on all of the evidence collected over the years, including letters and direct radio communication, he “can come to no other conclusion … some were left behind.” During the 1973 repatriation of the 591 POWs, President Nixon had said on national television speech that “the day we have all worked and prayed for has finally come. For the first time in 12 years, no American military forces are in Vietnam. All our American POWs are on their way home.” Since-discovered documents show that Nixon likely knew this to be false. When asked why Nixon would have lied, Schlesinger replied that “the bargaining position of the United States … was quite weak. We were anxious to get our troops out and we were not going to roil the waters.” No less a figure than Lt. Gen. Eugene Tighe, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1977-1981 (as well as deputy director from 1974-1976 and acting director from 1975-1976), stated that all of the evidence contradicted the Pentagon’s position that there were no living POWs.
Former National Security Adviser Richard Allen gave sworn testimony before the Senate committee that in 1981, President Reagan had received a ransom offer for American POWs in Vietnam, and that the offer was discussed in a meeting attended by Reagan, Vice President Bush, CIA Director Casey, and Allen. Though Allen’s testimony was held behind closed doors, San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Robert Caldwell obtained the testimony and reported it. Allen immediately recanted, but one Secret Service agent, John Syphrit, a Vietnam veteran, came forward and said that he had overheard the conversation and was willing to testify under subpoena. He was not subpoenaed, nor, of course, were Bush or Reagan.
The Senate committee did not question any living President; then-President Bush, CIA Director from 1976-1977, was never approached, Reagan declined to testify, and Nixon was excused. Committee staff determined “credible” reports that “there can be no doubt that POWs were alive…as late as 1989.” The whitewashed Executive Summary of the committee’s final report stated that only “a small number” of POWs could have been left behind in 1973 and that all of those were almost certainly dead. However, the full 1,221-page Report on POW/MIAs contained documentary evidence which “established that a significant number of prisoners were left behind- and that top government officials knew this from the start.” The full report gave varying estimates, ranging from 150 to 600 American soldiers left to die, some wasting away for over sixteen years after the end of American involvement in Vietnam.
As Schanberg reported, a footnote to the report revealed that Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s National Security Adviser, told Select Committee Vice-Chairman Bob Smith “that he had informed President Nixon during the 60-day period after the peace agreement was signed that U.S. intelligence officials believed that the list of prisoners captured in Laos was incomplete.” Kissinger stated that Nixon said that he would resume a bombing campaign if the remaining POWs were unaccounted for after the return of the 591 prisoners of Operation Homecoming, but that Nixon “was later unwilling to carry through on this threat.” Kissinger, through his ally McCain, attempted unsuccessfully to have the footnote expunged prior to publication. In Kissinger’s own memoirs, he acknowledged communications and photographs in Laos that evidenced “at least 80 instances in which an American serviceman had been captured alive and subsequently disappeared.” Despite this admission, Kissinger swore under oath before the committee “that he never had any information that specific, named soldiers were captured alive and hadn’t been returned by Vietnam.”
The DIA and CIA had thousands of first-hand sightings, as well as tens of thousands of second-hand reports, of live American POWs. Many of these witnesses were interrogated, given lie detector tests, and determined to be credible; the DIA nevertheless concluded that these witness reports did “not constitute evidence.” In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Thai communications officers trained by the National Security Agency intercepted communications from the Laotian military referencing the transportation of American POWs. When these communications were reported to Washington, they were disregarded. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, American satellites captured images of what appear to be the very distress signals that our pilots and soldiers had been specifically trained to make, including “certain letters, like X or K, drawn in a special way” and “secret four-digit authenticator numbers.”
American officials claimed that these markings were “shadows and vegetation.”
According to Schanberg, on one occasion a missing soldier’s name was clearly “gouged into a field”; when one Pentagon expert refused to debunk the evidence, an outside contractor was brought in and summarily declared that it was nothing but “shadows and vegetation.” One photographic investigator on the Senate committee staff, Bob Taylor, told Schanberg that “if grass can spell out people’s names and secret digit codes, then I have a newfound respect for grass.” The committee’s final report noted that until 1992, “no branch of the intelligence community that dealt with analysis of satellite and lower-altitude photos had ever been informed of the specific distress signals U.S. personnel were trained to use in the Vietnam War, nor had they ever been tasked to look for any such signals at all from possible prisoners on the ground.”
The committee did not request a review of old photographs, which might “have turned up lots of distress-signal numbers that nobody in the government was looking for from 1973 to 1991, when the committee opened shop.” The DIA was found to have “lost or destroyed” the lists of individual authenticator numbers for Army, Navy, and Marine pilots, though the Air Force list had been preserved in another agency. The report concluded, “In theory, therefore, if a POW still living in captivity were to attempt to communicate by ground signal, smuggling out a note or by whatever means possible, and he used his personal authenticator number to confirm his identity, the U.S. government would be unable to provide such confirmation, if his number happened to be among those numbers DIA cannot locate.” This is in direct contradiction with the White House of every Administration through 1973 to 1991 claiming that POWS were the “highest national priority.”
In his 2002 book, Inside Delta Force, Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Haney described how in 1981 “his Special Forces unit, after rigorous training for a POW rescue mission, had the mission suddenly aborted, revived a year later, and again abruptly aborted.” Haney also wrote, “Years later, I spoke at length with a former highly placed member of the North Vietnamese diplomatic corps, and this person asked me point-blank: ‘Why did the Americans never attempt to recover their remaining POWs after the conclusion of the war?’”
Schanberg claims to have been told by senior CIA officials in 1992 that with each passing year with the ransom left unpaid, it became increasingly undesirable for both our government and the Vietnamese government to admit the existence of the POWs. The knowledge that these men had been totally discarded and left to languish in the jungle for decades after the end of the war would discredit the ruling classes of both nations. These officials, said Schanberg, told him that their intelligence indicated “that the remaining men- those who had not died from illness or hard labor or torture- were eventually executed.”
Schanberg further reported that in 1991, Col. Millard Peck, a Vietnam veteran, resigned from his position as the head of the DIA Special Office for Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. Peck had sought the position to restore its integrity as “sort of a holy crusade” because he had discovered that the POW/MIA office had “had been turned into a waste-disposal unit for getting rid of unwanted evidence about live prisoners- a ‘black hole.’” After eight months, Peck resigned from the military altogether, detailing “a cover-up.” Peck claimed that the Department of Defense wanted only to debunk all evidence of men left behind, declaring that “the entire charade does not appear to be an honest effort, and may never have been…Practically all analysis is directed to finding fault with the source. Rarely has there been any effective, active follow through on any of the sightings, nor is there a responsive ‘action arm’ to routinely and aggressively pursue leads.”
Peck continued by acknowledging that he “became painfully aware that I was…merely a figurehead or whipping boy for a larger and totally Machiavellian group of players outside of DIA … I feel strongly that this issue is being manipulated and controlled at a higher level, not with the goal of resolving it, but more to obfuscate the question of live prisoners and give the illusion of progress through hyperactivity.” Peck did not name any officials in particular, but referred to the office as having been used expressly as a “‘toxic waste dump’ to bury the whole ‘mess’ out of sight.” Peck’s dismal conclusion was that, “From what I have witnessed, it appears that any soldier left in Vietnam, even inadvertently, was, in fact, abandoned years ago, and that the farce that is being played is no more than political legerdemain done with ‘smoke and mirrors’ to stall the issue until it dies a natural death.”
McCain concluded that, despite all of the preceding evidence, “We found no compelling evidence to prove that Americans are alive in captivity today. There is some evidence- though no proof- to suggest only the possibility that a few Americans may have been kept behind after the end of America’s military involvement in Vietnam.” As Schanberg repeated McCain’s phrase, “evidence though no proof”, he remarked, “Clearly, no one could meet McCain’s standard of proof as long as he is leading a government crusade to keep the truth buried.” As Unz put it:
“In the troubled aftermath of America’s military defeat and the Nixon resignation, our entire country sought to forget Vietnam, and neither elected officials nor journalists were eager to revisit the issue, let alone investigate one of the war’s dirtiest secrets. The Vietnamese continued to hold their American prisoners for most of the next twenty years, periodically making attempts to negotiate their release in exchange for the money they were still owed, but never found an American leader daring enough to take such a bold step. The Big Lie had grown just too enormous to be overturned.”
Unz further noted that “even as American filmgoers watched Sylvester Stallone heroically free desperate American servicemen from Vietnamese prisons, the real-life American POWs were still being held under much those same horrible conditions, with no American leader willing to take the enormous political risk of attempting either to rescue or ransom them. Over the years, many of the POWs had died from ill-treatment, and the return of the miserable survivors after their secret captivity would unleash a firestorm of popular anger, surely destroying the many powerful individuals who had long known of their abandonment.”
It is in this context that First Blood Part II must be acknowledged as particularly brilliant. As the film begins, Rambo slaves away in the labor camp he was sentenced to after the events of First Blood. He receives a visit from Colonel Trautman, who apologizes for the conditions of Rambo’s detention. He replies, “At least in here I know where I stand.” Trautman offers Rambo a covert reconnaissance mission to gather evidence of American POWs left behind in Vietnam, to which he replies by asking, “Why now?” Before he accedes, Rambo asks, “Do we get to win this time?” Trautman replies, “This time, it’s up to you.”
In this brief conversation, Rambo yet again references his estrangement from civilian life, more comfortable as a declared prisoner in a hard labor camp than in the undeclared psychological war waged against him in the world that he would happily lay down his life for. Rambo and Trautman both reveal that they believe Vietnam could actually have been won, had they been “allowed” to. This is an area that seems ripe for research, illustrating a divide between the combat soldier and the military and civilian bureaucracies; evidently, atop the echelons of power, there is none of the tension between civilian and military that pervades the daily life of the nation.
Arriving at the operational base in Thailand, Rambo is introduced to Murdock, the Pentagon bureaucrat in charge of Special Operations. The smarmy snake runs through Rambo’s combat record, noting the highly decorated veteran’s fifty-nine confirmed kills in service. Murdock tells Rambo that there are roughly 2,500 MIAs in Southeast Asia, saying that “most of these boys are presumed killed, but…to many Americans it’s still a very emotional issue.” Murdock is manifestly not one of these “many Americans.” He charges Rambo with gathering photographic evidence, ordering that he not engage any enemy combatants or attempt to rescue any POW. He declares “the old Vietnam” to be dead. Rambo replies, in an oblique reference to his psychological trauma, “If I’m still alive, it’s still alive.” Murdock proudly shows the skeptical Rambo gleaming banks of computers and outfits him with the most advanced equipment available.
As Rambo embarks on his mission, Trautman assures Murdock that the veteran is a “pure fighting machine, with only a desire to win a war that someone else lost. If winning means he’ll have to die, he’ll die. No fear, no regrets…what you choose to call Hell, he calls home.” Murdock, who clearly could not care less, replies that Vietnam “wasn’t my war…I’m just here to clean up the mess.” On Rambo’s insertion from the air, his pack gets hung on the plane, and he immediately frees himself by cutting away all of the expensive, top-of-the-line equipment that he neither wanted nor needed.
Rambo meets with a local guide, who converses with him about his combat experience. He laments his triage of a homecoming, speaking of the “quiet war…against the soldiers that were returning.” He also tells the guide that “to survive a war, you’ve got to become war.” Vietnam is forever a part of him; not only did he become war, but war became him, waged in his heart and soul every day for the rest of his days. Rambo continues by referring to himself as “expendable”; the guide is unfamiliar with the word, and Rambo explains it thus: “It’s like someone invites you to a party, and you don’t show up, and it doesn’t matter.” He recognizes his Übermensch stature in combat, the significance of his life as defined by his role as savior and warrior, but cannot help but realize the insignificance with which his life is valued by his government, and by the nation he believes he serves. Though invaluable in battle, he will forever be disposable at “the party”, the life he killed to preserve but is cursed never to enjoy.
Rambo’s guide arranges for river pirates to transport them to the vicinity of the prison camp, and Rambo locates the jungle gulag. He discovers dozens of Americans in horrific condition, including one POW, Banks, who has been crucified and left to die of exposure. Rambo cannot help but disregard his orders and rescue his brother in arms. Banks tells Rambo how just providential his arrival is, commenting that the prisoners are frequently moved from location to location. The present camp has been abandoned for about one year. It instantly dawns on Rambo that his mission was designed to fail; the government specifically chose that camp for his inspection precisely because it was supposed to be empty.
The alarm is raised, and Rambo and Banks make their escape. Against overwhelming odds, Rambo manages to get the two of them to the extraction point. Under a barrage of mortar fire, Vietnamese soldiers swarm the rice paddy. From the approaching helicopter, Trautman and two of Murdock’s men, both intelligence agents of some sort, radio to the base camp that Rambo succeeded, announcing, “He found one of ours!” The enlisted men cheer, but the furious Murdock orders everyone to exit the building. Just as the helicopter is landing to extract Rambo and Banks, Murdock orders the rescue aborted, leaving the men to die. Banks has now been abandoned twice, and Rambo’s expendability reified. At gunpoint, Murdock’s men prevent Trautman from interfering and hijacking the helicopter. He angrily exclaims, “You’re damn mercenaries…those are own our men down there!” One of the Pentagon operatives replies that Rambo and Banks, and presumably the remaining POWs, are “not our men. Your men. Don’t be a hero.” Mercenaries, indeed, much as the ruling class has transformed our entire military into a mercenary force for international finance, or “American interests.”
Back at the operational base, Trautman confronts Murdock. Their exchange:
“Don’t act so innocent.”
“It was a lie, wasn’t it? Just like the whole damn war! That camp was supposed to be empty. Rambo goes in, a decorated veteran. He finds no POWs, the Congress buys it, case closed. And if he happens to get caught, nobody knows he’s alive except you and your computers. And you can reprogram them, can’t you? And if those pictures had showed something, they would’ve just gotten lost, wouldn’t they?”
Murdock explains that he is not covering his, but rather “the nation’s ass”, and lays the blame on Rambo for disobeying orders. He admits that “in ’72 we were supposed to pay the Cong…war reparations. We reneged. They kept the POWs.” He challenges Trautman:
“What the hell would you do, Trautman? Pay blackmail money to ransom our own men and finance the war effort against our allies? What if some burnout POW shows up on the 6:00 news, what’re you gonna do, start the war all over again? You want to bomb Hanoi, have everybody screaming for an armed invasion? You think somebody’s going to get up on the floor of the U.S. Senate and ask for billions of dollars for a couple of forgotten ghosts?”
Trautman fires back, “Men, dammit! Men who fought for the country!”
Murdock’s arguments belie the cynical evil of the ruling class that abandoned our men, or in his parlance, our “forgotten ghosts.” I wonder if their families forgot these suffering “ghosts.” Murdock claims that by condemning these POWs to a gruesome and wretched death, he is acting in the nation’s best interest. He has conflated, as so many do, the national government with the people of our nation. He correctly concludes that if the American people were ever to know the truth, political heads would roll, perhaps even resulting in criminal charges; he understands that the people would clamor for war, that this indignation could never be tolerated by a nation that does not hate itself. Murdock further elucidates his position by noting that, much as America is above negotiating with terrorists, America is above paying ransoms for its disposable heroes. He would rather our servicemen be tortured to death than allow the projection of our strength to be diminished or allow “the war effort against our allies” to be financed, even incidentally.
While Murdock justifies the highest treason a government can commit against its men, Rambo is tortured, strung up and submerged in a retention pond full of pig excrement. A group of Soviet officers arrives, the USSR being engaged in the funding and training of their Vietnamese counterparts. The Soviets torture Rambo by electrocution. They show Rambo the intercepted transcript of Murdock’s order to abort, and demand that Rambo broadcast a message to the American base. He speaks into the microphone, “Murdock. I’m coming to get you.” He then escapes, killing the Soviets and Vietnamese, and hijacks a helicopter. Rambo destroys the camp, frees the prisoners, and returns with the freed POWs to base.
Upon arrival, the enlisted men celebrate while Murdock runs. Rambo pursues him and destroys the bureaucrat’s precious technology, blowing the computer banks to pieces with a machinegun. Murdock tries to slither his way out of the situation, excusing himself by saying, “Rambo, I don’t make the orders. I take ‘em, just like you. I swear to God, I didn’t know it was supposed to happen like this. It was just supposed to be another assignment.” This time, Trautman does not intervene to save the man; perhaps this has to do with Murdock having told Trautman earlier that he is in charge, and that Trautman was “just a tool.” Rambo throws Murdock down, and, standing over him with a knife, thrusts it into the table. He leaves the terrified bureaucrat by promising, “Mission accomplished. You know there are more men out there. You know where they are. Find them, or I’ll find you.”
Trautman walks with Rambo, and they converse:
“John, where are you going?”
“I don’t know.”
“You’ll get a second Medal of Honor for this.”
“You should give it to them. They deserve it more.”
“You’re free now. Come back with us.”
“Back to what? My friends died here. Part of me died here.”
“The war, everything that happened here might be wrong, but dammit, don’t hate your country for it.”
“Hate? I’d die for it.”
“Then what is it you want?”
“I want what they want, and every other guy who came over here and spilt his guts and gave everything he had wants: for our country to love us as much as we love it. That’s what I want.”
“How will you live, John?”
“Day by day.”
The profundity of this final exchange cannot be overstated. Rambo knows that he will never be free, that the toxic fog of Vietnam will loom over his memories every day, that he can only hope to live with his burden one day at a time. He doesn’t care about a Medal of Honor, and simultaneously indicts the criminally nefarious government for leaving these heroes for dead because it was convenient to do so. Their lives were not important enough to be saved; are they important enough now to be awarded medals? Trautman is well aware that the war was a fraud, that what officials acting under our glorious flag did was unspeakable, but implores Rambo not to hate his country. That he could ever feel hatred, or anything aside from love, for his country lies beyond the pale, in uninhabited wasteland, for Rambo. Taken aback, he states that far from hating his country, he loves it such that he would die for it, that he would, as he has so many times, kill for it. What higher expression of love could there be for a people? Rambo knows that Murdock and the metastatic rot that he represents is not what he fought for. He simply desires for the object of his affection to reciprocate with feelings in kind.
Far be it from me to comment on the murky origins of the Chinese coronavirus, but it is perhaps not by chance that its emergence coincided with the beginning of both the Chinese New Year and the American election year. Though I am hesitant to conclude that the pandemic will not result in the death toll that hysteric talking heads in the news media are prophesying, and while I acknowledge that the Chinese coronavirus is a real and serious pandemic (some of my loved ones have been affected), it cannot be ignored that the lying press has not only totally lost its credibility over the past few years and that they, as the mouthpieces of the ruling class, will do whatever it takes to eliminate President Trump—including intentionally fomenting an economic crisis. Certainly, they are succeeding with aplomb, as over ten million Americans have “lost their jobs.” Many of these will be unable to locate them again. Whether or not the media histrionics are valid, their mendacity forces us to doubt every word that falls in shame from their artificially filled lips.
Why is President Trump going along with this controlled demolition of our economy? He has even suggested the possibility of suspending domestic air travel. Our lives have been placed in the hands of epidemiologists. Ann Coulter recalled that “playwright Arthur Miller once told a story about a geologist who remarked that life was possible even in the vast American desert. All you needed was water, he said, and the largest reservoir on the globe was located right under the Rockies. But how would he get it? Simple—drop a couple of atomic bombs. But what about the fallout? "Oh," said the geologist, "that's not my field." Today, the epidemiologists are prepared to nuke the entire American economy to kill a virus. What about the jobs, the suicides, the heart attacks, the lost careers, the destruction of America’s wealth? Oh, that's not my field.” What about the child abuse, domestic violence, and divorces that are surely piling up?
We should be grateful that neither Senator Sanders nor former Vice President Biden are at the helm. The most recent CNN debate spent a vastly inordinate amount of time injecting Leftist causes célèbre into polemics masquerading as virus questions, including one forged in the fires of the highest absurdity that asserted that illegal aliens live in fear for their lives, and thus cannot seek medical attention for the virus. I guess we have to give the untold tens of millions of alien invaders amnesty in order to fight the virus. One CNN moderator asked, seeming to seek an answer in the affirmative, if the candidates support a “national quarantine” whereby the military will be mobilized to enforce a nationwide lockdown to confine all of us to our homes. The eradication of community life is a Leftist’s wet dream, while shuttered churches writhe and liquor stores thrive. New York Governor Cuomo has also called on President Trump to mobilize the military. Cuomo has set up a “containment zone” quarantining the entire city of New Rochelle. This virus, whatever its origins and true consequences, is undoubtedly being used to push the envelope of State power to new distances. It isn’t too far-fetched to imagine firearm confiscation, or, as one friend suggested, a “turn in your gun for a vaccine and food” program. The possibilities cascade, as V for Vendetta so chillingly demonstrated.
Whether or not the Chinese coronavirus is or will be as apocalyptic as the pundits are proclaiming, it raises still other disturbing questions. Tucker Carlson has called attention to our frightening dependence on the Chinese enemy for our pharmaceuticals; one Chinese state media organ recently explicitly threatened to withhold these medicines. How sinister could our ruling class have been to outsource the production of our life-saving drugs to a country that hates us, to a people who stir-fry living dogs? Even to outsource these materials to an ally would be the height of irresponsibility. China also essentially controls the global supply of rare earths minerals as well, vital components in the technologies that we have become addicted to. How long will it take Americans to rebuild the industries that ‘our’ leaders eviscerated? Senators Richard Burr, Diane Feinstein, and Kelly Loeffler, among others in Congress, appear to have transparently engaged in insider trading to profiteer from the situation. ‘American’ corporations continue to demonstrate their allegiance to the earth entire except for us. 3M CEO Mike Roman warns of “humanitarian” consequences if all of his production is insourced back into America. Humanitarian? Let the world burn. Our so-called ‘allies’ have already confiscated medical supplies bound for our country. China, on whom the entire blame must be laid for this disaster, lapped up the medical supplies of nations foolish enough to host its corporations and shipped them back to the mainland. Our only duty is to our people.
The response to the Chinese coronavirus also lays bare another disquieting truth. When the hostile parasitic force that controls our institutions deems something to be important, they shift the machinery of State into overdrive. This exposes the immense discrepancy between what our government is capable of and what it chooses to do, how it chooses to expend our resources. One of the most glaring examples is the governmental response to the crack epidemic versus the opioid epidemic, many orders of magnitude more devastating than the former. 770,000 of our people have had their lives stolen from them, a number greater than our deaths in World War Two. Each year, opioid deaths are roughly the equivalent of our death toll in the Vietnam War. Whole regions of our nation have been destroyed.
Or what about the growing push, wrapped inside the homosexual-transgender extremism rampaging on a war path through the realm, to normalize pedophilia? This is the final frontier in the Manifest Destiny of egalitarianism, the last Bastille to be stormed in the Satanic crusade. Just as National Review now celebrates homosexuality, it is presumably one court ruling away from extolling the virtues of “minor-attracted persons”, the new inoffensive name for the greatest abomination before God and man since legally sanctioned and encouraged infanticide. A body of anecdotal evidence suggests that homosexuality and pedophilia do, in fact, go hand in hand. The extraordinarily humane film Mysterious Skin provides a good illustration of this phenomenon.
Two TED talks, a growing body of academic literature, and at least five articles in popular media outlets such as Salon and New York Magazine, defended in the National Review, as well as a professor at San Diego State University, all have as their explicit purpose the desire to bring pedophilia into the mainstream as yet another oppressed sexual preference to be legally protected by antidiscrimination legislation. Think that can’t happen? Infanticide and homosexuality were considered unthinkable and incomprehensible not so long ago. The Supreme Court rules by diktat and “conservative” judges uphold them as newly-enshrined “precedent”. ABC’s Good Morning America promotes the grotesqueries of “drag kids”. The city of Spokane, Washington, employed two SWAT snipers and dozens of police officers to protect the pedophiliacs of a “Drag Queen Story Hour” from a crowd of concerned mothers. Homosexual “pride” parades regularly feature gyrating, half-naked children. Our public schools push transgender ideology and its attendant puberty blockers on our children, threatening to take them from our custody if we challenge them. Snapchat even offered a “love has no age” filter for its homosexual-transgender “love has no labels” campaign.
In the last five years, child pornography consumption has increased by 4,400%. Our government, rather than devote its efforts to eradicating this Satanic scum, serves as an armed mercenary for the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center, hard at work to enact the terrifying Domestic Terrorism Penalties Act and legally attack Rightist dissidents as never before. According to Eric Striker, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now only dedicating about ten percent of its resources to the malignant scourge of child rape. Big Tech devotes its resources to suppressing Rightist speech, rather than easily address the horrific facilitation of child rape that happens in plain sight on their platforms.
Child sex trafficking is the fastest-growing business in organized crime and is an extremely lucrative operation, falling only behind drugs and guns in terms of potential profitability. Every year, it is estimated that at least 100,000 children in our country are sold into sexual slavery and bought for sex almost three million times. This demonic evil happens every day in every city across our nation. Children as young as infants are trafficked into this nightmare underworld. Our only glimpses into this Hell come via the exposures of major institutional rings, such as those within the Catholic Church. The late Jeffrey Epstein operated in broad daylight, untouched by our authorities for decades. Our wide-open border certainly doesn’t help the situation, nor does the fact that hundreds of thousands of children disappear in our country every year.
Where is the media? Where is the Department of Justice? Where are our elected officials, many of whom seem to condone this darkness? They are too busy ensuring that the masses do not start killing each other for toilet paper.
I started my political journey on what I thought to be the Left. Books like Klein’s The Shock Doctrine resonated with me, as did films like American Beauty and Revolutionary Road. My favorite childhood films were Atlantis and The Iron Giant. All of these works are part of a long line of salient critiques of the deracinated culture of consumption promulgated by our military-industrial corporatocracy, the oligarchy cloaked in the egalitarian garb of meritocratic democracy. I subscribed to the visually stunning anti-capitalist journal Adbusters, and immersed myself in works attacking the American imperial project. I still hold some of these positions; yet I was misled, duped into believing the lies that I had been force-fed. Wherein, though, is the lie? The lie is not in the problem, but rather in the identity of the Enemy.
The institutions that create our popular culture have gone to great lengths to put faces to these forces of darkness that I had always opposed, including Big Business, Big Pharma, Wall Street, neoliberal economists and neoconservative think tank operatives like the monsters at AIPAC and the now-defunct Project for the New American Century. These are all heads of the Hydra, but what fashionable Leftism excludes from this projection is Big Tech, Big Journalism, the Academy, and Hollywood. The heads of the Hydra that we are permitted to see are represented as right-wing, whereas in reality they are all Leftists. The corporatocracy is Leftist; both the bastardized “capitalism” that provided for their ascension to power and the bureaucratized administrative state that perpetuates their stranglehold are firmly rooted in the Left.
The self-appointed counterculture, stocked by rudderless upper-middle-class youths adorned in designer clothing, is nothing but the handmaiden to power. Antifa brownshirts, whether or not they are aware (and they are aware), are doing the bidding of academics and corporate boards. They want us to be intoxicated, to dismantle “the patriarchy” and the family, to cease having troublesome children, to refrain even from going outside. Instead of founding families, praying and rearing our children in the faith, we consume processed foods, opioids, and plastic trash. Childbirth, according to figures like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, is a stumbling block in the path of suicidal success (our suicide, their power aggregation). In the name of equality, invidious individualism is doing nothing but entrenching the hostile power that occupies and rules our nation. The primary difference between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, between the Sanders base and the Trump base, is their respective identification of the Enemy; the symptoms are manifest to both. For what it’s worth, I maintain my belief that had his campaign not been torpedoed by the Democrat Party, the forty-fifth President would have been Sanders.
The rapacious vulture “capitalism” that has destroyed the United States of America is not of the Right, nor is the same vultures’ concomitant project to rebuild the Tower of Babel through imperial warmongering. Nowhere is this false consciousness more on display than on the question of our physical environment. The counterfeit “environmental” organizations that now pretend to care for God’s creation are nothing but Leftist fronts; when was the last time a board member of the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, or World Wildlife Fund actually visited a National Park? William de Vere has chronicled the subversion of Earth First! into a Leftist organization. The wall-to-wall screeching on the Left about “climate change” is merely a vehicle through which to bestow upon totalitarian bureaucrats the power to completely control every aspect of our lives (see Michaels’ Lukewarming and Scientocracy, as well as the work of Marc Morano).
Environmental conservation is inherently and necessarily Rightist. We are called to be able and benevolent stewards of God’s creation; to use, but never to abuse the physical environment and its creatures. We truly care for the real environment, not the academic abstraction that our reptilian They Live rulers cry crocodile tears for. The Southern tradition is rooted in the land; see Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows for a most beautiful depiction. Our forefathers were agrarians, not capitalists; Yankee capital pillaged our virgin land and put it under an iron yoke, decimating our fathers’ fields and pristine forests, sold to the lowest bidder. America was a nation of independent farmholds, trading with one another absent government oversight. This, the land of rolling hills, piney woods, and twinkling streams, is the Right; the irradiated alien landscape of gouged mountaintops and strip-mined scars is the Left.
Soulless mammon-lust, the alienated and individualized quest for cancerous perpetual growth, is Leftist unreality, unmoored castles in the sky; the Right values community, faith, and family, fixed in the reality of natural cycles. The earth is nothing to our rulers but a mass of biological matter to exploit, just as humans are nothing but biological abstractions, Darwinian masses of swirling atoms; they are totally disconnected from reality. Perhaps a perfect illustration is given in the case of the Soviet Union’s whaling program, decimating hundreds of thousands of whales for no reason other than to fill quotas, utilizing little to none of the mammals, their bloated corpses so thick that the sea couldn’t even be seen. The gruesome and depraved international traffic in endangered animals is fed by the insatiably virulent appetite of China, the country that the American Left worships. In a situation akin to Crichton’s State of Fear, arsonists from California to Brazil and Australia have claimed millions of animals’ lives. Self-described environmentalists are masters of propaganda, disseminating images of dead and dying animals like polar bears, which in reality are enjoying a population boom (see Crockford’s The Polar Bear Catastrophe that Never Happened).
We have to reclaim the mantle of conservation, and expose the faux environmentalists for what they are. This would greatly improve our prospects with youth. We must integrate environmental protection into our platform; this does not mean nebulous and capriciously overburdensome regulation, such as banning plastic straws, bags, and fluorescent lightbulbs, or instituting carbon neutral building codes and fuel standards, or stunting our energy independence (all of which are simply anarcho-tyrannical exercises in soft totalitarianism). No, this means a national tree-planting campaign, strengthening the penalties for animal abuse and littering, properly funding and staffing the National Park Service (our national treasure) and game agencies, and refocusing the Environmental Protection Agency on the basic enforcement of clean air and water acts. We should eliminate ethanol subsidies and federal funding for both apocalyptic climate propaganda and quixotic alternative energy sources.
We can use our environmental program as a springboard from which to carry out other items on our agenda. We should use the poaching issue to further deepen the divide between our nation and China, utilizing it to impose sanctions on the hostile power flooding our communities with fentanyl. We can further utilize the pollution issue to promote a stateside manufacturing renaissance; if we truly care about pollution, wouldn’t we cut economic ties with China immediately? And perhaps the strongest tangible argument against immigration is the Malthusian overcrowding of our country and the proliferation of trash blanketing our cities and the Southwestern desert. Those who have thrown open our borders have not done so thoughtlessly; nay, they have done so in a calculated manner. Our wide, open, and wild spaces are decried as wastes of space. The unspoiled wilderness is seen as a barren waste, unproductive land that must be plundered and put to use. By crowing that our nation “has plenty of room”, the rulers of the darkness of this world betray their true motivation. They want to turn Yellowstone and Arcadia into a ghetto, a sprawling strip mall, dotted with gas stations, methadone clinics, and payday loan operators. There is also a veritable litany of cases of illegal aliens raping and abusing our farm and pet animals (see the work of Ann Coulter and Dave Gibson). Horrific practices like dogfighting are prevalent in these certain subsets of the population. The grotesqueries of factory farming, wholly antithetical to our agrarian roots, are directed from on high by corporate Leftists and perpetrated by the illegal serfs in their employ; the recent video exposé of one of the dairy farms supplying Fairlife Milk is but the tip of an iceberg.
Once we embrace our mission, the possibilities are truly endless. We can and must reclaim the mantle of environmental stewardship from the predators who co-opted it. Animal rights groups and true conservationists will be welcome additions to our coalition to restore the Republic that we proved ourselves incapable of keeping.
Since the infamous and powerful monologue that Tucker Carlson used to launch the year 2019, the Enemy has manufactured countless controversies to attempt to drive him from the air. Last August, after Carlson courageously acknowledged that “white supremacy” is a Leftist hoax, neither a crisis nor even a threat in our nation or anywhere, he was off of the air for almost two weeks. Since this still-unexplained absence, which perhaps not coincidentally occurred at about the same time that Fox suspended Judge Jeanine Pirro for remarks deemed “Islamophobic”, Carlson has essentially stopped opening his program with monologues.
On Friday, February 21, 2020, however, Carlson returned to form: The story of American decline is the story of an incompetent ruling class. The people in charge inherited an industrial superpower with unchallenged military dominance. In a little more than a generation, they squandered all of it. In exchange for short-term profits, bigger vacation homes, cheaper household help, they wrecked what they did not build. They outsourced entire sectors of our economy to China. They imported a serf class to drive down wages, and they crippled the middle class while doing it. They ran up trillions in unpayable debt. They turned the finest universities in the world into a joke. They watched from their decadent little bubbles of affluence as families, faith, and public decency died in this country. And they laughed, because they didn’t care. How people this awful wound up in charge of a nation as great as ours is a question that historians will have to answer.
I take issue with Carlson’s assertion that ‘our’ ruling class is incompetent; I would argue that the managed decline of the past several decades is far more sinister than rote incompetence. The Enemy has largely succeeded in its ruthless campaign of genocide, the liquidation of the American kulak. I would also add to Carlson’s assertion that “they wrecked what they did not build”; not only did they not build our nation, but more importantly they couldn’t have built it. Neither, of course, could the new dysgenic population that was elected in 1965. We are ruled by the most depraved and disgracefully pathetic ‘elite’ that human civilization has ever known, by fiat from their thrones in the Gehenna of Washington. What happened to our country is by no means as simple as a murder, however. It was also a suicide.
We are not the men that our forefathers were. We have squandered the legacy that three hundred years of bloody and passionate toil erected. Our ancestors were fighting men, conquerors who cleared a wilderness and built the greatest country that civilization has yet known. In 1860 they rose, staring certain death in the face, fighting a tyranny not one-tenth the likes of which we face today. Yet we do nothing. The history of American constitutional jurisprudence is the story of the death of our freedom. We need merely examine the perversion of the “Commerce” Clause of Article I, Section VIII, stretching back to the Roosevelt era, to see precisely to what degree we have stood by and allowed our Constitution to become so abstracted as to be rendered totally inoperative and weaponized against us.
In NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin, the Supreme Court held that local activities are regulable by Congress so long as they have a direct and substantial effect on “interstate commerce”. This newfound exercise of the commerce power to interfere within the States was expanded further in U.S. v. Darby, in which Congress’ commerce power was deemed to be plenary, “complete in itself”; the Tenth Amendment was dismissed as a mere “truism”, completing its vitiation, initiated so long ago by Chief Justice John Marshall. Following Marshall’s 1824 Gibbons v. Ogden expansion of the definition of “commerce” to mean anything and everything affecting “commerce”, in the circular logic of unlimited power, the Court found its groove in the mendacious Wickard v. Filburn, in which Roosevelt’s 1938 Agricultural Adjustment Act was upheld to penalize a farmer for growing wheat over his allotment. In other words, a farmer was told what quantity of what crop he was permitted to grow, extending even to consumption by his own family. Commerce, it was thus established, meant anything that Congress said it did. As Justice Thomas so wonderfully put it in his concurrence in US v. Lopez, after outlining the Founding meaning of the term “commerce”, “Clearly, the Framers could have drafted a Constitution that contained a ‘substantially affects interstate commerce’ Clause had that been their objective”.
At ever-increasing levels of abstraction, you see, everything affects the economy; all activities may be held to be “economic”. Herein laid the groundwork for the regime inaugurated by the 1964 Civil Rights Act; alchemically, “racism” was transformed into “commerce”; surely, the Founders had exactly that in mind. Of course, if it wasn’t the “Commerce” Clause, it would be another sentence; the Enemy, unlike us, will do whatever it takes to win. A further complication in this massive bastardization of the commerce power is revealed when we acknowledge that Congress itself is no longer the Legislative Branch. In fact, we no longer have a Legislature; what the Seventeenth Amendment did not destroy, the administrative state has. Congressional abdication has created a situation in which our elected politicians vote on bills that are thousands of pages long and that they have not read, but are rather summarized by the unelected army of Leftist attorneys and bureaucrats who actually wrote them. In other words, completely unaccountable, nameless, faceless tyrants write legislation that “legislators” sign off on without deigning to look at and then farm the implementation of said legislation back to the same administrative attorneys and technocrats. To reiterate, by conferring massive commerce power to Congress, we are crowning unelected and entirely unaccountable “men without chests” (to use C.S. Lewis’ term) with the power to legislate every breath we take.
The very idea of following “precedent” is a sick illusion. To continue with our example of the “Commerce” Clause, a subservient Supreme Court followed the wicked Roosevelt (heir to the godless genocider-in-chief Lincoln) into Hell by upholding his New Deal usurpations. This dramatic break from the Founding was thus established as the new “precedent”, and all following commerce power jurisprudence has reinforced it. This is merely moving ever farther away from the Founding, though, so how can we refer to the process as precedent? The very nature of precedent is meant to reinforce the permanent truths, the bedrock upon which our society is founded; the precedential nature of constitutional jurisprudence is inherently traditionalist and originalist. Continuing into the bog after a will-o’-the-wisp, continuing deeper and deeper into the forbidding darkness, continuing to travel down the wrong path, cannot be following precedent. A return to precedent has to be a return to the Founding.
We have allowed our altars to be toppled, our icons defaced and another people’s enshrined. We have fallen prey to comfort, drugged with the sundry honeyed opiates of luxury, pornography, sexual nihilism, and substances ad infinitum. The Enemy feeds us drugs, yes, and works tirelessly to further our defenestration; but consume them we still do. Many of us who would ostensibly resist are trapped within the complacency promulgated by the Republican Party. We are not #winning. We are losing. Badly. Trump supporters are still beaten and brutalized in the streets and brazenly imprisoned in political prosecutions; merely glance at the tyrannical kritarch Amy Berman Jackson and the scandalous treatment given Roger Stone. “Conservatives” laugh uproariously at each Democrat debate; it isn’t funny. We should be fearful, and steel our resolves in response.
The very fact that we own guns may make us more complacent; with them, we believe ourselves free. We aren’t. We are probably kidding ourselves when we say, “Come and take it”, as if we would really use them when push comes to shove. I’ve long believed that the spark for civil war may be ignited by the inevitable program of disarmament. Inebriated as the populace are, however, resistance seems unlikely. Even if large enough numbers do resist, it would only be in response to aggressive confiscation; even then, it would most likely be individualized, house-to-house, rather than a collective action. But before any sort of Last Stand pipe dream can materialize, we have to begin taking First Stands.
John Gast’s 1872 American Progress is my favorite artwork. Gast captured the promise of America, our Manifest Destiny. We conquered the continent. Lady Progress (this at a time when “progress” was our march toward the realization of our national destiny, rather than our forced march into the darkness of a pyrrhic and perverse dystopia) walks forward from East to West with confidence. She carries a schoolbook, the representation of Western civilization and knowledge. She bravely presses on, from bright light into outer darkness, blazing the trail for the settlers who follow her on foot, horse, wagon, and rail. As the merciless and savage wild flees from her path, the frontier rises and the hinterland recedes. Today, American Progress has been subverted and inverted. Lady Progress lies prostrate on the ground, engulfed in darkness, flanked by the Enemy. The pages of her schoolbook flutter, scattered to the winds. She tripped in her flight from the apocalyptic nightmare galloping back from East to West, Orient to Occident. The demons she had cast out have returned, with vengeance in their ravening eyes. The railroad tracks she laid have been torn up, ties twisted. Civilization has now taken flight.
Victor Davis Hanson has compared our generation to the illiterate Dark Age Greeks who created mythologies to explain the incomprehensible ruins that remained of their great forebears. America used to build things, gargantuan works of industrial and technological prowess; today, our infrastructure crumbles, our urban areas literally ruined. They serve as a clarion call, crying out, begging us to compare our glorious past with our ignominious present. Part of this is due to the incompetence and disdain of the kleptocratic ruling class, part to the stranglehold of technocratic Leftism, but the largest part is our own failure. How can we indict the ruling class without also indicting the population that stood by as they were enthroned, that stands by as it is corralled into the abyss and replaced by Third World peasants? Our culture has collapsed; we have no national cinema, literature, or music, save for dissipated ghetto trash. Hanson’s final remarks are worth quoting: “As we walk amid the refuse, needles and excrement of the sidewalks of our fetid cities; as we sit motionless on our jammed ancient freeways; and as we pout on Twitter and electronically whine in the porticos of our Ivy League campuses, [we will ask], ‘Who were these people who left these strange monuments that we use but can neither emulate nor understand?’ In comparison to us, they now seem like gods.”
Our mother spent hours lovingly baking a cherry pie from scratch. She left it on the windowsill, asking only that we keep an eye on it, checking it from time to time. We didn’t. We were too busy playing video games, caressing virtual women, swallowing our words with liquor and pills. The pie now lies upturned in the dirt, pieces asunder, the cherry indistinguishable from the blood of our brethren pooling on the ground. The world entire crowds in, shoving and elbowing their way for a piece. We, as trust-fund children, were not given a heavy burden to bear; all that we had to do was maintain what generations before bequeathed us, a free gift. We destroyed it all, in the twinkling of an eye, leaving a now mammoth task before us. The end is nigh if we remain complacent for much longer.
Extreme wealth inequality is growing to the point where it might be safely argued that we are living in the midst of the second Gilded Age, replete with the most massive and sinister monopolies ever constructed. The economic divide is but one of the many battle lines drawn in the Culture War between the ruling class and the country class. Employing the analyses of Angelo Codevilla and Samuel Francis, the ruling class is the fundamentally Leftist managerial elite which controls our institutions, including the corporatocracy, academia, the media, and the Deep State bureaucracy, spun out of the Executive Branch. Created as a consequence of congressional abdication, this administrative therapeutic state has become a sort of supreme Fourth Branch. The ruling class uses egalitarianism as their weapon, overwhelming and dismantling the traditions which stand in the way of its reign. The country class is best understood for our purposes as those deplorable American kulaks who reside in flyover country, “bitterly clinging” to the past; this country class is essentially white, Christian (or at least the progeny of Christians), and on the Right.
The Leftist ruling class is bipartisan to the core; nothing separates Koch from Soros. The Right is not currently represented politically, though it is finally making inroads into the Republican Party thanks to President Trump’s Make America Great Again base, allegiant not to the President but to his 2016 platform. The ruling class-country class divide is not simply economic, however; a large portion of the current American economic underclass pledges allegiance to the ruling class. Through the secular theocracy of social justice, multiculturalism, and white masochism, this portion of the ruled has been led to believe that it is in fact the counterculture, that the country class (varyingly known as the ‘patriarchy’, ‘evangelical Right’, ‘heteronormative hegemony’, and a panoply of other meaningless gobbledygook terms) is in fact the ruling class. They proclaim their ‘resistance’, all the while serving as handmaidens to the corporate and political powers-that-be. Thus, much of America’s urban poor cannot be included within the country class.
While precise data depends upon the poll, it is clear that a growing number of Americans are beginning to prefer ‘socialism’ to ‘capitalism’. Whether or not these would-be socialists can define socialism is another question entirely, and certainly they have not read The Black Book of Communism or Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago (though some of Senator Bernie Sanders’ staffers evidently have, and like what they see). Aside from our national decline of intelligence, why would young men and women in the most prosperous nation in human history turn towards a serfdom that reliably generates nothing but misery and starvation? Perhaps a better question is: How could they not? The only ‘capitalism’ that many of them have been exposed to is the sugar-coated cyanide, rapine and plunder of private equity vultures like Paul Singer, insatiable wendigos eviscerating and devouring thriving small towns and leaving addiction and suicide in their wake. The only America that our youngest generation knows is the Bush nihilism of perpetual multigenerational desert war and the Obama cynicism of ‘hope’ and ‘change’. Their earliest memories include the ruling class bailing itself out of the chaos that it created, at the expense of the hostage taxpayer. The ruling class, we were told, is “too big to fail”. Apparently, our nation isn’t too big to fail. Our families clearly weren’t too big to fail. Who is there to bail us out?
America is an oligarchy, a disguised aristocracy; the capitalism that built this country no longer exists as such. Some modicum of meritocracy must be maintained in order for a capitalist constitutional republic of republics, such as the original United States, to survive with general harmony between the classes. At the very least, the illusion of meritocracy must be sustained. In other words, the working and lower-middle classes must have hope. Today, Horatio Alger is dead; he was hung with the bootstraps he was supposed to pull himself up with. The ruling class perpetuates itself through the criminally fraudulent university system. Thanks to federal student loans (these loans themselves, as well as their permanence, the result of brazenly corrupt political lobbying) and the thoroughly disproven lie that everybody needs to get a college degree (see Caplan’s The Case Against Education), an entire generation is enslaved in debt that it can never repay.
There is an agency problem when we examine student loan debt, as these loans are willingly taken, the burden of debt willingly shouldered. It surely is not equitable to merely forgive this debt, for what of those who managed their finances and paid off the debt? What of those who didn’t need to take on debt? Wealth is not something to be penalized. On the other hand, it is not simply the fault of the student alone, for they were promised that with a college degree, wealth lay just around the corner. Just as the diversity bureaucracy mandated that housing loans be extended to minorities who would clearly never be able to repay them, partially precipitating the 2008 housing crisis and Great Recession, these student loans are propping up shoddy ‘universities’ (just look at the proliferation of colleges and the functionally illiterate students they churn out, as well as the fact that as universities are enriched, they employ less and less full professors) and students who should never have gone to college in the first place. This system has produced a revolutionary class of over-educated and under-employed young adults, relentlessly drilled in the dystopic tenets of the Frankfurt School.
Perhaps the most significant difference between the first and second Gilded Age is the respective presence and absence of the spirit of noblesse oblige. Henry Ford paid a family wage because he cared for his workers and their families, for their shared country. The illustrious industrialists Astor, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt all built hospitals, libraries, museums, schools, and universities. They cared for these United States; they felt an obligation to give back to the nation which had made everything possible. As Americans, they owed allegiance to America. This stands in stark contrast to today. ‘Our’ kleptocratic ruling class despises the country that it rules. It has presided over the decline and fall of America, with no stake in its future; it doesn’t even see itself as American. Bill Gates has certainly contributed massive amounts of his money…to fund the African population bomb. George Soros is a great contributor…to Leftist prosecutors across seventeen states, like Philadelphia’s Krasner and San Francisco’s Boudin (Leftist royalty, the son of Weather Underground cop-killers and the adopted son of Obama confidante terrorists Ayers and Dohrn), who are actively encouraging murder and mayhem in a grand display of anarcho-tyranny. Michael Bloomberg works tirelessly…to run roughshod over the Second Amendment and use his façade of a presidential campaign to donate unlimited amounts of money. Many charitable organizations in America today are nothing but funnels to Leftist causes célèbre and international populations. The private charity of the first Gilded Age rendered public welfare unnecessary; conservatives and libertarians should therefore remember that a world without public welfare can only be achieved by inculcating noblesse oblige in the ruling class once again, or through a large-scale Christian revival. Unfortunately, these scenarios seem highly improbable.
Another marked difference between our two Gilded Ages is the current onslaught of mass immigration, with Americans continuing to be replaced on a vast scale. Manufacturing jobs were the first to go; when these were not outsourced to the Third World, Third World peasants were imported to take the remainder at slave wages. The blue-collar family wage is no more, leading to a precipitous decline in marriage; women do not marry men that cannot provide or that have a lower income than them. The two-income couples that do manage to stay married are further harmed by this wage depression insofar as they are led to believe they cannot afford to start a family. Working class Americans were told that they should simply suck it up and “learn to code”, but as time has gone on, many of those that bought in to the lie and earned STEM degrees have been replaced as well; for example, Big Tech stooge Senator Mike Lee is currently focused on flooding the market with hundreds of thousands of college-educated Asians, deflating white-collar wages. This feeds back into the over-educated, indebted, and under-employed proto-revolutionary class, but belies another disturbing issue. The manufacturing and retail jobs that working aliens currently occupy are in the process of being rendered obsolete, automated away. What is this uneducated underclass to do when the jobs dry up? They won’t be returning home; that much seems certain.
We sit atop a pressure cooker; the revolutionary ferment is frothing. The hatred of the ruling for the ruled is beginning to be reciprocated, sometimes misdirected and sometimes not. The endpoint of this is unknown, but our prospects are disquieting; and this assuming that civil war between the traditional ruling and country classes doesn’t break out first. Fanon’s atmospheric violence is palpable, our urban areas particularly saturated with rage, and Stoddard’s Untermensch may indeed burst forth in florid and fervid violence. What could be in store is something less like Occupy Wall Street and more like the October Revolution. The only ideas percolating in the mainstream are those of the Left: the same stale ideas that have reaped the whirlwind for almost two centuries, repackaged by the credulous idiocy of ‘the Squad’, the intellectual leaders of the Democrat Party. The Right has to have an answer besides the buffoons at Turning Point USA and Young America’s Foundation repeating the tired mantra, “capitalism good, socialism bad”; the answer is not the soulless, deracinated materialist consumerism that empowered the Left in the first place. No, the answer is national populism, or a real national conservatism un-neutered by the likes of Rich Lowry; the answer is a Rightist program that is focused exclusively on promoting and protecting families. Childbirth bounties are but a start.
Paradoxically, underpinning this program has to be our acknowledgment of the virtues of selfishness; we must care for our people, for our country. This generosity with ourselves, for our prosperity, must be distinguished from the hundreds of billions of dollars we cast into the fires of foreign boondoggles each year. Economic protectionism is inarguably superior to the laissez-faire globalization that has accelerated our dispossession; GDP is not a measure of anything. In the midst of our soaring stock market (are you tired of #winning?), do you feel prosperous? Does it feel like our country is strong? Rather than making the world safe for the Weaverian god terms of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’, we must make America safe for our families. Our drugged and overstimulated society, its hands thrown up to the heavens in despair, is but billions of lonely individuals disconnected to anything but the soul-crushing misery they find in the search for the solace of their own pleasure. We must acknowledge that the community is and will always be supreme over the individual; before this happens, before we rebuild the heart of our nation, from the steeple to the home, anything else we wish to accomplish will be moot.
America is not an idea, or a philosophy, or a marketplace, or a social experiment. Men do not kill, nor do they die, for a ‘proposition’ nation. How can we love a theory? America is a nation, a community of kith and kin, of blood and soil, with a shared memory. This simply is not a country if we cannot speak to one another, share that single history, and work together toward the fulfillment of our common hopes and dreams. America consists of people, of families. Instead of encouraging family formation (real families meaning mother, father, children, and a dog or cat), our totally fraudulent government does the opposite, ushering in the end of everything we’ve ever known. The ‘family’ court system wages total war against fathers. Leftists undermine society and promulgate a festering nihilism through their morally bankrupt universities, where impressionable minds are taught that all values and traditions are nothing but hogwash to be sneered at, backwards ideas to be corrected. They deconstruct all things to make them meaningless, to infect us with a Sisyphean futility from which they suppose we may never recover.
Simultaneously, they throw open the gates to medieval Middle Eastern barbarians and collaborate with the enemy to further our downfall. Make no mistake, they are the enemy. Countless lives have been brutally taken from us, our people humiliated, beaten, raped, and slaughtered, sacrificed at the gruesome altar of diversity as the propitiation of sin for our white privilege. Alas, we sold our melanin for this privilege. In the face of these and other threats, like the openly hostile China, we must ask: what unites us? Anything? Nobody even pulls their car over for a funeral procession anymore. Do we have the cultural willpower and patriotism left to win a war or face a massive challenge? Do we have the will not only to not die, but to live?
Leftists have raped the Constitution into an unrecognizable heap since 1865 to serve whatever their ends may be, and when that still isn’t enough, they dispense with it altogether. They force every single one of us to subsidize the propaganda that passes as education. They force us to subsidize infanticide. They steal our income to bestow upon hordes of criminals and foreign invaders, engorging themselves upon our labor while lying to us that they are somehow the linchpin of our economy. America was not built by, nor are we a nation of, immigrants. America was settled and built from nothing, the wilderness cleared, the frontier settled at the cost of much blood, by pioneers with a shared culture. The lion’s share of our exponential population growth was from natural increase, not from immigration. What immigration there was came from our ancestral lands, not the nightmarish outer darkness now jostling its way into the shadow of our failing light. We are not ‘global citizens’, nor is every miserable wretch on the planet an ‘American-in-waiting’.
Our rulers lead us further into ruin each day as the bloated administrative Deep State Blob seeks out ever more power. They manufacture ‘hate crimes’ to justify to morons the suppression of free speech. What is a ‘hate crime’? Nothing but thoughtcrime, for how could an emotion be criminalized? Nothing but anti-white weaponry to criminalize any white acting in his own interests and not for a ‘minority’, while the ubiquitous racially-motivated crime against whites by ‘minorities’ goes unopposed. Whites are the true global minority, and we soon will be within our own country (if we are not already, as we have no idea how many illegal aliens poison our body politic). Our first freedom is besieged, the right to bear arms threatened most recently with ‘red flag’ thoughtcrime laws.
Leftists protect illegal alien pedophiles, rapists, and murderers of Aztec cruelty in ‘sanctuary’ cities, nullifying federal law, while at the same time obsessively expanding the ‘right’ to infanticide in every state, itself based upon the entirely unconstitutional Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment was not only unlawfully submitted to the states in the first place, but was never in fact ratified by the requisite number of states; rather, it was spuriously proclaimed at the end of a bayonet. We have this piece of gobbledygook to thank for infanticide, homosexual ‘marriage’, and the destruction of our public-school system. Even if we were to validate the Fourteenth Amendment, the terms “due process” and “equal protection” were terms of art with specifically limited meanings that were only to apply to the citizenship of newly-freed slaves. This fraudulent construction also reduces the states to mere vassals and creates ‘birthright citizenship’. But citizenship, and by extension voting, are not rights; they are privileges. The Constitution gives and establishes no rights, as we are endowed with these rights naturally, by God; the Constitution merely prevents the national government from infringing upon these preexisting rights.
Muhammad is now in the top ten baby names in our country. So much for ‘Never Forget’. Leftists lobby for the Muslim enemy, providing housing and unmonitored mosques from which they can plot terror attacks, while excoriating Christians, the most persecuted group at home and abroad, abandoned by our State Department. They waste American lives for worthless lands and worthless causes all over the world, having lied us into wars for the last 80 years. One American life is worth more than the whole continent of Africa and the Middle East. What these politicians, some of them Muslims and black militants, do while standing in front of the American flag, under sworn oaths to serve, is repulsive. They besmirch the very integrity of our institutions, once hallowed and now a grotesque farce, as children in the ill-fitting clothes of the men before them, their feet too small to fill the shoes of those giants who bore our world on their shoulders. When Atlas shrugs, his knees cut out from underneath him by the scimitar of the Orient, his head separated from his shoulders by the guillotine of the Left, are they to keep the lights on?
Most devastating of all, leftists control every single cultural institution in this country. We cannot even turn the television on or catch a movie without their agenda being forced on us. Hollywood churns out political drivel and calls it film, awarding themselves at their annual circle-jerks. Film criticism has died along with journalism; we are not allowed to dislike Moonlight, Black Panther, or Hidden Figures without being tarred and feathered as a bigot. ‘Comedians’ smear us and our traditions every night. ‘Journalists’ lie every day, and win freedom of the press awards and Pulitzer Prizes. The news media is a sick joke. Radios are choked with the toxic fumes of rap ‘music’, the sound civilization is murdered to. Leftists have infiltrated the education system so thoroughly that our children are indoctrinated into the progressive death agenda from preschool to graduate school, taught to hate their families and their nation. Future generations are not taught our glorious history or our constitutional republican system of government. Instead, they learn ‘queer theory’ and slander against our heroes.
What is the solution? Are we all supposed to homeschool our children? What about when they go to college? Are we all going to have to set up parallel institutions? With the usual foresight, our enemies have begun discussing outlawing homeschooling and private schools, as well as extending the school day. They’ve even infiltrated the churches, a homosexual clergy and globalist Pope but symptoms of much deeper degeneration. There is no escape. If we keep our heads down and appease these criminally insane revolutionaries, they will continue to run roughshod over our broken bodies. The storm will not pass. If we complain meekly and magnanimously, playing on their terms, our concerns are dismissed if not outright ridiculed; talk about blaming the victim. Big Tech monitors us more than our own government and interferes in every election worldwide. Our privacy was voluntarily surrendered and taken long ago. They have imposed a totalitarian social credit regime of censorship upon us; any unapproved thought, any incorrect sentiment, anything a freshman at Berkeley disagrees with, is banished from the mass marketplace. It is no coincidence that our leading financial institutions have begun to promote the cashless society. Technology has not made us freer; in fact, quite the opposite. Dissent is not tolerated. We are watching our freedom disappear. We all walk around on eggshells, afraid to speak, afraid to even think, for once speech is controlled, thoughts naturally conform. This is the way the world ends; not with a bang, but with the censor’s bleep.
Who can we turn to for help? Not the GOP. The neoconservative grifters, cuckoo birds and cordyceps fungi that hijacked the American Right, are leftists themselves. So-called ‘conservatives’, the kleptocrats of Conservatism Inc. sacrifice our people to the market and to expediency every day. They toasted their donors as the private equity disembowelment of our once-thriving small towns rolled on, as capitalism was irradiated and bastardized into soulless vampiric consumption, as the family farm was leveled and the dark satanic mill raised in its stead. They exist solely in order to purge those whom they cannot co-opt; among the expunged are such luminaries as M.E. Bradford, Samuel Francis, Paul Gottfried, Murray Rothbard, and countless others. There are dozens who, like Darren Beattie, have been discredited simply for attending conferences attended by unmentionables. Politicians like Steve King and Sarah Palin are ridiculed and sidelined or worse, tossed into prison like Steve Stockman. Joe McCarthy, a hero at fault only for not going far enough, has been wholly and forever demonized. They expend enormous energy to ruin any real representatives of the Right and spend billions of dollars on shill think tanks and youth organizations whose only task is to brainwash and neutralize any threats to the ruling class before they can emerge.
Traitorous Republicans lie to their conservative voters every election cycle and do nothing on the social or economic issues for which they were elected, proving ad infinitum that the ‘values’ they so love to expound are meaningless, empty vessels; ‘democracy’ is a procedure, a means, not a goal. What are they ‘conserving’, if not our culture? Nothing. They have conserved absolutely nothing. As the prescient theologian R.L. Dabney put it over a century ago, “American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition.” They promote the same policies leftists did only a year ago, halfheartedly fighting to preserve a smoldering crater of burnt rubble. Who else can we turn to? Certainly not the courts, let alone the Supreme Court. Not ‘the market’. ‘Free’ trade has engorged the ravening wolves sharpening their knives in the dark for our bloodletting, all the while emaciating and disenfranchising our own countrymen. ‘Woke’ corporations are a major threat to liberty, interested in becoming statist monopolies, eliminating families, and creating an ever-metastasizing scourge of new niche identity markets. Nor can we count on our politicized law enforcement agencies to assist; they vigorously pursue Klansmen under every bed, but incidents like the Las Vegas massacre are swept under the rug, federal officials openly commit treason, and figures like Jeffrey Epstein (having already escaped justice once before) are suicided. Then who? There is undoubtedly still sound feeling among the rank and file of the military, but the extent to which the institution has been compromised by gang infiltration and the social engineering of the Obama Administration is unclear.
There is no easy political solution. Just look at the attempted Deep State coup against President Trump, a moderate, pragmatically instinctual civic nationalist. We face an enemy, a coalition of the damned, that despises us for who we are, for the color of our skin, for our values, for our ‘clinging’ to outdated trivialities like nation and God. Driven to obliterate what they know they could never create, they will stop at nothing to destroy us. We have nothing in common with each other at all. At least in the 1860s we (arguably) prayed to the same God. We are dealing with ‘true believers’ of nihilism now. The urban coastal elite looks into the rest of the country and sees nothing but a backwards people to be cleared away, exterminated and replaced. It can’t even be said that we live in the same country. The Democrats are on a totalitarian jihad, and the Republicans, whistling past the graveyard, only care that Wall Street is running smoothly and that they’re not being called mean by pink-haired protesters.
Simple separation has been attempted before, and events would follow a similar course in that once again, our enemies cannot abide in a world in which there exists a single mind not under their total control. Theirs is a religious crusade against all that is holy; they hate families, whose fidelity and love are the last obstacle (more primal a defense even than firearms) in the path of state power. This boot on our throats is only let up so that more of their social engineering can be forced down. We are persecuted and harassed if we do not celebrate their defiling agenda of degeneracy. They have engendered a deeper hatred and bitterness than ever has existed here. A civil war is coming. It’s only a matter of time, and of what the spark will be. The inevitable attempt at disarmament may provide this, as it will almost certainly be seen for what it is, the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the death knell for our liberty, the last thing in the way of physical slavery. The family, our speech (and thus our thought), and our means of defense, all dissolving before our eyes.
We face utter annihilation if we do nothing. The apocalyptic chaos of Mexico is our future if the rulers of the darkness of this world are left to their own devices. Our country is an unrecognizable outpost of the open society, made so deliberately in the unprecedented span of only a generation. Since our national sovereignty was ceded in 1965, we have gained ‘the world’, and lost our home, our border, our distinction, and our humanity. Europe is perhaps already lost. But we are not. We can still reclaim our birthright. We are the last bastion of civilization itself. We must carry the fire. We cannot give in and sink into the ever-widening chasm of misery waiting to wrap its arms around us. We must unite. We are the counterculture. We must work to leave Carthage and return to Mayberry, to dismantle the Empire and rebuild the Republic, to bring about traditional, religious, and national revival, the restoration of life in the face of death.
Tradition, it must be remembered, is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. We must stand firm in the fact that there is a right way, that we are not the same, that we are better, that theirs is the path of hell. We must once again build a nation in which families can form and flourish, in which we can feel safe and call home. It will take a belief in the future; not just a future, but our future. We must not be ashamed of ourselves or of our history, but proud. We owe nobody an apology. We must again realize what is important and distinguish it from the false egalitarian idols of ‘progress’ and ‘diversity’. We must stop being afraid, and say what we think, when we want, to whomever we want. We cannot play their games; let them call us names. We cannot think and speak on their terms; call things as they are: Infanticide, not abortion; Invasion, not immigration, whether legal or illegal; The War for Southern Independence, not the Civil War; Disarmament, not gun control; Prostitute, not sex worker.
Who cares if some touchy nihilist calls you ‘problematic’ or a ‘racist’? And since when was ‘nationalist’ a dirty word? Are we afraid of being called ‘haters’? Hatred may certainly exist without love, but love cannot exist in the absence of hatred. For if we truly love something, we must necessarily abhor those fighting tooth and claw to tear it asunder. We must rage against the dying of the light, lest we go gentle into that good night. We must not allow ourselves to be vilified as ‘radicals’ or ‘extremists’, words designed to discourage others from joining our cause. Rather, it is imperative that we be clear just which side is radical; we, the lighthouses piercing a roiling gale, the fingers damming the dike, the keepers of the flame, or the arsonists piling fuel into the conflagration threatening to engulf hundreds of years of toil? We must also remember that ‘victimhood’, feigned weakness, is their greatest weapon, and we mustn’t fall for it. They manufacture guilt, thereby handicapping us in bondage. To paraphrase Voltaire, the powerful are those whom we are not permitted to criticize. The ‘victims’ have our power. It is ours to retrieve. We may only be ridden while our backs are bent and our knees are bowed; no longer will we be cattle and chattel. The good times aren’t over for good; there are more of us than we realize. We need only stir to send our alien occupiers and their carpetbagger, scalawag, and Hessian handmaidens packing.
We have everything to lose. Our country. Our dignity. Our past. Our future.
Until Christ returns, there is no one coming to save us. It is up to us.
We face a clear choice, in sharp relief, between life and death. Our unnatural society is ruled by monsters engaged in a murder-suicide. This occurs in such a way that events appear isolated, each violation normalized before another takes place, lulling us into a false sense of security, of natural progress as an organically changing society. There is no such thing as coincidence. This is death by a thousand cuts; if we zoom out and examine the image in full, it becomes clear that this murder-suicide is an intentional, coordinated agenda. ‘Our’ deracinated rulers are sicker and more depraved than we can possibly imagine. They are evil incarnate. They have decided that life is not worth living, and they prolong their suicide day after day, their empty, hedonistic, and transactional lives bereft of meaning. They have chosen death over life, and they are taking us with them, celebrating our demise. The bells are ringing. Let them kill themselves. But we cannot let them kill us. We must remain steadfast as the machinery of our dispossession accelerates, as the center of our world spins away, as we swing between aphelion and perihelion.
Their culture of death is perhaps best exemplified in the grotesque Weimar sexual nihilism running rampant in our society. Pornography drains our vitality and poisons our minds with sick fantasies that don’t even attempt to approximate a depiction of love, of intercourse in any real sense of the word. Under the flickering veil, love is supplanted by bodies fucking in the dark like the twisted metal of a car wrapped around a tree. This clockwork orgasm, a frostbitten wail from the void for warmth and form, is too debauched even for animals. Pornography is the epitome of debasement, valorizing horrific acts between members of the same family, between the generations, between platonic friends. No relationship is healthy or freed from sexual competition and domination. Certainly, pornographers are selling something, but their product is not pornography, nor is it pleasure. It is an agenda, the culture of death, decadent id gratification, the elevation of flesh over all else. We can hardly wonder at a callous society when we realize that this is what passes for the sexual education of our young, what their first conception of sex is based upon. It is the death ethic, a nihilism so pervasive that notions of life and love are strangled out of sight, just beyond the frame.
What is abortion but an extension of this same holocaust, this foreclosure of the future? Millions of children murdered, millions of lives taken, and for what? So erstwhile mothers can go to college? And what values are inculcated as the empowered woman gets an ‘education’? Hatred of self, of family, of nation, and more abortion, abortion of the possibility of happiness and a future. In college, she ‘goes out’ (but only on weekends, mind you, she’s an A student) and obliterates her consciousness in a black vortex of despair, coupling with the first half-put together male to make some enlightened paean to feminism and social justice, the starlight in her eyes doused with liquor, only to wake up thrilled for the next night! Except she isn’t. She’s miserable. She wants to think she’s empowered, because her college, her friends, popular culture, and ‘models’ and ‘influencers’ on social media have told her for her whole life that she should dress as revealingly as possible and behave as breezily and ‘easy-going’ as possible, be ‘open’ to new experiences and ‘celebrate’ her body. Yet when she does as she’s supposed to, partaking in perverted ‘free love’ philosophy, believing her vile conformity some kind of ‘rebellion’, she is ruined. She objectifies herself, making a desperate plea in the crowded club, and her cries are drowned in more booze, more men, more feminist theory. She closes out the possibility of stability, of happiness, of self-respect, aborts it like the children she never wants. She shouts her abortion; indeed, she shouts it to stifle a deafening scream, the lorn and disconsolate sound of emptiness, of barren desolation.
She has too many important things to do. Her college degree guarantees her entry into the market, and what could be more important? She has allowed will-o’-the-wisps to guide her out of her exalted, beautiful, all-important place as mother and enslave her in the cynical, grim market, where she labors as one more cog in another machine. She has enslaved herself and disrupted nature, despoiling the holiness of hearth and home. She has mistaken chains for power, and believed the vipers who told her that marriage and childbirth was the oppression, the porn stars and prostitutes who told her that being a housewife is too degrading. The apotheosis of this artificial leveling of male and female is allowing women to ‘serve’ in military combat; this truly is the mark of a culture that longs for death.
Some will argue that two incomes are necessary in ‘today’s economy’; to this, we must firmly state that this is a lie perpetuated by those who do not want us to form families, to whom the idea of the family is anathema. They want both parents working. They believe that the state is the perfected family. Yet no bureaucratic organization can ever hope to replace this most fundamental lodestar of humanity. We must also ask, if indeed this is ‘progress’, if indeed we are so ‘wealthy’, so ‘advanced’, why cannot we enjoy the fruits of our ever-increasing labor and allow parents more time with their children? Why does the progressive utopian ethic never cease, as horizon gives way to horizon? Is it perhaps that their pyrrhic ‘utopia’ can never be realized?
It is a godless society that has fallen to our sunken depths. In rational secular atheism, in postmodern relativism, there are no values, no conceptions of right, just, good, or true. There are no distinctions; all paths are equal. There is only the egalitarianism of abyss, equality of outcome finally achieved in misery and consummated in the grave. Into this morass we have blindly charged, full speed ahead, from God’s light into Satan’s night. Sodom and the Canaanites are pillars of Puritanism compared to our corroded world. Sexual nihilists control the marketplaces of ideas; an infinitesimal lunatic minority of the population is being allowed to engineer the future of all of our children. An alphabet soup of mental illnesses masquerading as ‘gender identities’ have piggybacked onto our already hypersexualized culture (ever seen what juvenile cheerleading and dance uniforms look like now?) and formulated a campaign to forever destroy the innocence of our children.
Public libraries and mainstream daytime talk shows targeted at mothers popularize and normalize abominations like ‘drag kids’, confused little children whose attention-whore social-justice-warrior white-knight parents have ventriloquized them into dressing as burlesque transvestites and suggestively dancing as homosexuals and pedophiles, often overlapping groups, ogle and throw money at them. A legion of psychiatrists and surgeons are manipulating disoriented children and then mutilating their genitals in the name of…of what? ‘Tolerance’? In the name of suicide and psychosis? Parents who object are declared unfit, their brainwashed (online, at school, and at the doctor’s office) children taken from them so they can reach progressive paradise and become wards of the state. A campaign has even begun for the normalization of pedophilia. What will it take for us to do something, to do anything? Is nothing sacred? Hideous monstrosities like these are being shoved down our throat every day, and we’re supposed to tell them it tastes good. You don’t want us to castrate your son? You’re a bigot.
While our politicians squabble about fake crises like ‘Russian interference’, ‘white supremacy’, and pagan ‘climate change’, our country is dying. Rotting from within, a deep despair has taken root and feeds on our soul. Our urban areas are approaching failed state levels of collapse. An ever-expanding, unpoliced, unobstructed, but above all welcomed and rewarded population of foreign invaders and American homeless have created an environmental and public health crisis, as the Third World reaches ours. As feudal coastal elites preach about some amorphous and faceless idea of ‘the climate’ and ‘the earth’, their cities drown in human feces, used condoms, spent needles, and churning waves of trash. As they jet around the globe to fight jungle pathologies, these same afflictions wreak havoc in our communities.
Counterfeit environmentalists smile for the flashing lights at leftist fundraisers as the real environment is saturated with chemicals, as unmanaged forests are burned by vagrants and traffickers, as parks metamorphose from family picnicking spots to gang initiation sites. We forget that environmental conservation and agrarianism are conservative programs; our poisoned landscape of strip-malls, high-rises, and methadone clinics is the product of deracinated leftism. Utterly corrupt leftists officials practice anarcho-tyranny, aided and abetted by violent brownshirts, catering to criminals and penalizing law-abiding citizens, responding to the greatest drug crisis in our history with the Orwellian ‘harm reduction’ of injection sites and needle exchanges, the spread of marijuana across the realm, and the release of drug dealers from prison en masse. Excellent priorities.
What does it say about us that we have a generation searching for God in its veins and down a bottle? Body snatchers came overnight and took our country, replacing it with a husk. There’s a war on, and we are losing. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, the descendants of the pioneers, have plummeted like Icarus and died like refuse in the past few years because of this despair. Addiction is not an illness any more than suicide is. While the epidemic is a symptom of the black hole devouring us from within, the gaping maw of Satan hungrily licking his lips, it was inarguably created deliberately by pharmaceutical companies and the doctors on their payrolls and is being perpetuated by the Chinese state and the Mexican narco-state. Our government has not held those responsible to account. We are adrift, rudderless, the ground swept from underneath our feet. Not only are our lives growing shorter and measurably more miserable, but our bodies seem to be losing their will as well; male sperm counts have collapsed. These are symptoms of a choice; our culture has chosen death and decadence over life, hollow ‘pleasure’ and ‘fun’ over all else, too myopic to have sight of a future in which we survive, bequeathing nothing to a nonexistent posterity.
"Assisted suicide’, a wonderful European import, allows people to choose death for any invented ill; even more, though, it sends the signal that our society would rather exterminate the weak than spend time and money on care. Our community centers, skating rinks, pools and movie theaters are abandoned, gone to seed, turned into meeting spots for criminals, not safe to visit after dark. Our churches stand empty. Our politicians and corporations, enriched in corruption, have sold us up the river for their bottom lines. American companies that would not even exist had the taxpayers not bailed them out against their will lay off workers by the tens of thousands, import peasants who work for slave wages, and give their executives record paydays. Gone is the noblesse oblige of the first Gilded Age. Factories close, towns die, and the homes that families spent generations improving become crack dens and brothels.
This is the product of an atomized society. Leftists control our social spaces; their greatest fear is of human relationships and camaraderie. Theirs is the world of Los Angeles, point A to point B with nothing in between but driverless cars. In their cities, mere filing cabinets of pod people forbidden to own, permitted only to rent, millions of people have casual, ephemeral transactions each day, and are thus nominally exposed to one another. Yet these cannot constitute relationships, and serve only to increase our frustrated isolation, our sense that something vital is missing, our wish for this something more, this something inaccessible. Our estrangement from one another is exaggerated by every meaningless interaction we conduct, our alienation and resentment inflamed with every dopamine rush on every backlit screen. Thus has ‘social’ media destroyed social organization, tearing asunder the very fabric of society, of how we relate to one another. Social media is the instrument of disconnection, of isolation, of suicide, each post a desperate cry that someone, somewhere, cares. Our flesh is fed in squalor and decrepitude, while our soul is starved.
They openly despise everything that makes us who we are. In their Cultural Revolution, our history is rewritten as monuments are destroyed and streets and buildings are renamed. Welcome to Year Zero. Our traditions, our God, and our people are under ceaseless assault. After they have driven Old Dixie down, they will come for Old Glory. Christmas becomes just another ‘winter holiday’. Thanksgiving becomes a celebration of the merciless savages (pardon me, ‘indigenous peoples’) who preyed on our forefathers and a penitential day of mourning for their defeat. The Great Replacement is underway; as our country’s stock is depleted by abortion, feminism, and death cults like ‘climate change’, homosexuality, and transgenderism, tens of millions of foreign aliens openly invade our land, pouring across our pathetic, wide open border, encouraged by the snarling imperials of the coasts, whose small stretches of land from Los Angeles to San Francisco and New York to Baltimore are allowed to subjugate the entire country.
Theirs is the globalist imperialism of the European Union variety, a depersonalized faceless technocratic state whose sole purpose is to eradicate the natural man and replace him with a shapeless automaton barking like a seal the party line. As our Marxist entitlement programs collapse around us, our leaders deign to hit the gas pedal and expand them while further pilfering the citizenry, to whom none of these programs even benefit. They scheme to place healthcare under state control, literally forcing us to put our lives in their filthy, incompetent hands. Death panels are to decide whether our children live or die, the elderly are encouraged to submit to assisted ‘suicide’, and we wait months for simple procedures. They are not only insulated from the consequences of their policies, but also often have no children. How can Merkel give a damn about the future of Europe if she has no children to worry for? If all this seems illogical, it isn’t; the answer is that they do not want us to succeed. It isn’t incompetence; nay, far from it. They want us to die, along with them. It is a program of ruthless efficiency, the liquidation of the benighted and deplorable American kulak.
Organized Christianity is in crisis, riven by the same divide between the ruling class and the country class that is breaking our nation apart. Christians have been betrayed by their leadership. The Catholic ‘Church’ is honeycombed with homosexuals, who have perpetrated one of the most massive pedophile abuse scandals in history; their Pope is a globalist demagogue who celebrates any and all Leftist causes, from the ‘climate change’ hoax to the Islamic colonization of Europe. One gets the feeling that he will not rest until the Vatican has been razed, a mosque flying the black flag of the Islamic State erected in its place. Witness the silence regarding the attack on Notre Dame; we all know what happened. Catholic organizations are perhaps the largest financiers and actors involved in executing the West through mass immigration, both with the Orient inundating the Occident in Europe and the global South invading the United States. The Episcopal ‘Church’ website features immigration promotion on its homepage. One of the marquee issues that it proclaims to value is Orwellian “racial reconciliation”. Under its ‘what we believe’ section, the ‘Church’ makes clear its worship of homosexuality. The United Methodist ‘Church’ website invites members to “stand with migrants”, “stand against racism”, and “combat climate change”. These denominations are clearly lost. Many of them have essentially thrown out the Bible altogether. One is hard-pressed to even discover a Bible in the National Cathedral.
The Southern Baptist Convention remains the last major denomination that preaches the inerrancy of the Scripture, but even its leadership shows signs of the selfsame Leftist infiltration. An early indication of a split between the Convention’s ruling and country class was revealed when the leadership immediately praised the landmark Brown Supreme Court decision, while the body of its membership throughout the South was shell-shocked. The Convention adopted a resolution against its own 1845 founding, by unnecessarily condemning slavery in 1995. The brilliant columnist Samuel Francis was expunged from the Washington Times and consigned to the wilderness after he correctly noted that slavery was not itself a Biblical sin, and that therefore the Convention’s resolution was a fruitless and basely political effort at maintaining its relevance. The Convention passed a resolution adopting anti-white, anti-Southern, and anti-Christian critical race theory in 2019. The thin Baptist Courier, the official publication of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, contained multiple exhortations to “anti-racism” in its most recent issue. The First Baptist Church of Naples, Florida, is currently engaged in internecine conflict; after a black Leftist pastor lost the election to become its new pastor, the church ‘pastoral staff’ bureaucracy unfoundedly accused its congregation of “racism” and called for its “sinful” members to “confess and repent”. The President of the Convention even called to eliminate “any vestige of this kind of sinful prejudice”. The church bureaucracy targeted dozens of members for expulsion, emailing them that they had been “removed from our membership”, that their souls were no longer being watched over, and that they must “leave our staff alone”. Conservative congregations, now made into dissidents, have begun seceding from the Convention.
Christianity has long been afflicted by Leftism; one can go back to the 1859 martyrdom and canonization of the murderous terrorist John Brown by apostate Puritan Yankees, church bells a-ringing. Paul Gottfried’s masterful Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt is one of the best examinations of this phenomenon, the susceptibility of Christianity to the new “secular theocracy”, with ‘social justice’ as the propitiation of sin for ‘white privilege’. The largest evangelical publication, Christianity Today, recently argued for the impeachment of President Trump for “immorality”; never mind the magazine’s promotion of amnesty for the heathen masses of illegal alien pedophiles and murderers, or its celebration of Stalinist theologian Karl Barth. The largest ‘Christian’ corporation is Chick-Fil-A, a company that has apparently been lying to its Christian customer base for years while funding the anti-white, anti-Western, and anti-Christian ‘Southern’ ‘Poverty’ ‘Law’ Center and the homosexual and transgender youth outfit Covenant House. Kanye West’s intransigent “Closed on Sunday” hearkens back to yesteryear, a time in which Christians still believed Chick-Fil-A was one of us, rather than a sponsor for ‘drag queen story hours’. The most visible ‘Christians’ are the leaders of megachurches, multimillionaire motivational speakers like Joel Osteen.
What hath ‘modernization’ wrought? Christianity is inherently anti-modern. Christianity must necessarily be fundamental, that unchanging bedrock upon which all else rests. To modernize is to bastardize. The hymnal is supplanted by the projector screen, the choir becomes pop, and the Bible is dumbed-down and translated further and further away from the Truth, into alien tongues and infantile English; it seems no coincidence that there are almost no churches left that use the King James Version, the closest to the Truth that the English language can attain. Many churches no longer preach from the Bible at all. Those churches that do still use bits and pieces of the Bible have largely fallen prey to the ‘God is love’ fallacy; this is not the space to elaborate on this point, but I point readers both to the Bible and to Jack Kerwick’s excellent piece in The Agonist, “Christianity’s Divine Hatred”.
Organized Christianity has capitulated. The cost of this cowed silence has been enormous; our nation has fallen, our culture degraded, our faith corroded. Addiction, depression, and suicide reign ascendant. According to the General Social Survey, atheism is now our largest faith. Pew Research has predicted that Islam could become the third-largest religion in our country within the next two decades. In twenty states, Islam is already there. American and European churches will continue to stand empty, so long as their leaders continue to promulgate Leftist politics. Christianity is necessarily mutually exclusive with Leftism; one cannot serve two masters, antithetical to one another. These people are no more ‘Christian’ than Ilhan Omar is ‘American’. These charlatans have infiltrated and hollowed our institutions out from within, our pearls cast before swine, trampled underfoot and rent against us. They crave the adoration of a world which hates them, having forgotten that friendship with the rulers of the darkness of this world is enmity with God. They have torn down our altars and replaced them with nothing. Organized Christianity stands for nothing. What is the point of going through the motions of faith if not to defend God and His inerrant Word? What is the point if not to take a stand? What can Christians expect but the accelerated evisceration of the ranks of the faithful when they celebrate all that is unholy?
Churches are supposed to provide an alternative, an oasis of purity in an impure world. The Church is supposed to be apart, in the world but not of it, not debasing itself by joining the BDSM horror show that has hijacked the culture. Religious revival can only be accomplished through an uncompromising return to the fundamentals. French reactionary Michel Houellebecq’s great novel Submission (released on the same day as the Charlie Hebdo attack) teaches an invaluable lesson for those of us willing to listen. An Islamist party is elected to power in 2022 France, in collaboration with the Socialists and the moderate conservatives, in order to prevent a National Front victory. As French Jews retire to Israel, the novel’s protagonist, a middle-aged professor, notes that he has nowhere else to go. He travels through the countryside and visits a monastery in Martel, named for that hero of the Occident, Charles Martel. Finally, the professor accepts the new, better life that conversion to Islam will give him: a prestigious promotion, beautiful wives selected for him, and a patriarchal society in which he no longer feels suicidally drained, exhausted as the aged branches of the willow of Europe sag, but rather renewed. His submission is thus his salvation. What does all of this mean? That in our depraved and unregenerate world, people seek absolution; we search longingly for meaning, for an escape, for a return to a world in which everything has not gone horribly wrong.
Christians must ask ourselves what exactly it is that we have to offer. If the answer is nothing, the resounding silence of the void, what are we still doing here? If, however, the answer is regeneration, revival, and life, victory over death, we must stand and wage an aggressive battle to reconquer the culture. People are looking to fill that hole gnawing away at them, to silence that voice whispering that their lives are empty, to look up from their screens and see the sun shining down from above. If Christianity cannot or will not be the alternative, if Christians would rather participate in the orgiastic fire consuming our world, then people will seek solace in something else. Anything else.
Clint Eastwood’s extraordinarily subversive Richard Jewell easily ranks as one of the year’s best films, if not its best. Eastwood, Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, and Kathy Bates are at the zenith of their craft; superbly scripted, acted, and shot, it stands with Gran Torino as a poignant memorial to our fallen and degraded nation. The word ‘subversive’ is apt, for only a man with the brand and power of Clint Eastwood could have made this film. Richard Jewell strips the emperor of his robe and lays bare the hypocrisy, ineptitude, ruthlessness, and sheer evil of ‘our’ ruling class. It exposes the corroded institutions of our media and federal law enforcement agencies, revealing their soulless swamp creature denizens for the pathetic yet diabolical hacks that they are.
Richard Jewell was a security guard working at Centennial Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He discovered Eric Rudolph’s bomb, and through his efforts saved hundreds of lives. The FBI zeroed in on Jewell as their prime suspect; agents leaked this to a sleazy journalist (sound familiar?), and Jewell’s trial by media began in earnest. This man, this hero, had his life raked over the coals and ruined by the corrupt CNN and Atlanta Constitution-Journal. They ridiculed his Southern accent and his lifelong aspiration of being a law enforcement officer. Were it not for the shrewdness of Jewell and his attorney, Watson Bryant, the FBI may have succeeded in destroying the life of an innocent man, as they have many times before. Though this is not included in the film, Jewell won several settlements from the jackals that attempted to railroad him, including Piedmont College, NBC, and the New York Post; CNN settled as well, but never apologized. The retractions and apologies that did occur often fell on deaf ears, as they were never prosecuted as vigorously as the salacious allegations were. His attorney in these defamation suits was none other than Lin Wood, who is currently representing Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High student tarred and feathered by the Washington Post and other outlets.
It is telling that the first person to believe Jewell in the film, other than his mother, is the Russian secretary for Jewell’s attorney. Having lived in the Soviet Union, she understood that often, when everyone in the government and the media proclaim a man’s guilt ‘dead to rights’, he is in fact innocent. This selfsame Soviet cynicism afflicts our citizenry today, in a world in which we cannot trust anything printed under the hallowed marquees of our most prestigious papers, nor anything spewed forth from the mouths of those manicured faces on our vaunted cable networks. Witness the Tawana Brawley race hoax, or the scorched-earth campaigns against Darren Wilson and George Zimmerman. Witness the tabloid circus that came gunning for Brett Kavanaugh. The famous remark of the sadistic NKVD chief Lavrentiy Beria comes to mind: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” These people are capable of sending an innocent man to prison for the rest of his life for nothing. They are capable of anything. We’ve witnessed the unraveling of our institutions into brazen corruption; in our two-tiered justice system, heroes are made villains and vice versa, while their despoilers walk away scot-free. Witness Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Roger Stone. What about Steve Stockman? Or Waco and Ruby Ridge? And yet the Democrats who have just impeached President Trump have the gall to wave the Constitution in our faces, all the while asserting their prayerful reverence for the maxim that in America, nobody is above the law. All of this begs the disquieting question: How long have our institutions been rotten? The infection has only just begun to be visible. How far must it have progressed such that they no longer even try to hide it?
The term ‘ruling class’ is a more accurate descriptor than ‘elite’, for our rulers are most assuredly not elite, in any real sense. Our consecrated Ivy halls churn out Non-Player Characters capable only of parroting stale groupthink from the faculty lounge. They are incompetent but for their merciless willingness to annihilate; often they are incapable even of managing their own affairs, leaving in their wake a string of failed marriages and alienated children. Former FBI Director James Comey is their personification, a middle-aged Boy Scout (excuse me, Scout) suffering a martyrdom complex and delusions of grandeur. Jewell typified the sentiment that the citizens of a healthy, functional country should have toward their law enforcement agencies. He was raised to revere authority, to believe that government agents literally are the United States government. Jewell’s attorney pithily corrects him: these hollow men are not the government, but are rather pricks who work for the government. Near the end of the film, as Jewell is interviewed by several FBI agents, he launches into a beautifully righteous soliloquy. To paraphrase, he says that he used to think being a federal agent was the highest calling a man could have, but that now he is not so sure. He looks to the great seal of the Bureau emblazoned on the wall, the seal that once struck such awe into his heart; but no longer, his awe turned to ashes in his mouth.
Is it so hard for our rulers to believe in heroes? To believe that Jewell was motivated by nothing other than a genuine desire to serve? They reward apathy and malice, while simultaneously discouraging self-sacrifice; after seeing these consequences, what security guard will ever report seeing a bomb again? Why wouldn’t he just run? Good men are scared away from public service, leaving our institutions populated by the remainder. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
This film could not have come at a better time; a great deal of wisdom may be gleaned from it. We must especially encourage our children to see it, as it is not often that the truth slips through the censor’s sieve. What happened to this hero, who laid a rose at the site of the bombing each year until his far too early death, has happened to countless others. It will continue happening. It will only become worse if we do not heed Eastwood’s unspoken words. We are all Richard Jewell.
Neil Kumar is a graduate of the University of Chicago and is currently a student at the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is a proud member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, with roots in South Carolina that extend to the Revolutionary War. He calls Bentonville, Arkansas, home.