Who’s running America?

I sometimes laugh at Joe Biden, but I’m actually sorry for this confused old man. There’s an element of self-pity there as well, felt most acutely every time the president publicly takes another meandering trip away from sanity.

Since I’m only a few years younger than him, what if I end up like that too? My only hope is that I’ll be strong enough to stick by my staunch opposition to suicide.

Then again, though one’s cognitive abilities always diminish with age, a lot depends on the starting point of the downward slide. I like to think that mine is quite a bit higher than Joe’s, so perhaps there’s hope for me still.

Such hubristic selfishness apart, I fear for America and the free world she is supposed to lead. The man in command of the US Army isn’t even in command of his own mental faculties – what if he has to make the choice between peace and war?

Not being an expert on US constitutional law, I don’t know if sufficient grounds exist for invoking the 25th Amendment and putting Joe out to pasture. Yet every time he is forced to veer off script, usually during press conferences, he presents a clinical picture of senile dementia.

If the doctors among you find fault with this diagnosis, by all means pick it full of holes. But please don’t insult my intelligence by insisting that Biden’s mental health is robust. Just watch excerpts from his confrontations with journalists (such as these, among dozens of others: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSaTXfeKFvA) and then tell me what you think.

This, though reporters, most of whom work for socialist-leaning media, toss him cream puffs of questions, as opposed to the grenades they hurled at Trump. Yet, rather than eating those cream puffs for breakfast, old Joe smears them all over his face.

This raises the question in the title above. Since Biden is manifestly incapable of leading his country, who in his country is leading him?

One of his numerous gaffes was referring to Kamala as ‘President Harris’ – was it just a senior moment or an accidental reference to the actual state of affairs? And if not Harris, then who? Is there some cabal of left-wing extremists burrowing through the foundations of American politics? Much as one hates conspiracy theories, it’s hard not to think along those lines.

Since Americans pride themselves on their democracy, only those elected to lead are entitled to do so. If, say, some congressmen, elected to wield legislative power only, are acting as the executive behind the scenes, then the US Constitution is for all practical purposes null and void.

To be fair, Biden isn’t the first president to suffer from mental disorders. For example, some presidents of old are believed to have been clinically depressed. Madison, John Quincy Adams, Pierce, Lincoln and Coolidge are the names that tend to come up in that context.

Grant and Nixon were borderline alcoholics, and Pierce actually died of liver cirrhosis. Woodrow Wilson suffered several debilitating strokes, and his wife effectively acted as president in his second term.

Reagan was manifestly senile towards the end of his tenure, and the government was run by James Baker, his chief of staff. However, Reagan didn’t start out that way. The electorate voted in a man who was compos mentis. Reagan’s interviews and press conferences were full of wit and common sense. (To wit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTyZAul60ok)

Biden, however, was already the way he is now during his election campaign. That people voted for him in sufficient numbers is a ringing denunciation of universal franchise if I’ve ever seen one. Yet it’s not just the electorate that’s to blame.

To a great extent this travesty is Trump’s fault. Yes, for all his faults he was ten times the president Biden could have been even at his best. That’s beyond question. But, to paraphrase Buffon ever so slightly, le style c’est le président même.

The average voter goes by style, not by substance. He envisages a certain composite picture of a perfect leader and uses it as a stencil. Any candidate who sticks out too much makes that hypothetical yet all-powerful individual uncomfortable.

Trump’s style didn’t so much stick out as break the stencil into pieces and throw them into the voter’s face. He who lives by incendiary populism may well die by it.

Actually, I’m surprised Trump did as well as he did in 2020. But for the Covid pandemic, he might very well have won.

Yet I’m not surprised that those whose comfort zone Trump had gerrymandered swung to such a catastrophic extreme. One gets the impression they would have voted for anyone who wasn’t Trump – not just for Joe Biden, but even for Joe Stalin.

Make no mistake: the world is in grave danger for as long as Biden remains in the White House. Foreign aggressors are like voters: they too respond not so much to weakness as to its projection. Conversely, an image of strength and resolve may deter even a much stronger enemy. Hitler, for example, didn’t dare invade Switzerland.

Knowing that the US president is senile, Xi may fancy his chances with Taiwan – or Putin with the remaining portion of the Ukraine or, even worse, with the Baltics. And I’m not even talking about assorted economic and social crises that also require a quick and wise response.

That ‘old man in DC’ (with apologies to Hemingway’s spirit) is what Americans call a clear and present danger. I for one am scared.

17 thoughts on “Who’s running America?”

  1. At the risk of waxing Orwellian, perhaps the threat of invading Taiwan is more useful to the CCP than actually doing so. Ditto Putin and the remaining portion of Ukraine.

    I too am deeply sceptical when comes to conspiracy theories, even the ones which don’t involve reptilian humanoids.
    However, the existence of a Marxist faction calling the shots doesn’t seem implausible. I strongly suspect, but of course cannot prove, that the election was rigged to secure Biden’s victory. Military communism has never succeeded in the Anglo-sphere. But the cultural, legalistic, variety personified by Blair in Britain and Obama in the States has worked famously. I suppose Biden is the continuation of that process, his mental condition may even be advantageous to whomever is pulling his strings. If his handlers push too far, the resulting blame could be placed solely on Biden’s confused head.

    1. Highly possible, that. But socialism in the Anglo sphere goes back much further than Blair and Obama. Ramsey McDonald, Attlee, Wilson, Callaghan in Britain, Woodrow Wilson and Roosevelt in the US – and I am naming only PMs and presidents. Roosevelt’s New Deal, for example, is indistinguishable from Stalin’s Five-Year Plan. In Britain, the Welshman Robert Owen is recognised as one of Marx’s precursors – and he died in 1858. The American Henry George (d. 1897) was an immensely popular agrarian socialist who traced every ill of the world to land property. Socialism is the beloved child of the Enlightenment and, as such, owns the birthright to the modern world. Today, I struggle to think of a single Western country whose leader isn’t a socialist. I believe that the only serious opposition to socialism can come from Christianity, not economic libertarianism (which is sometimes confused with conservatism). That, I’m afraid, is to say that in our lifetime socialism will run more and more unopposed.

      1. I agree – the only antidote to socialism is Christianity as politics globally has creeped, then lurched leftwards with no way back to conservatism. Here in Oz we have an amiable but toothless PM loathed by the left, yet his policies in no way differ from the labor/greens agenda. Every Western country spiralling downward in in a Jim Jonesian act of mass suicide. I personally hope the year 2033 to be one of biblical intervention with 2 millenia spent building, then ruining civilisation since Christ’s resurrection.

      2. “I believe that the only serious opposition to socialism can come from Christianity”

        But every Christian pastor, priest or protopresbyter I’ve ever met in real life or argued with online is infected with socialist ideas. Even the great mystic George MacDonald and the great controversialist G K Chesterton were infected with socialist ideas. Not even the wisest of all modern English Christians, C S Lewis, was entirely free of the insidious socialist evil.

        But St Paul wrote, “Servants, obey your masters,” and, “If a man will not work, let him not eat.” How can Christians read St Paul and not hate socialism? Ergo, how can Christians belong to any contemporary “Christian” church?

        1. My experience with priests is different from yours. But I see what you mean: most church hierarchs (and many Christian writers) are indeed men of the Left. But I’m not sure your ergo quite works. Whatever a priest’s personality, when he celebrates Mass he is merely a mouthpiece for somebody else’s voice, God’s. He doesn’t say “My body”, he says “The body of Christ”. Personally, I think Christianity has active worship as its essential part. And the Eucharist is an essential part of worship. That’s why, provided the priest doesn’t vent his political ideas from the pulpit, and provided he is indeed a he, the church is indispensable. Yes, finding such churches is increasingly difficult these days. But it’s not impossible: I’ve been fortunate to do so both in England and in France.

          You are absolutely right: Christianity is rather the opposite of socialism, and not only in Paul’s writings. Throughout the Gospels, including the Sermon on the Mount, Christ conveys the paramount importance of the individual making free choices based on his relationship with God. Freedom is the greatest part of God’s gift to us, a vehicle we can drive to his kingdom. Socialism, on the other hand, is all about collectivism and the kingdom of this world. Thus, Christian charity isn’t the same as the welfare state, but its exact opposite. That’s why I detest the attempts of ‘liberal’ theologians to portray Christ as a revolutionary, a sort of Che Guevara of Galilee.

          As to the gentlemen you mention, they (to different extents) indeed entertained socialist ideas. But they are still beautiful, aren’t they? One can still enjoy and admire Orthodoxy or Mere Christianity, can’t one?

  2. “One gets the impression they would have voted for anyone who wasn’t Trump…” This is, in fact, the case. For at least 18 months prior to the 2020 election there was a movement named “Anyone but Trump”. It’s members included some people who appeared outwardly to be intelligent. So much for appearances! “Anyone” is a large group. I also asked the question, in the form of a single name: Stalin? Hitler? Amin? Biden?

    The name of the group itself denotes a complete lack of thought. It also belies the fact that they had nothing to offer in the form of a solid argument in favor of their candidates. None of them had any qualifications to lead the country, other than not being Trump. Such is the state of modern day politics. I, too, “fear for America and the free world…”

    1. I’d say that most voting these days is done against, not for. Hence the growing popularity of that candidate, None of the Above. I voted for Johnson, whom I dislike, simply because it was impossible to vote for Corbyn. For the same reason I would have voted for Trump in the last two elections — even though I find him (though not necessarily most of his policies) despicable.

  3. “Woodrow Wilson suffered several debilitating strokes, and his wife effectively acted as president in his second term.”

    Dr. Jill runs things now. “What would Joe want?” says Dr. Jill. “I know!” says Dr. Jill.

    There, decision made. And did the Democrat elite KNOW Joe was in mental difficulty when he was nominated?

  4. WASPs are no longer running the US. My father-in-law, God rest his soul, went to Groton, and then tested into the FSO. Was he a privileged person? Most certainly – he had a French nanny from the age of three, but he also had a very strong sense of ‘noblesse oblige.’ As you so often point out Mr. Boot ‘democracy’ has many problems.

    1. Buckley wasn’t really a WASP, technically speaking. He was W all right, but other than that he was Irish Catholic. That aside, Groton and Harvard (or reasonable equivalents) aren’t what they were when your father was there. Neither is the concept of noblesse oblige. Neither are our Etons and Oxbridges. They matriculate chaps with a strong sense of entitlement, but no attendant sense of duty.

  5. I’ve seen speculation that Biden may at some late point in his administration resign, so as to turn over the presidency to Kamala Harris, with the goal of ensuring that she gets the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024, and giving her the advantgages of incumbency in the next presidential election. If that happens, one wonders if the international risks that you outlined would increase substantially at the moment of handover of presidential power to the relatively inexperienced Harris.

    1. The international risks are increasing exponentially anyway, with or without Harris. All American presidents are by definition inexperienced in the first term. I’m not sure to what extent experience in other fields, even politics, counts. Biden had plenty of experience in the Senate, but he’s still clueless, and would be even with all his marbles intact. The problem with Harris isn’t that she’s inexperienced but that she is a socialist with a huge chip on her shoulder and not much intelligence above it. She and her ilk are just loudspeakers for the zeitgeist, in its wokest manifestation. She has no grasp of Western culture in general and American culture in particular. Hence she won’t be able to defend against civilisational enemies. If anything, she may see them as her allies.

  6. Yet Communist ideas of some sort can easily be derived from Acts 2:44-45, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common (hence communism); and sold all possessions and goods (sounds anti-capitalist, doesn’t it?), and parted them to all men, as every man had need”. To everyone according to their needs!

    1. The Acts described a tiny group of people who were all saints dedicating their lives to Christ. To derive socialism from that takes a pre-existing committment to doing so. Socialism is all about increasing the power of the state over the individual. All its desiderata are crudely materialistic, with the state acting as the ultimate materialist, pretending to be building an earthly paradise. Does this sound like Christianity?

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