The first article, linked by Frank, is actually better than good. It's one of Angelo Codevilla's more thoughtful pieces, and it provides substantive food for thought to everyone who wonders where the road ahead leads. The other two articles, in their own ways, address that concern as well.
Codevilla riffs off Machiavelli's distinction between founding and refounding a political order--in our case, a republic:
Restoring America requires dedicated citizens to re-found our Republic.
Codevilla sets the problem in a way that's difficult to dispute:
Machiavelli wrote that [resetting a country on its proper basis] amounts to re-founding a nation, and that this is considerably more difficult than founding one in the first place.
What does it take to re-found a nation? The question is lively for twenty-first century Americans because the changes that have taken place in the bipartisan ruling class that controls nearly all our institutions have explicitly denied and denigrated what had made America itself. Today’s ruling class leads and even forces Americans to act, speak, and think as if all that they had thought good were bad, and vice versa. Almost as if a vengeful power had conquered the country. At least half the country yearns for some kind of rescue.
Codevilla's major emphasis is on leadership. A "refounding", he maintains--again, pretty incontrovertibly--amounts to a revolution, and requires a leader with whom would be revolutionaries can identify as embodying their ideals and values. It's no secret that Codevilla doesn't regard Trump as that leader, although his sharpest criticism of Trump in this article is this somewhat muted observation:
leadership worthy of its name consists of actually organizing successful acts of resistance and affirmation.
On the one hand, we can all agree that Trump's appointments served him ill, and to a great extent prevented him from "organizing successful acts of resistance and affirmation." On the other hand, I hope we can also agree that that criticism fails to do justice to Trump and what Trump accomplished. Trump, as an outsider to both political parties, was hamstrung in making appointments. Codevilla doesn't offer examples of what he would have considered to have been "successful acts of resistance and affirmation". Personally, I believe that Trump's public affirmation of his agenda--resolutely focused on what would make the nation great again, focusing on national identity, and above all on affirmation of the goodness of human life lived in the traditional manner of our ancestral generations--was an enormous step toward a refounding. It was also a step that had never been taken by any previous Republican nominee in recent memory. Whatever the shortcomings of Trump's SCOTUS appointments, the fact remains that their confirmations were accomplished with the knowledge that confirmation for each represented--no matter their future behavior--a victory for those who affirmed Trump's agenda. In my mind that's no small thing going forward. It's a benchmark for anyone who hopes to succeed Trump.
To see how this is so, consider Codevilla's own words--what other public figure at the level of Trump's presence on the national stage addressed and followed through in so many ways on the issues that Codevilla cites. And yet Codevilla appears blind to the significance of this. A refounding requires in the first place a rallying point. Trump has provided that, has provided hope. Consider Codevilla's closing paragraphs, in which he appears to envision a fractured America:
This intermingling [of Woke and Traditional America] is more fraught with horrid consequences than the 19th century division between Northerners and Southerners. Both of those sides, Lincoln reminded them, “prayed to the same God.” Their family lives, their personal habits and preferences, were identical. All revered America’s founders, albeit somewhat differently. None doubted the others’ probity. Today, by contrast, America’s Woke side regards worship of the God of the Bible as the source of the White man’s rapacity, racism, and oppression. It regards the very words male and female, mother and father as poisonous, and rejects reason itself as the arbiter of argument in favor of identity. Through education, it enforces relativism regarding mathematics—never mind sexuality—and wholly denigrates anything that America has been other than the enabler of themselves.
... Now every national election, every judicial nomination, is about who shall kill whom under what circumstances, who shall go into whose bathroom, who are the heroes and who the villains, and which children shall and shall not be filled with alien hormones.
The good news is that the U.S government has less credit, and hence less real power to decide such matters than ever before. Alas, it also has lost the capacity to prevent opposite sides of these bellicose questions from taking their preferences into their own hands. The United States of America is coming apart. The only question is whether it finishes doing so to avoid violence, or as a result thereof.
Republican Americans’ success in the aforementioned defensive battles should convince the oligarchy to limit its absolute power to the people who want to live under it. The persons whom the republicans choose in successive elections will have substantial power to define the terms by which America’s tribes relate to one another. ...
The U.S. Constitution’s letter gives nearly all powers of government to the states, and reserves unmentioned ones “to the people.” Surely that includes powers over bathrooms, marriages, who competes with whom in sports, etc. It certainly includes power over elections. ... Though a federal statute granting broad autonomy over such matters to the states’ constituted sub-units and giving enough likeminded people the power to form units that enjoy such autonomy would run against more than a century of court decisions, it finds no barrier in the Constitution’s letter. Congress and the president can do this.
The alternative is already unfolding: people on all sides have learned that “stop me if you can” is today’s operative constitutional law. Pretty soon, everywhere will be a sanctuary for something. The willful and well-organized obey what they will and disobey what they dare. Better for all if the separation follows the law of logic rather than force.
One needn't agree with the entirety of Codevilla's vision and argument to recognize elements of truth. How it plays out is up for grabs, and one may doubt Codevilla's preferred outcome is actually realistic and will emerge--a divided America agreeing to live and let live. One can also suppose that John Roberts may also be counseling what he sees as prudence to the other justices because he sees the same divisions that Codevilla does. But ask yourselves this: But for Trump ...? But for Trump's four years, where would the conservative movement be in all this that Codevilla is talking about?
As nearly as I can tell, Codevilla's continuing anti-Trump position rests on his view of Trump as personally divisive--that is, divisive because of his personality. A real leader, he appears to argue, would be one who could unite Americans in agreeing to live together in a divided land. That, he suggests, was Abraham Lincoln's failure and is now Trump's. I'm not convinced, and I offer more of Codevilla in argument for why Codevilla's preferred outcome is probably not realistic. Is the picture he paints of the oligarchy--his term--one that suggests a live and let live compromise?
Defending Americans against censorship by the tech giants and the rest of the media on the behalf of the oligarchy must begin with making clear that these are republican Americans’ enemies, which lie to us, build profiles on us that corporate partners use to sell us things, and that the Democratic Party uses to target and demean us. Once millions of Americans grasp this, Google’s and the lesser giants’ influence ends but for their own partisans. Then legislation becomes possible that makes them liable for perceived harm to individuals, to be adjudicated by juries.
Would this reality ever have been revealed to Americans--but for Trump? Would momentum to rein in censorship--still in its infancy--have ever emerged, but for Trump?
Organizing collective opposition is key to defending against being fired or otherwise disadvantaged for transgressing the Woke requirements that corporations and government agencies are imposing on employees and even on persons who deal with them. ...
Such joint refusals and lawsuits are also the obvious basis on which to organize republicans to stop the Democratic Party and its corporate partners from requiring proof of vaccination for traveling on public transportation, going to school, or even going into public places. ... But only national-level leadership can make sure that the American people treat this power grab as part of the oligarchy’s war on republican America.
Universities and colleges, largely financed through government, having been the fountainhead of the oligarchy’s intellectual/moral character, nothing would reduce that fountain’s pressure on republican America like curtailing that financing. ... And then do it, reminding parents that if they do not educate their own children, the government is sure to mis-educate them.
Who are the Republican leaders who are providing the leadership on this issue? Except for Trump? There may be some, but none have the traction. But the grassroots opposition to CRT that we see rising--even though many of those parents may not have been Trump voters, could that movement have developed but for Trump?
The oligarchy’s perversion of American law, its partisan seizure of the justice system, of the intelligence agencies, and of the military, is the deadliest weapon in the war of annihilation it wages against our Republic. Led and largely staffed by partisan Democrats, scarcely distinguishable from the private corporations and institutions it oversees, the bureaucracy legislates and administers against the rest of us. ...
The oligarchy within the justice system may be largely composed of partisan Dems, but the generals, the intel agency heads? Whatever they may be, besides being careerists, they can coexist with either branch of the Uniparty. What they cannot coexist with is a party led by Trump.
... In fact, the bureaucracy’s, the intelligence agencies’, the armed forces’ actions against republicans are not errors. They are the oligarchic regime’s acts of war. As the majority of Americans grasp that reality, they deprive the regime’s powers of the legitimacy that gives them force.
And yet, having said all this, Codevilla suggests as a possible outcome:
Success in battles to protect republicans will make it possible to work out some arrangement whereby peoples who now belong to two incompatible civilizations and who look for leadership to two hostile regimes may live in peace though intermingled with one another.
That doesn't actually sound like a national refounding, does it? Yet I don't want to simply dismiss Codevilla's many legitimate points.
The next article builds, in a way, off the one thing that I highlighted in red, above:
America’s Woke side ... rejects reason itself ...
The article is more of a cri du coeur than anything else:
Science is a fine thing, but blind faith in studies stops thought and deprives us of common sense.
Consider the beginning paragraphs:
"Trust the science”—that hackneyed mantra propounded by Dr. Anthony Fauci—has turned out to be the cry of anti-intellectualism. If we need studies to tell us everything, then we do not really know anything, and the only arguments available to us are arguments from authority.
We should be able to know some things simply by using common sense. Unfortunately, however, common sense has many enemies, and Fauci is but one. Both sides today—conservatives included—assume that the key assertions of our time must be “proven” or “disproven” by scientific studies: Women have different interests and priorities than men; Conservatives are censored by social media companies more frequently than liberals; Systemic racism plagues America; Abortion is bad for society; Men who were born in the wrong body can be happy if they cut off their genitalia.
Common sense, however, provides an adequate standard for evaluating all such assertions.
I can certainly agree that the appeal to science is the cry of anti-intellectualism. Everyone I know who has uttered the words "follow the science" or "it's settled science" has turned out to be a shocking ignoramus. But, then, is it not also true that an appeal to common sense is also the resort of anti-intellectualism? If you doubt me on that, just ask a few people to explain, specifically, what exactly common sense is, and on what it is grounded. Instead, I'm quite sure that what you'll find, with only a small amount of probing, is that most 'conservatives' subscribe to the usual liberal positions: you can't legislate morality, for example. Why not? Because everyone disagrees and there's no way to objectively know the truth. Really? That's the slippery slide to where we find ourselves now.
The reason we find ourselves in the mess America is in--as described both by Codevilla, above, and by this author--is precisely because bad philosophy has undermined the confidence that average humans should have that human nature is something that we can all know. Indeed, in a great book, Etienne Gilson's Thomist Realism and the Critique of Knowledge, we learn that the appeal to "common sense" in fact first arose out of despair in Enlightenment Europe over the ability of men to objectively know reality--and especially the reality of human nature. It was bad philosophy with its "critique of knowledge" (h/t Immanuel Kant) that led to that despair, but Gilson explains how to escape bad philosophy--not by rejecting intellectual inquiry for some ill defined 'common sense' but by rediscovering sound philosophy.
Bad philosophy is what has led to the social dissolution that Codevilla describes and our author here describes. The only solution, the only way to work our way back to an understanding the common good for man in society, is the recovery of sound intellectualism, as I've argued in the past: Perennial Principles.
There are no shortcuts. However, that doesn't mean retiring from public life. Short term victories can help in the longer term. The key is to understand what is long term and what is short term. What are perennial principles and what are tactical considerations. In fact, there is some hope that the short term awakening may ultimately induce some to consider the longer term. And with that I'll end with one final link:
The Democratic Party is in trouble. They know they’re in trouble, and they are behaving more and more desperate, erratic, and irrational.