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The Gentleman’s Guide to Geopolitics:
Amaury de Riencourt’s American Imperium

4,229 words

Amaury De Riencourt
The Coming Caesars
3rd Ed., London: Honeyglen Publishing Ltd, 2014 (first published New York: Coward-McCann, 1957)

Part 2 of 2. Part 1 here

5. As Always, Your Mileage May Differ

Like Jorjani’s books, the devil — Calvinist or Zoroastrian — is in the details. For instance, a contemporary review details de Riencourt’s shaky grasp of American presidential history and Constitutional theory.[1] On the other hand, his basic thesis is not unlike the very popular, one might say standard, notion of the ongoing development of an “Imperial presidency.”[2]

And yet one hesitates to apply the standards of mere reason and bald fact to such an elegant work,[3] whose value surely resides in Spengler’s “physiognomic tact,” and its ability to provide us with a vision to aid us in understanding our present and perhaps our future.

Do we see ourselves in de Riencourt’s mirror? As our late President would say, Yes we can! You don’t have to sully your browser cruising the fringes of the web to find expressions of just the kind of democratic gridlock and frustration de Riencourt predicted. Here’s former fund manager Richard Breslow ranted on . . . Bloomberg News:

Whether you conclude that indecision has become a global pastime, or it’s merely obstructionism and hypocrisy masquerading as such, it can’t be tolerated any more.

The price is simply too high.

Yes, it’s a complicated world and, obviously, the gods are angry with us. But it’s time to fish. We can no longer afford being told to wait while they cut some more bait. Frankly, at this late date, citing global headwinds or the need to further study models that have been taken as gospel for decades is a symptom of this disease not a road to a prudent cure.

There comes a time when motion has to be embraced as progress and our “leaders” need to actually be willing to face the consequences of their decisions. . . . If we are incapable of showing leadership then a different generation needs to pick-up the baton. [Why not a Caesar?] And we’ll have to pay the price for our depraved indifference.

It doesn’t have to begin with the hardest problems. How about racking up some tally of wins? Take the debt ceiling. Are we really going to have to listen to this bombastic nonsense of a debate for another month? Pass the increase now. Find something else to hold the country hostage to. This goes way beyond a sloppy bill auction. Frankly, failure to get this done should be seen as the equivalent of Congress begging for someone to fill out the commitment papers to Bellevue.

Want to get the Fed’s balance sheet under control? Stop talking about why we shouldn’t be scared and get going. “Don’t rush us” has become nonsensical as well as nonproductive. And recent Fed speakers have sounded more like they are auditioning for their next gig than engaging in rigorous debate.

The U.S. can repair itself after a hurricane. And, yes, there are potential solutions to the Korean debacle. But why must we perennially enter every battle already bruised and cut-up? And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.[4]

And for a less elite view, see here, where an article on DACA prompts this cri de coeur:

We have no voices that count. The media and the Deep State set the agenda; protecting their brownshirts, punishing heretics and policing the boundaries of speech. They rule over us. You want proof? Republicans and/or conservatives own the presidency, the Congress, most of the governorships and even a tenuous majority on the Supreme Court. Yet they’re commonly described as ‘beleageured’.

Or, yet more bluntly, another comment on an article on immigration:

Everyone with any power is just dicking around with the future of the formerly civilized world. The reason for this remains a mystery to me, although I think it might have something to do with certain principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.

Or here:

I think it’s time to acknowledge that CON-gress is not only incapable of doing the right thing (unless someone greases their palms to do it) but incapable of doing anything and needs to be fundamentally changed. I doubt we could do worse if we picked people at random from the phone books.

That last is a comment on an article by Pat Buchanan: “Trump Dumps the Do-Nothing Congress.” Is Trump the sign of the epochal moment de Riencourt predicted?

6. And Trump: The Hero we Need?

One pleasure of reading de Riencourt’s parallel histories of Rome and America is the satirical light it sheds on the recent antics of some deracinated and culture-less “artists” to express their outrage at the election results by setting a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in modern America, with the titular role was taken by a simulacrum of Trump. The “subtle” message: Trump bad, let’s rise up against the dictator and restore democracy!

Of course, if they had read de Riencourt, or perhaps the play itself, they would have known that it was Caesar, like all the subsequent Emperors, who was, indeed, the Tribune of the People (represented by the Populares party), while it was the old Senatorial families (the party of the Optimates) who wanted to return to the oligarchical Republic.[5]

Despite all the liberal paranoia, projection, and hypocrisy, Trump is not the Coming Caesar. Rather, he seems like a last, desperate attempt by the country’s historic ethnic group to make some sort of — compromise — between American tradition and the current crisis: a strong man, a father figure, but also that uniquely Yankee figure: a dealmaker.

This is not to say that Trump is just a craven liar. He is one of the few people in the financial elite who embraces those old ideas of civic responsibility and fair play that used to define the American elite. Trump is from an age when it was your duty to uphold the rules and be a good example to others. He naively thinks that is how things still work. They don’t, which is why the ruling elite looks at him as odious interloper. They don’t hate him as much as they hate what he represents. They also think he is an idiot because of it. . . . It is another reminder that the people putting their trust in the system are idiots. The system is not the solution to our problems as a society. The system is the problem.[6]

Liberal hypocrisy and projection? Back in 2013 there was another reissue of The Coming Caesars, with an introduction by one of those Christian pastors warning about the Beast, and a cartoon cover illustration showing W and Clinton placing a laurel wreath on Roman-armored Obama. There was some truth to that other, comical cover: Obama was certainly willing to rule as an autocrat — remember “I have a pen and a phone,” and the brouhaha over executive orders? As always, it’s who/whom: autocracy is good, when it’s a Democrat, otherwise, the next Third Reich.

Obama, indeed, was already a quasi-Caesar, and Americans must have been seeking another kind of compromise, a veritable “half-blood prince” as Steve Sailer called him; yet he failed to satisfy. Those who expected his black roots to add some vibrant thuggishness discovered that like that over New Englander, Wilbur Whately, he took more after his mother, and was more SWPL than they were themselves.[7]

Moreover, rather than the longed-for Father Figure, there was an overall — femininity — to the policy-making, as exemplified by the “Valkyries” or “Durgas” who ran the foreign policy they called “humanitarian intervention,” which of course is de Riencourt’s “expanding democracy.”

The Washington Post reports that a troika of female advisers — Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power — are, by and large, responsible for persuading President Obama —  against the advice of Robert Gates and other members of the military establishment — that bombing Libya is a good idea.[8]

As Maureen Dowd gloated for the goodthinkers at the time:

They are called the Amazon Warriors, the Lady Hawks, the Valkyries, the Durgas.

There is something positively mythological about a group of strong women swooping down to shake the president out of his delicate sensibilities and show him the way to war. And there is something positively predictable about guys in the White House pushing back against that story line for fear it makes the president look henpecked.

It is not yet clear if the Valkyries will get the credit or the blame on Libya. But everyone is fascinated with the gender flip: the reluctant men — the generals, the secretary of defense, top male White House national security advisers — outmuscled by the fierce women around President Obama urging him to man up against the crazy Qaddafi.

“The girls took on the guys,” The Times’s White House reporter, Helene Cooper, said on “Meet the Press.”

Rush Limbaugh mocked the president and his club of “male liberals,” saying: “Of course the males were opposed. It’s the new castrati. . . . They’re sissies!”

Well, I guess been “clear” for a while that Libya was a disaster, and a certain YouTube clip of Hillary trying to wax Caesarian made it a bit less clear who was “crazy,” Qaddafi or Hillary. In any event, the last election was largely a rejection of Hilary and her “Valkyries”; contra Hillary, this was not a rejection of feminism as such,[9] and was even led by women (white women, of course, who “betrayed” her).[10]

Speaking of executive orders, the DACA debacle illustrates the current, unstable situation: Obama and the liberal MSM and judiciary ordaining the eschaton, calm and smug in their moral certainty; the hopes that Trump would simply overturn it, dashed as Trump “reaches out” to the Democrats, talks compromise, and assures everyone he loves and welcomes the invading “Dreamers.”[11]

What separates the two sides is not the yearning for a strong man, but that one side – the self-styled “progressives”– has abandoned all pretense of compromise with what they see as pure evil: intolerance in the name of tolerance.[12] For people like Hillary, citizens who disagree with her are not even opponents to be argued with, merely “deplorables,” presumably to be dealt with in some unspecified but satisfyingly grisly way (à la Qaddafi), or at least punched like that terrible “nazi” Richard Spencer.[13] We’ve seen this before, of course, in the run-up to the Civil War, that great failure of compromise; and it’s no surprise that today it should be typified by the War on Monuments.

7. Aaaaaand . . . It’s Gone

Let’s recap:

  1. Expanding democracy and equality both here (civil rights, affirmative action, unchecked right to immigrate, etc.) and abroad (imperialism, aka “humanitarian intervention”) . . . check.
  1. Feminization of the electorate . . . check.
  1. Global administrative apparatus (UN, NATO, etc.) in place and ready . . . check.
  1. Popular discontent with increasingly ineffective, unresponsive and counter-productive legislative process . . . check.
  1. Demands for a strong leader, here (Obama, Trump) and abroad (Orbán, Putin) . . . check.

So, where is the Coming Caesar we were promised? At Area 51, with the jetpacks and flying cars? With all these checks, what has “checked” his arrival?

Here we see the chief flaw in de Riencourt’s loupe. Calvinism and compromise may characterize Americans, but it’s an unnatural, unstable mixture, the result of the adoption — or imposition — of a foreign religion on a very different ethnic stock. In America’s recurrent moral panics — witch-hunting, abolition, prohibition, wars to end all wars, political correctness, humanitarian intervention, etc. — the Calvinism becomes predominant.

And by Calvinism one ultimately means: Judaism.[14] De Riencourt admits this, but his philo-semitism makes him see this as a feature, not a bug.

Indeed, for de Riencourt, Americans were already practically Jews from the start:[15]

[Puritanism] set the pattern of American life and thought from the very start: an absolute domination of rational man over a nature with which he refuses to enter into communion.

The materialization of [Europe’s] dream was in American Puritan hands and in Puritanism was reborn the temper of the Biblical Jews, with their emphasis on strict morality, the terrible feeling of unbearable tension between God’s will and man’s hopeless inadequacy. To them, beauty was of no importance, sometimes even possessed of diabolic undertones. Purity, simplicity, were the bases of their life. This lack of aesthetic feeling, of taste for culture and for the resulting integration of man’s manifold possibilities and aspirations into a harmonious whole, gave to the Pilgrim Fathers the characteristics of civilized rather than cultured men.

As Reilly puts it, “no matter their confessional affiliation, Americans are like the Biblical Jews: suspicious of beauty, with a characteristic tension between the knowledge of God’s will and Man’s inadequacy.”[16]

But whatever else of value Calvinism may have contributed to the Anglo-American ethnic stock, its Judaic hatred of compromise periodically sabotages the native, high-trust spirit of compromise.[17]

But it gets worse; however unstable and flawed that Puritan strain, it is well on the way to becoming an irrelevant relic swamped by the invited world. Few if any predicted the fall of Communism, so de Riencourt can hardly be taken to task for failing to do so. Nor could anyone imagine Congress would open the door to unlimited immigration in 1965, effectively removing that “filter on the East Coast” and thereby diluting the Anglo-American stock that formed this nation.[18]

But he also fails to realize how a certain, determined immigrant group could short-circuit his predicted the rise of his predicted Caesar by a kind of internal revolution, a pseudomorphosis, as Spengler would say.[19] Thus, for him, FDR and his NRA quasi-dictatorship is a model and a harbinger of the Coming Caesar, rather than, as Yockey called it, “The Revolution of 1932,” a Jewish takeover countering the “Revolution of 1933” in Germany, or a “revolution within the form,” as Garet Garrett called it.

In gentile nations, Diversity will lead to permanent Jewish minority elite power as diversity among gentiles will make it difficult for any united populist-nationalist resistance to Jewish elite power, while the Judaic minority will take its traditional role of mediator and go-between, at the same time eschewing compromise for the Biblical unquestionability of endless webs of regulations (FDR’s New Deal and Brain Trust writ ever larger).

In short, no Caesar for you, White man!

Alt-Right paranoia and bigotry? Hardly. The New York Times proudly announces, “We Are All Jew-ish Now.”[20] As a commenter (anonymous, of course) at unz.com says, explicating the implications of the curious term “Jew-ish”:

The West is de facto a Jewish Supremacist nation where even non-Jews must adopt the Jewish Way and Agenda. If Jews want open borders, ‘gay marriage’, interracism, and etc, they get it and we better go along.

It’s like much of the World was Christ-ian under Western Power. Even non-Christian non-whites had to adhere to the Western-Christian agenda.

When non-Jews must submit to being Jew-ish, it means they are becoming like Palestinians who must live under Jewish power and submit to the Agenda.

After WWII, the world was Americanized. And as Jews came to rule and dominate American Power, to be ‘Americanized’ now means to become ‘Jew-ish’. We are all ‘Palestinians’. Palestinians have no choice but to submit to the Zionist power. Gentiles in the West have no choice but to be Jew-ish.

But perhaps de Riencourt was on to something after all; didn’t Rome eventually bow to the pale Galilean?[21]

8. Arrivederci, Amaury

“What, finally, is the practical application of all this? Can anything be done to halt, or even to hinder, the process I have described? I say to you that something can be done by each one of us here tonight.”[22]

Like all such historical Big Thinkers, de Riencourt vacillates between the pleasure of deducing the future and the human need to have hope. At first, and mostly throughout, de Riencourt sounds the note of determinism:

America was destined to become the expression of Europe’s dream.

Then and there [Jefferson’s extra-constitutional purchase of the Louisiana Territory], America’s destiny became set irrevocably in the twin trends of expansion and growing power of the Executive.

But at the end, he sounds again the note of freedom and choice:

The way [Civilizations] handle these crushing responsibilities is not predetermined. So far, all Civilizations have chosen the easy solution of Caesarism.

Ultimately he strikes another Jorjanian note; as they say on Wall St., this time it’s different:

Man’s technological knowledge makes it possible for him to build heaven one earth or destroy his planet, and his historical knowledge makes it possible, for the first time, to avoid those deadly shoals which every other Civilization has destroyed itself.

Sort of like “standing athwart history and crying “Stop!”[23]

Which is it then? The reader, I suppose, must draw his own conclusions. Perhaps, as “Cagey Beast” suggests, our elite will, and are, overplaying their hand:

At some point, you’d think that Jews would realize their destruction of the West was reaching a point of diminishing returns and maybe even turning negative. But, then again, Jews aren’t known for pulling back when they might be pushing things too far so I’m not holding out hope.[24]

Or, as Jorjani hinted, perhaps the future will, archeo-futuristically, belong once more to the East? As Yan Shen comments on the same article:

This is the one of the key differences between the Chinese or the Japanese versus say white Americans. Despite the Jewish edge in IQ, it’s hard to imagine that Chinese or Japanese would ever put up with the kind of shit that white Americans have let Jews in this country do if hypothetically there was ever a Jewish population in East Asia. How can a relatively small group of people effectively hijack the political and military apparatus of an entire country of over 320 million?

What does it say about the men of a country when they can’t even stand up for their fundamental right to self-determination as a people? Or is this less a country of real men and instead more a country of emasculated eunuchs? Sometimes I wonder . . .

Indeed. Perhaps I’ll move on to de Riencourt’s The Soul of China;[25] in any event, The Coming Caesars in highly recommended as an informed, thought-provoking, and idiosyncratic account of America’s origins and — possible — destinations. Whether or not Caesar arrives depends, as always, on you.

Notes

[1] Zinn, Charles J. (2013) “The Coming Caesars (Book Review),” St. John’s Law Review: Vol. 32: Iss. 2, Article 26. Available here.

[2] “Imperial Presidency is a term used to describe the modern presidency of the United States which became popular in the 1960s and served as the title of a 1973 volume by historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who wrote The Imperial Presidency out of two concerns: that the US presidency was uncontrollable and that it had exceeded the constitutional limits.” Wikipedia, here; see Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr., The Imperial Presidency, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1973).

[3] “And yet most certainly not everything in Breisacher’s remarks was in order; one could easily have refuted him … But a man of tender sensitivities finds disruption unpleasant; he finds it unpleasant to break in on a well-constructed train of thought with his own logical or historical objections culled from memory, and evenf in the anti-intellectual he will honor and respect the intellect.” Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn as Told by a Friend; trans. by John E. Woods (New York: Knopf, 1999), p301-02.

[4] Relayed by ZeroHedge, here.

[5] These artistic antifas must get their history from Star Wars (George Lucas, 1976 – ?).

[6] Zman, comparing Trump to Prince Mishkin, here.

[7] The – Jewish – compilers of the original Official Preppie Handbook went so far as to produce a sequel, True Prep, in which Barack and Michelle were – without irony or self-awareness – inducted into the Preppie Hall of Fame.

[8] “America’s Foreign Policy Valkyries: Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice”; Jacob Heilbrunn, The National Interest, March 21, 2011, online here.

[9] “The Democratic Party and indeed the left as a whole, dodged a huge bullet in November. The party elite is now feminized to the point where it can no longer rely on traditional inertia of the cadre to stop the selection of a woman *for* her sex at any level. Thus if the party is to supply the first female president, it absolutely has to furnish a no-nonsense administrator not given to acting on histrionic impulses or bloodthirsty excitement. Otherwise they will be exposed for what they really are.” Comment at Unz.com, here.

[10] That Trump’s was the first winning Presidential campaign run by a woman, and that a majority of women voted for Trump, continues to stick in the craw of Hillary and others who, deluded by the goodthinking echo-chamber of Dowd et. alia, found the elections results incomprehensible; see Hilary’s blame-everyone else account, absurdly titled What Happened. Felix Fischer notes that “I did a text search on the e-book of “What Happened” by Hillary Clinton. In summary, I think it’s revealing that the strings “islam”, “refugee”, “illegal immigra”, and “jihad” get a total of 0 results. On the other hand “wikileaks” gets 35 results, and “Russia” gets 267 results. It’s almost as if “what happened” was Donald Trump actually addressed the concerns of the American electorate.”

[11] On the other hand, Trump angers the goodthinkers with his “even-handed” response to Charlottesville.

[12] Since compromise is necessary and inevitable, the lib/prog/leftist is left with the necessity of hypocrisy: from New England fortunes built on slavery, to crowdsourcing Antifa demos with iPhones made by Chinese slaves.

[13] “Preliminary results of a Brookings Institution poll surveying US college students’ attitudes toward political speech find that 44% of them don’t believe “hate speech” is protected by the First Amendment. A slim majority—51%—find it perfectly acceptable to start screaming incoherently in order to prevent a crowd from hearing a speaker whose political opinions they dislike. And 19% sees nothing wrong when a “student group opposed to the speaker uses violence to prevent the speaker from speaking.” TakiMag, “The Week that Perished,” September 24, 2017, online here.

[14] Again, note the War on Graven Images.

[15] Though, oddly enough, “Southerners were… far more hospitable to Jews, and the only Jewish members of the United States Senate came from the South… Many Jews fought valiantly in the Confederate army.” Don’t tell that to the Antifa iconoclasts.

[16] Reilly, op. cit. Taking this a step further, de Riencourt would give Jorjani heartburn with this: “The feeling of tight kinship between Jews and Iranians was especially significant. To a very great extent, the Jews borrowed heavily from the Iranians— fact, the influence of the Iranian creeds upon Judaism and Christianity, and then Islam, was so considerable that the whole religious awakening of the East between the Mediterranean and the Indus should be viewed as one single cultural movement, however numerous the superficial variations—a movement that was fundamentally opposed to Classical Culture. In fact, they were all allies in a long struggle against a Classical world whose Civilization they rejected, united in their common effort to build a new world based on the apocalyptic visions of their great prophets—Zoroaster, Moses, Isaiah, Mithra, Mani, and others.

[17] Notice how “conversation” now means “lecture,” and “discussion” among scholars has been replaced with “interrogate”?

[18] Steve Sailer points out that “Boosting immigration is an old trick for a central government to play to keep secessionists from winning. For example, Quebec independence failed narrowly in 1995 due to the immigrant vote. It’s probably not irrelevant that the Spanish government before the catastrophic 2008 crash pursued a policy of encouraging immigration to Spain by Latin Americans, virtually none of whom speak Catalan.” In addition, as commenter Beckow points out, “Almost nothing [central governments] do makes sense with open borders and mass migration. How can there be educational or health policies with open access from outside? Or a normal labor market leading to a normal economy? Or cultural policies? Mass migration with effectively unprotected borders make all central state functions pointless.”

[19] Commenter Wilkey says: “I certainly don’t think Jews “run America,” but even the current domestic and international policies of our government – whether on trade, taxes, immigration, foreign policy, or whatever – are probably closer to those of your average Jew than they are to the average views of any other ethnic group in this country, including founding stock Americans. That’s to say nothing of the policies of the last 4+ presidents, which were generally even more closely aligned with Jewish thinking. The chairman and vice-chairman of the Fed are both Jewish, as is 33% of the Supreme Court. I count 8 Jews in the US Senate. While that’s about 4x their share of the US population it is actually low by recent standards.” See “Max Boot Doesn’t Feel Like an American Anymore, Unz Review, here.

[20] “We Are All Jew-ish Now” by Deborah Baum; Sept. 29, 2017, online here.

[21] At the bottom of the pit of Hell in Dante’s Inferno, Satan has three heads and eternally chews on the three greatest sinners: Judas, Cassius and Brutus.

[22] “With a long, jabbering belch, Dixon got up from the chair where he’d been writing this and did his ape imitation all around the room.” Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim (1953); New York Review Books, 2012.

[23] “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” “Our Mission Statement” in National Review (19 November 1955).

[24] Commenting on another triumphalist New York Times piece, in which Dennis Ross preens himself on the transformation of the State Department into Zionist occupied territory, presented, as per usual, as plucky meritocrats vs. stuffy WASP bigots: “Memories of an Anti-Semitic State Department
by Dennis B. Ross, Sept. 26, 2017.

[25] Coward-McCann, 1958; revised ed. Harper Colophon, 1965; revised and updated, Honeyglen, 1989; Kindle, 2015.

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