Dear President-Elect Trump,
You have gone on record expressing a presumably laudable desire to “bind the wounds of division” between your supporters and opponents—anti-Trumpers and pro-Trumpers, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, left and right—that have torn the nation apart during and after your electoral campaign. Perhaps this is the kind of political rhetoric deemed necessary in the wake of a hotly contested election in which violent passions have been unleashed. Or perhaps you truly believe that a therapeutic healing of psychic lesions is now called for and is somehow feasible.
In the event that the latter is the case, I suggest this would be a serious mistake on your part. Not every question has an answer and not every problem a solution. That is simply the nature of life or, as some would have it, the condition of fallen man. It is certainly true of the political world and, in particular, of the competing theories of what constitutes the ideal or best possible political state. In modern times in the Western world, the conflict has been between a collectivist, command-economy philosophy held by a managerial elite, whether Marxist, Socialist or Progressivist, and a democratic, free-market dispensation predicated on the franchise and a government responsible to its citizens.
It is fought on both a domestic and international scale, and is a war that will never be resolved. It will continue indefinitely, despite the demonstrably historical fact that the collectivist faction has failed wherever it has imposed its hegemony, creating only misery, destitution and virtual enslavement for the majority over whom it rules. Nevertheless, failure after failure, it will always be with us, for it is a function of the utopian quest inherent in the human soul that inevitably leads to a dystopian finale. Nemesis invariably follows hubris, but hubris is perennial.
Thus I believe it is either naïve or disingenuous—one way or another, an egregious error—to assume that the political fissure between collectivism and individuality, Socialism and classical liberalism, fantasy and reality, can ever be closed. As I wrote elsewhere, “the rift between a part of the nation committed to the values of work, family, and creative expenditure and a part of the nation mired in ignorance, pride, and destructive sentimentality—in effect, between heartland and coast, rural and urban, conservative and left-liberal—is permanent. The attempt to heal the chasm, however laudable, is doomed to fail.”
My sense of realpolitik tells me that, although the “healing” rhetoric may have a prudential value, it remains an intrinsic misconception. By definition, one cannot pacify an implacable foe, and one should not fall into the deceptively alluring trap of believing that social, cultural and political harmony can ultimately prevail on any imaginable level. Your enemies on the left—the media, the academy, the brainwashed student cohort, the entertainment industry, the Democratic Party—and your enemies on the right—the Republican aristocracy, the Muslim sector, the fringe fascists—will not go away. They will work against you indefatigably regardless of your best intentions.
Speaking practically, I strongly advise you to abide faithfully by your “100 days” address at Gettysburg and do everything possible by legislative means to monitor a bone-bred adversary that cannot be defeated but may be contained. As you promised, you must expose corruption and guile, halt the regulatory debauch of the previous administration, indict criminals whose acts are arguably treasonous, pursue those who reject the democratic process, foment violence, and publicly advocate assassination—in other words, you must stay true to the course you have charted. If you really wish, as you have said, to “drain the swamp” and to “begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream,” such is the path you must resolutely tread.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not proposing political suppression, police state tactics, or any sort of totalitarian procedure. I am suggesting legitimate means via the courts, administrative policy and public opinion to root out, not dissent and debate, which should be welcome, but misuse of public funds, media collusion with political parties, electoral fraud, the mobilizing of government agencies against perceived rivals or challengers, and open calls to revolutionary subversion.
Mr. Trump, the time has come to do political and cultural battle, not to propose or settle for a truce with those who endanger the survival of the republic and who are relentless in their enmity. You must be even more relentless in your effort to revisit the Fifth Labor of Hercules and clean the Augean Stables that American politics has become. The opportunity is there. Do not squander it.