When clowns, children, and illusionists take control of something that used to be called a national destiny, we are observing a house built of Play Doh, a castle in the sand where kids play at being architects, a Potemkin village that is nothing but a Hollywood set. This is America today, and by extension, the rest of the Western world. One can play at the venerated games of policy mongering, power moves, fiscal manipulations, and personal ambition for only so long before the iron hand of reality sweeps everything away and leaves a shambles in its stead. For the world is a serious place and can be relied on to deal ruthlessly with self-interested incompetents and cognitive misfits, if not today, tomorrow for sure.
Let’s consider a thought experiment. Let us assume that Joe Biden succumbs to galloping dementia, as seems increasingly likely, and is replaced by Kamala Harris. It is common knowledge that Harris is entirely out of her depth in the office she currently occupies, a fundamentally unserious person devoid of intellectual gravity, common decency, practical concern, and knowledge of the complex geopolitical realm. Then imagine Harris as president trying to face down a fundamentally serious leader like Xi Jinping, who does not operate in a playpen, who daily threatens Taiwan with invasion, whose Belt and Road Initiative is expanding China’s commercial and military influence, and who may be preparing his citizens for war. Can there be any doubt what the sequel would be in a conflict, whether at the level of negotiation, economic reprisal, or armed stand-off, that pits an irresponsible dandiprat against a resolute and no-nonsense realist?
Of course, Kamala Harris is not only a single individual but a representative figure of a nation in decline—a nation preoccupied with internal power games, with unfriending and deplatforming, with political correctness, with critical race theory, with wind and solar, with gender studies and feminist belvedering, with Wokeness, identity politics, and pervasive make-believe (aka fake news). The consequences are real enough, but the source of the malaise is a descent into a psychological region of unstinted triviality and historical irrelevance.
One recalls Corinthians 1:13: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. But in America and the contemporary West, we have not put away childish things. We understand as a child, we think as a child. Xi Jinping has put away childish things. He bans “sissy, effeminate men” from appearing on public television. He publishes tracts reminiscent of Mao’s Little Red Book. Platitudes and romances like identity politics, feminism, climate change, Wokeness and critical race theory, which dominate the mental landscape of the West, have no place in his world. Admittedly, fake news is part of his administrative agenda, but it is an aspect of colonialist strategy, an arm of the military, rather than an ideological folly directed against his domestic adversaries.
The only political figure in America capable of meeting so formidable an enemy on equal terms is Donald Trump, a fundamentally serious antagonist who must be reckoned with and who cannot be played as a fool on the international stage. Biden on the other hand is a compromised dodderer who does not merit consideration. Harris is a cipher whose trademark cackle is no match for an earnest glower. So frivolous and negligible a political functionary as Kamala Harris in her potential role as president of the United States is a harbinger of catastrophe. For geopolitics is not an arena for grown-up children. A nation is not a circus where clowns frolic and cavort to please other children. It is not a stage where magicians play at figments and alternate realities.
Kamala Harris is a sorcerer’s apprentice, an unserious person who needs to be taken seriously for the irreparable harm so juvenile a political aspirant can cause. But she is also emblematic of a country—or at any rate half a country—that has lost all sense of realpolitik, of the harsh and unforgiving nature of the real world that will not long tolerate the ludic fictions of unserious people and professional fantasists blind to historical necessity. They have forgotten the axiom that governs the fate of nations. The only game that’s real is the end-game.