In early 2017, the entire Russia collusion narrative was at its peak, and there were arguments that Russia was undermining the United States and United Kingdom. Yet some of us on the right, who refused to completely lose our marbles or give up in the face of incessant irrationality, had to stand up and yell “Stop.”
I also wrote in December last year that the goalposts would be moved as the collusion theory deflated. For all those who remember the early days, immediately after Trump’s election, there was no nuance in public discourse. It was a revolutionary act, to paraphrase Orwell, to think and question any narrative rationally and stoically, and view everything with skepticism.
Questioning conventional wisdom and narrative in times of mass meltdown is considered nothing short of heresy. Perhaps in 20 years’ time, we will look back to this mass hysteria and what caused it, but that is not the issue today. This is far from over, and there needs to be a reckoning.
A Reckoning Needs To Happen
As I said in 2017, Russia is a geostrategic adversary, and undoubtedly interferes in rival powers’ internal affairs, but the evidence suggesting that Russia actively colluded with anyone inside the Trump campaign is nonexistent. Simultaneously, the second theory of Russian interference in the election of 2016, of having any tangible effect on votes that might have had any real effect on the outcome of the election, is also flimsy. There were two logical reasons for this.
Number one, as anyone who studies intelligence operational procedures knows, intelligence services do not simply act that way. In any intel operation, there are usually two goals. One, to create chaos and conflicting narratives, with the help of useful idiots and hyper-emotional public opinion.
Every intel agency does that, including our own, not just with rival powers but often on their own people as well. It’s part and parcel of the business. Disinformation is also a counterintelligence tactic, with willful complicit in national media. Nothing good or bad, just the way it is and will be.
Second, intel agencies do not bet on hunches. There are often careful plans, with short-term tangible results. The idea that Trump was a serious candidate who would be in anywhere near the presidency was laughable before the Republican primaries and even during the campaigning season. No reputable pollsters, members of the media, or people in academia thought Trump would win. No statistical models showed that Trump would be elected.
It is logical to infer that every single agency in the planet was doing the same calculation, and put simply, did not want to bet on a losing horse. Just like Brexit, which was unprecedented and unexpected, the 2016 election went against the combined wishes of the elites of our times. Naturally, there was a reaction.
Delegitimizing Democratic Mandates
What followed was equally unprecedented. It is the irony of our times that the ones responsible for so much division in our society are the ones who tried to delegitimize democratic mandates in both the United Kingdom and the United States because they did not like the outcome. Forget about charlatans like Molly McKew, Malcolm Nance, and Sarah Kendzior hogging television limelight, or the steady surreal set of Twitter blue checkmarks who ritualistically reply to every Trump tweet. Reputed historians like Tim Snyder wrote books peddling a narrative that had no empirical evidence and was not grounded in reality. The overwhelming majority of Western media was frothing at the mouth for two years in what could be charitably described as a systemic and intentional attempt to delegitimize an election.
The bulk of academia, and public intellectuals—the ones who are supposed to be the rational bulwark opposing mob hysteria—were the ones stoking the flames. Charlatan resistance grifters were making money out of legitimately fearful Americans, and all but a handful of journalists were not even questioning the daily unverified leaks pouring out of the bureaucracy but acting as their mouthpiece, all while calling out the skeptical few.
The NeverTrumpers eschewed all traditional conservative principles of restraint and prudence, and instead opted for a scorched-earth warfare. Whatever they may be, the Max Boots, Jennifer Rubins, and Bill Kristols are not ignorant. The only other logical explanations for their conduct can be mischief or malice.
A charitable reading of the Robert Mueller report indicates that the main contention of campaign collusion was unfounded. The charges for the last two years were not if someone from Trump campaign forgot to disclose his or her financial assets, or some procedural skulduggery that was unreported. It was a charge of active, clandestine, collusion with a hostile power—a veritable act of treason.
That is now over. Of course, already the narrative is shifting to another uncharted theory of obstruction. It is a neat cynical trick. Every cry of defense to a false accusation could be counted and showcased as evidence of obstruction. We saw that type of goalpost-moving during the confirmation hearing of Justice Brett Kavanaugh — when charges of sexual assualt were unfounded, the argument shifted to Kavanaugh’s temperament.
There are also arguments about, shockingly, whether Bill Barr is prevaricating in his summary, as Mueller and his people wait quietly without protest, or worse, whether Mueller himself was compromised.
The People Who Did This Need to Face Consequences
Typically a fellow human’s intelligence is not questioned out of common courtesy. Sometimes, however, there is a need. If anyone believes that type of conspiracy theory, after two and a half years of withering obstructionism, he perhaps needs to have his intelligence insulted and shamed.
But this shouldn’t be over. Every time incessant attacks on conservatives are discovered to be unfounded, there are calls for national unity. As if it is a burden on the falsely accused to heal the wounds, not the false accusers.
But that needs to end. Otherwise, there won’t be any balance or sanity restored. Vengeance is the purest form of emotion, according to the ancient Hindu epic of Mahabharata. Of course, it is a transliteration of the ancient Sanskrit word, which doesn’t mean vengeance in the way we know it in modern times, but the philosophy behind it is clear.
Without accountability and punitive deterrence, there is no justice, and without justice, society implodes. From the hate crime hoaxers intending to simply “start a conversation” to the activist media bullying young kids, to academia providing fuel to the fire to sell their books, to the serial celebrity rapist-filled industry sanctimoniously lecturing on public morality, to public intellectuals fueling mass hysteria to bureaucrats trying to undermine a legitimate government—the single constant in all of these is a lack of accountability and pushback.
It is time to ponder the same philosophical question that vexed ancient warriors on North Indian plains 5,000 years ago: How do we restore balance in society and bring about the fear of justice? The answer was that there needs to be a reckoning. A punitive deterrence needs to be established to restore sanity and order.
What started this hysteria was a pre-election federal investigation based on a highly dubious dossier, funded by rival campaigns, with the implicit support of a section of the ideological bureaucracy, supported by legions of celebrities and public intellectuals worried about their declining influence on the broader American populace. There must be a reckoning for all of them.