Afghanistan and Some Thoughts About our Elites

Much has been written lately about the Fall of Kabul, not only by myself but others as well.  Many have postulated that this was a watershed moment in our country’s history.  Mark Steyn called it a “Suez Moment”. 

Those of us who subscribe to this thesis believe that we are seeing the collapse of the Wilsonian narrative, the Puritan ideal that America is special and has been called by God to carry the torch of liberty to other lands.  Hopefully this spells the end of foreign military adventurism.  (I’m kind of worried about domestic military intervention though.  The MIC will have to find something to justify its bloated existence.)  

Much has been written about the impotence of our military so I won’t dwell on that for the time being.  Today, I wish to concentrate my firepower instead on our intellectual elite, our “betters” who make up the Deep State.  (By this, I don’t mean just the intelligence services but all of the organs that make up popular culture as well as the lobbying firms and academia.)  I do this mainly because the military answers to the civilian class and it is in the latter that we find the gross stupidity and devotion to unreality that makes us martially incompetent.  

What’s worse, the warrior elite knows this.  Unfortunately –and this is where it gets really bad–they can’t do anything about it.  Biden’s National Security Advisor was in Brazil lecturing President Bolsanaro on “election fraud” days before Kabul fell.  (I guess it could have been worse, he could have been lecturing him on gender equity.)  As for the desk jockeys at the Pentagon, God only knows what they were doing.  Probably attending mandatory diversity training. 

Having said that, I can’t help but see the parallels to late Roman antiquity.  If I had to guess, I’d say that if we were Rome, we’d somewhere ca AD 400.  Whether we face our very own Chalons down the road  (where the Romans fought Attila the Hun to an inconclusive standstill in 451) or not, is unknowable at this point.  Regardless, Rome had been so hollowed out economically, militarily, and culturally, that it only lasted another 25 years in the West, dying not with a bang but a whimper.    

To be perfectly honest, my head continues to spin from the sheer volume of essays and editorials that have proliferated like ants at a picnic since the events of the past several days.  I would like to direct your attention to one such essay by Rod Dreher, entitled “The Fall of Imperial America”. I highly recommend your read it for yourself but I’d like to pull a few passages out for your perusal:

“This is what happens when you have an elite that is wholly secular, and incapable of thinking outside that narrow box.  Why did they tap Ghani as president [of Afghanistan]?  Because he was the most secularized, technocratic Afghan politician –somebody American experts could understand, but also somebody incapable of inspiring loyalty among Afghanis.”

The question that leaps to my mind is why would our foreign policy elites look to someone like Ghani?  To which Dreher answers:

“I want to you to recall something I’ve written about in this space before. It’s what a European friend told me was the upshot of his time doing graduate studies a couple of years ago at Harvard.  He said it was shocking to him to see how so many students asked professors not to talk about issues and topics that triggered their anxiety —and how professor yielded to these crazy requests (emphasis added).  My friend said that this happened in class after class.  It scandalized him.  He said that not one of his fellow students doubted that they were destined to enter into the elite class of leadership.  It shook him up.  He said that his country depends on a strong USA, but he could tell that the next generation of leadership elites are going to be even more fragile and wrongheaded than the current one.”

Dreher’s foreign friend describes nothing less than a gilded ghetto, a nursery for immature adults who having been coddled all their lives by upper-class parents; quite literally, people that cannot abide by the dictates of reality.  As adults, they imbibed the lessons of their childhood soccer leagues, when, at the end of the season, they were all awarded trophies for merely showing up.

This is a cohort that shrieks in horror at the thought of being called a “racist” (or bigot, sexist, homophobe, etc.) and will do whatever it can to avoid hearing that awful epithet being hurled at them.  Unfortunately, being largely unremarkable in and of themselves, they augment their perceived virtue by being critical of all that they think is wrong with our country.  And that includes an ever-growing list of “triggering” events and/or ideas.  They are the secular devotees of a modern mystery religion, initiates who have attained a secular gnosis that alerts them to ideas that they find abhorent.  

Others are even more caustic.  Kurt Schlichter, a retired lieutenant colonel, has repeatedly called the American Establishment our “garbage elite”.  He’s not wrong.  After all, what would you call an oligarchy (I cannot call them an “aristocracy” because the root word comes from arete, which is ancient Greek for “virtue”) that despises the men whom they send to fight unwinnable wars and who come back, maimed or in body bags? 

Our top soldier, Mark Milley, clearly doesn’t care about the men under him.  After all, he said he wants to learn more about “white rage” and (lo and behold!) the American armed forces are made up mainly of white men.  He proudly claims to have read Marx and Lenin.  I humbly ask him this:  has he read Sun Tzu or von Clausewitz?  B H Liddell-Hart or War as I Knew It? by Patton?

And lest we forget, “rage”, or more accurately righteous anger –what the ancient Greeks called thymos–is necessary in battle.  Now would be a good time to  reintroduce Homer into the reading list at West Point, as well as the other books mentioned above.  That probably won’t happen though, because they’re all dead, white males.  (Except Sun-Tzu, but then again, being Asian, he’s “white adjacent”.) 

More can be said about the failure of our leadership class, our garbage elite, what I choose to call our kakistocracy, a government of the most wicked, short-sighted and greedy men, who derive their power by catering to the vilest aspects of society.  Seriously, if what we are told is true, that the Taliban made a deal with us to evacuate Kabul in an orderly manner and we refused to take them up on it, then our leaders are either wicker or stupid.  And I honestly don’t know which is worse.  (I still can’t wrap my head around the desertion of Bagram AFB in the middle of the night.) 

In any event, I’m glad that the parents of those dead Marines who greeted their sons’ bodies at Dover AFB spat (for all intents and purposes) in Biden’s face.   Any commander-in-chief who constantly looks at his watch while the bodies of dead servicemen are being unloaded is beneath contempt.  Unfortunately, I cannot imagine any of the other Democrats who ran in the primaries doing anything else either. 

More will be said in due time.  Mainly because the well ot incompetence is bottomless.  Instead, I would like to end this short essay by drawing attention to the photo below:  

This photo was taken on the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the American Civil War.  It show veterans from both sides of that conflict shaking hands.  (Union blue is on the left, Confederate gray is on the right.)  Because our military had not been as debased as ours is at present, and because the political elite at that time had pride in their Christian civilization (and all that that entailed), they were able to heal the wounds of that horrible conflict.  This is not “toxic masculinity”, but manliness at its finest.  And because they were men, they could at least appreciate the martial valor of their former enemies. 

I fear that we may never see their likes again.   


About GShep


  1. Chris Banescu says

    “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” ~ C.S. Lewis

    Men Without Chests, Men Without Honor, Threaten Civilization

  2. That picture is from a video that was taken. In it is possibly the only recording of the rebel yell. It is as creepy as can be.

    If you’re ever in St Louis, I strongly recommend you visit the Missouri Civil War Museum. Unless you’re from Kansas, because we don’t tolerate jayhawkers here.

  3. George Michalopulos says

    Outstanding! Thank you for that post from Lewis.

    On a more prosaic level, we have overproduced elites who are in fact mediocrities. Being mediocre, men like Milley and Sullivan (the National Security Advisor) rise to the second-highest levels of hierarchy mainly do for two reasons:

    1. We need these places to be filled, and
    2. They are incapable of rising further and thus being a threat to those in the highest levels.

    This means that we are probably ripe for revolution because of the overabundance of credentialed morons who are fighting for the few remaining spaces in the hierarchy. Think of Robespierre or Lenin. Since the System could not absorb them by giving them a mid-level sinecure, they found a critical mass of others as ambitious as they to overthrow the System.

  4. I don’t want to wander too far out into left field, but the idea has occurred to me that the federal government is in the process of collapsing. There is really no one identifiable at the helm of the executive branch. Congress is obsessed with federalizing election stealing and mandating its own members mask themselves. The Supreme Court punted the election cases and just refused to issue an injunction blocking Texas’ new anti-abortion law, thus precipitating another round of court packing hysteria.

    The whole thing is quite dysfunctional and bespeaks of the possibility of devolution. I’m not sure what form it might take, but we can recall the example of how the Soviet Union dissolved.

    • George Michalopulos says

      That is a very perceptive analysis, Misha.

      If I may add a few points which I think are also germane to what you wrote. Namely that due to the overabundance of credentialism, there is a surplus of people who expect –even demand–a station higher than what they are entitled to. We’ve seen this with lawyers for example. Their abundance has created a surfeit of litigation, others have swelled the ranks of the various NGOs which have agitated for “reforms” in this, that or the other thing, thereby destabilizing society.

      Mind you, I don’t mean that as an insult (as you are a lawyer); this has also plagued my profession. The surfeit of pharmacies is driven in part by Big Pharma, which demands an ever-growing share of drugs for the general population. Basically, before the 1950s, medicine was concentrated on treating acute problems. After that point in time, medical care was expanded to include chronic conditions. Some were made up.

      For example, around the late 1990s, doctors were encouraged to add questions about pain as the fifth “vital sign” that they were to ask each and every patient. On a scale of one to 10, doctors asked patients to describe where they were on that continuum. Many who were suffering from only minor aches and pains, replied that they were at a six, those at a five said that they were at an eight. Hence opioids were over-prescribed and before you knew it, Walgreens went from 3,000 stores nationwide to 8,000 in 10 years. Same with CVS (8,000 stores nationwide). In other words, a supply was created to take care of a previously “neglected” but nevertheless artificially created demand.*

      Fortune 500 companies likewise grew to absorb the surplus of MBAs. And as a result, colleges were expanded to “meet” the demand for credentialed employees.

      All of this was financed by the Federal government which guaranteed student loans to cover the cost of tuition, which likewise expanded because of the Federal subsidies. In other words, a bubble.

      Unfortunately, all bubbles burst. We can only kick the can further down the road only so far.

      *It didn’t help when Purdue-Frederick sent out thousands of drug reps (mostly attractive young ladies) to ensure doctors and pharmacists that their new analgesic (Oxycontin) was not addictive.

  5. George,

    It will be interesting if the government shuts down again soon. That is entirely possible. While I do not think that such a shutdown would result directly in the devolution in question, it would certainly inspire the thought in conservative circles. No one needs to secede if the federal government runs aground. That which is left is sovereign states. We sometimes forget that we have a system of dual sovereignty. The sovereignty of the states does not depend on that of the federal government. In fact, rightly understood, it is just the opposite (see the 10th Amendment).

    Bottom line is that it’s a circus and a critical mass of powerful people could make most anything happen when there is such weakness at the top.

  6. Mark E. Fisus says

    Gen. Milley’s point in mentioning Marx, Lenin, and Mao is that one can read something without believing in it. He was responding to a question, if I recall correctly, about West Point cadets reading critical race theory. Surely we should share his confidence in the intellectual capacity of cadets to be able to entertain a thought without believing it.

    I agree that Pres. Biden’s checking his watch was appalling. Leaving your watch behind when attending the funeral is kind of basic, sorry to say. But I’ll take that gaffe over Pres. Trump’s calling Americans who died in war “losers” and “suckers.”

    • Gail Sheppard says

      How you can believe that tired, old story about Trump calling Americans who died in war “losers” and “suckers” because of some of “our people with firsthand knowledge” (The Atlantic), “a former senior administration official” (The Guardian), and “a person familiar with the discussion” (The Guardian) said so?

      These aren’t sources!!!

      Frankly, this sounds a lot like what Nancy Pelosi described as a “wrap up smear”: “It’s a diversionary tactic,” she starts. “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, you demonize and then — the ‘wrap-up smear.’ You wanna talk politics? We call it the ‘wrap-up smear.’” “You smear somebody with falsehoods and all the rest,” Pelosi detailed, “and then you merchandise it. And then you (gesturing to the media) write it, and then they say, ‘See, it’s reported in the press that this, this, this, and this.’ So they have that validation that the press reported the smear, and then it’s called the ‘wrap-up smear.’” “And now I’m going to merchandise the press’s report on the smear that we made,” she repeated. “It’s a tactic. And it’s self-evident.”

      By the way, don’t bother to Google this because you won’t find it. They think they should be able to decide what you see, as well.

      Unless you can name the “former senior administration official” and the “person familiar with the discussion,” etc. it is pretty stupid to emphatically repeat something these anonymous (read fictitious) people said as if it was a universal truth.

      The best thing that came out of 2020 is getting the blinders pulled off. It stung but it was necessary. We now see the mainstream media for what it is, and just like the NFL, MBA, etc., they’re hitting the skids.

      We don’t want to pay to see athletes express their political positions by taking the knee and as much as this nation loves sports, we can live without it.

      We also don’t like being lied to by the mainstream media and we’re leaving them behind, as well.

      Whatever you do, don’t listen to those crazy people on social media! “This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”

    • The nice thing about Joe is that you don’t need phony anonymous sources to smear him. He’s a walking train wreck that the left is saddled with for the indefinite future.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mark, Gail has responded to the calumny about Trump saying that about fallen soldiers. Even John Bolton, his traitorous NSA said that Trump said no such thing.

      I am more interested in your assessment of Milley’s reading assignments.

      First of all, I am in agreement with you about what he has read. I believe a well-read man must be at least knowledgeable about important literary works. However, let us play a thought game here: what would have been the response had Milley said “I have also read Mein Kampf” or, David Irving’s book on the Holocaust?

      I think you know what the response would have been.

      The very fact that our elites think nothing of the literary canon of Mao, Marx or Lenin proves my point. (And lest we forget, both Hitler and Mussolini were proud Socialists.)

      Just sayin’.

  7. Pakistan, Turkey, Jordan participate
    in U.S.-NATO war games in Ukraine

    ‘ The three nations, centered on two-thirds of the Baku Declaration/Three Brothers military axis of Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Turkey, also participated in the unprecedentedly large U.S.-NATO Sea Breeze 2021 war games in Ukraine and the Black Sea in July.

    Ukrainian-American exercise ‘Rapid Trident – 2021’ starts at Yavoriv military training center

    According to the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine on Monday, the opening ceremony was attended by representatives of the Command of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the East Operational Command, representatives of the U.S. Armed Forces and partner countries.


    The exercises are attended by servicemen from 15 countries, including Ukraine, the U.S., Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Lithuania, Moldova, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

    In addition, the personnel of the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade will take part in the Rapid Trident – 2021 exercise. The military exercises will last from September 20 to October 1, 2021. About 6,000 servicemen will take part in them. ‘

    It’s Bring Back the Turk Time…