That’s an observation Vance — now the Republican candidate for senator from Ohio — makes in a Vanity Fair article on relationships between him, his backer Peter Thiel and neoreactionary Curtis Yarvin. At one point Vance suggests Trump should just fire everyone in federal government and replace them with loyalists; if the courts say that’s not legal, he should ask how they plan to enforce that. From the article:
I’d asked Vance to tell me, on the record, what he’d like liberal Americans who thought that what he was proposing was a fascist takeover of America to understand.
He spoke earnestly. “I think the cultural world you operate in is incredibly biased,” he said—against his movement and “the leaders of it, like me in particular.”
Well, yes, I am biased. I think dictatorship is bad. Vance clearly doesn’t, and Yarvin’s been advocating for it for years. Like many conservatives Yarvin despises democracy, believing in “unconditional personal authority, subject to some responsibility mechanism.” He does not specify the mechanism; he seems much more interested in the power. Reading about him I get the impression he genuinely dislikes the idea of government that has to answer to the people; much better the people shut up and obey their superiors. Who will, of course, be predominantly white and male, and totally include him.
This is not a new thought, of course: Justice Rehnquist of the Supreme Court once wrote about how monarchy worked better than democracy because the plebes just shut up and obeyed the king instead of thinking they should have a say in running things. That said, a couple of things leapt out at me reading the article. As LGM says, it reads like another example of would-be revolutionaries/dictators convinced they’re edgy and cool and saying the unsayable.
In reality they’re cliches, the revolutionaries dreaming that once they sweep the old order away they’ll build as close to utopia as possible. They’re little different from the radical left of the 1960s, the French revolution, the Cuban revolution and so on. In the words of Stephen Vincent Benet they’re out “to make perfect states, in the names of the perfect states.” And it will work just as badly as it always does. Outside of the American revolution, very few have avoided sinking into a struggle for power.
But at least some of those revolutions started out aspiring to build a better world for all. I doubt Vance, Thiel, Yarvin, etc. do (see here); when the rich and powerful start discussing how the rich and powerful could run America so much better if they didn’t have to follow stupid laws and listen to their inferiors, they’re at best lying to themselves, and certainly lying to us. Here’s Vance, for example, lying through his teeth.
The other thing is a comment Vance makes, that if he gets his fascist state (oops, there I go being biased again) “it will mean that my son grows up in a world where his masculinity—his support of his family and his community, his love of his community—is more important than whether it works for fucking McKinsey.” (I believe McKinsey is a consulting firm,). So how exactly is the current system preventing Vance Jr. from supporting his family and community? Is it that he can’t find a woman who’ll let him be the boss? Or that his wife wants to work and there’s no way for junior to stop her?
Yeah, I’m cynical, but I’ve heard too many right-wingers who think women’s equality is castrating men. Or that prosecuting rape is an attack on men. And Vance is lickspittle to Peter Thiel, a billionaire misogynist who thinks women getting the vote is bad (a very common right-wing view) and that date rape is just buyer’s remorse (again, not new). So I’m disinclined to give Vance the benefit of the doubt.
I go into the cliches Vance and Thiel spout in more detail in Undead Sexist Cliches, available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers. Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holder.