The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Poulos, You Magnificent Bastard!

Posted on | September 15, 2019 | 1 Comment


James Poulos has perhaps forgotten our first email exchange, many years ago, in which I offered him some sage advice, but whether or not he remembers that exchange, he has certainly followed my advice, and has thus risen to become Executive Editor of The American Mind. Poulos has never written anything that the Thought Police could brandish as evidence of his wrongthink, and is indeed on friendly terms with many liberals. Poulos is ideologically opaque, and I think deliberately so, in keeping with my long-ago advice to him, so that his affinities are rather mysterious to all but his most intimate friends.

At any rate, Poulos has weighed in on the French-Ahmari controversy and, in doing so, accomplishes something remarkable: Lending intellectual credibility to the slur “cuck” as used by pro-Trump conservatives against such #NeverTrump types as David French. With a clever title — “Genealogy of Cuckery,” echoing Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals (1887) — Poulos coolly examines whether this psychosexual metaphor represents something true about the pathetic fate of #NeverTrump:

Because there is just no question that the aim of [the Left’s] institutional vanguard is to choke off America’s production of a certain kind of adult male and the architecture of social order that radiates upward from him toward the heights of authority. This project is out in the open and the reams of academic and ideological writing about its details and justifications are widely available.
The metaphor of cuckoldry is selected to the exclusion of all others because nothing else quite as effectively sharpens the charge that your obsession with the details of honor and principle has in fact become fatally abstract: you are being kicked out of your own house by a rival power actively working to take away everything that is yours, your children included. You are becoming the end of your line, forever, in every respect. Yet you won’t even evacuate from your breached defenses before it’s too late. Only the heights of spiritual snobbery can explain such a choice.

You can read the whole thing.

Ace of Spades points out that Poulos took from him the phrase “the shame is part of the kink,” and that is just so brilliant! Like, I’m sure Ace would have preferred a hat-tip, but what’s cool is how Poulos employs Ace’s language (e.g., “muh principles”) as if every Serious Political Intellectual is reading AOSHQ on a daily basis (which they should).

And yet his enemies cannot point to anything in Poulos’s work and say, “A-ha!” He is as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel. And if you have not read his book The Art of Being Free: How Alexis de Tocqueville Can Save Us from Ourselves, you certainly should buy it now.



One Response to “Poulos, You Magnificent Bastard!”

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    September 19th, 2019 @ 9:52 pm

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