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The Bell Tolls For Ye
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The Bell Tolls For Ye

The long half-life of Trumpism.

Kanye West, aka Ye. (Photo by MEGA/GC Images.)


This has been one of the longest stretches I’ve gone in years without writing a G-File (“If you include ‘writing a good G-File,’ it’s more like decades.’”—The Couch).

So, to get back in the groove, let’s start with some extended barrel-scraping.  

Dinesh D’Souza floated a doozy of a “just asking questions” theory a few days ago: 

Now, I tend to ignore Dinesh because his transformation into a full-time professional troll makes me sad. Unlike a lot of his compadres, he’s actually a very smart guy, which makes so much of what he does so much more indefensible. But I thought this astoundingly stupid and paranoid trial balloon was kind of funny. Just a couple days earlier, Elon Musk announced that he was going to issue a general amnesty to all sorts of banned Twitter accounts.

The god in the machine.

I should note that Musk has given himself a buffer of deniability that it was his decision. He runs Twitter polls asking what he should do and then, when the predictable results emerge, he defers to the will of the people and proclaims, “Vox Populi, Vox Dei!” This Latin phrase is usually translated as “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”

This is an old proverb. It’s also a very stupid proverb, theologically, if you ask me. God is not bound by the opinions of the masses, and he’s certainly not bound by the “votes” of Twitter users who want to readmit legions of fecal-posters, bigots, cranks, and trolls to their feeds. Indeed, as far as I can tell, there’s no support for this idea in Christian, Jewish, or Muslim doctrine (though I’m sincerely interested in a contrary view). If it were remotely true, then when Moses returned with God’s commandments—which were not written with input from polls—he should have turned around and asked God for a rewrite. “We gotta get some of that Golden Calf stuff in there, boss. It really plays with my focus group.” And God would have to comply. It’s out of his hands, after all—the people have spoken!

(This reminds me of one of my dad’s biggest complaints about the first and third Indiana Jones movies. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s vital to keep the Ark of the Covenant from falling into Nazi hands. In The Last Crusade, the goal is to keep the Nazis from imbibing from the Holy Grail. Implicit in both premises is the idea that God Himself would have no choice but to allow his power to be used by Nazis. I can’t help but think it doesn’t actually work this way.) 

One of the earliest written references to “Vox Populi, Vox Dei!” comes from Alcuin of York, a scholar and spiritual adviser to Charlemagne. “Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, vox populi, vox dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.” Translation: “And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.” It seems to me Alcuin was on to something.

One last problem: Since according to his own logic, Musk is a servant of the people and must do what they say, he’s actually proclaiming himself God in this scenario. But contrary to what you may have read on Twitter, Musk isn’t a god, and bowing to the mob like a digital Pontius Pilate doesn’t make him one.

Do it for—or with!—the children.

But let’s get back to Dinesh’s evidence-free theory that many of the people freaking out about Musk’s management of Twitter aren’t freaking out for the reasons they claim (as stupid as some of those reasons may be), but because they’re pissed that pedophiles are being deplatformed. I think this is grotesquely cynical pandering to the conspiratorial moral panic about “groomers” and the QAnon cult’s belief that the deep state is run by predatory pedophiles and blood-drinkers.

But what makes it kind of funny is that one of the only public figures of the last few years to actually celebrate the homosexual grooming of underage boys is Milo Yiannopoulos.

Let the record show that when he was just a joyous defender of the neo-Nazi alt-right jugendbund, Milo was a very popular figure on parts of the right. (I had all manner of “serious” people tell me that I just didn’t understand how vital Milo was to the cause.) As I noted at the time, Matt Schlapp was very excited to invite Yiannopoulos to deliver a keynote speech at CPAC. Simon & Schuster was also happy to publish his book, when he was merely a defender of antisemites.

But then videos surfaced of Milo talking about how grateful he was to be groomed by older men and how plenty of 13-year-olds are old enough to consent to sex. He spoke fondly of the fondling he enjoyed in his own affair with a 29-year-old priest when he was 17. He’d also attacked people who later complained about being molested as “whinging selfish brats.” The CPAC gig and the book deal were hastily canceled. People like to say CPAC has lost all of its standards, but this episode proves that’s not true. There are at least two things that will get you banned by CPAC: celebrating man-boy love and criticizing Donald Trump. Hey, say what you will—it’s an ethos.

Since then, the self-proclaimed “dangerous faggot” has been trying to rehabilitate himself. He declared that he is now a “recovering homosexualist” and an “ex-gay.” “The guy I live with has been demoted to housemate, which hasn’t been easy for either of us,” Yiannopoulos said of the man he married. “It helps that I can still just about afford to keep him in Givenchy and a new Porsche every year. Could be worse for him, I guess.”

Family values for the win!

It takes a certain kind of moron to take Milo at his word, and the good news is he found one in Marjorie Taylor Greene, who in June hired him as a 37-year-old intern. “So I have an intern that was raped by a priest as a young teen, was gay, has offended everyone at some point, turned his life back to Jesus and Church, and changed his life. Great story!” Greene announced.

Greene, let us recall, floated the idea that the Rothschilds used their space-based lasers to start some wildfires for fun and profit. This is actually pretty tame compared to some other ideas Greene has toyed with. She once expressed sympathy for “Frazzledrip,” the conspiracy theory that Anthony Weiner’s laptop contained video evidence that Hillary Clinton tortured a little girl as part of a Satanic ritual. According to this theory, Hillary and Huma Abedin cut the girl’s face off while she was still alive and wore it like a mask in order to terrify the girl and thus flood her blood with a youth-restoring hormone called adrenochrome. Oh, and Hillary had a bunch of New York City cops murdered to prevent the evidence from going public.

Greene has been plodding the path of redemption. Yesterday, she denounced Nick Fuentes (more on him in a moment) after Kevin McCarthy falsely claimed she already had. 

The “of course” seems like a bit of a stretch given that she spoke at Fuentes’ Groyper confab in … February.

Regardless, Milo was obviously the intern for her.

But sadly, it couldn’t last. Milo is a man of destiny, he’s the first to tell you. He burst back into the news—after forays in hawking Virgin Mary statues on the Church Militant’s shopping channel—as an adviser to the artist formerly known as Kanye West.

It was, according to reports, Milo’s idea to bring Fuentes, the alt-right’s incel boy king (and transgender porn aficionado), to break bread with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Milo told NBC News:

I wanted to show Trump the kind of talent that he’s missing out on by allowing his terrible handlers to dictate who he can and can’t hang out with. I also wanted to send a message to Trump that he has systematically repeatedly neglected, ignored, abused the people who love him the most, the people who put him in office, and that kind of behavior comes back to bite you in the end.

So let’s let this sink in. Trump meets with “Ye”—where is that eye-roll emoji?—who has been on an untreated bipolar antisemitic tear for weeks now, as well as a prominent neo-Nazi and Yiannopoulos himself, who was once the biggest defender of this coprophagic phylum. And the point of it all was to demonstrate to Trump that he was ignoring a vast pool of talent that couldn’t get past his incompetent handlers. It’s like a three-dimensional zen koan—the best proof of his handlers’ incompetence is the fact that they let these spiritually deformed remora meet with him in the first place. 

As for the larger controversies of this dinner, I don’t have much to add to Nick Catoggio’s assessment. But it’s worth noting that this is one of the countless examples of the best defenses of Trump still being damning. When he absconded with classified documents, (some of) the explanations—I just declassified all of this vital information because I wanted it!—made him look ridiculous. (If you declassify highly sensitive information, it doesn’t make the information suddenly worthless.) And the same is true for the latest debacle. So fine, Trump had no idea who Fuentes was. That’s possible. But he knew who Ye is and why he’s suddenly so controversial. It’s not like meeting with a guy who vowed to go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE” (whatever the hell that is) would have been fine if the guy had brought Scott Baio.

Besides, at this point, it doesn’t matter what Trump knew then. He knows now, and he still hasn’t repudiated Fuentes. Hell, Trump has publicly denounced me infinitely more times by name than he has Fuentes (it’s only been a few times, but all increases from zero are infinite). It’s no exaggeration to say that Trump thinks there’s room in his party for the likes of (Ye)annopolous and Fuentes but not for Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney.

I have no grand analytical points to make here. Rather, I’d just prefer to gloat. In 2015 and 2016, I earned the wrath and scorn of countless conservatives who insisted that there was little to no downside to Trump’s candidacy for the GOP or conservatism. “Can’t you see, Jonah, he’s bringing fresh energy and ‘new ideas’ to conservatism!” When alt-right trolls hurled antisemitic crap at me and horrendous bigotry at David French and his adopted daughter, the attitude of many was “just ignore it,” or “don’t make such a big deal,” or “the GOP needs to be a big tent,” or “the important thing is to beat Hillary,” or simply embarrassed, awkward silence.

Whatever happens with Trump, the GOP is stuck with the consequences of that attitude. Kevin McCarthy needs Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene because he’s helped whittle down the party to such an extent that he thinks he can’t afford to lose them—and he’s probably right. We were at a fork in the road seven years ago, and it was obvious—to some of us—that the path the right was going down would ultimately lead to a dead end.

The good news is a lot of people are realizing that they need to turn back and find the right path. But a significant number of people can’t go back. The Dineshes can’t barf up their red pills, because the pills have been metabolized.  The challenge is that even for those who want to turn back, they’ll still have to lug all of this fetid baggage with them.

Jonah Goldberg is editor-in-chief and co-founder of The Dispatch, based in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, enormous lizards roamed the Earth. More immediately prior to that, Jonah spent two decades at National Review, where he was a senior editor, among other things. He is also a bestselling author, longtime columnist for the Los Angeles Times, commentator for CNN, and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. When he is not writing the G-File or hosting The Remnant podcast, he finds real joy in family time, attending to his dogs and cat, and blaming Steve Hayes for various things.