Salvo 09.04.2020

What are the Stakes?


This is not a drill.

For some time now, we editors of The American Mind have been writing and speaking a great deal about “the stakes” when discussing the November elections. This shorthand is adapted from the title of a new book by our friend and colleague, Michael Anton, where he argues—and there is no gentle way to put this—that America as you’ve known it is in danger of collapse.

“But,” you may be thinking, “don’t I hear this kind of rhetoric every presidential campaign season?” You could be forgiven for dismissing it as “more of the same.”

That would be a mistake. This is an election like no other. To treat it otherwise would be a grievous and perhaps irreparable misstep. In case any of our readers are still uncertain, we thought we’d let Anton explain, in his own words, just what The Stakes are. If the ruling class and their Marxian revolutionaries currently roving the nation are allowed to regain the White House:

  • “Biden has already promised to amnesty every illegal immigrant currently in the country. According to a 2018 Yale study, that’s at least 22 million people…. If each newly minted American brings over just one relative, that’s another 20 million new immigrants in Biden’s first term alone.”
  • “Such an amnesty, once the Democratic machine got everyone registered to vote, would tip many purple states permanently blue. That’s the whole point. After that, the electoral map would become impossible for Republicans ever to win the presidency again. Which is also the point.”

An imported and impoverished class that will turn all of America into a one-party state like California: those are the stakes.

  • “The ‘un-personing’ of dissenters will mimic what the government of China does through its “social credit system”: ranking people based on their opinions—and wokerati opinion of them—and then granting or limiting access to basic freedoms and services.”

Currently, the ruling classes mostly disenfranchise undesirables through social opprobrium, labeling them “deplorable” and letting their attack dogs in the media do the rest. But in the Obama era, they began to belligerently “weaponize” the federal government, using the IRS and intelligence agencies to thwart their political opponents. If granted control of the White House again, the lesson they will draw from defeating Trump is not only that they will not be held accountable for such tactics, but that such tactics work. They will use government agencies to kneecap their enemies in every conceivable fashion. Those are the stakes.

  • “If you think we have mass surveillance already, just wait. The government and the tech companies already work hand-in-glove, the latter helping the former in exchange for favorable tax, regulatory, and immigration treatment. More of that is coming, and on a bigger scale.”

You will not have anywhere to hide from the surveillance state which already tracks your every keystroke. If the brownshirts have their way, you will find yourself crushed under the sheer weight of personal data collected on you over the years, leveraged for one purpose only: to gain your submission. Those are the stakes.

  • “When the last checks on [collusion between big government and big tech] from the Trump Administration are gone, expect this joint censorship and oppression of dissent to increase by orders of magnitude. The Left finally has found a way around the First Amendment: consolidate all ‘speech’ and public expression onto a handful of private-sector platforms run by oligarchs and staffed by wokerati…. Free speech as we have known it—as our founders insisted was the natural bedrock of political rights, without which self-government is impossible—will not survive coming leftist rule.”

Speech codes of a kind never before seen in America, against which our constitution itself was designed in part to protect: those are the stakes.

  • “The playbook is already being expanded to banking and credit. To be on the wrong side of elite-woke opinion increasingly is to find yourself locked out of the financial system: no bank account, no credit card, no ability to get a loan, or pay a mortgage. Pay cash? The move to a ‘cashless society’—purely to prevent drug lords and Russian spies from laundering money, you understand—will obviate that option right quick.”

Calculated, targeted financial ruination based on your political beliefs that will make COVID-19 lockdowns look like child’s play: those are the stakes.

  • “Isolation, loneliness, desperation, addiction, and suicide all will increase as ostracization condemns heretic after heretic to a sort of internal exile. The most vocally strident among the Left will call the resulting deaths just deserts; the rest will brush them off as perhaps sad, but the direct consequence of bad choices or bad natures. ‘That racist had it coming.’”

Our enemies’ disregard for human life is not limited to the unborn, though it shows itself most hideously in that department. When they really get going, they will happily shrug off any number of outgroup deaths. Those are the stakes.

  • “The fundamental right of self-defense—the bedrock foundation of all our other rights—increasingly is not honored if you’re a member of a disfavored group and your attacker is not.”

Look at the current persecution of Kyle Rittenhouse by both the media and the legal system: if the party of BLM and Antifa has its way, that will be the fate of anyone who dares defend himself or others against lawless violence. Those are the stakes.

  • “Religious persecution necessarily will have to increase because much of what the Left is doing and wants to do directly contradicts the tenets of faith…we shall certainly see more of it, perhaps to the point where traditional Christianity will have to return to the catacombs.”

When John MacArthur’s church, Grace Community, fought Los Angeles County for its right to congregate, the county retaliated by threatening to terminate the lease on the church’s parking lot. This petty, vindictive act of retribution is an example of what will become increasingly open anti-religious persecution on the part of the federal government. Those are the stakes.

  • “the economy will become more techified, more financialized, more concentrated at the coasts, and more unequal. Expect the rich to get a lot richer…. Wages will fall.”

Technologically enforced feudalism and a gutted middle class: those are the stakes.

  • “If present trends continue, the Constitution has no future. Neither its letter nor its spirit will be honored—either in ordinary circumstances or in the breach. Not only will none of the Constitution’s guarantees be upheld nor any of its limits respected, but the document itself will be increasingly denounced as a hateful tool of racist oppression, a relic of a benighted, evil past best left on the ash heap of history. That judgment is already the norm in academia and elite intellectual circles.”

The end of America: those are the stakes. There is nothing implausible about Anton’s vision or extreme about the warnings he issues. We will continue to stress that these are the inevitable consequences if the Marxist radicals currently baying at our doors are allowed to triumph.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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