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More than Damore, Less than Charlottesville

What's the first thing any chess strategist will tell you?  You must hold the center.  There are precious few winning strategies that do not control the center.

A similar principle holds true in politics.  To achieve the goal of a just and well-ordered society, you must have the support of central figures, populations, and institutions.  This is equally true in the most limited system of government (a Monarchy*) and the most totalizing.  Your ideas must be "the middle."  This is of course a fungible concept, hence the notion of an Overton Window .  Deep and lasting social change, like the modern growth of liberal democracy, is a matter of shifting what it means to be "the middle."

The true location of the middle is not easily guessed.  This why James Damore's now-infamous Google Memorandum was able to achieve such astounding support, even within a primary leftist technocratic stronghold like Palo Alto, and even after being attacked by CNN, Vice, Gizmodo, etc. as an "anti-diversity screed."  Damore announced himself in the memo as a classical liberal who believed in diversity/inclusion and wanted to make a place for women in tech.  He came off as a sensible centrist, and his attackers came off as unreasonable, screeching SJWs who wanted him silenced, punished, or even killed.

This is also why the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville was, in many ways, a failure.  Few on the Right would deny the common-sense notion that Southerners should not have their heritage erased, schools and streets renamed, statues pulled down, and the like.  Yet even fewer wish to be associated with Nazism, Neo-Confederacy, domestic terrorism, or (worst of all) journalism.  There is no excuse for right-wing scumbags who went to Charlottesville hoping for violence, death, or selfies with Richard Spencer.  There is also no excuse for centrist scumbags who condemned the Right but "forgot" to condemn AntiFa, #Resistance, and other left-wing agitators who were there for the same reasons.  What is the purpose of these rallies?  Even the largest rallies accomplish very little.  They are the border columns on the chessboard.  To win, you must control the center.

Speaking of the center, it would be easy for those of us who call ourselves "conservatives" or "the Right" to occupy the ground that many young people seem to have seized in the last decade or so; that of Randian or Cato-style libertarianism.  Often mischaracterized as "far-right" or "hyper-conservative" by mainstream liberal media, these disciples of Ron Paul or the Koch Brothers would gladly sacrifice any social issue for abstract notions such as "free trade" or "small government."  And those who do focus on social issues rarely attach any moral importance to them: Damore himself, for example, cares only about maximizing Google's corporate efficiency, though his points could have carried moral weight if he had wanted them to.

I can't speak for all conservatives, but I want more than Damore.  I want a culture where women are encouraged not only to fulfill more "LadyTech" roles, but to have children and raise them in a natural home.  I want a society where education is not just "available to all" or improved through "school choice," but where no educational institution is sub-par, politically indoctrinaire, or hampered by modernism and secularism.  I want a country where borders and national identity have meaning that can't be overridden by that one poem on the Statue of Liberty.  I want a world where every tribe and faction can have pride in itself and its roots, and sometimes fight over whose are best, without global elites telling them to "coexist."

In fact, I want black folks to be fired up and mad about Confederate statues, and I want white folks to be fired up and mad when black folks and their allies try to pull them down.  Maybe one side will educate the other with illuminated discourse; maybe they'll fight.  Either way, it's better than pretending everything is fine when reality is by no means fine.  (This is Thomas Aquinas' important distinction between pax and concordia.)

To bring about this world, we must start fighting for control of the center.  Forget the fringe.  Forget the KKK, forget AntiFa.  Forget InfoWars and the SPLC.  Stop it with these motherfucking marches and rallies.

I'll close with a nice metaphor.  In the Bible, Book of Judges, you have Sampson, the Hebrew Hercules.  He's blinded and imprisoned by his enemies, the Philistines.  Sampson's had enough. and with Divine aid, he's ready to take his revenge.  So what does he do?  He goes right to the center of their temple, with all of them standing around, and he puts his hands on those marble support pillars.  They're the sturdiest and the hardest to move, but it's the only way he can bring down the Cathedral.  "Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood...And Sampson pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it." (Judges 16:30)

*Monarchy is the most limited form of government, since its constituents have only one reason to allow themselves to be ruled by a single family: namely, a belief in a higher moral order.  Any monarchical actions that breach the moral order undermine the authority of the monarch.  This is clearly not true in other forms of government, where breaches of the moral order are commonplace and often augment the authority of the sovereign.

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