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Biden/Harris 2024

Biden/Harris 2024
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra / Unsplash
"Without continuity, there is no change."

As most longtime readers know, I have endorsed the Democratic candidate in every election since 2008, except 2016—when, for professional reasons, I was not writing. As a lifetime Democrat—and Foreign Service brat—and grandson of progressive Jewish  activists from Brooklyn, I was using Tom’s of Maine toothpaste in the 80s—and in ‘84, I cried when Mondale lost. It should be little surprise that I ask my readers to follow me in endorsing, once again, President Biden.

Biden/Harris in ‘24! Americans for continuity! Without continuity, there is no change.

The perils of bipartisanship

Alas, I may have been late with my endorsement.

Yesterday, alert as always to the freshest philosophical breezes of the day, the capable Joe Biden and his still more capable staff were—monitoring the Charlie Kirk Show. And alas, I fear my friends at the DNC and on the Biden campaign (I’m sure I have a few readers at both) have grievously misinterpreted my interview with Charlie.

I can barely believe it, but my friends have identified me—and I call on them to at a minimum recognize this error, if not with it the lifetime of Democratic loyalty which, together with my strong progressive agenda, should entitle me to be hired as an actual campaign advisor—as (Allah forgive me for uttering the word) a Trump supporter:

Yes! Yes! Exactly! We have to put the president entirely in charge of the government. With no checks and balances. Absolutely none.

But, I protest, I said this on Charlie Kirk—to Trump supporters. When in Rome…

To my fellow Biden supporters

As a Biden supporter myself, I would say the same, and more, to Biden supporters. I would go on the Young Turks again, and say it to Cenk Uygur.  So let me say it here!

I want to put Joe Biden entirely in charge of the government.

Or Donald Trump. Or whoever else wins the election. With no checks and balances. That’s right.

Think of it as the ultimate in democracy. The more power their representative has, the more power the people have. So electing an absolute king is the ultimate democracy. Isn’t this basic? How is it not basic? I call this a true election—how is that not true?

A monarchical theory of constitutional interpretation

What I am is just a monarchist—a radical monarchist, to be exact.

I believe that the Founders designed the President as a quasi-king who is the CEO of a national startup—a role first fulfilled by the team of Washington and Hamilton, whose roles remind anyone from Silicon Valley of Schmidt and Brin. We can assume that the first version of the product is closest to the intent of the documentation. But—

Since the Founders left the precedence of the branches unspecified, they were aware of Aristotle’s basic principle that no form of government suits all peoples in all times. We see three forms or rather forces of government: monarchy, oligarchy, democracy.

Are we really the same people as (some of) our 18th-century ancestors? Why, anyone who has read anything about them, let alone by them, know they are more alien to us than almost any civilization now on earth—possibly even more alien than, say, Japan.  Maybe we shouldn’t even be using the same form of government?

Why would we assume what worked for them will work for us? How do we know it even did work for them? America did well—because of our unique ideas, or despite them? They work fine in Europe, where they came from. Did Europe need them? Did it flourish before them? How are they working out in the rest of the world? Don’t you think we should be able to answer these kinds of questions without a revolution? Yo: we can. Once again, the Founders got it right—just by not answering the question.

As FDR explained in his First Inaugural, the ambiguity of the Constitution lets the actual shape of the American government suit itself to the people and the times. FDR, after demanding absolute power to fight the Depression—“the powers of a general resisting an enemy invasion”—notes:

Action in this image and to this end is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors. Our Constitution is so simple and practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form.

Preach it, brother! In this spirit, FDR seized power—in this spirit, John Marshall seized power—in this spirit, Lincoln seized power. America has a history after all.

I think whoever wins the election should be put entirely in charge of the government. Depending on what gods you pray to, this is either the ultimate in democracy, or the opposite of democracy. Was FDR the ultimate in democracy, or the opposite of it? Please make sure your historical theories are consistent across time.

When we shift our interpretation of the Constitution from the age of legislative and judicial supremacy—one thinks of Justice Sotomayor’s description of Federal appeals court as “where policy gets made,” back to the executive Hamiltonian structure of the original government it described, we cannot imagine any form of checks and balances.

For most of a century, there has been no check on the powers of the Congress or the Court. The Congress controls the policy, budget, organization and personnel not just of the executive agencies, but even of the White House itself! And an executive order is little more than a tweet.

In such conditions of utter domination, there is no way to reduce these powers to a counterweight on the executive. There is not even any way to subject the Congress to actual democracy! So long as these institutions do not unconditionally submit to the revived executive branch, becoming at most advisory, they remain in reality supreme. We cannot imagine balancing or sharing power between the branches. Once the new regime stabilizes, it will of course need a legislative and a judicial branch—but the sovereignty of the executive will probably have to continue for many decades.

A President who restores the executive branch cannot do so by issuing tweets—or executive orders. He cannot do so by appointing the right people to the executive branch—because he does not have an executive branch. He has a legislative and/or judicial branch (which operates not like an army, by mission, but like a court, by process). He has an administrative branch—the headless corpse of FDR’s New Deal.

A President who is really in charge of the government both can and should use this power not to reform this process-driven administrative branch into a new mission-driven executive branch, but to replace it with a new mission-driven executive branch.

On inauguration day, President Biden will start creating a new, startup-style federal government. He will act not as the CEO, but as the chairman of the board. He will hire a top-tier CEO who will scale up a new executive branch from scratch—whose first job is to take over and shut down the old administrative branch.

He will treat the Congress and Supreme Court as purely advisory for the duration of the emergency. He will hold another election in four years. He will make no other promises. You may not be hearing from him a lot, as he will be doing a lot of work. And if Trump wins, I hope—he will do exactly the same thing. Just as I told Charlie.

The main difference between King Biden and King Trump is that Biden will find it easier to build a new executive branch, because many more people want to work for Biden than Trump. But Biden will find it harder to tear down the old administrative branch, because many more people in it support Biden than Trump.

This is the only way to free the executive, and free American democracy, from its long postwar captivity. It is also the only way to either make America great again, or create change in America, or in fact to make America different in any way from the rotting empire it now is. Or so I believe. Call me crazy—and, I must admit, it is really just me. No one else believes this. I am conspiring with nobody. I wish!

Contrary to your conspiracy theories, dear campaign friends, I actually do not know anyone else who thinks Trump should be put in charge of the government—certainly not, I imagine, Trump himself. I imagine such people exist. But I may be the only one of them who also thinks that Joe Biden should be put in charge of the government.

TLDR: not only am I a monarchist—I am such a monarchist, I will serve any monarch. My reasoning is that any monarch, if he is a good monarch, has to be a monarchist— and therefore can no longer be either a Democrat or a Republican. Nor can he be neither—he has to be both. King Trump will become a liberal, and King Biden will become a conservative. I know you do not believe this, but it is true.

This is not even because of their wisdom. It is because of their weakness. Some may reason that neither Trump nor Biden are suited to be kings. This is true. Just because of their age, they are inherently weak. This is perfect. A weak king will respond to the  natural incentives on him. The natural incentives on any king are inherently good. I know you don’t believe this. Please consider the possibility that history has lied to you.

Joe Biden for CEO

I am super-endorsing Joseph Robinette Biden for President. Most endorsers just want Joe Biden to sit in a chair marked “President”—basically. (Imagine a world in which there was a real “leader of the free world,” but he spent half his time doing photo-ops.) I’m different. I want to put Joe Biden entirely in charge of the government.

I want to put whoever wins the election in charge of the government. I realize that in some eyes, this qualifies me as an “enemy of democracy.” Okay. Either I am crazy here, or everyone else is. And… I’m pretty sure it’s everyone else? I mean… like…

The first reason I want to do this is just because I think every regime should be honest to its subjects. Most people who vote actually think they are deciding who is in charge of the government! I know this seems crazy if you know how it is. But people think it.

We constantly are given language which assumes this amazing distortion. Biden is “in power.” When some agency in the Biden administration does some X, the newspapers write it as: “Biden did X.” One could easily be deluded into thinking the President, in reality of course a thoughtful but deliberate man, had the frantic energy of a Kim Jong Un. Whereas his actual job is to sit in a chair marked “President.”

This is obviously an overstatement. Actually, in between the photo-ops and canned recitations of other peoples’ speeches, the President has a real civil-service job. He is a minor, yet crucial, official of the so-called “Deep State”: the Chief Exception Officer.

A Chief Exception Officer (CEO) is a “CEO” who only does one thing: make decisions. When his staff cannot agree among themselves on some issue of general concern, he makes a decision. Then he proceeds to his next photo-op or Teleprompter “speech.”

This too is an oversimplification, but much closer to the truth. In any case: although the current and probably future job of Joe Biden is to be Chief Exception Officer (as 20th-century custom demands), I believe his real job (or that of whoever wins the election) should be that of Chief Executive Officer (as the Constitution stipulates).

In the next administration, the President should be fully in charge of the government, like a private-sector CEO. At least, he should be in charge of the “executive branch.”

The reason why the Biden-Harris campaign (obviously the President himself, while still acutely interested in the latest developments in political philosophy, does not have time to watch Charlie Kirk—I am sure he could never have made this mistake) became so concerned is that, while power is hard to quantify—

A true Chief Executive Officer of any organization has thousands of times as much power as any kind of “Chief Exception Officer.” Maybe tens of thousands. Way, way, more!

Obviously, most progressives do not want Trump to have this kind of power—thus the tweet. I get it, folks! I really do. And most conservatives do not want Biden to have this kind of power. I get that too!

So everyone finds my ideas crazy. Again this reflects the reality of the situation: everyone else is crazy, and I am sane.

The political science of radical monarchism

As a radical monarchist, I am both progressive and conservative. I know this is weird! As a conservative, you see everything through a conservative lens. As a progressive, you see everything through a progressive lens. Monarchy is no exception.

And every monarch is a monarchist—at least, every competent monarch. Whatever he was before he was the king—as the king, he is the king of both red and blue America. His interest in race wars, class wars, culture wars, etc, is less than zero.

When a man becomes a king or a woman a queen, he or she becomes a different person. This is not due to any magical anointment. It is due to a change in incentives.

If the monarch is subordinate to some other power, he is no monarch at all. True, he may have to run for reelection—but neither Trump nor Biden is eligible. In charge of the country, truly and absolutely in power, a President does not care who got him there.

Never forget that FDR was elected by the Catholic inner city and the Old South—exactly the traditional communities which the Great Society, lineal successor to the New Deal, would beat and scatter into civic nonexistence. FDR was not quite a king. He was king enough to largely ignore the ideas of the traditional Democratic party which got him there. They even had Southerners voting for straight-out hippies for a while—on the principle that “the Democracy” was good enough for Robert E. Lee, etc. And as for the Catholic inner city… how do we remember it? As the nun scenes from Blues Brothers. And that’s as a GenXer…

Once absolute power is absolute, it is liberated from its own selectorate. King Trump no longer has to care about Trump voters. King Biden no longer has to care about the New York Times. The reason one-time elections work better than rolling polls is that a democracy is strongest if it can release its leader from its own support—giving all of its power irreversibly, at least for a limited time, to the leader—not holding on to the power to control the leader. You might as well shoot an arrow with a string attached.

Because the monarch is freed from his supporters, he is also freed from their enemies. When libs imagine King Trump or cons King Biden, they imagine an implacable enemy with the motive, propensity and opportunity to destroy them. This is because they do not understand monarchism.

Once any power triumphs completely, it no longer has any enemies—just as the Allies no longer had any enemies in Japan or Germany in 1946. It was not necessary to abuse the Germans or the Japanese—once defeated, they were no longer enemies. They were our loyal friends and could be allowed to recover and even prosper.

American conservatives think this is their country. They cannot see that this is the only reason they are persecuted by American liberals—whose country it actually is. But a monarch, even a liberal monarch, who is the monarch of everyone in America including conservatives, will have no interest at all in persecuting conservatives.

It will not increase his power at all. He already owns them. And, since they are excellent and useful people, he will even start to like them. Since he is no longer beholden to his original liberal support base—he will start to. Why wouldn’t he? Rather, he will govern them well without caring at all what they want him to do. Obviously, the same is true of King Trump and the liberals. Why wouldn’t it be?

Moreover, President Biden, as Chief Exception Officer, was manacled to the policy preferences of the Deep State—consider the conflict, in the Obama administration, between Ben Rhodes and the Blob. The Obama policy and the State Department “Blob” policy were millimeters apart—yet the administration could not move them.

If the new President Biden is fully in charge of the government, if he is a real CEO, the people who put him there are not in charge of him. The Blob does not control him. In fact, the best way to demonstrate this is to—fire this administrative branch, and build a new executive branch from scratch. If he is a monarchist, he will do this. And if he is not a monarchist—how would he even become a monarch?

(*—Not only is there zero reason to doubt the competence of Joe Biden—but he is surrounded by dozens of capable and experienced senior staffers—and hundreds of brilliant junior staffers. While the President is not young—either President—his most logical approach is to act as Chairman of the Board, supervising a younger and more energetic CEO, chosen from the public or even private sector. Certainly there are capable candidates from both sides. And again, every monarch is a monarchist.)

Theory and practice of national progressivism

But what would CEO Biden do? Again, the proper actions of a true monarch will look progressive through a progressive lens, and conservative through a conservative lens. Let us take a brief look at the public policy of a progressive absolute monarch.

I call this ideology “national progressivism.” Like other progressives, I believe that the mission of a government is to protect and improve a nation: the people and the place.

I differ with globalist progressives in that I feel all government should be entirely local to the area of its sovereignty. This makes me a localist progressive. I favor ending US military and economic support to Israel, to the Ukraine war, and to other corrupt governments and organizations around the world. I believe that every sovereign state should be economically, financially, and politically independent—as in, not dependent. The one exception, of course, is imposing environmental externalities on the planet.

The difference between national and global progressivism is that every government is fully responsible for its own nation, with no crossed wires or conflicts of interest. The late 20th-century system of “development aid”—a direct descendant of the early 20th-century missionary movement—has created weakness and corruption everywhere.

So national progressives want to shut down the American empire and let new strong governments reemerge around the world. For instance, every African country deserves a leader as wise and strong as Paul Kagame. Where America no longer cares who is in power, the weak must fear the strong. Under strong leaders, progress is inevitable. And with its own strong leader, America has no need to fear a world it does not rule.

National progressivism thus concerns itself as exclusively as possible with the health of its nation—the people and the place, the human beings and their situation—the buildings, the technology, and the environment. It does not leave any of these things to the unguided consequences of individual human action. This is pure progressivism.

For example, healthy children need to learn and healthy adults need to work. Since only identical twins are created equal, different children and adults need different kinds of learning and work. Many children today are forced into forms of learning which are completely inappropriate for them; many are denied forms of learning in which they could excel. This is the government’s problem.

But a healthy adult should work in the profession and position they are most suited to—that fits their broadest potential to excel and be fulfilled as a human being. While the American economy does provide this outcome to a few rockstars, CEOs, coders, etc, it is increasingly a tournament economy in which almost everyone loses, and the losers have BS jobs if they have jobs at all—or fall through the cracks and become criminals and/or derelicts. This is the government’s problem.

Humans cannot be reduced to the economic function of production and consumption. We exist in Shakespeare’s limbo, “between ape and angel.” The atheistic 20th century created a remarkably soulless world—full not just of soulless jobs, but soulless places, buildings, even art. Restoring spiritual and aesthetic humanity in a shallow, louche, decadent world is a job that will take generations. This is the government’s problem.

In the end we all have the same enemy: death. In a peaceful world, every human power must still fight death. It is impossible to look at the American medical system, which is still the best in the world, and believe it is translating basic science into the clinic as fast as it can. It was obviously much better at this a hundred years ago. Science must cure disease, eradicate pests, defeat (not invent) pandemics, and extend life—not least, of course, the life of our President, Joe Biden. This is the government’s problem.

The future of the Biden administration

In a world where Biden is our CEO-President, where he is fully in charge of the government and can reasonably expect, like FDR, to rule for life, we can expect the President, always a brave man, to use his own body to demonstrate the new vitality of his new regime. Every year, the President will grow biologically younger! By the 2050s, when he is routinely re-elected with Bukele-tier majorities, he will be this man again:

(Minus the early Norwood, of course. And not only will the President not be balding—no one else will. Rather than another land war in Asia, the new administration will give us—Ozempic, but for Norwood. You heard it here first.)

And the brain is part of the body. While President Biden has aged well, everyone’s brain shrinks with age, till it is no more than a grapefruit floating in spinal wine. Not only will Biden’s Department of Medicine have the technology and the confidence to pack the President’s skull with new neurons—they will even reopen his cranial sutures, so that the head, to guide America into the 22nd century and beyond, can expand far beyond its original size. This bold transhumanism is the only “trans agenda” we need.

The real effective altruism is effective accelerationism. However, the real effective accelerationism is effective monarchism. And if “progressive” is not a synonym for “effective acceleration,” what is it?

Let’s return American progressivism to its roots—the monarchy of FDR. Love the New Deal or hate it—FDR’s regime conquered the planet and created modernity. Now, with a rejuvenated and upgraded President Biden, we will go to the stars! And we haven’t even talked about what the new Vice-President Harris will be capable of…

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