Americans in the Heartland are finally fighting back. And in so doing playing into the hands of those who have from the inception of his presidency portrayed the populist movement as a fascistic counterrevolution against democracy. It is an other-fulfilling prophecy: an internecine struggle of political direction is spreading. Chaos is burgeoning. Newsweek prepares its readers with the headline: “GOP Civil War, Inspired by Trump, Grips Georgia, Threatens Other States.” But, really, Newsweek, and the establishment media have been preparing its audience for civil war for years.
As part of the project, The Atlantic stands reality on its head. It is fitting that Edward Steinfeld, author of Playing Our Game: Why China’s Rise Doesn’t Threaten the West, a propagandist for the managed decline of the American republic, would be the one to flip the dialectic. Steinfeld’s article “Mao’s Lesson for Trump’s America,” subtitled “Beware of leaders willing to set their own country on fire,” uses the pretense of analogy to invert the truth of what actually threatens American democracy. Steinfeld’s self-delusions appears authentic. And it is breathtaking.
Steinfeld writes, “In the United States now, I witness things that I never thought I would live to see at home, but that feel ominously reminiscent of the Chinese experience. I see a national leader defiantly rejecting the most fundamental and time-honored of governance institutions, while refusing even to entertain a peaceful transition of power. I see a national leader and much of the public trafficking in wild conspiracy theories about the country’s public institutions, and openly contemplating resolutions through violence and vigilante action. I see various societal leaders, including President Donald Trump, stoking the fires of intra-societal resentment and hatred. And I see the opportunists and abettors reveling in their transgressions of norms, embracing the chaos, and relishing their own moment in the sun. Oh, how tantalizing it is to play with fire and risk burning down the house.”
Remove the name of President Donald Trump and Steinfeld has near-perfectly captured the character of the campaign to portray America as an illegitimate nation, a country hopelessly compromised by systemic racism, its majority stubbornly resisting redemption to preserve the white supremacy that privileges them. The Reckoning proceeds through violence and vigilante action while stoking the fires of intra-societal resentment and hatred. Its opportunists and abettors revel in the transgressions of norms. Embracing the chaos, they relish their moment in the sun. They play with fire at the risk of burning down the house. Indeed, this is what they seek—house burning down.
Trumpism cannot be an analogy for Mao Zedong thought. To claim otherwise is absurd on its face. Trumpism is about preserving the nation-state and democratic-republicanism, as well as the Westphalian system. Trumpism is self-consciously populist and proletarian. Mao Zedong thought—and the modern Chinese Communist Party—is about explicit dismantling democratic-republicanism and civil libertarianism, the foundation of the American republic, and replacing it with bureaucratic collectivism (effectively state monopoly capitalism). The Third Worldism of Mao Zedong thought seeks to dismantle the Westphalian system to clear the path for a neo-feudalist order run by administrators and bureaucrats. Mao Zedong thought is about regressing the world proletariat into tribal serfdom.
The neo-Maoists confuse class consciousness, disrupting class struggle with the fracturing ideology of identity, as illustrated by critical race theory, which seeks to upend the foundation of Western jurisprudence and negate the principles of individual equality and personal sovereignty. The New Left is not merely un-American. It is anti-American. It is anti-Western. Steinfeld does not believe China’s rise threaten the West. Neither does the media-proclaimed President-Elect. “They’re not bad folks, folks.” But Chinese imperialism does threaten the West. It always has. China is more than an economic powerhouse; it is an ideological agenda unfolding: socialism with Chinese characteristics. And it dovetails with with the ambitions of transnational corporate power under late capitalism.
It’s not Trump fomenting Cultural Revolution. The leaders willing to set their own country on fire are in the Democratic Party. The fire is prepared by progressive academics and activists who encourage America’s youth to “reject the most fundamental and time-honored of governance institutions.” It is an obvious fact that they have set the country alight with their “wokeness.” We are being subjected to a color revolution. It’s not just an American problem, either. Europe is burning, too. And the agents of that chaos dance to the same tune. They mean to dance on the grave of the West. This is Mao’s dream come true.
Are Trump supporters out in the streets assaulting police officers and citizens, burning buildings and cars, looting stores, toppling statues and defacing monuments, marching into restaurants demanding patrons raise their fists and proclaim loyalty to the ambitions of some members of a particular racial group? Are Trump supporters demanding employees of corporations and universities participate in struggle sessions requiring them to adopt a view of history that makes all white people guilty of racism? Are conservative students attacking speakers on college campuses and mobbing professors and deans with slogans and epithets? It is not the administrative state and establishment media that manufacture conspiracies about “white terror” over against what we can see with our own eyes?
Know this coming. Expect it. The establishment media will portray the resistance of ordinary Americans, citizens finally fed up with the trashing of the country they love, tired of being constant gaslighted over race and gender, exposing the color revolution, as the “white terror.” Because they will defend their country, they will be the reactionaries. They are conservative and traditionalist by definition. Because their country is racist, they will be declared racist just for defending her, just as they are racists just for demanding secure borders and the rule of law.
Steinfeld writes of China during the Cultural Revolution, “Workplaces, neighborhoods, and even entire cities descended into internecine warfare as faction battled faction, colleague raged against colleague, student pummeled student, and, in many cases, family member turned on family member.” How deeply does a man have to be indoctrinated to write these words and not see immediately that they apply not to the orange object of his fever dream but to those with whom he fellow-travels?
And this “if, God forbid, the social pressures deepen enough for violence to erupt on the streets, thus providing Trump an opportunity to declare an insurrection.” Violence has already erupted on our streets. Left-wing rebels have already declared an insurrection. The question is: are we allowed to resist this?
“Through it all, Mao wallowed in narcissism, delighting in the chaos he had willed upon the nation,” Steinfeld writes. “As violence began to spread at the very start of this period, the chairman famously rhapsodized in a letter to his wife, ‘There is great disorder under heaven—the situation is excellent.’ Five months later, on the evening of his birthday in December 1966, he would raise a toast: ‘To the unfolding of nationwide all-round civil war!’ In retrospect, Mao’s adoration of chaos, and his indifference to the carnage wrought by it, should have come as no surprise.”
If only there were life after death, Mao could revel in his legacy, as those who move in the spirit of his thought aim to destroy the greatest democratic republic in world history. While members of its paid intelligentsia applaud.