Category Archive 'Claremont Review'

02 Feb 2017

Mousey Revealed, Now Working in Trump Administration

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Decius identified as Michael Anton, the figure on the right

Claremont Institute last Fall made a major splash by publishing a revolutionary manifesto by a Trump-supporting intellectual, who struck learned, classical poses while championing Alt-Right demands for a new blend of Populism and Nationalism to replace the Conservative Movement and the politics of Goldwater, Buckley, and Reagan.

This provocative writer chose to be anonymous, appearing in the mode of 18th century polemicists under a Classical pen-name, in his case: Publius Decius Mus, a 4th century B.C. Roman consul who, according to Livy, facing imminent defeat, deliberately sacrificed himself in battle, having first offered up himself and the enemy to the gods of the Underworld and the Earth, thus gaining for Rome the victory.

Several further articles by Decius appeared during the course of the electoral campaign, and word leaked out in Conservative circles that Decius was none other than Tucker Carlson, who needed to be anonymous because he was right on the verge of a major new deal with Fox News. I, like a lot of people, believed those rumors, but we all politely kept our mouths shut, thinking that, despite our disagreements, the author was entitled to his privacy and his career opportunities.

It appears that it was just as well that nobody went public with the Tucker Carlson rumor, because here is Michael Warren, in the Weekly Standard, telling us that Mousey is a completely different guy, a fellow named Michael Anton.

On a late January afternoon, as press secretary Sean Spicer walked into the White House media briefing room, a tall, thin, bespectacled man poked his head in the doorway for a moment before turning around and heading back into the West Wing. Later that week, at another briefing, the man stayed longer, standing in the corner behind the podium, out of view of the array of television cameras.

The reporters peppering Spicer with questions were unlikely to know it, but the wallflower watching over the proceedings happened to be the leading conservative intellectual to argue for the election of Donald Trump. His pseudonymous essays during the campaign sparked more discussion—and disputation—among thinkers on the right than just about anyone else’s. Rush Limbaugh spent hours on his radio show promoting what he hailed as the writer’s “shaming” of the Never Trump conservatives. Leading conservative opponents of Trump, like New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, published critical responses to his most widely read essay. The writer even granted a postelection interview to the New Yorker, on the condition that his real identity not be revealed. The magazine described him as among those trying “to build a governing ideology” around Trump.

Now he’s helping to implement that governing ideology directly. The writer is a senior national-security official in the Trump White House, nearly a decade after serving in a similar role for George W. Bush. His unmasking ends one of the remaining mysteries of last year’s crazy and unpredictable election.

The enigmatic writer’s real name is Michael Anton, and he’s a fast-talking 47-year-old intellectual who, unlike most of his colleagues, can readily quote Roman histories and Renaissance thinkers. But readers knew him throughout 2016 as Publius Decius Mus, first at a now-defunct website called the Journal of American Greatness and later in the online pages of the Claremont Review of Books. As Decius, Anton insisted that electing Trump and implementing Trumpism was the best and only way to stave off American decline—making a cerebral case to make America great again.


Looking up Michael Anton on the Internet proved tricky.

There appeared to be three of them: one Michael Anton wrote articles for Claremont Review under his real name; one Michael Anton (Michael Anton Mansour) attended Auburn, played football there, and then went to Hollywood where he became an actor, writer, and filmmaker; the third Michael Anton is a sort of contemporary Beau Brummel, a style-maker expert on masculine tailoring and haberdashery, who has written a book, The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style under the pen-name Nicholas Antongiavanni.

Michael Anton Number 3 is all over the place on the Internet, pontificating pompously on male clothing. Photos of him, I believe, are up there misidentified as being of the actor-writer-filmmaker Michael Anton Number 2.

My own guess is that Michael Anton Number 1, Alt-Right Trump supporter and Claremont Review’s Decius, is the same as Michael Anton Number 3, the clothes horse. Compare the photo below to the one above.

Mens’ Tailoring Expert Michael Anton

09 Sep 2016

The Great Alt-Right Essay in Claremont Review

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The Alt-Right rejects the conservative intellectual tradition and all serious ideas in favor of Populism, yet at the same time a number of its mouthpieces are prone to strike poses of learned Classicism, using pennames out of Livy like “Publius Decius Mus,” making reference to the strategic deficiencies of Hannibal, and throwing in a bit of Greek (thymos/θῡμός) for purposes of insult.

I’m afraid that trying to pretend to be Victor Davis Hanson, Donald Kagan, or Cato the Elder while trying to peddle a combination of the politics of Pat Buchanan and Millard Fillmore does not really impress anyone.

I am referring, of course, specifically to The Flight 93 Election, the latest grand Trumpkin manifesto, which Claremont Review ought to have been ashamed of publishing.

“Publish Decius Mus,” hereafter referred to as “Mousey,” inevitably commences with the most popular thesis in the Trumpshirt party line: the claim that this particular election is uniquely climactic and apocalyptic. Were Hillary to win, we are given to understand, her re-election is inevitable, the successful passage and implementation of heaven-only-knows-what next jolie cadeau de la Révolution française is inevitable, the Republic is doomed, and the war against the forces of darkness is lost forever.

Mousey’s thesis is, of course, arrant rubbish. Hillary is just another democrat, a democrat not even as leftist as the current 8-year inhabitant of the White House. Hillary isn’t nearly as ideological as Obama, nor is she nearly as slippery and competent as her spouse. Doubtless, were she to be elected, it would be a bad thing, and we could expect a re-play of the first Clinton presidential term. We should expect Hillary to try for One Big Leftwing Thing. If the Republicans in Congress turn back her assault, we again win the mid-term elections, Hillary pulls in her horns, and (blessed) governmental gridlock recurs. Hillary hasn’t got Bill’s gifts and there is no reason at all to assume that she would be a popular president or be likely to win re-election. On the contrary, I think there is an excellent chance that Hillary will screw the pooch, wind up buried in more scandals, and end her term putting the democrat party right behind the 8-ball for a long time to come.

Trump, on the other hand, is an extremely dangerous gamble. What might, or might not, an incredibly spoiled, willful, narcissistic 70-year-old millionaire, who may not be playing with a full deck, do? It is impossible to predict. That is the problem with making a geriatric Caligula president.


Ben Shapiro, at Daily Wire, did a fine job of demolishing Mousey’s nonsense.

What sort of “fundamental” change is Publius looking for, you ask? (“Interesting choice of phrase, that.” — Barack Obama) Not conservatism – that’s failed: “Decentralization and federalism are all well and good, and as a conservative, I endorse them both without reservation. But how are they going to save, or even meaningfully improve, the America that Continetti describes? What can they do against a tidal wave of dysfunction, immorality, and corruption?”

No conservative would actually write this. Decentralization and federalism, combined with a renewed societal focus on virtue implemented at a familial and communal level, are the solution to an encroaching federal government. They are the only solution.

But what is Publius’ solution? Why, Trump, of course! “[Matthew] Continetti trips over a more promising approach when he writes of “stress[ing] the ‘national interest abroad and national solidarity at home’ through foreign-policy retrenchment, ‘support to workers buffeted by globalization,’ and setting ‘tax rates and immigration levels’ to foster social cohesion.’ That sounds a lot like Trumpism,” writes our Roman hero.

So in other words, screw conservatism, let’s get the Big Government corporatist ad hoc blue dog Democrat in here. The guy who donated to Hillary Clinton will surely fix things better than founding ideals ever have.

From there, Publius moves on to blame. Why won’t conservatives just agree with him? Because they must be paid off! “Pecuniary reasons also suggest themselves, but let us foreswear recourse to this explanation until we have disproved all the others…. So what do we have to lose by fighting back? Only our Washington Generals jerseys—and paychecks.” This is the last refuge of the desperate Trump advocate – everyone with whom they disagree has been bribed. The system is rigged. Someone ought to ask Sean Hannity or Laura Ingraham or just how much money they’ve lost backing Trump with the ardently hot passion of a thousand smoldering suns. The answer: not a dime. And they’ve gained ratings and presumably, the massive money that comes along with such ratings. Some of us have actively foregone significant money not to worship at the Trumpian altar. It’s truly incredible how Trump supporters darkly suggest that Jonah Goldberg is somehow getting rich off of opposing Trump but simultaneously say National Review is going bankrupt. Which is it, dolts?

Read the whole thing.

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