[Originally posted, Dec. 30, 2019, to commemorate the close of the decade; significantly expanded, Jan. 5, 2020]
As I write, the decade of the 2010s will be fully in the books within a matter of hours. No better time to reflect on the decade just concluded.
I am not sure I agree with that turn-of-phrase (“no better time”) in this case. Check back in the 2030s or 2040s, or later still, for perhaps significantly better perspectives on what the 2010s ‘meant. There is value in reflection-impressions penned at a particular moment. Time both adds and detracts value in in different ways.
In any case, this post will include broad political reflections on the decade now concluding (Jan. 2010 to Dec. 2019) and I hope to follow it with two more posts — one on blogging reflections for the 2010s, focused on the greater dissident-right political blogosphere, of which this humble website was a peripheral, bit player in the 2010s (especially early-mid decade).
A later post I hope to put up in early January 2020 will have thoughts on the decade about to commence (the 2020s) and the quarter-of-a-century also soon to commence (Jan. 2025 to Dec. 2049). (Update: I have decided to include it here as the final section, Final Thoughts and Looking Ahead.)
On the question, “What did the 2010s mean for us?”
The most concise and useful answer I think I can give here is this was the decade the post-1945 cordon sanitaire in the West, against any form of ethnonationalism and self-advocacy, was (partially) breached. The partial breaching of the cordon sanitaire happened all across the West, but in some places more fully than others.
In no single figure is this more symbolized than mid-late-2010s-era Donald Trump and his MAGA movement, which had distinct ethnonationalist overtones; I will call this Nationalist-MAGA. It was a decade-defining phenomenon for the US that really deserves a longer and fuller retrospective.
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Political Developments in the West in the 2010s
Many would not hesitate to say that Trump was ‘the’ defining feature of the 2010s for the USA and to an extent for the Western world. I would not be so sure. I would also be wary of linking the political energy to one (highly imperfect) man’s name.
As Hail To You was relatively quiet in the second half of the 2010s (especially after spring 2015), the pages here missed out on the Trump phenomenon as it was ongoing. I’ll partially make up for it here, with the benefit of retrospect.
The Nationalist Trump era (Nationalist-MAGA)
— MAGA’s Beginning: We can say now with confidence that Nationalist-MAGA was a phenomenon of “the mid 2010s,” and, it turns out, we can say so more poetically than you might have imagined possible:
MAGA was born about midday, on the middle day, of the middle month, of the sixth year of the decade — June 15, 2015, 11:09am EDT. That was the minute the “They’re Not Sending Their Best” was delivered, the campaign launch speech at Trump Hotel in Manhattan. It was Nationalist-MAGA’s birth moment.
(Like the over-excited Neil Armstrong in his first moments on the Moon, Trump botched the wording, and people thought he was saying in one of his lines “They’re Rapists.” Many assumed he meant, with this line, that all Mexicans are rapists, a line so crude that not even a third-rate television racist super-villain of the worst sort would be assigned to say it. John Derbyshire has astutely shown that in context Trump meant “[They’re Sending] Their Rapists,” a still highly provocative (ambiguous) allegation that Mexico ships off its excess criminal population to the US; “Their Rapists” is much less crude and incendiary that implicitly accusing all Mexicans of being rapists (“They’re Rapists”). As one of the defining lines of the 2010s, the “They’re Not Sending Their Best” speech’s “rapists” line is worth this further, small effort at for-the-record clarification.)
— MAGA’s End: The end of the Nationalist-MAGA era is harder to affix with a satisfactory date than is the beginning, which I think can be be dated down to the very minute (11:09am, June 15, 2015). I would propose two possible candidates for the effective end of Nationalist-MAGA:
–> Candidate-1 for the End of MAGA: mid-2017; by this time, Tweetman began to show he was unwilling or unable to go the Andrew Jackson route on his core campaign promises and seize the initiative, e.g. by ordering the military to the Mexico border; by this time he had begun to show his hard on Israel First foreign policy with the bombing of Syria; many high-info core-supporters wavered;
–> Candidate-2 for the End of MAGA: mid-late 2018; by this time, Tweetman had had two full years of Republican mandate, had elected majorities in both houses of Congress, had himself been elected the most unlikely US president in history. Despite this position of considerably strength, he still allowed things to wobble along with anodyne “Conservative Inc.” and Neocon agendas at the fore, with major policy outsourced to Jared Kushner, a remarkably untalented man (to be charitable).
Realizing that Nationalist-MAGA was in danger; turning against Trump
I saw the writing on the wall by mid-2017. Like many, I didn’t want to give up on Trump and MAGA and reluctantly stuck around. A major blogger-advocate of the Stick With Trump camp was Vox Day, who by now I do believe admits he was wrong to continue to back Trump.
Many have analogized the lingering affection for Trump, the a-little-too-long attachment to Trump, by his core (ethno)nationalist-oriented base, to to a failing romantic relationship. Staying on for sake of the past, realizing it can’t work but entering a state of denial.
I finally gave up on Trump, in full form, by mid-late 2018, by which time I hoped he would not be re-elected; it took me at least 12 months of wavering.
Summary of the arc of mid-2010s Nationalist-MAGA, the political centerpoint of the decade
Nationalist-MAGA, around the figurehead of Donald Trump, as a movement and as a real political force, therefore lasted between two and three years (June 2015 to sometime between Q2 2017 and Q4 2018); up to 3.5 years at very longest.
I would assign a final coup de grace to any lingering Nationalist-MAGA to the date Feb. 14, 2019, when Trump failed yet again to include any border funding for the rest of the year and signed off immigration policy to his enemies in the Democratic Party. (Ironically, there is a real possibility that Hillary Clinton would have gotten more border funding than Trump did, would have had a stricter border policy than what Tweetman waved through.)Ideological core-supporters were all gone by late 2018. A notable landmark being Donald Trump’s “unfollowing” of Ann Coulter on Twitter on or about Dec. 19, 2018, after months of steady criticism. This act was a symbol of the end, and if we want to date the real end for academic purposes, the act of unfollowing Coulter means the real end had come earlier, maybe six to twelve months earlier.
Mid-2010s’ Nationalist-MAGA’s late-2010s replacement
MAGA was replaced by ca.2018 with an ersatz, con-man’s version of the same; subsumed on one front by an aggressive Israel First foreign policy which was directed by the chief rabbis of the Neoconservative academia-think-tank ecosystem; domestically, MAGA was subsumed into watered-down rhetoric, internal feuding and a clown-parade of flip-flopping, tweeting, and handing off core policymaking to bozo family members (and in-laws) like Kushner; a Reality TV presidency.
The immediate impressions back in mid-late June 2015, by some (including me, at least until Aug. 2015), of “Trump as the celebrity/con-artist candidate” proved correct.
Even so, the power of the movement at its height cannot be denied. I was a Nationalist-MAGA-era Trump supporter (Aug. 2015 to ca. end of 2017; lingering sympathy through Nov. 2018 with the reality-TV-drama like Kavanaugh affair and midterm elections; I should have known better). Core America remains so, but mainly because most people don’t pay much attention.
Say what you will (and I have said some very critical things above), but Let the improbable success of the Trump/MAGA movement be recorded forever as the will of 2010s-era White-Christian America to survive, to remain the inheritors of the civilization we created.
Yes, as for the 2010s, a defining theme was the pushback against the US “regime” (i.e., permanent power-apparatus, including what we call “the media”) ethnopolitical hostility against its own core population (the system this ‘regime’ manages I once dubbed the “Multicultacracy) is worth recording and worth the many retrospective words I’ve spent on it. The shock-troops of the Multicultacracy were out in force in 2017, though again organized from above:
It was bound to happen. The ethnocultural question was finally raised from a White-Christian perspective, if only heavily implicitly; in the US. The very effective cordon-sanitaire in place for half century preceding June 2015 campaign announcement was breached, by Trump; all efforts to stop him failed.
Retrospective Thoughts on the Origins of Nationalist-MAGA political energy.
Nationalist-MAGA was partly a reaction against the early-2010s, Obama-era, media-directed campaign to do all possible to promote nonwhite grievance against White-Christian Middle America (often via the proxy of the police), a phenomenon recorded in these pages in the 2011–2015 period. The second act of that drama was Nationalist-MAGA.
The specific names and places associated with the early-2010s racial-political campaign to demonize White-Christian Middle America are hardly worth recording here or anywhere; as big as they were in passing at the time, they matter not at all to history, and in my view deserve naught but a perfunctory, single-sentence summary.
The revived racial movement in the Obama era (see: “A Shabby End to a Mega-Project”: The USA’s 2014 Race Riots and the B.H. Obama Legacy, Nov. 2014), from the vantage of late-year 2019, seems largely forgotten, given the larger and more important backlash it partly inspired.
But there is also a risk of leaning too far on this “Backlash against the Left” explanation. There are two more things to round out the analysis, I think: One is Backlash against the Right, by which I mean the 2000s-era US mainstream Right, which is best defined by this four-word slogan coined ironically by Steve Sailer:
The third origin was “Trump’s luck,” as many have noted; simply the finding, and picking up, the million-dollar-bill on the sidewalk. Trump’s businessman’s instinct to play to a totally unserved market won him the presidency. In other words, many had waited for a campaign like this for decades.
In “Who Lost California” (Nov. 2019), I proposed that 1990s-era California politics was defined by a white populist-nationalist movement that ultimately lost because of a high-low-tag-team of the weight of foreigners’ numbers, and a hostile elite, against it; had the same movement emerged in the 1970s or 1980s, California could have perhaps been saved. The 1990s were, in retrospect, already too late for California. No one filled the market demand for the same in the 1980s; in the 2010s, Trump filled the same totally-unserved (“cordon-sanitaire’d”) market on a national-scale.
The mid-late 2010s might even have been too late for an in-system, national-level solution. But that’s another question. The point is, the ideological-political, or “ethnopolitical,” origins of Nationalist-MAGA are clear, and I think this analysis will stand the test of time. Check back in 2025 and 2030.
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I believe the general political trend(s) all across the West thematically align with the US case, expressed differently but all following, to one degree or another, the same trajectory.
A few thoughts on the 2010s in certain other Western countries:
The election and re-election of Justin Trudeau in the 2010s shows that Canada is, in relative terms, worse off than the US.
The good news is, it might all be over soon and better things may be on the horizon. By 2019, there is significant reason to believe the breakup of Canada is imminent, in historical terms (timescale), with major first steps likely to come as early as the 2020s. There are definite and distinct ethnocultural overtones.
The breakup of Canada may augur the breakup of the United States in some form in the second quarter (or third quarter) of this century.
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The defining event of the second half of the decade for central and western Europe was definitely the Merkel Migrant Crisis of 2015–16. All subsequent developments in Western Europe followed from that. The rise of “populist” right-wing political parties largely follows from this.
Perhaps the most notable of the new, right-wing, (soft-)ethnonationalist political parties in Europe, certainly in terms of the symbolism, is the AfD, Germany’s first breakthrough outside the cordon-sanitaire, first real ethnonationalist-oriented party of national scale since 1945. Its rise is entirely thanks to the Merkel Migrant Crisis.
Some might ask, What is this cordon sanitaire I keep referring to. Here is a very overt example of it in the wild: The state-funded ZDF German public broadcaster has been running a 60-second “The More You Know”-style infomercial (see screenshots) regularly since late Oct. 2019:
You don’t have to read German to understand what is going on there. The public service announcement’s purpose is to explain why everyone hates the AfD. Bizarre, but true; not a parody. Many compared it to the kind of thing communist states would have on their state TV. The apparatus that enforces a political cordon sanitaire in the West is seldom so blunt and obvious about it; the very fact that this shockingly anti-democratic public service announcement aired regularly in 2019 is a sign that it had already partially been breached.
In the spirit of asking general questions, future generations might also ask “What was the Merkel Migrant Crisis?” In simplest terms, it was the invitation of millions of Muslims into Europe and the demand that White-Christians “integreate” with them; up to 1.5 million were resettled in Germany by unilateral decree, later revealed to be from Merkel and Merkel alone without consultation of any of her minsters; a huge one-time demographic hit, akin to loss of a war. Symbolic of the political sickness in Europe.
(The votes are in and it’s not close: The Villain of the Decade goes to…Angela Merkel.)
Every cloud has a silver lining. The AfD now has seats in every state house in the Bundesrepublik, and a 13% share of Bundestag seats. This is a huge difference with the opening of the decade, at which time a lone SPD voice-in-the-wilderness, Thilo Sarazzin, sounding a lonely alarm. His book was a best-seller but its thesis (that Germany was in the process of “abolishing” itself, its leaders managing the slow process thereof) was, predictably, ritually condemned.
By the end of the decade, the AfD was a permanent fixture in German politics and is the largest political force in the ex-communist Länder. This is, objectively speaking, great progress.
In the days Germany Abolishes Itself was a new book on the scene and the talk of the town in 2010, I had some contact with Germans on their own domestic dissident Right (people, therefore, taking much more of a risk in so doing than an American generally does). I recall they were glad that a mainstream figure like Sarrazin had published such a book. They were glad for table crumbs. Now they actually have a shot at the head of the table at mealtime, real power. It could happen in the 2020s. Merkel will soon retire, discredited forever with a mark of shame on her name.
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Elections in many other countries would show much the same pattern as in Germany, and in many countries with significantly larger vote totals than the AfD gets in the ex-West Germany. Marine Le Pen in France in 2017 (34% of the vote) deserves a special mention.
Brexit certainly follows from the Migrant Crisis, as well.
Another thing that defined the political arc of Western Europe in the 2010s was what is referred to, effectively in euphemism, with the term “Terrorism,” but in fact more honestly labeled a low-intensity Islamic insurgency, many manifestations of which are not in high-profile “terror acts” at all; I would hazard to guess that 99% of acts associated with this insurgency in Europe do not make the news at all. This pre-dates the Merkel Muslim migrant disaster and will presumably continue into the 2020s and well beyond; I have no further thoughts on it for now, because it is part of the general ethnopolitical problem in Europe.
As for the earlier 2010s in Europe, the general trend was the notable weakening of the European Union project following its 2000s-era peak. The early-2010s were marked by pessimism related to the debt crises, especially the Greek case, and the related Euro (currency) crisis. There are ways that these, too, fed into the mid-late 2010s Merkel migrant disaster and ethnopolitical revivalist efforts that followed from it.
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Other Europe (outside Cold War-era core NATO bloc)
The Ukraine war was one of those low-probability events that would have dismissed as wild talk if predicted at the start of the decade in early 2010, but was a reality by late 2013 and early 2014, with the shooting beginning in spring 2014. For almost five years now, it has been a frozen conflict of the kind one doesn’t like to fester around.
The Ukraine conflict could be a ‘prototype’ for future conflicts, in other parts of Europe, in the 2020s and 2030s, though in many countries there would presumably be an Islamic angle.
In the Balkans, the US continued its 1990s-to-present project of propping up its dependency-statelet of Kosovo, an Islamic state in Europe. The Kosovo dependency is a weird, low-profile project you’d expect Nationalist-MAGA Trump to have made real moves to end, if that Trump had stuck around.
Other developments in Europe that might be seen more significant thirty years from now are the advance of China and China’s closening of ties with various states in Europe.
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Australia and New Zealand
My impression is these two countries resemble Canada in being worse off than the US and Western Europe, subject to the same historical forces but lacking the population base (or right-wing ‘reservoir’) and political traditions to hold back the tide, with local ethnonationalist forces relatively weak and subject to rather intense suppression from above for whatever reason.
The scale of Chinese presence/inflow into Australia is apparently over 10x that in/into US in relative terms, and there are plenty of Chinese in the US. We do see some real opposition on the China question specifically: The ‘regime’ in Australia, by the late 2010s, appears quite hostile to China. The center-right won in Australia in 2019, and its voters probably expect some kind of vague action on ethnonationalist grounds, but will not get it.
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The defining, and/or most surprising, political changes of the 2010s in the West
In a Dec. 2019 comment at Steve Sailer’s blog, I wrote:
Now that we are at the end of this decade…it’s worth asking: What would someone at the very start of the decade we have just lived through, say on Jan. 1st 2010, have dismissed as crankery and fringe-crackpottery if predicted at the time, but which has today become accepted commonplace?
The Trans Movement — in concrete form, that men would force their way into the women’s bathrooms and humiliate the restaurant staff for bigtory, to cheers and accolades of CNN and the gang — is one such case.
This was in reference to the case of Charlotte (born Charles) Clymer, who performed said heroic deed (storming the women’s bathroom) in a high-end Washington DC restaurant in 2018, but it applies to the Trans movement generally.
For a ‘Trans movement’ to have been promoted by the regime media here in the US, daily and steadily, is exactly the kind of thing that would have been dismissed as a crazy conspiracy theory if a slippery slope argument was made by someone in Jan. 2010.
A word on the Trans movement in the 2010s: I believe the Trans movement as we understand it dates to 2013; it picked up the baton from the Gay movement (triumphant by late 2013, with only some mopping-up operations left to do by ca. late 2013). We can date the Gay movement to about 2003–2015. If following a similar timeline, the Trans movement may still have a few years left in it, but 2019–2020 will be about peak, if not perhaps even already past it. Something new, therefore, is coming in the early 2020s, or mid 2020s at latest. it will be directed, as before, from above.
Another defining feature of the 2010s in the USA might be said to be the top-down promotion of Black Lives Matter and other groups, but this was not unexpected given the Obama presidency. BLM, for all its destructiveness, for all its poisonous anti-white tinge, was an extra-parliamentary opposition. (The Jussie Smollett case of early 2019 was a mingling of the early-2010s-era BLM and Gay movements with late-2010s Trump Derangement Syndrome.)
By the end of the 2010s, a kind of partial successor to aggreassive nonwhite identity-politics was with us in the form of several Third World left-wing radicals in the halls of Congress: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar being the most prominent. That such a cartoonishly alien and hostile figure like Ilhan Omar would be elected to the US Congress by Nov. 2018 would have likely been dismissed by the average observer as of 2010; proposing such would get one called a wacko conspiracy-theory-type. Yet here she is.
One surprise stands out above all the rest.
But [as for surprises of the 2010s,] nothing can top “Donald Trump runs for president as a nationalist and immigration-restrictionist, whose central campaign promise is to deport illegals and build a wall across the border — and wins.”
The “nationalist Trump era,” which I argue above we can date from June 2015 to either mid-2017 or mid-late 2018, depending on your inclination, was unexpected. It was great to live through those 2.5 years of unexpected good feelings, an apparently deus-ex-machina revival-type feeling for a while. It would have even been as impressive had Trump only inserted the immigration issue and nothing else (which is kind of what has occurred).
The actual victories of 2016, in the primaries and in the general election, were as if announcing to a child that Christmas week had been extended for a further few weeks, and maybe more, depending — no end in sight to Christmas season. But there was an end in sight, and by 2018 and 2019, the dream was certainly over. Trump himself has been mediocre and has failed on all of his key platform items.
In June 2019, on the fourth anniversary of the Trump campaign announcement (“coming down the escalator,” as that surreal moment is often referred to), I located the following from an Unz Review commenter named John Jeremiah Smith. He said the following on June 19, 2015, a little less than 72 hours after the “not sending their best” campaign-launch speech:
Trump’s flaw is that he showboats — over-the-top showboating. Extreme expressions of egotistical self-promotion. While all politicians indulge in that behavior, Trump takes it too far.
Why vote for Trump to achieve “all of the above”? Pick any non-mainstream candidate — same difference.
The political process is directed and controlled by the rich. The US government is corrupt, right down to the last little local congress-critter.
As I wrote at the time (June 2019),
John Jeremiah Smith, wherever you are: You got it right. Most of the rest of us fell for it (sooner or later); some even still seem to believe in Trump — or, as I like to call him now, “Blumpf,” (or some equally ugly-sounding variant). But it’s over. The skeptics and cynics were right about Blormpf.
That this choice of three one-word highlights of the US political arc in the 2010s are “Black Lives Matter, Trannies, and Trump” (which actually works sequentially, roughly) point to the fact that there is an approved script, and an approved trajectory, one managed by what we can call the ‘regime.’ Trump was a small rupture in the political-space-time continuum, which is what inspired the bizarre phenomenon of Trump Derangement Syndrome. It’s too bad that the most honest campaign slogan for Trump 2020 would be:
All Talk, No Results
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Countervailing trends for the White-Christian West in the 21st century Q1 into Q2: Political (up) vs. General (down)
As for the original question of whether our (Western Man’s; White-Christians’) relative position is better at the end of 2019 than it was at the beginning of 2010.
Reviewing the events of the decade, I believe the general answer is that things are BETTER in the political sense, in that real opposition is stronger, energized, organized, galvanized by events of the decade (most notably the Merkel Migrant disaster; the various ethnonationalist-influenced political movements and Nationalist-MAGA, while it lasted [r.i.p.]), but worse in a general sense (demographics; the ongoing program of cultural and ethnopolitical dispossession managed by a hostile, increasingly alien elite continuing to make progress).
Any declines can be reversed. There remains more time than some alarmists would have us believe. We have decades to work with.
The 2020s and 2030s in the West may continue what the 2010s began in earnest, a rising White-Christian ethnopolitical revivalism against the opposite trend of general decline and the accelerating demographic problem, the latter managed by a hostile elite class which has self-conscious ethnocultural-political identity separate from the core population. This is and will remain the conflict of our time, manifested in all kinds of ways.
Midcentury approaches. If, between 2020 and 2050, things continue on the arc they had been on between 1990 and 2020, it will be time to really worry, it’ll be time to hope for divine intervention, deus ex machina.
Indicators, 2020s and 2030s
I think an important indicator on this will be the relative status of historical guilt narratives. The relative strength or weakness of the campaign to indoctrinate on how uniquely bad White-Christians via the overwhelming Hollywood evidence from this-or-that era of history. Anyone with any real experience in the West will know the “go-to” narratives I mean. There are more than one, but all are really of the same type with different flavors. The narratives tend to be impressive-looking, impregnable, towering, glistening structures, to which all people kowtow:
Certain narratives are built on weak, sandy foundations, sometimes using shoddy material. They can weaken, or fall.
As for this “strengthening or weakening of certain historical narratives as indicator” proposal, there are two ways to look at it: Overall historical-narrative power (visible, theoretically trackable), vs. number of core-population dissidents (harder to track). I specify the dissidents have to be of the core-population, persons of White-Christian origin, and not Ilhan Omars or the like.
The Rise of the Dissident Elite
For the emergence and success of a post-USA White-Christian ethnocultural movement, and a parallel ethnopolitical movement, an intellectual core is needed. This might be termed a Dissident Elite.
The White-Christian ethnopolitical movements across the West in the 2010s did have an intellectual basis (contrary to the condescending portrayals by regime media); a Dissident Elite did begin to emerge. The intellectual core of a Dissident Elite is a lonely one, entirely locked out of prestige institutions and which must withstand, like Luther in the 1510s and 1520s, the entire weight of a hostile system with universalist pretensions.
(I am not the first to notice that the 2010s-era ethnocultural-political dissident movement(s) in the White-Christian West were/are a form of fulfillment of Sam Francis‘ prophecy about the rise of the Middle America Radicals or M.A.R.’s; historians will inevitably conclude that these forces had been brewing for decades.)
I would, therefore, propose the relative position of the Dissident Elite as another important signpost, along with the relative weakness of the historical narratives aforementioned. The Dissident Elite are men both willing and able to provide a real ethnopolitical alternative, both philosophically (intellectually) and practically, and not just trolls, not just agitators (as important as those may be in certain situations).
The dissident blogging scene of the early 2010s, as perhaps inevitably ephemeral as it was, collectively constituted something like a diffuse, Dissident Elite think tank (or network thereof) of the best sort.
One thing that largely took the place of dissident political bloggers was, alongside the serious rise of and institutionalization of social media in the 2010s, “trolls” and skilled-polemicist agitators. It is not, needless to say, these figures that I mean.
One of the most impressive stand-alone Dissident Elite intellectuals to emerge in the 2010s was Curt Doolittle (Quora; Twitter; now banned on Facebook) and associated figures around his Propertarian movement.
Doolittle is a self-made millionaire, philosopher, political theorist, founding president of a right-wing think-tank, and advocate of a doctrine he has popularized called Propertarianism (institute website). Propertarianism is a form of pro-European libertarianism, roughly in the tradition of Hans-Hermann Hoppe.
While there are other figures of a similarly morally-serious sort to have emerged or been notable in the 2010s, Doolittle stands out as an intellectual revolutionary of the best sort.
Curt Doolittle is exactly the kind of figure to watch for. May the 2020s be even better for him, and may there be many other Curt Doolittles to come.
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