The Resilience of Establishment Values: Flourishing in the Face of a ‘Populist Opposition’ Government

Elon Musk, once a heralded figure in electric vehicle technology and space exploration, has reaffirmed his status as the Beltway’s number one opponent in a bold manner. Musk denied Ukrainian request to use Starlink for drone strikes on Sevastopol, leading to media criticism of his actions as he thwarted a potential game-changer in Ukraine’s war with Russia.

The media dogpiled Musk’s handling of X (formerly Twitter) for allowing “Russian propaganda.” Kiev declared that Musk had been complicit in the deaths of innocent Ukrainian civilians. However, Musk stood by his decision, as Ukraine is crucial to Russia as a geographical barrier preventing it from being encircled in continental Europe by NATO.

Aside from the media outrage, Musk has been receiving cheers from conservative Americans who are proud to wave the Stars and Stripes and be a good conservative patriot. They once declared that it was America’s responsibility to democratize the world with bombs, but the argument no longer captivates them. Iraq is under an authoritarian and corrupt state, while Afghanistan fell to the Taliban as ordinary Afghans became fed up with the corruption of American-backed Kabul and preferred peace. These conservative Americans want their money spent on issues that are more pressing, such as seeing their standard of living going away and genuinely well-intentioned relatives dying in failed wars.

Many political elites are advocating for the government to step out of certain matters, such as the Department of Education, the Federal Reserve’s power, and Donald Trump’s indictments in Georgia. The polarization is growing between the political elite and dissidents, with the talk of the town next year likely to be between Trump, Ramaswamy, Kennedy Jr., and possibly DeSantis. However, the chances of a downsize of government power, especially on matters deeply rooted in the Left and Right of the Beltway, are virtually impossible. The political pundits and Beltway are not giving up without a fight, and this signals the nervousness of the Beltway.

The case of Trump’s attempts to pull out of Afghanistan and his staff’s sabotaging of him serves as a grim reminder of the potential consequences of having one’s fate decided by those who could remove them from office through impeachment. States are attempting to remove Trump from the ballot, while Elon Musk is being sued by the Department of Justice for not hiring non-United States citizens.

The Beltway’s complicated relationship with Trump and establishment Senate Republicans means that a unilateral change in foreign or domestic policy that goes outside the acceptable boundaries of interventionism, sound money, and the managerial state will not be accepted. They will only accept something that benefits their ideals, twisting and co-opting the opposition into backing the very same ideas that betray liberty.

The conservative movement is changing its stance, but some proposals are embraced by the Beltway or can be manipulated to serve its plans. Ramaswamy’s love for the Constitution and his proposal to impose a civics test can be interpreted by the Beltway, affecting free speech and sedition. Republicans’ support for “semiconductor independence” means putting more taxpayer money into wasteful economic projects. Kennedy Jr. wants a return of the fairness doctrine for traditional media to curb polarization, but this will be enforced by bureaucrats with protection from establishment lawmakers.

Despite changes in policy orientation, the fundamental point that the government should do more remains, reinforced by the idea that the government is run by incompetent people. The government’s actions are seen as part of rectifying the problem, contrary to libertarian thinking that the government is the source of the problem. Kennedy Jr.’s plan to restore the gold standard is part of a broader plan to establish an alternative form of progressivism, expanding bureaucracy and government interference in the economy. Ramaswamy prioritizes national independence over individuality and freedom of exchange, making international trade more of a foreign policy issue than an economic one.

The new populist movement has inherited the Beltway Left’s influence on government and economy roles. The “national conservatives” or “progressive right” have distorted capitalism to legitimize big government policies under Republican administrations, leading to economic progressivism and a belief that the US needs to replace incompetent leaders with competent ones. This has led to America on the road to serfdom. Elon Musk’s Twitter (now X) has exposed Beltway activities and prevented potential escalation of the war.

Libertarians should recognize Musk for fighting against government encroachment and demonstrating that the fight for liberty can be done more efficiently than betting on 2024. The Beltway Left’s influence on the US continues to shape the future, with the US still on the road to serfdom.

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