A great thinker, a gifted writer, a grievous loss.
Codevilla, the historian of spycraft and powerful analyst of American political and social trends, has died. It is difficult for many commentators to see beyond the current news cycle. But Codevilla, because he could see America as it is presently, could also see into the future. Here in National Review in 2009, he predicted a populist-type figure, one that could unite the “Country Party,” could eventually come to lead the Republicans.
Far be it from me to suggest that Sarah Palin should be or is likely to be our next president. She has not shown the excellence of cognition or of judgment that would recommend her ahead of other possible candidates, nor does her path to the presidency look easy.
But as the nation celebrates the anniversary of the revolution of 1776, every presidential hopeful should realize that in the next election Sarah Palin — or someone like her — could be the vehicle for another revolution. The distinctions between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, are being overshadowed by that between what we might call the “Court party” — made up of the well-connected, the people who feel represented by mainstream politicians who argue over how many trillions should be spent on reforming American society, who see themselves as potters of the great American clay — and the “Country party” — the many more who are tired of being treated as clay.
Read the whole thing.
The excerpt and included link (not transcribed here, natch) is from/to NRO, so use your own discretion concerning Ed’s closing advice.
I must say, I’m taken a bit aback at how little reportage I’m seeing out there on what I consider to be a quite momentous event. I dunno, maybe it’s just me and my sadly lacking search-engine manipulation skills. The only further information I’ve run across so far is this:
He was walking when he was struck by a drunk driver. He died of his injuries at the hospital.
Codevilla had just recovered from covid. And then a drunk driver killed him.
That’s from Ace, and is pretty thin on the details. Perhaps we’ll see more of the story soon.
In any event, Codevilla was certainly one of the bona fide giants, no two ways about it. Everyone here will surely know of his best-known flash of inspiration and insight: the seminal 2010 American Spectator article wherein he postulated the division of the FUSA into the Ruling Class and the Country Class. It’s long and in-depth, but this ‘graph provides a pretty fair summation:
The ruling class’s appetite for deference, power, and perks grows. The country class disrespects its rulers, wants to curtail their power and reduce their perks. The ruling class wears on its sleeve the view that the rest of Americans are racist, greedy, and above all stupid. The country class is ever more convinced that our rulers are corrupt, malevolent, and inept. The rulers want the ruled to shut up and obey. The ruled want self-governance. The clash between the two is about which side’s vision of itself and of the other is right and which is wrong. Because each side — especially the ruling class — embodies its views on the issues, concessions by one side to another on any issue tend to discredit that side’s view of itself. One side or the other will prevail. The clash is as sure and momentous as its outcome is unpredictable.
No better proof of the 20-20 acuity of Codevilla’s political vision is likely to be found than that one paragraph, moreso when you consider how it’s even more relevant and apt today than it was back then. Bill expresses the severity of our loss best:
This is an absolute tragedy. Give the garbage refugees from various progressive and liberal fascist dumpster fires masquerading as high intellects, we can ill afford to lose the man who was, in my opinion, the leading American public intellectual.
His work has guided my thinking since his pieces on the awful way GWB was (not) waging war in the Middle East (No Victory, No Peace was the most important one, as I recall), on through his dissection of the American Ruling Class, to his current work on the emerging Patriotic American (Trump) movement.
He has been a shining light in the gathering darkness.
I shall miss him. And so will America.
We most certainly will. The old saw asserting that “No man is indispensable” may be true enough, in the strictly literal sense. But if Angelo Codevilla wasn’t indispensible, he came closer to it than just about anybody else I can think of.
Rest ye well, sir.