The Journal of American Greatness began some months ago, to a large extent anyway, as an inside joke. At a certain point its audience expanded beyond any of our expectations. It also ceased to be a joke. Thus it no longer makes sense to continue it in its current form. No journal is meant to last forever, and this one won’t try to. We’ve decided to call it a day.The wording of this statement is perplexing, for even though the title JAG is obviously tongue-in-cheek, and despite amusing satires by the writer who called himself Plautus, JAG was deadly serious. My guess: this Notice to Readers is meant to create plausible deniability for the authors, likely after the accusations of racism they received after defending Trump’s statements about Judge Curiel.
But the internet is forever, and someone with has created an archive from the Google cache of all of their articles, which I commend to your attention.
JAG had begun to receive Main Stream Media attention. Damon Linker at The Week had compared its intellectual defense of Trump to Heidegger’s defense of Hitler. Peggy Noonan praised JAG in her Wall Street Journal column. Sohrab Ahmari, a Wall Street Journal writer, attacked JAG in a series of tweets. It was addressed by Jonah Goldberg in the National Review, and by Fred Barnes in the Weekly Standard. The list goes on and on.
The writers at JAG had gone so far as to criticize their intellectual fathers at the Claremont Institute, and were trying to articulate a new path for Straussianism by building up a body of work around the idea of “Paleo-Straussianism.”
In short, these writers were doing something radical. They were breaking with the Conservatism Inc. intellectual consensus. And the pundit figureheads had begun to notice.
So why did they shut it down? Why, especially when they had begun to win?
The JAG principals (Decius, Plautus, Manlius Capitolinus, Cato the Elder) all wrote under pseudonyms, as do many authors on the Alternative Right. Academia is an even more dangerous environment for those who question the "gods of the city" than the private sphere.
Winning is dangerous—because it attracts attention. As Alexander Hart has pointed out, writing under a nom de guerre means that you have something to lose. When the Establishment notices you, it makes you a target.
I can only make an educated guess, but it is likely that the JAG writers felt that their identities, and therefore their livelihoods, would be threatened if they continued to carry on the fight.
If so, the demise of JAG is just another example of the intensifying Cultural Marxist Reign of Terror in America. Without knowing the particular circumstances, JAG’s principals cannot be judged for their decision to close up shop. But I hope that they—especially Decius—will continue to write, and perhaps even found a new, safer venue.
We needed JAG. It filled a gaping hole in the right-wing intellectual sphere, a bridging of the gap between classically-educated conservative academics and the Alternative Right. It made a case for Trump and Trumpism along lines that even neoconservatives could understand.
That is why they were so necessary. That is why they were so dangerous.