ROGER KIMBALL: The Bumpy Ride of Our Flight 93.
Back in June, Donald Rumsfeld summed up the position that, in subsequent weeks, many (not all) anti-Trump conservatives have come to adopt. Reprising his famous epistemological mot that distinguished between “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns,” Rumsfeld said that, of course he was voting for Trump. Trump was an “unknown known,” perhaps dubious in some ways, but all the world knew exactly what Hillary Clinton represented.
This was the essential point made in a more colorful way in the most remarkable essay I have read in some time, “The Flight 93 Election,” which appeared a few days back in that indispensable journal, the Claremont Review of Books. I have no idea who “Publius Decius Mus”—the putative author—really is, though I speculate on stylistic and philological grounds that he is not unacquainted with the works of Leo Strauss. The historical Decius Mus was a Roman consul during the first Samnite and Latin wars. In 340BC, he sacrificed himself at the Battle of Vesuvius in order to secure a great victory for the Romans. That story, for those who are interested in such things, is told in Book 8 of Livy’s The History of Rome.
Presumably, Claremont’s Publius adopted the name of that self-sacrificing Roman in order to remind his readers of the existential stakes in this election (as well as, of course, concealing his real identity from the wrath of NeverTrump vigilantes). Publius reworks Donald Rumsfeld’s point with a metaphor—with two, in fact: “2016,” he begins, “is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die.”
Read the whole thing.