One of Manent's most interesting themes is that the modern state is actually rather impotent in terms of its ability to affect reality. What it focuses on instead is controlling appearance and opinion.
We see this in the response to Trump's remarks about the Khan family. Sure, just one president back, we had a guy who authorized his agents to place electrodes on the testicles of Muslim prisoners in order to torture them, and the current president regularly takes out a Muslim wedding party or school outing with a drone attack. But at least they do it while saying nice things about Muslims!