The Nine of the Eight: A Study in Constitutional Revivalism

The situation stands thus.  The office of the US presidency has been hijacked in the most cynical, undisguised, arrogant, unprincipled, often dilettante, and sometimes thuggish manner imaginable.  And it has been thus hijacked in broad daylight, so to speak.  Ballot-counting in several locales was shut down for hours—and when it resumed, the candidates’ relative numbers had been turned topsy-turvy.  Software was employed in the process which had been specially developed to steal elections in foreign “banana republic” settings.  Paper ballots appeared by the truckload from nowhere long after midnight had rung out November 3.  Signatures, dates, and other basic information, when patently inconsistent, were nevertheless passed over—and checking crews often featured bullies who kept their opponent-arbiters from participating, even during formal recounts.  Vital data that would have documented the corrupt process were wiped clean or otherwise permanently destroyed, in flagrant violation of the law.  Governors and other state officials either ordered much of this criminal subterfuge or looked the other way as it happened.  Whistleblower witnesses to cases of fraud have been physically threatened and, occasionally, sent to the hospital by a round of “persuasion”.

Mathematically, the proffered “results” parade one absurdity after another past us.  More people voted in some areas than were registered to vote.  More people voted across the nation for the most lackluster, invisible, and gaffe-ridden (when briefly visible) candidate in history than voted for the charismatic Barack Obama in either of his victories.  Candidate Strawman scored dominant triumphs over the President in key counties where down-ballot Democrat candidates nevertheless plunged to defeat.  Counties whose tally wasn’t crucial to the overall outcome, one way or the other, never appeared to feature such anomalies.

And to this day—to this moment—none of the abominable outrages just described rises to the standard of a newsworthy event in mainstream media coverage.  The blind among us remain blind.  Members of the President’s party meanwhile rush toward the other sideline to shake hands, although the clock shows several crucial seconds yet to play.  Supposed rightwing journalists abandon ship and beg to be hauled aboard by their adversaries.  Agencies entrusted with investigating high crimes on the order of electoral fraud, subversion, and treason sit on their hands.  The leader of the Justice Department irresponsibly and inanely announces to the press that his crack troops have found no evidence of fraud.  The invincibly corrupt Supreme Court bows out of any obligation to let a possibly horrendous attempt at subversion receive a full and fair public review.  Captained by the irredeemably compromised John Roberts, egomaniacal prima donna and frequent traveler on Jeffrey Epstein’s Lolita Express, the high court—off the record—seems to give primary consideration to such overriding constitutional issues as whether Antifa and BLM may riot if the “right” ruling isn’t handed down.

Let it stand, then, that our “nation” (to confer a verbal reality on a non-entity) will have a non-president at her helm (and not the same one for long: Strawman’s Alzheimer’s will force him to an exit by July 4) who was elevated to that position in open defiance of the people’s will.  The propaganda-cycling media, the conspiratorial bureaucracies of the Deep State, the globalist nihilists of the Republican Party itself… all have collaborated with socialist ideologues and Chinese Communist operatives to tell the American public, “You didn’t just see that.  There was no murder.  There is no body.  There are no tapes of the incident—they’ve just come back from a routine weekly scrubbing.  You saw nothing.  You see what we tell you to see.”

Very well.  What do pockets of constitutional republicans do as anarchy slouches toward totalitarianism?  My suggestion: reassert the Constitution.  In these few paragraphs, I will promote one idea which I have no particular reason to suppose feasible… other than that it makes complete and perfect sense to me.  I realize that such a criterion is shaky ground for proposing a legal or political remedy.  Consider this an exercise in thinking out loud.

Say that the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and… and we’ll throw in the fickle Tennessee… say that their legislatures collectively decided to be ruled by the Constitution.  Scarcely a rebellion, is it?  To that end, say that they create a supreme judicial body consisting of nine jurors, each of whom must be approved by the legislatures of all eight states, with staggered terms ending after nine years.  No panel of political hacks, ideological beauty queens, and depraved royal lackeys would be acknowledged as holding sway over this court, and no subordinate system of careerist buccaneers assigned to the bench from far-off Washington as a pay-off would overrule the Nine of the Eight.

Am I floating the notion of secession?  Not at all.  In taking this measure, the South would not have seceded in any formal or militantly consequential sense: she would simply have opted to reconstruct from the ground up what could not be reassembled from useless fragments.  Inasmuch as the Beltway band of anarcho-tyrants has already advertised its eagerness to pack the existing Supreme Court, no reasonable observer could maintain that the Nine of the Eight had brutally raped legal convention.  Conventions—legal, political, social, moral—are precisely what the 2020 Election Pantomime has just brushed aside, and what our eight conservative states will wish to revive.

Imagine, then, that our regionally appointed Supreme Court reaches a decision distinctly at odds with decrees emanating from the emerging totalitarian state’s parody of a high court.  Let’s say that the justices presiding over the eight states rule that no governor or mayor or even a president of the republic may confine citizens to their homes indefinitely without their having been convicted—or, indeed, charged—with any crime.  Let us further say that the Nine of the Eight invalidate any effort to force gear onto the faces of citizens that impedes healthy breathing.  Basic human rights clearly expressed in the Constitution are herein defended: there’s really no room for dispute.  Yet the totalitarians have their own “constitution”, which is written by their whimsy upon each day’s contingencies.  They don’t like the “rebel court’s” defense of rights and intend to put a stop to it.

How, we must ask?  By calling out the National Guard?  But manhandling citizens at gunpoint over such fundamental freedoms would be so grotesquely brutal a response that it would surely ignite outrage among other, more “loyal” states.  It would also require for the totalitarians to be confident that local Georgia or Alabama police would take their side (and to ensure that this is not the case would be a critical early obligation of the eight legislatures and all the municipalities arranged beneath their authority’s aegis).  More likely, the dictatorial center would try to bring the rebellious fringe to heel by withholding tax moneys.  Federal grants to research universities, public works projects, health and educational infrastructure, facilities for the arts… the number of enterprises on which the free-flowing federal spigot could be turned off would certainly grab any recalcitrant state’s attention.  And the states could hardly respond, I think, by refusing to channel their revenues to the federal reservoir.  The dynamics of doing so would be infinitely complicated, and would also expose individuals to punishment by the IRS.  (It’s always hard to keep communal spirit at a fighting pitch when the prospect of single collaborators here and there, allowed to keep their freedom and retain their possessions, so generously feeds the sentiment, “Why should I go to jail if they’re not going to jail?”)

A far better counter-measure, I believe, would be to recoup lost revenues by inviting foreign companies to American shores, where they would to do business with us, employ our residents, and pay our state and local taxes.  Not a dime of tax would necessarily trickle into federal coffers: state bureaucracies, at any rate, wouldn’t lend a helping hand.  The arrangement would include only the two parties, and the feds would have to pry their way in somehow.  Faced with such intrusions, federal authorities could hardly protest that potentially hostile influences were being allowed to participate in the US economy—not when their own manifest policy is to hand over the American marketplace lock, stock, and barrel to China.  I recall that, a few years ago, Germany opened up a BMW plant somewhere between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.  Mississippi could invite India to develop computer software in Jackson; Arkansas could invite Israel to manufacture next-generation drones in Little Rock.  No, the centralizing totalitarians wouldn’t like this kind of thing one bit… but how could they carve their pound of flesh out of such enterprises when the avenues physically to obstruct or blockade state-to-nation collaborations would be so high-maintenance?  And how could they grumble with a trace of righteous indignation when their own policies had thrown open many states to unwanted deluges of foreign labor and influence for decades?

Frankly, I think a community of states that enforced constitutional government with its own revived institutions would create such a prosperous, optimistic, and vibrant atmosphere (as in the case of outlawing mask mandates) that productive citizens would pour in, bringing their talents, energy, and resources.  Big Brother’s efforts to stifle this prosperity would be bound to fail.  For instance, if Major League Baseball (its bureaucracy as subservient to PC objectives as all the other multi-billion-dollar sporting industries) agreed to ban the Atlanta Braves and the two Florida franchises from their elite circle of play due to their location among the notorious Eight, a new and effectively rival league would simply form, enlisting teams from Nashville, Winston-Salem, and so on.  The amusement would be more thrilling and the quality of competition more spirited.  Human beings respond favorably to freedom.  Force them to innovate by sealing up well-worn corridors, and you will soon find that they have generated a product far superior to the previous stale standard.

I’ve written frequently before now about how the breakup of our society and political system might proceed.  In this post, I’ve tried to avoid the dramatic and emphasize that the revival of freedom could prosper down numerous corridors that don’t involve rioting in the streets.  The totalitarians are not really very smart.  Their overweening arrogance, at any rate, tends to deprive them of whatever shrewd forethought and keen perceptiveness they might possess.  They don’t anticipate microcosmic developments because they’re preoccupied with their own macrocosmic designs for the universe.  They’re not intellectually well equipped to become the ruthless dictators they are so inclined to be by temperament.  We can give them more than they bargained for if we stay focused on detail.

I don’t know when I’ll be posting again after today.  Next week I begin an intensive program of studying and bringing under control my somewhat rebellious prostate cancer.  Maybe I’ll have time to put a few ideas together, and maybe I’ll welcome the opportunity to distract myself from treatments and therapies.  We’ll see.  Wish me luck.

“Dream Faith”: The False Christianity That Feeds Our Society’s Sickness

There should be substantial irony in my posting on Christmas Eve an essay lamenting organized Christianity’s abandonment of its solemn duties.  I didn’t plan to have the day and the theme run head-on into each other.  In fact, I wasn’t fully aware that Christmas week was approaching when, in closing my last post, I wrote of…

a theme which deeply preoccupies me, and to which I would like to return soon: the betrayal of organized Christianity.  Our betrayal by organized Christianity.  “Humanitarian grounds”… : how many of us have heard from pulpits that Christ compels us to relinquish our earthly boundaries and welcome every wanderer to our hearth?  “Brotherly love”: how many have heard that Christ preached a religion of peace and would deplore the presence of self-defensive weapons on our person or in our home?  “Love-affirming, life-affirming”: how often have churches responded to a dictatorial command that they shut down while COVID rages with the meek acquiescence of, “Oh, yes!  Whatever we can do to save lives!”  Some phrase worthy of gracing a marquee in Podunk Baptist’s weekly message is wrapped around stupidly ineffectual, morally tainted, and physically destructive behavior… and we’re sent home with our painless lobotomy to marvel and drool at the collapse around us.

Why not just leave the subject alone for another week?  People don’t read blogs over “the holidays”, anyway; and I, like most of you, have family gathered around the hearth today in an abundance that rarely occurs any longer.  Just let it ride for now: laugh, hug, sing, eat… can’t we do that just for a bit, when it’s almost never done throughout the rest of our sad year?

And yet… well, here’s why I see no irony in the timing of my protest against the Church: because the celebration of Christmas should be about the birth of Christ, of all implied therein—and warm embrace of family during a wintry gathering of the clan is really not anywhere among those implications.  On the contrary, the Festival of the Sun’s Return after the Winter Solstice is a major celebration on the pagan calendar (so major that Christian missionaries decided to adopt it as Christ’s birthday, too, rather than try to explain to their crude proselytes that the earth’s rhythms are not the highest expression of God’s will).  It seems to me, rather, that the irony lies in our trying, year after year after year, to pretend that all is not lost in formal Western Christendom if only we can continue to bring Aunt Gussie to the table annually, to get Liam and Caroline out of their rooms and off their iPhones while presents are unwrapped, and to record (on the latest device) Laurie’s fitting a sweater on her dazed grandmother for a posterity that couldn’t care less.  We’ll trudge through such personal rituals once more, because we desperately need them.  We’ve never needed them more.  But in revisiting them, we are very mistaken to suppose that we remain, after all—after still another year of giving vital ground—Christians at heart.  We remain humans… but not every human is a Christian.  That’s the irony: the dwindling evidence of our humanity impresses us more and more as incontrovertible evidence of our faith.  It’s not, you know.  It’s just not.

I invite you to join me in a simple exercise.  Think of any ridiculously naïve hope or “vision”—one so absurd that a child who should cling to it beyond fourth or fifth grade might be thought a little behind the developmental curve.  Let’s try, “I want peace everywhere, and forever.  No more wars!  We have to stop fighting.”  Now look for some resonance of this childish platitude in the contemporary Christian church.  Not very hard to find an echo, is it?  “Christ enjoined us to live in peace.  If we are the people of faith we claim to be, then we should not be deterred in seeking that peace by taking apparent existential risks.”  Do we need to secure the power grid?  Why, no!  Why should we assume that other societies in the world want to harm us?  Do we need to update our pitifully decrepit nuclear arsenal?  Heavens, no!  Let it rust away!  The only reason other nations build such Doomsday weapons is because they see us doing so.  It’s time to lead the way, to offer a Christian example.

And so the day comes when we have a choice between having all our children injected with computer chips to serve some secular overlord day and night or, in the event of non-cooperation, being annihilated.  Yes, all of us owe God a death, sooner or later.  But the “visionary” Christian leaves innumerable masses of innocents with no alternative to denying their spiritual identity other than Auschwitz.  Is that really how faith works?

When our southern border was being inundated by unvetted immigrants (as it will soon be in exponentially greater volume), the “good Christian” raised the cry in public opinion polls closely followed by political hacks, “The children come first.  These are children in need.  Christ said, ‘Suffer the little ones to come unto me.’  We dare not turn these children away.”  No… so a child-abuse trap was created, stupidly connived at by the “good Christian”, wherein criminal thugs bought or stole youngsters from their parents, tutored them to say Este hombre es mi papacita, sí, often shuttled them back across the border to run the same scam again, and along the way beat or raped them to secure abject obedience.  And this humanitarian nightmare, as I say, was aided and abetted by good little suburban Christians who gave themselves a big virtue-hug at night before dozing off to sweet dreams.

Again, no awareness of the depth of human depravity: not much awareness, indeed, that depravity is embedded in the nature of the human animal.  The concept of original sin was warped to cover all the curmudgeons and sourpusses who resisted the “vision”, who declined to take the “leap of faith”.  It was never allowed to cast a shadow over the creatures of envy and lust at society’s fringe who had always waylaid utopian visions before.

Speaking of implanted computer chips… a friend sent me a link about a month ago to a video that spliced together a series of candid utterances, made by “visionaries” as recognizable as Bill Gates, in favor of extracting and inserting information directly into the world’s human masses.  An attractive young woman struck me, especially, with her fervent insistence that “we need to take this step if we are to create the world we want.”  I wouldn’t necessarily suspect any of these people of being Christian.  The shame of it all is that I wouldn’t necessarily suppose that a mainstream Christian today would roar in protest.  He should observe that such as we are do not create worlds—that the job has already been filled, and that our puny efforts to encroach upon it must always send infinite ripples of greed, arrogance, lust for power, and all the rest through the evolutionary brew.  Instead, I can well imagine our casual Christian appropriating the language of “a better tomorrow” the way the early missionaries appropriated the Return of the Sun for Christ’s birthday.  “Hey, that’s my gig—a better tomorrow!  Yeah, we can do that!  Eradicate poverty, extend health care to everyone, see that no child is left behind… we can all get to a better place if we suppress our egotism and serve Christ.”

And on and on.  May I assume that this very brief characterization (which, alas, is no caricature) has brought two points to the surface?  One is that late Western Christianity endorses a categorical suspicion, if not rejection, of limits.  Our faith (sayeth the New Age preacher) exhorts us to admit no traditional restriction to the possibilities.  If we only dream bravely enough, we can create the world of our dreams—a perfect world, without war or poverty or disease; for this is what Christ called us to do.  Halleluiah, halleluiah!

The second point is that no effort is invested among such “faithful” in pondering the failures generated by “dream faith”.  A particular peace hasn’t lasted because elements among us have too little faith; perfect health hasn’t been restored because elements among us have refused to join in an unprecedented initiative (e.g., universal masking, vaccinating, and locking down).  The dream is always insulated from scrutiny.  Why, Christ walked on water!  Do you suppose He could have done that if the least thought about sinking had entered His mind?

The seamless fusion of “dream faith” with the secular-progressive political mentality should be evident to anyone with ears to hear.  Is it any wonder that the formal, organized Christian church has reliably worked against the Christian worldview over the past four or five decades (with accelerating commitment)?  “Social justice” is what matters, not the struggle of each human individual to hear God’s call through the cacophony of unfair circumstances around him.  “Love” is what matters in marriage, not the acceptance of several strictures (duty to children, abstinence from other partners, embrace of self-sacrifice, etc.) which severely reduce our future options in our fourscore years on earth.

Every inspiration of “dream faith” is open-ended, and hence impossible to restrain from collateral damage or assess for deficient responsibility.  The “believer” is caught in an orgy of star-gazing that spins him into delirium but advances him toward his higher identity not a single step.  True faith, by accepting that Creation has thrown up barriers here, here, and here, humbles us as we conform our progress to those barriers and impresses us, ultimately, with the immutable truth that the destination for all our inklings of perfection must be a world beyond this one.  He of “dream faith” will not accept—on principle—that perfection cannot reign here and now.  He of true faith accepts daily shortcoming and imperfection as the inevitable cost of not yet having arrived in heaven.

Yes, our social regeneration would profit immensely from organized institutions of faith.  The latter may even be necessary to accomplish the former.  Right now, however, our religious institutions reflect an unbounded faith only in the decadent world for which they were organized.  As the old Italian saying goes, we won’t find figs growing on a thistle bush.

Death and I Get Re-Acquainted

At this very instant, as I peck out my initial words one-handed (because I have a Vitamin C IV dripping into the other arm), I await my doctor’s appearance to discuss some “concerns” about my latest blood work.  It’s never an easy wait for a patient who has had cancer.  Every time more blood is drawn, a clock starts ticking.  A couple of weeks for results, more or less: that’s what you expect in the US.  (At Dr. Carlos Bautista’s Immunity Therapy Center in Tijuana, I never waited more than 48 hours.)  So how will it go this round?  Will you roll another seven… or has Destiny decided to send you Snake Eyes?  Will the hammer click harmlessly on an empty chamber again… or has your spin of the pistol’s cylinder found the bullet today?

Meanwhile, Burl Ives is crooning, “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas” somewhere down the hall.  And out in the parking lot, sitting alone in a cold car, my wife awaits the return of her awaiting husband, the quiet caboose in a train of tension and misery.

Can you understand why it pisses me off so much that my fellow citizens readily surrendered our republic and our personal freedom over their fear of a damn flu virus?  They’re so very afraid that they might die—that if they were among the millions to be infected, they might also fall among the .3 percent of the known infected to perish.  (About 40 percent of the infected never know bout it, since they have no symptoms.)  Meanwhile, as these panic-moths hurl themselves into the flame to escape a disease indetectible almost half the time, I play Russian Roulette every few weeks with a blood test.  They can’t crawl out from under their beds in their terror of a bad cold, but every day of my life is lived in the shadow of a tombstone.

One thing I know to be amiss with my blood (though I dare not take anything for granted: must keep myself prepared for the worst) is the effects of overdosing on Firmagon for six months.  Almost unique among the drugs I was administered in Mexico to be accepted by mainstream American medicine, Firmagon dries up testosterone—and testosterone is the favorite food of prostate cancer.  This is, indeed, a major ground of optimism about the “mystery concern”: I’ve been shooting myself so full of the drug that cancer would have to overhaul its menu to make a comeback.  Interesting, isn’t it, that ITC so grudgingly supplied me with additional boxes of the stuff while, as it appears, having reached some international compromise to permit the shipping of substances disliked by the FDA.  Could it be that American distributors want exclusive dibs on Firmagon—that the FDA is far less alarmed at the prospect of a witch’s brew entering my system than it is at that of US doctors and drug companies not carving maximal profits out of big-ticket items?

All I can say is, Firmagon is one hell of a torment even to some who consume it in recommended doses.  Chills, dizziness, soreness at the site of injection, joint and muscle pain… I came to know all of these thanks to overdosing; and the last, it occurs to me, is probably routine in anyone who leads an active life.  You need testosterone to stimulate muscle repair and recovery after a vigorous workout.  I wrote of this weeks ago.  I’ve been aware for some time that I couldn’t tax my body as I used to on a regime of hormone-suppressants and plant-based proteins.  I learned my lesson as a result of a couple of hard take-downs and their aftermath.  As I would try to ease my incidental tears and pulls back into shape using a tried-and-true pattern of stretching and “nudge” exercises (the kind that refuse to let the sore spot flee all pain and go slack), I would find myself merely re-aggravating old problems—maybe making them worse.  I couldn’t demand anything of my muscles at all, it seemed.

It’s not like the last six months have given American constitutionalists no other cause for distress… but I began to grow downright depressed.  Finally, last week, as I prepared my monthly Firmagon injection, a chain of thoughts began to close its links which was to pull down my vast wall of error.  I was dissolving the powder in distilled water from the ampule.  (I won’t give you a step-by-step account: every Firmagon kit has over half a dozen components, and the procedure for using each in proper position and sequence is tortuous.)  I knew that the box containing two kits was marked dosis inicial, and I knew that each hypodermic of the two contributed 120 milligrams to the 240 total.  (A single shot of that magnitude in one spot would make the first-time user’s tummy swell up like a watermelon.)  I knew that each booster, of which this was my fifth, should be 80 mg.  Therefore… therefore, I would need to squeeze out approximately 33 percent of my preparation before injecting the remnant.  I say “approximately” because the ampule had no calibration.  The only way that I could reduce 120 mg. of Firmagon to 80 mg. was to “eyeball” it.

This I did, though deliberately underestimating the ejectum.  (The stuff is expensive!)  For some reason, I still needed a few more mental links to close.  I think it literally occurred to me between sleeping spurts that night (the muscle pain doesn’t allow steady sleep) that I’d never squeezed out any “extra” from the previous shots.  Not only that… but the first supposed booster, administered on my last day at ITC by a couple of novice nurses—it was a Saturday, and the duty roster was pretty thin—didn’t feature any expulsion of excess in its preparation, either.  None.  I would have noticed, for I knew I’d have to imitate the procedure.  Every booster of Firmagon I’d ever received was a 50-percent overdose, except the one I’d just completed.  That one was probably just a 10-percent overdose.

….

The doctor came, and we had our talk.  He’s a sweet guy.  I haven’t seen that degree of caring among very many Americans in this profession.

My PSA is up from nearly dead zero three months ago to 42.  A huge leap over an incredibly short period.  We’ll retest it next week, we’ll schedule a bone scan, we’ll plan for contingencies… maybe I’ll go back to Tijuana.  I would, in a flash.  I’d stay there, if I could.

So… Death and I are chained at the ankle once again.  We always were, of course… but now I get to see his leer whenever I take a careless peek.  Everyone is saying, “Oh, this is just a setback!  We’ll figure it out!  Everything will be fine!”  Actually, I—the lowly patient—am the only one who seems to have a coherent theory of events.  Firmagon caused my muscles to bleed without mending; inflammation (as an independent professional confirmed for me just now) can severely elevate PSA scores; thus my tests are going to show high numbers as long as the poison in my system continues to keep my triceps and gluts and thighs from sealing up.

And, just to add a personal speculation… why wouldn’t genuine cancer cells rally and multiply when the body is over-strained in the simple matter of repairing leg muscles after a walk?

Firmagon was the most “American” of my treatments, and I never really liked its m.o.  Annihilate your adversary by annihilating one of your own battalions… how very like the American medical establishment!  I guess this present challenge, as my son calls it, is an opportunity to form a better battle plan.  Everything seemed day-to-day before.  Now we can go long-range.

All the same, the ultimate in long-range thinking is recognition that one’s body cannot function beyond a certain point.  It’s understanding that life in this world doesn’t have a ticket for infinite trips up and down the track. My own destination cannot be so very far up the line.

As my wife drove me home through the maze of backroads where the GPS led us, I studied the mowed green farm lawns, the fields now stripped of their cotton, the horses blanketed for one of our first sub-freezing days… and the small new subdivisions of young professionals fleeing Atlanta taxes, above-ground swimming pools for toddlers dryly weathering the winter, Christmas lights making candy-canes of columns here and there, mansards and bay windows and railed porches or broad decks proposing scenes for private domestic celebrations….  It was beautiful.  It was all beautiful, including the “bourgeois domesticity” (words inevitably sneered by the mortal enemies of families).

And yet, if I was supposed to mourn silently, “Please, God!  I’m not ready to leave all this!  Please let me live a while longer!”… well, I thought no such thing.  I thought of my own special places where I was a child, and how much more beautiful they were to me than these, and how I could walk right into them and see all my lost people, never to be parted from them again, on the day when I broke through the barrier.  I’ll stay for now, all right… or I’ll try.  I’ll tolerate Death’s cold breath down my neck as I gaze at the sun’s afternoon scythe harvesting a tawny field.  But when I finally pass through, the chain that bonds my clammy companion to me will break forever, and he will be left behind.

I began writing this page last Tuesday.  On the calendar day when I post these words, December 4, I have reached my sixty-eight birthday.  Will I see another?  If I do, it is well… and if I don’t, that is well, also.  I don’t like to mar my plateau of peace by adding that the cowardly traitors sure to make this world so much more challenging for my son will be a pleasure to leave behind, but… well, so it is.  I tell you, I pity grown human beings who so fear my dark, mute companion that they will sell their souls for a pair of blinders.

My Friend Vlad (Part the Third… and the Final)

I’m really not anxious about “reader volume” this time.  I almost hope that today’s post passes completely unnoticed.  I didn’t want to write it: I wrote it because I had to.  And I wrote parts of it in excessive haste or with excessively tropological sarcasm.  I did that because I wanted to finish.  I feel a spiritual nausea coming on this morning as I review the weeks that brought us here.  And with the luminous “holidays” at hand… oh, yes, the holidays!  Like anyone else, I want to weave an insulating cocoon around my wife and son and me for a few days.  I’m indeed grateful for the opportunity offered by the calendar.  For the rest of it, for the “Happy Holidays” emails from people I haven’t seen in decades… damn them all for pitiful fools.  And damn me for seeing more than was intended for fragile human eyes.

To those who have posted or may post comments, thank you for your time and attention.  Thank you for having the stamina to look long and deep into some of the darkest pits imaginable.  I haven’t answered any of you, and I don’t imagine I’ll be doing so—not on this subject.  I just want to get it out and leave it behind.  Maybe you’re better fortified against the pit than I am.

In the rubble of the former United States—in “Unmerica”—national elections will be as meaningless as plebiscites in the proverbial banana republic.  On the ballot is Your Beloved El Supremo and… and Salinas, Chacón, Gasparo, Dominguez… “We’re a democracy, you know, amigo!”  That’s your new standard, your “new normal”.  Enjoy.

This isn’t to say, however, that there will be no resistance.  Far from it.  On the local level, resistance will now flourish as never before.  As I suggested in this essay’s previous parts, the rift between Western European elite-progressive totalitarianism and the belief systems of the formerly weaponized minority masses—traditional Muslims, Hispanic Catholics, rural and blue-collar black populations—will widen rapidly now that the Nationalist Strawman has been incinerated in the town square.  The swarthy rank and file don’t like masks.  College-educated white people cling to them in adoration, but the folks I’ve seen mask-free in Wal-Mart have mostly been black males and Hispanic females.  The dark rank and file don’t want drag queens reading to their children at the library.  College-educated white people have attempted to float such quasi-moralistic claptrap as a solvent of conventional Christian values—and they’ve done so, indeed, with spectacular success, much of it engineered from within the white Christian church; but our brethren who live closer to Mother Earth (and who may actually have some of her gritty skin beneath their fingernails) aren’t having it.

We can join them to say “Hell, no!” at Town Hall meetings, and our selections of mayors and state representatives may reflect our fury.  Securing the representation of Podunk County for Montague “Poke” Mahone the Third, white socialist wonderboy (married to a Native American sociologist), isn’t really worth the cost of a Dominion-caliber voting system.  Regional elections don’t particularly interest the revolutionaries (except for district judgeships).  The central government, you know, can always crush counter-revolutionaries if it so chooses.  With fleets of drones to locate targets and Humvees of stormtroopers (now brought home from Waziristan to wage war on their cousins) ready to roll, unruly rioters in Joplin, Missouri, wouldn’t offer so much as a training exercise for “our brave military”.  Yet the optics of such beyond-the-beltway massacres and Bloody Sundays wouldn’t be good.  President Vandal ordering the execution of 8,000 black folks or of 12,000 Muslim immigrants… hmm.  Some of the state governors, at least, would begin to shy away.  Some of the stormtroopers wouldn’t trigger their cousins on cue.  The dictatorship would risk becoming a transparent tyranny.  Too early for that play, perhaps.

So what’s the next move on the board the Vandal?  If we remain in control of our towns and hamlets, how does our new master, his old master—the Puppeteer—bring us to heel?  What if, for instance, Xi Jinping, unmoved by President Vandal’s public-relations problem, orders him to pursue the sophisticated, pincer-like vaporization of ringleaders on a hit-list?  What if, for that matter, Chairman Xi insists on offering the assistance of thousands of PLA stormtroopers, who have no cousins on these shores and are well rehearsed, besides, in clubbing and bayoneting women and children in Xinxiang Province and Hong-Kong?

I have been somewhat glib in trying to paint the scene in broad strokes… but I promise you, it isn’t excessively reductive to represent life under Unmerica’s new (first?) president as life in one of Xi’s satrapies.  An article posted by Peter Helmes drops the names of a few European billionaires most intricately involved in Western civilization’s overthrow.  They don’t sound terribly Chinese.  H.J. Schellnhuber, Stefan Rahmstorf, Ottmar Edenhofer, Claudia Kemfert, Uwe Schneidewind; Gerd Müller, a chief architect of Angela Merkel’s paternalistic oligarchy; Frithjof Finkbeiner and his son Felix, creators of “Fridays for Future”, “Scientists for Future”, and the ongoing Greta Thunberg fiction in general; Dr. von Hirschhausen and Maja Göpel; George Soros, of course, “who with his thousands of non-mandated NGO’s” influences global politics significantly… such are the figures that a savvy European analyst would associate with the Club of Rome, and that are more often denominated as the Davos set on this side of the pond.  “But who is the strategic godfather of all these ideologues?” questions Helmes.  “Standing at the hierarchy’s peak—far above even Bill Gates and David and Richard Rockefeller—is the Canadian multi-billionaire Maurice Strong”… and Strong’s ties to Communist China are indelible, if not purely Marxist.  Beyond the Strong family’s commitment to a dictatorship of the proletariat (as interpreted by a dictator) nestles a pathological hatred of evolved human beings, as if we were far kinder to the planet when we were apes whose life-expectancy scarcely broke twenty years.  And if Bill Gates doesn’t reduce our minds fast enough (for time is of the essence) to that lemur-like state with digital exo-intelligence and injections of uncertain content, then… well, there’s always the termite model on Xi’s drawing board.

It’s beyond my ability—and, frankly, little to my taste—to autopsy global conspiracies.  My brush does broad strokes only.  To me, the ultimate godfather of megalomaniac takeover in our time isn’t Soros, or Gates, or Strong, or even Xi Jinping, but rather the same culprit as gets up to such things at all times: Satan.  That’s why no blessed meteorite just happening to drive Xi’s skull ten miles below the earth’s crust would really solve very many problems for very long.  It’s also why a President Vandal, if miraculously rid of the worldly creditor who owns his carcass, would have that sorry hide auctioned off to another master within a week.  In a way, none of this matters.  If Judas were not to exist, we would have to un-invent his brother in our mirror. 

Yet until we reach eternity, the day we occupy is always this single shriveled day—this minute of this hour.  We are here and now.  On this day and at this hour, it’s Xi Jinping who would rule the universe.  He’s the present Mao, the present Genghis Khan.  Likewise, our senile President Vandal, a grifter and a bravo by nature and by trade, is Xi’s hired tough at this moment; so our children, on this day of our Lord, need protection from this domestic despot who serves that global tyrant.  The succor we seek would be Heaven’s from the Evil Domain if the hour had come for every man, woman, and child of us to join hands and enter the Light at one step.  But since this particular hour is only engraved with the names of a few (as the next hour will have a few more, and the next a few more), let us see if another man like ourselves—in the image of Jesus casting the shadow of Judas—might be persuaded to save a child here and there.  Let us try to act rather than merely curl up and die

Someone like Vladimir Putin could be our man.  Oh, he’s no saint, no, and he may well be another of the Devil’s chief lackeys… but so may any one of the relatively nameless vultures who circle our civilization in high bureaucratic office.  Vlad is a dismal figure, I know, upon whom to hang any hope; but I see no other locus of earthly power anywhere who hasn’t signed away his soul ten times in blood.  Putin, perhaps, has only done so eight or nine times.

Yes, I’m aware of “the list”.  The poisoning of Aleksandr Litvinienko, the bludgeoning of Mikhail Lesin, the Mob-style hit of Anna Politkovskaya… it’s hard to imagine Dante’s locating Putin anywhere better than intermediate Hell.  But… well, maybe intermediate Hell will have to do for now, since the jackals slavering over our children are all pouring from Satan’s mouth in Hell’s Pit.  We santini who can’t sully our hands in anything morally equivocal—such as incarcerating traitors or executing murderers—may have to contract out our enforcement to the nachalnik of contract killers… or else watch our children be devoured.  The truth is… well, the truth is this: men such as we should never have sired children.  We weren’t men enough to stand up and kill our children’s killers.  We just sing hymns.  So here we cringe… and here lie our children with their throats bared to the knife.  And there’s Putin (and in yesterday’s shadow, the Mossad, and—once upon a time—a CIA not yet neutered by careerist bureaucrats).

If Putin himself is soon taken from the scene by his mortality (and, please God, may Xi and Soros and Gates not be far behind!), then another Russian nationalist of his stamp would do.  Imagine a Putinesque premier, offered harbor privileges in Texas or mineral rights in Oklahoma or an automobile plant in Alabama.  Such a high-profile collaborator in American enterprise would be hard for the Vandal and his Beijing masters to reject on “moral” grounds; for Putin is ostensibly of their plundering swarm, and is already doing a ripping oil business with another hell-bait butchering despot in Venezuela.  As Xi’s most visible buddy in war games fantasizing over the annihilation of earth’s human inhabitants in large numbers, Putin has earned his own Vandal letter-jacket.  He’s a cutthroat, like the rest of the team.  I’ve admitted that.

Yet Putin, or the next Russian nationalist to replace him, could also conceivably pose a major deterrent to President Vandal’s firebombing of his own citizens.  If some of us are paying tribute to the Russian Vandal, then we’ll have every right to summon his defense against Xi’s kowtowing-satraps (and Xi himself).  For I say it in a whisper to those few who continue to follow this dark conversation: I cannot believe that Vladimir Putin loses any love on Xi Jinping.  War games?  Of course Russia joined China in war games!  Russia is something of an extra-large Taiwan in Xi’s glazed stare: how better to handle the situation than to pal with the Beijing juggernaut for the time being?  Terrify the Yanks, win a few concessions here and there (knowing that Chinese promises are written on the wind with water), peer into your rival’s arsenal, get to know your rival’s tactics, let your rival believe he’s stealing similar looks into your sanctuary… it’s really quite brilliant.  Quite un-American, in any “post-Cold War liberal America“ sense.

Putin is a nationalist, a Russia-first bully.  He is that at the core of all his machinations and assassinations.  He’s not a communist—not of the Xi stamp.  That is to say, he doesn’t lust over visions of an insectified world swarming in indistinguishable millions before a hundred-foot gold likeness of himself.  (And yes, children, that’s communism: that’s its final, “real life” form on this sick planet.)  Putin wants Russia self-sufficient and feared enough to keep intruders at bay.  He’s a Mob boss whose passion is for the famiglia.  I know that the American conservative intelligentsia scoffs at such analyses.  Frank Gaffney and Diana West, for instance—and there are no two minds whose insight I more respect—recently underscored Putin’s communist bona fides on Secure Freedom Radio by referencing his remark about Joe Biden: that Biden would be easier for him [Putin] to work with than would Trump because Biden’s beliefs are more “Soviet” (not Russian: Soviet).  Alas, I think that interpreting such utterances at their most transparent level typifies our collective error.  I understand the remark as follows.  “Westerners with totalitarian notions readily go along with power plays that shortcut democratic participation.  Joe Biden is one of those Westerners, and I’m interested in getting the upper hand where I can.  Therefore, I’d like to work with a useful idiot who can be suckered into giving me what I want as he gleefully tramples down his nation’s conventional restraints.”  Only an ex-Soviet could fully appreciate the extreme convenience of dealing with an “American Soviet”.  Putin is an opportunist, not an ideologue.

So… say that President Vandal and his vulturine, life-sucking Health Minister Fauci (whose name means “jaws” or “maw” in Italian) were to decree that all citizens must be vaccinated with… whatever’s on the day’s menu.  (Something under your sink, perhaps.)  Say that your state refuses to enforce universal compliance.  Say that the Vandal (with Xi pulling one set of strings, and the ghoulish Life-Sucker another) makes a Little Rock moment of the situation, sending in the National Guard (SS Division) to strap people down house by house as Mengeles in training load and empty syringes.  Say that bullets begin to fly (and they would, you know).  And then?  And then?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have an Uncle Vlad looking over everyone’s shoulder?  If Xi can send in his PLA advisors, fresh from massacring Hong Kong, to volunteer assistance… why, then, Uncle Vlad can send in his advisors, too.  “Not so fast, tovarishch!”  They bring a tank, we bring an anti-tank gun; they bring a chopper-gunboat, we bring a surface-to-air missile.

I’m wondering if the state of Texas or the state of Georgia couldn’t borrow such toys from my friend Vlad.  The Vandal has all of the toys produced and stockpiled with our tax money… but now our Uncle has called the raise—and raised again.  Another dirty little secret: most of these made-in-the-USA toys are now outdated and inferior.  Vlad has better stuff, frankly.  Fifty years of subversion by the Vandal and his fellow partners and pillagers have actually left very little good stuff in our arsenal, much of that little rusted out by nameless wars in sandy deserts.  Meanwhile, Vlad may just have amassed more and better stuff even than the Chinese.  He has oil but otherwise no economy, he has an aging and thinning population (as will China, believe it or not, in just a few years)… but he also has state-of-the-art Armageddon hardware galore.  People said it was a foolish investment.  Now it’s the single game-changer on a board where Communist China occupies most of the strategic squares.

I’ll take Vlad, please.  I don’t have a nation any longer.  It dried up and blew away.  I have no president.  A disgusting, senile thug and career lackey is fumbling with the presidential seal bestowed upon him by the most inhuman regime to pollute the planet since Genghis Khan’s reign.  I have no flag.  I have no anthem.  I salute nothing of this world any more, because this world no more acknowledges the rights given to me by God.  What I have is an either/or choice of cutthroats to invite into my home.  In that case… I’ll take Vlad.

I’ll take the Russian hit-man over the Chinese mass-murderer.  I’d rather be a dog who eats at the bony carcass after the Russian wolves have their fill than the two-billion-and-forty-sixth ant in Precocious Boy’s ant farm, his weary eye following all our movements through a glass panel as he decides which tunnel to collapse before supper.  I’m learning Russian, not Chinese.  And if I have to absorb a pecking-order smack to the rear of the line in order to ensure that my children aren’t tied down and infused with Gates/Fauci eugenic sterilant, I’ll take it in silence, conceding that it wasn’t fully undeserved.  I should have done more, when I still had the chance, to purge my society of the white “Christian” all-tolerant progressivist virus.  I should have been more of a man—should have unleashed a little more “hate speech” when it was due.  I hate liars; I hate cheats; I hate abusers of children and innocents; I hate self-coddling cowards disguised as spiritual illuminati; I hate egotists and hypocrites who promote “science” only insofar as institutionalism shuts down open inquiry.  I am full of hatred… and some of it is left over for myself.

So… this loathsome Vlad, this buccaneer with raped riches gleaming at his ears and his fingertips—I’ll take him, if I must have a worldly captain.  And when I can take him no longer, he may throw me to the sharks, and I’ll gratefully meet my maker.  But the conundrum, my dears—if you have followed any of this wild rant—isn’t about the Kingdom of Heaven.  It’s about how you can save some of the children you brought into a here-and-now where you allowed a trap to be laid for them… and you are not Jesus, and you do not walk on water.  You did some bad things, and you are left with two bad options.  Yours is not to pretend now that you’re Heaven-pure—not after you betrayed the children.

I’ll take Vlad.  I will certainly not take the vile, fumbling, all-fingering Vandal.  Not now, not ever.

Politics Hasn’t Created This Division: It Rose From the Soul’s Abyss

With the political and social coherence our nation dissolving before our eyes, I naturally feel drawn to comment on the meaning of the dissolution.  Yet I’m going to reserve that chore for another day.  I think a further week of watching events unfold can’t help but leaven my observations.  I need to settle myself down.

Frankly, my nerves have lately been shattered far more by a very personal confrontation than by the very public collapse of our nation’s rule of law… though the two, it turns out, are not completely unrelated.  I received a call last Saturday night from a very close relative of mine.  I will identify her simply as S, though none of my readers is likely to know her—and it’s even less likely that she would ever read this or any other of my columns.  S was the closest person to me on earth when we were growing up.  Somewhere along the line, a lot of things changed.  Now that we’ve both passed well beyond our sixtieth birthday and are also separated by a thousand miles, we seldom speak to each other.  The gaps in time and space appear to mar transmissions.  Neither of us seems readily to understand what spiritual wavelength the other operates on.

Of course, S knows all about my round with prostate cancer this summer.  If for no other reason than that, she tries to check in with me at least once a month.  Our exchange of last Saturday night went along amicably for a while… and then, for some reason that I can’t seem to reconstruct in retrospect, the subject of the Corona Virus floated malodorously to the surface.  I believe the first mention was hers, and that my response was simply to try to soothe her—to convince her that she needn’t worry about an illness whose infection-to-fatality rate was equal to that of a bad seasonal flu.

Shots fired.  I was at once assured that I was completely wrong—that I had in no wise done research equal to S’s, whose dogged pursuit of the truth (I was told) could be matched by no one else in our family.  She knew for a fact that children were dying of COVID-19: this was a five-alarm warning to our society.  Everyone needed to be taking it with the utmost seriousness.

Fallen son of Adam that I am, I pushed back at the charge of being an ignoramus—and a bigot, to boot, who only processed information from a single source.  (Don’t know where that came from: S never bothered to ask about my sources and never volunteered any of her own.)  

I didn’t get really heated up, however, until a third person’s came into the discussion: someone who is as important to me as anyone on earth, and who I’d supposed was almost as important to S.  This young man had checked himself into the emergency room last month in an incipient suicidal state which deeply alarmed him.  The cause was, of course, the lockdown in which he and all his peers were living—are still living—day in and day out, week in and week out, in a vast Midwestern metropolis.  I observed to S that older people like us should be prepared to run a two-or-three-chances-in-a-thousand risk of death if doing so might flatten the fearful spike in young suicides.  Despair, in my opinion, was a much more formidable adversary than the flu.

Then came the response that touched a match to my powder keg.  It was the baked-in-hell blarney about how kids shouldn’t be preoccupied with their amusement when their social activity jeopardizes the lives of others.  This is what I propose to write at about some length today (perhaps because my attempts to dissect the claim in live conversation only met with being shouted over—and occasionally f-bombed: offensives which I ended up countering blow for loud, profane blow… God help us).

On the table, then, sits the propositions that you pose a menace to the lives of all around you if you circulate publicly in a normal fashion but do not strain your body almost to suffocation in an extremely abnormal fashion.  If you decline to wear a mask, that is, you are engaged in a murder attempt.

My objections to this preposterous, insane, rabidly totalitarian groupthink are basically of two classes.  To begin with the practical: respecting the claim above would bring us instantly to an absurd standstill—a train wreck of insoluble situations where life would simply have to go into a deep freeze.  Consider the following few cases which spring to mind instantly.

Most contagions are primarily spread by hand: hands are constantly touching our faces and then proceeding to door knobs, paperwork, furniture, light switches, faucets, and so on.  If we’re serious about not spreading SARS-COV2, then all of us should be required to wear gloves.  The gloves themselves, as ersatz hands, must be shucked and replaced at intervals of no more than half an hour.

Infections of most varieties are spread through travel: ergo, we should impose rigorous travel bans.  Trips should be permitted if we’re making an essential run to a nearby destination: e.g., a grocery store. Otherwise, wayfarers must be seized and punished.

We certainly shouldn’t permit people to smoke anything, whether nicotine, marijuana, or vaping compounds. We shouldn’t allow our fellow citizens to strain their lungs, because this would make them more tempting targets for respiratory infection… which, in turn, could be spread to us innocent bystanders. The same reasoning might be extended to obesity. People who are overweight tend to huff and puff, and one cough from their ample lungs… well, there you go. Potential murderers, every one!

And when it comes to jeopardizing the lives of others, why stop at the Corona Virus?  Driving itself claims around 40,000 lives each year in this nation.  We know that operation of cell phones while attempting to drive is risky behavior, and in much of the country it’s now illegal; but we also know that sustaining a conversation with someone in the passenger seat is distracting, as is attempting to manage food.  Therefore, vehicles should not be allowed to move on the road that have an occupant in the passenger seat—unless, perhaps, that person is wearing a gag; and any driver caught behind the wheel with a Big Mac or a Smoothie King should be sent to Reeducation Camp for half a year.

As practically idiotic as any program must be that aims to ensure the “health of the collective”, I’m infinitely more disturbed by the moral assumptions—the immoral presumption, I should say—behind collectivist hygiene.  The very idea that my society has the right to make me impede my airflow out of consideration for others is the most maniacally self-centered inversion of selflessness imaginable.  I exist.  You exist.  Each of us poses certain potential threats to all others around us through the mere fact of our existence.  We might misstep on an escalator with dozens of people below us.  We might swipe an incautious pedestrian starting across an intersection while we’re peering at street signs.  We might drop something that creates a sudden racket in the presence of a cardiac patient.  Human life is a constant stream of such risks.

I’m not threatening your existence because I choose to have an existence.  If I choose to sing, I’m not a threat to your life because I open my mouth and expel air.  If I choose to sit at a table and eat a meal, I’m not a threat to your life because the juices circulating on my teeth may be ejected invisibly and borne away by the wind.  If I hug a child who may go to the same kindergarten as yours, I’m not a threat to your life because an infection may be passed along from me the next school day that could eventually terminate you.

All such considerations are a selfish paranoia of unimaginable proportions.  The spiritual sickness oozing from these equations  is almost as baffling to me as it is disgusting.

Well… the phone conversation degenerated very quickly as its volume rose.  I’m not proud of having lost my control to the extent that I did; and as a matter fact, I paid the price for it this past week.  I won’t claim that I came down with a nice new case of COVID-19… but something flu-like certainly overtook me once my nerves were shattered and my resistance level bottomed out.  Headache, congested lungs, extremely painful aching in the joints, neck pain, chills, weariness, a low-grade fever… I got almost no sleep on Saturday night, and this is the condition which started overshadowing me on Sunday morning.

Just to cinch the argument—not that I’m going to phone S with an update—my duel with this baleful flu-like adversary was treated by… staying quietly at home, nursing myself, taking lots of naps, minimizing my physical activity, and sustaining a good diet.  I’m feeling immensely better as I sit here dictating this article.  I didn’t need to go to the hospital.  I didn’t need to sit in the emergency room.  I didn’t need a physician prescribing Remdesivir or Hydroxychloroquine.  I’ve had the flu before.  I treated my round of plague sensibly, and… what do you know?… within three days it had virtually disappeared.

Am I now supposed to quarantine myself for two weeks?  Why?  I wear a mask in most public settings—and the mask absolutely prevents the Corona Virus from exiting, right?  Besides, all the people around me have masks on, too, so they cannot breathe in my toxic exhalation. And since we’re both masked, everyone is doubly protected, yes?  So the world is absolutely safe from any threat that might come from my direction.  I’m so happy!  Aren’t you happy?

It’s become a bromide that politics is now destroying civility, friendships, and even family relations because we’ve grown so intransigent in our views.  We can no longer agree to differ.  Um… true and not true, I would say.  If you deny to me the freedom to take a few steps on God’s earth, enjoy God’s golden sun, and breathe God’s fresh air—if you even revile me as the author of a moral atrocity because I go down the sidewalk humming a tune—then we’re not disagreeing over whether the jogging trail should be plowed under to make a traffic bypass.  You’re not even just committing an outrage against me personally.  You’re blaspheming against Creation—you’re adoring Moloch.

I miss that little girl in those black-and-white photos, S.  I’m sorry she exists no longer.  I miss her so much!  Who did that to her?  Who kidnapped her and transformed her into what you are?

Cancer and I: The Couple That Makes the Neighbors Cringe

If you were told less than half a year ago to buy a plot in the cemetery and get measured for a coffin—this by honored and decorated practitioners of mainstream American medicine—your perspective on a lot of things would change.  Having groped your way back among the living (thanks to a Mexican clinic unsanctioned by Their Holinesses at the FDA), you’d find that you didn’t care much about matters once deeply important to you.  “COVID-19: oh my God, there’s a .3 percent chance that I might die if infected!”  Nope… sorry.  Those odds don’t accelerate my heartbeat at all, except to make me angry with cowards who are terrified by them.  “Well, how about this: the nation is poised to elect a bunch of socialists who will so mangle the system that the republic can never recover!”  Okay, that’s disturbing… but it’s also a doom we have been collectively courting throughout my lifetime.  We don’t want to make our own mistakes any more: we want the avuncular hand of Government shielding us and guiding us through every corridor of our mortal existence.  We want to be treated as children… or as slaves whose only task is to vote for our Masters (for the brief time that we’re still allowed to vote).

I could get angry about that, yes… but why?  Why should I believe that human folly, so graphically illustrated on every page of history, has been banished from our own epoch?  Our species only learns, apparently, when water-boarded over and over in disaster.  We Americans will get the government we richly deserve next January.  The mainstream media made it all happen?  The universities made it all happen?  But who forced us to listen to the “news” or to submit our children to “higher education”?

Sometimes I think the only genuine Christians on earth live in China, where Xi Jinping’s ruthless tyranny suppresses, arrests, and tortures the faithful at accelerating rates.  Meanwhile, our priests and ministers urge us from the pulpit to support CCP-like social engineering projects and to scorn individualism as selfishness.  And we return every Sunday to hear more.

Maybe I was granted more time—how much more, nobody on earth knows—to peck out my contrarian telegrams as our society’s ship settles to the bottom.  Maybe that’s my part of the exchange that renewed my life in the flesh.  When massive food shortages make my eccentric diet impossible to sustain, or when rolling blackouts make my therapies impossible to continue, I suppose I’ll lapse into a steep decline.  Or maybe not.  Who knows?  Nobody here on earth.

My wife and I think a lot about where the “cancer road” may take us.  Most people, upon discovering that you’ve had cancer, assume that the scenario of your remaining life is something like the protagonist’s in that old Ben Gazzara series, Run for Your Life.  You have a year left, maybe two.  Oh, they’re all so sorry.  Poor baby… maybe you’ll get three.  I understand the reaction.  I was actually fortunate that the American “health care” system declined to give me any treatment at all.  My fellow patients at the Immunity Therapy Center in Tijuana had almost all suffered through a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemo.  The struggle of their weakened bodies to profit from more salutary, holistic therapies as mine did was uphill, and often heart-breaking.  In our medical system, cancer is “cured” in the same way as a death-row inmate is “freed” because a lawyer agrees to take on his appeal.  What a hope!

But for the rest of us cancer-revenants, with our hale-and-hearty physiques and our arsenal of vitamin supplements, how is the future any different?  Do we live until a car wreck claims us, or a heart attack?  Or do we still consider ourselves as having cancer, which will likely come roaring back within days if our bottles of pills stop coming?  Exactly what is cancer—what’s its modus operandi?  Is the mass of humanity free of it, while the unhappy minority must feel its shadow descending over their shoulders during every birthday and Christmas they enjoy from now on?  Is the burden of that shadow never to be removed in this life?

I could say (and I have said: I have a section of this tenor in Why I’m Not Dead) that we cancer survivors at least know which gate of the city is under attack.  The “healthy” around us could be harvested tomorrow by a stroke, by an overdose, by an undetected cancer.  (By COVID?  Very, very unlikely.  Could it be that we want to make a bubonic plague of SARS-2 because insulating ourselves from it gives us a sense of being shielded from all other assaults on our mortality?)  That ubiquity of exposure is true, insofar as it goes: the Reaper is stalking everyone.  But there remains something distinctly different about living in his shadow, day in and day out.  The blissful ignorance that renders the shadow undetectable to others does, after all, generate a kind of bliss.  We don’t enjoy that luxury.

And as far as I can tell, we’re not going to, we recovering cancer-holics.  The sobered-up wino dare not ever take a sip again; and most of our group, I think, are just as leery of ever eating sugar or red meat.  Half the contents of the grocery store now wear an invisible skull-and-crossbones as we run our eyes over the shelves.  We don’t even have intact memories in which to seek comfort… or, at least, I don’t.  When I recall the summers of pitching a baseball to my son in the back yard and try to sell myself on how happy times were then, my effort is immediately sabotaged by the thought, “But you had that hideous dark snake sliding around your entrails and didn’t even know it.”  I cannot make ignorance blissful even in retrospect: my ignorant yesteryears are now horrid to me.

Which, I might argue, makes me stronger than ever: mortality will never again be able to creep up on me.  That’s a great boon… but it can also be a great burden.  The childishly pious around me tell me to trust that God will keep me sound and whole, as if I might make a virtue of delirium—might shut my eyes, stop my ears, and sing hymns of praise at full volume.  “The night’s not there, there is no night: all is sweetness, joy, and light!”  Fa-la-la, fa-la-la!  And when I decline to chime in, they consign me to outer darkness.  Maybe cancer is God’s judgment on me for refusing to accept His gift of long life.  That God Incarnate promised us immense suffering as the likely recompense of virtue in this world is… is no longer the concluding instruction of the Beatitudes, I guess.

So you don’t seem to garner much comfort from the very quarter where you would have expected to receive it.  Comfort.  There are days, you know—many days—when I’ve thought that just seeing children playing in a park would chase the Shadow away.  They say that misery loves company… but it’s not true.  Or it’s only true of man in his most fallen moments.  The Shadow lifts one out of self-preoccupation, lifts one to prospects only accessible from the mountain’s peak… but our sick society has seen fit to drape those happy little valleys in mist.  If only I could have watched our local Single A baseball team play a few games this summer… but no.  But no.  But we had to exile every joyful social pastime from our midst because of THE PANDEMIC!  Because of the abject hysteria with which we greeted even mortality’s most wavering, transient vulture-shadow on the far horizon, we pounded all the joy out of life.  We pounded it sadistically, with the seventy-two knife wounds or cudgel blows that one reads of homicidal maniacs delivering to their victims.  Some of us did it.  I didn’t.  Maybe you didn’t… but a lot of us did.

Appallingly many cancer patients did.  I always want to say to them, “Don’t you think you already have death before you in a sufficiently palpable form without running panicked from doors that bang in the night?”  I don’t understand them.  I would have thought a round or two with cancer would give you the courage to measure your limitations as a secular being.

No children at play, and no ballgames: that’s been the hardest thing to bear.  Not knowledge of my own mortality, but knowledge of how little my fellow beings recognize the precious gifts within theirs.  I should have liked to see you all—you who don’t have cancer, or who don’t yet have it, or who don’t know that you have it—finding a spot in the sun, enjoying its golden touch, and blessing God for the day.  That would have done my heart great good.  Instead, I see you complaining—constantly complaining: the sun isn’t golden enough, its beam is too hot or too cold, the spot where it falls requires you to move too far.  You understand nothing, and you learn nothing.  The valleys I see are minute pockets of fools seeking refuge in caves. I’ll look for my little patch of sunlight today, as I do every day now.  It’s a lonely spot, but it’s directly from God, and I’ll take it.  I’m sorry that most of the rest of you won’t be there.

Finding Peace as Willy Wonka Socialism Closes In

A few weeks ago, I joined a new social-media outlet dubbing itself CaucusRoom.  I will recommend it at this point only insofar as I‘m seeking “followers” for my newly created “cause”: to wit, the securing of our lamentably exposed power grid.  In our present state, we could easily be plunged into a genocidal paralysis devoid of refrigeration, central heating, air-conditioning, communication (beyond earshot or line-of-sight), home defense (of any electronic variety), transportation (unless we own a pre-1980 vehicle—and even then, understand that gas stations won’t pump fuel), cash resources (if related to credit cards or online banking), medical resources (if they run on electricity or require transport to hospitals, which in any case will have shut down)… we’ll become prime candidates for being starved, frozen, or murdered, in short.  Most of us—predictions have reached the figure of 90 percent—will die within a year.  And there’s nothing tendentious about the science, though mainstream “journalists” skimpily cite 40-year-old papers to poo-poo the threat. Unlike “climate change”, which relies on a lame “greenhouse” model (the earth’s many active volcanoes do not simulate greenhouse conditions) and ignores the saw-tooth history of Earth’s climate over the past ten millennia, a massive solar flare is as much a cinch to happen as an 8.0 quake along the San Andreas Fault.

Okay, are you concerned yet?  I have been so, for a long time—about this and several other “causes”.  But my brief exposure to most of CaucusRoom has confirmed in me a lesson I was taught by cancer this past summer.  It’s this: life on earth for all of us, as individuals and as vast human (or even biological) aggregates, is finite.  At some point, we have a spiritual duty to prosper from our time here rather than to fret about how to make that time last indefinitely.  Quantity is not quality.  Inner peace—union with one’s Creator—is not achieved by digging a moat and throwing up stone walls of defense.  Most of the participants in this new SM platform, as with those who populate its cousins, appear to me to be “dug in” as they pay exclusive attention to some enemy at the gates, ignoring the state of the palace at their backs.  As long as there’s a “they” to fight, the value of the cause for which one is fighting doesn’t come under much scrutiny.

I began nursing this bitter (though strangely soothing) thought after I commented on someone’s post of a P.J. O’Rourke article… or I believe it was a review of the humorist’s new book, rather.  Now, taking humorists seriously is always an exercise in self-mutilation.  I should have known better.  But then, I don’t know that comparing our young “snowflake” generation to spoiled kids who want everyone to have a free doughnut (or something… I can’t recall the terms of the analogy, which was pretty lackluster) struck other CaucusRoom readers as tongue-in-cheek.  I don’t even know that O’Rourke himself had traces of wryness on his mug when he penned the words.  To a great many of us, exhausted with “wokeness”, our children appear to be over-educated brats who haven’t learned that (for instance) electricity doesn’t flow from Sheetrock if you just screw in a plastic outlet panel.

But some of us, too, have watched our children struggle with depression—and the ordeal is no joking matter, no comedy sketch about poor-little-rich-kids in a pastry shop.  Imagine that you’ve graduated from college and are starting your eight-to-five existence, which is supposed to carry you through most of your time on earth and to compensate or fulfill you over those decades with a rising salary.  There’s nothing remotely spiritual in the equation.  No deep satisfaction in the work you do has been factored in.  You know better—for that work is often service to an inscrutable machine whose ultimate objective is… well, the handsome profits responsible for your salary.  Higher motives be damned!

So, on that arid spiritual savanna into which you’ve wandered, you purchase gadgets and gizmos to amuse you over weekends. Eventually, as bank account and credit rating prosper, you spring for a 3,500-square-foot house just outside the taxable zones of Dallas or Denver. You take vacations to Vegas and Tampa one week out of the year, you smoke a little weed and acquire a fairly non-toxic alcohol dependency, you join a big church where you flutter dangerously close to flames lit by an abundance of highly discreet divorcees… and then the sand runs out of the glass.  That was your life.  You were a success, a good American: supported your church, never got caught cheating on your wife, sired and raised a couple of kids whom you reintroduced to the same assembly line (prep school, State U, desk at Merrill Lynch)….

Yeah, that’s your life.  That’s it.  What do you want, a free jelly roll?  I suppose you want everyone to have free jelly rolls… is that what you want?  What are you, a snowflake?

I don’t recall my precise comments upon the CaucusRoom post, which I haven’t managed to relocate, or the responses to my comments; but as telegraphic as all the “communication” was, I think it implied the tragic disconnect that I’ve tried to describe more amply in the last few paragraphs.  We “conservatives” don’t seem to have any detectable regard for quiet streets with shaded sidewalks and front porches where our aging neighbors rock.  Where those venues continue to exist, they characterize once-desirable settings (desirable in the Fifties, perhaps) which have now become “run down” and seem nearly devoured by adjoining overpasses and interstates.  Our “way of life” is the make-money paradigm that requires a constant purging of such neighborhoods, along with all other relicts and habits of the past.  What do you want… you want us to hold out for quaint corner drugstores and steeples nestled among tall trees in the Age of the Internet?  You want free doughnuts for everyone?  That scheme’s not economically viable any more.

Pardon me… but I think the miserable, anguishing poverty of this “conservative” rationale is why our children are Willy Wonka socialists.  Yes, their mother’s-day-out conceptions of how an economy might work if only we built chocolate factories everywhere are constructed of colorful, round-edged blocks that should have been left in the playpen; but… but is the sole alternative really spiritual annihilation?  Is that really all we’ve got to offer—is that how we intend to win them over?

I don’t begin to accept that the majority of these young, clueless wonders with worthless college degrees are lining up to enlist in Antifa.  My experience is that they really don’t like anything vaguely scented with politics.  They supported Bernie four years ago because he was their Willy, their clownish guide to an alternative world not slick with blood from cut throats and poignarded backs: the corporate world, the advance-at-all-costs world.  And they’re not all unemployable, you know.  Many of them have already doubled my best-ever annual salary, though they go to work dressed very casually in rags that do nothing to hide their rings and tattoos.  They fool around with computer code and in sound studios helping capitalist enterprises to exploit the dreamy gullibility of the masses—unaware of any potential hypocrisy in their labors since they themselves move in the vapors of a dream.  Thanks to their inspired work in the make-over room, DuPont or Halliburton or General Motors now comes off seeming infinitely more concerned about ushering you through the deadly pandemic than selling you… whatever it is such conglomerates sell today.  (Sometimes it’s hard to tell amid all the passionate dedication to “keeping you safe”.)  Insurance is peddled by a gecko or a flaky cop with an emu partner.  Red Bull gives you cartoon wings.  Suddenlink connects you in Instagram-length vignettes.  And of all the happy people dramatically or graphically represented on your screens as made safe, thoroughly insured, energized, and connected, a good half seem to have drawn their significant other from a different race.

I mention that final detail only to stress that, when Generation Z’s graduates do find jobs in some tech-related enterprise, they eagerly lend their gifts to imagining a world socially and culturally different from the one we actually see.  Yes, it’s a happy world: it always has been, in these industrial make-overs.  (When I was a kid, Paul Parrot would assure us that P.F. Flyers “make your feet run faster, as fast as I can fly”.)  But it’s also a more racially integrated world.  It’s a world where women don’t need fathers to raise their children, where svelte vegan retirees enjoy their golden years on endless Caribbean cruises, where energy really does appear to course from the Sheetrock.  I think the young designers of these Never Never Lands half-believe, in some spontaneous fashion, the utopian claptrap they grind out.  (Even the most alcoholic cartoonist, in contrast, didn’t believe Paul Parrot existed.) In the old days, you tried to convince the public that eating spinach would make them look like Popeye because you had an unsavory vegetable to unload.  Nowadays, fantasies are being packaged for the public by producers who themselves yearn to locate reality in fantasy.

Eventually and inevitably, some of these raptured cherubs accede to the control of their own enterprises… and they support leftist, statist causes.  Conservatives are shocked.  They protest, “It was free enterprise that made you a mogul… and now you want to throw it all over for socialism?”  But… but the Young Turks became rich by marketing their naïveté to others of their generation who were equally naive.  To some extent, you see, living in illusion can be profitable in a capitalist system.  I mean… if you thoroughly believe in your own illusions, aren’t you especially well suited to convince others of their truth who yearn to believe?

The yearning to believe… this is why, sooner or later, our society is doomed to become a socialist anthill.  Our children appear to us spoiled brats in a candy shop because they can’t “get real”, because they don’t understand “what it’s really like”.  Yet that bitter panacea—the well-paying job—which was flung back at me on CaucusRoom as the answer to their problems is part of the poison driving them to candy.  They don’t need money; or, at least, if they turn into the kind of human being who only needs money, then they will become as sick as if they’d gorged on socialist sugar.  What they need is higher purpose, which they misidentify with an egalitarian utopia. They don’t understand that Uncle Bernie’s Candy Factory must end up being Treblinka or Auschwitz because trying to better humanity within merely human boundaries always results in vast slaughter.  The visionary do-gooder must forever be melting down and remolding the millions of little morsels trundling along his assembly line; for the batter of which we’re concocted is flawed, and it doesn’t rise properly under heat.

They can’t see this, the children.  Our children.  They won’t see it until they live through their own nightmares on the assembly line.  The evils of socialism, I’m afraid, aren’t something you learn to assess by reading a conservative book or listening to a conservative professor (assuming that you could find either one).  They strike you between the eyes only after you come to understand human nature.  My brother and sister remain left-of-center, I believe, because they were relatively popular in their adolescent high-school-and-college cocoons, and the habits acquired in that insulated existence have clung to them.  I, on the other hand, while the least worldly of human beings, learned the deeper meaning of the Crucifixion after years of being an ugly duckling.  My misery was a blessing.  I came to grasp that people are fatally warped by their egotism—their unconscious, self-indulgent dedication to a script that casts them in an enviable role.  And the contradictory evidence from the “real world” that might have made their well-rehearsed lines taste foul in their mouths becomes, instead, the raw material for weaving ingenious new narratives….  So passes an entire lifetime, in many tragic cases.

This analogy portrays much more accurately what I see in young people than any facile comparison of them with spoiled brats surrounded by Krispy Kremes.  Of course, all of us parents want our kids to be well-integrated and “happy”—to be shielded in some measure from bitter truths about human nature.  Hence we send them forth into the adult world, all too often, as if it might be a place where they could simply share out confections to the hungry masses from miraculously self-replenishing shelves.  The fault for that, however, clearly lies in ourselves as much as in them.  We have fashioned this seductive Siren-shore of socialism by loving our little ones not wisely, but too well.

Now our society is poised to enter a period of rotting bones—of victims who have heard the sweet song and thrown themselves into the brine, thinking they could live forever on its melody.  We’ll have to get through that… or not.  We’ll have to get through a period of not getting through it.  We’ll have to rediscover true faith: the confidence, I mean, that peace and joy are already assured us in a higher reality, a “real reality”.  We’ll have to stop trying to substitute our own provisional, earth-bound realities for the genuine article—the very sin of which we so justly accuse our socialist offspring.

Take whatever November and the new year bring, and live in peace.

Free Download of the Week: Starting today (September 26) and extending through Wednesday (September 30), my collection of short stories, A Sleepless Man Might Earn Two Wages, is available as a free Kindle download.  Written over a period of two decades, all of the stories are intended to evoke the quality of a dream in some manner. Events, that is, are bizarre or even physically impossible in certain respects, yet their portrayal is simple, straightforward, and tantalizingly humming with truth.

The Invasion of the Puppets: BLM and the Last Days of Civil Society

Somebody should perhaps write an addendum to The Screwtape Letters.  My suspicion is that somebody already has, either in the “People’s Republic” of China or in the upper echelons of American academe.

The way that mass consciousness—if one can use those two words together—has been manipulated by the BLM movement (shakedown? insurrection?) is pure Satanic genius.  When I read about the conduct of both Kansas City and Houston players as the anthem opened the NFL’s initial game, I realized what a tight little box had been sealed upon our national psyche.  One team’s fifty stalwarts linked arms and bent knees; the other’s simply refused to take the field.  Now, I couldn’t possibly care less about football at any level.  I despise the game.  As a boy, I knew several kids who were crippled for life while playing high school football, and one who actually died after a year on a respirator.  Suits me fine if we just hand the whole sport off to the feminists. It’s about blindsiding or mobbing your adversary, not going mano a mano face-to-face.

But there are much more important issues involved here that we ignore at our peril.  And, of course, the buffoonery is spreading.  We all know about basketball‘s “woke” transformation, even those of us who couldn’t readily name six NBA teams.  (Yeah, I’ve raised my hand.) Now baseball is crowding in for a piece of the idiot action—idiot on the surface, that is; for the genius is in the Puppeteer’s mind and not in the wooden heads of his Pinocchios.  Several Major League clubs refused to perform in their empty stadiums (all stadiums in COVID America being empty nowadays—that’s part of the behind-the-scenes brilliance) after the shooting of Jacob Blake.  None of these blockheads knew the details of the shooting: “cop shoots black dude…” okay, let’s roll.  The ratiocinative chain went no further than that.

But consider the “meta” of these moron-level associative responses.  Their very fuzziness is part of the mire wherein we have all waded and been trapped.  Exactly what are you protesting, Mighty Casey?  How about you, Slag Bronkowsky—and you, D’Shondrick Hayes?  “Well, it’s the cops.  They’re killing young black kids.”  So… your best way of addressing the social disease underlying these fatalities is to squat on the flag or simply refuse to fulfill your player’s contract?  “Gotta draw attention to the abuse, man.”  Attention you have certainly drawn… but to what?  To the police?  To which police?  “All of ’em, man!”  So let’s suppose that all police are racist executioners disguised in blue.  Doesn’t disrespecting the flag send the signal, rather, that you find the whole nation guilty?  Doesn’t walking out on your job send the signal that you think everything’s a contemptible scam?  “It is!  Everything, just like you said.  And yeah, everyone’s guilty.”  Okay, we’re getting real clarity now.  Gimlet precision.  So it’s not about the cops: it’s about mainstream America and her political system.  “Yeah, that’s right.”  Because all of it—because everyone—is racist.  “Yeah, that’s right.”  So why didn’t you take a knee a long time ago to protest the quarter-of-a-million-plus black babies who are aborted every year?  “Come on, man!  You’re just trying to make this political!”

Wow.  There’s a coherent, resonant message for you.  Every passive spectator out there who doesn’t applaud me because I’m calling his eight-to-five world a load of crap is part of said load.  It’s a world, by the way, that supplied him and other spectators with the means to blow a couple of Franklins on a ticket and watch me play.  Yeah, I’ll play—but first you’ll open up for a scoop of this, cracker, and you’ll swallow!

Result: average Americans—hard-working, practical, common-sensical—are repulsed by all the self-righteous arrogance and logic-hostile bullying.  The ordinary adult, being sane and responsible, grows angry.  He turns his back on sports, which actually darkens his mood (because we do genuinely need some sort of frivolous escape-valve in our routine); and before very long, he may even begin to mutter thoughts only to himself, or at most to a very tight circle of familiars, that people of color are a tremendous annoyance.

Brilliant, I say.  This is a huge accomplishment in the Puppeteer’s bid to subvert society.  For we now have significant rifts opening up in our social fabric; and even better, the strain producing the splits isn’t merely economic or cultural—it’s the beginning stage of true racism.  Not the phony kind, but the real thing.  Well done, Master Screwtape!

Furthermore, the rifts are numerous and running in several directions, as opposed to reflecting a simple black/white antagonism.  Whites who cannot bed down at night without mentally checking some box that confirms their moral superiority rush to endorse anything with “BLM” scrawled along its edge.  It seems to me, honestly, as though their voice is much louder than any football team’s—their need of this bizarre bedtime prayer-of-the-Pharisee more urgent than any black athlete’s of publicizing abuses in racial profiling.  The neo-fascist Antifa draws its most committed footsoldiers from the ranks of the “woke white”.  If BLM didn’t exist, Antifa’s white buccaneers would have to invent it (which, you know, some of them—or their bloody-handed captains—actually did: few of the puppeteers are genetically African).

The presence of anti-white racist whites in the melee ensures that no sane discussion of specific cases or of appropriate generalities can occur.  Any sentence that begins, “But did you realize that Jacob Blake… did you know that George Floyd…” draws immediate artillery fire.  Yours not to question.  Do not dare initiate the observation, “But if so many black kids were not raised without fathers…”.  Oh, don’t you dare!  Shut up!  SHUT UP!  SHUT THE F— UP!”

So now we have at least three phalanxes launching missiles at each other, with the Woke White appearing to be one with the black protest but, increasingly, distanced from it by their own zealous excesses.  I really can’t say how numerous a fourth battle line (or, more properly, defensive line) may be, consisting of people with African DNA who claim the right to open, peaceful discussion; for few human beings have the courage of Candace Owens, Kimberly Klacik, or Allen West.  Most of this happy few (or secret many, let us hope) do their claiming in a whisper, since they see how gaudily the outspoken are crucified.  And the grumbling white mainstream, of course, hasn’t much interest in coming to their rescue, and probably would do so very ineptly if it tried. (I took a lot of flak from the White Right when I tried to publicize Kim Klacik’s campaign with my little trumpet last spring.)

Because of unique (and accidental?) circumstances, our ongoing social fragmentation is turbocharged in 2020.  Most of us are already on the verge of suicide or homicide thanks to COVID lockdown.  When you cook up a potful of people who have long since been denied their constitutional right to associate freely with fellow citizens, season it with paranoia about a “pandemic” whose fatalities approximate the curve of a bad flu year, and finally stir in racial hatred and armed bullying (with faces all duly masked)… well, old Screwtape outdid himself this time.  Hell is boiling over into Middle Earth.

For the record, I fully grasp that young black males are profiled by police with excessive readiness.  While it’s true that this demographic is disproportionately involved in certain crimes (such as possession of prohibited substances or of unlicensed firearms), the law requires probable cause to pry into a person’s private space… and “driving while black” is not probable cause.  How many white parents would get the call that their college student has been incarcerated on drug charges if a single stop-and-search protocol were applied with equal rigor across the board?  Yes, I understand.

But—as the words run in some Rap song that I recall from my son’s high school days—“dat ain’t dis, and dis ain’t dat.”  The BLM frenzy is in fact drawing effective attention away from issues which might be ameliorated.  A simple “stop profiling” would have done the trick; and I don’t know if kneeling for the anthem would remain the best delivery system, but at least it would not involve the open disrespect of—say—turning the back.  So kneel, if you like.  People of all creeds, classes, and colors could chime in, as well, without all the virtue-miming.  Attorneys like Kathleen Zellner have made us aware that repeat petty offenders or “poor white trash” can get railroaded all the way to Death Row by detectives who cut corners.  Buddy Woodall is serving life here in Georgia for a double murder because cops exploited his insomnia and despair to wring a confession from him in the absence of solid material evidence.  Buddy is white… but he’s also a “nobody”.  He grew up on a country lane lined with trailer homes.  (And the locals, by the way, still will not discuss the case two decades later: too many figures that once wore badges are implicated in it.)

Patsy Ramsay, in contrast, was definitely somebody.  She was beautiful (Miss Virginia at age 20), married to a wealthy Atlanta businessman, and—yes—Caucasian all the way.  She passed the final twenty years of her life fighting, in court and before the public eye, the perception—shamelessly encouraged by Boulder, Colorado, detectives—that she had a hand in murdering her young daughter, JonBenét.  One can scarcely imagine a more miserable existence: to know that your child died a violent death, to know that the crime occurred in your house as you slept, and to know that the killer is living free as the police push and squeeze to make the evidence point to you… all because your profile fits their boilerplate culprit for a domestic homicide.  Who’s taking a knee for Patsy?

What misery!  In a humane society, we would recognize that injustice is a thread binding us all together; but as subversive puppeteers try to rip our society apart, we are asked—no, required—to believe that only one race suffers.  It’s insulting to the intelligence—and, by the way, demeaning to the race at issue, as if its members were condemned deterministically to slings and arrows and needed special protection.  A black friend of mine once protested, during our discussion of my book Key to a Cold City, “But Dr. Harris… black ballplayers in Jackie Robinson’s day never ceased being black.  Out of uniform, walking into a restaurant or hotel, they were still black.  A white player might get dumped on by the fans or the press—but put him in street clothes, and he can go anywhere he wants.”  That’s true… and so is this.  It’s a remark that Larry Doby made about Yogi Berra, and I wish I’d found it in time for inclusion in the book.  “… I repeated a few of those jokes myself [about Yogi’s being a dope, a caveman, etc.].  And it never once occurred to me in those early years that I was hurting Yogi’s feelings.  The black guys around the league, there weren’t many of us, but when we would get together and talk, we knew we were all going through something together.  That made the abuse a little easier to take.  Now that I’m older, I wonder who helped Yogi take all that abuse” (Allen Barra, Yogi Berra, Eternal Yankee, pp. 62-63 [2009]).

We all have our struggles.  Everyone’s travail is unique in some way, yet all of us are alike in having to bear heavy burdens.  If we forget that, then we will become incapable of true compassion or true justice.  We will be animals that belch words, lots of words, without any regard for or suspicion of their meaning. I believe we’re already there.

P.S. In keeping with my bid to offer certain of my ebooks free at regular intervals, I’ve created a promotion for two of my fictional works about academe in the late twentieth century. Worse By Seven is a psychological novel about a professor who surrenders to despair amid the nihilism and debauchery that swamp him on an elite campus… but who at last finds a truth greater than this world’s. Ivory Gutter Shining Bright is a large collection of short stories, most of them wry or burlesque, some a little fantastical, about the pompous insanity that prevails in our towers of learning. Both ebooks may be downloaded free through this Tuesday (September 22).

Late-Stage Social Lunacy: Half-Lunacy Is Not a Cure

raw

I have to say that it was nice being in a sort of “news quarantine” for five weeks while I was receiving treatment in Tijuana.  Of course, we’re never in such isolation anywhere these days—not really.  Baja California, especially, was bristling in masks and “Corona panic”.  The virus appears to have peaked a couple of months later in Mexico than in the U.S.; and with all the activity (legal and otherwise) occurring daily along the international border, infections were bound to proliferate.  Yet my wife and I, having already witnessed the hysteria months earlier, were pretty unfazed.  We wore masks, all right—on our walks to and from the Immunity Therapy Center, because the smog was so dense!  That’s another reason, by the way, why people in metropolitan centers might perceive CV-19 as the bubonic plague: because their air is so foul, and many of them already have compromised respiratory systems from daily living.

As for the two of us, though senior citizens and (in the case of one) fighting off cancer, we never felt ourselves under siege from an invisible killer.  (No, I don’t even regard cancer that way: on the contrary, my body’s healthy cells are cancer-killers.)  To return to the states, therefore, and find that panic has revisited—or even exceeded—its original levels was a shock.  What’s going on?  If you feel at risk, stay at home.  If you have to go out, wear a mask.  If you happen to know that cloth masks have zero efficacy and mass-marketed models only about fifty percent, then… first of all, good for you: you did some homework.  So take your fifty-fifty chance in the knowledge that, if you lose, you’ll probably end up with a bad cold for a few days.  And try to stay off ventilators, which earn big money for hospitals but are death traps in most cases.  Like masks, they keep healthy, oxygenated air from circulating (cancer dreads oxygen, by the way) and send back to the lungs higher levels of carbon dioxide along with whatever toxic microbes may lurk in your system.  I learned that much many decades ago as a young man hiking about in the snow.  Wearing a ski mask for hours is a surefire way to wake up with a chest cold the next morning.

Now, I’ve spoken to friends and relatives (not necessarily the same thing) who are terrified of CV-19 because they have personally watched it ravage an acquaintance.  The disease is not a hoax, even though it isn’t anthrax vapor.  Baseball star Freddie Freeman apparently thought he might die from his round with the contagion, despite being a young athlete in peak form.  Curious to me, though, is the way such cases are publicized.  Instead of delving into why somebody of Freddie’s demographic should have registered such an eccentrically, improbably severe response to COVID, broadcasters send the message, “See?  Even this professional athlete lay briefly at death’s door.  Just imagine what COVID could do to you if you don’t wear your mask and stay home!”

Same thing for the unfortunate kids who are playmates of a friend’s grandchildren: she informed me that their faces were all over the news in Florida as they fought for life on respirators.  My first question is… why?  Why are they news?  Because, of course, so very few adolescents even show symptoms when they contract the disease.  The press decided to run with these two young sufferers, I must assume, in order to purvey the mistaken notion that, yes, your little ones are also risking their lives when they cross their home’s threshold!  A genuinely inquiring mind, in contrast, would ask, “Why these two, out of so many thousands?  What in their profile has put a target on their back?”

Hospitals in the Palmetto State have been caught red-handed nudging a decimal point over to shift a 9.8 percent positive result on COVID screening tests to a 98 percent positive; and, of course, we’ve seen similar shenanigans all around the nation.  (My brother-in-law personally knows of a case where a man who was shot to death was logged as a CV-19 victim.  The bullet, you know, simply hastened along the inevitable!)  We can all speculate about the financial and political motives of such fraudsters—or we can do as my sister does, and just break off the conversation once it jeopardizes the “deadly plague” narrative (the same approach as Twitter‘s and Facebook‘s, come to think of it, if “break off” can include throttling your adversary into permanent silence).

But my greater interest here isn’t in sordid profiteering or yet more sordid propagandizing: it’s at the other end.  It’s in the population of bacchantes like my sister—people who appear to need the panic at some level, to embrace it as the filler of a great empty space in their lives.  What precisely is that space?  How did it evolve?  As a sign of late-stage social cancer, how many years does it suggest our nation has to live?

Other kinds of irrationality would imply that we’re already in our death throes.  BLM: now, there was one species of lunacy I was able to ignore entirely in Tijuana.  That it had literally ignited large swathes of our major cities therefore struck me with a smack upon my return.  One bad cop uses excessive force in one urban take-down… and, no, it’s not just black folks who have suffered the aggressions of that “one bad cop” in their municipality.  Oh, but it is!  And it’s not just one cop, but all of them; and it’s not just a municipality—it’s the whole damn country!  Take it all down!  Take everything down!  Take those statues down!  Take those street signs down!

Like millions of Americans, I had thought that I might escape the lunacy by losing myself in the faintly resuscitated baseball mini-season.  (At the very least, the quality of play in today’s game is a sure antidote to insomnia.)  But ESPN and the MLB aren’t content to pummel you with the Freddie Freeman narrative multiplied exponentially; that left jab is infallibly followed by the right hook of BLM.  Entire teams kneeling as the flag is raised, “BLM” emblazoned on the side of bases around the infield… it’s so very much like the marketing of Freeman’s misfortune.  Instead of inquiring into the specifics of abusive police practices and suggesting constructive solutions, the message is… what, exactly?  Abolish police forces?  Kill “pigs”?  Or can it be tailored infinitely to suit individual taste?  My son speaks of a case involving an athlete whose locker was defaced with the “n” word during high-school hazing incidents.  Okay… so you’re against that.  So am I—so is every sane human being.  I also assume that any competent principal would suspend the bully who slams a weaker kid into the wall and shouts “faggot” at him.  Does that mean that we should close down gymns across the nation?

Uh… what’s that, again?  What are you saying?

That you hate slavery?  That all whites, or all Southerners, should be punished for the institution’s presence in our history?  Is that why all Confederates in bronze on rearing horses need to be torn down throughout Alabama?  Is that why all streets and high schools named “Lee” or “Jackson” need to be rechristened “Marx” or “Engels”?

The so-called, self-styled Right has in fact primed us for this particular species of lunatic excess.  I have taken the estimable Glenn Beck to task many times in recent years for truculently insisting that our Civil War was fought only and completely—by all participants—over the issue of slavery.  Never mind that several Northern states allowed slave ownership, never mind that Lincoln excluded these from the censures and mandates of the Emancipation Proclamation, never mind that the vast majority of Southrons in uniform owned no slaves, never mind that some Southern slaveholders were themselves black, never mind that there were more abolitionist organizations in the South than in the North before John Brown’s murderous uprising torched the countryside, never mind that Lincoln could never have been elected had he admitted openly that he would meet secession with armed suppression, never mind that violent resistance to the war erupted in states as far flung as New York and Illinois when Lincoln’s draft was enforced… no, never mind history.  Mr. Beck—Grandpa History in his rocking chair—would have none of it.  And, to be fair, neither would a great many other Rightists who saw deploring the South as a slam-dunk manner of declaring their broad-mindedness, their distance from anything smacking of the John Birch Society.  “I may be for ending food stamps, but I’m not a racist.  I think flying a Confederate flag should be considered a hate crime.”  Yeah, thanks for that, Conservatives.  Beck’s own “defense” of Southern monuments was that we should never forget the evils of our past lest we slide back into them.  A statue of General Beauregard, in other words, should hang like a scarlet “A” around the South’s neck perpetually so that all Americans may ensure that they don’t become like that!

Such projection of evil upon the Other is precisely—and I mean *precisely*—what BLM is doing to white people everywhere (and, somewhat more implicitly, to various other non-African minorities).  It’s what Hitler (and Stalin, with much less “coverage”) did to Jews.  It’s what mask-fanatics are doing to non-maskers, often (as YouTube has not yet managed to suppress) attacking free-breathers physically, sometimes with deadly force.  The insane, homicidal self-righteousness of John Brown—and the Brownshirts—is in those attacks.

I happened to read just days ago a passage well over half a century old from Karl Popper’s Open Society and Its Enemies.  One of the keenest minds of the modern era observed that the Hegelian, historicist distortion (we would say “progressivism” today) had infected, not just our Far Left and Far Right, but also our conservative center.  We all have the inclination to view our civilization’s past as a Darwinian kind of climb up a staircase that this or that group seeks to impede.  Leftist loons are destroying everything!  No, Rightist racists want to conduct bloody purges!  Mask-resisters are going to kill us all!  Something’s very, very wrong with the world, and it’s… it’s them!  It’s him!  It’s outside of us, absolutely not us!  We need to eliminate the not us, or we risk being pushed back down the stairs.  Silence is violence!  All good people must stand beside us!

You know what?  The Left is right, the universities are right: there’s something very wrong with our society and our nation.  It’s that we created them—and then denied our creation as them.  Stalin and Mao didn’t force them upon us.  They’re our children, our brothers and sisters: we made them.  Yet we only ever point to them as what’s wrong without looking within ourselves to find what we did wrong in birthing them: the examples we failed to set, the message we failed to convey, the practice we failed to bring to what we preached.  They’re full of hate because, though we’re not “deplorables”, we did something deplorable along the way.  And penitence is not a matter of sharing half-and-half in their lunacy: of shutting down schools but not requiring masks, of taking a knee before the flag but supporting the local P.D., of melting down General Lee’s statues but safeguarding General Washington’s.  The nature of our sin isn’t that we wouldn’t let our wayward children have half the house to tear up at playtime.

We have all sinned, and not against each other, but against Him who made us.  We sin when we imagine we can make everything better than it was—that the fatal element of “what was” is not enduringly latent in us as we are.  Our faith in staircases, in “progress“, is a sure symptom of our sin.  And we give no sign from day to day—any of us—that we have diagnosed the illness.

Is Fretting Over Politics Worth Shortening Your Time on Earth?

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I don’t know where my cancer came from.  To be clear, we all have cancer cells circulating within us like so many little time bombs… but a healthy person’s immune system is up to the task of diffusing them, or at least sand-bagging them.  Why did my system fail?  I didn’t drink or smoke.  I never ate junk food or sweets (well, hardly ever), and I worked out vigorously for an hour a day.  Why me?

Genetics?  Prostate cancer is particularly hard to trace in that it only affects males, of which my mother’s side of the family featured very few to study.  I was under the impression that my one uncle died of a cancer first appearing in the prostate… but my big brother says “no” to that (and big brothers are always right, you know).  So… who’s next on the suspect list?

Could it be stress?  I’m hearing more and more about that culprit, and he has no alibi in my case.  I “stressed out” horribly at times during my academic career.  I walked away from all three tenure-track appointments I once occupied, not because I was facing release or dismissal, but because I couldn’t stand the steady onslaught of back-stabbing.  (At one institution, a dean urged me to stop publishing because I was making my colleagues envious; at another, I was told—oh-so-confidentially—to cast my vote at departmental meetings in conformity with the subtle hints of our Buddha-like chairman.  At all three jobs on occasion, my schedule was deliberately arranged to keep me yoyoing to and from campus from early morning to late evening, a tactic deployed against no one else around me.)  I had all the signs of clinical depression numerous times over these years.  Could I have been incubating cancer over that span because my immune system had been worn down?  Were my ruthless “scholarly” superiors planting my future road with deadly mines?

Whatever the truth may be, I’ve certainly chosen “stress reduction” to be a prime objective in my overhauled life as a “cancer survivor”.  (I’m using too many quotes; but honestly, all of us who survive in this life are cancer survivors, whether we know it or not.)  I haven’t entirely given up social media, though one social medium has apparently given me up: several Twitter friends are no longer receiving my posts after my five-week hiatus at Tijuana’s Immunity Therapy Clinic.  (No, nothing to see there: move on.)  Nevertheless, I’m very consciously awarding a lot less attention to politics.  I know we’re supposed to be activists, to get off our fundaments and mobilize, etc., etc.  Daniel Horowitz’s interview of Shannon Joy last week (Episode 686 of Conservative Review) left me blessing young people with confidence, energy, and appropriate poise.  But I’ve personally never been able to take the field for a few downs without transforming into Cu Chulainn during one of his supernatural distortions.  I get too worked up.  The younger and more stable of you will have to play this game without me.  (Seriously, when I did indeed play high school football, my classmates remarked upon my fearsome, homicidal transformations into a fireball of hatred.  I quit the game and detest it to this day because I could never regard it as “play”.)

If what I’m about to write strikes some of you as quietism, I apologize.  It’s not my intent to endorse the attitude so common among my wife’s Appalachian relatives: “You can’t do nothing about nothing in politics.  Why vote for any of ’em?”  This is not unlike the attitude I discovered among the good people of Tijuana—and many who crossed my path were truly good people, by my estimate.  They cared about me when my own countrymen crossed to the road’s far side and hastened their step, leaving me to bleed out like the mauled traveler in the Good Samaritan parable.  I had to fight down tears when I left the nurses who had attended me.  They knew—every one of them knew well—that their nation rested firmly in the squalid hands of hooligans and shysters.  And there was nothing they could do about it, so they just got on with their own tiny bit of existence.

Down the backstreets surrounding our hotel, my wife and I would take occasional walks.  Empty storehouses and busy repair shops would alternate with ornate residences guarded by high fences and vicious dogs.  All of it cheek by jowl.  Strange.  But that’s how people live, in Mexico and in most of the world outside the U.S.  You cling to your bit of turf and try to keep it safe.  What goes on beyond the reach of Massimo’s canines is none of your business.

Defeatist?  Quietist?  Yes, indeed… but more and more, this attitude is also survivalist in the U.S. of A.  Just one very brief illustration.  Jeff Sessions, one of the most principled men in politics over the past couple of decades and perhaps the most coherent, consistent advocate of maintaining our national sovereignty over that time, recently lost his seat to an “I’m for Trump” cheerleader whose position on border security might as well be Chuck Schumer’s—or Thom Tillis’s, or Kay Granger’s: all three of them (I mean, including Tuberville) ostensibly opposed to Trump on his signature issue yet endorsed by him because they stroked his ego.  The “Trump base”—disappointingly, but not surprisingly—cannot distinguish between the positions championed by their superhero and the superhero’s charisma.  They will follow him to their own destruction (and quite possibly to his own destruction, as his impulsive reactions shred his message) rather than measure every local candidate against the Constitution.

And that’s what’s happening on the law-and-order side.  On the other… chaos, tear-it-all-down, helter-skelter—“anywhere out of this world” (in Baudelaire’s immortal phrase).  While the Republican, self-styled “conservative” punditry derides Biden’s dementia and indicts CNN’s mendacity, educated, middle-class white folks (some of them in my own family) draw all their information from… CNN, and also grow weary of masks, quarantines, and Armageddon without any speculative genius for tracing our national lockdown back to root causes.  They just “want it to stop”; and the Man doesn’t help them figure out where it started because he can’t admit that Anthony Fauci’s canonization was a gross lack of judgment (any more than he’ll concede that Jeff Sessions’ self-recusal was not responsible for the Mueller witch-hunt).

Average citizens won’t unravel this tangle; and even if they do, the President himself will continue to foul his lines even without a shamelessly lying mass media to sabotage the ship.  Our future isn’t going to be rosy.  It’s going to be a Mexican prickly pear.

But we’ll survive somewhere in the cracks, most of us.  The Pat Buchanans and Diana Wests who warn that the republic will be destroyed forever if Donald Trump isn’t re-elected have assigned death to us if we don’t get chemo.  I figure I could hunker down and live in Mexico 2.0 if I had to, though—and I figure I’ll probably have to.  (Hell, I’m already there: my government just bled my wife and me for over $300 to get a passport in case I have to return to ITC in Tijuana… and kept our birth certificates lest we try to travel on those again, and keeps all we paid into Medicare for forty years, and refuses to pay out a dime of it for the medical strategy that saved my life. Is this Mexico… or the Soviet Union?) If my future neighbors are people like the ones I met in Tijuana, then they’ll be much truer to me in our common misery than the elitist medical mandarins north of the border who left me to die as they hazed an ailing herd into costly, toxic treatments.

For that matter, Pat and Diana, what I consider most dangerous about the Left is its utopianism: i.e., its conviction that an inspired few can play God and make the world perfect.  When we of the Right, in turn, lament the passing of a Shining City on a Hill, aren’t we falling for the same mirage?  The corporatist state that birthed the Medi-Pharm Complex, you know, was a cancerous by-product of Mom-and-Pop Main Streets horribly mutated (at the expense of Mom and Pop) into ravenous wealth engines.  We lost our own way, and now the vultures are gathering around a corpse that has rotted from the inside out.

Mend your fence, grow your garden, and keep your head down.  Build locally if you can: stop letting pseudo-messiahs insert themselves into your hometown politics.  That’s my advice… and, for that matter, it’s Horowitz’s and Mrs. Joy’s.  Yet I need peace: I personally need a lot of it right now. There’s no live grenade I call fall on to save the rest of my squadron, so… so I’m not going to blow myself up in the garage. Why should you die before your time, asketh the Preacher?

Live what years God has given you on this earth.  Stop trying to make earth into heaven in your impatience with heaven’s hazy plan.