How to Begin Resisting: Refuse to Wink at Falsehood and Outrage

Finally, my personal nightmare of almost two months shows cracks and strips of sunlight on the horizon before me.  Much pain remains ahead, but now I believe I have measured and prepared for it.  The anguish I see in my friends back on Planet Healthy leaves me faintly amused—something in the spirit of, “I should have such problems!”  Yet the dissolution of a society and a civilization is, of course, no smiling matter.  I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic.  I say only that those who grieve should pause to thank God for the full breath and firm steps they can give to grieving.

And so I offer, on this very darkest of days imaginable for many of you, a brief speech of the imaginary Representative James Fairplay.  I borrowed the name from a silly little Jules Verne novel which I crawled through half-conscious in my personal twilight.  The surname’s Bunyonesque quality appeals to me: for Mr. Fairplay, you must realize from the outset, is a thoroughly fair-minded human being.

My course for the next two years, at least [runs the speech], is fixed.  I did not accept the honor of representing my fellow citizens simply to cast the office into the gutter and declare all functions of our government dead… yet neither will my personal honor permit me to participate in a pantomime wherein we reps and senators act as if led by a duly elected president.  I refuse to call this pretender my president.  I refuse to rise when he enters the room.  I will not attend his State of the Union addresses or other public events.  I will boycott receptions and celebrations where he promises to be present.  He needn’t worry about my rising from a crowd to shout “Liar!” at him, for no crowd spread before him will ever include me.  If I should find myself trapped in such an assembly, I will slip away as quickly and quietly as possible.  If I’m at a ball game and he makes an appearance to throw out the first pitch, I gather my family together at once, and we all leave.

I will not fight my war for the recovery of what shreds of our republic may yet be salvaged by hurling names across the aisle.  My conduct, rather, will be a steady broadcast to the world that we are ruled by a pretender.  My forever proclaimed, almost always wordless truth will be that we have no legitimate leader.  My testimony of every day, mostly silent, will be that I serve a nation whose highest office has been hijacked and whose Constitution has been brutally raped.

This is where our resistance should start, in my opinion.  There are those who would have Ashli Babbitt, the military veteran, wife, and mother who was gunned down by Capital police, become the first fallen hero in a new civil war, and I will not dispute her claim to patriotic heroism.  But I also don’t think it does much heavy lifting.  I think all of us, rather, need to embrace our inner Fairplay and settle into a grinding habit of telling the truth—or, perhaps even more than that, of standing for the truth.  Mr. Trump excelled at chaining a name to an epithet during his mercurial political career: Lying Ted, Crooked Hillary, Sleepy Joe.  It was effective in a childish way.  What if we, as unplayful adults, insistently link our nation’s plunderers to the evidence of their plunder?  “I won’t support Mr. Biden’s bills, whose presidency is illegitimate… our nation’s policy with China will remain in free fall until we have a legitimate president… I’m not surprised by the bid to pack the court, since it reflects the bullying anomy which brought this illegitimate regime to power.”  Always, every day, speak the horrible truth out in the open.

It goes without saying that such truth-telling must extend to our handling of Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, John Roberts, Brian Kemp, and other seasoned legions of the Devil’s Brigade who happen to have “R” after their name or a faux-conservative aura about their career.  In fact, here I should imagine that speech is distinctly less important than example: than holding aloof, than avoiding bad company, than “moral distancing”.  James Fairplay would be a less fitting guide to conduct now than the wizened veteran of many a broken treaty, Chief Nolo (Latin for “I will not”).  Picture Chief Nolo arriving in Washington with the Oklahoma delegation.  He will not attend dinner parties: he considers idle chatter a great corruptive of sacred mission.  He will not show up for cocktail events: he doesn’t drink, and he knows that alcohol loosens promises and retards minds.  He will not have his photo taken with Kevin McCarthy’s hand around his shoulder.  He will not give interviews to foxy friends on turncoat networks.  He will not practice for the annual D/R touch-football game; he will not even laugh at a good joke in the House’s corridors.  His presence exudes utter gravity and commands respect.  He’s “no fun” and “without interest” to the spiritual debris of Washington because he knows that the people among whom he moves have sold their birthright and betrayed their grandchildren.  He never forgets that he has entered Hell to do Heaven’s work.

Let us stop being good colleagues, chatty interviews, and reach-across-the-aisle collaborators: that would be a good start.  Let us always, always remember that we are vocal advocates for the plundered, like Mr. Fairplay, and also silent testaments to a present turned loathsome, like Chief Nolo.  Tell the truth about all men, every day.  Smile and fraternize with no man, on any day.  Take yourself seriously: take the war seriously.

Bridges needn’t be blown.  Missiles needn’t rain upon choice targets.  The way we may begin to win is to bear witness, even silent witness.  A black armband signifying mourning would be appropriate throughout 2021, should anyone have the guts to wear it.  A Gandhi-like fast as yet another bill dispenses pork would blare almost as loud as Gabriel’s horn.  Show resolve.  Show character.  Speak when the truth is being manhandled, and hurl silence when spoken words can only diminish the outrage. 

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?

Scientific Reasoning: Remedy to Pain or Recipe for Panic?

I haven’t use the Dictaphone on my iPad for two years.  I wouldn’t be using it now except that I can’t type with two hands.  My right arm is about to fall off, and I don’t want to overdose on Tylenol, which has seen me through much of this week. I decided that the ordeal that I’m going through might be instructive in a more general way.  I hope so… at any rate, it’s all I can think about for the moment.

I could adopt the attitude of a certain neurologist that I visited one time (and only one): that is, assume that any pain in my body is my prostate cancer metastasizing again.  The arm seems to have somewhat migratory pain from the top of the shoulder down into the wrist.  Migratory pain: that’s sort of heads up.  And then… well, 2+2 = 4, doesn’t it?  Patient had prostate cancer earlier this summer; now patient has migratory arm pain; ergo, must be the cancer coming back again in a new spot.

That’s the kind of analysis that a cancer patient would embrace naturally enough.  I suppose all of us (or those of us with certain unwholesome personality traits, anyway) immediately lunge to the worst possible scenario.  Something well worth remembering about science, however, is that it yields no absolute truth.  If one is trying to diagnose a pain in the body or any other empirical problem, one looks for evidence to support this or that particular theory over its rivals.  In my case, the “cancer” theory doesn’t have a whole lot of evidence behind it.  It’s about as nuanced as the 2+2 = 4 formula: you had cancer before, you have a pain now, the pain must be cancer.

But I can also, with reflection, link the pain to specific “trigger” events having to do with excessive exercise.  As a kind of would-be hitting instructor in baseball—an excavator of techniques long forgotten by the game—who operates a site at SmallBallSuccess.com, I construct hypothetical versions of century-old swings all the time.  One in particular had me jamming my right elbow quite a bit in the follow-through.  Not that I’ve ever played golf… but I believe golfers rather famously have the same problem.  The severe compression of elbow and shoulder joints seems to have pinched a nerve, or perhaps strained ligament.  When I was too foolish to leave the arm alone completely for several days, the pain quite predictably kept returning.  It would get better for a while… but then I would assume that “a little bit better” meant “recovered”.  Incredibly (I myself am amazed at my stupidity), I repeated the same miscalculation several times.  At last a nagging discomfort became persistent aching of a magnitude greater than anything I’ve experienced for years.

So what should I conclude about over-exercise?  I used to work out quite vigorously and, as one might say, religiously.  Am I just getting old?  Am I looking at incipient arthritis?  Is there any relationship to my cancer adventure at all?  I think the answer to the last of these posers is probably “yes”… but not the facile kind of “yes” that my neurologist wanted to promote.  Rather, I suspect that, because I’m taking so many hormone-suppressants to deny prostate cancer its natural fuel, I am also denying my muscles and joints the fuel they need to recover from routine stress.  If this is so, then perhaps I can find supplements that provide muscle support without hormones and move a long way toward solving my problem.

This is in fact the step that I am currently taking.  (Sincerest thanks to Mr. Sanchez for suggesting Garden of Life FYI Restore Muscle—a 100 percent vegan option).  But, of course, I’m proceeding without having proved my hypothesis: I’ve only rendered it the more likely of two proposals (which is, I would add, precisely the nature of scientific “proof” in practical application).  Could I have overlooked other possibilities in my desire to embrace a less malign one?

I know from my first round with cancer that metastatic cells do tend to move in upon bones when incidental tears and stresses occur to muscle.  What about my present condition would cancel that scenario?

Actually, I have a second pain of note—and it’s in my hip, because my right arm had grown so sore that I decided to throw left-handed in another baseball video.  In doing so (another very predictable result, in hindsight), I strained the inside of my right thigh.  Again, that source of pain is fully explicable as the product of repeated (and bloody foolish) aggravation.  One special point of interest here, though, is that the hip has at last almost entirely recovered.  I’ve gone back-and-forth with both injuries, but the hip is the one I’ve treated better.  Recovery is almost complete.

That’s a positive sign.  The arm has likewise shown improvement over periods when I nurse it along.  That doesn’t sound like cancer.

I might further note that my heel spurs have been acting up even though I have done no jogging or extreme walking lately.  The only explanation for that pain, inasmuch as there are no distressed muscle or bone complexes nearby, would once again be that even minimal exercise is not being handled very well—by any part of my body.  Tissue is simply not rebuilding itself overnight the way it used to do.

Finally I should point out that my shoulder has been hurting me more right after I have a typing session, usually in the morning.  (Hence my dictating to this annoying little iPad.)  That seems pretty conclusive to me.  Lots and lots of tiny muscle groups are used in typing: we all know about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  The recurring pain after an episode of typing very probably points to muscle damage.  What I need to do is a) take my new pills to allow my muscles and joints to recover in the absence of hormones, b) stop exercising with the ferocity that I used to bring to the endeavor, and c) find new exercises that keep me fit but do not put severe strain on my muscles.

This, I submit, is how scientific reasoning works.  You form an hypothesis, you create tests for it, you look for evidence that supports or refutes it, and—in the happy case of discovering supportive evidence—you continue looking for more support… or contradiction.  You consider evidence that is conspicuous by its absence.  What does the theory fail to explain that you want to account for?  Any theory can have a certain amount of support and yet be incorrect if the examiner proceeds no farther.

Too often today, unfortunately, our self-styled scientists exchange professional high-fives after they account for a rather restricted body of evidence, and they go no farther.  Heaven forbid that anybody should turn over another stone!  In fact, people who try to do so in certain celebrated cases lately have been publicly denounced, reviled, blackballed, and refused a place in the public exchange of ideas.  I don’t recognize this as science, yet it’s the body of thought that my ex-minister refers to as the “best science” in a recent circular emailed to the congregation.  The “best science”, according to her, insists that mask-wearing is our surest means of protection against CV-19.  The implication, I guess, is that inferior science reaches a different conclusion; for how else can you rate this science if not by its conclusions?  Do our “best scientists”, then, have any concern about the overwhelming evidence correlating mask mandates and lockdowns with the spread of the virus?  

Apparently not. It is the “best scientists”, rather, who have refused to allow such information into the public forum.  They offer no refutation of the graphs at RationalGround.com rational or similar websites; theirs is the tyranny, indeed, that has prevented the formal publication of a major Danish study on mask efficacy for over two months.  Expected to reach the public eye in August, this research has so far been rejected by The Lancet and JAMA due to the political incorrectness of its outcomes. One contributor answered a query about the paper’s status in these words, more or less: “It will appear as soon as we find a journal brave enough to publish it” (source: Daniel Horowitz, Conservative Review, Episode 743).

One earns an instant ban from Twitter if one seeks to publicize any such inconvenient truth. The “best science” appears to be associated with the position of shutting people off when they question conclusions on the basis of an abundance of contradictory evidence.  I’m glad the evidence in my own case doesn’t indicate that my cancer is spreading.  I have recent lab results, as well, that wave no red flags, and I have the responsiveness of my body to gentle treatment when I decide to use a little common sense in my exercise routine.  I’m not coddling myself.  I’m not allowing myself to believe something that has little support.  I’m choosing the conclusion for now that appears to have more evidence behind it.  I am not panicking, though I easily could; I am looking at what facts are available to me.  I’m also looking for further facts that seem unavailable but may be hiding from me in the shadows.  Meanwhile, I’m taking action on the basis of the most probable explanation.

This is what science is supposed to do.  It’s not good, bad, worse, or better.  It is certainly not “the best”.  It’s simply a struggle for us to make sense of physical reality, the roots of which extend well beyond our possible understanding.

As a person of (I hope) moderate education and intelligence, I deeply resent the attempt of the “best scientists”—as they clearly suppose themselves to be—to shut me up, to keep me from asking questions, to keep me from sharing theories with others, to make me fall in the line and march in one direction.  This trend in our troubled society is the very antithesis of science.  It will prove to be the death of science is if we allow it to thrive.  It is an intellectual—yes, and a moral—cancer that has likely already metastasized and may yet precipitate our us.

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.

People of the Twilight: The Masked World Between Being and Non-Being

They fear life.  In many ways, they hate it.  It hasn’t been kind to them.  Mother Nature may have burdened them with unattractive faces, or the luck of the draw may have given them a single parent who bothered about their childhood needs a quarter of the time—and never on weekends.  Perhaps their temperament (who knows if such things are bestowed more by nature or nurture?) has prevented a comfortable degree of socialization.  They are oddball, alone, and without a cast of supporting characters or even a stock of pleasant memories to offer them refuge.

They’re likely to thrust a tremendous investment of affection upon a dog or a cat—the childhood- or bosom-friend they never had whose big eyes can always be interpreted as limitlessly loving and whose muteness as perfect agreement.  They tend to eat too much.  Whatever care they give to personal appearance often borders on self-mutilation, either to channel the loathing they feel for an unprepossessing body or, perhaps, to ground the argument that they could make a swan of the ugly duckling if they gave a damn.

Males, more often than females, seek escape in the virtual reality of video games.  The feminine taste leans more toward romantic fantasies available ad infinitum in ebook form.  Both sexes exploit social media in search of escape or relief—the male more likely to slash and burn with a lexicon learned from public toilets, pretending to be the buccaneer iconoclast he hasn’t the intellectual depth or moral courage to play in real life; the female more often curling up warmly behind an avatar and a trove of cliches that render her easily “friendable”.

The female is much more likely to have an above-average exposure to formal education.  One may even say that she is magnetically drawn to certain of the “social studies” in college because of the patented rationalizations they offer for her misery—the absolution of any personal guilt and the accusations lavished upon others.  Graduate-degree mills in several fields are indeed nothing short of a “crutch industry”, thanks to an abundance of her kind in the post-grad population.

The male of this species that dwells in twilight, while not so successful academically (and, for that matter, distinguished by his unsuccess in all endeavors), isn’t stupid.  He has a measure of intellect that might have been tapped for more-ambitious-than-average projects if only a means of motivating him existed.  He has dedicated whatever talent he possesses, sadly, to sneering and snarling at the system that walls him in with evidence of his failure and inadequacy.  He might possibly construct a bomb some day, and it might possibly be of the small nuclear variety: he has the acumen necessary for something of the sort.  The question is… does he have the courage, the hellish courage (think of Milton’s Satan), needed actually to make other humans who’ve never done him wrong suffer far more than he ever has?  Probably not.  Mercifully, in most cases, no.

As a footnote, I should add that another kind of male exists: more sociable, much more “female”.  Oddball yet eloquent, alienated yet readily found in company, he plays at the edge of twilight and represents an unstable ally.  His companionable qualities make him risky: he may withdraw in a given crisis from endorsing outright anarchy.  While he may follow whatever crowd forms to overthrow everything, he’s also apt to follow that hard day’s work with an evening at the theater or the cabaret.  He’s not a bomb-thrower; and if you yourself are one, you shouldn’t assume that he has your back.

Whether courtesy of the Ivory Tower or simply through natural attraction, both “pure” sexes of Twilight People are idolaters of the future.  The future is not now.  In Baudelaire’s grand phrase, it’s anywhere out of this world.  The details of that better—that oh-so-very-best—future are yet to be hatched out.  Why bother?  At the moment, the present needs annihilating, for Future Perfection cannot come to dwell among us until a place for it to dwell is swept clean.  A mind even of average intelligence, to be sure, would grasp early in “the struggle” that the Golden Age isn’t going to show up during the lifetime of its footsoldiers.  The Twilight People “get” this.  They embrace it, indeed.  The indefinite delay—the perpetual postponement—is more attraction than obstacle to the true believer.  After all, the future’s real gift is its looming, its approach.  One may devote one’s life to preparing the glorious way with far more zeal than one might bring to actual day-to-day life in any well-defined utopia.

The zeal’s the thing.  Life is hateful, miserable, loathsome… but zeal for tomorrow makes today tolerable—and may tomorrow, always almost here, never complete its disillusioning arrival!

Two further characteristics will likely have struck you about the People of Twilight as I wrote the previous couple of paragraphs: 1) they have no faith in any metaphysical reality, and 2) their zeal for “unreal reality” has been nudged into the gap of that missing faith.  It couldn’t be otherwise; for, as much as they shun daylight, they also fear the night.  They hate life, but they hate death, too.  They flee life, but can’t flee it too far—not beyond its edge; for in that chasm lurks the unthinkable, infinite and permanent oblivion.  Precisely because they’ve made nothing of life, they must cling to it.  It’s all they’ve got.  Maybe it will yet yield something pleasant, something worthwhile.  Probably not.  But at least there’s that chance in a million.  Beyond the pale, in the outer darkness… no chance of anything.  Ever.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of faith is its taking the terror out of death… and perhaps an advantage very nearly as great is its bestowing purpose on life.  Imagine the misery of having neither purpose nor a means of escape from purposelessness.  A difficult spot to find oneself in.  Twilight is the only alternative: a world that isn’t here-and-now but also isn’t the hereafter: a kind of ongoing suspension, a transport in cryogenic immobility from the hated world to the same world no longer hateful.  And you get there by dreaming of a world no longer hateful… on whose behalf you ignore, or actively incinerate, all in the world around you.

I’ve come now to masks.  I might have come to firebombing and Antifa, or to broadcasting made-up dramas in full awareness of their fantasy, or to translating every single human event into the plots and assaults of racists as ingeniously as John Donne transformed a flea into sexual intercourse.  But masks will do.  In fact, they are surely the supreme trope, the most expressive creation, of the People of Twilight.  The masked face breathes, but does not partake of your filthy public air.  That face may speak to you, but “socially distanced” and muffled by a sheet.  Its features are not those of a “death mask”, for the eyes remain open; but without contributing gestures from mouth or nostrils, the intent behind the eyes remains always equivocal.  Are they warm and simpatico… or are they hot and fuming?

The new face is half in the dying daylight and half in the clammy fingers of night.  It’s neither fish nor fowl.  Hands off!  You don’t know it—you have no hermeneutic key to its thoughts.  Wherever you may suppose it to be… it’s elsewhere.  Welcome to the brotherhood of the stay-away-from-me’s.

The rationale undergirding (or hiding behind) the mask is similarly evasive.  We are told that the mask keeps deadly microbes from exiting the wearer, and also that it protects the wearer from deadly microbes.  (Yet mask-cultists never appear to register anxiety about infecting others: their concern is always for their own vulnerability.)  The mask’s weave blocks minute viral particles… but it does not compromise the wearer’s lungs by trapping larger contaminants and bacteria before the mouth for hundreds of inhalation cycles.  The mask is security against a virus traveling everywhere—everywhere—in aerosol form… yet it’s unnecessary outdoors, and its challenge is largely met by social distancing.  Your mask will protect you from me… yet I must wear one, too, because yours may not protect you.  COVID virons are so tiny that two mask-walls scarcely suffice to impede their attack… yet the visible gaps around the chin and the nose bridge are too small to open a passage.  Bare hands are constantly in contact with noxious “naked air”… yet those same hands are forever readjusting the mask, with a thumb or fingertip slipping past the gate every time.  Or if the wearer always “purels” and/or removes gloves before every adjustment… well, didn’t a bare hand grasp the second glove to come off, or didn’t a bare hand hit the pump of the Purel bottle?  And there’s always that potentially lethal three or four feet between the bottle and the face, filled by ever-untrustworthy free air.

Neither dead nor alive.  The People of Twilight are among us, and they are legion: just how many, we’ll soon find out.  But a house divided against itself cannot stand, and a people half of whom flee the daylight cannot grow and prosper.  What the deranged cultists of the fleeing half refuse to understand is that twilight, by definition, is unstable, ephemeral: a flight into night.  To reject life is to run into death’s arms.  To deny God is to affirm fearful oblivion.  There’s no third option.

FREE EBOOK: From Sunday (October 11) to Thursday (October 15), this text that I created for a college class is will be available as a Kindle download at no cost whatever. Mainstream academic publishers, of course, didn’t want to take a chance on my thesis: that medieval scribes had faintly Christianized the ancient Irish legend of Cu Chulainn’s journey to the Other World and the Welsh Owein’s transits through the same interface. They bristled even more when I added Marie de France’s Eliduc to the list, these days treated only as an indictment of toxic masculinity. Yet the redemptive allegory, at least in the last two, is unmistakable… except to the unredeemed.

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).

If We Love Our Children, We Should Talk to Putin

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I found the following article by a certain Freddy Kühne in the PDF containing all the July publications of Peter Helmes’ Die Deutschen Konservativen: “Von den USA, über Europa, Israel, Iran bis hin zu China und Hong-Kong – Eine geopolitische Analyse über die derzeitig anhaltende Kompasslosigkeit deutscher Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik” (pp. 23-31). In English, the title runs, “From the USA Across Europe, Israel, and Iran and Thence to China and Hong Kong: A Geopolitical Analysis of the Currently Dominant Lack of Objective in German Foreign and Domestic Policy”. Mr. Kühne originally titled the piece somewhat more revealingly on his Christlich liberal konservatives Blog as, “Nordstream 2 und US-Truppen: USA und Polen sollten stärker auf deutsche und russische Interessen eingehen, sonst zerstören sie dauerhaft die traditionell guten Beziehungen – vor allem zu Deutschland” (“Northstream 2 and US Troops: the USA and Poland Should Weigh German and Russian Interests More Carefully or Risk Permanently Damaging Traditionally Good Relationships”).

Sorry about all the German. If you read the language, then you can probably recur to the article itself and fare better than I would in trying to translate it. My purpose in this space, in any case, has seldom been to immerse myself in politics, and I’m going to handle the issues here with the “lang spuin” which—according to a Scots proverb—is needed when eating with the Devil. Just from reproducing the titles above with a hint of sympathy, I’ve probably already ended up on the Devil’s prongs, in the view of any American conservative. Well, for that matter… aren’t Boris and Natasha also supposed to be the favorite villains of the Left nowadays? Everything Russian, to every patriotic American left-wing or right-wing, is despicable. We agree on nothing—except we can all agree to hate the Russians.

And let’s get one thing clear: Putin is no choirboy. He’s likely the richest man in Europe. He’s corrupt, he’s mendacious, and he’s ruthless to the point of being murderous. He strikes up friendships of convenience (which he has no intention of preserving when convenience is no longer served) with the most loathsome regimes on the planet, and he hatches or nourishes subversive plots against his adversaries whose conception is utterly destitute of any moral awareness. He is our era’s Cesare Borgia; and if he continues playing his various dangerous games in the fashion of a gambler who runs bluffs but also packs a .45, then he may just be the tyrant who finally brings human history to a close. A desperate man… yes, you can have that in spades.

But the gist of the article above captures that delightful German virtue (so rare these days, in Germany and elsewhere) of Realpolitik. Russia is what it is. And what, then, is it? A nation of several ill-matched nations, plunged into chaos after the Soviet Union’s collapse and brought into a rugged, mobster kind of coherence by Putin’s rough hand. Putin wants Russia to revive and prosper, almost as much as he wants himself to thrive and prosper. His providing of oil to Germany is essential to both economies, but especially to Germany’s—the few Germans who have retained their sanity know that wind turbines cannot sustain a twenty-first century industrial state and that supplies from across the Atlantic would vanish in an international conflict; so the fracture of East/West relations following the crack-up of the Ukraine leaves Deutschland in a pickle. America is content to back the western Ukrainians (the same outfit, let us remember, that so enriched the Biden family), although the eastern Ukrainians have deep historical and cultural roots that tie them to Russia much more securely than Putin’s “invasion” could ever have done. The Central European nations, recollecting decades of Soviet domination all too well, take America’s side in the quarrel with gusto, and (in states like Hungary) are indeed embracing Western values more vigorously than we seem to do now in the US. Poland is all too eager to host the troops that we will withdraw from German borders.

Where does this leave our conventional alliance with post-war Germany, however—and, indeed, our centuries-older alliance with France? Most importantly of all, where does it leave us in the only game that really matters in the long-term survival of freedom around the world: the chess match with Communist China? The Chinese are successfully wooing small peripheral nations of the EU like Greece as the Franco-German nexus of Brussels’ power brutalizes its little brothers, on the one hand, and falls out of favor with its big blunt uncle from across the Atlantic, on the other. And China, of course, is only too happy to see Russia drawn into the tug-of-war, not just as America’s long-standing and favorite enemy, but now also as a source of energy driving the EU’s fragmentation. The more pawns go drifting loose about the board, the more little pieces the “People’s Republic” can snap up as it occupies unwatched squares.

Mr. Kühne’s article further considers the role of the Middle East in the Great Game… and I will grow prolix in this brief post if I attempt to summarize all of his points. He notes with especial force, however, that German leaders have yet to condemn the brutal and ongoing Chinese suppression of Hong Kong protests, and that the habitual German “kind word” for Israel (mandatory in the wake of the Holocaust) is undermined by a similar tolerance of Israel’s bitterest enemies. It’s all connected; or, in Germany’s case, the disconnect is all part of China’s sweeping strategy, best expressed (without a trace of subterfuge) by its “One Belt One Road” initiative. Dissension everywhere, fragmentation everywhere, poverty and rebellion everywhere… the US fighting with Russia over Bashar al-Assad’s future in Syria, the US fighting ISIS, Iranian Shiites also fighting ISIS and funneling money to Syria in the struggle, US “allies” in Saudi Arabia and Turkey lifting the weakest of fingers (in the former case) and actually attacking the most effective ISIS resistance on the ground—the Kurds (in the latter)… the West drained of resources and starting to boil with internal unrest, Russia increasingly hostile due to the molestation of customers for her oil… China wins. China wins from all of this. Hungry for world domination, a megalomaniac Xi jinping wins every time in this round of back-stabbing from the sidelines.

All nations who have any pretension to a humane, civilized lifestyle need to unite against the Chinese Communist menace. That means patching up fences with Russia. Putin, for all his faults (and is there enough paper on earth to record them?), is no fool. He sufficiently desires the prosperity of Russia that he would never sell her out for a seat on Xi’s galactic board of mandarins; and, for that matter, he is sufficiently bright to know that such a chair would have an oubliette positioned beneath it. He has lakes and lakes of oil, but little beyond that by way of bargaining chips. While he has made an immense investment of this wealth in next-generation weapons technology and poses a serious threat now to our survival in the US, his economy resembles its Soviet antecedents in featuring virtually nothing but guns and oil. His citizens can eat neither.

We can share a table with this devil without having our hand snapped off. I do believe that Donald Trump intended to make progress in that direction before media-driven “Russian scandals” stung his ego and turned him into as virulent a hawk on all things Russian as, say, John Bolton. And who was pulling the strings of the useful idiots in the mainstream media? Not Vladimir Putin. I suggest you research the degree of Chinese ownership in our major news and entertainment outlets. Do the words “Hong Kong” and “NBA” mean anything to you in conjunction?

All roads lead back to Beijing—and the only way to keep our children from having to crawl on their knees to Beijing, kowtowing all the way, is to split Putin from that alliance. Are there enough adults left among us to do it?

I’ve said my piece. I’ll cast my vote later.  Then, whatever the result, I will live whatever of life God has allotted me on this earth and leave my son to make his way, as well, in our cauldron of lunatic ambitions.  Do what you can when you have the chance.  I would ask only that you give these matters a little honest thought.