“Expertise”: Ideology’s Contemporary Battering Ram

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As I recall now with an effort, my very first attempt at submitting a scholarly article involved an interpretation of a few words in Book 2 of Virgil’s Aeneid (line 749).  The hero is narrating his frantic return to the flaming ruins of Troy in search of his wife Creusa.  He uses the phrase, cingor fulgentibus armis, to describe… what, exactly?  A scholarly tradition has evolved which holds that the poet simply whiffed on this one.  Aeneas, so runs the wisdom, has already “girded myself with bright arms” several verses earlier.  My objections to the collective wisdom were multiple.  I argued that a) it’s too late in the narration for Aeneas to arm himself—he has left the rendezvous of refugees well behind, as the verse’s first half declares in the present-tense words, “I return to the city”; b) the style of the full verse (ipse urbem repeto et cingor fulgentibus armis) would be perfectly Virgilian if the latter half were reiterating the former (i.e., “I myself return to the city and am hemmed about by glistening arms”); c) Aeneas is indeed being figuratively “girded” by arms as he creeps among the pillaging Greeks—the scoffers are missing the drama; and d) the verb cingere is used both of girding oneself, as when buckling a belt, and of encircling a city with defensive walls.  There’s a bit of a connotative strain created, perhaps, by having a human figure girded with the contents of a city.  But we’re talking about poetry, right?  About a poetic genius, in fact… right?

Wrong.  We’re talking about “scholarly consensus”.  It’s more acceptable to condemn Rome’s Shakespeare of not describing his scenes with pettifogging precision or of not purging his scribbles of daringly figurative language than it is to call into question the collaborative nods of a hundred academic jackdaws on a clothes-line.  If the poet (as I was informed by the rejection letter) had employed the verb cingere in this novel fashion, it would be the only instance of its being used with such intent in the entire epic (what classicists call a hapax legomenon—a “once read”).  Actually, that’s not true.  “Gird or surround” remains the verb’s meaning, here as elsewhere.  The collective result is called a figure—as in poetry!

But since something done once is a suspicious oddity to the pettifogger (even if a glorious discovery to the poet), any unique instance is likely a mistake.  Therefore… therefore, nothing unique is ever plausibly said or written, and consigning the “apparently unique” to the much larger body of things already said and written is the “sensible” course.  Naturally, that bit of high-handedness makes the body things already said and written grow yet larger, and… and tendency becomes inflexible rule.  Creativity becomes impossible.

That was my professional introduction to “expert opinion”.

Now, it also happened that I came of age in a time when all conventional wisdom was being trashed as irrelevant or hopelessly corrupted by special interest; and there’s no question in my mind that literary studies proceeded to collapse during the Seventies and Eighties under the toxic influence of various slovenly, self-serving “reader response” approaches.  My own loyalties, then, were torn between my almost religious regard for artistic inspiration (a truly religious regard: read my Literary Decline and the Death of the Soul) and a profound disgust with the politicization of art to serve trendy crusades.  I say “between”, yet what I’ve just written doesn’t support those polarities.  The Old Guard was not my ally at the spiritual end of the tug-of-war.  The ”scholarly consensus” had rigidified our literary heritage to “gird in shining armor” its patented theories and its long, long baggage train of publications; the New Guard had dumped that heritage (along with the baggage parasitically attached to it) in the nearest bin and was now celebrating Simone de Beauvoir and Rigoberta Menchu as the superiors of Sappho and Marie de France—just to keep it female.  Different politics… same politicized motivation.  Careers, egos, authority: the Tower of Babel.

And so it is, alas, in the sciences—or so it has become.  I and the very few of my colleagues who somehow smuggled an appreciation for the spiritual into closely guarded ivory corridors would occasionally look with longing across the quadrant at Chemistry or Engineering and dream about what it must be like to work in an objective discipline.  Pipe-dreams… mere pipe-dreams.  For as scientific research became funded more and more by grant money, the assumptions of that research acquired more and more of a parti pris.  Why would a pharmaceutical company underwrite a study of a new cure for insomnia if a dozen harmful side-effects were to be unearthed and published?  Oh, but surely government grants wouldn’t import such sordid pressures into the lab… surely not!  No one in government has an agenda that requires a particular worldview to be validated!

I’m trying to tread warily and tastefully into a subject that bears an incalculable amount of significance for our future as a society: the reliability of “expert opinion” in the medical field.  In all of the sciences, as life grows ever more riddled with high-tech, strict integrity becomes more important; for we laymen must be able to rely on recognized experts as critical facts drift farther and farther from the reach of our intellectual competency.  How do we know, drawing purely from our own resources, whether a huge solar flare will toast the continental power grid or not?  How do we know whether GMO’s are safe, or whether a light coating of Roundup threatens the health of Third World nations more than an unimpeded swarm of locusts?  How do we know whether Extremely Low-Frequency Waves are still being directed into the stratosphere, whether their activity might cause the Earth’s magnetosphere to reverse its polarities, or whether the effects of such reversal might settle down harmlessly in an instant or end all terrestrial life over a period of months?

In the particular case of medicine, the stakes rise (or appear to).  Somehow, solar flares and locust swarms and the magnetosphere seem awfully distant to us.  They’re not distant at all, and maybe, indeed, they’re seeming less so every day.  The susceptibility of many average Americans to outright panic about the weather should prove that the paranoia stirred in us by our own cluelessness sits very near the surface, ready to erupt (like the supervolcano under Yellowstone that may or may not kill us all) at the slightest provocation.  Still, when you can’t even breathe the air with confidence… when you dare not even leave the house without a mask, and when you’re reluctant even to leave the house… then a face perching on a white coat and stethoscope becomes the Voice of God.  That’s understandable.

But it’s also understandable—only too much so—that those who want minute control over our behavior would enlist (or dragoon) the support of the medical community in their authoritarian project.  And, as with all other academic disciplines, the more government has become involved in medicine, the better it’s been able to enlist (or dragoon) support.  Grant money, yes; also board reviews and licensures, federal mandates, control over the means of payment, awards of access to resources funded by the “inexhaustible” flow of tax revenue… policy-makers can finesse intimate decisions reached between doctor and patient in dozens of ways.  You may remember the controversy Obamacare kindled about a medical exam’s resulting, perhaps, in the confiscation of the patient’s personal firearms.

Such concerns have diminished only to the degree that we’ve now surrendered the principles underlying them.  Peter Helmes published a piece at his Die Deutschen Konservativen site a few weeks ago about an interview between Gert Scobel and psychologist Thomas Metzinger.  Primarily, the exchange concerned the future use of hallucinogens like LSD to treat depression.  The “medical man” expressed eagerness and optimism about the potential of mind-altering drugs to promote a “universal consciousness” highly amenable to the Green Movement’s radical political objectives.  The scenario is more Orwellian than Orwell: a populace fed delusion-inducing substances to sway it toward the vision of a world that doesn’t exist and can’t exist.

Okay, yes: that’s Europe, this is America.  But our supreme medical expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, publicly foresees the day—without the least indication of personal alarm—when citizens will be required to have a battery of injections and to produce on demand documented proof of compliance.  On the bankrolling side of this “expertise”, Bill Gates proposes further that the “document” might take the form of a microchip injected (with or without the citizen’s knowledge) during the mandatory inoculation.  That an astroturf initiative to “debunk” Gates’s connection to such authoritarian fantasies is raging on Twitter and Facebook should not soothe inquiring minds.  (Diana West informed Frank Gaffney on Secure Freedom Radio [4/15/20] that explicitly incriminating comments had been scrubbed from a Gates TED Talk.)

I don’t like Anthony Fauci.  I don’t like Bill Gates, either.  I don’t like either one of them at all, at all.  I wouldn’t break bread with them; and, were hand-shaking still permitted by the Faucian hygienic protocol, I wouldn’t shake his hand or his one-time patron’s.  Not either hand of either one of them.  I intensely dislike them, as American citizens and as human beings.

Their level of expertise has nothing to do with my dislike.  It is the traitorous American and the corrupt human in them that I loathe.  Anyone who would seriously consider, even for a moment, tagging you and me the way Marlon Perkins used to tag zebra from a Jeep has renounced his membership in the family of decent, responsible adults.  No one gets to tag me.  No one gets to stamp your profile on (or in) your forehead.  People who have notions like this are monsters.  I don’t care how well they understand viruses—and Mr. Gates, for that matter, understands them no better than I do.  I personally am not a virus in a vial, or a white rat in a cage.  I’m a man.  I am your equal under God, Dr. Fauci; and if you were my age (I’d even give you ten years), I think I might bust you in the chops—after which I would carefully sterilize my knuckles.

Let us please clarify the nature of expertise.  The expert on Virgil is restrained by a humble veneration for poetic genius and artistic mystery: he isn’t a mandarin on a throne who gets to gird up a classic text tightly within verbal statistical analysis and historical minutiae.  The expert on human health respects the spiritual mystery of the human being: he isn’t a master technician for whom the behavior of viruses in a sack of guts is no different from their behavior in a Petri Dish.  To hear such a supposed expert descanting about how future societies should be organized is equivalent to hearing the New Age scholar interpret the Aeneid as a mere work of militaristic propaganda.  That is, a “literary scholar” who can do no better than say, “The people’s Will was held in check by these creaky old epics that exhorted them to die for the patriarchy”… that person is no better than a “medical expert” who says, “We could avoid pandemics in the future if people would just move in designated zones, eat designated foods, and touch each other in designated ways at designated times.”  Damn.

Yes, the scholar who knows the history of the Augustan age inside-out is certainly superior in some manner to the quasi-literate Ph.D. who rates every art work ever created by how well women and minorities make out in it.  The researcher who has actually logged decades of experience before a microscope is also superior to a Bill Gates who fantasizes about vaccinating all humanity with whatever he deems good for the race.  But a genuine expert is neither of these.  A genuine expert would say, “This is odd with respect to available linguistic data… but it’s also poetry”; or, “This risk could be reduced if people would do less of thus-and-so… but life is complex, and the choice among possible behaviors isn’t mine to make except for me personally.”

One could say that playing God is above the expert’s pay grade; but when New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy volunteered this flippant excuse for ignoring the Constitution, he was de facto putting himself in the position of God Almighty.  Part of being an expert is understanding the limitations of your expertise.  To claim authority over the destiny of humanity because you have a rare knowledge of human diseases is like labeling a hundred deaths a calamity without identifying the number of lives that survived the specific threat.  Knowledge without context is magnified ignorance.

To the “Healers” Among Us: I Know Ye Not

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My second full year of attempting to farm has begun.  One infant walnut tree has been permanently laid to rest, and the fate of a cherry tree hangs in doubt: both were savaged by deer last year whose watery eyes and flickering tails I soon ceased to find “cute”.  Plant assassins: guts on hooves with razoring teeth and very small brains at one end.  They gnawed right through the netting I had oh-so-confidently draped around my nurslings.  This year, wire fences reinforced with stakes will greet their nipping incisors.  A particularly small garden shark managed somehow to duck under one fence last week.  My wife spotted her just in time, and I scared her off (the deer, not my wife).  Then I ran a strand of barbed wire around the exposed lower region.  Shees… you raise the barrier to keep them from jumping over, and then one sneaks under through a space that you would have thought too skimpy for a slithering hound dog.  It never ends.  As Emilio Romero wrote of creeping communism half a century ago, la paz empieza nunca.

The peanut patch was another casualty from last summer.  I managed to reap perhaps a pound of nuts when all was said and done.  Grasshoppers were the prime suspect, but to this day I’m not sure of that diagnosis.  Just when the plants appeared to be taking off, their leaves would be gnawed away to the stalk the next morning.  This happened several times—and deer, much as I love to pin every crime on them, just didn’t check out as the culprits.  Now, at least, we’ve coaxed in families of bluebirds which—I hope—will feed hungrily on insects during the summer.  As long as the cardinals don’t chase them off… for, with mating season at full throttle, we’ve observed an emerging problem.  The bull redbirds are attacking everything else wearing feathers in their bid to attract females.  Toxic masculinity at its very worst.

Potatoes didn’t grow in the clay that the builders compacted around our house: trying to loosen that mass into productivity was wasted time.  On the other hand, the extensive raised garden I constructed offered the plushest possible bed for vegetables… but I foolishly magnified its walls with white Styrofoam; and this, once the summer sun started beating down in earnest, fried everything within its borders.

If you live, you learn.  Not everything was a disaster.  My pecan trees are doing well; and the two oldest almonds, despite having been ravaged themselves by the dear deer, came back so strong that I’ve planted several more.  Apple trees, pear trees, peaches, apricots, persimmons, pomegranates… the new cherry trees have already flowered… I have almost fifty plants in the ground.  We’ll see if they’re bearing in five years—always assuming that I’m here to see.

For you get no guarantees in life; and once you reach three score years, you’re guaranteed an exit of one sort or another in the not-too-distant future.  I’ll probably survive my little crisis with an enlarged prostate.  The medical/pharmaceutical industry has lavished enough catheters upon me that I could lay a tiny plastic tunnel to Saskatchewan; and anyway, I have at last found some homeopathic remedies that have put my trouble somewhat into remission.  Speaking of industries… homeopathy and ruthless exploitation of the vulnerable are of two houses, you should know. To be sure, the snake-oil salesmen quickly nose out your complaint thanks to shared information in our wired society. My mailbox—my literal, in-the-ground mailbox—has been steadily bombarded with news of “the breakthrough formula that really works”.  Entire booklets appear featuring a leering charlatan in white coat and stethoscope on one page and a couple making steamy love on the next.  I want to reach in, grab White Coat by the lapels, smack him a few times, and explain, “I’m not contemplating a career as a porn star, moron—I can’t pee!”

It’s all the exploitation around the edges that gets me down. I love my 25 acres.  Even, in a way, I love the damn deer.  They at least don’t represent themselves as anything other than what they are.  And maybe society’s varied collection of scalawags and profiteers… maybe there’s a kind of Darwinian defense to be made for them, too.  I spend a lot of time hacking away wild blackberry and polk sallet, nuisances unfit for the table that run off all the other vegetation; but such is nature, with ravenous parasites always ready to gnaw a pound of flesh from prosperity.  Our human analogues are no less busy.  My indignation concentrates upon those whose calling is supposed to be of a higher sort.  The Teacher says, “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.”  Precisely.  Where is the “high” in “higher” these days?

Yes, I’ve avoided doctors most of my life.  I did so partly because I don’t believe we should run to someone for relief from every little pain—and partly, too, because my father’s and grandfather’s lives were needlessly shortened in the hands of the medical establishment (and my father-in-law’s made much worse during its short remnant). My own problem would have been diagnosed and treated sooner if I had been less pig-headed, true enough. But then, what treatment have I actually received?  Of the three medications I’ve been prescribed, two made me instantly, severely ill.  The third (a muscle relaxant) I never had filled.  I chose meditative techniques in its place; and meditation, like homeopathy is rarely a permanent solution—but at least, like hydroxychloroquine, it does no harm.  (Wasn’t there someone named Hippocrates, once upon a time?)

Even my miraculous catheters, for which I’m most genuinely grateful, came with conflicting instructions when I received any instruction at all.  “Wash carefully after every use, and don’t reuse for more than a week… no, not that: Who told you that? Always throw away after one use!  Oh, and the type of catheter that’s eviscerating you?  Keep the blue line pointed upward.  No, there are no directions included… but someone was supposed to tell you.”

They send you off to try out poisons manufactured in China the way a Vegas hooker tells her drunken high-roller to put his stack on Seven. They load you with expensive but ill-explained gear and gizmos that your insurance (not to worry) will pay for. And then….

And then they push the appointment you’ve awaited for two months another two months down the road for your own good, because CV-19 targets senior citizens.  I’ve cleared and planted three acres of orchard with nothing I couldn’t hold in my two hands… and they’re telling me that the one physical complaint ever to slow me down has to stay with me like a ball and chain due to the possibility of a week’s sniffles and fever—a virus that they, the White Coat Fraternity, have decided to elevate to bubonic-plague gravity with virtually no objective data.

My brother, recently a stroke victim, now has to put his rehab in low gear; a friend’s pre-adolescent son suffering from strange fainting spells now has to wear some kind of monitor at home because “professionals” dare not give him a precious hospital bed.  Meanwhile, half of the medical profession—the really “expert” half—refuses to endorse hydroxychloroquine because other white coats haven’t spent enough years observing its possible side-effects (the kind of effects that don’t seem to concern them greatly, however, in the case of Flomax).  And meanwhile—or during the same while—their Peerless Leader stalls for time as his puppeteer Bill Gates rushes after an “antidote” we’ll all be required to take.

Notice that I haven’t mentioned a single politician.  Anyone who places trust in that tribe deserves to be scalped in his sleep.  But the medical community… et tu, Brute?

The evening news treats us regularly (I’ve seen two renditions of this script in the past week) to scenes of “COVID survivors” being wheelchaired to the hospital exit through a gauntlet of applauding doctors and nurses, all dutifully masked; and I ask myself, “Why are they clapping as they stand elbow to elbow?  Why are they sending micro-deposits from their hands into the eyes and hair, quite possibly, of their neighbors?  How can people with any medical training whatever engage in such needlessly, stupidly risky behavior?  Or do they know that the whole thing’s a hoax?  Is it all being staged, and the masks are just costumes?  Then again, are they genuine but massively incompetent?  What third alternative could there be?”

Those questions… I have a lot of them.  Far too many—and I can’t answer a single one.  I don’t claim the right to medical attention.  Our ancestors didn’t enjoy such a right.  On the contrary, death in the body is our common inheritance, our common destiny; and though, as I say, I shall probably not die of an enlarged prostate’s complications, the experience strikes me as a dress rehearsal for the big show (one where there will be no TV cameras).  A stroke, maybe, as I’m grubbing out another post hole and cussing at deer… maybe it will knock me clean dead, and not simply nudge me as it did my brother.  I hope so.  I’d like a quick exit.  Me with my boots on, and confused cardinals cocking their heads.

I’m okay with that.  Just please don’t tell me that you’re helping me—that when you prescribe noxious garbage, when you issue contradictory directions, when you bill the insurance company at every turn, when you schedule extra tests and then move them all back a few months… don’t tell me you’re doing all this for my own good!  You’re not.  I don’t believe you.  I don’t trust you.  I’ll show up for my appointments, whenever they finally fall and if I happen to remain among the living… but it won’t be because I’ve trusted you.  It’ll be because I have no other card to draw—because I have only one roll of the dice left.

That’s exactly the feeling I get nowadays at election time. Could it be, Dr. Fauci—Mr. Gates—because the line even between politics and medicine has dissolved?

I love my 25 acres.  I wish I could be buried here, but they don’t allow that… and I don’t suppose I’ll really care, at any rate.  I’m ready to step through the door.  I only wish I could do so in peace, without the toxic miasma of half-truths and undisclosed interests and noisome mock-altruism that hangs heavily over every aspect of our public life these days.  All you “professionals” and “experts” out there… why don’t you just peddle your porn, and stop with the line about how good it is for us?

The Dark Elite (Part Three)

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk… Werner von Braun, Karl Heisenberg, Ferdinand Porsche… Andrei Sakharov, Aleksandr Prokhorov, Sergei Korolev… from where does the Dark Elite draw the genius that ultimately drives the progressivist vision? It has been said ad infinitum that capitalism causes genius to rise to the top like cream because our economic system so handsomely rewards innovation. Yet this argument, let it be repeated ever so lyrically, often suffers contradiction in practice. The names offered just above, in fact, show that a totalitarian regime can exploit its best brains at least as well as a free society. Indeed, the Soviets could make life very nice for their top-tier minds, pooling them together in idyllic communities abounding in all the existential comforts so woefully deficient elsewhere in the nation. These privileged few might not be allowed to leave their Shangri-La, or not for long… but within its confines, they were treated as princes. Capitalism doesn’t necessarily make the going so smooth for its most brilliant citizens. There have been all too many cases, unfortunately, of revolutionary patents being bought up and buried by producers who want to keep the chain of manufacture and consumption moving just the way it presently moves.

If the Dark Elite, then, were seeking the best of the best to create a “brainwash ray” (say) or an assassin’s bullet that could travel one hundred miles disguised as a happy little bee, recruitment would not necessarily target private industry that extended tentacles into such areas. There’s actually a long history of the government’s raiding academe for its magicians and alchemists: e.g., Robert Oppenheimer and Einstein himself. The “private industry” connection might have the advantage of turning up people who had already forged ties with influential figures in government–such as Gates; but the academic connection promises the equal or superior advantage of mentalities nourished in a progressive/utopian political atmosphere, such that a recruiter’s well-delivered pitch for a one-world government with energies focused on interplanetary exploration would likely fall on sympathetic ears.

Let’s not forget, either, that money makes the scientific world go round, however idealistic its ivory-impregnated air… and the Dark Elite can offer its prospects virtually unlimited funding. The private-sector wizard, in contrast, has to produce something at the end of the day that appeals to the plodding intelligence of John Q. Consumer. The case of Elon Musk is in fact quite instructive here: though ostensibly a producer of futuristic vehicles marketed to the general public, Musk would never stay afloat without immense infusions of government subsidy.

Nevertheless, as they have been at every stage of this discussion, the lines can get very blurry if we grope with too much persistence for a clear distinction between public and private–between Werner von Braun and Henry Ford. Sometimes the arcane fiddling of white coats working in the labs of Security can create a private-sector growth industry, as has happened so often with the space program.

Or take “climate change” and its impact on the energy industry. Wind and solar power have so far proved impractical boondoggles, profitable to a select few only because politicians engineer subsidies for certain corporations (whose execs invariably counter with generous donations). Yet something really innovative might come along, such as tapping into coastal wave energy, that Security would wish to exploit in a covert way. And, indeed, are we very, very sure that Security has not manufactured “climate change” (i.e., irregular weather patterns, which is what most citizens understand by the term) from its quiver of top-secret arrows? We know that programs to weaponize weather systems have been dithering about in Earth’s stratosphere at least since the advent of HAARP in the early Nineties (though the Department of Defense only acknowledged the endeavor ten years later to say that it had been discontinued: yeah, okay). Wouldn’t Defense be quite capable of creating destructive weather patterns just to gin up popular support for a “save the climate” governmental crusade upon the private sector, which in turn would generate more tax dollars and more abysmal bureaucracies for the development of more “mass-control tech”? To those who say, “No, our public servants wouldn’t do that,” I would ask, “Please tell me why not. Are you going to use a word like ‘conscience’ or ‘legality’? Are you really?”

Academe, I think, probably remains the favored hunting ground for locating the miracle-workers who will transform our Dark Elite into the gods they already imagine themselves to be.

The Dark Elite (Part Two)

I perhaps erred in my previous post by insisting that our career politicos and captains of industry are a seamless unit. I realize that CEO’s don’t retire to enter politics and that, by the same token, politicians (few of whom have any business savvy today) don’t retire to go into private industry. In a way, that was exactly my point: neither needs to stray into the territory of the other, because either side is already doing the other’s bidding.

Now that I’m trying to focus my attention upon the sector that I call Security, however (meaning the high-ranking bureaucrats who “protect” us more than men and women wearing any sort of uniform), I find myself uncomfortable with advancing any sort of provenance. I don’t really know where these people come from. Are they military personnel? Sometimes… but if so, they have seldom smelled powder or seen blood before being entrusted with a nation’s survival. This type usually seems to scale the ranks by discreetly guarding or purveying secrets and working effective “damage control” for incompetent but powerful superiors. The military record of Michael Hayden, former chief of NSA and the CIA, is essentially that of what used to be called an aide de camp—a well-connected, copiously decorated “yes man”. Might another type have occupied elective office prior to penetrating the inner circle of watchdogs? Less often, I would guess… but more often than never. Leon Panetta began life on the national scene in the US House of Representatives before embarking upon a series of cabinet positions that led to his being CIA director. George Bush’s career path was similar.

These are men, in short (and in my logarithm, they show up as male without fail), who have served in the “armed forces” without being armed, never having to choose between bearing a moribund comrade along clumsily and saving the rest of the squad in a quick dash; or perhaps they have represented the “people’s choice” at some point in some capacity, but without playing the demagogue or polarizing the public. They have shown themselves to be “team players”—trustworthy practitioners of the inside game even when it bends the rules ostensibly observed by others. They keep things quiet rather than stir things up. There’s something, maybe, a little cold-blooded about them. They enjoy a kind of aloofness from the madding crowd. Whether ex-military or former legislators, they have displayed a particular talent for making the right people look good and for making the wrong facts go away. They know where the skeletons are hidden—and, in their capable hands, those closets have been dry-walled over and hung with dim portraits.

One may wonder if someone like Bill Gates might prove himself worthy of admission into the club from the private sector. Gates’s attempted trespasses into education policy strongly imply that he wants to be a member—that he wants to market hardware and software on a vast scale, yes, but also that he considers himself worthy of directing society’s course for decades to come. Without question, he holds the keys to a lot of doors; and his legendary acts of “hard ball” when Steve Jobs took him too far into his confidence may impress the Dark Elite more as salutary ruthlessness than as risky infidelity… or perhaps they suggest to us, rather, that one does not deserve trust in this club who cannot be ruthless, and that anyone who trusts too much deserves not to be trusted.

Now, a nerdy milquetoast like Bill Gates would never be admitted into the rarefied ranks of Security, would he? Or would he? Why not? If federally mandating costly communications and information systems creates the ultimate bonanza for tech companies, doesn’t their proliferation also create the ultimate opportunity for the nation’s watchdogs to eavesdrop on everyone’s every movement? Isn’t that, indeed, the mother lode for a private innovator: an advanced surveillance and data-gathering network’s being purchased by public-sector bureaucracies? And if you were the Eavesdropper in Chief, wouldn’t you want Bill Gates on board—all the way on board, and as gung-ho as you about a perfect planet where wars no longer bubble up because trouble-makers are preemptively identified and subdued? Wouldn’t Bill Gates or Steve Jobs be all in for that?

I’m already beginning to anticipate the next step in my speculations—the “tech whiz” portal; so allow me to backtrack briefly into the deathly-discreet vaults of Security for a few more words. I cannot over-emphasize that these elite few do not dream of clearing out Times Square with tanks as the Chinese did Tiananmen Square. That’s a Hollywood script, recycled and retreaded God-knows-how-many times since Seven Days in May screened in 1964. (Hollywood, by the way, is now as seamlessly joined to the news media as corporations are joined to politicians: more useful idiots, their Woodstock-era nightmares of men in uniform create a very successful diversion from the real threat.) Preserving the myth of a fully armed, booted, and helmeted military probably assists Security in funneling money to its “black ops” programs, to be sure. The American voter is generally willing to be taxed more if he thinks he’s financing new submarines and jet fighters. He is also completely oblivious to how much of this money disappears down the hole of off-budget projects.

But no, Security’s vision of domination has no battlefields and no heroes. The planet will be made ready for her “great leap forward”, rather, by handling obstacles with sanitary efficiency: by dazing armed militants with sound waves, by mollifying dissidents through the education system (delivered via home computer), by thinning out burdensome social elements with sterilants in the yearly flu vaccine, and by disgracing spirited opponents with faux mafia pay-offs uploaded to their bank accounts. While this portion of the Dark Elite is the more sinister for being the less disruptive of daily routines, its solutions are perhaps more permanent than a nuclear holocaust; for extermination of one’s adversaries only postpones the power struggle for another generation, but the Orwellian integration of adversaries into the mainstream makes society forget how to say “no”.

The Dark Elite’s security (read “enforcement”) branch, then, is quintessentially high-tech. That’s why the exposure of our nation’s power grid to the threat of Electro-Magnetic Pulses is so worrisome: because, I mean, our rulers are far too sophisticated to have allowed such a vulnerability to take them by surprise. If our civilization risks such catastrophic collapse, it is because our “guardians” have decided to preserve collapse as a “pacifying” option. Should our numbers and demands become inconvenient, ninety percent of us may have to be culled so that the remnant may grow strong and straight.