If You’re Male and Have a Pulse, Then Someone Somewhere Could Ruin Your Career (Part Two)

Despite such moments of sublime insight as concluded my previous post, I was an emotional wreck by the time I was awarded a Ph.D.  Once again, I sought refuge among “salt of the earth” types who professed strong religious principles—specifically, in the singles class of a mammoth Baptist church feeding off the small East Texas city where I found work.  I ended up trying to court another strawberry blonde (damn it!), this one as statuesque and serene as the other had been tomboyish and lively.  We had many private conversations which I mistook for intimate, but which, in retrospect, were ice-cold with all that box-checking and “image maintenance” to which young women pay such attention.  When I dared at last to bring my Olympian beauty a lavish bouquet of flowers, the temperature hit Absolute Zero, and I realized that the soles of my shoes again needed cleaning.

Here I will observe (as I begin to aim this long ramble at a destination) that either one of my strawberry blondes—either Baptist Preacher’s Cowgirl Daughter or Celestial Ice Queen—could have charged me with stalking, as the word is now rather carelessly understood.  Yet in both cases, I was only believing the claptrap that I was told and trying to show myself patient and respectful.  One girl was competing with a roommate and a soap opera to stage Cattle Country’s Most Roller-Coaster Romance, the other playing some Duchess of Lonely Hearts game until a dentist finally swept her up in his gilded coach.  I could have done without the “I’m so innocent” act, in the former case, and the “My past has mysteriously wounded me” act, in the other… but I was given no cues outside the context of games that I didn’t know how to play.

If I were running for public office, could an incident of this sort not be dredged up out of my past to prove me a creepy pervert?  Or what about the woman (no longer a girl, by any measure) who threatened to accuse me to my new bosses of being a predator?

I had met her through a book club, of all things (this was a bit before the Internet and Match.com).  I was well into my thirties now myself; and as disgusted and embarrassed as I was by my own lack of progress in these matters, I had acquired greater powers of observation.  I knew very early that Cynthia was a seriously damaged subject.  She spoke to me once of her father (with whom—and her mother—she still lived) knocking her cold with a fire poker as if it were the kind of thing every child goes through; and her fondness for alcohol and cigarettes was hard to hide.  Yet there was a sensitive, genuine person on the flip side of her fiercely sarcastic and vindictive alter ego.  I could add that she was an attractive blonde… but that would explain nothing at this point, for our initial acquaintance had smoothly advanced though the mail.

When I severed this always prim and proper relationship, I knew well that I might be accused of rape, kidnapping, child-cannibalism, and burning candles at an altar to Adolph Hitler if Cynthia were having one of her bad days.  I haven’t forgotten that lesson.  The claim made currently in the press and other highly politicized circles that women never lie about such matters isn’t laughably wrong: it’s dangerously, criminally wrong.  It’s the equivalent of a loaded gun placed in the hands of a drunken psychotic. Does no one remember Potiphar’s queen, or the tragic Phaedra?

I met my wife shortly thereafter: a brunette, who was visiting the singles class in a Baptist church!

The ancients, having survived a disaster at sea, would take their tattered clothing and their salty oar and nail it all to a post in Poseidon’s temple.  I offer my past miseries up to God for anyone to see who’s of a mind to learn.  The Seventies and Eighties did not liberate women.  Those times left them abused, confused, resentful, eager to fight, and quick to run for cover.  We cannot undo the damage by burning a few—or many—males at the cross.  If the typical male has now become predatory and if gentlemen are in very short supply these days, it is because yesteryear’s feminists trashed all lady-like qualities and attempted to be predators themselves. The result was as predictable as a foolish wildebeest’s charge into a lion’s den.

Our culture remains, in sexual matters, a smoking Chernobyl, and a garden hose won’t accomplish the necessary detoxification.  Just this past week, I found a series on Netflix titled Godless—brilliantly produced and even very poignant at times, but heavily embedded in the notion that women could be gunslingers in the Old West or, as prostitutes, could make out as well as a Wall Street tycoon.  I could name at least half a dozen other serials, movies, or Netflix gems that sell the same Kool-aid—and I’ve only seen the trailers and teases, for the most part. Women “whuppin’ ass” in a world where whimpy men can’t pry themselves loose from their coffee mugs… really?  So that kind of Never Never Land fantasy is going to help us get everyone’s head straight? Including the male’s?

The old Virginia Slims ad propaganda needs revision: “You’ve got a long way to go, baby…” except that—pardon me, progressive marketers—a gentleman doesn’t address a lady as “baby”.

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Roy Moore, Sex, the Seventies, and the South (Part Two)

Here’s the second half of my “unacceptable” essay about Roy Moore–and it may just be my comments about Mr. Lincoln’s bloody dictatorship that got the door closed in my face.

I myself didn’t actually court younger girls very often in my thirties—but I knew those who did. At a large Southern Baptist church which I visited frequently (since it was the only place in town to meet single women other than a bar, and marginally the more wholesome gathering of the two), we were classed in Sunday School rigidly according to age; and, yes, I observed more than one thirty-something man to forsake the abundant company of wounded divorcees and go hang out with the college girls. The age gap always froze me in my tracks when I contemplated the maneuver. I was afraid that a younger woman might be interested in me only and precisely because I was older: that is, she would assume that I was “experienced” in various and mysterious ways rather than that I was a bookish, retiring person who had hunkered down as the hurricane of the Sexual Revolution raged overhead. I’m sure certain people who wished me no particular good must have whispered various ingenious theories about how I had come to remain single at thirty-two. In fact, I was occasionally apprised of the speculation by busy “well-wishers” who “just thought I should know”.

Now, I quite obviously cannot attest that my situation and Roy Moore’s were closely parallel in the manner that I have just suggested. I hope they were. That would allow me to let the Judge off the hook for everything except some very clumsy prevarications in the throes of “Yankee-induced panic”. I can further imagine, without much of a stretch at all, a fourteen-year-old girl whose parents have split up being titillated by the prospect of drawing attention from an older, “more experienced” man. And I can imagine her creating fantasies that come to have the vividness of reality for her—perhaps to the point that she holds the older man responsible for not finding her more interesting and considers herself somehow violated by him. Look up a classic black-and-white film with Lawrence Olivier and Sarah Miles titled Term of Trial if you want to view a good example of just how such things can happen.

I do not believe that Moore had the sort of encounter with the fourteen-year-old which she has described, forty years later, as a middle-aged woman. It would make no sense. Having exercised gentlemanly restraint around the older teenagers (who had reached the legal age of consent), as all parties acknowledge who acknowledge anything at all—and this excludes Roy himself, at least during Hannity’s interview—why would the same man then strip naked before a child? In the scenario I have portrayed, Moore would most likely have an interest in younger women precisely because he was striving to preserve an abstemious Christian lifestyle before marriage. Had this not been his objective—believe me—he could have found dozens and dozens of playmates to party with in the pre-AIDS, hypersexualized Seventies. Yes, even down in the land of cotton, where there’s a steeple on every street corner.

A Southerner, a Christian, a white male… Roy Moore is everything our intelligentsia loves to hate. The only thing needed to fill out his profile, as far as the opinion-makers are concerned, is a trail of corpses indicating the activity of a serial killer. I do wish this man were not so verbally klutzy; and, as a Christian myself, I wish he would not retreat to Bible-thumping every time he senses that the jackals are closing in. Just because all martyrs suffer doesn’t mean that everyone who suffers is a martyr.

On the other hand, I have to reject the pronouncement of Gregg Jarrett (for whose views I have the utmost respect) that Moore is an antinomian renegade just because he has defied the Supreme Court. “Renegade” seems to me a pretty accurate descriptor for more than one of the nine worthies who sit on that august body. Then, too, Mr. Jarrett, you must understand that some of us in the South, even now, have not forgotten the hypocrisy of a central government that invaded its member states for exercising a constitutional freedom, all the while sanitizing its act by decrying the atrocity of slavery yet tolerating the institution in “loyal” states and freeing Southern slaves only to serve as cannon fodder, imprisoning publishers and legislators in states as remote as Illinois and New York for resisting Mr. Lincoln’s draft and his sanguinary policies, and carting away plunder while leaving once-prosperous cites in ashes. Roy Moore speaks to those memories, as sublimated as they have grown and as unhappily knotted as is his drawling tongue. The government in Washington, Mr. Jarrett, observes what clauses of the Constitution it feels like reading on what days it finds itself in an observing mood.

We revere the Constitution in the South. The faraway, faceless government that claims to rule by constitutional authority? Not so much.

Roy Moore, if you are that caricature of a Christian gentleman that they make of you in the corridors of power… then God help us, and I only hope that forty years have taught you how to keep a belt buckled.

Roy Moore, Sex, the Seventies, and the South (Part One)

The following is the exact text submitted to an e-colleague who has always published my ruminations before on his busy site.  He woudn’t touch this one, or even tell me why not.  Roy Moore is apparently radioactive for “intellectuals”–especially those with good northeastern educations.

I had to wince at Roy Moore’s answers to Sean Hannity a couple of weeks back. Specifically, there was far too much talk about how the mothers of a seventeen- and an eighteen-year-old girl “liked” Roy and were pleased to have him courting their daughters–how he never asked a girl out without first consulting the lady of the house–followed by reiterated insistence that, no, he didn’t date teenagers when he was a thirty-two-year-old. So, Roy… these two particular moms wanted you to court their daughters, but you refused because of the age gap? And when you asked out a woman of twenty-eight, you first contacted her mother so as to ascertain if a date would be acceptable? Is that what you’re saying?

I so wanted to like this man… but thanks to contradiction and incoherence flowing from his mouth in a steady, unsavory mush, he has rendered himself impossible to believe and presently looks as guilty as Ganelon. If your account of how you did not do a deed is insulting to people with IQ’s higher than the temperature on Christmas Day, then you likely did the deed. (For instance, if you claim that you found a gun in a dumpster and decided to shoot a seal with it, but dropped the piece and then stumbled so that your toe pulled the trigger while pointing the muzzle further downward so as to create a ricochet… but I forgot that such things really happen in San Francisco.)

I concluded after the Hannity interview, then (with my head buried in my hands), that Moore must have done everything of which he stood accused. I was ready to fit the noose around his neck myself.

As the weeks have stumbled along, however, as awkwardly as an expatriate seal-hunting drug-dealer on a crowded pier, I began to reconsider. I did so largely on the basis of my own recollections of the Seventies, and of the ordeal of being a single Christian male during those suicidally hedonistic days. Here’s what I wish Judge Moore had said, and what I think he may have meant to say:

“Mr. Hannity, I’m sorry that you think it’s a perversion for a man of thirty-something years to ask a girl fresh out of high school for a date. In the rural South and out West, such practices were routine rather than unusual (let alone aberrant) before the Civil War; and in some parts of the South, things haven’t changed that much. But, yes, they’ve changed enough to have made my courting practices a little oddball back in the 1970’s. All the same, in my neck of the woods, asking out a girl ten or fifteen years your junior wouldn’t have been equated with pedophilia necessarily, as you seem determined to do–and your making that association really intimidates me. I’m really tempted to scuff up certain boundaries and hedge on the truth, except that I know I would be setting my foot in my own snare. You fast-talking Yankees, Mr. Hannity… you all have a way, you know, of making us Southerners feel like backward, inbred perverts, deviants, mutants, and retrogrades. You’re always so sure of yourselves, and we’re always Exhibit A for human failure and degeneracy. But I’m going to admit to the seventeen- and the eighteen-year olds–those were innocent adventures involving nothing more torrid than a light kiss at the end of the evening; and I’ll attempt to explain to you something further about the Seventies.

“You just about couldn’t find a girl to go on a date with back then who didn’t expect the evening to end up in bed. It didn’t even matter much if you met her at church. Since I had been unwise or unlucky enough to remain single into my thirties, most of the available women were divorcees, and they weren’t in any hurry to repeat what they regarded as a mistake: to get married again, that is to say. They held the institution of marriage at fault for their unhappiness, and not their own evaluation of marriageable material. They had decided that if they ever did marry a second time, they would do so only after giving the vehicle several test-drives. Unfortunately, this attitude not only tolerates behavior that a Christian is not supposed to practice; it also doesn’t yield the sort of confirmation that girls back then seemed to expect of it. So if I had engaged in the dating game as it was then being played by people of my age, I would have been exploiting women for my selfish sexual pleasure, albeit with their permission–and I would have been preparing them for another personal catastrophe following hard upon their previous one, since they were seeking to build a solid edifice upon a foundation of sand.

“Of course, there were better-educated women of approximately my years who had not rushed into marriage right out of high school, as we tend to do in the South; but few of them, frankly, clung even the rudiments of Christian belief that I found in struggling, confused divorcees. Indeed, it was the creed of feminism, learned in colleges and exported by these dazzling graduates into professional circles throughout the community, that probably induced many a single-parent secretary or nurse to follow the same lifestyle. For that was how the ‘smart’ people lived.

“In those circumstances, Mr. Hannity, I conceived the perhaps ill-advised notion of trying to date ‘unspoiled’ girls–young ladies who were neither exiting an unhappy marriage nor bound for a campus that would make them wise in the ways of contraception and abortion. I thought I was choosing the best option of the few available to me. Naturally, I made myself look a little ridiculous to certain people in the community who were already disposed to dislike me. Some of them, I’m sure, made me out to be a pervert and a predator, because I had left myself in a perfect position to receive shots like that. My ill-wishers in the law enforcement fraternity, especially, would start rumors about how they had to warn old Roy away from the young girls at the shopping mall. That’s what Jesus said would happen if you didn’t follow the way of the world. Him, the Son of God, they called a drunkard and a reveler, a companion of shady characters like tax-collectors. If the world would say that of Him, why would it say kinder things of me?”

Kind of a long speech for a Hannity segment, I know… but I wish Judge Moore had uttered something in the vicinity of my script.    continued tomorrow

R.I.P., Kate Steinle—and God Help the Rest of Us

Some day, I will be able to speak freely about several subjects that weigh very heavily on my heart at the moment. As a teacher of over thirty years’ experience, I am dismayed, disgusted, and even infuriated by things that I see going on around me… but I must not speak. Not yet.

So I’ll content myself, at the moment, with a few comments about the liberation of Kate Steinle’s killer by a San Francisco jury last week.

Yes, it was a jury’s decision, and not an activist judge’s, for a change. Yet the judge could have thrown out the verdict, as I understand, had he or she determined that the jury ignored its instructions and willfully disregarded the letter of the law. I don’t know how this could be said not to have happened when the shooter, a convicted felon, was in possession of a firearm. That act in itself is already a crime, whether the felon shoots the piece or not. If he merely touches it, he’s in violation of the law. Nevertheless, the sterling character in question was exonerated on that charge.

Neither do I understand how a defendant is allowed to walk when his defense is a patchwork of lies, many of them trimmed with other lies when the earlier versions sprang leaks. I accuse you of emptying out my wall safe. You say, No, I spent that evening at my auntie’s. Well, that’s not what you aunt says. Oh, did I say “aunt”? I meant “uncle”! Well, your uncle’s been dead for three years. But I was at his house. No, you weren’t: the new owners don’t know you. But I was going over there to fetch some stuff, but my car broke down….

Now, nothing in such a line of questioning establishes that you in fact possess the contents of my safe. You have lied so many times in seeking an alibi, however, that your evasions may—and should—be construed as evidence of guilt.

But not in San Francisco.

Apparently, Franciscans are so blissfully, virtuously ignorant of the operation of firearms, furthermore, that they are incompetent to pass judgment on an act involving one. You cannot fire a gun with your toe—not unless you’re a chimp, and your heel can bend like the palm of your hand to restrain the handle as the trigger is compressed. (Was our innocent murderer shoeless? Did anyone even ask? You certainly can’t pull a trigger with a sneaker!) The bullet is supposed to have ricocheted upward into Ms. Steinle’s heart. What did it hit? A forty-caliber slug would have to encounter something pretty solid to gain four feet of height within fifty feet of distance—always assuming that the gun was lying flat on the pier. Did anyone bother to reconstruct the incident? What hard surface did the bullet strike?

Of course, my guess is that it didn’t matter, and wouldn’t matter. California juries are composed of people who intend to go to sleep that night wrapped in a warm confidence that they are morally superior to the rest of the nation. They’re not going to bully people of other cultures. The poor immigrant fellow was just trying to make his way in the world. The real villain here is the NRA—because without the NRA, there would be no guns. And so on, and so on… nighty-night.

How many of our neighbors and our relatives will have to die so that these pompous idiots can curl up in their solipsistic, sociopathic utopianism every hour of every day?

Guns: Part Two

I’m not crazy about guns. I very seldom fire one any more—they take time to clean, and the shells are almost prohibitively expensive if you don’t have a reloading press. Furthermore, I particularly hate automatics. They jam, and I’m also never quite sure that a final round isn’t hiding in the chamber. I find them hard to aim, as well.

When I was about sixteen, I began acquiring a series of replica pistols that used black powder and loaded Minié balls from the cylinder’s forward end with the aid of a ramrod slung under the barrel. They were small cannons, in effect. I would retrieve the lead from two-by-four targets and melt it down to create more balls. The complete experience was very educational with regard (for instance) to how the Civil War was fought: but its complexity, its racket, and its risk also inspired in me a deep respect for the firearm. Guns are and always have been—and always should be—the last resort in the struggle to survive.

I’ve known, or known of, many people who boast of their time on the shooting range as if they had run a weekend marathon or pumped weights for an hour at the gym. They act as though shooting is physical exercise; and indeed, most of them need a strong dose of the real thing. Simply squeezing off rounds doesn’t prove you’re a man, develop your biceps, or bring you closer to nature. I don’t understand this “winning your spurs” attitude toward shooting that licenses the initiate to swagger like a saddle-sore cowboy. Petite females, in fact, are often the most enthusiastic and devoted shooters, precisely because they realize that the “equalizer” (as the 1873 Peacemaker was dubbed by its loving patrons) gives them a fair chance against a 250-pound assailant.

Would the world be a better place without guns? I doubt it. Then the lone female would again be easy prey for the criminal predator. Fights and even full-blown wars would probably also be more common, both because the opposing sides might suppose they had less to lose and also because the act of combat would be deemed a fitting measure of manhood (since trading Homeric blows tends to reward strength and determination, whereas surviving in a bullet-heavy atmosphere is largely a matter of chance). The butcher-bills reported by Julius Caesar in his foreign campaigns are utterly staggering.

Truth to tell, the “romance” of the firearm has been purveyed more by Hollywood blockbusters and the video games that have fed off them than by redneck Westerners plunking at bottles on their remote ranches. I’ve given up movies, for the most part. I can’t stand the glorification of gunplay and the sociopathic indifference to its consequences (not to mention the childish ignorance of the physics involved). I’m not a “snowflake”. On the contrary, it is because of my fair familiarity with guns that their constant use to supplement AWOL plots and characterization by an industry without conscience or other signs of basic intelligence disgusts me.

Why, after all of these shooting incidents, do we never hear a cry and hue rising from the Democrat Party to discipline—or at least boycott—Hollywood’s antinomian, homicidal tripe? Why, for that matter, have I heard not a single plea from either side of the aisle to outlaw the bullet-proof vest? That unique garment would be my greatest fear, if I were concealing a small handgun legally in church for my and my neighbors’ defense when Punk Sociopath bursts in screaming, “I’m so offended that the world hasn’t made me emperor!” as he sports a bullet-resisting jacket. Great. Now we’re all dead unless I squeeze off a perfect shot.

Why does nobody ever ask questions like that? What good would it do to collect all the legal weapons? What good would it have done, Mr. Republican, if the Air Force had done its job and put the Kelley punk’s risk factors in a database? You think people can’t purchase guns illegally? What good would it have done, Mr. Savage and Ms. Ingraham, if the swine had been confined to a mental hospital? Thanks to our “entertainment” industry, we’re grinding out psychos faster than Planters shells peanuts. Why don’t you all tune down your mouths long enough to think?

Guns: Part One

Why was I so mad at the Left in my last post?  Oh, I don’t know… maybe just because I’m so tired of lies from every political quarter, and because the Left’s pose of outrage at gun violence is especially sanctimonious, hypocritical, and fraudulent.  I can lie to you about a car because I want to sell it; and then again, I can lie about the car while also telling you how sick I am of lying car salesmen.  The Left’s rhetorical position on guns is of the latter sort.
Remember Operation Fast and Furious?  No?  Well, no wonder!  It wasn’t really, as one might say in the high calling of journalism, “covered”.  A corrupt FBI collaborating with the corrupt Holder Department of Justice to disseminate guns illegally among Mexican cartels in the hope that these latter would kill lots of innocents (as they obligingly did) and stir outrage in the States against the Second Amendment… it was Phase Two alone that didn’t quite go as planned.
I’ll be perfectly blunt.  If there is indeed any sort of conspiracy behind the Las Vegas massacre (and the disappearance of a serious investigation certainly enhances the plausibility of a cover-up), then my money is on Fast and Furious, Take Two.  The American mainstream was insufficiently riled up when a score of birthday-partying kids in Juarez was murdered due to Holder’s gun-running… so this time, let’s gun down some middle Americans themselves.  Let’s get them at a Country Music concert, where their kind likes to gather for patriotic expressions in twangy tones and maybe a prayer or two.  Riddle Uncle Cletus and Sister Sharlane with bullets, and let’s see then what they all think of the NRA.
Do I really believe that certain politicos associated with the left side of the aisle would connive at gunning down dozens of unsuspecting citizens?  Well, at least two Democrats left the floor of the House when Paul Ryan called for a moment of silence on behalf of the victims, and a CBS exec voiced publicly that the gun-owners among the fallen deserved to die.  Several of the “D” persuasion made no bones about tweeting out a snarky contempt (understood as humor in their circle) for the fifty-eight redneck fatalities.  And I must repeat: Fast and Furious introduced the script.  There’s nothing in this “conspiracy” that wasn’t zealously and demonstrably executed under Eric Holder’s reign.
Why would any human being, let alone a public servant of the highest standing, conspire to murder dozens or hundreds of fellow beings?  Because, you see, the Second Amendment must go at all costs.  It is the log-jammer in the bottleneck: it is what inhibits the forward surge of the totalitarian progressivist state.  We will never be able to arrange the lives of individual people who are too benighted to understand the destiny awaiting the species as long as they can resist forcible persuasion effectively.  We must have their weapons.  Why is the US not Mexico?  Because Mexicans cannot stand up against homicidal marauders and corrupt police who work hand-in-glove with them.  We can perhaps draw enough Mexicans into our nation that, endowed with their inbred subjection to the will of the patrón, they will create a critical mass at the ballot box; but right now, that strategy is looking dubious.  Maybe we need another, if we’re progressives.
The endgame is to get the guns.  All of them.
Hence the knee-jerk response from the Left every time any incidence of gun violence occurs: never miss an occasion to remind John Q. Average that this is happening entirely and only because of the Second Amendment.  And if some of the Average clan should drop dead of lead poisoning, in the process… all the better!  To make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.

The Dark Elite (Part Four)

It would be easier (especially for someone sitting on the sidelines, like me) to say who the Dark Elite are not than who they are. They are not “mainstream media” and “fake news”. Though our Fourth Estate has indeed assumed much too aggressive a role in shaping public policy, and though its sympathies overwhelmingly veer in the direction of creating a highly centralized utopia, none of this group, it seems to me, can credibly be visualized as pulling the strings of puppets on the national stage. At most, the owner of a communications empire—preferably one who has made his broadcast domain part of a vast conglomerate—might be a member of some covert Star Chamber; but this person’s vast wealth and his influence over other sectors of the economy would supply the ticket for admission. The people who directly persuade us, before their microphones or cameras, to take comfort in the emerging totalitarian state are not among that state’s architects. In the phrase supposedly used by Lenin, they are “useful idiots” who champion the abrogation of our freedoms because they identify egotistically with the cause of creating a brave new world.

Still less are Hollywood’s movers and shakers suitable collaborators for an enterprise that aspires to rule the world. Again, unless a major producer also has his finger in several other entrepreneurial pots, his job is essentially meretricious, no matter how much lucre it spills into his bank account: that is, he is more slave to public taste than engineer of public opinion.

As far as established political parties, I should say that Republicans are more likely to be source material for a twenty-first century illuminatus than Democrats. The reasons for this are simple. With their superior appeal to “the masses” (which does not always translate into real benefit for ordinary people), Democrats are more conscious of “image”. They enjoy applause and live for celebrity. Once they discover how much loot is also to be harvested in the corridors of power, their heads are more readily turned away from the hidden heart of the magnetic force field. They would rather bask on a Caribbean island in a lobbyist’s company than explore the underground vaults of NSA’s new megaplex in Utah. Among this latter type, one is more likely to find Republicans. They have cut their professional teeth in boardrooms and back rooms. They know how to dress, how to be discreet, and how to blend into the wallpaper when necessary. The hard part for them is being flamboyant enough to get elected, in the first place, as the electorate grows more YouTube-addicted.

This is not to imply that politicos of any stripe are very likely to sit on the Board of the Knights Templar. As with publishers and film producers, they would almost certainly require connection with some other avenue of power to receive the initiation: banking and finance, energy production, and defense contracting are three of the private-sector ties that our elite-eligible may have formed before entering public office. But these avenues are little traveled now. Most congressmen come to DC by way of the bar and the bench. In other words, they know how to design and manipulate legalese to reach a desired objective through a squid-like ink screen. While this can be a useful survival skill, it doesn’t get you to the top of the food chain. Honestly, I doubt that most of our elected representatives have any idea where the greatest power ultimately resides, any more than a little pilot fish carries around a full mental image of the shark’s jaws under which he comfortably feeds.

Many have proposed George Soros as a prototype for the Goldfinger-like character who darkly subverts the mechanisms of nations as if he were toying with pawns on a chessboard. My initial reaction is to concur—perhaps because the world of high finance is so alien to me. (Tacitus writes, omne ignotum pro magnifico est: a very free translation might be, “We like to imagine that all the boxes we can’t find are in the closet we can’t open.”) On the other hand, Soros is very visible, and a characteristic of our kind of shady figure might almost be that you can be sure X is not one if you’re convinced he is. Soros’s money, besides, has not been spent with particular efficiency. He has unlimited amounts of it to meddle in other nations’ affairs, but the horses he backs come croppers far more often than they visit the victory circle. He also has no apparent connection with high tech: and this, I believe, is an indispensable quality in our Shadow King.

I like bankers as prospects… but they need to have a mine of pixie dust somewhere in their portfolio. William Gheen once wrote me (in defense of his support for Donald Trump) that Ted Cruz was disqualified in the struggle to “drain the swamp” because his wife Heidi had worked for Goldman-Sachs. The suspicious, however, are not those who engage in pursuing material profit; they are those invested in materially engineering the future of our species for the “betterment of all concerned”.