The Practice of Free Speech Is a Spiritual Necessity

I almost began by writing that I’m sick of politically tinged topics and wish to dedicate a column to something spiritual… but this one lands me right to the heart of free speech.  Everything, alas, has grown political.

In my nightly meditation (it’s my variety of prayer), I pass a “station” where I ask myself if I have “reached out” that day, because I’m convinced that exchange of some sort has to be an essential part of why we’re here.  We are not finished products.  We cannot allow ourselves to be deposited in a curio cabinet (or deposit ourselves there), safe from dust and errant missiles.  That doesn’t mean that we have a holy obligation to throw our elbows about and shout around the water cooler; it simply means that we must find a way to register our “take” on the truth as events unfold around us in this accelerated, hyper-active, overly medicated e-world of our creation.  Not to speak up in some manner, unfortunately (for the meditative, to whom silence is golden), is these days equivalent to nodding quiet assent to the slanders and inanities that build a dizzy momentum on Twitter, Facebook, and the rest.  “Pushback” is required.

And it was ever so, to be honest.  Monastic seclusion is beneficial only to the extent that it allows the hermit to reflect.  As soon as it favors a suspension of thought and a mind-numbed retreat into daily routine, it shuts down the individual’s opportunity to grow further.  A cow is not the ultimate sage.

I write this as someone with very strong tendencies to flee to an island and sink the skiff that brought me there.  That’s why I have to hold myself to an accounting every evening.  Exchange is required, not just (or even primarily) for the benefit of one’s “benighted” neighbors: it prods one’s soul, as well, into probing questions deeper and framing answers better.

Hence my quoting the word “benighted” above—for we must not think of our intellectual participation as gracing the world with prophetic revelations or as hammering sinners for not falling in with the onward march of Christian (or socialist, or utopian) soldiers.  An exchange not only runs in two directions: it also, in a truly Christian context, must accept limitation and fallibility.  Beings such as we cannot fully grasp ultimate truth, let alone express it.  Though I may be closer to the mark than you, and though I may know well that you won’t accept my correction—however modestly offered—I still need the “exercise in futility” involved in making my case to you so that I may better guard against any straying off target from my side.  When I’m enhancing a digital photo, I always overshoot the point where the lighting or coloring is just right; for how will I know where “just right” is if I haven’t veered into “too much”?

Not that I deliberately go too far in my speech or writing… but I will never “nail” the full truth; and without the evidence of a day’s slight (or gaping) misses, how will I restrain myself from the pride of feeling that I—in my superior silence—understand everything while the others are mere puny mortals?

There, in a nutshell, lies the spiritual necessity of exchange.  And there, as well, lies the wickedness of shutting down exchanges in the interest of “what’s right”.  So you know exactly what’s right, do you?  How generous of God, to loan you His eyes and sit you upon His throne!  But, of course, the people who would shut down such discussion do not regard their perspective as on loan.  In a post-religious world, their vision has become the new god—and they are all his prophets.

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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”.

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

On the Educated Elite’s Adoration of Centralized Authority: Part Two

Thanks to an almost suicidal work load this weekend (created mostly by my own excessive ambition), I’ve been tardy getting back to my reflection about intellectuals and central authority in the contemporary world.  Time was when an intellectual would almost surely be a “liberal” in the sense of believing (to the point of doing hard time in prison, like Silvio Pellico) that individuals should choose the course of their own lives—that they should not be pawns on the chessboard of the mighty.  How times change!  Now the liberal is he or she who wants a central authority to provide health care, assure a minimum income, fund free education all the way to the graduate level, certify the safety of food and drink, keep leaded paint off of toys, inspect hot water heaters… Super Nanny and Grandfather God all rolled into one.

I prefer my freedom.  And it’s no longer just an aversion to being tucked in at night by Big Brother: survival is at stake, I’m convinced, at the most rudimentary level.

I’m sure that I will have shocked a few eyes last time by declaring that I don’t want to see freebies distributed generously far and wide to the “needy” (however we may define that group: it’s a moving target).  Here, then, is why you will end up sending vast droves of humanity to the slaughterhouse if you encourage such publicly funded magnanimity—and why you yourselves, o sapient and progressive intellectuals and noble paragons of moral sentiment, will likely be funneled down the same chute.

Simple, really.  There isn’t enough money to pay for Ahmed’s education and Rosalita’s hip replacement and Jesse’s five kids and Maggie’s birth control.  We’re about twenty TRILLION dollars in debt at the moment… but the more accurate figure may be at least four times as great if one adds in the so-called unfunded liabilities—commitments such as Social Security which government has made in recent decades without bothering to consider where the cash would come from.  Printing paper dollars as needed is just one of several scenarios that end in an economic abyss.  There really isn’t any clear way back up the slope from our present position, either.

Now, it would not be naive to assume that many of our legislators are a) too fixated on selfish, short-term gain or b) too scantily endowed with native intelligence to understand the looming calamity.  But I would take a wild guess that a quarter to a half of them understand it perfectly well.  What, then, is their endgame?  How can they merely open up the throttle as the plane rolls into a fatal nosedive?

The only answer I can possibly imagine is that plans are being discreetly discussed to “manage” us.  Means of management might include 1) sterilizing huge segments of the population without their knowledge, as by an element infused into the annual flu vaccine; 2) precipitating a war in which anyone not supplied with a state-of-the-art concrete bunker would be vaporized; 3) allowing the situation to degenerate until rioting n the streets forced the authorities to declare martial law and “neutralize” dissident factions.  Messy, that last one… but may I remind you that Barack Obama spoke openly before his first term about the creation of a national police force, that indispensable ancilla to any totalitarian dictator?

The masses are needed at the moment only to vote the elite into positions of power; and the elite, in turn, buy these votes by offering more and more manna from heaven. At some point, when the general public becomes sufficiently degraded that it denounces elections and cries for a king, its utility will have ended. Seems to me that we draw very near to that point, to judge by recent events.

The more dependent we become, and the more dependent we allow our brethren to become, the closer we draw to the butcher’s sledgehammer.  It isn’t smart, my academic friends and colleagues, to aid and abet a society of piglets permanently suckling one great sow.  It’s really quite stupid, and quite dangerous.

Thanksgiving Lite vs. True Gratitude

Like just about every other thoughtful person, I’m a little queasy when I hear all the Christian-lite bromides at this time of year. “Thank you for our health.” So the ailing are hated of God? “Thank you for our family.” Pagans have families, too; so do murdering drug-cartel kingpins. “Thank you for peace.” Well, sort of… only don’t go for an evening walk without a concealed weapon unless you live in an exclusive gated community; and if it’s peace in the world to which you refer, I guess you mean, “Thank you for not making me Mexican, so that I don’t inhabit a nation that produced 21,000 murders last year and 30,000 surviving casualties.”

That’s a little Pharisaical, don’t you think? “Thank you for not making me like that filthy publican at the altar.”

And then we have the unnerving fact that what we fear and loathe most is often what we most need. We don’t know what to be thankful for. Maybe our raise is just going to plunge us into a more materialistic lifestyle. Maybe being bumped to part-time will make us become more creative and independent. Should we be thankful that we can afford to view more trashy Hollywood movies and stuff ourselves on more sweets and fats… or should we be thankful that we’re now having to read books for amusement and grow potatoes and beans in the back yard? How we hate being forced into virtue! When that doesn’t happen, we’re so damn thankful!

I have enough of the old pagan in me that I’m almost afraid to be thankful for anything, lest I make a target out of myself. “Thanks for our prosperous investments… oh, my God! Did you see how much the Dow just plunged?” There’s an Irish saying that runs, Mol an là um trathnóna—“Praise the day as the sun goes down.” It’s the same sentiment that we find at the end of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and ascribed to Solon by Herodotus: “Let no man be called blessed before he is safely dead and secure from the world’s shocks.”

In my more Christian moments, however—truly Christian—I know that I must die to this world some day, and I am grateful for the little clues that alert me to a “winding down”. I am grateful that I can see a way to start tying loose ends together—to leave some sort of legacy that will warn others against living just for the here and now. And, yes, I’m grateful for something to put on the table. “Let each day’s worries be sufficient unto itself.” I am grateful that we get by, that the sun and the rain fall on good and evil alike, and that the means of survival are always within reach of the humble and hard-working. I want to learn more about those means in my final years, and I want to do more about passing them along. Simply feeling the days lengthen and then shorten, simply studying how the earth grows food and then gives it up to those who know her secrets, is a vitally important part of understanding bountifulness and feeling gratitude for it.

I am not grateful to this culture we have created which has carried us so far away from such understanding and such gratitude.

 

Girls Need More Prudence in the Post-Polite World

I would begin, “Please don’t misunderstand…” but I have long learned that those words are always wasted.  People who want to misunderstand will surely do so, as on the day when three senior English majors were pleased to construe a perfectly anodyne joke I hatched (to cover my irritation about rampant absenteeism) as a crude sneer at suicides.  (I had murmured, “Absent again?  Question 5 must have driven them to suicide!”)  These prissy censors decided to be offended rather than opt for a more civil, friendly, and obvious interpretation of my words; and as for me, I will never forget the offense I felt at being so zealously cast in a villain’s role.  No, I didn’t feel “raped”: I just felt slapped in the face.

So misunderstand, if you will… but listen: women who don’t wish to lure into the open their male colleagues’ Inner Swine probably shouldn’t leave dozens of photos on Google images showing themselves buck naked (or peu s’en faut), with the skimpiest of remaining strings or veils, perhaps, serving only to emphasize what isn’t in plain sight.

The Tweeden woman who is protesting Al Franken’s multiple molestations—and rightly so—might have considered that when you ring a bell in Professor Pavlov’s lab, all the dogs within earshot start to salivate.  I had no idea who this young woman might be; someone wrote that she was a newscaster.  I did a quick search… and my iPad’s screen started to blush.  Ms. Tweeden, I second your outrage, and I have decried the degeneration of male manners over a lifetime twice the length of yours… but if you don’t want the neighborhood strays nipping at your heels, don’t go jogging wrapped in strings of fresh sausage.

For fifty years and more now, feminism has been encouraging young women to flaunt conventions of decency (if not to advertise an overtly licentious lifestyle).  This was always a nasty pit-trap into which the most impressionable girls took hard falls.  Here they were told by academic mentors that they were going to gate-crash male lairs of privilege…. and all they accomplished was the rush-delivery of more low thrills to the worst kind of man.

I don’t know if the news desk and the Hollywood “casting couch” are distinctly different pieces of furniture any more, at least for young women.  If a daughter of mine were considering a broadcast career, I would warn her to develop a thick skin and study karate.  And if Megan Kelly, who hasn’t stopped protesting her harassment at FOX since her exit therefrom, really believes that she was originally hired only for her interviewing skills, then she must be the most naive human being ever to utter the words, “Tonight we begin our coverage…”.

It’s not right, of course, that women in particular should have to be eye-candy in order to land such positions.  Ratings rule, however, at the end of the day.  The profession is invincibly sordid in that regard.

Teaching isn’t so very different.  You can possess the knowledge of a Henry Kissinger about international affairs—but if you conduct your Topics in Diplomacy seminar in soporific monotone, you’ll soon be looking for a new gig (unless, that is, you are actually Henry Kissinger).

I wish we could recover some vestige of manners.  Few people loathe the moral and cultural cesspool in which we dwell more than I.  But as I recall my single days in the Eighties, when women never wanted to see you again if the first date didn’t end in bed, and as I now read of actresses feeling “assaulted” when a nonagenarian in a wheelchair slips his arm around their waist, I can’t help but conclude that today’s girls—for their own good—need to do their calculations all over again.  This world of “rights” and “freedoms” has grown dangerously pathological.  Don’t assume that any space is safe, ladies, and learn to keep your guard up better.  Listen to your grandmothers.

 

The Dark Elite (Part Six)

As I wrap up these remarks (at least for now), I find that one observation leaps immediately to the fore. I wrote in beginning this series that we must deprogram ourselves from viewing multinational corporations and Nanny State politicians as adversaries, for in fact they are two sides of the same coin (and a counterfeit coin, at that). In the same way, we must no longer automatically view a utopian progressive building a staircase to heaven as the opposite of a dogmatic neo-bourbonist awaiting the return of a rightful king. For what were Stalin and Mao if not the most despotic kings imaginable? The progressive is always waiting for a master, whom he calls Beloved Leader. On the coin’s other hollow-ringing side, the ultra-conservative who wants God’s ways (as understood by him) to intrude into the management of the body politic produces, in his Richelieu or his Metternich, nothing but a Stalin or a Mao clad in holy garb.

I submit that this is a deeply relevant paradox in unmasking the Dark Elite. I strongly suspect, that is, that people with misguided religious convictions may possess all of the qualities essential for participation in such a covert enterprise. They would likely be discreet, fiercely faithful, tirelessly industrious, and steeled against second thoughts by utter conviction. They would be modern Crusaders; and what would make them distinctly modern would be an understanding of advanced technology of the practical variety such as the Space Program generates, or even of the somber variety such as the Department of Defense generates. They wouldn’t be designing video games. They might be invested in delivering the Internet’s instant knowledge via an earbud… but they would be aware, as frivolous people are not, of the potential to filter the Internet’s content and distill coy suggestions into everyone’s ear.

I find the profile of the person I have just imagined not unsympathetic, I admit. Democracy seems to be entering a self-destructive stage. People are expected to arbitrate issues at the ballot box about which highly trained experts disagree—and never has an electorate been more impatient with training itself in our nation’s history. More and more voters, as well, are claiming their right to a bigger and bigger portion of somebody else’s income, while it grows increasingly obvious that all the wallets of the next two or three generations cannot fund the claims made. Infatuation, irresponsibility, selfishness, and outright stupidity characterize the choices made in the broadest and most consequential plebiscites. Wouldn’t we be better off if some Beloved Leader—some Anointed One—would step in and do God’s work?

If you worship the God of Goodness, yet you forget that good ways are only so when freely chosen by thoughtful individuals, you may be tempted to do away with the “folly” of democratic elections—with their susceptibility to trend and their cult of personality. The good is the good; and since people will not reliably select it, it must be selected for them. They must be saved from themselves, the silly children—the bloody fools, some of whom may have to die until the remaining accept that they are silly children. You, as God’s agent, will see that the hard lesson is taught.

There’s not a paper’s thinness of difference, I repeat, between this line of reasoning and that of the utopian ideologue: hence the strange affinity that has evolved between the radical Left and radical Islam, the one boisterously atheist and the other fanatically pious. Even so are there sincere but self-deluded Christians in the United States who would cheerfully adopt a know-nothing attitude as a paternalistic government oversaw and overheard whatever passed in every kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom to “protect” us; and there are those of this same group, as well, who would dutifully undertake the “protecting”.

I don’t mean end my rambles in the assertion that the Dark Elite are a gang of religious fanatics… or perhaps I do. I will accept that characterization of my conclusion if you, in turn, will accept that devotion to the ever-recessive image of a manmade utopia is also a religion—or a cult, to be precise. Our covert Chosen Ones may feel that they are bringing about the eternal life of the soul by fostering a world where downloads may enter an indefinite number of corporeal residences… or they may feel that they are elevating humankind to new evolutionary heights by merging the biological with the robotic. The former idea is Catholic physicist Frank Tipler’s, the latter charismatic secularist Ray Kurzweil’s. Either one of these two would be quite comfortable in a room where the enlightened engineering of humanity’s future by a select, fully initiated few was under discussion.

In my restless thoughts, I keep returning to the Phoenix Lights, an inexplicable display of aeronautic prowess viewed by hundreds and filmed by dozens. Either extraterrestrial craft were aloft that spring day in 1997, or else our government has developed technology capable of what any civilian Physics professor would call impossible. Either way, we have been lied to on a scale that sets our dull world wholly adrift from the futuristic reality known to the Elite. Yet these same “protectors” have overlooked the little matter of securing our power grid against EMP’s… or have they, really? That, I would insist, is a moral impossibility. If we live thus exposed to almost complete annihilation, it can only be because the Dark Elite have already decided that they wish to hold such a trump card in their hand. Perhaps an America of ten percent its present population would be much easier to feed and defend, equipped as she would be with apocalyptic technology; perhaps the Elite have decided that her deadwood simply needs to be pruned.

This subject terrifies me, frankly. Our world is not perfectible, and attempts to force perfection upon it by its human occupants invariably bring Hell a little closer. Our free society was intended to give individuals a chance to work out their soul’s salvation or to squander their mortal time upon things that perish, as they prefer: it was to have been a place where people may learn from failure or simply fail and fail some more. Should the “illumined ones” among us decide to outlaw failure, our grand experiment in freedom will have failed catastrophically.