Once again I’m up too early in the morning for…well…for anything, really. And I find myself bemused by the state we’ve lurched into, and unable to suggest anything but prayer.
I’m not knocking prayer. Prayer is highly beneficial. However, it has an indifferent track record at correcting the ills that beset us, when those ills are the result of our own poor thinking and bad choices. As the saying goes, God helps those who help themselves – and we haven’t been doing much on the self-help front.
The country is in a tailspin, and the ground is getting mighty close. (The one and only time I came near to panic during my flight instruction was when my instructor demonstrated how to recover from a spin. Never again, please God!) The great majority of Americans remain American in thought, word, and deed. Yet the political class, in collaboration with a gaggle of anti-American minorities, a cooperative media, and a bunch of ludicrous, self-contradicting “health experts,” have fastened a lunatic regime upon us that’s causing us to doubt our own sanity. Consider the most recent symptoms:
- Texans are dying in the dark because of frozen windmills.
- Portlanders are fighting over food salvaged from dumpsters.
- The FBI is investigating the governor of New York for mass murder.
- A virus no worse than influenza has made us panic as if it’s the Black Death.
- A commentator’s death has released a flood of the vilest, most vicious sentiments ever expressed.
- The president of the United States – so the media tells us – is defending Chinese atrocities and imperialism.
That should do for starters. There’s lots more, but the above items express the sense of what’s “top of the news.”
Oh, by the way, that supposed president has also garrisoned the nation’s capital, is planning to prosecute “domestic terrorists” for the crime of protesting a stolen election, and is on the verge of seizing the citizenry’s arms by executive order. All perfectly normal events…in a bolshevized Eastern European satellite nation or a South American banana republic. Equally abnormal has been the near-total lack of reaction from the citizenry.
I’m no better than anyone else. I’ve been up since 2:00 AM EST, worrying and trying to plan…but about what? How to prevent the collapse of the United States of America into a totalitarian hellhole? No, not that at all. My main concerns this fine February morning are getting my Newfoundland puppy to stop getting me out of bed in the wee hours, and that garbage collection will be suspended yet again in anticipation of the coming snowstorm.
(That whirring sound at the edge of audibility is Patrick Henry spinning in his grave fast enough to power all of Texas. Work is under way to connect his coffin to the grid. I’ll keep you updated on its progress.)
Why sit we here idle?
Tragedies can heap to a despair-inducing height. Difficulties can multiply until their number alone defeats all attempts to focus. It can make an individual retreat into immobility, hoping that if he should only wait a little longer in stillness and silence, it will all “go away.” Quite a lot of Americans have already retreated into their personal or familial shells. Our occupations have been eliminated or transformed beyond recognition. Our social centers have been crippled; our houses of worship have been shuttered. Our interpersonal contacts have degenerated to Zoom meetings, email, and brief exchanges muttered through face masks.
Perhaps worst, the average American now watches every word he says, constantly fearful that some offhand remark might cause someone to condemn him: for racism; for sexism; for homophobia; for “transphobia;” or as a “domestic terrorist.” The fear is especially great among those who work for others, which is most of us.
American society as we knew it has largely ceased to exist. It’s been destroyed by all-consuming fear. We’re paralyzed by our fears, unable to suppress them sufficiently even to think.
Because we’ve been propagandized into fear. Our political Establishment has discovered that the royal road to power is through a media-conducted fear campaign. Irony of ironies, at a time when we should be rising in righteous wrath against the political class and its media cat’s-paws, our fears are mostly of one another: private citizen of private citizen.
It doesn’t help that so many of our countrymen have descended into the depths of politically founded hatred. In this, too, the media have taken a hand. When those who wield the big megaphones repeatedly condemn those who dissent from their dispensations as enemies of all that’s true and good, a fair fraction of those listening will believe them, the evidence notwithstanding.
What was it that Herbert Stein said about something that cannot continue indefinitely?
Feel free to dismiss all the above. Who am I, after all? Just one more private citizen. An old man muttering to himself in the early morning hours. But I write from what’s on my mind, not according to anyone else’s notions of what’s “newsworthy.”
No one pays me for this. I have no agenda, other than a desire to retain the freedom I’ve always treasured. There’s nothing in commentary for me except the satisfaction of self-expression, such as it is. So I speak my mind, unfiltered. I’ll continue to do so for as long as possible.
A snippet from The Left Hand of Darkness comes to mind:
We have crept and crawled up to a point where we must choose between following the glacier on its long sweep westward and so up gradually onto the plateau of ice, or climbing the ice-cliffs a mile north of tonight’s camp, and so saving twenty or thirty miles of hauling, at the cost of risk.
Ai favors the risk.
There is a frailty about him. He is all unprotected, exposed, vulnerable, even to his sexual organ, which he must carry always outside himself; but he is strong, unbelievably strong….he has a ready bravery I have never seen the like of. He is ready, eager, to stake life on the cruel quick test of the precipice.
“Fire and fear, good servants, bad lords.” He makes fear serve him. I would have let fear lead me around by the long way. Courage and reason are with him. What good seeking the safe course, on a journey such as this? There are senseless courses, which I shall not take; but there is no safe one.
And of course we have this, from Frank Herbert’s masterpiece Dune:
“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fear’s path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Will we heed those exhortations before our course becomes unalterable?