A Walking Corpse

     This piece will be rather brutal, I fear. I have some ugly ground to cover, and it’s not easily compressed into a thousand exquisitely appropriate and entirely non-vulgar words.

     Someone once posited that the way to structure an exposition is to lead off by telling your audience what you will tell them. You then proceed to tell them. As your conclusion, you tell them what you’ve just told them. The idea has its points, if you’re lecturing a gaggle of somnolents who are listening to you against their will and would like nothing better than to hear that you’ve suddenly been struck by acute laryngitis (or in a writer’s case, immedicable carpal tunnel syndrome). I prefer to treat my Gentle Readers as more intelligent than that. So buckle up; this ride will get bumpy.


     Does anyone else remember Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie The Running Man? Most of the way, it’s an ordinary SF / action tale with Schwarzenegger doing what he did best back then. However, it embedded a brief scene that spoke to me rather powerfully.

     In brief, the movie concerns a totalitarian U.S. in which a sadistic game show, “The Running Man,” is popular entertainment. In each episode of the show, a prisoner is challenged to navigate his way through four “game zones” without being killed by one or more “Stalkers.” Ben Richards, played by Schwarzenegger, is compelled to play the part of the Running Man after an unsuccessful attempt to flee the country with Amber Mendez, played by Maria Conchita Alonso. Mendez, who works at the studio that broadcasts the show, betrayed Richards to the authorities before he could complete his escape. The scene below shows Mendez looking on as Richards is led away, presumably to his death for the show’s audience’s entertainment.

     The scene is unsubtle, but the message is powerful even so: Richards didn’t abuse Mendez, not because he could not, nor because someone or something could have stopped him, but because he would not.

     To be a good man, it’s necessary to believe that there are absolute moral-ethical standards: rules about right and wrong that apply to everyone, at all times and places. A good man doesn’t murder, rape, steal, defraud, or break his sworn word: not because he doesn’t think he could get away with it, but because it’s wrong.

     Except for that one scene, The Running Man is not any sort of preachment. It’s entertainment. Yet the moral message that scene delivers is critical to the survival of our nation.


     The Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch are mostly much more intelligent than average. That’s guaranteed by the sort of material we post here, which is inaccessible to dullards. So it’s quite possible that you, Gentle Reader of the moment, have the mental horsepower required to reason your way to the moral-ethical standard we usually call the Judeo-Christian ethic without any need to be persuaded that God has written it into the fabric of our temporal reality. However, it is in the nature of the distribution of intelligence – the famous “Bell Curve” of which Herrnstein and Murray wrote — that if you possess that much intellect, you’re one of a tiny minority: about 2% of the American population. The other 98% of our countrymen could never do so. If they sincerely hold to the Judeo-Christian ethic, it’s because they absorbed it from the authorities over them as they grew up: most commonly their parents and / or their religious education teachers.

     Mind you, the “smart 2%” don’t all get there. I could name quite a few who haven’t…and quite a few who have rejected the ethic because it impedes them from getting what they want. Some years ago a criminal, Caryl W. Chessman, came to public attention as the result of a conviction for a kidnapping-rape – a crime he went to the gas chamber swearing he did not commit. Chessman had been IQ tested and scored at a level adequate to reason his way to the Judeo-Christian ethic. Plainly, as he made his living through robbery, he had no interest in doing so.

     Chessman, a career criminal, is relevant only as an extreme case. However, the gradual large-scale disavowal of the Judeo-Christian ethic, especially among people who regard themselves as highly intelligent, is of critical importance. Why such persons do so varies as greatly as they do. Yet their example, when followed by less intelligent others, has consequences that would wreck any society beyond repair.


     In the main, the promulgation of the Judeo-Christian ethic, henceforward to be called simply the Ethic, proceeds from two fundamental ideas:

  • That God exists;
  • That He will punish eternally those who violate His Ethic.

     The specter of eternal suffering in Hell is enough to frighten just about anyone into compliance with the Ethic. However, if a subject rejects either of those fundamental ideas, the specter vanishes; the Ethic loses the force of the postulated consequences. What remains to constrain the behavior of the subject then?

  1. Fear of the potential consequences of lawbreaking (e.g., being shot down while committing a crime);
  2. Fear of punishment as applied by the secular justice system;
  3. Fear of the opinions of others.

     All three of those deterrents have been badly weakened. The steady assault on the right to defend oneself, one’s loved ones, and one’s property with lethal force is eroding #1. The “rehabilitation over deterrence” philosophy has eaten deeply into #2. The “what’s right is what’s right for you” thesis has all but destroyed #3. As a result, an increasing number of Americans have adopted “whatever I can get away with” as their standard.

     The recent trial of Kyle Rittenhouse is a data point of importance. The prosecution strained logic and evidence completely out of proportion to convict that young man for daring to defend himself against murderous thugs – two convicted criminals and a domestic abuser – who had already attacked him. The huge number of hardened criminals being granted clemency, suspended sentences, or paroles without any substantial justification is a forest of data points. Yet the judges who commit those crimes against public safety preen themselves for their “compassion.” Of the diminution of the force of opinion, it’s unnecessary to speak.

     Anyone able to comprehend the drivel I post here can see where this is headed.


     I’ve ranted before about the erosion of America’s high-trust society. When that essay first appeared, there was nothing comparable to the crime wave that’s swept the nation these past two years. The “knockout game” and “flash mobs” of violent teenagers were as yet unknown. No one could have imagined that armed gangs would descend upon retail stores and empty them of goods. Nor did we yet have thugs obstructing public roads, burning down businesses, and attacking peaceable pedestrians as a “protest.” Those things were still a decade away.

     What’s changed since then, that such infamies should have become regular features of the evening news? Well, I believe I’ve provided a lot of clues already, but if it must be said straight out, let me do so and be done:

The percentage of people whose sole ethic is “whatever I can get away with” has reached the critical, society-destroying threshold.

     John Adams, the second President of the United States after the Constitution was ratified, said this:

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

     There’s an assumption beneath that statement, plus an unnecessary restriction of scope. The assumption is that a “religious people” will be moral as Adams understood it: i.e., that such persons will constrain themselves according to the Ethic. That is not the case for all “religious peoples;” consider Islam and Muslims. However, it is the case for the Christian cultures that provided the original population of the thirteen colonies. The restriction of scope is to the Constitution. In point of fact, any society in which the populace is largely self-governing – i.e., in which armed, uniformed men aren’t found on every street corner, poised to run toward any eruption of violence or disorder – must be “moral and religious” as Adams understood it. If it is not, mutual predation will cause it to collapse, either to chaos or to authoritarian or totalitarian rule.

     Clay Christensen’s classic video is entirely on point:

     That short, brilliant statement omits only one thing. Christensen notes that “most people” obey the law voluntarily “most of the time.” But what is the value for “most” in that statement that makes possible the high-trust society that America once was? The America in which the “knockout game” and “flash mobs” were unknown? The America in which large gangs did not rob Nordstroms’ and Louis Vuittons of massive quantities of goods? The America in which thugs did not block public roads, burn down businesses, and attack peaceable pedestrians as a “protest?”

     I can’t put an exact figure on Christensen’s “most.” I can say with some confidence that it’s at least 98%. It might be higher. However, it is now observable that with 2% of the population rampaging lawlessly through the relics of our “high-trust society,” that society cannot function.

     Christensen is quite correct: we cannot hire enough police. Were we to try, and by some miracle to succeed, those police would also have to possess plenipotentiary powers to intervene in anything, with any degree of force they please, to quell the chaos that has beset us. We would henceforward be under a police state. Whoever commands the allegiance of the preponderance of the police could do whatever he pleases to us, as is the case with any dictator.

Note that the police forces we already possess don’t act that way. Indeed, they’ve begun to stand aside even when intervening would obviously be justifiable. They’re too afraid for their jobs and their freedom. The fate of Derek Chauvin has been burned into their memories.


     I could go on. I could enumerate the myriad ways in which America’s ruling class has brought about the chaos we suffer. I could detail the ways in which America’s churches have been colonized and corrupted by the Left under the guise of “social justice.” I could talk about the schools, their rejection of civics instruction, and their deliberate perversion of the teaching of history. All that, and more, take part in the crumbling mosaic of America’s formerly “high-trust” society.

     But what matters is the Ethic. Nothing else comes close. And the Ethic has been reduced to a laughingstock by the preachers of “moral and cultural relativism.”

     There isn’t much more to say that a Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch needs to hear. The breakup of our society, in all probability, will continue as it has begun. There are no brakes strong enough to do more than slow it a trifle. People will “laager up” along the lines of what trust remains to them: familial, religious, and small community trust, where every member knows every other, and the ethical bona fides of every member are beyond question.

     America as we knew it is dead, a walking corpse. Some relics of it will function as we’ve come to expect for a little longer, just as a galvanic current applied to a muscle or joint will cause a cadaver to twitch by reflex. But the day in which peaceable persons had no fear of going about unarmed, in which retail establishments didn’t need massive armed security just to stay viable, and in which our traditional forces of order were actually ready, willing, and able to maintain order has passed. The disappearance of the Ethic, and of the Christian faiths and institutions that made it a living force to which 98% or more of Americans willingly bound themselves, is the reason.

     Let him save himself, and those he loves, who can.


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    • Walt on November 23, 2021 at 10:53 AM


    Can you unpack why you use “Judeo Christian” Ethic? Since Jesus fulfilled the Law, the old covenant is past. Dispensationalism has led America here. Jesus is the New Covenant.

    Our Good Men have multiple sources telling them what they must not do, but I offer they need to be told what to do, in response to our demonic train ride. Murder? No. Kill? Yes.

      • Shaun on November 24, 2021 at 8:50 AM

      You could start by reading exodus, where God gives the Hebrews the law.

    • Steve Walton on November 23, 2021 at 10:53 AM

    180 measured IQ here. I am in a far, far lonelier cadre than the 2%. Interestingly, I have always instinctively understood “right” vs. “wrong”, and if I had to try to analyze these I would say that “right” consists of those methods and policies that maximizes freedom, happiness, and the smooth operation of both society and personal relationships. Wrong, of course, is simply the opposite of right, so you only have to define one of them.

    What we have going on not only in America but seemingly across the entire anglosphere is clearly wrong running rampant. The population, resigned to their monkey brains, is destroying itself. I have nestled myself and my family far away from the fires, but one day the flames will reach our tiny town. All we can do is stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the community and pass the water buckets.

    And pray for rain.

    • Snake Plissken on November 23, 2021 at 2:00 PM

    “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

    ― G.K. Chesterton

    • pyrrhus99 on November 23, 2021 at 3:57 PM

    The term Judeo-Christian is an oxymoron…the Old Testament is full of genocides and even child sacrifices allegedly ordered the Jewish God..Christianity believes in none of that..John Adams was talking about an American largely composed of English and Scottish immigrants, with some other European stock..And America now has more than 100 million 3d worlders whose beliefs and culture are completely different, and mostly come from very violent countries…The 1965 Immigration Act has set America on a course where actual Americans will be a minority…

    1. The Old Testament is a violent book, doubt it not. But the ethic by which contemporary Jews live is not one of conquest or slaughter — and as for child sacrifice, your facts are wrong. If you can prove it, feel free to do so.

    • Steve (retired/recovering lawyer) on November 23, 2021 at 4:15 PM

    As noted by some Chinese smartypants, perhaps apocryphally, “the fish rots from the head.”  Whereas once our social betters acted as if they understood that they had a responsibility, by virtue of their elevated position, to act in a refined, dignified, moral and ethical way, that ethic died about the same time as The Best and Brightest got us bogged down in ‘Nam.  I am not sure if I have the arrow of causation pointed in the right direction, but at least the two events are temporally correlated.  At any rate, once it was determined (by whom exactly I am not sure) that high social station carried with it no obligation to act honorably, and that “doing one’s own thing” was the highest virtue, our doom was sealed.  The lower classes, having been stripped of any reason to attain the higher moral ground then simply did what they were wont to do and so here we are.  Everyone strives for the least common denominator.  Our sports personalities have decided they are not to be considered “heroes,” and the political class, with few exceptions, are nothing more than Babbitts, using the elective process to achieve vast amounts of wealth.  We are, indeed, doomed as a society, but take heart, fellow Christian!  King Jesus is riding on His white horse, with a sword in His hand.

    • Vomitus on November 23, 2021 at 6:04 PM

    “rules about right and wrong that apply to everyone, at all times and places. A good man doesn’t murder, rape, steal, defraud, or break his sworn word.”


    I’ve a feeling that whether we can remain good men “at all times and places” is about to be tested rather sorely by situations we may each find ourselves in.

    • Warren on November 23, 2021 at 6:45 PM

    Our institutions have all failed and fallen, they are just coasting on the momentum of the past.  The Walking Corpse of the US, reminds me of the fate of Roman Dacia, or Roman Britain soon after the Roman legions and civil authorities left.  For a short period of time their inhabitants continued on as Roman citizens, soon however the facade collapsed and with it the civilization that they had lived under for generations.

    The US civil authority has essentially broken down, what is left is a mere shadow of what once was. Especially now with a illegitimate government working against the best interests of the civil population.

    The US is as a whole a late stage water empire. Like the Ottomans, Romanovs or Hapsburgs of 1914. Weak and necrotic empires which had existed long past their abilities to maintain themselves, but which continued to exist based upon momentum and reputation rather than vitality and strength. But which crumbled when faced with external opposition.

    The US with its Potemkin government ostensibly led by the dessicated charlatan  “President”,  debased finances and militarily; social decay, political corruption and moral decay the US is so much more vulnerable than people comprehend.   And because of the lack of social and spiritual cohesion,  worse I suspect, than the USSR in the late 1980s.

    But as said, water empires can coast along for decades, even centuries, withering away bit by but, like the Portuguese or Spanish, or a black swan event can suddenly collapse them, such as with the empires destroyed by WW I, or like those that collapsed after WWII, like the British, French and Dutch.

    As for the US, we might already know what the Black Swan event is, not the Pandemic, but the Injections that the Pandemic brought about. Both the draconian methods used to get them into arms, and the injuries that they are causing.


    • DrBob57 on November 23, 2021 at 6:49 PM

    I have long maintained that the rise of moral relativism is the factor that is killing the country. If right and wrong are only a matter of perspective as moral relativism posits, then the disintegration of society is guaranteed. It turns from “most people obey the law voluntarily” to “I am a law unto myself”. There is guaranteed to be much bloodshed before this is all resolved. As Colonel Moore said in “\’We Were Soldiers Once’, “Gentlemen, prepare to defend yourselves!!”

    • Historian on November 23, 2021 at 9:14 PM

    L.E.Modesitt has engaged in an interesting examination of the eithics of pre-emptive violence, more thoroughly from the pre-emptive side  than the ‘responsive’ side, but still of interest.  Cloaked in fictional guise, of course, as most such examinations are, I commend to your intention “Adiamante” and the Ecolitan novels.  Adiamante is one answer to the question-  “at what point is a culture (or a person) ethically justified in employing violence against a potential agressor?” Adiamante says, “Only after you have been physically attacked.”

    The Ecolitan series (4 books now issued as 2 volumes) says that once one is aware of a credible threat and intent to employ violence against one’s culture (or by extension, an individual, that pre-emptive violence is justified.)

    Both are interesting reads. For those like me who are Libertarians, and who eschew the initiation of force, allow me to pose a couple of questions.  If you are aware that a person bearing you ill-will has threatened your life, and while birdwatching you see that person 100 yards away from you, pointing what appears to be a telescopic sighted high-powered rifle at your home, with your family resident inside, would you call the police or shoot him?


    Put another way, at what point does overt or implied intent to do violence, combined with verified ability to deliver on those statements suffice to become “Initation of force?”

    Ponder the question ahead of time.  The final exam will be pass-fail and the time limit for submitting the correct answer is likely to be very short.

    With regard to all who seek, and defend, the Light.


    • Scotpatriot on November 23, 2021 at 9:59 PM

    The civil society is a compilation of religion based, law based and family taught values that hold our fragile society together. If these components unravel the fabric of our society will decompose and revert to something the US has never experienced or recover from.

    • Georgiaboy61 on November 24, 2021 at 12:53 AM

    @ Francis P.

    Re: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

    Adams was entirely correct. The Founders – students of history and human nature that they were – realized that man must either control his own baser impulses – or have them controlled by someone else. Man must either rule himself, or be ruled by others. “Rule” in this context means not just in the sense of power over someone else as a government might have, but in the sense of mastery of one’s self. Self-discipline, self-control, temperance, forbearance, wisdom, compassion, delayed gratification… these and other characteristics were the necessary glue which would hold together the new polity, nation and culture.

    There is what one might call a book-end statement to that of Adams, by Benjamin Franklin, who said: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” The first part of the statement echoes Adams, but the second hints at the darker fate which awaits those unable or unwilling to master themselves.

    Franklin’s statement – like a distant mirror held up to our present-day world – shows us precisely why the ruling class “elites” so desire to dumb-down the population – namely, that a population of vicious and unpredictable feral human beings will be incapable of sustaining a high-trust society based upon ordered liberty. They will make a giant and powerful government all-but-inevitable, for that will be what is needed to restore and keep order. Indeed, that leviathan is already here and has been for quite some time.

    As important as an aggregate high IQ is to the development and sustainment of modern high-tech society, high intelligence alone is insufficient. There are a great many highly-intelligent people who are amoral, if not outright evil – sociopaths and psychopaths in fact – and many of them are found throughout our culture and society in high positions of leadership, wealth and influence. If high intelligence is not tempered with good character and the desire to lead an ethical, moral life – it can devolve into something quite dangerous.

    The great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, in his novel “The Brothers Karamazov” (1880), considered the question of God’s existence and man’s place in the world, through his characters. At one point in the story, one of the brothers – Ivan Karamazov – says, ” ‘If there is no God, anything is permitted.” Although the precise origin of the passage and its wording is disputed by some scholars,  it is now widely-attributed to the Russian author.

    Thus, the greatest question of the novel comes down to the following: Either there is a supreme being – whom we call “God,” who makes moral demands upon human beings, or there is not – and if there is not, then what is to prevent humans from living by the law of the jungle?

    The Democrat Party has flirted with atheism for years before finally coming out and embracing it more or less in the open back during the Obama era. This is hardly surprising, since the Democrats and communists are more-and-more becoming one and the same thing, and that communism and atheism go hand-in-glove.

    Having no belief in a supreme being who makes moral demands upon us, the communists substitute the party and the state in the space once occupied by the deity, thus elevating men into de facto gods. This is why the communists do not believe in inalienable rights or natural rights, but instead believe that individual people belong to the party and the state.

    One will occasionally encounter communists/leftists who will attempt to convince you that the old Soviet Union was “Christian,” because at various times – most notably, during the Great Patriotic War (WWII) – the party and state permitted the Russian Orthodox faith to be practiced. Don’t believe it. This was simply a cynical move by Stalin and the party to appeal to those instincts in ordinary Russians, thereby better mobilizing them for the war effort. As soon as the threat was passed, the party reverted to being an enemy of the church, just as it always had been.



    • Georgiaboy61 on November 24, 2021 at 1:13 AM

    Re: “But the day in which peaceable persons had no fear of going about unarmed, in which retail establishments didn’t need massive armed security just to stay viable, and in which our traditional forces of order were actually ready, willing, and able to maintain order has passed. The disappearance of the Ethic, and of the Christian faiths and institutions that made it a living force to which 98% or more of Americans willingly bound themselves, is the reason.”

    Yes, quite so and well-stated. The Founder’s America was based upon a largely homogenous society composed mostly of northern-northwestern Europeans, with a leavening of other Europeans later on. Europeans, as an assemblage of peoples, tend to create high-trust, high-IQ, highly-ordered societies. Though southern Europe tends to be somewhat less-ordered (critics would say “regimented”) than Scandinavia and Germany, the difference is really only one of degree and not kind.

    The globalist project of the ruling class must break down such societies, since they are naturally high in social cohesion, trust, shared cultural affinity and traditions and other measures of internal unity. The globalists have taken an eternal truth about humankind and turned it on its head for their nefarious purposes. Namely, that most humans prefer to live, work and exist day-to-day mostly with those like themselves.

    But the globalists turned this into “Diversity is our strength,” a bit of Orwellian double-speak if ever there was one. In reality, highly heterogeneous societies are more-prone to friction, conflict and division than homogenous ones, and the more “diverse” they are, the greater the turmoil. We see this played out across the trial societies of the Middle East and Africa – and those are societies founded upon tribalism!

    The inflection point in the composition of the “old” versus the “new” United States was the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, also known as the Hart-Celler Act. Prior to the act, in recognition of the historically-European origins of the United States, would-be immigrants from Europe and the Anglophone world were given preference to those from other non-European nations. The measure flipped that ratio on its head, privileging non-Europeans to come to the U.S.A. in far-greater numbers than natives of Europe. This was – and remains – a social-engineering project of historically-unprecedented scope and scale, one undertaken by and for the globalists themselves. And remember, this is legal immigration alone, and does not even take into account illegal arrivals entering the country.

    Dr. Michael Savage, hated by the left/communists perhaps unlike anyone else save perhaps the late Rush Limbaugh, concisely laid out what makes a nation: “Language, borders and culture.” A nation which can maintain its own borders, unique language and distinct culture, has a chance of surviving and even prospering – but one which cannot, is doomed to drown in a sea of unassimilated foreigners who just happen to be squatting on ground your ancestors once called home. Which is entirely the point of the whole globalist social-engineering project: There can be no world government until each and every distinct nation, language, culture and place – has been erased, along with its traditions, ways of life, and other distinct characteristics.

    • MIKE IN CANADA on November 24, 2021 at 11:21 AM


    Your perspectives are consistently of value, and I certainly am thankful for the continuing opportunity to avail myself of them.

    Without doubt, we are circling the drain. This is not new, nor is it sudden; those processes necessary to these results are of a certain vintage, and have only incrementally be initiated. So much we all know, or should by now.

    The thing is, the various checks and balances that are supposed to, well, check and balance, aren’t doing their jobs. The structures that would have held the line until cooler heads prevailed (or at least provided such an opportunity) appear to have atrophied (or been deliberately dismantled) such that their effects are substantially diminished when needed.

    So, when I am told that we have to look toward the next election, or we need to attend council meetings to forestall the latest machinations, I find myself gazing with a certain reduced enthusiasm toward these prospects. If those structures are compromised, being used by a corrupt and immoral people, without regard for the rule of law or common decency, in pursuit of an already well-established exercise in social engineering… then why the hell should I invest further time or attention in these affairs?

    That time would be better spent, think I, in making those arrangements necessary to the proper execution of one’s rightful duty. The only thing left is to decide what to do with the time remaining to us, especially those of us still bearing untainted blood.

    For the Beast is alive, and hungry, and edging closer each day, and it will require stern discouragement.

    Grim times will require grim undertakings. Those times are upon us.

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