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Victoria: A 4th Generation War Novel

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  • Victoria: A 4th Generation War Novel

    I started reading this tonight and quickly realized that it would fit in here very well. I'll post the 'chapters' - segments, really - as I finish with them myself.


    On April 30, 1995, William S. Lind published an op ed in The Washington Post that foresaw a future breakup of the United States, driven by multiculturalism. The piece described not only America’s second civil war, but also a recovery of our traditional, Western, Christian culture. That cultural and moral recovery was led by a new country located in the northeast, which named itself Victoria because it had returned to Victorian values.
    Mr. Lind’s op ed has since been turned into a book, Victoria: A Novel of Fourth Generation War, by “Thomas Hobbes,” the well-known theorist of the state and author of Leviathan.
    Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

    I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?

  • #2

    The triumph of the Recovery was marked most clearly by the burning of the Episcopal bishop of Maine.

    She was not a particularly bad bishop. She was in fact typical of Episcopal bishops of the first quarter of the 21st century: agnostic, compulsively political and radical, and given to placing a small idol of Isis on the altar when she said the Communion service. By 2055, when she was tried for heresy, convicted, and burned, she had outlived her era. By that time only a handful of Episcopalians still recognized female clergy, it would have been easy enough to let the old fool rant out her final years in obscurity.

    The fact that the easy road was not taken, that Episcopalians turned to their difficult duty of trying and convicting, and the state upheld its unpleasant responsibility of setting torch to faggots, was what marked this as an act of Recovery. I well remember the crowd that gathered for the execution, solemn but not sad, relieved rather that at last, after so many years of humiliation, of having to swallow every absurdity and pretend we liked it, the majority had taken back the culture. No more apologies for the truth. No more “Yes, buts” on upholding standards. Civilization had recovered its nerve. The flames that soared above the lawn before the Maine State House were, as the bishopess herself might have said, liberating.

    She could have saved herself, of course, right up until the torch was applied. All she had to do was announce she wasn’t a bishop, or a priest, since Christian tradition forbids a woman to be either. Or she could have confessed she wasn’t a Christian, in which case she could be bishopess, priestess, popess, whatever, in the service of her chosen demons. That would have just gotten her tossed over the border.

    But the Prince of This World whom she served gives his devotees neither an easy nor a dignified exit. She bawled, she babbled, she shrieked in Hellish tongues, she pissed and pooped herself. The pyre was lit at 12:01 PM on a cool, cloudless August 18th, St. Helen’s day. The flames climbed fast; after all, they’d been waiting for her for a long time.

    When it was over, none of us felt good about it. But we’d long since learned feelings were a poor guide. We’d done the right thing.
    Was the dissolution of the United States inevitable?

    Probably, once all the “diversity” and “multiculturalism” crap got started. Right up to the end the coins carried the motto, E Pluribus Unum, just as the last dreadnought of the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Navy was the Viribus Unitis. But the reality for both was Ex Uno, Plura.

    It’s odd how clearly the American century is marked: 1865 to 1965. As the 20th century historian Shelby Foote noted, the first Civil War made us one nation. In 1860, we wrote, “the United States are.” By the end of the war, the verb was singular: “the United States is.” After 1965 and another war we disunited—deconstructed—with equal speed into blacks, whites, Hispanics, womyn, gays, victims, oppressors, left-handed albinos with congenital halitosis, you name it. The homosexuals said silence = death. Nature replied diversity = war.

    In four decades we covered the distance that had taken Rome three centuries. As late as the mid-1960s—God, it’s hard to believe—America was still the greatest nation on earth, the most productive, the freest, the top superpower, a place of safe homes, dutiful children in good schools, strong families, a hot lunch for orphans. By the 1990s the place had the stench of a third-world country. The cities were ravaged by punks, beggars, and bums; as in third century Rome, law applied only to the law-abiding. Schools had become daytime holding pens for illiterate young savages. First television, then the Internet brought the decadence of Weimar Berlin into every home.
    In this Year of Our Lord 2068—and my 80th year on this planet—we citizens of Victoria have the blessed good fortune to live once again in an age of accomplishment and decency. With the exception of New Spain, most of the nations that cover the territory of the former United States are starting to get things working again. The revival of traditional, Western, Christian culture we began is spreading outward from our rocky New England soil, displacing savagery with civilization for a second time.

    I am writing this down so you never forget, not you, nor your children, nor their children. You did not go through the wars, though you have lived with their consequences. Your children will have grown up in a well-ordered, prosperous country, and that can be dangerously comforting. Here, they will read what happens when a people forgets who they are.

    This is my story, the story of the life of one man, John Ira Rumford of Hartland, Maine, soldier and farmer. I came into this world near enough the beginning of the end for the old U.S. of A., on June 28, 1988. I expect to leave it shortly, without regrets.

    It’s also the story of the end of a once-great nation, by someone who saw most of what happened, and why.

    Read it and weep.
    Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

    I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


    • #3
      Chapter One

      Book I: Dissolution
      Chapter One
      My war started May 7, 2016, at the mess night put on by my class at the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, Virginia.

      I got killed.

      A mess night, when it’s done right, is a black tie brawl. It’s a Brit thing, very formal-like and proper when it starts, with a table full of wine glasses and funny forks and Mr. Vice proposing toasts and rules like you’ve got to stand up and ask permission to go pee (usually denied). After enough toasts things loosen up a bit, with the aviators doing “carrier landings” by belly flopping on the tables and sliding through the crystal and the infantry getting into fights. At least, that’s how the good ones go.

      One of the Corps’ better traditions was that we remembered our dead. The mess set a table apart, with the glasses and silver inverted, for those who had gone before us and never come back. And before the fun began we remembered the battles where they had fought and fallen; Tripoli to Chapultepec to Helmand. A bell rang for each, a Marine officer stood up and called that battle’s name, and we became pretty thoughtful. Another Marine Corps tradition, not one of its better ones in terms of what happens in battles, was to try to pre-plan and rehearse and control everything so there couldn’t be any surprises or mistakes. “Control Freaks R Us” sometimes seemed to be the motto of the officer corps, at least above the company grades. So a couple days before the mess night, the battles to be remembered were each assigned to a captain.

      Iwo Jima went to a woman.

      We were really steamed. We lost a lot of guys on Iwo, and they were men, not women. Of course, these were the years of “political correctness.” Our colonel was running for general, and he figured he could kiss ass by being “sensitive to issues of race, gender, and class.”

      It’s hard to remember that we even had women in a military, it seems so strange now. How could we have been so contemptuous of human experience? Did we think it merely a coincidence that all armies, everywhere, that had actually fought anyone had been made up solely of men? But these were the last days of the U.S.A., and the absurd, the silly, the impossible were in charge and normal people were expected to keep their mouths shut. It was a time, as Roger Kimball said, of “experiments against reality.”

      Like a lot of young Marine officers at AWS, I was a reader, especially of what the Germans had written about war. They were the masters, for a century and a half, and we were their willing pupils. I remembered, then and always, an essay written by a German general, Hans von Seekt, the man who rebuilt the German Army after World War I. The title, and the message was Das Wesentliche ist die TatThe Essential Thing is the Deed. Not the idea, not the desire, not the intention — the deed.

      So I did it. The moment came on May 7, during the mess night. The bell tolled our battles: Belleau Wood, Nicaragua, Guadalcanal, Tarawa. Iwo was next. The bell. I was on my feet before she started to move. “Iwo Jima,” I cried in my best parade-ground voice.

      Our honor was safe that night.

      The next morning, I was toast. The colonel’s clerk was waiting for me when I walked into the building. “The CO wants to see you at once,” he said. I wasn’t surprised. I knew what was coming and I was willing to take it.

      That’s something else the Germans taught me: Verantwortungsfreudigkeit, the “joy in taking responsibility” that is central to what character means in an officer.

      The colonel generally specialized in being nice. But I’d endangered his sacred quest for a promotion, and in the old American military that was the greatest sin a subordinate could commit.

      “You have a choice,” he said as I stood at attention in front of his desk. “You can get up in front of the class and apologize to me, to the female captain you insulted last night, to all the women in the corps, and to the class, or you can have your written resignation from the Marine Corps on my desk before the morning is over.”

      “No, sir,” I replied.

      “What do you mean, ‘No, sir?’ I gave you a choice. Which one will it be?”

      “Neither one, sir.” An early lesson I’d learned about war was that if the enemy gave you two options, refuse them both and do something else. “I have nothing to apologize for,” I continued. “No woman has the right to represent any of the Corps’ battles, because those battles were fought and won by men. And people resign when they’ve done something wrong. I haven’t.”

      “I’ve already spoken to the Commanding General,” the colonel replied. “He understands, and you’d better understand, what happens if word of what you did gets to Congresswoman Sally Bluhose, Chairperson of the House Armed Services Committee. I’ve been informed several of the female officers here are planning a joint letter to her. If you don’t help us head this off, she’ll have the Commandant up before the whole committee on this with the television cameras rolling.”

      “Sir,” I said, “I thought when people became colonels and generals and Commandants, that meant they took on the burden of moral responsibility that comes with the privileges of rank and position. That’s what I’ve always told my sergeants and lieutenants, and when they did what they thought was right I backed them up, even when it caused me some problems with my chain of command. Is what I’ve been telling them true or not?”

      “This has nothing to do with truth,” yelled Col. Ryan, who was starting to lose it. “What the hell is truth, anyway? This is about politics and our image and our budget. Congresswoman Bluhose is a leading advocate for women’s rights. She’ll be enraged, and I’ll take it in the shorts from Headquarters, Marine Corps. Don’t you get it?”

      “Yes, sir, I think I do get it,” I said. “You, and I guess the CG here at Quantico and the Commandant, want to surrender to Congresswoman Bluhose and what she represents, a Corps and a country that have been emasculated. But the way I see it, and maybe this is Maine talking, if we’re supposed to fight, that means we have to fight for something. What’s the point in fighting for a country like that? Whatever defeats and replaces it could only be an improvement.”

      “I don’t give a damn how you see it, captain,” said the colonel, now icy calm again. “You are going to see it the way I see it. Do I get the apology or the resignation?”

      “Neither one, sir,” I said again.

      “OK, then this is how it will be,” Colonel Ryan declared. “You are no longer a student at this school. As of this minute. Clear out your locker and get out, now. That’s a direct order, and I’ve already cleared it all the way up the chain.” (As if this guy would have farted without clearing it first.) “You’re going to get a fitness report so bad Christ himself would puke on you if he read it. You’re finished. You won’t even come up for major, and you’ll clean heads for the rest of your sorry days in this Corps. Dismissed.”

      So that was that. The word spread fast around the school, as it always did. That was a good gut-check for the rest of the class. Most flunked. They parted for me like the sea did for Moses as I wandered around collecting my books and few other belongings. The handful with moral courage shook my hand and wished me well.

      One, my friend Jim Sampsonoff, an aviator, said something important.

      “You’re a casualty in the culture war,” were his words.

      “The what?” I replied.

      “The culture war,” he said again. “The next real war is going to be here, on our own soil. It’s already begun, though not the shooting part, yet. It’s a war between those of us who still believe in our old Western culture, the culture that grew up over the last 3000 or so years from Jerusalem and Athens, Rome and Constantinople, and the people who are trying to destroy it. It’s the most important war we’ll ever fight, because if we lose our culture, we’ll lose everything else, too.”

      “You mean there’s more to it than whether we’re going to have women in the infantry and gays in the barracks?” I asked.

      “You bet,” he said. “Look, you’ll be heading back up to Maine sooner or later. Take a detour through Hanover, New Hampshire. That’s where my college is, Dartmouth. Go see my old German professor, now retired, Gottfried Sanft. He’s the greatest of rarities on an Ivy League campus, an educated man. You need to read some books. He’ll tell you which ones.”

      I knew my Marine Corps career was over, but I hung on at Quantico until my AWS class graduated, to make my point about not resigning to apologize for my action. They assigned me to supervise cutting brush around the base, a point the brass carefully made to the mighty “Ms.” Bluhose as they ate toads for her. Come summer, I sent in my letter and headed back to Maine.

      Was it worth it? Yes. I made early the choice everyone had to make sooner or later, whether to fight for our culture or turn from it and die. As is so often the case in life, what seemed like an ending was really a beginning.
      On the way home, I took Jim Sampsonoff’s advice and paid a visit to Professor Sanft.
      Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

      I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


      • #4
        Chapter 2

        When President Eisenhower of the old USA visited Dartmouth in the 1950s, he said it looked exactly the way a college ought to. By the late ’90s it still did, despite the fact that they’d built an ultra-modern student center on the traditional green —part of the “foul your own nest” maxim that ruled most campuses from the 1960s on. Those were the days when “art” was defined as whatever was ugly or shocking or out of place, not what was beautiful.

        Professor Sanft had retired from the German department in 2012. Actually, he was driven out by the weirdos who then populated college faculties —the feminists, freaks, and phonies who had replaced learning with politics.

        I found him at a house in Hanover, which turned out to be not his residence but the college-in-hiding, otherwise known as the Martin Institute. It seemed some conservative alumni, recognizing that the barbarians were within the gates of their alma mater, had bought a house in town, brought in Professor Sanft and a few other genuine scholars, and were offering Dartmouth students the courses the college would no longer teach, like the great books of Western civilization.

        I knew the prof and I would get along when I saw the Zeppelin poster on his office door and smelled the pipe smoke curling out the same. The office was a vast clutter of books and papers, pipes and walking sticks, straw hats and the occasional bottle of something refreshing; no old Sandinista posters on the walls here. Professor Sanft, dressed in a white linen suit for summer and the Raj, with a pink shirt and polka-dot bow-tie, bid me welcome. Jim Sampsonoff had written, saying I’d be by. I wasn’t quite sure why I was there, but the professor seemed to know.

        “Jim says you’re interested in getting an education,” he opened.

        “Well, I thought I already had one,” I replied. “I graduated from Bowdoin with a pre-med major, before I decided I’d rather make holes in people with a bullet than a scalpel. It’s quicker and more fun, though the pay is less.”

        “What do you think an education is?” he continued.

        “Going to college, taking some courses and getting a degree, I guess,” I responded, suspecting this was not the right answer.

        “No, that’s just credentialing. It may help you get a job, but it won’t help you, yourself, much beyond that. Do you know what the word ‘education’ means?”

        I allowed as I hadn’t thought about that much.

        “It’s from the Latin ex, for ‘out’ or ‘beyond,’ plus ducare, to lead. An education leads you out beyond where you were, in terms of your understanding of life, the universe, and everything. Did Bowdoin do that for you?”

        “Well, not really,” I guessed. But I wasn’t sure this was leading me where I wanted to go, either. “Jim said I should see you because you would help me understand why I got fired for doing what I thought was right. Would a real education help me understand that?” I asked.

        “Yes, and perhaps a few more things besides,” answered Professor Sanft. “There was a fellow named Socrates, some years back, who had a similar experience. Ever hear of him?”

        I had, and I remembered something about drinking some bad hemlock wine or some such, but beyond that it was hazy.

        “You’re in the same situation as most of the students who come to me here,” he said. “You know where you are in space but not in time. You don’t know where you came from. You live in Western civilization, but you don’t know what it is. You don’t know that this civilization had a beginning and went through some rather remarkable times before getting to where we are today.”

        “Without the songs and stories of the West, our West , we are impoverished,” he continued. “Weightless and drifting, we do not know where we are in history. We are what the Germans call mere Luftmenschen – in a free translation, airheads.”

        The mention of history perked me up. Ever since I was about eight years old, I’d read a lot of military history. I learned to read not so much in school as by falling in love with C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower novels, which followed a British naval officer in his career from midshipman through admiral, in the wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon. They were fiction, but rooted in fact. I didn’t realize it until much later, but they were also a great introduction to military decision-making.

        “In the Marine Corps,” I said, “I saw that people who hadn’t read much military history could only follow processes, which they learned by rote. They could not understand the situation they were in. They had no context.”

        “That’s an insight most Dartmouth students don’t have,” said the professor. “And it is what I’m talking about, on a larger scale. Just as your fellow Marines could not understand a military situation, so you can’t understand your situation in the war for our culture. Literally, you can’t see your place—situin it.”

        “Jim said I was a casualty in the culture war. I always thought wars were fought by guys with uniforms and guns. I’m not quite sure what this ‘culture war’ is all about,” I said.

        “Sadly, this great culture of ours, Western culture, is under attack,” the professor replied. “The universities today are active and conscious agents in its destruction. Indeed, they have generated theories as to why Western culture should be destroyed. Of course, they aren’t alone. The most powerful single force in America now is the entertainment industry, and it is also an agent of cultural destruction. Many of the politicians play the game too. The usual code-words are ‘racism, sexism, and homophobia.’ When you hear them, you’re hearing the worms gnawing at the foundation.”

        I’d been told my high crime was “sexism,” so that clicked, and Col. Ryan was certainly a politician. It sounded as if there were a new battlefield I needed to understand.

        “So where do I start?” I asked.

        “By studying our culture – what it is, where it came from, what its great ideas and values are and why we hold them to be great,” Professor Sanft answered. “In other words, with an education.”

        He’d brought me back to where we’d started, though now I grasped what he meant.

        “That doesn’t mean going back to college,” he continued. “You can do it on your own. In fact, to a large degree, you have to do it on your own now, even if you are a college student. That’s why we have this institute, and why I’m here. And I can give you a small present that will get you started.” He handed me a copy of a book: Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe.

        “Another Darmouth professor, Jeffery Hart, wrote this a few years ago. Think of it as a road map, though I’ve heard it’s dangerous to give those to infantry officers,” Professor Sanft said.

        “Thanks, I think,” I replied. Actually, we grunts did get lost a lot, we just tried to keep it a trade secret.

        “It tells you what to read, what commentaries are best, and offers a few comments of its own,” Professor Sanft said. “The books don’t cost much, a tiny fraction of a year’s tuition at Dartmouth, but they’ll do for you what Dartmouth no longer does. They will make you an educated man of the West.”

        I thanked Professor Sanft that day, though not nearly as much as I’ve thanked him since. I went to the Dartmouth Bookstore and stocked up. Maine would give me time for reading.

        When we look back on our lives, incidents that seemed small at the time may take on great importance. That half-hour with Professor Gottfried Sanft changed my life. Most of my years since that day in Hanover have been spent fighting for Western culture, then rebuilding it, piece by piece, once the fighting part was done.

        Thanks to Professor Sanft, this was one infantryman who wasn’t lost.
        Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

        I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


        • #5
          Chapter 3

          One nice thing about Maine is that you can go home again. We Rumfords had been doing it for a couple hundred years. The men of our family, and sometimes the women too, would head out on their great adventure—crewing on a clipper bound for China, settling Oregon, converting the heathen (Uncle Bert got eaten in the Congo), going to war—but those who survived usually came back home again to Hartland and its surrounding farms.

          Whether they returned as successes or failures made little difference. As I’d heard a chaplain say, in his day Jesus Christ was accounted a spectacular failure, so failure wasn’t something for Christians to worry much about. We had enough in our family to show we didn’t. I was just the most recent.

          I wanted time alone to read, think, and simply live. I moved into what we called “The Old Place,” a shingle Cape Cod up on one of Maine’s few hills. The view down over the fields and ponds somehow helped the thinking part, especially in the evening as the water reflected the western sky, orange and crimson, fading to black.

          No one had lived in the old place since my grandparents died, but we kept it because it had always been ours. It had no electricity, and the well worked with a bucket on a windless; by modern standards I guess it wasn’t a fit habitation. That suited me fine. I was tired of everything modern. I wanted a world with, as Tolkien put it, less noise and more green.

          I’d put some money by during my time in the Corps, enough to cover me for some months anyway; the garden and deer in season (or, if need be, out of season) would keep me from starving. The whole country was overrun with deer, more than when white men first came to North America, because there were so many restrictions on guns and hunting. In some places they had become pests; we literally could not defend ourselves from our own food.

          Once I got settled, I took up Professor Sanft’s books, “that golden chain of masterpieces which link together in single tradition the more permanent experiences of the race,” as one philosopher put it. Homer and Plato, Aristotle and Aristophanes, Virgil and Dante, and Shakespeare and the greatest literary work of all time, the Bible, which was once banned from American schools, which shows as well as anything what America had become.

          I had some trouble getting going—Plato isn’t light reading—but I found my way in through my life-long study, war, beginning with the Anabasis of Xenophon. What a story! Ten thousand Greeks, cut off and surrounded in the middle of their ancient enemy, the Persian Empire, have to hack and march their way back out again—and they made it home. It was as exciting as anything Rommel or “Panzer” Meyer or any other modern commander wrote.

          From Xenophon and Herodotus and Thucydides and Caesar and Tacitus and all the rest, military and not (I did finally make it through Plato, too), I learned three things. Maybe they were basic, even simple. I’m not a great philosopher. But they were important enough to shape the rest of my life.

          The first was that these ancient Greeks and Romans and Hebrews and more modern Florentines and Frenchmen and Englishmen both were us and made us. They had the same thoughts you and I have, more or less, but they had them for the first time, at least the first time history records. Do you want a thoroughly modern send-up of Feminism in all its silliness? Then read Aristophanes‘ Lysistratait’s only 2500 years old. For a chaser, recall the line of 17th century English poet and priest John Donne: “Hope not for mind in woman; at their best, they are but mummy possessed.” Pick any subject you want, except science, and these folks were there before us, thousands of years before us in some cases, with the same observations, thoughts and comments we offer today. We are their children.

          That led to my second lesson: nothing is new. The only person since the 18th century to have a new idea was Nietzsche, and he was mad. Even science was well along the road we still follow by the time Napoleon was trying to conquer Europe.

          Back in the old USA, newness—novelty—was what everyone wanted. Ironically, that too was old, but early 21st century Americans were so cut off from their past they didn’t know it (or much else, beyond how to operate the TV remote and their cell phone).

          You see, sometime around the middle of the 18th century, we men of the West struck Faust’s bargain with the Devil. We could do anything, have anything, say anything, with one exception: verweile doch, du bist so schön. We could not tarry, we could not rest, we could not get it right and then keep it that way. Always we must have something new: that was the bargain, and ultimately the reason we pulled our house down around us.
          Satan, like God, has a sense of humor. His joke on us was that most of the stuff we thought was new, wasn’t. Especially the errors, blunders, and heresies; they had all been tried, and failed, and understood as mistakes long, long before. But we had lost our past, so we didn’t know. We were too busy passing around “information” with our computers to study any history. So it was all new to us, and we had to make the same mistakes over again. The price was high.

          The third lesson, and the one that shaped the rest of my life, was that these thoughts and lessons and concepts and morals that make up our Western culture—for that is what these books contain—were worth fighting for. As Pat Buchanan said, they were true, they were ours, and they were good. They had given us, when we still paid attention to them, the freest and most prosperous societies man has ever known.

          They were all bought at a price. Christ died on a cross. The Spartans still lie at Thermopylae. Socrates served Athens as a soldier before he drank its hemlock, also obedient to its laws. Cicero spoke on duty and died at the hands of the Roman government. Saints’dies natales, their birthdays, were the days they died to this world. Every truth we hold and are held by is written in blood, and sweat and tears and cold hours scribbling in lonely garrets with not enough to eat. None of it came cheap – none of it.

          We Victorians, those of my generation anyway, know that fighting for the truth is not a metaphor. We killed for it and we died for it. By the 21st century, that was the only way to save it, weapon in hand. That, too, is nothing new, just another lesson we had forgotten and had to learn all over again.
          Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

          I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


          • #6
            Chapter 4

            My next battle started around the dinner table on Christmas Day, 2016, and I’m not talking about the fight for the last piece of Aunt Sabra’s blueberry pie.

            It began when cousin John asked me what I thought I was going to do in the way of earning a living. Hartland wasn’t exactly a boom town, and hadn’t been for a good hundred years. I said I was thinking of farming.

            That, along with sailing or soldiering, was what we Rumfords usually ended up doing, and like most Marines I’d seen enough of boats to last me a while.

            “What you gonna faam?” John asked, the flat, nasal “a” instead of “r” suggesting he hadn’t been outside Maine much.

            “Waal,” I said, talking Down East myself, “I thought I might try soybeans.”

            “Don’t see them much up heah.”

            “Didn’t see wine up heah either ‘til Wyly put in his vineyard. I gather his wine is selling pretty well now,” I said.

            “I’ll tell you why you don’t see soybeans up here or on many other family farms,” said Uncle Fred. “It’s oil from soybeans that makes money, and the federal government makes it just about impossible to transport soybean oil or any other vegetable oil unless you’re a big corporation. Under federal regulations, vegetable oil is treated the same as oil from petroleum when it comes to shipment. You’ve got to get a hugely expensive Certificate of Financial Responsibility to cover any possible oil spill. You’ll never get the capital to get started.”

            “But vegetable oil and petroleum are completely different. That doesn’t make any sense,” I replied.

            “I didn’t say it made sense, I just said that’s what Washington demands. It makes no sense at all. Spilled vegetable oil is no big problem. It’s biodegradable. But the federal government mandates a spill be cleaned up the same way for both, even though that’s unnecessary. You need to scoop up any petroleum product if it spills, especially into water. But if you just let vegetable oil disperse, bacteria will eat it up. Anyway, the government doesn’t care that we lose hundreds of millions of dollars each year in vegetable oil that isn’t produced or exported. The bottom line is, as a small farmer, you can’t do it.”

            Great, I thought. First politics gets me thrown out of the Marine Corps, now it’s trying to keep me from farming. “Okay, I’ll grow potatoes. We certainly grow enough of those here in Maine,” I said.

            “Only land up at the Old Place that’ll grow potatoes is the bottom land. Government won’t let you do that neither,” said cousin John.

            This was starting to get old. “What do you mean the government won’t let me grow down there? That’s the best land on the place. The rest is just rock,” I replied.

            “It’s the EPA, the so-called ‘Environmental Protection Agency,” answered Uncle Fred. “They declared all that ground a ‘protected wetland‘ a couple years ago. It’s yours, or ours, but it might as well be on the moon for all the good it does us. We can’t touch it.”

            Protected wetland? Hell, I didn’t plan to grow potatoes in the ponds. “That’s our property. We’ve owned it since Andrew Jackson was President. And most of it’s dry. How can they tell us we can’t farm it?” I asked, betraying how much those of us in the military got out of touch at times.

            That got the whole table smiling the thin smile that passes for a good laugh among New Englanders. “Property rights don’t mean squat any more,” said Uncle Earl, who was the town lawyer. “The government just tells you what to do or what not to do and dares you to fight them. They have thousands of lawyers, all paid by your tax money, and they can tie you up in court for years. You got a few hundred thousand extra dollars you’d like to spend on legal fees?”

            I didn’t, nor did anyone else, I gathered. “So we’re helpless, is what you’re saying?” I asked.

            “Pretty much, unless you’ve got a lot of money for lawyers or to buy some politicians and get them in on your side,” said Earl. “It doesn’t even matter if the law is with you, because you can’t afford the fight and they can. If they lose, it means nothing to them; they still get their paychecks from the government. If you lose, you’re finished, and even if you win, you’re usually finished because the legal fight has left you bankrupt. What it comes down to is that we’re not a free country any more.”

            “What King George III was doing to us in 1776 wasn’t a hill of beans compared to this,” I said. “We didn’t take it then. Why are we taking it now?”

            At that point, the women turned the conversation to how Ma’s stuffing was the best they’d ever had. It always was.


            Early next year, that year being 2017, I stopped in at Hartland’s one industry, the tannery. My old high school buddy Jim Ebbitt was the personnel department there, and this matter of earning an income was beginning to press a bit on my mind. But I knew the tannery always had some kind of opening, and after my years in the infantry I didn’t mind getting my hands dirty. They didn’t call us “earth pigs” for nothing.

            Jim was glad to see me, but he couldn’t give me any good news. “Sorry,” he said, “but like every American company, we’re having to cut jobs, not add ʻem. The problem is this “free trade” business. What it means is that American workers are up against those in places like Mexico, Haiti, and now all of central and south America, since they expanded NAFTA into AFTA and took in the whole hemisphere. Labor costs now get averaged across national boundaries; it pulls their wages up and pushes wages here down.

            Of course, we don’t actually cut wages, but with inflation rising, we don’t need to. We just keep wages steady and cut the number of jobs. Maybe that will keep this plant in business. Then again, maybe it won’t. In any event, it means if I had a job to offer you, and I don’t, you’d quickly find yourself getting poorer, not richer, if you took it.”

            “But you just put a lot of money into this plant,” I replied. “Hell, it used to stink up the whole town. Now you can’t smell it. Maybe that EPA does some good after all.”

            “You think so?” asked Jim. “You’re right that we had to clean up our processes here, and we did put some money into the place. But the main thing we did was move most of the work on the fresh hides to Mexico. That cut 23 jobs here, jobs now held by Mexicans. I guess you can’t make Mexico stink any worse than it already does.”

            “And the EPA still isn’t done with us,” he added. “They’ve got another investigation going now, which will cost us tens of thousands in legal fees even if that’s all it does. Seems they think we’re still doing something to the river.”

            “River looks clean to me,” I replied.

            “It is clean. It’s cleaner than it’s ever been, at least since industry, and jobs, first came to this valley. But that doesn’t count to bureaucrats in Washington. They’ve told us we might have to build a full water treatment plant, which would cost us millions. If they rule that way, it’ll be the end of the company here. It would take us 50 years to pay off that debt. There’s not that much money in leather any more, not up against the foreign competition.”

            I thanked Jim for his time and drove back to the Old Place. My mind was no easier. Next day I’d pull my last ace out of my sleeve and go see my cousin, who had a car restoration place down near Pittsfield. I knew he was doing well, restoring old cars and selling them to the Summer People.

            “Sure,” Ed said, when I stopped in on him, “business is good and I need a couple folk. I know you’d do good work. But I can’t offer you or anyone else around here a job. EEOC won’t let me.”

            “EEOC?” I’d heard the initials, but didn’t know much more about it.

            “The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They come around and tell you how many blacks, Hispanics, women, whatever you have to hire. Of course, all my employees are white, because everybody up here is white. I guess Maine winters are kinda hard on black folk and those from south of the border. Anyway, that doesn’t count with them. They’ve issued an order that the next six people I hire must be blacks. The effect, of course, is that I can’t hire anyone, not even you.”

            This was the nuttiest thing I’d heard yet. “You must be kidding,” I replied. “How can they make you hire blacks where there aren’t any?”

            “I don’t know,” Ed said. “But I can’t fight the EEOC in court. I’m a small business and can’t afford it. I just can’t expand, is what it comes down to. And you know how badly we need jobs up here.”

            I did, from growing personal experience. “But someone must care that this is completely absurd,” I said. “There has got to be a limit somewhere to what Washington can do to us.”

            “If there is, I don’t know where,” Ed replied, obviously a beaten man.
            “You and I, and most folk up here, are members of the middle class. That means the government doesn’t do anything for us, it only does things to us. If you know a way to change that, I’d like to hear it. But these days, unless you’re some kind of “minority,” you don’t have any rights. Frankly, it’s just not our country any more.”

            That summed it up pretty well. Somewhere along the line, in the last 30 years or so, somebody had taken our country away from us.

            We remembered what our country was like. It was a safe, decent, prosperous place where normal, middle class people could live good lives.

            And it was gone.

            I was beginning to think that what I wanted to do was help take our country back. How I could do that, and how I could earn a living, were both puzzles. But where there’s a will, God often opens a way.
            Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

            I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


            • #7
              Chapter 5

              About a week later I got a letter. It was from my old company Gunnery Sergeant, a black fellow and a good Marine. He was also a husband and father—rare among black males by the 21st century—and a Christian. He wrote to ask for my help.

              Gunny Matthews had gotten out about a year before I did. He had done his twenty years and had a pension, and felt it was time to move on. He knew that the catastrophe that had overwhelmed many urban black communities in America by the 1970s—crime, drugs, noise, and dirt—was not due to “white racism.” It was due to bad behavior by blacks, toward other blacks as well as toward everyone else. He wanted to try to do something about it.

              It was a measure of America’s decay that one of the most important issues facing the country—race—simply couldn’t be talked about. Not honestly, anyway. Oh, there was lots of talk about “racism” and how evil it was and how whites were to blame for everybody else’s problems. But we all knew it was bull.

              The fact was that America’s blacks had crapped in their own mess kit. They had been given their “civil rights,” and had promptly shown they could not, or would not, bear the responsibilities that went with them.

              Freedom is not doing whatever you want. Freedom is substituting self discipline in place of discipline imposed by somebody else. But nobody told America’s blacks that, so they just went out and did whatever felt good at the moment. The result was a black rate of violent crime twelve times the white rate. Most of the victims of black crime were also black.

              Of course, not all blacks were into instant gratification and the drug-using, drug-dealing, mugging, car-jacking, fornicating, and whoring that it brought. But tribal loyalty was strong enough that most of those who lived decent lives wouldn’t condemn those who didn’t. The rest of America saw that in every city with a black government, which promptly descended into utter disorder and corruption. Detroit turned into 6th century Rome.

              As early as the 1970s, the average white American spelled black c-r-i-m-e. That wasn’t prejudice, it was statistics. Anywhere near a city, if you were the victim of a random crime, the criminal was almost certain to be black. The only exception was if you were in a Hispanic neighborhood; the Hispanics were rapidly going the same instant gratification route the blacks had taken, with similar results.

              Obviously, what was needed was a major crackdown. If a people cannot govern itself, then it must be governed by others. But the white

              Establishment hewed to the line that said blacks were “victims,” so their crimes could not be held against them. It was pure Orwellian Newspeak: criminals became victims, and the victims (at least the white victims) were the criminals because they were “racists.” So nothing was done, and blacks were emboldened to believe they could get away with anything.

              The result, in time, was a full scale race war, which was in turn part of America’s second civil war. The blacks’ so-called “leaders,” most of whom derived fat incomes from their impoverished supporters, never seemed to care that when one tenth of the population goads the other nine-tenths into a war, it loses.

              So Gunny Matthews had taken on quite a job. His letter told me how he’d tried to go about it.

              The Gunny had grown up in Roxbury, near Boston, so that’s where he retired, “to help the people he knew best,” as he put it. There’s always advantage in fighting where you know the ground. A number of his friends and relatives lived in public housing, so he picked that as his Schwerpunkt, his focus of efforts. In most black communities, that was the worst place you could be. Drug dealers, drug users, prostitutes, the whole ugly smear ran the place, with normal people living in terror.

              I’d seen in my job hunt the way government stuck its nose in where it wasn’t wanted, messing up people’s lives in the process. Gunny Matthews saw the other side of the coin, how government failed to do the things it was supposed to do. If there was one duty any government had, it was to protect the lives and property of ordinary, law-abiding people, regardless of their color. In the United States in the 21st century, it no longer did that.

              The Gunny saw the problem in terms of counter-guerilla warfare. The scum were the guerrillas, and the key to defeating them was organizing the locals so they could stand up to the scum. He saw an opening, a “soft spot” as we called it in military tactics, in the fact that one public housing development had been given over to the tenants to manage. They formed a tenants’ association, and the Gunny helped them draw up rules for tenant behavior, a patrol system that tracked and reported violators, and liaison with the police. As soon as they identified a drug dealer or other scumbag, they got witnesses, brought the cops in and threw the trash out, permanently. Very quickly the place turned around. For the first time in years, the nights were not punctured with gun shots, there were no hypodermic needles in the halls and kids could play safely outside.

              Then the feds came in, in the form of the Legal Services Corporation. Legal Services used tax money to pay lawyers to defend “the poor” in court. Only they had no interest in the honest poor. They were always on the side of the scum. They quickly went to court and stopped the evictions, on the grounds that the “rights” of the drug dealers and their molls were being violated. Just as quickly, the drug dealing, mugging and shooting started up again, and Gunny Matthews and his tenants’ association were back where they started.

              He asked me to come down and give them some help. I knew how to fight enemy infantrymen, not lawyers and judges. But I also knew I couldn’t ignore the Gunny’s plea. If I was going to do something to take our country back, this was a place to start. So one snowy February day I loaded up the truck and headed to Boston. On the way, I did some thinking.

              This wasn’t law, I realized, this was war. The Legal Services lawyers, the liberal judges who gave them the rulings they wanted, their buddies in the ACLU, they were just enemy units of different types. More, they were the enemy’s “critical vulnerability.” The scum depended on them; no lawyers, no scum (a point we have enshrined in Victorian law, where you must represent yourself in court). The tenants had already shown they could kick out the trash, if we could get the lawyers off their backs. So that had to be our objective.

              The Gunny had set up a meeting with the tenants’ association for the night I arrived. They were a pretty down lot when it started. One mother of three kids, the association’s leader, tried not to cry when she explained how they thought they’d made a new start, then had it all taken away from them, thanks to Legal Services. They didn’t know what they could do, now. If I could help, they’d be grateful. But it’s clear they weren’t expecting much from a white boy from Maine.

              “Okay,” I said, “here’s where we start. You’re in a war. You know that. You’ve got the bullet holes in your walls and doors to prove it. What we have to do is take the war to the enemy.”

              “Amen, brother,” was the answer. “Are we gonna start shootin’ those lawyers?” one voice asked.

              “That’s tempting,” I replied. “But you know that while they won’t put the drug dealers in jail, the law will come after honest citizens in a heartbeat. We’ve got to fight, but we’ve got to fight smart.”

              I laid out a plan. The starting point was one of Colonel John Boyd’s maxims. Boyd was the greatest American military theorist of the 20th century. He said war is fought at three levels: moral, mental, and physical. The moral level is the most powerful, the physical the least (The old American military, in its love for hi-tech, could never understand that, which is why it kept getting beaten by ragheads all around the world.). We would focus our war at the moral level, and use the physical only as it had moral impact.

              We’d start with the churches. Most of the black folk who were on the receiving end of black crime were Christians. We’d mobilize the Church Ladies—a Panzer division in this kind of fighting. We’d get them and the black ministers to go to white churches all over Boston and invite their congregations to visit the housing project. We’d let them see what those Legal Services lawyers and their friends among the judges and politicians were protecting. We’d take them through the drug markets, past the prostitutes, over the dazed, crazed addicts lying in the hallways. Then we’d ask them one question: Would they tolerate these people living in their neighborhoods? On the way out, we’d hand them a list of the names of their elected representatives with phone numbers.

              The key judge, the one who always ruled in favor of the scumbags, was a federal magistrate, Judge Holland P. Frylass. We couldn’t touch him through the ballot box. But I thought there was another way. He was keen on making the folks in the projects live among the drug dealers and muggers and carjackers, but I suspected he would prefer not to do so himself. So we’d hold a raffle. We’d get black kids selling raffle tickets all over Boston. The proceeds would go to purchase the house next door to Judge Frylass’, in that nice section of Cambridge. We’d move in some drug dealers, whores, and gang members and see how he liked a taste of his own medicine.

              Then a young mother, carrying one baby with two more grabbing at her coattails, spoke up. “That’s all fine, I guess,” she said. “But I got a drug dealer workin’ right outside my door. Somebody come after him, those bullets will shoot right through my walls and my babies and me. What you gonna do about him?”
              Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

              I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


              • #8
                Chapter 5 Continued

                “Swarm him,” I answered. The physical level of war also had its role to play.

                “What you mean, swarm him?” she asked.

                “Wherever he goes, or stops, we surround him. Twenty, thirty, fifty of us. We don’t touch him. We’re just there. We’re always there. We’re on every side of him. How much business do you think he’s going to do?”

                “And just what do we do when he starts hittin’ out?” asked another woman in the crowd.

                “Someone will always have a cell phone. He makes a move, we get it on camera. Then the cops can come in,” I replied.

                But they knew the ground better than I did. “Hon’, we appreciate you comin’ all the way down here,” began one matron. “I think you’ve got some ideas we maybe can use. But this sure ain’t no boxin’ match. When these boys hit out, it’s with guns. Some of us gonna be dead if we try swarmin’ ʻem like you want.”

                Now, I knew how to use a weapon, and I guessed I could shoot better than the average drug dealer. But I also knew I’d be the one in jail, not the drug dealer, if I got in a fire fight. And for a young, white, middle class male, jail in the 21st century meant homosexual gang rape. It was funny that the same bleeding-heart lefties who opposed the death penalty never made a peep about a punishment that would have appalled Vlad the Impaler. But I wasn’t anxious to have the joke be on me.

                Gunny Matthews came to my rescue. “You folks know I’ve got a good relationship with the cops. You let me work on that one. I’ll get us some protection, protection that can shoot back. My question to you folks is, are you willing to do what the man says? We can talk here all night. But we’ve got to act, not just keep talking. Or give up.”

                Das wesentliche ist die Tat. Always, in war, that’s what it comes down to. The important thing is the deed.

                The Panzers were ready for battle. One of the Church Ladies got up. She was dressed perfectly for a shopping trip to Filene’s in 1955: floral print dress, pillbox hat, white gloves. “I can speak for my church,” said Mrs. Cook. “They sent me here as our representative. I don’t know whether it will work or not. But the Lord blesses those who try. He may bless us with success, and he will still bless us if we fail. I say we do it.” She turned to the young mother with the drug dealer camped outside her door. “Honey, I’m an old lady. If that bad man outside your apartment shoots me, I’m ready to go to Heaven. I’ll ʻswarmʼ him, as the man here says, even if I have to do it all by myself.”

                “You don’t have to, Melba.” Her neighbor in the project was on her feet, in similar uniform, which events came to show was Urban Combat cammies. “I’ll be there too. I’ve got a heavy purse and a strong umbrella, and I know how to use both of them. We’ll ‘swarm’ this no-account piece of ****** trash all the way back to Alabama.”

                With that the congregation were on their feet, Amening and Halleluliaing. I could understand now why, back in the 1950’s, so many Americans were enraged by the South’s segregation laws. It was the Mrs. Cooks they’d made sit in the back of the bus. If young blacks had tried to be like Mrs. Cook, integration might have worked.

                What a pity so many chose Malcolm X and Snoop Dogg as their heroes instead.
                Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

                I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


                • #9
                  Chapter 6

                  I gave the Gunny a lift home after the revival meeting. I was interested in how he thought we could get the police to help. I guessed the cops themselves would want to, but they worked for the politicians, who would probably want them to protect the scum from the Church Ladies.

                  His answer proved to be important beyond our fight to save one housing project. “A number of cops around here are former Marines. We’ve got a network set up among us,” he explained to me. “We’re getting together tomorrow night. Can you come?”

                  “Of course I’ll come. You think I’m some staff puke who comes up with a plan, then sends someone else off to execute it? I’ve done some thinking up in Maine. The real war is the war for our culture. This is a battle in that war. I’m in,” I replied. “Do you know a cheap place I can put up for the duration?”

                  “Sure, stay with us. My wife and I would be honored to have my old CO as a guest,” he said.

                  I was happy to accept.


                  The meeting with the cops was at the Tune Tavern, in Boston’s South End, the Irish ghetto. Nobody in Southie was likely to remember anything he overheard in a discussion among cops.

                  About twenty guys showed up, mostly city cops, with a few state troopers and even one transit cop thrown in. All were former Marines. I hadn’t known any of them in the Corps, but they knew who I was and why I was there and they had no problem with that.

                  Gunny Matthews was too smart to throw the problem on the table and hope somebody had a solution. The old Russian technique, “Let’s negotiate from my draft,” was more likely to result in action. So after outlining the overall scheme, the Gunny made a simple request: would at least one off-duty cop accompany each “swarm” that went after a scumbag? Off-duty cops were expected, by regulation, to be armed and to intervene when citizens were in danger, so no politician could go after them for that. But at the same time, no political sleaze-bag could order them not to be there, since they’d be on their own time. Lots of businesses hired off-duty cops as security guards; the only difference here is that we had no money to pay them.

                  “That’s not a problem,” said officer Kevin McBreen. “What you’re offering us is a chance to do the job we signed up to do, but usually can’t because city hall and the effing lawyers and judges won’t let us. We’re all willing to put some time into this.”

                  “Will it work?” I asked the question, even though the basic plan had come out of my brain housing group. These guys knew the local situation better than I did, and if the plan didn’t fit the situation, it was better to scrap it now than to see it fail later.

                  The cops were quiet. One state trooper finally spoke up, a former commo staff sergeant named Kelly (sometimes I thought half the Marine Corps was named Kelly). I found out later he’d been into Tactical Decision Games big-time, so he knew how to think situations through.

                  “As far as it goes, I think it has a reasonable chance,” he said. “In war, that is all any plan can promise. We’re looking for a breakthrough here, in that we’re trying to defeat not only the scum but their friends and protectors, the lawyers, judges, and pols. The rule in war is, small risk, small gain; big gain, big risk. The potential gain here is worth the risk.”

                  “My problem with the whole proposal is that it doesn’t go far enough,” he continued. “Down at 2nd Marine Division I sat in on a briefing Colonel Boyd gave. He said strategy is the art of connecting yourself to as many other power centers as possible, while separating your enemy from as many power centers as possible. It was the only definition of strategy I ever heard that meant anything.”

                  “We need some more friendly connections here. We need connections with the press. How this gets covered in the Globe and on TV affects the outcome. We shouldn’t leave that to chance. The same goes with the legislature. We should have friends there all set to go so the debate tilts our way. In other words, we need some strategy, not just good tactics.”

                  Trooper Kelly was on to something. When I was stationed at Quantico, I’d gotten to know a staffer on Capitol Hill. He explained to me that when the Senator he worked for wanted to make a major move, he had a meeting that included other Senators’ staffers, newspaper columnists, representatives from outside special interest groups, anyone who was in a position to affect the issue. Before the public saw anything, each of these insiders had his assignment: write a column, give a speech, organize a letter-writing campaign, whatever.

                  Then, when the Senator acted, all these other things happened as if they were spontaneous. But they weren’t. They were all arranged—“greased” was the term my friend used—beforehand.

                  “Great idea,” said one city cop. “But we’re just little guys. I don’t know how we make this happen. I can’t get through to a newspaper editor or a politician. Can you?”

                  “I can, and so can you,” Kelly replied. “We can do it the same way we’ve come together here: through the Marine connection. A bunch of members of the legislature are former Marines. So’s an editor at the Globe. I know him, and I know one former Marine in the State House. He can put us on to others. There’s even a regular breakfast where former Marines now in politics get together. Most of these guys think like we do. They’ll help.”

                  At this point I got one of those brain farts where a whole lot of pieces from a bunch of different puzzles come together to make something new. Boyd called it synthesis.

                  “Maybe what we need is a new Marine Corps,” I said.

                  “What do you mean?” Matthews said.

                  “I’m not sure. Let me think out loud here. The Marine Corps we all served in is supposed to fight our country’s battles. Yet all the Corps is doing now is fighting ragheads. Those aren’t our country’s battles. They are just games the politicians and State Department types in Washington like to play to feel important and justify their salaries.”

                  “This battle, for this lousy housing project, is a battle for our country. It’s a battle in the real war, the one being fought on our own soil between the people who live according to the old rules and the people who want to break all the rules, and usually do. We need a Marine Corps for the real war.”

                  “I think we’re seeing that new Marine Corps in action right here,” I continued. “The battle we’re planning is just one of what will be many battles, many campaigns, in the war to save our culture. We need a force that doesn’t dissolve when this battle is over, that sees the war right through to the end.”

                  The cops were quiet. So was I. I knew what I’d just proposed was scary. I hadn’t thought it through; it just came to me. I didn’t know where it might lead.

                  The transit cop spoke first. “Would this be like one of these militias we hear about?”

                  “No,” I replied. “We’ve all run around in the boonies in cammies enough for that to be old. And we don’t want violence. Violence will almost always work against us at the moral level of war. Think of it instead as a general staff for whoever wants to take our country back, wherever we could make a difference. Like we’re doing here.”

                  Again, there was silence, a long silence this time.

                  Trooper Kelly spoke again. “I think you’ve hit on the answer to what’s been bothering a lot of us for a long time. We work for a government that doesn’t work. No matter how many arrests we make, it doesn’t make any difference.”

                  “The whole system is rotten,” Kelly continued. “The big boys, the politicians, the lawyers, the judges, the media types, they all live well off the decay. They are scavengers, parasites. But for real people, it just keeps getting worse and worse – crime, lousy schools, rising prices that make our pay and pensions worthless, it’s all part of the same picture.”

                  “I hate to say so, but I think this country is finished. It’s beyond fixing. We need something new. What you are proposing, skipper, is a start,” he concluded.

                  “In 1775, the United States Marine Corps was founded in another tavern, in Philadelphia,” I said. “I think it’s time to do it again, here in Tune Tavern. Who knows, maybe we’re making history once more.”

                  The transit cop spoke up again. “A new Marine Corps I can see. Nobody’s fighting the battles that need to be fought. But what Marine Corps? Nobody has written a new Declaration of Independence that I’ve heard of. What kind of Marines are we?”

                  “Christian Marines.” The voice was Gunny Matthews’. “That’s what we are, most of us. That doesn’t mean we’re fighting to spread a religion. But our faith is where our first loyalty must be, because it is the thing we believe in most deeply.”

                  “In 1775, a man could be both a Christian and a United States Marine. Now we have to choose. The reason the government we have doesn’t work is that it has thrown our whole Christian culture overboard. I don’t care whether someone goes to church or not. But unless people follow the rules laid down in the Ten Commandments, everything falls apart. It seems to me what we’re fighting for here, in this housing project, is to make the Ten Commandments the rules again. And that is what this new Marine Corps should fight for, wherever it fights.”
                  Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

                  I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


                  • #10
                    Chapter 6 Cont'd

                    “Sign me up,” said the transit cop, Meyer. “By the way, I’m Jewish. You may remember we had the Ten Commandments before you did. But we’re all in this together. It’s the whole culture we have to fight for, our Western, Judeo-Christian culture. I’ll still go to synagogue, but I’m happy to be a Christian Marine. After all, Christ was a Jew, and so were his disciples.”

                    And so it began, the Christian Marine Corps, the general staff for our side in the second civil war. I still have the piece of paper that went around the barroom table that day. It has twenty-two names on it. Seventeen of those men gave their lives in the war that was to come. I’m the only one left, now.

                    But those who died did so knowing they’d made a difference.
                    Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

                    I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


                    • #11
                      Chapter 7

                      The Battle of the Housing Project began on the last Friday in February, 2017. It proved to be Blitzkrieg, but into Russia.

                      Friday night usually meant big business for the hookers, pimps, drug dealers, and the rest of the “informal economy” that dominated the inner cities back then. Boston was enjoying a break in the winter weather, which should have drawn a big crowd out. It did, but not the kind they were expecting. The Panzers were in laager by 3 PM, 243 strong: the Church Ladies. Project residents were the infantry; they would make sure the tanks reached their objectives. The artillery was the press. The Marine connection worked, and we had reporters from the Boston Globe plus camera crews from several local TV stations. We also had twenty-five off-duty cops—in uniform and armed—and a couple video cams of our own; I wanted to have our own video tape, edited and ready to hand out ASAP.

                      Darkness comes early in Boston in February, and as it fell the bipedal roaches started crawling out of their cracks to sell their crack and whatever else. They didn’t need any of their own stuff for excitement that night. We had twenty-five “swarms” just looking for targets, and as soon as one of the scum made an appearance anywhere near the project, he was surrounded. Singing “Onward Christian Soldiers,” the Church Ladies and their allies made sure no business was done. One dealer was dumb enough to reach for his piece; before one of our cops could react, a swift umbrella brought him low.

                      But we faced no stupid enemy. The trash knew how the game usually went. Their friends in high places had already won the first round for them. So they retreated. They backed off, moved on, or went to ground and waited. Monday would see Judge Frylass in his chambers and the Legal Services lawyers before his bench, demanding and undoubtedly getting an injunction.
                      This time, we were ready for that. We picked a Friday to launch our attack because people would be home over the weekend to read the papers and turn on the TV. The next day, we dominated the news.

                      To keep the initiative, Saturday morning the leaders from the project and the ministers from the local churches held a news conference. They announced part two of the plan, an appeal to the white churches. Those congregations were prepared when our black Church Ladies arrived on Sunday and invited them to visit the project and see for themselves why we were fighting. We had the logistics carefully planned, with buses lined up, guarded parking lots available near the project and lists where we asked people to commit themselves to come for a tour on a certain date.

                      Anticipating Judge Frylass’s action, we had the tours of the project begin on Monday evening.

                      Frylass did not disappoint us (in war, a predictable opponent is a great asset). With a ringing denunciation of “mob rule,” on Monday morning he issued an injunction against any “tactics of intimidation” directed against “the victims of racism and an oppressive economic structure,” i.e., the scum.

                      Monday evening, the scum were back. So were we, again with the black Church Ladies in the lead, but now with white Christians, including some priests and ministers, alongside. At Frylass’s order, state cops were present to enforce his injunction. That was just what we wanted. Tuesday’s news was filled with photos of Church Ladies and their allies, black and white, being handcuffed and hauled off in paddy wagons while the drug dealers grinned.

                      The public was enraged, and the politicians started to get scared. In the state legislature, former Marines got the state cops pulled off the case.
                      Tuesday afternoon, our ministers and Church Ladies, now joined by the Cardinal of Boston, the Mayor, and the Speaker of the Massachusetts House, held another news conference. They announced part three: the raffle to buy the house next to Frylass’s and give him a dose of his own medicine.

                      The public went wild. It was a chance to give one of these Lord High Panjandrums a kick in the butt. The demand for lottery tickets was so great they were bid for on the street at ten times their price.

                      At this point, our battle went national. Every network ran it as their lead story on the Wednesday evening news, using the video we had prepared. A Senate Resolution condemning Frylass went through by voice vote.

                      Colleagues on the Federal bench began talking publicly about impeachment.
                      But as is often the case in war, an unpredicted event was decisive.

                      Tuesday and Wednesday evenings had seen repeats of Monday, only bigger. We swarmed the scum, wherever we could find them. Federal Marshals, brought in by Frylass, made their arrests. Now, the televisions were full of businessmen in three-piece suits, white housewives, people from every class and race being hauled off. Wednesday the Cardinal himself was arrested, arm in arm with two Baptist Church Ladies, all singing “We Shall Overcome.”

                      Thursday the crowd started gathering early, around 2 PM. It was huge, it was angry, and it was largely middle-class. Somewhere, somehow, the cry was started, “Let’s go see the judge.” Everyone took it up. The mob started to move toward the Federal Courthouse. It was a couple miles, and as the march continued the crowd grew. Along the way they found a road crew working and took their tar truck. The crowd took up the chant, “Pillows! Pillows!”, and from every window along the route pillows came flying down. Enough had feathers in them to do the job.

                      They found Judge Frylass in his chambers, having tea. He made a fine sight, tarred and feathered, riding on a streetcar rail for a short journey down to Boston harbor, where he went for a swim. The harbor police fished him out, somewhat the worse for wear.

                      Friday, it was clear it was over. Every news broadcast and newspaper in the country called it “The Second Boston Tea Party.” The President, a man who knew the secret of political leadership was to find a crowd and follow it, announced the Attorney General was personally going to the Supreme Court to ask them to overturn Judge Frylass’s injunction. The Court, which had been more a political than a judicial body since Earl Warren, duly complied.

                      That was the triumph of our Blitzkrieg. It took less than a week.

                      We then learned why Blitzkrieg didn’t work in Russia. The enemy’s position had too much depth.

                      The key to our victory was our starting point, the takeover of the housing project by its tenants. That happened as part of an experimental program sponsored by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. Of course, like the rest of the Federal government, HUD was solidly enemy territory. The bureaucrats were leftists to a man (or, back then, woman), and what had happened in Boston horrified them. How dare ordinary people stand up to the government—and win!

                      So, once the furor had died down and the attention of the press had wandered on to newer things, they quietly changed the rules. There would be no more housing projects with tenant management. Federal bureaucrats would stay in charge, they would not evict the scum, so the scum would rule. And they did.

                      The lesson for our side was that we could win battles, but not the war. The war had to be fought on the enemy’s ground, the vast, incomprehensible network of government rules, regulations, and bureaucracies. That was our Russia, and it was just too big to conquer.

                      We had to let it fall of its own weight.
                      Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

                      I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


                      • #12
                        Chapter 8

                        After the battle, I figured I’d done what I could in Boston and got ready to head back to Maine. I still faced this problem of finding work. But before I left, Gunny Matthews wanted to get the Christian Marines together again for a “hot wash” critique and to figure where we went from here.

                        We gathered once more at Tune Tavern. Trooper Kelly led off the critique.

                        “The reason we won here is simple,” he said. “We prepared carefully, but did not try to exercise too much control once things began to move. The decisive action, the march on Judge Frylass, was something we did not foresee. But we were smart enough to let it happen anyway. By the middle of the week, everyone knew what we were trying to achieve—cutting the scum off from their supporters in the Establishment. So people could take the initiative, yet all their actions worked in harmony.”

                        “This is what the Germans called ‘mission type orders,'” I added. “In the German Army, an order didn’t tell you what to do, it told you what result was needed. You were free to do whatever you thought necessary to get that result. That’s why the Germans were able to win so many battles, usually against superior numbers. Mission orders turn everyone’s initiative and imagination loose, which is very powerful—far more powerful than an army of automatons with everyone doing only what they are told.”

                        “I was an MP in the Corps,” a Boston city cop said. “For most of my time, we were told exactly what to do and how to do it. Then, just before I retired, we got a new CO who understood this German stuff, what the Corps called ‘maneuver warfare.’ He told us, ‘I want you to cut speeding on base by at least 50%. How you do it is up to you.’ And we were much more effective, because each of us did it differently.”

                        Gunny Matthews jumped in at this point. “There are a lot of folks all over the country who want to fight for what is right,” he said. “The last time we met here, we did more than plan one battle. We decided to make a difference in the outcome of the whole war. The understanding of war that we share—mission orders, Third Generation war, maneuver warfare, call it what you will—is what the folks out there who believe as we do need in order to win. The question is, how are we going to provide it to them?”

                        Kelly had an answer. “Captain Rumford had it right when he said we Christian Marines should be the general staff. Remember, German general staff officers weren’t commanders, they were advisors. We can’t and shouldn’t try to muscle in on what other people are already doing to take back control of their own communities. They would resent that, and rightly so. But many of them would be glad to get advice from people who understood war. Because this is war, let’s not kid ourselves. And people out there are beginning to realize that.”

                        A cop I hadn’t heard from before, Lasky, raised what proved to be the key question. “I agree, but who is going to do the work? I’ll put some time in, but I have a regular job that doesn’t leave me a lot of time. If the Christian Marine Corps is to be a real organization, we need at least one person to work this full time.”

                        “Don’t complain,” I replied. “At least you have a job. I’m finding it mighty tough to get one.”

                        “Maybe there’s our answer,” Kelly said. “Skipper, you’ve got the time, you know how to think militarily, you’re willing to make decisions and act. You ought to do it. You should be the first Commandant of the Christian Marines.”

                        Great, I thought. A job with lots of responsibility, facing well-nigh impossible odds, risking arrest for sedition, all for no paycheck. But I also realized this was the critical decision point if I wanted to help take our country back. “Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,” the old Anglican hymn says. For me, this was it.

                        “Well, I do have the time,” I replied. “And I was the one who proposed this new Marine Corps, so I also have the responsibility to do what I can to make it real. But I have to tell you, my family fortune ran out around 1870. Does anyone have any ideas as to how I can take this task on and still make enough money to live?”

                        Kelly did have an idea. “There are now twenty-one Christian Marines, besides yourself. If we each put in $50 per month, that’s $1050 per month for you. Can you live in Maine for that?”

                        “I reckon I could,” I said.

                        “Can the rest of us pony up that much?” Kelly asked.

                        “Let’s face it, we each spend that every month on donuts,” Meyer answered. “Just call me one generous Jew. I’m good for it.”

                        So were the others, though McBreen looked a little pale when he thought of doing without donuts.

                        “So that’s settled,” said Trooper Kelly. “Skipper, now it’s up to you. You can call on each of us for help, and we have a responsibility to look for situations where we can make a difference, not just wait for direction from you.”

                        “But if the Christian Marine Corps is to mean anything beyond this one battle in Boston,” Kelly continued, “from here on out, it’s sweat, toil, and tears, and probably blood too in the end. This is the point where most movements die. The exciting part is over, we all face the press of everyday concerns, and building an organization is slow, dull, frustrating work. It’s also the work that makes the difference between talking around the bar and changing history.”

                        “Well and truly spoken, Trooper Kelly,” I replied. “In the old American militia tradition, I move we elect our officers, and I hereby nominate you to be the CO, Massachusetts Christian Marines.”

                        The vote was unanimous, and Kelly accepted the post at which he later fell.

                        “And in the Marine tradition, I propose a toast, gentlemen,” I concluded. “To the Christian Marine Corps, and confusion to our enemies.” Appropriately, it was drunk in Sam Adams beer.
                        Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

                        I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


                        • #13
                          Chappter 9

                          To understand what followed, you have to picture what the United States was like in the early 21st century. That’s hard to do, because life in the old U.S. of A. had departed so far from everything normal, everything natural to mankind, that any analogy, any description sounds hyperbolic. But it isn’t.

                          Real life, as countless generations had lived it, had essentially vanished into a “virtual reality” devoid of all virtue.

                          Husband and wife and children, home and household and community, field and farm and village, the age-old lines and limits of our lives, had been shattered into a thousand fragments. Reality was what came through an electronic box, not what you saw out your own front door. Not that you looked out your front door, for fear of what might be looking in, carrying a gun. It might be a stranger, or your own kid, or both.

                          Everything was political. You chose your words politically, your clothes politically, your entertainment politically. If all three were clean and dull, you were on the right. If they were dirty and suggestive, you were on the left. You had to be one or the other, because everything was.

                          You lived a lie, one or another, because everything was political and politics was all lies. We were told we were free. It was a lie, because the tentacles of government had a sucker on every sucker. We had elections, and they were lies because all the candidates were from the same party, the New Class.

                          America’s New Class was the French aristocracy of 1789, without the grace. Like that aristocracy, it performed no function beyond living well. Instead of “Let them eat cake,” it said “Let them eat free trade.” Instead of Marie Antoinette, who had charm and innocence, it gave us Hillary Clinton, who had neither. The French aristocracy held balls, ours held elections.

                          Neither changed anything, but the French gave us good music.

                          The national sport was voyeurism, done electronically. Day and night, the television, Satan’s regurgitation into our souls, paraded the sad lives of other people for our entertainment. No need to peep in the neighbor’s windows – just turn on the box. Lucky the citizen who got to do the parading, as he or she thus became real.

                          Despite our fears, 1984 never came. We got a Brave New World instead.

                          We stopped making things, and kept getting poorer, but no one put the two together as cause and effect. The GNP continued to rise, because the government kept the statistics.

                          The solution, we were told, was more technology. We knew less and less, but computers would transmit our ignorance faster. Schools taught our children how to peck at the blue dot on the machine to get a piece of corn.
                          Or, the solution was big business. The New Class on Wall Street would drive down in their Mercedes to save us from the New Class in Washington.

                          People would find dignity and security by being reduced to commodities. It was more efficient than slavery. You couldn’t sell an elderly slave, but you could fire one.

                          The New Class—cultural Marxists all—told us there weren’t any rules, then they set rules. They reached down into society’s gutter, plopped whatever they found there on the civic altar and demanded we bow down and worship it. So long as it was sewage—moral, cultural, behavioral—it was fine and good and worthy of adoration. Those who would not bow were ruled out.

                          We were, of course, collectively mad. There’s nothing new about that. From Athens under Cleon through the Tulip Bubble to Party Day at Nuremburg, collective madness has been part of the human tale.

                          The way to such madness is always the same. Create a false reality, through fine speeches, dreams of wealth beyond avarice, ideologies of revenge and redemption, video screens, whatever.

                          Stoke the fire hot enough that no one can look away from it. Drive the dance faster and faster, so it entrances, mesmerizes, draws all into it. Think and you’ll miss a step and fall. Fall and you’ll get trampled. Beat the tom-toms quicker and louder. Dance the Ghost Dance long enough, hard enough, and the bullets will pass through you without touching you.

                          Reality always wins. The farther a people has danced away from it, the more they’ve done the danse macabre.

                          Americans had done quite a dance by the time we found ourselves in the 21st century. The gap between our virtual reality of techno-driven life-as-entertainment cultural freak show and reality itself was the size of the Mariana’s Trench. When America’s virtual reality collapsed, as it would, the implosion would be stupendous, as it was.

                          My task, as I settled back into the remains of a Maine winter in 2017 as Commandant of the Christian Marine Corps, was not to bring about the collapse. The nature of man would provide that, all by itself.

                          Rather, I had to think through what to do when it came. What did we want to rescue out of it? Could we rescue anything? How could a general staff of civilized men who understood war—really understood it, from history, not just by virtue of having had rank in some military bureaucracy—make a difference?

                          One thing I understood from the outset, again thanks to having some acquaintance with history. The answer did not lie in ideology, right or left, old or new. All ideologies failed and always would fail, because by their nature they demand and create a virtual reality. They all require that some aspect of reality, economic or racial or sexual or whatever, be ignored—more than ignored, deliberately not seen. That was a fatal error, always, because whatever part of reality you don’t see is the part that kills you.

                          A meeting in Waterville showed me the way around that problem, and also what we could fight for—not just against.
                          Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

                          I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


                          • #14
                            Chapter 10

                            If the Christian Marines were to be the general staff for our side in what was coming, I needed to figure out just what and who our side was. I wanted to get to know them, and, more importantly, let them get to know me. That was the first step in establishing trust.

                            So one April evening in the year 2017 I drove down to Waterville. When I got there, I could tell Spring was coming to Maine. I could smell all the winter’s dog poop melting on the green.

                            The local chapter of the Tea Party was gathering that night to hear one of their top leaders up from Washington. I knew enough about the Tea Party to realize it was on our side. Many of the folks in it later became brothers in arms and leaders in the Recovery. But like all such groups in the last days of the American republic, it had a fatal flaw, the nature of which I was to learn that evening.

                            The fellow from Washington, whose name I long ago forgot, gave the usual pitch the “Inside-the-Beltway” types fed to the local yokels. The gist of it was that the future of the country depended on them (in fact, by that point, it had already been determined); they should respond to what their leaders asked them to do (when it should have been the other way around); and, most important, send money.

                            After he’d made his pitch, there were a few questions, a bit of discussion of this and that. Then a tall fellow in back stood up. He was dressed in about the year 1945: well-cut brown double-breasted suit, wide tie, holding a brown fedora. By Maine standards, he had a good bit to say, and he said it well.

                            “I appreciate you taking the time to journey all the way up here,” began Mr. William Hocking Kraft. “But frankly, you represent the problem, not the solution.”

                            “The problem, put simply, is this. Our leaders always sell us out. Maybe they start out thinking like we do, I don’t know. But once they get to Washington, and see how nice life can be once you’re a member of the club, the Establishment, their goal becomes joining that club. But our goal is to close it down.”

                            “They—you—always end up getting sucked in to the Republican Party,” Mr. Kraft continued. “It holds the keys to the club. And it sold us out long ago. Sure, it tells us what we want to hear, but it snickers and winks the whole time it’s talking. The only people it delivers for are those on Wall Street and in the country clubs.”

                            “The fact of the matter is that you can’t create what we believe in, a country that follows the Ten Commandments, from Washington. The people in Washington follow only one commandment: Promote Yourself. You have to create it here, not by what you say, but by how you live.”

                            Kraft’s words brought to mind something my friend who worked for a Senator had said to me. He said the difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party was the difference between Madonna and Donald Trump.

                            The fellow from Washington slid and slithered as best he could, but it was clear Kraft had said what others were thinking. And he was right. No matter what the group was, it ended up with leaders who wanted to join the club. Those leaders sold their own folks out, because that was the condition of club membership.

                            I was struck by Kraft’s definition of what we wanted: a country that followed the Ten Commandments. That was what the Christian Marines wanted, too. And we needed action, not just words. So when the meeting broke up, I introduced myself.

                            His reply to my introduction was a surprise. “I already know you, or at least know about you,” he said. “I have some friends in the Corps—I’m something of an amateur military historian—and I heard about your raid on the feminists at Expeditionary Warfare School. You showed the rarest of qualities in the American officer corps: moral courage. I would be honored if you would join me for dinner at my home, if you’re free.”

                            I was, and Kraft was clearly someone I wanted to know better. We walked out together to his car—an immaculate 1948 Buick Roadmaster. “I’ll wait for you here,” he said. “Just follow me.”

                            His house was a typical 1920s bungalow, nothing special from the outside, but when I walked through the front door I got a shock. It was like going through a time lock.

                            Everything was as it might have been seventy years ago. Everything—the big floor model radio (no television), the Brussels carpets on hardwood floors, the appliances, the 1948 calendar on the kitchen wall (as always in Maine, we came in the back door, through the mud room), even the way his wife and children were dressed. It had been a long time since I had dropped in on someone and found his wife in a nice dress waiting to serve dinner.
                            He introduced his wife as Mrs. Kraft, his young son as Master Billy and his daughters as the Misses Evelyn and Lula Bell.

                            I expressed my hope that my unexpected arrival for dinner was not a problem.

                            “Not at all,” replied Mrs. Kraft. “I always prepare enough so that if Mr. Kraft brings someone, we have plenty. That is, after all, one of the duties of my sphere.”

                            The feeling of having gone through a time warp was growing stronger.
                            We sat down in the dining room, with its 1930s floral wallpaper and oak wainscoting, polished mahogany table and built-in breakfront, and Mr. Kraft said grace—in Latin. Mrs. Kraft, and only Mrs. Kraft, served, from the kitchen. Somehow, it all felt right, even though my generation had been taught it was wrong.

                            “This is sure a change from most places I visit,” I ventured, being somewhat unsure how much notice I should give to what then counted as eccentricity, at the least.

                            “Thank you,” said Mr. Kraft. “It has taken some effort on our part, but we have created a home where you can leave the 21st century at the door. Here, at least, things are as they were, and should be.”

                            “We’re Retroculture people,” added Mrs. Kraft.

                            “I don’t know how much you’ve heard about the Retroculture movement,” Mr. Kraft said.

                            “I’m afraid we lead a rather sheltered life in the military,” I replied. “The only culture we get is the kind that grows on old bread.”

                            “You may remember what I said earlier this evening, at the meeting,” he continued. “You cannot create, or, more precisely, re-create, the world we want simply through words, least of all through the words of politicians. You have to do it by how you live. The Retroculture movement is people—individuals, families, sometimes whole neighborhoods—striving to live again in the old ways, following the old rules.”

                            “I’m sure you’ve been told, ‘You can’t go back,'” Mr. Kraft went on. “Like most of what you are told these days, it’s a lie. The one thing we know we can do is what we’ve already done. We can live in the good, wholesome, upright ways our forefathers followed.”

                            “So there is more to this than furniture, clothes and manners?” I asked. The manners were obvious: we were holding an adult conversation at a table that included three children.

                            “Of course,” Mr. Kraft replied. “Things are important tools; our furniture, our clothes, my Buick, all help separate us from the modern world, which is what we want to do. We’re like the Amish in that respect. But also like the Amish, the essence of Retroculture is our beliefs, morals and values. We believe what Americans used to believe. We hold the same values, follow the same moral rules our ancestors followed.”

                            “What era do Retroculture people want to live in?” I inquired.

                            “Any time before 1965,” Mr. Kraft responded. “That year marks the beginning of the cultural revolution that destroyed America. Our period is the 1940s, though many of the things you see here are older than that; back then, people didn’t throw out their furniture every ten years.”

                            “Many Retroculture people have chosen the Victorian era as the time they want to live in, and for good reasons. The Victorians were astoundingly productive people, building, inventing, creating, conquering, all the things we need to do if we are ever to amount to anything again, other than a Third World country. The basis of their success, of course, was their strong, Christian morals.”

                            “But other Retroculture folks have chosen the 1950s as their era, or 1910, or even the colonial period,” Mr. Kraft continued. “The specific time period does not matter, so long as it is a time when traditional American culture was strong.”

                            “Each person, each family decides for itself just how Retro it wants to go. There’s no set of rules, except that it must be before 1965 and must include the values if it is to count as Retroculture. Most people follow the simple rule of common sense.”

                            “The colonial period would interest me,” I said, “though as a Marine, I was told that bleeding was bad for the other guy, not good for me. I’m not sure I’d like depending on 18th century medicine.”

                            “Don’t worry, you wouldn’t have to,” Mr. Kraft replied. “We had our children vaccinated against polio, I assure you. We have no desire to bring back the tiny braces and little iron lungs. On the other hand, we don’t want modern medical technology to keep us alive when our natural life span is over, so we can waste away in some nursing home. When my time comes, I want the doctor to come to the house with his little black bag and give me some morphine to ease the passing, just as he would have done in the 1940s.”

                            “Good luck finding a doctor to make a house call these days,” I replied, wondering just how practical Retroculture was.
                            Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

                            I have but one person on my ignore list. Can you guess who it is?


                            • #15
                              Chapter 10 Cont'd

                              “We have such a doctor,” Mrs. Kraft said. “He’s in the Retroculture movement too. When one of us is sick, he comes to the house in his black Detroit Electric automobile from the 1920s.”

                              “You’re lucky to have a wife who goes along with all this,” I said to Mr. Kraft, thinking how most of my friends’ wives would have reacted to the idea of going back to the past.

                              “The good luck is mine more than his,” Mrs. Kraft replied. “These days, women are told they were oppressed and mistreated in the past, and that they will be happier if they can live in the business world, the world of men. That is another modern lie.”

                              “As a wife of the 1940s, I have my own sphere where I am in charge: this home, my family, and my community, where I do a great deal of volunteer work, as women did in the past. It is a more important sphere than the business world where Mr. Kraft works, because it is the sphere where babies grow into children and then into men and women. I, as the woman of the house, hold the future in my hands.”

                              “I agree with that,” Mr. Kraft said. “Unless women create good homes and raise the children right, those things go undone. They are not natural to men. We see all around us what kind of children come from homes where the wife is not a mother and homemaker. As Arnold Toynbee warned, our barbarians have come from within.”

                              “As far as all the nonsense about women being oppressed by being given charge of the home,” Mrs. Kraft added, “I find quite the opposite is true. Creating a good home is a greater challenge than most matters in the business world, and it allows more room for creativity. The home you are enjoying now is my achievement. How many women in business achieve so much? Or are so loved and honored for their achievement as I am by Mr. Kraft and our children?”

                              “That you are indeed, Mrs. Kraft,” Mr. Kraft replied.

                              They had a remarkable home life, as I could plainly see. It was the sort of home most people of my generation knew about only from books or plays or family memories. But it was exactly the kind of home we all wished we could live in—not just for the beautiful things, but for the warmth and contentment and absolute solidness I could feel radiating from every corner.
                              After an ample and excellent meal, Mr. Kraft and I adjourned to his den while Mrs. Kraft did the dishes. As he busied himself filling and lighting his pipe, I started to think. Maybe this was the answer to the puzzle I was facing of how the Christian Marines could explain what we were fighting for.

                              In a broad sense, we knew the answer: a nation where the Ten Commandments ruled. But I knew our program, our goal, had to be developed beyond that to be understood by other people.

                              The danger facing us was falling into an ideology. Retroculture avoided that danger, because unlike an ideology it was not based on some abstract scheme of ideas. It was simply recovering what we used to have and used to be, which was the ultimate in concreteness. And we could know it would work, because we knew America had worked in the past. Logically, what worked once should work again.

                              “Just how many of you Retroculture people are there?” I asked Mr. Kraft.

                              “Tens of thousands,” he replied, “and growing fast. You don’t hear about us much in the general media, because we represent a rejection of everything it stands for. But we have our own magazines, books, clubs, and societies. We come in all varieties – there is even a group of non-Amish who live like the Amish, what they call, “plain.” There is growing talk of founding new towns where everyone would live in a certain time period and there would be nothing out of place for that time.”

                              “It kind of makes you wonder what a whole Retroculture country might be like,” I mused.

                              ”It would be splendid, as America itself once was splendid, before the squalid sixties,” Kraft replied. “Remember, we had a country that worked.”

                              “That is hard to remember now,” I responded.

                              “But people do remember,” Kraft said. “Take a look at this—and it is from more than twenty years ago.”

                              He handed me a copy of a poll taken in 1992 by Lawrence Research for something called the Free Congress Foundation. It was a survey of people’s attitudes toward the past, and the findings were remarkable. 49% said life in the past was better than it is today; only 17% said it was worse. 59% said the nation’s leaders should be trying to take the country back toward the way it used to be. 61% thought life in the 1950s was better than in the 1990s. 47% said their grandparents’ lives were happier than their own – and the margin was 15% higher among blacks, whose grandparents had lived under segregation.

                              When given a menu of times and places in which they could choose to live, a typical suburb in 1950 came in first with 58%; in last place was Los Angeles in 1991. When asked for a second choice, the winner, with 32%, was a small town in 1900; modern LA again came in last.

                              56% of those polled had a favorable impression of the Victorian period. 45% said they saw signs of people and things turning back toward the past—and that it was a good thing.

                              “For America, that poll represents nothing less than a cultural revolution,” Mr. Kraft said. “From the days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony onward, Americans have been future focused. We have always believed that the future would be better than the present, and that the present was better than the past. We don’t believe that any more. We believe—in fact, we know, because unlike the future, the past is knowable—what we once had was better than what we have now. Caught as America is in an endless downward spiral of decline, decay, and degradation, we have no reason to hope for our future—unless that future can be a recovery of our past.”

                              “Thanks to a certain professor from Dartmouth College, I’ve read a bit about our past,” I said. “Not just America’s past, but the history of our Western culture. My impression is that through most of history, we were past-focused. We saw the past as a model we should try to recapture and emulate. Is what we’re seeing here a return to normality?”

                              “Yes,” Mr. Kraft responded. “Most of our culture’s great leaps forward have come from attempts to return to the past. The Renaissance is a good example. The Renaissance was an attempt to recover the classical world of ancient Greece and Rome. Of course, such efforts don’t exactly recreate the past; 15th century Florence was not the Roman Republic. But the attempt to recapture the classical past created a new synthesis that was brilliant—and that could never have been created by looking only to the future, which is, after all, a void.”

                              “Do you think an attempt to recapture our own past—Retroculture—could give us a renaissance?” I asked.

                              “Again, the answer is yes,” Kraft replied. “Retroculture is something solid, something real people can put their hands on and understand. Most people know how their grandparents or great grandparents lived. They know they were good people who lived decent, satisfying lives. They can grasp the fact that we can live that way again. Once they realize it is possible, once they realize that the saying, ‘You can’t go back,’ is a lie, it is something they want to do. And if they do it, as we have done it in this home, in our lives, they find it works.”

                              “One final question, if I may,” I said. “If some people were willing to fight for a country where Retroculture could flourish—not one where it was enforced by law, but where people could live Retro if they wanted to, without any hindrances from the government—would you be willing to help?”

                              “Of course,” Mr. Kraft replied. “At present, Retroculture can’t go much beyond home life, because all kinds of government regulations and regulators and lawyers come down on you if you try. As I said, some of us would like to create whole new towns and communities where everyone would live in a certain time. But we know the government would prevent that, because one or another of these ‘victims’ groups would protest.”

                              “Retroculture isn’t political,” he continued. “Retroculture is about escaping politics and government and all that nonsense. It’s about simply living a normal life, the kind of life Americans used to live. It seems to me that if we’re going to talk about a new country, that’s the kind of country we should want.”

                              I thought that summed it up pretty well. After drinking a glass of good Port and smoking a cigar to accompany Mr. Kraft’s pipe, I bid him good night and headed home through the April slush. Another piece of the puzzle had fallen into place.
                              Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest. - Benjamin Franklin

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