MIT Creates AI that Predicts Depression from Speech – Cami Rosso.

Depression is one of the most common disorders globally that impacts the lives of over 300 million people, and nearly 800,000 suicides annually.

For a mental health professional, asking the right questions and interpreting the answers is a key factor in the diagnosis. But what if a diagnosis could be achieved through natural conversation, versus requiring context from question and answer?

An innovative Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) research team has discovered a way for AI to detect depression in individuals through identifying patterns in natural conversation.

Psychology Today

Part 4. Make America Great Again? Fascism, It Can’t Happen Here. A Warning From The Past – Sinclair Lewis – (Chapters 13-15).

“The Horatio Alger tradition, from rags to Rockefellers, was clean gone out of the America it had dominated.”

It Can’t Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis.

Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and “traditional” values.

After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a pIutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, in the manner of Adolf Hitler and the SS.

The novel’s plot centers on journalist Doremus Jessup’s opposition to the new regime and his subsequent struggle against it as part of a liberal rebellion.

-13-

“And when I get ready to retire I’m going to build me an up-to-date bungalow in some lovely resort, not in Como or any other of the proverbial Grecian isles you may be sure, but in somewheres like Florida, California, Santa Fe, & etc., and devote myself just to reading the classics, like Longfellow, James Whitcomb Riley, Lord Macaulay, Henry Van Dyke, Elbert Hubbard, Plato, Hiawatha: etc. Some of my friends laugh at me for it, but I have always cultivated a taste for the finest in literature. I got it from my Mother as I did everything that some people have been so good as to admire in me. “

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

Certain though Doremus had been of Windrip’s election, the event was like the long dreaded passing of a friend.

“All right. Hell with this country, if it’s like that. All these years I’ve worked, and I never did want to be on all these committees and boards and charity drives!, and don’t they look silly now! What I always wanted to do was to sneak off to an ivory tower, or anyway, celluloid, imitation ivory, and read everything I’ve been too busy to read.”

Thus Doremus, in late November.

And he did actually attempt it, and for a few days reveled in it, avoiding everyone save his family and Lorinda, Buck Titus, and Father Perefixe. Mostly, though, he found that he did not relish the “classics” he had so far missed, but those familiar to his youth: Ivanhoe, Huckleberry Finn, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, L’Allegro, The Way of All Flesh (not quite so youthful, there), Moby Dick, The Earthly Paradise, St. Agnes’ Eve, The ldylls of the King, most of Swinburne, Pride and Prejudice, Religio Medici, Vanity Fair.

Probably he was not so very different from President Elect Windrip in his rather uncritical reverence toward any book he had heard of before he was thirty. . . . No American whose fathers have lived in the country for over two generations is so utterly different from any other American.

In one thing, Doremus’s literary escapism failed him thoroughly. He tried to relearn Latin, but he could not now, uncajoled by a master, believe that “Mensa, mensae, mensae, mensam, mensa”, all that idiotic A table, of a table, to a table, toward a table, at in by or on a table, could bear him again as once it had to the honeysweet tranquillity of Vergil and the Sabine Farm.

Then he saw that in everything his quest failed him.

The reading was good enough, toothsome, satisfying, except that he felt guilty at having sneaked away to an Ivory Tower at all. Too many years he had made a habit of social duty. He wanted to be “in” things, and he was daily more irritable as Windrip began, even before his inauguration, to dictate to the country.

Buzz’s party, with the desertions to the Jeffersonians, had less than a majority in Congress. “Inside dope” came to Doremus from Washington that Windrip was trying to buy, to flatter, to blackmail opposing Congressmen. A President-Elect has unhallowed power, if he so wishes, and Windrip, no doubt with promises of abnormal favors in the way of patronage, won over a few. Five Jeffersonian Congressmen had their elections challenged. One sensationally disappeared, and smoking after his galloping heels there was a devilish fume of embezzlements. And with each such triumph of Windrip, all the well meaning, cloistered Doremuses of the country were the more anxious.

All through the “Depression,” ever since 1929, Doremus had felt the insecurity, the confusion, the sense of futility in trying to do anything more permanent than shaving or eating breakfast, that was general to the country. He could no longer plan, for himself or for his dependants, as the citizens of this once unsettled country had planned since 1620.

Why, their whole lives had been predicated on the privilege of planning. Depressions had been only cyclic storms, certain to end in sunshine; Capitalism and parliamentary government were eternal, and eternally being improved by the honest votes of Good Citizens.

Doremus’s grandfather, Calvin, Civil War veteran and ill-paid, illiberal Congregational minister, had yet planned, “My son, Loren, shall have a theological education, and I think we shall be able to build a fine new house in fifteen or twenty years.” That had given him a reason for working, and a goal.

His father, Loren, had vowed, “Even if I have to economize on books a little, and perhaps give up this extravagance of eating meat four times a week, very bad for the digestion, anyway, my son, Doremus, shall have a college education, and when, as he desires, he becomes a publicist, I think perhaps I shall be able to help him for a year or two. And then I hope, oh, in a mere five or six years more, to buy that complete Dickens with all the illustrations, oh, an extravagance, but a thing to leave to my grandchildren to treasure forever!”

But Doremus Jessup could not plan, “I’ll have Sissy go to Smith before she studies architecture,” or “If Julian Falck and Sissy get married and stick here in the Fort, I’ll give ‘em the southwest lot and some day, maybe fifteen years from now, the whole place will be filled with nice kids again!” No. Fifteen years from now, he sighed, Sissy might be hustling hash for the sort of workers who called the waiter’s art “hustling hash”; and Julian might be in a concentration camp, Fascist or Communist!

The Horatio Alger tradition, from rags to Rockefellers, was clean gone out of the America it had dominated.

It seemed faintly silly to hope, to try to prophesy, to give up sleep on a good mattress for toil on a typewriter, and as for saving money, idiotic!

And for a newspaper editor, for one who must know, at least as well as the Encyclopaedia, everything about local and foreign history, geography, economics, politics, literature, and methods of playing football, it was maddening that it seemed impossible now to know anything surely.

“He don’t know what it’s all about” had in a year or two changed from a colloquial sneer to a sound general statement regarding almost any economist. Once, modestly enough, Doremus had assumed that he had a decent knowledge of finance, taxation, the gold standard, agricultural exports, and he had smilingly pontificated everywhere that Liberal Capitalism would pastorally lead into State Socialism, with governmental ownership of mines and railroads and water, power so settling all inequalities of income that every lion of a structural steel worker would be willing to lie down with any lamb of a contractor, and all the jails and tuberculosis sanatoria would be clean empty.

Now he knew that he knew nothing fundamental and, like a lone monk stricken with a conviction of sin, he mourned, “If I only knew more! . . . Yes, and if I could only remember statistics!”

The coming and the going of the NRA, the F.E.R.A., the P.W.A., and all the rest, had convinced Doremus that there were four sets of people who did not clearly understand anything whatever about how the government must be conducted: all the authorities in Washington; all of the citizenry who talked or wrote profusely about politics; the bewildered untouchables who said nothing; and Doremus Jessup.

“But,” said he, “now, after Buzz’s inauguration, everything is going to be completely simple and comprehensible again, the country is going to be run as his private domain!”

Julian Falck, now sophomore in Amherst, had come home for Christmas vacation, and he dropped in at the Informer office to beg from Doremus a ride home before dinner.

He called Doremus “sir” and did not seem to think he was a comic fossil. Doremus liked it.

On the way they stopped for gasoline at the garage of John Pollikop, the seething Social Democrat, and were waited upon by Karl Pascal, sometime donkey-engine-man at Tasbrough’s quarry, sometime strike leader, sometime political prisoner in the county jail on a thin charge of inciting to riot, and ever since then, a model of Communistic piety.

Pascal was a thin man, but sinewy; his gaunt and humorous face of a good mechanic was so grease-darkened that the skin above and below his eyes seemed white as a fish-belly, and, in turn, that pallid rim made his eyes, alert dark gipsy eyes, seem the larger. . . . A panther chained to a coal cart.

“Well, what you going to do after this election?” said Doremus. “Oh! That’s a fool question! I guess none of us chronic kickers want to say much about what we plan to do after January, when Buzz gets his hands on us. Lie low, eh?”

“I’m going to lie the lowest lie that I ever did. You bet! But maybe there’ll be a few Communist cells around here now, when Fascism begins to get into people’s hair.

“Never did have much success with my propaganda before, but now, you watch!” exulted Pascal.

“You don’t seem so depressed by the election,” marveled Doremus, while Julian offered, “No, you seem quite cheerful about it!”

“Depressed? Why good Lord, Mr. Jessup, I thought you knew your revolutionary tactics better than that, way you supported us in the quarry strike, even if you are the perfect type of small capitalist bourgeois! Depressed? Why, can’t you see, if the Communists had paid for it they couldn’t have had anything more elegant for our purposes than the election of a pro-plutocrat, itching militarist dictator like Buzz Windrip! Look! He’ll get everybody plenty dissatisfied. But they can’t do anything, barehanded against the armed troops. Then he’ll whoop it up for a war, and so millions of people will have arms and food rations in their hands, all ready for the revolution! Hurray for Buzz and John Prang the Baptist!”

“Karl, it’s funny about you. I honestly believe you believe in Communism!” marveled young Julian. “Don’t you?” “Why don’t you go and ask your friend Father Perefixe if he believes in the Virgin?”

“But you seem to like America, and you don’t seem so fanatical, Karl. I remember when l was a kid of about ten and you, I suppose you were about twenty-five or -six then, you used to slide with us and whoop like hell, and you made me a ski-stick.”

“Sure I like America. Came here when I was two years old, I was born in Germany, my folks weren’t Heinies, though, my dad was French and my mother a Hunkie from Serbia. (Guess that makes me a hundred per cent American, all right!) I think we’ve got the Old Country beat, lots of ways. Why, say, Julian, over there I’d have to call you ‘Mein Herr’ or ‘Your Excellency,’ or some fool thing, and you’d call me, ‘I say-uh, Pascal!’ and Mr. Jessup here, my Lord, he’d be ‘Commendatore’ or ‘Herr Doktor’! No, I like it here. There’s symptoms of possible future democracy. But, but, what burns me up, it isn’t that old soap-boxer’s chestnut about how one tenth of 1 per cent of the population at the top have an aggregate income equal to 42 per cent at the bottom. Figures like that are too astronomical. Don’t mean a thing in the world to a fellow with his eyes and nose down in a transmission box, fellow that doesn’t see the stars except after 9 PM. on odd Wednesdays. But what burns me up is the fact that even before this Depression, in what you folks called prosperous times, 7 per cent of all the families in the country earned $500 a year or less, remember, those weren’t the unemployed, on relief; those were the guys that had the honor of still doing honest labor.

“Five hundred dollars a year is ten dollars a week-and that means one dirty little room for a family of four people! It means $5.00 a week for all their food, eighteen cents per day per person for food, and even the lousiest prisons allow more than that. And the magnificent remainder of $2.50 a week, that means nine cents per day per person for clothes, insurance, carfares, doctors’ bills, dentists’ bills, and for God’s sake, amusements, and all the rest of the nine cents a day they can fritter away on their Fords and autogiros and, when they feel fagged, skipping across the pond on the Normandie! Seven per cent of all the fortunate American families where the old man has got a job!”

Julian was silent; then whispered, “You know, fellow gets discussing economics in college theoretically sympathetic, but to see your own kids living on eighteen cents a day for grub, guess that would make a man pretty extremist!”

Doremus fretted, “But what percentage of forced labor in your Russian lumber camps and Siberian prison mines are getting more than that?”

“Haaa! That’s all baloney! That’s the old standard comeback at every Communist, just like once, twenty years ago, the muttonheads used to think they’d crushed any Socialist when they snickered ‘If all the money was divided up, inside five years the hustlers would have all of it again.’ Prob’ly there’s some standard coup de grace like that in Russia, to crush anybody that defends America. Besides!” Karl Pascal glowed with nationalistic fervor. “We Americans aren’t like those dumb Russki peasants! We’ll do a whole lot better when we get Communism!”

And on that, his employer, the expansive John Pollikop, a woolly Scotch terrier of a man, returned to the garage. John was an excellent friend of Doremus; had, indeed, been his bootlegger all through Prohibition, personally running in his whisky from Canada. He had been known, even in that singularly scrupulous profession, as one of its most trustworthy practitioners. Now he flowered into mid-European dialectics: “Evenin’, Mist’ Jessup, evenin’, Julian! Karl fill up y’ tank for you? You want t’ watch that guy, he’s likely to hold out a gallon on you. He’s one of these crazy dogs of Communists, they all believe in Violence instead of Evolution and Legality. Them, why say, if they hadn’t been so crooked, if they’d joined me and Norman Thomas and the other intelligent Socialists in a United Front with Roosevelt and the Jeffersonians, why say, we’d of licked the pants off Buzzard Windrip! Windrip and his plans!” (“Buzzard” Windrip. That was good, Doremus reflected. He’d be able to use it in the Informer!)

Pascal protested, “Not that Buzzard’s personal plans and ambitions have got much to do with it. Altogether too easy to explain everything just blaming it on Windrip. Why don’t you read your Marx, John, instead of always gassing about him? Why, Windrip’s just something nasty that’s been vomited up. Plenty others still left fermenting in the stomach, quack economists with every sort of economic ptomain! No, Buzz isn’t important, it’s the sickness that made us throw him up that we’ve got to attend to, the sickness of more than 30 per cent permanently unemployed, and growing larger. Got to cure it!”

“Can you crazy Tovarishes cure it?” snapped Pollikop, and, “Do you think Communism will cure it?” skeptically wondered Doremus, and, more politely, “Do you really think Karl Marx had the dope?” worried Julian, all three at once.

“You bet your life we can!” said Pascal vaingloriously.

As Doremus, driving away, looked back at them, Pascal and Pollikop were removing a flat tyre together and quarreling bitterly, quite happily.

Doremus’s attic study had been to him a refuge from the tender solicitudes of Emma and Mrs. Candy and his daughters, and all the impulsive hand-shaking strangers who wanted the local editor to start off their campaigns for the sale of life insurance or gas-saving carburetors, for the Salvation Army or the Red Cross or the Orphans’ Home or the Anti-cancer Crusade, or the assorted magazines which would enable to go through college young men who at all cost should be kept out of college.

It was a refuge now from the considerably less tender solicitudes of supporters of the President-Elect. On the pretense of work, Doremus took to sneaking up there in mid-evening; and he sat not in an easy chair but stiffly, at his desk, making crosses and five-pointed stars and sixpointed stars and fancy delete signs on sheets of yellow copy paper, while he sorely meditated.

Thus, this evening, after the demands of Karl Pascal and John Pollikop:

“‘The Revolt against Civilization!’

“But there’s the worst trouble of this whole cursed business of analysis. When I get to defending Democracy against Communism and Fascism and what-not, I sound just like the Lothrop Stoddard, why, I sound almost like a Hearst editorial on how some college has got to kick out a Dangerous Red instructor in order to preserve our Democracy for the ideals of Jefferson and Washington! Yet somehow, singing the same words, I have a notion my tune is entirely different from Hearst’s. I don’t think we’ve done very well with all the plowland and forest and minerals and husky human stock we’ve had. What makes me sick about Hearst and the BAR. is that if they are against Communism, I have to be for it, and I don’t want to be!

“Wastage of resources, so they’re about gone, that’s been the American share in the revolt against Civilization. “We can go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin! It would just take a few thousand big shells and gas bombs to wipe out all the eager young men, and all the libraries and historical archives and patent offices, all the laboratories and art galleries, all the castles and Periclean temples and Gothic cathedrals, all the cooperative stores and motor factories, every storehouse of learning. No inherent reason why Sissy’s grandchildren, if anybody’s grandchildren will survive at all, shouldn’t be living in caves and heaving rocks at catamounts.

“And what’s the solution of preventing this debacle? Plenty of ‘em! The Communists have a patent Solution they know will work. So have the Fascists, and the rigid American Constitutionalism, who call themselves advocates of Democracy, without any notion what the word ought to mean; and the Monarchists, who are certain that if we could just resurrect the Kaiser and the Czar and King Alfonso, everybody would be loyal and happy again, and the banks would simply force credit on small businessmen at 2 per cent. And all the preachers, they tell you that they alone have the inspired Solution.

“Well, gentlemen, I have listened to all your Solutions, and I now inform you that I, and I alone, except perhaps for Walt Trowbridge and the ghost of Pareto, have the perfect, the inevitable, the only Solution, and that is: There is no Solution! There will never be a state of society anything like perfect!

“There never will be a time when there won’t be a large proportion of people who feel poor no matter how much they have, and envy their neighbors who know how to wear cheap clothes showily, and envy neighbors who can dance or make love or digest better.”

Doremus suspected that, with the most scientific state, it would be impossible for iron deposits always to find themselves at exactly the rate decided upon two years before by the National Technocratic Minerals Commission, no matter how elevated and fraternal and Utopian the principles of the commissioners.

His Solution, Doremus pointed out, was the only one that did not flee before the thought that a thousand years from now human beings would probably continue to die of cancer and earthquake and such clownish mishaps as slipping in bathtubs. It presumed that mankind would continue to be burdened with eyes that grow weak, feet that grow tired, noses that itch, intestines vulnerable to bacilli, and generative organs that are nervous until the age of virtue and senility. It seemed to him unidealistically probable, for all the “contemporary furniture” of the 1930’s, that most people would continue, at least for a few hundred years, to sit in chairs, eat from dishes upon tables, read books, no matter how many cunning phonographic substitutes might be invented, wear shoes or sandals, sleep in beds, write with some sort of pens, and in general spend twenty or twenty-two hours a day much as they had spent them in 1930, in 1630. He suspected that tornadoes, floods, droughts, lightning, and mosquitoes would remain, along with the homicidal tendency known in the best of citizens when their sweethearts go dancing off with other men.

And, most fatally and abysmally, his Solution guessed that men of superior cunning, of slyer foxiness, whether they might be called Comrades, Brethren, Commissars, Kings, Patriots, Little Brothers of the Poor, or any other rosy name, would continue to have more influence than slower-witted men, however worthy.

All the warring Solutions, except his, Doremus chuckled, were ferociously propagated by the Fanatics, the “Nuts.”

He recalled an article in which Neil Carothers asserted that the “rabble-rousers” of America in the mid-‘thirties had a long and dishonorable ancestry of prophets who had felt called upon to stir up the masses to save the world, and save it in the prophets’ own way, and do it right now, and most violently: Peter the Hermit, the ragged, mad, and stinking monk who, to rescue the (unidentified) tomb of the Savior from undefined “outrages by the pagans,” led out on the Crusades some hundreds of thousands of European peasants, to die on the way of starvation, after burning, raping, and murdering fellow peasants in foreign villages all along the road.

There was John Ball who “in 1381 was a share-the-wealth advocate; he preached equality of wealth, the abolition of class distinctions, and what would now be called communism,” and whose follower, Wat Tyler, looted London, with the final gratifying result that afterward Labor was by the frightened government more oppressed than ever. And nearly three hundred years later, Cromwell’s methods of expounding the sweet winsomeness of Purity and Liberty were shooting, slashing, clubbing, starving, and burning people, and after him the workers paid for the spree of bloody righteousness with blood.

Brooding about it, fishing in the muddy slew of recollection which most Americans have in place of a clear pool of history, Doremus was able to add other names of wellmeaning rabel-rousers:

Murat and Danton and Robespierre, who helped shift the control of France from the moldy aristocrats to the stuffy, centime-pinching shopkeepers. Lenin and Trotzky who gave to the illiterate Russian peasants the privileges of punching a time clock and of being as learned, gay, and dignified as the factory hands in Detroit; and Lenin’s man, Borodin, who extended this boon to China. And that William Randolph Hearst who in 1898 was the Lenin of Cuba and switched the mastery of the golden isle from the cruel Spaniards to the peaceful, unarmed, brotherly loving Cuban politicians of today.

The American Moses, Dowie, and his theocracy at Zion City, Illinois, where the only results of the direct leadership of God, as directed and encouraged by Mr. Dowie and by his even more spirited successor, Mr. Volivawere that the holy denizens were deprived of oysters and cigarettes and cursing, and died without the aid of doctors instead of with it, and that the stretch of road through Zion City incessantly caused the breakage of springs on the cars of citizens from Evanston, Wilmette, and Winnetka, which may or not have been a desirable Good Deed.

Cecil Rhodes, his vision of making South Africa a British paradise, and the actuality of making it a graveyard for British soldiers.

All the Utopias, Brook Farm, Robert Owen’s sanctuary of chatter, Upton Sinclair’s Helicon Hall, and their regulation end in scandal, feuds, poverty, griminess, disillusion.

All the leaders of Prohibition, so certain that their cause was world regenerating, that for it they were willing to shoot down violators.

It seemed to Doremus that the only rabble-rouser to build permanently had been Brigham Young, with his bearded Mormon captains, who not only turned the Utah desert into an Eden but made it pay and kept it up.

Pondered Doremus: Blessed be they who are not Patriots and Idealists, and who do not feel they must dash right in and Do Something About It, something so immediately important that all doubters must be liquidated, tortured, slaughtered! Good old murder, that since the slaying of Abel by Cain has always been the new device by which all oligarchies and dictators have, for all future ages to come, removed opposition!

In this acid mood Doremus doubted the efficacy of all revolutions; dared even a little to doubt our two American revolutions, against England in 1776, and the Civil War.

For a New England editor to contemplate even the smallest criticism of these wars was what it would have been for a Southern Baptist fundamentalist preacher to question Immortality, the Inspiration of the Bible, and the ethical value of shouting Hallelujah. Yet had it, Doremus queried nervously, been necessary to have four years of inconceivably murderous Civil War, followed by twenty years of commercial oppression of the South, in order to preserve the Union, free the slaves, and establish the equality of Industry with Agriculture? Had it been just to the Negroes themselves to throw them so suddenly, with so little preparation, into full citizenship, that the Southern states, in what they considered selfdefense, disqualified them at the polls and lynched them and lashed them? Could they not, as Lincoln at first desired and planned, have been freed without the vote, then gradually and competently educated, under federal guardianship, so that by 1890 they might, without too much enmity, have been able to enter fully into all the activities of the land?

A generation and a half (Doremus meditated) of the sturdiest and most gallant killed or crippled in the Civil War or, perhaps worst of all, becoming garrulous professional heroes and satellites of the politicians who in return for their solid vote made all lazy jobs safe for the G.A.R. The most valorous, it was they who suffered the most, for while the John D. Rockefellers, the J. P. Morgans, the Vanderbilts, Astors, Goulds, and all their nimble financial comrades of the South, did not enlist, but stayed in the warm, dry counting-house, drawing the fortune of the country into their webs, it was Jeb Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, Nathaniel Lyon, Pat Cleburne, and the knightly James B. McPherson who were killed . . . and with them Abraham Lincoln.

So, with the hundreds of thousands who should have been the progenitors of new American generations drained away, we could show the world, which from 1780 to 1860 had so admired men like Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, the Adamses, Webster, only such salvages as McKinley, Benjamin Harrison, William Jennings Bryan, Harding . . . and Senator Berzelius Windrip and his rivals.

Slavery had been a cancer, and in that day was known no remedy save bloody cutting. There had been no Xrays of wisdom and tolerance. Yet to sentimentalize this cutting, to justify and rejoice in it, was an altogether evil thing, a national superstition that was later to lead to other Unavoidable Wars, wars to free Cubans, to free Filipinos who didn’t want our brand of freedom, to End All Wars.

Let us, thought Doremus, not throb again to the bugles of the Civil War, nor find diverting the gallantry of Sherman’s dashing Yankee boys in burning the houses of lone women, nor particularly admire the calmness of General Lee as he watched thousands writhe in the mud.

He even wondered if, necessarily, it had been such a desirable thing for the Thirteen Colonies to have cut themselves off from Great Britain. Had the United States remained in the British Empire, possibly there would have evolved a confederation that could have enforced World Peace, instead of talking about it. Boys and girls from Western ranches and Southern plantations and Northern maple groves might have added Oxford and York Minster and Devonshire villages to their own domain. Englishmen, and even virtuous Englishwomen, might have learned that persons who lack the accent of a Kentish rectory or of a Yorkshire textile village may yet in many ways be literate; and that astonishing numbers of persons in the world cannot be persuaded that their chief aim in life ought to be to increase British exports on behalf of the stock-holdings of the Better Classes.

It is commonly asserted, Doremus remembered, that without complete political independence the United States could not have developed its own peculiar virtues. Yet it was not apparent to him that America was any more individual than Canada or Australia; that Pittsburgh and Kansas City were to be preferred before Montreal and Melbourne, Sydney and Vancouver.

No questioning of the eventual wisdom of the “radicals” who had first advocated these two American revolutions, Doremus warned himself, should be allowed to give any comfort to that eternal enemy: the conservative manipulators of privilege who damn as “dangerous agitators” any man who menaces their fortunes; who jump in their chairs at the sting of a gnat like Debs, and blandly swallow a camel like Windrip.

Between the rabel-rousers, chiefly to be detected by desire for their own personal power and notoriety, and the un-self-seeking fighters against tyranny, between William Walker or Danton, and John Howard or William Lloyd Garrison, Doremus saw, there was the difference between a noisy gang of thieves and an honest man noisily defending himself against thieves. He had been brought up to revere the Abolitionists: Lovejoy, Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Harriet Beecher Stowe, though his father had considered John Brown insane and a menace, and had thrown sly mud at the marble statues of Henry Ward Beecher, the apostle in the fancy vest. And Doremus could not do otherwise than revere the Abolitionists now, though he wondered a little if Stephen Douglas and Thaddeus Stephens and Lincoln, more cautious and less romantic men, might not have done the job better.

“Is it just possible,” he sighed, “that the most vigorous and boldest idealists have been the worst enemies of human progress instead of its greatest creators? Possible that plain men with the humble trait of minding their own business will rank higher in the heavenly hierarchy than all the plumed souls who have shoved their way in among the masses and insisted on saving them?

-14-

“I joined the Christian, or as some call it, the Campbellite Church as a mere boy, not yet dry behind the ears. But I wished then and I wish now that it were possible for me to belong to the whole glorious brotherhood; to be one in Communion at the same time with the brave Presbyterians that fight the pusillanimous, mendacious, destructive, tom-fool Higher Critics, so-called; and with the Methodists who so strongly oppose war yet in war-time can always be counted upon for Patriotism to the limit; and with the splendidly tolerant Baptists, the earnest Seventh-Day Adventists, and I guess I could even say a kind word for the Unitarians, as that great executive William Howard Taft belonged to them, also his wife.”

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip

Officially, Doremus belonged to the Universalist Church, his wife and children to the Episcopal, a natural American transition. He had been reared to admire Hosea Ballou, the Universalist St. Augustine who, from his tiny parsonage in Barnard, Vermont, had proclaimed his faith that even the wickedest would have, after earthly death, another chance of salvation. But now, Doremus could scarce enter the Fort Beulah Universalist Church. It had too many memories of his father, the pastor, and it was depressing to see how the old-time congregations, in which two hundred thick beards would wag in the grained pine benches every Sunday morning, and their womenfolks and children line up beside the patriarchs, had dwindled to aged widows and farmers and a few schoolteachers.

But in this time of seeking, Doremus did venture there. The church was a squat and gloomy building of granite, not particularly enlivened by the arches of colored slate above the windows, yet as a boy Doremus had thought it and its sawed-off tower the superior of Chartres. He had loved it as in Isaiah College he had loved the Library which, for all its appearance of being a crouching red brick toad, had meant to him freedom for spiritual discovery, still cavern of a reading room where for hours one could forget the world and never be nagged away to supper.

He found, on his one attendance at the Universalist church, a scattering of thirty disciples, being addressed by a “supply,” a theological student from Boston, monotonously shouting his well-meant, frightened, and slightly plagiaristic eloquence in regard to the sickness of Abijah, the son of Jeroboam. Doremus looked at the church walls, painted a hard and glistening green, unornamented, to avoid all the sinful trappings of papistry, while he listened to the preacher’s hesitant droning: “Now, uh, now what so many of us fail to realize is how, uh, how sin, how any sin that we, uh, we ourselves may commit, any sin reflects not on ourselves but on those that we, uh, that we hold near and dear-”

He would have given anything, Doremus yearned, for a sermon which, however irrational, would passionately lift him to renewed courage, which would bathe him in consolation these beleagured months. But with a shock of anger he saw that that was exactly what he had been condemning just a few days ago: the irrational dramatic power of the crusading leader, clerical or political.

Very well then, sadly. He’d just have to get along without the spiritual consolation of the church that he had known in college days.

No, first he’d try the ritual of his friend Mr. Falck, the Padre, Buck Titus sometimes called him.

In the cozy Anglicanism of St. Crispin’s P. E. Church, with its imitation English memorial brasses and imitation Celtic font and brass-eagle reading desk and dusty smelling maroon carpet, Doremus listened to Mr. Falck: “Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power and commandment to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absoiution and Remission of their sins-”

Doremus glanced at the placidly pious façade of his wife, Emma. The lovely, familiar old ritual seemed meaningless to him now, with no more pertinence to a life menaced by Buzz Windrip and his Minute Men, no more comfort for having lost his old deep pride in being an American, than a stage revival of an equally lovely and familiar Elizabethan play. He looked about nervously. However exalted Mr. Falck himself might be, most of the congregation were Yorkshire pudding. The Anglican Church was, to them, not the aspiring humility of Newman nor the humanity of Bishop Brown (both of whom left it!) but the sign and proof of prosperity, an ecclesiastical version of owning a twelve-cylinder Cadillac, or even more, of knowing that one’s grandfather owned his own surrey and a respectable old family horse.

The whole place smelled to Doremus of stale muffins. Mrs. R. C. Crowley was wearing white gloves and on her bust, for a Mrs. Crowley, even in 1936, did not yet have breasts, was a tight bouquet of tuberoses. Francis Tasbrough had a morning coat and striped trousers and on the lilac colored pew cushion beside him was (unique in Fort Beulah) a silk top-hat. And even the wife of Doremus’s bosom, or at least of his breakfast coffee, the good Emma, had a pedantic expression of superior goodness which irritated him.

“Whole outfit stifles me!” he snapped. “Rather be at a yelling, jumping Holy Roller orgy, no, that’s Buzz Windrip’s kind of jungle hysterics. I want a church, if there can possibly be one, that’s advanced beyond the jungle and beyond the chaplains of King Henry the Eighth. I know why, even though she’s painfully conscientious, Lorinda never goes to church.”

Lorinda Pike, on that sleety December afternoon, was darning a tea cloth in the lounge of her Beulah Valley Tavern, five miles up the river from the Fort. It wasn’t, of course, a tavern: it was a super-boarding-house as regards its twelve guest bedrooms, and a slightly too arty tearoom in its dining facilities. Despite his long affection for Lorinda, Doremus was always annoyed by the Singhalese brass finger bowls, the North Carolina table mats, and the Italian ash trays displayed for sale on wabbly card tables in the dining room. But he had to admit that the tea was excellent, the scones light, the Stilton sound, Lorinda’s private rum punches admirable, and that Lorinda herself was intelligent yet adorable, particularly when, as on this gray afternoon, she was bothered neither by other guests nor by the presence of that worm, her partner, Mr. Nipper, whose pleasing notion it was that because he had invested a few thousand in the Tavern he should have none of the work or responsibility and half the profits.

Doremus thrust his way in, patting off the snow, puffing to recover from the shakiness caused by skidding all the way from Fort Beulah. Lorinda nodded carelessly, dropped another stick on the fireplace, and went back to her darning with nothing more intimate than “Hullo. Nasty out.”

“Yuh-fierce.”

But as they sat on either side the hearth their eyes had no need of smiling for a bridge between them.

Lorinda reflected, “Well, my darling, it’s going to be pretty bad. I guess Windrip & Co. will put the woman’s struggle right back in the sixteen-hundreds, with Anne Hutchinson and the Antinomians.”

“Sure. Back to the kitchen.”

“Even if you haven’t got one!”

“Any worse than us men? Notice that Windrip never mentioned free speech and the freedom of the press in his articles of faith? Oh, he’d ‘ve come out for ‘em strong and hearty if he’d even thought of ‘em!”

“That’s so. Tea, darling?”

“No. Linda, damn it, I feel like taking the family and sneaking off to Canada before I get nabbed, right after Buzz’s inauguration.”

“No. You mustn’t. We’ve got to keep all the newspapermen that’ll go on fighting him, and not go sniffling up to the garbage pail. Besides! What would I do without you?” For the first time Lorinda sounded importunate.

“You’ll be a lot less suspect if I’m not around. But I guess you’re right. I can’t go till they put the skids under me. Then I’ll have to vanish. I’m too old to stand jail.”

“Not too old to make love, I hope! That would be hard on a girl!”

“Nobody ever is, except the kind that used to be too young to make love! Anyway, I’ll stay, for a while.”

He had, suddenly, from Lorinda, the resoluteness he had sought in church. He would go on trying to sweep back the ocean, just for his own satisfaction, it meant, however, that his hermitage in the Ivory Tower was closed with slightly ludicrous speed. But he felt strong again, and happy. His brooding was interrupted by Lorinda’s curt:

“How’s Emma taking the political situation?”

“Doesn’t know there is one! Hears me croaking, and she heard Walt Trowbridge’s warning on the radio, last evening, did you listen in?, and she says, ‘Oh my, how dreadful!’ and then forgets all about it and worries about the saucepan that got burnt! She’s lucky! Oh well, she probably calms me down and keeps me from becoming a complete neurote! Probably that’s why I’m so darned everlastingly fond of her. And yet I’m Chump enough to wish you and I were together, uh, recognizedly together, all the time, and could fight together to keep some little light burning in this coming new glacial epoch. I do. All the time. I think that, at this moment, all things considered, I should like to kiss you.”

“Is that so unusual a celebration?”

“Yes. Always. Always it’s the first time again! Look, Linda, do you ever stop to think how curious it is, that with, everything between us, like that night in the hotel at Montreal, we neither one of us seem to feel any guilt, any embarrassment, can sit and gossip like this?”

“No, dear. . . . Darling! . . . It doesn’t seem a bit curious. It was all so natural. So good!”

“And yet we’re reasonably responsible people-”

“Of course. That’s why nobody suspects us, not even Emma. Thank God she doesn’t, Doremus! I wouldn’t hurt her for anything, not even for your kind-hearted favors!”

“Beast!”

“Oh, you might be suspected, all by yourself. It’s known that you sometimes drink likker and play poker and tell ‘hot ones.’ But who’d ever suspect that the local female crank, the suffragist, the pacifist, the anti-censorshipist, the friend of Jane Addams and Mother Bloor, could be a libertine! Highbrows! Bloodless reformers! Oh, and I’ve known so many women agitators, all dressed in Carrie Nation hatchets and modest sheets of statistics, that have been ten times as passionate, intolerably passionate, as any cream-faced plump little Kept Wife in chiffon step-ins!”

For a moment their embracing eyes were not merely friendly and accustomed and careless.

He fretted, “Oh I think of you all the time and want you and yet I think of Emma too, and I don’t even have the fine novelistic egotism of feeling guilty and intolerably caught in complexities. Yes, it does all seem so natural, Dear Linda!”

He stalked restlessly to the casement window, looking back at her every second step. It was dusk now, and the roads smoking. He stared out in attentively, then very attentively indeed.

“That’s curious. Curiouser and curiouser. Standing back behind that big bush, lilac bush I guess it is, across the road, there’s a fellow watching this place. I can see him in the headlights whenever a car comes along. And I think it’s my hired man, Oscar Ledue-Shad.” He started to draw the cheerful red-and-white curtains.

“No! No! Don’t draw them! He’ll get suspicious.”

“That’s right. Funny, his watching there, if it is him. He’s supposed to be at my house right now, looking after the furnace-winters, he only works for me couple of hours a day, works in the sash factory, rest of the time, but he ought to, a little light blackmail, I suppose. Well, he can publish everything he saw today, wherever he wants to!”

“Only what he saw today?”

“Anything! Any day! I’m awfully proud, old dish rag like me, twenty years older than you, to be your lover!”

And he was proud, yet all the while he was remembering the warning in red chalk that he had found on his front porch after the election. Before he had time to become very complicated about it, the door vociferously banged open, and his daughter, Sissy, sailed in.

“Wot-oh, wot-oh, wot-oh! Toodle-oo! Good-morning, Jeeves! Mawnin’, Miss Lindy. How’s all de folks on de ole plantation everywhere I roam? Hello, Dad. No, it isn’t cocktails, least, just one very small cocktail, it’s youthful spirits! My God, but it’s cold! Tea, Linda, my good woman, tea!”

They had tea. A thoroughly domestic circle. “Race you home, Dad,” said Sissy, when they were ready to go. “Yes-no-wait a second! Lorinda: lend me a flashlight.”

As he marched out of the door, marched belligerently across the road, in Doremus seethed all the agitated anger he had been concealing from Sissy. And part hidden behind bushes, leaning on his motorcycle, he did find Shad Ledue. Shad was startled; for once he looked less contemptuously masterful than a Fifth Avenue traffic policeman, as Doremus snapped, “What you doing there?” and he stumbled in answering: “Oh I just, something happened to my motor-bike.”

“So! You ought to be home tending the furnace, Shad.”

“Well, Iguess I got my machine fixed now. I’ll hike along.”

“No. My daughter is to drive me home, so you can put your motorcycle in the back of my car and drive it back.” (Somehow, he had to talk privately to Sissy, though he was not in the least certain what it was he had to say.)

“Her? Rats! Sissy can’t drive for sour apples! Crazy’s a loon!”

“Ledue! Miss Sissy is a highly competent driver. At least she satisfies me, and if you really feel she doesn’t quite satisfy your standard.” “Her driving don’t make a damn bit of difference to me one way or th’ other! G’-night.”

Recrossing the road, Doremus rebuked himself, “That was childish of me. Trying to talk to him like a gent! But how I would enjoy murdering him!”

He informed Sissy, at the door, “Shad happened to come along, motorcycle in bad shape, let him take my Chrysler, I’ll drive with you.”

“Fine! Only six boys have had their hair turn gray, driving with me, this week.”

“And I, I meant to say, I think I’d better do the driving. It’s pretty slippery tonight.”

“Wouldn’t that destroy you! Why, my dear idiot parent, I’m the best driver in-”

“You can’t drive for sour apples! Crazy, that’s all! Get in! I’m driving, d’you hear? Night, Lorinda.”

“All right, dearest Father,” said Sissy with an impishness which reduced his knees to feebleness.

He assured himself, though, that this flip manner of Sissy, characteristic of even the provincial boys and girls who had been nursed on gasoline, was only an imitation of the nicer New York harlots and would not last more than another year or two. Perhaps this rattle, tongued generation needed a Buzz Windrip Revolution and all its pain.

“Beautiful, I know it’s swell to drive carefully, but do you have to emulate the prudent snail?” said Sissy.

“Snails don’t skid.”

“No, they get run over. Rather skid!”

“So your father’s a fossil!”

“Oh, I wouldn’t-”

“Well, maybe he is, at that. There’s advantages. Anyway: I wonder if there isn’t a lot of bunk about Age being so cautious and conservative, and Youth always being so adventurous and bold and original? Look at the young Nazis and how they enjoy beating up the Communists. Look at almost any college class, the students disapproving of the instructor because he’s iconoclastic and ridicules the sacred home-town ideas. Just this afternoon, I was thinking, driving out here-”

“Listen, Dad, do you go to Lindy’s often?”

“Why, why, not especially. Why?”

“Why don’t you, what are you two so scared of? You two wild-haired reformers, you and Lindy belong together. Why don’t you, you know, kind of be lovers?”

“Good God Almighty! Cecilia! I’ve never heard a decent girl talk that way in all my life!”

“Tst! Tst! Haven’t you? Dear, dear! So sorry!”

“Well, my Lord. At least you’ve got to admit that it’s slightly unusual for an apparently loyal daughter to suggest her father’s deceiving her mother! Especially a fine lovely mother like yours!”

“Is it? Well, maybe. Unusual to suggest it, aloud. But I wonder if lots of young females don’t sometimes kind of think it, just the same, when they see the Venerable Parent going stale!”

“Sissy-”

“Hey, watch that telephone pole!”

“Hang it, I didn’t go anywheres near it! Now you look here, Sissy: you simply must not be so froward, or forward, whichever it is; I always get those two words balled up. This is serious business. I’ve never heard of such a preposterous suggestion as Linda, Lorinda and I being lovers. My dear child, you simply can’t be flip about such final things as that!”

“Oh, can’t I! Oh, sorry, Dad. I just mean, about Mother Emma. Course I wouldn’t have anybody hurt her, not even Lindy and you. But, why, bless you, venerable, she’d never even dream of such a thing. You could have your nice pie and she’d never miss one single slice. Mother’s mental grooves aren’t, uh, well, they aren’t so very sex-conditioned, if that’s how you say it, more sort of along the new-vacuum-cleaner complex, if you know what I mean, page Freud! Oh, she’s swell, but not so analytical and-”

“Are those your ethics, then?”

“Huh? Well for cat’s sake, why not? Have a swell time that’Il get you full of beans again and yet not hurt anybody’s feelings? Why, say, that’s the entire second chapter in my book on ethics!”

“Sissy! Have you, by any chance, any vaguest notion of what you’re talking about, or think you’re talking about? Of course, and perhaps we ought to be ashamed of our cowardly negligence, but I, and I don’t suppose your mother, have taught you so very much about ‘sex’ and-”

“Thank heaven! You spared me the dear little flower and its simply shocking affair with that tough tomcat of a tiger lily in the next bed, excuse me, I mean in the next plot. I’m so glad you did. Pete’s sake! I’d certainly hate to blush every time I looked at a garden!”

“Sissy! Child! Please! You mustn’t be so beastly cute! These are all weighty things-”

Penitently: “I know, Dad. I’m sorry. It’s just, if you only knew how wretched I feel when I see you so wretched and so quiet and everything. This horrible Windrip, League of Forgodsakers business has got you down, hasn’t it! If you’re going to fight ‘em, you’ve got to get some pep back into you, you’ve got to take off the lace mitts and put on the brass knuckles, and I got kind of a hunch Lorinda might do that for you, and only her. Heh! Her pretending to be so high-minded! (Remember that old wheeze Buck Titus used to love so, ‘If you’re saving the fallen women, save me one’? Oh, not so good. I guess we’ll take that line right out of the sketch!) But anyway, our Lindy has a pretty moist and hungry eye-”

“Impossible! Impossible! By the way, Sissy! What do you know about all of this? Are you a virgin?”

“Dad! Is that your idea of a question to, Oh, I guess I was asking for it. And the answer is: Yes. So far. But not promising one single thing about the future. Let me tell you right now, if conditions in this country do get as bad as you’ve been claiming they will, and Julian Falck is threatened with having to go to war or go to prison or some rotten thing like that, I’m most certainly not going to let any maidenly modesty interfere between me and him, and you might just as well be prepared for that!”

“It is Julian then, not Malcolm?”

“Oh, I think so. Malcolm gives me a pain in the neck. He’s getting all ready to take his proper place as a colonel or something with Windrip’s wooden soldiers. And I am so fond of Julian! Even if he is the doggonedest, most impractical soul, like his grandfather, or you! He’s a sweet thing. We sat up purring pretty nothings till about two, last night, I guess.”

“Sissy! But you haven’t, Oh, my little girl! Julian is probably decent enough, not a bad sort, but you, You haven’t let Julian take any familiarities with you?”

“Dear quaint old word! As if anything could be so awfully much more familiar than a good, capable, 10,000 h.p. kiss! But darling, just so you won’t worry, no. The few times, late nights, in our sitting room, when I’ve slept with Julian, well, we’ve slept!”

“I’m glad, but, Your apparent, probably only apparent, information on a variety of delicate subjects slightly embarrasses me.”

“Now you listen to me! And this is something you ought to be telling me, not me you, Mr. Jessup! Looks as if this country, and most of the world, I am being serious, now, Dad; plenty serious, God help us all!, it looks as if we’re headed right back into barbarism. It’s war! There’s not going to be much time for coyness and modesty, any more than there is for a base-hospital nurse when they bring in the wounded. Nice young ladies, they’re out! It’s Lorinda and me that you men are going to want to have around, isn’t it, isn’t it, now isn’t it?”

“Maybe-perhaps,” Doremus sighed, depressed at seeing a little more of his familiar world slide from under his feet as the flood rose.

They were coming into the Jessup driveway. Shad Ledue was just leaving the garage.

“Skip in the house, quick, will you!” said Doremus to his girl.

“Sure. But do be careful, hon!” She no longer sounded like his little daughter, to be protected, adorned with pale blue ribbons, slyly laughed at when she tried to show off in grown-up ways. She was suddenly a dependable comrade, like Lorinda.

Doremus slipped resolutely out of his car and said calmly:

“Shad!”

“Yuh?”

“D’you take the car keys into the kitchen?”

“Huh? No. I guess I left ‘em in the car.”

“I’ve told you a hundred times they belong inside.”

“Yuh? Well, how’d you like Miss Cecilia’s driving? Have a good visit with old Mrs. Pike?”

He was derisive now, beyond concealment.

“Ledue, I rather think you’re fired, right now!”

“Well! Just feature that! O.K., Chief! I was just going to tell you that we’re forming a second chapter of the League of Forgotten Men in the Fort, and I’m to be the secretary. They don’t pay much, only about twice what you pay me, pretty tight-fisted but it’ll mean something in politics. Good-night!”

Afterward, Doremus was sorry to remember that, for all his longshoreman clumsiness, Shad had learned a precise script in his red Vermont schoolhouse, and enough mastery of figures so that probably he would be able to keep this rather bogus secretaryship. Too bad!

When, as League secretary, a fortnight later, Shad wrote to him demanding a donation of two hundred dollars to the League, and Doremus refused, the Informer began to lose circulation within twenty-four hours.

-15-

“Usually I’m pretty mild, in fact many of my friends are kind enough to call it ”Folksy,” when I’m writing or speechifying. My ambition is to ”live by the side of the road and be a friend to man.” But I hope that none of the gentlemen who have honored me with their enmity think for one single moment that when I run into a gross enough public evil or a persistent enough detractor, I can’t get up on my hind legs and make a sound like a two-tailed grizzly in April. So right at the start of this account of my ten-year fight with them, as private citizen, State Senator, and U.S. Senator, let me say that the Sangfrey River Light, Power, and Fuel Corporation ARE, and I invite a suit for libel, the meanest, lowest, cowardliest gang of yellow-livered, back-slapping, hypocritical gun-toters, bombthrowers, ballot-stealers, ledger-fakers, givers of bribes, suborners of perjury, scab-hirers, and general lowdown crooks, liars, and swindlers that ever tried to do an honest servant of the People out of an election, not but what I have always succeeded in licking them, so that my indignation at these homicidal kleptomaniacs is not personal but entirely on behalf of the general public.”

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip

On Wednesday, January 6, 1937, just a fortnight before his inauguration, President-Elect Windrip announced his appointments of cabinet members and of diplomats.

Secretary of State: his former secretary and pressagent, Lee Sarason, who also took the position of High Marshal, or Commander-in-Chief, of the Minute Men, which organization was to be established permanently, as an innocent marching club.

Secretary of the Treasury: one Webster R. Skittle, president of the prosperous Fur & Hide National Bank of St. Louis, Mr. Skittle had once been indicted on a charge of defrauding the government on his income tax, but he had been acquitted, more or less, and during the campaign, he was said to have taken a convincing way of showing his faith in Buzz Windrip as the Savior of the Forgotten Men.

Secretary of War: Colonel Osceola Luthorne, formerly editor of the Topeka (Kans.) Argus, and the Fancy Goods and Novelties Gazette; more recently high in real estate. His title came from his position on the honorary staff of the Governor of Tennessee. He had long been a friend and fellow campaigner of Windrip.

It was a universal regret that Bishop Paul Peter Prang should have refused the appointment as Secretary of War, with a letter in which he called Windrip “My dear Friend and Collaborator” and asserted that he had actually meant it when he had said he desired no office. Later, it was a similar regret when Father Coughlin refused the Ambassadorship to Mexico, with no letter at all but only a telegram cryptically stating, “Just six months too late.”

A new cabinet position, that of Secretary of Education and Public Relations, was created. Not for months would Congress investigate the legality of such a creation, but meantime the new post was brilliantly held by Hector Macgoblin, MD, Ph.D., Hon. Litt.D.

Senator Porkwood graced the position of Attorney General, and all the other offices were acceptably filled by men who, though they had roundly supported Windrip’s almost socialistic projects for the distribution of excessive fortunes, were yet known to be thoroughly sensible men, and no fanatics.

It was said, though Doremus Jessup could never prove it, that Windrip learned from Lee Sarason the Spanish custom of getting rid of embarrassing friends and enemies by appointing them to posts abroad, preferably quite far abroad. Anyway, as Ambassador to Brazil, Windrip appointed Herbert Hoover, who not very enthusiastically accepted; as Ambassador to Germany, Senator Borah; as Governor of the Philippines, Senator Robert La Follette, who refused; and as Ambassadors to the Court of St. James’s, France, and Russia, none other than Upton Sinclair, Milo Reno, and Senator Bilbo of Mississippi.

These three had a fine time. Mr. Sinclair pleased the British by taking so friendly an interest in their politics that he openly campaigned for the Independent Labor Party and issued a lively brochure called “I, Upton Sinclair, Prove That Prime Minister Walter Elliot, Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, and First Lord of the Admiralty Nancy Astor Are All Liars and Have Refused to Accept My Freely Offered Advice.” Mr. Sinclair also aroused considerable interest in British domestic circles by advocating an act of Parliament forbidding the wearing of evening clothes and all hunting of foxes except with shotguns; and on the occasion of his official reception at Buckingham Palace, he warmly invited King George and Queen Mary to come and live in California.

Mr. Milo Reno, insurance salesman and former president of the National Farm Holiday Association, whom all the French royalists compared to his great predecessor, Benjamin Franklin, for forthrightness, became the greatest social favorite in the international circles of Paris, the Basses-Pyrénées, and the Riviera, and was once photographed playing tennis at Antibes with the Due de Tropez, Lord Rothermere, and Dr. Rudolph Hess.

Senator Bilbo had, possibly, the best time of all.

Stalin asked his advice, as based on his ripe experience in the Gleichshaltung of Mississippi, about the cultural organization of the somewhat backward natives of Tadjikistan, and so valuable did it prove that Excellency Bilbo was invited to review the Moscow military celebration, the following November seventh, in the same stand with the very highest class of representatives of the classless state. It was a triumph for His Excellency. Generalissimo Voroshilov fainted after 200,000 Soviet troops, 7000 tanks, and 9000 aeroplanes had passed by; Stalin had to be carried home after reviewing 317,000; but Ambassador Bilbo was there in the stand when the very last of the 626,000 soldiers had gone by, all of them saluting him under the quite erroneous impression that he was the Chinese Ambassador; and he was still tirelessly returning their salutes, fourteen to the minute, and softly singing with them the “International.”

He was less of a hit later, however, when to the unsmiling Anglo-American Association of Exiles to Soviet Russia from Imperialism, he sang to the tune of the “international” what he regarded as amusing private words of his own:

”Arise, ye prisoners of starvation,

From Russia make your getaway.

They all are rich in Bilbo’s nation. God bless the LI. 8. A.!”

Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch, after her spirited campaign for Mr. Windrip, was publicly angry that she was offered no position higher than a post in the customs office in Nome, Alaska, though this was offered to her very urgently indeed. She had demanded that there be created, especially for her, the cabinet position of Secretaryess of Domestic Science, Child Welfare, and AntiVice. She threatened to turn Jeffersonian, Republican, or Communistic, but in April she was heard of in Hollywood, writing the scenario for a giant picture to be called, They Did It in Greece.

As an insult and boy-from-home joke, the President Elect appointed Franklin D. Roosevelt minister to Liberia. Mr. Roosevelt’s opponents laughed very much, and opposition newspapers did cartoons of him sitting unhappily in a grass hut with a sign on which “NRA.” had been crossed out and “USA.” substituted. But Mr. Roosevelt declined with so amiable a smile that the joke seemed rather to have slipped.

The followers of President Windrip trumpeted that it was significant that he should be the first president inaugurated not on March fourth, but on January twentieth, according to the provision of the new Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution. It was a sign straight from Heaven (though, actually, Heaven had not been the author of the amendment, but Senator George W. Norris of Nebraska), and proved that Windrip was starting a new paradise on earth.

The inauguration was turbulent. President Roosevelt declined to be present, he politely suggested that he was about half ill unto death, but that same noon he was seen in a New York shop, buying books on gardening and looking abnormally cheerful.

More than a thousand reporters, photographers, and radio men covered the inauguration. Twenty-seven constituents of Senator Porkwood, of all sexes, had to sleep on the floor of the Senator’s office, and a hall-bedroom in the suburb of Bladensburg rented for thirty dollars for two nights. The presidents of Brazil, the Argentine, and Chile flew to the inauguration in a Pan-American aeroplane, and Japan sent seven hundred students on a special train from Seattle.

A motor company in Detroit had presented to Windrip a limousine with armor plate, bulletproof glass, a hidden nickel-steel safe for papers, a concealed private bar, and upholstery made from the Troissant tapestries of 1670. But Buzz chose to drive from his home to the Capitol in his old Hupmobile sedan, and his driver was a youngster from his home town whose notion of a uniform for state occasions was a blue-serge suit, red tie, and derby hat.

Windrip himself did wear a topper, but he saw to it that Lee Sarason saw to it that the one hundred and thirty million plain citizens learned, by radio, even while the inaugural parade was going on, that he had borrowed the topper for this one sole occasion from a New York Republican Representative who had ancestors.

But following Windrip was an un-Jacksonian escort of soldiers: the American Legion and, immensely grander than the others, the Minute Men, wearing trench helmets of polished silver and led by Colonel Dewey Haik in scarlet tunic and yellow riding-breeches and helmet with golden plumes.

Solemnly, for once looking a little awed, a little like a small-town boy on Broadway, Windrip took the oath, administered by the Chief Justice (who disliked him very much indeed) and, edging even closer to the microphone, squawked, “My fellow citizens, as the President of the United States of America, I want to inform you that the real New Deal has started right this minute, and we’re all going to enjoy the manifold liberties to which our history entitles us, and have a whale of a good time doing it! I thank you!”

That was his first act as President. His second was to take up residence in the White House, where he sat down in the East Room in his stocking feet and shouted at Lee Sarason, “This is what I’ve been planning to do now for six years! I bet this is what Lincoln used to do! Now let ‘em assassinate me!”

His third, in his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, was to order that the Minute Men be recognized as an unpaid but official auxiliary of the Regular Army, subject only to their own officers, to Buzz, and to High Marshal Sarason; and that rifles, bayonets, automatic pistols, and machine guns be instantly issued to them by government arsenals. That was at 4 PM. Since 3 PM, all over the country, bands of M.M.’s had been sitting gloating over pistols and guns, twitching with desire to seize them.

Fourth coup was a special message, next morning, to Congress (in session since January fourth, the third having been a Sunday), demanding the instant passage of a bill embodying Point Fifteen of his election platform, that he should have complete control of legislation and execution, and the Supreme Court be rendered incapable of blocking anything that it might amuse him to do.

By Joint Resolution, with less than half an hour of debate, both houses of Congress rejected that demand before 3 PM, on January twenty-first. Before six, the President had proclaimed that a state of martial law existed during the “present crisis,” and more than a hundred Congressmen had been arrested by Minute Men, on direct orders from the President. The Congressmen who were hotheaded enough to resist were cynically charged with “inciting to riot”; they who went quietly were not charged at all. It was blandly explained to the agitated press by Lee Sarason that these latter quiet lads had been so threatened by “irresponsible and seditious elements” that they were merely being safeguarded. Sarason did not use the phrase “protective arrest,” which might have suggested things.

To the veteran reporters it was strange to see the titular Secretary of State, theoretically a person of such dignity and consequence that he could deal with the representatives of foreign powers, acting as press-agent and yes-man for even the President.

There were riots, instantly, all over Washington, all over America.

The recalcitrant Congressmen had been penned in the District Jail. Toward it, in the winter evening, marched a mob that was noisily mutinous toward the Windrip for whom so many of them had voted. Among the mob buzzed hundreds of Negroes, armed with knives and old pistols, for one of the kidnaped Congressmen was a Negro from Georgia, the first colored Georgian to hold high office since carpetbagger days.

Surrounding the jail, behind machine guns, the rebels found a few Regulars, many police, and a horde of Minute Men, but at these last they jeered, calling them “Minnie Mouses” and “tin soldiers” and “mama’s boys.” The M.M.’s looked nervously at their officers and at the Regulars who were making so professional a pretense of not being scared. The mob heaved bottles and dead fish. Half-a-dozen policemen with guns and night sticks, trying to push back the van of the mob, were buried under a human surf and came up grotesquely battered and ununiformed, those who ever did come up again. There were two shots; and one Minute Man slumped to the jail steps, another stood ludicrously holding a wrist that spurted blood.

The Minute Men, why, they said to themselves, they’d never meant to be soldiers anyway, just wanted to have some fun marching! They began to sneak into the edges of the mob, hiding their uniform caps. That instant, from a powerful loudspeaker in a lower window of the jail brayed the voice of President Berzelius Windrip:

“I am addressing my own boys, the Minute Men, everywhere in America! To you and you only I look for help to make America a proud, rich land again. You have been scorned. They thought you were the ‘lower classes.’ They wouldn’t give you jobs. They told you to sneak off like bums and get relief. They ordered you into lousy C.C.C. camps. They said you were no good, because you were poor. I tell you that you are, ever since yesterday noon, the highest lords of the land, the aristocracy, the makers of the new America of freedom and justice. Boys! I need you! Help me, help me to help you! Stand fast! Anybody tries to block you, give the swine the point of your bayonet!”

A machine-gunner M.M., who had listened reverently, let loose. The mob began to drop, and into the backs of the wounded as they went staggering away the MM. infantry, running, poked their bayonets. Such a juicy squash it made, and the fugitives looked so amazed, so funny, as they tumbled in grotesque heaps!

The M.M.’s hadn’t, in dreary hours of bayonet drill, known this would be such sport. They’d have more of it now, and hadn’t the President of the United States himself told each of them, personally, that he needed their aid?

When the remnants of Congress ventured to the Capitol, they found it seeded with M.M.’s, while a regiment of Regulars, under Major General Meinecke, paraded the grounds.

The Speaker of the House, and the Hon. Mr. Perley Beecroft, Vice-President of the United States and Presiding Officer of the Senate, had the power to declare that quorums were present. (If a lot of members chose to dally in the district jail, enjoying themselves instead of attending Congress, whose fault was that?) Both houses passed a resolution declaring Point Fifteen temporarily in effect, during the “crisis”, the legality of the passage was doubtful, but just who was to contest it, even though the members of the Supreme Court had not been placed under protective arrest . . . merely confined each to his own house by a squad of Minute Men!

Bishop Paul Peter Prang had (his friends said afterward) been dismayed by Windrip’s stroke of state. Surely, he complained, Mr. Windrip hadn’t quite remembered to include Christian Amity in the program he had taken from the League of Forgotten Men. Though Mr. Prang had contentedly given up broadcasting ever since the victory of Justice and Fraternity in the person of BerzeIius Windrip, he wanted to caution the public again, but when he telephoned to his familiar station, WLFM in Chicago, the manager informed him that “just temporarily, all access to the air was forbidden,” except as it was especially licensed by the offices of Lee Sarason. (Oh, that was only one of sixteen jobs that Lee and his six hundred new assistants had taken on in the past week.)

Rather timorously, Bishop Prang motored from his home in Persepolis, Indiana, to the Indianapolis airport and took a night plane for Washington, to reprove, perhaps even playfully to spank, his naughty disciple, Buzz.

He had little trouble in being admitted to see the President. In fact, he was, the press feverishly reported, at the White House for six hours, though whether he was with the President all that time they could not discover. At three in the afternoon Prang was seen to leave by a private entrance to the executive offices and take a taxi. They noted that he was pale and staggering.

In front of his hotel he was elbowed by a mob who in curiously unmenacing and mechanical tones yelped, “Lynch um-downutha enemies Windrip!” A dozen M.M.’s pierced the crowd and surrounded the Bishop. The Ensign commanding them bellowed to the crowd, so that all might hear, “You cowards leave the Bishop alone! Bishop, come with us, and we’ll see you’re safe!”

Millions heard on their radios that evening the official announcement that, to ward off mysterious plotters, probably Bolsheviks, Bishop Prang had been safely shielded in the district jail. And with it a personal statement from President Windrip that he was filled with joy at having been able to “rescue from the foul agitators my friend and mentor, Bishop P. P. Prang, than whom there is no man living who I so admire and respect.”

There was, as yet, no absolute censorship of the press; only a confused imprisonment of journalists who offended the government or local officers of the M.M.’s; and the papers chronically opposed to Windrip carried by no means flattering hints that Bishop Prang had rebuked the President and been plain jailed, with no nonsense about a “rescue.” These mutters reached Persepolis.

Not all the Persepolitans ached with love for the Bishop or considered him a modern St. Francis gathering up the little fowls of the fields in his handsome LaSalle car. There were neighbors who hinted that he was a windowpeeping snooper after bootleggers and obliging grass widows. But proud of him, their best advertisement, they certainly were, and the Persepolis Chamber of Commerce had caused to be erected at the Eastern gateway to Main Street the sign: “Home of Bishop Prang, Radio’s Greatest Star.”

So as one man Persepolis telegraphed to Washington, demanding Prang’s release, but a messenger in the Executive Offices who was a Persepolis boy (he was, it is true, a colored man, but suddenly he became a favorite son, lovingly remembered by old schoolmates) tipped off the Mayor that the telegrams were among the hundredweight of messages that were daily hauled away from the White House unanswered.

Then a quarter of the citizenry of Persepolis mounted a special train to “march” on Washington. It was one of those small incidents which the opposition press could use as a bomb under Windrip, and the train was accompanied by a score of high-ranking reporters from Chicago and, later, from Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and New York.

While the train was on its way, and it was curious what delays and sidetrackings it encountered, a company of Minute Men at Logansport, Indiana, rebelled against having to arrest a group of Catholic nuns who were accused of having taught treasonably. High Marshal Sarason felt that there must be a Lesson, early and impressive. A battalion of M.M.’s, sent from Chicago in fast trucks, arrested the mutinous company, and shot every third man.

When the Persepolitans reached Washington, they were tearfully informed, by a brigadier of M.M.’s who met them at the Union Station, that poor Bishop Prang had been so shocked by the treason of his fellow Indianans that he had gone melancholy mad and they had tragically been compelled to shut him up in St. Elizabeth’s government insane asylum.

No one willing to carry news about him ever saw Bishop Prang again.

The Brigadier brought greetings to the Persepolitans from the President himself, and an invitation to stay at the Willard, at government expense. Only a dozen accepted; the rest took the first train back, not amiably; and from then on there was one town in America in which no M.M. ever dared to appear in his ducky forage cap and dark-blue tunic.

The Chief of Staff of the Regular Army had been deposed; in his place was Major General Emmanuel Coon. Doremus and his like were disappointed by General Coon’s acceptance, for they had always been informed, even by the Nation, that Emmanuel Coon, though a professional army officer who did enjoy a fight, preferred that that fight be on the side of the Lord; that he was generous, literate, just, and a man of honor, and honor was the one quality that Buzz Windrip wasn’t even expected to understand. Rumor said that Coon (as “Nordic” a Kentuckian as ever existed, a descendant of men who had fought beside Kit Carson and Commodore Perry) was particularly impatient with the puerility of anti-Semitism, and that nothing so pleased him as, when he heard new acquaintances being superior about the Jews, to snarl, “Did you by any chance happen to notice that my name is Emmanuel Coon and that Coon might be a corruption of some name rather familiar on the East Side of New York?”

“Oh well, I suppose even General Coon feels, ‘Orders are Orders,” sighed Doremus.

President Windrip’s first extended proclamation to the country was a pretty piece of literature and of tenderness. He explained that powerful and secret enemies of American principles, one rather gathered that they were a combination of Wall Street and Soviet Russia, upon discovering, to their fury, that he, Berzelius, was going to be President, had planned their last charge. Everything would be tranquil in a few months, but meantime there was a Crisis, during which the country must “bear with him.”

He recalled the military dictatorship of Lincoln and Stanton during the Civil War, when civilian suspects were arrested without warrant. He hinted how delightful everything was going to be, right away now, just a moment, just a moment’s patience, when he had things in hand; and he wound up with a comparison of the Crisis to the urgency of a fireman rescuing a pretty girl from a “conflagration,” and carrying her down a ladder, for her own sake, whether she liked it or not, and no matter how appealingly she might kick her pretty ankles. The whole country laughed. “Great card, that Buzz, but mighty competent guy,” said the electorate. “I should worry whether Bish Prang or any other nut is in the boobyhatch, long as I get my five thousand bucks a year, like Windrip promised,” said Shad Ledue to Charley Betts, the furniture man.

It had all happened within the eight days following Windrip’s inauguration.

-16-

To follow in part 5

The Longing, What does it mean to become aware of a profound spiritual yearning? – Betty Luceigh PhD.

I have felt The Longing beckon me, have searched for its source, and have wept to touch it, but still it remains elusive.
The word Longing first touched my heart because that is where The Longing is most intense in my single human form.
The Longing likewise guides the evolution of the collective heart in which all life participates.
I will continue to explore this deep Longing within myself in the belief that it inspires a perspective more creative than I can now realize.

Psychology Today

Lost Connections. Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions – Johann Hari.

“Even when the tears didn’t come, I had an almost constant anxious monologue thrumming through my mind. Then I would chide myself: It’s all in your head. Get over it. Stop being so weak.”

As she was speaking, I started to experience something strange. Her voice seemed to be coming from very far away, and the room appeared to be moving around me uncontrollably. Then, quite unexpectedly, I started to explode, all over her hut, like a bomb of vomit and faeces. When, some time later, I became aware of my surroundings again, the old woman was looking at me with what seemed to be sad eyes. “This boy needs to go to a hospital,” she said. “He is very sick.

Although I couldn’t understand why, all through the time I was working on this book, I kept thinking of something that doctor said to me that day, during my unglamorous hour of poisoning.

“You need your nausea. It is a message. It will tell us what is wrong with you.”

It only became clear to me why in a very different place, thousands of miles away, at the end of my journey into what really causes depression and anxiety, and how we can find our way back.
.
In every book about depression or severe anxiety by someone who has been through it, there is a long stretch of pain-porn in which the author describes, in ever more heightened language, the depth of the distress they felt. We needed that once, when other people didn’t know what depression or severe anxiety felt like. Thanks to the people who have been breaking this taboo for decades now, I don’t have to write that book all over again. That is not what I am going to write about here. Take it from me, though: it hurts.

Prologue: The Apple

One evening in the spring of 2014, I was walking down a small side street in central Hanoi when, on a stall by the side of the road, I saw an apple. It was freakishly large and red and inviting. I’m terrible at haggling, so I paid three dollars for this single piece of fruit, and carried it into my room in the Very Charming Hanoi Hotel. Like any good foreigner who’s read his health warnings, I washed the apple diligently with bottled water, but as I bit into it, I felt a bitter, chemical taste fill my mouth. It was the flavor I imagined, back when I was a kid, that all food was going to have after a nuclear war. I knew I should stop, but I was too tired to go out for any other food, so I ate half, and then set it aside, repelled.

Two hours later, the stomach pains began. For two days, I sat in my room as it began to spin around me faster and faster, but I wasn’t worried: I had been through food poisoning before. I knew the script. You just have to drink water and let it pass through you.

On the third day, I realized my time in Vietnam was slipping away in this sickness-blur. I was there to track down some survivors of the war for another book project I’m working on, so I called my translator, Dang Hoang Linh, and told him we should drive deep into the countryside in the south as we had planned all along. As we traveled around, a trashed hamlet here, an Agent Orange victim there, I was starting to feel steadier on my feet.

The next morning, he took me to the hut of a tiny eighty-seven-year-old woman. Her lips were dyed bright red from the herb she was chewing, and she pulled herself toward me across the floor on a wooden plank that somebody had managed to attach some wheels to. Throughout the war, she explained, she had spent nine years wandering from bomb to bomb, trying to keep her kids alive. They were the only survivors from her village.

As she was speaking, I started to experience something strange. Her voice seemed to be coming from very far away, and the room appeared to be moving around me uncontrollably. Then-quite unexpectedly, I started to explode, all over her hut, like a bomb of vomit and faeces. When, some time later, I became aware of my surroundings again, the old woman was looking at me with what seemed to be sad eyes. “This boy needs to go to a hospital,” she said. “He is very sick.”

No, no, I insisted. I had lived in East London on a staple diet of fried chicken for years, so this wasn’t my first time at the E.coli rodeo. I told Dang to drive me back to Hanoi so I could recover in my hotel room in front of CNN and the contents of my own stomach for a few more days.

“No,” the old woman said firmly. “The hospital.”

“Look, Johann,” Dang said to me, “this is the only person, with her kids, who survived nine years of American bombs in her village. I am going to listen to her health advice over yours.” He dragged me into his car, and I heaved and convulsed all the way to a sparse building that I learned later had been built by the Soviets decades before. I was the first foreigner ever to be treated there. From inside, a group of nurses, half excited, half baffled, rushed to me and carried me to a table, where they immediately started shouting. Dang was yelling back at the nurses, and they were shrieking now, in a language that had no words I could recognize. I noticed then that they had put something tight around my arm.

I also noticed that in the corner, there was a little girl with her nose in plaster, alone. She looked at me. I looked back. We were the only patients in the room.

As soon as they got the results of my blood pressure, dangerously low, the nurse said, as Dang translated, they started jabbing needles into me. Later, Dang told me that he had falsely said that I was a Very Important Person from the West, and that if I died there, it would be a source of shame for the people of Vietnam. This went on for ten minutes, as my arm got heavy with tubes and track marks. Then they started to shout questions at me about my symptoms through Dang. It was a seemingly endless list about the nature of my pain.

As all this was unfolding, I felt strangely split. Part of me was consumed with nausea, everything was spinning so fast, and I kept thinking: stop moving, stop moving, stop moving. But another part of me, below or beneath or beyond this, was conducting a quite rational little monologue. Oh. You are close to death. Felled by a poisoned apple. You are like Eve, or Snow White, or Alan Turing.

Then I thought, is your last thought really going to be that pretentious?

Then I thought, if eating half an apple did this to you, what do these chemicals do to the farmers who work in the fields with them day in, day out, for years? That’d be a good story, some day.

Then I thought, you shouldn’t be thinking like this if you are on the brink of death. You should be thinking of profound moments in your life. You should be having flashbacks. When have you been truly happy? I pictured myself as a small boy, lying on the bed in our old house with my grandmother, cuddling up to her and watching the British soap opera Coronation Street. I pictured myself years later when I was looking after my little nephew, and he woke me up at seven in the morning and lay next to me on the bed and asked me long and serious questions about life. I pictured myself lying on another bed, when I was seventeen, with the first person I ever fell in love with. It wasn’t a sexual memory, just lying there, being held.

Wait, I thought. Have you only ever been happy lying in bed? What does this reveal about you? Then this internal monologue was eclipsed by a heave. I begged the doctors to give me something that would switch off this extreme nausea. Dang talked animatedly with the doctors. Then he told me finally: “The doctor says you need your nausea. It is a message, and we must listen to the message. It will tell us what is wrong with you.”

And with that, I began to vomit again.

Many hours later, a doctor, a man in his forties came into my field of vision and said: “We have learned that your kidneys have stopped working. You are extremely dehydrated. Because of the vomiting and diarrhea, you have not absorbed any water for a very long time, so you are like a man who has been wandering in the desert for days.” Dang interjected: “He says if we had driven you back to Hanoi, you would have died on the journey.”

The doctor told me to list everything I had eaten for three days. It was a short list. An apple. He looked at me quizzically. “Was it a clean apple?” Yes, I said, I washed it in bottled water. Everybody burst out laughing, as if I had served up a killer Chris Rock punch line. it turns out that you can’t just wash an apple in Vietnam. They are covered in pesticides so they can stand for months without rotting. You need to cut off the peel entirely, or this can happen to you.

Although I couldn’t understand why, all through the time I was working on this book, I kept thinking of something that doctor said to me that day, during my unglamorous hour of poisoning.

“You need your nausea. It is a message. It will tell us what is wrong with you.”

It only became clear to me why in a very different place, thousands of miles away, at the end of my journey into what really causes depression and anxiety, and how we can find our way back.

“When I flushed away my final packs of Paxil, I found these mysteries waiting for me, like children on a train platform, waiting to be collected, trying to catch my eye. Why was I still depressed? Why were there so many people like me?”

Introduction: A Mystery

I was eighteen years old when I swallowed my first antidepressant. I was standing in the weak English sunshine, outside a pharmacy in a shopping center in London. The tablet was white and small, and as I swallowed, it felt like a chemical kiss.

That morning I had gone to see my doctor. I struggled, I explained to him, to remember a day when I hadn’t felt a long crying jag judder its way out of me. Ever since I was a small child, at school, at college, at home, with friends, I would often have to absent myself, shut myself away, and cry. They were not a few tears. They were proper sobs. And even when the tears didn’t come, I had an almost constant anxious monologue thrumming through my mind. Then I would chide myself: It’s all in your head. Get over it. Stop being so weak.

I was embarrassed to say it then; I am embarrassed to type it now.

In every book about depression or severe anxiety by someone who has been through it, there is a long stretch of pain-porn in which the author describes, in ever more heightened language, the depth of the distress they felt. We needed that once, when other people didn’t know what depression or severe anxiety felt like. Thanks to the people who have been breaking this taboo for decades now, I don’t have to write that book all over again. That is not what I am going to write about here. Take it from me, though: it hurts.

A month before I walked into that doctor’s office, I found myself on a beach in Barcelona, crying as the waves washed into me, when, quite suddenly, the explanation, for why this was happening, and how to find my way back, came to me. I was in the middle of traveling across Europe with a friend, in the summer before I became the first person in my family to go to a fancy university. We had bought cheap student rail passes, which meant for a month we could travel on any train in Europe for free, staying in youth hostels along the way. I had visions of yellow beaches and high culture, the Louvre, a spliff, hot Italians. But just before we left, I had been rejected by the first person I had ever really been in love with, and I felt emotion leaking out of me, even more than usual, like an embarrassing smell.

The trip did not go as I planned. I burst into tears on a gondola in Venice. I howled on the Matterhorn. I started to shake in Kafka’s house in Prague.

For me, it was unusual, but not that unusual. I’d had periods in my life like this before, when pain seemed unmanageable and I wanted to excuse myself from the world. But then in Barcelona, when I couldn’t stop crying, my friend said to me, “You realize most people don’t do this, don’t you?”

And then I experienced one of the very few epiphanies of my life. I turned to her and said: “I am depressed! It’s not all in my head! I’m not unhappy, I’m not weak, I’m depressed!”

This will sound odd, but what I experienced at that moment was a happy jolt, like unexpectedly finding a pile of money down the back of your sofa.

There is a term for feeling like this! It is a medical condition, like diabetes or irritable bowel syndrome! I had been hearing this, as a message bouncing through the culture, for years, of course, but now it clicked into place. They meant me! And there is, I suddenly recalled in that moment, a solution to depression: antidepressants. So that’s what I need! As soon as I get home, I will get these tablets, and I will be normal, and all the parts of me that are not depressed will be unshackled. I had always had drives that have nothing to do with depression, to meet people, to learn, to understand the world. They will be set free, I said, and soon.

The next day, we went to the Parc Güell, in the center of Barcelona. It’s a park designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi to be profoundly strange, everything is out of perspective, as if you have stepped into a funhouse mirror. At one point you walk through a tunnel in which everything is at a rippling angle, as though it has been hit by a wave. At another point, dragons rise close to buildings made of ripped iron that almost appears to be in motion. Nothing looks like the world should. As I stumbled around it, I thought, this is what my head is like: misshapen, wrong. And soon it’s going to be fixed.

Like all epiphanies, it seemed to come in a flash, but it had in fact been a long time coming. I knew what depression was. I had seen it play out in soap operas, and had read about it in books. I had heard my own mother talking about depression and anxiety, and seen her swallowing pills for it. And I knew about the cure, because it had been announced by the global media just a few years before. My teenage years coincided with the Age of Prozac the dawn of new drugs that promised, for the first time, to be able to cure depression without crippling side effects. One of the bestselling books of the decade explained that these drugs actually make you “better than well”, they make you stronger and healthier than ordinary people.

I had soaked all this up, without ever really stopping to think about it. There was a lot of talk like that in the late 1990s; it was everywhere. And now I saw, at last that it applied to me.

My doctor, it was clear on the afternoon when I went to see him, had absorbed all this, too. In his little office, he explained patiently to me why I felt this way. There are some people who naturally have depleted levels of a chemical named serotonin in their brains, he said, and this is what causes depression, that weird, persistent, misfiring unhappiness that won’t go away. Fortunately, just in time for my adulthood, there was a new generation of drugs, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), that restore your serotonin to the level of a normal person’s. Depression is a brain disease, he said, and this is the cure. He took out a picture of a brain and talked to me about it.

He was saying that depression was indeed all in my head, but in a very different way. It’s not imaginary. It’s very real, and it’s a brain malfunction.

He didn’t have to push. It was a story I was already sold on. I left within ten minutes with my script for Seroxat (or Paxil, as it’s known in the United States).

It was only years later, in the course of writing this book, that somebody pointed out to me all the questions my doctor didn’t ask that day. Like: Is there any reason you might feel so distressed? What’s been happening in your life? Is there anything hurting you that we might want to change? Even if he had asked, I don’t think I would have been able to answer him. I suspect I would have looked at him blankly. My life, I would have said, was good. Sure, I’d had some problems; but I had no reason to be unhappy, certainly not this unhappy.

In any case, he didn’t ask, and I didn’t wonder why. Over the next thirteen years, doctors kept writing me prescriptions for this drug, and none of them asked either. If they had, I suspect I would have been indignant, and said, If you have a broken brain that can’t generate the right happiness, producing chemicals, what’s the point of asking such questions?

Isn’t it cruel? You don’t ask a dementia patient why they can’t remember where they left their keys. What a stupid thing to ask me. Haven’t you been to medical school?

The doctor had told me it would take two weeks for me to feel the effect of the drugs, but that night, after collecting my prescription, I felt a warm surge running through me, a light thrumming that I was sure consisted of my brain synapses groaning and creaking into the correct configuration. I lay on my bed listening to a worn-out mix tape, and I knew I wasn’t going to be crying again for a long time.

I left for the university a few weeks later. With my new chemical armor, I wasn’t afraid. There, I became an evangelist for antidepressants. Whenever a friend was sad, I would offer them some of my pills to try, and I’d tell them to get some from the doctor. I became convinced that I was not merely nondepressed, but in some better state, I thought of it as “antidepression.” I was, I told myself, unusually resilient and energetic. I could feel some physical side effects from the drug, it was true, I was putting on a lot of weight, and I would find myself sweating unexpectedly. But that was a small price to pay to stop hemorrhaging sadness on the people around me. And-look! I could do anything now.

Within a few months, I started to notice that there were moments of welling sadness that would come back to me unexpectedly. They seemed inexplicable, and manifestly irrational. I returned to my doctor, and we agreed that I needed a higher dose. So my 20 milligrams a day was upped to 30 milligrams a day; my white pills became blue pills.

And so it continued, all through my late teens, and all through my twenties. I would preach the benefits of these drugs; after a while, the sadness would return; so I would be given a higher dose; 30 milligrams became 40; 40 became 50; until finally I was taking two big blue pills a day, at 60 milligrams. Every time, I got fatter; every time, I sweated more; every time, I knew it was a price worth paying.

I explained to anyone who asked that depression is a disease of the brain, and SSRis are the cure. When I became a journalist, I wrote articles in newspapers explaining this patiently to the public. I described the sadness returning to me as a medical process, clearly there was a running down of chemicals in my brain, beyond my control or comprehension. Thank God these drugs are remarkably powerful, I explained, and they work. Look at me. I’m the proof. Every now and then, I would hear a doubt in my head, but I would swiftly dismiss it by swallowing an extra pill or two that day.

I had my story. In fact, I realize now, it came in two parts. The first was about what causes depression: it’s a malfunction in the brain, caused by serotonin deficiency or some other glitch in your mental hardware. The second was about what solves depression: drugs, which repair your brain chemistry.

I liked this story. It made sense to me. It guided me through life.

I only ever heard one other possible explanation for why I might feel this way. It didn’t come from my doctor, but I read it in books and saw it discussed on TV. It said depression and anxiety were carried in your genes. I knew my mother had been depressed and highly anxious before I was born (and after), and that we had these problems in my family running further back than that. They seemed to me to be parallel stories. They both said, it’s something innate, in your flesh.

I started work on this book three years ago because I was puzzled by some mysteries, weird things that I couldn’t explain with the stories I had preached for so long, and that I wanted to find answers to.

Here’s the first mystery. One day, years after I started taking these drugs, I was sitting in my therapist’s office talking about how grateful I was that antidepressants exist and were making me better. “That’s strange,” he said. “Because to me, it seems you are still really quite depressed.” I was perplexed. What could he possibly mean? “Well,” he said, “you are emotionally distressed a lot of the time. And it doesn’t sound very different, to me, from how you describe being before you took the drugs.”

I explained to him, patiently, that he didn’t understand: depression is caused by low levels of serotonin, and I was having my serotonin levels boosted. What sort of training do these therapists get, I wondered?

Every now and then, as the years passed, he would gently make this point again. He would point out that my belief that an increased dose of the drugs was solving my problem didn’t seem to match the facts, since I remained down and depressed and anxious a lot of the time. I would recoil, with a mixture of anger and prissy superiority.

“No matter how high a dose I jacked up my antidepressants to, the sadness would always outrun it.”

It was years before I finally heard what he was saying. By the time I was in my early thirties, I had a kind of negative epiphany, the opposite of the one I had that day on a beach in Barcelona so many years before. No matter how high a dose I jacked up my antidepressants to, the sadness would always outrun it. There would be a bubble of apparently chemical relief, and then that sense of prickling unhappiness would return. I would start once again to have strong recurring thoughts that said: life is pointless; everything you’re doing is pointless; this whole thing is a fucking waste of time. It would be a thrum of unending anxiety.

So the first mystery I wanted to understand was: How could I still be depressed when I was taking antidepressants? I was doing everything right, and yet something was still wrong. Why?

“Addictions to legal and illegal drugs are now so widespread that the life expectancy of white men is declining for the first time in the entire peacetime history of the United States.”

A curious thing has happened to my family over the past few decades.

From when I was a little kid, I have memories of bottles of pills laid out on the kitchen table, waiting, with inscrutable white medical labels on them. I’ve written before about the drug addiction in my family, and how one of my earliest memories was of trying to wake up one of my relatives and not being able to. But when I was very young, it wasn’t the banned drugs that were dominant in our lives, it was the ones handed out by doctors: old-style antidepressants and tranquilizers like Valium, the chemical tweaks and alterations that got us through the day.

That’s not the curious thing that happened to us. The curious thing is that as I grew up, Western civilization caught up with my family. When I was small and I stayed with friends, I noticed that nobody in their families swallowed pills with their breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Nobody was sedated or amped up or antidepressed. My family was, I realized, unusual.

And then gradually, as the years passed, I noticed the pills appearing in more and more people’s lives, prescribed, approved, recommended. Today they are all around us. Some one in five US. adults is taking at least one drug for a psychiatric problem; nearly one in four middle-aged women in the United States is taking antidepressants at any given time; around one in ten boys at American high schools is being given a powerful stimulant to make them focus; and addictions to legal and illegal drugs are now so widespread that the life expectancy of white men is declining for the first time in the entire peacetime history of the United States.

These effects have radiated out across the Western world: for example, as you read this, one in three French people is taking a legal psychotropic drug such as an antidepressant, while the UK has almost the highest use in all of Europe. You can’t escape it: when scientists test the water supply of Western countries, they always find it is laced with antidepressants, because so many of us are taking them and excreting them that they simply can’t be filtered out of the water we drink every day. We are literally awash in these drugs.

What once seemed startling has become normal. Without talking about it much, we’ve accepted that a huge number of the people around us are so distressed that they feel they need to take a powerful chemical every day to keep themselves together.

So the second mystery that puzzled me was: Why were so many more people apparently feeling depressed and severely anxious? What changed?

“We’ve accepted that a huge number of the people around us are so distressed that they feel they need to take a powerful chemical every day to keep themselves together.”

Then, when I was thirty-one years old, I found myself chemically naked for the first time in my adult life. For almost a decade, I had been ignoring my therapist’s gentle reminders that I was still depressed despite my drugs. It was only after a crisis in my life, when I felt unequivocally terrible and couldn’t shake it off, that I decided to listen to him. What I had been trying for so long wasn’t, it seemed, working. And so, when I flushed away my final packs of Paxil, I found these mysteries waiting for me, like children on a train platform, waiting to be collected, trying to catch my eye. Why was I still depressed? Why were there so many people like me?

And I realized there was a third mystery, hanging over all of it. Could something other than bad brain chemistry have been causing depression and anxiety in me, and in so many people all around me? If so-what could it be?

Still, I put off looking into it. Once you settle into a story about your pain, you are extremely reluctant to challenge it. It was like a leash I had put on my distress to keep it under some control. I feared that if I messed with the story I had lived with for so long, the pain would be like an unchained animal, and would savage me.

Over a period of several years, I fell into a pattern. I would begin to research these mysteries, by reading scientific papers, and talking to some of the scientists who wrote them, but I always backed away, because what they said made me feel disoriented, and more anxious than I had been at the start. I focused on the work for another book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, instead. It sounds ridiculous to say I found it easier to interview hit men for the Mexican drug cartels than to look into what causes depression and anxiety, but messing with my story about my emotions, what I felt, and why I felt it, seemed more dangerous, to me, than that.

And then, finally, I decided I couldn’t ignore it any longer. So, over a period of three years, I went on a journey of over forty thousand miles. I conducted more than two hundred interviews across the world, with some of the most important social scientists in the world, with people who had been through the depths of depression and anxiety, and with people who had recovered. I ended up in all sorts of places I couldn’t have guessed at in the beginning, an Amish village in Indiana, a Berlin housing project rising up in rebellion, a Brazilian city that had banned advertising, a Baltimore laboratory taking people back through their traumas in a totally unexpected way. What I learned forced me to radically revise my story, about myself, and about the distress spreading like tar over our culture.

“Everything that causes an increase in depression also causes an increase in anxiety, and the other way around. They rise and fall together.”

I want to flag up, right at the start, two things that shape the language I am going to use all through the book. Both were surprising to me.

I was told by my doctor that I was suffering from both depression and acute anxiety. I had believed that those were separate problems, and that is how they were discussed for the thirteen years I received medical care for them. But I noticed something odd as I did my research. Everything that causes an increase in depression also causes an increase in anxiety, and the other way around. They rise and fall together.

It seemed curious, and I began to understand it only when, in Canada, I sat down with Robert Kohlenberg, a professor of psychology. He, too, once thought that depression and anxiety were different things. But as he studied it, for over twenty years now, he discovered, he says, that “the data are indicating they’re not that distinct.” In practice, “the diagnoses, particularly depression and anxiety, overlap.” Sometimes one part is more pronounced than the other, you might have panic attacks this month and be crying a lot the next month. But the idea that they are separate in the way that (say) having pneumonia and having a broken leg are separate isn’t borne out by the evidence. It’s “messy,” he has proved.

Robert’s side of the argument has been prevailing in the scientific debate. In the past few years, the National Institutes of Health, the main body funding medical research in the United States, has stopped funding studies that present depression and anxiety as different diagnoses. “They want something more realistic that corresponds to the way people are in actual clinical practice,” he explains.

I started to see depression and anxiety as like cover versions of the same song by different bands. Depression is a cover version by a downbeat emo band, and anxiety is a cover version by a screaming heavy metal group, but the underlying sheet music is the same. They’re not identical, but they are twinned.

*

from

Lost Connections. Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions

by Johann Hari

get it at Amazon.com

You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide for Grief, Healing, and Hope – Debbie Augenthaler.

“The moments before and the moments right after someone dies are etched in your mind with crystal clarity.”

It’s important to know there is no right way or wrong way; however you grieve is the right way for you.

“Grief is chaotic and messy and hard,” writes Debbie Augenthaler. And yet grief is also an invitation to see the world differently, aware of what we have lost and in appreciation of what remains.

In her new book, You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide for Grief, Healing, and Hope, Augenthaler draws upon her own trauma, losing her husband suddenly and tragically to an aortic aneurysm at only 45 years old, and her clinical experience as a psychotherapist specializing in trauma and grief to offer hope, encouragement, and understanding for those struggling with loss.

Psych Central

You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide for Grief, Healing, and Hope

Debbie Augenthaler

This is the book I wish I’d had after my husband Jim died unexpectedly, in my arms, when I was thirty-six and he was only forty-five. He had been healthy and vibrant, the doctors compared the probability of his death from an aortic aneurysm to being struck by lightning. That lightning strike ended my life as I knew it and began the “baptism by fire” that brought me to my new future.

When Jim died, I was shattered. Yet I continued to work and carry on my professional and personal obligations. As a partner at a financial company and stepmother to Jim’s two small children, I felt as though I was going through the motions of a life that was now foreign to me without Jim by my side. With the constant love and support of family, friends, and my therapist, I survived this devastating loss, though in the beginning I felt like I would not.

Over time, other people who suffered the loss of loved ones turned to me, seeking solace and wanting to know how to survive the pain. My cousin lost her 14-year-old daughter to cancer. My best friend’s husband died of leukemia. And on September 11, 2001, I lost many friends and colleagues. For months following that terrible tragedy, I spent every weekend at funerals and memorial services. Many told me how much I helped them during this time by being present, holding their hands, and empathizing with the devastation they felt. I discovered I could offer comfort to those who are in the midst of pain and grief. All of this led me to change careers and become a psychotherapist specializing in trauma, grief, and loss.

My story of loss is different from your story, yet there are common threads of grief that connect us all. Grief is a natural response to the loss of something or someone. Many of the experiences and feelings from my personal story are similar to the ones I’ve heard repeatedly from my clients and many others who are grieving. I am sharing my story because I know it will help you to know: you are not alone. When you’re grieving, it helps to hear people’s stories and how they coped and survived.

Many of you have heard of the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But grief is not a linear passage from stage to stage. While these stages are helpful terms to describe reactions we may experience, grief doesn’t follow a progression. Grief does not come with a timetable or a rulebook. Friends and family who are worried about you might think you‘re grieving too much, or too long, or not enough because they cannot see inside your pain or inner turmoil. It’s important to know there is no right way or wrong way; however you grieve is the right way for you.

Grief is chaotic and messy and hard. The phases of grief are common denominators in the shared experience of grief. At times you may feel like you‘re in all the phases at once, bouncing from one phase to another in a minute, an hour, or a day. You may feel like you’re progressing and feeling better, and then one small event or memory can tear the thin membrane growing over the wound in your heart and you feel like you’re back at the beginning.

And in the beginning many of us are inconsolable. We’re distraught and nothing can comfort us. When someone we love dies, it makes no sense, they were there and now they are not. We feel ovenrwhelmed, frightened, and unable to cope, much less be comforted.

Especially in the early phases of grief, we don’t believe we’ll ever feel better. We can become childlike in our grief, and it takes time to learn how to cope, to heal, and to hope again. Coping with grief is something that has to be learned and developed; if you’ve never experienced a shattering loss, you have no mental imprint for how to put the pieces back together.

This is a book that speaks to the feelings of grief and offers you tools to cope with inconsolable loss. I will take you into the deep waters of grief and then offer a lifeline to bring you back to shore, to pause and catch your breath. I share my story because when I was newly grieving and traumatized, I wanted to know someone could understand what I was feeling. I couldn’t find a book to speak to the part of me that needed to know someone else had felt this way and had survived. I didn’t want to read clinical books or books that told me how I should be feeling or what I should be doing. I wanted a book that could witness and validate my experience. Before Jim died, I experienced a lot of loss in my life, but nothing prepared me for losing him. The loss was immeasurable. I wanted someone who “got” what was happening to me. I want you to know: I get it.

It took me years to grow from my own losses, and now, coupled with my professional experience and training, I offer healing insights to help guide you through the labyrinth of loss and healing, along with simple suggestions of things to do that can be helpful along the way. I also show how spiritual and metaphysical connections can be forged by loss, revealing the reality that love and spirit never dies.

The distance I have from my grief now gives me a perspective I couldn’t have had when I was newly grieving. If you are feeling hopeless in your grief, I want you to pick up this book and know that I have been where you are; I got through it. I made it, and you will make it too.

There are many gifts that come with loss, including spiritual awakenings and discovering the connected bond of eternal love. We often develop a deeper compassion and an appreciation for the blessings that come from the challenging journey of grief, leading us to healing, transformation, and a new kind of joy.

I have walked this path throughout my life and want to walk with you on yours.

Grief is the price we pay for love. Queen Elizabeth II

Prologue:

The World of Before

Jim was part of my life for almost twelve years. I’ve never been closer to anyone than I was to Jim. We were great friends before we fell in love. He became my best friend, the person I could tell anything to without fear of judgment. He understood me in ways I almost didn’t understand myself. He saw something in me and helped me see it too. He taught me how to trust. To trust in him and to trust in myself. He would tease me, saying, “You’re my diamond in the rough.”

Jim was so funny, always able to make people laugh. I smile while writing this, thinking of all the laughter we shared and that he shared with others. I always knew when he was on the phone with one of his close friends because he would begin to laugh, and then, unable to stop, he’d lean back in the chair, hand over mouth, or lean over holding his stomach, his eyes wet with amused tears. He was kind, generous, and smart. A wonderful father, brother, son, friend, and husband.

We had loved one another for years but had only been married for two and half of them when he died. I insisted on waiting to marry until I received my undergraduate degree, which I finally did when I was thirty-three. I worked full time and carried a full credit load to finish something I didn’t have the opportunity to when I graduated from high school. Jim’s huge emotional support during those six years of school and work deepened our relationship. Our love bloomed.

The most exquisitely beautiful moment in my life was on a glorious late spring day in May of 1994. Standing in the vestibule of St. Mary’s Church, we could see a carefully chosen circle of close friends and family waiting expectantly. The cantor’s beautiful voice filled the church and, with joyful anticipation, I took Jim’s hand to begin to step forward. With a gentle tug, he held me back and turned me to face him. With love and tenderness, trembling with emotion, he said, “I want us to have this moment together. This moment just for us. You are making me the happiest man in the world today. I will always love you and cherish you. Thank you for being you and for becoming my wife.”

That’s the moment we married. The rest was just the icing.

It was very much a mutual relationship, evolving from friendship, to confidantes, to becoming lovers and partners. We each carried wounds from earlier times in our lives. We both needed to learn how to feel safe in love and trust our hearts with each other. I helped save him as he helped save me. When his confidence faltered, I never wavered in believing in him. We supported each other though life’s many trials and challenges. Together we knew how.

We knew our union was meant to be.

SHATTERED

Whatever grief longing for him brings Whatever blood Love mixes in his wine Be grateful; there’s one worse fate Never seeing him once.

Rumi (translated by Andrew Harvey)

1. Those Three Words

“I know we’ll be laughing about this tonight,” Jim says, reassuring me. He kisses me, caresses my cheek with his hand and holds my gaze. Our eyes lock in silent communion as we hold each other close, in this moment, before the world changes.

Jim looks at me intently, as if he wants to tell me something but cannot find the words. I feel his breath on my cheek as he says, “You know how much I love you.”

My heart races up into my throat, pulsing rapidly and making it hard to breathe as a current of unfamiliar energy rushes into the room. “I love you too, so much,” I say. “Please let me call an ambulance,” I plead again. “Please, Jim.”

“No, Deb, I’m really okay,” he insists as we embrace and kiss again.

I didn’t know this would be our last embrace.

I turn toward the closet to get some clothes, my body attuned with his, when he says, “Debbie, I feel so dizzy.”

I spin around to watch him fall backwards onto our bed, right hand on his forehead.

“Stop it, this is not funny, Jim,“ I say as I jump beside him on the bed. I want to pull this moment into all the other moments Jim plays jokes on me. I want to lighten the dense air pressure that has descended upon our room because Jim is always funny and can make anything better. It would be just like him to try and make me laugh and worry less. He’s had a strange sensation in his chest off and on since we woke up. He’s not in any pain and thinks maybe it’s heartburn and feels foolish going to the hospital. We’re only going now because I keep insisting and he won’t let me call an ambulance. It’s why he thinks we’ll be laughing about this tonight. I want him to sit back up and start laughing. I want him to say, “Gotcha!” and then I can be mad at him for scaring me like this.

“Stop it!” I scream, as I straddle him because he hasn’t moved. I grab his head with my hands.

A terrible sound comes from his throat, a loud, garbled gargling, and his eyes have rolled back, and I yell, “Look at me, Jim, stop it!” This cannot be happening. I reach for the phone on the nightstand. Trembling, I dial 911 and feel the receiver shake against the curve of my ear, hear the fear in my high-pitched voice, and the woman on the other end begins telling me what to do.

“Is the front door open?” she asks.

“No, it’s two flights down and I’m not leaving him.”

“You must,” she insists, “The paramedics need to get in.”

“I don’t care!” I scream, “They can break the door down, I won’t leave him!“

*

from

You Are Not Alone. A Heartfelt Guide for Grief, Healing, and Hope

by Debbie Augenthaler

get it at Amazon.com

Tigris and Euphrates, The Fertile Crescent, The two rivers where civilisation began – Rhys Griffiths.

Sigmund Freud dated the origin of civilisation to ‘the first time an angry person cast a word instead of a rock’. Whether that particular incident occurred in the fertile plain surrounding the Euphrates and Tigris rivers is likely to remain unclear, but histories of the world have traditionally seen Mesopotamia – from the Ancient Greek for ‘land between rivers’ and mostly contained in modern Iraq – as the area in which cities, law and agriculture first developed.

Tigris and Euphrates, the two arteries that, with the Nile, created the Fertile Crescent and sustained the ancient cultures, dynasties and empires of Sumer, Ur, Akkad, Babylonia, Assyria and Persia, perhaps watering the Hanging Gardens, possibly originating in Eden, but certainly supporting myriad settlements and peoples whose names were, to some extent, writ in water.

History Today

Novel news: world’s biggest bookworms revealed in study – Naaman Zhou.

Do you have more books than an Estonian teenager? If you live in an English-speaking country, the answer is probably no.

Researchers reveal having more books at home when growing up, even if you don’t necessarily read more, improves educational outcomes.

Adults with university degrees, but who grew up with fewer books, had the same level of literacy as those who left school in year 9, but who had a lot of household books as a teen.

It’s important for young children to see their parents and other people surrounding themselves with books.”

The Guardian

Anatomy of a teenage suicide: Leo’s death will count – Virginia Fallon.

In the past year, 668 people took their own lives in New Zealand: the highest number since records began and the fourth year in a row the number increased.

In 2016, some time after the magnitude 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake rattled the capital, the 18-year-old took his own life.

Stuff.co.nz

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The Collapse Of European Social Democracy, Part 2 – Paul Sweeney.

In the first part of his analysis Paul Sweeney pointed to a variety of causes behind the decline of social democracy over the past 30 years or more. In this second part he looks at wider economic and social trends since the 2008 crisis, including the ever-widening gap between rich and poor and growth in inequality, and concludes that social democrats must revaluate and revalue the role of the (benign) state – not least in defending precious liberties.


Social Democrats embraced conservative parties’ populist appeals for low taxes on incomes, inheritances and, particularly, on corporates profits. Thomas Piketty has shown how far taxes on top incomes and wealth have been reduced over decades from rates over 90 percent on incomes in the USA, Germany, Britain and France in the 1950s to less than half of that today. There was also a pronounced shift to more regressive taxes on consumption. This impacted the poor most – traditional SD supporters. Industrial-scale tax avoidance and evasion enabled by hyper-globalisation went unaddressed.

Social Europe

World in mental health crisis of ‘monumental suffering’, say experts – Sarah Broseley.

“Mental health problems kill more young people than any other cause around the world.” Prof. Vikram Patel, Harvard Medical School
Lancet report says 13.5 million lives could be saved every year if mental illness addressed.

Every country in the world is facing and failing to tackle a mental health crisis, from epidemics of anxiety and depression to conditions caused by violence and trauma, according to a review by experts that estimates the rising cost will hit $16tn (£12tn) by 2030.

A team of 28 global experts assembled by the Lancet medical journal says there is a “collective failure to respond to this global health crisis” which “results in monumental loss of human capabilities and avoidable suffering.”

The burden of mental ill-health is rising everywhere, says the Lancet Commission, in spite of advances in the understanding of the causes and options for treatment. “The quality of mental health services is routinely worse than the quality of those for physical health,” says their report, launched at a global ministerial mental health summit in London.

The Guardian

Towards a New Era for Mental Health

Prabha S Chandra, Prabhat Chand

The new Lancet Commission on global mental health and sustainable development raises important issues at a time when many countries in the Global South are re-examining their national priorities in mental health. With its broad vision, the Commission shows why mental health is a public good that is a crucial part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Commission’s report emphasises the need to take a dimensional approach to mental health problems and their treatment; to allocate resources where they will be most cost-effective; to consider a life-course approach; and to build on existing research that will pave the way for better understanding of the causes, prevention, and treatment of mental health problems.

The Lancet

Part 3. Make America Great Again? Fascism, It Can’t Happen Here. A Warning From The Past – Sinclair Lewis – (Chapters 9-12).

“He would whirl arms, bang tables, glare from mad eyes, vomit Biblical wrath from a gaping mouth; but he would also coo like a nursing mother, beseech like an aching lover, and in between tricks would coldly and almost contemptuously jab his crowds with figures and factsfigures and facts that were inescapable even when, as often happened, they were entirely incorrect.”

It Can’t Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis.

Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and “traditional” values.

After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a pIutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, in the manner of Adolf Hitler and the SS.

The novel’s plot centers on journalist Doremus Jessup’s opposition to the new regime and his subsequent struggle against it as part of a liberal rebellion.

-9-

“Those who have never been on the inside in the Councils of State can never realize that with really high class Statesmen, their chief quality is not political canniness, but a big, rich, overflowing Love for all sorts and conditions of people and for the whole land. That Love and that Patriotism have been my sole guiding principles in Politics. My one ambition is to get all Americans to realize that they are, and must continue to be, the greatest Race on the face of this old Earth, and second, to realize that whatever apparent differences there may be among us, in wealth, knowledge, skill, ancestry or strength, though, of course, all this does not apply to people who are racially different from us, we are all brothers, bound together in the great and wonderful bond of National Unity, for which we should all be very glad. And I think we ought to for this be willing to sacrifice any individual gains at all.”

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

Berzelius Windrip, of whom in late summer and early autumn of 1936 there were so many published photographs, showing him popping into cars and out of aeroplanes, dedicating bridges, eating corn pone and side, meat with Southerners and clam chowder and bran with Northerners, addressing the American Legion, the Liberty League, the Y.M.H.A., the Young People’s Socialist League, the Elks, the Bartenders’ and Waiters’ Union, the Anti-Saloon League, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Afghanistan, showing him kissing lady centenarians and shaking hands with ladies called Madame, but never the opposite, showing him in Savile Row riding, clothes on Long Island and in overalls and a khaki shirt in the Ozarks, this Buzz Windrip was almost a dwarf, yet with an enormous head, a bloodhound head, of huge ears, pendulous cheeks, mournful eyes. He had a luminous, ungrudging smile which (declared the Washington correspondents) he turned on and off deliberately, like an electric light, but which could make his ugliness more attractive than the simpers of any pretty man.

His hair was so coarse and black and straight, and worn so long in the back, that it hinted of Indian blood. In the Senate he preferred clothes that suggested the competent insurance salesman, but when farmer constituents were in Washington he appeared in an historic ten-gallon hat with a mussy gray “cutaway” which somehow you erroneously remembered as a black “Prince Albert.”

In that costume, he looked like a sawed-off museum model of a medicine-show “doctor,” and indeed it was rumored that during one law-school vacation Buzz Windrip had played the banjo and done card tricks and handed down medicine bottles and managed the shell game for no less scientific an expedition than Old Dr. Alagash’s Traveling Laboratory, which specialized in the Choctaw Cancer Cure, the Chinook Consumption Soother, and the Oriental Remedy for Piles and Rheumatism Prepared from a World-old Secret Formula by the Gipsy Princess, Queen Peshawara. The company, ardently assisted by Buzz, killed off quite a number of persons who, but for their confidence in Dr. Alagash’s bottles of water, coloring matter, tobacco juice, and raw corn whisky, might have gone early enough to doctors. But since then, Windrip had redeemed himself, no doubt, by ascending from the vulgar fraud of selling bogus medicine, standing in front of a megaphone, to the dignity of selling bogus economics, standing on an indoor platform under mercury-vapor lights in front of a microphone.

He was in stature but a small man, yet remember that so were Napoleon, Lord Beaverbrook, Stephen A. Douglas, Frederick the Great, and the Dr. Goebbels who is privily known throughout Germany as “Wotan’s Mickey Mouse.”

Doremus Jessup, so inconspicuous an observer, watching Senator Windrip from so humble a Boeotia, could not explain his power of bewitching large audiences. The Senator was vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his “ideas” almost idiotic, while his celebrated piety was that of a traveling salesman for church furniture, and his yet more celebrated humor the sly cynicism of a country store.

Certainly there was nothing exhilarating in the actual words of his speeches, nor anything convincing in his philosophy. His political platforms were only wings of a windmill. Seven years before his present credo, derived from Lee Sarason, Hitler, Gottfried Feder, Rocco, and probably the revue Of Thee I Sing, little Buzz, back home, had advocated nothing more revolutionary than better beef stew in the county poor-farms, and plenty of graft for loyal machine politicians, with jobs for their brothers-in-law, nephews, law partners, and creditors.

Doremus had never heard Windrip during one of his orgasms of oratory, but he had been told by political reporters that under the spell you thought Windrip was Plato, but that on the way home you could not remember anything he had said.

There were two things, they told Doremus, that distinguished this prairie Demosthenes. He was an actor of genius. There was no more overwhelming actor on the stage, in the motion pictures, nor even in the pulpit. He would whirl arms, bang tables, glare from mad eyes, vomit Biblical wrath from a gaping mouth; but he would also coo like a nursing mother, beseech like an aching lover, and in between tricks would coldly and almost contemptuously jab his crowds with figures and factsfigures and facts that were inescapable even when, as often happened, they were entirely incorrect.

But below this surface stagecraft was his uncommon natural ability to be authentically excited by and with his audience, and they by and with him. He could dramatize his assertion that he was neither a Nazi nor a Fascist but a Democrat, a homespun Jeffersonian, Lincolnian, Clevelandian, Wilsonian Democrat, and (sans scenery and costume) make you see him veritably defending the Capitol against barbarian hordes, the while he innocently presented as his own warm-hearted Democratic inventions, every anti-libertarian, anti-Semitic madness of Europe.

Aside from his dramatic glory, Buzz Windrip was a Professional Common Man.

Oh, he was common enough. He had every prejudice and aspiration of every American Common Man. He believed in the desirability and therefore the sanctity of thick buckwheat cakes with adulterated maple syrup, in rubber trays for the ice cubes in his electric refrigerator, in the especial nobility of dogs, all dogs, in the oracles of S. Parkes Cadman, in being chummy with all waitresses at all junction lunch rooms, and in Henry Ford (when he became President, he exulted, maybe he could get Mr. Ford to come to supper at the White House), and the superiority of anyone who possessed a million dollars. He regarded spats, walking sticks, caviar, titles, tea-drinking, poetry not daily syndicated in newspapers and all foreigners, possibly excepting the British, as degenerate.

But he was the Common Man twenty-times-magnified by his oratory, so that while the other Commoners could understand his every purpose, which was exactly the same as their own, they saw him towering among them, and they raised hands to him in worship.

In the greatest of all native American arts (next to the talkies, and those Spirituals in which Negroes express their desire to go to heaven, to St. Louis, or almost any place distant from the romantic old plantations), namely, in the art of Publicity, Lee Sarason was in no way inferior even to such acknowledged masters as Edward Bernays, the late Theodore Roosevelt, Jack Dempsey, and Upton Sinclair.

Sarason had, as it was scientifically called, been “building up” Senator Windrip for seven years before his nomination as President. Where other Senators were encouraged by their secretaries and wives (no potential dictator ought ever to have a visible wife, and none ever has had, except Napoleon) to expand from village backslapping to noble, rotund, Ciceronian gestures, Sarason had encouraged Windrip to keep up in the Great World all of the clownishness which (along with considerable legal shrewdness and the endurance to make ten speeches a day) had endeared him to his simple-hearted constituents in his native state.

Windrip danced a hornpipe before an alarmed academic audience when he got his first honorary degree; he kissed Miss Flandreau at the South Dakota beauty contest; he entertained the Senate, or at least the Senate galleries, with detailed accounts of how to catch catfish, from the bait, digging to the ultimate effects of the jug of corn whisky; he challenged the venerable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to a duel with sling-shots.

Though she was not visible, Windrip did have a wife, Sarason had none, nor was likely to; and Walt Trowbridge was a widower. Buzz’s lady stayed back home, raising spinach and chickens and telling the neighbors that she expected to go to Washington next year, the while Windrip was informing the press that his “Frau” was so edifyingly devoted to their two small children and to Bible study that she simply could not be coaxed to come East.

But when it came to assembling a political machine, Windrip had no need of counsel from Lee Sarason.

Where Buzz was, there were the vultures also. His hotel suite, in the capital city of his home state, in Washington, in New York, or in Kansas City, was like, well, Frank Sullivan once suggested that it resembled the office of a tabloid newspaper upon the impossible occasion of Bishop Cannon’s setting fire to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, kidnaping the Dionne quintuplets, and eloping with Greta Garbo in a stolen tank.

In the “parlor” of any of these suites, Buzz Windrip sat in the middle of the room, a telephone on the floor beside him, and for hours he shrieked at the instrument, “Hello-yuh-speaking,” or at the door, “Come in, come in!” and “Sit down ‘n’ take a load off your feet!” All day, all night till dawn, he would be bellowing, “Tell him he can take his bill and go climb a tree,” or “Why certainly, old man, tickled to death to support it, utility corporations cer’nly been getting a raw deal,” and “You tell the Governor I want Kippy elected sheriff and I want the indictment against him quashed and I want it damn quick!” Usually, squatted there cross legged, he would be wearing a smart belted camel’s-hair coat with an atrocious checked cap.

In a fury, as he was at least every quarter hour, he would leap up, peel off the overcoat (showing either a white boiled shirt and clerical black bow, or a canaryyellow silk shirt with a scarlet tie), fling it on the floor, and put it on again with slow dignity, while he bellowed his anger like Jeremiah cursing Jerusalem, or like a sick cow mourning its kidnaped young.

There came to him stookbrokers, labor leaders, distillers, anti-vivisectionists, vegetarians, disbarred shyster lawyers, missionaries to China, lobbyists for oil and electricity, advocates of war and of war against war. “Gaw! Every guy in the country with a bad case of the gimmes comes to see me!” he growled to Sarason. He promised to further their causes, to get an appointment to West Point for the nephew who had just lost his job in the creamery. He promised fellow politicians to support their bills if they would support his. He gave interviews upon subsistence farming, backless bathing suits, and the secret strategy of the Ethiopian army. He grinned and kneepatted and back-slapped; and few of his visitors, once they had talked with him, failed to look upon him as their Little Father and to support him forever. . . . The few who did fail, most of them newspapermen, disliked the smell of him more than before they had met him. . . . Even they, by the unusual spiritedness and color of their attacks upon him, kept his name alive in every column. . . . By the time he had been a Senator for one year, his machine was as complete and smooth-running, and as hidden away from ordinary passengers, as the engines of a liner.

On the beds in any of his suites there would, at the same time, repose three top-hats, two clerical hats, a green object with a feather, a brown derby, a taxi-driver’s cap, and nine ordinary, Christian brown felts.

Once, within twenty-seven minutes, he talked on the telephone from Chicago to Palo Alto, Washington, Buenos Aires, Wilmette, and Oklahoma City. Once, in half a day, he received sixteen calls from clergymen asking him to condemn the dirty burlesque show, and seven from theatrical promoters and real-estate owners asking him to praise it. He called the clergymen “Doctor” or “Brother” or both; he called the promoters “Buddy” and “Pal”; he gave equally ringing promises to both; and for both he loyally did nothing whatever.

Normally, he would not have thought of cultivating foreign alliances, though he never doubted that some day, as President, he would be leader of the world orchestra. Lee Sarason insisted that Buzz look into a few international fundamentals, such as the relationship of sterling to the lira, the proper way in which to address a baronet, the chances of the Archduke Otto, the London oyster bars and the brothels near the Boulevard de Sebastopol best to recommend to junketing Representatives.

But the actual cultivation of foreign diplomats resident in Washington he left to Sarason, who entertained them on terrapin and canvasback duck with black-currant jelly, in his apartment that was considerably more tapestried than Buzz’s own ostentatiously simple Washington quarters. . . . However, in Sarason’s place, a room with a large silk-hung Empire double bed was reserved for Buzz.

It was Sarason who had persuaded Windrip to let him write Zero Hour, based on Windrip’s own dictated notes, and who had beguiled millions into reading, and even thousands into buying, that Bible of Economic Justice; Sarason who had perceived there was now such a spate of private political weeklies and monthlies that it was a distinction not to publish one; Sarason who had the inspiration for Buzz’s emergency radio address at 3 AM. upon the occasion of the Supreme Court’s throttling the N.R.A., in May, 1935. . . .Though not many adherents, including Buzz himself, were quite certain as to whether he was pleased or disappointed; though not many actually heard the broadcast itself, everyone in the country except sheep-herders and Professor Albert Einstein heard about it and was impressed.

Yet it was Buzz who all by himself thought of first offending the Duke of York by refusing to appear at the Embassy dinner for him in December, 1935, thus gaining, in all farm kitchens and parsonages and barrooms, a splendid reputation for Homespun Democracy; and of later mollifying His Highness by calling on him with a touching little home bouquet of geraniums (from the hothouse of the Japanese ambassador), which endeared him, if not necessarily to Royalty yet certainly to the D.A.R., the English-Speaking Union, and all motherly hearts who thought the pudgy little bunch of geraniums too sweet for anything.

By the newspapermen Buzz was credited with having insisted on the nomination of Perley Beecroft for vicepresident at the Democratic convention, after Doremus Jessup had freneticaiiy ceased listening. Beecroft was a Southern tobacco pianter and storekeeper, an ex-Governor of his state, married to an ex-schoolteacher from Maine who was sufficiently scented with salt spray and potato blossoms to win any Yankee. But it was not his geographical superiority which made Mr. Beecroft the perfect running mate for Buzz Windrip but that he was malaria yellowed and laxly mustached, where Buzz’s horsey face was ruddy and smooth; while Beecroft’s oratory had a vacuity, a profundity of slowly enunciated nonsense, which beguiled such solemn deacons as were irritated by Buzz’s cataract of slang.

Nor could Sarason ever have convinced the wealthy that the more Buzz denounced them and promised to distribute their millions to the poor, the more they could trust his “common sense” and finance his campaign. But with a hint, a grin, a wink, a handshake, Buzz could convince them, and their contributions came in by the hundred thousand, often disguised as assessments on imaginary business partnerships.

It had been the peculiar genius of Berzelius Windrip not to wait until he should be nominated for this office or that to begin shanghaiing his band of buccaneers. He had been coaxing in supporters ever since the day when, at the age of four, he had captivated a neighborhood comrade by giving him an ammonia pistol which later he thriftily stole back from the comrade’s pocket. Buzz might not have learned, perhaps could not have learned, much from sociologists Charles Beard and John Dewey, but they could have learned a great deal from Buzz.

And it was Buzz’s, not Sarason’s, master stroke that, as warmly as he advocated everyone’s getting rich by just voting to be rich, he denounced all “Fascism” and “Naziism,” so that most of the Republicans who were afraid of Democratic Fascism, and all the Democrats who were afraid of Republican Fascism, were ready to vote for him.

-10-

“While I hate befogging my pages with scientific technicalities and even neologies, I feel constrained to say here that the most elementary perusal of the Economy of Abundance would convince any intelligent student that the Cassandras who miscall the much needed increase in the fluidity of our currential circulation ”Inflation,” erroneously basing their parallel upon the inflationary misfortunes of certain European nations in the era 1919-1923, fallaciously and perhaps inexcusably fail to comprehend the different monetary status in America, inherent in our vastly greater reservoir of Natural Resources.”

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

Most of the mortgaged farmers. Most of the white-collar workers who had been unemployed these three years and four and five.

Most of the people on relief rolls who wanted more relief.

Most of the suburbanites who could not meet the installment payments on the electric washing machine.

Such large sections of the American Legion as believed that only Senator Windrip would secure for them, and perhaps increase, the bonus.

Such popular Myrtle Boulevard or Elm Avenue preachers as, spurred by the examples of Bishop Prang and Father Coughlin, believed they could get useful publicity out of supporting a slightly queer program that promised prosperity without anyone’s having to work for it.

The remnants of the Kuklux Klan, and such leaders of the American Federation of Labor as felt they had been inadequately courted and bepromised by the old-line politicians, and the non-unionized common laborers who felt they had been inadequately courted by the same A.F. of L.

Back-street and over-the-garage lawyers who had never yet wangled governmental jobs.

The Lost Legion of the Anti-Saloon League, since it was known that, though he drank a lot, Senator Windrip also praised teetotalism a lot, while his rival, Walt Trowbridge, though he drank but little, said nothing at all in support of the Messiahs of Prohibition. These messiahs had not found professional morality profitable of late, with the Rockefellers and Wanamakers no longer praying with them nor paying.

Besides these necessitous petitioners, a goodish number of burghers who, while they were millionaires, yet maintained that their prosperity had been sorely checked by the fiendishness of the bankers in limiting their credit.

These were the supporters who looked to Berzelius Windrip to play the divine raven and feed them handsomely when he should become President, and from such came most of the fervid elocutionists who campaigned for him through September and October.

Pushing in among this mob of camp followers who identified political virtue with money for their rent came a flying squad who suffered not from hunger but from congested idealism: Intellectuals and Reformers and even Rugged Individualists, who saw in Windrip, for all his clownish swindlerism, a free vigor which promised a rejuvenation of the crippled and senile capitalistic system.

Upton Sinclair wrote about Buzz and spoke for him just as in 1917, unyielding pacifist though he was, Mr. Sinclair had advocated America’s whole-hearted prosecution of the Great War, foreseeing that it would unquestionably exterminate German militarism and thus forever end all wars. Most of the Morgan partners, though they may have shuddered a little at association with Upton Sinclair, saw that, however much income they themselves might have to sacrifice, only Windrip could start the Business Recovery; while Bishop Manning of New York City pointed out that Windrip always spoke reverently of the church and its shepherds, whereas Walt Trowbridge went horseback riding every Sabbath morning and had never been known to telegraph any female relative on Mother’s Day.

On the other hand, the Saturday Evening Post enraged the small shopkeepers by calling Windrip a demagogue, and the New York Times, once Independent Democrat, was anti-Windrip. But most of the religious periodicals announced that with a saint like Bishop Prang for backer, Windrip must have been called of God.

Even Europe joined in.

With the most modest friendliness, explaining that they wished not to intrude on American domestic politics but only to express personal admiration for that great Western advocate of peace and prosperity, Berzelius Windrip, there came representatives of certain foreign powers, lecturing throughout the land: General Balbo, so popular here because of his leadership of the flight from Italy to Chicago in 1933; a scholar who, though he now lived in Germany and was an inspiration to all patriotic leaders of German Recovery, yet had graduated from Harvard University and had been the most popular piano player in his class-namely, Dr. Ernst (Putzi) Hanfstangl; and Great Britain’s lion of diplomacy, the Gladstone of the 1930’s, the handsome and gracious Lord Lossiemouth who, as Prime Minister, had been known as the Rt. Hon. Ramsay MacDonald, P.C.

All three of them were expensively entertained by the wives of manufacturers, and they persuaded many millionaires who, in the refinement of wealth, had considered Buzz vulgar, that actually he was the world’s one hope of efficient international commerce.

Father Coughlin took one look at all the candidates and indignantly retired to his cell.

Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch, who would surely have written to the friends she had made at the Rotary Club Dinner in Fort Beulah if she could only have remembered the name of the town, was a considerable figure in the campaign. She explained to women voters how kind it was of Senator Windrip to let them go on voting, so far; and she sang “Berzelius Windrip’s gone to Wash.” an average of eleven times a day.

Buzz himself, Bishop Prang, Senator Porkwood (the fearless Liberal and friend of labor and the farmers), and Colonel Osceola Luthorne, the editor, though their prime task was reaching millions by radio, also, in a forty day tram trip, traveled over 27,000 miles, through every state in the Union, on the scarlet-and-silver, ebony-paneled, silk-upholstered, streamlined, Diesel-engined, rubber-padded, air-conditioned, aluminum Forgotten Men Special.

It had a private bar that was forgotten by none save the Bishop.

The train fares were the generous gift of the combined railways.

Over six hundred speeches were discharged, ranging from eight-minute hallos delivered to the crowds gathered at stations, to two-hour fulminations in auditoriums and fairgrounds. Buzz was present at every speech, usually starring, but sometimes so hoarse that he could only wave his hand and croak, “Howdy, folks!” while he was spelled by Prang, Porkwood, Colonel Luthorne, or such volunteers from his regiment of secretaries, doctoral consulting specialists in history and economics, cooks, bartenders, and barbers, as could be lured away from playing craps with the accompanying reporters, photographers, sound-recorders, and broadcasters. Tieffer of the United Press has estimated that Buzz thus appeared personally before more than two million persons.

Meanwhile, almost daily hurtling by aeroplane between Washington and Buzz’s home, Lee Sarason supervised dozens of telephone girls and scores of girl stenographers, who answered thousands of daily telephone calls and letters and telegrams and cables, and boxes containing poisoned candy. . . . Buzz himself had made the rule that all these girls must be pretty, reasonable, thoroughly skilled, and related to people with political influence.

For Sarason it must be said that in this bedlam of “public relations” he never once used contact as a transitive verb.

The Hon. Perley Beecroft, vice-presidential candidate, specialized on the conventions of fraternal orders, religious denominations, insurance agents, and traveling men.

Colonel Dewey Haik, who had nominated Buzz at Cleveland, had an assignment unique in campaigning, one of Sarason’s slickest inventions. Haik spoke for Windrip not in the most frequented, most obvious places, but at places so unusual that his appearance there made news, and Sarason and Haik saw to it that there were nimble chroniclers present to get that news. Flying in his own plane, covering a thousand miles a day, he spoke to nine astonished miners whom he caught in a copper mine a mile below the surface, while thirty-nine photographers snapped the nine; he spoke from a motorboat to a stilled fishing fleet during a fog in Gloucester harbor; he spoke from the steps of the Sub-Treasury at noon on Wall Street; he spoke to the aviators and ground crew at Shushan Airport, New Orleans, and even the flyers were ribald only for the first five minutes, till he had described Buzz Windrip’s gallant but ludicrous efforts to learn to fly; he spoke to state policemen, to stamp-collectors, players of chess in secret clubs, and steeplejacks at work; he spoke in breweries, hospitals, magazine offices, cathedrals, crossroad churches forty-by-thirty, prisons, lunatic asylums, night clubs, till the art editors began to send photographers the memo: “For Pete’s sake, no more fotos Kunnel Haik spieling in sporting houses and hoosegow.”

Yet went on using the pictures.

For Colonel Dewey Haik was a figure as sharp-lighted, almost, as Buzz Windrip himself. Son of a decayed Tennessee family, with one Confederate general grandfather and one a Dewey of Vermont, he had picked cotton, become a youthful telegraph operator, worked his way through the University of Arkansas and the University of Missouri law school, settled as a lawyer in a Wyoming village and then in Oregon, and during the war (he was in 1936 but forty-four years old) served in France as captain of infantry, with credit. Returned to America, he had been elected to Congress, and become a colonel in the militia. He studied military history; he learned to fly, to box, to fence; he was a ramrod-like figure yet had a fairly amiable smile; he was liked equally by disciplinary army officers of high rank, and by such roughnecks as Mr. Shad Ledue, the Caliban of Doremus Jessup.

Haik brought to Buzz’s fold the very picaroons who had most snickered at Bishop Prang’s solemnity.

All this while, Hector Macgoblin, the cultured doctor and burly boxing fan, co-author with Sarason of the campaign anthem, “Bring Out the Old-time Musket,” was specializing in the inspiration of college professors, associations of high-school teachers, professional baseball teams, training-camps of pugilists, medical meetings, summer schools in which we’ll known authors taught the art of writing to earnest aspirants who could never learn to write, golf tournaments, and all such cultural congresses.

But the pugilistic Dr. Macgoblin came nearer to danger than any other campaigner. During a meeting in Alabama, where he had satisfactorily proved that no Negro with less than 25 per cent “white blood” can ever rise to the cultural level of a patent-medicine salesman, the meeting was raided, the costly residence section of the whites was raided, by a band of colored people headed by a Negro who had been a corporal on the Western Front in 1918. Macgoblin and the town were saved by the eloquence of a colored clergyman.

Truly, as Bishop Prang said, the apostles of Senator Windrip were now preaching his Message unto all manner of men, even unto the Heathen.

But what Doremus Jessup said, to Buck Titus and Father Perefixe, was: “This is Revolution in terms of Rotary.”

-11-

“When I was a kid, one time I had an old-maid teacher that used to tell me, ”Buzz, you’re the thickest-headed dunce in school.” But I noticed that she told me this a whole lot oftener than she used to tell the other kids how smart they were, and I came to be the most talked-about scholar in the whole township. The United States Senate isn’t so different, and I want to thank a lot of stuffed shirts for their remarks about Yours Truly.”

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

But there were certain of the Heathen who did not heed those heralds, Prang and Windrip and Haik and Dr. Macgoblin.

Walt Trowbridge conducted his campaign as placidly as though he were certain to win. He did not spare himself, but he did not moan over the Forgotten Men (he’d been one himself, as a youngster, and didn’t think it was so bad!) nor become hysterical at a private bar in a scarlet-and-silver special tram. Quietly, steadfastly, speaking on the radio and in a few great halls, he explained that he did advocate an enormously improved distribution of wealth, but that it must be achieved by steady digging and not by dynamite that would destroy more than it excavated. He wasn’t particularly thrilling. Economics rarely are, except when they have been dramatized by a Bishop, staged and lighted by a Sarason, and passionately played by a Buzz Windrip with rapier and blue satin tights.

For the campaign the Communists had brightly brought out their sacrificial candidates, in fact, all seven of the current Communist parties had. Since, if they all stuck together, they might entice 900,000 votes, they had avoided such bourgeois grossness by enthusiastic schisms, and their creeds now included: The Party, the Majority Party, the Leftist Party, the Trotzky Party, the Christian Communist Party, the Workers’ Party, and, less baldly named, something called the American Nationalist Patriotic Cooperative Fabian Post-Marxian Communist Party, it sounded like the names of royalty but was otherwise dissimilar.

But these radical excursions were not very significant compared with the new Jeffersonian Party, suddenly fathered by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Forty-eight hours after the nomination of Windrip at Cleveland, President Roosevelt had issued his defiance.

Senator Windrip, he asserted, had been chosen “not by the brains and hearts of genuine Democrats but by their temporarily crazed emotions.” He would no more support Windrip because he claimed to be a Democrat than he would support Jimmy Walker.

Yet, he said, he could not vote for the Republican Party, the “party of intrenched special privilege,” however much, in the past three years, he had appreciated the loyalty, the honesty, the intelligence of Senator Walt Trowbridge.

Roosevelt made it clear that his Jeffersonian or True Democratic faction was not a “third party” in the sense that it was to be permanent. It was to vanish as soon as honest and coolly thinking men got control again of the old organization. Buzz Windrip aroused mirth by dubbing it the “Bull Mouse Party,” but President Roosevelt was joined by almost all the liberal members of Congress, Democratic or Republican, who had not followed Walt Trowbridge; by Norman Thomas and the Socialists who had not turned Communist; by Governors Floyd Olson and Olin Johnston; and by Mayor La Guardia.

The conspicuous fault of the Jeffersonian Party, like the personal fault of Senator Trowbridge, was that it represented integrity and reason, in a year when the electorate hungered for frisky emotions, for the peppery sensations associated, usually, not with monetary systems and taxation rates but with baptism by immersion in the creek, young love under the elms, straight whisky, angelic orchestras heard soaring down from the full moon, fear of death when an automobile teeters above a canyon, thirst in a desert and quenching it with spring water, all the primitive sensations which they thought they found in the screaming of Buzz Windrip.

Far from the hot-lighted ballrooms where all these crimson-tuniced bandmasters shrillsquabbled as to which should lead for the moment the tremendous spiritual jazz, far off in the cool hills a little man named Doremus Jessup, who wasn’t even a bass drummer but only a citizen editor, wondered in confusion what he should do to be saved.

He wanted to follow Roosevelt and the Jeffersonian Party, partly for admiration of the man; partly for the pleasure of shocking the ingrown Republicanism of Vermont. But he could not believe that the Jeffersonians would have a chance; he did believe that, for all the mothball odor of many of his associates, Walt Trowbridge was a valiant and competent man; and night and day Doremus bounced up and down Beulah Valley campaigning for Trowbridge.

Out of his very confusion there came into his writing a desperate sureness which surprised accustomed readers of the Informer. For once he was not amused and tolerant. Though he never said anything worse of the Jeffersonian Party than that it was ahead of its times, in both editorials and news stories he went after Buzz Windrip and his gang with whips, turpentine, and scandal.

In person, he was into and out of shops and houses all morning long, arguing with voters, getting miniature interviews.

He had expected that traditionally Republican Vermont would give him too drearily easy a task in preaching Trowbridge. What he found was a dismaying preference for the theoretically Democratic Buzz Windrip. And that preference, Doremus perceived, wasn’t even a pathetic trust in Windrip’s promises of Utopian bliss for everyone in general. It was a trust in increased cash for the voter himself, and for his family, very much in particular.

Most of them had, among all the factors in the campaign, noticed only what they regarded as Windrip’s humor, and three planks in his platform: Five, which promised to increase taxes on the rich; Ten, which condemned the Negro’s, since nothing so elevates a dispossessed farmer or a factory worker on relief as to have some race, any race, on which he can look down; and, especially, Eleven, which announced, or seemed to announce, that the average toiler would immediately receive $5000 a year. (And ever-so-many railway-station debaters explained that it would really be $10,000. Why, they were going to have every cent offered by Dr. Townsend, plus everything planned by the late Huey Long, Upton Sinclair, and the Utopians, all put together!)

So beatifically did hundreds of old people in Beulah Valley believe this that they smilingly trotted into Raymond Pridewell’s hardware store, to order new kitchen stoves and aluminum sauce pans and complete bathroom furnishings, to be paid for on the day after inauguration. Mr. Pridewell, a cobwebbed old Henry Cabot Lodge Republican, lost half his trade by chasing out these happy heirs to fabulous estates, but they went on dreaming, and Doremus, nagging at them, discovered that mere figures are defenseless against a dream . . . even a dream of new Plymouths and unlimited cans of sausages and motion-picture cameras and the prospect of never having to arise till 7:30 AM.

Thus answered Alfred Tizra, “Snake” Tizra, friend to Doremus’s handyman, Shad Ledue. Snake was a steeltough truck-driver and taxi-owner who had served sentences for assault and for transporting bootleg liquor. He had once made a living catching rattlesnakes and copperheads in southern New England. Under President Windrip, Snake jeeringly assured Doremus, he would have enough money to start a chain of roadhouses in all the dry communities in Vermont.

Ed Howland, one of the lesser Fort Beulah grocers, and Charley Betts, furniture and undertaking, while they were dead against anyone getting groceries, furniture, or even undertaking on Windrip credit, were all for the population’s having credit on other wares.

Aras Dilley, a squatter dairy farmer living with a toothless wife and seven slattern children in a tilted and unscrubbed cabin way up on Mount Terror, snarled at Doremus, who had often taken food baskets and boxes of shotgun shells and masses of cigarettes to Aras -“Well, want to tell you, when Mr. Windrip gets in, we farmers are going to fix our own prices on our crops, and not you smart city fellows!”

Doremus could not blame him. While Buck Titus, at fifty, looked thirty-odd, Aras, at thirty-four, looked fifty.

Lorinda Pike’s singularly unpleasant partner in the Beulah Valley Tavern, one Mr. Nipper, whom she hoped soon to lose, combined boasting how rich he was with gloating how much more he was going to get under Windrip. “Professor” Staubmeyer quoted nice things Windrip had said about higher pay for teachers. Louis Rotenstern, to prove that his heart, at least, was not Jewish, became more lyric than any of them. And even Frank Tasbrough of the quarries, Medary Cole of the grist mill and realestate holdings, R. C. Crowley of the bank, who presumably were not tickled by projects of higher income taxes, smiled pussy-cattishly and hinted that Windrip was a “lot sounder fellow” than people knew.

But no one in Fort Beulah was a more active crusader for Buzz Windrip than Shad Ledue.

Doremus had known that Shad possessed talent for argument and for display; that he had once persuaded old Mr. Pridewell to trust him for a .22 rifle, value twenty three dollars; that, removed from the sphere of coal bins and grass-stained overalls, he had once sung “Rollicky Bill the Sailor” at a smoker of the Ancient and Independent Order of Rams; and that he had enough memory to be able to quote, as his own profound opinions, the editorials in the Hearst newspapers. Yet even knowing all this equipment for a political career, an equipment not much short of Buzz Windrip’s, Doremus was surprised to find Shad soap-boxing for Windrip among the quarryworkers, then actually as chairman of a rally in Oddfellows’ Hall. Shad spoke little, but with brutal taunting of the believers in Trowbridge and Roosevelt.

At meetings where he did not speak, Shad was an incomparable bouncer, and in that valued capacity he was summoned to Windrip rallies as far away as Burlington. It was he who, in a militia uniform, handsomely riding a large white plow-horse, led the final Windrip parade in Rutland . . . and substantial men of affairs, even drygoods jobbers, fondly called him “Shad.”

Doremus was amazed, felt a little apologetic over his failure to have appreciated this new-found paragon, as he sat in American Legion Hall and heard Shad bellowing: “I don’t pretend to be anything but a plain working stiff, but there’s forty million workers like me, and we know that Senator Windrip is the first statesman in years that thinks of what guys like us need before he thinks one doggone thing about politics. Come on, you bozos! The swell folks tell you to not be selfish! Walt Trowbridge tells you to not be selfish! Well, be selfish, and vote for the one man that’s willing to give you something, give you something, and not just grab off every cent and every hour of work that he can get!”

Doremus groaned inwardly, “Oh, my Shad! And you’re doing most of this on my time!” Sissy Jessup sat on the running board of her coupe (hers by squatter’s right), with Julian Falok, up from Amherst for the weekend, and Malcolm Tasbrough wedged in on either side of her. “Oh nuts, let’s quit talking politics. Windrip’s going to be elected, so why waste time yodeling when we could drive down to the river and have a swim,” complained Malcolm. “He’s not going to win without our putting up a tough scrap against him. I’m going to talk to the high-school alumni this evening, about how they got to tell their parents to vote for either Trowbridge or Roosevelt,” snapped Julian Falck. “Haa, haa, haa! And of course the parents will be tickled to death to do whatever you tell ‘em, Yulian! You college men certainly are the goods! Besides, want to be serious about this fool business?” Malcolm had the insolent seIf-assurance of beef, slick black hair, and a large car of his own; he was the perfect leader of Black Shirts, and he looked contemptuously on Julian who, though a year older, was pale and thinnish. “Matter of fact, it’ll be a good thing to have Buzz. He’ll put a damn quick stop to all this radicalism, all this free speech and libel of our most fundamental institutions-”

“Boston American; last Tuesday; page eight,” murmured Sissy.

“-and no wonder you’re scared of him, Yulian! He sure will drag some of your favorite Amherst anarchist profs off to the hoosegow, and maybe you too, Comrade!” The two young men looked at each other with slow fury. Sissy quieted them by raging, “Freavensake! Will you two heels quit scrapping? . . . Oh, my clears, this beastly election! Beastly! Seems as if it’s breaking up every town, every home. . . . My poor Dad! Doremus is just about all in!”

-12-

“I shall not be content till this country can produce every single thing we need, even coffee, cocoa, and rubber, and so keep all our dollars at home. If we can do this and at the same time work up tourist traffic so that foreigners will come from every part of the world to see such remarkable wonders as the Grand Canyon, Glacier and Yellowstone etc. parks, the fine hotels of Chicago, & etc., thus leaving their money here, we shall have such a balance of trade as will go far to carry out my often, criticized yet completely sound idea of from $3000 to $5000 per year for every single family, that is, I mean every real American family. Such an aspiring vision is what we want, and not all this nonsense of wasting our time at Geneva and talky-talk at Lugano, wherever that is.”

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

Election day would fall on Tuesday, November third, and on Sunday evening of the first, Senator Windrip played the finale of his campaign at a mass meeting in Madison Square Garden, in New York. The Garden would hold, with seats and standing room, about 19,000, and a week before the meeting every ticket had been sold, at from fifty cents to five dollars, and then by speculators resold and resold, at from one dollar to twenty.

Doremus had been able to get one single ticket from an acquaintance on one of the Hearst dailies, which, alone among the New York papers, were supporting Windrip, and on the afternoon of November first he traveled the three hundred miles to New York for his first visit in three years.

It had been cold in Vermont, with early snow, but the white drifts lay to the earth so quietly, in unstained air, that the world seemed a silver painted carnival, left to silence. Even on a moonless night, a pale radiance came from the snow, from the earth itself, and the stars were drops of quicksilver.

But, following the redcap carrying his shabby Gladstone bag, Doremus came out of the Grand Central, at six o’clock, into a gray trickle of cold dishwater from heaven’s kitchen sink. The renowned towers which he expected to see on Forty-second Street were dead in their mummy cloths of ragged fog. And as to the mob that, with cruel disinterest, galloped past him, a new and heedless smear of faces every second, the man from Fort Beulah could think only that New York must be holding its county fair in this clammy drizzle, or else that there was a big fire somewhere.

He had sensibly planned to save money by using the subway, the substantial village burgher is so poor in the city of the Babylonian Gardens, and he even remembered that there were still to be found in Manhattan five cent trolley cars, in which a rustic might divert himself by looking at sailors and poets and shawled women from the steppes of Kazakstan. To the redcap he had piped with what he conceived to be traveled urbanity, “Guess ‘ll take a trolley, jus’ few blocks.” But deafened and dizzied and elbow-jabbed by the crowd, soaked and depressed, he took refuge in a taxi, then wished he hadn’t, as he saw the slippery rubber-colored pavement, and as his taxi got wedged among other cars stinking of carbonmonoxide and frenziedly tooting for release from the jam, a huddle of robot sheep bleating their terror with mechanical lungs of a hundred horsepower.

He painfully hesitated before going out again from his small hotel in the West Forties, and when he did, when he muddily crept among the shrill shopgirls, the weary chorus girls, the hard cigar-clamping gamblers, and the pretty young men on Broadway, he felt himself, with the rubbers and umbrella which Emma had forced upon him, a very Caspar Milquetoast.

He most noticed a number of stray imitation soldiers, without side-arms or rifles, but in a uniform like that of an American cavalryman in 1870: slant-topped blue forage caps, dark blue tunics, light blue trousers, with yellow stripes at the seam, tucked into leggings of black rubberoid for what appeared to be the privates, and boots of sleek black leather for officers. Each of them had on the right side of his collar the letters “MM.” and on the left, a five-pointed star. There were so many of them; they swaggered so brazenly, shouldering civilians out of the way; and upon insignificances like Doremus they looked with frigid insolence.

He suddenly understood.

These young condottieri were the “Minute Men”: the private troops of Berzelius Windrip, about which Doremus had been publishing uneasy news reports. He was thrilled and a little dismayed to see them now, the printed words made brutal flesh.

Three weeks ago Windrip had announced that Colonel Dewey Haik had founded, just for the campaign, a nationwide league of Windrip marching clubs, to be called the Minute Men. It was probable that they had been in formation for months, since already they had three or four hundred thousand members. Doremus was afraid the M.M.’s might become a permanent organization, more menacing than the Kuklux Klan.

Their uniform suggested the pioneer America of Cold Harbor and of the Indian fighters under Miles and Custer. Their emblem, their swastika (here Doremus saw the cunning and mysticism of Lee Sarason), was a fivepointed star, because the star on the American flag was five-pointed, whereas the stars of both the Soviet banner and the Jews-the seal of Solomon-were six-pointed.

The fact that the Soviet star, actually, was also fivepointed, no one noticed, during these excited days of regeneration. Anyway, it was a nice idea to have this star simultaneously challenge the Jews and the Bolsheviks, the M.M.’s had good intentions, even if their symbolism did slip a little.

Yet the craftiest thing about the M.M.’s was that they wore no colored shirts, but only plain white when on parade, and light khaki when on outpost duty, so that Buzz Windrip could thunder, and frequently, “Black shirts? Brown shirts? Red shirts? Yes, and maybe cowbrindle shirts! All these degenerate European uniforms of tyranny! No sir! The Minute Men are not Fascist or Communist or anything at all but plain Democratic-the knight-champions of the rights of the Forgotten Men, the shock troops of Freedom!”

Doremus dined on Chinese food, his invariable self-indulgence when he was in a large city without Emma, who stated that chow mein was nothing but fried excelsior with flour-paste gravy. He forgot the leering M.M. troopers a little; he was happy in glancing at the gilded woodcarvings, at the octagonal lanterns painted with doll-like Chinese peasants crossing arched bridges, at a quartette of guests, two male and two female, who looked like Public Enemies and who all through dinner quarreled with restrained viciousness.

When he headed toward Madison Square Garden and the culminating Windrip rally, he was plunged into a maelstrom. A whole nation seemed querulously to be headed the same way. He could not get a taxicab, and walking through the dreary storm some fourteen blocks to Madison Square Garden he was aware of the murderous temper of the crowd.

Eighth Avenue, lined with cheapjack shops, was packed with drab, discouraged people who yet, tonight, were tipsy with the hashish of hope. They filled the side walks, nearly filled the pavement, while irritable motors squeezed tediously through them, and angry policemen were pushed and whirled about and, if they tried to be haughty, got jeered at by lively shopgirls.

Through the welter, before Doremus’s eyes, jabbed a flying wedge of Minute Men, led by what he was later to recognize as a comet of M.M.’s. They were not on duty, and they were not belligerent; they were cheering, and singing “Berzelius Windrip went to Wash.,” reminding Doremus of a slightly drunken knot of students from an inferior college after a football victory. He was to remember them so afterward, months afterward, when the enemies of the M.M.’s all through the country derisively called them “Mickey Mouses” and “Minnies.”

An old man, shabbily neat, stood blocking them and yelled, “To hell with Buzz! Three cheers for F.D.R.!”

The M.M.’s burst into hoodlum wrath. The comet in command, a bruiser uglier even than Shad Ledue, hit the old man on the jaw, and he sloped down, sickeningly. Then, from nowhere, facing the comet, there was a chief petty officer of the navy, big, smiling, reckless. The C.P.O. bellowed, in a voice tuned to hurricanes, “Swell bunch 0’ tin soldiers! Nine 0’ yuh to one grandpappy! Just about even.”

The cornet socked him; he laid out the comet with one foul to the belly; instantly the other eight M.M.’s were on the C.P.O., like sparrows after a hawk, and he crashed, his face, suddenly veal-white, laced with rivulets of blood. The eight kicked him in the head with their thick marching,shoes. They were still kicking him when Doremus wriggled away, very sick, altogether helpless.

He had not turned away quickly enough to avoid seeing an M.M. trooper, girlish-faced, crimson-lipped, fawneyed, throw himself on the fallen cornet and, whimpering, stroke that roustabout’s roast-beef cheeks with shy gardenia-petal fingers.

There were many arguments, a few private fist fights, and one more battle, before Doremus reached the auditorium.

A block from it some thirty M.M.’s, headed by a battalion leader, something between a captain and a major, started raiding a street meeting of Communists. A Jewish girl in khaki, her bare head soaked with rain, was beseeching from the elevation of a wheelbarrow, “Fellow travelers! Don’t just chew the rag and ‘sympathize’! Join us! Now! It’s life and death!” Twenty feet from the Communists, a middle-aged man who looked like a social worker was explaining the Jeffersonian Party, recalling the record of President Roosevelt, and reviling the Communists next door as word-drunk un-American cranks. Half his audience were people who might be competent voters; half of them, like half of any group on this evening of tragic fiesta, were cigarette sniping boys in hand-me-downs.

The thirty M.M.’s cheerfully smashed into the Communists. The battalion leader reached up, slapped the girl speaker, dragged her down from the wheelbarrow. His followers casually waded in with fists and blackjacks. Doremus, more nauseated, feeling more helpless than ever, heard the smack of a blackjack on the temple of a scrawny Jewish intellectual.

Amazingly, then, the voice of the rival Jeffersonian leader spiraled up into a scream: “Come on, you! Going to let those hellhounds attack our Communist friend now, by God!” With which the mild bookworm leaped into the air, came down squarely upon a fat Mickey Mouse, capsized him, seized his blackjack, took time to kick another M.M.’s shins before arising from the wreck, sprang up, and waded into the raiders as, Doremus guessed, he would have waded into a table of statistics on the proportion of butter fat in loose milk in 97.7 per cent of shops on Avenue B.

Till then, only haIf-a-dozen Communist Party members had been facing the M.M.’s, their backs to a garage wall. Fifty of their own, fifty Jeffersonians besides, now joined them, and with bricks and umbrellas and deadly volumes of sociology they drove off the enraged M.M.’s, partisans of Bela Kun side by side with the partisans of Professor John Dewey, until a riot squad of policemen battered their way in to protect the M.M.’s by arresting the girl Communist speaker and the Jeffersonian.

Doremus had often “headed up” sports stories about “Madison Square Garden Prize Fights,” but he did know that the place had nothing to do with Madison Square, from which it was a day’s journey by bus, that it was decidedly not a garden, that the fighters there did not fight for “prizes” but for fixed partnership shares in the business, and that a good many of them did not fight at all.

The mammoth building, as in exhaustion Doremus crawled up to it, was entirely ringed with M.M.’s, elbow to elbow, all carrying heavy canes, and at every entrance, along every aisle, the M.M.’s were rigidly in line, with their officers galloping about, whispering orders, and bearing uneasy rumors like scared calves in a dipping-pen.

These past weeks hungry miners, dispossessed farmers, Carolina mill hands had greeted Senator Windrip with a flutter of worn hands beneath gasoline torches. Now he was to face, not the unemployed, for they could not afford fifty-cent tickets, but the small, scared sidestreet traders of New York, who considered themselves altogether superior to clodhoppers and mine-creepers, yet were as desperate as they. The swelling mass that Doremus saw, proud in seats or standing chin-to-nape in the aisles, in a reek of dampened clothes, was not romantic; they were people concerned with the tailor’s goose, the tray of potato salad, the card of hooks-and-eyes, the leech like mortgage on the owner-driven taxi, with, at home, the baby’s diapers, the dull safety-razor blade, the awful rise in the cost of rump steak and kosher chicken. And a few, and very proud, civiI-service clerks and letter carriers and superintendents of small apartment houses, curiously fashionable in seventeen-dollar ready-made suits and feebly stitched foulard ties, who boasted, “I don’t know why all these bums go on relief. I may not be such a wiz, but let me tell you, even since 1929, I’ve never made less than two thousand dollars a year!”

Manhattan peasants. Kind people, industrious people, generous to their aged, eager to find any desperate cure for the sickness of worry over losing the job.

Most facile material for any rabel-rouser.

The historic rally opened with extreme dullness. A regimental band played the Tales from Hoffman barcarole with no apparent significance and not much more liveliness. The Reverend Dr. Hendrik Van Lollop of St. Apologue’s Lutheran Church offered prayer, but one felt that probably it had not been accepted. Senator Porkwood provided a dissertation on Senator Windrip which was composed in equal parts of apostolic adoration of Buzz and of the uh-uh-uh’s with which Hon. Porkwood always interspersed his words.

And Windrip wasn’t yet even in sight.

Colonel Dewey Haik, nominator of Buzz at the Cleveland convention, was considerably better. He told three jokes, and an anecdote about a faithful carrier pigeon in the Great War which had seemed to understand, really better than many of the human soldiers, just why it was that the Americans were over there fighting for France against Germany. The connection of this ornithological hero with the virtues of Senator Windrip did not seem evident, but, after having sat under Senator Porkwood, the audience enjoyed the note of military gallantry.

Doremus felt that Colonel Haik was not merely rambling but pounding on toward something definite. His voice became more insistent. He began to talk about Windrip: “my friend, the one man who dares beard the monetary lion, the man who in his great and simple heart cherishes the woe of every common man as once did the brooding tenderness of Abraham Lincoln.” Then, wildly waving toward a side entrance, he shrieked, “And here he comes! My friends, Buzz Windrip!”

The band hammered out “The Campbells Are Coming.” A squadron of Minute Men, smart as Horse Guards, carrying long lances with starred pennants, clicked into the gigantic bowl of the auditorium, and after them, shabby in an old blue-serge suit, nervously twisting a sweatstained slouch hat, stooped and tired, limped Berzelius Windrip. The audience leaped up, thrusting one another aside to have a look at the deliverer, cheering like artillery at dawn.

Windrip started prosaically enough. You felt rather sorry for him, so awkwardly did he lumber up the steps to the platform, across to the center of the stage. He stopped; stared owlishly. Then he quacked monotonously:

“The first time I ever came to New York I was a greenhorn, no, don’t laugh, mebbe I still am! But I had already been elected a United States Senator, and back home, the way they’d serenaded me, I thought I was some punkins. I thought my name was just about as familiar to everybody as Al Capone’s or Camel Cigarettes or Castoria, Babies Cry For It. But I come to New York on my way to Washington, and say, I sat in my hotel lobby here for three days, and the only fellow ever spoke to me was the hotel detective! And when he did come up and address me, I was tickled to death, I thought he was going to tell me the whole burg was pleased by my condescending to visit ‘em. But all he wanted to know was, was I a guest of the hotel and did I have any right to be holding down a lobby chair permanently that way! And tonight, friends, I’m pretty near as scared of Old Gotham as I was then!”

The laughter, the hand-clapping, were fair enough, but the proud electors were disappointed by his drawl, his weary humility.

Doremus quivered hopefully, “Maybe he isn’t going to get elected!”

Windrip outlined his too-familiar platform, Doremus was interested only in observing that Windrip misquoted his own figures regarding the limitation of fortunes, in Point Five.

He slid into a rhapsody of general ideas, a mishmash of polite regards to Justice, Freedom, Equality, Order, Prosperity, Patriotism, and any number of other noble but slippery abstractions.

Doremus thought he was being bored, until he discovered that, at some moment which he had not noticed, he had become absorbed and excited.

Something in the intensity with which Windrip looked at his audience, looked at all of them, his glance slowly taking them in from the highest-perched seat to the nearest, convinced them that he was talking to each individual, directly and solely; that he wanted to take each of them into his heart; that he was telling them the truths, the imperious and dangerous facts, that had been hidden from them.

“They say I want money, power! Say, I’ve turned down offers from law firms right here in New York of three times the money I’ll get as President! And power, why, the President is the servant of every citizen in the country, and not just of the considerate folks, but also of every crank that comes pestering him by telegram and phone and letter. And yet, it’s true, it’s absolutely true I do want power, great, big, imperial power, but not for myself, no, for you, the power of your permission to smash the Jew financiers who’ve enslaved you, who’re working you to death to pay the interest on their bonds; the grasping bankers, and not all of ‘em Jews by a darn sight!, the crooked labor-leaders just as much as the crooked bosses, and, most of all, the sneaking spies of Moscow that want you to lick the boots of their self-appointed tyrants that rule not by love and loyalty, like I want to, but by the horrible power of the whip, the dark cell, the automatic pistol!”

He pictured, then, a paradise of democracy in which, with the old political machines destroyed, every humblest worker would be king and ruler, dominating representatives elected from among his own kind of people, and these representatives not growing indifferent, as hitherto they had done, once they were far off in Washington, but kept alert to the public interest by the supervision of a strengthened Executive.

It sounded almost reasonable, for a while.

The supreme actor, Buzz Windrip, was passionate yet never grotesquely wild. He did not gesture too extravagantly; only, like Gene Debs of old, he reached out a bony forefinger which seemed to jab into each of them and hook out each heart. It was his mad eyes, big staring tragic eyes, that startled them, and his voice, now thundering, now humbly pleading, that soothed them.

He was so obviously an honest and merciful leader; a man of sorrows and acquaint with woe.

Doremus marveled, “I’ll be hanged! Why, he’s a darn good sort when you come to meet him! And warmhearted. He makes me feel as if I’d been having a good evening with Buck and Steve Perefixe. What if Buzz is right? What if, in spite of all the demagogic pap that, I suppose, he has got to feed out to the boobs, he’s right in claiming that it’s only he, and not Trowbridge or Roosevelt, that can break the hold of the absentee owners? And these Minute Men, his followers, oh, they were pretty nasty, what I saw out on the street, but still, most of ‘em are mighty nice, clean-cut young fellows. Seeing Buzz and then listening to what he actually says does kind of surprise you, kind of make you think!”

But what Mr. Windrip actually had said, Doremus could not remember an hour later, when he had come out of the trance.

He was so convinced then that Windrip would win that, on Tuesday evening, he did not remain at the Informer office until the returns were all in. But if he did not stay for the evidences of the election, they came to him. Past his house, after midnight, through muddy snow tramped a triumphant and reasonably drunken parade, carrying torches and bellowing to the air of “Yankee Doodle” new words revealed just that week by Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch:

“The snakes disloyul to our Buzz We’re riding on a rail,

They’ll wish to God they never was, When we get them in jail!

Chorus:

“Buzz and buzz and keep it up To victory he’s floated. You were a most ungrateful pup, Unless for Buzz you voted.

”Every M.M. gets a whip To use upon some traitor, And every Antibuzz we skip Today, we’ll tend to later.”

”Antibuzz,” a word credited to Mrs. Gimmitch but more probably invented by Dr. Hector Macgoblin, was to be extensively used by lady patriots as a term expressing such vicious disloyalty to the State as might call for the firing squad. Yet, like Mrs. Gimmitch’s splendid synthesis “Unkies,” for soldiers of the A.E.F., it never really caught on. Among the winter-coated paraders Doremus and Sissy thought they could make out Shad Ledue, Aras Dilley, that philoprogenitive squatter from Mount Terror, Charley Betts, the furniture dealer, and Tony Mogliani, the fruit-seller, most ardent expounder of Italian Fascism in central Vermont.

And, though he could not be sure of it in the dimness behind the torches, Doremus rather thought that the lone large motorcar following the procession was that of his neighbor, Francis Tasbrough.

Next morning, at the Informer office, Doremus did not learn of so very much damage wrought by the triumphant Nordics, they had merely upset a couple of privies, torn down and burned the tailor-shop sign of Louis Rotenstern, and somewhat badly beaten Clifford Little, the jeweler, a slight, curly-headed young man whom Shad Ledue despised because he organized theatricals and played the organ in Mr. Falck’s church.

That night Doremus found, on his front porch, a notice in red chalk upon butcher’s paper:

You will get yrs Dorey sweethart unles you get rite down on yr belly and crawl in front of the MM and the League and the Chief and I

A friend

It was the first time that Doremus had heard of “the Chief,” a sound American variant of “the Leader” or “the Head of the Government,” as a popular title for Mr. Windrip. It was soon to be made official.

Doremus burned the red warning without telling his family. But he often woke to remember it, not very laughingly.

-13-

To follow in part 4

Only 403 years to go. Plastic bottle washes up looking ‘almost new’ after nearly 50 years at sea – Kate Lyons.

A plastic washing-up bottle that is at least 47 years old has been found washed up on a beach in the UK with its lettering and messaging still clear, prompting warnings about the enduring problem of plastic waste.

Surfing Indonesia

.
The bottle advertises itself as 4d off, meaning it dates back to before decimalisation was introduced in Britain in 1971, making it at least 47 years old.


Some types of plastic bottles take 450 years to break down.

Every dot represents 20kg of plastic, according to a six year worldwide study.

.
The Guardian

MONSANTO: Secret tactics chemical giant used to protect star product Roundup – Shireen Khalil.

Roundup is the most widely used herbicide on the planet and was marketed to farmers and home gardeners across the world as safe and effective.

“It is the safest herbicide that’s ever been developed,” said Bayer vice-president Scott Partridge. Bayer recently bought Monsanto for $63 billion.

A former California school grounds keeper claimed Monsanto’s ‘cancer-causing’ weedkiller destroyed his life. A jury ordered Monsanto to pay Dewayne Lee Johnson $US289 million after it unanimously found that the company’s Ranger Pro and Roundup products presented a “substantial danger” to consumers, and that Monsanto knew or should have known of potential risks and failed to warn consumers like Mr Johnson.

NZ Herald

Part 2. Make America Great Again? Fascism, It Can’t Happen Here. A Warning From The Past – Sinclair Lewis – (Chapters 5-8).

“You young paranoiac, you’re monomaniacs! Dictatorship? Better come into the office and let me examine your heads! Why, America’s the only free nation on earth. Besides! Country’s too big for a revolution. No, no! Couldn’t happen here!”

It Can’t Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis.

Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and “traditional” values.

After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a pIutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, in the manner of Adolf Hitler and the SS.

The novel’s plot centers on journalist Doremus Jessup’s opposition to the new regime and his subsequent struggle against it as part of a liberal rebellion.

-5-

I know the Press only too well. Almost all editors hide away in spider-dens, men without thought of Family or Public Interest or the humble delights of jaunts out-of-doors, plotting how they can put over their lies, and advance their own positions and fill their greedy pocketbooks by calumniating Statesmen who have given their all for the common good and who are vulnerable because they stand out in the fierce Light that beats around the Throne.

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

The June morning shone, the last petals of the wildcherry blossoms lay dew-covered on the grass, robins were about their brisk business on the lawn. Doremus, by nature a late-lier and pilferer of naps after he had been called at eight, was stirred to spring up and stretch his arms out fully five or six times in Swedish exercises, in front of his window, looking out across the Beulah River Valley to dark masses of pine on the mountain slopes three miles away.

Doremus and Emma had had each their own bedroom, these fifteen years, not altogether to her pleasure. He asserted that he couldn’t share a bedroom with any person living, because he was a night-mutterer, and liked to make a really good, uprearing, pillow-slapping job of turning over in bed without feeling that he was disturbing someone.

It was Saturday, the day of the Prang revelation, but on this crystal morning, after days of rain, he did not think of Prang at all, but of the fact that Philip, his son, with wife, had popped up from Worcester for the weekend, and that the whole crew of them, along with Lorinda Pike and Buck Titus, were going to have a “real, old-fashioned, family picnic.”

They had all demanded it, even the fashionable Sissy, a woman who, at eighteen, had much concern with tennis-teas, golf, and mysterious, appallingly rapid motor trips with Malcolm Tasbrough (just graduating from high school), or with the Episcopal parson’s grandson, Julian Falck (freshman in Amherst). Doremus had scolded that he couldn’t go to any blame picnic; it was his job, as editor, to stay home and listen to Bishop Prang’s broadcast at two; but they had laughed at him and rumpled his hair and miscalled him until he had promised. . . .They didn’t know it, but he had slyly borrowed a portable radio from his friend, the local R. C. priest, Father Stephen Perefixe, and he was going to hear Prang whether or no.

He was glad they were going to have Lorinda Pike, he was fond of that sardonic Saint, and Buck Titus, who was perhaps his closest intimate.

James Buck Titus, who was fifty but looked thirtyeight, straight, broad-shouldered, slim-waisted, longmustached, swarthy, Buck was the Dan’l Boone type of Old American, or, perhaps, an Indian-fighting cavalry captain, out of Charles King. He had graduated from Williams, with ten weeks in England and ten years in Montana, divided between cattIe-raising, prospecting, and a horse-breeding ranch. His father, a richish railroad contractor, had left him the great farm near West Beulah, and Buck had come back home to grow apples, to breed Morgan stallions, and to read Voltaire, Anatole France, Nietzsche, and Dostoyefsky. He served in the war, as a private; detested his officers, refused a commission, and liked the Germans at Cologne. He was a useful polo player, but regarded riding to the hounds as childish. In politics, he did not so much yearn over the wrongs of Labor as feel scornful of the tight-fisted exploiters who denned in office and stinking factory. He was as near to the English country squire as one may find in America. He was a bachelor, with a big mid-Victorian house, well kept by a friendly Negro couple; a tidy place in which he sometimes entertained ladies who were not quite so tidy. He called himself an “agnostic” instead of an “atheist” only because he detested the street-bawling, tract-peddling evangelicism of the professional atheists. He was cynical, he rarely smiled, and he was unwaveringly loyal to all the Jessups. His coming to the picnic made Doremus as blithe as his grandson David.

“Perhaps, even under Fascism, the ‘Church clock will stand at ten to three, and there will be honey still for tea,’” Doremus hoped, as he put on his rather dandified country tweeds.

The only stain on the preparations for the picnic was the grouchiness of the hired man, Shad Ledue. When he was asked to turn the ice-cream freezer he growled, “Why the heck don’t you folks get an electric freezer? He grumbled, most audibly, at the weight of the picnic baskets, and when he was asked to clean up the basement during their absence, he retorted only with a glare of silent fury. “You ought to get rid of that fellow, Ledue,” urged Doremus’s son Philip, the lawyer.

“Oh, I don’t know,” considered Doremus. “Probably just shiftlessness on my part. But I tell myself I’m doing a social experiment, trying to train him to be as gracious as the average Neanderthal man. Or perhaps I’m scared of him, he’s the kind of vindictive peasant that sets fire to barns. . . . Did you know that he actually reads, Phil?”

“No!”

“Yep. Mostly movie magazines, with nekked ladies and Wild Western stories, but he also reads the papers. Told me he greatly admired Buzz Windrip; says Windrip will certainly be President, and then everybody, by which, I’m afraid, Shad means only himself, will have five thousand a year. Buzz certainly has a bunch of philanthropists for followers.”

“Now listen, Dad. You don’t understand Senator Windrip. Oh, he’s something of a demagogue, he shoots off his mouth a lot about how he’ll jack up the income tax and grab the banks, but he won’t, that’s just molasses for the cockroaches. What he will do, and maybe only he can do it, is to protect us from the murdering, thieving, lying Bolsheviks that would, why, they’d like to stick all of us that are going on this picnic, all the decent clean people that are accustomed to privacy, into hall bedrooms, and make us cook our cabbage soup on a Primus stuck on a bed! Yes, or maybe ‘liquidate’ us entirely! No sir, Berzelius Windrip is the fellow to balk the dirty sneaking Jew spies that pose as American Liberals!”

“The face is the face of my reasonably competent son, Philip, but the voice is the voice of the Jew-baiter, Julius Streicher,” sighed Doremus.

The picnic ground was among a Stonehenge of gray and lichen-painted rocks, fronting a birch grove high up on Mount Terror, on the upland farm of Doremus’s cousin, Henry Veeder, a solid, reticent Vermonter of the old days. They looked through a distant mountain gap to the faint mercury of Lake Champlain and, across it, the bulwark of the Adirondacks.

Davy Greenhill and his hero, Buck Titus, wrestled in the hardy pasture grass. Philip and Dr. Fowler Greenhill, Doremus’s son-in-law (Phil plump and half bald at thirty-two; Fowler belligerently red-headed and red-mustached) argued about the merits of the autogiro. Doremus lay with his head against a rock, his cap over his eyes, gazing down into the paradise of Beulah Valley, he could not have sworn to it, but he rather thought he saw an angel floating in the radiant upper air above the valley. The women, Emma and Mary Greenhill, Sissy and Philip’s wife and Lorinda Pike, were setting out the picnic lunch, a pot of beans with crisp salt pork, fried chicken, potatoes warmed-over with croutons, tea biscuits, crabapple jelly, salad, raisin pie, on a red-and-white tablecloth spread on a flat rock.

But for the parked motorcars, the scene might have been New England in 1885, and you could see the women in chip hats and tight-bodiced, high-necked frocks with bustles; the men in straw boaters with dangling ribbons and adorned with side-whiskers, Doremus’s beard not clipped, but flowing like a bridal veil. When Dr. Greenhill fetched down Cousin Henry Veeder, a bulky yet shy enough pre-Ford farmer in clean, faded overalls, then was Time again unbought, secure, serene.

And the conversation had a comfortable triviality, an affectionate Victorian dullness. However Doremus might fret about “conditions,” however skittishly Sissy might long for the presence of her beaux, Julian Falck and Malcolm Tasbrough, there was nothing modern and neurotic, nothing savoring of Freud, Adler, Marx, Bertrand Russell, or any other divinity of the 1930’s, when Mother Emma chattered to Mary and Merilla about her rose bushes that had “winter-killed,” and the new young maples that the field mice had gnawed, and the difficulty of getting Shad Ledue to bring in enough fireplace wood, and how Shad gorged pork chops and fried potatoes and pie at lunch, which he ate at the Jessups’.

And the View. The women talked about the View as honeymooners once talked at Niagara Falls.

David and Buck Titus were playing ship, now, on a rearing rock, it was the bridge, and David was Captain Popeye, with Buck his bosun; and even Dr. Greenhill, that impetuous crusader who was constantly infuriating the county board of health by reporting the slovenly state of the poor farm and the stench in the county jail, was lazy in the sun and with the greatest of concentration kept an unfortunate little ant running back and forth on a twig. His wife Mary, the golfer, the runner-up in state tennis tournaments, the giver of smart but not too bibulous cocktail parties at the country club, the wearer of smart brown tweeds with a green scarf, seemed to have dropped gracefully back into the domesticity of her mother, and to consider as a very weighty thing a recipe for celery-and-roquefort sandwiches on toasted soda crackers. She was the handsome Older Jessup Girl again, back in the white house with the mansard roof.

And Foolish, lying on his back with his four paws idiotically flopping, was the most pastorally old-fashioned of them all.

The only serious flare of conversation was when Buck Titus snarled to Doremus: “Certainly a lot of Messiahs pottin’ at you from the bushes these days, Buzz Windrip and Bishop Prang and Father Coughlin and Dr. Townsend (though he seems to have gone back to Nazareth) and Upton Sinclair and Rev. Frank Buchman and Bernarr Macfadden and Willum Randolph Hearst and Governor Talmadge and Floyd Olson and, Say, I swear the best Messiah in the whole show is this darky, Father Divine. He doesn’t just promise he’s going to feed the Under-privileged ten years from now, he hands out the fried drumsticks and gizzard right along with the Salvation. How about him for President?”

Out of nowhere appeared Julian Falck.

This young man, freshman in Amherst the past year, grandson of the Episcopal rector and living with the old man because his parents were dead, was in the eyes of Doremus the most nearly tolerable of Sissy’s suitors. He was Swede-blond and wiry, with a neat, small face and canny eyes. He called Doremus “sir,” and he had, unlike most of the radio-and-motor-hypnotized eighteen year olds in the Fort, read a book, and voluntarily read Thomas Wolfe and William Rollins, John Strachey and Stuart Chase and Ortega. Whether Sissy preferred him to Malcolm Tasbrough, her father did not know. Malcolm was taller and thicker than Julian, and he drove his own streamline De Soto, while Julian could only borrow his grandfather’s shocking old flivver.

Sissy and Julian bickered amiably about Alice Aylot’s skill in backgammon, and Foolish scratched himself in the sun.

But Doremus was not being pastoral. He was being anxious and scientific. While the others jeered, “When does Dad take his audition?” and “What’s he learning to be, a crooner or a hockey announcer?”, Doremus was adjusting the doubtful portable radio. Once he thought he was going to be with them in the Home Sweet Home atmosphere, for he tuned in on a program of old songs, and all of them, including Cousin Henry Veeder, who had a hidden passion for fiddlers and barn dances and parlor organs, hummed “Gaily the Troubadour” and “Maid of Athens” and “Darling Nelly Gray.” But when the announcer informed them that these ditties were being sponsored by Toily Oily, the Natural Home Cathartic, and that they were being rendered by a sextette of young males horribly called “The Smoothies,” Doremus abruptly shut them off.

“Why, what’s the matter, Dad?” cried Sissy. “‘Smoothies’! God! This country deserves what it’s going to get!” snapped Doremus. “Maybe we need a Buzz Windrip!”

The moment, then, it should have been announced by cathedral chimes, of the weekly address of Bishop Paul Peter Prang.

Coming from an airless closet, smelling of sacerdotal wollen union suits, in Persepolis, Indiana, it leapt to the farthest stars; it circled the world at 186,000 miles a second, a million miles while you stopped to scratch. It crashed into the cabin of a whaler on a dark polar sea; into an office, paneled with linen-fold oak looted from a Nottinghamshire castle, on the sixty-seventh story of a building on Wall Street; into the foreign office in Tokio; into the rocky hollow below the shining birches upon Mount Terror, in Vermont.

Bishop Prang spoke, as he usually did, with a grave kindliness, a virile resonance, which made his self, magically coming to them on the unseen aerial pathway, at once dominating and touched with charm; and whatever his purposes might be, his words were on the side of the Angels:

“Oh ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves together to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem. . . . Prepare ye war . . . arise and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out. Arise, and let us go by night and let us destroy her palaces. . . . I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding it in; I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together; for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days. . . . I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of this land, saith the Lord. For from the least of them even unto the greatest, every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest, every one dealeth falsely . . . saying Peace, Peace, when there is no Peace!’

So spake the Book, of old. . . . But it was spoken also to America, of 1936!

There is no Peace! For more than a year now, the League of Forgotten Men has warned the politicians, the whole government, that we are sick unto death of being the Dispossessed, and that, at last, we are more than fifty million strong; no whimpering horde, but with the will, the voices, the votes to enforce our sovereignty! We have in no uncertain way informed every politician that we demand, that we demand, certain measures, and that we will brook no delay. Again and again we have demanded that both the control of credit and the power to issue money be unqualifiedly taken away from the private banks; that the soldiers not only receive the bonus they with their blood and anguish so richly earned in ‘17 and ‘18, but that the amount agreed upon be now doubled; that all swollen incomes be severely limited and inheritances cut to such small sums as may support the heirs only in youth and in old age; that labor and farmers’ unions be not merely recognized as instruments for joint bargaining but be made, like the syndicates in Italy, official parts of the government, representing the toilers; and that International Jewish Finance and, equally, International Jewish Communism and Anarchism and Atheism be, with all the stern solemnity and rigid inflexibility this great nation can show, barred from all activity.

Those of you who have listened to me before will understand that I, or rather that the League of Forgotten Men, has no quarrel with individual Jews; that we are proud to have Rabbis among our directors; but those subversive international organizations which, unfortunately, are so largely Jewish, must be driven with whips and scorpions from off the face of the earth.

These demands we have made, and how long now, 0 Lord, how long, have the politicians and the smirking representatives of Big Business pretended to listen, to obey? ‘Yes, yes my masters of the League of Forgotten Men, yes, we understand, just give us time!’ “There is no more time! Their time is over and all their unholy power!

The conservative Senators, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the giant bankers, the monarchs of steel and motors and electricity and coal, the brokers and the holding companies, they are all of them like the Bourbon kings, of whom it was said that ‘they forgot nothing and they learned nothing.’

But they died upon the guillotine!

Perhaps we can be more merciful to our Bourbons. Perhaps, perhaps we can save them from the guillotine, the gallows, the swift firing-squad. Perhaps we shall, in our new régime, under our new Constitution, with our ‘New Deal’ that really will be a New Deal and not an arrogant experiment, perhaps we shall merely make these big bugs of finance and politics sit on hard chairs, in dingy offices, toiling unending hours with pen and typewriter as so many white-collar slaves for so many years have toiled for them!

“It is, as Senator Berzelius Windrip puts it, ‘the zero hour,’ now, this second. We have stopped bombarding the heedless ears of these false masters. We’re ‘going over the top.’ At last, after months and months of taking counsel together, the directors of the League of Forgotten Men, and I myself, announce that in the coming Democratic national convention we shall, without one smallest reservation-”

“Listen! Listen! History being made!” Doremus cried at his heedless family.

“-use the tremendous strength of the millions of League members to secure the Democratic presidential nomination for Senator Berzelius Windrip, which means, flatly, that he will be elected, and that we of the League shall elect him, as President of these United States! “His program and that of the League do not in all details agree. But he has implicitly pledged himself to take our advice, and, at least until election, we shall back him, absolute, with our money, with our loyalty, with our votes . . . with our prayers. And may the Lord guide him and us across the desert of iniquitous politics and swinishly grasping finance into the golden glory of the Promised Land! God bless you!

Mrs. Jessup said cheerily, “Why, Dormouse, that bishop isn’t a Fascist at all, he’s a regular Red Radical. But does this announcement of his mean anything, really?”

Oh, well, Doremus reflected, he had lived with Emma for thirty-four years, and not oftener than once or twice a year had he wanted to murder her. Blandly he said, “Why, nothing much except that in a couple of years now, on the ground of protecting us, the Buzz Windrip dictatorship will be regimenting everything, from where we may pray to what detective stories we may read.”

“Sure he will! Sometimes I’m tempted to turn Communist! Funny-me with my fat-headed old Hudson-RiverValley Dutch ancestors!” marveled Julian Falck.

“Fine idea! Out of the frying pan of Windrip and Hitler into the fire of the New York Daily Worker and Stalin and automatics! And the Five Year Plan, I suppose they’d tell me that it’s been decided by the Commissar that each of my mares is to bear six colts a year now!” snorted Buck Titus; while Dr. Fowler Greenhill jeered:

“Aw, shoot, Dad and you too, Julian, you young paranoiac, you’re monomaniacs! Dictatorship? Better come into the office and let me examine your heads! Why, America’s the only free nation on earth. Besides! Country’s too big for a revolution. No, no! Couldn’t happen here!”

-6-

“I’d rather follow a wild-eyed anarchist like Em Goldman, if they’d bring more johnnycake and beans and spuds into the humble cabin of the Common Man, than a twenty-four-carat, college-graduate, excabinet-member statesman that was just interested in our turning out more limousines. Call me a socialist or any blame thing you want to, as long as you grab hold of the other end of the crosscut saw with me and help slash the big logs of Poverty and Intolerance to pieces.”

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

His family, at least his wife and the cook, Mrs. Candy, and Sissy and Mary, Mrs. Fowler Greenhill, believed that Doremus was of fickle health; that any cold would surely turn into pneumonia; that he must wear his rubbers, and eat his porridge, and smoke fewer cigarettes, and never “overdo.” He raged at them; he knew that though he did get staggeringly tired after a crisis in the office, a night’s sleep made him a little dynamo again, and he could “turn out copy” faster than his spryest young reporter.

He concealed his dissipations from them like any small boy from his elders; lied unscrupulously about how many cigarettes he smoked; kept concealed a flask of Bourbon from which he regularly had one nip, only one, before he padded to bed; and when he had promised to go to sleep early, he turned off his light till he was sure that Emma was slumbering, then turned it on and happily read till two, curled under the well loved hand-woven blankets from a loom up on Mount Terror; his legs twitching like a dreaming setter’s what time the Chief Inspector of the C.I.D., alone and unarmed, walked into the counterfeiters’ hideout. And once a month or so he sneaked down to the kitchen at three in the morning and made himself coffee and washed up everything so that Emma and Mrs. Candy would never know. . . . He thought they never knew!

These small deceptions gave him the ripest satisfaction in a life otherwise devoted to public service, to trying to make Shad Ledue edge-up the flower beds, to feverishly writing editorials that would excite 3 per cent of his readers from breakfast time till noon and by 6 PM. be eternally forgotten.

Sometimes when Emma came to loaf beside him in bed on a Sunday morning and put her comfortable arm about his thin shoulder-blades, she was sick with the realization that he was growing older and more frail. His shoulders, she thought, were pathetic as those of an anemic baby. . . . That sadness of hers Doremus never guessed.

Even just before the paper went to press, even when Shad Ledue took off two hours and charged an item of two dollars to have the lawnmower sharpened, instead of filing it himself, even when Sissy and her gang played the piano downstairs till two on nights when he did not want to lie awake, Doremus was never irritable-except, usually, between arising and the first life-saving cup of coffee.

The wise Emma was happy when he was snappish before breakfast. It meant that he was energetic and popping with satisfactory ideas.

After Bishop Prang had presented the crown to Senator Windrip, as the summer hobbled nervously toward the national political conventions, Emma was disturbed. For Doremus was silent before breakfast, and he had rheumy eyes, as though he was worried, as though he had slept badly. Never was he cranky. She missed hearing him croaking, “Isn’t that confounded idiot, Mrs. Candy, ever going to bring in the coffee? I suppose she’s sitting there reading her Testament! And will you be so kind as to tell me, my good woman, why Sissy never gets up for breakfast, even after the rare nights when she goes to bed at 1 A.M.? And-and will you look out at that walk! Covered with dead blossoms. That swine Shad hasn’t swept it for a week. I swear, I am going to fire him, and right away, this morning!”

Emma would have been happy to hear these familiar animal sounds, and to cluck in answer, “Oh, why, that’s terrible! I’ll go tell Mrs. Candy to hustle in the coffee right away!”

But he sat unspeaking, pale, opening his Daily Informer as though he were afraid to see what news had come in since he had left the office at ten.

When Doremus, back in the 1920’s, had advocated the recognition of Russia, Fort Beulah had fretted that he was turning out-and-out Communist.

He, who understood himself abnormally well, knew that far from being a left-wing radical, he was at most a mild, rather indolent and somewhat sentimental Liberal, who disliked pomposity, the heavy humor of public men, and the itch for notoriety which made popular preachers and eloquent educators and amateur play-producers and rich lady reformers and rich lady sportswomen and almost every brand of rich lady come preeningly in to see newspaper editors, with photographs under their arms, and on their faces the simper of fake humility. But for all cruelty and intolerance, and for the contempt of the fortunate for the unfortunate, he had not mere dislike but testy hatred.

He had alarmed all his fellow editors in northern New England by asserting the innocence of Tom Mooney, questioning the guilt of Sacco and Vanzetti, condemning our intrusion in Haiti and Nicaragua, advocating an increased income tax, writing, in the 1932 campaign, a friendly account of the Socialist candidate, Norman Thomas (and afterwards, to tell the truth, voting for Franklin Roosevelt), and stirring up a little local and ineffective hell regarding the serfdom of the Southern sharecroppers and the California fruit-pickers. He even suggested editorially that when Russia had her factories and railroads and giant farms really going, say, in 1945, she might conceivably be the pleasantest country in the world for the (mythical!) Average Man. When he wrote that editorial, after a lunch at which he had been irritated by the smug croaking of Frank Tasbrough and R. C. Crowley, he really did get into trouble. He got named Bolshevik, and in two days his paper lost a hundred and fifty out of its five thousand circulation.

Yet he was as little of a Bolshevik as Herbert Hoover.

He was, and he knew it, a small-town bourgeois Intellectual. Russia forbade everything that made his toil worth enduring: privacy, the right to think and to criticize as he freakishly pleased. To have his mind policed by peasants in uniform, rather than that he would live in an Alaska cabin, with beans and a hundred books and a new pair of pants every three years.

Once, on a motor trip with Emma, he stopped in at a summer camp of Communists. Most of them were City College Jews or neat Bronx dentists, spectacled, and smooth-shaven except for foppish small mustaches. They were hot to welcome these New England peasants and to explain the Marxian gospel (on which, however, they furiously differed). Over macaroni and cheese in an unpainted dining shack, they longed for the black bread of Moscow. Later, Doremus chuckled to find how much they resembled the Y.M.C.A. campers twenty miles down the highway-equally Puritanical, hortatory, and futile, and equally given to silly games with rubber balls.

Once only had he been dangerously active. He had supported the strike for union recognition against the quarry company of Francis Tasbrough. Men whom Doremus had known for years, solid cits like Superintendent of Schools Emil Staubmeyer, and Charley Betts of the furniture store, had muttered about “riding him out of town on a rail.” Tasbrough reviled him, even now, eight years later. After all this, the strike had been lost, and the strike leader, an avowed Communist named Karl Pascal, had gone to prison for “inciting to violence.” When Pascal, best of mechanics, came out, he went to work in a littered little Fort Beulah garage owned by a friendly, loquacious, belligerent Polish Socialist named John Pollikop.

All day long Pascal and Pollikop yelpingly raided each other’s trenches in the battle between Social Democracy and Communism, and Doremus often dropped in to stir them up. That was hard for Tasbrough, Staubmeyer, Banker Crowley, and Lawyer Kitterick to bear.

If Doremus had not come from three generations of debt-paying Vermonters, he would by now have been a penniless wandering printer . . . and possibly less detached about the Sorrows of the Dispossessed.

The conservative Emma complained: “How you can tease people this way, pretending you really like greasy mechanics like this Pascal (and I suspect you even have a sneaking fondness for Shad Ledue!) when you could just associate with decent, prosperous people like Frank, it’s beyond me! What they must think of you, sometimes! They don’t understand that you’re really not a Socialist one bit, but really a nice, kind hearted, responsible man. Oh, I ought to smack you, Dormouse!”

Not that he liked being called “Dormouse.” But then, no one did so except Emma and, in rare slips of the tongue, Buck Titus. So it was endurable.

-7-

“When I am protestingly dragged from my study and the family hearthside into the public meetings that I so much detest, I try to make my speech as simple and direct as those of the Child Jesus talking to the Doctors in the Temple.”

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

Thunder in the mountains, clouds marching down the Beulah Valley, unnatural darkness covering the world like black fog, and lightning that picked out ugly scarps of the hills as though they were rocks thrown up in an explosion.

To such fury of the enraged heavens, Doremus awakened on that morning of late July.

As abruptly as one who, in the death cell, startles out of sleep to the realization, “Today they’ll hang me!” he sat up, bewildered, as he reflected that today Senator Berzelius Windrip would probably be nominated for President.

The Republican convention was over, with Walt Trowbridge as presidential candidate. The Democratic convention, meeting in Cleveland, with a good deal of gin, strawberry soda, and sweat, had finished the committee reports, the kind words said for the Flag, the assurances to the ghost of Jefferson that he would be delighted by what, if Chairman Jim Farley consented, would be done here this week. They had come to the nominations, Senator Windrip had been nominated by Colonel Dewey Haik, Congressman, and power in the American Legion. Gratifying applause and hasty elimination had greeted such Favorite Sons of the several states as Al Smith, Carter Glass, William McAdoo, and Cordell Hull. Now, on the twelfth ballot, there were four contestants left, and they, in order of votes, were Senator Windrip, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Senator Robinson of Arkansas, and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins.

Great and dramatic shenanigans had happened, and Doremus Jessup’s imagination had seen them all clearly as they were reported by the hysterical radio and by bulletins from the AP. that fell redhot and smoking upon his desk at the Informer office.

In honor of Senator Robinson, the University of Arkansas brass band marched in behind a leader riding in an old horse-drawn buggy which was plastered with great placards proclaiming “Save the Constitution” and “Robinson for Sanity.” The name of Miss Perkins had been cheered for two hours, while the delegates marched with their state banners, and President Roosevelt’s name had been cheered for three, cheered affectionately and quite homicidally, since every delegate knew that Mr. Roosevelt and Miss Perkins were far too lacking in circus tinsel and general clownishness to succeed at this critical hour of the nation’s hysteria, when the electorate wanted a ringmaster revolutionist like Senator Windrip.

Windrip’s own demonstration, scientifically worked up beforehand by his secretary-press-agent-private philosopher, Lee Sarason, yielded nothing to others’. For Sarason had read his Chesterton well enough to know that there is only one thing bigger than a very big thing, and that is a thing so very small that it can be seen and understood.

When Colonel Dewey Haik put Buzz’s name in nomination, the Colonel wound up by shouting, “One thing more! Listen! It is the special request of Senator Windrip that you do not waste the time of this history making assembly by any cheering of his name, any cheering whatever. We of the League of Forgotten Men (yes and Women!) don’t want empty acclaim, but a solemn consideration of the desperate and immediate needs of 60 per cent of the population of the United States. No cheers, but may Providence guide us in the most solemn thinking we have ever done!”

As he finished, down the center aisle came a private procession. But this was no parade of thousands. There were only thirty one persons in it, and the only banners were three flags and two large placards.

Leading it, in old blue uniforms, were two G.A.R. veterans, and between, arm-in-arm with them, a Confederate in gray. They were such very little old men, all over ninety, leaning one on another and glancing timidly about in the hope that no one would laugh at them.

The Confederate carried a Virginia regimental banner, torn as by shrapnel; and one of the Union veterans lifted high a slashed flag of the First Minnesota.

The dutiful applause which the convention had given to the demonstrations of other candidates had been but rain-patter compared with the tempest which greeted the three shaky, shuffling old men. On the platform the band played, inaudibly, “Dixie,” then “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,” and, standing on his chair midway of the auditorium, as a plain member of his state delegation, Buzz Windrip bowed-bowed-bowed and tried to smile, while tears started from his eyes and he sobbed helplessly, and the audience began to sob with him.

Following the old men were twelve Legionnaires, wounded in 1918, stumbling on wooden legs, dragging themselves between crutches; one in a wheel chair, yet so young looking and gay; and one with a black mask before what should have been a face. Of these, one carried an enormous flag, and another a placard demanding: “Our Starving Families Must Have the Bonus, We Want Only Justice, We Want Buzz for President.”

And leading them, not wounded, but upright and strong and resolute, was Major General Hermann Meinecke, United States Army. Not in all the memory of the older reporters had a soldier on active service ever appeared as a public political agitator. The press whispered one to another, “That general’ll get canned, unless Buzz is elected, then he’d probably be made Duke of Hoboken.”

Following the soldiers were ten men and women, their toes through their shoes, and wearing rags that were the more pitiful because they had been washed and rewashed till they had lost all color. With them tottered four pallid children, their teeth rotted out, between them just managing to hold up a placard declaring, “We Are on Relief. We Want to Become Human Beings Again. We Want Buzz!”

Twenty feet behind came one lone tall man. The delegates had been craning around to see what would follow the relief victims. When they did see, they rose, they bellowed, they clapped. For the lone man, few of the crowd had seen him in the flesh; all of them had seen him a hundred times in press pictures, photographed among litters of books in his study, photographed in conference with President Roosevelt and Secretary Ickes, photographed shaking hands with Senator Windrip, photographed before a microphone, his shrieking mouth a dark open trap and his lean right arm thrown up in hysterical emphasis; all of them had heard his voice on the radio till they knew it as they knew the voices of their own brothers; all of them recognized, coming through the wide main entrance, at the end of the Windrip parade, the apostle of the Forgotten Men, Bishop Paul Peter Prang.

Then the convention cheered Buzz Windrip for four unbroken hours.

In the detailed descriptions of the convention which the news bureaus sent following the feverish first bulletins, one energetic Birmingham reporter pretty well proved that the Southern battle flag carried by the Confederate veteran had been lent by the museum in Richmond and the Northern flag by a distinguished meat-packer of Chicago who was the grandson of a Civil War general.

Lee Sarason never told anyone save Buzz Windrip that both flags had been manufactured on Hester Street, New York, in 1929, for the patriotic drama, Morgan’s Riding, and that both came from a theatrical warehouse.

Before the cheering, as the Windrip parade neared the platform, they were greeted by Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch, the celebrated author, lecturer, and composer, who, suddenly conjured onto the platform as if whisked out of the air, sang to the tune of “Yankee Doodle” words which she herself had written:

Berzelius Windrip went to Wash., A riding on a hobby, To throw Big Business out, by Gosh, And be the People’s Lobby! Chorus:

Buzz and buzz and keep it up,

Our cares and needs he’s toting,

You are a most ungrateful pup,

Unless for Buzz you’re voting!

The League of the Forgotten Men Don’t like to be forgotten,

They went to Washington and then They sang, ”There’s something rotten!”

That joyous battle song was sung on the radio by nineteen different prima donnas before midnight, by some sixteen million less vocal Americans within forty-eight hours, and by at least ninety million friends and scoffers in the struggle that was to come. All through the campaign, Buzz Windrip was able to get lots of jolly humor out of puns on going to Wash., and to wash. Walt Trowbridge, he jeered, wasn’t going to either of them!

Yet Lee Sarason knew that in addition to this comic masterpiece, the cause of Windrip required an anthem more elevated in thought and spirit, befitting the seriousness of crusading Americans.

Long after the convention’s cheering for Windrip had ended and the delegates were again at their proper business of saving the nation and cutting one another’s throats, Sarason had Mrs. Gimmitch sing a more inspirational hymn, with words by Sarason himself, in collaboration with a quite remarkable surgeon, one Dr. Hector Macgoblin.

This Dr. Macgoblin, soon to become a national monument, was as accomplished in syndicated medical journalism, in the reviewing of books about education and psychoanalysis, in preparing glosses upon the philosophies of Hegel, Professor Guenther, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, and Lothrop Stoddard, in the rendition of Mozart on the violin, in semi-professional boxing, and in the composition of epic poetry, as he was in the practice of medicine.

Dr. Macgoblin! What a man!

The Sarason-Macgoblin ode, entitled “Bring Out the Old-time Musket,” became to Buzz Windrip’s band of liberators what “Giovanezza” was to the Italians, “The Horst Wessel Song” to the Nazis, “The International” to all Marxians. Along with the convention, the radio millions heard Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch’s contralto, rich as peat, chanting:

BRING OUT THE OLD-TIME MUSKET Dear Lord, we have sinned, we have slumbered, And our flag lies stained in the dust, And the souls of the Past are calling, culling, ”Arise from your sloth-you must!” Lead us, O soul of Lincoln, Inspire us, spirit of Lee, To rule all the world for righteousness, To fight for the right, To awe with our might, As we did in ’sixty-three. Chorus See, youth with desire hot glowing, See, maiden, with fearless eye, Leading our ranks Thunder the tanks, Aeroplanes cloud the sky. Bring out the old-time musket, Rouse up the old-time fire! See, all the world is crumbling, Dreadful and dark and dire. America! Rise and conquer The world to our heart’s desire!

”Great Showmanship. P. T. Barnum or Flo Ziegfeld never put on a better,” mused Doremus, as he studied the AP. flimsies, as he listened to the radio he had had temporarily installed in his office. And, much later: “When Buzz gets in, he won’t be having any parade of wounded soldiers. That’ll be bad Fascist psychology. All those poor devils he’ll hide away in institutions, and just bring out the lively young human slaughter cattle in uniforms. Hm.”

The thunderstorm, which had mercifully lulled, burst again in wrathful menace.

All afternoon the convention balloted, over and over, with no change in the order of votes for the presidential candidate. Toward six, Miss Perkins’s manager threw her votes to Roosevelt, who gained then on Senator Windrip. They seemed to have settled down to an all night struggle, and at ten in the evening Doremus wearily left the office. He did not, tonight, want the sympathetic and extremely feminized atmosphere of his home, and he dropped in at the rectory of his friend Father Perefixe. There he found a satisfyingly unfeminized, untalcumized group. The Reverend Mr. Falck was there. Swart, sturdy young Perefixe and silvery old Falck often worked together, were fond of each other, and agreed upon the advantages of clerical celibacy and almost every other doctrine except the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome. With them were Buck Titus, Louis Rotenstern, Dr. Fowler Greenhill, and Banker Crowley, a financier who liked to cultivate an appearance of free intellectual discussion, though only after the hours devoted to refusing credit to desperate farmers and storekeepers.

And not to be forgotten was Foolish the dog, who that thunderous morning had suspected his master’s worry, followed him to the office, and all day long had growled at Haik and Sarason and Mrs. Gimmitch on the radio and showed an earnest conviction that he ought to chew up all flimsies reporting the convention.

Better than his own glacial white-paneled drawing room with its portraits of dead Vermont worthies, Doremus liked Father Perefixe’s little study, and its combination of churchliness, of freedom from Commerce (at least ordinary Commerce), as displayed in a crucifix and a plaster statuette of the Virgin and a shrieking red-and-green Italian picture of the Pope, with practical affairs, as shown in the oak roll-top desk and steel filing-cabinet and wellworn portable typewriter. It was a pious hermit’s cave with the advantages of leather chairs and excellent rye highballs.

The night passed as the eight of them (for Foolish too had his tipple of milk) all sipped and listened; the night passed as the convention balloted, furiously, unavailingly . . . that congress six hundred miles away, six hundred miles of befogged night, yet with every speech, every derisive yelp, coming into the priest’s cabinet in the same second in which they were heard in the hall at Cleveland.

Father Perefixe’s housekeeper (who was sixty-five years old to his thirty-nine, to the disappointment of all the scandal-loving local Protestants) came in with scrambled eggs, cold beer.

“When my dear wife was still among us, she used to send me to bed at midnight,” sighed Dr. Falck.

“My wife does now!” said Doremus.

“So does mine, and her a New York girl!” said Louis Rotenstern.

“Father Steve, here, and I are the only guys with a sensible way of living,” crowed Buck Titus. “Celibates. We can go to bed with our pants on, or not go to bed at all,” and Father Perefixe murmured, “But it’s curious, Buck, what people find to boast of, you that you’re free of God’s tyranny and also that you can go to bed in your pants, Mr. Falck and Dr. Greenhill and I that God is so lenient with us that some nights He lets us off from sick-calls and we can go to bed with ‘em off! And Louis because… Listen! Listen! Sounds like business!”

Colonel Dewey Haik, Buzz’s proposer, was announcing that Senator Windrip felt it would be only modest of him to go to his hotel now, but he had left a letter which he, Haik, would read. And he did read it, inexorably.

Windrip stated that, just in case anyone did not completely understand his platform, he wanted to make it all ringingly clear.

Summarized, the letter explained that he was all against the banks but all for the bankers, except the Jewish bankers, who were to be driven out of finance entirely; that he had thoroughly tested (but unspecified) plans to make all wages very high and the prices of everything produced by these same highly paid workers very low; that he was 100 per cent for Labor, but 100 per cent against all strikes; and that he was in favor of the United States so arming itself, so preparing to produce its own coffee, sugar, perfumes, tweeds, and nickel instead of importing them, that it could defy the World . . . and maybe, if that World was so impertinent as to defy America in turn, Buzz hinted, he might have to take it over and run it properly.

Each moment the brassy importunities of the radio seemed to Doremus the more offensive, while the hillside slept in the heavy summer night, and he thought about the mazurka of the fireflies, the rhythm of crickets like the rhythm of the revolving earth itself, the voluptuous breezes that bore away the stink of cigars and sweat and whisky breaths and mint chewing-gum that seemed to come to them from the convention over the sound waves, along with the oratory.

It was after dawn, and Father Perefixe (unclerically stripped to shirt-sleeves and slippers) had just brought them in a grateful tray of onion soup, with a gob of Hamburg steak for Foolish, when the opposition to Buzz collapsed and hastily, on the next ballot, Senator Berzelius Windrip was nominated as Democratic Candidate for President of the United States.

Doremus, Buck Titus, Perefixe, and Falck were for a time too gloomy for speech, so possibly was the dog Foolish, as well, for at the turning off of the radio he tailthumped in only the most tentative way.

R. C. Crowley gloated, “Well, all my life I’ve voted Republican, but here’s a man that, well, I’m going to vote for Windrip!”

Father Perefixe said tartly, “And I’ve voted Democratic ever since I came from Canada and got naturalized, but this time I’m going to vote Republican. What about you fellows?”

Rotenstern was silent. He did not like Windrip’s reference to Jews. The ones he knew best, no, they were Americans! Lincoln was his tribal god too, he vowed.

“Me? I’ll vote for Walt Trowbridge, of course,” growled Buck.

“So will I,” said Doremus. “No! I won’t either! Trowbridge won’t have a chance. I think I’ll indulge in the luxury of being independent, for once, and vote Prohibition or the Battle-Creek bran-and-spinach ticket, or anything that makes some sense!”

It was after seven that morning when Doremus came home, and, remarkably enough, Shad Ledue, who was supposed to go to work at seven, was at work at seven. Normally he never left his bachelor shack in Lower Town till ten to eight, but this morning he was on the job, chopping kindling. (Oh yes, reflected Doremus-that probably explained it. Kindling-chopping, if practised early enough, would wake up everyone in the house.) Shad was tall and hulking; his shirt was sweat-stained; and as usual he needed a shave. Foolish growled at him. Doremus suspected that at some time he had been kicking Foolish. He wanted to honor Shad for the sweaty shirt, the honest toil, and all the rugged virtues, but even as a Liberal American Humanitarian, Doremus found it hard always to keep up the Longfellow’s-Village-Blacksmith-cum-Marx attitude consistently and not sometimes backslide into a belief that there must be some crooks and swine among the toilers as, notoriously, there were so shockingly many among persons with more than $3500 a year.

“WelI-been sitting up listening to the radio,” purred Doremus. “Did you know the Democrats have nominated Senator Windrip?”

“That so?” Shad growled.

“Yes. Just now. How you planning to vote?”

“Well now, I’ll tell you, Mr. Jessup.” Shad struck an attitude, leaning on his ax. Sometimes he could be quite pleasant and condescending, even to this little man who was so ignorant about coon hunting and the games of craps and poker.

“I’m going to vote for Buzz Windrip. He’s going to fix it so everybody will get four thousand bucks, immediate, and I’m going to start a chicken farm. I can make a bunch of money out of chickens! I’ll show some of these guys that think they’re so rich!”

“But, Shad, you didn’t have so much luck with chickens when you tried to raise ‘em in the shed back there. You, uh, I’m afraid you sort of let their water freeze up on ‘em in winter, and they all died, you remember.”

“Oh, them? So what! Heck! There was too few of ‘em. I’m not going to waste my time foolin’ with just a couple dozen chickens! When I get five-six thousand of ‘em to make it worth my while, then I’ll show you! You bet.” And, most patronizingly: “Buzz Windrip is OK.”

“I’m glad he has your imprimatur.”

“Huh?” said Shad, and scowled.

But as Doremus plodded up on the back porch he heard from Shad a faint derisive:

“O.K., Chief!”

-8-

“I don’t pretend to be a very educated man, except maybe educated in the heart, and in being able to feel for the sorrows and fear of every ornery fellow human being. Still and all, I’ve read the Bible through, from kiver to kiver, like my wife’s folks say down in Arkansas, some eleven times; I’ve read all the law books they’ve printed; and as to contemporaries, I don’t guess I’ve missed much of all the grand literature produced by Bruce Barton, Edgar Guest, Arthur Brisbane, Elizabeth Dilling, Walter Pitkin, and William Dudley Pelley.

This last gentleman I honor not only for his rattling good yarns, and his serious work in investigating life beyond the grave and absolutely proving that only a blind fool could fail to believe in Personal Immortality, but, finally, for his public-spirited and selfsacrificing work in founding the Silver Shirts. These true knights, even if they did not attain quite all the success they deserved, were one of our most noble and Galahad-like attempts to combat the sneaking, snaky, sinister, surreptitious, seditious plots of the Red Radicals and other sour brands of Bolsheviks that incessantly threaten the American standards of Liberty, High Wages, and Universal Security.

These fellows have Messages, and we haven’t got time for anything in literature except a straight, hard-hitting, heart-throbbing Message!”

-Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

During the very first week of his campaign, Senator Windrip clarified his philosophy by issuing his distinguished proclamation: “The Fifteen Points of Victory for the Forgotten Men.” The fifteen planks, in his own words (or maybe in Lee Sarason’s words, or Dewey Haik’s words), were these:

(1) All finance in the country, including banking, insurance, stocks and bonds and mortgages, shall be under the absolute control of a Federal Central Bank, owned by the government and conducted by a Board appointed by the President, which Board shall, without need of recourse to Congress for legislative authorization, be empowered to make all regulations governing finance. Thereafter, as soon as may be practicable, this said Board shall consider the nationalization and government ownership, for the Profit of the Whole People, of all mines, oilfields, water power, public utilities, transportation, and communication.

(2) The President shall appoint a commission, equally divided between manual workers, employers, and representatives of the Public, to determine which Labor Unions are qualified to represent the Workers; and report to the Executive, for legal action, all pretended labor organizations, whether “Company Unions,” or “Red Unions,” controlled by Communists and the socalled “Third International.” The duly recognized Unions shall be constituted Bureaus of the Government, with power of decision in all labor disputes. Later, the same investigation and official recognition shall be extended to farm organizations. In this elevation of the position of the Worker, it shall be emphasized that the League of Forgotten Men is the chief bulwark against the menace of destructive and un-American Radicalism.

(3) In contradistinction to the doctrines of Red Radicals, with their felonious expropriation of the arduously acquired possessions which insure to aged persons their security, this League and Party will guarantee Private Initiative and the Right to Private Property for all time.

(4) Believing that only under God Almighty, to Whom we render all homage, do we Americans hold our vast Power, we shall guarantee to all persons absolute freedom of religious worship, provided, however, that no atheist, agnostic, believer in Black Magic, nor any Jew who shall refuse to swear allegiance to the New Testament, nor any person of any faith who refuses to take the Pledge to the Flag, shall be permitted to hold any public office or to practice as a teacher, professor, lawyer, judge, or as a physician, except in the category of Obstetrics.

(5) Annual net income per person shall be limited to $500,000. No accumulated fortune may at any one time exceed $3,000,000 per person. No one person shall, during his entire lifetime, be permitted to retain an inheritance or various inheritances in total exceeding $2,000,000. All incomes or estates in excess of the sums named shall be seized by the Federal Government for use in Relief and in Administrative expenses.

(6) Profit shall be taken out of War by seizing all dividends over and above 6 per cent that shall be received from the manufacture, distribution, or sale, during wartime, of all arms, munitions, aircraft, ships, tanks, and all other things directly applicable to warfare, as well as from food, textiles, and all other supplies furnished to the American or to any allied army.

(7) Our armaments and the size of our military and naval establishments shall be consistently enlarged until they shall equal, but, since this country has no desire for foreign conquest of any kind, not surpass, in every branch of the forces of defense, the martial strength of any other single country or empire in the world. Upon inauguration, this League and Party shall make this its first obligation, together with the issuance of a firm proclamation to all nations of the world that our armed forces are to be maintained solely for the purpose of insuring world peace and amity.

(8) Congress shall have the sole right to issue money and immediately upon our inauguration it shall at least double the present supply of money, in order to facilitate the fluidity of credit.

(9) We cannot too strongly condemn the un-Christian attitude of certain otherwise progressive nations in their discriminations against the Jews, who have been among the strongest supporters of the League, and who will continue to prosper and to be recognized as fully Americanized, though only so long as they continue to support our ideals.

(10) All Negroes shall be prohibited from voting, holding public office, practicing law, medicine, or teaching in any class above the grade of grammar school, and they shall be taxed 100 per cent of all sums in excess of $10,000 per family per year which they may earn or in any other manner receive. In order, however, to give the most sympathetic aid possible to all Negroes who comprehend their proper and valuable place in society, all such colored persons, male or female, as can prove that they have devoted not less than forty-five years to such suitable tasks as domestic service, agricultural labor, and common labor in industries, shall at the age of sixty-five be permitted to appear before a special Board, composed entirely of white persons, and upon proof that while employed they have never been idle except through sickness, they shall be recommended for pensions not to exceed the sum of $500.00 per person per year, nor to exceed $700.00 per family. Negroes shall, by definition, be persons with at least one sixteenth colored blood.

(11) Far from opposing such high-minded and economically sound methods of the relief of poverty, unemployment, and old age as the EPIC plan of the Hon. Upton Sinclair, the “Share the Wealth” and “Every Man a King” proposals of the late Hon. Huey Long to assure every family $5000 a year, the Townsend plan, the Utopian plan, Technocracy, and all competent schemes of unemployment insurance, a Commission shall immediately be appointed by the New Administration to study, reconcile, and recommend for immediate adoption the best features in these several plans for Social Security, and the Hon. Messrs. Sinclair, Townsend, Eugene Reed, and Howard Scott are herewith invited to in every way advise and collaborate with that Commission.

(12) All women now employed shall, as rapidly as possible, except in such peculiarly feminine spheres of activity as nursing and beauty parlors, be assisted to return to their incomparably sacred duties as home-makers and as mothers of strong, honorable future Citizens of the Commonwealth.

(13) Any person advocating Communism, Socialism, or Anarchism, advocating refusal to enlist in case of war, or advocating alliance with Russia in any war whatsoever, shall be subject to trial for high treason, with a minimum penalty of twenty years at hard labor in prison, and a maximum of death on the gallows, or other form of execution which the judges may find convenient.

(14) All bonuses promised to former soldiers of any war in which America has ever engaged shall be immediately paid in full, in cash, and in all cases of veterans with incomes of less than $5,000.00 a year, the formerly promised sums shall be doubled.

(15) Congress shall, immediately upon our inauguration, initiate amendments to the Constitution providing (a), that the President shall have the authority to institute and execute all necessary measures for the conduct of the government during this critical epoch; (b), that Congress shall serve only in an advisory capacity, calling to the attention of the President and his aides and Cabinet any needed legislation, but not acting upon same until authorized by the President so to act; and (c), that the Supreme Court shall immediately have removed from its jurisdiction the power to negate, by ruling them to be unconstitutional or by any other judicial action, any or all acts of the President, his duly appointed aides, or Congress.

Addendum: It shall be strictly understood that, as the League of Forgotten Men and the Democratic Party, as now constituted, have no purpose nor desire to carry out any measure that shall not unqualifiedly meet with the desire of the majority of voters in these United States, the League and Party regard none of the above fifteen points as obligatory and unmodifiable except No. 15, and upon the others they will act or refrain from acting in accordance with the general desire of the Public, who shall under the new régime be again granted an individual freedom of which they have been deprived by the harsh and restrictive economic measures of former administrations, both Republican and Democratic.

“But what does it mean?” marveled Mrs. Jessup, when her husband had read the platform to her. “It’s so inconsistent. Sounds like a combination of Norman Thomas and Calvin Coolidge. I don’t seem to understand it. I wonder if Mr. Windrip understands it himself?”

“Sure. You bet he does. It mustn’t be supposed that because Windrip gets that intellectual dressmaker Sarason to prettify his ideas up for him he doesn’t recognize ‘em and clasp ‘em to his bosom when they’re dolled up in two-dollar words. I’ll tell you just what it all means: Articles One and Five mean that if the financiers and transportation kings and so on don’t come through heavily with support for Buzz they may be threatened with bigger income taxes and some control of their businesses. But they are coming through, I hear, handsomely -they’re paying for Buzz’s radio and his parades. Two, that by controlling their unions directly, Buzz’s gang can kidnap all Labor into slavery. Three backs up the security for Big Capital and Four brings the preachers into line as scared and unpaid press-agents for Buzz.

Six doesn’t mean anything at all, munition firms with vertical trusts will be able to wangle one 6 per cent on manufacture, one on transportation, and one on sales at least. Seven means we’ll get ready to follow all the European nations in trying to hog the whole world. Eight means that by inflation, big industrial companies will be able to buy their outstanding bonds back at a cent on the dollar, and Nine that all Jews who don’t cough up plenty of money for the robber baron will be punished, even including the Jews who haven’t much to cough up. Ten, that all well paying jobs and businesses held by Negroes will be grabbed by the Poor White Trash among Buzz’s worshipers, and that instead of being denounced they’ll be universally praised as patriotic protectors of Racial Purity. Eleven, that Buzz’ll be able to pass the buck for not creating any real relief for poverty. Twelve, that women will later lose the vote and the right to higher education and be foxed out of all decent jobs and urged to rear soldiers to be killed in foreign wars. Thirteen, that anybody who opposes Buzz in any way at all can be called a Communist and scragged for it. Why, under this clause, Hoover and Al Smith and Ogden Mills, yes, and you and me, will all be Communists.

Fourteen, that Buzz thinks enough of the support of the veterans’ vote to be willing to pay high for it, in other people’s money. And Fifteen, well, that’s the one lone clause that really does mean something; and it means that Windrip and Lee Sarason and Bishop Prang and I guess maybe this Colonel Dewey Haik and this Dr. Hector Macgoblin, you know, this doctor that helps write the high-minded hymns for Buzz, they’ve realized that this country has gone so flabby that any gang daring enough and unscrupulous enough, and smart enough not to seem illegal, can grab hold of the entire government and have all the power and applause and salutes, all the money and palaces and willin’ women they want.

They’re only a handful, but just think how small Lenin’s gang was at first, and Mussolini’s, and Hitler’s, and Kemal Pasha’s, and Napoleon’s! You’ll see all the liberal preachers and modernist educators and discontented newspapermen and farm agitators, maybe they’ll worry at first, but they’ll get caught up in the web of propaganda, like we all were in the Great War, and they’ll all be convinced that, even if our Buzzy maybe has got a few faults, he’s on the side of the plain people, and against all the tight old political machines, and they’ll rouse the country for him as the Great Liberator (and meanwhile Big Business will just wink and sit tight!) and then, by God, this crook, oh, I don’t know whether he’s more of a crook or an hysterical religious fanatic, along with Sarason and Haik and Prang and Macgoblin, these five men will be able to set up a regime that’ll remind you of Henry Morgan the pirate capturing a merchant ship.”

“But will Americans stand for it long?” whimpered Emma. “Oh, no, not people like us, the descendants of the pioneers!”

“Dunno. I’m going to try help see that they don’t. . . . Of course you understand that you and I and Sissy and Fowler and Mary will probably be shot if I do try to do anything. . . . Hm! I sound brave enough now, but probably I’ll be scared to death when I hear Buzz’s private troops go marching by!”

“Oh, you will be careful, won’t you?” begged Emma. “Oh. Before I forget it. How many times must I tell you, Dormouse, not to give Foolish chicken bones, they’ll stick in his poor throat and choke him to death. And you just never remember to take the keys out of the car when you put it in the garage at night! I’m perfectly sure Shad Ledue or somebody will steal it one of these nights!”

Father Stephen Perefixe, when he read the Fifteen Points, was considerably angrier than Doremus.

He snorted, “What? Negroes, Jews, women, they all banned and they leave us Catholics out, this time? Hitler didn’t neglect us. He’s persecuted us. Must be that Charley Coughlin. He’s made us too respectable!”

Sissy, who was eager to go to a school of architecture and become a creator of new styles in houses of glass and steel; Lorinda Pike, who had plans for a Carlsbad Vichy-Saratoga in Vermont; Mrs. Candy, who aspired to a home bakery of her own when she should be too old for domestic labor, they were all of them angrier than either Doremus or Father Perefixe.

Sissy sounded not like a flirtatious girl but like a battling woman as she snarled, “So the League of Forgotten Men is going to make us a League of Forgotten Women! Send us back to washing diapers and leaching out ashes for soap! Let us read Louisa May Alcott and Barnes, except on the Sabbath, of course! Let us sleep in humble gratitude with men-”

“Sissy!” wailed her mother.

“-like Shad Ledue! Well, Dad, you can sit right down and write Busy Berzelius for me that I’m going to England on the next boat!”

Mrs. Candy stopped drying the water glasses (with the soft dishtowels which she scrupulously washed out daily) long enough to croak, “What nasty men! I do hope they get shot soon,” which for Mrs. Candy was a startlingly long and humanitarian statement.

“Yes. Nasty enough. But what I’ve got to keep remembering is that Windrip is only the lightest cork on the whirlpool. He didn’t plot all this thing. With all the justified discontent there is against the smart politicians and the Plush Horses of Plutocracy, oh, if it hadn’t been one Windrip, it’d been another. . . . We had it coming, we Respectables. . . . But that isn’t going to make us like it!” thought Doremus.

-9-

To follow in part 3

The Collapse Of European Social Democracy, Part1 – Paul Sweeney.

Social Democracy is a political philosophy that supports intervention by the state in the economy and society to promote social justice. At its heart are Keynesian economics and the welfare state. SD favours a strong state over the market. SD used the power of the state to ensure that markets worked for all. It seeks progress by reform rather than by revolution within liberal democracies.

In 2000, Social Democrats or Socialists were part of government in ten out of the fifteen countries that then made up the European Union. In late 2018, they are in government in two states and in coalition governments in just 7 of the 28 member states.

Social Europe

Part 1. Make America Great Again? Fascism, It Can’t Happen Here. A Warning From The Past – Sinclair Lewis – (Chapters 1-4).

“All of America is serious now, after seven years of depression since 1929. People will think they’re electing him to create more economic security. Then watch the Terror! God knows there’s been enough indication that we can have tyranny in America.”

It Can’t Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis.

Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and “traditional” values.

After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a pIutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, in the manner of Adolf Hitler and the SS.

The novel’s plot centers on journalist Doremus Jessup’s opposition to the new regime and his subsequent struggle against it as part of a liberal rebellion.

-1-

The handsome dining room of the Hotel Wessex, with its gilded plaster shields and the mural depicting the Green Mountains, had been reserved for the Ladies’ Night Dinner of the Fort Beulah Rotary Club.

Here in Vermont the affair was not so picturesque as it might have been on the Western prairies. Oh, it had its points: there was a skit in which Medary Cole (grist mill & feed store) and Louis Rotenstern (custom tailoring, pressing & cleaning) announced that they were those historic Vermonters, Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, and with their jokes about imaginary plural wives they got in ever so many funny digs at the ladies present. But the occasion was essentially serious. All of America was serious now, after the seven years of depression since 1929. It was just long enough after the Great War of 1914-18 for the young people who had been born in 1917 to be ready to go to college . . . or to another war, almost any old war that might be handy.

The features of this night among the Rotarians were nothing funny, at least not obviously funny, for they were the patriotic addresses of Brigadier General Herbert Y. Edgeways, U.S.A. (ret.), who dealt angrily with the topic “Peace through Defense, Millions for Arms but Not One Cent for Tribute,” and of Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch, she who was no more renowned for her gallant antisuffrage campaigning way back in 1919 than she was for having, during the Great War, kept the American soldiers entirely out of French cafés by the clever trick of sending them ten thousand sets of dominoes.

Nor could any social-minded patriot sneeze at her recent somewhat unappreciated effort to maintain the purity of the American Home by barring from the motion picture industry all persons, actors or directors or cameramen, who had: (a) ever been divorced; (b) been born in any foreign country, except Great Britain, since Mrs. Gimmitch thought very highly of Queen Mary, or (c) declined to take an oath to revere the Flag, the Constitution, the Bible, and all other peculiarly American institutions.

The Annual Ladies’ Dinner was a most respectable gathering, the flower of Fort Beulah. Most of the ladies and more than half of the gentlemen wore evening clothes, and it was rumored that before the feast the inner circle had had cocktails, privily served in Room 289 of the hotel. The tables, arranged on three sides of a hollow square, were bright with candles, cut-glass dishes of candy and slightly tough almonds, figurines of Mickey Mouse, brass Rotary wheels, and small silk American flags stuck in gilded hard-boiled eggs. On the wall was a banner lettered “Service Before Self,” and the menu, the celery, cream of tomato soup, broiled haddock, chicken croquettes, peas, and tutti-frutti ice-cream, was up to the highest standards of the Hotel Wessex.

They were all listening, agape. General Edgeways was completing his manly yet mystical rhapsody on nationalism:

“. . . for these United States, alone among the great powers, have no desire for foreign conquest. Our highest ambition is to be darned well let alone! Our only genuine relationship to Europe is in our arduous task of having to try and educate the crass and ignorant masses that Europe has wished onto us up to something like a semblance of American culture and good manners. But, as I explained to you, we must be prepared to defend our shores against all the alien gangs of international racketeers that call themselves ‘governments,’ and that with such feverish envy are always eyeing our inexhaustible mines, our towering forests, our titanic and luxurious cities, our fair and far-flung fields.

For the first time in all history, a great nation must go on arming itself more and more, not for conquest, not for jealousy, not for war, but for peace! Pray God it may never be necessary, but if foreign nations don’t sharply heed our warning, there will, as when the proverbial dragon’s teeth were sowed, spring up an armed and fearless warrior upon every square foot of these United States, so arduously cultivated and defended by our pioneer fathers, whose sword-girded images we must be . . . or we shall perish!”

The applause was cyclonic. “Professor” Emil Staubmeyer, the superintendent of schools, popped up to scream, “Three cheers for the General-hip, hip, hooray!”

All the audience made their faces to shine upon the General and Mr. Staub Meyer, all save a couple of crank pacifist women, and one Doremus Jessup, editor of the Fort Beulah Daily Informer, locally considered “a pretty smart fella but kind of a cynic,” who whispered to his friend the Reverend Mr. Falck, “Our pioneer fathers did rather of a skimpy job in arduously cultivating some of the square feet in Arizona!”

The culminating glory of the dinner was the address of Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch, known throughout the country as “the Unkies’ Girl,” because during the Great War she had advocated calling our boys in the A.E.F. “the Unkies.” She hadn’t merely given them dominoes; indeed her first notion had been far more imaginative. She wanted to send to every soldier at the Front a canary in a cage. Think what it would have meant to them in the way of companionship and inducing memories of home and mother! A dear little canary! And who knows maybe you could train ‘em to hunt cooties!

Seething with the notion, she got herself clear into the office of the Quartermaster General, but that stuffy machine-minded official refused her (or, really, refused the poor lads, so lonely there in the mud), muttering in a cowardly way some foolishness about lack of transport for canaries. It is said that her eyes flashed real fire, and that she faced the Jack-in-office like Joan of Arc with eyeglasses while she “gave him a piece of her mind that he never forgot!”

In those good days women really had a chance. They were encouraged to send their menfolks, or anybody else’s menfolks, off to war. Mrs. Gimmitch addressed every soldier she met, and she saw to it that she met any of them who ventured within two blocks of her, as “My own dear boy.” It is fabled that she thus saluted a colonel of marines who had come up from the ranks and who answered, “We own dear boys are certainly getting a lot of mothers these days. Personally, I’d rather have a few more mistresses.” And the fable continues that she did not stop her remarks on the occasion, except to cough, for one hour and seventeen minutes, by the Colonel’s wrist watch.

But her social services were not all confined to prehistoric eras. It was as recently as 1935 that she had taken up purifying the films, and before that she had first advocated and then fought Prohibition. She had also (since the vote had been forced on her) been a Republican Committee woman. in 1932, and sent to President Hoover daily a lengthy telegram of advice.

And, though herself unfortunately childless, she was esteemed as a lecturer and writer about Child Culture, and she was the author of a volume of nursery lyrics, including the immortal couplet:

“All of the Roundics are resting in rows, With roundy-roundies around their toes.”

But always, 1917 or 1936, she was a raging member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The D.A.R. (reflected the cynic, Doremus Jessup, that evening) is a somewhat confusing organization, as confusing as Theosophy, Relativity, or the Hindu Vanishing Boy Trick, all three of which it resembles. It is composed of females who spend one half their waking hours boasting of being descended from the seditious American colonists of 1776, and the other and more ardent half in attacking all contemporaries who believe in precisely the principles for which those ancestors struggled.

The D.A.R. (reflected Doremus) has become as sacrosanct, as beyond criticism, as even the Catholic Church or the Salvation Army. And there is this to be said: it has provided hearty and innocent laughter for the judicious, since it has contrived to be just as ridiculous as the unhappily defunct Kuklux Klan, without any need of wearing, like the KKK, high dunces’ caps and public nightshirts.

So, whether Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch was called in to inspire military morale, or to persuade Lithuanian choral societies to begin their program with “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean,” always she was a D.A.R., and you could tell it as you listened to her with the Fort Beulah Rotarians on this happy May evening.

She was short, plump, and pert of nose. Her luxuriant gray hair (she was sixty now, just the age of the sarcastic editor, Doremus Jessup) could be seen below her youthful, floppy Leghorn hat; she wore a silk print dress with an enormous string of crystal beads, and pinned above her ripe bosom was an orchid among lilies of the valley. She was full of friendliness toward all the men present: she wriggled at them, she cuddled at them, as in a voice full of flute sounds and chocolate sauce she poured out her oration on “How You Boys Can Help Us Girls.”

Women, she pointed out, had done nothing with the vote. If the United States had only listened to her back in 1919 she could have saved them all this trouble. No. Certainly not. No votes. In fact, Woman must resume her place in the Home and: “As that great author and scientist, Mr. Arthur Brisbane, has pointed out, what every woman ought to do is to have six children.”

At this second there was a shocking, an appalling interruption.

One Lorinda Pike, widow of a notorious Unitarian preacher, was the manager of a country super-boarding house that called itself “The Beulah Valley Tavern.” She was a deceptively Madonna-like, youngish woman, with calm eyes, smooth chestnut hair parted in the middle, and a soft voice often colored with laughter. But on a public platform her voice became brassy, her eyes filled with embarrassing fury. She was the village scold, the village crank. She was constantly poking into things that were none of her business, and at town meetings she criticized every substantial interest in the whole county: the electric company’s rates, the salaries of the schoolteachers, the Ministerial Association’s high-minded censorship of books for the public library. Now, at this moment when everything should have been all Service and Sunshine, Mrs. Lorinda Pike cracked the spell by jeering: “Three cheers for Brisbane! But what if a poor gal can’t hook a man? Have her six kids out of wedlock?”

Then the good old war horse, Gimmitch, veteran of a hundred campaigns against subversive Reds, trained to ridicule out of existence the cant of Socialist hecklers and turn the laugh against them, swung into gallant action:

“My dear good woman, if a gal, as you call it, has any real charm and womanliness, she won’t have to ‘hook’ a man, she’ll find ‘em lined up ten deep on her doorstep!” (Laughter and applause.)

The lady hoodlum had merely stirred Mrs. Gimmitch into noble passion. She did not cuddle at them now. She tore into it:

“I tell you, my friends, the trouble with this whole country is that so many are selfish! Here’s a hundred and twenty million people, with ninety-five per cent of ‘em only thinking of self, instead of turning to and helping the responsible business men to bring back prosperity! All these corrupt and self-seeking labor unions! Money grubbers! Thinking only of how much wages they can extort out of their unfortunate employer, with all the responsibilities he has to bear!

“What this country needs is Discipline! Peace is a great dream, but maybe sometimes it’s only a pipe dream! I’m not so sure, now this will shock you, but I want you to listen to one woman who will tell you the unadulterated hard truth instead of a lot of sentimental taffy, and I’m not sure but that we need to be in a real war again, in order to learn Discipline! We don’t want all this highbrow intellectuality, all this book-learning. That’s good enough in its way, but isn’t it, after all, just a nice toy for grownups? No, what we all of us must have, if this great land is going to go on maintaining its high position among the Congress of Nations, is Discipline, Will Power, Character!” She turned prettily then toward General Edgeways and laughed:

“You’ve been telling us about how to secure peace, but come on, now, General, just among us Rotarians and Rotary Ann’s, ‘fess up! With your great experience, don’t you honest, cross-your-heart, think that perhaps, just maybe, when a country has gone money-mad, like all our labor unions and workmen, with their propaganda to hoist income taxes, so that the thrifty and industrious have to pay for the shiftless ne’er-do-weels, then maybe, to save their lazy souls and get some iron into them, a war might be a good thing? Come on, now, tell your real middle name, Mong General!”

Dramatically she sat down, and the sound of clapping filled the room like a cloud of downy feathers. The crowd bellowed, “Come on, General! Stand up!” and “She’s called your bluff, what you got?” or just a tolerant, “Attaboy, Gen!”

The General was short and globular, and his red face was smooth as a baby’s bottom and adorned with white gold framed spectacles. But he had the military snort and a virile chuckle.

“Well, sir!” he guffawed, on his feet, shaking a chummy forefinger at Mrs. Gimmitch, “since you folks are bound and determined to drag the secrets out of a poor soldier, I better confess that while I do abhor war, yet there are worse things. Ah, my friends, far worse! A state of socalled peace, in which labor organizations are riddled, as by plague germs, with insane notions out of anarchistic Red Russia! A state in which college professors, newspapermen, and notorious authors are secretly promulgating these same seditious attacks on the grand old Constitution! A state in which, as a result of being fed with these mental drugs, the People are flabby, cowardly, grasping, and lacking in the fierce pride of the warrior! No, such a state is far worse than war at its most monstrous!

“I guess maybe some of the things I said in my former speech were kind of a little bit obvious and what we used to call ‘old hat’ when my brigade was quartered in England. About the United States only wanting peace, and freedom from all foreign entanglements. No! What I’d really like us to do would be to come out and tell the whole world: ‘Now you boys never mind about the moral side of this. We have power, and power is its own excuse!’

“I don’t altogether admire everything Germany and Italy have done, but you’ve got to hand it to ‘em, they’ve been honest enough and realistic enough to say to the other nations, ‘Just tend to your own business, will you? We’ve got strength and will, and for whomever has those divine qualities it’s not only a right, it’s a duty, to use ‘em!’ Nobody in God’s world ever loved a weakling including that weakling himself!

“And I’ve got good news for you! This gospel of clean and aggressive strength is spreading everywhere in this country among the finest type of youth. Why today, in 1936, there’s less than 7 per cent of collegiate institutions that do not have military training units under discipline as rigorous as the Nazis, and where once it was forced upon them by the authorities, now it is the strong young men and women who themselves demand the right to be trained in warlike virtues and skill, for, mark you, the girls, with their instruction in nursing and the manufacture of gas masks and the like, are becoming every whit as zealous as their brothers. And all the really thinking type of professors are right with ‘em!

“Why, here, as recently as three years ago, a sickeningly big percentage of students were blatant pacifists, wanting to knife their own native land in the dark. But now, when the shameless fools and the advocates of Communism try to hold pacifist meetings, why, my friends, in the past five months, since January first, no less than seventy-six such exhibitionistic orgies have been raided by their fellow students, and no less than fifty-nine disloyal Red students have received their just deserts by being beaten up so severely that never again will they raise in this free country the bloodstained banner of anarchism! That, my friends, is NEWS!”

As the General sat down, amid ecstasies of applause, the village trouble maker, Mrs. Lorinda Pike, leaped up and again interrupted the love feast:

“Look here, Mr. Edgeways, if you think you can get away with this sadistic nonsense without …”

She got no farther. Francis Tasbrough, the quarry owner, the most substantial industrialist in Fort Beulah, stood grandly up, quieted Lorinda with an outstretched arm, and rumbled in his Jerusalem-the-Golden basso, “A moment please, my dear lady! All of us here locally have got used to your political principles. But as chairman, it is my unfortunate duty to remind you that General Edgeways and Mrs. Gimmitch have been invited by the club to address us, whereas you, if you will excuse my saying so, are not even related to any Rotarian but merely here as the guest of the Reverend Falck, than whom there is no one whom we more honor. So, if you will be so good, Ah, I thank you, madame!”

Lorinda Pike had slumped into her chair with her fuse still burning. Mr. Francis Tasbrough (it rhymed with “low”) did not slump; he sat like the Archbishop of Canterbury on the archiepiscopal throne.

And Doremus Jessup popped up to soothe them all, being an intimate of Lorinda, and having, since milkiest boyhood, chummed with and detested Francis Tasbrough.

This Doremus Jessup, publisher of the Daily Informer, for all that he was a competent business man and a writer of editorials not without wit and good New England earthiness, was yet considered the prime eccentric of Fort Beulah. He was on the school board, the library board, and he introduced people like Oswald Garrison Villard, Norman Thomas, and Admiral Byrd when they came to town lecturing.

Jessup was a littlish man, skinny, smiling, well tanned, with a small gray mustache, a small and well-trimmed gray beard, in a community where to sport a beard was to confess one’s self a farmer, a Civil War veteran, or a Seventh Day Adventist. Doremus’s detractors said that he maintained the beard just to be “highbrow” and “different,” to try to appear “artistic.” Possibly they were right. Anyway, he skipped up now and murmured:

“Well, all the birdies in their nest agree. My friend, Mrs. Pike, ought to know that freedom of speech becomes mere license when it goes so far as to criticize the Army, differ with the D.A.R., and advocate the rights of the Mob. So, Lorinda, I think you ought to apologize to the General, to whom we should be grateful for explaining to us what the ruling classes of the country really want. Come on now, my friend-jump up and make your excuses.”

He was looking down on Lorinda with sternness, yet Medary Cole, president of Rotary, wondered if Doremus wasn’t “kidding” them. He had been known to. Yes-no -he must be wrong, for Mrs. Lorinda Pike was (without rising) caroling, “Oh yes! I do apologize, General! Thank you for your revelatory speech!”

The General raised his plump hand (with a Masonic ring as well as a West Point ring on the sausage-shaped fingers); he bowed like Galahad or a head-waiter; he shouted with parade-ground maleness: “Not at all, not at all, madame! We old campaigners never mind a healthy scrap. Glad when anybody’s enough interested in our fool ideas to go and get sore at us, huh, huh, huh!”

And everybody laughed and sweetness reigned. The program wound up with Louis Rotenstern’s singing of a group of patriotic ditties: “Marching through Georgia” and “Tenting on the Old Campground” and “Dixie” and “Old Black Joe” and “I’m Only a Poor Cowboy and I Know I Done Wrong.”

Louis Rotenstern was by all of Fort Beulah classed as a “good fellow,” a caste just below that of “real, oldfashioned gentleman.” Doremus Jessup liked to go fishing with him, and partridge hunting; and he considered that no Fifth Avenue tailor could do anything tastier in the way of a seersucker outfit. But Louis was a jingo. He explained, and rather often, that it was not he nor his father who had been born in the ghetto in Prussian Poland, but his grandfather (whose name, Doremus suspected, had been something less stylish and Nordic than Rotenstern). Louis’s pocket heroes were Calvin Coolidge, Leonard Wood, Dwight L. Moody, and Admiral Dewey (and Dewey was a born Vermonter, rejoiced Louis, who himself had been born in Flatbush, Long island).

He was not only 100 per cent American; he exacted 40 per cent of chauvinistic interest on top of the principal. He was on every occasion heard to say, “We ought to keep all these foreigners out of the country, and what I mean, the Kikes just as much as the Wops and Hunkies and Chinks.” Louis was altogether convinced that if the ignorant politicians would keep their dirty hands off banking and the stock exchange and hours of labor for salesmen in department stores, then everyone in the country would profit, as beneficiaries of increased business, and all of them (including the retail clerks) be rich as Aga Khan.

So Louis put into his melodies not only his burning voice of a Bydgoszcz cantor but all his nationalistic fervor, so that every one joined in the choruses, particularly Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch, with her celebrated traincalIer’s contralto. The dinner broke up in cataract-like sounds of happy adieux, and Doremus Jessup muttered to his good wife Emma, a solid, kindly, worried soul, who liked knitting, solitaire, and the novels of Kathleen Norris: “Was I terrible, butting in that way?” “Oh, no, Dormouse, you did just right. I am fond of Lorinda Pike, but why does she have to show off and parade all her silly Socialist ideas?” “You old Tory!” said Doremus. “Don’t you want to invite the Siamese elephant, the Gimmitch, to drop in and have a drink?” “I do not!” said Emma Jessup.

And in the end, as the Rotarians shuffled and dealt themselves and their innumerable motorcars, it was Frank Tasbrough who invited the choicer males, including Doremus, home for an after-party.

-2-

As he took his wife home and drove up Pleasant Hill to Tasbrough’s, Doremus Jessup meditated upon the epidemic patriotism of General Edgeways. But he broke it off to let himself be absorbed in the hills, as it had been his habit for the fifty-three years, out of his sixty years of life, that he had spent in Fort Beulah, Vermont.

Legally a city, Fort Beulah was a comfortable village of old red brick, old granite workshops, and houses of white clapboards or gray shingles, with a few smug little modern bungalows, yellow or seal brown. There was but little manufacturing: a small woolen mill, a sash-and-door factory, a pump works. The granite which was its chief produce came from quarries four miles away; in Fort Beulah itself were only the offices . . . all the money . . . the meager shacks of most of the quarry workers. It was a town of perhaps ten thousand souls, inhabiting about twenty thousand bodies, the proportion of souI-possession may be too high.

There was but one (comparative) skyscraper in town: the six-story Tasbrough Building, with the offices of the Tasbrough & Scarlett Granite Quarries; the offices of Doremus’s son-in-law, Fowler Greenhill, M.D., and his partner, old Dr. Olmsted, of Lawyer Mungo Kitterick, of Harry Kindermann, agent for maple syrup and dairying supplies, and of thirty or forty other village samurai.

It was a downy town, a drowsy town, a town of security and tradition, which still believed in Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and to which May Day was not an occasion for labor parades but for distributing small baskets of flowers.

It was a May night, late in May of 1936, with a threequarter moon. Doremus’s house was a mile from the business-center of Fort Beulah, on Pleasant Hill, which was a spur thrust like a reaching hand out from the dark rearing mass of Mount Terror. Upland meadows, moon-glistening, he could see, among the wildernesses of spruce and maple and poplar on the ridges far above him; and below, as his car climbed, was Ethan Creek flowing through the meadows. Deep woods, rearing mountain bulwarks the air like spring water, serene clapboarded houses that remembered the War of 1812 and the boyhoods of those errant Vermonters, Stephen A. Douglas, the “Little Giant,” and Hiram Powers and Thaddeus Stevens and Brigham Young and President Chester Alan Arthur.

“No, Powers and Arthur, they were weak sisters,” pondered Doremus. “But Douglas and Thad Stevens and Brigham, the old stallion, I wonder if we’re breeding up any paladins like those stout, grouchy old devils? If we’re producing ‘em anywhere in New England? Anywhere in America? Anywhere in the world? They had guts. Independence. Did what they wanted to and thought what they liked, and everybody could go to hell. The youngsters today, Oh, the aviators have plenty of nerve. The physicists, these twenty-five-year-old Ph. D.’s that violate the inviolable atom, they’re pioneers. But most of the wishy-washy young people today, going seventy miles an hour but not going anywhere, not enough imagination to want to go anywhere! Getting their music by turning a dial. Getting their phrases from the comic strips instead of from Shakespeare and the Bible and Veblen and Old Bill Sumner. Pap-fed flabs! Like this smug pup Malcolm Tasbrough, hanging around Sissy! Aah!

“Wouldn’t it be he” if that stuffed shirt, Edgeways, and that political Mae West, Gimmitch, were right, and we need all these military monkeyshines and maybe a fool war (to conquer some sticky-hot country we don’t want on a bet!) to put some starch and git into these marionettes we call our children? Aah!

“But rats, These hills! Castle walls. And this air. They can keep their Cotswolds and Harz Mountains and Rockies! D. Jessup, topographical patriot. And I am a “Doremus, would you mind driving on the right-hand side of the road, on curves, anyway?” said his wife peaceably.

An upland hollow and mist beneath the moon, a veil of mist over apple blossoms and the heavy bloom of an ancient lilac bush beside the ruin of a farmhouse burned these sixty years and more.

Mr. Francis Tasbrough was the president, general manager, and chief owner of the Tasbrough & Scarlett Granite Quarries, at West Beulah, four miles from “the Fort.” He was rich, persuasive, and he had constant labor troubles. He lived in a new Georgian brick house on Pleasant Hill, a little beyond Doremus Jessup’s, and in that house he maintained a private barroom luxurious as that of a motor company’s advertising manager at Grosse Point. It was no more the traditional New England than was the Catholic part of Boston; and Frank himself boasted that, though his family had for six generations lived in New England, he was no tight Yankee but in his Efficiency, his Salesmanship, the complete Pan-American Business Executive.

He was a tall man, Tasbrough, with a yellow mustache and a monotonously emphatic voice. He was fifty-four, six years younger than Doremus Jessup, and when he had been four, Doremus had protected him from the results of his singularly unpopular habit of hitting the other small boys over the head with things, all kinds of things, sticks and toy wagons and lunch boxes and dry cow flops.

Assembled in his private barroom tonight, after the Rotarian Dinner, were Frank himself, Doremus Jessup, Medary Cole, the miller, Superintendent of Schools Emil Staubmeyer, R. C. Crowley (Roscoe Conkling Crowley, the weightiest banker in Fort Beulah) and, rather surprisingly, Tasbrough’s pastor, the Episcopal minister, the Rev. Mr. Falck, his old hands as delicate as porcelain, his wilderness of hair silk-soft and white, his unfleshly face betokening the Good Life. Mr. Falck came from a solid Knickerbocker family, and he had studied in Edinburgh and Oxford along with the General Theological Seminary of New York; and in all of the Beulah Valley there was, aside from Doremus, no one who more contentedly hid away in the shelter of the hills.

The barroom had been professionally interior-decorated by a young New York gentleman with the habit of standing with the back of his right hand against his hip. It had a stainless-steel bar, framed illustrations from La Vie Parisienne, silvered metal tables, and chromium-plated aluminum chairs with scarlet leather cushions.

All of them except Tasbrough, Medary Cole (a social climber to whom the favors of Frank Tasbrough were as honey and fresh ripened figs), and “Professor” Emil Staubmeyer were uncomfortable in this parrot-cage elegance, but none of them, including Mr. Falck, seemed to dislike Frank’s soda and excellent Scotch or the sardine sandwiches.

“And I wonder if Thad Stevens would of liked this, either?” considered Doremus. “He’d of snarled. Old cornered catamount. But probably not at the whisky!”

“Doremus,” demanded Tasbrough, “why don’t you take a tumble to yourself? All these years you’ve had a lot of fun criticizing, always being agin the government, kidding everybody, posing as such a Liberal that you’ll stand for all these subversive elements. Time for you to quit playing tag with crazy ideas and come in and join the family. These are serious times, maybe twenty eight million on relief, and beginning to get ugly, thinking they’ve got a vested right now to be supported.

And the Jew Communists and Jew financiers plotting together to control the country. I can understand how, as a younger fellow, you could pump up a little sympathy for the unions and even for the Jews, though, as you know, I’ll never get over being sore at you for taking the side of the strikers when those thugs were trying to ruin my whole business, burn down my polishing and cutting shops, why, you were even friendly with that alien murderer Karl Pascal, who started the whole strike, maybe I didn’t enjoy firing him when it was all over!

But anyway, these labor racketeers are getting together now, with Communist leaders, and determined to run the country, to tell men like me how to run our business!, and just like General Edgeways said, they’ll refuse to serve their country if we should happen to get dragged into some war. Yessir, a mighty serious hour, and it’s time for you to cut the cackle and join the really responsible citizens.”

Said Doremus, “Hm. Yes, I agree it’s a serious time. With all the discontent there is in the country to wash him into office, Senator Windrip has got an excellent chance to be elected President, next November, and if he is, probably his gang of buzzards will get us into some war, just to grease their insane vanity and show the world that we’re the huskiest nation going. And then I, the Liberal, and you, the Plutocrat, the bogus Tory, will be led out and shot at 3 AM. Serious? Huh!”

“Rats! You’re exaggerating!” said R. C. Crowley.

Doremus went on: “If Bishop Prang, our Savonarola in a Cadillac 16, swings his radio audience and his League of Forgotten Men to Buzz Windrip, Buzz will win. People will think they’re electing him to create more economic security. Then watch the Terror! God knows there’s been enough indication that we can have tyranny in America, the fix of the Southern share-croppers, the working conditions of the miners and garment-makers, and our keeping Mooney in prison so many years. But wait till Windrip shows us how to say it with machine guns! Democracy, here and in Britain and France, it hasn’t been so universal a sniveling slavery as Naziism in Germany, such an imagination-hating, pharisaic materialism as Russia, even if it has produced industrialists like you, Frank, and bankers like you, R. C., and given you altogether too much power and money. On the whole, with scandalous exceptions, Democracy’s given the ordinary worker more dignity than he ever had. That may be menaced now by Windrip, all the Windrips. All right! Maybe we’ll have to fight paternal dictatorship with a little sound patricide, fight machine guns with machine guns. Wait till Buzz takes charge of us. A real Fascist dictatorship!”

“Nonsense! Nonsense!” snorted Tasbrough. “That couldn’t happen here in America, not possibly! We’re a country of freemen.”

“The answer to that,” suggested Doremus Jessup, “if Mr. Falck will forgive me, is ‘the hell it can’t!’ Why, there’s no country in the world that can get more hysterical, yes, or more obsequious!, than America. Look how Huey Long became absolute monarch over Louisiana, and how the Right Honorable Mr. Senator Berzelius Windrip owns his State. Listen to Bishop Prang and Father Coughlin on the radio, divine oracles, to millions. Remember how casually most Americans have accepted Tammany grafting and Chicago gangs and the crookedness of so many of President Harding’s appointees? Could Hitler’s bunch, or Windrip’s, be worse? Remember the Kuklux Klan? Remember our war hysteria, when we called sauerkraut ‘Liberty cabbage’ and somebody actually proposed calling German measles ‘Liberty measles’? And wartime censorship of honest papers? Bad as Russia! Remember our kissing the-well, the feet of Billy Sunday, the million dollar evangelist, and of Aimée McPherson, who swam from the Pacific Ocean clear into the Arizona desert and got away with it? Remember Voliva and Mother Eddy? . . . Remember our Red scares and our Catholic scares, when all well informed people knew that the O.G.P.U. were hiding out in Oskaloosa, and the Republicans campaigning against Al Smith told the Carolina mountaineers that if Al won the Pope would illegitimatize their children? Remember Tom Heflin and Tom Dixon? Remember when the hick legislators in certain states, in obedience to William Jennings Bryan, who learned his biology from his pious old grandma, set up shop as scientific experts and made the whole world laugh itself sick by forbidding the teaching of evolution? . . . Remember the Kentucky night-riders? Remember how trainloads of people have gone to enjoy lynchings?

Not happen here? Prohibition, shooting down people just because they might be transporting liquor, no, that couldn’t happen in America! Why, where in all history has there ever been a people so ripe for a dictatorship as ours! We’re ready to start on a Children’s Crusade, only of adults, right now, and the Right Reverend Abbots Windrip and Prang are all ready to lead it!”

“Well, what if they are?” protested R. C. Crowley. “It might not be so bad. I don’t like all these irresponsible attacks on us bankers all the time. Of course, Senator Windrip has to pretend publicly to bawl the banks out, but once he gets into power he’ll give the banks their proper influence in the administration and take our expert financial advice. Yes. Why are you so afraid of the word ‘Fascism,’ Doremus? Just a word, just a word! And might not be so bad, with all the lazy bums we got panhandling relief nowadays, and living on my income tax and yours, not so worse to have a real Strong Man, like Hitler or Mussolini, like Napoleon or Bismarck in the good old days, and have ‘em really run the country and make it efficient and prosperous again. ‘Nother words, have a doctor who won’t take any back-chat, but really boss the patient and make him get well whether he likes it or not!”

“Yes!” said Emil Staubmeyer. “Didn’t Hitler save Germany from the Red Plague of Marxism? I got cousins there. I know!”

“Hm,” said Doremus, as often Doremus did say it. “Cure the evils of Democracy by the evils of Fascism! Funny therapeutics. I’ve heard of their curing syphilis by giving the patient malaria, but I’ve never heard of their curing malaria by giving the patient syphilis!”

“Think that’s nice language to use in the presence of the Reverend Falck?” raged Tasbrough. Mr. Falck piped up, “I think it’s quite nice language, and an interesting suggestion, Brother Jessup!”

“Besides,” said Tasbrough, “this chewing the rag is all nonsense, anyway. As Crowley says, might be a good thing to have a strong man in the saddle, but, it just can’t happen here in America.”

And it seemed to Doremus that the softly moving lips of the Reverend Mr. Falck were framing, “The hell it can’t!”

-3-

Doremus Jessup, editor and proprietor of the Daily Informer, the Bible of the conservative Vermont farmers up and down the Beulah Valley, was born in Fort Beulah in 1876, only son of an impecunious Universalist pastor, the Reverend Loren Jessup. His mother was no less than a Bass, of Massachusetts. The Reverend Loren, a bookish man and fond of flowers, merry but not noticeably witty, used to chant “Alas, alas, that a Bass of Mass should marry a minister prone to gas,” and he would insist that she was all wrong ichthyologically, she should have been a cod, not a bass.

There was in the parsonage little meat but plenty of books, not all theological by any means, so that before he was twelve Doremus knew the profane writings of Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, Jane Austen, Tennyson, Byron, Keats, Shelley, Tolstoy, Balzac. He graduated from Isaiah College, once a bold Unitarian venture but by 1894 an inter-denominational outfit with nebulous trinitarian yearnings, a small and rustic stable of learning, in North Beulah, thirteen miles from “the Fort.”

But Isaiah College has come up in the world today, excepting educationally, for in 1931 it held the Dartmouth football team down to 64 to 6.

During college, Doremus wrote a great deal of bad poetry and became an incurable book addict, but he was a fair track athlete. Naturally, he corresponded for papers in Boston and Springfield, and after graduation he was a reporter in Rutland and Worcester, with one glorious year in Boston, whose grimy beauty and shards of the past were to him what London would be to a young Yorkshireman. He was excited by concerts, art galleries, and bookshops; thrice a week he had a twenty-five-cent seat, in the upper balcony of some theater; and for two months he roomed with a fellow reporter who had actually had a short story in The Century and who could talk about authors and technique like the very dickens. But Doremus was not particularly beefy or enduring, and the noise, the traffic, the bustle of assignments, exhausted him, and in 1901, three years after his graduation from college, when his widowed father died and left him $2980.00 and his library, Doremus went home to Fort Beulah and bought a quarter interest in the Informer, then a weekly.

By 1936 it was a daily, and he owned all of it . . . with a perceptible mortgage.

He was an equable and sympathetic boss; an imaginative news detective; he was, even in this ironbound Republican state, independent in politics; and in his editorials against graft and injustice, though they were not fanatically chronic, he could slash like a dog whip.

He was a third cousin of Calvin Coolidge, who had considered him sound domestically but loose politically. Doremus considered himself just the opposite.

He had married his wife, Emma, out of Fort Beulah. She was the daughter of a wagon manufacturer, a placid, prettyish, broad-shouldered girl with whom he had gone to high school.

Now, in 1936, of their three children, Philip (Dartmouth, and Harvard Law School) was married and ambitiously practicing law in Worcester; Mary was the wife of Fowler Greenhill, M.D., of Fort Beulah, a gay and hustling medico, a choleric and red-headed young man, who was a wonder-worker in typhoid, acute appendicitis, obstetrics, compound fractures, and diets for anemic children. Fowler and Mary had one son, Doremus’s only grandchild, the bonny David, who at eight was a timid, inventive, affectionate child with such mourning hound dog eyes and such red-gold hair that his picture might well have been hung at a National Academy show or even been reproduced on the cover of a Women’s Magazine with 2,500,000 circulation. The Greenhills’ neighbors inevitably said of the boy, “My, Davy’s got such an imagination, hasn’t he! I guess he’ll be a writer, just like his Grampa!”

Third of Doremus’s children was the gay, the pert, the dancing Cecilia, known as “Sissy,” aged eighteen, where her brother Philip was thirty-two and Mary, Mrs. Greenhill, turned thirty. She rejoiced the heart of Doremus by consenting to stay home while she was finishing high school, though she talked vigorously of going off to study architecture and “simply make millions, my dear,” by planning and erecting miraculous small homes.

Mrs. Jessup was lavishly (and quite erroneously) certain that her Philip was the spit and image of the Prince of Wales; Philip’s wife, Merilla (the fair daughter of Worcester, Massachusetts), curiously like the Princess Marina; that Mary would by any stranger be taken for Katharine Hepburn; that Sissy was a dryad and David a medieval page; and that Doremus (though she knew him better than she did those changelings, her children) amazingly resembled that naval hero, Winfield Scott Schley, as he looked in 1898.

She was a loyal woman, Emma Jessup, warmly generous, a cordon bleu at making lemon-meringue pie, a parochial Tory, an orthodox Episcopalian, and completely innocent of any humor. Doremus was perpetually tickled by her kind solemnity, and it was to be chalked down to him as a singular act of grace that he refrained from pretending that he had become a working Communist and was thinking of leaving for Moscow immediately.

Doremus looked depressed, looked old, when he lifted himself, as from an invalid’s chair, out of the Chrysler, in his hideous garage of cement and galvanized iron. (But it was a proud two-car garage; besides the four-year-old Chrysler, they had a new Ford convertible coupe, which Doremus hoped to drive some day when Sissy wasn’t using it.)

He cursed competently as, on the cement walk from the garage to the kitchen, he barked his shins on the lawnmower, left there by his hired man, one Oscar Ledue, known always as “Shad,” a large and red-faced, a sulky and surly Irish-Canuck peasant. Shad always did things like leaving lawnmowers about to snap at the shins of decent people. He was entirely incompetent and vicious. He never edged-up the flower beds, he kept his stinking old cap on his head when he brought in logs for the fireplace, he did not scythe the dandelions in the meadow till they had gone to seed, he delighted in failing to tell cook that the peas were now ripe, and he was given to shooting cats, stray dogs, chipmunks, and honey-voiced blackbirds. At least twice a day, Doremus resolved to fire him, but, perhaps he was telling himself the truth when he insisted that it was amusing to try to civilize this prize bull.

Doremus trotted into the kitchen, decided that he did not want some cold chicken and a glass of milk from the ice-box, nor even a wedge of the celebrated cocoanut layer cake made by their cook-general, Mrs. Candy, and mounted to his “study,” on the third, the attic floor.

His house was an ample, white, clapboarded structure of the vintage of 1880, a square bulk with a mansard roof and, in front, a long porch with insignificant square white pillars. Doremus declared that the house was ugly, “but ugly in a nice way.”

His study, up there, was his one perfect refuge from annoyances and bustle. It was the only room in the house that Mrs. Candy (quiet, grimly competent, thoroughly literate, once a Vermont country schoolteacher) was never allowed to clean. It was an endearing mess of novels, copies of the Congressional Record, of the New Yorker, Time, Nation, New Republic, New Masses, and Speculum (cloistral organ of the Medieval Society), treatises on taxation and monetary systems, road maps, volumes on exploration in Abyssinia and the Antarctic, chewed stubs of pencils, a shaky portable typewriter, fishing tackle, rumpled carbon paper, two comfortable old leather chairs, a Windsor chair at his desk, the complete works of Thomas Jefferson, his chief hero, a microscope and a collection of Vermont butterflies, Indian arrowheads, exiguous volumes of Vermont village poetry printed in local newspaper offices, the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, Science and Health, Selections from the Mahabharata, the poetry of Sandburg, Frost, Masters, Jeffers, Ogden Nash, Edgar Guest, Omar Khayyam, and Milton, a shotgun and a .22 repeating rifle, an Isaiah College banner, faded, the complete Oxford Dictionary, five fountain pens of which two would work, a vase from Crete dating from 327 B.C., very ugly, the World Almanac for year before last, with the cover suggesting that it had been chewed by a dog, odd pairs of horn-rimmed spectacles and of rimless eyeglasses, none of which now suited his eyes, a fine, reputedly Tudor oak cabinet from Devonshire, portraits of Ethan Allen and Thaddeus Stevens, rubber wading-boots, senile red morocco slippers, a poster issued by the Vermont Mercury at Woodstock, on September 2, 1840, announcing a glorious Whig victory, twenty-four boxes of safety matches one by one stolen from the kitchen, assorted yellow scratch pads, seven books on Russia and Bolshevism, extraordinarily pro or extraordinarily con, a signed photograph of Theodore Roosevelt, six cigarette cartons, all half empty (according to the tradition of journalistic eccentrics, Doremus should have smoked a Good Old Pipe, but he detested the slimy ooze of nicotine-soaked spittle), a rag carpet on the floor, a withered sprig of holly with a silver Christmas ribbon, a case of seven unused genuine Sheffield razors, dictionaries in French, German, Italian and Spanish, the first of which languages he really could read, a canary in a Bavarian gilded wicker cage, a worn linen-bound copy of Old Hearthside Songs for Home and Picnic whose selections he was wont to croon, holding the book on his knee, and an old cast-iron Franklin stove. Everything, indeed, that was proper for a hermit and improper for impious domestic hands.

Before switching on the light he squinted through a dormer window at the bulk of mountains cutting the welter of stars. In the center were the last lights of Fort Beulah, far below, and on the left, unseen, the soft meadows, the old farmhouses, the great dairy barns of the Ethan Mowing. It was a kind country, cool and clear as a shaft of light and, he meditated, he loved it more every quiet year of his freedom from city towers and city clamor.

One of the few times when Mrs. Candy, their housekeeper, was permitted to enter his hermit’s cell was to leave there, on the long table, his mail. He picked it up and started to read briskly, standing by the table. (Time to go to bed! Too much chatter and bellyaching, this evening! Good Lord! Past midnight!) He sighed then, and sat in his Windsor chair, leaning his elbows on the table and studiously reading the first letter over again.

It was from Victor Loveland, one of the younger, more international-minded teachers in Doremus’s old school, Isaiah College.

DEAR DR. JESSUP:

(”Hm. ’Dr. Jessup.’ Not me, m’ lad. The only honorary degree I’ll ever get’ll be Master in Veterinary Surgery or Laureate in Embalming.”)

A very dangerous situation has arisen here at Isaiah and those of us who are trying to advocate something like integrity and modernity are seriously worried not, probably, that we need to be long, as we shall probably all get fired. Where two years ago most of our students just laughed at any idea of military drilling, they have gone warlike in a big way, with undergrads drilling with rifles, machine guns, and cute little blueprints of tanks and planes all over the place. Two of them, voluntarily, are going down to Rutland every week to take training in flying, avowedly to get ready for wartime aviation. When I cautiously ask them what the dickens war they are preparing for they just scratch and indicate they don’t care much, so long as they can get a chance to show what virile proud gents they are.

Well, we’ve got used to that. But just this afternoon, the newspapers haven’t got this yet, the Board of Trustees, including Mr. Francis Tasbrough and our president, Dr. Owen Peaseley, met and voted a resolution that, now listen to this, will you, Dr. Jessup, “Any member of the faculty or student body of Isaiah who shall in any way, publicly or privately, in print, writing, or by the spoken word, adversely criticize military training at or by Isaiah College, or in any other institution of learning in the United States, or by the state militias, federal forces, or other officially recognized military organizations in this country, shall be liable to immediate dismissal from this college, and any student who shall, with full and proper proof, bring to the attention of the President or any Trustee of the college such malign criticism by any person whatever connected in any way with the institution shall receive extra credits in his course in military training, such credits to apply to the number of credits necessary for graduation.”

What can we do with such fast exploding Fascism?

VICTOR LOVELAND.

And Loveland, teacher of Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit (two lone students) had never till now meddled in any politics of more recent date than AD. 180.

“So Frank was there at Trustees’ meeting, and didn’t dare tell me,” Doremus sighed. “Encouraging them to become spies. Gestapo. Oh, my dear Frank, this a serious time! You, my good bonehead, for once you said it! President Owen J. Peaseley, the bagged-faced, pious, racketeering, damned hedge-schoolmaster! But what can I do? Oh, write another editorial viewing, with alarm, I suppose!”

He plumped into a deep chair and sat fidgeting, like a bright-eyed, apprehensive little bird.

On the door was a tearing sound, imperious, demanding.

He opened to admit Foolish, the family dog. Foolish was a reliable combination of English setter, Airedale, cocker spaniel, wistful doe, and rearing hyena. He gave one abrupt snort of welcome and nuzzled his brown satin head against Doremus’s knee. His bark awakened the canary, under the absurd old blue sweater that covered its cage, and it automatically caroled that it was noon, summer noon, among the pear trees in the green Harz hills, none of which was true. But the bird’s trilling, the dependable presence of Foolish, comforted Doremus, made military drill and belching politicians seem unimportant, and in security he dropped asleep in the worn brown leather chair.

-4-

All this June week, Doremus was waiting for 2 PM. on Saturday, the divinely appointed hour of the weekly prophetic broadcast by Bishop Paul Peter Prang.

Now, six weeks before the 1936 national conventions, it was probable that neither Franklin Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Senator Vandenberg, Ogden Mills, General Hugh Johnson, Colonel Frank Knox, nor Senator Borah would be nominated for President by either party, and that the Republican standard-bearer, meaning the one man who never has to lug a large, bothersome, and somewhat ridiculous standard, would be that loyal yet strangely honest old-line Senator, Walt Trowbridge, a man with a touch of Lincoln in him, dashes of Will Rogers and George W. Norris, a suspected trace of Jim Farley, but all the rest plain, bulky, pIacidly defiant Walt Trowbridge.

Few men doubted that the Democratic candidate would be that sky-rocket, Senator Berzelius Windrip, that is to say, Windrip as the mask and bellowing voice, with his satanic secretary, Lee Sarason, as the brain behind.

Senator Windrip’s father was a small-town Western druggist, equally ambitious and unsuccessful, and had named him Berzelius after the Swedish chemist. Usually he was known as “Buzz.” He had worked his way through a Southern Baptist college, of approximately the same academic standing as a Jersey City business college, and through a Chicago law school, and settled down to practice in his native state and to enliven local politics. He was a tireless traveler, a boisterous and humorous speaker, an inspired guesser at what political doctrines the people would like, a warm handshaker, and willing to lend money. He drank Coca-Cola with the Methodists, beer with the Lutherans, California white wine with the Jewish village merchants, and, when they were safe from observation, white-mule corn whisky with all of them.

Within twenty years he was as absolute a ruler of his state as ever a sultan was of Turkey.

He was never governor; he had shrewdly seen that his reputation for research among planters, punch recipes, varieties of poker, and the psychology of girl stenographers might cause his defeat by the church people, so he had contented himself with coaxing to the gubernatorial shearing a trained baa-lamb of a country schoolmaster whom he had gayly led on a wide blue ribbon. The state was certain that he had “given it a good administration,” and they knew that it was Buzz Windrip who was responsible, not the Governor.

Windrip caused the building of impressive highroads and of consolidated country schools; he made the state buy tractors and combines and lend them to the farmers at cost. He was certain that some day America would have vast business dealings with the Russians and, though he detested all Slavs, he made the State University put in the first course in the Russian language that had been known in all that part of the West. His most original invention was quadrupling the state militia and rewarding the best soldiers in it with training in agriculture, aviation, and radio and automobile engineering.

The militiamen considered him their general and their god, and when the state attorney general announced that he was going to have Windrip indicted for having grafted $200,000 of tax money, the militia rose to Buzz Windrip’s orders as though they were his private army and, occupying the legislative chambers and all the state offices, and covering the streets leading to the Capitol with machine guns, they herded Buzz’s enemies out of town.

He took the United States Senatorship as though it were his manorial right, and for six years, his only rival as the most bouncing and feverish man in the Senate had been the late Huey Long of Louisiana.

He preached the comforting gospel of so redistributing wealth that every person in the country would have several thousand dollars a year (monthly Buzz changed his prediction as to how many thousand), while all the rich men were nevertheless to be allowed enough to get along, on a maximum of $500,000 a year. So everybody was happy in the prospect of Windrip’s becoming president.

The Reverend Dr. Egerton Schlemil, dean of St. Agnes Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas, stated (once in a sermon, once in the slightly variant mimeographed press handout on the sermon, and seven times in interviews) that Buzz’s coming into power would be “like the Heaven-blest fall of revivifying rain upon a parched and thirsty land.” Dr. Schlemil did not say anything about what happened when the blest rain came and kept falling steadily for four years.

No one, even among the Washington correspondents, seemed to know precisely how much of a part in Senator Windrip’s career was taken by his secretary, Lee Sarason. When Windrip had first seized power in his state, Sarason had been managing editor of the most widely circulated paper in all that part of the country. Sarason’s genesis was and remained a mystery.

It was said that he had been born in Georgia, in Minnesota, on the East Side of New York, in Syria; that he was pure Yankee, Jewish, Charleston Huguenot. It was known that he had been a singularly reckless lieutenant of machine-gunners as a youngster during the Great War, and that he had stayed over, ambling about Europe, for three or four years; that he had worked on the Paris edition of the New York Herald; nibbled at painting and at Black Magic in Florence and Munich; had a few sociological months at the London School of Economics; associated with decidedly curious people in arty Berlin night restaurants. Returned home, Sarason had become decidedly the “hard-boiled reporter” of the shirt-sleeved tradition, who asserted that he would rather be called a prostitute than anything so sissified as “journalist.” But it was suspected that nevertheless he still retained the ability to read.

He had been variously a Socialist and an anarchist. Even in 1936 there were rich people who asserted that Sarason was “too radical,” but actually he had lost his trust (if any) in the masses during the hoggish nationalism after the war; and he believed now only in resolute control by a small oligarchy. In this he was a Hitler, a Mussolini.

Sarason was lanky and drooping, with thin flaxen hair, and thick lips in a bony face. His eyes were sparks at the bottoms of two dark wells. In his long hands there was bloodless strength. He used to surprise persons who were about to shake hands with him by suddenly bending their fingers back till they almost broke. Most people didn’t much like it. As a newspaperman he was an expert of the highest grade. He could smell out a husband murder, the grafting of a politician, that is to say, of a politician belonging to a gang opposed by his paper, the torture of animals or children, and this last sort of story he liked to write himself, rather than hand it to a reporter, and when he did write it, you saw the moldy cellar, heard the whip, felt the slimy blood.

Compared with Lee Sarason as a newspaperman, little Doremus Jessup of Fort Beulah was like a village parson compared with the twenty-thousand-dollar minister of a twenty-story New York institutional tabernacle with radio affiliations.

Senator Windrip had made Sarason, officially, his secretary, but he was known to be much more, bodyguard, ghost-writer, press-agent, economic adviser; and in Washington, Lee Sarason became the man most consulted and least liked by newspaper correspondents in the whole Senate Office Building.

Windrip was a young forty-eight in 1936; Sarason an aged and sagging-cheeked forty-one.

Though he probably based it on notes dictated by Windrip, himself no fool in the matter of fictional imagination, Sarason had certainly done the actual writing of Windrip’s lone book, the Bible of his followers, part biography, part economic program, and part plain exhibitionistic boasting, called Zero Hour, Over the Top.

It was a salty book and contained more suggestions for remolding the world than the three volumes of Karl Marx and all the novels of H. G. Wells put together.

Perhaps the most familiar, most quoted paragraph of Zero Hour, beloved by the provincial press because of its simple earthiness (as written by an initiate in Rosicrucian lore, named Sarason) was:

“When I was a little shaver back in the corn fields, we kids used to just wear one-strap suspenders on our pants, and we called them the Galluses on our Britches, but they held them up and saved our modesty just as much as if we had put on a high-toned Limey accent and talked about Braces and Trousers. That’s how the whole world of what they call ‘scientific economics’ is like. The Marxians think that by writing of Galluses as Braces, they’ve got something that knocks the stuffings out of the old-fashioned ideas of Washington and Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Well and all, I sure believe in using every new economic discovery, like they have been worked out in the so-called Fascist countries, like Italy and Germany and Hungary and Poland-yes, by thunder, and even in Japan, we probably will have to lick those Little Yellow Men some day, to keep them from pinching our vested and rightful interests in China, but don’t let that keep us from grabbing off any smart ideas that those cute little beggars have worked out!

I want to stand up on my hind legs and not just admit but frankly holler right out that we’ve got to change our system a lot, maybe even change the whole Constitution (but change it legally, and not by violence) to bring it up from the horseback-and-corduroy-road epoch to the automobile-and-cement-highway period of today. The Executive has got to have a freer hand and be able to move quick in an emergency, and not be tied down by a lot of dumb shyster-lawyer congressmen taking months to shoot off their mouths in debates. BUT, and it’s a But as big as Deacon Checkerboard’s hay-barn back home, these new economic changes are only a means to an End, and that End is and must be, fundamentally, the same principles of Liberty, Equality, and Justice that were advocated by the Founding Fathers of this great land back in 1776!”

The most confusing thing about the whole campaign of 1936 was the relationship of the two leading parties. Old Guard Republicans complained that their proud party was begging for office, hat in hand; veteran Democrats that their traditional Covered Wagons were jammed with college professors, city slickers, and yachtsmen.

The rival to Senator Windrip in public reverence was a political titan who seemed to have no itch for office, the Reverend Paul Peter Prang, of Persepolis, Indiana, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a man perhaps ten years older than Windrip. His weekly radio address, at 2 PM. every Saturday, was to millions the very oracle of God. So supernatural was this voice from the air that for it men delayed their golf, and women even postponed their Saturday afternoon contract bridge.

It was Father Charles Coughlin, of Detroit, who had first thought out the device of freeing himself from any censorship of his political sermons on the Mount by “buying his own time on the air”, it being only in the twentieth century that mankind has been able to buy Time as it buys soap and gasoline. This invention was almost equal, in its effect on all American life and thought, to Henry Ford’s early conception of selling cars cheap to millions of people, instead of selling a few as luxuries.

But to the pioneer Father Coughlin, Bishop Paul Peter Prang was as the Ford V-8 to the Model A.

Prang was more sentimental than Coughlin; he shouted more; he agonized more; he reviled more enemies by name, and rather scandalously; he told more funny stories, and ever so many more tragic stories about the repentant deathbeds of bankers, atheists, and Communists. His voice was more nasally native, and he was pure Middle West, with a New England Protestant Scotch English ancestry, where Coughlin was always a little suspect, in the Sears-Roebuck regions, as a Roman Catholic with an agreeable Irish accent.

No man in history has ever had such an audience as Bishop Prang, nor so much apparent power. When he demanded that his auditors telegraph their congressmen to vote on a bill as he, Prang, ex cathedra and alone, without any college of cardinals, had been inspired to believe they ought to vote, then fifty thousand people would telephone, or drive through back-hill mud, to the nearest telegraph office and in His name give their commands to the government. Thus, by the magic of electricity, Prang made the position of any king in history look a little absurd and tinseled.

To millions of League members he sent mimeographed letters with facsimile signature, and with the salutation so craftily typed in that they rejoiced in a personal greeting from the Founder.

Doremus Jessup, up in the provincial hills, could never quite figure out just what political gospel it was that Bishop Prang thundered from his Sinai which, with its microphone and typed revelations timed to the split-second, was so much more snappy and efficient than the original Sinai. In detail, he preached nationalization of the banks, mines, waterpower, and transportation; limitation of incomes; increased wages, strengthening of the labor unions, more fluid distribution of consumer goods. But everybody was nibbling at those noble doctrines now, from Virginia Senators to Minnesota Farmer-Laborites, with no one being so credulous as to expect any of them to be carried out.

There was a theory around some place that Prang was only the humble voice of his vast organization, “The League of Forgotten Men.” It was universally believed to have (though no firm of chartered accountants had yet examined its rolls) twenty-seven million members, along with proper assortments of national officers and state officers, and town officers and hordes of committees with stately names like “National Committee on the Compilation of Statistics on Unemployment and Normal Employability in the Soy-Bean Industry.” Hither and yon, Bishop Prang, not as the still small voice of God but in lofty person, addressed audiences of twenty thousand persons at a time, in the larger cities all over the country, speaking in huge halls meant for prize-fighting, in cinema palaces, in armories, in baseball parks, in circus tents, while after the meetings his brisk assistants accepted membership applications and dues for the League of Forgotten Men. When his timid detractors hinted that this was all very romantic, very jolly and picturesque, but not particularly dignified, and Bishop Prang answered, “My Master delighted to speak in whatever vulgar assembly would listen to Him,” no one dared answer him, “But you aren’t your Master, not yet.”

With all the flourish of the League and its mass meetings, there had never been a pretense that any tenet of the League, any pressure on Congress and the President to pass any particular bill, originated with anybody save Prang himself, with no collaboration from the committees or officers of the League. All that the Prang who so often crooned about the Humility and Modesty of the Saviour wanted was for one hundred and thirty million people to obey him, their Priest-King, implicitly in everything concerning their private morals, their public asseverations, how they might earn their livings, and what relationships they might have to other wage-earners.

“And that,” Doremus Jessup grumbled, relishing the shocked piety of his wife Emma, “makes Brother Prang a worse tyrant than Caligula, a worse Fascist than Napoleon. Mind you, I don’t really believe all these rumors about Prang’s grafting on membership dues and the sale of pamphlets and donations to pay for the radio. It’s much worse than that. I’m afraid he’s an honest fanatic! That’s why he’s such a real Fascist menace, he’s so confoundedly humanitarian, in fact so Noble, that a majority of people are willing to let him boss everything, and with a country this size, that’s quite a job-quite a job, my beloved-even for a Methodist Bishop who gets enough gifts so that he can actually ‘buy Time’!”

All the while, Walt Trowbridge, possible Republican candidate for President, suffering from the deficiency of being honest and disinclined to promise that he could work miracles, was insisting that we live in the United States of America and not on a golden highway to Utopia.

There was nothing exhilarating in such realism, so all this rainy week in June, with the apple blossoms and the lilacs fading, Doremus Jessup was awaiting the next encyclical of Pope Paul Peter Prang.

-5-

To follow in part 2

‘Living hell’: Inside one man’s battle with anxiety and depression – Bruce Munro.

It is this panic that the panic will overwhelm and expose you, that is the deep demon of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety and depression are a plague on Western society, especially New Zealand. It is only getting worse, becoming decidedly common.

About 17% of New Zealanders have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or a bitter cocktail of the above, at some point in their lives. During the next 12 months, 228,000 Kiwis are predicted to experience a major depressive disorder.

Globally, the World Health Organisation believes mental illness will become the second leading cause of disability within two years.

A fear process had established itself in my brain.

For several years, my brain had been building an extensive back catalogue of experiences it interpreted as fearful. A mind loop was set up. The amygdala, the almond-sized primal brain, detected a threat. A flood of adrenaline and cortisol was released, creating a hyper-attentive state. The neocortex scanned memories for explanations of this arousal. If what was going on, no matter how mundane – a phone ringing, having a conversation, driving across a bridge – had been labelled “fearful” by a past experience, then fear was offered to my conscious brain as the appropriate emotion.

Deep ruts were created that ran directly from any stimuli, past, present and future to a fear response.

By simple, tragic repetition, I had trained my thinking to be scared of virtually everything. …

New Zealand Herald

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I was an Isis sex slave. I tell my story because it is the best weapon I have – Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize 2018 recipient.

Nadia Murad was abducted with other Yazidi women in August 2014 when their home village of Kocho in Sinjar, northern Iraq, was attacked by Isis. Captured alongside her sisters, she lost six brothers and her mother. She was awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege.

This is an extract from her autobiography, The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State

The slave market opened at night. We could hear the commotion downstairs where militants were registering and organising, and when the first man entered the room, all the girls started screaming. It was like the scene of an explosion. We moaned as though wounded, doubling over and vomiting on the floor, but none of it stopped the militants. They paced around the room, staring at us, while we screamed and begged. They gravitated toward the most beautiful girls first, asking, “How old are you?” and examining their hair and mouths. “They are Virgins, right?” they asked a guard, who nodded and said, “Of course!” like a shopkeeper taking pride in his product. Now the militants touched us anywhere they wanted, running their hands over our breasts and our legs, as if we were animals. … The Guardian

The Last Girl. My story of captivity and my fight against the Islamic State

Nadia Murad

This book is written for every Yazidi.

In 2014, ISIS attacked Nadia’s village in Iraq, and her life as a twenty-one-year-old student was shattered. She was forced to watch her mother and brothers be marched off to their deaths. And Nadia herself was traded from one ISIS fighter to another. She was forced to pray, forced to dress up and put makeup on in preparation for rape, and one night was brutally abused by a group of men until she was unconscious. She showed me her scars from cigarette burns and beatings. And she told me that throughout her ordeal ISIS militants would call her a “dirty unbeliever” and brag about conquering Yazidi women and wiping their religion from the earth.

Nadia was one of thousands of Yazidis taken by ISIS to be sold in markets and on Facebook, sometimes for as little as twenty dollars. Nadia’s mother was one of eighty older women who were executed and buried in an unmarked grave. Six of her brothers were among the hundreds of men who were murdered in a single day.

The Last Girl. My story of captivity and my fight against the Islamic State

The Suffocation of Democracy – Christopher R. Browning.

Trump, History Repeats.


In the 1920s, the US pursued isolationism in foreign policy and rejected participation in international organizations like the League of Nations. America First was America alone, except for financial agreements like the Dawes and Young Plans aimed at ensuring that our “free-loading” former allies could pay back their war loans. At the same time, high tariffs crippled international trade, making the repayment of those loans especially difficult. The country witnessed an increase in income disparity and a concentration of wealth at the top, and both Congress and the courts eschewed regulations to protect against the self-inflicted calamities of free enterprise run amok. The government also adopted a highly restrictionist immigration policy aimed at preserving the hegemony of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants against an influx of Catholic and Jewish immigrants. (Various measures barring Asian immigration had already been implemented between 1882 and 1917.) These policies left the country unable to respond constructively to either the Great Depression or the rise of fascism, the growing threat to peace, and the refugee crisis of the 1930s.

New York Review of Books

How shareholder profits conquered capitalism, and how workers can win back its benefits for themselves – Louis Brennan, Trinity College Dublin.

It is past the time that business schools should smarten up, jettison this “dumb” shareholder value dogma, and start teaching a version of capitalism less damaging to the interests of society.

The Conversation

Blueprint. How DNA makes us who we are – Robert Plomin.

The DNA revolution has recently given us the power to predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses from birth. This is a gamechanger that has far reaching implications for psychology, for society and for each and every one of us.

For most of the twentieth century environmental factors were called nurture because the family was thought to be crucial in determining who we become. Genetic research showed that this is absolutely not true. In fact, the environment makes siblings reared in the same family as different as siblings reared in separate families.

The genetic contribution to our individual psychological characteristics, nature rather than nurture, is not just statistically significant, it is massive. DNA differences inherited from our parents at the moment of conception are the consistent, lifelong source of psychological individuality. You are 50 per cent similar genetically to your parents and siblings, but this means that you are also 50 per cent different.

DNA isn’t all that matters but it matters more than everything else put together in terms of the stable psychological traits that make us who we are.

The genome genie is out of the bottle and cannot be stuffed back in again.

What would you think if you heard about a new fortune telling device that is touted to predict psychological traits like depression, schizophrenia and school achievement? What’s more, it can tell your fortune from the moment of your birth, it is completely reliable and unbiased and it costs only £100.

This might sound like yet another pop-psychology claim about gimmicks that will change your life, but this one is in fact based on the best science of our times. The fortune teller is DNA. The ability to use DNA to understand who we are, and predict who we will become, has emerged only in the last three years, thanks to the rise of personal genomics. We will see how the DNA revolution has made DNA personal by giving us the power to predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses from birth. This is a gamechanger that has far-reaching implications for psychology, for society and for each and every one of us.

This DNA fortune teller is the culmination of a century of genetic research investigating what makes us who we are. When psychology emerged as a science in the early twentieth century, it focused on the environmental causes of behaviour. Environmentalism, the view that we are what we learn, dominated psychology for decades. From Freud onwards, the family environment, or nurture, was assumed to be the key factor in determining who we are. In the 1960s geneticists began to challenge this view. Psychological traits from mental illness to mental abilities clearly run in families, but there was a gradual recognition that family resemblance could be due to nature, or genetics, rather than nurture alone, because children are 50 per cent similar genetically to their parents.

Since the 1960s scientists conducting long-term studies on special relatives like twins and adoptees have built a mountain of evidence showing that genetics contributes importantly to psychological differences between us. The genetic contribution is not just statistically significant, it is massive. Genetics is the most important factor shaping who we are. It explains more of the psychological differences between us than everything else put together. For example, the most important environmental factors, such as our families and schools, account for less than 5 per cent of the differences between us in our mental health or how well we did at school once we control for the impact of genetics. Genetics accounts for 50 per cent of psychological differences, not just for mental health and school achievement, but for all psychological traits, from personality to mental abilities. I am not aware of a single psychological trait that shows no genetic influence.

The word ‘genetic’ can mean several things, but in this book it refers to differences in DNA sequence, the 3 billion steps in the spiral staircase of DNA that we inherit from our parents at the moment of conception. It is mind-boggling to think about the long reach of these inherited differences that formed the single cell with which we began life. They affect our behaviour as adults, when that single cell with which our lives began has become trillions of cells. They survive the long and convoluted developmental pathways between genes and behaviour, pathways that meander through gene expression, proteins and the brain. The power of genetic research comes from its ability to detect the effect of these inherited DNA differences on psychological traits without knowing anything about the intervening processes.

Understanding the importance of genetic influence is just the beginning of the story of how DNA makes us who we are. By studying genetically informative cases like twins and adoptees, behavioural geneticists discovered some of the biggest findings in psychology because, for the first time, nature and nurture could be disentangled. The implications of these findings are transformative for psychology and society and for the way you think about what makes you who you are.

For example, one remarkable discovery is that even most measures of the environment that are used in psychology such as the quality of parenting, social support and life events show significant genetic impact. How is this possible when environments have no DNA themselves? As we shall see, genetic influence slips in because these are not pure measures of the environment ‘out there’ independent of us and our behaviour. We select, modify and even create our experiences in part on the basis of our genetic propensities. This means that correlations between such so-called ‘environmental’ measures and psychological traits cannot be assumed to be caused by the environment itself.

In fact, genetics is responsible for half of these correlations. For example, what appears to be the environmental effect of parenting on children’s psychological development actually involves parents responding to their children’s genetic differences.

A second crucial discovery at the intersection of nature and nurture is the unexpected way in which the environment makes us who we are. Genetic research provides the best evidence we have for the importance of the environment because genetics accounts for only half of the psychological differences between us.

For most of the twentieth century environmental factors were called nurture because the family was thought to be crucial in determining who we become. Genetic research showed that this is absolutely not true. In fact, the environment makes siblings reared in the same family as different as siblings reared in separate families. Family resemblance is due to our DNA rather than to our shared experiences like TLC, supportive parenting or a broken home. What makes us different environmentally are random experiences, not systematic forces like families.

The implications of this finding are enormous. Such experiences affect us, but their effects do not last; after these environmental bumps we bounce back to our genetic trajectory. Moreover, what look like systematic long-lasting environmental effects are often reflections of genetic effects, caused by us creating experiences that match our genetic propensities.

As I will demonstrate in this book, the DNA differences inherited from our parents at the moment of conception are the consistent, lifelong source of psychological individuality, the blueprint that makes us who we are. A blueprint is a plan. It is obviously not the same as the finished three-dimensional structure, we don’t look like a double helix. DNA isn’t all that matters but it matters more than everything else put together in terms of the stable psychological traits that make us who we are.

These findings call for a radical rethink about parenting, education and the events that shape our lives. The first part of Blueprint concludes with a new view of what makes us who we are that has sweeping, and no doubt controversial, implications for all of us. It also provides a novel perspective on equal opportunity, social mobility and the structure of society.

These big findings were based on twin and adoption studies that indirectly assessed genetic impact. Twenty years ago the DNA revolution began with the sequencing of the human genome, which identified each of the 3 billion steps in the double helix of DNA. We are the same as every other human being for more than 99 per cent of these 3 billion DNA steps, which is the blueprint for human nature. The less than 1 per cent of these DNA steps that differ between us is what makes us who we are as individuals, our mental illnesses, our personalities and our mental abilities. These inherited DNA differences are the blueprint for our individuality, which is the focus of the second part of Blueprint.

Recently, it has become possible to directly assess each of the millions of inherited DNA differences between us and to find out which of these are responsible for the ubiquitous genetic influence on psychological traits. One of the extraordinary discoveries was that we are not just looking for a few DNA differences with big effects but rather thousands of small differences whose weak effects can be aggregated to create powerful predictors of psychological traits. The best predictors we have so far are for schizophrenia and school achievement, but other DNA predictors of psychological traits are being reported every month.

These are unique in psychology because they do not change during our lives. This means that they can foretell our futures from birth. For example, in the case of mental illness, we no longer need to wait until people show brain or behavioural signs of the illness and then rely on asking them about their symptoms. With DNA predictors we can predict mental illness from birth, long before any brain or behavioural markers can be detected. In this way, DNA predictors open the door to prediction and, eventually, prevention of these problems before they create collateral damage that is difficult to repair. These DNA predictors are also unique in genetics because for the first time we can go beyond predicting the average risk for different members of a family to predict risk separately for each member of the family. This is important because family members differ a lot genetically, you are 50 per cent similar genetically to your parents and siblings, but this means that you are also 50 per cent different.

These new DNA developments are described in the second part of Blueprint, which concludes by showing how this new era of DNA predictors will transform psychology and society and how we understand ourselves. The applications and implications of DNA predictors will be controversial. Although we will examine some of these concerns, I admit I am unabashedly a cheerleader for these changes. At any rate, the genome genie is out of the bottle and cannot be stuffed back in again.

Blueprint focuses on psychology for two reasons. First, psychology is the essence of who we are, our individuality. Most of the same conclusions apply to other sciences such as biology and medicine, but the implications of the DNA revolution are more personal for psychology.

A second reason is that I am a psychologist who has for forty-five years been at the centre of genetic research on mental health and illness, personality and mental abilities and disabilities. One of the best things in life is to find something that you love to do, and I fell in love with genetics when I was a graduate student in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1970s. It was thrilling to be part of the beginning of the modern era of genetic research in psychology. Everywhere we looked we found evidence for the importance of genetics, which was amazing, given that genetics had been ignored in psychology until then. I feel lucky to have been in the right place at the right time to help bring the insights of genetics to the study of psychology.

I have been waiting thirty years to write Blueprint. My excuse for not doing it sooner is that more research was needed to document the importance of genetics, and I was busy doing that research. However, in hindsight, I have to admit to another reason: cowardice. It might seem unbelievable today, but thirty years ago it was dangerous professionally to study the genetic origins of differences in people’s behaviour and to write about it in scientific journals. It could also be dangerous personally to stick your head up above the parapets of academia to talk about these issues in public. Now, the shift in the zeitgeist has made it much easier to write this book. A huge bonus for waiting is that the story is much more exciting and urgent now because the DNA revolution has advanced in ways no one anticipated thirty years ago. Now, for the first time, DNA by itself can be used to make powerful predictions of who we are and who we will become.

Blueprint interweaves my own story and my DNA in order to personalize the research and to share the experience of doing science. I hope to give you an insider’s view of the exciting synergies that came from combining genetics and psychology, culminating with the DNA revolution. Although this book expresses my subjective view of how DNA makes us who we are, I have tried my best to present the research honestly and without hype. However, as I move further from the data to explore the implications of these findings, some issues will be controversial. My goal is to tell the truth as I see it, without pulling punches for the sake of perceived political correctness.

My focus on the importance of inherited DNA differences is likely to attract criticism for resurrecting the nature versus nurture debate long after its widely reported demise. Throughout my career I have emphasized nature and nurture, not nature versus nurture, by which I mean that both genes and environment contribute to the psychological differences between people. Recognition that both genes and environment are important fosters research at the interplay between nature and nurture, a very productive area of study.

However, the problem with the mantra ‘nature and nurture’ is that it runs the risk of sliding back into the mistaken view that the effects of genes and environment cannot be disentangied. No one has trouble accepting that the environment we experience contributes to who we are, but few people realize how important DNA differences are. My reason for focusing on DNA as the blueprint for making us who we are is that we now know that DNA differences are the major systematic source of psychological differences between us. Environmental effects are important but what we have learned in recent years is that they are mostly random unsystematic and unstable which means that we cannot do much about them.

I hope Blueprint launches a conversation about these issues. A good conversation requires DNA literacy, which this book attempts to provide, especially in relation to complex psychological traits. This requires some knowledge about DNA, the statistics of individual differences, and the technological advances that have led to the DNA revolution. I have attempted to explain these complicated ideas as simply as possible. A ‘Notes’ section at the end of the book provides references and additional explanation for these and other topics. Because the issues tackled in Blueprint are more than complicated enough, I have resisted digressions into research on topics that, although fascinating, are not essential to understanding inherited DNA differences as they relate to psychological traits. Some of these tangential topics that I have reluctantly let go include evolution, epigenetics and gene editing.

I hope this book conveys the excitement I feel about this historic moment in psychology. The message from earlier research has begun to sink in, that DNA is the major systematic force, the blueprint, that makes us who we are. The implications for our lives for parenting, education and society are enormous. However, this only sets the stage for what will be the main event: the ability to predict our psychological problems and promise from DNA. This is the turning point when DNA changes psychology scientifically and clinically and the impact of psychology on our lives. Our future is DNA.

PART 1: Why DNA matters

Disentangling nature and nurture

We are all similar in many ways. With few exceptions, we stand on two feet, we have eyes in the front of our heads that allow us to see in three dimensions and, most amazingly, we learn to speak. But we are also obviously different physically, physiologically and psychologically. Blueprint is about what makes us different psychologically.

Psychologists study hundreds of traits, which is their collective label for differences between us that are consistent across time and across situations. These traits include dimensions of personality, such as emotionality and energy level, and traits that are traditionally assessed as either, or disorders, for instance depression and schizophrenia. They also include cognitive traits such as general learning ability, often called intelligence, and specific mental abilities such as vocabulary and memory, as well as disabilities in these traits.

For most of the twentieth century it was assumed that psychological traits were caused by environmental factors. These environmental factors were called nurture because, from Freud onwards, their origins were thought to lie in the family environment. Because these traits run in families, it was reasonable to assume that the family environment is responsible for these traits.

But genetics also runs in families. Fifty years before we knew about DNA we knew that first-degree relatives, parents and their children, brothers and sisters, are 50 per cent similar genetically. So the reason why psychological traits run in families could be nature (genetics) as well as nurture (environment). However, it is more difficult to credit nature because DNA is invisible and silent but you can see, hear and feel the nurture of family life, for good and for bad.

So, what is the relative importance of nature and nurture for psychological traits? First, take a minute to note your opinions about nature (genetics) and nurture (environment). By rating the following traits now, you can then compare your ratings to those of other people and to the results of genetic research. Although this book is about psychological traits, it is useful to begin by contrasting psychological traits with a few physical traits (eye colour, height) and medical traits (breast cancer, stomach ulcers).

For the following fourteen traits, rate how much you think genetic factors are important in making people different in other words, how heritable do you think they are? If you think that a trait shows no genetic influence, rate it as 0 per cent. If you think that a trait is entirely due to genetic influence, rate it as 100 per cent. For some of the traits, you might not have any idea about how much DNA matters, but make a guess.

Here you can compare your ratings to those from a 2017 survey of 5,000 young adults in the UK. The last column shows estimates based on decades of genetic research which indicate that inherited DNA differences account for about 50 per cent of our psychological differences. In other words, inherited DNA differences are the main reason why we are who we are. The next chapter explores how we know this to be true, and the rest of the first part of Blueprint investigates what it means for psychology and society.

These fourteen traits were not selected because they are especially heritable. Substantial genetic influence has been found not only for schizophrenia and autism but for all types of psychopathology, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, attention-deficit disorders, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, antisocial personality disorders and drug dependence. Substantial genetic influence is also found for all aspects of personality and mental abilities and disabilities.

In fact, it is no longer interesting to show that another psychological trait is heritable, because all psychological traits are heritable. A sign of how much the situation has changed from the last century’s environmentalism is that I do not know of a single psychological trait that does not show genetic influence.

Estimates of genetic influence are called heritability, which has a precise meaning in genetics. Heritability describes how much of the differences between individuals can be explained by their inherited DNA differences. The word ‘differences’ is key to its definition. Blueprint is about what makes us different psychologically.

There are many related words that create confusion around heritability. ‘Innate’ and ‘inborn’ refer to universal characteristics that are so important evolutionarily that they do not vary, at least given the range of environments in which we evolved. We all walk on two legs, we all have eyes in the front of our heads to perceive depth, and we all have basic reflexes like blinking our eyes in response to a puff of air. These characteristics are programmed by the 99 per cent of our DNA that does not differ between us. In contrast, heritability is about the 1 per cent of DNA that differs between us and contributes to our differences in behaviour. Even though innate characteristics are programmed by DNA, we can’t talk about their heritability because innate characteristics do not vary between us.

Words like ‘genetic’ and ‘inherited’ and colloquial phrases like ‘in my genes’ or ‘in your DNA’ cover anything to do with DNA. They include the universal 99 per cent of our DNA as well as the 1 per cent that makes us different. They also include DNA mutations that are not inherited or passed on to our offspring, such as the DNA mutations in skin cells that cause skin cancer.

*

from

Blueprint. How DNA makes us who we are.

by Robert Plomin

get it at Amazon.com

Full Disclosure – Stormy Daniels.

I deserve the chance to defend myself and state all the facts. That’s why I chose to share what you are about to read.

My phone buzzed again and again with friends texting me the same message: “Happy Stormy Daniels Day!” It was two o’clock, and I had two hours before the city of West Hollywood was set to give me the key to the city at an outdoor ceremony on Santa Monica Boulevard. Mayor John Duran had proclaimed May 23 to be Stormy Daniels Day, and yes, it seemed just as surreal to me as it did to everyone else.

I texted each friend back, sipping a Red Bull. My gay dads, Keith and JD, know to keep the house stocked with energy drinks when I come stay with them in LA. And snacks. If you and l are going to be friends, we need an understanding that there must always be snacks involved. My two bodyguards, Brandon and Travis, pulled up to the house in an SUV. They have been at my side since the beginning of April, when the death threats against me and my family started ratcheting up, but I have never seen them nervous until that moment as they walked up to the house carrying a bag. I had given them a very important mission: go to Marciano to pick out a dress for me to wear to the ceremony. “I’m a small right now,” I had told them, “but keep in mind I have big boobs.”

To hedge their bets Brandon and Travis bought two dresses, in peach and black, and presented them to me for approval. I narrowed my eyes, because hazing the people I love is a favorite pastime, before saying quietly, “Guys, you did great! Bodyguards and stylists?” I went with the black one, a Capella cutout bandage dress which fit perfectly, and kept Thunder and Lightning, my nickname for my breasts, in check.

I think I put off buying a dress because I was so nervous about giving a speech. Because I am an adult film actress, director, and dancer, when I meet people they usually have some nagging question about what gives me the nerve to think I can do something. How do I do porn or take my clothes off onstage in clubs? Or take on the president of the United States? No, the thing that amazes me most about this past year is that I can speak in front of people. Because when I was a student at Scotlandville Magnet High School in my hometown of Baton Rouge, sure, I got straight As, but I always took a zero rather than talk in front of the class. My fear was so crippling, my voice so shaky, that I could not get out of my seat. The first time this happened was in ninth grade, an oral book report on Little Women. Of course, I read it, I read everything I could back then. And Jo March was the perfect character for me to talk about because, just like me, she wanted to be a writer. More than that, I identified with Jo’s frustration with what the world was ready to allow a girl to do. And no, I did not think she should have married old Professor Bhaer. (Sorry if that is a spoiler, but if you narrowed your next read down to this one or Little Women, you need to examine your life choices.)

But I couldn’t get my voice to come out. I took a straight-up F, and did so every time an assignment called for public speaking. I didn’t want people looking at me. Judging me. Which is exactly what has happened ever since March, when I gave 60 Minutes a free interview that was worth millions. it was important to me that I go to a reputable, impartial news source when I first set the record straight about Donald Trump’s personal attorney repeatedly trying to get me to lie about a sexual encounter I had with the president in 2006. The interview covered what happened in a hotel room, and later, when my life was threatened in a parking lot. But it wasn’t the full story, it didn’t cover the “why” of my decisions and the real, personal costs to me. I was starring in films I wrote and directed in L.A., then going home to my suburban life with my husband and seven-year-old daughter in Texas. It’s the life I dreamed of and worked hard to have, and I have to keep reminding myself that that life is over. For all I’ve lost, I deserve the chance to defend myself and state all the facts. That’s why I chose to share what you are about to read.

I’m also doing this for all the people who have come to see me dance in my shows, waiting in longer and longer lines to take a photo with me and share a moment. I have been dancing in clubs since I was seventeen. As my fan base grew over two decades of work in film and feature dancing, my demographic was usually middle-aged white men. Forty-five to sixty-five-year-old white dudes, Republicans, basically. I lost a lot of them, and that’s their choice. This is, after all, America.

They were replaced and outnumbered by people of color, gay men, and lots and lots of white women in their forties. These are people who have never come to strip clubs before, and there’s a learning curve to a strip club. My old crowd was well versed in the etiquette, thank you. If they specifically came to see me, it meant they were into adult entertainment, so they had likely been to a convention or at least seen another porn star at a strip club. They know how to act. They don’t take pictures during the show, and they definitely don’t grab me to tell me they love me. Because I’m in heels, and if a guy pulls me, I will fall. And a bouncer will throw him out, Roadhouse style.

If you’re familiar with the term “New Money,” you will understand the concept of New Strip Club Patron. And now my shows are full of them. The gay men seem to fall into two categories: the good-timers and the witnesses to history, and I love them both. I can’t tell you how many times men from the former group have told me, “This is the first time we ever paid to get into a strip club, that has a vagina.” A lot of them come with props for the meet-and-greet photos, like bags of Cheetos or a Make America Gay Again hat. The latter group of gay men is more emotional, and after the show they talk to me about feeling bullied by an administration that makes their marriages and freedoms seem less safe. Their fear is real, and when they confide in me, it comes from an authentic place. It was shared by my gay dads, the family I chose in my twenties when I gave up on my biological parents. Keith and JD were two of the only people who knew that I had a secret about Trump pre-election, and there was a time after the 2016 election when their concerns about their upcoming marriage turned into resentment of me for not coming forward and upending my life to save theirs.

I realized the women were coming out to see me when I started getting hurt Facebook messages from strangers some mornings after my shows. “We came to support you but they didn’t let us in!” Packs of single women were coming to the clubs in groups of four or five, only to be turned away by bouncers. Normally, a straight woman can only come in the club if she is escorted by a man, because it’s assumed that if she’s solo she is looking for a husband or a sale. Now, I make sure the club owner knows they have to let women in.

The women I see on the road have a lot of anger. Not at me, which I initially expected. I was worried I wouldn’t be safe anymore in clubs. No, they’re angry at Trump, who seems to be a standin for every man who’s ever bullied them. Nashville, Shreveport, Baltimore “You have to get him,” they say. “Get that orange turd.” Many of these women are quieter as they wait in line to talk to me, then grip my arm to tell me about someone they didn’t speak up for. A friend who killed herself after being raped. Or their own stories, feeling voiceless and unprotected. I stand there, a girl in a cute dress who just stripped onstage a few minutes before. These women transfer all the energy to me and leave feeling unburdened, but now it’s mine to carry.

They leave me with “You’re going to save the world.” In April, a woman at a meet-and-greet upgraded my job to saving the universe. No pressure. It’s these women who gut me, never the Twitter troll who calls me a slut or the guy in a crowd yelling “whore.” I sometimes think my job in porn prepared me for all this, because you can call me any name in the book and I’ve heard it from some other judgy loser. But nothing in my life prepared me for the confidences and hopes of people who come to see me. Even though it’s all positive energy, it’s still all pointing at me. The best way I can describe it is going to the beach and being in the sun all day. It’s great, but you feel sick when you get back to your room. In my case, it’s absorbing it all until it hits some limit I didn’t see coming, and I am suddenly on the floor of my hotel room, sobbing when no one can see me. I let myself feel it once, and then I get back up. I call it wringing out the sponge.

Besides, it was Stormy Daniels Day, and the hero had to show up and speak. Before I left, I FaceTimed with my daughter, who was home in Texas with the tutor we had to hire because it’s impossible to send her to school and shield her from what everyone is saying about her mother. She was at a zoo with her tutor, and for ten minutes, I stopped everything to hang on every brilliant word of a seven-year-old’s telling of her day’s adventure.

“I can’t wait to see you not digitally,” she said.

“I’ll see you Friday, baby,” I said. “How many sleeps is that?”

“Two.”

To avoid paparazzi taking pictures of our family, we’ve had to arrange meet-ups in other cities. People learned that if there was even a two day gap in my schedule, I would be home with my girl in Texas. They camped out at the house and the stable where we ride. This time we’d be going to Miami, where at least she could swim with dolphins.

“Mommy loves you,” I said.

And then my little traveling circus was off to the ceremony. When we got to Santa Monica Boulevard, there was a friends-and-family area inside Chi Chi LaRue’s store. Keith and JD were inside, greeting everyone, in total hosting mode for their daughter’s day. Mayor John Duran and Mayor Pro Tem John D’Amico arrived, followed by my lawyer, Michael Avenatti. As always, I smiled at how many people wanted a picture with him and how many people made excuses to touch his arm. An assistant to the mayor asked Michael if he’d like to speak, but you know how shy he is. Kidding, of course he said yes. As always, he offered to write my speech for me, and as always, I said no. Partly because I know it scares him, but mostly to make it mine.

A throng of people had shown up, and the floor-to-ceiling windows of the store gave it the feel of a fishbowl, with photographers and fans pressed against the roped-off speaking area outside. Brandon and Travis paced, already scoping for trouble in the crowd.

“You ready?” Michael asked me.

I nodded. The mayor, mayor pro tem, my gay dads, Michael, and my dragon bodyguards all crowded onto the tiny stage. “There’s one thing I can promise about Stormy Daniels,” Michael told the crowd. “And that is: She’s not packing up; she’s not going home. She will be in for the long fight, each and every day until it is concluded.”

John D’Amico handed me the key to the city, and the girl who took a zero rather than be judged just started talking. “So, I’m not really sure what the key opens,” I said. “I’m hoping it’s the wine cellar. But in all seriousness, the city of West Hollywood is a truly special place, very close to my heart.”

from

Full Disclosure

by Stormy Daniels

get it at Amazon.com

On Things in Our Power and Things Not in Our Power – Epictetus * How To Be a Stoic. Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living – Massimo Pigliucci.

Who am I? What am I doing? How ought I to live my life?

Moral character is the only truly worthy thing to cultivate; health, education, and even wealth are “preferred indifferents”. Such “externals” do not define who we are as individuals and have nothing to do with our personal worth, which depends on our character and our exercise of the virtues.

Stoicism is not about suppressing or hiding emotion, rather, it is about acknowledging our emotions, reflecting on what causes them, and redirecting them for our own good. It is also about keeping in mind what is and what is not under our control, focusing our efforts on the former and not wasting them on the latter.

It is about practicing virtue and excellence and navigating the world to the best of our abilities, while being mindful of the moral dimension of all our actions.

To a Stoic, it ultimately does not matter if we think the Logos is God or Nature, as long as we recognize that a decent human life is about the cultivation of one’s character and concern for other people (and even for Nature itself) and is best enjoyed by way of a proper, but not fanatical detachment from mere worldly goods.

Whether you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, educated or ignorant, it makes no difference to your ability to live a moral life and thus achieve what the Stoics called ataraxia, or tranquillity of mind.

Epictetus (55–135AD) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece for the rest of his life. His teachings were written down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses and Enchiridion.

from Arrian’s Discourses

On Things in Our Power and Things Not in Our Power

Of our faculties in general you will find that none can take cognizance of itself; none therefore has the power to approve or disapprove its own action. Our grammatical faculty for instance: how far can that take cognizance? Only so far as to distinguish expression. Our musical faculty? Only so far as to distinguish tune. Does any one of these then take cognizance of itself? By no means. If you are writing to your friend, when you want to know what words to write grammar will tell you; but whether you should write to your friend or should not write grammar will not tell you.

And in the same way music will tell you about tunes, but whether at this precise moment you should sing and play the lyre or should not sing nor play the lyre it will not tell you.

What will tell you then? That faculty which takes cognizance of itself and of all things else. What is this? The reasoning faculty: for this alone of the faculties we have received is created to comprehend even its own nature; that is to say, what it is and what it can do, and with what precious qualities it has come to us, and to comprehend all other faculties as well.

For what else is it that tells us that gold is a goodly thing? For the gold does not tell us. Clearly it is the faculty which can deal with our impressions.

What else is it which distinguishes the faculties of music, grammar, and the rest, testing their uses and pointing out the due seasons for their use? It is reason and nothing else.

The gods then, as was but right, put in our hands the one blessing that is best of all and master of all, that and nothing else, the power to deal rightly with our impressions, but everything else they did not put in our hands. Was it that they would not? For my part I think that if they could have entrusted us with those other powers as well they would have done so, but they were quite unable. Prisoners on the earth and in an earthly body and among earthly companions, how was it possible that we should not be hindered from the attainment of these powers by these external fetters?

But what says Zeus?

‘Epictetus, if it were possible I would have made your body and your possessions, those trifles that you prize, free and untrammelled. But as things are, never forget this, this body is not yours, it is but a clever mixture of clay. But since I could not make it free, I gave you a portion in our divinity, this faculty of impulse to act and not to act, of will to get and will to avoid, in a word the faculty which can turn impressions to right use. If you pay heed to this, and put your affairs in its keeping, you will never suffer let nor hindrance, you will not groan, you will blame no man, you will flatter none.

What then?

Does all this seem but little to you?’

Heaven forbid!

‘Are you content then?’

So surely as I hope for the gods’ favour.

But, as things are, though we have it in our power to pay heed to one thing and to devote ourselves to one, yet instead of this we prefer to pay heed to many things and to be bound fast to many, our body, our property, brother and friend, child and slave. Inasmuch then as we are bound fast to many things, we are burdened by them and dragged down. That is why, if the weather is bad for sailing, we sit distracted and keep looking continually and ask: What wind is blowing? ‘The north wind.‘ What have we to do with that? ‘When will the west wind blow?‘ When it so chooses, good sir, or when Aeolus chooses. For God made Aeolus the master of the winds, not you. What follows?

We must make the best of those things that are in our power, and take the rest as nature gives it.

What do you mean by ‘nature’?

I mean, God’s will.

‘What? Am I to be beheaded now, and I alone? Why?

Would you have had all beheaded, to give you consolation? Will you not stretch out your neck as Lateranus did in Rome when Nero ordered his beheadal? For he stretched out his neck and took the blow, and when the blow dealt him was too weak he shrank up a little and then stretched it out again. Nay more, on a previous occasion, when Nero’s freedman Epaphroditus came to him and asked him the cause of his offence, he answered, ‘If I want to say anything, I will say it to your master.‘

What then must a man have ready to help him in such emergencies? Surely this: he must ask himself, ‘What is mine, and what is not mine? What may I do, what may I not do? I must die. But must I die groaning? I must be imprisoned. But must I whine as well? I must suffer exile. Can any one then hinder me from going with a smile, and a good courage, and at peace?

‘Tell the secret!‘

I refuse to tell, for this is in my power.

‘But I will chain you.‘

What say you, fellow? Chain me? My leg you will chain, yes, but my will, no, not even Zeus can conquer that.

I will imprison you.’

My bit of a body, you mean.

‘I will behead you.’

Why? When did I ever tell you that I was the only man in the world that could not be beheaded?

These are the thoughts that those who pursue philosophy should ponder, these are the lessons they should write down day by day, in these they should exercise themselves.

Thrasea used to say ‘I had rather be killed today than exiled tomorrow’. What then did Rufus say to him? ‘If you choose it as the harder, what is the meaning of your foolish choice? If as the easier, who has given you the easier? Will you not study to be content with what is given you?‘

It was in this spirit that Agrippinus used to say, do you know what? ‘I will not stand in my own way!‘ News was brought him, ‘Your trial is on in the Senate!‘ ‘Good luck to it, but the fifth hour is come’, this was the hour when he used to take his exercise and have a cold bath, ‘let us go and take exercise.‘ When he had taken his exercise they came and told him, ‘You are condemned.‘ ‘Exile or death?‘ he asked. ‘Exile.‘ ‘And my property?‘ ‘It is not confiscated.‘ ‘Well then, let us go to Aricia and dine.‘

Here you see the result of training, as training should be, of the will to get and will to avoid, so disciplined that nothing can hinder or frustrate them.

I must die, must I? If at once, then I am dying: if soon, I dine now, as it is time for dinner, and afterwards when the time comes I will die. And die how? As befits one who gives back what is not his own.

How One May Be True To One’s Character In Everything

To the rational creature that which is against reason is alone past bearing; the rational he can always bear. Blows are not by nature intolerable.

‘What do you mean?‘

Let me explain; the Lacedaemonians bear flogging, because they have learnt that it is in accord with reason.

‘But is it not intolerable to hang oneself?‘

At any rate, when a man comes to feel that it is rational, he goes and hangs himself at once. In a word, if we look to it we shall see that by nothing is the rational creature so distressed as by the irrational, and again to nothing so much attracted as to the rational.

But rational and irrational mean different things to different persons, just as good and evil, expedient and inexpedient, are different for different persons. That is the chief reason why we need education, that we may learn, so to adjust our preconceptions of rational and irrational to particular conditions as to be in harmony with nature.

But to decide what is rational and irrational we not only estimate the value of things external, but each one of us considers what is in keeping with his character. For one man thinks it reasonable to perform the meanest office for another; for he looks merely to this, that if he refuses he will be beaten and get no food, while if he does it nothing hard or painful will be done to him. To another it seems intolerable not only to do this service himself, but even to suffer another to do it. If then you ask me, ‘Am I to do it or not?‘ I shall say to you, to get food is worth more than to go without it, and to be flogged is worth less than to escape flogging: therefore, if you measure your affairs by this standard, go and do it.

‘But I shall be false to myself.‘

That is for you to bring into the question, not for me. For it is you who know yourself; you know at how much you put your worth, and at what price you sell yourself. For different men sell at different prices.

That is why Agrippinus, when Florus was considering whether he should go down to Nero’s shows, to perform some part in them himself, said to him, ‘Go down.‘ And when he asked, ‘Why do you not go down yourself?‘ said, ‘Because I do not even consider the question.‘ For when a man once lowers himself to think about such matters, and to value external things and calculate about them he has almost forgotten his own character.

What is it you ask me? ‘Is death or life to be preferred?‘ I say ‘life’. ‘Pain or pleasure?‘ I say ‘pleasure‘.

‘But, if I do not act in the tragedy, I shall be beheaded.‘

Go then and act your tragedy, but I will not do so. You ask me, ‘Why?‘ I answer, ‘Because you count yourself to be but an ordinary thread in the tunic.‘ What follows then? You ought to think how you can be like other men, just as one thread does not wish to have something special to distinguish it from the rest: but I want to be the purple, that touch of brilliance which gives distinction and beauty to the rest. Why then do you say to me, ‘Make yourself like unto the many?‘ If I do that, I shall no longer be the purple.

Priscus Helvidius too saw this, and acted on it. When Vespasian sent to him not to come into the Senate he answered, ‘You can forbid me to be a senator; but as long as I am a senator I must come in.‘

‘Come in then,‘ he says, ‘and be silent.‘

‘Question me not and I will be silent.‘

‘But I am bound to question you.‘

‘And I am bound to say what seems right to me.‘

‘But, if you say it, I shall kill you.‘

‘When did I tell you, that I was immortal? You will do your part, and I mine. It is yours to kill, mine to die without quailing: yours to banish, mine to go into exile without groaning.‘

What good, you ask, did Priscus do, being but one? What good does the purple do to the garment? Just this, that being purple it gives distinction and stands out as a fine example to the rest. Another man, had Caesar in such circumstances told him not to come into the Senate, would have said, ‘Thank you for sparing me.‘ Such a one he would never have forbidden to come in; he would know that he would either sit silent like a pipkin or if he spoke would say what he knew Caesar wished and pile on more besides.

This spirit too was shown by a certain athlete, who was threatened with death if he did not sacrifice his virility. When his brother, who was a philosopher, came to him and said, ‘Brother, what will you do? Are we to let the knife do its work and still go into the gymnasium?‘ he would not consent, but endured to meet his death. (Here some one asked, ‘How did he do so, as an athlete or as a philosopher?’) He did so as a man, and a man who had wrestled at Olympia and been proclaimed victor, one who had passed his days in such a place as that, not one who anoints himself at Bato’s. Another man would have consented to have even his head out off, if he could have lived without it.

That is what I mean by keeping your character: such is its power with those who have acquired the habit of carrying it into every question that arises.

‘Go to, Epictetus, have yourself shaved.‘

If I am a philosopher I say, ‘I will not be shaved.’

‘I must behead you then.‘

Behead me, if it is better for you so.

One asked, ‘How then shall we discover, each of us, what suits his character?‘

How does the bull, he answered, at the lion’s approach, alone discover what powers he is endowed with, when he stands forth to protect the whole herd? It is plain that with the possession of his power the consciousness of it also is given him. So each of us, who has power of this sort, will not be unaware of its possession. Like the bull, the man of noble nature does not become noble of a sudden; he must train through the winter, and make ready, and not lightly leap to meet things that concern him not.

Of one thing beware, O man; see what is the price at which you sell your will. If you do nothing else, do not sell your will cheap. The great, heroic style, it may be, belongs to others, to Socrates and men like him.

‘If then this is our true nature, why do not all men, or many, show it?‘

What? Do all horses turn out swift, are all dogs good at the scent?

‘What am I to do then? Since I have no natural gifts, am I to make no effort for that reason?‘

Heaven forbid. Epictetus is not better than Socrates: if only he is as good as Socrates I am content. For I shall never be a Milo, yet I do not neglect my body; nor a Croesus, and yet I do not neglect my property; nor, in a word, do we abandon our effort in any field because we despair of the first place.

*

from

ARRIAN’S DISCOURSES OF EPICTETUS


How To Be a Stoic. Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living

Massimo Pigliucci

Who am I? What am I doing? How ought I to live my life?

Stoicism teaches us to acknowledge our emotions, reflect on what causes them and redirect them for our own good. But sometimes no goal seems more elusive than leading a good life.

Professor Massimo Pigliucci explores this remarkable philosophy and how its wisdom can be applied to our everyday lives in the quest for meaning. He shows how stoicism teaches us the importance of a person’s character, integrity and compassion.

In How to be a Stoic, with its practical tips and exercises, meditations and mindfulness, he also explains how relevant it is to every part of our modern lives.

Massimo Pigliucci is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He holds PhDs in genetics, evolutionary biology, and philosophy and has written for many publications, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. The author or editor of ten books, he lives in New York City. Massimo blogs at platofootnote.org and at howtobeastoic.org.

CHAPTER 1

THE UNSTRAIGHTFORWARD PATH

“Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward pathway had been lost.” DANTE, THE DIVINE COMEDY: INFERNO, CANTO I

IN EVERY CULTURE we know of, whether it be secular or religious, ethnically diverse or not, the question of how to live is central. How should we handle life’s challenges and vicissitudes? How should we conduct ourselves in the world and treat others? And the ultimate question: how do we best prepare for the final test of our character, the moment when we die?

The numerous religions and philosophies that have been devised over human history to address these issues offer answers ranging from the mystical to the hyper-rational. Recently, even science has gotten into the business, with an onslaught of technical papers and popular books on happiness and how to achieve it, accompanied by the obligatory brain scans displaying “your brain on …” whatever it is that may increase or decrease your satisfaction with life. Correspondingly, the tools to seek answers to existential questions vary as much as the approaches that have been used, from sacred texts to deep meditation, from philosophical arguments to scientific experiments.

The resulting panorama is truly astounding and reflects both the creativity of the human spirit and the urgency that we obviously attach to inquiries into meaning and purpose. You can embrace any of a large variety of options within the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions, for instance; or choose one of a panoply of schools of Buddhism; or opt instead for Taoism, or Confucianism, among many others. If philosophy, rather than religion, is your cup of tea, then you can turn to existentialism, secular humanism, secular Buddhism, ethical culture, and so forth. Or you can arrive instead at the conclusion that there is no meaning, indeed, the very search for it is meaningless, and embrace a “happy” sort of nihilism (yes, there is such a thing).

For my part, I’ve become a Stoic. I do not mean that I have started keeping a stiff upper lip and suppressing my emotions. As much as I love the character of Mr. Spock (which Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry purportedly modeled after his naive, as it turns out, understanding of Stoicism), these traits represent two of the most common misconceptions about what it means to be a Stoic.

In reality, Stoicism is not about suppressing or hiding emotion, rather, it is about acknowledging our emotions, reflecting on what causes them, and redirecting them for our own good. It is also about keeping in mind what is and what is not under our control, focusing our efforts on the former and not wasting them on the latter. It is about practicing virtue and excellence and navigating the world to the best of our abilities, while being mindful of the moral dimension of all our actions.

As I explain in this book, in practice Stoicism involves a dynamic combination of reflecting on theoretical precepts, reading inspirational texts, and engaging in meditation, mindfulness, and other spiritual exercises.

One of the key tenets of Stoicism is that we ought to recognize, and take seriously, the difference between what we can and cannot master. This distinction, also made by some Buddhist doctrines, is often taken to indicate a tendency of Stoics to withdraw from social engagement and public life, but a closer look at both Stoic writings and, more importantly, the lives of famous Stoics will dispel this impression: Stoicism was very much a philosophy of social engagement and encouraged love for all humankind and Nature as well. It is this apparently contradictory tension between the advice to focus on one’s thoughts and the social dimension of Stoicism that drew me to it as a practice.

I arrived at Stoicism, not on my way to Damascus, but through a combination of cultural happenstance, life’s vicissitudes, and deliberate philosophical choice. In retrospect, it seems inevitable that my path would eventually lead me to the Stoics. Raised in Rome, I have considered Stoicism part of my cultural heritage ever since I studied ancient Greek and Roman history and philosophy in high school, although it wasn’t until recently that I sought to make its principles part of my everyday life.

I am by profession a scientist and philosopher, and I have therefore always been inclined to seek more coherent ways to understand the world (through science) and better choices for living my life (through philosophy). A few years ago, I wrote a book, Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life, in which I explored such a framework, which I called sciphi. The basic approach was to combine the ancient idea of virtue ethics, which focuses on character development and the pursuit of personal excellence as the pillars providing meaning to our lives, with the latest that the natural and social sciences tell us about human nature and how we work, fail, and learn. As it happened, this was only the beginning of my journey toward philosophical self-awareness.

Something else was going on at the time that made me pause and reflect. I have not been a religious person since my teenage years (I was prompted to leave Catholicism, in part, by reading Bertrand Russell’s famous Why I Am Not a Christian in high school), and as such I have been on my own in dealing with questions of where my morals and the meaning in my life come from. I take it that an increasing number of people in the United States and across the world find themselves facing a similar conundrum.

While sympathetic to the idea that lack of religious affiliation should be just as acceptable a choice in life as any religious one, and strongly supportive of the constitutional separation of church and state in the United States and elsewhere, I have also grown increasingly dissatisfied with (make that downright irritated by) the intolerant anger of the so-called New Atheists, represented by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, among others.

Although public criticism of religion (or of any idea) is the staple of a healthy democratic society, people don’t respond very well to being belittled and insulted. On this point the Stoic philosopher Epictetus clearly agrees with me, all the while displaying his characteristic sense of humor: “At this point you run the risk of him saying, ‘What business is that of yours, sir? What are you to me?’ Pester him further, and he is liable to punch you in the nose. I myself was once keen for this sort of discourse, until I met with just such a reception.”

There are, of course, alternatives to the New Atheism if you want to pursue a nonreligious approach to life, including secular Buddhism and secular humanism. Yet these two paths, the two major ones on offer for those seeking a meaningful secular existence, are somehow unsatisfactory to me, though for opposite reasons. I find Buddhism’s currently dominant modes a bit too mystical, and its texts opaque and hard to interpret, especially in light of what we know about the world and the human condition from modern science (and despite a number of neurobiological studies that persuasively show the mental benefits of meditation). Secular humanism, which I have embraced for years, suffers from the opposite problem: it is too dependent on science and a modern conception of rationality, with the result that, despite the best efforts of its supporters, it comes across as cold and not the sort of thing you want to bring your kids to on a Sunday morning. Hence, I think, the spectacular lack of success (numerically speaking) of secular humanist organizations.

By contrast, in Stoicism I have found a rational, science-friendly philosophy that includes a metaphysics with a spiritual dimension, is explicitly open to revision, and, most importantly, is eminently practical. The Stoics accepted the scientific principle of universal causality: everything has a cause, and everything in the universe unfolds according to natural processes. There is no room for spooky transcendental stuff. But they also believed that the universe is structured according to what they called the Logos, which can be interpreted as either God or simply what is sometimes termed “Einstein’s god”: the simple, indubitable fact that Nature is understandable by reason.

Although other components of the Stoic system are important, by far the distinguishing feature of Stoicism is its practicality: it began in the guise of, and has always been understood as, a quest for a happy and meaningful life. Not surprisingly, then, its fundamental texts, pretty much all of them coming to us from the late Roman Stoa (as the Stoic school was called), since most of the early writings have been lost, are paragons of clarity. Epictetus, Seneca, Musonius Rufus, and Marcus Aurelius speak to us in plain language, far removed from the often cryptic Buddhist texts or even the flowery allegories of early Christianity.

One of my favorite quotations, again from Epictetus, exemplifies this down-to-earth practicality: “Death is necessary and cannot be avoided. I mean, where am I going to go to get away from it?”

The final reason I turned to Stoicism is that this philosophy speaks most directly and convincingly to the inevitability of death and how to prepare for it. I recently passed the half-century mark, a seemingly arbitrary point in life that nonetheless prompted me to engage in broader reflections: who am I, and what am I doing? As a nonreligious person, I was also looking for some sort of playbook on how to prepare for the eventual end of my life. Beyond my own preoccupations, we live in a society where life keeps being extended by modern science and more and more of us will consequently find ourselves needing to decide what to do with our existence for decades after retiring. Moreover, whatever we decide about the meaning of our extended lives, we also need to find ways of preparing ourselves and our loved ones to face the permanent demise of our own consciousness, of our unique presence in this world. And we need to know how to die in a dignified way that allows us to achieve tranquillity of mind and is of comfort to those who survive us.

Famously, the original Stoics devoted a great deal of effort and many writings to what Seneca referred to as the ultimate test of character and principle. “We die every day,” he wrote to his friend Gaius Lucillius. Seneca connected this test to the rest of our existence on earth: “A man cannot live well“ if he knows not how to die well.” Life, for the Stoics, is an ongoing project, and death, its logical, natural end point, is nothing special in and of itself and nothing that we should particularly fear. This view resonated with me, striking a balance as it did between opposite attitudes to which I had been exposed and which I found unpalatable: no fantasizing about an immortality of which there is neither evidence nor reason to believe in, but also no secular dismissal, or worse, avoidance, of the issue of death and personal extinction.

For these and other reasons, I’m not alone in my quest to revive this ancient practical philosophy and adapt it to twenty-first-century life.

Every fall thousands of people participate in Stoic Week, a worldwide philosophy event-cum-social science experiment organized by a team at the University of Exeter in England, with the collaboration of academic philosophers, cognitive therapists, and everyday practitioners from all over the world. The goal of Stoic Week is twofold: on the one hand, to get people to learn about Stoicism and its relevance to their lives, and on the other hand, to collect systematic data to see whether practicing Stoicism actually makes a difference.

The preliminary results from the Exeter initiative are tentative (in future Stoic Weeks, more sophisticated experimental protocols will be used and larger sample sizes collected), but they are promising. Participants in the third international Stoic Week, for instance, reported a 9 percent increase in positive emotions, an 11 percent decrease in negative emotions, and a 14 percent improvement in life satisfaction after one week of practice. (The previous year the team conducted longer-term follow-ups, and they confirmed the initial results for people who kept practicing.) Participants also seem to think that Stoicism makes them more virtuous: 56 percent gave Stoic practice a high mark in that regard. Of course, this is a self-selected sample of people who have an interest in Stoicism and buy into at least some of its assumptions and practices. Then again, for people who are already somewhat committed to this particular approach to see such significant changes in the span of a few days ought to at least encourage interested others to pay attention.

Results like these are not entirely surprising, given that Stoicism is the philosophical root of a number of evidence based psychological therapies, including Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy and Albert Ellis’s rational emotive behavior therapy. Of Ellis it has been said that “no individuals, not even Freud himself, has had a greater impact on modern psychotherapy.” Frankl was a neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust and wrote the best-selling book Man’s Search for Meaning. His moving and inspiring story of resilience can be read as a contemporary example of Stoicism in practice. Both Ellis and Frankl acknowledged Stoicism as an important influence in developing their therapeutic approaches, with Frankl characterizing logotherapy as a type of existential analysis.

Another compelling account of Stoicism is provided by Vice Admiral James Stockdale in his memoir In Love and War. Stockdale famously credited Stoicism (and in particular his readings of Epictetus) for his survival under prolonged horrid conditions in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp.

Also owing a significant debt to Stoicism is the increasingly diverse family of practices that goes under the general rubric of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT, which was initially deployed to treat depression and now is more widely applied to a variety of mental conditions. Aaron T. Beck, author of Cognitive Therapy of Depression, acknowledges this debt when he writes, “The philosophical origins of cognitive therapy can be traced back to the Stoic philosophers.”

Of course, Stoicism is a philosophy, not a type of therapy. The difference is crucial: a therapy is intended to be a short-term approach to helping people overcome specific problems of a psychological nature; it doesn’t necessarily provide a general picture, or philosophy, of life. A philosophy of life is something we all need, however, and something we all develop, consciously or not. Some people simply import wholesale whatever framework for life they acquire from a religion. Others make up their own philosophy as they go along, without thinking too much about it, but nonetheless engaging in actions and decisions that reflect some implicit understanding of what life is about. Still others would rather, as Socrates famously put it, take the time to examine their life in order to live it better.

Stoicism, like any life philosophy, may not appeal to or work for everyone. It is rather demanding, stipulating that moral character is the only truly worthy thing to cultivate; health, education, and even wealth are considered “preferred indifferents” (although Stoics don’t advocate asceticism, and many of them historically enjoyed the good things in life). Such “externals” do not define who we are as individuals and have nothing to do with our personal worth, which depends on our character and our exercise of the virtues. In this sense, Stoicism is eminently democratic, cutting across social classes: whether you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, educated or ignorant, it makes no difference to your ability to live a moral life and thus achieve what the Stoics called ataraxia, or tranquillity of mind.

For all its uniqueness, Stoicism has numerous points of contact with other philosophies, with religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, and Christianity), and with modern movements such as secular humanism and ethical culture. There is something very appealing to me, as a nonreligious person, in the idea of such an ecumenical philosophy, one that can share goals and at least some general attitudes with other major ethical traditions across the world. This commonality has allowed me to reject more forcefully the strident New Atheism that I criticized earlier, and it also allows religious persons to distance themselves from the even more pernicious fundamentalisms of different stripes that have been plaguing our recent history.

To a Stoic, it ultimately does not matter if we think the Logos is God or Nature, as long as we recognize that a decent human life is about the cultivation of one’s character and concern for other people (and even for Nature itself) and is best enjoyed by way of a proper, but not fanatical detachment from mere worldly goods.

There are also, naturally, challenges that remain unresolved, and which I will explore along with the reader in How to Be a Stoic. The original Stoicism, for instance, was a comprehensive philosophy that included not only ethics but also a metaphysics, a natural science, and specific approaches to logic and epistemology (that is, a theory of knowledge). The Stoics considered these other aspects of their philosophy important because they fed into and informed their main concern: how to live one’s life. The idea was that in order to decide on the best approach to living we also need to understand the nature of the world (metaphysics), how it works (natural science), and how (imperfectly) we come to understand it (epistemology).

But many of the particular notions developed by the ancient Stoics have ceded place to new ones introduced by modern science and philosophy and need therefore to be updated. For instance, as William Irvine explains in his lucid A Guide to the Good Life, the clear dichotomy the Stoics drew between what is and is not under our control is too strict: beyond our own thoughts and attitudes, there are some things that we can and, depending on circumstances, must influence, up to the point where we recognize that nothing more is in our power to be done.

It is also true, conversely, that the Stoics turned out to be overly optimistic about how much control human beings have over their own thoughts. Modern cognitive science has shown over and over again that we are often prey to cognitive biases and delusions. But in my view, this knowledge reinforces the idea that we need to train ourselves in virtuous and right thinking, as the Stoics advised.

Finally, one of the most attractive features of Stoicism is that the Stoics were open to considering challenges to their doctrines and altering them accordingly. In other words, it is an open-ended philosophy, ready to incorporate criticism from other schools (for instance, the socalled Skeptics of ancient times) as well as new discoveries. As Seneca famously put it: “Men who have made these discoveries before us are not our masters, but our guides. Truth lies open for all; it has not yet been monopolized. And there is plenty of it left even for posterity to discover.” In a world of fundamentalism and hardheaded doctrines, it is refreshing to embrace a worldview that is inherently open to revision.

For all these reasons, I have decided to commit to Stoicism as a philosophy of life, to explore it, to study it, to find areas of improvement if possible, and to share it with like-minded others. In the end, of course, Stoicism is yet another (unstraightforward) path devised by humanity to develop a more coherent view of the world, of who we are, and of how we fit into the broader scheme of things. The need for this sort of insight seems to be universal, and in How to Be a Stoic I will do my best to guide the reader down this ancient and yet remarkably modern road.

The problem is that I myself am rather a novice when it comes to Stoic philosophy, so we actually need to turn to a more expert chaperone, someone who can gently show us the way, nudging us away from the most common mistakes and keeping us on the path toward enlightenment. When Dante Alighieri went on his own spiritual journey, which resulted in the writing of the beautiful Divine Comedy, he imagined himself suddenly lost in the middle of a dark forest, with his way forward uncertain. It turned out that he was at the (imaginary) entrance to Hell, about to descend into its depths. Lucky for him, he had a sure mentor to guide him on his journey, the Roman poet Virgil. The journey we are about to embark upon is not as momentous as a visit to Hell, and this book certainly is no Divine Comedy, but in a sense we are lost too, and in need of guidance just as surely as Dante was. My choice for the role of our guide is Epictetus, the very first Stoic I encountered when I began my own exploration of that philosophy.

Epictetus was born in Hierapolis (present-day Pamukkale in Turkey) around the year 55 CE. Epictetus was not his real name, which is lost to us: the word simply means “acquired,” reflecting the fact that he was a slave. His known master was Epaphroditos, a wealthy freedman (that is, a former slave himself) who worked as a secretary to the emperor Nero in Rome, which is where Epictetus spent his youth. He was crippled, either by birth or because of an injury received while he was a slave under a former master. At any rate, Epaphroditos treated Epictetus well and allowed him to study Stoic philosophy under one of the most renowned teachers in Rome, Musonius Rufus.

After Nero’s death in 68 CE, Epictetus was freed by his master, a common practice in Rome with particularly intelligent and educated slaves. He then set up his own school in the capital of the empire, and taught there until 93 CE, when the emperor Domitian banned all philosophers from the city. (Philosophers in general, and Stoics in particular, were persecuted by a number of emperors, especially Vespasian and Domitian. Scores of philosophers were either killed, including Seneca right before the end of Nero’s reign, or exiled, as happened twice to Musonius. The Stoic penchant for speaking truth to power, as we would say today, did not go over well with some of the people who held very clearly to that power.)

Epictetus then moved his school to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece, where he may have been visited by the emperor Hadrian (one of the five socalled good emperors, the last of whom was Marcus Aurelius, arguably the most famous Stoic of all time). Epictetus became renowned as a teacher and attracted a number of high-profile students, including Arrian of Nicomedia, who transcribed some of the master’s lectures. Those lectures are known today as the Discourses, and I will use them as the basis for our exploration of Stoicism in this book. Epictetus never married, though late in his life he began to live with a woman who helped him raise the child of a friend, a boy who would have otherwise been left to die. Epictetus himself died around 135 CE.

*

from

How To Be a Stoic. Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living

by Massimo Pigliucci

get it at Amazon.com

Mike Taylor: Another financial crisis is coming… but when and where? – NZ Herald

The next crisis is lurking just below the surface and it might not take much to set it off.
As humans we have managed to solve just about every problem thrown our way, like communication, transportation, human rights, famine, plagues, and global wars.
But we are yet to solve the economic cycle.
We remain in an environment of boom and bust, misallocated capital, unintended consequences and are left always with the failings of capitalism.

NZ Herald

FEAR. Trump in the White House – Bob Woodward.

“Walking along the edge of the cliff perpetually.” Rob Porter, White House staff secretary.

It is a nervous breakdown of the executive power of the most powerful country in the world.

“Real power is, I don’t even want to use the word, fear.” Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump in an interview with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa on March 31, 2016.

In Bannon’s evaluation, Trump was Archie Bunker, but a really focused Archie Bunker.

Interviews for this book were conducted under the journalist ground rule of “deep background.” This means that all the information could be used but I would not say who provided it. The book is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses to these events. Nearly all allowed me to tape-record our interviews so the story could be told with more precision. When I have attributed exact quotations, thoughts or conclusions to the participants, that information comes from the person, a colleague with direct knowledge, or from meeting notes, personal diaries, files and government or personal documents.

President Trump declined to be interviewed for this book.

In early September 2017, in the eighth month of the Trump presidency, Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs and the president’s top economic adviser in the White House, moved cautiously toward the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

In his 27 years at Goldman, Cohn, 6 foot 3, bald, brash and full of self-confidence, had made billions for his clients and hundreds of millions for himself. He had granted himself walk in privileges to Trump’s Oval Office, and the president had accepted that arrangement.

On the desk was a one-page draft letter from the president addressed to the president of South Korea, terminating the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement, known as KORUS.

Cohn was appalled. For months Trump had threatened to withdraw from the agreement, one of the foundations of an economic relationship, a military alliance and, most important, top secret intelligence operations and capabilities.

Under a treaty dating back to the 1950s, the United States stationed 28,500 US. troops in the South and operated the most highly classified and sensitive Special Access Programs (SAP), which provided sophisticated Top Secret, codeword intelligence and military capabilities. North Korean ICBM missiles now had the capability to carry a nuclear weapon, perhaps to the American homeland. A missile from North Korea would take 38 minutes to reach Los Angeles.

These programs enabled the United States to detect an ICBM launch in North Korea within seven seconds. The equivalent capability in Alaska took 15 minutes, an astonishing time differential.

The ability to detect a launch in seven seconds would give the United States military the time to shoot down a North Korean missile. It is perhaps the most important and most secret operation in the United States government. The American presence in South Korea represents the essence of national security.

Withdrawal from the KORUS trade agreement, which South Korea deemed essential to its economy, could lead to an unraveling of the entire relationship. Cohn could not believe that President Trump would risk losing vital intelligence assets crucial to US. national security.

This all stemmed from Trump’s fury that the United States had an $18 billion annual trade deficit with South Korea and was spending $3.5 billion a year to keep U.S. troops there.

Despite almost daily reports of chaos and discord in the White House, the public did not know how bad the internal situation actually was. Trump was always shifting, rarely fixed, erratic. He would get in a bad mood, something large or small would infuriate him, and he would say about the KORUS trade agreement, “We’re withdrawing today.”

But now there was the letter, dated September 5, 2017, a potential trigger to a national security catastrophe. Cohn was worried Trump would sign the letter if he saw it.

Cohn removed the letter draft from the Resolute Desk. He placed it in a blue folder marked “KEEP.”

“I stole it off his desk,” he later told an associate. “I wouldn’t let him see it. He’s never going to see that document. Got to protect the country.”

In the anarchy and disorder of the White House, and Trump’s mind, the president never noticed the missing letter.

Ordinarily Rob Porter, the staff secretary and organizer of presidential paperwork, would have been responsible for producing letters like this to the South Korean president. But this time, alarmingly, the letter draft had come to Trump through an unknown channel. Staff secretary is one of the low-profile but critical roles in any White House. For months, Porter had been briefing Trump on decision memos and other presidential documents, including the most sensitive national security authorizations for military and covert CIA activities.

Porter, 6-foot-4, rail-thin, 40 years old and raised a Mormon, was one of the gray men: an organization man with little flash who had attended Harvard and Harvard Law School and been a Rhodes Scholar.

Porter later discovered there were multiple copies of the draft letter, and either Cohn or he made sure none remained on the president’s desk.

Cohn and Porter worked together to derail what they believed were Trump’s most impulsive and dangerous orders. That document and others like it just disappeared. When Trump had a draft on his desk to proofread, Cohn at times would just yank it, and the president would forget about it. But if it was on his desk, he’d sign it. “It’s not what we did for the country,” Cohn said privately. “It’s what we saved him from doing.”

It was no less than an administrative coup d’e’tat, an undermining of the will of the president of the United States and his constitutional authority.

In addition to coordinating policy decisions and schedules and running the papenwork for the president, Porter told an associate, “A third of my job was trying to react to some of the really dangerous ideas that he had and try to give him reasons to believe that maybe they weren’t such good ideas.”

Another strategy was to delay, procrastinate, cite legal restrictions. Lawyer Porter said, “But slow-walking things or not taking things up to him, or telling him rightly, not just as an excuse, but this needs to be vetted, or we need to do more process on this, or we don’t have legal counsel clearance, that happened 10 times more frequently than taking papers from his desk. It felt like we were walking along the edge of the cliff perpetually.”

There were days or weeks when the operation seemed under control and they were a couple of steps back from the edge. “Other times, we would fall over the edge, and an action would be taken. It was like you were always walking right there on the edge.”

Although Trump never mentioned the missing September 5 letter, he did not forget what he wanted to do about the trade agreement. “There were several different iterations of that letter,” Porter told an associate.

Later in an Oval Office meeting, the South Korean agreement was being heatedly debated. “I don’t care,” Trump said. “I’m tired of these arguments! I don’t want to hear about it anymore. We’re getting out of KORUS.” He started to dictate a new letter he wanted to send.

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, took Trump’s words seriously. Jared, 36, was a senior White House adviser and had a self-possessed, almost aristocratic bearing. He had been married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka since 2009.

Because he was sitting closest to the president, Jared started writing down what Trump was saying, taking dictation.

Finish the letter and get it to me so I can sign it, Trump ordered him.

Jared was in the process of turning the president’s dictation into a new letter when Porter heard about it.

“Send me the draft,” he told him. “If we’re going to do this, we cannot do it on the back of a napkin. We have to write it up in a way that isn’t going to embarrass us.”

Kushner sent down a paper copy of his draft. it was not of much use. Porter and Cohn had something typed up to demonstrate they were doing what the president had asked. Trump was expecting an immediate response. They wouldn’t walk in empty-handed. The draft was part of the subterfuge.

At a formal meeting, the opponents of leaving KORUS raised all kinds of arguments, the United States had never withdrawn from a free trade agreement before; there were legal issues, geopolitical issues, vital national security and intelligence issues; the letter wasn’t ready. They smothered the president with facts and logic.

“Well, let’s keep working on the letter,” Trump said. “I want to see the next draft.”

Cohn and Porter did not prepare a next draft. So there was nothing to show the president. The issue, for the moment, disappeared in the haze of presidential decision making. Trump got busy with other things.

But the KORUS issue would not go away. Cohn spoke to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the retired Marine general who was perhaps the most influential voice among Trump’s cabinet and staff. General Mattis, a combat veteran, had served 40 years in the Corps. At 5-foot-9 with ramrod-straight posture, he had a permanently world-weary demeanor.

“We’re teetering on the edge,” Cohn told the secretary. “We may need some backup this time.”

Mattis tried to limit his visits to the White House and stick to military business as much as possible, but realizing the urgency he came to the Oval Office.

“Mr. President,” he said, “Kim Jong Un poses the most immediate threat to our national security. We need South Korea as an ally. It may not seem like trade is related to all this, but it’s central.”

American military and intelligence assets in South Korea are the backbone of our ability to defend ourselves from North Korea. Please don’t leave the deal.

Why is the US. paying $1 billion a year for an antiballistic missile system in South Korea? Trump asked. He was furious about the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, and had threatened to pull it out of South Korea and move it to Portland, Oregon.

“We’re not doing this for South Korea,” Mattis said. “We’re helping South Korea because it helps us.”

The president seemed to acquiesce, but only for the moment.

In 2016, candidate Trump gave Bob Costa and myself his definition of the job of president: “More than anything else, it’s the security of our nation. . . . That’s number one, two and three. . . . The military, being strong, not letting bad things happen to our country from the outside. And I certainly think that’s always going to be my number-one part of that definition.”

The reality was that the United States in 2017 was tethered to the words and actions of an emotionally overwrought, mercurial and unpredictable leader. Members of his staff had joined to purposefully block some of what they believed were the president’s most dangerous impulses. It was a nervous breakdown of the executive power of the most powerful country in the world.

What follows is that story.

Chapter One

In August 2010, six years before taking over Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign, Steve Bannon, then 57 and a producer of right-wing political films, answered his phone.

“What are you doing tomorrow?” asked David Bossie, a longtime House Republican investigator and conservative activist who had chased Bill and Hillary Clinton scandals for almost two decades.

“Dude,” Bannon replied, “I’m cutting these fucking films I’m making for you.”

The 2010 midterm congressional elections were coming up. It was the height of the Tea Party movement and Republicans were showing momentum.

“Dave, we’re literally dropping two more films. I’m editing. I’m working 20 hours a day” at Citizens United, the conservative political action committee Bossie headed, to churn out his anti-Clinton films.

“Can you come with me up to New York?”

“ For what?”

“To see Donald Trump,” Bossie said.

“What about?”

“He’s thinking of running for president,” Bossie said.

“Of what country?” Bannon asked.

No, seriously, Bossie insisted. He had been meeting and working with Trump for months. Trump had asked for a meeting.

“I don’t have time to jerk off, dude,” Bannon said. “Donald Trump’s never running for president. Forget it. Against Obama? Forget it. I don’t have time for fucking nonsense.”

“Don’t you want to meet him?”

“No, I have no interest in meeting him.” Trump had once given Bannon a 30-minute interview for his Sunday-aftemoon radio show, called The Victory Sessions, which Bannon had run out of Los Angeles and billed as “the thinking man’s radio show.”

“This guy’s not serious,” Bannon said.

“I think he is serious,” Bossie said. Trump was a TV celebrity and had a famous show, The Apprentice, that was number one on NBC some weeks. “There’s no downside for us to go and meet with him.”

Bannon finally agreed to go to New York City to Trump Tower.

They rode up to the 26th floor conference room. Trump greeted them warmly, and Bossie said he had a detailed presentation. It was a tutorial.

The first part, he said, lays out how to run in a Republican primary and win. The second part explains how to run for president of the United States against Barack Obama. He described standard polling strategies and discussed process and issues. Bossie was a traditional, limited-government conservative and had been caught by surprise by the Tea Party movement.

It was an important moment in American politics, Bossie said, and Tea Party populism was sweeping the country. The little guy was getting his voice. Populism was a grassroots movement to disrupt the political status quo in favor of everyday people.

“I’m a business guy,” Trump reminded them. “I’m not a professional ladder-climber in politics.”

“If you’re going to run for president,” Bossie said, “you have to know lots of little things and lots of big things.” The little things were filing deadlines, the state rules for primaries, minutiae. “You have to know the policy side, and how to win delegates.” But first, he said, “you need to understand the conservative movement.”

Trump nodded.

“You’ve got some problems on issues,” Bossie said.

“I don’t have any problems on issues,” Trump said. “What are you talking about?”

“First off, there’s never been a guy win a Republican primary that’s not pro-life,” Bossie said. “And unfortunately, you’re very pro-choice.”

“What does that mean?”

“You have a record of giving to the abortion guys, the pro-choice candidates. You’ve made statements. You’ve got to be pro-life, against abortion.”

“I’m against abortion,” Trump said. “I’m pro-life.”

“Well, you’ve got a track record.”

“That can be fixed,” Trump said. “You just tell me how to fix that. I’m-what do you call it? Pro-life. I’m pro-life, I’m telling you.”

Bannon was impressed with the Showmanship, and increasingly so as Trump talked. Trump was engaged and quick. He was in great physical shape. His presence was bigger than the man, and took over the room, a command presence. He had something. He was also like a guy in a bar talking to the TV. Street-smart, from Queens. In Bannon’s evaluation, Trump was Archie Bunker, but a really focused Archie Bunker.

“The second big thing,” Bossie said, “is your voting record.”

“What do you mean, my voting record?” “About how often you vote.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Well,” Bossie said, “this is a Republican primary.”

“I vote every time,” Trump said confidently. “I’ve voted every time since I was 18, 20 years old.”

“That’s actually not correct. You know there’s a public record of your vote.” Bossie, the congressional investigator, had a stack of records.

“They don’t know how I vote.”

“No, no, no, not how you vote. How often you vote.”

Bannon realized that Trump did not know the most rudimentary business of politics.

“I voted every time,” Trump insisted.

“Actually you’ve never voted in a primary except once in your entire life,” Bossie said, citing the record.

“That’s a fucking lie,” Trump said. “That’s a total lie. Every time I get to vote, I voted.”

“You only voted in one primary,” Bossie said. “It was like in 1988 or something, in the Republican primary.”

“You’re right,” Trump said, pivoting 180 degrees, not missing a beat. “That was for Rudy.” Giuliani ran for mayor in a primary in 1989. “Is that in there?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll get over that,” Trump said.

“Maybe none of these things matter,” Bossie said, “but maybe they do. If you’re going to move forward, you have to be methodical.”

Bannon was up next. He turned to what was driving the Tea Party, which didn’t like the elites. Populism was for the common man, knowing the system is rigged. It was against crony capitalism and insider deals which were bleeding the workers.

“I love that. That’s what I am,” Trump said, “a popularist.” He mangled the word.

“No, no,” Bannon said. “It’s populist.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Trump insisted. “A popularist.”

Bannon gave up. At first he thought Trump did not understand the word. But perhaps Trump meant it in his own way, being popular with the people. Bannon knew popularist was an earlier British form of the word “populist” for the nonintellectual general public.

An hour into the meeting, Bossie said, “We have another big issue.”

“What’s that?” Trump asked, seeming a little more wary.

“Well,” he said, “80 percent of the donations that you’ve given have been to Democrats.” To Bossie that was Trump’s biggest political liability, though he didn’t say so.

“That’s bullshit!”

“There’s public records,” Bossie said.

“There’s records of that!” Trump said in utter astonishment.

“Every donation you’ve ever given.” Public disclosure of all political giving was standard.

“I’m always even,” Trump said. He divided his donations to candidates from both parties, he said.

“You actually give quite a bit. But it’s 80 percent Democratic. Chicago, Atlantic City . . .”

“I’ve got to do that,” Trump said. “All these fucking Democrats run all the cities. You’ve got to build hotels. You’ve got to grease them. Those are people who came to me.”

“Listen,” Bannon said, “here’s what Dave’s trying to say. Running as a Tea Party guy, the problem is that’s what they are complaining about. That it’s guys like you that have inside deals.”

“I’ll get over that,” Trump said. “It’s all rigged. It’s a rigged system. These guys have been shaking me down for years. I don’t want to give. They all walk in. If you don’t write a check . . .”

There was a pol in Queens, Trump said, “an old guy with a baseball bat. You go in there and you’ve got to give him something, normally in cash. If you don’t give him anything, nothing gets done. Nothing gets built. But if you take it in there and you leave him an envelope, it happens. That’s just the way it is. But I can fix that.”

Bossie said he had a roadmap. “It’s the conservative movement. Tea Party comes and goes. Populism comes and goes. The conservative movement has been a bedrock since Goldwater.”

Second, he said, I would recommend you run as if you are running for governor in three states, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. They were the first three caucus or primary states. “Run and sound local, like you want to be their governor.” A lot of candidates made the huge mistake of trying to run in 27 states. “Run three governor’s races, and you’ll have a really good shot. Focus on three. Do well in three. And the others will come.”

“I can be the nominee,” Trump said. “I can beat these guys. I don’t care who they are. I got this. I can take care of these other things.”

Each position could be revisited, renegotiated.

“I’m pro-life,” Trump said. “I’m going to start.”

“Here’s what you’re going to need to do,” Bossie said. “You’re going to need to write between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of individual checks to congressmen and senators. They’ll all come up here. Look them in the eye, shake their hand. You’re going to give them a check. Because we need some markers. You’ve got to do one-on-ones so these guys know. Because later on, that’ll be at least an entry point that you’re building relationships.”

Bossie continued, “Saying, this check is for you. For $2,400”, the maximum amount. “It’s got to be individual checks, hard money, to their campaign so they know it’s coming from you personally. Republicans now know that you’re going to be serious about this.”

All the money, Bossie said, was central to the art of presidential politics. “Later that’s going to pay huge dividends.” Give to Republican candidates in a handful of battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida.

In addition, Bossie said, “You’re going to have to do a policy book. You ought to do a book about what you think about America and these policies.”

Bannon gave an extended brief on China and its successful efforts to take jobs and money from the United States. He was obsessed with the threat.

“What do you think?” Bossie later asked Bannon.

“I’m pretty impressed with the guy,” Bannon said. As for running for president, “Zero chance. First off, those two action items. The fucker will not write one check. He’s not a guy who writes checks. He signs the back of checks” when they come in as payments to him. “It was good you said that because he’ll never write a check.”

“What about the policy book?”

“He’ll never do a policy book. Give me a fucking break. First off, nobody will buy it. It was a waste of time except for the fact that it was insanely entertaining.”

Bossie said he was trying to prepare Trump if he ever did decide to run. Trump had a unique asset: He was totally removed from the political process.

As they walked on, Bossie found himself going through a mental exercise, one that six years later most Americans would go through. He’ll never run. He’ll never file. He’ll never announce. He’ll never file his financial disclosure statement. Right? He’ll never do any of those things. He’ll never win.

“You think he’s going to run?” Bossie finally asked Bannon.

“Not a chance. Zero chance,” Bannon repeated.

“Less than zero. Look at the fucking life he’s got, dude. Come on. He’s not going to do this. Get his face ripped off.”

Chapter Two

Six Years Later

It is almost certain that if events had not unfolded in the following unlikely, haphazard, careless way, the world would be vastly different today. Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination on July 21, 2016, and his quest for the presidency took a significant turn early the morning of Saturday, August 13, 2016.

Steve Bannon, now the chief of the right-wing Breitbart News operation, sat on a bench in Bryant Park in New York City and huddled with his newspapers, his Saturday ritual. He first thumbed through the Financial Times and then moved to The New York Times.

“The Failing Inside Mission to Tame Trump’s Tongue,” read the headline on the Times front page. The presidential election was three months away.

“Oh, my God,” Bannon thought.

The first act of the Bannon drama is his appearance, the old military field jacket over multiple tennis polo shirts. The second act is his demeanor, aggressive, certain and loud.

The reporters of the Times story said they had 20 Republican unnamed sources close to Trump or in communication with his campaign. The article painted Trump as bewildered, exhausted, sullen, gaffe-prone and in trouble with donors. He was in precarious condition in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, battleground states that would decide the election. It was an ugly portrait, and Bannon knew it was all true. He calculated that Trump could lose to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by perhaps as many as 20 points, certainly double digits.

Trump was a media spectacle for sure, but he still had no operation beyond what the Republican National Committee had supplied. Bannon knew the Trump campaign was a few people in a room, a speechwriter, and an advance team of about six people that scheduled rallies in the cheapest venues, often old, washed-out sports or hockey arenas around the country.

Despite that, Trump had won the Republican nomination over 16 others and was a big, profane, subversive presence, out front seizing the nation’s attention.

Bannon, now 63 years old and a Harvard Business School graduate with fervently nationalistic, America first views, called Rebekah Mercer.

Mercer and her family were one of the biggest and most controversial sources of campaign money in the Republican Party and money was the engine of American politics, especially in the Republican Party. The Mercers were a bit on the fringe but their money bought them a place at the table. They also had an ownership stake in Breitbart.

“This is bad because we’re going to get blamed for this,” Bannon told Mercer. Breitbart had stood by Trump in his darker hours. “This is going to be the end of Breitbart.”

“Why don’t you step in?” Rebekah said.

“I’ve never run a campaign in my life, Bannon replied. Not even close. The idea was preposterous.

“This guy Manafort’s a disaster,” she said, referring to the Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort. “Nobody’s running the campaign now. Trump listens to you. He’s always looking for adult supervision.”

“Look,” Bannon said, “I’ll do it in a second. But why would he do that?”

“He’s been an outsider the entire time,” she said, and mentioned the New York Times article. “This thing’s in panic mode.” In short, Trump might hire Bannon because he was desperate.

The Mercers contacted Trump, who was going to be at the East Hampton, Long Island, home of Woody Johnson, the New York Jets owner, for a fundraiser. Normally the Mercers wrote the checks and said they didn’t even need to see the candidate. This time they wanted 10 minutes with Trump.

In a small sunroom, Rebekah, a tall redhead, let loose. Her father, Bob Mercer, a high-IQ mathematician, barely talked. He was one of the brains behind a fabulously successful hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, that managed $50 billion.

“Manafort has got to go,” she told Trump. She said it was chaos.

“What do you recommend?” Trump asked.

“Steve Bannon will come in,” she said.

“He’ll never do it.”

He “definitely” would, she answered.

Bannon reached Trump that night. “This thing is embarrassing in the paper,” Bannon said, referring to the New York Times piece. “You’re better than this. We can win this. We should be winning this. It’s Hillary Clinton, for God’s sake.”

Trump went off on Manafort. “He’s a stiff,” he said. He can’t do TV effectively.

“Let’s meet tomorrow and put this thing together. We can do this,” Bannon gushed. “But let’s keep it totally quiet.”

Trump agreed to meet the next morning, Sunday.

Another worried political figure that day was Reince Priebus, the 44-year-old chairman of the Republican National Committee, and a Wisconsin lawyer. Priebus had been Mr. Outreach and Mr. Networker in his five years as chairman. His cheery demeanor masked an empire builder. Priebus made the party’s finance decisions, hired the field staff of 6,500 paid workers, appeared on TV regularly and had his own communications operation. He was in an awkward position.

Privately, Priebus viewed the month of August as a catastrophe. “A constant heat lamp that wouldn’t go away.” And the person responsible was candidate Trump.

Priebus had tried to navigate the campaign from the beginning. When Trump called Mexicans “rapists” in the speech announcing his candidacy on June 16, 2015, Priebus called him and said, “You can’t talk like that. We’ve been working really hard to win over Hispanics.”

Trump would not tone it down, and he attacked anyone who attacked him. No national party chairman had ever dealt with a headache quite like Trump.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the wily Republican majority leader, had called Priebus confidentially. His message: Forget Trump, divert Republican money to us, the Senate candidates, and shut off the money faucet to Donald Trump.

But Priebus wanted to preserve a relationship with Trump, and he decided to plant himself firmly in the middle between Trump and McConnell. It was tactically sound, he thought. Survival for the party and him. He had told Trump, “I’m with you 100 percent. I love you. I’m going to keep working for you. But I have to protect the party. I have a responsibility that’s different than just you.”

Priebus had agreed to come out and campaign with Trump and introduce him at rallies. He saw it as extending a hand to a drowning man.

The Times article about the failure to tame Trump was a jolt. “Holy shit!” Priebus thought. This is really bad stuff.” The campaign was falling apart. “It wasn’t a campaign,” he had concluded. “They were a joke.”

There was so much talking in the Times article that Priebus realized the 20 sources were either trying to sabotage the campaign or, as usual, make themselves look good.

Perilous times, maybe the worst, for Trump and the party, Priebus thought. There was only one path forward: escalation on all fronts. Maximize aggression to conceal vital weakness.

That Sunday morning, Steve Bannon arrived at Trump Tower in Manhattan and told security he had a meeting with Mr. Trump.

“That’s terrific,” the security guard said. “He’s never here on weekends.”

Bannon phoned Trump.

“Hey,” the candidate explained, “I’m in Bedminster”, where Trump National Golf Club was located. “Since you’re not here, I’ll go play golf. Come out here, we’re having lunch. Be here, like, one o’clock.”

He proceeded to give detailed instructions for the drive 40 miles west of New York City.

“1’“ find it,” Bannon said.

No, turn right on Rattlesnake Bridge Road, then take a right for about a mile.

“I’ll find it. It’s your Trump National.”

No, Trump persisted, you’ve got to understand. Trump provided full driving instructions with more detail than Bannon had ever heard him give on anything.

Bannon had a driver take him to Bedminster to arrive at noon to make sure he was on time. Inside the clubhouse, he was shown to a table set for five.

You’re early, said someone from the staff. The others won’t be here until 1 pm.

The others? Bannon asked.

Roger Ailes, Governor Chris Christie and “the Mayor”, Rudy Giuliani-also were attending.

Bannon was pissed. He was not there to audition in front of anyone. He and Trump had agreed, made a deal which should not be reviewable.

Ailes, the founder and head of Fox News and longtime Republican political operative, going back to Richard Nixon, came in first. He had been a mentor to Bannon.

“What the fuck?” Ailes said, and launched into a criticism of the campaign.

“How bad are the numbers?” Bannon asked.

“This is going to be a blowout.”

“I talked to Trump last night,” Bannon said. “The Mercers talked to him. I’m supposed to be coming in and taking over the campaign, but don’t tell the other two guys that.”

“What the fuck?” Ailes said again. “You don’t know anything about campaigns.” It was out of the question.

“I know, but anybody could get more organized than this thing is.”

Though Bannon had known Ailes for years, he would not appear on Ailes’s Fox News network.

Bannon once said, “I’ve never been on Fox because I didn’t want to be beholden to him. . . . Never be beholden to Roger or he fucking owns you.”

This contrasted sharply with his relationship to Trump, who, in his view, was a supplicant. Trump had appeared on a series of Breitbart News Daily radio interviews with Bannon on SiriusXM between November 2015 and June 2016.

Ailes said they were there for their weekly debate prep. The first presidential debate against Hillary Clinton was a month and a half away, on September 26.

“Debate prep?” Bannon said. “You, Christie and Rudy?”

“This is the second one.”

“He’s actually prepping for the debates?” Bannon said, suddenly impressed.

“No, he comes and plays golf and we just talk about the campaign and stuff like that. But we’re trying to get him in the habit.”

Campaign manager Paul Manafort walked in.

Bannon, who regularly called himself “a fire-breathing populist,” was disgusted. Manafort was dressed in what could pass for yachting attire, with a kerchief. Live from Southampton!

Trump arrived and sat down. Hot dogs and hamburgers were laid out. The fantasy diet of an 11year-old kid, Bannon thought, as Trump wolfed down two hot dogs.

Citing the New York Times story about the failure to tame his tongue, Trump asked Manafort how such an article could appear. It was one of Trump’s paradoxes: He attacked the mainstream media with relish, especially the Times, but despite the full-takedown language, he considered the Times the paper of record and largely believed its stories.

“Paul, am I a baby?” Trump asked Manafort. “Is that what you are saying, I’m a baby? You’re terrible on TV. You’ve got no energy. You don’t represent the campaign. I’ve told you nicely. You’re never going on TV again.”

“Donald . . .,” Manafort tried to respond.

Bannon suspected this familiar, first-name, peer-to-peer talk irked Trump.

“One thing you’ve got to understand, Mr. Trump,” Bannon said, “the story had a lot of these unnamed sources, we don’t know the veracity.”

“No, I can tell,” Trump replied, directing his fire at Manafort. “They’re leakers.” He knew the quotes were true.

“A lot of this is not for attribution,” Bannon said. No one by name, all hiding. “The New York Times is, it’s all fucking lies. Come on, this is all bullshit,” Bannon continued his full-body, opposition-party pitch, though he knew the story was true.

Trump wasn’t buying it. The story was gospel, and the campaign was full of leakers. The assassination of Manafort continued for a while. Trump turned to a few war stories for half an hour. Manafort left.

“Stick around,” Trump told Bannon. “This thing’s so terrible. It’s so out of control. This guy’s such a loser. He’s really not running the campaign. I only brought him in to get me through the convention.”

“Don’t worry about any of these numbers,” Bannon said. “Don’t worry about the 12 to 16 points, whatever the poll is. Don’t worry about the battleground states. It’s very simple.” Two thirds of the country thinks we’re on the wrong track, and 75 percent of the country thinks we’re in decline, he argued. That set the stage for a change agent. Hillary was the past. It was that clear.

In a way, Bannon had been waiting all his adult life for this moment. “Here’s the difference,” he explained. “We’re just going to compare and contrast Clinton.

Here’s the thing you’ve got to remember,” he said, and recited one of his mantras: “The elites in the country are comfortable with managing the decline. Right?”

Trump nodded agreement.

“And the working people in the country are not. They do want to make America great again. We’re going to simplify this campaign. She is the tribune of a corrupt and incompetent status quo of elites who are comfortable managing the decline. You’re the tribune of the forgotten man who wants to make America great again. And we’re just going to do it in a couple of themes.

“Number one,” Bannon went on, “we’re going to stop mass illegal immigration and start to limit legal immigration to get our sovereignty back. Number two, you are going to bring manufacturing jobs back to the country. And number three, we’re going to get out of these pointless foreign wars.”

These weren’t new ideas for Trump. In an August 8 speech to the Detroit Economic Club a week before, he had sounded all these notes and hammered Clinton. “She is the candidate of the past. Ours is the campaign of the future.”

“Those are the three big themes that she can’t defend against,” Bannon said. “She’s part of the thing that opened the borders, she’s part of the thing that cut the bad trade deals and let the jobs go to China, and she’s the neocon. Right?”

Trump seemed to agree that Hillary was a neoconservative.

“She’s supported every war out there,” Bannon said. “We’re just going to hammer. That’s it. Just stick to that.”

Bannon added that Trump had another advantage. He spoke in a voice that did not sound political. This was what Barack Obama had in 2008 in the primary contest against Clinton, who spoke like the trained politician she was. Her tempo was overly practiced. Even when telling the truth, she sounded like she was lying to you.

Politicians like Hillary can’t talk naturally, Bannon said. It was a mechanical way of speaking, right out of the polling and focus groups, answering the questions in political speak. It was soothing, not jarring, not from the heart or from deep conviction, but from some highly paid consultant’s talking points, not angry.

Trump said okay, you become the Chief Executive Officer of the campaign.

“I don’t want some big brouhaha story about palace intrigue,” Bannon said. “Let’s keep Manafort in as chairman. He’ll have no authority. Let me manage that.”

They agreed that Kellyanne Conway, a feisty, outspoken Republican pollster who was already helping the campaign, would be designated campaign manager.

“We’re going to put her on television every day as the female friendly face on the thing,” Bannon proposed. “Because Kellyanne is a warrior. And she’ll just take incoming. But people like her. And that’s what we need is likability.”

In a moment of self-awareness, he added, “I’ll never be on TV.”

Conway had never run a campaign either. That made three of them, the shiny neophyte candidate, the campaign CEO and the campaign manager.

Kellyanne Conway was supervising the filming of some campaign ads that month.

“Am I paying for these people?” Trump asked her.

He complained about the camera setup. The equipment seemed old and he didn’t like the lighting.

The shoot wasn’t high-definition (HD). He groused about the camera crew. “Tell them I’m not going to pay.” It was a standard line.

Later he said, “I want everyone to leave except Kellyanne.”

“Everybody tells me that I’m a much better candidate than Hillary Clinton,” he said, half-asking for her evaluation.

“Well, yes, sir. No poll necessary.” But they could do some things different. “You’re running against the most joyless candidate in presidential history. And it’s starting to feel like we are that way as well.”

“No we’re not.”

“It just feels that way. I used to watch you during the primaries, and you seemed much happier.”

“I miss the days when it was just a few of us flying around doing the rallies, meeting the voters,” Trump said.

“Those days are gone,” she acknowledged. “But in fairness to you, we should be able to replicate them to a general election strategy and process that allows you to maximize those skills and the enjoyment.”

She took a stab at candor. “You know you’re losing? But you don’t have to. I’ve looked at the polls.” CNN that day had him down five to 10 points. “There’s a path back?

“What is it?”

She beiieved that he had done something without realizing it. “This fiction of electability that was sucking the lifeblood out of the Republican Party,” that somehow he could not win and was not electable.

The voters were disillusioned with Republican presidential nominees. These arguments went, “You have to get behind Mitt Romney. He’s the only one who can win. You have to support John McCain. He can win. Jeb can win. Marco can win. This one,” Trump, you, “can’t win. The people decided. I will not be fooled again,” and he had won the Republican nomination.

“You get these massive crowds where you have not erected a traditional political campaign. You have built a movement. And people feel like they’re part of it. They paid no admission. I can tell you what I see in the polling. We have two major impediments.” She said they should never do national polling, ever. “That is the foolishness of the media,” which did national polls. Winning obviously was all about the electoral college, getting the 270 electoral votes. They needed to target the right states, the roughly eight battleground states.

“People want specifics,” Conway said. It had been great when Trump released his 10-point Veterans Administration reform plan in July, or a planned fivepoint tax reform plan. “People want those kinds of specifics, but they need them repeated again and again.

“The second vulnerability I see is people want to make sure you can actually make good on your promises. Because if you can’t deliver, if the businessman can’t execute and deliver, you’re just another politician. And that’s who you’re not.”

It was a sales pitch, a path forward that Trump seemed to embrace.

“Do you think you can run this thing?” he asked.

*

from

FEAR. Trump in the White House

by Bob Woodward

get it at Amazon.com

A new Authoritarian Axis demands an international progressive front – Bernie Sanders.

Those of us who believe in democracy, who believe that a government must be accountable to its people, must understand the scope of the challenge if we are to effectively confront it.

There is a global struggle taking place of enormous consequence. Nothing less than the future of the planet economically, socially and environmentally is at stake.

At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, when the world’s top 1% now owns more wealth than the bottom 99%, we are seeing the rise of a new authoritarian axis.

While these regimes may differ in some respects, they share key attributes: hostility toward democratic norms, antagonism toward a free press, intolerance toward ethnic and religious minorities, and a belief that government should benefit their own selflsh flnancial interests. These leaders are also deeply connected to a network of multibillionaire oligarchs who see the world as their economic plaything.

Those of us who believe in democracy, who believe that a government must be accountable to its people, must understand the scope of this challenge if we are to effectively confront it.

It should be clear by now that Donald Trump and the rightwing movement that supports him is not a phenomenon unique to the United States. All around the world, in Europe, in Russia, in the Middle East, in Asia and elsewhere we are seeing movements led by demagogues who exploit people’s fears, prejudices and grievances to achieve and hold on to power.

This trend certainly did not begin with Trump, but there’s no question that authoritarian leaders around the world have drawn inspiration from the fact that the leader of the world’s oldest and most powerful democracy seems to delight in shattering democratic norms.

Three years ago, who would have imagined that the United States would stay neutral between Canada, our democratic neighbor and second largest trading partner, and Saudi Arabia, a monarchic, client state that treats women as third-class citizens? It’s also hard to imagine that Israel’s Netanyahu government would have moved to pass the recent “nation state law”, which essentially codifies the second-class status of Israel’s non-Jewish citizens, if Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t know Trump would have his back.

All of this is not exactly a secret. As the US continues to grow further and further apart from our longtime democratic allies, the US ambassador to Germany recently made clear the Trump administration’s support for rightwing extremist parties across Europe.

In addition to Trump’s hostility toward democratic institutions we have a billionaire president who, in an unprecedented way, has blatantly embeded his own economic interests and those his cronies into the policies of government.

Other authoritarian states are much farther along this kleptocratic process. In Russia, it is impossible to tell where the decisions of government end and the interests of Vladimir Putin and his Circle of oligarchs begin. They operate as one unit. Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, there is no debate about separation because the natural resources of the state, valued at trillions of dollars, belong to the Saudi royal family. In Hungary, far-right authoritarian leader Viktor Orban is openly allied with Putin in Russia. In China, an inner circle led by Xi Jinping has steadily consolidated power, clamping down on domestic political freedom while it aggressively promotes a version of authoritarian capitalism abroad.

We must understand that these authoritarians are part of a common front. They are in close contact with each other, share tactics and, as in the case of European and American rightwing movements, even share some of the same funders. The Mercer family, for example, supporters of the infamous Cambridge Analytica, have been key backers of Trump and of Breitbart News, which operates in Europe, the United States and Israel to advance the same anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim agenda. Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson gives generously to rightwing causes in both the United States and Israel, promoting a shared agenda of intolerance and illiberalism in both countries.

The truth is, however, that to effectively oppose rightwing authoritarianism, we cannot simply go back to the failed status quo of the last several decades. Today in the United States, and in many other parts of the world, people are working longer hours for stagnating wages, and worry that their children will have a lower standard of living than they do.

Our job is to fight for a future in which new technology and innovation works to benefit all people, not just a few. It is not acceptable that the top 1% 0f the world’s population owns half the planet’s wealth, while the bottom 70% of the working age population accounts for just 2.7% of global wealth.

Together governments of the world must come together to end the absurdity of the rich and multinational corporations stashing over $21tn in offshore bank accounts to avoid paying their fair share of taxes and then demanding that their respective governments impose an austerity agenda on their working families.

It is not acceptable that the fossil fuel industry continues to make huge profits while their carbon emissions destroy the planet for our children and grandchildren.

It is not acceptable that a handful of multinational media giants, owned by a small number of billionaires, largely control the flow of information on the planet.

It is not acceptable that trade policies that benefit large multinational corporations and encourage a race to the bottom hurt working people throughout the world as they are written out of public view.

It is not acceptable that, with the cold war long behind us, countries around the world spend over $1tn a year on weapons of destruction, while millions of Children die of easily treatable diseases.

In order to effectively combat the rise of the international authoritarian axis, we need an international progressive movement that mobilizes behind a vision of shared prosperity, security and dignity for all people, and that addresses the massive global inequality that exists, not only in wealth but in political power.

Such a movement must be willing to think creatively and boldly about the world that we would like to see. While the authoritarian axis is committed to tearing down a post second world war global order that they see as limiting their access to power and wealth, it is not enough for us to simply defend that order as it exists now.

We must look honestly at how that order has failed to deliver on many of its promises, and how authoritarians have adeptly exploited those failures in order to build support for their agenda. We must take the opportunity to reconceptualize a genuinely progressive global order based on human solidarity, an order that recognizes that every person on this planet shares a common humanity, that we all want our children to grow up healthy, to have a good education, have decent jobs, drink Clean water, breathe clean air and live in peace.

Our job is to reach out to those in every corner of the world who share these values, and who are fighting for a better world.

In a time of exploding wealth and technology, we have the potential to create a decent life for all people. Our job is to build on our common humanity and do everything that we can to oppose all of the forces, whether unaccountable government power or unaccountable corporate power, who try to divide us and set us against each other. We know that those forces work together across borders. We must do the same.

Bernie Sanders, US Senator, Vermont

Love As always, Mum – Mae West.

“There was never a moment when I believed Dad to be innocent.”

The true and terrible story of surviving a childhood with Fred and Rose West.

24 February 1994.

“To say that I was in shock doesn’t even begin to describe my state of mind. Despite a strange and deeply abusive upbringing, I’d known nothing of my dad’s and later, as I have come to accept, my mum’s murderous crimes.

Nothing can possibly prepare you for such an experience. I felt numb, as though it was all happening to someone else, and yet I knew it wasn’t. I knew this was my life and nothing would ever be the same again.”

25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester. Rose and Fred West.

Prologue: Stigma

HM PRISON DURHAM “I want you to feel that you can talk to me about anything. You must feel awful sometimes and I know you feel very isolated at times. I know I miss you so much sometimes that I feel angry. It must be really rotten for you when you need a family member to talk to or you need mum to sound off to . . . I love you and I want to do anything I can do to help you get over things and to be as happy as possible!!! Love as always, Mum”

It was January 1996. I was nearly nine months’ pregnant. All I knew for sure, having been told at my twenty-week scan, was that I was having a girl. Everything else was uncertain. I expect most women get nervous as the birth of their first child approaches. I certainly was. All kinds of worries enter your mind. Will the baby arrive on its due date, or be early or late? How painful will it be? Will there be complications? What will I feel when I see my baby for the first time? Will I feel love straight away or does that take time? And, as the years pass, will I be a good mum? Will my child love me? I imagine it’s a time when many women turn to their mothers for advice and support. Perhaps sometimes even asking them to be there at the birth.

But I knew that for me that was not going to be possible, because my mother was Rose West.

Only two months earlier, in November 1995, she’d been convicted of the murder of nine young women and a little girl at one of the most notorious criminal trials in history. One of those young women was my sister, Heather. My mother had been sentenced to life imprisonment and told by the judge that she should never be released.

In the eyes of many, she was the most evil woman that had ever lived.

After my mother’s conviction I decided to make a clean break from Gloucester, the city where I had grown up and where, at 25 Cromwell Street, the crimes of both my mother and father, Fred West, had come to light. I needed to start a new life for my baby and myself in a new town, far away from my own terrifying childhood memories and where I hoped the Fred and Rose West legacy would not follow and haunt us. For many reasons, which I’ll come to later, there wasn’t much time to plan or think through how or where to do this. But I knew I had to try. I ended up renting a three bedroomed house twenty-five miles away with my haIf-sister Tara and her toddler son, Nathan. Tara was nineteen and I was twenty three. We didn’t know anyone and couldn’t risk anyone finding out who we were, so we kept our heads down.

Tara and I could only depend on each other. When she went out I felt very anxious, the unfamiliar creaks from the pipes or sudden sounds from next door would make my heart race, and I’d have one eye trained on our front door the whole time waiting for her to come back through it. On the rare occasions when we went out together, just to a café for a cup of tea, I’d do my best to sit where I couldn’t be seen and yet always make sure I knew where the door was so I could get out in a hurry if we were recognised. Tara and I were totally alone in that town but at least it meant we had a chance of escaping the media attention.

As my due date drew near, the baby stopped moving as much as she had been and I became very worried. I had no clue if this was normal or not. It was one of the many things I might have asked Mum’s advice about if she had been there; after all, she’d had eight children of her own. But of course I couldn’t, and, although Tara had a baby, she was only a young mum with little experience. So I rang the hospital Cheltenham General and they told me to come in so they could monitor me.

The hospital was a grim, depressing place with a grey stone facade and huge windows which made it look like an asylum, but at least it was clean and the best thing about it was that it wasn’t Gloucester. I didn’t want my baby to be born with Gloucester on her birth certificate.

After a day or so of being monitored, the doctors said everything was fine and before long I went into labour naturally. Tara came in to be with me; growing up, us kids had to stick together as best we could to survive Dad’s advances and Mum’s rage, so having her there was a familiar comfort. I had also been with her when she gave birth to Nathan, so it was nice to have her support in return. But I was still frightened. Mum had always made childbirth sound so easy. She used to speak about it in such a matter-of-fact way, as if it was like shelling peas. She never mentioned pain or complications.

I remember the midwife who gave me my initial examination did nothing to make me feel better. ‘We’II not be taking you to the labour ward yet,’ she said dismissively, as if I had been wasting her time.

‘Why not?’ I asked.

‘You’re only two centimetres dilated. You need to be at least five before we take you down.’

Her manner was cold and unsympathetic, or perhaps because I was so on edge and for so many reasons it came across that way to me. Thank goodness I at least had Tara for support. We waited together as my labour continued and eventually I got to five centimetres and the midwife agreed we could go down to the labour ward. The pain was unbearable, but then they gave me an epidural and after that I just lay there, in the tiny room, talking to Tara. Waiting. But after thirty hours of labour there was still no sign of the baby being born. I was so tired. I wondered how Mum could have done this eight times over. I worried I was doing something wrong. And when there were pauses in mine and Tara’s conversation, I found myself wishing Heather had been with me too.

Eventually the doctor and midwife said I was fully dilated and needed to start pushing. I did as I was told. I tried and tried until I thought I must be blue in the face and the blood vessels in my eyes were going to burst. Still there was no sign of my baby. Eventually they said I was going to have to have a Caesarean. I began to get really upset. I was fighting back tears. I told them I didn’t want that, I wanted to have a normal birth. I couldn’t tell them the reason that so much in my life had been abnormal, that I lacked confidence about becoming a mum and it felt so important that I could bring my baby into this world as most other babies arrive.

They didn’t seem to be paying attention in any case. A midwife gave me some tablets which she said I needed to take before having the Caesarean. But then a young doctor, seeing how upset I was, said they’d give it one more go using the Vento use, a kind of vacuum device that they put onto the head to help draw the baby out. I was given another top-up of the epidural and then they took part of the bed away. I could hear a machine start up and the doctor got to work, and then after all that pain and panic within seconds she was born.

Ruddy-faced, chubby-armed, beautiful and mine. They laid her on my stomach; she felt so small and yet so heavy at the same time.

I looked at her and thought, At last she’s here. My baby, to care for and love. Tara was crying. ‘She’s the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen,’ she said. I was utterly exhausted and there were so many monitors beeping and tubes coming out of my arm, but it was worth it. She was here. My daughter, Amy.

One of the midwives weighed her. She was 7lb 60z, ten fingers, ten toes, completely healthy and normal except for her cone-shaped head caused by the ventouse, which they said would go down in a few days. l was cleaned up and we were both moved to a ward with other mums and newborns. It was mid-afternoon and Tara seemed almost as exhausted as I was. She’d been a tower of strength for me throughout. I told her to go home and get some rest.

My legs were still numb from the epidural and at some point in the night I tried to get out of bed but fell on the floor and hurt my back. It was just like me thinking I could carry on as normal with things instead of resting. I sat on the cold lino floor and looked around me at the unfamiliar surroundings: at the bright strip lighting out in the corridor and at the other beds with the sleeping mums in; girls like me with newborn babies but who weren’t like me at all. I sat back on the bed and, with Tara gone, emotions which I’d managed to hold back suddenly began to well up inside me; my throat and chest felt tight and for a second I thought I was going to cry.

Then I looked into the clear plastic cot next to me, Amy was asleep. She looked so tiny and vulnerable. I lay back down and just stared at her, watching her tiny chest rise and fall, and, gradually, because she seemed so content and settled, became calmer myself. I kept thinking, She’s mine, someone in my life to give love to and get love back from. It was something magical to hold onto. But, despite everything, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking, I wish Mum was here to see her. Eventually I fell asleep.

The following day was hard. All the other mums seemed to have lots of visitors with balloons, flowers and cards. I was so relieved when Tara came back to visit me. I felt really ill, sore and tired. I’d started to get fluid retention from the epidural, my legs had swollen and I couldn’t move very well, but I wanted to show the midwives that I could do whatever was necessary to look after Amy. Unlike now, when maternity wards discharge you as soon as they can, you weren’t allowed to leave before then. One of the things you had to be able to do was make up a bottle correctly.

‘Have you ever done this before?’ the midwife asked me.

‘Plenty of times,’ I told her.

‘But this is your first baby, isn’t it?’

‘I come from a big family. I had to do it for my younger brothers and sisters.’ I felt myself go red suddenly wondering if I’d given something away, if she’d start asking me questions about them.

But she didn’t notice. ‘Show me,’ she said.

She stood and watched as I made up a bottle of formula milk, before saying she was satisfied that I knew how to do it.

But because of the fluid retention they weren’t ready to discharge me, so I went back to the ward. Another midwife came to ask if I wanted a magazine to read while Amy was asleep. I was grateful and a few minutes later she returned with a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine. I began to browse through it: post-Christmas diets, hair tips and then to my horror I turned the page to see an article about women who kill. One of the women featured was my mum. I tried to tear my eyes away but I couldn’t: as I scanned the article I found myself reading about all the crimes my mum had been convicted of, her life with my dad, the discovery of the bodies of nine young women who had been sexually assaulted, dismembered and buried at the so-called ‘House of Horrors’, 25 Cromwell Street, where I’d grown up and my dad’s suicide a year before.

I felt sick. The realisation that I would never be able to truly escape what had happened began to close in on me, making me feel crushed and helpless. Then I started to wonder if the midwife had deliberately given me the magazine. Perhaps she’d realised who I was? It seemed perfectly plausible to me because although my maternity notes were in my new name, the staff might have access to my old GP’s records and have worked out that I was the daughter of Fred and Rosemary West. Had they given me the magazine as some kind of cruel joke?

I knew deep down that that was so unlikely, but I couldn’t completely shake off the suspicion. I kept trying to tell myself it was sheer coincidence, but I felt as if the staff were watching me. One of the midwives had told me to keep Amy lying flat because there was mucus on her chest. But when Tara came to visit that evening she wanted to have a quick cuddle with Amy. She picked Amy up out of the cot, but the midwife saw her and came over.

‘I told you to keep her lying down,’ she snapped, and snatched Amy from Tara.

‘I only wanted to hold her for a minute!’ said Tara, upset.

‘She’s my sister, please let her,’ I said.

The midwife was having none of it. ‘I don’t care who she is. You’re the mother, you should be doing what’s best for the baby!’

That midwife couldn’t have known how much saying a thing like that would affect me, but it was horrible and humiliating and threatened to destroy what little confidence I had in myself to be a good mum to Amy. The hospital had felt cold to me from the start but now it seemed as if everyone was against me. All I wanted to do was pick Amy up and run away out of there.

Eventually, on the Sunday, I was discharged. I wasn’t in a relationship with Amy’s dad by that point, but he drove all the way down from Essex to see her and brought a new baby seat for her so we could take her home.

So there I was, finally, in my new home with my new baby, hoping against hope I could make a new life for us, but afraid too that my old life would always keep following me, that I would never escape the stigma of being the daughter of Fred and Rose West. Even if I could escape it, even if I could succeed in blocking out the memory of Dad and keeping Mum out of sight, I knew there would always be something missing; a feeling that something was gone, an absence where Heather should have been.

And deep inside me was the echo of a question I will never be able to answer: why had I survived, why had I been the one lucky enough to have a beautiful child of my own when she hadn’t?

Chapter One

Into the Nightmare

It’s Wednesday and another letter from Mum has arrived. She wants to make things easier for us both, and has asked me to write to her with the things I need answers to most. I don’t know where to start. How much did you know? How much did you do? I want the truth but I don’t know where to begin, or even if I can trust that’s what she’ll give me. I feel completely alone, and she knows that . . .

HM PRISON DURHAM There must be a thousand things all rattling around inside your head so please remember my beautiful daughter. I’m HERE FOR YOU!!! Love, as always, Mum xxx

From the moment police officers arrived, on 24 February 1994, with a warrant to search our home for the body of my sister Heather, it was as if I’d walked into a nightmare. As my father Fred West was arrested, our house dismantled, our garden excavated and the remains of the victims began to be unearthed, my mum and I (and, to begin with, my brother Steve too) were placed in a series of ‘safe houses’ by the police.

To say that I was in shock doesn’t even begin to describe my state of mind. Despite a strange and deeply abusive upbringing, I’d known nothing of my dad’s and later, as I have come to accept, my mum’s murderous crimes. Nothing can possibly prepare you for such an experience. I felt numb, as though it was all happening to someone else, and yet I knew it wasn’t. I knew this was my life and nothing would ever be the same again.

We’d always been a very private family. “What happens in this house is our business and nobody else’s!’ Mum would say. We’d hardly ever have anyone but family round and it was up to Mum and Dad who came over the threshold. And yet suddenly our home was at the centre of the entire country’s attention. It was literally being taken apart, every shelf, cupboard and wardrobe searched and dismantled, every floorboard lifted, all our memories now evidence. And all the while I was trying desperately to cling onto some sense of reality, to get my head round at least some of what was happening.

In the following days, as the body of my sister Heather and those of the other young women were discovered, I had little trouble accepting that Dad was responsible for what had happened to them. It’s hard to get across the two sides of Dad’s character; he wasn’t violent like Mum was, he’d even defend us sometimes when she was going at us hell for leather. But he was a strange man, who we knew had dark and horrible interests, and all of us kids eventually became suspicious about what he might be capable of.

Not that it wasn‘t still the most terrible shock, serial murder, on that scale, carried out in that way, was beyond anything we could have imagined. Yet, as the details of the murders began to emerge, the sexual abuse of those young women before they’d died, the dismembering of their bodies, their burial inside and behind the house we’d played and grown up in, there was never a moment when I believed Dad to be innocent of them. Looking back, that was one thing at least which helped me to keep some sort of grip on my sanity.

With Mum it was different. Though the police treated her as a suspect from the beginning, it was some time before she was formally arrested and questioned. When that did eventually happen and even when she later stood trial there was no direct forensic or witness evidence against her. Mum’s guilt or innocence has always been more a matter of opinion and judgement of her character of what she was considered capable of doing rather than about concrete proof. From the very beginning she denied all knowledge of the murders and blamed everything on Dad, something she still does to this day.

‘That fucking man, Mae, the trouble he’s caused me over the years! And now this! Can you believe it?’

She’d always had a sharp tongue and she was relentless in her anger towards him. She never for a moment seemed to doubt that I believed her. She had this powerful emotional grip on me and she knew it. When I was young she often flew off the handle and would hit me and my brothers and sisters or take out her anger on whatever was around her. Yet as I grew older, reaching my later teens and twenties, she used to confide in me more and more: about her troubled childhood, her difficult family and her turbulent relationship with Dad. She seemed glad of my support and, looking back now, all these years later, I can see that she used that sense of obligation I felt towards her. She knew exactly how to make me feel sorry for her, and because of that she could always rely on me to take her side. So, when the murders came to light and she denied all knowledge of them, I believed her. Despite the turmoil I was in, it was something positive I could hold onto: that I was supporting my mother.

‘Thank God I’ve got you, Mae,’ she kept telling me in the safe house. ‘I don’t know how I’d be getting through any of this without you!’

I truly couldn’t imagine she was capable of such crimes. Especially the murder of Heather, her first baby, who I knew that, more than twenty years earlier, Mum’s parents had tried to force her to abort. She’d refused, absolutely determined to bring that baby into the world. Heather’s birth, she’d often told me, had given her such joy and fulfilment. So my loyalty to her never wavered, not even when the police finally came to arrest her on suspicion of murder. It didn‘t occur to me to doubt her. I never questioned that standing by her was the right thing to do. Steve had moved out of the safe house to live with his girlfriend by then so it was just Mum and me when they arrived to take her away. She was absolutely livid as they led her to the car, pushing, shoving and yelling at them: ‘You’ve no fucking right whatsoever to treat me like this! Fuck you, fuck the lot of you!’

I wished she hadn’t been so abusive towards them. I knew it wouldn’t help matters. But I also knew that it was her nature: she hated the police, hated everyone in authority in fact, and had done so since her childhood. Things had happened to her in her early life that gave her very good reason not to trust anyone in a position of power.

As the police bundled Mum into a car an officer told me I‘d have to leave the safe house. My heart thumped in my chest. ‘Leave? When?’

The officer looked around the only four walls I was safe within, ‘We can give you till the end of the day but that’s all.’

For a second I had no words. Then I managed to stutter, ‘Where am I supposed to go?’

‘Not back to Cromwell Street, that’s for sure. We’ve pretty well taken it to pieces. Besides it’s a crime scene.’

‘So what am I supposed to do?’

‘Sorry, love, can’t help you with that. I’m afraid you’re no longer our responsibility.’

I was stunned. I didn’t understand what they thought had changed that day for me to no longer need protection from the press. Afterwards, when they admitted to us that the house had been bugged, I realised it was because they had what they needed: I’d been interviewing Mum for them and now my job was over, I wasn’t needed any longer.

The police officer I spoke to walked out to the police car and I watched them drive Mum away. It’s strange now to think that was the last time I ever saw her in the ‘real’ world and not within a jail or a prison. But at that point in time, all I could focus on was that I had nowhere to go. The panic began to rise through me until I felt sick with it. I technically had a house in Gloucester, but I had rented it out a couple of years earlier when I moved back home after my younger siblings had been taken into care again to support Mum. Besides, I’d been told the press were now camped outside there, trying to find me.

Where else was there? I didn’t have friends or relatives that I thought would stand by me through something like this; it already felt as if I’d been tainted by what my parents had done. So I asked the police to make contact with Steve for me. He was staying with his girlfriend at her mother’s house and asked if she would put me up too. She agreed that I could stay that night, sleeping on the sofa, but it was made clear she didn’t want me there longer than that.

The following day, I sat on a patch of grass outside the house with Steve, trying to work out what to do. I’d had to quit my job immediately after Dad’s arrest earlier that month because of moving into the safe house away from the world’s press, so I also had no income or money saved. I couldn’t think of a place that would let me hide from them and live my life at the same time. Then Steve told me that the people at the News of the World who, much to Mum’s anger, he’d signed a contract with to tell our story wanted the two of us to do a book. I was adamantly against it, but he said they couldn’t do it without me, that it was a chance for us to put our side of the story across and would protect us from other press attention; that I’d never be able to get a job now and this was the only way I was going to get any money to live. I was twenty-one and naive, so I said yes.

It was all beyond surreal. I moved into a place on my own, I was visiting Mum, giving her moral support, even doing her laundry, and still having regular visits from the police who must have believed I might give them accidentally or otherwise evidence which would help to convict her. For months on end I just lived from day to day.

Then, out of the blue, as the long wait for my parents’ trial continued, came the news that my dad had committed suicide while on remand. I can’t say I felt sorrow, but he was still my dad, he’d been such a huge part of my life. I was in total shock. Things seemed to be spinning more and more out of control and it seemed that life could not get any worse. I found myself literally praying that I would wake up and find it really all had been a dream. I felt totally paralysed.

For a time I felt that I would be stuck in that state of mind, unable to make sense of any of it, forever. The idea of ever having any kind of future, let alone one worth living, was unimaginable. But time passed and events moved on and I had to get through them as best I could, and hope eventually to make some kind of life for myself.

Over twenty years have now passed, and this book is an attempt to tell the story I couldn’t have told then, because of the emotional turmoil I was in and because there was so much I could not possibly understand, not least how what had happened would affect my entire future life.

At the heart of it all is my changing relationship with my mother. The hardest part for me and something that has taken me years to be able to admit to myself, let alone to anyone else has not been coming to terms with the reality that she didn’t love and protect any of us as children, especially when we were young and at our most vulnerable. I think | always knew that part deep down, even though I find myself clinging to the hope that I’m wrong even now. No. The hardest part of all has been accepting that, despite her countless denials, she did play a part in the crimes she was accused of.

People may wonder how it’s possible to understand any of what happened. The crimes my parents committed are almost beyond comprehension, and among the most terrible and infamous in history. Only the crimes of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and separately Peter Sutcliffe, the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ and Harold Shipman, have been comparable. Journalists have filled countless column inches about them, writers have written books, criminologists and psychologists have studied them. The wider public understandably has remained both repelled and fascinated by them, struggling to make sense of them even with the advantage of looking at the story from the perspective of outsiders. Both myself and my brothers and sisters have had to wait a long time for a sense of perspective to arrive. From the day we were born, we were unknowingly caught up inside the story.

But my feeling is that only by looking at the story from the inside can any of it properly be understood. For us, Fred and Rose West were real people; 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, was our home, a real home not, as it has since become in the minds of many, a ‘House of Horrors’ as it was dubbed by the press. Although we all directly experienced terrible things at my parents’ hands from physical to emotional and sexual abuse none of us knew the worst they were capable of until the rest of the world found out.

What may be very hard for people to get their heads round is that, although nothing in our household was ever what other people might regard as ‘normal’, in many ways throughout my childhood we got on with our lives in the same way that other families do. We did ordinary things. We ate meals and watched TV together, celebrated birthdays and Christmas, and went on family holidays. Yes, there was abuse, misery, violence and distress, but it wasn’t constant and it certainly wasn’t the whole picture.

There was also laughter, tenderness and affection in the house. People may find that extraordinary, but it’s true. I don’t mean between my parents, although they did sometimes laugh and joke with one another and there were occasional flashes of what seemed like real affection towards us, their children. But the bonds between myself and my brothers and sisters were strong. We played and laughed, fell out and made up as siblings do in any normal family. Astonishing as it may seem, our family mattered deeply to us, as much as it does to any child and the focal point of our lives was our home.

Later on, after the remains of the victims were found and our house became the ‘House of Horrors’, it was obviously impossible for us to see the place in the same way. Yet even now for me, though 25 Cromwell Street was long ago demolished and I can’t detach it from the dreadful things that happened there, it remains, in my mind, a home. One with terrible memories and associations, but a home nonetheless. Being able to think and accept both those things at the same time is something that doesn’t seem logical, but that’s the honest truth.

*

from

Love As always, Mum

by Mae West

get it at Amazon.com

Thinking, Fast And Slow – Daniel Kahneman.

This book presents my current understanding of judgment and decision making, which has been shaped by psychological discoveries of recent decades.

The idea that our minds are susceptible to systematic errors is now generally accepted. Our research on judgment had far more effect on social science than we thought possible when we were working on it.

We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.

Daniel Kahneman is a Senior Scholar at Princeton University, and Emeritus Professor of Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.

*

Every author, I suppose, has in mind a setting in which readers of his or her work could benefit from having read it. Mine is the proverbial office water-cooler, where opinions are shared and gossip is exchanged. I hope to enrich the vocabulary that people use when they talk about the judgments and choices of others, the company’s new policies, or a colleague’s investment decisions.

Why be concerned with gossip? Because it is much easier, as well as far more enjoyable, to identify and label the mistakes of others than to recognize our own. Questioning what we believe and want is difficult at the best of times, and especially difficult when we most need to do it, but we can benefit from the informed opinions of others. Many of us spontaneously anticipate how friends and colleagues will evaluate our choices; the quality and content of these anticipated judgments therefore matters. The expectation of intelligent gossip is a powerful motive for serious self-criticism, more powerful than New Year resolutions to improve one’s decision making at work and at home.

To be a good diagnostician, a physician needs to acquire a large set of labels for diseases, each of which binds an idea of the illness and its symptoms, possible antecedents and causes, possible developments and consequences, and possible interventions to cure or mitigate the illness. Learning medicine consists in part of learning the language of medicine. A deeper understanding of judgments and choices also requires a richer vocabulary than is available in everyday language.

The hope for informed gossip is that there are distinctive patterns in the errors people make. Systematic errors are known as biases, and they recur predictably in particular circumstances. When the handsome and confident speaker bounds onto the stage, for example, you can anticipate that the audience will judge his comments more favorably than he deserves. The availability of a diagnostic label for this bias, the halo effect, makes it easier to anticipate, recognize, and understand.

When you are asked what you are thinking about, you can normally answer. You believe you know what goes on in your mind, which often consists of one conscious thought leading in an orderly way to another. But that is not the only way the mind works, nor indeed is that the typical way. Most impressions and thoughts arise in your conscious experience without your knowing how they got there. You cannot trace how you came to the belief that there is a lamp on the desk in front of you, or how you detected a hint of irritation in your spouse’s voice on the telephone, or how you managed to avoid a threat on the road before you became consciously aware of it. The mental work that produces impressions, intuitions, and many decisions goes on in silence in our mind.

Much of the discussion in this book is about biases of intuition. However, the focus on error does not denigrate human intelligence, any more than the attention to diseases in medical texts denies good health. Most of us are healthy most of the time, and most of our judgments and actions are appropriate most of the time. As we navigate our lives, we normally allow ourselves to be guided by impressions and feelings, and the confidence we have in our intuitive beliefs and preferences is usually justified. But not always. We are often confident even when we are wrong, and an objective observer is more likely to detect our errors than we are.

So this is my aim for watercooler conversations: improve the ability to identify and understand errors of judgment and choice, in others and eventually in ourselves, by providing a richer and more precise language to discuss them. In at least some cases, an accurate diagnosis may suggest an intervention to limit the damage that bad judgments and choices often cause.

ORIGINS

This book presents my current understanding of judgment and decision making, which has been shaped by psychological discoveries of recent decades. However,

I trace the central ideas to the lucky day in 1969 when I asked a colleague to speak as a guest to a seminar I was teaching in the Department of Psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Amos Tversky was considered a rising star in the field of decision research, indeed, in anything he did, so I knew we would have an interesting time. Many people who knew Amos thought he was the most intelligent person they had ever met. He was brilliant, voluble, and charismatic. He was also blessed with a perfect memory for jokes and an exceptional abiIity to use them to make a point. There was never a dull moment when Amos was around. He was then thirty-two; I was thirty-five.

Amos told the class about an ongoing program of research at the University of Michigan that sought to answer this question: Are people good intuitive statisticians? We already knew that people are good intuitive grammarians: at age four a child effortlessly conforms to the rules of grammar as she speaks, although she has no idea that such rules exist. Do people have a similar intuitive feel for the basic principles of statistics? Amos reported that the answer was a qualified yes. We had a lively debate in the seminar and ultimately concluded that a qualified no was a better answer.

Amos and I enjoyed the exchange and concluded that intuitive statistics was an interesting topic and that it would be fun to explore it together. That Friday we met for lunch at Café Rimon, the favorite hangout of bohemians and professors in Jerusalem, and planned a study of the statistical intuitions of sophisticated researchers. We had concluded in the seminar that our own intuitions were deficient. In spite of years of teaching and using statistics, we had not developed an intuitive sense of the reliability of statistical results observed in small samples. Our subjective judgments were biased: we were far too willing to believe research findings based on inadequate evidence and prone to collect too few observations in our own research. The goal of our study was to examine whether other researchers suffered from the same affliction.

We prepared a survey that included realistic scenarios of statistical issues that arise in research. Amos collected the responses of a group of expert participants in a meeting of the Society of Mathematical Psychology, including the authors of two statistical textbooks. As expected, we found that our expert colleagues, like us, greatly exaggerated the likelihood that the original result of an experiment would be successfully replicated even with a small sample. They also gave very poor advice to a fictitious graduate student about the number of observations she needed to collect. Even statisticians were not good intuitive statisticians.

While writing the article that reported these findings, Amos and I discovered that we enjoyed working together. Amos was always very funny, and in his presence I became funny as well, so we spent hours of solid work in continuous amusement. The pleasure we found in working together made us exceptionally patient; it is much easier to strive for perfection when you are never bored. Perhaps most important, we checked our critical weapons at the door. Both Amos and I were critical and argumentative, he even more than I, but during the years of our collaboration neither of us ever rejected out of hand anything the other said. Indeed, one of the great joys I found in the collaboration was that Amos frequently saw the point of my vague ideas much more clearly than I did. Amos was the more logical thinker, with an orientation to theory and an unfailing sense of direction. I was more intuitive and rooted in the psychology of perception, from which we borrowed many ideas. We were sufficiently similar to understand each other easily, and sufficiently different to surprise each other. We developed a routine in which we spent much of our working days together, often on long walks. For the next fourteen years our collaboration was the focus of our lives, and the work we did together during those years was the best either of us ever did.

We quickly adopted a practice that we maintained for many years. Our research was a conversation, in which we invented questions and jointly examined our intuitive answers. Each question was a small experiment, and we carried out many experiments in a single day. We were not seriously looking for the correct answer to the statistical questions we posed. Our aim was to identify and analyze the intuitive answer, the first one that came to mind, the one we were tempted to make even when we knew it to be wrong. We believed, correctly, as it happened, that any intuition that the two of us shared would be shared by many other people as well, and that it would be easy to demonstrate its effects on judgments.

We once discovered with great delight that we had identical silly ideas about the future professions of several toddlers we both knew. We could identify the argumentative three-year-old lawyer, the nerdy professor, the empathetic and mildly intrusive psychotherapist. Of course these predictions were absurd, but we still found them appealing. It was also clear that our intuitions were governed by the resemblance of each child to the cultural stereotype of a profession. The amusing exercise helped us develop a theory that was emerging in our minds at the time, about the role of resemblance in predictions. We went on to test and elaborate that theory in dozens of experiments, as in the following example.

As you consider the next question, please assume that Steve was selected at random from a representative sample:

An individual has been described by a neighbor as follows: “Steve is very shy and withdrawn, invariably helpful but with little interest in people or in the world of reality. A meek and tidy soul, he has a need for order and structure, and a passion for detail.” Is Steve more likely to be a librarian or a farmer?

The resemblance of Steve’s personality to that of a stereotypical librarian strikes everyone immediately, but equally relevant statistical considerations are almost always ignored. Did it occur to you that there are more than 20 male farmers for each male librarian in the United States? Because there are so many more farmers, it is almost certain that more “meek and tidy” souls will be found on tractors than at library information desks. However, we found that participants in our experiments ignored the relevant statistical facts and relied exclusively on resemblance. We proposed that they used resemblance as a simplifying heuristic (roughly, a rule of thumb) to make a difficult judgment. The reliance on the heuristic caused predictable biases (systematic errors) in their predictions.

On another occasion, Amos and I wondered about the rate of divorce among professors in our university. We noticed that the question triggered a search of memory for divorced professors we knew or knew about, and that we judged the size of categories by the ease with which instances came to mind. We called this reliance on the ease of memory search the availability heuristic. In one of our studies, we asked participants to answer a simple cuestion about words in a typical English text:

Consider the letter K . Is K more likely to appear as the first letter in a word OR as the third letter?

As any Scrabble player knows, it is much easier to come up with words that begin with a particular letter than to find words that have the same letter in the third position. This is true for every letter of the alphabet. We therefore expected respondents to exaggerate the frequency of letters appearing in the first position, even those letters (such as K, L, N, R, V) which in fact occur more frequently in the third position. Here again, the reliance on a heuristic produces a predictable bias in judgments. For example, I recently came to doubt my long-held impression that adultery is more common among politicians than among physicians or lawyers. I had even come up with explanations for that “fact,” including the aphrodisiac effect of power and the temptations of life away from home. I eventually realized that the transgressions of politicians are much more likely to be reported than the transgressions of lawyers and doctors. My intuitive impression could be due entirely to journalists’ choices of topics and to my reliance on the availability heuristic.

Amos and I spent several years studying and documenting biases of intuitive thinking in various tasks, assigning probabilities to events, forecasting the future, assessing hypotheses, and estimating frequencies. In the fifth year of our collaboration, we presented our main findings in Science magazine, a publication read by scholars in many disciplines. The article (which is reproduced in full at the end of this book) was titled “Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.” It described the simplifying shortcuts of intuitive thinking and explained some 20 biases as manifestations of these heuristics, and also as demonstrations of the role of heuristics in judgment.

Historians of science have often noted that at any given time scholars in a particular field tend to share basic assumptions about their subject. Social scientists are no exception; they rely on a view of human nature that provides the background of most discussions of specific behaviors but is rarely questioned. Social scientists in the 1970s broadly accepted two ideas about human nature. First, people are generally rational, and their thinking is normally sound. Second, emotions such as fear, affection, and hatred explain most of the occasions on which people depart from rationality. Our article challenged both assumptions without discussing them directly. We documented systematic errors in the thinking of normal people, and we traced these errors to the design of the machinery of cognition rather than to the corruption of thought by emotion.

Our article attracted much more attention than we had expected, and it remains one of the most highly cited works in social science (more than three hundred scholarly articles referred to it in 2010). Scholars in other disciplines found it useful, and the ideas of heuristics and biases have been used productively in many fields, including medical diagnosis, legal judgment, intelligence analysis, philosophy, finance, statistics, and military strategy.

For example, students of policy have noted that the availability heuristic helps explain why some issues are highly salient in the public’s mind while others are neglected. People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory, and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media. Frequently mentioned topics populate the mind even as others slip away from awareness. In turn, what the media choose to report corresponds to their view of what is currently on the public’s mind. It is no accident that authoritarian regimes exert substantial pressure on independent media. Because public interest is most easily aroused by dramatic events and by celebrities, media feeding frenzies are common. For several weeks after Michael Jackson’s death, for example, it was virtually impossible to find a television channel reporting on another topic. In contrast, there is little coverage of critical but unexciting issues that provide less drama, such as declining educational standards or overinvestment of medical resources in the last year of life. (As I write this, I notice that my choice of “little-covered” examples was guided by availability. The topics I chose as examples are mentioned often; equally important issues that are less available did not come to my mind.)

We did not fully realize it at the time, but a key reason for the broad appeal of “heuristics and biases” outside psychology was an incidental feature of our work: we almost always included in our articles the full text of the questions we had asked ourselves and our respondents. These questions served as demonstrations for the reader, allowing him to recognize how his own thinking was tripped up by cognitive biases. I hope you had such an experience as you read the question about Steve the librarian, which was intended to help you appreciate the power of resemblance as a cue to probability and to see how easy it is to ignore relevant statistical facts.

The use of demonstrations provided scholars from diverse disciplines, notably philosophers and economists, an unusual opportunity to observe possible flaws in their own thinking. Having seen themselves fail, they became more likely to question the dogmatic assumption, prevalent at the time, that the human mind is rational and logical. The choice of method was crucial: if we had reported results of only conventional experiments, the article would have been less noteworthy and less memorable. Furthermore, skeptical readers would have distanced themselves from the results by attributing judgment errors to the familiar fecklessness of undergraduates, the typical participants in psychological studies. Of course, we did not choose demonstrations over standard experiments because we wanted to influence philosophers and economists. We preferred demonstrations because they were more fun, and we were lucky in our choice of method as well as in many other ways.

A recurrent theme of this book is that luck plays a large role in every story of success; it is almost always easy to identify a small change in the story that would have turned a remarkable achievement into a mediocre outcome. Our story was no exception.

The reaction to our work was not uniformly positive. In particular, our focus on biases was criticized as suggesting an unfairly negative view of the mind. As expected in normal science, some investigators refined our ideas and others offered plausible alternatives. By and large, though, the idea that our minds are susceptible to systematic errors is now generally accepted. Our research on judgment had far more effect on social science than we thought possible when we were working on it.

Immediately after completing our review of judgment, we switched our attention to decision making under uncertainty. Our goal was to develop a psychological theory of how people make decisions about simple gambles. For example: Would you accept a bet on the toss of a coin where you win $130 if the coin shows heads and lose $100 if it shows tails? These elementary choices had long been used to examine broad questions about decision making, such as the relative weight that people assign to sure things and to uncertain outcomes. Our method did not change: we spent many days making up choice problems and examining whether our intuitive preferences conformed to the logic of choice. Here again, as in judgment, we observed systematic biases in our own decisions, intuitive preferences that consistently violated the rules of rational choice. Five years after the Science article, we published “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk,” a theory of choice that is by some counts more influential than our work on judgment, and is one of the foundations of behavioral economics.

Until geographical separation made it too difficult to go on, Amos and I enjoyed the extraordinary good fortune of a shared mind that was superior to our individual minds and of a relationship that made our work fun as well as productive. Our collaboration on judgment and decision making was the reason for the Nobel Prize that I received in 2002, which Amos would have shared had he not died, aged fifty-nine, in 1996.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

This book is not intended as an exposition of the early research that Amos and I conducted together, a task that has been ably carried out by many authors over the years. My main aim here is to present a view of how the mind works that draws on recent developments in cognitive and social psychology. One of the more important developments is that we now understand the marvels as well as the flaws of intuitive thought.

Amos and I did not address accurate intuitions beyond the casual statement that judgment heuristics “are quite useful, but sometimes lead to severe and systematic errors.” We focused on biases, both because we found them interesting in their own right and because they provided evidence for the heuristics of judgment. We did not ask ourselves whether all intuitive judgments under uncertainty are produced by the heuristics we studied; it is now clear that they are not. In particular, the accurate intuitions of experts are better explained by the effects of prolonged practice than by heuristics. We can now draw a richer and more balanced picture, in which skill and heuristics are alternative sources of intuitive judgments and choices.

The psychologist Gary Klein tells the story of a team of firefighters that entered a house in which the kitchen was on fire. Soon after they started hosing down the kitchen, the commander heard himself shout, “Let’s get out of here!” without realizing why. The floor collapsed almost immediately after the firefighters escaped. Only after the fact did the commander realize that the fire had been unusually quiet and that his ears had been unusually hot. Together, these impressions prompted what he called a “sixth sense of danger.” He had no idea what was wrong, but he knew something was wrong. It turned out that the heart of the fire had not been in the kitchen but in the basement beneath where the men had stood.

We have all heard such stories of expert intuition: the chess master who walks past a street game and announces “White mates in three” without stopping, or the physician who makes a complex diagnosis after a single glance at a patient. Expert intuition strikes us as magical, but it is not. Indeed, each of us performs feats of intuitive expertise many times each day. Most of us are pitch-perfect in detecting anger in the first word of a telephone call, recognize as we enter a room that we were the subject of the conversation, and quickly react to subtle signs that the driver of the car in the next lane is dangerous. Our everyday intuitive abilities are no less marvelous than the striking insights of an experienced firefighter or physician, only more common.

The psychology of accurate intuition involves no magic. Perhaps the best short statement of it is by the great Herbert Simon, who studied chess masters and showed that after thousands of hours of practice they come to see the pieces on the board differently from the rest of us. You can feel Simon’s impatience with the mythologizing of expert intuition when he writes: “The situation has provided a cue; this cue has given the expert access to information stored in memory, and the information provides the answer. Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition.”

We are not surprised when a two-year-old looks at a dog and says “doggie!” because we are used to the miracle of children learning to recognize and name things. Simon’s point is that the miracles of expert intuition have the same character. Valid intuitions develop when experts have learned to recognize familiar elements in a new situation and to act in a manner that is appropriate to it. Good intuitive judgments come to mind with the same immediacy as “doggie!”

Unfortunately, professionals’ intuitions do not all arise from true expertise. Many years ago I visited the chief investment officer of a large financial firm, who told me that he had just invested some tens of millions of dollars in the stock of Ford Motor Company. When I asked how he had made that decision, he replied that he had recently attended an automobile show and had been impressed. “Boy, do they know how to make a car!” was his explanation. He made it very clear that he trusted his gut feeling and was satisfied with himself and with his decision. I found it remarkable that he had apparently not considered the one question that an economist would call relevant: Is Ford stock currently underpriced? Instead, he had listened to his intuition; he liked the cars, he liked the company, and he liked the idea of owning its stock. From what we know about the accuracy of stock picking, it is reasonable to believe that he did not know what he was doing.

The specific heuristics that Amos and I studied provide little help in understanding how the executive came to invest in Ford stock, but a broader conception of heuristics now exists, which offers a good account. An important advance is that emotion now looms much larger in our understanding of intuitive judgments and choices than it did in the past. The executive’s decision would today be described as an example of the affect heuristic, where judgments and decisions are guided directly by feelings of liking and disliking, with little deliberation or reasoning.

When confronted with a problem, choosing a chess move or deciding whether to invest in a stock, the machinery of intuitive thought does the best it can. If the individual has relevant expertise, she will recognize the situation, and the intuitive solution that comes to her mind is likely to be correct. This is what happens when a chess master looks at a complex position: the few moves that immediately occur to him are all strong. When the question is difficult and a skilled solution is not available, intuition still has a shot: an answer may come to mind quickly, but it is not an answer to the original question. The question that the executive faced (should I invest in Ford stock?) was difficult, but the answer to an easier and related question (do I like Ford cars?) came readily to his mind and determined his choice. This is the essence of intuitive heuristics: when faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution.

The spontaneous search for an intuitive solution sometimes fails, neither an expert solution nor a heuristic answer comes to mind. In such cases we often find ourselves switching to a slower, more deliberate and effortful form of thinking. This is the slow thinking of the title. Fast thinking includes both variants of intuitive thought, the expert and the heuristic, as well as the entirely automatic mental activities of perception and memory, the operations that enable you to know there is a lamp on your desk or retrieve the name of the capital of Russia.

The distinction between fast and slow thinking has been explored by many psychologists over the last twenty-five years. For reasons that I explain more fully in the next chapter, I describe mental life by the metaphor of two agents, called System 1 and System 2, which respectively produce fast and slow thinking. I speak of the features of intuitive and deliberate thought as if they were traits and dispositions of two characters in your mind. In the picture that emerges from recent research, the intuitive System 1 is more influential than your experience tells you, and it is the secret author of many of the choices and judgments you make. Most of this book is about the workings of System 1 and the mutual influences between it and System 2.

WHAT COMES NEXT

The book is divided into five parts. Part 1 presents the basic elements of a two-systems approach to judgment and choice. It elaborates the distinction between the automatic operations of System 1 and the controlled operations of System 2, and shows how associative memory, the core of System 1, continually constructs a coherent interpretation of what is going on in our world at any instant. I attempt to give a sense of the complexity and richness of the automatic and often unconscious processes that underlie intuitive thinking, and of how these automatic processes explain the heuristics of judgment. A goal is to introduce a language for thinking and talking about the mind.

Part 2 updates the study of judgment heuristics and explores a major puzzle: Why is it so difficult for us to think statistically? We easily think associatively, we think metaphorically, we think causally, but statistics requires thinking about many things at once, which is something that System 1 is not designed to do.

The difficulties of statistical thinking contribute to the main theme of Part 3, which describes a puzzling limitation of our mind: our excessive confidence in what we believe we know, and our apparent inability to acknowledge the full extent of our ignorance and the uncertainty of the world we live in. We are prone to overestimate how much we understand about the world and to underestimate the role of chance in events. Overconfidence is fed by the illusory certainty of hindsight. My views on this topic have been influenced by Nassim Taleb, the author of The Black Swan. I hope for watercooler conversations that intelligently explore the lessons that can be learned from the past while resisting the lure of hindsight and the illusion of certainty.

The focus of part 4 is a conversation with the discipline of economics on the nature of decision making and on the assumption that economic agents are rational. This section of the book provides a current view, informed by the two-system model, of the key concepts of prospect theory, the model of choice that Amos and I published in 1979. Subsequent chapters address several ways human choices deviate from the rules of rationality. I deal with the unfortunate tendency to treat problems in isolation, and with framing effects, where decisions are shaped by inconsequential features of choice problems. These observations, which are readily explained by the features of System 1, present a deep challenge to the rationality assumption favored in standard economics.

Part 5 describes recent research that has introduced a distinction between two selves, the experiencing self and the remembering self, which do not have the same interests. For example, we can expose people to two painful experiences. One of these experiences is strictly worse than the other, because it is longer. But the automatic formation of memories, a feature of System 1, has its rules, which we can exploit so that the worse episode leaves a better memory. When people later choose which episode to repeat, they are, naturally, guided by their remembering self and expose themselves (their experiencing self) to unnecessary pain. The distinction between two selves is applied to the measurement of well-being, where we find again that what makes the experiencing self happy is not quite the same as what satisfies the remembering self. How two selves within a single body can pursue happiness raises some difficult questions, both for individuals and for societies that view the well-being of the population as a policy objective.

A concluding chapter explores, in reverse order, the implications of three distinctions drawn in the book: between the experiencing and the remembering selves, between the conception of agents in classical economics and in behavioral economics (which borrows from psychology), and between the automatic System 1 and the effortful System 2. I return to the virtues of educating gossip and to what organizations might do to improve the quality of judgments and decisions that are made on their behalf.

Two articles I wrote with Amos are reproduced as appendixes to the book. The first is the review of judgment under uncertainty that I described earlier. The second, published in 1984, summarizes prospect theory as well as our studies of framing effects. The articles present the contributions that were cited by the Nobel committee and you may be surprised by how simple they are. Reading them will give you a sense of how much we knew a long time ago, and also of how much we have learned in recent decades.

PART ONE, TWO SYSTEMS

1: The Characters of the Story

To observe your mind in automatic mode, glance at the image below.

Figure 1

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Your experience as you look at the woman’s face seamlessly combines what we normally call seeing and intuitive thinking. As surely and quickly as you saw that the young woman’s hair is dark, you knew she is angry.

Furthermore, what you saw extended into the future. You sensed that this woman is about to say some very unkind words, probably in a loud and strident voice. A premonition of what she was going to do next came to mind automatically and effortlessly. You did not intend to assess her mood or to anticipate what she might do, and your reaction to the picture did not have the feel of something you did. It just happened to you. It was an instance of fast thinking.

Now look at the following problem:

17×24

You knew immediately that this is a multiplication problem, and probably knew that you could solve it, with paper and pencil, if not without. You also had some vague intuitive knowledge of the range of possible results. You would be quick to recognize that both 12,609 and 123 are implausible. Without spending some time on the problem, however, you would not be certain that the answer is not 568. A precise solution did not come to mind, and you felt that you could choose whether or not to engage in the computation. If you have not done so yet, you should attempt the multiplication problem now, completing at least part of it.

You experienced slow thinking as you proceeded through a sequence of steps. You first retrieved from memory the cognitive program for multiplication that you learned in school, then you implemented it. Carrying out the computation was a strain. You felt the burden of holding much material in memory, as you needed to keep track of where you were and of where you were going, while holding on to the intermediate result. The process was mental work: deliberate, effortful, and orderly, a prototype of slow thinking. The computation was not only an event in your mind; your body was also involved. Your muscles tensed up, your blood pressure rose, and your heart rate increased. Someone looking closely at your eyes while you tackled this problem would have seen your pupils dilate. Your pupils contracted back to normal size as soon as you ended your work, when you found the answer (which is 408, by the way) or when you gave up.

TWO SYSTEMS

Psychologists have been intensely interested for several decades in the two modes of thinking evoked by the picture of the angry woman and by the multiplication problem, and have offered many labels for them. I adopt terms originally proposed by the psychologists Keith Stanovich and Richard West, and will refer to two systems in the mind, System 1 and System 2.

– System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control.

– System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. The operations of System 2 are often associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice, and concentration.

The labels of System 1 and System 2 are widely used in psychology, but I go further than most in this book, which you can read as a psychodrama with two characters.

When we think of ourselves, we identify with System 2, the conscious, reasoning self that has beliefs, makes choices, and decides what to think about and what to do. Although System 2 believes itself to be where the action is, the automatic System 1 is the hero of the book. I describe System 1 as effortlessly originating impressions and feelings that are the main sources of the explicit beliefs and deliberate choices of System 2. The automatic operations of System 1 generate surprisingly complex patterns of ideas, but only the slower System 2 can construct thoughts in an orderly series of steps. I also describe circumstances in which System 2 takes over, overruling the freewheeling impulses and associations of System 1. You will be invited to think of the two systems as agents with their individual abilities, limitations, and functions.

In rough order of complexity, here are some examples of the automatic activities that are attributed to System 1:

– Detect that one object is more distant than another.

– Orient to the source of a sudden sound.

– Complete the phrase “bread and …”

– Make a “disgust face” when shown a horrible picture.

-Detect hostility in a voice.

– Answer 2 + 2 = ?

– Read words on large billboards.

– Drive a car on an empty road.

– Find a strong move in chess (if you are a chess master).

– Understand simple sentences.

– Recognize that a “meek and tidy soul with a passion for detail” resembles an occupational stereotype.

All these mental events belong with the angry woman, they occur automatically and require little or no effort. The capabilities of System 1 include innate skills that we share with other animals. We are born prepared to perceive the world around us, recognize objects, orient attention, avoid losses, and fear spiders. Other mental activities become fast and automatic through prolonged practice. System 1 has learned associations between ideas (the capital of France?); it has also learned skills such as reading and understanding nuances of social situations. Some skills, such as finding strong chess moves, are acquired only by specialized experts. Others are widely shared. Detecting the similarity of a personality sketch to an occupational stereotype requires broad knowledge of the language and the culture, which most of us possess. The knowledge is stored in memory and accessed without intention and without effort.

Several of the mental actions in the list are completely involuntary. You cannot refrain from understanding simple sentences in your own language or from orienting to a loud unexpected sound, nor can you prevent yourself from knowing that 2 + 2 = 4 or from thinking of Paris when the capital of France is mentioned. Other activities, such as chewing, are susceptible to voluntary control but normally run on automatic pilot. The control of attention is shared by the two systems. Orienting to a loud sound is normally an involuntary operation of System 1, which immediately mobilizes the voluntary attention of System 2. You may be able to resist turning toward the source of a loud and offensive comment at a crowded party, but even if your head does not move, your attention is initially directed to it, at least for a while. However, attention can be moved away from an unwanted focus, primarily by focusing intently on another target.

The highly diverse operations of System 2 have one feature in common: they require attention and are disrupted when attention is drawn away. Here are some examples:

– Brace for the starter gun in a race.

– Focus attention on the clowns in the circus.

– Focus on the voice of a particular person in a crowded and noisy room.

– Look for a woman with white hair.

– Search memory to identify a surprising sound.

– Maintain a faster walking speed than is natural for you.

– Monitor the appropriateness of your behavior in a social situation.

– Count the occurrences of the letter a in a page of text.

– Tell someone your phone number.

– Park in a narrow space (for most people except garage attendants).

– Compare two washing machines for overall value.

– Fill out a tax form.

– Check the vaIidity of a complex logical argument.

In aIl these situations you must pay attention, and you will perform less well, or not at all, if you are not ready or if your attention is directed inappropriately. System 2 has some ability to change the way System 1 works, by programming the normally automatic functions of attention and memory. When waiting for a relative at a busy train station, for example, you can set yourself at will to look for a white-haired woman or a bearded man, and thereby increase the likelihood of detecting your relative from a distance. You can set your memory to search for capital cities that start with N or for French existentialist novels. And when you rent a car at London’s Heathrow Airport, the attendant will probably remind you that “we drive on the left side of the road over here.” In all these cases, you are asked to do something that does not come naturally, and you will find that the consistent maintenance of a set requires continuous exertion of at least some effort.

The often-used phrase “pay attention” is apt: you dispose of a limited budget of attention that you can allocate to activities, and if you try to go beyond your budget, you will fail. It is the mark of effortful activities that they interfere with each other, which is why it is difficult or impossible to conduct several at once. You could not compute the product of 17 x 24 while making a left turn into dense traffic, and you certainly should not try. You can do several things at once, but only if they are easy and undemanding. You are probably safe carrying on a conversation with a passenger while driving on an empty highway, and many parents have discovered, perhaps with some guilt, that they can read a story to a child while thinking of something else.

Everyone has some awareness of the limited capacity of attention, and our social behavior makes allowances for these limitations. When the driver of a car is overtaking a truck on a narrow road, for example, adult passengers quite sensibly stop talking. They know that distracting the driver is not a good idea, and they also suspect that he is temporarily deaf and will not hear what they say.

Intense focusing on a task can make people effectively blind, even to stimuli that normally attract attention.

The most dramatic demonstration was offered by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons in their book The Invisible Gorilla. They constructed a short film of two teams passing basketballs, one team wearing white shirts, the other wearing black. The viewers of the film are instructed to count the number of passes made by the white team, ignoring the black players. This task is difficult and completely absorbing. Halfway through the video, a woman wearing a gorilla suit appears, crosses the court, thumps her chest, and moves on. The gorilla is in view for 9 seconds. Many thousands of people have seen the video, and about half of them do not notice anything unusual. It is the counting task, and especially the instruction to ignore one of the teams, that causes the blindness. No one who watches the video without that task would miss the gorilla. Seeing and orienting are automatic functions of System 1, but they depend on the allocation of some attention to the relevant stimulus. The authors note that the most remarkable observation of their study is that people find its results very surprising. Indeed, the viewers who fail to see the gorilla are initially sure that it was not there, they cannot imagine missing such a striking event. The gorilla study illustrates two important facts about our minds: we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.

PLOT SYNOPSIS

The interaction of the two systems is a recurrent theme of the book, and a brief synopsis of the plot is in order.

In the story I will tell, Systems 1 and 2 are both active whenever we are awake. System 1 runs automatically and System 2 is normally in a comfortable low-effort mode, in which only a fraction of its capacity is engaged. System 1 continuously generates suggestions for System 2: impressions, intuitions, intentions, and feelings. If endorsed by System 2, impressions and intuitions turn into beliefs, and impulses turn into voluntary actions. When all goes smoothly, which is most of the time, System 2 adopts the suggestions of System 1 with little or no modification. You generally believe your impressions and act on your desires, and that is fine, usually.

When System 1 runs into difficulty, it calls on System 2 to support more detailed and specific processing that may solve the problem of the moment. System 2 is mobilized when a question arises for which System 1 does not offer an answer, as probably happened to you when you encountered the multiplication problem 17 x 24. You can also feel a surge of conscious attention whenever you are surprised. System 2 is activated when an event is detected that violates the model of the world that System 1 maintains. In that world, lamps do not jump, cats do not bark, and gorillas do not cross basketball courts. The gorilla experiment demonstrates that some attention is needed for the surprising stimulus to be detected. Surprise then activates and orients your attention: you will stare, and you will search your memory for a story that makes sense of the surprising event.

System 2 is also credited with the continuous monitoring of your own behavior, the control that keeps you polite when you are angry, and alert when you are driving at night. System 2 is mobilized to increased effort when it detects an error about to be made. Remember a time when you almost blurted out an offensive remark and note how hard you worked to restore control. In summary, most of what you (your System 2) think and do originates in your System 1, but System 2 takes over when things get difficult, and it normally has the last word.

The division of labor between System 1 and System 2 is highly efficient: it minimizes effort and optimizes performance. The arrangement works well most of the time because System 1 is generally very good at what it does: its models of familiar situations are accurate, its short term predictions are usually accurate as well, and its initial reactions to challenges are swift and generally appropriate. System 1 has biases, however, systematic errors that it is prone to make in specified circumstances. As we shall see, it sometimes answers easier questions than the one it was asked, and it has little understanding of logic and statistics. One further limitation of System 1 is that it cannot be turned off. If you are shown a word on the screen in a language you know, you will read it, unless your attention is totaly focused elsewhere.

CONFLICT

Figure 2 is a variant of a classic experiment that produces a conflict between the two systems. You should try the exercise before reading on.

Figure 2

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You were almost certainly successful in saying the correct words in both tasks, and you surely discovered that some parts of each task were much easier than others. When you identified upper and lowercase, the left-hand column was easy and the right-hand column caused you to slow down and perhaps to stammer or stumble. When you named the position of words, the left-hand column was difficult and the right-hand column was much easier.

These tasks engage System 2, because saying “upper/lower” or “right/left” is not what you routinely do when looking down a column of words. One of the things you did to set yourself for the task was to program your memory so that the relevant words (upper and lower for the first task) were “on the tip of your tongue.” The prioritizing of the chosen words is effective and the mild temptation to read other words was fairly easy to resist when you went through the first column. But the second column was different, because it contained words for which you were set, and you could not ignore them. You were mostly able to respond correctly, but overcoming the competing response was a strain, and it slowed you down. You experienced a conflict between a task that you intended to carry out and an automatic response that interfered with it.

Conflict between an automatic reaction and an intention to control it is common in our lives. We are all familiar with the experience of trying not to stare at the oddly dressed couple at the neighboring table in a restaurant. We also know what it is like to force our attention on a boring book, when we constantly find ourselves returning to the point at which the reading lost its meaning. Where winters are hard, many drivers have memories of their car skidding out of control on the ice and of the struggle to follow well rehearsed instructions that negate what they would naturally do: “Steer into the skid, and whatever you do, do not touch the brakes!” And every human being has had the experience of not telling someone to go to hell. One of the tasks of System 2 is to overcome the impulses of System 1. In other words, System 2 is in charge of self-control.

ILLUSIONS

To appreciate the autonomy of System 1, as well as the distinction between impressions and beliefs, take a good look at figure 3.

Figure 3

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This picture is unremarkable: two horizontal lines of different lengths, with fins appended, pointing in different directions. The bottom line is obviously longer than the one above it. That is what we all see, and we naturally believe what we see. If you have already encountered this image, however, you recognize it as the famous Müller-Lyer illusion. As you can easily confirm by measuring them with a ruler, the horizontal lines are in fact identical in length.

Now that you have measured the lines, you, your System 2, the conscious being you call “I”, have a new belief: you know that the lines are equally long. If asked about their length, you will say what you know. But you still see the bottom line as longer. You have chosen to believe the measurement, but you cannot prevent System 1 from doing its thing; you cannot decide to see the lines as equal, although you know they are. To resist the illusion, there is only one thing you can do: you must learn to mistrust your impressions of the length of lines when fins are attached to them. To implement that rule, you must be able to recognize the illusory pattern and recall what you know about it. If you can do this, you will never again be fooled by the Müller-Lyer illusion. But you will still see one line as longer than the other.

Not all illusions are visual. There are illusions of thought, which we call cognitive illusions. As a graduate student, I attended some courses on the art and science of psychotherapy. During one of these lectures, our teacher imparted a morsel of clinical wisdom. This is what he told us:

“You will from time to time meet a patient who shares a disturbing tale of multiple mistakes in his previous treatment. He has been seen by several clinicians, and all failed him. The patient can lucidly describe how his therapists misunderstood him, but he has quickly perceived that you are different. You share the same feeling, are convinced that you understand him, and will be able to help.” At this point my teacher raised his voice as he said, “Do not even think of taking on this patient! Throw him out of the office! He is most likely a psychopath and you will not be able to help him.”

Many years later I learned that the teacher had warned us against pschopathic charm, and the leading authority in the study of psychopathy confirmed that the teacher’s advice was sound. The analogy to the Müller-Lyer illusion is close. What we were being taught was not how to feel about that patient. Our teacher took it for granted that the sympathy we would feel for the patient would not be under our control; it would arise from System 1. Furthermore, we were not being taught to be generally suspicious of our feelings about patients. We were told that a strong attraction to a patient with a repeated history of failed treatment is a danger sign, like the fins on the parallel lines. It is an illusion, a cognitive illusion and I (System 2) was taught how to recognize it and advised not to believe it or act on it.

The question that is most often asked about cognitive illusions is whether they can be overcome. The message of these examples is not encouraging. Because System 1 operates automatically and cannot be turned off at will, errors of intuitive thought are often difficult to prevent. Biases cannot always be avoided, because System 2 may have no clue to the error. Even when cues to likely errors are available, errors can be prevented only by the enhanced monitoring and effortful activity of System 2.

As a way to live your life, however, continuous vigilance is not necessarily good, and it is certainly impractical. Constantly questioning our own thinking would be impossibly tedious, and System 2 is much too slow and inefficient to serve as a substitute for System 1 in making routine decisions. The best we can do is a compromise: learn to recognize situations in which mistakes are likely and try harder to avoid significant mistakes when the stakes are high. The premise of this book is that it is easier to recognize other people’s mistakes than our own.

USEFUL FICTIONS

You have been invited to think of the two systems as agents within the mind, with their individual personalities, abilities, and limitations. I will often use sentences in which the systems are the subjects, such as, “System 2 calculates products.”

The use of such language is considered a sin in the professional circles in which I travel, because it seems to explain the thoughts and actions of a person by the thoughts and actions of little people inside the person’s head. Grammatically the sentence about System 2 is similar to “The butler steals the petty cash.” My colleagues would point out that the butler’s action actually explains the disappearance of the cash, and they rightly question whether the sentence about System 2 explains how products are calculated. My answer is that the brief active sentence that attributes calculation to System 2 is intended as a description, not an explanation. It is meaningful only because of what you already know about System 2. It is shorthand for the following: “Mental arithmetic is a voluntary activity that requires effort, should not be performed while making a left turn, and is associated with dilated pupils and an accelerated heart rate.”

Similarly, the statement that “highway driving under routine conditions is left to System 1” means that steering the car around a bend is automatic and almost effortless. It also implies that an experienced driver can drive on an empty highway while conducting a conversation. Finally, “System 2 prevented James from reacting foolishly to the insult” means that James would have been more aggressive in his response if his capacity for effortful control had been disrupted (for example, if he had been drunk).

System 1 and System 2 are so central to the story I tell in this book that I must make it absolutely clear that they are fictitious characters. Systems 1 and 2 are not systems in the standard sense of entities with interacting aspects or parts. And there is no one part of the brain that either of the systems would call home. You may well ask: What is the point of introducing fictitious characters with ugly names into a serious book? The answer is that the characters are useful because of some quirks of our minds, yours and mine. A sentence is understood more easily if it describes what an agent (System 2) does than if it describes what something is, what properties it has. In other words, “System 2” is a better subject for a sentence than “mental arithmetic.” The mind, especially System 1, appears to have a special aptitude for the construction and interpretation of stories about active agents, who have personalities, habits, and abilities. You quickly formed a bad opinion of the thieving butler, you expect more bad behavior from him, and you will remember him for a while. This is also my hope for the language of systems.

Why call them System 1 and System 2 rather than the more descriptive “automatic system” and “effortful system”? The reason is simple: “Automatic system” takes longer to say than “System 1” and therefore takes more space in our working memory. This matters, because anything that occupies your working memory reduces your ability to think. You should treat “System 1” and “System 2” as nicknames, like Bob and Joe, identifying characters that you will get to know over the course of this book. The fictitious systems make it easier for me to think about judgment and choice, and will make it easier for you to understand what I say.

SPEAKING OF SYSTEM 1 AND SYSTEM 2

“He had an impression, but some of his impressions are illusions.”

“This was a pure System 1 response. She reacted to the threat before she recognized it.”

“This is your System 1 talking. Slow down and let your System 2 take control.”

PART TWO

Attention and Effort

In the unlikely event of this book being made into a film, System 2 would be a supporting character who believes herself to be the hero. The defining feature of System 2, in this story, is that its operations are effortful, and one of its main characteristics is laziness, a reluctance to invest more effort than is strictly necessary. As a consequence, the thoughts and actions that System 2 believes it has chosen are often guided by the figure at the center of the story, System 1. However, there are vital tasks that only System 2 can perform because they require effort and acts of self-control in which the intuitions and impulses of System 1 are overcome.

MENTAL EFFORT

If you wish to experience your System 2 working at full tilt, the following exercise will do; it should bring you to the limits of your cognitive abilities within 5 seconds. To start, make up several strings of 4 digits, all different, and write each string on an index card. Place a blank card on top of the deck. The task that you will perform is called Add-1. Here is how it goes:

Start beating a steady rhythm (or better yet, set a metronome at 1/sec). Remove the blank card and read the four digits aloud. Wait for two beats, then report a string in which each of the original digits is incremented by 1. If the digits on the card are 5294, the correct response is 6305. Keeping the rhythm is important.

Few people can cope with more than four digits in the Add-1 task, but if you want a harder challenge, please try Add-3.

If you would like to know what your body is doing while your mind is hard at work, set up two piles of books on a sturdy table, place a video camera on one and lean your chin on the other, get the video going, and stare at the camera lens while you work on Add-1 or Add-3 exercises. Later, you will find in the changing size of your pupils a faithful record of how hard you worked.

I have a long personal history with the Add-1 task. Early in my career I spent a year at the University of Michigan, as a visitor in a laboratory that studied hypnosis. Casting about for a useful topic of research, I found an article in Scientific American in which the psychologist Eckhard Hess described the pupil of the eye as a window to the soul. I reread it recently and again found it inspiring.

It begins with Hess reporting that his wife had noticed his pupils widening as he watched beautiful nature pictures, and it ends with two striking pictures of the same good looking woman, who somehow appears much more attractive in one than in the other. There is only one difference: the pupils of the eyes appear dilated in the attractive picture and constricted in the other.

Hess also wrote of belladonna, a pupil-dilating substance that was used as a cosmetic, and of bazaar shoppers who wear dark glasses in order to hide their level of interest from merchants.

One of Hess’s findings especially captured my attention. He had noticed that the pupils are sensitive indicators of mental effort, they dilate substantially when people multiply two-digit numbers, and they dilate more if the problems are hard than if they are easy. His observations indicated that the response to mental effort is distinct from emotional arousal. Hess’s work did not have much to do with hypnosis, but I concluded that the idea of a visible indication of mental effort had promise as a research topic. A graduate student in the lab, Jackson Beatty, shared my enthusiasm and we got to work.

Beatty and I developed a setup similar to an optician’s examination room, in which the experimental participant leaned her head on a chin-and-forehead rest and stared at a camera while listening to prerecorded information and answering questions on the recorded beats of a metronome. The beats triggered an infrared flash every second, causing a picture to be taken. At the end of each experimental session, we would rush to have the film developed, project the images of the pupil on a screen, and go to work with a ruler. The method was a perfect fit for young and impatient researchers: we knew our results almost immediately, and they always told a clear story.

Beatty and I focused on paced tasks, such as Add-1, in which we knew precisely what was on the subject’s mind at any time. We recorded strings of digits on beats of the metronome and instructed the subject to repeat or transform the digits one by one, maintaining the same rhythm. We soon discovered that the size of the pupil varied second by second, reflecting the changing demands of the task. The shape of the response was an inverted V. As you experienced it if you tried Add-1 or Add-3, effort builds up with every added digit that you hear, reaches an almost intolerable peak as you rush to produce a transformed string during and immediately after the pause, and relaxes gradually as you “unload” your short-term memory.

The pupil data corresponded precisely to subjective experience: longer strings reliably caused larger dilations, the transformation task compounded the effort, and the peak of pupil size coincided with maximum effort. Add-1 with four digits caused a larger dilation than the task of holding seven digits for immediate recall. Add-3, which is much more difficult, is the most demanding that I ever observed. In the first 5 seconds, the pupil dilates by about 50% of its original area and heart rate increases by about 7 beats per minute. This is as hard as people can work, they give up if more is asked of them. When we exposed our subjects to more digits than they could remember, their pupils stopped dilating or actually shrank.

We worked for some months in a spacious basement suite in which we had set up a closed-circuit system that projected an image of the subject’s pupil on a screen in the corridor; we also could hear what was happening in the laboratory. The diameter of the projected pupil was about a foot; watching it dilate and contract when the participant was at work was a fascinating sight, quite an attraction for visitors in our lab. We amused ourselves and impressed our guests by our ability to divine when the participant gave up on a task. During a mental multiplication, the pupil normally dilated to a large size within a few seconds and stayed large as long as the individual kept working on the problem; it contracted immediately when she found a solution or gave up.

As we watched from the corridor, we would sometimes surprise both the owner of the pupil and our guests by asking, “Why did you stop working just now?” The answer from inside the lab was often, “How did you know?” to which we would reply, “We have a window to your soul.”

The casual observations we made from the corridor were sometimes as informative as the formal experiments. I made a significant discovery as I was idly watching a woman’s pupil during a break between two tasks. She had kept her position on the chin rest, so I could see the image of her eye while she engaged in routine conversation with the experimenter. I was surprised to see that the pupil remained small and did not noticeably dilate as she talked and listened. Unlike the tasks that we were studying, the mundane conversation apparently demanded little or no effort, no more than retaining two or three digits. This was a eureka moment: I realized that the tasks we had chosen for study were exceptionally effortful. An image came to mind: mental life, today I would speak of the life of System 2, is normally conducted at the pace of a comfortable walk, sometimes interrupted by episodes of jogging and on rare occasions by a frantic sprint. The Add-1 and Add-3 exercises are sprints, and casual chatting is a stroll.

We found that people, when engaged in a mental sprint, may become effectively blind. The authors of The Invisible Gorilla had made the gorilla “invisible” by keeping the observers intensely busy counting passes. We reported a rather less dramatic example of blindness during Add-1. Our subjects were exposed to a series of randomly flashin letters while they worked. They were told to give the task complete priority, but they were also asked to report, at the end of the digit task, whether the letter K had appeared at any time during the trial. The main finding was that the ability to detect and report the target letter changed in the course of the 10 seconds of the exercise. The observers almost never missed a K that was shown at the beginning or near the end of the Add-1 task but they missed the target almost half the time when mental effort was at its peak, although we had pictures of their wide-open eye staring straight at it. Failures of detection followed the same inverted-V pattern as the dilating pupil. The similarity was reassuring: the pupil was a good measure of the physical arousal that accompanies mental effort, and we could go ahead and use it to understand how the mind works.

Much like the electricit meter outside your house or apartment, the pupils offer an index of the current rate at which mental energy is used. The analogy goes deep. Your use of electricity depends on what you choose to do, whether to light a room or toast a piece of bread. When you turn on a bulb or a toaster, it draws the energy it needs but no more. Similarly, we decide what to do, but we have limited control over the effort of doing it. Suppose you are shown four digits, say, 9462, and told that your life depends on holding them in memory for 10 seconds. However much you want to live, you cannot exert as much effort in this task as you would be forced to invest to complete an Add-3 transformation on the same digits.

System 2 and the electrical circuits in your home both have limited capacity, but they respond differently to threatened overload. A breaker trips when the demand for current is excessive, causing all devices on that circuit to lose power at once. In contrast, the response to mental overload is selective and precise: System 2 protects the most important activity, so it receives the attention it needs; “spare capacity” is allocated second by second to other tasks.

In our version of the gorilla experiment, we instructed the participants to assign priority to the digit task. We know that they followed that instruction, because the timing of the visual target had no effect on the main task. If the critical letter was presented at a time of high demand, the subjects simply did not see it. When the transformation task was less demanding, detection performance was better.

The sophisticated allocation of attention has been honed by a long evolutionary history. Orienting and responding quickly to the gravest threats or most promising opportunities improved the chance of survival, and this capability is certainly not restricted to humans. Even in modern humans, System 1 takes over in emergencies and assigns total priority to seIf-protective actions. Imagine yourself at the wheel of a car that unexpectedly skids on a large oil slick. You will find that you have responded to the threat before you became fully conscious of it.

Beatty and I worked together for only a year, but our collaboration had a large effect on our subsequent careers. He eventually became the leading authority on “cognitive pupillometry,” and I wrote a book titled Attention and Effort, which was based in large part on what we learned together and on follow-up research I did at Harvard the following year. We learned a great deal about the working mind, which I now think of as System 2, from measuring pupils in a wide variety of tasks.

As you become skilled in a task, its demand for energy diminishes. Studies of the brain have shown that the pattern of activity associated with an action changes as skill increases, with fewer brain regions involved. Talent has similar effects. Highly intelligent individuals need less effort to solve the same problems, as indicated by both pupil size and brain activity. A general “law of least effort” applies to cognitive as well as physical exertion. The law asserts that if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action. In the economy of action, effort is a cost, and the acquisition of skill is driven by the balance of benefits and costs. Laziness is built deep into our nature.

The tasks that we studied varied considerably in their effects on the pupil. At baseline, our subjects were awake, aware, and ready to engage in a task, probably at a higher level of arousal and cognitive readiness than usual. Holding one or two digits in memory or learning to associate a word with a digit (3 = door) produced reliable effects on momentary arousal above that baseline, but the effects were minuscule, only 5% of the increase in pupil diameter associated with Add-3. A task that required discriminating between the pitch of two tones yielded significantly larger dilations. Recent research has shown that inhibiting the tendency to read distracting words (as in figure 2 of the preceding chapter) also induces moderate effort. Tests of short-term memory for six or seven digits were more effortful. As you can experience, the request to retrieve and say aloud your phone number or your spouse’s birthday also requires a brief but significant effort, because the entire string must be held in memory as a response is organized. Mental multiplication of two-digit numbers and the Add-3 task are near the limit of what most people can do.

What makes some cognitive operations more demanding and effortful than others? What outcomes must we purchase in the currency of attention? What can System 2 do that System 1 cannot? We now have tentative answers to these questions.

Effort is required to maintain simultaneously in memory several ideas that require separate actions, or that need to be combined according to a rule, rehearsing your shopping list as you enter the supermarket, choosing between the fish and the veal at a restaurant, or combining a surprising result from a survey with the information that the sample was small, for example. System 2 is the only one that can follow rules, compare objects on several attributes, and make deliberate choices between options. The automatic System 1 does not have these capabilities. System 1 detects simple relations (“they are all alike,” “the son is much taller than the father”) and excels at integrating information about one thing, but it does not deal with multiple distinct topics at once, nor is it adept at using purely statistical information. System 1 will detect that a person described as “a meek and tidy soul, with a need for order and structure, and a passion for detail” resembles a caricature librarian, but combining this intuition with knowledge about the small number of librarians is a task that only System 2 can perform, if System 2 knows how to do so, which is true of few people.

A crucial capability of System 2 is the adoption of “task sets”: it can program memory to obey an instruction that overrides habitual responses. Consider the following: Count all occurrences of the letter f in this page. This is not a task you have ever performed before and it will not come naturally to you, but your System 2 can take it on. it will be effortful to set yourself up for this exercise, and effortful to carry it out, though you will surely improve with practice. Psychologists speak of “executive control” to describe the adoption and termination of task sets, and neuroscientists have identified the main regions of the brain that serve the executive function. One of these regions is involved whenever a conflict must be resolved. Another is the prefrontal area of the brain, a region that is substantially more developed in humans than in other primates, and is involved in operations that we associate with intelligence.

Now suppose that at the end of the page you get another instruction: count all the commas in the next page. This will be harder, because you will have to overcome the newly acquired tendency to focus attention on the letter f. One of the significant discoveries of cognitive psychologists in recent decades is that switching from one task to another is effortful, especially under time pressure. The need for rapid switching is one of the reasons that Add-3 and mental multiplication are so difficult. To perform the Add-3 task, you must hold several digits in your working memory at the same time, associating each with a particular operation: some digits are in the queue to be transformed, one is in the process of transformation, and others, already transformed, are retained for reporting. Modern tests of working memory require the individual to switch repeatedly between two demanding tasks, retaining the results of one operation while performing the other. People who do well on these tests tend to do well on tests of general intelligence. However, the ability to control attention is not simply a measure of intelligence; measures of efficiency in the control of attention predict performance of air traffic controllers and of Israeli Air Force pilots beyond the effects of intelligence.

Time pressure is another driver of effort. As you carried out the Add-3 exercise, the rush was imposed in part by the metronome and in part by the load on memory. Like a juggler with several balls in the air, you cannot afford to slow down; the rate at which material decays in memory forces the pace, driving you to refresh and rehearse information before it is lost. Any task that requires you to keep several ideas in mind at the same time has the same hurried character. Unless you have the good fortune of a capacious working memory, you may be forced to work uncomfortably hard. The most effortful forms of slow thinking are those that require you to think fast.

You surely observed as you performed Add-3 how unusual it is for your mind to work so hard. Even if you think for a living, few of the mental tasks in which you engage in the course of a working day are as demanding as Add-3, or even as demanding as storing six digits for immediate recall. We normally avoid mental overload by dividing our tasks into multiple easy steps, committing intermediate results to long-term memory or to paper rather than to an easily overloaded working memory. We cover long distances by taking our time and conduct our mental lives by the law of least effort.

SPEAKING OF ATTENTION AND EFFORT

“I won’t try to solve this while driving. This is a pupil-dilating task. It requires mental effort!”

“The law of least effort is operating here. He will think as little as possible.”

“She did not forget about the meeting. She was completely focused on something else when the meeting was set and she just didn’t hear you.”

“What came quickly to my mind was an intuition from System 1. I’ll have to start over and search my memory deliberately.”

Three

The Lazy Controller

I spend a few months each year in Berkeley, and one of my great pleasures there is a daily four-mile walk on a marked path in the hills, with a fine view of San Francisco Bay. I usually keep track of my time and have learned a fair amount about effort from doing so. I have found a speed, about 17 minutes for a mile, which I experience as a stroll. I certainly exert physical effort and burn more calories at that speed than if I sat in a recliner, but I experience no strain, no conflict, and no need to push myself. I am also able to think and work while walking at that rate. Indeed, I suspect that the mild physical arousal of the walk may spill over into greater mental alertness.

System 2 also has a natural speed. You expend some mental energy in random thoughts and in monitoring what goes on around you even when your mind does nothing in particular, but there is little strain. Unless you are in a situation that makes you unusually wary or selfconscious, monitoring what happens in the environment with others, to depend on others, or to accept demands from others.

The psychologist who has done this remarkable research, Kathleen Vohs, has been laudably restrained in discussing the implications of her findings, leaving the task to her readers. Her experiments are profound, her findings suggest that living in a culture that surrounds us with reminders of money may shape our behavior and our attitudes in ways that we do not know about and of which we may not be proud. Some cultures provide frequent reminders of respect, others constantly remind their members of God, and some societies prime obedience by large images of the Dear Leader. Can there be any doubt that the ubiquitous portraits of the national leader in dictatorial societies not only convey the feeling that “Big Brother Is Watching” but also lead to an actual reduction in spontaneous thought and independent action?

The evidence of priming studies suggests that reminding people of their mortality increases the appeal of authoritarian ideas, which may become reassuring in the context of the terror of death. Other experiments have confirmed Freudian insights about the role of symbols and metaphors in unconscious associations. For example, consider the ambiguous word fragments W_ _ H and S_ _ P. People who were recently asked to think of an action of which they are ashamed are more likely to complete those fragments as WASH and SOAP and less likely to see WISH and SOUP. Furthermore, merely thinking about stabbing a coworker in the back leaves people more inclined to buy soap, disinfectant, or detergent than batteries, juice, or candy bars. Feeling that one’s soul is stained appears to trigger a desire to cleanse one’s body, an impulse that has been dubbed the “Lady Macbeth effect.”

“The world makes much less sense than you think. The coherence comes mostly from the way your mind works.”

“They were primed to find flaws, and this is exactly what they found.”

“His System 1 constructed a story, and his System 2 believed it. It happens to all of us.”

“I made myself smile and I’m actually feeling better!”

. . .

from

Thinking, Fast And Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

get it at Amazon.com

Island of Stone Money. Yap of the Carolines – William Henry Furness, 1910.

We at least can discern the little point of light from which our Martian visitors might come, and can appreciate the size and distance of another world, but to the man of Yap, whose whole world in length and breadth is but a day’s walk, our little steamboat emerges from an invisible spot, out of the very ocean.

Were the gates, reefs wider open and less dangerously ajar, “trade’s unfeeling train” would have long ago wholly overrun these imprisoned little lands and dispossessed the aboriginal “swain.”

The effect was magical! The audience forgot to breathe in awed silence! Their eyes dilated! Their jaws fell! And they began repeating after the instrument the words of their very own language, in the boy’s very own voice, now issuing from the bottom of the horn! Was the boy himself imprisoned there? For five or six seconds after the voice ceased, they remained silent, looking from one to another, and then they burst into peals and peals of screaming laughter, clamourously and vehemently imploring me to repeat it.”

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ALTHOUGH old-time Pacific whalers and missionaries, both of them, let us hope, from kindly motives of rendering the islanders happy, introduced two unfortunate attendants of western civilization, alcohol and diversity of faiths, nevertheless the natives of The Caroline Islands have retained the greater part of their original primitive beliefs, and recently, under admirable German rule, have perforce abandoned alcohol. Wherefore they are become an exceedingly pleasant and gentle folk to visit; this is especialIy true of the natives of the island of Uap or Yap, the most westerly of the group. Like all other primitive people (it hurts one’s feelings to call them savages or even uncivilized, one is too broad and the other too narrow, they are shy at first, either through mistrust or awe, but, let acquaintance and confidence be once established, and they are good company and benignantly ready to tolerate, even to foster condescendingly, the incomprehensible peculiarities and demented foibles of the white-faced visitor.

The Island of Yap

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When I visited The Caroline Islands in 1903, there was but one small steamer, of a German trading company, which, about five times a year, links these little worlds with our great one, and the people which it brings from the uttermost horizon must seem to the natives quite as wonderful as beings from Mars might seem to us; we at least can discern the little point of light from which our Martian visitors might come, and can appreciate the size and distance of another world, but to the man of Yap, whose whole world in length and breadth is but a day’s walk, the little steamboat emerges from an invisible spot, out of the very ocean.

After a whole month of tossing and rolling and endless pitching on the tiny, 500-ton steamer, Oceana, plying between Sydney and The Marshall and Caroline Islands and Hong-Kong, we were within one night’s sail of the little island of Yap, a mere dot on our school maps. Here I intended to remain for nearly two months and await the return trip of the steamer.

The five short stops which the steamer had made at other enchanting, alluring islands had been veritable hors-d’oeuvres to whet the appetite, and while drinking in the beauty of my last sunset from the deck of the copra-laden little steamer, with the sea the colour of liquid rose leaves and the sky shaded off in all tints of yellow, orange, green, blue, mauve, and rose-color, I was thrilled by the thought that I was soon to enjoy again the earthy perfume of damp groves of palm, the pungent odor of rancid coconut oil, and the scent of fires of sappy wood, whereof all combined compose the peculiar atmosphere of the palm-thatched houses of Pacific Islanders.

I expected to be awakened on the following morning by the sudden change from tossing on the open sea to the smooth gliding of the vessel through the waters of the calm lagoon, and with that delicious smell of land and of lush vegetation. Instead of this, however, in the gray of dawn, I was instantly aroused by the clang of the captain’s signal to the engine room, ringing first “stop” and then “full speed astern.” I jumped from my berth to the deck and looked into a thick, impenetrable fog that utterly hemmed us in. From every side an ominous roar of breakers rose above the thump of the engines. The fog lifted; there were the reefs and breakers distant not a hundred and fifty feet dead ahead of us; then down came the fog and off we backed, only to find that the reefs encircled us completely.

Even before the glow on the light and fleecy clouds which formed the ineffable beauty of the sunset had faded, heavy clouds had arisen; by midnight the sky was inky black with no star to guide our course. The captain thus fell a victim to the strong, variable currents, characteristic of these waters, which are indeed but one of the many varieties of thorns which hedge these Sleeping Beauties of the ocean; these had been responsible for our being hurried on much faster than the log could show, and here we were almost on top of the reef, two hours ahead of time, with the land hidden behind an impenetrable veil.

Our situation was like a fever-dream, wherein vague but fatal dangers threaten, and, strain as we may, we are unable to open our eyes. The fog had been like a great eyelid, raised and lowered just long enough to give us one fleeting glimpse, and no more, of fatal peril, while the thunder and hissing swish of the breakers were like the deadly warnings of a rattlesnake before it strikes. Then, of a sudden, again the dense fog lifted completely, and the land seemed verily to rise out of the sea, and we found ourselves directly in front of the very entrance to the harbour with the channel of deepblue water almost running out to meet us. Five minutes more of fog and we should have been pounding helplessly on the reefs with the garden gates impenetrably closed.

I mention this only to give the hint that were the gates wider open and less dangerously ajar, “trade’s unfeeling train” would have long ago wholly overrun these imprisoned little lands and dispossessed the aboriginal “swain.”

Yap, or rather Uéap, with a prolonged broad a, the pronunciation invariably used by the natives, means, in their old language, I was told, “the Land,” which, I suppose, exactly meant to the aborigines the whole world. Uap is, as I have said before, the westernmost of The Caroline group, and lies about nine degrees north of the equator. It is not an atoll, but the result of volcanic upheaval; it is encircled, nevertheless, by coral reefs from three to five miles wide, and has, at about the middle of the southwestern coast, a good harbour in Tomil Bay.

To recall very briefly the general history of this group of islands: They have been known to the civilized world since 1527, when they were discovered by the Portuguese; a hundred and fifty years later they were annexed by Spain and named in honour of Carolus II. At the close of the Spanish-American war the whole group was purchased from Spain by Germany for the sum of $3,300,000, and since then under judicious and enlightened government has steadily improved in productiveness.

The natives of Yap, in number from five to six thousand, are of that perplexing type known generally as Micronesian, which covers a multitude of conjectures. The natives of each island have certain characteristics of form and features which make relationship to natives of other islands or groups of islands a possibility; but, on the other hand, there are such differences in language, in customs, in manner of living, that it is well-nigh impossible to state, with any degree of certainty, what or whence is the parent stock or predominant race. By way of generalization merely, and not as deciding the question, let me say that the people of Yap are of the Malayan type, a light coffee coloured skin; hair black and inclined to wave or curl, not crinkly, like the Melanesian and African; eyes very dark brown, almost black; cheek bones rather high and noses inclined to be hooked, but not prominent. In this last feature they resemble other Polynesians and the Melanesians of New Guinea and The Solomon Islands. They are not as tall nor, on an average, as strongly built as the natives of Samoa, Fiji, or Tahiti. Since the sale of intoxicants and gunpowder has been prohibited, except to the trustworthy chiefs, they are gentle, docile, and lazy; formerly, under the very lax rule of Spain they were exceedingly troublesome and frequently made raids upon the Spanish and German traders, and were continuously at internecine war.

Personal details are generally uninteresting; it therefore suffices to say that I was received most kindly by the little colony of white people who live upon the island, consisting of the resident doctor, then acting as Governor; the postmaster; the manager an American of The Jaluit Trading Company; and four Spanish and German copra traders.

I was most hospitably entertained by Herr Friedlander, one of these copra traders, and, in point of residence, the oldest white trader on the island. With a courteous friendliness for which I shall be always grateful, he invited me to lodge with him at his little copra station in Dulukan, where I could be all the time in close touch with the natives; not only was he always ready to act as my interpreter, but was also at every turn unwearied in his kindness and devotion. I had expected and hoped to share the home life in the houses of the natives, as I had done in Borneo, but the village life and the home life of the people of Yap differ so widely from those of the Borneans that I found it would be better by far to stay in Herr Friedlander’s comfortable little pile-built house and visit the natives, or get them to visit me.

As soon as the Oceana had discharged her cargo and departed on her way to Hong-Kong, we set our sail of matting in Friedlander’s native-built copra barge, which was fairly loaded to the gunwales with my luggage and photographic outfit, and glided through green aisles of mangrove and over the glassy blue and green water of the lagoon to the southern end of the island where lies the delightful, scattered little village of Dulukan.

NATIVE HOUSES

THE island is divided into districts, more or less defined, which are the remnants of former days when these districts marked the division into hostile tribes; but now, under one government, these separate districts are but little regarded as tribal divisions, and within them the houses are scattered indiscriminately in small groups. Such a thing as a village street or even a road between rows of dwellings nowhere exists; there is, therefore, nothing of what we would call village life, when “all the village train, from labour free, Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree.”

The large “bachelor houses,” to be sure, are adequate meeting places for the men, but the poor neglected women have no common ground where the heart-easing and nutritious gossip of the day may be exchanged. In the coconut groves, which form a broad band along the coast all round the island, each house is surrounded by a neatly-swept clearing, and this little lawn, if that can be called a lawn which is devoid of grass, is brightened here and there by variegated crotons, suggestive of the neatness of the Yap housewife, and affording an attractive playground of chequered shade under the lofty palms.

The houses are always built upon a platform, about two and a half to three feet high, of masses of coralline rock, which look like huge pieces of pumice stone; when first taken from the water this soft lime-like rock lends itself admirably to being smoothed and fashioned with the primitive implements of the natives. The platform is made level on top by filling in with rubble and earth or with a covering of large flat stones. This loosely built foundation is, I suppose, to serve the same purpose as the high piles whereon tropical houses are usually built, namely, to keep the floor, which is also the domestic bed, as high and dry as possible above the level of the ground, which at times is deluged with rain in the usual tropical abundance. Well constructed houses have a broad and long foundation platform, whereon is built a second stage just large enough to be covered by the house; the lower and larger then serves as a broad uncovered veranda round at least three sides of the building. The cornerposts for the framework are embedded in the upper dais of stone so that the occasional typhoons which sweep the island and level even the coconut palms may not carry away the whole structure. Every beam and 1 stanchion is mortised to its fellow and bound with innumerable lashings of twine made from the fibre of coconut husks; not a nail is used and scarcely a peg.

A NATIVE RESIDENCE

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In the little yards or clearings about the houses and on the larger broad platform of stones whereon the houses are built, all that there is of village life goes on; here guests are received and entertained, councils of the wise held, and news passed round. It is decidedly bad manners for any visitor to enter a house, except by special invitation, no matter how intimate a friend he may be. Very often, to add to comfort, upright stones are imbedded in the lower platform to serve as back rests when sessions of the councils happen to be prolonged or the orator prosy. A matting of bamboo grass, or else panels of interwoven fronds of the coconut palm form the side walls of the house; security and secrecy, it must be remembered, are hardly necessary in such small communities, where all are acquaintances, and every article of household use or of luxury is almost as well known to everybody as to the actual owner; stolen goods are not marketable and thefts are quite rare, except, of course, of coconuts that happen to fall unexpectedly and temptingly from a neighbour’s tree.

The interior of the house is neither bright nor cheerful; it is not strange, therefore, that there is but little indoor life. The eaves of the paIm-thatched roof overhang so far that they almost touch the level of the floor and all the light and air come through the doorway, or through one or two panels in the wall which arc occasionally raised like shutters and held by a wooden hook suspended from the rafters.

How any dust at all can collect on a small island in mid-Pacific is a mystery; nevertheless, every article in a Yap house is coated deep with cobwebs and fine dust. This is also the case, however, in the houses of all Pacific Islanders that I have ever visited, and is possibly due to absence of chimneys and abundance of smoke.

There is always in private houses in Yap an inner room or corner, screened off from the common room, where the owners of the house sleep at night. This little sleeping-room is totally dark except for what little light may filter through the walls or under the eaves. There is, of course, no second story to the houses, except a general storage place under the rafters, on top of the cross beams, where any article, not in daily use, such as a leaky canoe, a ragged fish net, a broken spear, etc., is tucked away.

A RICH MAN’S HOUSE. ON THE RIGHT IS A FINE WHITE “FEI,” AND HANGING FROM THE RAFTER IN THE FRONT OF THE DOOR A BANANA FIBRE MAT.

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I have groped my way through many a Yap house, of course with the full permission of the owner, rummaging in every dark corner in search of articles of ethnological interest, but only once or twice was my search rewarded. The owners did not seem to object in the slightest degree to my curiosity, and after giving me liberty to poke and pry to my heart’s content, they stood by smiling and good-naturedly answering my questions as to the names and uses of everything. They knew well enough that I should not find what they considered their really valuable possessions, which were probably hidden away in the darkness of the inner chamber, and were sure moreover that whatever I found that I wanted would be paid for by many a stick of “trade” tobacco.

A HOUSE OF A CORPA TRADER

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It was near a scattered collection of houses such as these that, on a cloudless afternoon in February, I landed at Friedlander’s charming little copra station. He is married to a native of Guam, a convert to the Roman Catholic faith, but not to the western method of living and style of house; so Friedlander has built for her a home to her liking, bare of all furniture, except mats on the floor, and with an open hearth for cooking and for the comforting circulation of smoke throughout the house, or rather room; here she lives “shut up in measureless content” with her select circle of native friends, together with a sprinkling of elderly relatives, which seems to be an inevitable household element in the Orient.

My host and I, however, put up at his own little house built within the same compound, on piles six feet high and furnished with two comfortable cot-beds, tables, and chairs. The whole house is about twenty feet long by ten wide and constructed as openly as possible, with roof and walls of palm-leaf thatch, for coolness’ sake. This is also his office where he transacts business, such as the purchase of coconuts or the payment for the manufacturing of copra. Copra, by the way, is made by cutting out the meat of ripe coconuts and placing it on screens to dry in the sun. When thus dried, it is exported to Europe, where the oil is expressed and used in the manufacture of fine soaps.

After my luggage had been carried up from the little jetty of rough, spongy, coral blocks to the house, about twenty feet away, and while Friedlander was busy with his group of natives, settling accounts for coconuts delivered during his absence, and with unpacking his boxes of new articles of trade, I strolled forth to take a preliminary survey of my field, provided with a notebook wherein were certain useful phrases in the Yap tongue which I was anxious to put to the test.

The compound about Friedlander’s several houses was quite deserted; everybody had gathered about the master to watch the unpacking and drink in with open ears and gaping mouths every syllable that fell from his lips; and, of course, to ask innumerable irrelevant questions. The declining sun cast long bands of orange light between the gray and mossy-green trunks of the palms, and the sandy earth of the well-swept little compound was rippling with the flickering shadows of the over-arching coconut fronds. There was no song nor twitter of birds; the only sound was the murmur of voices from the crowd within the house, and from a little inlet beside the deserted husking sheds came a rhythmical swish of innumerable coconut husks floating there in an almost solid mass. I turned out of the bamboo wicket gate eager for exploration, and, feeling very much “Like some lone watcher of the skies, When a new planet swims into his ken. ”

I became suddenly aware, however, of the drollest, coffee-coloured, curly-headed, little seven-year-old girl gazing at me with solemn black eyes, awestruck and spellbound. The expression of those wide open eyes, framed all round in long black lashes, was awe, fear, and curiosity mingled; her hands, prettily and delicately shaped, not overly clean, were pressed one upon the other on her little bare chest as if to quell the thumpings of fright, and, whether from astonishment or by nature, her glossy black curls stood up in short spirals all over her head. She was such a typical, little, wild gingerbread baby, that I could not avoid stopping at once to scrutinize her as earnestly as she scrutinized me.

Although she was the only one of her kind in sight, she stood her ground bravely and betrayed nervousness only in the slight digging of her little stubby brown toes in the sand as if she were preparing a good foothold for a precipitate dash. As I looked down upon her, the bunchy little skirt of dried brown grasses and strips of pandanus leaves, her sole garment, gave her the appearance of a little brown imp just rising out of the ground. I thought I detected a slight turning movement in those nervous little feet, so for fear of frightening her into the headlong dash, I looked as benignant, unconcerned, and unsurprised as I could, and turned down the path outside the fence toward the first house in sight.

With no particular objective point I followed one of the wide, native-built paths constructed of sand, finely-broken shells, and decomposed coral, and, inasmuch as they dry off almost instantly after a heavy shower, they are excellently devised for rainy seasons. These footpaths (there is not a cart in the community) extend from one end of the island to the other and branch off toward all the principal settlements; many of the smaller branches are, however, constructed with no great care and consist merely of a narrow paving of rough coral and stone, well adapted for tough bare feet, but not for stiff, slippery, leather soles.

A NATIVE-MADE PATH

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The road past Friedlander’s Station at Dulukan is one of the main thoroughfares and well kept up; down this I turned, with the long vista before me of gray, sunflecked road, overarched by the cloistered fronds and bordered by the slanting stems of coconut palms, with here and there spots of bright color from variegated crotons and dracsenas. I was lost in admiration of the beauty of it all and was still thinking of my first encounter with an island-born elf, when I heard the patter of tiny feet behind me, and turning, saw again the little jungle baby trotting close after me. Curiosity had spurred on her valour to conquer discretion, and now she stood close beside me, and, with a sidelong glance, smiled coyly and inquiringly, showing a row of white baby teeth set rather far apart.

I too smiled in return at the droll little figure, and, not having my Yap Ollendorf at my tongue’s end, I said in English “Come along, little elf, and take a walk.” The spell was broken; I became to her a human being with articulate speech, and not a green-eyed demon. At once there issued forth in a childish little treble a stream of higgledypiggledy words, and then she wistfully waited for a reply. The Yap vernacular failed me, so I simply shook my head despairingly. Then I heard her say distinctly one of my note-book phrases, Mini fit’hing am igur? “What’s your name?” This I could answer and she tried hard to repeat the name I gave; after several ineffectual struggles, she looked up consolingly, and patting her chest with her outspread hand, and nodding her head each time to emphasize it, she reiterated “Pooguroo, Pooguroo, Pooguroo,” clearly intimating that this was her own name.

Here then was all the formal introduction necessary, so we two sauntered down the path together, she keeping up a constant chatter and patter, while pointing toward houses here and there in the open grove of palms. I think she was telling me the name of every house owner in the neighbourhood and the whole of his family history and also his wife’s, but I was restricted to “Oh’s” and “Ah’s” and grunting assents; but all distinction of race or age vanished and here I gained my first little friend, staunch and true, among the people of Yap. I never found out who she was, further than that she was Pooguroo; she was always on hand when anything was astir, and always proved a fearless little friend among the children; but who her parents were, or where her home, I never knew.

Adoption, or rather exchange of children at an early age, is so common that it is a wise father that knows his own child. To the mind of the Yap parents children are not like toothbrushes whereof every one prefers his own; they are more or less public property as soon as they are able to run about from house to house. They cannot without extraordinary exertion fall off the island, and, like little guinea-pigs, they can find food anywhere; their clothing grows by every roadside, and any shelter, or no shelter, is good enough for the night. They cannot starve, there are no wild beasts or snakes to harm them, and should they tear their clothes, nature mends them, leaving only a scar to show the patch; what matters it if they sleep under the high, star-powdered ceiling of their foster mother’s nursery, or curled up on mats beneath their father’s thatch?

There is no implication here that parents are not fond of their children; on the contrary, they love them so much that they see their own children in all children. It is the ease of life and its surroundings which have atrophied the emotion of parental love. Has not “too light winning made the prize light?” When a father has merely to say to his wife and children “Go out and shake your breakfast off the trees” or, “Go to the thicket and gather your clothes,” to him the struggle for existence is meaningless, and, without a struggle, the prizes of life, which include a wife and family, are held in light esteem. Parental love, by being extended to all children, becomes diluted and shallow.

Is it not here then, in an untutored tropic island, that the realization is to be found of the Spartan ideal? Somebody’s children are always about the houses and to the fore in all excitements, and never did I see them roughly handled or harshly treated. As soon as they are old enough they must win their own way, and, if boys, at a very early age, they make the pabai or faiIu, the man’s house, their home by night and day, sharing the cooked food of their elders, or living on raw coconuts, and chewing betel incessantly.

BACHELORS’ HOUSES

ONE of the most noteworthy features of Yap life are the large houses known as failu, when situated on the coast, and pabai, when built inland beyond the belt of coconut groves. These houses are found in all Yap villages, and pertain exclusively to the men, be they married or single; herein councils are held, and the affairs of the community are discussed, free from all intervention of women; and here, too, men and boys entertain themselves with song and dance, in which, under the plea that it would not be decorous for women to join, a desire may be detected to escape feminine criticism. A failu or pabai is frequently years in building; the men do not wait, however for its final completion and ceremonial opening before occupying it, but often make it their home even should no more than the framework and roof be finished.

A “PABAI,” OR MEN’S CLUB-HOUSE

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Every post, every beam is selected with extremest care, so that all its natural curves and angles may be used without further shaping. No nails, and, indeed, very few pegs are used to hold the beams together; each beam is attached to another by mortising, and then literally thousands of yards of cord, made from the fibre of coconut husks, are used to bind the joints. The lashings of this brown kaya cord furnish excellent opportunities for ornamentation; wherefore, with tropical lavishness and Oriental contempt for the expenditure of time, the main posts, for four or five feet below the cross beams, are often bound with cords interlaced into beautiful basket patterns and complicated knots; where the slanting supports of the thatched roof meet the side walls there is a continuous, graceful band of interwoven cords, where each knot has its own peculiar designation and invariable position.

RETURN FROM A FISHING CRUISE ON THE OPEN SEA

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When, after years of fitful labor, one of these clubhouses is finally complete, a feast is spread and dances are performed in front of the structure, to which all, including even the women, for the once, are invited; the house is then and there given a name, and new fire is started in the fireplace by means of the fire drill, the most primitive method of obtaining fire known in Yap.

Thereafter this failu or pabai belongs exclusively to the men, and no women, with but one exception, dare set foot within its precincts.

During the fishing season every fisherman, while plying his craft, lies under a most strict taboo. Wherefore, one very important use of the failu, or “house on the shore,” possibly its primitive cause, is to provide a place of seclusion for the tabooed fishermen during their intervals of rest. After three or four days and nights of hard work in boats on the open sea outside the lagoon, the fishermen return to the failu to distribute their haul of fish and to repair damages to their boats and nets. Whether the sea has been calm or stormy, they are always an exhausted crew; their meat and drink have consisted almost exclusively of coconuts, and their quarters have been extremely cramped in the long, narrow, outrigger canoes. Not for these poor wretches, however, are the refreshing comforts of home when, weary and worn, they return to recuperate; an inexorable, rigorous taboo enshrouds them until the last hour of the six or eight weeks of the fishing season. During their brief seasons of needful rest, not a fishermen dare leave the failu or, under any pretext whatsoever, visit his own house; he must not so much as look on the face of woman (with one exception) be she his own, or another’s, mother, wife or daughter.

If the heedless fisherman steal but a glance, flying fish will infallibly bore out his eyes at night. They may not even join in song or dance with the other men of the failu in the evening, but must keep strictly and silently apart; nor may their stay-at-home companions mingle with them; and, worst of all, until the fishing season is over and past, they can have none of a fisherman’s prerogative of endlessly expatiating on the unprecedented size and weight of the fish that they have missed, tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

It is truly impressive to see large fishing canoes come in after a cruise; they carry twenty or more men, and have often experienced extremely rough weather for craft which, according to our ideas, are so unwieldy, and unstable. In their management they can be paralleled only by the vessel provided by the “Bellman” in the “Hunting of the Snark,” where at times it was not at all out of the ordinary for the bow to get mixed up with the rudder. Inasmuch as the whole balance of the boat depends upon the outrigger, it would never do, of course, to have the large, heavy sail, bearing the weight of the wind, on the opposite side of the boat; consequently, when sailing up in the wind, where tacking is necessary, instead of putting about or jibing, the crew assemble and, lifting the mast with all the rigging, carry it bodily from the bow to the stern, where it is stepped anew; the stern then becomes the bow, and the man at the helm has to scramble quickly to the other end of the boat to find out which way he is going. Of course, such a liberty never can be taken with the mast and rigging under any other than a very mild breeze; consequently, in rough weather there is nothing for it but to keep on one course until the wind abates, or else take in all sail and drift.

Herein lies one of the causes which accounts, I think, for the mixture of inhabitants throughout Polynesia and Micronesia; canoes full of helpless fishermen have been known to drift from The Gilbert and Marshall Islands a thousand miles or more; from the very centre of The Carolines down to the northern coast of New Guinea and The Solomons. Is it any wonder then that the return of a canoe full of friends, fathers, and husbands, who, for the common good, have ventured forth on the vasty deep, far beyond the sight of their little world, should be hailed, as it always is by the simple islanders, with emotions almost akin to awe? Even to us it seems little short of a miracle, when we reflect that this return is effected without compass or sextant. It is not strange, therefore, that the lives of these venturers should be hedged about with peculiar laws and mysterious restrictions, as if they were beings apart from the common herd, and superior.

A canoe is usually sighted long before it turns into the entrance to the lagoon, and then the members of the failu stand or squat on the stone platform at the seaward end of the house and quietly watch the slow approach of their daring comrades. When they are within a half a mile or so of the shore where the water is shoal and thickly sown with many protruding treacherous boulders, the remains of ancient fish-weirs, the mast with its sail of matting is unstepped and stowed; the canoe is then guided on its tortuous way with poles and paddles. The approach is slow and silent; there is no shouting, no outward excitement; it has all the solemnity of a religious ceremony; the waiting crowd on the shore is hushed or converses in subdued whispers; the great, unwieldy canoe moves slowly onward with all the dignity of a majestic ocean liner coming into port. As soon as the bow touches the shore, the fishermen at once disembark and silently march up into the failu, leaving two members of the crew to protect with matting the painted figureheads of conventionalized frigate birds, at the bow and stem; and, after unloading the fish, to take the canoe to its mooring nearby.

A “FAILU”; THE DIVISIONS ON EITHER SIDE ARE SLEEPING QUARTERS

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I once went into a failu immediately after the fishermen had returned; the whole interior aspect of the house was changed; more than two-thirds of the floor was partitioned off into little stalls or pens made of matting of green coconut fronds with the leaves interwoven. The sides of the little pens were just high enough to permit the occupants when sitting down to look over and see what was going on; if they wished to be unseen, they had only to lie down. Possibly, these partitions are not so much for seclusion as to prevent any one from stepping over the legs of the sleeping fishermen, a terribly ill-omened accident, and sure to bring misfortune on the sleeper.

The other members of the failu were gathered together at the inland end of the house, and were either at their usual trifling occupations, or mending fine cast-nets, or fashioning from a section of bamboo a box for powdered lime, that indispensable adjunct to betel chewing; some young dandies, or oofoof , as they are termed, were grouped about a little heap of glowing embers, which they had raked together for cheerfulness’ sake, and, also, to save the expense of innumerable matches for their cigarettes; they were humming in unison one of their unintelligible and unmusical songs. It was probably either etiquette or taboo, but no one seemed to be paying any attention to the fishermen, who seemed to be, in fact, absolutely ignored ever since their arrival. These poor, tired men were each installed, and the whole floor looked like a gigantic wasp’s nest, with every cell-cap off, and demure grubs just sticking their heads out. After all their hard, self-sacrificing work at sea to provide food for the community, they are literally imprisoned till the time arrives for them to sail again; they are not allowed to go further inland than the inland side of the house, and if their mothers, wives, or daughters bring any gift, or wish to talk to them, the women must stand down near the shore, with their backs turned toward the house; then the men may go out and speak to them, or, with their backs turned to them, receive what has been brought, and return at once to their prison.

The fish are displayed on the stone platform in front of the house, or on stands of bamboo or palm, and are then apportioned to the families of the fishermen, or to purchasers from the district. Payment is made in shell money or in the stone money-wheels peculiar to Yap. A feature of this barter, which speaks much for the ingrained honesty of these people, is that the money is deposited on the ground near the failu, possibly several days before the fishermen return; no one ever attempts to steal it, or lay false claim to it; there it remains, untouched and safe, until the owner receives the fish. The strings of pearl-shell money and the stone wheels received in payment for the fish, become the property of the failu, and are expended for such purposes only as will benefit the whole house, namely, the purchase of new canoes, rigging, nets, etc., or else reserved to pay the heavy indemnity which must invariably be paid for the theft of a new mistress, or mispil.

The custom of having one mistress common to all the members of the failu, is merely a form of polyandry, which reveals in a striking degree a noteworthy characteristic of the men of Yap, namely, a complete freedom from the emotion of jealousy. In every failu and pabai there lives a young woman, or sometimes two young women, who are the companions without preference to all the men of the house; I was assured repeatedly, moreover, that this possession of a wife in common never awakens any jealous animosity among themselves in the breasts of the numerous husbands. A mispil must always be stolen by force or cunning, from a district at some distance from that wherein her captors reside. After she has been fairly, or unfairly, captured and installed in her new home, she loses no shade of respect among her own people; on the contrary, have not her beauty and her worth received the highest proof of her exalted perfection, in the devotion, not of one, but of a whole community of lovers ? Unlike a prophet, it is in her own country and among her own kith and kin that she is held in honour. But in the community where she is an alien, her social rank is gone. None of the matrons in the district of her failu, who live at home with their husbands and children, will have any social intercourse with her. By the men, whether in her failu or out of it, the mispil is invariably treated with every consideration and respect; no unseemly actions may take place in her presence, and all coarse language is scrupulously avoided when she is within hearing; nevertheless, owing to her station, she is permitted to hear and see the songs and dances, from which other women are barred.

If, by chance, a preference of one lover over another become observable, no blame whatever is attached to her, but the favourite is quietly told that, in the opinion of the whole house, he must retire, or possibly leave the failu for a while and live with friends in another district.

The mispil’s food, and her luxuries, such, as tobacco and betel nut, are supplied by the men, and she is never required to work in the taro fields, as are the wives and daughters of the district. At quite a distance, in the bush behind the failu, a little house is built for her sole use when she wishes to be secluded; here she occupies her time in making new skirts for herself of leaves, and during her sojourn in her little home, known as tapal, the men sedulously place her food near by, but dare not so much as take one step within the enclosure around her house.

The men of the failu treat their mispils with far more respect and devotion than is generally shown by the men outside to the wives of their own household. The mispils are absolutely faithful to the men of their failu or pabai, regarding themselves as unquestionable property, having been sought and captured at the risk of men’s lives, and paid for withal in costly pieces of stone money.

They are by no means kept as prisoners; as soon as the excitement over their capture has abated in their own village, they are at full liberty to return home and visit their family and friends, and they always return willingly and voluntarily to the failu.

In ancient times, which were probably no further removed than the last generation, history in these islands does not usually date much further back than the memory of the oldest inhabitant, when there were many districts at constant war with each other and the high-born nobles were divided into two tribes, the ulunpagel and the bultreh-e-pilun, the capture of a mispil was always accompanied by bloodshed and enduring feuds; but, nowadays, since abstinence from alcohol has cooled their brains, and they all regard themselves as really one people (with the exception of the tribe of slaves known as Pimlingal), the seizure of a young girl to fill the office of mispil is reduced to little more than a commonplace burglary; nay, it is almost always furtively prearranged with the chief of the district, inasmuch as it is to him that the parents appeal for redress. If certain captors, or shall we say burglars, have already made choice of a victim from his district as their future mispil, it might be difficult, if not impossible, for him to prevent them from carrying out their design, but, inasmuch as he is fully assured that they are prepared to pay a good round sum in shell money and stone money by way of indemnity, he contrives, nowadays, by means of this bribe to salve the wounds of a disrupted family and dispel all thoughts of a bloody retaliation. Nevertheless, the whole proceeding is still carried out with the greatest possible secrecy and stealth.

With Friedlander’s help, as interpreter, I elicited from an intelligent young fellow named Gamiau, the following account of the capture of Lemet, the mispil of Dulukan. Gamiau, the leader of the party, was a quiet, serious, young fellow, about eighteen or twenty years old; foremost in dance and song, and, consequently, admired by his companions for the fertility of his poetic and acrobatic resources. He was not tall, but well built, with a skin as smooth as velvet, which seemed to stretch tightly over the muscles underneath like a brown kid glove. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor of our little house one evening when no one else was present, and, taking intermittent puffs at his cigarette of “Nigger-head” tobacco rolled in a fragment of palm-leaf, gave us this somewhat disjointed account of the theft of a mispil.

“Lemet, our mispil, is a daughter of Pagel of Libenau, who is a brother of the chief of Bugol in the Rul district. We had not decided upon her or any other girl before we started out, but we had heard that the girls of Bugol were all pretty.”

LEMET, A MISPIL

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“About twenty of us from the failu of Dulukan stocked a canoe with all sorts of trade and set out for Bugol; we knew that the chief there would help us if we took plenty of presents to him, so we put in a good stock of reng [a species of turmeric used as an ornamental dye], several strings of flat pearl shells, and one large and very high priced fei [stone money]. When we reached Bugol, we separated, so that no one should suspect that we were after a girl, and, having given our presents to the chief, we waited there two months and a half enjoying ourselves, but all the time on a furtive look out for a mispil for our failu, but we could not make a choice.

Then word came to us that we had better go to Rul, a short distance away, so that no one would suspect our plans; in this place we waited eighteen days until word came again to us from the chief of Bugol that he had selected a girl for us, and we were to move across the bay to Tomil, and build a house in the mangroves by the shore and wait till his messengers came. So we went, and, after a night and a day, two Bugol men came. Early, early in the morning, before daylight, six of us and the two Bugol men paddled very noiselessly over to Libenau. We left the canoe and four of our men in it near the shore, and I, Gramiau, and Fatufal and the Bugol men went ashore. Without speaking a word, the Bugols led us through the underbrush and finally pointed out the house, and whispered that we would find the girl asleep all by herself in a little hut at the end of her father’s house. We crept up very, very softly, peeped in, and there we saw her, sound asleep, stretched out on her mat with nothing over her. Then we jumped in suddenly and one of us held her arms, and the other kept his hand tight over her mouth so that she could not cry out, and, just as she was, we carried her back to the canoe and paddled quickly down to Aff where the other men were waiting. When we got there, one of us stole a skirt from a house nearby, for she had no clothes. On the way home we stopped at Rul and gave two beautiful shells to the Chief, because Rul is really the head of the whole district. The girl cried a little, and seemed very sad while she was in the canoe, but now, after two months, she is as happy as can be and has never once attempted to leave us.”

Haec fabula docet that the example set by young Lochinvar has still its genial modifications in Yap, and that, although the Bugol bride may not be so compliant as the Netherby, yet the stealing of a mispil is not now an exploit wholly devoid of romance, nor of a spice of danger. A haunting suspicion will obtrude, however, that the girl had been privately “coached” by the chief, and that her family had been paid her equivalent in several good shells and were discreet enough to keep out of the way, and make the course of love run as smooth as possible. Be it added that the members of the failu who venture on these expeditions are always thereafter admired as heroes.

In dress the mispil is in no wise distinguished from other women, except by tattoo marks on her hands and legs. In this tattooing there seems to be, however, no set pattern, and the designs are not so elaborate as lasting, and, since it is not the custom for any other women to be thus ornamented, I found it occasionally possible to decipher on hands and legs of highly respectable, albeit wrinkled and shrivelled, old grandmothers, a former chapter in their history when to them all the world was young and they were the cynosure of every eye in a failu. This is explained by the fact that should a mispil prove enceinte, the duty devolves on one of the men of the failu to take her as his wife, build a house for her, and bring up his own separate family. Here again, the remarkable scheme of social relations and of morality, by which these people live, renders such a compulsory marriage perfectly adjustable and by no means a disgrace. The wife of my excellent friend, Lian, the Chief of Dulukan, showed the ineffaceable and unmistakable telltale tattoo on her hands and legs, and both he and she held their social heads very high in the community.

Verily, it does seem that even in austere eyes this feature of the failu loses half its immorality in losing all its grossness.

COSTUME AND ADORNMENTS

THERE is apparently no formal initiation into a failu; when very young the boys wander in and out of it continually; and, if they please, may even sleep there; thus they gradually glide into an accepted fellowship, and, when about ten or eleven years old, may join the men as associates in the adult dances. At about this same age the young boys are known as petir, and may wear but one loin-cloth (or none at all). The next promotion is two loin-cloths, the second longer than the first little scrap, and more elaborately interlaced; they are now known as pagul. The adult man is called pumawn, and wears, first, a loin-cloth; then over this a long rope of thin strips of pandanus leaves and grasses known as kavurr; next, to add a touch of color, a bunch of the same material, stained red, is tucked in at the side and so looped that it hangs down in front over the loin-cloth.

WAIGONG, A BOY 0F SIXTEEN 0R SEVENTEEN

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The badge of a freeman, distinguishing him at once from a slave, is an ornamental comb in the knot of hair on the top of his head. One of the Ulun-pagel, the aristocratic tribe, assured me in the most emphatic terms that he would instantly attempt to kill a Pimlingai or “slave” should he meet one wearing such a comb. This comb, albeit of no great intrinsic value, is, therefore, the essential feature of male attire. It is made merely of fifteen or twenty narrow strips of bamboo, about eight inches long, sharpened at one end, with shorter, slightly wedge-shaped pieces inserted between each strip four or five inches from the sharpened ends, whereby the teeth of the comb are kept apart; the upper ends are now bound together with ornamental lashings of coconut fibre. A simple form, but nevertheless deemed foppishly elegant, is that wherein the strips of bamboo are fastened together with a peg run through at about the middle; the strips are then slid past each other like the ribs of a fan; these broad, unpointed, upper ends lend themselves admirably to such decoration as the insertion of bright leaves of croton, tufts of cotton, strips of pandanus, etc.

In one of my first attempts at photographing with a cinematograph camera, many yards of the narrow film, which, when undeveloped looks like stiff yellow ribbon, were spoiled; with exasperation, and, I fear, imprecations, I cut this worthless film ruthlessly from the little sprocket wheels which carry it through the camera, and tossed it away. No princely gift could i have devised which would have been received with more exuberant delight than these worthless strips of film; to Yap eyes they happened to be just of the most fascinating shade of yellow, and to the Yap nostril they possessed a peculiar and ravishing perfume; and as a supreme grace they vibrated like serpents when inserted in combs and caught by the breeze; in a trice every head was wreathed with coils like Medusa’s and every face was radiant with smiles.

Other male ornaments consist of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and armlets. Mutilations of nose or of lips are not in fashion; earlobes, however, being appendages not ornamental and by no means useful, are always, the world over, responsive to improvement at the behest of beauty. They are not neglected in Yap. Both boys and girls have the earlobes pierced and stretched at an early age, at about the tenth or twelfth year, but this mutilation is never stretched to the extent that it is in the island of But (in the central Carolines), nor as it is in Borneo, where the lobe is so elongated that it becomes a mere loop of skin drooping below the shoulders.

The Yap men and women are satisfied with a simple hole through the lobe, about three-fourths of an inch in diameter, just about large enough for the insertion of bright leaves or flowers or a tuft of cotton. After an incision is made with a piece of sharpened coconut shell, a roll of leaves of a plant, which they call maluek, is at once inserted. This leaf, and this leaf only, must be used; to it is ascribed peculiar properties both of stretching and healing; it must be first warmed over the fire, then soaked and softened in coconut oil, rolled up tightly and pushed through the wound. As soon as this plug becomes loose, it is renewed, and an additional leaf added until the hole is of sufficient size and is healed. The boys grin and bear the suffering without any protection for their poor swollen and inflamed ears, which, after the fourth or fifth day, certainly look exceedingly painful; but the girls are allowed to wear protectors made of the halves of a coconut shell, held in place by strings attached to the upper edges, passing over the head, and strings from the lower edges, tied under the chin. These shells are stained a bright yellow with a turmeric, already mentioned, known as reng.

Another and a smaller hole, just about large enough for the stem of a flower is often made in the rim of the ear a little above the larger hole in the lobe; this is designed for no particular ornament, but merely supplements the larger one when the latter is completely filled with earrings and bouquets; a white and yellow flower of Frangipanni, or the spray of a delicate little orchid, growing on coconut trees, greatly enhances the charm when waving above red and green crotons and a pendant of pink shell. Women do not in general affect manufactured earrings; they cling more to natural effects of leaves and flowers. The men’s ear ornaments consist of short loops of small glass beads, whereto is attached a piece of pink or white shell usually cut in a triangular shape, with each edge about an inch in length; this is pendant from the loop of beads about three inches below the ear. The triangular shape is, in general, obligatory, inasmuch as the shell from which it is out has this one sole patch of rosy pink near the umbo. This shell is exceedingly rare on the shores of Hap; consequently, these pink pendants are highly valued and owned only by the wealthy families who part with them reluctantly, and only at an exorbitant price.

Other pendants of less value are made from any fine white shell, or of tortoise-shell; any man may wear these who has patience enough to scrape the shells to the proper shape. Still another variety of ear ornament is a piece of thin tortoise-shell, about a third of an inch wide, bent into the shape of a U; this is hooked in the lobe of the ear, and from the outer open ends are suspended little strings of beads. In default of other ornament the men will insert anything with gay colors; my cinematograph film, whenever I happened to discard it, was sure to be seen for the next two or three days either fluttering from combs or passed through loops and coiled about the ears.

Ordinary necklaces, worn by all the common folk, are made of thin discs of coconut shell or tortoise-shell, about a quarter of an inch in diameter, and strung closely and tightly together, interspersed at intervals with similar discs of white shell, so that they make a flexible cord which coils like a collar rather tightly about the neck.

FULL DRESS OF A HIGH-CLASS DAMSEL

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One of the most highly prized possessions of the men is, however, a necklace of beads made of the same rose-coloured shell whereof they make their ear pendants. In each shell of superior quality there is of the pink or red portion only enough to make one good bead about an inch and a half long by half an inch wide and an eighth of an inch thick; such a bead is usually strung in the middle of the necklace among others graded off from it in size, on both sides, merging into oblong pieces about half an inch long, of the same breadth and thickness as the bead in the centre; then, finally, follow discs about one sixteenth of an inch thick.

One day, a chief, named Inifel, with a suite of followers from his district of Magachpa, at the northern end of the island, paid us a visit; for an old man, his features bore as treacherous and malevolent a stamp as ever I saw; he scowled at everything and everybody from under his shaggy grizzled eyebrows, with a piercing gleam at once suspicious and sinister; he was magnificent in adornment, however, with a thauei, a red-shell necklace, of surpassing splendour, composed throughout of exquisite red shell beads of the very largest size, except where, at intervals of every seven or eight red beads, there followed one of pure white. So satanic were his looks that I did not dare even to hint at the purchase of so gorgeous a prize, lest he should propose my soul, or my shadow, by some devilish contract, as the price. These strings of shell beads are usually about three feet long, and hang far down on the chest. Beyond question they are exceedingly beautiful, especially when set off by the dark, burnished livery of a tawny skin.

INIFEL, A TURBULENT CHIEF; ON HIS LEFT ARM IS A LARGE WHITE BRACELET, MADE FROM A CONCH SHELL; ABOUT HIS NECK A HIGHLY VALUABLE NECKLACE

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A report of these red shell ornaments had reached me by rumour before I came to Yap, and I had been assured that it was utterly impossible to buy one; hence it was, naturally of course, the one thing I set my heart on possessing; wherefore I caused it to be widely known that I was prepared to pay a good round price for a red necklace, and I begged old Ronoboi, one of my first acquaintances among the nobility, not only a Chief, but also a powerful soothsayer, or mach-mach, to strain every nerve to procure one for me. He shook his grave head dubiously, saying he would try, but had no hope whatever of success. Later, I saw some thaueis that were truly excellent, but the owners would not listen to a syllable of sale, and seemed even to doubt that a white man existed with wealth enough to purchase a perfect one.

After several rebuffs in my attempts to buy these enviable “jewels” from wearers who looked otherwise impecunious enough, I found out that these necklaces were actually loaned, at interest, and were not the disposable property of the wearer, who, for work or services performed, was privileged to strut about, thus adorned, for a certain number of days, with that delicious glow around the heart, whether civilised or savage, which the consciousness of being well-dressed invariably bestows. In fact, the thauei, in Yap, is a medium of exchange, and is not often parted with outright, but loaned out; the interest on the loan is to be paid for in labour. After three weeks of eager and zealous endeavour, I succeeded at last in obtaining a very inferior string of merely round discs, but I had to pay for it the staggering sum of thirty marks ($7.50); when the owner delivered it to me, he exclaimed, “There now, you have the price of a murder; offer that to a man and tell him whom you want killed, and it’s done!” Not until the very day I left the island did I get a really fine thauei; after almost tearful pleadings on my part, old Ronoboi, possibly by a good deal of hook and probably by a good deal more crook, persuaded one of his subjects and eke believers in the awful mysteries of mack-mack, to part with a prized heirloom, which the dear old chief and wizard solemnly and secretly brought to me. I gave him a double handful of silver mark pieces; this seemed to hush effectually the “still, small voice;” furthermore, can a king do wrong? and the necklace is mine!

The only other ornaments that the men wear are armlets and bracelets of shell or of tortoise-shell. These are made simply by cutting a narrow section from the base of one of the large conical seashells and breaking out all the inner whorls; the ring thus formed is then slipped over the arm and worn above the elbow or wrist. I noticed none that was carved or decorated; they were merely smoothed and polished. The tortoise-shell bracelets are plain, broad bands which, after softening in hot water, are bent around the wrists, where they fit tightly, leaving the ends about three fourths of an inch apart, so that they may be sprung off the arm, and need not be slipped over the hand. These tortoiseshell ornaments are usually engraved with a few parallel lines running round them.

One peculiar shell bracelet, much affected by old men, is made of a large, white conical sea-shell, whereof the base and all the interior spirals have been cut away; this is worn like a cuff on the wrist with the big end upward. It seems incredible that they can get their hands through so small an opening, but in some way they do squeeze them through. One of my particular friends, Fatumak by name, of whom I shall speak later, told me that, once upon a time, a man from Goror, at the southernmost point of the island, tried to go up to the land of departed spirits, Falraman, but he never reached his destination, although he saw many marvelous things, and brought back to the Chiefs extraordinary novelties; among them, these shell cuffs, and chickens.