All posts by TPPA = CRISIS

Hi, my name is Hans Hilhorst. I am just a private individual hoping to contribute to our debate about matters of Political Economy. I am not affiliated with or a member of any commercial entity, political party or organization of any kind. - All my life I have been interested in psychology and economics, the things that define human society. I have also always been an avid reader of everything remotely related to those topics and I have gained a fair bit of ‘research material’ and ‘empirical evidence’ during my career through the Neoliberal nightmare, or ‘User Pays’ as we call our brand of Neoliberalism down under. - My opinions are neither here nor there, they are mine alone. I share them merely to throw in my 5 cents, looking for common spirits and clear young minds, open to new thinking. I endeavor though to keep my contributions controlled and prefer to put forward those of the multitude of academics, scientists, thinkers, authors and whoever else of credible authority. Those who have done the research, spoken to the victims, walked in their shoes and dealt with the consequences of our economic and social policies. In this way I hope to show that the cry for urgent attention to our social economic policies is not just the sound of a leftist mob, but a well supported and professional crowd of experts from around the globe. - I wish to stir the debate on our economic direction. I think it has been lopsided. Not because we are biased or stupid, but because we have been deliberately misinformed, censored and deceived. - At this juncture in time we are truly faced with the consequences of our progress: Robot Domination! Will it be like SkyNet and Arnie’s goldmine or just a happy invasion of our workplaces, allowing us time for ‘the good life’, the beach, and reading. - Hans

Modern Monetary Theory. IMF continues to tread the ridiculous path – Bill Mitchell.

Last week, the IMF released its so-called Fiscal Monitor October 2018.

Apparently the British government, which issues its own currency, has ‘shareholders’ who care about its Profit and Loss statement and the flow implications of the latter for the Balance Sheet of the Government.

Anyone who knows anything quickly realises this is a ruse. There is no meaningful application of the ‘finances’ pertaining to a private corporation to the ‘finances’ of a currency-issuing government.

A currency-issuing government’s ‘balance sheet’ provides no help in our understanding of what spending capacities such a government has.

A currency-issuing government can always service any liabilities that are denominated in its own currency.

. . . Professor Bill Mitchell’s blog

Part 5. Make America Great Again? Fascism, It Can’t Happen Here. A Warning From The Past – Sinclair Lewis – (Chapters 16-18).

“Despite strikes and riots all over the country, bloodily put down by the Minute Men, Windrip’s power in Washington was maintained.

Never in American history had the adherents of a President been so well satisfied; they were not only appointed to whatever political jobs there were but to ever so many that really were not; and with such annoyances as Congressional Investigations hushed, the official awarders of contracts were on the merriest of terms with all contractors.

Unemployment had, under the benign reign of President Berzelius Windrip, almost disappeared. Almost all workless men were assembled in enormous labor camps, under M.M. officers. Their wives and children accompanied them and took care of the cooking, cleaning, and repair of clothes. The men did not merely work on state projects; they were also hired out at the reasonable rate of one dollar a day to private employers. Of course, so selfish is human nature even in Utopia, this did cause most employers to discharge the men to whom they had been paying more than a dollar a day, but that took care of itself, because these overpaid malcontents in their turn were forced into the labor camps.

And they had the Jews and the Negroes to look down on, more and more. The M.M.’s saw to that. Every man is a king so long as he has someone to look down on.”

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.

-16-

“I have no desire to be President. I would much rather do my humble best as a supporter of Bishop Prang, Ted Bilbo, Gene Talmadge or any other broad-gauged but peppy Liberal. My only longing is to Serve.”

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

Like many bachelors given to vigorous hunting and riding, Buck Titus was a fastidious housekeeper, and his mid-Victorian farmhouse fussily neat. It was also pleasantly bare: the living room a monastic hall of heavy oak chairs, tables free of dainty covers, numerous and rather solemn books of history and exploration, with the conventional “sets,” and a tremendous fireplace of rough stone. And the ash trays were solid pottery and pewter, able to cope with a whole evening of cigarette-smoking. The whisky stood honestly on the oak buffet, with siphons, and with cracked ice always ready in a thermos jug.

It would, however, have been too much to expect Buck Titus not to have red-and-black imitation English hunting-prints.

This hermitage, always grateful to Doremus, was sanctuary now, and only with Buck could he adequately damn Windrip & Co. and people like Francis Tasbrough, who in February was still saying, “Yes, things do look kind of hectic down there in Washington, but that’s just because there’s so many of these bullheaded politicians that still think they can buck Windrip. Besides, anyway, things like that couldn’t ever happen here in New England.”

And, indeed, as Doremus went on his lawful occasions past the red-brick Georgian houses, the slender spires of old white churches facing the Green, as he heard the lazy irony of familiar greetings from his acquaintances, men as enduring as their Vermont hills, it seemed to him that the madness in the capital was as alien and distant and unimportant as an earthquake in Tibet.

Constantly, in the Informer, he criticized the government but not too acidly.

The hysteria can’t last; be patient, and wait and see, he counseled his readers.

It was not that he was afraid of the authorities. He simply did not believe that this comic tyranny could endure. It can ’t happen here, said even Doremus, even now.

The one thing that most perplexed him was that there could be a dictator seemingly so different from the fervent Hitlers and gesticulating Fascists and the Caesars with laurels round bald domes; a dictator with something of the earthy American sense of humor of a Mark Twain, a George Ade, a Will Rogers, an Artemus Ward. Windrip could be ever so funny about solemn jaw-drooping opponents, and about the best method of training what he called “a Siamese flea hound.” Did that, puzzled Doremus, make him less or more dangerous?

Then he remembered the most cruel, mad of all pirates, Sir Henry Morgan, who had thought it ever so funny to sew a victim up in wet rawhide and watch it shrink in the sun.

From the perseverance with which they bickered, you could tell that Buck Titus and Lorinda were much fonder of each other than they would admit. Being a person who read little and therefore took what he did read seriously, Buck was distressed by the normally studious Lorinda’s vacation liking for novels about distressed princesses, and when she airily insisted that they were better guides to conduct than Anthony Trollope or Thomas Hardy, Buck roared at her and, in the feebleness of baited strength, nervously filled pipes and knocked them out against the stone mantel. But he approved of the relationship between Doremus and Lorinda, which only he (and Shad Ledue!) had guessed, and over Doremus, ten years his senior, this shaggy-headed woodsman fussed like a thwarted spinster.

To both Doremus and Lorinda, Buck’s overgrown shack became their refuge. And they needed it, late in February, five weeks or thereabouts after Windrip’s election.

Despite strikes and riots all over the country, bloodily put down by the Minute Men, Windrip’s power in Washington was maintained. The most liberal four members of the Supreme Court resigned and were replaced by surprisingly unknown lawyers who called President Windrip by his first name. A number of Congressmen were still being “protected” in the District of Columbia jail; others had seen the blinding light forever shed by the goddess Reason and happily returned to the Capitol. The Minute Men were increasingly loyal, they were still unpaid volunteers, but provided with “expense accounts” considerably larger than the pay of the regular troops. Never in American history had the adherents of a President been so well satisfied; they were not only appointed to whatever political jobs there were but to ever so many that really were not; and with such annoyances as Congressional Investigations hushed, the official awarders of contracts were on the merriest of terms with all contractors. . . . One veteran lobbyist for steel corporations complained that there was no more sport in his hunting you were not only allowed but expected to shoot all government purchasing agents sitting.

None of the changes was so publicized as the Presidential mandate abruptly ending the separate existence of the different states, and dividing the whole country into eight “provinces”, thus, asserted Windrip, economizing by reducing the number of governors and all other state officers and, asserted Windrip’s enemies, better enabling him to concentrate his private army and hold the country.

The new “Northeastern Province” included all of New York State north of a line through Ossining, and all of New England except a strip of Connecticut shore as far east as New Haven. This was, Doremus admitted, a natural and homogeneous division, and even more natural seemed the urban and industrial “Metropolitan Province,” which included Greater New York, Westchester County up to Ossining, Long Island, the strip of Connecticut dependent on New York City, New Jersey, northern Delaware, and Pennsylvania as far as Reading and Scranton.

Each province was divided into numbered districts, each district into lettered counties, each county into townships and cities, and only in these last did the old names, with their traditional appeal, remain to endanger President Windrip by memories of honorable local history. And it was gossiped that, next, the government would change even the town names, that they were already thinking fondly of calling New York “Berzelian” and San Francisco “San Sarason.” Probably that gossip was false.

The Northeastern Province’s six districts were: 1, Upper New York State west of and including Syracuse; 2, New York east of it; 3, Vermont and New Hampshire; 4, Maine; 5, Massachusetts; 6, Rhode Island and the unraped portion of Connecticut.

District 3, Doremus Jessup’s district, was divided into the four “counties” of southern and northern Vermont, and southern and northern New Hampshire, with Hanover for capital, the District Commissioner merely chased the Dartmouth students out and took over the college buildings for his offices, to the considerable approval of Amherst, Williams, and Yale.

So Doremus was living, now, in Northeastern Province, District 3, County B, township of Beulah, and over him for his admiration and rejoicing were a provincial commissioner, a district commissioner, a county commissioner, an assistant county commissioner in charge of Beulah Township, and all their appertaining M.M. guards and emergency military judges.

Citizens who had lived in any one state for more than ten years seemed to resent more hotly the loss of that state’s identity than they did the castration of the Congress and Supreme Court of the United States, indeed, they resented it almost as much as the fact that, while late January, February, and most of March went by, they still were not receiving their governmental gifts of $5000 (or perhaps it would beautifully be $10,000) apiece; had indeed received nothing more than cheery bulletins from Washington to the effect that the “Capital Levy Board,” or C.L.B. was holding sessions.

Virginians whose grandfathers had fought beside Lee shouted that they’d be damned if they’d give up the hallowed state name and form just one arbitrary section of an administrative unit containing eleven Southern states; San Franciscans who had considered Los Angelinos even worse than denizens of Miami now wailed with agony when California was sundered and the northern portion lumped in with Oregon, Nevada, and others as the “Mountain and Pacific Province,” while southern California was, without her permission, assigned to the Southwestern Province, along with Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Hawaii. As some hint of Buzz Windrip’s vision for the future, it was interesting to read that this Southwestern Province was also to be permitted to claim “all portions of Mexico which the United States may from time to time find it necessary to take over, as a protection against the notorious treachery of Mexico and the Jewish plots there hatched.”

“Lee Sarason is even more generous than Hitler and Alfred Rosenberg in protecting the future of other countries,” sighed Doremus.

As Provincial Commissioner of the Northeastern Province, comprising Upper New York State and New England, was appointed Colonel Dewey Haik, that soldier-lawyer-politician-aviator who was the chilliest-blooded and most arrogant of all the satellites of Windrip yet had so captivated miners and fishermen during the campaign. He was a strong-flying eagle who liked his meat bloody.

As District Commissioner of District 3, Vermont and New Hampshire, appeared, to Doremus’s mingled derision and fury, none other than John Sullivan Reek, that stuffiest of stuffed-shirts, that most gaseous gas bag, that most amenable machine politician of Northern New England; a Republican ex-governor who had, in the alembic of Windrip’s patriotism, rosily turned Leaguer.

No one had ever troubled to be obsequious to the Hon. J. S. Reek, even when he had been Governor. The weediest back-country Representative had called him “Johnny,” in the gubernatorial mansion (twelve rooms and a leaky roof); and the youngest reporter had bawled, “Well, what bull you handing out today, Ex?”

It was this Commissioner Reek who summoned all the editors in his district to meet him at his new viceregal lodge in Dartmouth Library and receive the precious privileged information as to how much President Windrip and his subordinate commissioners admired the gentlemen of the press.

Before he left for the press conference in Hanover, Doremus received from Sissy a “poem”, at least she called it that, which Buck Titus, Lorinda Pike, Julian Falck, and she had painfully composed, late at night, in Buck’s fortified manor house:

Be meek with Reek,

Go fake with Haik.

One rhymes with sneak,

And t’ other with snake.

Haik, with his beak,

Is on the make,

But Sullivan Reek

Oh God!

“Well, anyway, Windrip’s put everybody to work. And he’s driven all these unsightly billboards off the highways, much better for the tourist trade,” said all the old editors, even those who wondered if the President, wasn’t perhaps the least bit arbitrary.

As he drove to Hanover, Doremus saw hundreds of huge billboards by the road. But they bore only Windrip propaganda and underneath, “with the compliments of a loyal firm” and, very large, “Montgomery Cigarettes” or “Jonquil Foot Soap.” On the short walk from a parking-space to the former Dartmouth campus, three several men muttered to him, “Give us a nickel for cuppa coffee, Boss, a Minnie Mouse has got my job and the Mouses won’t take me, they say I’m too old.” But that may have been propaganda from Moscow.

On the long porch of the Hanover Inn, officers of the Minute Men were reclining in deck chairs, their spurred boots (in all the MM. organization there was no cavalry) up on the railing.

Doremus passed a science building in front of which was a pile of broken laboratory glassware, and in one stripped laboratory he could see a small squad of M.M.’s drilling.

District Commissioner John Sullivan Reek affectionately received the editors in a classroom. . . . Old men, used to being revered as prophets, sitting anxiously in trifling chairs, facing a fat man in the uniform of an M.M. commander, who smoked an unmilitary cigar as his pulpy hand waved greeting.

Reek took not more than an hour to relate what would have taken the most intelligent man five or six hours, that is, five minutes of speech and the rest of the five hours to recover from the nausea caused by having to utter such shameless rot. . . .

President Windrip, Secretary of State Sarason, Provincial Commissioner Haik, and himself, John Sullivan Reek, they were all being misrepresented by the Republicans, the Jeffersonians, the Communists, England, the Nazis, and probably the jute and herring industries; and what the government wanted was for any reporter to call on any member of this Administration, and especially on Commissioner Reek, at any time, except perhaps between 3 and 7 A.M., and “get the real low-down.”

Excellency Reek announced, then: “And now, gentlemen, I am giving myself the privilege of introducing you to all four of the County Commissioners, who were just chosen yesterday. Probably each of you will know personally the commissioner from your own county, but I want you to intimately and cooperatively know all four, because, whomever they may be, they join with me in my unquenchable admiration of the press.”

The four County Commissioners, as one by one they shambled into the room and were introduced, seemed to Doremus an oddish lot: A moth-eaten lawyer known more for his quotations from Shakespeare and Robert W. Service than for his shrewdness before a jury. He was luminously bald except for a prickle of faded rusty hair, but you felt that, if he had his rights, he would have the floating locks of a tragedian of 1890.

A battling clergyman famed for raiding roadhouses.

A rather shy workman, an authentic proletarian, who seemed surprised to find himself there. (He was replaced, a month later, by a popular osteopath with an interest in politics and vegetarianism.)

The fourth dignitary to come in and affectionately bow to the editors, a bulky man, formidable-looking in his uniform as a battalion leader of Minute Men, introduced as the Commissioner for northern Vermont, Doremus Jessup’s county, was Mr. Oscar Ledue, formerly known as “Shad.”

Mr. Reek called him “Captain” Ledue. Doremus remembered that Shad’s only military service, prior to Windrip’s election, had been as an A.E.F. private who had never got beyond a training-camp in America and whose fiercest experience in battle had been licking a corporal when in liquor.

“Mr. Jessup,” bubbled the Hon. Mr. Reek, “I imagine you must have met Captain Ledue, comes from your charming city.”

“Uh-uh-ur,” said Doremus.

“Sure,” said Captain Ledue. “I’ve met old Jessup, all right, all right! He don’t know what it’s all about. He don’t know the first thing about the economics of our social Revolution. He’s a Cho-vinis. But he isn’t such a bad old coot, and I’ll let him ride as long as he behaves himself!” “Splendid!” said the Hon. Mr. Reek.

-17-

“Like beefsteak and potatoes stick to your ribs even if you’re working your head off, so the words of the Good Book stick by you in perplexity and tribulation. If I ever held a high position over my people, I hope that my ministers would be quoting, from II Kings, 18; 31 8: 32: ”Come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern, until I come and take you away to a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and honey, that ye may live and not die.”

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip

Despite the claims of Montpelier, the former capital of Vermont, and of Burlington, largest town in the state, Captain Shad Ledue fixed on Fort Beulah as executive center of County B, which was made out of nine former counties of northern Vermont. Doremus never decided whether this was, as Lorinda Pike asserted, because Shad was in partnership with Banker R. C. Crowley in the profits derived from the purchase of quite useless old dwellings as part of his headquarters, or for the even sounder purpose of showing himself off, in battalion leader’s uniform with the letters “C.C.” beneath the five-pointed star on his collar, to the pals with whom he had once played pool and drunk applejack, and to the “snobs” whose lawns he once had mowed.

Besides the condemned dwellings, Shad took over all of the former Scotland County courthouse and established his private office in the judge’s chambers, merely chucking out the law books and replacing them with piles of magazines devoted to the movies and the detection of crime, hanging up portraits of Windrip, Sarason, Haik, and Reek, installing two deep chairs upholstered in poison-green plush (ordered from the store of the loyal Charley Betts but, to Betts’s fury, charged to the government, to be paid for if and when) and doubling the number of judicial cuspidors.

In the top center drawer of his desk Shad kept a photograph from a nudist camp, a flask of Benedictine, a .44 revolver, and a dog whip.

County commissioners were allowed from one to a dozen assistant commissioners, depending on the population. Doremus Jessup was alarmed when he discovered that Shad had had the shrewdness to choose as assistants men of some education and pretense to manners, with “Professor” Emil Staubmeyer as Assistant County Commissioner in charge of the Township of Beulah, which included the villages of Fort Beulah, West and North Beulah, Beulah Center, Trianon, Hosea, and Keezmet.

As Shad had, without benefit of bayonets, become a captain, so Mr. Staubmeyer (author of Hitler and Other Poems of Passion, unpublished) automatically became a doctor.

Perhaps, thought Doremus, he would understand Windrip & Co. better through seeing them faintly reflected in Shad and Staubmeyer than he would have in the confusing glare of Washington; and understand thus that a Buzz Windrip, a Bismarck, a Caesar, a Pericles was like all the rest of itching, indigesting, aspiring humanity except that each of these heroes had a higher degree of ambition and more willingness to kill.

By June, the enrollment of the Minute Men had increased to 562,000, and the force was now able to accept as new members only such trusty patriots and pugilists as it preferred. The War Department was frankly allowing them not just “expense money” but payment ranging from ten dollars a week for “inspectors” with a few hours of weekly duty in drilling, to $9700 a year for “brigadiers” on full time, and $16,000 for the High Marshal, Lee Sarason . . . fortunately without interfering with the salaries from his other onerous duties.

The M.M. ranks were: inspector, more or less corresponding to private; squad leader, or corporal; cornet, or sergeant; ensign, or lieutenant; battalion leader, a combination of captain, major, and lieutenant colonel; commander, or colonel; brigadier, or general; high marshal, or commanding general. Cynics suggested that these honorable titles derived more from the Salvation Army than the fighting forces, but be that cheap sneer justified or no, the fact remains that an M.M. helot had ever so much more pride in being called an “inspector,” an awing designation in all police circles, than in being a “private.”

Since all members of the National Guard were not only allowed but encouraged to become members of the Minute Men also, since all veterans of the Great War were given special privileges, and since “Colonel” Osceola Luthorne, the Secretary of War, was generous about lending regular army officers to Secretary of State Sarason for use as drill masters in the M.M.’s, there was a surprising proportion of trained men for so newly born an army.

Lee Sarason had proven to President Windrip by statistics from the Great War that college education, and even the study of the horrors of other conflicts, did not weaken the masculinity of the students, but actually made them more patriotic, flag-waving, and skillful in the direction of slaughter than the average youth, and nearly every college in the country was to have, this coming autumn, its own battalion of M.M.’s, with drill counting as credit toward graduation. The collegians were to be schooled as officers. Another splendid source of M.M. officers were the gymnasiums and the classes in Business Administration of the Y.M.C.A.

Most of the rank and file, however, were young farmers, delighted by the chance to go to town and to drive automobiles as fast as they wanted to; young factory employees who preferred uniforms and the authority to kick elderly citizens above overalls and stooping over machines; and rather a large number of former criminals, ex-bootleggers, ex-burglars, ex-labor racketeers, who, for their skill with guns and leather life-preservers, and for their assurances that the majesty of the Five-Pointed Star had completely reformed them, were forgiven their earlier blunders in ethics and were warmly accepted in the MM. Storm Troops. It was said that one of the least of these erring children was the first patriot to name President Windrip “the Chief,” meaning Fiihrer, or Imperial Wizard of the KKK, or II Duce, or Imperial Potentate of the Mystic Shrine, or Commodore, or University Coach, or anything else supremely noble and good-hearted. So, on the glorious anniversary of July 4, 1937, more than five hundred thousand young uniformed vigilantes, scattered in towns from Guam to Bar Harbor, from Point Barrow to Key West, stood at parade rest and sang, like the choiring seraphim:

”Buzz and buzz and hail the Chief,

And his five-pointed sta-ar,

The U.S. ne’er can come to grief

With us prepared for wa-ar.”

Certain critical spirits felt that this version of the chorus of “Buzz and Buzz,” now the official M.M. anthem, showed, in a certain roughness, the lack of Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch’s fastidious hand. But nothing could be done about it. She was said to be in China, organizing chain letters. And even while that uneasiness was over the M.M., upon the very next day came the blow.

Someone on High Marshal Sarason’s staff noticed that the U.S.S.R.’s emblem was not a six-pointed star, but a five-pointed one, even like America’s, so that we were not insulting the Soviets at all.

Consternation was universal. From Sarason’s office came sulphurous rebuke to the unknown idiot who had first made the mistake (generally he was believed to be Lee Sarason) and the command that a new emblem be suggested by every member of the MM. Day and night for three days, M.M. barracks were hectic with telegrams, telephone calls, letters, placards, and thousands of young men sat with pencils and rulers earnestly drawing tens of thousands of substitutes for the five-pointed star: circles in triangles, triangles in circles, pentagons, hexagons, alphas and omegas, eagles, aeroplanes, arrows, bombs bursting in air, bombs bursting in bushes, billy-goats, rhinoceri, and the Yosemite Valley. It was circulated that a young ensign on High Marshal Sarason’s staff had, in agony over the error, committed suicide. Everybody thought that this hara-kiri was a fine idea and showed sensibility on the part of the better M.M.’s; and they went on thinking so even after it proved that the Ensign had merely got drunk at the Buzz Backgammon Club and talked about suicide.

In the end, despite his uncounted competitors, it was the great mystic, Lee Sarason himself, who found the perfect new emblem, a ship’s steering wheel.

It symbolized, he pointed out, not only the Ship of State but also the wheels of American industry, the wheels and the steering wheel of motorcars, the wheel diagram which Father Coughlin had suggested two years before as symbolizing the program of the National Union for Social Justice, and, particularly, the wheel emblem of the Rotary Club.

Sarason’s proclamation also pointed out that it would not be too far-fetched to declare that, with a little drafting treatment, the arms of the Swastika could be seen as unquestionably related to the circle, and how about the KKK. of the Kuklux Klan? Three K’s made a triangle, didn’t they? and everybody knew that a triangle was related to a circle.

So it was that in September, at the demonstrations on Loyalty Day (which replaced Labor Day), the same wideflung seraphim sang:

“Buzz and buzz and hail the Chief,

And th’ mystic steering whee-el,

The U.S. ne’er can come to grief

While we defend its we-ul.”

In mid-August, President Windrip announced that, since all its aims were being accomplished, the League of Forgotten Men (founded by one Rev. Mr. Prang, who was mentioned in the proclamation only as a person in past history) was now terminated. So were all the older parties, Democratic, Republican, Farmer-Labor, or what not. There was to be only one: The American Corporate State and Patriotic Party, no! added the President, with something of his former good humor: “there are two parties, the Corporate and those who don’t belong to any party at all, and so, to use a common phrase, are just out of luck!”

The idea of the Corporate or Corporative State, Secretary Sarason had more or less taken from Italy. All occupations were divided into six classes: agriculture, industry, commerce, transportation and communication, banking and insurance and investment, and a grabbag class including the arts, sciences, and teaching. The American Federation of Labor, the Railway Brotherhoods, and all other labor organizations, along with the Federal Department of Labor, were supplanted by local Syndicates composed of individual workers, above which were Provincial Confederations, all under governmental guidance. Parallel to them in each occupation were Syndicates and Confederations of employers. Finally, the six Confederations of workers and the six Confederations of employers were combined in six joint federal Corporations, which elected the twenty-four members of the National Council of Corporations, which initiated or supervised all legislation relating to labor or business.

There was a permanent chairman of this National Council, with a deciding vote and the power of regulating all debate as he saw fit, but he was not elected, he was appointed by the President; and the first to hold the office (without interfering with his other duties) was Secretary of State Lee Sarason. Just to safeguard the liberties of Labor, this chairman had the right to dismiss any unreasonable member of the National Council.

All strikes and lockouts were forbidden under federal penalties, so that workmen listened to reasonable government representatives and not to unscrupulous agitators.

Windrip’s partisans called themselves the Corporatists, or, familiarly, the “Corpos,” which nickname was generally used.

By ill-natured people the Corpos were called “the Corpses.” But they were not at all corpse-like. That description would more correctly, and increasingly, have applied to their enemies.

Though the Corpos continued to promise a gift of at least $5000 to every family, “as soon as funding of the required bond issue shall be completed,” the actual management of the poor, particularly of the more surly and dissatisfied poor, was undertaken by the Minute Men.

It could now be published to the world, and decidedly it was published, that unemployment had, under the benign reign of President Berzelius Windrip, almost disappeared. Almost all workless men were assembled in enormous labor camps, under M.M. officers. Their wives and children accompanied them and took care of the cooking, cleaning, and repair of clothes. The men did not merely work on state projects; they were also hired out at the reasonable rate of one dollar a day to private employers. Of course, so selfish is human nature even in Utopia, this did cause most employers to discharge the men to whom they had been paying more than a dollar a day, but that took care of itself, because these overpaid malcontents in their turn were forced into the labor camps.

Out of their dollar a day, the workers in the camps had to pay from seventy to ninety cents a day for board and lodging.

There was a certain discontentment among people who had once owned motorcars and bathrooms and eaten meat twice daily, at having to walk ten or twenty miles a day, bathe once a week, along with fifty others, in a long trough, get meat only twice a week, when they got it, and sleep in bunks, a hundred in a room. Yet there was less rebellion than a mere rationalist like Walt Trowbridge, Windrip’s ludicrously defeated rival, would have expected, for every evening the loudspeaker brought to the workers the precious voices of Windrip and Sarason, Vice-President Beecroft, Secretary of War Luthorne, Secretary of Education and Propaganda Macgoblin, General Coon, or some other genius, and these Olympians, talking to the dirtiest and tiredest mudsills as warm friend to friend, told them that they were the honored foundation stones of a New Civilization, the advance guards of the conquest of the whole world.

They took it, too, like Napoleon’s soldiers. And they had the Jews and the Negroes to look down on, more and more. The M.M.’s saw to that. Every man is a king so long as he has someone to look down on.

Each week the government said less about the findings of the board of inquiry which was to decide how the $5000 per person could be wangled. It became easier to answer malcontents with a cuff from a Minute Man than by repetitious statements from Washington.

But most of the planks in Windrip’s platform really were carried out, according to a sane interpretation of them. For example, inflation.

In America of this period, inflation did not even compare with the German inflation of the 1920’s, but it was sufficient. The wage in the labor camps had to be raised from a dollar a day to three, with which the workers were receiving an equivalent of sixty cents a day in 1914 values. Everybody delightfully profited, except the very poor, the common workmen, the skilled workmen, the small business men, the professional men, and old couples living on annuities or their savings, these last did really suffer a little, as their incomes were cut in three. The workers, with apparently tripled wages, saw the cost of everything in the shops much more than triple.

Agriculture, which was most of all to have profited from inflation, on the theory that the mercurial crop-prices would rise faster than anything else, actually suffered the most of all, because, after a first flurry of foreign buying, importers of American products found it impossible to deal in so skittish a market, and American food exports, such of them as were left, ceased completely.

It was Big Business, that ancient dragon which Bishop Prang and Senator Windrip had gone forth to slay, that had the interesting time.

With the value of the dollar changing daily, the elaborate systems of cost-marking and credit of Big Business were so confused that presidents and sales-managers sat in their offices after midnight, with wet towels. But they got some comfort, because with the depreciated dollar they were able to recall all bonded indebtedness and, paying it off at the old face values, get rid of it at thirty cents on the hundred. With this, and the currency so wavering that employees did not know just what they ought to get in wages, and labor unions eliminated, the larger industrialists came through the inflation with perhaps double the wealth, in real values, that they had had in 1936.

And two other planks in Windrip’s encyclical vigorously respected were those eliminating the Negroes and patronizing the Jews.

The former race took it the less agreeably. There were horrible instances in which whole Southern counties with a majority of Negro population were overrun by the blacks and all property seized. True, their leaders alleged that this followed massacres of Negroes by Minute Men. But as Dr. Macgoblin, Secretary of Culture, so well said, this whole subject was unpleasant and therefore not helpful to discuss.

All over the country, the true spirit of Windrip’s Plank Nine, regarding the Jews, was faithfully carried out. It was understood that the Jews were no longer to be barred from fashionable hotels, as in the hideous earlier day of race prejudice, but merely to be charged double rates. It was understood that Jews were never to be discouraged from trading but were merely to pay higher graft to commissioners and inspectors and to accept without debate all regulations, wage rates, and price lists decided upon by the stainless Anglo-Saxons of the various merchants’ associations. And that all Jews of all conditions were frequently to sound their ecstasy in having found in America a sanctuary, after their deplorable experiences among the prejudices of Europe.

In Fort Beulah, Louis Rotenstern, since he had always been the first to stand up for the older official national anthems, “The Star-Spangled Banner” or “Dixie,” and now for “Buzz and Buzz,” since he had of old been considered almost an authentic friend by Francis Tasbrough and R. C. Crowley, and since he had often good-naturedly pressed the unrecognized Shad Ledue’s Sunday pants without charge, was permitted to retain his tailor shop, though it was understood that he was to charge members of the MM. prices that were only nominal, or quarter nominal.

But one Harry Kindermann, a Jew who had profiteered enough as agent for maple-sugar and dairy machinery so that in 1936 he had been paying the last installment on his new bungalow and on his Buick, had always been what Shad Ledue called “a fresh Kike.” He had laughed at the flag, the Church, and even Rotary. Now he found the manufacturers canceling his agencies, without explanation.

By the middle of 1937 he was selling frankfurters by the road, and his wife, who had been so proud of the piano and the old American pine cupboard in their bungalow, was dead, from pneumonia caught in the one-room tarpaper shack into which they had moved.

At the time of Windrip’s election, there had been more than 80,000 relief administrators employed by the federal and local governments in America. With the labor camps absorbing most people on relief, this army of social workers, both amateurs and long-trained professional uplifters, was stranded.

The Minute Men controlling the labor camps were generous: they offered the charitarians the same dollar a day that the proletarians received, with special low rates for board and lodging. But the cleverer social workers received a much better offer: to help list every family and every unmarried person in the country, with his or her finances, professional ability, military training and, most important and most tactfully to be ascertained, his or her secret opinion of the M.M.’s and of the Corpos in general.

A good many of the social workers indignantly said that this was asking them to be spies, stool pigeons for the American Oh Gay Pay Oo. These were, on various unimportant charges, sent to jail or, later, to concentration camps, which were also jails, but the private jails of the M.M.’s, unshackled by any old-fashioned, nonsensical prison regulations.

In the confusion of the summer and early autumn of 1937, local M.M. officers had a splendid time making their own laws, and such congenital traitors and bellyachers as Jewish doctors, Jewish musicians, Negro journalists, socialistic college professors, young men who preferred reading or chemical research to manly service with the M.M.’s, women who complained when their men had been taken away by the M.M.’s and had disappeared, were increasingly beaten in the streets, or arrested on charges that would not have been very familiar to pre-Corpo jurists.

And, increasingly, the bourgeois counter revolutionists began to escape to Canada; just as once, by the “underground railroad” the Negro slaves had escaped into that free Northern air.

In Canada, as well as in Mexico, Bermuda, Jamaica, Cuba, and Europe, these lying Red propagandists began to publish the vilest little magazines, accusing the Corpos of murderous terrorism, allegations that a band of six M.M.’s had beaten an aged rabbi and robbed him; that the editor of a small labor paper in Paterson had been tied to his printing press and left there while the M.M.’s burned the plant; that the pretty daughter of an ex-Farmer-Labor politician in Iowa had been raped by giggling young men in masks.

To end this cowardly flight of the lying counter revolutionists (many of whom, once accepted as reputable preachers and lawyers and doctors and writers and excongressmen and ex-army officers, were able to give a wickedly false impression of Corpoism and the M.M.’s to the world outside America) the government quadrupled the guards who were halting suspects at every harbor and at even the minutest trails crossing the border; and in one quick raid, it poured M.M. storm troopers into all airports, private or public, and all aeroplane factories, and thus, they hoped, closed the air lanes to skulking traitors.

As one of the most poisonous counter revolutionists in the country, Ex-Senator Walt Trowbridge, Windrip’s rival in the election of 1936, was watched night and day by a rotation of twelve M.M. guards. But there seemed to be small danger that this opponent, who, after all, was a crank but not an intransigent maniac, would make himself ridiculous by fighting against the great Power which (per Bishop Prang) Heaven had been pleased to send for the healing of distressed America.

Trowbridge remained prosaically on a ranch he owned in South Dakota, and the government agent commanding the M.M.‘s (a skilled man, trained in breaking strikes) reported that on his tapped telephone wire and in his steamed-open letters, Trowbridge communicated nothing more seditious than reports on growing alfalfa. He had with him no one but ranch hands and, in the house, an innocent aged couple.

Washington hoped that Trowbridge was beginning to see the light. Maybe they would make him Ambassador to Britain, vice Sinclair.

On the Fourth of July, when the M.M’s gave their glorious but unfortunate tribute to the Chief and the Fivepointed Star, Trowbridge gratified his cow-punchers by holding an unusually pyrotechnic celebration. All evening skyrockets flared up, and round the home pasture glowed pots of Roman fire. Far from cold-shouldering the MM. guards, Trowbridge warmly invited them to help set off rockets and join the gang in beer and sausages. The lonely soldier boys off there on the Prairie, they were so happy shooting rockets!

An aeroplane with a Canadian license, a large plane, flying without lights, sped toward the rocket-lighted area and, with engine shut off, so that the guards could not tell whether it had flown on, circled the pasture outlined by the Roman fire and swiftly landed.

The guards had felt sleepy after the last bottle of beer. Three of them were napping on the short, rough grass.

They were rather disconcertingly surrounded by men in masking flying-helmets, men carrying automatic pistols, who handcuffed the guards that were still awake, picked up the others, and stored all twelve of them in the barred baggage compartment of the plane.

The raiders’ leader, a military-looking man, said to Walt Trowbridge, “Ready, sir?”

“Yep. Just take those four boxes, will you, please, Colonel?”

The boxes contained photostats of letters and documents.

Unregally clad in overalls and a huge straw hat, Senator Trowbridge entered the pilots’ compartment. High and swift and alone, the plane flew toward the premature Northern Lights.

Next morning, still in overalls, Trowbridge breakfasted at the Fort Garry Hotel with the Mayor of Winnipeg.

A fortnight later, in Toronto, he began the republication of his weekly, A Lance for Democracy, and on the cover of the first number were reproductions of four letters indicating that before he became President, Berzelius Windrip had profited through personal gifts from financiers to an amount of over $1,000,000. To Doremus Jessup, to some thousands of Doremus Jessups, were smuggled copies of the Lance, though possession of it was punishable (perhaps not legally, but certainly effectively) by death.

But it was not till the winter, so carefully did his secret agents have to work in America, that Trowbridge had in full operation the organization called by its operatives the “New Underground,” the “N.U.,” which aided thousands of counter revolutionists to escape into Canada.

-18-

“In the little towns, ah, there is the abiding peace that I love, and that can never be disturbed by even the noisiest Smart Alecks from these haughty megalopolises like Washington, New York, & etc.”

Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

Doremus’s policy of “wait and see,” like most Fabian policies, had grown shaky. It seemed particularly shaky in June, 1937, when he drove to North Beulah for the fortieth graduation anniversary of his class in Isaiah College.

As the custom was, the returned alumni wore comic costumes. His class had sailor suits, but they walked about, bald-headed and lugubrious, in these well-meant garments of joy, and there was a look of instability even in the eyes of the three members who were ardent Corpos (being local Corpo commissioners).

After the first hour Doremus saw little of his classmates. He had looked up his familiar correspondent, Victor Loveland, teacher in the classical department who, a year ago, had informed him of President Owen J. Peaseley’s ban on criticism of military training.

At its best, Loveland’s jerry-built imitation of an Anne Hathaway cottage had been no Palace, Isaiah assistant professors did not customarily rent palaces. Now, with the pretentiously smart living room heaped with burlapcovered chairs and rolled rugs and boxes of books, it looked like a junkshop. Amid the wreckage sat Loveland, his wife, his three children, and one Dr. Arnold King, experimenter in chemistry.

“What’s all this?” said Doremus.

“I’ve been fired. As too ‘radical,”’ growled Loveland. “Yes! And his most vicious attack has been on Glicknow’s treatment of the use of the aorist in Hesiod!” wailed his wife.

“Well, I deserve it, for not having been vicious about anything since AD. 300! Only thing I’m ashamed of is that they’re not firing me for having taught my students that the Corpos have taken most of their ideas from Tiberius, or maybe for having decently tried to assassinate District Commissioner Reek!” said Loveland.

“Where you going?” inquired Doremus.

“That’s just it! We don’t know! Oh, first to my dad’s house, which is a six-room packing-box in Burlington, Dad’s got diabetes. But teaching, President Peaseley kept putting off signing my new contract and just informed me ten days ago that I’m through, much too late to get a job for next year. Myself, I don’t care a damn! Really I don’t! I’m glad to have been made to admit that as a college prof I haven’t been, as I so liked to convince myself, any Erasmus Junior, inspiring noble young souls to dream of chaste classic beauty, save the mark!, but just a plain hired man, another counter-jumper in the Marked-down Classics Goods Department, with students for bored customers, and as subject to being hired and fired as any janitor. Do you remember that in Imperial Rome, the teachers, even the tutors of the nobility, were slaves, allowed a lot of leeway, I suppose, in their theories about the anthropology of Crete, but just as likely to be strangled as the other slaves! I’m not kicking-”

Dr. King, the chemist, interrupted with a whoop: “Sure you’re kicking! Why the hell not? With three kids? Why not kick! Now me, I’m lucky! I’m half Jew, one of these sneaking, cunning Jews that Buzz Windrip and his boyfriend Hitler tell you about; so cunning I suspected what was going on months ago and so, I’ve also just been fired, Mr. Jessup, I arranged for a job with the Universal Electric Corporation. . . .They don’t mind Jews there, as long as they sing at their work and find boondoggles worth a million a year to the company, at thirty five hundred a year salary! A fond farewell to all my grubby studes! Though-“ and Doremus thought he was, at heart, sadder than Loveland-“I do kind of hate to give up my research. Oh, hell with ‘em!”

The version of Owen J. Peaseley, M.A. (Oberlin), LL.D. (Conn. State), president of Isaiah College, was quite different. “Why no, Mr. Jessup! We believe absolutely in freedom of speech and thought, here at old Isaiah. The fact is that we are letting Loveland go only because the Classics Department is overstaffed, so little demand for Greek and Sanskrit and so on, you know, with all this modern interest in quantitative bio-physics and aeroplane-repairing and so on. But as to Dr. King, um, I’m afraid we did a little feel that he was riding for a fall, boasting about being a Jew and all, you know, and, But can’t we talk of pleasanter subjects? You have probably learned that Secretary of Culture Macgoblin has now completed his plan for the appointment of a director of education in each province and district?, and that Professor Almeric Trout of Aumbry University is slated for Director in our Northeastern Province? Well, I have something very gratifying to add. Dr. Trout, and what a profound scholar, what an eloquent orator he is, did you know that in Teutonic ‘Almeric’ means ‘noble prince’?, and he’s been so kind as to designate me as Director of Education for the Vermont, New Hampshire District! Isn’t that thrilling! I wanted you to be one of the first to hear it, Mr. Jessup, because of course one of the chief jobs of the Director will be to work with and through the newspaper editors in the great task of spreading correct Corporate ideals and combating false theories, yes, oh yes.”

It seemed as though a large number of people were zealous to work with and through the editors these days, thought Doremus.

He noticed that President Peaseley resembled a dummy made of faded gray flannel of a quality intended for petticoats in an orphan asylum.

The Minute Men’s organization was less favored in the staid villages than in the industrial centers, but all through the summer it was known that a company of M.M.’s had been formed in Fort Beulah and were drilling in the Armory under National Guard officers and County Commissioner Ledue, who was seen sitting up nights in his luxurious new room in Mrs. lngot’s boarding-house, reading a manual of arms. But Doremus declined to go look at them, and when his rustic but ambitious reporter, “Doc” (otherwise Otis) Itchitt, came in throbbing about the M.M.’s and wanted to run an illustrated account in the Saturday Informer, Doremus sniffed.

It was not till their first public parade, in August, that Doremus saw them, and not gladly.

The whole countryside had turned out; he could hear them laughing and shuffling beneath his office window; but he stubbornly stuck to editing an article on fertilizers for cherry orchards. (And he loved parades, childishly!) Not even the sound of a band pounding out “Boola, Boola” drew him to the window. Then he was plucked up by Dan Wilgus, the veteran job compositor and head of the Informer chapel, a man tall as a house and possessed of such a sweeping black mustache as had not otherwise been seen since the passing of the oId-time bartender. “You got to take a look, Boss; great show!” implored Dan.

Through the Chester-Arthur, red-brick prissiness of President Street, Doremus saw marching a surprisingly well drilled company of young men in the uniforms of Civil War cavalrymen, and just as they were opposite the Informer office, the town band rollicked into “Marching through Georgia.” The young men smiled, they stepped more quickly, and held up their banner with the steering wheel and MM. upon it.

When he was ten, Doremus had seen in this self-same street a Memorial Day parade of the GAR. The veterans were an average of under fifty then, and some of them only thirty-five; they had swung ahead lightly and gayly, and to the tune of “Marching through Georgia.” So now in 1937 he was looking down again on the veterans of Gettysburg and Missionary Ridge. Oh, he could see them all, Uncle Tom Veeder, who had made him the willow whistles; old Mr. Crowley with his cornflower eyes; Jack Greenhill who played leapfrog with the kids and who was to die in Ethan Creek, they found him with thick hair dripping. Doremus thrilled to the MM. flags, the music, the valiant young men, even while he hated all they marched for, and hated the Shad Ledue whom he incredulously recognized in the brawny horseman at the head of the procession.

He understood now why the young men marched to war. But “Oh yeah, you think so!” he could hear Shad sneering through the music.

The unwieldy humor characteristic of American politicians persisted even through the eruption. Doremus read about and sardonically “played up” in the Informera minstrel show given at the National Convention of Boosters’ Clubs at Atlantic City, late in August. As end-men and interlocutor appeared no less distinguished persons than Secretary of the Treasury Webster R. Skittle, Secretary of War Luthorne, and Secretary of Education and Public Relations, Dr. Macgoblin. It was good, old-time Elks Club humor, uncorroded by any of the notions of dignity and of international obligations which, despite his great services, that queer stick Lee Sarason was suspected of trying to introduce. Why (marveled the Boosters) the Big Boys were so democratic that they even kidded themselves and the Corpos, that’s how unassuming they were!

“Who was this lady I seen you going down the street with?” demanded the plump Mr. Secretary Skittle (disguised as a colored wench in polka-dotted cotton) of Mr. Secretary Luthorne (in black-face and large red gloves). “That wasn’t no lady, that was Walt Trowbridge’s paper.” “Ah don’t think Ah cognosticates youse, Mist’ Bones.” “Why, you know’ A Nance for Plutocracy.”‘

Clean fun, not too confusingly subtle, drawing the people (several millions listened on the radio to the Boosters’ Club show) closer to their great-hearted masters.

But the high point of the show was Dr. Macgoblin’s daring to tease his own faction by singing:

“Buzz and booze and biz, whatfun! This job gets drearier and dreurier, When I get out of Washington, I’m going to Siberia!”

It seemed to Doremus that he was hearing a great deal about the Secretary of Education. Then, in late September, he heard something not quite pleasant about Dr. Macgoblin. The story, as he got it, ran thus:

Hector Macgoblin, that great surgeon-boxer-poet-sailor, had always contrived to have plenty of enemies, but after the beginning of his investigation of schools, to purge them of any teachers he did not happen to like, he made so unusually many that he was accompanied by bodyguards. At this time in September, he was in New York, finding quantities of “subversive elements” in Columbia University, against the protests of President Nicholas Murray Butler, who insisted that he had already cleaned out all willful and dangerous thinkers, especially the pacifists in the medical school, and Macgoblin’s bodyguards were two former instructors in philosophy who in their respective universities had been admired even by their deans for everything except the fact that they would get drunk and quarrelsome. One of them, in that state, always took off one shoe and hit people over the head with the heel, if they argued in defense of Jung.

With these two in uniforms as MM. battalion leaders, his own was that of a brigadier, after a day usefully spent in kicking out of Columbia all teachers who had voted for Trowbridge, Dr. Macgoblin started off with his brace of bodyguards to try out a wager that he could take a drink at every bar on Fifty-second Street and still not pass out.

He had done well when, at ten-thirty, being then affectionate and philanthropic, he decided that it would be a splendid idea to telephone his revered former teacher in Leland Stanford, the biologist Dr. Willy Schmidt, once of Vienna, now in Rockefeller Institute. Macgoblin was indignant when someone at Dr. Schmidt’s apartment informed him that the doctor was out. Furiously: “Out? Out? What d’you mean he’s out? Old goat like that got no right to be out! At midnight! Where is he? This is the Police Department speaking! Where is he?”

Dr. Schmidt was spending the evening with that gentle scholar, Rabbi Dr. Vincent de Verez.

Macgoblin and his learned gorillas went to call on De Verez. On the way nothing of note happened except that when Macgoblin discussed the fare with the taxidriver, he felt impelled to knock him out. The three, and they were in the happiest, most boyish of spirits, burst joyfully into Dr. de Verez’s primeval house in the Sixties. The entrance hall was shabby enough, with a humble show of the good rabbi’s umbrellas and storm rubbers, and had the invaders seen the bedrooms they would have found them Trappist cells. But the long living room, front and back-parlor thrown together, was half museum, half lounge. Just because he himself liked such things and resented a stranger’s possessing them, Macgoblin looked sniffily at a Beluchi prayer rug, a Jacobean court cupboard, a small case of incunabula and of Arabic manuscripts in silver upon scarlet parchment.

“Swell joint! Hello, Doc! How’s the Dutchman? How’s the antibody research going? These are Doc Nemo and Doc, uh, Doc Whoozis, the famous glue lifters. Great frenzh mine. Introduce us to your Jew friend.”

Now it is more than possible that Rabbi de Verez had never heard of Secretary of Education Macgoblin.

The houseman who had let in the intruders and who nervously hovered at the living-room door, he is the sole authority for most of the story, said that Macgoblin staggered, slid on a rug, almost fell, then giggled foolishly as he sat down, waving his plug-ugly friends to chairs and demanding, “Hey, Rabbi, how about some whisky? Lil Scotch and soda. I know you Geonim never lap up anything but snow-cooled nectar handed out by a maiden with a dulcimer, singing of Mount Abora, or maybe just a little shot of Christian children’s sacrificial blood, ha, ha, just ajoke, Rabbi; I know these ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ are all the bunk, but awful handy in propaganda, just the same and, But I mean, for plain Goyim like us, a little real hootch! Hear me?”

Dr. Schmidt started to protest. The Rabbi, who had been carding his white beard, silenced him and, with a wave of his fragile old hand, signaled the waiting houseman, who reluctantly brought in whisky and siphons.

The three coordinators of culture almost filled their glasses before they poured in the soda.

“Look here, De Verez, why don’t you kikes take a tumble to yourselves and get out, beat it, exeunt bearing corpses, and start a real Zion, say in South America?” The Rabbi looked bewildered at the attack. Dr. Schmidt snorted, “Dr. Macgoblin, once a promising pupil of mine, is Secretary of Education and a lot of tings, I don’t know vot!, at Washington. Corpo!”

“Oh!” The Rabbi sighed. “I have heard of that cult, but my people have learned to ignore persecution. We have been so impudent as to adopt the tactics of your Early Christian Martyrs! Even if we were invited to your Corporate feast, which, I understand, we most warmly are not!, I am afraid we should not be able to attend. You see, we believe in only one Dictator, God, and I am afraid we cannot see Mr. Windrip as a rival to Jehovah!”

“Aah, that’s all baloney!” murmured one of the learned gunmen, and Macgoblin shouted, “Oh, can the two-dollar words! There’s just one thing where we agree with the dirty, Kike-loving Communists, that’s in chucking the whole bunch of divinities, Jehovah and all the rest of ‘em, that’ve been on relief so long!”

The Rabbi was unable even to answer, but little Dr. Schmidt (he had a doughnut mustache, a beer belly, and black button boots with soles haIf-an-inch thick) said, “Macgoblin, I suppose I may talk frank wit’ an old student, there not being any reporters or loutspeakers arount. Do you know why you are drinking like a pig? Because you are ashamt! Ashamt that you, once a promising researcher, should have solt out to freebooters with brains like decayed liver and-”

“That’ll do from you, Prof!”

“Say, we oughtta tie those seditious sons of hounds up and beat the daylight out of ‘em!” whimpered one of the watchdogs.

Macgoblin shrieked, “You highbrows, you stinking intellectuals! You, you Kike, with your lush, luzurious library, while Common People been starving, would be now if the Chief hadn’t saved ‘em! Your c’lection books, stolen from the pennies of your poor, dumb, foot-kissing congregation of pushcart peddlers!”

The Rabbi sat bespelled, fingering his beard, but Dr. Schmidt leaped up, crying, “You three scoundrels were not invited here! You pushed your way in! Get out! Go! Get out!”

One of the accompanying dogs demanded of Macgoblin, “Going to stand for these two Yiddles insulting us, insulting the whole by God Corpo state and the MM. uniform? Kill ‘em!”

Now, to his already abundant priming, Macgoblin had added two huge whiskies since he had come. He yanked out his automatic pistol, fired twice. Dr. Schmidt toppled. Rabbi De Verez slid down in his chair, his temple throbbing out blood. The houseman trembled at the door, and one of the guards shot at him, then chased him down the street, firing, and whooping with the humor of the joke. This learned guard was killed instantly, at a street crossing, by a traffic policeman.

Macgoblin and the other guard were arrested and brought before the Commissioner of the Metropolitan District, the great Corpo Viceroy, whose power was that of three or four state governors put together.

Dr. de Verez, though he was not yet dead, was too sunken to testify. But the Commissioner thought that in a case so closely touching the federal government, it would not be seemly to postpone the trial.

Against the terrified evidence of the Rabbi’s Russian Polish houseman were the earnest (and by now sober) accounts of the federal Secretary of Education, and of his surviving aide, formerly Assistant Professor of Philosophy in Pelouse University. It was proven that not only De Verez but also Dr. Schmidt was a Jew, which, incidentally, he 100 per cent was not. It was almost proven that this sinister pair had been coaxing innocent Corpos into De Verez’s house and performing upon them what a scared little Jewish stool pigeon called “ritual murders.” Macgoblin and friend were acquitted on grounds of selfdefense and handsomely complimented by the Commissioner, and later in telegrams from President Windrip and Secretary of State Sarason, for having defended the Commonwealth against human vampires and one of the most horrifying plots known in history.

The policeman who had shot the other guard wasn’t, so scrupulous was Corpo justice, heavily punished, merely sent out to a dreary beat in the Bronx. So everybody was happy.

But Doremus Jessup, on receiving a letter from a New York reporter who had talked privately with the surviving guard, was not so happy. He was not in a very gracious temper, anyway. County Commissioner Shad Ledue, on grounds of humanitarianism, had made him discharge his delivery boys and employ M.M.’s to distribute (or cheerfully chuck into the river) the Informer.

“Last straw, plenty last,” he raged.

He had read about Rabbi de Verez and seen pictures of him. He had once heard Dr. Willy Schmidt speak, when the State Medical Association had met at Fort Beulah, and afterward had sat near him at dinner. If they were murderous Jews, then he was a murderous Jew too, he swore, and it was time to do something for His Own People.

That evening, it was late in September, 1937, he did not go home to dinner at all but, with a paper container of coffee and a slab of pie untouched before him, he stooped at his desk in the Informer office, writing an editorial which, when he had finished it, he marked: “Must. 12-pt bold face-box top front p.”

The beginning of the editorial, to appear the following morning was:

“Believing that the inefficiency and crimes of the Corpo administration were due to the difficulties attending a new form of government, we have waited patiently for their end. We apologize to our readers for that patience.

It is easy to see now, in the revolting crime of a drunken cabinet member against two innocent and valuable old men like Dr. Schmidt and the Rev. Dr. de Verez, that we may expect nothing but murderous extirpation of all honest opponents of the tyranny of Windrip and his Corpo gang.

Not that all of them are as vicious as Macgoblin. Some are merely incompetent, like our friends Ledue, Reek, and Haik. But their ludicrous incapability permits the homicidal cruelty of their chieftains to go on without check.

Buzzard Windrip, the ”Chief,” and his pirate gang . . .”

A smallish, neat, gray-bearded man, furiously rattling an aged typewriter, typing with his two forefingers.

Dan Wilgus, head of the composing room, looked and barked like an old sergeant and, like an old sergeant, was only theoretically meek to his superior officer. He was shaking when he brought in this copy and, almost rubbing Doremus’s nose in it, protested, “Say, boss, you don’t honest t’ God think we’re going to set this up, do you?”

“I certainly do!”

“Well, I don’t! Rattlesnake poison! It’s all right your getting thrown in the hoosegow and probably shot at dawn, if you like that kind of sport, but we’ve held a meeting of the chapel, and we all say, damned if we’ll risk our necks too!”

“All right, you yellow pup! All right, Dan, I’ll set it myself!”

“Aw, don’t! Gosh, I don’t want to have to go to your funeral after the M.M.’s get through with you, and say, ‘Don’t he look unnatural!’“

“After working for me for twenty years, Dan! Traitor!”

“Look here! I’m no Enoch Arden or, oh, what the hell was his name?, Ethan Frome or Benedict Arnold or whatever it was!, and more ‘n once I’ve licked some galoot that was standing around a saloon telling the world you were the lousiest highbrow editor in Vermont, and at that, I guess maybe he was telling the truth, but same time-“ Dan’s effort to be humorous and coaxing broke, and he wailed, “God, boss, please don’t!”

“I know, Dan. Prob’ly our friend Shad Ledue will be annoyed. But I can’t go on standing things like slaughtering old De Verez any more and, Here! Gimme that copy!”

While compositors, pressmen, and the young devil stood alternately fretting and snickering at his clumsiness, Doremus ranged up before a type case, in his left hand the first composing-stick he had held in ten years, and looked doubtfully at the case. It was like a labyrinth to him. “Forgot how it’s arranged. Can’t find anything except the e-box!” he complained.

“Hell! I’ll do it! All you pussyfooters get the hell out of this! You don’t know one doggone thing about who set this up!” Dan Wilgus roared, and the other printers vanished!, as far as the toilet door.

In the editorial office, Doremus showed proofs of his indiscretion to Doc Itchitt, that enterprising though awkward reporter, and to Julian Falck, who was off now to Amherst but who had been working for the Informer all summer, combining unprintable articles on Adam Smith with extremely printable accounts of golf and dances at the country club.

“Gee, I hope you will have the nerve to go on and print it, and same time, I hope you don’t! They’ll get you!” worried Julian.

“Naw! Gwen and print it! They won’t dare to do a thing! They may get funny in New York and Washington, but you’re too strong in the Beulah Valley for Ledue and Staubmeyer to dare lift a hand!” brayed Doc Itchitt, while Doremus considered, “I wonder if this smart young journalistic Judas wouldn’t like to see me in trouble and get hold of the Informer and turn it Corpo?”

He did not stay at the office till the paper with his editorial had gone to press. He went home early, and showed the proof to Emma and Sissy. While they were reading it, with yelps of disapproval, Julian Falck slipped in.

Emma protested, “Oh, you can’t, you mustn’t do it! What will become of us all? Honestly, Dormouse, I’m not scared for myself, but what would I do if they beat you or put you in prison or something? It would just break my heart to think of you in a cell! And without any clean underclothesl It isn’t too late to stop it, is it?”

“No. As a matter of fact the paper doesn’t go to bed till eleven. . . . Sissy, what do you think?”

“I don’t know what to think! Oh damn!”

“Why Sissy,” from Emma, quite mechanically.

“It used to be, you did what was right and got a nice stick of candy for it,” said Sissy. “Now, it seems as if whatever’s right is wrong. Julian-funny-face-what do you think of Pop’s kicking Shad in his sweet hairy ears?” “Why, Sis-”

Julian blurted, “I think it’d be fierce if somebody didn’t try to stop these fellows. I wish I could do it. But how could I?”

“You’ve probably answered the whole business,” said Doremus. “If a man is going to assume the right to tell several thousand readers what’s what, most agreeable, hitherto, he’s got a kind of you might say priestly obligation to tell the truth. ‘O cursed spite.’ Well! I think I’ll drop into the office again. Home about midnight. Don’t sit up, anybody, and Sissy, and you, Julian, that particularly goes for you two night prowlers! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, and in Vermont, that means going to bed.”

“And alone!” murmured Sissy.

“ Why Cecilia Jessup! ”

As Doremus trotted out, Foolish, who had sat adoring him, jumped up, hoping for a run.

Somehow, more than all of Emma’s imploring, the dog’s familiar devotion made Doremus feel what it might be to go to prison.

He had lied. He did not return to the office. He drove up the valley to the Tavern and to Lorinda Pike.

But on the way he stopped in at the home of his son-in-law, bustling young Dr. Fowler Greenhill; not to show him the proof but to have, perhaps in prison?, another memory of the domestic life in which he had been rich. He stepped quietly into the front hall of the Greenhill house, a jaunty imitation of Mount Vernon; very prosperous and secure, gay with the brass-knobbed walnut furniture and painted Russian boxes which Mary Greenhill affected. Doremus could hear David (but surely it was past his bedtime?, what time did nine-year-old kids go to bed these degenerate days?) excitedly chattering with his father, and his father’s partner, old Dr. Marcus Olmsted, who was almost retired but who kept up the obstetrics and eye-and-ear work for the firm.

Doremus peeped into the living room, with its bright curtains of yellow linen. David’s mother was writing letters, a crisp, fashionable figure at a maple desk complete with yellow quill pen, engraved notepaper, and silver-backed blotter. Fowler and David were lounging on the two wide arms of Dr. Olmsted’s chair. “So you don’t think you’ll be a doctor, like your dad and me?” Dr. Olmsted was quizzing.

David’s soft hair fluttered as he bobbed his head in the agitation of being taken seriously by grown-ups. “Oh-oh-oh yes, I would like to. Oh, I think it’d be slick to be a doctor. But I want to be a newspaper, like Granddad. That’d be a wow! You said it!”

(“David! Where you ever pick up such language!”)

“You see, Uncle, Doctor, a doctor, oh gee, he has to stay up all night, but an editor, he just sits in his office and takes it easy and never has to worry about nothing!” That moment, Fowler Greenhill saw his father-in-law making monkey faces at him from the door and admonished David, “Now, not always! Editors have to work pretty hard sometimes, just think of when there’s train wrecks and floods and everything! I’ll tell you. Did you know I have magic power?”

“What’s ‘magic power,’ Daddy?”

“I’ll show you. I’ll summon your granddad here from misty deeps-” (“But will he come?” grunted Dr. Olmsted.) “-and have him tell you all the troubles an editor has. Just make him come flying through the air!” “Aw, gee, you couldn’t do that, Dad!” “Oh, can’t I!” Fowler stood solemnly, the overhead lights making soft his harsh red hair, and he windmilled his arms, hooting, “Presto-vesto-adsit-Granddad Jessup-voilél”

And there, coming through the doorway, sure enough was Granddad Jessup!

Doremus remained only ten minutes, saying to himself, “Anyway, nothing bad can happen here, in this solid household.” When Fowler saw him to the door, Doremus sighed to him, “Wish Davy were right, just had to sit in the office and not worry. But I suppose some day I’ll have a run-in with the Corpos.”

“I hope not. Nasty bunch. What do you think, Dad? That swine Shad Ledue told me yesterday they wanted me to join the M.M.’s as medical officer. Fat chance! I told him so.”

“Watch out for Shad, Fowler. He’s vindictive. Made us rewire our whole building.”

“I’m not scared of Captain General Ledue or fifty like him! Hope he calls me in for a bellyache some day! I’ll give him a good sedative, potassium of cyanide. Maybe I’ll some day have the pleasure of seeing that gent in his coffin. That’s the advantage the doctor has, you know! G’-night, Dad! Sleep tight!”

A good many tourists were still coming up from New York to view the colored autumn of Vermont, and when Doremus arrived at the Beulah Valley Tavern he had irritably to wait while Lorinda dug out extra towels and looked up tram schedules and was polite to old ladies who complained that there was too much, or not enough, sound from the Beulah River Falls at night. He could not talk to her apart until after ten. There was, meanwhile, a curious exalted luxury in watching each lost minute threaten him with the approach of the final press time, as he sat in the tea room, imperturbably scratching through the leaves of the latest Fortune.

Lorinda led him, at ten-fifteen, into her little office, just a roll-top desk, a desk chair, one straight chair, and a table piled with heaps of defunct hotel magazines. It was spinsterishly neat yet smelled still of the cigar smoke and old letter files of proprietors long since gone.

“Let’s hurry, Dor. I’m having a little dust-up with that snipe Nipper.” She plumped down at the desk.

“Linda, read this proof. For tomorrow’s paper. . . . No. Wait. Stand up.”

“Eh?”

He himself took the desk chair and pulled her down on his knees. “Oh, you!” she snorted, but she nuzzled her cheek against his shoulder and murmured contentedly. “Read this, Linda. For tomorrow’s paper. I think I’m going to publish it, all right, got to decide finally before eleven, but ought I to? l was sure when I left the office, but Emma was scared-”

“Oh, Emma! Sit still. Let me see it.” She read quickly. She always did. At the end she said emotionlessly, “Yes. You must run it. Doremus! They’ve actually come to us here the Corpos, it’s like reading about typhus in China and suddenly finding it in your own house!”

She rubbed his shoulder with her cheek again, and raged, “Think of it! That Shad Ledue, and I taught him for a year in district school, though I was only two years older than he was, and what a nasty bully he was, too! He came to me a few days ago, and he had the nerve to propose that if I would give lower rates to the M.M.’s, he sort of hinted it would be nice of me to serve M.M. officers free, they would close their eyes to my selling liquor here, without a license or anything! Why, he had the inconceivable nerve to tell me, and condescendingly! my dear, that he and his fine friends would be willing to hang out here a lot! Even Staubmeyer, oh, our ‘professor’ is blossoming out as quite a sporting character! And when I chased Ledue out, with a flea in his ear, well, just this morning I got a notice that I have to appear in the county court tomorrow, some complaint from my endearing partner, Mr. Nipper, seems he isn’t satisfied with the division of our work here, and honestly, my darling, he never does one blame thing but sit around and bore my best customers to death by telling what a swell hotel he used to have in Florida. And Nipper has taken his things out of here and moved into town. I’m afraid I’ll have an unpleasant time, trying to keep from telling him what I think of him, in court.”

“Good Lord! Look, sweet, have you got a lawyer for it?”

“Lawyer? Heavens no! Just a misunderstanding, on little Nipper’s part.”

“You’d better. The Corpos are using the courts for all sorts of graft and for accusations of sedition. Get Mungo Kitterick, my lawyer.”

“He’s dumb. Ice water in his veins.”

“I know, but he’s a tidier-up, like so many lawyers. Likes to see everything all neat in pigeonholes. He may not care a damn for justice, but he’ll be awfully pained by any irregularities. Please get him, Lindy, because they’ve got Effingham Swan presiding at court tomorrow.”

“Who?”

“Swan, the Military Judge for District Three, that’s a new Corpo office. Kind of circuit judge with court-martial powers. This Effingham Swan, I had Doc Itchitt interview him today, when he arrived, he’s the perfect gentleman, Fascist, Oswald Mosley style. Good family, whatever that means. Harvard graduate. Columbia Law School, year at Oxford. But went into finance in Boston. Investment banker. Major or something during the war. Plays polo and sailed in a yacht race to Bermuda. Itchitt says he’s a big brute, with manners smoother than a butterscotch sundae and more language than a bishop.”

“But I’ll be glad to have a gentleman to explain things to, instead of Shad.”

“A gentleman’s blackjack hurts just as much as a mucker’s!”

“Oh, you!” with irritated tenderness, running her forefinger along the line of his jaw.

Outside, a footstep. She sprang up, sat down primly in the straight chair. The footsteps went by. She mused:

“All this trouble and the Corpos, they’re going to do something to you and me. We’ll become so roused up that, either we’ll be desperate and really cling to each other and everybody else in the world can go to the devil or, what I’m afraid is more likely, we’ll get so deep into rebellion against Windrip, we’ll feel so terribly that we’re standing for something, that we’ll want to give up everything else for it, even give up you and me. So that no one can ever find out and criticize. We’ll have to be beyond criticism.”

“No! I won’t listen. We will fight, but how can we ever get so involved, detached people like us.”

“You are going to publish that editorial tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

“It’s not too late to kill it?”

He looked at the clock over her desk,so ludicrously like a grade-school clock that it ought to have been flanked with portraits of George and Martha. “Well, yes, it is too late, almost eleven. Couldn’t get to the office till ‘way past”

“You’re sure you won’t worry about it when you go to bed tonight? Dear, I so don’t want you to worry! You’re sure you don’t want to telephone and kill the editorial?”

“Sure. Absolute!”

“I’m glad! Me, I’d rather be shot than go sneaking around, crippled with fear. Bless you!”

She kissed him and hurried off to another hour or two of work, while he drove home, whistling vaingloriously.

But he did not sleep well, in his big black-walnut bed. He startled to the night noises of an old frame housethe easing walls, the step of bodiless assassins creeping across the wooden floors all night long.

-19-

To follow in part 6

BEING DEAD BUT YET ALIVE. The psychological secrets of suicide – Britt Mann * A Very Human Ending: How Suicide Haunts Our Species – Jesse Bering.

There’s a tipping point where the agony of living becomes worse than the pain of dying. Many of us would rather go to our graves keeping up appearances than reveal we’re secretly coming undone. We are the only species on earth that deliberately ends its own life. Depression is a secret tomb that no one sees but you, being dead but yet alive.

Statistically we’re far more likely to perish intentionally by our own hand than to die of causes that are more obviously outside of our control. In fact, historically, suicide has accounted for more deaths than all wars and homicides combined.

“Never kill yourself while you are suicidal.” Edwin Shneidman, suicideologist

The suicidal mind is cognitively distorted, and unreliable when it comes to intelligent decision making. As such, waiting out a dark night of the soul, especially if you’re a teenager, a demographic more likely to kill themselves impulsively, can yield a brighter tomorrow.
Even if the act of killing oneself could be considered rational, the “tremendous urge” to do so rarely lasts longer than 24 hours.

Understanding suicidal urges, from a scientific perspective, can keep many people alive, at least in the short term. My hope is that knowing how it all works will help us to short-circuit the powerful impetus to die when things look calamitous.

It’s that everyday person dealing with suicidal thoughts, the suicidal person in all of us, who is the main subject of this book.

American writer and research psychologist Jesse Bering was considering taking his own life before he was offered a job in New Zealand.

Bering found himself fantasising about a tree near his house in upstate New York, which had a particular bough “crooked as an elbow” that seemed a perfect place from which to hang himself.
So goes the opening anecdote in his latest book, A Very Human Ending: How Suicide Haunts Our Species.

In New Zealand, his desire to die has subsided, but the spectre of suicide still emits a “low hum” in his life. His new book explores why people decide to kill themselves, born from a need to understand his own psyche, and prompt those on the edge to think twice before stepping off.

“The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, and unfortunately that’s the case with suicidal thinking and especially suicide attempts. The likelihood of me being in that state again is pretty high… I think of the book as this is me having a conversation with my future self, to talk me out of this.”

The suicidal mind is cognitively distorted, and unreliable when it comes to intelligent decision making. As such, waiting out a dark night of the soul, especially if you’re a teenager, a demographic more likely to kill themselves impulsively, can yield a brighter tomorrow.
Even if the act of killing oneself could be considered rational, the “tremendous urge” to do so rarely lasts longer than 24 hours.

Stuff.co.nz

A Very Human Ending: How Suicide Haunts Our Species

Jesse Bering

‘This book touches on some deep questions relevant to us all… A fascinating, thoughtful, unflinching meditation on one of the most intriguing and curious aspects of the human condition.‘ Dr Frank Tallis

Why do people want to kill themselves? Despite the prevalence of suicide in the developed world, it’s a question most of us fail to ask. On hearing news of a suicide we are devastated, but overwhelmingly we feel disbelief.

In A Very Human Ending, research psychologist Jesse Bering lifts the lid on this taboo subject, examining the suicidal mindset from the inside out to reveal the subtle tricks the mind can play when we’re easy emotional prey. In raising challenging questions Bering tests our contradictory superstitions about the act itself.

Combining cutting-edge research with investigative journalism and first-person testimony, Bering also addresses the history of suicide and its evolutionary inheritance to offer a personal, accessible, yet scientifically sound examination of why we are the only species on earth that deliberately ends its own life.

This penetrating analysis aims to demystify a subject that knows no cultural or demographic boundaries.

FOR THE SUICIDAL PERSON IN ALL OF US

And so far forth death’s terror doth affright,

He makes away himself, and hates the light

To make an end of fear and grief of heart,

He voluntarily dies to ease his smart.

Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621)

Given the sensitive nature of the material in this book, I have not used any real names (unless otherwise stated), and I have changed physical descriptions, locations, and other features to ensure that no one is identifiable and their story is protected. This is because this is not a book about the individuals I have described, but about what we can learn from them and how they shape our lives.

1

the call to oblivion

“Just as life had been strange a few minutes before, so death was now as strange. The moth having righted himself now lay most decently and uncomplainingly composed. O yes, he seemed to say, death is stronger than I am.” Virginia Woolf, “The Death of the Moth” (1942)

Just behind my former home in upstate New York, in a small, dense pocket of woods, stood an imposing lichen-covered oak tree built by a century of sun and dampness and frost, its hardened veins crisscrossing on the forest floor. It was just one of many such specimens in this copse of dappled shadows, birds, and well-worn deer tracks, but this particular tree held out a single giant limb crooked as an elbow, a branch so deliberately poised that whenever I’d stroll past it while out with the dogs on our morning walks, it beckoned me.

It was the perfect place, I thought, to hang myself.

I’d had fleeting suicidal feelings since my late teenage years. But now I was being haunted day and night by what was, in fact, a not altogether displeasing image of my corpse spinning ever so slowly from a rope tied around this creaking, pain-relieving branch. It’s an absurd thought, that I could have observed my own dead body as if I’d casually stumbled upon it. And what good would my death serve if it meant having to view it through the eyes of the very same head that I so desperately wanted to escape from in the first place?

Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but fixate on this hypothetical scene of the lifeless, pirouetting dummy, this discarded sad sack whose long-suffering owner had been liberated from a world in which he didn’t truly belong.

Globally, a million people a year kill themselves, and many times that number try to do so. That’s probably a hugely conservative estimate, too; for reasons such as stigma and prohibitive insurance claims, suicides and attempts are notoriously underreported when it comes to the official statistics. Roughly, though, these figures translate to the fact that someone takes their own life every forty seconds. Between now and the time you finish reading the next paragraph, someone, somewhere, will decide that death is a more welcoming prospect than breathing another breath in this world and will permanently remove themselves from the population.

The specific issues leading any given person to become suicidal are as different, of course, as their DNA -involving chains of events that one expert calls “dizzying in their variety”, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t common currents pushing one toward this fatal act. We’re going to get a handle on those elusive themes in this book and, ultimately, begin to make sense of what remains one of the greatest riddles of all time: Why would an otherwise healthy person, someone even in the prime of their life, “go against nature” by hastening their death? After all, on the surface, suicide wouldn’t appear to be a very smart Darwinian tactic, given that being alive would seem to be the first order of business when it comes to survival of the fittest.

But like most scientific questions, it turns out it’s a little more complicated than that.

We won’t be dealing here with “doctor-assisted suicide” or medical euthanasia, what Derek Humphrey in Final Exit regarded as “not suicide [but] selfdeliverance, thoughtful, accelerated death to avoid further suffering from a physical disease.” I consider such merciful instances of death almost always to be ethical and humane. Instead, we’ll be focusing in the present book on those self-killings precipitated by fleeting or ongoing mental distress, namely, those that aren’t the obvious result of physical pain or infirmity.

Our primary analysis will center on the suicides of otherwise normal folks battling periodic depression or who suddenly find themselves in unexpected and overwhelming social circumstances. Plenty of suicides are linked to major psychiatric conditions (in which the person has a tenuous grasp of reality, such as in schizophrenia), but plenty aren’t. And it’s that everyday person dealing with suicidal thoughts, the suicidal person in all of us, who is the main subject of this book.

Benjamin Franklin famously quipped that “nine men in ten are would-be suicides.” Maybe so, but some of us will lapse into this state more readily. It’s now believed that around 43 percent of the variability in suicidal behavior among the general population can be explained by genetics, while the remaining 57 percent is attributable to environmental factors. When people who have a genetic predisposition for suicidality find themselves assaulted by a barrage of challenging life events, they are particularly vulnerable.

The catchall mental illness explanation only takes us so far. The vast majority of those who die by suicide, with some estimates as high as 90 percent, have underlying psychiatric conditions, especially mood disorders such as depressive illness and bipolar disorder. (I have frequently battled the former, coupled with social anxiety.) But it’s also true that not everyone with depression is suicidal, nor, believe it or not, is everyone who commits suicide depressed. According to one estimate, around 5 percent of depressed people will die by suicide, but about half a percent of the nondepressed population will end up taking their own lives too.

As for my own recurring compulsion to end my life, which flares up like a sore tooth at the whims of bad fortune, subsides for a while, yet always threatens to throb again, the types of problems that trigger these dangerous desires change over time. Edwin Shneidman, the famous suicidologist, yes, that’s an actual occupation, had an apt term for this acute, intolerable feeling that makes people want to die: “psychache,” he called it. It’s like what Winona Ryder’s character in the film Girl, Interrupted said after throwing back a fistful of aspirin in a botched suicide attempt-she just wanted “to make the shit stop.” And like a toothache, which can be set off by any number of packaged treats at our fingertips, psychache can be caused by an almost unlimited number of things in our modern world.

What made me suicidal as a teenager, the everlooming prospect of being outed as gay in an intolerant small midwestern town, isn’t what pushes those despairing buttons in me now. I’ve been out of the closet for twenty years and with my partner, Juan, for over a decade. I do sometimes still wince at the memory of my adolescent fear regarding my sexual orientation, but the constant worry and anxiety about being forced prematurely out of the closet are gone now.

Still, other seemingly unsolvable problems continue to crop up as a matter of course.

“Psychache”

Psychache is a term first used by pioneer suicidologist Edwin Shneidman to refer to psychological pain that has become unbearable. The pain is deeper and more vicious than depression, although depression may be present as well.

What drew me to those woods behind my house not so long ago was my unemployment. I was sorely unprepared for it. Not long before, I’d enjoyed a fairly high status in the academic world. Frankly, I was spoiled. And lucky. That part I didn’t realize until much later. I’d gotten my first faculty position at the University of Arkansas straight out of grad school. Then, at the age of thirty, I moved to Northern Ireland, where I ran my own research center for several years at the Queen’s University Belfast.

Somewhere along the way, though, my scholarly ambitions began to wear thin.

It was a classic case of career burnout. By the time I was thirty-five, I’d already done most of what I’d set out to do: I was publishing in the best journals, speaking at conferences all over the world, scoring big grants, and writing about my research (in religion and psychology) for popular outlets. If I were smart, I’d have kept my nose to the grindstone. Instead, I grew restless. “Now what?” I asked myself.

The prospect of doing slight iterations of the same studies over and over became a nightmare, the academic’s equivalent of being stuck in a never-ending time loop. Besides, although controversial issues like religion are never definitively settled, I’d already answered my main research question, at least to my own satisfaction. (Question: “What are the odds that religious ideas are a product of the human mind?” Answer: “Pretty darn high.”)

With my professorial aspirations languishing, I began devoting more and more time to writing popular science essays for outfits such as Scientific American, Slate, Playboy, and a few others. My shtick was covering the salacious science beat. If you’d ever wondered about the relationship between gorilla fur, crab lice, and human pubic hair, about the mysterious psychopharmacological properties of semen, or why our species’ peculiar penis is shaped like it is, l was your man. In fact, I wrote that very book: Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?

The next book I was to write had an even more squirm-inducing title: Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us. Ever wonder why amputees turn on some folks, others can’t keep from having an orgasm when an attractive passerby lapses into a sneezing fit, or why women are generally kinkier than men? Again, I was your clickable go-to source.

Now, perhaps I should have thought more about how, in a conservative and unforgiving academic world, such subject matter would link my name inexorably with unspeakable things. Sure, my articles got page clicks. My books made you blush at Barnes & Noble. But these titles aren’t exactly ones that university deans and provosts like to boast about to donors. Once you go public with the story of how you masturbated as a teenager to a wax statue of an anatomically correct Neanderthal (I swear it made sense in context), there is no going back. You can pretty much forget about ever getting inducted into the Royal Society. “Oh good riddance,” I thought. Being finally free to write in a manner that suited me, and with my very own soapbox to say the things I’d long wanted to say about society’s souI-crushing hypocrisy, was incredibly appealing.

There was also the money. I wasn’t getting rich, but I’d earned large enough advances with my book deals to quit my academic job, book a one-way ticket from Belfast back to the U.S., and put a deposit down on an idyllic little cottage next to a babbling brook just outside of Ithaca. Back then, the dark patch of forest behind the house didn’t seem so sinister; it was just a great place to walk our two border terriers, Gulliver and Uma, our rambunctious Irish imports. The whole domestic setting seemed the perfect little place to build the perfect little writing life, a fairy tale built on the foundations of other people’s “deviant” sexualities.

You can probably see where this is heading. Juan, the more practical of us, raised his eyebrows early on over such an impulsive and drastic career move. By that I mean he was resolutely set against it. “What are you going to do after you finish the book?” he’d ask, sensing doom on the horizon.

“Write another book I guess. Maybe do freelance. I can always go back to teaching, right? C’mon, don’t be such a pessimist!”

“I don’t know,” Juan would say worriedly. But he also realized how unhappy I was in Northern Ireland, so he went along, grudgingly, with my loosely laid plans.

I wouldn’t say my fall from grace was spectacular. But it was close. If nothing else, it was deeply embarrassing. It’s hard to talk about it even now that I’m, literally, out of the woods.

That’s the thing. Much of what makes people suicidal is hard to talk about. Shame plays a major role. Even suicide notes, as we’ll learn, don’t always key us in to the real reason someone opts out of existence. (Forgive the glib euphemisms; there are only so many times one can write the word “suicide” without expecting readers’ eyes to glaze over.) If I’ll be asking others in this book to be honest about their feelings, though, it would be unfair for me to hide the reasons for my own self-loathing and sense of irredeemable failure during this dark period.

It’s often at our very lowest that we cling most desperately to our points of pride, as though we’re trying to convince not only others, but also ourselves, that we still have value.

Once, long ago, when I was about twenty, I met an old man of about ninety who carried around with him an ancient yellowed letter everywhere he went. People called him “the Judge.”

“I want to show you something, young man,” he said to me after a dinner party, reaching a shaky hand into his vest pocket to retrieve the letter. “See that?” he asked, beaming. A twisted arthritic finger was pointing to a typewritten line from the Prohibition era. As I tried to make sense of the words on the page, he studied my gaze under his watery pink lids to be sure it was really sinking in. “It’s a commendation from Franklin D. Roosevelt, the governor of New York back then. Says here, see, says right here I was the youngest Supreme Court Justice in the state. Twenty. Eight. Years. Old.” With each punctuated word, he gave the paper a firm tap. “Whaddaya think of that?”

“That’s incredibly impressive,” I said.

And it was. In fact, I remember being envious of him. Not because of his accomplished legal career, but because, as I so often have been in my life, I was suicidal at the time; and unlike me, he hadn’t long to go before slipping gently off into that good night.

One of the cruelest tricks played on the genuinely suicidal mind is that time slows to a crawl. When each new dawn welcomes what feels like an eternity of mental anguish, the yawning expanse between youth and old age might as well be interminable Hell itself.

But the point is that when we’re thrown against our wishes into a liminal state, that reluctant space between activity and senescence, employed and unemployed, married and single, closeted and out, citizen and prisoner, wife and widow, healthy person and patient, wealthy and broke, celebrity and has-been, and so on, it’s natural to take refuge in the glorified past of our previous selves. And to try to remind others of this eclipsed identity as well.

Alas, it’s a lost cause. Deep down, we know there’s no going back. Our identities have changed permanently in the minds of others. In the real world (the one whose axis doesn’t turn on cheap clichés and self-help canons about other people’s opinions of us not mattering), we’re inextricably woven into the fabric of society.

For better or worse, our well-being is hugely dependent on what others think we are.

Social psychologist Roy Baumeister, whom we’ll meet again later on, argues that idealistic life conditions actually heighten suicide risk because they create unreasonable standards for personal happiness. When things get a bit messy, people who have led mostly privileged lives, those seen by society as having it made, have a harder time coping with failures. “A reverse of fortune, as society is constituted,” wrote the eighteenth-century thinker Madame de Staél, “produces a most acute unhappiness, which multiplies itself in a thousand different ways. The most cruel of all, however, is the loss of the rank we occupied in the world. Imagination has as much to do with the past, as with the future, and we form with our possessions an alliance, whose rupture is most grievous.”

Like the Judge, I was dangerously proud of my earlier status. The precipitous drop between my past and my present job footing was discombobulating. I wouldn’t have admitted it then, or even known I was guilty of such a cognitive crime, but I also harbored an unspoken sense of entitlement. Now, I felt like Jean-Baptiste Clamence in The Fall by Albert Camus. In the face of a series of unsettling events, the successful Parisian defense attorney watches as his career, and his entire sense of meaning, goes up in smoke. Only when sifting through the ashes are his biases made clear. “As a result of being showered with blessings,” Clamence observes of his worldview till then,

“I felt, I hesitate to admit, marked out. Personally marked out, among all, for that long uninterrupted success. I refused to attribute that success to my own merits and could not believe that the conjunction in a single person of such different and such extreme virtues was the result of chance alone. This is why in my happy life I felt somehow that that happiness was authorized by some higher decree. When I add that l had no religion you can see even better how extraordinary that conviction was.”

Similarly, what I had long failed to fully appreciate were the many subtle and incalculable forces behind my earlier success, forces that had always been beyond my control. I felt somehow, what is the word, charmed is too strong, more like fatalistic. The reality was that I was like everyone else, simply held upright by the brittle bones of chance. And now, they threatened to give way. I’d worked hard, sure, but again, I’d been lucky. Back when I’d earned my doctoral degree, the economy wasn’t so gloomy and there were actually opportunities. I was also doing research on a hot new topic, my PhD dissertation was on children’s reasoning about the afterlife, and I was eager to make a name for myself in a burgeoning field. Now, eleven years later, having turned my back on the academy, fresh out of book ideas, along with a name pretty much synonymous with penises and pervs, it was a very different story. Career burnout? Please. That’s a luxury for the employed.

I just needed a steady paycheck.

The rational part of my brain assured me that my present dilemma was not the end of the world. Still, the little that remained of my book advance was drying up quickly, and my freelance writing gigs, feverishly busy as they kept me, didn’t pay enough to live on. Juan, who’d been earning his master’s degree in library science, was forced to take on a minimum-wage cashier job at the grocery store. He never said “I told you so.” He didn’t have to.

I knew going in that the grass wouldn’t necessarily be greener on the other side of a staid career, but never did I think it could be scorched earth. That perfect little cottage? It came with a mortgage. We didn’t have kids, but we did have two bright-eyed terriers and a cat named Tommy to feed and care for. Student loans. Taxes. Fuel. Credit cards. Electricity. Did I mention I was an uninsured Type I diabetic on an insulin pump? My blinkered pursuit of freedom to write at any cost was starting to have potentially fatal consequences.

Doing what you love for a living is great. But you know what’s even more fun? Food.

The irrational part of my brain couldn’t see how this state of affairs, which I’d stupidly, selfishly put us into, could possibly turn out well. Things were only going to get worse. Cue visions of foreclosure, confused, sadfaced, whimpering pets torn asunder and kenneled (or worse), loving family members, stretched to the limit already themselves, arguing with each other behind closed doors over how to handle the “situation with Jesse.” Everyone, including me, would be better off without me; I just needed to get the animals placed in a loving home and Juan to start a fresh, unimpeded life back in Santa Fe, where he’d been living when we first met.

“You’re such a loser,” I’d scold myself. “You had it made. Now look at you.”

Asshole though this internal voice could be, it did make some good points. What if that was the rational part of my brain, I began to wonder, and the more optimistic side, the one telling me it was all going to be okay, was delusional? After all, in the fast-moving world of science, I was now a dinosaur. I hadn’t taught or done research for years. I’d also burned a lot of bridges due to my, er, penchant for sensationalism. An air of Schadenfreude, which I’m sure I’d rightfully earned from some of my critics, would soon be palpable.

Overall, I felt like persona non grata among all the proper citizens surrounding me, all those deeply rooted trees that so obviously belonged to this world. Even the weeds had their place. But me? I didn’t belong. I was, in point of fact, simultaneously over-and under-qualified for everything I could think of, saddled with an obscure advanced degree and absolutely no practical skills. And of course I might as well be a registered sex offender with the titles of my books and articles (among the ones I was working on at the time, “The Masturbatory Habits of Priests” and “Erotic Vomiting”). I envied the mailman, the store clerk, the landscaper anyone with a clear purpose.

Meanwhile, the stark contrast between my private and public life only exacerbated my despondency. From a distance, it would appear that my star was rising. I was giving talks at the Sydney Opera House, being interviewed regularly by NPR and the BBC, and getting profiled in the Guardian and the New York Times. Morgan Freeman featured my earlier work on religion for his show Through the Wormhole. Meanwhile, over in the UK, the British illusionist Derren Brown did the same on his televised specials. My blog at Scientific American was nominated for a Webby Award. Dan Savage, the famous sex advice columnist, tapped me to be his substitute columnist when he went away on vacation for a week. I even did the late-night talk show circuit. Chelsea Handler brazenly asked me, on national television, if I’d have anal sex with her. (I said yes, by the way, but I was just being polite.) A big Hollywood producer acquired the film option rights to one of my Slate articles.

With such exciting things happening in my life, how could I possibly complain, let alone be suicidal? After all, most writers would kill (no pun intended) to attract the sort of publicity I was getting.

“Oh, boo-hoo,” I told myself. “You’ve sure got it rough. Let’s ask one of those new Syrian refugees how they feel about your dire straits, shall we? How about that nice old woman up the road vomiting her guts out from chemo?” A close friend from my childhood had just had a stroke and was posting inspirational status updates on his Twitter account as he learned how to walk again, #trulyblessed. What right did I have to be so unhappy?

This kind of internal self-flagellation, like reading a never-ending scroll of excoriating social media comments projected onto my mind’s eye, only made being me more insufferable. I ambled along for months this way, miserable, smiling like an idiot and popping Prozac, hoping the constant gray drizzle in my brain would lift before the dam finally flooded and I got washed up into the trees behind the house.

No one knew it. At least, not the full extent of it.

From the outside looking in, even to the few close friends I had, things were going swimmingly. “When are you going to be on TV again?” they’d ask. “Where to next on your book tour?” Or “Hey, um, interesting article on the history of autofellatio.”

All was illusion. The truth is these experiences offered little in the way of remuneration. The press didn’t pay. The public speaking didn’t amount to much. And the film still hasn’t been made.

My outward successes only made me feel like an impostor. Less than a week after I appeared as a guest on Conan, I was racking my head trying to think of someone, anyone, who could get me a gun to blow it off. Yet look hard as you might at a recording of that interview from October 16, 2013, and you won’t see a trace of my crippling worry and despair. What does a suicidal person look like? Me, in that Conan interview.

Here’s the trouble. We’re not all ragingly mad, violently unstable, or even obviously depressed. Sometimes, a suicide seems like it comes out of nowhere. But that’s only because so many of us would rather go to our graves keeping up appearances than reveal we’re secretly coming undone.

In response to an article in Scientific American in which I’d shared my personal experiences as a suicidal gay teenager (while keeping my current mental health issues carefully under wraps), one woman wrote to me about the torturous divide between her own public persona and private inner life. “It’s difficult to admit that at age 34,” she explained, with a young daughter, a graduate degree in history, divorced, and remarried to my high school love, that I’m Googling suicide. But what the world doesn’t see is years of fertility issues, childhood rape, post-traumatic stress disorder, a failing marriage, a custody battle, nonexistent career, mounds of debt, and a general hatred of myself. Depression is a secret tomb that no one sees but you, being dead but yet alive.

She’s far from alone. There are more people walking around this way, “dead but yet alive,” than anyone realizes.

In my case, being open about my persistent suicidal thoughts at a time when readers’ perception of me as a good, clearheaded thinker meant the difference between a respectable middle age and moving into my elderly father’s basement and living off cans of Spaghettios. It just wasn’t something I was willing to do at the time. Who’d buy a book by an author with a mood disorder, a has-been academic, and a self-confessed sensationalist who can’t stop thinking about killing himself, and take him seriously as an authoritative voice of reason?

I don’t blame anyone for missing the signs. What signs? Anyway, regrettably, I’ve done the same. The man who’d designed my website, a sweet, introverted IT guy also struggling to find a job, overdosed while lying on his couch around this time. His landlord found him three days later with his two cats standing on his chest, meowing. I was unnerved to realize that despite our mutual email pleasantries, we’d both in fact wanted to die.

We’re more intuitive than we give ourselves credit for, but people aren’t mind readers. We come to trust appearances; we forget that others are self-contained universes just like us, and the deep rifts forming at the edges go unnoticed, until another unreachable cosmos “suddenly” collapses. In the semiautobiographical The Book of Disquiet, Fernando Pessoa describes being surprised upon learning that a young shop assistant at the tobacco store had killed himself. “Poor lad,” writes Pessoa, “so he existed too!”

“We had all forgotten that, all of us; we who knew him only about as well as those who didn’t know him at all …. But what is certain is that he had a soul, enough soul to kill himself. Passions? Worries? Of course. But for me, and for the rest of humanity, all that remains is the memory of a foolish smile above a grubby woollen jacket that didn’t fit properly at the shoulders. That is all that remains to me of someone who felt deeply enough to kill himself, because, after all[,] there’s no other reason to kill oneself.”

These dark feelings are inherently social in nature. In the vast majority of cases, people kill themselves because of other people. Social problems, especially, a hypervigilant concern with what others think or will think of us if only they knew what we perceive to be some unpalatable truth, stoke a deadly fire.

Fortunately, suicide isn’t inevitable. As for me, it’s funny how things turned out. (And I mean “funny” in the way a lunatic giggles into his hand, because this entire wayward career experience must have knocked about five years off my life.) Just as things looked most grim, I was offered a job in one of the most beautiful places on the planet: the verdant wild bottom of the South Island in New Zealand. In July 2014 Juan, Gulliver, Uma, Tommy, and I, the whole hairy, harried family, packed up all of our earthly possessions, drove across country in a rented van, and flew from Los Angeles to Dunedin, where I’d been hired as the writing coordinator in a new Science Communication department at the University of Otago.

Ironically, I wouldn’t have been much of a candidate had I not devoted a few solid nail-biting years to freelancing. I’ll never disentangle myself from my reputation as a purveyor of pervy knowledge, but the Kiwis took my frank approach to sex with good humor.

Outside our small home on the Otago Peninsula, I’m serenaded by tuis and bellbirds; just up the road, penguins waddle from the shores of an endless ocean each dusk to nest in cliff-side dens, octopuses bobble at the harbor’s edge, while dolphins frolic and giant albatrosses the size of small aircraft soar overhead. At night the Milky Way is so dense and bright against the inky black sky, I can almost reach up and stir it, and every once in a while, the aurora australis, otherwise known as the southern lights, puts on a spectacular multicolored display. The dogs are thriving. The cat is purring. Juan has a great new job.

I therefore whisper this to you as though the cortical gods might conspire against me still: I’m currently “happy” with life.

I use that word happy with trepidation. It defines not a permanent state of being but slippery moments of non-worry. All we can do, really, is try to maximize the occurrence of such anxiety-free moments throughout the course of our lives; a worrisome mind is a place where suicide’s natural breeding ground, depression, spreads like black mold.

Personally, I’m all too conscious of the fact that had things gone this way or that but by a hairbreadth, my own story might just as well have ended years ago at the end of a rope on a tree that grows 8,000 miles away. Whether I’d have gone through with it is hard to say. I don’t enjoy pain, but I certainly wanted to die, and there’s a tipping point where the agony of living becomes worse than the pain of dying. It would be naive of me to assume that just because I called the universe’s bluff back then, my suicidal feelings have been banished for good.

As I write this, I’m forty-two years of age, and so there’s likely plenty of time for those dark impulses to return. Perhaps they’re merely lying in wait for the next unmitigated crisis and will come back with a vengeance. Also, according to some of the science we’ll be examining, I possess almost a full complement of traits that make certain types of people more prone to suicide than others. Impulsive. Check. Perfectionist. Check. Sensitive. Shame-prone. Mooddisordered. Sexual minority. Self-blaming. Check.

Check. Check. Check. Check.

We’re used to safeguarding ourselves against external threats and preparing for unexpected emergencies. We diligently strap on our seat belts every time we get in a car. We look our doors before bed. Some of us even carry weapons in case we’re attacked by a stranger. Ironic, then, that statistically we’re far more likely to perish intentionally by our own hand than to die of causes that are more obviously outside of our control. In fact, historically, suicide has accounted for more deaths than all wars and homicides combined.

When I get suicidal again, not if, but when, I want to be armed with an up-to-date scientific understanding that allows me to critically analyze my own doomsday thoughts or, at the very least, to be an informed consumer of my own oblivion. I want you to have that same advantage. That’s largely why I have written this book to reveal the psychological secrets of suicide, the tricks our minds play on us when we’re easy emotional prey. It’s also about leaving our own preconceptions aside and instead considering the many different experiences of those who’ve found themselves affected somehow, whether that means getting into the headspaces of people who killed themselves or are actively suicidal, those bereaved by the suicide death of a loved one, researchers who must quarantine their own emotions to study suicide objectively, or those on the grueling front lines of prevention campaigns.

Finally, we’ll be exploring some challenging, but fundamental, questions about how we wrestle with the ethical questions surrounding suicide, and how our intellect is often at odds with our emotions when it comes to weighing the “rationality” of other people’s fatal decisions.

Unlike most books on the subject, this one doesn’t necessarily aim to prevent all suicides. My own position, for lack of a better word, is nuanced. In fact, I tend to agree with the Austrian scholar Josef Popper-Lynkeus, who remarked in his book The Right to Live and the Duty to Die (1878) that, for him, “the knowledge of always being free to determine when or whether to give up one’s life inspires me with the feeling of a new power and gives me a composure comparable to the consciousness of the soldier on the battlefield.”

The trouble is, being emotionally fraught with despair can also distort human decision making in ways that undermine a person’s ability to decide intelligently “when or whether” to act. Because despite our firm conviction that there’s absolutely no escape from that seemingly unsolvable, hopeless situation we may currently find ourselves in, we’re often, as I was, dead wrong in retrospect.

“Never kill yourself while you are suicidal” was one of Shneidman’s favorite maxims. Intellectualizing a personal problem is a well-known defense mechanism, and it’s basically what I’ll be doing in this book. Some might see this coldly scientific approach as a sort of evasion tactic for avoiding unpleasant emotions. Yet with suicide, I’m convinced that understanding suicidal urges, from a scientific perspective, can keep many people alive, at least in the short term. My hope is that knowing how it all works will help us to short-circuit the powerful impetus to die when things look calamitous. I want people to be able to recognize when they’re under suicide’s hypnotic spell and to wait it out long enough for that spell to wear off. Acute episodes of suicidal ideation rarely last longer than twenty-four hours.

Education may not always lead to prevention, but it certainly makes for good preparation. And for those of you trying to understand how someone you loved or cared about could have done such an inexplicable thing as to take their own life, my hope is that you’ll benefit, too, from this examination of the self-destructive mind and how we, as a society, think about suicide.

*

from

A very human ending. How Suicide Haunts Our Species

by Jesse Bering

get it at Amazon.com

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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24/7 Lifeline – 0800 543 354

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.”

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“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

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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.

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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 N