by Wiley Doggerel*
Having learned in the last few years the grave necessity of rooting out every remnant of earlier grossly unsatisfactory times, and to suppress all Wrong Thought, we must stand ready at any moment to do the right thing – and quickly. How shall we know what the right things are? That is easy enough, my friends, we shall yield to current gnostic Yankee wisdom and the newest history as found in the Sniffsonian Magazine, the Atlantic, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and an array of lefty blogs like Vox, Salon, and several dozen others. The brilliant moral and strategic insights of sundry city councils and county and state governments presently occupied by strident morons playing at posthuman Bolshevism will implement those fine ideas. Above all, things must go forward at a dizzying pace so that the most important goal of all human life, the permanent rule of the Democratic Party and its near ally, the feckless Republican Party, may go on smoothly forevermore. The Empire demands no less.
We therefore propose that in every American state, city, town, hamlet, unincorporated district, or corporate subdivision dedicated to bourgeois escapist practices like golf, there be pre-stationed a yellow or orangish crane of appropriate size ready to snatch up and destroy any offending statue, monument, image, or idea within seconds of an official determination of wickedness. The color of the cranes shall be taken as forever established by recent and current practice. The color of any particular contractor can be decided eundo, until or unless the cranes of many sizes are nationalized, in which case the Attorney General will make all decisions about color and creed while wearing his unmerited garlands.
It shall be a federal crime punishable by large fines, long prison terms, and endless moral lectures, to repaint, deface, or otherwise interfere with a designated National Crane by any means, verbal, mental, or physical. Any country song mocking such crane, its operators, owners, or mission will bring the same penalties to bear on anyone writing, publishing, playing, singing, thinking, or remembering any such subversive song.
We must be thorough. We must be vigilant. We must comply. We must believe. The Radiant Future awaits, even if each new Radiant Future will be replaced by an even more radiant one by Tuesday week.
Keep up, ye deplorable bitter clingers. This is Post America. Love it or leave it. Wait, you can’t leave it – it’s the Hotel California.
Be it further proposed that at such time as the problem of improper statues, memorials, or thoughts shall have been nearly solved, and Post Rational Nirvana achieved, the National Cranes shall be gathered into a National Crane Park in the Ten Miles Square (formerly Washington DC), where they shall be worshipped by all and sundry. Failure to attend such services shall entail large fines applied arbitrarily on a case to case basis. The dismantled statues, memorials, paintings, images, and ideas shall be housed in the Hermann Goering Room of the National Basement of Stolen Art, awaiting proper and instructional melting and destruction.
*Joseph R. Stromberg
In the Beginning was the History and the History was good. It dwelt with the Science in the same building, and the two got along fairly well most of the time. Theology, alas, had departed across the quad into an old building which few visited, especially after the 1870s. Thus, the History and the Science were free to proclaim conformity in tandem, throughout the land, even if enforcement wasn’t always that easy.
The History that was good was very, very good indeed. It was the History, after all, and only the truly backward dared doubt its truths. It had been good ever since sundry New England scribes had invented a primordial American People, one in its singlehood and single in its oneness, born before it was conceived. If all this sounds like a parody of the Creed, it is not my fault, nor am I to blame if it also sounds somewhat like the last flight of Hegel’s comet.1
Now the History’s sheer goodness allowed for improvement, even unto Eternal Progress of the Right Kind. Good in 1790 or so, it was even better in 1865, and has become so good in the last several decades that it passeth all understanding. It is enough to believe. As President Lightweight Cutthroat will probably say in 2047: “Believe the History or face a fine of $58,900 and five years in federal custody for the first offense.”
True practitioners of the History read the minds of the dead. They also see far into the Radiant Future. They are the deftest of the Adepts. Let us see how this works.
The Only Possible Reason
Lately, we are faced with a project involving perhaps the broadest-based historical revisionism ever seen on these shores. To affirm it, we must agree with Firesign Theater that “everything you know is wrong.” Just as a catastrophic war occurring between 1861 and 1865 now has only One Possible Cause, so too can all American history, down to the smallest detail, be exhaustively explained in terms of racism, the whole racism, and nothing but the racism. (The higher playpens like Harvard, Yale, and Berkeley have doubtlessly incorporated an oath about this into their PhD programs.)
Drastic conclusions follow ineluctably from this premise. Thus, if a settler built a log cabin somewhere in North America in 1734, or another settler began raising cattle in some other place the next year, or indeed if any settler did anything whatsoever, anywhere, at any time, the only possible explanation is “racism.”2 The underlying culprit of course is “whiteness,” which necessarily entails racism, slavery, segregation, and every other known evil. Worse luck, racism, slavery, and segregation are mutually causal in complex and variable ways easily tailored to a given thesis and to the demands of the moment. (It would be hard to say which one is determinant “in the last instance” and the New History doesn’t have to care.)
Slave Patrols and Modern Policy
It will suffice here to look into two claims arising from the new historical epistemology and its one-way model of universal racial causality. The first one is the assertion that present-day American policing rests essentially on, and derives pretty much entirely from, the slave patrols of the Old South. Since every mainland British colony in North America had some experience with slavery, one might think that every Northern colony had some system for seeing that their servants were where they were supposed to be at any given time. Since this matter is seldom addressed, one can only suppose that Northern slave owners were either okay with chronic absenteeism or were very negligent indeed.
The slave patrol thesis won’t fly because modern, standing police forces arose in Northern cities to control all that free labor about which their city fathers would boast when they weren’t putting down by force any uncooperative behavior on the part of those workers. If there were even one case in which a Yankee aiming to create a modern police force visited Virginia or South Carolina to study slave patrols, we might almost believe this silly thesis (which went all around the lefty blogosphere in 2014-2015, and again in 2020, the year of mostly peaceful riots rightly exempted from universal masque-wearing and lockdowns).
I am still waiting for such a revelation. It won’t come, because it is clear that the city fathers of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, etc., modeled their standing police on the London police instituted in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel. When Southern cities created police forces some decades later (we are so slow down here), they followed the Northern model. (Slave patrolling was already in place, after all. If slave patrols were really the basis of all American policing, why didn’t Southern cities invent municipal police forces before Northern ones did?)
The second case involves the Second Amendment. According to Prof. Carl T. Bogus, the amendment centered on whether or not the states’ militias could be armed if the federal authorities decided not to arm them.3 The amendment accordingly asserted a right of the people “to keep and bear arms,” so that the states or their militia members could not be prevented (by the feds) from providing their own arms. Bogus reasons that this concern rested on fear of slave revolts.
Bogus admits that there is no decisive evidence proving his thesis. Indeed, he was rather careful and measured, but one suspects that the bulk of his readers believe he has proven that Southern states only cared about their militias because of you know what. For Bogus’ audience, especially these days, it was all slavery and racism and praeterea nihil.4 In the new-modeled science of history what else is there?
Racism Rolling Up Hill
Putting the South permanently under the spotlight is understandable since it exploits the easy and lazy assumption that everything wicked in U.S. history must have started in the South. For American nationalists, neocons, Straussians, high-minded liberals, libertarians, and leftists it is a cherished truth that bad practices have always defied the law of gravity by rolling uphill into the North from somewhere down here. Luckily, the Good know where the Bad live and their bony New England fingers point the way. (A century and a half of trans-Atlantic slave trading had no more to do with them than did all those shipments of opium to China on which they absent-mindedly profited, or the ivory trade, come to that.)
Is One Kind of Whiteness Wickeder Than the Others?
Yet there is a striking inconsistency here. For those fully committed to the 1619 Gospel, all White people are tainted with the same hereditary evils of and must purge themselves. But if this be so, it would follow that quarrels between Northern and Southern Whites in, say, 1787, 1833, or 1861-1865, should not especially interest the monstrous regiment of woke insomniacs.
After all, actual behavior, racist or otherwise, need not come into it. The dogma is that White folks simply are racist. It is, so to speak, their essence -- and this from people whose immediate predecessors spent the 1980s and ‘90s denouncing “essentialism” and denying essences.
In practice, however, the sheer convenience of falling back on ultimate Southern guilt often makes such a focus a tempting, if opportunistic, move. It is also a firmly rooted habit. Why look in the mirror for evil whiteness if you can look southwards?
Presently the pampered gentry of the Establishment Press are chuckling and gloating over the fate of the Charlottesville statue of General Robert E. Lee, which of late has been turned into molten metal.5 This is no doubt a lesson to us all, and the lesson is this: When the Real True History gets to the point that it is utterly unworthy of being believed, the only way to enforce its “liberating” dogmas is to destroy every wrongful symbol, memory, and, yes, every statue or other artifact inconsistent with the ever-advancing truth.
There is no natural stopping place for the friends of the real true history.
We are faced with one of those recurring outbreaks of Iconoclasm which only end when the perpetrators have tired themselves out. But that’s another – or several – stories. Anyway, after every Yankee Great Awakening, there comes a very long nap. Whether anything has been learned remains an open question.
Anything Tainted Is Out
For overheated readers of Bogus’ essay, the strategy is clear enough. Take something you dislike for political and ideological reasons and taint it with association with some ultimate evil. The Marxist legal scholar, Mitchell Franklin tried a backward version of this with the Constitution. Reasoning that a “bourgeois” revolution (like that of 1776) requires a proper bourgeois ideology, he argued that it was wrong to see the U.S. Constitution as a “feudal” document, despite some reactionary features such as state and local jurisdictions. No, the real Constitution lay in those passages in which he found clear evidence of Roman law doctrines of the sort that French revolutionaries would soon adopt with much fire and bloodshed. He claimed that John Adams and a few others understood this.6
Here, Franklin was trying to “de-taint” the Constitution to make it suitable to his radical projects. By contrast, Bogus’ readers taint the Second Amendment with slavery, the main-most engine of tainting currently available.
The 1450 Project
Given that sugar production on the basis of plantation slavery was underway in the eastern Atlantic by about 1450 on islands lately acquired by Spain and Portugal, there’d be a lot of tainting over there. Pretty much everything in those countries probably needs immediate destruction. I’m tempted to demand that world history be reorganized around a 1450 Project. Think of all the books in Spanish and Portuguese to be purged! Think of all the reeducation and all the enjoyable abuse of those white Iberians.
Eric Foner’s Old Neighborhood
So, how did we come to be lumbered with the Real True History? In 2000, I happened upon an old book, James S. Allen’s Reconstruction: The Battle for Democracy 1865-1876 (New York: International Publishers, 1937). Worldly folks will know that International Publishers was an arm of the Communist Party USA. They will also know that the party line was Stalinist. It was remarkable how much Allen’s interpretation of Reconstruction resembled the reigning Real True History as of 2000, as found in the works of Eric Foner.
A couple of years ago, realizing I had never gotten myself a copy of the book, I looked for one. None of the 1937 edition were available, but there was a reprint, which I ordered (New York: International Publishers, 2021). It arrived and, with it, a bonus unforeseen: a new foreword by no less than Eric Foner.
After summarizing the views of W.E.B. DuBois, James Allen, and (thus) of the CPUSA on Reconstruction and showing how they won acceptance, Foner reminisces about the old days in Long Beach, New York, where he and his uncle Philip S. Foner, the historian, knew the Allen family very well (including James who later managed International Publishers). Well, a man is allowed to cherish his youth.7
This tends to confirm that the 1619 Project largely descends from Popular Front Stalinism in the form it took once Stalinists (and their heirs) began to believe their own propaganda about how they were the real American democrats and friends of racial justice, while singing all those Woody Guthrie songs. The interesting fact that the World Socialist Website (which is Trotskyist) became the forum for so many essays by liberal and libertarian economists and historians opposed to the 1619 Project shows how much present-day debates mirror the internecine Marxist battles of the thirties, forties, and fifties.
Real True Origins
Here, then, is at least part of how we came to the current orthodoxy on Reconstruction, which sees it as a tragically defeated (or postponed) social democratic revolution. This claim is now an essential part of the real true history. That’s the short account.
The longer story is that we (or somebody) foolishly agreed to cooperate with New Englanders in 1776-1783 and then even more foolishly agreed to some kind of union with them in 1787-1789. By the time anyone wanted out, the Yankees’ Real True history “proved” that leaving was immoral and impossible. Four years of invasion, killing, arson, and pillage is said to have “proved” their assertion. If it’s that easy, then any doctrine with an army behind it is true.
That is why we have the Real, True History in all its lockstep glory.
1 David W. Noble, American Culture and the End of Exceptionalism: Death of a Nation (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002), 1-2, noting that by 1800, the implicit outlook of many Americans was Hegelian.
2 But see J.H. Plumb, In the Light of History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973), Ch. 9: “Race, Slavery, and the Poor,” on the English elite’s callous treatment of all workers regardless of race.
3 Carl T. Bogus, “The Hidden History of the Second Amendment,” U.C. Davis Law Review, 31: 2 (Winter 1998), 309-408. For another view, see Stephen P. Halbrook, “The Second Amendment was Adopted to Protect Liberty, Not Slavery: A Reply to Professors Bogus and Anderson,” Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy, 20 (2022), 575-616.
4 Bogus’ thesis was apparently meant to sustain the theory that the amendment only enshrined a “collective right” of militia members (properly organized) to keep and bear arms. This was part and parcel of the debate over federal gun control. In this debate the two sides talked past one another, and both were partly wrong (my view).
5 This may involve the Yankee American mania for separating matter from form. See Felix Morley “The Return to Nothingness,” Human Events, August 29, 1945, 1-4, with respect to the atomic so-called “weapons” dropped on Japan.
6 This is supposedly because Adams had read the Abbé de Mably. Actually, Adams seems to have escaped partly unscathed from his reading. See Mitchell Franklin, “Concerning the Influence of Roman Law on the Formulation of the Constitution of the United States” (1964), reprinted in Nature, Society, and Thought, 16: 4 (2003), 405-438.
7 Eric Foner, “Foreword,” in James S. Allen, Reconstruction: The Battle for Democracy 1865-1876 (New York: International Publishers, 2021), 13-14.
(As reported in the Universal Banner and Globe, Worldville-on-Potomac, November 11, 2032, via angelcynn.warp )
Perpetual War for Perpetual Skating
On January 10, 2029, U.S./Global President Wiley Cutthroat had a notion. This notion spread to his cabinet, half the Congress, most important think tanks, and all the kept media. What it was, was this: in a mighty philanthropic gesture, America would turn all of Sweden into a gigantic international theme park and skating rink.
Bitterly clinging to their national sovereignty, welfare state, and corporatist economy not fully controlled by American capital, the arrogant Swedes refused America’s offer. In response, two New Neocons produced an instant book proving that Sweden had always been the main enemy of the United States. After all, Sweden’s little colony in Delaware had inconvenienced the Dutch in New Amsterdam and, had the Swedes gotten away with it, their defiance might have serially inconvenienced the English and, later, the Americans (after 1776). Case closed.
The new crusade appealed to the president’s juvenile imagination and reinforced his belief that the world should consist solely of pacified zones and Good People. Unhappily, there remained lawless zones whose Bad People had not yet submitted to Sam, Uncle. Luckily, under the Permanent Crisis and Eternal War Act of 2023, an overseas adventure allowed the president to say when we were really/especially “at war.” Just saying so “triggered” innumerable, unknowably large powers for doing any old thing that occurred to the Commanding Chief. No one – neither Congress, nor the courts, nor the DAR – could thwart those any-old-things, before or after the deed.
Presidential attorney, global ambulance chaser, and former Office of Legal Counsel advisor Jing Dew wrote a raft of new half-secret memos firming up the effable Unitary Executive Theory, and Attorney General Yale Barratry threatened imprisonment of anyone who doubted their truth. Secretary of the Overseas Interior Stan D’Over (on loan from Britain’s newest New Labour Party) seconded the motion.
As the crisis occasioned by Swedish defiance unfolded, the USG pursued its goals by its signature method: bombing. Relying on historian A.J.P. Taylor’s offhand remark that what a society’s leaders typically do defines its civilization, it directly follows that Yankee civilization is about preaching and bombing. On the practical side, having been at it for a century or more, U.S. military intellectuals possessed highly nuanced bastard scholastic categories for demonstrating the rightness of American bombing. This discourse took up much time at CENTCOM (still in Tampa) and led ultimately to a highly successful web-TV show: “Precision Annihilation.”
Three weeks in, the Swedes declined a generous ceasefire offer of a week’s time for packing up their Dalarna folk art, austere furniture, and smokeless tobacco and moving to Finland. They dug in and had to be Shocked and Awed. When this failed, there was fierce hus-til-hus fighting and the gutting of Stockholm. Worse luck, many now radioactive fjords may be without fish and Russian submarines for centuries.
In a tragic targeting mistake, missiles destroyed the library of the University of Uppsala. U.S. Secretary of Global Education Charlie Philistine expressed regret and impatience just before arresting everyone who denied that we had better stuff in American libraries. “None of that medieval, runic crap, though,” he muttered darkly.
Meanwhile, the usual government contractors, consolidated as Happy Valley Monopoly Associates, Unlimited, moved in the heavy equipment to build the massive ice-park. Progress was rapid, except where Swedish terrorists attacked civilian contractors. In a horrifying incident, Swedish insurgents spray-painted the entire runic alphabet (“futhark”) on a U.S.-NATO napalm supply tank. The Southern Progressive Lawfare Center noted that “Neo-Nazi hate groups often use runic characters.” The proper political officers took the matter very seriously and ordered more air strikes.
Peacekeeping is hell, as General Sherman more or less said.
Last week’s gala Conference on Force Transformation in the Age of Tundra met at the American Institutional Enterprise to consider campaigns in Lapland, the Yukon, and Siberia. A high point came when Homeland Canines shredded an anti-American reporter for asking what the enterprise was and what, precisely, was American about it. This outcome spared the SoD (Secretary of Defense) the trouble of “designating” the man. Since the deceased’s speech pattern had shown suspiciously Scandinavian tonality, the Vice President detained half the population of Minnesota and parts of northern Utah and banned re-runs of “Fargo.”
The conference chair, M.P.T. Barnum went on and on about global ballistics and economic interfaces, but could not restore order. The assembled militarists, some of them actually in the military, shouted him down. “Old hat!” screamed Byron Waster, a 16-year-old New Neocon from North Dakota. “Just nuke everyone and get it over with,” he added, with due gravitas. (His ascent to philosophy will be smooth.)
The conclave ended with a bangless whimper.
Alas, after three years of icebound warfare, things had not gone well. The breakthrough promised under Operation Lapp Top soon stalled. Tens of thousands of reindeer were killed. The usual rock stars and merchant bankers issued an appeal to the impoverished American middle and working classes to support the destitute Saami (formerly Lapps).
Free Speech in Wartime
Meanwhile, domestic debate focused on the ethics of discussing the war. Jason Spratt of the Worldville-based Plato Institute for Talking about Freedom gave an influential talk: “Our commercial republican and classical liberal heritage, still embodied, however vestigially, in the Most Wonderful Government on Earth, demands that we press on, waist deep in the Big Icey. See all of Hamilton’s Federalist essays and Madison’s Federalist #10. Fascist dogs who demand withdrawal must be arrested under the Patriotism and First Refuge Act. This is not the time to question the policy that led to this dark moment.” He added, “There is, anyhow, no plan so crazy, criminal, or just plain stupid, which once undertaken by the Last Best Hope of All Mankind, cannot be transformed into the highest human wisdom and a boon to All Mankind, everywhere in the world. Ice-skating and democracy: one and inseparable!”
Several onlookers found Spratt’s oration “cruel and unusual.” For this, they were cautioned. After a ten minute debate, Congress passed a Universal Permanent Probation Act.
Yet Another Peace Theory
Meanwhile, Vedic Druid Handsome and Max Retro Boot-Heel pursued the hot topic of “Scando-fascism.” The new formula led otherwise sober publicists to demand a wider war -- against Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Shetland, Orkney, the Faeroes, and even Jersey (Old Jersey, not the new one) -- to stamp out Viking evil forevermore. This was the new “key” to perpetual peace, which quickly supplanted the older Democratic Peace Theory and the 19th-century British buy-opium-or-else theory.
On the economic-theoretical side, an assault on Shetland held out the happy prospect of eliminating udal, or allodial tenures, forever. Accordingly, Chicago School economists Renegado Flatfoot and Winston Knowbetter undertook complex mathematical analyses showing the campaign’s ethical basis. The key notion was that a reduction of transaction costs justified any amount of carnage above some arbitrary placeholding number, viz:
TC – N
Δ’ = bombs away!
Although no one knew what the delta prime stood for, a famous Federal Judge praised the theorem1 as the greatest advance in economic science since Milton Friedman’s paper of 1953. Some Catholic New Neocons provided the theorem with a pseudo-Thomistic gloss which cleverly obscured their underlying Calvinistic notion of presidential “charism.”2 Lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel added the economic (but not the theological) matter to Presidential signing statements. Speaking for his friend and colleague Nicolò Machiavelli, political scientist Harry Wolfman endorsed the war, its proposed extension, the next war, the war after that, and wars without end. (The ascent to philosophy is arduous.)
The chauvinist masses took several minutes away from web-televised sport and sex to demand more carnage. Yellow ribbons bearing the legend “Kick Viking Ass” appeared everywhere. Even the President of Harvard had one. Pressure groups forced ribbons on whole neighborhoods as robotic radio hosts cheered them on. Most people needed no forcing, although a man in Hibbing, Minnesota, caught singing old Bob Dylan songs, was forced to eat lutefisk to the point of death or organ failure. The pain was “extreme” but not “serious.” (For definitions see U.S. Global Federal Code, clxxviii, 1 (b) ii, 756 and 798 n.)
Federal District Court #289 found that it was certainly not torture but only “enhanced homicide.” (See Erik Square-Head v. Sam, Next Uncle, and a Patriotic Mob, 34 Wheat & Chaff 685.) In a surprise move, the Justice Department adduced the near-fatal beating in 1812 of Light Horse Harry Lee by justifiably incensed patriots (and not a “mob” as the blame-America-first types claim) as an important precedent. Justice Department lawyers rightly added that Lee’s death a few years later had nothing whatsoever to do with the beating, but resulted solely from the unhealthy climate of Georgia -- or perhaps Bermuda.
“They’re All Quislings Over There” became the number one country hit. By presidential order, airport lounges worldwide played the song continuously. The President also adjourned Congress and closed the courts except for revenue cases.
A Slight Mistake
A patriotic campaign, honestly undertaken, to purge Scandinavian words from American English (or its remnant) backfired when it was learned that everyday activity would falter without th*m. Once more, economists looked to transaction costs. Before the campaign ended, however, several people served jail time for ordering scrambled e**s in a public restaurant. The campaign d**d with a b*g b**g, but left Old Nick, Old Scratch, and Friday unscathed, as well t**y might be. The whole thing proved very a*k***d. (We are filling banned words with asterisks, just in case.)
Look to Norway or Some-Damned-Where
Despite the resistance of narrow isolationists, deplorables, bitter clingers, and pre-9/11 bumpkins, the Universal Nation chose to “stay the course and slay the Norse.” As President Cutthroat says, “Build it and they will skate.” He adds, “You just can’t build a dang-old world market resting on peace, transparency, and human rights without making an omelet. Bring on the, uh, eggs! We’ll smash those rune-mongers!”
The writer, editors, and publishers of this news story believe in Good Faith that nothing herein contained violates any provision of the Test Oath Act for Detention (TOAD Act, 2011), which prudently provides for universal entrapment, interstellar surveillance, and appropriately indefinite, cruel and usual punishment under the electrical and all other implied powers ever dreamed up by the Supreme Court.3
1 For educational purposes only, compare Eric A. Posner and Alan O. Sykes, “Optimal War and Jus ad Bellum,” John M. Olin Law & Economics Working Paper No. 211 (April 2004).
2 See Franz Neumann, Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1933-1994 (New York: Harper & Row, 1966 ), 87-92. See also, pretty much anything by the new, improved Hadrian Furmule, especially The City of God and the City of Sam (forthcoming). His election as Pontifex Max of the Universal Americanist Church is in the bag. Bets may be placed at the usual venues. Ladbrokes is open!
3 See Burnt Njál vs. Eight Unnamed Federal Electricians and Three Power Cords, 29 Sparks & Kindle, 432. The Government cited Benjamin Franklin, ffounder, in favor of the Electrical Power.
Arvid Nyquist was nineteen years old and an utter No-Hoper the day the Social Contract arrived in the mail. He knew little about anything, had no idea of what he would do in life, and no idea how his life (or anyone’s) would turn out. He was, therefore, the ideal person to wrestle with a Social Contract. For this reason, the Social Contract Committee had allotted three votes to him and all others of his general description. Less reliable folk, steeped in tradition and (therefore) bad ideas, had only two votes and sometimes only one.
Anyhow, if anyone was ever behind a Veil of Ignorance, Nyquist was the guy. He should have had ten votes. He was the original Unencumbered Self, assuming he got as far as having a Self at all. For the Social Contract Committee, he was a real discovery, almost as good as a boy raised by wolves in India. Actually, he was raised by rather indifferent people in Indiana. In a modern American court, he would have been the ideal juror.
Anyway, the Committee – more formally, the Presidential Commission on the Thought of John Rawls – even put Nyquist on its ubiquitous posters promoting the Social Contract Process. Nyquist didn’t know that, either. To see how all this got started, we have to go back to 2030, when President Wiley Cutthroat’s advisors convinced him that the United State was way behind the theory curve compared with the European Union. “Well, who the hell do they read?” thundered his Electedness, consciously modeling himself on the legendary Elby Jay. A quivering advisor managed to choke out, “John Rawls, Sir.” “Well, we’d better all read him,” grunted the Unitary One before turning on his heel toward the Overseas Peacetime Targeting Room. (They say he was always happiest there.)
Anyway, one thing led to far too many other things and before you knew it, there was a Presidential Commission working on a Social Contract suited to our times. Any skeptic can imagine how awful the results would be. Even so, it was duly enrolled on a scroll ten by ninety meters with copies mailed out for approval by the masses. The copies, naturally, were smaller. The document contained 411 Articles, supplemented with twenty volumes of commentary not mailed out.
Everything seemed to be in the Social Contract – from something called the Paregorical Imperative (or so Nyquist read it) to the kitchen sink, or at least a “right” to modern plumbing. This last item was an implication of some UN document from the late 1940s. Rawls’s famous “difference principle” was enshrined along with some escape clauses involving an Italian fellow called Pear Toe and some kind of optimism. The right to a national identity was on page 81, limited only by the prior right to a global identity (p. 2).
So of course, Nyquist was perplexed. What was a Social Contract after all – and what was he supposed to do about it? His friends offered advice. One said, “Well, this Social Contract’s all one thing, Arvid, you got to vote it up or down -- the whole deal. You can’t pick out things you like and vote for them.” Another friend added, “This is it. You gotta be careful. Once you vote, you’ve voted for all time.” These comments were true enough. There was ample precedent, too. We had a deal like that once before in 1787-1789, or so many folks said. Of course, Nyquist didn’t know that.
Soon total strangers came around trying to influence Nyquist’s vote. This was very much against the rules. The Committee had made it clear that the three voting classes – unencumbered, slightly encumbered, and badly encumbered – were to deliberate on their own, without reference works of any kind or any outside influence whatsoever. Exceptions were to be made at the Committee’s discretion. The process greatly resembled public zoning hearings, but was much more streamlined. Attempts were made to block radio and other waves from reaching the disassembled sovereigns – the “sovereign stooges,” as one cynic(1) had called them.
Even so, Marxists dropped around to lecture Nyquist on the Social Contract’s failure to sort out the means of production and Georgists hounded him about its failure to include the Single Tax. There were many other such axe-grinding delegations. Finally, a very elderly Catholic Priest called Father Brown came along, accompanied by some fellow known only as GKC. These two ghostly figures were at pains to show Nyquist that whatever the Social Contract said, it could not stand above the divine and natural laws.
Nyquist was more confused than ever. He wasn’t sure he liked Article 238 about every Sentient Being’s “right” to have his social outlook coercively altered if any two Mental Security Officers so directed. Then there was the “right” to serve as a soldier in humanitarian interventions. These “rights” seemed never to end.
Time was short. The great day was fast approaching when the Sovereign Isolates would announce their soon-to-be-aggregated wills. In fact, the big day was tomorrow.
In the end -- and defying earlier expectations -- Nyquist voted against the Social Contract. En tusen jävla! [A thousand devils!] What had this boy done? A pandemonium of outrage rose up. You’d have thought the Stock Market had crashed (again) and all the ravenous crows in New Jersey had arrived on your front lawn. Nyquist’s “ratification refusal” was not to be tolerated – why, he was a Failed Constituent Actor. As always, Jason Spratt of the Plato Institute (putting the oats back in the haute bourgeoisie since 1979) took the lead in affirming the inner-and-outer conventional Wisdom. “See here, Nyquist,” he sputtered in an op-ed in the Universal New York Times, “you can’t reject the Social Contract. It is irrefutably the product of your Free Will, to be sure, but just as irrefutably that Free Will must be properly formed and must yield the right outcome, or where would we be?” Assuming serially the personas of Madison, Marshall, Lincoln, Plato, al-Farabi, Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke, and Harry Jaffa (not in that order), Spratt continued: “We the People are the Ultimate Sovereign, just as the Cuban People (materially present in Miami) are the Ultimate Sovereign over our American Coaling Station in Guantánamo. But proper and just sovereignty must never be used for Evil. When it is, it forfeits its claims. We are surprised that Nyquist has not distilled these points from the four winds whence we ourselves gathered them.”
Social Contact supporters in general waxed abusive. Law Professor Crass Sunshine saw Nyquist as “obviously suffering from anti-federalist panic,” while Old Neo-Conservative Robert Warlike Pagan wrote an instant book, Nyquist: Copperhead, Traitor, and Francophile. Poor Nyquist – that ideal numskull – was unrepentant. He’d never thought much in his life and then these people demanded he think and now they didn’t like the results. This didn’t seem fair, although naturally he had little notion of the status of fairness in the Rawlsian hoodoo. So, of course, he was tasered(2) – and more than once. He lived, but vowed never again to take up Serious Thought. And so might we all do, when offered an abstract social contract.
Hic expliciunt gestae Arvidii Nyquisti
1 Historian Eugen Weber.
2 The Social Contract wisely provided for an Electrical Power, citing Benjamin Franklin, founder, on the subject. This power usefully supplemented the Commerce Power, the War Power, and the Anything-At-All Power (“The Popular Assembly shall have power to make all laws easy and convenient”).
Crisis of the Coming Thing
If populists are “far right” and literally “fascists” and “Nazis” (in the actual meaning of literally), then things must be looking pretty grim just now. In light of the political downfall of two major Girl Bosses - New Zealand’s lockdown queen Jacinda Ardern and Scotland’s ineffable Nicola Sturgeon - the state and corporate commissars of global management will need a new global political strategy. They need a course correction to regain their composure while endeavoring to persevere in their selfless quest to create the Perfect Society under their indispensable oversight. Post-humanity cries out for such a geographical fix.
A More Prefab Union
The obvious solution is Cal-Euphoria, a hyper-enlightened fusion of Atlantic, Pacific, and even Indian Ocean polities, and one with a glorious future. The new enterprise would initially include California, western Oregon, western Washington State, Scotland, New Zealand, and Dan Andrew’s Victoria (separated from Oz down under), along with any Canadian province that consistently gives le chienlit (J. Trudeau) most of its votes. All political bodies whose peasants, petty bourgeoisie, and working class heroes are thoroughly cowed, would be welcome participants in this (provisionally) Radiant Future.
There are many other suitable U.S. entrants, including New York and other “blue” states. Nor can we rule out Spain, under its present management, or post-Catholic Ireland. The whole UK, with a bloody great Hindoo (doing the best that he kin do) as Prime Minister, may qualify. Post-Teutonic Germany is a shoo-in, and well-governed South Africa – where there are no plaasmoorde(1) -- will be on the shortlist.
Perils of Federalism
Of course, some problems might arise along the way. It would be unwise for the cybernating illuminati to call their new managerial bloc a “federation,” even in the unfortunate U.S. sense of a unitary state that wears federal finery on ceremonial occasions. This is because federal language might lead dangerous elements within each member state to imagine there are limits on the central authorities and even a right to withdraw. A grand but meaningless name will be needed, such as “union,” “common destiny,” “co-prosperity sphere,” or “benevolent empire.” Similarly, any system-wide declaration of “rights” (nice as they may be) will have to nullify its own apparent content with appropriate obfuscating language. Canadian advice will be useful here.
Meet the New Boss, Worse than the Old Boss
It is implicit in the project that old colonial administrative abuses will take on entirely different meanings when revived under post-Colonialism. Full cooperation between the several police agencies of Cal-Euphoria will be perfected. The existing U.S.-U.K.-Canadian-Australian-New Zealand joint project of purging every ancient right and privilege found in English law will go forward (where else?) at light speed. Negations duly negated, the underlying populations will be officially happy.
The provisional character of the new “union” is implicit, but should never be mentioned in polite company. The point is not a mere league of likeminded entities but a suitable staging area for relaunching the global postmodern, post-human, post-rational, cyber-maniacal dystopia that warms the managerial soul. With proper planning, Moloch will triumph. The forward Clock of Progress must go on striking, despite some wicked comments made by Murray Rothbard. If it strikes bystanders, they will not be victims. Enemies of Progress never are.
Let the Californication begin! As Orwell almost said, the future is a high-heeled sneaker stomping on a human face, forever. Turning the clock back will be verboten and subject to airstrikes. Indeed, everything that is not mandated, will be forbidden.(2)
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1. Farm murders. Donald Trump mentioned them, which only proves that they never happen.
2. This paraphrases something found in an old Sci-Fi novel involving corporate feudalism: “Alles was nicht Pflicht ist, ist verboten.”
Now, this is a story about King Samid of the many names: Master of Knowledge, Ruler of Electrons, Maker of Worlds, and so on. For the sake of the truth, however, it must be said that Samid was not his right name but only a nickname, a kind of witty saying around the office. In sooth, he was born Samuel I.D. Knowytall (of the Knowytalls of Somerset and Kent, who still pronounced the K well into the 18th century), his middle names being ‘Ipse’ and ‘Dixit.’ Anyway, by the time we take up his life, he had become Supreme Director of the VNA, the Very Nosy Agency, which was also very secret.
Long ago, the agency had started out doing piecework on signal intelligence and had since grown into the biggest consumer of raw ‘facts’ and ‘data’ that’s ever been. It had also grown very arrogant and very confident along the way. It could encode and decode anything, from a fried burrito to a Russian icon. It had, for example, decoded the inner meaning of the word ‘transparency’ as used in official U.S. diplomatic harangues for four or so decades: it meant that every person, animal, tree, rock, or substantial form, foreign or domestic, was morally bound to reveal its ‘data’ to the American Empire, which only has their best interests at heart. (This rule did not apply to the U.S. ruling classes. Their ‘data’ was EX-LOOP, or special.)
Eventually, the agency noticed that it had not put quite the same burden, in the same degree, on every person, animal, tree, rock, etc. at home. Those objects had sat too long under the imperfect but high-sounding protections of the ‘law.’ The most famous of these legal ‘protections’ were warehoused in some 18th-century Grocery List called the Bill of Rights. These feckless abstractions would have to go.
Now, all ‘U.S. persons, U.S. quartz, U.S. cowpeas, and U.S. Everything’ (as one memo put it) were fair game. Everyone and everything, everywhere in the world, were on an equal footing. This victory for universal and egalitarian subjection to Sam, Uncle, fulfilled some ancient rhetoric of FDR, in a way. But it was not well liked, ‘everywhere in the world.’
In pursuit of its supra-legal, supra-moral, and supra-sensible mission the agency’s operatives had undertaken the great project of assembling every ‘fact’ or ‘datum’ they could find and were putting the lot into storage facilities for present, future, and (possibly) past evaluation. Coded-named TOWEROFBABBLE, the program was very well funded and seemed to be yielding results. ‘Just look at the size of the storage,’ Samid gloated. ‘If it were on paper, we could fill the Grand Canyon and still need more space.’
So as to have this ‘data’ directly available – all of it – in ‘real time,’ the Agency invented its very own seer stones (as they wittily called them), or Glasses of All Knowledge (GAK). These were a lot like an ‘application’ loudly hawked a few years ago in the public market, whereby the ‘user’ would have the Whole Bloody Internet available in a little device suspended before his eyeballs. This commercial ‘app’ fell somewhat short on sales, but the VNA, from the Director on down, thought it was just the thing. The Agency’s version was even better and could shoe-horn all the data in the world, serially, onto the little screen.
The Director got the first one – the prototype device -- and seldom removed it. And here is where things started going wrong. Let us look in on his unforeseen hardships. On a given day, which is classified, the physically embodied Director felt the need for a shower. Still wearing his special glasses, he was idly singing something when, as if cued, his glasses began showing him hundreds of books on music history and music theory. ‘What?’ he cried. ‘I’m in the shower. Can’t they leave some of this stuff in that place where we stow everything – ah, um’ – he was losing more and more words under the cumulative weight of information. ‘Oh! Utah!’ he shouted. His glasses instantly displayed the full set of Bureau of Land Management maps of Utah, followed by three full histories of the Utah (or Mormon) War (1857-1858).
Alas, in the middle of all this useful information, the embodied Director registered that the water was more than warm. ‘Hot!’ he bellowed, and another device – an artificially unintelligent thermo-apparatus -- increased the heat. ‘Bless my soul!’ he yelled (forgetting he was a materialist), ‘too much heat!’ And the physical Director threw himself through the shower curtain, crashing onto the hard tile floor. Shaken but unbowed, he dried off and retrieved the glasses which had fallen off in the struggle. Now they were showing him the names, addresses, and likely political affiliations of every heating-and-cooling firm from Baghdad to Benghazi and beyond. They had already covered the letter ‘D’ by the time he recovered his wits. The overseas contractors listed seemed very wily cowboys indeed, as anyone who has dealt with a heating contractor would know.
Now dressed, the material Director felt hungry and padded to the kitchen. His glasses of all knowledge were still pursuing the theme of ‘heat’ and had moved on to thermodynamics. ‘I think I’ll make a burger,’ he said to himself, and the glasses began displaying the details of every human life-form named ‘Burger’ in full detail. There were thousands in Germany, tagged as ‘Sour Krauts,’ and a comparable number in the American Midwest, helpfully marked as ‘U.S. Persons’; there were others in South Australia and South Africa, flagged as ‘FORN GNATS.’ Transfixed by all this usable-knowledge-on-parade, the Director lost track of time as hours and hours passed – thirty-six of them in all. Words and images streamed in: ‘Burghers (Netherlands),’ ‘Burgesses (House of),’ ‘Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch,’ ‘Bürgerrecht,’ and so forth. By the time the director awoke, so to speak, his magic glasses were going on about ‘borough franchises,’ ‘bourgeoisie,’ ‘bourgeois revolution as seen by State Department socialists,’ ‘bourgeois revolutions in formerly unfriendly states,’ and much more. He hadn’t eaten and felt very weak: an odd outcome, indeed, considering that knowledge is power, as Bacon saith.
The Director tottered on the brink of learning a rather simple thing. He stared into the abyss, and the Abgrund (having rudely switched languages on him) stared zurück. A frightening thought tugged at his waking-awareness: Could it be that ‘data’ are not exactly ‘facts’ and that -- in any case -- data and facts (whatever they are) do not straightforwardly yield ‘information’? And -- much worse – information may not be the same thing as knowledge, much less wisdom or truth. “Oh, the pain!” he cried, and his headset immediately took him through scores of medical treatises, Torture Memos written for George the Second Bush, ‘organ failure,’ and the rest of it.
They found him the next day (also classified), floating in a foul pool of raw data. A fact-eating grin marked the last moment of his union with the electrons. His gravestone reads: ‘Samuel I.D. Knowytall, 1945-2022, Servant of Sam, Master of the Urim and Thummim, First Lord of All Data. Requiescat in ephemeris.’
It would be nice to be able to say, ‘nothing beside remains,’ but that would not be strictly true – and just our luck.
Hic explicunt res gestae Samuel I.D. Omniscientis.
 His hired genealogists assert his direct relation to John Locke and Thomas Hobbes.
 Depending on the feasibility of time travel.
 Why can these people not use the English language Englishly?
 For another view of the issues treated here, see Joseph R. Stromberg, “Power and Knowledge: Socialist and Militarist Calculation problems,” Future of Freedom, February 2015, 19-25, http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/power-knowledge-socialist-militarist-calculation-problems/ .
 Americans have long confused electricity with spirit and Sam I.D. Knowytall was no exception.