First, a snippet from one of my books:
Patrick Wolzman mounted the dais and addressed the crowd.
“Things have been fairly quiet around here lately,” he said. “Quiet enough that you might be wondering why I called this meeting. It’s simple enough, really. Has anyone else been following developments at Morelon House?”
Barton started. Althea came to full alert. The crowd murmured uneasily.
Wolzman nodded. “I thought not. I have, for several reasons. The Morelons have turned their mansion into a fortress. They’ve mounted big guns at all points of the compass. Laser cannons like the ones here.” He waved at the Spacehawk laser turrets. “It got me wondering why, and about what else they might have planned for the near future.”
His gaze fell directly upon Barton. “I see the Morelon patriarch has graced us with his presence. Perhaps he’d care to join me up here and explain the actions of his clan, which many of us might deem provocative.”
Barton growled “Hold hard, Al,” moved to the front of the gathering, and hoisted himself onto the dais with some difficulty. He glared at Wolzman with unconcealed anger.
“Refresh my memory, Patrick,” he said in his sweetest tones. “Your clan is in the weapons business, is it not?”
Wolzman nodded warily.
“Have you had a downturn in business lately?”
“Not noticeably, no.”
“Well, what moves you to question the desire of Clan Morelon to develop some weapons of its own? You don’t mean to claim a monopoly over the trade, do you?”
In the perimeter lights around the battery, Wolzman’s face darkened visibly. Yet glimmering behind the mask of anger was a well-concealed smile of satisfaction.
“Monopolies are why we’re here, Bart,” he said. “Just now, Clan Morelon wields a trio of them. And a few of us here and a few not so nearby are getting just a wee bit worried at the trend.”
Barton frowned. “We have no monopolies. Everything we sell is available from other sources.”
Wolzman produced a smile of triumph. He turned to face the crowd.
“Who here gets his power from a source other than a Morelon fusion plant? Please raise a hand.”
No one did so. Wolzman nodded. “And what clan, whether or not it’s represented here, possesses ground-to-orbit capability and an outpost on the Relic? Please! Don’t all answer at once.”
The uneasy rustling from the crowd became more pronounced.
“Monopolies,” Wolzman said. “Not engineered by the destruction of your competition, I’ll grant that. But complete enough that if you wanted to ruin any of us, for any reason, you have the wherewithal, either by cutting off our electrical power or by bombarding us from sperosynchronous orbit.”
—Don’t interfere, Al.
—I know. Don’t.
“What would make anyone think we plan any such thing?” Barton was maintaining his composure with an all too visible effort. “We’re merely using technology to provide electrical power—a product, I might add, that derives completely from my kinswoman’s massive investments and embrace of enormous personal risks to achieve that bastion on the Relic, where she did the research that produced it.” He waved at Althea, who had moved to the front of the crowd. “There she is, Patrick. Will you castigate her for her industry, her bravery, or both?”
“Neither,” Wolzman said. “I’m castigating you and your clan, for not sharing her breakthroughs with the community at large.”
Barton snorted. “And what ethical principle would compel us to do that? Oh, by the way, I’m still waiting to hear about our third monopoly. You did say ‘trio,’ didn’t you?”
Wolzman nodded. “I did. Show the crowd your left arm.”
Barton stared at him in incredulity. “Are you serious?”
He skinned back his sleeve.
The arm was essentially regrown. It hadn’t yet developed to a mature girth or muscle tone; that would take time, nutrition, and a long course of steadily intensifying exercise. Nevertheless, it was complete, all the way to a hand with fingers and a nail at the end of each.
“A brand new appendage, ladies and gentlemen,” Wolzman purred. “For those of you unaware of it, Bart lost that arm in combat with forces to which my clan was allied. Forces that came together for the same reasons I’ve asked you here this evening: to break the Morelon stranglehold on facilities that no single clan should command. Facilities that simple justice demands they be shared with all of Hope.
“There’s the third of them, Bart. With the adoption of Claire Albermayer—”
“It’s Claire Morelon now, Patrick,” Barton spat.
Wolzman nodded. “As you wish. With that adoption, Clan Morelon has acquired the power of bodily regeneration. The ability to replace any lost or damaged body part, as long as the victim remains alive. Do you plan to share that with the rest of us, Bart?”
Althea had reached battle readiness. She restrained herself from leaping onto the dais by the narrowest of margins.
“It will be commercialized,” Barton said.
“Oh?” Wolzman snorted. “How generous! What you’ve received as a gift from your adoptee, we will have to pay for! Shall we bow to your majestic beneficence now, or would you prefer to have our obeisance choreographed?”
[From Freedom’s Fury, the third volume of my Spooner Federation trilogy.]
Hope, a world populated by the descendants of anarchists who fled Earth before the genocidal wrath of the States, has grown prosperous and well populated...well populated enough that some have arisen who envy their fellows’ superior achievements and seek power over them. They tried, earlier in the series, to take what they wanted by force, but failed. (That’s the reason Clan Morelon fortified its two mansions as described above.) In the above, we see one of their leading lights trying the other perennial tactic of the Left: inducing neighbors to distrust one another.
Eowyn of the excellent Fellowship of the Minds notes a smaller-scale example of the tactic:
Use of snitches seems instinctive to the Left....
B. Christopher Agee reports for Western Journalism, Dec. 4, 2014, that in response to a shooting incident last week in downtown Austin, Police Chief Acevedo held a press conference to emphasize the shooting could have been prevented had someone reported the gunman’s behavior to law enforcement before his rampage.
Saying that he stays awake at nights worrying about “these homegrown extremists that are lone wolves, that are mad at the world, that are angry,” Acevedo encouraged Austin residents to report to authorities anyone “who’s a gun enthusiast or is armed with these types of firearms and they’re showing any type of propensity for hatred.”
The police chief said: “It’s important for us as Americans to know our neighbors, to know our families. Tell somebody if you know somebody that is acting pecu—with a lot of hatred toward any particular group.”
Couching his instruction with the caveat that turning in a friend or family member for owning guns “doesn’t mean that we’re going to take them to jail,” Acevedo noted that “we might want to vet these people.”
By my lights, Acevedo’s words, if they were reported accurately in the above, constitute adequate grounds for removing him from his position and barring him from ever again occupying a position of public trust. But Austin, despite being the capital of gun-friendly Texas, is rather far to the left politically, so I doubt that any such thing will occur. However, it’s Eowyn’s first sentence that’s most thematic:
Use of snitches seems instinctive to the Left.
Not only is it reflexive on their part; it’s also highly revealing. Totalitarians of all stripes are aware that they can never command sufficient police power to impose their will on a whole nation, unless their subjects actively participate in the process of oppression.
But in a free, peaceful, prosperous commonwealth, that’s a very difficult thing to do ab initio. It requires an emotional infrastructure that must be carefully designed and laid down.
It requires a pervasive atmosphere of fear.
Among the Left’s recent losses of more than transient importance has been its loss of two tactics of longstanding importance: racism-shouting and “women’s issues.” Note how badly candidates who leaned on those traditional pillars were beaten in the recent elections. The implication seems obvious: it’s no longer sufficient for the Left to accuse conservative or libertarian candidates of wanting to oppress Negroes and / or women. Yet those tactics have been instrumental in its rise to political power and to its grip on what it still possesses. Therefore, it must seek new weapons to take the place of those it has unintentionally blunted.
The Left’s gropings appear to have landed on an approach no man of good will would have expected: accusations of sexual predation. Consider the following stories:
- Lena Dunham’s claim that she was raped “by a College Republican.”
- Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s whole-cloth fantasy about a gang-rape at a University of Virginia frat house.
- Danmell Ndonye’s claim to have been raped at Hofstra University.
- This case, which the hard-left Sacramento Bee appears to have scrubbed from its online edition.
Each of these “rapes” was used by the Left as a tool for encouraging women to fear men – especially for young women to fear young men. If that doesn’t have you thinking about Rupert’s cri de coeur, check your pulse: you may have died and not noticed.
Pervasive mutual fear is the most fertile of all soils in which to germinate a totalitarian State.
Only by turning us against one another can the Left succeed in completing its campaign to extinguish all traces of freedom.
We already live under a cloud of fear, but at this time it’s principally fear of government. So many organs of government at all levels have been revealed as predacious exploiters of power and privilege that Americans’ trust in government has sunk to an all-time low. No one believes any longer in the restraining effects of the Constitution or the guarantees of the Bill of Rights. No one grants any agent of the State the presumption of benevolence. And no one with three functioning brain cells willingly allows a uniformed “law enforcement officer” into his home...especially not those of us with dogs.
The situation is grave, and becoming graver as we speak.The IRS has embraced its role as Censor of the Right to a degree even I could not have predicted. Other of the “alphabet agencies” are striving with all their power to suppress American enterprise, that the Left’s gains in reducing so many of us to dependence on State handouts not be reversed. And of course, we have the rampant use of militarized local police forces and their unConstitutional use of “civil asset forfeiture” to fund their operations and keep us all cowering behind our curtains.
Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley has several times spoken of a “tipping point,” passing which could put an end to any remaining semblance of Constitutional government. If we haven’t yet passed such a point, we’re surely teetering at the edge of it today.
Food for thought.
(Cross-posted at Liberty’s Torch.)