Category: Feature

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Wednesday’s Child: A State of No Conscience

“In an instant I had my lifelong foe by the throat. After so many years of waiting and longing, he was mine at last. I tore him to shreds and fragments. I rent the fragments to bits. I cast the bleeding rubbish into the fire, and drew into my nostrils the grateful incense of my burnt-offering.  At last, and forever, my Conscience was dead!  I was a free man!  I turned upon my poor aunt, who was almost petrified with terror, and shouted: ‘Out of this house with your paupers, your charities, your reforms, your pestilent morals! You behold before...

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The Paul Ehrlich Half-Century

People like to give names to periods. During the span from 1968 to 2018, numerous events happened: the end of the Cold War, the rise of the computers and so on. But one thing now stands out: demographic collapse in almost every country. So I’m calling it the Paul Ehrlich Half-Century because 1968 was the year his book “The Population Bomb” was published by the Sierra Club and Ballantine Books, whose publicists had a flair for marketing.  The paperbook version included a lit bomb on the cover, along with the subheadings: “Population Control or Race to Oblivion?” And, in shouting...

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Wednesday’s Child: A London Postscript

 While I was in London, an old friend of mine and I had what can be described as an emotional misunderstanding, and since then I’ve thought of little else. Particularly in view of the fact that had it not been for this friend’s nearly infinite kindness to me over the years, I probably wouldn’t be here now writing about it, or about anything else for that matter. So I could do worse, I figured, than to extrapolate the misunderstanding and extract a moral out of its reflective depths. The moral is that modern civilization has compromised sentiment. In about the...

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The Decline of the American Empire: Recessional I

I am revising a series of articles and lectures I wrote on American Imperialism.  In some places I have deleted political references that have lost their significance, in others I have expanded and developed an argument in light of later events and more serious consideration.   The first version of this was written in (so far as I can tell) 2002.  While the Trump administration may, viewed in retrospect, represent a lull in the imperialists’ Grand Design to wipe the old America from the face of the earth, no President willing to hire John Bolton or Nikki Haley can be regarded as a defender of the American Republic.

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Born Out of Due Time, by Ched P. Rayson, I: The Think Tank Murders, Chapter Thirteen

Listen, Smith.  Cut the crap.  I heard some things.  You bin talkin to Mario and crazy Cheech, ’n so?  They’re nothin but trouble.  For Mr. Wright’s sake and the folks over at Veritas, I’m gonna pretend you weren’t assin aroun with me.  They’re doing important work there, it could put this town on the map. We don’t need a smart-mouthed stranger comin in to mess things up.  Capish?

30

Reaching the Boiling Point

The change-over in the House was predicted by pundits from the day of Donald Trump’s election and therefore means very little.  Nonetheless, it does show that the American electorate–it is hardly possible to speak of Americans as “a people”–is not only divided by class and region and race but even segments that supported Trump two years ago failed him.  A cynic might say it is because America’s blue-collar class and Middle Americans in general are fat, stupid, and cowardly, and cynics are generally right.

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Properties of Blood, Vol. II, Chapter III: “The Law’s A Ass.”

Feminists, looking back at the traditional sex roles of 19th and 20th century Europe and the Americas, have often written sneeringly of “the patriarchy,” as if the insertion of the definite article confers an academic anathema upon the word.  Anti-feminists have responded by explicitly defending patriarchy or by discussing male dominance in terms of the rigid hierarchy of baboons.  But human social life has little in common with that of the boorish baboon, and “patriarchy,” as the word suggests, refers properly not to the virtually universal human tendency toward male dominance but to societies in which the fathers and senior males rule over the family and tribal structure with sovereign authority.   

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Born Out of Due Time, by Ched P. Rayson, Chapter Twelve

There are people in this town who’d like to see Mac Ross out of a job so they could get their hands on whatever they think he has got going.  They could have hired you.  Who knows?  Maybe you only meant to scare them so that you could gain their confidence by playing detective.  How the hell do I know what goes on in someone like you—a loner without friends or visible means of support?  I already have a report on my desk that you beat up a teenager in a men’s room, while you were attacking a teenage girl.”