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America in
Chains

THE BADGUYS April 28, 2009

“There are those who insist that nobody ever thinks of himself as
a villain. On the contrary, I think that villains know perfectly well
who they are. Don’t you?”

Chapter Six of my latest novel, _Ceres_, being serialized here at
www.BigHeadpress.com, opens with a question, in the form of an excerpt
from the “Diaries of Rosalie Frazier Ngu”, the protagonists’ great
grandmother, a sort of Laura Ingalls Wilder of the Pallatian frontier.
The chapter, in which we meet some of the villains of the piece, is
entitled “Save the Earth”, which might give you an idea of who they
are.

Many individuals spend a considerable portion of their lifetimes
in terror of one imagined catastrophe or another. The classic is that
your immortal soul will be consigned to eternal torment in the never-
ending subterranean barbecue if you fail to follow the whacky edicts
of one particular set of puckered dogwhistles or another. You may
recall from the great movie _Strange Days_ that a “dogwhistle”, is a
guy whose asshole is so tight that when he farts, only dogs can hear
him.

It only took a few thousand years (I often worry about my species’
intelligence) for that confidence game, in its hundreds of variations
to wear thin, at which point other menaces had to be invented in order
to keep the populace in line, and at the same time, coughing up the
bucks.

An early success in this country, spread by newspapers like a kind
of disease, was the so-called Yellow Peril, the dire possibility that
we all might take to smoking opium and eating chop suey and chow mein,
while our wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters were taken into white
slavery.

See the 1967 movie _Thoroughly Modern Millie_.

Of course we know now that the biggest dope peddler in the world
was the British goverment, which waged a couple of brutal wars to
force their junk on the Chinese. (I believe the franchise has shifted
lately to the CIA, which performs much the same “service” in southern
California.)

We also know that Asian immigrants to our shores represent one of
the greatest gifts this country has ever been given. They are inclined
to be intelligent, hard-working, innovative, capitalistic, and —
maybe it’s just me — not only generate the most wonderful food on the
planet, but, as I believe P.J. O’Rourke put it, produce more beautiful
women per square yard than you’ll run into at the average Miss America
pageant.

Of course other groups of newcomers — the Irish, the Italians —
found themselves the objects of similar scare-cons in the past. Most
recently, it’s been immigrants from various countries south of the
border. While I realize that there are many individuals of what I
would call “good conscience” who are concerned about this situation,
not to put too fine a point on it, they are wrong. Everything that the
most xenophobic fearmongers and their easily frightened “marks” claim
about Latin American immigrants today was claimed a century and a half
ago about my own ancestors. But it isn’t the border, it’s the welfare
state that needs fixing — in a veterinary sense. With time, as these
latest folks make themselves a part of American culture, all but the
most hopelessly paranoid and bigoted will come to welcome and value
them.

But as usual, I have digressed.

It should be clear by now that the natural evolution followed by
any democracy is toward what might be called “phobiacracy”. Frightened
populations with the ability to vote will, sooner or later, hand power
to whatever demagogues who exploit their fear most adroitly. Certainly
every American politician of the 20th century knew this, which is why
they treated their constituencies to tales of evil Huns, Red Scare I,
the not-so-Great Depression, more evil Huns, Yellow Peril II (thick
glasses and buck teeth instead of pigtails), Red Scare II, and The
Bomb.

Now, of course, it’s all them Arabs and Muslims who hate us for
our freedom (wherever the hell _that’s_ gone to) and want to blow
everything up. At least that’s what right wing socialists would have
us believe. (It used to be trenchcoated anarchists with little round
bombs.)

Among left wing socialists, it’s somewhat less fashionable lately
to use foreigners and members of other races to maintain the voters
and taxpayers in a state of constant terror, so they’ve come up with
innovative items like overpopulation, DDT (the _banning_ of which has
caused millions of deaths — but don’t worry, they’re only Third
Worlders and to a “liberal” don’t really count), Global Cooling, the
exhaustion of planetary resources, and, most lately, the mother of all
con-games — short of the concept of government itself — Global
Warming.

Global Warming was a pseudoscientific theory that has now been
completely disproven and discredited. Yet propaganda in support of he
idea continues to spew from every TV set in the land, chiefly because
an unimaginable amount of money and political power are at stake. On
“Earth Day”, former Vice President Albert Gore, Junior, who has made
himself the High Priest of this bizarre new faith, delivered a long,
tedious speech about what he is now forced to call “Climate Change”,
full of petulance and infantile fury because, with every formerly
intimidated scientist who finally speaks up — and news of it spreads
far and wide across the Internet — his audience is beginning to slip
way.

Some of them, at least, “Won’t get fooled again”.

Each and every one of these dire conceits — along with acid rain,
ozone depletion, deforestation, desertification, and the indescribable
and unimaginable perils to American youth associated with video game
violence — is a unmitigated, bald-faced lie, but with government
muscle and money to back them up, and the “embedded” media to shout
their opposition down, the leftis think they’re going to get away with
it forever. And should the Internet continue to level the playing
field, they’ll just use some phony declaration of emergency to shut it
off.

Temporarily.

For the duration.

You understand.

Watch out for the chicken-pig-armadillo-dinosaur flu!

As a science fiction author (no, I am not changing the subject,
bear with me for a few more lines), it has been my job for thirty-two
years to write about events that haven’t happened yet. Unlike the
Hairspray Anointed Ones who feed us our daily dose of “news”, it goes
against my grain simply to make things up, pull them out of thin air,
or out of somewhere else. I’m happy to leave all that to the various
news networks.

I don’t usually make standup predictions, either, but, employing
what I understand of history and human nature, let events unfurl, and
let my characters act, in some context that serves them and the story.
This is how I predicted computer-aided forensics in my first novel,
_The Probability Broach_, when the characters used the Telecom (the
Internet — I predicted that, too) to record and analyze physical
evidence.

In my novel _Ceres_, there is less room, geographically speaking,
for phobiacracy to operate. Americans living west of what I call the
Webb Line”, where the primordial forests ended and the Grand Prairie
began, have effectivly seceded (they no longer bother sending senators
and representatives to Washington) from what they call East America,
and have gone off in their own in a more or less libertarian direction
– a process in the real world that is well underway at this very
moment.

In East America, however, the con-game goes on as it always has.
The leading fear-mongers at the moment are a group known as the Mass
Movement, directed by Rachel Carson-worshipping author Anna Wertham
Savage.

As better specimens of mankind have opened the Solar System to
exploration and development, many materials, ordinary and unique, and
many finished products flow downsystem from an increasing number of
“Settled Worlds” to Earth. Those who believe they have a right to
control their fellow human beings correctly perceive that, as humanity
arises from the Earth into the rest of the System, eventually to the
stars themselves, they will be left behind, controlling nothing and
nobody.

This historical process must be stopped at any cost. Naturally,
reflexively, Mankind’s controllers turn to their most familiar weapon,
_fear_.

If material continues to be imported from the asteroids, the Moon,
or Mars, these spiritual descendant of Algore preach, it will increase
the mass of the Earth’s crust, implacably slowing its rotation —
relative to the planet’s core — until it wrinkles monumentally and
ruptures, destroying every living thing in a tidal wave of white-hot
magma.

The science, they inform the round-heeled East American media (who
dutifully feed it to what they hope are the trembling masses), is
settled. There can be no more debate about it. A broad consensus of
the world’s scientists agrees that aggressive political action must be
taken immediately, to prevent the greatest catastrophe in planetary
history.

Meanwhile, another part of humanity goes on with the day-to-day
job of protecting Earth and the Settled Worlds from “extinction-level
events” of the kind that killed the dinosaurs, by tracking and then
capturing or diverting asteroids headed toward human civilization.
That, however, is a solved problem, and solved problems are of very
little interest to the media. To politicians, they’re a career-ending
menace. If there’s nothing to scare anybody with, how do you stay in
power?

Secretly working in parallel with the Mass Movement, Null Delta Em
(“no change in mass”), led by P.E, “Honest Paul” Leugner, is a violent
terrorist organization we earlier saw attempting to blow up one of the
enoprmous factory ships terraforming the asteroid Ceres from orbit.
Their “direct action” approach is often publically denounced by the
Mass Movement, but the political reality is altogether different. That
understanding of history and human nature I mentioned earlier leads me
to believe that similar relationships almost certainly exist between
today’s ecoterrorists and some of the more mainstream, “respectable”
environmentalists.

Johnnie “the Fish” Crenicichla acts as a go-between for the two
groups.

So there you have it: Chapter Six introduces three of the major
villains of the piece, the movers and shakers of the Mass Movement and
Null Delta Em. Two of them _know_ that they’re villains, one of them
doesn’t.

A question remains: do Algore and his followers _know_ they’re the
badguys?

I agree with Rosalie Frazier Ngu.

Comments

1. Holly - April 28, 2009

Can I ask how you made the judgment on which scientists to believe? I am interested in climate science and just started reading RealClimate, thanks in part to your post. To be honest, I respect your literary work and was surprised to hear you, as a science fiction author, naysay what I thought was serious and substantial scientific study. So I’d like to know whether you have favorite information resources to recommend. Thanks!

2. Curt Howland - April 28, 2009

Holly,

I’m old enough to remember “Global Cooling”, by exactly the same people who were all into “Global Warming”, and now that their information has been shown to be false, “Global Climate Change”.

The best way to check information sources is to not read only one of anything. Let the information flow, don’t make up your mind right away.

Like the fools who jumped upon Penn and Teller’s “Prohibit Dihydrogen Monoxide” scheme, they leaped to the conclusion that since 1) it’s an industrial solvent, 2) people die from inhaling it every year, then it must be prohibited by law.

Dihydrogen Monoxide is water. H2O.

Another point is the old “see who benefits”. As soon as government proposes to “solve” some big problem, see who it is who will benefit directly from that solution. Like the Kyoto Protocol and Enron.

Lastly, keep in mind as you read anything put out by a government agency, that political considerations are paramount for them. Politics comes before science.

3. Becky Jane Cochran - April 28, 2009

I think a great many people truly mean well, even when they do great harm. One of my favorite lines from a fantasy novel is this:

“A paladin may well be the finest, purest example of what a man can be–the epitome of all that is noble. And a paladin mounted for battle on his war charger, filled with holy zeal and absolute courage, might well be the most inspiring sight that many mortals could hope to see. He can, and does, accomplish much good. But a hundred paladins, a thousand? United in purpose, single-minded and driven by their sense of duty? I tell you truly, Uncle, I can think of no better definition of terror.”

–Danilo Thann in Thornhold by Elaine Cunningham.

That said, Al Gore knows he’s a villain (or at least a “respectable con artist”). Not only does his voting record show he never believed what he says he does, but even Newsweek has reported on his excesses at environmental expense AFTER he did that pseudo-documentary (and at least one scene in there has been exposed as being a willful lie, too–arguably, Gore was fooled by that footage himself, but I don’t feel gracious enough to assume that). Al Gore does not love the planet, he loves gullible masses for the power and money they grant him, directly and indirectly (and he may be a narcissist, too).

4. al perez - April 28, 2009

In the long run I can think of no greater threat to the environment than tyranny. Look up the ecological disasters created by a variety of tyrants and fools in their service, take a look at what the old USSR did. Also take a look at the effort to build a wall along the Rio Grande to stop illegal aliens from entering the US, Among other effects it is cutting wild life off from the main source of water in a desert.

I fear ideologically driven fools, often “good people,” more than I fear true villains. The villains’ selfish survival instincts act as a safety switch to limit the harm they do, ideologues on the other hand have substituted loyalty to their cause for personal survival. To them burning the village in order to save it without evacuating survivors and supplies is SOP. They feel it demonstrates their “purity.” Villains will take time to loot the village and get at least some villagers out as porters.

5. Howard L.Wilson - April 28, 2009

Have readers send information about Inflation to state reps & Senator’s, c/o http://www.fiatempire.com/screener/index2.html as a DVD costing $9.95. I have convinced one investment advisored and several state Reps.
Another source of doubt about the legitimacy, is found at: http://www.FreedomAlliance.org provided by Oliver North, which covers the report issued by Janet Napolitano, labelling anyone who believes in the US Constitution as a potential Terrorist.

6. Administrator - April 29, 2009

As an aside, I apologize for all of the typos in this article — I’m just getting over a horrible cold that made it hard to concentrate — and will tidy them up as soon as I have the time.

7. al perez - April 29, 2009

Sorry, didn’t get to point in letter 4.

Trust ecofreaks to to find a way to screw up the environment in their efforts to “save “it then refuse to adjust their course of action as data comes in that they are making a mess. Even if their villainous leaders try to back off the brainless followers will keep messing up.

for example, the only wat to make enough electricity to meet the US energy needs is to go nuclear. Try to get an ecofreak to go nuclear. If it turns out we start going into another ice age and need to increase our carbon footprint they will keep trying to reduce carbon emissions. Remember that we are talking about people who value ideological purity over results and people;

Probably got the typo fever from me. Many apologies.

8. Victor Milán - April 29, 2009

“I think that villains know perfectly well who they are. Don’t you?”

No. No, I don’t.

What really vast crime has ever been perpetrated by anyone but the terminally self-righteous who were utterly convinced they were the good guys? The perpetrators of the unbelievably enormous socialist genocides of the 20th Century – Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot – all believed they were saving the world.

Hell, throw in Rachel Carson and her successful faux-science crusade against DDT that’s murdered ten of millions in the Third World via malaria.

As for petty crimes, haven’t you noticed perps usually have rationalizations as to why it was both just and necessary for them to rob that convenience store – or rape and strangle that granny. Even Charlie Manson thought he was serving Greater Good.

Who gets up in the morning and thinks, “I’m gonna do evil today”?

So, no, not at all. It’s those convinced of their Invincible Rightness and Goodness whom I fear.

9. Administrator - April 29, 2009

I think you and I have very different experiences of life, Victor. I know some think they’re good — Anna Wertham Savage does, but she’s miserable all the time, a wreck of a human being, and there is a reason for that.

She’s like many who loudly claim they’re goodguys, and may even believe it consciously. But their body language and other things tell a different story.

10. al perez - April 30, 2009

I’ve known people who steal from hunger, from habit, and from mean. The test is who would go straight given a chance. Hunger will, habit might try, mean ever will.

Mean are villains. Habit, depends on how hard they try. Habit and hunger don’t always recognize a chance to go straight. that’s folly and stupidity.

Do villains always know their villains? Probably, do people whose folly and stupidity trap them into villainy know they’re villains? I dunno.

I still get scared though by Hollywood’s ability to depict bad guys who are comfortable in their own skin (the Mirror Universe Version of Keira Norisse for example.).

Especially considering the influence Hollywood has in politics.

11. Curt Howland - May 1, 2009

I just finished watching “XIII”, concerning a militarist/fascist (as opposed to populist/socialist) coup.

True believers. Destroy the village in order to save it, kill any number of people in order to “reassert America’s Greatness”.

As much as Hollywood likes to cater to the so-called “New World Order”, it’s very interesting to me the number of movies being made about just such self-abuse of government by government: XIII, Shooter, The Bourne Identity, The Manchurian Candidate, ok I’m out of ideas but I didn’t sleep well last night either.

But where are the movies about government falling? Why _always_ the assumption that government eternal and sacrosanct?

Woops, I’ve wandered.

12. al perez - May 2, 2009

woops1 that should have been “mean never will.”

13. Rick Fisk - May 15, 2009

I think there are two classes of “bad guys”. There are the Al Gore’s and the George Bush’s of the world who know they are bad guys, and then there are their enablers who believe the obviously false crap that the bad guys spew.

For instance, anyone who was awake in 2001, knew that even if the terrorist attacks were really perpetuated by non-government agents, that the government would immediately start pressing for draconian laws to eliminate the freedoms of the citizenry and going to war against countries that had no possibility of offering resistance.

There was really nothing in it for the enablers yet they repeated the lies and shilled for the neocons.

Well, OBJECTIVELY, there wasn’t anything in it for the enablers.

Theoretically, there was increased safety. There are people who know these ridiculous lies are lies, and then there are people who should know, and people too stupid to ever know.

I’m convinced that ideology is rare anymore. The idiot neocon enablers have no ideology, they just repeat what other’s say without any critical thought.

The same is true for the Obama and Gore worshipers. They really don’t want to take the time to actually think about the nonsense they keep repeating.

And then there’s the rest of us, who watch, sometimes lose our tempers and have very little patience for fools.

Which causes me to gain more admiration every day for Ron Paul, who has had to put up with fools even within his own ranks and continues to patiently teach. He is a tremendous example to us all. Don’t give up on the ignorant. They can learn.

14. Ann Morgan - May 20, 2009

The desire to use violence to acheive some sort of ‘greater good’ is an insidious one. The trouble with people is they fail to understand what Gandalf did about the ‘Ring of Power’, or the desire to exercise power over other people. Gandalf understood it perfectly: “Understand Frodo, I would use this ring through a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power too terrible to imagine.”

Another problem with people, when they use violence too often to acheive some sort of ‘greater good’, even if they start out with the best of intentions, is that if you dip your hands in blood too many times, you get to liking the taste of it. After that, your goal in life changes from using violence to acheive some greater good, to using some supposed ‘greater good’ as an excuse to do violence.

15. Eric Oppen - May 22, 2009

FWIW, Neil, I’m an Asia maven—specializing in China—and if the Chinese _people_ hadn’t wanted to buy opium, or the Chinese government of the time hadn’t had its head so far up its back passage that it was looking at its own tonsils from behind, there would have been no Opium Wars. I should also mention that, at the time, opium was as legal as tea or tobacco in the UK—it was fairly widely used there up to about the turn of the twentieth century.