All posts by Lars Walker

In Memoriam: Good stuff from Klavan and The Three Ages

Andrew Klavan nails it (again) today in a 9-11 memorial essay over at Libertas. He ponders why contemporary moviemakers aren’t able to handle heroism as filmmakers used to:

…realism is mute when it comes to describing the best of what we can be, of what life can be. And this partially crippled form of communication is the prevailing style of serious cinema. You could almost say that we know a film is serious by how “realistic” it is. Conversely, when we see true faith and true heroism in movies, we feel we’re in the presence of rank sentimentalism, of powderpuff family entertainment. We feel that it must somehow be “unreal.”

I tried to decide what I’d post today, and had a hard time coming up with anything that would add much to the illumination available elsewhere. In the end I decided to repeat myself. A while back I posted my translation of a fable called “The Three Ages,” by the Norwegian writer Johan Borgen. It was first published in 1946, and intended to help his countrymen remember the lessons of the Nazi invasion and occupation.

Needless to say, the Norwegians have already forgotten it pretty much completely. But the lesson of the fable stands.

The Three Ages

The lion and the lamb were grazing side by side one day. The lamb said to the lion:

“What age do we actually live in, Lion?”

“Age?” said the lion. “We are alive, isn’t that enough? Anyway, the age we live in is always our age; otherwise we aren’t alive.”

The lamb thought that over a bit as they went along and nibbled grass in the bottom of a little valley.

“You are wise, Lion,” he said, “and of course you are right in that the age we live in is our age—at least for us. What I meant was that I’ve always heard that there are three ages: a past age, which was beautiful, but cruel; a present age, which is merely cruel; and finally a future age which will be so peaceful that the lion and the lamb will graze side by side. I heard it from a wise old ram, and that was why I believed that this is the future age.

Then the lion bit the lamb’s head off and said:

“Now that you remind me of it, I guess it’s the past age after all.”

Jesus said in Matthew 24:23-27, “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Three he is!’ do not believe it…. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (NIV).

The plain purpose of this passage, of course, is to warn believes about false messiahs who still show up fairly regularly to say, “I’m Christ Himself and I’ve come back in secret.”

But I think there might be a secondary meaning. It’s just plain reckless to imagine that the Kingdom of God has come already, that we have brought it about through our own wisdom and moral progress. We’re still in the present age, our enemies don’t just want a hug, and the emperor does not bear the sword in vain.

I see a season coming

First of all, I’d like to make it perfectly clear that I do understand the irony of the spectacle of a blogger of my temperament complaining about somebody else’s blog being depressing.

It took me a few hours, but I did get it eventually.

Today (right on time, the State Fair being over and the kids being back in school) was the first day of autumn. Not in calendar terms, but in terms of the nuance in the air. It didn’t get up to seventy today, and most of the time it was cloudy. Today was winter, phoning in its reservation. We’ll have more warm days, but they’ll only be temporary reprieves, Indian-giver Summer (I apologize for the ethnic slur, but the line was too good not to use).

Picking up again the subject of male-female differences, this fascinating story comes, like so many good things, by way of Blue Crab Boulevard. Has any woman in the history of the world ever tried a stunt like this (OK, Luci Ricardo might have, but she was a fictional character)?

And what do you bet that a dozen Hollywood sitcom writers aren’t working this into scripts at this very moment?

Say, wasn’t there a guy named Phil who used to hang out around here?

In which the blogger whimpers like a little girl

The subject of National Review’s Corner came up today in an e-mail exchange. I mentioned that I’ve stopped reading it pretty generally.

This was a sad departure for me. Ever since 9/11, the Corner was my favorite online hangout. Intelligent conversation from smart, well-informed people who knew a lot of stuff. What could be better? I even e-mailed the columnists and got replies once or twice. And one time Jonah Goldberg posted a Norwegian translation I did for him.

But the grape has raisined. Nowadays, you go to the Corner to get a good depression on, as an excuse for binge drinking. First I started being irritated with John Derbyshire’s knee-jerk pessimism and Anglican-tinged lukewarm religion, blended with fervent scientism.

Then Heather MacDonald started coming in to attack theism.

And Jonah Goldberg doesn’t seem to show up much anymore. And when he does he’s not as funny.

And they’ve all decided the war is lost.

Spare me.

If I want dysphoria I have a large stock of my own, thank you very much.

Also a little depressing: an interview Dennis Prager did today. It was with Marianne Legato, professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University and author of Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget. Her theory is that men and women’s brains (in general) work very differently, and that in order to get along they need to take those differences into account.

Overall, I like this thesis very much. Any defense of innate sexual differences is Gershwin to my ears. No problem there.

The problem was in something she said about how men and women argue differently. Women, she said, play arguments over and over in their heads after it’s done, and tend to get angrier. Men, once they’ve blown off their steam, walk away and forget about it. They actually feel better, having enjoyed a nice spritz of adrenalin.

Here’s my problem: I’m just like a woman in this. I don’t feel better after arguments. I obsess over what the other person said, and what I’m sure they meant, and what I should have said.

Guys, help me out here! Is she right? Do you forget arguments as soon as they’re done? Do you in fact feel better afterwards?

Tell me I’m not an utter wuss.

Blast. Still a couple weeks until my next chance for live steel combat. And that’ll probably be the last one of the year.

I do feel better after that kind of fight.

Hit me with an axe, somebody.

Many are called, but summer chosen

Maximum comfort weather in Minnesota today. Warm but not tropical—a little above eighty, low humidity. Summer has mellowed, like a drunk at a party who’s passed through the stage where he’s telling everybody what he really thinks of them, looking for a fight, and is now sitting quietly in a flower bed, saying, “Man, I love you guys. You guys are so great.”

Summer has lost its edge. The days are kind.

But I’m not taken in. I’m not fooled. I hear, in the background, the voice of Mother Nature (who, as far as I can tell, has much the same character as my own mother) saying, “You like it cooler? I’ll give you cooler. Just wait a couple months.”

Strawberries taste like summer to me. I know a lot of people reserve that distinction for watermelon, but I never liked watermelon.

I never liked raspberries either. One of the chief distinctions between my brother Moloch and me has always been that he likes raspberries while I like strawberries. Recent research indicates that people are born with different numbers of sweet or sour receptors on their tongues. If you have a lot of sweet receptors you’re sensitive to sweet, and will prefer sour. You’ll be a veggie eater. If you have a lot of sour receptors, on the other hand, you’ll prefer sweet. You’ll truly appreciate the wonders of the strawberry, and be forever barred from appreciating the virtues of its raspy cousin.

I buy Driscoll’s, of course. Until they showed up, you had to grow your own to get anything in this country that could come close to the wonders of Norwegian strawberries.

From Front Page Magazine, this review by David Forsmark of the new book Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War.

Here is one of Philbrick’s most valuable points: Despite the priggish image perpetrated by the scoffers — including the first revisionist, novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne — the Pilgrims were adaptable people willing to compromise in order to live in peace despite their strict code and religious outlook.

Now that looks like a worthwhile read.

Hail and farewell to Steve the Viking

I only watched Steve Irwin’s program once, and that was because I was visiting my dad and stepmother in Florida, watching what they watched. Their television consumption was limited, since she was uncomfortable with the immoral fare on television nowadays. But she didn’t object, apparently, to watching predators tear their prey limb from limb, and so they watched a lot of animal shows.

Even when I had cable I never watched animal shows. Animals, to be blunt, bore me. I don’t hate them, and the idea of owning a dog has its charms, but animal programs just make me uncomfortable. When the lion hunts down the zebra, I identify with the zebra. When only one male seal out of a hundred gets to have a harem and reproduce himself, I identify with the ninety-nine. When the wolves turn on a wounded pack member, guess which wolf gets my sympathy?

In other words, animals in general aren’t very nice. I prefer people. And I don’t even like people much.

The main thing I remember about Irwin was that stunt a few years back when he held his baby son in one hand while feeding a croc with the other. That just gave me the heeby-jeebies.

Still, I just read this report that says that his last action in life was to pull the stingray barb that killed him out of his heart.

That’s style. That puts him in the Viking league.

I quote from St. Olaf’s Saga in Heimskringla, the sagas of the kings of Norway (Samuel Laing’s translation). This excerpt concerns Thormod Kolbrunnarskald, an Icelandic poet who was fatally wounded by an arrow in the chest at the battle of Stiklestad, where St. Olaf died:

Then [the nurse-woman] took a large pair of tongs, and tried to pull out the iron; but it sat too fast, and would in no way come out, and as the wound was swelled, little of it stood out to lay hold of it. Now said Thormod, “Cut so deep in that thou canst get at the iron with the tongs, and give me the tongs and let me pull.” She did as he said…. Then Thormod took the tongs, and pulled the iron out; but on the iron there was a hook, at which there hung some morsels of flesh from the heart,—some white, some red. When he saw that, he said, “The king has fed us well. I am fat even at the heart-roots:” and so saying he leant back, and was dead.

One could die worse.

What gain has the laborer from his toil?

And how did I spend Labor Day? I spent it laboring.

Someone among the Powers That Be at the Bible School decided that today would be a good day for Student Orientation this year, thus dragging the young people from the bosoms of their family barbecues, causing mothers to weep and fathers to mutter darkly.

I was summoned to give my Oscar-nominated Library Orientation PowerPoint (you didn’t know the Academy Awards had a PowerPoint category, did you? Of course an Antiwar PowerPoint beat me out this year: “Sixteen Reasons Why Democracy Is Tyranny, Plus Eight Reasons Why Honor Killing Is the Culmination of Feminism.” Personally I thought it derivative).

Afterwards I went to the library and did my usual stuff. I suppose I could have closed the place up, since technically I work for the seminary, and the seminary was closed. But I’d been told my new student assistants might want to talk to me, so I hung around.

Give me a medal, somebody. I’ll put it where the Oscar should have gone.

Last night I dropped into the AvPD Chat Room for the first time. I joined a web group for people with Avoidant Personality Disorder recently, and they’ve been talking about this chat room. I haven’t had a regular chat room to participate in since I became a non-person at Baen Books, so I thought I’d try it.

I shouldn’t have been surprised that there were only three people there, counting me. What do you expect, trying to start a Loners’ Club? One was a guy from Singapore (where it was about 9:00 a.m.) and the other was a teenage girl whom I assume was somewhere in the U.S (as a prudential matter, I never ask teenage girls their locations online).

It’s very weird to communicate with other Avoidants. Trains of thought that seem perfectly reasonable when they run in my own mind sound utterly insane when other people express them. Now I know how normal people feel when they talk to me.

Maybe it’ll help me get some objectivity.

If it does, I’ll turn it into a PowerPoint.

Legal, moral and low-fat

It’s got to indicate a pretty disgusting level of self-complacency to go to one’s own writings for inspiration.

So naturally that’s what I’ll be doing tonight.

I wrote something here yesterday, and having writ, moved on. But as I thought about it, it seemed to me it was worth examining in its own right.

What I wrote was: Joylessness is an easy sin to ignore. It isn’t any fun, so how can it be bad?

Have you noticed how we (and I think I speak for most of us here) tend to equate pleasure with sin? And virtue with suffering and deprivation?

In a way I can understand how secular people would think this way. The concept is deep in our culture, probably a leftover from Victorianism (I could say Puritanism, but the Puritans really had a lot more fun than modern people give them credit for. So did the Victorians, for that matter).

But our culture is full of jokes about sin and virtue. “Everything fun is either illegal, immoral or fattening.” “Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris” (Oscar Wilde). Alfred Doolittle’s fulminations against “middle class morality” in Shaw’s “Pygmalion” (that’s “My Fair Lady” for you musical comedy fans).

But Christians often think this way too, and we ought to know better. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10, NIV). “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11). “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

In theory the Bible ought to count for more with Christians than quips from Wilde or Shaw.

But I know how it is. I suspect I know better than most, being famous for my depression and general sourness of disposition. Doing right seems to be so much work, and sin offers such welcome, immediate satisfaction.

(At this point in the essay I originally wrote a long disquisition on short-term vs. long-term gratification. I now realize that that wasn’t really what I wanted to write about. So I’ll try it over.)

Our cultural Puritanism (not to be confused with real Puritanism, for reasons explained above) tends to take it for granted that all pleasure is sin.

This is a snare of Satan.

One of the book passages that changed my life was the following from C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape (who, in case you don’t know, is a devil advising another devil in methods of temptation) writes in Chapter XXII:

[God is] a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a façade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it: at His right hand are “pleasures for evermore”. Ugh! …He’s vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to use. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.

Pleasures are very often sinful. But they’re not always sinful. It seems to me one bad effect of Christian revivals is that as the original fervor fades, people try to keep it going artificially through the imposition of more and more rules. “If we just get people to stop doing this or that, their hearts will turn again to the Lord.” So certain people are forever looking for new things to declare sinful and forbid to others. There’s one Christian leader in particular (and no, I won’t tell you who he is. Some of you will guess) who (it seems to me) has built his entire career on searching the Scriptures for new things he can declare sinful, new laws he can lay on the backs of his fellow believers.

I say it’s wrong. I say we need more innocent pleasure, and if Pharisees insist on condemning people who do things not forbidden by the Word, then somebody ought to punch them in the nose.

Try it yourself.

You might find it pleasurable.

Yeah, well, I worry about fear itself, too

I substantially finished getting the textbooks ready for the students today. I came back from my vacation week and was appalled to see the mountain of cartons from publishers awaiting me in the bookstore. I immediately took it as probable that I wouldn’t get them all priced and shelved in time for the first day of class on Tuesday. Or that if I did, it would only be through coming in on the weekend to work on my own time. But it went fine. There are a couple loose ends–books ordered too late (mostly because the instructors dawdled), one set that came in today that I haven’t got a price statement on yet, but essentially the job’s cleaned up.

Why do I torture myself this way? Why do I always expect the worst?

That’s a rhetorical question. I know why I do it. I prefer constant depression to occasional disappointment. If I expected the best, I wouldn’t get what I hoped for a fair proportion of the time, and that would hurt. But if I expect the worst I can never be disappointed, and sometimes I’m wonderfully surprised. It means I walk around with a low-grade depression 99% of the time, but I’ve gotten used to that.

There’s the small business of joylessness being essentially the Sin of Sloth, but that’s something I try not to think about. Joylessness is an easy sin to ignore. It isn’t any fun, so how can it be bad?

Speaking of fear (I was sort of speaking about fear. Worry’s a form of fear), Andrew Klavan has posted on the Horror genre over at Libertas. Klavan doesn’t blog enough, but it’s a big day for me when he does.

One of the things I worry about is disappearing from view altogether as a novelist. If that happens, it will be some comfort if I can know that Andrew Klavan was a big success.

A fictional lie

Hunter Baker has written a very generous review of The Year Of the Warrior, which he has double-posted at his Southern Appeal blog and at the American Spectator blog.

Woo hoo!

(That, for the uninitiated, was a Moment of Optimism. I have them once or twice a year. I’ll keep you posted if it happens again.)

I forget how old I was, or what grade I was in, in elementary school. I forget who the teacher was (though I could make a guess).

She assigned our class to write a short story about Conservation. (Conservation, children, is what we used to have before we had Environmentalism. It was abolished because of its association with Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican.)

I sat down and wrote an easy, boiler-plate, Department of Agriculture Information Office-style tale about a farm family that teaches its old-fashioned neighbor a lesson in Crop Rotation.

I opened it with a line something like this:

“Neighbor’s complaining about his fields eroding again,” said Dad as he came in for supper.

When I’d finished, the teacher looked it over.

“You have to change this dialogue,” she said. “It’s not proper English. You have to say ‘The neighbor’ or ‘Our neighbor.’”

“But this is how people talk!” I protested.

“This is an English class,” she replied. “We write properly in this class.”

I knew it was wrong. I knew that no farmer in this hemisphere ever walks into the kitchen and says, ‘The neighbor…’ or “Our neighbor…” He drops the article. That’s how farmers talk. I lived on a farm. I knew these things.

But I changed the dialogue, because I was a child under authority.

There are people who claim that fiction is a lie, and therefore Christians must not write it.

They are wrong. Fiction is not a lie. Fiction is a shared creative enterprise, in which a storyteller and a reader collaborate to build an imaginary world on terms mutually understood. There is no deception involved, and therefore no lie.

But what that teacher made me do that day was a lie.

A long way to go for Chinese takeout

The books are in the mail. Congratulations to the Children of Fortune.

(You did all read the small print, didn’t you? The part where you are now enrolled in the Lars Walker Perpetual Book Club, and obligated to buy a copy of one of my books every month for the rest of your natural lives? And since there are only three published, you’ll have to purchase the same three over and over? You understood that? Good.)

By way of Mirabilis, this fascinating story about a 3,000-year-old Celtic mummy found in a remote area of China.

Can you imagine what this man’s story was like? What his world was like?

There would be a great novel in that story. Hope someone writes it.

But it won’t be me. I’d have to give myself a whole new education in ancient Celtic and Chinese cultures. I’ve been studying the Vikings my whole life, and I still often wonder whether I’m qualified to write Viking novels.

We dare to name names!

This is off the record, right? You’re not going to share this with anyone? I’ve got deniability here?

Because if this gets back to me, I’m toast.

But look at the slate of drawing winners. Examine it for a moment:

Roy Jacobsen. Blogger. The only other blogger I’ve ever met, as a matter of fact.

Michael Peterson. Blogger. (Not very prolific, I’ll grant you, but a blogger.) And a pastor of my own church body.

Omie. A Chattanooga resident. Who else lives in Chattanooga?

Coincidences? You make the call.

I insinuate, you decide.

Speaking of the drawing, I’d hoped to get the books in the mail today. I was going to take them to the post office near my workplace, after work.

Unfortunately I left them at home. Then I thought, “No prob. I’ll walk them over to the Robbinsdale post office, five minutes from my house, when I get home.”

I got there at 5:01. The place closes, I then learned, at 5:00.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

They’re going Media Mail, so it’ll take a few days.

The fact that I’m corrupt doesn’t mean I’m rich.

You young folks today don’t know what work is

If you were listening to Hugh Hewitt last night, you heard him and James Lileks broadcasting from the Minnesota State Fair in full Johnstown, Pennsylvania-telegraph-operator mode, sounding like the last survivors clicking away at their post as the mighty waters swept all away.

I was not there. I was at home in my basement office, working on my novel. But I can verify that it did indeed rain and storm quite hard. It got pretty dark and my electricity flickered once.

Not good baling weather.

I was thinking about baling on Monday, during my walk. Monday was a good baling day. I looked at the bright sun. I felt the heat. I thought, “This is baling weather.”

Let me explain to you about hay and straw.

Hay is what you bale at this time of the year. Or rather, what you used to bale. I don’t think farmers bale much anymore. They have new, arcane methods of putting forage up. I think they do it digitally now, since Dell Computer acquired International Harvester or something.

I still remember an old commercial for the Yellow Pages from back in the Sixties. It drove me nuts. It featured a stereotypical movie cowboy in a Roy Rogers costume singing to his horse. The final lines went, “…and the pages are yellow, like hay.”

No. No, they’re not.

Hay is not yellow. Hay is green. Hay is any grass (we used alfalfa) that you allow to grow tall, then cut and dry for storage over the winter, so you can feed it to the livestock. The bales are heavy, and they smell musty and organic, a little like scum on a pond.

Straw is yellow. There are various kinds of straw too, but we used oat straw. After the oats have been harvested, you cut down the stalks and bale them. They’re light to handle. You use straw for animal bedding. It is not eaten, unless the animals are really, really hungry.

Part of the confusion comes from “Away In a Manger,” I think. There’s that line that goes, “The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.” People sing that and think that sleeping on hay is normal. It’s not. Jesus was sleeping in a manger, a feed trough. Hay belongs there. Babies (usually) don’t.

Once hay has been cut, it’s raked into windrows in the field. If God wills, the hay will lie there and dry, giving you time to turn it over once with pitchforks, to expose both sides. If it rains at any point in this process, you can still use the hay but it won’t be as good, and it’s likely to rot or get moldy.

Then you take the baler out and bale it. Your baling equipment (ours anyway) begins (began) with a tractor pulling a baler, a long, low box on wheels with a conveyor thing on the front to scoop up the hay. The hay passed through the guts and got compressed and tied with twine. The bales were then extruded from the machine’s anus to one or two guys waiting on the wagon that followed. This job was generally mine and my brother Moloch’s, though our grandfather often came out to help.

The bales had to be stacked on the wagon. It was a flat wagon with no sides or front, but a tall back. The first level of bales would be laid down perpendicular to the length of the wagon. The next layer would go parallel (or vice versa. I forget). This was supposed to lock the bales, like staggering bricks in a wall. In fact, the bales always swayed, and the kid on top of the pile was never sure when the whole thing would tumble, sending him to the ground with a lot of heavy hay bales falling on top of him. But the stacker below had his own risks. When the hay was all stacked he would generally be left with about six inches of free space to stand on, as the whole assembly bumped back over farm lanes to the farmyard. It was an operation that would give an O.S.H.A. inspector nightmares, but we never complained. It was good enough for our parents and grandparents; who were we to be sissies?

People with big barns could generally just run their bales up a conveyor into the loft and dump them. Our barn was small. We didn’t use a conveyor but a contraption on a pulley called a “hay fork” (if I remember correctly, which I probably don’t). Eight bales at a time were clamped into the grip of the hay fork, then when the hay had been hoisted up into the barn, a trip rope would be pulled, releasing them. In theory. In fact, the fork either dropped the bales too soon or wouldn’t let them go at all a fair amount of the time.

At the end of the day’s baling, when all the hay was up in the loft, Moloch and I would climb up there and start stacking. Because of our lack of space, we had to organize all our hay in the loft, to get as much in as possible (what didn’t fit would get stacked in the farmyard under tarps, a less than ideal environment). It would be hot as a potter’s kiln up under that roof on a summer afternoon, hot not only from the air temperature but from the chemical action of the drying hay. It was the hardest, sweatiest work I’ve ever done in my life.

And that’s what I think of every year at this time.

An awning story to get you yawning

I had an odd feeling last night. I don’t like to think of myself as the kind of blogger who writes a lot about his feelings, but…

I guess I am.

Anyway, I was working on my Viking tent awning. I put together this non-historically-authentic, purely functional tent-awning thing to keep the sun off me when we’re doing encampments. I got the pattern off the internet. It’s a simple project, being built on a 9×12 painter’s drop cloth.

My first awning didn’t last long. I was pretty sure from the start that the fabric wouldn’t hold up to any kind of wind. It was thin stuff, like a 600-page novel written in six months. I wanted to reinforce the grommet locations, but I didn’t have any spare canvas. So I figured I’d make the first awning, then use it to patch the second once it had failed.

I’m not kidding you here. That’s how my brain works.

The fabric failed down in Bode, Iowa, and one of my vacation projects this week has been to whip up a new one. I bought the heaviest drop cloth I could find, and I used patches made from the old awning to reinforce the grommet locations, just as planned.

All that set-up exposition was provided to explain how I came to be watching “Criminal Minds” on TV last night, sewing away at a big piece of canvas with a large needle and heavy thread.

It came to me, all of a sudden, that this activity felt comfortable, familiar.

But I’ve never done it before in my life. Not on a big piece of cloth like the awning.

Then it occurred to me that I’m descended from hundreds of generations of Norwegian fishermen who spent a lot of time mending sails.

Genetic memory? (Possible.)

Incipient psychosis? (More likely.)

In any case, it was a strange enough feeling to blog about on a quiet, rainy August day.

A Land Fit For Criminals

Mike Johnson sent me the following link to a review by (the great) Theodore Dalrymple of the book A Land Fit For Criminals by David Fraser. It’s about the criminal justice system in Great Britain today.

He shows that liberal intellectuals and their bureaucratic allies have left no stone unturned to ensure that the law-abiding should be left as defenseless as possible against the predations of criminals, from the emasculation of the police to the devising of punishments that do not punish and the propagation of sophistry by experts to mislead and confuse the public about what is happening in society, confusion rendering the public helpless in the face of the experimentation perpetrated upon it.

My observation is that what happens in Europe generally works its way to America in time.