Updates for Saturday, August 21st [2004]

How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.


Dear Fellow Travelers,

Well, this week has been worrisome for me. It started this last Monday when I received a letter from my friend Ludwig, through enternet mail:

Dear Thomas,

I apologize to you tonight because I must cancel our arrangements to meet this week. We must resume our friendly discourse at some other time, for you see, I am afraid that I am being watched. I set up the PGP encryption program for our mail on your computer, please continue to use it. We will reserve our meeting for another week yet, as I have something important to discuss with you.

Auf Wiedersehen,

- Prof. Ludwig von Meises

Indeed, it seems to be a very concerning situation. I will see him in one week's time and hopefully be able to comment on what the situation is.

Natalie is doing fine, her parents are coming in to visit, and she would appreciate it if I took some time to meet them. I heard they are very stringent religious folks, and I do so admire the company of religious discourse. Mr. Capitalism on the other hand, is not. James brought in a dog to the household which recently attacked my friend Mr. Capitalism, and he being a small turtle, was badly wounded in the attack. James remains unapologetic about the attack. "It's just a freakin' turtle, why don't you get rid of it? Set it free in the wild?", he has instructed me. I cannot do something so careless to a creature I care so much for. Unfailing to his nature, James took no responsibility for the dog's actions, and lets him round about the home. Nothing about the conditions laid out in the dog's tenure forbids him, but neither me nor Daniel ever gave him permission to bring the dog indoors, and as that should be enough, James seeks proof of how the dog is a disturbance, and accepts neither the dog's wastes, nor the dog's smell, nor the dog's noise, nor the dog's rampages throughout the home as evidence that it would better the household never to have brought it the indoors. James instead reiterates that since we did not tell him he couldn't, he did not need to seek permission, which is such a preposterous idea that I cared not to address it at the time, for my own mental safety and happiness.

In the meantime, I got away from the confusion of modern life, rather uneventfully. It was Daniel's uncle, Sir Abraham Francoln, who invited me and Daniel to his retreat, for several free lessons in the art of survival. The meeting would consume most of our last weekend. I am an experienced traveler, so I did not understand why I would not be allowed to bring the most basic supplies of oil, food and a rifle on our expedition.

Me: I don't quite understand, don't we need supplies to do well in the forest?

Daniel: Are you gonna have time for supplies when there is nuclear bombs everywhere and the end of the world happens? If you are gonna learn to survive, you gotta do it without man-made material things.

Me: But aren't we going to make some man made material things to get by for the weekend in the woods? What difference is it if we make them there, or here before we go? If there is such a terrible fear of the end times, I doubt rushing into the woods with little less than the clothes on your back is going to do anyone much good.

Daniel: My uncle is a survivalist. You'll see.

So we arrived, at a rustic cabin near the edge of a wooded terrain, north of the city, in a state called Washington, named after his Excellency, a fine territory indeed worthy of that name. Abraham met us at the door, wearing a suit made of green poolings of color all over him, bellowing smoke from a cigar. We were handed similar uniforms.

Abraham: There is gonna be some roughin' it. You'll need these camos to hide in the forest. Can't survive without them. Get them on and we'll get set off into the woods to find a good place to camp. The damn terrorists are everywhere, and when they set off their dirty bombs you can't be in the city, wearin' your city slicker clothes with all your canned food and pretty houses. We're on day 1 of the end times, men. We're going to hell in a hand basket. Get ready pussies, I'm gonna teach you how to survive in the wilderness.

Me: Oh, are we going to grab our supplies now?

Abraham: No! What the hell is wrong with you? Do you think that you'll have the time to grab your underwear and Spaghetti-O's when those arab fuckers are flying those planes into your house? No! You'd be lucky to get out with your ass and your Bible. You're with my nephew, and usually I charge for these kinds of lessons, survival is an invaluable lesson to learn. But he's family and you're his friend so you're getting a first class tour into the post-Armeggedon days courtesy Mr.-Abraham-fucking-Francoln. The first lesson of the wilderness is: "Get the fuck out in the woods". So get the fuck in the woods!

We spent little actual time at the cabin, enough to dress ourselves up in the strange uniform green garb he supplied us. It made little sense to me, as I don't suspect that deep within a forest there will be any worthwhile danger to hide ourselves from. On our walk out into the forest, I asked him what he thought was the urgent need...

Abraham: What the fuck are you, naive? Don't you see all the shit happening nowadays? We're on fucking yellow son, on an elevated terror alert, who knows, it could be orange or red tomorrow! That means something could happen... sometime, hell, anytime! Gotta be ready for it!

Me: It seems to me that people around are living fine lives, too fast for my favor, but they seem to get by and not be in any imminent danger.

Abraham: We're at war! You call that no danger? They're trying to attack fine American living and take away our liberties. How can we live happy lives out in the city in fear without having the knowledge that you could flee to the forests to hide and survive if need be? Your preparedness is dictated by your ability to hide and escape the danger. If you can't hide, you're a pussy.

I wasn't quite understanding the sense of urgency, but sitting in the woods, with no food and no fire and no shelter, we had to figure some method to make life more tenable. Abraham was hard to speak to, with the billows of smoke from his lit cigar.

Abraham: I'm gonna show you guys how to build yourselves a fire. Take this here twig, and rub it against that twig, and spin it against the wood like so... (so it was I watched on as he sat struggling spinning the wood in a fight against the warmth of fire and nature, I would suppose, as no flame arose through his efforts)

Me: I don't understand, where is the oil and flint? This would be so much easier with one of those books of matches as well, that strike a fire as soon as they're brushed against an abrupt surface.

Abraham: How do you think you're gonna go about getting those things if the world comes to an end? You gotta do it nature's way, which ain't pretty.

Me: Surely I suppose that you can only expect to survive so long without supplies. If your primary concern is saving yourself after the end time has come, well, isn't it true that there is no good chance of that? The very least you'd have a better chance, given some supplies, a box of flint, a can of oil, or perhaps even a book of matches.

He did not seem to respond to my argument. Failing to actually start fires by hand, despite our most earnest efforts, we lit the wood with the same matches he used for his cigars. We decided next the important thing was to build shelter. We did not have a tent or even a tarp.

Daniel: So where will we be sleeping?

Abraham: In the heart of nature, boy. Look around you, there are plenty supplies to make yourself shelter. See those leaves on the ground? We're gonna build us our own tents, out of some sticks and leaves. Get to it.

Me: But those leaves are moist, and the earth is sullen with dirt. What good would such a small, feeble blanket of twigs and leaves do you, in the harshest storm, or the most fowl of nights?

Abraham: Fuck! You are old enough to be able to see past those materialistic gains of man. We can build a shelter out around here through nature's way, or go cold, it's your choice.

Me: It does seem like a waste of time, but since we have no recourse... however, why not make real lumber, to make a real home, or at least a decent tent for us all to sleep?

Abraham: If I can live out here in nature and never sacrifice one tree or branch for shelter, I'd do it. If I had to chop down the whole damn forest to build a home, I'd do that too. That's why they call me the great tree lover... I love cuttin' them and I love sparin' them. Twigs and leaves will do, for tonight. I built my cabin out of the finest redwoods... that's another lesson for another day.

Why bother arguing further? I built my structure per his instructions, and laid within. If I were to ever to wonder what a coffin's interior feels like, deep amongst the soil in the graveyards of the dead, I wonder no more. The earth was moist and dirty, the roof was teetering and dripping. I got no measure of good sleep nor any measure of worthwhile rest. I awoke the next day hungry, so was the rest. We need to learn how to get food.

Abraham: In nature, you won't have rifles, or arrows, or other projectiles. All you'll have is sticks and stones. What you can't grab, you can't eat.

Me: That is the most absurd thing I have heard yet. We will eat little if this is the case.

Abraham: You've done nothing but whine since we got here. Here, take these sticks. See those green cans I have placed over there? We are going to attempt to learn the art of stick throwing, so perhaps we can bag us a rabbit or two tonight.

Me: Would we not have better luck with a snare, or even a rifle? We have already gotten by with the supplies we have brought, be they those matches for your cigars or the tobacco you've used for your smoking, surely the best method of survival in the forest would be to prepare ahead of time, or best yet, avoid the necessity of seeking the forest to flee from danger in the first place, if there is indeed even such a necessity.

Abraham: Shut the fuck up and just throw the fuckin' stick. I'm trying to teach survival here. If you don't wanna be takin' it seriously, then fuck off. Let's see what happens when fuckin' terrorists attack your city. You'll be running around "deary lord no", I'll be out here, safe in the fuckin' forest. Then we'll see who is really right.

We threw the sticks, time after time, and failed to hit the cans. Surely if those cans were indeed rabbits, they would have scurried off into the brush by now. Abraham threw several times and missed by a matter of feet. I failed to see how this would bring dinner. In fact, I failed to see how Abraham's solutions would help us in the end times at all. With no supplies, we did seem doomed in the forest. Another day went by and we had no food. Emergency rations of some beef were brought, so we shared those instead. Indeed a weekend of camping with Mr. Francoln reminded me that we are neither in dire need of protection from the end times, but if the end times were to come, we'd be better off fighting for the most basic supplies in the city than struggling to survive in the woods, off of nothing. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened? This weekend surely seemed like plenty of pain... for nothing.

I salute you with great respect.

- TH. Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

It's funny how people like our character James can be so terribly irresponsible in their own households, and even though James Roosevelt IV is fictional, some of the people he represents are not, and they real people aren't in a small household like that of TeeJ and Daniel, instead they're in the household of big government. The only rampaging dogs we have are the rampaging government programs, and instead of damaging our sweet little turtle, these programs do more to hurt Capitalism and the American way of life than any single aspect of our society. Billions of dollars weigh in on this, and we let the dog run around the house.

A lot of this mentality is drawn on the idea that we don't have to justify to others why these programs exist, instead, we have to prove why they shouldn't. The dog shits on the carpet, it attacks your favorite pet, it runs all around the house causing chaos... but who are YOU to get rid of it? Well, fortunately for our allegory, you are an American citizen, with rights. And you pay for the dog food, the dog collar, you even pay for the dog shit on your couch. The Constitution was designed to close the door on bringing in dogs, cats, snakes, reptiles. You own the house. Start putting your foot down. Maybe TeeJ will someday too.

But let's turn to the focus of today's entry, Mr. Abraham Francoln. Yes, that's intentionally similar to Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was, like our friend Mr. Francoln, an alarmist. He decided there was to be war and silenced anyone who said otherwise. After that decision was made, he tried to make it about freeing slaves, but that wasn't his real attitude. Just as Mr. Francoln doesn't mind living in the forest off of trees, Lincoln wouldn'tve minded living in the civil war off the back of hard working slaves. Calling Lincoln a great emancipator is equivalent of calling Mr. Francoln a great tree lover. Mr. Francoln would've cut down a tree, or the whole forest, if it meant survival. Lincoln would've enslaved all the black people in the United States if it meant winning the war. That neither took those extreme actions does not make them virtuous.

Lincoln's only true aim was survival of the union, but he didn't take the common sense route. He didn't bring supplies, he "roughed it". He took everyone in America, pitted brother against brother, all in the name of the union's survival. No one even attempted a peaceful resolution to that dispute. Why not? Because in Abraham's martial law, no one could dissent, if they did, they were thrown in jail. Lincoln, as an instructor, didn't listen much. In fact, he essentially just told people to simply shut up.

But more to the point, Mr. Francoln is simply full of Bullshit. I got many of the inspirations from the character based on a Libertarian-oriented Showtime original series called "Bullshit!", hosted by famous comedian/magicians Penn & Teller - particularly the "End of the World" episode of the first season. Be sure to check your listings, also makes for a worthwhile download.

Bringing Old American Truth to confront the New American Myth

Creative Commons License

Real Time Analytics