The Abolition of the Soul

In his poem “Prayer Before Birth”, the late Louis MacNeice wrote the following:

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.


I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.

This poem was written during the 1930s, when the prototypical despots Hitler and Stalin were, in their separate but equal ways, realizing the Totalitarian Dream. However, in their wildest imaginings they could never have conceived of the powers that the would-be globalist despots of the 21st century, exemplified by the World Economic Forum, plan to wield in their creation of the Brave New World. Secure in their omniscience, confident of their benignity, certain of their superior understanding, and absolutely convinced of their inerrancy, they intend to remake the world into their image of technologically-driven transhuman perfection.

None of this is hidden. It is all clearly and explicitly laid out in text and videos by those who would implement the New World Order, if only we care to pay attention. If, that is, we are willing to let our good night’s sleep be disturbed by an understanding of what lies ahead.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for his mammoth effort in translating this essay from Multipolar Magazin:

The abolition of the soul

In their publications, the World Economic Forum and its chairman Klaus Schwab state with astonishing frankness that they intend to intervene in human nature and in humans’ relationships with others using all the technical means at their disposal. People, animals and plants are to be completely redesigned. Human nature is at stake.

“The real goal of totalitarian ideology is not the transformation of the external conditions of human existence and not the revolutionary reorganization of the social order, but the transformation of human nature itself, which, as it is, constantly opposes the totalitarian process. … What is at stake in total domination is really the essence of man.” — Hannah Arendt, 1951

As one of the most influential institutions in the Western World[1], the WEF has been putting its plans into practice with overwhelming speed since 2020, working title: The Great Reset, gateway: the Pandemic.[2] It has often been pointed out that the World Economic Forum pursues totalitarian goals with its transhumanism. Despite this, a majority still seems to have faith that the global business elites are, by and large, acting for the good of humanity. This is a mistake — regardless of whether these elites themselves are convinced that they are doing good or not.

A fashionable term such as “transhumanism” may leave you fairly unmoved if you don’t shy away from considering what it means. Misleadingly, he suggests that the project it describes has anything to do with ‘humane’, humanity or humanism; it hasn’t. It would be more accurate to speak of anti-humanism — for the transhumanist, concern amounts to abolishing all living things altogether. In its presumptuousness, this project is certainly doomed to failure. But it could cause living garbage, misery and great suffering.

Therefore, the following should make it clear that the plans of the WEF are deeply totalitarian, and why. Klaus Schwab’s book The Fourth Industrial Revolution serves as the main source of information, because this WEF publication describes its plans particularly bluntly, and, although it was published in 2016, still agrees with the statements made by the extremely influential Davos Forum.[3] Hannah Arendt’s famous work “Elements and Origins of Total Domination” serves as the background and standard for this assessment.[4]

The totalitarian claim to power: rule people from within

In her analysis of the totalitarian systems of her time, Stalinism and National Socialism, Hannah Arendt discovered a striving for control that goes far beyond the power ambitions of dictators, despots and tyrants of all kinds:

“The real goal of totalitarian ideology is not the transformation of the external conditions of human existence and not the revolutionary reorganization of the social order, but the transformation of human nature itself, which, as it is, constantly opposes the totalitarian process. … What is at stake in total domination is really the essence of man.”[5]

What unites the totalitarian elites is “…the conviction of man’s omnipotence. They first gave the moral nihilism of ‘anything goes’ its real basis through the much more radical nihilism of ‘everything is possible’… The hubris of really believing that everything can be done, that everything given is only temporary, is enough for them. The obstacle is that it can be overcome by superior organization.”[6]

Substituting ‘superior engineering’ for ‘superior organization’ pretty much describes the beliefs of the World Economic Forum.

The transformation of human nature

Already in the first sentence of his book, Klaus Schwab says that the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which in his description “…entails nothing less than the transformation of mankind.”[7] The technologies driving this revolution will be “…fundamentally changing our human identity.”[8] They will change “…what it means to be human.”[9] The Fourth Industrial Revolution “…changes who we are.”

These ideas are indeed revolutionary: If they were realized, humans — and other living beings as well — would finally become objects of industrial production. Nature would no longer be something given that as such has a right to exist and a dignity.

Biological organisms that do not occur in nature

According to Schwab, synthetic biology and neurotechnology make the profound changes in human nature possible. Synthetic biology “… will allow us to tailor organisms by writing DNA.”[10] This, in turn, “… enables the creation of genetically modified plants or animals, as well as the modification of cells of adult organisms, including humans .”[11] All living organisms and all organisms not yet born are now objects of design: “We are confronted with new questions about what it means to be human when it comes to changing the genetic codes of future generations.[12]

Advances in medicine made possible by this are often mentioned, but the whole genome is clearly at stake: “…it’s much easier now to precisely manipulate the human genome in viable embryos… we will in the future probably see designer babies…”[13] Wikipedia clarifies once again that synthetic biology is about “…creating biological systems that do not occur in nature.” And note: “These systems are subject to evolution.”[14] The WEF not only welcomes these prospects, it also considers science capable of implementing them at any time:

“Imagine a world where we can create the bodies we want. In this world we can also design and redesign the plants and animals that live with us. We can change organisms and shape them the way we want them to be. … And this is not the world of tomorrow. You don’t need any imagination. This is the world of today.”[15]

The whole human being becomes the object of technical design — and so are his relationships to other people and things.

Neurotechnology: Mind Control, Emotion Control, Relationship Control

Neurotechnology “…includes any process or device in which electronics interface with the nervous system to monitor or regulate neural activity.”[16] The ways to do this are so varied, according to the World Economic Forum that they “transform the human body into a new technology platform.”[17]

The WEF has no objection to that — we are entering “…the era of the ‘internet of bodies’: We collect our physical data through a range of devices that can be implanted, swallowed or worn. The result is a vast amount of health-related data that improves the well-being of people all over the world…”[18] But not only that: “At the same time, the data from the ‘Internet of Bodies’ can be used to predict and to make inferences that may affect an individual’s or group’s access to resources such as health care, insurance and employment.”[19]

Many citizens have already experienced that “influencing” can also mean “blocking”: Until recently, for example, we had no access to public facilities such as libraries, theaters or swimming pools without a vaccination certificate. During the trucker protests in Canada, Prime Minister and “Young Global Leader” of the WEF Justin Trudeau[20] had the accounts of the 50,000 truckers and their supporters blocked without further ado. In view of such arbitrary encroachments on the simplest rights of unwelcome citizens, it is not surprising that many see it more as a threat: “If we do not like your behavior, we will block your access to vital resources.” But you don’t have to see everything so negatively, because:

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The Nothing Tree

The following post is a personal side journey. It’s unrelated to the mission of this blog, so if you don’t want to stray from the main track, you may want to skip it.

Spending my sunset years as a Counterjihad blogger was not part of my life’s plan. I just kind of fell into it, joining Dymphna at the task after I was laid off in 2006. It seemed like a worthwhile endeavor, so I kept at it full-time for the next sixteen years (and counting).

Before that I had pursued numerous occupations since I graduated from college: taxi driver, tuxedo store manager, messenger for a legal firm, mathematician/programmer, systems analyst, sign painter, painter of ceramic cups, Kelly Girl, seller of mistletoe (seasonal only). I took all of those jobs just to keep the wolf from the door while I did the two things I was put on this earth to do: paint landscapes and write poetry.

I was fortunate enough to be able to paint for a (meager) living for more than twenty-five years. And I was especially fortunate to have married someone who understood my drive to create, and who was willing to help support me via her own employment. For that I will be eternally grateful to Dymphna; may she rest in peace.

As you all know, I ruined my eyesight by sitting outside in the bright sun day after day for decades. My intuition tells me that having my retinas bathed in so much ultraviolet light for all those years brought on macular degeneration at a relatively early age. Since I gave up painting in 2005 I have been reduced to programming digital images on the computer to satisfy my visual creative urge.

When I was eighteen years old I started writing poetry seriously — or as seriously as a callow clownish youth can do at that age. Almost everything I wrote before I was in my mid-twenties was dreadful stuff, and embarrassing to look at now, but a few things were worth saving, and have held up over the decades. By the time I was in my late thirties the quality of what I wrote was more consistent. I really hit my stride in the mid-’90s and early 2000s.

I encountered a fallow period after 2006, when the muse abandoned me for eleven years. I thought she was gone for good, and that my poetic career was over. Then in 2017 she mysteriously returned, and I started writing verse again. At that point it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to self-publish a volume of selected poems.

I gave up submitting my poems to periodicals thirty years ago. By then it had become clear that the type of poetry I write — traditional forms, often with a rigorous rhyme scheme and metrical structure — was out of step with the post-modern age. I got tired of the rejection slips, so I abandoned all attempts at publication. I haven’t published anything since a number of my poems (most of them lousy) appeared in William and Mary’s literary magazine back in the early 1970s.

Until now, that is. Thanks to the magic of self-publishing, I was able to put together a selection in a book entitled The Nothing Tree in Bloom. It contains all the poems from a fifty-year period (1970-2019) that I consider worth reading, and is listed on Amazon.

Self-publication turned out to be very easy, and it cost almost nothing, unlike vanity publishing. Actually, I suppose it is a form of vanity publishing, because I don’t really expect to sell any copies of the book. I just bought a few dozen author’s copies at a low price to give away to family and friends. It’s a satisfying way to wrap up a lifetime’s worth of work in a meaningful fashion. As Wallace Stevens said (in “The Lack of Repose”), the book provides “A few sounds of meaning, a momentary end / To the complication”.

I dedicated The Nothing Tree in Bloom to Dymphna. It makes me sad that she didn’t live to see it published, but she did read an early PDF version of it, which included the cover design. At that point the dedication page read: “For my wife”. In the published version it reads: “In memory of my wife”.

Since I’ve never published any poems since college, I’ve never had an editor. Fortunately, for forty years I had Dymphna to act in that capacity. As most of you know, she was an accomplished poet in her own right.

From 1979 until her death she read everything I wrote, including the most recent poem in the book. She was an incisive reader and critic, and never hesitated to point out infelicities and suggest changes. My oeuvre would have been far less competent without her input.

It was my habit to read every poem out loud to her as soon as I finished it. In later years, as her hearing deteriorated, I would print out a second copy so that she could follow along while I read it. After she died I found a pile of many years’ worth of those printed pages on the bottom shelf of the bookcase next to her side of the bed.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

When I was a teenager attending an English grammar school, I was required to study large quantities of poetry in depth for my O-level and A-level exams. It was like discovering a magnificent palace filled with treasure, and I took to it as if it were my natural environment. At the time I didn’t understand that most of my fellow students experienced it quite differently: it was just something they had to do, to memorize and analyze long enough to pass their exams, and then gratefully forget.

In the ensuing years I’ve learned the hard lesson that poetry is an acquired taste. Most people don’t get it, and aren’t interested in getting it. And that’s especially true of the type of poetry I prefer to write, which admittedly is intellectually abstruse.

With that in mind, I’ve chosen two examples from the book to post here that are somewhat more accessible.

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The EU Conspiracy

This little ditty by Michael Copeland is timely, given the current push to shoehorn Ukraine into the European Union.

The EU Conspiracy

by Michael Copeland

The reason for this massive transformation?
We intend to de-homogenise the nation.
Just promote the lying claim
It’s all for “economic” aim,
When we know it’s really planned disintegration.

We’ll blacken and demean the native race,
And drive established peoples out of place.
Turn them into refugees,
Pack new voters in with ease,
And force the change to run at quite a pace.

Plant these new invaders in their town,
And make the native culture swiftly drown,
Let them infiltrate the schools,
And then impose their foreign rules,
To drive the local standards ever down.

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A Week to Christmas

I’ve posted this poem a couple of times in the past, but it’s worth revisiting during this manic materialistic holiday season in which the J- and C-words must never be mentioned:

A Week to Christmas

by Louis MacNeice (part XX of “Autumn Journal”, 1938)

A week to Christmas, cards of snow and holly,
Gimcracks in the shops,
Wishes and memories wrapped in tissue paper,
Trinkets, gadgets and lollipops
And as if through coloured glasses
We remember the childhood thrill
Waking in the morning to the rustling of paper,
The eiderdown heaped in a hill
Of wogs and dogs and bears and bricks and apples
And the feeling that Christmas Day
Was a coral island in time where we land and eat our lotus
But where we can never stay.

There was a star in the East, the magi in their turbans
Brought their luxury toys
In homage to a child born to capsize their values
And wreck their equipoise.
A smell of hay like peace in the dark stable —
Not peace however but a sword
To cut the Gordian knot of logical self-interest,
The fool-proof golden cord;
For Christ walked in where philosophers tread
But armed with more than folly,
Making the smooth place rough and knocking the heads
Of Church and State together.
In honour of whom we have taken over the pagan
Saturnalia for our annual treat
Letting the belly have its say, ignoring
The spirit while we eat.
And Conscience still goes crying through the desert
With sackcloth round his loins:
A week to Christmas — hark the herald angels
Beg for copper coins.

For my remarks on the poem and the surrounding cultural context, see the post from 2017.

Been There. Done That.

Unless some compelling reason emerges in future years, this will be my last 9-11 anniversary post.

It’s been an educational twenty years, to say the least. The first three anniversaries came up before Dymphna and I started blogging in October of 2004. During those years we had begun our studies of Islam and sharia, eventually launching Gates of Vienna to make our own small contribution to what later became known as the Counterjihad. From 2005 onward, one or the other of us always did a commemorative post when September 11th rolled around.

I still remember what I was doing when I heard the news on that bright, cool September morning, and how the day subsequently unfolded, but I’m not going to write about all that — I’ve covered it too many times before. And I’ll stay away from the political sequelae, except to note that the way the Patriot Act was eventually abused was at least as bad as the most skeptical libertarians predicted, and probably worse.

Over the next decade I spent a lot of time educating myself about Islam and sharia. Beginning in 2009, retired Major Stephen Coughlin was especially helpful in furthering my education. He made me understand the depth and breadth of the penetration of the federal government and the military by the Muslim Brotherhood, to the point that we had written sharia into the constitutions that we devised for Iraq and Afghanistan.

At first it seemed that a combination of ignorance and cluelessness had led to such foolhardy behavior, but as time went by — especially after the Islamophiles in the Obama administration got going full throttle — I realized that there was more than mere ignorance at work. Yes, there were plenty of ill-informed and stupid people at the upper levels of the government and the military, but John Brennan — just to pick an example — was not one of them. There was no way that he could have failed to understand exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood was up to. Thus we can only conclude that Islamization is part of the Deep State’s plan for the deconstruction of Western Civilization.

As the teens wore on, my cynicism and disillusionment about our government got worse and worse. I had started out with the naïve idea that there were decent people among our political leaders who really were attempting to do their best for the country. However, the true state of affairs eventually became ineluctable: corruption and malevolence were (and are) the norm, from the lowest to the highest levels of government. There are a few very rare exceptions, but they play no meaningful role in steering the ship of state.

The five years since Donald Trump stormed onto the political scene have really clarified the extent of the evil rot that has eaten out the core of our political and cultural institutions. The investigation and impeachment of Mr. Trump revealed the true purpose of the Patriot Act. And last fall’s election showed that the Deep State now has full control over the counting of the votes, so that no future elections will show any results other than those they intend. Diehard Republicans who are salivating over the midterms or 2024 are the most clueless of all. If they haven’t yet realized the nature of our new totalitarian dystopia, they probably never will. There’s no voting our way out of this.

So here we are, twenty years later. Afghanistan has reverted to what it was in 2001, except with much better roads, airfields, telecommunications, and surveillance equipment. We just handed the country over to the mujahideen we overthrew back then, lavishing upon them such quantities of state-of-the-art munitions and equipment that they will be the most powerful jihad army ever assembled, courtesy of the United States of America.

Here at home we are entering the full Corona despotism that the paranoid cynics among us have been predicting ever since the start of the “pandemic”. Since I intend to remain unjabbed, by this time next year I don’t know whether I’ll be able to get medical treatment, or eat in a restaurant, or even shop in a supermarket. By September 11, 2022 I might be unable to post a 9-11 commemoration, even if I wanted to.

I remember the ubiquitous “Never Forget” banners that popped up all over the place after 9-11. I didn’t forget.

I remember the “Let’s roll!” spirit that emerged. I rolled as best I could.

I remember when George W. Bush promised to hunt down the evil perpetrators and bring them to justice. And he did manage to round up quite a few of them and stash them in Gitmo until they were released to become ministers in the new government of Afghanistan.

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I Won!

I’ve been watching video clips from press conferences on the débacle in Afghanistan, led by Jen Psaki, Antony Blinken, and other flunkies of the Biden administration. I can’t tolerate much of that stuff, and usually only watch a little bit, but I read most of the transcripts. And, like most people, I have come to the conclusion that the administration’s spokescreatures are totally divorced from reality. Maybe they’re on drugs; who knows?

While reading a transcript this morning I was reminded of the last two lines of the poem “Crow’s Fall” by the late Ted Hughes (from Crow, 1971). I hadn’t read the poem for a long time, so I rolled the big ladder over to the poetry section of the library here at Schloss Bodissey, climbed up to the top, and pulled down my ancient copy of the book, which is now worn and bedraggled and held together by scotch tape.

The poem turns out to be fairly apropos, and also politically incorrect. And others in the book are even more triggering — “Two Eskimo Songs”, for example. If Mr. Hughes were alive today, he would surely be cancelled. And they may yet dig him up so that his corpse can be publicly shunned.

Crow’s Fall

by Ted Hughes

When Crow was white he decided the sun was too white.
He decided it glared much too whitely.
He decided to attack it and defeat it.

He got his strength flush and in full glitter.
He clawed and fluffed his rage up.
He aimed his beak direct at the sun’s centre.

He laughed himself to the centre of himself

And attacked.

At his battle cry trees grew suddenly old,
Shadows flattened.

But the sun brightened—
It brightened, and Crow returned charred black.

He opened his mouth but what came out was charred black.

“Up there,” he managed,
“Where white is black and black is white, I won.”

I noticed in the credits at the front of the book that this poem was first published in The New Yorker, of all places.

Joe Gilpin’s Ride

Our longtime German translator JLH sends occasional pastiches and spoofs. His latest poetic effort is an inside-the-Beltway extravaganza.

Joe Gilpin’s Ride

by JLH

Joe Gilpin was a politico
Of dubious renown;
A life-long lover of taxes was he,
Of storied Washingtown.

Joe Gilpin’s wife was Dr. Lill,
Who said one day to him:
“Of all the years that we’ve been married,
Not one has not been grim.

“When we meet females of any size,
Or age or other description,
Your hands perform as if they were
Decoding a Braille inscription.

“You did it as a senator,
And for many long years past,
And though your thoughts are slower now,
Your hands are just as fast.

You love the Secret Service girls
Who must guard you when you swim,
Cavorting nude so they can see
Your legendary limb.”

He fondly answered, and lightly stroked
Her piquant derrière,
“Just as I love all taxing schemes,
To take whatever’s there,

“Just so, I love all female-kind,
And that is why I dare
To stroke a lovely female rear
With kind grandfatherly care.

“They know indeed I mean no harm,
I’m old and devil-may-care.
I just love women, girls and all,
And love to smell their hair.

“So where my hands are when I sniff
Nobody needs to know,” he said,
And sauntered inattentively down
To where the Capitol subway sped.

He was going to a birthday bash
For a 12-year-old he knew,
Bringing Château-Neuf-du-Pape,
Either a cuvée or a cru,

Stuck out his foot and made a pose,
To enter with éclat,
Departing then with such a speed
As provoked in all great awe.

For a squirrel somewhere had trod too far,
And blown a transformer out.
And this, while mortal for the beast,
Did things no one could doubt.

Joe’s foot had wedged between two seats,
And drew its writhing master
Away at speed and then perforce
Continued even faster.

And as he flew and writhed and screamed
And fiercely clutched the wine,
He disappeared with the subway car,
Around a corner down the line.

“Good heavens. Joe!” called Dr. Lill.
“Don’t lose that costly stuff,
For if you do, I promise you,
Homecoming will be rough!”

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Choroidal Neovascularization: A Clinical Account

Most readers will be aware that I suffer from choroidal neovascularization — wet macular degeneration — in my left eye. Like the current U.S. government, the disease is progressive. Which mean that it gets worse over time — also like the U.S. government.

I was first diagnosed with the condition a little more than eight years ago. Last year it flared up again just after the “pandemic” began. The retinal specialist’s office closed down for a couple of weeks. Since we were asked not to visit healthcare facilities unless absolutely necessary, I put off going in for treatment until a month after the new symptoms appeared. That was a mistake, of course: it allowed the new growth of blood vessels to do more damage than it might have if I had had the injection promptly. If I had it to do over again, I’d say, “Screw the CDC — I’m going in.”

I’ve written the following account for my own benefit. When I describe something as distressing as this in a detailed, detached, clinical fashion, I find it helps me cope with the awfulness of it. Putting it into words seems to allow my psyche to contain it better.

This essay has nothing to do with the mission of this blog, and may be safely skipped. However, anyone who is curious about macular degeneration, or who suffers from it himself, may be interested in my descriptions.

The image at the top of this post is a simulation of what I might see in the visual field of my left eye as I begin to ascend the stairs to the Eyrie here at Schloss Bodissey. I’ve exaggerated the effect a little so that you can see it clearly, but this is basically what it looks like at night after my eye has had a bad day. The blob in the center is the scar left by the growth of a “frond” of new blood vessels in the choroid behind the retina. When that happens, fluid leaks from the blood vessels into the macula, damaging it. It can also push the dark pigment from the choroid into the retina, which darkens the field of vision at that location. That happened to me in March of 2013, and it took more than five years for the pigment to migrate to the periphery of my vision and be consumed by macrophages.

The smaller, lighter spot in the center of the oblong blob is the location where the original eruption of blood vessels first appeared, causing a bump that severely distorted my vision just to the right and below the fovea (from my perspective — since the brain inverts the retinal image, the bump was actually above and to the left). Fortunately, the Avastin injections that dried up those new vessels also made the bump shrink, so that I no longer see any topological distortion to speak of.

Because the damage to the macula did not quite overlap the fovea, I didn’t experience severe problems with focusing in that eye. However, last year’s flare-up expanded the trouble zone upwards and to the left. The top left edge of the blob in my simulation is right on the fovea, which means that my left eye now has a great deal of trouble resolving the focus in the central area of the macula.

The past year has also brought new symptoms, ones that I hadn’t seen before. The pattern of larger blood vessels in the eye gradually became visible under certain circumstances. To get a snapshot like the one at the top of this post, I would have to close my eyes for a half-second or so and then open them again. The layout of the vascular network in my left eye then appears briefly before fading out again. The central blob is initially quite bright, then fades after a moment, but never disappears entirely.

That’s on a bad day. On a good day I hardly notice any of that at all.

I also tend to see a wavy, irregular reticulated pattern throughout the visual field in that eye. It may be the interweaving of the smallest blood vessels in the retina, but it’s hard to tell.

The upshot of all this is that the visual acuity in my left eye has been significantly reduced. On a bad day, I can’t really resolve a clear, focused image at the fovea, and the area surrounding it is now also compromised.

Eight years ago, when the bump was causing such agonizing distortion, I contrived a patch for my left eye that could be fitted over the outside of my glasses. I made it from thick brown paper cut from the bottom of a Whole Foods grocery bag. Wearing it while at the screen allowed me to continue working. Late that summer, when the bump had mostly subsided, I was able to take it off.

A few months ago, when my new symptoms were at their worst, I got out that old patch and reattached it to my glasses. It was already in fairly bad shape from having been used for several months in 2013, and it didn’t hold up very well. Last week I used the same pattern to make a new patch from thicker, more rigid dark grey paper cut from a document folder:

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Here and Round Us

For a change of pace, Michael Copeland sends this Counterjihad poem.

Here and Round Us

by Michael Copeland

Invited in as a voter base by the Left,
Keeping their language, customs, and multiple wives,
Advised they could live off welfare, most of them do:
By postal voting fraud they elect their own.

Wilfully driving our teachers out of the schools,
They bully our children — some even ending their lives —
Ensnare our under-age girls as sexual slaves,
And attack our boys: Kriss Donald was tortured to death.

Inflicting on all of us meat that was cruelly slaughtered,
Expressing their strength in aggressive and menacing crowds,
They threaten and drive our people out of the towns,
And settle together to form their apartheid state.

They openly curse police and abuse the State,
Imposing by force their unconstitutional rules.
Misleadingly feeding the press with deliberate lies,
They blacken and smear any writers who tell the truth.

The texts they recite instruct them to ambush and kill us.
We are their enemy: this is their “Realm of War”.
Commanded to view us with hatred as lower than beasts,
They’re permitted to use deception, and lie to us all.

Disclaiming loyalty here to our state and laws,
Their men conspire to do killings at home and abroad:
They scheme and plan to murder with home-made bombs.
The intention is clear that we walk in fear of our lives.

They are here and round us.

For previous essays by Michael Copeland, see the Michael Copeland Archives.

We Could Do Nothing, Being Sold

From time to time Saturday is Poetry Day here at Gates of Vienna, and today seems an appropriate occasion — given that it’s the first Saturday since the Investiture of the Puppet — to repost an old favorite by Edwin Muir. I’ve posted it at least twice in the past, but it’s worth revisiting.

I don’t know why people are complaining about the legitimacy of last November’s election. I mean, we got the best election money can buy* — what’s not to like?

As a matter of interest, I memorized this poem for my O-Level examinations when I attended the High School in Harrogate. Except for the odd preposition here and there, the text in my head seems to be intact some fifty-three years later:

The Castle
by Edwin Muir

All through that summer at ease we lay,
And daily from the turret wall
We watched the mowers in the hay
And the enemy half a mile away —
They seemed no threat to us at all.

For what, we thought, had we to fear
With our arms and provender, load on load,
Our towering battlements, tier on tier,
And friendly allies drawing near
On every leafy summer road?

Our gates were strong, our walls were thick,
So smooth and high, no man could win
A foothold there, no clever trick
Could take us, have us dead or quick.
Only a bird could have got in.

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The Old Gods, Passing On

Years and years ago, in a happier time, Saturday at Gates of Vienna was either Ranting Day or Poetry Day, depending on my mood. I still like to rant, and I still enjoy poetry, but I usually don’t have time to do either on a Saturday. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to post the poem below, which was lost to me many decades ago.

It was written by the late science fiction writer L. Sprague de Camp. I read it when it was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the issue of December 1966. I was fifteen at the time, and it made a profound impression on me, so much so that I could remember chunks of it verbatim more than fifty years later.

The intensification of the Culture Wars over the last ten years or so brought this poem to mind, and I wished I had the text of it so that I could post it. Since the advent of the Internet I have searched for it occasionally, but to no avail. Then a few days ago I finally found it in an online archive. There were a few transcription errors resulting from the scanning and OCR process, but those were easy to fix.

As G.K. Chesterton famously said: “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

That’s why we should fear the gods to come:

The Gods

by L. Sprague de Camp

The ghosts of gods were marching down the hallway of the past;
The shuffle of their footsteps woke me from my sleep at last;
I stared into the darkness, and I shuddered as they passed.

A grim and one-eyed Odin strode, and hammer-wielding Thor,
And there were golden-bearded Zeus and Ares, god of war,
And Mithra, Ler, Ganesha, Ra, Shamash, and many more.

I looked on Quetzalcoatl’s plumes and Loki’s hair of fire;
Along with Krishna’s flute I heard Apollo’s twanging lyre;
I caught a wink from Pan and witnessed Ishtar’s fierce desire.

Just then a funny, ibis-headed godlet caught my eye.
“Come here and tell me, Thoth!” I called. The bird-head wafted nigh.
“What means this rout of deities? Where go they hence, and why?”‘

“As you create us, you destroy us,” said the long-billed wight,
“And those that you’ve discarded here have yielded up their might;
“They’re bound for non-existence in the quiet lands of night.”

“And what of those who stand aloof — the four with beards?” I cried.
“They’re Christ and Yahweh, Marx and Lenin,” Thoth the Wise replied.
“Although these four are worshiped now, they will not long abide.”

“Will earth be godless, then?” I said, and Thoth responded: “Nay!
“You’ll make more gods, in name of whom to burn and maim and slay.”
“What sort of gods? Abstractions pale, or bloodless theories, say?”

But Thoth of Egypt turned away and went in silence dumb.
I thought of Venus’ bosom, heard afar Damballa’s drum.
And wept the old gods, passing on, and feared the gods to come.

Demonstration Against Coronavirus Restrictions in Düsseldorf

The following video was recorded yesterday in the German city of Düsseldorf during a citizens’ protest against mandatory facemasks and other restrictions imposed due to the Wuhan Coronavirus. It features excerpts from various speeches, interviews with the participants, and an anti-mask poem recited by a theatrically-inclined woman.

Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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All That Vanished Glory

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The central preoccupation of Americans — those who are literate enough to be preoccupied with history — is the Civil War, a.k.a. the War Between the States, a.k.a. the Recent Unpleasantness. The degree of preoccupation varies according to the distance between where one lives and the areas where most of the fighting took place. Since Virginia is the state where most of the battles were fought, any Virginia family — black or white — of sufficiently long lineage can tell you stories that have been passed down from generation to generation for a century and a half.

Mind you, I’m not talking about the hysterical preoccupation with “racism”, “slavery”, and “oppression” that is raging in the land as I write these words. I’m talking about a deep and abiding interest in the tragic years 1861-1865 generated by the impact they had on one’s family and environment.

I wrote about such matters in my poem “Sayler’s Creek” (the full text is here), which opens with these stanzas:

There is too much history here in Virginia;
we are drowning in its muddy flood.
Every April sweeps its pontoons from their moorings
on the North Fork of the Shenandoah
with Federal soldiers watching helplessly from the bank.
Every pitcher toeing the mound
scuffs up a lode of Minié balls.
A metal detector swept over any ravine
uncovers the belt buckles and canteens
urgently shed by fleeing infantry.
A faded daguerreotype of General Lee
stares down from every wall,
a stern reminder of all that vanished glory.

The top drawer of every dusty dresser
in every second-hand shop
opens to reveal a brittle bundle of worthless banknotes.
Everyone’s great-great-uncle Theophrastus
led the charge at the Crater.

That poem was written in 1996, when one could still see photographs of General Lee here and there in public places. Those days are gone, alas. A rearguard action is even now being fought against the removal of his statue from Monument Avenue in Richmond, but the cause is just as lost as it was the spring of 1865. The Wokerati will prevail. The last depictions of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson will eventually be erased from public view in the Commonwealth, no matter what the average Virginia citizen might think of the matter. All objective accounts of Confederate history will be removed from high school and university curricula. The stories will be passed down by word of mouth only. The artifacts and written accounts of the events of those years will be confined to private collections and family attics.

And one such attic will obviously be mine.

There are little pieces of family lore in the stanzas of my poem. My mother’s great-great uncle was famous for leading the charge at the Crater in Petersburg, but his name wasn’t Theophrastus. He was Brigadier General David Weisiger (pronounced “Wizziger”, for readers who live outside the Richmond area), and was renowned, at least in Virginia, for his heroism on that day.

I am also in possession of a brittle bundle of worthless banknotes from the period. For many years they were kept in the top drawer of Dymphna’s and my dresser.

My grandmother’s first cousin (i.e. my first cousin twice removed) was the only daughter of the eldest daughter (there were five daughters, no sons) of David Weisiger’s brother, so she inherited most of the family heirlooms from the plantation. She never married, and when she died the various items were divided among her cousins.

The largest pieces of furniture went to my uncle and my mother. The item that I coveted most was a plantation medical kit, which was a wooden cabinet with little drawers and cubbies for medicinal substances, surgical implements, etc. I remember one drawer was labeled “Opium”, and there was a dried black tarry residue at the bottom of it. I really wanted that cabinet, but it went to one of my cousins.

One of the few things I received (which I had also wanted) was an envelope full of Confederate money. I’ve scanned some of the notes to display here.

In my bundle of worthless banknotes are two hundred-dollar bills, one twenty (not shown here), eighteen Confederate tens, one Virginia ten, and three pieces of fractional scrip from the City of Richmond — 25¢ (not shown here), 30¢, and 75¢. That makes a total of $411.30, which was a lot of money in 1862, especially since it was presumably received in exchange for gold and/or silver coins. I’m certain those were sorely missed in April of 1865.

This is the back of the hundred-dollar note shown at the top of this post:

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The interest rate paid on the note was 2¢ daily, which is an APR of 7.3%.

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There’s no indication that any interest was paid on the tens and twenties.

The fractional notes issued by the City of Richmond are worn and wrinkled, indicating that they saw wide circulation. The other bills were in better shape, and may not have circulated much before coming to rest in the family strongbox.

For the higher-denomination notes, the Confederate government promised to pay the bearer the face amount on demand six months or two years (depending on the note) after a peace treaty was signed with the United States. It was hoped that the delay would allow the nascent state to accumulate enough gold and silver through taxes and tariffs to be able to pay off its promissory notes.

Alas, no peace treaty ever came. The surrender was signed by General Lee on April 9, 1865 (which day I refer to in my more sardonic moments as “the Confederate naqba”), and all those Confederate, Virginia, and Richmond banknotes suddenly became worthless pieces of paper.

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A Looter’s Life for Me

Below is JLH’s latest topical pastiche in verse form.

A Looter’s Life for Me

by JLH
With apologies to Pinocchio and other blockheads

Hi diddle-dee-dee,
A looter’s life for me.
A full face mask and a baseball bat;
I’ll show those $%&!*#s where I’m at.

Hi diddle-dee-dee,
Anonymous funding for me.
Bashing elders is lots of fun;
If they don’t fall down, away I run.
Breaking windows done with care
So none of the glass gets in my hair.
It’s so much better than going to war.
It’s not some principle we’re fighting for,
But just the fun of being rash,
And maybe looting some extra cash.

Hi diddle-dee-dome,
The basement is my home.
When I get the call to go destroy,
It is a moment of utter joy.
I leave the game of killing orcs,
And join my fellow mayhem dorks.
We maim and destroy and sometimes kill—
Slaughtering folks is such a thrill.
We’re avenging angels for some rich guy
Who hates everything that he can’t buy.

Hey diddle dee dum,
That’s where progress comes from.