By the 21st century, America had become a country of many universities and little education. Her colleges were mostly diploma mills crossed with asylums for the politically insane: howling Bluestockings, inventors of “Afrocentric history,” mewling “advocates” for the blind, the botched, and the bewildered. Frequently, these defectives pooled their neuroses and formed a coalition that took over the campus, turning it into a small, ivy covered North Korea. Any student who dared dispute their ideology of cultural Marxism swiftly felt the hand of “revolutionary justice.”
Students still arrived, despite appalling tuition bills, because they needed the sheepskin. America had come to value credentials over performance, so anyone without a college degree remained a bottom-feeder for life. Universities were a classic socialist set-up: a monopoly that produced crap at high prices. Many were little more than vending machines; insert your $250,000, pull the lever, and get your diploma.
Inflation proved the ax that finally killed the silly goose. The American republic’s final hyperinflation wiped out college endowments, destroyed the middle class that footed the tuition bills, and finally made worthless the massive government grants and subsidies most universities had come to depend on. The professors were still paid, but in money worth so little a month’s paycheck couldn’t cover lunch. It got so bad some of them had to go out and get jobs.
The break-up of the union and the fall of Washington closed the doors of every college and university. Young people had real work to do, and no state government had spare cash to fund phony “education.” Frankly, nobody much missed institutions that had long since abandoned their function, which was passing the higher elements of our culture on to the next generation. So it was something of a surprise, in early September, 2029, to see students once again matriculating. The way it happened was even more surprising.
Sometime in March, an organization based in Zurich called the Foundation for Higher Learning had approached the former presidents of Yale, Harvard, and Dartmouth and asked whether they could start their schools going again if funding were provided. They said they could, and immediately found themselves with a hundred million Swiss francs each – an enormous sum in our poverty-stricken economy. Lured by huge salaries, their professors regathered. Students were offered full scholarships, plus stipends that amounted to enough money to feed a whole family. People without much cash realized their college-age son or daughter could be their main wage-earner, and applications poured in.
At the time, I’d been occupied with both the Boston problem and our succession crisis, and I hadn’t paid the whole business much mind. Three hundred million Swiss francs was an economic Godsend, because it enabled us to increase our money supply. It was many times what we were earning in foreign exchange from all our exports put together.
I had gotten a nose full of “Political Correctness” at Bowdoin, so I guess I should have known what to expect. But that seemed ages ago, and I figured reality would impress itself on campuses just as it had on the rest of our society.
I was wrong. Quickly, all the old games started up again. The course catalogs were filled with crap like “Women in Judeo-Christian Societies: Three Thousand Years of Phallic Oppression and The Symbolism of the Bagel,” “The African Origins of Chaos Theory” (a course which was quickly denounced as “insensitive” and withdrawn), and “Salons in the Camp: Lesbian Contributions to Line and Column Tactics in 18th Century European Warfare.”
An informal contest developed among the three colleges to see which could be the most PC. The Harvard faculty collectively led a “love-in” that “introduced students to the richness of man-boy relationships.” Yale countered with an “auto-da-fe” in which every heterosexual male student had to choose a “sin” from a PC list – “sexism,” “homophobia,” “good table manners,” etc. – and parade around campus wearing a signboard bearing their “confession.” Dartmouth erected a Temple of Artemis in the center of the green and forced all male students to prostrate themselves before the goddess, on pain of expulsion it they refused.
Seeking to establish itself as the best of the worst, Dartmouth called a “faculty workshop” for October 12, Columbus Day, “to discover means for reversing Eurocentrism and white male domination over the North American continent.” Faculty leaders from Yale and Harvard were invited to attend.
On October 2, I received a note from Governor Kraft asking me to meet with him the next day and to bring along Ron Danielov, head of our Special Operations forces. We gathered in his small office that afternoon.
“Are you both familiar with what is happening in our so-called ‘institutions of higher learning?’” Bill opened.
“I guess everybody is,” Ron replied. “It’s in all the newspapers. I can tell you, people aren’t happy about it. We all thought we were through with this kind of crap.”
“We soon will be,” Kraft replied. “As usual, there is more to it than meets the eye. Do you know where these colleges are getting their funding?”
“From some foundation in Switzerland,” I said.
“That’s a front,” Bill replied. “Some friends in Europe did a little sniffing around for me. The real source of the money is the UN, specifically UNESCO, the UN’s ‘cultural branch.’ It’s been a den of vipers for as long as anyone can remember. Now, with UN money, it hopes to poison us the same way it’s poisoned so many other places. Only that’s not going to happen.”
“Where do we come in?” I inquired.
“Conveniently, the worst malefactors are gathering at Dartmouth College on October 12,” Bill answered. “They are meeting in Dartmouth Hall, in room 105, which is a small auditorium. I’m going to be there.”
“Do they know that?” I asked.
“No, and they won’t until I walk in,” Bill replied.
“Mightn’t that be a bit dangerous?” I cautioned.
“I intend it to be dangerous – for them,” Bill answered.
“Here’s my plan, and here’s where you come in, sergeant. About mid-morning, I will crash their meeting. I’m simply going to barge in, march up to the front and grab the mic. There, I’ll explain what “political correctness” really is and why we will not tolerate it, or its advocates, in the Northern Confederation.”
“Sergeant, I need two things from you. First, I need snipers concealed in 105 Dartmouth where they can cover the stage. If any of the freaks, phonies, or faggots try to rush me or shout me down, I want them shot. They are going to hear this speech whether they want to or not.”
“No problem,” Ron replied. “I hope you don’t mind if I’m one of those snipers myself. I’d enjoy taking a few of those bastards out.”
“Be my guest,” Bill answered. “But you still need to be able to run the second part of the operation. Once I’ve said my piece and left the stage, I want a massacre. I don’t want a single one of those idiotlogues to leave that room alive.”
“Press will be there, so you can’t just blow the building up,” the governor continued. “I want to kill the people who’ve earned death, but no one else. And I want the media, including television, to record and report the whole thing, in every detail.”
I was taken aback by Kraft’s sudden bloodlust. In the past, we had generally been careful to minimize casualties, especially among people who were at least nominally our countrymen. Knowing a General Staff officer has no right to keep his opinions to himself, I spoke up.
“Excuse me, but there’s something here I don’t get,” I said. “When the Vermont Deep Greeners led an actual revolt, we made every effort to avoid killing them. Now we’ve got a bunch of crazy professors just holding a meeting, and we’re going to slaughter them like so many pigs. Why?”
“A good question, captain,” Governor Kraft replied. “It has two answers.”
“First, the Deep Greeners were deluded, but they were not deluders. They had swallowed the poison of ideology, but they did not know it as such. They thought what they were doing was good. And a proper concern for the environment is good. We Christians call it ‘stewardship.’ They had simply gone too far, in both their goals and their choice of means.”
“Because they erred, they had to pay a price, and they did. The price was banishment. Had we set their lives as the price, we would have gone too far. It is useful to remind ourselves that we are all fools on occasion.”
“It is otherwise with the slime now oozing its way toward Dartmouth College,” the governor continued. “These people are not the ensnared, but the setters of snares. They are the deluders, the tricksters, the deceivers who serve the One Deceiver.”
“They know political correctness is bunk, and ‘deconstruction’ a mere parlor game with words. Why do you think they devote their efforts so assiduously to youth? Young people have not seen enough of life to tell what is real from what is not. So they drink the poison unaware.”
“This mutilation of innocence in the service of death, the death of culture and the death of truth, deserves death. That is what it shall receive. Let it be to each according to his works.”
“And that leads into the second answer to your question,” Kraft went on. “By giving each what he has earned – which is to say, by acting justly – we make the point that at least in the Northern Confederation, our culture, Western culture, is recovering its will. We are no longer afraid to act on what we know is right. You know Von Seekt’s saying, captain: Das wesentlilche ist die Tat. The important thing is the deed.”
“Oh, we’ve known, most of us anyway, that what was preached in our universities was garbage. Most of the students themselves have known it, ever since political correctness reared its ugly backside in our faces in the late 1960s.”
“But we were cowed. We were frightened out of acting on what we knew, because we were told it wasn’t nice, it wasn’t ‘tolerant,’ it didn’t ‘respect the rights of others.’ Those arguments were themselves provided by the politically correct, to create the opening wedge for an ideology that, once empowered, showed not the slightest shred of tolerance for any dissent, or dissenters.”
“But that’s all done with. We’re becoming men again. Men have the will to act. This act, I promise you, will speak in a voice no one can misunderstand. This trumpet will not sound uncertain.”
The governor turned to Danielov. “So then, can you give me my massacre?” he asked.
“Easily,” Ron replied. “Our snipers are good enough to take out the right people and not hit the wrong people, even in a melee, which this will become as soon as the first shots are fired.”
“But I think there’s a better way,” Sgt. Danielov continued. “You want to send a signal that we are recovering our will. Killing our enemies does that, but I think how we kill them can make the signal stronger.”
“In killing, the hardest thing to do, the greatest challenge to the will, is to kill up close, with cold steel – to plunge your sword or bayonet or dagger into your enemy’s guts and twist. Will you allow us to do it that way here?”
“I like it. Yes!” Governor Kraft replied. Let the trumpet sound loud and clear.”
“What about the women?” I asked.
“These women despise anyone who looks upon them as women,” Kraft responded. “They spit on the word ‘lady.’ If a man opens a door for them, they kick him in the shins. They demand to be treated equally. Let it be unto them according to their wish.”
Ron knew what was wanted, so I left it to him to make the arrangements. Precisely because I still wasn’t comfortable with the idea of a massacre, I felt a need to be in Hanover on October 12th. I needed to show myself that I could do what I was ordered even when I was uncomfortable with it. On the other hand, I didn’t want Danielov to think I was looking over his shoulder, and I knew I’d be recognized. The targets might suspect something if they spotted the Chief of the General Staff wandering around town.
In the end, I decided just to go home to Hartland, where I could get a better sense of the public reaction. I wasn’t at all sure our folks were ready for this. Up home, I was still just “that Rumford kid,” and people would let me know in a hurry what they were really thinking.
On the morning of the 12th, I hitched up the wagon and headed into town. The general store had a generator, powered by a turbine in the stream that flowed by the tannery, because they still had a good-sized freezer. The ice cream in the freezer plus a television made the store the town social center. There’d be enough of a crowd that I’d get a good sense of public opinion.
The PC congress at Dartmouth was well known to folks, since the papers had been talking about the affair at some length. When I got to the store around 9:30, a good crowd had gathered, and they had hard words for the goings-on. Time had not dimmed their memories of what was worst about the old USA, and this political correctness crap was at the top of the list. More than one neighbor said we ought to take the lot of ‘em out and shoot ’em. I took that as a good sign, but still wasn’t sure how people would react when we actually did it.
The television was covering the conference, live, and the other side was laying the groundwork for us as well as if we’d written the script. The speakers were a succession of whiney women and faggy men, all bemoaning this or that “oppression” and blaming the world’s ills on white males. The comments from the Hartland peanut gallery got increasingly nastier; we all felt like we’d gone through a worm-hole into a tour of the Inferno conducted by Catullus. The main sentiment seemed to be, “Why are we still putting up with this stuff?”
By around 10:30, I began to fear the local crowd would go home before the action started. Just at the point when Farmer Corman said, “If I want chicken shit, I got plenty to shovel at home” and headed for the door, the picture changed.
From the back of 105 Dartmouth, the camera panned to Governor Kraft marching in the side door, to gasps, then boos, hisses, and shouts of anger from the gutter worshipers. Bill’s 300-pound bulk tossed those in his path aside like bumboats around a battleship as he climbed toward the stage. Grabbing the mic from some stingy-haired bitch reading a poem about making love with her Labrador, the governor bellowed, “Sit down and shut up!”
They did. Auctoritas has that effect, even on the illegitimate.
“Fellow revolutionaries,” were Kraft’s next words. Recovering quickly from their initial shock, a few of the snakes hissed at them.
“You doubt that I am a revolutionary?” he replied to the hisses. “Oh, how very wrong you are. Very wrong indeed, as you will shortly learn,
“Now ‘fellow,’ I confess, is merely a bit of polite rhetoric. After all, I cannot address you as ‘ladies and gentlemen.’ You would be ‘offended,’ about which I care not a fig. But it would be untrue. You are neither ladies nor gentlemen. Considering how long you have coupled with demons, I’m not sure there is any humanity left in you at all.”
No one was moving toward the door of the Hartland general store now. It was so quiet you could have heard a mouse fart. Like all effective leaders, Bill wore the masque of command well.
“You see, I am not one of the beguiled,” Governor Kraft continued. “I know whence you come. I have studied your history. You are not descendants of the hippies, despite your bedraggled appearance. You are not the offspring of Quakers and Anabaptists, for when you say ‘peace,’ you mean ‘war.’ You did not grow from the Suffragettes, nor the civil rights movement, nor apostles of tolerance such as Roger Williams.”
“For your father in Hell, no less yours than Lenin’s and Stalin’s and Mao’s, is none other than Karl Marx himself. Your poison, the poison of political correctness which you have striven these many years to inject into the Western bloodstream, is nothing less than Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms.”
At this, one aged crone on the Dartmouth faculty, Professorette Mary Ucistah, realized the danger. The governor was about to unveil PC’s ultimate secret: where it came from and what it really was. She jumped to her feet and cried, “Come on, people, let’s shout this pig down. You know the chant: Two, Four, Six, Eight, We Know Who the People Hate. . .”
Their eyes fixed on the professor, few television viewers noticed Bill look up slightly toward the rafters and raise his eyebrows. Ron read the signal correctly. 105 Dartmouth rang with one shot from a sniper rifle, and “Ms.” Ucistah’s brains splattered across the backs of her colleagues. The room froze.
“Thank you for the courtesy of your attention,” Bill said quietly.
“As I was saying, the sewage which you have poured for decades into the once-sweet grove of academe is Marxism, nothing less. The derivation is obvious. Like classical, economic Marxism, cultural Marxism is a totalitarian ideology. From Marxist philosophy, it derives its vision of a “classless society” – a society not of equal opportunity, but equal condition. Since that vision contradicts human nature, society will not accord with it, unless forced. So forced it will be. Thank God, you never got control of the power of the state, not in full. But on campuses like this one, where you did gain power, you made your totalitarian nature clear. Cultural Marxism was forced on everyone, and no dissent was allowed. Freedom of speech, of the press, even of thought were all eliminated. Anyone who challenged you, student or faculty or administer, was driven out.”
“Like economic Marxism, your cultural Marxism said that all history was determined by a single factor. Classical Marxism argued that factor was ownership of the means of production. You said that it was which groups – defined by sex, race, and sexual normality or abnormality – had power over which other groups.”
“Classical Marxism defined the working class as virtuous and the bourgeoisie as evil – without regard to what members of either class did. You defined blacks, Hispanics, feminist women, and homosexuals as good, and white men as evil – all, again, with no attention to anyone’s behavior.”
“Classical Marxists, where they obtained power, expropriated the bourgeoisie and gave their property to the state, as the ‘representative of the workers and peasants.’ Where you obtained power, you expropriated the rights of white men and gave special privileges to feminists, blacks, gays, and the like – Marcuse’s revolutionary class.”
“Classical Marxists justified their actions through a warped economics. You justified your actions through a deliberate warping of the language: deconstruction. Deconstruction ‘proved’ that any text, past or present, illustrated white male oppression of everyone else, just as economic Marxist analysis ‘proved’ the exploitation of the working class. Deconstruction was in fact merely political scrabble. Compared with it, classical Marxist economics was at least intellectually challenging. But then, most of you never had minds.”
“But that is not all I know about you,” the Governor continued. “I have visited, through history, the fetid holes where your cultural Marxism grew. I have read Gramsci, the Italian Communist who pioneered the translation of Marxism from economics into culture as early as the 1920s. I know Adorno, and his Frankfurt School that in the 1930s crossed Marx with Freud. I have studied ‘Critical Theory,’ the product of that school that carried the bacillus into American universities. I know the whole, sordid story of your sorry ancestry among the exiled refuse of European Marxism, the story of how failed intellectuals worked for what is now almost a century to stab our culture in the back.”
“But as I said at the outset, I too am a revolutionary. My revolution – our revolution, here in the Northern Confederation – is against you. Marxist revolutionaries of every yellow stripe, wherever they obtained power, brought ‘revolutionary justice.’ Anyone or anything that furthered their revolution was just, anyone or anything that opposed it was unjust. And the unjust were liquidated, by the millions.”
“Now, by your own standard let you be judged. You have opposed our revolution, so you stand condemned.”
“You are condemned, let me hasten to add, not by me alone, nor merely by those who live today in our Confederation. Your jury is every man and woman who for three thousand years has labored and fought and died for Western culture, the culture you sought to sacrifice to your own pathetic egos.”
“And that jury’s sentence is death.”
At those words, the doorways to 105 Dartmouth filled with our men. Each wore a white surplice with the red Crusader cross emblazoned on a shield over the heart. Each held a Roman gladius, the short, sharp stabbing sword of the Roman legionary, in his right hand. Through the doorway closest to the stage, a choir of monks filed in. Mounting the stage, they began chanting the Dies Irae. At that signal, the soldiers set to their work.
The hall held 162 politically correct luminaries – 163 if you count “Ms.” Ucistah’s corpse. The work of slaughter went quickly. In less than five minutes of screams, shrieks and howls, it was all over. The floor ran deep with the bowels of cultural Marxism, and at least in the Northern Confederation, it was dead.
As intended, the television showed the whole thing, the faces frozen first in terror, then in death. It was not a pretty picture, even to those of us who had seen war. As the cries turned to moans, and the moans were replaced with nothing but an occasional twitch of a limb unconnected to any living brain, the Dies Irae too softened until the choir was silent.
Then, Governor Kraft, who had stood like some human Matterhorn overlooking the carnage, moving and unmoved, turned and walked slowly, as if in solemn procession, toward the door. As he did so, the choir broke again into song, now in a major key, strong and soaring: the Non Nobis. “Not to us, Oh Lord, but to Thee be given the glory.”
In the Hartland general store, I had kept one eye on the television and the other on my neighbors. Perhaps my own ambivalence made me overly sensitive, but Kraft’s massacre was a high-risk move, and public reaction would determine whether it worked or blew up in his face.
State o’Mainers are born with poker faces and stuck tongues, so at first it was hard to judge. But as the massacre proceeded, I began to notice a few thin smiles, the sign a Yankee likes what he’s seeing.
After Kraft left the stage in 105 Dartmouth, Farmer Corman reached up and turned off the set. “Waal,” he said, “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I thinks that deserves a toast. Here’s a jug of my best cider, which I brought in to sell, and I see some glasses theah on the shelf.” The glasses and the jug quickly went round.
“Heah’s to our Governor, the State of Maine, and our own Johnny Rumford, who’ve had the courage to do what we should have done a long time ago.” As the glasses were raised, a kid in back shouted “Hip, hip, hurray!” Three cheers rang out, and I bowed my thanks for good neighbors and a people who deserved their liberty.
Bill Kraft had gambled and won. No one in the Confederation regretted the loss of the treasonous intellectual scum who, perhaps more than anyone else, bore the responsibility for what had happened to the old USA. But I felt there was still some unfinished business, and a few days later, back in Augusta, I asked Bill if he would stop by my boarding house lodgings some evening so we could talk.
He came on a cold November night. Knowing that the route to Bill’s heart and brain lay through his stomach, I had stopped by Father Dimitri’s to wheedle something special. Not only did the good priest provide the tin of caviar I had hoped for, he threw in a few bottles of vintage Port, Bill’s favorite drink. “Just lubricating the wheels of government,” he said smiling as I thanked him and his Tsar for their generosity. He knew one good bottle often accomplished more than many memos.
Bill arrived around eight and caught sight of the sideboard as he was shucking off his field-gray greatcoat. “I’m pleased to see the General Staff has been maintaining a productive relationship with the Russians,” he said jovially.
“Tanks and caviar are a happy combination,” I replied.
“Especially when it’s Sevruga,” Bill added, quickly pouring himself a glass of Port and diving into the tin.
“I’m glad to see you’ve gotten your appetite back,” I joked.
“Nothing picks up the spirits better than a good massacre,” he mumbled through a mouthful of black pearls. “An ‘Un-rest Cure,’ you know.”
“Having a bit of Saki with our caviar?” I teased.
“Reginald would approve, I’m sure,” he purred. Bill’s ecstasies, like his rages, were something of an art form.
Seeing an opportunity to turn the conversation the way I wanted it to go, I asked, “I wonder how many of the young men growing up today in the Northern Confederation will ever have a chance to read Saki?”
“Not many, I guess,” Bill replied. “That’s always a problem with revolutions. You lose a lot of good things too.”
“Is it time to start getting some of them back?” I asked.
“What do you have in mind?” he said.
“A real university. You know what that is. It’s a place where people study Latin and Greek, read Aristotle and Cicero and Thomas Aquinas, learn Logic and Rhetoric, and come to appreciate the classics of our English language – Jane Austin and Chesterton and Tolkien and, perhaps, even our friend Saki.”
“I would like to see that too,” Bill said. “But can you read Chesterton on an empty stomach?”
“Who was it that said, ‘If I have money, I buy books, and if there is any left over, I buy food and clothes?’”
“Virgil, I think,” he answered. “But I’m not sure our fellow citizens are Virgils.”
“Why don’t we ask them?”
“You mean a referendum?”
“Exactly. Remember the first truth about modern war: you have to trust the troops.”
“True enough,” the Governor said. ‘And you have to take risks. The risk here is that if it’s voted down, it may be hard later to bring the issue up again.”
Bill chewed thoughtfully for a while as he pondered my idea. “OK, I’ll do it,” he decided. “I’ll make the proposal to the other governors, and I’ll campaign for it in public. If we lose, we lose. If we win, we’ll be on the road to rebuilding our culture. To me, that’s ultimately what it’s all about, everything we are doing.”
The other governors agreed the people should decide, and the vote was held on December 24th, 2029. The citizens of the Northern Confederation decided to give the future a Christmas present. The measure passed with 63% of the vote.
There was a general feeling that since Dartmouth College saw the death of the old, ideologized, corrupted education, it should also be the place classical education was reborn. Besides, we wanted a college devoted to teaching undergraduates, not a “research university.”
From every corner of the Confederation, real scholars emerged from hiding, hiding they’d been driven into by cultural Marxism, and offered to teach, even though the salary was small. Many had no PhD; their work was their credentials. Most proved dedicated and effective teachers.
Autumn, 2030, once again saw students matriculating. The number was small – no stipends this time – but they were earnest. They came for knowledge and understanding, not a sheepskin. Small farms and factories cared little about degrees. At least in the N.C., civilization was returning.