Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Collapse LXIX: Patriotism

18 February 20XX +1

My Dear Lucilius:

As Young Xerxes was about for his weekly visit (that young man has become indispensable for conversation along with everything else), he randomly asked me a question about what it was like to be a citizen in “The Old Days”.

“The Old Days”. I chuckled out loud. When did we our days become old, Lucilius?

But his question made me ponder a moment or two. What was it like to be a citizen “in The Old Days”, before we had torn each other apart by every conceivable classification that existed and splintered into a thousand sub-groups with only a geography and economy to loosely bind us?

I do not know if you remember – I certainly do – the Bicentennial of our country. It was a time when one was young enough to be enthusiastic about everything without bearing the burden of the nature of policies and practices. Flags celebrating the country were everywhere – the country was ablaze (figuratively speaking) in Red, White and Blue. There was a genuine swelling, noticeable through the land of what it meant to be “A Citizen”.

Or, to a lesser extent, the events following the crashing of The Two Towers, before we had devolved into arguments and counter arguments and finger pointing and an intrusive state that, once it had acted to “secure our safety”, never let go. There was a sense – sorrowful, but a sense – that we were still, at least in this moment, all the same and the attack against some was an attack against all.

How do I convey that to those who have grown up only knowing and hearing of every wrong a country has committed instead of every success it has achieved, of every weakness it demonstrates rather than every strength it possesses, of how all the past was wrong and only the future – properly crafted, of course, in Utopian fashion – is correct?

I cannot, of course. Nor would I if I could.

That State – the State we grew up in – is dead. Was dead some time ago actually and had become some kind of living dead political geographic horror, maintained in a sort of hideous existence by a parasitic fungal growth called “Society” which animated the corpse long after the soul and mind were gone. The Flag that once flew over every government building and from many people’s homes became a winding sheet of Stars and Stripes that slowly settled over everything, muffling the features and hiding the decay.

That was our world, of course. And the sad remnants of it are rapidly disappearing into the back mirror on the road trip of history, to be remembered fondly by some and with bitterness by others – but always receding.

But it is not Xerxes’ world, and those who are alive now.

They have an opportunity, Lucilius, an opportunity no matter what the future is coming to look like (and who can really tell at this point?), to remake something better and more glorious out of the ashes and rubble that is left behind. Out of the decay of endings are new beginnings made to the brave and focused.

So I looked at him, this young man with his drive and passion and his curiousity, and simply smiled. “It was a different time” I reply. “I do not think my words would really capture what it was like.”

You may argue, Lucilius, that this is a convenient half truth. Perhaps so. And while there are pieces and parts of that State that you and I knew that would be valuable to express for him and his generation to bring forward, that can wait for its transmission. His mind – and the minds of all of his generation – are looking into a future they cannot define at this time. I – no, we - need to help him, and them, to get there.

We, the Old Guard, can remember for them at the appropriate time.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca


  1. Anonymous5:53 AM

    I think this was heard before :

    "Can I do that ?"

    "Sure - it's a free country isn't it ?"

    Haven't heard that said aloud in quite a while ...

  2. Anonymous - You are right, you have not heard that in a very long time. Nor (and I think Seneca may have also mentioned this), do you hear the phrase "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it". The phrase more often now is "I may not agree with what you say, and I will do everything by soft and hard power to prevent you from saying it."

    And people wonder why communication is effectively dead anymore.

    1. Language has two meanings, the lie and the truth of every word.

  3. Very good update, TB.

  4. We are "The Old Guard" indeed, but have been so vilified that no one will listen to us anymore. We're not "elders;" we're "white supremacists, right-wing extremists, aw, the heck with it; "DOMESTIC TERRORISTS!" This, TB, was the plan all along... No, we won't be listened to, either out of fear, brainwashing, or just plain ignorance. The best we can do at this time is to hide away hardcopy historic references so that, sometime in the future, they'll be found and their contents "rediscovered..."

    ...America was once where people ran to escape Tyranny... There's no place to run once America falls...

    1. Pete, one of the great fallouts of the current "Way Things Are" is that there is literally no respect given to the previous generation. In fact, quite the opposite: The Younger Generation is to have all the attention and we "must listen to them".

      At this point Pete, all we can do is manage the knowledge of the past. You and I (because we are the Old Guard) know how this current system plays out because we have seen it play out a thousand times in our lifetime.

      Apparently, we forfeited the option of learning from history and have chosen to learn by experience. On the whole, that is very ineffective and painful way to learn.

  5. I think Seneca has pretty much hit the nail on the head. The difference, of course, is that in our "real" life, the critics and attackers appear to have no plan or interest in remaking or building anything. The end goal just seems to be destruction. I often wonder if they've given a thought to what things will really be like if they succeed.

    1. Leigh, you are correct that the ultimate goal seems to be destruction.

      Have they given the next step a thought? Not really, in my opinion. They have constructed the next step largely based on what they believe to be true and what they believe will happen, which is as much based on feelings as it is on hopes. I would argue what we are seeing now - in the rise in violence, in the real growth of inflation and loss of purchasing power. And the only efforts made to date are simply statements that this is temporary and does not require any meaningful actions.


Comments are welcome (and necessary, for good conversation). If you could take the time to be kind and not practice profanity, it would be appreciated. Thanks for posting!