Genetics of the Jewish People

Stephen Jay Gould remarked that “the most erroneous stories are those we think we know best—and therefore never scrutinize or question” (Gould, 1996). In the past, shamans and priests were believed to have omnipotence in controlling nature, man, and fate. As guardians of history and memory, they developed captivating narratives that bounded nature, religion, and mythology and aspired humans to continue their efforts to tame the natural and supernatural worlds. Nowadays, scientists have adopted the traditional role of the shamans and, grievously, some of their inclination to narratives (Sand, 2017).

In reconstructing the past from the distribution of genetic variation, population geneticists oftentimes rely on narratives. To decide between scenarios, geneticists have a multitude of accessories ranging from evolutionary theories to advanced computational tools applicable to modern and ancient genomes (Veeramah and Hammer, 2014; Morozova et al., 2016). In their efforts to understand human origins, geneticists also reach out to other disciplines like anthropology, linguistics, archeology, and history. However, as with any historical reconstruction, the inferred past remains a subject of controversy due to the subjectivity of the data, tools, assumptions, and, most importantly, the narratives that guided the scientist (Sand, 2017). Genetic studies of Jewish communities are especially vulnerable to such controversies as these communities have adopted various narratives since their inception (e.g., Patai and Patai, 1975; Kirsh, 2003, Kirsh, 2007; Kahn, 2005; Falk, 2006; Sand, 2009).

A narrative may meet its demise in a number of ways. It can evolve into a new narrative, usually by assimilating elements of other narratives, it can evolve by “drift” and eventually be replaced by a fitter variant, or it can be surrendered to scientific scrutiny that may either prove or dismiss it as fictitious.

This is now the case with two central Judeo-Christian narratives: the first, proposed less than two centuries ago by historian Heinrich Graetz, depicts the origin of modern-day Jews as the lineal descendants of the Biblical Judaeans. This narrative lacks historical (Sand, 2009) and linguistic (Wexler, 1993, Wexler, 2011) evidence. The second, rooted in first century Christian myths that were internalized by Jewish scholars, alludes to the “Roman Exile” that followed the destruction of Herod’s temple (70 A.D.) and introduced a massive Jewish population to Roman lands (Yuval, 2006). Such a population transplant, however, also lacks historical and linguistic support (Horon, 2000; Yuval, 2006; Sand, 2009; Wexler, 2016).

Most of the genetic studies on Jews focused on Ashkenazic Jews (AJs). The first genetic study that challenged the Levantine origin of AJs argued that such an origin has only been upheld and “replicated” due to the false dichotomy fallacy and that a Caucasus origin, never truly explored, explains the data better (Elhaik, 2013). A follow-up study (Costa et al., 2013) reported that at least 90% of Ashkenazic maternal ancestry is indigenous to Europe and likely originated through conversion of local populations with the remaining ancestries having East Asian or unidentified origins. These finding are supported by ancient DNA evidence showing 0–3% Levantine ancestry and a dominant Iranian ancestry (88%) in modern-day AJs (Das et al., 2016). Interestingly, this evidence explains the higher estimates of Middle Eastern ancestry ranging from 27 to 65% (Figure 1) in that previous analyses either considered Iran and the Caucasus as part of the “Middle East,” thereby inflating the proportion of Middle Eastern ancestry, or compared AJs to Palestinians, themselves a population with 40% non-Levantine ancestry that increased their similarity to AJs (Das et al., 2016). The second narrative has recently been revived due to the genetic similarity between AJs and south European populations (Xue et al., 2017). However, this similarity can be explained by the Greco-Roman origin of AJs who lived along the shores of the Black Sea in “ancient Ashkenaz” during the early centuries A.D. (Das et al., 2016), which is supported by historical (Harkavy, 1867) and linguistic evidence (Das et al., 2016). In light of these findings (Figure 1), Ostrer’s proposal that land disputes in the Middle East should be decided by the proportion of Middle Eastern ancestry in one’s genome (Ostrer, 2012) is regrettable and underlies the danger in developing policy based on ill-founded narratives.

These are not the only Jewish narratives in question. Over the past years, historical, theological, linguistic, and genetic narratives have all been challenged and replaced by new theories (Patai, 1990; Wexler, 1993, Wexler, 1996; Finkelstein and Silberman, 2002; Sand, 2009; Finkelstein, 2013; Kohler, 2014; Das et al., 2016; Elhaik, 2013). This was to be expected since, dismantling these narratives not only undermined their historical basis but also rendered any insights about the Judaeans gained by studying modern-day Jews erroneous.

To reflect upon the exhilarating progress in the youngest of these fields—population genetics—this Frontiers’ topic aimed to bring the most updated findings and perspectives. The first paper of this topic (Tofanelli et al., 2014) examined the “Cohen gene” hypothesis originated by Skorecki et al. (1997). In that study, the authors reported that individuals with the surname Cohen spotted in Canada, the UK, and Tel Aviv’s beaches (Goldstein, 2008) exhibit genetic differences from the general Israeli population in their Y chromosome. Skorecki and colleagues claimed that these differences evidenced their descent from ancient Judaean high priests, although ancient priests were never sampled. Tofanelli et al. showed that the “Cohen gene” narrative lacks biological support and criticized the use of haplotypemotifs as reliable predictor of “Jewishness.” Nogueiro et al., 2015, studied the origin of Portuguese Sephardic Jews. The authors reported that the genetic diversity of uniparental markers alludes to the complexity of the demographic processes underlying the genetic pool of the Portuguese Crypto-Jews’ descendants, which likely involve introgression from and admixture with Iberian populations. These findings were called into question for being interpreted within an a priori narrative depicting Portuguese Crypto-Jews as a reproductive isolate (Marcus et al., 2015). Falk’s perspective pulled the rug from under the field of Jewish genetics, arguing that thus far no Jewish markers were found, which highlights the imminent question—who are the people being studied and what is their relatedness to the ancient Judaeans, if any? Elhaik developed Falk’s postulate into a blind-test and invited members of the public, academia, and industry who claimed they can genomically distinguish Jews from non-Jews to prove their claims. Failing to satisfy the terms of the test and explaining why “Jewish biomarkers” are unlikely to exist, Elhaik concluded that all the findings concerning Jewish genetics should be critically evaluated.

The conclusions of these studies are innovative. The abandonment of the Levantine origin of Jews prompts new questions concerning the origin of various Jewish communities, the gene flow experienced with other communities, and the fate of the ancient Judaeans, which some authors discuss. The work presented here leaves aside many other narratives that should also be reevaluated, such as the purported absence of alcoholics among Jews (Keller, 1970), thought to have a genetic basis (Bray et al., 2010), whereas in reality alcoholism in Israel is a major concern (Efrati, 2014). We hope that articles published under this topic would be valuable for future scholarship.

Eran Elhaik is an Israeli-American geneticist and Associate Professor of bioinformatics at Lund University in Sweden and Chief of Science Officer at Ancient DNA Origins, Enkigen Genetics Limited. This article first appeared in Frontiers in Genetics (July 28, 2017).

Featured: Isaac, Abraham and Jacob, fresco, by Alexandru Ponehalski, in the pronaos of the Birth of the Mother of God Church, or simply the Hill Church (Biserica Din Deal), Ieud, Maramues, Romania; painted ca. late 18th century. (Photo Credit: Rada Pavel).

Khazars or Not?

There has long been much controversy as to whether modern-day Jews are originally Khazars, with much back-and-forth among various vested interests. We are pleased to bring you the work of Professor Eran Elhaik, the foremost Israeli geneticist, who settles the argument rather solidly, in our opinion.

Ten Thoughts on Artificial Intelligence

1. Appearance

The term “artificial intelligence” first appeared in the 1950s, with the advent of the first computers, capable of performing certain tasks that only human intelligence had previously been able to accomplish. Computing was the very first faculty to be transferred to a machine. This explains why what we call a “computer” in English has kept its original name of computer, i.e., “calculator.” Automated calculation was the first example of artificial intelligence.

Why does calculating no longer seem to us to fall under the heading of artificial intelligence? This is an example of what the Anglo-Saxons call the “AI effect”: as artificial intelligence develops, earlier achievements are no longer regarded as artificial intelligence, but as standard machinery. Thus, for example, character recognition, fingerprint recognition and so on. In practice, then, artificial intelligence refers to what “intelligent” machines are just beginning to be able to do.

2. Downgrading the Human

When they first appeared, electronic calculators were described as “electronic brains.” Over time, as machine performance increased, the metaphor was turned on its head: it was no longer the computer that was compared to a brain, but the brain to a computer. The human being is now seen as just another “information-processing machine.” Today, the term “intelligent agent” is used to describe any “system,” natural or artificial, that interacts with its environment, draws information from it and uses this information to maximize its chances of success in achieving its goals or those assigned to it. In this context, artificial intelligence finds itself completely emancipated from the human model from which it once took its name. On the one hand, many aspects of human intelligence remain properly human. On the other hand, artificial intelligences are now capable of performances beyond the reach of any human intelligence. Although designed by humans, they are endowed with certain intellective capacities that are truly superhuman.

3. The Race for Power

Since the 19th century, technology has been indispensable to power. By technology, I am not referring to technique in general, which is as old as humanity itself, but to that very recent part of technique which is inseparable from the mathematical sciences of nature that emerged in Europe from the 17th century onwards, and is inconceivable without them. It was their technological superiority that enabled Westerners to dominate the world for a time. On the threshold of the 20th century, Hwuy-Ung, a Chinese scholar exiled in Australia, confessed his admiration for what he saw: “The marvelous inventions of this country and of Western nations are, for the most part, unknown to us, and seem incredible.” But did these wonders make people happier? The answer was not self-evident. One thing, however, was beyond doubt: “marvelous inventions” conferred unparalleled power. Hence this observation: “Those who do not follow the trend set by the most advanced nations become their victims, as we are experiencing.” After the Second World War, China set out to become a major technological power in its own right, in order to emerge from the long series of humiliations inflicted on it, from the outbreak of the first Opium War in 1839 to the Japanese invasion in 1937. Today, artificial intelligence is becoming a decisive component of technology, and if you do not want to be at the mercy of those more powerful than you, you need to invest in this field.

4. Survival in the Digital Jungle

Power is not the only issue. For as long as there have been homo sapiens on earth—some 300,000 years—they have lived most of their lives in Paleolithic conditions. It was in these conditions that the faculties of our species developed. It goes without saying that these skills include an extraordinary ability to adapt to new environments. However, since the industrial revolution, the environment in which a growing proportion of humanity is called upon to live has been changing so rapidly that, in many respects, our natural faculties, including intelligence, have been taken by surprise. If natural intelligence used to enable us to orientate ourselves correctly in the natural environment, known today as the biotope, we now need artificial intelligence to orientate ourselves correctly in an environment that is itself artificial, the technotope. And for this, artificial intelligence is indispensable. Just think, for example, how helpless we would be to use the Internet if we could not rely on search engines that incorporate forms of artificial intelligence.

5. The Control Society

Among the threats posed by the all-out development of artificial intelligence, the public’s greatest fear is undoubtedly that of social control, through the innumerable digital data now generated by our lives. After all, the word intelligence also means “information gathering.”

One thing is clear, however. By massively rejecting the old-fashioned social control constituted by the inculcation of moral rules, and the discredit that came with breaking them, by fleeing the control exercised by neighbors in traditional communities, late moderns believed that it was possible to do without social control. But a society without social control is no longer a society—it is chaos. To protect against chaos, more and more precautions have to be taken. So, for example, people living in big cities are obliged to equip themselves with digicodes, intercoms and armored doors. The more “open” society becomes, the more its members have to lock themselves in. In this respect, the automated surveillance, assisted by artificial intelligence that is taking shape, has all the allure of Nemesis, the Greek goddess who punished hubris, the excess of beings who did not respect the limits of their condition. The individual who pretended to escape all control sees control returning to him in another form.

6. Permanent Formatting

Another problem is that underneath its apparent neutrality, the machine can conceal biases that are all the more pernicious for being difficult to detect. A search engine, for example, responds to queries with lists of answers, and we do not know what went into their creation. And we do not want to know—the use of search engines would lose all interest if we had to know the details of the search itself. But this means that we are totally subject to the biases included in them, whether these biases are intentional or not. What guides us can also lead us astray, and what informs us can also manipulate us. Academics have subjected the chatbot ChatGPT to a political positioning questionnaire. The result was that OpenAI’s chatbot “has the profile of a mainstream liberal and pragmatic Californian,” very much in favor of multiculturalism, welcoming migrants or minority rights, and that if it were registered to vote in France it would probably vote Macron or Mélenchon. Let us deduce the effects of living in symbiosis with ChatGPT.

7. Looming Acedia

The development of information technology was supposed to free us from routine tasks. In fact, IT “extends the routine of its procedures everywhere.” It is feared that artificial intelligence will only intensify the process to the point of nausea. Workers who put their hearts into their work when the tasks they have to perform call on all their faculties, no longer know what meaning to give to their work when they become mere operators of machines that do the “intelligent” part of the job for them. If you take less trouble, you may also find yourself doing less well.

8. Moral Stunting

By constantly talking about artificial intelligence, making ever more use of it and marveling at its prowess, we are becoming accustomed to making artificial intelligence the paradigm of intelligence—and at the same time devaluing the essential characteristics of human intelligence, and no longer cultivating them. Long ago, God appeared to King Solomon in a dream and said: “Ask what you want me to give you.” Solomon replied, “Give your servant an intelligent heart, to govern your people, to discern between good and evil” (1Ki 3:5-9). The first character of intelligence, here, consists in discerning between good and evil. This is the intelligence that Solomon demonstrates when he dispenses justice. If we become accustomed to seeing artificial intelligence as the model of intelligence, we run the risk of leaving the heart in unintelligence.

Some will argue that it is possible to include moral considerations among the criteria taken into account by artificial intelligence in its operation. In this case, however, it is as if moral reflection had been carried out once and for all, before being delegated to the machine. A faculty that is not constantly used will wither away. Hence moral stunting.

9. Intellectual Stunting

Artificial intelligence is a product of technology, itself intrinsically linked to the development of modern science, to the constitution of mathematical sciences of nature. The aim of these sciences was to make the world comprehensible to us, while at the same time increasing our capacity to act upon it, according to the Baconian equation of knowledge = power. What is happening today?

The power we have acquired over the world has led us to transform it to such an extent that the world resulting from this transformation has become, in some respects, more opaque to us than nature of old was. Our natural faculties are overwhelmed—which is why we increasingly need artificial intelligence to find our way around it, and simply to live in it. But truly interesting artificial intelligence is that which produces results, not just faster and better than we could achieve without it, but results that escape our understanding. Artificial intelligence cannot therefore be considered as a simple decision-making tool: insofar as the genesis of the indications it gives us escapes our control, we are led to simply defer to these indications—which means, in the end, that the decision-making tool decides for us, or more precisely, that our decision resolves itself in the use of the tool. In this case, the tool does not so much increase our capabilities as completely delegate our power to an obscure tool. As a result, our intelligence, which made it possible to set up these extraordinary artificial intelligence devices, finds itself put on vacation by them; and, by dint of being on vacation, it loses the habit of work, and even the ability to work. The loss of control is not, as in a number of dystopias, linked to intelligent machines becoming malevolent towards humans and seeking to enslave or eliminate them, but to the fact that, by constantly relying on them, we become incapable, crippled.

By slouching on a sofa and playing online games, teenagers in developed countries have seen their physical capacities decline by a quarter over the last four decades. The average IQ has also fallen over the last twenty years. Many factors must be contributing to this phenomenon—but at least part of it has to do with the delegation to machines of an ever-increasing number of tasks that used to require our intelligence. At the end of the 1960s, Louis Aragon was well aware of this process: “Progress that gradually deprives me of a function leads me to lose the organ. The greater man’s ingenuity, the more he will be deprived of the physiological tools of ingenuity. His slaves of iron and wire will reach a perfection that the man of flesh has never known, while he will gradually return to the amoeba. He will forget himself.”

10. Connected Chicks

When I was a child, a playground riddle asked: what’s small, yellow and very scary? The answer was a chick with a machine gun. Today, we could ask, what’s small, yellow and thinks it’s the lord of creation? A connected chick. Connected immatures, that is what we are becoming. If the power stops flowing to the sockets, if it stops recharging the batteries, if our earthly and celestial roots are atrophied, it is not just our devices that will be neutralized, it is we ourselves that will be annihilated.

Olivier Rey is a mathematician and philosopher of science whose area of study is science and society, with a focus on transhumanism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of La Nef.

Featured: Ai-Da, the first humanoid robot, with self-portrait, 2021.

Natura: Ex Historia naturali

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Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (MDCCVII ad MDCCLXXXVIII)

Quantula igitur lucet natura in terra! Lumen purum ab oriente in occidentem protensum deaurat successive hemisphaeria globi. Elementum aereum diaphanum ambit; calidum et fructiferum calorem animat et omnia vitae suae initia provehit; aquae vivae et salutares ad eorum sustentationem et incrementum tendunt; alta per terras sparsa prendo vapores aereos, hos fontes inexhaustos semperque recentes reddunt; in immensas lacunas continentes dividunt. Maris ambitus tantus est, quanta terra. Non enim frigidum et sterile elementum est, sed aliud imperium, quasi primum pingue et frequens. Digitus Dei metas notavit. Cum inuadunt aquae litora occidentis, nudant orientales. Haec immensa aquarum congeries, ipsa inertis, coelestium motuum gubernationem sequitur. Iustis oscillationibus recursus et refluxus libratus, surgit et cadit cum planeta noctis; altiora dum cum planeta diei concurrunt, magnos aestus faciunt duae vires in aequinoctiis coniungentes. Nostra nexus cum caelis nullibi clarius significatur. Ex his constantibus et communibus motibus aliae variae et singulares consequuntur: terrae remotiones, depositae in fundo aquae, elevationes formantes, sicut eae super superficie terrae, excursus qui, secundum directionem istorum montium, eas conformant angulis correspondentibus; et volvens in medio fluctuum, sicut aquae super terram, flumina vero maris.

Aer quoque, levior et magis fluidus quam aqua, multis obedit viribus: longinqua solis et lunae actio, immediata actio maris, caloris rarefaciendi et frigoris densandi, continuas agitationes in se producit. Ventorum curricula, prae se agens et nubes colligens. Meteora gignunt; vapores humidos litorum maritimorum ad terrae continentium superficies transportandum; procellas determinant; distribue pluvias fecundae et benigna rores; mare commovere; agitant mobiles aquas, capiunt vel maturant flumina; flumina attollere; procellas concitare. Iratum mare in coelum erigitur, fremitum frangit contra fossata immobilia, quae nec perdere nec superare potest.

Ab his irruptionibus tuta terra supra mare elevata est. Superficies eius, floribus insignita, viridi semper viridibus ornata, millibus et millibus animalium dissimiles species, quies est; deliciarum domicilium, ubi homo naturae auxilio constitutus, ceteris omnibus dominatur, solus qui scire et admirari potest. Eum Deus spectatorem universitatis ac testem mirabilium suorum fecit. Divina scintilla animatur, quae eum divinorum mysteriorum participem reddit; et per cujus lucem cogitat et reflectit, videt et legit in libro mundi sicut in exemplari divinitatis.

Natura est exterior solius gloriae Dei. Qui studet et contemplatur, gradatim ad interiorem thronum omniscientiae surgit. Adorandus Creator omnibus creaturis imperat. Caelorum vassallus, terrae rex, quem nobilitat et ditat, ordinem, concordiam et subordinationem animantium constituit. Naturam ipsam exornat; colit, extendit, excolit; tribulos supprimit vepribusque et uvas et rosas multiplicat.

Solitudines adspice litora, tristesque terras, in quibus numquam habitabat homo: obsita vel horrentia densis, densisque atrae silvis, undique adsurgens, trunca sine cortice arboribus, flexis, tortis, caduca vetustate; prope, aliae numerosius, iam putrefactae aggeribus putrida, seminibus erumpentes obruentes obruentes. Natura, ubique iuvenis, hic decrepitus est. Terrarum ruinas harum productionum superata praebet, pro viriditate viriditatis, spatio tantum impedito percurso grandaevis arboribus, plantis parasiticis, lichenibus, agaricis, fructibus immundis corruptionis onustis. In ima parte aqua, mortua et stagnata, quia indirecta; aut palustris ager neque solidus neque liquidus, unde inaccessibilis et inutilis habitantibus tam terre quam aquarum. Hic paludes sunt aquatilium nobilium plantis, quae venenata tantum alunt, et ab immundis animalibus versantur. Inter has humiles contagias paludes et hae maiores silvae extendunt campi nihil commune habentibus cum pratis nostris, in quibus herbae utiles herbas obruunt. Nemo est tam egregius caespes, qui similis terrae videtur, aut graminis illius cui praeclari nuntiat fertilitatem; sed iuncturis duris ac spinis herbis, quae inter se potius quam solo cohaerere videntur, quaeque inter se subinde exarescentes impediunt, crassam mattam pluribus pedibus crassam faciunt. Nullae sunt viae, nullae communicationes, nullae intelligentiae vestigia in his locis silvestribus. Homo, bestiarum semitas sequi coactus et assidue vigilare, ne praeda eorum, magnorum solitudinum silentio territa, ipsa solitudine perculsa, revertitur et dicit.

Natura primitivae foeda et moriens est; ego, ego solus, vivom et suavem facere possum. Haec paludibus arefaciamus; in rivos et canales convertendo, has mortuas aquas movendo animant. Utamur elemento activo et devorante quondam nobis abscondito quod invenimus ipsi; Hanc supervacuam mattam incendite silvis: Iam semiustae iamdudum, et consumite ferro, quem nequeat ignis perdere! Mox, pro iunco et aquatico, ex quo rubeta venenum suum componit, videbimus butteras et cytisum, herbas dulces et salutares. Hanc semel inexplicabilem terram armenta bestiarum terminantium calcabunt et uberes, semper renovatos, pascua reperient. Multiplicare, multiplicare iterum. Utamur novo auxilio ad opus nostrum perficiendum; et bos iugo subditus exerceat in sulcando terram suam fortitudinem. Tunc cultura reflorescit, et sub manibus nova nascitur natura.

Quam pulchra natura colitur, cum hominis curis splendide et magnifice ornatur! Ipse summum decus, nobilissima productio est; se multiplicans gemmam pretiosissimam multiplicat. Ipsa se cum eo multiplicare videtur, ars enim sua omnia quae sinum eius occultat illuminat. Quos thesauros hactenus neglectos! Quae novae divitiae! Flores, fructus perfecti grana infinite multiplicata; utiles animalium species translatae, propagatae, sine fine auctae; species noxias, sublatas, conclusas, exterminatas; aurum et ferrum magis necessarium quam aurum, extractum de visceribus terrae; torrentes inclusi; flumina gubernant et coercent; mare submissum et comprehensum ab uno hemisphaerio ad alterum transiit; terra ubique pervia, ubique viva ac fertilis; in vallibus, ridentes camp; in campis, uberes pascuis, an uberiores messes; colles vitibus ac pomis onusti, cacumina arboribus et silvis novellis utilibus coronata; solitudines mutatas in urbes, magnas incolas, populos, qui indesinenter circumirent, se a sedibus ad ultima spargunt; crebras apertas vias et communicationes ubique sicut tot testes vigoris et unionis societatis constituunt; mille alia virtutis et gloriae monumenta: homo ille, orbis dominus, eum mutaverit, totum superficiem redintegraverit, imperiumque naturae communicet.

Sed tantum iure vincendi regit, et fruitur potius quam possidet. Retinere potest nisi semper innovatis laboribus. Si haec cessant, omnia languescunt, mutantur, inordinata fiunt, rursus in manus Naturae intrant. Iura suum revocat; delet opus hominis; monumenta lautissima pulvere musco tegit; interimit eos in tempore relicto, tantum doleat quod sua culpa majorum victorias amiserit. Haec tempora per quae homo amittit regnum suum, saecula barbariae cum omnia pereunt, semper bellis praeparantur et cum fame ac depopulatione perveniunt. Homo, qui nihil potest praeter multitudinem facere, et in societate tantum valet, solus in pace beatus, insania est se armare ad infelicitatem et ad perniciem suam pugnare. Insatiabili cupiditate, insatiabili adhuc ambitione caecatus, humanitatis sensus renuntiat, omnes in se copias vertit, et socium suum perdere quaerens, se ipsum interimit. Et post hos dies sanguinis et caedis, cum transierit fumus glorise, videt cum moerore devastatam esse terram, sepultas artes, dissipatas gentes, debiles gentes, felicitatem suam perditam, et exstinctam potentiam suam.


Featured: A Capriccio of Rome with the Finish of a Marathon, by Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes; painted in 1788.

The Conjurement of Yuval Noah Harari

To understand Harari’s work, it is essential to understand the myths on which it is based. By this, we do not mean the myths to which the author alludes in his texts, in the form of stories that men tell to other men to “organize cooperation” (Harari, 2015) collectively, but the myths that Harari himself constructs with his arguments and perhaps those that he uses as pillars of his theses and conclusions.

In this sense, we should begin by saying that the author himself is a myth in himself. To a large extent, this mythologization of his figure would explain in part both his work and its very wide dissemination among certain social groups. The Harari myth, his character in the intellectual drama woven by his books, conferences, presentations and various interviews, embodies a sort of intellectual ascetic who lives far from the worldly noise, apart from everything, and contemplating the world from a metaphysical distance that apparently allows him access to the ultimate arcana of our reality.

This is at least what is believed about him, as described, for example, in a BBC report which notes the following:

Yuval Noah Harari does not use a cell phone and spends much of his days away from the incessant flow of information that through the Internet overflows to billions of people around the world. Despite this, this philosopher and professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has become a sort of guru admired by the elites of Silicon Valley.

Alongside this myth that is the “persona” of Yuval Noah Harari, there are other kinds of myths that are woven into his work. We refer to those that his work and thought construct, perhaps without the intention of being considered myths as such, because of the treatment that this author gives them in his writings, in magazines and conferences. That is to say, to the mention of very complex philosophical ideas, which Harari uses in some of their meanings, as if they were supposedly incontestable truths.

In relation to the first type of these myths, those that the author himself considers as such, we would find, for example, human language itself. About this Harari tells us that it constitutes a myth or narrative construction created by men (the Sapiens) to transmit their ideas and catalog their surrounding world. For Harari, this myth becomes the form of articulation of other multiple narrative constructions, also mythological and entirely artificial, such as religions, money, wealth, government structures, as well as all those ideologies that sustain all these myths. In this sense and according to this author, language would be the mechanism that gives Homo Sapiens an exceptional ability to convey information about everything, even “about things that do not exist at all” (Harari, 2015, p. 37).

The second type of myths that permeate Harari’s work, are those that support the author’s arguments, part of some labels or ideas that he uses in his theses, but that he rarely explains, problematizes or shows their possible analogies. In this sense, we must agree with him when he recognizes that “each person, group or nation has its own myths and stories” (Harari, 2017, p. 15), since he himself is not the exception, with which his own theory already exempts us from responsibilities to analyze what he himself cultivates and on which he structures his philosophy.

Harari’s myths correspond to what Gustavo Bueno calls “obscurantist or confusing myths” (2016a), as ideological constructions that obscure, confuse or camouflage the material reality of things.

Although these myths can be, and in fact are, false or of dubious veracity and empirical contrastability, it is important to note that their mere denunciation, however well-founded it may appear, does not imply the deactivation of that idea (Bueno, 2005). Hence, the practical functions that myths, even obscurantist ones, perform cannot be satisfied by other alternative ideas. In this sense, and as Gustavo Bueno points out, the action and the mythical or illusory structure, hidden in an idea endowed with supreme prestige, will maintain its influence as long as a given social and historical context offers the appropriate conditions for it to do so (Bueno, 2005).

In this sense, Harari’s mythology is doubly false. In the first place, because he considers that his myths, those narrative constructions that he recognizes as mythological, are purely equivocal rationalizations with no other rationality, or capacity, than that of deceiving groups of Sapiens, more or less numerous, to act in favor of other specific similar groups. Seen in this way, false or obscurantist myths are perfectly de-activable with the sole clarification of reason. That is to say, through the illuminating resource of truth, perhaps proclaimed by one of the certified prophets of science, philosophy or politics. Here, Harari aims to help us demystify, or exorcise, the spirits of ignorance that haunt us, a task for which he is widely revered by diverse social groups, many of whom see themselves as enlightening entities and bearers of the flame of truth (Glancy, 2016).

On the other hand, Harari’s myths, in the second sense in which we understand them, as the myths employed by Harari in his theories, are also false. This is so because they represent ideas that are completely abstract and lacking in morphologies or explanatory capacity in the specifics. Harari is a master in the art of using ideas (not concepts) and taking them for granted in ways that are indisputably attractive, especially in a hyper-connected present time that lacks a critical sense or the capacity to assimilate the complex dialectics of the reality that surrounds it. Harari, employs his ideas as given truths, presupposing that the public to whom these are addressed knows what he is talking about when he mentions them, since they constitute precisely the force ideas of our time, or the socially rooted myths (Bueno, 2016b, p. 36) that articulate much of contemporary social and material life.

In Harari’s work, among many other mythologized ideas, we find those that allude to Nature, Evolution, Humanity, History, Science, Culture, “the Global” or “Globalization,” and Homo Sapiens; all of these treated in an absolutely mythological way. Along with these myths, classics, so to speak, in his literature, we can lately find the very new myth of Artificial Intelligence, on which Harari has been lecturing throughout 2022, using his very characteristic apocalyptic and pastoral discursiveness.

At present, we do not have space to analyze all of them, so we will be content with only outlining three of these myths, in some of their most problematic theses. We refer to Evolution, Nature and Happiness, as ideas mythologized by Harari. Without going too deeply into any of these myths, our aim is, at least, to alert the possible reader, or those interested in the work, of this neo-prophet of our time to their existence. In the same way, we seek to outline some of the possible logical directions that these, and many other obscure and confusing ideas proposed by Harari, could take in reality, taken to their ultimate consequences.


As a first myth, let us briefly analyze the idea of Evolution that Harari handles in his works. He says that it constitutes a natural mechanism of adaptation and perfection based on genetic algorithms. For Harari, it constitutes a sort of natural or cosmic mechanism, in charge of perfecting the adaptive tools of the species. According to his perspective, the genes of living beings contain certain information, predefined “algorithms,” which allow them to perform certain tasks or functions (Harari, 2018). These predetermined reactions appear and are transformed in response to the environment that surrounds living beings on the planet, allowing species to adapt to the environmental changes that surround them. These mechanisms are what ensure the survival and perhaps subsequent hereditary genetic transmission of the “victorious genes” (Harari, 2018).

So far, apparently, there is real no difficulty. However, Harari’s interpretation of this process presents certain problems. It seems that, according to Harari, the winning genes, those that possess the appropriate algorithm for the survival of the species in its environment, appear or emerge out of nowhere. It is never made clear to Harari how or why this happens. Nor is it understood, or at least not explained, what role is played by the conditions of that same environment that constantly challenges living beings and the species that compose them, in their struggle for survival. Similarly, Harari does not clearly distinguish between the genetic load, or “algorithmic” in his terms, and the behaviors acquired through life practice and transmitted by learning and culture, whether human or animal.

This theory, presented as it is, is extremely dangerous since it opens the door to believe that there could exist modes of behavior in some living beings, including humans, that would be conditioned by inherited genetic algorithms whose transformation, modification or neutralization may not be possible. Taken to its ultimate consequences, it might be thought that behavior conditioned by these genetically inherited algorithms can only be suppressed by eliminating their carriers, or at least by hindering their reproduction over time.

This view seems to suggest that, when speaking of certain animal species in general, we would actually be referring to the members of these that are at the forefront of adaptation to life and not to the “genetic garbage” that must inevitably be left behind, in order for the species to survive in the best version of itself.

Inadvertently, we suppose, Harari provides philosophical content to extremely dangerous beliefs that could lead to the conception that certain behaviors in specific human groups, for whatever historical/ biological reasons, are genetically determined. This would lead to incompatibilities with other genetically conditioned behaviors of different individuals or groups of the same species. The implicit idea that Harari seems to suggest here is that “Nature” will eventually eliminate these carriers, whose genetic/algorithmic load is incompatible with the long-term life of the whole, and that the best of the possible genetic worlds will always prevail in the end.


Regarding “Nature” of which Harari also speaks, it would have the same creative, organizational and volitional attributes as the gods of traditional religions. Although Harari never explicitly alludes to God and, in fact, refutes His existence, calling it a cultural construction, a “myth;” his analyses frequently insinuate the notion of “intelligent design,” similar to that defended by those who argue for the existence of a Creative Entity. Although in Harari the divinity is more conceptual than anthropomorphic or zoomorphic, his idea of “Nature” constitutes a sort of deified entity, which moves away from the merciful and compassionate God of Christianity, to resemble the uncompromising and punitive God of the Old Testament. This theologized Nature not only creates, but destroys at will, and participates omnipotently in the design and construction of the universe.

In this regard, we may quote Harari’s words during a recent debate with Slavoj Žižek, when he states:

Two things to say about nature, one is that nature doesn’t care about us in any particular way. I mean, if an asteroid hit the planet tomorrow morning and all life on Earth was destroyed, nature wouldn’t care. It would go on as usual (Žižek & Harari, 2022).

Here, Harari makes no distinction between a Nature, in the ecological sense of a general concept that groups together all the non-cultural elements of the surrounding world, and “Natures,” in the plural, which would correspond to the different essences of things, in the manner of “the nature of a table, of a weapon, or of a given behavior.” We might suggest that Harari operates with a totalizing conception of Nature, of Aristotelian origin, which understands the Natural as a finite, yet eternal, whole, encompassing “the set of all things that move” (Boeri, 2016, bk. Physics, 8.5, 34ff), which are distinct from the first immobile mover. In Harari, this distinction is not obvious and again he assumes that it is understood what he means when he alludes to this idea.

In this regard, the question becomes even more confusing because in many parts of his work, Harari also speaks of the other Natures, in the essential sense, without the slightest mention of the differences between one or the other. In such a sense, he does not speak of “the nature of disease,” “the nature of war,” referring to a certain origin or principle, or in the sense of a first essence as in “the true nature of humanity,” “the nature of Christ,” or “the nature of Sapiens”(Harari, 2018). The problem with the use of these ideas is, once again, that no distinction is made between the multiple manifestations throughout history and the various gnoseological fields in which they are applied. Nature, as a philosophical idea, is present both in the sciences, the arts, religions, politics, philosophies, and so on; without us ever knowing from Harari’s mouth to which of these he refers when he uses it.


As for happiness, Harari does not say that “Science” holds that it “is not achieved by getting a promotion, winning the lottery or even finding true love.” For Harari, people become happy for only one reason: “for the pleasurable sensations in their body.” This suggests that by simply ingesting some pill or some chemical, we could become happy (Harari, 2017).

In other words, according to Harari, one is happy because of the result of a complex cocktail of hormones, pheromones, chemical and electrochemical reactions that occur in our biological body, producing in this a certain state that we have culturally denominated as “Happiness.” This idea leads us to logically conclude that, if we could synthetically reproduce these same sensations, we could affirm that we have finally reached the formula of Happiness (Harari, 2017).

The problem here is that Happiness—an obscure and confusing idea (Bueno, 2005)—those states of physical well-being or discomfort, is reduced to the abundance or lack of biochemical substances in individual bodies. Harari argues that human physical pleasure is the key to subjective fulfillment, and that all effort ultimately seeks to produce and extend as much as possible the pleasurable sensations generated in our body by certain states of mind.

According to Harari, the primordial causes of human happiness, up to the present moment of evolution, have been random, external, casual and, unfortunately, contingent. However, he argues that mankind is now prepared to synthesize these reactions and reproduce them permanently in individual bodies. Hence, in his Homo Deus, Harari tells us of the biochemical solution to Happiness. If science is right, Harari tells us,

“and our happiness is determined by our biochemical system, then the only way to guarantee lasting satisfaction is to rig this system. And this is exactly what we have started to do in the last few decades. Fifty years ago, psychiatric drugs were highly stigmatized. Today, that stigma has been broken” (Harari, 2017, p. 39).

This path contrasts with the philosophical and ideological solutions offered throughout history by religious, priests, artists, philosophers and other exponents of human thought.

The main criticism we can make of this conception lies in its reductionism. The ‘biochemistry of happiness’ proposed by Harari does not take into account the multiple human interactions with reality, which in principle create the material framework in which the particular chemical cocktails mentioned by Harari take place. If these interactions produce specific biochemical sensations, it is because certain sociohistorical, dialectical and contingent conditions have imbued some experiences with a particular significance and not others.

In this sense, the complexity and subtleties are so many that in our opinion it would be practically impossible to categorize or even to synthesize. To cite just one example, the cultural act of whipping a person with a whip in a social context could generate biochemical reactions of both pleasure and displeasure—if the institution of whipping in the framework of past master-slave relations was based on the displeasure that this act produced; that is to say, on the unhappiness of the whipped. On the contrary, if this same institution is used in the framework of certain sexual games, being formally the same institution, the material result in terms of Happiness, as understood by Harari, would be very different.

What we seek to point out with this reflection is that it is not the bodily chemical cocktails that produce a certain pleasure, but the phenomena of external reality to which they are indisputably associated. But even supposing that indeed some pharmaceutical company or laboratory manages to synthesize specific chemical cocktails, associated with well-known “happy” experiences, such as a sunset, a parent’s hug, a child’s laughter, etc., the question we could ask Harari is why should we think that we have evolutionarily reached the final number of “happy” experiences, and therefore of possible biochemical cocktails? If we choose to “be happy chemically,” why stop at the biochemistry experienced so far and not open up to broader psychedelic universes?

Harari’s theory overlooks the material relations that exist beyond the principle of individual pleasure. Many human acts, such as a father’s sacrifice for his children or a laborer’s effort in physically strenuous work, occur because of material needs and not because of the pursuit of immediate biochemical gratification. The “Happiness” Harari describes seems to be the selfish, rogue happiness of the idiot (Greek, idiṓtēs) who cares only for himself. Harari suggests that the subjective well-being of the individual should be the ultimate goal of all political and social action. This ideal ignores the fact that happiness is not a scarce or exclusive good, but a state to be collectively sought and cultivated.

Duzan Ávila is a sociologist and researcher at the University of Waikato. Department of Language Arts and Education.

Prince Kropotkin: Russia’s Answer to Charles Darwin

“Who are the fittest: those who are continually at war with each other, or those who support one another?” (Prince Pyotr Kropotkin, 1902).

What would happen to the accepted history of human evolution if instead of an Englishman going to the Galapagos more influence would be given to a Russian going to Siberia? Whereas Charles Darwin based his theory of Natural Selection on what he, from his cultural background, observed in the Galapagos, Pyotr Kropotkin, in his youth travelled to Siberia on geographical expeditions, where he found that a completely different vision than Darwin’s could be both observed and then transferred to the theory of human evolution. Kropotkin observed:

I saw among the semi-wild cattle and horses in Transbaikalia, among the wild ruminants everywhere, the squirrels, and so on, that when animals have to struggle against scarcity of food, in consequence of one of the above-mentioned causes, the whole of that portion of the species which is affected by the calamity, comes out of the ordeal so much impoverished in vigour and health, that no progressive evolution of the species can be based upon such periods of keen competition.

Mainly referring to animals within the same species, Kroptkin also observed in 1902:

In all these scenes of animal life which passed before my eyes, I saw Mutual Aid and Mutual Support carried on to an extent which made me suspect in it a feature of the greatest importance for the maintenance of life, the preservation of each species, and its further evolution.

Referring to Darwin’s theories of natural selection and Herbert Spencer’s addition of the notion of the survival of the fittest, he wrote:

They all endeavoured to prove that Man, owing to his higher intelligence and knowledge, may mitigate the harshness of the struggle for life between men; but they all recognized at the same time that the struggle for the means of existence, of every animal against all its congeners, and of every man against all other men, was “a law of Nature.” This view, however, I could not accept, because I was persuaded that to admit a pitiless inner war for life within each species, and to see in that war a condition of progress, was to admit something which not only had not yet been proved, but also lacked confirmation from direct observation.

Kropotkin writes about many examples of mutual aid within  the animal world, including beetles, crabs, termites, ants and bees. It is the examples that come from Russia which are more culturally unique to his study, for example the Russian steppe eagle:

One of the most conclusive observations of the kind belongs to Syevertsoff. Whilst studying the fauna of the Russian Steppes, he once saw an eagle belonging to an altogether gregarious species (the white-tailed eagle, Haliactos albicilla) rising high in the air for half an hour it was describing its wide circles in silence when at once its piercing voice was heard. Its cry was soon answered by another eagle which approached it, and was followed by a third, a fourth, and so on, till nine or ten eagles came together and soon disappeared. In the afternoon, Syevertsoff went to the place whereto he saw the eagles flying; concealed by one of the undulations of the Steppe, he approached them, and discovered that they had gathered around the corpse of a horse. The old ones, which, as a rule, begin the meal first – such are their rules of propriety-already were sitting upon the haystacks of the neighbourhood and kept watch, while the younger ones were continuing the meal, surrounded by bands of crows. From this and like observations, Syevertsoff concluded that the white-tailed eagles combine for hunting; when they all have risen to a great height they are enabled, if they are ten, to survey an area of at least twenty-five miles square; and as soon as any one has discovered something, he warns the others.

From the mammals he describes the examples of cooperation within deer, antelopes, gazelles, buffaloes, wild goats, sheep, wolves, squirrels, dogs, rats, hares, rabbits, horses, donkeys, deer, wild boars, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, seals, walruses and monkeys. His observations reinforced his view that competition weakened rather than reinforced the individual species; he concluded:

Happily enough, competition is not the rule either in the animal world or in mankind. It is limited among animals to exceptional periods, and natural selection finds better fields for its activity. Better conditions are created by the elimination of competition by means of mutual aid and mutual Support. In the great struggle for life – for the greatest possible fulness and intensity of life with the least waste of energy – natural selection continually seeks out the ways precisely for avoiding competition as much as possible. The ants combine in nests and nations; they pile up their stores, they rear their cattle – and thus avoid competition; and natural selection picks out of the ants’ family the species which know best how to avoid competition, with its unavoidably deleterious consequences. Most of our birds slowly move southwards as the winter comes, or gather in numberless societies and undertake long journeys – and thus avoid competition. Many rodents fall asleep when the time comes that competition should set in; while other rodents store food for the winter, and gather in large villages for obtaining the necessary protection when at work. The reindeer, when the lichens are dry in the interior of the continent, migrate towards the sea. Buffaloes cross an immense continent in order to find plenty of food. And the beavers, when they grow numerous on a river, divide into two parties, and go, the old ones down the river, and the young ones up the river and avoid competition. And when animals can neither fall asleep, nor migrate, nor lay in stores, nor themselves grow their food like the ants, they do what the titmouse does, and what Wallace (Darwinism, ch. v) has so charmingly described: they resort to new kinds of food – and thus, again, avoid competition.

But how does this translate to human societies? Are these just observations on animal kind pushed to extremes, like the winter in Siberia, or are there lessons in there for humankind as well? Kropotkin thought there were lessons to be drawn for human evolution as well. He wrote:

Moreover, it is evident that life in societies would be utterly impossible without a corresponding development of social feelings, and, especially, of a certain collective sense of justice growing to become a habit. If every individual were constantly abusing its personal advantages without the others interfering in favour of the wronged, no society – life would be possible. And feelings of justice develop, more or less, with all gregarious animals. Whatever the distance from which the swallows or the cranes come, each one returns to the nest it has built or repaired last year. If a lazy sparrow intends appropriating the nest which a comrade is building, or even steals from it a few sprays of straw, the group interferes against the lazy comrade; and it is evident that without such interference being the rule, no nesting associations of birds could exist. Separate groups of penguins have separate resting-places and separate fishing abodes, and do not fight for them.

Kropotkin also specifically lectured in opposition to Thomas Huxley’s (the grandfather of Aldous Huxley) Evolution and Ethics lectures of 1893. Contrary to Huxley, Kropotkin believed that love, sympathy and self-sacrifice were more important than competition. In his own words:

Love, sympathy and self-sacrifice certainly play an immense part in the progressive development of our moral feelings. But it is not love and not even sympathy upon which Society is based in mankind. It is the conscience – be it only at the stage of an instinct – of human solidarity. It is the unconscious recognition of the force that is borrowed by each man from the practice of mutual aid; of the close dependency of every one’s happiness upon the happiness of all; and of the sense of justice, or equity, which brings the individual to consider the rights of every other individual as equal to his own. Upon this broad and necessary foundation the still higher moral feelings are developed.

Robin Monotti Graziadei is an architect and film producer. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Nullus locus sine genio.

Artificial Intelligence: An Oxymoron

Few topics gain more media attention today than the prospect of computers using AI (artificial intelligence) taking ever greater charge of human activity, even to the point where many fear AI will usurp humanity itself. This fear arises from the belief that AI has already become aware of its own existence and may decide that it is a form of life superior to less efficient human beings, who then will be judged by AI as an “imperfection” that should be removed from the planet!

This way of looking at AI computers arises from the inherently positivistic assumptions that tend to accompany a technological age, such as ours, in which natural science is seen by many as the only true and objective way of looking at the world. All this begets a kind of metaphysical materialism in which everything we find in the cosmos is the product of material entities and the physical forces which govern their behavior.

Since Darwinian naturalism views living things as the end product of material forces and particles, it is naturally assumed that the emergence of self-reflection and intelligence in man is also simply the natural product of eons of physical and organic evolution, such that complex neural networks found in highly evolved brains eventually gives rise to self-awareness and even complex forms of thinking in later hominins, including Homo sapiens. It is a short step to think of modern computers as simply artificial life forms that can develop—through a kind of self-programming—self-reflection, understanding and complex reasoning—even a concept of personhood, which they then apply to themselves.

Moreover, the natural sequence of logic here seems to be that, if material nature can produce thinking, self-reflecting organisms, such as man, then, with the advent of computers, super computers can be developed from material components which can even then “out think” human beings, as evinced by their ability to beat our best chess champions. The neural networks of artificial computers can exceed the capacity and natural programming of the human brain so as to produce superior thought processes as is now manifested by the advent of artificial intelligence.

Hence, the notion of emergence of “artificial intelligence” appears to be a scientifically correct depiction of the natural evolution of human intelligence which then begets the technology of super computers that can easily outshine even the mental capacities of their creators.

Does Richard Dawkins Really Exist?

The only problem with the above commonly accepted scientific view of reality is that it is based on a philosophical interpretation of the world in which nothing above the level of submicroscopic particles or waves actually exists as a whole thing. This theme I explain in detail in a YouTube video entitled: “Atheistic Materialism—Does Richard Dawkins Exist?”

Modern evolutionary materialists embrace what is essentially the doctrine of atomism that traces back to the Greek philosopher, Democritus (c. 460—c. 370 BC), who maintained that the world is composed of nothing but tiny, indestructible, inert, solid, material particles that interact mechanically. While this differs from modern quantum-mechanical “atoms” that are not inert, but interact through electric and magnetic force fields, the basic notion is still the same: fundamental units of matter compose all things and nothing really exists as a whole above the atomic level.

The inherent logic of both these basic atomistic worldviews entails that atomists themselves, such as Richard Dawkins, do not actually exist as whole beings. Atomism may exist as a philosophy, but atomists themselves do not exist!

As a simple example, you can produce dihydrogen oxide, better known as water, by combining oxygen and hydrogen into a single molecule. But, does the water molecule now constitute a single thing, distinct from everything else—or is it still just two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, temporarily sharing outer orbit electrons? Atomism would say that they are still just separate atoms of oxygen and hydrogen, now sharing a few electrons so as to act as a functional unity—no more a single thing in reality than is a horse and its rider. Modern physics and chemistry comport with this same atomistic interpretation.

This means in effect that nothing above the atomic level constitutes a single whole being, distinct from everything else—not fleas, not zebras, not cats, and not human beings (including Dr. Dawkins)! Atoms may engage in incredibly complex relationships with other atoms in this dynamically interacting world—including forming temporary combinations of organic molecules working synergistically according to their DNA “program” so as to present the functional unities we perceive as single things called “organisms.” Still, none of these “systems” constitute what philosophers call a “substantial unity,” that is, some whole being distinct in itself and separate from everything else. Atomism renders an interpretation of physical reality in which the interaction of uncountable atoms may form what looks like substantial unities, but which, at most, constitute merely functional unities that are in reality no more unified than a pile of sand or an automobile.

Atomism logically entails that we are merely amazingly well-organized piles of atoms!

To have real unity at levels above the atoms, you need some principle of unity that makes a thing truly the same kind of thing throughout its whole reality. Aristotelians call that principle the “substantial form.” For example, if we are one being, it is because our human nature is of one type or form. The form of our stomach is not “stomachness,” but “humanness.” We are human from top to bottom, side to side. Otherwise, we would not be one being, but just a pile of anatomical parts—or, at the deepest level, merely a pile of cooperating atoms.

The human substantial form, or soul (life principle), makes us a single, unified being or substance by pervading and specifying as human every single least part of our being that is truly “us.” This does not, of course, include things within us that are not actually part of our human substance, such as the urine in our bladders, or the acid in our stomachs.

Nonetheless, you cannot keep excluding such “non-human” entities within us without doing away with the entirety of our substance. That is, most of what we say belongs to the human body really does so and is human throughout. The nature of our toes is not “toeness,” but again, as indicated above, “humanness.”

Proponents of evolutionary materialism would maintain that their view of natural science is simply common sense, the only view of the world that comports with its actual composition of atomic or subatomic extended units of physical matter. But this entails that nothing and no one above the atomic level really exists, meaning that both the natural scientist as well as his laboratory assistants are merely glorified piles of atoms having an organizing schema of DNA, but no real existential unity—no common nature of “humanness” that unites all parts and subordinates them to a human nature that pervades their entire physical reality.

It is one thing to say that the human body is composed of atomic particles. But, it is quite another thing to say that the human being is nothing but those same atomic particles. The first statement is simply a statement of scientific fact. But, the second one is quite different, since it is a materialistic philosophical interpretation of the scientific fact—an interpretation that effectively denies the common sense reality that we live in a world composed of, not just unseen atoms, but of flowers, bugs, dogs, and people!

We all know that an automobile is an incredible functional unity that is composed of thousands of discrete and independently-existing parts. But, that does not entail that it is a genuinely-unified single being. That is why any speeding ticket is issued to the person who was the driver and not to the vehicle itself—even though it was the car that was observed breaking the speed limit. Moreover, even though the automobile far exceeds the speed of a human being in terms of ability to move through space, it lacks the existential unity needed to be subjectively responsible for its motor vehicle legal infraction. For the same reasons, even an AI computer or robot may function as an impressive functional unity—even far exceeding mere humans in computational abilities, and yet, such electronic-mechanical devices possess no more substantial unity than does the automobile.

On the other hand, human beings have a lived experience of existential unity which belies the reductionist simplicity of atomism. We are well aware of the incoming fire of all our senses presenting to our consciousness the multiple sensible qualities of numbers of physical objects external to our physical body. We are also aware that we can command and coordinate all the mental and physical powers of our person to ward off, say, the attack of an angry dog. Any abstract philosophical interpretation of unseen “atoms” which denies our immediate awareness of our own existential unity, as well as that of other things, like dogs and other persons, fails to comport with the total reality of human experience.

In the end, atomistic philosophical doctrines are no more realistic than Platonic ones, which insist that the Really Real world is not the one given in our direct experience of reality, but rather is some abstract expression of things actually unseen and unexperienced in our immediate awareness of ourselves and of the world around us.

In sum, the direct experience we have of ourselves is that we have capacities of sense experience, thought, and free choice which no individual atoms possess. Such qualitatively superior properties are not found in individual atoms. They are found solely in living organisms which exist as wholes governed by some formal principle which unifies and specifies them to be unified superior realities, such as plants, animals, or men. Physically inanimate objects—whether singular or somehow physically conjoined—simply do not have the qualitatively superior properties of living things. Such living properties are manifest solely when atomic units are part of a composite whole that exhibits that same nature throughout and activities proper to that nature. A dog is a dog from nose to tail because all of its parts act together to sustain the activities proper to the whole living canine organism.

Emergent Properties

Materialists will sometimes claim that sensory and intellectual activities found in man may not be found in bodily chemical components isolated in themselves, but that they “emerge” from atomic particles when they are combined into complex organic entities, such as animals and humans.

This may be true of simple electrical and mechanical properties, such as those manifested by atomic entities when combined into molecules. For example, hydrogen and oxygen are not liquids at room temperature, but when combined into water, they manifest that quality. But, certain qualities found in animals, such as the formation of images or sensation of objects of sight, manifest operations that are utterly beyond the limitations of merely physical objects and the atoms that compose them.

As I explain in my recently-published book, Rational Responses to Skepticism, (384-390), forming visual images or sensing visual objects entails knowing physically extended things as a whole, which is something no purely physical entity can do. What is universally true of all physical things, including atoms, is that they are physically extended in the space-time continuum, that is, with one part of them being in one part of space-time and another part being in another part of space-time. No physical thing can be in two distinct locations at the same time, unless it is one thing with diverse parts in different places—as our feet are in one place and our head in another.

In simple terms, that is why a television set presents the image of a dog by having thousands of diverse pixels illuminated or not illuminated over the breadth of the entire screen so as to form an image of the whole dog (from a single perspective). (A pixel or “picture element” is the smallest unit in a digital image.) But each pixel is either “on” or “off.” No single pixel represents the whole dog. TV sets do not “see” the objects they display on their screens. It takes a living dog to look at the screen and bark at what he sees as an entire dog.

This is also why every kind of physical recording, sensing, data processing device, and the like, necessarily uses some form of physically extended medium to display or express the content which it stores and/or manipulates. This is because it really “knows” nothing, but is simply retaining and/or rearranging the content of the objects it “apprehends” into a format that that living knowers alone can either sense or understand.

Thus, the “core storage and processing” mechanism of every data-processing machine is itself extended in space so that one part of it can represent one part of the “known” object and another part represents a different one, whether it be recorded on photographic film, a disc, a chip, tape, or any other physically extended object that can “point by point” represent something else—even written content, such as this article. This physical process of recording and manipulating data in no way constitutes actual cognition.

On the contrary, only an immaterial power that is not extended in space is able to grasp the whole of a sensed object as a single unified whole all at once. The dog sees the entire image of the dog on the TV screen, precisely because the dog’s sight—unlike the TV screen itself—is not composed of discrete physical parts that merely represent “on” or “off” of pixels, but rather is able to apprehend the whole as a whole because, being immaterial, it grasps the entire sensed object in a simple act that has no physical parts. (N.B., Grasping the “whole” does not mean seeing the object from all sides at once, but merely seeing the entire surface that presents itself from a given perspective.)

Some materialists claim that this immaterial ability of sense cognition to grasp whole objects in a simple act is merely a property that “emerges” from matter under suitable conditions—just as “wetness” appears in the place of hydrogen and oxygen gasses when they chemically combine. But this assertion clearly violates the principle of sufficient reason when applied to extended material things trying to apprehend physical objects as a whole. For it claims that discrete physical parts, which are themselves inherently unable to grasp the unity of whole sense objects, are still somehow the adequate reason for apprehending a visible object as a unified whole.

While “wetness” is still a physical property of certain chemicals in a combined state, being physically extended in space-time is precisely the limiting factor that makes physical things, as such, unable to explain the simplicity of the act of grasping a whole visible object all at once. That is, it simply is not in the nature of matter to do this. For matter to express all the content of a physically extended object in a single location is as impossible as it is for a TV screen to express an entire picture in a single pixel. That is why the material, as such, is not a sufficient reason for the performance of immaterial acts, such as seeing wholes.

To make the point even more clear, attempting to depict an extended object, like the image of a dog, on a single physical point would be like trying to put all its light content into a single pixel on a television screen. In the process all distinctions and visual content would be unified, but also no longer discernible. This is, in fact, what used to happen with the old electron tube TV sets when you turned them off. The horizontal and vertical output fields would collapse instantly, leaving for a few seconds nothing to see but a bright spot of light in the center of the screen, since all the picture data was now overlapped on itself in a single spot. The data was still there, but the image was destroyed!

Image and Concept

As if this limitation of matter were not enough to show that atomism alone cannot explain the lowest form of cognition, sensation, those acts which specify true understanding or intelligence are of an even higher form and are acts proper to true human beings alone.

Typical of the confusion which attends the empiricist mentality when confronted with traditional claims of the qualitative superiority of man over beast, the philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) exhibited total incomprehension of the essential difference between the sense life of animals and the intellectual life of true human beings. He failed utterly to grasp the incommensurable difference between the sense image and the intellectual concept.

Since Hume’s empiricism entailed him maintaining that all we know are sense impressions, he viewed all knowledge as being limited entirely to the sensory order. Thus our direct experience of external objects is composed of vivid and lively sense impressions, whereas our knowledge of ideas is taken from memory or imagination and is less vivid. Modern materialists tend to follow the same reasoning.

Since for them all experience is ultimately merely sensory, no sharp distinction between images and ideas or concepts exists. All knowledge is conceived in terms of neural patterns in the brain so that images and ideas or concepts are essentially of the same nature.

But, in reality, there are sharp and easily provable distinctions between images and concepts—such that images belong to a form of internal sensation that always exhibits dependency on matter, whereas concepts are of a clearly immaterial and non-imaginable character. Images are said to be material in that they always appear under the conditions of matter. This means we find them always singular, concrete, and with material qualities like shape, color, and size that can be imagined or even realized in a painting or sculpture. You can imagine a cow or a square, but it is always this cow or this square with this particular color, size, or shape, which is also experienced as extended in space.

On the other hand, the concept or idea of “cowness” or “squareness” cannot ever be imagined or realized concretely, since it must apply to all possible cows and squares, and thus, cannot have merely the particular colors or shapes that are found in an image of one or even a group of them. You can imagine all the humans gathered at Easter in St. Peter’s Square, but even they would only be imagined as a sea of heads and would not express all the diversity of characteristics found in the concept of humanity, which covers every possible human that has ever lived or could ever live! This is not to mention the evident fact that concepts themselves cannot be imagined. For example, what is your image of justice (which is not merely a blind lady with scales) or of beauty (which is not itself physically attractive as a concept) or even of the concept of a concept itself?

Moreover, we understand concepts or ideas, but not images. We see a concrete realization of an image, perhaps, but we never can see a concrete realization of a concept. For that very reason, abstract art results in odd representations of distorted singulars when trying to depict such universal concepts as humanity or vengeance.

The bottom line is that, while images (1) are material entities as evinced by them always being under the conditions of matter and (2) are shared by both animals and man, universal concepts apply to all possible concrete instances of their content and are, thereby, abstracted from any particular material qualities at all. This means that human intellectual concepts—the meanings that underlie our linguistic inventions called words—are strictly immaterial in nature, and thus, exceed the power of any purely material being to produce. Indeed, the ability to form such immaterial concepts is the very basis for the Thomistic proofs for the strict immateriality or spiritual nature of the human intellectual soul, since the ability to form such strictly non-material entities exceeds the capacity of anything that is purely material in nature.

All this is but a brief summary of a topic I have treated in far greater detail in my book referenced above. (162-176.)

Why Artificial Intelligence is an Oxymoron

What has all the above analysis got to do with the question of artificial intelligence in computers? It is this. The entire presumption that computers can exhibit intelligence like human beings is, in the first instance, based on the belief that animals possess some primitive form of intelligence in the form of an internal life of interacting images taking place in neural networks in their brains. Since Darwinian naturalistic evolution views man as being simply a highly developed animal, it maintains that thought processes in the human brain are simply better developed abilities to manipulate images which constitute primitive thinking in higher animals.

Therefore, if—following this materialistic reasoning—human intelligence is basically a form of complex manipulation of images within the human brain, and if the brain and its images are material in nature—the end product of blind evolutionary processes, then, in principle, there is no reason that electronic computers cannot be programmed to manipulate their own material data in such a way as to actually constitute thinking and the possession of intelligence.

Indeed, are not computers viewed as “thinking machines” already? Do we not program them to use symbolic logic to analyze highly complex intellectual problems and draw probabilistic or absolutely true conclusions?

So, are not these thinking machines already exhibiting intelligence—even though, at least until recently, under the direction of human programmers? What does the concept of artificial intelligence add to this equation except the notion that the computers will “take over” the whole process themselves—become self-programming—and engage in intellectual pursuits of their own? Is that not what is already being claimed for AI computers and even AI robots?

But there is one small fly in the ointment. While computers can be programmed to manipulate symbols we humans encode for them, and while they can present to us the logical inferences derived from such formal logic, this does not entail that such computers actually understand the intellectual concepts or ideas which these symbols represent!

That is, you can get a computer to write “Cogito, ergo sum.” But that does not mean it has even a single iota of understanding about what it just wrote!

As we have shown above, while animals have a sense life entailing material images in their cognitive faculties, this does not entail that they possess intellectual understanding of universal ideas or concepts. But, it is precisely the understanding of meanings or concepts which constitutes the essence of intelligence. In fact, the word, “intelligence,” is taken from the Latin “intus” and “legere,” which means “to read within.” That is to read within the very nature of things. “Intellegere” means “to understand.” And it is from “intellegere” that we derive the English term, “intellect.”

Since human beings alone understand concepts or ideas, not mere images, human beings alone possess true intellect. That is, man alone, among all the animals, is an intellectual creature of God.

Hence, the train rushing toward expecting intelligence from blind material evolution is derailed at the point at which we move from experiencing mere images to making the claim that there is actual understanding of the concepts with which these images are merely associated. Indeed, we may have an image of a blind lady holding scales which is associated with the concept of justice—but, the image itself conveys none of the understanding of this noble concept and all its implications!

Even some otherwise well-educated present commentators frequently refer to possible space aliens as being “sentient creatures” of God. But Merriam-Webster defines “sentient” to mean “responsive to or conscious to sense impressions; aware; finely sensitive in perception or feeling.”

In a word, sentient creatures are mere animals, who share the powers of sensation. They have sense experience. But, that does not entail that they possess any intellectual powers. What is happening here is that these commentators are failing to distinguish sensation from true intellection. Man alone on this planet possesses true intellect, because man alone has the power to understand concepts, form judgments, and reason to conclusions. That is why traditional philosophers define man as a “rational animal,” meaning an animal with intellectual powers enabling him to engage in true reasoning whose content he understands—not the mere sense experience and association of images found in brute animals.

Computers—no matter how sophisticated—fail to fulfill the meaning of any form of intelligent beings on two counts: (1) they are not even things whose substantial unity is constituted by a single substantial form making all its parts to share the same nature, and (2) they have no intelligence at all, since to have intelligence is to understand the natures of the things symbolically represented by computer language. Not only do they understand nothing, but, unlike even a dumb bunny, they do not have sensation of anything at all—since they lack the substantial unity needed to be a living animal that is able sense physical objects as a whole.

Artificial intelligence is an oxymoron because it is a simple contradiction in terms. If something is artificial, it lacks genuine intelligence—no matter how complex and impressive its external behavior may be programmed or even self-programmed to appear. If something has true intellectual experience, it cannot be a mere artificial object. Rather, it is a natural creature with an intellectual, spiritual soul directly created by God.

Bad News for Captain Kirk

As an addendum consistent with the philosophical principles explained in the analysis given above, I cannot but think of the thousands of times Captain Kirk and his crew on Star Trek employed transporters in order to journey to distant stars or planets or even just to the surface of a planet or back up to the mother ship.

The basic concept of a transporter is that it disassembles the molecular structure of the person and uses the format of that molecular structure to assemble the same person at some distant point. This theoretical device is based on the assumption that an object or person is simply a properly-configured collection of atoms—in accordance with the false philosophical claims of atomism.

The only problem with this process is that disassembling the atomic structure of the person also destroys his really existing substantial unity, which means—simply putyou just killed him!

Whatever structure is attempted to be reassembled from molecules at the end point of the “transfer” lacks any substantial form to unify it. Since that substantial form happens also to be a spiritual soul, unless the God of all creation deigns to give ultimate proper organization to those molecules by creating and infusing a human spiritual soul into that matter, nothing genuinely alive and human can appear at the other end of the transmission!

More importantly, if you are Captain Kirk, what was your body remains totally disassembled back at the starting point and you are dead. It makes me wonder how many times a “Captain Kirk” died in the years Star Trek was on television.

Dr. Dennis Bonnette retired as a Full Professor of Philosophy in 2003 from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York, where he also served as Chairman of the Philosophy Department from 1992 to 2002. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1970. He is the author of three books, Aquinas’ Proofs for God’s ExistenceOrigin of the Human Species, and Rational Responses to Skepticism: A Catholic Philosopher Defends Intellectual Foundations for Traditional Beliefas well as many scholarly articles.

Featured: Creación de las aves [Creation of the Birds], by Remedios Varo; painted in 1957.

Professor Sucharit Bhakdi… Rabble-Rouser?

Professor Sucharit Bhakdi of Kiel, Germany, who has spearheaded the campaign against the “Covid” dictatorship and the MRNa “vaccines,” has recently been indicted on flimsy charges that boil down to rabble-rousing. What is more, a change to the German Criminal Code has just been waved through the Bundestag, one designed to facilitate a clamp-down on dissidents of every stripe, including those who do not buy the “Satanic Putin” tale. We review the issues here.

Since the 16th Century and the crusade waged by a certain ex-Augustinian and heavy feeder, unredeemed by his undeniable literary skills, and going by the initials ML, Germany’s enthusiasm for freedom of speech and freedom tout court, has been at best, lukewarm. Mendelssohn Moses, author of these lines, would merely remark that the views of that monk on the subject of my co-religionaries, though notoriously unflattering were perhaps less immediately disastrous than his views on the peasantry—8,000 murdered in the Peasant Wars of 1524 to 1526.

The fact remains that from the days of the bizarre ML, the German-speaking world, like England since the day of that other heavy feeder Henry VIII, has squirmed in fear of the authorities.

However, while in 2022, the entire German state apparatus is seen to fawn and simper before its NATO oppressors, Germany is not quite Sodom and Gomorrah: she has righteous men in her midst.

Such as Professor Sucharit Bhakdi, standing straight as a poplar. Although born a Thai, he has been a German citizen for decades, while his endless CV points to perhaps the most-decorated natural scientist in the contemporary German-speaking world:

1979 Justus Liebig University Giessen Prize
1980 Konstanz Medicine Prize
1987 German Society for Microbiology Prize
1988 Dr. Friedrich Sasse Prize
1989 Ludwig Schunk Prize for Medicine
1989 Robert-Koch-Förderpreis of Clausthal-Zellerfeld
1991 Gay-Lussac Humboldt Prize
2001 Aronson Prize
2005 H. W. Hauss Award
2005 Verdienstorden des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz
2009 Rudolf-Schönheimer Medal of the German Society for Arteriosclerosis Research

From the outset of the Scamdemic, Bhakdi spoke out on every occasion against the irrational “anti-Covid” measures, and then, well ahead of the curve, against the so-called MRNa-based anti-Covid “vaccines,” foreseeing precisely what forms of harm would likely arise. Suddenly, he and his wife Karina Reiss became international celebrities, and their books on the matter, best-sellers. (Separately, there is also an excellent dissection of the “Covid” scam networks by two intelligence specialists).

Where NATO Stalkers, Playing Goodie Two-Shoes, Make the “Law”

But in Germany, the hyena, not the bear, roams the wilds. The moment an intellectual pokes his head above the parapet, an army of hyena-like Goodie Two-Shoes pore over his every word, in hopes of finding a nano-particle of that catch-all substance, “anti-semitism.” (As an aside, allow me to add that Palestinians and “Arabs” are every bit as much the Semite as Papa Mendelssohn, save that anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and of course anti-Muslim sentiment is actively encouraged… one wonders why?)

Be that as it may, one day in April 2021, bursting out in disappointment at the lamb-to-the-slaughter attitude of Israel’s citizens in the face of the vaccine lobby, Professor Bhakdi exclaimed:

“Here we have a people who fled Germany, a Germany racked by outright Evil, and we find they have made (of their country) something worse even than was Germany then (…) What is disturbing with the Jews, is how quickly they learn. No other people learns so readily. But they have learnt what is Evil—and they have put it to work. Israel has become hell on earth.”—Die lebende Hölle.

On September 24, 2021, at an election meeting whilst campaigning for office on the Die Basis party ticket, Bhakdi declared that the “anti-Covid” injections were to be analysed in the context of an Endziel, a “final solution” or second holocaust.

If one can still speak of “law” in Germany’s current state of disarray, we are to believe that merely referring to a second holocaust would amount, in legal terms, to “relativising” that which struck the Jews in WWII. One fails to see how such a ludicrous argument might hold, but the point, of course, is to muzzle all opposition.

And so, in July 2021 we find the Public Prosecutor at Kiel, the town of Bhakdi’s residence, examining whether the Professor should be indicted for “relativisation” (sic) and “incitement to hatred” (Volksverhetzung), which roughly corresponds to that legal UFO known to the English-speaking world as “hate crime.” To the keen disappointment of some, in November 2021 the Prosecutor dropped the case for lack of suitable grounds.

The air resounded with relentless howling from the hyenas however, and by May 2022, Kiel’s superior, the Public Prosecutor for the State of Schleswig Holstein, had been got to file a complaint against Bhakdi for “incitement” to hatred and contempt, which was accepted by the Plön Circuit Court (Amtsgericht) in November, just in time for Bhakdi’s birthday. By the way, the legal position has been dealt with on several occasions and very competently, by a group of “dissident” Judges and Prosecutors, KriSTA.

In any event, assuming that poor Germany, littered with US bases and atomic weapons, may still exist in May 2023, the case will be tried in March 2023.

Bhakdi Attempts to Head Off the “Covid” Disaster

Allow me a digression here: Professor Bhakdi is a practising Buddhist, and something of a visionary, foreseeing the consequences of acts and events years, even decades in advance. For us Jews, Bhakdi is the very definition of a prophet. Like the vaccinologist Stefan Hockertz, who has had, literally, to flee Germany, or his colleagues Professors Vélot, Peronne or Toubiana in France, or the medical doctors Carlo Giraldi, Dario Giacomini and Giovanni Vanni Frajese in Italy, Bhakdi was right about “Covid,” right about the “anti-Covid” scam, right about masking, right about the D-dimer tests, right about the MRNa vaccines—while most of the Western world was hiding under the bed.

Fearing for the future of Man, and to crack us out of mass-hypnosis, Professor Bhakdi has a penchant for harsh, even ruthless language – prophetic if you prefer. Upon this being who suffers for Man and who is therefore vulnerable, unlike the grinning enforcers of this world, falls the latter’s rage, as they attempt to drive him to bankruptcy through legal fees, and to despair.

Wailing and Teeth-Gnashing? The Rest of the World has had Enough

Before looking at the changes to German law on Volksverhetzung, voted up shortly before midnight on October 20, 2022, allow me to return to the allegedly unique character of what happened to European Jewry between 1939 and 1945, the incessant droning repetition of which is designed to keep Germans cowed and on the leash for eternity.

Most historians would put the figure for the dead amongst my co-religionaries at roughly six million. WHAT then shall we say of the 26 to 40 million Slavs, Hungarians and Gypsies of various nations “lost in death’s dateless night” during Operation Barbarossa? Entirely burnt up, sacrificed—that is what the Greek word “holocaust” means. For Russia alone, though the exact figure remains unknown, 20 million civilians at least are thought to have been lost, and well over ten million soldiers, as the Wehrmacht broke over her borders. What if Operation Barbarossa had succeeded? Would there yet remain a single Slav on earth? Bear in mind that we are meant to believe that the Western Ukraine is not “Slav”. Therefore, what of the current alliance between Germany, NATO and the Stepan-Banderites in the Ukraine—is this not Operation Barbarossa II?

Accordingly, Papa Mendelssohn has a message to his co-religionaries: Watch your step. The peoples of the rest of the world have had it up to here with our non-stop wailing and gnashing of teeth over the events of 1939-1945, used to justify the many and varied crimes perpetrated before our eyes—or, face it, by us. Get to work on the veterinarian Albert Bourla and his bosses first. Given the kill-rate in Israel from the vet’s injection campaign, saving what’s left of us Jews is going to be a tall order. So, deal with it. (As an aside—have we yet the right to call ourselves “Jews,” as we blithely ignore Yahve’s Sixth and most fundamental Order to Moses? Which is THOU SHALT NOT KILL).

Professor Bhakdi is Not, nor Ever Has Been, a Volksverhetzer

On no account whatsoever, neither in the ancient nor in the modern sense of the term, can Professor Sucharit Bhakdi be said to be a “Volksverhetzer.”

The term Volksverhetzung is an ancient one, referring to acts that deliberately cause disturbance amongst the people. It is made up of the term Volk (people), and the ancient verb hetzen or verhetzen, which means “to stir up” or “incite.” Might there be some sort of relation between the verb hexen, to cast an evil spell, and hetzen? Whatever—the fact remains that in modern times, the legal purview of such an offence must always be very narrow indeed, and restricted to those rare circumstances where an agitator willfully stirs the crowd to perpetrate a crime against persons or property. A very recent and telling example of Volksverhetzen and Hexerei (witchcraft) is when provocateurs excited the crowd to burn fifty Russian-speaking trade unionists alive in their offices at Odessa on May 2, 2014.

And so we have the latest wording (October 20, 2022) of Section 130 para. 5 of the German Penal Code:

“Whosoever shall approve of, deny or crassly downplay whether in public or at a demonstration, a gesture amongst those referred to at Sections 6 to 12 of the International Criminal Code directed at a group referred to at paragraph 1, point 1 (of the German Criminal Code), or against an individual on account of his belonging to that group, in such fashion as to incite to hatred or violence against such persons or group and to disturb the peace, may be sentenced to fines or to three years’ goal.”

As the Göttingen legal scholar Dr. Wolfgang Bittner observes, Sections 6 to 12 of the International Criminal Code concern genocide, crimes against Mankind, against persons, operations and humanitarian emblems, and war crimes that involve forbidden methods of means of war. That Section’s purview is so vast, that a Prosecutor or Magistrate will enjoy virtually unrestricted latitude faced with dissidents of any stripe. What of Demonstrator X marching down the street, whilst somewhere lost in the crowd Demonstrator Y, a hirsute fanatic or provocateur, waves about a sign with irresponsible scribblings? Might X be prosecuted for marching in the same crowd? With the new wording of Section 130, the answer may very well be Yes.

“Political convictions” and New Section 130

Neither is Colonel (Reserve) Edgar Siemund a happy camper—as one sees from his remarkable commentary, published on November 3rd in the on-line Austrian weekly Wochenblick.

Col. Siemund, a practising lawyer, notes that the German Government claims to have had new Section 130 para 5. voted up, only further to grievances raised by the EU, when Germany “failed” to implement EU Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JAH dated 28th November 2008 on various forms of racism and xenophobia. That Framework Decision however, dates from 2008, while the Bundestag was called upon to vote in October 2022—out of the blue and near midnight—on this rider, smack in the midst of NATO’s Operation Barbarossa II.

Secondly, Col. Siemund pointed to a fascinating little “Whereas” (N° 10) of that Framework decision, where one reads:

“This Framework Decision does not prevent a Member State from adopting provisions in national law which extend Article 1(1)(c) and (d) to crimes directed against a group of persons defined by other criteria than race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin, such as social status or political convictions.”

Are we to understand that harsh critics of the Ukrainian Banderites such as Arno Klarsfeld, may henceforth be indicted for Volksverhetzung, having objected to the Banderites’ “political convictions?”

As one will readily perceive, like most of what passes for EU legislation, these self-proclaimed “legal” texts are so poorly drafted, as to admit of virtually any interpretation or rather, manipulation. That this is precisely the aim, is scarcely conjecture.

Following Col. Siemund’s lead, we shall skim through the all-purpose terminology offered up on a platter to Prosecutors, terminology for which the new German Section 130 does not trouble to propose a definition, whether linguistic or legal.

  • leugnet (to deny) : should a researcher express doubt as to a received “truth”, has he ipso facto become a “denier?”
  • gröblich verharmlosen (crassly relativise or minimise): who shall define the semantic field of the adverb “crassly”? What does “relativising” a murder mean? Merely placing it into a military or social context? Would a silly, vulgar joke brawled out at a drunken get-together suffice ?
  • zu Hass aufzustacheln (inciting to hatred) : what is “hatred”? Lack of respect for a Banderite? How does one “incite” third parties to hatred? Does that take years? Months? Minutes? Must the inciter hold sway and authority over the incited?

As an aside, it is my conviction that the notion of “hate crime” has no place, in any form, in any modern legal system. Either the hater undertakes an overt, criminal act against persons or property, or engages in an overt, criminal conspiracy to commit such acts. What he may think, whom he may hate, will always remain irrelevant to the law—unless actual harm be done. Or unless we intend to carry on policing Thought—a trend which cannot but lead to mass psychosis, outbreaks of rage and thus criminality on an unheard-of scale.

Surprise!—The Non-Existent “Russian” Lobby and Sundry “Dissidents”—The Law’s Real Target

On November 5th, 2022, Ulrich Heyden, a formerly mainstream and now “controversial”, Moscow-based reporter, observed in Rubikon Magazin
that the German Parliament, manifestly intent on setting up a legal grey-zone, expressly declined to restrict the notion of Volksverhetzen in criminal law, to those rare cases where a domestic or international Court had already found that some form of war crime or crime against humanity was indeed involved.

According to Heyden, a prominent Green Party MP, Canan Baryam, after expressing delight at the opportunities the new Section 130 might afford against the opposition party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), let the cat out of the bag to Legal Tribune: “one can full well imagine a state of affairs,” where the new Section 130 might be relied upon against those who fail to toe the NATO line on “Putin’s” war in the Ukraine. “For example”, she said “in the context of the Russian war of aggression, endorsing a war crime against the Ukrainians as a group via slogans or signs carried aloft at a demonstration, could become an indictable offence.”

New Section 130 Cunningly Interwoven with the G10 Act

As though the above were not enough, on to the hidden nasties. Like Dr. Hans-Georg Maassen, former head of the Bundesverfassungsschutz (domestic intelligence services) now considered to be a “dissident” and a “conspiracy theorist”, Col. Siemund has happened on another worm in the bud. Section § 3 para. 1 S. 1 Nr. 6A of the Act dealing with limits on the secrecy of private correspondence (Gesetz zur Beschränkung des Brief-, Post- und Fernmeldegeheimnisses)10, known as the G10 Act, refers back to the aforesaid Section 130.

Given the rarefied responsibilities Dr. Maassen held until very recently, it may not be found amiss to cite his Tweet from October 26th in full:

“Take a close look at the new wording of Section § 130… it’s an onslaught on freedom of opinion. Few realise that Section § 3 para. 1 S. 1 Nr. 6A of the G10 Act refers back to it. (…). The latter Section deals with monitoring telephones, WhatsApp, e-mails etc. and the post by the intelligence services, which monitoring may be set up as soon as someone even thinks of Volksverhetzung. Since we now have a broader purview of Section § 130 of the Criminal Code, Section § 3 of the G10 Act may be implemented without restriction. The law as it stands today, was already unworthy of a free democracy, since the intelligence services may listen in to someone on mere suspicion of Volksverhetzung (as opposed to some capital crime). With the broadened purview of the offence under Section § 130 and consequently, extension of Section § 3 of the G10 Act, not a shred remains of the secrecy of private correspondence.”

Just perhaps, writes Col. Siemund, those who live in glass houses might not want to throw stones – while 12 million Germans have been forced or coerced into taking the “anti-Covid” shots with the disastrous known effects, the unvaccinated have been ostracised and deprived of basic rights. One day rather sooner than one might imagine, these twisted laws may be twisted back against the perpetrators of these new forms of injustice … such as one Nils Dampz, who, from German public television’s ARD studios at Los Angeles, in an article attacking Elon Musk, went on to refer to non-conformists as “rats, racists or conspiracy theorists”.

Meanwhile, back at the Ramstein air base in Hessen, the earth trembles at the arrival of US bombers, whilst Foreign Minister “Miss Piggy” Baerbock baldly states that the Ukraine’s interests must prevail over those of Germany’s citizens. Behind the back of Chancellor Scholz, away in China attempting to patch up the broken crockery, Miss Piggy then receives US Secretaries Blinken and Vikki “Cookie Handout” Nuland.

Keep calm and carry on. As the Gauleiters winkle away at their work of death and destruction, a shadow government is arising in every nation of Europe, made up of those who like Sucharit Bhakdi, are Thomas Mores who will keep their head.

[On November 30, 2022, Professor Bhakdi spoke, via video, to a sold-out conference in Austria, to which Herbert Kickl head of the FPÖ, sent a message of greetings when he was unable to attend at the last minute].

Mendelssohn Moses is a Paris-based writer.

Lies, Spies and US Bioweapons on the Verge of Armageddon

Initially, when the Russians brought the existence of the Ukrainian biolabs to the attention of the world, it was denied outright—the official Western response was—”those Ruskies just never stop lying.” And having shut down RT news, hardly anyone in the West knew anything about the Russian claim except that it was being made and it was therefore “disinformation,” and only conspiracy theorists believed it. Given there still has been no declaration of war by any Western country against Russia, one might think the “voices of social conscience” and the “guardians of truth” might at least be curious to know why the Western population was generally being “protected” from Russian news sources because the bright sparks thought the people just too dumb to be able to distinguish between truth and lie.

For a few years now, the bright sparks have decided that they alone know “the truth.” I am not sure which “settled science” it was exactly that decided that Russian media always tells lies, and that Western people are too gullible to be trusted with open access to Russian media. But it must have been the result of some scientific study by irreproachable “scientists,” because the masters of social conscience know and own the science on any given topic, and it was only us stooges that thought that such control of information was further proof of the dangerous totalitarian stranglehold of the Western world’s “leaders” and their mental enforcers.

But glory be, thanks to Victoria Nuland, that brain box and Democrat wife of Republican neo-con Robert Kagan, the current Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and former Assistant Secretary of State European and Eurasian Affairs, the US go-to girl in the “Revolution of Dignity” (you know, the one where “Dignity” meant burning alive their political opponents in Odessa—which local Russian speakers put at close to 400. But, hey, what would they know—they only lived there)—the story needed to by updated. Nuland clarified to the hapless Marco Rubio, who, when questioning her, expected her to respond that there were no labs, that they were actually just perfectly safe biolabs, conducting public health research. But with Russians in the picture, Nuland took on the role of Cassandra to warn that said labs in Ukraine were now a cause for concern, because their benign public health research was sure to be turned into “bioweapons” by those evil Russian.

Of course, the issue of biolabs and bioweapons is central to what is happening now—and is yet another factor in Russia’s “invasion.” And to make sure we would all share “the correct” memory of all this, on June 9, 2022 AD, the Pentagon released a Fact Sheet on WMD Threat Reduction Efforts with Ukraine, Russia and Other Former Soviet Union Countries. I think the centerpiece of the document is this:

The United States has also worked collaboratively to improve Ukraine’s biological safety, security, and disease surveillance for both human and animal health, providing support to 46 peaceful Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and disease diagnostic sites over the last two decades. The collaborative programs have focused on improving public health and agricultural safety measures at the nexus of nonproliferation.

On its release, some journalists, like Steve Sweeney from People’s World reported (June 14) that “The Pentagon said on Thursday that it has operated 46 biolabs in Ukraine handling dangerous pathogens, after previously dismissing the charges as Russian propaganda.” PolitiFact quickly weighed in with “The 46 facilities referenced in the articles and in the government’s fact sheet are owned and operated by Ukraine.” In the world of PolitiFact “working collaboratively” does not seem to be a synonym for funding. But while for the strict grammarians and guardians of “facts,” a tomato is definitely not a tomahto, the pertinent issue is smothered in the race to present nice, neat, clean facts to prevent us from ever believing anything that was not put together by team Goody Global Two Shoes—and that is the point made by bioweapons analyst Francis Boyle:

One of the latest explanations from a U.S. State Department spokesperson is that Ukraine has ‘biodefense’ laboratories, which are ‘not biological weapons facilities.’ The problem with making a distinction between ‘biodefense’ and ‘biowarfare’ is that, basically, there is none. No biodefense research is purely defensive, because to do biodefense work, you’re automatically engaged in the creation of biological weapons. All dual use research can be used for military purposes, and often is. As explained by Boyle, the idea behind ‘biodefense’ research is that there might be a natural pathogen out there that can cause a pandemic, or someone might release an engineered biological weapon, that we need to prepare a cure for.

How did such an obvious point pass the mental geniuses who tell us what to think? By the way Boyle is a human rights lawyer for all sorts of causes that generally fit neatly into the educated politically activist academic consensus (a critic of Israel and exponent of Palestinian rights, an advocate for indigenous and first nation rights, a supporter of Hawaiian self-determination, an international-law expert and legal adviser to the first Bosnia-Herzegovinian president). Then, he took an interest in bioweaponry and connected it to COVID. At once he became a “conspiracy theorist.” Anyone who thinks Big Pharma is capable of hazardous decisions, leveraging government and being involved in cartel collusion, and profiteering, and that it should be subjected to the kinds of protocols that no longer seem to exist for any of the larger corporation—is now labeled a “conspiracy theorist.”

If such a prime fact as Boyle’s about the nature of “biodefense” is smothered by weasel words, and by simply deferring to official statements made by the very operatives whose operations are being questioned, how was it ever possible for questions about government bioweaponry to get a serious airing in the public sphere? Answer—it was not possible, because the rules governing the “public square” no longer favor any kind of critical discussion—the public square itself dictates “the acceptable answers” to topics, and the public square is what the owners of that square say that it is—for the public square is very much a private possession.

But apart from the logic that Boyle brought to the conversation, even before every major news outlet in the country was falling over itself to attack right-wing conspiracy theorists, Newspunch counterpunched by demonstrating what a bunch of fraudsters the factcheckers are—when it reached back into the archives and found a piece from published in 2010: “Deleted Web Pages Show Obama Ordered Ukraine BioLabs to Develop ‘Deadly Pathogens.’” Allow me to reproduce the rest of the report: reports: The article, which also highlighted the work of former Senator Dick Lugar, was additionally included in Issue No. 818 of the United States Air Force (USAF) Counterproliferation Center’s Outreach Journal.

Lugar said plans for the facility began in 2005 when he and then-Senator Barack Obama entered a partnership with Ukrainian officials. Lugar and Obama also helped coordinate efforts between the U.S and Ukrainian researchers that year in an effort to study and help prevent avian flu,” explained author Tina Redlup.

A 2011 report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Anticipating Biosecurity Challenges of the Global Expansion of High-Containment Biological Laboratories explained how the Odessa-based laboratory “is responsible for the identification of especially dangerous biological pathogens.

This laboratory was reconstructed and technically updated up to the BSL-3 level through a cooperative agreement between the United States Department of Defense and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine that started in 2005. The collaboration focuses on preventing the spread of technologies, pathogens, and knowledge that can be used in the development of biological weapons,” the report continues.

The updated laboratory serves as Interim Central Reference Laboratory with a depozitarium (pathogen collection). According to Ukrainian regulations, it has a permit to work with both bacteria and viruses of the first and second pathogenic groups,” explains the report.

A separate document detailing Ukraine’s biolab network from the BioWeapons Prevention Project outlines in greater detail the scope of pathogens the facility has conducted research with.

Among the viruses the lab studied were Ebola and “viruses of pathogencity group II by using of virology, molecular, serologica and express methods.”

Additionally, the lab provided “special training for specialists on biosafety and biosecurity issues during handling of dangerous biological pathogenic agents.”

The unearthed biolab facility follows intense scrutiny over the U.S. government’s decision to fund risky, “gain-of-function” research in Wuhan at a Chinese Communist Party-run lab with military ties.

The combination of algorithmic-controlled information and the vanishing of web sites that disprove the approved “line” of the cabal at Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc., as well as the CIA, the FBI and the Government—is now such a conspicuous feature of our information flow in the West that an obvious question arises—how can anyone, who wants to get at the truth of things, still believe any official news source today? With respect to the war, in general, and the biolabs, in particular, the only position that is now permitted to be published in mainstream media is that if the Russians claim something, it is ipso facto propaganda and false. All nice and Manichean. And the way this seems to now be proven is that Government intelligence officials tell us so. Once upon a time academics and journalists were far more inclined to think that if the CIA said something there was a fair to good chance it was a lie.

So, before we carry on with looking briefly at the history of US biowarfare and what the Russian arguments and claims about US biolabs and weapons are, and why this should be widely known and discussed, instead of being denounced, and shutdown—let us just remind ourselves of a few unpleasant truths about the CIA, and why it is utterly imbecilic (and fully in keeping with the our age of the imbecilic) that journalists have derived their facts and larger narrative for understanding the Russia-Ukraine war from the Central Imbecilic (sorry, I meant, Intelligence) Agency.

Trust US. We are the CIA

Those of a certain age will most like be familiar with Phillip Agee’s Inside the Company: CIA Diary, which is Agee’s first-hand account of his twelve years as a CIA agent during his time in Uruguay, Ecuador, Mexico and Washington. The essentials are laid out in a couple of early paragraphs of the book, where he writes:

When I joined the CIA I believed in the need for its existence. After twelve years with the agency I finally understood how much suffering it was causing, that millions of people all over the world had been killed or had had their lives destroyed by the CIA and the institutions it supports. I couldn’t sit by and do nothing and so began work on this book. Even after recent revelations about the CIA it is still difficult for people to understand what a huge and sinister organization the CIA is. It is the biggest and most powerful secret service that has ever existed. I don’t know how big the KGB is inside the Soviet Union, but its international operation is small compared with the CIA’s. The CIA has 16,500 employees and an annual budget of $750,000,000. That does not include its mercenary armies or its commercial subsidiaries. Add them all together, the agency employs or subsidizes hundreds of thousands of people and spends billions every year. Its official budget is secret; it’s concealed in those of other Federal agencies. Nobody tells the Congress what the CIA spends. By law, the CIA is not accountable to Congress.

In the past 25 years, the CIA has been involved in plots to overthrow governments in Iran, the Sudan, Syria, Guatemala, Ecuador, Guyana, Zaire and Ghana. In Greece, the CIA participated in bringing in the repressive regime of the colonels. In Chile, The Company spent millions to “destabilize” the Allende government and set up the military junta, which has since massacred tens of thousands of workers, students, liberals and leftists. In Indonesia in 1965, The Company was behind an even bloodier coup, the one that got rid of Sukarno and led to the slaughter of at least 500,000 and possibly 1,000,000 people. In the Dominican Republic the CIA arranged the assassination of the dictator Rafael Trujillo and later participated in the invasion that prevented the return to power of the liberal ex-president Juan Bosch. In Cuba, The Company paid for and directed the invasion that failed at the Bay of Pigs. Sometime later the CIA was involved in attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro. It is difficult to believe, or comprehend, that the CIA could be involved in all these subversive activities all over the world.

Since Agee’s diary. there have been other accounts of the CIA, mainly by former operatives or academics, which go into the details of all the election rigging, coups, assassination attempts, false flag operations, torturing and various conspiracies (yes, shock, horror! the CIA has a history of conspiring to overthrow regimes, and fuel revolts and start wars). Before the Left was a woke joke, and the CIA had set up shop as a diversity service provider, scholars like William Blum (see his Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II) would write books exposing the various dirty tricks and machinations (installing bloody dictators, arming terrorists, working with drug runners, arms runners and money laundering—all for the good of the world. I thoroughly recommend Douglas Valentine’s 2017 book, The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World—it also has a chapter on the CIA in Ukraine. Here is synopsis of another book, Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic, by former DEA agent, Michael Levine which gives a pretty good account of what the CIA have been up to in the more overtly criminal stakes:

…the CIA has perverted the American criminal justice system by protecting drug dealers and murderers from prosecution; that Federal judges and prosecutors alleged to have broken narcotics laws have been protected from investigation; that the government of Bolivia and South American drug cartel leaders have been assisted and even paid by the CIA…without CIA support, South American cartels and the epidemic of cocaine and crack use in the U.S. would never have occurred.

During the Maidan revolution in 2014, McCain and Nuland were doing photo ops with Svoboda (the neo-Nazi political party) leader Oleh Tyahnybok and his cronies who were busy assisting in regime change. After all, at the end of the Second World War US intelligence agencies, including the CIA, recruited General Reinhard Gehlen, the German army’s intelligence chief for the Eastern Front during World War II, who “successfully maintained his intelligence network (it ultimately became the West German BND) even though he employed numerous former Nazis and known war criminals.” This was hidden from the public for some fifty years, until documents pertaining to this history were declassified in 2002. The following from The National Security Archive in 2005 is worth quoting:

The documentation unearthed by the IWG (The Nazi War Crimes Interagency Working Group) reveals extensive relationships between former Nazi war criminals and American intelligence organizations, including the CIA. For example, current records show that at least five associates of the notorious Nazi Adolf Eichmann worked for the CIA, 23 other Nazis were approached by the CIA for recruitment, and at least 100 officers within the Gehlen organization were former SD or Gestapo officers.

The IWG enlisted the help of key academic scholars to consult during the declassification process, and these historians released their own interpretation of the declassified material in May of 2004, in a publication called US Intelligence and the Nazis. The introduction to this book emphasizes the dilemma of using former Nazis as assets:

The notion that they [CIA, Army Counterintelligence Corp, Gehlen organization] employed only a few bad apples will not stand up to the new documentation. Some American intelligence officials could not or did not want to see how many German intelligence officials, SS officers, police, or non-German collaborators with the Nazis were compromised or incriminated by their past service.

Apparently, the Nazi spies were a disaster! As the report continues:

Lack of sufficient attention to history-and, on a personal level, to character and morality-established a bad precedent, especially for new intelligence agencies. It also brought into intelligence organizations men and women previously incapable of distinguishing between their political/ideological beliefs and reality. As a result, such individuals could not and did not deliver good intelligence. Finally, because their new, professed ‘democratic convictions’ were at best insecure and their pasts could be used against them (some could be blackmailed), these recruits represented a potential security problem.

But now that Russia’s geopolitical concerns are strategically regional and have nothing in common with the globalist aspirations of the former Soviets, many of the very people who previously were very willing to denounce the CIA for its interventions in Chile, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Argentina, Cuba, Greece, Iran, Indonesia etc. are more than willing to read from the script prepared by the CIA. Still, the take-home point from any of the left-leaning books on the CIA, written in the last thirty years or so, is that the CIA acted covertly, criminally, and very often under the veil of “plausible deniability;” which is to say, it was often left free to do whatever it thought necessary, without there being any followable line of command that would link its actions to the President—and, of course, it lied—constantly. It also involved itself in propaganda. It is obvious that the entrenchment of nefarious practices tend to continue well after any rationale for adopting them has vanished. On the issue of propaganda, the following from Agee is important:

The CIA’S role in the US propaganda program is determined by the official division of propaganda into three general categories: white, grey and black. White propaganda is that which is openly acknowledged as coming from the US government, e.g. from the US Information Agency (USIA); grey propaganda is ostensibly attributed to people or organizations who do not acknowledge the US government as the source of their material and who produce the material as if it were their own; black propaganda is unattributed material, or it is attributed to a non-existent source, or it is false material attributed to a real source. The CIA is the only US government agency authorized to engage in black propaganda operations, but it shares the responsibility for grey propaganda with other agencies such as USIA. However, according to the ‘Grey Law’ of the National Security Council contained in one of the NSCID’S, other agencies must obtain prior CIA approval before engaging in grey propaganda. The vehicles for grey and black propaganda may be unaware of their CIA or US government sponsorship. This is partly so that it can be more effective and partly to keep down the number of people who know what is going on and thus to reduce the danger of exposing true sponsorship. Thus editorialists, politicians, businessmen and others may produce propaganda, even for money, without necessarily knowing who their masters in the case are. Some among them obviously will and so, in agency terminology, there is a distinction between ‘witting’ and ‘unwitting’ agents.

Sound familiar? Allow me to align this with a piece by NBC (April 6 2022) that is breathtaking in its combination of chutzpah and imbecilic integrity. The headline reads “In a break with the past, U.S. is using intel to fight an info war with Russia, even when the intel isn’t rock solid.” “It doesn’t have to be solid intelligence,” one U.S. official said. “It’s more important to get out ahead of them [the Russians], Putin specifically, before they do something.”

It continues:

It was an attention-grabbing assertion that made headlines around the world: U.S. officials said they had indications suggesting Russia might be preparing to use chemical agents in Ukraine. President Joe Biden later said it publicly. But three U.S. officials told NBC News this week there is no evidence Russia has brought any chemical weapons near Ukraine. They said the U.S. released the information to deter Russia from using the banned munitions. It’s one of a string of examples of the Biden administration’s breaking with recent precedent by deploying declassified intelligence as part of an information war against Russia. The administration has done so even when the intelligence wasn’t rock solid, officials said, to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin off balance. Coordinated by the White House National Security Council, the unprecedented intelligence releases have been so frequent and voluminous, officials said, that intelligence agencies had to devote more staff members to work on the declassification process, scrubbing the information so it wouldn’t betray sources and methods.

Who needs rock solid when the government and its intel are so great?

Let’s consider one last piece on the CIA—Tim Weiner’s, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. It is a fairly sober account of the CIA by a journalist whose recent pronouncements—short of anything resembling proof—on this war seem to me to make him prey to his own quarry. But his book of 2007 makes some good points. The first is a good summing up of the limits of “intelligence”—which is salient to why it is insane for journalists to think they are doing a democracy anything other than a disservice by parroting the “talking points” of their “intelligence” sources: “Intelligence fails because it is human, no stronger than the power of one mind to understand another. Garrett Jones, the CIA station chief during the disastrous American expedition in Somalia, put it plainly: ‘There are going to be screw-ups, mistakes, confusion, and missteps,’ he said. “One hopes they won’t be fatal.”

The second, is a good summary of how the intelligence game changed with the war on terror, and how that “war” has led to how the CIA now operates:

The CIA had run secret interrogation centers before–beginning in 1950, in Germany, Japan, and Panama. It had participated in the torture of captured enemy combatants before–beginning in 1967, under the Phoenix program in Vietnam. It had kidnapped suspected terrorists and assassins before–most famously in 1997, in the case of Mir Amal Kansi, the killer of two CIA officers. But Bush gave the agency a new and extraordinary authority: to turn kidnapped suspects over to foreign security services for interrogation and torture, and to rely on the confessions they extracted. As I wrote in The New York Times on October 7, 2001: “American intelligence may have to rely on its liaisons with the world’s toughest foreign services, men who can look and think and act like terrorists. If someone is going to interrogate a man in a basement in Cairo or Quetta, it will be an Egyptian or a Pakistani officer. American intelligence will take the information without asking a lot of lawyerly questions.” Under Bush’s order, the CIA began to function as a global military police, throwing hundreds of suspects into secret jails in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, and inside the American military prison in Guantanamo, Cuba for interrogations. The gloves were off. “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there,” Bush told the nation in an address to a joint session of Congress on September 20. “It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.

Of course, the justification for the “war on terror” moved from the war against the Taliban to the war against Iraq; and while the rationale of that war, mentioned below, was based on false information, the real rationale enthusiastically repeated on numerous occasions by Tony Blair was that it was the task of democracies to overthrow tyrants wherever they were. Hence the requisite procedure in the international arena becomes one of declaring one’s enemy a tyrant to legitimate regime change. And as was signaled with the passing of the Magnitsky Act back in 2012, which enabled the seizure of Russian assets, the decision that regime change had to occur in Russia precedes not only the present war in the Ukraine, but the Maidan.

And if anyone out there still thinks the CIA is a trustworthy institution (and I have not even touched upon its various debacles which have been addressed by other authors) let’s go to the third passage from Weiner, which I think particularly pertinent because even the slew of pro-war Democrats might remember where they purportedly once stood (of course, I am joshing. Most of them went in boots and all with young George W and the CIA. So much for principles):

President Bush presented the CIA’s case and more in his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003: Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to kill millions, chemical weapons to kill countless thousands, mobile biological weapons labs designed to produce germ-warfare agents. “Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” he said. “Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. All of this was terrifying. None of it was true.

In a nutshell, there is nothing about the CIA’s history which indicates that it is a trustworthy operation. The good thing about most of the left-wing writings on the CIA—and even though I am often critical of the Left, I have always thought this aspect of their investigations to be a valuable contribution to any public considerations of state action—is that they invariably identity the nexus between corporate interests and the state. An iconic expression of the problem was by Major General Smedley Butler back in the 1930s in his War is a Racket:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Nothing has changed in that the real reason for NATO expansionism and for the most brazen proxy war funded by way Western governments funneling tax payers’ money, without resorting to anything remotely resembling electoral approval, to send weapons to Ukraine.

Far less reported are NATO’s nuclear war games which are being held some six hundred miles from Russia. And what is simply not known at all—is what the Russians are saying about US bioweapons.

A Brief History of The US Bioweapon Research and Why the Russians Are Bothered

US government research into biological warfare originated in the Second World War in response to British and French concerns that the Nazis might attack with biological weapons. They didn’t, but the Japanese were also developing biological weapons that they would use against the Chinese—they experimented on prisoners, poisoned wells, and dropped plague infested fleas over cities and rice fields. The Soviets had also been attacked with biological weapons, and after the war they convicted some of the Japanese researchers, although the Soviets had already been working on biological warfare from the 1920s and would become world leaders in bioweaponry until the Union collapsed.

The defeat of the Japanese provided a valuable source of new recruits for the US government in the area of biological warfare. The extent to which the US was able to make use of the Japanese research is not altogether clear, but we do know that both in the US and Japan secret research was being conducted, involving known war criminals for the next forty years. This information started coming to light in the 1990s when, as Sheldon Harris in his book of 1994, Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare 1932-45 and the American Cover Up, the Clinton administration “began to lift the veil of secrecy concerning United States; experiments with human subjects in hundreds of studies during and since the end of World War II.” Forgive the lengthiness of the quote from Harris; but as most people will not be aware of this, I think it important to cite in full; and it nicely provides something of a history of US, Japanese and Soviet bioweaponry:

We now know that American scientists tested humans with mustard gas, other chemical agents, exposed others to radiation tests, and still others to a variety of pathogens without the subjects’ knowledge or consent. In many instances, the most distinguished scientists from the most prestigious American universities participated both in deceiving their patients and in conducting the experiments. Even today, those scientists still active in the field, and their host universities, deny involvement. Recently opened former Soviet archives disclose that the Soviet Union inaugurated a large-scale biological warfare program beginning in the mid-1920s. Humans were used often in experiments that covered a variety of diseases potentially useful in biological warfare. Research facilities were established throughout that vast nation, and, according to Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin, such research continues covertly today.

The Soviet cover was partially blown in 1979 when a massive outbreak of anthrax affected a large area around the Urals city of Sverdlovsk. The most conservative estimates are that at least ninety-six people were infected, and that some sixty-six people died as a result of the outbreak. The true figures, no doubt, are higher. The most terrifying aspect of the outbreak was the disclosure that the Sverdlovsk biological warfare plant accidentally released less than one gram of anthrax spores, possibly as little as several milligrams. It does not take much imagination to calculate how much death and destruction the release of a few grams of anthrax spores into a heavily populated community could cause.

In Japan, scientists who participated in involuntary human experiments during World War II, and earlier, dominated the administration and controlled the areas of research of the country’s National Institute of Health for one half-century after the war ended…it should be noted here that at least seven of the NIH’s Directors and five of the Institute’s Vice Directors, during the 1930s and 1940s, engaged in biological warfare experiments which employed human test subjects. The National Institute of Health is a government-supported agency. Yet these known war criminals were employed by this institution, were given great powers within the organization and continued to use humans without their consent, and often without their knowledge, in investigations that were carried on during the course of more than forty years. It is known that experiments were authorized on prisoners, babies and patients in psychiatric hospitals in 1947, and from 1952 until 1955 by the NIH’s Vice Director Masami Kitaoka. Another researcher conducted bacteriological experiments on infants hospitalized in Tokyo’s National First Hospital in 1952. Later, this same researcher, from 1967 until 1971, used shigella in experiments on soldiers in Japan’s Self-Defence Forces. In May 1985, an NIH researcher experimentally injected an unapproved vaccine against a Japanese encephalitis virus into nearly 200 hospitalized children without their parents’ consent. At different times over a three-year period, 1987, 1988, 1989, Kuniaki Nerome experimentally tested two types of genetically modified vaccine against influenza on approximately forty hospitalized children. Their parents were unaware of the tests and did not give their informed consent for the vaccines to be used on their children.

There are a number of international treaties being drawn up that seek to outlaw biological warfare, and, by implication, involuntary human experimentation. The United States, Russia (the former Soviet Union) and Japan are signatories to the various international agreements outlawing human experimentation, and the production of biological warfare agents. Nevertheless, both these activities appear to be flourishing today in all three countries, as well as elsewhere in various parts of the world. It appears that human testing, biological and chemical weapons will be part of former President George Bush’s so-called new world order for some time to come.

It is true that in 1969 President Nixon made a statement signaling the end of US offensive biological weapons programs and in 1972, along with Soviet Union, the Biological Weapons Conventions, outlawing biological warfare. What one makes of this very much depends upon what one thinks of the efficacy of international declarations, pieces of paper and signatures, and whether one thinks public gestures disclose hidden operations.

One investigative journalist who was doing his job well was Gordon Thomas. Early in his book, Spies and Lies: A History of CIA Mind Control and Germ Warfare, in the midst of discussing the anthrax attacks that took place in the US in October 2001, he writes:

In 2004, the U.S. armory of weaponized biological agents consisted of 19 bacteria, 43 viruses, 14 toxins and 4 rickettsiae. Their use remains outlawed under the Geneva Protocol of 1925. Within five years of the protocol’s creation Italy, Belgium, Canada, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Poland and the Soviet Union had all signed. The United States did not sign until 1975. By then the U.S. had developed a massive biochemical arsenal. Shortly before the September 11 attack, the Pentagon admitted that at Nellis Air Force base, one of the most secret in America, it had established the world’s largest stockpile of biological and chemical weapons. It had been created largely by CIA scientists. One of these scientists had been an obsessive “biochemist whose work pioneered the research which eventually led to the stockpile. His name was Frank Olson.

On that terrible September day in 2001, Olson’s son, Eric, was living in the family home in Frederick, Maryland, a short distance from Fort Detrick, where his father had worked for the CIA. That establishment then—and now—remains a restricted place, guarded by a variety of electronic defenses and armed “guards. As the television set in Eric’s living room endlessly replayed the 9/11 scenes of destruction from New York and Washington, he typed into his computer—on which he had stored so many astonishing matters relating to the death of his father—the most astounding claim of all:

“My father was murdered because the CIA feared he would reveal the biggest American secret of the Cold War, perhaps of all time. It is the secret of how the CIA was involved in biological warfare as well as mind control. My father had a key part in both programs.”

The takeaways from this very brief history are simply that the US has engaged in bioweapon research; that it has stockpiles—an “armory”—of weaponized biological agents; and that it is extremely secretive. Everything can of course have a purely benign spin—the research is purely defensive/preventative. It exists to save us from bio attacks by terrorists or rogue states—like Russia—and that it is important to prevent terrorists and rogue states from getting hold of the research and having access to the biological agents. As we all know the United States is still the only state to have used nuclear weapons. It sets itself up as the moral arbiter of nations and what constitutes a just international order. It is entitled to be an exceptional state—that’s part of its Calvinist heritage (hard to believe when you see its public clowns today)—but it sticks to it. The question is: is the USA a force for the angels? Or does it say one thing and do another? Is its bioresearch all for the human good? Or is it a potential source of devastation?

Irrespective of what you or I might think, the thing that must be born in mind when the Russians went on the offensive about the biolabs in the Ukraine, and the US went from denial (and when that became too implausible) to “nothing to see here, all above-board, and there is nothing remotely dangerous in any of this.”

Apart from what seems to me to be the Western explanation—one can very easily find out why the Russians are bothered, and why it might even be reasonable for them to be bothered when one listens to what they are saying. And what they are saying is deeply disturbing, and as far as I can see it, while the very idea that Ukrainian/ US biolabs could be genuinely perceived as a serious threat to Russia is ridiculed and ‘factchecked’ by repeating government/ intelligence press releases, anyone who reads the Russian Government Report, The activities of the biological laboratories of the US Department of Defense in Ukraine will see that, at the very least, there is a story here, and that to bury it is but one more egregious example of the complete moral and intellectual bankruptcy of our “idea-broking” professionals.

An essential component of that story is the connection between the end of the Soviet Union, the expansion of NATO (which the West refuses to concede is any serious cause of aggravation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and which involves “experts” and “journalists” repeating the lie that none ever said NATO expansion would stop with the end of the Cold War), and the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. That Program was initiated by the US government working in cooperation with the Pentagon and CIA—the Pentagon Division was originally entitled the “Defense Special Weapons Agency,” before changing its name to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the US Army Institute for Medical Research on Infectious Diseases. The Program’s ostensible purpose was the elimination of stockpiles of Soviet nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, which effectively gave the US control over former Soviet biological weapons.

Although, it might be a source of puzzlement for those who think that the USA, unlike any other imperial or hegemonic power, simply acts for the good of all human kind—and that it and its allies are not driven by the strategic self-interests of their ruling classes—the “Cooperative Reduction Program” not only involved taking over the stockpiles (and specialists trained in developing and studying pathogens and bioweapon technology) in Russia, but also countries “along the perimeter of the borders of Russia: Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan,” before expanding into other parts of Asia and Africa.

What was meant to be an elimination program morphed into something far more in keeping with a geopolitical strategy commensurate with the continuation of NATO expansion and the United States’ mission of a unipolar world, and a source of concern for the Russians, viz. “one after another transferred their collections of dangerous pathogens to the United States in exchange for American help. Who neutralized them in America, how and whether they were actually destroyed—remained a mystery.”

But then everything to do with the labs was a mystery—which, on a tangential though not completely unrelated matter, is why the issues of the laboratory source of COVID, and the pharmaceutical and financial and political networks involved in the origin of the pandemic (whether true or fake) are still smothered in deceit and mystery.

In any case, what was officially presented as a program of elimination turned into an opportunity too good to miss, as an extensive network of labs working with dangerous viruses were set up in former Soviet countries: “All of them were financed by the US Department of Defense, were called differently everywhere and were created, as a rule, on the basis of scientific research institutes and SES, created back in the Soviet period. One of the features of this program consisted in the fact that in each country not one object was erected, but a whole cluster at once. Part of it was concentrated directly in the capitals of the former republics, while related institutions were located in different parts of the country.”

The Report then identifies what it calls two “strong opinions” about this network in the former Soviet republics, and they are worth citing at length:

First. American biological programs in the post-Soviet states are a way to circumvent the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction (BTWC). Despite the fact that the Convention was signed back in 1972, to this day, the control mechanism does not work largely due to the efforts of the United States, although the world expert community spent more than 45 years developing it. In 2001, the US demonstrated to the world that it had active bioprograms. After the attack on September 11, 2001, deaths of anthrax among people suddenly began to be recorded, and postal envelopes became the transmission route of this infection. The US Congress conducted an investigation (later it turned out that the recipe was combat and came out of the walls of the US Army bacteriological center at Fort Detrick). The attack against its own people, attributed to terrorists, gave huge political dividends to the US leadership. Now there was a formal reason to declare that the States are victims of biological terrorism and therefore unilaterally withdraw from the mechanism of collective control over the implementation of the BTWC. In autumn 2001, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced this in Geneva. At the same time, a biological threat reduction program (the Nunn-Lugar program) was proposed, and the United States began large-scale construction of military biological laboratories, including around Russia. But holding the United States accountable for conducting biological experiments that violate the UN Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons is almost impossible. The US does not recognize the International Criminal Court and was not a signatory to the founding Rome Statute….

Second. The United States, after the collapse of the USSR, became very concerned about the conditions for the storage of pathogens and, as a result, the threat of a biological attack on America. The global American project declares its goal to minimize these threats, which is why tens and hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in laboratories in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Moldova, and Ukraine. They say that dangerous strains of microorganisms may leak into the environment in these countries. However, it does not explain how, for example, Armenia or Uzbekistan can organize a biological attack on the United States or why the laboratories are mainly located in large cities with a high population density or at a close distance from them. After all, it is much more logical, if there is even a minimal threat of pathogen leakage, to build such facilities in a desert area in order to eliminate the possibility of the spread of pathogens and epidemics.

As for the more specific purposes of the research, the penultimate paragraph of the Report sums it up thus:

The activities of American biological laboratories damage the economy, including by indirect methods (due to the destruction of livestock of diseased livestock, discrediting livestock products on local and world markets), as well as the human potential of Russia (reduction of general immunity and resistance to seasonal diseases, ability to reproduce, decreased efficiency, etc.), the diversion of significant forces and resources of the state to combat artificial outbreaks of infectious diseases. As a result the dependence of the attacked countries (Russia, China and Iran) on the products of the Western pharmaceutical industry is increasing, hoping in the future to offer medicines against artificially caused outbreaks of infectious diseases.

The Report also notes the mutuality of political, military and corporate interests that are embedded in bioresearch, and the geopolitical conditions that the US needs to establish and maintain for it to be effective. Again, I quote at length:

US biolaboratories located along the borders of the Russian Federation have a number of common features. These objects are strictly classified and are located in cities or near cities with a population of over a million (Odessa, Kharkov, Almaty), near seaports (Odessa), airports (Tbilisi, Yerevan, Kyiv) or in earthquake-prone countries such as Armenia (Yerevan, Gyumri, Ijevan) , and even in areas with a probability of 9-magnitude earthquakes (Almaty). The construction of laboratories as part of projects to counter biological threats allows the United States to fully control the biological situation on the territory of both the respective post-Soviet countries and their transboundary neighbors. Virologists know that there is only one step from studying bacteria to creating a bacteriological weapon. In addition, the biolaboratories created by the United States, operating in a closed regime, are removed from the control of the governments of the countries in which they are located. Laboratories are often staffed by Americans with diplomatic immunity, and local health officials do not have direct access to these facilities.

The number of laboratory staff, from 50 to 250 people, far exceeds the number of personnel needed to maintain modern civilian laboratories with stated goals. The heads of the facilities are often appointed by persons from among the military loyal to Washington or intelligence officers. So, the CRL in Tbilisi was previously headed by the chief of Georgian intelligence Anna Zhvania and he was subordinate not to the Ministry of Health, but to the Ministry of Defense of Georgia.

In the case of Ukraine, and unlike other parts of the former USSR, it was not until the Presidency of George W. Bush that bioweapon research was conducted there. Like Obama and Trump after him, George W. originally campaigned on a foreign policy platform of cooperation with Russia—but that counted for zero once elected, and his regime’s setting up of military laboratories in Ukraine would be an important part in a chain of events that has led to the brink we now live upon.

The Report quotes the Political Scientist Dmitry Skvortsov: “Now there are 15 military laboratories in the country at once, and their activities are absolutely non-transparent and unaccountable. Hence the conclusion: these facilities were created by the Pentagon as manufacturers of biological weapons. Otherwise, why aim to prevent the spread of ‘technologies, viruses and pathogens’ used in the development of biological weapons in facilities where these weapons have never been developed?”

The Report also quotes the former Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov complaining about the secrecy surrounding the research and the lack of controls able to be exercised on the research.

When the story about the existence of the US/Ukraine biolabs was labelled “misinformation,” before being changed to “so what? It’s for our own good,” one might have thought that would be some follow up by journalists about claims of odd viral outbreaks in Ukraine. But that has never happened. Just because journalists do not report things does not mean such things do not exist. And the Report points out that there have been bacterial and viral outbreaks in Ukraine of the sort which indicate laboratory sources.

For example in 2010 and 2015, there were California flu pandemics:

…when the epidemiological threshold was exceeded in 20 regions. From October 2015 to February 2016, more than 350 virologically confirmed deaths from this type of A (H1N1) virus were registered in Ukraine, with 40% of deaths were young people from 18 to 26 years old who did not have chronic diseases.”


Since 1995, no cases of cholera have been registered in Ukraine. And suddenly in 2011 in Mariupol, 33 people get sick at once. In 2009, 450 Ukrainians in Ternopil suffered from a rare virus that causes hemorrhagic pneumonia. In 2014, there was another outbreak of cholera in Ukraine, which came from nowhere—then 800 people fell ill. The same thing happens in 2015 and 2017: about a hundred cases were registered in Mykolaiv.

In 2015, fatal cases of leptospirosis, rabies and other pathologies, which have long been forgotten in the EU countries, were recorded in Ukraine. In 2016, an epidemic begins in the country botulism, from which four people die, and in 2017—eight more, only according to official data.

In January of the same year, 37 residents of Nikolaev were hospitalized with “jaundice”, six months later 60 people with the same diagnosis were hospitalized in Zaporozhye. At the same time, an outbreak of hepatitis A was noted in Odessa, and 19 children from the boarding school were sent to the hospital in the Odessa region. In November 27 cases of infection have already been recorded in Kharkiv. The virus was transmitted through drinking water.

The Report also notes:

…the existence of 13,476 permanently dysfunctional anthrax sites in the country, which no one deals with, and some of them graze cattle. Only in the Odessa region there are 430 potentially dangerous objects where animals can catch the disease.

This is exactly what happened in 2018, when anthrax broke out in several villages of the Odessa region: five people ended up in the hospital with a skin form of the disease. In the Sumy region there are at least 20 animal burial grounds with anthrax, and not designated in any way.

The situation with the incidence of botulism is also close to catastrophic. In 2016, 115 cases of botulism were reported in Ukraine, of which 12 were fatal. In 2017, the country’s Ministry of health service has confirmed an additional 90 cases and 8 deaths. In subsequent years, the trend continued: 13 outbreaks were registered in the first three months of 2020 botulism, 15 people got sick, including one child of 9 years old.

The Report also draws attention to another tactic of biological weaponry that might be easier to ignore because its effects are far less dramatic and overt—and that is the release of many “small viruses, colds, varieties of runny nose, multiple strains of influenza,” that do not kill or seriously injure those affected, but which impact the general well-being and energy of a population.

And then there are the epidemics affecting agriculture and the economy:

With the beginning of the active work of DTRA in Ukraine, mass deaths from epidemics began not only of people, but also of animals. Avian flu and African swine fever have dealt a heavy blow to the country’s agriculture. For example, in 2015, 60 thousand pigs were killed and burned at the Kalita agricultural plant alone. At the end of 2016, the EU banned the import of poultry meat from Ukraine due to the epidemiological situation in the country. According to published data, since 2017 Ukraine already imports more sausage than it exports. Thus, Ukraine from a competitor in the market of agricultural products is turning into a market for these products from the EU and the USA. The money invested in the laboratory is returned.

Another example were the outbreaks of bird flu was in 2016 and 2017 that led to a temporary bans by the EU and some Eastern European countries on Ukrainian poultry.

Finally, let me cite one last section of the Teport which discusses another report undertaken by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) “analyzing the risks associates with activities in the field of American biological laboratories. In particular, the document notes that the program provides for the accumulation in the Kherson Regional Laboratory Center of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service of Ukraine of samples of pathogens from different regions of Ukraine under the pretext of studying the specifics of local strains and determining the degree of virulence of the obtained samples among the population”:

The next stage of cooperation, according to the SBU, should be the generalization and referral of research results to the Center for Biological Research at the US Defense Ministry, ostensibly to attract American specialists to develop vaccine samples that are maximally adapted to the residents of a particular region. The persistent efforts of the United States to resume the project indicate the intention to establish control over all domestic studies of pathogens of particularly dangerous infectious diseases that can be used for creation or modernization of new types of selective biological weapons. At the same time, it is not excluded that in the conditions of broad rights and powers guaranteed by the program, a foreign party will be able to study its own test systems on the territory of Ukraine, which creates a potential threat to epidemiological and epizootic situations, both in the region and in the country as a whole.

In sum, what the Russians fear about the biolabs is that research has been done with the explicit intention of breaking down the “national biological protection system.”

I have not the slightest doubt that if these claims were being made about the Russians the mainstream media would be creating a state of utter hysteria in the Western population. Already Western propaganda has succeeded in dehumanizing not only the Russians, but anyone who does not go along with the primary main stream media and the Pentagon and Intelligence claims made about the cause, meaning and justification of the war.

For my part, and as I have indicated in various essays for the Postil, I cannot ignore the constant calls for depopulation coming from the World Economic Forum and the likes of such gigantic brains and compassionate people as Klaus Schwab and Yuval Harari—and I cannot but think that bioweaponry can easily be used for that purpose.

Indeed, I ask myself, if it is necessary to save the planet by killing a few billion people, why wouldn’t our global leaders resort to biological weaponry? Perhaps that weaponry might be used in the most charitable way by simply attacking the reproductive capacities of the weakest of the species—and the weakest would be those who come from nations whose biological protective systems have been weakened through the deliberate release of pathogens.

That is not a conspiracy theory, it is simply posing the question, why would those who openly conspire to achieve the world they want—one with far less “useless people,” and as Harari points out without the least hesitation or sense of shame, most of the world’s population simply no longer have any further use—also not do the deeds that achieve their ends?

One way of doing the culling is to condemn entire peoples by dehumanizing them—initially by taking out nations who have been branded as “monsters,” and when that is not enough simply moving on to the useless.

As for those of you who think the concerns of the Russians “monsters” are just lies and propaganda, you might ask yourself why have they just drafted a proposal urging the UN Security Council to “set up a commission consisting of all members of the Security Council to investigate into the claims against the US and Ukraine contained in the complaint of the Russian Federation regarding the compliance with obligations under the [Biological Weapons] Convention in the context of the activities biological laboratories in the territory of Ukraine,” and present a report by November 30, 2022?

Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen booksHe also doubles up as a singer songwriter. His latest album can be found here.

Featured: “The Triumph of Death,” by Pieter Brueghel the Elder; painted ca. 1562.

The Marching Morons

This story first appeared in the April 1951 issue of the science fiction magazine, Galaxy.

In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man, of course, is king. But how a live wire, a smart businessman, in a civilization of 100% pure chumps?

Some things had not changed. A potter’s wheel was still a potter’s wheel and clay was still clay. Efim Hawkins had built his shop near Goose Lake, which had a narrow band of good fat clay and a narrow beach of white sand. He fired three bottle-nosed kilns with willow charcoal from the wood lot. The wood lot was also useful for long walks while the kilns were cooling; if he let himself stay within sight of them, he would open them prematurely, impatient to see how some new shape or glaze had come through the fire, and—ping!—the new shape or glaze would be good for nothing but the shard pile back of his slip tanks.

A business conference was in full swing in his shop, a modest cube of brick, tile-roofed, as the Chicago- Los Angeles “rocket” thundered overhead—very noisy, very swept-back, very fiery jets, shaped as sleekly swift-looking as an airborne barracuda.

The buyer from Marshall Fields was turning over a black-glazed one liter carafe, nodding approval with his massive, handsome head. “This is real pretty,” he told Hawkins and his own secretary, Gomez-Laplace. “This has got lots of what ya call real est’etic principles. Yeah, it is real pretty.”

“How much?” the secretary asked the potter.

“Seven-fifty each in dozen lots,” said Hawkins. “I ran up fifteen dozen last month.”

“They are real est’etic,” repeated the buyer from Fields. “I will take them all.”

“I don’t think we can do that, doctor,” said the secretary. “They’d cost us $1,350. That would leave only $532 in our quarter’s budget. And we still have to run down to East Liverpool to pick up some cheap dinner sets.”

“Dinner sets?” asked the buyer, his big face full of wonder.

“Dinner sets. The department’s been out of them for two months now. Mr. Garvy-Seabright got pretty nasty about it yesterday. Remember?”

“Garvy-Seabright, that meat-headed bluenose,” the buyer said contemptuously. “He don’t know nothin’ about est’etics. Why for don’t he lemme run my own department?” His eye fell on a stray copy of Whambozambo Comix and he sat down with it. An occasional deep chuckle or grunt of surprise escaped him as he turned the pages.

Uninterrupted, the potter and the buyer’s secretary quickly closed a deal for two dozen of the liter carafes. ”I wish we could take more,” said the secretary, “but you heard what I told him. We’ve had to turn away customers for ordinary dinnerware because he shot the last quarter’s budget on some Mexican piggy banks some equally enthusiastic importer stuck him with. The fifth floor is packed solid with them.”

“I’ll bet they look mighty est’etic.”

“They’re painted with purple cacti.”

The potter shuddered and caressed the glaze of the sample carafe.

The buyer looked up and rumbled, “Ain’t you dummies through yakkin’ yet? What good’s a seckertary for if’n he don’t take the burden of de-tail off’n my back, harh?”

“We’re all through, doctor. Are you ready to go?”

The buyer grunted peevishly, dropped Whambozambo Comix on the floor and led the way out of the building and down the log corduroy road to the highway. His car was waiting on the concrete. It was, like all contemporary cars, too low-slung to get over the logs. He climbed down into the car and started the motor with a tremendous sparkle and roar.

“Gomez-Laplace,” called out the potter under cover of the noise, “did anything come of the radiation program they were working on the last time I was on duty at the Pole?”

“The same old fallacy,” said the secretary gloomily. “It stopped us on mutation, it stopped us on culling, it stopped us on segregation, and now it’s stopped us on hypnosis.”

“Well, I’m scheduled back to the grind in nine days. Time for another firing right now. I’ve got a new luster to try . . .”

“I’ll miss you. I shall be ‘vacationing’—running the drafting room of the New Century Engineering Corporation in Denver. They’re going to put up a two hundred-story office building, and naturally somebody’s got to be on hand.”

“Naturally,” said Hawkins with a sour smile.

There was an ear-piercingly sweet blast as the buyer leaned on the horn button. Also, a yard-tall jet of what looked like flame spurted up from the car’s radiator cap; the car’s power plant was a gas turbine, and had no radiator.

“I’m coming, doctor,” said the secretary dispiritedly. He climbed down into the car and it whooshed off with much flame and noise.

The potter, depressed, wandered back up the corduroy road and contemplated his cooling kilns. The rustling wind in the boughs was obscuring the creak and mutter of the shrinking refractory brick. Hawkins wondered about the number two kiln—a reduction fire on a load of lusterware mugs. Had the clay chinking excluded the air? Had it been a properly smoky blaze? Would it do any harm if he just took one close—?

Common sense took Hawkins by the scruff of the neck and yanked him over to the tool shed. He got out his pick and resolutely set off on a prospecting jaunt to a hummocky field that might yield some oxides. He was especially low on coppers.

The long walk left him sweating hard, with his lust for a peek into the kiln quiet in his breast. He swung his pick almost at random into one of the hummocks; it clanged on a stone which he excavated. A largely obliterated inscription said:


The potter swore mildly. He had hoped the field would turn out to be a cemetery, preferably a once- fashionable cemetery full of once-massive bronze caskets moldered into oxides of tin and copper.

Well, hell, maybe there was some around anyway.

He headed lackadaisically for the second largest hillock and sliced into it with his pick. There was a stone to undercut and topple into a trench, and then the potter was very glad he’d stuck at it. His nostrils were filled with the bitter smell and the dirt was tinged with the exciting blue of copper salts. The pick went clang!

Hawkins, puffing, pried up a stainless steel plate that was quite badly stained and was also marked with incised letters. It seemed to have pulled loose from rotting bronze; there were rivets on the back that brought up flakes of green patina. The potter wiped off the surface dirt with his sleeve, turned it to catch the sunlight obliquely and read:

“Honest John,” famed in university annals, represents a challenge which medical science has not yet answered: revival of a human being accidentally thrown into a state of suspended animation.

In 1988 Mr. Barlow, a leading Evanston real estate dealer, visited his dentist for treatment of an impacted wisdom tooth. His dentist requested and received permission to use the experimental anesthetic Cycloparadimetbanol-B-7, developed at the University.

After administration of the anesthetic, the dentist resorted to his drill. By freakish mischance, a short circuit in his machine delivered 220 volts of 60-cycle current into the patient. (In a damage suit instituted by Mrs. Barlow against the dentist, the University and the makers of the drill, a jury found for the defendants.) Mr. Barlow never got up from the dentist’s chair and was assumed to have died of poisoning, electrocution or both.

Morticians preparing him for embalming discovered, however, that their subject was—though certainly not living—just as certainly not dead. The University was notified and a series of exhaustive tests was begun, including attempts to duplicate the trance state on volunteers. After a bad run of seven cases which ended fatally, the attempts were abandoned.

Honest John was long an exhibit at the University museum, and livened many a football game as mascot of the University’s Blue Crushers. The bounds of taste were overstepped, however, when a pledge to Sigma Delta Chi was ordered in ’03 to “kidnap” Honest John from his loosely guarded glass museum case and introduce him into the Rachel Swanson Memorial Girls’ Gymnasium shower room.

On May 22nd, 2003, the University Board of Regents issued the following order: “By unanimous vote, it is directed that the remains of Honest John Barlow be removed from the University museum and conveyed to the University’s Lieutenant James Scott III Memorial Biological Laboratories and there be securely locked in a specially prepared vault. It is further directed that all possible measures for the preservation of these remains be taken by the Laboratory administration and that access to these remains be denied to all persons except qualified scholars authorized in writing by the Board. The Board reluctantly takes this action in view of recent notices and photographs in the nation’s press which, to say the least, reflect but small credit upon the University.”

It was far from his field, but Hawkins understood what had happened—an early and accidental blundering onto the bare bones of the Levantman shock anesthesia, which had since been replaced by other methods. To bring subjects out of Levantman shock, you let them have a squirt of simple saline in the trigeminal nerve. Interesting. And now about that bronze—

He heaved the pick into the rotting green salts, expecting no resistence, and almost fractured his wrist. Something down there was solid. He began to flake off the oxides.

A half hour of work brought him down to phosphor bronze, a huge casting of the almost incorruptible metal. It had weakened structurally over the centuries; he could fit the point of his pick under a corroded boss and pry off great creaking and grumbling striae of the stuff.

Hawkins wished he had an archeologist with him, but didn’t dream of returning to his shop and calling one to take over the find. He was an all-around man: by choice and in his free time, an artist in clay and glaze; by necessity, an automotive, electronics and atomic engineer who could also swing a project in traffic control, individual and group psychology, architecture or tool design. He didn’t yell for a specialist every time something out of his line came up; there were so few with so much to do…

He trenched around his find, discovering that it was a great brick-shaped bronze mass with an excitingly hollow sound. A long strip of moldering metal from one of the long vertical faces pulled away, exposing red rust that went whoosh and was sucked into the interior of the mass.

It had been de-aired, thought Hawkins, and there must have been an inner jacket of glass which had crystalized through the centuries and quietly crumbled at the first clang of his pick. He didn’t know what a vacuum would do to a subject of Levantman shock, but he had hopes, nor did he quite understand what a real estate dealer was, but it might have something to do with pottery. And anything might have a bearing on Topic Number One.

He flung his pick out of the trench, climbed out and set off at a dog-trot for his shop. A little rummaging turned up a hypo and there was a plasticontainer of salt in the kitchen.

Back at his dig, he chipped for another half hour to expose the juncture of lid and body. The hinges were hopeless; he smashed them off.

Hawkins extended the telescopic handle of the pick for the best leverage, fitted its point into a deep pit, set its built-in fulcrum, and heaved. Five more heaves and he could see, inside the vault, what looked like a dusty marble statue. Ten more and he could see that it was the naked body of Honest John Barlow, Evanston real estate dealer, uncorrupted by time.

The potter found the apex of the trigeminal nerve with his needle’s point and gave him 60 cc.

In an hour Barlow’s chest began to pump.

In another hour, he rasped, “Did it work?”

Did it!” muttered Hawkins. Barlow opened his eyes and stirred, looked down, turned his hands before his eyes—

“I’ll sue!” he screamed. “My clothes! My fingernails!” A horrid suspicion came over his face and he clapped his hands to his hairless scalp. “My hair!” he wailed. “I’ll sue you for every penny you’ve got! That release won’t mean a damned thing in court—I didn’t sign away my hair and clothes and fingernails!”

“They’ll grow back,” said Hawkins casually. “Also your epidermis. Those parts of you weren’t alive, you know, so they weren’t preserved like the rest of you. I’m afraid the clothes are gone, though.”

“What is this— the University hospital?” demanded Barlow. “I want a phone. No, you phone. Tell my wife I’m all right and tell Sam Immerman—he’s my lawyer—to get over here right away. Greenleaf 7-4022. Ow!” He had tried to sit up, and a portion of his pink skin rubbed against the inner surface of the casket, which was powdered by the ancient crystalized glass. “What the hell did you guys do, boil me alive? Oh, you’re going to pay for this!”

“You’re all right,” said Hawkins, wishing now he had a reference book to clear up several obscure terms. “Your epidermis will start growing immediately. You’re not in the hospital. Look here.”

He handed Barlow the stainless steel plate that had labeled the casket. After a suspicious glance, the man started to read. Finishing, he laid the plate carefully on the edge of the vault and was silent for a spell.

“Poor Verna,” he said at last. “It doesn’t say whether she was stuck with the court costs. Do you happen to know—”

“No,” said the potter. “All I know is what was on the plate, and how to revive you. The dentist accidentally gave you a dose of what we call Levantman shock anesthesia. We haven’t used it for centuries; it was powerful, but too dangerous.”

“Centuries . . .” brooded the man. “Centuries . . . I’ll bet Sam swindled her out of her eyeteeth. Poor Verna. How long ago was it? What year is this?”

Hawkins shrugged. “We call it 7-B-936. That’s no help to you. It takes a long time for these metals to oxidize.”

“Like that movie,” Barlow muttered. “Who would have thought it? Poor Verna!” He blubbered and sniffled, reminding Hawkins powerfully of the fact that he had been found under a flat rock.

Almost angrily, the potter demanded, “How many children did you have?”

“None yet,” sniffed Barlow. “My first wife didn’t want them. But Verna wants one—wanted one—but we’re going to wait until—we were going to wait until— ”

“Of course,” said the potter, feeling a savage desire to tell him off, blast him to hell and gone for his work. But he choked it down. There was The Problem to think of; there was always The Problem to think of, and this poor blubberer might unexpectedly supply a clue. Hawkins would have to pass him on.

“Come along,” Hawkins said. “My time is short.”

Barlow looked up, outraged. “How can you be so unfeeling? I’m a human being like—”

The Los Angeles-Chicago “rocket” ‘thundered overhead and Barlow broke off in mid-complaint. “Beautiful!” he breathed, following it with his eyes. “Beautiful!”

He climbed out of the vault, too interested to be pained by its roughness against his infantile skin. “After all,” he said briskly, “this should have its sunny side. I never was much for reading, but this is just like one of those stories. And I ought to make some money out of it, shouldn’t I?” He gave Hawkins a shrewd glance.

“You want money?” asked the potter. “Here.” He handed over a fistful of change and bills. “You’d better put my shoes on. It’ll be about a quarter-mile. Oh, and you’re—uh, modest?—yes, that was the word. Here.” Hawkins gave him his pants, but Barlow was excitedly counting the money.

“Eighty-five, eighty-six—and it’s dollars, too ! I thought it’d be credits or whatever they call them. ‘E Pluribus Unum’ and ’Liberty’—just different faces. Say, is there a catch to this? Are these real, genuine. honest twenty-two-cent dollars like we had or just wallpaper?”

“They’re quite all right, I assure you,” said the potter. “I wish you’d come along. I’m in a ‘hurry.”

The man babbled as they stumped toward the shop. “Where are we going—The Council of Scientists, the World Coordinator or something. like that?”

“Who? Oh, no. We call them ‘President’ and ‘Congress.’ No, that wouldn’t do any good at all. I’m just taking you to see some people.”

“I ought to make plenty out of this. Plenty! I could write books. Get some smart young fellow to put it into words for me and I’ll bet I could turn out a best-seller. What’s the setup on things like that?”

“It’s about like that. Smart young fellows. But there aren’t any best-sellers any more. People don’t read much nowadays. We’ll find something equally profitable for you to do.”

Back in the shop, Hawkins gave Barlow a suit of clothes, deposited him in the waiting room and called Central in Chicago. “Take him away,” he pleaded. “I have time for one more firing and he blathers and blathers. I haven’t told him anything. Perhaps we should just turn him loose and let him find his own level, but there’s a chance—”

“The Problem,” agreed Central. “Yes, there’s a chance.”

The potter delighted Barlow by making him a cup of coffee with a cube that not only dissolved in cold water but heated the water to boiling point. Killing time, Hawkins chatted about the “rocket” Barlow had admired, and had to haul himself up short; he had almost told the real estate man what its top speed really was—almost, indeed, revealed that it was not a rocket.

He regretted, too, that he had so casually handed Barlow a couple of hundred dollars. The man seemed obsessed with fear that they were worthless since Hawkins refused to take a note or I.O.U. or even a definite promise of repayment. But Hawkins couldn’t go into details, and was very glad when a stranger arrived from Central.

“Tinny-Peete, from Algeciras,” the stranger told him swiftly as the two of them met at the door. “Psychist for Poprob. Polasigned special overtake Barlow.”

“Thank Heaven,” said Hawkins. “Barlow,” he told the man from the past, “this is Tinny-Peete. He’s going to take care of you and help you make lots of money.”

The psychist stayed for a cup of the coffee whose preparation had delighted Barlow, and then conducted the real estate man down the corduroy road to his car, leaving the potter to speculate on whether he could at last crack his kilns.

Hawkins, abruptly dismissing Barlow and the Problem, happily picked the chinking from around the door of the number two kiln, prying it open a trifle. A blast of heat and the heady, smoky scent of the reduction fire delighted him. He peered and saw a corner of a shelf glowing cherry-red, becoming obscured by wavering black areas as it lost heat through the opened door. He slipped a charred wood paddle under a mug on the shelf and pulled it out as a sample, the hairs on the back of his hand curling and scorching. The mug crackled and pinged and Hawkins sighed happily.

The bismuth resinate luster had fired to perfection, a haunting film of silvery-black metal with strange bluish lights in it as it turned before the eyes, and the Problem of Population seemed very far away to Hawkins then.

Barlow and Tinny-Peete arrived at the concrete highway where the psychist’s car was parked in a safety bay.

“What—a—boat!” gasped the man from the past.

“Boat? No, that’s my car.”

Barlow surveyed it with awe. Swept-back lines, deep-drawn compound curves, kilograms of chrome. He ran his hands futilely over the door—or was it the door?—in a futile search for a handle, and asked respectfully, “How fast does if go?”

The psychist gave him a keen look and said slowly, “Two hundred and fifty. You can tell by the speedometer.”

“Wow! My old Chevvy could hit a hundred on a straightaway, but you’re out of my class, mister!”

Tinny-Peete somehow got a huge, low door open and Barlow descended three steps into immense cushions, floundering over to the right. He was too fascinated to pay serious attention to his flayed dermis. The dashboard was a lovely wilderness of dials, plugs, indicators, lights, scales and switches.

The psychist climbed down into the driver’s seat and did something with his feet. The motor started like lighting a blowtorch as big as a silo. Wallowing around in the cushions, Barlow saw through a rear-view mirror a tremendous exhaust filled with brilliant white sparkles.

“Do you like it?” yelled the psychist.

“It’s terrific!” Barlow yelled back. “It’s—”

He was shut up as the car pulled out from the bay into the road with a great voo-ooo-ooom! A gale roared past Barlow’s head, though the windows seemed to be closed; the impression of speed was terrific. He located the speedometer on the dashboard and saw it climb past 90, 100, 150, 200.

“Fast enough for me,” yelled the psychist, noting that Barlow’s face fell in response. “Radio?”

He passed over a surprisingly light object like a football helmet, with no trailing wires, and pointed to a row of buttons. Barlow put on the helmet, glad to have the roar of air stilled, and pushed a push- button. It lit up satisfyingly and Barlow settled back even farther for a sample of the brave new world’s super-modern taste in ingenious entertainment.

“TAKE IT AND STICK IT!” a voice roared in his ears.

He snatched off the helmet and gave the psychist an injured look. Tinny-Peete grinned and turned a dial associated with the pushbutton layout. The man from the past donned the helmet again and found the voice had lowered to normal.

“The show of shows! The super-show! The super-duper show! The quiz of quizzes! Take it and stick it!

There were shrieks of laughter in the background.

“Here we got the contestants all ready to go. You know how we work it. I hand a contestant a triangle-shaped cutout and like that down the line. Now we got these here boards, they got cut-out places the same shape as the triangles and things, only they’re all different shapes, and the first contestant that sticks the cutouts into the board, he wins.

“Now I’m gonna innaview the first contestant. Right here, honey. What’s your name?’’

“Name? Uh—”

“Hoddaya like that, folks? She don’t remember her name! Hah? Would you buy that for a quarter?” The question was spoken with arch significance, and the audience shrieked, howled and whistled its appreciation.

It was dull listening when you didn’t know the punch lines and catch lines. Barlow pushed another button, with his free hand ready at the volume control.

” — latest from Washington. It’s about Senator Hull-Mendoza. He is still attacking the Bureau of Fisheries. The North California Syndicalist says he got affidavits that John Kingsley-Schultz is a bluenose from way back. He didn’t publistat the affydavits, but he says they say that Kingsley-Schultz was saw at bluenose meetings in Oregon State College and later at Florida University. Kingsley-Schultz says he gotta confess he did major in fly-casting at Oregon and got his Ph.D. in game-fish at Florida.

“And here is a quote from Kingsley-Schultz: ‘Hull-Mendoza don’t know what he’s talking about. He should drop dead.’ Unquote. Hull-Mendoza says he won’t publistat the affydavits to pertect his sources. He says they was sworn by three former employes of the Bureau which was fired for in-com-petence and in-com-pat-ibility by Kingsley-Schultz.

“Elsewhere they was the usual run of traffic accidents. A three-way pileup of cars on Route 66 going outta Chicago took twelve lives. The Chicago-Los Angeles morning rocket crashed and exploded in the Mo-have—Mo-jawy—what-ever-you-call-it Desert. All the 94 people aboard got killed. A Civil Aeronautics Authority investigator on the scene says that the pilot was buzzing herds of sheep and didn’t pull out in time.

“Hey! Here’s a hot one from New York! A Diesel tug run wild in the harbor while the crew was below and shoved in the port bow of the luck-shury liner S. S. Placentia. It says the ship filled and sank taking the lives of an es-ti-mated 180 passengers and 50 crew members. Six divers was sent down to study the wreckage, but they died, too, when their suits turned out to be fulla little holes.

“And here is a bulletin I just got from Denver. It seems—”

Barlow took off the headset uncomprehendingly. “He seemed so callous,” he yelled at the driver. “I was listening to a newscast — ”

Tinny-Peete shook his head and pointed at his ears. The roar of air was deafening. Barlow frowned baffledly and stared out of the window.

A glowing sign said:


He didn’t know what Moogs was or were; the illustration showed an incredibly proportioned girl, 99.9 per cent naked, writhing passionately in animated full color.

The roadside jingle was still with him, but with a new feature. Radar or something spotted the car and alerted the lines of the jingle. Each in turn sped along a roadside track, even with the car, so it could be read before the next line was alerted.


Another animated job, in two panels, the familiar “Before and After.” The first said, “Just Any Cigar?” and was illustrated with a two-person domestic tragedy of a wife holding her nose while her coarse and red-faced husband puffed a slimy-looking rope. The second panel glowed, “Or a VUELTA ABAJO?” and was illustrated with—

Barlow blushed and looked at his feet until they had passed the sign.

“Coming into Chicago!” bawled Tinny-Peete.

Other cars were showing up, all of them dreamboats.

Watching them, Barlow began to wonder if he knew what a kilometer was, exactly. They seemed to be traveling so slowly, if you ignored the roaring air past your ears and didn’t let the speedy lines of the dreamboats fool you. He would have sworn they were really crawling along at twenty-five, with occasional spurts up to thirty. How much was a kilometer, anyway?

The city loomed ahead, and it was just what it ought to be: towering skyscrapers, overhead ramps, landing platforms for helicopters—

He clutched at the cushions. Those two ‘copters. They were going to—they were going to—they—

He didn’t see what happened because their apparent collision courses took them behind a giant building.

Screamingly sweet blasts of sound surrounded them as they stopped for a red light. “What the hell is going on here?” said Barlow in a shrill, frightened voice, because the braking time was just about zero, he wasn’t hurled against the dashboard. “Who’s kidding who?”

“Why, what’s the matter?” demanded the driver.

The light changed to green and he started the pickup. Barlow stiffened as he realized that the rush of air past his ears began just a brief, unreal split-second before the car was actually moving. He grabbed for the door handle on his side.

The city grew on them slowly: scattered buildings, denser buildings, taller buildings, and a red light ahead. The car rolled to a stop in zero braking time, the rush of air cut off an instant after it stopped, and Barlow was out of the car and running frenziedly down a sidewalk one instant after that.

They’ll track me down, he thought, panting. It’s a secret police thing. They’ll get you— mind-reading machines, television eyes everywhere, afraid you’ll tell their slaves about freedom and stuff. They don’t let anybody cross them, like that story I once read.

Winded, he slowed to a walk and congratulated himself that he had guts enough not to turn around. That was what they always watched for. Walking, he was just another business-suited back among hundreds. He would be safe, he would be safe—

A hand tumbled from a large, coarse, handsome face thrust close to his: “Wassamatta bumpinninna people likeya owna sidewalk gotta miner slamya inna mushya bassar!” It was neither the mad potter nor the mad driver.

“Excuse me,” said Barlow. “What did you say?”

“Oh, yeah?” yelled the stranger dangerously, and waited for an answer.

Barlow, with the feeling that he had somehow been suckered into the short end of an intricate land- title deal, heard himself reply belligerently, “Yeah!”

The stranger let go of his shoulder and snarled, “Oh, yeah?” “Yeah!” said Barlow, yanking his jacket back into shape.

“Aaah!” snarled the stranger with more contempt and disgust than ferocity. He added an obscenity current in Barlow’s time, a standard but physiologically impossible directive, and strutted off hulking his shoulders and balling his fists.

Barlow walked on, trembling. Evidently he had handled it well enough. He stopped at a red light while the long, low dream-boats roared before him and pedestrians in the sidewalk flow with him threaded their ways through the stream of cars. Brakes screamed, fenders clanged and dented, hoarse cries flew back and forth between drivers and walkers. He leaped backward frantically as one car swerved over an arc of sidewalk to miss another.

The signal changed to green, the cars kept on coming for about thirty seconds and then dwindled to an occasional light-runner. Barlow crossed warily and leaned against a vending machine, blowing big breaths.

Look natural, he told himself. Do something normal. Buy something from the machine.

He fumbled out some change, got a newspaper for a dime, a handkerchief for a quarter and a candy bar for another quarter.

The faint chocolate smell made him ravenous suddenly. He clawed at the glassy wrapper printed “CRIGGLIES” quite futilely for a few seconds, and then it divided neatly by itself. The bar made three good bites, and he bought two more and gobbled them down.

Thirsty, he drew a carbonated orange drink in another one of the glassy wrappers from the machine for another dime. When he fumbled with it, it divided neatly and spilled all over his knees. Barlow decided he had been there long enough and walked on.

The shop windows were—shop windows. People still wore and bought clothes, still smoked and bought tobacco, still ate and bought food. And they still went to the movies, he saw with pleased surprise as he passed and then returned to a glittering place whose sign said it was THE BIJOU.

The place seemed to be showing a quintuple feature, Babies Are Terrible, Don’t Have Children, and The Canali Kid.

It was irresistible; he paid a dol- lar and went in.

He caught the tail-end of The Canali Kid in three-dimensional, full-color, full-scent production. It appeared to be an interplanetary saga winding up with a chase scene and a reconciliation between estranged hero and heroine. Babies Are Terrible and Don’t Have Children were fantastic arguments against parenthood—the grotesquely exaggerated dangers of painfully graphic childbirth, vicious children, old parents beaten and starved by their sadistic offspring. The audience, Barlow astoundedly noted, was placidly champing sweets and showing no particular signs of revulsion.

The Coming Attractions drove him into the lobby. The fanfares were shattering, the blazing colors blinding, and the added scents stomach-heaving.

When his eyes again became accustomed to the moderate lighting of the lobby, he groped his way to a bench and opened the newspaper he had bought. It turned out to be The Racing Sheet, which afflicted him with a crushing sense of loss. The familiar boxed index in the lower left hand corner of the front page showed almost unbearably that Churchill Downs and Empire City were still in business—

Blinking back tears, he turned to -the Past Performances at Churchill. They weren’t using abbreviations any more, and the pages because of that were single-column instead of double. But it was all the same—or was it?

He squinted at the first race, a three-quarter-mile maiden claimer for thirteen hundred dollars. Incredibly, the track record was two minutes, ten and three-fifths seconds. Any beetle in his time could have knocked off the three-quarter in one-fifteen. It was the same for the other distances, much worse for route events.

What the hell had happened to everything?

He studied the form of a five-year-old brown mare in the second and couldn’t make head or tail of it. She’d won and lost and placed and showed and lost and placed without rhyme or reason. She looked like a front-runner for a couple of races and then she looked like a no-good pig and then she looked like a mudder but the next time it rained she wasn’t and then she was a stayer and then she was a pig again. In a good five-thousand-dollar allowances event, too!

Barlow looked at the other entries and it slowly dawned on him that they were all like the five-year-old brown mare. Not a single damned horse running had the slightest trace of class.

Somebody sat down beside him and said, “That’s the story.”

Barlow whirled to his feet and saw it was Tinny-Peete, his driver.

“I was in doubts about telling you,” said the psychist, “but I see you have some growing suspicions of the truth. Please don’t get excited. It’s all right, I tell you.”

“So you’ve got me,” said Barlow.

Got you?”

“Don’t pretend. I can put two and two together. You’re the secret police. You and the rest of the aristocrats live in luxury on the sweat of these oppressed slaves. You’re afraid of me because you have to keep them ignorant.”

There was a bellow of bright laughter from the psychist that got them blank looks from other patrons of the lobby. The laughter didn’t sound at all sinister.

“Let’s get out of here,” said Tinny-Peete, still chuckling. “You couldn’t possibly have it more wrong.” He engaged Barlow’s arm and led him to the street. “The actual truth is that the millions of workers live in luxury on the sweat of the handful of aristocrats. I shall probably die before my time of overwork unless—” He gave Barlow a speculative look. “You may be able to help us.”

“I know that gag,” sneered Bar- low. “I made money in my time and to make money you have to get people on your side. Go ahead and shoot me if you want, but you’re not going to make a fool out of me.”

“You nasty little ingrate!” snapped the psychist, with a kaleidoscopic change of mood. “This damned mess is all your fault and the fault of people like you! Now come along and no more of your nonsense.”
He yanked Barlow into an office building lobby and an elevator that, disconcertingly, went whoosh loudly as it rose. The real estate man’s knees were wobbly as the psychist pushed him from the elevator, down a corridor and into an office.

A hawk-faced man rose from a plain chair as the door closed behind them. After an angry look at Barlow, he asked the psychist, “Was I called from the Pole to inspect this—this—?’’

“Unget updandered. I’ve dee-probed etfind quasichance exhim Poprobattackline,” said the psychist soothingly.

“Doubt,” grunted the hawk-faced man.

“Try,” suggested Tinny-Peete.

“Very well. Mr. Barlow, I understand you and your lamented had no children.”

“What of it?”

“This of it. You were a blind, selfish stupid ass to tolerate economic and social conditions which penalized child-bearing by the prudent and foresighted. You made us what we are today, and I want you to know that we are far from satisfied. Damn-fool rockets! Damn-fool automobiles! Damn-fool cities with overhead ramps!”

“As far as I can see,” said Barlow, “you’re running down the best features of time. Are you crazy?”

“The rockets aren’t rockets. They’re turbo-jets — good turbo-jets, but the fancy shell around them makes for a bad drag. The automobiles have a top speed of one hundred kilometers per hour—a kilo- meter is, if I recall my paleolinguistics, three-fifths of a mile—and the speedometers are all rigged accordingly so the drivers will think they’re going two hundred and fifty. The cities are ridiculous, expensive, unsanitary, wasteful conglomerations of people who’d be better off and more productive if they were spread over the countryside.

“We need the rockets and trick speedometers and cities because, while you and your kind were being prudent and foresighted and not having children, the migrant workers, slum dwellers and tenant farmers were shiftlessly and short-sightedly having children—breeding, breeding. My God, how they bred!”

“Wait a minute,” objected Barlow. “There were lots of people in our crowd who had two or three children.”

“The attrition of accidents, illness, wars and such took care of that. Your intelligence was bred out. It is gone. Children that should have been born never were. The just-average, they’ll-get-along majority took over the population. The average IQ now is 45.”

“But that’s far in the future—” “So are you,” grunted the hawk-faced man sourly.

“But who are you people?”

“Just people—real people. Some generations ago, the geneticists realized at last that nobody was going to pay any attention to what they said, so they abandoned words for deeds. Specifically, they formed and recruited for a closed corporation intended to maintain and improve the breed. We are their descendants, about three million of us. There are five billion of the others, so we are their slaves.

“During the past couple of years I’ve designed a skyscraper, kept Billings Memorial Hospital here in Chicago running, headed off war with Mexico and directed traffic at LaGuardia Field in New York.”

“I don’t understand! Why don’t you let them go to hell in their own way?”

The man grimaced. “We tried it once for three months. We holed up at the South Pole and waited. They didn’t notice it. Some drafting-room people were missing, some chief nurses didn’t show up, minor government people on the non-policy level couldn’t be located. It didn’t seem to matter.

“In a week there was hunger. In two weeks there were famine and plague, in three weeks war and anarchy. We called off the experiment; it took us most of the next generation to get things squared away again.”

“But why didn’t you let them kill each other off?”

“Five billion corpses mean about five hundred million tons of rotting flesh.”

Barlow had another idea. “Why don’t you sterilize them?”

“Two and one-half billion operations is a lot of operations. Because they breed continuously, the job would never be done.”

“I see. Like the marching Chinese!”

“Who the devil are they?”

“It was a—uh—paradox of my time. Somebody figured out that if all the Chinese in the world were to line up four abreast, I think it was, and start marching past a given point, they’d never stop because of the babies that would be born and grow up before they passed the point.”

“That’s right. Only instead of ‘a given point,’ make it ‘the largest conceivable number of operating rooms that we could build and staff. There could never be enough.”

“Say!” said Barlow. “Those movies about babies—was that your propaganda?”

“It was. It doesn’t seem to mean a thing to them. We have abandoned the idea of attempting propaganda contrary to a biological drive.”

“So if you work with a biological drive—?”

“I know of none which is consistent with inhibition of fertility.”

Barlow’s face went poker-blank, the result of years of careful discipline. “You don’t, huh? You’re the great brains and you can’t think of any?”

“Why, no,” said the psychist innocently. “Can you?”

“That depends. I sold ten thousand acres of Siberian tundra—through a dummy firm, of course—after the partition of Russia. The buyers thought they were getting improved building lots on the outskirts of Kiev. I’d say that was a lot tougher than this job.”

“How so?” asked the hawk- faced man.

“Those were normal, suspicious customers and these are morons, born suckers. You just figure out a con they’ll fall for; they won’t know enough to do any smart checking.”

The psychist and the hawk-faced man had also had training; they kept themselves from looking with sudden hope at each other.

“You seem to have something in mind,” said the psychist.

Barlow’s poker face went blanker still. “Maybe I have. I haven’t heard any offer yet.”

“There’s the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve prevented Earth’s resources from being so plundered,” the hawk-faced man pointed out, “that the race will soon become extinct.”

“I don’t know that,” Barlow said bluntly. “All I have is your word.”

“If you really have a method, I don’t think any price would be too great,” the psychist offered.

“Money,” said Barlow.

“All you want.”

“More than you want,” the hawk-faced man corrected.

“Prestige,” added Barlow. “Plenty of publicity. My picture and my name in the papers and over TV every day, statues to me, parks and cities and streets and other things named after me. A whole chapter in the history books.”

The psychist made a- facial sign to the hawk-faced man that meant, “Oh, brother!”

The hawk-faced man signaled back, “Steady, boy!”

“It’s not too much to ask,” the psychist agreed.

Barlow, sensing a seller’s market, said, “Power!”

“Power?” the hawk-faced man repeated puzzledly. “Your own hydro station or nuclear pile?”

“I mean a world dictatorship with me as dictator!”

“Well, now —” said the psychist, but the hawk-faced man interrupted, “It would take a special emergency act of Congress but the situation warrants it. I think that can be guaranteed.”

“Could you give us some indication of your plan?” the psychist asked.

“Ever hear of lemmings?”


“They are—were, I guess, since you haven’t heard of them—little animals in Norway, and every few years they’d swarm to the coast and swim out to sea until they drowned. I figure on putting some lemming urge into the population.”


“I’ll save that till I get the right signatures on the deal.”

The hawk-faced man said, “I’d like to work with you on it, Barlow. My name’s Ryan-Ngana.” He put out his hand.

Barlow looked closely at the hand, then at the man’s face. “Ryan what?”


“That sounds like an African name.”

“It is. My mother’s father was a Watusi.”

Barlow didn’t take the hand. “I thought you looked pretty dark. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I don’t think I’d be at my best working with you. There must be somebody else just as well qualified, I’m sure.”

The psychist made a facial sign to Ryan-Ngana that meant, “Steady yourself, boy!”

“Very well,” Ryan-Ngana told Barlow. “We’ll see what arrangement can be made.”

“It’s not that I’m prejudiced, you understand. Some of my best friends—”

“Mr. Barlow, don’t give it another thought. Anybody who could pick on the lemming analogy is going to be useful to us.”

And so he would, thought Ryan- Ngana, alone in the office after Tinny-Peete had taken Barlow up to the helicopter stage. So he would. Poprob had exhausted every rational attempt and the new Poprobattacklines would have to be irrational or sub-rational. This creature from the past with his lemming legends and his improved building lots would be a fountain of precious vicious self-interest.

Ryan-Ngana sighed and stretched. He had to go and run the San Francisco subway. Summoned early from the Pole to study Barlow, he’d left unfinished a nice little theorem. Between interruptions, he was slowly constructing an n-dimensional geometry whose foundations and superstructure owed no debt whatsoever to intuition.

Upstairs, waiting for a helicopter, Barlow was explaining to Tinny-Peete that he had nothing against Negroes, and Tinny-Peete wished he had some of Ryan-Ngana’s imperturbability and humor for the ordeal.

The helicopter took them to International Airport where, Tinny-Peete explained, Barlow would leave for the Pole.

The man from the past wasn’t sure he’d like a dreary waste of ice and cold.

“It’s all right,” said the psyehist. “A civilized layout. Warm, pleasant. You’ll be able to work more efficiently there. All the facts at your fingertips, a good secretary—”

“I’ll need a pretty big staff,” said Barlow, who had learned from thousands of deals never to take the first offer.

”I meant a private, confidential one,” said Tinny-Peete readily, “but you can have as many as you want. You’ll naturally have top-primary-top priority if you really have a workable plan.”

“Let’s not forget this dictatorship angle,” said Barlow.

He didn’t know that the psychist would just as readily have promised him deification to get him happily on the “rocket” for the Pole. Tinny-Peete had no wish to be torn limb from limb; he knew very well that it would end that way if the population learned from this anachronism that there was a small elite which considered itself head, shoulders, trunk and groin above the rest. The fact that this assumption was perfectly true and the fact that the elite was condemned by its superiority to a life of the most grinding toil would not be considered; the difference would.

The psychist finally put Barlow aboard the “rocket” with some thirty people—real people—headed for the Pole.

Barlow was airsick all the way because of a post-hypnotic suggestion Tinny-Peete had planted in him. One idea was to make him as averse as possible to a return trip, and another idea was to spare the other passengers from his aggressive, talkative company.

Barlow during the first day at the pole was reminded of his first day in the Army. It was the same now-where-the-hell-are-we-going-to-put-you? business until he took a firm line with them. Then instead of acting like supply sergeants they acted like hotel clerks.

It was a wonderful, wonderfully calculated buildup, and one that he failed to suspect. After all, in his time a visitor from the past would have been lionized.

At day’s end he reclined in a snug underground billet with the 60-mile gales roaring yards over-head, and tried to put two and two together.

It was like old times, he thought—like a coup in real estate where you had the competition by the throat, like a 50-per cent rent boost when you knew damned well there was no place for the tenants to move, like smiling when you read over the breakfast orange juice that the city council had decided to build a school on the ground you had acquired by a deal with the city council. And it was simple. He would just sell tundra building lots to eagerly suicidal lemmings, and that was absolutely all there was to solving the Problem that had these double-domes spinning.

They’d have to work out most of the details, naturally, but what the hell, that was what subordinates were for. He’d need specialists in advertising, engineering, communications—did they know anything about hypnotism? That might be helpful. If not, there’d have to be a lot of bribery done, but he’d make sure—damned sure—there were unlimited funds.

Just selling building lots to lemmings…

He wished, as he fell asleep, that poor Verna could have been in on this. It was his biggest, most stupendous deal. Verna—that sharp shyster Sam Immerman must have swindled her…

It began the next day with people coming to visit him. He knew the approach. They merely wanted to be helpful to their illustrious visitor from the past and would he help fill them in about his era, which unfortunately was somewhat obscure historically, and what did he think could be done about the Problem? He told them he was too old to be roped any more, and they wouldn’t get any information out of him until he got a letter of intent from at least the Polar President, and a session of the Polar Congress empowered to make him dictator.

He got the letter and the session. He presented his program, was asked whether his conscience didn’t revolt at its callousness, explained succinctly that a deal was a deal and anybody who wasn’t smart enough to protect himself didn’t deserve protection—”Caveat emp- tor,” he threw in for scholarship, and had to translate it to “Let the buyer beware.’’ He didn’t, he stated, give a damn about either the morons or their intelligent slaves; he’d told them his price and that was all he was interested in.

Would they meet it or wouldn’t they?

The Polar President offered to resign in his favor, with certain temporary emergency powers that the

Polar Congress would vote him if he thought them necessary. Barlow demanded the title of World Dictator, complete control of world finances, salary to be decided by himself, and the publicity campaign and historical writeup to begin at once.

“As for the emergency powers,” he added, “they are neither to be temporary nor limited.”

Somebody wanted the floor to discuss the matter, with the declared hope that perhaps Barlow would modify his demands.

“You’ve got the proposition,” Barlow said. “I’m not knocking off even ten per cent.”

“But what if the Congress refuses, sir?” the President asked.

“Then you can stay up here at the Pole and try to work it out yourselves. I’ll get what I want from the morons. A shrewd operator like me doesn’t have to compromise; I haven’t got a single competitor in this whole cockeyed moronic era.”

Congress waived debate and voted by show of hands. Barlow won unanimously.

“You don’t know how close you came to losing me,” he said in his first official address to the joint Houses. “I’m not the boy to haggle; either I get what I ask or I go elsewhere. The first thing I want is to see designs for a new palace for me—nothing unostentatious, either—and your best painters and sculptors to start working on my portraits and statues. Meanwhile, I’ll get my staff together.”

He dismissed the Polar President and the Polar Congress, telling them that he’d let them know when the next meeting would be.

A week later, the program started with North America the first target.

Mrs. Garvy was resting after dinner before the ordeal of turning on the dishwasher. The TV, of course, was on and it said: “Oooh!”—long, shuddery and ecstatic, the cue for the Parfum Assault Criminale spot commercial. “Girls,” said the announcer hoarsely, “do you want your man? It’s easy to get him—easy as a trip to Venus.”

“Huh?” said Mrs. Garvy.

“Wassamatter?” snorted her husband, starting out of a doze.

“Ja hear that?”


“He said ’easy like a trip to Venus.’”


“Well, I thought ya couldn’t get to Venus. I thought they just had that one rocket thing that crashed on the Moon.”

“Aah, women don’t keep up with the news,” said Garvy righteously, subsiding again.

“Oh,” said his wife uncertainly.

And the next day, on Henry’s Other Mistress, there was a new character who had just breezed in: Buzz Rentshaw, Master Rocket Pilot of the Venus run. On Henry’s Other Mistress, “the broadcast drama about you and your neighbors, folksy people, ordinary people, real people!”

Mrs. Garvy listened with amazement over a cooling cup of coffee as Buzz made hay of her hazy convictions.

MONA: Darling, it’s so good to see you again!

BUZZ: You don’t know how I’ve missed you on that dreary Venus run.

SOUND: Venetian blind run down, key turned in door lock.

MONA: Was it very dull, dearest?

BUZZ: Let’s not talk about my humdrum job, darling. Let’s talk about us.

SOUND: Creaking bed.

Well, the program was back to normal at last. That evening Mrs. Garvy tried to ask again whether her husband was sure about those rockets, but he was dozing right through Take It and Stick It, so she watched the screen and forgot the puzzle.

She was still rocking with laughter at the gag line, “Would you buy it for a quarter?” when the commercial went on for the detergent powder she always faithfully loaded her dishwasher with on the first of every month.

The announcer displayed mountains of suds from a tiny piece of the stuff and coyly added: “Of course, Cleano don’t lay around for you to pick up like the soap root on Venus, but it’s pretty’ cheap and it’s almost pretty near just as good. So for us plain folks who ain’t lucky enough to live up there on Venus, Cleano is the real cleaning stuff!”

Then the chorus went into their “Cleano-is-the-stuff” jingle, but Mrs. Garvy didn’t hear it. She was a stubborn woman, but it occurred to her that she was very sick indeed. She didn’t want to worry her husband. The next day she quietly made an appointment with her family freud.

In the waiting room she picked up a fresh new copy of Readers Pablum and put it down with a faint palpitation. The lead article, according to the table of contents on the cover, was titled “The Most Memorable Venusian I Ever Met.”

“The freud will see you now,” said the nurse, and Mrs. Garvy tottered into his office.

His traditional glasses and whiskers were reassuring. She choked out the ritual: “Freud, forgive me, for I have neuroses.”

He chanted the antiphonal: “Tut, my dear girl, what seems to be the trouble?”

“I got like a hole in the head,” she quavered. “I seem to forget all kinds of things. Things like everybody seems to know and I don’t.”

“Well, that happens to everybody occasionally, my dear. I suggest a vacation on Venus.”

The freud stared, open-mouthed, at the empty chair. His nurse came in and demanded, “Hey, you see how she scrammed? What was the matter with her?

He took off his glasses and whiskers meditatively. “You can search me. I told her she should maybe try a vacation on Venus.” A momentary bafflement came into his face and he dug through his desk drawers until he found a copy of the four-color, profusely illustrated journal of his profession. It had come that morning and he had lip-read it, though looking mostly at the pictures. He leafed through to the article Advantages of the Planet Venus in Rest Cures.

“It’s right there,” he said.

The nurse looked. “It sure is,” she agreed. “Why shouldn’t it be?” “The trouble with these here neurotics,” decided ‘the freud, “is that they all the time got to fight reality. Show in the next twitch.”

He put on his glasses and whiskers again and forgot Mrs. Garvy and her strange behavior.

“Freud, forgive me, for I have neuroses.”

“Tut, my dear girl, what seems to be the trouble?”

Like many cures of mental disorders, Mrs. Garvy’s was achieved largely by self-treatment. She disciplined herself sternly out of the crazy notion that there had been only one rocket ship and that one a failure. She could join without wincing, eventually, in any conversation on the desirability of Venus as a place to retire, on its fabulous floral profusion. Finally she went to Venus.

All her friends were trying to book passage with the Evening Star Travel and Real Estate Corporation, but naturally the demand was crushing. She considered herself lucky to get a seat at last for the two-week summer cruise. The space ship took off from a place called Los Alamos, New Mexico. It looked just like all the spaceships on television and in the picture magazines, but was more comfortable than you would expect.

Mrs. Garvy was delighted with the fifty or so fellow-passengers assembled before takeoff. They were from all over the country and she had a distinct impression that they were on the brainy side. The captain, a tall, hawk-faced, impressive fellow named Ryan-Something or other, welcomed them aboard and trusted that their trip would be a memorable one. He regretted that there would be nothing to see because, “due to the meteorite season,” the ports would be dogged down. It was disappointing, yet re- assuring that the line was taking no chances.

There was the expected momentary discomfort at takeoff and then two monotonous days of droning travel through space to be whiled away in the lounge at cards or craps. The landing was a routine bump and the voyagers were Issued tablets to swallow to immunize them against any minor ailments.

When the tablets took effect, the lock was opened and Venus was theirs.

It looked much like a tropical island on Earth, except for a blanket of cloud overhead. But it had a heady, other-worldly quality that was intoxicating and glamorous.

The ten days of the vacation were suffused with a hazy magic. The soap root, as advertised, was free and sudsy. The fruits, mostly tropical varieties transplanted from Earth, were delightful. The simple shelters provided by the travel company were more than adequate for the balmy days and nights.

It was with sincere regret that the voyagers filed again into the ship, and swallowed more tablets doled out to counteract and sterilize any Venus illnesses they might unwittingly communicate to Earth.

Vacationing was one thing. Power politics was another.

At the Pole, a small man was in a soundproof room, his face deathly pale and his body limp in a straight chair.

In the American Senate Chamber, Senator Hull-Mendoza (Synd., N. Cal.) was saying: “Mr. President and gentlemen, I would be remiss in my duty as a legislature if’n I didn’t bring to the attention of the au-gust body I see here a perilous situation which is fraught with peril. As is well known to members of this au-gust body, the perfection of space flight has brought with it a situation I can only describe as fraught with peril. Mr. President and gentlemen, now that swift American rockets now traverse the trackless void of space between this planet and our nearest planetarial neighbor in space—and, gentlemen, I refer to Venus, the star of dawn, the brightest jewel in fair Vulcan’s diadome—now, I say, I want to inquire what steps are being taken to colonize Venus with a vanguard of patriotic citizens like those minutemen of yore.

“Mr. President and gentlemen! There are in this world nations, envious nations—I do not name Mexico—who by fair means or foul may seek to wrest from Columbia’s grasp the torch of freedom of space; nations whose low living standards and innate depravity give them an unfair advantage over the citizens of our fair republic.

“This is my program: I suggest that a city of more than 100,000 population be selected by lot. The citizens of the fortunate city are to be awarded choice lands on Venus free and dear, to have and to hold and convey to their descendants. And the national government shall provide free transportation to Venus for these citizens. And this program shall continue, city by city, until there has been deposited on Venus a sufficient vanguard of citizens to protect our manifest rights in that planet.

“Objections will be raised, for carping critics we have always with us. They will say there isn’t enough steel. They will call it a cheap give-away. I say there is enough steel for one city’s population to be transferred to Venus, and that is all that is needed. For when the time comes for the second city to be transferred, the first, emptied city can be wrecked for the needed steel! And is it a giveaway? Yes! It is the most glorious giveaway in the history of mankind! Mr. President and gentlemen, there is no time to waste—Venus must be American!”

Black-Kupperman, at the Pole, opened his eyes and said feebly, “The style was a little uneven. Do you think anybody’ll notice?’’

“You did fine, boy; just fine,” Barlow reassured him.

Hull-Mendoza’s bill became law. Drafting machines at the South Pole were busy around the clock and the Pittsburgh steel mills spewed millions of plates into the Los Alamos spaceport of the Evening Star Travel and Real Estate Corporation. It was going to be Los Angeles, for logistic reasons, and the three most accomplished psycho-kineticists went to Washington and mingled in the crowd at the drawing to make certain that the Los Angeles capsule slithered into the fingers of the blind-folded Senator.

Los Angeles loved the idea and a forest of spaceships began to blossom in the desert. They weren’t very good space ships, but they didn’t have to be.

A team at the Pole worked at Barlow’s direction on a mail setup. There would have to be letters to and from Venus to keep the slightest taint of suspicion from arising. Luckily Barlow remembered that the problem had been solved once before—by Hitler. Relatives of persons incinerated in the furnaces of Lublin or Majdanek continued to get cheery postal cards.

The Los Angeles flight went off on schedule, under tremendous press, newsreel and television coverage. The world cheered the gallant Angelenos who were setting off on their patriotic voyage to the land of milk and honey. The forest of spaceships thundered up, and up, and out of sight without untoward incident. Billions envied the Angelenos, cramped and on short rations though they were.

Wreckers from San Francisco, whose capsule came up second, moved immediately into the city of the angels for the scrap steel their own flight would require. Senator Hull-Mendoza’s constituents could do no less.

The president of Mexico, hypnotically alarmed at this extension of yanqui imperialismo beyond the stratosphere, launched his own Venus-colony program.

Across the water it was England versus Ireland, France versus Germany, China versus Russia, India versus Indonesia. Ancient hatreds grew into the flames that were rocket ships assailing the air by hundreds daily.

Dear Ed, how are you? Sam and I are fine and hope you are fine. Is it nice up there like they say with food and close grone on trees? I drove by Springfield yesterday and it sure looked funny all the buildings down but of coarse it is worth it we have to keep the greasers in their place. Do you have any truble with them on Venus? Drop me a line some time. Your loving sister, Alma.

Dear Alma, I am fine and hope you are fine. It is a fine place here fine climate and easy living. The doctor told me today that I seem to be ten years younger. He thinks there is something in the air here keeps people young. We do not have much trouble with the greasers here they keep to theirselves it is just a question of us outnumbering them and staking out the best places for the Americans. In South Bay I know a nice little island that I have been saving for you and Sam with lots of blanket trees and ham bushes. Hoping to see you and Sam soon, your loving brother, Ed.

Sam and Alma were on their way shortly.

Poprob got a dividend in every nation after the emigration had passed the halfway mark. The lonesome stay-at-homes were unable to bear the melancholy of a low population density; their conditioning had been to swarms of their kin. After that point it was possible to foist off the crudest stripped-down accommodations on would-be emigrants; they didn’t care.

Black-Kupperman did a final job on President Hull-Mendoza, the last job that genius of hypnotics would ever do on any moron, important or otherwise.

Hull-Mendoza, panic-stricken by his presidency over an emptying nation, joined his constituents. The Independence, aboard which traveled the national government of America, was the most elaborate of all the spaceships—bigger, more comfortable, with a lounge that was handsome, though cramped, and cloakrooms for Senators and Representatives. It went, however, to the same place as the others and Black-Kupperman killed himself, leaving a note that stated he “couldn’t live with my conscience.”

The day after the American President departed, Barlow flew into a rage. Across his specially built desk were supposed to flow all Poprob high-level documents and this thing—this outrageous thing—called Poprobterm apparently had got into the executive stage before he had even had a glimpse of it!

He buzzed for Rogge-Smith, his statistician. Rogge-Smith seemed to be at the bottom of it. Poprobterm seemed to be about first and second and third derivatives, whatever they were. Barlow had a deep distrust of anything more complex than what he called an “average.”

While Rogge-Smith was still at the door, Barlow snapped, “What’s the meaning of this? Why haven’t I been consulted? How far have you people got and why have you been working on something I haven’t authorized?”

“Didn’t want to bother you, Chief,” said Rogge-Smith. “It was really a technical matter, kind of a final cleanup. Want to come and see the work?”

Mollified, Barlow followed his statistician down the corridor.

“You still shouldn’t have gone ahead without my okay,” he grumbled. “Where the hell would you people have been without me?”

“That’s right, Chief. We couldn’t have swung it ourselves; our minds just don’t work that way. And all that stuff you knew from Hitler—it wouldn’t have occurred to us. Like poor Black-Kupperman.”
They were in a fair-sized machine shop at the end of a slight upward incline. It was cold. Rogge-Smith pushed a button that started a motor, and a flood of arctic light poured in as the roof parted slowly. It showed a small spaceship with the door open.

Barlow gaped as Rogge-Smith took him by the elbow and his other boys appeared: Swenson-Swenson, the engineer; Tsutsugimushi-Duncan, his propellants man; Kalb-French, advertising.

“In you go, Chief,” said Tsutsugimushi-Duncan. “This is Poprobterm.”

“But I’m the world Dictator!”

“You bet, Chief. You’ll be in history, all right—but this is necessary, I’m afraid.”

The door was closed. Acceleration slammed Barlow cruelly to the metal floor. Something broke and warm, wet stuff, salty-tasting, ran from his mouth to his chin. Arctic sunlight through a port suddenly became a fierce lancet stabbing at his eyes; he was out of the atmosphere.

Lying twisted and broken under the acceleration, Barlow realized that some things had not changed, that Jack Ketch was never asked to dinner however many shillings you paid him to do your dirty work, that murder will out, that crime pays only temporarily.

The last thing he learned was that death is the end of pain.

Cyril M. Kornbluth (1923-1958) was an American writer who shot to fame by publishing his stories in various science fiction magazines. He was associated with the Futurians. His stories are often dystopic warnings of what is to come in the future.