Just ahead of Episode Eight of our current Tale for Our Time, a word from your host:
As I predicted a year-and-a-half back, just ahead of America's laughably misnamed "election", things are cratering very fast on the free-speech front - in the US, UK, and the rest of the anglosphere. Things are a little different on the Continent, hence the movement in la fenêtre d'Overton seen in the French election.
In such a world, I thank all of you who keep this l'il ol' website and its various activities part of your daily rounds. I so miss the Internet of yore and the heyday of independent bloggers in the early years of this century - before the woketalitarians seized control and tightened the screws, in new media and old. I have spent much of the last week defending myself against charges that my little telly show is in breach of UK regulatory requirements for citing new reports by UK government agencies at odds with The Narrative of the last two years. Well, so be it. We stagger on for as long as we can.
I'm particularly touched in such an environment by your kind comments. Philip Mason, a First Fortnight Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes from Texas re this first serialization of Anthony Trollope:
This is absolutely one of the most fascinating Tales Mark has presented to our Club.
What I find most interesting is the juxtaposition of this Tale versus what has occurred the past 2+ years under Covid.
Note that society at large felt the need to 'fix period' the young, in the sense that they forced the young to be isolated in their homes. School-age children, from preschool to college, were either denied the opportunity to sit in a classroom altogether, or if they were permitted in the classroom, were forced to mask and remain apart from their peers. Furthermore, they've been injected with Biologics that may very well hamper their ability to ever reach what would otherwise have been their normal 'fixed period'.
You still see young children to this very day being walked by their parents to class fully masked.
It honestly makes me wonder, when the full truth about Covid and the response is brought to light, if some of these young people will be understandably very angry at those who subjected them to such responses.
Why should these young people value the lives of those who robbed them of some of the most critically important formational years in their lives?
What's changed in the 140 years since Trollope told his tale is the rise of mass media that can not merely shape The Narrative, as newspapers, radio and TV all did to some degree, but can instead supplant reality - so that the damage the masks and isolation are doing to her two-year-old is there right in front of her eyes, but to the 28-year-old mom the combination of Fauci, Facebook, et al are powerful enough to overrule her lived experience.
Trollope did not foresee that. Indeed, in tonight's episode of The Fixed Period, President Neverbend realizes what happens when the generality of public policy meets the specifics of reality:
"But, my dear," I began, determined to teach her the whole theory of the Fixed Period with all its advantages from first to last.
But she interrupted me at once. "Oh, Mr Neverbend, I know what a good thing it is—to talk about. I have no doubt the world will be a great deal the better for it. And if all the papas had been deposited for the last five hundred years, I don't suppose that I should care so much about it. But to be the first that ever it happened to in all the world! Why should papa be the first? You ought to begin with some weak, crotchety, poor old cripple, who would be a great deal better out of the way. But papa is in excellent health, and has all his wits about him a great deal better than Mr Grundle. He manages everything at Little Christchurch, and manages it very well."
But Neverbend does not crumble in the face of such opposition. He steels himself by comparing himself to Socrates, Galileo and George Washington. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Episode Eight by clicking here and logging-in.
Earlier instalments of The Fixed Period can be found here - and, if your tastes incline to the more obviously brutal in the exercise of state power, my serialization of Nineteen Eighty-Four starts here.
Thank you again for all your comments, thumbs up or down, on this latest tale. Very much appreciated. If you'd like to know more about The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget, for fellow fans of classic fiction and/or poetry, our Steyn Club Gift Membership.
I'll see you back here tomorrow for Part Nine of The Fixed Period.