Just ahead of Part Twenty-Four of our current Tale for Our Time, a reminder that we have an afternoon (North American time) complement to our nocturnal audio adventures in the Wednesday edition of The Mark Steyn Show. Hope you'll want to check that out.
Anthony Trollope's 1882 venture into dystopic fiction takes its title from the Republic of Britannula's legally mandated term of life for its citizens: The Fixed Period. Many of those planning a mass reduction of humanity are rather more coy about spelling it out, but Faith Clendenen, a First Day Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, reminds us that some members of our ruling class are not so shy about fixing the period:
Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel has set the 'fixed period' at 76 years, the point where he feels nothing but palliative care should be offered as those elderly are no longer productive members of society. He is considered to be a prominent bioethicist, and an influence in the Biden administration.
Indeed. In tonight's episode of The Fixed Period, Trollope reminds us that even great men with grand visions are afflicted by the banality of existence. The deposed President Neverbend goes home for some final words with his wife before he is shipped to exile in England:
"Yes; and I am sure it will do you good, if you only take your meals regular. I sometimes think that you have been encouraged to dwell upon this horrid Fixed Period by the melancholy of an empty stomach."
It was sad to hear such words from her lips after the two speeches to which she had listened, and to feel that no trace had been left on her mind of the triumph which I had achieved over Sir Ferdinando; but I put up with that, and determined to answer her after her own heart. "You have always provided a sandwich for me to take to the chambers."
"Sandwiches are nothing. Do remember that. At your time of life you should always have something warm,—a frizzle or a cutlet, and you shouldn't eat it without thinking of it. What has made me hate the Fixed Period worse than anything is, that you have never thought of your victuals..."
"Well, my dear, I'm going to England now," said I, beginning to feel weary of her reminiscences.
"Yes, my dear, I know you are; and do remember that as you get nearer and nearer to that chilly country the weather will always be colder and colder. I have put you up four pairs of flannel drawers, and a little bag which you must wear upon your chest..."
I wonder if Mrs Neverbend is thinking of a knitted chest-warmer such as that at top right. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear Part Twenty-Four of our tale simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.
See you back here tomorrow for Part Twenty-Five of The Fixed Period.