THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 869, April 24, 2016
Scatter the oligarchy to the four winds!
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
Many of the readers of this publication will remember Paul Rosenberg's book A Lodging of Wayfaring Men with considerable fondness. Some may be aware that he co-authored, with Sean Hastings, a book titled God Wants You Dead. I don't think very many people in our community are aware that Paul has also written extensive technical manuals on electricity and electronics. He's quite prolific.
His latest book is The Breaking Dawn. I think it is a very important book. Certainly it has a great deal to do with the very most formative ideas in Western culture.
Suppose you took all the books of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, and attempted to understand them from today's perspective. Take it as a given that the events described actually took place, and try to understand them from a contemporary, scientifically educated, human perspective. In doing so, look at exactly what is written, look at what is not written but has been imposed as doctrine by various religious groups, and try to understand how things might "work out" if we extrapolate both back into the past and on into the future.
The ideas are not all that different from various stories of interstellar and intergalactic human civilisations that have been written about by traditional science fiction authors such as Asimov (Foundation series) or Heinlein (Citizen of the Galaxy) to give some examples. One of the things Paul has done in his book (and I call him Paul in this review because he is a very good, very kind, and very wise friend of mine) is look at what the consequences are for people of all faiths in facing the kind of authoritarian future that is apparently the objective of Deep State agencies like the CIA, NSA, and DoD.
One of the things that most impresses me is that Paul sees the division between good and evil as I believe it really is: a division between how people choose to live and how they might choose to live if they were willing to completely amputate those aspects of their mind and heart which tell them what is wrong and what is right. The division between good people and evil people has mostly to do with the choices they take, and a little bit about their intentions in taking those choices, and nothing at all to do with what spirituality they were taught, or adopted, or converted to, or rejected.
Given the very large body of documentation about God, Jesus, the origins of our universe, the origins of our species, and the outcome of various conflicts over how people should be governed or govern themselves, as well as what is written about what to expect about the future, represented by the books of the Bible, you can see that Paul's novel The Breaking Dawn has certain limitations on what directions might be taken. Within that framework, the novel is epic.
It tells the story of men and women who oppose authority, who resist the state's encroachments, and it tells the story of men and women who acquiesce. The novel goes into considerable detail about how people are controlled by mass media, how they are being controlled by online media such as Facebook and Twitter, and how those in power seek to manipulate every waking moment, and perhaps even sleeping moments, of everyone. Moreover, Paul looks directly at the consequences of resisting tyranny and the consequences of acquiescing to it. To say that there is a lot of struggle and death is an understatement. But to say that there is no hope for mankind is to deny not only the title of the novel, not only the basic underlying message of possibility found in the Bible, but also to deny the fundamental nature of human beings.
Human beings have an amazing capacity for good. And, left to their own devices, they will do great things for one another, and for their world. Forced to obey, their minds will break down, and either become numb to nearly everything, or become broken. Many of those who try to acquiesce to authority end up having psychotic breaks, and that is true both in our real world and in the world of Paul's novel.
The idea that there are other civilisations out in space is not a new one, and it is not one that Paul has any difficulty conveying. The idea that there is a connection between all things in the universe is one that is very consistent with current knowledge of quantum mechanics and other sciences. The idea that doing good things in your life is a good idea, that how you choose to act really matters, and that resisting evil is a fundamentally good idea, these are thoughts that permeate The Breaking Dawn.
I can say a great many more good things about this book. I think it is extremely well written, brilliantly conceived, and enormously important. You should read it.
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