We don’t much consider speech in the United States. We hurl tiny word missiles at each other on twitter; troll the posts of strangers on Facebook leaving behind little bombs intended only to make them feel bad and us better (newsflash, it does neither) – how dare they hold that opinion… whatever it may be? The media uses their sacred pulpit to peddle half-truths and double-speak to advance their agendas. There are no consequences – none really – to speaking our minds. Oh, sure sometimes somebody goes too far and says something which should make any decent mariner blush and is called to account for that; too often by the mob. And yes, the situation related to the closing of the American mind is concerning; cultural Marxism advancing upon the foundations of ignorance and malice.
But all in all, America is still the land of the free – especially juxtaposed against the tremendous totalitarianism of history. Control displayed when Galileo was threatened with torture for expressing a scientific opinion (which has been proven as fact now); when Martin Luther was hunted for speaking of a personal faith; when Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was thrown into the gulag for writing a private letter to a friend.
Speech and property – the two great freedoms as the cornerstones of a free republic – and consequently the ones that the new socialists are trying hard to go after. “Prosperity is the enemy of progress” they say, quickly so nobody considers the real meaning. For if we can say what we will and have the means to do so without asking permission from the state, their nakedness will be forever laid bare.
This is what “Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts” is about. A boy who dared to rebel, who dared to seek truth in the sticky mass of lies and violence, in order to assemble a movement – an alternative to the Perfect Order of the State and its Elders. It is a simple play, meant to be acted out – and as such is a relatively quick read. It would make a great movie (in my mind I was thinking of “Sleuth” with Michael Caine and Jude Law). And – yes, humbly but with my head held high – it is meant to take its place beside “Darkness at Noon” and “We” and “Anthem” and “Brave New World” (among so many others) in the pantheon of dystopian literature.
Once, long ago, I was on a flight from West Africa. From a place of pain and darkness to my home – one I protect, as best as I can, from distant lands where the threats sometimes bubble. It was a sad trip; a surgery needed (there is no care in West Africa), the immense weight of poverty and violence at the center of my imagination, news that a friend from a foreign land had recently been imprisoned for his beliefs. I started to write an article, taking the form of a dialogue – and it extended. Page after page after page as underneath me the icy mass of Iceland came and went as we chased the night over the curvature of Galileo’s globe.
That was years ago – though I still fight the same enemy – an enemy which has made its place beside all the others as a great enemy of liberty and speech, for a season, before they fall away – which they will. And still here we stand, those of us who love our freedoms as we love our lives and who know that it is only our freedom, our speech and our property, which saves us from those who would see us enslaved.
If you believe this – buy this play; and in doing so make common cause with those people I have known who have been (and continue to be) enslaved and silenced. For our freedoms are only protected through their use.