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IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE

by Sinclair Lewis
© 1935 by Sinclair Lewis
© 1963 by Michael Lewis

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.

Hamas Covenant 1988: The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement
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Hearts and Minds, directed by Peter Davis
Our Survival as a People, by Dr. Michael Hill, 2004 Virginia League of the South State Meeting
Should We Ask for the Suffrage?, by Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer
General View of Positivism, by Auguste Comte
Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), by George Orwell
The Secret Doctrine -- The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy, by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
A Brief History of the United States of America, by South Park
Fahrenheit 451, Novel by Ray Bradbury, Screeplay by Francois Truffaut, Starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie
An Unsocial Socialist, by George Bernard Shaw
Facts and Fascism, by George Seldes
Character, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Neither Victims Nor Executioners, by Albert Camus
The International Jew, by Henry Ford
The World as Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenhauer, translated by E.F.J. Payne
Targeting Youth: What Everyone Should Know About Military Recruiting in Public High Schools, by The Constitutional Litigation Clinic, Rutgers School of Law-Newark
The Idea of a Christian Society, by T.S. Eliot
Demeaning as a Lifestyle: The Sadistic Aggressive, by Dr. Simon
The Red Book: Liber Novus, by C.G. Jung
The Genius of Charles Darwin, presented by Richard Dawkins
A Nation of Snitches, by Chris Hedges
America's Secret Establishment -- An Introduction to the Order of Skull and Bones, by Antony C. Sutton
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A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present, by Howard Zinn
Life and Times of Sir Oswald Mosley & The British Union of Fascists, by Victor Smart, John Underwood Phillips

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Bully: It's Time to Take a Stand, directed by Lee Hirsch
Vesting Order No. 248, by Federal Register
Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, by Antony C. Sutton
On Tyranny, by Leo Strauss
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Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, by Antony C. Sutton
Napoleon; or, the Man of the World from Representative Men, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Triumph of the Will, Directed by Leni Riefenstahl
"Equilibrium" -- The Perfect Geometry of Death Annihilates It's Author in "Equilibrium," Kurt Wimmer's Brilliant Anti-Authoritarian Film, Starring Christian Bale
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Obama, The Postmodern Coup -- Making of a Manchurian Candidate, by Webster Griffin Tarpley
The Trial of Henry Kissinger, by Christopher Hitchens
Bowling for Columbine, directed by Michael Moore
Raven Symbolism and Symbolic Meaning of Ravens, by Avia Venefica
The Horror of It -- Camera Records of War's Gruesome Glories, by Frederick A. Barber
Nobel Peace Prize Committee OUSTS Chairman Who Crowned Obama With $1.4 Million Award, by Eric Owens
Nobel Committee Issues Statement Regretting Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, by The Norwegian Nobel Institute
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The Last Empire: America's Nostalgia For Armageddon, by Charles Carreon
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, by Philip K. Dick
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The Doctrine of Fascism, by Benito Muss
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Jews in Reich Deny Atrocities by Nazis, by New York Times (1933)
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The Last of the Unjust, directed by Claude Lanzmann
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Berkeley in the Sixties, directed by Mark Kitchell

Why are you so afraid of the word ‘Fascism,’ Doremus? Just a word—just a word! And might not be so bad, with all the lazy bums we got panhandling relief nowadays, and living on my income tax and yours—not so worse to have a real Strong Man, like Hitler or Mussolini—like Napoleon or Bismarck in the good old days—and have ’em really RUN the country and make it efficient and prosperous again. ‘Nother words, have a doctor who won’t take any back-chat, but really boss the patient and make him get well whether he likes it or not!”

***

“We CAN go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin! It would just take a few thousand big shells and gas bombs to wipe out all the eager young men, and all the libraries and historical archives and patent offices, all the laboratories and art galleries, all the castles and Periclean temples and Gothic cathedrals, all the cooperative stores and motor factories—every storehouse of learning. No inherent reason why Sissy’s grandchildren—if anybody’s grandchildren will survive at all—shouldn’t be living in caves and heaving rocks at catamounts.

***

Pondered Doremus: Blessed be they who are not Patriots and Idealists, and who do not feel they must dash right in and Do Something About It, something so immediately important that all doubters must be liquidated—tortured—slaughtered! Good old murder, that since the slaying of Abel by Cain has always been the new device by which all oligarchies and dictators have, for all future ages to come, removed opposition!

In this acid mood Doremus doubted the efficacy of all revolutions; dared even a little to doubt our two American revolutions—against England in 1776, and the Civil War.

For a New England editor to contemplate even the smallest criticism of these wars was what it would have been for a Southern Baptist fundamentalist preacher to question Immortality, the Inspiration of the Bible, and the ethical value of shouting Hallelujah. Yet had it, Doremus queried nervously, been necessary to have four years of inconceivably murderous Civil War, followed by twenty years of commercial oppression of the South, in order to preserve the Union, free the slaves, and establish the equality of Industry with Agriculture? Had it been just to the Negroes themselves to throw them so suddenly, with so little preparation, into full citizenship, that the Southern states, in what they considered self-defense, disqualified them at the polls and lynched them and lashed them? Could they not, as Lincoln at first desired and planned, have been freed without the vote, then gradually and competently educated, under federal guardianship, so that by 1890 they might, without too much enmity, have been able to enter fully into all the activities of the land?

A generation and a half (Doremus meditated) of the sturdiest and most gallant killed or crippled in the Civil War or, perhaps worst of all, becoming garrulous professional heroes and satellites of the politicians who in return for their solid vote made all lazy jobs safe for the G.A.R. The most valorous, it was they who suffered the most, for while the John D. Rockefellers, the J. P. Morgans, the Vanderbilts, Astors, Goulds, and all their nimble financial comrades of the South, did not enlist, but stayed in the warm, dry counting-house, drawing the fortune of the country into their webs, it was Jeb Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, Nathaniel Lyon, Pat Cleburne, and the knightly James B. McPherson who were killed . . . and with them Abraham Lincoln.

So, with the hundreds of thousands who should have been the progenitors of new American generations drained away, we could show the world, which from 1780 to 1860 had so admired men like Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, the Adamses, Webster, only such salvages as McKinley, Benjamin Harrison, William Jennings Bryan, Harding . . . and Senator Berzelius Windrip and his rivals.

Slavery had been a cancer, and in that day was known no remedy save bloody cutting. There had been no X-rays of wisdom and tolerance. Yet to sentimentalize this cutting, to justify and rejoice in it, was an altogether evil thing, a national superstition that was later to lead to other Unavoidable Wars—wars to free Cubans, to free Filipinos who didn’t want our brand of freedom, to End All Wars.

Let us, thought Doremus, not throb again to the bugles of the Civil War, nor find diverting the gallantry of Sherman’s dashing Yankee boys in burning the houses of lone women, nor particularly admire the calmness of General Lee as he watched thousands writhe in the mud.

He even wondered if, necessarily, it had been such a desirable thing for the Thirteen Colonies to have cut themselves off from Great Britain. Had the United States remained in the British Empire, possibly there would have evolved a confederation that could have enforced World Peace, instead of talking about it. Boys and girls from Western ranches and Southern plantations and Northern maple groves might have added Oxford and York Minster and Devonshire villages to their own domain. Englishmen, and even virtuous Englishwomen, might have learned that persons who lack the accent of a Kentish rectory or of a Yorkshire textile village may yet in many ways be literate; and that astonishing numbers of persons in the world cannot be persuaded that their chief aim in life ought to be to increase British exports on behalf of the stock-holdings of the Better Classes.

It is commonly asserted, Doremus remembered, that without complete political independence the United States could not have developed its own peculiar virtues. Yet it was not apparent to him that America was any more individual than Canada or Australia; that Pittsburgh and Kansas City were to be preferred before Montreal and Melbourne, Sydney and Vancouver.

No questioning of the eventual wisdom of the “radicals” who had first advocated these two American revolutions, Doremus warned himself, should be allowed to give any comfort to that eternal enemy: the conservative manipulators of privilege who damn as “dangerous agitators” any man who menaces their fortunes; who jump in their chairs at the sting of a gnat like Debs, and blandly swallow a camel like Windrip.

***

It was said that one of the least of these erring children was the first patriot to name President Windrip “the Chief,” meaning Führer, or Imperial Wizard of the K.K.K., or Il Duce, or Imperial Potentate of the Mystic Shrine, or Commodore, or University Coach, or anything else supremely noble and good-hearted. So, on the glorious anniversary of July 4, 1937, more than five hundred thousand young uniformed vigilantes, scattered in towns from Guam to Bar Harbor, from Point Barrow to Key West, stood at parade rest and sang, like the choiring seraphim:

“Buzz and buzz and hail the Chief,
And his five-pointed sta-ar,
The U.S. ne’er can come to grief
With us prepared for wa-ar.”

Certain critical spirits felt that this version of the chorus of “Buzz and Buzz,” now the official M.M. anthem, showed, in a certain roughness, the lack of Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch’s fastidious hand. But nothing could be done about it. She was said to be in China, organizing chain letters. And even while that uneasiness was over the M.M., upon the very next day came the blow.

Someone on High Marshal Sarason’s staff noticed that the U.S.S.R.‘s emblem was not a six-pointed star, but a five-pointed one, even like America’s, so that we were not insulting the Soviets at all.

Consternation was universal. From Sarason’s office came sulphurous rebuke to the unknown idiot who had first made the mistake (generally he was believed to be Lee Sarason) and the command that a new emblem be suggested by every member of the M.M. Day and night for three days, M.M. barracks were hectic with telegrams, telephone calls, letters, placards, and thousands of young men sat with pencils and rulers earnestly drawing tens of thousands of substitutes for the five-pointed star: circles in triangles, triangles in circles, pentagons, hexagons, alphas and omegas, eagles, aeroplanes, arrows, bombs bursting in air, bombs bursting in bushes, billy-goats, rhinoceri, and the Yosemite Valley. It was circulated that a young ensign on High Marshal Sarason’s staff had, in agony over the error, committed suicide. Everybody thought that this hara-kiri was a fine idea and showed sensibility on the part of the better M.M.‘s; and they went on thinking so even after it proved that the Ensign had merely got drunk at the Buzz Backgammon Club and talked about suicide.

In the end, despite his uncounted competitors, it was the great mystic, Lee Sarason himself, who found the perfect new emblem—a ship’s steering wheel.

It symbolized, he pointed out, not only the Ship of State but also the wheels of American industry, the wheels and the steering wheel of motorcars, the wheel diagram which Father Coughlin had suggested two years before as symbolizing the program of the National Union for Social Justice, and, particularly, the wheel emblem of the Rotary Club.

Sarason’s proclamation also pointed out that it would not be too far-fetched to declare that, with a little drafting treatment, the arms of the Swastika could be seen as unquestionably related to the circle, and how about the K.K.K. of the Kuklux Klan? Three K’s made a triangle, didn’t they? and everybody knew that a triangle was related to a circle.

***

“Last straw—plenty last,” he raged.

He had read about Rabbi de Verez and seen pictures of him. He had once heard Dr. Willy Schmidt speak, when the State Medical Association had met at Fort Beulah, and afterward had sat near him at dinner. If they were murderous Jews, then he was a murderous Jew too, he swore, and it was time to do something for His Own People.

That evening—it was late in September, 1937—he did not go home to dinner at all but, with a paper container of coffee and a slab of pie untouched before him, he stooped at his desk in the Informer office, writing an editorial which, when he had finished it, he marked: “Must. 12-pt bold face—box top front p.”

The beginning of the editorial, to appear the following morning was:

Believing that the inefficiency and crimes of the Corpo administration were due to the difficulties attending a new form of government, we have waited patiently for their end. We apologize to our readers for that patience.

It is easy to see now, in the revolting crime of a drunken cabinet member against two innocent and valuable old men like Dr. Schmidt and the Rev. Dr. de Verez, that we may expect nothing but murderous extirpation of all honest opponents of the tyranny of Windrip and his Corpo gang.

Not that all of them are as vicious as Macgoblin. Some are merely incompetent—like our friends Ledue, Reek, and Haik. But their ludicrous incapability permits the homicidal cruelty of their chieftains to go on without check.

Buzzard Windrip, the “Chief,” and his pirate gang—

***

He could hear a distant babble from the bull pen, where the drunks and vagrants, and the petty offenders among the M.M.‘s, were crowded in enviable comradeship, but the sound was only a background for the corroding stillness.

He sank into a twitching numbness. He felt that he was choking, and gasped desperately. Only now and then did he think clearly— then only of the shame of imprisonment or, even more emphatically, of how hard the wooden stool was on his ill-upholstered rump, and how much pleasanter it was, even so, than the cot, whose mattress had the quality of crushed worms.

Once he felt that he saw the way clearly:

“The tyranny of this dictatorship isn’t primarily the fault of Big Business, nor of the demagogues who do their dirty work. It’s the fault of Doremus Jessup! Of all the conscientious, respectable, lazy-minded Doremus Jessups who have let the demagogues wriggle in, without fierce enough protest.

“A few months ago I thought the slaughter of the Civil War, and the agitation of the violent Abolitionists who helped bring it on, were evil. But possibly they HAD to be violent, because easy-going citizens like me couldn’t be stirred up otherwise. If our grandfathers had had the alertness and courage to see the evils of slavery and of a government conducted by gentlemen for gentlemen only, there wouldn’t have been any need of agitators and war and blood.

“It’s my sort, the Responsible Citizens who’ve felt ourselves superior because we’ve been well-to-do and what we thought was ‘educated,’ who brought on the Civil War, the French Revolution, and now the Fascist Dictatorship. It’s I who murdered Rabbi de Verez. It’s I who persecuted the Jews and the Negroes. I can blame no Aras Dilley, no Shad Ledue, no Buzz Windrip, but only my own timid soul and drowsy mind. Forgive, O Lord!

***

The real trouble with the Jews is that they are cruel. Anybody with a knowledge of history knows how they tortured poor debtors in secret catacombs, all through the Middle Ages. Whereas the Nordic is distinguished by his gentleness and his kind-heartedness to friends, children, dogs, and people of inferior races. -- Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.

***

So week on week he got along not too badly—and there was not one minute when he did not hate this filthy slavery, when he did not have to force himself to stay there, when he did not snarl at himself, “Then why DO you stay?”

His answers to that challenge came glibly and conventionally enough: “He was too old to start in life again. And he had a wife and family to support”—Emma, Sissy, and now Mary and David.

All these years he had heard responsible men who weren’t being quite honest—radio announcers who soft-soaped speakers who were fools and wares that were trash, and who canaryishly chirped “Thank you, Major Blister” when they would rather have kicked Major Blister, preachers who did not believe the decayed doctrines they dealt out, doctors who did not dare tell lady invalids that they were sex-hungry exhibitionists, merchants who peddled brass for gold—heard all of them complacently excuse themselves by explaining that they were too old to change and that they had “a wife and family to support.”

Why not let the wife and family die of starvation or get out and hustle for themselves, if by no other means the world could have the chance of being freed from the most boresome, most dull, and foulest disease of having always to be a little dishonest?

***

“That’s that,” said Sissy. “Swell period for young dreamers the Dictator’s brought in. You can march to military bands—or you can sit home—or you can go to prison. Primavera di Bellezza!”

“Yes. . . . Well, I’ll find something to do. . . . Sissy, are you going to marry me—soon as I get a job?”

(It was incredible, thought Doremus, how these latter-day unsentimental sentimentalists could ignore him. . . . Like animals.)

“Before, if you want to. Though marriage seems to me absolute rot now, Julian. They can’t go and let us see that every doggone one of our old institutions is a rotten fake, the way Church and State and everything has laid down to the Corpos, and still expect us to think they’re so hot! But for unformed minds like your grandfather and Doremus, I suppose we’ll have to pretend to believe that the preachers who stand for Big Chief Windrip are still so sanctified that they can sell God’s license to love!”

(“Sis-sy!”)

“(Oh. I forgot you were there, Dad!) But anyway, we’re not going to have any kids. Oh, I like children! I’d like to have a dozen of the little devils around. But if people have gone so soft and turned the world over to stuffed shirts and dictators, they needn’t expect any decent woman to bring children into such an insane asylum! Why, the more you really DO love children, the more you’ll want ’em not to be born, now!”

***

His birthday in 1937 he commemorated by the historical “Order of Regulation,” which stated that though the Corporate government had proved both its stability and its good-will, there were still certain stupid or vicious “elements” who, in their foul envy of Corpo success, wanted to destroy everything that was good. The kind-hearted government was fed-up, and the country was informed that, from this day on, any person who by word or act sought to harm or discredit the State, would be executed or interned. Inasmuch as the prisons were already too full, both for these slanderous criminals and for the persons whom the kind-hearted State had to guard by “protective arrest,” there were immediately to be opened, all over the country, concentration camps.

Doremus guessed that the reason for the concentration camps was not only the provision of extra room for victims but, even more, the provision of places where the livelier young M.M.‘s could amuse themselves without interference from old-time professional policemen and prison-keepers, most of whom regarded their charges not as enemies, to be tortured, but just as cattle, to be kept safely.

On the eleventh, a concentration camp was enthusiastically opened, with band music, paper flowers, and speeches by District Commissioner Reek and Shad Ledue, at Trianon, nine miles north of Fort Beulah, in what had been a modern experimental school for girls. (The girls and their teachers, no sound material for Corpoism anyway, were simply sent about their business.)

And on that day and every day afterward, Doremus got from journalist friends all over the country secret news of Corpo terrorism and of the first bloody rebellions against the Corpos.

***

An English globe-trotter who gave up two weeks of December to a thorough study of “conditions” in America, wrote to his London paper, and later said on the wireless for the B.B.C.: “After a thorough glance at America I find that, far from there being any discontent with the Corpo administration among the people, they have never been so happy and so resolutely set on making a Brave New World. I asked a very prominent Hebrew banker about the assertions that his people were being oppressed, and he assured me, ‘When we hear about such silly rumors, we are highly amused.’”

***

“Well then? Let’s have it, Phil. Something serious?”

“Ye-es, I’m afraid there is. Look, Dad. . . . Oh, do sit down and be comfortable! . . . I’ve been awfully perturbed to hear that you’ve, uh, that you’re in slightly bad odor with some of the authorities.”

“You mean the Corpos?”

“Naturally! Who else?”

“Maybe I don’t recognize ’em as authorities.”

“Oh, listen, Pater, please don’t joke tonight! I’m serious. As a matter fact, I hear you’re more than just ‘slightly’ in wrong with them.”

“And who may your informant be?”

“Oh, just letters—old school friends. Now you AREN’T really pro-Corpo, ARE you?”

“How did you ever guess?”

“Well, I’ve been—I didn’t vote for Windrip, personally, but I begin to see where I was wrong. I can see now that he has not only great personal magnetism, but real constructive power—real sure-enough statesmanship. Some say it’s Lee Sarason’s doing, but don’t you believe it for a minute. Look at all Buzz did back in his home state, before he ever teamed up with Sarason! And some say Windrip is crude. Well, so were Lincoln and Jackson. Now what I think of Windrip—”

“The only thing you ought to think of Windrip is that his gangsters murdered your fine brother-in-law! And plenty of other men just as good. Do you condone such murders?”

“No! Certainly not! How can you suggest such a thing, Dad! No one abhors violence more than I do. Still, you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs—”

“Hell and damnation!”

“Why, Pater!”

“Don’t call me ‘Pater’! If I ever hear that ‘can’t make an omelet’ phrase again, I’ll start doing a little murder myself! It’s used to justify every atrocity under every despotism, Fascist or Nazi or Communist or American labor war. Omelet! Eggs! By God, sir, men’s souls and blood are not eggshells for tyrants to break!”

“Oh, sorry, sir. I guess maybe the phrase is a little shopworn! I just mean to say—I’m just trying to figure this situation out realistically!”

“‘Realistically’! That’s another buttered bun to excuse murder!”

“But honestly, you know—horrible things do happen, thanks to the imperfection of human nature, but you can forgive the means if the end is a rejuvenated nation that—”

“I can do nothing of the kind! I can never forgive evil and lying and cruel means, and still less can I forgive fanatics that use that for an excuse! If I may imitate Romain Rolland, a country that tolerates evil means—evil manners, standards of ethics—for a generation, will be so poisoned that it never will have any good end. I’m just curious, but do you know how perfectly you’re quoting every Bolshevik apologist that sneers at decency and kindness and truthfulness in daily dealings as ‘bourgeois morality’? I hadn’t understood that you’d gone quite so Marxo-materialistic!”

“I! Marxian! Good God!” Doremus was pleased to see that he had stirred his son out of his if-your-honor-please smugness. “Why, one of the things I most admire about the Corpos is that, as I know, absolutely—I have reliable information from Washington—they have saved us from a simply ghastly invasion by red agents of Moscow—Communists pretending to be decent labor-leaders!”

“Not really!” (Had the fool forgotten that his father was a newspaperman and not likely to be impressed by “reliable information from Washington”?)

“Really! And to be realistic—sorry, sir, if you don’t like the word, but to be—to be—”

“In fact, to be realistic!”

“Well, yes, then!”

(Doremus recalled such tempers in Philip from years ago. Had he been wise, after all, to restrain himself from the domestic pleasure of licking the brat?)

“The whole point is that Windrip, or anyway the Corpos, are here to STAY, Pater, and we’ve got to base our future actions not on some desired Utopia but on what we really and truly have. And think of what they’ve actually done! Just, for example, how they’ve removed the advertising billboards from the highways, and ended unemployment, and their simply stupendous feat in getting rid of all crime!”

“Good God!”

“Pardon me—what y’ say, Dad?”

“Nothing! Nothing! Go on!”

“But I begin to see now that the Corpo gains haven’t been just material but spiritual.”

“Eh?”

“Really! They’ve revitalized the whole country. Formerly we had gotten pretty sordid, just thinking about material possessions and comforts—about electric refrigeration and television and air-conditioning. Kind of lost the sturdiness that characterized our pioneer ancestors. Why, ever so many young men were refusing to take military drill, and the discipline and will power and good-fellowship that you only get from military training—Oh, pardon me! I forgot you were a pacifist.”

Doremus grimly muttered, “Not any more!”

“Of course there must be any number of things we can’t agree on, Dad. But after all, as a publicist you ought to listen to the Voice of Youth.”

“You? Youth? You’re not youth. You’re two thousand years old, mentally. You date just about 100 B.C. in your fine new imperialistic theories!”

“No, but you must listen, Dad! Why do you suppose I came clear up here from Worcester just to see you?”

“God only knows!”

“I want to make myself clear. Before Windrip, we’d been lying down in America, while Europe was throwing off all her bonds—both monarchy and this antiquated parliamentary-democratic-liberal system that really means rule by professional politicians and by egotistic ‘intellectuals.’ We’ve got to catch up to Europe again— got to expand—it’s the rule of life. A nation, like a man, has to go ahead or go backward. Always!”

“I know, Phil. I used to write that same thing in those same words, back before 1914!”

“Did you? Well, anyway—Got to expand! Why, what we ought to do is to grab all of Mexico, and maybe Central America, and a good big slice of China. Why, just on their OWN behalf we ought to do it, misgoverned the way they are! Maybe I’m wrong but—”

“Impossible!”

“—Windrip and Sarason and Dewey Haik and Macgoblin, all those fellows, they’re BIG—they’re making me stop and think! And now to come down to my errand here—”

“You think I ought to run the Informer according to Corpo theology!”

“Why—why yes! That was approximately what I was going to say. (I just don’t see why you haven’t been more reasonable about this whole thing—you with your quick mind!) After all, the time for selfish individualism is gone. We’ve got to have mass action. One for all and all for one—”

“Philip, would you mind telling me what the deuce you’re REALLY heading toward? Cut the cackle!”

“Well, since you insist—to ‘cut the cackle,’ as you call it—not very politely, seems to me, seeing I’ve taken the trouble to come clear up from Worcester!—I have reliable information that you’re going to get into mighty serious trouble if you don’t stop opposing—or at least markedly failing to support—the government.”

“All right. What of it? It’s MY serious trouble!”

“That’s just the point! It isn’t! I do think that just for once in your life you might think of Mother and the girls, instead of always of your own selfish ‘ideas’ that you’re so proud of! In a crisis like this, it just isn’t funny any longer to pose as a quaint ‘liberal.’”

Doremus’s voice was like a firecracker. “Cut the cackle, I told you! What you after? What’s the Corpo gang to you?”

“I have been approached in regard to the very high honor of an assistant military judgeship, but your attitude, as my father—”

“Philip, I think, I rather think, that I give you my parental curse not so much because you are a traitor as because you have become a stuffed shirt! Good-night.”

***

Day on day he waited. So much of a revolution for so many people is nothing but waiting. That is one reason why tourists rarely see anything but contentment in a crushed population. Waiting, and its brother death, seem so contented.

***

The hardest phenomenon of dictatorship for a Doremus to understand, even when he saw it daily in his own street, was the steady diminution of gayety among the people.

America, like England and Scotland, had never really been a gay nation. Rather it had been heavily and noisily jocular, with a substratum of worry and insecurity, in the image of its patron saint, Lincoln of the rollicking stories and the tragic heart. But at least there had been hearty greetings, man to man; there had been clamorous jazz for dancing, and the lively, slangy catcalls of young people, and the nervous blatting of tremendous traffic.

All that false cheerfulness lessened now, day by day.

The Corpos found nothing more convenient to milk than public pleasures. After the bread had molded, the circuses were closed. There were taxes or increased taxes on motorcars, movies, theaters, dances, and ice-cream sodas. There was a tax on playing a phonograph or radio in any restaurant. Lee Sarason, himself a bachelor, conceived of super-taxing bachelors and spinsters, and contrariwise of taxing all weddings at which more than five persons were present.

Even the most reckless youngsters went less and less to public entertainments, because no one not ostentatiously in uniform cared to be noticed, these days. It was impossible to sit in a public place without wondering which spies were watching you. So all the world stayed home—and jumped anxiously at every passing footstep, every telephone ring, every tap of an ivy sprig on the window.

***

Their feeble pamphlets, their smearily printed newspaper, seemed futile against the enormous blare of Corpo propaganda. It seemed worse than futile, it seemed insane, to risk martyrdom in a world where Fascists persecuted Communists, Communists persecuted Social-Democrats, Social-Democrats persecuted everybody who would stand for it; where “Aryans” who looked like Jews persecuted Jews who looked like Aryans and Jews persecuted their debtors; where every statesman and clergyman praised Peace and brightly asserted that the only way to get Peace was to get ready for War.

What conceivable reason could one have for seeking after righteousness in a world which so hated righteousness? Why do anything except eat and read and make love and provide for sleep that should be secure against disturbance by armed policemen?

He never did find any particularly good reason. He simply went on.

***

The Holy City of Moscow! Karl looked upon it with exactly such uncritical and slightly hysterical adoration as other sectarians had in their day devoted to Jerusalem, Mecca, Rome, Canterbury, and Benares. Fine, all right, thought Doremus. Let ’em worship their sacred fonts—it was as good a game as any for the mentally retarded. Only, why then should they object to his considering as sacred Fort Beulah, or New York, or Oklahoma City?

Karl once fell into a froth because Doremus wondered if the iron deposits in Russia were all they might be. Why certainly! Russia, being Holy Russia, must, as a useful part of its holiness, have sufficient iron, and Karl needed no mineralogists’ reports but only the blissful eye of faith to know it.

He did not mind Karl’s worshiping Holy Russia. But Karl did, using the word “naïve,” which is the favorite word and just possibly the only word known to Communist journalists, derisively mind when Doremus had a mild notion of worshiping Holy America. Karl spoke often of photographs in the Moscow News of nearly naked girls on Russian bathing-beaches as proving the triumph and joy of the workers under Bolshevism, but he regarded precisely the same sort of photographs of nearly naked girls on Long Island bathing-beaches as proving the degeneration of the workers under Capitalism.

As a newspaper man, Doremus remembered that the only reporters who misrepresented and concealed facts more unscrupulously than the Capitalists were the Communists.

He was afraid that the world struggle today was not of Communism against Fascism, but of tolerance against the bigotry that was preached equally by Communism and Fascism. But he saw too that in America the struggle was befogged by the fact that the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word “Fascism” and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty. For they were thieves not only of wages but of honor. To their purpose they could quote not only Scripture but Jefferson.

That Karl Pascal should be turning into a zealot, like most of his chiefs in the Communist party, was grievous to Doremus because he had once simple-heartedly hoped that in the mass strength of Communism there might be an escape from cynical dictatorship. But he saw now that he must remain alone, a “Liberal,” scorned by all the noisier prophets for refusing to be a willing cat for the busy monkeys of either side. But at worst, the Liberals, the Tolerant, might in the long run preserve some of the arts of civilization, no matter which brand of tyranny should finally dominate the world.

“More and more, as I think about history,” he pondered, “I am convinced that everything that is worth while in the world has been accomplished by the free, inquiring, critical spirit, and that the preservation of this spirit is more important than any social system whatsoever. But the men of ritual and the men of barbarism are capable of shutting up the men of science and of silencing them forever.”

Yes, this was the worst thing the enemies of honor, the pirate industrialists and then their suitable successors, the Corpos with their blackjacks, had done: it had turned the brave, the generous, the passionate and half-literate Karl Pascals into dangerous fanatics. And how well they had done it! Doremus was uncomfortable with Karl; he felt that his next turn in jail might be under the wardenship of none other than Karl himself, as he remembered how the Bolsheviks, once in power, had most smugly imprisoned and persecuted those great women, Spiridinova and Breshkovskaya and Ismailovitch, who, by their conspiracies against the Czar, their willingness to endure Siberian torture on behalf of “freedom for the masses,” had most brought on the revolution by which the Bolsheviks were able to take control—and not only again forbid freedom to the masses, but this time inform them that, anyway, freedom was just a damn silly bourgeois superstition.

***

In July, 1939, when Doremus had been in Montreal a little over five months, and a year after his sentence to concentration camp, the American newspapers which arrived at N.U. headquarters were full of resentment against Mexico.

Bands of Mexicans had raided across into the United States—always, curiously enough, when our troops were off in the desert, practice-marching or perhaps gathering sea shells. They burned a town in Texas—fortunately all the women and children were away on a Sunday-school picnic, that afternoon. A Mexican Patriot (aforetime he had also worked as an Ethiopian Patriot, a Chinese Patriot, and a Haitian Patriot) came across, to the tent of an M.M. brigadier, and confessed that while it hurt him to tattle on his own beloved country, conscience compelled him to reveal that his Mexican superiors were planning to fly over and bomb Laredo, San Antonio, Bisbee, and probably Tacoma, and Bangor, Maine.

This excited the Corpo newspapers very much indeed and in New York and Chicago they published photographs of the conscientious traitor half an hour after he had appeared at the Brigadier’s tent . . . where, at that moment, forty-six reporters happened to be sitting about on neighboring cactuses.

America rose to defend her hearthstones, including all the hearthstones on Park Avenue, New York, against false and treacherous Mexico, with its appalling army of 67,000 men, with thirty-nine military aeroplanes. Women in Cedar Rapids hid under the bed; elderly gentlemen in Cattaraugus County, New York, concealed their money in elm-tree boles; and the wife of a chicken-raiser seven miles N.E. of Estelline, South Dakota, a woman widely known as a good cook and a trained observer, distinctly saw a file of ninety-two Mexican soldiers pass her cabin, starting at 3:17 A.M. on July 27, 1939.

To answer this threat, America, the one country that had never lost a war and never started an unjust one, rose as one man, as the Chicago Daily Evening Corporate put it. It was planned to invade Mexico as soon as it should be cool enough, or even earlier, if the refrigeration and air-conditioning could be arranged. In one month, five million men were drafted for the invasion, and started training.

Thus—perhaps too flippantly—did Joe Cailey and Doremus discuss the declaration of war against Mexico. If they found the whole crusade absurd, it may be stated in their defense that they regarded all wars always as absurd; in the baldness of the lying by both sides about the causes; in the spectacle of grown-up men engaged in the infantile diversions of dressing-up in fancy clothes and marching to primitive music. The only thing not absurd about wars, said Doremus and Cailey, was that along with their skittishness they did kill a good many millions of people. Ten thousand starving babies seemed too high a price for a Sam Browne belt for even the sweetest, touchingest young lieutenant.

***

He dreamed—as he still did dream, once or twice a week—that he was back in his cell at Trianon. He knew again the stink, the cramped and warty bunk, the never relaxed fear that he might be dragged out and flogged.

He heard magic trumpets. A soldier opened the door and invited out all the prisoners. There, in the quadrangle, General Emmanuel Coon (who, to Doremus’s dreaming fancy, looked exactly like Sherman) addressed them:

“Gentlemen, the Commonwealth army has conquered! Haik has been captured! You are free!”

So they marched out, the prisoners, the bent and scarred and crippled, the vacant-eyed and slobbering, who had come into this place as erect and daring men: Doremus, Dan Wilgus, Buck, Julian, Mr. Falck, Henry Veeder, Karl Pascal, John Pollikop, Truman Webb. They crept out of the quadrangle gates, through a double line of soldiers standing rigidly at Present Arms yet weeping as they watched the broken prisoners crawling past.

And beyond the soldiers, Doremus saw the women and children. They were waiting for him—the kind arms of Lorinda and Emma and Sissy and Mary, with David behind them, clinging to his father’s hand, and Father Perefixe. And Foolish was there, his tail a proud plume, and from the dream-blurred crowd came Mrs. Candy, holding out to him a cocoanut cake.

Then all of them were fleeing, frightened by Shad Ledue—

His host was slapping Doremus’s shoulder, muttering, “Just had a phone call. Corpo posse out after you.”

So Doremus rode out, saluted by the meadow larks, and onward all day, to a hidden cabin in the Northern Woods where quiet men awaited news of freedom.

And still Doremus goes on in the red sunrise, for a Doremus Jessup can never die.

-- It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis