A few people, both sympathetic and otherwise, have asked me why I am willing to hold and defend such controversial and upsetting opinions as I have done of late. And providing more evidence that rabbits simply do not have the capacity to understand not-rabbits, the SFWA is absolutely rife with various theories concerning my supposed mental instability.
After all, who but a deranged lunatic would think to challenge the received wisdom of the warren’s long-accepted consensus goodthink?
As it happens, the reason is fairly straightforward. If you will not stand up for the truth when pressed, you will not stand up for the Truth when persecuted. Now, I may be wrong about the process of civilizational development and the extended period of time I believe it requires to fully transform tribes of primitive savages into an advanced and civilized culture; I have no problem changing my mind when a compelling case contra my position has been made. I have, as the regulars here know, done precisely that with regards to free trade and open borders, among other things. But I have not seen one single person, not one, even attempt to demonstrate that I am incorrect in any way.
I’ve seen rants, I’ve seen outrage, I’ve seen anger, I’ve seen insults, and I’ve seen assertions that certain subjects are beyond debate. What I have not seen is anyone make a case, let alone a coherent or compelling one, that opposes the logic and observations I have presented. This is because the Lie cannot compete with the Truth, it can only attempt to obscure it and silence those who dare to speak it.
But the Lie never wins in the end. The ongoing controversy somehow reminded me of this passage from Panzer Commander, a war memoir written by one of Rommel’s favorite officers, Col. Hans von Luck, which I found moving in the way it showed how even enemies at war can find common ground in the light of the Truth. More importantly, it shows how even a rage that burns hotter and more violently than the rage of the SFWA’s delusional members cannot destroy the hunger of the human spirit for truth and Truth alike.
“Smolensk looked as though it had been abandoned. Destruction in the industrial quarters and of the bridges over the Dnieper was immense. In the midst of the ruins, Smolensk cathedral pointed to the sky. It appeared largely unharmed. I followed the women and the old men and as I entered the cathedral, was deeply impressed by its beauty. It looked intact. The altar was adomed; burning candles and many icons richly embellished with gold bathed the interior in a festive light.
As I went up to the altar with my companions, an old man, poorly dressed and with a flowing beard, spoke to me in broken German.
“Gospodin officer, I am a pope who used to preach here before the Lenin-Stalin era; I have been in hiding now for many years, scraping a living as a shoemaker. Now you have liberated our city. May I say a first mass in this cathedral?”
“How is it,” I asked, “that your cathedral is in such good condition?” His answer surprised me. America in tsarist times bought the church and all its treasures “Immediately after the Revolution, Russians who had emigrated from the Russians who, at the time, were in urgent need of American dollars. The cathedral is American property, which is why everything is-almost-unchanged.”
I have never been able to verify his statement, but it was not very important to me. Without referring to HQ, I gave the pope permission to celebrate mass the next day, for which he wanted to bring in an additional pope.
The following day, I went to Smolensk again, having informed the divisional commander in the meantime; as a precaution, I took along an armored patrol.
The sight that met our eyes when we arrived was breathtaking.
The square in front of the cathedral was full of people moving slowly toward the entrance. With my orderly officer, I jostled my way forward. Already, there was not a corner left in the cathedral in which people were not standing, sitting, or kneeling. We remained standing to one side to avoid disturbing the service by our presence.
I was not familiar with the Russian Orthodox ritual, but the ceremony that now began drew me more and more under its spell.
Invisible behind the altar, one of the two popes began with a monotone chant, which was answered by a choir of eight voices standing in front of the altar. The chanting of the precentor and the choir filled the vast space of the church. The acoustics gave the impression that the chanting came from above, from heaven.
The people fell on their knees and prayed. All had tears in their eyes. For them, it was the first mass for more than twenty years. My companion and I were greatly moved.”
In rejecting NK Jemisin’s call for reconciliation within the SFWA, I declared there can be no reconciliation between the observant and the delusional. Still less can there be any compromise between the Truth and the Lie.
The liars can ban the services. They can revoke memberships, they can deny access, they can reject publications, they can close their eyes, and they can put their hands over their ears. But one thing they cannot do is make their lies real. And sometimes, it is necessary to imitate the marshwiggle, stick one’s hand into the fire, and raise a stink capable of penetrating their illusions.