This is a rewrite of my first published work. It is a science fiction set in a colony on a distant planet founded by American and one generation removed from having declared independence. The main character is Marcus Woodward, which this excerpt refers to as "our subject". It is a vehicle for me to comment on our nation and its history and culture, and the unique state of my generation in particular, comparing it to older generations in our country, particularly the first few generations of the 19th century.
It is hard for us to imagine the influence of the Militiaman’s Reward— something copied from classic American history and ancient Roman, repeated a few times throughout history, and today only mimicked as by a shadow, really a larger devil’s mockery of a smaller—upon men of our subject’s day and age.
Men of our age and society may choose to participate in one of this vast, amoral empire’s many police actions, in which all of their equipment, lodging, and sustenance is provided over the course of years, and a small fraction of them are even wounded by combat, let alone killed. If they choose not to participate, often it is only base cowardice born of empty hopes in the world— human prudence— and they have no moral compunctions one way or another, seeing neither on one side any great ideal for which to strive— and how could they? For there is none. “Freedom” rings hollow and means nothing in these acts of violent subjugation against foreign peoples. Nor on the other side do they see the evils— the homosexuality, the infanticide, the euthanasia, the destruction of the nuclear family— being spread, which ought to keep them out. They are the truest mercenaries. And their reward is the privilege of a small-rate mortgage (still much larger usury than any colonial could imagine) for a modern home on a quarter-acre.
But in that age, the infernal life of “freedom” was novel, and there was much land close at hand, and the savages were so far from sympathy, and men died like flies, and they had to procure all of their own equipment, and the reward was thirty-three acres of virgin soil, often with untouched bodies of water both flowing and sitting, freshly terraformed by the federal government, and a high place in society. Nor had the morals degraded so far, and there was the appeasement of seeing the occasional surviving native wear civilized apparel, speak English, in some places of middling politics make a wage, and in the furthest liberal— such as the homeplace of our subject— vote. When a man spoke of “freedom”, there was a vision of dirt beneath assembled lumber, not digits on a screen slowly decreasing over thirty years of dance and tumble to avoid inflation and interest, not two or three sales of a dwelling with mystifying design principles that could be “improved” by a process of modeling the vain and fickle popular taste, so easy to fail and choose the wrong color for the living-room. And if the color was right, there was still to suffer oceans of paperwork, lawyers, fees, insurance, agreements, agents, all just to swindle your neighbor into buying something he cannot afford just as you cannot afford it! We are pygmy sharks in an ocean devoid of lesser prey than ourselves, and as Holy Writ says: “Woe to you who join field to field and house to house, shall you dwell alone in the midst of the land?” We approach our divine reckoning swiftly. Every day adds new merit to the Evangelical Counsels, and especially that of holy poverty.
But these fresh, young, new heretics lived in a world of dirt, blood, and savagery. Their motivations were the primeval beginnings of which is now our current final devolutionary stage."
If you would like to purchase my books, you can find them at Taurusnecrus.com. There you will also find handmade crafts from my wife, a model of virtue. This particular book is still in the works, but a similar one available now is called Splendor.