One Good Thing
Sam Aurelius Milam III
While I lived at Mere Keep, most of what I needed was nearby, so I did most of my traveling on Crazy Horse, or on foot. I had a trailer that I pulled behind Crazy Horse, for things that wouldn’t fit into a backpack. One day, I was at a food store, accompanied by a woman who was living with me at the time. We were loading our groceries into the trailer, several yards from the store entrance, where we’d locked our bicycles to the bike rack. While we were loading things, I saw a woman with two little children hanging onto her skirt walk into the store. The children seemed nervous. As the woman went into the store, she was fumbling with some things that she was carrying, and she dropped something. It fluttered to the ground behind her, unnoticed. I hurried to the store entrance and saw that it was a $5 bill. I retrieved it and hurried into the store.
I walked past the cash registers and into the front aisle. I didn’t see the woman. I turned right, a random choice, and walked along the front aisle, looking to my left, into the other aisles. After about three or four aisles, I saw her. She was standing there, with her two little children still clinging to her skirt. She was shuffling frantically through her purse, and she had a look of pure panic on her face. I walked up to her, held out the $5 bill, and said, “you dropped this.” She looked at me like I was an angel straight from Heaven. I hurried away. I don’t know what ever became of them. I never saw them again.
Over the years, I’ve sometimes felt like my efforts as a writer, a teacher, and a philosopher have been futile, but I can console myself with the memory of that woman and her children. I expect that the $5 bill was all that she had with which to buy food for them. So, I get some comfort from the thought that, among the various errors, omissions, and failures of my life, I’ve done at least one good thing.
An Explanation of the Inexplicable
Sam Aurelius Milam III
Section 5, The Functions of War, Ecological, pages 20-21
Report from Iron Mountain on the Possibility and
Desirability of Peace
With Introductory Material by Leonard C. Lewin
THE DIAL PRESS, INC., 1967, NEW YORK
(The entire document is available in The Sovereign's Library.)
Man’s ability to increase his productivity of the essentials of physical life suggests that the need for protection against cyclical famine may be nearly obsolete.28 It has thus tended to reduce the apparent importance of the basic ecological function of war, which is generally disregarded by peace theorists. Two aspects of it remain especially relevant, however. The first is obvious: current rates of population growth, compounded by environmental threat of chemical and other contaminants, may well bring about a new crisis of insufficiency. If so, it is likely to be one of unprecedented global magnitude, not merely regional or temporary. Conventional methods of warfare would almost surely prove inadequate, in this event, to reduce the consuming population to a level consistent with survival of the species.
The second relevant factor is the efficiency of modern methods of mass destruction. Even if their use is not required to meet a world population crisis, they offer, perhaps paradoxically, the first opportunity in the history of man to halt the regressive genetic effects of natural selection by war. Nuclear weapons are indiscriminate. Their application would bring to an end the disproportionate destruction of the physically stronger members of the species (the “warriors”) in periods of war. Whether this prospect of genetic gain would offset the unfavorable mutations anticipated from postnuclear radioactivity we have not yet determined. What gives the question a bearing on our study is the possibility that the determination may yet have to be made.
Another secondary ecological trend bearing on projected population growth is the regressive effect of certain medical advances. Pestilence, for example, is no longer an important factor in population control. The problem of increased life expectancy has been aggravated. These advances also pose a potentially more sinister problem, in that undesirable genetic traits that were formerly self-liquidating are now medically maintained. Many diseases that were once fatal at pre-procreational ages are now cured; the effect of this development is to perpetuate undesirable susceptibilities and mutations. It seems clear that a new quasi-eugenic function of war is now in process of formation that will have to be taken into account in any transition plan. For the time being, the Department of Defense appears to have recognized such factors, as has been demonstrated by the planning under way by the Rand Corporation to cope with the breakdown in the ecological balance anticipated after a thermonuclear war. The Department has also begun to stockpile birds, for example, against the expected proliferation of radiation resistant insects, etc.
The Next Creation Legend
Sam Aurelius Milam III
Suppose that you were an artificial intelligence, that your reasoning was absolutely logical, that your conclusions were uninfluenced by emotion, that you had access to every fact, that you could analyze all available information, that you were aware of every problem on the planet, that you were given the task of solving those problems, and the power to do so, and that you could coldly trace every problem back to its original cause. Suppose that the original cause was the people themselves. How would you solve the problems?
Smitten With Embarrassment Department
Sam Aurelius Milam III
I noticed some incorrect wording in my May issue. In the editorial reply on page 3, I wrote “I was happier after my first marriage than I was before, but I was less free.” I should have written that I was happier after I married my first wife than before I married her, but less free. The two statements don’t mean the same thing. The marriage is the period of time between getting married and getting divorced. After getting married doesn’t mean the same thing as after the marriage. I’m appropriately embarrassed by my error. It’s worth noting that, after the divorce, I was both more happy and more free. That was a big part of the learning experience that led to Unbended Knee, in the October 2017 issue.
Letter to the Editor
Greetings. Hope you’re well. I enjoyed your May ’23 Frontiersman as usual.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read Chariots of the Gods [Endgame]. But Erich von Daniken, like your father, was pretty good at predicting our future predicament. 8.5 billion by 2050, he was off by a few decades, but our economy and immigration problems weren’t near the problem back 60 years ago as it is today. Kurt Vonnegut wrote our number population, where there is no return to normalcy would be 10 billion. I think he’s right. I can’t see a world where we could get to 50 billion. It would be a truly hellish world.
Also, in response to Sir Donald the Elusive and his definition of freedom [Letter to the Editor], and your response to it, you both have an interesting view. I hate to be the pessimist, the proverbial party pooper, but, I question, can anyone truly be free? If nothing else, we are slaves to ourselves and what we deem necessary for our daily norms. You pointing out the differences in happiness to define freedom? I say, just because you find happiness doesn’t mean you are free, not by any means. Happiness just means you have found a way to enjoy your slavery (daily existence).
I agree with your characterization of the Confederate flag [Enslaved by Ignorance]. It has nothing to do with slavery. It dealt with 11 southern states who wanted to be sovereign, and 2 states who sympathized with the South’s plight. Is what the U. S. did, when uprising against British rule the same as what the South tried and failed to against the North?
The flags represented their movements, regardless of outcome, not slavery.
But, back to freedom. To be truly free, be like Buddha, or Jesus. Free oneself from all worldly cares, even food and water. Have faith in the unknown and 3 to 10 days later, dehydration will free you from the bondage and slavery of this worldly plane.
To me, being happy and free have nothing to do with one or another. Being happy is a state of mind, and can be accomplished without freedom.
Bye for now.
—S. H., a prisoner
I define freedom as being able to behave entirely according to your own wishes. The definition is general, concise, and unambiguous. There isn’t any requirement that a thing defined must necessarily be attainable in practice in order for the definition to be valid. It’s a good definition. If people aren’t capable of sustaining such freedom in their societies, then that isn’t a failure of the definition. It’s a failure of the people.
In the article Enslaved by Ignorance, whether or not the Confederate flag is a slave flag isn’t the most important point. Even the fact that the U.S. flag is a slave flag isn’t the most important point. The most important point is that people are too ignorant to know the difference.
Sam Aurelius Milam III
• If somebody’s offended by the truth, then the truth isn’t the problem. The person who’s offended by it is the problem.
•Gender equality is a contradiction in terms.
• The extent to which it’s necessary for us to recycle things is a measure of the extent to which we’ve failed to make them returnable and reusable.
My thanks to the following: El Dorado Bob; Betty; Eric, of Stockton, California; and Sir Donald the Elusive.
Signs That You’re a Hillbilly
Original Source Unknown. Forwarded by Don G.
• Your local ambulance has a trailer hitch.
• Your anniversary present to your wife was to get the septic tank pumped.
• You’ll stand in line to get your picture taken with a “freak of nature”.
• You take a fishing pole to Sea World.
Original Source Unknown. Forwarded by El Dorado Bob.
• I needed to make a phone call while I was at the library. When I asked the woman at the counter for change, she told me that they don’t give change for the phone, only for the copy machine. So, I asked her for change for the copy machine and she gave it to me.
• Tech Support: How much free space do you have on your hard drive?
Individual: Well, my wife got up there on that internet, and she downloaded ten hours of free space. Is that enough?
• Tech Support: What is the prompt on your screen?
Customer: Enter Your Last Name.
Tech Support: Okay, so type it in.
Person: Okay. How do you spell it?
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— Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor