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EMERICA: A Nation of Self-Reliance


By Tom Waltz

Copyright © 2001, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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AMERICAN LITERATURE BUREAU of INVESTIGATION

FROM: F. S. FITZGERALD (SPECIAL AGENT, INTELLIGENCE DIVISION)

TO: E. HEMINGWAY (DIRECTOR, A.L.B.I.)

DATE: 21 MARCH 2000

SUBJECT: OPERATION "SELF DENIAL"



1. All plans germane to subject-named Op executed. Preliminary WIA/KIA estimates submitted by field commanders and will be avail NLT 27 March 2000.

2. Compound survivors have been incarcerated and interrogation begun. Standard procedures per operations order.

3. Enclosed, find selected journal entries salvaged from compound ruins. Journal appears to be the work of the compound leader (JOHN FLETCHER). Fletcher believed eliminated during the operation. Until further investigation into the origin of these entries can be completed, status remains "Non-Official".

4. Public Relations department reports 96% success rate with their media blackout efforts.

Signed,

F. S. Fitzgerald
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(Excerpts from compound leader's journal)



10 January 00. Today we celebrated the "Emerican Decade of Self-Reliance". All FreeThinkers were present in the main meeting hall for the event. After music presentations and poetry readings by the youth, I delivered my sermon. It was one of my better sermons, I must admit, and I am very pleased with the response. It is still hard for me to believe that ten years have passed since I first discovered the Great Prophet Emerson and his all-important doctrine of "Self-Reliance". During my sermon, I once again shared with my fellow FreeThinkers the passage that opened my eyes and gave me the strength to build our Emerica: "And truly it demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity, and has ventured to trust himself for a taskmaster. High be his heart, faithful his will, clear his sight, that he may in good earnest be doctrine, society, law to himself, that a simple purpose may be to him as strong as iron necessity is to others." I saw tears from many members of the gathering -- happy tears. Tears of freedom. Emerson has guided us to this life of contentment: "Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will."

Our United Free Thinkers of Emerica is not a nation of discontent. Your faithful disciple, John Fletcher.




13 January 00. FreeThinker Martin provided me with this quarter's Emerican financial summary today. Friend Martin has been invaluable to us since joining our small nation five years ago. Leaving his Conformist life has been -- as he has told me on many occasions -- a resurrection of his inborn love for numbers. His skills have helped to keep our beautiful Emerica in a remarkable state of financial well being, and his report today gave further indication that our nation is on a continual path of positive growth. Friend Martin thanked me as he left my chambers for helping him to find joy in his abilities once again. I reminded him that it was he, and the Great Emerson, who are to be thanked, for I am only a messenger. Friend Martin made the choice to leave his oppressive career, and the Prophet's writings were his guide to our free land of non-conformity. If my parents could be here to see how he has been able to manage my inheritance money -- this nation's money -- so brilliantly, I'm sure they would be more than pleased. The little faith they had in me before their deaths would be rectified; they would see that I have indeed found a Way. Yet, I am satisfied -- I know, now, the Truth: "Few and mean as my gifts may be, I actually am, and do not need for my own assurance or the assurance of my fellows any secondary testimony."

Friend Martin once told me the words that saved him, and I remembered them as he left me today: "The objection to conforming to usages that have become dead to you, is, that it scatters your force. It loses your time and blurs the impression of your character." FreeThinker Martin's character has been made clear again.

For Friend Martin -- for all FreeThinkers -- I thank you, Great Prophet. Your faithful disciple, John Fletcher.




25 January 00. The Great Disciple Thoreau once said, "The philosopher is in advance of his age even in the outward form of his life. He is not fed, sheltered, clothed, warmed, like his contemporaries. How can a man be a philosopher and not maintain his vital heat by better methods than other men?" These words from Prophet Emerson's first great follower have always shown my fellow Emericans and myself the way to our survival needs. Ours is a self-reliant nation, free from the outside influence of the Conformist world's commercial exploitation. We have always been self-providers, taking from God's earth the gifts He has blessed us with. Our way has never been easy, but we know it is how it should be. "Accept the place divine Providence has found for you," the Great Prophet reminds us. "The society of your contemporaries, the connexion of events." It is with these words that I will endeavor to trace today's remarkable happenings.

I was awakened early this morning by FreeThinker Morgan. She was in a state of extreme distress, so much so, in fact, that I grabbed her by her arms and forcefully made her calm herself. As she caught her breath, I asked her what was causing her to act in such a way. She quickly informed me that there had been some sort of shooting accident on FreeThinker Boone's hunting expedition during the night. Fearing that one of my fellow FreeThinkers was in trouble, I hurriedly dressed and headed to the infirmary. Upon arriving, I found FreeThinker Boone standing outside the door, his face in his hands. I pulled his hands away, and immediately I could see that he was crying. Still believing someone to be injured, I asked him what were the specifics of his weeping. I was not prepared for his answer.

FreeThinker Boone had led the weekly hunting expedition out the night before in order to replenish our nation's meat reserves. Friend Boone explained that the expedition had been going quite successfully until a Conformist officer challenged their hunting group. Friend Boone said that the man claimed to be a game warden, and he told Friend Boone that they were all to be arrested for illegal poaching. Friend Boone is one of our long-term citizens, and knows the ramifications of outside interference with our nation's policies. He told me that his plan was to quietly surrender to the Conformist, hoping to attract as little attention as possible to our Emerica. Unfortunately, one of the members of the expedition was FreeThinker Remington, a newer member of our nation. Friend Remington is an intelligent young man and a vital asset to our community, but he does tend to display a hotheaded temperament at times. Before Friend Boone could stop him, Friend Remington shot and killed the Conformist with his hunting rifle. Knowing that the entire situation had taken a turn for the worse, Friend Boone and the rest collected up the dead man's body and brought it back to the compound. That was when Friend Morgan called me from my rest.

After speaking with Friend Boone, I summoned Friend Remington back to my chambers. I asked him why he had committed such a violent act against another man, even if the man was a Conformist? His answer both shocked me and filled me with pride. He quoted the Great Disciple Thoreau with both ease and understanding. "'The only obligation which I have to assume, is to do at any time what I think right,'" is what he said to me. There was nothing I could say in response. His words rang true for him now as they had for me ten years ago. I thought of my parents.

I sent him away and told him to gather up Friend Boone and some of the others to dispose of the body.

This, I fear, marks the end of our solitude. The Conformist will be missed, and others will come for him. Our nation will face its first test of strength soon. We are ready. "It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have His work made manifest by cowards."

O Great Prophet, be with us now. Your faithful disciple, John Fletcher.




27 January 00. I gathered the senior-most FreeThinkers together in the meeting hall today to discuss the events of the hunting expedition and to set up contingency plans to counter-act possible Conformist meddling. There were a variety of options presented, along with complaints from some of the members. FreeThinker Hawthorne stated that he felt we should turn over Friend Remington to the Conformist authorities. He continued to insist that this would be best for the entire nation, saving us the trouble of having to defend ourselves for one member's sin. Friend Hawthorne has never been, in my mind, of a very strong or, dare I say, reliable constitution. I asked him what led him to believe that Friend Remington's admittedly brash actions were sinful and he informed me that they went against God's sacred laws. In the hopes of avoiding further debate on the issue, I reminded Friend Hawthorne of the following parable, which was given to us so wisely by the Great Prophet:

"I remember an answer which when quite young I was prompted to make to a valued advisor who was wont to importune me with dear old doctrines of the church. On my saying, What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions, if I wholly live from within? my friend suggested -- 'But these impulses may be from below, not from above.' I replied, 'They do not seem to me to be as such; but if I am the Devil's child, I will live then from the Devil.' No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it."

Friend Hawthorne was silent as I let the Great Prophet's words sink into his thoughts. Before continuing the meeting, I explained to him that he would do well to learn a few things from young Friend Remington. These words were, I realize, harsh, but the Great Essay tells us "to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways... Your goodness must have some edge to it -- else it is none."

The meeting closed with all in agreement that the armory should be opened and all FreeThinkers given the appropriate training required to utilize our stockpile of weapons of Free Thought.

Great Prophet, we will not "shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born." Your faithful disciple, John Fletcher.




4 February 00. The battle for truth has begun. As expected, Conformist authorities arrived at our nation today in order to conduct what they termed a "standard search". I met them at the entrance gate and told them that their so-called laws and standards were of no consequence or concern to our freethinking Emerica. The leader of these men explained that they would return with not only more men, but a search warrant as well. I closed the door.

After their departure, I gathered together all FreeThinkers into the main plaza. They listened closely as I told them that the time had come to protect our nation from Conformist attack. I held a copy of the Great Essay in my hand and read from it, reminding them of the words that our great nation was founded on. "'Every true man is a cause, a country, and an age,'" I told them. "Our actions are justified in the eyes of God and the Great Prophet." I continued: "'To be great is to be misunderstood. your genuine action will explain itself and will explain your other genuine actions.'" There were cheers from all around the plaza as I shouted, "'Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string!'" and "'Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist!'"

As I spoke, weapons of truth were placed in the hands of each FreeThinker, young and old alike. We have conducted training for a week now in their use, and I am confident that all are more than prepared to handle them properly. As I sent my fellow Free-Thinkers to their pre-determined battle stations, I explained to them this: "'And we are now men, and must accept in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark!'"

O Great Prophet, thank you for this opportunity! Your faithful disciple, John Fletcher.




6 February 00. Today I write with immense pride! The Conformists made good on their promise to return to our great nation, bringing with them more men and more weapons. Our compound is well fortified; much of the monies from my inheritance, and those brought into our land by all new FreeThinkers, having been utilized quite effectively in the area of defense. As such, the Conformists, with their search warrant, were met only by defiant walls -- walls protecting our Emerica! The leader of the intruders announced through a loudspeaker that, as a result of our non-cooperation, they would enter our free land by force. Although my argument is not with these men individually (the Great Disciple Thoreau once said, "the standing army is only an arm of the standing government"), I could not allow their entrance onto our sacred grounds. Reminding myself what the Great Prophet taught -- "Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles" -- I raised my rifle and shot the leader through his heart. Feeling the need to safeguard our beautiful nation, my fellow FreeThinkers began to fire on the Conformists as well.

The return fire from outside our walls was minimal -- we had surprised the Conformists with our courage. They had fully expected us to react as any other weak-minded Conformist would. They do not know what the Great Prophet said: "With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."

The gun battle was short-lived, and as I put these words down, the Conformists sit approximately 1,000 yards from our free land, their cowardly retreat a great victory for our Emerica. I can see them there, in the distance. They will return, I know, and we will be once again ready for them. "If we live truly, we shall see truly. It is as easy for a strong man to be strong, as it is for the weak to be weak."

Your wisdom is our battle cry, Great Prophet. Your faithful disciple, John Fletcher.




13 February 00. A week has passed now since our battle with the Conformists. Morale remains high here in Emerica and all remain loyal to the cause. The Great Essay is our rock -- our strength. The Conformists have made no secret of the fact they are building a larger force in their encampment. Their numbers are big, but their will is small. Yesterday they brought in three armored vehicles to support them, and many of the FreeThinkers became uneasy. Seeing the insecurity in their faces, I stood on a large ammunition crate and shared with them more wisdom from the Great Prophet. I said, "'Bid the invaders take the shoes of their feet, for God is here within!'" O Great Emerson, how your words ring with the Truth of Truths! All were again filled with hope upon hearing them; all held firmly to their positions!

For you, O Emerson... for you! Your faithful disciple, John Fletcher.




28 February 00. The standoff continues. The Conformists have begun to show signs that their patience is dwindling -- another example of minds that have grown frail with conformity. Their new leader once again contacted me on the phone in order to negotiate his way out of this stalemate. His words were threats -- no creative insights or new ideas, simply warnings and accusations. He explained that they planned on taking our Emerica by force within the next few weeks if we do not give into their demands for surrender. Surrender? Ha! It is they who have already surrendered to the paralysis of Conformist society. It is as the Great Prophet said: "Well, most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion." I laughed at this so-called leader... a man I cannot trust. "This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars. Their every truth is not quite true."

O Great Prophet, help us to teach them your Truth! Your faithful disciple, John Fletcher.




13 March 00. The enemy build-up persists, as does the desire of all FreeThinkers of this great Emerica to defy the Conformists' futile war effort. Their leader called me today and repeated his threat of a forceful takeover. "Your time is running out," he told me. I listened as he requested that we free all the children below the age of eighteen from the compound. They did not want innocent blood on their hands, was his reason. I asked him, "How do you free that which is already free?" He became enraged as I related to him these words of the Great Prophet: "'Do not think the youth has no force because he cannot speak to you and me. Infancy conforms to nobody!'" Before I cut the connection for the last time, I told him that our mindset would not change. We will all stay, and we will fight! "'Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.'"

Great Emerson, I know you will guide us to victory! Your faithful disciple, John Fletcher.




16 March 00. I have little time to write today. There have been strange movements in the Conformist camp throughout the day and it appears they will attempt another attack. We are prepared! "'Let us enter into the state of war, and wake Thor and Woden, courage and constancy, in our Saxon breasts!'"

We feel your presence, Great Emerson! Your faithful disciple, John Fletcher.




18 March 00. Wounded and dead all around me! These dead people are heroes... they died valiantly. As I write, I see the three armored vehicles approaching... they follow the barrage of bullets we have endured now for hours. They bring fire... already our Emerica burns! This is not a victory for them... it is for us! I will be free of them just as I delivered myself from my parents. They also underestimated my strength and my will. It was their last mistake. They did not know I had found you, Great Prophet. "'O father, O mother... I have lived with you after appearances hitherto. Henceforward I am the truth's!'" By my own hands, and with your wisdom, Great Prophet, I escaped them. Ten years ago. It will be no different today. I will destroy these new Conformists as well! I will prevail!

I see them now, outside the walls. We fight on!

I will be with you soon, Beloved Emerson... soon! Your eternal disciple, John Fletcher.




Tom Waltz was born and raised in Clinton, Michigan, and currently makes his home in San Diego, California, where he works as an Electronic Commerce Analyst by day, freelance writer by night. He is married and a father of a wonderful daughter. He recently began working on his first novel, and continues to write short stories whenever possible. He has been published in Mesa Visions, PurpleProse Magazine, Underworld Magazine, The Harrow Magazine, Alternate Realities Webzine, ReggieJackson.com, 3 A.M. Publishing.Com, Images Insight, The Wayfarer Online, genrEZONE Magazine, Outsider Ink, HotRead.com, The Absinthe Literary Review, KISS Asylum, Bias Onus Quarterly, Cyber Age Adventures (www.cyberageadventures.com), and 3 A.M. Magazine (www.3ampublishing.com), where he works as a staff writer.

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