EMERICA: A Nation of Self-Reliance
By Tom Waltz
Copyright © 2001, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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.
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
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
F. S. Fitzgerald
(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
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
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
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
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.
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