True Freedom?

I wrote this short story nine years ago as part of a preamble to my as yet unpublished novel “They’ve Crossed the Rubicon.” It was intended to demonstrate the intrusion into the highest levels of government by entities inimical to the United States as it is currently constituted and governed. In this case the entity is unnamed but later in the novel you will discover that while it is a home grown effort it is linked to a long term Russian intelligence operation started under the Soviet KGB. It is part of a study in the use of rationalization and the desire for control by intelligence services to recruit agents of influence and to aid unwitting domestic efforts to change the U.S, into a one-party state. The second half of the preamble is titled “A Secure Room.” One of the reasons for not publishing the novel is that so many of the plot eventualities I wrote about have actually happened in the U.S. It’s a shame, I put several thousand hours into crafting the novel only to have Washington use my plot line in real life. Sigh…. Anyway, here’s the first part. Remember this is nine years old.

True Freedom

She closed the door to the Oval Office, thinking, “I hate Christmas. How can so many people be so happy when so many others are starving and poor?”

She stopped in front of her office door and, looking back at the Secret Service officer standing outside the president’s office, “We’re changing all that: no more Christmas, no more poor people, no more rich people. Just people who act as they’re told in the common good of everyone else. Everybody will be happy. People will have a purpose and having a purpose they’ll be happy. Nietzsche was right, Marx was right and if Lenin had lived longer, he would have shown that, he too, was right. People are happy when they have things to do and when the responsibility of deciding what those things are has been removed from their shoulders.

She knew this because the President was much happier when she put an Executive Order in front of him that only required his signature. And then there was the military, soldiers don’t have to decide what to do or when to do it. While there were lots of examples of how successful collectives had worked at lower organizational levels none had succeeded at the national or international level. “Well, we’re going to change that!” She emphatically thought to herself. “We’re going to change that. There are still lots of strings to pull, lots of marionettes to make dance, but the show is in motion, and the first puppet master has his marionettes on the stage.”
She looks once again at the message on her Blackberry: “Don’t forget we have tickets to the Nutcracker.” She smiles and thinks, “Yes, the Nutcracker is an appropriate reference. It is a well-choreographed Russian ballet.

I have my own puppet, and he sits just down the hall. Why, when we control the White House, does the plan need to go any further? Too bad I’m not in charge.”

She thought this at least seven times a day and while she knew it was perhaps too much, she still felt, on the surface, that it was true. “Too bad I’m not in charge, “yet in the back of her mind she was glad she was not in charge for the number of moving parts in this marionette show would have overwhelmed her. Still, she thought, she had best come out of this undertaking with some authority in the new regime. Authority that was hers and not the assumed authority she had now wherein she used the president’s name whenever she wanted. She was tired of working in the shadows. From college when Professor Stanford had asked her to spy on other students in his international affairs class to now had been a long and difficult odyssey. “Just small things,” he had said. “Like, is anyone interested in who I see or whether I have a closer relationship with some students more than others? Do they want to know about my personal habits? With whom do I live? Do I sleep with my students? Just what are my sexual preferences? Those sorts of things, you know. Just come and tell me if any of the other students are overly interested in my personal life and with whom I may meet.”

She hadn’t asked him why he had chosen her because she was thrilled that she had been noticed by such a leading educator as Professor Albert Stanford. It was a real shame she thought that he had to be named Stanford when he taught at Harvard. And even though she, and every other female with whom he came in contact and not a few males, thought him handsome, he never slept with her. Not through that year, or the three years afterward when she sailed through Harvard Law School in no small part because he tutored her. He knew the professors and what they expected from their students and he counseled her how to give them what they wanted. He gave her answers to complex legal issues and, in doing so, incubated her natural proclivity for Socialism and the promise it offered for America. But at the same time, he advised her to fly false colors lest she run afoul of the Boston Brahmins with whom she would seek her first employment after law school. There too, he was her counsel. Cultivate this person, laugh at his jokes, offer him unsought but sagacious pieces of information about his business deals or personnel (supplied by the professor who seemed to know a goodly amount about what various people were doing.) She spent long hours with the professor discussing this person or that, this issue or that, and she quickly climbed the legal ladder leaving her contemporaries behind.

Then the firm had a junior partner position open in its Washington, D.C. office and she was dispatched into the world where laws aren’t just bent but out-and-out broken. A world where her job was to assist clients in getting around laws and using other laws to intimidate whistleblowers, potential whistleblowers or other individuals inimical to the plans of her deep-pocket patrons. She did not care for it and while the professor and she met less often his counsel was that by establishing her credentials as a loyalist she would, someday be better placed to affect the things she wanted to accomplish. It would take a while, he said, to learn the ins and outs of Washington. He promised her success but only if she was patient and assiduously applied herself. Change comes incrementally he preached, even in his international policy classes. What she needed, he claimed, was a Washington fixture to help her learn how to fight the battle of wit and wills. People’s morals, he explained were like laws, they could be bent or broken. You only needed to know how, when and where to apply the pressure or make the suggestion. It was both art and science and like other crafts not everyone enjoyed success, but he recognized in her a strength of purpose and he was sure great things would attend her efforts.

He had, he said, a friend in Washington who was almost as smart as he. This friend could help her along the way just as he had been doing and of course, they would continue to meet from time to time but she was to put her trust in her new mentor. The introduction took place at a small lodge in Vermont during a wet spring weekend. He held her hand as she crossed the bridge, and it would be another two years before she truly realized where that bridge had led.
She had never once met a Russian or a Chinese, not a single one, everyone with whom she had contact were well-respected Americans, each, they professed, dedicated to the greater good of the country. They thought like she did, or was it she thought like they did? Either way, they were sympatico and all believed that they had the duty to put America on the right and correct path. It wasn’t that she or they had an active dislike for the average American, in fact, she felt sorry for the majority of her fellow citizens because they were simply not intelligent enough to grasp the concept of true belonging; of finding their correct place in the greater society and being happy in that place.

That was the basic flaw in Americanism to date, the thought that unintelligent people could truly succeed in society. The trying and failing made people unhappy and created divides between those who did succeed and those who didn’t. The so-called American dream was, in fact, the reason American society did not succeed. It allowed individuals to select their own paths and this created tensions among individuals and groups. Once people became conditioned to doing what they were told and being where they were supposed to be, they would be much happier. There would, of course, always be the occasional malcontent but they could be handled.
She almost chuckled when she thought of “handling a malcontent.” The easiest way was for them to simply disappear, but a government had to be careful, for if the information of such disappearances were to somehow become public knowledge, well, then you had to deal with larger groups of people and that could lead to unpleasant circumstances. This was one of the things she had discussed with others within the group and they had come to the conclusion that the answer to the problem of malcontents was twofold: First, control of the media was necessary so that individuals could never achieve traction with anti-government polemics; Second, networks of informants reporting on individuals who took anti-government positions would be set up and run by an internal security agency responsible for defending the homeland. The media had already become mostly compliant and controlling it was not going to be a significant problem since many in the media already shared the idea of an intellectual elite directing the country, assuming, of course that they, the media, were part of that elite. They would be encouraged to continue to think so while certain of them would be weeded out over time. The networks of informants would take more time because populating an agency with the correct people would take time. They must be party loyalists willing to defend not just the government but those in the party who were in charge of the government.

“Hmm…. Party,” she thought. “Interesting concept. Did they really need a ‘party’ per se? Might there not be simply a group designated by the appropriate people. That would require a new constitution but once they had control, a new constitution could be managed. First, they would only need a constitutional amendment allowing for majority rule which would then allow them to call for a new constitution. With the majority rule amendment in place, they could also abolish state boundaries and call for the superiority of national law over state law under the provision of one set of laws for the entire population. The former states could be organized into regions each with a governor appointed by the national group but subordinate to that group. You didn’t want to give governors the power to compete among themselves as members of the overall controlling group. It would lead to internecine struggles and that would lessen overall power. No, the governors would simply be administrators unable to make any change to regulations set by the national governing group.

So many things to do. But they had a good start. “We have the White House and Congress and will within months have a majority when we add justices to the Supreme Court. Plus,” and she did chuckle when she thought this, “We’ll never lose another election.”

Still, there was a major problem with several of the conservatives who would have to be somehow silenced and some of the media outlets put out of business or otherwise marginalized. Social media was no problem because they had already fallen into line and knew they would eventually replace television as the primary means of disseminating information to the public at large. They also understood that the games and contests they could manipulate on-line would help to indoctrinate and pacify large segments of the population. Protecting the social media companies and allowing the monopolies not only to continue but to grow was one of the specific goals with which she had been entrusted by the provisional leadership group that was calling the plays from the sidelines. That the members of this group were bonified elected officials in Congress, as well as long-serving senior members of the bureaucracy gave her confidence that the process of creating a truly great country was possible.

There would be lots of work to get people to accept the new concept of equality, “The ‘real concept’ of equality” as she termed it in her discourses with members of the group. It was really a simple explanation, people would be grouped by their intellectual abilities and placed in bands. Each band would have its own groups, schools, activities and assigned jobs. No band would physically appear different from other groups, but the level of their activities would differ based of the intellectual differences. Housing and subsistence would be provided by the government. No private ownership would be allowed but everyone would receive what they needed in order to contribute to the society. There would be no taxes since salaries would be set and paid by the government. No taxes would make people happy since they were constantly grousing about how much of their income the government took. Being provided rent-free housing would make people happy. Having a productive job, whether it was in administration, janitorial cleaning or producing food stuffs, would make people happy and happy people will want to continue to be happy so they will be amenable to whatever changes the government requires to continue to provide for their happiness.

She sat behind the large wooden desk with its fasces like carved corners, leaned back in the oversized leather executive chair and continued to contemplate how the new history books would tell her story as one of the true liberators of the American people.

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