With great solemnity, “Defense” Secretary Robert Gates imparted on West Point cadets this Friday a hard-earned pearl of newly discovered wisdom:
“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here.
In other words, ”Never get involved in a land war in Asia.”
Sounds like good advi… Wait,what? Not everyone knows this already? Inconceivable!
Any culturally literate person has seen The Princess Bride at least once in the last 24 years1 and certainly knows about the most famous classic blunder:
Over a decade ago, a Russian paleontologist wrote an alternative take on the War of the Ring from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Recently translated into English, Kirill Yeskov’s The Last Ringbearer tells the tale from the point of view of Mordor, the bad guys in Tolkien’s epic.
History is usually written by the victors, but now the truth of the War of the Ring has finally come out. Gandalf is a warmonger bent on destroying a bastion of civilization dedicated to reason, science, technology, and industrialization because science “destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men!” The elves are bent on world domination and Aragorn is a Machiavellian schemer whose strings are pulled by his wife, the elf Arwen.
If you’re intrigued, you can learn more about The Last Ringbearer from the Salon.com article “Middle-Earth according to Mordor” and, also on Salon.com, the author’s own account of why he wrote the novel. You can download The Last Ringbearer for free and give it a read. Here’s to hoping Christopher Tolkien doesn’t aggress against Yeskov by launching a copyright or trademark infringement lawsuit.
Yesterday on LewRockwell.com, Jeff Riggenbach posted a short essay entitled “Was Robert A. Heinlein a Libertarian?” It reminded me of how much I enjoyed Heinlein’s incredible novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, for its witty characters and thought-provoking political dialogue.
Besides the inimitable Mike (who is actually a computer), my favorite character was definitely Professor Bernardo de la Paz, affectionately called “Prof” throughout the book. He identifies himself a rational anarchist and always has something interesting to add to whatever is going on at the time.
I have taken the liberty to type out my favorite quotes from the book for your reading pleasure. Maybe it will inspire you to read the novel in full…
“Under what circumstances may the State justly place its welfare above that of a citizen?”
“Prof, as I see, [there] are no circumstances under which [the] State is justified in placing its welfare ahead of mine.”
“Good, we have a starting point.”
~ Professor de la Paz and Manuel O’Kelly-Davis