I am writing this blog–and my novels–as a means to explore belief: how we gain it; lose it; impose it on others; and sometimes use it to justify our base actions. To guide my explorations, I rely on history’s markings, particularly the history of the United States occupation of the Philippines. It is a period that offers untapped, fertile field for narrative fiction. Read more …
When the Suez Canal opened in 1869, travelers between Europe and Asia–freed from having to round the Cape of Good Horn–cut their travel time from four months to four weeks. The poet Walt Whitman recognized the canal’s significance and wrote:
Passage to India!
Lo, soul, seest thou not God’s purpose from the first?
The earth to be spann’d, connected by network,
The races, neighbors, to marry and be given in marriage,
The oceans to be cross’d, the distant brought near,
The lands to be welded together.
Can the American public be manipulated into supporting a needless war and the invasion of foreign soil?
On February 15, 1898, the U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, Cuba. Two days later–a month before a naval investigation issued its finding that it was “unable to obtain evidence fixing the responsibility for the destruction of the Maine upon any person”–the New York Journal drew its own conclusions: “Destruction of the War Ship Maine was the Work of an Enemy.” Newspaper Publishers William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer understood that a war with Spain would both sell newspapers and elevate them to positions of national prominence. They stoked the public’s hunger for war with their cry: “Remember the Maine. To Hell with Spain.”
Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan blithely divided the world into “makers” and “takers” of wealth. Ayn Rand‘s glorification of makers (those whom she claimed embody the highest moral purpose by pursuing rational self interests) and her disregard of takers (those who impede the wheels of growth with their demands) has been a well-established trope within certain circles. Rand rejected faith and religion, insisting that reason is the only means of acquiring knowledge. Ignoring Rand’s own appeal to emotions, are there reasons why those with wealth should be concerned about those who don’t? Read more…