Category Archives: Literature

A Political Thought From H.G. Wells (with a footnote from Tocqueville)

I have thoroughly enjoyed three of H.G. Wells’ science fiction novels in the past few weeks: The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, and just today, I was completely enraptured by his telling of The Time Machine.  Admittedly, there’s some decidedly communistic analysis of both present and future conditions in The Time Machine that frankly is just wrong.  However, I think Wells himself was somewhat disenfranchised with the Communist/Socialist utopia embodied by many intellectuals of his day.  I gathered this from the insights of the Time Traveler regarding his experience with human civilization in the year 802,701 A.D.

During that year, (spoiler alert), the Time Traveler finds two classes of men co-existing.   One class, the Eloi, live in a naive and childlike daze above ground.  They frolic in the daylight sun, eat fruit off the trees, bathe in sparkling streams of water, and have no economic, rational, or otherwise laborious concerns that would cause stress.   The other class, the Morlocks, lives in a brutal sub-world underneath the earth’s surface.  Their lives are run by machines and they are scared and bedazzled whenever confronted with light.  Their long existence underneath the earth has transformed them into hideous and bleached creatures with enormous and dilated eyes.   Nevertheless, they are humans–degenerate, ugly, and barbaric–but still humans.

As the Time Traveler spends his first days in this future world, he theorizes that the Eloi are in a state of communist perfection (not knowing of the existence of the terrible Morlocks yet).  To him, the Eloi live a life of no worries, no labor, and no danger, just perfection and utopia.  However, when he discovers the existence of the Morlocks, he hypothesizes that the Eloi are remnants of the capitalist overlords, which is why they live in wealth.  Meanwhile, the Morlocks are leftovers of the proletariat, living in misery.  But when the Time Traveler actually descends into the nest of the Morlocks, he discovers that it is they that hold the power over the Eloi.  They make everything above the world easy and peaceful for the Eloi until the time comes to eat.  At that point, the Morlocks capture and kill the fatted Eloi that they’ve been harvesting for the purposes of consumption all along.  In other words, the human race has degenerated into two groups–one that is lazy, non-intelligent, frivolous, and cripplingly innocent; and the other that is savage, brutal, and cannibalistic.  I truly appreciated this because it seemed to me to show that that Wells, at least at the time of this writing, might have believed there was a pitfall behind the coming revolution of the proletariat as predicted by Marx and other communists.  Wells seemed to acknowledge that such a revolution would create an illusion of utopia, but otherwise continue to perpetuate the use of force by one group to dominate another group.

And so, in chapter 10, the Time Traveller takes time to contemplate this miserable state of the human condition in the year 802,701.  His thoughts were to me extremely prophetic, and at the same time, highly sobering.  Although we do not face a future tomorrow of barbaric Under-World Morlocks and idiotic Upper-World Eloi, it is the kind of direction we should not want to take.  We obviously don’t want to be like the Morlocks, but just as importantly, we do not want to be like the Eloi.  At this, let’s see what Wells had to say through the eyes of the Time Traveller as he gazes over this new world (with my emphasis added):

“Here was the same beautiful scene, the same abundant foliage, the same splendid palaces and magnificent ruins, the same silver river running between its fertile banks. The gay robes of the beautiful people moved hither and thither among the trees. Some were bathing in exactly the place where I had saved Weena, and that suddenly gave me a keen stab of pain. And like blots upon the landscape rose the cupolas above the ways to the Under-world. I understood now what all the beauty of the Over- world people covered. Very pleasant was their day, as pleasant as the day of the cattle in the field. Like the cattle, they knew of no enemies and provided against no needs. And their end was the same.

I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. It had committed suicide. It had set itself steadfastly towards comfort and ease, a balanced society with security and permanency as its watchword, it had attained its hopes – to come to this at last. Once, life and property must have reached almost absolute safety. The rich had been assured of his wealth and comfort, the toiler assured of his life and work. No doubt in that perfect world there had been no unemployed problem, no social question left unsolved. And a great quiet had followed.

To me, these are clearly the words of a man who recognizes that, despite the wonderful predictions of a utopia brought about through the overthrow of the capitalists, there is something more sinister in its victory than anything that the previous civilizations had to offer: the death of the intellect and the nullification of the human soul.

I end this with (as the title of this post promised) a footnote from Alexis de Tocqueville, the author of Democracy in America.   Tocqueville’s greatest fear for the future of America was that it would turn into a nation of sheep, governed by shepherds who only pretend to care about the sheep on the outside.  So Tocqueville feared that they would keep the sheep very happy and content with themselves, allowing the shepherds to do as they would in the shadows (sounds just a bit like the Morlocks and the Eloi, doesn’t it?).  The nature of this power is that it,

“does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.” (Democracy in America, p. 662, Mansfield and Winthrop translation)

So it appears to me that Wells’ Morlocks and Eloi, upon closer examination, are just Tocqueville’s concerns carried to very extreme conclusions.  However, the principle is the same.

Tomorrow, we will not literally be the Eloi cattle to feed the Morlocks, but I ask you: are we becoming the timid and industrious animals that are content to allow our political masters to make us fat and happy while they work their schemes and systems upon society?  Are we becoming like the Eloi in that we don’t know (and don’t care) about the fundamental things of life and the expansion of our intellectual capacity and the strengthening of our moral fibers?  Do we just want comfort and ease under a seemingly benign slavery to bureaucrats, congressmen, and presidents,  or do we want to hardship, sacrifice, endurance, and liberty under the sovereignty of God’s power?

Just a thought from my reading of H.G. Wells (with a footnote from Tocqueville).

"Like the cattle, they knew of no enemies and provided against no needs. And their end was the same." - H.G. Wells, "The Time Machine"

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“Mommy!” – A Short Story by Jason Hughey

In response to the Casey Anthony non-guilty verdict, many people are expressing outrage.  I admit to being upset over it as well, but I also must admit that I am not surprised.  Additionally, my anger over this case does not exceed my anger over legalized abortion.

A justice system that legally protects and sanctions the murder of babies inside the womb cannot be expected to deliver just verdicts.  Although it is right to be upset about the Casey Anthony trial as a great injustice, we cannot lose sight of the fact that mothers murder their children by the thousands every day under legal protection.  Based on this precedent, Casey Anthony should’ve been expected to go free all along.

This is the fundamental issue: Casey Anthony, if indeed guilty of this murder, did nothing more than what happens every day legally in abortion clinics.  If you are outraged over this trial, then I must ask you, where has that outrage been every single day when you thought about legalized abortion?

That’s all that I’m going to say from an analytical perspective.  Instead of further analyzing the case, I’m going to re-post a short story that I wrote and posted as a Facebook note years ago.  I trust it will be fresh for many because I have a larger audience of FB friends and online readers than I did then.   For those who have already read it and are willing to read it again, I trust it will have the same (or perhaps even greater) impact.   I will add that there is graphic content in this story and that it’s meant for mature readers.

Mommy!
by Jason Hughey

“Where are we going, mommy?” asked Rachel from the backseat. Her innocent 5-year old face peered curiously out of the car window in an attempt to derive some sort of clue as to the destination point of this trip. She squealed with delight when she saw the pet store with puppies in the window.

“Are we going to the pet store, mommy?” she asked excitedly.

“No, we’re going to the clinic,” Mommy replied. “I’ve made an appointment for you to be seen by the doctor.”

“What’s a doctor, mommy?”

Mommy replied, “A doctor is someone who checks on your health and makes sure you’re ok. He wants to make sure you feel well.”

“But I feel GREAT, mommy,” exclaimed Rachel, making a big gesture with her arms to prove how “great” she felt. Her eyes gleemed as she broke out in a bubbly smile to add to her confidence. Then she added, “Can we go see the puppies?”

“No, sweetie,” replied her mother. “We need to make sure you’re healthy, and the doctor will do that. Derek and I think it’s best for us and for you.”

The little girl’s smile disappeared. She didn’t like Derek. Ever since mommy had called him her “boyfriend,” Derek had done nothing but regard Rachel with disgust. Sometimes when she asked him questions or tried to get him to play with her, he would mutter something like “Stupid kid…” and shoo her away. Rachel didn’t know what he meant, but she knew he didn’t mean nice things when he said it.

A few minutes later, their car pulled into the parking lot of the clinic. Mommy took Rachel’s hand and led her into the reception area. Derek was there and rose to meet them.

“Hey, babe, how you doing?” He casually winked at Rachel’s mother, but looked at Rachel with a smirk. Rachel leaned closer to her mother for security.

“I’m doing ok, Derek. Thanks for being here,” replied Rachel’s mother. But her voice relayed a tone of anxiety and nervousness. It didn’t make Rachel feel comfortable.

Derek casually shrugged. “It’s no problem. Wanted to make sure you went through with the decision and everything. If you really love me, you know, we kinda’ have to do this.”

“I know, I know, and I do think we’ve made the right decision, Derek. Uhh…I’m just…something just is nagging at me and I don’t know what it is. Are you sure we’ve done the right thing?”

“Perfectly sure,” replied Derek. Trust me, you won’t worry like this after it’s over. It’s just a safe, normal procedure.”

“Right, I know, I know…” replied Rachel’s mother.

A door opened and a stern looking nurse stepped into the room. She half spoke, half barked out:

“Rachel Aeron.”

Rachel’s mother got up and grabbed Rachel’s hand. Rachel was beginning to feel scared. She didn’t like the look of the nurse and she didn’t like being dragged towards the door by her mother’s dry, cold hand.

“Is this the little girl?” asked the nurse.

“Yes,” Rachel’s mother said. “She’s ready for the appointment.”

“Excellent. Well, wait out here, Mrs. Aeron. We’ll take care of everything inside,” replied the nurse.

“Thank you,” replied Rachel’s mom.

The nurse took Rachel by the hand and led her to the door. Rachel turned around and looked at her mother with big frightened eyes.

“It’s going to be ok,” said her mommy. “You’ll be fine.”

But her mommy didn’t kiss her, hug her, or even smile when she spoke these words. Her face was pale and her lips quivered. Rachel didn’t like it.

The door closed and the nurse took Rachel into a small room and told her to wait. The doctor would come shortly.

Rachel was very scared now. She looked around the room. There was a table in the middle of it. There was also a sink next to the wall with two cabinets above it. The walls were white and bare.

The door to the room opened and in walked the doctor with the nurse. The doctor’s countenance was even more gloomy than that of his counterpart. They closed the door behind them. The doctor looked at Rachel and gruffly told her to “get on the table.”

Rachel walked to the big table in the middle of the room. But she couldn’t get on top of it. It was too tall for her.

The nurse said, “She’s too short.”

The doctor replied roughly, “I see that. Pick her up and put her on it.”

As the nurse bent down to pick her up, Rachel began to cry. As she was placed on the table, she felt overwhelmed with insecurity looking up at the doctor and nurse menacingly standing over her.

Then the doctor walked over to one of the cabinets. He reached inside and pulled out two objects. The first was a small knife, about 6 inches long. The next object was a longer blade…about 18 inches long.

Rachel’s crying grew to an intense screaming as she saw the knives.

“Hold her still,” said the doctor.

The nurse grabbed Rachel and pinned her back to the table, holding her head so that the front of the neck was exposed. Rachel squirmed and sobbed even more.

“This will just take a second,” the doctor said.

As he grabbed the shorter knife and stood over Rachel at the table, Rachel’s sobbing and screaming intensified to an ear-piercing shriek. Her mother heard it in the lobby.

“Oh, Derek, we didn’t do the right thing! What are they doing to her!?” she screamed.

“Whoa!” Derek replied. “Hold it a sec, this is the toughest part, just sit back and…”

“NO!” she yelled and ran through the door into the hallway.

At the table, the doctor leaned over Rachel with the knife in hand, preparing to slit the throat of the little girl that lay before him. Although the strong nurse held her so firm that she couldn’t move, Rachel suddenly screamed out with all of her might:

“M-M-M-MOMMY!”

“Quiet!” yelled the doctor as he lowered the knife to her throat.

“M-M-MOMMY!” she yelled again through her gasping sobs.

“Do it now!” yelled the nurse.

______________________________________________________________

The door burst open as Rachel’s mother flew into the room. There she froze, sickened at what she saw.

There her daughter lay…once a beautiful, loving, and innocent child, now a mangled body being chopped to pieces by the blade of her killer…at the consent of her mother and the man she called her “boyfriend.” Hacked limbs and blood covered the table in a viscous and gory spectacle.

With one horrific shriek, the dead child’s mother screamed:

“RACHEL!”


Mark Driscoll: The Dark Side of Vampire Fiction

There is no question about it: Twilight has taken our culture by storm.  Other stories from the vampire genre have been told in both movie and book form, but none of them have so utterly overtaken society like the Twilight books and movies.  Simply shout the name Edward Cullen in a room full of pre-teen and teen girls and watch their reaction.  They will do one of two things: either scream their heads off  about how much they love some romantic blood-sucking vampire or they will scream even louder about how much hotter a shirtless werewolf named Jacob is.

Oddly enough, their moms might be just as vocal about their preferences for “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” as their daughters.

Thankfully, as the brother of a wonderful and sensible sister and the son of a mother who has done a good job steering me and my siblings away from trashy literature and movies, I’ve had no experience with the Twilight craze (nor with the Harry Potter craze either, which I think is just as annoying, but that’s for another time).  Nevertheless, I’ve never liked the idea of Twighlight.  When I was younger, I grew up reading novels by G.A. Henty, which always depicted courageous, noble, honest, and virtuous young men as heroes.  They weren’t sexy, hot, vain, or emotionally unstable.  Their lives didn’t revolve around their female love interests (though they always treated them with chivalry and honor).

Admittedly, the Henty novels were geared toward the interests of young men, playing up the historical, adventurous, and action themes that made the pages fly by when I was reading them.  I realize that Twilight is geared toward young females instead of males.  But the principle of using literary figures as truly exemplary models of human conduct really had a tremendous impact on me when I was younger.  Therefore, until today, my biggest qualm with Twilight, as a book and film series, was that it attracts young women to men for the wrong reasons.  From what I know of the stories, none of the characters are anything we should want to emulate in our real lives.   It just seemed so trivial to me.

That had been my thinking until today, when a friend of mine posted a video featuring Mark Discroll discussing Twilight and the vampire genre in general.  I find his talk quite convincing and in particular, his analysis of how Twilight has ruined so many young girls and turned so many older women into essentially pedophiles.   Much of what goes on surrounding the Twilight saga is simply wrong, not only because it teaches girls to idolize characters that are not worthy of emulation, but because it actually has a negative impact on their spiritual discernment.   It’s disgraceful what parents have encouraged their kids to do in the name of “getting them to read.”  It’s even more discouraging what behaviors parents have justified in themselves and their children due to things just like the Twilight saga.

With that, please take the next 13 minutes to listen to this video from Mark Driscoll.  Be prepared to laugh as well…his comments are quite hilarious at times.  And, if you really are as anti-Twilight as Driscoll and I, you can also read this short, but very well-written article by Katie Nace, a friend of mine at Regent University.