A lady from New York writes to me frequently, and it's always a pleasure to get her letters, many of which concern her life as a suburban housewife. I do like it, especially since I spend so much of my life crawling around in third world hell-holes looking at how things are when things are bad for ordinary people. I like to find normal people living normal lives, those who are honest and decent and who aren't threatened by their governments with murder or worse. When I see infant mortality, which is to write when I see dead children on a daily basis, I see not the hand of captialism and the oil companies at work, I see government out of control. I like seeing mothers with healthy kids who behave socially, meaning not like feral beasts who threaten me, others and themselves. My friend from New York writes about cooking dinner for the family. Stew last night. Her kids won't die from filthy water or rotten meat or from visits from the local despot's death squads. Mom and daughter made cupcakes.
I have another lady who writes to me frequently. She asks if I'm really just a thug. That's hard to answer rightly. I know that because of some of what I do as a traveller I have a look about me that scares some people. All that I do and more would be acceptable and even admirable if I am part of a sytem of legitimate force; but if I'm simply a private citizen who lives and acts in accord with my own vision of right and wrong, then I might only be a thug. Maybe I'm small and shrinking. Were I a tourist I'd be welcome most places; but if I'm a mercenary, then I might not be welcome anywhere. Who's right and who's wrong? How can we tell the difference? Is it a good thing to decide we cannot tell the difference between right and wrong, and therefore do nothing in the face of what might well be evil? Or should we fall back on ideologies and gnostic insight to determine our vision of right and wrong? Maybe those with less power are right in all cases, victims of power they can't defeat, victims of capitalism, victims of Modernity and greed. I might be a thug for relying on common sense, intuition, and life experience. No doubt that jihadis and Leftists do the same. I so my thug stuff so that it's possible for mothers and daughters to bake cupcakes in the security of their suburban homes. I do my thug stuff so others now living in squalor might someday have the chance to do the same kind of banal things. The ladies who write to me would, if I were to show up at their doorsteps, burst into tears. They would not invite me in. And if you act for the good, then there is a good chance they wouldn't have you in their homes either. There's a price to pay for standing up to monsters. Sometimes you might well come across as a thug. How blessed by life are you to have such a chance! Rejoice that the very people you love for themselves as ordinary won't have you-- 'cause you're too ugly for cupcakes.