Socialism is not in the least what it pretends to be. It is not the pioneer of a better and finer world, but the spoiler of what thousands of years of civilization have created. It does not build, it destroys. For destruction is the essence of it. It produces nothing, it only consumes what the social order based on private ownership in the means of production has created.
Ludwig von Mises
I walked to his bedside table next. Infinite Mayhem. the ninth sequel to The Prince of Dawn, lay atop the table next to his reading lamp, the corner of page 138 turned down. He'd never made it to the end of the book. 'Spoiler alert: Mayhem survives, ' I said out loud to him, just in case he could hear me.
It's only in books-actual printed books-that you can easily start and stop your reading, that you can preread and reread, and, these days, as the book itself suffers from a cluster of plagues, it seems only right to pause and assert that the books that ought to be rescued these days are not the books that require a "spoiler alert"-such books are already spoiled-but books that aren't spoiled even if you know what's going to happen, even if you peek at the end, even if you're reading them for a second, or fifth, or dozenth time.
We all accuse Vladimir Putin of Cold War nostalgia, but Washington's elites - politicians and intellectuals - miss the old days as well. They wish for the world in which the United States was utterly dominant over its friends, its foes were to be shunned entirely, and the challenges were stark, moral, and vital. Today's world is messy and complicated. China is one of our biggest trading partners and our looming geopolitical rival. Russia is a surly spoiler, but it has a globalized middle class and has created ties in Europe.
I need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by that most irreparable evil, the void that presents itself to the soul, and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance. It is so long before the mind can persuade itself that she whom we saw every day and whose very existence appeared a part of our own can have departed forever-that the brightness of a beloved eye can have been extinguished and the sound of a voice so familiar and dear to the ear can be hushed, never more to be heard. These are the reflections of the first days; but when the lapse of time proves the reality of the evil, then the actual bitterness of grief commences. Yet from whom has not that rude hand rent away some dear connection? And why should I describe a sorrow which all have felt, and must feel? The time at length arrives when grief is rather an indulgence than a necessity; and the smile that plays upon the lips, although it may be deemed a sacrilege, is not banished. My mother was dead, but we had still duties which we ought to perform; we must continue our course with the rest and learn to think ourselves fortunate whilst one remains whom the spoiler has not seized.