The Lion MemoSince some people here seem to be having trouble figuring out who the Lion might be, and who the Butterfly might be, it seems like time for another custom crafted story. Here is one interpretation of who they might be.
Note: The following story is placed irrevocably in the public domain. Do with it what you will.
The Lion Memo [With apologies to C.S. Lewis & The Screwtape Letters]
Interdimensional Memo From: Lion Undercover Command: Individual Field Endeavors Reviewer To: Lion, Earth Universe Date: February 27, 2003
My dear Lion:
It is high time for your bi-millennial progress evaluation. I will say at the start the Butterfly has been giving you a lot more trouble than expected. So, I will need to temper my otherwise harsh evaluation for that reason.
First off, I know from your reports that the Butterfly showed up before you had much time to prepare, but nevertheless it was inexcusable that just out the gate you made such a serious tactical blunder so early on. I'm referring to when you took that Jewish carpenter, who suggested people could turn the other cheek, and beyond that also suggested people might as well also try being nice to each other for a change, and had him nailed him to a tree. Definitely a move lacking in subtlety. I know you said appeals to wealth did not tempt him, but really every man must have his price, and undoubtedly you did not go high enough -- and what is money to us? I recognize this was your first mission, but if you had paid more attention in Security And Tactical Analysis Networking class you would have realized the potential for blowback and planned accordingly. As it is, while the immediate and long lasting results were a very bad setback, I will credit you that within only a few centuries you were able to create a large bureaucracy of those who might otherwise help others, inspired by that carpenter's example, and ensnared them into inaction by offering them security, wealth, and power. I noticed you used this bureaucracy to good advantage, especially with that children's crusade leading to all those innocent deaths. I especially liked the Inquisition; remembering those screams from those inventive tortures still make me smile. Also, good job on discrediting what little good that organization might do now by exploiting human sexual urges and paranoia. So, all in all, I would say that situation seems now well in hand despite what was with 20/20 hindsight a huge mistake at the start. Still, there are some troubling signs of morality among many of the clergy, including some speaking out against war even to the highest levels, and I expect you to take further action here.
If there is one almost unqualified success I can grant you, it is the genocidal removal of those one hundred million or so native peoples using biological warfare and other means a few centuries back. While it is true they are starting to make a comeback having survived in part through occasional Butterfly action, and that such a vast country is slowly realizing there was really no point in emptying out the landscape of natives and eliminating the Buffalo as well, still, you generally did great work there all around. It is unfortunate many of the natives' social principles were adopted into that country's constitution, but since you have been working on that issue lately using the lever of "patriotism", I won't hold that slip up against you, even though it was a bit sloppy. People must be kept from realizing the true meaning of patriotism and that if they do not use their civil liberties to defend them, they will lose them. And you are doing an excellent job of distracting the general public from realizing that, by keeping them in fear from speaking out or otherwise standing out from the herd. And herds can very easily be led over precipices, as you well know!
Well, to give credit where credit is due, I guess I can grant you a second almost unqualified success. That idea of mixing two races together with the black ones ripped from another continent as slaves and the white ones from another continent as masters -- sheer genius. Nothing like that has ever been seen before. Native slaves could melt away into the countryside back to their peoples; white slaves could blend into the crowds. But black slaves would always stand out in a white world, and would have no free community to move to, or the life skills to survive on their own in an unfamiliar climate zone. And the cruelty! I rejoiced when I heard the screams of those slave mothers giving birth in rocking slave ships, with no one to comfort them, trapped in enclosures smaller than coffins in the darkness, dehydrated, surrounded by vomit, urine, and feces, while chained to corpses. What innovation in horror! And those whipping posts weren't bad either -- simple, but effective. You really destroyed the masters too, and not just by encouraging them to become cruel to prosper economically, but in also encouraging moral indecency by getting white masters to impregnate black female slaves and then sell the resulting offspring -- their own sons and daughters -- at slave auctions. What great times! I know things sort of fell apart later, what with the Butterfly making appearances and the slaves not producing even a fraction of the output they could, and those nasty Quakers and others came along -- but you really did create an unusually cruel situation, compared to previous types of slavery which while cruel, was never nearly so bad as many of those slaves in Africa or other countries were more like serfs, and they could even own their own slaves and property and might become part of the family, and custom often prevented the drawing of blood, and a slave in many cases might go free if they were not fed or were abused. You outdid yourself with racist slavery in that supposedly "home of the free" new country, so I will have to give you a gold star for that -- especially the delicious irony. You did a great job of hiding the true extent of the cruelty until the Butterfly helped inspire that book which ended it all. And what's more, since some people made a compromise to get some freedom with independence (with some slaves fighting with the foreign power because they said they would free them), you also managed to create all sorts of moral conundrums for future generations, spreading unrest far and wide, as even the good some had in mind at the beginning is lost in the moral complexity. That's the sort of world we trained you to help build, and in this case, you did a truly phenomenal job -- one for the history books (ours of course, since most of theirs won't touch the real stuff or real complexity). And, you did such a good job covering your tracks, most people don't realize how horrible the situation really was compared to other times and other places. You were at your best there, my dear Lion.
But enough praise.
Now that bit about the Butterfly in India in 1930. It is not often that one of my agents manages to lose an entire subcontinent without at least a shot being fired. This balding lawyer, really couldn't you have gotten him to at least throw a knife? I know you said he had both wisdom and virtue beyond anything you had been prepared to handle, but really, could you not have at least goaded him enough to even throw a punch? It was true you had him assassinated in 1948, but what took you so long? I expect more from my agents, and I was sorely displeased such a moral force was allowed to run loose for so long.
Just as you thought things were going well in 1940s, that German factory owner had to request employment for all those Jews. I know it was unexpected, but the Butterfly can work in unexpected ways. Twelve hundred people who should have died painful deaths were saved. It was only a minor battle lost, but you can't let these serve as examples for others. As you know as well as I do, every soul counts! I'll admit you did make up for it with the development and employment of the atomic bomb, so good recovery there.
Obviously, the butterfly showed up on an Montgomery bus in 1955. I read your report on that. Again, who would have thought the arrest of a black seamstress, for refusing to stand up to give her bus seat to a white man, would cause such an uproar? Nonetheless, the loss of an entire underclass was a serious blow to our efforts. It is true you have managed to keep the racial tensions high in many places, but I really expected better of you. Three other black people vacated their seats at the bus driver's request. Why was it not four? That was very sloppy of you. You simply must not allow any examples of "FIW: Freedom I Won't" non-cooperation and its power to effect positive change to be known. Such heroes like her and others who preceded her must not be allowed to exist. It is indeed unfortunate your efforts to keep her and others like her out of history books seems to be recently failing.
Now this bit about that black preacher dreaming a nation might live up to its ideals. It is true you had him stopped him with a simple $0.10 bullet, as I see from your expense report, but his example was a horrible blow to our cause. You just can't say you handled the situation in the cheapest way, my dear Lion, that won't cut it. You need to find those flaws in virtuous people, expose them, and make them crack wide open. The whole core of your training is to create a disconnect between wisdom and action. It is when people are inspired to commit virtue by putting wisdom into action that we are most in danger of losing control of the situation. Yes you fostered riots and trigger happy police later, but you should have acted sooner. Why was that preacher not intimidated so that he only called for wisdom, not virtue? Yes, the Butterfly again, you reported, always the Butterfly.
Now that bit in 1968 where the Butterfly showed up unexpectedly at a ladies tea party and that dark skinned entertainer challenged a war, saying there was a need for more aid to poor people, and that there was more crime because young people knew criminals were disqualified for serving in the war. I know you got her blacklisted immediately afterward, but it was actions like hers which inspired waves of protests by students, African Americans, women, and labor which put an end to an entire rather enchanting set of gruesome massacres. Just because it was a ladies tea party was no reason to expect nothing would happen. You should have been right there from the start, not after the fact.
Now this bit about the Butterfly in Poland. Your most basic training suggests that any sort of solidarity needs to be nipped in the bud. You clearly let that go way to far, and as a consequence, lost an entire nation. With such an obvious name, why didn't you act sooner?
OK, now we come to one of your biggest failures. In 1989, that lone unarmed Chinese man stopped a column of tanks -- and that was seen on worldwide television! Even if it only lasted a short while, what were you thinking? Where were your priorities? Yes, the Butterfly was there, but, my dear Lion, that one example inspired an entire nation -- and if truth be told, an entire world. Yes, you followed up with the usual widespread massacre, but the damage was done, my dear Lion, the damage was done. Couldn't you at least have had it made known that the individual in question had at sometime in his life given into some crazed human passion and engaged in some sexual practice the majority did not condone? That way people could reject the value of his example by rejecting the person for being a flawed human being (and they all are flawed in some way, your job is to find it, and exploit it). Massacres are fine, but you need to personally discredit each and every one of these individuals, lest they be examples that encourage more.
Yes, I know, you claim the Butterfly is everywhere down there, despite continual energetic attempts at "squashing". Still, you must start having more complete success. I am holding final filing of this report to see if I can add a more perfect conclusion to it. Your latest effort does indeed look extremely promising enough to warrant an extra year or two of forbearance.
While some might call it plain dumb luck, finding an ambitious person from an influential family with a mind probably rewired in early youth by cocaine, capable of reckless endangerment of others' lives using a car under the influence of alcohol, and who has signed death warrants for over a hundred people, was very good field work. Managing to get your man the money he needed to run for the highest office in the land by having him put friends in charge of investing public funds and then having them buy something from him which was also made valuable by using public funds was creative genius at its best. You really showed how you are learning that it is both the fiendish ends and the corrupting means which must both be in accord with our philosophy for the greatest success. Then helping him into office he did not deserve, based on the voter intent, with a "Butterfly" ballot -- oh the irony! It almost makes up for the "Narnia" misrepresentation of lions, my dear Lion! (Though in the end we both decided "Aslan" could be used to your advantage as a misdirecting cover.) Then you helped your man saddle future generations with massive debts and at the same time gut many social programs, alienate his countries potential allies, outrage his countries potential foes, damage the economy, and make people choose between food and heat from high energy prices, while his buddies made money from the wreckage. Such good work! You have indeed made your man's moral compass, if he has one, point straight to Hell.
Then, you showed great cunning to pit him against someone who grew out of a childhood of abuse to become an abuser, instead of a person of compassion. What a grand situation -- straight out of Conflict 101. No matter which leader the public supports, they are in the wrong! After two thousand years, and a lot of mistakes, you show promise of finally learning to handle yourself in the field, my dear Lion. Now if you can just keep the Butterfly from managing to stay someone's hand on the launch panel of a chemically armed SCUD. Also, you must be on constant alert in case the Butterfly should manage to teach your man about the true meaning of "evil". It is such pure delight when one of my agents can get people to do evil in the name of fighting evil. It is a classic ploy, but none-the-less enjoyable to watch each and every time it happens. And the most fun of it all is, your man isn't even doing our work hypocritically like most; he really believes he is doing good! Of course, you report the Butterfly was seen in France and Germany, but no doubt your efforts to make it look like those countries are the cause of world conflict (as opposed to your man) will be successful. By all means you must keep the Butterfly inspired writings like those of that Ernest Partridge with those Crisis Papers from helping the world realize that simply stopping the flow of credit and oil to your man, in order to disarm him of weapons of mass destruction, would bring the greatest military machine the world has ever seen to its knees in a matter of months. Your man must never be allowed to realize the difference between maintained security and intrinsic security. But, such misdirection is what you have been trained for. Let's just hope your plan for the altered radio music play lists help. As you have reported, it is essential that country be moved to engage in "preemptive" war as soon as possible, to reduce the risk the populace might wake up from the trance they are now in and potentially preempt that war.
Regarding your recent inquiries, it is true we have not yet been able to determine why the Butterfly can be so successful using so few resources, since the means the Butterfly employs are incomprehensible to us. While easy to watch and catalog, the Butterfly's means are completely unexpected in the effects they cause and this continues to puzzle us greatly. Those who champion non-violence by definition must be weaker than those who champion violence. By all Deep Magic, the means employed by the Butterfly should never work! But nonetheless, the Research & Destruction department continues to explore this conundrum, and I do hope one day we will understand the processes by which the Butterfly operates sufficiently to lead to the Butterfly's universal defeat. It is possible that the symbol on the Butterfly's wings you reported may have something to do with its unexpected success; if this so called "Peace" symbol can be properly analyzed, the labs may be able to determine a way to destroy "Peace" entirely or at least turn it to our ends (although my mind recoils at that thought so deeply I know that to be impossible). The latest report from the labs is that the Butterfly's unexpected success has something to do with "playing to play" as opposed to "playing to win" -- but we all know that is obviously nonsense, since the only reason to play must be to win! And regardless of what you may have heard through the rumor mill, we have not yet lost a single soul through exposure to Butterfly inspired writings, because there is no power in the pen, only in the sword -- but stay away from such writings nonetheless -- is that clear? Our best minds think they could be contaminated with some sort of toxin. We have started analyzing them word by word, with each word handled by a different lab group, and lab groups never meeting, in order to reduce potential exposure to any potential toxic residue or chain reaction effects. And to answer your implied question, the high turnover in the R&D center before we instituted such procedures has been purely due to an unexpectedly high rate of promotions among the junior staff.
As you well know, all my agents must be held accountable for their success or failure, if only as an example, to keep the rest in line. We believe in absolute justice here, and that justifies anything. You naturally understand the situation, right, my dear Lion? Well, then go to it! I would suggest if the upcoming conflict unexpectedly fizzles, you might still have some fun with those 30,000 or so nuclear warheads before I would have to replace you, based on this otherwise less than perfect evaluation. If you can get that country with the most weapons of mass destruction to use them in the name of the "right", for the greater "good", and to "combat evil", then at least your stay on Earth would not have been a complete loss. An agonizing death through radiation poisoning, while not as much fun to watch as, say, the moral degradation of a slave owner or a bought politician, is still something mildly amusing. So, here is to hoping I can shortly add a positive conclusion to this report with some good news of one sort or another. If not, I have many inventive tortures planned for you, my dear Lion.
(Written February 26-28, 2003, and posted on a Pacifica Radio Web Forum.)
Copyright 2003-2008 Paul D. Fernhout
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