NRA: The Antichrist’s evil plan of evilness

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 125-128

“Now, let us get down to business,” the Antichrist says.

Rayford pulled up the top two sheets on his clipboard and began to take notes, as Carpathia outlined immediate plans.

At last. The Rapture occurred more than a year and a half ago and Nicolae Carpathia, the Antichrist, seized power soon afterwards, ruling over the entire world (except Israel) as a global dictator with unchecked power and no one to stand in his way as he set about demonstrating his wickedness as the all-time epitome of evil.

Well, that’s what it said on the package anyway. The actual Antichrist here in our story hasn’t done a whole lot during his first 500 days on the throne.

Does TurboTax come with the new GNP-EZ form?

I don’t mean to diminish his accomplishments. He’s built a brand new global capital — and entire city — in the middle of a desert. And he’s consolidated the entire globe under one world government, one world religion, one world currency and one world language. That’s all quite impressive — probably even impossible. But we still haven’t seen anything much like a plan. Nicolae has been putting all his pieces in place, but nothing we’ve seen suggests he has any idea what to do with them.

It seems like he’s just drifting along — an evil mastermind without an evil master plan. The sudden burst of arbitrary mass-murder in the early part of this book shows a newfound enthusiasm for the evil part of that equation, but there still hasn’t been any sign of the plan part.

But now Nicolae promises to “get down to business.” Now, at last, he’s ready to outline his evil scheme of evilness:

“We must act swiftly,” he was saying, “while the people are most vulnerable and open. They will look to the Global Community for help and aid, and we will give it to them.”

That is, I suppose, a plan. But now I’m confused about the evil part. Providing help and aid to vulnerable people makes the Antichrist’s OWG seem kind of like the International Red Cross, and most of us don’t usually think of the Red Cross as a global supervillain and/or the embodiment of Satan.

“However …”

Aha, there’s a catch. Excellent. Maybe Nicolae will reveal that this help and aid is conditional. He will rebuild their shattered cities, feeding and sheltering the millions of nuclear refugees, but in exchange for this assistance he will demand that the afflicted sacrifice their children.

Hold on, no, wait. Scratch that. There are no children anymore in the world of this novel. I keep forgetting.

That’s an important point to keep in mind, too, when we’re evaluating Nicolae’s work as an Antichrist. It puts him at a rather large disadvantage in the monstrous evil department. Sure, he’s still able to do things like bomb a hospital, killing Bruce Barnes and hundreds of other sick people, but that would have been so much more evil if the pediatric ward hadn’t already been empty. This whole world-without-children thing really does handicap Nicolae’s ability to do the sort of thing we’d expect from an epitome of evil. He’s supposed to surpass all the monsters of history, but it’s hard to compete with guys like Genghis Khan or Joshua when there are no children available to put to the sword.

So, OK, demanding that his subjects sacrifice their children is out, but he could still maybe require some kind of Shirley-Jackson “The Lottery” situation, where, say, food and shelter from the Global Community only goes to cities who offer a random 1 percent of their residents as a human sacrifice.

But no. Nicolae doesn’t have anything that evil in mind. What he intends to do, instead, is to rebuild all the cities he just finished nuking, ensuring that everyone is housed, fed and spared from hardship. But in return he will levy taxes to pay for it.

“However, they will give it to us first. We had an enormous storehouse of income before the rebuilding of Babylon. We will need much more to effect our plan of raising the level of Third World countries so that the entire globe is on equal footing.”

That oxymoronic phrase “storehouse of income” gives a hint of Nicolae’s shaky grasp on economics — a subject about which he and the authors are deeply confused.

The authors also tip their hand here when you consider what they have just provided. This is intended to be a threat — a wicked threat of dire immorality. The Antichrist is the worst person in the history of the world and here he threatens to do the worst thing he can imagine doing. And that, in the authors’ words, is “raising the level of Third World countries.”

What does “countries” even mean in the context of a one-world government? Weren’t all countries abolished and absorbed into the monolithic “Global Community” ruled over by the global potentate?

Yes. And no. Both. And neither.

Every time I think I have a firm grasp on this, the authors turn around and contradict themselves. Chapter after chapter, book after book, they provide occasional conclusive statements definitively stating that Nicolae is the head of a single government over the entire world. And then two pages later they introduce some local political leader or official — an American president or a Chicago police officer who shouldn’t exist in this world, but does.

This section flips back and forth on this point so much that I wound up almost as confused as Nicolae seems to be.

Later in this speech, Nicolae refers to the now-deceased “President Fitzhugh,” whose rebellion he says, “confirmed my earlier decision to virtually strip him of executive power.” That doesn’t clear up my questions about whether this OWG is really a OWG. Nor does the bit a few pages from now in which Nicolae says:

“I will soon be appointing leaders to replace the three ambassadors to the regions that turned against us. That will bring the Global Community administration back to its full complement of ten regions. While you are now known as ambassadors to the Global Community, forthwith I will begin referring to you as sovereign heads of your own kingdoms. You will each continue to report directly to me.”

So, forthwith, he’s going to replace the current structure with an exact replica in which the ambassadors will continue to be “sovereign” and “kings” except not, as they will also be reporting directly to the potentate. Got it? If so, could you explain it to me? Because I’m lost here.

The one thing that’s clear here is that these ambassadors are terrified of Nicolae. Because if they weren’t completely intimidated and paralyzed with fear of the potentate, they would be laughing at him, or at least asking questions about his very strange plan for diabolical taxation.

And it turns out this is the core, the skeleton, the foundation for all of the Antichrist’s evil master plan: taxes.

In theory, you could make that work. You could impose unbearably harsh taxes, following the example of Joseph in the book of Genesis, burying the people under such a heavy burden of taxes that eventually all of their property, their vocations, their bodies were the possession of the central government and the entire world was enslaved by the potentate.

That sort of thing would certainly seem to qualify as wicked (although, inexplicably, Joseph is rarely criticized for enslaving an entire nation), but it still seems a bit too abstract and detached. The Antichrist should be beastly, after all — ruling with an iron fist and an iron boot and not just with an iron spreadsheet.

Even the worst-case scenario for oppressive taxation only gets you something like North Korea. The Antichrist is supposed to be worse than North Korea. Plus, even North Korea doesn’t lean entirely on oppressive taxation for its evilness. They mix in a big dose of secret police, perpetual re-education and an absurd, Kafka-esque cult of personality.

It just doesn’t seem likely that Nicolae is going to succeed as an undisputed Antichrist if his evil master plan is going to lean so heavily on the evils of taxation.

The bigger problem, though, is that Nicolae’s tax plan just doesn’t make sense. Here he is outlining the first piece of it:

“You all have been doing a wonderful job of moving to the one-world currency. We are close to a cashless society, which can only help the Global Community administration. Upon your return to your respective areas, I would like you to announce, simultaneously, the initiation of a ten-cent tax on all electronic money transfers. When we get to the totally cashless system, you can imagine that every transaction will be electronic. I estimate that this will generate more than one and a half trillion dollars annually.”

So now we know that the one-world currency is, in fact, US dollars. Convenient. Almost as convenient as Nicolae’s decision to make English the one-world language. Those two factors should help make the Great Tribulation a little less tribulation-y for residents of the former United States.

This business about a cashless, one-world currency is of course meant to set the table for the whole Mark of the Beast system to come. This bit of premillennial dispensationalist “Bible prophecy” has entered popular culture to the extent that most people in our world (but no one in the world of the novel) are familiar with the idea taken from Revelation 13:

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

That passage is why “prophecy” obsessed fundies freaked out over the introduction of bar codes, and credit cards, and PayPal. This is why America will never have a national ID card. And why you have to carry your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance as three separate documents instead of those latter two just coming up when your license is scanned or swiped.

Anyway, you get the idea here of what Nicolae Carpathia is supposed to be steering toward. He wants a global system in which nothing can be bought or sold without his say-so.

Unfortunately, his bungled version of a financial transaction tax will likely make sure that never happens.

Consider the proposed Robin Hood Tax (which will probably never happen, but which I think is an interesting idea and could be an effective way of limiting speculation and shifting our economy away from our present imbalance toward the FIRE, or finance insurance real estate, sector). That’s a financial transaction tax of about 0.05 percent — or 1/20 of 1 percent. Nicolae’s tax doesn’t charge a percentage, but instead charges a flat 10 cents for every transaction. Under Nicolae’s tax, the cost doesn’t increase for a larger transaction, but it increases a great deal when you make a greater number of transactions. In other words, the Antichrist has just created a worldwide incentive for every business, investor and consumer to make fewer, less frequent financial transactions.*

So now everyone from investment banks to the coffee shop on the corner starts billing differently. You don’t pay for your cup of coffee every day anymore, you pay a monthly coffee bill. Transactions get bundled, pay periods get larger and longer. Everyone, everywhere starts running a tab for everything.

That, in turn, creates a cash-flow problem. Running a tab essentially means paying with IOUs instead of cash. So now everyone is piling up IOUs, but they’re short on cash. The obvious next step is to make IOUs transferable. There’s a well-established model for just exactly that, for a system of universally exchangeable IOUs. It’s called currency.

Nicolae’s flat-rate transaction tax would almost certainly undo everything he’s done to create a single global currency. It would encourage the rapid creation of a black-market currency system (which would likely make use of all the former national currencies he tried to abolish). Once he gets around to requiring everyone to take the Mark of the Beast, this black-market currency system will already be well-established and the Mark isn’t going to make much difference one way or another buying-and-selling-wise.

That black-market currency will also get a big boost from another piece of Nicolae’s odd tax plan:

“You knew the time would come for a tax to the Global Community on each area’s Gross National Product. That time has come. While the insurrectionists from Egypt, Great Britain, and North America have been devastated militarily, they must also be disciplined with a 50 percent tax on their GNP. The rest of you will pay 30 percent.

“Now do not give me those looks, gentlemen. You understand that everything you pay in will be returned to you in multiplied benefits. We are building a new global community. Pain is part of the process. …”

He misunderstands the looks he’s getting from the ambassadors. They’re not reacting to the “pain” of this proposed 30-percent “tax on their GNP,” they’re just trying to figure out what such a thing could possibly mean.

First off, there’s no longer any such thing as GNP under the OWG. It only makes sense to speak of “gross national product” if there are nations.

But nevermind that, the bigger question is how is such a tax “on GNP/GRP” supposed to be calculated and collected? I suppose since GNP is meant to total the price of all goods and services produced within a nation, then a 30-percent tax on GNP just means that nation would have to collect a 30 percent tax on everything in order to pay its national bill at the end of the year. In 2011, the U.S. GNP was about $15.23 trillion. So if the U.S. had owed a 30-percent “tax on GNP” to some global federation, would it have had to write a check for $4.57 trillion on Jan. 1, 2012, or could it just have $176 billion withheld from its national paycheck every two weeks?

Let’s just pretend for the sake of argument that there were some way to make sense of this idea of a “tax on GNP/GRP.” What this means is that most of the world will suddenly owe a 30-percent tax on every good and service that’s on the books. (The war-ravaged regions will owe an even higher tax, because that makes sense.)

The key words in that paragraph are “on the books.” This is yet another huge push in the direction of an off-the-books black-market currency. Anything that can be done off the books or under the table will be. Nicolae’s dream of one-world currency and a cashless society will be replaced by a cash-only, underground, under-the-table economy that avoids his OWC whenever possible.

But we’ve only scratched the surface so far of Nicolae Carpathia’s economic dreams. Next week we’ll look at more of his evil master plan, including his bewildering ideas for making sure that his one-world government is no longer dependent on foreign oil. (Yes, really.)

- – - – - – - – - – - -

* Nicolae’s estimate of $1.5 trillion in revenue works out to something like 10 transactions a day for every person, assuming a post-Rapture population of around 4 billion people. But that doesn’t count corporations, retailers, stock exchanges, investors, casinos, etc. Factor all those in and that $1.5 trillion figure looks really low.

  • hidden_urchin

    ” But we still haven’t seen anything much like a plan.”

    So Nicky is a Cylon, then.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    That is, I suppose, a plan. But now I’m confused about the evil part. Providing help and aid to vulnerable people makes the Antichrist’s OWG seem kind of like the International Red Cross, and most of us don’t usually think of the Red Cross as a global supervillain and/or the embodiment of Satan.

    Dr. McNinja would beg to differ.  

  • Carstonio

    For me, the thread title brought to mind the Big Cheese from Monty Python’s Secret Service Dentists sketch. Nicolae would probably never shoot his pet rabbit.

    Taxes as the ultimate evil? Are these books ghostwritten by Grover Norquist?

    My theory about the constant contradiction about the existence of nations? LaHaye and Jenkins are not just bad writers but also bad collaborators, not even reading each other’s contributions to make them jell. Maybe if we asked them whether nations exist under Nicolae, one would say yes and the other would say no.

  • hapax

    Mr. Clark, I think your comprehension problems would be much simpler if you were just a neo-Platonist.

    After all, we believe that Jesus the Christ was the human incarnation of the Logos, the expression of DivineWisdom.

    It follows, therefore, that the ANTI-Christ must be really, really, stupid.

  • stly92

    I’m sure there’s a nice take down in there of how utterly unreal evangelical prophecy expectations are and how badly our authors mangle taxation, but I couldn’t get past this core idea:

    Nicolae’s big evil plan was to make rich people give many to poor people. Um… isn’t that Robin Hood’s plan, and he’s generally considered a folk hero? And wasn’t that an important plank in Jesus’ plan too, and he’s also generally considered a folk hero?

    Yeah, this portrait of the antichrist being culled from the Bible my achin’ ass.

  • billman

     I’m a Cylon.

    /Robot Chicken

  • Carstonio

    Also, this business about taxes suggests that we’re in for even more political straw-manning.  Nicolae might appoint a sensible-shoes-wearing female bureaucrat to oversee the brainwashing of the world’s women, so they end up hating men, motherhood and families. He might then say that the blacks in the former US worked enough during slavery and would receive guaranteed lifetime incomes as compensation.

    But what’s this business about making English the official world language? That doesn’t pander to the fears of the readers – maybe French or Arabic instead.

  • Dantesque17

    This guy is the Antichrist.  Everything and everybody (except Israel, for some reason) is under his absolute control.  Why does he need all this money?  What can he do with unlimited funds that he can’t already do with unlimited power and resources? 

  • ohiolibrarian

    But, but taxes are the evilest, evil ever!
    /snark

  • AnonymousSam

    It says something of the authors that that the most evil plan the Antichrist can come up with amounts to “raise taxes and give money to poorer people so that all nations are on equal economic footing.”

  • Becca Stareyes

    Next week we’ll look at more of his evil master plan, including his bewildering ideas for making sure that his one-world government is no longer dependent on foreign oil. (Yes, really.)

    Well, there goes the Titan hydrocarbon trade.  The Saturnians are going to be *pissed*.

  • ohiolibrarian

    And why is it that Republicans actually LOVE taxes. As long as they aren’t income  or  estate taxes (aka taxes that fall more heavily on the rich). Taxes that fall heavily on the poor, such as sales taxes and the ‘flat’ tax, are fine. Fees are fine. Spending money you don’t have on wars and programs and tax cuts is fine. (Who did they think was going to pay for that stuff anyway?)

    Every time somebody tells me I’m getting my taxes cut, I know I’ll have less at the end of it–less money, fewer services. So it has gone for the last 30 years.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What’s very revealing is that L&J don’t understand even basic evil mastermind tropes.

    1. Your evil mastermind is not going to give a hoot about anyone except him/her and associated minions. As such, taxes levied on the entire world would be siphoned off to benefit said evil mastermind with the dribblings left over to run the continental subunits. Nicolae should be cackling about how he will build palaces to make Saddam Hussein’s or Muammar Gaddhafi’s opulent residences look like hovels. Nicolae should be cackling about how he will use the incredible wealth the entire world can generate to reward and punish, to cement a power structure in the world accountable to him alone.

    2. Your evil mastermind, if not interested in plundering the world’s economic resources, is going to for sure want power. As such, gleefully bumping off anyone who gets in the way is standard practice.  Nicolae should be busy arranging covert assassinations, by poisoning, “accidents”, executions, all just carefully arranged to let people who know better that they are all to remove opposition to Nicolae.

    and so on.

    But no, L&J have decided that the true evil of Nicolae lies in bureaucratic minutiae of taxation. and clumsily enacted at that. Who on God’s green Earth would levy a flat tax like that on anything? That just invites purposely grossing-up all purchases and then only paying the 10 cents on the final shot.

    A Tobin tax would be far more sensible.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I suspect that once the GOP has crushed the social safety net and any sort of program that could possibly benefit anyone who isn’t super-rich, and it turns out that even if you COMPLETELY eliminate EVERYTHING they don’t like — close all the public schools, shut down all the roads, oil dereks in ever national park — it *still does not fix the debt*, they’ll just about-face on income tax and estate tax. Because it’s not *really* about the taxes; it’s about keeping revenue down in order to justify killing the programs they want to die.

    (Except for the republicans for whom it is exactly the opposite, and killing social programs doesn’t matter a damned bit to them, they just want their money)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I suspect that much of this is predicated on the assumption that the target readership will equate taxes and wealth redistribution with “bad things”, therefor Nicky Cascade must be a very evil man for proposing it.  

  • MB

    Probably he wants to spend it on free universal medical care.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yes, but taking money from the people who deserve it and giving it to those who (the “deservers”) think don’t is SOSHULIZM!

    And we know Jesus hates Soshulizm! 

    After all, it’s not like the early church collected everything from it’s members and passed it back…Wait. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    No, it subtly reinforces the American True Christian view that America is God’s second favouritest country, and we’re all-important. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/macrophotographer Kurt Story

    Good luck collecting “50 percent tax on their GNP” on areas where Nicky has dropped 100 MT nukes–as if there would be any viable economy at all.  An unintentionally hilarious book.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.wordpress.com/ D Johnston

    The trick is in figuring out what Nicolae plans to do with all that money. He already has all the world’s weapons, and presumably the world’s natural resources as well. We can deduce that he controls the world’s industrial base and communications infrastructure. The only thing left is his employees, and since we’re talking about the government of every (former) nation on earth as well as the OWG guys, that’s a lot of people. I’d guess that the potentates were paying salaries, but the dialogue in this chapter suggests that all the money flows from Nicolae.

    That’s really not as villainous as it could be. Any tyrant worth his salt would have slaves and/or worshipers doing the heavy lifting for free, and either would make sense here. But really, I think this is missing the point.

    Nicolae refers to his heavy taxes on the recently nuked nations as “discipline.” That’s important. The intention of the taxes might not be to accrue wealth, but as a form of punishment. It’s a silly concept, but there are some fringe types who believe that liberals want to tax people they don’t like out of spite. What with LaHaye being an old Bircher, I wouldn’t be shocked if he’d entertained that thought at some point.

  • Dmoore970

    I’m not even sure it is limited to fringe types these days.  Every time I hear about raising taxes on the rich, the standard Republican answer is to ask why the rich are being “punished” or even”demonized.”

  • Dmoore970

    As a number of people here have pointed out, the ultimate irony is that in true Communist countries, there is no tax at all, because when the government owns everything, it has no need for taxes.  It is my understanding that they are just starting to introduce taxes in Cuba, and people are really confused by the concept.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.wordpress.com/ D Johnston

    As long as we’re discussing the messed up setting of L.B., here’s a thought: What effect might the elimination of languages, religions and natural borders have on world culture? It’s not like culture is a discrete little thing. Is the world just one big melting pot now, or do different regions still follow old customs – and if so, how can that be given that those customs are tied up in language and religion?

    Or have those things even really been phased out? Yes, English is the official world language now, but do people in non-Anglophone regions speak it exclusively? If they use English with the government but their native languages with family and neighbors (which happens in a lot of places with an “official language” and a linguistically diverse population), what effect might that have on the OWG? And ditto religion – who’s to say that there aren’t hundreds of new Santeria-style syncretic religions now?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The typical taxation system in an Eastern bloc economy involved minor use of customs duties and income taxes but the major source of non-corporate tax revenue was a peculiarity of the Communist economic structure: The “turnover tax”, which functioned a bit like  a VAT and could be used to influence prices in a crude kind of way.

    For all intents and purposes the part of the profit from a state-owned enterprise due to the government could be considered like a corporate income tax.

  • Dantesque17

    You know that point in any Legend of Zelda game, where Link has bought every item and every upgrade available so that there is literally nothing of value that he can buy with all the money in his wallet?  In this story, Carpathia passed that point years ago, yet his evil plan is to get even more money.  **palm hits face**

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    So, an “American Dad” version of the Anti-Christ?

    “You were the son of a carpenter!  I’m not handy at all!”

  • Vermic

    THRILL as the harbinger of Satan unveils the chilling details of his two-part tax policy and zzzzzzzzzz

  • GDwarf

    But…GNP isn’t a thing that you can know at any time. It can take a significant period of time for such a calculation to be done, and estimates of such things are notoriously inaccurate.

    As for the countries problem, I think the authors just keep making mental slipups there. It shows how unreal all of this actually is to them, though, even they find the idea of a world without any countries but Israel to be unreal and hard to believe in.

  • Flying Squid with Goggles

    This is (yet another) place where L.B. could learn from Doctor Who (spoilers ahead if you’re a several years behind in the series!)

    When The Master takes over the Earth, he enslaves the population to build a fleet of spaceships to conquer the galaxy/universe. Nicolae Generic Tall Geological Object has one goal – he knows there’s a showdown with God coming. Probably not much Nicky GTGO can do, but you’d think he might have building massive military capability as a goal instead of some vague thing about taxing and raising the living standards of poor areas.

    But that brings back the folly of thinking the Antichrist would somehow be a pacifist. Or a war-loving pacifist. Or a war-loving non-nuke-but-nuke-like-dropping pacifist. I give up.

  • WalterC

    I think Nicolae Carpathia’s one-world government actually makes sense. Carpathia rules the world, but because his personal staff is so small (a botanist, a former newspaper editor, and a flight attendant, and now that Leon guy…) he delegates the responsibilities of ruling each of the 10 districts to his ambassadors or sub-potentates. These ambassadors have absolute power over their territories but are still subordinate to Carpathia. Carpathia’s own role is to set the general policies and leave the day-to-day minutiae of implementation to the ambassadors; for example, if he wants 50% of the wealth of North America, he issues that order, and it’s up to the ambassador to set up the taxation strategy to come up with the money.

    (It’s never really explained why Carpathia, as global ruler, doesn’t just expropriate assets directly instead of what he does now, which is essentially tax his own subjects in order to buy supplies and hire labor — presumably from his own subjects — in order to help his subjects.

    But what’s this business about making English the official world
    language? That doesn’t pander to the fears of the readers – maybe French
    or Arabic instead.

    It’s not supposed to be scary. It just reflects the fact that the authors and the majority of readers can speak English but not necessarily French or Arabic; these books would not sell well if you had to be bilingual to understand them (understanding enough English for the narrative and enough French/Arabic/something else to understand the One World Language of the Global Community characters’ dialogue). Besides, you’ve seen how poorly Jenkins renders non-native English speakers or people with non-English accents, you’ll see that this is a blessing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Okay, if I was the anti-christ, running the world, with a specific goal of creating the kind of starvation, disease, war, and general death that is alluded to in Revelations, would I use taxation to do so?

    Why?  Yes, Yes I would.  I’d remove all income based taxes and find a way to tax spending.  Done.  Sales tax on everything.  Flat sales tax and only a sales tax.

    Okay, sure, you’re going to have this black market of… everything.  I don’t need to stop the black market.  It’s not that I need to have personal control.  My ends are the evil in general, not that I necessarily get the credit for it.  So, let the black market go.  Let people trade bread on the black market.  One of the things about the black market isn’t that its fair.

    So, go ahead, let things go on the black market, especially food and medicine.  Let the wealthy, in planning for emergencies, use the black market to create stores of food and medicine, regardless of how that drives the price up for the honest and the poor.

    This GRP (Gross Regional Product) tax… don’t even reference the Gross Regional Product.  Just make it a tax on every purchace, along with a 10ct tax on every time money is lent, borrowed, gifted, etc.

    This allows the money to concentrait in the hands of a wealthy few, with prices going up to match the spending party of those wealthy few.

    So, we’ve got the famine due to increasingly expensive food and medicine, thanks to a black market that funnels things to the wealthy.  That takes care of the famine and the pestilence.  We’ve still got that one horseman called War to work with.  Thankfully, the income disparity will create an increased competition for existing resources, perhaps even class warfair.  The black markets will foster organized crime and we’ll have mob wars.  Death?  He comes along with the other three.

    Really, that’s a self-managing evil, something to be done to create suffering for its own sake… which is the real problem, its own sake.

    Evil, in L&J’s worldview, doesn’t hurt or wound God or Jesus, certainly doesn’t pose them a threat.  More or less, it just kinda irks them.  So, all this evil is just for its own sake and achieving nothing else.

    It makes Satan seem less evil and more… like he’s holding a grudge.  I mean, it could make Satan into God’s psycho ex-angelfriend, but that makes all of this less evil and more… pathetic.

  • Tybult

    And he’s consolidated the entire globe under one world government, one
    world religion, one world currency and one world language. That’s all
    quite impressive

    Well, not really – this is a globe populated by people who are impressed by hearing their country’s name in their own language, by people who attack the same place with fighter jets and nuclear missiles at the same time.
    It’s like living in a world populated solely by factory-bred turkeys – you don’t have to work too hard to get to the top of the heap.

    I would like you to announce, simultaneously, the initiation of a ten-cent tax on all electronic money transfers.

    “You, young Skywalker, are about to witness the might of my fully armed and operational Ten Cent Tax.”

  • Turcano

    Another thing that L&J overlook is that fact that for most of the countries in the world worth living in, this is actually a tax cut.

  • Angelique Blackthorne

    “Now, let us get down to business,” the Antichrist says.

    “…to defeat the Huns! Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons?”

    This scene would be hilariously more entertaining, if no less comprehensible, if it were done as a Disney song number.

  • fredgiblet

    Making the official language something other than English would mean that at some point they’d have to write something that wasn’t in English, and that would be a pain.  As it stands everyone speaks English unless the authors decide that they shouldn’t for some reason 

  • flat

    Hey Nicky, Holo the wise called: if you would stop trying to use economics in your evil plan.

  • Makabit

    It’s hard to tell about the phase-out. They can’t have gotten the whole world speaking English in a year and a half. Most people can’t learn English worth a damn in a year and a half, and even if they can, who will teach them? And will they teach them well? (I’ve dealt with many a student who had excellent grades in English class in China, but when it came to actually doing stuff in English…) It can’t have gotten much past ‘all the government paperwork is in English’, if that.

    In general, the OWG concept just needs a lot more fleshing out. If I had to guess, I would guess something like this: Morocco, say, has official OWG offices in every major city, doing business in English, but not actually imposing any law that really applies to your average Moroccan on the street. People still speak Arabic or Tamazight on the street. People in the mountains have never the hell heard of the OWG.

    The One World Religion is even harder to visualize. It’s not clear what the hell it is, but imagining it being accepted as a replacement for their religion by, well, anyone who currently HAS a religion is difficult–some groups would fight it harder and more violently than others–and those who don’t have a religion would, well, probably not suddenly decide they need one. 

    All of this could make for grand world-building, but, alas, in this series…it doesn’t.

  • arcseconds

    Am I missing something here?

    GDP is the sum of the market value of all final goods and services produced by a country.

    So couldn’t a 30% GDP tax be implemented as a 30% GST/VAT-style sales tax?

    It might not be exactly equivalent, as I suppose goods produced but not sold count towards GDP, but it should be pretty close.

     30% seems high, but many countries in the real works have VAT at 20% or more, including places like Germany and the UK and Belgium and so forth.  These places aren’t famous for their burgeoning black markets (or at least, not to me…).   They’re far from the worst places as far as economic inequality goes, either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    “Next week we’ll look at more of his evil master plan, including his bewildering ideas for making sure that his one-world government is no longer dependent on foreign oil. (Yes, really.)”

    *raises finger and opens mouth, stops, and lowers/closes it again*Actually, nevermind. I want to see where they’re going with this.

  • reynard61

    “Aha, there’s a catch. Excellent. Maybe Nicolae will reveal that this help and aid is conditional. He will rebuild their shattered cities, feeding and sheltering the millions of nuclear refugees, but in exchange for this assistance he will demand that the afflicted sacrifice their children.

    “Hold on, no, wait. Scratch that. There are no children anymore in the world of this novel. I keep forgetting.

    “That’s an important point to keep in mind, too, when we’re evaluating Nicolae’s work as an Antichrist. It puts him at a rather large disadvantage in the monstrous evil department. Sure, he’s still able to do things like bomb a hospital, killing Bruce Barnes and hundreds of other sick people, but that would have been so much more evil if the pediatric ward hadn’t already been empty. This whole world-without-children thing really does handicap Nicolae’s ability to do the sort of thing we’d expect from an epitome of evil. He’s supposed to surpass all the monsters of history, but it’s hard to compete with guys like Genghis Khan or Joshua when there are no children available to put to the sword.”

    Yeah; it’s kinda hard to kick puppies when there aren’t any puppies to kick.

    (Warning: TV Tropes link. Kiss a couple of hours good-bye…)

  • Turcano

    I would also like to know how dependence on foreign oil is a problem when “foreign” is no longer a thing that exists in this context.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/O2DIEGJWN5XMY3JUSP7KAGKNPU Kevin

    So, in a nutshell, Ellenjay’s image of pure, darkest cosmic evil is not Adolf Hitler, it’s Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

    Maybe that’s why it’s OK to be the Antichrist’s henchman?  Eisenhower, MacArthur, and Patton worked for FDR, and they’re cool* despite FDR being the incarnation of all wickedness.  So Ray-gun and Camshaft are all right, Jack.

    I find it a bit curious that Ellenjay are tooting so hard on their Republican political dogwhistles in the context of the fulfillment of their “Biblical” prophecies.  I know that if I was writing a story about the aftermath of some apocalypse (zombies, the Yellowstone supervolcano, asteroids, alien invasion, whatever), I wouldn’t have my characters peeking out of the ruins to see if the rubble had stopped bouncing, then saying to each other, “And this is why we should have adopted a real single-payer national health care plan instead of Obamacare!”

    Apocalypse is the situation where the politics of the day doesn’t matter anymore.  I guess I can understand Ellenjay doing this, if they don’t really believe this stuff and they’re just milking their audience for a whole lot of quick bucks.  What I don’t quite get is the audience members themselves.  This is supposed to be the Apocalypse!  The grand consummation of the entire arc of Biblical history, the revelation of God’s Big Plan.  If you’re an RTC, shouldn’t all that stuff be kinda more important than tax policy?

    I’m trying to imagine how I would have written this story back when I was an evangelical/fundy type.  I’m pretty sure I would have done something like run with the idea that blatantly supernatural magic/miracles are an actual thing all of a sudden.  So, the Antichrist would be more “evil sorcerer” than “social-democratic European politician,” and his minions would be developing and wielding magical powers now that demons had been set free to run amok.  Nobody would be thinking about tax policy, or whether people say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” in December.  Maybe because in my formative years the big scare for RTC’s was “OMG!  New Age Movement!” instead of “OMG!  Communism and the European Common Market!”  I can’t say I would have been able to do it nearly as well as Chris the Cynic does it in “A World Without God,” but that would have been the kind of thing I’d have been aiming for. 

    Plus, I have a hard time imagining the Antichrist as just another guy in a suit making policy proposals, with his dark heart set on…turning the world into Sweden?  How is that not anticlimactic even for RTC’s?  BTW, has Nicky even used his mind-whammy ability since that one time in Left Behind?  The Mule from Asimov’s Second Foundation–now there was a guy who knew how to use a mind-whammy!  Nicky Olympus Mons** is just Tony Blair with a vaguely Eastern European*** accent.  What a disappointment.

    My mind just continues to boggle.  If they can’t make Nicky Worse Than Hitler, couldn’t they at least try to make him Worse Than Ming the Merciless?  Like, have him spend the money to build a space battlecruiser with a great big Death Ray of Death in preparation for the Battle of Armageddon?

    [I usually post as "KevinC" but now I'm logged in via Yahoo, hence the slightly different username]

    *To the Republican brain.
    **That “foreign oil” has to come from somewhere, right?
    ***Because Ellenjay are probably pretty sure Romania is in Eastern Europe.  Unless it’s that country just south of Paraguay.

  • arcseconds

    I think you’re missing why people find these books attractive.

    They’re not after Mad Max × Star Wars because they want high drama and sci-fi and gloriously dramatic portrayals of evil.

    They like them because their prejudices are massaged and vindicated

    (at least, that’s my theory. I’ve never met anyone who’s read the damn things.  But I think it works in terms of what’s on the page.  It’s terrible as post-apocalyptic sci fi, or James Bond.  We don’t get consistently dramatic evil.  But what we do get consistently is playing out all the ultraconservative American protestant canards, including the weird mix of antisemitism and judaophilia, glorification of middle class men in coöperating with what they understand to be evil but not liking it, dammit, everyone not saved is stupid, the UN and taxes are works of the devil, &c. &c. )

    EDIT: so the dogwhistles are what the books are all about, basically.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/O2DIEGJWN5XMY3JUSP7KAGKNPU Kevin

    I would be interested to know what people think the secret of Left Behind‘s success is.  I know there are plenty of other writers of RTC fiction out there.  Surely they can’t all be worse than Ellenjay, but they’re also not all sitting on the royalties from 60 million sales, either.  Ellenjay make it look like it ought to be easy to make huge pots of money as a writer, if you just throw some story together in which the characters raise a fist and say “Jesus, man!”* to each other once in awhile.  But, the world doesn’t quite work like that.  Hence, the mystery.

    *This comes from an RTC movie reviewed at Heathen Critique, where this gesture is employed in a way just begging for parody.

  • Bificommander

    Oh sweet Djesus, LaHaye and Jenkins seriously went there? The plan of the most evil man in history is ‘ raising the level of Third World countries’? “And when the whole world is on equal footing, America will NO LONGER BE EXCEPTIONAL MUHAHAHAHAHA!”

    There are times I wish I wasn’t an atheist, and actually believed that LaHaye would come face to face with his lord and savior, so I could properly picture his changing facial expression as Jesus reminded him of that little story of the goats and sheep, and the whole bit about refusing to help the poor is the same as refusing to help him.

  • arcseconds

     There was some comments along these lines in the comments for the last or last-but-one post, which I don’t have time to go find right this moment.

    someone quite wisely pointed out that RTCs don’t actually have a lot of griping fiction on their ‘cleared for guilt-free reading’ list, and specifically not a lot of sci-fi apocalyptic action-adventure.

    Other than that, it may well just come down to the Matthew Effect

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/O2DIEGJWN5XMY3JUSP7KAGKNPU Kevin

     Yeah, I can understand that in a story like Soon, where the setting is some future Atheistopia, but not the Post-Rapture Apocalypse.  It just seems to me that in the PRA, even the wingers would be expecting a little more than “Yay, Republicans!”  I think you’re right, it’s just weird to me that the RTC’s have so completely subordinated their eschatology to their present-day politics–not to mention their blatant materialism.  “What’s this?  Jesus has returned?  Huh.  What’s that gonna do for my stock portfolio and my cell phone reception?  And he is gonna repeal Obamacare, right?”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/O2DIEGJWN5XMY3JUSP7KAGKNPU Kevin

     True, but it seems to me that the Law of Supply and Demand would abhor such a vacuum.  Surely there’d have to be at least a couple hundred thousand RTC’s who would read the LB books and think, “HOLY CRAP, I could write better than this in my sleep!” and be right.  Because, how hard could it be to write better than this in one’s sleep? 

  • Will Hennessy

    Let me start by saying how SHOCKED I am that the author’s form of utter terror, horror and evil in the world would be taxes. Seriously, SHOCKED and STUNNED. No, really. Stop laughing. Stop. Stop!

    Ok, kidding aside, the authors’ tirade against taxes brings me back once again to chapter 16 of For Whom the Bell Tolls, in which that socialist pig Hemingway describes the EXACT STRUGGLE we’re going through in this country now, what with rich estate owners not wanting to pay taxes to help the rest of us. Hemingway says that there will be fighting in this country because of this struggle his proxy-characters describe.

    Oh, and he calls the wealthy elite who refuse to pay their fair share “fascists.”

    And people wonder why I continue to assert that if you read Mein Kampf and merely change the word “Germany” to “America” and the word “Jews” to “immigrants,” you end up with the platform of the Tea Party…

    …ugh. I’m going to sleep.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Okay, if I was the anti-christ, running the world, with a specific goal of creating the kind of starvation, disease, war, and general death that is alluded to in Revelations….

    Ah, but you have the roles reversed there. All that that you mentioned, that’s L&J’s God’s work.


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