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.

  • arcseconds

     I’m not sure I’d put it down to materialism exactly.

    You can’t systematically think through things independently in general ways and remain an RTC (or at least, not a happy one).  If you’re going to think through things systematically, it has to be in highly circumscribed ways — like, you can work on your own End Times timeline, but you can’t start doing source criticism on Genesis or thinking too hard as to which animals lay eggs and why.

    So you’re not going to be looking for world-building, I think.  That kind of thinking is an alien (and likely dangerous) concept.

    You’re also just going to have to accept things largely as a package.  Remember that tax is part of the general ‘the antichrist takes over and persecutes we RTCs until Jesus comes back and then you’ll all be sorry’ package, too.  If you start thinking ‘well, if there’s a nuclear war and famine and the Antichrist owns everything, then there can’t really even be taxes and they certainly would seem to be the least of our worries’, then it might start seeming like taxes aren’t actually all that important… perhaps they’re not actually the greatest evil …. maybe they aren’t connected with the Antichrist and the secularist muslim communists at all…. maybe they’re actually connected in some way with civil society..

  • Müntzer

    “That, in turn, creates a cash-flow problem.”
    It does not. If there is no cash (electronic currency, remember?) then paying with IOUs is not a problem. The IOUs become the currency. Everybody ‘pays with his good name’ if you will which stays good as long as he has diligently payed his bills.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    So L&J think money has an intrinsic value? Seriously? But that’s the only reason to imagine that a one world government that could take what it wants would level a monetary tax rather than a goods/labour tax. If they ever find themselves in a real post-apocalyptic scenario they’ll probably be shocked that no one wants their dollars.

    Seriously in Nicolae’s political position it would be far more efficient to use an Incan style tax system http://io9.com/5872764/the-greatest-mystery-of-the-inca-empire-was-its-strange-economy Far more evil as well since it’s effectively a form of slavery.

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

     The weird materialism of these books is in the way the characters all still act as if money, status, high-end Range Rovers, super-expensive “mega-laptops,” and fancy cell phones–not to mention policies like progressive taxation–matter in this context.  One of the earlier NRA posts (I don’t remember the title offhand, but it was about the first few pages) shows our hack authors getting their sexism across by portraying Chloe wigging out about the nuclear attack on New York (IIRC) because, “What about our home!”  I.e., the little woman freaking out about her little domestic concerns and needing her man to calm her down or some such rubbish.  But he didn’t do it by reminding her that the Egg Timer of the Cosmos was reading only six years left, and “store not up for yourselves treasure on Earth” etc..  All this stuff just makes my mind go *Boing*-Whaaaa? because if there was any point where The Glories of Capitalism just wouldn’t matter anymore, even to the most conservative/libertarian RTC in the world, it ought to be the point where you know you…actually…don’t…need…to…sweat that stuff anymore, because, Apocalypse.

    Also: If Nicky needs money, why doesn’t he just print it like there’s no tomorrow?  Because, well…there is no tomorrow!

  • Ken

    I still can’t get past the image of Rayford hunched over in the pilot’s seat, scribbling away notes on tax policy because it will help the Tribulation Force do, um, nothing.

    Besides, don’t the Tribbies already know what Nicolae is going to do?  That’s Bruce’s thousands of pages of Bible interpretation, right?  Somewhere in there must be the explanation of how if you paste together Ezekiel 39:12 and Revelation 11:11, it clearly shows that the Antichrist will use a world sales tax to pay for disaster relief and economic development.

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

     Oh yeah, I just remembered the title of that post by Fred: “Squeezing the Stallion.”  BWAHAHAHAHA!  And Buck dismissed Chloe’s worries about her Homely House (read: swanky 5th Ave. apartment) because he had more important things to worry about, like road rage and how awesome the fully-loaded engine of his phallic compensater–er, car is.

  • http://twitter.com/WayofCats WayofCats

    As a refugee from the Baptists (and this was before all the wheels left the road) I can confidently figure that SENSE is the last thing on their minds. What we have here is a failure to communicate. It doesn’t and it won’t and it’s not meant to gel; it’s a paranoid fever dream.

    One of the most exasperating things about the Republican/Evangelical hybrid that has developed from this literally unholy merging is how short the circuit is before it slams into a wall. Taxes are bad because they are taking my money. It doesn’t have anything to do with building a bridge because business is the source of all money. They will build the bridge! Don’t even try to go any further because shut up that’s why.

    Around and around and around. If they come up short on facts, they turn to faith and we are DONE talking. They don’t think. They rationalize, and even that is the shortest distance between two points.

    I was literally taught that thinking too much is how the devil gets a hold. So, you know what? They don’t.

  • Carstonio

    Ellanjay wouldn’t have to have passages in French or Arabic. One of the Star Trek novels had McCoy testifying in Vulcan but his testimony shown in English for the reader. Another device might be Buck and Chloe fearful for not understanding what Nicolae’s goons are saying to them.

  • fraser

    I’d probably pay up the One World Language as a direct shot against God–he changed humanity’s tongues to keep us from speaking in one language but now the Great Carpathia has confounded him!

  • fraser

     Since he emphasizes Third World nations, I wonder if the point is “Look! The Antichrist will take the money from America, the greatest country in the world, and give it to non-American people!” But even then, it doesn’t make much sense as an evil deed.

  • fraser

    Calling them “kings” in this context presumably represents flattery (“Yes, you are absolute monarchs, even though you do everything I say.”). I’m sure a lot of people being told they were a king and having the trappings wouldn’t question whether they fitted the conventional definition of a monarch. Alternatively, it could be another sign of Nicky’s antiChristology–instead of kings ruling by divine right, they know rule by undivine right.

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

    Indeed, this is called a “translation convention” and it’s fairly common in literature. There are plenty of ways to do it, the simplest being to use some symbol to indicate a non-English passage (comics and graphic novels typically use angle brackets). For that matter, I’ve seen some stories where it’s just presumed that the characters are speaking another language unless otherwise indicated.

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

    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…

    Oh, I could tell you so many stories as to why that happens, but I’ll stick to the topic.

    This “Mystery” One World Religion doesn’t make a lot of sense, but what little context is there suggests that it’s some sort of civic, cult-of-personality thing. According to the story, everyone gave up their own faith and took the new one pretty easily – except Christians, of course (presumably post-Event converts). This clearly reflects some belief of LaHaye’s, though I’m not sure if it’s a belief that that all those religions are basically the same (being false and all) or that their adherents are all followers. It may be something inherent to evangelicalism, as Jenkins did the same in his own series.

    Anyway, I was just wondering how many of these followers actually gave up their old faiths. There’s apparently a sizable network of underground churches – who’s to say that this isn’t true for other religions as well? How many people pay lip service to the new order while secretly following their own consciences?

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

    You have to remember that none of those RTCs thought that the books were bad. I can’t tell you how many evangelical kids tried to pitch me on these things in high school.

    But aside from that, a lot of people were inspired to write as a result of these books. As an aficionado of bad self-published literature, I can tell you that more books exist, and most of them are far, far worse than LB. They’re inferior knock-offs, usually mixed with the author’s own personal interests. I believe I mentioned one such book in a previous thread that was basically Left Behind meets Twilight, but somehow less than the sum of its parts. It appeared to be fairly popular, at least by self-pub standards, and it had a high rating.

    Some people just have really low standards.

  • christopher_y

    But what’s this business about making English the official world language?

    Help! The end times are upon us!

  • Carstonio

    That’s the same attitude I was lampooning. I would amend your point to say that the American
    True Christian view is that Americanwhites are God’s other chosen people.

  • Tofu_Killer

    Clearly Nicky is angling for an invitation to respond to the 2014 State of the Union Address.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Makabit, re Nicky’s One World Religion – If we pretend for a moment that any of this has any kind of plausibility to it, Nicky probably doesn’t want anybody to accept his made-up religion. No, the OWR is just a pretext to let the OWG harass, imprison, torture, execute, and kinda inconvenience anybody who doesn’t play along. And it would work superbly for that purpose, whether you want to pester antireligious or devoutly religious people. (Sorry if, as is probable, somebody else has already said this.)

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Verna Zee Sensible Shoes Confrontation Countdown: 220 pages

  • Ethics Gradient

    The point about lack of children is a fairly important one. Those of us without the stamina (or masochism) to read the whole damn books,  can lose sight of the basic premises of the plot. So, as well as all the children disappearing in the Rapture, there are no more pregnancies or births, right? In which case, the world would be in a ‘Children of Men’ scenario, and that would be the overriding concern on humanity – not only did 12 years of children effectively die, but all evidence is that there are never going to be any more. Which means the complete demise of humanity in about 100 years time, with or without Antichrists and returning Djesuses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bobby.herrington.1 Boze Herrington

    “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.”

    This was brilliant. Thank you.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Actually, this whole scenario makes me think of the Disney-cartoon version of Robin Hood, in which the Sheriff of Nottingham goes door-to-door, stealing children’s birthday presents as “taxes.”  Hell, when the peasants make up a snarky song about him, Prince John just rants: “Double the taxes!  No, TRIPLE the taxes!”

    Very simplistic and silly, but gives kids a decent general idea of the problem.  And Prince John and the Sheriff have a perfectly understandable motive: they want to be rich.

    This is…not quite perfectly understandable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Prost/100002434484052 Tony Prost

     “And ditto religion – who’s to say that there aren’t hundreds of new Santeria-style syncretic religions now?”

    That’s a good point.  People aren’t going to change their religion just because all the priests are raptured or executed. Nicky Splash Mountain should be setting off Inquisitors for the One
    World Religion (whateer the hell it is called), and burning heretics at the stake! That would be drama!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Prost/100002434484052 Tony Prost

     Too bad Nicky Splash Mountain isn’t around today! I bet he could solve the sequester just like *that* !!!

  • Dogfacedboy

    Carpathia and Hitler do seem like kindred spirits when it comes to evil dictators.  From what I remember of my history classes, there were quite a few impassioned speeches during the Third Reich about raising taxes on the wealthy to help raise the level of Third World countries and bringing humanitarian aid to all that need it worldwide.

    Those tax-and-spend liberals and their redistribution of wealth schemes.  So evil.  When will we learn from history?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Prost/100002434484052 Tony Prost

     “his ambassadors or sub-potentates”    im-potentates?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    It’s not SOSHULIZM when it’s done in the name of Jesus.
    (Except when it is).

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

    Fred has definitely pointed that out before, yes – that the sheer banality of these books is partly due to L&J not giving a damn about wordbuilding, but instead wanting to give their PMD readers a vicarious happy dance in which they gleefully give the finger to the un-saved.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    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.

    Also, if this is anything like reality (and this is nothing like reality), historically speaking, when a multilingual region decides to make English its One Official Language, they immediately cut all ESL courses and defund all multilingual resources.

    Admittedly, this is because in the real world, “English as official language” is something that only ever gets implemented by racists as a way to disenfranchise minorities, whereas here it’s just a plot contrivance, so things might be different. Maybe Nicolae just mind-whammies eveyrone into speaking english by saying every word in the english language at them in alphabetical order.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    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.

    Don’t you know, the US has the highest taxes in the world? Don’t listen to those furriners telling you othwerwise, how would THEY know, their money all looks like monopoly money.

    (Seriously, my dad is always telling me stories about coworkers he’s tried and failed to disabuse of the notion that taxes in the US are both the highest in the world and the highest they have ever been)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2RAPF5V3YPOUWAZGAJ2VCQM76Q Alicia

    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. 

    To be fair, this does happen later on in the series. When Carpathia replaces the current Enigma Babylon One-World Faith (that’s really what it’s called) with his cult of personality, Carpathianism, he trains an army of “miracle-workers” to spread the religion. Carpathia gives each of them a small fraction of his super power, which they use to cast spells to wow the public and win converts.

    Here’s a scene with one of them, as he manipulates the weather:

    It took only a few minutes for the crowd to gather, and it appeared that an otherwise normal looking guy, whom Mac thought looked like a younger version of Leon Fortunato, grabbed the microphone. He wore white shoes, white slacks, a white shirt, and sounded like a motivational speaker, all peppy and crisp. He said he was the whole show announcer, performer, everything.

    “But I’m not typical. No, folks. People have called me a type of Christ. Well, you be the judge. All I can tell you is that I am not from here. That was not a joke. I am not even from this world. There’s no music today, no dancing girls, just me, a wonder worker. I come under the authority of the risen lord, Nicolae Carpathia, and I have been imbued with power from him.

    “If you are skeptical, let me ask you to look at the sky. I know the sun is still high and hot and bright, but would you agree with me that there are no clouds? None. Not one. Anyone see one anywhere? On the distant horizon? Forming somewhere in the great beyond? Shade your eyes, that’s all right. But do me the favor of removing your sunglasses, those of you who have them. You’re squinting, and that’s all right. Some of you are frowning, but you won’t be in a moment.

    “Would you like a nice cloud? Something to block the sun for just an instant? I can provide one. You’re skeptical, I can tell. Don’t look at me; you’ll miss it. You’ll think it was a trick. But what do you call that?”

    A shadow fell over the crowd. Even the GC gawked at the sky. Abdullah leaned over. Albie bent forward. Mac turned his body between them and looked up. A thick, white cloud blotted out the sun. The people oohed and aahed.

    “How does he do that?” Abdullah said.

    “He already told you,” Mac said. “Power from Nicolae.”

    “Too quick?” the miracle worker said. “Did the sudden change in temperature chill you, even out here in the desert? Maybe that’s enough shade for the moment, hmm?”

    The cloud disappeared. It didn’t move, fade, or dissipate. It was there, and then it was gone.

    “How about half shade, but still enough of the sun coming through to keep you warm?” It was instantaneous.

    Channelling his inner Emeril, the warlock even calls forth food and water:

    “Magic tricks? You know better. Had trouble getting enough water lately? Or shall we believe the stories coming from inside Petra?Think a spring in there was an act of God? Then what does that make me?”
     
    He pointed into the middle of the crowd, and a spring gushed from the ground, splashing over their heads. “Cool, crisp, and refreshing, no?” he said. “Enjoy! Go ahead!” And they did.

    “Hungry? Tired of the fare in your new home? How about a basket of real bread, warm and chewy and more than enough for all?” He reached behind him and brought out a wicker basket with a linen napkin in it. Five popover sized chunks of bread, warm and golden brown, were piled in it. “Start that around. Here you go. Sure, take one. No, a whole one! Take two if you’d like. There’s more where that came from.”

    The basket passed from hand to hand and everyone took at least one piece, several two, and yet the basket was never depleted.

    “Who am I? Who do you say that I am? I am a disciple of the living lord, Potentate Carpathia. Have I persuaded you that he is all powerful? His patience has run out with you people, however. He would like me to administer the mark of loyalty to you, which I can do without technology. You don’t doubt me anymore, do you?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Wait, isn’t that just the bad guy’s plot from ‘The Incredibles’?

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    According to the story, everyone gave up their own faith and took the new one pretty easily – except Christians, of course (presumably post-Event converts). This clearly reflects some belief of LaHaye’s, though I’m not sure if it’s a belief that that all those religions are basically the same (being false and all) or that their adherents are all followers. It may be something inherent to evangelicalism, as Jenkins did the same in his own series.

    Yeah, in the LB series and the Underground Zealot series, it seems to be a given that all other religions are just faking it and/or that the silly non-RTC religions don’t provide people with anything “real,” so they just drop them when it’s convenient.

    In Soon, it is vaguely stated that a devastating (though you wouldn’t know it from subsequent events) war left everyone so shattered and battle-weary that the “anti-religious” could take over and institute worldwide atheism.  Because that’s how it works.

    And later in the LB series, Tsion ben-Jewishguy maintains that anyone not an RTC just loves sinning too much.

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

    He SAYS THAT? Oh lord, the sheer assitude dripping off this series is too much. (>_<)

    Putting words like that in Tsion's mouth can only be so L&J can massage the egos of their readers, who want to believe that they're morally superior to those sinners.

    Ugh.

  • tatortotcassie

    Um, spoiler here but . . .

    So, as well as all the children disappearing in the Rapture, there are no more pregnancies or births, right?

    Wrong.  There will be at least one child born during the Tribulation.  (Which means either the hero’s sperm is so Awesome and Manly that it can overcome God’s mandate, or L&J’s God is so sadistic that he raptures up all the children and even fetuses from their parents “to save them from suffering the Tribulation”, but then allows children to be conceived and born during the Tribulation . . . so they can suffer through it.) 

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    From Tsion ben-Jewishguy’s message “on the most popular Web site in history”:

    Our hope is in the promise that “the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming.  The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

    We often wonder, when the truth is now so clear, why not everyone comes to Christ.  It is because of that very deception!  People did not, as Paul says above, “receive the love of the truth.” He says it is “for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”  Can you imagine it?  There are people who know the truth, know their futures are doomed, and yet still they take pleasure in sin!  A warning, if you are one of those: Due to you rebellion, God may have already hardened your heart so that you could not change your mind if you wanted to.

    -Desecration, pp. 101 and 103

    So,  Nicky is the great deceiver, but it’s your own fault you were deceived.

    Also, free will (and the cake) is a lie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Just checked out the Soon book on Amazon. Oooooh boy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Just checked out the Soon book on Amazon. Oooooh boy.

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

    “for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should
    believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the
    truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

    God is officially the universe’s hugest douchebag ever.

    This is the same sort of crap that Young Earth Creationists peddle, you know.

    “God put those fossils there just to see if your faith is strong enough to know he’s testing you.”

    I would almost venture to say God likes gaslighting his purported audience. Whatever happened to all the fatuous claims that God loves everybody so very very much that God is practically stampeding to the metaphorical front door to receive new followers in the faith?

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Shameless plug for my own blog: I did the whole book.  (And will probably do the sequel after I’m done with my current book.)

    http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/soon-the-story-so-far/

    Just in case anyone is interested in what Jerry Jenkins thinks a world run by atheists would be like. 

    Spoilers: no wars for thirty years, and an almost complete elimination of cancer and homelessness.  But no Jesus, so the place is still eeeevil.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     But rendering something in english when it was said in another language would be lying! And lies make baby jesus cry, unless they’re lies about fetal or female biology told to drum up support for an abortion ban!

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

     Ah, but the Church never took out of the taxpayer’s pocket (before Constantine). I am confident L&J support some kind of Church use of taxpayer money, though-this makes them hypocrites.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     The characters of Buck, Bruce, Cam, and Tsion each represent a different aspect of the authors’ personalities. They represent their ego, ego, ego and ego, respectively.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

     It’s really not that silly a concept for an empire, especially one with a territorial core it wants to keep richer than the periphery.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    “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.”

    Really?  If you told me that there was a vast group of people who believed The UN The Red Cross was actually a Super Evil NWO One World Antichrist Government that wants to use Agenda 21 relief aid to…make…uh…something….something something?  I would be like “man that is dumb & plausible.”

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

    Another thing that occurred to me – given that the story is set in a fantastic “future” world, why not have Nicky or one of his subordinates whip up some kind of universal translator? It’s not exactly “one language,” but this way you could play it off as one of the antichrist’s false miracles. Plus, it sets a hook for some future intrigue – imagine if Nicky had designed his miracle translator to selectively edit certain subversive ideas, George Orwell style. Upon discovering this, our “heroes” obviously couldn’t use it anymore, leading to more complications when they get stranded in unfamiliar regions later on.

  • Jenny Islander

     American whites of northern European ancestry.  If your last name has one of those suspiciously Mediterranean Zs in it or your hair is just a leeeeetle too dark, you’re a brown person in disguise.

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

    You see, that’s what poses the biggest problem for an antichrist in L&J’s apocalypse.  How do I be more evil than God?

    Well, considering the definition of good v evil that they’re working with, which is distressingly common throughout Christendom, that good is defined by God liking somehting and evil is defined by God disliking something.

    So, I go back to something I’ve said before and something Chris the Cynic is expressing very well in his Nick Andes stories.  The most absolutely evil thing thing that the antichrist could do would be to be a nice guy that genuinely wants to help people.

  • Jenny Islander

    Sometimes it’s desperation to see something, anything in print that tells the story one wants.  Back when I was in X-Files fandom, I was desperate for stories about Mulder not continually having the football of life snatched away just when he was off balance for the kick.  So I read, reread, bookmarked, and enthusiastically recced a long series in which he and Scully had a funny lightbulb moment about their relationship, adjusted their work situation to allow for a romance, set up housekeeping together, eventually got married, and fought the series villains together instead of him charging off and her trailing exasperatedly behind.  The plots were excellent–mostly because the writer ditched Chris Carter’s fan dance much sooner than he did, so she had fewer plot elements to deal with when resolving the major series arcs.  The writer had a gift for description and dialogue, as well as funny moments that were somehow very Mulder and Scully.  And although the stories were definitely lighter and sweeter, they weren’t character-coddling exercises; bad things did happen to good people.

    I went back to it years later and realized that I had been so overjoyed to see Mulder get some happiness for once that I had completely……………overlooked…………the annoying way the author wrote without punctuation except supersized ellipses………….no commas………no quotation marks…………….she even forgot to capitalize………..not to mention her failure to start new paragraphs………………………

  • Michael Pullmann

    “My fellow bad guys, I, Nicolae Carpathia, your leader, will speak now about my, Nicolae Carpathia’s, plan. My villainous, villainous plan. Question the plan
    at your peril.”


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