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.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I think that is actually because L&J believe EVERYBODY ALREADY speaks English, and that if they try to converse with you in their “own” language, well that is because they are just being a pain in the ass, and they couldn’t resist putting in place a rule that they really really really want, and that’s for everyone else to stop this unholy charade, AND JUST SPEAK ENGLISH!!  I feel this belief is tied in with their American Superiority Complexes.

  • lawrence090469

    So after a brief spasm of violence, the Anti-Christ rolls out his master plan… and it’s cribbed (badly) from John Rawls and Paul Krugman. This is quite instructive about how the authors define the summum malum.

  • Mark Z.

    “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?

    As we all know, Jenkins “wrote” this series, so to speak, from an outline from LaHaye. In the outline, the ten regional rulers are consistently called “kings”, because this whole schema was dreamed up two hundred years ago in Europe and LaHaye is following convention. And Jenkins has gotten tired of having to constantly translate “kings” into “ambassadors”. It slows him down and makes it harder to keep the Book-of-the-Month Club schedule.

    So here Jenkins notifies us that henceforth* he may occasionally refer to them as “kings”, and when he does, that’s not a mistake, because they’re ambassador-kings, see? That is the entire function** of this paragraph: to give Jenkins an excuse for future laziness.

    * Not “forthwith”, as Nicolae says in this passage for some reason.

    ** Well, that and wordcount ballast.

  • Lori

    I think that is actually because L&J believe EVERYBODY ALREADY
    speaks English, and that if they try to converse with you in their “own”
    language, well that is because they are just being a pain in the ass  

    I don’t think they exactly believe that everyone already speaks English. I think they believe English is the system default so to speak and people speak other languages because their training has overridden the default (which was clearly done simply to be a defiant PITA).

    To be fair, if you take out the defiant PITA aspect, this is actually a really common attitude for people to subconsciously have toward their native tongue. You see it when people try to learn a foreign language, at least as adults. No matter which languages are involved there is a powerful tendency to try to treat New Language as fundamentally a translation of Native Language, not as a separate thing with it’s own rules and logic. Getting past that is one of the biggest challenges to developing anything like fluency.

  • Lori

    (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)  

    This is one of the things that makes me the most infuriated about my father’s political beliefs. He was a tax paying adult during many, many years when the tax rate here in the US was far higher than it is now. He knows this. He was there. And yet, he will swear up and down that taxes are the highest they’ve ever been and they’re a crushing burden and blah, blah, Fox News BS, blah.

  • Makabit

    As someone who has been subject to tourists trying to buy stuff, I can affirm this. Note: speaking to me loudly and slowly in simple language may get you somewhere in French or Spanish or even German. In Japanese, it will get nowhere. You can talk as slowly as you want. I still don’t know any words. 

  • Worthless Beast

    ((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. ))

    Maybe it’s because I’ve been rewatching episodes of “Pinky and the Brain” (hey, I like cartoons), but that line made me think something along the lines of “The Antichrist siezed power, ruling over the entire world! – Except for Cleveland!”  I.E. this is like something one would expect the Brain to do…. succeed except for one corner of the world.   Then again, when he took over the world after sending all humans to Chia Earth, one of his nasty master plans was to draft uncessary laws, then send them through repeals process to clog up the system – however, he did this out of boredom because the Earth was empty, without people to rule.

    Oh, Lord, I just realized books *I used to read* have less substance than a Pinky and the Brain episode.

  • Worthless Beast

    I’ve just finished playing Phantom Hourglass.  Wow, did that game play that up to eleven! I suppose it’s so you can have moolah to play mini games with.  I rather liked the glut of money in Twilight Princess because I found the money-sucking Magic Armor fun to play around with.  

    Then there is Wind Waker … yes… Carpathia is Tingle?

    (I’m sorry. You mentioned LoZ – and I’m a hardcore fangirl).

  • AnonymousSam

    I have concluded that “Walt Disney Presents: ______, the Animated Feature” is a recipe for something watchable regardless of what it is, so long as _______ is something that can’t possibly be quashed down into PG-13 substance.

    I’m still holding out for Walt Disney Presents Fifty Shades of Gray, the Animated Feature. I’d totally go see it.

  • AnonymousSam

    What’s hilarious is the thought that LeHaye and Jenkins would probably be incapable of comprehending the idea that an anime revolving around a fox woman who is worshiped as a harvest deity and parades about in the nude (at least for multiple scenes and every picture of art related to the series ever) would be about economics and not turn out to be about a soul-devouring antichrist creature like what they wish they could portray here.

    They’d probably only get so far as “fox woman” before their heads asplode and they automatically conclude EVIL.

  • AnonymousSam

    *Whistles* My characters peeked out of the ruins and said “This is because of those premillennial dispensationalists!”

    Well, not really, but the narrative does blame them for making it happen.

  • http://twitter.com/KeroseneBitumen Christina Nordlander

    Oh, people can still get pregnant and have children. (Not sure if nine months have even passed since the Event, but there should at least be a bunch of pregnant women around.)

    Of course, they’d be forgiven for being a bit leery about the prospect of having children, given what’s just happened to their previous ones…

  • EllieMurasaki

    There was an eighteen-month timeskip. And at Nicolae’s funeral, 3.5 years into the Tribulation, there’s a bunch of adorable little 3.5-year-olds and under. Whoever’s PoV it is specifies they can’t be older than that. That they can’t actually be older than three, because (while preemies do happen) pregnancies take nine months and all the pregnancies in progress got Raptured, is ignored.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    it’s your own fault you were deceived.

    Also, free will… is a lie.

    Wait, but how — what — how does that — WHAT.

    How can anything be one’s own fault if free will is a lie?! 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    The fact that Young Earth Creationists and RTCs usually seem to have parents, especially fathers, who are complete and utter jackasses explains a lot, imo. They’re used to authority figures treating them badly. So of course the biggest authority figure of all would treat them badly.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Poossibly the POV character adds three fourths of a year to everyone’s age to indicate their firm stance that a baby is one year old 365 days after dad said, “Hey, CSI is a rerun tonight, how about we turn in early?”

  • AndrewSshi

    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.

    RTC exegetes are way ahead of you. The passage on the sheep and the goats has nothing do do with social justice, but rather is about looking out for one’s fellow RTCs.

    Srsly
     

  • http://twitter.com/WayofCats WayofCats

    One thing about European/Canadian style taxes; it looks like they take a lot out, but what is left does not have to cover health care, student loans, child minding and all the myriad stuff we are supposed to pony up for.

    I’ll bet if we compared actual spending money; it would look really GOOD.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    One caveat: Your hair is allowed to be dark so long as your skin is white enough, and with the correct (non-olive) undertones. I know this from experience, as I have very dark hair and very light pink skin (with blue undertones). Everyone thinks my ancestry is either English (wrong) or Scandinavian (right). 

  • arcseconds

    In a footnote,  Wittgenstein quotes a French politician (which he doesn’t name) as saying ‘French has the unique property of being the only language in which words appear in exactly the same order as one thinks them’.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     That’s because Wittgenstein didn’t speak Klingon.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    You see it when people try to learn a foreign language, at least as adults.

    You see it in programming languages too. I once had to “fix” code written in RPG (not the game, the language) by someone who thought in Cobol. Not fun. (Less fun: my bosses couldn’t understand why I’d toss 200 lines of code and replace it with 10 – no exaggeration, RPG is really that terse when done right. “Wouldn’t it just be faster to fix what’s there?” No.)

    And there’s this example of how some people think language works:
    http://notalwaysworking.com/stupid-in-any-language-part-2/28747

  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

     Heh. Now try to imagine their reaction to Maoyuu, which is about a Hero who joins up with the Demon Queen he’s supposed to kill in order to reshape the world economy and make war less likely. Potatoes aren’t evil this time around, but overreliance on this new miracle crop has to have consequences later.

    The series has a slightly Dragon Quest look to it and no one has a proper name, just a description of what they do.

  • Tricksterson

    All I cn figure is that the Regions function like states and each country within each Region is like a lesser state, maybe like a county?

  • Lori

    And people say Americans are the only ones who think that way.

  • Tricksterson

    These guys are so insular I sometimes wonder if they’re really aware that there are other cultures, languages etc.  Okay, that wasn’t entirely serious, on a concious level I’m sure they know, say france exists and that they have a different language, a distinct cuisine etc.  But on a subconcious level I don’t think they really believe it.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I took four years of French in high school, and used to be able to think in French as easily as in English (so long as I wasn’t thinking about science or something else for which I did not have the French vocabulary.) When I was thinking in French, my word order made sense in French, but translate it directly into English and the clauses would be all messed up. And vice versa. Different languages = different ways of thinking about the world.

  • Tricksterson

    THAT MONSTER!!!!

  • Tricksterson

    Possible with the languages but not the religions because RTCs in general and L&J in particular seem to believe that, Christianity and Judaism aside, all other religions are already really one, they’re just pretending otherwise.

  • Tricksterson

    I would love a Left Behind Musical.

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

    Back in the “privilege means never having to think of this” thread, I had an analogy about being a Yeti that nobody ever noticed was a Yeti.

    There’s a way one treats things that actually exist and a way one treats things that are fictional.  You have to observe things that actually exist, and change your understanding to meet the evidence at hand.  But, with fictional things, your understanding is right and you can change the fiction to meet your understanding.  (That’s how stories can be retold in new lights, with new morals, or even to completely contradict the original stories.)

    The far right, it seems to me, has failed to comprehend this difference.  This is how we know that children aren’t allowed to pray in schools.  Why, it’s because Christians are oppressed, therefore the reality is that they’re not allowed to pray in schools.  It can’t possibly be that looking at the reality before developing your worldview can have any, you know, value.

    It’s not that they don’t believe other cultures, languages, etc exist, it’s that they don’t believe anything needs to be examined in order to be understood.  That’s how LB becomes a best-selling, highly rated series in the first place.  Their understanding of good isn’t truth as it reflects reality but truth as it reflects their preconceptions back upon themselves.

  • AnonymousSam

    Spoiler: You are awesome.

  • Tricksterson

    Yes, keep inn mind that the reason why Nicky can’t demand children for Satanic sacrifice or for hostages is because God already killed them all!

  • Tricksterson

    I don’t think anyone here will look down on you for likeing cartoons.  For instance we have aty least one, and I suspect more, person who at least semi-seriously seems to worship Luna and Celestia from the My Pretty Pony: Friendship Is Magic

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

    So, Nicky’s kind of in the same position as Bender in the episode where the Futurama crew found an alternate universe.

    “Somewhere there’s a more evil Bender than me!  I do my best, damnit!”

  • SkyknightXi

     Just remember that LaHaye would swear up and down that they WEREN’T killed. They were raptured, essentially teleported to Heaven, and so didn’t go through the degradation and pain that actual, sin-summoned death inherently contains. That their parents and friends are every bit as bereft is immaterial. No suffering was visited upon the innocent, so where, LaHaye would ask, is the evil? Those left behind were necessarily sinners, so they deserved bereavement, so THAT wasn’t evil, either.

    Come to think of it…That whole bit about an age after which you ARE held accountable for your sins, and the Sinner’s [s]Spell[/s]Prayer, makes me wonder if you could interpret the age of accountability as God telling those past it that they’re in trouble because they were too foolish to QUICKLY swear absolute fealty to God…

  • kadh2000

     I’m enjoying reading it.  It’s fun to get the whole thing in one sitting. 

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

    Agreed, with one exception: It’s not necessarily that some people think they understand other cultures, so much as they believe that there’s no reason to understand other cultures. It’s the root of all the kvetching about “multiculturalism” you get from cultural conservatives. We know our culture is the best, so why even bother studying any others?

    It’s based on this idea that studying other cultures (or languages!) will somehow make you hate America. It’s utter nonsense, of course – I didn’t have any real understanding or appreciation of American culture until I left the country and immersed myself in the new one. How can you fully grasp your own culture – one which is so “normal” that you don’t notice it – without a point of reference? I maintain that you can’t.

  • kadh2000

     10 Kings report to 1 high King or Emperor or Antichrist or Messiah or dude whose name is clearly compensating for something if you know what I mean.

  • http://twitter.com/dunesen Philip Pangrac

    You know, if it’s been a year and a half there should be a ton of babies and infants now. It’s not like everyone was made sterile when the Rapture happened.

    But LaHaye and Jenkins had no interest in examining the effects of all the children disappearing, so why would they examine how the world would adapt to children returning?

  • reynard61

    “For instance we have aty least one, and I suspect more, person who at least semi-seriously seems to worship Luna and Celestia from the My Pretty Pony: Friendship is Magic”

    It’s actually “My *Little* Pony: Friendship is Magic”, but I’m not going to complain.

    Also; it’s not so much the characters themselves that I “worship”, it’s that — to me at least — they represent certain ideals and traits that I aspire to. (Even if I can’t always attain them.) For instance; to me, Celestia represents grace, Nobility, leadership without necessarily being Authoritarian about it (true, she came off as a bit manipulative in the pilot episodes; but she’s certainly no tyrant), having a sense of humor, etc.

    Luna represents, among other things, a redemptive attitude — that one can change if one is willing — and that life can be fun if you’re willing to put some effort into making it so.

    So, yeah; there’s a bit of Flying-Spaghetti-Monster-esque “Screw Christianity and the Pony it rode in on!” attitude in there, but it’s more about the “These are some of the Ideals that I’d like to live up to, and these are how I represent them.”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Since only sinners are left, Ellenjay probably assumed that in the past eighteen months, everyone’s been either having gay sex, using sinful contraception, or getting abortions due to their love of killing babies.

  • http://twitter.com/count_01 Jared James

     In a real science fiction story, by a real writer, that could be a plausible, even interesting plot device. Let’s not interpose actual writing talent or skill into our speculation about Ellenjay; it can only end in disappointment.

  • AnonymousSam

    It’s not quite a future world. It’s more “twenty minutes into the future” — except that LeHaye and Jenkins are suffering jet lag from the 1950′s, so their idea of miraculous technology is their own distracted ruminations about *gasp* telephones without wires.

    Never mind that in a few short years after the books were written, we now have telephones without wires which can also act as universal translators.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667708632 Kenneth Raymond

    You know, a competent Antichrist could make the scheme – the general, broad-strokes scheme – almost make sense and work. None of the specific details given here, but the general stuff.

    Okay, Nicky’s still acting like the world obeys pre-OWG rules. He controls the official nature of money, there’s nothing to moderate the value of the Global Monopoly Megabucks except his own will. It is, in a sense, the purest fiat currency.

    Hell, he doesn’t even need to levy taxes. Nationalize all the natural/raw resource industries! That’s within his power! Agribusiness, mining, drilling, logging, power generation… Control all the raw materials (better get recycling in there, too), and ultimately a percentage of any first-hand purchase flows back to him.

    But it’s obvious. Painfully so. That kind of absolute control breeds discontent targeted at the monopoly-holder, and if you’ve got a global monopoly on all raw resources… Discontent is good if you want to be maniacally evil, because it lets you put someone in front of the firing squad while you turn to the world and say, “What was that you were saying about the price of bread?”

    But discontent also breeds paranoia. Your own. Not every malcontent is going to be obvious. Being the obvious dictator means you have to do a lot of work policing for internal dissent, assassins, what have you. All the opulence of a world dictator is forever tarnished by the security efforts required to keep you safe in your own bedroom.

    So fake it. Play a shell game with power. Pretend that the OWG is a huge bureaucratic mass and, well, good luck making it shift. That’s easy after a few years because everyone already believes that existing national governments are subject to huge bureaucratic inertia. (Also, don’t take a title like Supreme Potentate. Prime Minister or President or First Steward or something with implications of guidance and stewardship are good, not ones with implications of control.)

    Pretend the Community Credits are pegged against something other than whim – not gold, that’s too limiting, but maybe something with variable potential of production and storage from year to year. (I kind of like Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri’s “energy credit” for this.) Something you can vary the value of at whim while blaming some other factor.

    And taxes? Heck yes! You don’t want obvious control over most resources (except power generation, which you can easily mock up a “legitimate” excuse to control in your rise to, ahem, power), so squeeze the potential people another way. Make taxes slightly to moderately regressive, to help concentrate wealth in the hands of your elites. Provide lots of social services early on but underfund them. Set goals on the services that are just out of reach for their funding, and punish them for underperformance. Gradually phase the social services out while making adjustments to the tax scheme that don’t actually reduce the burden on the truly poor. And wrap it up in rhetoric that leaves people with the quiet nagging sense that if they’re doing poorly, it’s their fault for not trying hard enough. You want a culture that raises self-blame to an art form.

    In short, you don’t want to kill the poor people. You want to kill their souls. And you want to make your fortunate elites complicit in the soul-killing because they can’t imagine a world where they aren’t catered to like princes and princesses. Let someone other than your administrative core be the focus of envy and hate due to conspicuous consumption, while you’re the sober ladies and gentlemen who are constantly struggling to keep the whole world going day to day. (Never mind that your very sober and conservative suits are also very expensive suits, just to start with…)

    But then again, this doesn’t make a very exciting destination for a story. It’s boring minutiae. This is something you have happen in the background, to create the totalitarian dictatorship that the heroes can now struggle against. One where the people will resent the heroes for “making waves.” And it’s also something you can’t really create on a 7 year time span.

  • Twingle93

    That part about about in book 10 about Nicolae’s miracle-worker is probably the best scene in the entire series. People have said that that one-scene miracle worker is creepier, more powerful, and more like how the Antichrist should be than Nicolae ever was. He has much more impressive powers than Nicolae’s hypnotic voice, weird glowing power, immune to hunger/thirst/sleep, and apparent ability to resurrect himself.

    Also about the speaking English part, it becomes particularly noteworthy when Nicolae is alone in his private quarters while being secretly bugged by one of the Tribulation Force members. Nicolae starts praying to Lucifer…in English! I guess so that the guy monitoring him could understand him, but it makes no sense. Nicolae is Romanian, and so should have been praying to Lucifer in his native tongue. He would have no other reason for praying in what to him would be a foreign language.

    The mystery babylon religion makes a lot more sense if it was simply some kind of religious sect registration organization. Everyone who is religious simply registers with the Enigma Babylon organization, and is allowed to believe however they want. They can keep going to churches, or temples or synagogues or whatever so long as they sign a long form signifying that they believe in the unity of all mankind or the belief in a higher power or whatever. Anyone who doesn’t do this is technically breaking the law, but since tolerance is considered to be something evil the bad guys would tolerate any churches that don’t register.  However, this runs into problems when Nicolae disbands the Enigma religion and replaces it with worship of himself.

    Also I guess by taking a percentage of every sector’s Gross National Product means just taking about a third of the estimated resources that the sector would produce in a year as tribute? I think the authors needed to re-think this. And punishing rebellious sectors who were bombed back into the stone age with 50% of their GNP makes even less sense.

      

  • Worthless Beast

    I once proposed to an online friend the idea of creating a religion based upon a favorite character from an anime.  I was all “The law would be ‘love and peace’ and the sacrement would be beer and donuts.”  My friend (agnostic/athiest who had dropped the Catholic church of her upbringing) told me she’d join that religion in a heartbeat.

    Of course, it would be difficult for me to give myself fully to a religion based upon an anime seeing that, agnostic and non-churchgoing as I am about it, I do remain an actual Christian, or “Jesusist” or something like it. Anyway, I do actually believe in stuff, as foolish as it may be.  The character I like, anyway, is one I like because I thought he embodided certain New Testament ideals.   It helps that he does so in a really badass way…

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

    So, just when did the GOP hire you to write their platform?

  • vsm

    The French can be just as obnoxious in their linguistic supremacism as any American, while speaking a language with at least a billion fewer speakers than English. It’s almost admirable.

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

    In defense of Nicolae’s idea of taxing the rebellious districts more heavily, it’s not unlike the war reparations imposed on Germany after WWI. And we all know how well that turned out….


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