Evasion of the Body Snatchers

by Carl Nelson (December 2020)


Orgelmann, Felix Nussbaum, 1943



I have to wonder from events nowadays if this writing and reading of arguments is done for anything other than our own entertainment. The editor of First Things, R. R. Reno, writes wonderfully perceptive columns. He is able to parse the most obscure tangles and bring clarity. And yet, in the current electoral contest, whose choices could not be more plain nor stark, he is unable to convince his wife. She is voting one way, and him, the other. I toss up my pen. (That is, my fingers are stuck with indecision above the keys . . .)

        Currently it appears as if the future may be beyond policy discussion. If Biden/Harris, who are both cutouts, are elected, we really won’t have any idea who is leading us. We’ll only have a media we can’t believe. History will simply proceed like a froth from a runaway mob. What can forestall it? I don’t believe I’ve ever met a particle some physicist didn’t want to accelerate. Or tits and ass that haven’t outweighed reason. And soon they’ll be able to procreate from any sexual vantage point preferable, by harvesting your skin cells.[1] An Artificial Intelligence already is bending us to its will through social media (watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix). Our culture seems to be spiraling into splayed strands, corkscrewing like syphilitic spirochetes chewing on the grey matter of our cultural traditions.

        It’s very telling. I’m searching for information on “how to resist change.” But what the search engine provides is information on why people resist change, and how to be less resistant to change. Nowhere is it assumed that change might be a bad thing or, in truth, that most change would be for the worse—and that we all have built and honor our routines for good reason. So, a bit more alarmed, I try, “how to escape change” and the closest I can get is “how to escape your life.” NO! I want to remain just as is, right here, breathing . . .

        The next click: How To Escape A Stalker With A New Identity is closer.

A new identity might help stalking victims to find safety. The high level privacy tactic has shown to be effective and it has been used in the past to protect women who had become victims of stalkers.[2]

        But you needn’t pretend the society around us is shifting from Jekyll to Hyde to engage with me here. Just watch the front of the mob begin to munch on the back of the mob, in lieu of finding more of us. You can see it over the TV where the mob is turning on the mayor of Portland, or just in the one-upmanship while socializing. The craziness of citizens being led around by cutouts and propaganda bleeds quietly from near everywhere, emerging obediently as if in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, crowding the airways, filling the commentary.

        So, the secret to Evasion of the Body Snatchers might involve changing one’s self-definition to throw off the hounds. I’ve a friend on Facebook who does it. He has several alternative identities (like fake passports) readily assumed for Facebook jailbreaks. All of a sudden friend “Lenny” will reappear who sounds a lot like friend ‘Joey’ who has disappeared into Facebook jail for a stint. The trick is to recognize and befriend them when the alias invites. That beggar at the door could be a “friend.”

The most important step that you can take after an identity change is moving far away from friends, colleagues, lover and employers. Never tell anyone what your new name is or where you are currently located. Erase or delete all contacts to reduce the probability that someone who knows your previous identity will accidentally expose your new identity.

The foremost element of any identity change includes breaking all previous ties with your old life.[3] 

        This can get quite extreme:

  • Learn a new dialect
  • Experiment with new accents
  • Master new occupational skills
  • Adopt new hobbies
  • Acquire a taste for new cuisines
  • Change physical attributes (for example; right-handed individuals should become left-handed and the other way around)
  • Develop new fashion tastes or lose old ones[4]

        In other words, to escape the pods you must not allow them to find you and “assume” you. To do so you must be without identifiable relationships, a drifter. Use cash. Live in a mobile home (that is, one which actually moves). Cancel all subscriptions, business arrangements, contracts, etc. Use a post office box. Erase your fingerprints and get rid of your DNA . . . (just kidding). Change your religion, alter your appearance, and stick a pin into the map when relocating. Pick a very common, unremarkable name.

        But isn’t all of this just what I’m trying to avoid?

        My worry is that all the possibilities of defending one’s place of stability and satisfaction, that is our homes, have been—or are soon to be—”cancelled.”

        So I Googled, “how to be left alone?”

        Psych Central answers: “It seems as though you like superficial interaction but when the interaction becomes too personal or too deep you don’t like it.”  Yes, very much so, if the interaction is with the government.

        Quora says: “A loner is a person who avoids or does not actively seek out human interaction or relationships. There are many reasons for their solitude, intentional or otherwise; intentional reasons include being introverted, spiritual, mystic, having religious considerations, or personal philosophies.” Or, I would add, being criminalized!

        Nowhere in my cyber sphere search does it mention how to defend my situation from this creeping, incipient Progressive/Marxist madness I sense tightening all around and diminishing both my national and local life. Politics currently is annoying my regular existence like a cloud of gnats. Or worse, if I don the wrong hat leaving the house, or just walk about with my white privilege exposed I could well get smacked.

        Years ago, when I lived in the Rainier Valley of Seattle, a rather rough neighborhood at the time, I prevented burglary by leaving the windows unlocked. I had nothing worth pawning, fencing, nor possessing. They came in the windows and left by the door. If they had come in reverse and wiped their shoes they wouldn’t have acted much different than my regular guests.

        But none of this was near difficult to handle as this current crop of fuzzy-cheeked, Progressive Social Justice Warriors seemingly sprouting from American soil like germinating dragons’ teeth.

        There has been a lot of material written about forming alternative communities including self-governing sea nations. For example: “REVEALED: World’s first floating nation is set to launch in Pacific Ocean in 2022 and will have its own government and ‘Vayron’ cryptocurrency.” [5]

        Another book I purchased ten years ago is, The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (Yale Agrarian Studies Series) by James C. Scott. In his book the author discusses an enormous landmass of remote wilderness within which dispersed populations, until modern inroads, were left free of outside rule. They lived isolated for thousands of years living subsistence lives while engaging in small acts of trade and squabbles with their neighbors. In past times they were what would now be called “living under the radar” —basically, not worth oppressing. (When they were finally put under outside rule, a hallmark law was that they would put much of the agricultural production into the production of grains which would ripen at a particular time. This allowed the surplus to be taxed at harvest.)

        Unfortunately, the modern Progressives are a lot like missionaries who would paddle up any and every miasma-ridden estuary to bring the good word and carry out the good work. Poverty and lacking anything of value will not deflect them. There is no evading them. You’ve still got your reactionary culture and character, don’t you? Well then, they want to do business, and you must.

        Back in the 70s Progressives had their social workers tracking all over Appalachia (plus the rest of America) trying to get these poor people to accept the dole. Currently, it appears they’ve won. Basically, Progressives are anti-American. The American Constitution was designed to limit the powers of government, whereas Progressives labor, every waking hour it would seem, to extend the powers of government—for our own good. But I just want my American life back. Why must Progressives pester us all so?

        When I type in “How to escape Progressives?” (Perhaps use scrub oak, which won’t smoke, in cook fires?) Google is no help at all, proffering a host of links about how to escape Progressive failures in order to become an even more effective agent of change.

        Bing is a bit better and at least takes me at my word, sort of. You may click on an online video game involving escape from a progressive digital prison of an increasingly complex challenge. This may have some mission overlay.

        Another blog to click suggests finding what is beneficial in my enduring struggle—a glass-is-half-full pat on the back.

        And yet another post in The Spectator counsels that such a hero’s journey must be borne alone. Sigh.

        “There is nothing permanent except change,” said Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher who maintained that change is the only reality in nature.[6] And so, here we are still reiterating his profound insight two thousand years into the future as the changes appear to grow bleaker and bleaker.

        But . . . If Heraclitus’ truism is itself changing—it’s taking its own sweet time! Now isn’t it? 

        Nassim Nicholas Taleb is the author of Antifragile, a recent bestseller which addresses systems that best endure catastrophic events. (Progressives becoming Marxists who inevitably molt into Stalinesque Communists who in turn rule your town and country would certainly be such a catastrophic event.) When asked what the future will look like, Taleb said, “it will look very much like now.” Things which have endured for centuries will likely endure longer, such as the chair, table, doorway, inclined plane, wheel, clothes . . . Qualifications of enduring systems he noted are that they are simple, redundant, exist easily with randomness, take small risks but avoid large ones. Does this sound to you a lot like married with children? Or like folk wisdoms? (For example, the Greeks called Heraclitus a philosopher, but isn’t it likely he was just another Will Rogers of his day, yakking, while entertaining with spear tricks to support him?)

        Even traditions change, they say. Except for the ones which don’t, or, haven’t yet. For example, has marriage changed? Or do the couples simply act differently. Or has the institution actually expanded? Do hats change, or do we simply change them? Shoes also are worn much the same, as goes with pants and shirts and coats and canes. Doors serve basically the same function. We cook in pots and eat with utensils. We still comb the hair on our heads (usually), and shave (here and there) before heading out. So perhaps there is hope yet for my small town. We glance up at the sky in the morning, and then watch where we’re stepping as we head out across the lawn. This is more or less as we carry on.


        All of which leads me to conclude, (upon my own efforts—since the culture refuses to assist), that to avoid change all that needs doing is to nudge something as it appears towards its singular recondite perfection—as that which is perfected cannot be changed for the better. Nudge things near to the pattern of how they have always been. And what has changed for the worst, it is only a matter of time before it needs must snap back. Logically, perfection is statistically immortal. It can hide from you—but it cannot run. It cannot cease to exist, unlike ourselves along with most of our silly efforts (and those of the Progressives.)

        This saying that there is nothing permanent except change, might better have stated the corollary which is that there is really nothing transient except error—which for its existence must worship perfection, the only true immortal. So, the only reason things change is because we worship perfection. And it is the seeking of perfection which is permanent.

        It would seem plain enough where all of the still water is, and perhaps why many lovely small towns are left alone, while history hurries past, ‘round and ‘round the Grecian Urn.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty, —that is all /

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
—John Keats, “Ode On a Grecian Urn”, 1819

        And here we are in the realm of Art, for art has always sought Beauty, which is a perfection. And what is truly beautiful can never be destroyed, or disfigured. If it were destroyed, still it is there to be discovered again. And if it is disfigured, even in the knowing of this we are pressed to manufacture from the clues, its perfection once again. For example, take the restoration of anything of cultural note, such as Athena of the Parthenon.

        Though I will admit, nothing and beauty have something in common. Both are like gods and seemingly permanent, and both induce the awe which marries the emotions of creation and destruction with its violence of effort, fire, and death.

        My existence within my small town must either be perfect or face possible elimination. Such is the logic of the matter.


        What I would propose is that instead of eliminating or chasing Progress, that we should instead practice an Art of Progress. For an example, I chose the concept of Natural Law.

        Natural Law is a concept which practices a Law not only of rational pursuit but as an Art. Natural Law is organic in that it embodies a natural unfolding of the cultural disposition toward the proper use of force. That is, just when and under what conditions is it obligatory? Natural Law is not a law of men but rather of custom embodied by Blind Justice with her balancing scales. A natural accounting has taken place over time.

        What is interesting here is that Nature (and all things organic) appear to use what I would describe as “double entry” accounting.

        I haven’t always known what “double-entry” accounting was. Previously, I’d figured all accounting must be double-entry as it has a credit and a debit side. So, I’d wondered, why was the invention of double-entry accounting by the Franciscan friar, the Italian Luca Pacioli, such a marvel?  Well, I was quite ignorant. Pacioli was the artistic genius of accounting.

        What “double-entry” accounting actually is, is a way of recording assets, liabilities, and equity in an algebraic relationship so that one side of the ledger must exactly equal the other or “the accounts don’t balance.” The accounts balancing does not mean that debit and credit are in the black, as I’d thought. Double-entry accounts balance when your accounting is correct. For within the algebraic equation are included all of the necessary variables of a thriving business. Double-entry accounting financially contains all of the business, and so describes it as is, or rather whether it is as might appear. You might very well be bankrupt, or not—but with double-entry accounting you are certain.

        Nature operates in a like manner. We have yet to formulate all of the essentials composing a natural system, and so have yet to create the equation which could allow us to double-entry account for its persistence. But the fact that a business continues is strong evidence that its accounts balance. And that Nature continues is evidence that its accounts balance. And so it is with Natural Law. We do not know all of the effects a law might have, but the mere persistence of a law indicates to a large degree whether a natural accounting of its effects balance. A society might appear to be running in the black—but we don’t really know. The more a society evades the double-entry account of Natural Law the more risky that society’s chances are of collapsing. This seems certain.

        Regular legislation is often rather like a summation of just a column of credits. It might be sold as to better a situation—but we don’t really know. Regular law might proscribe a situation in which the government decides to give everyone fifty thousand dollars. On the fly this might sound quite good. Everybody is fifty thousand richer. Critics might protest though that the decision forces the government to take on an unreasonable debt. So there’s that risk, plus a plethora of effects any governmental action can produce which as yet we are unable to quantify or enter into any double-entry accounting. Without a double-entry account you are flying blind. Any accountant will tell you that, or you can wait for God.

        Or we could better practice the Art of Legislation.

        In other words, we all need become better versed in the Arts.

        And by the Arts, I would mean all those fields whose nature is used to create the beauty running ‘round that Grecian Urn.


        Within my Conservative circles our small town is “good enough,” which is near perfect. While within Progressive circles, the mid-American small town needs a lot of help or, in fact, virtual elimination, as it is as riddled with imperfections as old woodwork with termites.

        Perhaps this is why Conservatives and Progressives are at such loggerheads, as we both chase perfections. Conservatives are chasing perfection by building towards a vision, while Progressives chase their vision by eliminating error. Conservatives believe perfection, that is, humans (for we are in God’s image) are born to error. Therefore, their creations are never perfect, but generally improve and are better. Or they just take a breather when whatever they are doing is “good enough.”  Conservatives practice the Art of Progress. And a good artist knows when to stop, at least for the present, and not to overextend beyond common sense.

        Progressives would toss anything with error out, with disgust. This makes them appear rather pious and hostile—especially to Conservatives. Progressives chase perfection by eliminating error, and so their “creations” often end in a mound of marble chips. They tend to chip away on that statue of a horse until all is kaput. They would pride themselves on their idealism and pursuit of the immortal verities. But, “If you want perfect, you got to die,” as my friend’s Polish grandmother said. And they do. Progressives end up dying by the millions, like flies, piling up their victims like the Khmer Rouge. The more-Progressive end up killing the less-Progressive as if laboring on a terrible abattoir conveyor. But they kill a lot of Conservatives too, along the way, down the Yellow Brick Road towards their Shining Path.

        Where we are is as C S Lewis described:

You say the materialist universe is ‘ugly,’” wrote C. S. Lewis to a young skeptic in 1950. “. . . If you are really a product of the materialistic universe, how is it you don’t feel at home there?[7]

        But for a Progressive/Materialist, how could they feel at home here? Just like a Christian in a fallen world, the here and now is only where we hang our hats until either God calls us on, or for a Progressive they have achieved the “end of history.”  Progressives are deeply dissatisfied people because they live in an empty world filled with injustice, whereas the religious are stoic as to whatever they experience as they are here to do God’s work. If something goes wrong for the Christian, it’s because they’ve lost their way. If something goes wrong for the Progressive, it’s due to reactionary elements who must be eliminated.

        What a wonderfully Conservative realization! (And Biblical, too.) The Progressive/Materialists are replaying a more than two-thousand-year-old error in worshipping Baal.

When we know our destination but suspect we’ve gone astray, then we are lost. Idolatry is worse: We’re trapped in the futility of trying to get we know not where. Every plan, purpose and destination is at odds with itself . . . St. Paul describes the wheel spinning of idol worship . . . The children of our age (including us) are, as St. Paul predicts, “full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity . . . For decades, we have not just tolerated rebellion but honored and rewarded it.” 
R. R. Reno, First Things

        Perhaps it’s the Conservatives who feel at home here, and it’s the Progressives/Materialists who need to be driven out—rather like Jesus clearing the moneychangers from the Temple.

        Perhaps the proper role of Conservatives in this situation is to increase belligerence!

        This is certainly good news for the Arts and Religion. And by the Arts, I would mean all those fields whose nature is used to create value over criticism and by Religion I would mean those teachings which are meant to bring grace.

        The one remaining question then would seem to be, just how do such an Art and Religion become more belligerent?

        I remember in second grade when I would spend a noon hour recess creating a snowman, only to return during the afternoon recess and find it kicked to bits—and stomped for good measure, I supposed. In the back of my mind, I was already intuiting that this snowman might be me, and that perhaps the future Progressives had already begun to peck at their eggshells and emerge. There is something in the idle, dissatisfied, arrogant youth which thrills to destroy beauty and to replace it with vulgar hierarchies. And we most certainly live within an adolescent culture: protean, undefined, swaggering, bullying, lacking in poise and inner confidence, uncertain of themselves. They are like large monsters—with muscle cramps, to hear them complain.

        But it is the parents who seem most unreachable. They seem so attached to a single reality as if it were a cathedral of worship and are quite puritanical in this respect with their children.

        According to the New York Times, the most “powerful answer to fanaticism is modesty”.[8] I wonder what in the world the New York Times could know of modesty, but they continue on:

In his narrow pursuit of one ruling idea, the fanatic ignores the greater world surrounding him and blinds himself to the rest of reality. . .

        “The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason,” writes Chesterton.[9]

        This fanaticism could certainly be a measure of one’s fragility. But in that light, is the proper response to fanaticism, moderation, or is it a heightened belligerence?


        To hedge my bets, I’m also reading “The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting Business” so that I can discuss this with my son. Business is another natural, organic outpouring of human activity and so, in its essence, is anti-fragile. No matter how perverted, a vital business should snap back to its natural shape like a self-standing tent. Outlawed, it goes underground. Over-taxed, it vanishes. Corrupted, it produces no value and is soon tossed, like a tent which leaks.

        And just to be on the safe side, I’ve also purchased, “Survive Like a Spy: Real CIA Operatives Reveal How They Stay Safe in a Dangerous World and How You Can Too” in paperback by Jason Hanson. So, it may be that I won’t be heard from again.

        Be that as it may…

        My mother-in-law has cut up some of the shirts, pants, and ties of my father-in-law (who has passed away), and is creating a quilt of them to sleep under. At breakfast this morning I noticed myself humming the scales I used to practice on the clarinet over 50 years ago. It annoyed my wife. Nevertheless, I felt I needed to hum it to the end and finish my lesson. She was a little put off, but I did have that remembered feel of satisfaction.

        I am a dinosaur.


[1] https://mailchi.mp/b3e280013370/the-future-explored-preparing-for-the-human-mission-to-mars-2537794?e=04460eb349

[2] https://www.changeidentity.net/how-to-escape-a-stalker-with-a-new-identity/

[3] https://www.changeidentity.net/how-to-vanish-2/

[4] https://www.changeidentity.net/how-to-vanish-2/

[5] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5744547/Worlds-floating-nation-government-cryptocurrency-launch-2022.html

[6] https://www.lifehack.org/451316/there-is-nothing-permanent-except-change

[7] https://www.acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-6-number-6/cs-lewis-and-materialism

[8] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/opinion/fanaticism-white-nationalists…

[9] https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2018/03/fanaticism-distorting-humanity-mitchell-kalpakgian-timeless.html


Table of Contents




Carl Nelson has recently published his newest Self Help Book, The Poet’s (30 Year) Marriage Plan, which is a useful collection of interlarded poems and prose advice (schemes), all celebrating the hallowed institution of marriage. To learn more about the author and peruse his work, please visit here.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast



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