Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Time to report in!!

It’s been a month and I suppose it would be right to fill you all in on the happenings.  And if you aren’t interested… sorry!!

Last Friday was the one month anniversary of my encounter with the knife wielding jackals at the hospital.  Let’s just say that I am grateful for their ‘incisive’ work but I’m still recovering from their efforts.

Maybe not quite this bad -- but close!
For the first few days I was in such a daze that I was unsure where I was most of the time.  My kids have fun recounting all the weird things I said or did but that’s OK – I can’t remember so they never really occurred.

Thankfully, serious drugs helped me drift through the haze without too much pain.  But then, somewhere in the 2nd week, my wife was given instructions to begin reducing the dosages of said drugs – and the fun started.

Now, 4+ weeks out from surgery, I can say that I feel much better and have hope for normalcy once again.  Sleep is still a dicey subject (if I spend too much time lying in bed the nights get really long). But most of the severe pain is gone and I can get around on my own without a struggle.

Now I have to prepare myself, every MWF, for Heart Therapy!! 


My favorite.  In reality, it’s not that hard.  And I suppose it is doing me some good.  Yay heart people!!!

I’m still restricted from lifting or driving (my truck literally has cobwebs on the wheels from sitting so long) so if I want to go somewhere Teresa has to take me or I need to walk.  For an independent guy like me, it is hard to always have to wait for someone else.  But Teresa is very kind and doesn’t make fun of me (much).

That little piece of foam is in the web.

I did try to visit work a couple of times.  Both times ended up being very stressful, even though all I did was sit and watch.  Makes me wonder if I will be able to go back to teaching in two weeks. L  I’m sure the guys at work will help out and get me through all that needs to be done.  Again, it’s just the dependency thing.

Most of my scars are healing well (the one on my chest is the most prominent but not that bad) and should mostly disappear.  I am amazed at what those doctors could do to my body and not kill me.  And I was surprised that all the stitches they used weren’t even stitches.  Modern doctors use Super Glue instead of that other stuff to put us back together.  Thanks to the guy that figured out that wonderful product.

And thank you to all those who sent best wishes.  All your responses were greatly appreciated (even the old friend that let me know I would never press 200 lbs. again because of the surgery – that’s OK, I’ve never benched 200 so it’s no great loss).  Sometimes we forget how many friends we have until things get crazy and they all stand up and say HI!!

Oh, one other thing!! I have spent some time recently wondering what I will do when it comes time to retire in a few years.  My thoughts were that I could write a little more and serve in the Temple an extra day or two.  Teresa and I have plans to serve a mission and I’m sure I will make time to do a little fishing. 


All of those things will depend on being in good enough health to be ambulatory.  While I have done a little writing (several articles for DN), it has been a real struggle to make myself stay busy.  When you feel lousy, all you want to do is sit and mope… or sleep… or some other useless thing.  As I get better I am putting more effort into being productive.  This has been a good lesson on preparation for later in life.  Let’s all hope the lesson takes.

OK, that should do for this posting.  Again, thank you for all the good wishes and kind words.  My plan is to get back on schedule and post a little more often.  Thanks for reading and be safe (watch out for men with sharp knives).

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


I think I have tried this two other times but, for the life of me, I am unable to find the previous attempts.  One of the efforts is very clear in my mind because my only instrument for writing was my iPad – but the document isn’t there or on my cloud drive or anywhere else.  So I am giving it another try.  If this never appears – well then I really am losing my mind.

Most are probably aware that late in August Teresa and I visited the local emergency room because she was worried there was some great failure in my physical self.  After innumerable hours of testing and prodding, the ER doctors found that I was reasonable healthy for a 60 yr. old man and sent me home.  There only condition was that I attend a little festival designed to stress out old guys (ok, it wasn’t a festival, but it sounds better that way).  With those instructions, we delivered ourselves at home and went about our normal business.

Monday and Tuesday I went to work, as usual, and favored my classes with – well I can’t actually remember what we did.  Right after classes on Tuesday Teresa led me off for testing at the hospital cardiac campus.  It was all so lovely and delightful – until they indicated they were injecting me with enzymes and other things to simulate what it would be like to exercise vigorously.  There was an immediate change in my demeanor, my pain level shot up to 1 Billion (slightly exaggerated), and the doctors were very concerned (not enough to stop the pain, but enough to indicate that I could not go home).  Our schedule was changed and Teresa and I were given accommodations for the evening (but for some reason, we had to pay – it wasn’t my idea to stay the night) with instructions to wait for further testing the next morning.  In a macabre sort of way it was rather exciting!!

The next morning, doctors did what they do the very best – instructed us to wait until they were ready to honor us with their presence.  They were actually pretty nice about it but their time schedule and mine seldom seem to coincide.  The intent was to do an angiogram so they could put stents in two blockages they discovered the previous day.  Sadly, when the stents were attempted, there was no room for them “at the inn.”  The blockages were so substantial that stents would do little or nothing to help with my problems. 

My only hospital 'selfie' -- pre surgery.

So guess what the next step was?? 

You guessed it!!!
It was now time for
Mr. Bypass

Or better yet – two Mr. Bypasses!!!

How lucky can one guy get!! J

In my case, pretty dang lucky.

There are three main arteries that feed blood to the heart.  The two largest in my heart were clogged with a lifetime of gunk (mostly created by heredity and excessive ice cream consumption) and there was little blood getting into the heart through them.  The third artery was doing his job and had even found a way to create a little ‘bypass’ friend of his own – thank you little artery ally!!

Since we weren’t on the regular scheduled list for the ‘rack’ of surgery, we had to wait for a spot to open up.  Turns out we got to be the second case in on Friday, Sept. 4 which meant I would go just after lunch. 

Just as I was being wheeled away for surgery
Those who have spent time in a hospital know how lovely it can be to have constant attention to your every need.  There are wonderful nurses who are always checking on you and injecting/drawing liquids to/from your body (for no real purpose except to see how many times they can do it in one 24 hour period).  And then there are the ‘almost’ nurses who’s every refrain begins with  “let’s get your vitals” even though they or someone just like them was in the room doing the exact same thing eight minutes ago.  But truthfully, everyone is so kind and works so hard to make you happy – all the while reminding you that you need to get plenty of rest so you will be prepared for your surgery.

Cool socks, leg circulators, and other stuff
I don’t remember the surgeon attending my soiree (but that might be because I am very susceptible to anesthesia and was out like a dead man) but he left his marks all over my body.  There were incisions on my left arm (where they harvested an artery to use for the bypass), on my right arm (where the ARTLine was installed for the convenience of all involved), and all over my chest and belly (which was considerably smaller after three days of hospital food)
I was also much less hairy – but we will leave that story to another day!

My first recollections were of nurses poking me and asking me my name and birthday (which I must have given at least 100 times – doesn’t anyone ever write things down in the medical business?).  There wasn’t much pain but I think that can be attributed to powerful friendly drugs.  But there was an unusual growth coming out of my right shoulder area that was VERY annoying!  It felt like I had another head attached to me and I would often talk to it in the night. 

The whole hospital thing was long and drawn out (though necessary) but finally came to an end and I was allowed to go home – I think it was Thursday but I’m not completely sure.  I only know I was very relieved to get home and into my own bed. 

Yep, that's exactly how I felt!!
Recovery continues to take up most of my time but I am finally getting around and acting pretty normal (or at least as I can be).  The plan is to recuperate for a few weeks and then move on to something that is way more fun.  Going back to work would be my favorite right now.  (BTW, I stopped by on Monday to visit and was worn out in 15 minutes. Maybe just a little more recovery)

My biggest battle is controlling my mind with the drugs they have given me.  There have been some weird visions (drowning in the bottom of a pool full of spiders – and I’m not afraid of arachnids) and some interesting dreams (talking to folks in the temple) and even a few conversations while Teresa was in the room with people not there.  Anything to keep life interesting.

Overall, the whole experience has been enlightening.  I am beginning to feel my mortality a little more, but I am also grateful that there are people who can fix defective bodies.  It would not surprise me to feel MUCH better in a few months because I have been running on such a low volume of blood to my heart.  Maybe now my boys won’t stop me from going hiking with them.  And maybe I will feel like instigating the hike myself. 

I suppose I should stop here and get this posted before I lose it again.  One day all this will be (PICK ONE: inspiring, frightening, hilarious, disturbing) you choose which seems most appropriate.

Thanks for reading.  I believe I will be around for another year or two with all the changes I have encountered.  Hope to see you all real soon.

Had to pretend to be happy so they would
let me go home.  That blue thing is my nemesis!
I have to suck air through that or no one is happy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


There have been a lot of ideas running through my head over the past few days.  Originally I was planning to do one blog on each but as they accumulate, I think it might be better to just take a snapshot and let that be the end of it.


Frankly, I have not been too concerned with this subject but the antics of some “candidates” are so appalling that I feel a need to comment.

Not being a Clinton fan, I am not surprised at the things Mrs. Clinton does and represents.  For the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone could consider her an appropriate candidate for the presidency of the United States.  We, as a nation, have had decades to watch and evaluate her abilities and everything that she has shown says there is no substance.  As a First Lady she ‘looked the other way’ when her husband defiled their marriage arrangement.  Rather than hold him accountable, she decided to stand by and let him philander his way through 8 years as President.  How then can we trust her to hold members of congress, a cabinet, Joint Chiefs, and a staff (check out Huma) responsible for their actions (and that’s not even counting her own predilection for avoiding responsibility) when she won’t even call her husband out for infidelity.

I am aware that no person is perfect and all candidates have their weaknesses and warts but the accumulation of defects seems to be much greater for Mrs. Clinton than for most others.

And lest you think I am holding her to a standard different than other individuals:

Donald Trump is a travesty!!  What has he EVER done for the benefit of anyone but himself.  His life is one continuous fling with fame, fortune, and self-aggrandizement.  Yes, he has billions of dollars.  Yes, he can make deals with competitors and ‘fire’ people for their failures.  But what has he ever done when it comes to the improvement of a nation, or even a city.  His bluster and rudeness are not the things that will buy us goodwill with our allies and will only aggravate the situation with those who already hate us.  People like him are not what we need when there are tough decisions to make.  A leader who ‘shoots from the hip’ is fine when you are in the business world but dealing with the governing of nations we must have leaders who are thoughtful and careful in their decision making.

Truth be told, if these two are the only choices we have, I would much prefer the Socialist Bernie Sanders.  At least we know who he is and how he will be doing things.  As to other candidates: I haven’t seen enough of any of them to have an opinion so I will hold judgment until later.


It has been some time since we cut the cord from Comcast.  We are finding that there are some pretty good things to watch on other sources but also, our TV time has been reduced considerably with the change.  Here are a few little gems we have found to watch when we do go online:

Granite Flats – this one sort of reminds me of Mayberry and the like.  It’s not a comedy but the story line is believable and the acting is decent.  And you don’t have to worry about language or other stuff.

Warehouse 13 – quirky and edgy sometimes, but still a fun show to watch.  Interesting to see what ‘artificts’ they will come up each episode.  A couple of times it came close to the line but backed off before falling over the edge.

The 100 – Sci-Fi premise with a little of the flavor of Revolution.  Kids from a space ‘ark’ are sent to Earth to see if it is livable and find that not everyone died.  Now they have to figure out how to survive.  Again, pushes the boundaries but, so far, hasn’t gone rouge.

There might one or two others, but that’s all I can remember right now.

We haven’t been to many movies lately but the last one I enjoyed was the ‘Hunger Games’ recent release (can’t remember all the names). Guess I’m getting lazy in the oldness of life.


We have finally finished the ‘rumpus’ room.  At least the major things are completed.  After all these months, it is such a pleasure to enter a room that feels and looks like something we can enjoy.  No more ratty carpet – no more ugly paint – and no more weird doors and windows that drive us crazy.  I have to give Teresa all the props for our success.  If it had been up to me, who knows what it would look like.  There are some picture on my phone and I will add them when I get home (I’m on my iPad right now).  You will be amazed at the difference.


The other day the high school next to our seminary had an unusual experience.  They have one of those automatic call generators to let parents know when kids are absent or when activities are coming up.  So the principal decided to send out a message to all parents about something (I don’t remember what) he figured they needed to know.  Unfortunately, the call generator hit a glitch and kept calling ALL the parents and delivering the same message.  Over and over, the parents kept receiving an annoying message that wasn’t that interesting the first time – and it kept coming – 40 or 50 times in one night.

Imagine the calls that experience would generate for the school.

Now times that by 1000.

There were even a few parents who threatened to sue the school district because of harassment.

Sure glad I wasn’t on the receiving end of that little escapade.

I think that will do for today.  There will probably be another posting in the next few days.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Nearly twenty-five years ago Teresa and I welcomed a new addition to our little family.  He was cute and cuddly and all the other kids were so excited to have him with us.  Despite the fact that he was late and disturbed our holiday celebrations, we have grown to love him as our little “Christmas Baby.”

Fast forward to today!!  Joel is now a grown man and has decided it is time to ‘tie-the-knot’ with a BEAUTIFUL young lady, Paula Jean Campbell.  He is so excited and we are pleased that he has chosen so well in this most important decision of life. 

Joel and Paula on an excursion

This is a contemplative time for me (and probably Teresa).  We have been ‘empty-nesters’ for some time but we are now on the path to becoming parents of completely independent children.  Each has made the leap that begins their individual family life and, in their own way, they have indicated that it is time for Mom and Dad to let go. 

It is what we are here on earth to do… family is our major purpose in life.  The work of parenting and 'family making' cannot be done effectively with too much shadow leadership.  Like our Heavenly Father, we have to allow others to learn and grow by doing the hard things.

But it is sure difficult to release what has been such a wonderful experience.

We miss having little ones in our home (OK, we get the grandkids some but that’s not quite the same).  It is a difficult realization that we are now just background noise to our children as they move forward, raising up the next generation.  There is no more ‘Primary Responsibility’ for us in the welfare of the new little ones.

Anyways, back to Joel.

Don't they look happy!!
Paula and Joel are being married next week on the 20th and we couldn’t be happier.  It is a bit unusual to have another Paula but we are working on how to address that issue (PJ, Paula Jr., Joel’s Paula?).  It is such a wonderful dilemma to have.   

Paula's wedding picture

I am most impressed that Joel’s siblings have been extremely supportive of everything that needs to be done.  Our children have grown into such good friends and that brings us great joy.  I credit their mother and her immense efforts to keep us all connected.  She is truly the glue that holds us all together.  Thanks Teresa.

As I review this post, I realize that I am all over the place – please make allowances for an excited and feeble dad.  


I have included a few pictures of the happy couple and hope that you will celebrate with us and let them know how much you love them. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015


School starts in less than a week!!

That’s earlier than usual but it means we don’t go past Memorial Day.

I’m ready for the kids to come back.  Normally I’m ready to go after about three weeks of summer.

The boy Samuel hearing the voice of the Lord

Here are some pictures I have put on the walls of my room.  Our subject is the Old Testament this year.  The subject matter is one of my favorites because there is so much new to the students (except they are always afraid of Isaiah…he’s fun if you don’t panic).

Abraham blessing his son Isaac

Ezekiel teaches of the two "sticks" that shall
testify of Christ

Instead of just mounting the pictures on the wall, I decided to add frames to each one.  Of course, I can’t afford real frames so I went to local Home Depot and purchased some moulding and cut it to fit.  The paint job is just for variety sake – gets boring if they are all white.

Hope the kids like them.

Adam and Eve being taught by the angel after
being driven out of the Garden

Usually they do.

Israelites putting lamb's blood over the door

For the first week or so!

Moses and the 70 seeing Jehovah

Then they forget and life goes on.

The creation of the Earth by the premortal Jehovah (Jesus)

Happy ‘getting ready for school’ to all you with kids or who are teachers.  Let’s make this a good year and help someone learn something.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


 Some may recognize the title of this post as words from a song rendered by pioneers as they made their way to the Salt Lake Valley during the great immigration of the 1840'- 1870's.  We have just passed the celebration day (July 24th) for the arrival of the first company into the valley in 1847.  For Latter-day Saints, it is a significant milestone – one that signifies the release from the persecutions of our early history.

My life has not been tested the way my ancestors were challenged.  Comfort and ease has been the ‘lot’ of most of my days.  And even when they were not companions, they were not far away and easily returned to stay with me and my family.

This summer, Teresa and I were privileged to participate in a fantastic experience that has given us a renewed appreciation for those who made our ‘comfort’ possible.  As part of my employment, we are allowed to participate in something called a Pioneer Trails Workshop – basically a re-enactment of the crossing from Winter Quarters to Salt Lake City.  Fortunately, we are not expected to make the trek in wagons or handcarts, but with experienced leaders we are given a very detailed itinerary that guides us along the major parts of the journey.

So, I thought it might be nice to share a few things we experienced as we trundled from Nebraska to Salt Lake City during the week of July 20-25.  This will not be in great detail, but will highlight some of the most interesting events of the week.  Hope you enjoy and can appreciate, just a little, what our forefathers gave to find peace.

A slight rain as we began our journey at
4:00 am on Monday.  The vehicles were provided
by the Larry H. Miller dealerships at a very reasonable
rate.  It was also our privilege to have Gail (Miller) Wilson as
one of our participants on this excursion.
Our SUV was a delightful Honda Pilot that
makes me think we might go that way when our next
vehicle purchase comes around.

The adventure began at 0:dark thirty on Monday morning, July 20.  There were 14 vehicles in our caravan and we were separated into four groups – Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow.  There were three vehicles in each group except for green which had four.  Our little Honda Pilot was designated Blue 3.  Each day the order of color would change so everyone had a chance to be in the front.  Whomever was in the last car of the convoy was given the role of ‘tail-gunner’ and was responsible to keep watch over the whole crew.  It was all very organized and as we would find out, essential to our success.

We are the 11th vehicle in the line of 14. On the third
day we were 'tail-gunner' but we used the moniker 'Stinger'
to let them know there was someone special in the line
taking care of the stragglers.

Most of the whole first day was spent streaking across I-80 to Scott’s Bluff, NE.  The plains of Wyoming and the flatlands of Nebraska are not really great tourist destinations so there isn’t much to report there.  It was long and boring, broken up by monotony and napping.  There was one stopping place that held some interest: the commemoration of the Lincoln Highway rest stop.  This was the first transcontinental highway and was completed in 1913.  While I am in favor of making a display of the events, my own appraisal of the statue of Lincoln is that it could have been slightly more professional.  But my tastes don’t usually appreciate some of the more interpretive arts. 

It doesn't look so bad in the photo.
As to not waste too much time, we began our touring immediately upon arriving in Scott’s Bluff.  Though tired, we thoroughly enjoyed climbing the Bluff and touring the visitor’s center.  There were also some pioneer graves and stories we found before our eventual falling into bed for the night. 

I should explain that we had a crew that was ahead of us who were tasked with setting up our camp each night.  Their duties seemed difficult but they never complained or acted put out by any requests.  It was a pleasure to have such good help on such a long voyage.  We also enjoyed the services of a cook crew that joined us the second day and provided amazing meals in the wilderness.  All these folks are volunteers who appreciate the wonder that is a Pioneer Trek.

Our first tent city -- Bonus sunrise in Nebraska.  We don't get them
like that in Utah.

For the next five days our whole life was consumed with searching out and enjoying the places and travails experienced by the pioneer companies.  Rather than give a long dissertation on the events, I am going to post some pictures of different places and put a short caption to highlight the activities.  Maybe that will make this a little more palatable for those who are not anxious to read a lot of my ramblings. Just know that we were very moved by the whole experience and have a greater appreciation for those who blazed the way for our survival and freedom.  

Scott's Bluff -- a landmark for most pioneer
companies moving west.There were several passes
in this area that led to the west.
Rebecca Winters Grave --Fantastic
story of how this came to still be there after
all these years.  Check it out here


That's the famous Chimney Rock.  It is much shorter than when
the Saints came but is still an impressive site.  

Every morning at 5am there was a man who would walk throughout the camp with a bell.  He didn't ring it loud, in fact, if you weren't part of our group you probably would notice the noise.  But it was loud enough for us to hear.  On the second day I grumbled a little and said, "go away."  Instead, the man with the bell came back and added a few more strikes to his bell -- just for us.  From that day forward he made it a point to visit and give us a little extra incentive to rise early.

I was asked, on the last day, if I wanted to know who the bell ringer was.  I said NO cause I don't want to have the negative image attached to someone I probably like and work with.  :-)  But I do intend to write a poem in honor of the "Man With The Bell" which I might post here if I like it.

This was one of our favorite spots.  It's called Ayres Natural Bridge and is found in the midst of a barren stretch of the plain.  The Pioneers would come here to relax, even though it was miles away from the regular trail.  This is a panoramic view taken from my phone.  Very Peaceful, green and so different from the rest of the landscape.

This is the same place but a more extensive panorama.  That's my little sweetie in the foreground.  She was such a positive influence that I can't remember having one moment of negativity while she was with me.  Sure do love her.

All our vehicles lined up, waiting to make the next leg in the trek.
What you can't see is the 'potty truck' that has a huge line.
Those guys were always ahead of us and ready to provide all the
necessities we needed.  We loved the guys because there was
always cold drinking water, music, and clean potties for us to use.

Independence Rock was a massive chunk of granite sitting
right out in the open.  it's about 160 ft. high at its highest
point and probably 300 ft. or so long.  This is a cave called
Clayton's Cave where we met (after a considerable climb)
to enjoy the cool of the place.

From the top of Independence Rock you can see the remnants of our campsite.  The previous night the tents were all assembled in a circle (one year they used them to make a heart for a couple who were having an anniversary).  When we got back from Martin's Cove the wind was blowing really hard.  All the tents were moving with the rhythm of the winds and if you watched carefully, it looked like they were doing a little dance as they waited for us.  Almost like a chorus line with their grace, precision and beauty.  Or maybe I was just imagining things in my stupor of sleeplessness.

On our way to Martin's Cove.  The trail is well marked and not excessively long (though it was harder than we thought).  A very spiritual place where many of the Martin Company passed away from the cold and severity of their trials.  All of this is part of the Martin's Cove area owned  or leased by the Church.  We also made our own 'crossing of the Sweetwater River' while we were there (didn't want to walk to the official place to cross -- 5 more miles).

All companies who traveled the Mormon or Oregon Trail  came to this place --
"The Parting of the Ways".  To the left is the road that leads to Zion/Salt Lake Valley.
On the right is the way to Oregon and other places.  We are symbolically pointing to
show that our choice is to go to Zion and be with the Saints.

Strange looking -- these domes are used to make charcoal for use in smelting ore.
They are in Wyoming and were a vital part of building up the Salt Lake Valley.
Much of the charcoal was shipped to SL and helped build the city.  There used to
be 12 of these but the others have been vandalized.  We went inside one and sang
a hymn to see how it sounded.  It must have been OK cause the birds that have nests
in there just stayed and listened. I have a video but it won't post here.  I will keep trying.

I think this is just before we descended "Gravel Hill", one of the steepest places on the trail.  We had to lock the vehicles in 4WD and go very slowly to get down safely.  The Immigrants had to use different methods to get down -- usually locking the wheels and then tying the men to the back of the wagon would work.  It was a dangerous part of the trip but they never quit.

I guess that about does it for this issue of my blog. This past week was an exceptional experience for my favorite girl and me.  We have tried to visualize what it would have been like -- knowing that we can't do justice -- to be pioneers seeking a better, safer life.  We are so thankful for those who endured and made our lives the wonderful experiences we are having.  Our hope is that others will benefit from what we have done and will feel the same when we are gone.  It is good to be alive and know that God cares enough to let us find happiness amidst the pains and trials of mortality.

See you next time.

Friday, July 17, 2015


In his famous “Screwtape Letters”, C. S. Lewis imagines a graduation dinner where all the newly trained devils are gathered to hear Screwtape share some devilish words of wisdom.  The part I have included is a little lengthy but if you endure, you will see some ‘principles of devilhood’ that are very apparent in the happenings of our day.  Especially interesting is the use of ‘democracy’ by those who are seeking to enslave their victims. 

Happy reading!!

Democracy is the word with which you must lead them by the nose…. [T]hey should never be allowed to give this word a clear and definable meaning. They won’t. It will never occur to them that democracy is properly the name of a political system, even a system of voting, and that this has only the most remote and tenuous connection with what you are trying to sell them. Nor of course must they ever be allowed to raise Aristotle’s question: whether “democratic behaviour” means the behaviour that democracies like or the behaviour that will preserve a democracy. For if they did, it could hardly fail to occur to them that these need not be the same.

You are to use the word purely as an incantation; if you like, purely for its selling power. It is a name they venerate. And of course it is connected with the political ideal that men should be equally treated. You then make a stealthy transition in their minds from this political ideal to a factual belief that all men are equal…. As a result you can use the word democracy to sanction in his thought the most degrading (and also the least enjoyable) of human feelings. You can get him to practise, not only without shame but with a positive glow of self-approval, conduct which, if undefended by the magic word, would be universally derided.

The feeling I mean is of course that which prompts a man to say I’m as good as you….

No man who says I’m as good as you believes it. He would not say it if he did. The St. Bernard never says it to the toy dog, nor the scholar to the dunce, nor the employable to the bum, nor the pretty woman to the plain. The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior. What it expresses is precisely the itching, smarting, writhing awareness of an inferiority which the patient refuses to accept.

And therefore resents. Yes, and therefore resents every kind of superiority in others; denigrates it; wishes its annihilation. Presently he suspects every mere difference of being a claim to superiority…. “They’ve no business to be different. It’s undemocratic.”

Now, this useful phenomenon is in itself by no means new. Under the name of Envy it has been known to humans for thousands of years. But hitherto they always regarded it as the most odious, and also the most comical, of vices. Those who were aware of feeling it felt it with shame; those who were not gave it no quarter in others. The delightful novelty of the present situation is that you can sanction it — make it respectable and even laudable — by the incantatory use of the word democratic.

Under the influence of this incantation those who are in any or every way inferior can labour more wholeheartedly and successfully than ever before to pull down everyone else to their own level. But that is not all. Under the same influence, those who come, or could come, nearer to a full humanity, actually draw back from fear of being undemocratic…. They might (horror of horrors!) become individuals….

Meanwhile, as a delightful by-product, the few (fewer every day) who will not be made Normal or Regular and Like Folks and Integrated increasingly become in reality the prigs and cranks which the rabble would in any case have believed them to be. For suspicion often creates what it expects…. As a result we now have an intelligentsia which, though very small, is very useful to the cause of Hell.

But that is a mere by-product. What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence – moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how “democracy” (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods?…

Once you have grasped the tendency, you can easily predict its future developments; especially as we ourselves will play our part in the developing. The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be “undemocratic.” These differences between pupils – for they are obviously and nakedly individual differences – must be disguised. This can be done at various levels. At universities, examinations must be framed so that nearly all the students get good marks. Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not. At schools, the children who are too stupid or lazy to learn languages and mathematics and elementary science can be set to doing things that children used to do in their spare time…. Whatever nonsense they are engaged in must have – I believe the English already use the phrase – “parity of esteem”…. Children who are fit to proceed to a higher class may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma…by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career….

In a word, we may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when I’m as good as you has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will be prevented; who are they to overtop their fellows? And anyway the teachers – or should I say, nurses? – will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching. We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men. The little vermin themselves will do it for us.

Of course, this would not follow unless all education became state education. But it will. That is part of the same movement. Penal taxes, designed for that purpose, are liquidating the Middle Class, the class who were prepared to save and spend and make sacrifices in order to have their children privately educated. The removal of this class, besides linking up with the abolition of education, is, fortunately, an inevitable effect of the spirit that says I’m as good as you. This was, after all, the social group which gave to the humans the overwhelming majority of their scientists, physicians, philosophers, theologians, poets, artists, composers, architects, jurists, and administrators. If ever there were a bunch of stalks that needed their tops knocked off, it was surely they. As an English politician remarked not long ago, “A democracy does not want great men.”

We, in Hell, would welcome the disappearance of democracy in the strict sense of that word, the political arrangement so called. Like all forms of government, it often works to our advantage, but on the whole less often than other forms. And what we must realize is that “democracy” in the diabolical sense (I’m as good as you, Being Like Folks, Togetherness) is the fittest instrument we could possibly have for extirpating political democracies from the face of the earth.

For “democracy” or the “democratic spirit” (diabolical sense) leads to a nation without great men, a nation mainly of subliterates, full of the cocksureness which flattery breeds on ignorance, and quick to snarl or whimper at the first sign of criticism. And that is what Hell wishes every democratic people to be. For when such a nation meets in conflict a nation where children have been made to work at school, where talent is placed in high posts, and where the ignorant mass are allowed no say at all in public affairs, only one result is possible….

It is our function to encourage the behaviour, the manners, the whole attitude of mind, which democracies naturally like and enjoy, because these are the very things which, if unchecked, will destroy democracy. You would almost wonder that even humans don’t see it themselves. Even if they don’t read Aristotle (that would be undemocratic) you would have thought the French Revolution would have taught them that the behaviour aristocrats naturally like is not the behaviour that preserves aristocracy. They might then have applied the same principle to all forms of government….

The overthrow of free peoples and the multiplication of slave states are for us a means (besides, of course, being fun); but the real end is the destruction of individuals. For only individuals can be saved or damned, can become sons of the Enemy or food for us. The ultimate value, for us, of any revolution, war, or famine lies in the individual anguish, treachery, hatred, rage, and despair which it may produce. I’m as good as you is a useful means for the destruction of democratic societies. But it has a far deeper value as an end in itself, as a state of mind which, necessarily excluding humility, charity, contentment, and all the pleasures of gratitude or admiration, turns a human being away from almost every road which might finally lead him to Heaven.