Viva la Revolution!
Why are you an anarchist, minarchist, libertarian?
Or, more to the point, how did you become one?
Some of us researched the facts, analyzed the data, and voilá. But most folks don’t. They rely on heroes, those legendary characters, real or imaginary, whom they admire. Heroes often help us become who we are. If you inhaled the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew as a child, you probably itched for a mystery to solve.
But kids aren’t the only ones who take their cues from their heroes. At least one of the Supreme Court’s clowns approves of torture if a fictional agent saves civilization with it.
Never underestimate the power of a story. Unfortunately, far too many of them cast the State in the champ’s role. Whether it’s the police detectives catching the killer in murder mysteries, the buff fireman in a romance novel, or the kings, queens, and warriors who star in historical fiction, Leviathan shines. Between the lines lurks the tacit message that we need government, the source of all blessings.
But as writers from Rose Wilder Lane to Robert Heinlein prove, fiction can serve freedom as ably as it has the State. Especially when the protagonist is as clever as Lt. Columbo and courageous as Serpico.
Meet Nathan Hale, the gorgeous, clever, witty, courageous protagonist of my first novel, Halestorm.
Yes, like Serpico, Nathan Hale really existed. Most of us know him as the spy the British Army hanged during the American Revolution, supposedly after he regretted having only one life to give for his country. (He didn’t actually say this.)
You might also remember that he was only 21 when the State executed him. If you’re especially conversant with the period, you realize that he died thinking the Revolution a lost cause, that the government would shortly capture Gen. George Washington and his Continental Army, that it was only a matter of days before the State triumphed and killed liberty as surely as it would him. Yet he refused to save himself by denying freedom.
Such a stark, exhilarating confrontation of Man against the State, the eternal and utterly mesmerizing contest between good and evil, makes for incredible fiction. So I was astonished to discover that no one had ever written a novel about the luscious Captain Hale. Oh, sure, there were several children’s books, but nothing for adults. Why not? Can you imagine anything more cloak-and-dagger than Nathan’s lonely espionage behind the enemy’s lines, more edge-of-your-seat, hurry-and-turn-the-pages thrilling than his betrayal and capture, more dramatic than his death? Then, too, something much larger than his life depended on the success of his mission: his Cause, the freedom that permeated and drove the Revolution. No novelist could invent a more spellbinding plot.
While researching Halestorm, I soon learned that Nathan had been as magnificent in life as he was in death. He’s the ideal hero: stunningly handsome (virtually everyone who remembered him praised his looks. “So handsome!” sighed one besotted lady); awesomely athletic (a witness recalled how Nathan “would jump from the bottom of one hogshead up and down into a second and from the second up and down into a third like a cat – used to perform this feat often – would put his hand on a fence high as his head, and jump over it…”); brilliant (he was fluent in Greek and Latin by the age of 14, when he matriculated at Yale College); playful (he signed a page of doodles “Nathan Hail”); and all-around adorable.
Astoundingly, the more I investigated him, the better he grew. Not many people, even the Founding Fathers, can tolerate such scrutiny, let alone emerge with their halos intact. Scratch Ben Franklin, and you find a self-promoting hustler far more interested in advancing himself than liberty. John Adams is a statist who’s unbearably pompous about it, Alexander Hamilton a cocksure arriviste. Even George Washington loses his luster when he gains the presidency.
Not Nathan. Granted, he had only 21 years to mess up, versus their 84, 91, 47, and 67, respectively. But he never did. He always stood firm for Liberty – even when it cost the most.
I’m betting Nathan will win other people’s hearts as thoroughly as he did mine. Folks who will never read Mises or Bastiat, who couldn’t care less about politics and mistake the Austrian School for a European academy, will race through a novel about a cool, cute guy risking everything. Closely argued apologetics on liberty won’t move them, but Halestorm might – not because I’m such a great writer, but because Nathan Hale is so compelling. And just as they imbibe the subtext of a benevolent, omnipotent State from Mission: Impossible or Fargo, so they’ll take a fierce love of liberty from Halestorm.
Read Halestorm. Better yet, recommend it to your friends, Tweet and Twitter about it, post a review on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, urge folks to devour the story. Let’s continue the Revolution – and spread it to a whole new audience.
September 11, 2012
Copyright © 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.