14. The Man of Lies

14. The Man of Lies

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



Kim’s man/lover Philip paused in his speech and looked around.

I would ask you to think for a few moments how peace on a universal scale could be achieved,” he said quietly. “You must remember that there were different cultures, some of which were more prone to violent outbursts than others. Some pretended their government was democratic and others thought that democracy was a foolish way of running a country. Some had an immutable hierarchy dictated by the blood-line of a past hero, others relegated that bloodline to be merely a piece of decoration, giving a pale salute to the past. But what was needed, and a huge swathe of thinking people knew this, was a catch-all policy that would end wars once and for all.”

I was lost. I had no idea that the world was big enough to harbour so many different ideologies that its population was hopelessly divided, but we’d had a taste of it in Paradise Hell. There were the feared Stewards of discipline who followed orders from the mechanical beast who had apparently ruled us with a mindless control based on a lost past, and there were the rest of us who lived partly in fear of them. The Stewards of Discipline never had one of their number punished: they were beyond that. And, to a man, they had turned back when we reached the end of the subterranean tunnel and were probably even now rearranging the hovels of Paradise Hell to their officious liking.

What do you think?” asked Philip, and we looked at each other, nonplussed. Then the elderly surgeon who had said he was called Simon raised one hand in the air. Philip smiled at him.

You have an idea?” he asked.

Simon shook his head. “Not really,” he said, “other than to say you are talking to maybe a hundred of us who have lived secluded lives since birth in circumstances so different from those you are describing that any idea we may have will be as the first notion of a baby discovering speech for the first time and trying to describe the air around him or her. For a start I should imagine you are talking of somewhat larger populations?”

Philip nodded. “Of course,” he said, “and you have made the point so well and it touches on the way our various societies were disorganised. Small nations could harbour malcontents who brought forth violence on their own people. Civil war, it was called, but war none-the-less. And even at the beginning we were aware that a small skirmish could lead to something worse if it was allowed to ferment. One of the first global wars, known at the time as the Great War, was started by a single gunshot in Sarajevo, and yet by its end it is estimated that it cost the lives of around twenty million people. And, you know, barely any of the Masters of that War were among the casualties. It was the huge army of mostly young men, many only boys, who had no true idea why they were armed with guns and ordered to shoot to kill. Pretty phrases like for our homeland or meaning something like that were all they knew and all they died for.”

Let me tell you what slowly happened. There was the emergence of mass communication on an unbelievable scale using a thing called the Internet, and ordinary people could use that freely in order to make friends in places they hardly knew anything about. And slowly but with accelerating momentum the idea was spread. That a big war, one that was being threatened by many nations and rumbling through our fears like a disease, would be the end of things.

It was about that time that the church in this country sent your ancestors into hiding underground. But at the same time as your great escape there was a surge in friendships all over the planet as men and women realised that some of the people they were joking with and exchanging views and personal ideas with across the globe weren’t their enemies at all. Slowly it was agreed that all wars emerged from the desires for wealth and power of just a few people. One man, it was thought, could destroy civilization for good.”

I looked at Timmy and he squeezed my hands. So the war that had caused our ancestors to flee had never happened, and we were beginning to see why. We and our own forefathers had been trapped like blind rats underground, driven by fear of what never happened.

Now let me tell you the story of one leader,” continued Philip, “for his story is a microcosm of many.

I’ll call him Mr X because his name is still like poison when it’s aired. He had started off as a wealthy person from a wealthy family, was educated at the most expensive schools and whilst he was at the most prestigious university decided that by hook or by crook he was going to rule his little corner of the world. But he had no great intellect, no mind capable of wonderful things, just a persona he had created as a ruler in waiting. On his way to power he showed the kind of man he was because he was incapable of holding any job for long. Had he been a poor man’s son he would have probably spent great periods of his life in ever more secure prisons, but he wasn’t and he achieved his end. He got to rule his country.

Now Mr X had no great real power and it was during his early years in charge that the mass anti-war brigade really got going. A Universal Law (that’s what it was called) was passed because pressure from the masses even in dictatorships was immense and a decree was agreed.

Anyone deemed to be a Master of War by a committee of angels selected from all nations, that is a committee of the truly great and good, was to be arrested and tried, and if found guilty, offered a choice: either a quiet death in his sleep or the chance to fight for half his life against one of those whose policies opposed his. Instead of a nuclear conflagration there would be an arena where they could fight it out themselves, but not all the way to the death. Man or woman against man or woman. Single combat leading to a victory for one side or the other, judged by an impartial referee. But it would only be half a victory because even the one judged to be victor would have to defend himself in other battles as his army of youths would have to in a war on the ground before they were slaughtered. The loser would be put in a home for losers when he would die sooner or later and the winner awarded a place in an asylum and provided with the best medical help so that he can enjoy, if that’s the right word, the taste of victory for as long as possible.

And Mr X was the first to be put in the ring defending his own lies against the philosophy of a hothead from far away.”

What happened?” I asked, immensely curious.

Philip smiled at me. “Oh, the liar proved to be as feeble as his lies,” he said quietly, “but he won, fighting against an elderly lady with dangerous views. He lives now in an asylum for the mentally deranged on an island in the middle of an ocean. He’s very old now, of course, but our medical men make sure he remains alive for as long as possible so that he can savour the delights of victory as he dribbles his way in tears through the tail end of his life…”

© Peter Rogerson 27.02.21


© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on February 27, 2021
Last Updated on February 27, 2021
Tags: war, prevention, internet, peace


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..