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Missive #68

The Imperialism is a bit hard to stomach, but as long you understand the whole “product of your time” concept it’s not too tough to come to grips with. In 1926, Huxley visited Indian, Burman, Malaya, Japan, China, and America — all places I have been (though China just the airports) on this trip. I have to agree with the Customer Review; a very good travel book. Also the best Huxley book that I have read so far, much better than his early novels. A recommended book. Reading old travel writing is cool because while some things have entirely changed, more than you’d expect are still the same. (Or same-same, as they say here.) I would rank it as one of the best travel books I’ve ever read, less so for the countries he visited and more for his perceptive insight and evocative writing. — Customer review

Some quotes from the book:

If, in the past, men have fought for democracy and made revolutions for the attainment of self-government, it has generally been because they hoped that these things would lead to better administration than could be had under despotism and foreign dominion. Once better government has been obtained, democracy and self-determination — as such and in themselves — cease to interest those who, a short time before, had passionately fought for them.

The thing which is happening in America is a revaluation of values, a radical alteration (for the worse) of established standards.… There are two ways in which the existing standards of value may be altered. In the first case, the very existence of values may be denied. In the second, values are admitted, but the mode in which they are assigned is changed: things which in the past had been regarded as possessing great value are disparaged or, more often, things which were previously considered of small value come to be regarded as precious.

The democratic hypothesis in its extreme and most popular form is that all men are equal and that I am just as good as you are. It is so manifestly untrue that a most elaborate system of humbug has had to be invented in order to render it credible to any normally sane human being. Nowhere has this system of humbug been brought to such perfection as in America.

…[O]n the Western side of the Atlantic the progressive falsification of values steadily continues. So far, what has happened is this: preciousness has been attributed to things and people previously regarded as possessing small value. But in certain parts of the Union the innumerable necessary men are preparing to move a step farther. Not content with attributing the highest possible value to themselves, they are denying it to the unnecessary few; the majority has sovereign rights. What was previously held to be high is now being disparaged. The mental and moral qualities, the occupations and diversions of the greatest number are regarded as the best, the sole permissible; the qualities and occupations of the few are condemned. Stupidity, suggestibility and business are held up as supremely precious. Intelligence, independence and disinterested activity — once admired —are in process of becoming evil things which ought to be destroyed.

More about my leaving Benson a day early. The electric failure was what finally did it, I was on my last nerve and then that happened. I knew that the Park ‘management’ would not fix it on Sunday so sent an email to my new Park that I was coming in a day early.

The move was a short one of only 35 miles an this route: N. Madison street, Darby Ave, N. Ocotillo Rd, I-10 (14 miles), Dragoon Rd, US 191 & Goldmine Cir. I added about 20 miles to that by going to Sandy’s Restaurant and RV Park at the junction of US 191 & AZ 181 for breakfast. They were doing business to almost a full house but I got VERY fast service, a big serving and a VERY reasonable price compared to Benson and Sierra Vista.

The Park owner was not here when I arrived but one of the permanent residents got me into a space where I found that it truly was the pedestal at Red Barn that had failed — I have electricity here. I also have shade trees and face the west so don’t get so much sun on my coach windows. I think I’m going to like it here better than the Red Barn but will know better by the time I leave.

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