Dear friend of Antiwar.com,
I’m told by my Antiwar.com colleagues that they’ve received many inquiries about my health status since my cancer diagnosis, and they’re urging me to write an update. Although I fear they are exaggerating the demand for this, out of a desire to make me feel better, I’ve learned through the years that it’s better to go along with the program rather than resist the people who really make this web site what it is.
When I was first diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in my lungs I had already lost a considerable amount of weight: at my low point, I was down to less than 150 lbs, nearly fifty pounds less than my normal weight. Today, after six months of anti-cancer treatments, I am back up to 180 lbs, and climbing.
A word about the treatments: every three weeks I am given an infusion, via an IV, of the newly-approved immunological drug Keytruda – perhaps you’ve seen their ads on television – and Alimta, a "light" chemotherapy drug. The whole procedure takes about three hours. The effects are … extraordinary.
Many of my more obnoxious symptoms have largely disappeared. I used to cough constantly: that’s stopped, thankfully. A few months ago, I couldn’t lie down at all, because the pleural effusion – water on the lungs – in my chest would slosh around and after a few minutes I’d experience a sensation very much like one imagines drowning is like. This hardly ever occurs anymore.
Which leads me into my next subject: how all this – a radically changed life circumstance – has influenced my writing, and perhaps even changed my perspective on current events.
For one thing, writing has certainly become a physical chore – at least, when I am sickest, usually a few days after my latest infusion. I very often have to drag myself to the computer and command myself to quit complaining and get to work. As extra added incentive, I simply think of all the horrific people who would be glad to see me silent, and that is more than enough to get me started. (LOL!)
My medical condition and the physical suffering associated with it have indeed changed my outlook, albeit not in the way one might expect. I’ve gotten more optimistic, quite counter-intuitively, and I think it’s due to the unexpectedness not only of recent events but also of my own fate.
We live in a time of great change, a transitional era that bridges the gap between our overextended empire and its inevitable retrenchment, and our roiling domestic political scene is just one aspect of the seismic changes that are shaking our world. We wake up each morning and wonder what will happen next. And that’s a great change, because for so long only the expected occurred in the foreign policy realm. Only the interventionists had a voice: there was no debate over fundamentals, just over narrow issues (multi-lateralism vs. unilateralism, "human intervention" vs. outright imperialism, etc. ad nauseam.
That’s all changed now. The voices of dissent have gained traction, if not the upper hand. And the political class has taken notice: they are less vocal about their imperialistic fantasies, less willing to "come out" in favor of intervening everywhere – because they know there’s a political price to be paid.
The parallel in my own life is that I wake up each morning not knowing whether I’ll last out the rest of the day. Yes, I’m getting better, getting stronger, and have every intention of beating this disease – but you never know. I could experience what the doctors call an "adverse event" at any moment. Certainly my fate is up in the air: I was talking to one of the nurses at my most recent infusion, and I asked her what she thought my prognosis was, and she replied: "We just don’t know at this point," and that is the crux of the matter. These new immunological drugs have revolutionized the healthcare regime for cancer patients: many have gone into remission, with no relapses as yet. But we just don’t know how all this is going to turn out. I’m a guinea pig in a vast experiment, the outcome of which is completely unpredictable.
And that seems to be the spirit of our age, now doesn’t it?
In this age of uncertainty, it’s nice to know that some things remain unchanged: the dependable Antiwar.com, your best source for anti-interventionist news and views, is still standing at the ramparts, tracking the movements of the War Party. Yes, they’re more active than ever, but they have to work harder these days. That’s because the American people are sick and tired of policing the world, and have come to question the judgment of the "experts" who justify every unnecessary conflict with the rhetoric of fear and ideological inertia.
The people are with us; the elites, not so much. And so it is a question of mobilizing the former against the latter, a not impossible task that nevertheless requires considerable effort and resources, i.e. money.
The War Party doesn’t have a lot of foot-soldiers: there are very few pro-war rallies, and for a very good reason – because only a narrow band of the citizenry longs for bloodshed on behalf of some "cause." Yet these are the people who get the attention because they are vocal and the rest of us are silent. Our goal, therefore, is to rouse the people from their silence by showing them how they’ve been lied to, manipulated, and ripped off by the profiteers of war,
But, as always, we need your help.
When the doctors told me I had to rest more, and not work so hard, I was advised to reduce the frequency of this column, or perhaps even take an extended break. I refused to consider it, at first. My fear was that we would lose the support of my regular readers, since simply showing up frequently and at a predictable time, is half the secret of internet success. I finally acknowledged the reality: I would have to go to twice a week. And even that was hard, in the beginning: it’s much easier these days. And who knows – I may even go back to three a week as I get stronger and better.
In a world in constant flux, it’s essential that some things remain consistent and reliable: and I like to think that, for many of our readers, Antiwar.com counts as one of the pillars of constancy. I get letters and tweets to that effect all the time, thanking me for the work I do and volunteering their support – and so now I’m cashing in those chips.
We need your support – your financial support – to contest the War Party’s traditional dominance of the public square. The voices of the peacemakers have never been more necessary: we can’t let them silence us now, when the world is at a turning point. Please make your tax-deductible donation today – in order to build a better world for tomorrow.
In peace and freedom,
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.