A reader asks:
What do we do?

Editor's note

As you will see from the date I received it, this letter has been percolating among our little cabal for a good long while. I'd hoped it would attract comment from some of the TLD writers — including something useful from yours truly — but now I regret my delay in posting it. Perhaps getting it onto the site will help ignite some inspiration — and not just on the part of our writers.

In our defense, I do have to note that we have written on the subject before this. At the end I supply some links to apposite comment already posted. — Nicholas Strakon, June 14, 2011

To the editor ...

My name is Matt, and I am a frequent reader of The Last Ditch. I am a junior in high school, and my ambitions are to reach an intellectual level like that of Ronn Neff and yourself. I have realized, as I make my way into adulthood and become "the New Generation of America," that I am inheriting a plethora of problems and challenges. My "coming-of-age" gifts are a ruined government, a declining society, and a "juggernaut national debt."

I believe I speak on behalf of most young readers of The Last Ditch when I ask, What do we do? Do we riot in the streets under the claim that our rights have been violated? Do we run as politicians and attempt to change or limit the very government we would have to work under? Do we form an underground society, and follow in the footsteps of John Galt in Atlas Shrugged? Do we stock our houses with food and guns, and prepare for a collapse? Do we conform to society, and just forget about our virtues and values in order to survive amongst our fellow men? I understand that these questions may be hard to answer, and I realize that there is no single answer. You may have already answered this in The Last Ditch, in which case, a link would suffice. As what may seem like, and what may be, a desperate attempt to prepare myself for the future, I ask you, What do we do?

Matt Wetzel

P.S. Your work at The Last Ditch does not go unappreciated. I have the utmost respect for you and many of the frequent contributors to The Last Ditch. I have never revised or edited a letter or e-mail as much as I did this one (high school requires little of its English students). You have my highest respect, and greatest hopes for the future of The Last Ditch.

March 7, 2011
Posted June 14, 2011


Nicholas Strakon replies

I thank Mr. Wetzel for his good words about the Ditch, and I wish him the best. I also hope to hear from him again.

When I circulated his letter among the TLD regulars, Ronn Neff responded: "My own starting place would be to remind Matt and all other readers that ethics is more important than politics, and that if we attend to the first, the second will not appear quite so formidable as it sometimes seems or cause us despair." That is such a home truth, and one so widely ignored, that I feel obliged to include it here, even if what I am posting today turns out to be merely a preliminary answer to Mr. Wetzel.

Here are some pieces at The Last Ditch that our correspondent may find of interest:

  "Realism does not equal defeatism," by Ronn Neff, July 10, 2007

  "Reply to a reader of 'Realism does not equal defeatism' — Think globally, act individually," by Ronn Neff, October 10, 2007

  "Repatriating the West," by Ronn Neff, 1997, posted January 7, 2002

  "You are not a number! — or, Once again I'm voting for rain," by Nicholas Strakon, November 3, 2002

  "The Daily Subversion," by Nicholas Strakon, September 15, 2000

  A "Stop and think" installment by Nicholas Strakon, beginning, "It's still sticking in my craw...." from February 2004

  "Dragons and giants and bears, oh my!," by Virginia Dare, May 3, 1996 (posted 2002)

  "Stand, children of the West!," December 30, 2005. My introductory note on the page explains what I was trying to do in establishing it. Alas, as the reader will see, five and a half years later there is still only one entry (though it is a good one). I hope the present exchange stimulates new comment on that page in particular.

June 14, 2011

Nicholas Strakon is editor-in-chief of The Last Ditch.