Updated: Oct 5, 2019
New York, 1939
Manufredi advised his friend Jacob that life in America was not always what it seemed. The ordering of things was different here. It was a place of surprises.
Whereas Europeans tended to think of the common man as no more noble or valuable than an insect, Americans had instead placed him on a pedestal. Europeans were convinced of the Divine Right of Kings which claimed that so-called human or civil ‘rights’ were merely concessions gifted by a king or queen on certain meritorious commoners to ennoble them; earned and deserved privileges as it were, but not something enjoyed by all humans simply by virtue of their birth in the world.
Americans on the other hand, had taken Rousseau at his word. They proclaimed that all persons, regardless of gender or social station, were born with inalienable human rights that could never be revoked, not even by God. The administration of those rights was allocated to a governing body of men, that is, to the Congress. Every citizen was considered equal to every other citizen, so long as he or she were White, Protestant, and of Anglo-Saxon heritage. Those with money were even more equal. "In God We Trust," they wrote on their banknotes.
In America, the so-called ‘people’ retained one additional right, that is, the ability to keep and bear firearms in their homes and on their persons so as to remain prepared take back the administration of their civil rights from the governing body if it should become corrupted or tyrannical. It was called The American Democracy.
“Democracy is beautiful in theory but in practice it is a fallacy,” Mussolini interjected. “You in America will see that someday. Democracy is nothing but a kingless regime infested by many kings who are sometimes more exclusive, tyrannical and destructive than one, even if he be a tyrant.”
“America is a great place to make money,” Manufredi shot back. Empty Budweiser bottles by now littered the scarred wooden tabletop where a previous tenant had left someone’s initials – presumably a woman’s – inside a crudely carved heart.
“You don’t need a crystal ball to see where the world is heading these days but wherever it goes, there’s surely a lot of money to be made in getting there. Opportunities are everywhere. Sure, the country is complaining of a depression but as soon as America gets dragged into the coming European war, this economic crisis will disappear. But no matter which way the pendulum swings, the outcome for investors has to be positive. Money is a non-combatant, see? It’s neutral; and it can be multiplied under almost any economic conditions. Grow your money, Jacob! Grow it now as the world prepares for another slaughter.”
“Huh! The true story of capitalism is only beginning,” Il Duce countered, “because capitalism is not merely a system of oppression, but also a selection of values, a coordination of hierarchies, a more amply developed sense of individual responsibility.”
“Well, you can have your views and we’ll have ours,” Manufredi replied to the air, refusing to allow the phantom tyrant his say. He brought his face closer to Jacob’s as if to confide something personal, in secrecy, out of the nosy dictator’s hearing.
“I was talking with Bernardo Nogara before we sailed. Bernardo’s a faccendiere cum laude, a fixer’s fixer in our country of fixers, if you know what I mean. He’s the guy who saved the Vatican from bankruptcy in 1929. Otherwise the Pope would have squandered the ninety-two million Il Duce gave him on another hideous monument, as if Rome needed more of such trash.”
“Yes. And I brought people back to the churches like never before, which greatly increased contributions to the collection plates and a healthy revenue stream for the Vatican,” Mussolini chimed in again. “But all it got me in the end was undeserved criticism and hostility.”
The Italian leader wasn’t discouraged by the drunken ramblings of what he considered a couple of ignorant louts; immigrants no less, fleeing the motherland at a time when it was poised for greatness with a new Roman Empire unfolding.
Excerpted from A TYRANNY OF GOD. Download sample chapters at www.francescorizzuto.com
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