“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”
―William Shakespeare, The Tempest
When David Josef Volodzko proposed a letter exchange with me, I realized as soon as I read his first letter that this is someone with the intellectual acuity; breadth of literary, historical, and cultural knowledge; depth of character; and sheer writing talent capable of upholding the high standard I have established for my Dissident Dialogues series.
We are at a fragile moment in the life of the Resistance, and it seems people’s nerves and judgment are fraying the longer the war wears on. Pissants scatter dispiriting remarks about like litter. Fanatical contingents accuse anyone who holds a different view of being controlled opposition. Self-righteous inquisitors feel they have the right to tell you what you should and shouldn’t write about, how you should and shouldn’t spend your time. Purported allies ambush individuals of supreme integrity.
I have taken pains to protect the identity of my saboteur [I’ll call her S] because—as will become evident when you read these exchanges—she appears to be suffering some sort of psychological crisis, and I don’t blame her but rather her mental illness. As such, I have substituted any terms that could be traced back to her posts and indicated these substitutions in brackets.
After Daniel Ellsberg passed away, I republished my poem Ode to a Whistleblower to honor his memory and further Dan’s dying wish to #FreeAssange. Then a couple of weeks ago, Diane Perlman asked if I would be willing to provide a video of myself reading this poem for the tribute she and her co-director Todd Pierce are organizing at the Whistleblower Summit on July 30, National Whistleblower Day.
“If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of freedom of speech.”
“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.” —John F. Kennedy
This Independence Day, let us celebrate the indomitable nature of truth, the infectious spirit of freedom, and the resilience that empowers us to triumph over adversity.
“Sorry but I am dealing with some health issues that require I conserve my efforts. I do admire your work intensely and hope to help along to the extent of my ability. Best Christmas to you and God Bless.” When I read those words from American Digest publisher Gerard Van der Leun on Christmas, I did not realize they would be the last ones he would write to me.
“Where there’s no danger, there’s no courage.… Anyone can ‘endure’ security and well-being. The real challenges—the ones that force our endurance to grow from mere perseverance into true courage—arise in the face of hazard. So it is with moral courage, where danger is endured for the sake of an overarching commitment to conscience, principles, or core values.”
—Rushworth Kidder, Moral Courage
After being on the questioning end of Dissident Dialogues interviews for luminaries such as CJ Hopkins and Meredith Miller, I switched roles for this written interview conducted by Vanja Vinković on behalf of Croatian Weekly (Hrvatski Tjednik), an ad-free, print-only publication he describes as “the most-read newspaper in Croatia.”
For my two-year Substack anniversary, I am publishing an essay I started last summer to accompany a guest article by Paul Cudenec. It seemed a fitting anniversary piece because it covers connections, collaborations, community, and courage—four C’s that have defined my transformative experience at Substack.
WE DID IT. We pulverized the Overton Window. Even former mainstream straddlers are saying it aloud now: “Mistakes Were NOT Made.” Deftly filmed by Mark Lawrie and poignantly scored by my husband, Dr. Tess Lawrie’s knee-buckling reading of my poem has shattered the few remaining shards dangling in the window frame.
I am elated to present this video of Dr. Tess Lawrie reading Mistakes Were NOT Made: An Anthem for Justice. My veteran Substack readers may recall it was Tess’s fearless confrontation of Andrew Hill that inspired me to launch my Profiles in Courage series. I also crowned Tess the Queen of Integrity (to Mike Yeadon’s King of Integrity) in my one-year anniversary post.
This is one of the more important pieces I have published. I have been given the honor of hosting a letter written by Jews around the world who unequivocally condemn the weaponization of “anti-semite” to character-assassinate people guilty of nothing but questioning approved narratives; exercising free speech; exposing corruption, lies, and harmful policies; and practicing independent, critical thinking.
The following poem was inspired by a conversation with Mike Yeadon. We have both independently noticed the increasing use of terms like “bungled” and “blunder” to describe the crimes against humanity perpetrated under the cloak of COVID. Even well-meaning people who share similar values and goals sometimes fall into this trap being set by those preparing their parachute jump from culpability.