I'm re-reading Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus Triology for the third time. He never fails to both amuse and inform at the same time. He also admirably fulfils that role he often refers to in his writing: The poet as early warning radar. I thought I would share the occasional extended quote with you.
Despite (or perhaps because of) orginally being penned in the 70s, the trilogy has many passages that bear an uncanny and often disturbing resemblance to today's world.
I miss the old man terribly:
Caligula Bushman, known as the toughest judge on the Chicago bench, was trying six people who were charged with attacking a draft board, destroying all its furniture, ruining its files and dumping a wheel-barrow full of cow manure on the floor. Suddenly Busman interrupted the trial about halfway through the prosecution's presentation of its case with the announcement that he was going to hold a sanity hearing. To the bewilderment of all, he then asked State's Attorney Milo A. Flanagan a series of rather odd questions:
"What would you think of a man who not only kept an arsenal in his home, but was collecting at enormous financial sacrifice a second arsenal to protect the first one? What would you say if this man so frightened his neighbors that they in turn were collecting weapons to protect themselves from him? What if this man spent ten times as much money on his expensive weapons as he did on the education of his children? What if one of his children criticized his hobby and he called that child a traitor and a bum and disowned it? And he took another child who had obeyed him faithfully and armed that child and sent it out into the world to attack neighbors?
What would you say about a man who introduces poisons into the water he drinks and the air he breathes? What if this man not only is feuding with the people on his block but involves himself in the quarrels of others in distant parts of the city and even in the suburbs? Such a man would clearly be a paranoid schizophrenic, Mr. Flanagan, with homicidal tendencies. This is the man who should be on trial, though under our modern, enlightened system of jurisprudence we would attempt to cure and rehabilitate him rather than merely punish."
"Speaking as a judge," he continued, "I dismiss this case on several grounds. The State is clinically insane as a corporate entity and is absolutely unfit to arrest, try and incarcerate those who disagree with its policies. But I doubt that this judgment, though obvious to any man of common sense, quite fits into the rules of our American jurisprudential game. I also rule, therefore, that the right to destroy government property is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and therefore the crime with which these people are charged is not a crime under the Constitution. Government property belongs to all of the people, and the right of any f the people to express displeasure with their government by destroying government property is precious and shall not be infringed."
Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, The Illuminatus Trilogy, 1998 (originally published 1975), Robinson publishing. pp 366-368.