Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Mixed Colostomy Bag Wednesday:
An Interview with the Maximum Leader

I've known Mike the Maximum Leader since we were in elementary school. He's brainy. He's political. He's very, very conservative. He was voted Most Conservative in high school, along with a girl whose last name is scarily similar to his. And for several years now, Mike's been a husband, a father, and the ruler-to-be of the imminent MWO: the Mike World Order. Check out his blog, Naked Villainy, which features not only the Maximum Leader's insights, but those of his ministers: the centrist Air Marshal (who wrote the Iraq post below this entry), the centrist (but progressive-leaning?) Minister of Agriculture (a.k.a. Smallholder), the right-leaning Minister of Defense, and the very left-leaning Minister of Propaganda. I'm also an occasional poster on the Maximum Leader's blog, as the Poet Laureate. The repartee is lively; the spectrum of opinion diverse. If you're into politics and appreciate blogs like Tacitus, then Naked Villainy is right up your alley.

I think it's time you got to know your Maximum Leader better. To that end, I emailed Mike a set of interview questions, to which he's responded with humor, rakish charm... and at some points, disarming honesty. Sit back and enjoy. My questions are in boldface; the ML's responses are in normal type.

1. Guns. You have some in the Villainschloss. What can you tell us about them? Which one's your favorite? How good a shot are you? What have you killed aside from escaping dwarves?

Most of the guns in the Villainschloss were purchased because of a desire by me to collect some pieces associated with some aspect of history. I own four Lee-Enfield rifles. These were the main British rifle of the World Wars. I have one Lee-Enfield Mark II No. 4 which is my favourite. I also own a Russian SKS, the predecessor to the AK-47. I only bought it because it was "outlawed" by the "assault weapons ban" which recently expired. I sometimes refer to my SKS as a "schoolyard special."

I own three pistols. A .38 Webley (the British officer's sidearm of WW2), an East German Makarov 9mm pistol (the Soviet version of the Walther PPK - mine was even used by the East German Secret Police for a time), and a good ole American Ruger Vaquero .45. The Ruger is a single action revolver, and my favourite pistol.

I am a decent shot. I need to get to the range more. I haven't been in about 5 months.

I have killed deer and grouse. I have gone out for pheasant and turkey to no avail.

I plan on going to Africa and going on a real shooting safari. I figure I could get at least one wildebeest or something.

And I am in the market for a nice side-by-side 12 ga shotgun. Just because you should have one...

2. I've noticed that your guest bloggers often resort to historical analogies when making their points (e.g., "The current situation is a lot like Situation X during Vietnam."). How useful is this strategy, in your opinion? What are the merits and demerits of analogy?

If you are educated in history, the use of analogy can be very helpful in defining a situation. Unfortunately, when you come right down to it, very few (if indeed any) historical circumstances are ever repeated in such a way that use of analogy is really accurate. The best use of analogy is to point out similarities between the past and present and see if lessons learned from the past are applicable to the present situation. Of course, most "actors" for whom the analogies are intended go out of their way to point out how the analogy is not at all like the current situation. Thus they are also likely to ignore any historically-based advice one might be trying to offer.

That said, I will continue to use, and advocate the use of, historical analogy. If only to flaunt my superior historical knowledge to the masses and hope that it helps me pick up chicks.

3. If you could reduce your philosophy of life to a three-word motto to stick on a badge or a flag, what would that be?

Obey Me Now!

4. If you could reduce your philosophy of family to a three-word motto, what would that be?

Obey Me Now!

5. Which part of the female form is most alluring and why?

When I was younger I used to think the breast was the most alluring part of the female form. Then Mrs. Villain had children and I saw all too much the true purpose of the breast. While they are interesting to look at, I always discover I am thinking of form and function while gazing upon a woman's bosom.

I have always liked calves. They are yummy. I am also turned on by a nice butt.

At the risk of sounding like an emasculated weenie, I am now most attracted to a woman's brain. (Not the organ itself, but her intellect.) A woman who can demonstrate through writing or speaking that she has a good brain is dead sexy.

For the sake of full disclosure, I am also fascinated by vaginas. They come is all sorts of shapes and sizes. They look completely alien and out of place on a woman. Normally a woman is nice and smooth and silky, but this one place is all icky. That is what fascinates me about it.

6. Satan presents you with a choice: (a) unlimited power but limited knowledge, OR (b) limited power but unlimited knowledge. Assume that I'm defining "power" and "knowledge" in ways that do NOT overlap (i.e., no speculation on how "power can be knowledge" & vice versa). You choose...? Why?

Very interesting. I would choose unlimited power. I believe that one couldn't live with unlimited knowledge. How disturbing would it be to know everything about every situation? Know everything about everybody? I recently had the misfortune of watching that Mel Gibson flick "What Women Want" with Mrs. Villain. I mentioned to Mrs. Villain that the prospect of me walking around and hearing the thoughts of others would just drive me nuts. Especially since I don't like listening to the words most others are speaking. God knows I wouldn't want to actually hear the insipid thoughts spawning the words springing forth from their mouth...

Power on the other hand is much more easy to deal with... It is simpler. And much quieter inside your head.

7. Why Winston Churchill? What the hell do you see in the man?

Winston Churchill is easily the greatest figure in the 20th century. (Time Magazine notwithstanding.) I think I share a similar world-view to the one he had. Also, he is so eminently human. Many of the great figures of history have a horrid tendency towards being unapproachable or just unpleasant. (Greatness doesn't require that you be good.) But Churchill was funny, quick-witted, very intelligent, and tragically flawed. He was so stubborn about things (like the Empire) and would take stands that would damage him terribly. Just to make a point. There is something very appealing about him to me. And look at his accomplishments. He was elected to Parliament at the turn of the century. He served in every significant cabinet position during his life. (And many of them before 1920.) He won a Nobel Prize. Was a best-selling author. Was a father and husband. He was a friend to many. And what we should all thank him for: he kept Britain in WW2, thereby keeping the world from falling under the thrall of Hitler. I don't think that is overstatement.

8. In a Churchill-Thatcher Ultimate Fighting cage match, who would win?

Tough call... But Winston would. He was, after all, a bad-ass in his day. He fought on the Indian frontier. Participated in the last great (successful) cavalry charge of the colonial age. (At the Battle of Omdurman.) He fought the Boers in South Africa. Got captured, nearly talked his way out of it. Then escaped from the Boers. Sold his story and made money on it. He would have to win.

9. What hope is there for France? What will France's role be in the Mike World Order?

You know, I like to make fun of the French. But really, a leopard cannot change its spots. The French are just the French. They are as they have always been. Why should I hope to change them?

In the Mike World Order many of the finest wines and cheeses will continue to be made in France, by the French. They will be given license to complain as much as they want in the huge parliament that will meet continually and do nothing.

And they will continue to change out the face of "Marianne" every ten or so years with the image of the next hottie French model. Only I will not allow the image to be called "Marianne." It will likely be something more like "Madmoiselle Submission." And I will select the model after a careful examination.

10. Serious question: what does it mean to be a good citizen?

To be a good citizen depends very much on the nation-state in which you reside. Being an American I firmly believe that the responsibilities of citizenship are these:

a. Protect and defend our nation's interests at home and abroad when called.

b. Be informed about what is going on in your community and your nation.

c. Vote in all elections in which you are eligible to vote.

d. Pay your taxes.

e. Be tolerant of your neighbours and their views.

f. Obey just laws and use the system to change those that are not.

g. Preach the benefits of American values to everyone.

11. On what do you repose your moral sensibilities?

Excellent and difficult question. I was raised Catholic, and my moral responsibilities reflect that, I am sure. I suppose, if you distill it down, moral sensibilities come down to the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

As a rule of thumb, you don't get much simpler and moral than that. There is a lot of weighty stuff to the golden rule when you stop and think about it. Not only is it "I will not kill that guy who cut me off on the freeway today because I wouldn't want him to do it to me." It is also, "I should be informed about my community because I want others to be as well."

But even my moral sensibilities have a political philosophical bent to them. I have no moral problems with maltreatment of the worst violent criminals for example. They have, in my view, already sacrificed their rights to protection of the state, and treatment as moral agents by other citizens through their own actions. Certainly there are extenuating circumstances in particular cases, but many sociopathic murderers are not deserving of moral judgement (after being found guilty of their crimes of course).

12. Who are your five favorite British actors/comedians/TV or movie personalities?

Laurence Olivier
Peter O'Toole
John Cleese (who I'm sure would never expect to follow those two)
Kenneth Branagh
Ian McKellen

13. What's the best thing to eat while traveling through England?

Depends. You need to have Bangers & Mash at a pub. Fish and Chips are generally overrated and can be avoided. I am partial to Curried Eggs. They are delicious. You can almost always find a good Indian restaurant, and I recommend those.

But you really need to eat British pastries! Good God Almighty. You can joke [about the Brits' food] all you want. But if you have a sweet tooth Britain is the place for you. Last time I was there I got this great pastry which was a sweet crusty loaf about 8 inches in diameter. It was filled with at least 12 oz of custard, and perhaps 6 oz of homemade blueberry jam. And it only cost me about 35p. (Perhaps $.50.) It was great! It kept me full for about a day.

14. You've talked about "American exceptionalism" before. What's your take on what this is?

The belief that America is unlike other nations because it was founded on a group of abstract principles; not through an organic process involving geography, language, and previous monarchical systems. Anyone who can accept and live by the abstract principles of our nation can be an American. We are not bound by geography, language, or the burdens of history like other nations. America is an idea available to anyone. And because we are so radically different from every other nation (we are perhaps our own culture) the "rules" by which other nations act do not typically apply to us. This is to say that we don't have to be burdened by the notion that because we are Japanese we have to act in a Japanese way. We relate the activities of our nation back to our founding principles and act accordingly.

15. What, in your opinion, does the future hold for the UN?

Very little. I think the 21st Century will start to show (again) that collective government is a non-starter. To the extent that the UN will try to stay viable in the role of a moderator of nation-states it will be okay.

16. What's the best music to have sex to?

The music that is a woman's panting for more.

17a. I've heard this before, but please describe for our readers your vision of your own funeral-- the location, the music to be played, etc.

I have always wanted a full traditional Roman Catholic (pre-Vatican II) funeral mass. The whole choir, priest (preferably bishop, actually), altar-boys (molested or unmolested - it will make no difference to me as I will be dead), and a nice orchestra perhaps. I am fond of Wagner's "Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla" from Das Rheingold and would like it played at some point. (But as it is a pagan piece, in they eyes of the Church I will probably have to settle for some other classical requiem music). The mass would be conducted in Latin with the priest's back to the congregation. Incense will be burned frequently. My name will never be mentioned until the final lines of the mass when the priest will say: "Eternal rest give unto Michael, O Lord. May he rest in peace. Amen."

17b. Why not a simple, quiet cremation?

It is likely that this is what will happen. Since I don't really affiliate myself with the Catholic Church anymore, it is unlikely that any would agree to a big service to me. Plus, I'm beginning to think that to bury me would be a great waste of space. It would be better to cremate me and try to somehow gain some benefit from any useful minerals or elements present in my body.

18a. We're both fast approaching the halfway mark in our allotted "threescore and ten" years on this earth. How's the trip been so far, and where do you see yourself heading?

It hasn't been too bad. So far I think my life is very typical of a middle-class white American. I hope to be a good father and husband and to continue to acquire property and stuff to better support my family. I thought I might get into politics when I was younger. I don't see myself doing that now. I will support political causes and be active, but not a candidate. It is an unpleasant life for the family of the politician. And furthermore, most politicians are incapable of serious discussion.

18b. I'm really intrigued by this line:

"And furthermore, most politicians are incapable of serious discussion."

To be frank, I was a bit shocked to see you write this. It seems to go against the grain of all your interest in politics. If most politicians are incapable of serious discussion, and politics is what happens between & among most politicians, then JESUS CHRIST, WHO'S RUNNING THE SHIP?? I'd be curious to know why you made that remark. And further: what keeps you from descending into political cynicism if that's what you honestly believe about politicians?

I figured I'd try a little clarification. Politics in our time is now focused on scoring points for the news. Things are too dominated by sound bites and snippets. Serious discussion, while it does occur, doesn't happen with any frequency.

Politicians, if they want to get elected, tell people what they want to hear. So their message is short, and geared towards scoring points. Pundits, on the other hand, do have discussions... Those are more interesting. Just because you love politics doesn't mean you love politicians.

19. Is America an empire? If it isn't... should it be one?

In the traditional sense of empire, no, America is not an empire. We do not conquer territory for our own economic and military benefit. We gave it a shot in the late 19th century and discovered we were no good at it. We don't like ruling people. We want them to have a say in their own governance. That is antithetical to empire.

In a cultural sense we might be. Should we be a traditional empire? No. We cannot. To be American is to accept and live by a set of abstract principles. Those can't be forced on anyone.

20. What's the essence of conservatism?

Preserve that which is best and most important to your society. Even if it makes no logical sense.


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