Interview with Becky Akers   1 comment

Today’s interview is with Becky Akers, author of Halestorm and Abducting Arnold, two works of fiction based on a refreshingly different take on American history. I heard Becky interview on Patriot’s Lament, a Saturday morning radio program on KFAR AM 660 (Fairbanks Alaska) that explores anarcho-capitalism and a lot of other liberty subjects. I liked what she had to say so much that I tracked her down and asked her if she would let me interview her.

 

Tell us something about yourself, Becky.

For starters, Lela, I’m honored to talk with you today! Thanks so much.

As for the salient facts, my favorite meal is dessert and my favorite sport, reading; I adore storms—meteorological ones, that is; you can usually find me at either my computer’s keyboard or a piano’s; and if we could choose where and when we’re born, I’d have picked Boston in 1758.

 

How long have you been writing and what was the first story you wrote?

When I was 8 or 9, I sobbed my way through Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ The Yearling. I then baldly and boldly plagiarized it to write my first story. I learned later that authors call this “inspiration.”

 

Yeah, fan fiction at the behest of my bored friends was where I honed my early writing skills. What are you passionate about in life?

Chocolate and Chinese food!

I’m down with both of those, but …

Oh, wait: you mean something inedible, don’t you? Of lasting value, even eternal significance?

 

FirestormDefinitely!

In that case, I am most passionate about Christianity—the Biblical version, thank you, not the man-made knock-off that presents God as a sort of celestial vending machine: “Insert prayers and good deeds, receive that new car.”

Because I am a sinner Christ saved via His infinite grace and mercy, gratitude alone compels me to obey Him. Politically, that translates to anarchism, by which I mean there should be no State, no government, no political class of sinful, fallen men thumbing their noses at the Almighty while lording it over the rest of us.

 

Having listened to Patriot’s Lament for two years now, I know the answer to this question, but I have to ask it anyway for readers’ benefit —

Aren’t anarchists all Marxists?

To be precise, I am an anarcho-capitalist. Anarcho-capitalists are true anarchists, as distinguished from the communists the American government mislabelled “anarchists” in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Communists cannot be anarchists: they need a strong central government, so strong it’s totalitarian, since their philosophy compels citizens to sacrifice their own interests to the “common good.” No one voluntarily does that, hence the armies and wholesale slaughter that ever attend Marxism.

By contrast, anarcho-capitalists do not go around blowing things up, nor do we wear red berets. We uphold the individual and his inalienable rights; the free market—a truly free one, with no regulations but its own, self-correcting ones; voluntary interactions and transactions; peace. We love liberty, just as the Bible does: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free…

 

Are you saying that the Bible supports anarchy?

Any Christian who loves his Lord must abide by the Ten Commandments—and that perforce makes us anarchists since the Law prohibits two of government’s essential hallmarks: stealing (even if we rename it “taxation”) and murder, which remains murder even if we call it “war.” Nor do I note any exemption in Holy Writ for those wearing badges or merely following orders. If you worship Jesus Christ, you had better be serious about your morality and about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. And since none of us want others to steal from or murder us, how can we support government when it routinely commits both crimes?

Finally, the State is Satan’s citadel – I’ve written about this extensively; those whom this concept intrigues may want to start here or here – so I oppose it in its entirety. I’m not interested in “reforming” or “limiting” government, any more than I would be interested in reforming or limiting cancer. I want to abolish human government because it directly opposes itself to Almighty God, vying with Him for our devotion.

 

 

Talk about Halestorm.

Halestorm is the first novel for adults to follow the adventures of Captain Nathan Hale, the American Revolutionary (and devout Christian!) who supposedly said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” before the British Empire hanged him for espionage.

It’s an utterly thrilling story, full of suspense, breathtaking drama, and even humor—not because I’m such an enthralling writer but because Nathan was such an enthralling guy. Yet most historians dismiss him as a failure, a bumbling amateur, or, at best, a children’s hero. I’m not sure whether they do so because he was only 21 when he hanged or because of his wholehearted commitment to liberty—in other words, his idealism and integrity. Apparently, to earn historians’ favor, you have to be a power-hungry cynic and sociopath like the average politician.

I was indeed a child when I first learned about Nathan—so young, in fact, that I can’t remember whether I read his story for myself or whether someone told me of him. But his courage and defiance of tyranny captivated me. I’ve loved him ever since. And I hope other adults who pick up my novel because it’s exciting will come away from it admiring Nathan and his principles, too.

 

 

ArnoldNow, let’s get to the meat of the matter. Abducting Arnold takes an alternative view of the Benedict Arnold treason incident. You don’t see Arnold as a traitor, but actually cast him as a hero. That’s certainly not what I learned in high school.

No, I daresay it isn’t!

When I started the massive research for Abducting Arnold, I held the conventional view of him as an irredeemably wicked traitor; I figured that my novel would exhaust the list of synonyms for “dastardly” and “coward.” But within a few months, I had to radically change my view –and my plot’s outline!—, based on the evidence.

My first inkling that everything we “know” about Arnold is wrong came when I understood the scope of his career. During the war’s first two years, Arnold won astounding victories against huge odds for the Patriots: he was a hero’s hero who succeeded at the impossible time after time. He froze, starved and bled for the Cause, even sustaining a wound that crippled him for life. He was completely devoted to the principles of liberty.

Then, eighteen months after his most outstanding victory, he had sided with his former enemy, the one he had fought so vehemently and successfully, an empire inimical to freedom. Why?

 

I always heard that the British paid him. Isn’t that the reason he turned his coat?

No – though, as you note, most historians either imply or state outright that Arnold profited handsomely from his treason. But he actually lost money: I added up his accounts and documented, as much as is possible two centuries later, that he forfeited a considerable amount. And he knew he would.

Arnold was also allegedly the touchiest, most vainglorious and egomaniacal general around: another extremely popular explanation for his treason is that he prized his own military brilliance even if an ungrateful country and Congress didn’t, and he craved revenge for their constant criticism and abuse.

Unlike the money motivation, which is flat-out wrong, this second explanation is a mixture of truth and fiction. Arnold was indeed brilliant—to my mind, the most brilliant tactician and commander on either side of the war. And without a doubt, neither his fellow Patriots nor Congress ever came close to appreciating his genius. But Arnold reacted the way other officers in his situation did – because surprise, surprise, he wasn’t the only general Congressional politics savaged. Nor were his responses unreasonable and hysterical, as so many historians insist.

 

So if Arnold didn’t commit treason to reap a fortune or out of pique, why did he?

Trying to answer that question led me to a set of politicians known as the Radical Patriots. Though they’re virtually forgotten today, the Radicals were extremely powerful during the Revolution, and they pulled a sort of coup d’état in Philadelphia, where they first seized power. Basically, they were Progressives—as communist in their economics and as humorless in their fanaticism as Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama today. They loved government, the bigger the better, which, of course, was precisely the opposite of other Patriots. Radicals weren’t fighting to live free; they were fighting to rule their fellows in place of King George III’s administration.

Arnold was one of the only real Patriots to understand what the Radicals were up to. He tried to thwart them, to save the Revolution for liberty from them. His failure at that led directly to his deal with the British, for reasons I dramatize in Abducting Arnold.

 

Why do you think we don’t learn this in school?

I’d say primarily for two reasons.

First, winners write history. Arnold’s side lost. Not only that, but though the Radical Patriots faded from power after the Revolution, much of their philosophy not only survived but triumphed. It continues to curse us today. Telling the true story of Arnold, of why and how he opposed the Radicals, would undermine the modern welfare-warfare state.

And second, Arnold enrages statists.

There is no greater crime to people who love the centralized American government than to question or mock it, refuse to take it as seriously as it decrees, or prefer a different one; look at the hatred heaped on Ed Snowden (who, by the way, is often compared with Arnold. As he should be: he’s intensely heroic and principled, like Arnold). Arnold “betrayed” America because his allegiance wasn’t to Congress or the Continental Army or his home state of Connecticut or George Washington or to anything but freedom. And when he saw the Radicals rising to power while imposing a dictatorship that put George III’s in the shade, he turned his back on the American government, such as it then was.

Statists must blacken Arnold’s name, must depict him as evil incarnate, lest kids learn to love liberty and recognize Arnold for what he was: one of freedom’s most magnificent champions.

 

To truly understand what Becky is discussing, read the book. It’s meticulously researched and an entertaining read.

 

Links – to books:

Halestorm– http://www.amazon.com/Halestorm-ebook/dp/B008YF7H9A/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358872730&sr=8

 

Abducting Arnold — http://www.amazon.com/Abducting-Arnold-Becky-Akers-ebook/dp/B00H6J50T4/ref=zg_bs_6361463011_19

 

Websites:

https://beckyakers.wordpress.com/

 

Facebook, etc. 

 

Nope – eschew “social media” like the plague and NSA-infiltrated trap that it is.

 

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