Picture a collection of gag guns with banner flags, the text screaming WUHAN! RUSSIA! FAKE NEWS! and FAUCI!
Picture the scene in defense of words by a Russian, rather than words about the perfidy of Russia, because the law of Chekhov’s gun is supreme.
The principle governs the stagecraft of statecraft, regardless of denials by people in government or disinformation by the allies of the permanent government.
The principle governs the set of our national tragedy in which the items on display—the pistols and pistolas, the rifles and revolvers—serve the story.
Anything else is extraneous, according to Chekhov’s rules of relevance, because it is wrong to fool the people.
Anyone who breaks this rule wrongs the people, treating them as fools, because no lie can save a story from the facts laid bare; for each gun is a smoking gun, evidence that supports or refutes a claim: that, for example, a biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) lab in Wuhan, China, is not “not guilty” of negligence; that Russia is not responsible for Hillary Clinton’s gross negligence; that prior restraint is not legal; that the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is no healer.
Everything else is a distraction akin to falsely shouting Trump in a theater and causing a panic, or escorting the QAnon Shaman to a mostly peaceful protest in the U.S. Capitol.
Panic is also a state that advances the State—without the consent of the governed.
Panic allows for changes in production, where security becomes security theater, with the Capitol under military occupation and the nation’s second capital, the City of Brotherly Love, set in opposition to the proposition that all American citizens are brothers of a common country; for we are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.
And yet, just as men revile righteousness, and betray the commandment against betrayal itself, so do they hate those who don’t worship them as gods.
We must not ignore this truth, or the ultimate truth about the duty we owe to our Creator, lest we be judged and found wanting—for want of action.
Speech is action, especially when the truth is unpopular.
Speech is the power to check power, meeting all legislative powers vested in Congress with all other powers reserved to the people, because Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.
Speech is also the silent testimony of one man, anonymous and alone, outside the Gate of Heavenly Peace.
Speech is the power of Tank Man, the enemy of the god that failed to murder him twice, because his memory lives on in the mind of mankind.
Our rights are nothing without the vigilance to secure them.
If we forget this fact, believing instead that the will to resist—the free will to choose freedom—is a trick the mind plays on itself, then nothing matters.
If we do nothing, pretending not to see what is in front of us, no fact is true and no truth is self-evident.
We have no right to pretend otherwise.
Our duty is to observe the rites of remembrance, in honor of certain unalienable rights, free of fear and without shame.
If we do our duty, we will not be afraid.