8 October 2022
Barbed Wire & Forked Tongues
Before the settling of the American West was settled, barbed wire formed the physical closing of the range. This cruelly new design for fencing wire was the invention of a New Hampshire farmer, Joseph Farwell Glidden, in 1873. That patented invention criss-crossed the prairies and forever changed the face of the West.
Called The Devil’s Rope by cattle ranchers, but cherished by farmers and homesteaders, the barbed wire was the tangible sign that the days of the open range were quite numbered.
I’ve tangled with barbed wire on the property of my house in Newcastle, and it’s nothing to laugh at. On the prairies and the cattle ranges of the Frontier West, the barbs inflicted pain, bacteria, mutilation, and slow death to both beast and man. The fact that this barbaric fencing was invented by a New Englander is not at all unusual, and it’s certainly not lost on me.
Some of the most crusty curmudgeons and misanthropes in the history of this nation have hailed from New England. Robert Frost was himself reputed to have been a bitter old man, even when young. Poetry can flow from malice just as much as from magnanimity.
The Code of the West was the more enduring and less hostile of the barriers within the great divide between East and West in the United States. The Code was the sole canon upon which the civilization called Law and Order could be based, at least in the West. The Code was known, though not always followed. In fact, in the early years of the Wild West, the incidents for breaking the code outnumbered the occasions upon which it was upheld.
The Wild West was tamed over the course of inexorable time, over decades of diligent duty of citizens toward law and order, toward the upholding of the Code, toward the belief in the Almighty God.
It was a phenomenal achievement for a young nation, to arrive at a society where freedom outweighed authority, and where liberty was loved more than life itself. Without freedom, authority is despotic. Without liberty, there’s not much life, or not much life that is worth living. The laws of God always and inevitably undergird the laws of man in a free society such as the United States of America.
Balancing those scales — of individual liberty and of respect for the law — that harmony is forever a work in progress. During the years of frontier fighting and frontier settling in the States, that harmony was silenced by crime and chaos, but only for limited periods of time.
When despots and tyrants, elected or otherwise, seek to intimidate the citizens within a free republic such as America, the scales of justice are put out of balance. The whack jobs in this country are tilting those scales of justice out of whack. This privation of due process and blatant moral asymmetry naturally attempt to right themselves, which is why the thugs and criminals, in government and outside of it, are exhausting themselves amidst their corruption and chaos.
It’s taxing, tortuous work to lie, cheat, steal, and fabricate a facade that instantly falls apart upon being sprung upon the American people. The status quo of squalor behind the scenes cannot be kept up for years and years by the sociopaths, psychopaths, and lewd louts on the lam from the truth. The fraud, in truth, starts to fall apart even as it’s being concocted. I marvel at the will, twisted at that, to perpetuate such evil, especially when the hand of God is not idle or impartial in the face of wickedness.
Government, of the people, by the people, and for the people, sought, and still seeks, to seek resolution from the chaos, to strike those chords of harmony in a society of free men and free women. We the People yearn for a better life, not for a better lie.
Truckee, California was one such settlement in the West that sought the balance between lawlessness and the Code of the West. Lawlessness prevailed for many years there, after the Gold Rush, despite the Code.
For about 100 years, from the founding of Truckee as Pollard’s Station in 1866, until the mid-twentieth century, logging was a major industry in this town. Also during this era, blocks of ice were harvested from the ponds in Truckee and shipped by rail car to San Francisco for residential and commercial ice boxes. During the late 1800s, Truckee deservedly gained a reputation as a Wild West town, replete with saloons and a red-light district.
In Truckee, as in other mountain and frontier towns, the desire for the Code of the West to prevail over the crimes of a lawless society became the desire for men, women, and children, families, to reside in the surety of a sheriff doing his duty. A good sheriff was not the easiest hero to find in the Wild West, or even in the West of the early 20th century.
We the Citizens in the West presently count on the local law enforcement to protect us from the encroachments of the Nanny State and puppet-governor dictates, in a way that the
earliest settlers of this region had counted upon. In this very real sense, the West is wild
again. We the Patriots have to cut
through miles of barbed wire and forked tongues.