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Owen of Monte Cristo

Essay
Harrison Smith

Owen of Monte Cristo

What is the “Ultimate Male Fantasy?”

It’s a phrase you see and hear all the time. It usually means something general, like the life of a James Bond-style secret agent, or a warrior-king in the manner of Conan the Barbarian.

To me, the ultimate male fantasy is a particular man from a particular story: Edmund Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo.

A man wrongfully imprisoned as part of a government conspiracy is tutored by a wise old man in all the languages, history, and esoteric knowledge of the world, and then effects a miraculous escape only to return home with wealth and power beyond description to wreak a dire revenge on those who betrayed him.

Power, wealth, influence, danger, intrigue — these things embellish the fantasy, but at its heart is the sense of purpose that drives it.

To be electrified by purpose, equipped to embark on a mission from God to serve the Justice denied to you by a corrupt system. Pump it straight into my veins!

But why choose a fantasy so tainted by misfortune? From his lost love, to the endless hours in a dungeon, to the betrayal of his closest friends, Edmund Dantes’ life is one saturated by misfortune and suffering.

Yet this is a necessary component of the primary heroism.

Children might wish to have a life untainted by loss or misfortune, but a man should not. Of what measure is success when gained without opposition? How can a man know his mettle if it has never been tested?

Why do we see the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae as heroes over the victorious Persians? Why was Jesus Christ crucified? Why did Harry Potter live in a cupboard under the stairs? To be abused, put down, harassed and menaced, and yet to remain defiant even unto death in the name of a righteous cause: that is the mark of a life worth emulating. That is the essence of honor, a value sorely missing in a society equally beset by comfort and nihilism.

To rise from the ashes, beaten but unbowed, to shatter the chains that bind you and reforge them into the spear you drive into the heart of your persecutor: that is a fantasy that sets fire to the human spirit.

When Owen Shroyer was sent to federal prison, I sent him a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo. A bit on the nose, sure, but in the accompanying letter I told him that I could never begin to imagine the suffering he’s going through. I can only dimly appreciate the experience of weeks upon weeks locked in a cage, deprived of sunlight and companionship. All I can do is pray that he is using his time to plot revenge against the system that is doing its very best to crush him.

His trial is not a wholly unique one. He is experiencing in harsher, more immediate form a trial that we all are being asked to face. Whether we sought out the conflict or not, our enemies have forced a choice upon us. Either to submit, or fight.

Those are the roads Owen must choose between. And to his persecutors, this imposition is a gamble of monumental risk.

They are betting they can break his will, and their chips are all in. By placing this choice before him, by sending him to prison for months simply for the act of speaking, they are admitting his power and the validity of his cause. Either they eradicate him as a threat, or they greatly empower him for his eventual return.

After all, the path from political prisoner, to politician and then to supreme authority is a well-established one.

I say that with some exaggeration, but the underlying point is true, and highlights an aspect of Owen’s imprisonment that may not be obvious to the casual observer.

Speech — the transmitting of information — is the greatest threat to our enemy’s schemes, as it is through the control of information that they most effectively ensnare us. But speech, to be truly meaningful, must lead to political action.

Why did online censorship increase only after 2016? Before then, the powers-that-be couldn’t have cared less about the silly memes or frantic shitposting on 4chan and Twitter. They thought, “Let the losers in their mother’s basement babble amongst themselves. It’s no threat to our control of the narrative.” It was only when those memes got Donald Trump elected that our overlords recognized the political power of uncensored expression, and set out to silence it.

Alex Jones was, of course, their first target. Try to upload anything with his name, face, or voice, and you will be hunted down and eliminated by the algorithmic police. Try to do the same for Owen Shroyer, and you’ll now be greeted with exactly the same reponse.

Again I ask you to consider why? Owen, like Alex, is not a racist, a misogynist, offensive for the sake of it, nor violent. He does, however, take his message to the streets.

Probably the first time most of us heard of Owen Shroyer was when he was being called “A fucking white male!” by an AIDS-riddled Skrillex impersonator. This was before Owen hosted a national radio show. Before he even worked at Infowars. He was simply a young man, on the streets with a bullhorn, going toe-to-toe with entire crowds of rabid leftists.

He hasn’t changed. He’s young, handsome, passionate, outspoken, patriotic, and accomplished. If Owen were to change his profession from commentary to politics, he would likely pose a gigantic threat to the ruling order.

In an attempt to forestall this eventuality, the system has thrown hell itself against Owen. Yet by doing this, they sow the seeds of their own destruction. If Owen survives this ordeal mentally intact, as I have no doubt he will, he will emerge stronger, more popular, and more driven than ever before, wearing a badge of legitimacy bestowed upon him by the very people who seek to destroy him.

Like Edmund Dantes, his suffering will be his greatest strength. Like the Count of Monte Cristo, his revenge will be legendary.

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