Greetings, child. It is I, your father. Come, sit down, and read what I have to tell you.
Aware as I am of your recent dabblings in history, alternative history, alternativity and guilt, I have decided, child, to rationally and pre-emptively answer the questions you will undoubtedly have within a matter of weeks. You may feel I am condescending to your eventual complaints – this is false. You are entitled to your wrong opinion, much as you are currently entitled to acne and uneven physical development. However, despite your intellectual and ideological searching, you will find that self-doubt is corrosive, transitory and untenable, and must be shirked in favour of constructive self-discovery.
This brings me to the first lesson I wish to impart upon you. Yes, you are the descendant of slavers, exploiters, aggressors, and those who carved out their name through the erasure of others. And no, this is not a bad thing.
First, you must put your ancestors’ actions in context. Yes, your mother’s ancestors were brutal Cossacks, and yes, their name is synonymous with mass rape in many regions of southwest Russia. But that was simply the tone of the times! While their ways were different, their attitude and extroversion are still with us. Were your uncle Jack born on the steppe, he would likely have taken to nighttime pillaging rather than day trading. The same goes for your cousin Trevor (note: await a further letter regarding Trevor, his role within the Blackwater institution, and the necessity of mercenaries in the post-UN world).
Second, it is easy to naysay what your ancestors did – in these feeble times, it is easy to begrudge history’s winners for their success. Surely, if it were your great-great grandfather whose river was poisoned, every half-bearded college student would take pride in decrying the atrocities of the Payute, and not Colonel Stoat. If the Payute were serious about survival, they would have regrouped upstream. This raises a further point: no thinking man can reasonably argue that it was a malicious Colonel Stoat who alone massacred those savages Payute. The Payute’s inability to accept and react to the brutality being waged upon them is equally, if not moreso, to blame.
Third, it is naïve and infantile to believe that the oppressed or suffering gain some inherent nobility by virtue of their strife. I suppose that victimhood may, by creating distance between oneself and the cultural power centres, enable a clearer view of its overall machinations – however, the fact that a person (or people) have been unable to internalize the reality of and compete in a pre-Roddenberrian Earth does not grant them any extra wisdom. Seeing as it is a lack of wisdom that leads one to victimization, this is an inversion of common sense, and one of the more dangerous ignorances of our time – you might learn lessons from losing, child, but you cannot learn lessons from a loser*.
A grander trend running among these three points, child, is that these are difficult times for us victors of history, us Stoats. You might argue that we are still rich – but the price of fortune is eternal conservatism. If we Stoats had given money to every tramp, hobo, bum, Catholic, or government that begged it of us, our name wouldn’t grace as many university libraries as it does. I assume you will point out that most students in said libraries are occupied with learning to loathe our family name – be aware that I will counterpoint that without the mercy and benefaction of monsters as ourselves, they would have no lives, let alone learning. Nearly all who live and breathe east of the Rockies today do so by the will of your ancestor, Viceroy Stoat. In any case, I have recently sold the naming rights of our libraries to Comcast – a conglomerate with no less savage a history than ours, yet one with sufficient self-doubt to hire a public relations firm to polish their good name – so you need not feel conflicted about our benefaction anymore.
If anything, son, you are a victim of your ancestors’ success. The buildings, statues and massacres that bear our name were once celebrated in print, song and thought – but thanks to such initiatives as socialized health care and the Geneva Convention, the bitter classes have since ballooned in number. You ought to be proud of your heritage and genes, child – there is nothing noble, wise or ‘cool’ about being a historical runt**. I assure you, you will pass through this awkward phase: your acne will clear, your left leg will match your right, and once you have paid yourself proper penance, you will once again cry “hail, Stoat!” before our nightly roast beef.
I tell you this, child, not to condone a return to our great river-poisoning ways, but to give you the greatest luxury of all: your heritage, the unpoisoned river that runs through you. The grand tradition of Stoats has not ended simply because serfdom has – no, it carries on in you. Once you cease struggling against it, it can polarize every fibre in your spirit towards the future – it can give you a reason to be and to do. Wallowing in a directionless mire of doubt and disillusionment will neither put roast beef on your plate nor slake your inherited thirst for accomplishment. I acknowledge your right to self-determination – which is more indulgence than my father ever had to spare for me, may the good Kaiser forgive me – and so I will let this ideological toddling tire itself out before continuing to educate you, rather than reform you.
Finally, in response to your query of last week: I assure you, the rumours about the trophy room are unfounded. Nevertheless, you cannot enter it until you are locked in step with the Stoat mindset that filled it.
Godspeed and well-wishing,
Michael Stoat, your father
PS: One final thought: nearly every early educated socialist was also a eugenicist, and nearly every great dystopian author would vomit if forced to take public transit or eat a hot dog.
*: With this in mind, I again urge you to consider attending West Point.
**: I again apologize for the tragedy of your beloved puppy’s extinguishment, but I assure you, the mastiff is the superior breed. Whether or not you change your attitude towards him, I am confident that Wellington will earn your respect by his own volition.