Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ah, the innocence of the young...

So, over at LewRockwell.com I see an article title that I just have to click on: "The Anti-Government Message Is Being Spread Through Sci-Fi/Fantasy"
"Cool," I think to myself, and so true. All the good stuff is borderline subversive. Heinlein, Bova, Pournelle... Even Poul Anderson is hardly what one could call a fan of monolithic government. This is leaving out the obvious polemics, like Alongside Night, The Probability Broach, and Kings of the High Frontier, which don't even attempt to disguise their contempt for the Nanny State.

This isn't what I found discussed in the article. Instead...
I realized that this is just one part of a larger trend within the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre since the Bush administration has taken office. I do not intend to connect people’s view of Bush with anti-government Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies and books, but rather will just use his ascension into office as a time period in which to examine.

Look, sprout, I'm here to tell you that government wasn't all marshmallow skies and gumpdrop mountains before Bush took over as the latest in a string of American presidents of varying degrees of crapitude running clear back to Herbert Hoover. (And before Coolidge, it's a long walk back to Jefferson.) If the Bush administration with its Patriot Acts and foreign wars is what it took to get you on the pro-freedom bandwagon, all well and good. But don't forget that ten years ago we weren't reading Harry Potter, we were reading Unintended Consequences.

19 comments:

B&N said...

"Look, sprout, I'm here to tell you that government wasn't all marshmallow skies and gumpdrop mountains before Bush took over"

It always amazes me how simply infantile some are about this bit. Lots of BluePeople want to, deservedly, deride Bush for his transgressions, but far too many just gloss over the Slick Willy years, as though they were doing the rose-colored glass routine.

What about Carter? Does anyone want the likes of hime again?

Nixon. Need we even start?

LBJ. V-I-E-T-N-A-M.

JFK. The Slick Willy casting mold.

FDR. The biggest Commie and statist this side of his asshole-buddy Stalin.

Ayup. American Presidents of varying degrees of crapitude, but keep all of this in perspective, folks; Look at what we have to look forward to in about 18 months. Save for, maybe Fred Thompson, which one of the other turds looks even half as good as BJ Boy?

I'm starting a re-read of UC soon. I need the encouragement.

7.62x54r said...

It's not the man, although many of them are despicable, it's the institution.

What gets me is all the "conservative gun owners" who despised gov't all through the Clinton years and then did an about face when Bush was elected and especially post-9/11. Now they shout you down as a traitor or defeatist just for questioning our "dear leader". I think what it boils down to is 95% (99%?) of Americans are statists at heart, they're just not happy unless their team is running things.

Pat said...

Speak for yourself, Tam. Ten years ago I was reading Harry Potter. And if you pay attention to how the Ministry of Magic is portrayed, you'll see that there is plenty of anti-government sentiment in Harry's saga as well. All of the real victories against Voldemort's minions come not from the blinkered, self-serving bureaucrats of the Ministry, but from subversive groups like the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army.

Tam said...

*<------ My point
You ----------->*

Once again, the rise of anti-big-government sentiment in SF/Fantasy hardly began with the Bush administration and J.K. Rowling's "Ministry of Magic".

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress -1966
Atlas Shrugged -1957
Fahrenheit 451 -1953
1984 -1949
Brave New World -1932

I doubt that Huxley, Orwell, Bradbury, Rand, and Heinlein were writing in response to the Patriot Act, except in a very, very prescient sense.

7.62x54r said...

While it isn't literature, it is art, and I feel that "Brazil" needs to be mentioned here.

DirtCrashr said...

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - 1870 has Captain Nemo, quite the anti-Statist himself.

Pat said...

No, I got your point, Tam. (I just finished rereading The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress a couple of weeks ago.) Of course the rise of anti-government sentiment didn't begin with Harry Potter and the Bush administration. Where did I say it did?

What I don't get is what you were saying about Harry Potter. I thought you were using it as an example of SF/fantasy that was devoid of antigovernment sentiment -- an assessment that I disagreed with. If that wasn't what you meant, then I'm confused.

Pat said...

Dirtcrashr: That's not how I would have classified Nemo. If you ask me, he's a radical eco-terrorist.

Anonymous said...

But don't forget that ten years ago we weren't reading Harry Potter, we were reading Unintended Consequences.


Those of you that liked Unintended Consequences, and even those of you that didn't, should check out Enemies Foreign and Domestic.

Tam said...

pat- I didn't say that the Harry Potter books (or V For Vendetta or X-Men or whatever other examples the author offered) weren't anti-statist, I merely stated that this wasn't some new, post-Bush trend in SF/Fantasy.

Anonymous 5:14- I was just looking for my copy...

7.62x54r said...

But Nemo was an anarchist eco-terrorist, not like the current statist eco-terrorists we have now who think gov't just doesn't do enough to protect the environment. Not that I condone terrorism of any kind, I just wanted to make the distinction.

Anonymous said...

Heh, it's still my dream to just throw rocks at them.

Maybe the Orion project will bring it closer to reality one day.

TheSev

DirtCrashr said...

As a kid I was anti-statist, but really just wanted to pilot a submarine around to underwater ruins, lost treasure, and surface by ancient cities in hidden grottoes - all that cool stuff. But I was ten, and it was a little early for Ayn Rand.

Scott said...

I'd take a Nixon, two Carters and a side order of Wilson before trying to choke down another Bush presidency.

Tam said...

"two Carters"

How old were you during the malaise?

Don Gwinn said...

Kids these days.

B&N said...

"I'd take a Nixon, two Carters and a side order of Wilson before trying to choke down another Bush presidency."

To each his own, dolt, but I'd rather put up with the "recession" that we were supposedly in during '01-'04 than the 20%+ inflation during the Carter years, and yes, I do remember that.

And if you want to harp about that other subject, just start it, and I'll be glad to finish it for you.

JT said...

Any discussion that weaves past presidents in with science fiction just isn't complete without linking to Bruce Bethke's (author of Cyberpunk & Headcrash) - dare I say seminal - State of the Union piece, which imagines the shade of Ronald Reagan - escorted by Nixon, through whose eyes the story is told - attending a watching party for the 2005 SotU and trading comments with very well-done caricatures of several past presidents. Outstanding work from a very talented writer.

DirtCrashr said...

two Carters?? Gaagh! Make him drive a Pacer in the winter, and wait in two-hour gas lines on odd-days!!