Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Jonah And The Whale

Posted by codemorse

From The Corner: is striking what a conservative movie Serenity is. In the 1930s, when ideological content was deliberate and ideological deviationism was denounced, Serenity would be villified as "fascist" for its opposition to social planning. The upshot: a capitalistic freebooter opposes the egalitarian — democratic — "Parliament." It's übermenschy representative — a barely updated version of the HG Wellsian fascistic types parodied in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow — is beyond good and evil in his pursuit of a utopian world....

....Indeed, to the extent Mal Reynolds has an ideological agenda it is merely to stand in the way of Utopia and the desire of tyrants to impose happiness on people whether they like it or not. Beyond that, he simply believes in people living their lives as they see fit, so long as their interests don't collide with his.

It is striking how bizarre Goldberg's "interpretation" of Serenity is. I'm actually really glad Goldberg likes the movie. But he'll politicize it over my cold, dead fingers.

It's one whale of a leap to suggest that Reynolds' values are anything other than vaguely Libertarian; because Serenity's politics are Libertarian if they can be classified at all. Joss Whedon, the show's creator, has stated as much.

One imagines Goldberg on his couch, secretly imagining himself as Captain Mal - delivering frontier-style justice to the "establishment" with his anti-big-government attitude.

Except that Goldberg is big government. Any attempt to cast conservatives as the embattled minority fighting against the State is ludicrious, because at this point in time, they are the State.

Who supports warrantless wire-tapping of American citizens?
Who supports the on-going, lawyer-less detention of suspected terrorists?
Who urges Americans to shut up if they can't say something positive about the government?

Whether right or wrong on these issues, it's fairly clear that being "anti-big government" (or, as Jonah puts it, "social planning") is something conservatives are clearly not at this time. Putting it otherwise is a willfull distortion of conservative belief.

Serenity's essential story - about a government that attempts to force peace on other worlds through iron-fisted, murderous, but supposedly altruistic means - is just as easily "interpreted" as a condemnation of Bush's foriegn policy. But what's the point of doing this? It's like trying to make "The Lord of the Rings" into an allegory for World War II. Tolkien despised allegory in his books, and would roll in his grave at the notion.

Oh, and, big surprise - Goldberg invokes the 1930's again. Because, as we've learned, you cannot make a statement that's "conservative" now without in some way implying that your philosophy is the one responsible for stopping Hitler.

*Oh, part II: Would someone please explain the definition of fascism to Jonah?

To wit:

Wikipedia: Fascism is a radical totalitarian political philosophy that combines elements of extreme nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism.

Merriam-Webster: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

Cambridge Online: (adj.) Someone who supports fascism - a person of the far right in politics. Someone who does not allow any opposition.


At 10:29 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

I dunno...I definitely got a Teddy Roosevelt/Rugged Individualism sense from the show. And that ideal is pretty much inherent to the western genre.

Nice how he uses "capitalistic" lieu of the more accurate "criminal".

At 7:27 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Well, yeah.

And if TR was a modern-day conservative, I'll eat my hat.

And rugged individualism is pretty much the definition of Libertarianism - fiscally conservative and socially liberal.


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