Monday, July 30, 2018

The Endemic Plague

"they must simply have refused to take [Thibaut de Castries] seriously, you see - either his revolution or his new black magic. Jack London was a Marxist socialist from way back and had written his way through a violent class war in his science fiction novel The Iron Heel. He could and would have poked holes in both the theory and the practice of Thibaut's Reign of Terror. And he'd have known that the first city to elect a Union Labor Party government was hardly the place to start a counterrevolution. He also was a Darwinian materialist and knew his science. He'd have been able to show up Thibaut's 'new black science' as a pseudoscientific travesty and just another name for magic, with all the unexplained action at a distance."

Fritz Leiber - Our Lady of Darkness
(writing in 1977 about fictional events with real-world references around 1900)


"Hey mom, what's this I hear about the greenhouse effect?"

Bill Watterson - Calvin and Hobbes
(published 1987/07/23)


"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

Donald Trump, 2012/11/06


"mike pence quotes bible"

Google's only autocomplete option when I type "Mike Pence quotes" into the search box, 2018/07/30


"Religious behaviour is one of the hallmarks of behavioral modernity, generally assumed to have emerged around 50,000 years ago"

from the Wikipedia page on Paleolithic religion

"That's not modern!"
- me, ten seconds ago

We keep telling ourselves we've made progress, that science, in its five hundred or so laps around the sun, has transformed the world. Well, yes, it has... except for the one most important aspect.
Apes are still apes.

So. Having meant to read more by Fritz Leiber for some time now, I've been leafing through Our Lady of Darkness. It's not terrible, but so far I'm largely unimpressed by the over-reliance on Frisco in-jokes, and if you want an urban fantasy tale touching on polisomancy you'd be better served by Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.

The passage above, however, brought to mind once again the increasingly poignant similarities between the beginning of the third millennium anno dumbini and the previous turn of the century. Patent medicines or homeopathy, theosophy or scientology, blurry photos of fairies or of UFOs, prissy Victorian sexophobia or prissy feminist sexophobia, anomie or antifa, 1920s fundamentalism or 2020s fundamentalism, what is the freaking difference?

Advancement never seems to truly stick. You hit a nice stride in 1987; human impact on the environment has become a popular enough topic that it starts showing up in newspaper comic strips. Then you wake up in 2018. Half the U.S. still refuses to accept the notion and the other half wants to plaster the whole planet in solar panels while doing nothing to address the overpopulation demanding all that extra electricity. You look around in the '60s and you think we'll finally overcome our idiotic repression and abuse of social ape sexuality as a tool of social control. Blink and you're in the 2010s watching homosexuals demand to be permitted to chain themselves in legally enforced monogamy, aping the reactionary rednecks' proudest institutions. Hear Nietzsche proclaim God's death in 1882 then realize: not only have we not managed to blast the head off that zombie by now, but everyone around us is infected by a thousand new strains of superstition. Forty years after Leiber cited Jack London's argumentative tendencies as ancient history, we find ourselves still rambling through the same tired old arguments about class wars and pseudoscientific travesties, trying in *fain to cram some sense into the subsentient naked apes around us.

It never sticks. Science has improved our lives immeasurably compared to even our grandparents' generation but no matter how well you treat the monkeys, they remain monkeys. If you want to heal the world you must address its most virulent disease: human stupidity.

We must break the taboo.

We need to start talking honestly about the desperate need for eugenics.

* Yes, that's a typo, but I'm leaving it in. It works.

No comments:

Post a Comment