Revisionist History

Text of Herodotus I recently came across a story (if that’s the right word for it) that I wrote when I was around nine years old. It presents itself as being part of a series, but I have no idea whether I wrote any of the other installments listed.

Anyway, it’s called The History of the World! and it’s … kinda strange.


From New Caprica to the Negative Zone

The Bush administration has been getting a tough beating (not as tough as it deserves, of course – but still gratifying) in the sf world. Revenge of the Sith and V for Vendetta made some pointed references to Bush policies, while Battlestar Galactica’s first two seasons commented on Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

Spider-man and a Cylon Now Galactica’s third season begins with a situation analogous to the Iraq crisis, as the Cylons who’ve come to impose their conception of order on the human colonists face insurgents and suicide bombers, and joke bitterly about their earlier expectations of being greeted as liberators. (Leoben’s attempt to brainwash Starbuck into loving him recreates the same dynamic on an individual level.) Neither side is presented monolithically: we see the humans disagreeing with one another about the legitimacy of terrorist tactics, while the Cylons likewise disagree with each other about what’s permissible in combating such tactics. But the Bush approach is clearly presented as a disaster – and a predictable disaster.

Equally topical references are to be found in “Civil War,” the event currently engulfing the universe of Marvel Comics, as superheroes fight it out over whether to comply with, help enforce, or disobey the Superhuman Registration Act – a conflict that has set Iron Man against Captain America, Spider-man against Daredevil, and members of the Fantastic Four against one another. (I’ve referred to Captain America’s role in all this in a previous post.) Now come two of the best contributions to this series: the latest issues of Amazing Spider-man and Fantastic Four (issues 535 and 540, respectively – and both, not coincidentally, written by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski). Speaking of the special prison that’s been built to incarcerate recalcitrant superheroes (and supervillains too, of course), one character explains:

She [the prisoners’ lawyer] can make all the motions she wants. This is outside the jurisdiction of local and federal courts. This is an act of Congress, signed by the President. Only the Supreme Court can intervene, and I happen to know they won’t.

This place is not on American soil. American laws don’t touch here. American lawyers don’t come here. Once non-registrants come here, they’re legal nonentities. Occupants. Prisoners.

The old quarrel between Hobbesians and Lockeans continues as well. One character argues:

Take away the law and what are we? Savages, up to our necks in blood. That’s why we give the law the authority to take everything away from us if we break it by murdering or kidnapping or – or simply telling powerful men, “Go to hell.”

The law is the law …. I support it because I honestly believe we have to support it, no matter what. [If the law is wrong] then eventually it’ll be changed, in an orderly, lawful way. We can’t just obey the laws we like, or –

While another character counters:

Sometimes the law is wrong. Sometimes the government is wrong. When that happens, you have to stand up and speak out. Even if you’re alone. Especially if you’re alone.

The question you have to ask is not what you have to do to protect me, or your position, or us. The question is – what are the rights and freedoms we say we cherish worth? Because I think they’re worth dying for if necessary.

These two issues are well worth picking up, even if you haven’t been following the series.

Here’s hoping that material like this sets readers and viewers thinking – and not just about the Bush administration, but about government in general.

 

P.S. Outside the sf realm, here’s another great rant from Olbermann.


TISATAAFB

BOOKS! Free books! I love ’em.

Shawn Wilbur has done amazing work making individualist anarchist works available online, especially as regards banking; check out a sample here.

Another good thing: the IHS has put the old libertarian bibliographical review Literature of Liberty online. Conical hat tip to K-dog.


Eye of Man, Blood of Cylon

Kara Thrace a.k.a. Starbuck More Galactica news! Those folks at Scifi.com are tricksy; check out this hidden Easter egg (or Life Day egg, or whatever the Colonial equivalent is):

Go to this page, click on “Watch a full episode & more,” then scroll down and click on “First Look” to see the first thirteen minutes of the season premiere.

Colonel Tigh seems to be channeling G’kar from Babylon 5 … while Leoben seems to be channeling Kenny from South Park. Also, the scene between Tigh and Cavill echoes the scene between Jammer and Doral in the webisodes.

Conical hat tip to Ain’t It Cool News.


Cylon Kool-aid

Battlestar Galactica In preparation for season 3 of Battlestar Galactica, which starts this Friday, you might want to check out these webisodes, a series of short clips (a couple of minutes each – with one more scheduled for Thursday, I believe) filling us in on what’s been going on between seasons 2 and 3, as the human colonists adjust, or fail to adjust, to the Cylon occupation of New Caprica.

The best bit yet: Doral’s interrogation of Jammer.


Francis Tandy Rides Some More

OK, so I don't have a picture of Francis Tandy I’ve posted three more chapters of Francis Tandy’s Voluntary Socialism (about which see here) in the Molinari Institute’s online library.

Chapter 6 attempts to reconcile the labour theory of value with the principle of marginal utility. (Followers of the Austrian-Mutualist debate, take note.) Chapters 7 and 8 defend a mutualist approach to money, credit, and banking along the lines of Proudhon, Greene, and Tucker.

Coming soon: the Bastiat-Proudhon debate!


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