Saturday, 21 July 2012

Politics In There Will be Time

In American political terms and as far as I know, Poul Anderson was liberal when he wrote "Un-Man" but had become conservative by the time he wrote There Will Be Time (New York, 1973), although the narrator of the latter work, Robert Anderson, is liberal. The central character, Jack Havig, spends time as a radical in 1970, then parodies left/liberal misuse of words like "fascist" and "racist" (pp. 27-32).

It is unfortunate that such words were misused. Fascists are indeed pro-capitalist but are also anti-democratic, violent and, when there is a racial minority that can be scapegoated, racist in the real meaning of the word. It is therefore inaccurate and inadvisable to apply the term "fascist" simply to anyone who is pro-capitalist, ie, to most people most of the time! Margaret Thatcher won three General Elections and did not close down Parliament. She was not fascist.

(I have an Italian friend who says that he is a democratic fascist, parting company with Mussolini only at the point when the latter, with a majority in a Parliament from which all other Parties withdrew, then proclaimed himself Il Duce of a one-party state. However, everyone else means by "fascism" an anti-democratic movement.)

While Havig parodied misuses of these words, it it to be hoped that he remembered their real meanings and indeed he opposes racism later in the novel (see pp. 135-136).

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