Tuesday, 8 December 2015

A Note On Draka And Psychotechnic Politics

Draka Militants want to reorganize:

"'...the human race on a hive-insect specialization model.'"
-SM Stirling, The Stone Dogs (New York, 1990), p. 270.

By contrast, Eric von Shrakenberg merely hopes that, a thousand years hence, there will be a caste society, maybe even an authoritarian one, but nevertheless:

"'...mo' livable fo' everybody than this wolf-sheep relationship we have now.'" (p. 271)

This makes Eric a moderate! Is he concerned about "everybody"? Not really. He wants to free the Draka from their continual fear of a successful uprising.

In Poul Anderson's "The Sensitive Man," Elena mentions three dictatorships, of the elite, of the proletariat and of the intellectuals. She says that the last century saw the first two and the Psychotechnic Institute seems to be the third. The previous century saw only an unsuccessful attempt at the dictatorship of the proletariat, soon replaced by a dictatorship of the bureaucrats. The proletariat, all those who must sell their labor power in order to survive, would exercise a historically unique dictatorship - of the vast majority over a small, recently dispossessed, minority. The dictatorship would "wither away" when the dispossessed minority had failed to reproduce itself as a class and therefore no longer had any prospect of regaining power. The conventional wisdom is that this idea is utopian. But, in any case, the twentieth century did not experience it.

I want to write more but currently have only very brief windows of opportunity.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I do agree with Eric von Shrakenberg that only by the Draka no longer being obsessively terrified by the mere idea of rebellion would they ever stop being so brutally and efficiently tyrannical. Which is why he resigned himself to the inevitability of the Draka trying to conquer the Alliance. I don't think, however, he would have liked what we get glimpses of in DRAKON, where Homo sapiens on Earth had been genetically modified into Homos servus, unable and unwilling to have rebellious thoughts against Homo drakensis. We do see mention, however, of unmodified, "feral" humans lingering in wilderness areas. But the Earth of the "Final Society" is not the prime focus of DRAKON.

And, one point to keep in mind about Poul Anderson's "The Sensitive Man" and the other Psychotechnic History stories is that they contain ideas he came to reject. And he certainly did not believe in Marxist concepts of "labor power." We get glimpses of more sophisticated economics in "Murphy's Hall," the Technic History, and the History of Rustum stories.