Sunday, 13 December 2015

World Conquest Or World Government

Blogging while rereading makes for a close engagement with a text but also means that I sometimes make remarks that have to be revised. I said here that the Americanist Party was the collective villain of Poul Anderson's "Un-Man." In fact, this Party is the American front for an international collective villain called by its UN enemies "the gang." (The Psychotechnic League, p. 73)

When the world was young and dinosaurs walked the Earth, fictional evil organizations tried to conquer the world. James Bond fought SMERSH, the assassination wing of Russian Intelligence, while his dramatic offspring, UNCLE, fought THRUSH. The UN of UNCLE means "United Network," not "United Nations." However, UNCLE retains a UN feel:

HQ in New York;
its top two agents, Numbers One and Two of Section Two, an American and a Russian - logically, in the new film, former CIA and KGB, respectively.

In "Un-Man," Poul Anderson has UN (United Nations) agents called "Un-men." However, these "Men from the United Nations" oppose not would-be world conquerors but an international alliance of opponents of world government, comprising:

labor leaders;
cranks and fanatics, significantly including the Pilgrims (we saw one on Mars);
individuals or groups harmed by UN actions;
some governments;
subverted UN Councillors and employees.

Nationalists cooperate against international cooperation! The "labor leaders" are said to:

"'...want a return of the old strife which means power and profit for them.'" (p. 72)

As long as there are employers and employees, there is a role for trade unions to negotiate with the former on behalf of the latter but I am not sure how trade unions will cope when, because of automation, the majority are both unemployed and well provided for. Perhaps these labor leaders are against not only the tendency towards world government but also the UN-sponsored technology that will reach fruition, according to the Chronology, in the Second Industrial Revolution?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And we see some speculations in the very same Psychotechnic series about what may happen when most people of only ordinary intelligence and abilities find themselves permanently unemployed. I refer, of course, to "Quixote And The Windmill."

I have no illusions, if we had the kind of situation described in "Quixote" I too would be among those rendered "redundant." But I hope I would not sink into ennui, despair, and drunkenness!