Saturday, 20 February 2016

Civil Strife

This Saturday afternoon, I neither read nor blogged but attended a community event described on another blog. This event turned out to be peaceful and harmonious although it had been organized in response to potential strife.

Such strife is an unfortunate aspect of contemporary society. Science fiction can show us utopias free from civil strife or dystopias where conflicts have intensified but how much sf presents street conflicts in future cities?

In Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium future history, John Christian Falkenberg's troops face street demonstrators and, in Poul Anderson's A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows, a group of beings Merseian by species but not by loyalty marches on the Dennitzan Parliament, with Dominic Flandry and his fiancee hidden among their ranks. For me, that latter scene rings true.

However, maybe most fiction shows us the leaders and decision-makers at the top of a society rather than conflicts arising from below?

3 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    My view is that civil or internal strife (never mind clashes with outside powers!) will always be, alas, a part of human life. The task of the TRUE statesman, as Edmund Burke argued, is to bring about genuine reform in a prudent and "organic" way. And what I mean by "organic" is that real reform has to spring from or fit in with the laws, customs, institutions, etc., of a particular society.

    Yes, that means I'm a conservative suspicious and distrustful of radical, drastic changes! (Smiles)

    And the way John Christian Falkenberg crushed one revolt was inspired, as Pournelle himself said, by a real history event. The Nike Riots of 532 nearly toppled Justinian I from the throne-and he was saved when his general Belisarius attacked the rebels in the Hippodrome of Constantinopole when they were prematurely celebrating their "victory."

    Sean

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  2. Sean,
    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. No one should celebrate a victory prematurely. When I was at school, our Rugby football team scored and got ahead a minute or two before the final whistle was due to blow. They thought they had won. The other team kicked off, ran down the field, scored and won as the whistle blew.
    Paul.

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  3. Kaor, Paul!

    Ha! A small, but telling example of the foolishness of rejoicing too soon!

    And my view is that some rebels DESERVE or need to be defeated.

    Sean

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