Thursday, 4 May 2017

Social Philosophers

I have been right about Dominic Flandry but partly wrong about his opposite number, James Bond. Flandry philosophises about society and Bond does to a lesser extent.

Flandry defends political legitimacy. A corrupt but legitimate Emperor must be defended against a usurper even if the usurper is the better man. Flandry winds up working for a usurper in any case but by that time the alternative is chaos. During Flandry's career, four men plan or attempt to seize the Throne. One succeeds.

Flandry knows that the internal contradictions of the Empire will destroy it but two measures can be taken:

the Long Night can be delayed;
some planets can be strengthened enough so that they will survive the Fall.

We later learn that this did happen: "Flandry's Legacy."

Bond reflects:

"'...this country-right-or-wrong business is getting a little out-of-date. Today we are fighting Communism. Okay. If I'd been alive fifty years ago, the brand of Conservatism we have today would have been damn near called Communism and we should have been told to go and fight that. History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing parts.'" (Casino Royale, Chapter 20, p. 143)

Bravo, Bond! You sound like a John le Carre character! Of course, the suicide of his fiancee who turns out to have been a double agent soon shows Bond that he should "...take on SMERSH and hunt it down." (Chapter 27, p. 188) The series has begun and will continue for another thirteen volumes.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And at least the usurper Flandry did serve, Hans Molitor, was a reluctant, unwilling usurper! Old Hans only consented to being illegitimately proclaimed Emperor because the Wang Dynasty had irretrievably collapsed and every other upstart aiming for the Throne was worse.

While I have some sympathy for Bond's bafflement, I'm not so sure it doesn't matter, as he seems to have thought, who governs. It does matter how people aspire to, or come to power, what they believed, or who they are.