I just reread The Skylark in Space. This was the first in a series by E.E. Smith that I read during my high school years. I realized then that the science was shaky but, again, he told a good story. Like watching modern Star Wars movies, I was able to suspend belief and enjoy the moment.
What I totally missed was the political statement being made. This book was published in the pulp fiction days in the SF magazine Amazing Stories. The date of publication was 1928. This was the time when America’s elite was openly in love with fascism and communism. This was when Hitler and Mussolini were on the rise. This was the era of Margaret Sanger and the eugenics movement. Woodrow Wilson laid the groundwork and FDR will keep the ball rolling.
In his book, Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg talks about the things that Wilson did to limit freedom. In a summary of Wilson’s actions, Goldberg says,
“The first appearance of modern totalitarianism in the Western world wasn’t in Italy or Germany but in the United States of America.” (Goldberg, p. 11)Later in the book as he looks at the attempts of FDR to put his imprint on the country he says this,
“It is ironic that in the 1930s it was far from out of bounds to call the New Deal or FDR fascist.” (Goldberg, p. 156)There was a growing belief that an elite few should run the lives of the masses. Actually, it wasn’t a new idea. It was as old as Kings and Lords. I came across Abraham Lincoln referring to the old argument. He was discussing slavery and the Dred Scott decision.
“Those arguments that are made, that the inferior race are to be treated with as much allowance as they are capable of enjoying; that as much is to be done for them as their condition will allow,--what are these arguments? They are the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of kingcraft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden.” (Kindle Location - 388-96)Part of the package of liberty is that we should be free to make our own mistakes and learn our own lessons as long as we don’t tread on or endanger others. I don’t need masters in the DHS, DOJ or HSS trying to keep me safe from myself. E.E. Smith felt I did. Obama feels I do.
To be continued...
Goldberg, Jonah. Liberal Fascism. New York: Doubleday, 2007.
Lincoln, Abraham. The Writings of Abraham Lincoln - Volume 3: The Lincoln-Douglas
Debates, Amazon Free Edition.
homo unius libri