Wednesday, January 23, 2013


So when I picked up the new Culture novel at the Lexington Free Public Library, I also picked up the latest Dan Simmons, "Flashback". Simmons is a great author, having won awards for science fiction, mystery, and horror, and having also published mainstream novels. What a great trip to the library!

I start reading "Flashback". It's set in a near future (25 years) dystopia. The American Empire has fallen due to the horrible decisions of 2008 and 2012 re not cutting social services and fixing the deficit, and encouraging the Arab world, and not nuc'ing Iran, and not realizing that anthropogenic global warming doesn't exist but was just bad modeling, and getting rid of all but 26 of our nuclear weapons, and abandoning Israel, and, pretty much every (neocon) republican talking point of the last 10 years -- except for abortion and creationism, mercifully.

It really made it hard to read the book. Simmons seemed to be going out of his way to prostelytize on this stuff, and talking about how he doesn't like socialism, Boulder CO, or the Denver Art Museum. It didn't seem to be just story development, it seemed like he was seriously getting stuff off his chest. That aside, it was a classic cheap detective story, with great action, a lot of fun if it weren't for the chorus of right-wing dog whistles throughout.

Well, I would guess that Simmons is successful enough that he's made it into the 1% -- net worth over $2M. And somehow, it seems like a lot of people when they get there decide that it's time to become Libertarians -- "I got mine, fuck you".

My wife and I had a few years where we paid 6 figure federal taxes. I was happy and proud to help my government and those not as lucky as I had been. There was still plenty left over. Maybe it comes back to being afraid that the government is going to take all the results of your hard work and give it away to the undeserving. Somehow I just never felt that way.

More and more it becomes apparent that the policy of the US is to maintain our standard of living at the expense of democratic principles, the rest of the world, and the planet itself, and that seems to be what Simmons is in favor of. This is just flat out wrong. If we don't get sustainable, we are going to get a collapse, and not just an economic one.

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