Libertarianism Comics Follow-Up

So, in the vein of my commentary here, which I reproduce below:

At the same time, however, look at Mercury. There’s a labor dispute and the author, in developing an analogy to 20th century history, happily references the United States (gee, would that be the same US government he caricatures as the Eeeeeeeevil World Government spending (HAW HAW) CONTINENTALS) sending a boat to guard the tribe from the Panamian government in the same way a “belter ship” would somehow guard the workers from retaliation by the wealthy employers.

Never mind that such a labor dispute, absent a government, would’ve been settled the way it was in the Gilded Age: send in the Pinkertons. None of this “Create a provocation” business, it would be just straight up the bosses telling the workers to quit getting ideas.

And in another instance, a shop proprietor legally (because ofc governments passing anti-discrimination laws is baaaaaaad) can discriminate against “beltapes”, but la-di-da, changes his mind when another rich guy with socially egalitarian instincts (Seamus) wants to dine there. Discriminatory behavior shouldn’t be subject to the benevolence or malevolence of the wealthy.

And check the latest strip. One of the guys casually suggests “spacing” the lot of workers in the labor dispute on Io, and the other one doesn’t object on humanitarian grounds. Oh no. “Recruitment is expensive. AND I own some Gensaxwal stock.”

It’s all about money, money and more money with Libertarians.

I’d like to follow up and note that the recent plot arc of rebels invading the ship to “deal with” the pilot, crew and passengers really points up the necessary Plot Armor that is given to the main characters, but which does so in a way that almost renders Seamus, Nicole and Murphy Mary Sues. While the other people interviewed by the rebels are venal, mercenary, unpleasant and in general wastes of space, the trio of Seamus et al are praised in almost glowing terms, and it becomes obvious he has a history with them that includes compelling them (unsuccessfully) to stop executing people they run across.

It’s patently obvious that Libertarians set great store by the Great Man Theory of historical development – the idea that the movers and shakers of history are but a few select individuals rather than a much broader pictrue which takes into account not just political and economic leaders recognized by “official” accounts of history, but also the social forces among populations as a whole and even unrecognized leaders left out of the official accounts.

As a result fictional stories such as the aforementioned “Quantum Vibe” almost inevitably have to contort their plotting in ways which are oddly reminiscent of a completely different sector (a-ha! Now we get to the theme of my blog. 😛 ) – Christian fundamentalist End-Times writing, such as Left Behind or Edge of Apocalypse.

In fact, the story of Joshua Jordan is an interesting parallel to Seamus O’Murchadha’s, although Seamus is generally kinder and far less of a jerk to those he considers his good friends and family. But both men are, if not the centerpiece of the story, certainly major players and excused from their actions in ways which would not pass muster for realism or for the test of “would the same thing happen if someone else were in the same situation?”

Just as the almost Mary-Suish release of Seamus et al from the rebel tribunal in QV tends to leave one a bit skeptical about the depth of plotting in the series, so too does the entire arc of Josh’s brushes with Congressional hearings and courts of law. In both cases it’s as though the arcs were designed to show off the main character(s)’s “virtues” rather than for any attempt at a realistic resolution-of-conflict (in the literary sense: we know there is person-vs-person, person-vs-nature, and person-vs-self) which then moves the story forward in an organic sense.

And that is the failure of works of fiction that are purposely constructed around ideologies*: they become at times ham-fisted vehicles of presentation, rather than riveting stories in their own right.


* I don’t excuse Bellamy’s Looking Backward either. While aspects of it are memorable, the sheer Utopia it creates is far too perfect, and while the reader is invited to have hope for what a future world might be under Bellamy-style socialism, the narration is somewhat heavy-handed in that respect.