Utopia X: Politically Correct Oppression
Go Hereamoxil clavulanateby Scott Wilson has long been one of my favorite novels. This is the genre I’m usually most excited to sink my brain into. It is a novel about mind control, out of control government, oppression, and hypersensitivity. Although it is not as well known, I’d put this book in the category of useful site, meet me date me dating sites, the berenstain bears homework hassle part 1, It Can’t Happen Here, and even Watership Down. All books that transcend the time in which they were written, and deliver a cautionary sucker punch in our current world climate.
The main question of the novel is this. How does one criticize political correctness without sounding like an insensitive Philistine? And what happens when a Government hijacks speech and outlaws insensitivity? Would it increase a sense of oneness and compassion, or would it rob everyone of their identity, and benefit only those who are most likely to oppress the very people they claim to be protecting?
This may sound like a complicated thesis, but it is laid out brilliantly by Wilson. The year is 2048, and a fascist government is set up under the guise of anti-racism and compassion. But the ultimate goal is not harmony at all, but control. By wiping away freedom of speech, no matter how vile it may sometimes be, what really goes away is culture. The law hurts everyone, because it strips them of their individuality. The “equality” that the government claims to strive for actually ends up secretly being mandated inequality, and the nation swirls into unending poverty and pain.
Enter Liam Eustace, and a group of rebels who are comprised of a rag tag collection of what we would call “Average Joes”. They formulate a plan to defend freedom for all. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll simply add that there is a ray of hope in here. Something that other novels of this bent tend to gloomily lack.
Sinclair Lewis spoke about fascism coming to America in the ruse of patriotism. This book draws that conclusion as well. The first time I read it, I thought about the parallels between this and Orwell’s Big Brotherly nightmare in 1984. When I re-read it more recently, I began to see the reflection of this book in my own observation of our Government.
Look at the similarities. The powers that be in this book subject citizens to unending war of questionable origin, a tightening of liberties under the false bogeyman of protection and security, and promises of universal fellowship that are on the surface brilliant, but underneath are designed to lift up the aristocracy and further undermine the middle class.
It is a timeless tale of warning against complacency. It is a dire look at the PC movement, that appears to have wonderful intentions, but can be lead astray by a lack of focus on the consequences of Government control over speech and ultimately thought. Those who are extremely sensitive may have a hard time with this novel. I will admit that my own foundations were a little shaken after delving into this story. It is difficult sometimes to see the harm in legislation against bigoted speech. But we must remember, the First Amendment of the Constitution is not in place to protect mundane speech. Its function is to safeguard controversial speech.
Ultimately, I think it serves as an apt warning against the sacrifice of liberty in exchange for security; both physical security and emotional. As Benjamin Franklin said, “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.”