Summary: People’s favorite fantasies don’t reveal what they’ll do, but provides a window into their thinking. Conservatives talk about the problem of the “takers” (ie, the “47%”). A famous science fiction author describes one solution in his best-selling books. Read and applaud!
A comment by Graydon at Brad DeLong’s website:
Jerry Pournelle’s Codominium stories from the early seventies used this idea as an explanation for social breakdown: economically parasitic non-working citizens, paid for by ever-shrinking numbers of taxpayers. It’s been around a long time as a just-so story.
Totally impervious to facts, too; neither pointing out that money is the creation of the state nor demonstrating just how brutally hard poor people tend to work will put a dent in it.
My take is that it’s not really economic at all; it’s an attempt to de-legitimize democracy as a political process, because democracy keeps getting the wrong answers.
Jerry Pournelle’s science fiction novels about Falkenberg’s Legion describe not just the problem of too many “takers” (the 47%, a shiftless amoral idle mob) but also a solution: mass murder. Millions read Pournelle’s stories and smile at the “happy” endings. And not just Pournelle. Apocalypse porn is popular on the Right, with mega-deaths leaving behind a purified world of the righteous, such as Larry Burkett’s Chirstian sci-fi novel Solar Flare (1997).
This should worry the rest of us, as evidence of the real polarization in American. More important and deeper than differences in economics or who gets to screw who. Here are excerpts from two examples by Pournelle that illustrate the two Americas that uneasily coexist today.
(1) The opening to “The Mercenary” (Analog, July 1972; later reprinted in his books) describing a world (“Hadley”) being ruined by the takers. It’s an obvious analogy to the USA of today.