Conservative Fiction

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Conservative Fiction

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Set 29, 2012, 12:28pm

I purchased a book at WorldCon in Chichago earlier this month that had a strong conservative political message wrapped in science fiction. It is named "The Immune" by Doc Lucky Meisenheimer. You won't find this in a bookstore.

Nov 14, 2012, 6:05am

David Weber >> David Drake >> John Ringo >> Eric Flint >> S. M. Stirling.

Basically anything by these authors will have a worldview that would make the casual “collective Utopian” think they had ingested slow poison. They are pro western civilization, pro individual rights, and pro enlightened self-interest. The kind of thinking that just cannot be tolerated in political correct society these days.

Editado: Mar 11, 2013, 8:31am

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Nov 14, 2012, 1:28pm

Good fiction is apolitical.

I think that I understand what you are trying to get at with this statement, but there are some astoundingly good works of fiction that are highly political in nature. Think Nineteen Eighty-Four, Catch-22, The Jungle, etc.

I would perhaps change that statement to good fiction is non-ideological. When authors try to shoehorn a story into an ideological framework, it often comes out as contrived and weak. Character development in particular tends to suffer. Just look at the works of Ayn Rand and you can see that to great effect.

Nov 14, 2012, 1:50pm

There should be an Ayn Rand rule here, similar to the Nazi rule. Once you invoke Rand's fiction, the conversation just degenerated!

I find some of Walker Percy's fiction to be both conservative and very good. By very good, I mean it is not ideological, a non-thinking person would not recognize the politics, and the plot and characterization is not hampered by the politics.

Lancelot is the book that comes to mind, but also Love in the Ruins, which I lost in one of my many moves, and miss greatly.

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Nov 14, 2012, 4:51pm

I enjoyed Love in the Ruins years ago and seem to remember somewhere in there a sort of lament for what had been lost in near-future America. Others can decide the ideological bona fides.

I did find this article commenting on Catholic Moral Theology in Love in the Ruins. I pass this along without comment or conviction, as I only skimmed it.

Nov 14, 2012, 4:54pm

I can pass on The Jungle, but read Catch-22 for the first time about a year ago. It is a shame Heller never reached that level of writing again. I thought it was delightful, and reminded more of P.J. O'Rourke than anything else.

Nov 14, 2012, 5:12pm

Something Happened, Arctic. Some would say it's the better book, even, though it's less playful and much bleaker.

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Nov 14, 2012, 6:06pm

Thanks for putting that together.

Nov 15, 2012, 9:17am

Catch 22? I have not looked at that book in many years but at the time I last studied it I found it to be one of the most thuggish, overtly leftist books of counter western political propaganda ever forced down the throats of schoolchildren. The rather heavy handed Joseph Heller made his capitalist a ruthless and a casually evil man. He makes him a man who would sell his comrades’ parachutes and first aid kits. He writes him as a man who then make a deal with the enemy to let their home be bombed for “company needs”. With sledgehammer subtlety he names him “Minderbinder” creating the image that everyone in the system is simply a puppet of this cruel uncaring greedy monster, bending the world to his will and making the crazy seem natural.
I am touching on one tiny facet from a vast array of crushingly hateful imagery that comes back to mind from that book. Condescension, derision and bile poured out in staggering quantities over nearly every aspect of western concretive culture, the lit teachers call it satire but then gibber on and on about the wonderful insight and understanding of the author, the supposed courage he had to break out of the pattern and write a story making fun of the war. I know he served, I know I own him the respect due to anyone who serves honorably. However for the way he demeans and degrades his own I can only see him like I would see an incontinent animal shitting in its own bed or food. I see him as ungrateful for the country that welcomed his parents, the system that afforded him the opportunity for his education and the military that defeated the socialist dictator who was killing his people like animals.
If his sense of morality needed to vent in an eruption of literary excrement were there no real deserving targets out there? Did he simply not see the communists murdering their own people by the millions at the time? Could he not be bothered to pick a better target for his hatred?
I am firmly of the believe that every story is a teaching story, every time a human puts more than a few words together they are introducing you to their worldview as completely as they are introducing you to their cast of characters . It is not always conscious propaganda, it is probably regularly not conscious. Human nature and creativity will put their own worldview, arguments and actions in the storyline of the characters the author sees as good. The opposite will also be true, behaviors attitudes and point of view the author sees as unattractive will end up in the characters the reader is not intended to like. I respect any person’s right to express their opinions in story or on the street corner and would never sensor any book. I do however consider our education system suspect in the choice to force feed this to school children, when the work more resembles the expression of the authors bowls then the reasoned expression of an opinion then at least leave the choice of reading it up to the individual, not the institution.

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Nov 15, 2012, 12:56pm

Although I am not a conservative myself and I have doubts about reading fiction through this kind of partisan prism, there are plenty of canonical authors for whom a person can make a case that they're "conservative."

For me, the major heavyweight is Willa Cather, whose stock just keeps going up as the time passes and the smoke from high modernism clears. (Joan Acocella's Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism is a first-rate appreciation of Cather, though it's better to start simply by reading the novels, which are excellent.) Although a person can definitely make a case that Cather was neglected because she was conservative, she also benefitted from praise from high profile conservatives like Mencken. I think critical parochialism (i.e, an East Coast suspicion of rural or historical subjects) accounts for a lot in the relative neglect of Cather.

Regarding businessmen: Cather doesn't use reductive stereotypes, in my recollection. Henry James' The American also offers a sympathetic depiction. Although it's been a long time since I read it, William Dean Howells's Rise of Silas Lapham embraces the idea of a businessman hero.

Editado: Nov 15, 2012, 2:08pm

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Editado: Mar 11, 2013, 8:32am

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