I recently read a political opinion piece that makes reference to not one but two tellers of weird tales. It's called "The Woke Have Confused Sword and Sorcery" and it's by Richard Fernandez, a very interesting thinker and writer. Mr. Fernandez begins his essay with a paraphrasing of Robert E. Howard's famous introduction to his Conan series: "Know, O prince, that between the years . . . ", except that in Mr. Fernandez's version, the chronicle is of events that have taken place between the fall of the USSR and our current "rise of Chaos."
The future--now--was supposed to be science-fictional, not weird-fictional. Yet science has given way to superstition and we live at the beginning of a new dark age. Men now use science-fictional or quasi-science-fictional means to pursue their ends, yet superstition reigns. Socialism is one of these superstitions, of course, but in our age socialism has been eclipsed by Wokism. Wokism is a heresy against reality, but we don't yet know how long it will take to run its course, nor how many will have to suffer and die, nor how far our civilization will have to fall before it does. But reality will out. It always does, despite all of our striving against it.
Richard Fernandez writes:
This [the inevitable failure of Woke plans and ideas] is perhaps the reason why our politicians, the modern sorcerers with all the clanking machinery of the End of History at their disposal, are surprised when their confident plans to boost the economy, flatten the pandemic curve and replace nuclear plants with windmills unaccountably take off in unknown directions. The usual explanation is it's not that Woke sorcery has stopped working; it's bad luck.
And then he quotes Robert A. Heinlein:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded--here and there, now and then--are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck."
(The quote is from "Notebooks of Lazarus Long" in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, June 1973, page 77, originally in Time Enough for Love, also published in 1973. Happy June to everyone!)
Richard Fernandez writes for a website that is sometimes behind a paywall, even if all you have to pay is your consent to allow advertisements. That's a shame. His writing deserves wider reading. But if you would like to give it a try, look for "The Woke Have Confused Sword and Sorcery" by way of a link on Mr. Fernandez's website, Wretchard.com. His essay is dated May 30, 2022. Since then, he has written about zombies, as we all seemingly must do.
Original text copyright 2022 Terence E. Hanley