Allegory and Message Fiction

A frustrated reader asks a trenchant question: “Do politics even have a place in a story?”

Certainly, as long as it remains a story. An allegory or extended parable is not a story properly so called, for the figures in the story have no life of their own and no meaning aside from the allegorical meaning. The figure of Christian in PILGRIM’S PROGRESS has no personal personality traits. The reader cannot tell what sort of man he is, what are his likes and dislikes, what makes him different from other Christian men, because he is not a character, merely a figure meant to represent an idea.Christian could be any Christian man.

Likewise, in STARSHIP TROOPERS, the Bugs of Klendathu do not have any personality. They merely are stock figures meant to represent an enemy, any enemy.

Likewise again, in SJW fiction generally the overwhelming tendency is to see to it that no character is given a personality, and all are stock allegorical characters. The white male Christian stands for all white males and must act in the way the Social Justice dogma represents them to be: he is a symbol of the Patriarchy, the oppressor. And likewise for white females, black males, black females, homosexuals, and so on. They are symbols of victimhood.

In the past, Leftwingers could write stories, even stories with a political point, without reducing the tale to a lifeliess robotlike allegory.

But the SJW Left is a new phenomenon.  Call it Cntrl+Left. They do not care about things like telling stories and making money by selling magazines, no more than they care about poor farmers or factory hands, at one time the core constituency of Liberalism. They only care about promoting the Narrative, their false worldview, and in attacking the Establishment, which they somehow never realize consists of no one but themselves.

The latitude the Old Liberal allowed for writers and thinkers to explore ideas, if it had ever been sincere (I never thought it was), is gone with all pretense of toleration for dissent. The Cntrl+Left wants control. The escape of imagination is their foe: they seek to use science fiction stories, and indeed to use all things, all forms of entertainment and education, to promote their view, and only that.

Nothing for them has any value outside how it helps the Cause.

And, unlike Christian allegory, there is no spark of truth in Cntrl+Left allegory, no amusing perspectives of using one symbol for an unexpected idea, no zeal of honest love.

Their message is hate. Their worldview is hypocrisy.

Even they are bored and annoyed by the dark and hopeless prison of their philosophy. They do not love their philosophy. They merely hate you, and so they use stories to belittle, insult, and undermine your philosophy.

And so, yes indeed, politics has a place in science fiction. What would George Orwell’s masterpiece of science fiction NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR be without political commentary? Or Ayn Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED? And, please, no one tell me a tale about a band of scientists armed with a revolutionary new power source conspiring to overturn a tyranny from a valley hidden beneath a ray-screen casting an illusion is not science fiction. Closer to home, what would STARSHIP TROOPERS be if it make no comment political comments about war and democracy? What would DUNE be without political intrigue, or commentary on the role of messianic figures in politics?

But in each of these cases, you could take away the politics, and find a perfectly serviceable story left behind, a love story about a railway executive, a tale of a boy in bootcamp, or a yarn about the fall of space-Byzantium to the space-Muslims

But when politics does not stay in its place in the story, but usurps, overwhelms and kills off the story, then it is not a story at all, but a lecture, a legal brief, an opinion-editorial, a sermon. If you retold ‘If You Were a Dinosaur My Love’ without the central image of evil gin-soaked Southern bigots clubbing an homosexual transsexual Arab Mexican paleontologist into a coma, the point is gone. If you remove the lecture, and there is nothing left, then there is nothing there to begin with but the lecture.

It baffles me that no matter how often this was said, or how clearly, during the Sad Puppies revolt against the Thought Police, no Thought Policemen seemed able to understand the distinction between a story making a political point, and a political point with no story around it.

But I suppose no one tries to police something of which he is not frightened. Thought scares Thought Police.

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