Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hah!

It was amusing, shortly after publicising this blog, to receive an email containing this from another SF writer:

"A sci-fi writer admitting he's a conservative? If I had the balls (or a big enough audience as of yet), I'd come out of that closet myself."

Conservative is probably about correct since I believe in conserving what is good and what works and not in destroying it on the basis of some misconceived ideology, though perhaps the term libertarian might be better and no label at all even better than that. It wasn't really too much of a risk admitting to my views since anyone who has read my comments on various message boards will have figured them out anyway. It's interesting that the writer should admit to caution about doing the same. I also find it interesting reading new SF writers banging the lefthand drum in the belief they are being radical, when in truth they are only joining the establishment.

12 comments:

Jose said...

Well I wouldn't call the left the "establishment" not with highly conservative governments in power in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK.

But the labels are losing relevance. Blair isn't a leftie by any stretch although he's adept at throwing lefties the sounds bites they want to hear. Neither is Bush a classic conservative. I've heard the label "communitarian" which is a still a bit vaguely defined. Kind of like friendly facism.

Despite our differences your opinions don't offend me. You haven't advocated an a Mein Kampfesque position against Islam like a certain SF author has. That's one guy who writes good SF I will continue to read. I'll just have to make sure that I get all off his books second hand from now on.

Continue spouting your misguided ideology. I'll keep buying your books because the story's the thing and I don't care about an authors politics as long as they don't stray into neo-naziesque territory.

I think you'll find that's true for most readers too.

Kirby Uber said...

"not to mention the jews and homosexuals..."

but seriously, after spending a decade plus on the western coast of the US, i've realized the radical left is little more than a nifty social pose, of such to compare to what brand of sneakers or pants one wears. herd mentality, where ironicaly the aim is to express your individuality by emulating what you are told is the ideal individual.

trends and fashion, secrets and lies.

but in a fun way.

Neal Asher said...

The labels are very blurred now (and perhaps always have been) but we humans need our simplifications. Just for the hell of it I took one of these 'what's your politics' online tests http://politicalcompass.jpagel.net
and found myself plumped down almost in the centre. I also know that what's considered right-wing here can be left-wing in America.

As to the books I buy, the politics don't come into it, unless they are overt, but certainly isn't true for everyone.

Neal Asher said...

Huh, cross posted. Why did you mention them, Kirby? I don't see the connection.

Kirby Uber said...

oops, i guess that was supposed to read:

"Yeah, not to mention the jews and the blacks."

seinfeld reference. possibly doesn't translate well. or at all.

SEE: irreverent tasteless humor

Matt said...

jose: I think maybe by establishment, Mr. Asher meant the media/literature establishment.

Mr. Asher: I'd say your in good company. Heinlein, Niven, Pournelle, Poul Anderson ... all of these guys are pretty solidly rightwing/libertarian. In fact my observation has been that 'libertarian' seems to be the default setting for science fiction writers ... even supposed lefties like MacLeod are really closer to libertarianism than outright marxist orthodoxy.

As for me ... I'm pretty much the same. Libertarian all the way, which is fun because it means my politics infuriate nearly all of my friends. I've taken a few of those short political quiz', and I'm either smack in the midde or just a tad to the right.

Claire Weaver said...

I actually got pointed towards your blog because you're known for being rightwing... I write SF, and I'm Conservative, although in an old-school, Thatcherism way. I was way too young to follow it all at the time (the only Thatcher policy that affected me directly was cancelling milk for school children) but now my political ideals greatly resemble hers.

There are many different definitions of the various political views, much the same as there are for class definitions and so on, and I think it's known now more as Libertarian than Conservative. But at the end of the day, what does it matter what we call ourselves, or indeed what does it matter what views we have – especially in the context of something as unrelated as writing. You may or may not include your political views in your novels – on purpose or inadvertently – but then you’ll probably do the same with everything else you have an opinion on. It’s what happens when you let actual people with actual thoughts write novels. And you don’t get people warning against admitting that you don’t like cats, for example... oh, no, wait, you do... ;-)

All I’m saying is, as long as you’re not a crazy Nazi BNP fascist, then it doesn’t matter much. We’ve all got opinions – and it’d be so bloody dull if they were all the same...

Jose said...

Your average right of centre brit would be considered lefty moonbat in the US. I haven't heard you

I'd take issue with calling Heinlein a right winger. Libertarian doesn't necessarily mean right wing. In fact the modern right (especially in the US) is for big government that has lots of say in your personal life (no porn, no pill, no drugs, no abortion, and most recently trying to dictate what universities teach). That's hardly next door to libertarianism. They like to say otherwise but that's bollocks.

The political spectrum is best percieved in two or three dimensions not just one. Picture a left/right axis and a authoritarian/libertarian axis. You can have left and left wing libertarians just like you can have right and left wing authoritarian governments (castro/pinochet).

Kirby Uber said...

"All I’m saying is, as long as you’re not a crazy Nazi BNP fascist, then it doesn’t matter much."

Now what's with all the nazi bashing? Yes they had a bad run, but i'm sure they meant well...

*cough*

On the modern right, i don't think it's fair or accurate to say it stands for big government in individual life. The current administration is largely an abomination that will end with the next term. (crosses fingers.)

I still view a right stance to mean little government intrusion into individual lives. No longer is Republican interchangeable straight across for right, or Democrat for left.

The three dimensional model or at least an X,Y axis sort of affair, is a very good analogy indeed, though i suspect there is still alot of mix up in some peoples minds about their politics and their morality, perceived or otherwise.

Those silly hippies. so zany.

Neal Asher said...

Every individual has his/her own conception of what is 'right' and what is 'left', which is perhaps why the terms are best avoided. But I'm as guilty as any of using them ... must try not to.

But hey, Claire, you're a Thatcherite! Watch out for the thought police - in some quarters that's tantamount to claiming to be a baby-eating Satanist.

Matt said...

Jose,

Fair enough about Heinlein. It's hard to pigeonhole him into any political stance: not too many people are simultaneously pro-military and pro-free love.

Like I said, though: libertarianism is the default for most science fiction authors. And if you had to call Heinlein something, it would be 'libertarian' ... my rightwing identification comes mainly from his militarism.

I totally agree with the multidimensional approach to politics, though if you're going to do that I'd suggest dropping 'left' and 'right' as being too clumsy and just going for an authoritarian/libertarian axis and a dynamist/stasist axis (ie pro-future/anti-future axis.)

Jose said...

Heinlein a militarist? I wouldn't be so certain of that. I suspect he wasn't really. The genius of Starship Troopers is that you can read it two ways. Personaly I took it to be an extremely subtle indictment of military culture. But's he delivers it so subtlety that if you were pro-military you would think he was cheering you on.

But its hard to say for sure. Early to mid Heinlein has his ideological fingerprints filed off.