Zooism vs. Socialism
Posted by aogFriday, 15 July 2011 at 16:18 TrackBack Ping URL

This post about the leftist tendencies of even science fiction writers reminded me of one leftist writer I like, whose socialist society is actually plausible — Iain M. Banks and The Culture.

Of course, the first question one asks is “how does he get around human nature?”. Two ways — first, The Culture has engaged in quite a bit of genetic engineering to actually make better people. But that’s just a minor help — the real secret is that because socialism depends on angels to work, The Culture built angels in the form of advanced artificial intelligences called “Minds” who effectively run the society.

Although the author and fans claim this is socialism / communism, in reality it is “zooism”. The Minds have a society, which they run in a communist / socialist fashion because they’re angelic and self sufficient (a Mind in a starship is completely capable of building everything it and its passengers needs without any external help — in effect they are hunter / gatherers trolling the galactic fields). Humans are just pets in the Mind’s zoo who are taken care of materially and politically by the superior Minds.

To keep the humans busy, The Culture intervenes in more primitive societies to improve them. I really link Banks’ explanation for this — it’s essentially done so that the humans in The Culture don’t realize how useless they really are. To not intervene is psychologically intolerable. I wonder how many socialist readers understand the relevance of this to their own existence.

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