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Out of This World Liberalism

Politics is secondary to culture. The late Andrew Breitbart recognized this and formulated the well-worn axiom: “Politics is downstream from culture.” Control the culture and you can control the politics.

While there are problems with this formulation (entrenched political power can direct the flow of culture with the helping hand of the anarcho-tyrannical state), Breitbart was the first troubadour in the mainstream of conservatism to realize that the Right’s pitiful performance in America’s culture wars had doomed it to irrelevance. If any right-wing force hopes to win anything meaningful or anything that can last more than four years, they have to combine their political message with a serious attempt to restore a truly reactionary culture. Merely pounding the table in defense of “Westernism,” which, in the contemporary world, is synonymous with gay marriage, blue-haired harridans, and the massive machinery of opioid addiction and suicide, is a circular route towards defeat.

But, back to culture. These days, America’s only mainstream culture is the Cathedral, and a surprisingly powerful wing of the Cathedral is the sci-fi and fantasy industry. It is well-known that the Left has a childish infatuation with J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” book series. However, what most on the Right fail to truly realize is just how much “Harry Potter” imbues the entire worldview of the Left. It goes much deeper than “Trump is Voldermort;” the Left actually see themselves as a merry band of wizards fighting against a supernatural evil. “Science” has supported this unhealthy fantasy world by claiming that “Harry Potter” fans are better human beings (see: more likely to be multiculturalist progressives and secular atheists).

Other sci-fi and fantasy authors similarly imbue their works with left-wing wish fulfillment. See the films of the indisputably talented director Guillermo del Torro. When not harping about evil pale men on Twitter, which is beyond rich considering that del Torro’s complexion can best be compared to milk, del Torro composes elaborate and filigreed fantasy films that make a temple out of childhood. Another recurrent theme used by del Torro is the wickedness of Francoist Spain. In “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Devil’s Backbone,” the Mexican del Torro depicts Franco’s Spain as a primordial hell that denied good-hearted people “choice.” Del Torro told the Guardian that the problem with reactionary governments (he used the word “fascism”) is that they support “an institutional lack of choice.” The partisan guerrillas who save the day in “Pan’s Labyrinth” are the accelerationists of choice; the men and women who gave Spain “a place of transit, an ethical, moral transit to an inevitable centre.”

The politics of J.K. Rowling and Del Torro are not abnormal in the history of sci-fi and fantasy, but what is abnormal is the complete Hadrian ’s Wall that the sci-fi industry has erected against all center-right sci-fi authors. Robert Heinlein could not get published by Tor Books these days, that’s for sure. Why? Well, according to reactionary sci-fi writer Vox Day, the sci-fi world is “inordinately consumed by fat women and gamma males” who have pushed “delta males” into fringe sub-genres.

As an insider, Day is probably right. But, speaking more broadly, Day’s analysis misses something truthful about sci-fi’s descent into the maelstrom: it was “normie” liberalism of the Cold War years who moralized the genre in such a way that it made reactionary counterpoints all but impossible. As with America’s culture wars of the 1960s and 1970s, everyday liberals actively misconstrued the opposition as far-right fascism. It was not that they buckled under the pressure of the New Left; the Old Left willingly allied itself with the New Left without much of a fight at all. This alliance played out on American television screens thanks to one man.

Born Rodman Edward Serling in Syracuse, New York, Rod Serling came from a lower-middle class Jewish family that suffered during the Great Depression. Serling probably absorbed the Popular Front message of the 1930s, and almost undoubtedly found something to like in the socialist and communist platforms of that era.

It was World War II that really effected Serling, though. A technician in the US Army’s 11th Airborne Division, Serling saw action in the Pacific, especially in the Philippines. In one absurdly gruesome story, Serling witnessed one of his friends die after an Army Air Corps plane dropped an ammo box on his head during the Battle of Leyte. Apparently, Serling and the dead man were in the middle of taking a picture together when the SNAFU happened.

In uniform, the 5-foot, 4-inch Serling had a reputation as a hothead. He had done a little amateur boxing in the Army, but lost more than he won. A later commander summed Serling up as a soldier who “didn’t have the wits or aggressiveness required for combat.” The Army brass considered Serling an angry young man who unnecessarily bucked authority. Hollywood would later come to the same conclusion.

After writing for the radio, Serling landed jobs for various television stations in Ohio and Connecticut. In 1955, Serling hit the big time when the “Kraft Television Theatre” program aired his episode called “Patterns.” Serling’s script is apparently not more than a send-up of his former commander. “Patterns” tells the story of Fred Staples (played by Richard Kiley), a young gun executive who clashes with his conservative boss Andy Sloane (played by Ed Begley). Staples considers himself bright, daring, and thoroughly convinced that he is right in challenging his new company’s culture. As a side note, Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” was published two years later, thus indicating that corporate America was considered a cultural battleground by both liberals and anarcho-capitalist libertarians.
“Patterns” and a later episode for “Playhouse 90” entitled “Requiem for a Heavyweight” earned Serling plenty of praise from television critics and other doyens of culture. What he did with this praise was invent “The Twilight Zone,” an expressly left-wing television series masquerading as a sci-fi program.

The “Angry Young Man” Serling, who had previously experienced censorship with earlier teleplays touching on war and racial issues, created “The Twilight Zone” as an explicit vehicle to mask political activism behind the veneer of harmless fantasy. Take for instance the well-known episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” The episode, which first aired on March 4, 1960, deals with a modern-day witch hunt in quiet suburbia. At 6:43 P.M., when all the electricity and machines stop working, the inhabitants of Maple Street begin turning on each other. The episode ends in an orgy of recriminations as a pair of extraterrestrials watch on from above. Serling’s voice caps off the episode by saying:

“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices – to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill – and suspicion can destroy – and a thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own – for the children – and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is – that these things cannot be confined..”

“The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” has long been considered a parable about the McCarthy era. However, McCarthy’s time in the spotlight had already come and gone, and played a helping hand in dampening anti-communism in polite discourse among cultural elites. It would seem then that “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” may also be an indictment of racial polarity and the lingering fear of National Socialism (which Serling would have hated for obvious reasons). As Jean Thiriart noted so many years ago, the Jewish Left depends on the “perpetuation of the ‘fascist danger’ myth” in order to justify the state’s repression of the Right. “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” clearly states that every American is capable of becoming a totalitarian monster if just given the smallest push.

Such heavy-handed political theater was quite common on “The Twilight Zone.” “The Obsolete Man” shows a totalitarian future where a librarian (played by Burgess Meredith) is sent to death for hoarding books, especially the Bible. The possibility of librarians and the intelligentsia siding with left-wing totalitarianism is never broached. “The Eye of the Beholder” shows a world in which the ugly rule and pretty blondes are ghettoized with other attractive people. “I Am the Night—Color Me Black” concerns the execution of Jagger (played by Terry Becker), a man wrongfully convicted of killing a bigot in self-defense. Serling ends this 1964 episode by linking a murder in a small town in the South with larger historical forces at work in North Vietnam, Chicago, and Alabama.

“A sickness known as hate. Not a virus, not a microbe, not a germ—but a sickness nonetheless, highly contagious, deadly in its effects. Don't look for it in the Twilight Zone—look for it in a mirror. Look for it before the light goes out altogether.”

Rather than an evolutionary and biological adaptation based on the primitive desire for self-defense, “hate” is made into a scientific malady that can be corrected. This is not a far leap towards a type of pharmaceutical totalitarianism. See, for instance, recent news reports stating that German scientists have discovered that increased levels of oxytocin (along with social pressures) makes people more open to the idea of accepting foreigners in their ancestral homes. These University of Bonn researchers helpfully suggest that Europeans should be fed drugs to make them more "tolerant."

After Serling left “The Twilight Zone” die in 1964 due to conflicts with advertisers and CBS, the latter of whom announced that the show would get the can in January 1964. Six years later, after doing some teaching at the far-Left Antioch College and other television work, Serling launched “Night Gallery,” an episodic television series that embraced more horror and dark fantasy than sci-fi. Still, the scripts penned by Serling remained the show’s most politically-charged. “Clean Kills and Other Trophies” depicts a white big game hunter (played by Raymond Massey) as a lover of violence who refuses to fork over inheritance money to his peacenik son (played by Barry Brown) unless he kills a deer. The son, who wears a peace symbol on his jacket and mewls like a lost kitten, is saved from Cain’s sin by an African servant who uses native magic to kill and stuff the old hunter. “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar” is a critique of corporate capitalism and idealizes a romantic loser stuck in the past. “The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes” ends with a false prediction by a child seer who intentionally lies about impending doom in order to foster racial harmony.

In other “Night Gallery” episodes such as “The Devil Is Not Mocked” and “Escape Route,” the dreaded Nazi menace appears in the company of Satan. Other, less specific right-wing figures are almost always depicted as tyrants of some form or another. As with “The Twilight Zone,” Serling’s frustrations with “Night Gallery” stemmed from creative decisions, specifically the work of director and producer Jack Laird. Laird, who seems to have seen the show simply as another horror/comedy series, rubbed the ever-serious Serling the wrong way with goofy segments featuring vampires applying at blood banks or babysitters meeting werewolf charges. The show eventually capsized in 1973. Serling himself would die in 1975 after suffering several heart attacks.

What Serling’s story tells us is quite simple: cultural liberalism uses the means of entertainment to push certain messages that lead to political decision. Underlying Serling’s harmless stories was a message of universal egalitarianism that conceded to the far-Left notion that humanity can be perfected through science or through coercion. Serling’s sound and fury did directly attack the centrist consensus of the 1950s and ‘60s, but his attacks under-girded to the birth of the contemporary Cathedral—a cultural and political empire predicated on the righteousness of victim hood and the moralization of unnatural hierarchies. Serling, for all of his talent, is nothing more than the grandfather of science fiction’s offensive to make the abnormal normal and to make citizens dependent upon politicized fiction as a code of behavior.

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