More on Post-Apocalyptic Dystopias

Now the important thing is that the Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia (hereafter referred to as a PAD) is simply not plausible. If you notice in silly PAD movies and such, a pattern emerges: a society is segregated into have and have-nots, usually by some extreme version of the gated community. Where such stories fail is that that does not happen.

If you want to see an extreme gated community, where should you look? Kabul and Baghdad come to mind… Now what can we say about these places? Do they have a ruling elite? Yes. Is it in effective control of the country? No.

The model used by the PAD genre is extant, but the walls mean something very different from the movie portrayal. These walls are not merely where shit-your-pants-at-the-sight-of-dark-skin rich assholes go to prevent contact with the poor, minorities, and other undesirables (as is the case in American cities). Rather, they are out of real and justified fear. The inmates of these gated communities are in no way in control of whatever nation-state they claim to run. The best they can do is bribe the warlords who actually rule those districts for passage, protection, and an unstable peace.

An enormous underclass, especially one that suffers from real want, portends collapse of whatever terrible (that’s genuinely universal) government pretends to the throne. Even if the new government will be dramatically worse (see Russian Revolution, Chinese Revolution) that the current one, the desire to simply do something in dire circumstances is best channeled in destruction. That destruction is leveled at whomever might appear to be the beneficiary of evil policies.

Maybe I’ll say more on this tomorrow…