Quick blog post – felt a bit ill last night so no writing got done, just sleep. Sigh, more catching up to do.
I’m reading A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller Jr at the moment – great book by the way and I’m only half way through – and I was taken by the following quote:
“Simpletons! Yes, yes! I’m a simpleton! Are you a simpleton? We’ll build a town and we’ll name it Simple Town, because by then all the smart bastards that caused all this, they’ll be dead! Simpletons! Let’s go! This ought to show ’em! Anybody here not a simpleton? Get the bastard, if there is!”
The ‘Simpletons’ here are the desperate survivors of nuclear war who mob together to murder rulers, scientists, leaders, teachers and the intellectuals, whom they blame for destroying the Earth and making their lives hell. The intellectuals (who worked for the rulers) criticise their actions and call them ‘simpletons’ – so the bloodthirsty mob embrace the title, and murder anyone who doesn’t do the same.
This (of course) ushers in a new anti-intellectual dark age that lasts for centuries.
It struck me as depressingly and darkly reminiscent of the anti-intellectual far-right embracing of Hillary’s ‘Deplorables’ comment. You could substitute ‘Deplorables’ for ‘Simpletons’ and it would be almost indistinguishable from a Breitbard commenter.
Given Canticle was a Hugo winner in 1961, it is a prescient comment that perhaps insulting people is not the best way to convince them their view just might be incorrect.