Things to Come – An OCF Classic Movie Review

It’s been a few years since I last saw this old science fiction film.  The screenplay was written by H. G. Wells based on his story of the same name.  And it has some distinguished British Shakespearean actors in the persons of Ralph Richardson and Cedric Hardwicke.  But it also has Raymond Massey who can chew up scenery with the best of them.

The plot is remarkably realistic at the start.  A Second World War begins in 1940 (this was made in 1935) and goes on for decades killing off most of humanity.  Then a plague finishes off the majority of the survivors and throws humanity into a virtual dark age where isolated communities battle for the meager resources that remain in what is practically a pre-industrial age.  In a section of England Ralph Richardson portrays a “Chief” who controls his villages as a rough and ready princeling battling the surrounding mini-states for control of the food and other resources.  Suddenly an advanced airplane lands and Raymond Massey reveals that a scientific community has survived the war and is re-establishing civilization and putting an end to nation-states.  He is taken prisoner by the chief but the writing is on the wall and eventually Massey’s friends show up with aircraft that looks like something out of a Buck Rogers serial.  They use the “gas of peace” to knock out the population and shepherd them into the Global Socialist Future complete with “science.”  We are then regaled with the wonderful futuristic science and engineering marvels that allow the world to be converted into a paradise on earth.

Flash forward fifty years and everyone lives underground and the world is a garden of delights where no one seems to work very hard or gets sick and everyone is happy, sort of like San Francisco but without the human feces everywhere.  The descendant of Raymond Massey, who looks remarkably like Raymond Massey, is working on the Space Gun that will shoot a space capsule around the Moon.  But Cedric Hardwicke won’t have it.  He rallies the non-scientists (actors and hair stylists) to attack the Space Gun and destroy it with their own soft and well-manicured hands.  Raymond Massey takes his helicopter and races the mob to the Space Gun and loads his daughter and her boyfriend into the bullet just in time to fire them into space and coincidentally allow the shockwave from the firing of the gun to murder all the raging doofuses attempting to stop him.

Then Massey gives a monologue that goes on and on.  It’s a panegyric to progress.  We’ll go to the Moon and colonize it and out to the planets and then onto the stars.  We’ll never stop.  It’s all or nothing.  There’s even a choir at the end.  I think they were repeating “all or nothing.”  For someone who is a big fan of the space program he managed to make it sound unhinged even to me.

Here’s my take.  The beginning of the movie is frighteningly prescient.  He saw the rest of the twentieth century coming.  That was right on the nose.  But Wells was a socialist.  Basically he might as well have been doing forward work for Stalin.  All that was missing was the hammer and sickle.  His belief that the socialists would build some kind of scientific utopia was laughably misguided.  And the smugness of the Massey character made me immediately think of Barack Obama.  All he needed to do to make the effect perfect would have been to say a couple of times “it’s not who we are.”  Honestly, I was solidly behind the “Chief” character and would gladly have put up with the lice and dysentery to avoid having to hear the speeches about “science.”

This really is a period piece and worth seeing just to get a flavor for what the British socialists thought the future should be.  It’s very enlightening.  And the histrionics by Massey are so over the top that they’re really quite funny to see and hear.

31OCT2018 – Quote of the Day

“As all those have shown who have discussed civil institutions, and as every history is full of examples, it is necessary to whoever arranges to found a Republic and establish laws in it, to presuppose that all men are bad and that they will use their malignity of mind every time they have the opportunity.”

Niccolo Machiavelli

Wow, that’s bleak.  But true.

The Brave and the Bold: Book 3 of the Hidden Truth by Hans G. Schantz – A Science Fiction Book Review

Last year I reviewed the preceding volume in the series, “A Rambling Wreck,” and found it a good read.  This year the author graciously provided me with an advanced copy so I have been able to enjoy the present work before the general public.  Ah, behold the awesome power of the Press!

 

I will summarize the type of story it is and then give my opinion on the quality of the story.  The narrative has science fiction elements that include alternate time lines, secret societies, possibly alien creatures and advanced technologies.  It also has elements that would be found in a techno-thriller including conspiracy theories, secret government cabals and corrupt bureaucracies.  But much of the story could just as easily be found in the pages of daily news sites.  There are progressive organizations infiltrating government, university and industry hierarchies with the intent of implementing speech and thought codes and suppressing non-progressive ideas.

 

The story revolves around the ongoing attempt by the protagonists to infiltrate the Civic Circle, attack it and expose it for the evil cabal that it is.  The Civic Circle is the hidden hand behind all the progressive and globalist initiatives going on around the world.  They control enormous wealth and have members at the highest levels of government in the United States and elsewhere.  They have control of the FBI, powerful judges, captains of industry and press, education and entertainment leaders.  They also restrict research into areas that might threaten their stranglehold on advanced technology that is the basis for the “Hidden Truth” aspect of the series.  This hidden truth is the misunderstood nature of electromagnetic phenomena and how it interacts with quantum effects and the basis of reality and time-space.  This is how the alternate time-line aspect of the story relates to the techno-thriller elements.  The technology allows the Civic Circle to know where a crucial event will occur and use force to steer the future the way they desire.  That is why in this timeline there was a President Gore and the 9-11 attack destroyed the Capitol Building.  And President Gore is assassinated and leads to a President Lieberman.  Mixed in with all this is a subplot that is either some kind of occult activity or advanced technology masquerading as the occult.  The good guys include a college engineering student (the hero), a pick-up artist, Vatican ninjas, a Chinese tong group and a Georgia paramilitary group.  Without a doubt the sensibilities and allegiance of the good guys is right-wing.  The Left is always characterized as the corrupt and generally evil side of the population.  In general, the multi-culti progressive values and ideas are pounded on pretty relentlessly in the book.  But since the plot identifies the progressive agenda as the method being used by the Civic Circle to gain complete control over all aspects of western society this characterization aligns with the plot of the story.

 

So how well did the story do its job?  The plot is very intricate and the action moves back and forth as various characters and events influence it.  The main characters have matured since the last book and are involved in all the responsibilities and danger facing their clandestine group.  And in this book the outcome is much more substantial and critical to moving along the overall narrative.  In other words, big stuff is going on.  Being an installment in a series the pay-off is only partial and only some information is added to solving the mysteries of the “hidden truth.”  But there is a satisfying ending to the episode.

 

Who will like this book and who won’t?  First off, if you are big proponent of multi-culturalism or intersectionality you will consider this book an insult to your world view.  In general, if you dislike the right wing you might not be sympathetic to the main character’s point of view and this could ruin the story for you.  Those folks aside, this story will appeal to folks who like hard science fiction, techno-thrillers and anyone who really, really dislikes the Left.

 

I would say it would appeal to people who liked Heinlein’s story Revolt in 2100.  In both stories you have a young protagonist who is mentored by an older character while fighting for the overthrow of a corrupt and totalitarian regime.

 

And finally I liked the story myself.  This volume has definitely increased the interest by making the action much more significant and making the protagonist a more important actor in the drama.  At several points there is excellent suspense when the character is being interrogated by the spymasters of the Civic Circle.  Hans Schantz has crafted his story with loving details.  Everything from the IT needed to infiltrate the Civic Circle’s information network to the architectural details of the lair of the evil Civic Circle.  And for real science fans he goes on to tell us outside of the narrative that some of the Hidden Truth is actually scientific fact that he himself is documenting in peer reviewed papers.

 

I heartily recommend The Brave and the Bold.

Nothing to Lose

I guess I have to address the shooter in Pittsburgh (Robert Bowers).  What can we say about him?  Ideologically he felt the Jewish people were a threat to him.  In his mind what he did was justified.  That much we know from his statements.  But why did he do it?  I’m guessing that he no longer felt what he had to lose outweighed his desire for vengeance.  And I’m guessing this is the same situation as that other shooter who went after the Republican Congressional Softball Team last year (James T. Hodgkinson).   Another man who was willing to trade his life for a chance to kill his ideological enemies.

Looking at the details of both men’s lives, it appears that neither one would be leaving behind anyone he cared about as much as the cause he was consumed by.  Both men were basically unemployed and neither had a happy home life.  Specifically, Hodgkinson was in a failed marriage and wasn’t making ends meet with a home inspection business.  Bowers is an unemployed truck driver living alone.  Both men were obsessed with political and ideological agendas and both felt that things were going badly and it required them to take violent action to redress the situation.  I think it would be accurate to say they were both consumed with hatred.

People say that what they each did was insane.  When something like this occurs both sides of the political spectrum agree that monstrous evil has occurred and that no sane person could be responsible.  And they would be right.  Only a madman would do something like this.

But here’s the question.  Are there circumstances under which anyone would do the same thing?  Pick the most pacifistic individual, Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Theresa.  Is it conceivable that even these two would find circumstances under which they would commit homicide and think it necessary?  It’s pretty hard to believe.  But if there were innocents being harmed and no other way to save them it’s conceivable that this might be sufficient.  Now look at the other end of the compassion spectrum.  Think of violent sociopaths who basically have as little compunction about murder as we have for swatting a mosquito.  What motivation would they need to snuff out the lives of their neighbors?  Very little, maybe the possibility of stealing some cash or just for the diversion the killing would provide.

In between these two extremes is everyone else.  That includes you and me and Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, the Pope, the Ayatollah Khamenei, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Brett Kavanaugh, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, the Koch Brothers and all the gang-bangers, drug lords and terrorists (IRA, ISIS, al Qaeda, Shining Path, Tamil Tigers, Neo-Nazis, KKK, etc.).  It also includes great aunt Sadie, your priest or minister or rabbi and even the kid playing baseball at the local ball field.

In my estimation it’s a continuum that depends on the nature of the individual and the pressure being brought to bear to extract revenge or prevent an attack on something you value highly.  The equation is when you determine that the value of your life falls below the value of the damage prevented by some act of violence the individual will act.  And for every single human that equation is different.  Police put their lives on the line every day.  In the old days just about any man would have thrown himself in front of a gunman to save his wife (times may have changed for the millennials).  Al Qaeda inspired its members to fly planes into buildings to redress perceived western assaults on Islam.  In each case the agent is doing what he thinks is the right thing and feels logically justified in sacrificing his life.

My whole point is that in the case of the two shooters each decided that his actions and the price he would pay for them was justified under his circumstances.  Right now, we are seeing the mentally unstable with nothing to lose determining that desperate acts make sense.  We don’t want to get to a place where this calculation occurs to more and more people.  A factor that is working for us currently is the robust economy.  Unemployment is receding drastically.  That should help greatly in reducing desperation.  What isn’t helping right now is the political polarization that has engulfed us.  That will have the opposite effect, amping up the irritation felt by ideologues on both sides of the political spectrum.

These shooters are the weak links.  Their personal situations and the fervor with which they feel the ideological strain of day to day circumstances made them the snap first.  But there will be more.  If Professor Codevilla is right then this is the tip of the iceberg.  This is the microscopic effect.  Civil Strife or War is the macroscopic equivalent.  If too many people reach that breaking point then a chain reaction will occur and that will be unstoppable.  Codevilla thinks we’re already there.  Let’s hope he’s wrong.  I’ve got a lot to lose and I’ll bet you do too.