The Libertarian Futurist Society has chosen six finalists for the 2017 Hall of Fame Award, given in recognition of a classic work of science fiction or fantasy with libertarian themes. This year’s finalists are:
- “As Easy as A.B.C.,” by Rudyard Kipling (first published 1912 in London Magazine), the second of his “airship utopia” stories, portrays a crisis in a twenty-first century society where an unpopular minority calls for the revival of democracy, and a largely hands-off world government is forced to step in and protect them.
- “Conquest by Default,” by Vernor Vinge (first published 1968 in Analog) is his first exploration of the idea of anarchism, in which a stateless alien society visits an Earth recovering from nuclear war. The story combines a novel approach to the problem of avoiding the decay of anarchy into government with an evocation of the tragic impact of cultural change.
- “Coventry,” by Robert A. Heinlein (first published 1940 in Astounding Science Fiction) envisions the Covenant, a social compact under which breaking the law, as such, cannot be punished unless actual harm to someone has been demonstrated. The story contrasts that society with a lawless “anarchy” into which those who break the covenant are sent.
- “Harrison Bergeron,” by Kurt Vonnegut (first published 1971 in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), satirizes the idea of radical egalitarianism with a portrayal of a society where all talented people are compulsorily brought down to average — until one gifted youth rebels against the system.
- “Starfog,” by Poul Anderson (first published 1967 in Analog) envisions a widespread interstellar society millennia after the fall of a Galactic Empire, unified by the Commonality, a mutual aid organization. The story explores methods of carrying out large-scale projects through voluntary cooperation and market incentives under conditions where central control is unworkable.
- “With Folded Hands …” by Jack Williamson (first published 1947 in Astounding Science Fiction), uses science fiction to satirize the modern “nanny state” and explore an ethical theme: the peril of unrestricted authority, even (or especially) when it is used totally altruistically to take care of those subjected to it.
In addition to the six finalists, the Hall of Fame Committee considered eight other works: “The End of the Line,” by James H. Schmitz; “The Exit Door Leads In,” by Philip K. Dick; The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood; The Island Worlds, by Eric Kotani and John Maddox Roberts; Lord of the Flies, by William Golding; Manna, by Lee Correy; “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” by Ursula Le Guin; and A Time of Changes, by Robert Silverberg.
The Prometheus Awards, in the words of the LFS, recognize “outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that dramatize the perennial conflict between liberty and power, expose the abuses and excesses of coercive government, critique or satirize authoritarian ideas, or champion individual rights and freedoms as the mutually respectful foundation for civilization, cooperation, peace, prosperity, progress and justice.”
The final vote by LFS members will take place in mid-2017. The Prometheus Hall of Fame award will be presented at a major science fiction convention.
The Handmaid’s Tale?????????
I haven’t read that in a few years, but I don’t think I’m misremembering it that badly.
And even worse, LeGuin’s “Omelas”?????
OK, my hed officially hurtz.
ETA: Aha, first!
I’m confused–The Handmaid’s Tale seems to fit their description pretty well. Exposes a coercive government, critiques authoritarianism, etc. “Omelas” less well, but you could see it as arguing for individual rights, maybe. What is it that makes the head hurt?
Well, in Atwood’s and LeGuin’s work generally, the feminism mostly.
Libertarians (as far as I know) are not really big on feminism since they apparently see feminists as relying on a “coercive” government as part of social change.
There are a few women writing as libertarian feminists (who point out all the sexism in the movement, heh, ditto atheist feminists, geek feminists, etc.!). But This google search shows a lot of erm doubt around the idea of feminist libertarians or libertarian feminism, and nothing I know of Atwood’s work or philosophy has ever come across as the least bit libertarian as I understand it (sources to the contrary will be read!).
“Omelas”–a few people reject the torture of the child which maintains the lovely lifestyle of the city (not much I remember in the story which hints at a centralized/coercive government?) and walk away. I don’t see that as any sort of praise for individual rights as driving that story. I have read a lot more of LeGuin’s essays than I have of Atwood’s (and haven’t read much of her recent fiction), and would be absolutely gobsmacked if anybody tried to tell me LeGuin was espousing libertarianism (and I get that prizes can be awarded based on the work but not the author, right, although it’s also worth pointing out the dominance of the Manly Men in the awards list for this year). (I checked the awards and all of 2.5 women have been awarded a Prometheus. So yeah, not big on the women writers. I did get lost a few moments imagining Terry Pratchett’s possible take on libertarianism because, yeah, criticism of monarchy as a governing system isn’t quite the same as libertarianism).
As for the whole “individual rights” concept as “libertarian,” what part of libertarian ideology or practices show any support for rights for anybody except white straight men?
Addendum after poking around a bit more at the awards sight:
Oops, did not scroll past novel category the first time–in “Hall of Fame” a few more women!
Bujold (Falling Free) (wonder what they’d think of the government set up by the quaddies explored in later books),
LeGuin The DIspossessed
These two actually make a bit more sense if the focus is FREEDOM
for the stallion.
And of course Ayn Rand though she had to share both times with Heinlein!
Robin, if your “straight men” phrase in the comment above is meant to be a different link, it’s not working.
@robinreid As for the whole “individual rights” concept as “libertarian,” what part of libertarian ideology or practices show any support for rights for anybody except white straight men?
The part where the first presidential electoral vote was cast for a woman?
The part that says “Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws”?
The part that opposes the War on Drugs, which vastly disproportionately affects blacks?
Small error: “Harrison Bergeron” was published in (October) 1961, not 1971, in F&SF.
It seems to me that the people behind the Prometheus Awards have a fairly broad definition of libertarianism and are willing to award books by authors who would certainly not define themselves as libertarian in the US sense. Hence the tendency to award left leaning Scots like Charles Stross or Ken MacLeod. This is probably also why the puppies didn’t jump on the Prometheus Awards, even though on the surface the Prometheus Awards would seem to promote exactly the sort of books they want.
It occurs to me I’m somewhat handicapped in deciding whether these are libertarian works in the eyes of a libertarian. I’ve known several of the earliest libertarian fans since the 1970s, a few who are still involved in the LFS. If they say these works are worthy of their award — who would know better than them? Just the same, a few of these choices make me wonder if they are appropriating works as award winners more because they like/respect them than from a philosophical consistency with libertarianism.
There is nothing in the description given here to say that the works should be libertarian. Every year we have this discussion, with people complaining that the works honoured are not libertarian, in the sense of fitting the ideology of people who identify as libertarians; but the LFS never said they would be. The basis of the awards is, it seems deliberately, broader.
My thought regarding “Omelas” as an argument for individual rights was that the child’s misery is justified (in the eyes of the townspeople) by the good it brings about for the town–i.e. the happiness of the collective supercedes the needs of this one individual. But the ones who walk away find that situation intolerable, and (as I recall) the reader is led that way, too. So the story can be seen as demonstrating that (or at least asking whether) an individual’s rights are more important than those of the collective.
For the rest: I realize that libertarianism tends to be opposed to feminism in practice (and sometimes in theory, too, depending on the theories). And I know that Atwood and LeGuin are not libertarians. But if we look at the description given of what kind of works the LFS wants to reward:
I think The Handmaid’s Tale does pretty much exactly that.
@Bonnie: link not working. OOPS! Thanks—I thought I checked that it worked but it was getting late. It was to this article arguing that today’s libertarian movement isn’t for gay rights: https://www.queerty.com/six-reasons-why-todays-libertarian-movement-is-not-at-all-pro-gay-20140825
Reason #6 from the article seems appropriate to quote here:
6. The funders are hypocrites. The Koch brothers (Charles and David) are the biggest funders of the libertarian movement. They help underwrite the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank, and have spent tens of millions of dollars promoting libertarian causes that happen to coincide with their financial interests (such as killing climate change legislation). David Koch has said “I believe in gay marriage.” Nowhere is that reflected in the candidates given money by the organizations with financial ties to the brothers. Instead, those organizations are donating to Tea Party groups or offering ad support for mouth-breathing House Republicans who will stop anything LGBT in its tracks. And then, of course, there’s Peter Thiel, the gay billionaire who funded presidential quest of Ron Paul, Rand’s even crazier father, a campaign which came with a long list of homophobic attendants.
Now, there is a spirited debate within the libertarian ranks as to many of these issues. Many libertarians are very supportive of the LGBT community and suspicious of the religious right. They are more interested getting government out of the way, whatever the consequences might be. But the libertarian movement that is capturing political attention today is much more a pick-and-choose type of philosophy: easy to agree with principles when they support what you want, and easy to discard them when they don’t.
So, yes, some libertarians may say they believe in LGBTQ rights, but I don’t really care what they ‘believe’ in given the actions of so many self-proclaimed libertarians.
@Bill: First electoral vote. Very nice symbolic moment but what has the libertarian movement done for women’s right recently? Given how many of the links I saw by libertarian feminists about sexism in the movement, I’m not buying running a woman for office makes for a feminist statement (for fuck’s sake, Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin alone refute that argument).
Nice platform. Now why don’t you start convincing the Koch brothers and all the other patriarchal assholes are pimping themselves as libertarians and who are working to dismantle women’s rights to get with the system and live up to that platform?
It’s easy to write a platform that says they support women’s rights, gay rights, etc. but what are they actually *doing* to support those movements? Any prominent libertarians posting in support of the Women’s March and going out on the streets for example? Any major mustering of financial support to Planned Parenthood or other reproductive rights organizations? Do libertarians turn out to support the women’s health clinics that are under fire (literally)? Do they walk any walk or just write platforms?
I know libertarians oppose the war on drugs; I also am fairly sure that legalizing drugs won’t make a bit of difference to how African Americans are jailed (and killed) by the legal system because surface change will not affect systemic racism in the least (as is shown in recent states where marijuana has been legalized). So that one issue isn’t particularly important (since it comes across as “we want to get our highs man”): what else are they doing to support Civil Rights?
@Cora and Mike: you make some good points. People are always more complex than our ideological affiliations. But the Libertarian Futurist group has this on their membership page: “The Libertarian Futurist Society was founded in 1982 to recognize and promote libertarian science fiction. LFS presents the annual Prometheus Award for Best Novel, the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award for best classic literary works of liberty and occasional Prometheus Special Awards for other categories (short fiction, dramatic presentations, life achievement and similar awards) and publishes the quarterly journal, Prometheus.”
That implies a focus on libertarian science fiction, and that may be an accurate description of quite a few award winners. But Atwood and LeGuin? Still jars, and I’m realizing some of the reason its jars for me–and does come across as appropriating–as I respond to the comments by Bill and L.
@Andrew M: well, as I quoted from their own membership page above they say that they want to “recognize and promote libertarian science fiction.” The devil is in the details, of course, and just like “feminist” I’m sure “libertarian” can mean many things to many people (including libertarian feminists). But I’m not buying it in the case of these two feminist authors.
@L: You also make some good points although it requires taking this statement out of the context of the whole libertarian movement (and its current deployment by the Koch brothers and other white elites, including white women) to destroy the recent social progress regarding women’s rights. I can’t do that: it’s impossible. And while I can find information on libertarian activism like the free state movement, I’m not able to find any indication that libertarians as a group are working in any way to support efforts to retain equal rights in any progressive way.
And the irony of them recognizing Atwood’s dystopian novel as libertarian given how much it is relevant to today’s efforts by the GOP/Tea Party/libertarian billionaires to destroy women’s rights burns.
And given those efforts, I’ll ask you what I asked Bill above: what are libertarians (big name? individuals you know? etc.?) doing to oppose those efforts?
@robinreid — it sounds like you are looking for actions taken by libertarians that are specific to some group identity; something that is focussed directly on blacks or women or gays.
Libertarianism (big-L and small-l) typically doesn’t work that way. It advocates for everyone (I say this as an interested observer, more than as one who identifies as L/libertarian, although I have voted for some Libertarian candidates in the past), rather than for segments of society. Reduced taxes benefit everyone, including blacks, women, gays, etc. If government regulations are scaled back, that benefits the woman who wants to get an abortion as much as it affects the farmer who wants to sell raisins despite government enforced quotas. The lower consumer prices created by free trade is a boon to the single mother. Open immigration polices benefits the Hispanic migrant agricultural worker as well as the farmers who hire them.
I think you underestimate the effect of the war on drugs on black people.
To be fair, you can’t blame the Libertarian Futurist Society for what the Koch brothers, Peter Thiel or Ron and Rand Paul are doing, unless any of these people are actually members of the society. Political movements are rarely monolithic and in the case of US libertarians, the loudest voices also seem to be the most problematic.
That’s a good question to direct to a party.
On the other hand, one of the anarcho-libertarian fans I knew, the late Samuel E. Konkin III, said the Libertarian Party was just a placeholder “until people can be educated to stop voting altogether.”
There’s a spectrum of libertarianism, like anything else, and it includes people who don’t want a state exercising power over people. Being free in your own identity would be a right. But using the power of the state to enforce that right would only be an option for statist libertarians. (Which I thought was an oxymoron til the most recent election.)
I think it’s less them recognizing The Handmaid’s Tale as libertarian than as anti-authoritarian.
My recollection is the award nearly tanked when they tried to keep to more exclusively libertarian writing. A new group took over and enlarged the scope. In that redefined scope, Atwood fits the goals of the award while not being a libertarian.
On libertarianism itself, I think you’re assuming a unity of goals and methods that doesn’t exist. Think more the Judean People’s Front versus the Judean Popular People’s Front versus the People’s Front of Judea (Splitters!). Libertarianism ranges from Republicans that basically want guilt free orgies and legalized drugs; and, all the way out from there to hard core anarchists. Ask two for their thoughts and you’ll get three opinions.
As a former libertarian I think I can fairly represent the arguments (bearing in mind the non-unity mentioned above):
Government is the most dangerous invention ever conceived. Government imposition of civil rights legislation is creeping authoritarianism. Anything that furthers the power of government to intrude on private lives is to be opposed. Historically, through a variety of mechanisms, governments have done more to abet discrimination than not. By opposing civil rights legislation libertarians are supporting the basic human right of free association and thus actually supporting the rights of women and minorities (along with everyone else).
But, what about existing discrimination and disparities?
In a truly free society discrimination will fall away. Why would you not sell a cake to that gay couple or rent to minorities? It’s money in your pocket. Businesses that fail to service everyone will fail in the long run; inclusive businesses will flourish. Individuals engaging in discrimination will similarly fade away as force and fraud against others becomes socially unacceptable.
This presumes human-kind as a rational economic actor, of course (Which is a highly suspect assumption). Like all utopianism, libertarianism requires a certain mindset including a simplified and naïve view of humanity. My personal opinion – libertarianism, depending on flavor, is an invitation to oligarchy or feudalism.
That’s a longer discussion though and I’ve almost certainly rambled enough.
Robin, I think we’re having two different debates. I don’t really disagree with what you’re saying about libertarianism as it appears in practice and often conflicts with feminist goals in the US right now. I’m not a libertarian and don’t have much desire to mount a defense for it as a political philosophy (and anyway Stoic Cynic’s post is good), even less for some people who espouse it to whatever extent. But I don’t think that larger context necessarily makes this specific literary society’s choices of feminist writers all that absurd. I think maybe it’s good that they would consider recognizing Atwood’s book in particular, since it is both feminist and anti-authoritarian.
Per the LFS website, in 1987 Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was a finalist for the annual Prometheus Award for best novel. Three of the five finalists for the 1987 best novel award were women.
So the takeaway here is there is but one party, one philosophy, that of the liberal democrats, all others must be shunned, mocked and driven from the public square. You folks at file 770 are a fine example of bigotry personified.
Lakedog: So the takeaway here is there is but one party, one philosophy, that of the liberal democrats, all others must be shunned, mocked and driven from the public square.
So, do you think it makes sense for the LFS to consider The Handmaid’s Tale for a Prometheus, or do you think a feminist text is too incompatible with a libertarian award?
I don’t want to get involved in debates, but as the LFS member who nominated “The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas,” I can explain why I did so. To start with, it has nothing to do with feminism; not all of Le Guin’s writing reduces to a feminist political or ideological platform, any more than all of, say, Vernor Vinge’s or Poul Anderson’s reduces to a libertarian one. In fact, I recommended it not so much as a political statement as a statement about the ethical grounds of politics.
There’s a widely held ethical view called “utilitarianism,” which says that the good is the greatest happiness of the greatest number; that is, you can compare the happiness of one person A with another person B or with a lot of other people b1, b2, …, and if reducing A’s happiness by X amount increases the others’ happiness by X+x amount, you’re obligated to do that. Some people get to libertarianism from that starting point (David Friedman, an economist, legal theorist, and sf writer, is one); but a lot of libertarians reject this in favor of what Ayn Rand called a “non-sacrificial ethic,” which says that you cannot justify making one person worse off by making another person better off. That’s my own position, though I won’t argue for it here; it would be a big sidetrack.
But in “Omelas,” as I read it, Le Guin gave us an incredibly powerful parable about where the sacrificial ethic, or utilitarianism, or “make one person worse off to make others better off,” can lead. And of course it’s not a literal, realistic situation, but an allegorical one; but some points can be made more strongly allegorically. (Jack Williamson’s “With Folded Hands . . .”, which did make it to the finals, is another story whose main point is allegorical, though it’s a different main point.)
William H. Stoddard: a “non-sacrificial ethic,” which says that you cannot justify making one person worse off by making another person better off.
My issue with that philosophy is that a lot of people who identify as “libertarian” confuse “not getting things exactly the way I want them” with “making me worse off”.
Some people get to libertarianism from that starting point (David Friedman, an economist, legal theorist, and sf writer, is one); but a lot of libertarians reject this in favor of what Ayn Rand called a “non-sacrificial ethic,” which says that you cannot justify making one person worse off by making another person better off.
A political philosophy based on Pareto-optimality is impossible to justify on its own terms.
I don’t think File 770 is the right venue for a debate over ethics or social philosophy, which is which I said I wasn’t going to engage in one. I was making a historical point: This is a philosophical position, just as utilitarianism is one; it’s one I hold; it’s one I think is compatible with the libertarian noninitiation of force principle, and therefore is relevant to libertarianism; and a story that can be read as a parable about this idea is thus relevant to libertarianism.
That seems as if it ought to be possible to follow even if you don’t agree with any of the positions in question; but in any case, it’s how I decided to nominate “Omelas,” as a matter of actual history, even if I was in error in my reasoning. And more generally, when I talk about libertarianism I’m more focused on ethics and philosophy than on pragmatic politics—which I think is a common mindset among libertarians who go back to the sixties, as I do.
William H. Stoddard: I don’t think File 770 is the right venue for a debate over ethics or social philosophy, which is which I said I wasn’t going to engage in one.
So you’re not a regular reader of File 770, then. 😀
@Bill: Thank you for your comments and explanation—but I think that we live on such different planets that not much is getting through. I think you underestimate the effect of white racism on African Americans.
My experience is that somebody talking about “everyone” or “human beings,” as being more important than those groups usually means talking about white men only. Yeah, I’m interested in efforts to support those groups who are historically and currently marginalized because of their identity. That oppression pre-dated the current government structure, but in the U.S. at least the little progress that has been made has been through the government, and I don’t trust that dismantling it will result in improvement for any of the groups targeted by those holding power who are, disproportionately, straight white men.
@Cora: I was not blaming anybody as far as I know—I expressed shock/hed hurtz at the information about the prize, was asked why I thought it so odd, and tried to explain why I was shocked at the group awarding feminist works. There are no monolithic groups (heck, one of the first searches I did brought up some libertarian feminists whose posts I read and am thinking I might follow just to learn more about libertarian feminism). I agree those current libertarians are likely giving the movement a bad namem but so did the Ayn Rand acolytes I met in the 1970s/80s, and the MRA’s and MGTOWs who are proud to proclaim their libertarianism. I apparently haven’t met any libertarians who are more reasonable (but I still think their focus on the issue of government regulation and taxes is too narrow and again tends to benefit the more privileged groups).
@Mike: hmm, so what is their take on all the people not voting in the last presidential election? Because I’m not very happy about the results myself.
See comments above about my awareness of multiple stances within ideologies—I’m likely to check out a few of the libertarian feminists (who, I notice, are talking about the sexism of the liberatarian men—again not at all new). Statist libertarian does seem a bit of a contradiction in terms (I’m assuming that it’s related to the free state libertarians who want to move to an underpopulated state and set up a….small state government?)
@Stoic Cynic: Shifting the focus to anti-authoritarian instead of libertarian would make sense of a rationale for the awards. And, no, see comments above: I do not assume a unity of goals and methods which do not exist in any human group. I was asked why I was shocked—and explained that (to my knowledge of libertarians) it made no sense for them to award feminist works such at Atwood’s or LeGuin’s. But I gather from William that he doesn’t sully his hands with pragmatic politics like anti-authoritarianism only high and universal issues like ethics and philosophy!
Thank you for sharing your take on it – your summation of the basic principle (a basic core?) is exactly why I am so dubious about litertarianism. I have only one response to the claim that: By opposing civil rights legislation libertarians are supporting the basic human right of free association and thus actually supporting the rights of women and minorities (along with everyone else), and that response is citation fucking needed. I was born in 1955. I grew up and remember what it was like before the various civil rights and gender legislation was passed. It was bad.
I agree with your point about the problem of the assumption humans as rational economic actors—an ongoing problem of the Enlightenment and economics as an academic discipline.
I appreciate you confirming (HEH) my basic sense of the theory of libertarianism: you’re right that we don’t need longer discussion—I’ve not heard anything that new in the discussion so far, and I didn’t plan to start a debate about the ideology. My explanation for my shock at the news has to do with my knowledge of the discourse—and as I explained to Bill above, I’m not likely to change my perception of the various flavors of libertarianism which all seem mostly the preserve of white guys (as is true of much else in the world).
@L: We probably are. Although I will be interested to read more by libertarian feminists which I would not have known about had you not asked your question. I’m now mostly wondering if Atwood is an anti-libertarian (in the context of the award) as she has shown herself (in the past at least) to be anti-science fiction!
@William: So “feminism” is a reductive ideology whereas “the ethical ground of politics” is vast and important and no doubt universal (and of great importance to white men). Gotcha! Sorry, can’t talk, gotta get back to shunning and mocking! And pointing out that any given “ethical” system is an ideology specific to a socio-cultural historic moment (just like, gosh, feminism). There is no such thing as some universal ethical or philosophical stance OUTSIDE ideology. Toodles!
JJ: My issue with that philosophy is that a lot of people who identify as “libertarian” confuse “not getting things exactly the way I want them” with “making me worse off”.
Yup—the ongoing issue of those those used to occupying a privileged position seeing equality for others as oppression aimed at them.
Stoic Cynic: I think it’s less them recognizing The Handmaid’s Tale as libertarian than as anti-authoritarian.
robinareid: Shifting the focus to anti-authoritarian instead of libertarian would make sense of a rationale for the awards.
When I first found out about the Prometheus Awards a couple of years ago, I went out and found the list of past finalists and winners on Wikipedia. Needless to say, I raised an eyebrow several times whilst reading it: Charles Stross? Ken MacLeod? John Scalzi? Cory Doctorow a 3-time winner + 2-time finalist? Several others who seem distinctly not libertarian?
So I looked at the people I thought weren’t really Libertarians, and what their nominated works were, and decided something along the lines of, “okay, the theme I’m seeing in common here is anti-draconic laws, not libertarianism”. So I’ve pretty much taken it for granted since then that the award is not really given so much for libertarian books, but for anti-authoritarian books.
JJ: True, although I note that the anti-authoritarian are mostly by white men, so I suspect that certain kinds of anti-authoritarianism are more palatable to libertarians than others. *goes to look at the overall lists in a bit more detail (why yes I’m ignoring work I should be doing for the new semester!)*
Scrolling scrolling scrolling….through list of Prometheus winners and runners up and such at Wikipedia.
I see Terry Pratchett has some libertarian fans!
And that their Hall of Fame awards seem a bit quirky. I got to the 2000 Hans Christian Andersen, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” award and was, well, OK, anti-authoritarian. I’d have thought HoF would be more about a body of work than a single text (though all the HoF entries identify a single text), and that list jumps all over the place, and then I got to 2009 Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings????????? I don’t see that as flaunting any major anti-authoritarian themes.
I see this as standard practice of all kind of awards. I’m a member of the swedish peace movement and every year they hand out a price to the person in Sweden who has worked most towards Peace.
Every time, this will be a person that is very famous, that has more or less done nothing to work for peace, but perhaps written an article some years earlier with some platitude. But the person is famous, which means that the press releases about the peace organization is more likely to be quoted and get attention of the mass media.
So that libertarians want to pick out the most famous names from SFF is only to be expected. All organizations in politics do stuff like this. That others see this more as a hijacking is another thing.
Poor old Kipling. This is the twelfth consecutive year in which “As Easy as A.B.C.” has been a finalist – will his luck change at last?
@Hampus: A very good point about awards in general–that the group pragmatically wants to associate itself (co-opt? appropriate?) the status of the very famous. I notice that none of the people who more or less defended the award choices made that argument (which I’d tend to agree with)! I still roll my eyes at Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win.
and then I got to 2009 Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings????????? I don’t see that as flaunting any major anti-authoritarian themes.
Its not a dominant theme, but one of the goals attributed to Sauron is that he wishes to enslave the free people of Middle-Earth. My guess is that some libertarian fans saw that phrasing and decided that the heroes in the book are fighting for freedom.
@Hampus Eckerman, @robinareid
I’ve never been a member of the LFS so you may be entirely right. I don’t know their motives and methodology. That said, I’m thinking it’s more fans of an ideological bent still trying to pick good stories. Absent evidence, immediately going to ulterior motives smacks of puppies accusing the Hugos of virtue signaling.
On the Lord of the Rings I’m thinking Saruman and the Shire might be more where they were aiming. Then again, who knows?
@Aaron, in LOTR they’re fighting for a hereditary monarchy and a rigid class structure. Fine libertarian values, right…?