China Mieville really hates libertarians

China Mieville, best known for his astonishingly creative steampunk novel Perdido Street Station, has worked himself into a fine froth over a libertarian plan to build a giant ship-country. Mieville says:

It is a small schadenfreude to know that these dreams will never come true. There are dangerous enemies, and then there are jokes of history. The libertarian seasteaders are a joke. The pitiful, incoherent and cowardly utopia they pine for is a spoilt child’s autarky, an imperialism of outsourcing, a very petty fascism played as maritime farce: Pinochet of Penzance.

Now, I am no libertarian (growing up in New Hampshire squashed that right in the bud), but it is rather deliciously ironic that neither Mieville’s essay nor the Author Bio section mentions Mieville’s own book The Scar, which revolves around its own quasi-libertarian floating utopia.

Via Pharyngula


4 Responses to China Mieville really hates libertarians

  1. Relevance says:

    More like a quasi-libertarian floating *dystopia*. I think he may be the world’s leading expert on what can possibly go wrong with this plan.

  2. I seem to remember the Armada in The Scar being a haven for social outcasts and all happy and loving (until it is infiltrated by outside forces). Maybe I’m getting mixed up with Iron Council?

  3. jebyrnes says:

    I think the infiltration is kinda the point – while I admire some libertarian principles, in principle, the ‘Unregulate everything! Everything will be fine!’ philosophy ignores the reality of scammers, hucksters, or hidden agendas that would whither if shown even the smallest light of day. I think this boondoggle is a pretty good case in point, and the history of other similar ventures provides many solid examples of why attempts at creating islands of ideological purity are always destined to come crashing at 100mph into the brick wall of reality.

    And, you know, I’m glad he writes such screeds – better he get it all out in journals, papers, and other political publications than having it take control of his creative works. At least, I hope that’s how it works.

    Along those lines, an open letter to one of my favorite authors:

    Dear China,
    When not repetitvely drooling over your drum-and-bass princess (which you thankfully have grown out of), you’re an truly amazing author. One of the best of our time. Indeed, you are a mighty literary force when you masterfully create worlds, tinging your stories with politics, big ideas, and thought provoking scenarios and setups. After that whole Iron Council polemic/novel, you’ve started to find your feet again with Un Lun Dun (although your like-a-frieght-train subtlety of tearing up the traditional children’s story narrative was still a little much). Bas Lag and the other worlds that swirl in your mind miss you being awesome. Please do so, and we shall resume our fannish drooling over your every word. Thank you!

    The council that loves a good story where the elements ofv literature and culture are woven together into an intricate encrossing web instead of having the Big Ideas hammering you like a sledgehammer every few seconds because we got it the first twelve times that this is an allegory

  4. Martini-Corona says:

    I had to read the beginning of this post like 3 times before I realized that you were not reporting on a bunch of librarians forming a floating dystopia. It makes much more sense now. But is slightly less awesome.

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