Okay, so I write science fiction. I try to come up with fantastic yet plausible futures to say something insightful or funny about the human condition. It’s a thing that’s made me some money and folks often enjoy my stories. Unfortunately, these days I am frequently exposed to fiction that is designed to cost folks money…and nobody seems to enjoy it.
These stories might make good science fiction, but instead are custom designed fear…not entertainment. A popular version of this genera involves the 133 secret underground bases scattered across the country, where “the government” is staging forces for our enslavement. The plan is to first give us health care and then eliminate the dollar to put the US on the One World Currency. Next, the government (I suppose they mean the federal government but they seldom name a department) will take away our guns. Once the populous is disarmed, UN forces will invade to round up all dissidents and put us in concentration camps run by FEMA. In this Dark Age, our only hope for freedom will be the right wing militia groups who will wage heroic guerrilla war against the New World Order.
Seriously, as science fiction goes, this could be a good story (black helicopters and all). Unfortunately, nobody is finding it entertaining or insightful. They are finding it terrifying. Folks are stockpiling guns and ammunition for the day they “know” will come. After all, they herd it on Alex Jones Infowars or maybe on Glenn Beck’s radio show, and those guys have never been wrong about anything…right?
Sadly, it’s not just yahoos that are taking this sick fantasy seriously. Political leaders from state to the federal level are going off halfcocked on all manner of nutty conspiracy theories. They re-re-investigate Bengasi, deny climate change, block any real discussion on gun policy and prevent immigration reform; all the while justifying their failure to solve problems with some crackpot conspiracy theory.
The real problem is not the New World Order or any other imagined boogieman. The problem is our new inability to reason with each other. We simply can’t seem to have intelligent discussions about how to solve our real problems in this fantasy-laden environment. Every new idea put forth is a leap down that “slippery slope” that ends in fascist-communism (whatever that would look like, I don’t know). This means as our imaginary problems grow, our real problems fester– a perfect lose-lose for the whole country.
Nobody can predict the future. As a science fiction writer I’m just guessing and having fun with “what-ifs.” Anybody who tells you they know the future is lying to you, plain and simple. Instead of gorging ourselves at the troth of paranoia, let’s work together to solve the real problems we face NOW.
Then let the fear mongers die a natural death from lack of attention.
Clayton J. Callahan