Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Lord of the Flies

I have just finished reading Lord of the Flies because progressives often hold it up as a counterweight to Atlas Shrugged, with the added advantage of being an order of magnitude shorter. A plane crash that kills the adults strands a group of preteen British boys on an island, leaving the boys to work out how to govern themselves. The boys' descent into savagery on the island supposedly shows people's need for rules. To me, however, it says more about preteen boys' need for rules.

The book also illustrates an issue that I have yet to see advocates of bigger government address. The boys on the island are left to their own devices to enact and enforce the very rules that they need in order to behave properly and are thus stuck with the paradox of democratic statism that I noted earlier elsewhere, namely, that the same people who cannot run their own lives must somehow run one another's. In-universe, the boys can hope for grownups to arrive on the island and make the needed rules, but in the real world, we cannot.