Bellerophon, Chinese communists, Communists, deplorables, F-15s and nuns, Forbidden Planet, hubris, John Adams, normals, Robbie the Robot, self-imagined elite, socialists, Temporary President Biden, The Founders, true communism, utopia
Imagine, gentle readers, your sociopolitical beliefs are infallible. Whatever social or political policy you hold, it cannot possibly be wrong. Whatever you attempt, it cannot possibly fail, because you and those of like mind, unlike all human beings before you, are intellectually and morally superior. You know this because you and all of like mind agree on this, and everything else, and you don’t listen to lesser beings. What would be the point? You know because when you and those of like mind compare your obvious superiority, your evolved perfection, to lesser beings—“Deplorables” or “Normals” if you will—the contrast is so stark as to be self-evident, and you make sure no one can avoid your assessment of your exaltation. Your understanding of human nature and of all things affecting the human condition is unsurpassed in all of history. You, unlike every terribly flawed human being before you—and of course contemporaries that have not reached your pinnacle of perfection—are solely fit to establish uptopia, heaven on Earth, once and for all.
Tragically, your policies are not properly appreciated. When it appears they are failing or have failed, it cannot be true, because you are incapable of error. Your superiority makes you capable of creating your own, flawless reality and forcing everyone else to live in it. Yet reality—what Normals call reality—all too often, inexplicably, intrudes on your superior reality and sometimes, failure cannot be ignored. What then?
You did not fail; you cannot fail; it only temporarily looks that way. So you blame lesser beings. You are sufficiently magnanimous to allow them to continue to exist, so they undermine your brilliant policies, policies they can’t recognize are for their own good, and that is what makes them appear to fail. You explain: shut up! And if that doesn’t work, because Normals aren’t smart enough to listen to you, you explain the policies only appear to fail because not enough money has been spent, Normals are allowed to say mean and misinformed things about you and your polices, or not enough time has elapsed for their wonders to become fully manifest. Normals haven’t had them good enough and hard enough. You don’t have to live under your policies, because shut up.
Your newest explanations for why your policies appear to fail explain it’s because Normals are systemically racist, and sexist, and transphobic, and don’t use the right pronouns, or any pronouns, and refuse to wear masks and let their aged relatives die alone and in misery. They deny their systemic racism. They cling to God, stupidly thinking there can be anything more magnificent and powerful than you and those that think like you, and so you’ve logically excised God from your party platform. They’re stupid enough to think illegal immigrants, felons, and pre-living people–they insensitively call them “dead”–shouldn’t be allowed to vote. They even think people should be allowed to vote only once! Even if the people voting don’t actually exist! They’re not diverse and inclusive, and absolutely not woke. No wonder your brilliant, world-changing, infallible policies might appear to be failures. Normals aren’t smart enough to understand them, and they aren’t appropriately grateful for your brilliance. Worst of all, Normals have guns, lots of guns, which makes imposing your reality on them all the harder and more frustrating. Superior beings shouldn’t have to waste their immeasurably valuable time and mental energy on such trifles.
How can the planet be saved—we only have nine or so years this time before the world ends—how can utopia be created against such normal, patriotic, nationalistic thinking?
Have you seen, gentle readers, Forbidden Planet (1956)? You’ve certainly seen many depictions of its primary theme in movies, books and elsewhere. The movie starred Leslie Nielsen in a very early, non-comedic role. He was the captain of a military mission sent to a distant planet to learn why an expedition sent there many years before went missing. Man has learned to exceed the speed of light, which makes that kind of space travel possible.
On the planet he meets its three inhabitants: Dr. Morbius, his daughter Altera, and Robbie the robot. Morbius is less than friendly, and anxious for the rescuers to leave. The others in his expedition died, torn limb from limb by some invisible force. Morbius, his wife and daughter, wanted to stay; the others wanted to return to Earth. Their ship, the Bellerophon, was obliterated by the same mysterious, invisible force as it tried to lift off. Bellerophon, by the way, was Greece’s mightiest hero before Hercules. Morbius’s wife died shortly thereafter of natural causes. The irresistible, invisible force has been dormant since.
Morbius learned the planet had been inhabited by a near-divine race known as the Krell, but they had been extinct for thousands of centuries. They were highly evolved, far beyond human beings. They abolished war, disease, poverty and inequality, and traveled the universe, even visiting a primitive Earth. But that wasn’t enough. They achieved utopia, and it killed them all in a single night.
As members of the Captain’s crew are killed, one by one by the same, reawakened force, the Captain learns Morbius built Robbie–impossible with contemporary Earth knowledge–because he experimented with a Krell device that nearly killed him, but dramatically increased his intellectual capacity, which allowed him to learn the Krell alphabet and understand some of their accomplishments. As to their demise, he learned only they perished in a night, following the crowning achievement of their civilization, their attainment, due to their intellectual and moral superiority, of utopia.
As my students watched the movie, I offered treats for the first to explain what happened to the Krell. No one ever got it until it was revealed at the end of the movie and I explained it and its implications. They considered writing about the movie, its theme, and its relation to human nature, something less than a treat, though it inspired them to do well, and the sophistication of its special effects at a time when we had no computer graphics surprised and impressed them.
Can you guess, gentle readers? Do you know why the Krell couldn’t keep utopia, why this all but divine race extinguished itself in a single night?
What killed them was hubris—excessive pride. Their technical brilliance surpassed the reality of their nature. They built a machine, 20 miles by 20 miles by 20 miles, underground, the only remnant of their civilization. Everything above ground wasted away in the intervening thousands of centuries. Self-repairing, self-regulating, the machine gave every Krell the ability to create whatever they wanted by mere thought.
Do you see it now? Have you seen similar themes?
Imagine you have the ability, by mere thought, conscious or subconscious, to create or destroy whatever you could imagine. You want a new car? Unique, of your design? Poof! There it is. You want a specific lover? Poof! There he or she is. You want someone dead? They’re dead. Think, gentle readers, of all the crazy, angry, hateful, even frivolous and absurd things that pop into our minds on a daily basis, that inhabit our subconscious minds, our dreams. Now consider that every human being on Earth has that power.
Is it any wonder the Krell, who were thousands upon thousand of centuries in advance of humankind, destroyed themselves? The Captain figured it out. Because Morbius’ brain was artificially altered by a Krell device, his subconscious was strong enough to activate the machine. He saw the Captain and his crew as a threat; he saw his daughter leaving him (of course, she fell in love with the Captain). A man of superior intellect but not morality, Morbius was sufficiently moral to never consciously want to harm others, but subconsciously, he was normal, just as deplorable any anyone else. Superior intellect doesn’t wipe away human nature, but it does make it easier to ignore it.
The Captain was smart enough to destroy the planet, destroy the Krell’s machine, because humanity wasn’t—isn’t–truly morally and intellectually superior. Oh, the wonders it could do for mankind, but even the Krell couldn’t be trusted with that kind of power. How could a self-imagined elite be so trusted? Morbius, dying, killed by his own subconscious, ultimately, tragically, moral, told the Captain how to destroy the planet.
Utopia, you see, is impossible on Earth. Every utopian experiment has failed, many in death and horror. Most utopian experiments, initially religiously motivated, quickly shrank from the lofty heights of faith, embraced social and political goals instead, and ended in disaster and misery. This despite the utopians having the best intentions, and self-imagined superior intellects and morality.
Communism, the most aggressive utopian experiment, has produced, by far, the greatest misery and suffering. Promising equality, true paradise, it has delivered instead more than 100 million murders in the last century alone, and the death toll continues to climb. Socialism, it is true, has been less deadly, but has always failed in its goals of equality, plenty for all, and an enlightened peace on Earth. It’s communism lite. Socialists won’t necessarily shoot you in the back of the head and bill your family for the bullet like the Chinese Communists do. They’ll just destroy your career, your life, your family’s life, and put you in prison for life. Or failing that, they’ll drive you to suicide as they so degrade society and humanity, as they take all the joy out of living, as to make suicide seem a reasonable choice. And always they long for the purity of “True Communism.”
This is particularly tragic, because “true communism” has never been tried. Ask contemporary socialist/communists. They, you see, are intellectually and morally superior. Unlike all socialists and communists before them, they alone can achieve true communism—utopia on Earth. They know what went wrong before, and they intend to remedy those failings—over your dead body.
All the previous, failed communists allowed lesser beings to continue to exist, undermining the necessary policies that would achieve utopia, policies they couldn’t recognize were for their own good, which explains the horrific suffering produced by all the non-true communism of the past. Oh, they tried to shut their opponents up, but just like today, Normals resisted utopia. They didn’t obey their betters. Not enough money was spent, and not enough time elapsed for their wonders to become fully manifest. The Normals didn’t have it good enough and hard enough, so they didn’t submit, and millions upon millions had to be killed to make way for the new communist man. This suppressed human nature–for a time.
And like the Krell, gentle readers, if our self-imagined elite get their way, they’ll destroy it all. The only difference is the Krell had the best intentions. Our self-imagined elite don’t. The death toll of the last century will seem insignificant by comparison. We won’t die by thought, but by thought crime. Like the Krell, like the advanced, space faring human beings of Forbidden Planet, humanity isn’t ready, isn’t capable of utopia. It’s simply not in human nature; it never will be.
The Founders understood human nature, unlike our self-imagined elite who are hubristic enough to imagine they have transcended it, that they can, with the right policies and intentions, and a monopoly on armed force—after all the Government has F-15s and nucs, said Temporary President Biden—alter human nature, bend it to their intellectually and morally superior will. The Founders knew better. They knew absolute power corrupts absolutely, so they designed the Constitution, which has, for more than two centuries, produced the most equal, free, secure, generous and prosperous nation Mankind has ever known.
John Adams, speaking for the Founders, understood:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Yet our self-imagined elite seek to destroy it in the pursuit of “equity,” which they think utopian. They’ll establish true communism where all before them have failed because they’re better than the Krell, smarter, and above all more moral, more moral than God, who they despise, ignore and taunt.
This is why we find ourselves in our current predicament.
There will never be utopia on Earth. That is reserved by our Creator for those who obey his word, who recognize Him as the Creator of all that is. He made us, defines human nature, what we are capable of understanding and accomplishing. When we ignore human nature, when we ignore and taunt God by trying to alter it, to recreate what He has created, to improve on it, everything goes haywire.
Heaven does not await us on Earth. It never has and never will. It can’t, because God reserves Heaven for believers, who achieve it by willing belief, by faith. We win Paradise by recognizing and embracing the reality of creation, not by monkeying with it, and not by denying God.
In 1956, the screenwriters of Forbidden Planet understood that. They understood the Krell failed because they weren’t God. And if the Krell failed, Mankind had no chance for utopia. Those were the Captain’s last lines at the end of the movie. Can you imagine anyone saying anything like that in a contemporary movie?
That’s why every utopian experiment has failed. That’s why hundreds of millions have been murdered by the most depraved utopians, and why even more will suffer and die in this century—unless we’re smart enough to understand the impossibility of Utopia, smart enough to appreciate what the Founders, inspired by God, gave us, and able to summon the will to stop those more than willing to destroy everything to fail to achieve a deranged, murderous Utopia.