Don’t Panic: Living the Satire

by Ryan on January 14, 2009

in Anything Else,Economy,Election 2008,UK Politics

The American Spectator ran an article yesterday which mixed two things I really love, combining contemporary politics and clever 1980s British satirists through poking fun at Obamanomics using the work of the late Douglas Adams!

Here are a few lines Joseph Lawler draws from Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

On the Presidency:

As the alien Ford Prefect explains to the human protagonist Arthur Dent, an ancient democracy is bound, eventually, to elect only lizards for its leaders. Why?

Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?” …

“I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.” …

“Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them,” [Ford] said. “They’re completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.

Precisely right — in the last election we elected one younger, slightly more government-loving lizard over another older, slight less government-loving lizard, and some of us think that the lizard we ended up with is the best thing ever. They’re completely and utterly wrong, of course.

Don’t hope for anything better in the next election cycle, though. Adams distills the underlying flaw of democracy in one paragraph:

To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

I don’t buy into that last part, but we’re only 6 days away from an Obama Nation so I deserve some leeway to temporarily poke fun at the system. 

On the economy, Lawler’s article goes on:

Arthur Dent discovers, during his time travels, that when the human race first alights on the planet earth, the first finance minister solves the pressing question of what to do to get money by establishing tree leaves as currency  (just the kind of expansionary policy that Bernanke would beam majestically on).

“But, we have also run into a small inflation problem on account of the high level of leaf availability. Which means that I gather the current going rate has something like three major deciduous forests buying one ship’s peanut. So, um, in order to obviate this problem and effectively revalue the leaf, we are about to embark on an extensive defoliation campaign, and um, burn down all the forests. I think that’s a sensible move don’t you?”

Finally, knocking stimulus packages, Lawler points out that Adams desribes how the Earth itself was ultimately bulldozed away to make way for an intergalactic superhighway.  Ah! Satirically apocalyptic literature from a Brit back in the ’80s shining relevantly to this disappointed 21st Century conservative!

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