One of my favorite books is Lord of the Flies (by William Golding), about a group of boys (12 years-old and under) who are stranded on a deserted island after their plane goes down following a catastrophic event (an unspecified nuclear war).
As the story unfolds, attempts made by the young boys to form a democratic society quickly unravel as anarchy starts to reign before ultimately giving way to tyranny.
The symbolism associated with the three major characters in the novel can easily be applied to our current political climate, with each character representing some of the troubling realities of our day.
Simon is a wise and cerebral sort who clearly sees the realities of the situation but is written off by the others as peculiar in his reasoning. Ralph is idealistic, although insecure, in his attempts to lead and encourage his peers to work together and achieve responsible solutions. Jack is a narcassist and recruits a few of the more troubled boys (‘thugs’) to establish a coup in which Ralph’s efforts are undermined and wholly thwarted. Jack and his ‘thugs’ become extremely brazen over the course of the story as they realize that there are no longer any moral consequences to their evil deeds (due to the absence of adult authority).
As far as the symbolism and how it applies to today’s America. I liken Simon to a Ron Paul-type, who, although he has his issues, tries to enlighten his peers of the self-destruction that constantly looms.
Ralph is symbolic of the American people, who, although well-intentioned, lacks the vision and discipline to overcome trials and adversity. Ironically, it is now until Simon is slaughtered by the other boys, that Ralph fully understands the level of destructive depravity that has taken over – but by then, it’s too late for him to do anything about it.
Jack is driven by his own lust and ambition. For his ambition to be realized, he understands the need to seize all power and control, which he does by manipulating the young masses. He does this through an emotional appeal to their senses (they will have fun hunting, swimming, and playing and will not be restricted by rules and responsibilities – their heart’s desire can be realized). With no rules and no accountability, they resort to barbarism, with Jack assuming the role of a cruel, merciless dictator.
In the end, Jack is taken down by his own reckless quest for dominance as his command to smoke out a hidden and scared Ralph winds up setting the whole island ablaze. The fiery scene alerts a surprise rescue unit, whose sudden arrival prevents the murder of a defeated and helpless Ralph at the hands of Jack and his loyal tribe.
Who does Jack remind you of ? Anyone in particular coming to mind?
Now I am not a Ron Paul disciple, but he really has been a voice crying in the wilderness over the past few decades regarding our government’s responsibity to follow the Consititution and clean up our own backyard (rather than arbitrarily policing/monitoring international interests). He’s been able to see the forest through the trees eonomically and militarily, and the Constitution has been his compass.
Unfortunately, despite his sound governing philosophy and the consistency and reliability of his message, Dr. Paul has been treated with neither respect or regard by the establishment of both major political parties.
If Ron Paul was a droid, he’d be C3PO, providing sound judgement and reasoning, only to be rudely dismissed and belittled by a reckless Han Solo. The only difference is that this is reality; and as Paul’s message continues to go unheeded, we are swiftly plummeting toward economic and social chaos.
A Ron Paul America would not have its citizens needlessly and intrusively monitored, its soldiers carelessly slaughtered, and its taxpayers smothered under the weight of catastrophic debt.
All of this could have been avoided if we just listened to the sage wisdom of this prudent man.
You warned us, Dr. Paul…. Unfortunately, America refused to listen!
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)