Monday, 16 January 2017

“I am an outsider in my own country”: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Because there are Nazis in it, The Man in the High Castle’s alternate historical arc is proof for contemporary leftist pinheads of Philip K. Dick’s prescience. You know, Trump is Hitler and PKD was ahead of his time with a book prophesising the state of the American mind under totalitarianism. Because totalitarianism is what’s happening in America right now, right? People are idiots.

TMITHC is an alternative history like Crime and Punishment is about a guy who killed a couple of old ladies. That America lost WWII and is now divided between the Germans and the Japanese is just background; the real focus is white American psychological responses to a new form of oppression. And this is where PKD is a genius. Because the book is not about responses to totalitarian oppression (no matter how many Nazis there are). What it’s about is the white American response to subjugation by migrants. Or to put it more bluntly, it’s about white American self-abnegation posing as a form of love for an invading race. If he's read within this framework, PKD was indeed spectacularly prescient.

The scene that exemplifies this view in gut wrenching detail is when the American Childan has dinner at Paul and Betty Kasoura’s apartment. When he arrives in the exclusively Japanese enclave – not a white in sight – Childan mourns to himself, “I am an outsider in my own country.” Later, at dinner, while fretting over a perceived slight to his Japanese hosts, he thinks, ‘And I – the white barbarian. It is true.”

That PKD understood more than half a century ago that this was coming down the chute should alone cement his reputation as one of the most astute social commentators of his generation. Because the Childan character is immediately identifiable to anyone paying attention to what's happening in contemporary American culture. Childan liberals have not only welcomed migrants into America, but bent themselves out of shape so as not to offend them.

It’s not surprising that leftists ignore what’s staring them in the face, and interpret TMITHC as a frightening glimpse of how the world could have been if the Allies lost WWII (now coming to life with Trump). Because to go deeper, and see it as a forecast of what American culture would become in the face of a migrant invasion, would melt their tiny brains. 

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