It was clear to me from the moment the kids met the rainbow library demon that Shin Sekai Yori was a show about the Progressive Ideology taken to logical extremes – I made a post about it a few months ago. At that point, I figured that the show was taking a stance against progressivism – “It’s saying, here is a situation, here is the progressive response to this, and here are the justifications for that response, but you can see that it has this and this and that bad effect and children are being fed to cat demons.” At some point along the way, though, I became less convinced that that was the author’s actual stance. The threats that society faced from itself turned out to be even bigger than I had thought. I had thought they merely had to contend with a demon-haunted world, I didn’t realize that the demons were actually drawn from the ranks of society. (“No, John, you are the demons.”) At some point the danger is great enough to justify even their unironic implementation of fiftieth-trimester abortion. And the Ethics Committee seemed to be reasonably decent people, they let the kids live even though they knew all about their encounter with the rainbow library demon and they may have tried to kill Shun but Shun was obviously a clear and present danger and he wanted to die anyway so no harm no foul right? So I thought maybe the point was to stretch the progressive philosophy to its breaking point and show that it can endure.
Then episode 15 happened and it turned out I was right to begin with!
(Disclaimer: I’m going to have fun with politics in this post. I don’t necessarily agree with everything or anything I say. Despite all my rage I am still just a Good Liberal Progressive.)
Oh no! Liberals!
What I had forgotten was the rat-people. The rat-people represent the global poor, the people of developing nations, and it’s typical, isn’t it, that I would forget them? First world liberals don’t like to think about how they can afford to spend time caring about their gun control and abortion rights issues only because there is an exploited underclass that labors in slave-like conditions to grow our crops and whatnot. Sometimes they get imported to do the dirty work we don’t want to, like murdering all the children who seem like they might turn into demons.
This episode was all about the rat-people discovering democracy.
Squealer’s become a *politician*.
Apparently, after the events of three years ago, the Robber Fly colony was starting to rebuild, but their queen was standing In The Way Of Progress. So the rat-people of the Robber Fly colony rose up against their queen in the name of democracy and equal rights for all rat-people. Which sounds good right, as a good progressive you hear the word “democracy” and you cheer, except that the rat-people species is one where there is one queen per colony and she births all the rat-people. It’s like the idea of a beehive rising up and sending its queen to the guillotine – the hive can’t live without her. So their solution was to lobotomize her and remove her power, reducing her to a baby-making figurehead.
Incidentally, isn’t it sort of cute how they play two progressive ideals against each other there? Do you support Democracy instead of Monarchy, or do you support Women’s Control Of Their Own Reproduction?
Anyway, now the Robber Fly colony has become a revolutionary republic, and like any good revolutionary republic it is spreading its revolutionary ideals far and wide, taking the queens of other colonies and lobotomizing them as well. They seem to be using Saki and Samoru’s appearance as an opportunity to go even further, battering down the defenses of those who would stubbornly retain their old outdated monarchist system. Saki and Satoru are not very comfortable with this. It sort of reminds me of the Arab Spring revolts that brought Mubarak out of power, and how people were wringing their hands worried that with Mubarak out of power an Islamist would be elected. Democracy is all well and good, after all, but what if the people choose the wrong things?
(The chronological order of these statements has been reversed to make the blatant hypocrisy more apparent.)
The first-world progressives are terrified by the rat-people implementing the democracy they supposedly hold dear. When they hear that Squealer learned about democracy from a book, they immediately get suspicious of him, and take the fact that the rat-people are building structures out of concrete as evidence that they have some illicit source of information, like a rainbow library demon or a traitor human. Like hilarious liberals, they also get concerned that the rat-people might become consumerist:
You have earth-shattering psychic powers, and you can’t let them have a little concrete?
It sort of reminds me of the American left wringing its hands over the contribution to climate change that Chinese industrialization was going to make, while they enjoyed a standard of living an order of magnitude wealthier than the Chinese which had originally been built on America’s own gluttonous consumption of fossil fuels. Of course, the fact that the rat-people are a different species while the Chinese aren’t makes blatant racism a little easier to use as an excuse for oppressing them. You wouldn’t hear a good liberal say the Chinese are “just animals, they don’t have feelings like us” if they thought anyone was listening.
Maybe I’m overthinking this? I haven’t even started comparing the kids getting dragged into the rat-people’s wars to the Libyan intervention, or comparing the power of Cantus to the power of a Predator drone. Maybe I should just lie back and ship Saki x Satoru.
If you were really good progressives you would kiss. I’m just sayin’.