Sunday, March 8, 2009

Socialism and the Re-animator Syndrome

In the 1985 movie version of H.P. Lovecraft’s Re-animator, there is a fascinating scene that does not correspond to anything in Lovecraft’s original story.

In the movie, Herbert West’s classmate, Dan Cain, has an affair with the daughter of the medical school’s dean. (In Lovecraft’s story there is no love interest.)

By the end of the movie Dan’s girlfriend is dead and West’s glowing green chemical concoction has reanimated several corpses, not back to life, but into terrible monsters that can only be stopped via power-tools.

In the film’s final scene, Dan looks at his dead girlfriend, and he looks at West’s reanimating fluid; he has seen the result of reanimation with his own eyes: his empirical experience tells him that injecting his girlfriend with the fluid will turn her into a monster, but the only alternative is to do nothing, and this he cannot bear.

And so he injects his dead girlfriend, not because of his experiences and his knowledge but in spite of them, because the psychological pressure to do something is too great.

Those of us who wonder how anyone could believe in socialism, the greatest empirical failure is the history of human ideas, should remember this scene--and keep our power-tools ready.

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