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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: The Best Introduction To The Mountains
Date: Fri, 04 Jan 2002 13:49:58 -0600

Andy, I think you're putting too much emphasis on the libertarian elements
in Wolfe's political thought (which are certainly present), at the expense
of his call for submission to legitimate authority, which is just as
important, if not more so.  This is clear in the opening paragraphs of
Wolfe's essay, both the very first paragraph--one of the "definite duties"
of "Dark Ages" peasants was submission to those whom God had appointed to
rule over them--and the code of conduct Wolfe learned from his father:
"Legitimate authority was to be obeyed without shirking and without
question."  It's also evident in Wolfe's example of the Sylvan Elves, which
I quoted earlier.

It's found in his fiction, too, I think, though less prominently (as you
said, he's more detailed on what's wrong than with what's right).  But
Silkhorn does rule Gaon, and there's no suggestion that the Gaonese would be
better off without his rule.  A big reason why New Viron is such a mess,
iirc, is that none of the "leading citizens" are willing to submit to
another's authority.  And TBOTNS, as I noted earlier, ultimately comes down
very strongly against rebellion.

And afaik, in none of his works does Wolfe reject the state in toto, merely
unjust states.  (And I would disagree with your reading of "The Death of
Doctor Island."  Doctor Island represents authority in general, not just the


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