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Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 13:09:30 -0500
From: Thomas Bitterman 
Subject: Re: (urth) The Best Introduction to the Mountains

Michael Straight wrote:

>And, to return to the original point, how on Urth does any of this
>constitute Gene Wolfe expressing the opinion that rebelling against
>tyranny is wrong?!?
Wolfe is more or less committed to the "rebellion is wrong" party due to 
his adherence
to Catholic theology.  From the Catholic Encyclopedia: >>... God is at 
the back of every
State, binding men in conscience to observe the behests of the State 
within the sphere
of its competence.<<

Whether rebelling against tyranny is is wrong depends on what is meant 
by "tyranny".
Again, from the Catholic Encyclopedia: >>"a tyrannical law, not being 
according to
reason, is not, absolutely speaking, a law, but rather a perversion of 
law" (St. Thomas,
Summa Theol., la, 2ae, q. 92, art. 1, ad 4)<<.  If Wolfe is thinking of 
a tyranny as
simply a government which enforces tyrannical laws, then his characters 
are certainly
in the right when they decline to obey such tyrannical laws.  It is not 
clear, however that
characters in such a situation have a right (or a duty) to rebel against 
such authority.

If Wolfe means by tyranny simply an unpopular dictatorship, then it is 
clear that his
characters have no right to rebel against it.  Again, from the Catholic 
 >>... there must be authority everywhere, and that the authority 
existent for the time
being, under such and such a form, be under that form obeyed... <<

It doesn't appear that the Autarch is enforcing any tyrannical laws to 
speak of, so
Severian is clearly required to obey him.  It's possible that the 
failing of one of
the earlier versions of Sev was rebelling.

If I had to hazard a guess at the relationship between the Autarch and 
Vodalus, it
would be God:Autarch::Satan:Vodalus.  Vodalus is the "Prince of Lies", 
even to the
point of giving his followers fake currency as a token of alliegance. 
 He also serves
the Autarch, though he does not know it, and so many purportedly evil 
deeds only
turn out to serve good in the end.  And for a requisite bit of misogyny 
it can be noted
that Vodalus has a consort, while the Autarch, most pointedly, does not.


Questions or problems: write ranjit@urth.net

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