Fabrication vs. Reality

Recently, I stumbled across a comment by Damien Walter, a writing teacher and book columnist at the Guardian, stating that conservatives cannot write fiction as well as liberals. I’m not sure what station his logic train departed from, but I suspect he doesn’t have a lot of cars coupled together.

I would honestly like to hear this idea explained. I have my own guesses, but they are only guesses. I’m a conservative myself and I believe that writers who possess a worldview of absolutes have the capability of writing the best fiction. Moral choice can only properly stem from absolutes. By absolutes, I refer to concepts like courage, redemption, sin, honor, love, sacrifice, greed, envy, etc. Sidney Carton’s self-sacrifice in Tale of Two Cities has little meaning in a world without absolutes. There’s no reason to make such a choice; at least, I cannot think of a reason.

Characters that exist in a relative moral world, a world in which each individual fabricates their own moral scheme, end up having little to no distinctions between antagonists and protagonists. Choices start to lose their meanings, other than the simple, animalistic outcomes of everyday life (eat, sleep, procreate, stay alive, etc).

One quick way to understand this sort of thing is to examine the classics. What kind of story would Anna Karenina or The Count of Monte Cristo be if written from a relativist perspective? I suspect, if written today by one of the brave graduates of the modern writing school, Anna Karenina would be a story about sex and power and the dysfunction of the modern family. In other words, a yawn-fest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This