Nazism is on the rise in America, even though the generation that fought Nazis is still alive. I can’t be the only person who’s wondered if humanity is destined to repeat this resurgence of racists and white nationalists every 60 to 80 years, when the memory of the last battle has grown sufficiently dim.
Nazism is a virus. It passes from one infected person to another. The Charlottesville rally on Saturday was especially dangerous because the white supremacists didn’t wear masks; they very likely activated hundreds of other white supremacists who have to date been too ashamed to speak out in public about their own racist views. This is how it spreads. We have to be careful to not give these people platforms, because they will share their sickness far and wide.
Just as we can defeat sicknesses through inoculation and education, I have to believe that things will get better eventually, that we’ll learn from our own mistakes and eventually figure out a way to end this toxic cycle of racism. We can't keep making the same disgusting mistakes over and over.
We have plenty of examples of racism-free futures to look to for inspiration. Star Trek presented a color-blind society that had elevated beyond the horrific self-destructive behavior we’re seeing in 2017. And while Neal Stephenson’s novel Seveneves has its own complicated relationship with race, there is a passage late in the book that suggests the racism of the old planet Earth had been successfully eliminated.
So there are plenty of science fiction novels that show us a future in which Nazism and white supremacy have been eliminated. But so far as I know, there is not a science fiction novel showing how Nazism and white supremacy are eliminated. Some author somewhere should write that story: explain in stirring, dramatic detail how humanity manages to rise above its most toxic impulses and come together as one.
Don’t just skip ahead to the future: do the hard work of telling us how it happens. Rather than giving us a destination, share a roadmap. Give us a story where decent humans finally crush Nazism into nothingness. This is the sci-fi story that we need right now.