This is mostly a reaction to reading a semi-leftist viewpoint of the novel:
You can’t trust international courts any more than local courts, in fact much less. The temptation of money and power is relentless on the human psyche, and trusting others to conform to rules for respecting individual rights is naive at best, and at worst makes one the “useful idiot” Lenin was talking about, like I used to be as a Communist. Trusting the totalitarian state to fade away when it’s no longer needed, as Karl Marx said it, is a stupid idea that too many smart people fall far (yep, even me).
I don’t know of even one libertarian who advocates castle feudalism along the lines of the ones John Barnes describes in this novel “Daybreak Zero“, and I know a great many of them. That kind of thing is more of a United Nations idea, a subtext in authoritarian world government. The United Nations’ advocacy of “human rights” is an oxymoron, as proven in the unanimous vote against Honduras in 2009, when its government (remember, legislatures and courts are also “the government” along with the executive, in republics) did the right thing and constitutionally removed a dictator and auto-coup president (Manuel Zelaya). And as proven in the chairmanship of their human rights advocacy organization going to Sudan, the genocidal regime that massacred two million Christians in South Sudan before the world took notice –of Darfur.
Libertarians know that trade without coercion is the path to prosperity for the most people possible and is best for the poor.
My beef with the novel is that almost all the speculation about Christians is the post-Tribulation “theocracy” stereotype. There are all too many of them today that feed that stereotype, and there is a Christian media establishment lock-down similar to the leftist lock-down on most traditional media. But there would be millions of unsung Christians that would be more visible in such disasters by rushing to help the hurting. They are more than the unfair caricature often painted out there. The obsession with the Torquemada type is a denial mechanism to divert from the Mother Theresa types and the Doctor Livingston types.
Another common flaw in almost all post-apocalyptic novels is the subtle idea in the background that civilization can only be “saved” by some political authority.
But Ron Paul has made Christian libertarians much more visible. We are nothing like Ayn Rand, who carried a brutal bitterness throughout her life apparently against God, and blaming God for the devil’s handiwork. And an Ayn Rand libertarian might well be in practice more like a castle feudalist in the kind of context of a post-Daybreak world.
The book is impoverished for that but John Barnes is a pretty good writer, in my opinion, communicating things as he sees them. To me his writing is more engaging than Clarke’s or Asimov.
The main flaw in almost all post-apocalyptic novels is the subtle idea in the background that civilization can only be “saved” by some political authority.