Shadows and symbols

Politics may be older than mankind. So might Gene Wolfe’s celebrated story A Solar Labyrinth described by Neil Gaiman as "a short story of brilliance and beauty and, hidden deep in the shadows, danger and darkness" — have begun had it been about our national sport and oldest profession. While Wolfe may have explicitly disclaimed the political in the story, I’m still struck by the analogy. Government is a shadow of our society, acting at its best as an ever-present companion, standing beside us when we might fall and acting to restrain our worst impulses. At its worst, it is the shadow of our lesser natures, acting in the interest of unjust power out of fear. When empowered thusly, it has served as the vehicle for unimaginable horrors, atrocities that must never be repeated. Everyone is afraid of the dark. When we say "never again", it is these shadows we fear.