The Horrors of an Exclusionary Society

As a head of state, there is the responsibility to not only protect the population, but also to care for their morale. The Redeker Plan is at its roots a blatant betrayal of a country’s own population by its government. The Redeker Plan indeed forces governments to choose a small sect of people who have the ability to “preserve the legitimacy and stability of the government” (109), and relocate them to the safest sanctuary possible with the remaining resources they have. Assuming they survive the zombie outbreak, they would rebuild their country from the bare minimum.

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Populations become fewer and fewer as they retreat to their designated ‘safe zones’ by the government. (Image from The Economic Times)

However, this plan completely destroys team morale and nationalistic fervor, as the people who are selected for retreat to safe zones will continually face the guilt of leaving their friends, who are not chosen, to the zombie population. They would also face immense pressure, as their nation has placed the responsibility of rebuilding their society on their shoulders. The Redeker Plan is also very impractical, as seen through the lenses of Admiral Xu Zhicai. Although a country may devote their resources to help one small group survive “until the end of the crisis, or perhaps, the end of the world,” (249) it will always be impossible to account for any mini-outbreaks in the community. Once a zombie appears in the small community, it will eventually infect a certain portion of the community that would necessitate civil conflict. For instance, Captain Chen is eventually forced to attack his own countrymen because of a mini-outbreak in the small island population of Manihi, which left Captain Chen with “hair [that] had lost its color, as white as prewar snow… skin [that] was sallow, [and] eyes sunken.” (252) One single reanimation from within the community may be enough to spell the end of every human in the ‘selected population.’

The case of Paris also sheds light on the civilians who are not ‘chosen for survival’ by the government. Even as “two hundred and fifty thousand refugees” (310) fled to the Catabombs’ “subterranean world,” (310) one single zombie was able to catalyze the death of all refugees who chose to seek sanctuary in the Catacombs and the reanimation of two hundred and fifty thousand more zombies. In the zombie war, the humans who are left behind by their government effectively defects to the ‘other side,’ which welcomes the humans with open arms.

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Civilians who are abandoned by their own governments may choose to defect to the other opposing side of the war. (Image by All-len-All)

The only option as a head of state in a zombie outbreak is to attack the zombies will full force. However, the most effective plan would be to attack “slow and safe, one section at a time, low speed, low intensity, low casualty rate.” (314) Choosing to attack in the first place distinguishes humans, who fight, from zombies, who may be camouflaged amongst the humans retreating to a ‘safe area.’ This offensive plan is also beneficial because the entire population is asked to fight against the zombies in a total war. Why sacrifice the majority of the population for the survival of a small sect when there is the possibility of including all members of the country in a total war effort that increases morale and is also more practical?

Framing the zombie epidemic as a war creates an “us versus them” mentality. Humans do not recognize zombies as fighting for another country, but regard them as an entirely new species that only seek the destruction of the human population. Framing the zombie outbreak as an epidemic allows civilians to place responsibility on the government and its scientists to find a solution to the problem. However, presenting the outbreak as a war rallies the entire population, and the entire world together “under the common flag of survival.” (247)

Sources:

Brooks, Max. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. Broadway Books, 2006. Print.

Images:

PTI. Retreating Ice behind Population Explosion in Adelie Penguins? The Economic Times, 18 Nov. 2015. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

On This Day August 13 1961 East German Soldiers Start Building the Berlin Wall Comments. All-Len-All, 12 Aug. 2016. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

Viability Versus Values

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, I would support a defensive strategy to protect the citizens rather than an offensive strategy. An offensive strategy disregards the infrastructure, resources, capabilities of low-income countries, which hold a majority of the world’s population. An offensive strategy does not take into consideration the realities of living in a post-apocalyptic. Rather, an offensive strategy places value on pre-war ideals such as political power and land ownership. Ultimately, a defensive strategy is the most ethically, politically, and tactically sound position to take due to its consideration of the difficulties of a post-apocalyptic world.

Tactically, a defensive strategy accounts both for the eventual elimination of zombies and the availability of the dwindling resources of an apocalyptic situation. Though it may initially seem as if a defensive strategy may be neglecting the job of working toward returning society to a pre-war state, but this ignores the biology of organisms. Stated within the novel, “all we had to do was stay safe while our enemy rotted away” (Brooks 265). Acting defensively would decrease the rate of new cases of the virus and over time the zombies would eventually deteriorate. Additionally, the resources of the survivors such as weaponry, food, and military personnel would not be spread around a large land area as they would be in an offensive campaign.

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Image via peacefulanarchism.com

The more interesting dilemmas of choosing between an offensive and defensive strategy are their ethical and political implications and their impact on the country’s ability to rebuild infrastructure and government. Politically, taking an offensive strategy only takes into account pre-war society and its values. For example, offensive strategy takes on the task of regaining land back from the enemy, the zombies. Though larger land availability would provide greater access to resources, desire for land partly originates from the social status brought about by owning large swaths of land. This is exemplified within the novel as the United States is the only country to support an offensive strategy. Driven by emotion, the US president states, “[the living dead] robbed us of our confidence as the planet’s dominant life form”(Brooks 266). As the greatest world power before the war, it is natural that the US would desire to return to the pre-war level of global power. The choice to be offensive and continue to seek power is also ethically questionable. Defensive strategy is centered around prioritizing the survivors of the war rather than land acquisition.

How one deals with a threat as large as a zombie apocalypse is dependent on how one defines the conflict and the opponents. The characters in the novel must determine whether or not to treat the apocalypse as a war or as a pandemic. In the most technical senses of the term, the zombie war is a pandemic, a disease prevalent throughout the global. Despite this, realistically, the zombie war is just that – a war. Though the zombies may not hail from a specific nation, they do represent disease itself. Treating the pandemic as a war allows survivors to fight against the zombies without being influenced by the idea of fighting sick people rather than violent enemies.
A defensive strategy is a superior route in dealing with a zombie because of its consideration of resource availability, political conflict, and ethical viability. Though wealthy countries, such as the United States, may want to take the offensive route, such countries are too focused on pre-war values to despite such values having no standing in a post-apocalyptic society.