By Robert J. Hutchinson
Published May 21, 2019
After all, Daenerys Targaryen, who is killed in the last episode, is a progressive heroine.
An intelligent, kind, visionary leader who treats her servants with respect and her enemies with contempt, Daenerys is the kind of woke politician progressives dream about.
Yet there is a hidden warning for progressives in the debacle that is the final season – one that should give them, and all those involved with politics, pause.
For those who missed it, the penultimate episode of the popular series involves the long-anticipated final assault on King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms. With her weapon of mass destruction, the fire-spewing dragon Drogon, Daenerys has the power to destroy the city and everyone in it.
Her closest aides – the dwarf advisor Tyrion Lannister and her lover Jon Snow, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne – beg Daenerys to spare the civilian population. She reluctantly agrees that if the city signals surrender by ringing a massive bell, she will stop the assault.
Yet when the battle ensues, Daenerys ignores her promise – and systematically slaughters most of the civilian population in an act of deliberate genocide.
Her supporters are devastated as her character is finally revealed.
And this is the warning that should give progressives pause.
In the final episode of the series, Daenerys argues that, in politics, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, that the ends always and inevitably justify the means.
If your cause is just – and Daenerys aims at nothing less than the liberation of the entire world – then “small mercies,” such as pardoning Tyrion Lannister or, for that matter, the entire city of King’s Landing, have no place.
“I saw them executing Lannister prisoners in the street,” her enraged lover, Jon Snow, shouts as he finally confronts his queen.
“It was necessary,” she replies coolly.
And what about Tyrion? Jon presses. “You can forgive him. You can forgive them all.”
Jon is pleading but not for the life of his friend, Tryion.
At this point, he knows he may have to kill Daenerys to spare the world a tyrant with limitless power. He is pleading for the life of the woman he loves.
Daenerys smiles at Jon.
“We can’t hide behind small mercies,” she says.
And then Daenerys explains to Jon the progressive philosophy that directs her actions.
“It’s not easy to see something that has never been before,” she tells him gently, “a good world.”
“How do you know it will be good?”
“Because I know what is good. And you know, too.”
“What about everyone else, the other people who think they know, too?” he asks.
Daenerys looks at him.
“They don’t get to choose,” she says simply.
This has been the progressive worldview since at least the time of Lenin: the elite know best and the deplorables don’t get to choose.
When the true and the good believe they alone stand for justice, they alone know what is good, then everything is permissible.
You can spread deliberate lies against your opponents, as the Democrats did with Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the MAGA-hat-wearing Covington Catholic kids.
You can physically attack your political opponents in public places, as happened to members of the Trump administration over the past year and to U.K. politicians last weekend.
You can even use the entire surveillance apparatus of the U.S. government to spy on your political opponents – as it now appears top intelligence officials in the Obama FBI and CIA did in 2016 and 2017.
After all, when only your side is just, and only you know what is good, then your opponents don’t get to choose. They must simply do what they’re told.
Yet there is a danger in this arrogance. It turns out that, when you ignore the “small mercies” of civil liberties and due process, things often don’t end well.
This is a lesson that Daenerys, like all progressives, had to learn the hard way.