I find the fall of cybertron in the transformers franchise a fascinating allegory for the present-day culture war.
Why did the transformers devolve into eons of endless war?
What is the fundamental, irreconcilable difference between these two factions?
The Autobots were from the managerial class of cybertron. They were scholars, artists, engineers who for the most part got to taste the fruits of a hyper-advanced utopia. These were not the people firmly at the top, but people who were relatively well-placed in society.
The decepticons were laborers, gladiators, single-purpose bots that performed the brutal, often essential, but mostly undervalued class in society.They were deprived status, determination and a place in cybertronian life.
Megatron the gladiator won the favor of the dispossessed.
In the early stages, the autobots and decepticons were on the same side. They both recognized the grievous flaws of their society and wanted to find a way to resolve those problems. They all agreed that a change in leadership had to be made.
The fighting started when Optimus prime, was given the matrix of leadership from the cybertronian elite.
Optimus prime wanted to reform the system into a more just and flexible society.
Megatron took this as a betrayal, because he felt that there was no way the system could be anything other than a re-branding of the horrors that had already occurred.
The war between the autobots and the decepticons wasn’t about if the society of cybertron was good or bad, it was about how it should be changed.
The autobots were reformers, who wanted to preserve the current hierarchical order and make gradual improvements to it’s fairness and flexibility.
pThe decepticons were radicals who would prefer to establish an entirely new hierarchy to be as rigid and inflexible as the old one, but established on principles the decepticons respected.
These were the two options, there were unaligned transformers but space was never safe from the unending war between the autobots and decepticons. Soldiers lined up to fight for one vision or the other, there was no longer a process in place to collaborate and find peaceful resolutions to problems in society.
Cybertron was destroyed by this war, many of the younger transformers hadn’t known what cybertron looked like before the war. In the name of saving their society they waged war until the planet was reduced to a lifeless husk. The war spread all over the universe in a race to secure more resources for the war.
I don’t see the people I disagree with as ruthless decepticons, and my allies as virtuous autobots. The people who benefit from the status quo and don’t recognize anything as wrong don’t fit into either faction. In many ways, the people who aren’t actively engaged in these issues are more like the humans in the cartoons and movies. There are much more powerful forces at play and we can only choose to support change in the ways you support, or stay out of the way.
Our situation on this planet does bear some similarity, as energy becomes more expensive and critical we will face a very similar situation as the transformers when the all spark was taken from them. I think the lesson I would like people to learn from transformers is that we need to work together to find ways to avoid inconsolable differences and constantly find ways to introduce peaceful options to diffuse situations.