Study Guide

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Politics

By Douglas Adams

Politics

In Hitchhiker's Guide, politics is a giant mess, which is very different from how it is in real life. Politics has to do with how groups of people live together, and it's not a pretty sight. For instance, there's the absurd bureaucracy that would knock down a house (or a planet) without letting anyone know. That's politics here. There's also the fact that the president of the galaxy is ridiculous: his role is basically to distract people from the real sources of power. And did we mention the insane way the Magratheans have of dealing with recession? In Hitchhiker's Guide, living in a political society is a form of compromise and misery. But the solution—pulling out of society—hardly seems any better.

Questions About Politics

  1. Are all political arguments in this book settled by the exercise of power? Or do people ever convince each other with discussion?
  2. Do characters have good reasons for their political positions, or is all politics just a way to disguise selfish motives?
  3. Is there any example in this book of politics working out for the good of the people involved?
  4. Are there any happy political systems in this book? Can you tell what political system the Magratheans have? Is the old Empire a better political system than the new presidential system?

Chew on This

In Hitchhiker's Guide, politics is a worse pastime than art or science.

Although Hitchhiker's Guide makes fun of everything, it also shows us that we have to organize ourselves and work together to survive—a surprisingly unfunny and serious message.