The Hunger Games in The Age of Obama (Updated)
The issue of the movie ‘The Hunger Games’ is, at a its logical not-so-extreme, is its plausibility. Because the world of Hunger Games is the common denominator to which every social organization degenerates that rejects the precepts of Western Civilization.
Let’s start by looking at the world of Hunger Games.
First is high speed rail. Really. It is an incredibly luxurious affair reminiscent of first class accomidations of a late 19th century passenger railroad service. Or, say, first class service on a 1960′s PanAm flight. And, fittingly so, since these high speed rail services are incredibly expensive to build and maintain. Even with lavish subsidies, this will be the service of the well healed, or those on expense accounts or government business. So it is with this movie; high speed rail for ‘official’ business.
While on the subject of transportation, we see very little in the way of transport besides the above mentioned rail and, we may assume, aircraft with military purpose. All ‘public transportation.’ All forms of transport that in some fashion is controlled by some public entity. Nothing in the form of personal transport, the family sedan, a conveyence that you can gas up and take for a spin at the drop of hat, whether for work, errands or a family Sunday drive. Out in the districts, we see hovels within walking distance of the drudgery of the places of employment; the mines and mills. To deny one personal transportation is to deny freedom of movement, the ability to search out new opportunity or a new life. You can’t very well quit you job to get another one on another town if you can’t get there.
It’s abundantly clear that the Second Amendment is nonexistent. Katniss’s weapon, a bow and arrows, for heaven sake, are carefully hidden in the forest. And, given the contrast of the luxury of the Capitol and the abject poverty of the districts, we may assume confiscatory taxes that are simply the authorities taking what ever they want leaving only the barest of resources that make even eating only at a sufferance.
The second theme is the black and white contrast of the wealth and luxury of the Capitol and the object poverty of the ‘districts.’ A dichotomy that is only seen in the third world. The Capitol is a grotesque display of luxury and wealth by persons who seen to have no purpose or purposeful career. This is even unlike the ‘robber barons’ of the 19th century who are recognized, however grudgingly, as builders of various industries and businesses. We may have not like them, or their tactics–Rockefeller, Carnegie or Vanderbilt–but they did leave a legacy of economic benefit. And, we recognize these men for their work, yes work, in building these empires. Not once, do we see anyone in the Capitol doing any semblance of productive work.
The third and most enduring theme is the manner in which people use other people. Without the least thought. A theme relentlessly hammered home for the two-plus hours of the movie. Blood samples taken at the ‘reaping’ without a please or thank you. Tracking devices implanted into the forearms of the Tributes as a casual bureaucratic task. Money and property that would allow people of the districts to obtain dignity are simply taken at the merest whim and used at the merest whim simply because you have the power.
Further, this use extends to their very lives; where, simply because you have the power to do it, and you want to show that you have that power, you select 24 young men and women and pit them in battle to the death. With a random altering of game rules merely to provide more entertainment excitement for the viewers. No different that the millions of people killed in the last century for reasons or prejudices known only to their leaders; simply because they have the power to act on those reasons. A randomness no different than being unlucky enough to be in the impersonal striking range of a car bomb.
Herein lies the contrast. Western Civilization is a amalgam of Judeo-Christian morality that among other things and above all places as paramount the worth of the individual. That is a God that created man in his own image, endowed him with the ability to know God and the free will to choose to love Him. This is the God that gave us the Ten Commandments, the origins of natural law. The concept that there are certain rights and duties that will not be trumped by any human or majorititarian authority. This is the morality that says, in the end of times, that all people, will each stand before and be judged by God for their deeds upon earth. No Nurembergian ‘collective guilt.’
The Greco-Roman contributions served as the basis of the institutions that would allow the preservation of those individual rights. Trial by jury by one’s peers. Presumption of innocence. Burden of proof upon the accuser. And, as history progressed towards the English Enlightenment, we have further institutions develop to further the cause of the individual such as parliamentary government and the development of stock holding corporations to allow groups individuals to pool resources to accomplish task that heretofore were only in the realm of governments with the power to tax.
Against this is every other so-called ideology. Regardless of the name–progressivism, communism, socialism–they all share a common theme of a small cadre of ‘leaders’ who essentially own everything. Both property and people. And these leaders, Plato’s ‘philosopher-kings,’ are the ones that squander half a billion tax dollars to their cronies on Solyndra. They want to spend billions more on a high speed railroad in California. In addition to the confiscation of the tax dollars, such a railroad will require the confiscation of farmland (about 25 acres for each mile of right of way) for the railroad right of way; the sanitized term is eminent domain.
These same said philosopher-kings hate the Second Amendment since these schemes of confiscation are barely held in check by the fact that, for the present, the peasants can actually bring more than just pitchforks to the party. The Second Amendment animus is so strong that the creation of an anti-gun ‘narrative,’ with Fast and Furious, resulted in the murder of at least one US Border agent and hundreds of Mexican citizens.
And, in the end, what happens is the development of a bipolar society. The producers who live in the periphery to be taxed and regulated for the central government. The ‘leaders,’ their hangers-on and their praetorian guard who exist at the center and devolve into an existence solely for the maintenance of their own power.
Visiting Washington D.C. is notable for the fact that a lot of the trillions of dollars spent annually happen to stick around in that burg. And, Charles Murray’s Coming Apart bubble is as thick as the Great Wall of China in that town as region after region is mired and devastated by regulations and taxes with out the slightest acknowledgment of the pain caused. Jobs blocked or destroyed because of regulations designed to stop oil and coal production and use over the fraud of ’global warming.’ Thousands of jobs blocked, needed in this depression, because of blocking the Keystone pipeline. California’s Central Valley turned into a new dust bowl over the delta smelt. Moral beliefs over the value of life overrun by regulations that will require you to pay for contraceptives and abortifacents simply because the President has the power to say so.
It is interesting that Katness, at considerable risk to herself, wrecked the games by winning by only fighting in self-defense and by her dignified burial of her companion Rue. An individual, acting as an individual and treating her friend Rue as such. A point not lost on President Snow, nor the rioters in Rue’s home district; making Katness a political liability and costing the Gamemaker his life.
The question is whether we will hew to the concept that our Constitution and Bill of Rights is there to allow the individual to define the state or whether the State shall now define the individual. This movie is plausible because it has played out in so many ways over the last century.