Can you imagine liberal Hollywood producing a big-event film whose villains are ruling class elites who think they can control other people’s lives, and the heroine fighting for individual liberty finds her strength in the traditional family?
Seems too good to be true, right? Except for the fact liberal Hollywood actually did make this film, and right now it’s the No. 1 movie in America.
It’s called Divergent, and it’s the most overtly conservative big budget blockbuster since The Dark Knight Rises put the villainous Bane in charge of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
In a post-apocalyptic world, human society is divided into “factions.” You are placed in a faction based on skill set and heredity, but you’re also given one choice to change your faction once you reach adulthood. However, once you choose a faction, you cannot change your mind. If you fall out of favor with your faction, you become “factionless,” which basically means you become like the undesirables in a caste system. You become subhuman.
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This is an attempt at egalitarianism via utilitarianism, or equality by means of setting aside your inherent human worth and dignity to conform to cultural group think. Instead of pursuing individual liberty, your identity is solely found in identity politics. In other words, this is the Progressive Statist Nirvana.
Of course, those peddling such philosophical fool’s gold always have one thing in mind once they get their way. Once you start obeying their rules, they aim to rule you.
So one group of elites decides they have what it takes to rule the roost. They rightly conclude that fallen human nature is what led to the aforementioned apocalypse, but like most elites, they wrongly believe they’re somehow immune to the frailties of fallen human nature that burden the rest of us mere mortals. To get their way these elites have to remove four threats:
1) Those who wish to live selflessly and humbly in service to others, especially the less fortunate. You know, like President Obama trying to impose statist authority upon the Little Sisters of the Poor order of nuns.
2) The daring and courage of those in uniform who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect others. Instead, they need to recondition them to turn them on the very people they’re supposed to serve and protect. You know, like having law enforcement arrest veterans for visiting their own memorials during the government shutdown, or putting local police in the sort of body armor only our soldiers fighting the enemy on the battlefield used to wear.
3) The traditional family unit that puts an emphasis on human relationships and parental nurturing over service to the state. In fact, if you choose a faction different from your family’s, you have to disown them, and one of the government’s mottoes is “faction (government) before family.” Remember when MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry said this last year: “We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.” Apparently she was just a little ahead of her time.
4) Those called “divergent,” because they fail the state’s faction-placement test when their answers emphasize individual liberty and free will as opposed to predictable conformity. You know, like Common Core or today’s “everybody gets a ribbon” youth activities that suppress recognition of excellence.
Divergent is a devastating critique of America’s slouch towards statism.
Furthermore, salvation from this statist tyranny is found only in the love and loyalty of family (you know, like one man and one woman) and a sacrificial love — the Christlike willingness to lay down your life for your fellow man.
I do not know the political philosophy of the author of the books the movie is based upon, or that of the filmmakers. But whether it’s intentional or just by accident, Divergent is a devastating critique of America’s slouch towards statism. It’s also a far better deconstruction of the American Left than what the Republican Party has been capable of producing in recent decades.
Divergent enjoyed one of the biggest March movie openings in cinema history, which proves there is plenty of room at the box office for pro-liberty movies when the storytelling is good. Maybe this is the way to reach the next generation with the message of Americanism?
On second thought, let’s just do what the consultants and “deep baritone voices” on television always tell us to do. Nominate another “electable” bailout apologist for K Street in 2016 all over again. I mean, it’s worked so well and all.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.