recent days the LRC blog has been buzzing about the anti-government
feel that permeates the hugely popular Harry
Potter books by J.K. Rowling. Reflecting on this I realized
that this is just one part of a larger trend within the Sci-Fi/Fantasy
genre since the Bush administration has taken office. I do not intend
to connect people's view of Bush with anti-government Sci-Fi/Fantasy
movies and books, but rather will just use his ascension into office
as a time period in which to examine. The following is a partial
list of popular movies and books within the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre
that take an anti-government stance, even if that was not the intention
of the writers, and have been released since the Bush administration
Lord of the Rings: These three movies were based on books
written in the 1950s, but since the movies came out recently I include
them here. In this story J.R.R. Tolkien demonstrates that power
can corrupt even the best of people. People who start out with good
intentions can be seduced by this power until their primary goal
becomes maintaining that power, and not the good intentions which
motivated them to seek the power in the first place.
These movies show the descent from Republic to Empire as the people
gladly give up control to an evil government whose sole purpose
is to consolidate its own power. These movies are a good demonstration
of how government creates a crisis and then destroys liberty and
grabs power in order to solve that crisis.
This futuristic movie is based on the cult television series Firefly.
Based loosely on the South following the War for Southern Independence,
takes place following a war where the central planets of the universe
forced all of the "independent" planets under their control
in order to form the Alliance. This is one of the most anti-government
movies/television shows I have ever seen. The main characters simply
want the Alliance to leave them alone, but the Alliance wants complete
control over everything. In Serenity the government has gone
so far to control the population that they kill millions of people
in an experiment to control peoples' minds in order to build a "perfect
Based on a widely popular comic book of the same name, these movies
show a minority group of people known as mutants, who represent
the next stage in evolution. As human nature compels people to fear
what they don't understand, the government passes the Mutant Registration
Act, a Nazi style law which forces all mutants to register with
the federal government. With the government unwilling to protect
their rights many of the mutants form a group to fight back against
the "humans." As violence begets violence this escalates
until the government develops a drug to destroy the mutant gene
and begins forcefully injecting mutants. This tyrannical action
can be equated very easily with forced sterilization. In the comic
books, but not appearing in the movies, mutants and non-mutants
are eventually sorted, tagged and placed in concentration camps
in order to solve the "mutant problem."
for Vendetta: This movie takes place in a totalitarian futuristic
London. Following a terrorist attack, which was staged by members
of the government, a fascist-style party takes control and begins
eroding liberties in order to have security. First the government
attacks the Muslims, then the homosexuals, and then everyone else
as England is turned into a fascist police state.
Begins: Far from the campy 1960's Batman where the Dark
Knight works to help Police Commissioner Gordon and D.A. Harvey
Dent, in this version the city government is completely corrupt
as cops, judges, doctors and councilmen are all on the payroll of
Though this movie is not outwardly anti-government it involves a
secret government agency which conducts scientific studies that
backfire and almost destroy the planet. Unfortunately the Secretary
of Defense is portrayed as a good guy totally in the dark about
all of this and in the end the President disbands the agency.
Traveler: The International Best-selling book by John Twelve
Hawks has been called "A cyber 1984" by The New York
Times. In this book a group of power-hungry elites use the government
to set up a worldwide electronic control grid, turning the world
into a virtual prison. According to the author all of the technology
used in this book currently exists or is being developed right now.
Behind Series: Though it may be lost on the readers and even
the writers, this series about the biblical end times demonstrates
how evil men can gain control of government and use people's good
intentions to create a literal hell on Earth. Following a global
crisis where all the world's Christians disappear, the people of
the world turn to the Global Community, an organization that grows
out of the U.N. The newly elected leader of this government is the
Anti-Christ, who uses fear to get everyone in the world to obey
him and persecute dissenters. Though these books are poorly written,
if read from a libertarian point of view they make a very good case
for small government. However, I do not think that was the writers'
intention at all.
the serial movies and books listed began before Bush took office,
but had further parts come out since 2001.
Van Landingham [send
him mail] currently attends the Dickinson School of Law at Penn
State University . He lives in Mt. Holly Springs, PA with his wife
and two dogs.