The book World War Z, upon which the movie is based (my movie review is here) , and which I have not read, is by most accounts even more heavy-handed than the movie in its pro-apartheid, pro-government message.
The site Mondoweiss, which describes itself as a ‘progressive Jewish’ web site, carried a scathing and lengthy essay on the book and the movie describing its racism, its defense of apartheid, and its general authoritarianism.
In response to my review, reader Troy sent in a short review of the book which he described as ‘even more statist than the movie!’ (spoiler warning):
1:15 pm on July 4, 2013 Email Ryan McMaken
I just saw the movie last night and am finishing up Max Brook’s book.The movie bears almost zero resemblance to the book. That being said,the book is even more statist than the movie!
In case you haven’t read it, the book is a compilation of interviews with survivors of the zombie war. The breakout of “African rabies”– as the epidemic is originally termed– spreads through the “black market” organ transplant trade in China. The walking plague spreads worldwide via air travel.
Israel, having prepared for invasion for decades, weathers the onslaught quite well. She absorbs the Palestinians and walls herself off from the world renaming herself Unified Palestine. A war weary America is originally not willing to take the necessary steps to contain the outbreak once it reaches her shores. South Africa adopts the apartheidist “Reddeker” plan which, in a nod to NWO and Illuminati conspiracy theorists, creates a list of those who will be saved and those who will be sacrificed as bait. This plan is eventually adopted worldwide.
Safe zones are created and people are assigned jobs in labor camps evoking the Stalinist mantra of “those who will not work do not eat.” The book romanticizes and promotes Luddite localism and anti-materialism.
Self sustaining regions, regions abandoned by the government but who managed to survive the epidemic, are ruthlessly crushed by the restored U.S. government. Secession is not tolerated by the President. The political parties merge and democracy–even if it is a charade–is preserved to create “hope” for the future.
In the end, the world is saved from zombies and chaos by gulags, feudalism and global statism.
Brooks is no dummy. He invokes Ayn Rand at one point. And he clearly understands and describes comparative advantage in the book, then trashes it as crass materialism. Brooks’s story reads like a progressive’s wild fantasy about government realizing its grand purpose, seizing the reins of power, eradicating the petty human conditions of materialism and religions and saving the culled herd of humanity from the hoard of groaning untermensch. In World War Z, The state is God.