Strange-Bedfellow Politics of “The Hunger Games”

In today’s Federalist I have an article that examines how people of different political stripes have enthusiastically embraced the “The Hunger Games.” Below you can watch the trailer for the third movie in the series entitled “Mockingjay, Part I,” which was released last month.  (There will be a fourth and final film next year.)

Click here to read “The Strange-Bedfellow Politics of the Hunger Games.”  Both liberals and conservatives have enthusiastically embraced the movies, which are based upon a trilogy of young adult novels by Suzanne Collins.  It’s set in a dystopian society in which youth are chosen by lottery to fight in brutal gladiator style “hunger games” that entertain the ruling class.

The political left views it all as a tale of socio-economic inequality, police brutality, and environmental pollution. Resistance for them means uprisings like “Occupy Wall Street” the unrest in Ferguson, movements which it seems the makers of the film hope to encourage.  But conservatives see in the “Hunger Games” a strong warning against unchecked centralized power, i.e., Big Government.

Most interesting to me is the chagrin and shock of some on the left – most notably Donald Sutherland who plays the evil President Snow – to discover that conservatives, including the Tea Party, love the story as a warning against policies of the left that grow centralized power.

But why should this be a shock?  It seems everybody ought to know that absolute power corrupts absolutely.  But apparently not.  So how did this interpretive divide happen?

I think the answer lies in what we euphemistically call political correctness.  By silencing people who disagree with the politically correct line, advocates of PC have essentially cut off civil discourse. PC serves to isolate and polarize people so much that there are no avenues for mutual understanding.  Only mutual vilification.  So, in the end, PC only serves centralized power and big government, what Carl Jung refers to as “the mass State.”

I discussed some of this in my previous post quoting Carl Jung.  The silencing of dissent has got to stop.  If we continue to tolerate it we’re at risk of descending into a dystopia ourselves.

 

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