Millennials

"The Hunger Games, The Giver and Divergent all depict rebellions against the state, and promote a tacit right-wing libertarianism"

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Over at the Guardian, Ewan Morrison is pissed off that young-adult novels don't preach a left-wing, progressive vision. In fact, he writes, many of the most popular titles actually undermine the collectivism at the heart of so many utopias-gone-bad:

Books such as The Giver, Divergent and the Hunger Games trilogy are, whether intentionally or not, substantial attacks on many of the foundational projects and aims of the left: big government, the welfare state, progress, social planning and equality. They support one of the key ideologies that the left has been battling against for a century: the idea that human nature, rather than nurture, determines how we act and live. These books propose a laissez-faire existence, with heroic individuals who are guided by the innate forces of human nature against evil social planners….

Jeebus, the sourness runs strong in this one. Morrison is in such a rush to denounce the neoliberalism of the books that he manages to misrepresent them. Far from being anti-community, these books are anti-collectivist, at least when the group is based on involuntary servitude, perceived mental and physical capacities (mostly the result of genetics in these books), or accidents of geography. To the extent that they—like virtually all novels—rely on individual protagonists, those heroes are all about political and social equality rather than any sort of elevation of the great man or woman at the expense of others. None of the books he cites is against community per se. They are against reactionary states that rule by dictate rather than democracy (whether in a the voting booth or the marketplace).

And there's this:

This generation of YA dystopian novels is really our neoliberal society dreaming its last nightmares about the threat from communism, socialism and the planned society. We've simplified it to make it a story we can tell to children and in so doing we've calmed the child inside us….

If you see yourself as a left-leaning progressive parent, you might want to exercise some of that oppressive parental control and limit your kids exposure to the "freedom" expressed in YA dystopian fiction. But let's not worry about it too much, the good thing about laissez-faire capitalism is that things come in waves and pass out of fashion quickly.

More here. Whatevs, Morrison, whatevs. What is it about the growing surveillance state in the U.K. and the U.S. that might freak the kids out a bit and cause them to long for a place beyond all-seeing adults who get to tell them what jobs they will take? And while communism and socialism seem pretty well dead (not coming back in fashion anywhere these days, really, despite coff, coff "late capitalism"'s desperate need for novelty), the planned society really is not a favorite with anybody except the planners themselves. Don't blame markets for that one. The 20th century was chockful of nuts who planned everybody's life for them. Didn't work out too swell.

Morrison would do better to park his cranky post-Marxist POV for a second and check out Amy Sturgis' essay about the changing tenor of young-adult dystopias in the current issue of Reason. Yes, agrees Sturgis, there's plenty of individualism and respect for markets as places of mutually satisfying exchanges in The Hunger Games, Divergent, and the like. But there's also a weird disdain for technology and the possibilities of life, too:

We're left with a chicken-and-egg dilemma. As a Gen Xer, I like to think my generation redefined all things cynical and emo. A heaping dose of bleakness doesn't bother me. I toss back dystopias like vitamins, convinced they will do me good. One of my favorite novels is Mary Shelley's The Last Man (1826). Here's a quick synopsis: Everybody dies.

That said, I view the changing tides in the YA dystopian sea—the absence of sensawunda, the technophobia and anti-modernity, the protagonists' reduced ambitions—with sober attention. Gen X pessimism carried with it a healthy disrespect for authority. Millennials and the fiction they consume manage to be both more reverent and more resigned, blase about the technological marvels around them.

I may have known I'd never get my triphibian atomicar, but I never expected a smartphone, either. Today we all hold more complex and sophisticated technology in the palms of our hands than sent humanity to the moon. Yet what giant step for man can the members of the next generation achieve when the most their heroes can hope for is to survive?

That's a nuanced reading not just of three books recently made into movies but a wider set of young-adult dystopias that, like most good books, can't be reduced to a simple political fable.

Read the whole thing.

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126 responses to “"The Hunger Games, The Giver and Divergent all depict rebellions against the state, and promote a tacit right-wing libertarianism"

  1. I saw Lego Movie recently.

    If I remember correctly, someone had a problem with the villain being named “President Business” because it made big business the bad guy. But President Business was also basically the entire government as well (he did control the police after all).

    Anyway, I thought it actually had a strong anti-central planning message which made me happy. Helps brainwash the kids.

    1. Yeah, I was surprised that anyone would complain about “President Business,” assuming they’ve actually seen the movie. There’s a personal, in-world explanation for why he’s called that (and why it’s as simplistic as every other name in the movie, like “The Special”). And as you said, the whole movie is about dynamism and decentralized action vs central planning.

      Related: I rewatched The World’s End last night. I am amazed at how individualist both that and Hot Fuzz are. I don’t know Edgar Wright’s politics, but I know Simon Pegg wrote a Marxist analysis of Star Wars for his thesis. Yet both movies revolve around antagonists that kill a small number of dissenters for the sake of creating a better community. And the protagonists tell them to fuck off and accept people’s faults. The villains in Hot Fuzz even chant, “for the greater good.”

      1. Re: MJGreen,

        but I know Simon Pegg wrote a Marxist analysis of Star Wars for his thesis.

        That’s because he wanted the grade, not the hassle.

      2. The World’s End by Wright, Pegg, Frost, et al also has a strongly individualistic theme. As well as an anti-authoritarian/anti-slavery message. It’s also totally fucking hilarious. Stream it.

        1. I know, that’s the one I referenced. 😉 It’s on HBO Go for a while.

          I really was taken aback on rewatch at how explicit the movie could be at times. I particularly like how coy the antagonist was with what happens to those who resist the program, and the revelation of how many people resisted. All from benevolent rulers that earnestly want to make life more pleasant. It could have been written by some strident anti-communist.

      3. Simon Pegg is still a leftist and loves him some NHS.

        Go read his twitter feed. I usually make it a point to avoid learning anything about my “favorites” because I know I’m not going to like what I find, but I couldn’t resist last year. He spent a couple tweets carping on about how Breaking Bad could never happen in Britain because Walter would get treatment in Britain. He frequently posts bullshit.

        1. Yeah, I recall something like that. And I doubt Wright is a libertarian or anything like that. Still, I wonder if he or both of them are more Orwell-type socialists. Or maybe it’s a Joss Whedon situation: a hardcore progressive that can’t help but write individualistic, anti-authoritarian stories.

        2. The best fun to come out of that was the revelation that UK-Walter would have only received palliative care from NHS; assumedly if he wanted treatment to actually cure his cancer he would have needed to come to the US and sell meth.

          …and then the arguments from people that didn’t know what palliative meant and couldn’t be arsed to look it up.

    2. They [the novels] support one of the key ideologies that the left has been battling against for a century: the idea that human nature, rather than nurture indoctrination, determines how we act and live.

      There – more accurate.

      How is that “nurture” part fared so far, by the way? 120 million dead innocents can’t be all wrong, could they?

      1. If they weren’t wrong, they wouldn’t be dead, now, would they?

  2. gadgetgirl02
    01 September 2014 3:31pm

    Recommend
    30
    I haven’t read the other two, but I disagree with the reading of The Hunger Games. The state IS the corporation in that one — the vassal states pay tribute in natural resources and people, in return for absurdly inadequate compensation. Katniss has her survival skills from working under the table and not getting all her family’s necessities from the company store. The state is the 1% exploiting the 99%. That the 1% now openly forms the government is the only distinction from now, where instead they have to at least dodge most of the conflict of interest laws.
    Katniss threatens the status quo by winning the games (when not expected to) and bending the rules, showing the country that the elite’s control is not as perfect as it appears.
    It is a lot more like a call for unionisation than neo-liberalism.

    This comment is so bad it gave me cancer.

    1. Srs question time: Why do so many of these low foreheads fail to understand that a government is a corporation?

        1. And no profit, never.

          1. And all its customer relationships are involuntary.

      1. Well I did make a joke to a atf agent this weekend when he was talking about how safe Nicaragua is due to the fact it was a police state, and how they ridded the country of gangs. By saying that there was one gang left. he laughed although I can’t be sure he got the joke.

      2. What are you talking about? Government is us! It’s Teh People! It’s how We Teh People fight back against the rich and the corporations, and take back what is rightly ours!

      3. Not only that, it’s the ultimate expression of how they see corporations: it uses force and violence. So they support the thing which does all the stuff they purport to hate and hate the things that don’t do that stuff (and really can’t).

        1. I use that when debating, quite a lot.

          Tell me how a corporation forces you to do anything against your will?

          Then crickets. Most have never thought about the definition of force.

          1. They force you to work for them and buy their stuff!

            They force goods, services, and jobs onto society!

            It’s terrible!

            1. The tyranny of choice is the worst sort of tyranny.

          2. You never got the “because they put additives in their products to make you addicted” response?

            1. Sue them.

              You are correct, though…I should have said.

              Tell me how a corporation legally forces you to do anything against your will?

              1. Campaign finance!1! Kochtopus!!! Herp Derp!

        2. It’s okay because it’s their team. It’s kind of like how you hate someone on an opposing team taunts your team but love when someone from your team taunts the opposing team.

          1. Kind of like A.J. Pierzynski. He was awesome when he was a Twinkie. He got in the hitters’ heads and generally annoyed the other team in a really cool way.

            Then he went to the White Sox and I couldn’t believe what a petty jackass he was! He would constantly hinder our hitters by taunting them. He also was always doing something chippy.

            Yup. I’ve had that conversation a million times here. A.J. was great when he was our guy. Total asshole when he was against us.

      4. Because we say “corporation” when we mean “business corporation” and “church”, “mosque”, “temple”, etc., when we mean “religious corporation” and “union” when we mean “labor corporation”…

      5. And question 2: Why do so many of these brilliant liberals forget that business corporations are created by government?

        And question 3: Why do so many of these brilliant liberals forget that big business corporations are created by big government?

    2. I love that these troglodytes are so fucking stoopid they really don’t think of the political class as “the 1%”.*

      *sld: not that being rich is inherently a bad thing.

  3. Today we all hold more complex and sophisticated technology in the palms of our hands than sent humanity to the moon

    Anyone else getting tired of this trope? Yeah, the computer part of rocketry wasn’t all that sophisticated in 1969. But the rocketry part was. We still haven’t made truly major advances in that area since then.

    1. But the rocketry part was. We still haven’t made truly major advances in that area since then.

      I beg to differ

  4. If you see yourself as a left-leaning progressive parent, you might want to exercise some of that oppressive parental control and limit your kids exposure to the “freedom” expressed in YA dystopian fiction.

    Says more than I ever could.

      1. The masks have been off for a while now.

        1. Did Obama bring out the commies or is just because the internet? I don’t remember this many out and proud marxists/socialists existing before. Maybe it was Bush.

      2. It’s funny how their heads explode over these fiction stories.

        When confronted with the historical failures of communism/socialism/authoritarianism in the 20th century, they distance themselves. They don’t want a state like that, because we all know how horrible that is, which they are in no way associated with.

        Then, a fictional scifi novel comes out depicting a dystopian future with a totalitarian state, and they suddenly get all defensive, and want to shield their children from it. Gee, I wonder why.

        Yeah, they can pass it off as the last gasp of a fear of communism/socialism/fascism as fostered by the distant history of the 20th century. The problem with that is, we’re only about 1.5 decades into the 21st century, and the distant past in question occurred during living memory, is occurring with certain degrees in many places of the world, and in examples right here and now. Holocaust survivors are still around, yet it’s all unimaginable, because we’re such different people now, really. So, never talk about it with your teenagers. They’ll get the wrong ideas.

        Their reactions reveal a combination of anti-individualism and an awareness of the tyranny of a state, with or without a democracy. If you have to keep your children from reading Hunger Games because they may, on their own, see the parallels between the current state and a dystopian, totalitarian regime, then you’re admitting a lot, and it’s a hard sell describing that link as “wrong”.

    1. I’ll admit that I did that as a parent.

      One of the books someone gave to us for the kids was about some sparkly fish who had these marvelous rainbow scales, which made everyone else feel sad that they didn’t have their own.

      The solution from the governing octopus to this preening booge fish, was for him to give each sea creature a scale, so that they can all feel special too, leaving the fish with only one scale. They skipped the part where the squid goon squad came by to make the suggestion.

      Fucking hell, screw that Marxist bullshit. The octopus kinda looked like Karl Marx, to boot.

      1. I’ll admit that I did that as a parent.

        And there is nothing wrong with that.

        If you don’t want your children being exposed to certain ideas at an age when you think they aren’t capable of properly equipped to process them that is your right as a parent.

        I actually don’t have a problem with lefty parents censoring their kids media consumption. What chaps my ass is what blatant fucking hypocrites they are about it.

      2. So the rainbow fish bought his/her friends?

        1. Pretty much.

          When I read the description of it online I was like: Who the fuck writes Marxism for children?

          I read it to my daughter and told her why it was wrong to a) give away pieces of yourself in the hopes of finding a friend and b) you should never feel bad for what makes you unique and no one should ever make you hide that or be ashamed of it.

    2. Yet these same people mock Christians mercilessly for trying to prevent their children from being exposed to anti-Christian, violent, or sexual messaging in games and movies. And no, I don’t mean by banning them, just warning other Christian parents about them.

      I actually saw an article on the Guardian website lamenting that very thing just a year or so ago.

      It was a double whammy for them too, shitting on Christians and Americans. Rather oddly many of the comments talked about what a censored society America is, this coming from people who live a country where they lock people up for having impolitic or “racist” views and had just recently banned internet porn (well, not really, but it is such that you have to request your ISP remove the filter).

  5. a tradition which… filtered into the 1960s through left-engaged authors like Philip K Dick. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (adapted for screen as Blade Runner) saw a post-apocalyptic world in which a massive private global corporation had replaced governments and nations.

    Anyone want to provide this fellow with a list of all the Dick stories featuring oppressive governments? The man was even known to write villains who were (lowers voice) communists.

    1. which a massive private global corporation had replaced governments and nations.

      You understand Leftists better than me. How do they fail to understand that a massive global corporation that’s replaced governments, is, you know, a government?

      1. No, no, no, no, no! Government is us! It’s the people!

        Corporations are them! The evil profit seekers who steal from the poor and pollute our green planet!

        The corporation that replaced government is them! When government overthrows the corporation and takes back over, then it will be the people in charge again!

        Power to the government is power to the people!

        or something

      2. Because it’s all about words, Warty. Remember, actions mean nothing. All that matters is the words people use to describe them. So calling a massively oppressive totalitarian government a “corporation” totally means it isn’t government, even though it acts exactly the same!

        1. Yep. Corporation = bad. Government = good. Can’t call a governing corporation ‘government’ because that would soil the wonderful warm and fuzzies that the left gets when they think ‘government.’

    2. The scholarship around Dick has been deeply colored by the villainously named Darko Suvin, who tried mightily to reduce PKD to a comsymp.

      While PKD was a pretty squishy California leftist, his fiction betrays an enviable contempt for authority of all stripes.

      1. Correct. Fan of PKD from way back when he was a relatively obsure author even within the science fiction world and totally unkown outside that community. A frequent protagonist in PKD novels is the struggling small business owner.

  6. If you see yourself as a left-leaning progressive parent,

    Stay the fuck away from my kid.

  7. Oh heavens! Stories about people rebelling against the state! What good reason could anyone ever have for doing that? The state gives us life, purpose and security.

  8. It’s funny, I see YA dystopia as little more than fantasy for teen rebelliousness. The tropes are softballs: a world with no love, a world with no color, a world with no variety. Liberals could easily claim this territory by saying conservatives are a bunch of mean conformists who dream of forcing everyone to obey the laws and dress nicely.

    1. I dunno that I’d call The Hunger Games a “softball trope”, it’s a world in which children are forced to fight to the death for food. (Because the government taxes and regulates their society so much that there’s no other good way to really acquire enough.)

      1. Subjectivity wins again. I really don’t think it’s anything new.

        Sacrifice porn is getting to be a huge trope. Teens are always the burnt offering. I see The Hunger Games as old-fashioned sword-and-sandal meets 1984 meets teens.

  9. “at least when the group is based on involuntary servitude, perceived mental and physical capacities…are all about political and social equality rather than any sort of elevation of the great man or woman at the expense of others….They are against reactionary states that rule by dictate rather than democracy ”

    I think you listed all the reasons “progressives” hate these books and movies

  10. One of the biggest problems with statists is that they conflate society and the state. Society is merely what emerges from people interacting with each other, and spontaneity is such an unacceptable state of affairs to statists that it may as well be invisible. L’etat, c’est le societe or something like that.

    1. You know who else conflated society and the state?

  11. They [the novels] support one of the key ideologies that the left has been battling against for a century: the idea that human nature, rather than nurture indoctrination, determines how we act and live.

    There – more accurate.

    How is that “nurture” part fared so far, by the way? 120 million dead innocents can’t be all wrong, could they?

    1. The 120 million dead innocents are the unfortunate result of a few — okay, a few dozen — false starts on the road to a progressive utopia. But modern progressives are different. They have learned from these false starts, and will get right this time. Just ask any progressive. They intend well, and all the really cool, smart people agree that a social justice requires an egalitarian state. We need only surrender our selfish individuality, and the world will be renewed with unicorns and butterflies; humankind will transcend from alienation to collective self-fulfillment; and this will be the moment when we begin to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this will be the moment when the rise of the oceans begins to slow and our planet begins to heal; this will be the moment when we end war and secure our nation and restore our image as the last, best hope on Earth.

      1. Re: CatoTheElder,

        this will be the moment when we end war and secure our nation and restore our image as the last, best hope on Earth.

        Indeed, there is no question that socialists long for restoring Eden on Earth. The key here is that the ‘nurture’ part was (and still is) considered too protracted for most socialists and thus the incalculable human suffering that the world has seen and will continue to see until people stop believing in such nonsense.

        The reality is that the ‘nurturing’ solution will never change human nature no matter how often applied; part of human nature is people’s time preference, which will never be low enough. You can’t change people’s sense or urgency with pretty speeches and so the ‘nurture’ part will always be doomed to failure – fortunately.

        1. Indeed, there is no question that socialists long for restoring Eden on Earth.

          “Killing off all but two humans” sounds like a Green thing to me. 😉

          1. BTW, just to avoid confusion, those two humans still need to be of opposite sex.

    2. There are a whole lot of things that people have learned to do contrary to our nature and that most people will agree are good things. Find a person who has grown up without the benefits of civilization and you are pretty likely to see a person who is much more violent and reactive and less capable of abstract thought than most modern people. The ability to overcome certain aspects of our nature is exactly what makes people special among animals.
      There do seem to be parts of human nature (the more individualist tendencies in particular) that are near impossible to overcome, and those have a lot to do with the failures of socialism/communism. But any advancement of humanity requires overcoming some parts of human nature.

      1. Nope.

        Any advancement of humanity requires honing and endless fiddling with human nature.

  12. Morrison is in such a rush to denounce the neoliberalism of the books that he manages to misrepresent [the novels].

    That’s the working definition of Cultural Marxism, Nick. Misrepresent, Defame, Lie.

  13. Having seen all 3 movies, I detected the thread as well, but more so it felt like I was seeing the same goddamn book adaptation over and over again. And they couldn’t get it into one movie; every damn one has to have sequels to look forward to…

  14. Has this guy even seen or read the Hunger Games? The society in there had a heavy class divide where everyone was poor except those living in the capitol. Is this what he wants? Or, perhaps he likes the idea of having a Hunger Games in the US, so people can fight and die showing their live of Obama.

    1. *love of Obama

    2. Leftist dystopias never happen for real. Well, at least not “here” (meaning the West). The idea that socialism will turn into the miasma that was the Soviet Union is just right wing propagandizing.

      /typical Guardian writer

      So, it’s not that they like what the government is doing, it’s that they don’t believe it can happen.

      1. Meant to put “miasma of disaster.”

    3. They have super cool trains in the Hunger Games, so yeah, I bet he does want that bad.

  15. Red Planet. Make his brain explode.

  16. Seems like a reasonable place to ask for your recommendations for dystopian novels

    1. The Culture series.

      1. gene fixed 6 separate alien species and installed a designed language…

        Anyone else get the feeling that the founding of the Culture resembled year zero in Cambodia?

        1. It’s telling that so many of Banks’s Special Circumstances protagonists end up going native in more “primitive” societies, even though Banks himself intended for the Culture to be pretty much a utopia.

          That said, the novella “The State of the Art” is pretty good – a Contact expedition visits Earth in the 1970s.

          “…the ship had sent a request on a postcard to the BBC’s World Service, asking for ‘Mr. David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” for the good ship Arbitrary and all who sail in her.’ …It didn’t get the request played. The ship thought this was hilarious.”

          1. It’s telling that so many of Banks’s Special Circumstances protagonists end up going native in more “primitive” societies

            I can only think of two one in “A Gift From the Culture” and one in “The State of the Art” And I am pretty sure Wrobik in “A Gift” was manipulated by special circumstances to leave the Culture.

            DaWar in “Inversion” might have gone native but i don’t think DaWar is from Culture but instead is an Alien mercenary working for the Culture, but not native to it, like Zakalwe was in Use of Weapons.

            1. The guy in Player of Games seems to be going pretty native by the end of it. Until the Culture nukes their civilization.

    2. The difference between a utopia and a dystopia is just a matter of perspective. The Alphas lived pretty good in Brave New World, and all the party bosses had charming dachas for their mistresses in 1984.

    3. Seems like a reasonable place to ask for your recommendations for dystopian novels

      Fahrenheit 451. It never gets old. And the criticism it makes of how society talks itself into authoritarianism is as relevant now as it ever was.

      1. Ray Bradbury said that people were reading way more into 451 than he intended. The point of the book, as in the entire point, was that people weren’t reading books anymore and were caught up with TV and pop culture. That’s it.

  17. the idea that human nature, rather than nurture, determines how we act and live. These books propose a laissez-faire existence, with heroic individuals who are guided by the innate forces of human nature against evil social planners….

    yeah cuz it is impossible for non-state entities to nurture.

    And even if they did there is no way non-state entities could be better at it then the state….just look at Rotherham’s child services, or the NSA, or the VA. Them and more are great state institutions that are the pinnacle of nurturing.

  18. For apocalyptic fiction to resonate with its audience, it has resonate with some fear the audience actually has. For example, something like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers wouldn’t have resonated with a pose Cold War audience the way it did with one at the height of the Cold War.

    Hollywood lefties have made movie after movie recently trying to capitalize on the fears of the evil, racist, rightwingers. And every single one of those movies flopped. The Hunger Games in contrast was an enormous hit as both a book and a movie. Why? Because it capitalized on a fear people actually have. More importantly, the threat in the Hunger Games is not from some outside force. It is from the people’s own government. The fact that people are starting to very much fear and distrust their betters ought to make the idiots at the Guardian nervous.

    Being morons of course, it will never dawn on the Progs that the success of these novels is just a symptom of the larger Prog failure. No, the ideology can never be at fault. They could never ask themselves “why do people hate us?”. The fault will of course be the authors of these works and their leading the sheep astray into false consciousness or something.

    1. And every single one of those movies flopped.

      Elysium? World War Z?

      1. Avatar?

        1. Avatar was Michael Bay’s take on Pocahontas.

  19. I could only get through the first half of The Hunger Games before I thought watching paint dry would be a better use of my time.

    How the FUCK is that movie depicting a rebellion against the state? Everyone seems to be tacitly approving the whole stupid “game” in the first place. I have a hard time believing there was any rebellion at all considering the “heroine” came back for Hunger Games 2. There might be a half-baked notion of “teenage rebellion” in there but I couldn’t take another 5 minutes of hell to find out.

    1. She starts a movement that leads to rebellion, and was forced to return for another Games by the government in hopes her popularity would die with her.

      It doesn’t wind up being as stupid as it first seems.

    2. The books looked pretty awful. I really can’t imagine even trying to read the first half. That being said, I doubt the people who do like the book like it because they think the government running gladiator shows with the poor would be a good thing. But, in fairness, maybe I am over estimating the intelligence of the average Hunger Games reader. Maybe to them it is a Utopian novel and not apocalyptic at all.

      1. No, it’s more like the complaint about V For Vendetta; Collins sets up a situation that no one can agree with and dares to disagree with it.

        1. You could say the same about a lot of fiction. Who really sees Sauron’s side of things? Or the Harkonen’s?

          I don’t see a problem with fiction having absolute evil. The problem arises when the fiction fails to explain how otherwise well meaning people manage to end up supporting absolute evil. I get the sense that Hunger Games doesn’t really consider much less explain why it is anyone on either side thought the state of affairs in the book was a good idea.

          1. in the book most of the poor people don’t consider it a good state of affairs they are just too oppressed to do anything about it, while most of the oppresors have a “let them eat cake” mentality.

        2. V For Vendetta; Collins sets up a situation that no one can agree with and dares to disagree with it.

          Atlas Shrugged
          Dispossessed
          The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
          Watership Down

          I think you might be onto a trend here.

          1. Yes, the art of fiction is in explaining and defending the indefensible not attacking it.

          2. Atlas Shrugged

            Lots of people agree with the villains in that one. You hear essentially the same arguments presented with a straight face on the political talk shows every week.

          3. +1 Black Rabbit

    3. Because the rebellion part isn’t in the first movie (and barely in the first book as well). You don’t hear anything about a potential rebellion and how Katniss’s actions in the first book contribute until the second book.

  20. These books propose a laissez-faire existence, with heroic individuals who are guided by the innate forces of human nature against evil social planners.

    I’m not familiar with The Giver nor Divergent, but I do have to say the economics of The Hunger Games indicate that the author has very little familiarity with how wealth is created or how economic systems work. The world of Hunger Games where you have different so-called districts specialized in a certain commodity (not unlike single-commodity islands) violate the Law of Division of Labor and Comparative Advantage. In other words, even when the description of said places would be accurate (e.g. poor districts being ruled by a rich district) the rich district would not be as rich as described in the novels if it had to rely on the productivity of the other districts, which would be sketchy to say the least. At any point, the inhabitants of those districts would only have to stop working to create a real crisis in the first district, regardless of how powerful their armed forces. If the Hunger Games were meant to maintain the peace through fear, the policy would not make any difference: just take a look at the level of productivity in one of the world’s most repressive regimes, North Korea.

    1. The first district is the one with all the guns and military. Pretty easy to squash a small rebellion if the populace is disarmed.

    2. It is interesting though that it came out during the Great Recession, when only the District (of Columbia) and a few other areas had rising housing prices and job growth, while the hinterlands became poorer and paid tribute.

  21. there’s gotta be a better j law pic floating around that Nick could’ve used.

    1. I hear a few new ones may have been released recently.

      1. I could have sworn I had seen those very pics before. Some of those pics in the “fappening” are clearly obvious fakes.

  22. Far from being anti-community, these books are anti-collectivist, at least when the group is based on involuntary servitude, perceived mental and physical capacities (mostly the result of genetics in these books), or accidents of geography.

    Don’t you know that to the liberal, the community is collectivist?

  23. If you see yourself as a left-leaning progressive parent, you might want to exercise some of that oppressive parental control and limit your kids exposure to the “freedom” expressed in YA dystopian fiction.

    What an interesting and revealing admission: That a good left-leaning Progressive is (or should be) about CONTROL and LIMITING someone’s “exposure” to freedom.

  24. I haven’t seen the movie version, but it is hard to see how the Hunger Games the book could be more left-wing. The entire society is based around the rich brutally oppressing the poor to the point where they force teens from the poor regions to compete in gladiatorial combat to the death. The heroine Catness explicitly says the games are meant as a way to humiliate the poor regions by making them realize how much power the rich have over them.

    Heck, the entire first half of the book is mainly taken up by Catness first explaining how desperately poor her family is and then talking about the staggering luxury of the rich she witnesses after she arrives at the capital for the games. The only thing lacking is reference to the rich being the “1 percent.”

    1. Read through Mockingjay. Capitol:fascism::District 13:communism. And by the end of the story, it’s pretty clear that both are evil.

    2. Having read the first two books due to an ex-girlfriend (didn’t care for them) and her summary of the third I can safely say that Collins makes everyone in a position of power a violent, lying asshole.

      1. ” ex-girlfriend (didn’t care for them)”

        it doesn’t seem relevant that you don’t care for girls, but, whatever.

  25. I doubt this guy would approve of the steady diet of Robert Heinlein juvenile novels I gave my kid when he needed something to read.

  26. DIVERGENT is really more about rebellion against High School cliquish type-casting than government, per se.

    Yes, friends, you too can be a Jock, AND a Nerd, AND a Hippie, AND a Goth. You don’t have to choose one!!!

    1. Obviously the leftists find any condemnation of monopolistic oppression to be too close to criticism of government for comfort.

    2. The dauntless clique didn’t have any children that I could see. Seems like they should have gone extinct already.

  27. I didn’t read The Giver, but my gf dragged me to see it in the theater.

    It SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKED hard.

    1. From the review I heard on NPR, the movie is a “re-imagining” of the book, more than a telling of the story in the book.

    2. The Giver was, surprisingly, required reading at my public school. Half of the Giver’s ‘twist’ was the whole ‘oh, the world isn’t coloured anymore, somewhat’ thing, which works a hell of a lot better in print.

  28. We must keep Goldstein’s book away from the masses! Prepare the Two Minutes of Hate!

  29. How amazingly slow bus these British leftovers must be to only just figure this out now.

  30. What, they forgot the Harry Potter series? The Ministry of Magic is the epitome of socialistic incompetence and there is very little standing in the way when Voldemort shows up to take over.

    Hogwarts is practically a bastion of libertarianism – until the Death Eaters kill Dumbledore and take over the school.

  31. Books all about boot licking make piss poor reading material, what more needs to be said? It’s bad enough to see that crap in much of the media.

  32. my neighbor’s sister-in-law makes $70 every hour on the internet . She has been out of work for ten months but last month her pay was $18995 just working on the internet for a few hours. find more info …

    ============ http://www.netjob70.com

  33. WHAT?? If this kind of thing continues, the kids might get the idea their lives belong to themselves and not the State! Real freedom could break out! The horror–the horror!

  34. “Sensawunda?” What the? Yeah, I Googled it; I know what it’s supposed to mean. Still, we’re doomed.

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