The Unseen Message of The Hunger Games
Though the liberal media and leftist Hollywood are wrapping themselves in The Hunger Games, the book series' pro-individualism, anti-socialist/communist/totalitarianism message has thus far eluded them -- but the legions of children reading the books are getting the message.
When I learned that my teenage sons -- macho young lads, to be sure -- were suddenly captivated by a book series featuring a 16-year-old female protagonist, I was intrigued, to say the least -- intrigued enough to read the books myself. As I progressed through the story, I found myself checking and re-checking the cover several times to make sure the author wasn't Ayn Rand.
Now that the first film of the series is in theaters, I'm reading lots of appraisals in the press which have suggested more of an Occupy Wall Street slant on the story: "[T]he corrupting force of power and privilege, the inhumanity of the mob, and how both conspire to make people do the unthinkable."
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, it chronicles a futuristic American society which has fallen under the grip of a brutal totalitarian communist government. Those connected with government live a life of wasteful opulence at the expense of the population, which has been sectioned off into impoverished fenced-in districts charged with producing the raw materials to sustain the capital. When children reach working age, their jobs are assigned to them, and compliance is enforced through the withholding of food rations and, ultimately, the hangman's noose. Ever-present are government "peacekeepers" charged with the surveillance of the people in an constant search for seditionists.
The author is starkly clear in this anti-oppressive government premise, and at no time during the reading of the books are you left with any sense this is a greedy rich vs. righteous poor tale. No, this series is about the children of a once-free American culture wrestling their own destiny back from the iron grip of government totalitarianism.
Last night, my youngest son came to me with a topic his history teacher had thrown out for discussion in class regarding communism. My son asked me to explain communism to him. I told him that in America's capitalist form of government, free-market prices determine everything from how much food we need to which careers people would pursue. This fosters a sense of self-directed destiny among the people and ultimately a free society. Communism is the exact opposite: the absence of free-market prices necessitates groups of people who make up something called central planning committees, which try to guess the needs of the people instead. When they guess wrong, people starve from a lack of food while excess iron rusts on the docks. This fosters desperation among the people, and the government responds with violence and imprisonment in an attempt to thwart revolutions.
His response: "No, Dad, that's The Hunger Games..."
Rest assured: Hollywood can spin this any way they wish, but the upcoming generations reading the books are getting the true message loud and clear.