08.15.2014 1

The Giver Movie Shows the Left’s Egalitarian Consequences


By Brad Tidwell

Wednesday evening, I had the distinct pleasure of watching the premiere of the new Weinstein Company-Walden Media collaboration movie, The Giver, at the conservative Heritage Foundation. This collaboration is particularly notable as the former was the production company for Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story”, and the latter for family friendly favorites such as “The Chronicles of Narnia”.

Following the recent successes of other young adult novels-turned-movies such as The Hunger Games, The Giver follows the storyline of the book by Lois Lowry with the same name, which has over 10 Million readers worldwide. This movie has already gotten critical acclaim from conservative authors like Cal Thomas, who says The Giver could reverse the trend of liberal movies.

Having not read the book, I came into the movie looking to identify whether the movie would have the production quality necessary to survive, whether the message would be identifiable, and whether it would live up to the promises of Cal Thomas and others. I can definitively say the production quality was excellent, and that there is a definite message. The remaining issue is not something the film can do by itself- it requires people of conscience to take the next step and own the narrative.

The movie beautifully demonstrates a fully-realized concept of what radical egalitarianism could look like in practice. In fact, the community could even be faulted for being too kind to egalitarians — the beautiful, idealized world of peace and harmony has, in the movie, existed for generations without falling prey to many of the easy faults of conceived utopias. Everything is clean, the people content, all obvious needs are provided. This idea that people can be perfectly planned for gives credit to the idea of centralized planning in a way that almost undermines the premise of the movie.

Of course all of the centralized planning comes at a cost: mandatory injections remove emotion, choice, personal rights, and even color. Essentially the community can only be perfect because people no longer have a choice. The film fills in the gaps with flashes of color — flashbacks of a world with color, choice, freedom, love. It also shows in full color the downside — war, loss, pain and suffering. The injections took away the ability to choose- which is ultimately what makes us human.

Ultimately, the plot is resolved when (spoiler alert!) the main protagonist returns choice to the people and they can finally choose for themselves. Color returns to the community, disaster is averted and egalitarianism is finally seen for what it is — cruel control without a conscience. The message is clear: a free people will never allow their choice to be taken away. This is a crucial lesson — if it can be owned and presented as such.

One of the big faults of the conservative movement is that it does not often capitalize on narrative, and allows the left to fill in the gaps. Recently, it was uncovered that a giant cabal of left-wing organizations were organizing online in a Google Group called the “Gamechanger Salon”. After some research, one reporter compiled a list of identifiable members, where a group called the “Harry Potter Alliance” was listed with 12 members — one of the most prominent groups on the entire list. This Harry Potter Alliance lists the following as their organizational purpose:

“Just as Dumbledore’s Army wakes the world up to Voldemort’s return, works for equal rights of house elves and werewolves, and empowers its members, we: Work with partner NGOs in alerting the world to the dangers of global warming, poverty, and genocide. Work with our partners for equal rights regardless of race, gender, and sexuality.”

In practice, the push for “equal rights” becomes “equal outcomes,” as with the class-war “99 percent” movement and failed war on poverty‘s efforts to redistribute wealth. Personal choice is regulated in the name of “global warming”, national identity is undermined, and race is being exploited in the name of equality. It’s not hard to see why in this idealized world, you can’t see color- everything is torn down to sameness in the name of “equality.”

This egalitarian message demonstrates the exact kind of thinking that would lead to the creation of a community like in The Giver. ​When a society pushes for everything to be the same, people lose their power of will and choice. The liberal fantasy world where the government has the power to equalize everyone is also the fantasy world where government has the power to remove all choice.

But unless conservatives mobilize the real message from The Giver in a tangible way, it will be lost, or worse yet, owned by the left.  Already, the Harry Potter Alliance has begun to try to own the narrative of another dystopia: the Hunger Games. Rather than seeing the government as the enemy, the oddsinourfavor.org website tries to claim the problems are due to “economic inequality” rather than government interference. They are teaching young adults the wrong message, and getting away with it because they aren’t being called on it.

It’s time for conservatives to own the message of fighting this kind of radical egalitarianism. Rather than allowing the left to claim “Social Justice,” it’s time to claim “Social Freedom.” Like in The Giver, people of conscience must stand for choice, and opportunity, and individuality. While the left tries to redistribute wealth, force uniformity, mandate and regulate, conservatives are standing against these efforts. It’s time to show that knowledge, and choice, is on the right side.

Brad Tidwell is the web editor of Americans for Limited Government. 

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