Things are falling apart.
How much longer we can sustain the fiction that we live in a constitutional republic, I cannot say, but anarchy is being loosed upon the nation.
We are witnessing the unraveling of the American dream one injustice at a time.
Day after day, the government’s crimes against the citizenry grow more egregious, more treacherous and more tragic. And day after day, the American people wake up a little more to the grim realization that they have become captives in a prison of their own making.
No longer a free people, we are now pushed and prodded and watched over by twitchy, hyper-sensitive, easily-spooked armed guards who care little for the rights, humanity or well-being of those in their care.
The death toll is mounting.
The carnage is heartbreaking.
The public’s faith in the government to do its job—which is to protect our freedoms—is deteriorating.
The warning signs are everywhere.
“Things fall apart,” wrote W.B. Yeats in his dark, forbidding poem “The Second Coming.” “The centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”
The upcoming election and its aftermath will undoubtedly keep the citizenry divided and at each other’s throats, so busy fighting each other that they never manage to present a unified front against tyranny in any form. Yet the winner has already been decided.
Nothing will change.
You cannot have a republican form of government—nor a democratic one, for that matter—when the government views itself as superior to the citizenry, when it no longer operates for the benefit of the people, when the people are no longer able to peacefully reform their government, when government officials cease to act like public servants, when elected officials no longer represent the will of the people, when the government routinely violates the rights of the people and perpetrates more violence against the citizenry than the criminal class, when government spending is unaccountable and unaccounted for, when the judiciary act as courts of order rather than justice, and when the government is no longer bound by the laws of the Constitution.
How much longer we will continue to suffer at the hands of a tyrannical police state depends on how much we’re willing to give up for the sake of freedom.
For the moment, the American people seem content to sit back and watch the reality TV programming that passes for politics today. It’s the modern-day equivalent of bread and circuses, a carefully calibrated exercise in how to manipulate, polarize, propagandize and control a population. This presidential election is yet another pacifier to lull us into complacency and blind us to the monsters in our midst.
I refuse to be pacified, patronized or placated.
Here’s my plan: rather than staying glued to my TV set, watching politicians and talking heads regurgitate the same soundbites over and over, I’m going to keep doing the hard work that needs to be done to keep freedom alive in this country.
That’s why, almost 40 years ago, I founded The Rutherford Institute: as a nonpartisan, apolitical organization committed to the principles enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights that would work tirelessly to reshape the government from the bottom up into one that respects freedom, recognizes our worth as human beings, resists corruption, and abides by the rule of law.
It’s a thankless, never-ending job, but someone’s got to do it. And I can promise you that when I do eventually turn on the TV, John Carpenter—not Donald Trump or Joe Biden—will be my pick for escapist entertainment.
Carpenter’s films, known primarily for their horror themes, are infused with strong anti-authoritarian, overarching themes that speak to the filmmaker’s concerns about the unraveling of society and the way in which the government works against its own citizens.
Yet as John Muir recognizes in his insightful book The Films of John Carpenter, there’s also a strange optimism that runs through Carpenter’s films, “a belief down deep—far below the anti-establishment hatred—that a single committed and idealistic person can make a difference, even if society does not recognize that person as valuable or good.”
Underneath their machismo, Carpenter’s central characters still believe in the ideals of liberty and equal opportunity. Their beliefs place them in constant opposition with the law and the establishment, but they are nonetheless freedom fighters.
The following are my favorite Carpenter films.
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976): This is essentially a remake of Howard Hawks’ 1959 classic western Rio Bravo—much beloved by Carpenter.
Halloween (1978): This film, which assumes that there is a form of evil so dark that it can’t be killed, deconstructs our technological existence while reminding us that in the end, we all may have to experience Orwell’s stamping boot on our faces forever.
The Fog (1980): Here the menace besieging a small town is not a pack of winged pests but rather a deadly fog bank that cloaks vengeful, faceless, evil spirits from which there may be no escape.
Escape from New York (1981): This is the ultimate urban nightmare. In fact, this film sees fascism as the future of America.
The Thing (1982): This film presupposes that increasingly we are all becoming dehumanized. Thus, in the end, we are all potential aliens.
Christine (1983): A demonically possessed, representing technology with a will and consciousness of its own, goes on a murderous rampage.
Starman (1984): This film is a Christ allegory with the alien visitor possessing extraordinary powers to heal the sick, resurrect the dead, and perform miracles.
They Live (1988): Carpenter makes an effective political point about the underclass (everyone except those in power, that is): we, the prisoners of our devices, are too busy sucking up the entertainment trivia beamed into our brains and attacking each other to start an effective resistance movement.
In the Mouth of Madness (1995): Carpenter drives home the message that evil grows when people lose “the ability to know the difference between reality and fantasy.”
Madness. Delusion. Denial. Paranoia. Inhumanity. These are some of the monsters of our age.
In the cinematic world of John Carpenter, whenever freedom falls to tyranny, it is because the people allowed it to happen.
It works that way in the real world, too.
The lesson, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People: they—the tyrants, the bogeymen, the strongmen, the enemies of freedom—live, because “we the people” sleep.
Time to wake up, America, and break free of your chains.
Something wicked this way comes.