Klavan On The Culture

The Mask of Fascism

Some of the Occupy Wall Street protesters have been wearing the Guy Fawkes mask from the film V for Vendetta.  I think this is appropriate.  I have not read the graphic novel on which the movie is based and make no comment on it, but the film itself, which wears the mask of a liberating screed, is in fact one of the most purely fascist American films ever made.  It is a despicable apologia for murderous violence against free institutions, and presents a pitifully unrealistic rationalization for some of the most oppressive ideas currently in vogue.

Like all leftist art, V for Vendetta achieves its occasionally powerful effects by re-writing reality to fit the upside-down progressive imagination. For instance, the film suggests Christianity lies at the heart of political oppression. But in Realworld, no matter what you might like to believe, the simple fact is that Christianity has been in on the ground floor of every truly free society on earth since the fall of Rome. (The one arguable exception is Israel — go figure.) The film depicts the west’s war with Islamo-fascism as an Orwellian mix of racist propaganda and eternal mock-warfare. That in itself is an Orwellian lie.  Whatever its merits as a religious philosophy, Islam has produced violent and oppressive states since its beginning — and was oppressive even in its cultural heyday, now almost nine centuries ago. It’s difficult to imagine any genuine vision of a free world that does not include the suppression of Islam’s violent extremists.

More. The film’s central gay character extols the beauty of the Koran, the followers of which would endorse his murder — yet he is murdered by Christians who, in life, might condemn his practices but would also preach his loving acceptance as a fellow sinner. The same supposedly enlightened character also rhapsodizes on the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, whose sado-masochistic photos of leather-clad men could easily have illustrated the sexual imaginations of the brownshirts who facilitated Hitler’s rise to power.

By turning the world-as-it-is on its head, the film manages to dramatically justify torture and terrorism in defense of oppressive and violent conformity.  It positively envisions a world in which all people will come together as one to support acts of terrorism against free institutions. This united people even end up wearing the signature mask that will remove from them every trace of individuality. The target of their climactic attack is the British Parliament, the mother of all Parliaments, and thus the starting point of every modern free society. Earlier, the terrorists also strike at the Old Bailey, a symbol of the rule of law.

By wearing the film’s mask, the OWS protesters define themselves precisely.  They are a group who misrepresent the world in order to promote what sounds like freedom but would, in truth, be slavery. That some people on Wall Street have behaved abominably is no excuse for their anti-liberty stance, any more than the crimes of the Gambino Mafia family would excuse the answering crimes of the Bonannos.  A recent poll by Douglas Schoen shows a large majority of the protesters to be leftists who advocate “wealth redistribution,” i.e., stealing other people’s money so it can be spent on what the robbers want rather than on what those who earned the money want. That this policy has resulted in murder, oppression, poverty, or slow cultural decay every single place it has been tried does nothing to stem the feeling of virtue these people experience as they illegally take over streets, propagate anti-semitism, and attack the wealth of a society that has given them everything they cherish most, from their right to free speech to their computers and iPhones to the corporation-created parks they abuse.

But that such lowlifes have risen up in a time of trouble (a time whose troubles have been so badly exacerbated by the left-wing policies of the current administration) is no surprise. What is more depressing is the support they are receiving not only from this desperate failure of a president and his fellow travelers but from any number of ordinary liberals and Democrats who feel OWS expresses a vital and proper anger against the powers that be. This is nonsense. The fact that Wall Streeters have given more money to Obama than to all the GOP candidates combined should be a dead give-away that the true voice of protest in this country, the true opposition to the current cronyism between Washington, D.C. and Wall Street, is the peaceful, non-racist, liberty-loving Tea Party, which these same liberals despise.

You cannot save the world by lying about it. Rank-and-file liberals who give credence to the self-serving fantasies of the radical mobs occupying Wall Street and elsewhere, may find that the mask of fascism, once put on, can be very difficult to remove.