"It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
STR's Fifth--The First of Many
Exclusive to STR
On IMDb.com, the movie "V for Vendetta" has an average viewer rating of 8.2 out of a possible 10, based on 55,397 votes. With V now available on DVD, more people will see it and a rating increase will likely follow, making it one of the most popular movies of all time among IMDb voters. The local Blockbuster where I tried to buy a copy was sold out, their stock having been cleared in the first two days. And this is with a nearby Wal-Mart selling it at a reduced price, a standard practice for new releases.
V is based on the premise that the state is a threat to our well-being, that we need to accept that fact and summon the courage to fight it relentlessly. We won't see many movies like V for the obvious reason that most people don't question the state's tacit claim to legitimacy. On the contrary, many people apparently accept a government of unlimited dimensions as long as it claims to be a 'democracy' and perpetually distracts them with bread and circuses.
It's easy to see why the editor of STR might identify with the lead character of the film because neither give an inch on the matter of the State. Can you see V accepting a minimal state as an alternative to the Orwellian monster in the movie? I can't. And if you're a regular visitor to Strike The Root or one of its Root Strikers, you know that its editor doesn't either.
It could be argued that V the hero implicitly accepted some amount of legal coercion because of his line, 'People should not fear their government. Governments should fear their people.' But in the full context of the film, it doesn't stand. V set plans for blowing up government buildings and articulated a thoughtful rationale for doing so. At no point was he wistful for a kinder, gentler government of reduced size that would relieve him of radicalism.
Neither does STR's editor pine for the good old days when government was still under wraps of a constitution, as some libertarian sites do.
Five years ago I was heartened by the story behind the writing of the Star Spangled Banner in 1814 and decided to compose an article about it. Indeed, it was inspiring to know that after 25 hours of bombarding Fort McHenry in Baltimore, the British Navy hadn't 'silenced' it as planned ' i.e., the fort hadn't surrendered ' nor had they completely destroyed its flag. Further, Major George Armistead, the commander of McHenry, had the brilliant audacity to lower the tattered flag during a break in the assault and send up a new one in its place, one so big the British had no trouble seeing it from a distance. How perfect, I thought ' firing back with defiance rather than cannon shot.
As an isolated incident of brave soldiers refusing to surrender under heavy fire, then sending what was effectively an obscene gesture in return, the defense of McHenry is inspirational. It was the rest of my article that went awry, arguing that the Star Spangled Banner was more suitable as a national anthem than "God Bless America." At the time, I held fast to the conviction we needed government for defense purposes, and the Star Spangled Banner captured that idea. I was surprised STR's editor would kill a column that was so mildly statist.
But it was out of such mild statism that the monster of today grew and continues to grow, waving its flag in the name of freedom with every bomb it drops, every tax it collects, and the unfathomable debt it piles on the backs of our children and grandchildren.
Strike The Root's editor has insisted that STR expose the state for what it is, a criminal organization posing as our savior. We don't need to trim it, we need to eliminate it. I think if V were real, he'd be a regular reader of and contributor to STR. And given the popularity of the movie, we have reason to hope STR will gather even more supporters in the months and years ahead.