By Gregory John Campbell
The series The Hunger Games is a metaphor of contemporary American culture, expressing the prevalent social reality and conceptual depth of America — esurient and trivial — hence “The Dumber Games.”
When individual men think there are no firm principles of truth by which to guide them, right and wrong disappears from their minds, to be replaced by collective utility, unity and function. Then, Apollonian truth and reason are replaced by Dionysian cultural canon and function, our present malediction.
The philosophical implication of such a cultural state is the loss of individual sovereignty to cultural conformity, doctrine and sanction. Then, the collective automaton replaces the individual and human, and belief replaces reason, because all cultures become moral, spiritual and conceptual prisons.
This is the culture of the Borg, where individual “Resistance is futile,” because “all will be [collectively] assimilated or eliminated,” hence tribal multiculturalism. It is the state of Big Brother, wherein one learns to love “Big Culture” or vanishes down the collective black hole. The precursor of such social determinism is “Math & Science,” because modern-day science eschews morality. It does because it can, not because it should. Within such an amoral cultural vacuum anything goes, leading to individual and social confusion. WMDs, GMOs, derivatives, CDOs, “fracking” and predator drones are “scientific” examples of this moral confusion.
This is our unexceptional Dionysian culture in The Hunger Games, in which truth, beauty and goodness are replaced by martial doctrine, review and action. Today, both the conservative “blight” and the liberal “cleft” endorse this culture, making them equally immoral, irrational and mechanical. Such Dionysian gladiatorial fiction isn’t closing the Apollonian mind; it’s burying what’s left of it.
That this is true of America shouldn’t be surprising, because many Americans no longer read, think or dissent — they “watch.” Americans sit trance-like before their TVs, computers and hand-held “I.Z.Ds” — improvised zombiotic devices — oblivious to the historical patterns that have absorbed them. And when you’re “watching,” you’re not thinking; you’re programming to “roll over” and “play dead” for your masters. It’s not “Here & Now” in America, it’s “Here to Bow.” “Morituri Te Salutant.”
In this 1984 cultural world, individual thought has been replaced by collective emotion, bringing The Return of the Primitive, a book by Ayn Rand, herself a primitive.
Miss Rand championed the “competent” over the “incompetent” so much that she failed to recognize that tenuous material cultures, unchecked by firm moral principles, self-destruct. Hence the “we-take it” capitalism her philosophy implanted — a brave new arriviste world where “cost-benefit” eugenics liquidates real-world dependents, and where the Wall Street “winners” march the Main Street “losers” to their “zero-sum” crematoriums, calling it “upward mobility,” “increased productivity” and “technical efficiency.” This is what happens when short-term laissez-faire cultures displace long-term principle values.
This is the primitive model of success of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and corporate America, because “nothing leads like success.” Such Dionysian cultures believe “Passion is at the core of excellence,”[i] when truth is at the core of excellence, not culture or emotion. But what is truth, when passion is the fortress of every culture, bringing us to November.
In November, we have two corporate choices — Coke or Pepsi — equally deficient. Don’t vote Coke or Pepsi. Vote individual liberty! Write in to protest Coke and Pepsi. If neither gets the majority, what could the Supreme Bought (Court) do? Rule voting a capital offense? Choose what you want America to be — not Coke or Pepsi — for your children’s posterity.
Gregory John Campbell is a Rockford resident.
From the Aug. 15-21, 2012, issue