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Liberty at the Movies: Allegiant

Allegiant, the third (and best so far) entry in the Divergent Series is currently playing in theaters. Divergent movies are based on a popular "young adult" novel featuring a female protagonist who challenges a totalitarian government... in other words if you liked The Hunger Games you will probably enjoy Divergent.

The Divergent Series takes place in a post-apocalyptic Chicago. In order to promote social harmony, society is divided into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intellectual).

Individuals are allowed to chose their factions but first they complete a series of tests designed to identify what faction best suits the individual -- sort of like the "assessments" of Common Core and No Child Left Behind taken to their logical/tyrannical conclusion .

The heroine of the Divergent Series is Tris. Tris is a divergent -- someone who has an equal aptitude for all factions. Divergents are considered a threat to the ruling regime because they have the capacity for independent thought, and those in power view independent thought as a threat to the social order (remember this is just science fiction).

Tris joins Dauntless, the faction that provides security, and ends up leading the resistance to a coup staged by the Erudite faction against the ruling Abnegation faction. Smart people and the selfless arguing over which ones are best qualified to control our lives because someone has to "manage society"... sounds like how people in DC view reality.

Insurgent, the second installment of the series, focuses on a mysterious box that only a Divergent can open. Insurgent also focuses on the ongoing rebellion against the ruling factions. At the end of the movie, the rebels have triumphed and Tris opens the box. The box contains a message from the founders of the system, explaining that factions were an experiment designed to produce a divergent. Meanwhile, the leader of the rebels is showing signs of being just as bad as the authoritarians she displaced (again remember, this is just fiction).

In Allegiant, Tris discovers the people behind the Divergent "experiment": the Bureau of Genetic Welfare. The bureau created this experiment after a previous attempt by the government to manipulate genetics to create perfect humans produced people with "damaged genes." I won't give away the ending, except to say that (surprise) those controlling the divergent experiment may not be as altruistic or as honest as they appear. (I know, government bureaucrats who manipulate others are not always motivated by pure altruism and sometimes are not honest, but remember this is science fiction.)

The Divergent Series obviously contains a number of themes appealing to libertarians: such as the threat independent thinkers -- like those who question whether they hate us because we are free or because of what we do, or that we need to give up liberty for security, or that the people benefit when control over the currency is given to an unaccountablesecretive central bank -- the dangers of central planing, and how power corrupts even so-called "revolutionaries."

Allegiant can also be seen as a allegory of the welfare-warfare state. Like Allegiant's "Bureau of Genetic Welfare," government is always interfering with the free market in order to "improve" our lives. For example, starting in the '40s, government policies distorted the health care market. These policies raised the cost of health care, thus making it hard for many Americans to afford health care.

This resulted in further government expansions in the marketplace -- just like the Divergent experiment was designed to correct the Bureau of Genetic Welfare's prior interventions -- culminating  (thus far) in Obamacare.

The same process occurs in foreign policy. U.S. interventions designed to '"spread democracy" via military force aimed at "regime change"  destabilizes the targeted countries and causes people to resent the U.S. The result is the rise of extremist terrorists like ISIS, thus providing a pretext for future intervention.

Of course, the ultimate example of this is the Federal Reserve. Fed polices of creating artificially low interest rates, distort the signals sent to investors and entrepreneurs. The result is a temporary boom followed by a bust. Instead of allowing the recession to run its course so the economy can return to normal, the Fed (with the cooperation of Congress and the President) resumes printing money to "stimulate" the economy thus restarting the whole boom-and-bust cycle.

Campaign for Liberty is working to stop all government attempts to "improve" our lives, our economy, and our world. Please support our efforts,


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