Who are the Aliens? Communists or Capitalists?
Kyle Munkittrick at Science not Fiction at Discovery Blogs wrote a piece, “We Need Gattaca to Prevent Skynet and Global Warming” about apocalyptic films featuring Independence Day, and The Day the Earth Stood Still, among others. Munkittrick writes that:
Every apocalyptic film seems to trade on the idea that there will be some lone super-genius to figure out the problem.
Jeff Golblum plays the role in Independence Day, an updating of the War of the Worlds by H G Wells. Professor Barnhardt is the hero in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Independence Day combines Wells with the Night of the Living Dead, another film typical of a genre of apocalyptic films. Wells was writing a prevision of the forthcoming clash of “civilizations” in the First World War, but the Zombie style movies were meant to encapsulate the prevalent fear in the US of communism, as propagated by Senator McCarthy. The fateful disease that took away people’s minds and their humanity, turning them into cannibalistic zombies was meant to be communism. Curious, then, that when the communist threat evaporated, a new disease arose called Islamic terrorism. The US always has to have its horrific external disease to keep its own people zombified.
The message in both versions of The Day the Earth Stood Still is that humanity’s greatest existential threat is itself.
And indeed we can now see that the zombies or aliens were not particularly communists or Islamists but are just a metaphor for ourselves. We will do the destroying, and why, because western society is built on the antisocial principles of capitalism. Surely it is obvious. Our characteristics are those of a social animal, and that is why we have an instinct to be moral. Morality is simply caring for and sharing with others — “Do unto others as you would be done by”. Yet capitalism fosters dog eat dog, might is right, selfishness is natural, and greed is a blessing of God. These are the characteristics of the solitary animal, and even the solitary mother loves her infant. Social animals are supposed to love each other.
That, incidentally, is the teaching of Christianity, and America constantly boasts it is a Christian nation, when in terms of practice, as opposed to wishful thinking, it transparently is not. Even more paradoxically, the American political system buried socialism and communism, when they at least were attempting to bring the importance of human society to the forefront. Yep, the aliens are among us, but they are not the commies, they are the greedy and selfish accumulators of all our social assets, the bankers and financiers swapping their wealth here and there as long as it keep growing, and too bad for the rest of us. They are the ones in the spaceships, and the ones who need to be given a cold by some Goldblum-like genius.
Subscribe to comments with RSS.