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To break the chains of tyranny means facing odds that aren’t always in your favor. Nevertheless, the Founders escaped oppression and created a free republic. With the massive growth of government today, conservatives may look to history for examples of free societies.
However, conservatives can also learn from dystopian visions of the future. Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games trilogy, has delivered just that with her vivid portrayal of a post-apocalyptic United States. In this series, there are certain similarities between the main characters and the Tea Party movement. Both fight for individual liberties by attempting the upheaval of a despotic government. However, there is one difference between the practices of the Tea Party and the citizens of Panem; we are peaceably fighting subtle tyranny.
In brief, The Hunger Games examines the society of Panem, in which the powerful “Capitol” rules over thirteen conquered “Districts”. Fittingly, there are thirteen Districts to represent the original thirteen colonies of the United States. Each District specializes in a trade that produces necessary goods for the Capitol, such as coal mining, bread making, and fishing. The citizens of these Districts are given few rights and are not allowed to leave their Districts for any reason.
Seventy-five years prior to the events in the first book, the thirteen outlying Districts revolted against the tyrannical Capitol. The rebellion lost the war, and the thirteenth District was destroyed. As a punishment for the insurrection, the Capitol holds an event called the Hunger Games every year. Each District is forced to send a boy and a girl to participate in these “games.” The “games” themselves consist of a massive fight to the death between the children, who use weapons and the environment around them to kill one another until only one survives. The point of the “games” is to instill fear among the Districts and to provide entertainment for the Capitol.
Comparing America to Panem may seem overly dramatic at first. However, a comparison between the American and Panem ideologies of big government reveal a striking resemblance. In Panem, only government officials are allowed to own firearms. Private citizens aren’t allowed to own weapons for any purposes. American gun control laws are on the rise. Leftists want to completely disarm law-abiding citizens in forcing us to rely on the government for “protection.”
In Panem, the government forcibly takes the goods produced by the Districts for its own use. Since the passage of the 16th amendment, the United States government has forcibly taxed the production of the American people through the income tax. We work for what we own, but our progressive government is constantly eroding individual liberty in exchange for a false and temporary sense of security, just as Panem does.
The extravagant spending by Capitol officials represents how detached big government is from the average citizen. For example, Capitol residents have dyed skin, gem implants, and extensive cosmetic surgery. Even though the citizens of the Districts provide everything, they only receive meager scraps to live on. The same holds true in America. People work to provide for their families, but the government takes from us and spends our money on wasteful programs that only benefit the government.
The Hunger Games provides conservatives with a depiction of a United States government that has moved several steps closer along the path of tyranny. This grim narrative does not end in complete oppression. Instead, the Districts begin another rebellion, which results in the creation of a second republic.
“We’re going to form a republic where the people of each district and the Capitol can elect their own representatives to be their voice in a centralized government… It’s worked before." - MockingJay
This quote exemplifies the Tea Party ethos embodied in The Hunger Games. As Americans, we must restore the freedom that was created by the Founders.