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18th Century France in 21st Century America

Rarely do I praise a mainstream Hollywood movie as a must-see for conservatives across the country; however, I have broken with my own tradition in strongly supporting and recommending the movie The Dark Knight Rises. While the debut of this film brought tragedy to America, with the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, it is still a message of good triumphing over evil, free-markets over collectivism and the rule of law over the rule of the mob.

It is, in short, arguably the most conservative mainstream movie I’ve seen in my lifetime. If the saying “politics is downstream of culture” has any credibility, which I believe that it does, then I’m more hopeful about our politics with messages like The Dark Knight Rises making it into our cultural consciousness.

You know that a movie’s message has hit the nail on the head when liberal movie critics at the Los Angeles Times start ranting against it. LA Times writer Steven Zeitchik was completely shocked that a Hollywood movie would dare challenge the economic and cultural convictions of the Left. In his critique of the movie, Zeitchik is dumbfounded that the concepts of class warfare and Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalism are portrayed in a negative light, for this does not square well with his preconceived liberal notion of “social justice” which is codeword for “wealth redistribution.” Nevertheless, in the film, Bruce Wayne / Batman’s arch nemesis Bane, not to be confused with Bain Capital (sorry Zeitchik), promises that he’s returning power to the people, while he’s interested only in consolidating power to himself. It is Bane’s army, which looks and acts an awfully lot like the Occupy Wall Street protestors, who loot the city, destroy its economy and incite civil unrest.

To add insult to injury for a liberal ideologue like Zeitchik, Bane’s “revolution” is eerily similar to the secular-socialist French Revolution of the 18th Century. In the French Revolution, businesses were blacklisted, entrepreneurs were persecuted and the French version of the stock exchange was effectively disabled. This same sequence of events unfolds in The Dark Knight Rises, as Bane’s army’s first target is the Gotham Stock Exchange, which they regard as an evil symbol of economic imperialism.

In a particularly teachable moment, a terrified stock broker is standing outside the disabled exchange with a Gotham City cop when he remarks that “everyone’s money is in there.” Angrily, the police officer retorts “my money’s in my mattress,” effectively dismissing the idea that his money’s value is effected by what happens to those who work on Wall Street. Instead of letting it go, which would be typical Hollywood, the stock broker explains that the cop’s money won’t be worth much, even in the mattress, if the economy is held hostage by a bunch of Occupy-inspired thugs.

As the plot line unfolds, it becomes increasingly apparent that the supposed army of liberation behind Bane is really an army of occupation. Not only is the economy held hostage by his thugs, but the people to whom Bane promised the power are themselves political prisoners of a terrorist regime that rules the city. The breakdown of the rule of law ushers in a French-Revolutionary-style “reign of terror,” wherein citizens of the city are summarily sentenced by a revolutionary official without any semblance of a trial or due process of law.

All-in-all, this movie gives its audience an accurate glimpse of what it would look like to have the secular-humanistic French Revolution of the 18th century imposed on 21st century America.

Before anyone thinks this is too far-fetched to ever become reality in our time, take a listen to the President’s rhetoric on the campaign trail. He routinely demonizes businesses, attacks the values of entrepreneurs and business owners, and always claims that he’s a “warrior for the middle class.” Almost all of that is eerily similar to speeches given by the leaders of the French Revolution in the 18th century.

Secular-socialist humanism is not a new concept; it is as old as man himself. In the modern historical era, it was the French Revolution that inspired the secular-socialist worldview that led Karl Marx to pen Das Kapital, the Bolsheviks to revolt in Russia, thus ushering in the Soviet oppression that claimed the lives of over forty million, Mao Tse Tung to establish himself as a dictator in China and for modern American politicians to “remake America.”

If the eerily accurate portrayal of secular-socialism in The Dark Knight Rises is any indicator, the French Revolution of the 18th century would destroy America in the 21st.


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