My wife and I went to watch the blockbuster movie “The Hunger Games”. Before going to the movie I already understood that the ruling class, so expertly portrayed in Hunger Games, does in fact exist here in America.
Hunger Games is not science fiction; rather it is an eerie reflection of our “new American society”.
In Hunger Games the citizens of twelve fictional colonies do not govern themselves but rather are kept in a perpetual state of hunger by a “new upper class” that has arisen from the ashes of a nuclear war. In the book there are rumors of a thirteenth colony, sound familiar? The rational for their totalitarian policies is to prevent another war (rebellion). Citizens of each colony are allowed to produce a unique product (e.g. food, fuel, and clothing), which is then redistributed to the other colonies under the strict control of the new upper class. Annually children are selected from each colony for sacrifice upon the alter of the central government called the Hunger Game.
Charles Murray describes two fictional neighborhoods called Belmont and Fishtown to describe the “new upper class” from the “new lower class”. He uses these fictional neighborhoods, which are based in reality, to track key indicators in white America, from 1960 to 2010. He calls these indicators “the founding virtues” of America: industriousness, honesty, marriage and religiosity.
This new upper class is well educated, wealthy and powerful. Murray writes, “[W]hile there is no such thing as an ordinary American, it is not the case that most Americans are balkanized into enclaves where they know little of what life is like for most other Americans. ‘The American mainstream’ may be hard to specify in detail, but it exists."
"Many members of the new upper class are balkanized,” states Murray. They live in large and modern cities much like Belmont described in Murray’s book. Murray identifies the new upper class as “overwhelmingly white and urban”. This mirrors the capital city in Hunger Games.
Murray analyzed where the “new upper class” lives in the United States by zip code. He found they are clustered primarily in four key centers or capitols: Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In these four communities, and smaller ones across the nation, the new upper class controls the money, high level jobs, political power and policies in their areas. You can easily identify them in your own community. You may also identify those at the opposite end of the spectrum known as the “new lower class”. Here in Sarasota County, Florida we have the communities of Longboat Key and Newtown which parallel Belmont and Fishtown respectively in Murray’s book.
Professor Codevilla in his book describes the “ruling class” as, “formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits.” According to Professor Codevilla, “What really distinguishes these privileged people demographically is that, whether in government power directly or as officers in companies, their careers and fortunes depend on government.” Both Charles Murray and Professor Codevilla are describing the scenario in Hunger Games. As professor Codevilla writes, and as we see in Hunger Games, “For our Ruling Class, identity always trumps truth.”
In Hunger Games "the truth" is the upper class is killing children for entertainment. Killing children becomes an annual event with sponsors, pageantry and rewards to the lone survivor. It is the Roman gladiatorial arena taken to a new level of high technology.
Frances Grund, the seventh son of a German Baron educated in Vienna, who immigrated to Philadelphia in 1825 wrote, “No government could be established on the same principle as that of the United States with a different set of morals. The American Constitution is remarkable for its simplicity; but it can only suffice a people correct in their actions. Change the domestic habits of the Americans, their religious devotion, and their highest respect for morality and it will not be necessary to change a single letter of the Constitution in order to vary the whole form of their government.” [My emphasis]
As Patrick Henry wrote, “Bad men cannot make good citizens.” Self-governing requires individual citizens govern their own behavior first and foremost.
The Hunger Games are coming to a community near you!