18 July 2010

The Truman Show and the Failure of Socialism

I have seen The Truman Show at least ten times since its initial release in 1998. Even as a 15-year-old boy who knew nothing of politics nor economics, the film—particularly its ending—has never failed to elicit from me tears of joy. A human being cannot help but celebrate Truman's irrepressible desire to escape from his island prison into the freedom of the real world.

Yet, I find it astonishing that neither Wikipedia nor a quick search of Google yield a comparison of The Truman Show to a socialist state, when the film appears to be such an overt criticism of the socialist construct. Even the honorable libertarian Jacob G. Hornberger chooses to discuss the "false reality" aspect of film, rather than the socialism itself.

Surely the show's creator and director—Christof—should be compared not to Christ but to a socialist central planner. Christof's dream is no different than any individual socialist's dream: to become an omniscient, omnipotent entity who can benevolently ensure the happiness of his society. Christof provides Truman with a good job, a loving wife, a true friend, and a secure community.

But Christof must contradict himself by holding Truman in this prison. To attempt to thwart Truman's efforts to leave is to prevent Truman's attempt to improve his own happiness. Truman would be happier if he escaped and found the girl whom he truly loves, Sylvia.

Likewise, the socialist central planner must use coercion to force members of society to act in an involuntary manner. Such an action—applied to non-politicians—is universally recognized by human nature to be a crime. Why do socialists believe that calling oneself 'government' excuses these monstrous crimes? Surely the use of force against another individual, rather than ensuring happiness, is the best way to ensure unhappiness, resentment, anger, and psychological anguish.

The Truman Show demonstrates the inevitable triumph of the individual's anarchist spirit over the controlling, self-interested socialist. All humans, at all times, must be allowed to act in a voluntary manner up to the point at which they violate another's right to act in a voluntary manner. Surely Christof, who attempted to relegate Truman to a lifetime of imprisoned slavery, should be considered not an inspirational visionary but one of the most diabolical villains ever imagined.

This review was referenced by Alexander S. Peakin his review of The Truman Show as a libertarian film.