In last week’s column, I recommended four great films for lovers of freedom and promised more this week. Here they are:
Antz (1998): The setting for this DreamWorks animated film is an ant colony. All ants are expected to behave as an obedient blob. This is very convenient for the tyrant ants in charge. The debilitating collectivist mindset is shaken by a single ant who marches to a different drummer and ultimately saves the colony through his individual initiative.
Barbatus is one of the ants who lives his entire life as an indistinguishable cog in the colony’s centrally planned machine. In his last words to Z, the hero of the story voiced by Woody Allen, he says, “Don’t make my mistake, kid. Don’t follow orders your whole life. Think for yourself.”
Reflecting on that poignant moment later, Z sadly confides to another ant, “He just died in my arms like that. You know, I don’t think he ever once, in his life, made his own choice.”
Never to make a choice of your own is, to me, what Hell must be like.
Ghostbusters (1984): Two things we must always fear about government are 1) mission creep and 2) creeps on a mission. In this hilarious classic, the villain is an arrogant control freak from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Four parapsychology professors are finally tossed out of their cushy jobs at a state university. Lamenting their predicament, one of them suggests going into business for themselves. Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) expresses his reservations this way: “Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities. We didn’t have to produce anything. You’ve never been out of college. You don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results!” There’s a treasure trove of economic truth in that single sentence.
Amazing Grace (2007): Have you ever seen a movie so good, so inspirational, that tearful audiences rise to applaud as the closing credits roll? That was the reaction I witnessed the first of some 25 times I saw this one.
This is the wonderful story of two giants among history’s liberty-loving humanitarians, William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson. They changed first the conscience of a nation (Britain) and then they changed its laws. The issue was human slavery, a fact of life for centuries in virtually every corner of the globe. Motivated by their deeply Christian beliefs to end the sin of bondage, these two men had to fight both ignorance and their own government before millions could be liberated.
The legendary actor Marlon Brando once said, “Most of the successful people in Hollywood are failures as human beings.” That may not be fair, but I do know that occasionally, whether on purpose or by accident, even Hollywood gets something right.
Reminder: The Newnan Carnegie Library Foundation will sponsor a “Lunch & Learn” on Friday, Dec. 3, at 12 noon. The speaker will be Maestro Richard Prior, conductor of the Lagrange Symphony Orchestra. With an ensemble in tow, Maestro Prior will provide a program both musical and educational entitled “Magical Moments of Music.” For more info and to register, visit newnancarnegie.com/nclf-events.
Lawrence W. Reed, a resident of Newnan, is president emeritus of the Foundation for Economic Education. His most recent book is “Was Jesus a Socialist?” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.