“People should not be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

Kirsten and I snuck out and saw V for Vendetta last night. As I am more forgiving than some would-be critics I know (and am habitually loyal), I remain a big fan of the Wachowski brothers and still enjoy the Matrix trilogy taken as a whole. I was very excited to see it, then. Most of the reveiws I read were positive, noting that it was a "smart" movie, though one sarcastically said it would saitisfy all of the political adolescents out there as a "rage against the machine by the machine." Still, I enjoyed it. Set in a 1984-like dystopian future, in the film the United States has been rendered weak by an imperial war gone bad (finally leading to civil war in the U.S.), and Britain has returned to superpower status, though as a totalitarian state led by a politically conservative, religious dictator that came to power and now maintains it by promulgating a culture of fear and offering the masses security in exchange for ever-shrinking liberty (civil and otherwise). This regime is highly secretive and uses the media to spin events in an advantageous light. Sound familiar? The movie goes on to ask questions about the difference between a terrorist and a freedom-fighter and who gets to say which is which. One memorable line was: "Artists use lies to tell the truth while politicians use them to cover the truth up." Anyway, the film certainly played to my sensibilities and while I might use caution in carrying the allusions too far, I am reminded of the recent comments by retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor regarding political attacks on the judiciary in which she noted, "It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

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