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PC's Opinion: Hobbits Walk Tall With Libz!

"PC's Opinion" is a pithy, heavily spiced editorial from Peter Cresswell that can be delivered to your in-box once a week. If you like what you read then feel free to forward it to everyone you've ever met, and to subscribe at

PC's Opinion
BAFTA, Schmafta - Hobbits Walk Tall With Libs!
By Peter Cresswell

It is sure to annoy the hell out of Helen Clark: Peter Jackson hasn't just won at the BAFTAs - the first film in his 'Rings' trilogy has also scored highly with US libertarians, voting it as the best libertarian film of 2001.

Jackson's film carried the day by a wide margin with freedom-lovers, garnering 91% of the popular vote in the 2001 Film Awards. Voters praised the film's graphic portrayal of the 'power corrupts' theme - showing how the 'ring of power' tends to corrupt all who come into contact with it.

It is seductive to think that this timeless lesson of the corruption of power has been noticed by the many politicians who have sucked up to the film's makers - although I'm sure the irony will be lost on most of them. It would also be tempting to think that the lesson might not be lost on the New Zealand public, but I won't hold out much hope there either.

Indeed, libertarian commentator Vin Suprynowicz suggests that if the book itself had been written today, it may well have had a very different ending - one more suited to the power-lust in today's politics. Unlike today's politicians, he notes that the good king Aragorn is "good" precisely because he realises how strong would be the temptation to put on the ring and keep it … but he doesn't. Why? "Because," says Vin, "it's not necessary for the Lord of Darkness to wear the ring himself to rule the world. Once the ring is slipped on by even the best of men, vowing to use it for good, the corruption begins immediately…. The only way to set men free is to throw the ring of power back into the fires from whence it came."

But we don't do that, do we? Instead, as Vin notes, "every [few] years in the central ritual of our own secular religion we choose the best temporary king we can find, hand him [or her] the Ring of Power, and expect him [or her] to use the mighty force of the state for good, erecting new programs and bureaucracies to solve all our problems with the "good magic" of concentrated central taxation?"

Sigh! Ain't that the sad truth!

Perhaps Clark and her colleagues - and New Zealand's voters - could benefit from the documentary voted Best Libertarian Documentary for 2001: 'John Stossel Goes to Washington'. Reviewers have said that "nobody, not even Milton Friedman in his epic 'Free to Choose' TV series, has done a more dramatic job than John Stossel making the case for liberty against government power."

TV3 hold the NZ rights to the Stossel special. Perhaps viewers could lobby the network to air the doco here. Wouldn't it be 'just lovely' to see John Campbell presenting such a sweeping condemnation of government power?


© 2001

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