“Life imitates art,” Oscar Wilde said. A recent review cringe-worthy film, The purge forever, makes me think that Wilde could have been on something. In popular culture, leftists indulge their fantasies of right-wing chaos and seriously mistake their illusions for the real world.
The Purge movies started out as low budget horror movies, but over time they turned into political statements. A suite, The first purge, produced at the height of Trump’s hysteria, “was explicitly anti-fascist and anti-racist,” writes Noah Berlatsky, “with black and other non-white protagonists fighting an explicitly right-wing government and radicals dressed in white.”
Berlatsky finds the latest installment in the series even more politically relevant. In this film, a couple fleeing the Mexican cartel are hunted down by citizens who break all laws, killing with abandon. “The film is extremely clear,” he concludes, “that when the violent right talks about overthrowing the rich, it’s just propaganda cover for white populism and racism.”
Berlatsky, “a Chicago-based writer and “cultural critic” to NBC, praises the film for its “honesty” and its outspoken demonstration that “fascism is an American ideology.” A more reasonable conclusion is that he and the directors of these films are living out their illusory fantasies on the movie screen.
After all, this is not the first time that Hollywood liberals have presented a distorted view of reality as an accurate, albeit artistic, representation of the real world. For seven seasons (1999-2006), west wing suggested that the Conservatives are just not as nice, smart, compassionate and handsome as the Liberals. Six years later, the ABC show Scandal took it up several notches, making it clear that the Tories were not just the enemy, but were in fact led by a murderous and psycho-right president.
Much of the current illusion is achieved by super-sticking radical wackos to the conservative movement. Here’s what’s wrong with that presumption. For starters, organized political violence is not common in America. It is outside the scope of American policy. It is not part of American policy on the right or on the left. The madmen who want to overthrow the nation are not part of anyone’s wing. By definition, they are not allowed in the American political house.
In addition, not to insist too much, the most active, radical, violent, organized and supported political violence in America today is acclaimed by the same people with whom, one might expect, Berlatsky shares crisps and dip.
What prompts the left to create and embrace the right-wing meme as the bogeyman is not a critical analysis of life as most people know it. It is simply the desire to use their “creative genius” and “their art” to delegitimize their political opponents. More and more shaped by critical race theory, Project 1619 and racist “anti-racist” doctrine, the progressive view of American society has become as cruel and destructive as the imaginary right-wing monsters of The Purge.
The left elite’s hatred for the right, which has become increasingly virulent and out of touch with reality, may be further motivated by the fact that conservatives will not turn around and let progressives remake America. Hollywood’s silliness on this front is likely to only get worse.
Look at the top issues most Americans really care about, and it’s increasingly clear that some of them don’t like the way the Biden administration turns to the far left. The reaction of the left to this rejection will likely take the form of even more vitriol, anger and frustration. Indeed, things are likely to turn out so badly that Hollywood will be releasing another horrid Purge movie. It’ll show them yahoos!
James Jay Carafano is vice president of the Heritage Foundation.