How ‘Man in the High Castle’ Predicted Our Cancel Culture Age
Amazon's alternate reality series showed what happens when you erase history
“The cause of living in the past is dying right in front of us.” — Rhett Butler, “Gone With The Wind”
So says Rhett Butler, the dashing and cavalier leading man of the Civil War epic, as the antebellum South crumbles around him under a barrage of Union cannon fire.
It’s a fitting line, because the 1939 film has been coming under fire for its benign depiction of chattel slavery. Ignoring the fact that the film is a product of its time, and betraying its lack of faith in the intelligence of its viewers, HBO Max decided to pull the film from its platform as part of the corporate-driven Black Lives Matter awareness campaign.
HBO Max reinstated the film with an introductory disclaimer. Fair enough.
But it’s not just about the film. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few weeks, sanguinary mobs are currently pulling down statues of men who shaped the world we live in today. Our history is being effaced without much of a fight, because the bludgeon of racism is wielded effectively against anyone who would resist.
Three years ago, the same mob went after statues of men like Robert E. Lee, the Confederate General who was petitioned by Lincoln to fight for the North, but ended up obeying his loyalty to the state of Virginia, his home.
Loyalty to one’s homeland despite its flaws is an alien concept these days, but was well understood and respected in the time of Lee and Lincoln.
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That said, most reasonable people these days can understand the desire to remove Confederate statues, even if they ultimately disagree with such action. These depictions symbolize disunity, failure, and, above all, support for the sin of slavery.
Most importantly, statues seem to glorify rather than merely educate.
But it was never going to stop there, and many of us said so all along. Fast forward three years, and the rapacious mob is pulling down statues of George Washington, Ulysses Grant and Abraham Lincoln – the President who ended slavery. They’ve even begun calling for the toppling of statues and icons depicting Jesus Christ as anything resembling Caucasian.
King tweeted that it was time to tear down the statues of Jesus Christ that show him as a Caucasian male because it promotes “white supremacy” https://t.co/iQH1uvr88k
— NewsRadio WFLA 🇺🇸 (@WFLANews) June 23, 2020
I could get into the back and forth on this, and why all this is stupid, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.
The short of it is: we are in the midst of a Cultural Revolution. There is no denying it. Forget any notion of organic protest spontaneously erupting after the death of a black man under a white cop’s knee. It’s gone way beyond that now. The death of George Floyd was merely the catalyst the social engineers were waiting for, much like the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was seized upon as a fitting pretext by forces itching for war.
“Cultural Revolution.” The term fails to adequately communicate the destructive nature of what it really means. Nor do the enemies of such a revolution really understand the vital importance of culture to the survival of civilization. This is by design, lest they take up arms at the first whiff of subversion.
None of this is new. Several societies have suffered cultural revolutions. France, Germany, North Korea, Russia, China, Cambodia… Most do not survive.
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In 1966, after Chairman Mao’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ proved a massive failure in China, the Communist Supreme Leader initiated a Cultural Revolution with the stated objective to “destroy the Four Olds”: Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas.
The goal was to sever the people’s connection to their history, their land, their identity. Like the first iteration of Communism laid down by Marx and put into action by Lenin, Mao’s version was drenched in the rhetoric of class struggle. The Chinese Cultural Revolution began with the renaming of major streets to “empower the working class.”
Soon, mobs began harassing artists, intellectuals and landlords, subjecting them to ‘struggle sessions’ where they were publicly humiliated (and during the later fever-pitch stage, tortured and killed). Massive posters bearing propaganda slogans were hung from almost every building. Snitches were ubiquitous, costing people their jobs and tearing families apart.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
It didn’t stop there. Paintings, books, classical architecture and ancient temples were also desecrated and destroyed. The Communist mob even dug up old corpses to denounce and burn in public. Families’ genealogy books were seized and tossed in the fire.
Again, the point of a cultural revolution is to sever people from their history and instill a new collective identity. It erases history and resets the calendar to Year Zero.
Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. – Kylo Ren, The Last Jedi
We are seeing all this take place in our own society. Confused and directionless teenagers are given a cause to feel important for, and are encouraged by media both social and mainstream to sever ties with their families.
People are now publicly shamed and forced to apologize for their ‘white privilege.’ Some even lose their jobs, or have their personal information published online. Our language is policed to a debilitating and dehumanizing degree.
In Washington DC, a part of 16th Street NW has been renamed by its mayor to ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza,’ a symbolic gesture that has been repeated in many different cities throughout the United States and other countries.
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You see, class struggle isn’t a sharp enough wedge for the Communists to employ in a country famous for its economic liberty and social mobility. What worked in Russia and China didn’t work in Western nations.
Instead, they found something even more powerful: identity. By whipping up racial and sexual grievances, the Marxists embedded in the major institutions were able to leverage identity to such an astonishingly effective degree that there really shouldn’t be any surprise to the events of the past few weeks.
To anyone with a cursory knowledge of history, these riots and violent acts of subversion conjure up images of Nazis burning books and wrecking Jewish shops during Kristallnacht – a grim omen of the horror that was to come, similar to how the Chinese Cultural Revolution provided moral license for mass murder down the road.
Socialism, whether national (Nazi) or international (Communist), always walks this same path.
Like HBO, Hitler also banned “Gone With The Wind” (the book). While he obviously didn’t care for how slaves were depicted, he did have a problem with the novel’s themes of rugged individualism and survivalism, no doubt exemplified by main character Scarlett O’Hara’s dogged loyalty to her land.
Thankfully, the Nazis were defeated in war, their crimes brought to light, and their ideology rightfully tarnished and despised by subsequent generations.
But what if they’d won the war?
That is the central premise of Amazon Prime’s television series “The Man In The High Castle,” based on legendary author Philip K. Dick’s famous novel.
The story takes place in an alternative universe where the Axis powers win the Second World War. The American West Coast falls under the rudimentary tyranny of the Japanese Pacific States, while the larger Eastern portion is clenched in the high-tech iron grip of the Greater Nazi Reich.
It’s a worthwhile show, deftly unfolding a science fiction yarn within the framework of a classic political thriller. It’s worth checking out, but there’s one particular subplot in Season 3 that applies to our theme here.
You see, in order to root out the persistent vestiges of American resistance, the ruling Nazis devise a major propaganda initiative to erase “pre-Reich American history.”
They call it Jahr Null. Year Zero.
Spearheaded by a Riefenstahl-like filmmaker, the Year Zero campaign entails ritually destroying significant American landmarks and replacing them with forward-looking, progressive icons.
Early in Season 3, there’s a brainstorming scene where the chief creatives pitch an enthralled Heinrich Himmler (having replaced Hitler as Führer) on the details.
“It’s a makeover. A do-over, a facelift, a fresh start.”
A slide projector cycles through photos of several landmarks slated for destruction: Mount Rushmore. The Liberty Bell. The Alamo.
“It’s a state of re-becoming, and it begins with the destruction of iconic landmarks of pre-Reich America.”
“First on the list, a sentimental favorite. Which is precisely why she must be destroyed, schnell. Located, conveniently, right here in New York Harbor.”
The projector switches to a photo of the Statue of Liberty.
Himmler’s eyes light up with demonic glee. And what is to replace this American symbol of hope and liberty? A statue depicting Nazi youth: the Jahr Null generation.
Later on in the season, we witness the destruction of Lady Liberty as two fighter jets ceremonially topple the statue by firing missiles at it. Crowds cheer as its pieces sink into the Harbor. The event incites euphoric riots in New York City, with Nazi Youth roaming the streets chanting, “Blood and soil!”
When Himmler is informed that the riots are targeting schools and museums, he coolly responds: “This is the night to express their passions. Sometimes a purge is essential.”
Further pressed by his advisors after a library is set on fire, he says: “Let it burn. People need to be reminded of who to fear.”
This is stunning because we are seeing this very dynamic play out on our own streets in real time. Mount Rushmore in particular has already been tagged as a monument worthy of destruction.
It’s no longer a nightmarish fantasy ascribed to “zee eevil Nazis” running America, but the sobering reality of our present day.
“The Man In The High Castle” is startlingly prescient, but like so much of Hollywood programming, it plays defense for the real tyrants.
By having the Nazis chant “blood and soil” while ransacking the streets, torching libraries and destroying statues, it shrewdly connects them to the alt-right white supremacists of our own reality, who went on their pathetic but widely publicized tiki-torch march a few years ago.
Thing is, though, these tiki-torch losers hold nowhere near as much power as the neo-Marxists of our own day, but the show (just like the media) wants you to fear them above all else.
In reality, it’s the neo-Marxists of Antifa, Black Lives Matter and their powerful corporate sponsors who are banning books and movies, getting people fired, ordering ritual humiliations, torching churches, pulling down statues and ransacking streets. It’s the neo-Marxists who want to condemn and erase our history under the mockingbird justification of ‘systemic racism.’
But where are the movies, TV shows and news pieces highlighting the mortal danger of a Communist uprising?
Well… Amazon, producer and distributor of “The Man In The High Castle,” banned my own film “Hoaxed” (co-directed by Scooter Downey and produced by Mike Cernovich), a documentary that, among other things, warns of Communist ideology having infected our institutions, primarily the mainstream media.
To illustrate this further, Amazon’s “The Man In The High Castle” also features a surprisingly poignant subplot involving the ‘Black Communist Rebellion,’ which ends up overthrowing their Japanese oppressors by blowing up essential infrastructure.
You can’t help but root for them, given the cruel and savage nature of the Japanese occupation as portrayed in the show, especially against the context of the black community’s historic struggle for freedom.
Getting the audience to sympathize with an overtly Communist group is successful programming, wouldn’t you agree?
It’s almost as if the overarching narrative foisted upon us is designed to prevent people from realizing that a Communist rebellion (directed by white billionaires and backed by white-owned corporations) would end up being the real catalyst for a destructive Year Zero campaign.
“I mean, don’t you get it? The Imperial Japanese and the Nazis = Trump and America, therefore acts of terrorism are morally absolved.”
Hollywood and the mainstream media like to come off as paragons of moral righteousness, but history will not be kind to their combined efforts.
Now, as we continue to watch statues fall, will we push back against the Communist attack on our culture, faith and history?Or will we remain dispassionate onlookers until they are reduced to ash, forever gone with the wind?
Independent filmmaker Jon du Toit is the co-director of “Hoaxed.” You can follow him on Twitter @jondutoit,