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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10659/9-and-the-machine-of-the-state/

9 and the Machine of the State

September 15, 2009 by

Last night, my wife and I went to see the new computer-animated film “9″. After watching it, I had some somewhat spoiler-y thoughts… (Don’t read more unless you don’t mind spoilers!)For those who don’t mind spoilers…

The basic premise behind “9″ is that there was a war between machines and humans. “9″ picks up after the war when only a few little animate dolls and a mechanical cat “survived”.

Throughout the movie, the backstory gets revealed in more detail. What we find out:

“The Machine” was built by a scientist, and was designed to make more of itself.
“The Chancellor” (and obviously dictatorial figure) declared that “The Machine” would “usher in a new era of prosperity for the State”.
“The Machine” then turned against the people, and the war began.

One doesn’t have to think too hard to draw parallels between “The Machine” and “The State” as we know it.
Many interventions are designed by (social) scientists – often well-meaning ones.
As Mises notes, interventions do result in more interventions being created. (We need new interventions to fix the problems caused by old ones.)
Massive interventions are often hailed as beginning a new era by those in power (New Deal, Great Society, etc.).
As Hayek notes, the State often turns on its people as the “Worst Get on Top”.

Naturally, there are other possible interpretations – that’s the nature of literature – but it’s nice when there’s an Austro-libertarian one so close to the surface.


HL September 15, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Was the movie entertaining? Suitable for kids? Previews looked spooky.

Lucas Engelhardt September 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm


“Was the movie entertaining?”

My wife loved it, as she appreciates good animation and “steam-punk” kinds of settings. I thought it was alright, but not great. Plot was too hard to follow for me. (I like when plots where what happens at one point follows from what happened before. I thought that “9″‘s plot relied too much on “stuff happened”.)

“Suitable for kids?”

Young kids, I’d say “no”. It would probably be too scary for some. Some of the good guys “die”, which is likely to be disturbing for young kids. Also, there’s the fact that everyone is dead – and you do see clips of the battles between man and machine. My guess is that the PG-13 rating is for those.

Now, if I were to think about taking my kid, I’d also be concerned about the way the (implied) “religious” character is presented, and the view of the soul that’s presented. Of course, that depends on your religious views.

Yancey Ward September 15, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Tim Burton films are usually adult in nature, even the animated ones.

Chi Iron September 16, 2009 at 2:27 am

Real life observation tells us that, more often than not, those who work the hardest achieve the most.

Brian September 16, 2009 at 5:21 am

I always thought part 3 of Stefan Molyneux’s “Statism is Dead” series brilliantly explained how the nature of sci-fi dystopia is to a large extent an allegory for government: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P772Eb63qIY

John Martin September 16, 2009 at 5:49 am

Those who work the hardest, will always achieve the most i think. Whas the movie worth the time & money spending on it?


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