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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6958/the-bureaucrat-and-the-movie-theater/

The Bureaucrat and the Movie Theater

August 8, 2007 by

I saw two movies this week, each anti-government in its own way: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and the Simpsons. The Harry Potter movie was more sophisticated and provided a wonderful look at the nature of bureaucracy, with the Ministry of Magic, driven by the usual fear and ignorance, taking over Hogwarts and wrecking the place with rules and regulations. It was a thrill to see the kids fight back and see the bureaucrats humiliated. A similar situation occurs in the Simpsons, with government plotting egregious actions against citizens and botching it at every step.

What surprised me about my experience this weekend, however, wasn’t the movies but the growth of pro-copyright propaganda, which has gone way beyond mere assertions of rights to actually threatening people at every step. There were no less than two large posters telling these nice people than they will be handcuffed, jailed, and fined to bankruptcy if they pull out a video camera. A very strange thing to see hints of the police state in a place of entertainment. The irony can’t be lost on any young person there, who knows that the movies we are watching can easily be downloaded from any pirate site, and yet, somehow, people keep paying to go to the theaters.

At some point, somethings got to give here. The police tactics will not work. They could end up actually hurting business (treating customers like criminals can do that). Meanwhile, the themes of the two movies I watched explained precisely why and how this war on piracy cannot work. The movie industry has to find a way to end this war peacefully.


Bruce August 8, 2007 at 5:52 pm


I love your post, but I’m a bit confused by your choice of words: shouldn’t your phrase read pro-copyright propaganda?

jeffrey August 8, 2007 at 9:32 pm

strange typo. fixed. thank you!

Jonathan Bostwick August 9, 2007 at 12:14 am

You should see Bourne Ultimatum!

The biggest laugh moment in the theater was when Bourne called the Spanish police on the CIA goon squad.

Its anti-government message is much more direct than the first two.

TokyoTom August 9, 2007 at 12:39 am

I saw “The Shooter” last month while travelling; it too is a tale about government out of control, with elites at the top cynically manipulating all levers of power with impunity, and with no concern for the little guy.

Jeff, it is interesting that Hollywood doesn’t see its own complicity in the very things it criticises, but we’re all better at pointing out where the other fellow is wrong while ignoring the log in our own eyes.

Anthony August 9, 2007 at 7:15 am

Thanks for the post.

ktibuk August 10, 2007 at 7:45 am

“At some point, somethings got to give here.”

When, in the whole history of mankind, producers gave up the right to the fruit of their labor?

Theft always existed, so did the struggle against it.

There will always be two kinds of people, producers and parasites. And the struggle will not end.

So nothing is not going to give here.

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