Since 2013, “Freedom in Film and Fiction” has been an occasional series of book and film reviews housed on Cascade’s blog Cascade Insider. We’re moving this series to Cascade’s main website. Join us as we explore themes of freedom and timeless truths in literature and art.
(originally published February 27, 2013)
Great truths come to life through great stories. Some of the best arguments in favor of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and economic opportunity are found in works of literature and art. A good plot will stay with you when you’ve forgotten a good essay; a vibrant scene will convince when arguments fail.
So, please join us periodically for an exploration of themes of freedom and timeless truths from works of art you already may know―and some you may have missed. And if you have suggestions for reviews, please e-mail me.
Let’s begin with a recent Cascade guest review of the novel voted “the greatest book of the 20th century.” An epic story by a perceptive critic of the modern world, J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece The Lord of the Rings illustrates the battle between overweening power and personal freedom. Totalitarianism depersonalizes the individual, undermines self-government, and corrupts community and civilization, destroying life, beauty, and virtue in its path:
“Perhaps the most profound insight of [The Lord of the Rings] is that self-government requires governance of self. Freedom is not license. To be free you must exercise control over your own will, which often means doing what you would rather not and expressing your individuality in solidarity….” read more
Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland program at Cascade Policy Institute.