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Skyfall: What James Bond teaches us about the state

12 Mar

English Flag Cross of St George

SPOILER ALERT – The following describes parts of the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, particularly the opening sequence.

While I was away on a business trip recently, I was sent a DVD of the latest James Bond movie Skyfall to watch on my return. I had watched this movie in the cinema, and although I had found it less gripping than Casino Royale – perhaps a James Bond movie never to be surpassed in quality – I had enjoyed it. I therefore looked forward to watching it again.

Something, however, seems to have happened to me while I was away. Some causal agent has opened up a previously-hidden inner eye. For I found the movie somehow repellent on its second viewing. Although thoroughly evil himself, I also realised that my sympathies lay much more with Raoul Silva, the apocryphal evil villain, than they did with the state-licensed assassin, James Bond.

I think it was the opening sequence that did it. Because I viewed this in an entirely new light, one I had never previously entertained. On my trip, I had been re-reading Professor Hoppe’s edited book, The Myth of National Defense, and the following question arose in my mind as I watched Mr Bond wandering through a blood-filled hotel room at the start of the film:

  • If James Bond was just an agent of a private security company, in a future Hoppe World, would his actions be reasonable in his attempt to capture Patrice, the similarly-talented agent of a rival private security company?

In years gone by, I had never once questioned Mr Bond’s right to do what he did. A fictional Queen has granted him a license to kill through her chief agent, ‘M’, therefore anything he does is completely acceptable, because it’s for Queen and country.

Somehow, I had swallowed the notion that some people (such as fictional queens) possess the power to kill people, merely on their say-so, or that of their agents. Because like many people, I must have partially swallowed at least some of the religious mythology of state worship, which whispers the soothing words that the state is all-knowing and that the state is all-powerful.

Yes, I know intellectually that ‘the state’ is nothing more than a loose contractual association of assorted thugs, vagabonds, socialist intellectuals, crooks, and other politicians, but emotionally I was still partially inside the zone of believing in the state, whilst just bobbing up onto a raw emotional threshold of finally realising my mistake.

The pictures on the TV screen had somehow become green blobs of computer code going up and down and had stopped being part of a compelling story. So how had my emotional mind managed to make the transition? You may already have guessed where I’m going with this. However, let’s examine that opening sequence as if Bond is working for a private security company, charged with protecting a disk drive, as opposed to working for a state security organisation. We’ll call his employers Universal Exports Ltd (UE).

The first thing Bond does is abandon a Universal Exports colleague, at the orders of the CEO who sent that friend into danger. So far, that’s probably allowable on a private security company contract. Life can be tough.

However, then it starts to get interesting. On the basis of a second UE female agent saying “he’s in an Audi”, Bond takes the safety off his gun, ready to kill this potentially completely innocent man, who might work for the Illuminati corporation, their main private security rivals. This second UE agent then smashes both wing mirrors on their car without worrying for a second about the cost to the UE shareholders who financed the car. That’s the first sacking offence, if she was a private employee working for me, and I was the CEO of Universal Exports.

All of this action is happening, without permission, on the privately-owned territory of a third organisation, which we can call Istanbul City Corporation. Fortunately, it has three of the most vigilant and brave security officers I’ve ever seen, who chase after the protagonists as if their lives depended upon it. You rarely see that kind of dedication from British police officers.

So Bond, his female colleague, and the possible Illuminati agent are all trespassing and causing wanton damage on another’s property.

Bond then rams and attempts to kill this potentially innocent man, who we later learn is called Patrice. Bond destroys the man’s vehicle, risking the lives of many pedestrians in the process. Doing what any sensible person would do in Hoppe World, if attacked at random by armed hoodlums, the man first fights back then escapes the scene. Alas, he also commits crimes of his owns, by killing the chasing security officers, so that turns him from a possible suspect into a probable suspect.

Both agents now steal more property from others, in this case motorbikes, both of which they trash.

The female UE agent then fires a stream of bullets into a crowd of innocent bystanders in the hope of murdering this unconvicted and untried man. She bears absolutely no remorse for the chance that she might have killed several other people in the process.

Bond then wrecks half a dozen private vehicles on a train, before cutting this private train in two. All without permission from any of the owners.

At last, we finally see evidence that the man Patrice does actually have a hard drive, while he fights off Bond on top of the train. But what if he obtained this hard drive back at the hotel from rogue UE employees, in a valid private transfer, and then somebody else killed all those men while he drove away from them in his Audi?

It’s of no consequence. Back in London, the Universal Exports CEO orders his Judge-Dredd-style execution.

And nobody bats an eyelid. This is all perfectly normal behaviour for the state. Trespass, property destruction, killing, collateral damage, and execution.

Whether consciously or unconsciously inserted, like many others, this movie is absolutely stuffed full of such state-worshipping memes. Yes, perhaps that was already obvious to you, especially as it’s about a state’s secret agent, but this is the first time I’ve seen it so clearly.

Thank goodness for Professor Hoppe.

But has he now ruined forever my James-Bond-watching pleasure?

Do I have to give up being a Rothbardian to enjoy such future movies? Well, I think I’ll cope, as long as I fully realise that it’s just meme-directed entertainment. If they also keep putting in carnal second-string love interest stars such as Caterina Murino, Gemma Arterton, and Bérénice Marlohe, I’ll fight my way through the suddenly obvious protrusions of state worship.

It’ll be tough, I know. But somehow I think I’ll cope.

So what does this movie teach us about the state? That it will steal, destroy, and kill everything in its path, without remorse, merely to serve the private interests of its members, best summed up in the word association phrase:

“Murder; Employment.”

And it’s all there in plain sight if you know how to see it. How strange it is that I’ve never seen it so clearly before.