William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Logan’s Run: A Progressive Utopia

The subtitle proves the point

I heard they were (possibly) remaking Logan’s Run and I wondered why. It’s not that the original was terrific or timeless, but it did tell one essential truth: what life will be like once progressivism is complete. Tell me if this summary does not sound like something straight out of Mother Jones.

In order to preserve the environment and its precious resources, humans are locked inside of opaque domes and forbidden to know of the outside world. There are no leaders, no poor, no rich, no ill, no sexism, no racism. The tyranny of differential ability has been rendered moot: talent is of no use, since there is nothing that need be accomplished. There is nothing to aspire to, no challenges that could cause disparities to exist.

The Ideal Government has been programmed into an all-powerful, all-seeing computer by (it is assumed) the most brilliant minds. The computer’s software is complete: all human interactions have been rigorously either prescribed or proscribed. All that is not forbidden is mandatory.

There is no love. There is no marriage. All license and vice is allowed, even encouraged. If you can catch it and it doesn’t fight back, you can and should have sex with it. There is no risk of pregnancy or of parenthood. Babies, conceived technologically, with those less than perfect culled, are born in the factory-like Nursery. Curiosity about children is seen as perverted. The words “mother” and “father” are virtually unknown. The State raises the children according to the best scientific principles, instilling from birth the belief the State Knows Best. Some children are allowed to run wild, the world indifferent to their fate, until they reach puberty and thus become attractive (and useful) to the Dome’s citizens.

When a person becomes 30, he is ritually killed so that he might not use up more resources than his “fair share.” The State has become the sole religion. Those undergoing this voluntarily euthanasia (aschimothusia) are told they will be “renewed”, a vague, never wholly explained process wherein it is believed the “essence” of the person will be “input” into the next new baby. This is not a theology derived from a deity: just an unadorned dictate from the State.

Those who refuse renewal and who value their lives and who flee from the State’s butchery are called “runners”. Runners are pursued by “Sandmen” who pitilessly slay the runners. The runners believe in a place where the State does not control every aspect of a person’s life. This place is called Sanctuary.

In the book the people are slain at 21, not 30, but for the same reason: too many people. The book was written when it was feared a “population bomb” was imminent (much as the horrors of global warming are nowadays going to strike soon, always soon). The movie insinuated that the domes were of necessity, that outside the domes the air was toxic. Outside was also free of the watchful eye of the most beneficent government.

But inside was a progressive’s dream, which is to say, a nightmare. Every aspect of life is planned. Freedom is abolished in the name of the fairness and equality. People live only for continual, instantaneous self pleasure. All relationships except those between the Self and the State are viewed with suspicion or are made impossible. The only thing citizens can look forward to is death and “renewal”, wherein the dismal process repeats ad nauseum.

The movie ended by revealing all was a facade, that the State was a fake and a phony.

That was the movie in 1977. One can only guess what they’ll do with it in 2013, if indeed it gets made. Let’s do guess. This being a Hollywood movie, we have to have good and bad guys. Logan will be a good guy, of course, running from whomever controls the domes. He’ll have a more powerful, louder, glitzier gun (which always will aim true for him, but misfire for his enemies). He might even be a she, given we’ve lost our taste for manliness.

Thirty-five years ago the bad guy was the State itself, as proved above. Who will it be now. An evil corporation? Coake Corporation (get it? get it?) enslaves humanity to increase profits? Utterly nonsensical of course, because who will have money and where could anybody spend it if they did? Capitalism requires freedom as a prerequisite.

That leaves only one boogeyman known to the left coast. Religion.

Think about that. They’d have to dump the wanton sex and chemically induced states of “happiness”, since that isn’t very religious. Out goes the Nursery in favor of mandated man-woman-only marriage, a bond created in the goal of raising children. Instead, the dome-dwellers would be made to…what? Pray all day?

Or maybe it’ll be a riff on the environmentalist angle. The people all live outside, strewing trash and using up “resources”, and are forbidden to get inside, where the progressive dream is played out only for a lucky few.

Your guess?

26 Comments

  1. You are being overly paranoid. The movie will be awful, just like every single sci-fi “remake” for the past ten years has been (Except perhaps for BSG and Star Trek).

  2. I hope they cast the lead girl with legs as good as Jenny Agutter’s.

  3. There is no way to make the bad guy for Logan’s run anything other than the state.

    My guess is that if it get’s made at all, it will be done by one of the smaller / newer studio/production companies. Not all of these follow the political bent of the bigger studios. If they did The Chronicles of Narnia would never have made it to film.

  4. The State still will be the bad guy, but it will be described as “right-wing” authoritarian because Hollywood can conceive of no other form of repression.

  5. Where did that block-quoted movie summary come from? I love it. Citation, please.

  6. For those that can’t quite make out the subtitle, it says, “There’s just one catch.”
    http://originalvintagemovieposters.com/logans-run-vintage-poster/

  7. I have often wondered why if the progressives are so fond of living without religion, living green and not harming the earth, why don’t they? There are plenty of places one can start a colony (plenty of money available, also) and show the world we don’t need morals, we don’t need god and we can live happily ever after. It’s always in fiction and generally it’s fought against.

  8. Will,
    I suspect that the summary is by our host. Google shows only one hit (here) for that perfect phrase, “tyranny of differential ability”.

  9. Sheri, please share with us the location of such presently unlawful place where white greens (ah) can colonize without any guilt associated with the memories of colonization.

  10. A remake is needed. i enjoyed the original and think modern methods would enhance the story. The robot from the original wasn’t exactly terrifying…

    Hopefully they’ll change some aspects, twist a bit of this and that, and give us a little bit of the unexpected. Maybe instead of a ritual death it’s genetically engineered doom? Maybe a STD that kills?

    Merry belated Christmas everyone!

  11. This summary was nothing like anything I’ve ever read in Mother Jones.

    Merry Christmas to all

  12. I’d expect a remake to be awful, I’m dreading the remake of “The Dambusters”, especially because it’s going to be made by Americans!

  13. I suspect many liberals (certainly not all — not the liberal elite ‘Illuminati’) find the world of Logan’s run abhorrent. The problem is, many of them cannot, or will not, see that it is the ultimate fulfillment of their ideology. That blind spot means that they won’t necessarily need to change anything, because they can’t (don’t, won’t) connect the dots.

  14. Regarding the remake — the project has been in the works for nearly 10 years. If it was going to happen, it would have happened already.

    The villain — a enviro / progressive superstate, or a militeristic / fascist supersate, or theocratic superstate, it is the same thing. The people can’t be trusted to take care of themselves and will be convinced to sumbit to the authority for their own good.

    Regarding the ’76 movie — I didn’t like the ending. It doesn’t fit that the computer self destructs when confronted with the truth.

    Now that I think about it Wall-e borrows heavily from the tropes of Logan’s Run.

  15. Anyone interested in what drives the extreme left-wing liberal needs to read: “The Liberal Mind; The Psychological Causes of Political Madness,” by Lyle Rossiter, M.D. (forensic psychiatry). Check it out at: http://www.libertymind.com

    RE Logan’s Run, etc.: Even back in 1977, when I was in High School & not at all interested in much besides sports & girls, nevermind the implications of the “population explosion.” Logan’s Run’s cloistered society seemed like a rational workable solution to some apocalyptic happening that threatened the survival of the human race. In a rush to save humanity, the design of such an artificial habitat seemed/seems rational–people raised to be in effect pampered spoiled kids without a care or incentive to mess with the contrived order of things will be self-sustaining…allow for too much competition, thinking, etc. and there’s a real risk of letting the brood figure a way out into the real world too soon–before they and/or the real world are ready for each other. Better to wait until some survivors from the outside break in & can teach the inhabitants (essentially human minds in an embryonic state in young adult bodies) to survive. Which is kinda what happened in the movie, almost (a survivor from the outside was there to help, luckily, when the escape happened). The alternative to the “Logan’s Run approach” would be putting people into extended states of suspended animation–which negates the movie/book, and, really isn’t feasible anyway.

  16. Sander van der Wal

    27 December 2012 at 6:14 pm

    A computer running the entiere show. Yeah, right. I almost believed this was serious until that came up. No power hungry human of whatever political inclination is going to give up power to a computer.

  17. Briggs

    27 December 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Will,

    I made it up.

  18. An earlier story of a similar underlining theme is “Pebble in the Sky” by Isaac Asimov.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_in_the_Sky#Plot_summary

    Ignoring the somewhat hokey plot elements, we see that there is a much closer and scarier connection to the world we live in, or fear we may live in.

  19. IIRC one of the reviews at the time summarized it as California Beach Culture taking over.

    FWIW the new version of Red Dawn is AWFUL.

  20. It not being the 70s, the totally gratuitous flash of Jenny Agutter’s replacement’s breasts will not happen.

    Of course, if the makers wanted to be truly radical, they might try a story with a computer controlled ‘perfect’ society in which wanton sex is promoted, ‘fight’ and ‘hate’ are swear words, people are not permitted to live too long and children are State responsibilities: Ira Levin’s This Perfect Day.

  21. Being probably the only person here who has read the original book (and the sequels) it’s worth pointing out it was an excellent action novel but all its ideas have long since been stolen or borrowed by others. Logan’s gun became Judge Dredd’s Lawgiver, etc. If Hollywood follows the usual pattern the remake will be an uninteresting 1.5 hour action sequence. There will be a big environmental theme and it’s connection to fascism will never see the light.

  22. “Logan’s Run” is a bastardized version of two Arthur C. Clarke novels: “The City and Stars” which was a rewrite of “Against the Fall of Night.” (IIRC). Read the earlier one first (“Against”).

  23. Ahhh, Jenny Agutter.

  24. Nurse Alex Price, definitely a character a 16 year old boy would remember. The movie had werewolves or something

  25. I prefer Walkabout for my Jenny Agutter recollections.

  26. Revgdright: and the original Red Dawn wasn’t awful?? I loved it as a kid, but have purposefully avoided rewatching it lest my memories become spoiled by reality.

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