Not too long ago, my co-host and friend, Matthew Dalton, suggested I take my kids to go see Lego movie. He told me that it was "anarchist propaganda" and my God, was it ever. I must warn you, I am about dissect and analyze all of the fun out of this movie (my editor says I'm supposed to type *Spoiler Alert* here) and I will not feel sorry about it. The movie begins when a wizard, Vitruvius, attempts to protect the "Kragle," a super weapon, from the evil President Business (an obvious poke at both government and cronyism,) who wants to use it to freeze the universe as it has been built by him. Vitruvius fails to stop him, but warns Lord Business of a prophecy where a person called the "Special" will find the Piece (Peace?) of Resistance capable of stopping the Kragle. I identified the typical tropes in a children's movie. You know, like, slapstick, references and parodies of known characters, The Chosen one, ect. ect. I was then introduced to the main character, Emmet Brickowski, an ordinary construction worker, and was given a not-so-subtle message about how it is necessary to conform and have blind acceptance of instruction to be happy.
The part that made me say to myself, "The most staunch indictment of the culture of control that is pushed in Mainstream Media/Politics today is when the main character literally forgets his clothes without instruction to remind him." You might be familiar with that argument. "Without the law, how will people know how to be civil?" When in reality they are saying, "People are too stupid to regulate themselves and, apparently, will forget to dress in the morning."
"Are not laws dangerous which inhibit the passions? Compare the centuries of anarchy with those of the strongest legalism in any country you like and you will see that it is only when the laws are silent that the greatest actions appear." -Marquis de Sade
Following that scene, I was magically taken back to a time in my life when "fitting in" was important.
Do you remember that time in your life? When you were easily influenced by the trends of society either through pop culture, politics, or your parents? The amount of time spent in that state of unaware malleability differs per individual because of environment, genetics and willpower. Emmet feels a very real need to be both a part of something bigger than himself and to stand out and be noticed. It is a paradox that all humans share. In his desire to be noticed, he did everything he was told to do, simply so that he might be considered be a part of something bigger. As most of us know, now that we are older, when you judge your own importance by the standards of others you will always eventually fail.
"The roots of the word 'anarchy' are 'an archos,' 'no leaders,' which is not really about the kind of chaos that most people imagine when the word 'anarchy' is mentioned. I think that anarchy is, to the contrary, about taking personal responsibility for yourself." -Alan Moore
After being shown that Emmet is so absolutely and entirely normal that he isn't even noticed by his peers, He comes across a woman, Wyldstyle, who is searching for something after hours at Emmet's construction site. When he investigates, Emmet falls into a hole and finds the Piece of Resistance. Compelled to touch it, Emmet experiences vivid visions and passes out. He awakens elsewhere with the Piece of Resistance attached to his back in the custody of Bad Cop, Lord Business' lieutenant, whose alter-ego is, of course, Good Cop. Let's stop here to introduce you to Good Cop/Bad Cop:
“Power changes everything till it is difficult to say who are the heroes and who the villains.” ― Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing
Bad Cop has a good side which still holds some influence over Bad Cop. Eventually, Good Cop is erased by President Business, which is a clear indictment of the police force today. If you work for an evil regime and never question orders, no matter how good a person you are on the inside, you will eventually have all that is good about you erased... but I digress. There, Emmet learns of Business' plans to freeze the world with the Kragle. Wyldstyle rescues Emmet and takes him to Vitruvius, who explains that he and Wyldstyle are "Master Builders" capable of building anything they need, both with great speed and without instruction manuals; when Lord Business rose to power, his disapproval of such anarchic creativity resulted in him capturing many of them.
"Following the Inquisition's injunction against Galileo, the papal Master of the Sacred Palace ordered that Foscarini's Letter be banned, and Copernicus' De revolutionibus suspended until corrected. The papal Congregation of the Index preferred a stricter prohibition, and so with the Pope's approval, on March 5 the Congregation banned all books advocating the Copernican system, which it called "the false Pythagorean doctrine, altogether contrary to Holy Scripture.""
As the "Special," Emmet is destined to defeat him, yet Wyldstyle and Vitruvius are disappointed to find Emmet displays no creativity. Now some of you are already aware of the "reluctant hero" trope. As a matter of fact, Ron Paul would be an excellent real-world parallel of this phenomenon. How many times have you heard, "I like Ron Paul except for...." Wyldstyle and Vitruvius take Emmet to an underground resistance where there is no instructions or rules. He obviously doesn't understand how a society can exists without rules.
It is here where Emmet tries to take on the role of the Special and gives a very honest speech, causing the Master Builders to doubt him and his ability to change the world.
"I have no experience fighting, leading or making plans. It's going to be really hard, but I..." -Emmet
Soon, the Cops find the underground resistance and Emmet and his friends must run and hide. We are then treated to this wonderfully anarchic scene.
First, we see many different people working together, yet separately, to achieve a common goal, and when Emmet asks to be told what to do, he is told not to worry about what the others are doing and do what is special to him. Jumping ahead in the story, Emmet is eventually told by Vitruvius that the Prophecy of the Special is made up and there is no such thing as the Special. It is when Emmet accepts this truth, that he is just one person whose ideas are not better or worse than anyone else, that he steps up to being a hero. That is the heart of Anarchism/Voluntaryism. No one is greater or worse than you. There are no bad ideas, just bad actions. No one should rule you or make you follow instruction just because they feel you should. I could go on and on about the parallels that were drawn in this movie to Anarchism and Voluntaryism, but I will let Emmet close this article for me.
"You don't have to be the bad guy. You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. And you are capable of amazing things. Because you are the Special. And so am I. And so is everyone. The prophecy is made up, but it's also true. It's about all of us. Right now, it's about you. And you... still... can change everything." -Emmet