In 1961, an episode of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone aired that has such a ring of truth to it that I had to blog it here. Actually, my fascination with it now started one night a few years ago while discussing it on Blog Talk Radio with the Political Postachio himself, Douglas V. Gibbs. It was his revelation and fascination that has rekindled my love for this episode. We had a remarkable discussion that lasted until about 1:30am for me and they were still going when I signed off. Running the board for Doug was our good buddy, Josh Allem. Wild Phil, Andrea, and Brian were there as well. The most remarkable thing came when we actually started talking about the things of God. This led to some impromptu witnessing in which God was absolutely glorified.
The episode, "The Obsolete Man," Aired in 1961. The presentation here is from a group of actors who perform the Twilight Zone live. Part 1:
Read the opening narrative as it is spoken by Serling: You walk into this room at your own risk, because it leads to the future; not a future that will be, but one that might be. This is not a new world: It is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advancements, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the super states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: Logic is an enemy, and truth is a menace. This is Mr. Romney Wordsworth, in his last forty-eight hours on Earth. He's a citizen of the State, but will soon have to be eliminated, because he's built out of flesh and because he has a mind. Mr. Romney Wordsworth, who will draw his last breaths in the Twilight Zone.
Now read the closing narrative as it is spoken by Serling: The chancellor, the late chancellor, was only partly correct. He was obsolete, but so is the State, the entity he worshipped. Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete. A case to be filed under "M" for mankind—in the Twilight Zone.
The references to Nazi Germany and the Soviet State are all throughout. The wardrobe reckons back to the drab brownshirts of the Nazis. In fact, the Chancellor even mentions Hitler and Stalin by name as men of vision who are to be reveered. Serling new how to write and new that words...and names MEAN things. Let's look at the title of "chancellor." We can relate it to the head of state or leader. However, because of the Christian overtones, I believe this is more in reference to the Old English definition which is based on a chancellor in Roman times. >cancellarius< - "keeper of the barrier, secretary, usher of a law court," so called because he worked behind a lattice at a basilica or law court. In the Roman Empire this was a sort of court usher. This makes more sense in terms of the character in the show. After all, it wasn't a palace or office room but a court room that is the judgement placed in the episode. I believe that Serling intended this to be a reference to the courts of the Pharisees that seem to be the model for the one world government and religion prophesied in the New Tastament. And that goes along with the liberal trends of our society and activist judges.
As far as the main character, Serling really put it perfectly in the name. Romney Wordsworth says enough by his name alone. Wordsworth is a perfect name for a librarian and even better for a religious man who finds WORTH in the WORDS of the bible. The first name, Romney is a Welsh name which mean "dwells by the river." This can mean one or both of two things. The river refers to the river Jordan in which Jesus was baptized, or in Revelation 22, it refers to the River of Life.
In a nutshell, this episode really cries against fascism, authoritarianism, and the atheist state. This is harkened in Jonah Goldberg's book, "Liberal Fascism" that lays out the best relation between modern liberalism and the example of the totalitarian government of the episode. Furthermore, Wordsworth was killed for his convictions which he held to the last. This is a solid homage to the Christian martyrs who are tortured and die for their beliefs.
Just for the record, the bible verses Wordsworth read are: Psalm 23, Psalm 59, Psalm 14, and Psalm 130
I find it fitting that the condemned man willingly showed that he was NOT obsolete through his mercy in releasing the chancellor, who then became obsolete by his dependence on the mercy of the obsolete. Truly a biblical lesson.
Thanks to Doug, and the guests of his show. but most of all, praise God for His love for all of us.