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‘Squid Game’ is a gruesome tale about the horrors of communism

Even on the wrong side of a capitalist system, you are inherently free.



*Warning: spoilers*

The South Korean entertainment industry has exploded internationally over the past few years. The dark dramedy Parasite won Best Picture at the Oscars in 2019, making it the first international film to hold the distinction. This year, Netflix released a miniseries by the name of Squid Game which has taken the internet by storm. The gory and twisted tale has inspired memes complete with a creepy animatronic Korean girl with a lethal lazy eye.

But of course, in today’s world, a television show cannot just be a television show. It has to be a political statement that tows the line of Hollywood ideals. What is the current en vogue topic that the left enjoys to demonize? I’ll give you a hint. AOC’s tone deaf and hypocritical “Tax the Rich” Met Gala ensemble is just one of the recent referendums on this style of government. Yes, that’s right. One lemming after another has taken to the internet to proclaim how Squid Game is actually a critique of capitalism–it’s not.

Yes, the show depicts some of the drawbacks of a capitalist society. It centers around 456 Korean people who are deeply in debt, many of them from their own crimes and poor decisions. Students today might not know this, but capitalism inherently entails a hierarchy in financial status, but the system allows for those at the bottom to climb their way to the top through innovation and an entrepreneurial drive.

The show, however, offers these people what seems to be an easy way out, a series of six childhood games after which the winner is awarded millions of dollars. The catch is, those who lose are ruthlessly killed.

As the show continues, it becomes clear these players traded in their shot at capitalism for a new world steeped in communism. The dictator-esque ruler over the games preaches that in this world everyone is “equal.” The food is rationed out. No one is given advanced knowledge of the impending death game. Everyone is supposedly on the same footing.

One player, however, figures out a way to market his skills as a doctor—a move rewarded and required in a capitalist society. He teams up with a few of the workers to harvest and sell the organs of the dead players in return for advanced knowledge of the next game to be played. Upon being caught, the innovative capitalist is killed and strung up in the M.C. Escher-inspired public square as a sign of the commitment to equality and as a warning to those considering similar action.

As an omniscient audience, we get to see the inner workings of the communist machine in the background. The dictator and his minions anticipate some of the issues that begin to arise. As in any communist society, human nature takes over and equality erodes into selfishness and power, especially when their lives are on the line.

During feeding time, as the players line up like animals at a trough, a few of them are not satisfied with the one egg and water they are given. Some of them cut the line and receive an extra ration. When the food runs out and five players are left hungry, a barbarous fight breaks out leading to the death of dozens of players at each other’s hands. The leader, like any good dictator, watches it all unfold and never intervenes. Suddenly, rule-breaking and inequality are ignored and permissible when it is at the expense of the dictator’s subjects. But when the violation is born out of capitalist-inspired innovation, it is punishable by death.

The communist ties do not end there. The games’ dictator continually portrays himself as the moral figure and arbiter of good. After all, he is there to ensure “equality” in the games. But when all is said and done, he is a member of the elites. In the later episodes of the series, it is revealed that a group of wealthy people, known as the “VIPs,” have been watching and betting on the players and the outcomes of the games, as all the pain and death turns out to be a form of entertainment.

During the scenes depicting the VIPs watching the spectacle, some of the furniture is actually humans painted and forced to remain motionless as they act as a coffee table or coat rack. All of this is happening unbeknownst to the players, meaning that the “equality” they are being sold is a facade used to placate them into performing like animals for the amusement of the authoritarian few, reminiscent of Orwell’s Animal Farm—“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Squid Game is a thought-provoking, intense series encompassing many aspects of human life and interaction. It shows the hellish and unfortunate aspects that capitalism can inflict on those who make poor decisions or find themselves in a series of unfortunate events, but it also shows that communism will always be far worse. Even on the wrong side of a capitalist system, you are inherently free–free to innovate and take your future into your own hands.

Communism and collectivism discourage and punish individual growth leading to the erosion of freedom and loss of opportunity. In the end, the player’s choice is to take his chances in the free market world where he is the driver of his own destiny, or to enter the game where only one may leave with his life.