Calvin Freiburger

The Top 8 Most Conservative Episodes of “The Twilight Zone”

Posted on January 9 2011 11:00 am
Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College. He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.

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There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling’s classic series of strange and supernatural tales, is fondly remembered for living dolls, ghostly stalkers, and memorable aliens, but much of its success and staying power is owed to the profound messages at the heart of many of its episodes. Some stories—like the classic “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?”—are pure escapist fun, but in keeping with a long-running tradition in science fiction, many use fantastical elements and premises to grapple with fundamental questions of morality, justice, and human nature.

And unlike the genre’s more contemporary offerings, the seriousness and care with which The Twilight Zone’s writers approached the subject matter leads, more often than not, to valuable lessons that all Americans can embrace. While not all of the following examples are strictly political in nature, they all complement or reinforce bedrock conservative philosophy, while undermining the psychological underpinnings of the Left.

(Spoiler Alert: the following pages will include discussion of the episode’s twist endings. Consider yourself warned.)

There’s a signpost up ahead. Next stop…

8.) “The Masks”

A wealthy, dying old man (Robert Keith) invites his money-grubbing children and grandchildren to celebrate one last Mardi Gras in an odd way: by wearing ghoulish masks until midnight, each a reflection of the wearer’s character flaws: cowardice, greed, vanity, and cruelty. They reluctantly agree, since Grandfather has made cooperation a prerequisite of his will. But even for a fortune, his self-absorbed family can’t resist complaining about the indignity of it all, and with his dying words, he bluntly explains the purpose:

Because you’re cruel and miserable people! Because none of you RESPOND to love! Emily responds only to what her petty hungers dictate, a prime example of this being her marriage to Wilfred… a marriage which broke her dear late mother’s heart, in every sense! Wilfred responds only to things that have weight and mass and gaugeable value! He MEASURES novels, he doesn’t experience them! He JUDGES artwork, he doesn’t seek out its beauty or its meaning! And Paula lives in a mirror; the world is nothing more to her than a reflection of herself. And her brother… Humanity to him is a small animal, caught in a trap, waiting to be tormented! His pleasure is the giving of pain, and from this he receives the same sense of fulfillment most people get from a kiss or an embrace! You’re CARICATURES, ALL of you! Even without your masks, you’re CARICATURES!

Once the clock strikes midnight and Grandfather’s drawn his last breath, the children can barely contain their excitement at the thought of their new riches. But to their horror, they discover their masks have twisted their real faces to reflect the ugliness of their souls.

Bad apples are one thing. Every movement has them. But when one surveys the Democrat Party, the mainstream media, and the academic world, it’s striking to note the viciousness, dishonesty, and opportunism that is not only tolerated, but rewarded by the Left. It makes you wonder what Michael Moore, William Ayers, or Keith Olbermann’s masks would look like…and it cautions conservatives to keep their own hearts pure.

Next: Parenting “Twilight Zone” style…

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