John Wick 3 Predicted the EU Elections
Spoiler Alert: This column will give away the outcome of the recent EU elections, and many plot points of the three John Wick films.
This past weekend, voters across Europe resoundingly rejected politicians who support the continued seizure of national sovereignty by the burgeoning empire that is the European Union. Parties from the squishy “center right” and “center left,” the managerial parties that back greater powers for the EU Commission in Brussels, got pummeled. Leftist voters broke harder left, voting for various “Green” and neo-Communist parties.
But the big news was that more conservative voters shifted powerfully away toward nationalist and populist parties. This didn’t happen in just one or two countries. It occurred all across Europe, including Poland, Britain, France, and Italy. The biggest news? Britain’s Conservative (Tory) party was almost obliterated. This is doubtless the outcome of outgoing British Prime Minister Teresa May’s feckless and (to many) dishonest botch of Brexit negotiations. In France, patriot Marion Le Pen outpolled President Emmanuel Macron. Italy’s populist Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, saw his party trounce its nearest competitor. Poland’s pro-life, nationalist Law & Justice Party, smashed its pro-Europe rivals.
Appointed Bureaucrats Making Laws in Secret
Now, you probably need to know that these elections in themselves won’t change much. Why? Because the European Parliament is mostly a sham. The EU is set up as a classic bureaucratic oligarchy. Most of its laws get made in secret by appointed committees who don’t answer to voters. That fact alone explains why so many voters are rejecting the EU’s bid to seize ever more power from elected national governments.
But the EU election is a fairly reliable barometer of future votes for real power in national elections. So this vote bodes ill for those who wish to centralize ever more control in the hands of those secret committees. It’s a firm rebuke to open borders, globalist elites, and to Pope Francis, who loudly warned those Catholics still interested in his opinion not to vote this way. Some European bishops whined that those who voted against more Islamic immigration and EU centralization weren’t “real Catholics.” Italian bishops have denounced Mr. Salvini as not even a Christian, for his moves against massive Islamic colonization of Italy.
John Wick vs. the European Union
I weighed in on the EU elections just briefly on Memorial Day:
My uncle was wounded at Normandy, caught TB, and died from it prematurely. He didn’t fight so that a German-run, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian empire promoting euthanasia could dominate Europe, just a few decades delayed.
— John Zmirak (@JZmirak) May 27, 2019
But like you, I’m much more interested in the latest Keanu Reeves movie than in EU politics. As a good reporter, I rushed to see John Wick 3 on opening night, and sat in the front row. The good news is that John Wick 3
- Is a terrific, exciting movie.
- Leaves room for a sequel. And
- Makes sense of the recent EU elections.
Really. I’m serious. In fact, the three John Wick movies, taken together, closely track the struggle between nation-states and the European Union. There are so many parallels, that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the film’s writer meant the trilogy as a parable of this battle. Let’s look at their themes, shall we?
John Wick 1: They Killed His Beagle
In the first movie, John Wick has retired from his job as a professional assassin. In the wake of his beloved wife’s death, he just wants to live in peace, with the adorable beagle puppy she got him before she expired. All he craves is peace, and independence from the international crime syndicate “The Table,” which aims to control illicit activity across the globe. But mobsters won’t leave him alone. A thug who covets John’s gorgeous vintage car won’t take no for an answer. When John won’t sell it, the thug steals the vehicle. And kills the beagle puppy.
That’s it. That’s John sole motivation in movie one for embarking on a bloody vendetta against the criminal gang. They tried to take away his history — his vintage car, and the sweet little dog which was all his wife had left him. So he systematically destroys them. As a beagle lover, I can tell you, I’d do no less for Finnegan or Rayne.
John Wick 2: They Blew Up His House
In the second film, John learns of old obligations that prevent him living in peace. This time, the “High Table” itself intrudes on his life. An ambitious mobster demands that John carry out one last assassination, to gain him a place on the High Table. After much arm-twisting, including the destruction of his home, John agrees. But the mobster decides to kill John off to tie up loose ends. Much mayhem ensues, and John finally faces the man who betrayed him. But he finds him inside The Continental Hotel. That’s neutral ground, a kind of sanctuary. No violence allowed on the premises, by order of the High Table. John snaps, and kills the man anyway.
That makes John the High Table’s enemy. They declare him “excommunicado,” and dispatch every hired killer on earth to hunt him down.
John Wick 3: The Global Elite Tries to Hunt Him Down
The third film opens with John on the run. The whole criminal underworld seems to be after him. The global network of bureaucratic, impersonal evil looks certain to prevail. But John doesn’t surrender. He finds an old book he secreted at the New York Public Library. It’s a book of Slavic folktales. (Not an accidental detail.) Inside the hollowed-out book he finds what he’d hidden there: A photo of his wife, and a gorgeous antique crucifix. He takes the cross and presents it to the head of a Byelorussian gang. It’s proof that he’s one of them, and they agree to honor his blood kinship over the demands of the internationalist Table.
Going from one place to another, with hundreds of top assassins on his heels, John finds help and friendship among those who share some personal or ethnic bond of loyalty. Some bond that supervenes the cold, clinical system which the High Table represents. It’s only through leaning on ties like those that John can stay alive. He finally frustrates the High Table’s efforts. It offers him “redemption.” But only if he will betray the man who saved his life, out of personal loyalty. If he will help them crush any spark of independence from its control.
Guess what John decides to do next? I’ll leave things there, so as not to ruin the movie. (Rated R for relentless violence.)
Nationalism: The Golden Mean
Is it really that far-fetched to compare the plot of these movies with the struggles of governments? Not if you remember that St. Augustine compared earthly rulers to “bands of pirates.” All are fallen, but some are worse than others. And governments that care about history, loyalty, blood-ties and personal connections are far less dangerous than those focused on bloodless, insatiable abstractions. Just as John Wick and his allies are far more human and sympathetic than the ice-hearted High Table.
In Yoram Hazony’s indispensable new book, The Virtue of Nationalism, he points to three possible modes of government:
- Tribalism: See the North American Indians, and Europe between the ninth and twelfth centuries.
- Nationalism: See the Kingdom of Israel under David, the U.S. since its founding, and Israel today.
- Imperialism: See Cyrus the Great, the Caesars, Napoleon, Stalin, and Hitler.
Hazony makes a powerful case that Nationalism is in fact the Golden Mean, the best middle ground. It stops the endless feuds common to the Tribalist way of life. It avoids the endless, limitless wars and centralized coercion common to Imperialist attempts at global domination. Tribalism often proves bestial, and Imperialism is best suited to robots or The Borg. Nationalism isn’t perfect, of course. But at least, like John Wick, it’s human.