What The Lion King Can Teach Politicians

Disney movies are infamous for hidden messaging. Many original Disney movies are well known for having subliminal messages and pictures imbedded in their animation. Additionally the Liberal Arts community has been questioning the political correctness of films such as Aladdin and The Jungle Book for years due to their blatant integration of negative racial stereotypes. However, if we set aside the preconceived notion that all messages hidden in Disney movies are of an X-rated or politically incorrect nature, there are an incredible number of things that Disney can teach us about the world.

An example of this is The Lion King which simplistically demonstrates why a government either fails or succeeds as an institution.

The Pride Lands’ cycle of prosperity and famine during the course of the film, exemplifies the role and necessity of government as an institution. Governments exist for the purpose of protecting and serving the basic needs of the citizens in ways that the private sector either lacks the ability or motivation to do. Mufasa understands this dynamic well. During his reign over The Pride Lands, the land is exceedingly prosperous and its citizens, for the most part, are happy.

Mufasa, who reigns during the first third or so of the movie, is a benevolent king. He strikes the prefect- and difficult- balance of respect for the rights and ideals of his citizens, while still maintaining his authority. He also demonstrates a knowledge of his kingdom’s inner-workings and dynamics when he teaches Simba about the food chain, and how every member of the kingdom must play their proper role in order to maintain order and keep the kingdom functioning. Mufasa’s understanding of the society he rules, combined with his respect for his citizens make him an excellent leader who truly serves the needs of his constituents, and makes his territory prosperous.

Scar on the other hand, engages in a battle to achieve power, viewing it as a competition or a game. When he does finally ascend to power, through various methods of deceit and violence, the kingdom begins to suffer. This is because Scar only focuses on maintaining his power and asserting his dominance over those around him. He does not work to protect or benefit his citizens. As a result the Pride Lands are plunged into a period of famine and struggle. The food chain begins to suffer, and the general happiness of the citizens declines.

Most politicians, particularly in America, act like Scar. As demonstrated by popular television shows such as House of Cards and Scandal, politicians view general elections and legislative actions as a means to acquire power, and to influence the upper echelons of society in their favor making them exempt from the general social norms and consequences that allow society to function. By doing this politicians are harming society on a multitude of levels. First they fail society by manipulating the consequences tied to their actions. In a world where those who enforce consequences against the delinquent are not themselves subject to such consequences, corruption is allowed to breed. This corruption then fails society again by keeping politicians from performing their proper roles, such as educating constituents and passing meaningful legislation.

Over time these failures lead to an unhappy and broken society. Examples can be seen over time in failures such as the Great Depression, the Great Recession, unnecessary, and partisan based wars and conflicts, and the list goes on.

If government officials chose to act more like Mufasa and less like Scar, America would be much more prosperous. We would be a bastion of light in a world full of darkness. The myth of American exceptionalism would not be a myth, it would be a reality emphasized by truth, hard work, and genuine care. If lawmakers chose to listen to the voices of their constituents, and play their proper and intended role in society, then we would be a land of prosperity, equality and truth.


4N Policy Now is a non- partisan, non-biased organization. All of the views expressed in the content published on this site are the sole opinions of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of 4N Policy Now.


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