If you grew up in Southern California, you’ve probably been to Disneyland a million times (though I still meet curious creatures who have lived here their whole lives and never gone once!). As life gets busier, visits often become less and less frequent. A few weeks ago I returned to the Happiest Place on Earth after an absence of about a year and a half and was struck once again by the sheer free market beauty of the place and it occurred to me that Disneyland ought to secede from the United States.
Entering the park is an adventure of it’s own, highly ritualized by frequent visitors like a pilgrimage to the Temple, or Dante’s journey through Purgatory on his way to the Paradise. There are several entrances, but the most complete and fulfilling way into the park is to park in the parking structure (which I believe is free for annual pass holders) and take the tram into Downtown Disney. The tram in its current iteration is public transportation at its very best – privately owned and running like clockwork almost 24/7. There are no lazy, zombie-like bus drivers here. Arriving on the tram at another loading dock, you embark thence into Downtown Disney, a sort of cultural centre and pronaos to the parks. Here there is always music in the air, restaurants around every corner, shops and stores both Disney and secular. The shops of course are on Disney’s private property, but Disney likely has very little interest in over-regulating them. Both parties benefit from this arrangement. The stores and restaurants catch the idea of the Disney pilgrims, and Disney gets to keep its customers content and well-fed on their long journey into the park.
At the end of Downtown Disney, you come to the first and only security check you’re likely to experience on a normal day at the park. On a day with typical crowds it takes all of about two minutes to pass through what amounts to little more than a bag check. There are no metal detectors or skeevy TSA perverts groping you to find that bomb hidden in your foreskin. I’m told the security there occasionally will take knives or other potentially dangerous items, but more often than not will let such infractions slide if they do not feel the customer is a threat. I personally have never seen anything confiscated at the bag checks. If the government ran this business, they would take all your nail clippers, cigarettes, and tubes of sunscreen and still have multiple terror threats a day. It’s a wonder no one has ever planted a nuclear warhead in the park with such a lax security system, and yet everyone muddles along happy as can be free from the state-sponsored hysteria that plagues us at the airport or in D.C.
After this one either buys a ticket (again, this has only ever taken me maybe a maximum of thirty minutes) or, if one has a pass, heads straight in for the parks. There are two parks at the Anaheim site – the classic Disneyland and the decade-old California Adventure. The twain stand directly opposite each other athwart an expanse of hexagonal tiles like warring armies preparing for battle. People swarm over this plain, hurrying to their destinations. Many of these tiles are dedicated to a name or to a family. It costs a pretty penny to get your name on one of these little hexagons, but who wouldn’t want themselves imprinted on hallowed ground. It’s much like an indulgence. The saints whose names tattoo the battle plain will be remembered forever and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Coming from Downtown Disney you turn left to go into Disneyland. Options abound. You can make the circle of the park and ride the most important attraction, you can gorge yourself to blotation, you can sit on a bench and watch the passers-by. Food and relief from the generally hot weather are never far away. Anything and everything you could possibly want is made available to you by the good people of the Disney Company. In return for their excellent service, you have elected to give them a portion of your hard earned money. This is so very different from life in the empire, where citizens are coerced out of their cash to pay for crappy services which they don’t actually want. The relationship between Disneyland and its “citizens” is totally voluntary. If at any point one of the two parties is unsatisfied by the relationship, the contract is mutually dissolved and the two part ways. Nobody goes to jail for breaking Disneyland’s rules (unless, of course, the state intervenes), they’re simply expelled from the park.
The government, because it forces people to pay for itself, has no incentive to provide even satisfactory services to its “customers”. Disney, on the other hand, must constantly be improving itself in order to keep their billion-dollar operation afloat. Whereas cities and countries and states are on a constant downward spiral toward bankruptcy and instability, Disneyland can only ever evolve and expand to new and greater frontiers until that point at which its customers are no longer satisfied with the product. If Disneyland were to close there would be no wars, no power vacuums, no genocide. It would simply be seen as a failed business endeavor, and everyone would go about their peaceful business.
At the center of the park is a statue of Walt Disney and his Mickey Mouse a la Saddam Hussein; however this is no tyrant feared by the people or to whom they give compulsory homage. Instead the park’s patrons visit this monument to the park’s mastermind to give voluntary thanks for such a magnificent creation. Offerings are made in the form of group photos or selfies taken in front of it, much like a visit to St. Peter’s or the Kaaba. Walt Disney liberated no one and led no revolutions in the name of the people, and yet his acolytes are more grateful to him than any prole was to Stalin or slave to Abraham Lincoln. Traveling around the park you can pick up Disney merchandise anywhere. Most of it has Mickey’s face on it, and yet strangely no one says any prayers to him. There are no goofy honor codes about where you can display his image: in fact it’s considered more respectful if you do wear it as a garment or as a bandana. In the empire, insecure macho men in uniforms perform elaborate rituals to honor the Stars ‘n’ Stripes. Many children are silently forced through peer pressure to pray to it every morning, and it’s considered distasteful to wear it or fly it upside down. Mickey, on the other hand, renders no one ritually impure.
Disneyland has never declared war on any one, either in the name of territory or of ideology. They have won the world’s respect through friendly persuasion and shrewd marketing. People are drawn to their products because of the excellence of their output, not because they were peacefully bombed into liberty (congratulations Iraq – you might be smoldering in the ashes of a ten year invasion, at least you have democracy!). Disney neither assaults its competitors nor its patrons. There are security guards, sure, but nobody is very interesting in breaking the few enforced rules (except, for some reason, the ones about not reaching out and touching things on rides – God knows why people fancy losing limbs). If there is a problem, the legitimate authorities work it our with the offender in a way that is probably mutually beneficial to both parties. There are no clowns with badges charged with “keeping the peace”, and any Disneyland cast member who tries to assert himself or herself arbitrarily over a guest is laughed off as a crank. People are generally polite and civil – the result of sixty years of cultural evolution which has allowed an unwritten code of conduct to emerge without the coercion or direction of any central authority.
It’s really quite beautiful. The Disney Company does own America, and is responsible in no small part for the perpetuation of the statist mindset in American culture, but can we really blame them for doing their best within the restrictive and poisonous framework laid out for businesses by the state? This is why Disneyland ought to declare itself an independent nation. I would love to renounce my U.S. citizenship for the Walt Disney Company – especially if its territories were free from government coercion encroaching on their beautiful free market system. Disney and its products, especially the parks, are living testaments to the miracle that is consumerism and freedom of association. Most endeavors this large would be stifled by the state’s hatred of beauty and anything remotely resembling fun, but disney has somehow manages to make it work. Long live the Mouse!
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