Written by Cash Snowden


I went to see the film Snowpiercer without any preconceptions of what I’d be watching. I’d never seen any trailers for it, and no one had mentioned it to me. Spoiler alert—stop reading now if you want to see it the same way, because I’m about to tell you all about it.

The opening scene explained that these were the last survivors of the human species. Apparently the world had been turned into a deeply frozen wasteland by a global warming remedy gone wrong.

The movie starts out depicting life in the rear section of an over-crowded train. The people living in that section are peasants smeared with grime, dressed in rags, eating mystery gelatin bars to survive.

Cops dressed in riot gear, with weapons and menacing body language routinely come to terrorize them, abducting children and amputating the limbs of any who disobey or who forget their place in the social order. It is explained to them that they are shoes and not hats and shoes have their pre-ordained place in the order of things. They belong on the feet and not on the head.


A violent revolution ensues, with insurgents battling their way to the front of the train, car by car. The protagonist at last meets the man in charge, Wilford. Wilford explains that the revolution was controlled opposition. The purpose of it was population control. Every so often the rulers have to create an excuse to purge a large percent of the population. So the insurgents are used for that purpose.

It’s a closed system, Wilford explains, and it has to be a sustainable system. So the social order, some ruling over others, is a necessary part of sustainability. It creates the conditions needed to justify regular cullings of the ever growing train population.

The film has many violent action scenes and the cars are varied and interesting. Those inhabiting the forward cars live a life of sheltered opulance and debauchery, and one car’s purpose is to indoctrinate the children into supporting the social order. The children are schooled to be obedient authority worshiping, Wilford worshiping drones…and to have no doubts that any other way of life can only lead to death, destruction and chaos.

More interesting than the drama and the violent action scenes is the underlying metaphor. The train circles the world and once every year it reaches the same spot, whereupon everyone on board celebrates the new year. The train circles the world, just as Earth circles the sun. The train is a closed system, like the planet Earth, a closed system. Therefore sustainability is a matter of survival.

Snowpiercer trailer 1

The leader of the peasants in the back of the train is secretly communicating with the front of the train. He’s a political puppet, in the service of a shadow leader. The political oppositions are engineered, controlled, and serve a purpose. The peasants have no clue their leadership is infiltrated or that they are useful idiots serving a sustainability purpose.

All but a very rare few are convinced that life outside the system, meaning off of the train, means certain death for any who attempt it. So what’s the truth? Is the social order necessary for sustainability or is the sustainability myth, the closed system myth, necessary to justify the social order of some using deception and brutality to rule over (and to occasionally purge) others?

Imagine there were Voluntaryists on board this closed system, this train. Imagine these Voluntaryists deprogrammed the socially engineered masses, who then began thinking for themselves and questioning whether or not the system is absolutely closed or not. What if the need for sustainability necessitating regular purges of a growing population is a lie made up by rulers who want to maintain their power at all costs?

Would it mean the end of the human species? Would it endanger us all if all the people on the train became Voluntaryists and no longer tolerated some ruling over others. Ultimately the idea that humans are harming ‘the environment’ is really the idea that there are TOO MANY PEOPLE. What threat does humanity pose to nature or itself if there is just a tiny number of people on a vast planet? The only real need for sustainability, from that perspective, is due to overpopulation. No one would ever utter the word sustainability if the number of people were decreased relative to resources.


Could creativity, technology, innovation be used to change the status of the system from ‘closed’ to ‘limitless?’ Does innovation determine access to resources? Where does the universe end?

One thing is certain. If we are not permitted to ask these questions, then the purges (the manufactured wars) are going to have to continue–for the sake of ‘sustainability.’ As far as the shadow rulers who puppeteer the political leaders are concerned, the propaganda, the brainwashing, is going to have to continue for the sake of the environment and survival of the species. The shadow government and social order is going to have to continue, as is…to avoid the destruction of the species via overpopulation.

To suggest that no one has a higher claim on me or my stuff than I do is, in this social order, heresy. To suggest that the system is not closed, that the need to sustain the closed system is a lie, is blasphemy. The emperor’s new clothes are a marvel to behold, and anyone who says otherwise must be an enemy of the state.

But perhaps the rulers of the state, despite what they and their supporters tell themselves and us, are not really necessary at all. Perhaps innovation, ADAPTATION, rather than sustainability, is what is what is really required for survival. Perhaps creativity and possibility, rather than violently defending dogma and the deceptions and purges of the status quo, is a better survival strategy for everyone on the train.