Us vs. Themrnby Scott P. RichertrnThey live in the town, but they have no control over it. Forrnthree years, their lives have been at the mercy of shadowyrnaliens who have slowly destroyed the community, forcing its citizensrnto work for their enrichment. Parents fear that their childrenrnwill be taken from them. Some wish to resist, but they arernafraid to approach others, because they can never be sure whornis on their side. Many of the political and economic leaders ofrnthe town, who should lead the resistance, have turned againstrntheir fellow citizens and sided with the invaders. Those whorncan escape flee the town, never to return.rnThis is not a plot synopsis for The X-Files, or a concept for arnnew science fiction film, but a description of everyday life inrnRockford, Illinois, where our lives are controlled by a federalrnmagistrate in Freeport, Illinois, a Chicago lawyer, a Kansas Cityrndesegregation “master,” and their groveling servants in the political,rneconomic, and media power structure of this town.rnHere, citizens feel powerless, as their propertv values plummetrnand their hard-earned money is squandered on such “desegregationrnremedies” as dinners in expensive restaurants, “owl pellets,”rnand $10,000 worth of Legos. Parents live in fear of “controlledrnchoice,” doublespeak for a court-ordered plan to yankrntheir children out of neighborhood schools and bus them acrossrntown. And those who want to fight, but don’t know how, rejoicernwhen a Republican mayoral candidate mentions personalrnconnections between public works employees and public contractors.rnTruth often is stranger than fiction, and in this case. The XFilesrnhas nothing on life in Rockford (though interestingly,rnChris Carter, the creator of The X-Files, has set an episode ofrnhis new show. Millennium, in our town). But if these things canrnhappen in Rockford, a city so average that it is often used byrnpollsters to gauge the pulse of the countrv, is it any wonder thatrnScott P. Richert is the assistant editor of The Family inrnAmerica, a publication of The Rockford Institute.rnThe X-Files, with its vision of government corruption and conspiracy,rnis one of the most popular shows on television?rnScience fiction has not always been so distrustful of government,rnand most people probably still associate it with the technologicalrnoptimism and Utopian progressivism of Star Trek. Butrnit has always had its dark side. In fact, most science fiction ofrnany enduring value never bought into the naive utopianism ofrnStar Trek. The Frankenstein myth, warning of the dangers ofrntechnology and of unbridled scientific curiosity, is the mostrnobvious example, but even the stories of a Utopian progressivernlike H.G. Wells—The Time Machine, The Island of Dr.rnMoreau—are notable for their dystopian view of technologyrnand their skepticism of the innate goodness of man.rnThe earliest film version of Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau isrnstill the best. The Island of Lost Souls (1932), featuring ChadesrnLaughton as Dr. Moreau, captured the intensity of Wells’ story,rnand set the stage for a generation of science fiction films withrnthe mad scientist at their center. During and immediately afterrnWodd War II, especially in the popular serials that ran befoi’ernmain features, the mad scientist often turned out to be arnNazi, a foreshadowing of the political undertones that haverncome to characterize science fiction today.rnDuring the I950’s, the golden days of science fiction film,rnskepticism about technology remained an important theme,rnbut the political undertones of the genre became more pronounced.rnOne of the greatest science fiction films of all time isrn1954’s Them!, brilliantly (and lovingly) parodied in the 1993rnfilm Matinee. Beginning in the deserts of New Mexico, Them!rndocuments the battle against giant ants, mutations that resultedrnfrom atomic testing during Worid War II. While the mainrnscientist in the film is dispassionate, more interested in understandingrnthan in destruction, Them! serves as a warning againstrnthe unforeseen consequences of rapid technological advance.rnBut Them! also marks the beginning of the anticommunistrnphase in science fiction film. In the late I980’s, the conserva-rn20/CHRONICLESrnrnrn