The Liberty Trilogy by Theresa Linden: Thrilling Environmental Dystopia for Catholic Teens
In her young adult trilogy Chasing Liberty, Testing Liberty and Fight for Liberty, Theresa Linden shows Catholic teens, in the form of action-packed and thoroughly enjoyable entertainment, the horrifying ultimate conclusion to the reversal of the divine order of being revealed to us in the biblical account of creation, with man as the steward in charge of beasts, plants, earth and oceans.
The Liberty dystopia is set in the United States in the near future. The republic has been transformed into a subordinate territory of the Regimen Custodia Terra, a global totalitarian government. In order to protect nature from mankind, people are contained in closed cities where their number is kept low by absolute government control. The family has been abolished. Girls are sterilized with a few healthy individuals selected as breeders to give birth to a limited number of babies. Children are raised in communal facilities where they are indoctrinated with a revised version of history. They are assigned careers according to the utilitarian needs of the government. People are under constant electronic surveillance through implants and compulsory mobile phone devices. A secure fence keeps citizens from invading the nature reserve surrounding the cities. Offences against the regime result in re-education which includes torture and brainwashing techniques. People are kept superficially content by drugs and virtual reality games. Does this sound far-fetched?
A teenage girl named Liberty 554-062466-84 of Aldonia is a trouble maker. Religion has been outlawed by the Regimen and Liberty is ignorant of Christianity, yet she has been moved by an inner voice she calls “my friend” since childhood. This friend has made her act unwittingly according to Christian virtue and long for a better life. Liberty is one of the individuals selected for rescue by a dissident force operating in abandoned tunnels underneath the city. Trained resistance fighters, the Mosheh seek out candidates for rescue by hacking into the city surveillance system. The Mosheh are members of hidden Catholic colonies living in the restricted wilderness areas surrounding Aldonia.
To her horror, Liberty has been selected by the Regimen for the privileged position of breeder. Young Mosheh member Dedrick succeeds in kidnapping Liberty, saving her from a dreaded future in the breeder facility.
After experiencing a time of wholesome family life in Dedrick’s wilderness home, Liberty feels called to return to Aldonia and join the Mosheh to help overthrow the Regimen. She and Dedrick have fallen in love, and the girl is torn between her desire for marriage and family life and making a four-year commitment as a Mosheh member.
Another Mosheh rescue, Bot, a young Aldonian tech genius, contributes to the fight for freedom with his special skills. Realizing the importance of restoring true history to the Aldonians, he designs a virtual reality game which places the player inside significant periods of American history. This game is secretly being distributed to educate the reeducated.
Liberty joins a group of infiltrators who succeed in weakening the Aldonian government. She also helps organize secret assemblies where a Catholic priest teaches dissidents how to live a free and virtuous life. They succeed in converting Guy, the leader of a group of rebels, living in the city of Aldonia. With the help of the Mosheh and a group of wild tribal nomads inhabiting the nature reserve, Guy succeeds in overthrowing the regimen and becomes governor of Aldonia. The new governor is faced with the daunting task of leading a thoroughly subjugated people to a new life of freedom. The sacramental marriage of Guy and his former lover, broadcast to the entire community, functions as a symbolic opening to a life of faith. There is hope for the future!
In many ways, Linden’s dystopian world resembles those of George Orwell’s and Aldous Huxley’s classic and prophetic novels 1984 and Brave New World. However, while Orwell and Huxley lack faith and their books end in the triumph of evil, Linden’s Catholic hope envisions the restoration of a free society and the triumph of good. Her perspective makes her books so much more suitable for teen reading. Instead of sordid lives of despair with explicit immorality, Linden shows us a virtuous heroine whose hope and courage lead her to the Faith and to a free life of love, marriage and family.
Before discovering Liberty and lacking better options, I recommended 1984 and Brave New World for teen reading because of their prophetic descriptions of totalitarianism. Now there is an alternative. The Liberty Trilogy shows the mechanism of totalitarianism and the techniques of propaganda without submitting young readers to a vision of total despair, of reveling in self-pity and sexual immorality. Linden does, however, pay tribute to her venerable predecessors. For example, Liberty finds a forbidden notebook in which she begins to journal her life, as does Winston Smith in 1984.
The major tools of totalitarianism are clearly presented in the Liberty Trilogy: The outlawing of religion, the destruction of the family, the governmental control of birth, death and education, and the revision of history.
Totalitarian environmentalism is a new force on the scene, which did not yet play a part in the classic dystopias of the past. Environmentalism as a starting point for a police state is absolutely relevant today. At this time, we are already experiencing frequent acts of eco terror. In the Liberty books, Linden brings to light the evil inherent in an ungodly movement, warning the reader about the attack on Faith and family, and the elevation of nature above mankind.
The Liberty trilogy is an important tool for the education of Catholic teens, a very effective tool because the books tell an utterly enjoyable story of thrilling suspense enriched with some very relatable joys and uncertainties of romance.