Michael Moore is releasing a new movie, and I’m sooo excited about it...
More about me in a moment. First, the man who brought us Bowling For Columbine and Fahrenheit 9-11 is about to release a new film entitled Capitalism: A Love Story.
Just as “Bowling” embodied Moore’s extreme left-wing view that gun rights are bad, and “Fahrenheit” embodied (among other things) the extreme left-wing belief that Iraqis enjoyed Saddam Hussein and President Bush made their lives worse, so also does “Love Story” advance another idea that is popular among American liberals today: capitalism is evil.
“Trailers” and “promos” available at the film’s website depict Moore doing his usual shtick - - showing-up unexpectedly at select locations with a video crew, recording ambush interviews, cleverly editing video to depict targeted individuals as “stupid,” and so forth.
The website also explains Moore ’s conclusion: capitalism is “evil,” America needs something different, and that “something” is “democracy.” Perhaps Moore is unacquainted with the concept of “democratic capitalism,” or is unaware that capitalism and democracy already co-exist.
We’ve got a few weeks before the movie actually is released. In the meantime, let’s look at an editorial piece that Moore wrote back in June of this year, when General Motors met its inevitable fate of bankruptcy. He’s been grinding an axe about G.M. at least since the 1989 release of his film “Roger and Me,” but looking at his writing on the subject gives us an idea of how he thinks.
Midway through the op-ed piece, Moore states:
So here we are at the deathbed of General Motors. The company's body not yet cold, and I find myself filled with—dare I say it—joy. It is not the joy of revenge against a corporation that ruined my hometown and brought misery, divorce, alcoholism, homelessness, physical and mental debilitation, and drug addiction to the people I grew up with. Nor do I, obviously, claim any joy in knowing that 21,000 more GM workers will be told that they, too, are without a job.
Whoa, hold on! Do you realize how “loaded” this little paragraph is? General Motors “ruined” his hometown ( Flint , Michigan ). How did General Motors do that? And how did a car manufacturing company become so powerful that it “caused” all those social ills?
Moore explains that G.M. “caused” all this ugly stuff because it closed a manufacturing plant and eliminated jobs. And isn’t this ironic. The man who’s been on a journey to “trash” capitalism ignores a basic concept of capitalism: as participants in the economy, we (individuals and groups alike) all have “self interests” at stake, and we are all free to make our own choices as we seek to fulfill those interests.
Maybe GM closed plants in Moore ’s hometown because Michigan ’s taxation rates were unduly high, or the UAW was demanding wages that were beyond what the market would bare. For Moore , the reasons apparently don’t matter. Michael didn’t approve of GM’s decisions, so GM was wrong.
And notice how Moore ’s thinking dismisses the leadership of Flint – and just about everyone else - from any responsibility. Why did Flint allow itself to become reliant on one corporation for an employment base? Who cares! It’s easier to “hate on GM” than it is to think intelligibly about economics.
In truth, Moore doesn’t seem to “think” much about these things, so much as he “feels,” “emotes,” and “rages.” It’s simplistic and childlike, but it’s common: "I don’t like your economic choices, so, therefore, both you, AND Capitalism, are evil.” This mindset may get a pass on Sesame Street (or in American Universities), but it’s untenable on Wall Street or “Main Street .”
And didn’t this kind of “feeling” help drive Barack Obama to the White House? “Elect me and we’ll make business owners do what we want – better wages, lower prices, go green,” whatever. Today, our President and Congress are steeped in the Moore tradition.
So imagine if we scrutinized Michael Moore with Michael Moore economics. When Moore produces a film, does he make economic choices based on everybody else’s self interests and not his own, or does he secure the best possible film crew workers for the best possible price? Is Moore responsible for alcoholism and divorce and mental illness when it occurs among the people that work for him?
The real absurdity here is that while Moore trashes Capitalism, it is Capitalism that has enabled him to make and sell books and movies, and to become a multi-millionaire.
So why am I excited about “Capitalism: A Love Story?” After a few months of Moore ’s movie, my second book will be released next spring, entitled The Virtues Of Capitalism: Making A Moral Case For Free Markets.
As if my subject matter isn’t already sufficiently interesting, Moore ’s movie will, I’m sure, drive more interest in my book and help generate more sales.
Thanks, Michael. We’re both freely making economic choices. Welcome to “democratic capitalism.”
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.