I deserved it. I didn’t get it. And those who didn’t give it to me are evil.
That’s the “Cliffs Notes” version of some remarks made to a reporter by Michael Moore last week. Moore was on the red carpet at Washington, DC’s Uptown Theatre, the night of the premiere of his new film “Capitalism: A Love Story.”
Unlike recent interviews of Moore that you might have seen at, oh, say, CNN (Thanks Larry King for breathlessly hanging on Moore’s every word), CNSNews.Com reporter Nichloas Ballasy scored a brief, low-keyed, on-camera interview wherein he actually asked Moore an intelligent question.
Noting that Moore has been financially successful in the American capitalistic economic system, Ballasy asked “...How would you justify making a movie where you paint capitalism as evil?”
“Well, capitalism did nothing for me, starting with my first film” Moore replied. “You know, I had to pretty much beg, borrow and steal. The system is not set up to help somebody from the working class make a movie like this and get the truth out there…”
Amazing how easily one guy can dismiss an idea (capitalism) that has empowered and transformed nations for more than two centuries. .
I realize these were just spontaneous, off-handed remarks that Moore was making, but if he wants us to take him seriously – and by every indication he does – then his words are fair-game for scrutiny.
So let’s start from the beginning on this one. “..Capitalism did nothing for me, starting with my first film.” This statement indicates no comprehension of the many ways in which capitalism has enabled the very existence of the film industry, and allowed Moore the possibility of a career as a film producer. Without our capitalistic economy, there’s a good chance that neither of these things - - neither the industry, nor Moore’s career in it – would have ever materialized. Certainly neither of these things would have flourished the way they have, without capitalism.
But why bother with historical facts or, for that matter, objective reality? Michael feels scorned, so, therefore, his perceived assailants are just “bad.”
Then there’s this sentence: “You know, I had to pretty much beg, borrow, and steal.” I’ll presume that Moore isn’t admitting to actual “theft,” but rather, he is saying that he had to struggle to find the funding necessary to produce his first film.
And, gosh, think about it. Michael had a struggle in his life. He encountered challenges on his way to becoming a wealthy film producer. His career was not instantly given to him. It was difficult for him to produce his first film. Shouldn’t we all feel terrible about this?
The things Michael wanted were not simply given to Michael, so, therefore, “the system” is obviously “bad.” Moore even said as much: “…The system is not set up to help somebody from the working class make a movie like this and get the truth out there…”
Fortunately, most Americans don’t expect their lives to be struggle-free, nor do they expect to always be given what they want when they want it. A majority of us are grateful for the opportunities that the economy affords us, and we make the best of those opportunities.
But again, don’t bother with objective reality. “The system” did not give Michael what Michael believes that Michael deserved, at a time when Michael believed that Michael deserved it. The system, therefore, is evil.
Moore continued his account of his perceived victimization, telling Ballasy “… in ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ if you remember, capitalism, the Disney Corporation, tried to kill that film--tried to make it so that people couldn’t see it. My book ‘Stupid White Men’--Harper Collins tried to kill that book so that people couldn’t see it. It's only because I put the light of day on it and told people what was going on did people get the chance to see these things.”
Here, Moore’s words amount to a huge non sequitur. Again, if we are to take him seriously (and by every indication he wants us to), then, where he states “capitalism, the Disney Corporation, tried to kill that film...,” we must infer that “capitalism” and “the Disney Corporation” are synonymous.
Then, with his “capitalism=Disney” formula established, Moore states that Disney’s choice to NOT do business with him on a particular film project left him, Michael Moore, victimized. Similarly, when the Harper Collins publishing group chose to NOT work with Moore on a particular book project, Moore was further victimized.
Of course, Michael Moore should be free to write, produce, say and do whatever Michael Moore chooses. But for Michael Moore, such freedoms do not apply to others. Both a publishing and a film production company made choices that Michael Moore did not approve of, so, therefore the "system" is evil.
As long as narcissistic, self-centered people like Michael Moore continue to believe that they are so incredibly entitled – entitled to a book or movie deal, entitled to the services of another professional (a Medical Doctor, perhaps?), and so forth – capitalism, and, thus, our way of life, will be at risk.
Hey Michael... "this time it’s personal..."
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.