First thought: Michael Moore should have cut twenty minutes or so from it. I felt like it dragged a bit and that isn’t because I disagreed with a lot of it.
There were two moments that stuck out for me because I thought they were hilarious: when Jesus was turned into a “capitalist” and then when Moore went out and tried to get the money back from the banks and had the bags to collect the money.
So let’s see. For anyone that thinks Moore is a “socialist” they are wrong. If they say Moore is a socialist they don’t understand socialism. From my understanding of his perspective shown in this film, he seems (as I said earlier) like a Marxist; he’s a communist. If people think Marx was a socialist, they need to go back and review their Marx.
There were certainly moments in the film where I was close to tears or actually let out a few tears (the biggest being the poor Wal-Mart worker who had complications, as it seemed implied, with her asthma and died and the children crying about it. If anyone can watch this regardless of if they are a “capitalist”, “socialist”, “communist” or any other political and social philosophy and not feel empathy towards these people, they have no heart and have no compassion. Seriously.
That said, I disagree with Moore’s message. The message from my interpretation of the film is this: capitalism started off as a good thing in the 1950s. The middle class was thriving and people were doing great. Then somewhere in the late ’70s and early ’80s, starting with Ronald and the so-called “deregulation of the banking industry” and going through with Clinton and Bush and so forth, capitalism began to fail and crumble. It turned into something evil whereby the few began to take from the many and become super rich. The many were being destroyed like the sheep that they were because they continued following in line with the idea of the asinine “American dream.” Therefore, what we need to do is replace this “evil” with democracy. The businesses need to run on the idea of democracy where the workers control the means of production and have a say in things.
(On a side note: The American Dream is in fact, asinine. Anyone that has ever bought into it is fooling themselves. To me, it’s a form of nationalist propaganda to buy into all this patriotic nonsense and America is “number one” and all that exceptionalism nonsense. There are dreams, but they are individual dreams. If you have a dream, it doesn’t matter if you’re living in a mud hut; you’ll succeed in life because nothing is going to stop you from accomplishing that dream. That’s something worth living for and hanging on to. Money be damned. If you want to call it the “American dream,” sure. Whatever. It doesn’t have to be that though. Of course it does have to be realistic. Not everyone can make a billion dollars though because the market just isn’t that big for everyone to sell a product that that many people want. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a wealth creator though. I digress…)
I disagree with this completely because what has happened in America has absolutely zero to do with capitalism. I agree a million percent that the system we currently have absolutely sucks. It’s horrible. It frustrates the hell out of me. But it isn’t capitalism and it isn’t something I want to replace with communism. The system we have is a form of corporatism (gotta love all these “isms”).
We’ve never been capitalists in America. Never have and probably never will be. We’ve never had a totally free market. Never have and probably never will. We’ve always, always had government intervention in the market going back as far as the early 1800s with the first housing crisis up to the compact between government and the railroads in the late 1800s and early 1900s to the recent bailing out of the banks in ’08.
How can Moore rightfully say (as well as people he was interviewing) that bailing out of the banks isn’t “sink or swim like the free market is supposed to be” and then condemn the free market? If it isn’t the free market that is at play here, how can you condemn it? That doesn’t make a lick of sense to me.
He goes on to mention how the Constitution doesn’t mention capitalism or the free market or anything resembling it, but things like “We the people” and so forth and so on. Well for the record, it also doesn’t have the word “democracy.” The Founders despised democracy and they actually were afraid of the idea of democracy because of mob rule. There is a misconception that the Constitution was created to protect us from government. It was, but that wasn’t the Constitution’s only design. It was also created to protect government from the whims of the people.
The examples shown in the film are either two things:
1.) Corruption: Government and big business collusion that have disastrous consequences and ramifications. I’m glad he went after Chris Dodd, for instance.
2.) Fraud: Fraud of any kind like the example of the judges being paid off to increase profits by sending young adults to the PA Child Care facility isn’t capitalism. That’s fraud pure and simple. And there definitely should be laws against that; in fact, there are laws against that.
Finally, on the issue of FDR’s Second Bill of Rights… First, FDR was an awful President that has been hurting the “many” for a very, very long time. Nonetheless, his Second Bill of Rights:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return, which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
Much like the UN Charter, this Second Bill of Rights uses broad and ambiguous language: good, adequate and decent. Who decides what that is and how to go about deciding it all and handling it? Sounds like a helluva bureaucracy.
I don’t understand how Moore can rightfully display the corruption of government and then say, “Well, I trust this government to handle providing good, adequate and decent housing, food, health care, etc.” Maybe he wants a revolt of some sort to not only replace the evil of capitalism, but the corrupt government so it becomes more responsive. Well, I don’t see how that is going to happen. You’ll replace infallible humans with more infallible humans.
I believe all those things can be provided “adequately” on the free market: true free market. Not this bullshit masquerading as the free market. I can’t stand these phony Republicans that go around touting what we have as capitalism and the free market. Or saying, “I wish America would go back to its roots.” What roots? We’ve never had it. Then the Democrats intelligently, but dishonestly use this to their advantage to say, “Hey look, capitalism is indeed a failure.”
On one final note: I was glad he brought up Obama and the fact that Goldman Sachs paid over a million dollars to his campaign, effectively showing that Goldman Sachs has once again bought a president. Yet, then goes on to show that Obama is the figurehead for a new movement in America. Whatever.
Regardless of how you feel about Moore (that he’s “fat, lazy, stupid, a hypocrite”) or how you feel about what you think his message is going to be or any of those things, stop being an idiot. Go see the film. Maybe not at the theater because it’s expensive, but at some point. Open your mind. See things that challenge your ideas. I was just challenged for over two hours and it was a great experience. I was thinking and challenging myself the whole time. It was a worthwhile adventure.
You know, I understand that people are hurting. I get that. I saw that in the film and I see it every day in the real world. It breaks your heart. It truly does. But I still don’t understand why we look to the government for help. Granted, Moore was talking about the “We The People” shtick, but the end result has to be the government in some form or another. Obama seemed the representation of that. People need to stop looking to the government for answers. They don’t have them and they can’t provide them even if they thought they did in the form of good intentions. Look to yourself. Look to your self-responsibility and stop voting for the same morons to go to government to save the world and specifically, the economy.
Maybe I didn’t touch on it enough, but I did like the underlining message of Moore’s film: people need to stop being sheep. Stop buying into the American dream. Stop running like a dumbass trying to bite the carrot dangling in front of you. (And in my opinion), stop voting for idiots like Dodd and others that continue to perpetuate nonsense. People are too easily manipulated via fear and the romanticism of a utopian-like life where everything is just perfect.
Anyways, to stop rambling, it was a good documentary. Like I said, he could have cut it down a bit, but overall, it’ll be a rallying cry for those that agree with him. It’ll be the symbolic piece with which ignorant Republicans shout insults and continue to rally (in rhetoric) behind capitalism. And it’ll leave true capitalists shaking their head hoping a change does indeed come, but with a different end result to that of Moore’s ideas.