Friday, May 07, 2010

What Is This Movie About?

I came across this video on YouTube and was initially surprised at how level-headed it seemed. Then its philosophy fell off a cliff. What is it arguing against?

It starts off extolling the virtues of a country where everyone can do what they want to be happy. So far so good. Then it segues into a four-way argument between a farmer, a politician, a laborer, and a company owner. They are then offered a drink called Ism. And as Ferris Bueler warned us, Ism's should be avoided. I assumed that each person drinks the particular ism that they think will solve their issues. Namely socialism for the laborer, laissez faire capitalism for the business owner, republicanism (I think) for the politician, and I don't even know what for the farmer. Government subsidies?

Still, the cartoon loses it after it apparently just turns into a straw man argument against communism. In the creators' world, there's nothing in between America and Russia. There is no slippery slope, it's just a sheer cliff, and that negates the cartoon's thesis. I can only assume that it was made for a public so tragically uninformed that this facile argument makes sense.

I also like the usage of a Henry Ford analog to convince us. Yes. Ford is a true American success story. He paid laborers high wages. He was a capitalist. He was politically involved. He was also a a right-wing extremist who hated Jews, immigrants, and America's involvement in WWII. He initiated violence against labor organizers, and grew paranoid to the point of dysfunction in later life. Edison's not much better. I would have used Carnegie.

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