I usually don't write movie reviews, but obviously, Michael Moore's new film "Capitalism, a Love Story" is not a normal movie.
First of all, before I critique it, I highly recommend you go see it. Everything but the last few minutes of the movie is about the harm caused by capitalists. We're talking about everyone from kids who are jailed because a corporation bought of a judge to people kicked out of their homes, to airline pilots on food stamps. It doesn't really matter who you vote for, if you are amongst the 70% of Americans who do not like corporations, you will like this movie. And even if you do like corporations but want to here the stories of what Americans are facing today, you should see this movie.
Michael Moore concludes that "capitalism is evil and you cannot regulate evil." Only a socialist can make this argument, therefore Michael Moore must be a socialist? Right? Wrong.
What is socialism? It is when the community as a whole owns the means of production. In other words, we are talking about the factories and the machines that produce the goods. And ultimately, we are talking about democracy instead of dictatorship in the workplace, which Michael Moore explicitly endorses.
What fails to qualify as socialism? These so called "mixed economies" are not socialist, they are capitalist economies with a social safety net. Bernie Sanders is not a socialist, no matter what he claims. You can disagree with socialism. But being for a social safety net does not make you a socialist just because Republican politicians are declaring everyone to the left of Milton Friedman (right wing economist) a socialist.
Now, if you "cannot regulate evil," then socialism is the only other option. You could argue that capitalism isn't evil. You can argue that it is evil but it can be regulated. But you cannot conclude that the solution to a system that cannot be regulated is to regulate it.
What are regulations? Laws of course. A nation under the law is the perfect form of regulation. Laws come in many forms, including a bill of rights.
Why do I say all this? Because after saying that you "cannot regulate evil," Michael Moore mentions FDR's economic bill of rights, which, though never enacted, was supposed to guarantee basic necessities like food, healthcare, and housing. In other words, FDR's economic bill of rights is a series of regulations that are designed to save us from the excesses of capitalism. He even goes so far as to claim that this works in Europe. Of course, the workplace democracy that Moore proposes isn't the norm in Europe any more than it is here.
To me, if socialism is worker control of the workplace, and ultimately society, and capitalism is control by the elite of the few, then a call for regulated capitalism is the same as a call for benevolent dictatorship. I've noticed something funny about dictatorships though. Wishful thinking rarely makes them benevolent. The same is true under capitalism. As long as capitalists are in charge, they make the rules. They aren't going to make them to benefit us.
It's easy to criticize Michael Moore, but this is rather typical of many people on the left. I know I'm starting to repeat myself, but this is a recurring theme. The grass is not pink, 2+2 does not equal 5, and capitalism with a safety net does not make the workplace democratic, and its not socialism.
Update: It's worth adding that Michael Moore actually says in the movie that a system should replace capitalism, which contradicts what he endorses at the end of the movie.
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About my Blog
I am writing this blog from a radical political point of view. To be a political radical is to examine everything critically. It is about taking today's news, today's unmentioned news, history, or even just the way we think about ideas, and adding a totally new perspective to them. If you are a radical, and a socialist, like me, you will agree with a lot of what I have to say. If not, I hope I at least make you think about things that you previously took for granted. Most of all, I hope everyone enjoys this blog.
I have just graduated from college, where I wrote opinion pieces for my school newspaper. Though I started out a liberal, I have moved far to the left since then. Despite my politics being different from most people, many people found a lot of what I had to say interesting and insightful. I hope to continue challenging people to think here on my blog.