Green Room

Socialism: A Hate Story

posted at 5:35 pm on October 6, 2009 by

Ann Althouse was one of the few people who bothered to drag herself to see Michael Moore’s latest exercise in agitprop, Capitalism: A Love Story. Her reaction to the film is interesting. Describing a sign she saw in the lobby, she says:

“Dump ¢apitali$m/Join the Socialists.” And, indeed, the movie was a big promotion of socialism. Capitalism is “evil” — Capitalism is a “sin” — we were told over and over. And if only all the downtrodden masses would see this truth and join together we could have socialism.

Here is how she describes two of Moore’s typically dishonest examples of sinful capitalism:

There were some teenagers in Wilkes Barre, PA who had suffered a terrible abuse of their due process rights, and the fact that a for-profit detention institution was involved didn’t transform what was a criminal scheme into a broader indictment of our economic system.

And there were the life insurance policies that companies take out on their [low level] employees. Maybe these shouldn’t be permitted — and calling them “Dead Peasant” policies was kind of outrageous — but if they are wrong, we can make legislation banning them. We have plenty of regulation in this country that keeps us away from a completely free market, and we can procure that legislation if that’s what we want. I was disgusted by the camera trained on the face of a boy who cried over the death of his young mother. The real villain there was asthma. It said nothing significant about capitalism, which made it grotesque exploitation to use that boy in the movie.

Moore’s method involves finding people who are unhappy with their circumstances, lying about the particulars of the cases to make them illustrate his points better, and converting them into wholesale indictments of the free market, and America in general. Althouse captures the overall flavor of Moore’s work with this observation:

Moore shamelessly and repeatedly advocated the violent overthrow of the economic system. It was somewhat humorously or moderately presented — such as through the mouth of a cranky old man who was being evicted from his home — but it came across that Moore wants a revolution. He kept advising the workers — and the evictees — of the world to unite and shake off their chains.

Socialist and fascist agitators have always relied upon the support of the disaffected. No system of government, from the most rigid collective state to the most energetic free-market democracy, can ever achieve a completely satisfied population. There are people who don’t do well in a capitalist system. Some of these people suffer from bad choices – freedom cannot exist without the possibility for error. Some suffer reversals of fortune through no fault of their own. Prosperity requires risk, which carries the possibility of loss. Some people will be wronged by criminal enterprises, large or small. No system of laws is invulnerable, and even the most dedicated law enforcement personnel are not infallible.

The irony is that no system of government is more brutally unfair to the disaffected than the kind of total State that Michael Moore lusts after. A central State has more power to rob its citizens, waste their resources, cause devastating economic fluctuations, and cause physical injury than any private corporation. The State is far more difficult to change, and more likely to persist in its mistakes. It is utterly inescapable, to a degree that Microsoft and Wal-Mart can only envy.

One of the most persistent and dangerous illusions of socialism is the belief that money becomes magically virtuous when government handles it. Politicians are at least as greedy as any captain of industry. The installation of a politburo does not eliminate ambition from a society – it changes the means used to fulfill those ambitions. The political class achieves its desires through force, by definition. Unlike commerce, force produces no side benefits for the larger population – the politician and his constituents get what they want, at the expense of everyone else.

The people Moore caricatures as cold-hearted fat cats don’t go away under a socialist government – what a silly, childish notion! The million-dollar marketplace of high-level transactions still exists, but now the most important commodity is political power. You can already see this happening all around us, as the transition to a command economy has radically accelerated under Obama, after puttering along in a lower gear for decades. What high-rolling mega-corporate CEO doesn’t love the idea that his company is “too big to fail,” and thus insulated from market forces by a shield of taxpayer money?

Political influence is one of the smartest investments those “fat cats” can make, which is why the immense Obama government became so fabulously corrupt so quickly. When you slide billions of dollars across the landscape, you can’t be surprised to see a crowd of ruthless people chasing it. Those people won’t go away when you complete the transition to complete socialism – they’ll just become Party elders and commissars. They’re not terribly inconvenienced by having to wear Party jewelry, and learn a few new songs. Their children might have already been taught the lyrics in school.

What about the little guy? Doesn’t he benefit under benign socialist control? Of course not. He never has, anywhere on Earth, during the many times collective governments have gained power. The common man might realize some short-term gains when the socialist government marches into power – wow, free health care! It never lasts. It can’t. Socialist control destroys the very mechanisms of prosperity it needs to pay off on its promises. The capitalist incentives for hard work and risk-taking are replaced by the collectivist impulse to do the least that is required of you, and accept whatever benefits you are given. People are, in the main, rational actors. They respond to incentives. There are always exceptions – people who answer a religious calling, or give 100% effort under any circumstances, due to their inner drive. Those people are never numerous enough to produce prosperity for a nation of millions.

Socialists despise competition – they find virtue in the idea that everyone deserves everything, and benevolent leaders have a responsibility to provide it. Competition doesn’t disappear under socialist control – that’s another childish fantasy. Instead, socialism replaces competition between individuals with competition between groups. The former is energetic and constructive, while the latter is bitter, and almost inevitably violent. In a total State, the individual has no way to improve his situation, no way to build a better life on his own. Instead, he must join a collective – a group large and powerful enough to influence the government, which dispenses all benefits. You can see this sort of thing all around you today, since our government is already titanic, and has confiscated much wealth to spread. It will get much, much worse if we’re ever foolish enough to slip all the way into Michael Moore’s idea of a total State.

The architects of the State can have all the good intentions in the world – they can be paragons of selfless virtue – and it doesn’t change a thing. The nature of the system they create will inevitably corrupt it, because the nature of the people trapped in the system doesn’t change. They want more for themselves and their families, and if they can’t earn it, they will band together to demand it. There is only one reliable way to hold those bands together over the long term, only one predictable response to the diminishing returns gained by each sacrifice of liberty… and only one emotion the leaders of each collective entity can easily encourage, to maintain their own power: hatred.

When everything you have is provided by the State, you will easily come to hate anyone whose demands take priority over yours. They are not your competitors. They are your enemies. Even now, in what may prove to be the last days we can regard ourselves as a free nation with a bloated government, we can see how much anger simmers among those who believe the urgency of their demands outweighs any consideration of the cost to others. You may recall an attempt by ObamaCare supporters to launch a viral meme last month, with a Facebook and Twitter message that said something like “No one should have to die because they can’t afford health insurnce.” A slogan like that does not allow for argument, or even picky questions. You either support socialized medicine, or you want people who can’t afford health insurance to die. What attitude is appropriate, when confronting people who want those who can’t afford health insurance to die?

Capitalism is indeed a love story, born from the enduring respect of free men for the maturity and liberty of their fellow citizens. It is better to be poor in a capitalist society, than middle-class in any of the miserable “worker’s paradises” that litter the world. Free people working together, and in competition, generate the prosperity that stands as the only medicine against poverty. Children and pets might be loved without respect, but not adults. The alternative to respect and love is clearly visible in the ugly hypocrisy of a bitter millionaire, who charges the dwindling number of suckers foolish enough to take him seriously for the privilege of being told a dark fairy tale, which requires them to become slaves before they can live happily ever after. Listen to the desperation and anger growing in the air around you, and ask yourself if Michael Moore’s hate story is likely to end well for anyone who isn’t already rich, powerful, and ruthless.

Recently in the Green Room:



Trackback URL


I wonder if M. Moore knows that this country tried “collectivism” with the first two arrivals of colonists. Something like 2/3 of those colonists perished when winter arrived, as there were some who weren’t skilled at cutting wood or raising food and just hoped the others would provide enough for all. With the third arrival, each colonist was given something like 10 acres of land and encouraged to do what they could best do. Bartering began and was the beginning of commerce in the new country. The colonists did so well at it and became so prosperous that England became jealous and wanted the colonies to share their wealth. Read “How Capitalism Saved America” by Thomas DiLorenzo. It’s an amazing book. Socialism and statism have been expanding for generations and books like this one should be required reading.

LindaDinNev on October 7, 2009 at 11:16 AM

You might explain what an SDR is and how it might replace currency, especially the strongest reference currency in the world.
ExpressoBold on October 7, 2009 at 7:15 AM

SDR’s are what the IMF (International Monetary Fund) calls money. It’s monetized debt (rental money) so not currency like Lincoln’s Greenbacks. Think of it as buying power with strings attached (debt). Last time they issued SDR’s was 1961…..looks like they’ve fired the presses back up. If the dollar’s value becomes suddenly more debauched than it already is then all the sudden lot’s of folks might be willing to run to the IMF’s loving arms. And it appears the IMF want’s to have the skids greased for that scenario.

By BRIC, I guess you mean Brazil, Russia, India and China.

speed on October 7, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Doc Z nails it again, in light of the concise yet complete manner by which the Doc makes his case, my prose is far too lacking to be adequate. I can only offer up the words of other great wordsmith’s past.

“..and if you hear a prophet speak of sacrifice, run, run as if from a plague. It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master”.
Ayn Rand

The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
Ayn Rand

“Organizers of Humanity”
“The claims of these organizers of humanity raise another question which I have often asked them and which, so far as I know, they have never answered: If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?”
Fredrick Bastiat

Eloquence, at its highest pitch, leaves little room for reason or reflection, but addresses itself entirely to the desires and affections, captivating the willing hearers, and subduing their understanding.
David Hume

I do not reject peace, but I am afraid of war disguised as peace.
Cicero 43 B.C.

Moderation has been called a virtue to limit the ambition of great men, and to console undistinguished people for their want of fortune and their lack of merit.
Benjamin Disraeli

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.
Adam Smith

I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.
Adam Smith

I can only add to theses great observations is that the one thing that has been proven is, that for every action there is an equal and opposite reation. Risk is commensurate to reward.

In realation to a nanny state, as that it tries to protect against every risk, it equally serves to deprive of all rewards.

Archimedes on October 7, 2009 at 1:28 PM

speed on October 7, 2009 at 1:01 PM

OK, I was looking for the actual name Special Drawing Rights and a description that circumscribed SDRs as something like a basket of currencies which have assigned values within the basket plus a metal, like gold. The SDR then fluctuates in value based on the market value and on the intrinsic value of the currencies it contains.

I think it would take years for an SDR concept to replace the USD, still the strongest reference currency in the world. Great Britain is talking about a “planned recession” to reduce carbon consumption and CO2 output. That should be an interesting test case to see what happens to an economy, and thus its currency, based on “green strategies.” Stupid.

IMO the SDR is a route that is loaded with opportunities for fraud, since most governments, including our own, do not use dynamic analysis of economic events and any mistake on the evaluation of components is more flawed than simply having one currency to match against the counter-currency.

What’s the deal with BRIC as an economic axis? Is it oil supply and demand combined with consumer growth? Maybe Hank Paulson can tell us since BRIC is a Goldman Sachs concept.

ExpressoBold on October 7, 2009 at 2:11 PM


Your thoughts on Jonah Goldberg’s contention that we need to expand representation in Congress? Versus term limit argument?

Would be curious for your thoughts.

publiuspen on October 7, 2009 at 2:25 PM

ExpressoBold on October 7, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Ooops!, Sorry about that. Meant to go beyond the SDR (Special Drawing Rights) acronym. Lots of formulas out there for ensuring money holds it’s “value”… backing with metal, basket of currencies, basket of goods, full faith and credit of the taxpayer, etc. Really only one thing works to ensure money holds it’s value. Always exchange it (money) for something of like value. Understanding that, inflation becomes easy to understand. Think Poor Entitlement Class…handing out little scrips and scraps of money to a whole lot of people and receiveing no real goods and services in return OR Rich Entitlement Class handing out great big wads of money to bankers, investment houses, and there cronies and again receiving no goods and services of any real value to civil society (TM? Mark Levin?).

As far as USD being strongest currency…2200% inflation since 1913 by Gov. Stats and 6600% inflation according to hardly seems to be strength to brag about….in my opinion it’s about time to call a code!

SDR’s are of course designed for fraud just like all Fractional Reserve schemes, only difference is it moves to a GLOBAL scale and out of our reach to reform it (the monetary system).

speed on October 7, 2009 at 7:46 PM

Sharke on October 6, 2009 at 11:38 PM

That is an interesting post.

Doctor Zero on October 6, 2009 at 11:45 PM

Thanks for sharing the background on your sign in name.

They know “something is wrong”, but have unfortunately mischaracterized the problem and chosen the wrong solution. …
speed on October 7, 2009 at 7:10 AM

Thats right.

tartan on October 8, 2009 at 12:49 AM

People are, in the main, rational actors. They respond to incentives. There are always exceptions – people who answer a religious calling, or give 100% effort under any circumstances, due to their inner drive. Those people are never numerous enough to produce prosperity for a nation of millions.

Err … not really.

We’re instinctual actors. Rational thought is just the icing on a rather large layer cake made from hormones and subconscious processing. You don’t engage your rational mind in all but very specific circumstances. Some people do it less than that.

TheUnrepentantGeek on October 8, 2009 at 11:12 AM

HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2017, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint

McConnell may not get his wish on health care vote

Taylor Millard Jun 25, 2017 7:31 PM
Top Pick

Senate leadership wants a vote this week, others say, “Negative, Ghost Rider.”

Top Pick

Helping others without the government.

“…the reality is the reality.”

These kiosks don’t make $15 per hour or need benefits

Going for the record

“We will answer them on the field”

Taking it to the limit

Sunday morning talking heads

Jazz Shaw Jun 25, 2017 8:01 AM

Health care and tweeting and Russia, oh my!

Will they stay or will they go?

I can’t imagine what I was thinking when I said that

Rocking the boat majorly

Big government never contracts. It only grows more powerful

It’s only a “ban” until it becomes inconvenient

The decline and fall of Obamacare and the AHCA

Jazz Shaw Jun 24, 2017 8:31 AM

This was all over before it began

Fixing crime in America is a complicated issue

Taylor Millard Jun 23, 2017 8:31 PM

Cops alone won’t solve it.

Victim’s father was President Maduro’s supervisor back when he was a bus driver.

Democrats forgot all about the “era of good feelings”

“Bernie and Jane Sanders have lawyered up.”

“the Judiciary Committee is examining the circumstances surrounding the removal of James Comey.”

Winning isn’t everything. It is the only thing

Trump signs VA reform bill into law

John Sexton Jun 23, 2017 2:41 PM

“What happened was a national disgrace, and yet some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls.”

A new era of something.

“…died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S.”

The shortsightedness of “Denounce and Preserve”

Taylor Millard Jun 23, 2017 12:11 PM

Pragmatism for the sake of pragmatism doesn’t always work.

Perhaps if you threw in a new car?

Gay marriages still growing, but not as fast

Andrew Malcolm Jun 23, 2017 10:31 AM

More, but not as quickly.

Should’ve stuck with the pirate gig. It was working for him

The battle for the rubble of Raqqa is underway

Andrew Malcolm Jun 23, 2017 8:51 AM

Won’t be much left.

Your list of demands is a publicity stunt

“what happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives…”

“The jobs are still leaving. Nothing has stopped.”

Bad vendor. Bad! No cookie!

“The Corps is just starting to grapple with the issues the court has identified.”

“So you want me to sing my praises, is that what you’re saying?”

Why would we possibly want that?

“I mean he sold our country to The Russians.”

I could think of someone else you might want to ask about…