After making an unpaid > cameo in his last movie, I have no interest in seeing Michael Moore s new film bashing capitalism. But even from the few interviews I ve caught, it is quickly apparent that Moore is ignorant obviously willingly so of exactly what capitalism is. In a popular clip now circulating online, Moore incoherently struggles to describe capitalism as the legal system which allows this greed to take place, quickly suggesting that the regulation and rules that used to keep these people in check -- businesspeople we can presume -- is no longer is keeping them in check.
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So just what sort of research did Moore conduct? Had he bothered to poke around a bit, perhaps conduct a Google search or two, Moore might have discovered that capitalism is the social system based on the recognition of individual rights. Under capitalism, the use of physical force against others and their property is strictly prohibited. That means that, unlike every other social philosophy throughout history, all relationships between human beings are voluntary. Under capitalism, there are no masters or slaves -- men deal with each other through reason, discussion and persuasion, and always to mutual benefit. Government s role is not that of a king, but a policeman.
I guess that doesn t work for Moore, who advocates for a system he wryly describes as Democracy. We need to have control of our economy, he tells Larry King, which really means that Moore wants certain people to make decisions for everybody else. He talks about coming up with a new system that is fair to all people, citing foreclosures as a reason why we need to stick up for the little guy.
But as we wrote more than two years back, foreclosures occur not because evil financiers fleece innocent homeowners, but because borrowers aren t paying their bills. In Moore s world, the borrower has every right to a home he or she is not paying for but the lender has no right to mortgage payments that were promised on a signed contract. Is that fair to all people ?
Moreover, the most recent data from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) indicate that after a year, over 50% of homeowners who received loan modifications, many of which were forced onto the banks by the federal government, ended up re-defaulting anyway. At what point is the little guy for which Moore so feverishly advocates actually held responsible for paying his bills?
Most bizarre was Moore s suggestion that, if Jesus were alive today, he wouldn t be participating in a hedge fund or playing the stock market, a not-so-subtle suggestion that those who do invest in hedge funds or invest in stocks are doing something wicked or immoral.
Again, this only substantiates Moore s ignorance. Investors, be it in the stock market directly or via managers such as hedge or mutual funds, can t break into your apartment or hire assassins. They engage in free trade by buying and selling investments. That s all they do that s all they can do.
And unlike Jesus or the Judeo-Christian religions in general that Moore seems to now anxiously extol, investors are actually productive, earning profits not only for themselves, but for the millions of companies, and thus employees, they voluntarily choose to fund.
Ironically, as has been repeatedly pointed out around the blogosphere in recent days, the film itself was funded by (publicly owned and traded) Viacom and the Weinstein Company, a entertainment company which raised $490 million from investors to pay for, among other projects, Moore s film. I guess capitalism is immoral and corrupt, except when it s going to fund your own self-important movie exposing the depravity of capitalism.
Wal-Mart, one of the world s most successful companies and a frequent Moore target, was in the news earlier this week when two of its employees, a 12-year grocery department manager and five-year deli staffer, decided to get married.
Where did the lovebirds choose to get hitched? Right there among the seasonal foliage of Wal-Mart s lawn and garden department where they work and shared their first kiss.
Doesn t exactly sound like the nefarious tool for persecution and malfeasance that Moore tries to portray Wal-Mart and capitalism as being in his movies.
It s because in the real world they re not.