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Note: The full version of Ted Baehr’s review of Michael Moore’s newest movie, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” which opens today, is available at Movieguide®’s website. Dr. Tom Snyder contributed to both reviews.
If only he would use his talent for goodness instead of evil!
The bumbling fictional spy Maxwell Smart often used this phrase to describe some of the super-villains he faced on the TV spy show “Get Smart” in the 1960s. The same statement may be applied to Michael Moore, the filmmaking darling of the left who has made another polemical documentary, “Capitalism: A Love Story.” This time, Moore calls for the replacement of America’s capitalist system with a socialist system, including, of course, pro-communist proposals to share all wealth or profits equally.
A talented filmmaker, Moore begins his latest movie by comparing the United States to the Ancient Roman Empire, where, according to his sometimes pompous and condescending narration, society became divided between the super rich and the super poor (clearly an exaggeration). He then discusses the post-war economic boom in the United States in the 1950s and early ’60s.
After showing the consumerism that began to captivate many Americans during those times, and the riches that came to the leaders of industry and the wealthy bankers and brokers on Wall Street, Moore cuts to a shot of President Jimmy Carter during the late 1970s sadly complaining about the “greed” and “materialism” of America. Then, in a mocking tone, Moore says Ronald Reagan came riding into the White House, but that Reagan and his treasury secretary, Donald Regan, formerly of Merrill Lynch, designed policies that hurt blue-collar workers and encouraged Americans to borrow too much money so they could buy homes and modern luxuries, while the “fat cats” on Wall Street got richer and richer.
Interspersed within this somewhat biased history lesson, Moore describes the economic “meltdown” that occurred last year. He puts all the blame on bankers, mortgage lenders and financial institutions who, he says, corrupt the politicians in Washington. Moore also visits several families and workers harmed by the economic collapse. Included among these scenes are people whose mortgages have been foreclosed, a family that is defiantly still living in its foreclosed home, and workers in Chicago who took action when their company suddenly went bankrupt and refused to pay the workers what it apparently still owed them.
Early in the movie, Moore also interviews the owner of Condo Vultures in Florida, a real estate company that buys up foreclosed homes at very low prices in order to make a profit when the homes are repaired. In addition, Moore discusses the economic decline and collapse of General Motors, where his father used to work in Flint, Mich. While discussing these things, Moore laments, “That’s the point of capitalism; it lets you get away with anything.”
Finally, while performing several comic stunts, including a visit to the Wall Street banks that received government bailouts, Moore promotes a socialist vision with a communist polemic advocating sharing the wealth equally. During these scenes, Moore, several Catholic priests and a Catholic bishop cite Jesus Christ’s concern for the poor and needy as inspiration, while declaring unequivocally that capitalism is clearly evil and unbiblical. Moore also cites for inspiration President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s speech calling for a “second bill of rights,” including the “right” to “adequate medical care,” “a useful and remunerative job,” “a decent home,” “a good education,” “adequate food and clothing and recreation,” and “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.”
Wow! How exactly is the government going to define all these new alleged rights, Mr. President?
The best, most coherent and perhaps most truthful part of the movie is Moore’s attack on the government bailouts for Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, Citicorp, the Bank of America, AIG, etc. He correctly notes that these bailouts don’t seem to have done much of anything for the people who have lost their jobs and their homes. Furthermore, he clearly shows that the government doesn’t have a clue where exactly this bailout money went. Moreover, he shows that members of Congress are in on this and other alleged Wall Street con games, including Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut. Of course, President Obama also seems to be fully involved in these allegedly corrupt schemes, but Moore lets the president off the hook because he apparently loves Obama’s soaring but phony leftist rhetoric of radical “Hope and Change.”
The rest of Moore’s movie presents a very strong, somewhat mixed worldview with very strong politically correct, leftist ideology. Although Moore includes overt, positive references to Jesus Christ and the Bible, including the crucifixion, he uses these references to promote his radical, anti-capitalist, pro-socialist, and even communist socio-political philosophy. It’s all extremely polemical and one-sided in a deceitful way that will fool many gullible people, especially many young people.
To help inform and equip the public, please take a look at our full review of the movie at www.movieguide.org, where we list most of the major problems with Michael Moore’s new subversive, Marxist diatribe promoting his radical utopian nightmare.