"If only he would use his talent for goodness instead of evil!" -- We're paraphrasing here but that's roughly what Secret Agent Maxwell Smart used to say when describing some of the supervillains he faced on the 1960s TV spy show "Get Smart." The same statement could be applied to Michael Moore, the filmmaking darling of the left who has made yet another polemical documentary. Moore's latest film is called "Capitalism: A Love Story." This time the filmmaker is calling for the replacement of Americaâ€™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 discussing the post-war economic boom in the United States in the 1950s and early 60s. After showing the consumerism that captivated many Americans during those times, and the riches that accrued to captains of industry and wealthy bankers and brokers on Wall Street, Moore cuts to a shot of President Jimmy Carter during the late 1970s sadly complaining about the â€œgreedâ€� and â€œmaterialismâ€� of America.
Then, in a mocking tone, Moore says... Ronald Reagan came riding into the White House. What happened next? According to Moore, Reagan and his Treasury Secretary, Donald Reagan (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 â€œfatcatsâ€� on Wall Street got richer and richer.
Interspersed within this somewhat biased history lesson, Moore describes the economic â€œmeltdownâ€� that occurred last year. While putting all the blame on bankers, mortgage lenders and financial institutions whom, he says, corrupted the politicians in Washington, Moore 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 still defiantly 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.
Finally, the movie promotes a socialist vision with a Communist polemic advocating an egalitarian view of sharing the wealth. During these scenes, Moore, several Catholic priests and a Catholic bishop cite Jesus's concern for the poor and needy as inspiration, while declaring unequivocally that capitalism is clearly evil and unbiblical. For inspiration, Moore also cites President Franklin Rooseveltâ€™s speech calling for a â€œsecond Bill of Rights,â€� including the right to adequate health care, an adequate and fulfilling job, a full retirement plan, a home, and, if you own a business, a fair price for your goods and services.
The best, most coherent and perhaps most truthful part of the movie is Mooreâ€™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 donâ€™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 doesnâ€™t have a clue about where exactly the money went. Finally, he shows that members of Congress are in on this and other alleged Wall Street con games including Democratic Senator 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 yet phony leftist rhetoric of radical â€œhope and change.â€�
The rest of Mooreâ€™s movie, however, presents a very strong, somewhat mixed pagan worldview with an equally strong politically correct, leftist ideology. Although Moore includes overt, positive references to Jesus and the Bible, including the crucifixion, he uses these references to promote his radical, anti-capitalist, pro-socialist, and even Communist socio-political philosophy. Itâ€™s all extremely polemical and one-sided in a deceitful way that will fool many gullible people, especially many young people.
The good news is that one older liberal/leftist journalist at the screening attended by "Movieguide" admitted that he didnâ€™t think Moore proved his point mainly because the movie is so one-sided. He said Moore would have done a better job if he had included, in some way, a bit of give-and-take between himself and some experts or other people who actually believe in capitalism and are opposed to Mooreâ€™s radical socialist utopia.
Dr. Ted Baehr is founder and publisher of "Movieguide: The Biblical Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment." Dr. Tom Snyder is editor of Movieguide. You can see their final review of Michael Mooreâ€™s newest movie, Capitalism: A Love Story on Friday, Sept. 25, when the movie opens, at Movieguide's Web site, www.movieguide.org.