Michael Covel

A friend recently invited me to a private screening of Michael Moore’s new film Capitalism: A Love Story. The September 16th invite not surprisingly leaned a certain direction:

“[Michael] Moore takes us into the homes of ordinary people whose lives have been turned upside down; and he goes looking for explanations in Washington, DC and elsewhere. What he finds are the all-too-familiar symptoms of a love affair gone astray: lies, abuse, betrayal and 14,000 jobs being lost every day. Capitalism: A Love Story…is Michael Moore’s ultimate quest to answer the question he’s posed throughout his illustrious filmmaking career: Who are we and why do we behave the way that we do?”

Considering Moore was going to be there for a Q&A after (moderated by Arianna Huffington), I quickly signed on. Now before painting a picture of Moore’s new film let me be honest: my belief set is essentially libertarian (‘Government out of my bedroom and my pocketbook’). Not only do government solutions not excite me, they scare the living blank out of me. Remember when George Bush declared, “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system…to make sure the economy doesn’t collapse”? He might as well of said, “Hide your money, kids – ’cause I’m coming to take it!”

Oh sure, in theory I would like to see everyone with their own homestead, money in their pocket for regular shopping frenzies and no health worries despite eating at Burger King 24/7, but arriving at those goals is not exactly doable unless government robs Peter to pay Paul and or starts up the printing press.

And that view of course puts me in opposition to Moore since he has no problem with government as his and our father figure. That is his utopia. He truly believes warehouses of Washington, DC-based federal workers remotely running our lives is the optimal plan. He is an unapologetic socialist who really doesn’t care why the poor are poor or the rich are rich, he just wants it fixed. So not surprisingly, and with some generalization as I proffer this, Democrats like Moore and Republicans don’t.

However, I was excited to see a ‘mainstream’ film that was backed by big Hollywood bucks conclude capitalism as ‘evil.’ Arguably the most successful documentarian ever, a man who has made untold millions of dollars, was going to legitimately make the case that there was an alternative to capitalism. I sat down in a packed Mann’s Bruin Theater in Westwood, CA eager to see how his vision could possibly flesh out.

Moore is a rather simple guy. He is likable. He sees the world as good guys (people with no money) and bad guys (people with money). His Flint, Michigan union worker upbringing is his worldview. If you did not have that upbringing or if your life started less severe than his you are an evil capitalist. If on the other hand you were a laid off factory worker with a sixth grade education you are the true hero. I don’t care one way or the other that he has that view and I am not knocking union workers, but Moore sees the world through a class warfare lens resulting in a certain agenda: force wealth to be spread amongst everyone regardless of effort. Within minutes it was clear where Capitalism: A Love Story was headed. The ‘highlights’ included:

  • We listen to heartbreaking stories of foreclosed families across America, but we don’t learn why the foreclosures happened. Did these people treat their homes as piggy banks? Were there refis on top of refis just to keep buying mall trinkets and other goodies with no respect to risk or logic? We don’t find out.
  • We meet one family who was just foreclosed on so desperate for money that they were willing to accept $1,000 for cleaning out the house that they were just evicted from. Was it sad? Yes. But, should we end capitalism due to this one family in Peoria, IL?
  • We are introduced to a guy whose company is called ‘Condo Vultures’ buying and selling foreclosed properties. Since he acted like a used car salesman, the implication was that he was an evil capitalist. However, Moore doesn’t tell us if his buyers were ‘working class’ people making smart buying decisions after prices had dropped.
  • We listen to Catholic priests who denounce capitalism as an evil to be eradicated. What they would put in its place and how would the new system work? The priests don’t tell us.
  • We learn that Wal-Mart bought life insurance policies on many workers. We are then told to feel outrage when Wal-Mart receives a large payout from an employee death while the families still struggle with bills. I saw where Moore was heading here, but this was a reason to end capitalism?
  • We hear a story from a commercial pilot so low on money that he has to use food stamps. Moore points out that many pilots are making less than Taco Bell managers and then attributes a recent plane crash in Buffalo to underpaid pilots. This one crash is extrapolated out as yet another reason to end capitalism.

I was pleasantly surprised at Moore’s attempt at balance. For example, he included:

  • A carpenter, while ply-wooding up a foreclosed home, says, “If people pay their bills, they don’t get thrown out.”
  • A dressing down of Senator Chris Dodd (D) by name. Moore calling out a top Democrat? He sure did. He nailed him.
  • A lengthy dissertation on the evils of Goldman Sachs. He rips Robert Rubin and Hank Paulson big time and I agree with him. In fact, I said to myself, “Moore you should have done your whole film on Goldman Sachs!”

Throughout the various stories and interviews he also weaves a conspiracy (all Moore films do this). The plot goes something like this: America won World War II and quickly dominated due to no competition (Germany and Japan were destroyed). We had great post-war success where everyone lived in union-like equality. Jobs were plentiful and families were happy. However, things start to go bad in the 1970s, and Moore uses a snippet of President Carter preaching about greed. This clip was predictably building to Moore’s big reason for all problems today: the Reagan revolution.

Moore sees Reagan entering the scene as a shill for corporate banking interests. However, everyone is happy as the good times roll all the way through into Clinton times. Moore does take subtle shots at President Clinton, but nails his right hand economic man Larry Summers directly as a primary reason for the banking collapse. So, while Moore sees Japan and Germany today as socialistic winners where corporations benefit workers more than shareholders, he sees America sinking fast.

So is that it? That was the proof that capitalism is an evil to eliminate? Essentially, yes, that’s Moore’s proof. What is his solution? Tugging on your idealistic heartstrings of course! Moore ends his film with recently uncovered video of FDR talking to America on January 11, 1944. Looking into the camera a weary FDR proposed what he called a second Bill of Rights – an economic Bill of Rights for all regardless of station, race, or creed that included:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.
  • 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.
  • The right of every family to a decent home.
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.
  • The right to a good education.

As FDR concluded and the film ended, I was shocked at the reaction. The theater of 400+ stood and cheered wildly at FDR’s 1944 proposal. The questions running through my head were immediate: How does one legislate words like “useful”, “enough”, “recreation”, “adequate”, “decent”, and “good”? Who decides all of this and to what degree? At past points in history to voice an opposition opinion in the middle of such a single-minded herd would have certainly been my physical demise! Interestingly, during the Q&A Huffington and Moore discussed bank failure fears during the fall of 2008. They asked for a show of hands of how many people moved money around or attempted to protect against a bank failure. I had the only hand that went up.

FDR’s plan hauled out by Moore six decades after it was forgotten reminded me of another interchange – this one from the 1970s. Then talk show master, the Oprah of his day, Phil Donahue was interviewing free market economist Milton Friedman and wanted to know if Friedman had ever had a moment of doubt about “capitalism and whether greed’s a good idea to run on?”

Friedman was quick in response, “…is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear: that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”

Donahue (and the video of this on YouTube is classic) then countered saying that capitalism rewards the ability to manipulate the system and not virtue. Friedman was having none of it, “And what does reward virtue? You think the communist commissar rewards virtue? …Do you think American presidents reward virtue? Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of their political clout? Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest? …Just tell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us?”

Friedman’s logic was what I was remembering as a theater full of people cheered wildly for a second Bill of Rights. How did this film crowd actually think FDR’s 1944 vision could be executed? Frankly, it was clear to me at that moment capitalism was on shaky ground. Starting with Bush ‘abandoning’ capitalism to bailouts for everyone to Obama gifting away the future – we seriously might be past the point of no return toward a socialization of America.

Figuring someone else must see the problems with this film, I started poking around the net for other views. One critic declared that the value of Capitalism: A Love Story was not in the moviemaking, but in its message that hits you in the gut and makes you angry. This film did not make me angry, but it did punch me in the gut. The people in that theater with me were not bad people, including Moore. They just seem to all have consumed a lethal dose of Kool-Aid! And at the end of his Q&A Moore pushed the audience to understand that while they don’t have the money, they do have the vote. He implored them to use their vote to take money from one group to give it another group. Did he really say that openly with no ambiguity? Yes, sadly.

Regards,

Mike Covel
for The Daily Reckoning

Michael Covel

Michael Covel is an author, director, and founder of TurtleTrader.com. Covel's books include the best selling Trend Following: Learn to Make Millions in Up or Down Markets, which has sold over 100,000 copies, and The Complete TurtleTrader: The Legend, the Lessons, the Results. Covel also wrote, directed, and produced the documentary film, Broke: The New American Dream. Covel has been interviewed by Bloomberg Radio, Technical Analysis Magazine, Barron's, and others.

 

  • jason

    an interesting column…capitalism’s failure is evident in the fact that we can produce enough food to feed everyone, but yet, we still have people starving. And workers need to have more rights. The US is one of the few countries where it is easier to incorporate than it is for workers to unionize, and, over 5,000 workers in the US die on the job each year. And to counter Friedman: nobody who has been in the cutting edge has ever been motivated by money. When the guy said that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe, did he get rich? No, he was a heretic. Did van Gogh ever sell a painting? Greed motivates mediocre minds to exploit the system; it doesn’t produce the greatest innovation.

  • peggy

    Laid off factory workers with a sixth grade education? You’re so off the mark. Today’s laid off workers are often highly skilled, well educated, and deserving of dignity as well as a decent living.

    Your world view needs work.

  • jason

    peggy, that’s a good point. And call center workers are also much more highly skilled today–automated systems handle the simple calls, but for more complex inquiries it is escalated to skilled worker.

  • http://www.michaelcovel.com Michael Covel

    Peggy, you are not ripping the whole piece’s logic due to that comment? The film is very pro-union.

  • Wally

    Personally I wouldn’t worry too much about the fact that the crowd at the movie stood up and cheered at the end.

    After all, Westwood is in California and as such the state is at the epicenter of Left Coast Liberalism.

    What I truly find amazing is the pure hypocrisy of Michael Moore. Did he announce any initiatives at the end of the movie to use any of the profits from the film to help any of the people he encountered while making his docu-fakery?

    Will all of the profits from the film be donated to charitable organizations that help people that are homeless, on foodstamps, live in tent cities, or receive food from foodbanks?

    Of course not, that will be left to generous Americans that have time and time again risen to the occasion by donating money, time, and effort to help out their fellow neighbors.

    These are the same Americans that donate to help people such as the 2004 earthquake victims in Indonesia, the flood and tornado victims in the Mid-West, and earthquake victims in California.

    Americans donate yearly to help impoverished children around the world and provide subsistence to refugees and the sick.

    Tragically Jason, we have yet to see great innovation out of such Socialist Utopia’s as Cuba, or Zimbabwe, or China, or Russia, or India, or any other country ruled by Socialist governments.

    Please respond and list all the great innovations out of your preferred great socialist utopias.

    America has by far produced the most scientist that receive Nobel Prizes, we lead the world in technological patents, medical procedure patents, and drug patents.

    We produce space technology, computers, movies, software, music, medical procedures, drugs, and too many other things to list, but don’t let that stop you from further investigation.

    All of these people do not wake up every day saying, “I want to work for free, or don’t give me a raise this year.”

    No, they say, yes I want a better life, and yes I want to make more money, and yes this type of greed does lead to some of the greatest innovations in the history of the human race.

    Jason, do you sincerely believe that food is free anywhere in the world, except for those that grow their own or live in the bush?

    I’ve driven through plenty of depressed neighborhoods and shopped at their local markets and have yet to see endless lines of starving people.

    For the most part in this country, the poor and the working poor are still eating. Go to any economically depressed neighborhood and see if you can count the number of starving individuals.

    I have one suggestion. If you believe that socialism is the cure for all of Capitalism’s failures, then request a visa from the Socialist country of your choosing and move there.

    But, please make sure the ticket is one-way.

  • http://www.michaelcovel.com Michael Covel

    Nice points Wally. For this to be a good discussion it seems that those who want government as daddy or for those who want some form of socialism — answer the questions I pose. Answer Friedman’s questions. The touchy feely responses and good vibrations can’t be the way people truly want to run a country, government and economy?

  • Bors

    “He implored them to use their vote to take money from one group to give it another group.” Those in the first group always seem to forget that they got where they are by standing on the shoulders of the other group. The authors POV is just that. One point of view. I understand that Moores next documentary is going to be about the shadow government that actually runs this country. And the one after that is how overpopulation has finally killed everything.

  • Bors

    Friedman and his followers did a really nice job on Chile.

  • Michael Covel

    Bors so everyone who has made a dollar “stood” on someone else? Is your implication that hard work is never at play, only manipulation or something else?

  • Kyle

    Very interesting article, and rather a strange topic (to the extent that “capitalism” is actually a topic) for Moore to cover. Bowling for Columbine is an excellent documentary–it plainly addresses an issue, refutes hypothetical “causes” of the problem, provides a plausable (but logically shaky) counterargument for the cause, asks more questions than it answers, and does it all while entertaining us. Same with Roger & Me, and, to a lesser extent, Fahrenheit 9/11.
    But even Democrats recognize that Moore is a self-aggrandizing kook most of the time, and this movie seems much more like a Polemic than an actual “documentary” with an actual “solution.” Be honest: FDR’s economic bill of rights sounds like a good idea, and it’s something to keep in mind when we’re deregulating the banking industry, allowing for media conglomeration, cutting welfare, or giving tax breaks to the rich. Maybe those things are best for us all, but do they really get us where we’re going?

    (Friedman’s argument is also specious–Einstein and most of his progeny work for universities under grants largely coming from the government. Ford was able to do what he could because he could exploit workers and minorities, making their lives much worse in the short term. And “capitalists” today milk the system much more than the poor. I agree with some of the thesis–people do act in self interest–but I disagree that unbridled capitalism will always bring the greatest wealth and happiness to the greatest number of people. That only happens if the Haves respect and appreciate the Have Nots enough to share the spoils, or are forced, at least a little bit, to do so.

  • Bors

    “I have one suggestion. If you believe that socialism is the cure for all of Capitalism’s failures, then request a visa from the Socialist country of your choosing and move there.” New Zealand would be a nice place. Norway or Sweden also. But this zoo is way to much fun.

  • Wally

    Well, Michael, I’m not totally convinced their response is due to good vibrations or being touchy feely as much as it has to do with public school brainwashing and indoctrination in the Liberal arts of government nanny statism.

    Having never lived or much less visited one of their beloved Socialist utopia’s they have little experience or knowledge in these matters.

    While it’s still possible, they should purchase tickets and obtain a visa to such countries as Hungary, Chezoslovakia, or Romania, Bulgaria, or even Poland and Ukraine.

    Take a trip over and explain to the kind folks over there why they should bring Socialism back as a form of government.

    I would suggest Cuba, Venezuela, China, India, or Russia but I don’t want to frighten the little buggers to much.

    Having lived through Socialism’s great march through these countries and studied films and read the histories of these countries during that time period, and yes visited these once great Socialist utopias, I’m more than sure they would come back home with an earful of just how stupid can you get.

    So before you demand what Socialism can do for you, you should make it your imperative to experience what Socialism has done to others.

  • Ron Nunn

    Michael Moore is neither from Flint nor from humble background. He was raised near Flint in a rich gated suburb with well to do parents. He is also, quite rich in his own right and owns stocks in such companies as Haliburton. His style of sticking it to the “MAN” plays well with the “Progressives” and “Limo Libs” but relies heavily on sterotypes and dare I say “ignorance”. I was in SF for his Bowling for Colombine propaganda piece against guns and their legal use and ownership. It was full of lies, distortions and misrepresentations.The crowd was all atither and amused with his putdowns of common Right Wing Folks. Moore is a Hero to the “intellectual” types for being a commoner with the moxie to stand up against the power structure. This from Hollywood. Have you seen any Right Wing docudramas or documentaries lately? Like since Victory at Sea? Where is the Fairness Doctrine here? Moore is to be taken seriously but the truth is not in him.

  • Bors

    “Bors so everyone who has made a dollar “stood” on someone else? Is your implication that hard work is never at play, only manipulation or something else?” I said stood on the shoulders of someone else. No matter where you are you got there with the help of someone else. If you cannot see that it takes cooperation to get anywhere and none of that implies manipulation.

  • Michael Covel

    I had never heard of FDRs 2nd Bill of Rights proposal before. That any intelligent person can find that proposal doable by a government…scares me. Hence why I say “Kool-Aid”.

  • Kyle

    “Well, Michael, I’m not totally convinced their response is due to good vibrations or being touchy feely as much as it has to do with public school brainwashing and indoctrination in the Liberal arts of government nanny statism.”

    I’m sick of the blame game. Don’t blame the “public school brainwashing” just because others disagree with you. I don’t understand why some people are so threatened by others’ political ideas. It must be the “liberal media’s” fault that people want health care reform. It must be “public school brainwashing” to believe that workers should have some economic rights. Don’t blame the media; don’t blame schools. Blame yourself for not articulating your ideas clearly and persuasively.

  • Kyle

    Michael–
    FDR’s Bill isn’t “doable by government.” That’s why we haven’t done them, despite people trying. At least take grant the possibility that they’re a set of aspirations to use as a benchmark when making policy.

  • Kyle

    Wally, have you ever visited any of the “socialist utopias” you mention? Or how about any of the countries that Bors mentioned?

  • Michael Covel

    Kyle, aspirations? So you would like them?

  • Tom

    Einstein was a bureaucrat: He worked in a patent office (in Switzerland): Doing government work to protect corporations (and occasional entrepreneurs)…

  • Michael Covel

    Moore did say afterward during the Q&A that if Obama did not come through on the issues he wants that his next film will be about Obama and will make his Bush/911 film look like a ‘Disney” picture. I really don’t doubt Moore on that. He proposes socialism flat out. Doesn’t hide or sugar coat it.

  • Wally

    So who cares if he does another film about Obama and his failed administration.

    Did he put his money where his mouth takes him.

    Namely does he intend to use any or all of the profits from the film to pursue true socialist policies.

    Namely giving anywhere between 65% to 90% of his salary to the government in taxes so that the nanny state can spend the money as they see fit.

    Socialism is taking money from Peter to give to poor and impoverished Paul.

    So will Michael Moore be willing to pay more in taxes than is legally required by the Federal and State?

  • Wally

    Kyle, how can I be blaming the public school system when that is exactly what they are doing. Brainwashing and indoctrinating.

    The stuff they teach in public school systems today was not there when I went to public school.

  • Michael Covel

    Wally, unfortunately it seems many care what Moore says. I could have argued with that cheering crowd for the next 100 years and maybe in person they would have acknowledged my logic, but behind my back they no doubt would always disagree. Sad state of affairs.

  • Michael Covel

    Some ‘teaching':

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zrsl8o4ZPo

    And for me it’s bad on the right too. Intelligent design teachings are also after an agenda.

  • Wally

    Michael, not really. I’ve seen, read, and experienced what Socialism can do for you.

    If these folks want Obama’s brand of Socialism, they’re more than welcome to it.

    Truthfully this country is more socialistic than even a lot of European ones.

    If they want Fidel’s or Chavez’s form of Socialism than I will be the one to purchase the one-way ticket to Hong Kong or Singapore.

    Maybe we’ll get luck and form a new block of Liberty loving states and be able to move to them and secede from the hell hole these people will be living in.

    All I can say, if you want to know what a jobless recovery looks like, visit Cuba.

  • Kenneth Hills

    Put a Socialist government in charge of the Sahara Desert and there would be real sand shortages within a few years, although government approved statistics would show increased sand production thank to our glorious leader’s five year plan.

    “Is this the queue for bread?”, asked comrade Buck from Iowa. “No”, replied comrade Hipster from California, “this is the queue for left-wing morons who have no clue.

    Four legs good two legs bad

  • Wally

    If you want to know how bad a union run Socialist hell hole medical system is run, visit Great Britain.

    Want to know how long you would have to wait for necessary medical procedures in a Socialist state run medical system, visit Canada.

    Want to know what it feels like to pay insurance premiums to a state run one payer system that believes in denial of services, visit any socialist European country.

    In fact visit Mexico to see how their medical care system stacks up to our current system.

    Want to pay more at the pump for gas, more for electric and gas utilities, more for any manufactured product that is delivered by 18-Wheelers, or uses oil at any time in the manufacturing process, then call your congress critter and tell him to vote for Cap and Trade.

    You want socialism, expect to give up cable, cell phones, eating out, the little luxuries of life, the majority of food products you find on store shelves, and anything you might do with discretionary funds, because they will all be used to pay your newly increased taxes.

    Because you can tax the rich, and you can appropriate their wealth to pay for your socialist nanny state folly, but that is a one time event.

    Because once you put in a system that robs Peter to pay Paul, then Peter begins to think that its not in his best interest to wake up every day to go to work for a welfare parasite. Just easier to become a welfare parasite yourself.

  • Wally

    Couldn’t have said it better myself Kenneth.

  • Michael Covel

    I have a friend in California. Came to States as teenager from Cuba. Recently, she was going on a shopping trip and I tagged along. She was buying necessities to send back to Cuba. How did that process work? The goods were wrapped in all kinds of shrink wrap, moved back into Mexico, then disguised and shipped on a commercial flight to Cuba. Most of the supplies were basic goods you can find in any U.S. drugstore. I said, “they have none of this in Cuba?” She started chuckling that I could ask such a silly question.

  • http://www.youtube.com/kraczinsky Cheryl Kanekar

    Haven’t seen this film, but am very interested in the oft-seen claim (here made by Wally) that capitalism (or private corporations) spur innovation. I’d love to see a list, or proof, Wally. Were you thinking of the US’s amazing space program, perhaps? First man on the moon? NASA? Oh wait, that’s taxpayer-funded government research. Okay, got to be the first-ever atom bomb in the world — wait, government research too. Okay, computers, the Internet. Oh no, taxpayer-funded research again. Huge advances in cancer, heart disease, AIDS research — no, federal funding, National Institute of Health. Drat, so this is my socialist Utopia after all – the US of A.

    As for some of the other “socialist” countries — Cuba has done pioneering work in organic agriculture and healthcare; the Soviet Union put the first man in space (remember Yuri Gagarin?), developed terrifying weapons technology and a brilliantly innovative medical system; much free open-source technology (often stolen by corporations and turned into commercial software) comes from those socialist hellholes in Scandinavia.

    So do get us a list of corporate innovation – fairy tales are lovely, but proof is even better.

    Truth is, we are living in a socialist Utopia, a welfare state for the rich. We subsidize the rich and big corporations with taxpayer money all the time, but tell the poor to “compete”, to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

    Also, name-calling and telling people to leave the country when you disagree with them — is that free-market thinking? I wonder if free-market supporters are planning to leave this socialist country for an actual free-market one — where would that be?

  • Doug

    People who go to Michael Moore films know what they are going for. The audience is predisposed to that reaction by their own self-selection process. I have self-de-selected myself from Michael Moore films since the 80’s.

  • http://www.piavarma.com Pia

    Hey Michael! Great article. Your film trumps Moore’s!

  • Ron

    I totally agree with Cheryl above. I would love someone to rise up to her challenge…entertain her question.

    I know some corporations have made advances but the bottom line is government has made a great deal of advances too. Government isn’t here to hurt us…it is created to help us when necessary. Capitalism isn’t a bad thing either, but it needs to be regulated. You can’t just expect people or corporations to behave nicely without rules in place. If people or corporations could they would kill or steal form you but there are laws in place to try and stop people and corporations from doing that. We need certain rules and people over seeing things and yes the government can serve that purpose and help us when necessary.

    Don’t fear the government it is there to work for us not against us. We control it, not the other way around.

    Its a shame we have forgotten what our founding fathers were trying to build. We fear things rather than understand things.

    Moore has some hypocrisy in what he does and says…no doubt…he makes a lot of money doing what he does….you don’t have to devalue what he says entirely just because he makes money.

    Its funny because this article is mostly one sided against Michael Moore and it is talking how Moore is one sided. Kind of like the pot calling the kettle black ;)

    Think about it

    Ron Najor

  • Michael Covel

    Ron, before I go addressing other issues and questions, the challenge is out there for you or anyone to address what I raise. Your post has the same aquishy tone of FDR’s proposal from 1944! I am glad you have this intrinsic trust in government. I suspect the people cheering in that theater did too!

  • daddysteve

    Was the cotton gin government subsidized? The light bulb? The automobile? The airplane? How about John Deere’s plow? Telephone? Telegraph? Radio? Steam engine? Diesel or gas engine? The list is endless and you can take your big government socialism and shove it.

  • daddysteve

    And crowing about the government producing the atom bomb is just plain stupid.

  • Gary

    The USA is broke. If Michael Moore wants to end capitalism then we wont be spreading the wealth, we will be spreading poverty to everybody. People should not wish for anything they know absolutely nothing about.

    I do agree that people should not make billions per year and spread higher costs onto consumers, but I am scared to death of the government controlling my life. We need some balance and equity, but not Socialism and King Obama! Are you guys crazy????

  • Michael Covel

    Considering I know some of the guys with Agora, and they are avowed free marketers, I was starting wonder about all the pro-socialists here at the party!

  • Douglas Baumgarth

    “A GOVERNMENT BIG ENOUGH TO GIVE YOU EVERYTHING YOU WANT IS STRONG ENOUGH TO TAKE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE”–THOMAS JEFFERSON

  • Mike

    Capitalism isn’t the problem, it’s regulators and government not doing their job.

    All structures have rules that need to be adhered to for optimal performance. Turn a blind eye and allow the rules to broken and the whole system falls down.

  • kiwibob

    What an amazing amount of Hysteria! As a Pom who lives in NZ and has run business in my home country , europe the old soviet union and USA i am amazed by the lack of clarity ( or fact )in so many arguments. Frankly your arguments are pointless USA and UK particularly are finished after wandering off into greed & debt fuelled Narnia for the last 20 – 30 years. Arguments pro sociallist pro GOP – so what? both countries debts are so high that collapse is a mathematical certainty. Stuff the arguments you’ve got two choices – get out to safer saner countries or get prepared to use those guns you love so much – Please just don’t bother coming here!!

  • wes_coast

    This is all human nature at its finest. You fight long and hard for a free and prosperous nation; then you take the prosperity for granted; then you resent it when you don’t get something for nothing; then you become the very enemy you fought against generations before. Friedman was right even though his truth is not the utopia we would all dream of, because that utopia goes against human nature. There is no getting around that.

  • C. Cargo

    Just to correct a small error, it was Flavor-Aid that they drank at Jonestown, not Kool-Aid.

  • Memo

    Our congressmen are criminals who are the lackeys of the corporations that bribe them. Witness Lamar Smith (R-New Delhi) who does the bidding of the large banks and the corporations at the expense of the average working man. He wanted to increase the number of H1Bs by millions to eliminate American jobs.

  • always right

    your dollar is always manipulated out of someone else’s pocket….thats how you earn “money” you do something for it…these days nobody wants to do anything for their dollar but they want more of them then ever…the worst part is nobody has any self respect or respect in general for anybody anymore. So to think that respect should be just given away without having earned it is CRAZY but it is and will probably continue to be the new basis of how we run this country, MONEY IS KINDA LIKE RESPECT POINTS AND IT NEEDS TO BE EARNED – NOT GIVEN AWAY – THAT TAKES AWAY ALL INCENTIVE TO ACTUALLY GO EARN IT…

  • R.S

    Cheryl-I hope you’re not insinuating that government is exclusively responsible for NASA or that it would have even been possible without private research from people like the Wright brothers. Or that the Atom Bomb would have happened without privately funded research by Pierre and Marie Curie. I concede on the internet, as we all know politician Al Gore created that one.

  • Pat K

    I find it ironic that Michael Moore benefits from the very capitalism he abhors.

  • http://www.youtube.com/kraczinsky Cheryl Kanekar

    Nice joke about the internet. No, I’m not “insinuating” that the govt. is solely responsible for all of these. What I’m pointing out is that much basic research is done with public funding, because profits are not close by on the horizon. When the research does get closer to creating profit, that’s when corporations often come in.

    I’m not saying that capitalism does not innovate. Rather I’m pointing out that both public (collective) and private initiative and funding are needed for innovation to grow. This has always been the case, before capitalism and will be after.

    This is not about blind trust in the govt. It’s about not having blind distrust for a body that we elect and therefore deserve. If the govt is messed up (and you bet it is!), who is to blame but us?

    Also, it’s really not a good argument to say that Moore makes money off his film. We all live in social systems that we have problems with. You still have to survive within that system and eat (which here means making money). Lots of socialism-haters use welfare and food stamps and govt. subsidies when needed (remember the bailouts?). There is no perfect system in the world and debating how to get there is very important. Please don’t reduce the debate to absurdity.

    Thank you, those of you who discuss ideas rather than call names, you raise the discussion to an adult level.

    Watch Kraczinsky’s Krash Kourses in Success, comedy web series on Youtube — http://www.youtube.com/kraczinsky

  • Michael Covel

    “If the govt is messed up (and you bet it is!), who is to blame but us?”

    I agree.

  • Michael Covel

    “If the govt is messed up (and you bet it is!), who is to blame but us?”

    One of the premises behind: http://www.brokemovie.com.

  • Will Never Understand People

    I just don’t get it… With access to the internet all these “poverty strucken” people can’t use the wealth of knowledge at their fingertips to better themselves and their lives ? No I guess it is easier to live off someone else and watch tv all day long.. There is no reason in america for someone to starve. and as far as rights ? ! Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We are born with free will. That is a god given right that with the power the government can take away.

  • Dennis

    Criticizing capitalism’s failures is not the same as advocating socialism. Stop creating a straw man that you can knock down with a nebulous set of facts.

    And who was the ignorant lost soul who thought the capitalist strongholds of Hong Kong and Singapore are socialist? Does anyone here do their homework before spouting their personal political dogma?

    And, by the way, Michael Moore really is from Flint and wasn’t raised in a gated community, as if that would discredit his views. Moore does a service in raising provocative issues that Americans would prefer to remain buried, even if he plays a bit loose with his facts and is short and/or misguided on solutions.

  • George

    Moore is missing the point. The problem is not with the system, its with the people! Had we had Socialism or Communism, the very same people who are now Wall St banksters, would have been party operatives, enriching themselves by stealing from the productive segments of society. As long as these parasites, (be they in Kremlin or Wall St) who game the system solely to satisfy their own obscene greed, are allowed to infect society, the system, no matter which it is, will become diseased and fail.

  • http://www.taureanglobal.com Douglas Thiessen

    You can always cherry pick the anecdotes you need to make a case for something. On this count the left is no worse than the right. It’s tiring…abuses are evident within any “system”. Instead of taking a few examples and turning into a binary argument, why not take a look at the fact that our organizational systems are synthesizing all the time, and our method of negotiating value is simply one of them. Thank God! It’s the transitions that make for the best trading opportunities.

  • Dan C.

    “Was the cotton gin government subsidized?”
    It’s called “the patent system”, and yes, development of the cotton gin turned into a mess because everyone in the industry copied the patents and the result was endless litigation with no payoff for the inventor who was ‘protected’ by government. I don’t think it is an argument for or against government, just an illustration that government subsidies go much deeper than the ‘free market’ capitalists think it does. If you believe in ‘competition’, then eliminate the patent and copyright systems, the farm subsidies, and the laws that restrict direct farm sales of foods under the guise of ‘safety’, but which are really more corporate subsidies.

  • Michael Covel

    Interesting interchange last night: Bill Maher interviewing Moore. Maher was not signing onto Moore’s premise at all. In fact, Moore could not answer Maher’s questions about his new direction after capitalism.

  • Michael Covel

    Dennis, he doesn’t just criticize capitalism, he advocates it as an evil to be eradicated. He favors socialism. Words mean things and he is very clear on his intentions.

  • J. robert

    Thanks, good article. I watched my first Moore movie years ago, and even as a young person with leftist leanings, I found it incredibly sophomoric. Does Mikey ever go to Cuba for HIS healthcare? Peter Schweizer in “Do As I Say, Not as I Do,” proved he owns shares in Haliburton. Has he opened up his zillion dollar room to the poor? Do ANY of the limousine liberals?

    I won’t waste the time with yet more schlock from this incompetent hypocrite. Oh yeah, I am a Canadian citizen who has lived under the failure of socialized medicine. It, and Mikey, suck.

  • Ken

    * The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.
    * The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.
    * The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.
    * 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.
    * The right of every family to a decent home.
    * The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.
    * The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.
    * The right to a good education.

    Why do I need an education or job if all this stuff is given to me as a right. I get food, clothes, housing, recreation, health care. Darn, can we add one more right? How about the right to play golf at Augusta National any time I want? That would make it all good for me.

  • http://dorianenterprizes.com/ Steve Kusaba

    Perhaps if the Republicans had not sold their soul to the devil for quick money and power we might have an alternative to the so called “socialism” that creeps about. But with Republicans you get the worst of the Democrats mixed in with barbaric culture wars and incompetence. You get Michael Moore because someone didn’t give a damn about anything other than screwing everyone. I will take the horrors of Moore over Bill Bennett any day. (not that I am ever really happy)

  • http://None John R Stockhausen

    9/27/09
    Michael Moore, Could you please do Me a big favor??? Send me any & all info on your films, DVD’s ,if any emails & books on all your works. I believe in fighting for the little guy & Justice & keeping the companys in check & accountable for their actions. USW Steward & Treasurer.

  • AKA

    Milton Freedmon!?! Ever read “The Shock Doctrine”?

  • Ron Najor

    Michael Covel,

    anyone who saw that exchange on Real Time with Bill Maher with Michael Moore could see they were having an intelligent discussion.

    Maher called Michael Moore’s new film his “Magnum Opus” and was praising Moore for the most part.

    You said “Maher was not signing onto Moore’s premise at all”

    Its funny how you seem to see what you want to see and then try to spread an inaccurate view as fact.

    Its similar to your review. Rather than being objective it is subjective. You could only see it from your right minded point of view.

    I’m not a liberal or a conservative. I believe things should be presented in the middle and as accurately as possible.

    It is clear you have a one sided point of view that falls far on the right that you are trying to get across.

    You are actually more similar to Michael Moore than you realize. You just aren’t as successful.

    Odd how capitalism works out sometimes.

  • Michael Covel

    Bill Maher does his share of a** kissing, but calling the film Moore’s opus, which he did, is quite different than the actual interview with Moore where Moore rambled on unable to answer the questions posed by Maher. Watch it again Ron. In fact, post the transcript. Maher was not advocating at all Moore’s silly proposition to end capitalism.

    Lastly, petty personal attacks as a means to argue against my position…well observers see your effort for what it is.

  • Michael Covel

    One last thing Ron, it was not an intelligent conversation. They were good questions by Maher and as expected answers by Moore — idealistic to the point of fantasy.

  • Dave

    Coval- Libertarian huh? How does that Allen Greenspan Kool-Aid taste now. You know you can take the boy out of the cult but you can’t take the cult out of the boy.

  • Michael Covel

    Dave, not following that comment.

  • Emmett Grogan

    Who here has read all of “Capital Vol. I, The Grundrisse, The German Ideology,” any of Marx/Engels fully? Do you know what the Labor Theory of Value posits, what surplus value is? Please, On 9/25/09 on Democracy Now, Michael Moore stated he has NEVER read ANY Marx, any. Imagine presenting say, a film titled “Gravity”, and never reading Newton,”Relativity”, never reading Einstein,”Democracy” and never reading Plato’s “Republic”, this valuable film is a caricature, hardly definitive but a wonderful film, a digestable sketch of a deeply pernicious systemic ideological and material exploitation of the many , 90%, by the few 1%. Grandest theft is all history.

    FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights” speech first presented as thesis of “Guiliani Time” released theatrically in 2006. Go to GuilianiTime.com

  • Andy

    There is a difference between capitalism and free enterprise which seems to have been lost in these discussions. Capitalism, without sufficient controls, concentrates wealth and power in too few hands and is disastrous in the long run.
    Here’s is something I snatched from the reddit.com site:
    ————-
    The opposite of capitalism is socialism.

    2) Capitalism and freedom do not go hand in hand. Pure capitalism essentially leads to feudalism. Monopolies control everything and people are enslaved to them.

    3) The left can never lobby causes the way the right does because of 2 reasons. The first reason is that all the money is in corporatism and corporations require the freedom to do whatever they want when it suits them. The second reason is the ignorance among Christians and the ability to mobilize them like sheep can never be matched.

    4) Capitalism has never been proven to provide real prosperity to the population except in small tax havens. What works is capitalism mixed with socialism and the best systems are the ones that find the right balance. What the Cold War proved is that perverted pseudo communism can’t compete with a mixed economy and democratic system. What the post Cold War years have proven is that letting corporations do what they want is just as disastrous if not more so than what the faux communists were.

    While Moore is a hypocrite and lives rich off criticizing capitalism it doesn’t change the fact that our system is fundamentally broken and doesn’t just need tweaks; it needs radical change.

  • http://www.fromnomanbyforce.blogspot.com Matt N.

    Michael,

    Your article has brought many out for comments; some thoughtful, some not.

    I was surprised that no one here mentioned that Moore really is attacking something other than ‘free market’ capitalism. It can be called any -ism you like; it is a system enabled by global nation States; groups of people in power, writing regulations and rules which stack the game in their favor.

    This system has been in place since recorded history; conquest and confiscation. When people try to be left alone and interact solely on moral and principled grounds, inevitably if they are occupying a space perceived of value or have produced anything of value, another group comes along and takes away their property (be it land, or the product of their labor). Currently, we have ‘soft tyranny’ where we are given the illusion of free choice/democracy; but, have any of you folks who are proponents of collectivism ever answered two questions for yourselves: 1. How is it morally right to take by force from some to give to others?
    2. How much different is one vote in 300,000,000 from zero?

    Read some Albert Nock, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, or even more famously, read some of Thomas Jefferson’s writing in the early 1800’s. These folks explain fully why collectivism (more succinctly, Statism) does not and cannot work. It ALWAYS fails; it is just a question of when.

  • MachineGhost

    “I heartily accept the motto — ”That government is best which governs least” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe — ”That government is best which governs not at all” and WHEN MEN ARE PREPARED FOR IT, that will be the kind of government which they will have.” [emphasis added]

    — Henry David Thoreau, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”

  • http://www.michaelcovel.com Michael Covel

    “These folks explain fully why collectivism (more succinctly, Statism) does not and cannot work. It ALWAYS fails; it is just a question of when.”

    Well stated.

  • anon Ymus

    —-Moore continues to BALK any mention of
    our 4 decades of deliberate, ongoing Globalist RED
    China set up, sellout and world TREASON.

    He also refuses ANY deep background or examination
    of the nature of inter-generational,
    inter-national, unacountable USURY.

    ————————SEE ALAN WATT online.

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