Thursday, November 5, 2009
Michael Moore: Educate Yourself about Capitalism and Pauline Kael
Dear Mr. Moore:
I urge you to educate yourself about capitalism. If you engage in a debate and do not know what the other side is saying, your supporters may cheer but you will convince no one.
In Aristotle's Politics, a readable book, Aristotle describes the various political and economic arrangements in existence in Greece at the time. More than a few, including Crete and Sparta, were communist. In fact, if you trace the development of the ancient economy from before that time through the days of the Romans and into the feudal periods, socialist and communist arrangements were common. Rome's was a welfare state. Individualist capitalism was unknown in the ancient world. The same was true in China. There was a debate in medieval China, the debate of Salt and Iron, in which Chinese scholars argued whether economic development should follow a socialist or guided capitalist model. Neither side advocated or was aware of the possibility of individualist capitalism.
If you look at the effect of three thousand years of various socialist arrangements in the ancient and medieval world it is this. Three thousand years ago, life expectancy was age 25--35. In 1750 life expectancy was still 35. Three thousand years ago people lived on something equivalent to a $200 annual income. In 1750 there had been some progress but not much at all. In other words, 3,000 years of socialism and communism had produced virtually no progress.
From 1750 to 1900, in England and America, capitalism was introduced. In that time life expectancy increased 50%, from 35 to about 50. Real wages more than doubled from 1840 to 1890. Workers flocked to America not because of an open frontier (there was an open frontier in Europe until a century or two earlier, and there still is one in Russia today) but because of the economic progress that was being made. No one benefited more from capitalism than the average worker.
Despite these gains, no system was more reviled. The reasons for this involve the cultural suspicion of a new idea. Individualist capitalism has almost never existed in world history, and its opponents fear it emotionally and hate it intellectually because of its revolutionary nature. Socialism is a profoundly reactionary movement.
As a result, repeated attempts were made to substitute new versions of the ancient political arrangement, socialism, for capitalism. On the whole, the most aggressive steps were taken in countries that were still feudalist or more primitive--Sweden, Russia, China, Cuba, Latin America, and Africa.. Sweden, for instance, still had remnants of feudalism in the 1950s.
The effects of these policies were this. In Russia, the murder of 65 million people; retarded economic development; depredation of the environment. In China, widespread hunger and retarded development; the murder of 25 million people. In Cuba, the murder of 100,000 people and despite your admiration for their $250 per capita year health plan, if you doubt that their economy is retarded economically I urge you to re-settle there. Feel free.
The income inequality issues that concern you are small compared to the ongoing butchering of humanity by socialism.
In spite of socialism's long wave of failure, ideologically driven universities, Democratic Party media sources, yourself, and their other brainwashed graduates continue to chant for socialism. Perhaps historical ignorance and the religious-like ideological character of universities and the Democratic Party media are the reasons. You can repeat yourself ten million times in religious chants against capitalism but you cannot change these facts: Under individualist capitalism, the common man more than doubled his life expectancy and increased his standard of living a thousand fold. Under socialism, there has been retarded economic progress, mass murder and ridiculously stupid policy making. If you're interested in the Swedish case, check out Roland Huntford's "New Totalitarians".
I am a fan of Roger and Me. I thought "Sicko" was ridiculous. And I will not bother with "Capitalism". Ignorance, no matter how entertaining, becomes tiresome. I do not think you can engage in a debate unless you are familiar with what the other side has to say. You are uninformed. I have read Communist Manifesto (because the left wing ideologues forced me to in high school) and I have read parts of Das Kapital. You have not read von Mises or Hayek.
I was motivated to write this by a Ron Paul segment that I saw on Youtube (I do not watch Democratic Party television). Mr. Paul raises points that anyone who's read a few books knows. I know you haven't read these books. But unless you can address in an articulate fashion what these books are saying, then you have little to say and no one is going to care what you say except your followers who are as ignorant and uninformed as you.
These books include:
Friedrich Hayek, "Use of Knowledge in Society" available for free online at http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/hykKnw1.html
Henry Hazlitt, "Economics in One Lesson" Available for free from the
Foundation for Economic Education
Friedrich Hayek, "Road to Serfdom"
Friedrich Hayek "Constitution of Liberty"
Murray N. Rothbard, "For a New Liberty"
There are many more books but if you could address these, then your ideas would be markedly improved.
Last, I would like to address a point that Paul makes in the video that I think should give you pause. In your career, you were initially attacked by Pauline Kael. In a centrally planned economy, who would have been the planner of movies? I do not doubt for a second that it would have been Pauline Kael. Would she have allowed you to make Roger and Me?
If there were no private property (under socialism there isn't) then you could not have found investors or used your own resources. Therefore, you would not be a filmmaker. You are ONLY a filmmaker because of capitalism, the system you hate.
Let us look at how you make films. Do you depend on a central authority in Washington or Lansing? If you did, do you think that you could make competent films? But under socialism, direction from the center is the rule in all walks of life. If you see the problem with being centrally directed on how to make your films, you begin to see the arguments of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek in the above material.
I urge you to consider educating yourself. Believers in individualism and freedom agree with you about the bailout and agree with you about income inequality. The reasons for these things are the social arrangements that left-wing academics have clamored for since 1890--Keynesian banking, the Fed (since Hamilton the institution of subsidy to the rich), and government regulation that protects and subsidizes big business.
Please educate yourself.