Monday, September 21, 2009

Moore's Failure

I will not be seeing Michael Moore's latest film, "Capitalism: A love Story." Having suffered though "Roger & Me," I think I have a pretty good idea of how Moore feels about free markets and corporate power. I can almost write the script.

In fact, it seems like CNNMoney beat me to it:

By now, a Michael Moore film is its own genre: a vigorous vaudeville of working-class sob stories, snippets of right-wing power players saying ugly things, longer interviews with experts on the Left, funny old film clips and, at the climax, Moore engaging in some form of populist grandstanding.

The reviews that I've read are largely mixed -- praising Moore as a skilled documentarian, while acknowledging his inability to offer coherent solutions to the "problem" that he identifies ("Capitalism is evil"). I think this has always been Michael Moore's greatest failure as a political pundit.

Erroneous facts and willful contradictions aside, Moore's films are always entertaining and often heart-wrenching. Even when you disagree with the guy, you have to admit that his stunts are pretty funny and he sure knows how to tug at the emotional heartstrings. Sometimes, he even makes a good point.

But while Moore can identify the problems -- and maybe even make those problems appear more "relevant" -- he can never seem to generate any real answers. What does Moore do when international competition pushes American car companies to outsource more jobs? He browbeats the CEO of General Motors. What does he do when a global financial meltdown causes millions of layoffs? He proclaims that "capitalism is evil."

All of this is great for the far-left sycophants who devour every morsel that Moore throws their way, but for those of us actually interested in viable policy solutions to complicated problems, Moore's "Capitalism" isn't quite worth the price of admission. It's easy to point out problems; the challenge is proposing realistic alternatives.

More than anything, Americans need to acknowledge the inherent complexity of our human institutions. It's the only way we can begin the hard task of reform.

Unfortunately, Moore seems content peddling his standard oversimplifications . . . .

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