Poor Rhetorical Choices in Michael Moore’s New Film

Call me crazy, but I’m not a big fan of Michael Moore’s. He comes dangerously close to being the left’s Glenn Beck, and that type of individual is no good, no matter where he sits on the political spectrum. The title of Moore’s latest film, though — “Capitalism: a Love Story” — simply compounds his traditional error of being long on emotion, and short on facts.

Specifically, it sets up a false choice, one that plays directly into the right’s hands: the choice isn’t between “capitalism” and “something else” (“socialism” is the popular gap-filler). Doing away with capitalism isn’t even on the table. Seriously — what’s the alternative? The real choice is between a capitalism that’s responsible, and one that’s not; between a capitalism that acknowledges the various problems with pure laissez-faire, and one that insists on ideological purity for its own sake. All Moore does by suggesting otherwise is feed the fires of right-wing rage, and confuse those on the left who trust him, and don’t know any better. What the country needs is someone willing to frame our economic choices responsibly, without resorting to scary, amorphous buzzwords. The President fits that bill, sure, but he’s not winning many more converts than he already has.

One caveat, for those who would jump too easily to draw a full equivalence between Moore and Beck: Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed a little over $110 million domestically, which breaks down to about 10 million viewers. Beck gets three million viewersper day — and constant, fawning praise from conservative outlets and politicians. So yes, we have our insane extremists. But at least they aren’t popular.


  1. $110 million is still pretty damn popular.

  2. But it’s a one off popularity, one that ends and thus fails to drive the actual debate

  3. Well, and you also can’t compare 10 million movie goers to 3 million nightly viewers. Beck’s nightly viewers are likely mostly repeat customers, meaning after a week he still probably only has at most… 5 million unique viewers? That’s less than 10 million, so this could be seen as saying Moore is more popular than Beck.

    Also, I’d say Moore isn’t as lunatic fringe as Beck. He’s sensationalist, sure, but more like Entertainment Tonight than a White Power rally.

  4. Is that JoeNBC on Twitter? If so, he’s about 50% rational, 50% utterly moronic “why are dictators so effusive in their praise of Obama?” Jesus Christ.

  5. There’s something a little ironic and perhaps a bit hypocritical in Moore’s knee-jerk condemnation of capitalism after he profited so much from it. In fact, in USSR, a movie like that going against status quo would’ve netted Moore a one way ticket to the Goulag Archipelago.

    1. Nice false dichotomy there; either you have capitalism or live in a country similar to the Soviet Union.

      1. I am aware of the false dichotomy,as addressed by ACG in his post. Indeed, the false dichotomy is not the one I facetiously stated, but rather the one presented in the movie.

  6. True, Igor.

    Also, to the popularity point, the daily viewers is what makes it different. Seeing a movie is very little commitment to whatever it is. I figure 9/11 was controversial, hence everyone saw it. That doesn’t imply agreement or real popularity under the circumstances like Beck’s show does

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