Review of Michael Moore's "Where to Invade Next," a movie about people being good

One problem with that analysis is that it assumes that immigration is a new thing for the democratic socialist countries in question.

I don’t know the details of immigration history in all of those countries, but I doubt very much that the current wave of immigrants are their first. In my neighbourhood, the current wave of African and Middle Eastern refugees are just the latest in a long line.

It was Afghans and Tamils in the '00’s, Lebanese in the '90’s, Vietnamese in the '70’s and 80’s, Greeks and Italians and Serbians and Croatians in the decades before that.

Yeah, there tends to be a wave of anti-immigrant/restrict-social-welfare sentiment (note: restrict, not eliminate) as each settlement wave begins to peak, but it drops back again in the spaces between those peaks. First-gen immigrants usually keep their heads down and try to fit in, second-gen get caught between cultures and tend to kick up a bit (and this is where the anti-immigrant sentiment peaks), third-gen are just locals with funny names and good food.

The welfare state endures.


People are bad.

Unless they are rich.

Rich people are good and must be protected from the vast army of bad people.

Welcome to America.


People are so bad that they have to be constantly controlled and threatened with punishment, and if they get a moment of freedom they’ll go crazy and ruin everything.

They hate us for our freedoms.

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True, but the prisons here are metaphorical.

…prison-like schools and workplaces, debtor’s prisons in order to pay for
college, prisons of social roles for women, and the mental prison of
refusing to face our own history…

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Hmm… Think about it a bit. It’s a great scam, but how were they able to sell it? Even bought-and-paid-for politicians have to be able to sell this sort of thing to a significant portion of their constituencies, and, evidently, they are able to do just that.

Which, of course, is the ultimate Protestant ideology. It’s called Predestination and the Founding Fathers built a whole country on it. In short “Your earthly riches are proof of your godly goodness”. I for one am convinced that it’s this twisted ideology why the Trump hasn’t been (and won’t be) laughed out of the Presidential Race. There is some deep seated belief that his wealth proves his destiny to occupy (in every sense of the word) the highest office in the land.

This Protestant ideology is as damaging to US society as Catholicism is to Italy or Ireland (although, they have more fun in the process) and the sooner this Protestant con is dismantled and dissected the better. Hopefully before a Trump Presidency. I just can’t fathom the idea of a guy in the White House who lives in a Manhattan Penthouse that is a reconstruction of the Palace of Versailles. Too awful to contemplate. Just the mental confusion of it is borderline.


Calvinism is the gift that keeps on giving (me a headache).


Sorry, not buying that. Bike thieves are bad enough, but pets are family, not property. Would someone who ‘steals’ a child from a stranger for profit be good and moral to you? Not to me.

In Europe, taxes are a bit more up-front - income and sales taxes. In the US, we get income taxed on the federal level, the state level, often on the local level, sales taxed, payroll taxed, gas taxed, and then there are all those “fees” for additional, but still basic, governmental services, such as obtaining a valid driver’s license.

The overall tax burden isn’t too far apart. The problem is that the US collectively prefers to blow something like 10X more money on its military than all those European countries combined. If we didn’t waste so much money playing World Police, we would have enough money for the nice things people in Europe have. Possibly more than enough if we stopped pretending that interest income is somehow different than labor income.


US military spending is effectively corporate welfare and unemployment benefit.


Think again.

Well then, maybe our education system isn’t so bad after all.

These people are human, too, as worthy of love and compassion as you or I. To imagine they’re not is a mistake. It’s actually the same kind of mistake that those villains made - imagining that other people are not worthy of love and compassion, that they somehow get to decide what counts as human and what doesn’t (along with everyone who agrees with them). That’s the Manichaean worldview that fundamentalism trains us for, and it’s the same reason that Trump can get away with spouting the racist shit he does.


To imagine otherwise is to replace reality with the fundamental attribution error, and, indeed, to pretend that you’re a more moral person for having done so.

Here’s a thing that Fundie thinking doesn’t want to accept: Genocidal slaver Christopher Columbus and Mother Theresa and Idi Amin and the Pope and Mark Zuckerberg and Donald Trump and Sergei Brin and that homeless guy who you pass on the street and Ghandi and Martin Luther King - these people are equals. The differences between them are not differences in kind, but differences in degree, in context, in access to power and influence.

You have to be able to look at that convicted murderer and understand that it’s not that he’s some sort of monster, he’s just a particular person who made particular decisions that were awful decisions. You have to respect his essential humanity, even though he refused to accept the essential humanity of his victims.

And if we can’t do that, we fall prey to what the reviewer was discussing: we replace trust and understanding with fear and purity culture.


We are indisputably the world’s economic powerhouse in ways that our nearest rival cannot match in per capita terms, but you wouldn’t believe what whiny, afeared, diaper-shitting babies the supposedly pragmatic right is in this country. “No, we’re so poor. And inept, and can’t afford shit ever. But we’re also the greatest country on earth for Reasons.”


There’s a big difference to me between “respecting someone’s humanity” and from that concluding goodness or morality is meaningless because everyone deep down is the same, so why bother caring. Maybe you don’t believe in the existence of acts of love or good intent as a thing different from other acts, but I do.

You don’t actually understand my position if you believe that my position is that goodness or morality is meaningless.

What I’m saying is that they don’t mean you’re more worthy of life and respect.


IMHO - sometimes euthanasia IS compassion.

I genuinely hope you haven’t had the experiences I have had so you can retain this world view.

Deciding who lives and who dies is always an ill-informed decision, made with incomplete evidence about what’s happening in someone’s head. You can’t presume to be correct in that decision any more than you can read minds and predict the future with perfect clarity.

That’s the practical argument. There’s a lot of moral arguments, as well - like the Bible’s “If you can’t MAKE life, you don’t get to decide END it” message. Or Gandalf’s re-phrasing of it (“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”), are some of my favorites there.

It’s a mistake to imagine that you know someone else’s thoughts - and so it’s a mistake to presume that my belief depends upon naivete. This isn’t a starry-eyed idealism. Quite the contrary, it’s naive to believe that killing people fixes their problems. Believing that people are worthy of life and a future is an acknowledgement of a reality that is bigger than me - that my opinion of who should be shot into the sun and who should be given a second chance are not universal, but only mine.


Stopping that waste would likely be easier if you also got rid of the myth that the US is or has ever acted as the “world police”.

The US mlitary can be relied upon to intervene whenever US economic [1] and geopolitical interests are threatened; no more, no less. The appropriate analogy is less “police” and more “mafia enforcer”.

I am reminded of a song:

[1] With “US economic interests” defined as “the profits of any company that owns a sufficient number of US politicians”. See Guatemala and the UFC.

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Pretty sure this comment can be responded to with a great big “duh.” Don’t ever harbor the illusion that no US citizen is aware of the reasons behind US military dalliances. It ain’t exactly a secret.