That whole up-is-down, black-is-white thing that the Left’s got going does leave a sane person wondering if they’re all off their meds. How else to explain professional blowhard Michael Moore’s appearance on Colbert this week, where he offered up several big heapin’ helpings of crazy. Bet you didn’t realize Professor Moore was a scholar and expert on all things Founding Father-related? Or that he and Thomas Jefferson had so much in common? Check it out:
Quite a compendium of misleading statements, outright lies, and utter nonsense, no? The coup de grace has got to be that mangling of the legacy of Thomas Jefferson to serve Moore’s own fevered fantasies of collectivism. I don’t know which quote book he’s using, but as far as I can tell Jefferson never said, as Moore claims, “the earth belongs to all of us and we are to share in its resources and labor.”
Best I can tell, this is the quote that Moore was attempting to torture into Marxism: “The earth is given as a common stock for men to labor and to live on… Wherever in any country there are idle lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. Everyone may have land to labor for himself, if he chooses; or, preferring the exercise of any other industry, may exact for it such compensation as not only to afford a comfortable subsistence, but wherewith to provide for a cessation from labor in old age.”
The somewhat controversial implication that Jefferson did indeed appear to make was that IF there were land/resources that were not being used, and IF there were poor people sitting around doing nothing and not providing for themselves, then perhaps some of that land/resources should be redirected to said poor people. But remember the time and place in which Jefferson made his statements. I think it’s safe to assume that there was significant land sitting around that was not yet considered anyone’s legal private property (after all, the West hadn’t been settled yet).
But note that Jefferson went on to promote that poor people should be exercising some industry of their own, and that they were to earn not only what would make them comfortable now, but MORE than they needed (retirement savings, as it were).
Contrast that with Moore’s utterly unhinged idea that the richest people in this country have “sucked wealth” out of the economy and are “sitting on it.” But Mr. Moore – aren’t they doing exactly what Jefferson was suggesting?
In fact, I have a few more questions for the Left’s favorite filmmaker – because, after all, all quotes are best studied in context. Let’s take a look at a few more of Jefferson’s quotes, and see how they line up with Moore’s “workers of the world unite” rhetoric.
First: On the connection between working and eating...
1. Whose money is it anyway?
“To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”Ah. Mr. Moore, I started with a doozy, didn’t I? I like this one because it even covers those rich trust fund kids that we all love to hate – but that you especially love to hate. After all, those kids are living off that money that was sucked out of the economy! In case that quote isn’t clear enough for you, how about this one?
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”The democracy will cease to exist? Well, there are quite a few of us who think that you, Mr. Moore, are actually angling for that to take place, seeing as how you’re such a big fan of the common tractor and all. But you see, that puts you 180 degrees away from Thomas Jefferson, who also said:
“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”Wise, FRUGAL, and good = no stealing from the productive. Which makes the vision you’re promoting, Mr. Moore, to equate with foolish, profligate and bad. See, that makes you DIFFERENT from Thomas Jefferson, who showed some remarkable foresight.
Next: On “helping the poor”...
2. What helps the poor, and what hurts them?
Even back THEN, Jefferson was saying things like this:
“I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.”Parasites, Mr. Moore! That is what we call people who think they are entitled to the fruit of others’ labor. You told Mr. Colbert that because God had “chosen” the two of you (as wealthy people), you have responsibility to make sure that you do “even more” to help people who are having a hard go of it. I suggest you get right to it. Write a big check to the American Red Cross. Donate a ton of money to your local soup kitchen. Pay to build a new hospital wing.
But (as our Dear Leader would say) let me be clear about this. Your responsibility as a rich person has nothing to do with MY wallet (just like my responsibility toward the poor has nothing to do with your wallet, my snarky suggestions notwithstanding). Taking tax dollars to “help” poor people does two bad things – it steals from the productive and it does not help the non-productive – a concept which, again amazingly, did not escape our friend Thomas Jefferson!
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”WASTING the labors… PRETENSE of taking care of them. Yes, Jefferson saw it pretty clearly – you would do well, Mr. Moore, to try on his glasses. The last thing he wanted was an expansion of government, which is of course a necessity when you start talking about taking, by force, that wealth that the rich people are “hoarding” for themselves.
Next: On our choices and what they say about us...
3. What makes us successful… or not?
“The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.”Get that, Mr. Moore? The feds are not to prevent us from our business, and they aren’t to help us, either. That’s not their role, and Jefferson was again pretty clear about this. With a fairly keen insight into human nature, he knew the end result of such meddling:
“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”And he wasn’t speaking positively about ambition there. “Suffocating the germ of virtue” (in case Ezra Klein is reading this – he has a well-known problem with hard words and long sentences and stuff) means that people who are dependent on the government will literally have the virtue snuffed out of them. Case in point: Every major inner city in America where crime is rampant. Wait – that IS every major inner city in America.
So Mr. Moore? What makes people different? What makes some people end up being successful filmmakers, and others being thug gang members? Jefferson had an interesting take:
“There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.”See, Mr. Moore, even though he was the guy who said all men are created equal – he also recognized that some men will choose to be good, and some will choose to be bad. Some have talents they will cultivate, and others will choose not to. These decisions, regardless of other fortunate or unfortunate circumstances, are what ultimately differentiate us. That is why your collectivist ideas are so very repugnant. They do not take any of these realities into account.
Next: On the mischief that government can do...
4. What role does government play?
Speaking of reality ignored, Mr. Moore, your ideas also fail to consider the reality that is right in front of our faces – this reality that history teaches so very clearly: Government and efficiency are antonyms. Again, Jefferson was ahead of his time in recognizing this:
“Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.”(Note to Ezra Klein: By the phrase “we should soon want bread” he means that in no time at all, we’ll be out of bread, and we’ll really, really wish we had some.)
Mr. Moore, surely even you can see that, if you persist in promoting historically-disproven, human nature-disregarding, and utterly failed philosophies like Marxism, that require a heavy government hand – you really have nothing in common with Thomas Jefferson. Consider:
“Most bad government has grown out of too much government.”
“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”
“I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.”Oppressive, Mr. Moore. What you are advocating, as Jefferson so clearly enunciated, is oppression. So to have painted him as somehow supporting your cause was… oh, how can I put this… um…
Next: On the beauty of facing reality...
5. What is truth?
As Mr. Colbert pointed out, the dirty and disheveled baseball caps don’t fool anyone – the truth is, Mr. Moore, you DO have some serious coin. You have profited greatly from capitalism, despite your disingenuous attempts to prevent Mr. Colbert from hawking your latest book at the end of the segment. That makes you, by anyone’s standards, a big fat hypocrite (regardless of your personal size issues). Speaking of truth, try this one on for size:
“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”Yes! Ponder that, Mr. Moore. And let me leave you with a few more Jeffersonian gems:
“When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality.”That means wherever you proclaim your lies and nonsense, Mr. Moore, we will fight it. Because it is the right thing to do.
“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”Every time – EVERY time – that your ideas have been implemented, Mr. Moore, it has resulted in tyranny, just as Jefferson noted. And misery. And death. LOTS of death (a hundred million, give or take a few million).
Speaking of things to fear, here’s what you and your big-government friends should fear: The Tea Party and other like-minds, because they are 100% opposed to your agenda, and they have truth, justice, and even Thomas Jefferson on their side. But you don’t have to be too awfully afraid – a side benefit of the liberty they are promoting is that it will extend to everyone – even you.
And finally, Mr. Moore, ponder this one:
“He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”And that Jeffersonian wisdom speaks for itself.