Moore’s Deadly Utopia
This article starts out like a typical Moorish rant about gun control, but it goes much deeper than that. He himself admits, “Connecticut had one of the strongest gun laws in the country. That did nothing to prevent the murders of 20 small children on December 14th.” That one quote destroys the argument that banning guns will prevent these atrocities. In fact one extra gun, in the hands of a trained staff member would probably have saved many innocent lives.
Moore correctly identifies that the underlying problem is arrogance in the application of state power. In international affairs he condemns America’s leaders for forcing other states to act as America requires them to. Let the leaders of Iran and North Korea and Syria butcher, mutilate and starve those unfortunate enough to live between certain arbitrary lines drawn on a map. 262 million people have been killed by their own governments in the last century (not counting wars) but Moore doesn’t see that as justifying some form of international state gun control. According to Moore, internationally the American state should mind its on business. And the business of the American state is the American people.
He says the fact that some are poorer than others “creates more crime”. Clearly then someone should take money from those who have it and give it to those who have less. But wait a minute. Isn’t that what crime is? So it’s not the use of force to redistribute wealth that needs to be prevented, its just that it should be left to the government to do it. We need to nationalize violent crime. Well that doesn’t require anything new really. Just an educational campaign to show violent criminals that they don’t need to risk jail – they just need to be patient while the government commits the deed on their behalf. But there already is such an educational campaign – it’s called an election.
He says when Americans “fantasize about being mugged or home invaded” they picture the perpetrator being poor. He makes it clear that he thinks this fear is exaggerated even though he just finished saying that being poor “creates” crime. This is not muddled logic, he is leading to something – something that he sees as the root of the problem. It is the cause of poverty and both the crime and the fear of crime that poverty creates.
That something is what he calls the “me” society, which is his euphemism for an old fashion principle that allows people to be mean, rotten, nasty and even violent. But that same principle also allows people to be kind, generous, good, and peaceful. Call it liberty, freedom, or personal choice – it is the principle that my life is mine to live, not yours. My choices are my own and their consequences are mine to suffer or to enjoy. If I choose to share I do it on my terms and for my reasons. If I ask for help I make no threats or demands but ask with respect and accept with gratitude, offering to do what I can in return. It is the only principle upon which self-improvement is possible.
It is this liberty that Moore opposes, knowing as he does, that the slaves of a totalitarian state lack the freedom to do violence. They can’t do any good either but there’s no need for individuals to freely choose to do good – that’s what the state is for. As for individual self-improvement, that too is unnecessary. A good person is simply a dutiful citizen of a good state. It is the state, the community, the group which is moral, not the individual. Society must require the sacrifice of the “me” for the “we”.
Liberty is messy. People are so wonderfully diverse that there is no end to the variety of actions they undertake or the outcomes those actions can have. As a result there is always an outcome (asset) that someone else has that another would like and only 3 ways to get it. He can undertake the same action and hope for the same outcome. He can trade something for it. Or he can steal it, or have someone (a mobster or politician) steal it for him. This last option is Michael Moore’s prescription for reducing violence – to nationalize it. The way to clean up the messiness of diverse outcomes produced by liberty is to abolish liberty and thus ensure a uniformity of outcomes. If no one has anything that anyone else could possibly want, crime will go away, fear of crime will dissipate, and the need of guns for self-protection will disappear. A bland, grey utopia of dutiful automatons – but a peaceful one I expect, except perhaps for the suicide rate.
This truly is the best article of Moore’s I’ve ever read as in it he makes his values crystal clear. And before I ever have to live under a regime requiring me to surrender my values to his I hope that there is at least one gun left, and one bullet.