MooreMichael Moore’s new film, “Where to Invade Next,” is a near-perfect antidote to the “No we can’t!” message of the Republicans and Hillary Clinton, who maintain that it’s simply not feasible to have universal healthcare, free higher education, six-week vacations, paid maternity leave, a higher minimum wage, free daycare, rational sex education, etc., etc., because “the money’s not there.” Clinton and the Republicans make this “lack” of money sound as if it’s like earthquakes, the result of unalterable natural causes, and not the result of perverted political and social choices. But those choices are exactly the reason there’s “no money,” as Moore well demonstrates.

The premise of the film is that Moore “invades” other countries to seize things from them that we can use, and bring them back to the United States. He travels from country to country in western and central Europe, Scandanavia, north Africa, and the north Atlantic, showing that other countries have all of the things mentioned in the previous paragraph–plus others, notably better cuisine (Britain–just kidding, France actually) and legalization of all drugs (Portugal), a policy that would save tens of billions of dollars annually in the U.S., cut our grotesque incarceration rate, and that has already drastically cut the rate of addiction in Portugal.

Other policies Moore “seizes” would also save vast amounts of money and improve people’s lives, as Moore pointedly shows–notably universal, publicly funded healthcare and rational sex education. (Non-universal U.S. healthcare is by far the most expensive in the world and has worse outcomes than the cheaper, universal European systems; and rational sex education in European countries has resulted in drastically lower teen birth rates, and hence drastically reduced the economic–and social and psychological–costs of masses of unwanted babies and children. )

Throughout, Moore interviews citizens of the countries he visits, from everyday working people, to cops, to heads of corporations, to heads of state, and virtually all are amazed, amusingly incredulous that the social and economic benefits they take for granted do not exist in the United States–“the richest country on earth.”

The one real problem with the film is in Moore’s visit to Germany, where he reveals a nasty aspect of his Catholicism: the belief in retroactive collective guilt–guilt for things that happened before you were born (“original sin,” anyone?). It’s one thing to acknowledge the past, learn from it, and do what you can to avoid repeating past atrocities. It’s entirely another to take on guilt,  heap it on others, and pretend that you’re responsible for things for which you simply cannot be responsible. Yes, do what you can to make the world a freer, more just place, but leave the irrational guilt and its attendant guilt-tripping behind. They serve no one.

One would hope that Moore and other PC types would learn this very obvious lesson, but that’s probably a forlorn hope.

This is far from my favorite Moore film, but it’s worth seeing nonetheless. It’s oftentimes funny and it makes you think, as it’s intended to.

Recommended.

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