117. Why Are Capitalists Always the Villains?

Have you ever noticed how in many movies, the capitalists are always the bad guys? Why is the market always demonized while “socialism” and other “isms” are seen as virtuous?

Definitions: 

  • Sins of omission: A “sin” or bad action that occurs because you fail to do something or perform an action. 

Example: Not forgiving a friend after they apologize to you is a sin of omission. You haven’t done anything wrong. But you didn’t do what you should have done. 

  • Sins of commission: When you actively do something wrong.

Example: You steal something from a friend or hit your sister or brother. 

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Connor: Hey, Brittany.

Brittany: Hi, Connor.

Connor: As I watch movies with my kids and read stories, I’ve noticed kind of a pattern, and I wanna talk about with you this pattern of how many times the villain in, in this movie or a book is always this, you know, evil, greedy, capitalist. We actually talked, what, a few months ago, about one such story with a Christmas Carol, how Scrooge, the greedy capitalist is basically propped up as just this horrible villain that no one wants to aspire to. And, so people come away from that story, perhaps sometimes thinking, you know, money is bad and the accumulation of money is bad, and everyone should always give it away, which of course has some economic, implications because if people, always gave their money away, they would never be able to accumulate enough capital to invest in risky ventures like, you know, Elon Musk and or Apple and things like that. So anyways, that’s a bit of a tangent, but the point is that capitalism or free market economics has some very important things to it. And when we watch these movies or read these stories that portray, you know, wealthy people or business people as bad, I fear that has a lot of problem. I, know like, there’s one story that comes to mind, is the Lorax.

Brittany: Yeah. Which is actually, that was one of my favorite stories as a kid. My dad used to read it to me every night, and as I got older, I started realizing, you know, you did, that’s the story’s kind of pure propaganda that makes capitalism look like the destroyer of all things. And for those that don’t know the story, there is this colorful world full of these beautiful trees. I can’t remember, they’re called like truffle trees or something. but then there’s this little orange man with a mustache who’s the Lorax, and he speaks for the trees. I don’t know who deemed him speaker for the trees, but he has decided he is the speaker for the trees. And, you know, people start cutting them down specifically, there’s like the bad guy, oh, the name just slipped my mind. But what I think is really interesting about this bad guy is we never see his face. You only see his hands and his people cutting down the trees, right? So you have this dark, ominous like he is capitalism. And in the original movie, I didn’t see the new one, there’s this, so he makes a sneed is what he calls it, which is basically whatever you need, A Sneed is any widget, any gadget, anything you need. And there’s a song that’s like, what is it? Do you need a Sneed? And it’s always stuck with me, but, so he’s, oh, the Once-ler, that’s what he’s called the Once-ler is his name. but we never see his face again. We only see him destroying the trees. And he is the, you know, the epitome of capitalism. And by the end of the book, there are no more trees left. And the Lurex give this big speech about, oh, you know, life used to be different before capitalism came in. And you see that now and you’re just like, wait a second. What? Like, that’s not at all true.

Connor: Yeah. And there’s these messages are kinda everywhere when you start looking for ’em, even in something like Star Wars, we talked before we did an episode about the connection between Star Wars and Liberty. And, I think of someone like Jabba the Hut. I mean, here’s this like fat worm-looking character. And, in a way, he’s kind of the evil capitalist. He’s, you know, there in the cantina and there’s all this, kind of this mini market happening, and he’s kind of the boss in charge, accumulating all the power and all the resources. And, you know, he is a pretty bad villain in his own right. He’s clearly like an evil dude. But I fear that that kind of like, that perception can bleed more outwards to, well, maybe he’s evil because he’s in charge of a big company, right? And people are kind of stealing, resources and he’s taking, stuff from people. So even something like that where they’re not like, so, overt, like with Scrooge, I feel like there’s this kind of, subliminal messaging or like hidden messaging where, well, business is bad kind of thing.

Brittany: There’s another movie, Wally, which is just, in my opinion, one of the worst things, I think it was Pixar ever did. and there is no actual villain. The villain is capitalism or consumerism, which is, you know, people’s tendency to want to buy products, which I find nothing wrong with. I love products. In fact, I’m not a minimalist. I always call myself a maximalist. I think consumerism, as long as it’s voluntary is fine, but in Wally capitalism is the bad guy. And much like the Lorax, everything is destroyed on Earth because we’ve ruined it and polluted it in the name of capitalism. And then all these, fat people are now just living on this spaceship or something. It’s just ridiculous. But Connor, why do you think that is? Why does the world hate capitalism, and why is it always the villain?

Connor: Well, I’ll say first that I don’t think the world does, I do think that people who end up in the entertainment profession, by and large, have a perspective of, you know, progressivism or as we’ve discussed before, neoliberalism this modern version that is kind of, big government and anti-capitalist. And so I feel like the people who are responsible for producing, these movies and books and cartoons quite often, are okay conveying this message because it’s what they themselves believe, literally, that’s kind of why the TuttleTwins exist, is to provide parents resources to teach about capitalism and freedom and personal rights. Because so much of the media and the content and entertainment that we have today is being produced by people who are not friendly to our ideas. and so I think that’s one of the important things to recognize is that you know, the people who control the message, are going to use the opportunity to deliver a message that they want. and so certainly you have some people in Hollywood who are more freedom-minded, and that might come through in some of what, they produce, but also these, movies and shows are produced by massive teams of people and big companies, you know, that, so there’s many voices involved versus something like our Tuttletwins cartoon, that we’re working on. And you can find info on that at Tuttletwinstv.com. We’re intentionally producing that outside of, the Hollywood kind of system because we recognize that if we went to a Netflix or if we went to a Hulu, or you know, we went to ABC or Disney or whoever, right? We would not be allowed to convey the message that, capitalism is great, that freedom is important, that making money is a noble thing to do because you’re serving other people who are paying you for your time and for benefiting their lives. Like, these are messages that the kind of the thought police in Hollywood do not, want to, convey. I think about it this way, Brittany, not only with the entertainment industry, but also with the schools. You know, when was the last time, you know, in school, we had any type of educational content that praised capitalism or, you know, praised the free market system. In, these, in entertainment and in schools, I feel like there are sins of omission and sins of co-commission. And so what I mean by that is when you omit something, you are, you are, kind of withholding it, right? You’re leaving it out. And so a sin of omission is that you’re leaving something out. Schools and entertainment, they’re leaving out these ideas of free markets. They’re leaving out the ideas that capitalism is good, and that the economy is important, that people should be able to make money and keep that money, right? They’re omitting those messages. So that’s a sin of omission and then a sin of co-commission. When you’re committing something like committing an error or committing murder or whatever, you’re, when you’re committing something, you’re, actively doing something. And so a sin of co-mission, in this case by entertainment or, the schools, I feel like they’re co-committing errors and propaganda and misinformation. Not only are they omitting the good ideas, they are co-omitting the bad ones. They’re teaching our kids, you know, like the Lorax you just mentioned, right? And like, oh, the excesses of capitalism, and we’re gonna destroy our earth, therefore we need big government and lots of laws to, you know, suppress people and protect the earth like they’re committing these, messages. And then if we as families don’t have our shields up, if we don’t have our guard up and recognize that there are people who want us to think that the government is the solution to all these problems, right? We’re gonna start to believe it, we’re start to gonna start to get that hidden messaging. And without even being aware, we’re gonna start to th be thinking that way, especially our children who don’t really have the kind of their defenses up and the understanding to push back. And so that’s why I think as we, you know, I, mean, I love, you know, all the movies and the Pixar and the what, like, I watched Wally and I’m gonna share your perspective. I thought that was one of the worst ones, in part because of the message. But, you know, I love entertainment. But if we don’t watch it with eyes wide open in a sense, and recognize that there is messaging happening,  then I think we’re going to be, subject to kind of the propaganda and just start to kind of absorb like a sponge. The ideas instead let’s, you know, watch the entertainment or whatever, but then have some critical thinking about it. And let’s talk as a family, or, I mean, I know Fee is great with this as they’ll, I remember like, you know, Marvel’s the Avenger and they, had, or was it, was it No, the Avengers, I can’t Yeah.

Brittany: They said all of them. They’ve gone through like almost everyone. Yeah.

Connor: Yeah. I think it was endgame. I remember one in particular where they wrote this article about how Thanos, you know, when he snapped and wanted to reduce the population by half, and they had this great article talking about how well there are people today who believe in, overpopulation, and that the world has too many people and they want fewer people to exist. They want abortion, they want sterilization, they want, you know, fewer babies to be born. They want the population to shrink. And it’s, we’ve talked about this on the past episode, right? It’s this kind of, scarcity mindset, like, oh, there’s not enough resources, so we need fewer people. Those messages are out there, and they’re out there in the media, and people are taking advantage of them. And so, just like with today’s topic about how capitalists are being portrayed as the villains, if we don’t recognize that these messages are there, we’re gonna start to absorb them like a sponge.

Brittany: I think you’re right. And I think, you know, to shift gears a little bit, let’s look at all the good capitalists have done for the world. You know, not only has entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs are a key player in capitalism, but they’ve made the world a better place, not only through innovation, but they’ve created jobs that have allowed individuals to put food on the table for their family. And this, to me, that doesn’t seem evil. And one of the things that strikes me is Walmart. And Walmart is often demonized by the left that, you know, they’re always saying, you know, you don’t pay your people enough and blah, blah, blah, but they have made food in other essential items more affordable to those who would not otherwise be able to afford them. And not only that, when natural disasters happen, they’re usually the first ones on the scene. And I know many of our listeners were born before 2005, but you and I, Connor, we remember Hurricane Katrina, which was terrible, almost completely destroyed New Orleans and Louisiana, and the government like botched it so bad, like you can’t even fathom how badly I’m, people are forced out of their home guns were confiscated that doesn’t even cover. Some people were even like locked in a stadium and not allowed out. But, a great economist, Steve Horwitz writes about how Home Depot and Walmart actually came in to do a better job. And he said the untold story of Katrina involves the way in which Walmart in particular responded with speed and effectiveness, often in spite of government relief workers’ attempts to sty me at or stop them. And the process saved numerous lives and presents looting, which we saw, you know, during the riots of the summer and chaos that otherwise would’ve occurred. And this is, this is just one example. So many private companies pitch in to help the needy when bad things happen, like natural disasters. I mean, we can’t even talk about all the examples in one episode, but no one ever talks about these capitalists as being the hero. We’re the good guy. You know, so, it’s, funny that they’re always the demons.

Connor: Yeah. I mean, I think even more recently with, COVID-19 and the government lockdowns especially, so heavy in New York and California and elsewhere, where businesses were basically forced to close going outta business. And, so the government comes along and says, oh, we’ll give you this little check or this paycheck protection program, which is this, basically this, program the government set up to give free money out to businesses. And of course, it doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t let these businesses survive by actually existing and, operating. And so you have the government’s response, which has been horrible and slow and ineffective, and has not prevented businesses from closing. And then you have, I mean, certainly you have like the GoFund of, the world, right? That where people are raising money that way. But I think in particular there, and I don’t know much about this company, maybe you know more than me, but I’ve seen on social media, a lot of my friends posting about this company called Barstool Sports. Yes. And, they raised millions and millions and millions of dollars to support, entrepreneurs and small business owners who are being shut down as a result of the government. And, this is all voluntary money. It’s all people just donating it to support businesses, taxpayers and our grandchildren through inflation aren’t being forced to, you know, subsidize all this. And I just think, you know, that is great. That is the market working. In fact, the market working in response to government not working and shutting down these businesses here are capitalists who are solving a need and providing an opportunity. And as much as I lament, you know, during Covid, how small businesses, in particular, have suffered, right? Like, we’ve all used Amazon probably three times more than ever. But look, if we can’t go to the store, if there truly is like a health concern to be had, how great that there’s this deliv delivery network of drivers and warehouses that can quickly and efficiently bring the toilet paper and hand sanitizer that we need. Yeah. Like, how amazing is that? And I know a lot of people have criticized, you know, Jeff Bezos for, you know, amassing so many more billions of dollars while everyone is suffering. Well, again, like, you know, he doesn’t actually have that much money. He just owns stock in his company, and a lot of people have, you know, bought Amazon’s stock. And so that increases its price. I think those narratives are wrong in the media that says suddenly he has billions of dollars. But as we’ve talked about Britney before, on past episodes, entrepreneurs like that, business owners should make a lot of money, should be rewarded. Because if we can’t go to stores or if that’s, you know, difficult to do and whatnot, we want to reward the people who are able to serve us and make sure that we still have what we need. And so, I think it is important to recognize that there are so many good messages of capitalism and that our movies and our books and so forth often are omitting those messages and sometimes committing, you know, the bad messages and, claiming that, free markets are bad and business is bad. And so to the parents out there, certainly let’s be on guard to the kids out there. Maybe that’s why you gotta read your TuttleTwins books a few more time. get the good messages in place. Guys, thanks as always for being subscribed. Brittany, enjoy chatting with you. And until next time, we’ll talk to you later.

Brittany: Talk to you later.

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