There’s a 1948 American propaganda film called “Make Mine Freedom” that tells us some of the dangers of an “imported doubletalk” called “-Ism.” Since it was made during the Cold War it’s McCarthey-esque hamfistedness shows which ‘ism’ they were particularly concerned about without mentioning any one specifically. It’s often shared by conservatives alongside accusations that some liberal is a full-blown communist, the next Marx/Lennin/Mao, or they’re just generally un-American. Watching this short you’ll never hear the word “capitalism,” but after some consideration it seems the capitalistic world has turned out much like this evil nearly-nameless ‘ism.’
“Ism will cure any ailment of the body politic,” claims Dr. Utopia, as he presents bottles of ‘ISM’ to a laborer, a farmer, a manufacturer, a politician, and a regular Joe. Like snake-oil salesmen of yore, Dr Utopia over-sells his product, even going so far to claim it will improve the weather. But before ‘ism’ can cure the various characters they must sign a contract stating “I hereby turn over to Ism, Incorporated, everything I have, including my freedom, and the freedom of my children, and my children’s children, in return for which said Ism promises to take care of me forever.” Wouldn’t it be nice to get the opportunity to sign onto the existing social contract before being forced into it? These are vague terms for a contract, but no more vague that the unsigned social contract we’re forced to accept & hear about in civics class. Some Libertarians argue that this sort of contracting should be legal for individuals to do, because preventing indentured servitude and paying a living wage somehow prevents the free market from working.
Luckily our John Q Public shows us how freedom (i.e. capitalism) works: if you have an idea and can convince your friends (who in this instance have never heard of a bank) to give you money, you can start a business and possibly become a major corporation. This freedom is terrific, because Americans in seersucker suits are free to make more money than the next 6 stereotypical caricatures of foreign nationals from other capitalistic countries combined! Better yet, America’s educational system that sends more (here, conspicuously white) people to high school and college than any other stereotypical caricature of a nationality. John Q Public, playing the voice of reason, suggests that just a taste will show us the dangers of Ism, immediately plunging his peers into a totalitarian wet dream.
Factories chain their workers to their stations, Unions mark their workers (double-unluckily ‘1313’), and anti-strike laws prevent workers from participating in collective action.
Here in the future of capitalist America, you don’t need chains when you can have mandatory unpaid security checks to waste employees free time and adult-diapers to prevent paid bathroom breaks, so employees don’t waste your time. States have prevented the danger of union membership by implementing right-to-work laws that have made membership optional, and in some cases dismantled unions. Why spend your hard-earned money for union membership when you can get the benefits of the Union’s collective bargaining and have a few extra bucks to spend? If you take a Union job, in a state with Davis-Bacon laws, and you’re not a member of the union you get the ‘prevailing wage’ which the majority of union workers earn, and you still won’t need to unionize. However, without funding and members, Unions are dwindling and their collective bargaining power is going with it. Impact this with at-will employment and you can lose (or quit) your job at any time for any or no reason without notice, for reasons like unionizing, going on strike, or literally anything else. Sure it may be illegal to be fired for some things like race, religion, and gender, but if they want you out they could find any or no reason.
“The State is the Supreme Court, no more Private Property, no more you.”
This brief segment firstly ignores that the Judiciary Branch is part of the trinity of vested powers in the United States. As a function of this brand of -ism, private property and capitalist have been outlawed, preventing CEOs the freedom of exploiting their workers to receive any profits. However, in “Communist” China CEOs are still very much involved in State-Capitalism and are quite well-paid for their efforts.
Farmers are now slaves that can no longer vote
Another brief and terrifying segment. Fortunately voting is a fundamental right in our democracy since 1965, although the voter rights act has been weakened since then. We’ve dismantled chattel slavery through a civil war and reconstruction. Without the vote, farmers can’t obtain seed, for some unspecified reason. But here in the future we’ve proven that Agricultural Subsidies are a more palatable method of controlling farm produce. Farmers are paid to grow various crops and not others, but mostly they’re paid to grow corn; providing us with an overabundance of cheap corn-based products such as feed, ethanol fuel additives and high fructose corn syrup.
Politicians and Nay-sayers are put in pens and replaced by yes-men.
Here’s another chilling example of how much supposed American ideals have (or haven’t) changed. Protesters and Nay-sayers are often placed in Free Speech Zones far from the politicians who they wish to address. Dissidents are be corralled and kettled, far from those in positions of power who they’re trying to reach. Unchallenged by these dissenting voices, well-paid politicians practically live in a world of their own far disconnected from the concerns of their constituents.
John Q Public gets the last word,
When anybody breaches unity and tried to pit one of us against the other through class warfare, race hatred, or religious intolerance. You know that person seeks to rob us of our freedom and destroy our very lives. And we know what to do about it!
Apparently what you do about it is watch this cartoon, then find a commie to chase out of town because those ideas aren’t welcome here, free speech be damned! In our modern political discourse it’s clear who’s winning the class war and even the President-elect is more than welcome to stir race hatred and religious intolerance, but history and this cartoon both show the dangers of and one -Ism given totalitarian power: inevitable corruption.