On This Man Making it His Job to Study Such Things

Here’s a film.

I suggest watching it through the link rather than on my blog as the screen will be larger.  Since it’s an older film (say 1946, children) it doesn’t take any time at all to download.  Only through watching this film in all its glory will you truly be able to appreciate it’s silliness.

Well, silliness, yes, but also the strange connection it still has to the world today.

For example, if you look at all the variables This Man collates to determine whether one is living in a despotic country or not (or whether your country is sliding towards despotism uncontrollably OH MY GOD SOMEBODY STOP THE BUS!), you’ll find the following:

1. Respect
2. Power
3. Economic Distribution
4. Information

When looked at in the way This Man recommends, you’ll see that the ideal situation for governments – according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica – is not Democracy, as the beginning of the film suggests, but Socialism.

Granted, governments – their construction and evolution – are much more complicated than this film suggests, and the film leaves out models of economy, such as capitalism.  Still, it’s interesting to see how this film reflects the world-view of 1940s America and how that’s different from the present.

For example, this film clearly positions corporations as just as much a threat to freedom as governments.  In the scene detailing the freedom of the press, we’re shown a newspaper editor being told what to publish by an advertising manager.  Although, now that I think of it, that’s not so much a demonizing of corporations as much as it is the worst sort of capitalism, pushing profits ahead of all else.

Until the end of the film, when the film directly labels America as being at the top of Democracy/Despotism sliding scale, it almost seems as though Encyclopedia Brittanica is warning its viewers against America.  Or at least saying that blind faith in government – no matter whose government that is – is always a bad thing.

But don’t take my word for it.  Watch it for yourself and see what This Man has to say.

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