The movie Moon and the history of ideas in art and life.

More than once I’ve had the misfortune of speaking my mind in a most unfortunate way.  On the subject of communism, it was at lunch with a high court justice from a newly former Communist country in 1990 who wanted to learn what American young people think about his part of the world and their ideas.  By that time I had formed my opinion of Marx, which remains, and which is that he did interesting work in the history of economic thought but it was tragically incomplete for practical application.  My ability to express myself, at that time however, was (even) less (well) formed.  I insulted a billion lives and my lunch
partner by saying, ever so politely, that Marx was an idiot.  No idiot, but no great economist either.  A compelling utopian.  A great economist would have considered more than economics in his study of economic thought.  But there I go again, reaching beyond myself.  I suppose, on reflection, that my lunch partner certainly did get the answer he was looking for.  In spades.  Gasp.

But that’s what we do, isn’t it?  In life?  We reach.  And today, writing this, I’m soaked in another beautiful Союз launch last night, TMA-18, to the International Space Station: that hallmark in the sky of Russian and American, European and Japanese — ne, Human — excellence.

We have, so the movie explores, our own communism.  Updated, inverted and reinvented as the mega corporation.  The manifesto of American corporate communism is that the ends, the corporation, justifies the means.  The argument is forwarded as an expression of jobs, designed as an expression of shareholder profit, and implemented for the security of professional management.  (See “shareholder rights” for more info).

Is this pop culture?  “American Corporate Communism”?  Yes and no.  Yes, in that the term communism is a first class red button code word affecting those we would like most to invite into the observation of the idea.  And no, in that the problem is real.  But then yes, in that this isn’t the most basic and fundamental expression of the problem.  This is a pop expression.  The basic problem lies in principles and ethics and education.  In a certain poverty of character, courage and ideas that plagues our great nation when the ends justify the least of means.

The movie makes no such error.  It presents a thought experiment in the exploration and discovery of these ideas.  And for this it is most excellent.