As libertarians, there’s nothing most of us like more than capitalism: what it means, what it produces, and what it stands for. Politically aware as we are, we also understand that there are people in the world who despise capitalism, who want nothing to do with it, or who want to convince others of its so called ‘terrors.’ Separate from the protesters, picketers, and political activists, there remains an outlet professionals use to outline either the bad or the good of this ideology: entertainment. Two examples of each extreme that I would like to discuss are Donald Duck; promoting capitalism and criticizing socialism. And, The Simpsons; shining a negative light on capitalism. Entertainment, whether it is regular television or childhood cartoons, has a huge impact on what its audience consciously or subconsciously believes, shaping how we view the world, capital, and (big) business.
First, we have The Simpsons, probably one of the most well-known T.V. series in North America, if not the world. I have seen enough to understand the messages it puts out there that generally don’t support businesses, different forms of energy, or certain types of government. For example, we all know that Mr. Burns, one of the main antagonists in the series, is the stereotypical ‘evil big-business’ figure, holed away in his company, making his money, contributing nothing, and laughing at the rest of the world. Which is ridiculous considering entrepreneurs should be respected for the efforts they’ve made towards creating a successful business. Other than Mr. Burns, Homer Simpson’s character can be seen as a clear icon that speaks out against working conditions and workers’ mostly negative attitudes in American society. From the very first episode, The Simpson’s included a jab at capitalism when Homer Simpson alludes to “the machinery of capitalism being oiled with the blood of the workers.” Homer hates his job, complains about the hierarchical system of American workplaces, and repetitively and satirically remarks on how necessary it is to choose money over “being cool,” or pursuing something you love; a shame considering pursuing what one loves is often the first step towards a successful entrepreneurial career.
Furthermore, the nuclear power plant in which Homer works is always given a menacing, dirty aura, despite nuclear energy to be one of the cleaner
electricity generating processes in the world. In the opening, a sign that says ‘2 days accident free’ is put up behind Homer, also silly considering nuclear reactors are safer than coal-, gas-, and petroleum-burning methods of producing electricity. Then, of course, the audience is constantly barraged with Lisa Simpson’s Democrat-loving, anti-Republican talk. The average Joe watching the Simpsons, not knowing the kind of information that us as libertarians seek to understand I think might automatically believe what the show portrays to be true. (more…)