October 19, 2002

BRIAN DOHERTY says that Michael Moore represents the impotence of the American Left:

The documentary is, on its surface, a meditation on American gun violence. But it functions in effect as a general summation of lefty complaints about America. In its feckless collection of sad plaints with only the barest glimmer of a hope of solution, it is also a good summation of the progressive left's intellectual impotence. . . .

In the end, Moore, like the progressive left he stands for, has no valid solutions. Gun control laws won't stop gun crimes; Canadians also have plenty of guns and not many gun deaths. No one thinks that a life on welfare is a better option in the long term than trying to work for a living. Grander socialist dreams died with the Soviet Union. All the progressive left has are laments, tears, and tragedies. That suffices to sell movie tickets—moviegoers have always loved tragedy. It isn't enough for a lively and effective political movement.

No, but it's enough to help Moore, and his fans, feel morally and intellectually superior to other Americans, at least until the credits roll. And that, it seems, is what it's all about nowadays.