The Soloist: Liberal Sentiment Flapping in the Wind

Ayers is like many homeless people; organizers shoo them into shelters and they disappear. Once upon a time these people would have been institutionalized against their will. Would locking people up for the crime of being out of their minds make us a better country? Liberal do-goodism doesn't work without coercion. Thus that "force him." Force them to take their drugs, force them to live indoors, force them to be better people. It's the liberal project in two words. Two words that prove liberals don't even deserve to be described with a word that means free.

If liberal interventionism doesn't work with Ayers, it won't work at all. In addition to being given intensive life coaching by a committed, smart person instead of a bored social worker, Ayers is given a cello, introduced to a top musician (who is treated as comic relief solely because he believes in God and tries to get Ayers to pray with him), and provided with his own perfectly acceptable apartment. He responds to all this by beating up Lopez and threatening to gut him like a fish. Ind the end, Lopez admits he isn't sure he has helped the guy at all.

One of the moments in the movie that is supposed to cheer us up comes when the mayor of Los Angeles announces $50 million in new financing -- for more of those homeless shelters, or community centers, or some other weapons system for the war against poverty. "Every now and then, in this city of innumerable wrongs," Lopez intones, "the powers that be get things right."

Praising the government for spending money but paying no attention to the results is like praising General Custer for spending lives. It's those cities that essentially suffer from one-party liberal rule and have spent decades writing larger and larger checks to the poverty industry where homelessness and drug addiction pose the most intractable problems. Could it be that some problems simply can't be solved by community organizers, no matter how much of our money they spend?

The Soloist

Directed by Joe Wright

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx

2 stars/4

105 mins/Rated PG-13