22 Mar 2014


Libertarianism, Shameless Self-Promotion 43 Comments

From my gushing review at Mises Canada:

Let me tackle the other stumbling block for free-market libertarians: The name of the villain is “President Business.” Thus, some viewers complained to me that the movie had an anti-market message.

Remember, the underlying theme of the LEGO movie is that America is turning fascist. Now what is fascism? It is the unholy alliance of Big Government and Big Business. So if you are making a kids’ movie and want to drive home the point, what do you do? You make your villain simultaneously the head of the democratic government and the head of a major corporation that provides security cameras, controls the media, and even publishes the history books (yes they explicitly say all that in the LEGO movie).

Remember, the villain is President Business; don’t focus on just the second half of his title. His chief enforcer isn’t a private mercenary, but instead is the head of the police (voiced by Liam Neeson), with the name “Bad Cop.” His robotic enforcers are called “Micro Managers.” If you watched this movie and came away sulking that it was bashing markets, then congratulations you have the same sophistication as the analysts on FOX news who are fans of Mitt Romney.

43 Responses to “The LEGO Movie Is AWESOME”

  1. Gamble says:

    These same sulkers think government can be ran like a business. In their minds, there is not much difference.

    I try to explain government never can be a business nor should it be. If it can be a business, then is has no business being government.

    Take police for example. Do you really want your local police force to be profitable? Personally, I think it is preferably to give police certain things to penalize and forget about profit. You give police profit motive and it is no longer a government yet never was a business because they are the only ones with the ability to protect themselves and their property. Recipe for disaster.

    Define business.

    Profit motivated.
    Same taxes as every other business as to create equal playing field(competition)
    Consumers with choice.
    All revenue derived voluntarily, never by gun point.

    Define government.
    No profit motivation.
    No competition.
    No tax burden.
    Consumers have limited choice, move to another location with same stupid government yet different name.
    All revenue derived by coercion, always by gun point.
    Don’t pay your taxes, go to jail or face property lien.
    Refuse to surrender person or property, sheriff comes to your home. Resist, get shot. Government revenue is
    derived via gunpoint when you trace it all the way…

    Now watch Lego Movie and tell me who has the guns?

    Go watch Hunger Games and Hunger Games Catching Fire while you are at it. If feeling nostalgic, watch The Man From Colorado. Even back in the 50’s, movies new what was happening…

    • Gamble says:
    • joe says:

      Consumers have limited choice? They’re not called consumers. They’re called voters. They do not have limited choices. There are frequent elections with a wide variety of candidates.

      Revenue is not derived from coercion. Voters can elect a candidate who will eliminate all taxation. They choose not to do so.

      • andrew' says:

        There is an entire literature on it.

        Or just the common sense that 2 is less than 3.

      • Ken B says:

        Of course taxes are coerced. If Bob were not above voting he’d vote for no tax guys, lose, and be taxed. You are committing a form of the fallacy of composition.

        • Ken B says:

          Taxes are voluntary for the electorate conceived of as a unit, but are not for all individual taxpayers, even in a direct democracy.

          • Major_Freedom says:

            A mafia taking people’s money at the threat of violence is voluntary for the “electorate” conceived of as a unit, but is not voluntary for all individual humans.

            OK, sure, some people willingly pay the mafia for reasons other than avoiding having their home invaded by hired thugs, then handcuffed, kidnapped, and then thrown into a cage and likely sexually assaulted.

            Some people have become convinced to believe that they’re paying those thugs’ boss for “services” such as…protection against having their home invaded by hired thugs, then handcuffed, kidnapped and then thrown into a cage and likely sexually assaulted.

            Because something something logic.

      • Gamble says:

        Depends how you vote. A consumer can purchase anything he wants no matter how small minority or low large majority. Look you can by digital music or vinyl.

        When it comes to politics, unless you are a mainstream mindless sheep, you are sol.

        Don’t lie to us by pretending voting is consumer choice.

        I get it, you make a living off the peoples taxes, I get it Joe. I understand where you are coming from. You get paid to lie, I get it.

  2. GabbyD says:

    how do you know its referring to the United States of today, specifically?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      GabbyD have you seen the movie?

      • GabbyD says:

        i did. i dont think they mentioned it took place in america, but in some fantasy universe of interlocking lands.

        they take inspiration from the real world, but no where did they (or the creators) claim they worry about facism, and thats a statement that they wanted to make.

        can’t imagined places exist on their own?

        if you want to draw specific parallels to the real world, go ahead; but they are your opinions — not something the movie itself wants to say.

        • andrew' says:

          I agree…intentional fallacy blah blah blah…but then there isn’t much external commentary either, which is possible.

          But does it have to be titled Team America for us to connect the dots.

        • Major_Freedom says:


          If they took inspiration from the real world, what part of the real world do you suppose that is? Do you think this movie came out now as an allegory to a regime from 75 year ago, or one more recent?

  3. andrew' says:

    Did we mention it is Legos?

  4. Major_Freedom says:

    Anyone else find it at least a little ironic, if not tragic, that a company that originated in Denmark, would have the seeming self-imposed obligation to warn the western world about the dangers of too much government?

    • guest says:

      With a character called “President Business”, I would think the point of the movie is to attack the profit motive.

      It’s like how Alan Grayson blames lobbyists for crony capitalism.

      Why not a character called “President Regulation”, instead?:

      Anti-Trust and Monopoly (with Ron Paul)

      • andrew' says:

        It has nothing to do with profit.

        In fact it might be the least soft-core lefty movie I’ll see this year.

        President capture would almost work.

      • andrew' says:

        Wait,what? People don’t get that the song is ironic? HOW?

      • Major_Freedom says:

        Calling him President ANYTHING, does not take away from the fact that he was representative of government. The movie is an attack on too much goverment.

        How could the movie be attacking business when it looked positively on the business activity of the main character who had to break through the barriers of regulation?

        Did you even see the movie?

        • Gamble says:


          Even if they see the movie, their brains have been dumbed down by lamestream media and years of public indoctrination schooling.

          It is too late. We are doomed.

          This may seem extreme but 7 Billion quarter ounce bags of magic mushrooms need to be mailed out pronto.

          Humanity needs a serious awakening…

          • Major_Freedom says:

            Recommend “Philosopher’s Stone”.

        • guest says:

          How could the movie be attacking business …

          Because I haven’t seen the movie.


        • GabbyD says:

          in the movie, isnt he really “LORD” business, giving lie to whatever connotations “President” has to the audience and the lego citizens? (i.e he wasnt elected, it isnt democracy etc)

    • RandomGermanDude says:

      Not a bit since the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom ranks Denmark above the US at rank 10 (Yes, I know it’s more complex than that).

  5. Warren says:

    Everything about that movie was awesome!

  6. andrew' says:

    People are way overthinking it.

    Part of it is just that “president business” sounds funny.

    The whole plot is that he is a control freak.

    • Gamble says:

      Control freak= the unholy alliance of government and business…

  7. Major_Freedom says:

    Only thing I disagree with is the statement that an alliance between government and a business person is “unholy.”

    The Holy Roman Empire was unholy according to that insistence.

    Unholy really means “It’s wrong but I don’t want to get into a long drawn argument for why right now.”

    • Gamble says:

      Okay, I will better choose my words as to not offend the atheist.

      I do see the world as Good, Evil or none of my darn business.

      Maybe in your atheism, you can develop some tolerance for us mushy minded Garden of Paradise kind of people…

      Cronyism, fascism, call it what you will, irks me. It is ugly.

  8. Philippe says:

    “Now what is fascism? It is the unholy alliance of Big Government and Big Business.”

    No, that is not the definition of fascism.

    Here’s a definition from my Oxford English dictionary:

    “Fascism: an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization. (In general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practices. The term Fascism was first used of the totalitarian right-wing nationalist regime of Mussolini in Italy (1922-43); the regimes of the Nazis in Germany and Franco in Spain were also Fascist. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach.”

    • Gamble says:

      “Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato”

      • Philippe says:

        interesting quote, but it does not support Bob’s erroneous definition of fascism.

        another Mussolini quote:

        “Granted that the 19th century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the 20th century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the ‘right’, a Fascist century. If the 19th century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the ‘collective’ century, and therefore the century of the State.”

        Here he contrasts his right-wing authoritarian conception of a nationalist (racially pure) collective State, with socialism, liberalism and democracy.

        • andrew' says:

          Bob is right.

          That definition is nearly content-free.

          I’m not even joking which is pretty astounding.

    • Bala says:

      Just thought I’ll throw in my 2 bits.

      • Philippe says:

        “While fascists promoted social welfare to ameliorate economic conditions affecting their nation or race as a whole, they did not support social welfare for egalitarian reasons. Fascists criticized egalitarianism as preserving the weak. They instead promoted social Darwinist views. Adolf Hitler was opposed to egalitarian and universal social welfare because, in his view, it encouraged the preservation of the degenerate and feeble. While in power, the Nazis created social welfare programs to deal with the large numbers of unemployed. However, those programs were neither egalitarian nor universal, excluding many minority groups and other people whom they felt posed a threat to the future health of the German people.”

        Perhaps Bob could write another post in which he says: “Now what is fascism? It is opposition to egalitarianism, and the promotion of social Darwinism and racism.”

    • Ben B says:

      And I guess “liberal” still means an advocate for limited government, right?

    • Hank says:

      This definition was written by partisans and is wholly unscientific.


      • Philippe says:

        That muddled article simply assumes that “right wing” = “free market”. That is not the case. The right wing can be authoritarian or libertarian or some combination of the two. The defining feature of the ‘right wing’ as opposed to the ‘left wing’ is support for social hierarchy or social inequality. Some on the right support equality of basic rights but reject all other forms of equality, whereas others, such as fascists, reject both.

        • Hank says:

          Clearly one of the key points of the article was to express how socialism pervades both the left and right wings, which is the opposite of the free market.

          “reject all other forms of equality.”

          Libertarians only reject forms of equality which violate the non-aggression principle.

        • RandomGermanDude says:

          If anything this shows again that the left-right-model is not differentiated enough.

          Take the East Bloc for example: these states also had systems promoting social hiearchy and social inequality. The GDR had laws against “asocials” and “parasites”.

          Now one could argue that these systems were actually “right-wing” but then the definition of left-vs-right nears something like good-vs-evil. So to me it becomes clear we have to take further variables into the equation.

  9. Philippe says:

    right-wing ‘libertarian’ doublethink:

    1. Big business is corrupt, it corrupts government and uses every underhand trick in the book to benefit at other people’s expense. It doesn’t care about the rule of law or the environment or anyone else’s wellbeing. It only cares about its own profits and will do anything to profit at other people’s expense. It is evil and not to be trusted. The CEOs of big business are liars and crooks. They don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves and are evil parasites.

    2. Big business is wonderful and only exists to serve the consumer. Big business only cares about its own profits and this is wonderful, as it makes big business serve everyone else’s interests to the best of its ability. The wealth of big business is all honestly earned through voluntary homesteading and trade, therefore it is immoral to tax or regulate big business. Big business can be trusted because it is in the interests of big business to be trustworthy. The CEOs of big business are superior human beings with exceptional talents who deserve every penny they earn through their honest hard work and superior talent. They are wealthy because they are intellectually and morally superior to poor people, therefore it is immoral to tax or criticize wealthy CEOs and those that do so are evil parasites.

    • Bala says:


    • andrew' says:

      What libertarians actually think:

      1. Some
      2. Others
      3. Still more

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