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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Movie Review: Where To Invade Next

The only war in Michael Moore's new movie, "Where To Invade Next," is a cultural war, as he travels to several countries to find out what they're doing better than America so he can bring those ideas home.

He visits Italy, where every employee gets a minimum of 4 weeks paid vacation. There, he talks to the CEO of Ducati Motorcycles, who says happier employees make better products.

He visits France, where kids in school get real meals on real plates and water (not soda or juice) in real glasses.

He visits Finland, where the schools were ranked worst in the world a couple of decades ago, until they re-prioritized their education system, eliminating homework, giving students more autonomy, and making sure they have recess. Now their schools are ranked the best in world.

He visits Slovenia, where college is free, even for Americans who go there.

He visits Portugal, where no one’s been arrested for drug use or possession in this century. The result? The crime rate and drug abuse are both down, because they treat it as a health problem, not a reason to fill up prisons.

He visits Tunisia, where women insisted on equal rights being embedded in the new constitution, essentially going on strike to get it.

He visits Iceland, where the only bank that didn’t melt down in the financial crisis was run by women.

The irony is that, in many of these nations, the interviewees often tell Moore they got their ideas from the United States Of America. So, while we were being sidetracked by political nonsense and fear-mongering, other parts of the world not only moved forward, but used our concepts to overtake us on the social progress scale. Yes, in some of these nations the tax rates are higher than ours, but their citizens end up spending less overall because of the benefits that flow to them.

If there's a caveat to Moore's movie, it's that the countries he visits tend to be much smaller and more homogeneous than the USA. But watching it, you can't help but wonder, "How did they pull that off?" Until the answer occurs to you: they tried something new rather than moving in reverse or sticking with status quo policies that don't work.

That's a valuable lesson that is lost on our lawmakers.

I rate "Where To Invade Next" 9 out of 10.