Mollie Hemingway argued over at The Federalist that this is the most libertarian movie ever, which is kind of funny since during the same month the same claim has been made about Ghostbusters and about Dallas Buyers’ Club.
Economist and bleeding heart libertarian Steve Horwitz votes Yay:
Okay, LEGO movie. First and foremost: completely adorable and HI-larious. I laughed my ass off the first hour. Liam Neeson and especially Morgan Freeman were brilliant. The kids there missed over half the jokes, but who cares? It was just great, fun movie-making. I was still smiling in the car on the way home.
Second, the message: I get Sean Malone‘s point, I really do. You could walk out of there with the “everyone’s special” and team nonsense, but not if you’re really paying attention. Everything that *worked* to keep people free in that movie was a result of the messy, crazy, patch it together imperfections of decentralized, creative human action. There is NO doubt that the enemy is centralization, regimentation, and The Plan. It is a case for the dynamic and messy over the static and (on the surface) perfect. THAT is the case for the market. What matters is whether stuff works, and it works in messy, imperfect, weird, wacky, wonderful, Jeffrey Tucker-like ways. It was a largely right on tribute to the power of spontaneous order asJohn Papola has argued. In the end, the message is NOT top-down teamwork, but bottom-up comparative advantage and the power of imperfection.
Yes, it’s “Lord Business,” but, again, if you’re only paying a hair of attention, it’s clear that it is the state. They have cops and jails and all the rest. For all its silliness, the heroes live in the My Little Pony version of Galt’s Gulch (“no government”) and that’s where stuff gets done – no one needs instructions there. So yeah, I wish the bad guy had a different name, but that didn’t obscure, for me, the message. Sean’s fear is real, but I think it fades in comparison to the more congenial message for anyone who is really paying attention (and maybe people aren’t…).
International Irish-American sexpot and writer/drector of the new documentary No Van’s Land Sean Malone says Nay:
To all my libertarian/anarchist friends who are joyously extolling the “libertarian” themes in the LEGO Movie. You all need to take one gigantic step back and try to think about the lessons that people who aren’t already libertarians will *ACTUALLY* get from the film. They are not what you think.
The moral lessons are either that business is cold, static, and evil – which is exactly the opposite of what you want them to understand – or that everybody is a special little snowflake, no matter how mediocre they actually are and all you need to do to be the hero is “believe”… Lessons about imagination and spontaneous order do not translate in a way that is at all actually libertarian in nature, just that playtime can be more fun when you don’t follow the instructions.
Y’all need to get a more realistic perspective on how audiences perceive pop culture and art if you hope to learn anything about how to convey this message to people who aren’t already members of the choir.