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Fighting the Michael Moore Matrix

By Jackson Murphy
web posted November 10, 2003

If you willed yourself to see the new Matrix film this past week you'll probably wonder what happened to the franchise. Why in the words of Matt Feeney, writing in Slate.com, did, "The Wachowski brothers, moved by some inscrutable nerd-muse, apparently decided that the one glaring flaw of the original Matrix, besides the whole superfluous Matrix thing, was that it didn't feel enough like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."

If you think I included that quote because it not only sums up the fatal flaw of the once promising trilogy but drops a quaint Star Trek reference you're almost right. But there is a point.

George W. Bush speaks on November 6 at the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington
George W. Bush speaks on November 6 at the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington

Last week President Bush gave one of his best and most important speeches so far. In a speech basically resetting American foreign policy Bush proclaimed, "Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe - and in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export."

This new policy did not come out of thin air. Back in 2001, in the days following 9/11 Bush said, "Freedom and fear are at war.  The advance of human freedom -- the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time -- now depends on us.  Our nation -- this generation -- will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future.  We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage.  We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail."

And now over two years on, the foreign policy is finally evolving to reflect those sentiments. It's funny that those who think Bush is completely motivated by the interests of his big-business buddies has claimed as is the ultimate cure for terrorism, democracy.

"In a great bit of irony," writes Christian D. Brose in National Review Online. "A man who is lambasted by his critics for being an archconservative laid out a foreign-policy vision that was nothing shy of revolutionary." In fact most of the President's critics would like to imagine the Bush administration as a dirty neoconservative cabal that most resembles the multiple Agent Smiths or the creepy "squiddies" from the Matrix.

In this Michael Moore Matrix world – where he would probably be best played by some overweight and croissant eating version of Merovingian, Moore would be the hero. And the enemy machines would obviously be the United States and Capitalism. At least that is how Harry Knowles at Ain't it Cool News sees it. "Ultimately they want society operating in the 9 to 5, eat your food, grab a movie, raise the kids, go to church and get back to work sort of daze. That's the Machine way. Don't worry about the ‘MEANING OF IT ALL' just do your job, be a battery and power the big society forward."

Naturally Knowles' Neo is also bin Laden and bin Laden is fighting evil capitalism. It all makes sense now doesn't it? And we don't need to think twice as to why Michael Moore and his supporters are against this war. Over in Germany Moore is being crowned their new ‘Hasselhoffian King'. Worse, according to Jeff Jarvis, Moore is Germany's answer to the French love of Jerry Lewis. And his loathing of America continues at a record book selling pace.

"Should such an ignorant people lead the world?" asks Moore in Die Zeit. "How did it come to this in the first place? 82 percent of us don't even have a passport! Just a handful can speak a language other than English (and we don't even speak that very well.)"

The Moore and Knowles crowd don't believe that anything good can come from remaking the Middle East. They are so opposed to war, and the U.S., that they would rather see bin Laden and Saddam hold all the good cards. They would rather see the end to the fighting because like Neo, what good come from fighting. "Yes, they fight to learn not to fight, because what does Neo's fighting do for the humans?" asks James Lileks. "Beside liberation, freedom, and an end to war?"

The Moore cottage industry of being against everything Bush does has lined his bank account with gold which only confirms what a great civilization we live in. If you can become both rich and famous peddling ideas by seeking to marginalize wealth and fame we must be doing something right.

It is Moore and his ilk that are living in the Matrix, and Bush and Tony Blair and others trying to break that hold. In this battle it is Bush, like Neo, trying to spill the beans. "You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules or controls, borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you."

The critics of Bush and those that scoff at remaking and democratizing the Middle East, by force if necessary, are about as useful as a collective group of Matrix, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings geeks. They look good at parties and conventions but are too incestuously wrapped up in their own lame and dated ideas that they would probably never admit publicly how bad the sequels were or in this case how good the war is going.

Jackson Murphy is a commentator from Vancouver, Canada. He a senior writer at Enter Stage Right and the editor of "Dispatches" a website that serves up political commentary 24-7. You can contact him at jacksonmurphy@telus.net.

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