Michael Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next’ is surprisingly optimistic

by Alyssa Rosenberg

In the middle of the lead crisis in his hometown of Flint, Michigan, and a hotly contested Democratic primary, the last thing you might expect from the crusading filmmaker Michael Moore is optimism. But not only is “Where to Invade Next,” which opens this weekend, a vote of confidence in America at odds with the bleak tone Moore has often taken on everything from gun policy to American engagement abroad, it’s a surprising, even subtle intervention into one of the core ideological disputes that animate American politics today.

Even if Moore doesn’t say so explicitly, “Where to Invade Next” is aimed squarely at the nature of what makes America a remarkable place. Is America’s greatness in the country’s ability to grow and evolve, adapting new ideas and at times, new categories of people into citizenship? Or is America’s greatness located firmly in the past, something we have to restore from the degradation it has suffered, or protect from future encroachments?

This disagreement shows up in the Supreme Court’s escalating fights over the nature of the Constitution: Is it a living document that helps guide us through changing circumstances, or an expression of the Founding Fathers’ intentions that can be used to curb the pace of that change?

The 2016 presidential election has been defined, on the Republican side, by a vision of American exceptionalism that’s squarely rooted in the past. The leading candidates have different riffs on this concept. Marco Rubio focuses on the idea that “Judeo-Christian values are one of the reasons why America is such a special country.” Ted Cruz embraces an originalist vision of the Constitution rooted in his legal training; he has dubbed his campaign plane Constitution One. And Donald Trump, always an odd fit in the Republican Party, appealed to a broader sense that America’s best years are in the past with his omnipresent “Make America Great Again” slogan.

At first, it seems like “Where to Invade Next” embraces the evolutionary vision of American greatness. Moore’s shtick this time around involves visiting various countries to talk with vacationing Italians, French schoolchildren eating their way through gourmet meals, middle-class workers in a German pencil factory and residents of Norway’s prison system. He then plants an American flag and claims those nations’ wonderful ideas for America.

But in its final moments, “Where to Invade Next” offers a rather different solution to what seems to be a gaping difference of opinion running through American political life. He goes back to his interview subjects, who tell the audience how their policy innovations were inspired by American ideas.

Moore’s argument in “Where to Invade Next” is ultimately that America’s past willingness to evolve – whether to adopt a more humane standard of work or a less-punitive approach to punishment – is the key to its future success. He’s all for making America great again. It’s just that Moore’s vision of the past might not be what Rubio, Cruz or Trump has in mind.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Media

Most Popular

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.


On Key

Related Posts

DGO July 2023 Page 14 Image 0001

The fall of Satan’s Den

The Story of David Parker Ray, one of New Mexico’s Most Notorious predators Amanda Push SPECIAL TO DGO Warning: This article contains disturbing descriptions of

DGO May 2023 Page 14 Image 0001

The epic stoner coloring book

Grab your markers, blunt, and color to your heart’s content to win some cool weedy prizes We want you to do something that adults never

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Get notified about new articles

Explore the weed life with DGO Magazine

Contact Information

Find Us Here:

Leave us a message