1940s Capitalism Cartoon Makes a Comeback

A 1940s capitalism cartoon is making a comeback with over 7 million views on YouTube. The cartoon "Make Mine Freedom" was produced by Harding University, a private university in Arkansas in 1948 extolling the virtues of free-market capitalism and inveighing against "isms" particularly communism and statism more generally.

The cartoon mixes humor with serious philsophy as it defines what freedom means: "America is the freedom to work at the job you like, freedom of speech and to peacefully assemble, freedom to own property, security from unlawful search and seizure, the right to a speedy and public trial, protection against cruel punishments and excessive fines, the right to vote, and worhip God in your own way."

The cartoon shows how freedom fosters entrepeurship giving the example of a fictional Joe Doakes, just a "regular guy" who some viewed as "lazy" but liked to "tinker around his barn." But then "one day he had an idea, and because he was free to dream and tinker" he invents a car. However, he needs additional resources to build more of these cars, so he gets money from people in the community, making them "capitalists." With the money, he hires his unemployed friend Willie to help build the cars, and Willie becomes a skilled auto expert. Joe's idea grows into a large company providing thousands of jobs.

It goes on to warn that internal conflicts, such as tensions between labor and management, classes, races, and religious groups often leads individuals to seek statism as their solution.

The cartoon cautions not to drink the "ism" or statism kool-aid because it will squash their freedom by banning labor strikes, taking away private property, and rescinding voting rights from political dissidents. It humorously shows a protestor railing against the big blue fist symbolizing statism when the fist smashes him with a "State Propaganda Speaker" forcing him to regurgitate "Everything is Fine, Everything is Fine."

The cartoon makes a point to not only explain why freedom should matter to just the capitalists, but also the laborer and farmer. 

While clever, the video doesn't fully speak to today's context where the Cold War is over and most generally agree communism and authoritarian regimes are a bad idea. Today, it needs to be explained why freedom and free-market capitalism better meet the needs of people than the soft paternalism of a well-meaning social democracy.

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  • ||

    While clever, the video doesn't fully speak to today's context where the Cold War is over and most generally agree communism and authoritarian regimes are a bad idea.

    The problem with that is that communism has never been more fashionable in our lifetimes. Just look at the annoying #fullcommunism guy they have on The Independents or the annoying Seattle city council communist, whatever her name is.

  • Rasilio||

    And lets not forget those Heroes of the left Bernie Sanders and Fauxchahontis

  • Restoras||

    Not too mention our own trolls Tony and Shriek.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I bet Marx would have liked the idea that the majority in a community should be able to organize the community however they see fit, even if it meant restricting voluntary exchanges between adults.

  • Restoras||

    You're a funny guy, Sully. I like you.

  • Brett L||

    Just like in Commando, you should lie when you promise to kill him last.

  • PapayaSF||

    As someone pointed out here a while ago, the collapse of the USSR relieved the left of having to defend real-world communism. Lacking the prime example of its failure, it's easier for them to promote it.

  • Zeb||

    You think? Maybe I don't get out enough, but most of the lefty types I associate with aren't defending authoritarian communism as much as Euro-style socialism-lite. And those who do stray more toward communism apologia usually relent after I berate them about the millions murdered by various communist regimes.

  • PapayaSF||

    But the Euro-style socialism-lite they are defending has huge problems they refuse to acknowledge. It's like they heard a few nice things about Europe back in college and haven't actually researched the issue.

  • ||

    Equally troubling is even if you may not be a committed communist, socialist or marxist, there's a trend where people speak left-wing jargon. Progspeak if you will. Just look at the craziness of the Clintons trying to position themselves a 'common folk.'

  • PapayaSF||

    Plus, the wholesale adoption of bullshit cultural Marxist terminology for analyzing race, gender, class, etc. All the most insane ideas of 1980s universities are now mainstream.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The cartoon doesn't use the word communism at all.

  • Rasilio||

    Perhaps you weren't aware but Marx is making a comeback. Piketty's book is just the most recent example of that but Marxism has been on the rise since at least 2008

  • Tak Kak||

    If Piketty's book is evidence of Marxism, then capitalism has all but won.

  • MJGreen||

    Das Kapital was a mess of a book too. Doesn't mean it failed to influence the world in a very bad way.

  • Tak Kak||

    No, not the danger of influence, it's still plenty dangerous (although the book only has only influenced people who already agreed with it's conclusions).

    But just look how far they have shrunk, from completely rebuilding society and replacing capitalism to "hey guys, your yachts are a bit too big, let's share the wealth a bit more".

    And even Piketty doesn't endorse his proposed ways to fix things.

  • Brett L||

    USA! USA! USA! Shit. How am I going to get through a 4pm presentation to a client? I may or may not have gotten a good buzz during the game.

  • Timon 19||

    Hey, at least you've got some time to recover and drink a couple more.

  • Brett L||

    Honestly, that's the rub. If it were 3:45, I'd just pour another drink and go with it. As it is, I have to walk the tightrope between keeping the buzz until 5:00 and not sounding drunk.

  • Timon 19||

    More importantly, not SMELLING drunk.

    It's nice to have nearly 400 hours of vacation banked and almost no motivation to continue working for a company that makes retarded decisions with regularity.

  • Brett L||

    Remote. Teamviewer and conference line. Otherwise, I'd be fucked. I smell like a bar.

  • Timon 19||

    Oh, wow. Remote conference, FTW.

  • Sudden||

    So you've worked for the federal govt for a year now?

  • Timon 19||

    Good one, but no.

  • ||

    Oh poor you. At least you got to watch and not just have people email you updates while you're working.

    Also, losing is nothing to be proud of, even if they do advance. Not letting Portugal tie it up would be something to be proud of. Oops!

  • Brett L||

    The great part about consulting: anything on my calendar is gospel. But I agree. We should have advanced 6-5.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Also, losing is nothing to be proud of, even if they do advance.

    Isn't that something that happens in every sport?

    I mean in baseball, you can lose 70 games but still still make playoffs, lose some more games while in playoffs, and then be declared the champion.

  • ||

    That in no way invalidates my statement that losing is nothing to be proud of. They lost this game. They shouldn't be proud of that. If they go on and won the whole thing, they should be proud of that. They certainly shouldn't be proud of letting another team score on them while in the lead by one in the last 20 seconds.

  • Timon 19||

    They should be proud that they managed the 270 minute match that is group play to the point that they get to play again on Tuesday. Period.

  • Brett L||

    Yeah, we'd be celebrating this if Portugal hadn't shit the bed against Germany. This is a good result, and no better than what we deserve. Karma settling on Portugal-Ghana is okay.

  • Timon 19||

    Pretty Ronaldo's goal to sink Ghana was funny. It almost looked like he didn't want to score it and couldn't believe the Ghana keeper basically batted it directly to him.

  • Sudden||

    Just imagine were the games played in reverse. Started with a 1-0 loss to teh germans, then tied drew with Portugal on a late fluke, and then defeated Ghana in the last few minutes to advance.

    We'd be losing our shit.

  • Timon 19||

    I'd probably be dead of a stroke - but with a (crooked) smile on my face.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    They certainly shouldn't be proud of letting another team score on them while in the lead by one in the last 20 seconds.

    I definitely agree with that, and still blame Michael Bradley.

  • Brett L||

    He has shit the bed this tournament, but who do you replace him with?

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Unfortunately I do not think we have a better option.

  • Timon 19||

    Bradley's offense can be more than replaced with Diskerud, but don't expect Mix to play anything like Bradley defensively.

  • Timon 19||

    I have a feeling he's going to re-set himself for the next one. I think he's been sorting it out slowly.

  • Brett L||

    I hope. He definitely was a big part of the '10 success. He's got my nod for the starter's gig from that. But... He needs to be that guy. The rest of the US has improved. Well... maybe not the defense. We still let in two garbage goals against Portugal that made the difference.

  • Timon 19||

    I was impressed with Gonzalez today.

    I was very worried when I saw that change. I just hope this doesn't ruin Cameron.

  • Brett L||

    Nah. Cameron played his ass off in the heat after his mistake. He'll get the start in the next game. Its just nice to know we have two strong center-back subs.

  • Timon 19||

    Oh, I agree that Cameron played extremely well after the fluffed clearance.

    I just wonder how benching him might affect him regardless.

  • Sudden||

    After the fluffed clear, he played a solid 89:30. Then he lagged on getting back into position to clear the equalizer.

    Sure, Bradley gave that ball away, but Cameron would've had a chance to clear that header if he had a bit more hustle left.

  • Timon 19||

    After watching the aerial shot of the goal, Lalas had a great point - Johnson was not getting back and did not pass the free man off to Gonzalez. Yes, Gonzo probably should have been more alert, but that was Fabian's man, unfortunately.

    I love the way Johnson plays 90% of the time, but the other 10% is pretty scary.

  • anon||

    Also, losing is nothing to be proud of, even if they do advance.

    I know this is about soccer, but I'm pretty proud of my failures.

  • Timon 19||

    You appear to understand at least some of the dynamics of group play, and yet you act like a newbie who has zero context.

    What's up with that?

    This was arguably the toughest group, top-to-bottom. NO ONE gave us a chance, including head cheerleader Alexi Lalas and color commentator Taylor Twellman.

  • Brett L||

    Taylor needs to go. He's been fellating the refs for at least two games now. I don't expect too much pro-bias, but stating "that should have been a yellow" on a US challenge at least 5 times in two games is clearly a DQ. Also, whatever his experience has been, the concussion stuff is a non-starter.

  • Timon 19||

    What do you mean "the concussion stuff is a non-starter"?

  • Brett L||

    When Jermaine Jones and the other US player had the head-on-head collision, Taylor started talking about "I can't believe in 2014 FIFA doesn't have a concussion protocol." I assume he was talking in relation to the NFL. I'm sorry, these guys are going to make a million dollars for making the out-rounds. They are compensated for risking concussions.

  • Timon 19||

    I don't think a concussion protocol is a bad idea at all. I think both US players would have passed. The Uruguayan, however...that was a dangerous situation. The team physio was absolutely wanting him out of the game.

  • Timon 19||

    Rugby's got a concussion protocol. Of course they have temporary replacements allowed for that and for blood.

  • ||

    I don't know about you, but I was a long-time soccer player. I played all of my youth, on teams that went very far. I know how to play the game. So I critique from a technique standpoint, not a "big picture" standpoint. I don't care that much about big pictures. When I see a team that lets another team score on them in the last 20 seconds when they're up by one, every instinct my coaches ever beat into me screams LOSERS. When I see a team that gets to advance even after losing, every instinct my coaches ever beat into me screams LOSERS.

    Yeah, from a big picture perspective, they're still in this and played well enough and got lucky enough (luck is for the lazy) with other games that they can go on. That's cool, and good for them. I still can't get over being so complacent after playing so well that you don't go FULL RETARD on defense during the last few minutes when up by one and being up by one will ensure moving on. Their coach should flay them alive. It's inexcusable.

  • Timon 19||

    Been playing for 32 years and counting.

    Big picture is the only realistic way of looking at a group this tough.

  • Brett L||

    Like I said, we should have gone on 7-6 (us with 6). Germany owned us. Without Tim Howard, we don't advance at all. He's worth two goals a game. But Ze Germans are the best. We need to hope someone beat them and maybe Argentina. We can play anyone else.

  • ||

    The goal is to get through to the knock-out round. Who cares if you lost a game?

    You shouldn't be spending too much energy in the group stage. If the loss was getting you through, then focus on growing as a team. Not to mention avoiding injury. Few teams can play at peak for seven games.

  • Timon 19||

    Roberto Martinez and Gilberto da Silva both get it. They were (just now) very effusive in their praise for getting out of the group. Roberto Martinez is a master tactician and rarely gets unjustly excited over anything, and he called it "a massive achievement".

  • ||

    I don't give a shit about that. When I see lazy or sloppy or complacent play, that shows me that the team is undisciplined, and that's going to come up again later. These types of things are going to be a problem for them.

  • Timon 19||

    Maybe. But maybe they learn from it.

    I can virtually guarantee that if we play Belgium (likely), the game will be way more open, and you'll have a whole other set of things to bitch about, regardless of the result.

  • ||

    I doubt they will this WC.

    After the goal, I was like Epi. Very fucking pissed as an athlete. I've been on both sides of that and it's beyond fucking annoying.

    It's gotta be be in your DNA or drilled into it.

    That's why Italy and Germany have seven world cups. They don't make those kinds of mistakes.

  • Ted S.||

    Tell your client he needs to be a soccer fan.

    And ask him if he knows how to kill server squirrels.

  • Brett L||

    I'm the tech consultant. I like these guys, but I'm pricing a data automation solution. So... probably not.

  • Ted S.||

    So do you know how to kill server squirrels? ;-)

  • Timon 19||

    On a different note, Suarez banned from all football-related activity for 4 months.

    Brenden Rogers is probably on his way to Brazil to flay Suarez to death.

    He presumably can't even train with his club. If I were John Henry or whoever is director of football at Liverpool, I'd seriously consider buying his contract out and being done with it.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    the video doesn't fully speak to today's context where the Cold War is over and most generally agree communism and authoritarian regimes are a bad idea


    Au contraire, now more than ever it is necessary to speak against such now that the memory of communism and even fascism is fading. Support for Chavez et al does not come out of the ether, and perhaps support for communism is somewhat closeted in your circles but it is not in many of the social circles in this country.

  • Robert||

    But their fading favors the opponents of communism & fascism. When people can't point to an example of something, no matter how unfavorable the example, it's dismissed as likely impossible. Communism & fascism used to have name recognition, now they don't.

    In the same way, the longer we went with an all-volunteer force, the harder it became to reinstate a draft. Also, the longer & wider with drug prohibition, the harder repeal became. People oppose what they can't see or imagine.

  • ChrisO||

    Progressivist paternalism is only "soft" until they get full control.

  • wareagle||

    most generally agree communism and authoritarian regimes are a bad idea.

    this is going to require a citation. If by "most" you mean those who are neither Dems nor Repubs, you may be right. Otherwise, not so much.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    In the US, the only sympathy I see for totalitarian regimes is from the extreme left. I have seen some very weak support for authoritarian regimes from the right, but nothing where figures on the right would actually like to emulate those regimes.

    The situation is somewhat different in Europe and parts of Latin America, to put it mildly.

  • sarcasmic||

    I dunno. I get the impression that the far right would totally support a totalitarian regime as long as their people where in charge. They give lip service to smaller government, but in practice they always grow it.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I dunno, I don't think most people in the US right or left would support a totalitarian state. There is no desire for such, nor is there a commitment to domestic utopia such that it would supersede already established commitments to morality such as were in place in the USSR and Nazi Germany. I could see either the left or a "third position" politician taking us down the Argentine road of authoritarian paternalism; I don't see much enthusiasm on the extreme or traditional right for state-building or statecraft in general (though I can see them supporting a Huckabee-like character who is for those things for other reasons).

  • anon||

    I dunno, I don't think most people in the US right or left would support a totalitarian state.

    Bullshit; as long as it was THEIR team in charge they'd be as happy as a pig in shit.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Then why hasn't it happened yet? The wonderful and kind nature of the politicians in charge? Just haven't gotten around to it yet?

    Libertarians are such misanthropes sometimes.

  • wareagle||

    Then why hasn't it happened yet?

    because it's being done incrementally. Not that long ago, you could walk someone to their gate for a flight or wait there for their plane to arrive. Not long ago, the idea of govt collecting any information about you, meta data or otherwise, is what we accused other nations of doing. Not that long ago, a mayor believing he could dictate the size of your soda would have been laughed out of the room on first reading, not have to be called out by a court.

    For every minor victory like a couple of states legalizing weed, there are a hundred examples of some govt agency stepping on the individual.

  • sarcasmic||

    Not that long ago, you could walk someone to their gate for a flight or wait there for their plane to arrive. Not long ago, the idea of govt collecting any information about you, meta data or otherwise, is what we accused other nations of doing. Not that long ago, a mayor believing he could dictate the size of your soda would have been laughed out of the room on first reading, not have to be called out by a court.

    Today looks like a totalitarian state compared to thirty or forty years ago.

  • ||

    When there's a rebellious movement for the sole purpose of letting kids go hither and yon without constant adult supervision, we're approaching a totalitarian state.

  • sarcasmic||

    When there's a rebellious movement for the sole purpose of letting kids go hither and yon without constant adult supervision, we're approaching a totalitarian state.

    My parents would have been imprisoned for neglect if they were held to today's standards.

  • sarcasmic||

    Then why hasn't it happened yet?

    Step by step. Inch by inch. The cumulative effect of reacting to the unintended consequences of shitty legislation and regulation with more shitty legislation and regulation is a totalitarian state. It's inevitable.

  • ||

    "Why hasn't it happened yet? "

    It has. Look around you froggy, the water is starting to boil.

  • Xeones||

    I never liked that analogy. Frogs actually will climb out when the water gets too warm.

    People, on the other hand, will rationalize away the rising heat until they're cooked.

  • Bryan C||

    "I dunno, I don't think most people in the US right or left would support a totalitarian state."

    If you asked them do "you support a totalitarian state?" then the answer would probably be no. If you asked them about the actual constituents of a free society then you'd get different answers.

    Which is also where the left/right equivalence starts to break down. Social conservatives in the US are far more tolerant of other points of view than their leftist counterparts. However much some might long for a world built around their beliefs, they're also restrained by actually adhering to those same beliefs.

    Not so with the hard left, which never loses its superstitious devotion to the earthly paradise of government-and-society-made-one. Where coercing everyone into following the correct rituals, saying the proper things, living as directed by experts, and refraining from the blasphemy of unacceptable viewpoints will guarantee success. This time for sure.

  • sarcasmic||

    I think someone who promised to "get serious" about immigration, as in troops on the border and roving vans of storm troopers collecting immigrants off the streets, would get quite a bit of support from the far right.

  • Restoras||

    I think you are right, but fortunately they don't seem to have the balls to do it, unlike our progressive friends.

  • Rasilio||

    While my Brother is rather extremist even amongst hardcore fundamentalist christians he made the following comment to me last night in the middle of an argument over whether the militarization of police was a direct consequence of the drug war...

    "It takes pure power to limit the people from prohibiting that which they find damaging."

  • Almanian!||

    most generally agree communism and authoritarian regimes are a bad idea just haven't had the right "top men", but once they do, will be utter successes"

    fixed

    /progderp

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I didn't finish the video but I assume the dumb shits sodomized that commie fuck with a bottle of his own ideological snake oil. U! S! A!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That would be both educational and edifying.

  • Drake||

    "Joe Doakes" I thought his name was Preston Tucker. How did his big idea work out?

  • ||

    CRONY CRUSH!

  • Ted S.||

    It's actually Joe McDoakes.

    (Played by George Jetson, too.)

  • Sudden||

    Yeah, but Doakes never managed to capture Dexter.

  • The Tone Police||

    Rich blokes smoke dokes.

  • Brandon||

    most generally agree communism and authoritarian regimes are a bad idea.

    Capital in the 21st Century is a best seller. This statement might be overly optimistic.

  • ||

    Yeah. I've found that most people desperately want to believe in something, anything, other than pure market forces. It's kind of like how many people are scared shitless by the idea there's no god or afterlife and your existence doesn't really mean anything in the long term. They want to believe there is something bigger, something that can bring order to chaos, something that can control and make sense of things, whether that thing be life, or markets, or whatever.

  • anon||

    Most people don't understand how fundamental to human nature economics is. Just as much, if not more so, than biology/chemistry/physics.

  • Zeb||

    It's almost a tautology. Economics is the study of human nature.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I think it's more about markets getting in the way of some goal or other, and those goals not being compatible with a relatively free market. In some sense, we all have goals that supersede market mechanisms; I don't really care what the going rate for a slave or a contract killing is for example and market mechanisms should not be allowed dominance in either realm. Utopian schemes tend to encompass so many areas of life that it is impossible to have a functioning market coexist with planned utopia.

  • anon||

    In some sense, we all have goals that supersede market mechanisms;

    Wrong. Your goals are the market's mechanisms.

  • ||

    on top of that some desperately believe if people are organized for altruistic reasons everything they do will flow from those principles.

  • Restoras||

    The myth of altruism. It's so quaint and adorable.

  • Bryan C||

    Yep. Some think churchgoers are naive, but I expect your typical Sunday worshiper has far more healthy cynicism about their church than your typical Sunday news commentator ever dares voice about their government.

  • Restoras||

    It might be a best seller, but I bet that is in large part because the people buying it just want it to be seen on their book shelves.

  • ||

    Same thing with Finnegan's Wake.

  • GILMORE||

    "...made by the Extension Department of Harding University to create a Deeper..."

    Clearly an indication of Capitalism's root in white male inferiority.

  • PapayaSF||

    It goes on to warn that internal conflicts, such as tensions between labor and management, classes, races, and religious groups often leads individuals to seek statism as their solution.

    Hence the constant leftist attempts to increase those tensions...?

  • ||

    Why the question mark?

  • PapayaSF||

    I was trying to acknowledge that there are also other reasons leftists agitate in those areas, beyond merely seeking more statism.

  • GILMORE||

    " it needs to be explained why freedom and free-market capitalism better meet the needs of people "

    I think the sentiment here is generally right...

    ...but id take issue with the emphasis on 'meet the needs of people'

    it suggests that the primary issue is "the changing* demand for collective welfare"

    i.e. = what will 'currently' do the best job of meeting some assumed 'basic requirements of material need'. Food, shelter, medical care, etc.

    While I do believe that free markets/individual liberty do the best job of 'satisfying the material needs of the most at the lowest cost', i don't think it needs to be emphasized as its primary value. When you play that game, the socialists reduce everything to "who gets what" and 'material fairness'.

    The primary value of liberty and free markets are in the 'everything else' human beings do in addition to the basic provision of their material needs. = The freedom to innovate, to advance fields of knowledge and change the status quo = none of which is necessarily considered 'a good', or something to credit to individuals, in any other system.

    I think what needs to be better explained is how 'Rational Self Interest' cumulatively results in the greatest good for the greatest number - but *in an environment where no one is compelled to do anything*. In that sense, its 'cost free'.

    Yes, poor people gonna exist. The socialists always use 'the poor' as their excuse for shackling everyone and making poverty universal.

  • sarcasmic||

    "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

    -Adam Smith

  • Restoras||

    Live for yourself...there's no one else
    More worth living for
    Begging hands and bleeding hearts will only cry out for more

    Well, I know they've always told you
    Selfishness was wrong
    Yet it was for me, not you, I came to write this song

  • GILMORE||

    *note =

    The number of people convinced of the merits of free markets by "Rush lyrics" are surprisingly few.

  • db||

    Words to live by.

  • ||

    I wonder how many years in jail i would get along with Joe Doakes if i invested in his little garage today?

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