Roland Emmerich’s new film, The Day After Tomorrow, is being roundly panned by reviewers. See, for example, Stephen Hunter’s less than globally warm review in today’s Washington Post. This despite favorable reaction to the movie from Al Gore and various environmental groups – favorable reaction because the movie depicts colossal worldwide destruction and death brought on by violent weather and tidal waves allegedly sired by global warming.
Of course, the movie has no basis in fact or science. Even one of the movie’s admirers, Friends of the Earth Director Tony Juniper, concedes that “the depiction of the science is exaggerated and at times misleading.” However, this realization does not prevent Mr. Juniper from avowing that “the scale of the threat and the underlying politics are all too true.”
Suppose that a movie with exaggerations on a similar scale were made by a free-market enthusiast. That movie might contain some of the following scenes:
– A ten-cent increase in the federal minimum wage casts millions of blacks and Hispanics into permanent unemployment and despair; all of the unemployed women scrape up pennies by offering themselves as prostitutes, while all of the unemployed men swarm to the suburbs to rape soccer-moms and then riot so violently in the cities that the Empire State building, the U.S. Capitol, the Sears Tower, and the Bank of America building all crash violently to the ground, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians, including a kindly book-peddler specializing in works by and about Ayn Rand.
– The top bracket of the federal income tax is raised to 50%. The astonishingly stupid, ideologically driven soak-the-rich politicians and their freshly-graduated-from-Harvard aides blithely ignore warnings that tax revenue will plummet and, worse, that such a tax rate will impoverish the country; sure enough, within 48 hours, 80% of the workforce quits their jobs; a few lucky ones move to Ireland or New Zealand, while many of the rest scrape buy as prostitutes (male and female), others rape every Georgetown hostess, and all riot so violently that the Chrysler building, the Prudential Tower, the Gateway Arch, and Mount Rushmore all crash violently to the ground, killing tens of thousands more people, including a saintly professor of economics who studied under Milton Friedman.
– An unholy alliance between greedy but smart (and subsidized) big chemical manufacturers and utterly doltish but ideologically fevered environmentalists cajoles Uncle Sam into banning all research on genetically modifying crops in ways that make them naturally resistant to pests. With this research halted by government, pesticides produced by the heavily subsidized chemical companies (who are also protected from foreign competition) pour into the water supply, poisoning millions. Frightened out of their minds, young mothers take to the streets en masse, rioting so violently that the Peachtree Plaza Hotel, the Grand Old Opry, the Superdome, and the Seattle Space Needle all crash violently to the ground, killing tens of thousands, including a brilliant young researcher who was just hours away from discovering the cures for cancer, AIDS, and acne.
I’m confident that, should any such silly movie ever be made, no president of a market-oriented thinktank would say about it that “the depiction of the economics is exaggerated and at times misleading, but the scale of the threat and the underlying politics are all too true.”