Getting Expelled (UPDATE)

UPDATE: It was sold out last night in Escondido. Whatever the critics may be saying (and they aren’t being kind; but are they being fair?) that’s pretty impressive for a documentary.

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  1. Well, in intellectual history, drawing straight lines is always difficult. There are some formal similarities. There was a movement that is described as “Social Darwinism” that was one of the tributaries that fed the eugenics movement and other miserable theories (and practices). The eugenics movement did influence Nazism. So did other movements. It’s not unfair to note the connection. The Time reviewer equivocates. What the Nazi’s did was not to murder a neighbor – they deliberately gathered and murdered millions of people as part of an attempt to produce a pure Aryan race. That’s a different kettle of fish than the crime that makes the local news. The local murder probably isn’t a eugenicist but the Nazis were and so was Margaret Sanger. There were writers (e.g. Herbert Spencer) arguing for SD under the influence of natural selection and other ideas. Darwin and the SDist emerged from the same intellectual soup and Modernist optimism about the future. It was a perfectly Modernist idea to think that there is a natural machine running the world and a reasonable adaptation of that idea it could be harnessed for social improvement.

    The visceral reaction to this film, by some who didn’t say “boo” about Michael Moore’s intellectual shenanigans, even before they’ve seen it in some cases, and the even more vitriolic reaction by those who’ve seen is interesting.

    The NYT review used the adjective “sleazy” in the opening line of her review! Have any of these same reviewers repented for their endorsement of Moore now that it is known that he fabricated scenes (via editing) and produced mere agit-prop? I haven’t heard any sounds of penitence coming from the NYT. The documentary “Manufacturing Dissent” has gotten some attention but it hasn’t caused people to say, “Oops, we goofed” when it clearly documents (pun intended) Moore’s dishonesty. That fact makes their present claims about “intellectual dishonesty,” in re Expelled, ring a little hollow.

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