May 19, 2004 -- One should wait to see a film before reviewing it but one certainly can comment on the director's stated motivations and the audience response without knowing every camera angle or line of dialogue.

Indicative of the sorry state of Old Europe's ethical infrastructure is "The Edukators," directed by Austrian-born Hans Weingartner. It is reported that in this movie three "idealistic" youths break into the homes of the rich not to steal their property but to rearrange the furniture and leave notes saying, "You have too much money." We're used to the leftist Europeans and their American cousins peddling class conflict. But the reception received by this film underscores the nature of their moral meltdown.

The spiritual Robin Hoods in the movie apparently want the rich to question their privileges. Of course, this assumes that the rich got that way through theft, not honest work. That was certainly the case for the feudal lords of Europe's past. And it is no doubt the case for the scions of industries that receive handouts or special favors from European governments today. But is it true for all? Director Weingartner knows better. You see, he's a qualified neurosurgeon, someone who acquired a life-saving skill through his own efforts, one that could earn—I emphasize the word "earn" -- a fortune in the future.
So let's go to the scene in Cannes. The rich and glamorous, resplendent in beautiful clothes and jewels, arrive in chauffeured limos to view the film. After the film accuses the rich—Which ones? Them? Or individuals who got that way producing clothing and manufacturing cars?—of being crass materialists, they give it a ten-minute standing ovation and then retire to parties to imbibe the best food and drink in the villas and palaces of this Riviera resort town.
Talk about leftist chic and a mixed up morality! No doubt they experienced revolutionary solidarity with "The Edukators" as well as that same unfocused, fuzzy, false sense of self-worth that politicians feel when handing out someone else's money.
Weingartner says of his motivation for the movie, "We don't know where to put our revolutionary energy." Hey, if you really believe in "the cause," why not go to communist Cuba and work as a doctor in a local clinic rather than party with the privileged in Cannes?
He goes on: "We don't know how to fight the system because we can't grab it, we don't know how to attack it. The system has become so invulnerable because it sells revolution to us."
"We don't know where to put our revolutionary energy." -director Hans Weingartner
Here Weingartner seems to appreciate the irony of his reception. Many of the wealthy elite indeed mouth the slogans of the left and even bankroll the left, perhaps out of guilt, perhaps to buy off their potential opponents, perhaps to protect the corrupt neo-feudal systems of government lords and bureaucrats. Whatever their motives, they all fall under the category of corruption.
Weingartner says that the movie was meant to "emphasize how important it is to be critical and to question the status quo." Here he's right. But anyone who wants to truly question the status quo must go straight to the altruistic premise that mandates that we must all serve one another and apologize to one another for our "privileges." Only then will Europe, America and the rest of the world be able to establish true cultures of individualism and freedom.

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Edward Hudgins

About The Author:

Edward Hudgins is the former director of advocacy for The Atlas Society, the author of numerous Atlas Society commentaries, and the editor of several books on politics and government policy. He is now research director for the Heartland Institute. He has also worked at the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and Joint Economic Committee of Congress.

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