Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Should We Boycott Matt Damon Films Because He is a Confused Lefty?

I made some positive comments about the new Jason Bourne film, starring Matt Damon, at a post, The Message About Government in the New 'Jason Bourne' Film.

A commenter responded:
Boycott any Matt Damon movie. He is an enemy of the second amendment and the constitution. He pushes for a total gun ban while using gun play in his Bourne movies.
I'm sorry but I am just not a big fan of this boycott thing. Why can't we just exchange where we find value in exchanging and otherwise leave people alone?

I have written before:
 Every day we all deal with people based on specific transactions, and don't pry beyond that. The grocery store down the street from me is run by a guy from Dubai. He smiles and is always polite to all his customers. I have no idea what his political or religious views are. I doubt he is a libertarian. I am simply glad that he always has on hand the grocery items I need.

My laundry is run by an Asian woman. She is quite uncommunicative. I am not sure if she is shy, depressed or hates Caucasians, but she takes in my clothes gets them washed quickly and cheaply, that's all I care about.

There is a lesbian at the local Kinko's that is so sharp and efficient that if I need any printing, shipping or anything else done that is a bit complicated, I will go to the store when she is there. Not because she is lesbian but because she is competent.

That's the way the world generally works. The world would get pretty crazy if we had to start examining people's views before we conducted any transactions with them.
Damon is involved in some pretty decent films, so I go to the theater and watch them. Because I write on economics, I do bash him when he says stupid economic stuff.

But why should I mix the two? This is not much different from people who want to stop importing, or impose high tariffs on Russian caviar, French champagne and Italian suits if Russia, France and Italy impose tariffs on us. This just limits our choices.

Free trade is always good, if the trade makes sense to both sides. To start drawing up check lists of what people's views must be before we deal with them. really just lowers everybody's standard of living who is in on the busybody effort.



  1. "Why should I mix the two?"

    Perhaps you don't, but others might derive "psychic profit" from discriminating against someone who they don't agree with, or who has chiseled 6pack abs, or left-handed people.

    The commenter here perhaps values politics over action films, or it's that Matt Damon action movie replacements are in enough abundance that the lost value of missing his movies is very low, or for a number of other reasons.

    This is free trade. People with vastly different value systems working competitively, while in cooperation buying and selling goods and services, and discovering prices in a one-billion-plus daily transaction market as a result of these transactions and expectations.

    On a broader scoap, fast-food giant Chic-fil-a doesn't open on Sundays says the owner due to his Christian faith, which commands no work on Sundays. The owner could earn more revenue by opening on Sundays, but he receives more psychic profit from keeping the restaurant closed.

    You sir appear to be a consummate trader. You value the trade above sex, race, religion, or creed. Others don't.

    That said, I bet the commenter would watch Matt Damon films at the salary of $25,000 per film that he watched. Maybe he'd do it for $1,000 per film. In theory, the trade could still take place, but it's not likely that Matt Damon or a third party starts paying haters to watch his movies.

    Perhaps you would find a similar trade-off point where your psychic profit scale tips. Imagine you enjoyed a world-class experience at incredibly low prices with your trading firm, and then you found out they were Nazis. Would you still bank with the Nazis?

    "This is not much different from people who want to stop importing, or impose high tariffs....."

    The difference is the use of coercion. The politically discriminating movie-goer does not violate NAP in that example. The lobbyists or citizens or lawmakers using the force of the law to stop or alter trade is a violation of NAP because it prohibits or increases costs of trade for other people who would have otherwise been willing to trade with one another.

    "Drawing check lists of what people's views must be before we deal with them" really is just one item somewhere on the scale of each of our value check lists and, should the psychic profit hit or exceed expected results, it adds to the consumer's standard of living based on his value system. The producer is not due an income from any person or for any reason.

    1. Well said... I was just going to comment to a similar effect.

      It's essential to vote with your feet when you have principles. A-list celebrities command great influence on the society at large, and so we must support those whose influence is a net positive and reject those net negatives who aim to subvert it. Likewise for the shopowner down the street: would the author patronize the dry cleaner from Dubai if the man donated money to ISIS? It's of course nearly impossible to learn this, so of course it would be fine to patronize his business otherwise.

      However, once you find out someone endorses flagrant violations of your (alleged) principles, a choice confronts you: maintain integrity by withholding support for them, or give them your money, propping up their subversive endeavors and downgrading your principles to mere preferences.

  2. He's an idiot lefty but Im also a fan of the Bourne films.

  3. Mr. Wenzel, do you know of any works examine the economics of sanction/boycott directly?

  4. Confused lefties sometimes make great anti-state, anti-authoritarian, anti-power movies too.
    The "Hunger Games", for one, and even the Bourne movies certainly don't put the State in any light except for power hungry and murderous. I say keep up the good work there, the movies themselves have more impact than movie stars do these days, look at Thailand banning the "mocking jay" salute.
    Anyone can listen to a star give some anti-Liberty or global warming speech and Google a story one minute later showing their hypocrisy on the issue in their own lives. I just don't think movie stars have the influence they once did.
    Welcome to the Information Age.
    Also, and I am not saying anyone here is like this, but I have talked to several people who say "boycott this guy or that woman cause he/she is a commie", and in the same breathe freak out that I boycott the political system.
    "You have to vote!! At least for the lesser of 2 evils!!" "How can you say not voting does anything good??!!"
    Being a Libertarian/Anarchist though, boycott whoever you want, watch whatever movie you want, big deal, Its not my business what you do with your own life.
    But if you want to make a change and stand for Liberty, at least be consistent.

    Boycott the State.

  5. Robert, you have no real sense of history or the importance of culture. The reason is because they are waging war against us. If one side refuses to see that (or, rather, various members of the one side), the war doesn't disappear or go away. Have you noticed what Twitter, Facebook, and other supposed defenders of free speech are doing. It's a war. We didn't start the war. We didn't set the rules. They did.