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Black Panther’s Misleading Utopia

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Cast member Chadwick Boseman poses at the premiere of "Black Panther" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

BLACK PANTHER has made movie history as the first smash hit about a black superhero. But even as international audiences savor this splashy entertainment, it’s worth noting some necessary reservations.

The dialogue is full of clunky clichés, the plot is convoluted, the lavish sets and costumes look tacky and sometimes tawdry, and the special effects often fail to convince. Despite strong performances from a distinguished cast, the movie creates a totally fictitious African utopia that ignores fundamental truths about civilizations. The story centers on the fantasy kingdom of “Wakanda,” which, in carefully guarded isolation, has developed technological advances that lead the world. In fact, isolation invariably produces stagnation, not progress.

Moreover, Wakanda in the movie is a medieval, tribal society, choosing all-powerful rulers through trial by combat and magical incantations. In the real world, advancement and well being grow reliably from democratic, free market institutions, not from authoritarian societies based on brutality and sorcery echoing Game of Thrones.

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  1. Ty  •  Feb 21, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Oh Michael, you are reading too much into the messaging. The movie was more aspirational than prescriptive. More like a vision of success and autonomy that people want to get to.

    I agree that having more open societies will make that pathway infinitely easier to achieve… which is why this message needs to be directed at much of the conservative base. More OPEN societies tend to prosper, not the ones that want to close ranks and shut outsiders out.

    So to the big build the wall crowd, and the Tom Cotton supporters that want to cut LEGAL immigration by up to half (Which I LOVE, because it exposes the LIE that conservatives are JUST against illegal immigration, many are against what they perceive as too many LEGAL immigrants too), remember. OPEN societies are superior. Not wanting people because they do not share the religion of most of the natives, or the same skin tone, or European history, or whatever nativist impulses drive people is a recipe for slower growth and progress at best, decline at worst.

    • Ty needs counseling  •  Feb 24, 2018 at 11:45 pm

      More drivel from Ty. I guess you never noticed, but the republican party is made up of a lot of people with a lot of different ideas. You constantly try to define what the republican party believes, and you always fail miserably to come any where close to the truth. Hey dummy, there is no "republican" position. There are lots of views on every issue within the republican party.

      Some republicans are for legal immigration and some are not. And even if you are for legal immigration, there has to be a point at which you say, that is too much. In the past few years, I have turned against even legal immigration. We have too much immigration. When about 14% of the people living here were not born here, that is too much. Ty, what is the correct percentage of people living in USA who were not born Americans? Tell us, oh wise one….

      And Ty, the wall is about stopping illegal immigration. It is not about closing off American society to outside influences. Have you heard a proposal to build one on the border with Canada?

      Ty, you have a racial inferiority complex. It shows through on almost every post.

      • Ty  •  Feb 25, 2018 at 11:52 pm

        "Some republicans are for legal immigration and some are not. And even if you are for legal immigration, there has to be a point at which you say, that is too much. In the past few years, I have turned against even legal immigration. We have too much immigration. When about 14% of the people living here were not born here, that is too much. Ty, what is the correct percentage of people living in USA who were not born Americans? Tell us, oh wise one…."

        I am opposed most strongly to the ones like yourself, who want to shut the door on legal immigration. You are even more hardcore than Tom Cotton with that fortress America attitude. I am perfectly aware there are a range of views among the conservative tent, from semi reasonable to full on nativist. You have just outed yourself as part of the latter camp, the worst camp of all. Not a good sub group to be associated with.

        You talk of 14% of the people living here not being born here as if that is some terrible thing. It's not terrible to me. The better question is whether those people assimilate and buy into the larger society and American culture. If the answer is yes, then I don't care and would not care of 50% were not born here.

        And do you know why? Because I do not want the United States modeled on a foundation of BLOOD & SOIL. We know what kinds of filth actively express that sentiment, and your shadows of the same thing is a bridge too far for me.

        You don't want a wall with Canada because most Canadians are white and/or not poor. But we see what kinds of talk riles up that nativist base, when Trump said why bother taking all those people from sh*thole countries he was maligning the state of the ethnic background and the PEOPLE that made up those countries. The reality is the people that immigrate by plane, even from the so called sh*thole countries, tend to be selected from the elites of society, tend to be HIGHER skilled and have an easier ability to assimilate. So what could the leftover agitation be?

        If as has been DEMONSTRATED and researched that HIGH skilled immigrants, WHATEVER their background, tend to do well is not the irritant then what is?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3GIfdxe5fY&t=4m15s

        What could be generating that animus? I think it's just lesser rationale that lives in the shadow of the colossus of the blood and soil rhetoric of the alt right. My people, My tribe, my european background, my shared faith, my political group affinity, some mixture of these things that cannot be captured by the actual secular results of immigration. Some of those concerns are more benign, but the others are absolute poison.

        Why else harp on 14% of the nation not being born here? You think what makes an American American is whether you were born here? Since when did that TRASH European ethnic foundation of a nation creep into the conservative soul? And how DARE you expect a liberal like me to LOWER myself to that guttural standard?

        I have no racial inferiority complex, I'm not even one race, but more important to you perhaps, I am not white. Does that bother you? Am I not a "real" American like you because I don't have any substantial European lineage? When I mention phrases like white christians, it's not because I am hostile to white people, or even christians writ large. Most of my family is christian, I do not hate them. I bring that descriptor up because I am asserting that some significant portion of the white evangelical conservative population is antagonistic to outside groups that do not share their characteristics in part BECAUSE they are not evangelical christians, BECAUSE they are not white. That last is something I associate more with a conservative impulse, where a greater wariness of outsiders can easily latch onto any characteristics not shared by the home group. That is a danger of a conservative temperament to watch out for and correct for, any I see many failures on the conservative side in that regard.

        Feel free to deny that is what the majority or even a sizable chunk are about, but that is what I detect when I hear people argue against things like immigration and the obvious cultural/PEOPLE/tribal fears of the other wafts off them like a stench.

      • Rizzo  •  Feb 26, 2018 at 11:44 am

        Ty…. Ummm…. Moron…. Wake up! How much illegal immigration is coming from Canada? Nobody…. And I mean NOBODY in the American-Conservative movement gives a shit what color you are, or where you come from.
        NOBODY!
        It's a LAZY, PATHETIC "argument" of the left! And, it's effective for the millions of DRONES, who's only measurable skill is to march and chant… But it's demonstrably wrong and inaccurate.

      • Rizzo  •  Feb 26, 2018 at 11:48 am

        To come to America, it must be FIRST in America's BEST INTERESTS.
        Each immigrant better know, understand, assimilate and love American VALUES. That's probably also a bridge too far for you Ty… You and your American "citizen", ILK can not even embrace that relatively low standard.

      • Rizzo  •  Feb 26, 2018 at 12:29 pm

        Seriously Ty, what does it even mean to be white or black or brown or whatever, in America? You complete dumbass!
        Ever heard of the melting pot? Rarely, if ever, are people in America, pure-bread anything. Nobody gives a shit, except for divisive leftists.
        You sick people try to divide and conquer every possible sub-group in America.
        It is a pathetic sickness that has infested every aspect of your collective lives.

  2. Rizzo  •  Feb 21, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    Open societies ONLY prosper if it’s controlled and not a FREE-FOR-ALL. Citizens determine who come in. We let in people to further the prosperity of our society, not the other way around, you MORON. America is diverse BECAUSE of its greatness. America is NOT great because it is diverse…. learn it, live it, love it!

    • Ty  •  Feb 21, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      Good thing most liberals on the left do not want a total free for all.

      "America is diverse BECAUSE of its greatness. America is NOT great because it is diverse"

      Take the first part, that is true, but part of the explanation is that part of the greatness of America is that it is NOT based on a persons ethnic background or national origin. What makes us great is that at our best (when the nativists are not in control – re Tom Cotton) What makes a person part of America is NOT tied to blood and soil.

      That model is an intrinsically superior ideal, so when YOUR senators actively promote immigration reforms that deliberately seek to limit LEGAL immigration, you might want to ask why? Want more merit based vs extended family? Ok, one less slot to an aunt can go to another skilled immigrant then, right ? Oh wait, that is not how it was designed, it just removes the top end numbers without making up for any drops, seems like Mr Cotton and the immigration hard liners want less LEGAL immigrants. I wonder why? Because we are worse off having highly skilled people come here? That can't be it, they tend to be net tax payers and disproportionately represent business owners and entrepreneurs… What else could it be… what else…

      Can't have anything to do with the fact that a decent chunk are not evangelical christian can it? Or natural republican voters? Or have brown skin? Oh no, the nativists are NEVER motivated by anything but the most noble of intentions with their hard line stance.

      If I was that credulous, I might be a conservative.

      • Rizzo  •  Feb 21, 2018 at 9:10 pm

        Conversely, libtards can't possibly be in favor of illegal immigrants, due to the fact that they are completely ignorant of American Exceptionalism, they can't speak the language, so it's likely they will never learn, and lastly, but most importantly, are highly motivated to vote for the party who give the biggest handouts…. That couldn't possibly be the reason that libtards favor illegal immigrantion… Could it?

        If I was completely against sanity and rule of law, I might be a leftist libtard.

      • Kpar  •  Feb 24, 2018 at 11:34 am

        Ty, with all due respect, I believe that you are imputing motives and attitudes to your ideological opponents that are not in evidence. While I believe it is true that America is an ideal, rather than a coalition of related clans, there is no question, in my mind, that a country that is not in control of its own borders is not a country.

        Milton Friedman famously said that "You cannot have open borders and a welfare state at the same time" (or words to that direct effect).

        Why a limit on legal immigration? You DO understand that we have been allowing in about ONE MILLION LEGAL immigrants per year? Add to that the much larger number of illegals, and we have the seeds of a serious demographic problem- not one based on race or skin color, but one based on the lack of a common culture- people who have little or no understanding of self-governance or the concept of a limited government. It's bad enough that so many native-born American citizens are so uninformed on that very subject- adding millions more miseducated and misunderstanding voters (and make no mistake, the Democrats want them to vote!) will turn this nation into a nightmare for our progeny.

        It is in our legal authority, and in our nation's interest, to place whatever limits on immigration we choose. Assimilation takes time, and the failure to do so allows the development and perpetuation of "balkanized" areas and separation of our population into hostile factions (Think of the "no-go" zones in places like France and Sweden, despite the denials of the MSM and other elites, those places are REAL!)

        No one benefits from uncontrolled immigration, not us, and not the immigrants. The Last Great Hope of Mankind (that would be US!) needs a break, if we want to continue to show the world how to do it right.

      • Rizzo  •  Feb 24, 2018 at 12:51 pm

        Kpar…

        That's great. But, your explanation is far too logical and well thought-out for a simple-minded leftist, who's only defense is name-calling and cries of "racism"
        Rational thought and logic have a difficult time cutting through the mindless chants of leftist drones.

        Thank you, nonetheless, for your contribution.

      • Ty needs counseling  •  Feb 24, 2018 at 11:49 pm

        Why do you hate white christians so much? Why do you fear them so? Why must your bigotry be exhibited in every post? Have you sought counseling yet?

      • Ty  •  Feb 26, 2018 at 12:17 am

        I am absolutely guilty of imputing motives, but I think many of my imputations are more on the mark than conservatives are want to admit.

        I have no problem with border control. I still think a border wall to a non murderous population is a terrible symbol, I would live with that, in addition to more border control and even workplace enforcement ramping up. What I am most opposed to is ripping peoples lives up that are already here and have been for decades. To conservatives (to some, especially the most hard core elements), the initial law breaking is an ETERNAL original sin, a scarlet letter etched onto the Souls of all illegal immigrants where ALL THAT THEY ARE as human beings is filtered through their not belonging here. At that point, their "worth" as human beings drops below a DOG.

        Have you not noticed how callous some of your conservative brethren can be? I keep telling you the pitfall of the conservative mind, that once someone falls outside the circle of concern, the capacity for empathy and grace from a lot of conservatives drops off an effing CLIFF! Oh? You've been here for decades? built a life? had a family? employ people? But wait? you came over illegally 30 years ago? GET THE EFF OUT !!!!!!!!!

        ALL that they are, distilled into an illegal act decades ago. No mercy, no grace, You SEE this stated by fellow conservatives, not most thank the gods, but MANY of them feel this way. Does that not strike you as a horror show of humanity? You would think not carving out all the people who entered the country illegally is akin to allowing a population of zombies to stay in the country. But I sometimes wonder if that is not how the nativists see those people, not really people, more like cancers, infections, defilers to the "purity" of their nation. Pure in what sense? That is an interesting question, and I know you don't want my array of likely answers.

        On the reasonableness of letting in a million people a year legally, we are a much larger country than most countries. We still let in half the legal immigrants per capita compared to a nation like Canada. But perhaps you want us to mirror Japan? They are much more nonrestrictive than the US when it comes to immigrants. I think a million is fine, I think 2 million a year would be fine. IF they are skilled, I think generally letting in more would make us all better off. Do you have any colleagues that have immigrated from another country by plane? These are some of the greatest gifts we could have. By and large, we are lucky to have them. That is my attitude, they tend to earn more on average, have more education, more likely to go into medicine and the sciences. It is a gift that we are able to attract these people and we are made better for it. And to see so many conservatives see those same people and turn their noses up and arrange their mouths in a sneer of contempt.

        Absolutely vile. I am not unconcerned about having TOO many people come over, but because I'm not a ball of puss and fear like so many nativist conservatives, my threshold for fear is not as shallow as so many of yours. The US has NEVER pulled a Merkel with legal immigration, and even most of our illegal immigration waves mostly consisted of economic migrants that shared a common religion and were much easier to integrate than a more potentially hostile Islamic population.

        But if you are a fear ball style conservative, you can set the risk to zero by just not letting anyone in, or limiting it to a trickle. But that is not what I want. And the irony of it all, is that I, as a modern liberal, have more FAITH in the idea and ideals of America than you so called conservatives. Who are so afraid that having too many immigrants will degrade the character of the nation and tear us down. I do not fear that, or, to be more accurate, my threshold of immigrants flowing into the US is MUCH higher where that kind of concern would be on my radar. But again, I'm not as much of a ball of fear and puss like so many conservatives. Frightened little things they are. It's a wonder they don't run from their own shadows.

        But I suppose I am living proof of your fears realized. I can already imagine the wheels turning, non white, non christian, non conservative !!!!!!!!!! You SEE !!!!!!!!

        Welcome to over half of America kids. And spoiler alert, there are still plenty of white christian liberals.

      • Rizzo  •  Feb 26, 2018 at 9:06 am

        You claim to have "no fear" of immigration, legal and otherwise… Perhaps. However, it's not because you have a greater belief in American ideals… It is much more accurately described as your absolute ignorance of American ideals, and your complete contempt for America.
        You are an ideological troll and a total historical illiterate.
        As Obama said, we must transform America…. You can't transform without first destroying. And like Lincoln said… That destruction will come from within. It will come from Pukes, like you, Ty.

  3. Rizzo  •  Feb 24, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Speaking of 'Misleading Utopia'…

    Enough is enough: Tenants join landlord in Bay Area exodus

    Top five reasons people leave the Bay Area: high taxes, cost of living, quality of life from traffic to homelessness, politics and high housing prices. For many long-time residents, she said, “they feel like they don’t belong here any more.”

    https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2018/02/23/enough-is-enough-tenants-join-landlord-in-bay-area-exodus/

  4. Rizzo  •  Feb 24, 2018 at 8:10 am

    San Francisco Bay Area Experiences Mass Exodus Of Residents

    Dabak cites crowding, crime and politics as the reasons for her own exodus.
    “We don’t like it here anymore. You know, we don’t like this sanctuary state status and just the politics here,” she said.

    Here's the REAL QUESTION: Where will we, Americans, go, when leftists policies destroy America, just like they have destroyed The Bay Area and much of California?

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/02/08/san-francisco-bay-area-mass-exodus-residents/

  5. Rizzo  •  Feb 25, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Absolute LAWLESSNESS!

    Oakland Mayor Mayor Libby Schaaf warns residents of possible ICE raids

    http://kron4.com/2018/02/24/oakland-mayor-mayor-libby-schaaf-warns-residents-of-possible-ice-raids/

  6. Rizzo  •  Feb 26, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Here is the greatest thing of all!
    Leftists are all for immigrants, until they find a conservative immigrant.
    Leftists love African-Americans, until they encounter a conservative African-American.
    Leftists love women, until they discover a conservative woman.
    What leftists reveal everyday, is that they are TOTAL AND COMPETE HYPOCRITES!
    Leftists love one thing… BIG, TOTATALITARIAN GOVERNMENT.
    If you just so happen to oppose their leftist agenda…. They will hate on you no matter the color of your skin, the genitalia in your pants, or the country of your origin.
    If you love America and American values, they will find a way to demonize you.
    They can try to hide behind race, color, culture and creed…. But, at the end of the day, leftists HATE AMERICA!

  7. Ty  •  Feb 27, 2018 at 12:46 am

    Rizzo, you are hyperventilating. Let me show you a video that describes so much of what I see wrong with modern conservatism. It's not too long.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xwty5-hKufo

    Conservative elites are often guilty of focusing too heavily on principles completely unmoored from a focus on the desired outcome. Conservatives often caricature this critique as the left wanting equality of results, which is a lie. But sometimes, often times, attention to desired outcomes (even with plenty of expected and necessary inequality of outcomes) is worth looking at and giving greater priority to over and above principles.

    If you have a principle that you are generally against redistribution, how would you justify having tax dollars pay for medical treatment or additional monitoring for the mentally ill, you know, like the kid who shot up a school in Florida? In order to change policy there, and not just rely on the charity fairy in her infinite fickleness and lumpy distributions across both regions and times, you need be able to redistribute some of the tax dollars of non mentally ill people towards the mentally ill population. You need to prioritize that OUTCOME over and above the general principle.

    Failing to do that, means you worship the principle, and work for the principle, not the other way around. And why is that a good standard? Principles ought to be functional anchors of lives and societies, but if those anchors are preventing the ship from moving away from a particular area of rough sees, it's worth lifting it up until the utility of the principle becomes useful again. But the utility is the key frame, otherwise, you conservatives will forever be willing slaves to principles.

    • Rizzo  •  Feb 27, 2018 at 1:04 am

      Oh right… if only we allowed the government to further plunder our hard-earned money, then we could have helped the mentally ill sufficiently and stopped the Florida shooter. Are you nuts? I don't believe there is enough money in this world to help your mental illness.

      Now, tell us how you love women, like Sara Palin.
      Or how you love African Americans, like Clarence Thomas.
      Or immigrants… How much do you love Ted Cruz? Isn't he a dreamer too?

      Leftists are FRAUDS!!!

      • Ty  •  Feb 28, 2018 at 1:53 am

        If you are suggesting that Sarah Palin, Clarence Thomas, and Ted Cruz are mentally ill and as a consequence I ought to love them, I accept your characterization of them! but no, I will not love them. I would however be fine with some of my tax dollars going to help treat and have them deal with their mental illness.

      • Rizzo  •  Feb 28, 2018 at 8:13 am

        No… I am not suggesting that Sarah Palin, Clarence Thomas, nor Ted Cruz are mentally ill. It's a reference to a point that I made earlier, which is YOU and all leftists pretend that everything is about race, gender and skin color.
        Are you and your leftist minions racist when you hate conservative women, immigrants and blacks?
        Leftists are COMPLETE FRAUDS, that lie and hide behind lazy, unfounded arguments.

    • Rizzo  •  Feb 27, 2018 at 7:22 pm
  8. Rizzo  •  Feb 27, 2018 at 11:11 am

    If you oppose slavery and theft, how can you support the principle of redistribution?
    How can you support government, who steals from one set of citizens and gives it to another? Through the threat of force, government can take upwards of 50% of our hard-earned labor… essentially turning us into half-slaves or more. Then, if you can’t or won’t pay it, government will imprison you, making you a full slave.
    So MORAL are leftists!

    • Ty  •  Feb 28, 2018 at 1:54 am

      Because I do not consider taxation to be slavery or theft, I do not consider it that because I am not an ideologue and a fool.

      • Rizzo  •  Feb 28, 2018 at 8:22 am

        Of course you don't consider taxes to be theft and slavery…. Just like your racist, democrat, confederate brethren from long ago had no problem with slavery.
        I would say they were taxed at 100%.
        You people are sick and can rationalize anything to reach your Utopia.

      • Rizzo  •  Mar 2, 2018 at 9:29 am

        If you don't consider TAXES to be slavery… try to stop paying them, and see what happens.
        Your leftist ass will be in jail.

  9. Rizzo  •  Feb 28, 2018 at 10:32 am

    And this is why history has an awful record, when it comes to repeating itself.

    Morons, like Ty and the idiot YouTuber, fail to recognize, or perhaps they are just ignorant of the fact that American "Principles" are the results of Trial and Error. Our principles exist, because we know from history what "works", and what is "fair and just", and what "tyranny" is. American principles are our foundation and what is followed, not because of some blind devotion to traditions and meaningless rituals… We, conservatives, know, that our PRINCIPLES, our form of Constitutional Repulicanism government, and our way of life, is what has allowed America to become the greatest, most prosperous country in all of human history.

    If you want to debate those principles, fine… lets go! But, for some moron to spew ignorance about the evils of having principles is ludicrous. Believe me, that YouTuber MORON has principles… and they all involve the worship of BIG GOVERNMENT! He, like you Ty, believe that government is the solution to everything. If we would just ALL submit EVERYTHING to government, then and ONLY then can we achieve UTOPIA.

    Individual thought, freedom, and rights are always the nemesis of LEFTISTS.
    It is sick and pathetic!

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