Once the slimy oil of the film wears off and the ensuing doldrums give way to the dawn of another day, however, it’s worth noting that “The Ides of March” makes a powerful – if completely unintentional – commentary on the difference between Republicans and Democrats, between “conservatives” and “progressives.”
For starters, every weekday, Rush Limbaugh gets to spout off nearly uninhibited on everything that’s wrong with the nation, with Democrats and with liberals. I’ve heard the worst he has to say, and despite what the foaming-at-the-mouth mainstream-media types report, it isn’t all that ugly. Snarky, outrageously biased, over the top and ungracious, to be sure, but far from the “hate” he supposedly spews.
You can’t say the same thing about liberals when they get on a tear. And there’s no question that leftists were hard at work behind this movie.
In “The Ides of March,” by (conveniently?) making the political contest the Democratic primary instead of the presidential race, every character in the film gets to spout off liberal rhetoric and reserve his or her venom for those evil Republicans, Christians and conservatives.
And yet, even if moviegoers accept that the GOP bashing is simply what you’d expect from a movie inside a Democrat campaign, and even if moviegoers accept the implied premise that a movie about Republicans would sound the same, only in reverse, the film makes some bold, political worldview statements that illustrate foundational chasms between Democrats and Republicans and between biblical and unbiblical thought.
More intriguing is this off-hand, “I naturally assume you agree with me” statement made by the top candidate in the film, while arguing against the death penalty: “Society has to be better than the individual.”
Death penalty debate aside, this statement reflects a foundational difference in thought: Is thecollectiveultimately more noble than the individual, presenting our best hope for the redemption and protection of people … or is theindividualultimately more estimable than the collective, presenting our best hope for the redemption of society?
Socialists, communists, progressives and, yes, Democrats, have largely held the collective in higher esteem. Think “It takes a village to raise a child” or labor unions or Medicare.
Capitalists, conservatives and, yes, Republicans, have typically held the individual in higher esteem. Think free markets, Second Amendment enthusiasts and the Gadsden flag.
Which of the two did our Founders esteem? Historically, the answer is undeniable.
Which did the Soviet revolution esteem? Again, perfectly clear.