WALL*E, the libertarian

July 5, 2008

Since it came out, the Pixar film WALL*E has generated great kudos. On the second night it was out, I took my entire family – my wife, my 9 year-old daughter, my 7 year-old son and their 2 1/2 year-old brother  – to see the film.

It is a wonderful, heart-warming and cute film, with incredible animation and a fairly good story.

Unfortunately, that has not stopped some knee-jerk, anti-environmentalist Randroids and slack-jawed conservative idiots from labeling it as “environmentalist, anticapitalist, and antitechnological propaganda” (sic).


**Spoiler Alert – do not read any further if you haven’t seen the film**

Lets see, we have an planet ruined by garbage, as the result of what appears to be the monopoly of a single company – Big and Large (BNL) – because they cater to every whim. They seem to be able to dump garbage because they seem to be able to externalize the cost of doing so. Now that could be a metaphor for pure socialism, but it seems more likely to me to be a metaphor for our current state capitalism.

Now, when faced with environmental disaster, what is the answer? why a more technological and nanny state existence on a cruise ship in space. Every aspect of life, from cradle to grave, is taken care of by the State – the cruise ship – and its minions – the service robots. Indeed, the humans become so lazy and distracted by this they do not realize they are always following the carefully controlled and laid out plans of the State to the point that they don’t realize the ship has a pool and that other people are more than just picture on a view screen.

It is not until the people of the ship are awakened and remember their past, fight against the agents of the state – the service robots trying to stop them from going to earth – shut off the “Autopilot” and leave the ship are they truly free.

They leave the control and comfort of the ship (state) and enter a fairly barren, despoiled land. It is not a paradise, but harsh – literally a garbage dump. But they courageously step forward, awkwardly, and start their new lives without the ship and its nanny-state society.

And if you stayed to watch the credits, the back story that unfold in the background animation, you’ll see they better their world not by taking orders from the “Autopilot”  but by cooperating and working together to plant food, recover from garbage and to rebuild without the over arching authority.

That certainly seems like a libertarian storyline to me?

I would also add that WALL*E indulges in a few verboten activities that libertarians would love and the MPAA and the RIAA would despise – he watches his pirated version of  “Hello Dolly” on his iPod and plays the ripped version of the music on his internal tape deck. He is self reliant, gathering and using spare parts he finds to fix himself and create his home, without relying on “the mother ship” to do it for him, like the bots on the Axiom do.

All that, but some people still call it a liberal propaganda film.

As others have pointed out, if you are so humourless as to be caterwauling about a kids movie like this, without seeing that obviously there are elements of both liberal and conservative politics, than how can anyone take you seriously.

“The fundamental story of the movie is about a culture beholden to a nanny state – in this case, a literal nanny state that coddles them like babies from the cradle to the grave, a world where individual initiative is destroyed and cultural history is entirely alien to the entire human race.  Basically, it’s the exact thing that conservatives have been warning us about for years, wrapped up in a movie with cute robots who rebel against it and lead humanity to a hunting-gathering-growing Earth.”


Environmental destruction happens and sometimes, the best laid plans of a statist, technological solution are worse. Only when people are free to face adversity and make free choices, not preprogrammed one, will the world be saved.

That is the message of WALL*E. That is the message to the environmentalists who think tha answer to state capitalist created pollutions and environmental destruction is more state regulation and exemption.

And it has cute robots, which will be used to market thousands of toys for the next two year.

But its anti-capitalist.


These people really need to get a sense of humour and get over themselves.


17 Responses to “WALL*E, the libertarian”

  1. Niccolo Says:

    THANK YOU!!!

    With so many of the capitalist apologists at Mises and LewRockwell, it’s difficult to point to people an actual message of libertarianism.

    When will these yokels realize? Capitalism has never mean free-market! Capitalism has always been a supporter of the state! Capitalism is not compatible with libertarianism!

  2. theconverted Says:

    Well, the fact that they couldn’t see the very obvious nanny state socialism reference seriously leads me to believe the just stopped watching after 10 minutes, if they saw it at all.

    OT, you should check back into LL2 again Nic. Tony got booted for threatening legal action against Dan Ust. It pretty much back to decent discussion again – Roderick Long is back too.

  3. Niccolo Says:


    The whole Tony banter kept me away from the forums, but now that he’s gone I’ll be popping in and out again.

  4. Tom Says:

    I sure hope that’s true. It’s been awhile since I’ve followed LL2, mostly owing to its massive volume, but one of the other reasons for my absence was Tony Hollick (I assume that’s who you mean). And a few others whose names are evading me (wonder if they’re still around).

  5. theconverted Says:


    Yeah, its Tony…the volume has eased a bit. Roderick Long is back and there seems to be some good discussions again. Check it out if you get the chance.

  6. Wally Conger Says:

    Terrific review! Thanks for visiting my blog and sending me here!

  7. Wally Conger Says:

    By the way, I’m not sure why my blog is listed under “libertarian” rather than “anarchist” on your blogroll. I’ve been a diehard, nonvoting, anarchist activist since 1971. Ah well…

  8. theconverted Says:

    Sorry Wally…consider yourself moved to the appropriate list.

    Thanks for dropping by.


  9. Here’s an Onion AV Club post that mentions (and pokes fun at) the article in question — “Stolyarov cites the fact that fast-food restaurants are serving ‘health foods,’ ‘landfills are remarkably effective at storing garbage,’ and that traditional farming is, like, hard and stuff as flaws in the film’s logic”:

  10. […] – bookmarked by 3 members originally found by nenee3 on 2008-12-10 WALL*E, the libertarian https://theconverted.wordpress.com/?p=25 – bookmarked by 5 members originally found by […]

  11. KibJainia Says:

    Does anyone knows what should we expect in 2010? they promise more problems on wall stree? I are heading toward dipression?

  12. Hey, nice tips. I’ll buy a bottle of beer to the person from that forum who told me to visit your blog 🙂

  13. spipsyday Says:

    For a second everything went quiet in the cab, then the driver said, “Look mate, don’t ever do that again. You scared the daylights out of me!”

  14. Alettreange Says:

    Another big shot, another Genious of our days! Definatley on of the HISTROICAL figuers! Such a pitty!

  15. Bleeding nice spider’s web have here! My bunk-mate actualy sent me a fasten together! Friendly fortuity!

  16. Ashlee Says:

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  17. Fantastic!!! What to add!?

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