Conservatives Are Stupid

Political Scientist takes issue with The National Review ranking the film Red Dawn no. 15 on their list of the best conservative movies of the last 25 years. It’s not conservative, he says, it’s stupid. Yet the list as a whole suggests the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Let’s have a look (all emphases mine):
18. The Edge (1997): [...] The main characters (played by Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin) understand that there is neither wisdom nor nobility in waiting for others to save them, and that they must take responsibility for their own lives and souls. Life is unfair, but to challenge life on its own terms is an exhilarating reward, no matter the outcome.
Outcomes don’t matter! Now there’s a wise principle! Which also makes an appearance in this bit:
5. 300 (2007): During the Bush years, Hollywood neglected the heroism of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan — but it did release this action film about martial honor, unflinching courage, and the oft-ignored truth that freedom isn’t free. Beneath a layer of egregious non-history — including goblin-like creatures that belong in a fantasy epic — is a stylized story about the ancient battle of Thermopylae and the Spartan defense of the West’s fledgling institutions. It contrasts a small band of Spartans, motivated by their convictions and a commitment to the law, with a Persian horde that is driven forward by whips. [...]
Let’s skip the question whether there’s a lot of American soldiers' heroism in Iraq to be neglected and skip to the observation that 300 isn’t only a feature-length advertisement for violence, but also for stupidity. The Spartans are faced with the following choice: Have your place invaded or have your place invaded and 300 of "your" people die. Clearly the latter is much better – after all, heroism matters, outcomes don’t.

Then we have this:
20. Gattaca (1997): In this science-fiction drama, Vincent (Ethan Hawke) can’t become an astronaut because he’s genetically unenhanced. So he purchases the identity of a disabled athlete (Jude Law), with calamitous results. The movie is a cautionary tale about the progressive fantasy of a eugenically correct world [...]
So that’s why the bulk of Obama’s stimulus package goes into research trying to create superhumans. They don’t call him Barack Nietzsche for no reason! Seriously, who comes up with something like this? And who would employ such people?
— Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.
Oh. O.k.

The review of We Were Soldiers by Mackubin Thomas Owens, “a Vietnam veteran [and] a professor at the Naval War College” is by far the richest bit of prose on this list:
19. We Were Soldiers (2002): Most movies about the Vietnam War reflect the derangements of the antiwar Left. This film, based on the memoir by Lt. Col. Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson), offers a lifelike alternative. It focuses on a fight between an outnumbered U.S. Army battalion and three North Vietnamese regiments in the battle of Ia Drang in 1965. Significantly, it treats soldiers not as wretched losers or pathological killers, but as regular citizens. They are men willing to sacrifice everything to do their duty — to their country, to their unit, and to their fellow soldiers. As the movie makes clear, they also had families. Indeed, their last thoughts were usually about their loved ones back home.
That’s a lot of stupid claims for such a short piece of prose:

1. Being against war is bad. War is fun!

2. Portraying war as cruel is not lifelike.

3. Doing your duty is a good thing no matter what that means.

4. Same with serving your country. As long as you’re on your country’s side, you can’t go wrong.

5. Nonconservatives don’t have families. Or at least they don’t care about them.

But family isn’t the only thing conservatives have a monopoly on. The same is true of being against totalitarianism:
1. The Lives of Others (2007): [...]. The tale, set in East Germany in 1984, is one part romantic drama, one part political thriller. It chronicles life under a totalitarian regime as the Stasi secretly monitors the activities of a playwright who is suspected of harboring doubts about Communism. [...]
People left of center, let alone classical liberals or libertarians never harboured any misgivings about the state gaining too much power. It must be true because a second review also claims anti-totalitarianism as conservative:
22. Brazil (1985): Vividly depicting the miserable results of elitist utopian schemes, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil portrays a darkly comic dystopia of malfunctioning high-tech equipment and the dreary living conditions common to all totalitarian regimes. Everything in the society is built to serve government plans rather than people. The film is visually arresting and inventive, with especially evocative use of shots that put the audience in a subservient position, just like the people in the film.
But now I’m confused. I thought conservatives liked people in subservient positions. I’ve learned this from the following:
16. Master and Commander (2003): This naval-adventure film starring Russell Crowe is based on the books of Patrick O’Brian, and here’s what A. O. Scott of the New York Times said in his review: “The Napoleonic wars that followed the French Revolution gave birth, among other things, to British conservatism, and Master and Commander, making no concessions to modern, egalitarian sensibilities, is among the most thoroughly and proudly conservative movies ever made. It imagines the [H.M.S.] Surprise as a coherent society in which stability is underwritten by custom and every man knows his duty and his place.
In fact, it might be that S. T. Karnick, who reviewed Brazil for this list is a leftist whacko. Consider the following bit:
Terrorist bombings, national-security scares, universal police surveillance, bureaucratic arrogance, a callous elite, perversion of science, and government use of torture evoke the worst aspects of the modern megastate.
Clearly Karnick is trying to smear a certain former president of the USA. Compare and contrast with Andrew Klavan’s truly conservative comments on no. 12:
12. The Dark Knight (2008): This film gives us a portrait of the hero as a man reviled. In his fight against the terrorist Joker, Batman has to devise new means of surveillance, push the limits of the law, and accept the hatred of the press and public. If that sounds reminiscent of a certain former president — whose stubborn integrity kept the nation safe and turned the tide of war — don’t mention it to the mainstream media. [...]
Starting war: Now called turning the tide of war.


On the basis of this evidence it appears that American conservatives are a bunch of stupid, war-loving, torture-loving, lying, relativist, anti-meritocratic creationists. I’ve heard more outlandish claims. In case I have to be explicit about it, Political Scientist is none of the above.

P.S.: No, I don't mean to say that all conservatives are stupid. In fact, I was going to call this post "With Friends Like These...", but I am curious whether the title I chose will bring more Google traffic than posts containing the phrase best alternative rock songs. After all, there is surprisingly little competition.

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