The Blaze: Kingsman and Obama

The Blaze is the right-wing politics network started by former CNN and Fox News host Glenn Beck and most of the segments on the network involve spouting sanctimonious talking-points with the aim of obfuscating reality. In a segment in the last week Stu Burguiere, an ideological drones that doubles up at a television host, attempted to compare the plot of the film Kingsman: The Secret Service, staring Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Firth, with Barack Obama’s ‘left-wing’ policies.

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This is clearly communist propaganda dressed up as a James Bond parody. (20th Century Fox)
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a film that looks at a number of philosophical concepts, either intentionally or unwittingly, and presents these concepts to the audience as a way of challenging the their pre-conceived ideas regarding environmentalism. Early in the film the concept of Gaia Theory is introduced in form of Professor James Arnold, played by Mark Hamill, and the theory is used as a metaphor throughout the film by the main antagonist Richmond Valentine, played by Samuel L. Jackson.
The language used by Valentine to explain his theory, how global warming is the fever of a virus and the virus itself is mankind, is interesting as it takes the rational idea of humanity negative impacts upon the environment to the most extreme position of justifying a genocide or, as is described in the film, a cull. The response of Burguiere is confusing as he takes the employment of this language out of context; the first clip he uses is saying that the US President in the film looks like Obama from behind and that this is somehow a commentary on President Obama’s complicity in a genocide.
He is correct when he says that there is a social commentary in that scene; in this specific scene Valentine says “those idiots who call themselves politicians have buried their heads in the sand and stood for nothing but re-election”, a clear social commentary about the ineffectiveness of Washington.
The meeting between the President and Valentine is also indicative of another facet of the current US political system in that a billionaire has access to the White House with this being used a plot device rather than a point about the rich having more influence over political policy than constituents whose collective voice should be greater than that of big money interests.
The next line of attack from the host is that Firth and Jackson’s characters talking about their shared view that carbon emissions are a red herring is deceptive because ‘Liberal Hollywood’ is using the ‘fact’ of carbon emissions being irrelevant as dialogue between a insane evil villain and an undercover agent thus implanting the ‘truth’ about climate change as the ravings of a mentally unstable person.
Without sounding patronising, which I would hate to do, the ‘research’ that Jackson’s character is referring to, that showed carbon emissions were a red herring, didn’t happen because it took place in a feature film (a piece of fiction). Mr Burguiere’s worries seem to be paranoia; a grand left-wing conspiracy with Kingsman being a bold ploy out outlining its evil plan (despite the fact its apparent beliefs, in the context of the film, are espoused by the antagonist, and not the film’s hero).
Samuel L. Jackson in Kingsman playing a man in a hat.
Samuel L. Jackson in Kingsman playing a man in a hat. (20th Century Fox)
The final part of the segment is comparing the fictional character of Richmond Valentine with the demographer Paul R. Ehrlich, a prominent neo-Malthusian demographer who is best known for his doom-filled predictions about the impacts of continued population growth.
The host actually slips into more transparent lying as he stated that “‘[Ehrlich] like our Kingsman villain, he even admitted to using his spectacular scare tactics as a red herring”; the whole premise of the film was that Valentine supposedly did research that came to the same conclusion: that human population growth was driving CO2 emission growth therefore meaning that any actions taken by humans to reduce CO2 emissions would be ineffective unless the population was reduced (not that the entirety of climate science is a web of lies).
The introduction of Ehrlich into the conversation is an attempt to portray all left-wing (this network thinks that Bill Clinton is left-wing so this includes the Democratic Party in its totality as well) environmentalists as genocidal maniacs who value the environmental of the earth over the survival of the human species.
This is overwhelmingly stupid as there are many left-wing critics of Ehrlich’s particular brand of scaremongering arguing the new resources, as has been seen throughout history, can be made useful through human creativity and technological advancement. From a political perspective, leftists also argue that a more equal distribution of resources, unlike the current waste in the developed world and simultaneous scarcity in poorer countries, would do more than population controls based on state coercion to tackle environmental problems like overfishing and the loss of biodiversity.
Burguiere conflates ‘climate change policies of Progressives’, which from other segments is a euphemism for the Democrats, and Ehrlich’s views, despite the fact that, as I have mentioned, there are many on the Left who disagree. The main crux of this final comment is that Burguiere seems to believe that President Obama, who is no leftist comrade of mine, is pursuing environmental policies that wouldn’t be out of place coming out of Richmond Valentine’s mouth- this is obviously false.
Obama’s policies have included stricter vehicle emission limits, working to get binding carbon reduction targets with countries like China, and a $70 billion package of tax credits and direct spending for clean energy-related programmes in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Obama’s policies are increased regulation, neo-Keynesian investment and international agreements; I don’t believe I need to point out how not-insane such policies are when compared to culling the human population (by implanting chips in peoples heads as done in the film).
Obama on one of his unnerving rants about saving the planet through centrist policies. Makes me sick.
Obama on one of his unnerving rants about saving the planet through centrist policies. Makes me sick. (UNGA)
Without sounding too much like Žižek, Kingsman is a good film because it attempts to introduce political and philosophical concepts to a wide audience. I have not met this particular peddler of right-wing drivel so I cannot comment on his intellectual abilities so I shall leave that choice up to you: either he is a moron incapable of grasping anything other than simple film plots that reinforce his own viewpoint, or he is intelligent enough to understand the ideological questions raised in the film but is actively choosing to misrepresent the film to a right-wing audience.
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