Disney Socialism

I just finished watching the 1998 Disney movie “A Bug Life” and despite my hopes to the contrary, I was reminded how pervasive socialist ideology has become in absolutely everything Disney produces. I have come to expect collectivist overtones from Disney’s regular programming, but the extent to which its animated films are full of socialist indoctrination is simply disgusting. Unlike most liberal media companies, Disney produces more than the usual “multicultural” garbage but actually inserts Marxist ideology into the plot of its animated children’s movies.

“A Bugs Life” has all the elements of the topical Disney presentation of the class struggle: the proletariat, represented by the worker ants, the bourgeoisie, represented by the grasshoppers, the greedy slave-driving boss, represented by the “boss flea” in charge of the flee circus. Famous lines include [as I remember them]: “if the ants only realized that they outnumber us a hundred to one, we would be finished!” and “you’ve committed the ultimate sin: you put yourself before the colony!” If that were not enough, the flea-boss frequently explains “let’s go, there’s money to be made!” as he denies his worker’s request for a raise and proposes a routine where one the bugs is burnt to a crisp. Meanwhile, the movie makes it a point to show the ant-queen diligently joining the worker ants in their work, as she and Flik, the hero repeatedly explain “I care for the colony!” I’d like to say that Flik is at least a creative non-conformist, but the movie makes a point to show that none of his ideas are self-inspired, and all of them come to fruition only by collective effort.

Not surprisingly, the movie ends with the defeat of the overclass, as the revolutionary hero Flik inspires the ants to rise up and ensure that the ants get to keep all the “surplus” grain they collect by their collective effort. Compare this plot to “Antz,” a Dreamworks SKG release, which featured an ant who questioned his role in the ant collective and championed individualism and private ingenuity.

This review may be four years late, but Disney has clearly continued its tradition of promoting Marxist ideology in movies such as “Monster’s Inc.” where the villain is a factory owner who is found torturing little children (Can those capitalist pigs get any worse??) and is replaced by one of the factory workers by a .government agency. In general, everything Disney touches display several common elements: the subjugation of the individual to the collective, the rejection of all selfish motivations as immoral, the worship of authority figures, the proposition that all cultures and values (other than capitalism) are equivalent, and of course, the duality between the greedy capitalist slave-drivers, and the hardworking workers of the collective, who almost always rise up and show the evil capitalists who’s boss.

I’d point out some other examples of Disney socialism, but I do my very best not to support Disney in any way, and if you care about self-interest, and freedom, I strongly suggest you do the same.

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  1. I was surprised by your Ayn Rand-like analysis. Certainly history shows Walt Disney was not on the socialist barricades.

    Are you saying Disney changed its capitalist philosophy under Eisner & Katzenberg?

    Brian Sieben

  2. I’ve heard that Walt Disney himself was an advocate of a number of socialist policies such as the income tax, and made propaganda movies advocating them around WWII, thought I’ve been unable to find evidence of this.

    As a disclaimer, I admit that I get too hung up on ideology sometimes, and miss the wider sense-of-life theme a movie might have. The heroic characters, bright environments and happy endings of animated Disney movies overshow the horrible underlying ideologies some of them have.

    For more, read this.

  3. If you enjoyed the ideologies in “A Bugs Life”, might i suggest “Antz”, lots of individualism vs. collectivization…

  4. Hope you can forgive a response that comes fully 11 years after your (late) review, but I think your analysis is preposterous.

    I’d think the fact that the movie is inspired by Aesop’s fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper” should be enough proof that the grasshoppers are not meant to represent, as you state, the “bourgeoisie.” They are, rather, the lazy “takers” — non-productive beings who use force to take from the hard-working and productive ants. They fit perfectly into the role of the coercive government, or those who benefit from it, such as welfare recipients.

    And could there be more full-throated praise for the “makers” than the main character’s speech near the end? “I’ve seen these ants do great things, and year after year, they somehow manage to pick enough food for themselves *and* you. So who’s the weaker species? Ants don’t serve grasshoppers! It’s you who need us!” Hell, Ayn Rand herself could have written that last sentence.

    Further — when the ants choose collectivism and conformity over individual innovation, they end up banishing their eventual savior and getting enslaved by the “taker” grasshoppers. The individualist ant returns to save the colony with his innovative ideas and becomes a hero, rewarded with success, and the ants are even shown embracing other ideas he had to improve their lives, such as the harvesting machines.

    And the flea boss wanting to “burn one of the bugs to a crisp”? The flea himself explains the idea: “So, I figured it out. You guys burn me twice a night, I take a day off to heal.” He’s volunteering to be burnt himself, not callously suggesting they sacrifice a worker per show.

    Seems to me you’re just hell-bent in finding subliminal socialist indoctrination in Disney films. Like the fable that inspired it, A Bug’s Life ultimately teaches that stealing is wrong, hard work is admirable and that individuals can bring about positive change through their own innovative ideas.