Monday, September 23, 2019

John Wayne illustrates Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's "La propriété, c'est le vol!"

It's amazing, but the clearest video representation I've ever seen of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's famous slogan, "Property is theft!" (first formulated in French as "La propriété, c'est le vol!") is found in Howard Hawks' classic western, Red River. I had posted this movie back in 2011 with the same message, but that earlier clip had been removed from YouTube. Here's the key section of the film again, courtesy of Fandango MovieClips.

The movie ends with John Wayne a respected large-scale landowner, rancher, and all-around successful capitalist asshole. Here he is very early in the film, beginning his Texas real-estate and cattle empire with a murder and the brazen theft of Mexican land that formed his original ranch on the north side of the Rio Grande. I don't think any further explanation is needed to connect the dots to Proudhon's thesis.

1 comment:

Draco said...

And he took it from the Indians. The scene might conjure up the idea of no honor among thieves but the notion that John Wayne's character is simply a 'capitalist asshole' is juvenile at best. Seems to me frankly you had a preconceived idea of what and who you don't like ahead of time and didn't listen to the words spoken in this scene. It was the same with Native American tribes. They committed atrocity upon atrocity against each other for centuries and also against even peaceful settlers because they must have been greedy capitalists themselves wanting all the land for themselves. I could go on but I will simply end it with a question - Where do you think this common attitude and behavior among ALL races and 'tribes' might come from?