Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Is the Lego Movie's Attack on Think Tanks Fair?

According to Rose Patterson, a Research Fellow at the New Zealand Initiative, the recently-released Lego movie portrayed think tanks in a completely unfair way.  Here is more from her piece, which is titled "The Lego Movie Got Think Tanks Wrong":
...What was both amusing but questionable in the [Lego] movie was the way think tanks were portrayed. President Business lives in a lair constructed of pieces of red and black, which includes a ‘think tank’ that sucks the ideas out of people’s minds.

What’s ironic about this is that think tanks typically advocate for policies that liberate people from the shackles of a paternalistic government, and encourage creativity. They want to encourage power to the people – allowing people to live their own lives, to create their own businesses, to thrive and be free. 

In other words, think tanks don’t want people to be forced to follow an instruction manual.

Yes, that might mean the world is more chaotic and unpredictable, but perfect social order designed from above is difficult to attain.  And suppressing human creativity will lead to revolt, or at least people voting for a different party.

And while President Business was more of a business person than a politician, he had a monopoly over all consumer products, hardly something a think tank would advocate. Certainly not The New Zealand Initiative anyway.

The latest Lego product is the Evil Lair, think tank included. It’s amusing, but I do hope that the kids playing with this Lego set, who are likely to grow up to be creative adults, come to question this dogma: are think tanks really the bad guys?

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post about the think tank in the Lego movie.