Over 25 years ago, David Franke, one of the founders of the conservative movement back in the 1950s and 1960s, was an editor of mine in the investment newsletter business and was responsible for hooking me up with the publisher I still work with to this day. David also was my partner in my late 1980s book Richard C. Young’s Financial Armadillo Strategy. Here David provides some terrific insight on the award-winning American Sniper movie and Clint Eastwood himself.
Why did the American public love “American Sniper”?
This is harder for me to answer. On the one hand, I see the American people as immensely warlike—our bloody history would certainly suggest that. But on the other hand, I look at the Americans I know and have known in my lifetime, and I see Americans who just want to devote themselves to their families and careers, enjoying the ordinary satisfactions of daily life. War? Heroics? Let the other guy do it, and I’ll fantasize about it. I reconcile my views of these two types of Americans by considering most of my countrymen to be sheeple—basically decent individuals who are easily led astray by innocence or gullibility.
And, today, there are so many new sources of information. Most Americans do not want to believe the worst about their leaders, but it is hard not to with the information and viewpoints available to us today.
Given that context, I think Americans flocked to see “American Sniper” hoping it would bring some clarity to the past two decades. And because of their great respect for Clint Eastwood. Did the movie end up being what they expected? There’s the rub. There has been speculation in libertarian circles that Eastwood thought an explicitly antiwar movie would do nothing to change people’s minds—it would just confirm people’s prior convictions on both sides. But maybe a movie showing war’s impact on individual soldiers would have more eye-opening impact. I would have opted for a solid commitment against war along the lines of “All Quiet on the Western Front,” but I respect Eastwood’s familiarity with the movie audience.