Drago: Boss, what’s “reactionary” mean?
George Washington McLintock: I guess he says that anyone who sells at a profit is a reactionary
I could probably find a basic understanding of capitalism in just about every John Wayne film but few do it so well as McLintock. While this Western-Comedy loosely based on Taming of the Shrew probably isn’t Wayne’s best, but it does make some great observations about economics, hard work, and the stupidity of people who don’t get economics.
Within the first few minutes you have a wonderful speech about economics and work:
McLintock: I’m McLintock. You people plan to homestead and farm the Mesa Verde.
Settler: Yes, sir. The government give each of us a hundred and sixty acres.
McLintock: The government never gave anybody anything. Some years back a lot like you come in. Had a pretty good first year. Good summer. Easy winter. But the next year the last rain was in February. And by June even the jack rabbits had sense enough to get off the Mesa.
Matt Douglas: Folks, do you know who that is? That’s McClintock. McLintock.
McLintock: I told them that, Douglas.
Douglas: He controls the water rights on 200 square miles of range. You know that lumber you got? It came from his land. Cut by his loggers and milled in his mill.
McLintock: Douglas, I come close to killin’ you a couple of times when we were younger. Saddens me I didn’t.
Douglas: Can you imagine a man who owns all that, oh and mines too, I forgot to mention those, all that and he’s begrudgin’ poor people a measly, a measly, one hundred sixty acres.
Settler: That right, Mr. McLintock? You begrudge us a little free land?
McLintock: There’s no such thing as free land. You make these homesteads go you’ll have earned every acre of it. But you just can’t make ’em go on the Mesa Verde. God made that country for buffalo. Serves pretty well for cattle. But it hates the plow. And even the government should know you can’t farm 6000 feet above sea level!
Sheriff Jeff Lord: Any trouble here, Mr. McLintock?
McLintock: No trouble, Sheriff.
Sheriff Jeff Lord: How about you, Douglas.
Douglas: Douglas. Just plain Douglas, eh. And you call him Mr. McLintock. Why?
Sheriff Lord: Well, Douglas, I guess that’s because he’s earned it.
Here is a clear point that about the fact that there is no such thing as free stuff–even if the government tells you it’s free, it’s not, actually especially if the government tells you it’s free. And it also shows that the government knows nothing about anything. Although they do mention earlier that the local government agent will make a healthy (and ill-gotten fee for every plot sold to these settlers, doesn’t matter that he’s selling them a bill of sale for faulty goods). Notice also that it is the government official who tries to cover up the truth of the in ability to farm that far above sea level with class warfare and jealousy. The use of jealousy and envy of honestly earned wealth seems to be a very old trick used by inept bureaucrats.
The film also clearly shows that the way most people view jobs, as a gift or some form of servitude…but luckily this move lays both of those bizarre ideas to rest and shows correctly that everyone is merely an independent agent who earns only what they work for.
Devlin Warren:I should have been grateful that you gave me the job.
McLintock: Gave? Boy, you’ve got it all wrong. I don’t give jobs I hire men.
Devlin: You mean you’re still hirin’ me? Well, yes, sir, I certainly deliver a fair day’s work.
McLintock: And for that I’ll pay a fair day’s wage.
McLintock: Every so often Dev, you spell the strangest ideas. Everybody works for somebody. I work for everybody in East United States that steps into a butcher shop for a T-Bone steak and you work for me, it is not much difference.
Finally in amongst all of this is the very clear picture that people elitists idiots who have never earned anything but have a pointless Ivy League degree to their name