More Cartoons

Dave Killion — March 24, 2012

G, I don’t if you knew it, but that cartoon you posted yesterday (Make Mine Freedom) was only one of a series of animations produced in part by Harding College (now Harding University). Here are the other two –

“This series… (was) produced by John Southerland Productions as part of a concerted propaganda program to fight against the perceived threats of communism at the beginning of the Cold War using popular media. The animations portray mainstream American values, some of which might now be considered politically “liberal,” yet at the time, they were meant to contrast with the values of Soviet and Maoist socialism. The initiative represented a central concern of Harding president George S. Benson, who believed that fighting socialism was a moral imperative, causing him to abandon the pacifism and political disengagement championed by founding influencesJames A. Harding and David Lipscomb, reversing the university’s course and setting it on its current conservative political trajectory.”

Despite exhorting the value of racial tolerance, there is a stereotypical portrayal of a chinese worker that is unfortunate, but its fun to imagine a “progressive” watching the film and hyperventilating over urban sprawl, pollution, worker exploitation, and so on. Not that those aren’t serious issues, but since the animations are too brief to speak to those subjects, they leave a lot of room for anti-free enterprise types to complain. And as a libertarian, I find the message a little too pro-government for my taste. All the same, they are nice pieces of work. Thanks for reminding me of them.

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