There Will Be Blood
The Institutional Power Struggle With The Spiritual Left
Power is finite.
That's what I learned from the 2007 film, There Will Be Blood.
Critics consider it one of the finest films of the 21st century. Paul Thomas Anderson (one of the premier modern directors) delivers his best work alongside an Oscar-winning performance from Daniel Day-Lewis and Oscar-winning cinematography from Robert Elswit (the film received eight nominations in total).
[Spoilers — Skip to The Next Section] There Will Be Blood is about an oilman named Daniel Plainview. He manipulates Eli, a cunning local preacher, and his naive congregation into selling him the oil underneath their town. As Daniel's profits grow, so does his greed. He becomes a raging alcoholic, abandons his son, and kills multiple people who stand in his way. Bandy, one of the members of the town, allows Daniel to use his property for an oil pipeline. In exchange, Daniel has to go to church. But Eli uses the opportunity to publically humiliate Daniel. He implores him to be "washed in the blood." But he doesn't actually care about Daniel's salvation. We find out later that Eli isn't the religious man he claims to be.
In the final scene, Eli meets Daniel in the private bowling alley underneath Daniel's mansion. He tells him that Bandy has died, and he offers to sell Daniel the land. Daniel makes Eli denounce his faith in exchange for buying the property. But after Eli does, Daniel admits that he'd horizontally drilled underneath Bandy's ground and extracted all the oil. The property is now worthless. Dismayed, Eli reveals that he has morally strayed from the church and gone broke. He begs for mercy, but Daniel kills him with a bowling pin. The film ends with Daniel standing over Eli's body as his blood covers the bowling lane.
There Will Be Blood is every bit the left-wing propaganda piece you think it is. But it offers a beautiful allegory. The film uses blood and oil interchangeably to represent power (hence the name). Everyone's born with a fixed amount of blood. The only way to get more is to make someone else bleed. Likewise, the world contains a fixed level of power, and the only way to get more is to take it from someone else.
“I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed.” - Daniel Plainview
There's a loser for every winner. It's time for us to decide which one we want to be.
Power Is More Important Than Rights
You might be thinking...wait, Luke. Is the world just one big struggle for power? Seriously? That sounds a bit harsh.
Let me start by defining power. Power is the ability to control outcomes.
Here's another way of looking at it. Exercise scientists define power as strength times speed. How much can you move? And how fast can you move it? Check out this video of Saquon Barkley (New York Giants running back) power cleaning 405 lbs.
THAT’S power. 99% of us will never clean 405 lbs, no matter how hard we try. Saquon can simply move weight we can only dream of (he also runs a 4.40 40-yard dash).
Money is another form of power. If I pay Amazon $50, I can have a jug of whey protein on my doorstep in two days. Now imagine what Jeff Bezos can do.
Prosperity increases over time. Have you noticed how many homeless people have smartphones? We're reaching a point of universal development. Where everyone has access to healthy food, utilities, shelter, and other essentials. It's a long way off, but we can get there if nations implement the America First economics principles (which can be replicated anywhere).
But we won't become collectively more powerful. At the 1952 Olympics in Helenski, US sprinter Lindy Remigino won gold in the 100m with a time of 10.4. But he wouldn't even make the team today. Track has become faster across the board. But there are still only three spots at the Olympics.
Even though our grandkids will (hopefully) be richer than we are, there can only be one richest person in the world. And compared to you, they'll still be thousands of times more wealthy. There will only be one president. Only so many Hollywood actors and actresses. You get the point? There are only so many spots on the team.
Power is finite. But society gets to decide how to divide it up. One of our America First economic principles is the decentralization of power. You might not be the wealthiest person in the world, but you can use your money to vote for them. Right now, that's Elon Musk. He's currently worth $250 billion because millions of investors believe in his leadership and own his companies' stock. Increasing Main Street ownership is the most effective way to decentralize power.
The Founding Fathers designed the United States to decentralize political power via elections. You choose political representatives, and they promise to stand up for your rights. But their words are meaningless. "Rights" originally meant power. The power to speak your mind. The power to worship freely. The power to defend yourself. Now these rights mean nothing because we can't act on them.
For example, you might think you have the right to speak freely. In reality, you can be fired from your job or removed from your bank for saying the wrong thing. But conservatives won't do anything about it because "muh small government." That's why politicians on both sides love to throw around the word “rights.” They know it's a big joke. Your legal rights mean nothing without the power to exercise them.
Institutions Are The Key To Power
What happened to our power?
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