America didn't cave. Hollywood didn't cave. Capitalism caved. by @DavidOAtkins

America didn't cave. Hollywood didn't cave. Capitalism caved.

by David Atkins

There has been a lot of caterwauling around the political circus (but mostly on the Right) about the decision to cancel/delay the opening of "The Interview" because of terrorist threats. The always execrable Megan McArdle tweeted:

BREAKING: America apparently a nation of lily-livered pantywaists who let terrorists threats dictate which movies we’re allowed to watch.
— Megan McArdle (@asymmetricinfo) December 18, 2014

Other conservatives are using the opportunity to bash their favorite bugbear Hollywood for getting weak in the knees against terrorists.

But in truth, neither "America" nor "Hollywood" caved to the terrorist threat. Capitalism did. Sony is a Japanese-owned multinational corporation. Its decision to cancel the opening of the film was precipitated not by Hollywood studios, but by the defensive decision of a bunch of corporate conglomerate theater chains with only tenuous connections to the star-studded production companies in Tinseltown.

An organization made a threat to a corporation and its customers if it released a certain product. Distributors of said product decided not to risk carrying that product, as a market decision. The corporation decided to pull the product from shelves--for market reasons.

That's capitalism. Capitalism doesn't care about standing for the principle of free speech, or for patriotism, or for standing up to bullies. It cares about money. Theater chains don't make money if they lose customers too afraid to show up to the movie theaters. Production companies don't make money if not enough theaters show their movie. It's just business.

If conservatives want to see a little more backbone in standing up to international bullies looking to squash free speech, they might want to start by looking in the mirror at their ideological elevation of profit over principle.