Blogs > Liberty and Power > What Would Walt Think?

Apr 3, 2011 10:47 pm

What Would Walt Think?

Would he approve of the endless stream of pro-nanny-state tax-funded television and other advertisements featuring scenes from Disney films? Given Disney's focus on individual responsibility perhaps he would have objected.

Then again, he may have viewed the current campaign as consistent with his own record as governmental propagandist. During World War II, in cooperation with the Department of Treasury, he produced two Donald Duck cartoons, including the New Spirit, which promoted the income tax to the masses.

This is from his testimony before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities in 1947:

Mr. DISNEY: Well, on the one for the Treasury on taxes, it was to let the people know that taxes were important in the war effort. As they explained to me, they had 13,000,000 new taxpayers, people who had never paid taxes, and they explained that it would be impossible to prosecute all those that were delinquent and they wanted to put this story before those people so they would get their taxes in early. I made the film and after the film had its run the Gallup poll organization polled the public and the findings were that 29 percent of the people admitted that it had influenced them in getting their taxes in early and giving them a picture of what taxes will do.

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Lawrence Brooks Hughes - 4/4/2011

If Walt were alive he would have much more to lament than the nanny-state use of his characters.

In particular, I think he would be appalled by all the "dirty" movies made by his company. It used to be implicit in the name "Disney" that a movie made by that company would be squeeky-clean. And, it was said 40 years ago, also, that "Disney's balance sheet is as clean as its movies," something else that went out the window under Walt's epigones.

C.J. Maloney - 4/3/2011

So he and Milton Friedman can lament their foolishness together in the afterworld...