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thrive No word yet on how the baby paired with a lion in the far back is faring now that production has wrapped.


In the final section of Thrive, the tone of the movie shifts dramatically, once again returning to the lush landscapes and beautiful music of Part One. This section, called "Creating the Solutions," lays out a list of strategies for creating a better world.

Again, the film is salted with appearances by progressive leaders: the Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva, pop spiritualist Deepak Chopra, health food guru John Robbins, independent journalist Amy Goodman, biologist/philosopher Elisabet Sahtouris and Zen priest Angel Kyodo Williams, to name a few.

Most of the solutions Thrive puts forward will resonate with its target audience of spiritually inclined progressives: stay informed, shop local, eat organic, avoid GMOs, etc. But not all. Given the troubling complexities of part two, I was only slightly surprised to find that one of the values of the future Thrive depicts is "little or no taxes."

No taxes. Sounds good—but does that mean no public libraries? No state parks? No public transportation? How about roads? Social Security? Haven't the Gambles seen what this kind of anti-tax rhetoric has gotten us? Doubled tuitions at the University of California, huge Reagan-era-style cuts in social services, decaying infrastructure.

Near the film's conclusion, Gamble reveals the source of his anti-tax position, reverently introducing a man he credits with providing him with his Core Navigational Insight for the future: Ludwig von Mises. He does not mention that von Mises is the touchstone of right-libertarians, so-called anarcho-capitalists and radical Republicans such as Michele Bachmann, who quipped last year that she reads von Mises on the beach.

Gamble does lay out the core of von Mises' philosophy of "non-violation, in which "nobody gets to violate you or" (ahem) "your property." That philosophy translates into three rules: no involuntary taxation; no involuntary governance; and no monopoly of force.

In case anyone misses the point—that the state must wither so that man can be free—Gamble shares von Mises' opinion that like Communism, fascism and socialism, "democracy wrongly assumes the rights of the collective, or the group, over the rights of the individual."

But wait a minute. Wasn't that Paul Hawken on the screen a little while ago? How did we get from Paul Hawken to a thinly veiled anti-democracy rant and Ludwig von Mises?

Paul Hawken happens to be one of my personal heroes. A veteran of the civil rights movement, Hawken founded a couple of successful companies in the 1970s, and then went on to became the world's leading environmentalist/economist with the publication of The Ecology of Commerce in 1993.

In Thrive, he delivers a passionate speech drawn from ideas in his latest book, the marvelous Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming.

"If you look at the people who are involved with restoring the earth and stopping the damage, and reversing the depredation, and nurturing change, and reimagining what it means to he human, and you don't feel optimistic, then maybe you need to have your heart examined," he says in the film. "Because there is an extraordinary, gorgeous, beautiful, fierce group of people in this world who are taking this on."

In addition to being an admired economic thinker, Paul Hawken is a successful businessman and is nowhere near a socialist. Furthermore, Hawken was among the many sane people who championed the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, which Foster Gamble claims was an Illuminati/New World Order effort to create a global currency and destroy America's sovereignty.

So—what's Paul Hawken doing in this movie? I emailed him to find out. He replied he was just surprised as I was to find out he's in the film.

"I did that interview many years prior under false pretenses," Hawken replied. "I had no idea I was being interviewed for such a movie. Having said that, I have only seen the trailer [and] don't really want to see the film, having read about it. I do not agree with the science or the philosophy.

"I do feel used, no question, as do others. It's a lesson in signing releases."

Similarly, Elisabet Sahtouris told me that when she was interviewed for the film, she understood it was to be a very different kind of movie, and is "dismayed" at some of what she saw in the final cut. "I loved the footage shot of me and my colleagues; I deplore the context in which it was used.

"To put the individual above community is simply misguided; without community we do not exist, and community is about creating relationships of mutual benefit; it does not just happen with flowers and rainbows ... and no taxes."

A month ago the other shoe dropped, as virtually every high-profile progressive leader in the film, including the Gambles' fellow-Santa Cruzan and longtime friend John Robbins, issued a statement denouncing Thrive.

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