Michael Moore’s 2015 documentary Where to Invade Next isn’t about America’s war history. It’s about how other countries affirm human dignity through policy. It’s a look at how policy shapes culture and creates cultures of “we,” where people look out for their neighbors, instead of cultures of “me.” For example:
- In Germany, it’s illegal for a boss to contact his or her subordinates while they’re on vacation.
- In Slovenia, it’s normal for students to protest when administrators threaten their tuition-free higher education.
- In Norway, prison guards use conversation instead of violence and humiliation. The maximum sentence is 21 years, and Norway has one of the lowest murder rates in the world.
The countries and topics in order of appearance:
- Italy: labor rights and workers’ well-being: paid holiday, paid honeymoon, thirteenth salary, two-hour lunch breaks, paid parental leave
- France: school meals and sex education
- Finland: education policy (almost no homework, no standardized testing)
- Slovenia: debt-free/tuition-free higher education
- Germany: labor rights and work–life balance and the value of honest, frank national history education particularly as it relates to Nazi Germany
- Portugal: May Day, drug policy of Portugal, and the abolition of the death penalty
- Norway: humane prison system and Norway’s response to the 2011 Utøya attacks
- Tunisia: women’s rights, including reproductive health, access to abortion and their role in the Tunisian Revolution and the drafting of the Tunisian Constitution of 2014
- Iceland: women in power, speaking with Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the world’s first democratically elected female president, the Best Party, and the 2008–11 Icelandic financial crisis and the criminal investigation and prosecution of bankers
Moore concludes the film by giving examples of these policies that had American roots, meaning that there’s hope for change in the U.S..