“And is not the criminal a human being first?
Does he not still maintain his basic human dignity?
Is it not up to us, the state, to protect his dignity?”
Those throwaway lines given during a speech by a French politician in the film American Dreamer are pure gold. The writers captured in three simple lines the very heart and soul of socialism – which is the state empowering the criminal act of taking from others that which does not belong to you. That the politician turned out to be a mass murderer and a cocaine smuggler was subtle perfection. The 1984 film has a cult following, but was buried by critics.