Philosophers like today's hot Richard Rorty, whom the New York Times called, "One of the world's most influential contemporary thinkers" insist we develop wise judgment by seeing have-nots' pain: films, reading, and, of course, through life experience.
But does that not lead society to irrational decision making? For example, even if a film ostensibly documents a real-life event, it hand-picks one that's extreme, designed to increase people's willingness to redistribute resources from those most likely to innovate, create jobs, etc., to those least likely.
Worse, most such films (and indeed much mass media news) are mockumentaries, selectively reporting and/or exaggerating the truth to obtain the desired audience reaction. And of course, in acknowledged fiction, whether on film or in novels, authors so often deliberately create situations specifically to manipulate the audience into behaving in that redistributive way.
That's not a problem if one accepts today's standard postulate among today's mainstream intelligentsia: that redistribution/egalitarianism is a fundamental truth, an axiom, the place from which one starts.
But what if a person's fundamental postulate is the currently out-of-favor utilitarianism: in which the world should be willing to accept inequalities to the extent that, net, the quality of life for the world's people is better.
Such people believe the post-modern position (as expressed by the likes of the intelligentsia's current rock stars Habermas, Derrida, Quine, Rorty, etc.) is immoral, resulting in far greater pain to the world. And those utilitarians are particularly annoyed at such movies and novels because they selectively report, create straw-man opposition, exaggerate, and even outright distort historical fact to manipulate their audience to buy that philosophy of how resources should be expended.
As we watch movies, read novels, consume "news" in print, TV or the Internet, shouldn't we question their usual fundamental postulate--that redistribution is an inherent good?
To explore both sides of this critical question, one could do worse than to read the two essays that comprise the slim book, Utilitarianism: For and Against.