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Entertainment for Libertarians

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SkepticalMetal Posted: Fri, Nov 23 2012 10:35 PM

Back when I was a progressive, I always used to enjoy watching movies and TV shows like "The West Wing," and "24" and other stuff. Now that I have become a full-blown anarcho-capitalist, I feel like whenever I turn on the tube, everything avalible for entertainment is anti-libertarian liberal/conservative/pro-Marxist schlock. Does anyone else have any feelings about this? In a non-libertarian world, how does one go about trying to get something so basic as entertainment without having to see Jack Bauer torture some guy with the audience being made to cheer him on?

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Have you seen Spice & Wolf?

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That's an anime, right?

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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 10:46 PM

Either watch these shows and find the characters interesting as flawed characters, or find shows that reflect libertarian themes. I tend towards the latter, but I make some exceptions, like with L&O and its spinoffs.

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L and O?

And I haven't found that many shows with libertarian themes. Only shows I watch right now are Breaking Bad, Seinfeld, Rescue Me, and Futurama. Only one of those has obvious libertarian themes (Breaking Bad).

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AJ replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 10:52 PM
Seinfeld is a fascinating study of customs, many of which relate to customary (essentially anarchic) law.
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Bert replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 10:53 PM

Outside activities, drinking, cooking, reading books, playing music, etc.  I don't have a television in my room, and only time I watch it at my girlfriends is either to watch King of the Hill or a movie (I am awaiting the new Game of Thrones season).  I never cared for what's new as far as a series or sitcom.  Televised entertainment doesn't interest me much.

I told a co-worker tonight, showing your average person Louie is like showing someone who thought Hangover: Part II was actually good a Coen Brothers movie.  They won't get it, it's above them, and when you talk about it they don't understand.  Thing is most television is not like Louie, it's the opposite.  There's too much fail to find any win.  Then again I do like Trailer Park Boys, but I cannot stand those lame comedies ABC pumps out.

 

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Perhaps, but I am in a state of serious dubiety over whether or not the program was written with that in mind. Larry David identifies as a liberal, after all.

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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 10:59 PM

L&O = Law and Order.

Burn Notice could be considered libertarian to a degree. It's certainly anti-state and chock full of conspiracies (!), but the main characters sometimes destroy property and steal cars and whatnot, so yeah. But many of the episodes are about restitution, so it's fairly libertarian. It's not perfect, but whatever. I like the Walking Dead as well. It's not exactly libertarian, but you'll find that aggression in that show is portrayed in a particularly bad light, even when it's the protagonists. If you are willing to watch cheesy acting, then I highly recommend Buffy and Angel. Seriously. Joss Whedon is as socialist as they come, but for some reason his shows could be considered libertarian propaganda. The state is almost always evil, and the premise is essentially having civilians solve problems. Though I will say that Anthony Stewart Head is the shit.

There is also Firefly. I don't think it's nearly as libertarian as Buffy or Angel, but it is meant to be a libertarian show (also by Whedon). It's fun and short.

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I watched Burn Notice for a long, long, LONG time.

Eventually I got sick of the episodic formula they used. Beginning segment = conspiracy mystery overview. Middle segment = random case in the scummy city where my grandparents happen to live. End segment = conspiracy mystery yet again.

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Clayton replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 11:03 PM

I like watching YT vids of Carlin, Hicks, Stanhope and Chris Rock to blow off steam. While they aren't 100% libertarian, they're pretty much in that general vicinity. Pure genius delivery, too.

Also, don't forget the Must See Movies thread.

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AJ replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 11:03 PM
How can anything that's not about the state or politics itself be statist? Even the Soup Nazi episode, which might make a libertarian cringe as a businessman running his business voluntarily as he sees fit is painted as a "Nazi," the solution was not to call the cops but simply to stop patronizing his shop and encourage others to do the same.
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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 11:04 PM

Yeah, I took a break from Burn Notice because of that. I'm trying to continue and get caught up though. I started enjoying it again. Some of the episodes are just so funny.

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@ Clayton

Hicks comes off to me as a Marxist. Carlin I think is awesome, but he seems to be much more of a nihilistic libertarian socialist than anything else (and let's not forget that in Napalm and Silly Putty he referred to libertarianism as bullshit). Chris Rock...well, the only thing I've ever seen him get close to in terms of politics is class relations, and even then he sounds socialistic.

Doug Stanhope is the only real libertarian comedian I've seen. Bill Maher has identified as a libertarian in the past, but that's obviously BS. Yeah right Bill, you're the only "libertarian" I've seen who advocates gun control and higher taxes. Stick to religion, please.

@ AJ

I'm not saying that. What I was simply referring to was the fact that I really don't think that the writers had anarchism in mind when writing Seinfeld.

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@ gotlucky

I actually made a machinima parody of the opening sequence of Burn Notice, although due to my crappy editing software with machinimas, I never completed it. Maybe one of these days I can attack it again.

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AJ replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 11:14 PM
I agree, but my point is there shouldn't be any reason a libertarian can't enjoy a piece of entertainment by anyone of any political position as long as it doesn't touch on politics or the state.
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Ah, I see your point. But let us not forget that some of these left-wing philosophies are more of a "worldview" and not necessarily directed at sole politics.

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Clayton:

I like watching YT vids of Carlin, Hicks, Stanhope and Chris Rock to blow off steam. While they aren't 100% libertarian, they're pretty much in that general vicinity. Pure genius delivery, too.

Also, don't forget the Must See Movies thread.

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Chris Rock is in the generla vicinity of libertarianism!?

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Clayton replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 11:19 PM

Well, I'll just say watch his HBO specials and judge for yourself. He's no statist. As a black comedian who derives a large portion of his income from his black audience, I suppose it's only the diplomatic thing to do to support Obama. Not saying I agree, just that that might explain the discrepancy in his supporting Obama and the things he says in his stand-up routines which are frequently as anti-State as Rothbard himself.

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One thing I hate is when people use the racist argument against libertarianism. I'm afraid that every time that I tell somebody to Google Murray Rothbard, one of the things they will see is "murray rothbard racist."

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AJ replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 11:25 PM
SkepticalMetal:

Ah, I see your point. But let us not forget that some of these left-wing philosophies are more of a "worldview" and not necessarily directed at sole politics.

Well this is where I differ from many other libertarians. I'm for natural order. If a given society frowns on price-gouging, for example, *and* they understand the economic hit they are taking because of their rejection of price-gouging (they just find it that offensive), I don't have anything to criticize about that. If a show painted price-gouging in a bad light, I'd lament the economic ignorance but I wouldn't be disgusted by the morality like perhaps many libertarians would.
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SoNowThen replied on Sat, Nov 24 2012 12:13 AM

SM:

I look at Seinfeld (my favorite tv comedy of all time) kind of the same way I look at Sartre's books. It's a lot of leftist hoo-ha, but it's so damn accurate and honest about the failings of that particular subset of people. Larry David is completely unflinching in eviscerating his own kind. Even when they are somewhat making fun of the other (like the episode in Curb where they try to join the Waspy-Republican country club) the humor comes more from them trying to pretend to be what they think the stereotype of a Rockefeller Republican is.

Edit: this is probably why something that is pure "true believer" entertainment kind of sucks, even if it's full on pro anarcho-capitalist... because anything that portrays the chosen people group as so enlightened and infallible is an insult to one's intelligence and just plain inaccurate 

I can't believe no one has mentioned Sopranos! That has gotta be the greatest thing on tv, ever. Constantly showing the connection between govt and mafia, incredibly entertaining, and just thought-provoking enough to keep out the assholes. 

 

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Larry David's concern with social conventions is really interesting to me. Both Seinfeld and Curb are great at making people think about undesigned and voluntarily practiced customs.

But some obvious shows for libertarians:

Homeland (helmed by the creators of 24, but much, much more ambiguous than that show)

Firefly, and its feature film Serenity (Whedon's next show, Dollhouse, was also big on individualism, contracts, corporatism, etc.; can't speak for his previous shows, Buffy and Angel)

Deadwood (order emerging from the bottom up)

The Wire (unintentional dramatization of public choice critique)

Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister (intentional dramatization of public choice; the co-creator said "public choice economics... was at the root of almost every episode")

The Thick of It and Veep

"People kill each other for prophetic certainties, hardly for falsifiable hypotheses." - Peter Berger
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Clayton replied on Sat, Nov 24 2012 2:01 AM

Hicks comes off to me as a Marxist.

But I'm more interested in what the great comedians like Hicks are thinking. That's the thing, it's not just rote repetition of dogmas. And Hicks's social insights are nothing short of penetrating. I don't like his misanthropy and I think that libertinism is generally erosive to healthy social order but that's beside the point. If you listen carefully to what he says, you realize that he's actually thought about what he's saying and that he's bringing something more to the table in terms of relevancy and holistic social criticism than can be found in academic libertarian thought. And it's always difficult to know when a satirist is merely satirizing and when he's verbalizing his own heartfelt sentiments. That's what sets a great satirist apart from all the rest.

Carlin I think is awesome, but he seems to be much more of a nihilistic libertarian socialist than anything else (and let's not forget that in Napalm and Silly Putty he referred to libertarianism as bullshit).

Again, I think that Carlin is just too complex to be labeled. And I would be careful about simply concluding "well, he mentioned Social Security in a positive light, so he must believe in the New Deal and be a socialist". His message was tailored to his audience - he even said as much - and the audience generally doesn't understand that there's something wrong with Social Security. To them, it is synonymous with "taking care of old people."

Chris Rock...well, the only thing I've ever seen him get close to in terms of politics is class relations, and even then he sounds socialistic.

All I can say is that his insights into human nature are penetrating. What I like about all these guys is that you can tell they are speaking from the heart, that is, they aren't just repeating something they learned in ECON 101 or read in a textbook or heard from a bleeding-heart sociology professor. They might be misguided on this or that, but there's something really going on upstairs which, to me, is the most important thing.

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I watch NCIS

Its pretty statist but i like their character development and mysteries. Been watching it for years.

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SoNowThen replied on Sat, Nov 24 2012 2:51 AM

Clayton:

Chris Rock...well, the only thing I've ever seen him get close to in terms of politics is class relations, and even then he sounds socialistic.

All I can say is that his insights into human nature are penetrating. What I like about all these guys is that you can tell they are speaking from the heart, that is, they aren't just repeating something they learned in ECON 101 or read in a textbook or heard from a bleeding-heart sociology professor. They might be misguided on this or that, but there's something really going on upstairs which, to me, is the most important thing.

Clayton -

Chris Rock had two great bits on taxes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxQZg-Pw8Mw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq6Ez8oYDrU

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Watch the comedy show "Parks and Recreation"! A character in that show, Ron Swanson, is a full blown libertarian anarchist, as well as a rugged individualist type. And the rest of the show is hilarious as well, I think.

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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Nov 24 2012 4:41 AM

"The Wire (unintentional dramatization of public choice critique)"

OMG that is so true.

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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Zlatko replied on Sat, Nov 24 2012 5:17 AM

I'm not really bothered by statist leanings in my TV shows. I actually prefer them to be as apolitical as possible - usually when I sit down to watch TV I just want to relax and not think about morals and whatnot. But there are two shows I'm suprised have not been mentioned so far, which in my mind are as libertarian as they get:

Penn & Teller's Bullshit

South Park

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@SkepticalMetal

Yes, it is an anime, one of the betters ones in my opinion. At its core its a simple love story that relies on the interaction between the two lovers teasing one another. Its the setting that interests me personally though. They live in feudal Europe and the man is a travelling merchant. The story arcs revolve around him doing ordinary business. The antagonist? The monolithic state. 

One of the arcs for example has the state trying to create fiat currency by stamping authorized gold with their mark. Any gold that doesn't have the mark can't be used as currency and can't enter the town. What do the pair do? They smuggle it in and make a tidy profit. 

Another arc has a speculative bubble occuring. The pair destroys it by dumping a massive supply of the otherwise useless rock everyone wants. 

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Well I also watch Samurai Champloo (an anime) and Curb Your Enthusiasm. I really, really, really want to see more of The Sopranos, but alas, I have only seen the pilot episode, and HBO makes all of their DVDs too damn expensive. And I keep on telling Neodoxy to see Samurai Champloo, but he never listens like the dumb Peace and Freedom Party militant that he is.

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Anenome replied on Sat, Nov 24 2012 3:03 PM

How about Trigun, talk about an NAP-respecting character :P

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Vash may respect NAP when it comes to human lives, but he certainly has no problem destroying property. 

 

There really is something great about an insurance company being the one trying to stop his hijinks though. 

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Anenome replied on Sat, Nov 24 2012 3:43 PM

Michelangelo:

Vash may respect NAP when it comes to human lives, but he certainly has no problem destroying property. 

There really is something great about an insurance company being the one trying to stop his hijinks though. 

Lol, so true, forgot about that ^_^

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Right now I'm slowly attempting to put together a machinima series about an Austrian economist. I've shelved all of my film projects for the time being though, being that I've just sent off a short story to the New Yorker and I'm working on another one while I wait for a response that I plan on sending to Zoetrope: All-Story.

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http://vimeo.com/24554205

I'll just leave this here......

 

 

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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Nov 24 2012 6:42 PM

"And I keep on telling Neodoxy to see Samurai Champloo, but he never listens"

Look, it's on my to do list okay? I'm a very busy little militant! I've got a lot of shows that I need to watch, and that's not even including the various anime people have recommended to me :P

Also, what pro-libertarian themes do you see in breaking bad? I see that it has some themes which could be interpreted as individualistic, if not libertarian, but all and all I would see it as being neutral in regards to statism.

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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I see it as being extremely anti-drug prohibition, and every time there's an encounter with the law, the law is almost always portrayed in a negative way (Walter getting maced, boisterous old Hank, etc.)

And it's on the fucking internet! How damn hard can it be to watch!?

EDIT

Plus there's Gale, who is portrayed as a very intelligent man, who is a staunch libertarian. (We see a Ron Paul sticker in his notes later on.)

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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Nov 24 2012 8:01 PM

Meh, but at the same time I don't really see that as one of the central focuses of the show. the negativity of drug prohibition can be inferred, but then again it also shows the kind of people who both buy and sell this stuff, and the picture painted is not pretty. Also I partially agree that the police are shown in a negative light, mainly through hank (the living embodiment of everything that I hate in the human race) but at the same time they are never given an extremely harsh examination. When Walter gets maced he's being an ass to a cop who's kind of just trying to do his job and do it fairly. Gale also looks like a fool who gets way in over his head (which, in a way, he certainly does).

And it's time, not being able to find the show!

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Fephisto replied on Sat, Nov 24 2012 8:03 PM

Is literature allowed?  Read all the Garet Garrett novels.  Especially The Driver.

Also, look at your avatar.  Watch every movie staring that man (although you probably already have).

Then take out Clint Eastwood for a spin and watch the Dollar trilogy.

Then watch Desert Punk, yet another underrated anime.

Basically, if it's noir, it's golden.  If it's neo-noir, it's golden.  If it's anything punk, it's o.k..  If it's anything cyberpunk, it's better.  And if it's cypherpunk, then it's hands-down 5-stars.

(tl;dr, look out for the movies in the intersection of good punk/cult and what the mainstream hate)

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"Even when leftists talk about discrimination and sexism, they're damn well talking about the results of the economic system" ~Neodoxy

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