do you know if a film is of interest to libertarians?
Most obviously, there is the anti-government theme. Films which portray government aggression in a bad light, like the Academy Award nominated "Waco: The Rules of Engagement," will invariably please the average libertarian. I also sometimes include in this category films about government corruption, although these are less important since libertarians are not so much focused on making government work better as in getting rid of it to the degree possible.
Films which are critical of socialism and it variants (communism, fascism etc.) are also included, since these political philosophies are antithetical to libertarianism. In particular, socialist regimes have been so active in forcibly forbidding emigration, and so many harrowing stories of escape have been told, that "escape from socialism" almost constitutes a genre in itself.
Another important theme is "creator-as-hero", found in such films as "The Fountainhead" and "Cash McCall," and which reflects the ideas of Ayn Rand. It should be remembered that libertarians are not simply "anti-government." Libertarian political convictions arise out of deeply held philosophical beliefs that transcend politics. In particular, the influence of Ayn Rand is enormous.
Other major themes include social tolerance (e.g., "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"), personal responsibility (e.g., "The Blame Game: Are We A Country of Victims?"), and heroes of libertarianism (e.g., "George Washington: The Man Who Wouldn't Be King).
All this is, of course, the "big tent" approach, everything under the libertarian sun, and some will differ with the choices I have made. But hopefully every libertarian will find something in my recommendations fitting their particular intellectual roots and interests.
do the ratings mean?
First, a lower libertarian content rating does not necessarily mean there is anything anti-libertarian about a film or video. It may simply mean that the film focuses more on other things that are beside the libertarian point.
Second, in my entertainment value ratings I have tried to reflect the attitudes of the average person, not the average film buff. For example, I rated the acknowledged masterpiece D. W. Griffith's "Intolerance," a three hour silent film, just satisfactory although critics typically give it their highest rating. In my opinion, for a modern audience accustomed to color talkies, a three-hour silent film can be just a little hard to sit through. Readers who find that logic intolerably uncultured are encouraged to mentally upgrade such films in their own mind.
##### One of the best cinematic illustrations of libertarian ideas, values and/or concerns. Themes are likely to include: social tolerance, creative achievement, personal responsibility and/or the harmful effects of force via authoritarian government.
#### Generally effective illustration of the above.
### Not one of the most complete or focused illustrations of the above, but likely to be of interest .
## Not of particular political or philosophical interest.
# Antithetical to libertarian values and/or concerns.
***** Thoroughly entertaining and engaging.
**** Well above average.
*** Above average.
* Below average.
are you doing this?
We all need that emotional fuel which seeing our ideas and vision projected in art provides. Libertarians need it just as much as anyone else, perhaps more so, because we are still a (sometimes) embattled minority. By reviewing and advertising films and TV of interest to libertarians, I hope to give fellow libertarians some additional strength of conviction and a sense of being a part of something great.
These reviews are also important because of the gradual change which has taken place in how ideas and values are communicated and may be useful in spreading libertarian ideas. The average person nowadays simply does not read many books. The average person, even the average person of mildly intellectual caliber, is far more likely to watch a film. So for purposes of outreach, to convince others, a film may sometimes be more effective.
can I get your reviews?
you print reader reviews?
I reprint reviews I see in the newsletter?
Copyright © 2000 by Jon Osborne.