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  • Sarah Muhlbaum

The Top 5 Libertarians in Movies and Television

#5: Kevin McCallister, Home Alone

If all legal structures broke down and anarchy reigned, Kevin McCallister would still be standing strong. That kid has incredible survival skills any libertarian would envy. He is willing to let the thieves die to defend himself and his family’s property. His self-sufficiency as a young child suggests Kevin will be a rather successful capitalist in the near future.

#4: Robert California, The Office

Where did Robert California get his wealth or his strange yet powerful energy? We don’t know. What we do know, however, is he is a force to be reckoned with and a brilliant businessman. Indeed, he convinces the C.E.O. of Dunder Mifflin-Sabre, Jo Bennet, to give him her own job. Seeing competition as a form of natural selection, California is not afraid to push others aside as he ascends the corporate ladder. In the “Last Day in Florida” episode, California scapegoats Todd Packer without a second thought. Finally, Robert California’s belief in personal freedoms manifests itself in his hedonism, such as in the “Pool Party” episode, where he hosts a modern-day Bacchanal.

#3: Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Remember when you were younger and your parents told you not to take candy from strangers? “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” exemplifies exactly why they were right. Willy Wonka represents the dangers of unbridled libertarianism. There is absolutely no way that this man follows any type of business regulations or worker security laws. Like any good libertarian, inside his own capitalist empire, Wonka takes the law into his own hands as he punishes the children for their vice. Perhaps the most controversial of Wonka’s libertarian business practices is kidnapping and enslaving the Oompa Loompas purely for his own profit. Willy Wonka’s business practices earn him a golden ticket to stand with Mises and Rand as an infamouos libertarian.

#2: Shrek, Shrek

Like an onion, Shrek has many layers. One of these layers, perhaps hidden at first sight but visible upon further examination, is his libertarian leanings. From the very beginning of the movie, Shrek values his private property and puts up barriers to defend his beloved swamp. He rejects Lord Farquaad’s claims to his land on grounds of personal sovereignty and the right of squatters. He uses his personal defenses (his bad breath and general ugliness) to ward off Farquaad’s army. What could be more libertarian than letting the best militia win without regard to government-made treatises?

#1: Ron Swanson, Parks and Rec

Ron Swanson embodies libertarianism. The defining factor of Ron’s libertarianism is his deep-seated hatred of the government and his even deeper love for capitalism. Indeed, he describes capitalism as “God’s way of determining who is smart and who is poor.” Ron even supports the relaxation of United States labor laws to allow for child labor in mines and factories. Like any good libertarian, Ron embraces self-reliance and personal strength through his work as an outdoorsman who lives off his own land and trusts only himself, his weapons and possibly Leslie Knope.

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