Dirty Harry Libertarianism


The Guardian has a fun interview/profile of Clint Eastwood, in which Bronco Billy snarls at Spike Lee ("A guy like him should shut his face"), gleefully defends Dirty Harry ("Being a contrary sort of person, I figured there had been enough politically correct crap going around"), and says the following about his ever-confounding politics:

In 2005, he vowed he'd kill Michael Moore if the documentarian ever showed up at his house, the way he had doorstepped Charlton Heston in Bowling for Columbine.

This March he was sacked from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's California state parks commission for objecting to the building of a toll road through a national forest. But though he has been associated in the public mind with Republican viewpoints, he's something of an individualist. "I don't pay attention to either side," he claims. "I mean, I've always been a libertarian. Leave everybody alone. Let everybody else do what they want. Just stay out of everybody else's hair. So I believe in that value of smaller government. Give politicians power and all of a sudden they'll misuse it on ya."

Has he declared for anybody in this electoral cycle? "You know, I haven't really," he says. "My wife used to be an anchorwoman in Arizona, so she knew John McCain and she liked him and I kinda liked him. In fact, we sort of supported him when he was running the first time against Bush eight years ago. But we haven't been active as yet. It's kind of a zoo out there right now. So I think I'll kinda let things percolate."

Whole thing here.

NEXT: Papa Don't Preach, I'm in Trouble, Deep

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  1. Give politicians power and all of a sudden they'll misuse it on ya

    Nicely put.

  2. I think I'll pull a Jesse Walker and quote myself from another thread (glad I wasn't one giving him shit about it).

    I always liked Clint. You know, I remember when Spike Lee was feuding with Tarantino. Those three, Lee, Tarantino and Eastwood are always unafraid to speak their minds. Lee is a great director, and his willingness to see racial politics in almost everything helps make him a great director but no doubt hard to talk to sometimes (or rather, hard to ignore).
    For me, Lee and Scorcese have probably also defined NY as much as every other director combined.

  3. "I get a kick out of it because the judge convicts the killer to two years in solitary confinement, and then to be hanged. In 1928 they said: 'You can spend two years thinking about it and then we're going to kill you.' Nowadays they're sitting there worrying about how putting a needle in is a cruel and unusual punishment, the same needle you would have if you had a blood test."

    I was enjoying Eastwood's comments until he vomited that particular bit of stupidity. The type of needle is not the issue, and Eastwood is smart enough to know it. (As is anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex.)

  4. I'd vote for him.

  5. I second the nomination!

  6. We're gonna meet a real lady now Clyde, so no spittin', pissin', fartin', or pickin' your ass.

  7. I'd sooner vote for the chimp.

  8. I'd sooner vote for the chimp.

    I always suspected you of being a secret Bush supporter, Rhywun.

  9. I'd sooner vote for the chimp.

    It's not a chimp, it's a orangutan. Get your great apes straight, hater.

  10. Why did everything Eastwood say come out in a low,monotonic near-whisper in my head?

  11. Colin

    The bottom line is that the guy is comfortable with the state satisfying its totalitarian urges. To me, that means you are a loser. Period. End of story. Always. Every time. No exceptions.

    Besides, its not like the guy is some genius or has great insight or has made outstanding contributions to art, culture, etc.

  12. secret Bush supporter

    Get your great apes straight, hater.

    Dammit. Should have stuck with "monkey".

  13. mike,

    That's funny -- a truther calling someone else a loser.

    Got a little secret for you -- Dirty Harry was just a movie.

    As for his contribution to culture, I guess you've never seen Unforgiven.

  14. I've said this elsewhere, but Barr should step aside for Eastwood/Russell. Scary tough on foreign policy, but great on civil liberties and economics ?

  15. Number 6-- The reality of the people who wanted lethal injection to be declared unconstitutional simply oppose capital punishment no matter how it is carried out. So Clint's comment while technically incorrect is still substantive. The way I interpreted it was people understood that killing people is brutal and they didn't have a problem with it.

    As far as Clint's overall politics, I think he is a libertarian populist. (is that an oxymoron?) Like most people who run a little conservative he has an authoritarian streak, except when it comes to HIS rights.

    As far as his contribution to American Culture-- is is an icon.

    Dirty Harry has entered the subconscious. Unforgiven is probably one of the top ten Westerns ever. Every Which way but Loose is one of the best dramodies ever. Best Line, "Right Turn Clyde." Even Bronco Billy has its moments.


    Joe Dokes

  16. he was a democrat when he was mayor of carmel-by-the-sea, wasn't he?

  17. Besides, its not like the guy is some genius or has great insight or has made outstanding contributions to art, culture, etc.

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Letters from Iwo Jima
    Million Dollar Baby
    Kelly's Heroes

    ...you're right, Eastwood never made any good movies.

  18. I haven't seen Million Dollar Baby, but Unforgiven is excellent.

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is just one of the best movies of all time.

  19. I remember seeing his early films all given one and two stars in the 70's and 80's.
    Then suddenly he is given an award for his work and is considered a movie star.
    How can someone who does nothing but one and two star be suddenly considered a movie star and a great film maker?

  20. Terry,

    First off Eastwood has starred in and directed dozens of movies. Many of those movies were both dark and had a political sub text that liberal movie critics found offensive.

    As a result his genius like that of people like Martin Scorece was overlooked.

    Remember, the POS movie Titanic won for Best picture.


    Joe Dokes

  21. I was hoping that Clint Eastwood would do a movie where he shaves his head, wears a saffron robe and hangs out undercover at the airport. Call it Dirty Harry Krishna.

    Speaking of Charlton Heston, has anyone heard that, if he had not become ill, the National Rifle Association was prepared to finance a remake of one of his more notable movies. They were going to call it The Nine Commandments.

  22. "They were going to call it The Nine Commandments"
    Sorry, but I just don't get it.

  23. I think she was trying to make a joke that, because Heston was for gun rights, he didn't believe in "Thou shall not kill."

    Not all of Eastwood's "cartoon" films had a conservative bent. The Gauntlet certainly wasn't pro-police/authority; and in Magnum Force -- if I recall correctly -- he went after the rightwing vilgilante policemen.

  24. Okay, I'll spell it out:

    I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

    Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

    Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:

    Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

    And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

    Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

    Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.

    Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:

    But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.

    And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

    Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

    Thou shalt not kill.

    Neither shalt thou commit adultery.

    Neither shalt thou steal.

    Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.

    Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.

  25. Thou shalt not kill..

    I like the version that says Thou Shalt Not Murder better.

  26. note to self

    no more coveting the neighbour's ass

  27. Colin-

    Perhaps I was a tad bit harsh concenring Clint's cultural contributions. After all, The Outlaw Josey Wales is a masterpiece. Sorry, just the slighest hint of apotheosizing authoritarianism tends to aggravate my acute anti-authoritarianism. Nothing personal.

    As for your allegation that I am a truther, me thinks that you are assuming a fact not in evidence. Put it this way, I just don't know. What I do know is that common sense, history, my life esperiences and human nature being what it is and a pretty good hunch that folks like Jefferson, notwithstanding his own flaws, hit the nail on the head when it comes to men in public office, all reveal that one is a fool to buy what any state actor is selling, including phantasmogoric conspiracy theories about a handful of arabians with box cutters.

  28. What's funny is that you just denied you were a truther, and then went on to demonstrate you absolutely are one.

    You do admit, though, that you are Holocaust denier, do you not?

  29. Colin-

    First, please explain how I demonstrated that I absolutley am a truther. Is your definition of a truther one who refuses to accept the conspiracy theory advanced by the government?

    Second, of which holocaust do you ask? Why, incidentally, do you capitalize holocaust? Capitalizing the word suggests that there is a one, true and only holocaust. Gee,...maybe there are some folks who think that though.

  30. Holocuast comes from the Greek for "completely burnt", and in its modern usage Holocaust typically refers only to one event. One specific genocide and the events surrounding it. But, liberty mike, if you want to specify, you could say "Jewish Holocaust" or "Greek Holocaust", etc. but as I'm sure you know that's usually inane.

  31. Art P O G-

    Completely burnt? THe hundreds of thousands of native americans either shot or burned? Or the tens of thousands of civilians either shot, burned or cannoned to death by the union armies? The tens of thousands burned at Dresden? The hundreds of thousand burned at Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Tokyo? Perhaps this is the holocaust of which Colin speaks.

  32. Where are you going with this? Are you saying if we honor the memory of some dead, we dishonor the memory of others? Because if so, I disagree. I don't need a lecture on history (btw as bad as all that was, I can't believe you didn't mention the Armenian Genocide).

  33. Art-P.O.G.

    No, I am not saying that if we honor the memory of some dead, we dishonor the memory of others. Of course, you are right-the Armenian Genocide should not be forgotten.

    Where am I going? Colin believes that I am a holocaust denier because I expressed the opinion that we should be a whole lot more concerned with the "hate" laws in a growing number of countries that proscribe, upon penalty of incarceration, public denial or even skepticism of a certain world war two era holocaust than those who deny or question the extent of this particular holocaust.

    These laws exist in Canada as well as many communist european countries like France, Spain, Austria and Germany. THese nations have not prosecuted people who openly deny or qestion the extent of the holocausts to which I alluded in my prior post.

    I am agaist special laws for certain groups. Particualrly groups that push for hate laws that prohibit the denial or doubt of what their ancestors may have suffered. Such advocacy should be an affront to all libertarians. Freedom is more important.

  34. Not in Spain, it was overturned by the constitutional court.

    (also, comunist France, Spain, Austria and Germany is a bit of exaggeration)

  35. Communist france, austria and germany is a bit of an exaggeration. How so?

  36. PROTIP: If you're trying to change ordinary language where it's somehow wrong to use 'the Holocaust' to refer to the Shoah, then you've got your head up your ass.

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