Liberals and Libertarians at the Movies


IBD has an article that asks the question "why are so many sci-fi films left-wing?" and goes on to look at a number of science fiction movies and TV shows with a lefty bent:

Hollywood films tend to be liberal, sure. But science fiction in particular lends itself to utopian visions that the world's problems can be solved once and for all. It's the future, it's fantasy. And the left is more apt to believe human nature itself can be improved and perfected. "Star Trek" is a prime example. More on that below.

Likewise, dystopian sci-fi films often involve an all-powerful corporation or an environmental disaster (frequently caused by an evil corporation). "Blade Runner", the "Resident Evil" films, "The Day After Tomorrow", "Johnny Mnemonic" and "Wall-E" all share some of these characteristics.

Science fiction movies, as opposed to novels, must explain their futuristic worlds ASAP so they can move on to the plot. In this context, socialism is very efficient: It takes hardly any time to simply assume that all decisions, political and economic, are in the hands of a unified government. When sci-fi films try to be complex, it can come off as simplistic, confusing and boring.

My quick answer to that question is that it's probably a historical byproduct of the fact that a lot of the foundational voices in science fiction leaned left — think of Isaac Asimov and the hyper-regulated, centrally planned future he created for the robot books. When you factor in the liberal politics of the majority of creative types in Hollywood, it's not hard to see why science fiction has frequently been used to in service of left-wing ideas.

But it doesn't have to be. There's an obvious libertarian strain in science fiction too — most obviously in the work of one of Asimov's contemporaries, Robert Heinlein, but also in high-school lit standards like Brave New World and 1984. And from time to time, Hollywood has picked up on that strain too. While I hesitate to label anything "libertarian sci-fi," there are certainly a number of science fiction movies and TV shows that deal in ideas that appeal to many libertarians. The article mentions Firefly as an exception, but there are others, too. Here's my short list:

Ghostbusters: Slightly nutty small businessmen calling themselves "The Ghostbusters" put together an innovative service ridding homes and businesses of troublesome ghosts. Smarmy, overzealous environmental regulator shuts them down, causing city-wide disaster. After making their case to the mayor, The Ghostbusters are allowed to resume business, and they save the city.

Brazil: Arguably a better adaptation of Orwell's 1984 than the actual adaptation of 1984 (at least in spirit), this brilliant, bleak satire is probably cinema's greatest depiction of an individual struggling against the inscrutable machinations of the state.

The Prisoner: Trapped in hidden, nonsense-filled community where every individual is assigned a number, Patrick McGoohan fights against state-mandated conformity while trying to escape from a giant white security blob.

Fight Club: Not exactly sci-fi, but definitely dystopian, it's a movie that many see as having a strong anti-corporate bent. But it's also a movie about the seductions and dangers of radical groupthink — and one in which the protagonist "wins" by taking personal responsibility for his actions.

Dark City: In a secretive society of psychic aliens manipulates time and identity in a mysterious city where it's always night, one individual struggles to reclaim his agency and identity.

I'm sure there are others. What am I missing?

More from Reason on movies here.

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  1. Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. One small man trying to fight the vast Vogon bureaucracy to rectify the wrongful destruction of the entire Earth.

    1. You must have read a different H2G2 than I did.

    2. HAHA threads are awsome!!

      I can post way late and still make it to the top of the list!!

      So here it goes:

      Avatar is a libertarian themed movie.

    3. “I’m sure there are others. What am I missing?”

      530 comments and not one person mentioned what is not only the greatest sci-fi movie ever, but the greatest movie ever (including everything from the future)??? WTF?

      “They Live”. You are missing “They Live”. Almost as important as “Conspiracy of Silence” and almost seen as rarely.

  2. The Incredibles. Gifted heroes have resorted to fighting crime in the shadows thanks to overbearing state regulation that demands mediocrity. With a main villain looking to give everyone powers, so that in his words “when everyone is special, no one will be…”
    Pro achievement, pro freedom, what more could you want?

    1. No. The villain is a business man. Giving everyone superpowers is evil?

      It’s not all bad though. Edna Mode is perhaps the greatest film character ever scripted.

      1. No capes!

      2. ElastiGirl is so fucking hot.

      3. It’s not that “giving everyone superpowers is evil,” but rather an argument about technology vs. in-born talent. The Incredibles universe doesn’t seem to have many “science heroes” like Batman or Green Arrow, who are masked adventurers as opposed to metahumans.

        The movie employs its disdain for science heroes in its first few moments, with the bumbling Buddy and his wonky technology being the butt of the joke. Even the climax of the film is based around natural talents being superior to technology.

        Besides, Buddy wasn’t evil because he wanted to give everyone superpowers… he was evil because he murdered dozens of people to further that goal.

        1. Actually, to be precise, Buddy’s flaws were:

          1. He expected to be treated as super without actually having demonstrated any particular distinction first. From Mr. Incredible’s perspective, he’s just some kid hassling him.

          2. His goal of giving everyone superpowers is conceived in jealousy. He so hates and despises the fact that he was not able to measure up in the eyes of his idol that he’s taking a long distance short cut to eliminating the concept of excellence and distinction.

          3. He was a “businessman” if you count people who get rich by selling weapons to statists to use as tool of oppression as a “business”.

          1. That’s a good point–was his operation even quasi-legal? Sounds like it wasn’t. If not, that makes Blofeld a businessman. I don’t think so. I don’t think so.

          2. Missing from this is Bird’s rip on the modern belief that “everyone is special.” That was at the core of Buddy’s jealousy and fanatical focus.

            “When everyone is special, no one will be special.”

          3. He was a “businessman” if you count people who get rich by selling weapons to statists to use as tool of oppression as a “business”.

            Tony Stark isn’t a real businessman either then?

            1. I think Stark was operating within the bounds of legality. Buddy, probably not.

        2. You take the message too literally. The conflict is between those who actually have talent and prestige and those who wish to attain greatness without merit. Instead of striving to be better than the supers, Buddy attempts to destroy them. Instead of celebrating the truly exceptional, the people in the Incredibles universe seek to tear them down. The message of the movie is that extraordinary people should be celebrated, not condemned and that other peoples superior abilities do not diminish the value of ones own.

          1. Buddy is a scientific genius. He is technically a super, even if no character in the film recognizes this.

            Certainly, the hostility to technological enhancement of natural ability is not generally libertarian-friendly.

            1. But is that merely a snide irony? They used technology (computer-aided animation) rather than live actors to make a film about how natural ability is better than technology.

            2. You take the movie too literally. Buddy using technology to over come his lack of superhero abilities is a metaphor for attempting to achieve greatness without the prerequisite abilities. Exactly what those abilities are and exactly how people compensate for the lack of abilities is unimportant to the message of the movie. Superpowers are used merely to reinforce the idea that some people are born more talented at some things then others and that this fact is nothing to be ashamed of or be resentful over.

            3. I don’t think that’s what they’re trying to say. It’s not that he’s not a natural super; it’s that he wanted recognition before he proved himself. Flying boots are one thing, but was he willing to act heroically? Apparently not.

      4. Edna Mode was based on Edith Head, who designed for Hitchock, among others.

        I’ve wondered why people referred to The Incredibles as a libertarian movie, and while V & C makes some good points, I don’t think it could be so easily placed there.

        As Warren said, the villain is a businessman, and the insurance company Mr. Incredible works for at the beginning of the movie is a stock evul corporashum, denying claims to little old ladies. While there are companies in real life that pull this sort of crap, they exist a lot more in Hollywood than the rest of America.

        1. It’s an individualist movie not a libertarian one. There’s a difference. Anyway, Bird used some stereotypes to tell his story without spending a lot of time explaining things. I wouldn’t read too much “message” into the two portrayed businesses being baddies of one sort or another.

          1. Of course, being pro-individual these days is practically the same as being libertarian from the ruling folks’ perspective.

            1. Actually, not being a member of the ruling political class, even as a serf, is considered libertarian now.

              Let’s not even talk about how such a loose conglomeration of fringe nutjobs, who number in the hundreds were told, don’t matter and have no real power are responsible with everything that’s wrong in the world.

              1. We’re like superheroes or something.

                1. More like Superzeroes!

                  HURR DURR!

                  1. That was uncalled for.

                2. Or Jews.

        2. And Bird did the voice for Edna Mode, in addition to coming up with the whole concept and writing the movie. Pretty creative guy.

  3. Obviously Star Wars, no? The Matrix?

    1. No not Star Wars. The Jedi are more Trotsky than Jefferson.

      1. What a bunch of fuckups.

      2. How can a religious sect can be Trotsky?

        1. What religion? They just levitate stuff and spew hokey, new age bull. And chop people’s hands, arms, and heads off with light sabers. Jedi are known to do that.

          1. Jedi can kill anyone they want! Jedi cut off hands, arms, and heads ALL the time and don’t even think twice about it. These guys are so crazy and awesome that they flip out ALL the time. I heard that there was this Jedi who was eating at a cantina. And when some dude dropped a spoon the Jedi killed the whole town. My friend Mark said that he saw a Jedi totally Force choke some kid just because the kid opened a window.

    2. I’m with Lamar, Star Wars is libertarian.

    3. Episodes I-III: what Warren said.

      Episodes IV-VI: most of the heroes are smugglers of one sort or another. You can’t get more libertarian than that!

      1. The Ewoks: Libertarian? Discuss.

  4. Dark City was terrible.

    Farscape was surprisingly libertarian/anarchist for a space opera type show. The Peacekeepers were an overbearing Spartan-like, collectivist society and government that was constantly pursuing them.

    Romero’s The Crazies could also be interpreted as libertarian, with the townspeople being caught between the government’s overbearing response to Trixie (which they created) and the infected.

    1. I was actually going to post something about “who the hell remembers/wants to talk about Dark City?” Thanks for making it seem like a normal thing to think.

      1. You’re welcome. Because it sucked.

        1. I liked that movie.

          Sue me.

          1. Me-too. It has an interesting philosophical theme about personal identity, and looks totally sweet.

            1. I love Dark City. Love it. The Anita Kensey version of Sway that Jennifer Connelly sings is just chilling.

              “No more Mister Quick.”

          2. Damn good movie.

        2. BS. Very creative movie.

    2. You just don’t understand football, Marge.

      1. Heeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyy

  5. Demolition Man! Sandra Bullock’s best movie and the only one of Stallone’s campy movies that was actually funny, thanks in part to memorable libertarian lines like this from Dennis Leary’s character:

    Edgar Friendly: You see, according to Cocteau’s plan I’m the enemy, ’cause I like to think; I like to read. I’m into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I’m the kind of guy likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder – “Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?” I WANT high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and BUCKETS of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section. I want to run through the streets naked with green Jell-o all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal? I’ve SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It’s a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing “I’m an Oscar Meyer Wiener”.

    1. I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati

      That doesn’t even make sense. A cigar the size of Peter North…
      that would make sense.

      1. With that thought process, I wouldn’t be so sure about your moniker if I were you. jk:)

    2. Thank you! Just rewatched this movie last night, it was the first thing that came to mind. The government in that film is liberal paternalism taken to its natural conclusion where anything “not good for you” is deemed “bad” and therefore “illegal,” resulting in an infantile, mind-numbingly boring and submissive above-ground culture.

    3. Demolition man is a fanastic libertarian movie. Some choice quotes:

      “While you were sleeping a code was installed on everyone. It was a brilliant idea by Dr. Cocteau. An organic microchip is sewn into the skin. Sensors all over the city can zero in on anyone at any time.

      -I can’t even conceive of what police officers did before it was developed.

      -We worked. This fascist crap makes me want to puke.”

      “Smoking is not good for you. Anything not good for you is bad. Hence, illegal. Alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, meat–

      -Are you shitting me?

      -You are fined one credit for violation
      of the verbal-morality statute.

      -What the hell is that?

      -You are fined one credit….

      -Bad language,chocolate, gasoline, uneducational toys and spicy food. Abortion is illegal, so is pregnancy if you don’t have a license.”

  6. Thank you Lord* for a sci-fi thread so they’ll quit the fucking bitchering over the CRA.

    *no. not you Suderman.

    1. The CRA, while minor, is still dumbfuck economics.

      Ha Ha! I’m writing about the CRA whether you like it or not!

  7. I just saw Changeling and was pleasantly surprised at the brutal send-up of the LAPD.

    And yes, that stretches the post’s question even more than Fight Club

  8. Firefly was awsome. Pissed that Fox fucked up by airing it out of order so the rating sucked and they cancelled it, onyl to realize after the fact that the dvds were selling a ton. It successfully merged a western with a space adventure film with a dystopian techno future… essentially it took Harrison Ford’s best 3 80’s movies and put them into one.

    1. Firefly SUCKED. Serenity SUCKED even worse.

      1. That’s pretty wrong.

      2. You err.

      3. I will end you.

      4. I once watched an episode of Firefly. Then I strangled all my friends who told me how awesome it was.

        1. You, too, err.

        2. Watch more than one. The series DVDs are very worthwhile.

          1. Yeah, there were some mediocre episodes, as well as some that you really can’t get if you haven’t been watching the whole series. The whorehouse rescue comes to mind in the first case, while the finale “Objects In Space” would seem like artsy crap if you aren’t a fan.

    2. After seeing Battlestar Galactica, Joss Whedon should’ve hung his head in shame. Dystopian space sci-fi? Firefly looks like a afterschool special in comparison to BSG’s awesomeness.

      (Buffy was great tho, so there’s that)

      1. BSG was Caprica 90210.

        I heard they’re actually making a Caprica 90210 now.

        Circle of life, Simba.

      2. Admittedly, I haven’t finished this series, but so far as I’ve gotten, Battlestar is quite mediocre. Interesting ideas, but too many heavy-handed plot contrivances, even for sci-fi.

      3. BSG–especially early on–was pretty good. Firefly was better.

        1. +1
          the end of BSG was crap

      4. Speaking of Whedon, I finally watched last week’s Dollhouse last night. The first twist didnt surprise me. The last one totally did. Wow, did not see that coming.

        Wont spoiler it.

        1. I really don’t get the hate for Dollhouse. It’s better written, produced and acted than 99% of the other crap that is on tee-vee. Faint praise to be sure, but I’m hoping someone can clue me on what is so wrong with it.

          Oh, and no, it’s not libertarian at all. Not even close.

          1. The only real problem with Dollhouse it the focal point of the show was chosen for her perky tits and not her acting ability. The rest of the cast is good to great. I’d love to see a Victor/Sierra spinoff.

            1. Agreed. As much as I like looking at Eliza, the show could stand to be about 60% less Dushku.

              But, it’s *her* show, so that’s why her perky tits and ass appear so often. Very good supporting cast regardless.

        2. Yeah, that last one I did not see coming and can’t make sense of at all. I’m surprised that Dollhouse hasn’t come up more in the comments (as far as I’ve read them), what with a corporation trying to take over the government covertly for its own ends and then the whole negative take on the idea of deity wrapped throughout it.

          1. Actually, the last twist makes a lot of sense. I cant explain my thoughts without spoilering it all up and everytime I mention that rosebud is a sled people get all upset. 🙂

            I thought it was a good enough twist to not spoil it for anyone who is going to buy the DVDs or something.

            1. Add me to didn’t see it coming. Curious as to how they’ll clean it up.

              Is next week the last ep?

              1. Is next week the last ep?

                Either one or two left.

                1. Either one or two left.

                  Checked my DVR, 2 to go.

        3. Obviously JW and I disagree on this to some extent. To be clear, I don’t think that it is libertarian overall, but some of the themes resonate with libertarianism, at least as evident here on H&R.

          1. I read an interview with Whedon on Dollhouse and he let slip some of his political views, which were boringly pedestrian in terms of Hollywood. He made sure to get in that he thought that Dushku was a “proud feminist” or something to that extent. I see those views coming through on Dollhouse with the almost strident anti-capitalist slant.

            Yes, the heroine is individualistic overcoming the oppressive system she’s trapped in, but I don’t see that as inherently libertarian.

            1. I won’t argue that at all. Although I’m not sure it’s so much anti-capitalist as anti-corporatist. It’s never clear what Rossum actually produces other than bribes of well-placed people and plots to subvert the government. The capitalism depicted has little to do with non-corporatist/crony capitalist economics.

              Unfortunately most of the world thinks corporations = capitalism and so if one is opposed to corporatism one must ergo be opposed to capitalism. So I suppose you’re right that for Whedon and most viewers Rossum = capitalism = evil.

              1. Rossum is a govt contractor to some degree, I believe, but it’s a mega-corp.

                You may be correct that it’s anti-corporate and not anti-capitalist, but it’s the only capitalism presented in the show (and an FBI agent is one of the heroes) and I seriously doubt that the nuances of the differences between the 2 was ever a topic of conversation as to the premise.

                I think you right in that it is that simple: Rossum = capitalism = evil. It could be that they just needed a boogeyman and an evil company is easier to sell and portay than an evil gummint agency.

      5. Firefly looks like a afterschool special in comparison to BSG’s awesomeness.

        Two completely different shows in their own right and you seriously err trying to compare them to one another, beyond both being SF shows.

        1. I tend to agree. I prefer Firefly, but I wouldn’t want to have one without the other, either.

      6. BSG s1-3 = awesome.
        BSG s4 (especially the last ep) = unforgiveable.

        1. There must be some kind of way out of here.

    3. Firefly was a good concept with good characters and shitty writing. Almost every episode had a great build up with no payoff. It also ended before they developed half the story lines they introduced.

      1. I distinctly recall conclusions for each episode, but hey, that was only my experience.

        1. They were vey anticlimactic is my point.

      2. I don’t agree. I thought Whedon did a great job slowly developing his characters while putting them in interesting situations. Not every episode was perfect, but the series was great and likely would’ve been even greater if given more time. Fox is stupid about most of its halfway decent series, especially if they’re–God forbid–science fiction.

        1. I like it (SciFi nerd); my wife liked it (definitely not a SciFi nerd). I still don’t understand how Fox could fuck that up.

        2. I definitely would have continued watching it if it continued. I did enjoy it. Maybe someone can get Syfy to pick it up and make new episodes if they’re not too busy showing Mansquito or Megashark vs Zombie alligators or whatever.

      3. What we need is a firefly/deadwood mash-up . . . .

    4. “.. essentially it took Harrison Ford’s best 3 80’s movies and put them into one.”

      Holy shit, is THAT why it was so awesome? I understand now.

    5. “People don’t like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don’t run, don’t walk. We’re in their homes and in their heads and we haven’t the right. We’re meddlesome. ”

      “Sure as I know anything, I know this – they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people… better. And I do not hold to that.”

  9. IMO, the libertarian strain is dominant in literary sci-fi.

    Asimov is obviously a huge statist leftist, but in general MOST sci-fi writing has a Heinleinesque “life on the frontier” quality to it. It’s always about exploring new territory, generally with independent individuals in the lead.

    The problem is that the film industry is generally left leaning, not science fiction in general.

    1. Asimov wasn’t entirely a statist. Episiarch and I have the “Were the Spacers libertarians?” discussion about once a year. The answer is likely no, as the Spacers seemed to operate under some pretty nasty laws at times (particularly in the later books), but there are some libertarians elements to their culture.

      Asimov used the Spacers to show some of the negative extremes of individualism, but he also seemed to favor the Spacers in some ways. Ditto his attitude towards City culture.

      1. Ditto his attitude towards City culture.

        Interviews with Asimov reveal that he thought that living in giant domed cities would be AWESOME, and was very confused that most people found it depressing and dystopian.

        1. He was an admitted claustrophile. That’s not the same as saying he wanted to live under the Civic system he describes in the books. In fact, he trashes it over and over again throughout the series.

        2. Really? I thought just about everyone was in agreement that living in giant domed cities was awesome.

  10. Dark City wasn’t that bad.

    I think one reason that sci fi ends up being pie-in-the-sky socialist is because most science fiction writers dramatically overstate the social changes that will result from the scientific developments they describe, both because they want their works to be exciting and dramatic and provocative and because most of them just aren’t that talented at what they do.

    Star Trek is a classic example. Gene Roddenberry just wasn’t that good at theorizing about the effects of the technologies he was describing on his imaginary future society. He basically operated on the level of “Hey, man, if we had replicators there’d be no more scarcity so den we’d all be socialists!”

    1. Post-scarcity is examined in Iain Bank’s novels, and done pretty well, and even has to have Special Circumstances fucking with other cultures in order to make things interesting.

      Hazel hit on it above partially, but sci-fi has two primary modes: technology advancement has led to the ability to do something horrible and overbearing to people (1984, The Humanoids, The Matrix); or, it has opened up so much space that it’s impossible for any government to control it and you get a frontier.

      That’s a little simplistic, and there are exceptions, but those two themes tend to run through stories that aren’t about them primarily. Neal Asher’s Polity series is primarily about his characters and weird worlds he’s created, but the Polity is quite libertarian (“things that don’t hurt others are generally permitted”), and has sections it can’t even control where lots of crazy shit goes on. Because space is just too huge.

      1. It’s been a long time since I read it, but Vonnegut looked at post-scarcity society in one of his books. His take was rather dystopian. Since all wants were provided for, the only people who could find jobs had PhD’s, and most people just sat around until they got so bored they killed themselves.

        I think there’s some truth to that. We need a certain amount of stress and challenge in our lives to make them worthwhile. Too little, and we get completely bored to the point of self-destruction, too much, and mental problems / overwhelm develops.

        1. Player Piano. Based on his time at GE after WWII.

    2. He basically operated on the level of “Hey, man, if we had replicators there’d be no more scarcity so den we’d all be socialists!”

      I think this is actually accurate. Without scarcity, capitalism is no longer required. A example of this of sorts is open sourced software, which is basically socialistic of sorts. Basically, if one could press a button and a car would appear with no cost, people would design new cars as hobbies.

      1. Open Source is Socialistic rather than generosity? Maybe GPL is Socialistic if you buy into that.

        1. How is open source software forcing others to pay for itself?

      2. One of Wired magazine’s cover stories was about how the internet is the “new workers paradise” and “has redefined socialism” mostly because of open source software.

        If anything open source software is anarchistic. Hell, with some licenses if you make changes you can go ahead and sell it, as long as you give proper credit.

      3. How is open-source software socialistic in any way?
        Who coerces you into funding its programmers or installing it on your computer?

        1. Well, anarcho-socialism is probably a better term to describe it.

  11. I’ve read one of the script writers for Firefly is penning a script for The Moon is a Harsh Mistress!

    1. Yup, Tim Minear.

      1. You can read Tim’s script here

        They put it online so this won’t be the one they make into a movie

        1. I criticized it last year sometime. But, after the first third it gets okay.

          I really dislike the 1st third though.

          Also, I felt the overall theme of it being a rational anarchist revolution is completely lost.

  12. Dark City was unwatchable – bloody awful mess of a movie.

    I’d add The Postman?

    Also as much as I love and adore 1884, Brazil. Brave New World I don’t really think of them when I think of sci-fi, more philosophy with a plot…

    1. Dark City was unwatchable – bloody awful mess of a movie.

      I’d add The Postman?

      Ironize much?

    2. “Dark City was unwatchable”

      You are wrong. I watched it.

  13. I’ve Read one of the script writers for Firefly is penning a script for The Moon is a Harsh Mistress!

  14. Always with the Ghostbusters.

    After making their case to the mayor

    …on whose extralegal decision the city’s salvation hinges. So Ghostbusters is a pean to the Solomonic wisdom of the unconstrained executive.

    As to the rest, if reducibility to an “In a world… One man…” summary is all it takes to qualify, most movies are libertarian sci-fi.

    Yet somehow none are. It’s baffling!

  15. Donnie Darko? Ok, I’m just naming films now.

  16. THX 1138?

    1. Yes. Individualist escapes from socialist mother-of-all-states.

      1. His escape was successful due to arbitrary budget constraint.

  17. A Clockwork Orange, although the movie being based on the novel version that leaves out the last chapter does change the tone of it from Burgess’ intent.

    1. While set in the future, I wouldn’t classify A Clockwork Orange as sci-fi

      1. “A handy short definition of almost all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method.”

        -Robert A. Heinlein

        1. Yeah, you don’t really need gadget and spaceships and aliens for something to be sci-fi.

    2. Leaving out the last chapter was the correct thing to do. The last chapter is a total cop-out.

      1. Noting that time is a more civilizing force than mind control technology is a cop-out?

        1. No, but having a happy ending was.

          1. Gloomy Gus rides again.

            Although, if you really want to talk about completely shitty “happy” endings, Minority Report and AI spring to mind.

            1. “Hey, the whole ending was as I planned it years before I gave it to Steven!”

              Actually, whatever one thinks of Spielberg’s film, the fact that the advanced Mechas give David a false reunion with his mother, and that the only way he can become “real” is die, I found to be anything but a happy end. It was pretty grim to my eyes.

              1. But not a grim as him staring at The Blue Fairy for eternity, knowing, but not being able to comprehend, it was all a lie.

                1. What a horrific ending. To a lousy film. And anyone who thinks Spielberg landed anywhere near where Kubrick would have hasn’t been paying attention.

                  1. Well, I’m not defending the final film. But, every major story point was part of Kubrick’s original plan for the film, including the search for the Blue Fairy and the extended epilogue with the advanced A.I.s bringing David’s “mother” back for that one day.

                    1. This is a pretty thorough overview of the film:

                    2. I don’t believe it. All that Disney crap is so Spielberg as to be Anti-Kubrick.

          2. Have to agree. Furthermore, Alex was a violent, psychopathic murderer and rapist. I don’t give a shit if he becomes mentally healthy and has a positive outlook on life with unicorn posters and Garfield telephone notepads. He should have been locked up for the rest of his worthless life.

            1. But he would have stayed in jail if it weren’t for the government trying to take away his agency as an experiment with the goal of taking away everyone’s agency.

              Besides, George and Dim becoming policemen is that same sort of “happy” ending in that they did not pay for their crimes. And it is one of the most bitingly truthful comments on the police ever put on film.

              1. I didn’t say I didn’t like the book or movie, and I got the point of the story (It would have been hard not to, since the priest states it in obvious terms when Alex tries to grab the girl’s hooters and chokes.) I just didn’t like the last chapter, where Alex is revealed to now be a really nice guy who just wants a family.

                Burgess should have made the character a bit more sympathetic, IMO. As it is, I don’t give a shit about what he wants. I don’t care that he’s changed.

                1. In the 20th Century Dystopias class I took, the thesis of my research paper was that Alex is an artist whose most effective medium is violence. This explains his level of intelligence, appreciation for Beethoven and the almost constant aesthetic judgments that he subjects everyone and everything too. Given that, it is a false happy ending in that Alex as a frustrated artist will eventually erupt, and it must be violently to be satisfying.

                  English was an easy major given my ability to knit bullshit into distracting sweaters.

                  1. Still, that must have been a great class.

                    1. Pretty good, but the dullard/interesting ratio was off. It was basically only three of us who read the books or could form an opinion in class.

                      Other than my creative writing classes… Dystopias, a class on Noir in literature, and the Asian Philosophy class that ended in a screaming match at least once a week were my favorite classes as an undergrad.

                  2. It was a yucky movie.

                1. I watched it with a group of guys once. About a third of the way into the movie one of them stood up, yelled “I don’t know how any of you can watch this. It’s disgusting.” and stormed out.
                  It’s one of my favorite movies; I’ve seen it more than any other movie, probably close to 200 times if not more.

                  1. Alex = Mr. Tulip

                    If anyone gets this and agrees, thank you.

  18. While star wars 1-3 sucked big time, they did focus on the subversion of a democracy by a tyranny using security as the motive for giving up freedom.

  19. It’s not a movie, but Babylon V was probably the most complex, thoughtful, and anti authoritarian sci-fi vision ever.

    1. I always enjoyed that show, even if cheezy looking back at an early 90s cable show. But it treated the relationships between the various races as complex and grey and not a black vs white mentality. The show was neither utopian nor distopian. Libertarian or anti authoritarian though? I don’t know.

  20. er, also Heinlein’s “Puppetmasers” carried some of its anti-collectivist message to the screen…

  21. equalibrium? anyone? cmon how did you guys miss that one? In the end you find out that their “perfect society” was run by a communist d-bag.

    1. Equilibrium was quite good. Too bad it got massively overshadowed by The Matrix and nobody paid attention to it.

      1. Like like Equilibrium more every time I watch it. It’s not the deepest movie philosophically, but it is about resisting structures of control, which is anti-authoritarian, if not exactly mainline libertarian. (Someone can be against something without the guarantee that what they want to replace it with is really any better.)

        1. GUN CATA!

        2. err… kata.

        3. Equilibrium was awesome. It does have a Libertarian/individualist strain to it. (come on, lone guy stops I did love the gun kata, though. And it was the movie that made me like Christian Bale.

      2. I enjoyed Equilibrium. Not perfect but entertaining.

      3. The implausibility of gun kata is directly proportional to its awesomeness to watch.

        1. It was different, but I thought it worked fairly well.

          1. You’d be surprised by the number of people who get bent out of shape about gun kata.

    2. Equilibrium wasn’t anti-statist, it was anti-religious (specifically Christianity). Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Christian symbolism will pick up on it (e.g. the tetragrammaton, “The Father” as ruler, The pill is referred to as “The opiate of the masses,” etc.)

  22. There were episodes of Battlestar Galactica that, if not libertarian, at least made the libertarian argument in a serious manner. But you have to consign the last half season to the flames, or it’s just awful awful awful.

    1. No, no, no, it was perfect and satisfying in every way. Remember all that stuff that didn’t make any sense? Angels.

      1. People have been shunned for less.

      2. The God stuff really made me want to cry.

        1. Meh. I just let that slide over me. Bugs the shit out of my wife, but not me so much.

          1. I don’t mind the question of God, or discussion of him, or even belief in him. What I mind is God as a deus ex machina. The answer to ever single question raised and the conclusion to ever single plotline started, by the final episode, was “God did it.”

            1. I came up with much better resolutions than the writers did, and I’m just some dude posting comments on a blog.

  23. One of the most disturbing stories I ever read was Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s end, in which humanity merges into a single group consciousnes. The horrifying thing about it is that Clarke clearly depicted this as a good thing.


    1. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Resistance is for Luddites. Bring it on.

      1. Okay, that’s one vote for losing his individuality in the collective mind of a superbeing.

        1. Don’t think of it as losing yourself. Think of it as gaining everyone else.

          1. Have you met everyone else?

            1. Yeah, you’ll be gaining Chad and Tony. And Michael Bay.

              1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

                1. Hence my problem merging with others.

                  1. Ain’t nothing wrong with merging with the ladies.

              2. A stronger argument against the hive mind has never been made before.

              3. Add Joe to the list too.

              4. You forgot Uwe Boll.

                1. And Roland Emmerich.

    2. Clarke, always and everywhere, had this weird gaping blind spot about technology. As technology advances, we’ll all become better and better! The aliens must be nice, they’re technologically advanced! Shit, 50,000 years of human history puts the lie to this idea. That was always my big sticking point with everything Clarke did.

    3. What about Spider Robinson’s idea of the same thing happening, traced through some of the “Callahan” books, as well as from the ideas in “Mindkiller,” “Time Pressure,” and “Lifehouse?”

    4. Incidentally, I like that book, too.

    5. But his version of that future wasn’t the creepiest. Try “Blood Music” by Greg Bear. Creepy as hell. Or to a much lesser degree, “Forever Peace”, by Joe Haldeman.

  24. Star Wars? I always saw it as a struggle against evil corrupted government.

    1. Actually the struggle against an evil, totalitarian form of government to reinstate a good, republican form of government. Pretty simple. Star Wars isn’t sci-fi, it’s space opera.

      1. What’s not science fiction about it? It’s not hard science fiction, but it’s definitely science fiction.

  25. Just want to enthusiastically second the comments about Demolition Man. Very underappreciated movie in general, and pretty libertarian.

    And props to Brazil, which depicts the failure of bureaucracy and central planning brilliantly.

    One reason I think sci-fi leans left is that when we think about what would “change” in the future, it’s too easy to focus on the big things like social systems and institutions, rather than the little things that will change because of the decentralized choices of human beings. The future is cool precisely because we can’t predict it. Those of us who believe in markets and cultures as discovery processes will always have a hard time writing sci-fi because doing so carries with it a certain sort of hubris.

    That’s one reason when Demo Man is so good – the little things. The fact that our commercials have become their “mini-songs” (or all restaurants being Taco Bells) is exactly the way that markets and culture unfold unexpectedly, but things like that are really hard to write in an extended way.

  26. I remember one Star Trek about a fabulous paradisical city in the clouds which, we came to see, was made possible by the enslavement on those still on the ground. And the morally superior humans, led by The Kirk, showed them the error of their ways.

    No mention of the level of enslavement of Earthlings required to maintain a fabulous interstellar battle fleet.

    1. Considering that the alternative was real enslavement by the Klingons, I doubt many people complained. Star Trek (the original not the lefty remakes) is and always will be a cold war fable.

      What is interesting is that it is a cold war fable with no mention of economics.

    2. Yeah, the one where Spock tried to pick up a chick even though it wasn’t mating season.

      Some of this leaves the left-right paradigm and enters VP’s stasist-vs-dynamist world. Technology and science will make things much worse, or they will make things much better.

    3. Sounds a lot like “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”. Which sounds like omelet.

  27. Minority Report. The bad guys are the Precrime Unit that goes around arresting people for crimes they haven’t yet committed.

  28. The old 70s/80s RPG Travellor was a real libertarian game. There was an “Imperium”. But since it took weeks to travel anywhere, there wasn’t much central control. It was pretty much an interesting wild west of a space world. I was always sad they never made a good video game of it.

    1. Used to play that in junior high when not wasting my time with D&D. Dropped both, for the most part, in favor of women and drink.

      1. Not in junior high. The thing that came after that.

  29. Gattaca maybe?

    1. Liked that flick.

    2. Hello, I was surprised this came up so far down in the thread. Not libertarian per se, but individualist.

      1. Yes, the individual taps into the underground market to defeat the system that thinks it controls everything.

  30. There were episodes of Battlestar Galactica that, if not libertarian, at least made the libertarian argument in a serious manner.

    I was never able to get over the President rigging the first election. I hated that bitch ever after, but the show (and Adama) always seemed to act as if she’d done the right thing.

    1. She did. She didn’t assume the presidency. Of course, the moral of the story was “she should have… “

      1. No, the moral of the story is that taking the ethically correct action can have terrible consequences. There are moral situations where all choices are bad ones.

  31. No mention of the level of enslavement of Earthlings required to maintain a fabulous interstellar battle fleet.

    They are fuzzy in the first series, but the fully post-scarcity society of NG and beyond seems to be predicated that people work for Starfleet fairly voluntarily. Mostly to just have something to do. Since I can’t remember that there was ever any talk of taxes or levies… in society who’s money seems to be fame and recognition, “volunteering” to work for Starfleet or support units thereof might be entirely economically rational.

    The worst thing about a post-scarcity society is that boredom is rampant.

    1. The best part is the drug-replicators.

    2. The worst thing about a post-scarcity society is that boredom is rampant.

      I think Vonnegut addressed that.

    3. All the shows from TNG on rarely showed how Federation civilians conducted their lives from day to day, and when they tried to it seemed the writer’s really could not wrap their minds around how a post-scarcity civilization would actually work economically.

      1. For instance Sisko’s father’s restraurant, where the dishes were prepared by hand, including shucking shellfish, despite the only reward for that day by dday drudge work being the emotional satisfaction of ther people enjoying their meal.

  32. Equilibrium.
    Minority Report.
    The Matrix (moral fable about sacrificing truth and freedom for comfort and security).

  33. Samuel R. Delany’s novels would make some interesting libertarian cinema. A bonus in all the sodomy.

  34. How about City of Ember?

  35. Escape from New York/LA?

  36. I loved BSG, but it is the liberal fascist nightmare writ large.

    People who knows what’s best for us seize power, maintain an illusion of civilian control, literally enslave people (remember the ore processing ship?), and commandeer resources.

    BSG is lifeboat ethics and the lack of freedom that implies.*

    *Yes, all the choices were “right” in the sense that it kept them alive, but there’s precious little libertarianism about any of it.

    1. I actually thought the whole business of maintaining the government like nothing happened was total nonsense. If we were nuked and out on boats, I doubt we’d turn to the Secretary of Education for leadership.

      1. Well not as long as Timmy was still alive, we wouldn’t.

  37. Star Wars, although almost devoid of substantive content, seems a lot more libertarian than socialistic.

    The bad guys are mostly from the central, tyrannical government (there’s some jibber-jabber in there somewhere about a trade league or something as one of the bad guys, too). The good guys are all trying to overthrow it. One of the best characters, Han Solo, is a small businessman.

    So, what there is, definitely leans libertarian. I’m sure if George Lucas was smart enough to figure that out, he’d be horrified.

    1. They are definitely fighting the central authority. But for what? It seems to be to restore some kind of system of feudal families. Lea is a princess after all. Other than blowing up Lea’s home planet and taking her tiara, it is not really clear in the original just what is so bad about the empire. The rebels seem to start a massive civil war killing untold millions so that Lea can have her tiara back.

      1. I saw an interview years ago (before the 3 new star wars abortions) with George Lucas. He said that his original reason for Star Wars was to do a spooftastic sendup in honor of the old Buck Rogers type movies. Something campy and fun.

        1. He is just a terrible writer who had no one after the first two movies to tell him no. This is one example where copyright protection really hurts art. Star Wars for all of its faults is an interesting world. If it were in the public domain, some decent writers might be able to do something with it. As it is, it is left in Lucas hell.

          1. Lots of good stuff in that universe, but the stories as told just got weaker and weaker. If the series is ever revitalized in movie form, I bet they go back to the “Old Republic” days thousands of years before the films. That, and they bury Lucas in a chamber under his ranch for the duration.

            1. Maybe his kids will blow their millions and get desperate and license the universe out to someone who can do something with it. But I think everyone agrees that Lucas needs to die.

          2. I would argue that the money made him produce more depth than he was able. It grew way beyond his imagination. Same thing happened to Stephen King in the mid 80s. Signed a big contract requiring a certain amount of output and his work suffered. I was an avid King fan until It. I haven’t read much of his stuff since then. I tried a few times but found him shallow and uncaptivating.

  38. Gattaca

    1. Yyyyes. Yes, I think so. Good movie, too. Underrated.

  39. Hard to say after only 4 episodes, but the remake of ‘V’ definitely shows healthy skepticism of utopian leftism. I’ll second Gattacca too. Always been surprised that one doesn’t get more love on this site.

    1. I have a healthy something over that Brazilian chick who played the alien spokes model.

      1. One of the cast of Firefly, of course. They mostly seem to be doing okay in the job market.

      2. You mean the one from Firefly? Yes, insanely hot.

        1. I never watched Firefly so I don’t know. I am talking about the one with the short hair and the long legs in the trailers for the show. My God she is hot.

          1. That’s her, and now you have another reason to watch Firefly. Go and rent/buy/download it.

          2. She’s way, way hotter in Firefly. A little more filled out and not so primly dressed.

            But to each his own…

            1. My work blocks that. But I am sure she looked fantastic.

              1. Her neck’s too long and she is about 10 pounds thinner than my preference. Beautiful face though.

                1. Knees too sharp too?

        2. But she does have Crazy Eyes.

      3. You could go for the mother/dauther thing from V . . .

    2. V hasn’t presented a convincing case yet. At most it’s saying utopian leftism is bad if it’s being offered to you by lizards from space who want to kill you.

      1. That’s different from normal utopian leftism, how?

  40. Planet of the Apes. Taylor fighting the good fight against ape government. Damned, dirty apes!

  41. Star Trek: The Original Series: “A Taste of Armageddon” is the most accurate and frightening portrayal of utilitarianism ever produced.

    Random people murdered by their own government under the guise of keeping the body politic safe and avoiding property damage. The individual is literally sacrificed to The State.

    Even the quasi-hippies of Starfleet thought that was nuts.

    1. Plus Kirk gets to give General Order 24 to Scotty!

      Scotty explains that if the hostages aren’t released in one hour, all population centers and power generation facilities on the planet will be destroyed.

      Nice to know that in addition to the prime directive Starfleet understood the occasional need for planetary destruction.

      1. It had to be a bluff, right? I mean, surely slaughtering entire populations of planets is something that is against regulations. Particularly when the culture can’t really threaten the Federation.

        1. I don’t think so. Kirk gets a chance to shout “Scotty, General Order 24” into the radio while the head of the planet is discussing ransom terms with Scot. There wasn’t a chance to work out the details beforehand (unless it was worked out before the episode)

          1. It could be like the Queen to Queen’s Level 3 business. “Scotty, if I say blow up the planet, I don’t mean blow up the planet unless I say ‘Your mother was a whore.'”

  42. What’s that movie where Natalie Portman has a shaved head? V for Vendetta? That was an interesting film. Oh, and I still like I Robot

    1. You probably liked Smith’s I Am Legend too, you fucking philistine.

      1. I watched I Am Legend . I thought it should be in my list of worst movies ever. I’d rather watch a marathon of Knight Rider than be subjected to that crap again.

        1. There is a prequel in the works.

      2. I Am Legend sucked. I liked I Robot.

        bb, V for Vendetta? No. Just…no. Read the Graphic Novel and weep that people can’t make an Alan Moore story on the screen.

        1. The book is interesting and not nearly as one sided as the movie. The President in the book is portrayed as a sympathetic if wrong headed person. He is not some evil lord but someone committed to saving England from a real threat. He just loses his soul in doing so. There is a lot of nuance in the book.

          The Washowski brothers of course rang every last drop of nuance out of it and made it a bad anti-Bush polemic. The same Hollywood liberals who pat themselves on the back about how nuanced and sophisticated their views are took a really interesting book and destroyed it by making it into a big budget cartoon.

        2. Thanks Kyle. I guess I’ll put that on my reading list.

          Any other Goog sci-fi suggestions for this philsistine to read? I might find it more engaging now that I am finally maturing.

          1. or gooD sci-fi even.

            1. My 50 favorite SF novels of the last 20 years.

              That whole thread has a lot of reading suggestions.

              1. You know what was great about that?

                Lack of threading.

              1. The entire series of Transmet, that is.

                1. Great as Transmet was, it was not libertarian. It sort of seemed so due to how individualist Spider was, but it was pretty clear that if Spider had the ability to do so, he would make the government much more socialist than it was.

    2. I think Portman is one of the hottest women in the universe. It pains me to admit she is a terrible actress who has played a part in some of the worst movies of the last 20 years.

      1. I thought she was good in The Professional. And hot.

        1. Her acting has gotten worse as she’s gotten older. She was one of the rare child actors who was actually great (The Professional, Beautiful Girls) and she’s been regressing ever since.

          1. Here’s a thought. She went to college (Harvard, I think) and graduated. As her knowledge and education increased, her acting ability decreased.

      2. I’m told that she is a tiny person. Like noticably under 5 feet tall.

    3. Poor Asimov. Hardly any movies based on his works made while he was alive, then, when Hollywood gets around to acknowledging him, they screw up his stories completely. There has yet to be a good Asimov-derived movie. Period.

      1. Fantastic Voyage (the original with Raquel Welch)?

        Technically, Asimov wrote the novelization of the movie, but still.

        1. BTW, its being remade this year.

        2. I always liked that one.

        3. Not him–he novelized the story. Besides, I said “hardly any.” There was a Caves of Steel TV movie with Peter Cushing and some really bad film of Nightfall.

      2. Aren’t they making The Foundation? I really cringe at that thought. You know what Hollywood will do with it. Harry Seldon will be an Al Gore like figure telling the Empire it is doomed because of its horrible environmental policies.

        1. I think so. They’ll probably screw that up entirely, but it could be a good movie. I have no expectations.

      3. Call me crazy but I think I Robot was done as well as it could have been done. At its core, it was a tale of trading freedom for security and losing both. ViKi’s philosophy was exactly that of the modern liberal — people must be controlled for their own good, and while the murder of innocent people was regrettable it was justified to bring about a greater good.

        1. I should note for those that haven’t seen the film that ViKi was the main antogonist.

        2. You go too far!

        3. I liked the parts where Will Smith said cool shit into the camera then stuff exploded.

          1. He’s a wisecracking kid from the streets but with a heart of gold.

    4. I will never take you seriously again.

    5. Well, I liked V for Vendetta. I have never read the book, though and I bet I would like the movie a lot less if I had.

      1. I loved it, and I don’t think I would feel differently if I had read the graphic novel (which I’ll get around to sometime).

        This is another one that people get totally bent out of shape about, for reasons I can’t fathom. Word of God (Alan Moore) says the movie sucks, therefore it does? But he says that about every adaptation, even when it’s a nearly-direct translation like Watchmen.

        1. I like both the movie and the graphic novel. Moore is right, though, in saying the graphic novel is more pro-anarchy and the movie seems to prefer Clintonesque liberal government.

        2. If the movie was an original story, I would consider it good but not great, but when contrasted with the source material, it’s hard not too see how it could have been done better.

  43. I’m going to throw Ironman out there.

    Not explicitly libertarian, with all the throwing in with the military-industrial complex, but Stark’s redemption is highly individualistic and anti-authoritarian and if the preview are any indication, Ironman 2 will be even more so (the Sen. Gary Shandling smackdown is epic).

    I’m on the fence with The Dark Knight as to it being libertarian-ish, but I say it leans towards that more than the other.

    1. Batman is not a libertarian hero because if The State was stronger he wouldn’t be necessary. He’s a pro-Statist reactionary and is only a hero in the sense that he mostly focuses on personal and property crimes. He is an individualist, but not a libertarian.

      1. Remember Batman’s first ass-whooping in Batman Begins? Yep — it was drug dealers who were just minding their own business, not hurting anyone.

        But I think we have to give the Batman films credit for showing how oppressive and pervasive govt corruption is. I guess I set my bar lower — I don’t expect a movie to vocally support privatizing the road system and legalizing ferrets to applaud its libertarian sympathies.

        1. and though the means was through a lefty favorite, publictransportation, when the government failed at saving gothum from the eocnomic slump durring batmans’s childhood, it was the private action of his father that ended up coming to the rescue

          1. So it’s more like Naderrific utopianism, then.

  44. Logan’s Run, Enemy Mine, Blade Runner, City of Ember.

    Ones I’d love to see (done right)

    Lucifer’s Hammer, Angels Down, Systemic Shock and sequels, Kitten’s Claws.

    1. I read Lucifer’s Hammer when I was a kid. My parents loved that book. Said it was one of their favorites (and they read like no one’s business).

      1. Agree with your folks. Lucifer’s Hammer is awesome.

  45. A Taste of Armageddon: that show really creeped me out.

  46. When are we going to talk about Avatar depression?…..index.html

    Heh, hippies.

    1. That is the funniest story of the day. What is funny and pathetic is that all the weenies who wish they could be like the Avatar smurfs would last like five minutes in a pre-industrial society. They probably still haven’t gotten over the My Little Pony Movie.

    2. It’s insane. Me and my friends have been laughing like mad to that story.

      You would think it’s the Onion, but no, those people are actual voters or future voters.

      I almost wish this was Pandora so I could rip out their spines and shit down their throats and call it ‘honor’.

    3. I haven’t seen the movie. From what I’ve read here, the 3D is very dramatic. I’m going way out on a limb here with my Wild Ass Theory of the Day.
      Some folks are prone to depression due to brain chemistry. The 3D graphics are triggering the the areas of the brain that generate the feelings of depression in much the same way that LSD does. The depression manifests itself by wrapping itself in with the storyline. I’m curious how long it will be before Goldberg and associates have a commercial to offer legal assistance.

      1. My WATOTD…

        The internet has made being a nerd more socially acceptable and they feel free to express sentiments like this in public that they’ve had all along.

    4. “Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible,”


      Green Jello (Jelly) was right.

      “Band (writers in this case) with no talent can easily amuse idiots with a simple puppet show.”

  47. Brazil, in my darker moments, is what I fear we’re headed toward; A cuddly authoritarianism, more to be feared for its incompetence and bureaucracy and inertia than for malicious intent.

    1. Darker moments? Hell, I’m convinced that’s where we’re heading ultimately, right after the UK gets there, which is well on its way.

      1. I figured when the police randomly gunned someone down for fear of terrorism, and he turned out to be Brazilian, that it was a sign. Too bad, I kinda liked Anglo civilization.

  48. Sometimes I wish somebody would make a film version of Bill, the Galactic Hero. But there’s a ninety seven per cent probability they’d fuck it up.

    And- it’s been a long time since I read them, but I seem to recall The Stainless Steel Rat series was pretty anti-authoritarian, if not actually libertarian.

    1. Hey, Harry Harrison did good inspiring Soylent Green–why not? Especially The Stainless Steel Rat.

      I was wondering about Asimov’s Lucky Starr series as a basis for a TV show–which is what was originally intended. The stories would need some updating and editing to work, but I think it could be a successful franchise.

      1. I can’t recall which company. But, someone is working on a film version of The Stainless Steel Rat.

        1. Really? Could actually not suck with that source material.

          1. Yep. Alas, I just checked and it’s in turnaround (it was set up at Fox back in 2000; I didn’t realize it was that long ago). They went through four different writers. Last update was back in September 2009. Jan De Bont, he of Twister fame, is thankfully no longer attached to direct.

            1. Sometimes the slow path is the best one.

              He’s got to drink all the time. And shoot lots of stuff.

  49. What about Mad Max?

    1. Go ahead, torture me! I can take it! cmon pussies!

    2. The first in the series showed the last vestiges of the state as heroes fighting against chaos. The second showed a collective defending themselves against bandits. That collective has no problem seizing Max’s car. Same in the Third, but there it is a despotism and not really shown in a good light. So I guess that one could be about the individual against the evil state.

  50. I’ll toss out Aeon Flux. You have revolutionaries fighting for individual lives instead of continuous resurrection under an eternal aristocratic regime.

    1. The original animated series makes it clear that the Monicans (a separate city) were anarchists who wanted to free everyone under Goodchild’s control. Often through monkeywrenching and surrealistic terrorism.

      See also “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” by Harlan Ellison.

  51. Holy crap, how has Fahrenheit 451 not been mentioned? Do people not consider that sci-fi? I’ll grant that the technology wasn’t super advanced, and in fact might be dated by today’s standards, but it provided a good warning about the value of free thinking, the exchange of ideas and the threat of state censorship.

    1. I’m in. Great book.

  52. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The Vogons are nothing but mindless government bureaucrats. Zaphod Beeblebrox is the classic idiot celebrity politician.

    1. And the ruler of the Universe is a guy who cares absolutely nothing for the office.

      1. I especially like the part (books) where it has been decided that the real President has to be someone that doesn’t want the job because anyone that wants power should never been allowed to have it.

        1. ..or that you only need a half a brain to be president?

    2. H2G2 was just completely nihilist. Anti-government feelings do not equal libertarianism.

  53. Not a movie, but Legend of the Seeker is based on the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, which tends to be almost painfully libertarian as the series goes on. The TV show is pulling in some of those libertarian elements, but more subtly, thank goodness!

    1. Oh, the Sword of Truth. For people who wanted The Fountainhead, but with more rape.

      1. Which is just part of why I’d recommend the TV series over the books.

    2. That show is a fucking blight on existence and should be wiped away and forgotten. Forever.

      One of the worst adaptations I have ever seen.

      1. agreed, but the books, awesome IMO.

        With Faith of the Fallen being particuarly excellent for a Libertarian perspective.

    3. That’s Fantasy, not Sci-fi.

  54. Avatar, so says David Henderson at Econlog:…..a_def.html

  55. While I hate Will Smith, Enemy of the State was decent. That they had Gene Hackman reprise his role from 20 years earlier in The Conversation was one of the cooler thing about that movie.

    The best thing about it is there were no ifs, ands, or buts – the government was a malevolent force being used to crush the innocent. Just like real life.

    1. I’m with you here.

      Kind of on the same note as not being sci-fi but a bit libertarian is Jericho.

    2. You should read a book of that title but having no resemblance to the movie.
      It’s by F Paul Wilson

        1. I also toss in his “Dydeetown World”


    1. Perhaps because they raped the story to make the movie?

    2. First, too obvious. Second the movie is not the book.

      1. Well, the book has about 10 pages of action and 200 pages of libertarian pholosophy.

        But who knew while reding the book that Dizzy was hwat hwat hwat in the showers?

        1. When I first saw that film, I was pissed that they showed the wrong love interest of Rico’s topless. Then Wildthings came out and I forgave.

        2. I haven’t read the book since high school, but I remember it feeling sort of fascist…

          1. It’s not really fascist, but it does trade on the military being made up of completely altruistic people who are almost inhumanly perfect. And it has the repulsive notion that people who don’t serve in the military are somehow lesser than people who do.

            But Heinlein abhorred the notion of conscription–even calling it slavery–and intimated national pride was to be reserved for functional governments, and was completely non-racist in the book… so it’s hard to make a case for fascism.

            1. The military was just one way to earn franchise. Nobody was turned away, even if they had to make up a job for your crippled ass.

              1. Exactly. The point was that to gain the franchise you had to put in 2 years of abject service to the state.

                That’s not something I would really approve of, but preventing people who don’t know or care about anything political from voting is a definite plus.

        3. agreed.

        4. Depends on th reader, since in the book Dizzy was a man.

  57. Legends of the Fall: the film is set in the early 1900’s and is filled with libertarian subplots. The father, played by Anthony Hopkins, expresses disgust at the suggestion of one of his three sons and his buddies, when he tells him he wishes to run for Congress, during which he explains the grotesqueness of a bullet hitting a child’s head, a scene he experienced as a Colonel in the government’s war against the Native Americans several years before. Another son, played by Brad Pitt, runs whiskey to make a living and offering competition against the politically connected establishment vendor. His third son eagerly joins the army but is killed, sending another message about the horror of war. The farm is manned by the family minus the mother who died, a Native American man, and a drifter they take in along with a Native American woman who have a child together. Total tolerance as depicted in a scene at the dinner table one night. In the final climactic scene, the good Colonel and a son shoot the corrupt whiskey vendor and the equally corrupt sheriff after they confront the whiskey-running son.



    1. but it’s a relative masterpiece if you were unfortunate enough to watch Starship Troopers 3…

      1. Was that the one with the bugs that took over bodies? If so, it was complete crap.

  59. Independence Day

    Yes this Philistine like it as well. It was just a fun ride. (and Jeff Goldblum triggers my man-crush jeans)

    1. ben–You should have quit while you were ahead. :::shakes head:::

    2. You have a man crush on Jeff Goldblum? Oh you poor, troubled man.

  60. Regarding Star Trek,

    Post-Scarcity theorizing always leaves a lot to be desired, for the simple reason that scarcity is a function of people’s unfulfilled wants and needs. Only those things that people value can be goods, and if they are valued, they are scarce (people do not really value air that much because we’re sourrounded by it.)

    So what happens if we have a replicator that makes your food, clothes and other things? The first thing you have to think of is: Who builds the replicators? Do the replicators fuel themselves? Who maintains them? These issues would constitute scarcity problems if the need arises for them to be addressed, and if the experts in the field are NOT the users.

    Take the spaceships everybody is flying around. Can anybody have a spaceship? Who supplies spaceships with fuel? Who maintains them, and why would they do that?

    The ships in Star Trek require a fictitious mineral called dilithium crystals. On some episodes, these have to be mined. Supposedly, they cannot be replicated. You have a scarcity problem there – you have to mine the crystals, which implies opening a hole in the ground and moving dirt. This requires capital investment, yet in the Star Trek Universe, there is no money. How would they know how to calculate? What size ship to move the equipment? Would it be all at once and save fuel? Would it be on several trips and use smaller, cheaper ships? These things cannot be guessed.

    Ultimately, the thing that will always be scarce is TIME, since people cannot be on two places at the same time. People will still have to make choices based on marginal utility, they will have to face opportunity costs, and ponder labor against leisure – this is the VERY REASON why I do not believe for even a single second that people would fly in a starship and face privation and danger just for the fun of exploring – some may be willing, but not ALL would be willing, and thus the COST of ENTICING a person to enlist WOULD HAVE TO BE HIGH.

    1. Post-scarcity requires AI in order to have no shortage of labor. The AIs and their drones/robots/etc. are “willing slaves” in that they do labor without needing to be paid, and have even been programmed to “like” it. Without this, post-scarcity is impossible.

      1. In a way we are post scarcity now. To someone from a pre industrial society, the poorest person in the US has good beyond their wildest dreams. Yet, we are not post scarcity because of consumerism. As soon as a good becomes post scarcity, we dream up a new gadget everyone has to have. I suspect a Star Trek universe would do the same. Yeah, you can jet around the universe and all your basic needs are taken care of, but what you really need is one of those high end hookers from Rigel 6 that go for $3000 credits an hour or a hand made vintage Vulcan dagger, not one of the knock offs. And so forth.

        1. Exactly. In a society in which replicators had the capacity to make you whatever you wanted, you would want stuff that was not made by replicators.

      2. Epi,

        People would still have to make choices about their time – do I want to eat now, or go for a walk? Do I want to visit Planet X, or Planet Y?

        There cannot be a post-scarcity problem with humans. Once humans are gone, THEN there will not be any scarcity issues.

    2. Rather than saying “post-scarcity” how about “less scarcity”? Trying to craft a culture that is completely post-scarcity is just about impossible. However, envisioning one that has much less of a resource problem than we do is instructive.

      In portraying a society with the ability to replicate things on demand, one thing that’s usually missing is the process for compiling the specifications for making the object or resource in question. If that were done by the effort of certain people, you’d think IP rights would attach for some amount of time. Meaning that access to replication, in practice, would mean paying someone.

      1. Maybe the IP expires at a reasonable rate and most of the basic goods were created long enough ago to enter the public domain.

        1. Yeah, that could work.

    3. I think the more interesting issue rather than post scarcity is the avatar matrix problem. It seems pretty likely that we will eventually be able to create false worlds where you just hook up your brain and you get all the sensations of whatever experience you want. When that happens, maybe people just check out of society and put their bodies in some kind of suspended animation and live in their own matrix or avatar?

      1. Smart money is that we’re already there.

        1. Then where the hell is my Scarlett Johanson sex slave simulation?

          1. You got bored with it before you started playing Earth 3: The Question of Evil.

      2. That movie came out last year. Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis. Sank like a stone at the box office, IIRC. I didn’t see it so I can’t comment on it.

        I don’t think they did artificial worlds, just uploaded themselves into androids.

        1. That looked interesting. Wonder if it was any good? Can’t go by box office.

      3. There was a book called Red Dwarf where this idea was fleshed out better. Apparently those types of games came out but quickly became predictable and boring, because you just got whatever you wished for. But then a game was developed where it wasn’t your conscious desires that were fulfilled but your subconscious ones, that you presumably had no knowledge of. Which became pretty dangerous for the protagonists of the book since they were all pretty mentally fucked up and their subconsciouses hated them.

    4. Star Trek doesn’t offer a totally coherent explanation of its economics. The idea is that they have an evolved sensibility (ostensibly) in which work is rewarded not by money (let’s say purchasing power), but by good feelings. The question is what people would do with themselves if they had no needs and most of their wants were taken care of by a replicator or holodeck.

      We only ever really get to see the most elite members of that society. Maybe the vast majority of non-elite citizens just have holosex and eat replicated cheetos all day. If your choice was between that and exploring the galaxy, utilizing your expertise, and bettering mankind via peaceful exploration, what would you choose? Starfleet members’ elite, evolved outlook also includes the ability to risk death for high reasons.

      1. though in the new star trek movie, McCoy joins star fleet because he got divorsed and his wife took everything… so that implies some economic system of scarcity

        1. The economic conditions of TOS timeframe are not necessarily the same as TNG timeframe. TOS characters talked of Federation credits i.e some kind of official currency, which imples they are as post-scarcity as TNG which says the Federation no longer has currency (though other cultures still do).

      2. I rather think the elites are the ones back on Earth (or other planets), enjoying the benefits of cheap everything and holosex.

  61. Soylent Green!

  62. The Ringworld Universe is libertarian-ish, no? Nearly every government depicted does horrific things to its own people (or sentient subjects, or whatever).

  63. it’s more of the fantasy genre but maybe The Dark Crystal

  64. See also “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” by Harlan Ellison.

    Repent Harlequin! is about as subversive as it comes. But I hope they don’t try to make a movie up if because the written form is near perfection…

    I’m buying a copy of the hardcover edition for all my nieces and nephews this year.

    1. But I hope they don’t try to make a movie of it, if only because the written form is near perfection…

      Damn! My typing and proofreading are worse than usual today.

  65. Post-scarcity requires AI in order to have no shortage of labor. The AIs and their drones/robots/etc. are “willing slaves” in that they do labor without needing to be paid, and have even been programmed to “like” it. Without this, post-scarcity is impossible.

    I am recalling a series of short stories (by Silverberg, maybe?) set in a society where the robot workers porduce so much stuff that people are *required* to spend most of there time in drudge-like consumption to maintain the economy, and work is a luxury allow to very few.

  66. Some that I haven’t seen mentioned, possibly with good reason:

    Maybe not sci-fi, and maybe not very good, but one that did occur to me was Shyamalan’s The Village. People who know better build their version of utopia and trap the young’uns in it, then must face the fact that they don’t really know better, although they win at the end because Bryce Dallas Howard is blind.

    More fantasy than sci-fi, but people have taken a crack at casting the Harry Potter saga as libertarian, although I think they really only mean “libertarian” in the sense of “portraying the government as inept.”

    Sidebar: It’s hard to get behind the idea that Potter and Star Wars and the dozens of other stories that feature a hero who thinks he or she is ordinary but turns out not to be as libertarian or even individualistic, it seems more deterministic to me. A “libertarian” Luke Skywalker would have said, “forget it, I’m having a sandwich instead.”

    The Alien movies are awfully anti-corporate, but The Company seems for the world to be actually running everything, so I think there’s more anti-authoritarianism in them than anti-corporatism. YMMV.

    Carl Sagan wasn’t exactly a libertarian, but Contact sort of is, insofar as the smart people and governments of the world getting committees together to build the alien gateway thingie and pick somebody to use it fails spectacularly, and the crazy billionaire in the space station has to make it all happen. As an added benefit, the government savages Jodie Foster publicly but privately gives her a grant because they realize she’s right. On the other hand, the moral of the story seems to be that you can’t really believe something without faith, so I dunno.

    The government isn’t exactly the hero of District 9.

    Plenty of sci-fi films feature the intrepid heroes must overcome a government that’s actively or passively ruining everything for everybody: The Core, Deep Impact, the Fifth Element.

    1. Both in Potter and Star Wars the protagonist could not be anyone else because of their genetic make-up.

      Anyody could be Capt. Janeway with the right resume.

      1. Ha! Genetic makeup fails you there too!
        I’m a male, so I couldn’t be Captain Janeway. I’m not black, so I can’t be Sisko. I’ll probably never go bald, so I can’t be Picard either.

        1. you could shave your head

  67. Tim Minear is (allegedly) still working on bringing The Moon is a Harsh Mistress to the screen.

    There are a ton of libertarian-oriented scifi novels out there, but rarely will that aspect make it to the screen if they are adapted.

  68. The nominally corrupt imperialist Federation in Blake’s 7 is much more believeable than the benevolent one of Star Trek. Plus Blake’s 7 is cool like all the Libertarian kids.

  69. Dr. Who usually worked towards maximum freedom and decision making, but always with a sense of destiny, that you couldn’t beat fate.

  70. Shorter version of this thread: Everything I like is libertarian.

  71. Nah, that’s totally wrong. Plenty here like some version of Star Trek. And it ain’t libertarian.

    1. But they see libertarian themes in parts of it, at least.

      1. I like Star Trek for its optimistic view of the future and its generally pro-technology vision. It’s not typically great science fiction in any of its iterations, but I still enjoy it. Well, I did, anyway.

  72. Enemy of the State, The Matrix, Brazil, and anything based on a Philip K Dick story.

  73. I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the underlying theme of the Dune series by Frank Herbert, who should be (but is not) viewed on par with Heinlein and (maybe) Asimov. I thought the development of that universe’s government, from the feudal system, to the God-Emperor, and on to the Scattering, to be rather libertarian.

    Maybe that’s why nobody wants to remake Lynch’s attempt?

    1. There. See, ProL? Libertarians just want to see their favorite works as libertarian. I predict that before this thread ends, someone will come along that sees libertarian themes in the Wheel of Time.

      1. I can’t speak for other libertarians, as we haven’t been combined into a collective superintelligence yet, but I like a number of science fiction works that are not libertarian. I’m a big Asimov fan, and I think he was definitely a statist, although one with respect for some individual liberties.

        1. as we haven’t been combined into a collective superintelligence yet

          You just wait until Warren is done with you.

          1. I fear Warren’s plans.

      2. Nonsense. At least read the series before presuming to opine on what motivation I have for making such a statement, asshat. The underlying theme of Leto’s Golden Path was decidedly not, “hey, we should observe a Constitution that restricts government and doesn’t allow for regulation of the spice trade”, rather the more general observation, likely not unique to libertarianism, that dependency on government is the path to extinction.

        1. I do not claim to know your motivations, rst. Although I imagine they involve raping bunnies at some point.

          1. Those bunnies are asking for it, holding their tails high up in the air like that.

      3. The Aiel are totally a libertarian society.

        1. You know, because they really like weapons.

          1. The Aiel are in favour of strict sword-control.

      4. Sweetly,

        Iain Banks is a hard-core commie and his books are some of the best science fiction ever written.

        1. Is he a communist? Wow, some of the Culture books sound almost libertarian at times. Just goes to show that politics ain’t everything.

          1. Yep.

            All the things we have learnt over the last few years about how stupid and barbaric politicians can be and the idea that war and imperialistic aggression will never go out of fashion – when you have neocon libertarian dickheads in charge – are built into the Culture who know that’s how certain societies work.

            I don’t think capitalism is going to look quite so clever in a few years time. We shall see. You should never underestimate capitalism: it manages to make bucks out of failure. But it’s not as set in stone as outright capitalists would like to have it. There may well be an argument for “thin capitalism”. You can have capitalism of different flavours and the stuff we’ve got, and have had historically, is particularly cruel. So there’s potential for a change in capitalism itself which could be interesting in all sorts of ways.

            And an environut.

            Libertarians are the bad guys of his newest book, Transition, as well. Still reading it, so I don’t know yet if it’s the extreme hysteria that Ken MacLeod exhibits about libertarianism.

            1. Well, it doesn’t matter. It’s not like I’m going to become a communist from reading his books. Right? Oh, God, tell me I haven’t caught it! Ugh, ugh, get the red out! The red!

              1. Communism is cooties of the mind.

                1. Get it out. GET. . .IT. . .OUT!

          2. He’s redder than Ken MacLeod. Crazy socialist commie-bastard Scots can write them some sci-fi, tho’.

            1. How can Scottish people, of all people, become communists? I mean, don’t they know they’re the home of capitalistic theory and belligerent individualism? The English really messed them up.

              My cognomen comes from a family slogan. My Scottish family. The clan crest includes the slogan with a sword-wielding arm. Jesus.

              1. It gets even worse, as Scotland has banned swords. That’s like Germans banning invasions of France.

                1. That’s it! It’s all the fault of the English.

                  Except Alastair Reynolds. He’s Welsh, so I blame any problems he may have on vowel deprivation during childhood.

                2. The individualists all emigrated. Same thing with the Irish.

              2. I think what really ruined Scotland is Calvinism. Scotland was awesome until Knox came a fucked it all up, starting a chain reaction that ended up with the Union. All that is awesome about Scotland (Highland clans, Robert the Bruce, Celtic, the Jacobites) is associated with Catholicism or Episcopalism.

                1. Could be. Though a lot of nice things came out of Scotland after the rise of Calvinism.

                  1. Smith, Hume, Andrew Carnegee

                    1. Right, I was thinking of the first two.

                      I like the idea that a lot of the stronger-willed types ran. Makes some sense. I particularly like it because my family falls into that category.

              3. “How can Scottish people, of all people, become communists? I mean, don’t they know they’re the home of capitalistic theory and belligerent individualism?”
                There was a hillarious story in 2005, whe the student association at the Adam Smith College in Scotland decided to be named after a local socialist politician instead (they renamed the association, not the college). The reason they gave is that Smith’s name is associated with greed and policies that “work against the people”. They restored Adam Smith’s name in 2008. I heard that they did it after someone pointed out that Smith also wrote “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”, which did NOT endorse “greed”.
                But seriously, Scotland is in fact more left leaning then England, and most modern Scots are nowhere nearly as proud of Smith and Hume as they are proud of John Maclean, one of the most popular British communists. That guy even believed that the Celtic clans of the olden days were communist organisations!

        2. You going to try MNG arguments with me now, Suge? Two can play that game: Would you rather live in Iain Banks’ universe or Gaza?

          1. Am I a citizen of the Culture with drones and unlimited resources?

          2. No, but not all of us are trying to define “libertarianism as things I like.”

            Personally, I don’t think any movie or TV show mentioned here has much of anything to do with libertarianism as a political philosophy. A whole lot of individualism, anti-authoritarianism, and liberation ideology–things that make up libertarianism–but not the entire idea in of itself.

            1. It’s akin to liking the manned space program, particularly Apollo. Politically and even from the utilitarian perspective, I think the whole process was and is screwed up, but that doesn’t mean I don’t watch my share of Moon landing shows.

            2. No, but not all of us are trying to define “libertarianism as things I like.”

              ‘s not what I was saying. All I was saying was that if you’re a libertarian and you like something, you want that thing to also be libertarian.

              1. Well, that’s just human nature. OMG, YOU FIGURED OUT WE WERE HUMANS!

                /snarky hatefulness

                1. That position is affirmatively denied in the official platforms of the major parties.

                2. I refuse to believe you are human in the absence of documentary evidence.

                  1. Whatever. You’re just a figment of my oft fever’d brain.

                    1. See, it’s right here: “In one thing the Republican and Democratic parties are agreed: Libertarians are scum-sucking scum, which (not who!) shall not be recognized as human or as ‘Persons’ under the Constitution once we have total control of the government.”

                  2. “I refuse to believe you are human in the absence of documentary evidence.”

                    Shall we subject him to the Gom Jabbar?

              2. All I was saying was that if you’re a libertarian and you like something, you want that thing to also be libertarian.

                Conformation bias? We notice the libertarian aspects of things because we’re looking for them?

                1. Conformation bias? A bias to conform? Huh?

                  People called Romanes, they go, the house?

                  1. Yes, libertarians have a bias to mindless conformity.

                    More accurately, posters at H&R have a bias towards refusing to use the preview button.

                    1. I can confirm that.

                  2. But, “Romans, go home” is an order. So you must use…?

                    1. Hey, that’s my line. Confirm your conformation.

    2. Hmmm. I think the entire Dune series is a cautionary tale about allowing tyrants to arise, even ones that seem noble and good.

      Also, the whole point of what Leto II does in the fourth book is to diversify humanity to the point that no one force can control or harm all of it.

      1. I have read Dune over the course of like 20 years. I just read the third book. I liked it right up until Leto started to become a worm. It was just too weird and took all the fun out of it. I am skeptical if I will read the 4th book.

        1. I’m in a minority on this point, but I like all of the books in the series (some more than others, of course). The first is by far the best, but each of the subsequent novels is worth reading.

          The books authored by Brian Herbert et al. are, of course, abominations.

          1. I might give the 4th one a try sometimes. Dune is another world that should be turned over to better writers. Apparently the idiot son can’t write.

            1. Tough to be the son of an icon.

              1. Just ask Lew Puller.

          2. I stopped after the 4th. I liked it, even reread it, but have no interest in going on.

            1. Well, I think they’re decent books. Not perfect, but not bad either.

    3. I considered Dune but decided that it was actually rather about how individuals were powerless to prevent human extinction, only to be saved by the super-nobility of the Atredies.

      Now “The Bureau of Sabotage” (a government agency tasked with slowing the growth of bureaucracy) in Herbert’s Whipping Star and The Dosadi Experiment were definitely anti-government. In the end, it is the individuals from Dosadi that clean up the Universe.

  74. “Fight Club: … it’s a movie that many see as having a strong anti-corporate bent.”

    Certainly anyone who actually watched the movie and listened to the dialog. Remember that Tyler Durden’s big project, as he explained himself in the final scenes of the movie, was to strike at the corporations that kept us all in matrix-like thrall by causing a series of 9/11-like demolitions of financial buildings, in which nearly everyone’s debt records were kept. And this is only one anti-corporate aspect of the film, albeit possibly the most explicitly stated. You did watch the movie, right, P.S.?

  75. You know whats a really great libertarian fantasy series? Eragon.


  76. While neither Tolkien nor Peter Jackson were anything resembling libertarians, LOTR had strong libertarian sympathies (in the book’s case, the Scouring of the Shire could have been written by Heinlein). Especially the idea that the truly happy life that the hobbits wanted to preserve in the Shire is one lived without concerns about politics.

    1. “While neither Tolkien nor Peter Jackson were anything resembling libertarians…”
      J.R.R. Tolkien: “My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood to mean abolition of control, not whiskered men with bombs)?or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy.”
      Dunno about you, but I notice a slight resemblance to libertarianism here. He probably would agree with Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

  77. Reading 334 by Disch at the moment. Definitely picking up a libertarian strain so far.

    1. Try his Camp Concentration as well. Echo Around His Bones is good too, but you’ll probably have to by it used. It hasn’t been in print since 1980.

      1. Thanks for the recommendation, SugarFree. I read Camp Concentration last month – interesting, with some excellent writing, but a bit undeveloped in the plotting. Have you read on Wings of Song?

        1. It’s good, but kind of dated in its premise. It’s a common problem with late-70s soft SF. I liked his short story collections, but they are really hard to find. Internet scrounging maybe your best bet.

          If you’ve never… Steel Beach by John Varley (and the rest of the Eight Worlds material) is all very, very good.

          1. I always found his focus on gender swapping in the 8 Worlds stuff a bit odd. But I have him to thank for me learning the word ‘merkin’ from The Barbie Murders.

          2. They look interesting, alright. Reading about them on wikipedia has me lusting for some kicking of alien ass though.

  78. V for Vendetta, one of the best anti-state movies out there !

  79. I second bigbigslacker’s recommendation of Blake’s 7.

  80. you know Reason is loaded with dorks when the scifi thread is the one that approached 400 comments.

    1. Cool people like SciFi. It’s fantasy that dorks like. I like both, because the top half of me is cool, and the bottom is just one enormous dork.

      1. I think you got your halves reversed there, Lamar.

  81. Armageddon showed that the private sector does a better job making things happen than do government agencies. It’s also chock full of AWESOME!

  82. SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!!
    [Starship Troopers] SUCKED.

    Do I have to paint a picture of a map to me spelling it out for you people? The movie had Neil Patrick Harris and Denise Richards in it. Fighting insect armies. In space.

    1. Movie sucked.

      1. You just think that because much of it was set in the vacuum of space and/or Denise Richards, and it was so damned realistic that you really felt it.

      2. The movie was bloody enjoyable. I am anti-Heinlein however.

      3. ST sucked so hard that it actually has its own accretion disk.

        1. +1 or like, take your pick.

    2. You know what would have been awesome. Special powered suits the MI wore. That would have been cool. Too bad no one thought of an idea like that before the movie was made. Because that would have been cool.

      1. God forbid the actors’ and actresses’ faces aren’t constantly accessible, even if it screws up the story.

        1. Which makes V for Vendetta so unorthodox.

          1. The exception that proves the rule. Besides, Hugo is a bit odd looking.

            1. After matrix, it’s distracting everytime I see his face. So the mask in Vendetta was probably an advantage.

              1. Yeah. “Whoa, Elrond is Agent Smith! What’s that about?”

                1. Welcome to Rivendell, Mr Anderson.

                2. You know what’s fun? Watch The Fellowship of the Ring, and after each of Elrond’s lines, add “Mr. Anderson” in your best Hugo Weaving impression.

          2. Note, too, that Natalie Portman, while beshaven, wasn’t hidden from view.

    3. The Saturday morning (NOT a cartoon) TV version, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, was pretty good.

      1. How have I never heard of this before?

  83. glad to see Ghostbusters and Brazil mentioned.
    wish someone would do a film version of Ayn Rand’s Anthem.

  84. The only things that come to mind that describe a libertarian future are all post-apocalyptic.

    1. Demolition Man might technically be post apoc, but it’s far enough post that things are rebuilt and pristine. And to the extent that it’s dystopian, it’s dystopian to libertarians mainly.

  85. Dark Knight. The battle isn’t between order and anarchy (Gotham City police and Joker), it’s between the joker and batman, who are free agents in an anarchy. Batman wins, meaning that even in anarchy justice prevails.

  86. Some of these have already been mentioned, but my anti-statist favorites that are (sometimes arguably) sci-fi are, in no particular order: Star Wars, Gattaca, Equilibrium, V for Vendetta, the LOTR series and of course, (though already mentioned in the main post) Firefly.

  87. Escape from New York, Escape from LA, Blade Runner, Minority Report, Soldier, arguably V for Vendetta, Logan’s Run, Fahrenheit 451,

    Btw, Brazil is my all time favorite movie.

  88. Remember the psychiatrist in Miracle on 34th Street who wants to have Santa Claus committed? By casting him as the antagonist, the movie does Thomas Szasz proud.

  89. this is probably the most hideously threaded post that I can remember

    1. I agree (and am making it worse). I keep coming back to it to read some more and its a pain in the ass. Listen up squirrel-people: this thread is why threading is bad. No one can keep up!!!

      1. Here I am, hating threaded comments in some sort of inhuman, nested way.

  90. I can think of a few movies set in the future or near future that have an anti-statist message. In no particular order we have:

    1. V for Vendetta
    2. Enemy of the State
    3. Children of Men
    4. Total Recall
    5. Paycheck
    6. Minority Report
    7. Logan’s Run
    8. The Man in the White Suit
    9. Serenity
    10. Star Wars

    1. Number 10 was not the future. It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

  91. I wouldn’t read too much into the selection of governments and mega corporations as villains, since they’re the only organizations with the necessary resources to play the part well. In a lot of sci fi the two could be switched without changing the themes much.

  92. Seriously, if you want to see a flick which displays perfectly the Obama-Pelosi-Reid progressive vision for America, watch “Demolition Man”.

    Be Well.

  93. Oh, crap, forgot Le Guin’s The Dispossessed.

    1. It was a rather good book, but it seemed to be more about what a society “free” from worries about status and fortune would be like, rather than libertarian ideals of freedom and society.

      1. It’s not exactly libertarian, but it does involve a culture without a formal government. Sort of. Kind of communistic libertarianism.

        1. Yep, as in contrast to the communist state on the other planet. I must admit that after 20 pages in an anarcho-collectivist commune I was crossing my fingers in hope of a genocidal alien invasion.

          1. There is a desire to punch the protagonist and his ilk in the face.

            1. He’s almost a cultural “noble savage.”

              1. Also, I bet his clothes were horrifying. Perhaps even David Bain-esque.

                1. Maybe it should be a movie.

    2. In what way? The commies are the heroes…

    3. Wow, I hated that book. Turned me off LeGuin entirely.

      1. Really? It’s not my favorite by her, but I thought it was interesting. Better books are The Left Hand of Darkness and The Lathe of Heaven.

  94. Over 400 comments and not a single mention of the Borg storylines from TNG?

    1. Oh that Lore and his mischievous ways.

    2. The Borg were libertarians?

  95. this is probably the most hideously threaded post that I can remember

    I’m going to wait down here (just off to the side, with fingers crossed) waiting for threaded comments to collapse under their own weight.

    After we attain the Post Scarcity Era, we can put AI nanobots to work sorting the tangled threads of yore.

  96. There are a lot of anticommunist movies with a definite libertarian message. The Lives of Others comes to mind.

  97. I’ll friggin’ write a science fiction novel if they’ll take away the threaded comments.

  98. I liked Starship Troopers in its original printed form, but as somebody said ‘way up yonder, it did have a somewhat fascist feel.

    And the movie was, well, you know…


  99. If you don’t believe the Borg were libertarians, just ask the Maricopa County D A.

  100. Holy Shit! I had not read “Whipping Star” for many years and was reading the Wiki. Did Herbert predict the present? The spelling isn’t exact but damn!

    As the novel opens, it is revealed that Calebans, who are beings visible to other sentient species as stars, have been disappearing one by one. Each disappearance is accompanied by millions of sentient deaths and instances of incurable insanity.

    Ninety years prior to the setting of Whipping Star, the Calebans appeared and offered jumpdoors to the collective species, allowing sentients to travel instantly to any point in the universe. Gratefully accepting, the sentiency didn’t question the consequences. Now Mliss Abnethe, a psychotic human female with immense power and wealth, has bound a Caleban (called Fanny Mae) in a contract that allows the Caleban to be whipped to death; when the Caleban dies, everyone who has ever used a jumpdoor (which is almost every adult in the sentient world and many of the young) will die as well.

  101. After we attain the Post Scarcity Era, we can put AI nanobots to work sorting the tangled threads of yore.

    When I bother to learn some javascript so I can update INCIF, Im considering sorting posts by time, eliminating threads. The only problem is it wont make any sense since people dont quote the respondent in threads.

  102. The main reason sci-fi is liberal is that sci is liberal. Conservative Republicans have pursued an anti-science agenda, and scientists have noticed. The last poll I saw said that only 6% of scientists identified themselves as Republicans.

    1. The last poll I saw said that only 6% of scientists identified themselves as Republicans.

      Unsurprising that 100% of those polled were publicly funded.

    2. Oh, please. I used to work with a bunch of scientists and engineers–at a public university, no less–and there were plenty of conservatives and libertarians among them.

      1. Defo, engineers are heavily conservative and libertarian. Being brutally confronted by physical reality does that.

      2. in my work experirnce it depends on if you are an academic scientist (in which case they ted to be liberal) or if there are an industry scientist/ engeneer, where they are more conservative and libertarian. Economists work the same way. Sometime I wonder if university economists and industry economics even read the same books.

        1. and egineers tend to be way more conservative or libertarian than scientists

          1. Agree, but 6% can’t be right, even for scientists. Unless the definition of “scientist” is corrupted in the poll. You could skew it radically to the left if you threw in some areas of science that don’t involve much, well, science.

            1. Yeah, they probably threw in every sociologist, anthropologist, poly sci, and psychologist they could find.

              1. And leftists. See, they have an “ist” at the end of their title.

  103. Avatar is a Libertarian themed movie.

    Suck it bitches!!

    1. I wouldn’t know–haven’t seen it.

  104. Listen up squirrel-people: this thread is why threading is bad. No one can keep up!!!

    “When you come to a fork in the road…
    take it.”

  105. You know what would make these threaded comments easier to read?

    Flow charts.

    1. No! It has to be UML serialized to XML.

  106. This site, all by itself, could bring the entire fekkin’ intarnetz to its KNEES.

  107. What about Knight Rider? It may been a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist, but it was also about a private organisation taking on a role that government couldn’t and making a massive contribution to the public good.

  108. I can’t believe everyone’s forgotten Robocop already!

  109. I can’t believe nobody mentioned Cowboy Bebop…..

  110. 525 comments? We must be really be in nerd land, Toto.

  111. It was never a film (although I think one may be in the works) but the first computer animated show Reboot had a libertarian slant in some respects. For instance the main hero(ine) was a hard working business woman, the greatest in Mainframe, and this was always portrayed as a virtue and at the end of the episode where Mainframe was invaded by pirates they achieved redemption not by becoming Brother Lovers or environmentalists… but by becoming businessman (after a lengthy discussion between the Captain and Dot on obsolescence and profit margins). And throughout the series the local tyrant Megabyte always wanted to take over Mainframe for the good of its citizens and questioned who was disturbing the harmony of his sector when Dot tried to liberate it.

    And yes, Fletcher we are really in nerd land now.

    1. And maybe an Objectivist slant too. If I may quote from the Wikipedia article: “Dot’s little brother, Enzo, hero-worships Bob and intends to become a Guardian.” One of the key morals of the series was that a moral code (as well as business) rests on an exchange of positive values and not need or sacrifice.

  112. I declare myself the winner of these comments.

  113. Skyland series is good, though somewhat cartoonish.

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