The M.I.A.-Rothbard Pro-Redhead Axis


Radley Balko wrote about M.I.A.'s disturbing video for "Born Free" featuring a violent government crackdown on redheads in Reason magazine's August-September issue. At Gonzo Times, they note the strange link between the Sri Lankan pop controversialist and the American economic and philosophical controversialist, libertarian Murray Rothbard, with this quote from page 201-202 of his Ethics of Liberty:

Suppose a society which fervently considers all redheads to be agents of the Devil and therefore to be executed wherever found. Let us further assume that only a small number of redheads exist in any generation – so few as to be statistically insignificant. The utilitarian-libertarian might well reason: "While the murder of isolated redheads is deplorable, the executions are small in number; the vast majority of the public, as non-redheads, achieves enormous psychic satisfaction from the public execution of redheads. The social cost is negligible, the social psychic benefit to the rest of society is great; therefore it is right and proper for society to execute the redheads.

UPDATE: Comments thread reveals that it was mistaken of me to assume any familiarity with Rothbard's work, or to note that I was linking to Gonzo Times' floating of the notion that this peculiarly Rothbardian example just might have influenced M.I.A. He is critiquing and mocking such utilitarian thinking here, not endorsing it; the same way that M.I.A. is trying to paint such a government crackdown on redheads with disappoval, not presenting it as something nifty or to be emulated.