Popular Culture

Ron Swanson vs. the State

The politics of Parks and Recreation

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Who orders all the bacon and eggs in a restaurant, believes that child labor laws are ruining the country, and thinks public parks should be sold to Chuck E. Cheese? Who gives a fourth grader a land mine to protect her property? It's the majestically mustachioed Ron Swanson, the libertarian director of the parks department of Pawnee, Indiana, played by Nick Offerman on NBC's critically acclaimed comedy Parks and Recreation, now entering its fourth season.

Swanson's foil is Leslie Knope, the department's deputy director played by Amy Poehler, who finds nothing nobler than public service. She enjoys running public meetings where citizens shout at her about how she and the parks department "suck," which she delusionally describes as "people caring loudly at me."

Both characters are caricatures. Ron seems to have entered government service as a saboteur, and he embraces his libertarianism to a degree that would make most anarcho-capitalists quake. Leslie so enjoys her role as a bureaucratic busybody that she finds interfering in Ron's personal life "rewarding." Yet the show convincingly humanizes both characters, and strongly suggests that while Leslie's heart is in the right place, Ron's dim view of government is more realistic.

Leslie spends the bulk of the first two seasons on a crusade to fill in a government-owned pit created by a failed condominium development and turn it into a new park. This seemingly simple endeavor is stymied time and again by angry residents, endless red tape, and interagency turf wars.

In one particularly entertaining episode, the library attempts to claim the lot for a new branch. There is a longstanding feud between the library and the parks department, in part because Ron's ex-wife Tammy runs it. Leslie meets with Tammy—an act that Ron describes as staring "into the eye of Satan's butthole"—in an attempt to reach a compromise. Tammy agrees to relinquish the library's claim on the lot in exchange for Leslie setting up a meeting with Ron. After some initial hostility, Tammy and Ron rekindle their relationship, but we soon learn that Tammy is manipulating Ron just for the fun of it. This kind of behavior turns out to be common among the town's librarians, leading Leslie and Ron to conclude that though Tammy is a "grade A bitch," the worst thing about her is that she works for the library. In the world of Parks and Recreation, even the most innocuous government agencies frequently turn out to be bastions of pure evil.

Pawnee's government reflects Pawnee's population. The show illustrates H.L. Mencken's quip that "democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." The press and the people are frequently kooks and universally obsessed with scandals. In the middle of the second season, the town is swept up in city councilman Bill Dexhart's multiple sexcapades, the most recent of which involves getting it on with four nurses and a woman whose husband was having a liver transplant in a hospital closet while his love child was being delivered.

After Leslie meets with the councilman for completely innocent purposes, members of Pawnee's press, such as it is, immediately allege that the two are having an affair. Dexhart perpetuates the rumor because being connected to Leslie is far more wholesome than the true stories about him. To prove the relationship is real, Dexhart claims Leslie has a mole on her buttocks. This forces Leslie to drop her pants on live television and allow the show's host to inspect her posterior, proving that no such mole exists. When Dexhart is revealed as a liar, he still refuses to resign.

Even with all the irrationalities and inefficiencies of democracy, the show clearly prefers it to more authoritarian forms of government. In the episode "Sister City," representatives from the parks department of the Venezuelan city of Boraqua visit Pawnee. The Venezuelans constantly condescend to Leslie and her co-workers and treat all the women as sexual servants. When Leslie takes them to a public forum, the head Venezuelan emissary is appalled by Pawnee's citizens exercising their right to free speech.

"Where are the armed men coming to take the protesters away?" he fumes. "This kind of behavior is never tolerated in Boraqua. You shout like that they put you in jail—right away. No trial, no nothing. Journalists, we have a special jail for journalists.…You're driving too fast, jail. Slow, jail.…You undercook fish, believe it or not, jail. You overcook chicken, also jail—undercook, overcook. You make an appointment with a dentist, and you don't show up, believe it or not, jail right away. We have the best patients in the world…because of jail."

Parks and Recreation may mock the inanities of American democracy, but in a way that often celebrates the civic spirit underneath. Voluntarist solutions, the show seems to say, are the finest expression of that spirit. Near the end of the second season, Pawnee goes broke. All non-essential functions of the government are shut down indefinitely, much to Ron's delight and Leslie's horror. The city's lack of funds jeopardizes a free family concert with children's entertainer Freddy Spaghetti, so Leslie and other parks department employees take the job into their own hands. Because all the city parks are closed, they hold the event on the empty lot where the pit used to be and gather donations from businesses and individuals to pay Freddy Spaghetti and provide concessions and rides.

The event is the parks department's greatest success, and they realize it outside the official channels of government. The people of Pawnee make the city work, and it usually works better when they go around its government instead of through it. 

John Payne is the director of research at Americans for Forfeiture Reform.

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  1. I seem to recall an article about the differenced between the libertarian and statist characters. To paraphrase from memory (since I refuse to google), Swanson was uncaring to the public while generous with those close to him, whereas Knope is compassionate of her fellow citizens as a whole but steamrolls her friends to carry out her aims. It seems an insightful (if generalized) character study of the two belief systems.

    1. Libertarians hold two contradictory concepts:

      ? Agricultural City-State = Evil
      ? Agricultural City-State = Good

      The agricultural city-State, or civilization, is a cultural package. Libertarian’s religio-economic dogma must ignore volumes empirical data from archeology, anthropology, ethnology, and evolutionary biology to maintain their contradictory tenants.

      1. Wheat is murder!

        1. Maybe that is White Indian’s problem. He is just really gluten intolerant.

        2. Civilization’s Swords and Plowshares are not opposites; nay, both are tools of domination, one of Mother Earth, the other of all her Children in evolution’s tree of life.

          The Greeks recognized the close relationship between rape culture and agriculture in their ancient mythology of the rape of Demeter — the goddess of grain and agriculture — and the rape of her daughter Persephone.

          But go ahead, children, rage on. Your clinging to contradictions in a place of self-styled reason makes it ever so entertaining for White Indian to count coup on you.

          1. Can’t someone put you on some meds?

            1. White Indian counts coup on your intellectual bankruptcy, as you become a parody of the Stalinist psychiatric diagnoses you profess — when you find it convenient — to abhor.

              1. Intellectual bankruptcy? Coming from the Luddite who bitches about technology with technology?

                Until you say it with smoke signals, you are not practicing what you preach, are you?

                You first, then get back to me.

                1. Coming from the Libertarian who bitches about public state-financed technology with state-financed public technology?

                  Until you say it with pure free market signals, you are not practicing what you preach, are you?

                  You first, then get back to me.

                  See how that works?

                2. Smoke signals are still technology.

                  1. Roads and schools are still government funded.

                    Any Libertarian practicing what he preaches wouldn’t use them. According to your Libertarian “logic.”

                    Oh wait, most libertarian logic and libertarian principles are easily-disposable debate conveniences.

                    1. “Any Libertarian practicing what he preaches wouldn’t use them.”

                      I’m guessing you’re a pacifist, yet you are living in one of the most well-protected countries in the world.
                      Go live in Afghanistan for awhile. Tell the troops they can go home, that your love of peace and rainbows will keep you safe. Then I might take your ranting about hypocrisy seriously.

                    2. …it’s FREE REPUBLIC time at Reason.

            1. “Agriculture creates government.” ~Richard Manning, Against the Grain, p.73

      2. GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL

        1. Officer, am I free to GAMBOL* about plain and forest?
          _________________
          * Why agriculture? In retrospect, it seems odd that it has taken archaeologists and paleontologists so long to begin answering this essential question of human history. What we are today?civilized, city-bound, overpopulated, literate, organized, wealthy, poor, diseased, conquered, and conquerors?is all rooted in the domestication of plants and animals. The advent of farming re-formed humanity. In fact, the question “Why agriculture?” is so vital, lies so close to the core of our being that it probably cannot be asked or answered with complete honesty. Better to settle for calming explanations of the sort Stephen Jay Gould calls “just-so stories.”

          In this case, the core of such stories is the assumption that agriculture was better for us. Its surplus of food allowed the leisure and specialization that made civilization. Its bounty settled, refined, and educated us, freed us from the nasty, mean, brutish, and short existence that was the state of nature, freed us from hunting and gathering. Yet when we think about agriculture, and some people have thought intently about it, the pat story glosses over a fundamental point. This just-so story had to have sprung from the imagination of someone who never hoed a row of corn or rose with the sun for a lifetime of milking cows. GAMBOLING about plain and forest, hunting and living off the land is fun. Farming is not. That’s all one needs to know to begin a rethinking of the issue. The fundamental question was properly phrased by Colin Tudge of the London School of Economics: “The real problem, then, is not to explain why some people were slow to adopt agriculture but why anybody took it up at all.”

          ~Richard Manning
          Against the Grain

          1. Gamboling about plain and forest, hunting and living off the land is fun. Starving to death is not, that’s why we took up agriculture.

            1. Hunger was not the reason humans engaged in agriculture; that myth has long been debunked. Never read any anthropological literature in your compulsory city-Statist schools?

              …Bender & Hayden’s Social Hypothesis. In this hypothesis, food production is taken up in all its deadly earnest to generate the surpluses required by “Big Men” for competitive feasting…

              These late Mesolithic foragers spend more and more time cultivating at more intensive levels, to produce enough food for the escalating competition of the Big Men’s feasts. It is hard, and they must sacrifice the freedom and liesure of their former life, but at least they have some security. Eventually, those Big Men have sufficient influence to make their followers stop thinking of themselves as hunters who farm, and begin thinking of themselves as farmers who hunt.

              Big Men become chiefs, chiefs become kings, populations explode and civilization moves inexorably from that beginning to the present crisis.

              In the years since 9/11, a quote from Benjamin Franklin has enjoyed renewed popularity in certain circles: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” The loss of civil liberties and freedoms suffered by the United States’ citizenry under the second Bush regime, though significant, remain small when compared to the freedoms lost 10,000 years ago when our forebears (memetically, if not genetically) took up civilization. Agriculture is a hard life, as we have already seen. Malnutrition and disease followed almost immediately; war, tyranny and poverty followed inexorably. By relying solely on domesticated crops, intensive agriculture becomes the only subsistence technology that is truly susceptible to real famine. The safety the Big Men offered was illusory; in fact, that ancient bargain put us in a more precarious position than we had ever known?or will likely ever know again.

              Ten thousand years ago, our ancestors traded the bulk of that very real freedom that is our species’ birthright, for a little temporary safety. If there is an original sin, a fall of man, that was it. From that day to this, we have not deserved?nor have we had?either one.

              Thesis #10: Emergent elites led the Agricultural Revolution.
              by Jason Godesky | 11 October 2005
              http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/

              1. FOAD. Please.

                1. Such anti-Life sentiments are to be expected from this Ugly Civilization.

                  Premise Ten: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

                  ~Derrick Jensen
                  Endgame
                  http://www.endgamethebook.org/…..emises.htm

                  1. Kid, have you ever even tried to hunt or fish? Even with modern rifles, scopes, blinds, and weather gear it’s a difficult task. Not to mention the fact that most of what you hunt CAN AND WILL try to kill you if they can see you.
                    Hunting is a big fucking gamble. If you spend 8 weeks hunting and can’t stockpile enough meat for the winter, you and your family starve to death. If the game leaves your area, you have to follow it or die. If the brush yields too little in the way of nutritious nuts, berries, and fruits, you starve. If there’s a drought, you starve. If disease kills off the herds, you starve. Ever spend eight hours in a tree in the middle of winter?
                    Ever try and fish with a net and spear? Ever try to kill a boar with a bow and arrow?

                    Based on the insanity you spout, you’d be the first to go.

                    1. Sy, you’re psychologically projecting your own fear of wilderness. Ferkrissake, don’t piss your panties.

                      Hunting is indeed a gamble. That’s why humans evolved to share and be egalitarian. Never read a volume on evolutionary biology, have you?

                      In agriculture, when there’s a drought, you starve from famine. Foragers get along just fine. Anthropological studies prove that you’ve got things exactly bass-ackwards.

                      Famine and hunger are hallmarks of agricultural civilization, not foraging societies. Study up, and quit spouting lies.

                      Oh, right, your libertarian religio-economic dogma is based on lies.

                      Well then, enjoy that agricultural city-State up your cornhole, while you moan like a whore about the oh so evil “state” that you can’t even define properly.

                    2. “That’s why humans evolved to share and be egalitarian”

                      Right. And when that stopped working because local populations outgrew the available resources provided by nature, we evolved the idea of property, industry, etc. And our lives are better for it.

                    3. local populations outgrew the available resources provided by nature

                      Except it didn’t happen that way. You believe a myth.

                      our lives are better for it

                      Not so much. But it is hilarious seeing self-styled libertarians go full apologist for the State. Humans sure are getting what you think is necessary good and hard. How’s that working out for you?

                      Thesis #9: Agriculture is difficult, dangerous and unhealthy.
                      Thesis #21: Civilization makes us sick.
                      Thesis #25: Civilization reduces quality of life.
                      Thesis #27: Collapse increases quality of life.
                      http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/

                    4. If you’ve ever spent any time in the bush, then you’d learn to fear and respect what’s in it. You wouldn’t last a night without succumbing to hypothermia and drinking your own piss.

                2. I think s/he’s actually quite entertaining for a troll. Like Hercule Savienen or whatever his name is.

              2. Hey, I can quote shit too….

                CAUSES OF HUNTER-GATHERER COMPLEXITY

                Causal analysis poses the most difficult of all questions. Marquardt distinguishes between two camps with which archaeologists usually align themselves. First is the evolutionary-ecological approach to cultural change,
                which was heavily influenced by Julian Steward, who wrote that agricultural
                proficiency, population density, settlement patterns, social complexity, and
                technology were all interrelated (Marquardt 1985:63). With this argument a new crop of archaeologists in the 60′ s and 70’s attempted to explain cultural processes in adaptive and evolutionary tenns with the goal of making law like generalizations (Marquardt 1985:63). Archaeologists who use this approach generally refer to major environmental shifts that led to new resources that are assumed to require greater intensification of procurement.
                For example, environmental causality is frequently discussed in t enns of the
                end of the Pleistocene and its associated climatic changes (Price and Brown
                1~~5:13, Marquardt 1985:63, and Henry 1985:378).

                The second line of argument comes from historical materialism, which is influenced heavily by Marxist concepts. [in other words, like all Marxist analysis, it’s deliberately dishonest historical revisionism with the goal of sparking class conflict]. Many [probably more like “a few moon-bat far-left wacko’s ala the nut who runs White Indian’s website”] archaeologists have extended the concept of class exploitation to noncapatilist societies (Marquardt 1985:65). Causes of change are argued to come from internal changes rather than external changes….

                http://soar.wichita.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10057/1889/LAJ 29_p6-15..pdf?sequence=1

                INOW, White Indian is just more communist gobbledegook, and REAL archaeologists think people like him are nuts.

                1. Yeah, evolution is “Marxist” too, invented to destroy capitalism — to true believers.

                  Could it be Satan?

                  1. No, evolution supports capitalism and works against historical materialism.

                    1. Thanks, KPres…and since there never has been a true capitalist society (all the true capitalist say that, right?), but we’ve got socialism all around the world…well, survival of the fittest, you know.

                      Socialism is fit to survive. And capitalism isn’t fit to survive.

                      Sweet move there, Statist.

                    2. Several archaeologists and anthropologists now argue that violence was much more pervasive in hunter-gatherer society than in more recent eras. From the !Kung in the Kalahari to the Inuit in the Arctic and the aborigines in Australia, two-thirds of modern hunter-gatherers are in a state of almost constant tribal warfare, and nearly 90% go to war at least once a year. War is a big word for dawn raids, skirmishes and lots of posturing, but death rates are high?usually around 25-30% of adult males die from homicide.

                  2. everal archaeologists and anthropologists now argue that violence was much more pervasive in hunter-gatherer society than in more recent eras. From the !Kung in the Kalahari to the Inuit in the Arctic and the aborigines in Australia, two-thirds of modern hunter-gatherers are in a state of almost constant tribal warfare, and nearly 90% go to war at least once a year. War is a big word for dawn raids, skirmishes and lots of posturing, but death rates are high?usually around 25-30% of adult males die from homicide. san francisco plumber

      3. I was looking at a topo map of the Pecos Wilderness (my favorite) this past weekend.

        I saw square miles that don’t even have any trails in them. An ideal place to experiment with some serious gamboling, in you’re of a mind, with no risk of being hassled by The Man.

        Unless, of course, you think you need The Man’s permission to gambol.

        1. RC Dean, why should only marginal land unsuited to agriculture be free?

          Because you’re a statist at heart.

          You support the heavy regulation of abstract lines drawn upon the face of mother earth to restrict free movement of people from providing for themselves and their families.

          You heartily advocate the biggest of big-government Land enTitlement programs that murder and destroy the lifeways of real Non-State sociopolitical typologies.

          And then you two-faced, forked-tongue Fibertarians dare lie and claim you’re against the State when you’re squealing like a whore from getting the State good and hard up your ass.

          How’s that working out for ya?

          1. “How’s that working out for ya?”

            Better than it did for primitives, who died in their 30s.

            “…restrict free movement of people from providing for themselves and their families.”

            It doesn’t restrict anything. You can move onto other people’s property once you pay the rent.

            Better than an arrow through the chest like in your primitive dystopia.

            1. KPres, the lying Statist apologist (when it’s convenient.)

              Truth: Life expectancy went DOWN from Paleolithic to Neolithic, and stayed down until the last several decades.

              Still, the !Kung foragers in the Kalahari live longer than the average civilized man, 69 years compared to 67.2 (2010 data.)

              1. No it doesn’t. Life expectancy of the iKung at birth is 30-50 years, and @15 is 37-54 years.

                http://books.google.com/books?…..ge&q=iKung life expectancy&f=false

                1. I’m mistaken, the number was from memory, and it’s actually 67 as found by Burton-Jones for !Kung.

                  Sorry, KPres, but you lose on the life expectancy issue. Agriculture has reduced life expectancy for thousands of years of civilization’s existence, as discussed here:

                  Thesis #25: Civilization reduces quality of life.
                  by Jason Godesky | 11 January 2006
                  http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/index.html

                  Well, you lose unless you cherrypick the last few decades of the richest people in civilization.

                  Oh, you’re “libertarian” Statist, so lying natural.

        2. you were always free to gambol across another tribe’s plain until they caught you and schooled you on land entitlement.

          1. Try again.

            What we do see, however, is ample evidence of means to limit violence?emphasis placed on bravery and intimidation to avoid violence from breaking out, ritual approaches aimed at reconciling enemies, and alternative forms of contesting differences, such as song duels or counting coup.

            To properly compare the effectiveness of such approaches to our own, we need to take an honest accounting of violence in our own society?wars, murder, violent crime, incarceration, police brutality, and the full impact of our professional violence class. We need to look also to the ubiquitous violence inherent in our social system: the threat of violence that lies behind paying your rent, obtaining your food, and every other aspect of civilized existence.

            Primitive societies were not devoid of violence, but they did limit it, and it was a much rarer thing. Among them, violence was something that happened. For us, it’s a way of life.

            Noble or Savage? Both. (Part 1)
            by Jason Godesky
            http://rewild.info/anthropik/2…..th-part-1/

            1. From your own link (via The Economist, a REAL source, not some tribalist wacko):

              “Several archaeologists and anthropologists now argue that violence was much more pervasive in hunter-gatherer society than in more recent eras. From the !Kung in the Kalahari to the Inuit in the Arctic and the aborigines in Australia, two-thirds of modern hunter-gatherers are in a state of almost constant tribal warfare, and nearly 90% go to war at least once a year. War is a big word for dawn raids, skirmishes and lots of posturing, but death rates are high?usually around 25-30% of adult males die from homicide. The warfare death rate of 0.5% of the population per year that Lawrence Keeley of the University of Illinois calculates as typical of hunter-gatherer societies would equate to 2 billion people dying during the 20th century.

              1. Yeah, no shit. There’s a reason why every male becomes a “warrior” in most tribal societies, and it’s not because UofHunter-Gathering didn’t like their test scores. Fucking White Idiot for the Fail again.

                1. There’s a reason why civilization has soldiers/police, a professional class of full-time violence, as one of the first divisions-of-labor.

                  Sy for the FAIL again.

              2. Which is debunked in the article you quoted from.

                And here:

                Steven Pinker’s Stinker on the Origins of War
                Did Steven Pinker knowingly mislead his audience at TED?
                Published on March 29, 2011 by Christopher Ryan
                Psychology Today
                http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/s…..rigins-war

                Keeley is exposed as lying, as in the original article.

                Nice try. Thanks for playing.

                1. Right. Ignore The Economist and Steven Pinker. Instead listen to some guy’s web site.

                  1. Sure, Pinker’s poor source of data, KEELY is LYING, as Psychology Today points out.

                    You stick with the liar, KPres, and ignore a gentleman formally trained in anthropology.

      4. So have we figured out who White Indian is?

        rectal?

        waffles/pancakes?

        double(triple)asshole?

        Whatever it is, it’s annoying as all fuck.

        1. All signs point to rectal. Remember that she claims to be a novelist or something, so inventing terrible characters should be within her limited abilities.

          1. How it could possibly be rectal? She has her own unique failures in grammar and cognition that I just don’t see with WI.

            1. Don’t forget to go anal on spelling too, just to avoid engaging in any logical debate about your religio-economic dogma’s contradictions.

              1. Your spelling and grammar is fine, WI.

            2. I don’t think Rectal’s smart enough to pull of this level of consistent entertainment. Someone’s definitely getting a kick out of it, I’m sure. You guys just need to stop taking it so seriously.

              1. They have to take it seriously.

                I’m taking the Libertarian’s basic principle of Non-Aggression and using it against the Libertarians’ own inconsistent, contradictory apologies for Statism.

                Oh, how they become apologists for the agricultural city-STATE when I show up.

                Pissant little bootlickers.

          2. Rectal denies it.

        2. It is some kind of regular.

        3. You’re damn right that White Indian’s impeccable logic is annoying to contradictory thinking.

          There is not a shred of reason in Reason.

          Libertarianism is a bullshit magic show of government for me, but not for thee.

          The Non-Aggression Principle is merely a debating convenience to you, not a standard of conduct. If it gets in the way of you getting more stuff, you entertain us all with tilt-a-whirl explanations why your aggression is somehow “free” or necessary.

          You’re as intellectually bankrupt and dishonest as any Leninist, Stalinist, or Communist.

          1. Can’t even see it, reasonable is wonderful.

            1. Outstanding, Scruffy. Please make a habit of it, instead of bragging about it day after day.

              Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. ~chapter 3, verse 41, of The Jefferson Bible

          2. You don’t even know what the non-aggression principle is or what the fuck it entails.

            1. Oh, you wish.

              Initiation, advocacy, or delegation of aggressive force against another human being is immoral.

              Libertarians eagerly whitewash aggression with their contradictory religio-economic bullshit.

              1. Thanks for proving my point. This is getting too fucking easy.

          3. “If it gets in the way of you getting more stuff, you entertain us all with tilt-a-whirl explanations why your aggression is somehow “free” or necessary.”

            Citation, please.

            1. “We Need Government to Protect Property Rights.”

              Which is just another way of saying what never gets said:

              “We Need Aggression to Protect Property Rights.”

      5. “? Agricultural City-State = Evil
        ? Agricultural City-State = Good”

        Correct.

        1. LOL Enjoy your muddled, contradictory thinking.

          1. This coming from a guy who thinks farming = rape. Don’t you have a Unabomber manifesto to read?

            1. a guy who thinks farming = rape

              The classical Greek literature, in the mythology of the Rape of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, is the story of farming = rape.

              Were the classic Greek writers all Unibombers according to your ever so reasonable libertarian “logic?”

            2. G. V. Jack and R. O. Whyte (1939) The RAPE of the Earth: A World Survey of Soil Erosion Faber and Faber, Ltd. London.

              Need I go on with more references of agriculture being compared to rape?

  2. In before “Ron Swanson isn’t a true libertarian!”

    1. With only minutes to spare.

  3. Ron is by far my favorite character on the show, and the one I relate to most. I hope he doesn’t descend into a buffoonish caricature as the series progresses.

  4. Ron Swanson is a libertarian? Please.

    On second thought, his caricature is the personification of a political theory that is short on coherence and consistency; that thinks pop culture references are a valid substitute for philosophy. So yeah. Ron Swanson is a “sitcom libertarian.” Perfect!

    1. Does it hurt?

    2. And still the claymore toting, eggs hogging, indifferent caricature of libertarianism that Ron Swanson is a, he is still a million times more enjoyable and perferable to any statist.

    3. that thinks pop culture references are a valid substitute for philosophy

      So he is Tim, Nick, Matt and about 90% of the commentors here….

      1. It made Joss Whedon a shit-ton of money.

    4. Damn I get sick of this. There are plenty of websites that offer strictly intellectual, philosophical discussion. Here’s FEE for example. If you want websites dealing with Utilitarian, Objectivist, or Pragmatic arguments on the basis of libertarian thought, I’m sure there are plenty available. So why do you spend time at the one place you know is going to piss you off? Are you an asshole?

      1. She has proven herself an asshole everytime she posts.

        1. Fished in, my bad. At least I was right about the “asshole” part.

      2. She’s the asshole? When were you going to tell us about your little side project?

      3. “So why do you spend time at the one place you know is going to piss you off?”
        Because you and others provide attention. Is this hard to understand?

        “Are you an asshole?”
        Yes, but you cooperate.

    5. How about you go fuck yourself?

  5. Nick Offerman is everything that a man should aspire to be. He fucking makes boats, for Christ’s sake.

    1. Damn, that stuff is awesome. I want the natural Redwood table, that thing is amazing. Probably cost a fucking fortune.

      1. Rustic furniture? Why don’t I just live in a tree like some goddamn Keebler elf.

        1. J Bob Dobbs.

      2. That mahogany table looks a lot like a table that my dad and I made out of cherry a few years ago. It cost my dad the tip of a finger when he fucked up with a jointer, but goddamn is it a nice table.

        1. He’s lucky. You don’t fuck up with a jointer.

          1. It was ripping off little bits of wood when he ran it through against the grain, so he thought he’d just push it in the direction of the blade jusssst this once. Ooops.

            1. Helical carbide cutters are the way to go. Gets rid of that nasty tearout without risking a bunch of nubs.

        2. Making tables is up there with lifting heavy things on the hotness scale.

          1. I have to confess that I’m scared shitless of woodworking tools. I can use them all competently enough, but I know enough people who are missing fingers that holy shit does it make me nervous to use them.

            1. Oh, sorry, I was referring to your dad. Because I banged him.

              1. Oh, I know. And I know why, too: because he’s not afraid to lose a finger or two for the sake of fine furniture, unlike his pansy-ass son.

                His fucked-up bursitis elbow totally got you off, didn’t it?

              2. Don’t the lost fingers make foreplay slightly less rewarding though?

            2. You bastard. I have been wanting to bring “your dad” jokes into the cultural lexicon because I thought it would get a bigger grossout reaction than “your mom.” Way to ruin that, you ruiner.

              1. Seriously, though, you should meet my dad. You’d love to bang him.

            3. No need to be scared of woodworking tools. Saws at least.

              http://www.sawstop.com/

        3. My good friend and hunting buddy makes furniture as an avocation. Mostly mission-style stuff.

          On the manliness scale, he pegs the needle, because he cuts down and saws his own lumber. He claims its the only way to get quarter-sawn oak exactly right.

          I had some white oak trees that died, so he took them. Massive things, with trunks 10 – 14 feet long. Had ’em all sawn up and seasoning (along with tons of black walnut, cherry, you name it) at his father-in-law’s farm when his wife filed for divorce and immediately sold it all before he could come get it.

          1. On the manliness scale, he pegs the needle, because he cuts down and saws his own lumber. He claims its the only way to get quarter-sawn oak exactly right.

            Are you sure we’re not talking about my dad? I’ve gone on lots of excursions to get windblown oaks and walnuts and cherries for furniture.

            when his wife filed for divorce and immediately sold it all before he could come get it.

            FUCKING VILE SCUM FUCK WHORE

          2. That’s death wish stuff, War of the Roses worthy.

          3. HE should have spent less time making furniture and more time developing better taste in women. What a miserable bitch.

            1. He should have spent less time making furniture and more time developing a better relationship with the woman. What a miserable man.

          4. I bet she sold it for a pittance, too. Nice seasoned lumber is EXPENSIVE.

            1. A friend of my older brother then soon to be ex wife forged his signature on the title and sold his 68 Camero SS for five hundred dollars.

              1. Count yourself lucky.

                One out of every 4 females is raped in Krapitalist ‘Murka.

                1. bend over

    2. I have linked to this before, but Ron Swanson’s Pyramid of Greatness.

      In a recent episode where he takes the boy scouts camping, their manual has one rule: be a man.

      1. the ending was great.

        “Before we proceed, do any of you have any dietary restrictions? Correct, you do not.”

      2. I just notice that Romantic Love is on the line with a bunch of animal proteins. Mmmmm, love.

    3. Nick appeared on Letterman showing off his cover shot on Fine Woodworking (not EW or GQ). That’s a man!

  6. Gee, why not the politics of Desperate Housewives? You’ve got Bree the gun-tootin’ Republican, Lynnette the exploited hausfrau, the Latin chick who is somewhat of a gold digger but not exactly and the kindergarten teacher/artist who loves breaking and entering. I love Wisteria Lane!

    1. They are only desperate because they want a mustache ride from Duke Silver. so bad their loins physically ache.

  7. Pfft, Frank Reynolds is the purest TV libertarian.

    1. I’ve heard other arguments that Buster Bluth is the purest TV libertarian.

      1. GOB for President

        1. squirrels hard at work I see

      2. Naw, Frank is a shady international businessman, believes in legalized everything and real estate mogul. Also see, Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody’s Ass.

  8. There are no good shows anymore.

  9. Ron Swanson is the sexiest man alive.

  10. Threadjack:

    Obama announces Iraq troop withdrawal by end of year.

    The White House said that all of the approximately 40,000 troops now serving in Iraq will come home by the end of 2011. Only a “normal embassy presence” will remain, a White House official said.

    1. Given the size of the embassy that will require about 20,000 Marines.

      1. It will be a couple of hundred and then local forces.

        1. And 5,500 mercenaries employed by the US to protect the embassy, plus an additional 4,000 mercs taking over other jobs currently being done by uniformed soldiers.

          So we’ll still be paying almost 10,000 people with guns to occupy Iraq, they just won’t be wearing our colors.

    2. Good for him.

    3. That should happen about the fifth of never.

      1. I think they will do it. They want out before the election. And they figure they can blame anything bad that happens on Bush.

        1. It distracts from the ongoing disaster in Afghanistan, too.

        2. Weren’t we going to be out by this time anyways before Obama was elected? Frankly I don’t see the big deal, other than Obama trying to make some positive political spin.

          1. Yes. We negotiated a SOFA in 2008. And our withdrawal followed that time line.

        3. I think they will do it. They want out before the election. And they figure they can blame anything bad that happens on Bush.

          This is Obama we’re talking about. The man ain’t that clever, despite what some people thought in ’08

    4. Still carrying out the Bush plan, I see.

  11. I enjoy the show (more than The Office) and like the Ron Swanson character.

    I was hoping this article was going somewhere, rather than just a random elementary school, book-report style discussion of Seasons 1-3 of the show.

    1. “Listen you guys, if you need anything at all…get it yourselves..”

  12. I love me some Ron.

    SPOILER: When he shaved his mustache last night, it was deeply, deeply disturbing.

    1. I can’t watch NBC Thursday night shows so long as Whitney is still on that schedule. I don’t want to even be exposed to the commercial advertisements during other shows. What were they thinking. To what demographic was that suppose to appeal to?

      1. Hulu it.

    2. I’m glad I’m not the only one. He has a tender and sensitive mouth. I can see why he hides it.

  13. GOB for President! Death to the Alliance!

  14. Is there a Greek Goddess who didn’t get raped?

    1. Fucking squirrels, this looks terribly out of place.

      1. …on your internally-contradictory religio-economic dogma and ignorance of the Greek classical literature.

    2. Artemis was a virgin goddess of the hunt. And whatever happened to Venus doesn’t count since she was asking for it and enjoyed it.

    3. Sure. Athena.

      1. I had no idea how much I’d need her.

    4. Hestia

  15. Yes, this is just a television show, but the moral is that government intervention and big government red tape aren’t necessary to get the job done and actually interfers with getting the job done.
    I just hope that everybody who watches this program realizes this and votes for Ron Paul so he can execute his plan to actually reduce the size and scope of government by eliminating entire Government Departments and Agencies that duplicate their stated missions or goals and thus reduce the need for more and more taxpayers dollars to support the bureaucrats bloated salaries, benefits, and pensions.

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  17. irst two seasons on a crusade to fill in a government-owned pit created by

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