Orange Is Back


Peabody Awards/Wikimedia Commons

A show about a woman serving a 15-month prison term for one-off nonviolent drug charges (courtesy of mandatory minimum sentencing) piqued libertarian interest. The second season of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black delves deeper into anti-statist themes: Employees at the fictional Litchfield Correctional Facility are shown to be jaded, callous, and corruptible at their best. The villainous assistant warden, a serial embezzler and wife to a crooked politician, is a worse criminal than many of the inmates she supervises.

Meanwhile, we see a portrait of a black market economy-first in cosmetics, then in drugs. The administrators inadvertently demonstrate how prohibition backfires: After they institute a crackdown on contraband, prices and tensions rise, causing violent confrontations between rival dealers. But the underground economy is a rare bright spot for the show's inmates. As one entrepreneurial character notes, "The bathroom may be segregated, but the market be free."