Movies

Farewell, Ron Swanson

A libertarian nation tries manfully to hold back the tears as their fictional hero rides off to the woodworking contest in the sky

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Never forget! |||

Over at The Daily Beast, Asawin Suebsaeng has a fun little piece talking about the embarrassing lengths to which libertarian and conservative publications and organizations have gone to venerate one of the best libertarian characters in the history of television, Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation, which airs its final episode tonight. Sample:

This was an outstanding episode. |||

Swanson's demeanor and staunchly libertarian outlook have made him a (regrettably fictional) hero to conservative observers. "He is, let's say, an unlikely hero in the age of Obama," National Review declared. "Ron Swanson's 12 wisest quotes about the government," The Daily Caller compiled. "Swanson's staunch libertarianism is sprinkled throughout the series—and he's a hero of the show, not a heel of all the jokes (as you would expect from Hollywood)," the Heartland Institute raved. "[A] lovably awesome libertarian character," Reason blogged. The libertarian Cato Institute has cited the character both on social media and in policy analysis. And The Washington Free Beacon named Swanson "Man of the Year" in 2012. 

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Moreover, Republican congressman Joe Wilson (of "You lie!" fame) wrote an op-ed for Politico in 2010 that praised Swanson: "America has a new champion of limited government and spending restraint," the piece reads. "Regrettably, Swanson is not running for Congress."

I'm quoted in the article, but the best quip comes from Luke Kenworthy of the Kochtastic youth-issues organization Generation Opportunity:

Ron didn't just teach us about taxation through a lunchbox demonstration—he also spoke eloquently on the more important subjects, like craftsmanship and bacon.

Reason on Ron Swanson here, including John Payne's November 2011 piece "Ron Swanson vs. the State."