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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"See how I'm not punchin' him? I think I've grown."
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August 05 2011

'Freedom in an Unfree World' - a 'Verse essay. This libertarian examination of Firefly and Serenity comes from the 'Serenity Found' collection of essays.

Well said. I've also noticed the fervor my fellow Libertarians quickly develop for "Firefly". When I share it with them, I don't have to wonder if they'll get hooked; it's a "given".
Although I saw all the Libertarianism in this story from start to finish (and I've heard that Minear is Libertarian, though I've not heard/read that from him) and find it so plain to see, I'd wager that people of other philosophical leanings see their philosophy's attributes in our hero as well... or are they just more Libertarian than they know? :)
Umm,

That sounds like the Alliance. Unite all the planets under one rule, so everyone can be interfered with or ignored equally. And in short notice, when he realized how much harm he was doing to the poor people living under Alliance tyranny who were dependent on the drug to survive, Mal actually chose to give up his booty in favor of what was right.


So 1) the government ignoring people as well as interfering undly with them is wrong and 2) the right thing to do is ensure people get their government provided health care so they don't die. Yep, Mal's a bona fide Nozickian.

I've always found these libertarian readings of Firefly to be a initially plausible, but a bit strained. This essay ironically pointed out some pretty good evidence by highlighting an episode that's all about how the government ought to provide people with more health care which they lack due to economic inequality.
That is sort of hysterical, goingtowork. There's no doubt that there are libertarian (let's use the lower-case word here; we're not talking about the party) strains throughout the show, but, yeah, deciding it's better not to interfere with gov't-provided drugs isn't exactly one of those strains. Mal's realization in "The Train Job" amounts in part to a recognition that not everything the Alliance government is tied to is wrong, not just that he was stealing from sick people.

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