Quote of the day—Shepard Book

A government is a body of people, usually, notably ungoverned.

Shepard Book
December 6, 2002
Firefly: War Stories
[Jaime and I were watching Firefly for about the third time and this kind of jumped out at me and we had a little chat about the series. Josh Whedon created this series and it is, or at least Jaime and I she it as, filled with libertarian ideas. Yet Whedon is somewhat outspoken political with very non-libertarian ideas. We were unable to resolve this in the minute or so we devoted to it.

Now I wonder if perhaps Whedon views libertarians as idealist losers or some such thing. They have appealing principles but are totally impractical and will always lose when they face reality.

This would make them a great set of characters in the series. They are easy to be sympathetic with because they are basically good people. But they have a lot of conflict and stress because they are inherently unsuited for the reality of the situation they find themselves in.—Joe]


9 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Shepard Book

  1. Tim Minear was the Browncoat behind all the libertarian thought in that series, not Joss.

  2. Joss Whedon is very liberal.The libertarian themes in Firefly came from one of the other creators/producers of the show, Tim Minear. Which is why a lot of that feel is missing from the movie, Serenity, he wasn’t involved in it. In fact, after Firefly was cancelled, he wrote a script and tried, unsuccessfully, to get a movie adaptation of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress off the ground.

    • Came here to say this. Tim Minear was Gene Coon to Whedon’s Rodenberry.

  3. The series in total echoes the many “merry band of thieves” stories throughout history, from Robbin Hood to the pirates of the Caribbean to the American post Civil War gangs, to the motorized bandits of the Great Depression. They were often seen as folk heroes, “fighting the Man”.

    It’s easy enough to understand that a leftist could find agreement with a lot of the “libertarian” themes. The pro-slavery American South often used libertarian-sounding arguments to bolster their cause. Many saw the KKK as fighting for the preservation of community, propriety and tradition. As I’ve pointed out many times, both sides in the Great Controversy of the world see themselves as would-be liberators.

    Likewise, the series isn’t really libertarian, though libertarian themes to pop up regularly. Malcolm is as much a thief as champion of virtue. “You got a job? We can do it. Don’t much care what it is.” As with leftists in general, that theme fits perfectly. It’s a blend of strength and a willingness to blend truth with error.

    “The captain is unusually protective of his crew” says Shepard, and yet if Malcolm truly loved his crew, would he keep them on the run in, dealing with gangsters, in constant danger, all for his own satisfaction? Remember the conversation between Zoi and Wash, Zoi wanting to have kids and Wash explaining how their situation made such a thing impossible?

    If you boil it all down to first principles, the Serenity crew are straddling the fence all along the way, blending murder and thievery with high principles of liberty. If the two are made equal, which one benefits and which one suffers?

  4. I think the revelation here is that it’s more the mark of a great writer to be able to totally objectively put yourself into someone else’s viewpoint. He does it well and I think he understands, just at the end of the day has his own personal views. That’s fine, differences are what make the world go ’round and what us stronger as a nation.

  5. IIRC, Joss Whedon thought that the captain and crew of Serenity were the bad guys.

  6. It’s difficult to know what was in the mind of the writer. For what is probably the best example of different people reading their own, very different thoughts, desires, hopes and fears (projecting) into the same person, watch the movie Being There starring Peter Sellers. It’s brilliant.

  7. In the movie, the government-weaponized mind-reading little girl River Tam was able to kill a whole bunch of really crazed berserking cannibalistic government-drug-crazed male Reavers all by her lonesome. But only because she was rescued from the government’s clutches by her brother and happened to be there to do it. The BCGDCM Reavers were an unexpected consequence of another government program to pacify the populace, which ended up killing 99.9% of the people upon whom it was secretly tested and making the other 0.1% bloodthirsty in the extreme.

    So that was an example of an unnecessary government program to overcome normal human behavior, which killed most all of them, created a horrible problem with the rest, and which ran into another government program with its own additional inadequate controls. River Tam’s best quote: “Also: I can kill you with my brain.”

    Whedon’s movie failed to demonstrate government competence at any level.

  8. The Centre isn’t the solution because it’s not a Right and Left issue. I have friends on the libertarian left and the libertarian right. I can go for a pint with either. I’m happy to debate them online and in person. The common factor is that libertarianism. The problem is the authoritarianism endemic to Trumpism, ethnonationalism, Corbinism and SJWism. Retreating to a mythical centrist position where there’s fuck all debate because nobody really gives a shit one way or the other isn’t a solution. There’s plenty to debate about. The point is that we should be able to argue for our values without some online lynchmob or black-clad thug destroying our careers or beating us half to death with a bike chain.

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