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Must See Kingsman: The Anarcho-Capitalist Secret Service

23 Feb
A very libertarian movie in so many big and little ways they pass by and most reviewers don’t even notice them.  Peter Suderman, the reason magazine/Washington Times reviewer, called it a conservative movie, because of its shoutouts to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars.  Between his Washington Times review and its repackaging at reason he realized that President Obama’s head blows up in the film.

Here are the other libertarian elements no one seems to notice:

1) The Kingsmen are a non-governmental entity funded by a private trust fund (just as the criminal played by Samuel L. Jackson is an internet billionaire, Valentine).  The bad guys can’t actually figure out who is interfering with their scheme for the first half of the movie, as it is not the CIA, Mossad, Russia, MI6, or China.  As the Kingsman keep saying, in reference to Bond movies, “this is not that kind of movie.”  The Kingsmen aren’t there for PR or the honor of the state; they are there to get a job done.  (It’s warfare with non-state actors, except unlike the ISIS beheadings, the good guys aren’t prevented by their government defense monopolies from arming the Kurds privately.)

2) The villain is a Tom Steyer/George Soros enviro-fascist billionaire in the persona of Russell Simmons, who plans to repair mankind’s environmental damage not by raising coal, electricity and other energy  prices so people have smaller families and houses, but by actually eliminating most of the world’s greedy, resource hogging middle and working classes.

3) The plan to eliminate 90% of the world’s population, leaving behind the politically connected hand picked by the soi disant philosopher king proglodyte billionaires, involves micro-chipping people, pace every conspiracy theorist you’ve ever met.

4) At one point Kingsmen Harry Hart (Colin Firth), adopts an alias as a billionaire supporting Valentine’s schemes, a Mr. de Ver.  And a libertarian multi-millionaire in the press this year for giving up his American citizenship is Roger Ver.

5) The hero, Eggsy (young Welsh actor Taron Egerton), begins life in government housing on the dole, in a welfare state with no employment opportunities, which seems to generate criminality and domestic abuse for most of his community.

There are lots of other things that are great in this movie (Suderman was right to “kind of love it”).  It has a slightly pop art visual vocabulary, like an Austin Powers movie, deriving probably from the fact that the story comes from a  graphic novel.  (Exploding heads and other gore get a floral and choreographed comic book/music video presentation).  This is combined with a general James Bond, or actually The Avengers, flavor of a slightly anachronistic looking London, and English country mansion scenes much like those in Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn’s earlier X-Men: First Class (the Kingsmen aren’t actually trained at Professor Xavier’s school for mutants, but it looks like it might be just across the road.)

Jack Davenport and an aging Mark Hamill both have cameos. Rosa Kleb’s lethal footware (From Russia With Love) plays a pivotal role.  Sofia Boutella is scary and beautiful as an update of the Richard Kiel villain (Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me) whose inhumanity is signified by the fact that their bodies have been partially replaced with metal.  Besides Ms. Boutella, bespoke suits, and English country estates, the eye candy sampler box also includes plenty of tasty (though very pale) fit young guys with no shirts, and an assortment of cute puppies.

Newlyweds Megan McArdle and Peter Suderman and the Freedom to Carry

22 Dec
McArdle Wins Worst Newtown Reaction Award

Megan McArdle, a DC libertarian writer (and wife of reason magazine editor Peter Suderman) provides a target for leftover Jonathan Chait’s continuing jihad against all things libertarian.  (Perhaps New York magazine should actually have disclosed that Chait is regularly sliced and diced in the pages of his subject’s husband’s magazine.)

There isn’t actually anything unlibertarian about gun control as long as the control is not the government disarming the citizens so it could more easily abuse them. Any libertarian will say that a shopping mall, or condo association, or homeowner, can tell you you can’t bring this or that weapon into her property. 

The problem is that government owns the streets, parks, subyways, buses, schools, airports, etc. and does a lousy job of keeping armed lunatics, and for that matter, litter bugs, rapists, mosquitos and rats, mashers, flashers, gangs, marching Nazis, and the Westboro Baptist Church, from committing crimes or just being nuisances, on public property. The solution would be to have all these things owned and run privately whether by downtown business district associations, the Nature Conservancy, or for profit companies. They would implement policies that respond to consumer demand and hazard insurance risk assessments, and would control guns on their own property while not forbidding one to have one in one’s own home (or at least if so only by condo bylaws one would choose to buy into or not.)