Libertarianism and Art

Is there Christian art or Socialist art- what about Libertarian Art? Generally, I tend to think of art as a-categorical. One might claim that ‘real art should not have an angle’ and that claim is partially true. Art inevitably contains some sort of statement- something (or many things) that the audience should understand based off of the art. The artist shows the world as it is, could be, has been, or should be. In the sense that art communicates the world as it is- it often communicates Libertarian messages such as the evils of government, the importance of every individual, and the futility of war.

Many Books, Movies, Paintings, etc. convey libertarian themes. Below I share three of my favorite books and three of my favorite movies that convey Libertarian themes. Hopefully, you will be able to check out some of these suggestions and further your understanding of libertarian art.

Books

“The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand.

Rand was an outspoken Libertarian and individualist. Much of her work conveys these ideas explicitly. Atlas Shrugged is also a candidate as her most famous work but I personally prefer The Fountainhead. The book follows Howard Roark- an Architect in the 1920’s who goes against the grain of the architectural community at the time. HIGHLY RECOMMEND

“1984” by George Orwell

Orwell’s message is not nearly as blatantly obvious as Rand who’s work contains pages at a time of speeches in which Rand shares her perspective through the main character. Instead, Orwell presents a totalitarian-surveillance state that censor’s even thoughts. Many parallels can be drawn between 1984 and modern-day America, the most obvious of which are the surveillance state and the perpetual war between the three major world powers. There is also an excellent movie version of 1984- released in 1984.

“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller

This is an absolutely genius World War 2 satire. The protagonist- Yossarian is a bombardier who is extremely afraid of dying on a combat mission, and the government continues to increase the number of missions men must fly in order to complete their service. He attempts to get sent home for being insane- but cannot be sent home because of “Catch-22”.

 

Movies

“Schindler’s List” (1993)

This is undoubtedly one of the greatest movies of all time. Although the message of this movie is not explicitly Libertarian, it does contain many libertarian or at least anti-authoritarian themes throughout. The film shows the increasing control of the German Nazi government over the Jewish people- it is one infringement at a time- not all at once. Additionally, Oscar Schindler a businessman who comes to care for the Jewish people saves many Jews from the concentration camps.

“The Lives Of Others” (2006)

This German-language film is a masterpiece about life on the east side of the Berlin wall. It includes enhanced interrogation techniques (torture), a surveillance state which knows no legal limits and a government that censors art and speech.

“War Machine” (2017)

This Netflix original starring Brad Pitt is a genius anti-war film about the ongoing U.S. operations in Iraq. General McMahon is brought in to command Nato forces in Afghanistan after eight years of failed warfare. He is supposed to clean up the mess, but he slowly learns that such a task is impossible. One soldier remarks “Seems to me that we all here with our guns trying to convince these people we’re really nice guys.” The movie asks: How does one fight a war when they don’t know who the enemy is?

What’s your list?

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