The Libertarianism of South Park
This a really charming piece posted today in LewRockwell’s site:
The critics of South Park – and they are legion – bitterly complain about its relentless obscenity and potty humor. And they have a legitimate point. But if one wanted to mount a high-minded defense of the show’s low-minded vulgarity, one might go all the way back to Plato (427–347 bce) to find a link between philosophy and obscenity.[…]
Those who condemn South Park for being offensive need to be reminded that comedy is by its very nature offensive. It derives its energy from its transgressive power, its ability to break taboos, to speak the unspeakable. Comedians are always pushing the envelope, probing to see how much they can get away with in violating the speech codes of their day. Comedy is a social safety valve. We laugh precisely because the comedian momentarily liberates us from the restrictions that conventional society imposes on us.[…]
The show has mercilessly satirized all forms of political correctness – anti-hate crime legislation, tolerance indoctrination in the schools, Hollywood do-gooding of all kinds, including environmentalism and anti-smoking campaigns, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Special Olympics – the list goes on and on.[…]
Even the gnomes do not understand what they are doing. Perhaps South Park is suggesting that the real problem is that businessmen themselves lack the economic knowledge they would need to explain their activity to the public and justify their profits. When the boys ask the gnomes to tell them about corporations, all they can offer is this enigmatic diagram of the stages of their business:
Phase 1: Collect Underpants
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit
This chart basically encapsulates the economic illiteracy of the American public. They can see no connection between the activities businessmen undertake and the profits they make. What businessmen actually contribute to the economy is a big question mark to them. The fact that businessmen are rewarded for taking risks, correctly anticipating consumer demands, and efficiently financing, organizing, and managing production is lost on most people. They would rather complain about the obscene profits of corporations and condemn their power in the marketplace.
I would add that the illiteracy is not restricted to the Americans.
The market does not require its participants to know it, inside and out. It requires no godly powers and it always responds badly to compulsion.
An all-round good read.
More on South Park