Joseph Kast is a video producer for Learn Liberty. Previously he worked in education, teaching in Thailand, South Korea, and Honduras. He studied film and playwriting at Webster University in St Louis, and received his graduate degree at GWU’s Graduate School of Political Management.
Films are stories, stories have heroes, and heroism is almost by definition a celebration of the individual. Great films codify and reflect our greatest values back to us. Even antiheroes are instructive about their personal goals and flaws. But this year’s Oscar nominations offer up a few films with especially strong individualist themes. For an in-depth look at the individualist philosophy, one could do worse than Eric Foner’s even-handed overview, “Radical Individualism in America.” But, tl;dr, individualism places an emphasis on the rights of the individual and the pursuit of his or
(NONSTOP SPOILERS BELOW) HBO’s Westworld has set the blogosphere on fire. A horde of bloggers and commenters are arguing day and night about the moral of the twisting story: Is it free will vs determinism? Is it the hard problem of consciousness? The uncanny valley? Buddhist concepts of suffering? Take sides, fans! Well, I’m here to tell you that while all of these themes do form threads in Westworld’s fabric, they are secondary to the overarching pattern. Westworld is first and foremost a depiction of the corrosive nature of total power — an illustration of Lord Acton’s quote that “absolute
South Park may be pop culture’s crudest cartoon, but it’s also one of today’s sharpest libertarian satires. Last season — season 19 — the series addressed the creepy effects and consequences of hyper-sanitized speech, the beauty and bravery of LGBT relationships (really), and the importance of a robust free press. And season 20 took the show’s political themes to a new level, squarely tackling free speech, the perils of groupthink, and the temptation of traditionalism. 1. Free Speech and Online Anonymity Are Important Rights The season starts with a satirization of the 2016 National
The American voting public continues to return each year to the voting booth despite gross abuses of power by elected (and unelected) officials at all levels of government. Acknowledging the government’s general ineptitude has become a national pastime of sorts, with politics seeping its way into pop culture at nearly every turn. Many people binge-watch shows depicting Washington DC as a sexy, amoral madhouse (see: House of Cards), yet still wipe a tear and clutch their hearts when speaking of John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, the Founding Fathers, and even Leslie Knope. But why? Probably because
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