Brad Miller

The Dukes of Hazzard, The A-Team are why I’m a Libertarian

In True nature of the State on August 16, 2013 at 12:34 am

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I am Libertarian because of the A-Team and The Dukes of Hazzard. Now how can two campy action comedy T.V. shows of the 70’s and 80’s lead me to the “Freedom Philosophy”?

Well I’m glad you asked. I’m now 37 and during my formative years I couldn’t get enough of the Dukes of Hazzard out smarting Boss Hogg, and The A-Team providing justice for the innocent while evading the authorities. In the past few years I’ve been reading tons about the eternal struggle between the individual vs. the State. And after reading Rand, Rothbard, Bastiat, Molinari, Mises, Read and many others I’ve come to the firm conclusion that it was the early childhood experiences of watching the Dukes of Hazzard and The A-Team that sent me on the quest to find out more about liberty.

The Dukes of Hazzard is about a moonshine running family in the hills of Kentucky, who are always being menaced by the greedy county commissioner, Boss Hogg. This cult action comedy dealt with such Libertarian Ideas as the ridiculussness of prohibition, the nobility of voluntary exchange and the evils of police corruption and importance of exposing greedy politicians.

In particular I believe there is no other show that ever did a better job of brining to life Franz Oppenheimer’s idea that there are only two ways to achieve what you want, the Political Means or the Economic Means. The dichotomy of Boss Hogg and Uncle Jesse couldn’t be any clearer. Boss Hogg the richest man in Hazzard County, and a powerful county commissioner, used his position of power to illegally enrich himself. Aided by the corrupt, and fortunately for the Duke Boys, inept Rosco P. Coltrane, Boss Hogg used hidden stop signs, speed traps and other nefarious means to line his pockets. He used Political Means to gain what he desired. While Uncle Jess the Duke patriarch helped his family by using his extensive knowledge of making moonshine to meet customer demand. He clearly was using Economic Means to support himself and his family. I would like to say that I was drawn to the show for its philosophical underpinnings but in all honesty it was for the awesome car chases, the Duke boys firing exploding arrows and of course Daisy’s shorts.

Even the theme song sung by Waylon Jennings tells us clearly that the Duke boys are living by a Libertarian code. In this verse you can see that they were adherents to the foundation of Libertarianism, which is the “Non-Agression Principle”. This principle states that that “no man has a right to initiate force against another man.”

“Just some good ole boys never meaning no harm.”

And throughout the show they never killed anyone and only initiated force in a defensive manner.

This next verse tells us how they were trying to make their living but were being limited by government regulations.

“Just making their way, any way they know how and that’s just a little bit more than the law would allow.”

The Duke family were providing a good that others wanted. They never used force to induce others to buy their moonshine. It was always a voluntary transaction. Where Boss Hogg always relied upon fear, intimidation and the use of force to carry out his schemes. The Duke family maybe considered the first Libertarian family of T.V.

The A-Team was another show I couldn’t get enough of when I was little. What drew me to the A-Team was of course the awesome van, the cool adhoc armored vehicles they built and the prodigious use of mini-14’s. Now looking back I can see that this show, without the writers realizing it, presented the perfect case for what Gustave Molinari wrote about in his pamphlet “The Production of Security”. In this pamphlet Molinari argued that the Free Market could provide Justice and Defensive services superior to what the State offered and that is exactly what the A-Team did.

The A-Team was a group of special forces soldiers who were on the run from the government becasuse they were wrongly accused of a crime they didn’t commit. During the course of the series they helped out innocent people while also trying to clear their own names. They are the one’s to call if the government was the problem or if the government wouldn’t or couldn’t help those in need. This idea of a private organization providing police/defense services better than those services offered by the government is the Anarcho-Capitalist/Libertarian principle that the A-Team was built upon. And in every episode the private justice of the A-Team prevailed.

Further cementing the A-Team as a T.V. show that inculcated me in the ways of freedom at an early age was that Hannibal, the leader of the A-Team, didn’t rely on force to keep his team together. It was a totally voluntary unit; B.A., Face and Murdoch were always free to back out of any mission they disagreed with or had any reason to not participate in. This is the exact opposite of how the military operates. Once you sign up with the state military force you can’t just opt out of a mission if you disagree with it.

I can say with all honesty that watching the A-Team and the Dukes of Hazzard lead me to the Freedom Philosophy. In their own unique ways these two shows illustrated the difference between the force, coercion, and corruption of Government and the voluntary, peaceful. and honorable nature of Freedom.

Brad Miller
Advocate of Liberty

  1. without regulations, the moonshine would be largely worthless. They would have never made any money producing or moving it.

    • I disagree. Especially in small towns people have an incentive not to poison or kill their customers. Without govt regulations third party testing companies could easily take over what the regulations accomplish. Trust is a funny thing.

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