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“Parks and Recreation” is an American political satire television series created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, known for being responsible for the U.S. adaptation of “The Office.” Although in its first season, the comparison with The Office was a drag for the series, over time, it became one of the best comedy series and is remembered for featuring Ron Swanson, one of the few characters known to be a self-described libertarian.
Like the series created for the BBC by Ricky Gervais and its American adaptation with Steve Carell, Parks and Recreation is shot as a mockumentary, and deals with the day-to-day life of the public servants of the Parks and Recreation Department of the fictitious city of Pawnee, Indiana.
Although the series’ protagonist is the character of Leslie Knope, an idealistic and enthusiastic public servant – played by Amy Poehler – the series was a great success because of its cast of colorful supporting characters. Some of the actors, then semi-unknown, are now big stars of film and television. For example, Aziz Ansari -Tom Haverford in the series- reaped great success with his series for Netflix, “Master of None”.
Meanwhile, Chris Pratt – the endearing Andy Dwyer in the series – is now Starlord in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Owen Grady in the “Jurassic Park” reboot, Emmet Brickowski in “The Lego Movie,” and rumor has it that he may be the next Indiana Jones.
Like “The Big Bang Theory,” which started with Leonard as the title character, but eventually became the Sheldon Cooper series, Parks and Recreation focuses on the character of Leslie Knope, but will always be remembered for Ron Swanson, played by Nick Offerman.
Ron Swanson is the director of the Parks and Recreation Department, and is an avowed libertarian. He believes in keeping government as small as possible, and so he tries to make his department especially inefficient by hiring the laziest and most irresponsible public employees imaginable. If by their very nature public agencies are unproductive, one can imagine the consequences of his hiring policies, which result in a hilarious and scathing critique of public administration.
While there are other series such as “South Park” whose creators are self-confessed libertarians, or there are characters with libertarian attitudes such as Tony Stark in “Iron Man,” Ron Swanson is one of the few fictional characters in mainstream entertainment who is explicitly libertarian.
Although Ron Swanson is a caricature of a libertarian, it is noticeable how in the early seasons he was to be the antagonist but, as the series progressed and viewers began to grow fond of both him and his philosophy, his character softened and became increasingly charismatic, eventually becoming the heart of the series.
Parks and Recreation is a must-see series for all lovers of satirical comedy and, undoubtedly, for all those who, like Ron Swanson, loathe the government and consider themselves libertarians.
Here are some of Ron Swanson’s funniest libertarian quotes.
Ron Swanson’s libertarian quotes
- “The government is a greedy piglet that suckles on a taxpayer’s teet until they have sore, chapped nipples.”
- “I don’t want this parks department to build any parks, because I don’t believe in government. I think that all government is a waste of taxpayer money. My dream is to have the park system privatized and run entirely for profit by corporations.”
- “There’s only one bad word: taxes.”
- “The government should not prop up a failed business. That would be like giving food to a mortally wounded animal instead of slitting its throat and properly utilizing its meat and pelt.”
- “My idea of a perfect government is one guy who sits in a small room at a desk, and the only thing he’s allowed to decide is who to nuke.”
- “The whole point of this country is if you want to eat garbage, balloon up to 600 pounds, and die of a heart attack at 43, you can, you are free to do so. To me, that’s beautiful.”
- When his girlfriend pays him a visit at his workplace, she asks him if she is interrupting anything important. Ron Swanson answers: “Impossible! I work for the government.”
- “Once a year, every branch of this government meets in a room and announces what they intend to waste taxpayer money on.”
- “For a Libertarian, such as myself, it’s philosophically horrifying.”
- “This government is diseased. It’s like a big fat angry slob spending money it doesn’t have, on crap it doesn’t need.”
Ignacio Manuel García Medina, Business Management teacher. Artist and lecturer specialized in Popular Culture for various platforms. Presenter of the program "Pop Libertario" for the Juan de Mariana Institute. Lives in the Canary Islands, Spain // Ignacio M. García Medina es profesor de Gestión de Empresas. Es miembro del Instituto Juan de Mariana y conferenciante especializado en Cultura Popular e ideas de la Libertad.
Social Networks: @ignaciomgm