Book Forum

Libertarianism in Contemporary Pop Culture

Join the conversation on Twitter using #CatoEvents. Follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute.

Date and Time
1st floor/Wintergarden
Featuring Paul Cantor, Clifton Waller Barrett Professor of English, University of Virginia, Author, Gilligan Unbound: Pop Culture in the Age of Globalization

Why are libertarian themes suddenly cropping up throughout American pop culture? The popular and irreverent cartoon series South Park has been pursuing a libertarian agenda since its inception in 1997, mercilessly skewering the forces of political correctness in our society. The animated feature The Incredibles—one of the most successful and critically acclaimed films of 2004—celebrates the extraordinary individual in a way that called to mind Ayn Rand for many commentators. And Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator—a film biopic about Howard Hughes—dares to portray a businessman as a hero, a true visionary who risks his own money to build the world of the future while battling a corrupt government in the name of free competition. In these and other developments, Paul Cantor sees a new trend in American pop culture, and analyzes what it means for the future of libertarianism.