IFC Film – “Larry Flynt: The Right To Be Left Alone”

Larry Flynt In Happier Times

Larry Flynt, In Happier Times

Growing up a good Catholic boy, I learned to despise pornographers like Al Goldstein, Bob Guccione, and Larry Flynt (a not AHEM entirely unhypocritical position.) Coming of age in the confused-but-prosperous 1980’s, I was further encouraged (by the now-burnt-out women’s movement) to despise porn and pornographers as somehow primarily responsible for the oppression of women. The good Catholic liberal in me righteously grunted in assent, if not exactly approval.

I finally awoke from this fog of illogic when I read that some feminists believed and wrote not only did porn cause sexual assaults of women, but that, incredibly, some of them seriously proposed that there was no such thing as volition involved in sexual relations between men and women. This pretty much vaporized any remaining credibility of the “women’s movement” for me, standing in opposition to even my somewhat limited experience.

Yet I retained enough residual revulsion for Mr. Flynt and his ilk to be vaguely disgusted by the hagiographic film “The People vs. Larry Flynt”, a response not helped at all by the casting of the addled-yet-smug Woody Harrelson as Flynt, and the walking trainwreck that is Courtney Love as Flynt’s now-late wife.

Later, Flynt, in response to the wrongheaded and politicized impeachment of President Clinton, offered a reward for evidence of sexual impropriety on the part of a sitting member of Congress. I was, having over several years quietly absorbed the political and culture-war rhetoric of talking heads like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, still more disgusted by Flynt, as well as his cultural and spiritual alliance with Clinton, exactly according to the plans of the people who were conducting psy-ops on me and no doubt many thoughtful, small-l liberal people, who were nonetheless not fans of the Clintons.

But after the terrorist attacks of 2001, and particularly after the ‘WTF?’ moment I had a couple of days after Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech, all the Bush Administration bullshit and lies that had been foisted off on us as a people to get us to support and agitate for what was now ever more clearly an unjust, criminal war in Iraq, started to collapse for me.

I started peeling back the layers of the onion, so to speak, canceling my subscription to the War Street Journal, turning off Fox News, and removing the presets that once delivered me to Limbaugh and the now-appallingly bad Hannity (I had been a fan since his local-show days in New York, where he at least still had a shred of decency about him). I started to read Lew Rockwell’s site, and antiwar.com.

I got turned onto alternate news sources, read everything I could about what was REALLY going on in the world, helped start this blog, and became a warrior (mostly cyber) for Liberty, free markets, and freedom of association and expression. I began to see that even among people with very different cultural, moral, and spiritual views than me, there still existed real dedication to those founding ideals, and that shared devotion to freedom and liberty was far more important than differences on matters of personal morality. This is embodied in the fundamental, negative right to be left alone, easily deducible from the non-aggression axiom. This was a central lesson of Ron Paul’s recent presidential campaign. As Murray Rothbard said;

It should not be surprising, therefore, that there are libertarians who are indeed hedonists and devotees of alternative life-styles, and that there are also libertarians who are firm adherents of ‘bourgeois’ conventional or religious morality. There are libertarian libertines and there are libertarians who cleave firmly to the disciplines of natural or religious law. There are other libertarians who have no moral theory at all apart from the imperative of non-violation of rights. That is because libertarianism per se has no general or personal moral theory. Libertarianism does not offer a way of life; it offers liberty, so that each person is free to adopt and act upon his own values and moral principles. Libertarians agree with Lord Acton that ‘liberty is the highest political end’ – not necessarily the highest end on everyone’s personal scale of values.

And so, we come around to our old nemesis Larry Flynt. The Independent Film Channel has just aired a new documentary, “Larry Flynt: The Right To Be Left Alone”, video here, which finds Larry and I in almost eerie concord with regard to the natural rights that inhere in our persons, aptly summarized by the subtitle. It turns out that, at least on matters of freedom of speech, expression, association, and the use of government force to commit war and destruction on people, as well as the aforementioned liberties, I have to confess I’m beginning to find a lot to like about the old smut-peddler.

(link from Independent Film Channel via our pal violet)


3 Responses to “IFC Film – “Larry Flynt: The Right To Be Left Alone””

  1. September 10, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Now, now, Vince, aren’t we being a little too hard on The Flintster? I feel the same way. As Harry Browne would say (paraphrase), “I may not agree with your every belief but I will not trip you up if we’re pointed in the same direction.”

  2. 2 Juan
    November 13, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Lew Rockwell and his support for revealed religion is trash and highly damaging to libertarianism. Fuck him, rothbard, hoppe and all the rest of social conservatives.

  3. November 17, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Juan, appreciate that you are not a fan of religion, but did you even read the quote? Whatever any member of the freedom movement believes or does not believe in a religious sense is immaterial. Only their support of freedom matters. As far as we are concerned, the only belief that really threatens us is belief in government.

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