It’s been a few months since B+L co-founder Albert Eisenburg suggested a handful of conservative characters for you to stream, so as a dutiful intern, I’ve decided to take up the mantle!
Here are another five conservative, libertarian, or otherwise non-crazy figures featured in documentaries, movies and shows on common streaming services. Take a break from grievance, identity-obsessed, culture-infecting movies and shows – and stream these instead. I hope you enjoy my addition to this series.
1. Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech (Amazon Prime)
Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech, develops a powerful set of therapy skills over a lifetime of study and experimentation. From humble beginnings, he rises to become one of the most renowned speech therapists, defeating challenges the best doctors of the day threw up their hands at. While Logue’s methods were considered pseudoscience by the medical establishment at first, his ability to transform King George VI into a noted rhetorician – and change the lives of countless other patients – soon hushed the crowd. Had he lived in the United States, we’d consider Logue a perfect example of the American dream: taking initiative, working hard, refusing to let hardships hold him back, and ultimately achieving success.
By rejecting the orthodoxy of medicine at the time, Logue personifies persistence and innovation. He bests elites through skill and merit alone, succeeding where they failed. It’s easy to go along with the crowd, but it takes courage to decry the norms of the medical establishment and find one’s own path. Ultimately, he emerges victorious, shaping the speech therapy practice for the better and ensuring that Great Britain’s citizens could hear their leader loud and clear. As a self-taught entrepreneur, a family man, a friend to commoners and royalty alike, and a national hero, Logue is the epitome of many conservative values we strive to emulate. So watch the movie – or better yet, read the book, penned by Logue’s grandson.
2. Truman Burbank, played by Jim Carrey – The Truman Show (Amazon Prime)
Andrew Niccol’s The Truman Show, a mix of comedic, psychological, and dramatic themes, explores the life of Truman Burbank, played by the talented Jim Carrey. The protagonist’s life on Seahaven Island is idyllic and blissful, but over time, Truman starts noticing clues that suggest all is not as it seems.
Whether it’s his wife’s frequent product advertisements, suspicious emergencies which always foil travel plans, or a radio station tracking his every move, Truman’s discoveries and suspicions pile up as the movie progresses. Eventually, he understands enough to know there’s a conspiracy afoot – and the only option is to escape the place he once considered home, but now resembles a prison. Truman shows an unquenching desire for truth and self-determination. He yearns to be the master of his own destiny. A lover of liberty and a fighter for freedom, Truman is through with the games and mystery – his eyes are set on autonomy.
Truman shows an unquenching desire for truth and self-determination. He yearns to be the master of his own destiny.
Truman has a choice between paradise and reality at the movie’s end. If you haven’t already guessed, he’s the star of a reality television show that broadcasts his life to a worldwide audience – and the program’s creator wishes to keep it that way. He pleads, promises, and threatens Truman, but to no avail. Our protagonist makes the ultimate decision to travel through an exit door, mockingly bidding adieu with “In case I don’t see you… good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight.”
Truman’s awakening experience and ensuing voyage to leave his faux reality embodies many key libertarian tenets: maximizing choice, valuing individualism, striving for independence, cherishing freedom, and having a healthy dose of skepticism. His thirst for truth and unshaking conviction inspires – unless you’re the audience of the movie’s show, who simply switch to another channel after Truman departs his utopia. Make sure to watch this highly-awarded film.
3. The Ghostbusters, played by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson – Ghostbusters (Amazon Prime)
What could be a better celebration of the free market than a few guys founding a successful ghost-hunting business after abandoning a life in the Ivory Tower? These paranormal investigators embrace entrepreneurship, which allows them to triumph over evil – even with the government breathing down their necks.
After parapsychology professors Venkman, Stanz, and Spengler discover a wandering spirit in the New York Public Library, they are fired from their Columbia positions by the skeptical university dean. But as it turns out, without academia holding them back, success is on the horizon. Setting up shop in a dilapidated firehouse, the Ghostbusters become monster-hunting moguls who use their nuclear-powered equipment to trap and contain ghouls all around the city. Their success illustrates exactly how to thrive in a capitalist society: if you see a problem, use your own initiative to solve it… but for a price.
But just imagine if instead of venturing to the private sector, the three professors had remained at Columbia, experimenting and studying instead of laying waste to a skyrocketing ghoul population. Sometimes being thrust into the free market and throwing off the responsibilities of government and/or academia is what it takes to bring real change – or in this case, save the world. At its core, Ghostbusters can be seen as a celebration of Reagan-era conservatism, showcasing the power of individual motivation and entrepreneurialism. It’s worth your time to watch this 1984 cult classic!
4. Christopher McCandless, played by Emile Hirsch – Into The Wild (Netflix)
In April of 1992, Christopher McCandless, calling himself Alexander Supertramp, ventured into the Alaska wilderness for a new life in the wilderness. The next time he was seen by a group of moose hunters, he was a decomposing corpse. By piecing together reports and his journal entries, investigators learned of McCandless’ adventures and of how he met his fateful end. His story is one that puzzled many, enraged some, and saddened all.
Driven by a yearning for unfettered freedom and the wild woods, Christopher’s life centered around gradual rejection of societal norms, materialism, and familial expectations. After graduating from Emory, he donated his savings to charity, then fled to the wilderness. As the years went on, Christopher braved one adventure after the next, sometimes barely making it back to civilization alive. All the while, he had his eyes set on the ultimate trek– testing his mettle against the Alaskan bush. There he met with triumphant victories, bitter defeats, and ultimately, deadly mistakes.
It’s hard to fit Christopher’s identity into a box, but at certain times in the film, his unique worldview and philosophy do strongly emulate conservative and libertarian convictions. The rapid advancement and gross excess of the modern world disgusted him. He was driven by a desire for a life of simplicity, hardship, and authenticity. Regulations on his autonomy and freedom deeply angered Christopher, pushing him to journey to lawless wilderness. He felt alive away from modern civilization’s corrupting touch, where he was free to thrive according to his own ability. While the woods were harsh and unforgiving, Christopher felt more at ease there than he ever had at his college or home.
While the woods were harsh and unforgiving, Christopher felt more at ease there than he ever had at his college or home.
Trading society for the woods is a choice that Christopher made to boil his humanity down to its core – and to discover his meaning and purpose. Some find his extreme behavior impossible to relate to, but at some point in our lives, almost everyone feels the call of the wild. The difference between Christopher and the rest of us is that he rushed to meet nature’s beckon with open arms. So stream Into The Wild; you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the woods – and better understand those who can’t help but journey into it.
5. Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton – The Founder (Netflix)
In 1940, brothers Richard and Maurice founded McDonalds, a barbecue restaurant. Today, the fast food chain they began is a global empire – available in 120 countries, serving 1% of the world’s population daily, and distributing the most toys annually. Do you know who took McDonalds to the top?
Ray Kroc was just a travelling milkshake machine salesman, but his life changed forever after encountering the McDonald brothers’ restaurant on a business trip. Kroc had a keen eye for successful fast food establishments, but he was astounded at McDonalds’ efficiency. He discussed operations with the brothers and convinced them to franchise, overcoming the doubts they harbored about potential degradation in quality and service. As you’ll see in Robert Siegel’s The Founder, the reality of capitalism, both good and bad, pours forth through Kroc’s relentless push to make McDonald’s what it is today.
Of course, the partnership did not go off without a hitch. Richard and Maurice fought to regain control over their restaurants after realizing they’d let a fox in the hen house. But Kroc and his financial consultant Harry Sonneborn emerged victorious through a devious tactic: creating a separate business to rent out the real estate to franchisees, thereby controlling the restaurants.
Ultimately, the story does not end well for the two brothers, as Kroc becomes an emperor of fast food without them. His triumph illustrates the potential for success inherent in a free market while offering a warning about a reality inherent in any economic system: Krocs are always out there. However, while some may hate him, it’s hard to deny Kroc’s tremendous impact on the world we live and eat in.
READ MORE — Albert Eisenberg: Five more conservatives to stream right now
Nick Rutherford, an intern for Broad + Liberty, is a rising sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, studying political science and psychology. Reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org