Woody Harrelson, the Anarchist
Written by Winter Trabex.
When Suzanne Collins wrote the three Hunger Games books, she might have not have had Woody Harrelson in mind when she wrote about Haymitch Abernathy. Haymitch, in the fictitious world of Panem, is a Hunger Games winner whose job it is to coach new participants in the games while living out of a bottle in between. As a coach, Haymitch trains people to survive a competition where people are not meant to survive, an impossible task. He does his best, as he sees it, only to watch people die. It turns out that this a reality he can’t deal with.
At first glance, Harrelson appears to be a mild-mannered, middle-aged, balding man. The kind of man who would stop in the middle of the road to avoid running over a squirrel. He smiles a lot, as though he’s privy to a joke that only he understands. It is as though he is forever laughing at the world, his mirth too great to constrain.
The joke, if one exists, might be that Harrelson understands what many people around the world are beginning to understand: human beings don’t need government to get along. He proclaims himself as an anarchist while saying that Barack Obama is like Richard Nixon. In fact, Obama and Nixon hail from supposedly opposite, supposedly opposed, political parties. At least, that’s the image that politicians like to portray to the public. Harrelson appears to have understood a deeper truth: no matter how much the two parties fight with one another, in the end, they’re on the same side: the side of the government.
He even takes it one step further: he says that in cases where no victim is involved and no damage or theft (“hurt”) has occurred to anyone’s property, then no crime has occurred. This would mean that breaking the speed limit is not a crime. Running a red light is not a crime. Owning a drug or a plant is not a crime. Rather than the government being responsible for the good behavior of people, Harrelson would rather have people do what they want, as long as they don’t harm others.
Nor are these statements isolated in and of themselves, or particularly recent. In 2002, in an interview for the Daily Mirror of London, Harrelson said “the war on terrorism is terrorism.” To put this in context, it might have been easy enough to go along with the government rhetoric at the time, rhetoric born out of fear and paranoia. In his interview, he states that taking an unpopular stance against government would be “very dangerous in today’s world.” He cites the example of George Michael, who wrote a song criticizing George W. Bush and Tony Blair, only to be criticized himself for it. In 2002, everyone wanted to believe the government could defend people from the invisible menace of terrorism.
Harrelson, a man who would rather watch Game of Thrones then get work done, also appears to understand the role of police officers in today’s society. While working in New Orleans for an HBO series, he anticipates being arrested and charged with resisting arrest. Whether Harrelson actually resists arrest or not (and there are reports of him having done so in the past), his anticipation of the charge understates what many in the liberty community already know: the government has made it illegal for a person to fight for his or her freedom against its own agents.
While Woody Harrelson might at first appear to take nothing seriously, it transpires that he advocates for personal liberty, in his own unique way. For the present, that means avoiding fights with the Paparazzi- an adherence to the non-aggression principle in part, if not in whole.
Harrelson says, “I think people could be just fine looking after themselves.”
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