Monday, February 14, 2005

The World According to Lord Greystoke

Many libertarians claim to have been introduced to ideas of freedom by reading the novels of Ayn Rand or the sci-fi of Robert Heinlein.

Me? My first real taste of libertarian thought came via the Tarzan novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. By age six, I was familiar with the movie Tarzans, but not until I read the original Tarzan of the Apes in the seventh grade did I get it. The Tarzan stories were about freedom vs. authority. They were about a young boy who'd taught himself how to survive, how to read, how to "get along" in his world. They were about the importance of self-reliance. When Tarzan discovers that he's heir to a fortune, that he's in fact Lord Greystoke, he learns to live in the "civilized" world when he must, but he never feels comfortable there. He always prefers freedom (i.e., the jungle).

These past few months, I've been re-reading the early Tarzan books (they become a bit formulaic after the first dozen novels). They still shout the freedom message loud and clear.

It's good to return to the seventh grade every so often.


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