This is a reprint of a movie review by Dan Sheill published in one of the sites we link to; Libertarian Republican, a major player in breaking news of mainstream libertarian advances in the States. (Publishers permission given.)
“I don’t give a hoot ‘n nanny about your limey laws”
“If you’re the government, and you don’t like something, you simply make a law against it.” Most of us have heard this saying before, but the movie Pirate Radio does a fantastic job of highlighting this onerous principle of governments, and how their efforts to regulate social behavior do nothing more than drive voluntary human conduct to thrive in the underground.
Set in 1966, the film tells a story of how the British government drove Rock n’ Roll off of the regular airwaves because the music was perceived as a recruiting tool for criminals, drug addicts, and sexual degenerates. One scene features a cabinet meeting of the British Government where one minister, played by Kenneth Branagh, explains that pirate radio “survives off of “shameless commercialism, and low morals” (sounds like Dondero’s type of music).
While the government is generally in favor of banning pirate radio, one minister concedes that there was no law in existence that gave the government the authority to do so. But this will not stop Branagh’s efforts to crush it. As the captain of the Radio Rock ship (played by Bill Nighy) so aptly put it, “governments loathe free people doing what they want.” This statement was said in the context of one of his DJ’s (played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman) creative use of the “F word” for supposedly the first time on live air.
After failed efforts to fine British companies who purchase advertising on pirate radio, one of Branagh’s subordinates (played by Jack Davenport) discovers that the strong signal emanating from Radio Rock actually blocked out a distress call made by a British fishing boat lost at sea. So, despite public opposition, the government enacts Marine Offenses Act as a pretext to shut down Radio Rock once and for all.
Interesting parallels can be drawn between this fictitious movie and more recent failed attempts by the British government to ban speech by conservative commentator Michael Savage, which it supposedly found offensive and hateful.
So when Radio Rock defies the British government’s edicts, the authorities attempt to raid their ship, but are surprised to find a fishing boat anchored where Radio Rock was previously located. Ironically, the ship’s engines fail during the escape and it begins to sink. The government refuses to respond to their distress call. However, the movie’s final scene shows a hoard of British citizens driving their own boats out to the rescue reminiscent of what actually happened at Dunkirk during World War II (I couldn’t help but shed a tear).
All in all, I definitely recommend this movie.
Note – Dan serves on the Republican Liberty Caucus national board. He is a former Michgander recently relocated to the sunny libertarian environs of the Republic of Texas.