“Pirate Radio” new Movie with Anti-Government, Libertarian theme hits Theatres

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.

9 thoughts on ““Pirate Radio” new Movie with Anti-Government, Libertarian theme hits Theatres

  1. Unfortunately the high-seas are no longer as free as they once were. If you do not have registration in a country and display the flag, you are classified as a pirate ship and anyone’s military is allowed to board you. There are very few countries left that don’t sign all the trade agreements so the window is closing on being able to do something like pirate radio or sea-steading.

    Pirate radio is still a real possibility and I have even seen some preliminary investment drafts. Investors would give money to a company to setup an off-shore transmitter. It would transmit encrypted copyright data. It would make money by charging people for the decryptors or through advertising. People would buy it because of the amount of material that would be on offer, all the movies/music/software/books/games/information they could want. They could even transmit requests to the ship. Because it is all wireless its impossible to block and no one will have the authority to shut it down.

  2. I watched 2012 the other day, and I was a bit annoyed that no one in the U.S. government considered the possibility that the private sector could build more ships than a secret Chinese government program!

  3. “This is a re-edited version of “The Boat That Rocked””

    You’re right. I wonder why they changed the name to “Pirate Radio”…

  4. Fermi, why are you curious about a movie about radio pirates pirating a product under another name? It seems intrinsically logical to me!

  5. Wikipedia on ‘The Boat That Rocked’
    “After the film’s commercial and critical failure in the UK it was re-edited and retitled Pirate Radio for release in the United States and Canada on 13 November 2009.”

    Saw it on a plan about a year ago, it was a good bit of fun. The government was most amusing.

  6. If you like music, or just once in your life you have been moved by the song, I like this movie, or at least enjoy it for what it is, without too much criticism.

Comments are closed.