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With liberal Hollywood constantly propagating nonsensical political platforms that limit our liberties, a few pieces of our culture have managed to advocate for less government and more freedom. The fictional Ron Swanson, from the popular television series Parks and Recreation, is a hero for our conservative cause.
Ron serves as the Director of the Parks Department of Pawnee, Indiana. His constant quest for a fiscally responsible and limited government starkly contrasts his Deputy Director’s, statist Leslie Knope, mission to “personally babysit each and every American citizen.” Unlike some of our elected officials, Ron stands firm in his principled, conservative beliefs throughout the series and believes “there’s only one bad word: taxes.”
In one episode, Ron spends the day with a fourth-grader who has asked to interview him for a paper on why government matters. He quickly teaches her the absurdity of the United States tax code over lunch.
RON: This is your lunch. Now, you should be able to do whatever you want with this, right? If you want to eat all of it, great. If you want to throw it all away in the garbage, that’s your prerogative. But here I come, the government. [Ron takes a bite out of Lauren’s sandwich.] And I get to take 40 percent of your lunch. [Ron then eats Lauren’s chips and takes a big sip from her juice box.] And that, Lauren, is how taxes work.
LAUREN: That’s not fair!
RON: You’re learning. Uh oh! Capital gains tax. [Ron takes another large bite out of the sandwich.]
Furthermore, he is a champion of capitalism and truly free markets. “Capitalism is the only way…it moves our country forward.” Ron raises concerns about government interference in American economics multiple times in the show.
RON: Whatever happened to “Hey, I have some apples, would you like to buy them?” “Yes, thank you!” That’s as complicated as it should be to open a business in this country.
And again here.
RON: The free market is a jungle; it’s beautiful and brutal and should be left alone. When a business fails it dies and a new better business takes its place. Just let business be business and government be government.
When it comes to excessive government spending, we can once again thank Ron Swanson for giving conservatives a cultural platform on which to stand. He has declared himself an official member of a task force dedicated to slashing the local government’s budget. As a government employee, Ron seeks to eliminate unnecessary projects and reduce the cost burden of taxpayers.
RON: Once a year, every branch of this government meets in a room and announces what they intend to waste taxpayer money on…it’s philosophically horrifying.
If only Congress was as eager to balance the budget as Ron.
RON: Why stop at cutting 32 percent of the Pawnee budget, when you can make it an even 40 percent? [Starts chanting.] Slash it, slash it!
The series may have come to an end after seven great seasons of engaging Americans in the workings of local government, but Ron Swanson lives on as a hero for conservative culture. This seemingly unpolitical character has given cultural identity to freedom seekers lost in the magnitude of liberal music, television, and art. Now go find a diner, order all their bacon, and discuss the merits of small government. Ron Swanson would want that.