How Kurt Russell ‘Found Libertarianism’

December 23, 2015—Kurt Russell, whose latest movie The Hateful Eight is set to battle Star Wars in the box office, is making the rounds talking to the press about his character. During an interview with The Daily Beast, Russell explained why competing with Star Wars is important to him, but that’s not all the interview covered.

While explaining his comments on gun control, Russell claimed that, as an actor, he tries to focus on talking about his work. But when pressed to discuss politics, he’s not going to stay quiet. So if you don’t want to hear his point of views on the legitimate functions of government, don’t bother to ask.

During an earlier interview with Jeffrey Wells, Russell said: “If you think gun control is going to change the terrorists’ point of view, I think you’re, like, out of your mind.”

“I just didn’t get where he was going saying that gun control was a magic wand of fixing the situation with terrorism,” Russell later told The Daily Beast about the incident. “That isn’t going to stop [terrorists] from [doing] what they want to do.”

So when discussing his political views with The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern and how they impacted his work, Russell didn’t mince words:

“I’ve heard some pretty rough things through the years that were really undeserved, but the number one thing was my case was worse, because I couldn’t say, ‘I’m a Republican, sorry.’ I wasn’t a Republican, I was worse: I was a hardcore libertarian.”

The 64-year-old star also made it clear that his type of libertarianism is not what most Americans think of libertarianism.

“I’m not a Bill Maher libertarian,” he continued. “That’s faux-libertarianism. He doesn’t know what it is. I like him, and he’s a nice guy, but seriously, that’s not libertarianism. The other thing I’ve found is that a lot of liberals in Hollywood are faux-liberals, and a lot of Republicans in Hollywood are faux-conservatives.”


To young Russell, learning about libertarianism gave him something his colleagues seldom showed: philosophical integrity.

“When I was a young guy, I was finding myself not quite being able to see the things that were going on and buy into a political culture. I didn’t know what to do, so I finally said, ‘Why don’t I go back and see what the Founding Fathers were all about, and see how that stacked up.’ Well, I found them and I found libertarianism. They were pretty radical guys, and damn smart, and I just believe in that old-time stuff and think they had great ideas.”

But it wasn’t just America’s Founding Fathers that served as an example to Russell. The libertarian think tank Cato Institute had a lot to do with his decision to embrace the philosophy. At Cato, the actor felt at home:

“…[after learning about the Founding Fathers’ philosophy] I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Cato Institute’s 20th anniversary and spend some real time with some amazing people. I met some great people there, and that cemented it for me. I felt, guess what, there is a place where I can have a conversation and not be laughed at or smirked at.”


But with his timid display of affection for liberty comes the interview requests. From somewhat exploitative sources, he explained.

“… There are a lot of Johnny-come-lately’s now,” Russell told The Daily Beast. “They’re trying to constantly get me to go on these shows and whatnot, and you only end up promoting their shows. And I don’t want to go on those shows and have someone think, ‘The last thing I want to do is watch Kurt Russell talk about shit that I don’t think he knows anything about.'”

Over the years, Russell said he became the “politically persona non grata,” a term that many libertarians can relate to. But because he cares about his friends in media, he decided to avoid talking about politics on TV. After all, “I don’t want to hurt [my friends’] careers by associating them with me!”

Despite the cordial reasons to avoid talking about liberty, Russell asserted, he’s a good guy.

“I always had a good time talking about things with people. The thing people did get to know about me if they engaged me is that I’m fair, I’m pretty energetic, and I’m pretty knowledgeable. I don’t pop off without finding out about stuff—and I like finding out about stuff, and don’t have that much of an agenda about it. I believe in limited Constitutional government, free market capitalism, reach for the brass ring. There’s this place where you can go do that and don’t step on anybody’s toes and still try to reach for the brass ring.”

At age 64, the veteran actor should know what he’s talking about since he’s the living proof that minding your own business pays off.

Do you think more actors like Russell should speak out about their political leanings? Share your thoughts with us!

Image: Gage Skidmore

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