August 4, 2010

Lady Liberty

By: AFF Editors

I have long held the belief that libertarianism is a logical, common sense approach to politics. At a fundamental level, the libertarian philosophy is about maximizing personal choice without threat or coercion. As these ideas are pulled from abstraction and translated into policy, they manifest in a laissez-faire approach to economics and the belief in an axiom of non-aggression. Volumes upon volumes have been written about libertarianism’s proper implementation from economists, philosophers, scientists, and the like. Though if you cannot follow the examples or philosophies of Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Friedman, and Bastiat – I ask you to look to Stefani Germanotta for your political advice.

Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, is obviously not an explicit libertarian. In fact, I do not expect her to alienate herself from her Democratic and Republican supporters by declaring any particular party affiliation or philosophy. Despite this, I have insinuated that she is a champion of personal liberty in the libertarian tradition.

Above all else, Lady Gaga is an open defender of civil liberties and individual rights. Famously, she “called out”President Obama on his opposition to gay marriage when she spoke at the LGBT march on Washington. Lady Gaga is a fixture in the gay rights movement; ask any man who passes by the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village or any attendee from her performance at the Human Rights Campaign dinner.

Though this philosophy extends beyond the scope of gay rights. Recently, she railed against the Arizona immigration law, as any good libertarian would. Her consistent position against any government intervention is congruous with her belief that “[this] country is not equal if it’s only at some times.” (I always get my Lady Gaga and Thomas Jefferson quotes confused…)

Civil liberties are a fairly non-controversial position among my generation. Lady Gaga has also promoted individual choice. Notably, she told Barbara Walters that she hopes for her fans to feel comfortable in their own skin – not to conform to any societal measures. ?She has also lent her hand to creating an environment of choices in sexual preference. Lady Gaga has her own line of condoms and a charitable line of makeup that supports women’s sexual disease screening. Conversely, she also advocates celibacy if one is “not ready” and encourages personal reflection to maximize self-satisfaction. If Lady Gaga is a statist, reliant upon any endorsement of collectivism, she is doing a terrible job.

Lady Gaga is dangerously close to being a fiscal conservative. (As close as someone raised in Manhattan can get, anyway.) From her music, we can see traces of her sympathies. For instance, in ‘Beautiful, Dirty Rich’ Gaga pleads to her father for money to party – a fiscal liberal would have whined about class struggle instead. In ‘Poker Face’ she says, “[a] little gambling is fun when you’re with me.” Risk is an indispensable aspect of a capitalist economy, one the Democrat and Republican “bailout” culture has diluted.

Aside from her art, which could probably be interpreted in a million different directions, no Pinko would wearAlexander McQueen on the scale of Lady Gaga. Gays, her main legion of fans, have the largest amount of disposable income.

Gaga has also shown her self-determination and thrift in the market. When her father disowned her, Lady Gaga became a true rags-to-riches story made possible by a system that rewards merit. With a faith in her talents that led her to leave the security of a wealthy family, Lady Gaga has managed to make a fortune in the age of “free music” and illegal downloads. She is on tour constantly and finds alternative ways to commodify her talents. To date, I have not heard of her bemoaning the changing tides in the music industry; a stark contrast from those in the automotive industry, who advocate measures like “cash for clunkers.”

Recently, Lady Gaga’s self-interested “greedy capitalist” reared it’s beautiful head. Though she opposed the Arizona immigration law, she “stopped short of dumping her Arizona tour dates like big name acts Kanye West and Rage Against the Machine who boycotted the state in protest of SB 1070.” A few months ago, an old boyfriend, who claimed a cut of her earnings, sued Lady Gaga. She did not take this lightly, counter-suing and enlisting a lawyer to protect her property.

Lady Gaga has some shortcomings. For instance, I’m certain she voted for President Obama – something a learned libertarian would not admit. Though she may have desired “change,” she seems to have a distaste in her mouth from his stance on her most outspoken issue – gay rights. Her hatred of Bush, not uncommon in any circle, suggests a contempt for his biggest issue, foreign policy. Naturally, his (and President Obama’s) position is entirely incongruent with the libertarian and Lady Gaga philosophy.

It may be the case that Lady Gaga’s latent libertarianism will never be appreciated or understood. Listening to The Fame on repeat and reading the tabloids will probably never subconsciously convert the millions of people who adore her. Regardless of her political influence, though, at the end of the day this libertarian “loves [her] record [’til she] can’t see straight anymore.”