Life, Liberty, and M*A*S*H

20 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2021

See all articles by Thomas Firey

Thomas Firey

Cato Institute; Maryland Public Policy Institute

Date Written: December 14, 2020


The American television series M*A*S*H is one of the most popular and beloved series in TV history. One contributor to its success is its consistent promotion of the principles of classical liberalism, principles that were cherished across the American political spectrum in the late 20th century, from ACLU civil libertarians, to Jimmy Carter/Bill Clinton centrists, to Ronald Reagan’s small-government conservatives. This essay discusses M*A*S*H portrayal of several of these principles, from its opposition to war and compulsory service, to its skepticism of government power, to its support of market exchange, to its promotion of other civil liberties.

Keywords: Classical Liberalism, Libertarianism, M*A*S*H, Television

JEL Classification: Z19

Suggested Citation

Firey, Thomas, Life, Liberty, and M*A*S*H (December 14, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Thomas Firey (Contact Author)

Cato Institute ( email )

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Maryland Public Policy Institute ( email )

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