What Pirates Can Teach Us about Democracy

I've always felt that pirates understood the good things in life. Fresh air. Rum. Interesting hats. It turns out we had more in common politically than I would have given them credit for. According to Colin Woodard, author of The Republic of Pirates, the "Golden Age" of Caribbean piracy wasn't too shabby. Seamen and captains received almost equal shares of booty (that is, a ratio of 2 - 1 instead of 14 - 1) and captains could be deposed at almost any time. NPR Books did a great interview with Woodard two weeks ago (site - iTunes - feed).

All of this means that you should go see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie when it opens today, no matter how terrible it is. If Jack Sparrow doesn't inspire civic virtue, at least he encourages eyeliner sales. Besides, how many amusement park rides can you think of that have demonstrated such dramatic depth?

The other reason to go see the movie is that Talk Like A Pirate Day is literally months away. How long can you hold that "AAAARRRRRHH"?


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