Aaron Russo, 1943-2007

Award-winning filmmaker and libertarian political activist Aaron Russo succumbed to cancer Friday at age 64.

Russo was best known for his films, most famous among them Trading Places and The Rose, which won three Golden Globe awards in 1980.

What’s less well known is that he was also instrumental in bringing musical acts to the United States in the 1970s, including one of my all-time favorites, Led Zeppelin.

In his later years, though, Russo turned to politics. In 1996 he produced and starred in a film, Mad as Hell, where he criticized many government policies such as the national ID card, the war on drugs, and government regulation of alternative medicine. In 1998 he ran in the Republican primary for governor of Nevada but was defeated. In 2002, before he could decide whether to run again, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

In 2004 he ran for President under the Libertarian Party banner, but failed to get the nomination.

Most recently he produced a documentary film, America: Freedom to Fascism, showing a quest to discover which law requires Americans to pay federal income taxes and finding something quite different.

And in 2007 he was one of the first to endorse Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) for President, doing so even before Paul announced his candidacy. Just before he died he spoke to long time friend and libertarian activist Stephen Gordon about Ron Paul:

In our last telephone conversation, Aaron told me he’d kick my butt if I didn’t do what I could to ensure Ron Paul is the next president of the United States. This was his style. While some have viewed his rough-appearing exterior in a negative manner, those of us who knew him realized what a Teddy Bear he truly was. For those who aren’t aware, Aaron has a long history with Congressman Paul. — Gordon Unleashed

>Gordon also says: “If I had to guess the epitaph Aaron would prefer, it would be this: All your freedoms, all the time!” We can honor the legacy of Aaron Russo by rededicating ourselves to the fight to reclaim our lost liberties.

Watch Aaron Russo’s Mad as Hell
Watch America: Freedom to Fascism

One thought on “Aaron Russo, 1943-2007

  • September 7, 2007 at 4:18 am

    Well I guess Peter gave up on the average Joe,A dumb sh_t
    perspective too much to deal with. No honest person would
    argue that some taxes are the obligation of every citizen
    no matter where they call home. As Will Rogers once said
    “it’s the greatest country on Earth but you have to pay to live here!” So the real disagreement lies with how taxes are
    collected to pay for the collective benefit of all.There are
    some that believe that “Capitalism” is a system where one
    take the fruits of thier labor and “invests” in the collective effort of organizations and hopes to profit from
    that investment and expects to pay a tax on any gaines for
    that priviledge.That, personal labor physical or otherwise
    happens to be something they own and have a right to exercise without being charged a tax for.Every living thing
    has the right and natural need to forge out a means to survive.Should there be a tax for this necessity? This is the
    question I ask.Personally I object to that notion but I
    realize the money has to come from somewhere.The monotary
    system works because of “confidence” in the rules of the
    system.When “loopholes” excuse some from the rules it upsets
    the balance.Our value lies in what we provide for ourselves
    and the rest of the world.Some might call it Gross National
    Product(s) and services.What value we offer the World “is” our val

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