Remembering Harold Ramis And His Small Government Masterpiece


Harold Ramis was involved in some of my favorite movies of all time. FromĀ Groundhog Day to theĀ Ghostbusters franchise, he was a talented writer, director and actor.

He’ll be missed.

I honestly don’t know anything about Ramis’ politics, or those of his co-writer Dan Akroyd, so I don’t know if he intended the Reagan-era Ghostbusters to be a commentary on big government, but that’s how I’ve always taken it.

For those of you who have never seen the movie, it’s about the City of New York developing a problem with the paranormal. Spooks are wreaking havoc, and the government isn’t doing anything to stop it. So in steps the private sector, in the form of a small business startup called the Ghostbusters, who come to the rescue. They solve people’s spook problems for a fee.

It all goes fine until the government sticks its long, pointy, bureaucratic nose into the situation. Federal regulators – the Environmental Protection Agency, no less – shut down the Ghostbusters, releasing all the spooks they caught back out into the wild setting up the final scene in which the bureaucrats are pushed aside so the Ghostbusters can save the day again.

I remember the movie leaving me with a distaste for government meddling. One that seems to have followed me into adulthood. Again, I don’t know if that’s what Ramis intended, but that’s what happened for me.