Joke: light bulb joke tailored to libertarians (1981)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 22 04:10:34 UTC 2012

Barry Popik recently examined an instance of the light bulb joke
schema tailored to libertarians and found an initial cite in 1985:

“How many libertarians does it take to change a light bulb?” (joke)
Entry from December 16, 2012

Here is a cite in 1981 and a cite for a variant with “supply-side
economists” in 1982.

Cite: 1981 August 30, Washington Post, "Libertarians, With Eye on
Voters, Debate Need to Be More Radical" By T.R. Reid, Page A8, Column
3, Washington, D.C. (ProQuest)
[Begin excerpt]
This principle is so basic to all factions that the party has its own
version of a standard joke, to wit: "How many Libertarians does it
take to screw in a light bulb?" Answer: "None – the free market will
take care of it."
[End excerpt]

Cite: 1982 January 21, Dallas Morning News, Supply-side may not be
Reagan's side anymore, (New York Times - News Service), Page D1,
Column 4, (GNB Page 102), Dallas, Texas. (GenealogyBank)
[Begin excerpt]
As the question of the hour puts it: "How many supply-side economists
does it take to screw in a light bulb?" The answer: "None. The free
market will do it."
[End excerpt]


The American Dialect Society -

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