I am a big fan. It was a shame that Fox killed it before it ever started, a fate similar to Crusade on TNT. The execs at Fox didn't realize they did so, but when you air the show on Fridays out of chronological order, you have to expect the audience to react by saying "what the hell?"
Anyway Ann Althouse and others are talking about the libertarian tendencies in Firefly and sci-fi in general. They do a lot of analysis and it sounds good, but they miss the common thread. Lots of science fiction is just westerns in space. Firefly is deliberately staged this way. The backstory is essentially the civil war and Mal and the crew are ex-confederate soldiers. If you look at it this way, these themes tend to sort themselves out.