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Preview: Nick Gillespie: Reason Magazine articles.

Nick Gillespie: articles.

Updated: 2016-10-20T00:00:00-04:00


Running "Someone Sane and Honest Is *Different*": LP Head on Gary Johnson's Appeal


Running "someone sane and honest is different," says Nicholas Sarwark, the national chair of the Libertarian Party in explaining the "unique selling proposition" of the "party of principle" in the 2016 presidential election.

Bolstered by a presidential ticket led Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, two former two-term governors, the LP has received an unprecedented amount of news coverage and popular interest, says Sarwark, who talks about how the systems is indeed rigged against third-party candidates. Between ever-changing ballot-access rules and patently ridiculous exclusions from presidential debates, he says, the one thing Republicans and Democrats agree on is keeping other parties at arm's length. And yet, Sarwark notes, the duopoly is faltering because it no longer is fielding "authentic" and "honest" candidates.

Reason's Nick Gillespie talks with Sarwark about what the "party of principle" is up to in the final weeks of the 2016 race and the LP's bold new strategy of running electable, pragmatic candidates who are also committed to maximum freedom and minimal government.

Produced by Jim Epstein with Ian Keyes.

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No Child Left Alone: Getting the Government Out of Parenting


"Every rule that gets written has a cost," explains Abby Schachter, author of the new book No Child Left Alone: Getting the Government Out of Parenting. "I don't know if parents [understand] that under the headline 'we're going to keep your children safe' [or] 'we're going to protect the kids' that that is really code for 'we're taking your rights away.'"

Schachter credits a personal experience with Pennsylvania's restrictive regulations over swaddling in daycare to her interest in documenting how the government is getting more involved in raising children and restricting parents' choices. "I had to go find the people who made up this rule about swaddling and they weren't in my state and they weren't even accountable," Schachter says.

Reason TV's Nick Gillespie sat down with Schachter to talk about her book, her fight to have her youngest child swaddled (0:57), how government officials take obese children from their parents (2:52), the loss of unsupervised play among kids (4:01), warning labels (8:06), and the connection between her work and college students' demand for safe spaces (11:03).

Edited by Joshua Swain and Ian Keyser. Camera by Todd Krainin and Austin Bragg. Music by Podington Bear.

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Bob Dylan's Never-Ending Tour of The Self


Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan (let that sink in for a bit) has been on "a never ending tour" since 1988. For nearly 30 years, the man behind "Like a Rolling Stone," "All Along the Watch Tower," "Tangled Up in Blue," and dozens of other classic tunes has stayed on the road, playing concerts all over the planet.

Nick Gillespie is joined by his Reason colleague Brian Doherty and The Daily Beast's Andrew Kirell to talk the influence and meaning of Dylan, who has resisted all political and cultural categorization. What are the politics of Bob Dylan (which is different than Bob Dylan's politics), who made his early bones by writing protest songs but also claimed kinship to Lee Harvey Oswald? Admired for his authenticity, Dylan is a cultural escape artist who has regularly changed his persona and style and alienated his most-loyal fans by going electric, disappearing from view, becoming a born-again Christian, and more.

If Dylan is the "Shakespeare of our time," what does he for an encore now that he has joined the ranks of Eugene O'Neill, Saul Bellow, and Toni Morrison as a Nobelist?

Each participant also names his favorite Dylan record and defends his choice.

Click below to listen. About 40 minutes. Produced by Ian Keyser.

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Gary Johnson: Donald Trump AND Hillary Clinton Have Lots To Apologize For


In a new audio podcast, Nick Gillespie talks with Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson about why neither Republican Donald Trump nor Democrat Hillary Clinton won the second presidential debate—and why each candidate has plenty of reasons to apologize to the American people. He also verifies accounts that disgruntled "Republican officials" are reaching out to him with possible endorsements.

And he lashes out at people who use his gaffes about Aleppo and other foreign-policy questions as a way to dismiss what he says is the only candidate who can restore the government's finances and America's standing in the world.

Trump's ugly comments about groping women and his denigration of blacks, Muslims, and Latinos show he's unfit for office, says Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico. Revelations from Wikileaks show that Clinton is a hypocrite who will say different things to placate whatever audience she's in front of, he adds. What the country needs now, he says, is a president who will cut spending, hold taxes down, be skeptical about foreign military interventions, and allow free markets and new businesses to flourish.

He lays out his plans to do just that in this conversation.

Produced by Jim Epstein, with Ian Keyser. About 35 minutes.

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Libertarians on Tour


Gary Johnson reached into his pocket to make a point about the emancipating wonders of modern technology, and then panicked. "Where is my iPhone? Oh my gosh, where is it?" We were in the middle of an extraordinary scrum on 4th Street in Cleveland, 100 yards from the entrance to the Republican National Convention, interviewing the Libertarian Party presidential nominee live on Facebook while a crush of curious GOP delegates, cops, and lookie-loos pressed in closer to eavesdrop and take pictures. Johnson would later remark to a Politico reporter that the mob scene was the most attention he had ever received, but at the moment he was distracted and inconsolable. "This is a shocker to me, I gotta tell you," he said while the feed kept streaming to tens of thousands. "Uh, maybe I left it in the cab? Oh, shit." Over the course of two weeks, across reason's five wide-ranging interviews with the Libertarian Party presidential ticket from Las Vegas to Cleveland to Philadelphia, the Great iPhone Mishap was the moment people responded to most. And why not? Campaign 2016 has been the weirdest in at least four decades. "Is this the craziest election cycle or what?" Johnson is fond of saying. "You know how crazy it is? It's so crazy that I'm going to be the next president of the United States." Voters have been clamoring for authenticity over the professionalized status quo, for plain speaking over slick speechifying—and if there's one thing you can say about the former New Mexico governor, he ain't slick. He's also not mired in the usual Libertarian polling ghetto of plus or minus 1 percent, which is the party's electoral high-water mark, achieved by Johnson in 2012 and Ed Clark in 1980. The five polls selected by the Republican/-Democrat-controlled Commission on Presidential Debates have measured Johnson at 10 percent all summer, giving him at press time a few remaining days to reach the steep threshold of 15 percent for inclusion in this fall's debates. "There's no way that you can get elected president without being in that game," the candidate told us in Cleveland. Gary Johnson did end up finding his phone. But will he and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, really make a difference in this election and beyond? According to Gallup, historically low numbers of voters now identify as Democrats (29 percent) and Republicans (26 percent), suggesting an unprecedented opportunity for the Libertarian Party to redefine the political spectrum for the 21st century. Johnson and Weld stress that as social liberals and fiscal conservatives, they occupy the broad center of American politics while Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are way, way out there on either fringe. As the only ticket that is consistently anti-war, anti-regulation, pro-abortion, pro-immigration, and pro-trade, Johnson and Weld are pulling voters from both major parties even as their seemingly wishy-washy positions on religious liberty, the Second Amendment, and carbon taxes alienate many hard-core libertarians. We asked the two ex-governors about everything from their promise to submit a balanced budget within a hundred days of taking office to their picks for the Supreme Court to whether they would honor the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and other treaty obligations. The following is an edited selection from those conversations, presented in chronological order. For video of the interviews, go to Las Vegas July 15, Johnson and Weld at the libertarian confab FreedomFest, interviewed by Nick Gillespie for Reason TV Gillespie: According to the most recent CBS/New York Times poll, you're at 12 percent. Johnson: Yeah! Gillespie: Why is that happening, and where does it end? Johnson: Well, it's happening because, first and foremost, arguably the two most polarizing figures in American politics today are Trump and Clinton. But secondarily: two Republican governors, two-term, getting re-e[...]

Nobody Won the VP Debate, Least of All the American Electorate


About 90 minutes before the vice-presidential debate started, the Republican National Committee posted a press release claiming that Donald Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, "was the clear winner of the debate."

That sort of stunt and Tim Kaine's painfully unfunny and hyper-scripted one-liners help explain why the Republican and Democratic candidates are disliked by large majorities and why party identification is at or near historic lows. Full debate transcript here.

We don't simply need politicians talking over one another like guests on a public-access cable show, we need more voices on the stage having substantive discussions about the future of the country. We didn't get that with the vice-presidential debate and it's unlikely we'll get it in next week's presidential debate either.

Produced by Paul Detrick, Nick Gillespie, and Joshua Swain. Narrated by Gillespie. About 50 seconds.

Updated: For those keeping score, a CNN/ORC poll taken immediately following the debate had Pence winning the debate, 48 percent to 42 percent for Kaine.

Even Donald Trump Wants Gary Johnson in the Debates


So when it comes to the first presidential debate, only Hillary Clinton and Donald J Trump, the two most-hated candidates in recorded history, will be allowed to participate. Here are four good reasons why Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president who is a former two-term governor of New Mexico, should be allowed to participate. And here's a bone for supporters of the Green Party's candidate, Jill Stein: At least some apply to her as well. 1. 15 percent makes no sense. The Commission on Public Debates, which was created by the Republican and Democratic Parties in 1987, says participants must average 15 percent in five polls they choose. But why 15 percent? If you're going to insist on a poll-driven number, 5 percent makes far more sense. That's the number you need to hit to receive federal matching funds and it's also the level that most states insist on for a party to receive "major-party status" and thus not have to jump through a bunch of ballot-access hoops every election. FWIW, according to RealClearPolitics' latest roundup of national polls, Johnson was at 8.6 percent just after the commission turned him down, which was higher than what independent candidate Ross Perot was at in 1992 when he was invited to the debate. 2. He's on the ballot in all 50 states. Johnson is on the ballot in all 50 states, so he can theoretically win the election but more realistically, he will totally influence the outcome. In fact, a recent state-by-state poll had the guy in double digits in 42 states and at 15 percent or better in 15 of those. What the hell is going on when a figure who will be on every American's ballot isn't given a shot to make his case on the same stage as the Republican and Democrat? 3. Americans want more choices at the ballot box. According to Gallup, 60 percent of us say the Democrats and Republicans do such a poor job that a third major party is needed" to represent our views at the ballot box. Just 38 percent say the Dems and the Reps are getting the job done. And get this: A Suffolk University/USA Today poll found that 76 percent of likely voters believe "a third-party candidate who is certified on a majority of state ballots should be included." 4. Donald Trump wants third parties included (or at least he did in 2000). Here's a charming bit of video from 2000, when the debate commission announced its 15 percent rule for the first time. Donald Trump himself argued forcefully that the Reform Party candidate, Pat Buchanan, and the Green Party candidate, Ralph Nader, and others should participate in the presidential debates and the only reason they were being excluded was that Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore were scared of competition. Minnesota's then-Gov. Jesse Ventura introduces Trump by calling the exclusion of third parties "despicable" and noting that if he hadn't been allowed to debate Democrat Humbert Humphrey III and Republican Norm Coleman, he never would have become governor. Produced by Todd Krainin. Written and narrated by Nick Gillespie. Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV's YouTube Channel to receive notification when new material goes live. [...]

Richard Epstein: Why Obamacare Is Collapsing and He's Not Voting for Trump, Hillary, *or* Johnson


The architects of Obamacare could have foreseen today's crisis, says NYU Law Professor Richard Epstein, except they were intellectual "super jocks" with a "superior Ivy-League sneer," who knew so much better than anyone else "how to run this Rube Goldberg contraption" designed to "defeat the law of gravity." Epstein speaks as an insider to elite circles. A graduate of Columbia, Oxford, and Yale Law School, he's the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, and a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago. A towering figure in his field, Epstein has had a profound impact on libertarian legal theory, especially with his 1985 book, Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain. Throughout his career, Epstein says, he's been surrounded by "people cleverer than myself putting up schemes that are dumber than you can imagine." Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with Epstein for an extended discussion about the collapse of the Obamacare exchanges (0:43); why cigarette companies don't owe smokers a dime (15:49); the recent legal campaign against Exxon Mobile related to global warming (27:00); Obama's dismal record (35:23); where the U.S. went wrong in Iraq (45:00); why he thinks Gary Johnson is a weak candidate (57:00); Hillary Clinton's criminal offenses (58:26); whether he favors Hillary or Trump (1:04:51); and why he's planning to sit out this election (1:05:34). A transcript of the conversation is below. Camera by Jim Epstein and Kevin Alexander; edited by Epstein. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. This is a rush transcript that has not been checked for accuracy and punctuation. Check any quotes against the video. Nick Gillespie: You were among the people who predicted that Obamacare would fail not simply because it was a bad idea but the implementation would be virtually impossible to do. In the Obamacare exchanges, now we are seeing basically some sort of death spiral or some kind of predictable outcome. Talk a little about that and what is happening and why didn't more people see it come Richard Epstein: Well, I think we start the second question first. Why didn't more people see it coming? I think the explanation really is that these were all the kinds of Ivy League super jocks. And what they always believe is that they can defeat the law of gravity by the ingenious schemes that they could put into place in order to keep things under control. So when this thing was actively debated in 2008 and 2009 there were two approaches to the problem. People like myself said look you know health care insurance is not really special. What you have to understand about all insurance schemes is the greatest chance of conniving is typically with the insured and not with the insurer. And I said the way in which we kind of know this is you go back to the history of marine insurance and you start to see that the insurance companies were always given the options to pull out because they understood that the concealment of information by the insured would have very adverse effects on what they did and it was also clear that the people who would come for insurance were those who had private information which made it more likely than average that they would be the ones who would need the stuff Nick Gillespie: You know you are at NYU and Chicago, not at an Ivy League school. We fixed that because you have to buy insurance. Richard Epstein: Well we didn't fix it because of that. First of all what we do is we say you have to buy it but the mandates were extremely unpopular and the idea that you were going to run a social program with very popular acceptance which says you have to pay if you don't take something that you don't want to buy really sticks in the craw of just ab[...]

#LetGaryDebate! Johnson Supporters Push To Get LP Nominee in Debates


(image) "The polls were not correct!"

"Polls have underrepresented 35-and-younger [voters] and other polls have underrepresented independents!"

"He's on all 50 ballots plus the District of Columbia and I think it's imperative for the American people to really know what their choice is!"

Those are some of the reasons why supporters of Gary Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico who is the Libertarian nominee for president, believe he should be on the debate stage with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Polling around 9 percent nationally, Johnson didn't reach the 15 percent cut-off that the Commission on Public Debates (CPD), a nonprofit created in 1987 by the Republican and Democratic Parties, set as a threshold for participation. For more information on CPD and Johnson's bid to participate in the debates, go here.

Under the banner of #LetGaryDebate, about raucous 150 protesters gathered outside the Washington, D.C. offices of the commission on Wednesday, September 21 to make their case (Reason attempted to get the commission's point of view but was not allowed to enter the building.)

Beyond raising questions about polling methodology, the protesters stressed Johnson, whose running mate is Bill Weld, another former two-term governor, is a "sane centrist" in a race dominated by two divisive extremists. "He's the only one who can unite us," said one protester.

Interviews by Nick Gillespie. Produced by Josh Swain.

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The Case for Pardoning Edward Snowden


Edward Snowden is possibly "the most influential whistle-blower of our generation," says Trevor Timm, the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Earlier this week, Timm joined with representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch to formally ask President Obama to pardon the former NSA contractor who brought to light bombshell revelations about mass surveillance in the U.S. The campaign to request a presidential pardon was timed with the release of the new Oliver Stone biopic, Snowden.

"It's certainly an outside chance that he is going to get pardoned, but I think it's something Obama can and will consider," Timm said during an interview with Reason's Nick Gillespie. He continued:

As he's winding down his presidency, [Obama] is probably looking at his legacy. And one of the most disappointing aspects of his presidency has been his treatment of whistle-blowers and the fact that they have prosecuted more leakers in history than any other administration. He himself has said that this debate that Snowden sparked has made the country stronger.

Timm sat down with Gillespie to discuss the case for pardoning Snowden, the impact the Oliver Stone film will have on the cause, and whether a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton administration would be more likely to consider Snowden's case.

Approximately 8 minutes.

Edited by Meredith Bragg. Cameras by Jim Epstein and Kevin Alexander.

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Alcohol Prohibition Was a Dress Rehearsal for the War on Drugs


"The war on alcohol and the war on drugs were symbiotic campaigns," says Harvard historian Lisa McGirr, author of The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State. "Those two campaigns emerged together, [and] they had the same shared...logic. Many of the same individuals were involved in both campaigns."


Did alcohol prohibition of the 1920s ever really come to an end, or did it just metastasize into something far more destructive and difficult to abolish—what we casually refer to as "the war on drugs?" McGirr argues that our national ban on booze routed around its own repeal via the 21st Amendment. Ultimately, Prohibition transformed into a worldwide campaign against the drug trade.

The ties between drug and alcohol prohibition run deep. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was established in 1930, only three years prior to Prohibition's repeal. The FBN employed many of the same officials as the Federal Bureau of Prohibition. And both shared institutional spaces as independent entities within the U.S. Treasury Department. "In some ways," observes McGirr, "the war never ended."

Runs 12:42 minutes.

Edited by Todd Krainin. Cameras by Jim Epstein and Meredith Bragg.

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Is the Libertarian Migration to New Hampshire Having an Impact?


"Libertarians, who I'm afraid will be disappointed in [the] November [presidential election], will look at the Free State Project as a way that they can actually make a difference on a smaller level with more impact," Matt Philips told Reason's Nick Gillespie.

A 15-year-old initiative to get libertarians to move to New Hampshire, the Free State Project reached a milestone in February by collecting its 20,000th pledge to relocate to the Granite State within five years.

Gillespie sat down with Philips, who's president of the Free State Project, at FreedomFest 2016 to discuss how the initiative is progressing.

About 7 minutes and 30 seconds.

Produced by Alex Manning. Camera by Austin Bragg and Jim Epstein. Music by Podington Bear.

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Ex Top Cop: We Need a New Model of Policing


The horrific deaths of Philando Castillo in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, give us an updated and up-close glimpse of police encounters gone bad—but they are rooted in decades of problematic policing in America. "Historically in this country, the police have never really been the friends of the black community," says Neill Franklin, a former officer with the Baltimore Police Department and current executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (L.E.A.P).

Franklin talked with Reason TV Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie at this year's Freedom Fest in Las Vegas, Nevada, pointing out that slavery may have ended officially in the late 1800s, but a lot of policing was born out of that era and the one that followed, when police deliberately enforced laws in ways that targeted black citizens. Even today, police are tasked with enforcing laws—from driving without a license to missing a court date—that tend to target poor communities and communities of color.

"You know a $250 fine doesn't mean much to people who have money," says Franklin. "But when you enforce these policies in poor communities, a hundred dollar fine can devastate a family."

It comes down to the need for a new model of policing in America, says Franklin, not just tweaks of the same old system. "What we have now is not like trying to fix a broken car, this car was a used car in the first place."

Approximately 9:57.

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Whole Foods' John Mackey on Veganism, Gary Johnson, and How Regulation Is Stunting Innovation


"I actually think that a hundred years from now we'll look back on the factory-farm era with the same kind of ethical revulsion that we look back on slavery," says John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market and one of the producers of the new documentary At the Fork. "If I had my way when people finish watching that film, they'd be faced with an ethical dilemma which is: I'm not going to eat meat anymore or I'm only going to eat higher-animal-welfare meat." Mackey's turn toward veganism began over a decade ago when activists protested an annual corporate meeting of Whole Foods. After studying the issue, Mackey gave up eating meat and has worked with Whole Foods' meat suppliers to develop practices that treat livestock animals humanely. Nick Gillespie sat down with Mackey at this year's FreedomFest, the annual gathering of libertarians in Las Vegas, to discuss Mackey's veganism and his new 365 grocery chain, which aims to bring customers high-quality products at lower prices. He also discussed the 2016 election and why he thinks Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are crony capitalists, why he supports Gary Johnson for president, and how the growing regulatory burden on American business is stunting innovation and growth. About 24 minutes. Produced by Alexis Garcia. Camera by Meredith Bragg, Austin Bragg, and Justin Monticello. Music by Podington Bear. Scroll below for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV's YouTube Channel to receive notifications when new material goes live. This is a rush transcript. Check any quotations against the actual recording. reason: Hi, I'm Nick Gillespie with Reason TV and today we're talking with John Mackey. He's the co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods market. John, thanks for talking to us. JOHN MACKEY, WHOLE FOODS CO-FOUNDER & CEO: Thanks for having me on, Nick. reason: This is a point in time where we have a presidential election between the two most disliked and statist politicians in a generation at least. The economy is slow, but is also kind of inventive. You are a very high-profile libertarian. Is this a good time to be a libertarian or a bad time to be a libertarian? MACKEY: It's a bad time to be a libertarian in the sense that the left appears to be increasingly trying to police correct thinking, correct speech, and they tend to go after those who do not you know whether it be on climate change or on gay's a real chilling effect for any kind of freedom of speech and in that sense it's a bad time. It's a good time in the sense that who knows what's going to happen to the Republican Party. They could suffer a melt down in this election and if that happens then possible change within that party might be possible...serious change for the first time in a long, long time. That could be a libertarian opportunity. reason: You were a supporter of Rand Paul in the election or in the Republican primary system what do you think went wrong with his candidacy? MACKEY: I think several factors came into play. One is he was not seen... unlike his father who was seen as an outsider...I don't think Rand was seen as an outsider any longer. He was a senator. He didn't...he thought he would get his father's support and he didn't get it. So I think that was the biggest factor and then you had a time when terrorism is increasing the message that we need to be less aggressive militarily doesn' not playing that well in mainstream America who's scared. So that message did not land well. The security message was a problem. And then I don't think his economic message was...which I agreed with... but I just don't think people are as that interested in that right now. So I[...]