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Preview: Nick Gillespie: Reason Magazine articles.

Nick Gillespie: Reason.com articles.





Updated: 2017-08-16T00:00:00-04:00

 



Steve Forbes on Trump, Taxes, and 100 Years of Forbes Magazine

2017-08-16T09:42:00-04:00

"We don't see business as evil," says Steve Forbes, marking the 100th anniversary of Forbes magazine, the iconic business publication started by his grandfather. "We see it as a noble undertaking." And thanks to capitalism, progress in the 20th century will pale in comparison to what's coming in the 21st. "In 2117," he says, "we'll be infinitely better off." Forbes sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas to discuss the legacy and future of the magazine, his assessment of President Trump, and where the legislative agenda for Republicans is falling short. Edited by Austin Bragg. Cameras by Meredith Bragg and Justin Monticello. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. This is a rush transcript. Check all quotes against the audio for accuracy Nick Gillespie: Let's talk about turning 70. How does that feel, and looking back, what are the highlights of your public career? Steve Forbes: Well, 70, glad to have made it, and at this stage of life it's nice to have a guilt-free excuse for plenty of cake, cookies, and ice cream, so not going to complain. Gillespie: In terms of your achievements over the years, talk about your forays into the Republican nomination process for the presidency, and your advocacy of the flat tax. Do you feel like that accomplished what you hoped it would accomplish? Forbes: Well, I would have liked to have won. It's more fun to get more votes than the less votes. But I do think we got some good ideas out there, even though the US has not made much progress on the tax front. Forty countries and jurisdictions around the world, like Hong Kong, have had the flat tax, and it's worked fairly well. So this is no longer laboratory stuff, this is real world stuff. The disappointment is that in the last 20 years, we haven't had a presidential candidate make that a forefront issue. A couple of them in the last election had some variations of the flat tax, but they didn't put it out there, so nobody knew. It's like, the tree falls in the forest, but if you don't hear it, did it really fall? I'm just waiting for a political entrepreneur to do it. I would have thought in 2016, when Trump rose up, that the other 16 opponents would have said, "I got to do something a little differently, or I'm going to get steamrollered." Instead, they had all the same kinds of consultants. They made all the same calculations, and they all went down for the count. Shakespeare talked about killing all the lawyers, I think they should kill all the political consultants. But that's another subject. But in terms of the flat tax, tax simplification's out there. Republicans at least have to pay lip service to it. Another thing I think we got out there, the idea of medical savings accounts. Now they call them health savings accounts. The idea of being patients should be in control, and not government, not third parties, not bureaucrats, not big companies, but we the people, individually. So we got that idea out there. I think, too, we gave some credence to the idea of a new Social Security system for younger people. When I ran in '96 in Arizona, I shocked one of my campaign colleagues when I said, "We're going to Sun City, and I'm going to talk about Social Security." "Oh, we can't do that!" But once you make it clear you're not going to take anything away from them, this is about their kids and their grandkids, they'll listen. Gillespie: Explain a little bit of what your alternative Social Security plan was, because that's also something that has not advanced, even as the economics or the finances of both Medicare and Social Security have just gotten even more in the tank. Forbes: Well, in Social Security for younger people, they'll own their own accounts. Personal accounts. That way, if anything happens to you, you own it. I think just change the whole mindset. That money that goes into your account, you get your first part-time job, you say, "Capital, what's that all about?" You learn: Because of the result of your labor. Not a gi[...]



Trump Denounces Racism in Charlottesville. Too Little, Too Late.

2017-08-14T20:18:00-04:00

It's too little too late that President Donald Trump has finally called out violent white nationalists who marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. One of them deliberately drove his car into a crowd of people, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 20 more.

It's pathetic that it took massive public backlash—including a lot from Republicans and conservatives—to spur the president to actually denounce neo-Nazis. Who still needs a teachable moment on this? Seventy-two years after the end of World War II and the president of the United States is slow off the mark to condemn white supremacists?

Rarely one for evenhanded rhetoric, President Trump's initial response referred only to "violence," and he pointedly refused to call out the protesters who beat a black man into the hospital.

The president even managed to squeeze in some political sloganeering over the weekend, declaring "we are all Americans first," echoing one of campaign themes.

There are three basic explanations for Trump's shameful response, one more troubling than the other. Maybe he's unaware that Nazis were responsible for murdering 11 million people. Or maybe he is so politically tone-deaf that he thought his original comments were adequate. Or maybe he just doesn't want to alienate those he considers an important part of his political constituency. Any way you look at it, it's not good.

President Trump surely isn't responsible for the car that killed Heather Heyer, but his rhetoric has helped to fill its gas tank. He wasn't slow to call out Black Lives Matter by name for supposedly "igniting" attacks on police even as he explicitly encouraged violence at his own campaign rallies, telling his supporters that he would cover their legal expenses if they got in trouble.

Just a few weeks ago, he encouraged police to rough up suspects.

If the president really is interested in curbing violence and restoring "law and order," it shouldn't be so hard for him to denounce neo-Nazis by name while upholding constitutional protections for free speech.

That's what we need from a chief executive in hyper-partisan and polarized times, but Donald Trump doesn't seem interested in being the president of most—much less all—Americans.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Written and narrated by Nick Gillespie.

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What Caused Venezuela’s Tragic Collapse? Socialism.

2017-08-10T15:30:00-04:00

The collapse of Venezuela's economy is both horrifying and predictable, and the world needs to understand why.

Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, and it was once Latin America's richest country. Today, most grocery store shelves are empty, and Venezuelans are so hungry that they're killing zoo animals for sustenance. Toilet paper, diapers, and toothpaste are luxury goods. Venezuelan hospitals have disintegrated, children are dying because they can't get antibiotics, and the infant mortality rate is higher than Syria. The capital city of Caracas is the murder capital of the world, and just 12 percent of citizens feel safe walking alone at night, which is the lowest figure reported in the world.

The government blames slumping oil prices for the desperate situation. The real cause is the socialist economy. The government sets the price of staples such as rice, pasta, and flour, resulting in chronic shortages. Former President Hugo Chavez nationalized industries, confiscated property, and kicked out foreign companies. The government is trying to print its way out of the crisis, resulting in a 700 percent annual inflation rate. After a sham election, President Nicolas Maduro, the handpicked successor of Hugo Chavez, is rounding up his opponents and putting them in jail.

Despite this, Maduro and his predecessor still have their defenders, ranging from Sean Penn to Michael Moore to Naomi Klein, who once signed a petition saying "We would vote for Hugo Chavez" and praised the autocrat in 2007 for creating "a zone of relative economic calm and predictability." In 2013, journalist David Sirota praised Hugo Chavez' "economic miracle," writing that the socialist leader had a "record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.

The real lesson of Venezuela's tragic collapse is that real socialism always leads to economic breakdown and political repression. Those of us in wealthier, freer countries need to keep Venezuela in mind as we confront calls for more regulation and government control of all aspects of our own lives.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Written by Nick Gillespie. Camera by Jim Epstein.

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How Freedom Made Us Rich

2017-08-09T13:00:00-04:00

"In [1492], if you were going to bet on who was going to have a 'Great Enrichment,'" says University of Illinois at Chicago economist Deirdre McCloskey, "you would have been crazy not to bet on China because China had the most advanced commercial institutions, the most advanced ship building technology, [and] the most advanced machinery all together." But it didn't work out that way. "My claim," McCloskey says, "is that liberty was the key to modern economic growth." In her new book, Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World, the third volume in a trilogy, McCloskey argues that our vast accumulation of wealth over the past two hundred years— which she's dubbed "The Great Enrichment"—was the result of "massively better ideas in technology and institutions." Where did they arise from? &tag=reasonmagazineA"A new liberty and dignity for commoners," she argues, "expressed as the ideology of European liberalism." McCloskey sat down with Nick Gillespie at Freedom Fest, the annual convention for libertarians in Las Vegas, for a wide-ranging conversation on topics including the roots of "The Great Enrichment," why her gender reassignment surgery was an "expression of [her] libertarianism", and the importance of advocating policies that "actually help the poor" instead of just "making people feel good about helping the poor. McCloskey is also a Reason columnist. Her archive is here. Edited by Todd Krainin. Cameras by Meredith Bragg and Justin Monticello. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. This is a rush transcript—check all quotes against the audio for accuracy. Nick Gillespie: Hi, I'm Nick Gillespie with Reason and today we are sitting down with Deirdre McCloskey. She's an Emeritus Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author most recently of Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World. She's also a columnist for Reason Magazine. Deirdre, thanks so much for talking with us. Long time contributing editor to Reason as well. McCloskey: I'm extremely pleased to be here and ... Gillespie: Well, your latest column, because I think this puts us right into a lot of current discussions, is titled The Myth of Technological Unemployment. McCloskey: Yeah. Gillespie: The subhead is, if the nightmare of technological unemployment were true, it would have already happened repeatedly and massively. In it, you take issue with a lot of libertarian or free-market economists who are talking about how we've reached the end of technological innovation or productivity growth and yeah, we're going to have to find something to do for people who are replaced by robots. McCloskey: Yeah. Gillespie: What's wrong with that? McCloskey: I think it's just completely wrong. My friend, Tyler Cowen, my friends at George Mason think maybe it's time for an intervention and Tyler, we think maybe we should send him to dry out somewhere because he seems to have gone crazy on this and he's not alone. I mean, there are people like Bob Gordon wrote a book last year, which was very successful. Gillespie: Which argued that basically say goodbye to 2%, ... McCloskey: Exactly. Gillespie: ... even 2% economic growth. McCloskey: Exactly. Innovation in the United States is finished and we've invented all the window screens and drop ceilings we're ever going to invent. There are a whole bunch of things wrong with it. One is that it doesn't make a lot of quantitative sense. In Tyler's book, which is called Average is Over, he's got a chart, which he says, "Summarizes my point." It's terrible. See the falling share of labor in national income. You look closely at the chart, which is one of these Time Magazine charts, it goes down like that. It turns out it's gone from 63% to 61%, talking about 2%. Now, come on Tyler. Please. Then, Bob likewise, and lots of others. I m[...]



Ending NAFTA Would Decimate American Jobs

2017-08-02T12:52:00-04:00

"The intellectual backwardness of many of Trump's trade advisors contrasts dramatically with some of the very good advice he's gotten in terms of deregulation," says Roberto Salinas-León, president of the Mexico Business Forum and adjunct scholar at the CATO Institute. "Talking about your second most important trading partner in that [derogatory] vein—that's not the 'art of the deal.' That's just very bad business." Salinas-León, an expert on trade and monetary policy, says that if Trump ends the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it would decimate jobs on both sides of the border. "Does Indiana depend on jobs because of its trade with Mexico? Does Ohio? Texas? You want to shut down NAFTA? That turns Texas into a Democratic state overnight." Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with Salinas-León at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas to discuss NAFTA's economic impact, his heated confrontation with Trump at Freedom Fest 2015, and how the president's anti-Mexico rhetoric propelled leftist presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador ("a rabid, primitive, vitriolic, populist") to the top of the polls. Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Alexis Garcia. Camera by Justin Monticello and Meredith Bragg. Badass by Bensound is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music/electronica Artist: http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music Strange Stuff by Matt Harris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. This is a rush transcript. Check all quotes against the audio for accuracy. Gillespie: Let's talk about NAFTA first and your role in it. Is NAFTA a good thing or a bad thing for Mexico, Canada and the US? It's getting a lot of heat lately. Salinas-León: In the early 1990s, we thought, "Well, wow! Mexico's already a story of trade liberalization. We're exporting 35 billion dollars a year worth of products and so on." Today that number is 365 billions, so from a trade perspective, and this is a trade agreement, from a trade perspective, I don't think there's any question that NAFTA has been a success in the sale side. And then you go to the purchase side, in other words, imports, and you find that you're also importing a vast amount. Guess where those imports come from? In about 80 percent, the United States. Gillespie: Yeah, exactly. Salinas-León: So those in Indiana depend ... I mean, speaking of Mike Pence, does Indiana depend on jobs because of its trade with Mexico? Does Ohio? Texas? You want to shut down NAFTA? That turns Texas into a Democratic state overnight. Gillespie: Where do you think the animus against NAFTA, particularly in the United States, and I mean, this is something that Donald Trump ran on. It's also something that Bernie Sanders brought up a lot, the idea that somehow free trade agreements suck jobs out of America and they put them in third-world countries, which due to a lot of economic ignorance, often times they're talking about Mexico as a third-world country, as well. Where does the resentment of something like that come from? Salinas-León: I think that was one of the great lessons of the Trump campaign, the Bernie Sanders campaign. It's not something that discriminates between Republicans and Democrats or between the right or the left or whatever. What you found out is that there is anger because there's displacement. There is job displacement, and that's a very serious concern. But are we going to address it by closing our economies? By building walls? I mean, wasn't another famous Republican the one who said, "Tear down this wall." The same one that said, "We will always keep our doors open in the shiny city on the hill no matter how many wa[...]



Why Trump's 'Buy American, Hire American' Is Un-American

2017-07-24T12:45:00-04:00

In his quest to "Make America Great Again," President Trump has spent a week encouraging us all to buy products "Made in America." That makes for a good slogan—who doesn't want to support home-grown businesses? But it's bad and incoherent policy. And it will do little or nothing to help Americans who have been put out of work by changes in technology and the economy. For starters, it's hard to even get a clean definition of what it means for a product to be made in America. Dozens of products that carry a "made in America" tag were largely assembled or sourced outside the United States, with only a little bit of labor added within our borders. The Jeep Patriot, for instance, pushes nationalism in its very name but its transmissions are made in Japan, Germany, and Mexico. The U.S. often has much higher labor costs than foreign countries, which means the same thing created solely in America would have an astronomical cost. According to one estimate, Apple iPads made totally in America would cost $967 a piece, or about three times today's basic price. The resulting fall in sales would cost about 67,000 manufacturing jobs. Pushing "Made in America" comes with other costs, too. To hype his "Made in America" policy, Trump invited 50 exemplary companies to the White House for a photo op. It turns out that 21 of them received various federal, state, and local subsidies worth about $600 million. If you're taxing Peter to subsidize Paul, chances are you're not creating much real economic activity. Pushing economic nationalism is also an affront to personal liberty and basic economics. Why shouldn't individuals be allowed to buy the products they think are best and cheapest regardless of where they come from? You might as well tell people to only "date American" or "vacation American." Virtually all economists agree that protectionism dampens economic activity and growth by increasing prices and keeping workers and resources in sunset industries that will need more and more help to stay afloat. One study of industry-specific protectionist policies found that trying to make people "buy American" led to consumer-losses per job-saved of over half-a-million dollars. And for all the talk Donald Trump and others have made about bringing "good-paying" manufacturing jobs back to America, the fact is that manufacturing jobs as a percentage of the work force peaked in 1943 and has declined ever since. We're truly a post-industrial nation. There's no question that even with historically low unemployment rates, many Americans are having trouble finding good-paying, rewarding jobs in a global economy that demands constant upgrades and changes from workers. But the best way to help them is by pursuing policies that help produce the sort of economic growth that creates new jobs, new opportunities, and new wealth for all of us: Lower government spending, flatter and less distorting taxes, and less regulation. Telling us all to "Buy American" is a cheap slogan best left on baseball caps made overseas. Edited by Todd Krainin. Written by Nick Gillespie. Cameras by Meredith Bragg. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. [...]



Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage is Hurting the Workers It's Intending to Help

2017-07-05T15:15:00-04:00

Three years ago, the city of Seattle voted to gradually raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour in the name of human decency and basic fairness. Several cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have done the same thing. Critics argue that boosting wages by bureaucratic diktat leads to fewer hours and jobs for low-income and low-skilled workers.

Now what The Washington Post calls a "very credible" study from researchers at the University of Washington finds that the critics are right. The Post calls this bad news for liberals. But the real victims are low-skilled workers.

(image) The study finds that when wages were increased to $13, employers cut hours by 9 percent. That means that low-skilled workers saw their monthly compensation decrease by an average of $125.

Studies that downplay the effects of minimum wage hikes have mostly focused on teenagers and fast food workers. But the study at the University of Washington paper looks at the impact on workers spanning all ages and all demographics.

The findings may surprise progressives who believe that the only limit to higher pay for workers is the greed and selfishness of business owners. But it doesn't come as a surprise to those who remain unconvinced that the law of supply and demand can be amended by city councils. Labor is simply another cost for any business, and when the price of something goes up, we tend to buy less of it.

Another takeaway from the study is that if you want to raise the income of low-skilled workers, taxpayers should pay for that burden through direct cash payments or other forms of welfare. Offloading the cost to employers has unintended consequences, even though it's a lot easier to demonize business owners for being greedy cheapskates than to build a consensus around raising taxes.

The lesson from Seattle that all cities should pay attention to is that forcing business to pay more hurts the very people minimum wage hikes are supposed to help. That such ordinances are usually passed in the name of low-income, low-skilled workers only makes that reality all the worse.

Edited by Todd Krainin. Written by Nick Gillespie. Cameras by Jim Epstein and Kevin Alexander. Still photos by SEIU Local 99 on a Creative Commons license. Seattle video by Max Seigal on a Creative Commons license.

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Free Speech, No Shit

2017-07-01T12:00:00-04:00

"If you ban my ability to express my message, whether it's a political message, whether it's a marketing message," says Flying Dog brewery CEO and co-founder Jim Caruso, "you're effectively taking part of my identity away. This is unacceptable." If there's anything the beer exec loves almost as much as the suds his company produces, it's the First Amendment—and he's gone to court repeatedly to prove it. In the '90s, Flying Dog took on the Colorado Liquor Commission over its right to put the words no shit on a bottle label. In the '00s, Caruso and Co. did it all over again in Michigan, after that state branded their bestselling Raging Bitch Belgian IPA "detrimental to public health, safety and welfare." They won both times. As Caruso, a self-described Objectivist and libertarian, points out, there should have been no doubt. The Constitution is clear: Even offensive speech is protected. Especially offensive speech, the brewer might add. With the proceeds from those cases, Flying Dog in 2016 launched the 1st Amendment Society to fight censorship and defend free expression "beyond the courtroom." Caruso practices what he preaches. He told The Baltimore Sun that a few years ago, when behemoth Anheuser-Busch approached him about selling the company, he responded with "a really short, two-word answer." (Hint: It wasn't "No, thanks.") The brewery is known for releasing specialty beers in an array of unusual flavors, and for selling it in bottles featuring racy slogans and distinctive artwork by gonzo illustrator Ralph Steadman. He's proud that his employees—who appear to be just as obsessed with challenging authority as their boss is—aren't afraid to drop f-bombs in his presence. The result is a craft brewery that has become one of the most notorious and well-loved in the country. After moving operations from Denver to Frederick, Maryland, a decade ago, sales skyrocketed. Hundreds of people sometimes turn out to listen to live music and drink at the Flying Dog facility. The success has been so great that the company has already outgrown its current digs. The plan is to relocate again to a larger space on 30-plus acres in the next few years. In April, Reason TV's Nick Gillespie visited Caruso at the brewery's tasting room. Flanked by original paintings and a taxidermied deer wearing a mustache and antlers shaped like Flying Dog's bat logo, the two discussed the history of homebrewing, the definition of obscenity, and the difference between being pro–free enterprise and pro–big business. Reason: How did Flying Dog Brewery come to be? Caruso: George Stranahan, true Renaissance man, Ph.D. in physics, professional photographer, professional writer. He has this real strong entrepreneurial gene. In 1990, George decided that it's time to have an affordable pub in Aspen where they had a burger less than $40 and you can get a nice fresh glass of beer. So over on 400 Cooper Street he opened the Flying Dog Pub. In 1994, four years later, we created a brewery in Denver, Colorado, that was a joint venture between the Winco Brewing Company, which I was an owner of, and the Flying Dog. In 1990, there were about 250 breweries total in America. We just crossed the 5,300 mark and about 600 more will open this year. There were about 4,200 breweries back in the late 1800s, early 1900s, with a lot less population. And then the noble experiment, the Volstead Act, was enacted in 1920. The 18th Amendment made the sale, manufacture, and distribution of alcohol illegal. That went on for 13 years and basically destroyed every brewery, distillery, and winery in America. How did breweries make it through that? Many didn't. It wasn't easy. The number of breweries went from 4,200 to effectively zero. Except for sacramental wine and malted milk balls. You could get alcohol through prescription. These days in some states, you'll see pharmacies that ar[...]



Trumpcare Is Like Obamacare, but Even Worse

2017-06-29T12:30:00-04:00

From the way Democrats are talking about Republican reforms to Obamacare, you'd think the Party of Lincoln was going house to house murdering people:

Hillary Clinton tweeted that "[i]f Republicans pass this bill, they're the death party."

Elizabeth Warren called the Republican health care bill '"blood money" that's being used to pay "for tax cuts with American lives."

In reality, the GOP isn't even coming close to following through on its promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. If it did, it might actually save lives, increase quality, and bring prices down.

The plans put forth by House and Senate Republicans, which are supported by President Donald Trump, keep in place the worst elements of the Affordable Care Act.

The House bill, for instance, replaces Obamacare subsidies with refundable tax credits, meaning the government would still pay people to buy insurance. Though it wouldn't require people to get insured, it does impose a penalty for dropping coverage that amounts to the same thing.

The Senate bill, in the words of Reason's Peter Suderman, is "just Obamacare, but less of it." Like the House bill, it requires that insurers accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing conditions and limits their ability to charge more for sicker patients. And it authorizes payments to insurers to cover losses imposed by price controls.

The real problem with both bills is that neither challenge Obamacare's central premise, which is that the federal government should micro-manage medical insurance markets.

Neither bill would increase the supply of health care by relaxing licensing requirements or getting rid of state laws that allow existing hospitals to bar new entrants into the market. These rules are one reason health care facilities tend to stay open no matter how poorly they serve their patients.

Neither bill would change the tax codes that encourage us to buy insurance for even routine health care costs, meaning patients don't even see the bills for routine procedures throat cultures and blood tests. Until providers are forced to compete on cost, the market forces that bring down prices and raise quality in every other sector will remain stillborn.

The GOP controls both houses of Congress and the White House. These bills don't just fail to repeal and replace Obamacare with real reform, they would extend its life for years to come. They represent not just a failure of nerve, but a failure of vision that would actually help deliver 21st century health care for us all.

Edited by Todd Krainin. Written by Nick Gillespie. Cameras by Jim Epstein and Kevin Alexander.

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Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a New Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

2017-06-22T13:13:00-04:00

Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea are the co-founders of Blockstack, a project to rebuild the internet using blockchain technology so that individuals can reclaim direct control over their own identities, contacts, and data. The goal is to bring the property rights we enjoy in the physical world to cyberspace. These two Princeton-trained computer scientists—Ali completed his Ph.D. last month with a speciality in distributed systems—believe that today's internet is fundamentally broken. Users are forced to trust companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook to maintain our online identities and personal information. They store our files in giant data centers that are increasingly vulnerable to hackers. And the Snowden leaks revealed that the National Security Agency has strong armed these tech giants into handing over users' personal data without bothering to obtain court-issued warrants. "Google has this saying, 'don't be evil,'" says Ali. "Maybe a company shouldn't be powerful enough that they're sitting there thinking, 'should I be evil or not?'" So how does Blockstack propose to alter cloud computing, which has bought enormous efficiencies to the tech sector? Ali and Shea say they've worked out a way to break up internet data centers into virtual storage lockers that are fully encrypted, so individual users are the only ones who hold the keys to their own data. "If you're a Dropbox engineer, you can go through my files today," says Ali. "But if I use Dropbox through Blockstack, they have no visibility into the data at all." This new decentralized architecture is possible thanks to the invention of a new type of distributed database called a "blockchain," which was introduced to the world in 2008 as a component of the peer-to-peer digital currency bitcoin. The blockchain was designed as a decentralized system for keeping track of who owns what bitcoin, but in the last nine years an entire industry has emerged that all about integrating the blockchain into everything from real estate markets to driverless car technology. Shea describes the blockchain as a virtual "whitepages the community maintains together," which "anyone can add to" but "nobody controls"—a record that doesn't require a central entity to guarantee its veracity. This shared white pages lists the location of each users' encrypted data lockers. Essential online functions that can be moved to the blockchain include registering unique identities and keeping track of each users' personal contacts. On this new internet, applications like Facebook and Twitter will still exist, but they'll have far less power and responsibility. "At Blockstack, we're enabling small, open-source groups to grow and compete with the large players," says Shea. What will the Blockstack internet mean for Silicon Valley? Shea predicts a new wave of tech firms will emerge. "I believe this will create a much larger economy and a lot more prosperity for everyone." --- Written, shot, produced, and edited by Jim Epstein. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Additional camera by Kevin Alexander. Common Consensus by The Franks, Creative Commons Attribution license. Mario Bava Sleeps In a Little Later Than He Expected To by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license. Talvihorros by the Blue Cathedral, Creative Commons Attribution license. What True Self, Feels Bogus, Let's Watch Jason X by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license. Canon in D Major by Kevin MacLeod, Creative Commons Attribution license. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. [...]



College Students No Longer Think 'Freedom Is a Big Deal'

2017-06-20T11:13:00-04:00

"For the first time, a growing number of young people actually think freedom isn't a big deal," says sociologist Frank Furedi, who's an emeritus professor at the University of Kent and author of the new book, What Happened to the University: a sociological exploration of its infantilisation.

The university was once a place where students valued free speech and risk taking, but today "a very illiberal ethos has become institutionalized," says Furedi. "In many respects, it's easier to speak about controversial subjects outside the university...It's a historic role reversal."

Furedi sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to talk about the roots of this intellectual shift on campus—and how to fix it.

Edited by Mark McDaniel. Cameras by Jim Epstein and Kevin Alexander. Music by Bensound.

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5 Clichés Used to Attack Free Speech

2017-06-16T09:50:00-04:00

We live in perilous times when it comes to free speech, and the threats are coming from both the left and right. The president has threatened legal action against the media, and progressive activists have used violence to shut down campus speakers they don't like.

In The Los Angeles Times, former federal prosecutor Ken White has some sharp insights on how to fight back against the would-be censors by shredding the most-popular clichés used by people trying to make the rest of us shut the hell up.

If today's calls for suppressing speech teaches us anything, it's that we can never take the First Amendment for granted. Even if the Supreme Court is on our side, free expression will only continue to exists if we're brave enough to make it ourselves.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Camera by Jim Epstein.

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How Deregulation Gave Us FM Radio, HBO, and the iPhone

2017-05-22T14:14:00-04:00

"We've gone to a modern [broadcast] system that has a lot of places where stuff can happen without permission," says Thomas W. Hazlett, who's the FCC's former chief economist, a professor at Clemson University, and author of the new book The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone. "And we have seen that the smartphone revolution and some other great stuff in the wireless space has really burgeoned...That comes from deregulation." So-called net neutrality rules are designed to solve a non-existent problem and threaten to restrict consumer choice, Hazlett tells Reason's Nick Gillespie. "The travesty is there's already a regulatory scheme [to address anti-competitive behavior]—it's called antitrust law." Greater autonomy and consumer freedom led to the development of cable television, the smartphone revolution, and the modern internet. While we've come a long way from the old days of mother-may-I pleading with the FCC to grant licenses for new technology, Hazlett says, "there's a lot farther to go and there's a lot of stuff out there that's being suppressed." He points to the history of radio and television. Herbert Hoover and Lyndon Johnson exercised extraordinary control over spectrum allocation, which they used for their own political and financial gain. With liberalization, we now have hundreds of hours of varied television programming as compared to the big three broadcast networks of the '60s, an abundance of choices in smartphone providers and networks as compared to the Ma Bell monopoly, and more to come. Hazlett also discusses his views on current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, how the FCC delayed the arrival of cable television to protect incumbent broadcasters, and "the most infamous statement ever made by an FCC regulator" in a 1981 Q&A with Reason magazine. Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Justin Monticello. Cameras by Todd Krainin and Mark McDaniel. Music by RW Smith. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. This is a rush transcript—check all quotes against the audio for accuracy. Nick Gillespie: HI. I'm Nick Gillespie for Reason. Today, we're talking with Thomas Winslow Hazlett, an economics professor at Clemson, a long-time Reason contributor, former chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission, and author most recently of the epic new book, The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone. Tom, thanks for talking to us. Thomas Hazlett: Thanks for having me, Nick. Nick Gillespie: Your book is a masterful counterblast, I think, to the intellectual status quo when it comes to broadcasting, cable, Internet, especially related to things like spectrum auctions and net neutrality and whatnot. Your large argument is that government inhibits innovation rather than encourages it. Is that accurate? Thomas Hazlett: Yeah, that's the starting point, but I certainly go farther, a lot farther in this book, because there has been significant liberalization, and we learn a lot from the directions we've gone. We see the suppression through administrative allocations of spectrum, which just means that we have this Mother-may-I system where the government's in charge of who does what in wireless and has to give explicit permission. We've gone from a system like that to a modern system that has a lot of places where stuff can happen without permission. Nick Gillespie: Right. Thomas Hazlett: We have seen that what we call perhaps the smartphone revolution and some other great stuff in the wireless space has really burgeoned. We have these emerging networks and these ecosystems. That[...]



P.J. O'Rourke: Things Are Going to Be Fine

2017-05-20T06:00:00-04:00

"The politician creates a powerful, huge, heavy, and unstoppable Monster Truck of a government," P.J. O'Rourke writes in his new book, How the Hell Did This Happen? (Atlantic Monthly Press). "Then supporters of that politician become shocked and weepy when another politician, whom they detest, gets behind the wheel, turns the truck around, and runs them over." In the book, O'Rourke's 19th, the former editor in chief of National Lampoon uses his celebrated blend of acerbity and warmth to explore the 2016 election, which he refers to as a "rebellion" against people in control. O'Rourke, a regular panelist on NPR's Wait Wait…Don't Tell Me!, worries our changing economy is fueling a populist wave of fear and anger. "There's a segment of America that feels threatened by change, change of all kinds," he says. Still, he's optimistic for the future. His kids might have three or four careers over the course of their lives, but "I think they're pretty hip to that, actually. I don't think that they're particularly frightened by it." In March, Reason's Nick Gillespie spoke with O'Rourke by phone about what he saw on the 2016 campaign trail, what it means for the country, and how libertarians should respond to this new populist moment. Reason: Do you consider yourself more of a libertarian or a conservative? Where do you see the border between those concepts? O'Rourke: It really depends upon from what angle we're looking at things. Politically, I consider myself primarily to be a libertarian. I am personally conservative. I'm conservative about religion. I'm conservative about moral values. I'm probably even somewhat more conservative than many libertarians are in foreign policy. When you look at something that happens, especially in politics, you say, "Does this increase the dignity of the individual? Does this increase the liberty of the individual? Does this increase the responsibility of the individual?" If it meets those three criteria, then it's probably an acceptable libertarian political policy. What is good about the new populism for you, and what scares you about it? Well, let's talk about the good, because it's more limited. I think there's a worldwide animus going on against the elites. Part of this is that the shift toward a much more high-tech economy is leaving a lot of people who have manual skills, or simply the capacity for hard labor, way behind. This is something that needs to be addressed, needs to be recognized, because it's not so much that the divide between the rich and poor has gotten greater. There's actually been tremendous strides around the world at abolishing the worst level of poverty. But [people are] feeling a sort of aspirational ceiling. The fact that a lot of it has to do with lack of rule of law in places—not only in utterly chaotic places like, say, Somalia or Sudan, but in very corrupt places like Russia and China—is making people very angry. Rule of law is something that's fundamental to a free society. Define rule of law. Do you mean that the same rules apply to everybody? Exactly, and you can sort of extrapolate from this that it doesn't have to be perfect law. That as long as the rules of the society apply to everybody, there is a kind of justice in the air. But when there's an exception because of wealth or power or holiness or fame, you name it—if there is a mechanism by which somebody can step outside the justice department—then that law is lousy no matter how liberally written. What about countries like France, Hungary, Russia, the United States, England? These are also places that are experiencing real paroxysms of populism. I would say there are a couple of things going on. One thing sets us apart from Europe: Eu[...]



How Trump's Trillion-Dollar Infrastructure Plan Could Succeed

2017-05-17T11:00:00-04:00

"We're at a really interesting moment where public-private partnerships could blossom in a pretty dramatic way," says Stephen Goldsmith, former mayor of Indianapolis and professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. "If we have technologies that are highly refined…we can anticipate a problem and fix it before it occurs." Goldsmith, author of 2014's The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance, was the recipient of the Reason Foundation's 2017 Savas Award for promoting public-private partnerships. (The nonprofit Reason Foundation is also the publisher of Reason.com.) As mayor of Indianapolis from 1992 to 1999, Goldsmith trimmed $100 million from the city budget mainly by requiring departments of the municipal government to compete with private companies. "The ideas...frankly, were from Reason," states Goldsmith. "[Director of Transportation Policy] Bob Poole spent I don't know how many lunches in Indianapolis when I was running for mayor and after I got elected kind of going through A to Z on how to privatize." Goldsmith states that one impediment keeping struggling cities from embracing public-private partnerships is a basic understanding of the goal. "[It] isn't to monetize assets," explains Goldsmith. "The goal is efficiency." At the national level, Goldsmith says public-private partnerships could be key to making President Donald Trump's one trillion dollar infrastructure investment program successful. "Regardless of how much money it is that Washington ends up [spending]… it can't be done effectively without public-private partnerships," Goldsmith states. "Both for purposes of paying back the money and for purposes of maintaining the asset." Edited by Alexis Garcia. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Camera by Jim Epstein and Kevin Alexander. Streetbeat Heat by Podington Bear is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Podington_Bear/Dance_1228/Streetbeat_Heat). The Dirty by Podington Bear is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Podington_Bear/Electronic_1224/The_Dirty). ________ Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. **This is a rush transcript—check all quotes against the audio for accuracy.** Stephen Goldsmith: Regardless of how much money it is that Washington ends up doing. Donald Trump: We're gonna start spending on infrastructure big. Stephen Goldsmith: It can't be done effectively without public/private partnerships. Nick Gillespie: Hi. I'm Nick Gillespie with Reason. Today we are talking with Stephen Goldsmith, the former mayor of Indianapolis, who has won the newest Reason's Savas Award for pushing public-private partnerships. Mayor Goldsmith, thanks for talking to us. Stephen Goldsmith: Sure. Nick Gillespie: You were mayor of Indianapolis from 1992 to 2000, Special Advisor to George W. Bush, Deputy Mayor of New York, and you're now a professor of government at Harvard's Kennedy School, and most recently the author of The Responsive City, which came out in 2014, and we'll talk about that in a second. At your time in Indianapolis you save taxpayers about $400 million by privatizing. What was the impetus for that? Where did the ideas come from? Stephen Goldsmith: Right. Right. Well, I think we can answer that in two different ways. First, I became mayor. We had a structural deficit in the budget, and we had a Chamber of Commerce report saying we need a billion dollars in infrastructure and our property taxes were higher than our suburbs, but you can't raise taxes. It's not good for the econo[...]