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Preview: Nick Gillespie: Reason Magazine articles.

Nick Gillespie: Reason.com articles.





Updated: 2017-06-25T00:00:00-04:00

 



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 comes from deregulation. Nick Gillespie: Is it deregulation or is it government ... I guess and different examples, and we'll talk about those, but sometimes it's explicit deregulation, or the government saying, "We're going to get out of this. [...]



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: Europe is suffering from a tremendous refugee crisis that the governmental elites have completely failed to address. They've failed to address its cause. They've failed to address its effects. They've failed to address its aftereffects. They have j[...]



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 economy. We need to rebuild the infrastructure. So what do you do? Well, you become as efficient as you can. The goal, then, was to reduce the operating costs of government and transfer that into an investment in the infrastructure in the future for t[...]



Raging Bitch, Good Shit, and Flying Dog Beer's Fight for Free Speech

2017-05-10T15:54:00-04:00

"I've lived my life as a pro free enterprise person," explains Flying Dog Brewery CEO Jim Caruso. "Not pro business. Pro free enterprise, pro consumer choice, artisanal manufacturing." A central player in America's craft beer revolution, Caruso is dedicated to creating something special both inside and outside the bottle. Famed artist Ralph Steadman, best known for his iconic illustrations for work by Hunter S. Thompson, creates all of Flying Dog's labels. It was Steadman who spontaneously wrote on his first commissioned label "good beer, no shit." And it was this label that kicked of Flying Dog's first -- but not last -- fight with government censors. Caruso sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to talk about his run-ins with the state, why he is a libertarian, and the how his values keep him happy. "I'm a happy person. And I attribute that to living as an individual, taking self responsibility, self reliance, but connected to society. It's not a Lone Ranger sort of thing." Cameras by Meredith Bragg, Todd Krainin, and Mark McDaniel. Edited by Bragg. 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: America is in the throes of a beer revolution. Today the United States has more breweries than colleges. But it wasn't always this way. It was only after Jimmy Carter rescinded the prohibition on home brewing that Americans began innovating and experimenting. Flying Dog Brewery CEO Jim Caruso was there during the early days. And while today Flying Dog has cemented it's place as a leader in the craft brewery movement - as well as an unlikely champion of first amendment rights - Caruso still remembers the challenges of being a pioneer. Jim Caruso: Nobody knew anything. There was nobody to turn to. So, bottles of beer exploding, we're selling out of the trunk of our car. All that sort of stuff in the start up industry. It wasn't taken very seriously. And today for example we have Flying Dog University, we want people to make good beer. We've made it through 27 years, we're happy to share that knowledge. Even today breweries are opening faster, the capacity is increasing faster than demand, people are really getting into it. The last two years, three breweries opened per day for the last two years, every day for the last two years. Nick Gillespie: Wow. Jim Caruso: More breweries opened in the last 90 days than existed in 1990. Nick Gillespie: And it's not just beer, I mean there's been an explosion in food and when you think about supermarkets like Whole Foods has really kind of changed the way people think about food or what the possibilities are. In all sorts of fields you see this, the rise of the artisanal of individualized, of niche products. What's driving that in your estimation? Jim Caruso: Yeah, s everal aspects of that. One is, certainly the artisanal nature, it's higher cost, it's lower production, it's scaling demand, not scaling supply. We're not pushing into the market, we're responding to consumer demands and offering this interesting portfolio of design and clothing and getting close to it. When you look at local, think global, buy local, what does that mean? It means different things to different people. One is hyper-connectivity. It's not just that we contribute to the local events, we are engaged on that market at many, many different levels. And that's important to know the people behind the business. To be able to believe in that business. The other is a quality aspect. There is a freshness aspect to it because you can offer a wider range of products without worrying that they're aging on the shelf more than I'd want it to. Jim Caruso: Caruso and the Flying Dog team are still dedicated to creating something special both inside and outside the bottle. Famed artist Ralph Steadman, best[...]



Colleges Think Women Having Sex Is Dangerous. This Feminist Says They’re Wrong.

2017-05-09T13:12:00-04:00

"The rules and the codes [on campuses] have been rewritten behind closed doors such that almost all sex can be charged as something criminal," says feminist author and Northwestern University film professor Laura Kipnis. "It reinforces a traditional femininity that sees women as needing protection, sees women's sexuality as something that is endangering to them." Kipnis' new book is Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, which explores the insanity of sexual conduct codes and attitudes at American universities. It grew out of Kipnis' own experience of being investigated under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act at Northwestern for a 2015 essay she published in The Chronicle of Higher Education. She sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to talk about feminism, sex on campus, her personal experience with Title IX, the dismissal hearing of her former Northwestern colleague Peter Ludlow, which Kipnis has characterized as a "witch trial," and her uneasy new alliance with conservative and libertarian groups. Read an excerpt from Unwanted Advances. Watch Matt Welch's 2015 interview with Kipnis. Edited by Paul Detrick. Shot by Jim Epstein and Kevin Alexander. 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: This book grows out of your 2015 inquisition for an article you wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education of all places that some of your students said created a hostile workplace or invaded their safe space. The controlling metaphors in your book are McCarthyism, Satanic ritual, child abuse, witch trials. Summarize your case and why you are thinking about it in these terms? Laura Kipnis: Okay, a slight correction, it wasn't my students who brought me up on charges or marched against the article. It was other students who I had never met, which is to say it's not all students and that's something that gets forgotten. It's a cadre of activists. Nick Gillespie: And they were grad students, right? Laura Kipnis: It was two grad students who brought me up on Title IX complaints. There had been this protest march before that against the first essay, which I think was largely undergrads. As far as the metaphors, this is something I have been thinking about and trying to puzzle out because I do think there's this growing climate of sexual paranoia on campus that has fueled these Title IX inquisitions, partly because as people probably know the federal government, the Department of Education dictates that colleges and universities have to conduct these tribunals on campus, but to try to minimize or lower sexual assault and create an atmosphere on campus of gender equity. There are good reasons behind this and everybody does know that sexual assault has been a problem and oftentimes an unaddressed problem, so just to say all of that, but ... Nick Gillespie: Your piece, the first piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education, it was basically you were reflecting on your experience as an undergrad and grad student and a looser sexual morality on campus between students and professors or just more broadly ... How can people, how could they get upset at that in the sense of somehow then you being on their campus was threatening? Laura Kipnis: Yes, well part of the promise is I tend toward irony. You're not supposed to be ironic about these things, so there had been this new regulation prohibiting professors and students from dating. Even if they were in different departments or different schools or different campuses, so I thought that went too far because we already had regulations against non-consensual sex, but this was prohibiting consensual relationships, which to my mind was addressed at women and at impeding women from doing things they might want to do. It was l[...]



100 Days of Trump: Three Best and Worst Moments of Presidency So Far

2017-04-28T11:17:00-04:00

Reason presents the three worst—and the three best—achievements of President Trump's first 100 days. Third Worst Moment: Replace and Repeal FAIL. Along with his pledge to build a wall on the southern border and deport illegal immigrants en masse, Trump's campaign was all about ramming through the "Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act," which would have cut red tape, gotten rid of the individual mandate, and created a true marketplace for medical insurance. Instead, thanks to the president's own lack of savvy and GOP dithering, it didn't even get a proper vote in Congress. Third Best Moment: The nomination and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch. The nomination of an intellectually powerful and highly respected jurist to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court demonstrated that President Trump isn't the flake that many critics figured him to be. Neil Gorsuch might not be libertarian, but he is, in the estimation of Georgetown Law's Randy Barnett, a serious thinker who believes that government power is and should be limited. Second Worst Moment: The Country That Bombs Together. The one action for which President Trump has received bipartisan praise was the bombing of a Syrian government air base to protest the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. Even opposition leaders such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) signed on to a starkly humanitarian intervention that served no greater purpose than rallying voters here in America. Second Best Moment: Deregulatory appointees at the FDA, FCC, and EPA. There's no question that Trump has picked some terrible cabinet members—Attorney General Jeff Sessions has openly talked about ramping up the war on pot in states where it's legal, for instance. He also defends asset-forfeiture abuse and has hinted at reviving federal porn prosecutions, too. But picks such as Ajit Pai at the Federal Communications Commission, Scott Gottlieb at the Food and Drug Administration, and Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency are serious deregulators who are already starting to prune back regulations that accomplish little but cost taxpayers and innovators lots of time, money, and resources. Worst Moment: Muslim Travel Ban. The president has issued two executive decrees calling for a moratorium on travel from several majority-Muslim countries and the suspension of America's refugee program. Both have been stayed by federal courts and it remains unclear if one will ever become the law of the land. Regardless it's anti-American to effectively establish a religious test for travelers and migrants here—and it also undermines attempts to reach out to the vast majority of Muslims who are the primary targets of Islamic fundamentalism. Best Moment: He's Getting Real. Every new president enters office thinking they can direct the course of human history via their pen or, in the case of Trump, Twitter feed. For all his bluster and lack of self-awareness, he's also learning that the world is more complicated than he reckoned. He's pushed back deadines for all sorts of projects, from funding for his stupid and useless immigration wall to a timeline for tax reform, which shows that he is living in the real world at least. To the extent he realizes that his best path forward is in cutting economic regulations rather than vilifying immigrants, renegotiating trade deals, and starting new wars, he'll not only be a better president—he'll create a better America too. Written by Nick Gillespie. Produced by Paul Detrick and Alexis Garcia. Black Bird - Primal Drive by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100599 Artist: http://incompetech.com/ Kool Kats [...]



FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Why He's Rejecting Net Neutrality Rules

2017-04-26T14:06:00-04:00

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans today to roll back net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration in 2015. The FCC currently regulates Internet service providers (ISPs) under Title II regulations that essentially treat the internet as a public utility similar to the old phone monopoly. Proponents of net neutrality and the invocation of Title II regulations say that such oversight is necessary to ensure that the Internet remains "open" and ISPs don't block sites or degrade offerings by rivals. Long a critic of Title II regulations, which were invoked after the FCC lost two court battles to regulate the Internet, Pai describes them as "a panoply of heavy-handed economic regulations that were developed in the Great Depression to handle Ma Bell." Scrapping these rules, Pai told Reason's Nick Gillespie, won't harm consumers or the public interest because there was no reason for them in the first place. The rationales were mere "phantoms that were conjured up by people who wanted the FCC for political reasons to overregulate the internet," Pai told Gillespie. "We were not living in a digital dystopia in the years leading up to 2015." If left in place, however, the Title II rules could harm the commercial internet, which Pai described as "one of the most incredible free market innovations in history." "Companies like Google and Facebook and Netflix became household names precisely because we didn't have the government micromanaging how the internet would operate," said Pai, who noted that the Clinton-era decision not to regulate the Internet like a phone utility or a broadcast network was one of the most important factors in the rise of our new economy. Pai also pushed back against claims that he's a right-wing radical who's "fucking things up." "[I ascribe to] the very radical, right-wing position that the Clinton administration basically got it right when it came to digital infrastructure." During the interview, Pai also shared his views on topics including privacy, Donald Trump, obscenity, universal service, and more. Edited by Mark McDaniel. Cameras by McDaniel and Meredith Bragg. Music by Revolution Void. 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 talking with Ajit Pai. He's the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, the FCC, which oversees the licensing of radio and television stations, creates ownership roles for certain types of media companies, polices broadcast radio and television for indecency, and over the past few years has tried to enforce controversial rules that will maintain a free and open internet, sometimes called net neutrality. Ajit, thanks for talking to us. Ajit Pai: Nick, great to be with you again. Nick Gillespie: You are repealing Title II rules, explain what that will do and what you hope to accomplish with that. Ajit Pai: Well, as you pointed out, Title II involves the panoply of heavy-handed economic regulations that were developed in the Great Depression to handle Ma Bell, the telephone monopoly of the 1930s. My previous colleagues imposed those rules on the internet, one of the most dynamic systems we've ever known. Earlier I proposed to my fellow commissioners at the FCC to repeal those Title II regulations. Going forward, my hope is that in a more free market, light touch environment, we can figure out what the right regulatory framework is to preserve those core protections of a free and open internet that have existed prior to 2015 when on a party-line vote, the FCC adopted these net neutrality regulations. Nick Gillespie: To get into it a little bit, there was[...]



Are Kids Depressed Because They Don't Just Play Anymore?

2017-04-25T14:00:00-04:00

"School has become an abnormal setting for children," says Peter Gray, a professor of psychology at Boston College. "Instead of admitting that, we say the children are abnormal."

Gray, who is the author of the 2016 Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, says that a cultural shift towards a more interventionist approach to child rearing is having dire consequences. "Over the same period of time that there has been a gradual decline in play," he told Reason's Nick Gillespie, "there are well documented, gradual, but ultimately huge increases in a variety of mental disorders in childhood—especially depression and anxiety."

Gray believes that social media is one saving grace. "[Kids] can't get together in the real world...[without] adult supervisors," hes says, "but they can online."

For more on Gray's work, follow his blog at Psychology Today.

Edited by Mark McDaniel. Cameras by Todd Krainin and Jim Epstein. Music by Broke for Free.

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James Altucher Found Himself by Losing Everything (and You Can Too!)

2017-04-21T12:15:00-04:00

James Altucher has rebounded from personal catastrophe so many times in his 49 years, it's hard to imagine a more qualified evangelist for personal reinvention. During the dot-com boom of the 1990s, Altucher made millions designing corporate websites, only to squander it all on gambling and a string of disastrous investments. "I was probably losing about a million [dollars] a week for an entire summer," he tells Reason's Nick Gillespie. "I just made every stupid decision in the book." With $143 left in his bank account, Altucher contemplated suicide. "I equated my self-worth with my net worth," he says, "and I just figured there's no way I'm going to dig myself out of this hole." Instead of self-destruction, Altucher created himself anew. He dedicated himself to learning about finance, reading over a hundred books about investing. He built a new career as a hedge fund manager, earning writing gigs at TheStreet.com and The Financial Times. The real estate crisis of 2008 wiped the slate clean. Finding himself with nothing to lose yet again, Altucher began blogging about his riches-to-rags-to-riches-again life story, eventually writing books—18 of them so far—for an audience that had felt the sting of the recession. Crawling out of the abyss a few times has made Altucher wary of the American Dream. A Cornell and Carnegie Mellon graduate, he scorns higher education as an overpriced luxury. Home ownership is great for the banks, but a lousy deal for home owners. Hedge funds are a scam. He's never had credit card debt because he's never had a credit card. In keeping with his philosophy of radical self-creation, Altucher's latest identity is a 21st century urban ascetic. He has pared down his possessions, discarding every item he doesn't need. He is determined that nothing get in the way of his chosen life, his best self. Today, he lives in AirBnB rentals and owns fifteen things that he carries in a small canvas bag. Altucher's self-published book about the art of self-creation, Choose Yourself! Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream, charts his life story, detailing how he bounced back, time and again, from disasters personal and financial. Equal parts self-help manual, cautionary tale, and tell-all autobiography, Choose Yourself! challenges us to create the best version of ourselves through a constant process of optimism, authenticity, and hard work. Edited by Todd Krainin. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Cameras by Jim Epstein and Krainin. ________ 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're talking with James Altucher, and I hope I pronounced that right. James Altucher: You sure did. Thanks for having me on the show. I'm a big fan. Nick Gillespie: Thank you. And you are ... James Altucher: I'm a big fan. Nick Gillespie: Thank you and you are kind of the ... I think of you as the radical prophet of self creation, of public self reinvention and self creation, perhaps best known for Choose Yourself, your incredibly popular self-published Amazon best seller. What's the thesis of that book and why is it important? James Altucher: I always feel advice is autobiography. So I talk about my own story of kind of hitting bottom, not once but several times, losing all my money, losing businesses, losing a home, multiple homes, losing family and then finally coming to this point where, "How could this keep happening to me?" What was going right on the way out, but what was going wrong on the way down. I just tell my story and kind of the underlying thing I realized is that when things were going right for me is when I wa[...]



'I'm Not Willing to Sacrifice Freedom of Expression on the Altar of Cultural Diversity'

2017-04-11T06:00:00-04:00

In 2005, while an editor at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Flemming Rose commissioned a series of cartoons about the prophet Muhammad. His goal was to highlight the dangers of self-censorship in an age of political correctness. The response was explosive: Islamic terrorists greeted the cartoons with violence, riots, and attacks on western embassies that left at least 200 dead, according to The New York Times. Rose has been under threat ever since, frequently traveling with bodyguards. Yet he remains one of the planet's most committed and articulate defenders of free speech, the open society, and the enlightenment values of tolerance and universal rights. Rose sat down with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie in February to talk about his book The Tyranny of Silence (Cato), a defense of his decision to publish the cartoons and a guide to unfettered expression in the 21st century. Reason: Since the Muhammed cartoons came out, we've seen any number of violent reprisals against free speech, most catastrophically the gunning down of a good part of the staff of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. We've also seen the continuing rise of hate speech laws in Europe and a stultifying climate on college campuses. Are things good for free speech right now or not? Rose: If we take the long-term historical view, free speech is in better shape than in the 17th century or the 18th century or even the beginning of the 20th century. No doubt about that. But if we look in a shorter-term perspective—let's say the past 20, 30 years—I think free speech is in worse shape. You can see it when you check out statistics. Freedom House puts out a report every year; Reporters Without Borders in Europe does the same thing. And the trend is the same all over. For the past approximately 10 years, freedom of the press and freedom of speech are in decline. I think that is the new thing. We know China. We know Cuba. We know North Korea, Russia, where things usually are in bad shape. But the new trend is that freedom of expression is in decline even in Western Europe. What forms does it take, say, in Western Europe? Are there legal actions against reporters, or is it a chilled atmosphere where people just don't talk about certain things? It's both. In the first half of 2015, France—of all countries in the world—was the most dangerous place to live for a journalist. That's, of course, not the case anymore, but a couple of years ago, I interviewed the most famous French cartoonist, Plantu, who works for Le Monde. I asked him when was the last time a cartoonist was killed in Europe, and he couldn't recall. The only name he came up with was a Palestinian cartoonist who was killed in London in 1987, by either the Mossad or the [Palestine Liberation Organization]. Even Honoré Daumier, the most famous French cartoonist who worked in the 19th century—he was sent to jail several times but he came out and he continued mocking the king. He was not killed. He was not physically threatened. Where are the threats coming from? Are they exclusively coming out of religious intolerance? Is it Islamic jihadists? It is broader than that? It's far broader than that. It has to do with our ability to manage diversity in a world that is getting increasingly globalized. The debate of free speech is going on in a qualitatively new situation driven by migration, the fact that people move across borders in numbers [and] at a speed never seen before in the history of mankind. The consequence being that almost every society in the world right now is getting more and more diverse in terms of culture and religion. That's one factor. The second factor is digital technology. The fact that what is being published somewhere is being published everywhere and peop[...]



Trump's Syria Strike Won't Solve Any Problems But Could Make Everything Worse

2017-04-07T15:10:00-04:00

"It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the use of deadly chemical weapons," said President Donald Trump in explaining a U.S.-missile strike on a Syrian airbase. That might sound good and even noble in theory, explains Emma Ashford of the Cato Institute, but the plain truth is that he's wrong. What's worse, it's far from clear what either the United States or other countries in the region will do next.

The essential lesson that George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump keep forgetting is that military interventions, especially in other countries' civil wars, often makes things worse, Ashford tells Nick Gillespie.

Produced by Austin Bragg. Cameras by Todd Krainin and Mark McDaniel.




Dave Rubin's Political Awakening

2017-03-29T15:01:00-04:00

In an era of daily internet outrage, Dave Rubin stands out for his willingness to engage a wide spectrum of political opinions with a civil tone. His show, The Rubin Report, has hosted the likes of alt-right gadfly Milo Yiannopolous, crusading atheist Sam Harris, and ex-governor-turned-conspiracy-theorist Jesse Ventura, all in a spirit of non-partisan intellectual inquiry. Chatting with political adversaries has affected Rubin's politics in unexpected ways. As his beliefs turned towards individualism, he broke with the progressive show The Young Turks over the issue of identity politics. Rubin explains his ideological shift in his influential video, Why I Left the Left, which has racked up 1.7 million views in just a few months. Today, Rubin describes himself as a classical liberal. "I do believe that the state has some use," he explains. "Now I don't want a huge state. I firmly believe in individual liberty more than anything else. And that you have to live the life you want for yourself." The one-time progressive even cast a vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson in the last presidential election. Although his even-keeled approach to dialogue hasn't changed much, he now sees value in the outrageous style of internet punditry. "Sometimes there is use in laying out bombs that are going to upset people, because out of the chaos of that, you can actually build some bridges, you can actually find some people waking up," he says. Edited by Alex Manning. Cameras by Zach Weissmueller and Austin Bragg. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: This is a rush transcript. Check against video for accuracy. Rubin: Sometimes there is use in laying out bombs that are going to upset people because out of the chaos of that, you can actually build some bridges, you can actually find some people waking up. Reason: Hi, I'm Nick Gillespie with ReasonTV, and today we are talking with Dave Rubin of the Rubin Report. It's an online talk show that is extremely well regarded for it's civil tone, and depth, and breath of topics. Dave Rubin, thanks for talking to Reason. Rubin: Nick, it's good to be with you. Civil tone. I'm not bringing that here. Reason: No, no. That's on your show. Now we're doing this. Rubin: I'm going to be doing something completely different. Reason: A lot of cursing and below-the-belt shots. You've hosted people ranging from alt-right rockstar, Milo Yiannopoulos to Sam Harris, the atheist, anti-Islam crusader, and we'll talk a little bit about him. Jesse Ventura, Reason contributing editor Deirdre McCloskey, the economic historian [Ian Herseley 00:00:55]. A lot of people, a lot of different types of people. You also talk about the regressive left a lot. What do you mean by that term? The regressive left? Rubin: Yeah, well first on the guest portion of it, it's funny, people say, "You talk to people from all over the political map," as if that's something so special or inventive, or I'm doing something that is so wild. It's like, "When did sitting down with someone that you might disagree with become so rare?" It's actually kind of sad. I cherish that. I love doing that. I hope in the course of this we'll find some things that we disagree on. Reason: I think we already have. Rubin: That right there. I would say the regressive left, I considered myself a progressive. I was far on the left, I worked at the Young Turks Network, they're an online news network, progressive, and what I realized is that these ideas, they're all based in collectivism, basically, that we should judge as a group, usually on immutable characteristics, so we're [...]