Published: Sun, 26 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500
Last Build Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2017 18:37:24 -0500
Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:00:00 -0500
Donald Trump has promised to slash taxes, junk regulations, repeal Obamacare, and expand school choice.
Given all that, shouldn't libertarians give him at least a little (maybe even a whole lotta) love?
No, says Reason Senior Editor Brian Doherty in the latest Reason podcast, because Trump is actually trafficking in a "Dangerous Anti-Libertarian Nationalism" that is actually the antithesis of classical liberalism. "Free trade and free migration are...the core of the true classical liberal (libertarian) vision as it developed in America in the 20th century," says Doherty, author of Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern Libertarian Movement. "If you don't understand and embrace them, you don't understand liberty, and you are not trying to further it."
In a wide-ranging conversation, Doherty and Nick Gillespie talk about the rise of Trump and the role of Steve Bannon in the president's administration; why being a "rootless cosmopolite" isn't in any way antithetical to patriotism; and why the great Austrian-born economist Ludwig Von Mises—a Jew who escaped Nazism—provides the strongest possible case against Trump's "America First" message.
Produced by Mark McDaniel.
Subscribe to the Reason podcast at iTunes or click below to listen right now!
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Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:15:00 -0500
Three Reason editors-in-chief arrived at the International Students for Liberty Conference to discuss four decades of reporting. Marty Zupan, who edited Reason in the 1980s; Nick Gillespie, editor in the aughts; and current magazine editor Katherine Mangu-Ward have all covered world events from a libertarian perspective.
Produced by Todd Krainin. Cameras by Josh Swain and Krainin.
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:15:00 -0500
"Free movement of people and goods across borders are incredibly important things. And Trump is not into either of those things"—Katherine Mangu-Ward.
At the 10th annual International Students for Liberty Conference, Reason magazine Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward, former editor and longtime head of the Institute for Humane Studies Marty Zupan, and I discussed the history and future of Reason and libertarianism in President Donald Trump's America.
We each talked about the signature issues of the decades we were at the magazine's helm (the 1980s for Zupan, the '00s for me, and currently for Mangu-Ward) and whether libertarianism is waxing or waning.
This podcast was recorded live on Friday, February 17. Now finishing up its first decade, SFL reported that about 1,700 guests from all over the world attended this year's conference.
Produced by Mark McDaniel.
Subscribe to the Reason podcast at iTunes or click below to listen right now!
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Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:00:00 -0500What do you do when you're Matt Schlapp, the guy heading up the American Conservative Union, which runs the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (emphasis added), and it turns our your biggest draw to this year's event defends pedophilia? Well, first you disinvite him and then you bluster your way through an excrutiatingly painful few minutes on Morning Joe before trying to pawn Milo Yiannopoulos off as a libertarian: "He doesn't call himself conservative. He calls himself more of a libertarian.... Some libertarians would deny that he's a libertarian." On that much, we agree. Most libertarians I know wouldn't claim Milo as one of our own. You know who else says Milo isn't a libertarian? Well, Milo himself, it turns out: "Libertarians are children. Libertarians are people who have given up looking for an answer. This whole 'everybody do what they want' is code for 'leave me to do what I want.' It's selfish and childish. It's an admission that you have given up trying to work out what a good society would look like, how the world should be ordered and instead just retreated back into selfishness. That's why they're so obsessed with weed, Bitcoin, and hacking." Read more about that here and here. Milo's critique of libertarianism is not so strong, is it? As it happens, the policy work being done by folks at Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes this website) is revolutionizing K-12 education, public-sector pensions, transportation infrastructure, and more. Same goes for ideological compadres at the Cato Institute and elsewhere. To the extent that there's a principled opposition to really dumb military interventions, runaway spending, and conservative-approved idiocies such as a border wall and trade protectionism, well, it's not conservatives pushing it. And none of that is to deny one bit that drug policy, criminal justice reform, crypto-currencies, and forced transparency of government overreach are in any way about "selfishness." I disagree. But if Milo is truly a "big" voice in the conservative movement then the conservative movement is dead. https://t.co/14p65LqwDk — Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) February 21, 2017 What does it say about the modern conservative movement that CPAC was so desperate to get Milo on its stage in the first place? Nothing good. He's outrageous (not really "dangerous" in any meaningful sense of the word) and he is fully capable of bringing out the worst elements of the idiot-progressive left. But does he have anything to say when he's actually allowed to speak? Derp, not really. Schlapp can say that ACU wants to teach the controversy and all that, but the fact of the matter is that as an intellectual force and a serious place for discussion about policy, CPAC has been more watered-down than the beer at Delta House for a very long time. It's a good sign that someone with the last name Paul won five of the last seven presidential straw polls, but conservatives and Republicans have almost completely squandered their power and influence throughout the 21st century. When George W. Bush and the GOP ran the federal government, they busted the budget in a way that would embarrass drunken sailors the world over. When Obama was in power, they did virtually nothing to demand actual budgets or restrain executive power, and they're still pretending that they are really...just...about...ready...to...reveal an alternative health-insurance plan. They nominated and elected Donald Trump for president and it's surprising that CPAC invited/disinvited a flyweight trash talker to their big shindig? It's almost as if they didn't kick out the gays a couple of years ago or that Newt Gingrich doesn't show up every year and talk about the need for flag-burning amendments and English-only laws. It's never easy for a movement founded on the cry of standing athwart history, yelling Stop to move forward, but this is simply ridiculous. Here's Matt Schlapp on Morning Joe: src="http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/M[...]
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:35:00 -0500
(image) The 10th year of FreedomFest, the world's largest annual gathering of libertarian and free-market thinkers, activists, and policymakers takes place in Las Vegas between July 19 to July 22 at Bally's Paris resort.
Confirmed speakers include William Shatner talking about space exploration and the cultural staying power of Star Trek and newscasting legend John Stossel and there will be a celebration of the life and ideas of Steve Forbes, longtime FreedomFest "co-ambassador." There will also be a slate of special "Reason Day" sessions that deliver cutting-edge views on "Free Minds and Free Markets."
To add to the excitement, FreedomFest impresario Mark Skousen has teamed up with Newsmax magazine to produce a list of "the 50 Most Influential Libertarians" in each of eight different categories such as business and finance, entertainment and the news, freedom-movement organizations, media, politics, and academia.
Among the Reasoners in the hunt are Ronald Bailey, Brian Doherty, and Virginia Postrel (authors); John Stossel, Matt Welch, and myself (media); and Katherine Mangu-Ward, David Nott, and Robert W. Poole (think tanks and educational institutions).
You can vote for up to five candidates in each category and the survey is open until March 15.
Over the past years, Reason TV has interviewed dozens of libertarians ranging from P.J. O'Rourke to Penn Jillette to John Mackey to Crossfit creator Greg Glassman to LP presidential ticket Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. Go here for a complete list.
And click below to watch last year's raucous debate among Matt Welch, Jeffrey Tucker, Dan Magru, Wayne Allyn Root and me over whether libertarians should vote for Donald Trump. Called the most controversial and intense panel ever at FreedomFest, it's something to behold.
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Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:45:00 -0500President Donald Trump has signed an executive order claiming that in the future the total number of federal regulations will shrink, via the elimination of two regulations for every new one. He has nominated an FCC chief and a department of education chief who advocate choice-enhancing changes in the way their agencies run. He says he's a hardcore Second Amendment supporter (although he also supports taking away the right to bear arms based on mere suspicion). He's offered up a Supreme Court justice willing to seriously question government regulatory and police powers. He at least claims he wants to see spending cuts and tax cuts. Should libertarians—who are supposed to advocate those goals as part of a larger vision of reducing government power over our property and choices—admire and support Trump? Even a little? Libertarianism is more than just advocating a random checklist of disconnected actions that in some respect limit government's reach or expense. (See Steven Horwitz, an economist in the Hayekian tradition, for valuable thoughts on why judging Trump via a checklist of discrete changes in specific government behavior doesn't work in libertarian terms.) Libertarianism is a unified skein of beliefs about how the human social order should be shaped. What binds the philosophy is the understanding (or belief, for the skeptical) that using violent force against the peaceful both makes us, overall, poorer and is, at any rate, almost always or always wrong. For most libertarians, the practical and moral arguments against aggressive force on the innocent support each other; the sense of what's morally right for most libertarians is rooted in a generally rule-based sense of what furthers human flourishing overall. To most libertarians, that is, freedom is both a valuable part of human flourishing, and a necessary part of most other aspects of it. That we should be free to do what we want with ourselves, and with our justly owned property, is the core of libertarianism. (A swirling, complicated debate surrounds questions about what behavior is truly about ourselves alone, and how, why, and under what circumstances property is justly owned and what that implies about how we can use it. Such questions can't be resolved in a blog post.) Given the nature of human beings' productive powers, the best way to ensure the collective "we" gets richer faster is to ensure the individual freedom to exchange with others as we choose, and by doing so build long and complex chains of production and exchange that benefit us all (or even just some/many of us), irrespective of accidents like national boundaries. Free trade and free migration are, then, the core of the true classical liberal (libertarian) vision as it developed in America in the 20th century: if you don't understand and embrace them, you don't understand liberty, and you are not trying to further it. The Trump administration may not in every specific policy area do the wrong thing in libertarian terms. But whatever it gets right is more an epiphenomenon of certain alliances within the Republican Party power structure or the business interests he's surrounding himself with. Trump and his administration can't be trusted to have any principled and reliable approach to shrinking government or widening liberty, since Trumpism at its core is an enemy of libertarianism. What appears to be the core of Trumpism, based on his earliest priorities and his closest advisers? The blatant, energetic, eager violation of the right to freely choose what to do with one's justly owned property and energy, and fierce denial of the principle that through such freedom we create immense and unprecedented wealth for the human race. (Again, most libertarians don't just clutch "freedom" as a value disconnected from all other values, although they privilege it in most cases. They also believe freedom is conducive to the greatest human wealth and happiness, overall.[...]
Fri, 17 Feb 2017 12:55:00 -0500I'm saddened to announce the death of Jerome Tuccille, the best-selling biographer of Donald Trump (among others) and author of the single-best political memoir in existence, It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand. He was 80 years old. Jerry's son, J.D. Tuccille, is a columnist for Reason and we extend our deepest condolences to him and his family. The libertarian movement has lost one of its greats with his passing, a phenomenal writer and thinker whose intellectual curiosity was only outmatched by his energy and honesty. Jerry's professional home page is here and his Amazon page is here. An investment manager by day, he wrote more than 30 books over the course of his career, on topics ranging such as his quixotic run for governor of New York on the Libertarian Party ticket; biographies of Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Barry Diller, and Rupert Murdoch; and histories of the Gallo wine empire and black "buffalo soliders" who fought with distinction in the Spanish-American War even as they faced institutional racism in the Army. There were also novels such as Gallery of Fools (about inept art-heist criminals inspired by shady family members), analyses of "radical libertarianism" and futurism, investment-strategy books, and important contributions to the critical literature on Ernest Hemingway. At Reason, we were lucky and honored to interview Jerry many times over the past decade. Here's our interview with him about The Roughest Riders: The Untold Story of the Black Soldiers in the Spanish-American War, a book which showcases his talent for finding lost pockets of history that never should have been forgotten. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ATiNDhcpnGI" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0"> Jerry was also the first person to publish a biography on Donald Trump, doing so back in the mid-1980s as the future president was beginning to make his mark on the New York real estate scene. We talked with him in the fall of 2015, as the billionaire's bid for the GOP nomination moved from comic sideshow to serious business. This interview is a reminder of one of the great things about Jerry: If you had a sharp insight, you can be pretty sure he had beaten you to it by a couple of decades. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EVzH_KPYAmA" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0"> Other interviews with him include a discussion of Gallo Be Thy Name, his history of the world's greatest wine-making empire, and the reissue of 1972's It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand. Jerry wrote for Reason magazine over the years (read his archive) and here's an excerpt of his bracingly caustic 1983 takedown of books by Alvin Toffler and Isaac Asimov. From "Spare Us These High-Tech Utopias!": Asimov seems totally oblivious to economic principles... He blames just about everything, including inflation, on overpopulation: too many people means too much demand and, hence, rising prices. He overlooks all the inflationary evils of big government, including the fact that we actually pay farmers not to produce food in this country. If too many people cause inflation and economic depression, why is Hong Kong, literally teeming with people, so prosperous while socialistic, underpopulated countries stagnate? Asimov makes an eloquent case for getting government off the back of science. He believes in free, unregulated scientific research, unhampered by governmental restriction. His field he would decontrol, while imposing Draconian controls over just about everything else. What arrogance! What a pity he didn't extend his case for freedom to the whole arena of economic and social relationships. Alas, when reading Asimov, it pays to be discriminating. The man is witty, and he's a charmer. The Roving Mind is chock-full of stimulating, well-stated ideas. It's just that some of the ideas happen to be dangerous. Farewell, Jerome Tuccille. You ma[...]
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:00:00 -0500
Brian Doherty is the historian of the libertarian movement in America. His big, honking book Radicals for Capitalism: A History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement (PublicAffairs) is the definitive volume on the subject. He has spent the last year keeping tabs on Gary Johnson, Bill Weld, and the Libertarian Party posse, and will continue to be Reason's point man on all things libertarian and Libertarian.
In case that wasn't enough for you, he's also the author of This is Burning Man (Little, Brown), Gun Control on Trial (Cato), and Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired (HarperCollins/Broadside). So ask him about desert pyrotechnics, guns, or Pauls!
Read the whole thing below:
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Mon, 14 Nov 2016 17:11:00 -0500
(image) Will Donald Trump be a peacenik president? In a recent Reason podcast hosted by me, historian Thaddeus Russell—author of A Renegade History of the United States and a forthcoming book on American foreign policy—argues that the billionaire president-elect is a nativist when it comes to trade, immigration, and fighting overseas wars.
Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican who is a staunch opponent of increasing the federal budget, says that he doesn't trust either Donald Trump or Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Massie did end up voting for Trump but he tells Reason in a podcast, "November 8th wasn't the election of a monarch. It was the election of the head of a third of our government." Never one to mince words, the Tea Party favorite and Rand Paul protege is painfully aware of what happened the last time his own party controlled the White House, the House of Representative, and the Senate: "I'm very concerned about the combination of Donald Trump and Paul Ryan and the implications for our national debt."
A week before the election, I debated Loyola economist Walter Block, who created a group called Libertarians for Trump, over the idea of voting for the reality TV star. Hosted by New York's Soho Forum, things got nasty enough to where Block called me "vile" and a "nasty man." Check out the verbal fisticuffs here.
Those are just three recent podcasts Reason has produced. We also talked with Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and LP chairman Nicholas Sarwark, not to mention Brett Smith (the comic book illustrator and co-author of the best-selling graphic novel version of Clinton Cash), Frank Portman (a.k.a. Dr. Frank of the Mr. T Experience and the author of the YA novel smash hits King Dork and King Dork Approximately), conservatarian novelist Brad Thor, and Swedish libertarian Johan Norberg. Each Thursday, Katherine Mangu-Ward and I host a conversation about Reason and libertarian issues.
These are fun, lively, heated discussions about politics, culture, and ideas from a principled libertarian perspective. Subscribe to us at iTunes and never miss a podcast, or check us out on SoundCloud, or at this incredibly easy-to-use RSS feed.
Here's a sampler from recent podcasts that we posted at YouTube in which leading libertarian thinkers ranging from Randy Barnett of Georgetown to Ken White at the great Popehat legal blog to Michael Cannon at Cato make "the case for cautious optimism about Trump's presidency" when it comes to policy outcomes.
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Mon, 31 Oct 2016 11:27:00 -0400"There is always this risk that fear will become a self-fulfilling prophecy," says Johan Norberg about the current political moment when nationalism, authoritarianism, and reactionary populism seems to be on the rise in Europe and North America. "This is exactly the moment that we have to talk about what people can do when they are free." Progress: Ten Reasons To Look Forward To the Future, the new book by the Swedish libertarian, is like a hot drink on a cold winter's day: nourishing, energizing, fortifying. In chapters covering topics such as food, sanitation, life expectancy, literacy, the environment, and equality, Norberg shows how human progress has been proceeding apace for the past century—and how we can ensure its continuation if we make sure that libertarian values linked to tolerance, capitalism, individualism, and optimism are championed and encoded in law and custom. Grounded in a deep respect for and knowledge of history, economics, and policy, Progress is not simply a persuasive analysis or current trends but a desperately needed one in pessimistic world hell-bent on zero-sum thinking. "This book is a blast of good sense," raves The Economist: Norberg unleashes a tornado of evidence that life is, in fact, getting better. He describes how his great-great-great-great grandfather survived the Swedish famines of 150 years ago. Sweden in those days was poorer than Sub-Saharan Africa is today. "Why are some people poor?" is the wrong question, argues Mr Norberg. Poverty is the starting point for all societies. What is astonishing is how fast it has receded. In 1820, 94% of humanity subsisted on less than $2 a day in modern money. That fell to 37% in 1990 and less than 10% in 2015. In a new Reason Podcast, Norberg, a senior fellow at the Cato Insitute, talks with Nick Gillespie about the ideas, attitudes, policies, and institutions that will make sure future generations are born into a world that is vastly better than the one we live in today. Click below to listen now and scroll down to subscribe on iTunes. src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/290809969%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-NesQQ&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" frameborder="0"> Don't miss a single Reason podcast or video! Subscribe, rate, and review! Subscribe to our audio podcast at iTunes. Follow us at Soundcloud. Subscribe to our video channel at iTunes. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.[...]
Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:00:00 -0400
Last Friday, I appeared on Part of the Problem, a twice-weekly podcast co-hosted by Dave Smith, a standup comic and self-made libertarian currently housed somewhere in that hipster's paradise, Brooklyn. It's an irreverent, wide-rangind, and ribald conversation covering whether Gary Johnson's 2016 run has been a net good for libertarianism (obviously, I think), where Rand Paul went wrong in his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, growing up in and around New York City at very different periods of time, why I think millennials have a real shot at defining their own lives unknown to previous generations, and more.
You can listen along by clicking below. Scroll down for more options and information about Part of the Problem.
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Part of the Problem is part of the GaS Digital Network, which produces over 15 hours of live content a week. Check out more info here.
Attention, New York Area Reasonoids: I'll be debating Walter Block in Manhattan tomorrow about whether libertarians should vote for Trump or not next week (Smith is the warm-up act). Tickets are free but must be reserved. Go here for more information.
Sun, 30 Oct 2016 13:15:00 -0400The Reason podcast is back and it's better than ever! Check out our latest offerings of high-quality, cutting-edge discussions of politics, culture, and ideas from a principled libertarian POV. We make no apologies, take no prisoners, and leave no sacred cow safe in making the case for a world of "Free Minds and Free Markets." Best of all, we have fun doing it. Subscribe for free at iTunes, Soundcloud or via RSS—we deliver the goods however you prefer. Here's "conservatarian" novelist Brad Thor, for instance, talking about his latest best-seller Scot Harvath thriller, Foreign Agent and explaining why he's #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary, hates the alt-right, and is totally certain that he's "gonna wake up on November 9th with most of the country and we're gonna have a shitty president either way." src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/290442371&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" frameborder="0"> Other recent podcasts have featured Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, spirited debates about Bob Dylan's politics and Nobel Prize, Instapundit Glenn Reynolds on getting suspended from Twitter, and Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne on the promise of bitcoin and blockchain technology to change the world. Reason's mission is to bring a principled, persuasive, and attractive libertarian perspective to politics, culture, and ideas. We reach other folks in the media, policymakers, and business folks, providing better ways of thinking about government, defending innovation so it doesn't get strangled in regulatory red tape, and making the case for maximum freedom in all aspects of our lives. We're your voice in national debates and our award-winning reporting on everything from electoral politics to technological innovation to endlessly creative "experiments in living" helps to create the next generation of libertarians (I know encountering Reason in high school is why I'm a libertarian). We are champions of "Free Minds and Free Markets" and we're also constantly checking our own premises and working to revise, refine, sharpen, and help define what it means to be a libertarian. So subscribe at iTunes, Soundcloud or via RSS and listen, watch, review, and rate! Here's what new subscribers are saying about the Reason Podcast: Never before have libertarian ideas and sensibilities been more widespread and influential—and never before have they been more needed to create a robust new operating system for a 21st century that is stuck in old, worn-out "binary choices" that make no sense in a world of inexhaustible possibilities. Reason is hosting the conversation that susses out exactly what's wrong with contemporary politics and culture and how we can set them right by opening up everyone's possibilities to engage and influence the world around them. Here's one more taste of the podcast, this one featuring Reason magazine Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward, Weekly Standard writer Andrew Ferguson, and me talking about Trump vs. Hillary, why free speech defines American exceptionalism in many ways, and why Tom Wolfe is one goddamned great writer. Take a listen: src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/290387564&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" frameborder="0"> Don't miss a podcast! Subscribe at iTunes, Soundcloud or via RSS and listen, watch, review, and rate![...]
Sat, 29 Oct 2016 12:19:00 -0400"Libertarians should vote for Donald Trump in the presidential election." That's the resolution I'll be debating, Oxford Style, with Loyola (New Orleans) economist Walter Block this Tuesday, November 1, at New York's Soho Forum. The event is moderated by Gene Epstein of Barron's and will be preceded by the libertarian-comedy stylings of Dave Smith, host of the podcast Part of the Problem. The event is free and open to the public, but RSVP's are a must (see info and details below). For those of you not in the New York area, it will also be livestreamed (details on that here). I will be defending the negative proposition, which is to say that I'll argue that libertarians should not vote for Trump in the presidential election (do note that my employer, the 501[c]3 nonprofit Reason Foundation does not endorse specific candidates or pieces of legislation; all views expressed are mine and mine alone). As the author of Defending the Undefendable, Block is well-qualified to argue that libertarians should indeed vote for a billionaire-ish real estate mogul who is never slow to use the power of the state to line his own pockets. Here's the Soho Forum's writeup of the event (which if I'm not mistaken carries a suggestion that fisticuffs might ensue...) November 1, 2016 Debate between Walter Block of Loyola University vs. Nick Gillespie of Reason Resolution: "Libertarians should vote for Donald Trump in the presidential election." What should Libertarians do this election? Vote for Gary Johnson? Not vote at all? Walter Block will argue that Libertarians should vote for Donald Trump, and Nick Gillespie will argue that they definitely should not. Walter Block is the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at Loyola University and an Adjunct Scholar at the Mises Institute. Walter is the author of Defending the Undefendable, which has been translated into ten foreign languages. He has written 22 books, including The Privatization of Roads and Highways and Labor Economics from a Free Market Perspective: Employing the Unemployable. He has published almost 500 articles in scholarly refereed journals. As chief organizer of Libertarians for Trump, he has published the essay (June 4), "Hillary, Bernie, Donald, Gary: A Libertarian Perspective." Nick Gillespie is editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason TV, the online platforms of Reason, the libertarian magazine of "Free Minds and Free Markets." He's co-author, with his Reason colleague Matt Welch, of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America. The Daily Beast, where he now writes a column, named Nick one of "The Right's Top 25 Journalists," calling him "clear-headed, brainy...[and] among the foremost libertarians in America." A typically irreverent moment on the Bill Maher show prompted Mayor Fetterman of Braddock Pennsylvania to propose to Nick that they "take it outside." RSVP to reserve tickets here. Back in May, I wrote a piece that lays a simple case summed up by its headline: "Libertarians: Just Say No To Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump." Read it here.[...]
Sun, 23 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400Donald Trump says the presidential election is "rigged." Although he provides no evidence for his charge, lots of things can be said about it. For one thing, he equivocates over the word rigged to include voter fraud along with news-media/polling bias—two very different things. The former suggests that the outcome is predetermined, the latter only that influential organizations try to move voters in a particular direction. (Ignoring third parties is one flagrant way to do this, but that may redound to Trump's benefit in some cases.) I might also point out that Trump has helped "rig" the election against himself with his inveterate estrangement from the truth and his braggadocio about and apparent penchant for sexual assault. These flaws have overshadowed what otherwise would have been damaging information about Hillary Clinton's political career and the WikiLeaks disclosures. Compared to Trump's antics and outrages, dry emails about Goldman Sachs speeches and the Clinton Foundation just aren't sexy enough to grab the electorate's attention. Cable TV's quest for ratings may adequately account for the seeming bias; viewers are more likely to reach for the remote when they hear about transcripts of speeches to Wall Street than when they hear "locker-room banter" and insults. Considering that Trump is partly a creature of the media, without whom he might not have won the Republican nomination, the case for sheer anti-Trump bias is not so straightforward. Trump is also buffoonish, so let's face it: He makes better TV than the robotic Clinton does. A candidate without Trump's abundant baggage might have had an easier time prosecuting the case against his deeply flawed, state-worshiping opponent, even in the face of media bias. But there's another side to the "rigged election" charge that's bound to go unnoticed. The American political system, like all political systems, requires a good deal of peaceful cooperation to operate. This is obviously relevant to the transfer of power, which gets so much attention nowadays. This cooperation goes on in two respects: first, between the government and the subject population—government cannot rule purely through force because the ruled always substantially outnumber their rulers—and second, among the many individuals who constitute the government's branches, agencies, and bureaus. Again, we cannot explain this process purely by the use of force. Even totalitarian states understand this, which is why they invest so much effort in propaganda ministries. Ideas, not force, rule the world. Why does one government branch or agency or bureau or officer carry out orders from another? The answer cannot be the threat of force alone, for that would only set the question back a step: why would anyone carry out an order to use force against a defiant officer of the government? We can't have an infinitely long line of people with each person forcing the next one up to obey orders. What ultimately explains compliance, or cooperation, with government is not coercion but ideology: government officers carry out orders because they and a critical mass of the community in which they operate believe the orders are legitimate and ought to be carried out. That's a matter of tacit if not explicit ideology. If those officers and enough members of that community came to have different ideas, the orders might be defied with impunity, if anyone were still giving them. On the other hand, if a private individual started giving the same kind of orders the state gave, no one would regard them as legitimate and sanctions against defiant persons would not be respected. (I briefly explore this idea in "Subjugating Ourselves." Michael Huemer has written the book: The Pr[...]
Wed, 21 Sep 2016 10:15:00 -0400I'm happy to announce that Reason's iTunes feed for audio and video versions of our documentaries, interviews, and more is back online and better than ever. Go here to subscribe to our iTunes audio feed, which features all of our great interviews, live events, and more. Founded in 1968, Reason is the planet's leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Hosted by Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, and other Reason journalists, our podcast explores "free minds and free markets." It features provocative, in-depth interviews with authors, comedians, filmmakers, musicians, economists, scientists, business leaders, and elected officials. Keep up to date on the latest happenings in our increasingly libertarian world from a point of view you won't get from legacy media and boring old left-right, liberal-conservative publications. You can also find video versions at Reason.com/reasontv. (Subscribe to our video iTunes feed here.) If you dig SoundCloud, we've got you covered right here (click below for the audio to our recent conversation with juggler-philosopher Penn Jillette talking weight loss, Bob Dylan, and why he's "all in" for Gary Johnson come November). And here's our RSS feed for video content and here's the one for audio versions. Don't hesitate—subscribe NOW! All of these streams are free as found money. And if you feeling like giving back something, let me ask you—implore you, even!—to rate and review our video and audio podcasts at iTunes and elsewhere. The more ratings and reviews we pull at iTunes, the better placement we'll get and the bigger audience we'll gain. Use your ratings and reviews to give us feedback on what we're doing well and where you think we need improvement. Suggest topics, takes, and people with whom we should be talking. Reason's mission is to bring a principled, persuasive, and attractive libertarian perspective to politics, culture, and ideas. We reach other folks in the media, policymakers, and business folks, providing better ways of thinking about government, defending innovation so it doesn't get strangled in regulatory red tape, and making the case for maximum freedom in all aspects of our lives. We're your voice in national debates and our award-winning reporting on everything from electoral politics to technological innovation to endlessly creative "experiments in living" helps to create the next generation of libertarians (I know encountering Reason in high school is why I'm a libertarian). We are champions of "Free Minds and Free Markets" and we're also constantly checking our own premises and working to revise, refine, sharpen, and help define what it means to be a libertarian. So subscribe, listen, watch, review, and rate! Never before have libertarian ideas and sensibilities been more widespread and influential—and never before have they been more needed to create a robust new operating system for a 21st century that is stuck in old, worn-out "binary choices" that make no sense in a world of inexhaustible possibilities. src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/281969428&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" frameborder="0">[...]