Reason AMA: Impeachment, Cocktails, Debt, New Zealand, Justin Amash, Prog Rock, Libraries, and More

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Hello everyone. Welcome to a very special bonus filmed though we’re not looking at the cameras dispatch of the Reason Roundtable podcast. What? You’re going to go meta, right off the top? If you’re gonna instruct me— I’m not gonna look at that camera I’m not look at that camera at all. No we’re doing this special for our webathon the annual webathon that Reason does and this is gonna be a great podcast not because of not because of us although maybe at least because of Katherine but because we’re going to be responding to the marvelous absolutely stunningly great emails and texts and tweets and SMS’s that you sent us. What corn pop spent a whole stream in advance about how many corn pop references in the next year I’m done. We’re doing this live in person so the non-aggression principle will be tested over the next hour or however long we’re out here talking to you all. But we’re in the Reason DC office at a ping-pong table happily giving us to you is their annual webathon. We’ve been doing for about ten years ten years which is great it was a humble little starter kit webathon way back in the day and now it’s going strong. Katherine why don’t you give us this
Giving Tuesday right now that we were taping this in. I don’t know we’re gonna release it why don’t you give an overview of why the kids out there who listen to this and our other podcasts should consider giving a tax-deductible donation to the recent foundation which publishes and prints or does whatever to this podcast for— “prints this podcast” It cost a lot of money for all the paper
we have to print the podcast on! People should give us money because they enjoy the stuff we produce that’s the real answer. And if you’re listening you are probably one of those people who enjoys the stuff we produce but the slightly longer answer I would say is that Reason has for 50 years stuck up for weird stuff that no one we’ll stick up for and I think that’s
easy to forget things like marijuana legalization things like gay marriage
our robot brothels yeah well so these are things that all together yeah
ideally in a single venue these are things that seemed totally crazy
bordering on actually you know impossible when we started advocating
for them and are now in many cases reality so I think that’s that’s the
biggest case we’re giving to reason also definitely the tax deduction also the
swag and I think people should appreciate the good swag if you donate
to the webathon you get different swag at different levels but this year’s
special bonus item is a is a little cover for your computer camera which
feels really young brand like very own brand for us so if you are worried that
the man is watching you secretly through your camera you just cover that little
guy up pointing a point of order a question could could you put it on for
me cuz a month sure Matt will need tech support to literally use adhesive on his
camera um there you can also get free subscriptions you get a t-shirt which is
special to the webathon and you can only get four webathon Robbie suave excellent
book and then once you start giving us real cash monies like a thousand bucks
or so you get invitations to special recent events including the
highest-level our conference in Guatemala in February Wow
all right Nick before we get started answering questions mostly about your
jacket or jackets as the case may be we don’t we’ll find out later
spoiler alert what’s a good reason for the season
forgive me I am going to pitch reason TV the video platform dreamed up by Drew
Carey and and launched in October of 2007 thanks to Nick Gillespie among
other people no I mean I edit I was the editor in chief for I don’t know like 10
years 11 years but it’s now under the capable hands of Meredith Bragg
is a phenomenal talent and is looking on off-camera so you know what our you know
wait he’s got the are we supposed to acknowledge him right now we’re not my
children you know he’s you know he’s holding a gun to their head so you know
I got to give something but last year just last year alone reason TV generated
a record high twenty nine point five million views on YouTube alone which
worked out – the way YouTube does it 2.7 million hours of quality viewing
material reason videos and you know this didn’t exist a dozen years ago but it’s
it’s amazing and the video stuff which is is I think is particularly worth I
well I don’t want to say it particularly we’re supporting but what’s great about
video and this was what drew talked about when he first came to David ninth
president Reason Foundation of myself he said you know reason it’s done a really
good job in terms of printed online stuff of you know making the case you
know for this policy or that policy this mind center that mine said exposing
various you know ridiculous things and everything video allows you to reach a
whole different type of audience or to supplement the audience you have to win
hearts as much as as much as minds and things like that and we’ve really you
know I think reason TV is delivered on that in a big way and it’s a grown way
it’s also a great way to reach young people about it’s like 56 percent of our
audiences under 35 and it’s expensive it is expensive well it takes money and
it’s it’s hard to do and this is one of the things that I think the Wizards you
know the warlocks and witches at reason TV what they do is they make the videos
look simply easy like you take them for granted that they’re actually
interesting that they’re well done when you go to almost any other magazine site
do you realize that reason it’s doing something differently it is expensive
it’s absolutely we’re supporting and I’ll just point it on a final note last
year our main our biggest hit that was released last year was this great piece
by Justin Monticello called the insane battle to sabotage a new apartment
building explain San Francisco’s house housing crisis it’s got nine hundred
thousand views on YouTube alone many more on Facebook for a video about how
ya know and it shows nothing if not sexy it shows this guy who owned a laundromat
and I guess the Tenderloin are on the edge of the Tenderloin in San Francisco
and he wanted to build an apartment building you know in a city that is like
the most expensive place to live that doesn’t have any apartment buildings and
it took him over five years and about one and a half million dollars to go
through the permitting process he finally ended up winning and getting the
okay to do what would be good for him and everybody who is even going to keep
the laundromat going so it’s like this is the type of you you have to see it to
fully appreciate how absolutely screwed up certain types of policies are and
video is a great way to do that so that’s yeah something to support you
with a tax-deductible donation the pivot to video that a lot of organizations and
journalism organizations did embarrassingly about four three four
five years ago with under Facebook which is gruesome the results not just for
their bottom loads and if I can go a little bit mad I mean I think what’s
great about recent video and is that Marshall McLuhan once said that every
new media every new medium spends like 25 years replicating the thing that it
just surpassed and you see that in a lot of online video especially coming out of
think tanks and and magazines and ideological movements where they just do
crappy versions of talk shows they just do bad versions of what’s on MSNBC or
NBC News or whatever and we actually brought a journalistic sensibility we
did documentaries the interviews we did and we started doing in-depth interviews
at a time when everybody said you know the time span attention span online was
30 seconds or whatever and we have some of our biggest hits that have gotten
over a million views are hour-long Plus interviews with people we were
anticipating the kind of podcast world we live in now where Joe Rogan can talk
for three and a half or four hours where Dan Carlin at hardcore history can do
you know 15 hours on the Japanese Empire and people still want more so it’s the
video that we’re doing is infused you know it comes from reason and the DNA
and reason which is that alternative mindset journalistic sensibilities
and then a sense for how do you deal with new media how do you deal with new
forms and format so I’m a big fan sudirman you are features editor that’s
correct I realized that I don’t spend a lot of time on the recent roundtable
introducing us by our proper titles because it’s boring but Nick and I
considered my improper title bearable matters at large I sit down to a private
first class turn to be one of our first questions so I’ll just stop it there but
as features editor what’s your reason for the season yes so I reason does so
many things well Nick mentioned our journalistic sensibility and so I just
want to talk a little bit specifically about our journalism and in particular
our long-form essays and investigations I think that we can make a credible case
that we do long-form essays an investigation better than any other
magazine in our class and as well as any publication out there and the reason is
that we have is that we have money that comes from donors that allows us to pay
people and to pay people to spend time on projects that take a very long time I
am lucky enough to get to work with some really talented an excellent journalists
here Eric beim Elizabeth Noland brown CJC ramela
christian brits g on long form heavily reported pieces that take that really
take quite a lot of effort to produce these things can take weeks they can
take months and I want to zero in on a very specific thing that takes money to
do which is obtain documents from the government and this is something that
people don’t think about very much but we have to think about a lot because we
spend an awful lot of time requesting and documents from the government and
then going through them and this is something that they charge you for in
some cases they they ask for really insane amounts of money we had a request
where we got back the price we got back the price on some documents that we
wanted and it was $20,000 I know that is not something that we actually pursued
but we but that’s not uncommon to just get really insane amount of prices for
some of the documents that we want to look at and so without your
contributions without your tax duct deductible donations reason
can’t get governments can’t get documents from the government and can’t
look at them and find out what the government is doing wrong and tell you
about it I would just add before we go to all of your great questions and start
the uncomfortable answering process just that this webathon and the non profit
structure of reason is absolutely crucial to making us a stable
organization we’re sitting right here around a ping-pong table with the last
20 years worth of editors-in-chief and though we don’t like each other there’s
a there’s a continuity of thought when you look at the magazine all the way
back through its round even Lani Friedlander the founder who’s a
different type of person for sure but there is an absolute through lying a
catherine made up shirts for the thing was just for a recent weekend right the
with the text from Lani Friedlander the inaugural editorial which is great you
can go look at it online but there’s a continuity at reason and that continuity
is allowed because we have a nonprofit structure but specifically because we
have an audience I mean think about other opinion magazines in the world
like whatever what the hell happened to the New Republic you know what happened
to the Weekly Standard it died most of magazines of opinion they depend
foolishly in my view on the kind of benevolence of either a rich person who
doesn’t mind losing money or a rich person who doesn’t mind funding a
non-profit that also loses money over the years that makes you incredibly
unstable should the rich person catch a cold or have some other a change of
heart about the direction of the organization we are comparatively immune
to such things in part because of this webathon every year we get somewhere
between 600 and 1300 individual donations from you people listening and
that is an incredible kind of resilience that it bakes into our structure so it
doesn’t matter the whims of a single person here it matters that we have an
audience and and I’ve said this many times before but it’s worth repeating
one of the greatest things about being an editor or an ex editor is you meet
people who encounter the magazine and 1973 and and they tell you about it like
what they first saw it or when they followed this ad and went there and
there’s even a couple of questions to kind of talk about that that that is a
wonderful thing we reason and you know we’re stewards as editors hopefully
we’re more active as well but that that’s a great honor to do that and it’s
that intensity of that relationship which makes it possible reason existed
as if as a side project believe it or not run by three professionals who never
paid anyone or paid themselves for the first 15 years of its existence it’s
amazing to me still to think about that and that reaction with the readers in
relationship is is what allows it to be resilient and not you know go off the
handle and start talking mono maniacally about whatever weird passion of the
founder of it okay let’s go to question now can we talk about how much we
dislike each other no that’s that’s the question text of every question thinking
about this question I a pseudonym and approved like way of thinking about it I
feel like we’re just all the different spider-man into the spider oh yeah right
like and so obviously the drunk you are drunker than Iron Man you are played by
Nicolas Cage yeah voice but yeah yeah you know me spider pick so we’re gonna
have to do some sort of your like Japanese robot girl oh we’ve just lost
her were they I might be the kind of slightly fat spider-man right he’s just
there to explain what it anyway Spider Man rather than Bob Poole is like OG
Spider Man like it really no we are so we combine into this and now a mix of
what was the name of the thinking of ultra is yeah what is folk now who is
the one from the Power Rangers that volt our Rangers is just a ripoff of Voltron
they are a mega mega mega sword yeah my son my son
will will someday was I yeah here I’ll you know it’s coming up on the Christmas
season I remember one year by older son when he was a kid we were running out of
things to watch the video store back when we had such things and we got a
Power Rangers Christmas special that we hadn’t heard before loaded up and it
turned out to be the date data the robot who who is a the satellites circling
earth leading a children’s chorus singing Christmas Carol my god I’m
getting that it was the saddest thing okay okay like it was like Sophie’s
Choice but a try let’s take questions here and we’ll start kind of on a meta
note Chris asks what’s the difference between a features editor and editor at
large and an editor in cheap which one of you can fire the other three and have
you ever been tempted Katherine that is so Chris I am the editor in chief which
means that I am the manager and boss of all of these jokers you are the captain
level and have I ever been tempted to fire yes every have you been tempted to
self-deport I yeah no actually no I’ve I’ve been tempted to clear the decks and
start over way you know that’s fair every once in a while I’m like afraid
that I’m gonna look over your shoulder at your desk and see a draft email to me
in your email that’s just you’re fired sometimes when I need to talk to people
in private I now feel like I have to do that thing where I’m like can we um talk
for a minute privately it’s not bad because it’s like it’s scary maybe to
like have an onion when your boss says hey can we talk for a minute people get
nervous yeah that’s why I would die live in New York
and that’s why capitalism is good you know it can’t survive sorry late
capitalist I’ve been hanging out we want a Jacobin large our former
editors-in-chief and kind of ministers without portfolio features editor writes
and it’s features from the staff mostly that’s fair enough
Chris also asked and gotta say these are great questions but a lot of you are
like White House press room orders that are you like let me ask you
the thirteen part question but some of these are short does Nick have a closet
full of black leather jackets or just the one he always wears I have several
and I wouldn’t say closet full but I probably have about a half a dozen
different jackets all I have – I have a velvet one I have a microfiber suede one
I have a trench coat I have yeah you have a favorite you know I don’t want to
say because they might be listening Adam asks what do Matt Nick and Katherine do
during Peters what are you consuming reviews a hundred push-ups catch up on
some reading pen the next editorial cook dinner we need to know I’ll say that
I’ll start I delete emails and go quietly with my hybrid keyboard set up
here but I just recently got myself a little like synthesizer which is right
next to my keyboards and now I’m actually going to be the practicing the
piano while Peter does Katherine woody to you you’re in the room with him
that’s good normally very small very small so he would I mean I just listen
cuz I’m trapped but but I think should we tell people what we sometimes do when
oh you should tell people they know so sometimes when people who are not in the
DC podcast are going on Oh a bit long rather than let the rage build up in our
hearts what Peter and I do is it’s not rich
it’s bridge we do this we just do a little like there is their spontaneous
dance mortar in the reason podcast booth and it helps us not being this is you
know weirdly now I feel rage yeah I mostly are you can dance we can dance
if I want to look I grew up in the eighties I know better than like I said
you can dance if you want to I must go to the Teletubbies
Tamwar I think a lot about the yeah the black and white slow like well no no
it’s a happy to cure to happy when that yeah where you where you just kind of
walk around the little and then you know that when the tote
starts coming and you know I’m just waiting for that siren to be called back
into consciousness I get it guys I’ll try to make my recommendations shorter I
think I would know I wouldn’t change this I know I wouldn’t you think I think
that Nick is the tinky-winky of this podcast crew jeffrey ask any live shows
planned outside of civil forum debates Katherine Jeffrey asked did I commit
suicide if so anything in the LA okay I don’t think we have anything on the
books in LA right now but we do of course as you say I have the Soho fora
sorrell forums forums or all those so how forum debates
therefore I there that’s it’s a lot of for us and but no after after my victory
slash success debating capitalism at like U squared I’m victory slash what
did you like that Fridays like victory slash failure is what I meant okay but
actually all my failures are also six now that’s true you know if you’re if
you’re all family if you’re not failing all the time are not trying hard enough
something like that yeah I do think if you don’t sometimes miss the plane
you’re getting to the airport too early which is like a corollary to that yeah
that was a Mohammed auda who came up with that right Jason asks policy
question what is the best case outcome for this impeachment mass he says that
he’s hoping for a deal where Trump agrees to drop out of 2020 in exchange
for a Senate censure I’m afraid he says that a removal were an outright
acquittal both have potential violent downsides etc and so on for little el
libertarians just having anything happen to rein in power the presidency is a win
even if it’s just a slap on the wrist would like to know your opinions Nick
one of you start I I think I’m alone among the podcast people here that I
don’t really think that Trump should be impeached over what we’ve heard about
much less removed from office the one thing I’ll say I think it’s it’s hard to
say like it doesn’t make the upcoming election season better or worse I mean
it definitely pours gasoline on a fire you know that’s thermonuclear all of
that the one thing I’ll caution against but
I know that I think Catherine and Peter that’s very Lisa maybe you met our of
the mindset that we should impeach more presidents or impeach the president more
often all I know is that you know Nixon was about to get impeached resigned a
real flex of constitutional power and of Congress’s Congress’s power weird flex
Oh strange like strange flex but okay right and then Clinton was impeached and
you know what happens like the president just keeps getting more and more
powerful in many many ways and I interviewed Judge Napolitano the great
libertarian Fox News personality recently and he was saying you know the
problem is is that when Republicans are in power they give the Congress gives
power to Republican presidents and Democrats give it to Democrats but they
keep it and it just keeps building and building and there’s a lot of truth to
that the happy side of it is that I still I’m the last holdout on the idea
that we’re still in the libertarian moment or it has not just actually
happened and I do feel in a way that one of the things that Trump is doing and I
think the impeachment proceedings will kind of accelerate this is that at some
point all but the dumbest and most dead-end political political people who
insist on defining themselves first and foremost in their political identities
are gonna say you know what we gotta get the fuck out of here and like can we get
on with our lives this is you know and and I think the impeachment I think the
Trump presidency is bringing a lot of that up and it’s churning it’s not
settled yet but I think the impeachment thing might be the thing that gets more
people to acknowledge that they want to evacuate politics as a as an arena of
meaning in their lives and they want to get on with loving and you know learning
new things and starting new businesses and just building the communities they
want to be in rather than trying to attack each other through politics
before pointing to Peter I just would add that when after the Nixon
impeachment which were whatever them yeah what resignation along with things
like the Church Commission and everything like the presidency I think
was shrunk down I mean Dick Cheney was was obsessed with how much the
presidency had lost power and that the it was it didn’t last it you know I yeah
I reduced under I think mayor GW Bush now under Reagan right regular I I would
argue that it you know Ford was in a peculiar place and was also Delta very
weak and congressionally Carter was something of a weak executive but also
did a bunch of stuff that was not great you know but then Reagan but still
giving away some powers well but during the late 70s and 1980s there was some
sense within Congress that it was a co-equal branch that could and should
check the presidency I agreed starter belted but anyone else said the minute
that they got a leader who could you know kind of smile with a twinkle and
yeah I mean but I mean I actually agree with well chairs and is that the the
real expansion of executive power started with George W Bush and then
continued under Obama and if you go back to the 1970s
you had the congressional budget in an impoundment Act which created the
Congressional Budget Office drink which was designed you know to check the the
administration and the executive branch it was designed to create an alternative
scoring mechanism so that the the president couldn’t to basically just say
here’s what bills costs here’s our rosy scenarios for everything which the
president always has and we used the term rosy scenario because of Reagan’s
first budget director David Stockman and and it created created competition
within the between the branches that is imperfect that has not always worked out
well or well for libertarians but is better than the than the prior
alternative we but has now atrophied well and but this is where you know I
mean again my larger point was that the impeachment stuff might be a good
outcome would be kind of a renewal of that sense of that politics is and you
know isn’t the focus and the presidency isn’t the focus and the federal
government because one of the things that we talk about this a lot that has
completely disappeared from just a few years ago is you know worry and anxiety
over the debt and the inability of the government to bring outlays and revenues
even within a you know a trillion dollars of each other the reason we know
about the debt and deficits is because of Congressional Budget Office reports
that tell us all the time I would just say actually playing the
because we would be on the floor I mean I actually think a good upshot I mean I
am NOT currently worried about violence or anything along those lines I’ve been
thinking a lot about you know we’re only like 30 minutes into this Oh you were
talking about the country country you know I I’ve been thinking a lot
about the term presidency in terms of what’s reversible and what’s not
reversible like what what could go back to the pre Trump status quo what should
what shouldn’t and obviously an outbreak of violence in response to sort of
political processes would be like an irreversible and pretty disastrous step
I don’t necessarily see that happening one thing I do think about impeachment
though that could be good is if presidents lose the sense that they can
get away with having private conversations that no one will ever find
out about mmm and that you know didn’t happen under Nixon though it should have
given the tapes etc etc but like the idea that like someone is taking notes
someone is recording this you will be accountable for everything you say as
president is that that should be a learn about lesson and it really is
can I ask me not that falls into the larger rubric of a kind of forced
transparency that has been really part of political discussion certainly since
Nixon but also I mean more so in the 21st century and with the rise of
WikiLeaks and you know Chelsea Manning and a variety of other people like where
it’s really hard for governments it’s hard for corporations it’s hard for
individuals to keep secrets the way that they used to do you think that idea like
that you can’t have private conversations anymore is that good or
bad for government because you you hear this a lot where it’s like well in that
you know people like Jonathan Roush at Brookings who writes for reason says you
know you can’t cut deals now because the deal-making will come out and then
people will lose their shit over I like nothing more than the like smokin’-hot
rauch take that actually a little bit of like backroom dealing is good for
politics I think he probably actually is right about that but the cost is too
high to get that payoff and I think there’s it’s generally a good thing to
just push as hard as we can in the direction of transparency for public
officials I think that’s a different question than you know the the
transparency and privacy issues for private individuals though those lines
are of course blurry but you know what one way would be to help improve your
chances of having privacy you could donate $50 a little cover for you I have
it right here I’ll sign it back and forth I’m sliding it back and forth
reminding people of stuff okay let’s get to other questions by the way this the
reason web cam cover is not I think it was made in China we try to you know
order the order our swag from overseas ideally made by I just don’t want it to
have a backdoor legal immigrants yeah this these plastic things were carried
from China to the west coast on sea turtles exclusively yeah to get around
tariffs I always forgot to mention at the top that we’re not going to be able
to answer all the questions because there’s so many good ones but also
because Nick and Peter were just not gonna shut up but it’s gonna happen were
the were the problem it’s preempted yeah my words only mention I budget whites
because you know I’m doing camera now not really we’re trying to enjoy yo
before you start talking about gene Mauch and the Angels okay – Yahoo –
Joseph asks and the wording here is important what’s your favorite book you
recommend others read I’m going to start because you mentioned Jonathan Roush my
favorite book to recommend it’s not necessary my favorite book although I
love it is kindly inquisitors by Jonathan Roush it is it is more than any
other book that I recommend it to people has reordered and rethought the way that
they think about the question of free speech and free inquiry and the
importance of defending it against all kinds of different threats it’s just a
wonderful book Katherine I don’t know this is actually kind of hard for me to
do on the spot but um you know I’m gonna go with our last year’s podcast fall
back which is like anything by Neal Stephenson I’m just gonna do it and
scree all because the fact is if you and especially honestly Snow Crash like just
to go old school like if you want to think about a world
looks like the future libertarians want and also isn’t like foolishly rosy like
look at that thing and it’s a it’s a dystopia but so is the present it’s like
a topia really right and and it is it I think we’ve discussed it I I think it is
almost a description of the world we live in you know I mean there’s bells
and whistles but it’s you know where there’s a lot of freedom and a lot of
autonomy and a lot of repression and suppression and a lot of problems but
it’s you know this thick web overlapping ya know I mean III think Snow Crash is
an essential guy not to be like that guy but Snow Crash yeah I was also thinking
Snow Crash you’re all bad guys I am NOT allowed because she catherine has
already mentioned it I’ll just say that a fire upon the deep by Vernor Vinge II
which is a great book with another great sort of libertarian tinged science
fiction book that is about spinning up a low tech society into a high tech
society very rapidly and all the challenges that are involved in the ways
that authoritarian and centralized governments or government type control
systems make that both harder and are much worse for the populace sort of
degrade their lives in their well-being next book I’m sorry I was thinking about
the Teletubbies yeah we did an interview with vinji about 10 15 years ago that’s
great he’s the guy who created the concept or first articulated the concept
of the singularity really interesting science fiction writer I am going to go
with a Joseph Schumpeter’s capitalism socialism and democracy because that’s
the book where he coined the term creative destruction and it is this kind
of loving critique of Marx’s critique of capitalism and he to like mark says that
capitalism is doomed to destroy itself but not Marx said it was because you
know in capitalism the all of the all of the wealth and all of the prosperity all
of the good stuff it goes to the capitalists the one-percent essentially
and eventually the lump in proletariat or the masses
to have been gold into conformity both by threats of violence as well as all
kinds of cultural apparatus that normalizes exploitation they finally
shake off their collect you know their class consciousness or raise their class
consciousness and start a revolution and everything is good Schumpeter says that
capitalism is mostly a victim of its own success and it turns off so much wealth
that very rapidly people forget how tenuous wealth innovation progress is
and they create a superstructure of intellectuals and of all other sorts of
kind of self-hating wealthy people who then gum up the works and destroy when
faced with creative destruction and massive rapid dislocation of particular
populations nobody can take that anymore and they get rid of capitalism and you
can take or leave a lot of that Schumpeter though I think he he was
writing during World War two he was a guy who was raised during the end of the
austro-hungarian Empire and fled Europe during World War one I’d like basically
if you’re there’s a great biography of him called profit of innovation but
everywhere he lived like within five years it didn’t exist anymore like his
hometown the district that he grew up in was just vaporized it didn’t exist
anymore in a world war one world war two the depression all of this stuff his
timeline was wrong but I think we may be living in a Schumpeterian inflection
point and this I’m a big fan we were talking science fiction I’m a big fan of
man in the high castle by philip k dick and especially the amazon thing which is
all about imagining alternative timelines and i think it’s a good time
to be studying Schumpeter and figuring out how we you know how we go to an
alternate reality and kind of bring something back that changes where we’re
heading Schumpeter stevenson present that we live in yeah so I was gonna say
though that I also we recently on flack discovered that like the reason Young’s
had not read Harrison Bergeron like I had like a little moment where I was
like everybody cease your work and go read Harrison Bergeron because we heard
that by Kurt Vonnegut because we need that story to function here at reason so
if you want a good short recommendation for the middle of your
seven pages it’s on the internet let’s go to some individualized questions here
in our reason webathon bonus podcast of the reason roundtable should we be
giving and if so where should we be giving no good reason comm backslash
webathon right no donate donate reason that come slash donates what happened so
we don’t have to say backslash anymore slash did everybody use four words why
there’s always four words find an uncomfortable number of questions having
to do with my ability to to navigate technology I don’t know why that is
so just since there are cameras here but not really here yeah everyone take a
look at MIT you’re Johnny you’re like Johnny Unitas Matt you know just getting
short back inside James asks hi Tereus about e heaters political ideology he
seems much more interested in politicians being respectable and
government being efficiently run than in reducing the size of or entirely
eliminating the states would he consider himself more of a centrist than a
libertarian and if so how well does he fit in among the staff of an ostensibly
libertarian organization a lot of work there
I do chairs ever get thrown only at you James go ahead Peter no I don’t consider
myself a centrist a libertarian is by far the best political ideology
terminology to describe me you might write like I might also describe myself
as as an individualist or an anti-authoritarian but if we’re talking
political types libertarian is the right way the by far the best way to describe
me and so I I occasionally get this question why are you so concerned with
sort of with you know comedy with certain people
with working within the system and the reason is that I believe that the best
way to make meaningful sustainable gains for liberty is to take an outsider’s
view of American government but then to work from with inside it and to
understand the system that you are trying to change and I think that the
most durable victories for Liberty especially at the federal level over the
last 40 years or so and I would say things like criminal justice reform
welfare reform but also a disease these are not at the
federal level but they’ve happened on a nationwide basis gay marriage and and
pot legalization all of these have happened because people people were
critics of the system but they also decided
here’s how this yeah I’m gonna go and work within that system I’m gonna work
overtime I’m not gonna going to just sort of go in and throw bombs and say
the system is bad let’s blow it all up what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna say this
will be better for you person who doesn’t agree with me based on your
values and based on the kind of life that you want to live and so they made
practical arguments rather than ideological arguments and they won and
it took time but they won durable victories that I think are going to be
around for a long time and then you know survey it this question comes up a
little bit more in the Trump era and so I’ll just address it specifically to
Donald Trump and to the presidency the presidency has it the president has an
additional job beyond making policy and beyond sort of deciding what it is that
that the executive branch is going to do which is the that the president models
the character of both the government as an organization and to some extent the
nation and we we might not like that as libertarians we might not think that’s a
good thing but it just is and a president who who models character badly
and who makes decisions badly and is erratic is just is somebody who is going
to be bad for politics and bad to work with if you are someone who is trying to
make productive policy gains for liberty and so that’s why I care about those
things because I think that the libertarian policy victories are
important goods for for for the nation and for the the for the country and for
the individuals who live here and I think it’s that that bad behavior that
erratic behavior that the kind of behavior we often see from Donald Trump
and people in his orbit in his orbit is makes that much harder say can I add to
that that’s a great articulation and defense of your sensibilities much of
which I agree with and it reminded me of this second book that I would have
suggested was Albert Hirschman exit voice and loyalty and you you are
saying you’re more of a voice man than an exit man or a loyalty man in that you
know that you work within the system well I mean and reform I believe that
the right of exit is important yeah well that’s always yeah you need to have that
as an individual like that’s sort of a a primary thing that I like to see within
systems but again like it or not in meditations we don’t like it the
government is not something we are exiting from in the very near future if
you live in the United States and even if you move somewhere you are probably
moving to another place or a different government and one of the things
probably yeah not you Catherine we know where your what I was gonna say you know
one one bone of contention there I would say and I realize this again I I don’t
think this is a popular point of view among libertarians in general or people
on this podcast but I would argue and this is not a small point and it’s not a
rhetorical point one of the values of the trump presidency besides certain
policies that are actually going to place and he’s done a lot of dumb things
but he’s also you know when you talk about criminal justice reform tax reform
a variety of programs that that he signed on to I think he’s actually
revealing the way power operates so when you talk about being erratic or you know
side deals all of this kind of stuff you know I don’t think he is a break with
Obama or with Bush just to keep it in the 21st century I think what he has
done is he’s so bad and clumsy at what he’s doing he’s showing things you know
Obama the reason we’re in Syria is because Obama improv improvised the line
of red line in the sand in Syria that’s why we’re there you know that’s a radix
thats dumb it son thought through he did not seek consensus he passed probably
the single biggest piece of legislation in our lifetimes by a straight party
vote that he had to go to the mat and like be of everything to him like Ben
Nelson or some you know like a senator who was who was vanquished in the next
election I wrote many yeah many blogs no and a message and then on on another
like profound level he was he was a total fraud where he was you know when
Edward Snowden came out he was like oh yeah you know
I would welcome the opportunity to have a discussion about you know the state
surveillance that I’ve been doing and blown the doors out on and so in that
sense I think we should relax a little bit of that Trump in the you know
there’s so called you know he’s destroying norms and mores and all of
his enemies there was just something in the New York Times about how like you
know when Trump gets defeated he won’t leave and he’s an authoritarian so we
really kind of have to take him out now like there’s this weird projection that
Trump is going to be violent Trump isn’t gonna do what he’s told even though he’s
backed down every time that he’s actually been forced to I mean we’re
lucky he’s he’s far too lazy and in it so I’d all I’m saying is that I think I
think it’s powerful from a libertarian perspective to look at the continuity of
Trump with past presidents rather than him as a as a break let’s go to other
questions relive our weekly podcast the day after Kathryn you’ve hinted that
this is from Adam you’ve hinted that when it comes to housing you much prefer
renting to owning can you elaborate yes I would love to elaborate I could
elaborate at near Souter manian lengths but I will not I I believe in trucks
rubber ducks and renting I believe in renting and here’s why because owning
stuff is is a burden on almost every level we are super lucky to live in the
post ownership world and we should embrace that that means I don’t own a
car I take uber zit means I don’t own a
house I rent it means I don’t barely own clothes I have them come in a box and
then I send them away it’s awesome I don’t own books I just like download
them and then send them back into the cloud this is a form of freedom I get
that it’s not everyone’s form and that’s fine like there’s the Jerry to Chile’s
of this world who are like unless I can build my own solar plant and like water
treatment system and whatever I’m not truly free I love that vibe I love that
aesthetic it is not for me I want to be not dependent on any one system by being
able to hop between competitors so don’t buy be
also there’s political risk that’s my other case against buying if you have
kids you’re taking the political risk of school redistricting which is a very
serious one as Matt Welsh can tell us from his writing about Brooklyn’s public
school kerfuffles if you own a house you are taking the risk of zoning historical protectionism whatever the preservation
ISM you buy not owning a house you protect yourself from the whims of
politicians yes I’m a committed renter – even in the face of Peter Sudirman
probably the last time that I got stoned and it’s because of you that I will
never ever do it again well you bought a house when you were saying no but I
listened to this a whole spread though I will say Peter’s basement bar is almost
done and the joy on his face every day was I’m happy for his joy but he wasn’t
happy for my joy I was talking not just that I needed a 30-year mortgage but I
needed a 15-year mortgage was terrifying anyways I’m also happy for my joy my
basement bar related joy I’m a committed a renter and largely because I like to
live in cities close to things those and renting is the only way I could afford
and I can’t really afford it but to live in said cities and also those cities are
always run by ignoramuses who don’t respect private property rights and if I
own to something and then they kept charging me money for owning it it’s the
blood telling me what I can’t read like no I would turn into that guy and I
don’t want to be that guy but also don’t raise chickens but I wouldn’t register a
little rent wolf phrase I read the chickens yeah um
let’s go to a one directed at Nick from Spencer why does Nick hate public
libraries does he actually have evidence to support his hate and – is there
libertarian defense of public libraries as civic institutions Spencer yeah you
know I think that Spencer may have taken a joke
literally when which was that the whole thing about the drag queen
story hour started a whole big kerfuffle and I said
you know the problem for me isn’t the drag queens it’s the Public Library took
place that I you know I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about public
libraries I do remember my growing up that my hometown of Middletown New
Jersey had a great library that I spent a lot of time in and ended up working in
which is one of the reasons why I’m against municipal workforces I know what
goes on but more to the point public library is not a big problem for me most
of what they do would be provided by private services nonprofit services
there is a public good and you know people like Benjamin Franklin created
one of the first public lending libraries I was a subscription library
that also let people who couldn’t afford things borrow stuff it’s a good model
private libraries are great that’s I mean Blockbuster Video was a private
library of that was a nationwide sort of run located private library that you had
to pay to get stuff from and it gave me a cinematic education yeah also you’re
me and you’ve literally never returned a library book on time in your life you
have to pay for those two yeah one of the one of the as I’ve gotten older as
I’ve gotten older and more comfortable economically of course my class analysis
comes out more and more and one of the things about things like public
libraries and museums and parks is that overwhelmingly every every survey that
looks at this shows that they are mostly patronized by people who are middle
class upper middle class or rich and I know where I lived in Oxford Ohio one of
the things I used to drive me ballistic were people who were like oh let’s
charge let’s raise the library attack so we can have a new building and more DVDs
and you would see people who were in the upper 20% of income distribution in
America going to the fucking library to get the new DVD rather than just going
to you know the blockbuster or movie gallery or whatever and it’s like video
yeah it just you know that that bugs me like people who are frugal on the public
tit that really bugs the shit out of me and I wrap that into
a critique of libraries question for me from Joe I’m sort of for me isn’t it
true that Matt Welch only uses amazing metaphors because kmw really loves them
in all their mixed glory in her chilled stark heart of darkness is there a mixed
metaphor in their ex I don’t know you can’t tell no the answer is definitely
no that in fact that that is an absolutely organic Matt Welsh phenomenon
which he had just been as far as I can tell
publishing these mixed metaphors when did that start I mean I think maybe
change yeah it’s just like then when I was working for you and I was sitting
across from you every day and you would send me copy and it would just be like
what is this I mean I worked for primarily like the first 12 plus years
of my life in journalism at a college newspaper at a newspaper I started and
then added a newspaper that I was the managing editor of so I’ve been in
charge of my own words the entire time so there hasn’t been till you hired me I
like mixed metaphors I like mixing let’s call them wrong girl metaphors but I
like mixing alcohol let’s go to a question about just mosh because it
feels like we have to have one yeah if when Justin Amash announces his run for
president as a libertarian how would you advise him first mistake to position
himself for the general election against Trump in the democrat what would you
consider his metrics for a successful run Nick you’re an informal advisor to
Justin Amash I would utilize I am NOT an informal advisor to Justin Amash but I
would lose the name Justin yeah I’m BAE I’m really against here no I’m against
like ethnic sounding names with like super wasp for an ID like I just can’t
take that I just need to go with Biff Biff Amash something like that skip
would be good yeah no I I would be excited to see a mosh run for president
because I think that he represents a new generation of politician in many ways
including ethnically or demographically certainly in terms of ideas he has a lot
of energy and I think he’s got a great American
narrative story to tell which is counters people like Alexandra okay so
Cortez and and a younger generation which sees in ethnic America are like a
post white America as a place of horrible and ongoing oppression
repression suppression of you know capitalist greed and you know just
dispossession of people and I think a marshes story plus his interest in
institutions and history and thought and his experience is is is the exact
counter to that kind of stuff I would love to see him run as president for
president because he would have that stage I don’t know if he will or not I
you you have more insight into that then I would that know at the moment but I’ve
I think he I think you know every age has like you know four or five or six or
whatever have a representative types and I think Justin Amash is one of those
people I think AOC is I think there’s a couple of other people out there and his
voice I would like I would like it to have a bigger and bigger stage I cannot
comment on his own sense of metrics of a first successful run which is on first
order of businesses that you run to win which he has done successfully in a lot
of different levels and it would be a new thing for him to imagine running to
not win and so that would be kind of difficult to wrap his brain around I
think that he probably wouldn’t consider doing it unless he could imagine getting
20% of the vote and I can’t imagine the Libertarian Party under anyone this time
around getting even 5% of the vote really even if it was Justin Amash that
might change that might change things but the structural position that the any
third party is in in 2020 presidential race it’s just historically abysmal I
mean every every single every single third party of votes spike is followed
by a quick and speedy decline particularly when the previous election
was very close between the two majors and and very contested and emotional so
people flee from third parties and independence in that condition and all
of the signs turnout in the 2018 midterms and all the
special elections I mean we’re breaking records for turnout in every single
election in the amount of interest that people are paying already in the 2020
nominating process not in the Republican Party but in the democratic party it
just everything speaks to people are flooding towards a major party you’re
either with or against and you got to get on board that’s a really tough place
you got to get around that no malarkey tour bus
no malarkey but I mean I do think if we’re gonna if we’re staring down the
barrel of say a Warren Trump election I would really really like to see a Justin
Amash on the ticket I think there are a lot of people unlike me who want to vote
who feel it’s important to vote and I you know it puts those people in a real
untenable position if they care at all about individual liberty because neither
of those candidates has a particularly strong record or recommendation about
protecting those rights and liberties and so just having a good third option
would be good Brian asks a multifactorial is that a Brian with a
why not just normal okay because if it was with a why I think we should just go
exponential Atum yeah there’s a question what is the greatest tech advice each of
you have received format well to see what listen yeah I’m not gonna ask that
question because we were talking about the good sartorial advice that you give
us though can we talk about that you can okay so that Welsh famously has told
both me and Peter in different forms that when you go out in public you
should dress like the character of yourself on television which i think is
a great is a great piece of advice you should you just not applicable to
everyone you should cosplay yourself basically
and I am here for it and I want to go ahead and apologize to those who are
viewing this on video for my hair being normal human hair color that is the
thing that’s gonna be happening going forward so my bad but I’m trying to do
like a Cruella De Vil meet Susan Sontag tulsi gabbard what why did you why did
you come back because I didn’t want to end up
you name I hear up that I heard that I mean you know you’re stuck with the
lowest score ever yeah and you never not wear the leather jacket and I can change
whenever I want I just don’t want your sartorial move I was like you know it’s
if I don’t defect from the purple hair now it’s gonna I’m gonna have to do it
till I die someone else had asked and it’s not in front of me so so I can’t
mention your name but your character your TV character was screech from Saved
by the Bell yes thank you if you own anything that’s
not black neck yeah I do I colored Nick wear khakis and a white
polo shirt you’ve seen a photo no I saw this at at your 5th oh yeah zero Felton
Nick’s Crowley yeah it was amazing this more from Brian here and obviously Peter
and Catherine do not need to answer it who is the greatest baseball player not
in the Hall of Fame who doesn’t deserve to be in examples that he offers her
Fred McGriff and Dale Murphy I think Dale Murphy’s right up there I was I
would say uh I would say Reggie Smith is probably the best player who doesn’t
quite deserve to get in neck what would you say well you know I’m not even gonna
answer that question because we have the Prathap relog of people like Pete Rose
who I’m assuming he’s saying doesn’t deserve to be in because he bet on
baseball blah blah blah but like until Pete Rose’s in the Hall of Fame saying
who’s the best that actually does not deserve to be it you see like who is on
the line but you wouldn’t cross the line the Steve Garvey Kirk Gibson line of
like really good players but not quite whole fame yeah I’m gonna see how long
you’ll go with this but we’re gonna have an opportunity to dance here in a sec
yeah you know what I would say yeah Bobby Grich oh that’s that’s hurtful
no because I loved him as an or made up names in a baseball household and I
never heard any big game my Grich that’s a Sesame Street characters thank you he
had a mustache that could have easily been he was puppet he was one of the
great is Luke Whitaker in the home he’s on the
bones like I’m the veterans committee really yeah thinking he’s probably the
likeliest to go in yeah I would grich’s a little bit ahead of him but I think
they both deserve to get in okay Nick you’re my turn to dance the voting is
for suckers what fictional character would be so awesome as president of the
United States being from Anders game Wow oh wait you know think about it Peter
think about it first better in some ways a better chief of staff but you actually
but like Suze we need some time for somebody who’s not may be the greatest
leader but just effective at figuring out how to get stuff done and Warren no
Warren he’s not the guy with with all right he in fact creates he works
outside an item with to create to create plans that enable individuals to
accomplish their goals he invented the little string mechanism
which nobody had ever thought of before that allowed them to earn in the battle
room thanks Nick it was a victory for individual liberty in battle school I
mean I would vote for being 2020 I’m not gonna lie but I mostly just want to
thank the question asker for practicing it with voting it’s for suckers because
it is obviously the answer the question is Valentine Michael Smith text I
honestly say Valentine from should it be a triple or what’s the same dribble
Jones I just want all the sexing to happen okay he would bring back the
White House swimming pools yeah sure yeah
tax who says PS Catherine mango Ward is my favorite living libertarian why are
we even why are we even asking this question yeah someone no fires moderated
says your libertarians please comment so that you have to is it how is it how
he’s defining living I feel the need to check out the same living yeah please
comment on New Zealand’s transition away from socialism in the 1980s which we
talked about would the issue with the 3ds and the Catherine’s terrible have
why wasn’t Roger Nam X more of a slam dunk for free market thinking
objectively Tex Kibaki captain uh everything about that question was
amazing including the I assume like objective is or sign off there a-plus
so we yeah Matt we’re alluded to the fact that we did a piece
many many years ago that were that was a trio of actual successes in cutting
government so not just reducing the rate of growth not just deregulating not just
but actually cutting the size and scope of government and New Zealand was one of
those examples and I’m my New Zealand history might not be super a-plus here
it’s been a while since I read that piece but one thing that I remember
about it nine years old.i one thing I remember about it is that it it was done
by essentially a Liberal government and I think that’s one one really
interesting factoid because the same is true of when Canada managed to
substantially cut the size and scope of their of their government the other
third example was post-world War two United States territory so I think there
is something in this space of if not bipartisan and trans partisan crossed
party form across partisan reform something where you can get people who
would be naturally opposed to this thing on board with this thing well let’s look
at the next thing going to China yeah and hopefully being interned in a week
our country I have no idea why it hasn’t caught on more it seems like other world
leaders would look at that thing and be like oh my god they solved one of my
biggest problems I want to do it to end and it was generally speaking if I’m
remembering correctly it was also that the government’s that cut spending
actually were rewarded at the ballot box they were like they were it was not it
was not like what we have seen was some kind of European austerity which
backslash backslash backlash and also a stake up
New Zealand has not become the model that we might hope it would have become
however if you look at some of the Nordic countries that Bernie Sanders
claims to love all the kind of quasi socialist countries they have actually
enacted a bunch of light moderate insufficient but meaningful Marcus
reforms over the last ten or twenty my performance they’ve got big long they
have gone in a better direction in in terms of taxes in terms of their
welfare states in terms of price controls in particular price controls
have have really fallen by the wayside in those countries in ways that have
been basically productive yeah oh I was just gonna point out that that uh that
suite of stories was in an issue that you mentioned that was printed in 3d
yeah and we we actually that was a companion to a bunch of 3d videos
feature had reason TV ran featuring Mike Gravel
and they’re still online and we sent out the issue with 3d glasses and everything
and that’s just one more way in which I’m like freaking proud as hell to be
part of an organization that does stuff like that I mean we not only do we start
a video platform before it’s you know before it’s a common we printed a
personal lights cover issue where 45,000 subscribers got a personalised issue in
their 2004 with our house and and information that was key to their
congressional district than zip code a 3d issue it’s just it’s a lot of fun to
kind of play around with the new technology that we tend to believe is
gonna make our lives better though we know where you live issue as I have said
before is the issue that made me notice reason for the first time there you go
Maxie masks name a public figure or reason staffer it’s obviously reasons
Deborah whose intellectual stature and appearance would be most enhanced by
donning a John Bolton style mustache I think there’s only one answer this
question and he’s sitting at this table Nikol SP with a with a Bolton stache
well we just the war is great when when the track when the two of y’all were in
your final throes of the Declaration of Independence
y’all grew book beers we did yeah yeah and it was it was a thing it was a
situation y’all know I’m I’m Pro I’m pro your beard
the gingery and for one terrorist you know there are some good beards but
these two were bad and I don’t want to see it again the end of that two was
that I ended up shaving it dance like a handlebar mustache and that was on a
bunch of TV shows in rapid including two things with Judge
Napolitano and at one point I showed up wearing like a handlebar mustache and he
was like he didn’t want to acknowledge it sure anything and then I shaved it
off and afterwards he was like when I saw him like a day later and he was like
Becky I gotta tell you like I didn’t know what was going on can we also just
pause it very very briefly relived the the one episode of the Judge Napolitano
show that we three were all on yeah yeah Nick and Matt and I were on it was like
a Christmas or Thanksgiving episode and it was re-aired quite regularly for a
while afterward I was pregnant and they decided to compensate for that by giving
me the biggest hair of all time Matt had his unibrow plucked against his will by
the makeup artist oh yeah and Nick had a particularly Shanee kind of lego hair
helmet going on and it was like he just it was like one of the more bizarre
experience like they put me in the leg chair and then they looked at me and
moved me out of the chair that was my real that was like one of my proudest TV
moments and there was also just a whole digression about fountain pens in that
episode of the show but it was cool because we got to do like libertarian
basics and they read a bunch of times so actually was great the judge freedom
watch yeah it’s great show and the judge serious about his pens absolutely dead
100% serious about us pens and that’s another thing that your dollars help us
do is to go that ippolit I know fountain pens to go on television to go on her
friend Kennedy show we had we co started a show with her Camille Foster and I
back in the day and that the successor still lives and it has all of us on all
the time pretty much and and it’s great to go out there and represent you
disappoint you whatever titillate you with going where people are looking
about politics let’s go some lightning round stuff Sudirman Bryan ruff needs to
know what’s the best American whiskey for about thirty dollars Russell’s
reserve ten or alleged Craig small-batch Russell’s reserve is basically fancy
Wild Turkey and it’s delicious it is the best sip of whiskey straight that you
can get in the $30 price range but if you make an old there’s a lot ah $30 is
the right amount to get something that’s really good but not exceptionally pricey
and if you but if you’re making mold fashions Elijah Craig for sure uh
follow-up Sola aka Lasell lazin via Twitter suitor in best liquor for eggnog
the easiest one is whiskey the better one is rum the best one is to actually
make a home a home liquor blend out of rum con yak and rye and you got to play
with it a little bit but you can’t screw up whiskey rum is a little bit
complicated so there’s some mistakes you can make there but I encourage people to
play with blends a final related question for you and I don’t know who
said it but I remember it you like good with whiskey success so why do you like
Jameson what’s wrong with you because Jameson is consistent and not terrible
and and a big thing like if you were looking for a link if you go to I go to
you know great cocktail bars all over the country I always try to sort of like
research cocktail bars whenever I’m in our new city but often you’re at at
least search guides a look at what’s one the org and and then I and then I pick
places to go because that’s the thing that I like but at the same time I also
like dive bars and when you are at a dive bar you don’t want to get a mixed
drink what you want is to get something that is going to be consistent and
tolerable and that means beer or it means a pretty good inexpensive whiskey
and Jameson is a pretty good inexpensive whiskey a bartender pouring Jameson over
ice can’t mess it up Kathryn Eric asks do you routinely
routinely rotate your hair dye color and do your kids dye their hair too little
personal learner what’s harder fighting time to write your own pieces or trying
to get your writers to turn in timely pieces that’s why that’s rude Wow I
almost feel like did I write that question it is I’m kind of like ambien
blackout did you um I I was rotating my hair colors I am now I’m now trying this
like semi human hair situation my children as is the tradition of children
at Dungeons and Dragons character class is semi-human yeah true I know I told
you man I got I’ve got on tick-tock and now all I want to do is watch D&D shit
on tick-tock because
it’s great like just a recommendation anyway my children do not want to dye
their hair because in the time-honored tradition of children everywhere if
their parents do it it’s not cool so it’s not cool they’re like yeah super
lame not interested the hardest thing is to get other people to turn things on
time ah mark asked a question that I’ll directed Nick since he’s written about
this a lot over years is about our huge national debt and why our whether it
matters mark has a friend who says I hear you and lots of other people
warning about how the national debt is reaching record levels and if we don’t
do anything to stop it all sorts of terrible things will happen okay I’m
ready to believe that but y’all been saying that forever so if people have
been sounding the same alarm for 40 years and so far none of the dire
consequences have happened why should I believe it now what do you say those
people who are making those types of art yeah things that can’t go on forever
don’t go on forever and a government that is spending you know a trillion
dollars more than it takes in a year is it’s got to run out of money at some
point it’s gonna run out of credit or it’s gonna have other effects I think
the biggest thing to think about too is that the theory that I believe is that
having excess debt you know a large persistent national debt that shows no
signs of slowing down but only increasing has a negative impact on
economic growth on long-term economic growth and this is something that both
left-wing economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as well as
more traditional and conventional free-market economists agree on and it
helps explain why in the 21st century we’ve seen persistent economic growth
rates in the one to two percent range rather than in the three to four percent
range which was something that was common at a point when debt levels were
lower I die if I may yeah but he does raise a good question
of you know we should be living in an era based on general kind of
macroeconomic theory you know that everybody accepts we should have high
inflation we should have you know all sorts of economic issues that are not
happening and there is I think a strong case to be made that we have outlived
the ability of most of our economic theories
macroeconomic theories to explain why what is happening is happening so we can
take this all with a grain of salt my opposition to debt is all those things
plus the fact that debt becomes a spending category on its own because you
have to pay interest on that debt even with the low interest rates that we’re
seeing now and so interest on the debt is one of the biggest growing categories
of federal spending so all we’re doing is spending money to carry a huge debt
load and it’s a real problem and that and it’s already I think the third or
fourth largest single budget item and it’ll get bigger over time and you know
it either you either inflate the money to pay it off or you reduce services or
you raise taxes and that that’s one of the reasons why it people believe it
reduces economic growth you’ve know down the road there’s going to be a reckoning
the you know the dawn always comes the borrow ease closes in the tab past and
when you have a crisis an economic crisis it becomes much harder to respond
if you don’t have the leeway to spend a little more to kind of manage your
budget at that time which you don’t have when you have extreme you decide you
know and I’m sorry because this is a lightning round but it’s hilarious that
you hear again and again among no Democratic candidates saying you know oh
you know we’re in a terrible world where most Americans done at four hundred
dollars to spend it in an emergency is a complete misreading already actual
underlies this but it’s like so we have 23 24 billion or trillion dollars in
debt but they’re not worried about that you know it’s like yeah also if you want
a fictional exploration of the this question and what it might look like if
it all goes to hell in the near term I recommend Lionel strivers the
mandibles let us go to a question that will direct but for Katherine from Larry
how would you characterize and I’m doing this because I don’t understand okay how
would you characterize the intersection of the libertarian and rationalist
communities Jiji slate Star Codex les wrong and what’s your outlook on them do
any of you frequent rationalist or effective altruism sources I love me
some slate star codex I am a regular reader my colleague our colleague Mike
and I sometimes have like a little slate start codex Book Group when he’s in town
where we just talk about the latest post um I you know came out of the
Objectivist universe and if you’re making a Venn diagram of libertarians
and Objectivists and rationalists and atheists and the kind of whole cluster
there there’s a heck of a lot of overlap in general I try to avoid the vegan
phenomenon of you know when you walk into the room and then you say like I do
CrossFit and I’m a vegan and I’m an atheist right like these sort of things
and people feel compelled to announce I would say that the people who describe
themselves as rationalist sometimes fall into that trap a little bit whereas
libertarians are a little more likely to like slow burn the libertarianism in
they’re a little more likely and thereby perhaps be more likely to change minds a
question that I’ll answer from Q be high in the spirit of Dave Smith I have
something to ask about priorities why do you seem to be more outraged at people
having discussions with Richard Spencer than CIA officials the CIA is
responsible for killing millions people lad the u.s. into war on multiple
occasions blah blah what has Richard Spencer done that comes close to that
barbarism he continues reason or Beltway libertarians whatever you want to be
called we don’t want to be called Beltway libertarians cubie seem to be
more concerned with and more viscerally outraged at people having stupid
opinions on skin pigmentation than with people promoting dropping bombs on
children why what are you talking about what are you be what are you talking
about we’re pretty outraged about the bombing of children and stuff like
what’s the last time anyone here even thought of a Richard Spencer who wasn’t
like I was just actually reason to think about Richard Spencer we have the other
version Spencer who’s been in the news but um no I mean I think I think it’s a
fair question to say what are your coverage priorities but I think that
there is both in feedback to journalists and also on Twitter there sometimes this
sort of if you are taking a minute to focus on or look at one thing there will
always be someone who will chime in and be like what about the other more
important thing and you can’t always just do the one most important thing all
of the time that would be really boring and unfun to read and no one would
consume it so you know that’s not a satisfying answer to the people who want
us to always be covering their thing but we we do cover those other things on the
list can I be more focused on the actual question it’s like yeah you know race in
America and the idea of fixed ethnic identity is a big problem in American
history it’s one of the original problems with American history in
American society it continues to be a problem and if you’re a libertarian if
you’re an individualist if you’re a rationalist I would and I would suspect
you know people like Richard Spencer are pathetic and they are anti libertarian I
mean in the panic attack Robbi suave his book he interviews Richard Spencer so he
talks to Richard Spencer and Richard Spencer says I hate libertarians I’m the
anti libertarian that’s one of the reasons and people who are obsessed with
Spig skin pigmentation you know and then they’re like well what about inflation
or what about dropping bombs it’s like that’s your problem it’s not our problem
we’re being consistent when we push back against dumb ideas that screw up
individuals and keep them from being able to participate in life liberty and
the pursuit of happiness there’s a I think people like tend to project what
they feel defensive about as being our priorities like you know why are you so
obsessed with people having strong opinions on skin pigmentation that’s not
as a percentage of our coverage I don’t know um and and as Nick rightly points
out you know the I think the greatest sentence against and I won’t be able to
quote it because I’m bad about how stupid racism is comes from Iran I mean
it’s like it’s it is it is like the dumbest form of collectivism possible so
that’s a that’s a loose paraphrase we have been running now for going on like
20 minutes should we keep on going man keep on going marathon let’s it’s just
getting started a couple more here ok thank you for listening the the end of
2nd act break yeah yeah it’s just a way of Nick what is the most libertarian
music genre Stephen wants to know oh that’s a great question yeah you know
they’d the easy answer is to say Punk but I’m gonna go with progressive rock
yeah no I think that’s the actually the correct answer is that prog rock I’d
like to think that even he would know I got to him but what I was going to say
what I like about progressive rock is that it is the one of the things I love
about rock music and particularly I think rock is a genre that era is over
it’s more of a historical thing than an aesthetic thing or anything but
progressive rock you have people who have a little bit of knowledge of stuff
and then they just make put together the dumbest things in the world because they
don’t know better or they don’t care and they create their own tradition they
create their I mean listening to stuff like ELP or yes or Genesis it’s on some
level it’s profoundly stupid and I don’t say that as a criticism it’s just it’s
so dumb and cobbled together and it’s like you know what this sounds good or I
learned this when I was taking keyboard lessons and it just becomes this great
self-made kind of medium and there’s a brokenness – it is really delay yeah and
and punk is also DIY stripped down so – but it’s the thing that’s great about
popular music and about rock music and whatnot I think in general and it’s true
of all other types of art forms is that it’s DIY and it’s kind of fascinating
when you think about the intersection of you know a free time because after World
War two kids didn’t have to work and they had a lot of downtime cheap musical
instruments the intense boredom visited upon them by public school and and
private school for that matter and kind of freedom from dealing with their
parents and a desire to do something new like that’s all just wonderful and it
gets mashed together into you know just great ridiculous overblown
you know leftoverture by Kansas or whatever or you know a quadruple or ten
album set by ELP you know it’s just great uh I’m just going to invent an
answer which it has a lot of the same characteristics as next but the surf
music bored bored suburban kids and late 50s and early 60s playing garage rock in
their garages oh and there’s no question that Dick Dale not his real name the
king of the surf guitar who started out in Boston in the Boston area and ended
up in Southern California is like read his Wikipedia entry and you’re like this
guy is a libertarian aerates Armenian American Lebanese armenian though
william ass and this is obviously for peter why is the idea of living forever
IE after we die we go into existence in heaven or hell
unidirectional doesn’t forever imply that a thing always was and always will
be in a forward and backwards direction in relation to time Matt and then he
says technically two questions sorry okay so so the question is the question
there is basically what about dr. Manhattan from from Watchmen become
doctor Manhattan for Peter transcend cross humanity he goes into the the the
trans fixer machine I forget what it’s called and has his atom scrambled and
then he becomes a creature beyond time and an end you know what like I guess
I’m gonna kind of reject that like the original question there about like wait
is infinity from now until forever or is it both ways until forever if you reach
that state does it matter wow what kind of doctor was dr. rad
honey definitely I could then some sort of physicist I believe yeah maybe Jeff
asks a question that might be a good starting to wrap up type of thing he
asks a series of questions I’m just gonna do one and direct it at Jeff is it
Jo or GE Oh mr. Jeff Jackie if it’s Jeff yeah that way
look there’s a lot of aesthetics to Dame’s that we
to really get into in the second 90 minutes yes okay Nick yeah is Nick Nick
is a great American name is it was a little Greek to be quite honest you know
is reason having Katherine a lasting effect persuading non libertarians to
accept more libertarian positions please give some specific examples criminal
justice reform what appears to be him in that marijuana legalization are
encouraging developments however the renewed popularity of socialism as an
idea dramatic increases in federal spending and regulation in the 21st
century multiple ongoing foreign interventions in the crackdown on
immigration are very discouraging is reason making a difference overall
Katherine Bank award god I hope so otherwise a lot of us have just wasted a
lot of time here I find it interesting that that questioner didn’t ask about
skin pigmentation I mean where their priorities um no I think I think the
answer is yes I think the answer is yes for many of the positive reasons that
were just listed there also just gonna use this specific example of like you
know people who I have seen over time exposed to libertarian ideas you know my
family my close friends who have gone from sort of general incomprehension of
libertarianism or a vague sense that probably were just actually
conservatives to a broader awareness of libertarianism as its own thing
so while awareness-raising is always an annoying answer to questions like this i
think the idea of a political philosophy that is centered around free minds and
free markets and and individual liberties and and human rights is is an
idea that has like penetrated the general culture a bit more people don’t
seem as uncompromising to give a little shout out to the reason
foundation the nonprofit that publishes Reason magazine
and who will actually be the beneficiary of your donation should you choose to
donate they do a whole bunch of work on the local and state level that is really
hard long-haul stuff but that really is can be a pretty substantial benefit to
actual human beings and this is you know for many years ago like privatization of
waste collection I mean not necessarily glamorous stuff if you’ve ever driven on
a toll road I think reason can take some credit for
that and if you’ve ever been incarcerated in a private prison yes
you’re welcome and so I think that kind of stuff you
know pension reform is a big thing that we’re working on now school choice you
know there have there have been real strides in those areas and that’s not
because of liberals and it’s not because of conservatives it really is because of
people who are doing the libertarian thing do you feel that way bad you’re
nearing the end of your life yes is that a life well spent one of the areas in
which I think our work helped kind of see that broader understanding is
particularly in criminal justice reform I mean seven years ago
counts on one hand the number of media organizations that was talking about
civil asset forfeiture right it’s like Jacob Solem was and nobody else in
Radley Balko – who got his journalistic chops at reason it was us and we were
framing a lot of policing issues in terms of the criminalization of police
in terms of no-knock raids that were happening elsewhere bail systems that
just sort of like trap people into a cycle of squeezing down poor people
these are things that we wrote about consistently all the time and obviously
drug war but like very specific you know forensics fraud everywhere around us the
kind of phony science that goes with it the way that prosecutors and cops too
often have real ironclad immunity and they can tell lies and not be uh not be
punished for it and when the Ferguson Missouri happened in 2014 there’s sort
of a nationwide a sense of awareness about the
criminalization of the militarization of police or I should say that conversation
was a conversation that used our vocabulary and we helped specifically
produce that understanding I think what you’re saying is like dot dot Kim
Kardashian pretty much yeah I mean you know the the something credit for that
some of the people who helped push through criminal justice reform in not
grown in big reform but a little bit the first step act with the Trump White
House are like diehard libertarian reason fans who have worked with Kim
Kardashian to help make this happen I will I feel very good about that and I
think that that I think the world I mean you were talking about in recent podcast
Nick I think it’s an interesting point where like all the Democratic candidates
now except for the 75 year old you know Corn Pops are in favor of legalizing
marijuana at least a few of them listen well I wouldn’t put Bernie as a corn pop
well he supports marijuana legalization anyway anyway so there are basically
almost the entire field support this and it’s not well suddenly that they all got
brave it’s just that the country moved in this direction about this issue just
in a momentous I think style well yeah I think you know the as I get older and I
think about this stuff more and I get more and more kind of you know distant
from partisan politics and whatnot I think of libertarian as an adjective as
a direction as a kind of default setting and there’s no question over the past
the 51 or 52 years I’ve reason has existed the country has become vastly
more libertarian and you know we’re more comfortable with the idea of choice in
every aspect of our lives and the and letting other people have choices etc we
individualize our sensibility the way we did the way we eat the way we dress the
way we live the way we work the way we you know get married all of that and I
think reason has played a an essential role in that and that also said that’s
one of the reasons why social conservatives don’t matter anymore I
mean there’s they still have a voting bloc in all of that but they don’t
matter Donna Trump you know he throws bones to the
religious right but he’s you know he’s living proof that the religious right
doesn’t matter anymore he could not have been elected president if they were
really powerful anymore they’re chasing after him and it also just got to ten
years from now when nationalism is like fully back well well this is the you
know the the real kind of battle lines now and on the right there is this
resurgence of kind of nationalism and of a collectivist American identity that
says you all have to look like Mike Pence you have to be male and look like
Mike Pence otherwise you’re not really American
we might suffer you to live here but then on the left and on the progressive
left you see this when you know people in a OCS Posse is kind of like the you
know they’re the Spice Girls of a new kind of weird collectivism where they
say you know literally like if you have we don’t need brown voices we don’t need
black voices or gay voices that are not progressive so like if you actually you
know are like chance the rapper or Kanye West or something and you say you know
what maybe all blacks don’t have to vote for a Democratic Party or you can be
individualistic etc like we don’t want you here that’s the real battle line and
that’s where I think the libertarian sensibility is most important and it’s
also you know I look at 50 years of reason I’m happy to have been working
here and you know but I’m more happy that it exists and that I was able to
read it and have it inform the way I think about individualism and the
possibilities of the future I really thought we were gonna make it through a
whole podcast about any Spice Girls references Nick no it can’t be God a
suitor man you live in DC do you see reason affecting this yeah so I mean if
the question is wait wait can we let’s just die late on this one how bad a hell
bath its bath of hell things you all know what a hell bath
house mostly though the fire not the water it’s a lake of cleaning so it does
get kind of confusing maybe there’s some Dante and level in which we were like
just it’s getting Prunier and Prunier it’s dude soup he’s going where the bad
folks go when they die they go to a hell bath where the Angels don’t fly I think
yes reason makes a difference in the lives of
millions of people who read our website all the time it makes a difference in
the lives of many many many many many podcast readers
excuse me podcast listeners what’s I was having that was well Chia there the
podcast listeners who I mean it has just been it has been incredible to see here
how many people listen and and are affected by it but I would also say you
mentioned Radley Balko and this is sort of the inside-the-beltway thing that I
think we do that recent magazine specifically does really well is that
doing good work at Reason magazine creates opportunities to do good work
elsewhere for less obviously receptive audiences and so one of the things that
that reason writers get to do is write for The Washington Post in The New York
Times in The Wall Street Journal and these these publications with truly
giant national and international wreaths reaches and we get to do that because
because people have donated to Reason magazine and funded our jobs and allowed
us to to spend time doing work here first and that exists because because
reason exists and so that is that is something that that is very important
that that I have personally sort of experienced and benefited from
Kathimerini award here has written several you know like Sunday Review
cover stories over the last couple of years for the New York Times that
happens because Reason magazine exists and without without sort of the and it’s
not quite a testing grounds but in some ways the proving grounds of Reason
magazine those are those voices don’t appear in the New York Times and in the
Washington Post and in the Wall Street Journal those voices are absent and that
that’s a different world and one that I think is not as good a world I think
that’s a great place to stop thank you Peter neck Catherine and especially
everyone listening to this this far and thank you for your questions I got good
no they were like I like I just want to really say the people who send questions
so far exceeded my expectations as to make me have bad feelings about my
expectations so what did you have the soft bigotry of low expectations going
into this because sometimes people on the Internet
but these internet people who sent us questions for this podcast today we’re
good super good and again a great questions and many of them were really
great that we didn’t have time to get to and only a few of them that we didn’t
have time to get to we’re not great you can you can feel free to angrily retweet
your questions at us and we will try to answer them in the Twitter’s Oh bring it
and we’ll be having a choice webathon content throughout the course of it
which running from today December 3rd until something like what the future
date of future looks like for a week yeah whatever thumb we’ll be running all
week we’ll have a lot of different content blog posts and such like here go
to reason.com slash donate it was hard and see about all the giving levels and
swag and fun that you can have in return for giving us money and thank you very
much for listening and during that good wish we should have a reason back hub
that’s just reason slash back slash you have to type the word a backslash nope
we should get our way edit should redirect to the so in answer your
questions yes Katherine feels like firing Peter right now

 

39 Responses

  1. watchdealer11

    December 6, 2019 8:21 pm

    How can we win the immigration debate? Many conservatives and "Libertarians" are too far on the anti side of the issue.

    Reply
  2. SJ L

    December 7, 2019 1:22 am

    There needs to be a "silent majority" SNL/Dennis Miller/Politically Incorrect type show, maybe mixed with a Firing Line. Most Americans have some Libretarian values even if they're ok with the idea of public roads…There are a lot of center right comics and celebrities if you think about it and a show like that could be done online these days… I've got a couple of bucks and some ideas if anyone wants to give it a shot.

    Reply
  3. Tyler1989

    December 7, 2019 3:09 am

    Pot legalization and gay marriage? Those are the victories you guys are touting? How about the patriot act? The TSA? The DHLS? The NDAA? Reason is either incredibly naive or shills for the NWO.

    Reply
  4. Paul America

    December 7, 2019 4:53 am

    My understanding is that immigrants vote overwhelmingly Democrat. The more you let in, the less hope libertarianism has. Yet you guys are super pro immigration. Is this not self defeating? Are you just praying the immigrants will someday be convinced by your lovely arguments? Even though there is no evidence that they are turning that way?

    Reply
  5. Julian T.

    December 7, 2019 12:42 pm

    Consider improving the comment section, maybe with Disqus or something. Or at least add some options like editing comment, notifications, and/or checking comment history. Because the one on Reason right now is pretty spartan and not very appealing.

    Reply
  6. Julian T.

    December 7, 2019 12:59 pm

    Schumpeter may be proven right in the way capitalism will be ditched in America. Just look at the supposed conservatives like Tucker Carlson and his viewers who won't shut up about plants moving from rural Nebraska, while pointing the finger at big business greed and Wall Street. The populace in general (outside of economists, economic literates, and level-headed pragmatists) just has a hard time accepting creative destruction and the constant relocation of capital as one of the ways wealth gets created in a capitalist system.

    Reply
  7. macsnafu

    December 7, 2019 3:56 pm

    10:16 the cost of obtaining documents from the government.
    Gee, Peter, why don't you do an article on that? Or have you already and I missed it?
    45:50 Speaking of public libraries, how can libertarians be for them? Or rather, if public libraries have any legitimate purpose, it would have to be for providing government documents, you know, those documents that Peter has to pay a lot of money to get, but shouldn't have to.

    I got into an online argument about a video that talked about libraries. Sure, I recognize that the taxes that go towards libraries are pretty darn small compared to the tax money that goes to other things like welfare and the military. So complaining about libraries might seem like nitpicking, but it's still using coercive force to fund something that people may or may not want and may or may not use. And who goes to the library to check out classic literature or actual educational materials? My local library system has audio books, music cd's, and popular dvds, not to mention their online services with e-books, music downloads, and other stuff. Gee, isn't it great I can go to my local library and check out the latest Cinematic Marvel Universe movies or the music of Carly Rae Jepsen? Who could possibly be against libraries?

    I like libraries, but strictly speaking, public libraries really have little or no place in the libertarian view, and with the internet, e-books, downloadable music, streaming video, and other options that are so readily available today, libraries are just duplicating already existing services.

    1:17:53 Progrock as the most libertarian musical genre? Hmm…hadn't really occurred to me, but Nick might have a good point. I like the 70s prog of Yes, Genesis, and ELP, but never really considered that there might be some political characterization to it. Maybe I've overlooked something.

    Reply
  8. juan herrera

    December 7, 2019 4:28 pm

    16:03 difference between editors
    17:43 Nick Gillespie's leather jacket(s)
    20:10 Any life shows planned?
    21:12 What's the best case for Impeachment?
    30:06 What's your favorite book?
    36:08 Peter's political ideology. Is he more of a Centrist?
    42:55 Why does Katherine hate ownership? Why is renting better?
    45:50 Why does Nick hate libraries?
    48:45 Isn't it true Matt Welch uses amazing metaphors
    49:50 How would you advise Justin Amash to run as a Libertarian against Trump
    54:24 greatest tech advice they have received
    57:49 Which fictional character would be a great President?
    59:20 New Zealeand moving away from Socialism. Rogernomics
    1:03:12 Nick Gillespie with a John Bolton style mustache?
    1:06:00 cocktail ingredients
    1:09:06 when are we gonna have the debt crisis
    1:14:02 why does Reason hate people who talk to Richard Spencer
    1:17:52 Most libertarian music genre?

    Reply
  9. Anthony Burke

    December 7, 2019 8:47 pm

    Here's a question that NEEDS an answer:

    Why does reason support open borders when the concept clearly, and egregiously, violates the non-aggression principle and volunteerism?

    Reply
  10. Artemas Ward

    December 8, 2019 3:30 pm

    Rabbit holes are not reasonable. So if you are not defending democracy and instead side with those who do not believe in the rule of law and promote Falun Gong or Putinist theories you are no better than marxists.

    Reply

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