Matt Kibbe: This is the Libertarian Moment

"It's not really about Republican versus Democrat anymore. This is our [libertarian] moment. This is our chance to redefine the conversation," says Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks

Reason editor-in-chief Matt Welch caught up with Kibbe at the  FreedomFest 2013 in Las Vegas.  Kibbe discusses the need for accountability in Washington, DC to ensure that civil liberties are not trampled on by power-hungry politicians. He believes that the Tea Party and the growing number of libertarians will be a critical element in bringing about a more responsible political class. 

About 4 minutes.

Edited by Amanda Winkler. Camera by Paul Detrick and Alex Manning.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "2014 could be that moment that this coalition emerges en force."

    I think you see your potential leaders staking out their libertarian or statist positions during primaries, but when the general election comes around it's the statist who will generally have emerged to get on the ticket. The powers that be in the Republican Party get frightened and in turn frighten voters to go that direction. Democrat voters seem to go that way no matter what. Having said that, mid-terms are probably you best chance for change in government.

  • Snark Plissken||

    I think people employed at a libertarian magazine have an incentive to see the tide turning their way, for their sanity if nothing else.

  • JWatts||

    Regarding the video, it would be nice to believe now is the moment, and I certainly think the trend is that way. But I don't think we're there yet.

    Let's face it President Obama is the dominant force in American politics today. The majority of the media implicitly supports him. He has solid backing among Progressive, Democrats and minorities.

    Furthermore, when Obamacare kicks in, the deficit may blossom, but a very large amount of people will start getting a significant amount of Federal subsidies. Obama has managed to successfully expand the welfare state to a degree not seen in 50 years.

    I believe that Obama backed by Democrats and aided by the press will blame the obvious flaws and the costs of Obamacare on the right. I understand that this doesn't make any logical sense, but it doesn't have to.

    Yes, we'll have huge persistent deficits, but we've had those since 2008 and yet Obama still manages to claim that it's all Bush's fault. And people who are getting a large subsidy to purchase healthcare, won't care. Once you get people addicted to a subsidy, it's very hard to ever shut it off. Keep in mind that the current estimate is that half of the population buying individual healthcare will qualify for "free" money.

    I think Obama has successfully permanently expanded the role of Federal government in the US economy.

  • John||

    Two words, media and culture. Until Libertarians are at least a player in those, they are not winning the argument. We have a horrible backward looking and dogmatic mass culture and an even worse media, both of which are totally hostile to freedom and all of the tenents of Libertarianism. That has to change before anything else does.

  • VG Zaytsev||


    The best way to advance libertarian ideas at this point is for libertarians to infiltrate pop culture and subtly insert libertarian themes.

  • Thomas O.||

    If the Libertarian Party wishes to gain some more clout, they'll need a definitive animal mascot too. Like it or not, the donkey and elephant are ingrained in our political culture, let alone all our editorial cartoons. We need to give the cartoonists and illustrators something to work with, if the LP wants to escape second-class status.

  • ||

    You expect to go to bed under the light of a statist moon and wake up the next morning in libertopia?

    The "libertarian moment" isn't a revolution, it's an opportunity.

    Baby steps.

  • JWatts||

    I've got no problem with Baby steps, but Obamacare seems like a large step backward.

    The decriminalization of marijuana and gay marriage are steps forward, but they don't come close to the impact of Obamacare in the opposite direction.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    You're assuming that Obamacare will 'work' as in providing benefits with diffuse costs.

    But it won't. It is anti Welfare - all costs and no benefits. The shit will hit the fan when it kicks in and that will provide an opportunity for libertarian ideas.

  • Libertarius||

    These guys still think a contradiction can be valid. There. is. no. such. thing. as. a. free. lunch., boys.

    Obummerkare is a fucking disaster and it's only going to get worse. Not to mention, it will probably be the last fiscal straw that collapses the government.

    Don't make the mistake of thinking the leftoids' free lunch party can go on forever; it can't and it's not going to.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    The purpose of Obamacare is to lead to socialized medicine. Once that happens then good luck!

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I dunno. Alarmism has sold a lot of newspapers and magazines.

  • Snark Plissken||

    One of the top stories on BBC.

    A US woman has won a battle to have her full name put on her driving licence.

    "The policeman looked at my licence and saw I had no first name. I told him it is not my fault that my licence and state ID are not correct and I am trying to get it corrected," she said.

    "He then told me 'Well, you can always change your name back to your maiden name.' This hurt my heart."

    Over the last 22 years I have seen... the culture of Hawaii being trampled upon and this policeman treated my name as if it was mumbo-jumbo”

    Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuli-heekahaunaele

    "Over the last 22 years I have seen... the culture of Hawaii being trampled upon and this policeman treated my name as if it was mumbo-jumbo."

    Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele - who got her name after marrying in 1992 - said that her name had many layers of meanings including "one who would stand up and get people to focus in one direction when there was chaos and confusion, and help them emerge from disorder".

    Sorry, but I'm siding with the cop on this one.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I'm moving to Hawaii and changing my last name to "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

    (The irony is that my new name without spaces is rejected by H&R!)

  • Snark Plissken||

    Consti-what? Talk about mumbo-jumbo.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    It's just a traditional religious thing. Because of that Separation of Church and State keeps it out of the schools.

  • John||

    You just believe in a bunch of words written by dead people a really long time ago. And Ezra Klein told me that who Constitution thing is written in Latin or Sanskrit or something and is really hard to understand.


    Millenial dumbass.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Yeah well, I live "up the country" where we ignorantly laminate ourselves with our religions, our firearms and our xenophobias.
    Around here, Bitter Clinger is more than a character off a Korean War sitcom.

  • John||

    People should embrace that term. I am a bitter clinger as well. We need t-shirts and meetings.

  • From the Tundra||

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Even the Bitter Clingers love the big three social programs (SS, Medicare, Medicaid).

    Economic libertarianism is going nowhere.

  • John||

    Go fuck yourself you ignorant little fascist. Take your fucking forced to contribute at gun point programs and shove them up your ass the next time one of your johns wants to fist you for their 20 bucks.

    How dare you bring that bullshit "because you take advantage of this program that we forced you to contribute to by law, you must love governemt" in here.

  • tarran||

    Remember, John, insane homeless creature that reeks of urine screaming at the wall.

    Debating shriek is pointless. I doubt it could pass a Turing test at this point.

  • fish_remote||

    John....take it easy on ass cork....he's got battered woman syndrome.

  • Hopfiend||

    I doubt Medicaid is all that popular, among the clingers. Medicare and SS are, for the most part, but won't be after the benefit payouts start being means tested.

    But, yes, I agree with you, Americans are pretty dumb economically speaking.

    p.s., a 94% Libertarian probably wouldn't necessarily refer to people who exercised their 1A and 2A rights pejoratively.

  • Hopfiend||

    And meant to add when the cap on SS taxes is removed.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Either means tests or cap removal would be a watershed event - but unlikely in my opinion.

    Nevertheless, the vast majority of social spending is on the elderly even as Medicaid changes. Food stamps and TANF are only 3% of the federal budget.

    To realize economic libertarianism the elderly will have to be jettisoned off the dole. Rand Paul will find that a tough sell.

  • tarran||

    The thing about medicare is that the social security administration, contrary to the law, requires a person to sign up for medicare, or confiscates their social security "savings".

    It's a giant fucking scam.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I doubt Medicaid is all that popular, among the clingers. Medicare and SS are, for the most part, but won't be after the benefit payouts start being means tested.

    Which is why it's stupid for libertarians to talk about ending those programs. There's tons of shit that the fed do that are more destructive than SS and medicare; that are not popular at all.

    Start with ending that shit and work towards reform (revocation) of SS and medicare.

  • Shmurphy||

    And hello, military spending! Even the media and the neocons are slowly coming around to realist our adventurism needs to come to an end at some point.

  • John||

    I am changing mine to "Fuck you that is why". Love to see the look on the first cop's face who demands my ID.

  • tarran||

    There was some guy who did a great comedy routine of a cop pulling over a hispanic guy named Jesus. The routine was racist (regionalist?) as heck against southern whites but very funny.

  • Hopfiend||

    personal fave was the Mel Brooks waiter at the last supper bit in History of the World Part 1

  • tarran||

    Jesus "One of you has already betrayed me!"

    Disciples: "Who, Master, tell us who?!?"

    Waiter: "Judas!"

    Judas: "Aaaah!"

    Waiter: "Do you want a beverage?"

  • Hopfiend||

    Cracks me up, every time. Brooks, in his heyday was the funniest guy in movies.

  • General Butt Naked||

    This is terrible news.

    I just want the HI DMV to be a pall bearer at my funeral so they can let me down one last time.

  • John||

    It is the new professionalism!!

    Cops trying to subdue an emotionally disturbed man with a long rap sheet accidentally shot two female bystanders outside Port Authority Bus Terminal on Saturday night, source said...

    Two cops pulled off a total of three shots in the mistaken belief that the deranged man was armed after he reached into his pocket as they approached him, officials said.

    Three shots because the guy reached into his pocket. They didn't even see a gun. And of course all three shots missed their target, two of which hit people who happened to be walking by. Being trigger happy and making up for it by being a horrible shot is no way to go through life. Of course, nothing will happen as a result of this. This is what, the second time in a year that some flatfoot in New York has gone berserk and started shooting on a crowded street?

  • Live Free or Diet||

    NYC has a long record of panic, spray and pray. Anybody still remember Amadou Diallo? 41 shots fired at one unarmed man by 4 cops, February 4th, 1999.

  • John||

    I remember. And as I recall they were not even there to arrest Diallo. He was just some poor bastard they happened to run into. It is just disgraceful.

    I honestly think that if a soldier in Kabul cacked off three rounds hitting two bystanders because the guy he was there to confront reached in his pocket, the soldier would likely face dicipline. And these cops won't get anything but a paid vacation to celebrate.

    We let cops treat Americans worse than we let soldiers treat Afghans.

  • fish_remote||

    Soldiers don't have unions.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I think libertarians are winning the arguments on national security, government overreach (size), and culture war stuff (gay marriage, pot legalization). But I don't see us winning on economics - which is a damn shame because we should be. I want to see the lib/repubs like Rand Paul speaking about economic freedom more. They need to tie in over regulation with corporate crony-capitalism and talk relentlessly about how that chokes off opportunities for individuals.

  • John||

    That is because Libertarians are still not winning the larger culture war against progs. Progs still think of themselves and are viewed by the low information public as being for the little guy. As long as that continues to be true, Libertarians are going to lose the economic argument, which is by far their strongest argument and the most important one. Who cares if you can have all the pot and gay sex you want, if the economy sucks. And libertarians have to win the economic argument or they will always be a fringe ideology of pot smokers and sodomites who are smart enough not to be socialists.

  • Nazdrakke||

    A bit of a long read, but somewhat related.

    This is the challenge that capitalism faces in the world today -- whether it will rise to the challenge is perhaps the most urgent question of our time, and those who refuse to confront this challenge are doing no service to reason or to human dignity and freedom. Bad myths can only be driven out by better myths, and unless capitalism can provide a better myth than socialism, the latter will again prevail.

  • John||

    Libertarianism doesn't have a myth. But classical liberalism does or at least used to. It was called the American dream and Horatio Alger, and the homesteader and so forth. Liberals spent the entire 20th Century taking over the schools and media for single purpose of destroying those myths. Somehow the ideal American went from the guy who starts with nothing and builds his own life through hard work to the community organizer or the nonprofit working do gooder out to change the world. The guy who works for a living producing things people need and want is now the villain.

  • JWatts||

    classical liberalism does .... Liberals spent the entire 20th Century taking over

    Indeed, they even took over the name Liberal, even though they are against a good chuck of what classic liberalism stood for.

  • Tony||

    No they are just not dogmatic--they recognize new opportunities for the advancement of liberty. People pleasuring themselves with the label "classical liberal" are really just conservatives who don't want to advance liberty any more than it already has--and would really prefer to turn back the clock. Not everything was figured out 200 years ago.

  • JWatts||

    That's an ignorant statement.

    Classical liberalism is a political philosophy and ideology belonging to liberalism in which primary emphasis is placed on securing the freedom of the individual by limiting the power of the government.

  • Acosmist||

    Gay marriage was not a win for libertarians. It was mostly a fuck you to the wrong type of white person. It was a culture war battle - its pro-liberty aspect was incidental.

    Look at how it worked with that photographer - fuck freedom, the culture war needs to be won.

  • John||

    Bjorn Lomborg walks among the ignorants at the Washington Post. Oh God the comments. My eyes, my eyes.

  • John||

    I am stuck using explorer for a browser right now. My God is it horrible. I literally can't find a single website that runs properly on it. And apparently no one has security certficates that meet Explorer's standards. It is amazing how bad it is and how much worse of a product it is compared to even five or ten years ago. It is just unusable.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Microsoft is the main reason I don't buy into the idea that the free market doesn't support monopolies making inferior crap. IBM is the second reason.

  • John||

    Monopolies can exist. They just don't exist forever. Microsoft is a good example. They basically have a monopoly on the desktop operating system. The thing is desktop and even laptop computers are becoming a thing of the past and microsoft along with it.

    Occasionally there is a particular product that lends itself to the creation of a monopoly. But that monopoly never lasts because consumers find alternatives to the product even where they can't compete with the monopoly in the market for the product itself.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Yes, and IBM's sorta monopoly was disrupted by the PC and Microsoft. What they weren't disrupted by was the fact that they made consistently mediocre to awful products.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Microsoft is the main reason I don't buy into the idea that the free market doesn't support monopolies making inferior crap.

    Could Microsoft exist without the current IP paradigm?

  • johnl||

    IBM for hardware is so much worse than Microsoft for software.

  • mnarayan||

    And apparently no one has security certficates that meet Explorer's standards.

    I wonder if they're doing image analysis, or merely text matching against phrases such as "big boned" and "plus sized". If the former, it's actually kind of impressive.

  • John||

    Slate publishes the ultimate liberal fantasy "George Zimmerman doing a Sandyhook type massacre". It is is like some kind of mashup from the Onion. Every day is a new level of hateful and stupid with these people.

  • ||

    Why do you do this to yourself?

  • John||

    Because it is easy to forget sometimes just how horrible these people are. The major media are complete scum. That fact can never be confirmed or repeated enough.

  • Nyarlarrythotep||

    Do you really think so? Is that really your best guess? Because that is the same thing the liberal progressives say: "my ideological opponents are evil."

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Progressives project their own hatred and bigotry onto their opponents.

    Look at the proglodyte that goes by Palins Buttplug here. Everytime it gets flustered it hurls homophobic insults - but claims that everyone else is a bigot.

  • tarran||

    If I were in George Zimmerman's shoes, (a) I'd give my ex-wife every bit of property she wanted - but no alimony.
    (b) I'd move to North Dakota and get a job in the natural gas industry.
    (c) I'd never set foot in Florida again.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    He's going to get a huge settlement from NBC and never have to work again.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    No doubt she's going to claim half.

  • John||

    This ought to be a huge scandal but won't be. First, because most people are stupid, they don't understand the significance of the FBI running a server, enabling people to store child porn on it, then infected everyone who used the server with mallware that violated their privacy, despite the fact there was no reason to believe any individual was doing anything wrong.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Satire or not?

    Tony Inian Hlaode • a day ago −

    Your "witty commentary" can't hide the outrageous racism underlying your post. Bush initiated every program in current use and his transgressions against privacy were used as tools against his political enemies. In fact, Bush's infatuation with destroying his political enemies were the genesis of these programs. To put it more bluntly, Bush initiated these programs solely to commit egregious, unforgivable crimes against America's citizenry.

    President Obama, to the contrary, is using these programs to fight the most hideous of crimes perpetrated against children, *NOT* (like Bush) to wage war against his political opposition. President Obama loves our country and her children and is doing everything within his powers to legally protect them. It follows, therefore, that your main objection to this particular program is not driven by privacy concerns. Especially telling are your comments about dissent and re-education -- they come straight from the Teabagger lexicon. It's clear that your objections stem from a deeply rooted hatred of whatever President Obama accomplishes simply because he is black. Such is the driving force behind the Teabagger movement and your use of their terms is a dead giveaway of your not-so thinly veiled racism. So I suggest you cut your transparent snark because we can all see through it. And what we see is nothing more than a deeply held hatred for a black man
  • The Late P Brooks||

    The problem is this: people join the government because they want to govern. Aside from Alfred Kahn, when in the last hundred years has anybody, elected or appointed, taken charge of a government agency and reduced the scope of its power?


  • John||

    Bureaucracies are wonderful about seducing people. You take over an agency and everyone treats you well. They all tell you how smart and important you are. And very quickly you start to feel loyal to them and fighting for their interests against other agencies, even if what you are doing goes against everything you believe. People just can't help themselves. It is more than just the desire for power.

    I remember reading an interview with Jerry Garcia a few years before he died. He was saying how touring with the Grateful Dead was killing him. He knew he only had a couple of years to live if he didn't quit. But everytime he was ready to quit there were all of these people who had kids and mortgages and whose livelyhood depended on them goint out on the road every year. So he kept going out because he just didn't have the heart to put those people out of work. The guy was killing himself rather than say no.

    The same dynamic goes on with even the best and well meaning agency heads. They get there and the entire environment is set up to seduce them and make them feel like no matter how bad government is, our place is different. It would take someone with a monumental hatred of the agency to resist that. I could do it if you put me in charge of the DEA or the FBI. But someone who hates an organization as much as I hate those two, will never get such an appointment even from the most Libertarian of adminstrations, if there was such a thing.

  • tarran||

    Not to mention the dynamic captured perfectly in "Yes Minister", were the civil servants manipulate the political appointees life mushroom farmers growing a crop.

  • John||

    Yup. The top people only know what they are told, which isn't much. If you ever really want to destroy an organization, hire someone from the mid level ranks. They are likely to be disgruntled and will know exactly where the organizations weak points are.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    John, that's an excellent argument for returning to a spoils system.

  • John||

    And even if you had the right amount of hate, you would have to uderstand their culture and how they worked to kill them. And the people who understand the culture and thus have the expertise necessary to kill them, are almost never the people who also have the will and desire to kill them.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Firing bureaucrats means laying people off and cutting off free shit from some people. If you are friends people than that will be difficult. Not to mention your enemies and the media will demonize you for it.

  • Ross||

    The Libertarian moment is fine but I'm wondering what is the Libertarian Party doing to capitalize on this movement? I here about the tea party and libertarian leaning republicans but at some point won't libertarians need a home of their own instead of being a sub-group in the republican party?

  • tarran||

    The libertarian party is a sucker's game.

    Some very nice people work very hard at playing it, but it's a sucker's game where the deck is stacked so that they will always lose.

    As John said above, liberty is a cultural thing. In areas of our culture/society that people value it, and punish politicians for not valuing it, the state grudgingly respects it, even though it's all Democrats and Republicans manning the offices.

    Culture is where the battle is.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    So who is more delusional? German Communists in 1933 or American libertarians in 2013?

    What are the chances that Congress can in fact cut spending? And with all the media and cultural outlets against them then what chance does libertarianism have?

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Also the free shit was running out in Germany in the early 1930s. The Nazis and the Communists were the main beneficiaries of the crises and You Know Who gained power as a result of that.

  • Nyarlarrythotep||

    The day I give a shit what Matt Kibbe and FreedomWorks thinks about anything will be a dark day. They're not libertarians; they're dicks.

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