New at Reason.tv: Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds on Blogging, Heinleinian Libertarianism, and Why the Republicans Are "Less Bad"

Glenn Reynolds, professor of law at the University of Tennessee, began a personal weblog in August 2001 to comment and link to the day's news, politics, and technological developments. The website, which he gave the self-mocking name of Instapundit, quickly became the most popular and influental of current-events blogs that arose in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Reynolds, who has described his politics as "libertarian," has long been a champion of technological liberation, a supporter of the Iraq War, and an agitator for more social and fiscal libertarianism within the Republican Party. In this interview with Reason.tv Editor Nick Gillespie, the Instapundit talks about his approach to blogging, his disappointment in President Obama's social policies, and the obscure connection between Sarah Palin and a World War II-based video game.

Approximately 9 minutes. Shot and edited by Dan Hayes.

Go here for embed code, iPod, HD, and audio versions.

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  • ||

    Hey, GOP. Call me when you finally purge the theocons and learn that liberty isn't cheerfully doing as you're told. We'll do lunch.

  • ||

    Let the avalanche of Insta-hate begin!

    Dibs on the "no true Scotsman libertarian" hate.

  • ||

    The danegeld is paid.

    For now.

  • ||

    Reynolds is frequently on the side of the angels, but he does have a tendency to make the occasional--and distressing--lurch to the GOP's point of view.

    I do like--and share--his technophilia.

  • ||

    The GOP isn't going to purge itself of theocons any more than the LP is going to purge itself of troofers. But in neither case do the parties have to cater to the whims of the angry fringe. It is entirely possible for theocons to to be members of the Republican Party without them being in control of it.

  • Solanum||

    Shut the fuck up, Lonewacko.

  • ||

    It'd sure be nice if the GOP were dominated by limited government folks, even if they aren't quite libertarians.

  • JB||

    Off-topic, but it appears that what stimulates Obama is 4 men, 3 women, and a gorilla:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/29/stimulus-funds-art-houses-showing-pervert-revues-underground-pornography/

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Sorry, Glenn, but I used to once think that the Republicans were less bad, but do you know what instructed me differently? 2001-2007, when the President vetoed almost nothing in terms of big government because it came from his own party. It was only when there was an opposite party that the veto pun got dusted off.

    Meaning that the Republican Party, top to bottom, is totally devoid of principles. They have been running on the fumes of philosophy provided to them by Ayn Rand and the Old Right, without understanding the principles behind the words they mouth.

  • Ska||

    I can't watch the video - the important thing to me is what WWII video game ??

  • JB||

    SugarFree, yeah because those theocons are just so scary. I mean all that regression in terms of gay rights and other social issues over the past few years. When we are making such wonderful progress on the fiscal front, it obviously makes sense to worry about the theocons and their vaunted advances. ...

    It's like worrying about a gnat while being eaten by a grizzly.

  • ||

    I heartily endorse TAO's condemnation of the party leadership, but I do think the voters have merely been foolish, not necessarily unprincipled. Very few Republicans I know aren't pro-market and in favor of limited government. The problem is that they've been made so scared of the Democratic bogeyman (with some, but not enough, justification, given the behavior of the GOP's leadership), that they've just blindly supported GOP politicians to forestall any return to power by the Democrats. Which, of course, didn't work out so well the last two elections.

  • ||

    It is entirely possible for theocons to to be members of the Republican Party without them being in control of it.

    If there is anything that theocons are famous for, it's shutting the fuck up. :-)

    But, seriously, why would the theocons stay in the GOP if they couldn't influence policy? And as long as they influence policy, the GOP is dead to me.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    PL - so true. I cannot tell you the number of times my Republican friends told me "you have to vote for McCain! Obama will be so much worse! This is the one time you can make an exception". Of course, they said the same things in 2004, 2000...etc. etc. They have been invoking the "NOT AS BAD" bogeyman for so long, that it has become the equivalent of crying wolf.

    JB - if you understood how principles worked, you would know that Republican theocracy and Democrat beliefs in the supremacy of the federal government are two sides of the same coin. It is the reason that there is no substantive difference anymore - once you use God to justify the use of the State to further your own ends, there is nothing stopping your opponents from saying "OK, but our ends are better".

  • Glenn Reynolds||

    Heck! I'm curious like a cat. I have a couple of friends that call me whiskers.

  • Mad Max||

    'Why the Republicans Are "Less Bad"' [presumably, less bad than the Democrats]

    Talk about defining deviancy down!

    It's like a meth addict saying, 'at least I only do it every other day, unlike my neighbor who does it every day.'

  • ||

    TAO is right. Holy crap, the Republicans and Democrats have been tag-teaming us since before I was born. How can people not notice that?

    Consider, for example, Obamacare. When that gets put into place, do any of you truly believe the Republican party will dismantle it? Ever? If so, why do you believe this time will be different?

  • Fluffy||

    Atrios is often a douche, but when he coined the term "glibertaran" to describe Reynolds he was spot on.

    Reynolds is a libertarian, except for those occasions when:

    1. The GOP wants to do something unlibertarian; and/or

    2. A particular libertarian position might interfere with the national security state.

    Unfortunately, 1 and 2 between them account for a shitload of occasions.

  • ||

    I really like his space articles, too. It looks like Augustine is about to recommend that the private sector should control (most) access to Earth orbit, which I'm sure will get some commentary. Of course, policy pronouncements on space are worth very little, as a general rule, but this beats the old adage that only NASA could do it.

  • Glenn Reynolds||

    Hey! Let me ask you, what's your favorite planet? Mine's the sun. Always has been. I like it cause its like the King of Planets.

  • ||

    Forget the theocrats, does anyone remember a little thing about lying in order to invade a sovereign country? Anyone remember the party steadfastly defending the practice of torturing people for confessions to crimes they were never charged with, while being held indefinitely in a law-free zone? Jesus this is what I've been trying to get at for so long. All these horrific abuses of freedom straight from the central nexus of the GOP during the last 8 years, and some libertarians are willing to forgive it all because they happen to believe in always lowering taxes, or some such lame crap. Talk about purging, how about libertarians purge all the whiny bitches who couldn't give a crap if some A-rab was tortured as long as nobody takes his pennies in taxes.

  • ||

    The lying to get us into the war business is a canard, because I distinctly recall some of the same fearmongering coming from the other side of the aisle. They may all have been lying, but it wasn't a uniquely partisan sin.

    As for the war, the GOP eventually lost the government over it. And libertarians generally agree that it should have, though we'd have preferred divided government as a result to what we have now.

    Most of the abuses you're referring to occurred during the Clinton administration and, of course, continue to occur. So what are you offering up? Bush + socialism? Greeeeaaat.

  • Mad Max||

    ' lying in order to invade a sovereign country?'

    Serbia?

  • ||

    I'm sorry, I erred. It should've read "Bush + more socialism."

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    Apropos of nothing in particular, someone who used an IP address in Knoxville and another from the University of Tennessee has engaged in childish smears. And, on a completely unrelated note, Glenn Reynolds is promoting mocking politicians behind their back rather than engaging them in debate. Smart and honorable!

  • ||

    I'm saying creating a false equivalence only gives cover to the perpetrators of some of the most radical abuses of liberty in out country's history. If you think I give Dems a pass on their acquiescences you're mistaken.

    But... less taxes for billionaires for freedom!

  • ||

    I support mocking politicians to their faces and behind their backs.

  • Fluffy||

    I support mocking Lonewacko.

    Can I get a show of hands for how many people support me in this?

    Signify your approval by posting: "Lonewacko = Fail".

  • Fluffy||

    Or just a +1. That works too.

  • Xeones||

    Shut the fuck up, LoneWacko. Christ, you suck.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Forget the theocrats, does anyone remember a little thing about lying in order to invade a sovereign country?



    Please stop parroting what you hear. You do not know the first thing about sovereignty. Anyway, Iraq was not a sovereign nation. "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed".

    Iraq had no consent from the governed, and was therefore not a sovereign nation. It was a bad idea to invade, but sovereignty in this regard is a red herring.

  • JB||

    JB - if you understood how principles worked, you would know that Republican theocracy and Democrat beliefs in the supremacy of the federal government are two sides of the same coin. It is the reason that there is no substantive difference anymore - once you use God to justify the use of the State to further your own ends, there is nothing stopping your opponents from saying "OK, but our ends are better".

    Duh.

    I just think Reynolds has a point that Republicans are "less bad". It may only be a small difference, but it exits.

    Obama has surpassed Bush's largest deficit by a measure of 4x. So by that measure he is 4x worse than Bush.

    In many areas, this country has been getting socially freer while getting more economically 'liberal'. Libertarians would be better off focusing resources on stopping the big-spenders than big-theocrats (they are moving backwards anyways).

  • ||

    I cannot tell you the number of times my Republican friends told me "you have to vote for McCain! Obama will be so much worse!

    TAO: Honestly, even now, you don't think McCain would have been better? I'm no fan, but really, do you think he'd have turned the stimulus bill over to Reid and Pelosi to write, and let them create these health care reform and cap and trade monstrosities?

  • ||

    TAO,

    I'm sure the families of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis we bombed and shot to death are really calmed by that distinction. A bad idea? Jesus Christ.

  • kilroy||

    How about

    Lonewacko += Fail

  • ||

    +1

    JB,

    Bush had the White House and Congress and didn't do a goddamn fucking thing to make the government smaller. If both parties are going to grow the government, then at least the GOP could do is spare me the "blah, blah, God, blah, blah" shit as well. When religionists and the legislature walk hand-in-hand, they wipe their asses with liberty.

    The piece-of-shit Democrats are not what's under discussion here.

    Tony,

    Shut the fuck up until you can find one kind word I've ever said about Bush, the war, or torture.

    On second thought, just shut the fuck up.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Tony - first of all, the United States military has not even come close to inflicting "hundreds of thousands" of fatalities. I doubt they have even come close to that number of casualties. The vast, vast majority of Iraqi deaths are caused by internal insurgencies, not the United States military.

    Second of all, what is your problem with me making that distinction? Are you going to say that Iraq was sovereign? I do not see how me drawing that distinction in any way downplays the number of deaths that have occurred.

    It sounds like you have some weird idea that if I distinguish the concepts, that somehow softens the notion of it being a bad idea. It does not.

  • ||

    As for the war, the GOP eventually lost the government over it.

    I think they lost it more because they went native in DC - big spending, etc.

    Oh, and Lonewacko = Fail.

  • ||

    Tony: And I'm sure the families of the millions of people killed under Saddam are rather glad he and his regime are gone.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    TAO: Honestly, even now, you don't think McCain would have been better? I'm no fan, but really, do you think he'd have turned the stimulus bill over to Reid and Pelosi to write, and let them create these health care reform and cap and trade monstrosities?



    Given that he stopped his campaign to hammer out a giveaway to banks, even?

    Like I said, you guys have been running this scare tactic too long for me to believe you.

  • ||

    TAO, Papaya,

    Don't fucking defend the Iraq invasion to me on a libertarian site.

  • ||

    +1

    Is there really anything else to discuss?

  • ||

    Your new haircut. I hear it looks nice.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Tony - where did I defend anything of the kind?

  • BakedPenguin||

    kilroy, you have to put that in a loop before it works.

    for(Lonewacko = Fail; Lonewacko < dogshit ;Fail++)
    {
    stfu Lonewacko;
    }

  • BakedPenguin||

    Oops. With that condition, it's an infinite loop...

  • ||

    How dare you even mention Lonewacko and dogshit in the same equation! Dogshit at least serves a purpose! Or, at least, more of one than Chris "I cut my lip on a taco" Kelly.

  • ||

    Maybe the fact that neither of the two principal political parties in the country don't give libertarians everything they want is because libertarians are a fringe group whose values do not coincide with the values of most Americans. Boo hoo. Since neither is gonna give you what you want, since both are equally guilty of expanding government, why not act like a grown-up and ask yourself which types of government expansion are more palatable? Universal healthcare (something every other advanced country has come to, with few negative consequences) or endless contracts for Halliburton?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    oh, and here we see Tony acting like a printing negative of Glenn Reynolds.

    Honestly, Tony, I would rather have endless contracts for KBR/Halliburton. They only cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Universal Healthcare is going to cost trillions and restrict everybody's right to choose their healthcare plans, and will destroy medical innovation.

    Of course, it's a false dichotomy - libertarians want neither. Hence why we do not vote for either big party. But thanks for illustrating that, Tony.

  • T||

    Your new haircut. I hear it looks nice.

    The cut is good, but the highlights are just atrocious. They clash horribly with his fake tan.

  • Xeones||

    I shit on your hopes and dreams, Tony. I SHIT ON THEM

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Shorter Tony: CORPORATISM OR SOCIALISM!!! And you're dumb if you pick corporatism!

  • T||

    Universal healthcare (something every other advanced country has come to, with few negative consequences) or endless contracts for Halliburton?

    Hmm. Almost half of the country disapproves of universal healthcare. Almost half of the country disapproves of endless Halliburton contracts. And because we disapprove of both, we're the fringe? Seems to me on any given issue we've got half the country with us. Not so fringey after all, are we, douchebag?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    and, for added hilarity, T, you'll note that we have not heard much about bring the boys home from Iraq. OR ending Halliburton contracts. So, it looks like either party, we get both! HO BOY, Tony, thanks for convincing me!

  • ||

    R C Dean,

    You may be right, but I think the emphasis on the war helped make the GOP act like the Democrats on spending. They might have acted like the slightly more limited government GOP of yore if they hadn't thrown everything under the bus to End Terror.

  • ||

    JB-

    What has the republican party done to ELIMINATE the income tax?

    What has the republican party done to ELIMINATE the tens of billions that go to Israel?

    What has the republican party done to ELIMINATE the IRS?

    What has the republican party done to ELIMINATE the dept. of Veterans Affairs?

    What has the republican party done to ELIMINATE the FDA?

    What has the republican party done to PROMOTE term limits?

    Get the picture?

  • Gene Berkman||

    Well there is 9 minutes I will never have back!

    I have looked at Instaidiot.com and I alreadly thought Glenn Reynolds was insane. Turns out I was too generous in my appraisal.

    The last statement is because of what he said about the Republican Party and what he said about Sarah Palin.

  • ||

    I know you guys pox both houses. It just really pisses me off when someone makes the argument that Republicans are "less bad" on anything. It's a party run by sociopaths and ideologues who spend their time pandering to bigots who are dumb enough to believe their lies. They haven't accomplished a single goddamn thing for this country in decades except pretty much wipe out its status as a superpower. You don't have to love Dems to recognize the massive failure of the Republicans, and it's my position that anyone with a brain would just be happy they're not in power any more, regardless of who replaced them.

  • Rich||

    > why not act like a grown-up and ask yourself which types of government expansion are more palatable?

    "More palatable"? As opposed to "less bad"? I'm so confused ...

    > just be happy they're not in power any more, regardless of who replaced them.

    That is looking on the bright side.

  • Mad Max||

    'it's my position that anyone with a brain would just be happy they're not in power any more, regardless of who replaced them.'

    It's my position that anyone with a brain would just be happy that Kurt Schleicher is not Chancellor of Germany anymore, regardless of replaces him.

  • Mad Max||

    regardless of who replaces him.

  • ||

    I'm not a theocon or member of the "Religious Right" but I don't quite see the disdain some libertarians have for them. There may be a difference of opinion on some issues, but by in large I would consider them allies.

    The majority of the "Religious Right" simply want to be left alone. Outside of abortion restrictions (which they have largely been unsuccessful) what exactly has this group promoted or is promoting that is contrary to the libertarian agenda? Its quite unfair to blame these people for Bush's prescription drug plan, massive increase in Dept of Education, Department of Homeland Security or any of the other goverment largesse created by or agreed to by the Republican Party.

    I would agree with the criticism of those (a minority of the group) who want the US Middle East foreign policy to match their New/Old Testament theology but most would agree the current mess in foreign affairs and the wars were the result of other agendas and factors.

  • ||

    Tony,

    Kindly spare us the indignation.

    The democrats give us giant slabs of the theocrat agenda that you like to complain about. The democrats gave the defense of marriage act, don't ask don't tell, music censorship ( tipper gore and the PMRC), and censorship of video games (a pet campaign of hilary clinton.)

    To this they add a giant helping of even worse meddling in individuals lives (gun control, fat taxes, soda pop taxes, fois gras bans, trans fat bans, raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, etc)

    But wait to this they add a giant slab of over-regulation,taxation, and pour gouts of money on their corporate buddies.

    The republicans aren't shiny but the first six months of the Obama administration shows democrat's absolutely can't be trusted with power.

    It takes some effort to make bush look fiscally responsible but obama managed to accomplish that task in six months.

  • ||

    Man, Glenn is really taking his love of mid-nineties Jim Carrey movies to the next level.

  • David Emami||

    Wait a minute. Since when do libertarians care so much about the sovereignty of nation states? You can argue about whether invading Iraq was prudent or handled well, or get upset that it was done with taxpayer funds, but morally speaking, a libertarian has no more reason to object to Saddam's overthrow than to a murderer being arrested by a (government) police officer. When you take libertarian principles that pertain to individuals and apply them to political entities, you wind up with nonsense.

  • ||

    Since when do libertarians care so much about the sovereignty of nation states?

    I always have. Think of sovereignty as a firewall.

    There is no worse threat to our liberty than world government. I would even say that an invading or even meddling country is typically worse for your liberty than whatever kleptocratic assholes are actually in charge.

  • JB||

    Bush had the White House and Congress and didn't do a goddamn fucking thing to make the government smaller.

    I generally don't disagree though Bush did cut my taxes so I give him credit on that.

    My biggest issue with Republicans is that they act like Democrat-lite. The 'god' part of the party doesn't do anything but make noise anyway. I'm much more worried about a Democrat Congress + Democrat President and those worries seem to be born out in the first 6 months of Obama's term.

    I think there is a point to be made here especially considering how many Reasonites (writers and commenters) were fairly excited by Obama. Fear of Republicans shouldn't result in sucking Democrat cock.

  • ||

    """I generally don't disagree though Bush did cut my taxes so I give him credit on that.""

    Falling for the voodoo? He cut your taxes which extened the amount of time the debt would get paid down which means you're paying more interest on the debt. Tax cuts without spending cuts doesn't really save the taxpayer anything in the long term.

    He did give me two checks, I don't think I've paid those off yet.

    """The republicans aren't shiny but the first six months of the Obama administration shows democrat's absolutely can't be trusted with power."""

    Neither party can be trusted with power. To claim one party is better than the other is to pretend.

    """The 'god' part of the party doesn't do anything but make noise anyway."""

    These days, that mostly true, but that wasn't always the case.

    """Fear of Republicans shouldn't result in sucking Democrat cock."""

    Nor should fear of democrats result in sucking republican cock, but that seems to be the scare tactic that works.

  • ||

    """The majority of the "Religious Right" simply want to be left alone. Outside of abortion restrictions (which they have largely been unsuccessful) what exactly has this group promoted or is promoting that is contrary to the libertarian agenda?"""

    They want to be left alone while trying to force the bible onto everyone via the rule of law.

  • ||

    I wonder what Instapundit would have been like if the libertarian guy who ran it in 2001 hadn't signed it over to that Team Red asshole...

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