What Would Libertarians Do?: A Conversation with Matt Welch & Nick Gillespie at SF's Commonwealth Club

 

In late July, Matt Welch and I appeared at San Francisco's legendary Commonwealth Club as part of the group's In Forum program. We were interviewed by San Francisco Chronicle political reporter Joe Garofoli about contemporary politics, the libertarian perspective, and our new book The Declaration of Independents in front of about 125 people.

It's a fun and lively discussion and well worth a watch and/or a listen (go here for a podcast version).

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  • ||

    OK I never thought about it liek that before. It makes sense.

    www.real-privacy.au.tc

  • JMCLE||

    Never gets old.

  • ||

    I'm seriously getting allergic to the endless plugs. I don't want to make another "Gee, did you guys write a book" snarky comment, I just want it to stop. Please, please make it stop!!

  • Suki||

    Of course. All book promotion on one's own website should be banned. Have you drafted the legislation yet?

  • ||

    Of course. All complaining about excessive book promotion on one's own website should be banned. Have you drafted the legislation yet?

  • Mr Whipple||

    Why is Matt naked?

  • Mr Whipple||

    I just watched the entire clip.

    Shit! Nick must have been jealous at Matt's nakedness, and decided to disrobe, as well. (19:30)

  • T||

    What Would Libertarians Do?

    Bicker pointlessly, insult everyone, go off on bizarre tangents, and engage in endless No True Scotsman debates.

    At least, judging by what we do around here.

  • PIRS||

    When libertarians are arguing among themselves the debates might seem like "bizarre tangents" to outsiders. But in the long term such debates are actually valuable I think. I do agree that insults are not valuable - I also understand the motivations for some of them however. There are some people who are true trolls** who show up here, not out of curiosity, not because they want an honest debate but because they simply want to disrupt. It can be very tempting to insult those people - but I agree it serves no purpose and is actually counterproductive.

    ** Mere disagreement does not make one a troll. Showing up for no reason but to disrupt or attack others does.

  • Q||

    Other places manage to have civilized forums. Why can't this place?

  • ||

    I'd say mostly because it's not moderated. And I don't find it that uncivilized.

  • Q||

    Check out the archives from the mid-00s; the place used to be fairly serious and even respectful (for libertarians). I'd blame the current atmosphere on just a few nasty residents, but that would make me a troll.

  • PIRS||

    "I'd blame the current atmosphere on just a few nasty residents, but that would make me a troll."

    No, that would not make you a troll. If you came here for no purpose but to insult or disrupt - that would make you a troll.

  • sarcasmic||

    I wonder how much of that has to do with the economy.
    Seriously.
    In this down economy there is a greater chance that people may be bored at work, and more apt to post stupid shit.
    Or maybe I'm just speaking for myself.

  • Q||

    I believe you.

  • ||

    I believe you, but that's the way of all things. I remember when Usenet groups were hotbeds of intelligent discourse.

    I'd blame the feeding of trolls more than I'd blame the trolls themselves.

  • sarcasmic||

    How much of that troll feeding is a result of boredom that didn't exist when the economy was better?

  • PIRS||

    "I'd blame the feeding of trolls more than I'd blame the trolls themselves."

    I have two questions:

    1. What is your definition of "troll".

    2. What is your definition of "feeding a troll"?

  • sarcasmic||

    1. Someone who posts stupid shit for no purpose other than to get a reaction.

    2. Reacting.

  • ||

    I thought you summed it up nicely: "If you came here for no purpose but to insult or disrupt - that would make you a troll."

    As far are feeding trolls, I don't have a hard and fast definition, and I have to admit some responding to obvious trolling can be interesting and enlightening, especially for newbies such as myself a few months back.

  • PIRS||

    Part of it I think is the fact that you can post without registering in any way whatsoever. This is both a blessing and a curse. It allows an extra level of anonymity which is good. It also makes it harder to ban people which can be both good and bad. I don't want anyone banned for mere opinions, even opinions I find very distasteful but at the same time some people who are extraordinarily rude - I think it would be appropriate to ban them.

  • sarcasmic||

    Censorship, or rather a lack thereof.

  • Q||

    Well, the comment policy is one of complete anarchy; you reap what you sow and get the quality of commentary you deserve.

  • Q||

    (That goes for every open-comments forum, not just H&R.)

  • PIRS||

    Overall, I think there are more positives than negatives to the policy. I have seen types of conversations here that would be unimaginable (in a good way) elsewhere. Where else could you have an intellectual discussion between an anarcho-primitivist and a Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist? Where else could you have a conversation between a radical feminist (of the statist variety) and libertarians? Here you can - not many other places does this kind of thing happen. Allowing the current policy has far more positives than negatives.

  • ||

    I agree. But that is because it is still relatively obscure. A magnitude jump on the internet radar could destroy that balance.

  • Yeah||

    There's a sort of predictable, dare I say "inbred" mentality amongst the remaining lifers. This must be the result of a severely depleted intellectual gene-pool.

  • Pitcairn Islander||

    "There's a sort of predictable, dare I say "inbred" mentality amongst the remaining lifers. This must be the result of a severely depleted intellectual gene-pool."

    Of course this must also include you, right?

    Also:

    Racist!

  • ||

    This was my initial impression of H&R but the wheat to chaff ration is surprisingly high.

    Besides, no real libertarian would say such a thing and you are a poopie-head.

  • PIRS||

    "Besides, no real libertarian would say such a thing and you are a poopie-head."

    At least not one who is over 11 years old. We have no way of knowing how old someone here is either - which is both a blessing and a curse.

  • T||

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog...

    Which might explain the internet's collective obsession with bacon. Maybe I should check my user logs to see what the dogs are up to while I'm here at work.

  • PIRS||

    Are you denying there are unsupervised kids on the Internet posting in various forums?

  • T||

    No, PIRS, I'm making a joke.

    Although, honestly, I would be surprised to find unsupervised 11 year-olds hanging out here. My 11 yo self would have found this place tedious beyond belief.

  • Brett L||

    They all come in via the Lobster Girl posts and stay for the insults.

  • Suki||

    Promoting a book on their own website? Talk about pioneers . . .

  • q||

    Why is Matt Welch threatening to scratch Garofoli's eyes out in the still frame for the video?

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

    The decline in quality of the comments and general debate here stems from the 2008 election. Back then the Anti-Neocon/Bush/Conservative libertarians commenting here seemed to have more intellectual and important debates. The kind of "libertarians" we have here now seems to include a lot of newbies who -- one has to assume -- were fine with Bush. Hardly a bunch of dedicated anti-state types, just anti-Obama-state types. It drove away a lot of the former commentariat. I miss them. They would have embarrassed plenty of you sufficiently to shut you up.

  • ||

    Hardly a bunch of dedicated anti-state types, just anti-Obama-state types.

    You go to the internet with the commenters you have, not the commenters you wish you had.

  • T||

    Incentives matter, RC. Maybe if we had some incentive to be better commenters....

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

    Which is why I frequent these comments sections less and less. Whatever happened to that separate commenter forum that was set up a few years ago? I frequented that for a short time but lost interest.... I don't even quite recall what it was named....

  • db||

    Caption Contest!

    Welch: "That's no ordinary rabbit!"

  • Atanarjuat||

    The Commonwealth Club talks are played on the local NPR station from time to time. The most recent one I heard was with one of the Kennedys who is an anti-coal activist. His thesis was, surprisingly, that the best way to improve the environment was the free market.

  • yelly||

    Bicker pointlessly, insult everyone, go away on bizarre tangents, and engage in endless No genuine Scotsman debates
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  • yelly||

    The Commonwealth Club talks are executed near to the online community NPR station from time to time. one of the most current one I observed was with between the Kennedys who is definitely an anti-coal activist. His thesis was, surprisingly, how the relatively finest method to improve the surroundings was the definitely free market.
    2011 New Arrival Nike Free Run + Mens Running Shoes - Blue/Orange/White
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