"Gillespie: 'Politicians Are Lagging Indicators'"


I'm going to be on Parker Spitzer tonight on CNN at 8pm ET, with David Corn of Mother Jones. Do tune in!

Here are snippets from a web interview the folks there did with me earlier:

Some of the new senators coming in, like Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee seem to understand that the role of government is to provide a basic framework for stability and neccesary services, not control or dip into every aspect of our lives. I hope they push back strong against an ascendant Republican party that is absolutely awful on just about everything. And that they teach a chastened Democratic party that the way forward is by making government smaller and more accountable, more focused on duties such as defense (properly understood).

By the way, I am always interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge and swampland in Florida, too.

Fundamentally, I don't look to politicians for inspiration and excitement. They are lagging indicators of change and energy in American society. As role models and leaders, I put them behind rock stars, athletes, and actors as people worth looking toward….

You have a Ph.D in English literature and you also once wrote for Teen Machine magazine. Is there anything about teen culture today that gives you hope for the future?

*Everything* about teen culture gives me hope for the future! Being an adolescent is never easy, but god, what a world they're entering, one where you have so many different identities or "subject positions" (to use a term from my grad school days) to choose from. Think about it: If you're a teen now, you're living in a world where the mainstream isn't as stultifying as it was 30 or 50 years ago. Technologically, you have the world at your fingertips; it's easier to travel the globe than ever before. To be gay, straight, black, white, red, you name it….

You usually appear on CNN in a leather jacket—it's sort of your signature. Should we read anything into that sartorial choice?

Yes, that I have a crude, limited fashion sense that may well have cost me the love of my life, who implored me to dress like an adult rather than like the free-market Fonzie.

My background has never been in politics, where the default costume is a suit and tie. Back in the day, I wrote about music, books, movies, TV, that sort of thing. I have more affinity for The Misfits than Milton Friedman (though I do believe that Friedman rocks harder than Glenn Danzig) and I'd rather read Jack Keroauc than listen to Joe Biden motor-mouth about high-speed rail. Which is just a way of saying that I feel more comfortable wearing a leather jacket than a sportscoat. I went to Catholic school from grades 1 through 12, so I've worn enough ties to last a lifetime.

Look, there are excrutiatingly few benefits to being a libertarian. You have little to no partisan power (though we do have more fun), liberals and conservatives shun you (unless they think you're carrying drugs), entire fiscal crises are laid at your feet (despite all the mega-regulations that were in place but somehow failed to work). One thing we can exercise is to dress how we feel. It's a small victory–really, you need a magnifying glass to see it fully–but it's better than nothing.

More here.