Declaration of Independents

Are You Ready to Rawk? or, What's New With The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America


Here's a rundown on what's going on with Matt Welch and my new book, The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America (coming soon in Nook format and currently burning up the Amazon Kindle charts at #20 in Politics).

Last night, I appeared on C-SPAN's Q&A show for an hour, during which the channel's founder Brian Lamb grilled me like a lobster tail on everything from my opinion on John Boehner (low) to baseball guru Bill James (high) to my choice in sideburns and shirts. Watch it now:

For more information about The Declaration of Independents, including quick links to your favorite online booksellers, go here now.

NEXT: Memo to Republicans: Offer to End Corporate Welfare As We Know it

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  1. Oh you guys have a book out?

    1. It’s strange, I haven’t heard of it before now.

  2. Meh – I prefer the Rutles over the Beatles.

    1. “In 1966 the Rutles faced the biggest threat to their careers. Nasty in a widely quoted interview had apparently claimed that the Rutles were bigger than God, and was reported to have gone on to say that God had never had a hit record. The story spread like wildfire in America. Many fans burnt their albums, many more burnt their fingers attempting to burn their albums. Album sales skyrocketed, People were buying them just to burn them. But in fact it was all a ghastly mistake. Nasty, talking to a slightly deaf journalist, had claimed only that the Rutles were bigger than Rod. Rod Stewart would not be big for another eight years, and certainly at this stage hadn’t had a hit. At a press conference, Nasty apologised to God, Rod and the Press, and the tour went ahead as planned. It would be the Rutles’ last.”

      1. It was only after listening to the Rutles that I first tried tea.

      2. A legend that will last a lunchtime.

  3. I can’t abide people that don’t like Tom Petty.

    1. It’s hard to fathom how Reason can dislike a guy who has never written a song that wasn’t about smokin da weed.

      1. “Last Dance with Mary Jane” was clearly about something else.

        1. Have you had a change of heart, ProL?

          1. Last dance with Mary Jane,
            One more time to kill the pain.
            I feel summer creepin’ in,
            And I’m tired of this town again.

            It’s so clearly a drug song that his video had to involve necrophilia with Kim Basinger to keep the DEA at bay.

  4. Nice screen capture, Welch. You know a speech is boring when even the speaker is yawning. 😉

    And I can’t stand idly by and let you hate on Tom Petty. If I were a musician I wouldn’t want politicians using my songs at rallies either.

    1. Seriously. Even for a cause the artist supports, it’s true that associating music with anything other than itself tends to dilute enjoyment of that music.

      1. Don’t
        Thinking about tomorrow…

        1. Yes, that occurred to me as well. Tainted! Tainted!

          1. I was just thankful they didn’t use a FM song I liked. If they’d have played “The Chain” or “Rhiannon”, I’d have been scarred for life.

        2. I thought we were talking about good music.

          1. Seriously… Saying that politics tainted “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” is like saying a shit I took last night tainted the sewer system.

            1. It’s not a good/bad thing. It’s a taint thing.

            2. I tainted a sewer system once

      2. associating music with anything other than itself tends to dilute enjoyment of that music.

        I can think of some exceptions to that maxim.

        1. Exceptions to a tendency?

        2. Yep! Me too!

          You don’t have to play,
          You can follow or lead the way,
          I want you to join together with the band,
          We don’t know where we’re going,
          But the season’s right for knowing,
          I want you to join together with the band.

          To me, that will always conjure a lady at Virginia Tech, Summer of 1981, who I met playing AD&D of all things.

      3. Too bad. If someone pays you the royalties, they get to use your song, and fuck you if you don’t like it. I find artists’ complaining about this to be tiresome beyond belief.

    2. As long as they get the licensing fee it shouldn’t matter what a musician thinks.

      1. Well if they hold the copyright, what they think probably matters wrt whether the song gets licensed at all.

        1. That’s right. If they retain rights, they do retain the right to decide who gets a license.

          1. Not according to my understanding of the system. The composer has the right of first release and to get paid for people recording the song. That’s it. You can cover a song and the composer has absolutely no say in whether you can or not. Normally, you discuss it with whoever holds the rights because the statutory fees are higher than the fees customarily negotiated. But there is, AFAIK, no way for the rights holder to prevent someone covering a song as long as they pay the fees.

            1. I’m not sure compulsory licensing extends to the uses described here.

            2. But that’s regarding a cover of a song, not the recording of the song itself. A politician would still have to negotiate with the new performer. Regardless, that isn’t what the Bachmann thing is about since i believe she is just using a Petty recording.

              1. Exactly. If Bachmann whips out a guitar and does “Free Fallin'”, there’s not a thing Petty can do about it so long as she pays royalties… but unfortunately she’s not doing that.

    3. Didn’t Petty let Mrs Pantsuit use that song?

  5. Michele Bachmann’s America


  6. Old Fogey and the Pacemakers


  7. Your interview on C-SPAN Q&A was excellent ! (… surprisingly)

    Gotta admit I’ve always been underwhelmed by the Gillespie participation in various TV programs over the years — often hard to tell you were a serious libertarian; emphasis seemed to be more on being a cool, restrained, rather detached commentator– not a clear communicator with a solid political/economic outlook.

    Perhaps it was that you usually were seen in panel TV discussions or point/counterpoint set-ups.

    Great interview — the one-on-one with Brian Lamb was an ideal TV format for you.

    1. +1 I enjoyed the interview quite a bit, especially about Nick talking about his family.

  8. I agree with WFB.

    The Beatles early two chord pop was little more than banal boy band music; their later drug fueled/experimental work was self-indulgent navel gazing.

    There are a few half-way decent songs here and there; but I’d attribute that more to blind-squirrel chance than anything else.

    The real tragedy is that the Beatles, and idolatry and hagiography about them has taken up the space where other, more deserving bands should be; like The Kinks.

    1. Im a fan of the drug-fueled, self-indulgent navel gazing.

    2. Sometimes hipsters are right.The Beatles were better before (relatively) anyone had ever heard of them. Playing mostly American rock and pop covers in the Star Club for example.

    3. I dissent from this view.

    4. +100 – I also prefer The Kinks over The Beatles.

      The Beatles do have flashes of brilliance, but sometimes I want to have a time machine and kill Paul McCartney before he wrote “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”.

      But wait, Paul is already dead.

    5. The Beatles were great, and so were The Kinks. There’s room enough at the top for everyone.

    6. I’m a Kinks fan too, but there’s a big difference between saying “the Beatles were somewhat overrated and the Kinks criminally underrated” and “[the Beatles’] later drug fueled/experimental work was self-indulgent navel gazing.” I’ve made comments like the latter, but will readily admit that I was being a contrarian dick. I’m more than happy to chip away at the pedestal on which the Beatles sit (and I’ll start by pointing out that the White Album is larded up with filler) but they still completely changed the face of rock ‘n’ roll.

      1. they still completely changed the face of rock ‘n’ rollPop music.

        The Beatles ceasing being a Rock n’ Roll band coincided with their success.

      2. Whatever dude. The White Album’s chock full of goodies like Mother Nature’s Son, Dear Prudence, and Julia that still sound fresh.

    7. Bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Kinks. But that’s a load of bullshit.

    8. If you think “She Loves You” is “two chord pop,” you probably haven’t tried playing it on guitar.

      1. That song gets a yellow flag for excessive use of 7ths.

      2. I have to imagine anybody who uses the phrase “two chord pop” hasn’t played much of anything on the guitar. You could have an argument with “three chord pop” (though that still wouldn’t apply to “She Loves You”), but even going back to Little Richard and Bill Haley I can’t think of too many pop songs that were just I-IV or I-V.

      3. Barre chords, Matt. You really should learn them at some point.

    9. The real tragedy is that the Beatles, and idolatry and hagiography about them has taken up the space where other, more deserving bands should be

      Zero-sum game? One may adore and write about the Beatles or the Kinks but not both?

      You say the Kinks are more deserving of praise and adulation than the Beatles like it’s a fact of reality and not your personal opinion.

    10. WFB’s (and Tim’s) criticism is a bit exaggerated, considering that The Beatles covered “TillThere Was You” from The Music Man on their first album, thereby illustrating (a) they had more than two-chord musical skills, (b) they were more or less part of the music business mainstream.

  9. Buckley was right (well, maybe a bit overboard) about The Beatles in 1964. They were a few years away from being any good.

    Also, Ive always really liked Tom Petty.

    1. IMO, the Beatles went downhill after they stopped playing live.

    2. The Beatles were never good.

    3. Tom Petty is dead. And, unfortunately, so is the hilarious website that claimed he went into a coma right before the release of their first album and that the band was led by a Petty impersonator ever since.

      1. Wait… Courtesy of, here’s the site.

  10. Oh Lord, not another music snobbery debate. You just know that Epi is going to live in this thread whenever he wakes up.

    1. You really are dense, Commodore. Music snobbery isn’t my thing at all; film and food snobbery is. Music nerd-dom is beneath me.

      1. Way to be glib there, you ad-homming fuck.

        1. You forgot to include the disgusting creature.

            1. One advantage to being crass and unimaginative in your insults: it’s harder for people to mock you.

              I still have a lot to learn but you guys are providing quite the education.

      2. I never said you were a music snob, only that you would be drawn to this thread like a moth to an arc welder.

  11. Nick — nice Buckley/Booth alt-text. I’m gonna use that one.

  12. The truth is, most rock critics, and not a few rock and rollers, could easily find themselves on the side of the Communists that the Plastic People of the Universe were revolting against.

    Is this the same Mark Judge who once described the Velvet Underground as “insipid“?

  13. Beatles = fun = good.

    Petty = tedium.

    That is all.

  14. I admit it, I’m a reformed music snob (or as my sister-in-law called it, eating shit in a barrel).

    I’ve grown to like stuff that I used to loathe – Neil Young, Dylan, The Band, (oh, I could go on).

    But my heart still lays with the post-punk thang. (Oh, I could go on and on).

    1. I have complete respect for Neil Young, and listen to many bands that were clearly influenced by him, but I still can’t stand to listen to the dude.

      1. Neil Young is an amazing musician. He is also an insufferable political douchebag. However, his goofy film Human Highway had Devo playing “Worried Man”, which is about the best thing anyone can do, so he wins. What he wins I’m not sure.

        1. It’s just the whiny voice thing that I can’t get past, which is odd since I love Jay Farrar, who has a similar voice.

      2. My Young “luv” stops at oh… 1979. He is however a fairly limited artist – many of his songs start to sound the same and every album has tons of filler. But when he gets it right…

    2. Neil Young and Bob Dylan are both voice problems for me. High whines bother my ear. “The Weight” breaks that up enough that The Band made it a fun song for me.

      1. Dylan’s voice is an acquired taste for sure. It used to drive me up the wall, but then I heard Nashville Skyline. His voice is much smoother on this country-ish album. It’s a good gateway into his other albums.

        Now? His voice doesn’t bother me at all – though his latest albums sounds like frog croaking.

  15. Have to admit, I;m with TP on this one. Political endorsements are a tricky thing. I wouldn’t want someone using my song if I didn’t support them. And Michelle Bachmann is so contrived it’s hard to root for her.

    On top of that, I remember a 9/11 charity show that TP played on. While everyone else was playing weepy “it’s going to be all right” songs, TP played “I Won’t Back Down”. Seemed a lot more genuine than anything else I heard.

    As for Neil Young’s “Freedom”, it was released during the George Bush I presidency (“kinder, gentler machine gun hand”) and recorded during the Tiananmen Square protest/massacre. I always thought it was very perceptive. Kind of when the US started going from good guy to bad guy.

    1. The US went to bad guy in 1989? That’s a tad early.

    2. And of course I’m not convinced we’re really the bad guy now. We’re more of an overzealous Godzilla than an evil empire.

  16. Top 40 music seems deliberately crafted to repel anyone over 30 or so. I’m pretty certain it’s shit today, but I’m not its target demographic so who cares.

    1. The target demographic doesn’t seem nearly as happy about Top 40 as their predecessors were about their era’s Top 40. Probably because there’s a lot more alternative venues for music now than there were in the past, and the really good artists are in a better position to give the finger to the RIAA than in the past.

      1. When I say “venue”, I mean paths of distribution, not actual clubs and such.

  17. “Keep on Rocking in the Free World” is about the freedom to throw your kid in the trash, right?

    1. By the way, if Neil Young was so myopic not to see the fall of communism, Jesus Jones was at least humble enough to admit that they didn’t see it coming.

      1. From what I hear, a lot of people still aren’t predicting the fall of communism.

        Being a big fan of “write what you know” I prefer Winehouse’s “Rehab.”

      2. Stalinism wasn’t real communism.

        1. Randist-Gillispism is not real libertarianism!

        2. damn beat me to it

          1. Except our communist condiment friend seems to actually believe it.

    1. Good music. God I hate vocals like that.

      1. I saw Amon Amarth a while ago, and the singer invited the audience to sing along during one song. So, in a thick Swedish accent, he told us, “And if you don’t know the words, don’t worry! It’s death metal. No one will know the difference.”

        1. Yeah, I get the concept but a mix of music like that with some vocals maybe along the lines of Shaun Morgan, David Draiman, or even Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, or Brian Johnson when he still had a voice it would be epic, imo. Hell, even Mustaine.

        1. It’s now in the Netflix queue. Thanks.

        2. I have not.

            1. Okay then.

    2. Gleefully satanic Swedish black metal band Marduk has covered a Woven Hand song. Seven foot tall guitarist Morgan Steinmeyer-Hakansson is a big fan of the thunderous and darkly menacing evangelical Christian folk band. David Eugene Edwards of Woven Hand is aware of this and in fact listens to black metal.

      1. I’m still amused that Tom Araya is a good Catholic.

      1. Not falling for that. Keep this up and I’m gonna backtrace you and notify the cyberpolice, homeboy.

      2. At least use tinyurl or something.

  18. If Michele Bachmann wants to show she’s down with today’s music, they should play some Odd Future at her rallies. I’m thinking either “Splatter” or “Ugly Girls.” Plus, since they release all their mixtapes for free on the internet, I don’t even think she needs permission to use them!


    The best use of Tom Petty’s “The Waiting” was in this The Simpsons episode.

    1. The waiting game sucks. Let’s play Hungry Hungry Hippos!*

      *Yes, I realize it’s a different episode. But it’s still funny.

  20. This is the kind of thing that irritates left-wing rock writers, who enforce a humorless orthodoxy on the music.

    Mark Judge is only telling half a true: The Left enforces a humorless orthodoxy in ALL art, not just music.…..d=0CCMQsAQ

  21. Don’t dub around here no more:…..t-dont-dub

  22. Got a man of the people,
    says keep hope alive…Keep on rocking in the free world.

  23. I was going to write, “Jesus Christ, Nick, sometimes pop music is just pop music!” but that would be incorrect. Pop music is always just pop music. Most kids get over its pseudo-importance by the time they reach adulthood.

  24. Arguing TEAM RED vs TEAM BLUE is like arguing Red Sox or Yankees. They BOTH suck. (Actually the Phillies are the best team in the league). The funny/sad thing is, I’m more likely to get a well thought out, logically reasoned argument in a sports fan forum than in a political forum.

    1. Red Sox or Yankees. They BOTH suck

      Nos. 1 and 2 in their division respectively.

      1. Yeah, we’ll see about that. Rays ain’t done.

      2. Stats? Is that all you have to offer? Maybe I was wrong.

  25. How did you guys get to Zach Weiner of SMBC?



        Watch as these poor people try to make it as the evil Koch brothers are buying our democracy!

  27. Not one Whitesnake reference? Shameful…

  28. WFB was a libertarian.

    u mad?

    1. So is Jeffrey Tucker, and he wants Gregorian chant to make a comeback.

  29. “The truth is, most rock critics, and not a few rock and rollers, could easily find themselves on the side of the Communists that the Plastic People of the Universe were revolting against.”

    I wish any of you were familiar with punk rock, because then you would have noted that it bashes the left as much as it does the right, and it often is hysterically funny while doing so…

    For example, the Dead Kennedys nightmare scenario about Jerry Brown becoming president “California Uber Alles”

    “Zen Fascists will control you, one hundred percent natural, you will jog for the master race, and always wear a happy face”

    “It’s the suede denim secret police,they have come for your uncool niece”.

  30. If I were running for office, my theme song would be “Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy” by Return to Forever. Fuck the pop stuff. You’ve got to educate the people!

    1. On second thought, Chick Corea’s Scientology affiliation is kind of skeezy, so maybe I’d choose “Meeting of the Spirits” by Mahavishnu Orchestra. John McLaughlin may have been hip-deep in Sri Chinmoy nonsense at the time, but at least that’s sort of charming in a ’70s retro way, and not sinister.

  31. Which is longer, the book itself, or the series of Hit ‘N’ Run posts hawking it?

  32. 125 comments & nobody has expressed any curiosity about his run in with Janet Napolitano?

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