Declaration of Independents

"Nick Gillespie is sick of politics."


The very excellent Cincinnati magazine interviewed me about my book with Matt Welch, The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America, living in the greater Cincy area, and just how disappointing the 21st century has turned out so far. Snippets:

Why did this moment seem like the right one for this book? I really looked forward to the 21st century. I remember thinking it was going to be awesome. It's going to be The Jetsons plus Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space plus maybe a David Bowie song. And the plain fact is that the 21st century has been a complete fucking bust from every level and from any perspective. It really seems to have sucked in many ways.

But in the book you spend a lot of time talking about how great the world is. In many parts of our lives, things are getting much better and freer. You can buy virtually anything you want and have it delivered very quickly. And even more important, you can meet up with people that you never would have stumbled across and build communities and have conversations that extend relationships that would have ended when someone moved out of town. When you go to the grocery store, instead of going to a crappy produce section with one eggplant, you're likely to encounter three or four varieties of eggplant. More important, there's the ability to express yourself not just through creative expression but in terms of your gender and your race and what you like to do.

But not so free politically? But not in politics. When you look at K–12 education and healthcare and retirement, there's a complete disconnect. On one hand, you have this never-ending proliferation of choices and options. On the other hand, the great long-term trend of the past 40 or 50 years is people refusing to identify as either a Democrat or a Republican. And we decided the reason people are leaving those labels and calling themselves Independents is because they don't like what they're selling, which are rival visions of top-down control systems. The book is an attempt to talk about what was working in the non-political arenas to bring people these choices: the airlines, the deregulation of the workplace.

Read more, especially on how "edifice-complex" projects such as publicly funded stadiums and furshlugginer streetcars to and fro nowhere, drain cities of vitality.

NEXT: What We Don't Know Can Hurt Us

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  1. Well I’m sick of sex.

    1. to put a face to that voice…..inside.jpg

      1. What a restrained picture of KatieJane, considering the ones you could have posted.

        1. Indeed.

        2. With or without a condom? I had to ask.

          1. You would want to have a discussion about her history of sharing needles to help you decide.

            1. It’s no fun if you get to vet the history. That takes the Russian Roulette out of it.

  2. Anthony Bourdain just visited Cuba, and didn’t seem to have a problem with their “equality”. He thought Castro “got it right” with healthcare and education, as both are free. Funny, I didn’t see him looking for a place to live in Havanna.

    1. Yeah, but that was only because I can’t stand spics.

    2. He thought Castro “got it right” with healthcare and education, as both are free.

      No, they have free “access”. There’s a difference.

    3. First couple seasons were good, but now he is incredibly tiresome now that he’s a celebrity. At this point I just watch for the food and future travel ideas. I try to block him out as much as possible.

    4. Here’s a blogpost on his cuba visit, it seems a pretty fair and realistic perspective:

      Say what you want about Castro?(we CAN, after all, Cubans not so much)?he managed, through design or neglect, to keep Havana beautiful.
      Run down, crumbling, many buildings barely habitable?even the national baseball team has to play during the day because their stadium lights are broken and the country is too poor to fix them.


      It’s easy, I know, to over-romanticize the unspoiled. Especially when “unspoiled” means “poor”. But look. Look.


      Look at the Cuban people and admit that they are proud and big hearted and funny and kind?and strong as hell, having put up with every variety of bullshit over the years. On these things, I hope we can agree.…..cuba-cuba/

      1. Damn your fast cut-and-paste abilities!

      2. Run down, barely habitable buildings are beautiful? I’m sorry, what Bourdain is trying to say seems so filled with contradictions it is incomprehansible.

        1. Run down, barely habitable buildings are beautiful?

          Sure they can be. Read the original blogpost.

          Bourdain isn’t condoning the communist ethic, just that you can end up with some great historical buildings when the government doesn’t have the money to bulldoze them.

          I can wish the exact same thing that Bourdain does without violating my libertarian beliefs:

          I hope that when capitalism frees the people of Cuba that that city keeps some of its old-world style and charm.

          None of that suggests that I love to see people in poverty, living in uninhabitable crumbling buildings.

          1. Agreed. When the Cubans are finally permitted to join us in the 21st century, I hope that they have the freedom to do what they like with their property, and simultaneously hope the uniqueness is preserved. I know I’d be much more likely to visit Havana if it didn’t become another cookie cutter resort town.

            1. the was tony’s point.

        2. Let me put it this way, he’s no where near the bullshit we hear from the left that actually likes to see people in poverty because they do one or more of the following:

          1. Eat more healthful food.
          2. Aren’t all obese.
          3. Have a stronger sense of community.
          4. Look so cute and “authentic” while they perform back-breaking tasks just to squeeze a meager living out of the earth.
          5. Are more “connected” to the earth. See #4.
          6. Haven’t been corrupted by the vulgarities of choice.

          1. It’s so quaint to have people living under the boot for our entertainment.

            1. But they’re so thin and young!

            2. Maybe one day some advanced version of the Sims will do for authoritarianism what porn did for rape and games did for violence.

          2. And don’t forget the outrage when the peasants dare to try to improve their lives by getting jobs in icky factories. That is drastically less quaint and therefore: False consciousness!

        3. Of course, he’s not trying to claim he isn’t contradicting himself. Or that he’s some genius observer. That’s his saving grace.

    5. I thought it was hilarious the way he emphasized his hatred of communism before saying Castro wasn’t all bad and then praising the unspoiled scenery in Cuba where the people are stuck in a dirty 1950s timewarp and crushing poverty. Typical leftist disconnect.

      1. Read the blogpost above. When taken in context, it’s not typical leftist disconnect.

        1. Oh, I saw the episode and I like the show, but I’m going to have to disagree. He even calls himself out for using unspoiled when it means poor. We’re not talking about natural vistas; it’s run down, broken buildings and people living in extreme poverty because of the communism of Castro. I’m glad the people can find happiness in these situations. I’m a strong believer in the ability of people to thrive in any situation, like growing the economy inspire of uncertainty and increased regulation. But that doesn’t make a place unspoiled. I know people like this. They love to visit very poor countries and go on about how beautiful they are and how unspoiled the culture is,’while they have plenty of money to buy all the good food they want and get to leave after a week.

          1. Whoa, sorry for the length.

          2. He even calls himself out for using unspoiled when it means poor.

            Well if he calls himself out for it, then he’s at least self aware of the dichotomy he feels about it.

            1. I didn’t watch the episode, but going just on the blog post, he there’s no “leftist disconnect” at all. He demonstrates no love for Castro or communism. I think he’s trying to avoid making any kind of political statement, but if anything he’s scornful of both. He just likes the old buildings. If I like the Chicago skyline does that mean I like devastation by fire?

            2. I did see the episode and I think he was going for a silver lining in the whole thing. I don’t really recall him praising the regime for anything and in some spots, was highly critical of it. Frankly, I don’t blame him for not making such hay out of the situation; it’s a travel and food show, not a political analysis program.

              But, he was correct in that the city, in parts, *is* beautiful, albeit accidentally and at least what they showed on camera.

              1. I saw the episode, too, and came to pretty much the same conclusions.

                I still like Tony and the show fine, even now.

    6. He’s already got his heart set on retiring in Vietnam.

  3. Josie and the Pussycats? The jacket wept.

    1. Their spacecraft looks suspiciously like a giant dildo.

      1. You should see the one from Gilligan’s Planet…
        (yes, it was a real cartoon)

        1. As was Partridge Family 2200 A.D.

          1. As was Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century.

      2. Colonel: Johnson.
        Radar Operator: Yes, sir?
        Colonel: Get on the horn to British Intelligence and let them know about this.

      3. Aren’t they all just copying the dildo-like spaceship from 2001?

  4. “You like roller skating? Everybody likes roller skating!”

  5. So they transformed The Jacket into a flag for the caricature? Interesting editorial choice.

    1. the Jacket can transform itself into anything. True fact.

  6. and the plain fact is that the 21st century has been a complete fucking bust from every level and from any perspective.

    The shift of telling stories in short 2 to 3 hour movies to long form TV series that are 10s of hours long is pretty cool.

    also Red Dead redemption and Portal 2 were damn fun.

    and I am old enough to remember the internet and internet browsers in the 90s….

    1. Yes, I agree, that’s not true. There’s always a lot of muck and not much cream.

    2. Winter is coming.

    3. +1 for the Television Renaissance.

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