Declaration of Independents

The Future Was Going to be "The Jetsons plus Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space plus maybe a David Bowie song." What Happened?


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.