Portlandia Shocker: Gillespie/Welch Confess to Tolerating Some Environmental Regulations and a Social Safety Net!


The dream of the '90s, alive in Portland

Earlier this month, Nick Gillespie and I swung through beautiful Portland, Oregon as part of our tour for The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America. The highlight of the visit was a presentation and lively discussion at Powell's Books, the place that has as good a claim as any as the best bookstore in America. Before the dog-and-pony show, Chris Farley at Powell's sat us down for a probing interview about libertarianism, Jane's Addiction, the debt ceiling, Portland's famous microbrews, entitlements vs. safety nets, whether TARP saved the financial system, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.). Excerpt from Farley's intro:

Not many Americans really understand what libertarianism is, and this passionate and articulate pair have just written as succinct and entertaining a treatise on its principles (the fewer the better) and spirit (Johnny Rotten meets Margaret Thatcher) as you'll find. Not surprising. As editors of Reason magazine and Reason TV respectively, they've had plenty of practice writing, talking, and blogging about libertarianism — and cheerily pissing off both right and left along the way.

As the title of their book implies, The Declaration of Independents, Gillespie and Welch see the answer to our current predicament outside of our sclerotic two-party system. Probably a good thing — which party would have them? You can't be for gay marriage and legalizing pot and giving women full control over their bodies and slashing the military and find a home in today's Republican Party. And what Democrat would welcome anyone who so often sees government not just as a problem but as a joke.

The Dave Twardzik of congressional baseball players

The Ron Paul part of the interview:

Farley: I heard a Ron Paul interview recently, and he seemed to be arguing the opposite, that all environmental problems could be dealt with as property-rights cases through the courts. You know, "I've got my land, you've got your land, if you do something that harms my property, I'm going to sue you." It sounded insane to me.

Welch: Ron Paul is more ideologically based than Nick and I are, but we're constantly asked about him.

Farley: You love Ron Paul, but you don't agree with him on everything.

Welch: I don't love him. I don't love any politician. But, I like Ron Paul and appreciate Ron Paul.

Gillespie: We talk about him in the book. More than anyone else in the 2008 election, he's the reason why there was any discussion of the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War and foreign policy. He's got problems. He's not going to be the next president of the United States. And, yet, you've got to love a guy who is like an 800-year-old obstetrician who was getting college students to come out — like Obama wasn't, even. So, there's a lot there to love.

Welch: He was talking about legalizing heroin at the last South Carolina debate. That's very interesting. As an intellectual exercise, it's interesting to probe the limits of questions like, do you agree with government sidewalks or not? But let's also remember the world that we live in.

They hand you a map

The world that we live in is one in which — when was it, about a year ago? — a little girl in Portland had her lemonade stand shut down because she didn't get the right permit for the county fair. You know, "We have regulations here."

And, it wasn't just that she got her lemonade stand shut down, it was that the local Portland city councilwoman or the head of permitting said, "We have to have a process. It's very important that we know what's going to go on in that lemonade."

That mindset is so much more prevalent than the no-government-sidewalks mindset. What we're trying to do in the book is say, okay, we're not talking about a libertarian fantasy utopia. We're asking, how do you bring libertarian insights — libertarian as an adjective or an impulse — how do you bring these insights to bear on issues that aren't working very well right now, such as K-through-12 education, and so on?

We're not talking about getting in and ripping everything up. We're talking about introducing some level of consumerism and individual choice into what's driving policies, so that we can get pricing and markets to drive prices down and quality up.

It's not clear from that excerpt, but the "as an intellectual exercise" bit above was not actually a reference to Ron Paul, but rather to the types of questions we constantly field on the book tour, a la "But smoking bans make bars nicer!" and "Is there ANY government regulation you extremists would support?" Read the whole interview for various departures from anarchism.

They really like us! Excerpt for the ones who hated us, and got all angry asking about how deregulation ruined the economy and air travel.

Here's a review of our Powell's gig by the legendary Pacific Northwest blogger PortlandAristotle, over at Oregon Live. Excerpt:

I go to a lot of Powell's books author presentations. This is the second largest crowd I have seen in the Pearl room (second only to Chris Hedges last fall). They are very engaging speakers, mixing up their talk with clips from Reason TV. […]

I am still trying to digest everything that I have learned from their presentation and having read their book. I absolutely love original thinking and strongly recommend their book to anyone out there trying to understand where our politics is taking us.

Also in attendance was The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf. From his write-up:

Bill Walton, freedom fighter

The work of entertaining writers, the book is refreshing, especially among political tomes, for several reasons: it offers an original but plausible take on recent history, doesn't blame a partisan enemy for all that ails America, and advances an argument too complicated to fully convey in a review—hence its critical success in a genre where many titles run out of ideas at the end of the subtitle. […]

Thus far, it certainly seems like independent-minded people organizing to advance single issues tend to call for increases in liberty, whether the subject is gays or drugs or economic freedom. Truth be told, I am as much an optimist as the authors, and I hope their instinct is right: that independents plus technology equals saner public policy and more freedom. There is, or course, a darker possibility. Independent minded Americans might eschew party loyalty, use the Internet to organize, and effectively demand that the borders be closed to new immigrants or that all mosque construction be halted. It isn't, after all, just libertarian-minded folks who are fed up with the status quo. For libertarians, that means that there is much persuasion yet to be done. As stewards of Reason and Reason.com, Welch and Gillespie are well-positioned to do it.

Next up on the never-ending tour: Chicago Oxford, OH, then Chicago!

NEXT: The Smart Appear to Be Getting Smarter

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. You should have turned the interview around on him and asked how Tommy Boy and Black Sheep weren’t the same movie.

    1. CF: Remember when you and Drew Carey made that series about Cleveland?

      NG: Yes

      CF: That was awesome.

      [awkward pause]

      CF: How did you come to work at a right-wing website like Reason?

      NG: Actually, Reason is not right-wing, it is libertarian which does not fit on the traditional left-right spectrum.

      CF: [hits self on head] Oh! I am so stupid!

      1. You know where free market principles lead you?

        To a VAN down by the RIVER.

      2. My eyes aren’t so good. Is that the Fonz over there?

        1. Kevin, I wish you’d just shut you big YAPPER!

  2. Confess to Tolerating Some Environmental Regulations


    1. waterboard & sodomize the libtoid traitors

      1. and sell their hair!

  3. Gillespie/Welch Confess to Tolerating Some Environmental Regulations and a Social Safety Net!

    Fuck off, slavers!

  4. Why is Gillespie naked?

    1. Portland can get hot int he summer..

      Plus you know “When In Rome”.

      1. In Portland, Oregon, jacket wear you!

        1. He needs to tighten up them abs. Jeesh.

  5. “okay, we’re not talking about a libertarian fantasy utopia.”


    1. That was the whole reason I was going to buy the book!

    2. I like the concept of libertarian as direction instead of destination. Maybe that equals incrementalism & I need to be taken out and shot, but we have got to get people to understand that we want more freedom, not (for the most part) absolute anarchy.

      Is anarchism feasible?

      blah blah Iceland blah blah. I think it could work practically, but you’re NEVER going to convince a majority or even a plurality in this democracy that it’s a good idea.

      1. You might – after incremental freedoms are won, and the world doesn’t end.

  6. Um, isn’t “Next up on the never-ending tour” actually Oxford, OH? Has Matt forgotten about going to Nick’s (current) home town?

    1. Whoopsie! Thanks, corrected.

  7. Ugh… Astros rainbow uniforms.

    You really need NSFW tags if you’re going to post pictures containing those abominations.

    1. What the hell kind of rainbow only has orange and red in it?

      1. You in Texas now, boy. This ain’t a pride parade. Its a baseball team.

  8. Ugh… Astros rainbow uniforms.

    You really need NSFW tags if you’re going to post pictures containing those abominations.

    1. Narrowly edging out the mid-80’s Denver Nuggets uni’s.

  9. If you libertarians had your way we’d all be living in a van down by the river.

    1. and the river would have our unregulated discharges all up in there


  10. They really like us! Excerpt for the ones who hated us, and got all angry asking about how deregulation ruined the economy and air travel.

    New Mex lives in the Pacific Northwest right?

  11. From an Objectivist perspective, the reason libertarians like Welch and Gillespie are doomed to failure is that they have no consistent grounding in metaphysics, ethics and politics. They can cite no “reasons” to be for the particular hodgepodge of vaguely pro-liberty policy positions and half-measures they’ve put forward over the years.

    For example, what does “giving women full control over their own bodies” mean? It sounds great, that’s for sure. And that’s probably because a certain cultural and political battle has been fought and won here (long ago), and this is its catchphrase, and Matt and Nick are riding on its coattails.

    But how do Nick and Matt know which policies are truly pro-liberty? Do those policies promote the life of man qua man? Or do they just sound good in a range-of-the-moment way? Do people have a right to be free of government regulations in their lives and businesses, or do certain regulations just seem stupid and useless or counterproductive, in which case those particular regulations should be opposed?

    Friedersdorf seems to get this when he “hopes” that their “instincts” about what “independent” people and their technology might accomplish are sound, and then hints at the darker possibilities. He calls for “persuasion.” But if you have no firm principles, how do you persuade? References to history? Empirical test? In short, Consequentialism? But what are the evaluative criteria for choosing between two outcomes in such consequentialist evaluations?

    1. I saw too many quotation marks and my brain said, “tl, dr.”
      I concurred.
      Thus: tl, dr.

    2. I can’t imagine why so many people think Objectivists are blinker fanatics.

    3. So you think you can persuade a majority of the voters to lean towards liberty by means of metaphysics & ethics? Good luck with that.

    4. For example, what does “giving women full control over their own bodies” mean?

      Good question! You might want to ask the person who actually used the phrase.

    5. Maybe the better question is: are Objectivists doomed to failure because they have no consistent grounding in reality?

      1. Ding! Do you want a teddy bear or the big inflatable beer bottle?

    6. You’re right. This endless sucking-up to the Establishment (PLEASE LISTEN TO US!! WE HAVE SOME GOOD IDEAS!! YOU CAN KEEP YOUR REGULATIONS!!!) from Welch and Gillespie is getting old.

      You seem to shrink from the idea of principles altogether. Only “dumb” regulations? Wow.

      1. Yes, Matt and Nick – learn to take a principled stand so you too can be as successful and influential as the mighty Libertarian Party.

    7. “From an Objectivist perspective, the reason libertarians like Welch and Gillespie are doomed to failure is that they have no consistent grounding in metaphysics, ethics and politics.”

      Yes, an empirical evaluation of history suggests these are essential for political success.


      How do you make things show in wingdings, anyway?

  12. “[Ron Paul]’s not going to be the next president of the United States.”

    Gotten your hands on a crystal ball, have you?

    Nick, I am disappoint.

    1. If/when enough people realize that he knew what he was talking about economically, Paul might win. I’m hoping that happens, and that Mr. Gillespie (whom I usually enjoy) eats his words on this one.

    2. It’s unlikely, but not impossible. If he were to place first or second in Iowa, he could have a chance. The party doesn’t always get the candidate it wants, thanks to pesky little voters.

      1. I think their campaign is looking past Iowa towards NH. Smart move, if so.

    3. Well, I fully expect to caucus for Ron next when the Ia caucuses roll around. But there is no way Ron is going to win the nomination.

      My hope is that Ron, a devoted Christian, will pull the rug out from Bachman and the other so-cons and force the eventual nomine to take a much more libertarian message to the general election.

      However, nothing is going to change the way Congress operates or the fact that winner of the election always, always, always becomes an imperial president.

      1. That’s an interesting possibility, that Paul might be the last of the “so-cons” standing after a few primaries. Could that actually get him the nomination?

        Of course, as most libertarians know, Paul’s politics preclude him from imposing his socially conservative values on the country, but we don’t need to emphasize that during primary season, I suppose.

        1. Why would so-cons want a hands-off so-con? Hands-off so-cons are a tiny fraction of so-cons. Imposing your social values is sort of the point.

          1. You would think, but if the choice is between a God-fearing, good man like Paul, and an atheistic Mormon, gay-loving socialist like Romney, well, I think I know how they’re voting.

            1. I’m just saying he’s not a so-con dream candidate. If it was Obama vs Paul, it would still break down partisan lines, but the fantasy is not him winning, but rather being nominated at all.

              1. Well, he has a lot of money, so he might outlast the other candidates with so-con credibility. If he’s the last one standing, I think he’d have a real chance of getting their vote.

                In addition, his hands-off politics would be great in the general for winning over independents and conservative Democrats. That, and his not-Obamaness.

            2. But, but, but… DRUGS!

              1. But, but, but…NATIONAL DEFENSE!

                1. He could beat that by just implying that God doesn’t need us to intervene anymore.

          2. When a man with unimpeachable Christian credentials says that the government needs to stop worrrying about managing people’s behavior and focus on core, constitutional functions, there is just the slightest possbility that enough so-cons will listen to derail an idiot like Michelle Bachmann. {I have my fantasies just like everyone does}

            1. I share SF’s pessimism, but Paul can make the case that morality is a choice. You can’t force someone to be moral anymore than you can force them to think a certain way. You might be able to obtain phony compliance, but that’s another matter.

              1. You can’t force someone to be moral anymore than you can force them to think a certain way.

                Imagine a world where everybody understood this simple fact. It might be close to a paradise.

                1. I’ve always thought that religious fanatics who want to impose their will on everyone else are missing a huge point: Assuming there’s a God, if he wanted to resort to force to make us comply with his law, why would he need us? In other words, if God doesn’t see fit to use force to make us behave in a certain way, why should you do it?

                  1. If they were logical they wouldn’t be pro-coercion religious fanatics. QED

                    1. Yes, that seems to be the key problem.

                  2. It’s all part of the test. You need to actively work to make other people believe to show that you believe.

                  3. If they really believed in heaven and hell shouldn’t they let God sort it out at the end……

                    Would make for a less crowded heaven and cheaper real estate for the true believers.

              2. Ron did well in the Iowa caucuses in 2008 despite having ignored Iowa to focus on New Hampshire.

                This year he had established an office in Des Moines a month or so ago. I’ve been receiving phone calls for a month from real people, not robots, asking me to attend the straw poll.

                The Paul campaign spent $31K to reserve the best spot at the straw poll site.

                If he comes in 3rd behind the media darlings, he’ll cruise into the caucuses.

                But I still can’t see him surviving the slog through the primaries — he’s 80 years old, has an annoying speaking voice, and is the opposite of camera-ready material.

                But I do think he can severely damage the chances of a candidate like Bachmann making it past the Ia Caususes and the New Hampshire Primary.

    4. yeah when the odds are 70% against it is ok to say it is not going to happen.

      That said if Paul got the nomination he would beat Obama in a land slide.

  13. That picture of Ron Paul with the bat was actually taken yesterday… in London.

    1. FTW!

      1. He was trying to stop the looting single-handedly.

  14. I absolutely love original thinking

    One man’s “original thinking” is another man’s “self-evident”.

    But I’m not from Portland.

  15. Matt Welch doesn’t love Ron Paul? Cast out the heretic!

  16. Chris Farley is alive?

    1. Yes and living in a VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER.

  17. Not many Americans libertarians really understand what libertarianism is.

    1. Not many ,Americans self-described libertarians with TV shows really understand what libertarianism is.


      1. so… you’re talking about Stossel and Andy Napolitano? in what way do they not understand what libertarianism means?

        I’ve considered myself libertarian for 20 years, and as far as I can tell there are as many interpretations of what libertarianism is as there are libertarians.

        1. See: Maher and Beck.

          Stossel and Napolitano are libertarians (as far as I know–they could be closet communists, although not likely).

          Hence, why I kept the word “many” and did not substitute “all.”

          Not to mention, I was just fucking with Cher.

          1. “I was just fucking with Cher”

            Then you’ll need to be tested.

  18. Not to mention, with respect to Ron Paul’s “intellectual exercises”, if you don’t believe in self ownership, you simple do not believe in liberty and if you accept that the government has any business deciding for you what you may or may not ingest, you simple do not believe in self ownership. There are sound, irrefutable principles on which to base all libertarian principles and you either adhere to those principles or you do not.

    The vibe I definitely get from these guys is that by adhering to actual principles you are being irrational and unsensible and their only real issue with progressives has to do with which particular government regulations are justified and sensible versus those which, maybe, go too far. Stefan Molyneux is DNO with respect to the nature of the predicament ordinary people find themselves in. Reason wants to work within the system to, maybe, curtail its excesses.

    What is not recognized is that its excesses are built into the system, it is a rigged system and the only reason any of us are not in a gulag is that nothing we can do comes close to threatening our over lords. The minute anything you do does, you can count on jackboots in the night. Yeah, I would like to see much of the idiocy that springs from government cut back, but, it’s like Henry David said about branches and roots. Nick and Matt are definitely branch guys. Ron Paul is a root guy.

    If Matt and Nick and Reason really, really wanted unfettered liberty they would do all they could do to help promote any candidate who advocates genuine liberty and as far as I can see there is only one and there has only ever been one. Instead it’s – he’s got these unattractive foibles. “Yeah, he advocates liberty and libertarian principles across the board, but I don’t exactly agree with him on absolutely everything, so better to help marginalize him and promote, say, a sensible candidate like a Romney who once said something that could be construed as remotely resembling a modicum of appreciation for something like liberty.”As far as the abortion thing goes, that’s a rough one when it comes to libertarian principles. At what point does a fetus become an unborn child and at what point does that unborn child have rights. For me, Jesus, I don’t have a fucking clue, but there is clearly a difference between a zygote and a fully formed fetus. In this day and age, when you make to choice to become pregnant and to carry the fetus halfway to term, then you have made to choice to have the child and to protect it.

    1. There actually *is* no reference to “Ron Paul’s ‘intellectual exercises,'” as I pointed out in the post.

    2. Also — the notion that I would for even a nanosecond promote Mitt Romney over Ron Paul is insane.

      1. Insanity, is reading me/dwc’s post.

    3. eh… “…promote…Romney…”

      What “Reason” website have you been going to? It certainly isn’t the same one I’ve been reading for two years.

      They’re not marginalizing Paul. He marginalizes himself. Unfortunately, libertarianism is marginal to the totality of the current political process. I hope that very marginality will make Paul a genuinely attractive candidate for enough people to attain the presidency, but I doubt it will actually happen. Perhaps I misjudge my fellow Americans.

    4. Even if we assume the strictest pro-life position, that a zygote has rights, what rights are those? The same as everyone else’s, be they fetus, child or adult. Put most simply, they all have the right to private property and the defense thereof. Private property is what is called a negative right: a right which prohibits interference from others by restricting aggressive or invasive action. Contrast that with positive rights, which require the action of another to fulfill. It is my belief that any “right” which is a positive right is in fact no right at all. People do not have a right to food, education, medical care, or shelter. Such rights would place a burden on others to provide it.

      Contrary to popular belief, there is no “right to life”, only the right to pursue and defend it. This is fundamentally what confuses people about the abortion issue, by conflating the negative right to private property in your own person with a positive “right to life.” If a right to life existed in the same way pro-lifers treat it for unborn children, anyone with a medical condition that could be cured at the expense of another person’s body could compel their cooperation. Need a kidney transplant? By the pro-life logic, you can forcefully take a kidney from someone else. You after all, have a right to life which supersedes that of the “donor.”

      Once we’ve made the distinction between positive and negative rights, it becomes clear that the zygote/fetus/child does not have the positive right to force the mother to carry it. The mother still has the right to decide what happens to her own body, and is free to revoke her permission for another to inhabit it. While we might for moral reasons strongly advise her not to exercise that right, as doing so will almost certainly harm the unborn child, it would be a violation of her property rights to force her to continue an unwanted pregnancy.

      Ah! You may say, but in removing the fetus/child you have done harm to it, you have aggressed! While the consequence might be no different, the path taken makes an enormous difference. Aggression would be to say, smother the child. Expelling it from the uterus after the mother has revoked its permission to be there is no different than escorting a trespasser off your property. It is not the mother’s obligation to concern herself with what happens thereafter… from a natural rights perspective! You and I may, and should urge and plead her not to be so callous; but we should not reject her rights and hold a gun to her head for the duration of the pregnancy.

      1. Evictionism. FTW

      2. So under evictionism all abortions would have to be by means of removing the fetus whole through the birth canal or cesarean section?

  19. Yall need to take an ancap with you to be “bad cop”. That’ll make all your pro-sidewalk and pro-road arguments look so much more “reasonable”.

    1. Where’s Lysander Spooner when you need him?

      1. Hell, just take me along. A few “nutsack-gargling fartfuckers” later, Nick and Matt look like the… wait for it… reasonable ones. DERP!

        1. Drink! Speaking of which, if you do get to go along, make sure to drink a lot. I’ve found alcohol to be a real muse for my profane insults.

        2. “PUBLIC schools? PUBLIC?!?!? What are you, Stalin’s grandson??!”

  20. I didn’t change my “republican” registration after the 2008 election (I wanted to caucus for Paul). So I have been getting robocalls (twice a day) and email for weeks as we come up to the Ames straw poll.

    Last night, Santorums’s robot called me, and I was so dissapointed that I couldn’t ask questions about that other meaning of santorum.

  21. I always figured it was “get your piss CUP out of my fucking face.”

    1. You know what, you’re probably right.

      I have this weird blank spot where I forget that pre-Internet music contained lyrics that you can find on the Internet.

    2. “According to the February 7, 1991 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, the intro to Ain’t No Right is Perry’s response to a request by Lippman Kahane Entertainment, then Jane’s Addiction’s management agency, to have him take a urine drug test. Perry declined the request, get your fucking piss cup out of my fucking face, and the band soon parted ways with the company.”

      suck on THAT piss cock, Welch!

      1. Thanks. I could hear the line, but couldn’t remember the song.

        And I was listening to Nothing’s Shocking, so it would have been a while before I found it.

  22. “Hands-off so-con” seems to me to be an oxymoron.

    1. But that appears to be what Paul is, at least in some respects.

      1. The “so” in so-con means something, much like the “social” in “social justice”. Both suggest the involvement of a collective. Aside from his stance on abortion, Paul seems to be more of a “per-con” or “indicon” than a “so-con”.

    2. I am far from a fan of Tucker Carlson, but he did a really good write up on Ron Paul in the 08 election when he followed Paul on the campaign for a while. His comment was that Ron Paul was about as square as you can get but was dedicated to letting other people live as unsquare as they want.

  23. Nick – I went to Whole Foods just two weeks ago, and they only had 2 kinds of eggplant. So suck it.

  24. There is, or course, a darker possibility. Independent minded Americans might eschew party loyalty, use the Internet to organize, and effectively demand that the borders be closed to new immigrants or that all mosque construction be halted. It isn’t, after all, just libertarian-minded folks who are fed up with the status quo…

    “Which is why anything other than the status quo is frankly impossible…”

    People in the media love to pat libertarianism on the head and be like, “your logic and ideals are so… quaint”. But when it comes down the slightest @(#*$ curtailment of government mandates or nanny-intervention, they tut-tut, “If we don’t make sure the calories are printed on each M&M, then The Children…and the Environment… I mean, people can’t smoke in *Parks*, what, next thing you’ll say we shouldn’t be panicking about the explosion of Child Porn! Why do you want my children to do drugs??”

    Seriously. in one breath they will praise libertarian ‘ideas’, and in the next gasp at the prospect of any rational application of them.

    Its sort of a Sociopolitical ‘NIMBY-ism’. Freedom is nice in theory, but we can’t go letting people go doing *whatever they want*… because, you know….the anarchy… the poison lemonade… and of course we need schools… teh roads!!…

    1. I think it comes back to the notion that everyone is a libertarian when it comes to themselves. The ideological leap is being willing to extend the same trust to everyone else.

  25. everyone is a libertarian when it comes to themselves. The ideological leap is being willing to extend the same trust to everyone else.

    Come now, Shirley, you cannot pretend to be wise enough to make the right choices for yourself. You might choose improperly. And society will be your victim.

    1. u tell em brooksie

  26. Oh, so it’s ok to tolerate some regulations? What about immigration? Will Gillespie tolerate deporting illegal aliens? I believe in freedom, not regulation. Besides, global warming was already proven to be a lie by the climategate scandal.

    1. There are very few scientists who believe global warming is “a lie”, since statistically speaking, temperatures are getting warmer.

      The real debate is over whether scientists overemphasized the connections between human activity and climate change, whether humans are really in danger in the next century or if this is overexaggerated to win grant money, and whether their proposed solutions are worse than the problem.

      1. Also whether the warming trend is a blip or is a sign of an enduring trend. The climate changes all the time. Whether it is now moving in just one direction is something no one really knows.

      2. Just google “global warming hoax” and see for yourself. Scientists not affiliated from the government aren’t buying Al Gore’s bullshit. In fact, “climategate” proved that they lied deliberately, they manipulated models to make a promote a point of view.

        By the way, in the 1970s the scientists where preventing global cooling. So you see? Half the time these people don’t know what they’re talking about.

        A libertarian supports individual choice and state’s rights. You want to live with tree huggers, move to California, but don’t tell me I have to pay higher gasoline taxes to save the planet.

        P.S. Rent Penn & Teller’s Bullshit from Netflix, did you know Recycling is bullshit? There’s lots you can learn.

  27. Farley: So, you’re not against regulation, you’re just against “dumb” regulation.

    Gillespie: Yes. There are better and worse ways to regulate things.


    Fucking BARF. A code of federal regulations so large it fills half a room is stupid by definition. And when you are cranking out regulations by the dozens every day, guess what? Massive numbers of stupid regulations will get through. This is what we have today. When you tell a crowd that you’re against dumb regulations, they think “me too, but team Blue is smart and they’ll fix it.” What we need to do is make clear that we are against the regulatory state itself, in which unelected beauracrats regulate the living shit out of everything, inevitably fuck it up, and then the initial fuck-up becomes the justifiation for even more regulation.

    Also, practically agreeing that humans are causing climate change — BARF again. You can’t concede that and then hope to stake out a middle ground with these people. To them, climate change = the excuse they’ve always needed to regulate all aspects of life. This notion that a “consensus” of scientists can use computer models to “prove” AGW is bunk, and needs to be called bunk at every opportunity.

    1. This.

      “Awww shucks, big nanny statist enviro-tard, I guess you’re probably right after all… we DO need welfare programs, and we DO need the EPA! Them lowly peons just can’t be expected to behave how us enlightened Statists would like them to on their own.”

      -Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie

    2. There is the world we live in and there is happy libertarian wonderland…any place in between is the worse hell EVER!!!!!!!!!

      I want the complete perfect libertarian wonderland now!!!


      1. Translation: the “world we live in” is an uber-regulated, bankrupt shitpile and I like it that way, so any “compromise” or “change” means we’ll agree to change nothing, pretend the opposite, and everyone will have to like it.

        Are you John Boehner?

      2. “”Fucking BARF. “”

        Well, as much as I mostly agree with you in principle, there’s just no way to start off with these people* (i.e. the generic progressive liberal who supports ‘regulation’ in general without any knowledge of the specifics or who is affected and how) because the starting assumption they make is that you want to ‘destroy the system’ because of some ideological opposition to the concept of social safety nets or any kind of government intervention in *anything*… basically, the reductio ad absurdum/strawman approach.

        The purist libertarian thinking does not compute with these people because even the most sensible opposition to specific regulatory issues is perceived as some kind of ideological foot in the door to the ultimate destruction of the status quo. (a status quo, I will note, they don’t really understand or know much about – they just assume your idea must be *much worse* because it comes from what they think of as ‘the Right’)

        I mean, as an example = I’ve said to many people that many of the regulations proposed to adapt to “global warming” are absolutely idiotic. They then say, “OH!! You’re one of those ‘Anti Global Warming’ types!… Well then you must not believe in Evolution either and are an anti-science crazy conservative who wants to also live in some world where capitalists all own the natural resources and we all eat Baby Seal burgers at McDonalds and…”

        I usually have to start over and say =”I believe Global Warming exists. I am saying that the things that are proposed are meaningless and ultimately counterproductive and harmful. They’re just using this thing as an excuse to levy taxes, and will have No Effect.” Eventually they begin to get it. Starting with something like the Ethanol boondoggle usually resonates. You can’t start with the things that people fundamentally don’t agree about (however stupid their ideas may be)… you have to work your way up from the ground to the point that they realize that, hey, even our Big Government doesn’t actually deliver on its conceptual promise… and maybe these other people have a point.

        Its sort of like how the “End the Fed!” chants by the Paultards do a great deal to scare away people who would otherwise agree that the Tax Code needs to be shaved down to a single page, and that layers of useless bureaucracy need to go away.

        You may reject any sort of appeal to a ‘middle ground’, but you simply don’t have a realistic understanding of how libertarianism has spread and grown in recent years. Its not people who were ‘converted’ from Liberal or Conservative True Believers by a detailed and vigorous dissection of Murray Rothbard or von Mises, et al…. its people who are like, “WTF?! The TSA is made up of high school dropouts who keep groping my dick and still have no means of stopping idiots like the Shoe Bomber or the Underwear Bomber…” Then from that, they learn about Lemonade Stand regulation, or Licensing Requirements for interior decorators…or maybe its the excesses by a militarized police force (I think the Arizona ‘border’ checkpoints that are 200 miles from the border are basically ‘libertarian conversion centers’)….

        Basically I’m siding with Josh Corning above. You want results, you’re going to have to babysit the progressive fears to some degree. You want political purism? I don’t know, vote for Lyndon LaRouche and feel self satisfied.

        1. Ok, the right has been baysitting those fears for decades now. And the number of pages in the CFR grows by multiples every year. The major conservative “victory” this year was to win the establishment of a committee that is to slow the growth in spending and debt 10 years hence. There’s no “purity” in that. Nor is there self-satisfaction.

          I’m not a Rand Paul, abolish the Fed sort. Nor am I a guy who thinks we can or should have zero regulations. If I had been asked the question posed to Mick, I’d have said that while we are not opposed to all regulation, we need a sea change in our outlook about what regulation can actually achieve, to be honest about its many abject failures and unintended consequences, and to begin treating it as a last resort instead of the reflex action it’s been.

          Maybe I am over-reacting to what Nick said, but the “smart” regulation meme sounds like the white flag of surrender, to be honest with you.

          1. Nick, not Mick. Crap.

            1. I think we pretty much agree.

              I dont think there’s so much “surrender” going on as, “buy our fucking book you idiots! We’ll say anything to get you to buy the fucking thing and hopefully we’ll start you down the path to the Dark Side…. bwoo ha ha ha haha”

              But sure, at face value it’s irksome, I admit. They’ve had to do a lot of these events/interviews and maybe there’s been an excessive bit of watering-down to make stuff palatable to the unwashed liberal masses. It doesn’t exactly make me suddenly go, “TRAITOR!!” after like 10 years of reading the magazine. I think I already know where they’re coming from, and one or two bones thrown to them Librul Media folks doesn’t turn The Jacket into Judas, so much.

  28. The home-brew beer ‘revolution’ is what I use as an example for dunderheads who can’t get a grip on what libertarianism is and, of course, that person will claim that either the Reps or Dems are the ones truly responsible for its success.

    1. You mean the home brew revolution that Al Gore invented?

        1. Hate to say it, but home brewing was re-legalized by History’s Greatest Monster.

          1. Godzilla?

            1. He had a surprisingly good legislative record.

              When he wasn’t out destroying Tokyo, of course. That’s all everyone remembers.

              1. Well, he was good in the beginning, but he went too far.

  29. Well, Welch. You easily succomb to a moron’s understanding of the general welfare clause. You are quickly rolled by a buffoon’s doomsaying about tragedy of the commons. When can we expect to see you extolling the merits of the supremacy and commerce clauses?

    You do realize that in a State where the government has pledged to throw money to unproductive parasites (your so-called “social safety net”), that its necessary for government to seize that money from somewhere? And theres no legal reason why some little bitch selling lemonade should somehow be exempt, while somebody selling shoes, or filing papers, or melting metal is obligated to chip in? You DO understand that, don’t you?

  30. Instead of using the Amazon link to your book it would have been cool to use Powell’s link to your book:


  31. The funny thing is, the Reason-hating libertoid purists are *never* around to actually discuss practical issues, but simply come over every few months to scream, “SEE!!! REASON NOT REAL LIBERTARIANS!!! THEY ARE IN BED WITH THE ENEMY!!!” every now and then.

    My favorite are the REAL LIBERTARIANS HATE MEXICANS guys. Anti NAFTA libertarians.

    Its kinda tiresome. Do they have a magazine of their own that anyone reads?

    1. Aww yeah, torch those strawmen!

      1. Well, its not like you’ve ever spent much time here before, Mr Scarecrow.

        True Believers hate perceived apostates more than anything. We see, we know! Mission accomplished. Now we can all DRINK.

        1. I get a bit tired of the ABSOLUTE FREEDOM IMMEDIATELY!!! types as well. If there’s going to be renewed freedom in this country, it’s almost certainly going to come as a result of incremental change. If there’s a revolution, I don’t think the choices will be an-cap versus minarchy.

        2. Oh I haven’t? And you’d know this how? Carry on, dumbfuck.

          GILMORE. DURRR.

  32. The photo at the Powell’s blog has superimposed Nick and Welch’s images together, such that it looks like Nick is looking over his shoulder at the happily-mounted-Welch, and impatiently expecting a reach-around

  33. Any of you remember how the “safety net” metaphor emerged? It came about ~35 yrs. ago when American “conservatives” proposed that a broad skein of welfare benefits be done away with, so that people would be freed to take risks like circus performers, with only a safety net of minimal entitlements to catch them in case they failed. Unfortunately after a few yrs. the term got embraced across the political specturm to stand for a heavy welfare commitment again.

    Kind of like how “The High Frontier” got co-opted to mean something exclusively military. Fortunately the movie Star Wars provided a more suitable name, although that too was co-opted from a term of derision.

  34. Be kind to animals….Eat a vegitarian.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.