Politics

Declaration of Independents Update or, Some People Still Fail to See the Connection Before Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf And Contemporary Politics.

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About a month ago, Brian Sack, host of the excellent Glenn Beck TV (GBTV.com) show The B.S. of A., interviewed me about The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America, the book I co-wrote with Matt Welch. And because no conversation is complete without a zombie version of Thomas Jefferson, zombie Thomas Jefferson is part of the discussion. Literally. (While you're at it, check out Sack's book The B.S. of A.: A Primer in Politics for the Incredibly Disenchanted.)

In other Declaration of Indepedents news, the Cato Institute's Doug Bandow gives Matt and me props in his contribution to The American Spectator's list of "Books for Christmas":

…long ago I decided that politics was hopeless and we are all doomed. In The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America(PublicAffairs) Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch do their best to prove me wrong. I still think we are doomed, but I hope they are right when they pronounce: "the future will be so bright, we'll have to wear shades or, preferably, money-back-guaranteed optical implants with complimentary lifetime upgrades."

Whole list here.

What Bandow sees as bracing optimism others sees as pleasant but irrelevant jawboning. Here's Mark Schmitt, a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute:

Early on in their book, for example, we're treated to a well-executed ten pages about the Velvet Underground and its influence on Czech dissidents in the 1980s—a fascinating subject, but one only tangentially related to American politics in 2011. (A later digression about the characters in a 1988 video game called Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf is hilariously even less relevant.)…

Matt's and my book is part of a larger discussion of folks who fantasize of a third-party insurgency (something we are at pains to ignore in the Declaration), so Schmitt either misses or slights our message that Americans are evacuating party affiliation as a primary identity. And he objects to our "stale premise" that the same sort of change that roiled the past 30 years of our non-political life is coming to the political sphere due to deficits and shortfalls at the federal, state, and local levels of government. Schmitt is having none of it.

The long-term federal deficit is indeed a problem to be solved, and there are lots of reasons to be concerned about it—but "we are so out of money" is a particularly misleading way to describe it. We can no more run out of money than we can run out of smiles. The United States has the good fortune to be sovereign in its own currency, which is to say that we can handle the current debt and much of the projected debt. At certain levels, there will be bad consequences, such as inflation, but we're nowhere near that point and certainly not "out of money."

His whole review is here, in Democracy: a Journal of Ideas.

BTW, if you're interested in reading an excerpt of the book, check out our piece about how the Velvet Underground and Vaclav Havel, the newly deceased former president of a free Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic, helped killed communism dead. If you like it, please buy the book!

NEXT: "How did America reach the point where aspiring entrepreneurs...must approach government on bended knee?"

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  1. Lord almighty. WTF – win the future with Nick.

  2. Look out, Bo! That low-down snake-belly-mean Sheriff Roscoe done set him up one of his genuine impenetrable roadblocks across Possum Gulch! And if them federal boys catch you with Boss Hogg’s funny money in the General Lee, you can forget about havin’ any of Daisy’s huckleberry pie for a while. And what’s this? Seems some ol’ body left his farm wagon up against the gulch all tilted-like. Now, can any y’all guess what ol’ Bo is thinkin’ right about now? Stay set, folks, and we’ll see if Luke manages to break himself into jail… and if Bo here ever comes down.

  3. I suggest feather touch. You have entered POWER DRIVE.

  4. No sane person would argue that trillions of deficit spending every year coupled with, what, 12 trillion in debt is a wise or sustainable course, so what is needed is the “yes, but..” to wit:

    The long-term federal deficit is indeed a problem to be solved,and there are lots of reasons to be concerned about it?but….The United States has the good fortune to be sovereign in its own currency, which is to say that we can handle the current debt and much of the projected debt.

    Ta da!!! It both acknowledges the problem and completely blows it off at the same time. “Yes, i know this is a serious problem but let me rationalize why it isnt really a serious problem.

    1. My translation of Schmitt:

      “Money is not magical. We do not have to conjure it…we can just print more of it…

      and…

      Money is magical and if we print some out of thin air and spend it; jobs and wealth and puppy faced unicorns will rain from the sky!!!”

      He simultaneously fetishizes money when he should not and demeans it when he should support it.

      1. Yeah, reading that guys critique of Gillespie’s book really set off alarm bells especially the line:

        “We can no more run out of money than we can run out of smiles.”

        Technically this is true, but technically this is also breathtakingly stupid. What is left unsaid would be the very commmensensical question ,”So, if we debauch are currency to the value of a smile, we need to know what a smile is currently worth on the open market? (I hope it is at least worth a dollar!)”

        Sometimes economics can be counterintuitive, and sometimes it smacks of common sense. Most of the time it smacks of common sense, and when liberal douchbags like this say we cannot run out of money or Paulie Krugnuts says that a trillion dollars is really not that much money, just remember to listen to your common sense tingling…

  5. It wasn’t in my local bookstore. I was going to buy it as a present for somebody. So, instead I had to buy Stossel’s book about a shovel.

  6. My God, that zombie Jefferson was totally unfunny!

    1. That premise had potential, but was handled with all of the delicacy of someone fixing a watch with a hammer and tongs…

  7. “We can no more run out of money than we can run out of smiles. The United States has the good fortune to be sovereign in its own currency”

    Wow. That guy’s an idiot.

  8. Matt and Nick wrote a book?

    Can’t wait for my *autographed* copy now that that blood drive is over.

    1. Now that it is done did anyone pay the $666 for the reason profile?

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