Ask a Libertarian

Ask a Libertarian: How do we argue with our conservative friends without them screaming?


Welcome to Ask a Libertarian 2012 with Reason's Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch. They are the authors of the book, The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, coming out in paperback with a new foreword covering Occupy Wall Street and more, on June 26.

In this round, Matt and Nick answer the question: 

"How do we argue with our conservative friends without them screaming at us?" -submitted by @H0bbesthetiger

Produced by Meredith Bragg, Jim Epstein, Josh Swain, and Tracy Oppenheimer with help from Katie Hooks.

To watch answers from 2011's Ask a Libertarian series, go here.

NEXT: Ask a Libertarian Lightning Round: Libertarianism in Pop Culture & Pop Culture in Politics

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  1. Don’t go on The O’Reilly Factor. Simple.

    1. I thought he was Fair and Balanced??

    2. PS – The ocean comes in, the ocean goes out….you can’t explain that.

      FTW of all time!

  2. When you can walk across the rice paper and leave no trace, Grasshopper….then you will have learned.

  3. If liberals and conservatives both aren’t screaming at you, you probably aren’t doing it right.

    1. When conservatives scream, I give another turn to the thumbscrew.

  4. This one is easy. Just find a bible verse that backs up whatever your point at the moment is. The Bible is on both sides of every issue, so it’s not that hard to do.

    1. Ain’t that the truth.

      Conservatives always think they have the moral high ground. It really grinds their gears when they find out they don’t.

      1. So do liberals.

        1. So do libertarians,for that matter, but since we spend so much time arguing amongst ourselves about every conceivable angle of every conceivable issue, we’re usually right.

          1. Well, I’M usually (actually always) right. Unfortunately, people don’t always recognize my greatness. Bow before me mortals!

      2. You are so right, Cavpitalist. Go to GoogleScholar. You can find constitutional case law that does the same thing as bible verse.

    2. “Just find a bible verse”

      Just make it up. None of them have actually read The Bible, they’re not going to know.

      1. Thanks for the advice, John Roberts.

        1. Do, or do not. There is no try.
          -Leviticus, Chapter 12 Verse 41

    3. My favorites are the ones where Jesus lays out when it’s ok to bomb the brownies.

  5. Why are your “friends” always screaming at you? You need different friends.


  6. Ask a Libertarian: How do we argue with our conservative friends without them screaming?

    Libertarian: “I find their screams pleasurable, frankly. Pulling fingernails would be half the fun without it.”

  7. Step 1: Convince them that there is actually no viable mass conspiracy amongst liberals and the various Muslim states (who often hate eachother) to re-create the medieval caliphate.

    I’ve never gotten to Step 2, because Step 1 can’t be accomplished.

    1. They hate us for our freedumbs, Jimbo.

      1. Well, clearly. Important People have said it enough times that it must be true.

  8. Never had an issue really with conservatives yelling at me, they seem ok with just listening to me. Now, liking what I am saying or agreeing , yeah that something different.

    1. Same here. They seem a calmer bunch than the liberals. If you have a logical argument to make, they at least listen. I can usually get them to at least concede that some of the Libertarian stuff makes sense.

      1. Appearances can be deceiving. IRL, I may look like a standard progressive hipster, but trust me when I say I’m a full-on classical liberal. Also know as a libertarian. The point is, they may seem calm in person, but if they say “bless you”, that’s just SoCon for “fuck you”, and may just bad-mouth you on Facebook behind your back. Frankly, I’d rather be called a “fascist pig” to my face then a “terrorist lover” behind my back.

        1. No, Audrey, you’re just a liberal. No ‘classic’ attached.

          Chloe and Drake are right, you don’t get a lot of screaming from conservatives. It’s just not in them.

          Socons may be pigheaded, but they’ll listen, and talk, and most of the time you can get them to see your point even if they don’t agree with it.

          Liberals, on the other hand, come out screeching and flinging ad hominems….but you already know that, as evidenced by your post.

          1. Azathoth!!, why do you feel such a need to stand up for SoCons when they rarely so much as lift a finger for us, and in many cases spit venom when they think we’re not looking? I’m not some concern troll and really do want to know what you think it will accomplish. Not to mention that, in my own idiosyncratic way, I believe true free-market capitalism to be the most liberal economic system yet developed.

  9. What about those of us that have no friends?

    Thanks for othering me, Nick and Matt.

    1. I’m sure you’ve got some friends, Ken. Just none here. You’re rather like Jimbo in that respect, aren’t you?

    2. Is that why you’re having the kid, Sloopy? Did you decide to make your own friends?

      1. **runs off sobbing**

        1. Don’t worry honey, in 10 years time we will have all the friends we need and will no longer have to put up with these jerks.

          1. Just because they friend you on Facebook does not make them an actual friend. Strangers (in every sense of the word) that comment on the same blog you do are your only true friends. We will never fail to mock you nor will we be there when you need us. Unless you need us to mock you.

            1. I think she was talking about the basketball team of kids we will have made by then. One kid a year for 10 years, plus the two I’ve already got = no need for you bastards any longer.

              Besides, I’ll be Senator Sloopy by then and you’ll all have sweet staffer jobs working for me.* Except Warty. I can’t get him through the background check.

              *If has a delete function for some of my posts.

              1. Awesome plan. They are going to be Buckeyes right:)

    3. Hang on sloopyinca. sloopyinca, hang on.

  10. I say bad things about Obama, Liberals call me a Fascist racist.

    I say bad things about Bush, Coservatives call me a terrorist-lover.

    1. I have a facebook friend who used to bash a mutual liberal with me. I avoid him now, as he is totally in love with Mittens, and hates Ron Paul almost as much as he hates Obama. I’ved tried to explain Paul’s fidelity to the Constitution, but he always has a Bill O’Reilly talking point to throw back. Hopeless.

    2. You terrorist-loving facist racist. It’s people like you that will make America a secular Islamo-Commie-Nazi-Anarchist-neoConfederate paradise.

    3. I say bad things about Bush, Conservatives fall all over themselves adding theirs


  11. My father in law is a hard core SoCon drug warrior. I just point out to him that God himself is a Libertarian.

    1. Ok, I’ll bite, how’s that?

      1. God gave us free will. R’s and D’s want to take that away.

        1. Which means that they are rebelling against God’s will, the ultimate sin.

        2. Did we really have any extensive sort of free will before biting the forbidden fruit (taking religion as a given, obviously)? We had some minimal autonomy insofar as Adam and Eve could disobey the command not to eat the fruit, but that was more a case of exploited naivete than evil (and could possibly be considered more like exploiting a programming loophole). It was the fruit that gave humans moral intuitions and the capacity for moral reasoning, and god was pretty adamantly opposed to that.

  12. Apparently none of you live in Illinois, where there are two parties, Obama Is God and Fuck You You Fascist. I don’t think I’ve ever argued with a conservative within the borders of the state… just liberals and a few racist cab drivers.

    1. What the fuck is an “Illinois”?

      1. It’s the place where brains go to die.

  13. Actually, this question should be asked over at FreeRepublic.

    Hint: They HATE libertarians.

  14. Ask a Libertarian: How do we argue with our conservative friends without them screaming?
    Help them come out of the closet. *taps foot in mens bathroom*

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