Ask a Libertarian 2012! The Complete Questions and Answers with Matt Welch & Nick Gillespie


Last Tuesday, Reason's Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch fielded questions on everything from who's getting their vote in the presidential run to what's the most libertarian movie ever to where in the world is an actual example of a truly libertarian government.

Ask a Libertarian 2012 features 31 rapid-response videos produced and uploaded in about six hours. Click on the image of a very smug (and very wrong!) Tom Friedman to get the playlist running (total time is about 1.30 hours).

Or pick and choose based on topics by going to ReasonTV's YouTube channel.

Gillespie and Welch fielded questions sent via email, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as a way of celebrating the new paperback edition of their book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America. The paperback, which comes out on June 26, features a new foreword that discusses the Occupy Wall Street movement and other developments since the hardcover debuted about a year ago. Click on the link above for reviews and more info.

Many thanks to ReasonTV's Meredith Bragg, Jim Epstein, Joshua Swain, and Tracy Oppenheimer, who filmed, edited, and uploaded all vids (and Bragg for suggesting the concept last year; for the first Ask a Libertarian playlist, go here).

NEXT: Ed Krayewski on the Top 5 Pieces of Good News in the Bad News

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  1. Ask a libertarian:

    Has anyone written a dystopian (that’s right, I said dystopian) novel about a bleak world where libertarians have taken control? If not, then no one steal that idea because I’m writing one. I’m going to call it Space Feudality: Earth 2002 AD.

    1. I’ve never read it, but I was under the impression that Jennifer Government by Max Barry touched on this.

      1. No need to read the synopsis on Wikipedia, by the way. It’s basically 1984 for Balloon-Juicers.

        1. Published in 2003, it is Barry’s second novel, following 1999’s Syrup. The novel is set in a dystopian alternate reality in which most nations (now controlled by the United States) are dominated by for-profit corporate entities while the government’s political power is extremely limited.

          I can’t tell you how many times Wal-Mart has kicked down my door forcing me to buy their wares.

          1. I read a review in the NYTs that made it sound like an interesting read. Later I came across a used remaindered copy in a thrift store. I read the first few pages (chapter?) and skimmed through the rest. After all I’m not shelling out 35 cents for a bad book. It failed the test. I looked around to see if their might be a copy of Just Like Beauty as my appetite was whetted for a good PC dystopia but no luck.

      2. I just don’t get it. I mean honestly, what evil in the world is the fault of corporations? You think this would be an easy answer for leftists. Like….what exactly did the evil company do to you? Show me on the doll where he touched you.

        Because from where I sit, I see government waging war, government violating rights of free speech and due process, and government putting people in prison for victimless crimes.

        I know they have the whole environmental thing, but I’d argue environmentalism does a lot better in a free market then a socialist state. All you need to do is look at the relative pollution of East and West Germany, or of North and South Korea.

        1. In their minds, government only does what it does because corporations have too much money and use it to tip the scales. Government is good and benevolent; the only force for good, but is soiled by corporate greed and wooed by their monetary influence. Were it not for corporations, we would have our utopia.

          Government wages the drug war only because of private prisons and various corporate lobbies. Government wages wars only because of the military industrial complex and various military contractors. Etc. etc.

          Yet they claim that the answer is to give government even MORE power to hand out favors in exchange for cash, not less.

          1. I’ve come to the conclusion that their blind faith in government is due to indoctrination in schools at a relatively early age. The socialists were evil geniuses in the way that they focused on propagandizing young kids via mandatory school attendance.

            The same dynamic explains why many conservatives that know and rail against the dangers of government reflexively support the WOD.

      3. I never read it either but I did play his little online game nationstates. It is totally rigged against libertopias but I had a lot of fun fucking around on their.

        1. Totally decided to make a new one:

          As you can see it’s totally rigged. Answering the opening questions in a libertarian way leads to a “compulsory consumerist state” and “rare” political freedoms (though that likely has to do with out I answered the democracy question: negative).

          1. See that’s why those games (and the big RTS games) kind of bore me. In the name of balance they have to give advantages to different social structures. Like for example I think the Civ series gives fundamentalism a war bonus or something like that.

            Except just like every other field of human endeavor, free market capitalism combined with a democratic form of limited government will kick the shit out of you in war. You can ask the Persian Empire, you can ask the Nazis, or you can ask anyone in between. Well you can’t really ask them because an awful lot of them don’t exist anymore. You might get lucky, and Andorra will never beat the ChiComms just because they’re free, but if there is anything like an equal “weight class”, the free economy and democratic government will win out over tyranny and control.

    2. The Tyranny of Freedom: the Aggression and Othering of the Non-Aggression Principle by FoE

      1. I don’t write anything that doesn’t have “space” in the title.

        1. The Great Space Coaster: a Novelization and Exploration of Baxter’s Love for Goriddle Gorilla by FoE

          1. There also has to be a year in there.

            1. Space: 1999: a Scientific Treatise and Explanation of How a Surface Explosion Could Send the Moon Hurtling Into Space by FoE

              1. I half expected those missiles NASA shot at the lunar surface “looking for water” to do that very thing.

                1. NUKE THE MOON

                  1. Gotta nuke something.

    3. The hero needs a talking robot sidekick.

  2. Thread jack. I can’t believe how lame that tightrope walking bullshit was last night with Nik Wallenda! All that hype and the whole time he’s TETHERED to the tightrope. Charles Blondin would be spinning in his grave.

    1. I heard snippets of the news report on that last night from the other room but wasn’t paying any attention. Thought I heard the T word but wasn’t sure and so dismissed it as being not possible. This is unbelievable. It’s like going to a hyped bullfight and seeing El Cordob?s square off against one of those push cart dummy practice bulls.

      1. Agreed. The whole thing about a daredevil is daring the Devil. It’s funny but they mainly filmed from angles where you couldn’t see the tether.

      1. “I just feel like a jackass wearing it,” Wallenda complained to his father at one point during walk.

        Then you shouldn’t have done the walk, jackass.

        Actually most of the stunts on Jackass are more dangerous than what this pathetic poser did.

        1. Actually most of the stunts on Jackass are more dangerous than what this pathetic poser did

          Did they ever hang on to a helicopter by the teeth?

          1. Also calling other people posers? Sounds like a poser.

            1. From Charles Blondin’s page on Wikipedia:

              He especially owed his celebrity and fortune to his idea of crossing the Niagara Falls gorge on a tightrope, 1100 feet (335 m) long, 3? inches in diameter, 160 feet (50 m) above the water. This he accomplished, first on 30 June 1859, a number of times, always with different theatric variations: blindfolded, in a sack, trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts, carrying a man (his manager, Harry Colcord) on his back, sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an omelet and standing on a chair with only one chair leg on the rope.

              That is what a non-poser looks like if you can’t tell the difference.

              1. Pfft, I read about Blondin before wikipedia even existed.

                1. Then you should understand what an affront this is to all of the actual daredevils who risked and in many cases lost their lives in pursuit of what Wallenda desecrated. The upper limit of his potential loss last night was pride. But of course he lost that before he ever stepped out on that wire.

              2. How do you walk on a rope on stilts?

      2. Good gawd, the stupid is strong in some of those comments.

      3. There is no conflict ? Libertarianism means the one with the most money always wins. Hence, ABC calls the shots with respect to the tether.

        Illustrates the true nature of libertarians. They aren’t about liberty at all. They’re about property, and power.
        They are, in essence, longing for feudalism.

        As far as i know, libertarians have never had a problem with individual rights getting abridged by corporate entities. It’s only unacceptable when it’s due to a government or some sort of social compact.
        Though for all practical purposes, most libertarians would happily submit to mandatory state-sponsored butt rape just as long as they’re assured that they don’t have to pay the taxes to fund the program.

        HURR DURR

    2. But were the U.S. Customs workers at the midway checkpoint also tethered?

      1. The customs agents were too friendly to not be plants.

        1. He went from the US into Canada, right? Friendly customs agents sounds plausible in that case.

    3. Next time I go through customs, I’m going to say the purpose of my visit is to inspire humanity.

      1. That’ll put you on the watch list, son.

    4. That is so much bullshit. Philippe Petit didn’t need to be tethered.

  3. We need a thread about Jersey Shore, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Michael Bay and the Tanning Mom are harbingers of the death of the Welfare/Warfare.Regulatory State.

  4. Any plans to push out some transcripts for those of us who don’t have an hour and a half to watch all the videos?

    1. It goes pretty quickly. Not a bad way to spend Father’s Day morning.

  5. How’d that ‘libertarian moment’ go?
    Heh, that was awesome.

  6. Could you just read your book to us instead?

  7. Dudes making a lot of sense man. WOw.

  8. I have a couple issues with the response to the very first question:

    1. U FORGOT MEDIEVAL ICELAND. While it existed long before the formalization of concepts of human rights and capitalism that are key to libertarianism, the Icelandic Commonwealth was totally panarchic, with citizens free to choose which chief to pledge fealty to in exchange for protection and dispute resolution. If you didn’t like the way your chief was running things, you could switch allegiance to another, without having to move your property, even. It was a free market in government, and it worked well for over 350 years.

    2. Nick, where is The Jacket? When i don’t see it on you, i worry that it’s sneaking up behind me.

  9. How about a thread for how Game of Thrones proves that government is just a power grab by the unhinged and unqualified?

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