Webathon

Where Else You Gonna See Treme's and The Wire's David Simon Engaging Libertarians? One More Reason to Give to Reason

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So we're a few days into Reason's annual webathon and we're asking readers of this site to pony up $150,000 in support of our fearless libertarian journalism in Reason print, online, and video editions.

The contributions are tax-deductible and you can pay in Bitcoin if you got 'em.

Why should you help us out? Click on the interview above. It's with David Simon, the man behind The Wire, widely recognized as one of the very best TV shows of all time, and Treme, which begins its final season this week on HBO . Despite many areas of agreement, it's a contentious interview and it sparked a hostile response from Simon that led to our posting of the full audio version of our conversation.

Let me suggest that this sort of interaction is one of the unique things we do: We engage the world—and the people we admire—in a way that is not only rare but invaluable. Across all of our platforms, Reason journalists are testing the world, probing, kicking the tires and finding out what's what. And we're also always constantly trying to interrogate the limits of the libertarian perspective so that we're presenting the best arguments and visions for a better world. Finally, we also try to do all this with a sense of fun and adventure and brio rather than out of grim duty or terror and apprehension about what might come next.

If you like reading and watching Reason—if you find our content stimulating, provocative, infuriating, inspiring, valuable—please consider helping us reach our target goal for the 2013 webathon.

And give the final season of Treme a shot. Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, the show is a fascinating meditation on the tension between a reverence for the past and "authenticity" and the absolute need to change and progress into the future. The trick—and I'm sure the final season will explore this in a way that only a master like Simon can do—is how to respect and learn from the past without becoming hopelessly stuck in it.

NEXT: Tom Bell on a World Without Copyrights

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  1. Is this that interview where Simon says that private prisons prove how bad libertarian ideas are? You know, because nothing says ‘libertarian’ like crony capitalism based on mass incarceration.

    1. Yes. He actually argued that the prison industrial complex is a feature of the failure of capitalism.

      1. Profits are bad.
        Profits are capitalism.
        Therefore, capitalism is bad.

      2. If I recall, he essentially argued that several major failures of government were failures of capitalism. Elaborating on that any further is just noise.

        I’ve heard all the elaborated arguments before. “Big business control the government with money, that’s why we need more government to keep big money and Wall Street under control”.

        Chomsky makes this very argument. The government is beholden to moneyed interests, therefore we must keep government in place to hold back the power of moneyed interests.

        For such towering intellects, it almost takes one’s breath away.

        1. Chomsky makes this very argument. The government is beholden to moneyed interests, therefore we must keep government in place to hold back the power of moneyed interests.

          For such towering intellects, it almost takes one’s breath away.

          It is perplexing isn’t it?

          I’ve had this argument about the evil power of filthy lucre. When I finally get them to the point in the conversation where they tacitly admit that it is the government’s (well those in government) ability to broker influence and “pull” that gives moneyed interests more power than they otherwise would have and the veneer of legal legitimacy I ask them how they think giving the “regulators” more power is going to solve that problem.

          I’ve never received a response. Sometimes all I get are stunned stares, other times I get spittle-spraying red-faced rages, sometimes just silence and disengagement, but not once have I had a progressive/statist explain it to me.

          1. Well, actually I got “responses” just not logical, reasoned explanations.

          2. The answer, of course, is that we need to Build A Better Man.

            See, our capitalist culture breeds self-interest and greed into the individual from birth. So what we need to do is eliminate that instinct. Get everyone on the same page ideologically, so that ones only drive is for the greater good. We need to teach people — reeducate, if you will — to let go of their self-interest and only for the collective. Once we do that, utopia will surely follow.

            Its not like its ever been tried before, right?

  2. Wait a minute…shouldn’t there be a Pearl Harbor thread sometime today?

      1. aw they deleted it

          1. That is what was so offensive? Jesus christ. We are doomed.

            1. It is a bit crass, but if you were offended by it you need to harden the fuck up.

    1. Lee Soucy, crewman aboard USS Utah: “What the hell are those planes doing up on a Sunday? It must be those crazy marines screwing around.”

      ? WW2 Tweets from 1941 (@RealTimeWWII) December 7, 2013

      [removed][removed]

      They’ll be doing this all day for the next 4 years.

  3. The trick … is how to respect and learn from the past without becoming hopelessly stuck in it.

    Or maybe the trick is just to not mandate everyone into the future.

  4. Let’s play a game called “How Barack Obama will honor Pearl Harbor.”

    I predict there will be a picture of Obama standing near an old time radio with the caption “President Obama stands near Radio, like Franklin Roosevelt might have when Pearl Harbor was attacked.”

    1. Maybe he’ll eat some SpaghettiObamas.

    2. I want to see him go really crazy and start beating up a racially crude Japanese strawman.

    3. Worse than My Pet Goat?

      Roosevelt has been given decrypted Japanese messages ordering ambassador to break off diplomatic relations; very long- he hasn’t read it all

      ? WW2 Tweets from 1941 (@RealTimeWWII) December 7, 2013

      [removed][removed]

      1. I wonder if at subsequent committee investigations into how FDR ignored the signs leading up to Pearl Harbor and did not prepare for it his Secretary of State said ‘what difference does it make at this point?’

        1. To be fair to FDR, he responded rather vigorously to the attack, instead of attempting to blame it on an American made video.

    4. “Today, Barack Obama honors those brave Japanese pilots who gave their lives in the controversial actions of 72 years ago by giving a speech noting the similarities between their actions and the launch of ObamaCare.”

    5. Obama mum on Pearl Harbor, still working on narcissistic selfie

      Remembrance of Rosa Parks historical bus ride

      The Christmas tree lighting ceremony featuring not the tree

      Former South African President Nelson Mandela’s death

      The Chief of Staff’s birthday, yep picture of Obama, but not the birthday boy Denis McDonough

      Thanksgiving

      The 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination

  5. Simon is so good at pointing out what’s wrong with the government through his shows, but then comes to exactly the wrong conclusion about how to fix it. More government to fix the problem caused by too much government power!!!

    1. So typical progressive? The government is evil and controlled by corporations so obviously we need to make the government bigger and have TOP. MEN running it and then utopia will result.

  6. Treme is just unwatchable. So, so boring.

    1. I found it very boring as well.

  7. Treme sucked.

    Discuss.

    1. Simon is overrated. What made The Wire good was the actors, the performances. If you look at his other work (especially Generation Kill) you will see that he goes so far out of his way to not take any side that he robs the work of any point. Oh, you’re pointing out that the longshoreman’s union is corrupt, or that the police have completely perverse incentives? Ok, so what does that mean? And Simon has nothing to say about that. He points it out then walks away. And I think Treme sucks because at the core he’s kind of a shitty writer; it’s only when he piggybacks on a more interesting subject that he seems better. The one thing he’s good at is letting his actors run with their characters.

    2. I love Treme, but I can see how other people wouldn’t like it. It seems like it was specifically designed to appeal to me (I’m a jazz musician, love New Orleans, etc.).

  8. Frost Advisory? WTF?

    1. For here?

      1. There was. It just disappeared from my weather map. Still have High Surf and High Wind advisories. The Gale warning disappeared also…
        http://www.wunderground.com/cg…..uery=90266

        P.S. This map is awesome on a big screen.

  9. Obamacare rate shock: Shut up and stop complaining, it’s for the greater good

    But because insurers know they’ll have to write a lot of policies to sick people at a loss, they’re going to raise premiums across the board to make up the difference.

    That’s why ACA-compliant health plans are “way too $” in Colorado, as Rosner puts it. The pricing structure doesn’t just protect people with modest claim-increasing conditions like a prior c-section, but people with very expensive pre-existing conditions like diabetes or cancer or HIV/AIDS.

    That protection costs money. What Rosner is getting in exchange for a higher premium on an ACA-compliant plan is reassurance that insurance will be available to her, regardless of her future health condition.
    […]
    Given how few people are making the protections of the existing system work, liberals have the better of this argument. They’ve found a way to make insurance available to the chronically sick that will actually work for most of the public. But they haven’t been upfront about the fact that their fix will be paid for with higher premiums for lots of healthy people, including Rosner.

    1. Given how few people are making the protections of the existing system work, liberals have the better of this argument. They’ve found a way to make insurance available to the chronically sick that will actually work for most of the public. But they haven’t been upfront about the fact that their fix will be paid for with higher premiums for lots of healthy people, including Rosner.

      1. Liberals are geniuses!! Just make people pay more!

      2. So, they’ve found a way to make it actually work for most of the public, except it doesn’t really work for “lots” of the public?

      1. “1. Liberals are geniuses!! Just make people pay more!”

        You forgot the part where first they lie to everyone. Call conservatives liars for pointing out the lie. And now say, well it’s ok, because “the end justifies the means”.

  10. I’ve never watched or heard of Treme, but it makes me think of a creme-filled pastry. Discuss.

    1. I thought it was an old-timey boat.

      1. Isn’t that a Tireme or Trireme or something?

        *Digs out Civ2 manual*

        trireme apparently.

        1. Sorry, the answer we were looking for was the Trireme from Master Of Magic.

    2. I thought it was a French hip-pop group.

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  12. Fuck David Simon.

    I will be giving several friends and family reason subscriptions again…. for all the good that will do.

  13. I dont think Sammy Soso is going to like that.

    http://www.Anon-VPN.com

  14. Treme sucks pretty hard, although its faux authenticity is intended to appeal to critics who are secretly fast-forwarding through the jillionth “real” jazz blastfest.

    Apparently there’s a point in the lives of certain storytellers where they say, “I know: if I add in tangents of ‘real people’ on stilted rants no one will recognize it as padding.”

    Aaron Sorkin makes his living on that insight.

  15. my classmate’s aunt makes 85/hour Dollars on the laptop. She has been laid off for 6 months but last month her pay was 18264 Dollars just working on the laptop for a few hours. go now
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