Last Saturday, at the Free State Project's Liberty Forum in Manchester, New Hampshire, Reason's Nick Gillespie interviewed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who beamed in from Russia via a Google Hangout.
In a wide-ranging, 50-minute conversation, Snowden talked about Apple vs. the feds, what it would take for him to return to stand trial in the United States, and why, despite his own situation, he believes the individual has never been more powerful.
"[Government actors] know more about us than they ever have in the history of the United States," Snowden warns. "They're excusing themselves from accountability to us at the same time they're trying to exert greater power over us."
In the midst of a fiercely contested presidential race, Snowden remains steadfast in his distrust of partisan politics and declined to endorse any particular candidate or party, or even to label his beliefs. "I do see sort of a clear distinction between people who have a larger faith in liberties and rights than they do in states and institutions," he grants. "And this would be sort of the authoritarian/libertarian axis in the traditional sense. And I do think it's clear that if you believe in the progressive liberal tradition, which is that people should have greater capability to act freely, to make their own choices, to enjoy a better and freer life over the progression of sort of human life, you're going to be pushing away from that authoritarian axis at all times."
Snowden drew laughs when asked if he was eligible to vote via absentee ballot. "This is still a topic of…active research," he deadpans.
Watch the video here or click the "View this article" link at the bottom of this post to go to a full transcript and downloadable versions.
For more on the Free State Project, which promises to produce "liberty in our lifetime," go here.