Donald Trump

The Craziest Libertarian Donald Trump Debate You'll Ever See

Watch Nick Gillespie, Jeffrey Tucker, and Matt Welch get booed and heckled for criticizing Trump at FreedomFest

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Two weeks ago, I took part in one of the wildest public discussions I and many observers had ever witnessed. It was called "Trump, Pro and Con: The YUGE debate," at the annual libertarian confab FreedomFest, featuring Jeffrey Tucker and I on the "con" side, Dan Mangru and 2008 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee Wayne Allyn Root on the "pro"…and let's just say I've never seen a moderator so aggressively heckled as our own Nick Gillespie.

Root opened with the argument that Trump really understands capitalism, and also fulfills various theories Root has floated in his various books, which are on sale at Amazon. Tucker, one of the most withering anti-Trump voices in the commentariat, unsurprisingly countered that the GOP nominee was a "fascist." And off we were. Highlights include suggested genocide, hysterical shouting, and me calling Root a "dick."

Take a gander:

After watching that ruckus, read my review of Trump's controversial Freedom Fest speech from last year, "The Idiocracy Candidate."

NEXT: Social Justice on Display: Protest Art at the Democratic Convention

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  1. and me calling Root a “dick.”

    Is that better or worse than “puppy that drank an espresso and then somehow got hired to sell used cars”?

  2. Wayne Allyn Root is pretty articulate for a guy who has suffered blunt force brain injuries every day of his adult life.

    1. He keeps running into the sliding glass patio door, thinking it’s open.

      1. To be fair, he thinks the same of his solid wood front door.

        1. Root lives in a house?

          1. No, he actually squats in an abandoned door factory.

            1. He’s a real mess every time he actually makes it outside.

              1. “Donald Trump wrote me a note! Hurr!”

                1. Ugh. Trying to watch through this mess. Root is such goofball, it’s hard to watch. Donald Trump is all about the little guy? Has he been huffing Freon?

                  1. And Mangru has nothing but “Hillary sucks.” OK. Why is that a reason to vote for Trump?

                  2. Root cannot be called a libertarian in any sense of the word. I think at some point he realized he must honor his initials and went full neocon.

                    1. He even says he’s not a libertarian and was not one when the LP nominated him.

                      Maybe we’ve stumbled on the problem with the LP.

                    2. Root’s biggest issue with libertarians is that they think things through. Who we really need to listen to are the uninformed morons.

                    3. Yes, the LP should disallow WAR boners.

                    4. One Trump fans calls for the extermination of every Muslim in the entire world.

                      FreedomFest. Nothing says freedom like murdering a billion people.

                    5. At least 40% of the question askers were completely, 100% fucking mental.

    1. If by house you mean that hollow paper mache statue of Trump that he cobbled together from old Washington Times papers and his saliva.

  3. Root is, in fact, a dick. But I doubt he ever voted for John Kerry.

    1. Tough, but fair.

      1. (notes that Welch always reads the comments)

          1. He thinks mine are the best.

            1. Do you think the offices have the best ones on a wall somewhere?

              1. They’re all hanging in Matt’s living room.

            2. How many one-way private email conversations have you had with Welch? Exactly.

              1. It’s hard to count the number of stumbling drunk e-mails he has sent me in the middle of the night. All you can do is ignore him, really.

            3. He thinks mine are the best.

              That’s because he’s antisemitic, otherwise my pearls of wisdom would be his guiding inspirations.

          2. I assumed they all read our comments. Responding is as rare as hat tips.

            1. Nicholas Sarwark responded to my comments. And yes, he reads Reason. It was AWESOME.

    2. That may be true, but he also gets marked down for voting for George Bush, Mitt Romney (essentially the GOP version of John Kerry), and Donald Trump.

    3. or Obama.

  4. Is Welch and Gillespie’s book good? I have had a hankering to support since I’ve been coming to this website.

    1. It’s mostly preaching to the choir, but once you’ve gotten down to “no harm”, what else is there? I still thought it worthwhile.

    2. I definitely think the book is worth $10 if you have a kindle. The best thing I got from it is it helped me stop being angry about politics. The political class are as idiotic as ever, but being angry about it was not making my life any better.

  5. WHYCOME U GAIZ DUN ATTACK HITLERY ENUFF

    GO RED TEAM!!! TRUMP 2016 BABY

    1. It’s been a slow news cycle. Nothing is happening in Philadelphia.

      1. I honestly can’t decide whether it’s media bias or the Philadelphia convention is just so bad and boring, that it’s literally not worth reporting.

        I’m actually leaning towards option B.

        1. Aside from this?

          I guess that’s what happens when you hold a political convention sans open carry.

          1. Huh, 599 views. That has more views than the video that caused the attack on the Libyan embassy.

  6. There are a few hardcore libertarians (like Walter Block and L. Neil Smith) supporting Trump as “the lesser of two evils who has a chance, because Hillary is a commie gun grabber and Johnson is no real libertarian anyway.” I guess they hold out hope that Trump is anti-Establishment and not a dyed-in-the-wool neocon and buys into enough conspiracy theories.

    I see Trump as even less libertarian than previous Republican communitarians like Bush, McCain and Romney, so I don’t see their point. I hope Clinton is too focused on self-enrichment and too incompetent to enact the worst parts of her agenda, so I’m voting for Johnson.

    1. They support him for the same reason that Rothbard was backing Buchanan in 1992: he’s a nationalist, and nationalism > globalism for paleolibertarians.

      Block & Rothbard are explicit in supporting America-first nationalism due to the nationalists’ relative absence of bloodlust and warmongering.

      1. Nationalists’ relative absence of bloodlust and warmongering? Ha, haha, hahahaha.

        No, they may say that’s why they support Trump, but it’s really about Trump’s insularism. The defining feature of paleocons and assorted yokels is insularism. They think that the way to their ideal insular society is libertarianism, because the federal government is forcing pluralism down their throats. Somehow they miss the fact that the more libertarian a society is, the more pluralistic it becomes.

        1. Somehow they miss the fact that the more libertarian a society is, the more pluralistic it becomes.

          Ha, haha, hahahaha.

    2. I’ll vote for Johnson because California is going to give its electoral votes to Hillary, but I think trump is the lesser evil simply because he’s too distracted and unfocused to ever get anything done. Hillary has had 40 years of practice and 8 years filling with vengeance for the insult of losing 2008, and I think she’d be about the most spiteful President in history.

      1. The #1 reason for preferring that Trump will win is that he could be impeached and convicted if he got too horrible. There is literally nothing that Hillary could do to get impeached if she were elected. And we know that Hillary will be horrible.

        For that reason alone, I prefer a Trump victory to a Hillary victory. Note that preferring a Trump victory is not the same as supporting Trump: I’m probably going to vote for Johnson even though I’m sorely disappointed in him also.

        1. Agree and agree. I’m in Oregon and snowballs in hell have a better chance than Oregon’s electoral votes going to Trump *lights John signal*. I like the idea of my Johnson vote suggesting to TEAM BE RULED that they can only get away with so much authoritarianism. I also think the media and public consciousness would give Hillary in office a pass on anything, up to video proof of her consuming newborns for breakfast.

          1. Trump will campaign in Oregon.

    3. Because you live in a deep red or deep blue state and your wasted vote never mattered much. So, go ahead and waste away.

      Me – I’m voting writing in Nicholas Sarwark. He’s a real libertarian.

      (wait for it . . .. . )

    1. That would be the place for him. Freedom Fest is for yokels and PorcFest is for cosmos. Or so I hear. I haven’t been to either. I avoid libertarians IRL.

  7. For a moderator, Nick was debating and editorializing an awful lot for anyone to be so shocked that he would take some jeers. People get booed and cheered in debates, it’s just usually not the moderator unless he’s doing a lot more than moderating.

    1. For a moderator, Nick was debating and editorializing an awful lot

      I am barely 1 minute in, and he opens the entire event by saying,

      “we’re going to debate whether Trump is a ‘truly terrible and awful person’, or simply as bad as Barack Obama…”

      It seems to be saying to all the parties concerned that the debate is *really* about what color of ‘shit’ Trump is.

      That’s not the best way to create an environment where everyone’s opinion is going to be treated with respect.

      I’m not surprised people were immediately on the back foot, and over-sensitive to any further remarks he might make.

      1. He’d have said the same about Hillary. That’s as fair and balanced as either deserves.

        1. that ignores the point that this is a pro-con debate about Trump. stating the ‘foregone conclusion’ at the opener is pretty much the worst possible way to “moderate” a debate.

          1. Poor old Donald Trump… why are those mean old libertarians always picking on him?

            1. Nick Gillespie did a disservice only to Nick Gillespie, by conducting himself that way.

            2. take Trump out of my above point entirely and its still exactly the same.

              e.g. “‘stating the ‘foregone conclusion’ at the opener is pretty much the worst possible way to “moderate” a debate.””

              see how that works?

              1. Trump gets to be a showman and buffoon, but everyone else has to play it straight.

                1. So you’re accusing Nick of hypocrisy? I think you might be right.

                  1. No, just pointing out the double standards you and Denise like to play by.

                    1. Do I give Trump a pass for moderating debates in such a fashion? Or is there some other double standard you’re referring to?

                      If you’re a moderator, be a moderator. If you can’t be one, don’t present yourself as one and don’t call it a debate. A ‘circle jerk’ might be a more appropriate format.

                    2. No, you just give him a pass on everything else. Tulpa says it really pays to buy the nice knee pads if you plan on being on them this much.

                    3. No, you just give him a pass on everything else. Tulpa says it really pays to buy the nice knee pads if you plan on being on them this much.

                      Alright so you just want to deflect from an argument that you just realized you can’t win.

                2. Trump gets to be a showman and buffoon, but everyone else has to play it straight.

                  I specifically made a point which Trump has nothing to do with.

                  In case you missed it – a third time =

                  e.g. “‘stating the ‘foregone conclusion’ at the opener is pretty much the worst possible way to “moderate” a debate.””

                  What is it called when people keep ignoring what you actually say, and try to pretend that the issue is something else entirely? straw-something?

                  1. OK, Nick Gillispie is a bad moderator. I guess the only thing to do is vote for Trump. That’ll show him!

                    1. I remember when you used to be smart. What happened?

                    2. I remember when you had something to contribute other than constant whining about everything.

                      But Free Society is on your side, so you are really moving in some lofty intellectual circles now.

                    3. Yeah that’s the fallacy that will win it for you.

                    4. Fallacy. That’s a big word. Finish your juicebox before the sneaky Negroes come and steal it from you.

                    5. Aw snap. You got me again. Stick with that pettiness, you’ll win all of your debates that way for sure.

                    6. He developed a paste habit. It’s an occupational disease among librarians.

                    7. I remember when you used to be smart. What happened?

                      okay, so I’m not crazy–there’s a bunch of these–people who were smart, funny and incisive who now seem to be teetering on the brink of full-on SJW idiocy, yes?

                      What the hell?

                      Is it Trump?

                    8. Wait, Dennis told people to vote trump?

                    9. No, he just attacks everyone that isn’t for Trump. That’s obvious not an endorsement or anything.

                    10. No, he just attacks everyone that isn’t for Trump.

                      I attack everyone who isn’t for Trump?

                      lol

                      Ok bud. you’re an intellectual razor blade.

                    11. Hmm. What’s the comment that you started off this thread with?

                    12. What are you doing in the DNC “art” threat? Rooting out the creeping cosmotarianism that infects this blog.

                    13. What are you doing in the DNC “art” threa[d[?

                      Maybe you could actually read what i said there and respond to the actual point made – which i clarified, had nothing to do with the bullshit characterization you’re making.

                      I specifically said, “Go ahead and be a SJW. just don’t be a pussy”.

                      You’re so obsessed with your straw man you get angry when it doesn’t hold-shape.

                    14. The cutest part about all of this is just how coy you are about it.

                    15. Are you lonely now that epi is gone?

                    16. That’s not the best way to create an environment where everyone’s opinion is going to be treated with respect.

                      Which i reiterated for a few times.

                      My point never required giving a flying fuck about trump. well, except for you.

                    17. Since you’re so busy with that strawman endorsement of Trump argument, let me remind that the article said:

                      and let’s just say I’ve never seen a moderator so aggressively heckled as our own Nick Gillespie.

                      And the only argument that Gilmore or I have put forward is that you shouldn’t be surprised that an editorializing moderator would not be a crowd favorite.

          2. That’s ignoring the point that this wasn’t a debate about whether Trump is a good guy or bad guy.

            If there was a debate about whether Hitler was a true vegetarian or had a secret bbq stash, would you likewise demand he be described impartially?

            1. That’s ignoring the point that this wasn’t a debate about whether Trump is a good guy or bad guy.

              It was called “Trump, Pro and Con: The YUGE debate,”

              Strictly speaking, you’re right. But if the idea is Pro and Con, it would be surprising for the Pro side to be all, “I guess…gun to my head…Trump is, I guess, less bad, maybe?”

              That’s where I am. And I would never argue pro-Trump because I have no enthusiasm for the man. I am enthusiastically anti-Hillary, but for me voting for Trump is a step too far.

              “Pro-Trump” implies more than just the lesser of two evils.

      2. Well it was a libertarian event, so poking fun at Trump seems appropriate. It’s not like anyone is arguing he’s anything close a libertarian himself. Some just think he’s a valid choice.

        1. We should be mocking everyone.

          1. But c’mon – Shikha. We love to mock our Shikha.

    1. Oh jeez, the actual linked pic is different than the one on the page. Joke ruined.

  8. WAR’s tie is a war-crime. he also suffers from the Matt-Welch knotting-problems.

    Jeff Tucker’s enunciation is… certainly something. i think its probably an acquired taste.

    Matt’s new (to me) purple tie remains a beautiful thing. it smells like … victory.

  9. WTF? That was worse than the debates you see here in the comments. The questions from the audience were mind numbingly stupid. These were people who are interested in politics, right?

    1. These were people who are interested in politics, right?

      Hence the mind-numbingly stupid questions.

    2. 1/3rd of the audience question askers must have been homeless and off their meds.

    1. Can someone explain to me why Reason is spending so much time debating whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is the greater evil rather than enthusiastically making the case for why everyone should be voting for Gary Johnson?

      Reason’s scatological fetish for the two shitbags bag candidates (Clinton and Trump) is truly baffling.

      1. Maybe once the DNC is over we will have more “why Gary is better than ____ on everything” articles.

  10. I’ve loathed Trump ever since he came out against the 1986 tax reform. Probably before then. Still, the Trump side won the FreedomFest “debate,” but only by default. Matt’s vulgar verbal abuse of Root and Tucker’s temper tantrum conceded the debate.

    Matt did a pretty good job with that one exception, but Jeffrey Tucker was really bad. I usually like Jeffrey Tucker’s take on things, but he’s gotten too worked up about Trump being a fascist. Sure, Trump is a fascist, but he’s no more totalitarian than Bush and certainly less totalitarian than Clinton or Obama (e.g., from Michele’s convention speech: “In this election and every election is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.” WTF is this but pure totalitarian aspiration?)

    The critics were right: Nick did a horrible job as moderator. He neither ran a fair debate nor did he quit the anti-Trump argument well. Worst of all, despite a superabundance of material, he wasn’t even funny.

    Seriously, the anti-Trump side has a portfolio of rock-solid arguments for paleocons and libertarians either to vote LP/other 3rd party or to just sit it out. But Welsh/Tucker and Gillespie blew it at FreedomFest.

    1. The Craziest Most Disappointing Libertarian Donald Trump Debate You’ll Ever See

    2. Matt’s vulgar verbal abuse of Root and Tucker’s temper tantrum conceded the debate.

      It’s easy to arbitrarily decide that doing or saying a particular thing is somehow conceding the debate, but that doesn’t really mean anything concrete.

  11. Is that the Steve Miller Eagle on the picture up top?

  12. Why in FSM’s name would I ever subject myself to this debate?

  13. You should have continued sitting, Matt. Whaddaya a collectivist or something?

  14. Highlights include? ?me calling Root a “dick.”

    As if I weren’t a Matt Welch fanboy already.

    Regretfully, I voted for Root to be on the Libertarian National Committee twice, and today if I ever find myself in room with the man, I’d be tempted to use much worse language in addressing him.

    He’s a narcissistic huckster who’s more concerned about putting himself over than anything else. To be talking up Trump was simultaneously him throwing away even the pretense of being libertarian in any shape way or form, and somehow not surprising, as he clearly is a Donald Trump wannabe, right down to the desire to be a reality TV star.

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