MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Nick Gillespie Talking The Politics of Punk, Henry Rollins, Ann Coulter, & Libertarianism

"Why I think that libertarianism holds the last, best hope for an America that isn't constantly talking about...politics."

Judd Weiss, Hustlebear.comJudd Weiss, Hustlebear.comI recently appeared on the Political Punks podcast, which is hosted by "Lisa De Pasquale and comic book artist Brett Smith. Political Punks go against the liberal culture scene and the conservative political scene."

It's a lively conversation, and we talk about a wide range of topics, including former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins' enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders, Ann Coulter's unbridled xenophobia, and why I think that libertarianism holds the last, best hope for an America that isn't constantly talking about...politics. De Pasquale and Smith are fun and interesting folks and their show is well worth subscribing (past guests include the likes of Greg Gutfeld of Fox News and various best-selling books and Chuck Dixon, the co-creator of the Batman villain Bane).

Take a listen below by clicking below. Or go to Political Punks' main page.

....

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • John||

    Serious question, why are Rollins and Coulter worth talking about? Rollins is a has been even in the punk scene. And everyone knows Coulter's politics and knows she is not a Libertarian and that Libertarians are one of the groups she trolls. What more is there to add? Coulter is not a libertarian and doesn't like libertarians and the feeling is mutual. And who cares about Rollins even if he were a libertarian, which he is not.

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Fair questions.

    Didn't Coulter want to drown libertarians? That's at least interesting. Rollins is a dope. If we need to talk about musicians, maybe Josh Homme or someone like that would be more appropriate.

  • John||

    Coulter hates Libertarians. I can't figure out why she warrants mention in a Libertarian magazine. It is not like her feelings or her politics have changed or are not known to pretty much everyone.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I would hazard that she merits mention because the editor of the website discussed her during the podcast appearance that he is promoting in this post.

  • John||

    That is the entire question, why does the editor think she is important enough to talk about? I get it that he mentioned her. The question is why doesn't he have something more interesting or important to talk about than Coulter.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Maybe the hosts brought her up.

  • widget||

    I believe Ann Coulter's purpose in life is to cause otherwise intelligent people misuse the word 'xenophobia'.

  • John||

    +1000

  • Cytotoxic||

    No it isn't. Nick's usage of it is perfectly accurate.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Does the conversation include any speculation as to why Nick has lately emerged as the bête noire for dyspeptic self-righteous yokeltarians?

  • Citizen X||

    They hate the Jacket.

  • Citizen X||

    And fear it, probably with good reason.

  • John||

    Because he writes stupid shit like how Ted Cruz is not acceptable to Libertarians partially because of the part in his hair. And when he is not writing outright ridiculous shit like that, he is writing conventional wisdom straight out of the HuffPost.

  • ant1sthenes||

    It doesn't help that he just really doesn't do substance. I mean, Suderman will write about movies or video games, but then he'll write indepth about healthcare policy and whatnot. Balko was always punching our nuts with his tales of state-wing death squads. Whenever I run across a Postrel article, it's still worth reading.

    Nick just comes across as a cheerleader for libertarianism, and everything he writes seems so superficial and vapid (like a cheerleader). His articles about the libertarian moment tend to come across as more concerned with how people think about us (which is a prog concern), not on establishing an actual reasoned case for our ideas.

    I mean, it's worth knowing why, despite all the evidence, the jury still hates you. And there's a practical point to learning what sort of bullshit could get them on the right page for the wrong reasons. But on some level, libertarians hate bullshit more than other political groups, and the thought of winning through bullshit rather than reasoned arguments is nearly as unpleasant as winning through violence; maybe even moreso, since people who hate bullshit often feel on some level that people who won't listen to reason kind of have it coming.

  • John||

    There are two approaches you can take. You can either concentrate on compromising and achieving small steps towards Libertarian goals or you can be ideologically pure and try and act as a conscience in the political debate not worrying about accomplishing concrete political goals. Both approaches are worthy and any political movement needs both types of people to be effective. The problem with Nick is that he seems to be neither. He is too much of a poser to be interested in compromise and working with people he doesn't like and his thinking is too shallow to be any kind of a conscience speaker.

  • Hugh Akston||

    But on some level, libertarians hate bullshit more than other political groups

    It's a shame too, because that is some grade-A product you're shoveling there.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Which part, that we're more bullshit averse than team red or team blue, or that Nick's articles are mostly fluff and rah-rah rather than analysis?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Your point about Nick's writing is merely wrong. He writes a lot about the liberating potential of culture and technology, and makes both good points and decent jokes in the process. He manages a whole staff of writers who pretend that politics is serious business so he can treat it exactly as seriously as it merits.

    Your point about libertarians and bullshit is itself bullshit, because you're trying to sell an idea of what you want libertarianism to be while ignoring the different perspectives and conceptual frameworks that bring people to libertarianism. Not everyone here is a logical Constitutionalist who subscribes to Enlightenment deontology and the NAP. Some people just want to inject cat pee into their eyeballs without being hassled by the Man. I mean, how many commenters on this site defend the incoherent bullshit that spews out of Donald Trump's mouth?

  • Cytotoxic||

    So Nick's one-man hipster fanclub can't differentiate between fluff and substance. SHOCKER.

  • widget||

    I mean, Suderman will write about movies or video games, but then he'll write indepth about healthcare policy and whatnot.

    Suderman takes some punches here, but I'm not sure why. Reading his posts on the ACA is about as interesting as reading a repair manual for a combine. But that's where the plow hits the dirt. That the ACA's machinery is too damned complicated for anyone other than Einstein to understand is the soft point he makes.

  • R C Dean||

    I think a lot of it is that Nick embodies the "libertarianism is mostly about culture and consumer choice" brand, and not, by implication, about the ever expanding government that we labor under.

    I think its shallow and foolish, a species of avoidance, to foreground culture and consumer choice as the actual government gets larger and more predatory.

  • widget||

    Here's some culture for ya:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11.....e-why.html

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    I'll wait patiently for you to yell at Knarf for his outright ridiculous comment below.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    Those comments are what Gillespie articles are good for. Trying to turn Nick's glib shitshow into the impetus of substantial debate is a fool's game.

    He does, as I've said many times, conduct interviews very well. He's just a godawful writer, which is exactly what you'd expect from an English Ph.D. in the post-Faulkner era.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Henry Rollins: Feel the Bern!!

  • Zeb||

    why I think that libertarianism holds the last, best hope for an America that isn't constantly talking about...politics.

    This is where I think Nick is really right on. Whoever said "the personal is political" (or whatever it was) was a terrible person. The best political situation would be one where people don't have to or want to talk about politics all the time. To me, of course, that means having a government that has sufficiently limited powers that it doesn't really matter who gets elected.
    There are so many things that all of the time and energy people devote to arguing about politics could be put towards.

  • John||

    We still have Zeb. Most people in this country don't give a shit about politics or care enough to know much about them. I am always skeptical when people complain about low information voters. Yeah, that is not good but the alternative to low information voters is usually high information nuts who see everything through the lens of politics. I will take low information voters over those assholes any day.

    The down side of our society not being obsessed with politics is that it gives those who are disproportionate power as the majority of people cede the field to those who care enough to take it. Gradually, however, the nuts are forcing everyone to care about politics whether they want to or not. And that is not a good thing.

  • ||

    My wife and I recently started hanging out with another couple - they are fun, like to drink, and play cards. But they are unabashedly liberal (being college professors)...

    I can tell that the couple thinks we are *right people based on our lifestyle and income - but once the conversation goes political I try to steer it somewhere else. I fear once they find out that we aren't Democrats, the friendship will end.

    * We don't drive pickups, hunt, or have whatever stereotype they think of when "conservative" comes to mind.

  • John||

    What a terrible life it must be to let your politics dictate your opinion of every other human being. I actually feel sorry for people like your friends. They live in a very dark and closed world and are not bright enough to even see how dark and closed it is.

  • Citizen X||

    Oh boy, when Cytotoxic's mom lets him out of homeschool he's gonna come right in here and call Nick stupid for caring about punk.

  • John||

    I don't blame someone Nick's age for caring about punk. What I can't understand is how anyone under 30 would care. Young people should have their own music and culture. Punk is 40 years old. It is as old now as Big Band was when punk was created. Let it die already.

  • ||

    post-punk - musically speaking - was a lot more interesting.

  • Citizen X||

    +1 Dismemberment Plan

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Actually, a more interesting discussion would be the rise and fall of punk. When did it start? End? Does it still exist?

  • John||

    I think it died in the early 80s. By then the original bands were mostly gone and the acts that remained became three chord rock pop bands, or at least the ones who had any talent did.

    And if it didn't die then, it certainly died with the rise of hip hop in the early 90s. When that happened punk was no longer the way rich young white kids shocked their parents and tried to feel cool. Hip hop was the way they did that. Once that happened, punk became something old farts like Nick listened to.

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Old farts like Nick and me, dammit.

    Although, it's really hard to say what is truly punk. I remain a huge fan of the Replacements and Husker Du, two important bands from my formative years. Punk? Possibly, but Bob Mould and Paul Westerberg both wrote brilliant lyrics and truly catchy songs. Definitely not your prototypical three chord noise.

    Same with the Descendents, Agent Orange, Minor Threat, etc.

    It's really all just rock 'n roll.

  • John||

    I would consider Mould and Westerberg to be text book examples of talented people who moved on to three chord pop rock after punk died. I really don't see how you can consider any of the Replacements records other than the first EP "punk". The Replacements were just three chord pop rock after that. And I mean that as a compliment. I like them a lot. But I don't see them as "punk".

  • ||

    There are still punk bands... and punks... but the numbers seem to have dwindled since the late 90s back when I was doing sound for shows.

    I was buying lots of underground punk music back then - now it has dropped to zero. That young man angst just isn't there any more.

  • R C Dean||

    That young man angst just isn't there any more.

    Who can be angsty when they are tucked in all snug in their footies with a mug of hot chocolate?

  • John||

    What, you have never heard of the Smiths? If anyone would look natural in footies it is Morrrisy.

  • Rhywun||

    Now you've got me thinking about his bulbous salutation.

    Thanks a lot.

  • ||

    More like boxers and a glass of gin ;)

    and I like my rage boiling at a more uh intellectual level: The Sound, IAMX, Gary Numan's latest, blah blah which are a bit more interesting than 3-chord smash-ups.

  • Rhywun||

    Gary Numan is still around?!

    I love The Sound - perfect example of "post-punk".

  • Citizen X||

    Young people should have their own music and culture.

    Why can't people work within an established genre if that's what they choose? Given the apparent shortening of the nostalgia cycle, isn't culture cyclical? Is rock 'n' roll really dead? And do you really want to face a future whose inhabitants were stuck listening to dubstep in their formative years?

  • John||

    Sure they can. But they should add something to it, not just wear the same clothes and cop the same attitude. Punk is dead because no one is doing anything new or any better than what was done going on 40 years ago.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm with you, X. This idea that young people are or should be a separate subculture is very recent, I believe.

    Sure, you've always had the Young Turk types railing against the Old Guard, but this belief that young people are different species really needs to go.

  • John||

    They are not a different species. They just bear the burden of expanding culture not just living on what was done before them.

  • Loki||

    do you really want to face a future whose inhabitants were stuck listening to dubstep in their formative years?

    *shudders* One of many reasons why have little hope for the future.

  • Sam Haysom||

    I think punk is still very influential look at how Vampire Weekend devoted a whole CD to making a counterpoint album to Sandanistas! or whatever that Clash CD was called its just no one my age is a punk so for someone who grew up judging the influence of punk by the number of people in the punk subculture punk looks dead.

    Excellent analogy to big bands though and the perfect rhetorical thrust to flick at leather clad Peter Pans like Nick.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Well he is stupid for giving a shit about a crappy music genre and trying to shoe-horn into libertarianism.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    Did they ask NG how many hair transplant surgeries he's had over the years and whether his body from the neck down is as perfectly smooth and supple as Lena Dunham's? Because that's what I want to know.

  • Swiss Servator||

    perfectly smooth and supple as Lena Dunham's?

    *projectile vomits*

  • Citizen X||

    perfectly smooth and supple as Lena Dunham's?

    You mean lumpy and dimpled and abhuman?

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    Stop ruining my bad jokes!

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Obtuse fuck-uppery and the needled fractal edge is an ethereal loam for all the fucking minds bemused and goddamned irritated by the modern tempest of clashing shallow ideologies, ancient gods, and the tapestry of manipulation that rains like motherfucking syrup on the disinterested masses. Go G!

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    Is it true that AC is just an eighth-gen version of the old Peter Gammons article generator?

  • Swiss Servator||

    Nope. AC gives us poetry - all Gammons makes me hope for is his retirement.

  • Tak Kak||

    "Political Punks go against the liberal culture scene and the conservative political scene."

    Haven't seen much evidence for the former, at least from my experience in the last 10-15 years, the majority of them are, if anything, complete dupes of liberal culture. Boo Racism! Boo Sexism! Boo Homophobia! Boo Fox News!... all that really controversial stuff.

    Some openly Nazi punk would actually be a bit of relief.

    Maybe the interview goes into better detail here though.

  • Tak Kak||

    Scratch all that "Political Punks" not political punks.

  • Sam Haysom||

    To the extent that any punks still exist those that eschew leftism are generally right wingers. From a punks perspective what is the value added proposition for libertarianism- Afghani food and lower taxes? Pass.

  • Sam Haysom||

    To the extent that any punks still exist those that eschew leftism are generally right wingers. From a punks perspective what is the value added proposition for libertarianism- Afghani food and lower taxes? Pass.

  • Mongo||

    I've never listened to an interesting podcast. Ever.

    Tha Jacket claims in this one that he's never voted for a winner. I'm pretty sure he voted for Obama in 2008. Doubtful he voted for McCain or BobFuckingBarr.

  • Mongo||

    Thanks for the tip on Silver Apples, Nick. Never heard of them until now.

    I see that their albums have only been recently posted to YouTube.

    (The podcast is still a complete bore).

  • Pat (PM)||

    Henry Rollins is a pretentious cock. Footage at 11.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online