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"Change Is Good" and Other Lessons from the "Heroic Era of the Internet": Podcast

Wired co-founder Louis Rossetto has a new novel out and an optimistic message about Donald Trump's presidency.

Louis Rossetto, KickstarterLouis Rossetto, Kickstarter"[Donald] Trump is a refreshing reminder that the guy that's in the White House is another human being," says Louis Rossetto, the co-founder of Wired and author of the new book Change Is Good: A Story of the Heroic Era of the Internet. "The power of the state is way too exalted [and] bringing that power back to human scale is an important part of what needs to be done to correct the insanity that's been going on in the post-war era."

In 2013, Rossetto was the co-recipient of Reason's very first Lanny Friedlander Prize, an award named after the magazine's founder that's handed out annually to an individual or group who has created a publication, medium, or distribution platform that vastly expands human freedom. Rossetto is also a longtime libertarian who knew Friedlander personally.

While still an undergraduate at Columbia University, Rossetto co-authored a 1971 cover story in the New York Times Magazine titled "The New Right Credo—Libertarianism," writing that "[l]iberalism, conservatism, and leftist radicalism are all bankrupt philosophies," and "refugees from the Old Right, the Old Left and the New Left, they are organizing independently under the New Right banner of libertarianism."

Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with Rossetto to talk about his new book (the paper version was lavishly designed and crowdfunded on Kickstarter), the 1990s tech boom, and why Trump "diminishes the power of the state" in our heads.

Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Ian Keyser. Cameras by Paul Detrick, Justin Monticello, Zach Weissmueller.

Machinery by Kai Engel is used under a Creative Commons license.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "The power of the state is way too exalted [and] bringing that power back to human scale is an important part of what needs to be done to correct the insanity that's been going on in the post-war era."

    That, of course, is no way near the takeaway most have from the Trump presidency. It is that our institutions must be shored up to protect against this happening again.

  • AlmightyJB||

    This is true. It's really quite something that people can hate people in power so much and yet they all still want to send Washington more money and power. Its like a super power of stupidity.

  • Charles Easterly||

    [he current president] "..is a refreshing reminder that the guy that's in the White House is another human being," says Louis Rossetto..."The power of the state is way too exalted [and] bringing that power back to human scale is an important part of what needs to be done to correct the insanity that's been going on in the post-war era."

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Rossetto may have co-founded Wired, but he need to have more of a direct influence on it now. I like it for the technology articles, but all too often veer off into political stuff and end up sounding like Salon or something!

    I don't want a dose of politics with my science/technology — thank you. I would prefer them to stick to facts.

    And someone needs to pull Rossetto aside and explain to him that libertarians are not "new right" or any other sort of right or left. We reject both of those. Keep your authoritarian statism, whichever flavor it is.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Change in and of itself is neither good nor bad, it simply is.

    More specifically, any given change may be good or bad depending on the nature of that specific change.

  • SIV||

    While still an undergraduate at Columbia University, Rossetto co-authored a 1971 cover story in the New York Times Magazine titled "The New Right Credo—Libertarianism," writing that "[l]iberalism, conservatism, and leftist radicalism are all bankrupt philosophies," and "refugees from the Old Right, the Old Left and the New Left, they are organizing independently under the New Right banner of libertarianism."


    The "Libertarian Moment" : looming since 1971.

    (everyone should read that NYTs link, the more things change...)

  • ||

  • SIV||

    Lol!

    It's a vanity press novel.

  • nicmart||

    Reason has long had a giddy dumb streak. Virginia Postrel was optimistic that Blacks calling themselves African-Americans would improve race relations.

  • Sevo||

    "Virginia Postrel was optimistic that Blacks calling themselves African-Americans would improve race relations."
    Got a cite for that?

  • Agammamon||

    . . . that's been going on in the post-war era."

    Is this guy from the future? Is Donald Trump still president in 2525? Because we are *not* in a 'post-war era'.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Well, that all depends on what war is being referred to in "post-war era". I suspect that the correct reference point is either WWII or Vietnam.

  • ||

    If someone Louis Rossetto's age uses the term "post-war era", you can safely assume he or she means after World War II.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Need transcripts. Talking is too slow. Especially when I have to work.

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