Rep. Justin Amash on Debt, Abortion, Immigration & More

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"If you allow people to make people to make their own decisions, you actually get good outcomes for society," says Rep. Justin Amash in his recent interview with Reason Magazine's Nick Gillespie. "And that really is something that I think about a lot as a legislator."

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), often touted as "the next Ron Paul" had a rocky start to his second term in Congress. After overcoming a redistricting effort to win re-election by a comfortable margin in November, Amash was welcomed back to Washington with a pink slip: He and a group of libertarian-leaning backbenchers were stripped of their committee assignments by the GOP leadership. Adding insult to injury, the party establishment claimed that the rebuke wasn't ideological; that it had more to do with what Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) termed "the asshole factor."

Amash, seen as the ringleader of the House "liberty movement," responded by leading a failed coup against House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in what was supposed to be a rubber-stamped re-election as majority leader. Meanwhile, on a series of crucial votes -- the "fiscal cliff" tax hike in January and the March agreement to raise the debt ceiling -- Amash and several of his uppity libertarian colleagues voted against party leadership. If Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is the leading liberty-movement troublemaker in the United States Senate, Amash is shaping up to be his main counterpart in the House.

Endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus and Young Americans for Liberty, the 33-year-old Amash has made waves by explaining all of his votes on social media, a practice he began during his single term as a Michigan state legislator. He has earned a 100 percent rating from the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, and has taken up where Ron Paul left off on civil liberties.

The son of Syrian and Palestinian immigrants, Amash has made a name for himself as a non-interventionist. "It's very dangerous if we get in the habit of deciding who the good guys are and who the bad guys are," he says of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and other unsavory characters. He's also a social conservative, describing himself as "100 percent pro-life," but opining that ultimately, "marriage is a private contract that has nothing to do with government."

In March, ReasonTV Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie interviewed Amash in his office, where the walls are adorned with likenesses of Frederic Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Carl Menger, Murray Rothbard, and Ayn Rand.

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Runs about 38 minutes.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Camera Meredith Bragg, Amanda Winkler, and Krainin.

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  1. Amash isn't going anywhere under the Aegis of speaker Spraytan. It's a crying shame.

    1. Unless he goes to the Senate.

  2. Isn't this Amash one of those wack-o birds that we've been warned about?

    1. And here I thought "wack-o bird" was the cockney of the yanks' "crazy broad".

  3. I liked the interview, but the 9/11 stuff gets old. Cried for 6 days straight? Not everyone felt that way. Other people were busy living their lives, experiencing deaths of close friends and family members for whom they should care more than strangers a thousand miles away. I wish people had more concern for their communities, over which they have actual control and an opportunity to make a difference, rather than publicized events for which the most they can do is donate a couple soon-to-be misspent dollars. Is it really necessary to show how much sorrow you feel for victims? For every picture of a victim of an atrocity, let's put up a picture of a casualty of us overreacting to the atrocity. Dead Twin Towers mother? Burned Afghan girl. Dead school child? Gun-less rape victim. Flight 93 passenger? TSA-deterred car accident victim.

    Also, I didn't expect the "hindsight" qualifier for his Iraq answer.

    1. You dislike honesty in your politicians?

      1. Not if it's used like an American flag lapel pin or [choose your color] bumper sticker ribbon. I mean, I get it - people with a non-interventionist foreign policy are accused of not being compassionate, and often feel the need to show that they care.

        I guess Nick did ask whether he was personally affected, so I shouldn't complain about his answer (though I do find it hard to believe). My problem was more with his remark that every American felt that way, as if it's expected.

        1. My problem was more with his remark that every American felt that way, as if it's expected.

          It is expected. Nothing wrong with not getting overly emotional about it, I didn't. But I think most people were upset over 9/11, even if they didn't cry for a week.

          1. even if they didn't cry for a week

            Only six days; on the seventh, he rested.

  4. Look, all you do is have to start putting 2 and 2 together here, to start figuring out just who you're dealing with. Take a looksee at this:

    Amash, seen as the ringleader of the House liberty movement

    The son of Syrian and Palestinian immigrants

    See, Liberty Movement+son of Syrian and Palestinian = Potential extremist!

    I knew that name, Amash, sounded kinda funny.

    Get this nut on the no-fly list, ASAP!

  5. Q: What do you call it if Justin was to push around in front of the stage at a metal concert in a sleeveless shirt with his hands in the air?

    A: Amash pit.

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  7. "Amash was welcomed back to Washington with a pink slip: He and a group of libertarian-leaning backbenchers were stripped of their committee assignments by the GOP leadership. "

    Maybe they can return the favor in the next mid term primaries, fielding some pro liberty candidates against the fossils opposing them. "If you want liberty, dump the obstructionist dinosaurs." He has nothing to lose and everything to gain by openly campaigning against the old guard fighting th liberty movement in the party.

  8. Good to see my "Balance the budget based on 3-year average trailing revenues" plan is catching on.

  9. Enjoyed the interview, except for his awkward Ayn Rand moment. I hope he runs for the Senate.

  10. marriage is a private contract that has nothing to do with government"

    That makes for a nice libertarian sound bite, but it's simply not true. As long as we are not living in a working anarchy, then government does have a role, albeit limited, in regards to marriage.

    Is marriage a contract? Then the courts will eventually be involved, and courts are run by the government. And frankly, you'll have a better shot at getting Rick Santorum to come out in favor of gay marriage before you'll get your fiancee to agree to a third party arbitration clause in your private marriage contract. Did one spouse die before the other? Then there's likely estate matters to be handled by the legal system, which at this point in time is run by the government. If you are hauled before a criminal court, whether or not your spouse can testify against you depends very much on how the government defines marriage.

    That latter is a biggie. I simply see no way to get government out of the marriage business without gutting the concept of marital privilege. Private contractual arrangements simply don't apply to third parties.

    Government involvement in marriage should be limited, of course! But you're not going to get rid of government involvement without getting rid of government entirely. Maybe that will happen one day, but in the meantime it is not an excuse to deny gays the same rights and privileges straights have.

    1. I simply see no way to get government out of the marriage business without gutting the concept of marital privilege.

      Sounds good to me.

      it is not an excuse to deny gays the same rights and privileges straights have.

      FIFY. There are no "rights" involved in the debate over state sanction of marriage. No one enjoys a right to have the state sanction their relationship by handing them access to the collective resources of others. That's a privilege, and only a privilege. A perverse, disgusting privilege that needs to be terminated - not expanded.

  11. Nice guy, but I really dislike these folks who want to distinguish themselves all the time and always say no.
    Bad move to vote against the Ryan budget. What was his alternative? a budget that couldnt get support from anyone?
    Look what the democrats are proposing, Obama saying that there is no need to balance the budget at all, the democrat Senate with its first budget in 4 years, and he just goes against the only possible budget that could pass the house and balance at the same time?
    He plays for the left with this elitits attitude.
    Voting no all the time, big thing.

  12. "100% pro-life" and "libertarian" don't belong in the same sentence. The government has no business telling women what to do with their own bodies.

    1. Good thing you were here to make the determination of what constitutes a human being with human rights. Now we can retire all of the philosophers and scientists who have been debating that proposition since Aristotle.

      1. If a fetus wants rights it can ask for them. Until then, the government has no place telling a woman she must give birth, even if doing so runs counter to her best interests.

        You simply are not a libertarian if you want the government making decisions like that.

        1. Infants can't ask for rights either, neither can some who are mentally disabled, should we execute them too?

          You simply are not a libertarian if you want the government making decisions like that.

          I can use sweeping generalities as well: You simply are not a libertarian if you think abortion must be legal to be a libertarian.

          1. What does 100% pro life even mean?

          2. Probably the same thing as "severely conservative".

          3. I dont know if a fetus is a person or not but I am pro choice still.

            My point of view is that the fetus (or unborn child, whatever you like) needs to live through the mother, If the mother kills herself she kills the fetus as well. If you are against right to choose you must also forbid women from commiting suicide or drinking alcohol. I think its a moral issue rather than political. Suppose a pregnant woman wants to become a boxer, would you forbid that?
            (Okay no pregnant woman wants to be a boxer but I?m just making an examplle)

    2. No two libertarians will ever agree on everything beyond the basic principles of small government, embracing the constitution and eliminating cronyism. Libertarians by their very nature are critical thinkers and are not interested in getting caught up in rigorous political platforms where every issue is spoon-fed to them. I am reminded of a quote by Frederick Douglass:

      "To make a contented slave it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken the moral and mental vision and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. "

      The common man who supports statist politicians (forget Republican or Democrat, I'm talking about people like Obama and McCain equally here) are those who have left reason at the door and are just following spoonfed bs. THEY are slaves to following the herd, and they are content to let the shepherd rule the world.

      As far as abortion in particular, I've found people who are pretty clear libertarians on many other issues who disagree vehemently about abortion. No matter who strongly you feel about one side or the other, it's pretty clear that:

      1) If a fetus is a person, abortion is horrific and murder
      2) If a fetus is not a person, then we should let women do whatever they want with their own bodies

      There's plenty of room within other libertarian ideas for that argument to be valid to have, no matter how convinced on the rightness of your side you are.

      1. Love your comment, I've been trying to figure out the best way to say this and you nailed it.

      2. 1) If a fetus is a person, abortion is horrific and murder
        2) If a fetus is not a person, then we should let women do whatever they want with their own bodies

        "Is a fetus an individual or a parasite/organ of the mother?" is a much better question than "is it a person?" The answer to that is unequivocally "not an individual" as it is shares its blood supply, oxygen, food, waste removal, every part of a living being, with the mother.

        There's also the pragmatic answer: since prohibition never works and simply drives black markets, what's the sense in outlawing something people are going to do anyway? It's a private matter, and literally no one else is effected by the decision of the mother (except arguably the father, but men simply do not have the right to force women to become brood mares). So why in the world should it be anyone else's business, let alone illegal?

        1. But it doesn't share the genetics of the mother, so it certainly cannot be an organ. There's a clear barrier that separates the two in the womb - which makes it even easier to identify which cells are mother and which cells are child.

          As such, even though the fetus is technically a "parasite" - I would prefer the use of a less emotionally charged word, but I'd rather not quibble over semantics - it's not unreasonable to suggest that it is a person. Of course your arguments are valid as well, and that's why the debate is so heated in this country.

        2. If you'll note, in my last post I didn't really get into specifics on my own views on abortion which I will do now.

          I believe in the third trimester, if you waited that long, tough luck. The "fetus" is pretty darn clearly an individual at this point. If it can breathe and cry and eat outside the womb, it's a person. People who support late or (ugh!) partial birth abortions are murderers and should be treated as such. The ONLY exception is if the life of the mother is at risk, because the life of the baby is not MORE important than that of the mother, it is equal, therefore how can you choose? A terribly unfortunate situation the times it happens.

          In the first trimester, the cells clearly are not sustainable outside the womb - they're not even easily distinguishable from other organs in the woman's body. I understand and repeat the genetics argument, but honestly I think practicality trumps philosophy at this point. As long as abortions are more expensive than condoms and birth control I'm okay with it.

          In the second trimester, well, I don't know how to measure life. Therefore personally I go 10th amendment here, and if you're not happy with what your state decides, go to another state. I have no problem with democracy ruling in a biological gray area. I think it will never be possible to make a clear line between "eclectic cells" and "person", so majority rule seems as good a way as any. But Congress doesn't have the authority to make that decision for everyone.

          1. I generally use brain activity/lack thereof as my ethically unacceptable/acceptable line of demarcation.

            Still not perfect, but at least it's objective.

  13. The role of government is to prevent force and fraud on one another and then, after that, leave us to our own devices. Excessive taxation, cronyism, etc. are all forms of force or fraud.

    A health care system where costs are totally removed from the consumer is also a form of fraud - you don't know what's actually being paid, so you "pay" anything and then the insurance company gets smacked with the bill. Everyone's premiums go up.

    Justice Louis Brandeis: "Sunlight is the best disinfectant"

    We should legislate disclosure by health providers, so you can call up any doctor and their staff should be able to tell you immediately what things cost - just like in a car dealership. Then we wouldn't have things like this spiking costs:

    http://archinte.jamanetwork.co.....id=1569848

  14. uptil I saw the receipt which had said $4231, I accept that...my... sister woz realy bringing home money part time at there computar.. there moms best frend had bean doing this for only about eight months and resantly paid for the loans on their apartment and bourt a brand new Lotus Esprit. go to, http://www.wow92.com

  15. A transcript of the interview would be great, saving those of us who want the info without spending 38 minutes. Yes, I'd love to wallow in libertarianism for that long, but I simply do not have the time. A transcript, please!

  16. Amash isn't going anywhere under the http://www.celinebagsaleuk.com/ Aegis of speaker Spraytan. It's a crying shame.

  17. upto I looked at the receipt ov $6854, I didn't believe that my father in law was actualie bringing in money parttime on their laptop.. there neighbour haz done this 4 only fifteen months and as of now took care of the depts on there condo and bourt a top of the range Cadillac. we looked here,
    http://BIG76.COM

  18. Justin, I really like you, but if I don't want to be pregnant, I'm going to get an abortion and there isn't anything you can do to stop me. I would never ever try to tell you how to live or get health care. Just let me make my own decision on that, ok?

  19. House "liberty movement," responded by leading a failed coup against House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in what was

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