Reason Podcast

Dave Barry on Toilets, Dogs, Helium, and Other Vital Libertarian Concerns

America's favorite humorist makes an official podcast re-announcement of his perennial presidential campaign.


Dave Barry is the author of approximately eleventy billion books and the recipient of exactly one Pulitzer Prize. For four decades he wrote a weekly column, syndicated from his home base at the Miami Herald, and he is the author of an annual, despairing, hilarious "Year in Review."

Barry's books formed the basis for a short-lived show about his life, Dave's World, and his novel Big Trouble was made into a film of the same name. It's the story of a group of miscreants who wind up inadvertently stealing a nuclear suitcase and hijacking a plane due to their own incompetence. The film was set to be released—inauspiciously—on September 12, 2001.

In June, Reason's Katherine Mangu-Ward sat down with Barry to talk about his new book, Lessons from Lucy, America's strategic helium reserve (which Barry last discussed with Reason in 1994), jokes he can't tell anymore, and his perennial vaguely libertarian campaign for the presidency.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Vox Bubble Rumba' by Podington Bear is licensed under CC NC-BY 3.0

NEXT: Welcome to the Busing Election!

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  1. Dave Barry is evidently a Quaker or was affiliated with a Quaker college. It got him out of serving in Vietnam.

    It’s all fun and games when you enjoy all the benefits of the United States of America after being called up and some other poor smuck goes instead.

    I am sure Vietnam Veterans will be very understanding during that ‘ol campaign tour.

    1. My first question for Dave Barry, running for President, would be how does a Conscientious Objector feel they can properly defend the USA if they did not want to serve in the military and kill America’s enemies?

      1. Because defending involves the retaliatory use of force which is completely moral. As Ali said “Ain’t no Vietnamese ever called me nigger.”

        1. Actually Vietnamese did call Black Americans “niggers”.

          While I don’t think America should have been in Vietnam and certainly not at the troop levels we had, America was invited by the South Vietnamese government to train their troops via special forces cadres and helicopters.

          Additionally, while the “Domino Theory” seems to be incorrect, Communists in the Caribbean and Central and South America have caused a bunch of deaths, toppled governments, and turmoil to this day. Left untreated Socialism is a disease that kills and kills.

          1. “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” – John Q Adams
            We are NOT the world’s policemen.

    2. As history as shown Americans refuse to vote for anyone who used their circumstances to avoid serving in Vietnam, so Mr. Barry is toast.

      1. Trump still has a necklace of skulls make from the heads of all the VC he killed keeping us free. It’s too big to wear, but it’s on display at Mar-a-Lago.

      2. that AND he was a Conscientious Objector.

        Clinton, W. Bush, and Trump got out of serving in Vietnam for a variety of reasons. Not one claimed that killing was wrong.

      3. Crusty Juggler

        Nuance can be lost on many occasions.

    3. It’s not his fault the government immorally forced citizens to go to Vietnam. Next thing you know you’ll be blaming him for taxation.

      1. While I dont think the USA should have a draft, how is it immoral to demand that Americans defend the country that gives them the country to flourish in?

        We force Americans to serve on juries.

        While I dont think we should force Americans to serve in the military, serve on juries or vote, I am not convinced it’s immoral.

        Libertarians are fine with tiny and limited government forcing people to pay taxes, serve on juries, and other roles of citizens to maintain their country. Ideally people would want to do these things voluntarily. The key is keeping government so small and powerless that the impact is minimal.

        1. It’s certainly immoral to conscript people. It’s slavery by a different name. If you can’t convince people to join up for a defensive cause, then the cause must not be compelling. Since Vietnam we’ve had an all-volunteer military and we’ve maintained ourselves as the dominant force in the world. We’ve even had plenty of resources left over for adventures like Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

          1. Some people refuse to participate in this Constitutional Democratic Republic and refuse to leave. Since we cannot kick them out… taxes, jury duty, and civil summons are some of the prices paid for citizens to live in a society like ours.

            Our military performs better by being voluntary but there are still a bunch of leeches who take take take and never the citizens of the USA.

            1. The price is immoral.

    4. And just as Bush II was a draft dodger with the help of his father, and a deserter due to the military downsizing after the Vietnam War, so too did Donald Rump honorably dodge the draft with student deferments and bone spurs and flat feet.

      Yes, a fine leader, a fine example to follow. Me, I’m proud of being both a draft dodger AND a volunteer. Too bad Trump hasn’t got the guts to ‘fess up.

      You, Trumpista 1789, what is your excuse for following such a fine example?

      1. Defending your liberty IS a fine example.

        1. Volunteering is fine. Enslaving is not.

        2. The Alphabet troll is really out today.

          1. Trumpista1789 dodges questions like his savior dodged the draft. How’s them bone spurs doing?

          2. Poor alphabet troll. He wants people to talk to him so bad.

        3. Very few of America’s wars have had anything to do with defending the freedom of Americans. Vietnam, in particular, was a blatant war of choice, waged solely for political reasons. Again, if you can’t convince enough people to join a cause willingly, then the cause isn’t worth fighting over. Hell, plenty of more recent wars weren’t worth fighting, yet the DoD had ample volunteers to wage them.

          1. While I agree with your sentiment about a volunteer military, this type of “force” our government employs also applies to civil responsibilities like jury service.

            Go sit in on a jury trial some time. It will be eye opening. Americans lying their asses off to get out jury duty.

            Freedom isn’t free.

            1. Yeah apparently it’s forced.
              Freedom is slavery.
              War is peace.
              Up is down.

    5. Meanwhile in 2004, loveprostitution1989 was jerking off to Abu Ghraib photos while pretending to be in Delta Force as he served KP duty. So here we are 15 years later and the most he got was a Purple Heart for penis burn.

      1. Hey, that’s a serious medical condition I’ve had many times, and I’ll thank you not to take it lightly.

      2. Man… did my factual comments really get the trolls out today.

        1. I’ve seen a lot of opinion mixed in with facts about how people avoided the draft. No one’s arguing your facts, just your opinions.

          1. You need to read better. I never gave an opinion.

            I never opinioned whether him getting out of Vietnam was right or wrong. I said that Vietnam Veterans will have something to say about it.

    6. You fucking shitheel, not serving in Vietnam was the heroic thing to do. The draft is evil and no libertarian would support such a thing. And the Quakers are to be respected for their consistent opposition to war. You are an embarrassment.

      1. What’s really sad is that his TDS has gone so far that he doesn’t even see this blatant hypocrisy of sneering at an honest draft dodger while worshiping a lying cowardly draft dodger.

        1. No, what’s enlightening is that lc brings up a valid question – how can a conscientious objector serve as commander in chief? – and instead of debating that idea, yall fall back on dogma, irrelevant points, and snarky whataboutism.
          It’s a good question.
          I don’t want to immediately say it would or wouldn’t disqualify someone. I’d need to think about it further.

          1. A conscientious objector would be the best commander in chief because he’d (probably) never institute a draft and only wage conflicts that were actually about defending the nation rather than using war for purely political reasons.

            1. You miscontrue what a “Conscientious Objector” is.

              This guy could have served as a medic, not carry a weapon so no killing, while serving his country and helping fellow soldiers.

              There is a question as to his position that he would ever kill, even in self-defense. Or he is a shitbird lying his ass-off to try to get out of military service and someone else go in his place. Even Bill Clinton never said he would not kill as Commander-in-Chief and did have people killed as President.

      2. Poor America hater.

        This douche will get laughed out of a town hall meetings by the Vietnam Vets.

    7. Worst interviewer ever. She can make even Dave Barry not funny.

  2. Ask yourself: would you have gone to VietNam? I was lucky enough to be passed over in the lottery. I still don’t know if I would have reported.

    1. If I was old enough, I would have signed up for the US Navy during the Vietnam era, just like I did years later.

    2. I was never drafted because I was still a toddler when it ended, and the military did not want toddlers. Like Ali, I used to say that no Vietnamese ever called me crybaby. (Okay, not really.)

      Had I been older, I’d likely have been a resistor and war protestor. The very concept of a draft is anathema to me. Authority in general irks me, and conscription for cannon fodder to fight for war profiteering seems about the ultimate exercise of authority.

      1. Of all the non-compliance with drafts, people who refuse on principle and accept the consequences have my admiration.

        Fleeing to Canada was chicken shit.

        If you really believe that military draft is some kind of unacceptable government force, then fight for ending the draft and stand up for that position. Accept the consequences too. Luckily, we dont have the draft but we have the Selective Service still.

        1. That’s like saying accept the consequences of slavery.

  3. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $30h – $72h…how? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.


  4. I don’t know where to start. The podcast is eye-opening for me

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