Donald Trump

Identity Politics Gone Mad, From Trump to Ayanna Pressley

American discourse is careening in an ugly, anti-individualistic direction.


President Donald Trump's awful, unapologetic "you can't leave fast enough" remarks about the four progressive Democratic congresswomen known as "the Squad" came after an also-ugly spat between said Squad and the allies of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.), featuring such collectivist expressions as this:

We are in the grips of anti-individualist politics, right and left, lament Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman and Matt Welch on today's Editors' Roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast, and there are real-world, freedom-constricting implications on current and possible future federal policy. The Reason squad also discuss Obamacare litigation, the state of the Libertarian Party presidential campaign, and the eternal Butch Vig vs. Steve Albini debate.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Somnolence' by Kai Engel is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Relevant links from the show:

"Trump Says Congresswomen He Told to 'Go Back' to Countries They 'Originally Came From' Should Be the Ones to 'Apologize,'" by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Progressives Lost Big Time on the Border Emergency Aid Bill," by Billy Binion and Shikha Dalmia

"Rep. Ilhan Omar Recklessly Accuses Lindsey Graham of Being 'Compromised,'" by Matt Welch

"It's All About the Ad Hominems, Baby," by Jacob Sullum

"Intersectionality 101," by Robby Soave

"Donald Trump's Vile Attack on Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel," by Damon Root

"Paul Ryan Calls Trump's Judge Remark Racist, Continues to Endorse Trump Anyway," by Peter Suderman

"Donald Trump Is a Bad Person," by Peter Suderman

"House Freedom Caucus Too Busy Scolding Justin Amash To Care About Today's Bipartisan Budget Apocalypse," by Matt Welch

"Will Another Court Vote to Strike Down Obamacare?" by Peter Suderman

What are we consuming this week?

Matt Welch

  • Moderated a debate between Libertarian candidates in 2020

Nick Gillespie

Peter Suderman

NEXT: How Secure is Social Security? A Debate

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  1. Careening? I don’t think a POTUS since Ronald Reagan has even voiced the idea of individual liberty. And as far as Congress, in particular the Ds, they have been in league with this sort of BS for years. Al Sharpton anyone?

  2. “We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice”

    Exactly, we don’t need any more brown-skinned politicians making it easier for brown-skinned mothers to kill their brown babies and making it more difficult for these mothers to get a decent education for the kids who survive.

    We don’t need Muslim politicians who soft-pedal violations of the laws of civilized warfare as outlined in many texts of their own religion.

    1. *Condemned as violations* in many texts etc.

    2. And we certainly don’t want gay politicians voting to disarm people who might need to protect themselves against homophobic violence.

      I suppose that’s what the Congresswoman was talking about, right?

  3. >>>brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice

    wtf lady? no. no. no. just stop.

    1. She wants them to hit the brown note.

      1. Correction: Don’t be a brown vote if you can’t hit that brown note.

        1. “they should bring back Chicago Hope, guys. seriously.”

          1. Even in a prime-time drama, it’s too much of a stretch to believe there’s any hope for Chicago.

            1. Only if you’re Juicy Smollet connected.

  4. Actually, we Koch / Reason libertarians should embrace identity politics. Recall this fantastic piece from the greatest living libertarian writer Shikha Dalmia: Why Minorities Will Save American Constitutional Traditions in the Age of Trump

    The numbers don’t lie — black and brown people vote for libertarian principles (meaning, they vote for Democrats) at a much higher rate than whites do. It would be counterproductive to ignore this fact.


    1. >>>embrace identity politics.

      kewl as soon as you define you.


  6. American discourse is careening in an ugly, anti-individualistic direction.

    Has been for well over a decade and Trump was the result.

    1. Individualism is fine, as long as we all do it together.

      – Maj. Frank Burns

      1. I want to be unique and get a tattoo and blue hair like everyone else.

        1. Individualism doesn’t mean you have to be different from everyone else.


    Last time I looked, that binary choice bumper sticker was colorblind and oblivious to congressional membership.

    1. It’s also good advice to anybody. I came to America because I loved its liberal, tolerant, and free market traditions. But if people like AOC, Omar, and Tlaib gain enough power, I will stop loving America and leave it.

      1. Sadly it’s still better than the next best alternative

        1. If you have enough money and/or skills, there are plenty of good alternatives.

      2. > I came to America because…

        Wait! You’re an immigrant? Who the fuck let an immigrant in here! ‘Muricans only! No border jumping murderers and rapists! We’re not a country if people like J W can come in there! Aaargh!! Praise Trump!

  8. ‘Ugly’ if you mean knee-slapping hilarity not soul-deadening, bureaucratic bromides.

  9. “”We are in the grips of anti-individualist politics, right and left,””

    It’s a feature not a bug.

  10. Rep Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) “We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice”

    Well, as petulant little girls discover sooner or later is that the world doesn’t always give them what they insist they need. Welcome to adulthood, Ayanna.

  11. Holy shit, this Squad presser is off to a bad start.
    Ayanna Pressley- ugly, angry, irrelevant
    Ilhan Omar- just wow. Broken English, a very strange accent, trouble reading her notes, foul language, and highlighting the criticisms of her.
    Also, Russia! Impeachment!
    What a fun day

    1. Q: “can you respond to him saying you support al Qaeda?”
      Ilhan Omar: “I will not answer because when a white person kills people in a school or theater I don’t ask white people if they love them.”


      1. Pelosi might actually commit suicide tonight

        1. Well, I don’t wish that particular fate on ANYONE… Although I wouldn’t shed too many tears, truth be told, if Der TrumpfenFuhrer dropped dead of a sudden heart attack. I’d rather see him stopping being an evil, self-absorbed narcissist, and turn to The Light, but that isn’t going to happen! (Else I will gladly eat my hat).

          In the meantime, all you conservatives are absolutely correct… Trump IS correct! (But in a very scary way, actually).

          There’s a sobering truth to Trump’s racist tweets that we don’t like to admit

  12. “We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice”

    Wow. How wrong can you be? We need people to be people, not representatives of an identity. How do people figure that the answer to racism and discrimination is more judgement of people based on race and other factors that shouldn’t be central to one’s identity?

    1. As a _________ person, I disagree with this.

      1. As an individualist person, I am firmly committed to speaking as an individual, not a member of my clone-hive! The Borg (and all other collectivist slavers) can just go and FUCK OFF!!!

  13. “We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice”

    At least she didn’t say “We don’t need any more white faces that don’t want to be a white voice.” That would be racist.

  14. Rep Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), We can’t go on together with suspicious minds.

  15. “We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice”

    Everyone seems to be leaving off the next sentence in her diatribe:
    “If you’re worried about being marginalized and stereotyped, please don’t even show up because we need you to represent that voice.”

    She *only* wants the stereotypes, she only wants people to be marginalized sheep to bleat along with the party line.

    1. Did she really say “if you’re worried about being marginalized, don’t show up”???

  16. I’d definitely call this one a Democrat thing. I don’t recall Bush II saying anything nasty about Dems in general. Obama had his bitter clingers, Hillary had her deplorables.

    Trump? He’s always had diarrhea of the mouth, probably since he was a kid. He’s nothing new.

    1. To be fair… He was a Democrat for 40 years.

  17. Was it Trump’s goal all along to get these morons on camera more? Is 26-D chess an actual thing?

  18. Can you please not encourage them by cosigning the “squad” moniker?

    Frankly I think it’s only days before it’s changed to squas.

  19. As was said in The Death of Stalin, “Who invited these freaks? I thought we got rid of them.”

  20. Lmao… Ayanna and the millions of other dems and progressives that think like her can fuck right off. I’m at my breaking point with these racist totalitarian fear mongers. I happily reject membership in the black and LGBT communities.

  21. The podcast is usually insightful and funny, but I thought Suderman’s soliloquy on identity politics vs. individualism was incandescently brilliant. Me want transcript.

  22. Pretend for a moment that the US today was literally Sparta. Same laws, cultural practices, etc. I think most of us wouldn’t like it. Now pretend that you don’t live in this new America and you’re actually from Libertopia. Bar NAP violations, do you believe these American Spartans have a right to live as they see fit? I think it would be un-Libertarian to suggest otherwise.

    That’s fundamentally what Trump has identified. We have a bunch of relative outsiders, even if they’re born here, who don’t like how we are. They “love” us so much they’re trying to transform everything. That’s not genuine appreciation; it’s replacement. They want our shit and our land, not our values. If they want values that we don’t believe in, why shouldn’t they go elsewhere, or “go back” as orange man has said?

    1. Spartans were horrible military aggressors who shit all over Athens when they had they chance. Suggesting that Spartans should be “left alone to do as they please” makes no sense, when they were nasty, authoritarian aggressors. Do you think that self-defense isn’t legitimate?

      Some “Native Americans” (AKA, what we used to call “Indians”) would like ALL of the rest of us to “go back to where we came form”, by the way! Including Trump, needless to say!

      1. I used Sparta intentionally (and qualified it by stating bar NAP violations because I know they were historically aggressors) because it proves a point about principle. Libertarians, and most people in general, aren’t truly principled about “live and let live.” It’s “live and let live if I approve of how you’re living.” We tend to be more accepting, but even people here have their limits. If people choose to live in a manner we deem un-free, there’s rarely moral support.

        There are tons of globalist cultural forces attempting to secularize and Westernize non-compliant countries. Many African and West/Central Asian countries are tired of us trying to normalize homosexuality. Japan constantly rebukes UN restrictions and criticism of manga. European countries are fighting EU mandated cultural replacement. There’s all sorts of cultural relativism and imperialism that still takes place today and I would argue more than ever before due to omnipresent communication and cultural exchange.

        1. Yes, I see your points now…

          We (the USA, maybe not so much USA libertarians) by and large blessed Iraq war #2, because they were “unfree” under Saddam. We toppled Saddam… Sometimes when the cat is away, the mice will play! (Ethnic and religious strife). Some peoples NEED an asshole dictator!!! So after Saddam was gone, there were WAAAAY more suicide bombings and other dastardly deeds, in his absence!

          So yes, moralistic bust-bodyism can backfire badly! Iraq was / is worse off for our meddling!

          1. It’s not so much a question of whether people are better or worse off for a dictator as much as it as the matter of principle; if you topple a dictator for being a dictator, you open the door for rejecting valid and legitimate governments. I’ve often asked people here what the Libertarian answer is to popular authoritarianism. What would you do if Americans successfully and legally amended the Constitution to become a constitutional monarchy?

          2. #PatBuchananWasRight

    2. Just as it’s better to leave you to go to hell in the manner of your own choosing, as long as you don’t infringe on the rights of others, it’s better to leave whole peoples to go to hell in the manner of their own choosing, as long as they aren’t imposing that hell on other peoples.

      Now of course, not every person in a culture going to hell agrees with the values taking them there. *By our values*, the Spartans are certainly violating the rights of people who haven’t bought into the values of Hell.

      It’s arguable whether the True Believers who have consented to and *demanded* a system that we consider a violation of the NAP are in fact having their rights infringed upon under the NAP.

      But whether some voluntary government is or is not consistent with the NAP is an uninteresting question because it ignores the problem government is mean to solve – how to better deal with conflicting values on the use of force.

      The NAP as political philosophy is an entirely negative deontological moral embargo. “Thou shalt not”. There’s no “thou shalt create, preserve, and defend liberty”. There’s no dealing with reality, particularly with the reality of people disagreeing on what amounts to aggression.

      Governments enforce values on the use of force. There’s less enforcing, and more voluntary living, if people under the same government have the same values on the use of force.

      Bringing people into the polity with different values on the use of force is a recipe for violence.

      If you like your country and want to keep it, you don’t want immigration without assimilation to local values on the use of force. That’s just a recipe for violence until the incompatibility is resolved through a new consensus in the use of force.

      Immigration without assimilation to local values is a recipe for violence and transformation.
      Immigration without assimilation *and* without geographic dispersion is *colonization*, with the potential for much greater violence.

      Someone whose political philosophy starts and ends with the NAP has *nothing* useful to say about the hard problems of dealing with inconsistent values on the use of force.

      1. Zackly. And “Someone whose political philosophy starts and ends with the NAP has *nothing* useful to say about” immigration, either.

        When virtually every single identity is encouraged to be ‘a brown voice, a pink voice, a handicapped voice, ad infinitum’ while at the same time the very slightest expression of “Umm…what about the white people?” is met with hysterical “WHITE SUPREMACY REEEEE!!”, it is ridiculous to expect white people not to suspect something is going on.

        I never thought I’d be in this position, but I didn’t get here via You Tube algorithm or by being ‘alt-right adjacent’. I was pushed here by illogic, hostility and rent-seeking manifestations of identity politics. Maybe I’m just not high enough on the economic scale to be sanguine about such things.

      2. I think the NAP still applies in the situation you described about assimilation. Using your framework of “thou shalt not,” at some point, not doing something becomes synonymous with doing something. Sort of like how “nothing” is itself “something,” not stopping the influx of tens of millions of people who don’t share our values and want to replace us is the same as actually replacing us yourself. Thus, I consider colonization to be aggression and would treat someone like Libby Schaaf or Jim Kenney the same as an illegal immigrant, George Soros, or an Al Qaeda terrorist. I don’t consider private trespass to be any different from seeking a legal remedy to trespass. In that sense, I actually agree with certain radical leftists that speech can be violence.

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