Jane Coaston is the new host of The Argument, a massively popular New York Times podcast that seeks to host civil and informed discussions about the most pressing issues of the day. A 33-year-old Cincinnati native, Coaston has worked at Vox, MTV, and the Human Rights Campaign, among other places. She's the daughter of a black father and a white mother, was raised as a devout Catholic, and identifies as queer.*
She's also a registered Libertarian who is "especially distrustful of efforts by the state to get people to do things." She explains that "at some point, a regulation or a law with the absolute best of intentions will be wielded by people who may not have the absolute best of intentions."
Coaston tells Nick Gillespie that growing up in a liberal household in a conservative part of the country made her concerned about giving authorities a lot of power. Adding to that was a sense of being isolated because of her race and sexuality. "My libertarian sensibilities really came from a sense of, I know what it is like politically to always lose and to see what the winners look like," she says.
One of Coaston's goals for The Argument is to bring in a lot of new voices to debates about politics, partly to learn new arguments but also to model true pluralism. She says she is sick of performative politics in which people act out predetermined roles rather than actually engage with one another and she's wary of the idea that everything needs to be adjudicated at the national level. She also says that we the people—not the feds, or Donald Trump, or Joe Biden—are the ones politicizing every aspect of our lives. That's an individual decision, she insists, and people can make that decision or not.
* CORRECTION: This article originally misdescribed Coaston's spouse.