wealth tax

Check Your Authoritarian Blind Spot

And your friends' authoritarian blind spots, too.


On this Monday's Reason Roundtable, Matt Welch, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, and Nick Gillespie cover Biden's domestic agenda package, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and other ways D.C. exhibits dysfunction.

Discussed in the show:

1:49: Biden's domestic agenda package will allegedly cost "nothing."

27:46: The $778 billion NDAA illustrates D.C. dysfunction.

31:09: Weekly Listener Question: "While attending graduate school, it was obvious to me that people on both the left and the right have authoritarian tendencies. How do we as libertarians deal with people who can see bad instincts or tendencies in the other side but can't see those same instincts in themselves or their side? I feel like pointing out the hypocrisy won't be a productive approach, but haven't been able to come up with a way of bringing it up with friends and acquaintances who exhibit this behavior. What do you think?"

48:26: Media recommendations for the week.

This week's links:

Send your questions to roundtable@reason.com. Be sure to include your social media handle and the correct pronunciation of your name.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser
Assistant production by Regan Taylor
Music: "Angeline," by The Brothers Steve

NEXT: Robby Soave: Today's Bipartisan Tech Panic Is Yesteryear's Freakout Over Video Games

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  1. “While attending graduate school, it was obvious to me that people on both the left and the right have authoritarian tendencies. How do we as libertarians deal with people who can see bad instincts or tendencies in the other side but can’t see those same instincts in themselves or their side? I feel like pointing out the hypocrisy won’t be a productive approach, but haven’t been able to come up with a way of bringing it up with friends and acquaintances who exhibit this behavior. What do you think?”

    While attending grad school, I worked with a Post Doc who said, “Everyone around here has an agenda except me.”

    “Libertarians: Conspiring to take over the world and leave you alone.” is so played. “Libertarians: Conspiring to make you take over the world and make you appreciate the other sides ideas that libertarians agree with.” is the obvious, agenda-free way forward to libertopia.

    1. Perhaps libertarians might rediscover their love of capitalism and throw the establishment-serving corporatism in the trash.

      Oh, and stop trying to make friends with racist authoritarians. That’d be a start.

      1. Life under Obama: We are all socialists now.

        Life under Biden: We all have authoritarian tendencies.

      2. Check Your Authoritarian Blind Spot
        And your friends’ authoritarian blind spots, too.

        Sooo…Is this like a person and a partner checking each other for ticks after a romp in the woods. That might be fun!

        And…What do we do when we find authoritarian blind spots? Spank them until they are alllll gone? Again, sounds fun!

    2. Just yesterday I read on Reddit that libertarians are “crypto-fascist” because they oppose motorcycle helmet laws

      1. Funny, I thought Fascists liked helmets.

      2. The more dead bikers, the merrier.

    1. I’ve noticed the same thing in my local area papers. I’m not sure how they can be called breakthrough anymore when I’m seeing/reading about them pretty commonly. before I’m asked for a cite look at last weeks links.

      1. The name is useless.

        Everyone will be exposed to the virus whether they have been vaccinated or not. Nothing odd about that.

        ‘Breakthrough’ simply means that someone tested positive for that exposure sometime between their exposure and when they had a PCR test and before/if antibodies were produced that eliminated the virus. Even that is not odd at all – for either vax or unvax. It’s useless info.

        What is useful info would be knowing the progression funnel from a/presymptomatic to symptomatic to serious to critical to dead. But while the difference between vax/unvax is kind of known/public – it is not really updated publicly (except for the serious/hospitalization number which does seem to be updated).

    2. “they’re both vaccinated up the wazoo.”. Here I thought it was supposed to go in the arm somewhere.

      1. They do it China style

    3. False positive. Imagine that.

  2. The $778 billion NDAA illustrates D.C. dysfunction.

    Sadly, at this point I’m just impressed they managed to come in under $1 trillion. That’s how far the bar has been lowered at this point: less than $1 trillion = fiscal restraint.

    1. its been in my lifetime when a Billion was thought to be crazy

  3. Imagine all news websites unable to censor comments.

    Then lies, fake news and propaganda can be exposed more reliably than any other way.

    1. My local news website shut off comments.

    2. Look at the “free speech” comment sites like Parler and Gab for your disproof. There are still people their claiming they have proof Biden stole the election. They’re hardly “exposing” anything but their willingness to play for a team.

      1. No court has heard the evidence they claim to have.

        Their arguments haven’t been considered. That’s bigotry.

  4. What would Reason know about libertarians? They all voted for Biden!

  5. >>Weekly Listener Question: “While attending graduate school …

    Mike? or Kirkland?

    1. Jim Morrison, followed by the answer: “YOU CANNOT PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER!”

  6. Reason’s blind spot seems to be Big Tech

    And about the only libertarian at Reason, Stossel, is suing Big Tech (Facebook) for defamation

    1. Did you forget about BLM and CRT, the driving force behind it? Not to mention anything COVID related, though they seem to be backing off now that the damage is done.

  7. it was obvious to me that people on both the left and the right have authoritarian tendencies.

    It should’ve been obvious that they also have libertarian tendencies. People with ideas tend to have lots of ideas.

    1. Not all people. Eric Swalwell seems devoid of ideas. Ditto Schiff.

    2. Except politicians and 50 centers, yes

      1. Nevermind, you said people with ideas, sorry

  8. Reminds me of the George Carlin routine, everyone driving faster is a maniac, everyone driving slower is an idiot.

    Libertarians like to claim “mor fweedom” despite their defense of multinational corporations that are no friends of liberty. Drop the stupid act and understand that it’s really only the left who are guilty of being the worst authoritarians here and in the last 100 years.

    But nah it’s gotta be doctrinaire open borders doped up stupid all the time.

    1. Paying customers get what they pay for.

  9. There’s a cookie-cutter fascist movement happening in America right now and you’re whining about leftists who want leftist policies via, dum dum dum, the democratic process.

    No leftist has suggested overthrowing the US government. No leftist has suggested installing a giant orange tick bubble as dictator. If we want to change anything about the US government, it’s to make it more democratic, not less.

    Do you want to make the system of government more democratic or less? Even if it means higher taxes on the rich (currently the most popular policy proposal on the table)? No? You think low taxes are more important than democracy? A position unchanged for 40 years?

    Heh, fuck you.

    1. In 1848 Bastiat said “Government is the great fiction where everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.”

      In the 1980s Thatcher said “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

      You see institutional theft as a virtue. People with morals see it as repugnant.

      1. We get it. You read a site containing Bastiat quotes so you think you’re libertarian.

        1. I’d be happy to discuss Bastiat. With someone who understands it. That rules you out.

      2. Bastiat might continue: “…including the very rich. Them most of all, since they have all the power that comes with wealth. Better keep an eye on those ones!”

        Thatcher is hated by her own country for the bizarre and dour long-term failure she imposed on it. Read more thinkers.

        1. Wealth is power only to the extent that it controls the government. Limited government power means limited wealth power. One is dependent upon the other.

          1. Wealth is also power in the private sector, what with it being wealth.

    2. Seriously Tony. What are the limits of democracy? What if the majority wants slavery? What if the majority wants to murder people? Who decides if majority rule is all that matters?

      That was why the founders created a constitutional republic. They detested democracy because they were wise and knew history.

      1. If a majority isn’t deciding, that means a minority is. No minority is right by virtue of being a minority, any more than a majority is.

        If a majority wants slavery, I’d suggest fleeing to somewhere else. It was merely a highly motivated minority that tore the country apart over that particular issue.

        1. You’re missing the point and getting it at the same time.

          1. The point is that you think there’s a concrete universal moral code written down somewhere, and minorities are more likely to be well read into the issue? So, naturally, you get to select who rules over me based on your special knowledge of the basic moral truths.

            If a majority of people want to do terrible things, you try and stop them with a piece of paper. Trumpists are neither a majority nor literate, and they were willing to shit all over the constitution to save Mr. Potato Head’s gender expression.

      2. Republic is not the opposite of democracy. Republic is the opposite of monarchy – where governance is not a family matter but a public matter (res publica).

        What many of the founders didn’t like was a)the town meeting form of democracy (where everybody participates w no representation needed) or b)the Athenian form of democracy (now aka sortition or ‘jury duty’ – where anybody could participate but where representation is more a function of the law of large numbers not choice). Neither of those forms proscribe limits on majoritarianism – said limits being constitutional democracy.

        They preferred representative/Spartan/Presbyterian form of democracy. Where representation occurs through elections and thus where the legislature is one step removed from the crowds. Makes for more refined table manners – cleaner toilets in the legislature – and can lead to oligarchic corruption.

    3. “A ballot is just a substitute for a bullet. If your vote isn’t backed by a bullet, it is meaningless. Without the bullet, people could ignore the election outcome. Voting would be pointless. Democracy has violence at its very core!” ~Muir Matteson, “The Nonviolent Zone”

      1. Yes, but that’s the same with any other form of government, including whatever fairy tale sci-fi setting you endorse.

      2. “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” -Mao

        1. So is everyone just supposed to put down their gun at the same time and agree to be nice to each other forevermore?

          1. That fantasy only happens in the minds of gun-grabbers.

            1. My gun grabbing fantasy involves a lot of violent standoffs, actually.

    4. Never heard of the Weather Underground? They literally set off a bomb in the Capitol.

      1. Not in the name of any president, and not a single former president i calling them martyrs to freedom.

        Progressives run away from their radicals. Leftist radicals hate Demorats more than they hate Republicans.

  10. You know who else had authoritarian tendencies?

  11. Check Your Authoritarian Blind Spot
    And your friends’ authoritarian blind spots, too.

    Take your own effing advice, Reason!

  12. Bringing up authoritarian tendencies is simple, point out that their policy is immoral because it requires the initiatory use of force.

  13. If you start a sentence with “People must…”, You’re an authoritarian.

    1. It’s helpful but not dispositive.

      People must breath if they wish to survive.

      1. Reason authors must please their benefactors if they wish to remain employed.

        As such their libertarianism has become as selective as Spinal Tap’s popular appeal.

      2. Actually a heart and lung machine can keep you alive without breathing.

  14. ADME Prediction
    The characterization of Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion (also known as ADME) and Toxicity are essential steps in drug development.

  15. The rise in authoritarianism on both the left and the right correlates with an increasing unwillingness to compromise and find common solutions to problems. Rather it is a belief that only my solution will work and so it must prevail. We need a rise in the power of the center a group willingness to work with those we disagree.

    1. When someone tells you to “compromise” with leftists, you better hold on to your wallet ’cause you’re gonna get robbed…

    2. What if both Right and Left agree to violate our Individual Rights, as is the case with Left-Wing Authoritarians like Andrea Dworkin and Right-Wing Authoritarians like Sohrab Ahmari agreeing on suppression of pornography? Wouldn’t that constitute a compromise by Authoritarians?

      Also, there is the famous example of two rival Totalitarian rulers, Hitler and Stalin, compromising through The Non-Aggression Pact of 1938. They both agreed to piece apart Poland and not interfere in each others’ conquests in different parts of Europe and also exchanged war materiels.

      Being anti-compromise ie not an essential feature of Authoritarianism. Being unwilling to compromise on moral principle, however, is and shouod he an essential feature of Libertarianism. The whole idea of Individual Rights is that they are a basic moral principle not subject to compromise. When they are compromised, the ultimate end result is some form of Tyranny.

      1. But if a majority of your fellow citizens want to shit on your rights, what good are your principles doing you?

    3. “In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.” – Ayn Rand

      1. You can survive a low enough dose of poison. Indeed, a low enough dose of poison is what some of us call “adult beverages.”

        God, Ayn Rand was a stupid bitch.

        1. Is there a compromise between the lower dosage and the death-dealing dosage, stupid bitch?

      2. “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

        Kung Fu Monkey — Ephemera, blog post, March 19, 2009

    4. It was the inevitable outcome of extreme gerrymandering. Politicians are incentivized to win their base, who make up their districts’ broader electorates now.

      I know how to fix this problem, but it requires abandoning the insidious both-sidesism you’re devoted to here.

      1. The fact is that gerrymandering exist in states controlled by both parties and it is wrong for all states. Reducing gerrymandering by redistricting reform would lead to more competitive elections and I believe more compromise.

    5. Well when you have Presidents saying my way or the highway…No Nixon we are not all keynsians now..in fact the vast majority of us have rejected that pedo’s idiotic theories..I’m all for compromise but with deficit spending and tribalism (diversity and equity) its become war…the days of politely disagreeing are long gone

    6. But there’s another problem that goes beyond the problem of lack of compromise. The two major parties are putting more and more energy into demonizing each other, and less and less into proposing any solutions at all — compromise or no.

      The Republicans, especially, don’t even propose solutions to problems anymore. The Democrats still do, but their solution is almost always to throw money at the problem.

      1. I agree that the Republicans are not generating ideas. They are almost entirely eat up with grievance politics. In their absence we are left nothing but the Democrats, who as you say are too eager to throw money at problems. We need two parties and it is a good time for Libertarians to step up.

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