Phil Magness: Holding Leftists and Libertarians Accountable

The intellectual watchdog keeps tabs on everyone from The 1619 Project's Nikole Hannah-Jones to Mises Institute's Hans-Hermann Hoppe in the name of serious scholarship.


Today's guest is Phil Magness, the intellectual watchdog based at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) who is keeping tight tabs on suspect claims from journalists and academics. 

His targets have included Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator of The New York Times' Pulitzer Prize–winning series The 1619 Project, which Magness documented was being stealth-edited after several prominent historians pointed out major errors in its analysis. He's also gone after Hans-Herman Hoppe, a professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a distinguished senior fellow at the Mises Institute. Hoppe is an arch critic of democracy and increasingly influential within the Libertarian Party. But despite his affiliation with a group named for the eminent Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, Magness says that Hoppe presents "the complete inversion of Mises' thought," especially when it comes to immigration.

Magness has a Ph.D. from George Mason University's school of public policy, and he's written and co-written books on what he calls "the moral mess of higher education" and on Abraham Lincoln's plan for black resettlement after emancipation. 

This interview was recorded at FreedomFest, the annual July gathering in Las Vegas, and we also talk about specious attacks on the school choice movement and Nobel laureate economist James Buchanan as racist, as well as Magness' excellent Reason article from earlier this year that has led to the ongoing plagiarism investigation of Princeton historian Kevin Kruse. We also discuss Magness' new project of figuring out how Karl Marx became such a powerful influence on 20th- and 21st-century thinking despite being relatively obscure during his lifetime.

Today's sponsor:

  • Better Help online therapy. Are you having trouble solving problems in your life? Start talking to a licensed therapist who won't judge you but will listen and help you with your problems, whatever they are. Better Help is cheaper than most traditional forms of therapy and lets you talk with your therapist via chat, phone, or video—all within 48 hours of signing up and without the hassles of in-person appointments. Go here and get 10 percent off your first month as a listener to The Reason Interview With Nick Gillespie.