Reason Podcast

Are Government Shutdowns Good for Libertarians?: Podcast

Rebutting Krugman, cracking on Graham, and searching in vain for "freedom" in a caucus.

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Libertarian Party volunteers clean up the National Mall on Jan. 6, 2019. ||| lp.org
lp.org

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.) has had an interesting week of defending President Donald Trump's bluster in the ongoing government shutdown, most recently yesterday on Fox News, which is where we start this week's Reason Podcast, editors' roundtable edition.

Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, and yours truly talk about national emergencies, prohibition metaphors, opportunistic defenders of "freedom," and whether Paul Krugman was right when he called the shutdown a "big, beautiful libertarian experiment." Also up for discussion are the negative reactions to Democratic presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard, the hawkish anti-Trumpery of the D.C. foreign policy/intelligence consensus, and the modern capitalistic miracle of eyewear.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below:

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Hallon' by Christian Bjoerklund is licensed under CC BY NC SA 3.0

Relevant links from the show:

"Sorry, Paul Krugman, the Government Shutdown Is No Great Libertarian Experiment," by Peter Suderman

"Trump's National Emergency Is an American Obscenity," by Matt Welch

"'Our Porous Border' and Other Myths of Trump's Increasingly Popular Wall Mania," by Nick Gillespie

"Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows Supports Asset Forfeiture, National Emergency Declaration to Fund Wall," by Robby Soave

"The Democrats' Alternative to Trump's Wall Isn't Good for Privacy or Property Rights Either," by Christian Britschgi

"Mitch McConnell is Keeping the Senate Out of the Shutdown Fight. It's a Hypocritical Abdication of Congressional Responsibility," by Peter Suderman

"Please, TSA Workers, Don't Come Back," by J.D. Tuccille

"For Once, the TSA Is Right," by Joe Setyon

"Tulsi Gabbard, Iraq War Veteran and Skeptic of America's Wars, Will Run for President in 2020," by Eric Boehm

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30 responses to “Are Government Shutdowns Good for Libertarians?: Podcast

  1. A government shutdown in its current form is both good and bad for libertarians.

    The good:
    1. Many people not affected by the shutdown realize they along just fine without government.
    2. Agencies responsible for directly oppressing and violating the rights of people, or pursuing them for victimless “crimes,” experience an halt or a significant slowdown of their activities.
    3. Government spending is temporarily reduced.
    4. As short-term market-based solutions appear for certain needs, some people will realize and accept this is a better approach.

    The bad:
    1. The people that are directly affected by the shutdown do not get to experience a slow transition to a market-based service for the same need, and, consequently, their belief, that the government is necessary for that need, is reinforced.
    2. Government spending ends up increasing in the long run after the shutdown ends, as agencies deal with the aftereffects.
    3. Some businesses, which provide legitimate market-based services that to a certain extent depend on government employees, or visitors to government-run facilities, suffer significant losses.

    1. Maybe. But, does any of that really matter? With or without a government shutdown the government is still funding and doing things that it has no business involved in the first place.

      I’m just going to listen for the piece about Tulsi Gabbard. Democrats and Republicans are really showing their hand with their bipartisan animus toward her

      1. The left is already hitting her for the “anti-gay” stuff.

        I like Tulsi’s independence of opinion regarding Syria and Russia, but otherwise she’s full on progressive and a career politician (she was first elected to office at 21 yo)

        1. Fair enough. I wouldn’t generally defend her domestic policy, but to her credit, there is no possibility of shrinking the state domestically when your overseas adventures justify greater domestic surveillance and props-up your debt financed welfare state.

          1. Gabbard has taken tougher stances on foreign policy by sponsoring bills that are opposed by both caucuses. She’s better than Amash and possibly Massie on that front (both of whom have co-sponsored legislation with her).

            1. Where you been, man? Missed you.

    2. Or you could try not being in a cult of the market.

      1. You could try not being a cult of government.

        1. But I’m not. You need to think I am to justify your own cultishness.

      2. That’s like saying “you could try not being in a cult of mutually voluntary exchange.”

  2. I don’t see how something that’s mostly a semantic game played by both the government and the establishment media could be “good” for libertarians. Not bad either, just having no real effect.

    There might be an argument that during these “shutdowns” people realize how much power alphabet agencies have over out day to day lives and might cause a few people to think about that. But from what I’ve seen, most people have given into the compliance culture, and simply want said alphabet agency to start back up so they can engage in whatever activity they’re not allowed to engage in during the “shutdown”, because there’s no clipboard wielding apparatchik to nod in approval.

  3. “Are Government Shutdowns Good for Libertarians?”

    Absolutely. On this occasion the distinction between “essential” and “non-essential” functions of the government is introduced back in the discourse, and we have an opportunity to ask “why should we want the government to perform these non-essential functions at all”.

    We also have the opportunity to show to what degree has “he [not King George this time] erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” It is an opportunity to show how absurd is the fact that a brewery suddenly cannot sell beer. What, do we need government permission slip even for THIS? Do we truly need such a government?

    1. You know who else ate out the substance of his/her people?

  4. I mean yes, but most people will never learn. That’s why the idea of socialism and big government isn’t dead yet.

    If they haven’t learned from Trump that government shouldn’t have the power to do X, they never will. They just want the right guy to be in charge of that power.

  5. Can anything actually help advance Libertarian ideas?

    1. Libertarian ideas will become very popular after the socialists get their way

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  10. The government should never be shut down.
    Otherwise our beloved socialist slavers won’t have the money to oppress us.
    Oh, the horror.
    The horror!

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