Conservatarian Novelist Brad Thor: ISIS Exemplifies Islam, Trump and Clinton are Terrible

The 'Foreign Agent' author flirts with a "Salman Rushdie moment," doubles down on his #NeverTrump, #NeverHillary stance, and explains how America has "cancer."

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Thor Entertainment Group

In an unbroken chain of best-selling and page-turning thrillers featuring special-ops agent Scot Harvath, Brad Thor has created a fictional universe that reflects our chaotic contemporary world.

Enemies are everywhere and up to all sorts of evil, but there are good guys who are not only principled but even victorious most of the time. His books are also chock full of philosophizing and political and economic commentary from a "conservatarian" perspective. 2013's Hidden Order, which revolved around attempts to assassinate nominees to head the Federal Reserve, quoted extensively from libertarian economics writer Henry Hazlitt and histories of the Fed. Thor notes that he was raised in a part-Objectivist home and exposed early and often to the works of Ayn Rand. That upbringing infuses his fiction with a love of ideas and his education at the University of Southern California with acclaimed novelist T.C. Boyle helps imbue his work with literary flourishes.

Thor's latest book, Foreign Agent, engages the threat of extremist Islam and provocatively argues (amidst the action scenes and plot twists) that the truest form of the faith isn't practiced by contemporary reformers but by fundamentalist Muslims and the terrorists in ISIS and Al Qaeda. A native of the Chicago area, Thor talked to Reason in his adopted hometown of Nashville. During a wide-ranging interview with Nick Gillespie, he says,

I believe that if Mohammed came back today…and handed out trophies for who the best Muslims were, ISIS would get them. Al Qaeda would get them. They're practicing Islam exactly the way he told them to practice it. So they're not perverting the religion. Technically, its the people that we like, the moderate, peaceful Muslims, who are actually perverting it.

No stranger to stirring the political pot, the "conservatarian" author also discusses his discussion with Glenn Beck about the hypothetical removal of a President Donald Trump. Thor's #NeverTrump call to action got him in hot water with Sirius XM after a vociferous exchange last May on Glenn Beck's radio show, with some listeners claiming he was talking about assassination (a charge Thor absolutely rebuts in this interview).

His discussion of his early development as as writer is of interest to his many fans. A writer who can turn the Federal Reserve Bank into a nail-biting thriller – as Thor did in Hidden Order – has valuable lessons to share in the arts of espionage and storytelling.

INTERVIEW CONTENTS

0:36—Who is Scot Harvath? What's the story of 'Foreign Agent'?

2:20—Where does reality end and fiction begin in Thor's writing?

6:38—Is 'Hidden Order' a small-government thriller?

10:23—'The Last Patriot' and America's long history of conflict with Islam.

15:09—Death threats and Brad Thor's "Salman Rushdie moment".

16:38—Is Islam compatible with the secular, pluralist West?

26:05—Thor's Objectvist/conservative/libertarian worldview and the militarization of the police.

33:45—Thor's formal education and development as a writer.

37:12—Are conservatives cultural philistines?

39:09—How travel changed Thor's perspective.

43:26—Views on technology, immigration, and American exceptionalism.

47:38—Did Thor publicly advocate the assassination of president Trump?

51:10—America has "cancer". Hillary and Trump and terrible.

[Nick Gillespie] Hi I'm Nick Gillespie with Reason TV and today we are sitting down in Nashville Tennessee with the best-selling author Brad Thor. He writes the Scot Harvath thriller series, the most recent in a long list of New York Times best sellers is 'Foreign Agent'. Brad, thanks for talking to us.

[Brad Thor] Thanks for having me Nick.

[Gillespie] So let's get right into the latest book 'Foreign Agent' talk a little about the plot which runs through Syria and talk a little bit about your series protagonist Scot Harvath, a former special ops guy, Navy SEAL, who is now in a kind of private security.

[Thor] Yeah, so Harvath is a- throughout the series of books and, my books are written as stand-alones so you can pick up at any point in the series, enjoy the books you-

[Gillespie] And this is what, your 12th or 13th?

[Thor] Actually it's my 16th.

[Gillespie] 16th okay.

[Thor] Yeah, 16th. So that you can pick them up anywhere. It's one of- publisher said 'don't ever cannibalize your sales.' You don't want someone to go into the store looking for book one and all there is is book five and then buy a Patterson. I'm not worried about Patterson paying his electric bill this winter. So Harvath is a SEAL who comes to the attention of the secret service during a presidential visit by water. And he distinguishes himself and they invite him to come into the White House to help bolster their counter-terrorism expertise, but this is a real apex predator. The president realizes this is crazy, this guy should not be on defense, puts him on offense kind of as his go to guy and as I watched the rise of Blackwater and some of these other private military corporations and got to have more friends in the intelligence world, I saw private spying as being the next big thing. And in particular the defense department, at one point, did this because they felt they weren't getting effective espionage out of the CIA, so they hired a private group. And I thought 'okay this is interesting a guy CIA can use, president can use, blah blah blah.' Anyway 'Foreign Agent' is all about the Russians trying to prop up the Assad regime and not being able to tackle ISIS and the rebels trying to take down Assad. So they're trying to trick the US into coming and fully committing in Syria.

[Gillespie] Your books define page-turners, I mean, they're really great. And we're gonna talk a little bit, in particular, about hidden order which is a great book from a couple years ago about the federal reserve. That's a thriller! I mean it, that's you know, like, Dickens has nothing on you if you turn the Federal Reserve into-

[Thor] I'm gonna put that on the back of the next book!

[Gillespie] But, you know, do you worry about that kind of, I mean, is, how real is this stuff and how much of it is, you know, just kind of a projection from, you know, a couple of like root elements?

[Thor] Well I think it's a big deal, as you and I are doing this interview we've heard all the stuff about the Russians tampering potentially with the upcoming election. There's the whole thing about 'is Assange and Wikileaks a tool of the Russians?' There's a lot of interesting stuff with Snowden, you know, if you're trying to be a whistleblower and you want freedom China would not be the first place I would run to and then the Russians say 'well I guess we'll take him.' You know? So there's a lot of interesting things. The Russians have not stopped being the Russians. They may no longer be the Soviet Union just like ACORN is no longer ACORN anymore. So I think it's very very much happening on our doorstep right now, particularly just within the last 48 hours with this interview, the talks between the US and the Russians broke down about us working together over there. So I try to predict- Brad Meltzer who I'm friendly with who's a great author, Meltzer had said that a thriller writer's job is to beat the headlines and that's what I try to do with these thrillers.

[Gillespie] When this, it also you know, kind of, thinking about this interview and reading your books and whatnot it reminds me also of the book and the movie 3 days- well I guess it was 7 days of the Condor-

[Thor] the Condor, for the book.

[Gillespie] 3 days for the movie-

[Thor] With Redford.

[Gillespie] because you gotta slow it down but in that Robert Redford's character plays somebody who reads spy novels for the CIA to kind of come up with plots. And you've actually done something similar with the Department of Homeland Security. Can you talk a little bit about what, you know, how you know why- you don't have actual military experience, you are not a former SEAL yourself and yet you're talking with Government officials about, you know, possible plots and threats.

[Thor] Right so what was called the analytic Red Cell unit. And it was stood up very soon after Department of Homeland Security opened it's doors, so, in the wake of 911, before the 911 commission report, the federal government, particularly some very wise people there said 'the reason we got hit is 'cause we got no imagination.' One of my biggest complaints and I got a lot of them about the federal government is that they're always fighting in their rear view mirror or looking backwards not looking forwards and they realize this. So they said 'well we need to is get people who don't think like the Pentagon, who don't think like CIA. Let's bring in creative thinkers from outside DC and brainstorm with them. So I got invited, Meltzer, again, another guy who got invited, Michael Bay who directs the Transformers movies, did the Benghazi movie and they brought us in to-

[Gillespie] Can I ask, did they have any, you know, I'm thinking Don Delillo, a great literary writer. In one of his books, I think it was Running Dogs, there's a moment towards the end where two characters are looking at the world trade center and imagining it being blown up, and this would have been in the 70s maybe the early 80s. Did they have people like that? Did they have people kind of from the left who also write or talk about terrorism and what not?

[Thor] They had a wide variety. So it was not ideological, it was strictly based on creativity and what was amazing is they brought people in, I always tell people 'this is like the Las Vegas of government programs. What happened in the Red Cell program, stayed there.' I can't use it for my books but I do, when they present me with problems, I use my mind the way I would for the books. But they were exceptional in that it's hard to keep creative people focused and they were excellent. And they'd team us up with people from different agencies, I remember on a coffee break I was there with some guy who was some super secret spook and he was going through the garbage, I said 'what are you doing?' He goes 'watch what I can do.' And he pulled stuff out of the garbage, he made a bomb out of what he found in the garbage. Bic lighter, rubber glove, he said 'give me your cell phone' He goes 'let's take the back off.' He says-

[Gillespie] by the way, let's go again. You're meeting with DHS and people are wearing rubber gloves and bringing in lighters? I'm sure it's a smoke-free facility.

[Thor] No no it's- this is- it was very interesting what this guy was able to cobble together and so for me as a writer who writes about that world it was cool to be exposed to it.

[Gillespie] Well, let's talk about 'Hidden Order.' That was the first of your books that I read and this is a book where Harvath has, is called in because everybody who's in line to take over the Fed is being mysteriously murdered and bumped off. Talk a little bit about what you were trying to do with that book and this is a book that, among other things, quotes long passages from Henry Hazlitt's 'Economics in One Lesson.' The devil or 'The Creature From Jekyll Island.'

[Thor] Creature from Jekyll Island.

[Gillespie] Talk a little bit about that.

[Thor] I'm a big believer in less government is better government and we don't have less government now and so my big push is transparency and I wish, I would talk to friends who had no idea what the Fed was. And I would explain and I think it was from 'Creature from Jekyll Island, where he said that 'the federal reserve is about-

[Gillespie] Which is a kind of a conspiracist history of the Federal Reserve, yeah.

[Thor] There's a lot of legit history in there, how it was formed. That's why I love that book, is how it was, they sped out of Hoboken New Jersey, and Hoboken, God, it's the Hoboken train station's in the news in the last week too. Private train compartment belonging to a wealthy senator and they sped out of Hoboken so that all these powerful people wouldn't be seen. They went to Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia and came up with the idea and formulated the plan. I mean it's like, it is like a Mike Myers in 'So I Married an Axe Murderer.' Where they talk about the, you know, 'in the meadows.' But I thought this is fascinating 'cause it's about as federal as Federal Express. There is, you know, I had heard Ron Paul talk forever about we need to audit the Fed and blah blah blah and the 100th anniversary of the Fed was coming up and I thought 'okay this is a great way to give people a page-turning beach read thriller but inform them about the Fed by weaving in this- There's some other kind of founding of America sub plots. The murders are being committed similar to what a group leading up to the revolution was doing things so that was the idea.

[Gillespie] Did readers kind of talk to you- or, you know, said in notes 'oh this really opened my eyes' or 'this made me start reading stuff'?

[Thor] This was a book that broke through in the Libertarian community and that wasn't my- that wasn't my goal. I wasn't writing for Libertarians, I've got that streak in me… I pick things, Nick, because I wanna know more about them. I spend a year working on a book so I wanna be excited about it, it's gotta fuel me and learning about the Fed, it's probably one of the highest points I've ever set the bar for myself. I said 'if I can write a thriller about the Fed and make it exciting, I've done my job.' But touring for it, like I went on Fox News and they're like 'what's the book about?' and I was like 'oh my god if I say it's about the Fed, you know, no one's gonna-

[Gillespie] oh Steve Doocey is gonna go into REM sleep.

[Thor] Exactly. So what I did was I said 'this is the next big scandal you haven't heard of. This is the most powerful organization in the United States, they pose as a federal- ' so I teased it. But it really, I don't know if it was word of mouth or whatever but in the Libertarian community it just went like this and I heard from tons of Libertarians that said 'I didn't know some of the things in this book. Thank you for writing about it.' Yeah, Rand Paul read it and enjoyed it and I got to be friends with him because of the book so it was kinda neat.

[Gillespie] Because all of these books, I mean, one of the things that is great about them is that you mix a lot of historical stuff, there a lot, you know, there's fiction, there's plot, there's some stuff- you know taste-

[Thor]I call it Faction.

[Gillespie] Yeah, okay and there's tasteful sex and flirting and you know torture, I mean it's, you know in a lot of ways it's kind of similar to 'Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.' I mean there's a whole broad range of things and then if we wanna get more elevated it's in the tradition of a kind of Umberto Eco, you know, going back to-

[Thor] The Name of the Rose.

[Gillespie] The Name of the Rose, which kind of kicked off, God, that's like 25-30 years ago of this rich kind of historically infused popular thriller fiction like detective plots. And that brings me to your 2008 book 'The Last Patriot' which, probably your most controversial. Talk a little bit about that because that plot is really kind of interesting and it's kind of like 'National Treasure' meets you know 'Name of the Rose' meets 'Hidden Order' and whatnot.

[Thor] So, The Last Patriot, a lot of people don't know that George Bush wasn't the first American president to go to war with Islamic fundamentalists. It was Thomas Jefferson. So when we, when our merchants would sail the high seas when we were British colonies we were protected by the Brits. During the revolutionary war we were protected by the French Navy, right after that there was no protection. And the Barbary coast pirates, Muslim nations of north Africa, were-

[Gillespie] This was around Tripoli in Libya or modern day Tripoli Libya.

[Thor] That whole area right in there and so they were kidnapping our sailors as they were traveling in the med and they were ransoming them back to us and they would write horrific letters, these poor hostages, to congress and at one point John Adams and Thomas Jefferson met with the ambassador to Tripoli in London and said 'we have no beef with you.' I mean Jefferson was the guy about, you know, commerce with all of- entanglements with none and Jefferson said 'what's going on here?' and he says 'well you're infidels and it's written in our book that, you know, it's our duty and our right to take your possessions and enslave your people and so we tried the diplomatic means to reason with these people and it didn't work. They kept taking our people hostage again and again and again and then they wanted tribute. So it wasn't just pay us and we'll give your guys back, it's like a protection racket. And so when Jefferson became president and this kept going on Jefferson said 'that's it' it's like that line from Star Trek 'here and no further' so he sent the United States Marines, this was their second, there was a little thing in the Caribbean the marines had done, but this was first major projecting force-

[Gillespie] This is, I mean, from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, yeah.

[Thor] Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. In fact the sword that the marines have is called the Mameluke sword. And that was given as a gift to the marines-

[Gillespie] And so in 'The Last Patriot' then you take off on the idea of that there is a missing or a hidden passage in the Quran.

[Thor] A chapter actually. So I've gone on TV and I've punched it up with people, apologists for Islam on Islam and, you know, they say 'oh you're cherry-picking the bad verses.' And I always have to give my 30 second elevator speech which is: if you look at the prophet-hood of Mohammad, it's divided into two places- in two parts. Even Muslims will tell you this. He started out in Mecca where he was preaching very peacefully trying to woo Jews, Christians and Pagans to his new religion. Then he moves to Medina, becomes this powerful very wealthy warlord, then he's not so nice anymore. Then he's not 'Let's work things out' then it's 'My way or you're gonna get it.' And one of the problems Mohammad had was that he started contradicting himself and his apostles, his disciples came to him and said 'Wait a second, you said Allah through the angel Gabriel said this. How can you contradict yourself?' He had a real problem. Went away for a couple of days and came back and said 'Well it's now been revealed to me that if I give you something different, I'm just the messenger, okay? If I give you something different it abrogates any contradiction. So what I tell you today wipes out everything before.' Well the Quran is not organized chronologically it's organized by verse link. So if you actually put the Quran in chronological order you'd find the peaceful stuff in the beginning and the more violent stuff toward the end. Well, fast forward to an article that I had read about, they were doing, real life, they were doing repairs on a Mosque in Yemen and they found all of these old parchments up there. And they didn't know what to do, the Yemeni government called in these brilliant German scientists and they were dating it and everything and then they happened to tell the Yemenis 'wow, this looks like it could be early things, maybe missing from the Quran.' The Yemenis threw them out. So I open 'The Last Patriot' with a quote from one of Mohammad's disciples where he basically, you know, You and I, we write on deadlines and things like this, where he basically set a deadline for the writing of the Quran and said, you know 'Thursday at five o'clock: quit bringing in pieces of parchment because this is the book, it's done.' And when I published this book, which had been called the Da Vinci Code of Islam, Muslim people went insane because I suggested that there could be a missing chapter in real life. You can fictionalize Mormonism, you can fictionalize Catholicism but Sam Harris wrote a great piece at the Huffington Post, I don't often point to the Huffington Post but a lot of Sam stuff I like, where he was called 'Losing our Spines to Save our Necks.' Where he said 'We've given Islam a protected space in the public square where they are immune from criticism and if anything the reformers in Islam need the religion to be criticized so that you can force cracks.'

[Gillespie] So, well talk about that because yeah the book I think was on Glenn Beck and a couple other people said that this- you were kind of flirting with a Salmon Rushdie moment of, you know, where

[Thor] You'll be dead in a year, Glenn said.

[Gillespie] You get in trouble, I mean, obviously that didn't happen.

[Thor] It got banned in Saudi Arabia.

[Glenn Beck] Salmon Rushdie? come to mind?

[Thor] I mean, little bit. The death threats have already started rollin' in and the book doesn't come out till midnight tonight.

[Beck] okay.

[Gillespie] Kind of a badge of honor isn't it? to- and you have gotten death threats. How do you- do you take them seriously?

[Thor] Oh yeah.

[Gillespie] What is it like as an author, I mean I get a lot of, you know, 'Hey go, you know, garden with razor blades but not death threats.' What is it like as an author to be, you know, on the receiving end of that.

[Thor] Even though the death threats have not increased, they still come in, they haven't increased in tempo, the situation we live in now has gotten worse particularly with ISIS. Wikipedia now has a sub category which we just discovered a little while ago I'm on which is critics of Islam. Which is basically a hit list. If you want to go out and whack people are, you know, who criticize Islam. And the problem with ISIS is that as they continue to lose ground for their Caliphate, when they recruit people online and you've got a convert, they're now telling 'em 'you know what, don't come over to Syria and fight. Find a target where you are. Weather it's an actual physical target or weather it's a person. So that makes it more dangerous.

[Gillespie] Jihad locally, think

[Thor] Think globally, act, yeah, commit your jihad locally. Exactly.

[Gillespie] You were raised Catholic, right?

[Thor] Went to Catholic school, not a practicing Catholic.

[Gillespie] Raised Catholic and Objectivist, we'll talk a little bit about that in a second. But do you think Islam and is there such a thing as Islam and is it fundamentally incompatible with a kind of classical Liberal order that we have, generally speaking, in the west and certainly in the United States, or is it that, you know, just as you know at various points in Catholic, Roman Catholic history you could say you know the church was an agent of liberation of people and of peace and of tolerance and of individualism, or it was actually putting people to death. I mean, is- are there many Islams or is there only one Islam and are we at war with Islam or are we at war with Islamists?

[Thor] The problem with Islam is not Islam, the problem with Islam is Islamic fundamentalists. That said it's not an excuse. In fact I think it's an incredible indictment because if you look, if you consider three of the major world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, two out of three have had reformations. The one that hasn't is Islam.

[Gillespie] Or some people argue that it had a reformation which actually is Wahabism so or it happened in the 19th century and so it's, yeah-

[Thor] It's a, it's the strain, yeah in Wahabism is a, is a huge huge- the Salafists, the Wahabists- There's a, there's a big problem within Islam and it bleeds- When I try to talk to, with people who are just not interested in it, it really is an eye-bleed. But the problem is, is I believe that if Muhammad came back today, Nick, and handed out trophies for who the best Muslims were, ISIS would get them, Al Qaeda would get 'em. They're practicing Islam Exactly the way he told them to practice it, so they're not perverting the religion. Technically it's the people that we like, the moderate peaceful Muslims that are actually perverting it, who are taking Jews and Christians for their friends. That's the problem and without a central governing body, how are you going to get a reformation in Islam?

[Gillespie] You know, in an American context, one of the things that's interesting is that Americans, particularly on the broadly defined right, people look at Europe and they're like 'Oh, you know, Europe is terrible.' But then they'll say 'Well Europe is the canary in the coal mine for Islamic immigration and, you know, all of that kind of stuff. And yet in America, for the most part, we have a very different relationship with immigrants and with immigration and with assimilation.

[Thor] We're the best, by the way. America is outside the Muslim world, people who follow Islam assimilate better in America, then anywhere else.

[Gillespie] It's bizarre that people are like 'Oh, you know, Germany isn't handling immigrants well.' Its like 'They never have. They've always had problems with that. France has had the same problem, England, a little bit better but problematic.' You know, is the American experiment or the American kind of ethos of tolerance of pluralism and of following the law, is that strong enough to overcome, you know, the problems that might present itself from a, you know, the most, you know, from people from Islam or people from Mexico or people from Canada coming here.

[Thor] As far as Islam is concerned we're losing the ability to fold people into our culture. And it's not the first generation. It's not the first generation Muslims in France that they're having problems with. I lived in Paris and they talked about the Muslims that came from north Africa, french colonies, to come and sweep the streets and all this kinda stuff. Where you're seeing the problems, it's the first generation. They have one foot in the old country, one foot in the new country and they-

[Gillespie] So it's not the first, it's the second or third generation, right-

[Thor] It's the first born in that country, the first generation being born there. So that's the problem. So what we're seeing here, you know, we have the Tsarnaev brothers who weren't born here, the Boston marathon bombers, but the San Bernardino shooter, the man, the husband, was born here. You know, we got the guy down in Orlando. So it's not their parent's generation and culturally with the hardcore leftists that are basically telling everybody that if you life sucks it's not your fault, it's somebody else's. That on top of the Wahabist, the Islamic fundamentalists trying- you get- we all go through a shiftless youth, you know, at some point-

[Gillespie] Some of us never come out of it.

[Thor] That's true, some of us never leave our youth. But it is a- it is a toxic, it's a weird thing where you can do the experiment ten thousand times in the laboratory and on the ten thousand and first you get a spark. So it's not all Muslims, you don't need to be, you know, I'm not an apologist for the Muslim community, I think that's fully their responsibility. But this is something that's going to happen more and more and more. My concern is that it's going to, and it's already starting to, it's- we had the mall attack in Minnesota, in St. Cloud where the guy stabbed 8 people with a knife. Which ISIS had just called for last month, they're now telling people 'show up at AYSO soccer games and stab the kids.' They're saying 'go to quiet neighborhoods, go to nice neighborhoods.' They have, they're- ISIS is now encouraging stabbings. Then you've got the guy and they say he was nuts in Washington a week ago who shot five people at the Macy's makeup counter. This is Israel, we are now going to be living like Israel.

[Gillespie] Talk a little bit of- because you're also- you're a strong second amendment supporter.

[Thor] Huge.

[Gillespie] You're very skeptical of the surveillance state. You know, from that context is religious or theologically based violence, is it really like crime as opposed to, say, something like the cold war or Nazism where you, you know, you can't recreate society and put it on a war footing so that everything is directed at a particular effort if what we're talking about here are kind of random people who you-

[Thor] But we're not even trying, Nick. This is my problem, okay? 911 happens, where was the- these were not guys from County Cork Ireland that came over and did this. It was very specific, what their ideology was and what part of the world they came from. What pressure did we put on them? In fact, you know, we helped hustle out a bunch of- sympathetic Saudis and stuff like this when there was no air travel, they were allowed to go out. But the problem is, in the wake of 911 we didn't put pressure on the Muslim world to reform, you and I got our civil liberties eroded. We got the creation of the TSA so we could stand in longer security lines. We got the scooping up of metadata and I'm guaranteeing you there was a lot more than metadata that's being scooped up. This week we're hearing that, you know, Yahoo voluntarily allowed intelligence agencies to sweep through over emails, Yahoo emails, Great Britain, the intelligence services over there had found a back door through iTunes-

[Gillespie] Well we did respond and we responded by, you know, bombing and deposing the Taliban in Afghanistan and then stickin' around…

[Thor] Where they trained.

[Gillespie] … We did go to Iraq, which was kind of an odd non-sequitur from what- I mean so, is it- Talk a little bit about that because I think a lot the times people would look at your stuff and then be like 'Okay you're like a Neo-con hawk.'

[Thor] No I'm not.

[Gillespie] Did we respond poorly by going into Afghanistan and mayb- certainly not looking for Bin Laden but then stickin' around and not really doing anything. Did we make a mistake by going into Iraq and if we did, then what do we do now? Because we just put more troops back in there and everybody's kinda gearing up around Syria.

[Thor] I think going into Afghanistan was absolutely the right thing to do because that was, I mean this is like saying 'Okay…' I have to watch, This is like saying 'A high profile person was, his family got carjacked and raped and beaten and we know the neighborhood it came out of but we're not gonna go into the neighborhood.' You gotta go in and get those bad guys. I don't like nation building, I think Ann Coulter, as philosophically disconnected as I am from Ann Coulter, had one of the best lines. I used to say 'You can not give people democracy on a silver platter. They have to fight for it, they have to want it.' Coulter said 'You can't bring democracy to a country that has more goats than flush toilets.' So not necessarily as classy maybe as my example but she hit the nail on the head.

[Gillespie] And it is that idea of nation building or that we're not just gonna go in and get what we needed which was to get Bin Laden, that's why we got rid of the Taliban but then we're gonna say there and rebuild.

[Thor] We should have gotten him at Tora Bora. We should've. If you talk to the operators who were at Tora Bora, there's a lot of pissed off people still. 'Cause we should've poured in there, we should have gotten him and that should have been it. Now coulda, woulda, shoulda, right? Meh, whatever. We kept looking for him, we found him in Abbottabad, you know, and did we kick the shit out of Pakistanis for doing that? 'Fuck you, you hid this guy, you can't hide an 8 foot Arab next to West Point.' I mean that in itself is insane. So the Pakistanis who are getting all this aid and all this kinda stuff, there's no consequences. Particularly under the current administration so, you know, I don't wanna go around and invade countries and all that kind of stuff. And I understand that post World War 2, the Brits couldn't afford to be the world's policeman. Nature abhors a vacuum, and there's a lot of evil in the world and if we didn't fill that it would've been the Soviets, I don't want the Soviets or the Chinese being the heavies, you know? And I- it's is just, it is disappointing to me that we can't come together as a nation and be able to find a policy. Everybody's got a different opinion but then we can say 'Listen, this is important for us as a country, I mean, I'm a big believer in federalism and there's too much going on in Washington and it's too disconnected, we ought to be making decisions. I moved to Tennessee because I didn't like the decisions in Illinois. I mean, if the states are the laboratories of democracy, Illinois a frickin' meth lab. I don't wanna- I'm not gonna be there with that, you know, disaster and it's blowin' up constantly. I came down here, no income tax, it's a very leave me alone kind of place. So for that Libertarian streak in me, I like that, mind you own damn business.

[Gillespie] Talk a little bit about where you're, you're kind of worldview and politics or ideology come from. 'Cause, so you were raised Catholic, or you went to Catholic school but you had an Objectivist mother.

[Thor] Yep. My dad was a marine in the marine corps and became a real estate developer and my mom signed me up for the Objectivist center, like, I think it was 8th grade and I was getting the news letters and stuff. And, I mean, you know she gave me Atlas Shrugged and we had, you know, all of the Ayn Rand books and my mom was a real believer in individual liberties. So is my dad. My dad's not, they're both entrepreneurs so they like this idea- but my mom was really the one that was talking to me about government and about the power of the individual and I really believe that the United States was set up to protect the greatest minority community in the world, the smallest minority, which is one person, the individual. And that people aren't inherently good, there's bad people, we're gonna need police officers like it or not.

[Gillespie] How do you- how do you, I mean, I think you've described yourself as kind of a Conservatarian. Talk a little bit about, like, how Conservative and Libertarian mixes in you and creates something that you think is particularly valuable for people to consider.

[Thor] Militarizing the police force. You've got improved air bags in your car, you've got automatic braking in cars, this is- when I hear that term, not necessarily from you, but I hear it from a lot of people who have never picked up a gun, whatever. If, to me, as someone who deals in logic, it would be insane not to take lessons we learn on the battlefield and bring them into police departments. Because a police officer's number one job is to go home to their family at the end of their night. It's not to take a bullet and die for people in their community, they sure as hell don't get paid enough for that. So if there are pieces of equipment that, and they look scary, I get it, people 'Oh all dressed in-' A certain amount of that, it's why the riot gear looks the way it does, it's supposed to be intimidating. It's why SWAT team officers are not there to, you know, hand out pieces of candy. If you got a SWAT team coming to your house, unless they have massively screwed up, in which case that deserves to be dealt with in very serious terms.

[Gillespie] And and they do, that's, you know

[Thor] Everybody makes mistakes, it's part of the human condition, there's no industry that doesn't make a mistake. When you're dealing with life or death, you really want to minimize mistakes weather that's 16 layers you gotta go through within an hour to sign off on an operation. You don't want to be throwing flashbangs into a crib of a brand new baby, you just don't want to do that. But I am all for anything that helps a police officer get home to their family in the law abiding exercising of their duties. So if that means better bullet-proof vests and helmets and weapons and tactics and if, you know, I don't want a cop to roll up in a crown vic when somebody's got an AK 47 and is putting rounds on them. If you've got a Bearcat and it's armored and you go up and punch a hole through the- by the way, that's how they got into the night club in Orlando, the Pulse night club. They drove an armored vehicle through the bathroom.

[Gillespie] But then there's towns like Keene New Hampshire that have Bearcat, you know, armored transport for cops where the biggest things is people egging houses. So, I mean this is…

[Thor] But let me ask you Nick, do you think they would have liked to have had one in Columbine?

[Gillespie] Yeah, well..

[Thor] Nobody thought that- Columbine Colorado, you ever been there?

[Gillespie] Sure.

[Thor] I never would have guessed in a million years would've guessed that would happen.

[Gillespie] By the same token it's clear that the police didn't act particularly well and they did have a SWAT team or they had certain types of things.

[Thor] A lot of, yeah a lot of lessons- well there was also protocol. These things that are basically disruptive black swan game changers. Now the way the cops work is you don't wait for the SWAT team, you go in right away. So now you're asking Mr. Mcgillicuddy who's the local patrol officer, and Mcgillicuddy, it's not 1950s, but you're asking a patrol officer with soft body armor that cannot stop a rifle round, his job now is to go into that and charge that fire.

[Gillespie] I mean I think, we've interviewed Bernie Kerik, the former commissioner of New York…

[Thor[ I know Bernie, yeah.

[Gillespie] and he actually is, I mean, he's worried about the literally the militarization of taking surplus Pentagon gear and giving it to people who are not trained for it or don't know and he would argue that there's an over-use of a lot of these tactics which should be reserved both for very particular situations as well as people who are specifically trained.

[Thor] So that's, yeah. So that's the continuum of force and that's what police officers get trained as patrol officers that if this guy's got a knife we do this first, you know, we're gonna try to talk him out of it, you've got your Tazer, you've got all these things in the toolbox. So that I wouldn't be opposed to that, you know, because it does have a- when you see that stuff roll into your neighborhood, particularly if you're in a black neighborhood where you feel, you know, what's the guy- who's the bank robber from Massachusetts when they asked him 'Why do you rob banks?'

[Gillespie] Oh, Willie Sutton from New York.

[Thor] Willie Sutton, 'cause that's where the money is. The data shows that there is a disproportionate amount of crime committed by black offenders. The police are going to where cri- they're not carjacking in my neighborhood so I have, I see very few police cars where I live. But that doesn't mean that you don't have a community that feels put upon. I mean I know Senator Tim Scott has talked about how many times he's been pulled over, there's the whole-

[Gillespie] So where do you see- I mean, do you see Conservatives and Libertarians, this is a, you know, kind of late night poll session, that Conservatives and Libertarians seem to have less and less in common, because Conservatives oftentime are very traditionalist, maybe socially conservative. Libertarians are kind of like 'Leave me alone.' and that there's a gap or-

[Thor] It's changing, actually I think it's changing. So when you look at younger, let's just throw it all to the right and kind of put it under the very tattered very now shabby Republican banner. So you've got a whole new wave of Republican voters who believe in gay marriage where you've got older Republicans who are more socially conservative. So, I'm pro gay marriage so I'm not one of these super socially conservative guys. That's part of my mindset, part of the Objectivist, radical Capitalist like Ayn Rand and saying 'Just leave me alone. Let me go do my own thing.' You know I watch Dennis Miller all the time like 'I'll write you a check. How much does it, how much does it cost? Here's the check, just leave me alone, okay?' I don't wanna be told that I've got white privilege or this, that, the other thing. My grandfather worked for the telephone company, first person born in this country in my family, played Trombone on the weekends to make extra money. My dad went into the marine corps to go to college on the GI bill. My mom was a flight attendant for TWA, I mean, you know, so they worked hard. You know, this is the thing I- Milton Friedman is one of my favorite people in the whole world. If anybody watching has not seen him totally destroy Phil Donahue, it's some of the greatest stuff. But I'm also very, as Friedman was, really believe that motivating people in a family unit it- families are more motivated than individuals to a certain degree. I remember watching an old Friedman thing where some kid, you know, we're all young and stupid once, was proposing 100% inheritance tax. That when you die, anything in your bank account and all your assets should go to the government and not go down and Friedman talked about how terrible that was because no matter how well off a family is, they want their kids to do better and that's the incentive for them to work hard, and when you remove incentive people don't. Or they go out and blow the money on just stupid stuff and it encourages… wastefulness. It's your money, you do what you want with it, but the idea of the family being something that really helps to create incentive I thought was fascinating coming from him and it's something I never heard until recently. I like that idea.

[Gillespie] You went to college at USC and you were trying to be a business major and you ended up becoming a creative writer, what happened there, why did that happen?

[Thor] I jokingly refer to my old man 'cause he was a marine as The Great Santini

[Gillespie] So he's bouncing basketballs off your head-

[Thor] My brother does that to me with, like, sugar packets we're off for coffee 'who's my favorite daughter?' he's throwin' sugar at me. So, The Great Santini, again this is that, the American dream. My grandfather, first one born here, said to my dad 'I want you to go further than me.' and then my dad said to me 'I want you to go further than me.' So for my dad it was go get a business degree. And I did it to make him happy but I hated it and I was in a economics class, Valentines day was coming and this professor walked on to the stage and was so excited. He had this great project we were gonna do: you work in a flower store train, you got all these orders for roses, but there's only so many vases, and I said 'That's a- fuck this, I'm out.' And I close my books and my friends, they're like 'What are you doing?' I said 'I'd rather suck start my Glock than to be a middle manager in a flower store train.' They said 'You know it's just an example, you don't have to go into the-' I said I couldn't stand this and I moped around my apartment for a couple of days and somebody said 'Go to the career counseling office.' And I did and they gave me this great test they can get online now called the Strong-Campbell Personality Test, not that you'll have an aptitude in these areas but your interests line up with people who consider themselves successful and happy in what they do. And I scored off the charts for writing and publishing. I'd always wanted to do that since I was a little boy but the arts, in my family, in our upwardly moving from the south side of Chicago and trying to move up, that was something that made you better rounded. It was not a career path because so few people make it. So I started taking the classes and then I changed my major like 24 hours right before graduation.

[Gillespie] And you worked with T.C. Boyle whose a…

[Thor] Great professor.

[Gillespie] … fantastic well-regarded novelist who's also a man of the left. How, you know, just talk a little bit about your experiences with him or how you learned from people you don't necessarily share a world view with. And is he happy that one of his prize students is now a New York Times best-seller and somebody who writes at Breitbart.com or, you know, talks mostly to audiences on Fox News.

[Thor] By the way I no longer have anything to do with Breitbart.com, I wanna make that- when they went Pravda for Trump that really- and I knew Breitbart. I drove Andrew to the Scott Walker rally where we stood outside the capital and we had sixty thousand angry union people surrounding us, I mean, Andrew had been to my house. I won't play that game of 'I can tell you what Andrew would think or feel.' 'Cause I think you shouldn't do that. I think his legacy has to speak for itself but as far as Tom Boyle is concerned, we never talk politics. If you haven't seen Tom Boyle, google him, I mean the guy's just this wild hair and he lived in the first Frank Lloyd Wright house built west of the Mississippi. Larger than life personality. We never talk politics. It was great, we talked about the craft of writing about the art of just living, of being alive and, you know, almost the dead poet society, sucking the marrow out of the bones of life. Terrific terrific guy, share with me multiple times 'I'm proud of you. Great for what you've done.' He's now retired from USC and I think I can see myself one day potentially going back to USC later in my life and being a professor and trying to live up to that level of making it about the art, not about the politics.

[Gillespie] Talk, you know, a little bit about that because, you know, art is always intertwined with politics and you can reduce art to politics and it becomes propaganda, becomes uninteresting. Either to consumer or to produce. But is there a lack of creative people I mean you hear this a lot in Libertarian and Conservative circles that, you know, we just can't win the culture war. And it's kind of like 'Well you hate culture. You don't like music, you don't like books, you don't like movies.' Does the right wing, again, broadly defined, are they kind of philistines?

[Thor] No and I will tell you I will bounce back to dearly departed Andrew Breitbart, which is Breitbart said 'Politics is down stream of culture.' So we get all these bright creative young kids who wanna go to think tanks in DC when we need 'em out in Hollywood. We need 'em in media in DC, if you will, in New York. That's where we need 'em. so I think we don't steer our young people into the areas. In fact there's a gentleman I know who'd worked on Newt Gingrich's campaign. And he's-

[Gillespie] Newt Gingrich, frustrated, not just a frustrated president but a frustrated novelist real-

[Thor] Yeah he's written me, you know, it's funny, one of my first pieces- I got two great pieces of fan mail early on in my career. One came from Newt Gingrich saying that my perception of threats was better than Washington insider think tanks and then Burt Lance who was a Carter administration member who said 'Brad captures, kind of, the nasty insider politics better than any other author I've read.' So I think the right is not doing a good enough job. We're steering our young people towards the politics where that's not gonna do any good if we don't have them up here at the cultural level. And there's, you know, you look at Gary Sinise and the Friends of Abe organization out in LA. There's a lot of people on the right and we need more people in the culture. I mean thank God we got David Mamet, I mean, here's a guy who wrote 'The Secret Knowledge.' I consider myself something of a wordsmith, I had to sit there and read that book with my dictionary 'cause I was like 'What's that word mean? what's that-' I mean he's very very bright.

[Gillespie] Talk about one of your early gigs out of school was running a show called Traveling Light…

[Thor] Traveling Light

[Gillespie] …Talk about what that was about and how seeing things abroad, kind of, changed your perspective of the world and what's the value of that in a world where we're constantly being told everything is, you know, between A and B and you know you gotta get on with your career. You've gotta be moving forward and you shouldn't be thinking too much about the world.

[Thor] I had worked, when I was at USC, leasing apartments, saving money so I could- I'd done a semester abroad in Paris 'cause I grew up, the French nuns were the ones that ran my Catholic school. So I'd taken French and got to high school and it was an easy A. They said you can take Spanish, German, Italan and French and I'm like 'I'd like to try French.'

[Gillespie] so is this like the Order of the Holy Cross or something? or-

[Thor] Sacred Heart

[Gillespie] Sacred Heart, right.

[Thor] Sacred Heart, so did the same thing in college and thought 'you know what I oughta do something with these years of just coasting on my base knowledge of French.' and so went to Paris and studied there and loved it and had friends that said 'You know if you wanna come back we've got an extra room.' And I decided I'd do something, we'd joked before the interview started that I'd do something no American author's ever done, I moved to Paris to write a novel. I got three chapters into it and I quit and I long ago took the United Negro College Fund slogan 'A mind is a terrible thing to waste.' and I shortened it 'A mind is a terrible thing.' Period. 'Cause I had this voice in the back of my head saying 'What if your novel sucks? What if nobody buys it? You know you're gonna take a year out of your life and this is what you're gonna do? Don't risk the embarrassment. I really believe that that which we're most destined to do in life we're often the most afraid of. And we'll try again and again and again, it'll keep, it'll stay there until we do it. But I wasn't ready and I shipped my laptop home, I traveled, saw all these young people traveling. I thought 'Wow that's wild.' Because the only travel shows I see are for people my parent's age or people retired.

[Gillespie] Oh it's the Patrillo Tours, right? To the holy land and all of that.

[Thor] Absolutely. And Rick Steves travels in Europe and things like this and I said 'Seeing America from abroad made me A: appreciate how good I had it, that was number one. But it also exposed me to new ways of thinking, different ideas, I really realize that the mind is like a parachute, gotta be open to work. And I thought if I could somehow convey this, convince people 18-34, don't wait until you're retired to travel outside the US, do it now. That would be great. So I got back, I was interviewing going to the training program at William Morris to be an agent. If you've ever seen swimming with sharks, that's what I thought I was up against and I was on the side trying to get public television interested in this idea and I came down to my very last interview at William Morris which was with the head of their television department, his name was Bob Christani and I had gotten that morning a call from public television saying 'You know, we're interested. We think we can work with you on this.' And I told Christiani in this interview and he said, listen, he says 'I don't think you want to be an agent, you're obviously creative, this is a great opportunity for you and maybe at some point in the future we'll work with you as agent/client.' And I have a great relationship with William Morris Endeavor now. It's funny to watch Entourage because that is, you know, Ari Gold is supposed to be Ari Emanuel who runs William Morris Endeavor, Rahm Emanuel's brother who I've been very rough on as mayor of Chicago, but. It was very interesting, I went out, did all the work, I had to find the money, I had to make the shows, but public television got their cut. So I joke it was my first experience with Communism.

[Gillespie] So this is the exprop- you were alienated from your labor, at least the profits.

[Thor] There was always a hand in my pocket, no matter what was going on. Great people, really really nice people.

[Gillespie] Then again they distributed it, right so-

[Thor] The distributor got their cut too, I worked with kind of an outside distributor to public television so it was very interesting to see how that worked. Now the most interesting thing of all was Gingrich at the time was doing his contract with America and he was talking about cutting funding for the arts and one of his biggest contributors was in the office next to the one I was using in the Wrigley building in Chicago. My dad let me have a desk like back by the copy machine as long as I promised to do work for him I could do my stuff on the side. So it was kinda funny to be in this position where I was, you know, trying to get something on public television but really, as someone who wanted to limit the scope of government was glad to see the contract with America and trying to reign in wasteful spending.

[Gillespie] You know more people are coming to America from all over the place, you can see it on the internet, you can skype with people, you can- is, are we having a broadening effect because technology really has made a kind of McLuhanite global village more of a reality?

[Thor] The way you talk about technology, I really have a feeling that we got sold a bad bill of goods. As the human race. Technology was supposed to make our lives easier, I think it's actually given us more time within which to do more work. I think we do more work now then people did in the 1950s and also I'll point to an essayist, Andrew Sullivan, and now he's writing at New York Magazine and this month he's got a piece out that said 'What makes us human, what makes western culture in particular so good is what we do with those quiet moments of reflection.' Well if you saw that piece with Louis CK on Conan where he heard that Springsteen song and he was so overwhelmed with emotion that he wanted to text. That's our thing we fill the silence with a text. And he says 'No, screw that. I'm going to pull over.' and he wept. I think we're missing out with that. But as far as the ideas of America, for me it's like every time you get on the net it's like drinking from a fire hose, so I don't know how much of freedom and the American exceptionalism, particularly when we have a president who has watered that down and said 'I'm sure Germans believe in German exceptionalism.' So those ideas of what make America great I think have been kind of pushed down over the last seven/eight years. I don't think we're broadcasting those as much as we should.

[Gillespie] That's interesting because I mean, I disagree I think in a lot of ways on that. And I would argue also that somebody like George W Bush and I'm not, I carry no bags for Obama, but that Bush's actions which Obama continued in many ways, that's what destroys American exceptionalism. When you get into stupid or dumb wars abroad and rain down destruction whereas Bush was actually really great on immigration and I think he has a, he had a vision of America as a place where you could come and maximize your potential, you know which is great.

[Thor] Absolutely and even with the whole Black Lives Matter thing what's really interesting when I hear 'white privilege' and 'black lives matter' and all this kind of thing. It's fascinating from an immigration standpoint. Black immigrants to this country do incredibly well. 'Cause they wanna be here, they want to take advantage of the system. So the idea that America is stacked against a particular skin color is patently ridiculous.

[Gillespie] How did you, and I agree that we need to, you know, be able to say 'Look there is a type of American exceptionalism or America is a particularly good country for these reasons or a particularly great country.'

[Thor] How about just individualism Nick.

[Gillespie] No no, I agree.

[Thor] We went and overthrew Iraq and then we let them build their constitution on sharia law which has no respect- it's the individual that makes America exceptionalism. It's that focus.

[Gillespie] I totally agree. And I guess what I was gonna ask is how do you, you know, how do you be a patriot like that without then, kind of, falling into 'Well we can't criticize anything.' Because there are people on the right…

[Thor] We have to criticize.

[Gillespie] …'Well you know the minute that you say anything bad about America, then, you know, you're as bad as, you know, the head of ISIS or something.'

[Thor] Michael Moore or, yeah. You- we have to, we can't fall into that trap of just saying 'Well our side's doing it so therefore it's okay.' What was, Jonah Goldberg who cracks me up, he's a very very funny guy, he was particularly talking about one of the candidates now, who he doesn't like, who's become a master of rectal- rectal ventriloquism. So he talks out of his butt and it comes out of other people's mouths, because it's their guy. I saw this with the Republican primaries where people, the minute Trump clinched it, they are like 'Alright well now he's our guy and they won't criticize him any more.' Would you go along with anything your wife said or husband said, would you not try to make them better, would you not point out 'Hey this isn't working?' I don't think it's unpatriotic to say, you know, 'I disagree with this.' And we're individuals, right? This country is a collection of individuals, we're gonna disagree, we're gonna have differences of opinion. But if we can't air them politely, that's silly, we shouldn't march in lockstep with our government, our political party, no.

[Gillespie] You talked about the master of rectal ventriloquism. You, you were somebody, again, on the broadly defined Conservative Libertarian Conservatarian right, you were a #NeverTrump-er.

[Thor] I was on the hundred top list from Politico.

[Gillespie] of #NeverTrump-ers. And then you seem to have changed positions about, and you went so far as, in a, kind of, celebrated or infamous, notorious episode on The Blaze with Glenn Beck where you seem to be suggesting 'Look if Trump gets elected and we gotta get rid of him, maybe something should happen to him.'

[Thor] Who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as president> If congress won't remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that if, if he oversteps his mandate a president, his constitutional granted authority I should say, as president. If he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? And I don't think there is a legal means available, I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office 'cause you won't be able to do it through congress.

[Thor] Those are, yeah I'm happy to talk about that too, yeah, that's fine.

[Gillespie] That's like Never-Ever-Trump, right? Or Trump Eliminationism. And that was wrong, I mean, I think there was a misunderstanding in the, yeah.

[Thor] And I had said if he suspended the constitution and we have the feckless Republican Congress we do now that won't even stand up to Obama and if they allow him to suspend the constitution, the only legal means to get him out of office is impeachment. And if they don't remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that. And in my mind it's grab him, I didn't say take him out, I didn't say splash him, I said remove him from office. So I'm a writer, I understand what I'm saying and what words are. Grab him by the back of the shirt, and I could have gone on and said-

[Gillespie] Now you're kind of going like, you know, you're going Henry the second on us, right? Like, 'Oh is he a turbulent priest?' or whatever but, yeah.

[Thor] So who stands up? Is it a David Petraeus? No, I don't think so, but who does that? I mean because you'd have to have cannonball sized balls to say 'I am going to go up against a sitting president who congress won't get rid of.' and how do you rally people behind you to say 'This is a just cause, we need to, whatever it is, we're all gonna drive our cars to DC, we're gonna surround the White House and-' I don't know, but it was not violent. But the problem is is the alternative right, these white nationalist neo-Nazis picked up on it, some shitty little blog wrote 'Brad Thor and Glenn Beck talk taking out Trump.' and then Trump's biggest mouthpiece, Drudge puts it up you know that we were talking about taking him out. The words 'take him out' never came out of my mouth. But that's how insane- and now on the internet everything is about slash burn salt the earth, it's not enough to chastise you for a difference in opinion, you have to be killed, your livelihood wiped out.

[Gillespie] 'Cause you're not a Gary Johnson guy?

[Thor] I actually am probably going to vote for Gary Johnson. There's a lot of things I disagree with Gary, I live, just so you know, I live in Tennessee, deep red state is gonna go for Trump. I have an opportunity though to help the Libertarian party get further than they've ever gone before, my friend Mary Madeline has come out strong for- she's now a registered Libertarian so now I have that ability to, even if it's just one more vote, you know it's not gonna, my vote's not gonna upset the apple cart, but it can potentially help the Libertarian party because I think that is a harbor that you're gonna see a lot of people on the right want to become more involved with. How would we reconcile foreign policy and stuff, we can deal with that later but I'm, tactically that's what I'm thinking now.

[Gillespie] So well talk about the metaphor that you used too.

[Thor] So I started out by saying 'America you've got cancer. And there's two drugs, potentially that you're looking at. One is a decades old generic that's lost it's potency and is likely going to speed your death. The other one has been developed at a shady clinic down in Mexico where all they've been doing is working with growth hormone for Mexican wrestlers and there's no proof it works, it could kill you, it might do nothing, or it might cure your cancer.' You know, I'm thinking of Danny Trejo, the machete guy, is the guy with pockmarked and all the gold selling this drug. But that was my thing and I said 'We're at the point now 'cause for me #NeverTrump was always anybody but trump. So in the primaries, even down to where I was hoping for a floor fight at the republican national convention that we'd get a rules committee, a floor vote and maybe bump him out because I think he's, he is horr- his answer to everything has always been more government. It's always been more Government. He is a thorough, New York liberal big government progressive. He's not a Republican he's not somebody that believes in the rights of the individual, he has always used the power of the state, look at the eminent domain thing in Atlantic city. He has always sought to use the power of the state to advance his own agenda and didn't care who he steam-rolled. This is not a guy who believes in liberty. The only time he's said the word liberty is when he appeared at Liberty University. So this guy is, I can't stand Trump. And I said 'Okay now-' give you a perfect example, a friend of mine trains high end military units and he said to me 'Clinton, Trump.' he says 'Brad, we're looking at certain death, or extreme danger. And when I'm faced with those choices I'll take extreme danger every time.'

[Gillespie] Why is Clinton certain death?

[Thor] She stands against everything that I stand for. She has come out and said she's a progressive. I mean she didn't say 'I'm a Democrat.' she said she's a progressive. So she's for increasing the size of the state and I told my kids that DC is like Jabba the Hut. It sits there, or the federal government I should say, sits there in DC, Jabba sits in DC gorging on everything. And if you even hint that Jabba should go on a diet, then he sends Boba Fett after you. But he does it in the form of a weaponized government agency. So it's the IRS, it's the EPA telling farmers what they can do with their puddles in their driveways. That's not what the founders intended. Our government was set up to protect the individual and now we need protection from the government. It used to be the other way around. So Hillary Clinton is one hundred percent agai- I mean she's not, she doesn't want me to own a gun, she's against Citizens United I mean all of this stuff that is just not what I believe the country should be and I have to look at this and say 'It's either a hundred percent of what I don't want or maybe ten percent of what I want. But at this point Trump's got the nomination, he's either gonna get it or he's not gonna get it. I'm gonna wake up on November 9th with most of the country and we're gonna have a shitty president either way.' just the way it is.

[Gillespie] Well we will leave it on that happy note.

[Thor] Happy notes! Jazz hands!

[Gillespie] Okay well thank you so much. We have been talking with Brad Thor, he is the best selling author of the Scot Harvath thriller series. The most recent book is Foreign Agent, Brad thanks so much for talking to us.

[Thor] Oh my pleasure, thanks Nick.

[Gillespie] For Reason TV I'm Nick Gillespie.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Cameras by Paul Detrick and Krainin.

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  1. I eagerly await the inevitable showdown between Brad Thor and Max Boot

    1. Max Boot wins, just on the name.

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  2. Bitch, bitch, bitch. 5% unemployment and all conservatives– uh-uh, sorry, *conservatarians* can do is bitch. I’m just about the least militaristic person in the country, but the prospect of U.S. troops fighting on the same side as the libertarian socialist Kurds doesn’t fill me with dread.

    1. I’m just about the least militaristic person in the country

      Unless someone else has “too much” money. Or parents who have more wealth. Or has some object you don’t like. Or they don’t like being stolen from.

      Then you’re all for sending men with guns after them.

  3. ::White Christian American explains who belongs and who does not to a culture he’s not part of::

    Please, tell us more

    1. White Christian American explains who belongs and who does not to a culture he’s not part of

      No one is allowed to describe or criticize groups you don’t belong to

    2. ::White Christian American explains who belongs and who does not to a culture he’s not part of::

      Please, tell us more

      It’s funny how “social justice” is really just the convergence of bigotry, tribalism, and collectivism.

    3. There’s a book. Perhaps he was sufficiently interested to read it prior to commenting.

      You wouldn’t understand.

  4. “provocatively argues (amidst the action scenes and plot twists) that the truest form of the faith isn’t practiced by contemporary reformers but by fundamentalist Muslims and the terrorists in ISIS and Al Qaeda”

    Right, the fanatical minority (a large minority, to be sure) represents pure Islam and the fence-sitting, or even anti-terrorist majority are posers and inauthentic.

    They could get this guy making ISIS recruiting pamphlets.

    ISIS represents *one* version of Islam – there are others.

    If you’re a non-Muslim, then why search for “authentic” Islam instead of of speaking in terms of “the kind of Islam we have to fight” and “the kind of Islam we can live with”?

    1. I wonder if the ISIS types are putting together a collection of all these retarded neoconnish “extremists are the *real* Muslims* quotes?

      “See, even the infidels admit we’re the true Muslims!”

      Awesome public diplomacy initiative you’ve got going there. /sarc

      1. No, they don’t need to do that. All they need is to compile the speeches of all these militarists– about how the U.S. was going to impose democracy on post-war Iraq, how they were going to use Iraqi oil to pay for the occupation of Iraq, how the threat of Iraqi weapon programs justified the invasion of Iraq– and the result– people with their heads blown off by American bombs, the mass exodus of refugees, bombed out infrastructure. You don’t need sophistry to point out why some people hate the West or that Iraqi may have a case of casus belli. You just need to be paying attention.

    2. The issue is there have been people saying that “Islam needs a Reformation”. Even if it was not intended to parallel the Protestant Reformation, it has been taken as such. The Protestant Reformation had a lot of people going back to scripture and saying “The Catholic church is unsupported by this” and splitting away from the doctrines thereof. If Muslims go back to scripture, you find that the Sunna, Hadiths and Quran fall more in line with how ISIS is acting than what the people calling for a reformation would like to have happen. This is why it gets pointed out.

      1. Yeah, Islam needs a Counter-Reformation.

        1. True.

          I believe in personal faith over Church Doctrine. It seems fair to ask how the moderate Muslims reconcile their position with the words of Muhammad.

          Honestly, the Old Testament and Koran seem to have a lot in common. Christianity is the outlier with its message of peace. As revealed in the New Testament. Not in the idolatrous Roman Church.

      2. ” If Muslims go back to scripture, you find that the Sunna, Hadiths and Quran fall more in line with how ISIS is acting than what the people calling for a reformation would like to have happen. This is why it gets pointed out.”

        Actually, you just never know what people are liable to find in the scriptures and how they’ll be interpreted. Just because you found the scriptures to be consonant with ISIS, doesn’t mean others won’t find something different.

    3. Why are non-Muslims talking about what is or isn’t authentic Islam?

      What is or isn’t authentic Islam is up to practitioners of Islam to decide.

      1. Exactly, if they say killing all infidels and enslaving the non-believes is authentic practice of Islam, I’m not here to disagree.

      2. They don’t seem to be converging to much of a consensus by themselves.

      3. What is or isn’t authentic Islam is up to practitioners of Islam to decide.

        So, if someone who claims to be Muslim says the Koran is complete BS, that person is still an authentic Muslim? This is like a Christian claiming Jesus Christ never existed.

    4. ” the truest form of the faith isn’t practiced by contemporary reformers but by fundamentalist Muslims and the terrorists in ISIS and Al Qaeda”

      Yes, he is regurgitating ISIS propaganda. All for the sake of literature, of course.

    5. ISIS represents the version of Islam Muhammad described in Al Qur’an and the Hadith. It doesn’t get any more authentic than the version the guy who started it made up. Like it or not that means ISIS is following THE authentic form of Islam. Your finding that inconvenient doesn’t make it any less true.

      Are there peaceful Muslims? Doubtless, but they’re not following the teachings of Muhammad. ISIS, on the other hand, most certainly is following the teachings of Muhammad.

      Al Qur’an can be downloaded here – it’s free: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16955
      The Hadith: http://sunnah.com/

    1. ” in an unrelated case…”

      Wikileaks is NOT unrelated!

      1. Expect lots of face saving statements from the FBI.

    2. Well, now I’m praying that he’s just as much the political hack we thought him to be, because this would mean he’s sitting on a bombshell that even a thoroughgoing Clinton partisan can’t ignore.

      1. Another thought occurred to me: Comey is shoring up the Bureau’s and his own reputation. He’ll slow-walk the investigation and quietly announce in a few months before Clinton takes office that nothing was discovered. This seems much likelier now that I’ve had a moment to process the news.

      2. this would mean he’s sitting on a bombshell that even a thoroughgoing Clinton partisan can’t ignore.

        I think you’re seriously underestimating the typical Clinton partisan and what they’re able to ignore.

  5. So… Twitter says Comey reopened email case. Uh….

  6. The FBI is probing new emails related to Hillary Clinton, FBI Director James Comey said in a Friday letter.
    “In previous congressional testimony, I referred to the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had completed its investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s personal email server. Due to recent developments, I am writing to supplement my previous testimony,” Comey wrote.

    “In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation,” he added.

    “Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be signifcant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony,” Comey concluded.

    1. I can predict it will take longer than 11 days.

      Is it possible to grant immunity to a sitting president? They might have to put a rush on that part.

  7. Ok, no the armored car in Columbine wouldn’t have solved a fucking thing. What they needed were the first responding officers to quit tucking their nutsacks into their asscracks and go in and take those two fuckers out. Sitting around for 45 minutes waiting for the SWAT team to show up was a direct cause of a lot of kids losing their lives. Even in situations where officers have used the MRAP in a ‘hot’ situation, the MRAP was not necessarily the correct or even needed solution to the problem.

  8. I don’t care who the most “authentic” Muslims are. I’m not even sure it’s a meaningful question, at least to non-Muslims. The relevant question is, do most people who see themselves as Muslims support the murderous atrocities of ISIS? And the answer (thank God) is that they do not. And that we need to keep it that way. We have to defeat ISIS, but we cannot fight 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. We need the help of “moderate” Muslims to help us defeat ISIS, and we need to encourage the growth of moderation itself in Islam.

    1. Actually, no, that’s not good enough.

      The problem is that there’s a reasonably-common pattern where a laxly-observant adherent of a religion, raised by moderate adherents, has a personal crisis in his 20s or 30s and makes a sudden, deep commitment to his religion, rejecting the moderate practice of his parents and community as inauthentic.

      In that case, it matters very, very much what the underlying content of the religious tradition is, because our new zealot will behave in accordance with his understanding of that content, not according to the example of his parents and community.

      And since only a fucking idiot wants people deciding to follow the recorded words and example of Muhammad rather than Buddha or Jesus, only a fucking idiot wouldn’t prefer to have lots of moderate Buddhists and Christians around rather than moderate Muslims.

      1. “In that case, it matters very, very much what the underlying content of the religious tradition is”

        Nonsense. This is fiction we are talking about. In reality these clowns don’t know their Hezbollah from their ISIS, like the perpetrator of the Orlando operation. They don’t spend their free time poring over scripture.

    2. The radical wants to convert or kill you, the moderate wants the radical to kill or convert you.

  9. First interview where I gave up 10 minutes into it because Nick G wasn’t being sardonic enough. Cookie cutter Tom Clancy clones get just a little tiresome after a while. Terrorism isn’t all that different from “conventional” warfare. If the pentagon can’t see that, then the solution is to fix the pentagon, not seek advice from Michael Bay. Derp overload.

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  11. While an interesting interview, I was disappointed that Nick did not press the subject’s on his assertion that “the most important mission of the police is to come home safely to their families.” Years ago when I started flight training, the instructor asked us what the most important goal of training was. A young ensign or 2nd Lt asserted that it was safety, to which the instructor emphatically disagreed, stating that “if safety was the number one concern, the aircraft would be defueled and never leave the hangar and you would be locked in your rooms.” I do not know how Nick could not follow up on this, as “officer safety” is so often the justification for questionable uses of force.

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  14. Nick–I know you’ve got training to conduct interviews, but please, please stop interrupting so often, even with the “uh huh” agreement harrumphs. Some interviewees should be let to run loose; others (like the professional liars such as Dem. Rep Xavier Becerra) need to be reined in. Brad Thor is one I would have liked to have heard carry his interrupted trains of thought out to completion.

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