Libertarian History/Philosophy

Dave Smith on Big Tech Censorship, Lockdowns, and Running for President

The comedian and podcaster talks about running for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination and his beef with Reason.


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"When it comes to the issues that the liberals are best on, we're better than them on those issues," says comedian and podcaster Dave Smith. "And when it comes to the issues that the conservatives are best on, we're better than them at those issues. And so I just think that if [libertarianism] is presented the right way and articulated the right way, you can generate a lot of interest."

Smith is a rising presence in Libertarian Party (L.P.) circles and he tells Reason that he's considering running for the party's presidential nomination in 2024. He says a major reason he expects to run is that even though the 2020 nominee, Jo Jorgensen, got the second-highest vote total in L.P. history, he thinks she didn't push back hard enough on government lockdowns and overreach in its fight against COVID-19, which he sees as a missed opportunity to build a bigger libertarian movement.

A vocal opponent of wokeness and political correctness, Smith is quick to attack fellow libertarians whom he thinks are naive about how the state maintains its power. He's said that he'd "take a red-pilled leftie over a blue-pilled libertarian any day." After the Biden administration revealed it was pushing Facebook to restrict accounts it says are spreading misinformation about COVID-19, Smith tweeted, "This administration has exposed the useful idiots who call themselves libertarians. Saying 'it's a private company' for the last few years, ignoring what is obviously the biggest threat to liberty. They unwittingly support the largest government in human history."

When that take was discussed on a recent Reason Roundtable podcast, Smith tweeted that my fellow panelists and I had misrepresented his views. So I reached out to him so he could clarify his ideas about the intersection of big government and big tech, discuss the future of the L.P., why he has no plans to vaccinate himself or his young daughter, and why he believes libertarians should be more engaged in the culture war.

Narrated by Nick Gillespie; Edited by Ian Keyser and John Osterhoudt

Photo: Dave Smith photos by Brett Raney; Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/Sipa/Newscom; Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images/Sipa/Newscom; Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/CNP/SplashNews/Newscom

NEXT: Remy: White Lightning

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  1. There are no red pill lefties.

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    2. RINO’S maybe? The wolf with sheep’s clothing?

  2. I work for a big company. This company donates a couple hundred thousand dollars to certain members of Congress. About a year ago a few of us organized a meeting with a couple VPs in charge of corporate governance in order to bring up the subject of stopping payments to people in Congress who advocate climate denialism.

    The problem with this guy is that he’s a big government reactionary that would squelch this type of speech in favor of regulating the activities of private companies and individuals who would like to do with their money what they want. I mean, what else is a corporation but a collection of individuals with a collective right to free speech that is just as important as an individual’s right. Does anyone know Dave’s next stand-up gig? I know… I’d have to sit through his boring right-wing claptrap about Twitter and Facebook, but it’d be kind of worth it to call him an authoritarian slaver— out to restrict speech he doesn’t like— to his face.

    1. “I work…”

      No, you don’t.

      1. He’s a wal mart greeter.

    2. People deny that there is a climate?

      1. No, a bunch of douchebags, morons and gas lighters apparently think CO2 doesn’t absorb in the infrared. Someone should introduce them to 18th century chemist, Antoine Lavoisier. Maybe he can explain it to them.

        1. And I’m sure your disagreement with them is over chemistry, and not whether the proposed climate policies they oppose would be effective in changing the climate, or worth the cost in tax money and lost jobs.

        2. Lavoisier didn’t know that CO2 could absorb infrared radiation either. He didn’t even know what radiation was, he thought it was a type of fluid.

          1. It was Joseph Fourier, c. 1820 that worked in the areas of heat conduction and recognized that the atmosphere must be absorbing some radiation from the surface in some fashion, or else the surface would be far colder than it is. John Tyndall, c. 1850, figured out that it was CO2 and water vapor absorbing infrared doing most of the work there. Finally, in 1896, Svante Arrhenius worked out a simple model of what would later be called the greenhouse effect, and projected the temperature increase from doubling CO2 concentrations from burning fossil fuels. (Something he thought would take several centuries, at least, and generally be a good thing.)

        3. Cool story.

          Now do water vapor.

        4. And how well do you know the type of function that represents CO2’s absorption of infrared? Give me the name of the function (and we are far along it).

        5. What % of the atmosphere is CO2?

          What are ideal climate conditions for the world, and what chemical composition of the atmosphere is necessary for those conditions?

    3. Are you carbon neutral?

    4. I mean, what else is a corporation but a collection of individuals with a collective right to free speech that is just as important as an individual’s right.

      Exactly. Now do Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010):

      1. I will, but you do Twitter first.

  3. So, is the guy from the Legion of Skanks going to make people take the LP more or less seriously than the guy who liked to eat poop through a hammock or the naked guy from 2016?

    1. Dave is great on all the issues the real libertarians should care about and is a very good communicator who can connect to average people.

      1. I agree! I’m just not sure the party is going to get 5% of the overall vote with things like this floating around:

        1. Con Christians just voted for Trump
          Libs just voted for senile Biden
          Its a low bar

    2. I thought it was a good interview. Don’t know if he’s presidential material (who is?), but like KCar said he’s great on the major issues and is a clear communicator.

      However he’s not a Republican, and he said not-nice things about Republicans. So according to the litmus test on these here comments he’s definitely not a true libertarian because he’s not 100% down with the Republican Party.

      1. It would be a shame if that’s the attitude here, I’m a refugee from reddit because of people like those (and their polar opposite). I have yet to witness what you’re describing here though, so fingers crossed.

        1. Is reddit overrun with attack trolls? This place is. I’ve got a half a dozen who leave their droppings on most of my posts, personal attacks that I’m supposed to refute or something. Whatever. If you stick around you’ll find the Mute User function to be very handy.

        2. Sarc’s broken so now he just makes up bullshit about other commentators. Then when he’s called on it, he’ll just say he’s being sarcastic.

        3. r/libertarianmeme is still pretty good but r/libertarian got brigades and taken over by Chapo and LSC trolls.

          And don’t listen to sarc, that’s not the attitude here (though some posters will give you plenty of shit if it appears like you’re constantly bashing one side while basically ignoring the other). I’ll leave you to figure out which ones do which side.

      2. Don’t worry bro, a few minutes of browsing through his recent Twitter history was more than enough to convince me that he’s more of a real-deal libertarian in his pinky finger than you, Mango, Park Slope Welchie Boy, Goth Fonzie Wop, and most of the rest of the current Reason staff in all your bodies put together.

        1. Um, ok. I really don’t say much about what I think. So how would you know?

          I listened to the entire thing and agreed with most of what he said.

          Not saying he’s someone who could convince me to vote for him.

          1. His immigration stuff was pretty weak tea. His answer seemed to pretty much be “Uh, it isn’t my priority to deal with this…let’s attack the welfare state first.”

            The problem is that it is a wedge issue and the Media will not shut up about immigration as long as there is a democrat out there offering to open the borders. Because it is a winning issue for the Democrats.

            1. You can’t relax immigration until they can’t feed off the public trough. Some things have to be done in order. That was his point, and I thought it was wise.

            2. And before attack-of-the-trolls yes Milton Friedman said something similar.

      3. Donald Trump said not-so-nice-things about Republicans. What’s you point?

        Please clap.

      4. *However he’s not a Republican, and he said not-nice things about Republicans. So according to the litmus test on these here comments he’s definitely not a true libertarian because he’s not 100% down with the Republican Party.*

        I’ll just leave this here:

        *The New Number Two
        July.29.2021 at 10:51 pm
        Flag Comment Mute User
        Alleged “comedian” Dave Smith laments that the Libertarian Party has taken the left side of the culture war, so his solution—inspired by late-phase Rothbard, Hoppe, and Rockwell—is to take the right side. How about the LP not taking either “side” of the culture war? Is that a viable option?*

    3. How could you leave out the fat academic racial marxist?
      Must be sexism

  4. Note to Trumpistas:

    I listened to the entire thing, and he said not-nice things about Republicans.

    I know you folks find that to be severely triggering, so I figured I’d warn you in advance.

    1. Screetch still thinks grandmas taking selfies in the capitol warrant no bail and year long sentences.

      1. We need common sense Legos control laws.

        1. Well damn. Ever step on one bare foot?

      2. I’m with you. If January 6th is the high water Mark of people who think guns will protect our liberty from a tyrannical government then they need to up their game. You think my buddy, V.I. Lenin, would have taken video of himself with a bunch of geezers getting their rocks off by acting like Peter Fucking Fonda? Fuck that. Whatever you say about communists, they certainly knew how to overthrow and subvert a government. All you guys did is manage to elect a 78-yo old Alzheimer’s patient because everyone was just about done with your bullshit and cult of personality around precious Dear Leader. When you are sitting around in the BERNIE Sander’s Re-education Camp for Right-Wing Gaslighting dicks maybe you can stay warm and take comfort in the fact that the proletariat lash flaying the skin off your back was brought upon by your own [pathetically ineffectual] douchebaggery.

        1. And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.
          ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

        2. Slow clap.

          Well done my friend.

      3. There was also a guy with horns!
        Very scary.

    2. Note to lefties:

      I listened to the entire thing, and he said nice things about Trump.
      I know you folks find that to be severely triggering, so I figured I’d warn you in advance.

      Ironically the ‘Trumpistas’ (Your [WE] mob gang-shame term) easily refute the stupid ideas of the Republican Party or at least remain silent. When it comes to lefties; their ‘refute’ becomes they are too perfect (i.e. Ya; That’s from you Tony!) 🙂

  5. OMG! Reason actually deleted my comment here! I said I didn’t like Dave Smith, and that comment is now gone. Oh man, I guess I really pissed off the Fever Swamp libertarians enough that the phoned tot editor to delete. Gosh Tom Woods is so fragile.

    1. No, that was *yesterday’s* Dave Smith article. Your comment is still over there.

      1. Same author, nearly the same photos, nearly the same title. You can understand the confusion.

        So it’s still legal to call Dave Smith a dick?


  7. The Republican and Democrat Parties claim to hate each other, but they will group together to stop a viable 3rd Party.

    1. Vermin supreme?

    2. “stop a viable 3rd Party” — being U.S. People being left with any decision of which they might make for themselves.

      …And it’s the very reason Trumps De-Regulation committee meant so much to many U.S. People who weren’t imbeciles.

  8. I like this Smith guy.

    But I’m reminded of why I’m not subscribed to the reason interview. Nick Gillespie talks way too much when he’s giving an interview.

    1. Oh. I thought Smith was interviewing Nick.

  9. It would be cosmically karmic for Dave, Vermin and Spikey Pinhead to all die of the Communivirus. Throw in Nick and the LP might live to recover its law-changing 3.28% spoiler vote count.

  10. Alleged “comedian” Dave Smith laments that the Libertarian Party has taken the left side of the culture war, so his solution—inspired by late-phase Rothbard, Hoppe, and Rockwell—is to take the right side. How about the LP not taking either “side” of the culture war? Is that a viable option?

    1. “ Is that a viable option?”


    2. Culture is the MOST important thing

  11. His stance on vaccines is disqualifying to me. It can seem correct, from a libertarian viewpoint, perhaps, to say that “public meeting spaces”, public schools, etc., shouldn’t be allowed to restrict people that aren’t vaccinated from going there. (Even assuming that they would make exceptions for those that can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, as they already do when that is the case, as far as I know.) But this isn’t the kind of “liberty” that the Founders recognized. This “you can’t tell me what to do!” kind of libertarianism that completely dismisses public responsibility is not based on principles of reason, but pure selfishness. It is totally a cutting off your nose to spite your face reaction.

    When they joked and set aside some restaurant in Orange County, CA telling people that they weren’t welcome in their establishment if they ARE vaccinated as simply being “goofy”, they are showing why this strain of thinking by some on the right has kept us from truly beating back COVID and being able to move on with our lives. “The market” responds to everything, they quipped. No, this is idiocy masquerading as principle. Like this nutso pastor, Greg Locke, that is telling people that they can’t attend his church if they wear masks. “We’re a place of faith, not a place of fear.” More like a place of willful ignorance and stupidity.

  12. “a place of willful ignorance and stupidity” — Someone needs to notify the DNC!!! 🙂

    This is kind-of like not being able to see the forest through the trees. The ‘issue’ you describe in a ‘forest’ perspective is where Gov-Gun-Forces is a viable place to be? From that perspective there is Power-Mad or Self-Empowered. [WE] mobs rule fans are entirely Power-Mad.

  13. His hobnobbing with bigots is disqualifying to me.

    1. So who do you support?

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