Patterico's Pontifications


Patterico Researches the Libertarian Candidates So You Don’t Have To

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:21 pm

Red State’s undying opponent of Trump (and Hillary) Leon Wolf sat down with libertarian candidate Austin Petersen today. (Well, “with” in the sense of they were on Skype together. It’s the Internet age, folks!) Here is their 15-minute interview:

I recently mentioned that I had a slightly negative memory of Petersen from a podcast. I found that podcast tonight and listened to it again as I walked around cleaning the house. It is over an hour and is embedded at the end of this post. My memory was not entirely accurate. The podcast was with my man Tom Woods, and on the second listen I was wildly entertained to listen to these two guys go at it. Tom Woods is a Rothbardian anarchist — but a reasonable one who rejects Rothbard’s more harebrained ideas (like his views on dealing with children). Petersen is a “minarchist” — essentially a limited government Founding Fathers type of guy with a libertarian perspective. Petersen is entertaining and explicitly adopts the Alinsky tactic of getting your opponent’s attention through aggression and ridicule — but he managed to do it in a respectful way. Basically, he told Woods that he loves Woods’s contributions to liberty but that he thinks Woods’s anarchist views are “stupid” — and he told him why he thought so.

I won’t go so far as to call Woods’s philosophy “stupid” — because I have a lot of respect for Woods, and he more than holds his own in this episode. And the bottom line is that both of these guys agree with almost all of us on easily 90%-plus of important issues. We believe in the most limited government possible. We’re against taxation for the purpose of redistribution. We’re for federalism: state control of all matters not explicitly entrusted to the central government. We’re for less regulation. Go down the line.

But these guys go at it hammer and tongs on issues like whether we need some minimal central authority to enforce life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I happen to agree with Petersen on this one, and he does a great (and entertaining) job of taking on Woods, who I believe is literally a genius and one of the most compelling public speakers I have ever heard. It was great listening to two smart people go at each other like this, knowing that in the end, we agree on so much.

As for the other libertarian candidate of note? Gary Johnson? Yeah, he says government should be able to force Jewish bakers to bake cakes for Nazis:

The issue arose when fellow Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen brought to the attention of moderator John Stossel that in an earlier debate in Oregon, Johnson declared that bakeries should be forced to bake wedding cakes for gay couples. Johnson affirmed the position, arguing that being able to discriminate on the basis of religion is a “black hole.” Petersen pushed Johnson on the issue and asked whether he felt Jewish bakers should be forced to bake wedding cakes for Nazi customers. Stossel directed the question to Johnson, who replied “that would be my contention, yes.”

So, Gary Johnson can pretty much go to hell. I’ll never vote for that guy.

Austin Petersen is never going to be President. No large-L libertarian (or probably even a small-l libertarian) will be in my lifetime.

But he has substantially the right principles, I think, and he would do just fine for a protest vote, if nothing better comes along. And by the way? He’s pro-life.

Here is that podcast. Do like I did, and find some time where you are driving around, or cleaning the house (like me), or whatever. Enjoy two smart, liberty-minded people just going at it. It’s great stuff.

20 Responses to “Patterico Researches the Libertarian Candidates So You Don’t Have To”

  1. Fun fun fun.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  2. There is no one on the national stage of sufficient stature and vision to found or lead a credible third party. It’s not going to happen; it’s a waste of time and energy pretending that it might.

    On the other hand, we’ve now had it clearly demonstrated that both major political parties are ripe for internal revolution — and indeed, the GOP has already been subject to a partial takeover, although only at its very topmost, and therefore transient, rank.

    I don’t disagree one bit with comments that the GOP is not really a deeply conservative party as it now exists. Changing that takes more than just leadership from an extraordinary candidate or president — Ronald Reagan didn’t accomplish it, and there are strong arguments in fact that he, Bush-41, and Bush-43 all ended up moving in many of the wrong directions as their presidencies progressed. What’s needed is not just leadership from the top, but broad-based education — on civics and constitutional theory, on free-market economics, and on world history.

    As tempting as it is to blame Donald J. Trump, or his orgasmic fame-money-and-influence shills in the mainstream media, for our current sorry state, in which the GOP is temporarily wedded to a despicable con-man who stands for nothing but his con-job and can be trusted with nothing. The blame for that lies on voters — not a majority of GOP voters by any means, but a sufficiently large plurality of voters in this cycle’s GOP primaries and caucuses to stuff this sh*t sandwich into everyone’s mouth. Until that’s fixed — until those voters can be educated to the point that ridiculous claims like Trump’s are as transparent and obvious to those voters as they are to those of us who’ve opposed Trump — there’s only going to be a weak correlation, if that, between the GOP and conservatism.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  3. What’s needed is not just leadership from the top, but broad-based education — on civics and constitutional theory, on free-market economics, and on world history.

    That is what I have concluded. This insight is the main motivation behind this newsletter I have started. As it happens, Tom Woods from the video above has (with other like-minded people) founded a broad-based educational program called “Liberty Classroom” (link on the right sidebar) for exactly that purpose. I’m a lifetime member and have listened to literally hundreds of lectures from that resource and related Woods resources over the past two years or so. It is no exaggeration to say it has changed my life. That resource, together with Woods’s books and other books that I have found — Sowell, Charles Murray, and so forth — have kindled an intellectual awakening in me that I am eager to share.

    But mostly people won’t have the inclination to get as deep into these books, podcasts, and lectures. I just hope to share nuggets I have found, pique people’s interest in some of the books and other resources, and give them ways to evangelize for freedom and the Constitution.

    Another idea I recently had that is critical is to fight back on these Facebook memes about socialism and so forth. There seem to be some people on the list who have skill at video and graphics, and I think posting rebuttals to some of these videos you see on the Bernie sites needs to be done. It’s a glaring gap, and we can help fill it in a smart but engaging and entertaining way, and be missionaries for the free market. I truly think this is one of the most important projects we can undertake. But we have to have the knowledge base to even consider getting started.

    Patterico (20560f)

  4. There is no magic bullet. We have to learn and we have to talk to people. These ideas are right. But people have to hear them.

    Patterico (20560f)

  5. Petersen says he would put people like Andrew Napolitano and Randy Barnett on the court. (He was a Rand Paul guy before he was a candidate.) I like Barnett, but Napolitano is not my ideal. I like a candidate who says Mike Lee would look good in a robe. But that candidate — Ted Cruz — was available. And our ignorant electorate rejected him for a giant buffoon.

    Patterico (20560f)

  6. Mike Lee is the best candidate for the Court right now, hands down.

    Orange Guy will pass him up due to personal pique over his endorsement of Cruz.

    Patterico (20560f)

  7. Fill their bellies, then teach them virtue.

    “Fill their bellies” being a metaphor for “make them feel secure in their middle-class status”. Socialism comes from a weak middle class; fascism comes from a fearful middle class. When they have a secure income, a two-car garage, safe neighborhoods, and four weeks paid vacation, that’s when they’ll be receptive to such silly things as “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”. And “for your country” will resonate better than “for Milton Friedman”.

    nk (dbc370)

  8. Woods vs Peterson?! Nice! I recognize there’s no perfect candidate, but I really hope Petersen gets the libertarian nomination so I can vote for him in Novemeber. I was OK with Gary Johnson previously, and he has more stature than Petersen (having been governor for 8 years). But being able to explain your ideology is so important, and Johnson’s always been very ineloquent espousing the WHY behind limited government principles. Then he totally self-destructed during that Stossel debate (and subsequent forums). Whereas Petersen handles the pressure and the media well, similar to Breitbart (RIP). Petersen’s very effective at arguing and promoting limited government ideals, even in a hostile environment. I believe the country needs to see a lot more of him and people like him.

    If he gained traction, though, you’d better believe he’d be much more polarizing than Trump. Trump has said a lot of inflammatory things, sure, but no one believes half of what comes out of Trump’s mouth. Trump will always remain relatively “acceptable” because he clearly supports the big government worldview. The guys who talk like the Founders are the truly unacceptable candidates to the media, the elites, and the progressives.

    Really appreciate the informative post, Patterico!

    Robert Westbrook (53479a)

  9. For the benefit of Trumpkins everywhere, you could also do a post entitled, “Patterico Researches the Donald J. Trump Candidate so You Don’t have to.” (LOL)

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  10. Love me some Austin Petersen. I had just started engaging with him prior to the Indiana primaries. He’s obviously blown up since then but, like you, I’m 90+% in line with his thinking. His Letters of Marque and Reprisal platform is pretty unique. I hadn’t heard of that prior to him. But reading through it, it makes sense. His interview with Dana Loesch was pretty good too.

    BigRedLiberty (cd2f82)

  11. Why not Petersen? Certainly better than Trump or Clinton.

    ToJo (acdce8)

  12. Btw – Has Patterico posted any good talkinb points on why a non-Trump vote is not a vote for Hillary? Might be good to build a library of such types of talking points if we’re going to be educating our families, friends, etc.

    BigRedLiberty (cd2f82)

  13. I was wondering why in the last post you said you didn’t like Peterson. Thanks for the update. He looks like the one I’d vote for.

    Patrick Henry, the 2nd (ddead1)

  14. Leon Wolf? Really? Not the faintest interest in anything he says or does.

    Mark Johnson (af5fe5)

  15. Force an Orthodox Jewish baker to bake a cake for a Nazi? Thing is, the Nazi wouldn’t ask. Not gonna happen.
    The way it works is a gay couple, having been oppressed, suppressed, repressed and depressed all their lives by evil Christian fundies must go out and find an evil Christian fundy to do their Big Day. Then they have to find a gay entrepreneur to do their Big Day as well, since the evil Christian fundy’s resistance is going to run beyond the date of the Big Day.
    But they’re not going looking for Orthodox Jews or Muslims.

    Richard Aubrey (472a6f)

  16. cake is a sometimes food

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  17. My problem with Big-L Libertarians is that so many of them simply AREN’T libertarian. They’re merely tag-along libertines, and their ONLY pet issue is legalizing pot. Once they have that and are baked out of their gourds, their motivation to do the other 99% of the heavy lifting to return proper governance will disappear, literally in a puff of smoke. ‘Cuz that sounds like hard work, man…

    Captain Obvious (14cc4d)

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