Nicholas John Gillespie (born August 7, 1963) is an American libertarian journalist who was editor-in-chief of Reason magazine from 2000 to 2008 and editor-in-chief of and Reason TV from 2008 to 2017. Gillespie originally joined Reason's staff in 1993 as an assistant editor and ascended to the top slot in 2000. He is currently an editor-at-large at Reason.
Recent episodes featuring Nick Gillespie
Why LBJ's Great Society Flopped—and What It Means for the 2020 Election
In a 1964 speech delivered at the University of Michigan, President Lyndon Johnson announced his plans for what he called "the Great Society," a sweeping set of programs that marked the most ambitious expansion of the federal government since Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Johnson declared war on poverty, jacked up federal spending on education, and pushed massive new entitlement programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, which promised to deliver high-quality, low-cost health care to the nation's elderly and poor. When Republican Richard Nixon succeeded Johnson, a Democrat, as president after the 1968 election, he continued and even expanded many of the Great Society programs despite being from a different political party. But did the Great Society achieve its goals of eradicating poverty, sheltering the homeless, and helping all citizens participate more fully in the American Dream? In Great Society: A New History, Amity Shlaes argues that Lyndon Johnson's bold makeover of the government was a massive failure despite the good intentions of its architects and implementers. Shlaes, who is the author of The Forgotten Man, a best-selling history of The Great Depression (read her interview with Reason), and the chair of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, says remembering the failure of the Great Society is especially relevant in an election year when presidential candidates are promising to spend huge amounts of money on all sorts of new government programs. "Once again, many Americans rate socialism as the generous philosophy," writes Shlaes. "But the results of our socialism were not generous. May this book serve as a cautionary tale of lovable people who, despite themselves, hurt those they loved. Nothing is new. It is just forgotten." Nick Gillespie sat down to talk with her about the origins of the Great Society, its failure, and what it all means for 21st century America. Audio production by Ian Keyser.
Trump's Iranian Justification Eroding by the Minute
This week's Reason Roundtable podcast picks up where last week's left off: Iran. Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, and Matt Welch discuss the administration's ever-shifting storyline, flickers of principled opposition/oversight in Congress, and playground-style argumentation for war. Then, straight oughtta this morning's headline, the gang assesses the import of Sen. Cory Booker (D–N.J.) leaving of the presidential race and the possible meanings of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) continuing to rise in the polls ahead of Tuesday night's debate. There are also mentions of the Academy Award nominations, "hand-wavy pay-fors," and the passing of Rush drummer/lyricist Neil Peart. Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor. Music credit: "Lurking," by Silent Partner Relevant links from the show: "More Holes in the 'Imminent Threat' Story on Soleimani," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown "Escalation Breeds Escalation, in Iran and Beyond," by Bonnie Kristian "No War With Iran, House Tells Trump. Next Up: Finally Forbidding Military Force in Iraq?" by Elizabeth Nolan Brown "Republican Rep. Thomas Massie Signs On to House Bill Ending War in Iraq," by Scott Shackford "Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham Try to War-Demagogue Like It's 2004," by Matt Welch "Cory Booker, Who Urged Democratic Unity, Drops Out of Presidential Race," by Billy Binion "Curb Your Enthusiasm's Gavin Polone on Hollywood Hypocrites, Bad Film Subsidies, and the Future of the Industry," by Zach Weissmueller "Neil Peart, Champion of Individualism," by Christian Britschgi "Future Nobel Laureate Warns: The Antichrist Is Coming!" by Jesse Walker
Is Trump Winning the Middle East or Doubling Down on Previous Failures?
Last week, the United States military took out Iran's top military leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Iran has responded by raining down missiles on two American bases in Iraq (no casualties were reported) and with promises to do much, much more. "We promise to continue down martyr Soleimani's path as firmly as before with help of God, and in return for his martyrdom we aim to get rid of America from the region," vowed Esmail Ghaani, who now leads Iran's military. Are we going to war with Iran? Is the flare-up a sign that President Donald Trump, who as a candidate said previous administrations "got us" into Iraq "by lying," charting a bold, new course in the Middle East or following the failed footsteps of Barack Obama and George W. Bush? To answer these questions—and define what a uniquely libertarian foreign policy should look like—Nick Gillespie talks with Christopher A. Preble, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. From 1990 to 1993, Preble served as an officer in the U.S. Navy on the USS Ticonderoga and he holds a Ph.D. in history from Temple University. He's the co-author of Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America's Broken Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Recover) and the author Peace, War, and Liberty: Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy. Preble says that two decades of failed wars pushed by Republican and Democratic presidents in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen have rightly made Americans, especially younger people, skeptical of the use of force abroad to secure the safety and interests of the United States. Increasingly, people want a foreign policy that is "skeptical of the bipartisan consensus" and predicated upon "peaceful global engagement through which [the United States] trades with the rest of the world, engages diplomatically with the rest of the world, and uses our cultural influence in a positive way." Preble also ranks the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates in terms of foreign policy, evaluates the foreign policy legacies of Lyndon Johnson, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, and praises recent revelations about internal military dissent over the war in Afghanistan. Audio production by Ian Keyser.
Trump's Iranian Kill Shot: Legal? Constitutional? Sensible? Impeachable?
Some regular listeners of the Reason Roundtable podcast have been attempting to give me credit for predicting in last week's episode that the 2020s would feature a conventional war between two countries with populations larger than 40 million. But as too many journalists already seem to be missing in the reaction to the U.S.'s drone-assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard leader Qassim Sulemaini, this act of war on third-party soil—which comes after years' worth of Sulemaini-directed war-acts against American and allied personnel, also on third-party soil—nonetheless does not pit conventional army vs. conventional army on the territory of the combatants. At least not yet. What's more, President Donald Trump has rhetorically ruled out "regime change" war against Tehran, and he claimed with a straight face that his escalatory act of violence was "defensive." In today's podcast, Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, and I debate a series of questions over Trump's most notable military action as president. Was it legal? Constitutional? Precedented? Deliberated? Sensible? Impeachable? We also nominate some of the more noteworthy new laws that went into effect January 1, expend yet more oxygen praising Watchman, and touch briefly on the welcome Golden Globes comedy of Ricky Gervais. Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor. Music credit: "From Russia With Love" by Huma-Huma Relevant links from the show: "Don't Believe Mike Pence's Spin About Iran and 9/11," by Eric Boehm "Trump Wants to Target Iranian Cultural Sites, Says His Tweets Shall Serve as Notice to Congress," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown "Without Evidence of 'Imminent' Attack on Americans, the White House's Justification for Killing Iranian General Seems Hollow," by Eric Boehm "Reminder: American Officials Lie About War," by Matt Welch "Congress Should Debate War, Not Mindlessly Cheer for It," by Eric Boehm "Military-Intellectual Complex Looks Forward to More War in 2020," by Eric Boehm "A Decade of No Lessons Learned in U.S. Overseas Intervention," by Brian Doherty "Media Would Rather Talk About Gary Johnson's 'Aleppo Moment' Than a Damning New Report on Hillary Clinton's Actual War," by Matt Welch "Pot, Guns, Tampons, Narwhals, Bail, Bags, and More Face New Rules in 2020," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown "Fiscal Analysis of Colorado's New 'Red Flag' Law Assumes Gun Confiscation Orders Will Be Granted 95% of the Time," by Jacob Sullum "California Freelancers Sue To Stop Law That's Destroying Their Jobs. Pol Says Those 'Were Never Good Jobs' Anyway," by Billy Binion "HBO's Dazzling Watchmen Was a Show About the Limits and Dangers of Power," by Peter Suderman "Ricky Gervais Slams Woke Hollywood's Sanctimony in Golden Globes Speech," by Robby Soave
Anti-Vaping Panic Will Kill More People Than it Saves
Every week seems to bring a new story about how vaping is really, really, really bad for you. Only a few years ago, electronic cigarettes were hailed as a new and healthier way for people to consume nicotine and pot; the number of vapers worldwide has grown sevenfold since 2011, to an estimated 41 million users. But now vaping is being attacked as a deadly habit that might be as bad for you as traditional smoking. Reports of vaping-related deaths and respiratory illnesses appear daily on cable news shows, in newspapers, and online. The FDA is considering a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, and many states have already instituted strict regulations on vaping sales and use. Congress has voted to change the age for legal tobacco and e-cigarette sales to 21, up from 18. President Donald Trump signed the legislation into law just before Christmas. Is vaping bad for you? Should we be panicking? What sorts of policies should govern the use of electronic cigarettes for nicotine and marijuana? To answer these and other questions, Nick Gillespie sat down with Reason Senior Editor Jacob Sullum, who has spoken extensively and authoritatively about the issue for years. Sullum argues that the current anti-vaping freakout is a classic case of moral panic, and that it is in fact making it harder for current smokers to transition to a safer method of getting nicotine or to quit altogether.
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Episode Count
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3 weeks, 3 days