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The Reason Interview With Nick Gillespie

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Dan Carlin is the host of the popular podcast Hardcore History and author of the new book The End Is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses. Hardcore History is notable not only for its immense audience (millions of people listen to it) but the length of its episodes. The most recent episode, part of a sequence about Imperial Japan in the 20th century, stretches over four hours. The 54-year-old Carlin, who has been described as a "social libertarian" and always stresses that he is an amateur historian, talks with Nick Gillespie about what motivates him to go so deep on topics in a moment when we're constantly being told we all have short attention spans, whether he's optimistic or pessimistic about the present and especially the future, and why we haven't yet had a world-ending nuclear catastrophe. Along the way, Carlin and Gillespie talk about how the media landscape has changed radically (and mostly for the better) over the past 30 years, the deep lesson we should all learn from the original Planet of the Apes movie, and whether, as Carlin puts it in his new book, "the idea of progress is not without bias." Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.
Nick Gillespie goes deep with Greg Gutfeld, the best-selling author who is the host of The Greg Gutfeld Show and a co-host of The Five, both of which appear on Fox News Channel. Gutfeld is a very funny, contrarian, iconoclastic voice with libertarian leanings. The discussion covers Donald Trump and the 2020 election, Gutfeld's early days in the print media (at various points, he edited magazines such as Men's Health and Maxim UK), his time writing at The Huffington Post and his friendship with the late alternative media kingpin Andrew Breitbart, his abiding interest in all sorts of music, and why he's increasingly interested in taking psychedelic drugs. It's a wide-ranging, laugh-out-loud conversation that covers a hell of a lot of territory. Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.
In 2013, Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey co-authored a business history-cum-manifesto titled Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business. Drawing on his experiences with Whole Foods, Mackey outlined an unapologetically free market approach to commerce that also stressed far more than simply maximizing returns to shareholders. "We believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. Free enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. It is one of the most compelling ideas we humans have ever had. But we can aspire to even more," reads the credo of Conscious Capitalism, a nonprofit Mackey created to help popularize his ideas and engage entrepreneurs and policymakers. I sat down with Mackey and Alexander McCobin, the CEO of Conscious Capitalism, to talk about the group's goals, activities, and reception on both the right and the left. The podcast was taped at FreedomFest, the annual gathering of libertarians held each July in Las Vegas, and we talked about everything from the Industrial Revolution to the human potential movement to McCobin's role in creating Students for Liberty, one of the largest libertarian organizations in the world. For more on Mackey, including his legendary 2005 Reason debate with Milton Friedman and T.J. Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor about the social responsibility of business, go here. Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below: Audio production by Ian Keyser. Photo credit: Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA/Newscom Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.) Subscribe at iTunes. Follow us at SoundCloud. Subscribe at YouTube. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
"I don't think you should do Twitter if you think you're better than Twitter," says Molly Jong-Fast in a wide-ranging interview with Nick Gillespie. Molly Jong-Fast is a journalist, novelist, and memoirist who is an editor at large for The Daily Beast, where she writes frequently about President Donald Trump (she doesn't much like him) and the Democratic presidential hopefuls (she will vote for whoever wins the nomination but isn't excited by them). She's also a contributor to Playboy, The Independent (U.K.), and The Bulwark, a website started up by some folks left homeless when The Weekly Standard bit the dust a while back. Just after the first day of the Senate impeachment trial concluded, she sat down to talk with Gillespie about the 2020 election, what it's like to grow up with famous relatives (her mother Erica Jong wrote Fear of Flying, her father is a well-respected author, and her grandfather Howard Fast was a massively popular novelist who wrote Spartacus and received the 1953 Stalin Peace Prize), and why she thinks Twitter (follow her at @mollyjongfast) is a great leveling force in contemporary media. Jong-Fast also has kind words for Bret Easton Ellis, whose 2019 book White she trashed, and explains why as a liberal Democrat she has a lot of overlap with libertarian beliefs about free trade, capitalism, and the legalization of vices. Audio production by Ian Keyser.
At the 2000 Republican National Convention, the country got one of its first glimpses of a new type of public charter school. The claim was that with enough rigor, devotion, and "no excuses" discipline, such schools could close the achievement gap between poor minorities and their wealthy white counterparts. The shining example was the Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP. Skeptics pointed out that the families showing up at KIPP and other no-excuses charters were self-selected. In 2006, a combative former New York City council member named Eva Moskowitz co-founded a new charter school network with the same approach. Success Academy was KIPP on steroids, trouncing many public schools in wealthy neighborhoods on the annual state exams. Enter the education writer and former public school teacher Robert Pondiscio, who spent a year embedded at a Success Academy in an effort to figure out just how these schools do it. In his widely praised new book, How The Other Half Learns, Pondiscio reports that the critics were right: Not only is the very act of applying to the lottery self-selecting, but Success Academy makes such rigorous demands on parents that it disproportionately retains only the most highly motivated families. The result is that an applicant's chances of winning a seat at a Success school in its annual high stakes lottery aren't as competitive as many had claimed. Pondiscio found that there are about six applicants for every spot. However, because so many families drop out, the chances of getting offered a spot are actually closer to 50 percent. But for those that make the commitment, the impact is absolutely transformative. And he argues that these kids deserve the same access to excellent public schools that upper-middle-class parents finagle for their children, even if it means leaving the rest of their communities behind. Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with Pondiscio to discuss why he believes motivated families deserve the opportunity to exit their traditional district public schools—which a New York Times reviewer called "a morally disturbing conclusion" to his "unsparingly honest book"—and his challenge to both supporters and detractors of the school reform movement. Audio production by Ian Keyser.
It's a rare week when a major politician doesn't threaten social media with censorship or other legal action. President Donald Trump regularly inveighs against Facebook and Twitter, claiming that such platforms minimize the reach and influence of posting by him and conservatives. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) has promised to break up tech giants using antitrust law if elected president. Meanwhile, talking heads and experts routinely blame social media for mass shootings, rising suicides, and all sorts of social maladies. Is any of this true? If it is, what should we do about it? And if it isn't, why are we so freaked out? On today's podcast, Nick Gillespie interviews Mike Godwin, whose new book, The Splinters of our Discontent: How to Fix Social Media and Democracy Without Breaking Them, is a richly researched and remarkably panic-free discussion of how Facebook, Twitter, and other social media actually operate and influence public discourse, including elections. Currently a "distinguished senior fellow" at the think tank R Street, Godwin has a long and legendary history when it comes to cyberspace. Back in the 1990s, he was the first staff counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and helped craft the legal arguments that ultimately struck down government control of online speech in The Communications Decency Act of 1996. He also codified what's become known as "Godwin's law," which holds that the longer an online discussion continues, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis, Adolph Hitler, or the Holocaust approaches 100 percent. Godwin has served as general counsel for Wikimedia Foundation, is the author of Cyber Rights: Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age, and longtime Reason contributing editor (read his Reason archive here). Social media, argues Godwin, isn't broken at all, although both tech companies and users need to clarify their terms of engagement. On the other hand, he says, democracy is in deep disarray, for reasons that go back to the very founding of the United States. Audio production by Ian Keyser.
It's hard to think of a time when political and cultural discourse has been more polarized. These days, it seems as if even casual conversation has become tougher to navigate than a World War II minefield. Everyone from prospective Saturday Night Live cast members to college professors teaching books on racism to social media folk heroes have been canceled for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and holiday dinners occasion endless columns about surviving political discussions. In today's world, "Can we all just get along?"—the phrase famously attributed to Rodney King after he was almost beaten to death by members of the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991—seems like it's from a totally different universe. Today's guest, Peter Boghossian, hopes to remedy at least some of today's toxic atmosphere. He's an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University and the co-author, with James Lindsay, of the new book How To Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide. Their aim is to give us all advice on how to have "effective, civil discussions about today's most divisive issues." Boghossian talks with Nick Gillespie about strategies to bring people who disagree into useful, productive engagement with one another. They also discuss how Boghossian, Lindsay, and a third scholar, Helen Pluckrose, pulled off the "grievance studies" hoax, one of the biggest and most controversial academic controversies in recent memory. The trio authored 20 fake articles that they say exemplify how political correctness has trumped serious intellectual inquiry in many academic disciplines. These were not subtle satires: One talked about canine "rape culture" at dog parks and another appropriated aspects of Hitler's Mein Kampf in the service of a feminist critique of patriarchy. They submitted the papers to academic journals, with seven being accepted for publication and four actually coming out when they were exposed by The Wall Street Journal. Is there a contradiction between pulling off the hoax and writing a book about bringing ideological opponents together? And what punishment at Portland State does Boghossian still face as a result of his role in the hoax? Those are some of the questions raised in this wide-ranging conversation about politics, polarization, and intellectual inquiry. Audio production by Ian Keyser.
David Koch, the billionaire free market philanthropist, has died at the age of 79. Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1940, Koch was a longtime member of the board of trustees of Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this podcast, and a major force in the modern libertarian movement. He was also, along with his older brother Charles, one of the "Koch brothers," who are regularly invoked on the left as a primary cause of all that is bad in American politics. Such lazy demonization belies a life and fortune spent trying to build a better world through business, politics, and culture, one in which people are not only more prosperous and tolerant but free to run their own experiments in living. In 1980, Koch was the vice presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, whose platform that year endorsed the then-radical notions of legalizing drugs, ending penalties for victimless crimes, and full acceptance of gays and lesbians. The platform also called for the abolition of the CIA and FBI in the wake of the Church Commission findings of widespread abuse. In 1987, he told Reason, "Pursuing a very aggressive foreign policy…is an extremely expensive endeavor for the U.S. government. The cost of maintaining a huge military force abroad is gigantic. It's so big it puts a severe strain on the U.S. economy, creating economic hardships here at home." Not surprisingly, he was a critic of the Iraq War and other 21st-century interventions. He gave widely to libertarian organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and also to cancer research and the arts. In today's podcast, Nick Gillespie speaks with Reason Senior Editor Brian Doherty, the author of Radicals For Capitalism, a history of the libertarian movement, about the life and legacy of David Koch. Audio production by Ian Keyser.  
"It's time for a revolution in higher education. It's time for a renegade university." That's the sales pitch for Thaddeus Russell's Renegade University (RU), a radical, innovative experiment in higher education that is inspired by his 2010 book A Renegade History of the United States. Russell argues that it wasn't the Founding Fathers, straight-laced business tycoons, or moral crusaders that made America great, but runaway slaves, ladies of the evening, bootleggers, and assorted other dropouts and discontents who defined and created our freedom. In online courses and events held around the country, Russell, a Columbia-trained historian, who has taught at Barnard, Occidental, and other colleges, and his faculty offer bracing, engaging alternative takes on U.S. history, political philosophy, postmodernism, the war on terror, and more. Russell also hosts the Unregistered Podcast.  He spoke with Nick Gillespie while visiting New York to participate in a Reason/Soho Forum debate about postmodernism and libertarianism. To read Thaddeus Russell's Reason archive, go here. Last fall, he debated legal blogger Ken White at a Reason event about censorship and social-media platforms. Audio production by Ian Keyser.
"I'd become an ex-black man…not because I'd ceased loving what I've been taught to call "black," or because I…wished my daughter to blend in to what I'd been taught to call "white," but simply because these categories cannot adequately capture either of us—or anyone else, for that matter. I had no guilt about it anymore because blackness, like whiteness, isn't real. That's a passage from the new memoir Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race, by Thomas Chatterton Williams. In a world that is increasingly embracing identity politics that sort people along racial and ethnic lines, Chatterton Williams is moving in a radically different direction. His book is an explicit call to "unlearn race" and embrace individual diversity. The 38-year-old Chatterton Williams is the author of a previous memoir, Losing My Cool. He is biracial himself and grew up in New Jersey identifying as black. He is married to a white French woman, lives in Paris, and describes how the birth of his first child—a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl—forced him to interrogate and ultimately discard ideas about identity that he and the rest of us have long taken for granted. In a wide-ranging discussion, Chatterton Williams and Nick Gillespie talk about race relations in 21st century America; how class and gender intersect with ethnicity; and whether it's really possible to "unlearn race" in a country that has spent so much time and energy defining national character along racial lines. Audio production by Regan Taylor and Ian Keyser.
In today's Reason Podcast, I talk with Coleman Hughes, a 23-year-old junior at Columbia University who has emerged over the past year as one of the most prolific and insightful commentators on race and class in the United States. He's analyzed the relatively forgotten legacy of the gay, socialist, anti–affirmative action civil-rights activist Bayard Rustin for The New York Times, discussed the "colorblind legacy" of Martin Luther King, Jr., in The Wall Street Journal, and published a growing list of articles on everything from Kanye West's conservatism to the racial wealth gap at the heterodox website Quillette. We talk about his childhood in New Jersey, the climate for free speech on today's campuses, playing trombone in a Charles Mingus tribute band that plays Mondays in New York, and more. Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen via Stitcher by going here or clicking below. Listen at SoundCloud below: Photo credit: Coleman Hughes. Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.) Subscribe at Apple Podcasts. Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at Google. Subscribe and listen at Spotify. Listen via FeedPress. Follow us at SoundCloud. Subscribe at YouTube. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
In the beginning, there was Instapundit, one of the web's first great aggregator and commentary sites. Launched in August 2001, the site became massively popular after the 9/11 attacks, when it acted as a clearinghouse for information and commentary from all over the world about what the hell was going on. The founder of Instapundit is Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee who came to be known as the "blogfather" to many of us then toiling on the border between print and pixels. Always a future-oriented writer and scholar, he called himself a libertarian transhumanist and his optimistic view on cyberculture is summed up by the title of his 2006 best-selling book, An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths. That was then. Reynolds' new book is called The Social Media Upheaval. In it, he makes the case that the federal government should use antitrust law to curtail the cultural, market, and political power amassed by Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other tech companies. In a wide-ranging conversation with Nick Gillespie, Reynolds talks about why he quit Twitter last year, how his thinking has changed regarding the internet, and what he hopes will come next online and elsewhere. He also recounts the earlier, Wild West days of online communities in the 1980s, how a photoshopped joke image kept showing up on his Wikipedia page, and why libertarians seem to gravitate to unconventional diets. Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Audio production by Ian Keyser.  
"The American Dream is dead," declared Donald Trump in 2015 when he announced he was running for president. "If I get elected president, I will bring it back bigger and better than ever before." One of the most interesting outcomes of the 2016 election is that about 10 percent of people who voted for Barack Obama ended up voting for Trump. Such switch voters, many of whom lived in rural parts of contested states in the Midwest, helped him eke out a victory. They voted for Obama in 2008 because they wanted change they could believe in. In 2016, they were still looking for change, this time from a New York billionaire. In his new book Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse, Timothy P. Carney does a deep dive on many of the places that voted first for Obama and then for Trump. It's a powerful, provocative, and deeply reported look at a contemporary political and social landscape in which much of the traditional social fabric of marriage, family, and work has been worn away and replaced by distant, "overcentralized" bureaucrats and businesses. For today's Reason Podcast, I talk with Carney, commentary editor for the Washington Examiner, about the causes of social breakdown, the policies that can help struggling people, and the limits of any president's power to revive the American dream. Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below: Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.) Subscribe at Apple Podcasts. Follow us at SoundCloud. Subscribe at YouTube. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
When Donald Trump claimed in 2015 that Mexican immigrants will ravage our women, destroy our neighborhoods, and taint our ethnic and cultural purity, he entered into a longstanding, well-cultivated American tradition of xenophobia and fear-mongering. In the late 19th century, poet Emma Lazarus celebrated the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" and "the wretched refuse" who came to America for a better life. But Prescott F. Hall, co-founder of the powerful Immigration Restriction League, offered a rebuttal verse: Enough! Enough! We want no more Of ye immigrant from a foreign shore Already is our land o'er run With toiler, beggar, thief and scum. After over a century of mostly open borders, in which tens of millions of European immigrants became Americans, members of the WASP establishment decided in the 1920s that the United States could no longer accept what they denounced as "beaten men from beaten races." In terms that will sound familiar today, they claimed Jews, Italians, and others were incapable of assimilating into a country based on private property, limited government, and hard work. In 1924, the restrictionists won a massive and long-lasting legislative battle with passage of the Johnson-Reed Act, which completely prohibited immigration from Asia and sharply limited immigration from Europe based on the country of origin. Under the new law, for instance, just 4,000 Italians were allowed to enter the country each year, down from an average well over 200,000 in each year of the preceding decade. National origins would remain the basis of U.S. immigration law until 1965. The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America, a new book by Daniel Okrent, looks at the ways xenophobia and pseudoscience combined to fundamentally alter immigration policy at the start of what became known as the American Century. Okrent was the first public editor of The New York Times and is the author of Last Call, a history of Prohibition. He sat down with Reason to talk about how old debates over immigration and America's national character are newly relevant to contemporary politics. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. Audio production by Ian Keyser. 'Modum,' by Kai Engel is licensed under CC By 4.0                    
When actor Jussie Smollet lied about being attacked by racist, MAGA-hat-wearing Trump supporters, Columbia University linguist John McWhorter actually interpreted it as a sign that "we have come further on race than we are often comfortable admitting." "Only in an America in which matters of race are not as utterly irredeemable as we are often told," he wrote in The Atlantic, would someone "pretend to be tortured in this way…[because] playing a singer on television is not as glamorous as getting beaten up by white guys." The unwillingness of both blacks and whites to acknowledge progress on racial equality is a long-running theme for McWhorter, who in 2000 published Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, which argued that "in most cases, [racism] is not an obstacle to people being the best that they can be." In an influential 2015 essay, McWhorter argued that "Antiracism" had become a new secular religion in America, complete with "clergy, creed, and also even a conception of Original Sin." "One is born marked by original sin," he wrote. "To be white is to be born with the stain of unearned privilege." Black people, he continued, "will express their grievances and whites will agree" that they are racist. On the right, McWhorter observed, there is a growing sense of hostility on racial issues and, according to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who agree that black-white relations are good is at a 20-year low. And for the first time since the pollster has asked the question, a majority of blacks rate race relations as bad. I sat down with the 53-year-old McWhorter—the author or editor of 20 books—to talk about his upbringing in a mixed-race part of Philadelphia, his academic focus on Creole language, and the unmistakable signs of racial progress that an increasing number of Americans seem unwilling to acknowledge. Edited by Ian Keyser. Intro by Todd Krainin. Cameras by Jim Epstein and Kevin Alexander. Photos by Jim Epstein. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes.
One of the most amazing aspects of the 2020 presidential race is that virtually all candidates, including President Donald Trump, have indicated they favor letting individual states decide the legal status of marijuana. That position was unthinkable even a few years ago, Reason Senior Editor Jacob Sullum tells Nick Gillespie in the latest Reason Podcast. Sullum, the author of Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use (2004) and an award-winning writer on drug policy, also discusses the difficulties in measuring what comprises "stoned driving," whether smoking pot leads to opioid use, the places in America where you can still get locked up for possessing weed, and which southern state will be the first to legalize recreational marijuana. This podcast is part of Reason's "Weed Week" coverage. Go here for all our stories. Stories related to today's podcast: "Pot Can Earn You Profits or a Prison Sentence," by Jacob Sullum "Is Marijuana a Gateway to Opioids?," by Jacob Sullum "Cory Booker Knocks Presidential Rivals for Joking About Marijuana," by Jacob Sullum "Attorney General Barr Prefers Marijuana Federalism Over the Current Confusing Mess," by Eric Boehm "New Mexico Makes History with Weed and Paraphernalia Decriminalization Bill," by Zuri Davis  
With the rise of legal recreational marijuana across the country and an unwinding of the drug war on the horizon, more and more people are thinking about how best to shape America's post-prohibition drug culture. What sorts of institutions, attitudes, and practices will help us figure out which chemicals we want to ingest to make ourselves happier, more productive, and more fulfilled? How do we best educate ourselves about the risks and rewards of better living through chemistry when everything from acid to Zoloft is legally in our home medicine cabinets? Today's guest is working to stage that conversation. Sarah Rose Siskind, who was the head writer on the Reason TV series Mostly Weekly, hosts a monthly show called Drug Test at New York's Caveat theater. Each episode features a different drug—magic mushrooms, most recently—and scientists, researchers, and counselors discussing a particular substance's chemistry, history, and associated rituals. There's also footage of a "VIP" or "very intoxicated person" who performs a variety of mental and physical tests before and after ingesting the drug in question. The result is a frank, smart, and fun discussion of how we might all navigate the world after the drug war. Audio production by Ian Keyser. Links related to today's podcast: Drug Test with Sarah Rose Siskind on Facebook Caveat NYC MAPS: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change, by Tao Lin Hamilton's Pharmacopeia, on Viceland    
With populism on the rise, capitalism under attack, and socialism back in vogue, the work of Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek (1899–1992) is more relevant than ever. Hayek started his career as a wunderkind professor, joining the faculty of the London School of Economics in his early 30s, and was a central figure in the debates that consumed the profession during the Great Depression. He would go on to spend most of his seven-decade-long career as an outsider, his work diverging from the mainstream following the Keynesian revolution of the 1930s and '40s. Eventually the world circled back to Hayek's ideas, and he was one of two recipients of the 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. Today, Hayek is best known for his enduring insights on emergent order, for his critique of central planning, and for his argument that all knowledge in society is decentralized and that a modern economy thus relies on the coordinating role of prices and private property. In his final book, The Fatal Conceit, Hayek wrote that "the curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." Hayek's enormous body of work is the subject of a new book by the George Mason University economist Peter Boettke, which takes a deep dive into Hayek's writing and serves as a rousing call for a serious rethinking of libertarian and classical liberal thought. "Liberalism is in need of renewal," writes Boettke, who started his career as an expert on post-communist economics in the former Soviet Union. "Too much time and effort has been put into repackaging and marketing a fixed doctrine of eternal truths, rather than rethinking and evolving to meet the new challenges." Even Hayek, Boettke notes, made mistakes late in his career, such as his kind words for the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Hayek's great legacy is his understanding of economics and liberal political theory as a process for creating a world in which individuals and society could become more free, equal, and prosperous over time. In this Reason Podcast, I talk with Boettke about the historical and intellectual context of Hayek's thought, the influence of Hayek's mentor Ludwig von Mises on his work, and how libertarians can follow Hayek's dictum that "we must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage." Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below: Audio production by Ian Keyser. Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.) Subscribe at iTunes Follow us at SoundCloud Subscribe at YouTube Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
  Mark J. Perry, Carpe Diem Here's some really good news: Median household income in the United States is at a record-high, inflation-adjusted $61,372. When you factor in the fact that today's households contain fewer people, the news is even better. In 1975, for instance, average income per person per household was just $19,500 in 2017 dollars. Now it's $34,000. And get a load of this: There's no evidence that income inequality has grown since the 1990s, or that the ability to move up and down the income ladder has shrunk in that time period. More people than ever live in households pulling down $100,000 (again, adjusted for inflation) than ever. Fewer households make less than $35,000 (adjusted for inflation). All of this comes courtesy of the U.S. Census, as compiled and analyzed by economist Mark J. Perry. Perry works at the American Enterprise Institute and the University of Michigan (Flint), and he runs the blog Carpe Diem. Do you feel happy yet? On today's Reason Podcast, I talk with Perry both about his findings and why we don't feel richer, happier, or more secure than we do. Perry isn't a Trump booster by any means, but he suggests that some of the president's policies—particularly the reductions in certain taxes and regulations—are helping to keep an economic expansion that started under Barack Obama moving along. At the same time, he worries about accumulating debt and trade wars that can raise prices and introduce wild uncertainty into the economy. When investors "see that there's uncertainty about policy," he says, "that starts to distort decision making and capital spending." Perry suggests one reason we don't feel more satisfied with economic improvements is that they are a feature and not a bug of a free enterprise system. "The benefits of a market economy and the march of progress are so constant and so gradual that either we don't appreciate it or don't notice it," he says. "So we have an under-appreciation of how much better things get all the time. If it happened all at once, we'd probably just be amazed." Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below: Audio production by Ian Keyser. Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.) Subscribe at iTunes. Follow us at SoundCloud. Subscribe at YouTube. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
Psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs are enjoying a revival—as agents of personal pleasure, mind expansion, and conventional medicine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently designated psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, as a "breakthrough therapy" for treatment of depression. MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, has been similarly designated as a breakthrough therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. Earlier this year, two major books about psychedelics came out. Michael Pollan's How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence is a relatively conventional history and memoir that drew praise from Reason's Jacob Sullum for recovering the history of "psychedelics' potential for facilitating psychotherapy, promoting the rehabilitation of addicts, and relieving end-of-life anxiety" before Timothy Leary and others promoted such drugs as the stuff of total political and cultural revolution. "Psychedelics have been politicized, medicalized, and spiritualized," asks Sullum in his review. "Will they ever be personalized?" Which brings me to that second book, Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change, written by acclaimed novelist Tao Lin. Born in 1983 to immigrants from Taiwan and raised in Florida, Lin is a critical darling of the contemporary literary scene (Bret Easton Ellis has declared him to be "the most interesting prose stylist of his generation"). His books Taipei, Richard Yates, Shoplifting from American Apparel, and others are populated by disaffected young people who take copious amounts of drugs, especially downers such as Xanax and prescription opioids. Trip is an excruciatingly personal non-fiction account of the author's use of psychedelics as part of a "sustained, conscious effort…to not drift toward meaninglessness, depression, disempowering forms of resignation, and bleak ideologies like existentialism." "Weird is the compass setting," writes Lin at one point, quoting Terence McKenna (1946-2000), who helped popularize magic mushrooms and inspire rave culture. Trip is certainly weird, but like the most-potent drugs, also wonderful. Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below: Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.) Subscribe at Apple Podcasts.. Follow us at SoundCloud. Subscribe at YouTube. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
When Michigan Rep. Justin Amash declared his independence from the Republican Party on July 4, he instantly became one of the most controversial politicians in America. Donald Trump immediately took to Twitter to denounce Amash as a "total loser" and "one of the dumbest & most disloyal" members of the GOP. Whether or not you agree with the five-term congressman's choice to leave the Republican Party, he's anything but dumb and unprincipled. Amash has been the most consistently libertarian member of Congress since taking office in 2011, repeatedly voting to reduce the size and spending of the federal government, to stop mass surveillance of American citizens, and to end wars that he believes lack constitutional authorization. Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with Amash, the 39-year-old son of Middle Eastern immigrants, to talk about what it feels like to be independent, why he won't be joining Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's social-justice "squad" anytime soon, whether he thinks Donald Trump is racist, if he's going to run for president as a Libertarian, and why he believes we need to talk more about love in national politics. Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Ian Keyser.
Few topics inspire more anxiety, anger, and confusion than sex differences between men and women. If you believe in evolution, you believe that sex differences between men and women are real and persistent. If you believe in libertarian values of individualism and freedom, you want everyone to be treated equally under the law, in the workplace, and in social settings. On today's Reason Podcast, I talk with Christina Hoff Sommers and Debra Soh about our constantly evolving understanding of gender roles, how biology and culture shape our expectations, the successes and excesses of contemporary feminism, what today's sexism looks like, and how best to measure progress. Both were in New York to speak at a panel titled "Who's Afraid of Sex Differences?" organized by the Independent Women's Forum. Sommers is a resident scholar at Washington, D.C.'s American Enterprise Institute, the author of such well-known books as Who Stole Feminism and The War Against Boys, and co-host (with Danielle Crittenden) of the Femsplainers podcast. Soh is a Toronto-based psychologist who writes frequently on gender and science issues for The Globe and Mail and Playboy, and co-hosts (with Jonathan Kay) a podcast called Wrongspeak for the website Quillette. Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at Google. Subscribe and listen at Spotify. Listen via FeedPress. Listen at Stitcher below: Listen at SoundCloud below: Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.) Subscribe at Apple Podcasts. Follow us at SoundCloud. Subscribe at YouTube. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
Raise your glass, folks! Today is Repeal Day, which marks the anniversary of the end of federal alcohol prohibition in the United States. To celebrate the occasion, I interviewed Jarrett Dieterle, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute and the author of a new report on "America's Dumbest Drinking Laws," about how Prohibition came about, what forces were empowered when alcohol was illegal, how alcohol laws changed after repeal, and the many ways in which the effects of Prohibition still linger today. I'm a fan of cocktails and spirits, and Dieterle is an expert on both the history and current state of alcohol policy in the United States, so naturally the conversation turned to the many ways the two are, and have always been, intertwined. What was the link between the temperance movement and anti-immigrant sentiments? How did drinks and drinking change during Prohibition? What are some of the bizarre and pointless ways in which states are still making it difficult to buy, mix, and consume alcohol? And—maybe most importantly—what should you be drinking tonight to celebrate Repeal Day? Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below: Audio production by Ian Keyser. Photo Credit: ID 87700464 © Nomadsoul1 | Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.) Subscribe at Apple Podcasts.. Follow us at SoundCloud. Subscribe at YouTube. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
  Reason Can you imagine a lawsuit called Rand v. Reason, pitting the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged against the nation's only magazine of "Free Minds and Free Markets"? Well, it almost happened in the 1970s. In the latest Reason Podcast, one of our founding editors, Manny Klausner, tells me that tale, along with many stories of the early days of Reason and the libertarian movement. Attending New York University law school in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Klausner studied with Ludwig von Mises, represented the libertarian wing of the fledgling Conservative Party, and came under the influence of firebrand economist Murray Rothbard as well. While working at Reason, Klausner (archive here) produced memorable interviews with the likes of Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, economist Thomas Sowell, '70s self-help guru Robert Ringer, and future President Ronald Reagan. Founded in 1968 by Lanny Friedlander (1947–2011), Reason is celebrating its 50th anniversary by hosting a series of in-depth conversations with past editors about how the magazine has changed since its founding, what we've gotten right and wrong over the years, and what the future holds for believers in "free minds and free markets." Go here to listen to interviews with Robert W. Poole, Marty Zupan, Virginia Postrel, Matt Welch, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and me about the life and times of Reason. Along with Poole and Tibor Machan (1939-2016), Klausner was one of the principals of Reason Enterprises, which bought the magazine from the Friedlander in 1971. He was also a co-founder of the nonprofit Reason Foundation, established in 1978, which continues to publish this website and podcast. As an attorney, Klausner participated in Bush v. Gore, the case that settled the 2000 election, and successfully defended Matt Drudge in a defamation suit brought by Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal. He's been active in the Federalist Society and has served as general counsel to the Individual Rights Foundation. Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below: Audio production by Ian Keyser. Photo credit: Jim Epstein. Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.) Subscribe at iTunes. Follow us at SoundCloud. Subscribe at YouTube. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
Today, we've got a special podcast: The speech that Mitch Daniels, the former two-term governor of Indiana and the current president of Purdue University, gave at Reason's 50th anniversary celebration, held in Los Angeles in early November. A thinking man's politician, Daniels' achievements as governor included leasing the money-losing Indiana toll road for $4 billion, passing a universal school voucher program, and making Indiana one of the most economically free states in the country. At Purdue, he's managed to keep tuition costs down while also emphatically backing free speech and academic freedom. In his remarks, he told the audience that Reason has "with nearly unique persistence and unique fidelity to principle, upheld our liberties, constantly innovating and advocating measures to guard and extend them….With you on freedom's ramparts, America's tomorrow's will always dawn brightly." Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below: Photo credit: Javier Rojas/Pi/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.) Subscribe at Apple Podcasts.. Follow us at SoundCloud. Subscribe at YouTube. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
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Podcast Details
Aug 14th, 2018
Latest Episode
Feb 19th, 2020
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