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The Reason Roundtable

Every Monday, the libertarian editors of the magazine of “Free Minds and Free Markets”—Matt Welch, Nick Gillespie, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Peter Suderman—discuss and debate the week’s biggest stories and what fresh hell awaits us all.

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What Did Reason Get Wrong in 2019?

The closing of a decade is an appropriate time for a little ritual self-criticism, so a thick chunk of today's Reason Roundtable podcast features Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Matt Welch, and special guest star Robby Soave talking about predictions and interpretations they botched in 2019, and in some cases are doubling down on for 2020! The Roundtablistas also discuss how their beats have changed since 2009, why the twin rises of right-populist nationalism and left-populist socialism are skeeving them out, and which countries will be at war in the Groaning '20s.First, though, the gang tries to sort through the context and trends (and/or lack thereof) of anti-Semitic violence in New York and the rest of the United States, always a fraught conversation. Other items under review: Mayor Pete Buttigieg's welcome comments about decriminalizing all the drugs, the less-welcome developments in the Star Wars universe, terrific progress in the private space industry, and, as ever, Robby's access to blow dryers.Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.Music credit: "Confliction & Catharsis" by Asher FuleroRelevant links from the show:"The Monsey Attack Shows Anti-Semitic Violence Isn't Always Tied to the Far Right," by Robby Soave"Pete Buttigieg Says We Should Decriminalize All the Drugs," by Scott Shackford"Medicare for All Is All Democrats Want To Talk About," by Peter Suderman"When the Bubble Bursts, We're So Screwed," by Matt Welch"You Can't Shut Down Space," by Katherine Mangu-Ward"Young Radicals Against Free Speech: Reason's Robby Soave on His New Book, Panic Attack," by Robby Soave"Hong Kong Protesters Combat the Surveillance State," by Zach Weissmueller"The Rise of Skywalker Shows It's Time for J.J. Abrams To Be Impeached From Star Wars," by Peter Suderman


30 Dec 2019

Rank #1

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Choose Your Own Impeachment Adventure: Rand Paul, Justin Amash, or Philip K. Dick?

Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) made headlines Sunday answering skeptical questions about his anti-impeachment approach from CNN's Jake Tapper. Paul's friend Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.) also made headlines Sunday after The Washington Post reported that Democrats are seeking his pro-impeachment counsel for when impeachment goes to the Senate for trial. It's not the first time the two libertarian-leaners have been on opposite ends of the I-question, but…well, can you imagine the theatrics? And what does this tell us about libertarian conflict over the process?Thus begins today's Reason Roundtable podcast, with editors Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Matt Welch, though not before immediately veering down a Philip K. Dick rabbit hole which feels strangely apt for our times. The Podcastic Four also chew on last week's British elections, the upcoming Democratic presidential debate, Washington's bipartisan orgy of deficit spending, and kids doing Dungeons & Dragons stuff on TikTok, because we have a brand to protect.Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.Backed Vibes Clean—Rollin at 5 by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licenseMentioned in the Podcast:"Justin Amash: Impeachment Manager? Dems Want Former Republican Rep to Help Prosecute Trump," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"Lindsey Graham, Elizabeth Warren, and the Impeachment Trial Oath," by Keith E. Whittington"'High Crimes and Misdemeanors' as an Inkblot," by Jonathan H. Adler"After Contentious Debate, House Judiciary Votes To Advance Articles of Impeachment Against Trump," by Billy Binion"Trump Abused His Power, but a Hasty Impeachment Will Undermine That Point," by Jacob Sullum"Who's Right on Impeachment: Rand Paul, Justin Amash, or Jeff Flake?" by Matt Welch"Even in Impeachment-Crazed D.C., It's Always a Good Time To Borrow and Spend!" by Nick Gillespie"Republicans, Democrats Agree to Dump $738 Billion More Into the Forever War and Space Force," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"U.K. Election: Brexit Wins, Jeremy Corbyn Crashes," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"A Corbyn Victory Would Kill Brexit, Lead to Venezuelan-Style Socialism, Says E.U. Member of Parliament Daniel Hannan," by Nick Gillespie"The Decade Populism Went Mainstream," by Matt Welch"Moderate Joe Biden Wants Tax Hikes Twice as Big as Hillary Clinton Proposed in 2016," by Peter Suderman"Richard Jewell Shows What a Conservative Hollywood Would Look Like ," by Peter Suderman"Nobody Knows What Television Is Anymore," by Peter Suderman"The Radical Freedom of Dungeons & Dragons," by C.J. Ciaramella"Philip K. Dick's Visions," by Ken Layne"Kanye West Is Misunderstood," by Brian Doherty


16 Dec 2019

Rank #2

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Are We Really Gonna Do Another War on Porn?

You may have been minding your own business the past 72 hours, but our illiberal-con friends certainly were not. On Friday, four members of Congress sent a hysterical letter to Attorney General William Barr asking him to "declare the prosecution of obscene pornography a criminal justice priority," and "bring prosecutions against the major producers and distributors of such material." Then conservative commentator Matt Walsh spent the whole damn weekend demanding jail sentences and denouncing libertarians for being all libertarian-y.On today's Reason Roundtable podcast, editors Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Matt Welch unpack the porn prohibitionists' phony statistics and openly big-government philosophies, while introducing some pragmatic considerations that hobbled previous conservative crackdowns during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. We also talk about lessons from today's big Washington Post "Afghanistan Papers" project, field still more listener questions (because of our annual Webathon, which you should totally donate to before it's too late!), and explore the deepest ocean cracks with James Cameron and Randy Newman.Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.'Infados' by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 4.0Relevant links from the show:"Pornography Is Protected by the First Amendment," by Damon Root"The Fight Conservatives Are Having Over Theocracy and Classical Liberalism Obscures How Beaten Their Movement Is," by Nick Gillespie"Anti-Porn Republicans Haven't Gone Anywhere," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"Rick Santorum: 'Federal Obscenity Laws Should Be Vigorously Enforced,'" by Mike Riggs"Reason.tv: All Charges Dismissed! John Stagliano Reacts Outside the Courthouse," by Reason Staff"Stagliano on Obscenity, Justice, and His Upcoming Animated Video on the Federal Reserve," by Matt Welch"Xtreme Measures," by Greg Beato"Reagan's Smutstompers," by Martin Wooster"The Government Has Been Lying About Afghanistan All Along," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"Trump Just Can't Quit Afghanistan," by Matt Welch"In Afghanistan, We Persist in Futility," by Steve Chapman"The Forever War in Afghanistan," by Jesse Walker"Obama Brainwashes the Public on Afghanistan," by Sheldon Richman"Knitting Afghanistan," by Brian Doherty"You Asked Reason Editors Anything. Watch How We Answered!" By Matt Welch


9 Dec 2019

Rank #3

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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 PartnerRelevant 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

1hr 3mins

13 Jan 2020

Rank #4

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The Great Bernie Freakout

Could we really be just eight days away from an eight-month dirge of Bernie vs. Trump? Probably not, but that's no reason for political/media professionals not to panic over the Democratic frontrunner's purported Castro apologetics, coercive economics, Trump similarities, popularity ceilings, down-ballot jeopardizing, and even Russian stoogery.All of which and more are analyzed and occasionally mocked on today's Reason Roundtable podcast, featuring Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Matt Welch, and a pinch-hitting Elizabeth Nolan Brown. Also discussed: California's idiotic public policies, President Donald Trump's loyalty purges, the difference between Russian "interference" and "influence," and Midwestern canned clam dip. You can take the gal out of Ohio (or Minnesota), but…Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.Music credit: 'Sneaky Bass Latina' by Jimmy Fontanez/Doug Maxwell/Media Right ProductionsRelevant links from the show:"Bernie Sanders Defends Pro-Castro Comments," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"Bernie Sanders Wins the Nevada Caucus. He's on Track To Win the Democratic Presidential Nomination," by Peter Suderman"Bloomberg Goes for Brokered Convention," by Eric Boehm"Bernie Sanders' Troubling Agenda," by Veronique de Rugy"Bloomberg Disses Sanders' Socialism: 'Other Countries Tried That. It Was Called Communism and It Just Didn't Work,'" by Christian Britschgi"America's Two Major Political Parties Are Melting Down. But the Two-Party System Remains Strong," by Eric Boehm"The Socialist Delusions of Bernie Sanders," by John Stossel"California Bill Would Require Occupational Licenses for Porn Actors, Strippers, Cam Girls," by Christian Britschgi"L.A.'s Plan To Solve Its Homeless Problem Is a Mess," by Zach Weissmueller"Review: The Current War: Director's Cut," by Kurt Loder


24 Feb 2020

Rank #5

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Impeachment Hall of Shame (and Fame?)

Will the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump already be over by the time you listen to this week's Reason Roundtable podcast? Not quite, though who the hell knows what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) and his caucus have up their sleeves? So, to mark the occasion 33 months after President Trump canned FBI Director James Comey, thus kicking off the first real talk of the I-word, Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, and I hand out our awards for Best and also Worst impeachment-related actor to date. Hint: Lotta libertarians among the former, not so many in the latter.Because that's not fraught enough, the gang also bandy about Hillary Clinton's spectacular contribution to the Democratic gender wars over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), dissect Joe Biden (and conservative) anger-bearing over Big Tech and Section 230, and point out that Sanders is pretty freaking weird because HE'S A SOCIALIST.Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.Hidden Agenda by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1200102 Artist: http://incompetech.com/Relevant links from the show:"Trump's Impeachment Trial Will Only Make Us Hate Washington Even More," by Nick Gillespie"The Case Against the Slippery Slope Case Against Impeachment for 'Abuse of Power,'" by Ilya Somin"The Impeachment End Game, II," by David Post"'It Was Never About Corruption': Giuliani Associate Says Trump Was Involved in Ukraine Scandal," by Billy Binion"By Withholding Funds to Ukraine, Trump Broke the Law," by Peter Suderman"Justin Amash on Impeachment: Republicans Are Betraying the 'Principles and Values They Once Claimed To Cherish,'" by Billy Binion"Judge Napolitano: Enough Evidence 'To Justify About Three or Four Articles of Impeachment,'" by Nick Gillespie"Trump Is Getting Impeached Today. Should His Complaints About the Process Be Taken Seriously?" By Jacob Sullum"'Constitutional Conservatives' Lose Interest in Holding Trump Accountable," by Matt Welch"CNN Implicitly Took Elizabeth Warren's Side in the Unproven Sexism Accusation Against Bernie Sanders," by Robby Soave"Warren Accuses Sanders of Saying a Woman Couldn't Win in 2020," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"Watch the Media Manufacture a Dumb Story About Bernie Sanders and Sexism," by Robby Soave"Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Fight for Feminist Crown," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"Bill Clinton Accuses Bernie Bros of Sexism. Yes, That Bill Clinton." By Robby Soave"Politicians Want to Destroy Section 230, the Internet's First Amendment," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown and Paul Detrick"No 'Insurrection' or Violence at Virginia Gun Rights Rally," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

1hr 2mins

21 Jan 2020

Rank #6

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Will Coronavirus Be the Sweet Matzo Ball of Death?

People say a lot of things about the coronavirus. For instance, that the United States should "lock down our borders" in response, or that the Trump administration has recklessly "gutted" the Centers for Disease Control, or that the rubes have foolishly stopped drinking Corona for health reasons instead of taste reasons.Nonsense cubed, argue Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, and Matt Welch on a particularly metaphor-crazed Reason Roundtable podcast today. What is the "libertarian response to pandemics"? You'll have to listen to find out. Other topics coming up for discussion: the unbearable oldness of the Democratic presidential field, the increasing sourness of sci-fi legend William Gibson, and whether baseball, Batman, or The Omega Man provide the surest blueprint for our times.Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.Music credit: 'What It Is' by Silent Partner.Relevant links from the show:"No, Trump Didn't Cut the CDC's Coronavirus Budget. No, People Aren't Blaming Corona Beer for the Disease," by Eric Boehm"Political Opportunists Are Using Coronavirus Fears To Push Whatever Policies They Already Wanted," by Eric Boehm"Coronavirus: Is It Time To Panic?" by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"Big Biotech Is Hustling To Beat Coronavirus," by Ronald Bailey"Joe Biden Wins South Carolina Primary, Slowing Bernie Sanders' Momentum Before Super Tuesday," by Eric Boehm"Pete Buttigieg Drops Out of Presidential Race Following Poor South Carolina Showing," by Scott Shackford"Bloomberg Is a Statist, Not a Centrist," by Matt Welch"Klobuchar's Tough-on-Crime Past Finally Comes Back to Bite Her," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"The Cyberpunk Future That Wasn't," by Jesse Walker

1hr 12mins

2 Mar 2020

Rank #7

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The Democrats' Miserable Week

While President Donald Trump gleefully consolidates both power and popularity (the latter if graded on a curve), the men and women who aim to replace him are having themselves a time. On today's Reason Roundtable podcast, Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, and Matt Welch talk about the Iowa caucus debacle, Joe Biden's ongoing face-plant, the identity politics wipeout, Pete Buttigieg's tenuous deficit hawkery, and so much more.Along the way, the gang manages to argue about—surprise!—Trump, Sen. Mitt Romney (R–Utah), The Irishman, the economy, and the potential meanings of "lying, dog-faced pony soldier." And yes, we go to the Oscars, in terms of both speechifying and merit. A fun time for the whole family!Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.Music: 'Black Moons' by the 126ers.Relevant links from the show:"Joe Biden Just Called a Woman at One of His Events a 'Lying, Dog-Faced Pony Soldier.' What?" by Eugene Volokh"The Iowa Caucuses Have Always Been Terrible," by Peter Suderman"Dems Want to Run the Country, but They Can't Even Run an Election in Iowa," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"The Woke Primary Is Over and Everyone Lost," by Matt Welch"Buttigieg Makes the Democratic Case for Cutting Debt," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"Smart Debate Responses Against Drug War Lead Inevitably to Big Pharma Bashing," by Scott Shackford"As Progressive Twitter Erupts at Joe Rogan Endorsing Bernie Sanders, a Reminder: Elizabeth Warren's Sexism Gambit Backfired," by Matt Welch"Trump Denounces 'Dirty Cops,' 'Leakers,' and 'Liars' in Post-Acquittal Victory Speech," by Billy Binion"Senate Votes To Acquit Trump on All Charges," by Billy Binion"Instead of Removing Trump From Power, Remove Power From the Presidency," by Matt Welch"'The President Is Guilty.' Mitt Romney Will Break Party Lines, Vote To Remove Trump," by Eric Boehm"Consultant in Chief," by Peter Suderman"Trump Bashes Socialism While Endorsing a Status Quo Socialism of His Own," by Peter Suderman"State of the Union: Trump Tells Tall Tales, Dems Walk Out," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"Trump Is Making Criminal Justice Reform a Theme of his Campaign," by C.J. Ciaramella"Donald Trump Stomps Bill Weld and Joe Walsh in Iowa," by Matt Welch


10 Feb 2020

Rank #8

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Is Government Doing Too Much or Too Little With Coronavirus?

Sure, people say sometimes that the past is a different planet. But the past week?Yet here are, the world shutting down all around us, anxiously comparing coronavirus growth curves to Italy and South Korea, retreating to four-way remote podcasting set-ups, trying to make sense of a story that changes seemingly by the hour. On today's Reason Roundtable, Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, and Matt Welch offer different perspectives in the teeth of a pandemic.What part of today's clampdown is with us for the long haul? What does this once-a-century challenge tell us about comparative health policies? Are we comfortable with mayors and governors shutting down entire swaths of the economy? Did Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders recalibrate their presidential pitches even a little bit? And how will Nick tie this all back in to some 1970s Charlton Heston movie? These are among the questions that you can listen being addressed right here.Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.Music credit: 'Ninja Tortoise' by Verified PicassoRelevant links from the show:"Coronavirus Is the Health of the State," by J.D. Tuccille"COVID-19 Reminds Us: Social Media Is Good, Actually," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown"Coronavirus Epidemic May Be Slowed by Warm and Humid Weather," by Ronald Bailey"The Coronavirus Debate Was Bernie Sanders' Last Chance. He Blew It," by Robby Soave"Price-Gouging Laws Will Do More Harm Than Good During the Coronavirus Pandemic," by J.D. Tuccille"Biden Promises 'Major, Major, Major Bailouts' in Response to Coronavirus," by Eric Boehm"Trump Gets What He Wants as Federal Reserve Interest Rate Target Drops to Zero," by Brian Doherty"Tired: There Are No Libertarians in a Pandemic. Wired: There Are Only Libertarians in a Pandemic," by Nick Gillespie"Coronavirus Is Going To Be Expensive. Too Bad the Government Is Already in Massive Debt," by Eric Boehm"America Doesn't Have Enough Hospital Beds To Fight the Coronavirus. Protectionist Health Care Regulations Are One Reason Why," by Eric Boehm"St. Phineas: How P.T. Barnum helped invent business ethics," by John Mueller


16 Mar 2020

Rank #9