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Reason Podcast

Updated 14 days ago

News & Politics
TV & Film
Non-Profit
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Founded in 1968, Reason is the planet’s leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Hosted by Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, and other Reason journalists, our podcast explores “free minds and free markets.” It features provocative, in-depth interviews with authors, comedians, filmmakers, musicians, economists, scientists, business leaders, and elected officials. Keep up to date on the latest happenings in our increasingly libertarian world from a point of view you won’t get from legacy media and boring old left-right, liberal-conservative publications. You can also find video versions at Reason.com/reasontv.

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Founded in 1968, Reason is the planet’s leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Hosted by Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, and other Reason journalists, our podcast explores “free minds and free markets.” It features provocative, in-depth interviews with authors, comedians, filmmakers, musicians, economists, scientists, business leaders, and elected officials. Keep up to date on the latest happenings in our increasingly libertarian world from a point of view you won’t get from legacy media and boring old left-right, liberal-conservative publications. You can also find video versions at Reason.com/reasontv.

iTunes Ratings

707 Ratings
Average Ratings
588
64
23
10
22

Nick Gillespie, proud interrupter

By shanshan1993 - Aug 11 2019
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I love everything about this podcast EXCEPT Nick Gillespie’s interviews with guests. He shamelessly cuts people off from finishing their sentences just to throw in another question or state his opinion. It’s really hard to listen to. For someone who supposedly values freedom of speech, Nick doesn’t seem to practice that value in interviews.

Optimism

By the astounds - Jul 30 2019
Read more
You’d think politics would have more of this

iTunes Ratings

707 Ratings
Average Ratings
588
64
23
10
22

Nick Gillespie, proud interrupter

By shanshan1993 - Aug 11 2019
Read more
I love everything about this podcast EXCEPT Nick Gillespie’s interviews with guests. He shamelessly cuts people off from finishing their sentences just to throw in another question or state his opinion. It’s really hard to listen to. For someone who supposedly values freedom of speech, Nick doesn’t seem to practice that value in interviews.

Optimism

By the astounds - Jul 30 2019
Read more
You’d think politics would have more of this
Cover image of Reason Podcast

Reason Podcast

Updated 14 days ago

Read more

Founded in 1968, Reason is the planet’s leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Hosted by Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, and other Reason journalists, our podcast explores “free minds and free markets.” It features provocative, in-depth interviews with authors, comedians, filmmakers, musicians, economists, scientists, business leaders, and elected officials. Keep up to date on the latest happenings in our increasingly libertarian world from a point of view you won’t get from legacy media and boring old left-right, liberal-conservative publications. You can also find video versions at Reason.com/reasontv.

Rank #1: John McWhorter: America Has Never Been Less Racist

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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.

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Apr 11 2019
44 mins
Play

Rank #2: Government Caused Housing Segregation. Do We Need More Government to Fix the Problem?

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"Racial segregation in America was, to a large degree, engineered by policy makers in Washington," writes the Economic Policy Institute's Richard Rothstein in the February 2019 issue of Reason, in an article adapted from his book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America (2017).

The Manhattan Institute's Howard Husock agrees, calling Rothstein's book an "admirable work" in a 2017 review. But the two part company over Rothstein's confidence "that government today is the appropriate instrument to effect housing integration" and his dismissal of the idea that "the private housing market, guided by rigorously enforced antidiscrimination laws, offers African-American buyers the surest route to wealth accumulation and upward mobility."

On January 14, 2019, the Soho Forum hosted a debate between Rothstein and Husock. The resolution read: "Since the federal government fostered housing segregation in the 20th century, the government should foster housing integration in the 21st."

The Soho Forum, which is partnered with the Reason Foundation, is a monthly series held at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan's East Village. It hosts Oxford-style debates, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event, and the side that gains the most ground is victorious.

Husock prevailed by convincing over 13 percent of audience members to come over to his side.

Comedian Dave Smith, host of the podcast Part of the Problem, was the opening act.

Rothstein is also a fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and is the author of Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right (2008), Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap (2004), and other titles.

Husock is the author of Philanthropy Under Fire (2013) and The Trillion-Dollar Housing Mistake: The Failure of American Housing Policy (2003). From 1987 through 2006, he was director of case studies in public policy and management at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Edited by Todd Krainin.

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Jan 23 2019
1 hour 38 mins
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Rank #3: Meet Two Feminist Journalists Who Are Saying #MeNeither: Podcast

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Journalists Nancy Rommelmann and Leah McSweeney make no apologies for critiquing what they've called the "toxic femininity" of Asia Argento and the anti-Semitism of some of the leaders of this weekend's Women's March in Washington, D.C.

Argento, they tell me in a new Reason podcast, acted like Harvey Weinstein when it came out that she had slept with a 17-year-old boy she had known for a decade. She denied it, attacked the credibility of her accuser, and paid him hush money. In a blockbuster December story for Tablet co-authored with Jacob Seigel, McSweeney documented that top organizers of this Saturday's Women's March, which began as a protest against sexism and Donald Trump, "claimed that Jews were proven to have been leaders of the American slave trade" and pushed Jewish women out of leadership roles. The story was picked up by The New York Times and other outlets and has led to a number of high-profile supporters and organizations pulling their support for the March, especially after the organizers refused to denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the source for much crackpot history regarding Jews and the slave trade. After the two created a YouTube channel called #MeNeither, where they critique aspects of contemporary feminism and talk about contemporary call-out culture, an outraged viewer started a campaign against Ristretto Roasters, the Portland-based coffee-shop chain owned by Rommelmann's husband.

McSweeney, who is the founder of the punk-influenced clothing line Married To the Mob (sample t-shirt: "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Bleeding"), and Rommelmann, author of 2018's To The Bridge: A True Story of Motherhood and Murder and a Reason contributor, tell me they are feminists who believe in equal opportunity and legal treatment for women but recoil from the excesses of current identity politics. It's a wide-ranging, foul-mouthed, and frank conversation about contemporary sexual mores.

Bonus link: McSweeney does a podcast called Improper Etiquette with Laura Stylez. Check it out here.

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Photo Credit: R Barnswell.

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Jan 18 2019
38 mins
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Rank #4: Is Postmodernism Marxist or Libertarian? A Soho Forum Debate

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Postmodernism is necessary for a politics of individual liberty.

That was the topic of a public debate hosted by the Soho Forum in New York City on June 17, 2019. It featured Stephen Hicks, a professor of philosophy at Rockford University, and author Thaddeus Russell. Soho Forum director Gene Epstein moderated.

It was an Oxford-style debate, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event, and the side that gains the most ground is victorious. Hicks prevailed in the debate by convincing 34 percent of audience members to change their minds.

Arguing for the affirmative was Russell, whose 2011 book, A Renegade History of the United States, argues that cherished American freedoms come from the selfish desires of ordinary people. Renegade University, founded by Russell, offers courses on diverse subjects from postmodernism to the history of martial arts.

Hicks argued for the negative. He's the executive director at The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. He is the author of Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (2011) and Nietzsche and the Nazis (2010).

The Soho Forum, which is sponsored by the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan's East Village.

Produced by Todd Krainin.

'Modum' by Kai Engel is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Jul 26 2019
1 hour 27 mins
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Rank #5: Democratic Contenders Apologize for Everything Except Their Lousy Economic Policies

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Since last the Editors' Roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) announced a massive new student-loan forgiveness proposal, Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) said she'd like to ban right-to-work laws, Beto O'Rourke unveiled a $5 trillion climate change plan, Joe Biden officially began his campaign/apology tour, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) yet again declined an invitation to disavow his prior support for nationalizing the major means of production. Is anyone else sensing a pattern?

Katherine Mangu-WardNick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch discuss the leftward bent of Democratic economics, drilling down particularly hard into the bucket of higher education (ed note: the mixed metaphor makes even less sense in the podcast), while also getting into Social Security insolvency, long-term fiscal unsustainability, conversations about conversations, and—yes!—the HBO/Marvel Studios programming y'all were consuming over the weekend.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Fluffing a Duck' by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Relevant links from the show:

"Elizabeth Warren's Plan To Cancel College Debt Is a Giveaway to the Well-Off and Well-Connected," by Peter Suderman

"The Immorality of Student Loan Forgiveness and Free College," by Nick Gillespie

"Most Democratic Presidential Candidates Think College Should Be Free. Here's Why They're Wrong." By Nick Gillespie

"Elizabeth Warren's Fake Wonkery," by Peter Suderman

"Harris Wants to Ban Right-to-Work Laws, Chooses Union Endorsements Over Worker Well-Being," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Harris Would Hike Teacher Pay Across the Nation by 23 Percent," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Harris Is Rising Above the 2020 Pack With Promises to Be Everything to Everyone," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Here's What's in Beto O'Rourke's $5 Trillion Plan To Fight Climate Change," by Joe Setyon

"Joe Biden Officially Enters the Presidential Race," by Christian Britschgi

"Bernie Sanders Wanted 'Public Ownership of the Major Means of Production' in 1976," by Matt Welch

"Social Security Will Be Insolvent in 16 Years," by Eric Boehm

"GAO: Current Federal Fiscal Situation Is 'Unsustainable,'" by Eric Boehm

"The Long Night Is Over on Game of Thrones, but the Real Villain Is Still Coming," by Robby Soave

"Elizabeth Warren Wants You To Know She Totally Loves Game of Thrones. Especially Daenerys. Yay, Women!" By Robby Soave

"What Elizabeth Warren Gets Wrong About Daenerys Targaryen," by Ilya Somin

"What Game of Thrones Can Teach Us About Political Power," by Katherine Mangu-Ward

"Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame," by Kurt Loder

"Avengers: Endgame Is Exactly the Movie You Want It to Be," by Peter Suderman

Apr 29 2019
57 mins
Play

Rank #6: Should Libertarians Care About Facebook Bans?

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What has been the worst reaction to Facebook's decision last week to permanently ban Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yiannopoulis, Louis Farrakhan, and others for their "dangerous" speech? Hard to say, though the president of the United States, per usual, is in the running.

I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms. This is the United States of America — and we have what's known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH! We are monitoring and watching, closely!!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2019

Intersecting as it does the diverging cultural and legal parameters of free speech, while also portending of a more serious regulatory clampdowncapture exercise to come, the move sparks some vigorous debate in this week's Editors' Roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast. Katherine Mangu-WardNick Gillespie, Peter Suderman and Matt Welch differ on whether the ban is bad or fine, whether speech is expanding or contracting, and whether '90s Net Triumphalists are doomed to become old men shaking their fists at clouds.

Other podcast topics include: Trump's latest trade threats, three new entrants in the 2020 Democratic presidential race (no peeking!), and that costume drama with the diphthongs.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Boulevard St Germain' by Jahzzar is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Relevant links from the show:

"Facebook Has Every Right To Ban Louis Farrakhan and Alex Jones. But It's Still a Bad Idea," by Nick Gillespie

"Banning Alex Jones Isn't About Free Speech—It's About the Incoherence of 'Hate Speech,'" by Robby Soave

"Libertarian Banned from Facebook for Tide Pod Joke That Mocked Liberals," by Robby Soave

"Mark Zuckerberg, Crony Capitalist," by John Stossel

"Internet Freedom Swirling Around Drain as Dems, Reps Threaten Antitrust Action on Google, et al," by Nick Gillespie

"Trump Doesn't Like What People See When They Search 'Trump News,'" by Peter Suderman

"Partisans United Against Free Speech," by Matt Welch

"Making the Fairness Doctrine Great Again," by Thomas Hazlett

"The End of Free Speech," by Katherine Mangu-Ward

"Trump Is No Match for the First Amendment," by Jacob Sullum

"Market Crashes as Trump Threatens More Tariffs After China Trade Deal Flops," by Eric Boehm

May 06 2019
1 hour 3 mins
Play

Rank #7: What Will Drugs Be Like After Prohibition? Q&A with Hamilton Morris

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What will American drug culture look like once prohibition is finally over and we can start to use more drugs in more settings?

No one is better situated to start that conversation than Hamilton Morris, the 32-year-old host of Hamilton's Pharmacopeia, a show that explores what sorts of drugs are available, how they work, and how we might best use them to fulfill our hopes and dreams. 

In one early episode, Morris confounds the conventional wisdom by telling "a positive story about PCP," a drug that even legalizers typically have nothing good to say about. He visits with Timothy Wyllie, an artist and visionary who uses the drug as part of his creative process. In another, he travels to the Brazilian Amazon, where locals get high on a drug taken from frogs. In a third, he gains access to an abandoned laboratory in a volcano that was once central to the production of MDMA.

Morris also does laboratory work at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, where he and his collaborators create new drugs for testing and research trials. He sat down with Reason to talk how the drug war has warped the discussion about legal and illegal drugs and what the post-prohibition landscape will look like.

To watch a video version of this interview, go here.

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May 10 2019
28 mins
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Rank #8: Justin Amash on Quitting the Republican Party and Life as an Independent

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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.

Jul 25 2019
20 mins
Play

Rank #9: National Conservatism and the American Identity Crisis

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"Today we declare independence…from neoliberalism, from libertarianism, from what they call classical liberalism. From the set of ideas that sees the atomic individual, the free and equal individual, as the only thing that matters in politics," said Yoram Hazony, author of The Virtue of Nationalism and chairman of the Edmund Burke Foundation, in a speech at the National Conservatism Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference also featured Tucker Carlson, Peter Thiel, and Sen. Josh Hawley (D–Mo.).

But do libertarians really view atomized individuals as the "only thing that matters in politics"? This week's roundtable of Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, Eric Boehm, and Zach Weissmueller try to grapple with that question and discuss the increasingly common tendency on the right and left to accuse one's political opponents of being anti-American, whether it's Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller telling Fox News that Democrats will turn the U.S. into Venezuela or it's #RandPaulHatesAmerica trending on Twitter after the Kentucky senator questioned the budgeting specifics of a 9/11 compensation program. They also discuss the trade war, Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax, Peter Thiel's suggestion that the FBI probe Google for possibly providing material support to the Chinese military, and the enduring wisdom of Albert O. Hirschman's Exit, Voice, and Loyalty.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Music Credit: Kaiser Friedrich March played by the United States Marine Band

Relevant links from the show:

"The New Conservative Nationalism Is About Subverting Individual Liberty," by Stephanie Slade

"American Manufacturing Is Growing, but Trump's Tariffs Aren't the Reason Why," by Eric Boehm

"Why Elizabeth Warren's Wealth Tax Won't Work," by Peter Suderman and John Osterhoudt

"What HBO's Veep Gets Right About Politics," by Zach Weissmueller

Jul 22 2019
1 hour 3 mins
Play

Rank #10: The Democrats' Dumb War Against Charter Schools

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How bad is the plan to ban for-profit charter schools, released Saturday by second-place presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.)? Bad enough to draw this New York magazine headline from Jonathan Chait: "Bernie Sanders Wants to Destroy the Best Schools Poor Urban Kids Have." Also bad enough to generate this asinine tweet:

If we are a nation that can pay baseball players hundreds of millions of dollars, don't tell me we can't afford to pay teachers the salaries they deserve. pic.twitter.com/pQVix0iX9a

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 18, 2019

We talk about the Democratic war on charters—sadly not limited to Bernie Sanders!—on this week's Editors' Roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast, featuring Katherine Mangu-WardNick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch. Also discussed: Last night's television finale, last week's weirdly DOA Trump immigration plan, and of course the weekend's biggest news in libertarian politics, namely the tweetstorm from Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) about the "impeachment threshold" behavior by the president.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Relevant links from the show:

"Rep. Justin Amash Says Trump 'Has Engaged in Impeachable Conduct,'" by Eric Boehm

"Donald Trump Responds To Justin Amash: 'Never a Fan…Total Lightweight…Loser,'" by Nick Gillespie

"Justin Amash's Principled Stand Against Trump Will Not Make Him Popular in the GOP," by Robby Soave

"Beto Called Charter Schools a 'Good Idea' in 2012. He Was Right." By Zuri Davis

"Cory Booker Is Running for President. Must He Run Away from School Choice?" by Robby Soave

"N.Y.C. Mayor Bill De Blasio Mulling Presidential Run. Stop Laughing!" By Scott Shackford

"Does School Choice Help Students Learn? All Signs Point to Yes," by Nick Gillespie

"Trump Unveils Plan To Promote Skill-Based Immigration," by Zuri Davis

"White House Increases Temporary Work Visas; Proposes Keeping Immigration Flat," by Matt Welch

"Game of Thrones Finale: Daenerys Vows to Make a Hell of Earth," by Robby Soave

May 20 2019
57 mins
Play

Rank #11: Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Libertarians Calmly Discuss Abortion

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The debate over the "heartbeat bill" signed into law in Georgia last week has been both hyperbolic and vitriolic. Of course, stakes are high in the debate over the legality of abortion and the potential for reconsideration of the Supreme Court precedent set in Roe v. Wade (1973).

But at Reason, we believe calm, rational discussion is possible even between people who strongly disagree. So Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward sat down with Managing Editor Stephanie Slade, who is pro-life, and Associate Editor Liz Nolan Brown, who is pro-choice, to talk about the present state of abortion politics and the ways in which reasonable libertarians can disagree on this issue.

Further reading:

Stephanie Slade on Why I Am a Pro-Life Libertarian and Why Is the ACLU Targeting Catholic Hospitals?

Elizabeth Nolan Brown on how A Post-Roe World Would Pave the Way for a New Black Market in Abortion Pills and Doctors Call for Decriminalization of Self-Induced Abortion.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

May 14 2019
44 mins
Play

Rank #12: Identity Politics Gone Mad, From Trump to Ayanna Pressley

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President Donald Trump's awful, unapologetic "you can't leave fast enough" remarks about the four progressive Democratic congresswomen known as "the Squad" came after an also-ugly spat between said Squad and the allies of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.), featuring such collectivist expressions as this:

Rep Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) "We don't need any more brown faces that don't want to be a brown voice. We don't need black faces that don't want to be a black voice. We don't need Muslims that don't want to be a Muslim voice. We don't need queers that don't want to be a queer voice" pic.twitter.com/2NIj5Vvcor

— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 15, 2019

We are in the grips of anti-individualist politics, right and left, lament Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman and Matt Welch on today's Editors' Roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast, and there are real-world, freedom-constricting implications on current and possible future federal policy. The Reason squad also discuss Obamacare litigation, the state of the Libertarian Party presidential campaign, and the eternal Butch Vig vs. Steve Albini debate.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Somnolence' by Kai Engel is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Relevant links from the show:

"Trump Says Congresswomen He Told to 'Go Back' to Countries They 'Originally Came From' Should Be the Ones to 'Apologize,'" by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Progressives Lost Big Time on the Border Emergency Aid Bill," by Billy Binion and Shikha Dalmia

"Rep. Ilhan Omar Recklessly Accuses Lindsey Graham of Being 'Compromised,'" by Matt Welch

"It's All About the Ad Hominems, Baby," by Jacob Sullum

"Intersectionality 101," by Robby Soave

"Donald Trump's Vile Attack on Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel," by Damon Root

"Paul Ryan Calls Trump's Judge Remark Racist, Continues to Endorse Trump Anyway," by Peter Suderman

"Donald Trump Is a Bad Person," by Peter Suderman

"House Freedom Caucus Too Busy Scolding Justin Amash To Care About Today's Bipartisan Budget Apocalypse," by Matt Welch

"Will Another Court Vote to Strike Down Obamacare?" by Peter Suderman

Jul 15 2019
58 mins
Play

Rank #13: Renegade University's Thaddeus Russell Wants To Blow Your Mind

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"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.

Jul 17 2019
37 mins
Play

Rank #14: National Review's David French Is a Conservative, Evangelical Christian Who Is Getting Worried About Theocracy. So Should You.

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Donald Trump has seriously altered the ways in which we talk about politics. While conversations about politics and ideology have never been particularly civil or uplifting, these days they tend to be downright nasty, and especially among groups who are mostly on the same side of things.

This is nowhere more clear than on the Republican friendly right wing, where the division between pro-Trump and "Never Trump" conservatives is creating more friction than Stormy Daniels on a stripper's pole. Today's guest is David French, a senior writer for National Review and a columnist for Time. He's one of the most prominent Never Trump conservatives in the country and he recently has been attacked by fellow right-wingers for—get this—being just too nice a guy.

French's conservative bona fides are sterling: He's a devout evangelical Christian who writes about how religion is central to living a flourishing life. He's written critically of high levels of immigration. He's resolutely anti-abortion and pro-military intervention and even served during the Iraq War. He believes that young men today are being stripped of their traditional masculine identities by feminism and he's written critically of trans people.

So why are some on the right attacking David French and why should his travails be of interest to libertarians?

French is being attacked because he believes in the classical liberal ideal of a marketplace of ideas, where people civilly argue over ideas and agree to abide peacefully by the outcomes of elections. He mostly believes in the power of persuasion rather than coercion. Unlike a growing number of conservatives and Republicans, he thinks that social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube have the right to kick off whomever they want, even if that leads to fewer conservative voices. And he's a resolute civil libertarian who remains skeptical of government power, even or maybe especially when his own side is wielding it.

He talks about all that, and also about a recent court decision finding Oberlin College "guilty of compensatory damages for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and intentional interference with business relationships" in relation to statements its officials made in relation to a local Ohio bakery. French is the former president of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in education, the nation's premier outfit fighting for free expression on college campuses, and he thinks the Oberlin verdict may be a turning point when it comes to political correctness in higher education.

French sat down to talk with Reason's Nick Gillespie while both were at FEECon, the annual conference organized by the Foundation for Economic Education.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes.

Jun 19 2019
58 mins
Play

Rank #15: Game of Thrones, Like Politics, Is About Violence and Fear

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In this special episode of the Reason Podcast, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, and Robby Soave pre-game this Sunday's Game of Thrones finale and look back on the series. The Reason editors gloat (a little) about having correctly predicted Daenerys' turn—unlike presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren. We also celebrate the penultimate episode's anti-war message, and we try (and fail) to avoid the phrase "Well actually in the books…" We wrap up by speculating about why it's so hard to create a satisfying ending to a beloved TV series.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

May 17 2019
47 mins
Play

Rank #16: Hair-Sniffer Joe Biden Should Apologize for His Whole Career: Podcast

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The Drudge Report

"Joe Biden Is Probably Running for President," runs the first half of this Christian Britschgi headline from two weeks ago. "He's Got a Lot of Baggage."

Does he ever.

A good rule of thumb is that you don't want to pre-launch your presidential campaign with Associated Press headlines about how you "never meant to make women feel uncomfortable," but that's where the former vice president and longtime U.S. senator from Delaware finds himself this week. But let's not sleep on a decades-long career of not just talking real funny about Others and plagiarizing a dog's breakfast of material, but also backing some of the worst federal policies the late 20th century Democratic Party could concoct. Or so argue Nick Gillespie, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, and yours truly on today's Editors' Roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast.

Also up for discussion: President Donald Trump's potentially calamitous threat to close the southern border, Mark Zuckerburg's potentially calamitous suggestions for regulating the internet, and Peter Suderman's definitely calamitous obsession with Blade Runner.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below:

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Music credit: 'Viva Mexico—Viva America' by Pedro Galindo; El Mariachi Tapatio Marmolejo

Relevant links from the show:

"Joe Biden Is Probably Running for President. He's Got a Lot of Baggage," by Christian Britschgi

"Creepy Joe Biden: A Living Argument for Keeping Politicians on a Leash," by J.D. Tuccille

"Rather Than Running for President, Maybe Joe Biden Should Just Launch an Apology Tour," by Scott Shackford

"The Iraq War Was the Biggest Foreign Policy Mistake in Decades. Biden Voted For It. Sanders Did Not," by Robby Soave

"Joe Biden is So Much of What's Wrong With the Democratic Party," by Ed Krayewski

"Just How Bad Would Joe Biden Be as President? Really F*cking Bad," by Nick Gillespie

"Joe Biden Remains Anti-Legalization: I'm the Guy Who Gave You a Drug Czar," by Ed Krayewski

"Law Championed by Joe Biden Leads to More Ecstasy Deaths," by Ed Krayewski

"Remember Joe Biden's Fearless Leadership in the Iraq War Debate? Me Neither," by Damon Root

"Q: Why did Obama Pick VP To Take Lead in Picking New Supreme Court Justice? A: Biden May Be a Rule-Breaker Who Stands Up While Riding on Amtrak, Lies About Where He Eats Breakfast, Cheated in College, and Plagiarizes Nearly Every Time He Opens His Yap…," by Nick Gillespie

"Reason.tv Salutes Joe Biden, Real Man of Genius," by Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, and Reason TV

Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.)

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Apr 01 2019
1 hour 4 mins
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Rank #17: Young Radicals Against Free Speech: Reason's Robby Soave on His New Book, Panic Attack

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Reason's Robby Soave has been writing about culture, free speech, due process, and moral outrage on campus since joining the magazine in 2014. Next week will see the release of his first book, Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump, which examines the ascendancy of the intersectional left and the identitarian right.

Soave was one of the first reporters to question the veracity of a Rolling Stone article that accused several fraternity brothers of a horrific gang rape at the University of Virginia—a story that the magazine later retracted because of insufficient evidence. Earlier this year, when a clip of MAGA-hat-wearing high school students appearing to intimidate a Native American man went viral, Soave was one of the first journalists to carefully scrutinize the raw video, discovering that the interaction was more complicated than the initial outraged reports had claimed. Major media organizations later looped back to acknowledge that they had erred in their reporting.

Reason's Zach Weissmueller talked with Soave in front of a live audience at Reason's L.A. office about his experience reporting and writing the book, today's political climate on campus, and why he thinks the college activists' emphasis on identity is misplaced.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Jun 14 2019
51 mins
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Rank #18: Welcome to the Busing Election!

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Who had school busing in the betting pool for poll-moving Democratic presidential debate controversies? And yet here we are.

Well, if it's racial discord and school choice that you want to talk about, then that's exactly what you'll get on today's Editors' Roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast. Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch talk about their own personal histories with school integration, preferred remedies for helping disadvantaged students receive a better education, and what these debates mean for the modern Democratic Party.

Also under discussion today are shake-ups to the Beltway foreign policy consensus, the beating of Quillette writer Andy Ngo, whether it's healthy for restaurants to deny service to Trumpites, and why Yoko Ono was the most underrated Beatle.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Forgiven not Forgotten' by Jahzzar is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Relevant links from the show:

"Some Democrats Ditch Biden After First Round of 2020 Debates," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Harris-Biden Busing Spat Shows Democrats Can't Have an Honest Conversation About Racial Issues," by Jacob Sullum

"Joe Biden Is Probably Running for President. He's Got a Lot of Baggage," by Christian Britschgi

"Booker Expresses Tepid Support for Charter Schools While Sanders Seeks To Stifle Them," by Billy Binion

"Teachers Union President Thinks You're a Racist if You Yank Your Kids from Their Crappy Schools," by Scott Shackford

"How to Fix 'One of the Most Segregated Public School Systems In the Nation,'" by Jim Epstein

"Charles Koch, George Soros Help Fund Think Tank Opposed To 'Endless War,'" by Nick Gillespie

"Antifa Mob Viciously Assaults Journalist Andy Ngo at Portland Rally," by Robby Soave

"A Social Media Platform Has Banned Support of Trump," by Katrina Gulliver

Jul 01 2019
1 hour 6 mins
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Rank #19: How Socialist Are the Democrats?

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Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) gave a long-awaited speech about the meaning and import of his preferred ideological label, "democratic socialism." Also last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) began eclipsing Sanders in some polls, Joe Biden and other presidential candidates stepped up their critiques of President Donald Trump's trade policies, and the Democratic National Committee announced the 20 participants in the campaign's first debate. So what does that tell us about the beating heart of the country's major left-of-center political party?

Lots of different things, argue Katherine Mangu-WardNick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch on today's Editors' Roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast. The ensuing discussion covers trade, immigration, minimum wage laws, Social Security, and Suderman's new Unitary Theory of Health Care Politics. The podcast also chews on Robby Soave's new book, the awfulness of Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.), and the awesomeness of Martin Scorsese's new Bob Dylan sorta-documentary.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Rags 2 Riches Rag' by Audionautix is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Relevant links from the show:

"Democrats Are Fighting Over Socialism, and the Socialists Are Winning," by Peter Suderman

"Elizabeth Warren Is Starting to Beat Bernie Sanders in the Polls," by Matt Welch

"Biden Is Turning Trump's Trade War Into a Major Campaign Issue. More Democrats Should Follow His Lead." By Eric Boehm

"Democrats Have Never Been More Pro-Immigration, Thanks to Trump," by Shikha Dalmia

"Perils of 'Democratic Socialism,'" by Ilya Somin

"Bernie Sanders Thinks Medicare for All Would Solve America's Health Care Problems. It Would Make Them Worse." By Peter Suderman

"Iran Will Exceed Nuclear Stockpile Limit in Response to U.S. Sanctions," by Robby Soave

"If Trump Doesn't Want a War With Iran, He Should Stop Pushing Iran Towards War," by Daniel DePetris

"Here Are 5 Times Donald Trump Warned Against Going to War With Iran," by Eric Boehm

"Campus Radicals Against Free Speech," by Robby Soave

Jun 17 2019
57 mins
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Rank #20: How Secure is Social Security? A Debate

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Given Social Security's nearly $3 trillion trust fund, the system cannot add to the federal deficit.

Today's podcast features a public debate hosted by the Soho Forum in New York City on June 17, 2019. It featured Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist at the New School for Social Research, and Gene Epstein, the director of the Soho Forum. Reason's Nick Gillespie moderated.

It was an Oxford-style debate, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event, and the side that gains the most ground is victorious. Epstein prevailed in the debate by convincing 35 percent of audience members to change their minds.

Arguing for the affirmative was Ghilarducci, whose 2018 book, Rescuing Retirement, advocates individual guaranteed retirement accounts for workers. Ghilarducci's 2015 book, How to Retire With Enough Money, is a practical guide to financial security in retirement. Ghilarducci is the director of The Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, a think tank that studies the government's role in the economy.

Epstein argued for the negative. Epstein is the Soho Forum's director and the former economics and books editor of Barron's. His last published book was Econospinning: How to Read between the Lines when the Media Manipulate the Numbers. He has taught economics at the City University of New York and St. John's University, and worked as a senior economist for the New York Stock Exchange.

The Soho Forum, which is sponsored by the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan's East Village.

Music: "Modum" by Kai Engle is licensed under a CC-BY creative commons license.

Jul 12 2019
1 hour 25 mins
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