This episode features an interview of post-academic historian and education entrepreneur Thaddeus Russell from 2017 by Nick Gillespie of the Reason podcast. Russell talks about discovering the Austrian School of economics only long after he left the academy, why actual Marxists hate postmodernism and why libertarians should love it, the insidious nature of America’s Protestant work ethic, and how the Democrats are reviving the Cold War.Open This Content
Protesters say America’s criminal justice system is unfair.
Courts are so jammed that innocent people plead guilty to avoid waiting years for a trial. Lawyers help rich people get special treatment. A jail stay is just as likely to teach you crime as it is to help you get a new start. Overcrowded prisons cost a fortune and increase suffering for both prisoners and guards.
There’s one simple solution to most of these problems: End the war on drugs.
Our government has spent trillions of dollars trying to stop drug use.
It hasn’t worked. More people now use more drugs than before the “war” began.
What drug prohibition did do is exactly what alcohol prohibition did a hundred years ago: increase conflict between police and citizens.
“It pitted police against the communities that they serve,” says neuroscientist Carl Hart in my new video. Hart, former chair of Columbia University’s Psychology department, grew up in a tough Miami neighborhood where he watched crack cocaine wreck lives. When he started researching drugs, he assumed that research would confirm the damage drugs did.
But “one problem kept cropping up,” he says in his soon-to-be-released book, Drug Use For Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear, “the evidence did not support the hypothesis. No one else’s evidence did either.”
After 20 years of research, he concluded, “I was wrong.” Now, he says, our drug laws do more harm than drugs.
Because drug sales are illegal, profits from selling drugs are huge. Since sellers can’t rely on law enforcement to protect their property, they buy guns and form gangs.
Cigarettes harm people, too, but there are no violent cigarette gangs—no cigarette shootings—even though nicotine is more addictive than heroin, says our government. That’s because tobacco is legal. Likewise, there are no longer violent liquor gangs. They vanished when prohibition ended.
But what about the opioid epidemic? Lots of Americans die from overdoses!
Hart blames the drug war for that, too. Yes, opioids are legal, but their sale is tightly restricted.
“If drugs were over the counter, there would be fewer deaths?” I asked.
“Of course,” he responds. “People die from opioids because they get tainted opioids….That would go away if we didn’t have this war on drugs. Imagine if the only subject of any conversation about driving automobiles was fatal car crashes….So it is with the opioid epidemic.”
Drugs do harm many people, but in real life, replies Hart, “I know tons of people who do drugs; they are public officials, captains of industry, and they’re doing well. Drugs, including nicotine and heroin, make people feel better. That’s why they are used.”
President Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex. America’s drug war funds a prison-industrial complex. Hart says his years inside the well-funded research side of that complex showed him that any research not in support of the “tough-on-drugs” ideology is routinely dismissed to “keep outrage stoked” and funds coming in.
America locks up more than 2 million Americans. That’s a higher percentage of our citizens, disproportionately black citizens, than any other country in the world.
“In every country with a more permissive drug regime, all outcomes are better,” says Hart. Countries like Switzerland and Portugal, where drugs are decriminalized, “don’t have these problems that we have with drug overdoses.”
In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drug use. Instead of punishing drug users, they offer medical help. Deaths from overdoses dropped sharply. In 2017, Portugal had only 4 deaths per million people. The United States had 217 per million.
“In a society, you will have people who misbehave, says Hart. “But that doesn’t mean you should punish all of us because someone can’t handle this activity.”
He’s right. It’s time to end the drug war.Open This Content
Do you say what you think? That’s risky! You may get fired!
You’ve probably heard about a New York Times editor resigning after approving an opinion piece by Senator Tom Cotton that suggested the military to step in to end riots.
Many Times reporters tweeted out the same alarmist wording, “Running this puts Black NY Times staffers in danger.”
In my new video, Robby Soave, a Reason magazine editor who writes about young radicals, explains, “They only claim it because that’s their tactic for seizing power in the workplace.”
They learned this tactic from so-called woke professors and fellow activists at expensive colleges, says Soave.
Last year, Harvard students demanded that law professor Ron Sullivan resign as a resident dean. Why? He’d agreed to be part of Harvey Weinstein’s legal defense team.
A female student said, “I don’t feel safe!” although Sullivan had been a dean for many years. Sullivan resigned.
At UCLA, business school lecturer Gordon Klein rejected a request to give black students different treatment on their final exam because of George Floyd’s death. Klein pointed out that since the class was online, he had no way of knowing which students were black. He also told students: “remember that MLK famously said that people should not be evaluated based on the color of their skin.”
The activist group Color of Change (which once demanded that I be fired) launched a petition to have Klein “terminated for his extremely insensitive, dismissive, and woefully racist response.” UCLA quickly caved. Klein is on mandatory leave.
Now that many former college radicals have jobs at elite media companies, they demand that newspapers not say certain things.
When, in response to looting during George Floyd protests, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran the insensitive headline, “Buildings Matter, Too,” 44 staff members claimed that “puts our lives at risk.” Their letter didn’t give any evidence as to how it threatened their lives (in fact, today both blacks and whites are safer than ever), but they won. The editor resigned.
A week later, young activists at NBC news tried to silence The Federalist, a respected conservative site that NBC labelled as “far-right.” The Federalist had published a column that said, correctly, that the media falsely claimed that violent riots were peaceful. But the column did contain a mistake. It quoted a government official saying tear gas was not used, when it had been used.
NBC then ran an article bragging that Google blocked The Federalist‘s ads after an “NBC news verification unit” brought The Federalist‘s “racism” to Google’s attention. NBC’s reporter even thanked left-wing activist groups for their “collaboration.”
But NBC was wrong. Google didn’t cut off The Federalist. Google merely threatened that if The Federalist didn’t police its comments section.
It was one time when the activist mob’s smears failed. But they keep trying to kill all sorts of expression.
Some now even want the children’s TV show Paw Patrol canceled because it suggests law enforcement is noble.
When activists decide that certain words or arguments are “offensive,” no one must use those words.
But “we’re supposed to occasionally offend each other,” says Soave, “because you might be wrong. We have to have a conversation about it. We have to challenge dogma. What if we were still with the principle that you couldn’t speak out against the King?! That’s the history of the Middle Ages.”
That’s when authorities arrested Galileo for daring to say that the earth revolved around the sun.
“That’s the condition that all humans lived under until just the last 300 years, and it was a much less happy place,” says Soave. “Then we came to an idea that we improve society by having frank and sometimes difficult conversations about policy issues, philosophy, about how we’re going to get along and live together.”
Life has been much better since people acquired the right to speak freely.
Elite colleges spread the idea that speech can be a form of violence. “Words are like bullets!” they say.
But words are words; bullets are bullets. We must keep them apart.
When entitled leftists declare themselves the sole arbiters of truth, it’s crucial that we all speak up for free speech.Open This Content
Why is there so much anger in the world?
People fight over statues; over differing opinions on gender, race, and policing. Over masks and whether to end the shutdown or keep society imprisoned until everyone is perfectly safe — which can never be.
Activists are even protesting to abolish the Fourth of July … without mentioning Independence Day. I guess if they are successful, future calendars will skip from the third to the fifth … unless the activists are confused.
What causes anger over such issues? Politics — where every win comes at someone’s expense.
Politics forces everyone along the same path. Legislation dictates things only our ethics and morals should determine. To understand the anger, notice how politics makes a difference of opinion into a life and death struggle. An unnecessary one.
It’s odd that something imagined to be a hallmark of civilized society is instead the root of most antisocial behavior. Trying to form a society around politics is like trying to form a pearl around a pellet of nuclear waste.
If you want to play politics, go ahead, but any results should only apply to you. You shouldn’t expect others to be bound by your results. They shouldn’t be expected to fund your political institutions or agencies. If you want it, you fund it. I have better uses for my money.
Just as there is no “one-size-fits-all” church, you shouldn’t be able to force everyone to participate in the same political system based on location. Or any political system at all. If you force everyone to play your game by your rules, or else, your game is toxic. Society would be better off without it.
Just imagine if no one were forced to fund a park or a statue. If your group builds a park, good for you. If you want to put a statue in the park to honor Willie Nelson, people can choose to visit your park or not. As long as they aren’t forced to subsidize it, they aren’t harmed.
If, however, you force people to chip in for the park and pay for statues and monuments to things they dislike, it’s no wonder people get angry. I do, too.
The way these things are currently done causes strife. It’s long past time to give it up and try something better. Something voluntary, based on unanimous consent. If you want to chip in, go ahead. If you’d rather not, go your own way. It’s the only civilized way to organize a society.Open This Content
Episode 319 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: Mark and Patricia McCloskey defending their home from 300 invading protestors; racist Wilmington, NC police officers accidently caught on their own recording devices talking about slaughtering “fucking niggers” in an upcoming civil war; a woman being shot multiple times as she ran away from stealing a Nazi flag from someone’s front porch; and more.Open This Content
The world’s a bit crazy. Not as bad here as in other places, but we see the effects of those crazy paces even here.
Pandemics, riots, gangs of trespassers setting up their own governments … what’s next? A volcano spewing out zombies?
Whatever happens next, you can rest assured that respecting liberty will still work. It always does. It would even work against the volcano zombie invasion.
No matter how crazy the world gets, you don’t have to be crazy with it.
Aren’t you glad to know we had the cure for COVID-19 the whole time? Who knew all it would take to solve the pandemic were riots? Oh, sure, some has-beens are trying to keep the pandemic panic alive. Few people are still listening to them. Their 15 minutes of fame was over before they were ready. Maybe they’ll be happy if the virus comes back for round two this fall.
Speaking of riots, don’t confuse the riots with the peaceful protests. They aren’t the same thing and didn’t involve the same people. They only happened alongside the protests because parasites saw their chance to make trouble and latched onto an important issue. It seems to have ended when the protesters realized most of us were already on their side, but the rioters were driving away support.
Then the rioters became squatters taking over property they didn’t own. Much of the national mainstream media misidentified them as “anarchists.” Will they be calling horses “dolphins” next? It would be as inaccurate.
They aren’t the only ones who think of socialistic nihilists as “anarchists.” This is what they’ve been taught. Yet, anarchy only means you accept no human master. It doesn’t mean chaos, theft, destruction, or aggression. Those who seek to misinform you never define things correctly when a scary lie works better for their purposes.
How can you know the squatters aren’t anarchists? They set up a political government in the stolen territory — this is not “anarchist” by definition. Anarchists wouldn’t set up political institutions, nor do ethical anarchists steal property from others. I know this from personal experience.
What’s a person to do?
Liberty, which is freedom tempered with responsibility, could solve all these problems to the extent they can be solved. Exercise your freedom to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t violate the equal and identical rights of any other person. There’s no better way to live among others.
Try it and I think you’ll agree.Open This Content