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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Snarkiness
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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Snarkiness

Author: libertysnark

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A team of millennial professionals, including a psychologist, a law student, and a history teacher, team up to discuss politics, current events, and pop culture, all without taking themselves too seriously.
36 Episodes
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Crossover Episode! Pan-Libertarianism and Wikileaks
Aaron and Austin are joined by Buck Johnson, host of the Death to Tyrants Podcast, for our first crossover episode with another podcast! In the first half, the trio discuss the similarities and differences between different schools of libertarian thought. Aaron takes the Minarchist perspective, the idea that the government should be as small as possible, while Buck takes the perspective of anarcho-capitalism, the idea that society should be free to exist without rulers. Meanwhile, Austin tries to figure out just who he is, libertarianly speaking. We discuss our common ground as well as the deep divides that exist within libertarianism, with Buck bringing up the unifying force that was the “Ron Paul Revolution,” Aaron bringing up the phenomenon of group polarization and ideological purity, and Austin reminding us that there are fundamental philosophical differences that one must consider when “choosing” a libertarian school of thought. In the second half, Buck, Aaron, and Austin discuss the recent arrest of Julian Assange, discussing the reactions of the D.C. establishment, the importance of government transparency, and the importance of placing principle over power. Austin brings up the absurdity of allowing the government to determine what counts as transparency, Buck brings up the use of Assange as a distraction from what Wikileaks has revealed about our government, and why it’s important that we do know and discuss those revelations, and Aaron talks about the psychological dangers of blind patriotism and authoritarianism. A link to Buck’s Podcast, “Death to Tyrants”: https://www.facebook.com/deathtotyrantspodcast/Death to Tyrants’ latest episode with Scott Horton discussing the Assange affair: hThoughtco’s guide to the different types of libertarianism: https://www.thoughtco.com/what-kind-of-libertarian-are-you-721655A listicle from The Libertarian Republic also discussing different kinds of Libertarianism: https://thelibertarianrepublic.com/five-types-of-libertarianism-why-theyre-all-important-to-liberty/Reason Magazine’s discussion of Washington’s reaction to Assange’s arrest: https://reason.com/2019/04/11/the-washington-political-establishment-sThe American Conservative’s piece telling us why we should fear the arrest of Assange: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/yes-you-should-fear-the-arrest-of-julian-assange/?fbclid=IwAR1Oo9A8wQgpgiFQd3qSz8EXW2cea0W5cH5ZKrFPBm-EYGgNswnoxzaC9jAA discussion from The Bulwark, discussing why they don’t care much about Assange’s arrest: https://thebulwark.com/the-overdue-downfall-of-julian-assange/?fbclid=IwAR1AXr8YhOqTHOph1LQ7hB6e7Dn5LVXvxkZ3Ce2Xp0ab098w0SKaBUk4cs8 This podcast is sponsored by Flipboard
Gas Station Sushi and Swastikas: Hate Speech vs. Free Speech
Aaron and Austin discuss the idea of hate speech, as well as the other factors surrounding it, in response to a recent incident involving Nazi graffiti in Oklahoma. Austin discusses the importance of maintaining the right for people to be hateful in a free society, as uncomfortable as it is, as well as drawing up the legal distinctions between what is and is not constitutionally protected under the definition of free speech. Aaron discusses how psychological phenomena like stereotypes and heuristics mean that we should be careful in our use of speech, and why we need to openly engage and refute hateful rhetoric, even if we don’t want the government to do so. Also discussed are such controversial topics as the Confederate Battle and Gadsden flags, and how more controversial and less clear cut symbols than swastikas and racial slurs play into the conversation about the right use of speech.The incident that inspired this episode: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6892009/Okla-Republican-arrested-spraying-racist-graffiti-elementary-school-Democratic-office.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490Bastiat’s “The Law,” perhaps one of the most important political works ever written, which Aaron paraphrased this episode: http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.htmlNPR on the Supreme Court case which allowed Asian-American Rock Band “The Slants” to trademark their name: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/19/533514196/the-slants-win-supreme-court-battle-over-bands-name-in-trademark-disputeTimothy Sandefur’s piece for The Reason Papers making the case against the Confederacy: https://reasonpapers.com/pdf/28/rp_28_6.pdfRandal Meyer, of the CATO institute, as to why Libertarians need not be pro-confederacy: https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/libertarians-need-not-support-confederacyJonathan Blanks, also of CATO, with another case against the Confederacy: https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/libertarians-should-celebrate-emancipation-much-they-do-end-prohibition“Ethics’ Alarms” on the Gadsden Flag and problems of free speech and symbols: https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/08/05/observations-on-the-gadsden-flag-controversy/ This podcast is sponsored by Flipboard
Rammstein, Jordan Peele, and Chicken Nugget Problems
 Jenn and Aaron knock back some Jameson while discussing the ever-popular topic of outrage culture in both the pop-culture and social spheres. In the first half, Jean and Aaron discuss two popular topics of outrage, the new music video put out by German band Rammstein and the so-called “controversial” opinion of Jordan Peele that he doesn’t want to cast caucasians as the leads in his stories about the African American experience. After being interrupted by our lovely commercial break (now in the middle!), they also talk about the recent hubbub surrounding Chick Fil A, as well as the appropriation of Holocaust imagery by members of the Anti-Vaccine movement to protest their “persecution” by having their kids excluded from attending school due to the risk of a measles outbreak. Jenn talks about how art and expression can’t flourish if we’re going to constantly be offended by everything, but how important it is to also remember the lines of common decency, and how intent matters. Aaron talks about why, psychologically, we should call “virtue signaling” “value signaling” instead, as well as how outrage culture plays right into what is known as the peripheral route of persuasion, and how it’ll change nobody’s mind in the end. Christopher Dwyer on Value Signaling: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/thoughts-thinking/201710/virtues-values-and-moral-bullyingPete Buttigieg’s response to the Chick Fil A fiasco: https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/26/politics/buttigieg-chick-fil-a/index.htmlAn article on the Anti-Vaccine Movement’s use of Holocaust Stars: https://www.rt.com/news/455243-auschwitz-museum-slams-antivax-stars/Rammstein’s “Deutschland” music video that caused all the controversy (content warning: violent imagery): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeQM1c-XCDcSome reactions to Rammstein’s video: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47745071The Daily Wire on Jordan Peele (read the comments if you want to see “not racism”): https://www.dailywire.com/news/45141/jordan-peele-i-dont-see-myself-casting-white-dude-paul-boisProof that Aaron is pronouncing Pete Buttigieg’s name correctly: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/23/politics/how-to-pronounce-pete-buttigieg/index.html This podcast is sponsored by Flipboard
Electoral College/Supreme Court “Reform”, and Why That’s a Bad Idea
Aaron, Austin, and Jason all come together to discuss two classically progressive ideas which are manifesting themselves again in the race to the 2020 election; establishing a national popular vote and packing the Supreme Court. Jason goes over the history of why these are terrible ideas, as well as making certain remarks about potatoes. Austin talks about how both reforms would utterly undermine any legitimate authority of the Court or the electoral process, let alone the implications that each would have for the legal system. Aaron discusses why basic social psychological principles about perceived legitimacy and decision-making make it plain that yes, these are bad ideas with potentially disastrous unforeseen consequences. Walter Williams on why the U.S. is a republic, not a democracy: https://www.dailysignal.com/2018/01/17/republic-not-democracy/Economist Gary M. Galles on the why the popular vote is not election reform: https://fee.org/articles/national-popular-vote-is-not-electoral-reform/?fbclid=IwAR1usFJC6SyuZQRoltkQLpp8mY7DBKRxreTUNnViTJUwsUCSUIfhifvvv2cPolitico’s summary of the arguments made for expanding the Supreme Court: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/18/2020-democrats-supreme-court-1223625Gary M. Galles on why packing the Supreme Court is also a bad idea: https://fee.org/articles/why-packing-the-supreme-court-is-a-bad-idea/?fbclid=IwAR3LOgmJroYHJhzgEs_thCPE3uq-u_YlVhRTIDfDQWUaZTKkmKCZU7BD-S0George Mason Law professor, Ilya Somin, on the dangers of supreme court expansion: https://reason.com/volokh/2019/03/20/dangers-of-growing-support-for-court-pac?fbclid=IwAR3F59VMW4rHC2o6G0OTb4vpaGDqkLjMfoPQH9QXDhOFOoiirQPt2wWdDrc This podcast is sponsored by Flipboard
Cohen, Catholicism, and Collusion
In our 30th episode, Austin and Aaron tackle a double-header of topics! First, they discuss the highlights of the Cohen testimony, and why neither Austin from a legal perspective nor Aaron from a psychological one found Cohen even the slightest bit convincing. They then move on to a newly proposed law in California, drafted in response to the recent sex scandals in the Catholic Church, where Austin and Aaron amicably disagree on how and to what extent the government should be involved in trying to protect and obtain reparations for victims of sexual abuse in religious organizations. Also touched on are Austin and Aaron’s thoughts on Russian Collusion and real-life Bond villain Putin, why affairs like the Cohen testimony actually make life easier on Trump and harm those of us who’d like a chance to rationally point out and critique the insane things he does, and the problem of trying to balance keeping the government out of everyone’s business while still having it able to do the (precious few) things it is actually supposed to do in a capable manner. NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, there are some audio problems with this episode. Blame Aaron. An article from Real Clear Politics on the Cohen hearing and Republicans’ attempts to discredit him.Some interesting quotes from the Cohen hearing that seem to make it pretty clear he’s just trying to save his own skin.An article on our favorite person, AOC, and her attempt to “own” Trump.Justin Amash’s takedown of Cohen.The Federalist piece we referenced for the second topic of this episode. This podcast is sponsored by Flipboard
National Emergency! Why Aren’t We Panicking?
There’s a National Emergency on! Feel alarmed! Austin and Aaron, both connoisseurs of the bottom shelf, begin by talking about Costco booze, before launching into why President Trump’s latest meshugas has neither of them feeling especially panicked. Among other topics, Austin and Aaron touch on the latest mass shooting, former Libertarian VP Nominee Bill Weld’s plan to try to primary Trump, and their feelings on how political tribalism is making it even less likely that Trump’s supporters will ever have their cognitive dissonance resolved in a way that leads to them abandoning him. Aaron explains these happenings through the lenses of honor ideology as well as the psychological principle of cognitive dissonance, while Austin remains pessimistic that Trump can ever go too far for his supporters to give up on him, and then they both hope that someone - ALMOST anyone - tries to primary Trump out of another shot at the presidency, because goodness knows we’ve all had enough of what Aaron calls “schmuckitude.”Previous podcast guest Andrew Egger’s take on the reaction among Trump supporters: https://thebulwark.com/no-one-hates-the-spending-bill-more-than-trumps-hawkish-base/?fbclid=IwAR2dbEm-F7Y3KrlGx4mlwp5WNNzCUsoRedn5tpLfkifH9Zxhc1WOL6XHxD4An older article reflecting on Chuck Schumer’s threat during the Obama presidency that President Obama had the right to go above Congress: https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/206983-schumer-obama-will-act-unilaterally-on-immigration-reformOther Conservatives/Libertarians’ responses to Trump: https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-emergency-declaration-conservative-groups-criticized-1333700An article on cognitive dissonance and how it applies to our political lives: https://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/human-nature/behavior/how-cognitive-dissonance-affects-us-crazy-political-times.htm This podcast is sponsored by Flipboard
The Green New Deal - Did a First-Grader Write This?
Aaron and Austin are joined by guest Michael DiLaura to discuss Alexandria Occasio Cortez’s brilliant/terrifying new piece of legislation. Michael guides us through some of the especially problematic elements of AOC’s thoroughly impractical plan, while Austin points out the sheer number of property rights violations that this legislation would require, as well as how nothing about the “plan” falls in line with the proper role of government. Aaron talks a little bit about the psychology of construal level theory, and how it explains the recent populist (of both right and left-wing variety) obsession with thoroughly impractical legislation. Aaron reveals that he doesn’t like West Coast beer, as well as explaining why he thinks Democratic Socialists are like vegans and cross-fitters. Austin reveals his hope that the Green New Deal is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and pushes the Federal Government into admitting its utter incompetence and inability to do anything, as well as pointing out the lack of parallels between the original and Green New Deals. Finally, Michael has to teach Aaron what the phrase “clap back” means. An official PDF of the Green New Deal: https://ocasio-cortez.house.gov/sites/ocasio-cortez.house.gov/files/Resolution%20on%20a%20Green%20New%20Deal.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1A3n1S9p4SlS0JF9tQfD15IYj6wz4XEmzTg6zhBGg7rEylksRU-uCG3AM Megan McArdle’s article for the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/were-nuts-isnt-a-great-pitch-for-a-green-new-deal/2019/02/07/f605b220-2b2f-11e9-984d-9b8fba003e81_story.html?utm_term=.de4507877b13William L. Anderson for the Mises institute on the Green New Deal: https://mises.org/wire/aoc-and-green-great-leap-forward?fbclid=IwAR0AjlY7-huHsS-7RmresRdCVa-Sq8b3poJbSc1yJU4Y6EiWyZyxPc4blKkJarret Stephan for FEE on the Green New Deal: https://fee.org/articles/the-green-new-deal-is-a-trojan-horse-for-socialism/ This podcast is sponsored by Flipboard
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