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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 group of millennials team up to discuss politics and pop culture, all without taking themselves too seriously! From psychology to history to political philosophy to movie reviews, tune in every Tuesday for a snarky overview of what's going on in the world!
63 Episodes
Depending on who you ask, President Trump’s recent actions regarding Syria are either a fundamental and base betrayal of America’s national honor, or a step in the right direction for getting us out of foreign wars. Well, everyone else has their opinions on this mess, so why shouldn’t we?Jason talks about the history of the U.S.’s involvement in the Middle East, the utter failure of proxy wars like the one in Syria, and how the situation America has found herself in is because of her failure to heed the Founders’ warnings. Aaron points out (once again) the dangers of high construal level thinking, and how such thinking is being exhibited on all sides of the political spectrum, from progressives to neocons to libertarians, who act as if there is a “clear” solution to this problem. They also discuss why “nation-building” is doomed from the start, the dangers of “I told you so” thinking, and frogs inflating their throats as a threat display.Andrew McCarthy for The National Review on the oft-unmentioned complexities of the Syrian situation: reporting that U.S. Troops in Syria will simply be shifted to Iraq: Send in a voice message:
Well the vaping “crisis” is still ongoing, as is the sheer stupidity of the government and society-as-a-whole’s response demanding that “somebody do something!” and “won’t someone think of the children???”Jason starts us off by making the important comparisons to the 18th Amendment and prohibition, and why the failures of that prohibition should warn us of trying future prohibitions. He also gives perhaps the greatest, snarkiest rant yet heard on this podcast. Meanwhile, Austin talks about the dangers of prohibition being used to assuage moral panics or indulge peoples’ fears, because of how such bad uses of laws lead to a lessened respect for the law in general, as well as the importance of remembering that laws are always enforced with violence, and if you aren’t willing to see someone killed over a law, you probably shouldn’t support it. Aaron talks a little bit about the psychological impossibility of top-down, governmental solutions actually leading to social change.Themesong by Nathan KeightleyRare’s Jacob Grier writing about the vaping panic, as well as pointing out previous moral-panic based legislation and how it has utterly failed: Washington Times’ piece on the “crisis,” and how the causes are totally unrelated to the supposed “fixes” proposed by government: Send in a voice message:
After Aaron has some melodramatic fun with sound editing, Jenn and Aaron discuss the newly-released (and apparently controversial) movie “Joker.” They discuss the statements released before the film indicting it for potentially stirring up dangerous imitators by its portrayal of the joker, the claim that the movie is “pro-incel.” Jenn gives her views on why, despite not liking the movie, she found parts of it interesting, while Aaron applies its message and themes to the modern political sphere, especially regarding hero-worship, populism, and the societal need for “othering” villains and oversimplifying morality.A.O. Scott’s Review of Joker for the New York Times: Yang’s Review for CNN: article from The Atlantic summarizing Todd Phillips’ and Joaquin Phoenix’s responses to the “controversy”: Music by Nathan Keightley--- Send in a voice message:
As we begin the official Halloween season, Aaron discusses one of the things that scares him the most: how research and statistics are treated in pop-culture and the mainstream news. Aaron goes through the importance of “thinking statistically,” and how statistics (often considered scary to many) are so often misused, mis-represented, and mis-applied, especially recently, with everything from polling about Trump’s approval to the so-called “vaping crisis” being represented by bad research conclusions and at least questionable reliance on fundamental statistical assumptions.Don’t worry, there is almost NO math involved in this podcast!NOTE: We apologize for the noise of Aaron’s neighbors dogs. Apparently, a beagle is loud enough to get its bark heard even through soundproofing, which is probably great news for people who use beagles to hunt and is terrible news for the rest of us.--- Send in a voice message:
Aaron is joined this week once again by Buck Johnson of the Death to Tyrants Podcast, to discuss Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard and just why she’s managed to become so popular among the libertarian movement. We discuss the importance of bringing attention to candidates like Tulsi who represent important libertarian perspectives, but also talk about the importance of maintaining our principled opposition. Remember, you can agree with someone on some things, but that doesn’t mean you have to wholeheartedly embrace everything they stand for!Also discussed are Buck and Aaron’s predictions for the 2020 elections, the importance of libertarian unity, the importance of positions like Tulsi’s strong anti-war stance, and drawing some comparisons between Tulsi’s 2020 campaign and Ron Paul’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012.Make sure to check out the Death to Tyrants Podcast every Monday!The Death to Tyrants (Buck’s podcast) episode where he discusses Tulsi with journalist Brad Polumbo of The Washington Examiner: Mason Mohan on why the “Overton Window” drives his support for Tulsi as a libertarian option.Killian Hobbs for Think Liberty on the libertarian problems with Tulsi Gabbard--- Send in a voice message:
Yes, yes, we all know Beto wants to take your guns, but beyond the insanity that is becoming the Democratic 2020 primaries, President Trump is facing his own challenges from within his own party, with three potential challengers hoping to take him on, and yet the party seems dead set on not letting that happen! With four states already cancelling their primaries, it seems the incumbent president’s position is safe. But is that as unfair and unprecedented as some claim?Jason talks a little bit about the history of political campaigns, and why what we’re dealing with now is really just a return to form for America, in terms of nasty personal attacks, rather than something new and scary. He also brings up the history of primaries, and how what’s going on now is really just part and parcel of the necessary messiness that is representative government, and that it could ALWAYS be worse, and has been worse before.Aaron talks about the psychological phenomenon of pluralistic ignorance, aka “the emperor’s new clothes” syndrome, and applies to it to the republican party and the way that so many claim to keep supporting him, even while everything the president does seems calculated to undermine anything like classical liberalism or classical conservative values. Aaron also brings up the importance of having a true primary challenger to Trump, and the need for the party to wake up and realize that no, most people don’t actually seem to like the guy. However, both Aaron and Jason agree that, of Trump’s three primary challengers, none of them seem to be ideal to take up that mantle and truly pose any sort of challenge to pluralistic ignorance.Mark Sanford, Joe Walsh, and Bill Weld’s Op-Ed for the Washington Post: Number 10, by James Madison: Send in a voice message:
President Trump has already made it plain that due process doesn’t really matter to him when it comes to second amendment issues (“Take the guns first and worry about due process later!”), and it seems that other republicans like Lindsey Graham and Dan Crenshaw have decided to follow his example by lauding and applauding red flag laws. But what if you’re not a gun person? Why should you worry about red flag laws that won’t affect you? And even if you are a gun person, surely these laws are just issues of public safety, right? Austin and Aaron tackle why the dangers of red flag laws go far beyond merely the second amendment, and how they represent a precedent of disregard for due process that goes far beyond guns or the second amendment. Aaron talks about the psychological implications of decision-making based on fear, as well as bringing up how this has manifested in other legal arenas, to the severe detriment of both due process and justice for the accused, as well as bringing up how the high-construal-level nature of red flag laws may actually end up undermining the very goals of those who want them passed, while Austin points out how red flag laws are similar to civil asset forfeiture, as well as pointing out the numerous hairy legal scenarios that red flag laws will create.Thomas Massie and Jim Jordan on the ineffectiveness of red flag laws: the way the media portrays mass shootings is based on bad data: Graham’s defense of Red Flag laws: Red Flags violate due process:’s Article on the Bad Decision Making Tendencies Surrounding Numerous Gun Control Ideas: Jaffe’s Article for National Review: Send in a voice message:
Another stand-up special, another boatload of hurt feelings. Jenn and Aaron review Dave Chapelle’s new special “Sticks and Stones,” talking about Chapelle’s specific takedown of cancel culture, the psychology behind humor and how it can be helpful or harmful, as well as the responses to Chapelle’s edginess on both the Left and the Right.The Vice article excoriating Chapelle: Buzzfeed article accusing him of “punching down”: piece from NBC highlighting why Chapelle’s particular style of comedy is still valuable: review article on the psychology of humor:'s_potential_for_reinforcing_and_subverting_rape_culture--- Send in a voice message:
Remembering the fourth anniversary of Eric Garner’s death and the recent dismissal of the officer who killed him, Austin and Aaron discuss the broad-reaching topics of police misconduct and brutality. Both hosts discuss the widespread issue of police believing that they are above the law, as well as the problematic ways that the populace reinforces this behavior, as well as discussing how we need to change the conversation surrounding law enforcement and the police in general if we want to see any sort of societal move away from the current authoritarian model.A data-driven brief on police violence, specifically homicides, in the U.S.: Lynch’s statement on why he disagreed with the dismissal of Pantaleo from the NYPD: Mystal for The Nation on why there needs to be more of a crackdown on police authoritarianism:’s summary of the police officer who shot a child in the knee and has been declared immune from charges: brief overview on Joe Arpaio, the Arizona Sheriff who embodies a lot of the problems discussed in this episode: overview on some of Arpaio’s specific legal issues: McFarlane’s “Family Guy” speech that Aaron references: Send in a voice message:
Aaron is joined this week by a returning guest, The Bulwark's Andrew Egger, to discuss an instance of truth being stranger than fiction; the Greenland situation. Andrew goes over what happened to cause President Trump’s issues with Denmark over Trump’s desire to buy Greenland as a “real estate deal.” Andrew and Aaron talk about Trump’s Veruca Salt/Dennis Reynolds-esque tantrum around Denmark’s refusal to sell their territory dating back to the Viking age to the United States, bringing up topics like Nationalism, Neoconservative vs. Trumpian foreign policy, and “nation building.” Aaron brings up the psychology of honor culture (yes, we know, that’s just the kind of person he is), nationalism, and cognitive dissonance. Andrew brings up a little bit of the Trade War (the insane, inane, and no-brained idiocy that it is) and how Trump’s temper tantrum throwing ways manifest there as well, as well as briefly discussing other ways that the president’s personality (what psychologists would call a personality high in reactance) manifests itself in international politics.For those of you who don’t watch Always Sunny, here is the “Golden God” reference that Aaron makes about halfway through the show:’s original piece on the Greenland incident: Thiessen’s pro-Trump-Greenland-idea op ed for the Washington Post: Cotton’s similar op ed for the New York Times: Washington Post on the National Republican Congressional Committee and their t-shirts, as well as a little more of Tom Cotton’s meshugas: Send in a voice message:
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