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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.
44 Episodes
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We’ve talked about free speech a lot on this podcast, typically from the perspective of what you CAN do. This week, we discuss what you SHOULD do, as Aaron and Jason discuss Youtube’s recent demonetization of conservative shock jock Stephen Crowder. In the first half, Aaron raises the question of “it was a joke” being used as a defense for egregious behavior, and what psychology can tell us about the dangers of using humor as a mask for prejudice. Jason brings up the importance of defending the right to free speech, even when that right is misused, because of the importance of freedom of ideas in a functioning society. In the second half, Jason and Aaron discuss the massive power that platforms like Youtube have over their customers, and how big platforms have demonstrated irresponsibility regarding how, when, why, and who they choose to demonetize. Aaron discusses the empirical results and how they suggest that support for such demonetization is a function of authoritarianism and belief content, while Jason reminds us again how important it is that we engage with controversial and “dangerous” ideas in order to broaden our minds and test our beliefs. A piece from the Bulwark saying that just because we can defend Crowder doesn’t mean we should: https://thebulwark.com/just-because-you-can-defend-steven-crowder-doesnt-mean-you-have-to/A Quillette article discussing the censoring of people like Crowder by big tech companies: https://quillette.com/2019/06/06/against-big-tech-viewpoint-discrimination/--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-snarkiness/message
Aaron and Austin discuss the recent allegations brought up against Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which neither Aaron nor Austin accept as true, but provides an opportunity to reflect on how our culture views history and heroism. Austin brings up his frustration with the moral-absolutist perspective of history that he perceives as defining the popular narrative, where historical figures can either be angels or demons, rather than simple fallen, flawed humans. Aaron brings up the idea of viewing historical individuals as scientific objects, looking at the context in which they acted and what their accomplishments and flaws can tell us about the overarching narrative of history. Finally, both hosts discuss the broader idea of "erasing history," and whether or not challenging the established narrative surrounding historical figures and causes is truly erasing history or instead taking a more holistic view of it. The Standpoint article that goes over the accusations against Dr. King: https://standpointmag.co.uk/issues/june-2019/the-troubling-legacy-of-martin-luther-king/?fbclid=IwAR0maafEOEOvUHMqzpBy5jyjLXt2b1MZ10rIOoiqlYJnuXjuSDgJFzDp8mEMatt Walsh's take on the MLK situation: https://www.dailywire.com/news/47833/walsh-martin-luther-king-jr-was-reportedly-abuser-matt-walsh?fbclid=IwAR0pBivie1doKjZRNdTeMNhdMzfAOxgm_ftH7VwqLhijcolckrBCCqjJR_AOne of the recent causes of the resurfacing confederate flag controversy: https://www.jacksonsun.com/story/news/local/2019/06/01/confederate-flags-humboldt-rose-hill-cemetery-grave-sites-memorial-day/1288253001/?fbclid=IwAR2dmRv9KmfcR9ssxukQlu3cJflkQCmeT2eL9BkdSvuckWXzAPGITdzvd0U--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-snarkiness/message
Aaron and Jason discuss Justin Amash’s recent controversial tweets regarding potentially impeaching President Trump. Aaron supports Justin Amash’s statements, and discusses the psychology of why the Republican party is so violently and hypocritically turning on Justin Amash for them. Jason more hesitantly sides with Amash, bringing up some issues he sees with his position, but also brings up some especially insane accusations being levied against Amash and shows how they don’t hold water. Aaron and Jason also discuss just what impeachment is and why it exists, as well as how the history of impeachment’s use has deviated from the Founders’ principles. Jacob Sullum’s piece for Reason as to why he agrees with Justin Amash on impeachment: https://reason.com/2019/05/22/justin-amash-is-right-about-impeachable-conduct/?fbclid=IwAR1Lul-vs7N0Ieao03q_19Kjo_sDRtYAMq2_NU9Cmu5PqyVHiooIfmlGvBYThe House Freedom Caucus’s response to Amash: https://reason.com/2019/05/21/house-freedom-caucus-too-busy-scolding-justin-amash-to-care-about-todays-bipartisan-budget-apocalypse/?fbclid=IwAR2M66eL6ktJDWYwV5XLBVRwxK4QYs_8AuTdwI6CDbQxhRUYzBPXnbt3ctUThe Bulwark’s take on why the Republican Party’s actions against Amash may hurt them: https://thebulwark.com/justin-amash-could-keep-trump-from-getting-re-elected/?fbclid=IwAR3zRKAcXXq19GjpCeydqiKHIVjCWhzI92Iq5APe-J2f_qGQ9ISK60j9rWAAn overview of Amash’s history of clashing with Trump’s agenda: https://reason.com/2019/05/22/11-other-times-justin-amash-crossed-swords-with-president-trump/?fbclid=IwAR1_y8ojz41CUFmWcFLUM4pqKo7uHp8trbc4l8K94SnMf4Ep0XEtWCOipnQCharlie Kirk’s Response to Justin Amash: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/charlie-kirk-rep-justin-amash-makes-no-sense-embracing-impeachment-of-trump--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-snarkiness/message
Aaron and Jenn decide to tackle a thoroughly non-controversial topic by discussing the finale of the small, tiny, and barely known show Game of Thrones, as well as the reasonable, rational, and thoughtful responses of its few fans feeling mild disappointment with the show’s ending. They discuss toxic fandom, and how the entitlement fans feel to a “satisfying” (read: getting what they wanted) ending can end up being harmful to the nature of art itself. Jenn also brings up how fans are becoming harder and harder to please, while Aaron brings up how the psychological phenomenon of group polarization is potentially responsible for how angry and entitled fans, both GoT and non-GoT related, are getting. Game of Thrones star Jacob Anderson on the fans’ remake petition: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/game-of-thrones-jacob-anderson-petition_n_5cdff038e4b00735a9176126?fbclid=IwAR2jvIpOd8QNmxa6HawTojFDttHgfHDdJkaEPEw99eJR5fOqxxnQGQauuEsRick Marshall’s take on the same for Digital Trends: https://www.digitaltrends.com/movies/game-of-thrones-petition-season-8/?fbclid=IwAR1uhUbvM6CNHIBnZRFQlVNy6uTce3SF4yJLANPEmDJ5P_9EWIrW1gvcW3sThe Slate article dissing the GoT finale: https://slate.com/culture/2019/05/game-of-thrones-ends-wanting-to-be-what-its-not.ampThe Slate article praising the GoT finale: https://slate.com/culture/2019/05/game-of-thrones-finale-review-it-was-good.ampReason Magazine’s Ilya Somin on Game of Thrones and Libertarianism: https://reason.com/2019/05/20/reflections-on-game-of-thrones/FEE’s Brittany Hunter on Game of Thrones and its message on the dangers of power: https://fee.org/articles/game-of-thrones-shows-how-power-turns-heroes-into-monsters/?fbclid=IwAR2DL0sYL2P_NhgFJg7b8QyiLuMl9cplg4Y3Kz_Ow5BxfbvvM64YnMKKPOA--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-snarkiness/message
In our 40th episode, Aaron and Austin discuss learning from Aaron’s recent mistakes regarding a big company. Aaron talks about what happened, and how, even after some introspection, he still believes that government regulation of companies and corporations is not the solution. Austin then gives his answer to the infamous question “Are corporations people?” Austin argues that yes, they should be treated as people, but that contrary to popular belief, this will protect the little guy, rather than enabling corporate rule over society. Aaron and Austin wrestle through some of the intricacies and problems of corporations in our current political landscape, before Aaron points out that even if corporations may legally need to be treated like people, psychologically, they will behave very differently, and that whatever solution is reached will need to take this into account. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-snarkiness/message
Aaron is joined by two guests this week, first his wife Katherine, a financial professional, and second, returning guest Michael Dilaura, to discuss the new tax code. Katherine starts by discussing some of the positives and negatives of the tax code as well as the importance, rather than thinking of “rich vs. poor,” that we instead consider the importance of individual financial literacy and fiscal responsibility, and how no (despite what some claim) this is not something restricted by social or economic class, but rather something that everyone can learn and embrace. Michael Dilaura then discusses his experiences working in politics when the tax code was passed, and how that relates to the current cultural zeitgeist of identity politics. Michael brings up how the reaction to the new tax code plays right into the current political culture of soundbites, and how we only talk in terms of team red or team blue rather than discussing the actual positives and negatives of policy. Aaron then brings up how much our cultural discussion of wealth plays into the relative deprivation hypothesis of prejudice. The New York Times article that inspired this episode: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/14/business/economy/income-tax-cut.html?fbclid=IwAR2qqDJX9eoYwDBubJpNwjscFvKD4-qdjTDj8CuKchgRYrs-NFDM6Yp66P4A Marketwatch article claiming that the tax code unfairly favors Republican-dominated states: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trumps-tax-reform-appears-to-be-giving-more-money-back-to-republican-states-2019-04-23An article on the intense reaction to the SALT caps: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/17/blue-states-file-suit-against-federal-government-over-new-tax-law.htmlLiz Warren and AOC’s response to Chase Bank that Katherine and Aaron discussed: https://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/may/1/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-elizabeth-warren-slam-cha/Bernie’s attempts to clarify the difference between democratic and authoritarian socialism: https://www.businessinsider.com/bernie-sanders-democratic-socialism-soviet-union-authoritarian-communism-2019-4A link to Katherine’s website, “The Bookkeeping Artist”: http://bookkeepingartist.com/--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-snarkiness/message
Aaron and Austin discuss Kamala Harris’s recent statements about gun control, as well as the Left’s reaction to her owning a gun, which some believe disqualifies her from running as a Democratic Candidate (after all, come on guys, it’ll be 2020!). Austin discusses the problems with executive attempts to change gun laws, as well as the issues with trusting that the Supreme Court will take care of it. Aaron discusses the psychological theories of authoritarianism, social dominance, and the ideological conflict hypothesis, all of which help to explain both Harris’s attempts to use her gun ownership to establish credence with the gun-owning community, as well as the backlash she’s experienced from that effort. A Buzzfeed article (yes, we know, don’t hate us) on Kamala Harris’s plan for executive action: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/mollyhensleyclancy/kamala-harris-guns-executive-action?fbclid=IwAR3TQ_YIITcssz-BdCcpy8wuWWXzPxptHsfvCVwSNBlWq1c8j1VPaL-9JO0The opinion piece saying why Harris’s gun ownership disqualifies her from running as a democrat: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/04/26/kamala-harris-owns-handgun-unacceptable-2020-democratic-race-column/3567371002/Robert Altemeyer’s “The Authoritarians” PDF: https://theauthoritarians.org/Downloads/TheAuthoritarians.pdfAn Amazon link to Massad Ayoob’s “Deadly Force,” mentioned by Austin in the show: https://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Force-Understanding-Right-Defense/dp/1440240612A Breitbart article (again, yes, we know, PLEASE don’t hate us) on Eric Swalwell’s proposed gun ban and buyback: https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/04/23/eric-swalwell-digs-in-assault-weapons-ban-buyback-plan-non-negotiable/?fbclid=IwAR1o_i0ttq6Z4JBUiKK4QlmFy27P90KIy6NXguoNojivrnEi1KDz4kXS30kUnrelated, but because we mentioned it, the National Review’s piece on how Franklin Graham and the Evangelical Movement have sold out for the sake of Trump: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/04/franklin-graham-and-the-high-cost-of-the-lost-evangelical-witness/?fbclid=IwAR2N82tgY3vsIB_-4TH6M1RBBHkXTUf3PGYq1RaYX5PG9aKW7WV9rVR49sA--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-snarkiness/message
Aaron is joined by Tyler Brandt, associate and editor at the Foundation for Economic Education, who recently wrote a great article about the dangerous connections between protectionism, socialism, and even communism. Aaron and Tyler discuss Frederic Bastiat as an unfortunately-neglected figure in political thought and theory, as well as discussing libertarian maxims like “taxation is theft,” as well as the difficulties which underlie protectionism, and why a free society cannot function when the free market is stifled by tariffs, no matter how strong the supposed “moral” claim to protectionism. Aaron explains why he thinks the psychological literature of racism and prejudice also apply to economic policies like protectionism, Tyler explains why he doesn’t trust the supposed “evidence” of people who approve protectionism, and Aaron and Tyler both discuss the underlying moral assumptions of protectionism which are often brought up by its defenders and adherents. Tyler’s article that inspired this episode: https://fee.org/articles/frédéric-bastiat-on-the-connection-between-socialism-communism-and-protectionism/FEE’s link to purchase Bastiat’s “The Law,” complete with his “The Candlemaker’s Petition,” where he takes down the idea of protectionism: https://store.fee.org/products/the-law FEE’s free online link the Bastiat’s “The Law”: https://fee.org/resources/the-law/--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-snarkiness/message
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--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-snarkiness/message
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/--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-snarkiness/message
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