DiscoverLife, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Snarkiness
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Snarkiness
Claim Ownership

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Snarkiness

Author: libertysnark

Subscribed: 8Played: 159


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!
87 Episodes
Aaron and Jason discuss, Turkish coffee and cream soda in their respective hands, what they consider to be the Top Ten “Points of Divergence” across United States History, in chronological order. In part 1, Jason talks about how “hooligans” in Massachusetts showed fundamental flaws in our system, how “the greatest trade deal in the history of trade deals” created a new opportunity in the American Frontier, and how a lost battle created the American Industrial Age. Aaron, meanwhile, talks about the importance of compromise and how “nobody getting what they wanted” led to the creation of the U.S. as we know it today. --- Send in a voice message:
Amidst their voluntary self-isolation, Aaron, Austin, and Jason come together to discuss the response to COVID-19. Jason introduces the idea of “Black Swans” as social phenomena, and the hosts discuss how COVID-19 fits the label of a “Black Swan.” Jason talks about the importance of civic virtue in response to “Black Swans,” Aaron discusses the psychological problems with the Government’s decision-making in response to the pandemic, and Austin serves as a gadfly while also trying to teach William Barr what a telephone is. 
 The T-Walla Walla link that Jason talks about in today’s episode: The Politico article that Aaron mentioned in the episode: Buzzfeed’s article on how the CDC and FDA have messed up: Another Politico article detailing the emergency powers that William Barr wants to be granted: Dr. David Katz, president of True Health Initiative and the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, on why he’s worried about the government’s current response to COVID-19: Dr. John P.A. Ioannidis, professor of medicine, epidemiology and population health, professor by courtesy of biomedical data science at Stanford University School of Medicine, professor by courtesy of statistics at Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, and co-director of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS) at Stanford University, on why he’s afraid at the lack of data being involved in the government’s decision-making: How entrepreneurs are responding to the pandemic: Theme by Nathan Keightley --- Send in a voice message:
Aaron and Jenn discuss the new movie “The Hunt” that just released this weekend. Initially cancelled because of conservative outrage over the premise of Liberal elites hunting Conservative “Deplorables,” The Hunt is now garnering criticism from the Left for somehow being too sympathetic to the Right wing? Both Aaron and Jenn are left thoroughly perplexed by the reaction, having both enjoyed it for what it is; a thoroughly ridiculous, utterly farcical B-Movie that nevertheless has some important lessons on partisanship that both sides of the aisle could stand to listen to. Matthew Rosza’s review for Salon that Aaron thinks totally misses the point of the movie: Theme by Nathan Keightley --- Send in a voice message:
Aaron and Austin come together to discuss an opinion piece published this past week by the former legal team of the impeachment whistle blower. Both Aaron and Austin find themselves doing something they never thought they’d have to do, which is criticizing Rand Paul, before discussing the importance of whistleblowers to a limited and ethical government, as well as discussing why they both believe that anonymity of whistleblowers should be protected. The hosts also answer our first piece of on-air fan mail, talking about the accusation of “Trump Derangement Syndrome” and why the podcast so often ends up setting itself against the President and what he does. The opinion piece by the whistle-blower’s former legal team: The Declassified Document containing the Whistleblower’s statement: The Psychology of Whistleblowing: Theme by Nathan Keightley --- Send in a voice message:
Aaron is joined once again by the podcast’s “Costco-brand Neuhaus,” David Keating, to discuss the president’s behavior at the prayer breakfast. David talks about how Dr. Brooks’ remarks at the breakfast are totally in-line with Christian teaching, and why President Trump’s disagreement with the idea of loving your enemies should trouble his Christian supporters. Aaron and David speculate as to why Trump can know how to behave at an event like the March for Life, but seems unable to behave himself at something superficially similar like the prayer breakfast. Finally, Aaron brings up the idea of Collective Narcissism, and why he thinks President Trump’s behavior reflects this psychological phenomenon in himself and his followers. Dr. Arthur Brooks’ remarks at the prayer breakfast: President Trump’s Remarks after Dr. Brooks: Dr. Agnieszka Golec de Zavala on Collective Narcissism: --- Send in a voice message:
In light of the “Big Game” (now the NFL can’t sue us) victory by the KC Chiefs (actually recorded Sunday Afternoon before the game), Aaron and Jason tackle the topic of cultural appropriation, specifically the appropriation of Native American imagery, costumes, and traditions by teams like the Chiefs or the Washington Redskins. Aaron goes through why, based on psychological research, he does believe these teams should change their names, their mascots, and their practices, while Jason thinks that cultural appropriation is political correctness gone too far. Native American Advocates’ take on why the Chiefs should change their name and their fan practices: A CNN piece on the history of the chiefs, including Vincent Schilling’s (a Mohawk journalist) take on the situation: A piece on the Psychology of Cultural Appropriation and how it has been demonstrated to be harmful: The difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation: The Salon Article Jason makes reference to later in the episode: A link to one of our earlier episodes (Season 1, Ep. 46) on transitional justice, where we discussed the importance of concessions by oppressors, especially on a community level, to healing past wounds: --- Send in a voice message:
Aaron is joined by a still-recovering-from-a-cold Austin to discuss gun culture in the wake of last week’s protests at the Virginia State Capitol. First Austin talks about the legislation forbidding criticism of the government that the Virginia Legislature TOTALLY isn’t using as a form of retaliation against the protestors. The two then go on to discuss the aftermath of the gun rally and the stereotypes around “gun people,” which ones they view as accurate and which they don’t, as well as highlighting some facets of the gun community that don’t get a lot of press, but should be a bigger part of the discussion around them. --- Send in a voice message:
Big Brother Trump

Big Brother Trump


In the midst of Bernie Sander’s alleged sexism, a surely disappointing (to the media) peaceful and respectful pro-gun protest in Virginia, and whatever your thoughts about Star Wars are a month later, the President’s conduct surrounding the Apple Corporation, as well as Attorney General Barr’s comments on the same topic, are flying under the news radar. Austin talks about why President Trump’s insistence that Apple grant the government a back door into their technology is a constitutional non-starter, as well as an inherently dangerous idea. Aaron talks about how, psychologically speaking, such a backdoor would be inviting unethical decision-making to wreak even more havoc on the justice system than it has already wreaked. Finally, both of them point out that for someone being impeached for an alleged quid pro quo, the president sure seems to be pretty free with demanding quid pro quo on his twitter feed. The Daily Beast’s take on the situation, including a statement given to them by Apple: Forbes’s account of the situation, including some background on the President’s dealings with Apple: --- Send in a voice message:
With the recent release (and critical acclaim given to) the movie 1917, Jason and Aaron decide to tackle America’s current foreign policy, including what’s going on in Iran as well as the recently-released Afghanistan papers, and compare it to the circumstances of World War I. Jason compares the U.S.’s incompetence and outright duplicity revealed in the Afghanistan Papers to the historical tactics and practices of British Field Marshall Hague, the “butcher” behind such military catastrophes as the Somme and the battle of Passchendaele. Aaron compares the misleading actions revealed by the Afghanistan papers to Groupthink, and emphasizes how, in the wake of these documents’ declassification, trusting the government’s official statements and narratives on Iran is naïveté of the highest order. The Washington Post’s breaking of the Afghanistan papers: The Guardian’s summary of the Afghanistan Papers: Business Insider’s summary of the Afghanistan Papers: While Vice is often a questionable news source, they do a good job here summarizing the declassified report revealing that we went into Iraq on bad information: Lindsey Graham’s “Interesting” (bless his heart) take on those in Congress who’d seek to limit the President’s war powers: --- Send in a voice message:
The unintentionally-long saga of ranking the presidents come to a close! Aaron and Jason finish off their ranking of the U.S. Presidents by giving their top two picks. Aaron justifies ranking his choices higher than Jason did, while Jason picks a very controversial (at least for the liberty movement) figure for his number 2 spot, which Aaron pushes back against. Finally, both Aaron and Jason give their picks for the greatest American President of all time, saying why they’ve made each pick, what we can learn from these great men’s example, and why we need to return to that example rather than continue down the road that the presidency has drunkenly staggered down for the last century. Dr. Richard M. Gamble’s review of DiLorenzo’s “The Real Lincoln”: George Smith on Abraham Lincoln: A piece on Lincoln’s attacks on the press: A libertarian defense of Abraham Lincoln: Amity Shlaes’ “Coolidge”: Shlaes’ “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression.” The highest praise we can give this book is that Paul Krugman hates it: Theme by Nathan Keightley --- Send in a voice message:
Ok, we lied to you, this is not a two-parter. In fact, it’s not even a three-parter. It’s a four-parter. In this episode, Aaron and Jason each give their nominations for spots 4 and 3 of the best presidents. From the Founding to the War of 1812, from the Gilded Age to the Roaring 20s, these are our picks for some of the best, but not the best of the best, presidents. We also learn that Aaron traces the majority of America’s political woes as originating with Alexander Hamilton, no matter how catchy the Broadway Musical may be. George Washington’s Farewell Address: William Hogeland on the Whiskey Rebellion: Theme by Nathan Keightley --- Send in a voice message:
Jason and Aaron move on from the list of worst presidents to the happier topic of the best presidents. In part 2 of our now-tentatively-three-part (and we’re REALLY going to try to keep it at three parts, but at this point, no promises) series on the Presidents, Aaron and Jason give their “bottom of the best” ranking, with Jason vehemently disagreeing with Aaron’s number 5 pick, and Aaron being mostly bamboozled at Jason’s. John Boles’ “Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty”: Boles and Hall’s “Seeing Jefferson Anew in His Time and Ours”: Grant’s Autobiography: Ron Chernow’s “Grant”: --- Send in a voice message:
Every podcast comes to the point of doing lists, so we thought we’d get it out of the way! In part one of our two-part series, Jason and Aaron give their “worst five” of the U.S. Presidents, each using their own criteria and viewpoints to say who they believe deserve to be in the White House’s “Hall of Shame,” and realizing that, as bad as people want to paint our current political sphere, it could always be worse, and has been in the past. An overview on LBJ’s War on Poverty: Dr. Burton Folsom and Jim Powell on the true legacy of FDR’s New Deal: Robert Higgs on the New Deal: --- Send in a voice message:
A still-recovering-from-the-flu Aaron is joined by Brianna Walden, Associate Director of Criminal Justice at Stand Together and the Charles Koch Institute, to discuss criminal justice reform! Brianna talks about her work with the Charles Koch Institute and Stand Together, as well as discussing the systematic problems within the justice system that make it so problematic, especially the problem of over-criminalization. Aaron and Brianna discuss why criminal justice reform is an important issue in our everyday lives (even if you may not think it is), and how everyone can get involved in trying to fix the problem. A list of nonprofits and organizations that work with Stand Together to seek “civil society” solutions to criminal justice system problems: SHRM and the Charles Koch Institute’s Report on Workers with Criminal Records: Prison Fellowship’s “Outrageous Justice” materials: A news-spot on the recent clemencies granted in Oklahoma: Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy”: Themesong by Nathan Keightley --- Send in a voice message:
Aaron and Austin tackle the question of conspiracy theories, as belief in such theories is often used as an attack on non-mainline political beliefs. Are all conspiracy theories created equal? What makes a conspiracy theory worthy of consideration as opposed to being summarily dismissed? When should we listen to “tin foil hats” and when should we not? What specific conspiracy theories do we believe, and which do we not? Austin talks about the hierarchy of conspiracy theories, and how some are more believable because they reflect our everyday experience. Aaron talks about the psychological taxonomy of conspiracy theories, differentiating healthy skepticism from conspiracy ideation. Finally, the hosts go over some popular conspiracy theories from Internet Politics Land, and give their thoughts on them. And also, Epstein didn’t kill himself. --- Send in a voice message:
It’s a “live” episode! Aaron is joined by guest Capt. Nils Gransberg, to continue our discussion of Middle-Eastern Affairs from last week. Nils talks about his experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, and why they gave a more libertarian perspective on foreign policy, especially given the absurd notion that somehow we can force democracy into these places. Nils talks about his experiences with Turkey and the Kurds, and how our current situation is essentially history repeating himself, how Russia’s growing power in the Middle East shouldn’t be keeping us up at night, and how just because men like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may die, that doesn’t mean much for the larger picture unless our foreign policy changes overall. We apologize for the sound quality, especially the constant banging, etc. We didn’t realize that we’d forgotten the muffling pads on the ambient mic stand until it was too late, so every time anything touched the table, it vibrated the mic stand. Theme by Nathan Keightley --- Send in a voice message:
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: Reuters 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 Keightley Rare’s Jacob Grier writing about the vaping panic, as well as pointing out previous moral-panic based legislation and how it has utterly failed: The 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: Jeff Yang’s Review for CNN: An article from The Atlantic summarizing Todd Phillips’ and Joaquin Phoenix’s responses to the “controversy”: Theme 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:
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store