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: 5Played: 104


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!
75 Episodes
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:
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:
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: Federalist 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: Why the way the media portrays mass shootings is based on bad data: Lindsey Graham’s defense of Red Flag laws: Why Red Flags violate due process: Aaron’s Article on the Bad Decision Making Tendencies Surrounding Numerous Gun Control Ideas: DJ 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: The Buzzfeed article accusing him of “punching down”: A piece from NBC highlighting why Chapelle’s particular style of comedy is still valuable: A 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.: Patrick Lynch’s statement on why he disagreed with the dismissal of Pantaleo from the NYPD: Elie Mystal for The Nation on why there needs to be more of a crackdown on police authoritarianism: CATO’s summary of the police officer who shot a child in the knee and has been declared immune from charges: A brief overview on Joe Arpaio, the Arizona Sheriff who embodies a lot of the problems discussed in this episode: An overview on some of Arpaio’s specific legal issues: Seth 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: Andrew’s original piece on the Greenland incident: Marc Thiessen’s pro-Trump-Greenland-idea op ed for the Washington Post: Tom Cotton’s similar op ed for the New York Times: The 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:
Continuing on from last week’s discussion of Nationalism, Jason and Aaron decide to link Nationalism more broadly to topics of prejudice and immigration. They start by attempting to reach some sort of common definition of Nationalism, with Jason favoring a more historical categorization focusing on specifics, and Aaron favoring a broader distinction between Nationalism and Patriotism drawn from psychology literature. While neither of them think nationalism is good, there is some friendly disagreement as to the inherently prejudicial nature of prejudice. Jason gives us an overview of nationalism’s history within the U.S., specifically as it applies to the issue of Immigration, while Aaron talks about why he still believes this to be an issue of racism. Finally, Jason discusses the importance of using “political judo” in our responses to nationalism and the claims of nationalists, while Aaron stresses the importance of differentiation between patriotism and nationalism.  The Associated Press on President Trump’s further actions to restrict legal immigration: The CATO Institute on why the “welfare argument” against immigrants doesn’t hold water: Reason Magazine going over the history of President Trump’s nationalist immigration policies: Executive Chairman of the National Foundation for American Policy, Stuart Anderson, on the classical liberal vs. nationalist approaches to immigration: A takedown of “national conservatism” from the Acton Institute: --- Send in a voice message:
For our first Season 2 episode (new intro music!), Aaron interviews Stephanie Slade, a managing editor and writer at Reason Magazine, on her recent experiences visiting the National Conservatism Conference.  Aaron and Stephanie discuss the rise in nationalism on the right wing, why nationalism isn’t a good thing (as opposed to patriotism), why nationalism is explicitly anti-liberal (in the sense of classical liberalism) and thus inherently anti-American, and why the dream to use government force to inflict virtue is naive and ultimately self-destructive.  NOTE: We recorded this episode before the recent tragedies in Texas and Ohio, which is why we do not reference them. We are not trying to dodge the issue of the nationalist ideology put forward by one of these individuals, but do believe that what we discuss here is and should be part of that conversation. Stephanie’s Article on the National Conservatism Conference: Shikha Dalmia on National Conservatism’s attitudes to immigrants: --- Send in a voice message:
Civil War Debate - Part II

Civil War Debate - Part II


In part 2 of our Civil War debate, we discuss the Civil War in light of the Founding Principles, during which Austin Collins attempts to derail us by trying to make this about the Federalist papers. We then skip over the years of the war itself to keep the focus on the governmental actions surrounding the war by discussing the unmitigated, vengeful disaster/righteous subjugation (depending on your point of view) that was Reconstruction. We also revisit the difficult question of secession, specifically applying it to the Reconstruction context. We then tackle the minor question of if and how we can come to terms with the legacy of the civil war as a nation and culture, before closing out our debate with the oft-repeated, yet still important truth of the necessity of open, honest dialogue and discourse across ideological and party lines, especially when it comes to such difficult and divisive topics as The American Civil War.  NOTE: We apologize that Aaron sounds weird in the intro and outro of this episode. We blame the state of Oklahoma and its horrific, horrendous allergens.  Herman Melville’s Poetry on the Civil War: Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery: Our previous episode on Race Relations and the legacy of slavery: --- Send in a voice message:
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store