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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Snarkiness

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Snarkiness

By libertysnark
An interdisciplinary team of millennials 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!
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At Least Jesus Wasn't Impeached: President Trump and the Prayer Breakfast

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Snarkiness

At Least Jesus Wasn't Impeached: President Trump and the Prayer Breakfast

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Snarkiness

Originalism and Chivalry
While not giving their opinions on Justice Barrett specifically, Austin and Aaron tackle the topic of Originalism, Justice Barrett’s judicial philosophy, around which a number of critiques of her have centered. Austin gets actually outraged for the first time when addressing numerous critiques of originalism, while Aaron talks about the importance of taking statements and beliefs and theories in context. NOTE: Aaron’s microphone broke literally ten minutes before recording. He’ll have a new microphone soon! The Washington Post on Originalism: Jamelle Bouie for the NYT on Originalism and the “Reinvention” of the Constitution in 1865: Dahlia Lithwick for MSN on Originalism:
October 20, 2020
Problems with the 1776 Project
In the wake of Indigenous Peoples’ day, as well as Donald Trump’s call for “patriotic” education, his Columbus day proclamation against those who seek to “destroy our history” by pointing out that Columbus was a terrible, terrible person, and his executive orders regarding the 1619 project, Aaron and Jason discuss philosophy of history. Jason brings up his belief that pedagogy should teach students how to think, not what to think, while Aaron brings up the problem of constructivism and how, since our perception is inherently subjective, our interpretations of history will be as well. Jason and Aaron also discuss their mutual teaching philosophies for their subjects of history and psychology. Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM:
October 13, 2020
Beyond Brutality: Part 3 - Prosecutorial Indiscretion
Aaron and Austin continue their discussion of needed criminal justice reform. This week, they set their sights on prosecutors, and from the get-go, Aaron struggles against (and nearly breaks) the no-swearing rule. Aaron talks about why he thinks prosecutors are, in many ways, the “ultimate evil” of the justice system, why they are psychologically set up to become tyrannical, and how they serve as a perfect example of why systemic, “from the ground up” efforts are needed for criminal justice reform. Austin gives specific examples of prosecutorial misconduct that illustrates the fact that prosecutors have too much power and not enough accountability. Judge Frederic Block on the need for Prosecutorial Reform: An overview of Russell Faria’s case: Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM:
September 29, 2020
Remembering the Notorious RBG
Recorded before President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, Aaron and Austin reflect on the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, looking beyond the Right-Wing talking points of Abortion and Gun Rights to see RBG’s legacy as a defender of individual rights and an advocate of the Fourth Amendment. While not agreeing with everything RBG did or stood for, both Aaron and Austin believe that she represents an unfortunately bygone era both for the Supreme Court itself and for politics at large in this country. The CATO Institute on RBG’s defense of the Fourth Amendment: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia appearing together on the Kalb Report: Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM:
September 28, 2020
Beyond Brutality: Part 2 - ThePeople vs. The Police
Continuing their discussion of needed criminal justice reform beyond stopping police shootings, Austin and Aaron discuss the news out of Florida where a Sheriff’s “intelligence-based policing” is basically “minority report for idiots.” In an episode that tests the podcast’s “no swearing rule” more than any that has come before it, Aaron and Austin discuss why this example serves as a case study for why the police need to have more guidelines for and limitations on their behavior, as well as discussing how the police already try to work around the limits they already have, such as Miranda Rights. Austin brings up how the court system, especially the Supreme Court, is complicit, and has been for years, in this sort of police abuse of power, especially with the issue of qualified immunity. Aaron brings up that people who think that they have nothing to fear from police officers’ refusal to abide by Miranda or Fourth Amendment Rights are not only wrong, but are also coming from a place of extreme privilege. They also talk about why Austin’s views on defendants’ rights place him in a minority in his field, and Aaron breaks Godwin’s law for the umpteenth time. The Tampa Times Article discussed in this episode: Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM:
September 15, 2020
Beyond Brutality: Part 1 - Coerced False Confessions
Given the recent societal interest in criminal justice reform, and in the wake of the exoneration of Mr. Curtis Flowers after 6 trials and 24 years of wrongful imprisonment, Aaron and Austin begin a series of conversations about issues surrounding the criminal justice system. While it’s a good thing that so many calls for criminal justice reform have begun with the issue of police brutality, there are so many other widespread issues, many of which impact every single person who interacts with the justice system, that must also be addressed in order to see tangible change and beneficial outcomes for criminal justice reform, which will be the subjects of numerous upcoming episodes, starting with this one. In this first conversation, they talk about the issue of coerced false confessions, how the American justice system is set up in such a way as to uniquely disadvantage innocent people when they are under interrogation, and how interrogation strategies make false confessions much more likely. Both Austin and Aaron talk about how coerced false confessions disadvantage people at every level of the justice system, from police to prosecutors to judges to juries, and discuss what tangible criminal justice reform in this area will look like. Dr. Saul Kassin on the issue of coerced false confessions: A brief overview of the case of Juan Rivera: Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM:
September 8, 2020
QAnon and the Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
A still-recovering-from-COVID Aaron (hence the excessively scratchy voice) is joined by fellow OU Alum, psychologist, and grad student Marie Altgilbers, whose research focuses on the study of conspiracy theories. Aaron and Marie discuss the QAnon conspiracy theory, as well as related conspiracy theories like Pizzagate, and discuss their broad-reaching influence, the harms that emerge from that influence within present American political discourse, and of course, their connection to President Trump. Along the way, Aaron and Marie discuss conspiracy theories more broadly, including topics like why people believe in conspiracy theories, what makes conspiracy theories harmful, and how we can “fix” conspiracy theories in our political society. The QAnon-related incident at the Hoover Dam that Marie references: More about QAnon’s links to terrorism (just a note, the comments section of this is a great example of how QAnon people respond to being called conspiracy theorists, even in the face of evidence showing them to be): Even Fox News condemning QAnon and the president’s recent embracing of QAnon: Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM:
September 1, 2020
COVID-19 and Christianity
As Pastor John McArthur takes on the state of California, Aaron is joined once again by Pastor David Keating to talk about the religious response to COVID, including the government public health regulations designed to prevent it, as well as discussion why it is that so many within organized Christianity seem to resist these public health measures. BioLogos’s Statement: Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM:
August 25, 2020
Santa Claus’s Gritty Reboot? A Debate About John Brown
In the light of the upcoming miniseries “The Good Lord Bird,” Aaron and Jason are joined by Connor Gleason to discuss the circumstances, actions, and legacy of John Brown. They discuss the national circumstances surrounding slavery, including the Missouri Compromise, the Dred Scott case, and the caning of Charles Sumner, as well as how those events culminated in Bleeding Kansas, where John Brown made his name. Also discussed are raid on Harper’s Ferry, the legacy of John Brown in his own day, and what lessons, if any, we can learn from John Brown in the current day. Youtube historian Atun-Shei Films on the issue of even common Confederate soldiers explicitly fighting for slavery (language warning): Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM:
August 18, 2020
The Obligatory Self-Reflection Episode
As we head into our third year of the podcast, Aaron, Austin, and Jason sit back together (well, separately, there are literal hundreds of miles of distance between them) to discuss the differences between where they were politically when they first joined the podcast, and where they are now. Austin describes his descent into “political agnosticism,” and how doctrinaire libertarianism has become something he can’t uphold anymore. Aaron likewise talks about why he wouldn’t use the term “libertarian” to describe himself anymore, and how he’s come to appreciate perspectives on the Left as well as on the Right. Jason describes why, though he doesn’t believe his political beliefs have changed that much, the changes in America’s political discourse have left him feeling without a political home. Austin, Jason, and Aaron also take a squabble as a chance to advertise our next episode. Themesong information Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM:
August 11, 2020
A Reckoning with Race? A Discussion About Hillsdale College
For our final episode of Season 2, Aaron is joined by Liz Whyte, a journalist and fellow Hillsdale Alum, who recently wrote a piece summing up her thoughts on the national attention that Hillsdale is receiving for recently refusing to take sides on the racial issues plaguing the country, and why the College should not claim to be remaining neutral based on both its past and its present. Aaron offers a couple of thoughts on a recent issue of Hillsdale’s magazine “Imprimis,” where the college saw fit to give a voice to Heather MacDonald, a woman whose anti-criminal-justice-reform policies make it hard for Aaron to say anything nice about her. Liz’s original piece for the Bulwark: Hillsdale’s statement in response to the open letters: Fellow Alum John Daniel Davidson’s response to Liz in The Federalist: Hillsdale’s recently-republished Imprimis piece on BLM and Police Brutality: The Roger Kimball Imprimis piece that Liz mentioned in her article:
August 4, 2020
"A Bad Call of Duty Game” : Abuse of Government Power in Portland
We’ve often discussed how the letter and spirit of the law are not always the most strongly correlated - i.e., just because something is technically “legal,” that does not mean it is ethical, moral, or even a good idea. Aaron and Austin apply this principle to the Portland situation, with Austin giving his views on not only the strict constitutionality of DHS’s actions in Portland, but also explaining why just because they may be conforming to the strict letter of the law, this does not justify their actions. Aaron, meanwhile, plays Devil’s Advocate for Austin (something Aaron hates doing), in order to allow Austin to address and refute a number of popular justifications for DHS’s actions against the protestors. A report on the legal response to detaining journalists in Portland: Andrew Napolitano on the Unconstitutionality of the situation: A followup on BLM and how they have responded to the Portland situation: Forbes’ Evan Gerstmann on the unconstitutionality of Federal law enforcement in Portland: Theme by Nathan Keightley
July 28, 2020
Hamilton, Bojack Horseman, and a Potential Curse
After, no joke, SIX attempts to record this episode, and after negotiating power failures, Oklahoman “wind events,” computer crashes, and just plain weirdness (seriously, we think this episode might be cursed), Aaron is FINALLY successful in being able to talk to Faith Liu about the issues of representation in media. While last year they talked about casting controversies with Disney’s upcoming remake of “The Little Mermaid,” this time, now that Faith is officially a Hollywood Writer, they talk about the importance of diversity in how stories are told in entertainment, including just what the phrase “representation matters” actually means (and why it matters), why “actors just pretend to be other people all the time” isn’t an excuse for whitewashing, and how there’s more to diversity than just the ethnicity of chosen actors. The Prentice Penny piece that Faith referenced:
July 14, 2020
Forgotten Founders, Pt. 2: Financiers, Propaganda, and Calvinism
Aaron and Jason continue their discussion of our “forgotten founders.” Jason brings up a businessman who was the only signer of all four major American founding documents and who quietly motivated some of the most important founding principles when the American government was being established, the “financier of the revolution,” and a founder who is better known by the college named after him than for his own legacy. Aaron, meanwhile, talks about the ACTUAL first chief justice (as opposed to Jason bringing up John Marshall last week), a playwright, propagandist, and historian whose role in the Founding goes totally unnoticed, and a remarkable Calvinist clergyman from the North who served as one of the most powerful voices for abolition until Frederick Douglass himself. Jason also shills for Coca Cola and Aaron gets more into the Christian theological/philosophical perspective of Calvinism and some of its intersections with American history. Two sources on Mercy Otis Warren: A series of resources on Lemuel Haynes: Theme by Nathan Keightley
July 7, 2020
Forgotten Founders, Pt. 1: Beer, Common Sense, and Psychiatry
For our July 4th episodes, Aaron and Jason decide to take a look at some of our lesser-known Founders, looking for those whose influence has unjustly been denied, or those who don’t conform to the popular image of the Founding, be it in their contributions, their beliefs, or their actions. In Part 1, Aaron talks about a particularly famous New Englander whose reputation has been unjustly tarnished and how one of the first psychiatrists, veterinarians, and abolitionists were all the same person, and how that person was actually an important part of the American Founding. Jason talks about the first “real” American Chief Justice, as well as an Anglo-American who exemplified the dangers of a revolutionary spirit. John Marshall and Judicial Review: John Alexander’s Samuel Adams: America's Revolutionary Politician. Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”: Alyn Brodsky (author of “Benjamin Rush, Patriot and Physician”) being interviewed about Rush: Theme by Nathan Keightley
June 30, 2020
Analyzing Churchill, Part 2: Museums, Flags, and a Special Hat
Aaron and Connor continue their discussion of Winston Churchill. They discuss the legacy of other troubling historical figures, as well as bringing up the fact that statues are not vehicles for teaching history, and thus it would be better for statues to find their places in museums, rather than in public places of honor, when the subjects of these statues held beliefs that might trouble modern perspectives and consciences.
June 23, 2020
Re-Evaluating Winston Churchill, pt. 1: Imperialism, Colonialism, and Gallipoli
Aaron is joined by a podcast guest, history teacher Connor Gleason, to discus the legacy of Winston Churchill that has been questioned in light of recent protests against both historical and contemporary racial injustice. Aaron brings up some of the specifically troubling things Churchill did and said during his early career, such as the Gallipoli Campaign and his views on the use of gas, while Connor discusses Churchill’s underlying racial and imperialist views that defined his political career. An article about the protests against Churchill: Shashi Tharoor’s article on Churchill’s troubling legacy in India: A Response to Tharoor’s article from Connor and Aaron’s Alma Mater, Hillsdale College: Theme by Nathan Keightley
June 18, 2020
Disqualify Immunity - Discussing Police Reform
Aaron and Austin discuss the potential police reforms that have been proposed in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, especially the reform suggested by Reps. Justin Amash and Ayanna Pressley to end qualified immunity. Austin explains how qualified immunity is supposed to work vs. how it actually works and why it’s such a threat to ensuring protection from police brutality. Aaron compares the numerous legal protections that police enjoy to the infamous Milgram experiment, as well as the “problem of moral psychology,” and explains why these issues mean that he thinks that system “reform” needs to address these issues from the ground up. NOTE: this episode was recorded before Minneapolis’s city council decided to abolish their police, we promise that we are not avoiding that issue. Justin Amash’s plan to end qualified immunity: How Qualified Immunity covered a police officer when he negligently shot a ten year old: The Free Thoughts Podcast on the perverse incentives in the Justice System: An article describing the effective police reform in Aaron’s home of Camden County: Theme by Nathan Keightley
June 9, 2020
The First Civil Rights President: The History Channel's "Grant"
Life right now sucks, so why not escape into history? Aaron and Jason discuss the History Channel’s recent documentary on President U.S. Grant. Going beyond the documentary itself, Jason tells us why he thinks it’s an important way to inspire further historical analysis about one of the most important presidents, while also calling Aaron a “lying dog-faced pony soldier.” Aaron discusses why he thinks Grant embodies the spirit of Dignity culture, as opposed to the Southern culture of Honor. Both hosts discuss the legacy of Grant, including how his reputation was tarnished by the Lost Cause, how we should think about the corruption scandals of his presidential tenure, and what “the first Civil Rights President” can teach us about living our lives today, even in these troubling times. Ron Chernow’s “Grant,” the book that inspired the miniseries: Dr. David Blight’s “HIST 119: The Civil War War and Reconstruction Era” on Apple Podcasts: Prof. Edward Bonekemper III on “The Lost Cause”: Dr. Caroline Janney on “The Lost Cause”: Theme by Nathan Keightley
June 2, 2020
Policing Our Own, Part II: Protests? Terrorism? Protesterrorism?
Aaron and Austin continue their discussion from last week about “policing our own,” and apply it to the armed protests against the COVID-19 Lockdowns. They compare it to previous armed protests and go into why they think these are different, and why these protests are perhaps not the best idea ever. A news article about the Michigan protest that Austin and Aaron use as a counterpoint to the anti-lockdown protests: Theme by Nathan Keightley
May 26, 2020
Policing Our Own: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Kenneth Walker
Aaron and Austin join up for a two-parter on the topic of “policing our own.” They start by discussing some further details about the Ahmaud Arbery Case, including some of the difficulties they foresee in the upcoming trial. They then discuss the similar case of Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who were the victim of a no-knock raid where the police had the wrong address and killed Ms. Taylor, and Mr. Walker, who was only defending himself, is now facing criminal charges. Aaron and Austin, in the spirit of “policing our own,” call out supposed gun-rights activists who are remaining damnably silent about this, the same way they’ve remained silent about Ahmed Arbery’s case. The WaPo article on Gregory McMichael’s history of shirking use of force training: An article on the rather damning silence from gun rights activists in Mr. Walker and Ms. Taylor’s case: Reason magazine on the policy implications of Ms. Taylor’s tragic death: Theme by Nathan Keightley
May 19, 2020
A 21st Century Lynching: The Killing of Ahmaud Arbery
Aaron is joined by Hannah Cox, a conservatarian journalist and criminal justice reform activist, to discuss the public discourse around the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. Aaron and Hannah discuss the facts of the case, why the public outcry against the delay of justice for Ahmaud is important, how it’s impossible to discuss issues like this without bringing up issues of race, and how these issues extend to all levels of the criminal justice system. Hannah also gives some background about her own involvement in the justice system and why she’s taken up the mantle of such causes as ending the death penalty, and Aaron brings up something that’s become more and more of a theme on the podcast, the idea of “policing our own” when it comes to the expression of individual rights. The Police Report on Ahmaud Arbery’s Death: Georgia DA George Barnhill on why he didn’t prosecute the McMichaels: A report on why the video of Ahmaud Arbery in the house was not grounds for the McMichaels’ actions: Charles Blow writing for the NYT on the ramifications of this case: How the source of the leaked video showing Ahmaud Arbery’s death actually leaked it to clear the McMichaels: CNN’s compilation of what is known about this case: Theme by Nathan Keightley
May 12, 2020
"There is Another" - Justin Amash's Presidential Bid
Aaron is joined again by Tyler Groenendal, now one of the hosts of “The Amash Files,” a new podcast dedicated to following Justin Amash’s candidacy, as well as providing insights into Amash’s campaign that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Aaron and Tyler discuss Justin Amash’s recently-declared candidacy. How viable is his bid for the presidency? What makes him different from previous third party candidates? Why is he entering the race so late? What makes him such an ideal voice for liberty? Why do people refuse to consider third party options even when served utter dreck from the mainline parties? Aaron also brings up the specific controversies and questions regarding Amash, from controversial votes (including voting for impeachment) to specific policies an Amash presidency would produce, and Tyler gives us an insider's perspective on these and other topics.  The Amash Files Podcast: Reason’s Matt Welch on Amash’s Candidacy: Joe Walsh on why he thinks Amash’s campaign will re-elect Trump: The Liberty Herald’s case for how Justin could actually win: The recent Politico profile on Justin and why he’s running for president:
May 5, 2020
Whose Right is it Anyway? Big Cats and COVID-19
Austin and Aaron continue upon and expand numerous previous podcast episodes (including last week’s episode on Tiger King) to discuss the problems of individual rights vs. collective wellbeing. Both hosts begin by talking about their own preferred variants on the Old Fashioned, after which they discuss a rights-based perspective on such issues as owning large cats, balancing concerns about COVID-19 with the right to work and the right to go out in public, and how we can try to balance our concerns for our own individualism with the welfare of the communities in which we live.
April 28, 2020
The Conscience of the Tiger King: Big Cats in Captivity and Wildlife Conservation
Hey there you cool cats and kittens! This week, Aaron is joined by Sarah Sparks, a veterinary student and animal welfare advocate, to discuss the fervor around Netflix's “Tiger King.” Specifically, they decide to talk about one of the issues that the documentary seemed to sweep aside, namely the actual tigers and other big cats. Aaron and Sarah discuss some of the problematic depictions of the big cat industry within Tiger King, as well as the overall issues of conservation that Tiger King hints at. Also discussed are Harambe, the exotic pet trade, “Savannah Cats,” and why Aaron’s Old-Fashioned practices (i.e., regarding the bourbon-based cocktail) make him a Heathen in the eyes of his Kentuckian guest. Cat Behaviorist Jackson Galaxy (someone as endearingly bizarre as anyone in The Tiger King, but unlike them he makes a difference in the lives of animals) on why Tiger King misses the mark: Carole and Howard Baskin on the accusations made against them by Tiger King: Why Tiger King is Not “Blackfish for Cats”: For no other reason other than it’s funny, here’s Joe Biden’s response to Tiger King:
April 21, 2020
Cabin Fever and Technocracy
With the ongoing COVID-19 causing a cry of “trust the experts,” the difficult question that comes to us is; which experts? Who counts as an expert? Who do we listen to? Aaron and Jason tackle this issue by raising the question of who counts as an expert, when should we listen to them, when should we question if their expertise is relevant, and what, in all of this, is the role of common sense and discernment? Ezekiel Immanuel on his plan for an 18 month shutdown: Ron Paul’s comments on Dr. Fauci: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Earth’s Holocaust”: A paper by Social Psychologist Robert Cialdini (and others) going over the predatory use of “expertise” in persuasion: Muppet Treasure Island’s “Cabin Fever”:
April 14, 2020
Plants and Populism: The Top Ten Points of Divergence in U.S. History, Part 2
Aaron and Jason conclude our two-part series on U.S. History’s Points of Divergence. Aaron discusses how two often-discounted Constitutional amendments altered the fundamental structure of our government, how FDR changed how individuals relate to the state, the “non-war to begin all non-wars,” and how the United States Federal Government has been utterly defeated by plants and yet refuses to acknowledge it. Jason discusses why the “unnecessary” war was actually 100% necessary, and what he thinks was the most recent point of divergence in our nation’s history.
April 7, 2020
Cream Soda and T-Shirts: The Top Ten Points of Divergence in U.S. History, Part 1
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.
March 31, 2020
Black Swans, Hindsight Bias, and Frau Blücher: The Government Response to COVID-19
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
March 24, 2020
The Farce is Strong With This One: Reviewing "The Hunt"
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
March 17, 2020
COVID-19 Concerns - Bonus Episode
There’s a lot of fear out there at the moment with the reactions to COVID-19. As none of the regular hosts of this podcast have even remotely sufficient medical knowledge to provide that perspective, we’ve asked Dr. Eric Larson of the Paradocs Podcast to once again come on for a special episode on the Coronavirus. Aaron and Eric discuss what COVID-19 is, how people are responding to it, what reasonable vs. unreasonable reactions to COVID-19 look like, and, of course, how our government is responding to/making use of the crisis. And in the words of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”: Don’t Panic. Champaigne, Illinois mayor signs executive order granting power to ban sale of guns and alcohol while addressing coronavirus - Hannah Cox for Medium - reminding us that crises are a perfect time to seize power - CA governor signs executive order that allows the state to take over hotels and medical facilities if necessary to treat coronavirus patients, and also gives government officials the ability to hold private teleconferences without violating open meeting laws. - The Paradocs Podcast Website: Theme by Nathan Keightley
March 15, 2020
Whistleblowing and Fan Mail
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
March 10, 2020
Vaccines and Jiu Jitsu: Discussing the Antivaxx Movement
Aaron is joined by Dr. Eric Larson, host of the Paradocs Podcast, to tackle the difficult issue of vaccination. Both Aaron and Eric face a similar quandary in that they are both personally VERY pro-vaccine (seriously people, please vaccinate your kids), but also believe in a limited government that shouldn’t have the power to make people do things just because they might be good things to do. Aaron and Eric discuss whether or not the risks of unvaccinated individuals warrant government action, discuss the difficulties of both the pro and anti-vaccine sides of the debate, and how just because the government may not be the best solution, a non-governmental solution isn’t necessarily going to satisfy the more extreme parts of the anti-vaccine movement. ABC News on current vaccination rates: “Why I was an anti-vaxxer” - One woman’s account of why she was afraid of vaccines and what changed her mind: An article explaining the psychology of how antivaxx attitudes are formed: Another article, this one pointing out specific psychological flaws in thinking that lead to anti vaccine attitudes: A “don’t panic”-style article from the Association for Psychological Science examining how most “anti vaxxers” are not inherently anti-vaccine, and how psychologists are trying to persuade people of vaccine safety and efficacy: Dr. Larson’s podcast: Theme by Nathan Keightley
March 3, 2020
A Broken Compass: The Myth of “Free-Market Fundamentalism”
Aaron is joined by our special guest star Tyler Groenendal, the co-founder of the podcast, to discuss Oren Cass’s new “American Compass” think-tank that seeks to bring the Republican party away from “free-market fundamentalism.” Tyler points out the absurdity of claiming that libertarians or libertarian philosophy have had any sort of control over Republican economic policy over the last thirty years, while Aaron discusses why he thinks Oren Cass and his supporters are just making a power-grab, rather than trying to engage in serious intellectual discussion. Finally, both Tyler and Aaron reflect on the implications that movements like American Compass have for a Post-Trump era, and whether adherents of free trade or sensible economic party have anyone to turn to among the two major parties. The Washington Post’s summary of Cass’s plans and goals: Economist Donald Boudreaux’s response to Cass, and why he thinks Cass is being disingenuous: A more in-depth response by Boudreaux: “Crisis and Leviathan” by Robert Higgs:
February 25, 2020
The Optimism and Pessimism Education Hour
Inspired by the supposed “education crisis” that may or may not result from President Trump’s recommended budget, Aaron and Jason, both educators, decide to discuss education. Each gives their views and theories about what education should be, with Jason advocating for classical education while Aaron takes a broader stance that simply values the transformative power of learning. They also discuss the anti-education perspectives within the libertarian and conservative movements, from conservatives seeking their own form of indoctrination to the “unschooling” movement. CATO’s Dan Mitchell on his skepticism of Trump’s Budget: The Circe Institute: Theme by Nathan Keightley
February 18, 2020
At Least Jesus Wasn't Impeached: President Trump and the Prayer Breakfast
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:
February 11, 2020
The "Big Game" and Cultural Appropriation
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:
February 4, 2020
Get Yeeted on During the Boogaloo? A Discussion of Gun Culture
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.
January 28, 2020
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:
January 21, 2020
1917, the Afghanistan Papers, and the Iranian Kerfuffle
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:
January 14, 2020
THAT Christianity Today Article: Evangelicalism and the Response to Trump’s Impeachment
You’re not supposed to talk about sex, politics, or religion in polite conversation, but since we already talk about politics, why not bring religion into the mix? Aaron is joined by David Keating, an Mdiv student at Concordia Theological Seminary, to discuss the recent article in Christianity Today calling for Evangelical Christians to end their support of President Trump. The Original Christianity Today Article that sparked this entire affair: Interview with Mark Galli, the editor of Christianity Today, on the response to the article: President Trump’s initial response to the article: Jim Daly on why Evanglicals should support Trump: The Washington Post’s take on the entire affair:
January 7, 2020
New Year's Resolutions
In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, Aaron discusses what he perceives as some of the biggest psychological flaws in political decision making on both sides of the aisle, and talks about how, as we move into a new year and a new decade, we should all, regardless of political party, resolve to be better political thinkers and decision-makers. Theme by Nathan Keightley
December 31, 2019
The Rise of Skywalker Review
Rather than talking about impeachment, we decided to talk about one of the even more fundamental issues dividing the American people: Is the new Star Wars movie good or not? Did you really think we weren’t going to talk about this? Also, SPOILER. WARNING. We will be discussing the plot of “The Rise of Skywalker,” including some pretty major reveals, so if you haven’t seen it yet and have somehow managed to avoid spoilers, this is your warning to turn back now. Aaron is joined once again by Hollywood screenwriter Faith Liu to discuss how the series has gone so far, how it’s been politicized, and whether or not the newest movie is worth your time. Aaron and faith discuss the oft-used but rarely-defined term “Mary Sue,” the sharp critic/audience divides over both “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker,” and the importance of myth and narrative in a culture. Note: we apologize for some slight audio issues at the beginning of the episode, audio normalizes within the first five minutes. Theme by Nathan Keightley
December 24, 2019
Thinning the Blue Line: William Barr and Revisiting Policing
After an in-depth discussion of Scotch Whiskey, Aaron and Austin talk about Attorney General Barr’s recent comments to the effect of “communities that protest the police may not get police protection.” Aaron talks about the dangers of such rhetoric, and how it threatens the very nature of free speech and equal protection of rights. Austin discusses the specific constitutional problems that Attorney General Barr’s comments raise, as well as further elaborating the difference between the “thin blue line” crowd and a more constructive support of police officers. Both Aaron and Austin then conclude the episode by talking about how we can effect change, despite the attitudes of people like Barr, and how we can spread the message that we need to demand more of our police. USA Today on Attorney General Barr’s Comments: The "water gun protests" that Austin referred to: An article on the Second Amendment Sanctuary Cities in Virginia: Theme by Nathan Keightley
December 17, 2019
We’re Ranking the Presidents, Part 4: The Best of the Best
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
December 12, 2019
We’re Ranking the Presidents, Part 3: The Middle of an Excellent Pack
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
December 10, 2019
We’re Ranking the Presidents, Part 2: The Bottom of the Best of the Barrel
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”:
December 6, 2019
We’re Ranking the Presidents! Part. 1: The Hall of Shame
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:
November 26, 2019
Concrete Criminal Justice Reform
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
November 19, 2019
Tin Foil Hat Time (and Epstein didn’t kill himself!) : Conspiracy Theories in Sociopolitical Discourse
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.
November 5, 2019
A Few Smooth Stones: An Insider’s Perspective on Foreign Wars
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
October 29, 2019
Syria, Foreign Wars, and Betrayed Principles
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:
October 22, 2019
Undercooked Stater-tots: Prohibition and the Vaping "Crisis"
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:
October 15, 2019
Incel Clown Posse? Todd Phillips' Joker
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
October 8, 2019
Spooky Scary Statistics: Thinking Critically about Politician/Media Claims
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.
October 1, 2019
Talkin' 'Bout Tulsi: The Libertarian Response(s) to Tulsi Gabbard
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
September 24, 2019
The god-Emperor’s New Clothes: The Republican Primaries and Pluralistic Ignorance
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:
September 17, 2019
Not Just for Gun People: Why Red Flag Laws Should Worry Everyone
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:
September 10, 2019
Drink Some Tea and Calm Down: A Review of “Sticks and Stones”
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
September 3, 2019
Something Has to Change: Police Brutality and Misconduct
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:
August 29, 2019
The Golden God Wants to Fight the Vikings: The Greenland Situation
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:
August 27, 2019
Nationalism, Immigration, and American Identity
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:
August 13, 2019
National “Conservatism,” Patriotism, and American Identity
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:
August 6, 2019
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:
July 30, 2019
Screw It, We're Debating the Civil War!
The default position for a lot of libertarians/classical liberals/small government folk tends to be siding with the South in the American Civil War. We do not, and we've gotten some flack for it. Thus, being the nerds we are, we decided to have a formal debate about it (’tis the season), joined by Austin (Tex) Prochko as our designated Confederacy advocate! Listen to four libertarians discuss the Civil War, its causes, philosophical implications, and misunderstandings surrounding it as Austin, Jason, Tex, and Aaron tackle perhaps the most controversial event in American History.  The Cornerstone Speech by Alexander Stephens. This was the speech referenced by Jason in which the Vice President of the Confederacy made it clear that slavery was a fundamental “institution” in the Confederacy’s eyes. : John Locke’s Letter on Toleration. This is the treatise by Locke that Tex referenced in today’s episode.: The Declarations of Secession from the different confederate states:
July 23, 2019
Under the Sea! The Little Mermaid, “Colorblind” Casting, and the Importance of Representation
In the wake of the Black Little Mermaid casting “controversy” (now replaced by Area 51 memes!), guest Faith Liu returns to the podcast to discuss both this and other casting controversies from the perspective of a Hollywood writer. Faith and Aaron discuss what is meant by “colorblind casting,” and why Faith considers it a cop-out, the whitewashing phenomenon and why it’s different from other forms of ethnicity-changing casting decisions, why representation matters in media, and the merits of different representation strategies for race and gender.  Faith Liu is a writer currently working in Hollywood. Among her other projects, she has worked on AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” and is currently working on Cinemax’s show “Warrior.” The Asian Americana Podcast: Now You See It on Writing Women: Eric July with a libertarian perspective on race-changing (Content warning: language)  Part 1: Part 2:
July 16, 2019
Healthcare Problems and Solutions: A free-market perspective
In this episode, we have a chance to talk to Dr. Eric Larson, host of The Paradocs Podcast, about the healthcare crisis in America. As seen in the recent Democratic debates, it seems that the Healthcare system is going to become a major issue in the upcoming election, and everyone seems to have their own potential solution to the problem. The issue, of course, is that all these potential solutions have one alarming commonality; creating more government control.  Dr. Larson outlines his views on the problems with the American healthcare system - especially the cronyism and market distortions that plague the health insurance industry. He then also goes over some of the issues with proposed solutions to this problem, both the suggestions of more government involvement and the idea that we should imitate the healthcare systems of other countries. Finally, we discuss some potential free-market, individual-focused solutions.  Dr. Larson’s Podcast, The Paradocs, where he discusses issues like those brought up today (and so much more!) from a practitioner and patient-oriented perspective: The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Report on Healthcare and Public Policy: An overview on Direct Primary Care, one of the solutions that Dr. Larson brought up in today’s episode:
July 9, 2019
Time to Sit Down? The Standing Army as a Threat to Liberty
Aaron interviews Andrew Kern, founder of “The Principled Libertarian,” regarding his recent article about the dangers a standing army poses to liberty. Andrew explains some of the historical and economic context for why a standing army might not be all it’s cracked up to be in the popular consciousness, as well as bringing up some potential solutions to the problem. Aaron tries to bring up some popular objections to Andrew’s position, and Andrew responds to these criticisms with why he still, despite everything, thinks that reforming our foreign policy would involve getting rid of our standing military. Also discussed are militias, federalism and decentralization, and the dangers of conscription.  Andrew’s original article: Economist Robert Higgs on the dangers of a standing army: The Principled Libertarian on Facebook: Andrew’s website, The Principled Libertarian, where you can find more of his work: One of the episodes of “The Dangerous History Podcast” that Andrew referenced during the episode: The Militia Act of 1903: Jeffrey Rogers Hummel on the Dangers of Militias:
July 2, 2019
Slavery Reparations, the Contact Hypothesis, and Transitional Justice
Aaron and Austin discuss the recent congressional hearings regarding healing race relations by Federal reparations for slavery. Austin brings up some of the moral and practical concerns that the proposed financial reparations would pose (yes, Taxation is Theft is brought up) but also suggests other ways that the Federal Government could attempt to make reparations for slavery without a plaintiff/defendant dynamic. Aaron brings up social psychology’s Contact Hypothesis, as well as the notion of transitional justice, and how we need the latter to get to the first. Aaron and Austin discuss the specific utility that transitional justice possesses due to its individual and community-based focus, rather than it being an ineffective top-down solution, as any Federal solution is likely to be.  The Chicago Principles on Post-Conflict Justice: The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates: Coleman Hughes on Reparations: Ron Chimelis on Reparations: How Slavery Existed Far Beyond the Emancipation Proclamation: A Summary of the Reparation Hearings: Dr. Anthony Bradley on Transitional Justice:
June 25, 2019
Righteous Minds: Moral Foundation Theory
Aaron and guest Kevin Bell, one of Aaron’s fellow psychologists, discuss Jonathan Haidt and Moral Foundations Theory, a psychological model of how we define, experience, and interpret morality. They discuss each of the five basic moral foundations (with Liberty as a controversial sixth), how Moral Foundations Theory works with the idea of absolute morality, and how Moral Foundations Theory plays out in our modern political sphere, especially between conservatives and liberals.  A website explaining the five/six moral foundations more in-depth: Jonathan Haidt’s website, which contains links to his articles, projects, and Ted Talks, including a wonderful series on capitalism:
June 18, 2019
"Change My Mind” - Steven Crowder and Youtube
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: A Quillette article discussing the censoring of people like Crowder by big tech companies:
June 11, 2019
Never Meet Your Heroes - The Allegations Against Martin Luther King Jr.
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: Matt Walsh's take on the MLK situation: One of the recent causes of the resurfacing confederate flag controversy:
June 4, 2019
Making Amash of Things? The Latest Call for Trump's Impeachment
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: The House Freedom Caucus’s response to Amash: The Bulwark’s take on why the Republican Party’s actions against Amash may hurt them: An overview of Amash’s history of clashing with Trump’s agenda: Charlie Kirk’s Response to Justin Amash:
May 28, 2019
Whining Isn’t Constructive Criticism - Game of Thrones and Toxic Fandom
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: Rick Marshall’s take on the same for Digital Trends: The Slate article dissing the GoT finale: The Slate article praising the GoT finale: Reason Magazine’s Ilya Somin on Game of Thrones and Libertarianism: FEE’s Brittany Hunter on Game of Thrones and its message on the dangers of power:
May 21, 2019
Learning from Aaron's Mistakes - Are Corporations People?
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. 
May 14, 2019
Beyond “Taxation is Theft” - Discussing the New Tax Code
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: A Marketwatch article claiming that the tax code unfairly favors Republican-dominated states: An article on the intense reaction to the SALT caps: Liz Warren and AOC’s response to Chase Bank that Katherine and Aaron discussed: Bernie’s attempts to clarify the difference between democratic and authoritarian socialism: A link to Katherine’s website, “The Bookkeeping Artist”:
May 8, 2019
Kamala Harris, Social Dominance, and those Pesky Courts
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: The opinion piece saying why Harris’s gun ownership disqualifies her from running as a democrat: Robert Altemeyer’s “The Authoritarians” PDF: An Amazon link to Massad Ayoob’s “Deadly Force,” mentioned by Austin in the show: A Breitbart article (again, yes, we know, PLEASE don’t hate us) on Eric Swalwell’s proposed gun ban and buyback: Unrelated, 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:
April 30, 2019
Protect us from Protectionism!
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:édéric-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:  FEE’s free online link the Bastiat’s “The Law”:
April 23, 2019
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”: Death to Tyrants’ latest episode with Scott Horton discussing the Assange affair: h Thoughtco’s guide to the different types of libertarianism: A listicle from The Libertarian Republic also discussing different kinds of Libertarianism: Reason Magazine’s discussion of Washington’s reaction to Assange’s arrest: The American Conservative’s piece telling us why we should fear the arrest of Assange: A discussion from The Bulwark, discussing why they don’t care much about Assange’s arrest:
April 16, 2019
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: Bastiat’s “The Law,” perhaps one of the most important political works ever written, which Aaron paraphrased this episode: NPR on the Supreme Court case which allowed Asian-American Rock Band “The Slants” to trademark their name: Timothy Sandefur’s piece for The Reason Papers making the case against the Confederacy: Randal Meyer, of the CATO institute, as to why Libertarians need not be pro-confederacy: Jonathan Blanks, also of CATO, with another case against the Confederacy: “Ethics’ Alarms” on the Gadsden Flag and problems of free speech and symbols:
April 9, 2019
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: Pete Buttigieg’s response to the Chick Fil A fiasco: An article on the Anti-Vaccine Movement’s use of Holocaust Stars: Rammstein’s “Deutschland” music video that caused all the controversy (content warning: violent imagery): Some reactions to Rammstein’s video: The Daily Wire on Jordan Peele (read the comments if you want to see “not racism”): Proof that Aaron is pronouncing Pete Buttigieg’s name correctly:
April 2, 2019
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: Economist Gary M. Galles on the why the popular vote is not election reform: Politico’s summary of the arguments made for expanding the Supreme Court: Gary M. Galles on why packing the Supreme Court is also a bad idea: George Mason Law professor, Ilya Somin, on the dangers of supreme court expansion:
March 26, 2019
“Live” Episode - Ranking the Democratic Candidates!
What do “fun mom energy,” drinking expensive bourbon, wanting chihuahuas over golden retrievers, sheer abject terror of robots, and Starbucks have in common? The Democratic Presidential candidates, of course! From Tulsi Gabbard to Andrew Yang to Bernie (among others), Aaron and Austin are joined by their wives (and briefly, Aaron’s dog) to discuss the top 11 (in their view) Left-wing challenges to Donald Trump in the upcoming election.  Note: Due to the challenges of recording with four people, our ambient mic was struggling a little bit, so we apologize for the sound issues.  The FEE article on Andrew Yang and the problems of universal basic income. "The Economics of a Toddler Combined with the Ethics of a Thug" - a critique of Bernie Sanders from George Mason economics professor Donald Boudreaux Amy Klobuchar's response to the controversies surrounding her alleged temperament issues. 
March 19, 2019
"The Great Stone Face" - Practical Steps to Discussing Ideology
Aaron talks with guest star Greg Rehmke, Program Director for Economic Thinking, an organization that specifically works with public speaking and debate groups from a liberty-minded perspective. Greg talks about the importance of thinking in debate terms; of figuring out and understanding the opposing presuppositions and worldviews as well as of discussing concrete policy problems rather than philosophy alone. Greg also discusses the importance of not taking a “Pollyanna” approach to our own philosophies when it comes to persuading others; if you don’t know the potential criticisms of your own position, how can you defend it? Aaron and Greg talk about the importance of being winsome in our communications; not just beating people over the head with ideology, but “presenting society with one improved person,” as the great Leonard Read, of “I, Pencil” fame, once said.    A link to Economic Thinking’s Website., the website which Greg mentioned that can help us stay positive, rather than just focusing on the negatives.  A livescience page that contains some of the sources that Aaron made reference to in this week’s episode. A transcript of Leonard Read’s “How to advance liberty: A learning, not a selling problem,” where he elaborates on some of the ideas we discussed this week. 
March 12, 2019
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.
March 5, 2019
Oscars' "Outrage" - Please Calm Down
Jenn and Aaron dissect a disappointingly lacking-in-controversy Oscars. However just because it’s lacking in controversy doesn’t mean people aren’t trying to manufacture some, because we live in a hellish nightmare where the 24 hour news cycle and social media need us to be angry all the time. Aaron and Jenn discuss the attempt at manufacturing outrage around Green Book, Spike Lee’s acceptance speech, and some of the other award-winning movies (seriously, watch The Favourite). Aaron gives his thoughts on how men’s fashion has finally taken a turnaround (except for the velvet. Seriously, why?) and Jenn talks about being an unpopular opinion puffin in a sea of outrage culture.  An article on Brie Larson (star of the upcoming Captain Marvel movie) and her comments which have raised some “controversy” (but who knows on the internet anymore?): The text of Spike Lee’s acceptance speech: President Trump’s response to Spike Lee’s acceptance speech, which he called a “racist hit”:
February 26, 2019
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: An older article reflecting on Chuck Schumer’s threat during the Obama presidency that President Obama had the right to go above Congress: Other Conservatives/Libertarians’ responses to Trump: An article on cognitive dissonance and how it applies to our political lives:
February 19, 2019
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:  Megan McArdle’s article for the Washington Post: William L. Anderson for the Mises institute on the Green New Deal: Jarret Stephan for FEE on the Green New Deal:
February 12, 2019
Fear the Devil's Lettuce!
Don’t fear the reefer! Aaron, Jason, and Austin tackle that most terrifying topic: marijuana legalization. Aaron discusses how scientifically iffy the “gateway hypothesis” is, while Austin gives his views on the illegitimacy of the war on drugs and any form of prohibition in general. Jason plays Devil’s advocate by taking a pro-prohibition stance, as well as discussing the problem with legislation which denies the basic roles of supply and demand. They then wrap up the episode by pointing out that the very idea of the war on drugs and the prohibition of substances is inherently progressive, and how neither party can claim exemption from extreme progressive influence. Also brought up are Austin’s slow slip into anarchy, Aaron’s debilitating fear of sharks, and Jason’s elegant and civilized approach to alcohol.  The Imprimis Article which prompted this episode: Politico’s prediction about marijuana legalization: An overview of Marilyn Mosby and the end of marijuana prosecution in Baltimore:
February 5, 2019
Trump, Milo, and Evangelical Christianity
In our 25th episode, Aaron is joined by guest-star Andrew Egger, a journalist formerly of The American Standard and now working for the new, explicitly Anti-Trump publication “The Bulwark.” Andrew starts by getting excited to share his choice of drink. Aaron and Andrew discuss the differences between their respective ideologies of Classical Liberalism and Conservatism, as well as the recent attempted re-emergence by shock jockey/oppressed intellectual (depending on your point of view, but certainly not according to Aaron’s or Andrew’s) Milo Yiannopolous, who was recently interviewed by popular evangelical figure Eric Metaxas on his radio show. Andrew tells us a little bit about the history of Milo, and both Aaron and Andrew discuss the murkiness surrounding the political definition of what an “evangelical” is, why they’re considered such a pro-Trump voting block, and whether or not this is a fair characterization of the movement. Andrew also talks a little bit about the importance of principled conservative’s resisting Trump, and Aaron speculates as to whether or not “evangelicals” who support Trump are the same as people who actually try to embody and live out their faith.  Also, keep your ears peeled for an “easter egg” (or whatever we’re calling it) where next week’s episode topic is mentioned! Andrew’s recent article on Milo and Eric Metaxas: Andrew’s Author page at The Bulwark: Timothy Carney’s Article on why Ex-Churchgoers flock to Trump:
January 30, 2019
The Psychology and Masculinity Kerfuffle
 The recent APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Men and Boys have caused something of a controversy. Many on the Right have decried it, claiming that the report represents an attempt by psychologists to undermine healthy, normal masculinity by labeling it as “toxic.” Responses have ranged from defending the problematic aspects of manhood to outright denial of what the APA guidelines actually say.  Aaron goes through the report and outlines why he thinks it's actually something to celebrate and recognize as possessing a great deal of common ground between the APA and many on the Right. Jason cross-examines and plays devil’s advocate for the Right against Aaron, trying to bring some clarity to the issue. Aaron discusses what a horrible child he was, Jason talks about some of the historical misperceptions that many on the right are operating under, and Jason and Aaron riff on how their marriages might be perceived as somehow “non-masculine.” Aaron brings up honor ideology and the Lord of the Rings because that’s the kind of person he is, and Jason reminds us that the ultimate responsibility for being a good man lies on the personal choice to do what is right, not on shallow social norms.  Aaron’s Article for FEE where he discusses the APA Guidelines: The APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Men and Boys: The APA’s Clarification Post: An Article from the Washington Examiner exemplifying the problem with the response to the guidelines: Dr. Christina Hoff Summers on some of the problems faced by men in society:
January 22, 2019
Jenn and Aaron are joined by guest Faith Liu, a Hollywood Screenwriter, to discuss the ever-popular issue of whether or not America’s entertainment industry is as politically biased as many seem to perceive it. Faith and Jenn pressure Aaron into watching The West Wing. Faith talks about how there is more conservatism in Hollywood than might be otherwise assumed. Aaron and Jenn ask Faith about a number of political issues in Hollywood, including the issues of minority representation, whitewashing, the entire verkakte nature of award shows and the critic/audience divide. Finally, Faith explains why she doesn’t think there will ever be such a thing as a “conservative movie.” Also discussed are Jenn’s proud Latina status, the way that Hollywood’s lack of diversity reflects the segregated nature of the city of Los Angeles, infamous good/bad movie “The Room,” and Ancient Egyptian mummies.  Adam Ruins Everything on how money wins awards, not talent: A Guide to the Ghost in the Shell Controversy: Doug Walker, aka “Nostalgia Critic,” on whitewashing:
January 15, 2019
Term Limits Suck
  Welcome to our first episode of 2019, in which Jason, after several months, realizes he is a cohost of this podcast! Jason explains why term limits did nothing to curb power when applied to executive power, and may have actually made the problem worse. Aaron explains why he believes that the very nation of term limits is a misidentification of the real problem, and why the free and virtuous society will not be helped by term limits. . Both Aaron and Jason take some time to talk smack about Woodrow Wilson and FDR, as well as discussing the general overreach of executive power, the problems of seeking a “quick fix” via term limits, and why term limits may actually make the problem worse.  Proof that we’re not blowing smoke and yes, Woodrow Wilson was a horrifying racist: An explanation of the proposed term-limits plan: A pro term-limits article which discusses the founders’ views on term limits: 
January 8, 2019
You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out! The Bump Stock Ban
Merry Christmas! For our Christmas episode, Austin and Aaron talk about President Trump’s ban on bump stocks. Both hosts express their personal dislike of bump stocks before Austin explains what a bump stock is, and how it does NOT, whatever the acting Attorney General may say, fall under the definition of a machine gun, as well as going into the more concerning theme of all of this, the fact that the executive branch is legislating in an unconstitutional manner, and that this is hardly a modern or unique occurrence, it’s just that President Trump’s own personality flaws make his personal style of executive abuse less palatable. Because they’d be remiss not to, both Austin and Aaron talk a little bit about the planned withdrawal from Syria. Aaron also talks a little bit about the psychology behind gun control, specifically how education, rather than mandate, can address some admittedly much-needed changes around the culture of guns.  The USA Today Article about the history of executive overreach: Reason Magazine’s take on the illegality of the bump stock ban: The Federalist with a similar article on the ban: Some information on the lawsuit challenging the ban:
December 25, 2018
A Conversation with Rebekah Bydlak: Millennial Politics and the Cause of our Generation
In this week’s episode, we’re thrilled to get a chance to talk to Rebekah Bydlak, executive director of the Coalition to Reduce Spending. Rebekah and Aaron talk about everything from being homeschooled, the embarrassment and inspiration that can come from facebook memories, the troubled relationship between the liberty movement and the millennial generation, and the importance of continued political involvement and activism. Note: Due to technical difficulties during recording, there are some sound quality issues with this episode. The online tool Rebekah mentioned to check out the trends in politics regarding spending: The Coalition to Reduce Spending’s Website:
December 18, 2018
Trial by Tweet and Stand Up Comedy
Aaron and Jenn discuss the recent trials and tribulations of the tweets made some time ago by Kyler Murray and Kevin Hart that have all of a sudden taken over the news cycle because people seem to have nothing better to do. Jenn discusses the inherently transgressive (or perhaps not) nature of art and comedy. Both Aaron and Jenn go over some of their favorite comedians, including John Mulaney, Rhod Gilbert, Burt Kreischer, and Dave Chapelle. Aaron discusses the inherent dangers of “woke culture,” and how it’s a fragile group identity that can only exist by finding others to punish. Also mentioned are Churchill, The Golden Compass series, Neil Patrick Harris, and David Mamet. Jonathan Haidt, “The Age of Outrage” - Michael McCullough, “The Myth of Moral Outrage” - Lindsey Ellis’s video essay on transgressive humor and Mel Brooks - Comedian Tom Segura’s interview on “Hot Ones” where he discusses his thoughts on comedy -
December 11, 2018
Happy Holidays! There’s No War on Xmas!
Aaron and Jason discuss the myth of the “War on Christmas,” and make the case for why it’s a case of manufactured outrage. Jason goes over the historical origins of Christmas in America and how the holiday as we know it is largely a post-WWII invention. Both Aaron and Jason riff a bit on commercialism, touching on the famed “Starbucks Christmas Cups” controversy. Aaron then discusses the psychology of moral panics and the “persecution of privilege” which both speak to the way the so-called “War on Christmas” operates. So as the season of holidays begin for many of us, enjoy time with family and friends, enjoy whatever fried, roasted, or baked goods you desire, and remember that your enjoyment should not in any way be impacted by what other people do. A report on the Virginia Christmas Pageant as well as President Trump’s focus on Christmas: The Daily Wire’s moral panic-esque take on “Happy Holidays”:
December 4, 2018
Criminal Justice Reform and a Family Get-Together
As the holiday season begins, what better way to celebrate than with family? In that spirit, Austin and Aaron host an episode with Aaron’s Dad, Dr. Jeffrey Pomerantz, a corrections physician of 23 years, to discuss ongoing criminal justice reform efforts, jury nullification, and the sheer problem of the number of laws we have. Aaron talks about the psychology of plea bargains, Austin goes over the problems of permanent felony records and human rights, and Jeff brings up the issues with private prisons. Also discussed are the legal perils of bird feathers, how clinging to philosophers can lose you the argument, and some scary facts about juries.  Some articles on the First Step Act:,amp.html  An article from FEE on the Koch Brothers and their free-market efforts at criminal justice reform:  Mark Godsey’s “Blind Injustice”:
November 27, 2018
Women, Aggression, Shame, and Boxed Wine
Happy Thanksgiving Week! Jenn and Aaron return with a new guest, Maddie Collins, to discuss a recent article alleging that women who do not support the progressive agenda are bigoted. Jenn discusses how her encounters with the works of Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley Junior during her Master’s thesis formed her political views, regardless of what gender norms might or might not dictate. Maddie discusses how identity politics play into the dialogues about gender and political involvement, as well as bringing up the insanity of the “quiver full” movement and the notion of “debt free virgins without tattoos.” Aaron brings up the role of relational aggression, and how both sides of the political spectrum use it against women who don’t conform to ideological norms. Finally, all three of them discuss the vast problems that the Libertarian party and movement both possess with regards to women, as well as positively representing themselves to the world at large. Moira Donegan’s article in the Guardian: Neil Gaiman’s poem “The Mushroom Hunters”:
November 20, 2018
Gun Control: "Common Sense" or Prejudice?
Austin and Aaron take on some of the latest anti-gun legislation from New York and Washington State. Austin discusses some misconceptions that both sides hold about the legal rights surrounding firearms. Both Austin and Aaron take issue with the term "common sense gun control," and Aaron connects popular attitudes to firearms to both construal level theory and classic psychological theories of racism and prejudice. Some background on New York's proposed social-media-based gun control: Aaron on construal level theory and anti-gun activism: Nancy Pelosi on why "common sense" gun control will be a major issue for the new House of Representatives:
November 13, 2018
Immigration, Anchor Babies, and Executive Orders
Happy/Horrific Election Day! In the wake of the immigration-fueled hysteria, and President Trump's hurling gasoline on that fire with his promise of overriding the 14th Amendment via executive order, psychology, history, and the law come together for our first triple-header episode! Aaron lays out some of the psychology underlying the immigration debate, Jason provides a historical overview of America's troubled past with immigration, and Austin takes on "Mr. Facts and Logic" himself, Ben Shapiro, arguing that there is simply no reasonable case against the 14th Amendment's applicability to all immigrants, regardless of their legal status. The trio then address remarks made by a representative of their alma mater, Hillsdale college, before reflecting on what the current state of the immigration debate means for the future of this country and its inhabitants. Ben Shapiro's case for why the 14th Amendment doesn't apply: The paper Austin references explaining why, based on previous jurisprudence, President Trump's Executive Order is dead in the water: Michael Anton's opinion piece defending President Trump's rhetoric:
November 6, 2018
Princesses, Harry Potter, and Parenting
Aaron and Jenn Shadle discuss Kristen Bell and Kiera Knightley’s controversial views on letting their kids watch Disney Princess movies. Jenn gives her views on why censorship is a bad thing, and why it harms the point of storytelling and art in general, while Aaron discusses psychological research from the University of Oklahoma which shows just how important fantasy, and literature in general, is to our development and function as human beings. Both Aaron and Jenn discuss parental rights within a liberty-oriented viewpoint, Aaron reveals his passionate dislike of Veggietales, and Jenn discusses her ongoing par asocial relationship with Nancy Drew. The article that started all the kerfuffle: Dr. Jennifer Barnes’s Ted Talk on fiction and par asocial relationships: A brief overview of the psychological model of parenting styles discussed in the episode: Kristen Bell explains her remarks on why she wants to be careful what her kids watch:
October 30, 2018
Political Tribalism and Tribulation - A Historical Perspective
Jason and Aaron discuss the recent "rise" in political tribalism pointed out by many across the political spectrum. Though many say it's only getting worse as the midterm elections loom closer, Jason explains why, from a historical perspective, this is nothing new in American politics, giving several examples of far worse elections and rhetoric than that seen in 2016 and 2018, while Aaron gives a brief psychological perspective of why civility seems absent from political discourse. Senator Ben Sasse gives an interview about his views on tribalism: Sebastian Junger's book "Tribe": Two of Aaron's articles, the first discussing the differing worldviews and definitions behind political discourse, and the second discussing guilt and shame in political rhetoric:
October 23, 2018
Facebook, Free Speech, and Frikkin' Frogs!
Aaron and Austin discuss the recent purge of facebook pages, many of them liberty-oriented, which supposedly occurred to "protect our democracy." Austin discusses the underlying jurisprudence of free speech, including the history of the Supreme Court decisions relating to it, while Aaron relates the current debates over what should and shouldn't be considered "free" speech to honor ideology and psychological authoritarianism. Austin gives a fascinatingly complimentary look into the existence of "fighting words" as a legal precedent, Aaron points out how both sides violate their supposed ideologies in restricting free speech, and examples range from Alex Jones to Joe McCarthy to once again breaking Godwin's law.
October 16, 2018
Telltale Games, Gompers, and Robber Barons
The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Batman, and…. John D. Rockefeller? Guest host Jason Klicker joins Aaron as they discuss the recent controversy around Telltale Game Studios, including their unceremonious firing of almost all of their employees. In the course of this discussion, Jason and Aaron cover the corporate illusion of invulnerability, a brief overview of some of the lesser-known history of unions in America, some often-ignored facts about the infamous “robber barons,” and Aaron’s shameless shilling of Assassin’s Creed. An overview of the Telltale incident : Edmund Opitz (one of both Aaron and Tyler’s favorite authors) on the Robber Barons and the union age: Dr. Burt Folsom on Robber Barons: Lawrence Reed on Rockefeller’s Standard Oil:
October 9, 2018
Senatorial Circus Town
In the first ever guest-episode, guest Austin Collins joins Aaron in exploring both the legal and psychological reasons why the Kavanaugh hearings have been an unmitigated disaster for both sides of the aisle - and why neither party has ended up looking good. Austin also discusses what majors make you more likely to end up in law school, while Aaron reveals a serial-killer's little-known last words, and Godwin's law is broken by both of them. Thomas Kirby on Memory Science and the Kavanaugh Case: Bret Stephens' discussion of the case in the New York Times: A brief discussion of emotional decision making:
October 2, 2018
Hurricanes and Price Gouging: Alright, Alright, Alright?
As the East coast struggles in the wake of yet another hurricane, Aaron and Tyler discuss a notion often brought up in the wake of such tragedies: price gouging. Tyler argues that price-gouging is a more complex economic issue than most of our cultural dialogue would suggest, even responding to some specific “hot takes” on the subject. Aaron discusses how the emotions which we feel during such tragedies can lead to bad decision making based on the over-use of heuristics. Aaron then rants about academia a little bit, before Storytime with Uncle Tyler explores a video game from Tyler’s past. Andrew Ross Sorkin’s article on price gouging: Economist Victor Claar's defense of price gouging:
 Acton's Joe Carter on price gouging ethics:
September 18, 2018
Nike, In-N-Out, and Boycotts for Everyone!
Tyler and Aaron discuss the boycott sensation that’s sweeping the nation! Tyler questions if how politicized they are will make them less effective, while Aaron discusses the phenomenon of reactance and how it works against these boycotts’ cause. Both Aaron and Tyler riff on boycotts' social media presence for a bit, before Tyler regales us all with a thrilling tale of wisdom teeth removal, Vicodin, and Parks and Rec. If you like what you hear, please consider leaving us a comment or a review! You can also find us on social media, or send us a message via our website! Twitter: Facebook: Website:
September 11, 2018
South Africa and Dabbing
Tyler and Aaron discuss the land seizures in South Africa, including the so-called “white genocide” supposedly occurring. Tyler discusses the difficulties in having the government try to right historic wrongs, while Aaron discusses how peacemaking should be applied in moving forward in intergroup relations. The South African Institute of Race Relations’ report: Al Jazeera’s report on the land debate: The New York Times’ response to the president’s tweets:
September 4, 2018
"Accountable Capitalism,” Construal Levels, and Latin
Tyler and Aaron discuss Elizabeth Warren’s “Accountable Capitalism Act,” discussing the problems associated with central planning in the private sector. Tyler explains why he doesn’t think lack of government oversight will set us back to Feudalism, while Aaron connects certain economic policies to construal level theory, and Tyler’s cat Leland makes his first cameo appearance on the show! “Middle of the Road Policy Leads to Socialism” - An article of Aaron’s discussing construal levels in a different context - Mises’ “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth” -
August 28, 2018
Economic Inequality, Envy, and Beyoncé
Tyler disapproves of Aaron’s drink of the week, before raising the topic of wealth inequality and whether or not our perception of “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is accurate. Aaron discusses group dynamics and how they influence our economic perception of others. Aaron teaches Tyler about Beyoncé, someone takes a nap on Von Mises’ desk, and Storytime with Uncle Tyler takes us into Tyler’s highschool years. Ludwig Von Moses’ “The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality,” referenced by Tyler in the show: Dr. John R. Chambers' research, including his research on perception of the economy and his research on social mobility, referenced by Aaron: Twitter: Facebook: Website:
August 21, 2018
Miniature White-Collar Crime & The End of the Frikkin' World
In Episode 3, Tyler and Aaron discuss the controversy of 3-D printed guns, authoritarianism, and moral panic, while a Storytime with Uncle Tyler takes an unexpected turn. Note: Due to atmospheric oddities (a thunderstorm) our sound quality did suffer somewhat during this episode, but we promise to have it fixed by next week! Inrange TV on 3-D Printed Guns: Mel Brooks’ 1968 Classic, “The Producers”: Twitter: Facebook: Website:
August 14, 2018
Tariffs, Honor Culture, and Storytime with Uncle Tyler!
Tyler and Aaron give their respective takes on the Trade War, Tyler giving a case against protectionism and tariffs, and Aaron linking the trade war with the social psychological concept of the Culture of Honor. We also learn about Aaron’s Vegemite obsession and that neither Tyler nor Aaron is entirely sure how Senator Ben Sasse’s name is pronounced! The Elemental Case for Free Trade: Bastiat’s Three City Alderman: Tyler’s interview with Dr. Michael Clark: Book Recommendations: Honor Bound: How a Cultural Ideal has shaped the American Psyche, by Dr. Ryan P. Brown Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, by David Hackett Fisher Culture of Honor: The Psychology of Violence in the South by Drs. Nisbett and Cohen
August 7, 2018
Microbrewing, Socialism, and the Youth
In the first episode, Aaron Pomerantz and Tyler Groenendal talk a little bit about their political views, how government regulations can have unforeseen consequences - even on your beer! - and discuss why socialism seems to be so popular among young people today. Twitter: Facebook: Website: For more about Bastiat, who we talked about a little bit in this episode find his classic work "The Law" as a free .pdf here! :
July 30, 2018