533: Talking Libertarianism

KMO, a "recovering libertarian," talks with Joshua D. Glawson, a full-on libertarian and writer for 71 Republic. Topics of conversation include the way NPR has covered the most recent mass shooting event, the way governments appeal to the less noble aspects of human psychology in order to gain and maintain political power, and, eventually, technological unemployment. KMO mentions, but then fails to detail the ways in which libertarian ideology no longer fits his psyche as comfortably as it once did. That can be the topic for the follow-up conversation. KMO swiped the cover art image from this site.

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1 Comment

  1. L33tminion on November 15, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Sorry if I’m misplacing this comment, but I think this episode is the one where you touched on the topic of how mass shootings are handled in the media. You discussed that at more length in a video on your YouTube channel, but I’m still not in the habit of commenting on YouTube.

    I thought you had a really good point about how the media perpetually elevates the controversial over the important. Automobile accidents really are a far more important risk than gun violence, in that it’s a more common risk and you could save far more lives by mitigating that risk. In fact, Americans have done a huge amount in terms of policy specifically to mitigate the risks of automobile accidents: Laws which require automobile manufacturers to install seatbelts and other safety features and require drivers to use them, laws prohibiting drunk driving, crash-testing standards, etc.

    But your analogy went a bit off the rails where you said (possibly paraphrasing) “we’ve agreed” to accept guns in the same ways as automobiles. That just doesn’t seem correct. I don’t think a large number of Americans would accept regulation that made cars orders-of-magnitude more inconvenient to purchase, own, and use (though there are certainly a few). But there are I think a lot (tens of millions?) of Americans who would approve of policies that made purchasing and owning firearms very inconvenient. Their attitude (about mine, too) is that guns are at best deadly killing tools, and that a large part of the appeal of firearms is a fetishization of homicide.

    And that of course doesn’t provide a good grounds for cooperation on harm mitigation, even when that goal is actually a shared goal.

    The media over-focuses on controversy, but the controversy here is a real policy disagreement, where there are other functioning polities that clearly do things quite differently. “Just give up” makes some tactical sense, but it’s reasonable to expect people to react differently to tragedies that have that bit of extra pointlessness. Not just “it’s unfortunate”, or “maybe it’s the wrong balance”, but “why are we even making this tradeoff?”

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