Tuesday, August 26, 2014

PJ O'Rourke Interview

Nick at Reason interviews author, columnist and self-identified Libertarian PJ O'Rourke.

I began reading PJ's books in the early 90's when I was just starting to become politically aware.  What a great way to enter the topic of politics!

One of my criticisms of Libertarians on the drug debate is that their argument ignores family values.  They will find me nodding in partial agreement that prison sentences for non-violent offenders are high, or that pot isn't a threat to society.  (it was yesterday)  But they will always get a solid "Nyet!" from me on changing the policy, because as a parent I refuse to send the signal at the national level that pot is ok.

Libertarians are always quick to - correctly - urge states' rights when solving problems.  It is my opinion they would enjoy some recruiting gains if they acknowledged that there is another, higher entity that deserves to weigh-in on policy matters: the family.

PJ says something similar in this interview.  I'm sure others will hear it differently, but by bringing up his two daughters when drug legalization comes up in the interview, he indirectly presents the same opposition.  And don't think of him as a prude as you do me.  Just read the dedication in his book, Give War a Chance!  I read that 10 years ago and I still remember the contact high....

Also, Nick asks PJ for ideas on how to increase the popularity of Libertarianism.  I think PJ hits it dead center: if there was a way, it would have been found by now.  He says the movement has plenty of smart people who could have developed a winning strategy if there was one.  I fully agree.

Last, I appreciated PJ's subordination of social issues to other political issues.  That gay marriage or drug legalization are FAR LESS important than national security and other challenges.  Debate with as many Libertarians as I have, and you'll get the sense that many Libertarians have one volume setting for all issues.

Remember, PJ recently published an article sharing his observations of the movement.  The best, and most enlightening line, for me:  "If we marched we'd go in all different directions."

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