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Season 4 - Episode 2
Freedom on the rise

Nick Gillespie is editor at large of Reason, the libertarian magazine of “Free Minds and Free Markets,” where he was editor in chief from 2000 to 2008. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. He is co-author, with Matt Welch, of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America, published in 2011.

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It’s easy to get discouraged about the state of freedom in America when reading news stories about government surveillance, foreign wars, and the shutdown of lemonade stands. But Nick Gillespie argues in this upbeat interview that thanks to immense increases in personal freedom, technological freedom, and educational freedom, the country has actually become more libertarian in recent decades.

What he means by “libertarian” is a philosophy that prizes social tolerance and fiscal responsibility. “We want to live in a world where you’re free to go about your business, and other people are free to go about their business, and you’re not forcing people to live according to your principles,” he says.

Some libertarians says they are “socially liberal” and “fiscally conservative,” but these labels are less and less useful in an age of liberal speech codes and conservative spending sprees. Indeed, Gillespie calls politics “a lagging indicator of where American society is going,” noting that identification with the two major parties, which both want to control people in different ways, has been shrinking since the early 1970s.

Libertarianism, on the other hand, is about choice and individual autonomy. As Nick Gillespie puts it, “We should be doing everything that we can to increase people’s ability to make meaningful, informed choices about their lives.” From education to infrastructure, mainstream American politics is stuck in the past, clinging to ossified 19th-century models when they should be embracing innovative 21st-century solutions.

Links of interest
Nick Gillespie | The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America

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