Back in March of this year, Dave Rubin hosted Lauren Southern on his podcast, the Rubin Report. Near the end of their session, Southern lamented what she called “book club purist” libertarians. Rubin asked the following question (1:02:43):
So is this just not a time for a libertarian? So for someone like you who I think has more libertarian leanings, the things that you’re talking about it, if you’re talking about the borders stuff and all of that, it’s not really libertarian, you need a strong government to do a lot of that stuff. So does that separate your ideals from just the immediacy of now?
Right. Freedom is not free. It has to be defended. And I, my ideal society is one without a government. That would be so cool. Is that gonna happen in real life? No, it’s utopian, it’s, I’m not, I’m not going to live in a world where I’m going to be with—book club puritans piss me off so much. They’ll just yell at you: “You’re a statist, you’re a statist, you’re a statist.” Well, how are you helping the real world, dude? Like what kind of policies are you implementing? Sorry, Gary Johnson didn’t, is not gonna win the election. That’s a fact, right?
They then went on to describe Southern’s position as a “reality libertarian.” The implication is of course that those libertarians who consistently stand by the principles are somehow not considered “realists.” But this is just another weak excuse for advocating positions antithetical to the principles of libertarianism. The reality is that unprincipled libertarians like Lauren Southern usually just do not understand the philosophy well enough to apply it to some of the more difficult situations. Ignorance is the only explanation for suggesting that purist libertarians would be at all supportive of Gary Johnson.
She goes on to prove that she understands almost nothing about how a stateless society might occur and function, but the bigger issue is that Southern only seconds before made comments that show that she is living in an utter fantasy world.
You’re seeing people shocked that Trump is following through his policies that you presented. Like, he’s actually building the wall? What? Politicians don’t do that. They don’t keep their promises. What is this? Right? And I think the left are going to be like: “We want a politician like that too. We want someone that’s going to keep their promises.” And the right in other countries are going to be like: “Wow, that’s really cool. He’s doing what he said he was gonna do. We want that.” And they’re starting to see the model for how that works. They’re starting to be able to call out the kind of polished, establishment—they can tell who is who. They can tell who is being honest with them. And hopefully, hopefully that does kill the kind of old style politician because it was getting pretty, pretty effing sad.
While Donald Trump was only about three months into his term as president when the interview took place, Southern reveals a stunning naivete regarding Trump’s promises. All three of his major campaign sticking points, foreign policy, health care, and the wall, have been abysmal failures so far.
His preemptive bombing of Syria for retaliation for a chemical attack (very likely not carried out by the Syrian government in the first place) flew in the face of his noninterventionist positions during his campaign.
The replacement bill for Obamacare has been an absolute disaster. Repealing Obamacare looks less and less likely as time goes by and what the Republicans are offering as a replacement appears to be just as bad.
And I’m curious about that wall Southern said that Trump is building. No wall has been built yet (thank goodness) and it looks more and more like another empty promise.
While she did say that people should hold Trump to his promises, will she actually do that herself? When asked what criticisms she had of Trump so far, all she could muster was that she thought Saudi Arabia should have been included on the immigration ban list instead of Iran.
I wonder how many iterations it will take before people stop trusting that a politician will deliver positive outcomes for society. And to that point, how much of a “realist” could you be if Donald Trump is your ticket to a freer society? He only was the choice simply because Hillary Clinton was so horribly awful.
But somehow I’m the one who is out of touch with reality.