Politicians Can’t Keep You Safe | Guest: Nick Freitas | Ep 40


– Welcome to Kibbe on Liberty. This week, our good friend,
Virginia Delegate Nick Freitas. We’re gonna talk about
all of these politicians that promise that X, Y,
and Z will make you safe. Don’t believe it, they’re
going to make you less safe. Check it out. (rock music) Nick Freitas, it’s good to have you back. – It’s great to be back. – Yeah, you are a
long-term fan of the show, even before this iteration of the show, and I thought we’d do all
sorts of things tonight, but the first thing we have
to do is perhaps celebrate. – Yes. – Because you just won re-election, and I want to get into that story, but if we’re going to celebrate, I feel like we need to drink some bourbon. – That would be the appropriate approach. – And this is a cask
strength bourbon, Booker’s. – Ooh. – This bad boy is 62.9%, so
if you’re not man enough, put a cube in it. (chuckling) – Destroy good bourbon with ice? – [Matt] And we won’t judge. (chuckling) No, we will judge. – Yeah, as you should. – Yeah. So tell us, tell us
what on Earth happened. I read headlines that you
had a write-in campaign and it is one of the biggest write-in campaigns in Virginia history. How on Earth did you end
up in that situation? – Well, it certainly wasn’t by choice. We had, there was paperwork issues where there was two pieces of paperwork that they needed from me as the candidate. There was one piece of paper
they needed from the party, and at first they claimed
they didn’t have any of it, then it turned out that, okay no, they didn’t need one of
them and they already had that information, but they didn’t get the paperwork from the party,
so it’s going back and forth, and we said, well okay look. You grant everyone extensions when this sort of thing happens, as long as you’re a qualified candidate. Here’s all the paperwork
you’re saying you’re missing. All right, let’s move on,
and that’s what they did for every other candidate
that had paperwork issues, but in my case they decided that I needed to not be on the ballot. I even offered to step down. I said, look I’ll step down, but allow a Republican
to be on the ballot. If it can’t be me, fine, it can’t be me, but allow a Republican
to be on the ballot, and they, not only did
they not allow that, they wouldn’t even debate
it, so the one Republican, it’s one Republican and two Democrats in the State Board of Elections. The one Republican said,
all right I have a motion to consider Delegate
Freitas being on the ballot. Died for lack of a second. He goes, okay, I have a
motion to allow any Republican to be on the ballot, provided
they get the paperwork, and again, failed to even have a second, so at this point they didn’t even want to have a discussion about it. So, we said, all right, look. We think you’re doing the
wrong thing at this point, so we’re gonna have to do a write-in and we had a lot of people tell us there was no way we could pull this off. It was the, as far as we can see it was the largest write-in
in Virginia history, and not only did we
win, we won by 15 points in the most elaborate spelling bee in recent Virginia history. – Yeah, even I can’t spell Freitas. – No, no, I have trouble with it. – You probably should
have changed your name for political purposes, (laughing) but anyways, cheers to that. – Cheers. (glasses clinking) So I just got back from
Louisville, Kentucky and I have a new discovery,
I’d had Booker’s before, but I’m sort of into it. I find that moderation in
taste is not of my traits, and that’s true with my philosophy and it’s certainly true with my bourbon, so I like this guy ’cause he’s a monster. – Well, you know what they say. Moderation in everything,
to include moderation. (chuckling) – [Matt] Yes. – That is good. – So, there’s probably
some sort of playbook that you guys should write
and I should point out that your, this will be
your third term coming up? – Uh, yeah. – Third term in the State
House of Delegates in Virginia. Former Green Beret, general
Constitutional lunatic. (laughing) – Absolutely. – [Matt] Is that on your resume? – I love it. I actually have it right
on my business card. Constitutional lunatic, huge
fan of individual liberty, leave me alone, it’s all right there. – And you have been representing Young Americans for Liberty. We had Cliff Maloney on this
show a couple months ago, and you took a leave of
absence to run for re-election because, as I understand it, YAL was knocking on lots of doors during that write-in campaign. – Oh, well YAL’s whole
Win At The Door campaign has really been incredible. The reason why I put so much time into that particular
organization is because of all the things that
they’ve put together. It’s not just about, it’s
not one component, right. It’s not just the Win At the Door, it’s not just the education, it’s not just the campus. It’s bringing all those things together where I feel like we have a
liberty-based organization where they’re not only educating the youth but they’re actually helping candidates, and then once candidates get in, they’re holding them accountable and they’re providing them
with resources, excuse me, providing them with
resources that a lot of liberty-minded legislators
wouldn’t otherwise have. – Yeah, like the entire
history of liberty candidates, and I won’t exclude either Libertarians or Republicans or even Democrats. I’m less interested in party these days, but the liberty candidates
have always been really smart at book stuff,
like they could quote Mises. (chuckling) – And they could explain the
non-aggression principle, but in terms of the actual mechanics it would take to win for public office, so I think YAL bringing that
to the table is super potent and you’re one of the
examples of how that works. – I don’t think, I mean we
had a lot of great volunteers. Our local committees did an excellent job, all the people that work at the polls, but I can honestly say I
don’t think I’m sitting here ready to go into my third
term in the General Assembly if YAL had not come in
and did what they did. I mean, knocking 30,000
doors is a huge deal in a district of 80,000 people. – So let’s take a step back,
’cause you enlisted after 9/11. How old were you? – No, I enlisted before. – Okay, so tell us why you
enlisted and when you enlisted. You were just a pup. – Yeah, yeah. So I actually enlisted
when I was 17 years old. – [Matt] Wow. – I was still in high
school, so I enlisted in the National Guard first and then went in the delayed entry program, because I knew I wanted to go active duty. I knew I wanted to be an infantryman, and that’s kind of funny by the way when you walk into a recruiter’s
office and you tell ’em, look, I’m gonna lay down
the law here, all right. I’m gonna graduate, I’ve never
been in trouble with the law, but if you can’t give me the infantry, I’m not signing any papers. The recruiter’s looking at me like, oh wow, the infantry, well
we’ll see what we can do, but that’s what I wanted to do. I figured if I’m going
to be in the military, I want to be that guy on the ground doing the job in the mud. So yeah, enlisted, went active duty, like two weeks out of
high school I was down at beautiful Fort Benning, Georgia for infantry basic training, yeah. – And two tours of duty later? – Yeah, so I start off with
the 82nd Airborne division, 25th Infantry over in Hawaii. That was pretty good duty, but then 9/11 took place
when I was over in Hawaii and my wife, Tina, and I talked about it and I pretty much let her know. At the same time I’m
watching Army Special Forces over in Afghanistan on horseback leading armies and
doing phenomenal things, and I said, well I want to do that. I want to be one of those guys, and the thing that really
impressed me about it was not just that they were out there getting to do really cool things, but their whole approach to combat was creating host nation capacity. It was the idea that we’re
going to come alongside the local population and
we’re going to fight with them and so I actually thought
it was an approach to combat and an approach to foreign
policy that was far more in keeping with some of my
political philosophy as well, that if we’re going to fight then let’s not try to take over the war and tell everyone what
to do and how to do it. Let’s come alongside
people within that country that have shared interests
and cooperate with one another in order to achieve a
sustainable solution. Now, obviously, things haven’t
really worked out that great, and I think in part that’s because we do rely a little bit too much on, not overwhelming force but U.S. domination of a war effort that
really should have belonged in large part to the people
there that were fighting it, because they’re the ones that are going to have to rebuild after we’re gone. – Yeah, like one of the, we
always quote Hayek on this show. I can’t help myself, (laughing) and there is in fact a drinking game that goes along with watching this show that every time I quote Hayek – [Nick] Oh wow. – someone has to drink,
but there does seem to be that sort of Hayekian,
what Hayek criticized is the arrogance of thinking
that you were smart enough to redesign a complex
society from the top down, and nation-building seems like the ultimate Hayekian fatal conceit because I can’t imagine,
because you were embedded and you were actually
trying to listen and learn as much as dictate how things would be, but that’s not what our
foreign policy does. We have very strong
opinions, and we don’t really give a damn what the
facts of the case are. – Well, I got in, (chuckling) so I got in trouble
once because we’re about to come back from, I think I’ve
told you this story before, we were coming back from
Iraq on my second tour, last week, we had packed the bags. We were, literally all we were doing was waiting around for
the next ODA to come in, and my detachment commander
comes over and goes, Nick, you need to put more into the SitRep on the intel portion. I’m like, we literally
have not done anything. I mean, I’m reading some
reports, it’s going to be fluff. He goes, I don’t care, put it in there. So my commander and I had
this little game we played. I played it, sometimes he participated, where I would put something in the SitRep, because he’s supposed to
read them before they go up. I’d put something in
there as kind of a joke and then he’d take it out, ha
ha, that’s really funny Nick, and then send it up. Well, this time he forgot to, (chuckling) and so I had wrote into
our official team SitRep for Special Operations Task Force North. I said, hey I’ve got a question for everyone up there that’s smarter than me. Why are we the only military
from a constitutional republic with a free market economy
that goes overseas, overthrows violent dictatorships, and then implements
centrally planned economies with parliamentarian democracies, and thankfully my battalion commander was a very understanding guy. – [Matt] So that wasn’t the last day of your military career? – No, no, I managed to survive
a little bit past that, but no, it was fascinating. One other story if I could on this one, because it was interesting. Because I spent so much time working with the indigenous population,
the Iraqi military, there was one time where
I was sitting there. Every village we went to,
the question was the same. We need more power, we need
power, we don’t have generators. So I’m sitting there with
this Iraqi colonel and I said, Sadi, I have a question. Everywhere we go, they ask for power. How come some enterprising,
young Iraqi entrepreneur isn’t going around selling
generators or providing power, and he goes, well, Nick,
you don’t understand. In Iraq we have certain regulations on the size of the
generators we can bring in. I said, okay, government
regulation, that makes sense that that would stunt growth, but okay, so then why don’t you
buy smaller generators? He goes, oh well Nick,
you don’t understand. We’re very family oriented and very, we have our various
tribes and if my cousin can’t pay his power bill, then I’m not gonna shut off his power. I said, okay well then,
why don’t you sell power to someone that’s not in your tribe, and finally he’s being very polite, but he’s a little bit exacerbated. He goes, why would we do it
when you give it to us for free, and I said, ah yes, that is the answer. – [Matt] There it is. – We are over here creating
perpetual dependency, so. – Sounds like our entire
experiment with the war on poverty. – Yeah, yeah, we’ve
created a lot of poverty in the war on poverty. I don’t think that was the
intention, but we’ve certainly. – Yeah, those unintended
consequences are killer. – But we have a huge industry
around alleviating poverty that is certainly well-funded, so. – So speaking of unintended consequences, I didn’t intend for that
segue but it’s beautiful for where I want to go, and
I want to establish the fact that you have spent the, your adult life defending this country and presumably in your
mind, you’re doing it to make America a safer place to live, to protect our citizens,
but I have this theory that I want to put in front of you that every time a politician says, I have policy X and it’s to make you safe, you should run for the hills because it’s going to do the opposite. – It’s probably a good idea. I was in a debate recently
with my previous opponent, and I said, I hear people on the Left, and I take them at their word, and really, politicians in general,
it’s not just on the Left, but politicians in general, talk about I care, I care, I care, I
care, and I believe them, but more and more when
I look at their policies what I actually see is I want
to control, I want to control, I want to control, I want to control, and there’s a certain element
of that where it’s just, it’s overbearing and
quite frankly obnoxious. I wanted, the country I
believed I’m fighting for was a free one where people get
to make their own decisions, but no, another perfect example and again, unfortunately, we’re
going to have to segue back to Iraq here for a second, when we first went over to Iraq we were actually disarming the population. Four years later, we were
arming them because guess what? We couldn’t be in every village, we couldn’t protect every area,
and it’s the same concept. Over here in the United States,
every time a politician says we need a new regulation
or we need this new tax and it’s going to fund this program that’s gonna take care of
you or it’s gonna protect you and you see the same thing
with gun control policy, is trust us with a little bit more, we just need a little
bit more of your freedom, a little bit more of your money, and we’ll protect you, don’t worry, and I’m sorry, but I don’t see that playing out in society very well. As I look across space and time,
as I looked across history, I see more and more when
populations, when free people give up more of their power to be able to live their own lives, to include to be able
to defend themselves, under the hope or promise or guise of the government’s
going to do it for them, I don’t see them being safer. I don’t see them being more prosperous. I see them becoming more dependent and later on down the
road, really regretting it. – Yeah, well let’s dig into gun control, because I think this is a difficult one for those of us that believe
in the Second Amendment because we always run headlong
into arguments about safety, and they tend to be emotional arguments and every time there’s
a horrific shooting, particularly at schools and people have this emotional response,
we have to stop this, and the only way I can think to stop it is to ban this gun or
impose more restrictions on the ability of people
to acquire guns legally and logically and empirically, these solutions don’t
make any sense at all, and yet, emotionally, apparently they’re quite compelling. – Well, I think you hit it. So, one of the things, I used to teach economics and government to students, and one of the things I used
to emphasize to them is, emotion is not a bad thing. When you have a visceral,
emotional response to something, whether it be good or bad,
that’s an invitation to thought. So the moment you allow the
emotion to direct your action, that’s where you start
to get into problems, and that’s the part where
I start to question, is your true intention to
understand this problem and to come up with a solution
that will actually work, or is your true intention
to make yourself feel better about whatever the problem
is and your response to it, and you see this all the time with the virtue signaling and whatnot, like, oh I need to be
the first one on Twitter to respond to this. I don’t need to see any other facts, I don’t need to see any other evidence. In fact, evidence and facts at this point, how can you be talking
about cold hard facts when we demand action? Well, wait a second. I want to fix the problem. I’m assuming you also
want to fix the problem based off of the emotional
reaction you’ve had to it, but what that requires
is that now we have, we have to actually do the
hard work of understanding the nature of the problem, the
circumstances surrounding it, how to best address it, and if it’s just, this will make me feel better, well then I’m going to start to assume that you’re not a compassionate
person, you’re lazy, and you just want to do
what makes you feel better instead of what actually
makes people safer. – Or, sort of outsourcing
that responsibility, because the other dynamic in play there is there are plenty of
politicians that, let’s be honest, aren’t trying to solve the problem, but if they could
accumulate political power. – [Nick] Oh, yeah. – And maybe power over
our lives in the process and we bang our heads against the wall and we point out the fact
that there’s a reason why protesters in Hong Kong
are exposed right now, and some young kid got shot in the abdomen a couple days ago, and
there’s a history of this authoritarian Chinese
government slaughtering people. They did it in Tiananmen Square, certainly before that in Mao’s China. Gun control was a thing,
and it wasn’t sold as a way to strip people of their
ability to defend themselves. It was sold as, we’ll make you safer. Same thing, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. He was worried about the
violence, much of which he was orchestrating.
– [Nick] Perpetrating, yeah. – Through the, I think
they’re called captivos. I might be butchering that,
but there’s these gangs that Maduro was using to impose discipline on protesters in Venezuela, and so they gathered up all the guns and it was in the name
of protecting people. Those arguments aren’t
quite that persuasive, but I do feel like there’s two groups. There’s the demagogues that want to manipulate you into doing something that you really don’t intend versus people that have
an emotional reaction and they do want to solve the problem. We just gotta, we gotta
figure out some sort of way to connect with people who
have that visceral idea that we should just take the guns. – No, I agree. I think, one of the
things I try to focus on whenever we talk about gun control is again, keeping focus
on what the problem is, because most people can agree on a problem and they can agree on
a potential end state. They just debate on how we
get from problem to end state, and if you can keep the discussion there, you can usually make some
progress even if you don’t, everyone’s not singing kumbaya at the end, you at least can have a
respectful conversation. One of the things I always
like to bring up with people is do you realize that
conservative estimates suggest that 500,000 times a year in this country, that’s conservative estimates, the more liberal ones
2.1 million per year, somebody uses a firearm,
a law-abiding citizen uses a firearm in order
to defend themselves? So when you say we’re
going to make it harder for someone to have a firearm, you look at the 33,000
gun deaths every year in the United States, two-thirds
of which are by suicide, and you say, we’re gonna
prevent some of this. I see 500,000 new victims
that never had to be a victim except that their government made them more vulnerable to their attacker. So if you can appreciate that we both care about innocent people getting harmed and we both want to prevent that, we simply have different approaches to it, well then we can have a
respectful discussion about that, but I’m not about to tell a battered wife that she’s not allowed to get a firearm in order to defend herself
because it would make you kind of feel safer if she didn’t have it. I’m not about to tell the shop owner that has been robbed several
times and has been beaten or as a story my father
once relayed, being LAPD, of an older gentleman who,
every month during payday the gang members came over, beat him up, and took his paycheck. I’m not about to tell that person that, hey, you don’t get to defend yourself because it might make
someone over here feel safer. I’m not interested as much
in what makes you feel safe. I’m interested in what
makes you actually safe. – [Matt] Yeah. – And so, it’s difficult but you’re right. We can’t just rely on, this
isn’t just a statistics game. This really is about protecting
flesh and blood people and figuring out the best way to do that, and I don’t see how disarming law-abiding citizens is the way to do it, and I just want to
bring up one other point because you’re right when we say that, well the Second Amendment
is not just about individual defense from a
criminal or a gang member. It’s about defense from
an oppressive government, and you say that today
in the United States and people kinda roll their
eyes, like, oh you really think the 82nd Airborne Division is coming? – [Matt] Yeah, that’ll never happen. – And I like to remind them,
okay well two generations ago, if you were a black family
in the Jim Crow south, and you called the cops because the Klan was threatening you, you didn’t know if the cops were going to ignore you or if the cops were going to
show up and help the Klan. The thing that actually
protected you and your family against the government was the fact that you had the ability to own a
firearm and protect yourself, and that you could pool with other people and protect yourselves and
protect each other’s families. So, that wasn’t 200 years
ago, this isn’t Redcoats. – [Matt] Right. – This is agents of the
government in the Jim Crow south a couple generations
ago, so this idea that, well we’ve moved past
all of this, I’m sorry. Human behavior can definitely change and societal norms can change,
and I think it’s great. I think we have made a lot
of progress on civil rights and civil liberties, but don’t ever doubt that there’s an element of human nature that is always there
waiting beneath the surface when it’s not held in check, and to say that I’m not
going to permit you, as the government, to be
able to defend yourself because I think we’re past
all of that, that’s unjust. – Yeah, as my buddy Maj Toure, I don’t know if you’ve met Maj. – Oh yeah, I haven’t
met him but know of him. – He’s the founder of Black Guns Matter. As he points out, all
of gun control is racist and certainly, the ugly
history of gun control laws in this country have everything to do with the story you just told. It was a way of disarming black people from defending themselves against not just the Klan but
corrupt cops as well, and so to me it is a civil rights issue, but it’s also a practical issue, like Terry and I, we live
in the District of Columbia. There’s plenty of crime here and we went for the longest time without
owning a firearm in our home and of course, the District
makes it very difficult for citizens to acquire self-defense, but there’s been Supreme
Court cases that made it easier for us, so we finally did it, but it wasn’t about crime. We weren’t worried
about crime in the city, even though we have plenty of it here. What triggered me was the
terrorist attack in Paris, where these terrorists
took over a concert theater in the Bataclan and gunned everybody down, and reading the interview
with the lead singer from, the Eagles of Death Metal
were playing that night, he happens to be a Second Amendment guy, and he will never get over the fact that people didn’t know the first basics about how to defend themselves, and there was no way to call in the cops. There was no way to call in the military. It was happening at that
moment at that time, so we decided that in
a decentralized world where there might be a terrorist attack, certainly in this city, we need to take a little
bit of responsibility, like, I think owning a
gun is a responsibility and taking a little bit of responsibility, not just to defend your home but your neighborhood and your community, that’s the American system
and that’s why we don’t have as many problems as we could have. – No, I completely agree with that. Whether it’s a foreign
threat or a domestic threat or whatever it is, if you
believe in individual liberty, obviously we live in a market economy, so we delegate responsibilities
and we have specialization and division of labor and that’s all fine, but ultimately you are
responsible for your own safety. That’s not something, and it’s been legally demonstrated
before that law enforcement does not have an
obligation to protect you. They have an obligation
to enforce the law. The military does not have an obligation to protect the citizens. We have an obligation
to follow lawful orders, support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, because there’s no way you
can make an government agency legally responsible for protecting you. You can make it a part of their purpose, but if you make them legally
responsible for protecting you, well then what happens when you get hurt? Can you take them to court and sue them because they weren’t
there, because the cop wasn’t in your house when
the burglar broke in? So I do think it comes back to, part of individual liberty
is personal responsibility, and once you realize that you do bear some responsibility
for your own safety, I don’t think it’s a constricting thing. I think it’s a liberating thing. So no, I agree. – You don’t wait and, back to my theme, you don’t have to depend on
some politician’s empty promise and I really think, like
I was cruising around before we started talking, about all the Presidential candidates and I suspect it’s every
single one of them, Republican, Democrat, God knows who else, that talk about how they’re
going to protect you, and they use it just to shoehorn whatever issue they want to talk about. They want to talk about gun control, they want to talk about sexual violence, they want to talk about
immigration on the Republican side, and I think it’s a lie. I don’t think governments
can keep us safe. I think that we keep ourselves safe. – No, yeah I think, now obviously
I believe in a military. I believe in law enforcement
and a court system. I think all those things can contribute to a safe environment. They can also contribute to
an oppressive environment. It’s a tool and it’s as
good or as bad as the people that are occupying those positions, but I don’t think individuals should ever surrender the right nor
surrender the responsibility to recognize that they do
have to defend themselves. I look at myself as, for
my wife, for my kids, I have a responsibility to protect them and that means physical protection. That’s not just financial
or emotional protection, and more and more that
term, I’m gonna protect you, has spilled over not just
into physical protection but is the whole, we’re
going to protect you from every possible
challenge or difficulty that you could face in your
life, and it really does, that sort of proposition
does inevitably lead to greater oppression, and I know that word, people think it’s a little hyperbolic, but I’m sorry, how many
lessons in history do we need to realize that once you
have given the government this kind of authority, don’t be surprised when they extend it way past
beyond what you intended and certainly beyond
whatever they promised. – I think about, I think
about your service in Iraq. I’m going to make you safer,
we’re going to invade Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction. What are we, in our ninth year in Afghan, 19th year in Afghanistan now, where people that
weren’t even born at 9/11 are dying in Afghanistan or at least putting their lives at risk. I’m gonna make you safer by
grabbing assault weapons, even all of the millions of legally acquired assault weapons. I’m gonna make you safer
by hacking your privacy and monitoring all your calls. The list is almost infinite. I’m gonna make you safer
by carpet-bombing Syria. – Yeah. (chuckling) – Whatever it is, and it’s
always in the context of that, and so I feel like we should
at least be skeptical and say, well let’s dig a little bit deeper and figure out how that
works, but it’s not just, the Democrats and guns are hardly the only perpetrators here – [Nick] Oh sure. – of this demagoguery. I feel like, we call them neo-cons, but you know, the so-called conservatives that have never seen a
war they didn’t like. – The Paul Wolfowitz of
the world, yeah, yeah. What was the joke, that
I think somebody said that Paul Wolfowitz goes
home and plays Civilization 6 and just nukes innocent countries all day. Yeah, well again I always go back to, like on the foreign policy
side, I’m not a pacifist. I do think there’s times
when military force is appropriate and
necessary, but again I think for too long in this country
we just simply assumed that, oh when the Executive Branch
decides it’s time to go to war, I guess the patriotic thing
to do is to go along with it, and I do believe in
supporting our soldiers, but that’s not a blank
check to the government to deploy them all over
the world fighting wars without any real clear objective
or real clear definition of what victory looks like, and again, a soldier swears an oath to support and defend the Constitution. I think it would be
nice if the politicians that send them over there, under the guise that you’re supporting and
defending the Constitution, would also support and
defend the Constitution by actually going through
the Constitutional process before you deploy men and
women overseas to fight and so yeah, I think that aspect, it’s gotten way out of
hand with how much power we do give the Executive. I mean, yes once we’ve declared war, the Executive has Constitutional authority to execute that war,
but I think we should be a little bit more careful
with what we’re volunteering our men and women to go over and fight. I remember there was this
quote where George Bush, I think we were on year
three or four in Iraq where George Bush said, well where’s the Iraqi Thomas Jefferson? My response to that
was, you know the French knew the answer to that question before they got involved
in our revolution. So I think it’s fair to
say that, look, we need to not only clearly determine
that U.S. interest, valid U.S. interest
and security is at risk if we don’t get involved,
but then we need to actually define what victory looks like so that we have a clear objective and so that our servicemen and
women have a clear objective, and if they’re not willing to follow the Constitutional process to do that, if that’s just way too
cumbersome for them, then I’m sorry, it’s not
worth a single American life, and I don’t think that’s
too much to ask on our part. – I’ve noticed, and maybe
you can corroborate this, but it seems like certainly
starting with Ron Paul, with his skepticism of permanent war, he had a lot of support amongst veteran and active people in service. It seems like Trump gets the same dynamic when it comes to getting out of Syria, getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, we haven’t really
executed those things yet, but he seems to get a lot of support from people in harm’s
way because they know what’s actually going on
and what the limits are of this kind of nation-building
stuff that we’re doing. – Oh yeah, well it’s,
when you have to live at the business end of
U.S. foreign policy, you want somebody that A,
actually knows what they’re doing, and B, has your best interest in mind, and I think that, I think
Trump’s built a lot of goodwill within the military community, one by being supportive of the military, but by the same token
not spending their lives so cheaply as a lot of
other Presidents have done, as a lot of other executives have done. I was actually really surprised
by some of his restraint with episodes that were
happening with Iran, and he threw a general out of, it’s reported he threw a
general out of the Oval Office when they were asking for 30,000
more troops in Afghanistan. I think that he looks at
this from a perspective of, I don’t see what the
compelling U.S. interest is in some of these and I’m
not willing to expend U.S. lives if you can’t tell
me what victory looks like, and so I think he has
built a lot of goodwill both on the support for the
military on the one hand, but also the support from the end of, I’m not going to treat
you like chess pieces. I’ll tell you what, when Ron Paul, I remember when Ron Paul first started talking about foreign policy. Man, I bristled. I didn’t like it, I didn’t like
what he had to say about it, I thought he was way
off base, and over time, I think I’m a lot more convinced. Experience is a hard teacher, that a lot of what he was saying, and there’s still areas
where I would probably disagree with him on
finer points and whatnot, but on the larger point
of, look, this idea that you’re going to show up with some tanks and everyone’s going to be like, oh, thank God, American liberators. Gosh, how should we
organize our country now? That doesn’t happen and
we’ve seen that now, and it is arrogant. – Well, you’ll remember
that our first President, in his Farewell Address, essentially said, slow down there cowboy. (laughing) Maybe he didn’t say it quite that way, but he laid out some
fairly reasonable questions that we should have when it
comes to entangling alliances like, can we afford to do this? Do we actually know that if we do this, we’re going to get an
outcome that’s better than the status quo and somewhere, I feel like even up to Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party was a party of restraint on foreign policy. Reagan himself was amazingly
restrained when it came to, the Berlin Wall fell not
because we blew it up, but because we practiced free enterprise. Radical idea today because after 9/11, the Republican Party went sort of bonkers and decided that we could
reorganize the world order based on American ideals. Where is that, where is that
sort of Thomas Jefferson guy? – Oh yeah, well and you saw
that first with Woodrow Wilson and we’re gonna go make the
world safe for democracy and all we need is more
international organizations to sit around and create policy and then, I do think Republicans,
and I was guilty of that immediately following 9/11
where, when you get hit, you want to hit back, and I
do think some hitting back was absolutely necessary after 9/11, but I think it’s also fair
to go back and question, okay, the hitting that we did, was it, the cost-benefit analysis,
does this actually add up? Was this better for U.S. foreign policy, or again, back to the emotional argument, or does it just make you feel
better that you hit back, and you hit back this hard. I’m not talking about don’t hit hard. Hit hard, but hit hard where
it actually has the impact and achieves the objective
that we’re looking for, and I think a lot of
things with politics now have just become overwhelmingly
emotionally driven, and again the bad thing
is not the emotion, but I go back to that statement, emotion is an invitation to thought, because if you really care,
you’re going to say, okay. I know how this makes me
feel, and if I really care I’m going to actually take the
time to study and understand so that I can produce a good result, so that I can achieve a result that would be good and just and moral, but unfortunately now I think we’re, too often we want immediate gratification for whatever our action is and we look at the action itself as, oh well,
at least we did something. Well, not if you screwed
everything up or made it worse. That doesn’t make you a good person. – None of the mass
shooters in recent history in the United States were in any way flagged by our enhanced
surveillance and the, capturing all the data basically means that we don’t see clear
patterns amongst bad actors. So it actually has made us less safe while blowing the Fourth
Amendment out of the water, while blowing personal
privacy out of the water, and these are core American values that we’re just throwing out the window because someone said we’d be safer. – Well, and I think,
there’s also an expectation that people have, and I’m
going to paraphrase Tom Sowell, who’s one of my, just, I
admire that guy so much. Again, he’s not allowed to die. That’s my thing with Thomas Sowell, but he once said that once
the electorate expects politicians to do things
which are just not possible, then the only politicians
will suffice are liars, because they’re the only ones willing to promise you the world
for nothing in exchange, and everything is ultimately
on these policy decisions. It’s not about solutions as
much as it is about trade-offs, and for me, the freedom trade-off is, I’m very, very skeptical of
trading any of my freedom under the guise that some
sort of new government agency or bureaucracy is going to make me safer or more prosperous or happier, but unfortunately I think we have, just by the nature of
the way we educate people or we talk about politics,
both sides of the aisle, is it’s always this idea of, okay, oh my gosh, here’s a problem. What’s government going to do about it? Well, when my car breaks
down, I don’t immediately think to myself, gosh what’s
my dentist gonna do about this? Because my dentist isn’t
trained to fix my car, my dentist isn’t suited to fix my car. No matter how good-intentioned
my dentist may be, that’s not my dentist’s skill set. So if I take my broken car to the dentist and say fix this for me
and he fails to do so, the logical response would not be, well, gosh, my dentist
doesn’t care enough. I need to find someone who really, no. Government is set up to
solve certain problems, and when it stays within
those narrow lanes of protecting individual liberty,
protecting property rights, protecting from foreign invasion, and it otherwise allows
free people to work in voluntary cooperation
to solve problems, then I think it can be of use, but we’ve created this
atmosphere now where, if you’re the politician that
is willing to tell someone, well that’s not an appropriate
role of government, well then you don’t care enough, or I care enough to tell you the truth. So what would you rather have? – It’s a tough message to deliver, particularly when emotions and tribalism are sort of defining
everything we talk about. Not only is it hard to
talk about the reason and the proper role of limited government, and there are very good reasons why the founders did it this way, but it’s, frankly it’s
hard to talk about policy. We don’t talk about policy anymore. We spend all of our time talking about how bad the other side is. Whatever you think of
me, just keep in mind, those guys are worse,
and that’s the entire, and both parties, I think make, this is their primary argument. – Oh, yeah, no, absolutely,
and it is unfortunate. I had a group full of high
school students ask me once, how do we get civility back in politics? Well, the first mistake is
thinking it was ever there. (chuckling) Okay, how do we get to a more
civil political discussion? I said, well first things
first, tone matters, right? There’s a number of ways
I can ask you a question or I can talk to you about something and if I use the right
tone you’ll probably be willing to at least hear
me out, so tone matters. The second one is, try not to
assume people’s intentions. Unless they’ve really given you a good indication that they have bad ones, then don’t assume they have bad ones. Assume they have good intentions, but maybe disagree with the policy. I said, those two right off the bat can get you a lot farther
than most people get in political discourse these days. I said, but here’s the third
issue, and this is the one where it does become more philosophical. If I have a nice tone and I don’t assume you have negative
intentions, but ultimately my goal is to force you to do something you don’t want to do, you’re
still gonna bristle at that, and that’s the problem
with trying to solve so many things through government. – [Matt] You’re gonna fight. – Is that ultimately,
we’re, I’m not having a nice discussion with you
about what policy I prefer. I’m having a nice discussion with you about what policy I’m
about to impose on you against your will and you don’t
get to do anything about it. I’m sorry, that’s, at some point civility is going to break down. Now, if we were talking
about feeding hungry people, and you had a particular way to do it and I had a particular way to do it, and neither of them
relied on coercive force, we could either, I
could say you know what? Your idea is better, let’s do that, or we could say, you know what? I don’t like your idea,
you don’t like mine, so we’re going to go off,
and we’re going to both try our respective ideas
and we’re going to see which one works best. You can coexist in both
of those environments because neither of us are trying to force the other one to do something, but the moment you say, here’s my idea and I think it’s really great, and I really think you should like it too, oh by the way, if you
don’t do what I want, I’m going to use the
government to forcefully confiscate your wealth and redistribute it in accordance with the way
I think it should be done. Now that doesn’t sound very civil to me. – [Matt] No. – So that was the other
component that I’m trying to get across to these kids is that, one, if you want genuine civility, stop trying to force people to do things that you want them to, and two, recognize that you
have the power within yourself, you don’t need to ask
permission from the government or a politician to go feed a hungry person or help a homeless
person or whatever it is. To solve a problem, you
can start a business, you can come up with a charity, you can do all of these things that are
there for you to go do it, no permission necessary. So why don’t we try that first? Can we at least, here’s an idea. What if we tried the
peaceful solutions first, and once we’ve exhausted those, then we can start to talk about your coercive and violent
solutions to problems? I think that’s a reasonable request, if you really want civility in politics, but unfortunately. – Yeah, I think you’ve
pinpointed the solution and also the problem at
getting at that solution. I mean, I’ll butcher another
George Washington quote because he basically said that government is not civil, it’s violent, and he said something else
but it meant the same thing and the only way to expand civility is to shrink the power of government so that that guy that
really wants to force you to live a certain way, and again this is, I really think both
parties are guilty of this to a great extent today, I’m
gonna take charge of government so that I can force those other
guys to get in line on this. – Well, you bring up Young
Americans for Liberty, and I love going to YALcons,
’cause one of the great things about YALcon is, so I’m a devout heterosexual Christian male, right. – [Matt] So fairly exotic profile. – Yeah, fairly exotic in
the United States, right, but you go to YALcon
and you’ll see somebody that is maybe transgender or
an atheist or whatever it is, and we all sit together and we have a beer and we talk about a variety of ideas and we’re all friends and we have drastically different worldviews on every, on core fundamental issues. I mean, when you’re
talking about an atheist and a Christian, we disagree
on the fundamentals of life and yet here we are,
getting along just fine talking to each other at YALcon. Why? Because we know neither of us is going to try to use
force against the other one, so we have the ability to engage
in a free exchange of ideas and where we agree, we work together, and where we don’t agree,
we try different things and the proof is in the results, not your ability to force
someone to do what you want, and that’s the beauty of it. If you really want coexistence, again coexistence is resisting the urge to coerce people that you can’t convince and it’s amazing how much friendlier an environment we have when
we’re not all trying to find some politician to impose
our will on our neighbor. – I’m going to leave it right there. That was awesome. (laughing) Thank you sir. – Thank you. – Cheers. – Cheers. (glasses clinking) – Thanks for watching Kibbe on Liberty. By now, you know this is
the most important event of your week, so make sure
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