Introducing the (Re)Imagining Liberty Podcast
A new show about the cosmopolitan, emancipatory, and forward-looking case for radical liberty.
It is my pleasure to introduce the (Re)Imagining Liberty podcast, with its first episode released this morning. If you want to head over right now to listen and subscribe, you can do so here. Otherwise, keep reading for a bit about what the show is, why I’ve created it, and what I hope to accomplish with it.
What is this podcast all about?
(Re)Imagining Liberty is a podcast about political and economic freedom as an emancipatory and liberationist project. After co-hosting nearly 450 episodes of the Free Thoughts podcast, and after leaving the Cato Institute, I decided it was time to take a new approach to how libertarians talk about liberty, which issues we emphasize, and what audiences we see as our primary allies.
The fact is, I’ve become frustrated with how much the contemporary libertarian movement, both at the activist and professional levels, aligns with (and views itself as part of) the political right. While this “fusionist” strategy might have made sense during the mid-20th Century, when it was first articulated, and when communism was viewed as a significant threat, the liberty movement’s strong ties to the right have become a rhetorical and strategic burden as mainstream conservatism has drifted in alarmingly populist and authoritarian directions.
(Re)Imagining Liberty is my small attempt to right that ship. The movement for political and economic liberty began with concerns about social freedom, emancipation, and the dismantling of “traditional” hierarchies of status, privilege, and power. Too many libertarians have lost sight of those origins, however, and now dismiss these concerns as “woke,” while allying with reactionary elements on the right that care only about liberty insofar as it enables them to protect their status and preferred social arrangements.
What’s needed is a return to our founding values, and a disentangling from an increasingly dangerous and anti-liberty right. With (Re)Imagining Liberty, I want to have conversations about liberty as emancipation, about the ways economic freedom can create a more inclusive, cosmopolitan, and culturally forward-looking world, and why people not just on the right should view radical liberty as the best means to achieve their goals. I want to explore ideas libertarians are frequently unfamiliar with, or know only via caricature and straw man, but that we can learn from, even if we ultimately disagree with them. I want to talk to people advancing the cause of liberty outside of the realm of policy change, and in ways that don’t just depend upon begging those with power to give us back a little of our freedom.
(Re)Imagining Liberty is the show I’ve wanted to host for a long time.
What’s the first episode all about?
My goal for today’s conversation was to set the direction and tone of the whole (Re)Imagining Liberty podcast going forward. To do that, I brought on my friend Cory Massimino, a philosophy student and a fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society. Cory’s one of the smartest young scholars I know, and our talks and Twitter debates over the years played a large part in the evolution of my thinking.
In today’s inaugural episode:
We talk about the need for the liberty movement to decouple from its historical alliance with conservatism and the American right.
We explore the ways reading outside of your comfort zone and exposing yourself to ideas you're inclined to disagree with can be hugely beneficial.
And we wander into topics like liberty and virtue and libertarianism as a project of emancipation.