Ask me anything about millennials and free markets, criminal justice reform, the burdensome regulatory state, the sharing economy, and Game of Thrones.
Every time I go on Buzzfeed, they have several articles recommending products to their audience, but also articles propagating socialism. It's like they demonstrate revealed preferences for capitalism and recognize gains from trade, but they don't connect the way the free market enhances their lives with political or philosophical orientation. How do we bridge this gap and show millennials that they actually love capitalism?
You bring up an excellent point! I always laugh when I see young people with fitted Che Guevara shirts on. I know they probably used Amazon Prime to order the shirt while simultaneously condemning capitalism. But oddly enough, this gives me so much hope. If young people are utilizing the free market, even when they claim to protest against it, I think it is an example of actions speaking louder than words. I actually explain this in more depth here: https://fee.org/articles/millennials-are-the-most-capitalist-generation-they-just-don-t-know-it/
The sharing economy already allows us to share our homes (AirBnB), cars (Uber and Lyft), talent (Fiver), and pets (Woof). What other areas of our lives do you think the sharing economy will branch out to, and how will that better society and the economy?
Great question! I truly believe the possibilities are endless in this realm. In addition to the branches of the sharing economy you mentioned, there are also services that allow you to share high-end clothing and apps like “Taskrabbit” essentially lets you share an individual’s labor to fulfill a wide variety of tasks from moving furniture to mowing lawns. I honestly don’t even want to try and predict what could happen next because I believe the market operates on demand, so as long as there are consumers wanting a given service, I think the sharing economy will come provide.
I heard you recently binged through every episode of Game of Thrones. Are you OK?
… I don’t know that anyone with a soul could be okay after that…
You're a very prolific writer. What is your writing process?
Oh goodness! I wish I had a solidified and organized process but the best way to describe my writing process would be to call it “spontaneous order.” I am an incredibly passionate person, often to a fault, so I often struggle to control and shape my opinions into a logical and digestible format. For me, it is about striking the balance between passion and reason, but once I find it, the words just start flowing. As far as getting ideas for pieces goes, I really don’t know that I can explain it! Ideas just kind of come to me and then I start writing.
What can Sex and the City teach us about free-markets or freedom in general? Can you imagine Ayn Rand joining the girls at brunch and how she'd react to them? Are you a Carrie, a Miranda, a Samantha, or a Charlotte?
Well first of all, let me just say that Ayn is totally a “Samantha.” I feel like they would get along great. I think the greatest free market lesson from the show is the fact that it is about four successful women who get what they want without feeding into the belief that their gender somehow determines their future. I think this is so important especially in regards to gender wage gap issues, or perceived wage gap issues rather. As someone who takes more of a “lean in” approach to the professional world, I think the women in Sex and the City are perfect examples of this. Aside from maybe Charlotte, each has never let a man stand in the way of her career. Nor have they ever acted as though professional success was not an option. I think it’s a really powerful display of female empowerment. Oh and I am a Charlotte/Carrie hybrid.
We all know you're a BIG fan of the Handmaid's Tale TV series. I've only just started watching it. If you were to put yourself into the shoes of someone who doesn't see the world in a liberty-oriented way, how would you interpret the show?
This is actually a tough question for me because within the first few scenes of the pilot I saw it as a collectivist dystopia where a tyrannical oligarchy has taken control. But as I started reading FB posts from friends of mine who were also fans of the show but were not necessarily “liberty-minded” I realized they were getting an entirely different theme out of it than I was. For these fans, this show represented the era of Trump and the religious right and the persecution of women’s rights. But it is really difficult for me to see the show from that standpoint!
However, given how divided the country currently is, I find your question rather intriguing. I think pop culture can be a great unifier, especially when it comes to communicating with those of different belief structures. I have friends who I am adamantly opposed to politically, but when it comes to pop culture, specifically when discussing a popular new series on social media, I think some of the barriers come down and it becomes easier to be empathetic. I might not agree with how my leftist friends view the show, but at least we are having a civil discourse and at the end of the day we can both agree that too much power in one place is a threat.
What are your favorite discoveries about/around Atlanta since making the move?
I still have a lot of exploring left to do and I have my eye on the Museum of Puppetry, but so far my favorite part of Atlanta has been the people. Every single human I have interacted with has just been so delightful!
Asset forfeiture has jumped back into the news lately. How do we get congress to take action to prohibit it rather than waiting on SCOTUS or the whims of the AG?
Reform has to happen locally. I think that is the best bet. Already several states have reformed their asset forfeiture policies. I think it was much easier for law enforcement to get away with seizing private property from those who have not yet been charged with a crime before social media and smartphones raised awareness to the situation. At this point, it is an unpopular practice and the government officials still supporting it are not viewed favorably by the general public… I am looking at you Jeff Sessions!
Private prisons vs. public prisons. People constantly bash private prisons, arguing that It creates an incentive to perpetuate crimes and the drug war etc, that way they continue to make money. But, that's obviously already true with public prisons. Nobody is going to say with a straight face that public prisons have been any more successful than private prisons. Are private prisons that bad? And if so, what is the answer, considering state run prisons are equally terrible.
I am very opposed to private prisons mostly because there is nothing private about them. As we have seen throughout time, the only thing worse than a government institution is one propped up through cronyism and that is exactly what private prisons are. Aside from the fact that the private corporations use lobbyist to keep tough on crime era policies in place, there are also several human rights issues.
In far more instances than with public prisons, private prisons have been caught serving rancid food to prisoners. Unfortunately, when you add the corporate layers onto the government layers, you create this mega-bureaucracy that makes it harder for accountability, which is why these things go unreported for so long.
I love the idea of truly private prisons, but while the state has a monopoly on the laws of the land, no such thing can really exist.
The problem with private prisons, and anything else government "privatizes" is idetifying who the customer is. A private business' first concern, if they are to stay in business and excell is to please the customer. Is the convicted the customer? With "private" prisons, or any prisons for that matter, the customer is the state, the courts. We've discovered these past 200 or so years that the state represents the state's interests, which is often in conflict with the individual's interests.
Are you #TeamTaylor or #TeamKaty?
KATY PERRY IS AN ABOMINATION TO THE POP MUSIC INDUSTRY! Oh, and #TeamTaylor
If you were to become Queen of Westeros, what would your first two orders be?Also, what lessons on liberty do you think young people can take out of the series?
1: Command Jon Snow to marry me. 2: Abolish the monarchy. GOT is an excellent example of how dangerous power can be. I think it is a great cautionary tale.
What is the best piece of life advice you've ever received?
Hi Brittany! From reading your articles I can tell you are huge fan of GoT. Do you think a free society is possible? Would having a more open society help in the war against the long night?
I would like to believe it is possible, but I am kind of doubtful. There would be no war against anyone if we had a free society. Even the white walkers would get along with everyone else.