Only so much hyperbole can be foisted upon the American people before they call bullshit.
So says Vince Vaughn, addressing a room full of college libertarians at the University of California Los Angeles last Saturday, waxing philosophic on why, in his opinion, the libertarian movement is making headway.
Indoctrination attacks from all sides: movies, professors, news media, big government. Everyone has an opinion on what and how people should think.
“There is a challenge because you are up against such a system in place that kind of indoctrinates, if you will, that this is good and that is bad,” Vaughn told the twenty-somethings. “A lot of that to me is really laughable. If you can sit with someone individually and just point out how crazy some of these things are, right?”
But the ridiculous fever-pitch of it all is wearing thin: “I think a lot of kids also will kind of wake up at some point and say, ‘This feels a little suffocating, some of these ideas feel like it’s really being jammed down my throat,’ which is a good reason to kind of question it, right? Like, why is every week, you know, global-warming week?”
1. Libertarianism Is Gaining Ground
Vaughn, a longtime Ron Paul supporter, was on campus to serve as a keynote speaker at Young Americans for Liberty’s California State Conference. When asked what’s the biggest challenge facing the libertarian movement today, he turned the question on its head, saying he feels “encouraged.”
“As time goes on, and you guys probably feel this around campus as well, don’t you feel more people are coming along to some of these ideas?” he said. “They see the failure of people overstating stuff.”
It was one of many points Vaughn laid out to the room full of roughly 250 libertarian millennials. Here’s a few more from the highlight reel.
2. On Edward Snowden: ‘He Is a Hero’
“Snowden is great. He was sharing information with the American people. He was letting us know how far the abuse of liberty has gone.”
“It wasn’t like he was selling it to make money from someone who had bad intentions for the nation. It was a wake-up call to all of us to find out just kind of how far they were going. I think he is a hero. I think he is a very brave person who is very principled who took it upon himself to let the American people know. The fact that the government responded pretty strongly to it kind of lets you know maybe they see us more as an adversary than they would present.”
3. On the Hollywood Email Scandal: ‘The Bigger Issue Was Privacy’
“They missed the boat on that email scandal … I thought the real thing was the breaking of the privacy. … Whether it’s family members—people will talk shit about each other, right, to another family member? They will say stuff. You hope no one finds out and sometimes it’s, you know, a bad choice of words. But I thought that the bigger issue was this issue of privacy.” …
“Just because it was happening to someone else it’s okay to read their laundry list? We are going to hold the things that were said as the things we are going to focus on versus the fact, in my mind, that any sort of passing of information, that that could be made public?” …
“The larger issue was, again, as a society the acceptance of the Patriot Act, the watching to keep us safe from our neighbors, the larger thing that was missed was, where does that end? … As a society, to a large degree, we have become too complacent with the role of privacy and what should be our expectations of it.”
4. On Rand Paul: ‘Liked Him Very Much’
“I have gotten to know Rand through Ron and I have found him to be very consistent on a lot of the issues where liberty is concerned, and liked him very much. There are some things I wasn’t totally understanding of [regarding Rand Paul’s politics, but] … he is the candidate that is currently running that I am most sort of aligned with in sort of his thoughts and philosophies. But to me, Ron was the most consistent in the tradition of liberty.”
5. On Libertarianism: ‘I Feel Very Encouraged’
“I feel very encouraged. … You know you used to say to people in the past, ‘Drugs shouldn’t be illegal,’ and they would take that to mean you were encouraging pushing drugs on people. As time goes on, the prisons are overcrowded, there is not a fair set of rules. If someone’s parents don’t have money they are going to go to prison and have a life wasted. If someone’s parents do have money, they go to rehab. You can’t really go after people that are committing real crimes—forceful crimes, violent crimes—because you are so inhabited with people that were using drugs.”
“As time goes on, the failure of those ideas, and the continual failure of those ideas, actually are going well for some of the principles that we talk about. So I am very encouraged.”
“Especially just the awareness of the Federal Reserve compared to what it was ten years ago. I don’t think it’s something that people look at you so much like they don’t understand it. … I am kind of thinking there are a lot of people with similar beliefs and concerns and they kind of see the failure of a lot of [government] force and mandating and start to move a little bit more in this direction. On foreign policy, you know, some of the neo-cons have started to go: ‘Well, maybe this isn’t the best America can do.’”
6. On Debating liberals, Including Hollywood Costars: ‘Forceful Interference Leads to Unintended Consequences’
“If anything, you just try to get them to look at things a little closer at that point, maybe try to have some consistency with principles. So your foreign policy and your domestic policy, your principles wouldn’t change—the principle that forceful interference leads to unintended consequences. The same would apply to both …”
“I always find people have to be open to talk about that stuff, but I do find [if] they get interested they come back and ask questions and they will kind of go home and do homework and … they start to realize it’s really the principle you are talking about, whether it’s drugs or freedom of speech, you can decide for yourself what your comfort zone is, but the principle of it is, you know, should people be allowed to say what they want, and I think that can be contagious to people as they start to understand it. Once people realize that a lot of government action is forced, that you’re really empowering people to decide what is okay or not okay, that usually leads to some people getting mistreated and some people abusing it and causing more problems than solving.” …
“If you kind of stay in the logic of it, they usually always end up with the same thing, which is: ‘We have to try something,’ or ‘I just don’t believe we can trust individuals that much.’ At which point, I always say, ‘Well, who runs the government?’”
7. On Being an Outspoken Actor: ‘Say the Things You Believe in’
“My thing isn’t necessarily to try and get out there and try to get people to join the [libertarian] movement. I find it important to be consistent with what your truth is and to be direct about that in conversations. … It’s nice to be able to say the things you believe in, and I don’t know that it’s beneficial not to be who you are in order to be liked. I don’t think that feels good to anybody.”
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