In his new book, You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topic He Knows Very Little About, America’s leading humorist takes on parenting, world affairs, pets, Justin Bieber and a slew of others topics that shouldn’t be this funny. We asked him about politics, libertarianism and God:
A lot of people are worried that we’re overprotective of children these days; making sure they never scrape a knee or have their feelings hurt. Would you consider yourself more of a helicopter parent or a free-range parent?
I’m free-range most of the time. I realize I’m being stereotypical, but I usually leave it up to my wife to keep track of most the details of my daughter’s life, such as is she eating, does she receive medical care, how old is she, etc. The exception is when boys come around, at which point I become more of a helicopter parent. Actually, I become a Predator Drone.
You mention that you’re not a believer in God. Are you a Christopher Hitchens-God-is-the-cause-of-all-the-troubles-in-the-world atheist or an agnostic? Do you see any value in religion?
I don’t think God is the cause of all the troubles in the world, because I don’t think there’s a God. I think religion causes a lot of problems, although I’ve known a lot of people — my dad, for example — who did a lot of good because of their religious faith.
You’ve run for president a few times. And you’ve called yourself a libertarian. With the events of the past few years, and a national reconsideration of things like free trade and inequality, would you still run as a “soft-core libertarian”?
The heart of my presidential platform has long been staunch opposition to the idea that the government should be telling people what kind of toilets they can have. I don’t know whether that’s hard-core or soft-core, but I still feel very strongly about it, and I think the American people stand with me on that. Although maybe “stand” is the wrong verb.
If you could repeal one federal law right now, what would it be?
Does the tax code count as one law? If so, that one. If not, the toilet one.
If you had to pick one politician that reflects everything that’s awful about politics today who would it be? And is there any politician that you’d feel good voting for?
I’d go with Anthony Weiner for part one of that question, and Rob Ford for part two.