Reason’s Nick Gillespie and libertarian economist Walter Block had a raucous debate in New York City last night over whether libertarians should vote for Donald Trump. It was hosted by the SoHo Forum and moderated by Gene Epstein, who’s the economics and book review editor at Barron’s (and also happens to be my father). Audience members voted their positions at the outset and conclusion of the debate, and Block, who was arguing in favor of Trump, prevailed by convincing more audience members to come over to his side.
The debate turned nasty almost immediately, with Block refusing to shake Nick’s hand, referring to him as “Dr. Gillespie,” and at one point calling him “vile” and a “nasty man.” Block attributes his hostility to a blog post Nick wrote about a 2014 New York Times article, in which Block was quoted as saying that slavery was “not so bad.” After the article appeared, Block filed a lawsuit against the Times for misrepresenting his views. Nick’s post, which was critical of the Times article for a different reason, included a block quote from the piece with one of the sentences about Block.
At another point in the debate, Block criticized Reason’s brand of libertarianism (jump to about 55:30):
What these scoundrels do, and I include Dr. Gillespie here, is try to hijack libertarianism away from the “thin” libertarianism by adding all sorts of other irelevancies. Like, say, mixed marriages. Somehow mixed marriages are libertarian because in addition to the non-aggression principle, you can’t look down on other races, you can’t be hateful. That’s got nothing to do with libertarianism. Now these guys are left-wing “thick” libertarians, but there are right-wing “thick” libertarians too.
Listen to the debate here, or better yet subscribe to our podcast at iTunes.
For more on the monthly debates hosted by the SoHo Forum, visit the website. Next month’s features Richard Epstein of NYU Law vs. Cato’s Chris Preble on foreign policy.
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