Ethan Wallison, reviewing John Stossel’s new book, Give Me a Break, offers this observation of the 1996 Libertarian convention:

Two things stood out over the course of the event: First that the Libertarians had the kind of vigorous and intelligent debates that never occur anymore at the major-party meetings; and second, that maybe a full half of the delegates were nuts. There were folks who insisted there was no such thing as judicial “authority,” some who believed citizens are obligated to evade income taxes, and others who probably saw no use in paying them anyhow, since American currency actually had no value. Listening to the Libertarians made one thing clear: If government succeeds at nothing else, it does make some grown men bark at the moon.

Insert your own Howard Dean joke here.

Stossel’s book sounds a lot like his TV specials:

We [journalists] like to think we’re superior to the people who, centuries ago, burned “witches” for no better reason than a neighbor’s belief that his crop failure or impotence was caused by that woman’s action. But reporters are still prone to the same mental errors that caused these killings: seeing patterns where there are none, finding causes where there is only coincidence, ignoring our sources’ political agendas, and turning scanty evidence into panic.

There’s something to that.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Stossel is so good. He sees through scare-tactic journalism because he used to engage in it. He’s the man.