Month: July 2015

“I’m sad about the victims, right?” A visit to FreedomFest, Pt II

“[The] ‘on demand’ or so-called ‘gig economy’ is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation, but it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future” – Hillary Clinton

“Hillary Clinton’s Uber Speech Belongs in 1930s America” – National Review

Had Hillary Clinton issued her warning about the “gig economy” just one week earlier, this would be a very different article.

There’s a lot to hate about Uber, but by focussing just on the gig economy aspect of the company, Clinton has presented herself as the enemy of the entire sharing economy.

That doesn’t fly amongst young voters and, more importantly, it isn’t fair: For every company like Uber that uses the “just contractors” argument to screw workers and abdicate responsibility for driver behavior, there is another which allows millions of underpaid, underemployed workers to start earning a living wage. It’s a nuanced debate, and one that Clinton has entirely fluffed.

If this were a week ago, I’d probably write — as other commentators have — that this is an easy win for Jeb! Bush.

But that was before I went to FreedomFest, and encountered a group of young voters for whom Uber doesn’t represent the bleeding edge of the cult of disruption, but rather a coddling, lily-livered first step.…


Walking With Libertarians: A visit to FreedomFest, Pt I

Wednesday. Planet Hollywood Hotel, Las Vegas.

A man in a grey business suit is explaining to a young woman how he became a world leader.

“There are three requirements to start a country,” he said, “And we met all of them.”

“What are they?” asked the woman.

“One: Clearly defined borders. Two: A permanent population. And three: A government with diplomatic capabilities.”

“That’s fascinating!” She meant it.

“Under international law, we are a sovereign country. Even if no other third country recognizes that fact yet.”

“Oh,” said the woman.

“Yes!” the man continued. “We are a sovereign nation. That’s a fact.”

“How did you find out the rules?” The woman was noticably less interested now, having realized that this ‘sovereign nation’ likely only exists as a corner of the man’s basement.

“I looked in encyclopedias, mainly,” he said.

“This is all so interesting to me,” said the woman, “but so confusing at the same time. I need to find some water.”

And she was gone.

* * * *
It’s hard to fathom now, but as recently as four years ago I had no real opinion of libertarianism, or libertarians.

Certainly, I’d have struggled to name more than a half dozen famous ones.…


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