“Should someone have to have a government-issued license to drive a car?” “HELL NO.” “What’s next, requiring a license to make toast in your own damn toaster? “A license to drive, you know, I’d like to see some competency exhibited by people before they drive.” [boos] While they’re often looked at as just a fringe group of political wackjobs who think that the road to Stalinism is paved with drivers’ licenses, the truth is their ideology is much more influential and dangerous than you probably realize. Because libertarianism isn’t so much a political philosophy as it is a religious ideology where the lord and savior is pure, unadulterated capitalism. Invisible hand of the free market, take the wheel! [tires squealing and car crash] American libertarianism is the idea that government is evil and needs to be dismantled. Libertarians don’t see society as a collective, they instead champion radical individualism. They see the free market as a force for absolute good, and government as solely a corrupting force. One of the primary ways they express these beliefs is by shrieking about taxes constantly. “Taxation is theft.” “Taxation, quite frankly, is theft. Or armed robbery or extortion.” Yup. Taxes are just like robbery, except instead of taking your television away, they take your trash away. Which … is nice. It’s nice. Sure, paying taxes doesn’t feel good, but once you factor in all the bridges and schools and firefighters and roads and whatnot, it does seem like kind of a fair trade. But don’t you dare mention roads to libertarians: “Ah, the old ‘who will build the roads.’ Roads, roads, roads. Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” [cheers] Hehehe! No seriously. We need roads. Libertarians have an almost cult-like adherence to the idea that government is bad and the “free market” is God … I mean good … I mean God. “The free market can solve the problems of the environment.” “When it comes to healthcare, what we we need is a real free-market approach to healthcare.” “The Thanksgiving feast came because they had private property rights and they had free markets and that’s how we will take care of the poor.” And lo, the burning bush said unto Moses, “Don’t worry about paying taxes, my dude, for the invisible hand of the free market will take care of everything!” And yea, the bush soon became a forest fire and burned down Moses’s village because there were no taxes and thus no firefighters.” So what would a completely free-market approach to healthcare look like according to Gary Johnson, who was ultimately selected as the Libertarian nominee for president? “We would have health insurance to cover ourselves for catastrophic injury and illness, and we would pay as you go in a system that was very, very affordable. We would have Stitches R Us, we would have Gallbladders R Us we would have, uh, X-Rays R Us.” Gallbladders R Us? “Hey are you tired of those leaky gallbladders that you have to swap out every six months like a common windshield wiper? At Gallbladders R Us, we guarantee a leak-free bladder for only $19.99. That’s right, I said $19.99, I must be crazy! People are like, wow, I didn’t even know gallbladders could be that cheap! But they can be because they’re made out of plastic. We also got dogs! OK, but what about poor people or old people who can’t afford organs from Gallbladders R Us? How would libertarians help them? “How many people in here, and I actually do want a show of hands, love grandmas? How many of you would donate money to feed grandmas? I do not see a single person that did not raise their hand. That’s how you fund Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.” And as for Grandpas … f*ck ’em. There’s a kind of charming, faith-based optimism when it comes to the way that libertarians view private enterprise and human nature. Scary and delusional, but charming. Just listen to libertarian candidate John McAfee’s reasoning when explaining why we don’t need government-funded social programs … because we can [singing] rely on each other: “None of us are going to pass a child drowning in a river, even if we’re dressed in a tuxedo, heading to our wedding. Libertarianism is not heartlessness, it’s the opening of the heart to your neighbor.” Aww. Speaking of neighbors, true story, John McAfee was wanted by police in Belize in connection with the murder of his neighbor. So. Mm, he’s sweet. The idea that we don’t need laws because people will do the right thing anyway, or that we don’t need taxes because people will fund important things anyway or the idea that we don’t need regulations because companies will be ethical anyway – none of that is borne out by any statistics, historical precedent or any other evidence of any kind. It’s the same kind of faith-based thinking as “Santa is real” or “Ted Cruz is human” and not just someone wearing a Batboy mask that got melted in a microwave. While libertarians might be anti-driver’s license, anti-Medicare and anti-public roads, the flip side of being so rigidly anti-government is that they also end up being anti-NSA, anti-interventionist and anti-drug laws, which appeals to people on the other side of the political spectrum. In fact, the common elevator pitch for libertarianism is that, while fiscally conservative, they’re also “socially liberal.” “I believe in a world where gay married couples can protect their marijuana fields with fully automatic machine guns, baby! [cheers] Aw yeah.” Yayyy! Wait, why do we need machine guns if weed is legal? Oh, the world’s more dangerous? The libertarian world is more dangerous. It’s more dangerous. But the socially liberal side of libertarianism is less about a belief in civil rights being law and more that civil rights are less important than property rights. Listen to libertarian darling Senator Rand Paul explain his thoughts on the 1964 Civil Rights Act. “I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains and I’m all in favor of that.” REPORTER: “But?” RAND PAUL: [laughs] “You had to ask me the but. I don’t like the idea of telling private business owners – I abhor racism, I think it’s a bad business decision to ever exclude anybody from your restaurant, BUT at the same time I do believe in private ownership.” Wow. “I abhor racism BUT” That should definitely be the new libertarian slogan. Libertarianism: “I abhor racism … but.” And this isn’t just Rand Paul. Libertarians often deflect on questions of civil rights. MODERATOR: “Mr. McAfee, would you have voted in favor of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, had you been in the Senate?” “As many of you know, my wife is black, and having spent three-and-a-half years living 24 hours a day with her, I can assure you that legislation in no way ended discrimination.” “Certainly not in my home. I have my own whites-only bathroom. She’s not allowed!!!!!!” So it’s clear that libertarianism represents the furthest right-wing fringe of economic conservatism. They’re basically like the Stalinists of the right. They’re like that “tankie” Facebook friend you have that keeps sending you those Mao Tse Tung memes. The only difference is that, unlike your one lonely tankie friend, there are millions of libertarians. In fact, 1 out of 10 Americans identifies as a libertarian. Think about that. If 1 out of 10 Americans described themselves as believers of the Juche religion of North Korea, the U.S. would declare a state of emergency. But no, these people are fine, because they don’t worship Kim Jong-un, they worship Kim Jong-Ayn … Rand. Kim Jong Ayn – they worship Ayn Rand. The joke is good. It’s a good pun. So how did such a fringe political ideology gain so much ground in America? Well, not shockingly, it turns out that libertarianism is very popular with the very rich, specifically among the political donor class. There’s Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire and Trump supporter. There’s Richard Mellon Scaife, the libertarian billionaire who, along with Thiel and the Koch brothers, helped to fund the anti-taxation party, the Tea Party. You remember them … the guys who swept into power in 2010 and made John McCain look appealing. And of course there’s the Koch brothers, both lifelong libertarians. Before they became the Statler and Waldorf of our political puppet show, David Koch was actually the Libertarian candidate for vice president in 1980. They’ve spent decades using their money to drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, cut social services for the needy and end government oversight of industry – especially environmental regulation. Oh, and of course donating like crazy to Republicans. And all that could in part explain why Republican presidential candidates now sound just as unhinged as libertarians. First, let’s listen to libertarians running for president: “We would abolish the federal Department of Education.” “So you would have no EPA? You would have no Environmental Protection Agency?” “Definitely have no EPA, absolutely.” “Let’s abolish the IRS.” All right. And now let’s listen to some recent Republican candidates for president: “I believe we should abolish the federal Department of Education.” “I would abolish the Department of Education.” “We’d get rid of the IRS.” “I would abolish the Department of Energy, which has failed totally since the mid 1970s” “I’m going to cut – big, big – Department of Education.” “Yeah, me cut education big big!” While Trump has yet to actually abolish any departments, he *has* appointed Betsy DeVos, an anti-public-school billionaire, and Scott Pruitt, a climate-change denier who constantly sued the EPA as attorney general, to head them, which is essentially putting a time bomb in both departments. And while Republicans aren’t asking us to donate to some sort of voluntary grandma fund, Republican plans for social programs include work requirements for Medicaid, cutting Social Security and privatizing Medicare. Which is like meeting libertarians in the middle. Of the libertarian platform. Side note: Why does their logo look like a sewer lid? These libertarian free-market ideals are even catching on in liberal Silicon Valley. And that’s because many of the billionaires at the top of the food chain are self-described libertarians, like Thiel, or Elon Musk and former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Libertarians have formed a symbiotic relationship with liberal tech companies because they offer capitalist solutions to problems that are largely caused by capitalism. “The model of the future is Uber. It’s Uber everything, it’s Uber accountant, it’s Uber doctor, it’s Uber electrician, it’s Uber plumber.” Uh, does anyone else think that sounds suspiciously similar to the Galbladders R Us plan? I’m pretty sure Gary Johnson just has one plan. The libertarian ideology has been pulling mainstream politics to the right for decades now. This belief that the free market is god is now so deeply embedded in our politics that liberals – who define themselves as being against racism, sexism and classism – now completely ignore the role of capitalism in creating racism, sexism and classism. When you ignore the effects of someone’s economic beliefs that lead to discriminatory practices because that person says they’re socially liberal, you end up looking at people like Rand Paul and going, “Eh, he’s basically Malcom X. I mean he’s fiscally conservative, but socially Malcom X.” And while libertarian ideology made the Democratic Party more corporatist, it’s made the Republican Party into Ayn Rand’s wet dream. Look, I’m not saying that the Republican Party has gone full libertarian, OK? So before someone from Reason Magazine sees this and has an “Um Actually” stroke, please just relax, take a breath, rub your copy of “Atlas Shrugged” and squeeze your Milton Friedman Dakimakura body pillow. America will never go full libertarian because going full libertarian isn’t really what libertarian billionaires are shooting for. Libertarian candidates talk a big game about individual freedoms like gay marriage and legalized drugs, but the libertarian donor class is happy to throw the social part of their platform under the bus to get their economic goals fulfilled. Listen, I don’t hate libertarians. Some of my best parents are libertarians. And I actually kind of respect their idealism and the stringency of their beliefs, you know, the same way I respect the idealism and stringency of the Branch Davidians or ISIS. But just like any fringe radical group, we probably should not let them so close to the reins of power. Hey everyone thanks for watching, my name’s Matt Lieb, follow me on Twitter. And subscribe right now to our YouTube page and follow us on Facebook. And you know what go in the comment section and please just get into endless arguments with the libertarians that will be trolling our page. It’s going to be disastrous. But you know what, it’s the free market, baby! Woooo!