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Most people have no idea that pinball was illegal in New York from the early 1940s until 1976, when a journalist named Roger Sharpe finally won his crusade against the city to free the flippers. The story of that insane ban is the subject of the new movie Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game, which Richard Brody of The New Yorker called "better than…
 
My guest today is William Bratton, the former police commissioner of New York City and former chief of police in Los Angeles. He is widely credited for playing a major role in the historic decline of crime in the Big Apple in the 1990s, and he's a major presence in the new documentary Gotham: The Fall and Rise of New York, which will be released on…
 
Today's guest is Vinay Prasad, a hematologist-oncologist and associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. The author of two books on how bad medical policy persists long after it has been recognized as ineffective or even deadly (Malignant: How Bad Policy and Bad Evidence Harm People With Can…
 
Today's Reason Interview podcast has double the hosts and double the guests. Every Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern, Zach Weissmueller and I host a live interview on Reason's YouTube channel. Today's episode is pulled from our recent conversation about government regulation of cryptocurrency and related matters that we had with Hester Peirce, a renegade …
 
My guest today is the Edgar Award–nominated mystery writer and Reason contributor Kat Rosenfield, whose new novel is You Must Remember This, a Gothic whodunnit set in Maine that is simply impossible to put down. Kat is one of the most fearless—and most interesting—cultural critics at work today. She joined me in February at the Reason Speakeasy, a …
 
Do we use social media—or does it use us? That's one of the fundamental questions posed by artist Dave Cicirelli in a series of works produced in different media—including social media, in real time—over the past decade. He creates what he calls "experiential art" because the audience must interact with it rather than passively contemplate it in or…
 
In the 1990s, Marc Andreessen helped make the World Wide Web navigable by co-authoring Mosaic, the first super-popular web browser, and then by co-founding Netscape, one of the first great internet initial public offerings (IPOs). As a founder of the venture capital powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz, he has had a central role in funding Facebook, Pint…
 
I'm the father of two adult sons who are thankfully out of the K-12 educational system. I say thankfully because I found education inherently anxiety-inducing. Turning your kids over to a school for years is no simple thing and my own ambivalent memories as a student didn't help. I'm pretty sure it's always been this way, but today it just seems at…
 
"Brown v. Board of Ed ultimately was never about black kids getting into a white school. It was always about ultimately a parent being able to decide where their children should attend school," Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears tells me in today's Reason Interview podcast. She is one of the driving forces behind a new bill that would create so-…
 
Pessimism is everywhere these days, with a whopping 76 percent of Americans telling Gallup they are dissatisfied with the direction of the country. Some of that's understandable: COVID-19 has killed 1.1 million Americans, there's a major land war going on in Europe, the stock market has tanked, and the political scene is filled with fakers and liar…
 
With more states and localities legalizing what the government still calls "illicit" drugs, how should we rethink criminal penalties and treatment for people with substance abuse problems? What policy and cultural frameworks will allow all of us to make better use decisions, reduce harm to ourselves and others, and make sure people who need help ca…
 
No federal bureaucrat played a bigger role in 20th-century law enforcement than J. Edgar Hoover (1895–1972), who served as the head of the FBI and its predecessor agency for half a century. Hoover oversaw crackdowns on everything from real and imagined communists in the first Red Scare of the 1920s and its sequel in the 1950s; staged high-profile s…
 
Thinking about putting together a great home cocktail bar? Just interested in this fascinating, highly expressive subculture? Guest host Peter Suderman, Reason's features editor, talks with Jacob Grier, a craft cocktail bartender and writer based in Portland, Oregon. Grier is a Reason contributor and the co-author, with Brett Adams, of the new book…
 
"This universe is finite. Its resources, finite. If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist." So declares the Marvel Comics supervillain Thanos near the end of Avengers: Infinity War, when he destroys half of humanity with the snap of his finger. In Superabundance, Marian L. Tupy of the Cato Institute and Gale L. Pooley of Brigham Young Un…
 
It might be the oldest profession, but prostitution and other forms of sex work are also among the most prohibited and regulated around the world. At the latest Reason Speakeasy—a monthly live event in New York City with outspoken defenders of free speech and heterodox thinking—I talked with Kaytlin Bailey, the founder and executive director of Old…
 
Has the Republican Party lost its mind—and its way—in its slavish devotion to Donald Trump, who insists that the 2020 election was stolen from him through extensive voter fraud? That's the question that journalist Robert Draper investigates in his new book Weapons of Mass Delusion, which looks at rising Republican stars such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor…
 
As a teenager growing up in Greenwich Village in the late 1960s, Steven Heller improbably became the art director of pioneering alternative publications such as The New York Free Press, the pioneering porn magazine Screw, and The East Village Other before eventually moving on to work at The New York Times and teaching at the School of Visual Arts f…
 
The libertarian movement has lost its way over the past 60 years as it's shifted from Friedrich Hayek's classical liberal corrective to Depression-era central planning to Murray Rothbard's full-blown anarcho-capitalism in which all taxation is theft and all transfer payments are immoral. That's the argument in a provocative new book called Burning …
 
Today's episode is guest-hosted by my Reason TV colleague Zach Weissmueller. Zach went to Philadelphia to talk with Maj Toure, who runs the Solutionary Center in North Philadelphia. It's a place for locals to learn firearms skills and safety, how to avoid and de-escalate conflicts, and to pick up other life skills ranging from first aid to yoga to …
 
Over the past decade, no social critic has been more withering toward identity politics and cancel culture than Andrew Doyle, the playwright, comedian, and journalist from Northern Ireland. Whether it's creating the parodic Twitter personality Titania McGrath or penning a best-selling defense of free speech, the Oxford-educated Doyle has never miss…
 
Larry Krasner wants to fix America's criminal justice system, which imprisons more people per capita than any other country on the planet. Since 2018, he's served as the district attorney of Philadelphia—one of America's most highly incarcerated and crime-ridden cities. Krasner spent three decades as a criminal and civil rights defense attorney bef…
 
Over the past 50 years, boys and men have lost ground at school and work and they're living shorter lives. They're less likely than women to graduate from high school and college or to earn advanced degrees. They're dropping out of the labor force in record numbers and account for two-thirds of the so-called deaths of despair stemming from suicide,…
 
In 2013, the serial entrepreneur Balaji Srinivasan gave a widely discussed talk at the tech incubator Y Combinator on a paradigm derived from the work of political economist Albert O. Hirschman. There are two basic paths to reform, he explained: You can speak up and remake a system from within ("voice") or you can simply leave and build something n…
 
The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020 touched off a summer of protests over police brutality, especially with regard to African Americans and Hispanics. To many, the killings cemented as fact a narrative that began with the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and found expression in highly charged slogans such as "a…
 
No governor is more cheered and hated right now than Florida Republican Ron DeSantis, currently in the news for flying around 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha's Vineyard to own the libs. The 44-year-old Navy veteran and double-Ivy-Leaguer also headlined the third National Conservatism Conference, where he emphasized that the state should punish and…
 
Did you know that Otto Frank, the father of Anne, repeatedly tried to emigrate with his family to the United States after the Nazis came to power in his native Germany? Each attempt failed due to American immigration restrictions put into place in the 1920s. Two-thirds of European Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II in a systematic, r…
 
Today's guest is Phil Magness, the intellectual watchdog based at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) who is keeping tight tabs on suspect claims from journalists and academics. His targets have included Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator of The New York Times' Pulitzer Prize–winning series The 1619 Project, which Magness documented w…
 
"I came to realize that economists…tend to focus on things that can be measured," says Russ Roberts, host of the long-running podcast, EconTalk, and author of the new book Wild Problems. "Dignity is hard to measure. A sense of self is hard to measure. Belonging is hard to measure. A feeling of transcendence is hard to measure. Mattering—that you ar…
 
You've probably heard the latest news that school lockdowns during the COVID pandemic are responsible for erasing two decades of progress in math and reading test scores. On national tests of 9-year-olds, math scores declined seven points between 2020 and 2022. Reading scores dropped by five points. These are "some of the largest declines" in half …
 
"I think you could argue that Alice Waters changed us almost as much as Steve Jobs did, almost as much as Chairman Mao did. I mean, it's extraordinary to see what follows from her creation of a tiny restaurant in Berkeley in 1971," says anthropologist Grant McCracken. "The artisanal revolution ushers in a new model of production and consumption. At…
 
My guest today is Julie Holland, a psychiatrist whose newest book is Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection from Soul to Psychedelics. It's a fantastic read that is steeped in the latest research about what she calls the loneliness epidemic and the psychopharmacology that is helping us find our way forward. When I asked her to summarize what her…
 
I've long found The Babylon Bee to be fantastically funny—all the more so because its editors and writers are hardcore born-again evangelical Christians who believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. That's not a creed one usually associates with anything remotely funny, at least intentionally. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Jim and Tam…
 
"I think the second-wave feminists I've talked to are very worried about the kind of woke, gender-identity movement because it's reducing women to just body parts," says Michael Shermer. "A guy can say, 'Well, if I just get breast implants [and] then I can have a vaginoplasty made out of a piece of my skin, I'm in. I'm a woman, right?' Well, no, be…
 
"My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over," Whole Foods CEO John Mackey tells me on today's show. "They're marching through the institutions. They're…taking over education. It looks like they've taken over a lot of the corporations. It looks like they've taken over the military. And it's just continuing. You know, I'm a capitalist …
 
William Faulkner once famously wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." I've been thinking a lot about that quote, which comes from his 1951 novel Requiem for a Nun, in regards to today's guest, George Dawes Green. George is the creator of the massively popular event series, radio show, and podcast The Moth, which has redefined personal…
 
Today's guest is the rapper, podcaster, and author, Zuby. He's a social media juggernaut who is known for a popular mix of personal empowerment and political provocation that led to a highly publicized (if temporary) suspension from Twitter in 2020 after he broke the British women's deadlift record and claimed he was the new record holder because h…
 
In a career that has spanned seven decades—and included classic shows and movies such as Monty Python's Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, Life of Brian, and A Fish Called Wanda—the comedian John Cleese has uproariously and relentlessly satirized politics and religion while stretching the boundaries of decorum and good taste like so many silly walks. No…
 
Today's episode—my absolute favorite to date, after almost six years!—is a marathon session with Penn Jillette, the larger, louder half of the fantastical and magical duo Penn & Teller. Since the 1980s, Penn & Teller have been part of a broad movement to freakify and weirdo-ize American culture in a way that is profoundly individualistic and ideali…
 
No living American journalist has a fiercer reputation for independence—and invective—than Glenn Greenwald. The Pulitzer Prize winner helped break the Edward Snowden revelations, was once threatened with jail time by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and was part of the team that launched The Intercept in 2014 before resigning six years later, cl…
 
"That's not funny!" is the cri de guerre of contemporary progressives, argues Noah Rothman in The Rise of the New Puritans. "No longer is the American left comfortable with hedonistic pursuits," writes the Commentary associate editor. "To the New Puritan, all society's engines must be harnessed to restore a lost paradise….Enchanting diversions and …
 
Dirty Pictures: How an Underground Network of Nerds, Feminists, Misfits, Geniuses, Bikers, Potheads, Printers, Intellectuals, and Art School Rebels Revolutionized Art and Invented Comix, by Reason Senior Editor Brian Doherty, tells the story of how people such as Robert Crumb, Trina Robbins, and Art Spiegelman redefined not just what comic books we…
 
As the most momentous Supreme Court term in recent memory comes to a close, are things better or worse for libertarians? Georgetown Law's Randy Barnett is arguably the most important and influential libertarian legal scholar walking the planet today. Over the years, he's argued against Obamacare and for medical marijuana in front of the Supreme Cou…
 
Is the Libertarian Party (LP) being "trumpified?" Or is it now—finally!—home to the second coming of the Ron Paul Revolution? If you're a watcher of Reason's videos, you know that a few weeks ago, I went to Reno, Nevada, to cover the long-awaited, much-anticipated Libertarian Party national convention, where a group called the Mises Caucus took ove…
 
Bitcoin is trading under $23,000 as I write this, which means the value of the world's biggest cryptocurrency has lost about $45,000 per coin since last November, when it was at about $68,000. Though the recent slide in the price of bitcoin has sent many speculators scrambling back to fiat currency, it's done nothing to cool the fervor of Robert Br…
 
In the late 1970s, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) famously—and controversially—defended the right of neo-Nazis to march through the Chicago suburb of Skokie, Illinois, which was home to many Holocaust survivors. It was a defining moment for the group and for the idea that free speech, no matter how vile, must be guaranteed to everyone. B…
 
During the Cold War in America, about the two worst things you could be accused of was being a communist or a homosexual. In fact, people like FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover routinely conflated the two, asserting that the Soviet Union blackmailed gay diplomats, politicians, and citizens into betraying the United States. Despite no evidence of that, t…
 
Faisal Saeed Al Mutar and Melissa Chen are the outspoken, courageous co-founders of Ideas Beyond Borders (IBB), a nonprofit that translates books about pluralism, science, civil liberties, and critical thinking like John Stuart Mill's On Liberty and Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now into Arabic and distributes them for free as e-books throughout th…
 
What sorts of paintings will be hanging in the museums of the future? Agnieszka Pilat is betting that we'll be looking at what she calls "heroic portraits of machines"—fine-art renderings of the technology that freed the modern world from the bone- and soul-crushing labor that our parents and grandparents endured. Pilat's paintings—especially ones …
 
I'm excited to share a special bonus episode of The Reason Interview with Nick Gillespie. It's a debate about forgiving student loan, debt organized and produced by the good folks at Intelligence Squared US, America's leading platform for fair, balanced, informed debate on all the leading issues of the day. I've been involved with them for years, i…
 
My guest today is Alex Epstein, the author of Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas—Not Less. Two basic beliefs frequently circulate today: First, that fossil fuels are causing imminent global catastrophe and, second, that renewable energy sources (especially solar and wind) can supply all our energy n…
 
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