I explain at the beginning how Steve and I got to know each other. My interview with him in 2010 about my book Nullification was voted best interview of the year by his listeners. We stayed in touch after that.
Steve was not a Ron Paul supporter but gave Ron a fair shake, unlike a lot of media people, and invited me on his program to make the case for Ron. He opposed the demonization of Ron Paul supporters that was taking place in some pockets of Iowa, where Steve is based.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve been both friendly and exasperated with Steve, but we’ve kept the lines of communication open, and I think the result has been fruitful. Plus, I think he’s a good guy.
Steve is a conservative, and although he loathes the establishment, his views are more conventional than those of my listeners. Since he is a media figure who is friendly to libertarians and does not distort what we’re saying, I think it’s healthy and normal to be on good terms with him.
At the end of the episode I ask how his views have changed over the past five years. I think it took courage for him to answer the way he did.
My program with Steve got some excellent feedback and one note of complaint. I told the person complaining: would you have complained if I had featured Ralph Nader? I doubt it. It is de rigueur among libertarians to “reach out” to progressives, even though progressives (in general) are far less obsessed with reaching out to us. The vast majority of the time, progressives slam the door in our faces and call us extremists. Not that I haven’t tried, mind you: my book with Murray Polner, very much a man of the left, is an example of what the two sides can accomplish together when they don’t demonize each other, or treat each other as categories instead of human beings.
Young Americans for Liberty just invited Glenn Greenwald to address their national convention, a move I support. But can you imagine a progressive student group inviting Lew Rockwell to speak against war, in the spirit of “reaching out” to the other side? The question answers itself.
Yet there is almost no interest among libertarians in “reaching out” to the Christian Right. The Christian Right is despised by many libertarians to an extent that almost scares me. Now as anyone who reads or listens to me knows, I have been withering on these people: on their foreign policy, their nationalism, their blasphemous blending of Christian devotion with American patriotism and iconography, their support for mainstream political figures and strategies, etc. (There are some exceptions to this rule: Drew Ivers, for example, a Christian Right guy, is 100 percent for Ron Paul.) I don’t need to be lectured about where they are wrong; I know that all too well.
The Christian Right, though, will at least give me a hearing, which is more than I can say for most progressives. I can find plenty of common ground with them. They support homeschooling and local control of education, they oppose federal involvement in just about anything you can name (with some exceptions, to be sure), they believe in federalism (with more consistency than progressives do, that’s for sure), private property, etc. I at least have an entry point with them.
And I have brought many such people over to our side. I think libertarianism can be explained in such a way as to appeal to just about any group, and I am able to speak effectively to this group. I’m not going to convert most of them, it’s true, but I’ll convert far more of them than I’ll ever reach among progressives.
Anyway, I just wanted to write this up because of the odd juxtaposition of views I encounter among libertarians: (1) Woods, you should reach beyond just libertarians for your show; (2) Woods, you shouldn’t talk to the Christian Right. Well, if I take (1) seriously, I am going to violate (2). Blame yourself for this for recommending (1) in the first place.
Again, here’s my conversation with Steve. And subscribe to the Tom Woods Show on iTunes or Stitcher so you don’t miss an episode — we’ll hit 200 next month! Get a free Tom Woods Show e-book by clicking here. (It’s really free. No strings.)