338 episodes

Bob talks about the issues that affect our lives on a daily basis from a purely libertarian standpoint. He believes in small government, fewer taxes, and greater personal freedom.

America has lost its way, but it cannot and does not need to be reinvented. Our founders were correct about their approach to government, as were John Locke, Adam Smith and the other great political philosophers who influenced them. The country’s first principles are economic and social freedom, republicanism, the rule of law, and liberty. Bob believes we must take the best of our founding principles and work from them because a country without principles is just a landmass.

The Bob Zadek Show Bob Zadek

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    • 4.6 • 8 Ratings

Bob talks about the issues that affect our lives on a daily basis from a purely libertarian standpoint. He believes in small government, fewer taxes, and greater personal freedom.

America has lost its way, but it cannot and does not need to be reinvented. Our founders were correct about their approach to government, as were John Locke, Adam Smith and the other great political philosophers who influenced them. The country’s first principles are economic and social freedom, republicanism, the rule of law, and liberty. Bob believes we must take the best of our founding principles and work from them because a country without principles is just a landmass.

    Liz Warren’s Crusade against “Big Grocery

    Liz Warren’s Crusade against “Big Grocery

    Sometimes a policy proposal comes along that is so bad, it has to be intellectually dismantled before it ever sees the light of day. Senator Elizabeth Warren is famous for such plans. Remember her mantra in the 2020 presidential campaign, “I’ve got a plan for that”? Thankfully, her [Accountable Capitalism Act](https://www.warren.senate.gov/download/accountable-capitalism-act-one-pager) – which would have ended capitalism as we know it – was rejected, along with her candidacy.

    But now Senator Warren is at it again. This time she is suggesting that inflation, and higher food prices in particular, are a result of "price gouging" by large grocery store companies. Her solution is to crack down on “Big Grocery” with antitrust legislation, claiming that chains like Kroger are earning monopoly profits while ordinary Americans pay the price. There’s just one problem: grocery stores operate on razor-thin profit margins, and represent one of the most competitive markets around.
    Don Boudreaux alerted me to this story on his blog, Cafe Hayek, where I always start my day. He returned to the show to expose the fallacies at the heart of her proposal. Putting aside the more nuanced issue of price gouging (a topic I’ve covered with Don in the past), I couldn’t let Warren’s farcical claims about grocery store monopolies go unchallenged. We discussed whether the idea is born of ignorance, mendacity, or some combination of the two.

    • 52 min
    Troubleshooting the Constitution

    Troubleshooting the Constitution

    Even after doing three separate shows on rewriting the U.S. Constitution from three different perspectives (Libertarian, Progressive and Conservative), I’m still hungry for more insights on how to think about designing the ideal constitution.

    I found aspects of each team’s revisions attractive, but if I could push a button to make one the law of the land, would I? Even if I thought that the original could be improved, what unintended consequences might there be from dismantling the document that has worked at least reasonably well for almost 250 years?

    Professor Michael Munger returned to the show to elaborate on a topic [he recently discussed with Russ Roberts on the always-interested EconTalk podcast](https://www.econtalk.org/michael-munger-on-constitutions/#audio-highlights). They delved into the work of public choice economics like James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, who concerned themselves with the nature of constitutions – rules about rules – and how groups can balance their collective interests against individual liberties.

    We discussed the challenge of improving a constitutional order, when the document in question is the result of an evolutionary process. The American Constitution, for all of its faults, is the oldest document of its kind in the entire world. Does that mean we’re stuck with what we’ve got, whether we like it or not? Or could we possibly do better?

    • 52 min
    Manufacturing Militarism: A Fresh Look at Propaganda

    Manufacturing Militarism: A Fresh Look at Propaganda

    > “Government propaganda is a direct threat to freedom and liberty because it empowers a small political elite who wields awesome discretionary powers to shape policies while keeping citizens in the dark about the underlying realities and the array of alternative options available.” – *Manufacturing Militarism*
    >

    I was excited to welcome Abigail Hall to the program to discuss her work on the U.S. government’s propaganda in the War on Terror. Her new book with Christopher Coyne, *Manufacturing Militarism*, reveals a disturbing influence exercised by the Department of Defense over public opinion, through subtle and not-so-subtle propaganda techniques. We learn that military propaganda has been a fixture since at least the world wars, but has gotten more advanced since 9/11.

    It turns out that the lies about Saddam’s WMDs were just the tip of a much larger iceberg. Hall and Coyne frame the problem in terms of incentives by bureaucrats to gain public support for a bloated military and endless wars, when the public’s inclination would otherwise be to oppose war if they had full information.

    • 52 min
    The Year in Review

    The Year in Review

    Frequent guest, the erudite and always interesting Richard Epstein – aka “the Libertarian” – joins me to review the first year of the Biden Administration. We will discuss the infrastructure bill, changes to the tax and regulatory code, the COVID response, and the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more.

    Last time, I spoke with Professor Epstein’s about his book [*The Dubious Morality of Modern Administrative Law](https://www.amazon.com/Dubious-Morality-Modern-Administrative-Law/dp/1538141493)* (published by the Manhattan Institute) – a 200-page *tour de force* and a must-read for any student of modern American government*.* After providing context for the history of the administrative state pre-New Deal, it shows how case after case set dangerous precedents requiring courts to defer to agency actions when the law in question is ambiguous.

    Tune in for the Professor’s report card on Biden’s handling of the economy, foreign policy, and pandemic response. Epstein has been critical of government intervention in the economy since the beginning of COVID, which he says is now clearly *en*demic.

    • 52 min
    The Conservative Constitution

    The Conservative Constitution

    This show is the third in a series of three programs I am doing on the National Constitution Center's Constitution Drafting Project. Part II, with Caroline Fredrickson – representing Team Progressive – aired two weeks ago. Part I, with Timothy Sandefur of Team Libertarian, re-aired last week.

    We have already heard from the libertarian and progressive teams in the National Constitution Center's drafting project. Now it's time to hear from the lead of "Team Conservative." Professor Ilan Wurman of Arizona State's Sandra Day O'Connor Law School will be representing his colleague's revisions to America's founding document.

    Wurman is author of a number of books and articles on the judicial philosophy of originalism, which holds that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the framers' original intent. His most recent book is an introduction to the 14th amendment called "The Second Founding."

    In addition to several nuts-and-bolts changes, Team Conservative took an interesting approach of altering the Constitution so as to emphasize the upholding of the common good. These days, there is much talk about the elusive common good, and roughly as many opinions about it as there are American citizens.

    Can we unite around certain principles that will lead to the flourishing of the common good without eroding the individual liberties enshrined in the original Constitution?

    • 52 min
    Understanding the Victim Cult

    Understanding the Victim Cult

    The idea of a "national conversation" has never made much sense to me. 300 million people shouting over one another sounds unproductive at best, and yet, if we were ever able to have a civil "national conversation," I propose that the very top of the agenda would be the question of how we teach our history to future generations of Americans.

    The recent controversy around the teaching of Critical Race Theory in elementary schools has pitted parents against teachers, old against young, and black against white in many communities. Many Americans are upset by the concepts being taught, but fail to articulate what is wrong with talking about the darker aspects of our history, from slavery to colonialism.

    My guest this Sunday was [Mark Milke, Ph.D.](https://markmilke.com/about) – a Canadian author, policy analyst and columnist – who has written the definitive book to guide our national conversation on victimhood, while still grappling with America's past sins. *[The Victim Cult: How the culture of blame hurts everyone & wrecks civilization](https://markmilke.com/the-victim-cult)* takes readers beyond the tired arguments of conservative culture warriors, while exposing what's *really* wrong with the modern trend of "grievance culture," that has infected everything from history curricula to identity politics.

    [The Victim Cult - Mark Milke](https://markmilke.com/the-victim-cult)

    However, the victim cult itself is not a new phenomenon. Its origins go all the way back to the beginnings of humanity itself. Can we rid ourselves of the temptations toward blame and self-pity before it destroys American civilization as we know it?

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

capreble ,

Terrific host, terrific guests

Bob is such a great host. So knowledgeable about so many issues and he always has smart guests on his show. Well worth the time.

chazboxchops ,

Great guests, no fluff

Bob covers some of the least talked-about, but most important issues – mostly American politics, always from a libertarian perspective – and does so without watering down the content, or letting the conversations get too deep into the weeds. The show is especially solid when it comes to the Founding Fathers, and probing the logic of the constitution (original intent, etc.) as applied to modern issues.

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