357 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.

    Abusive Fines and Fees

    Abusive Fines and Fees

    • 52 min
    Food (Waste) Freedom

    Food (Waste) Freedom

    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there are few things more terrifying than a government bureaucrat who is trying to help us. In California, we are confronted with the stuff of nightmares on an almost daily basis. Baylen Linnekin of Reason Magazine reports on the latest do-gooder legislation that makes the problem it is trying to solve much worse:

    The law, S.B. 1383 … "requires supermarkets and other big food providers to divert as much as a quarter of edible food now destined for dumps to food banks to feed the needy," the Los Angeles Times.


    Sounds great, right? Not so fast…

    Yet multiple reports now highlight the fact that complying with the law is "proving easier said than done," ABC7 in Los Angeles reports. That's because grocers, restaurants, food banks, local governments, and others haven't "figure[d] out who is responsible for reclaiming [food] leftovers under the law, and how to pay the costs of doing so." Those costs have only skyrocketed due to [record gas prices. Given these challenges, it's "been hard for local food banks and small towns to implement the law due to climbing fuel costs and uncertainty over who pays for food recovery," Reuters notes.


    The problem of food waste is a perfect encapsulation of the broader issue of food freedom, and indeed of all “solutions” to perceived market failures. The government gets involved to right a wrong, without considering the myriad ways that the invisible hand is being thwarted in the process.

    Linnekin returned to the show to revisit his now classic book, Biting the Hands that Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable (Island Press, 2016), and how California’s law fits the broader pattern we see over and over again.

    • 52 min
    Splintered: Critical Race Theory and the Progressive War on Truth

    Splintered: Critical Race Theory and the Progressive War on Truth

    Back in February, frustrated San Francisco parents voted to recall three school board members for spending more time renaming schools than planning their post-pandemic re-opening. Among the school names being “canceled” were Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Muir, and even Dianne Feinstein – found guilty of exploitation and oppression. The pervasiveness of so-called critical race theory in school curriculums is not brand new, although it appears that remote learning during COVID caused many parents to start paying attention and to express their disapproval at the ballot box.

    The recall was a strong sign, like the ousting of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, that most Americans still believe that schools should be in the education business, not the indoctrination industry. The term critical race theory has been thrown around a lot in the conversations surrounding the appropriate way to teach American history. Oddly, the proponents and defenders of critical race theory seem afraid to admit that it is already being taught in many places (as if they had a guilty conscience), while its detractors often seem confused about what they are opposing.

    Thus, Heritage Foundation fellow Jonathan Butcher has done the American public a great service with his new book, Splintered: Critical Race Theory and the Progressive War on Truth. The book charts the evolution of the idea in understandable terms, from its Marxian roots in academia, through the law schools, and now trickling down into grade schools across the country. Forget the universities – they’re too far gone. But can we still save elementary school kids from being lectured about privilege, while minority students are taught that they can’t advance because of system racism in the United States?

    Butcher’s book is a powerful antidote to the ignorance on both sides of the issue. If we are to preserve America’s founding ideals, parents and policymakers must read and understand the ideas they are protesting.

    Butcher and I discussed the main points from his book. Be sure to subscribe to the mailing list for a condensed summary of the book, plus show highlights and announcements.

    • 51 min
    FDA’s New Rules Against Smoking

    FDA’s New Rules Against Smoking

    The sun has set on the Golden Era of Tobacco, much like the bygone Golden Era of Hollywood. Perhaps once movie stars stopped smoking cigarettes on the Silver Screen, audiences found the activity less glamorous. Or perhaps the dramatic decline in smoking rates was a more rational response by consumers and celebrities alike to new information about the dangers of tobacco products.

    However, the regulators at the FDA are not content with people’s free and informed choices. They have moved to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes, along with many flavored “vape” cartridges, in the name of public health and (of course) protecting the children.

    [Guy Bentley](http://twitter.com/gbentley1), Director of Consumer Freedom Research at the Reason Foundation, has been the “Voice of Reason” in multiple respects on this issue, calmly and rationally pointing out the facts that regulators have ignored, such as…

    - E-cigarettes have helped countless adults quit smoking.
    - Vaping is far less dangerous than traditional cigarette smoking.
    - Menthol bans will disproportionately affect African Americans.

    And last, but not least, the continuation of failed prohibition policies — this time applied to cigarettes instead of alcohol or drugs — creates yet more victimless crimes and empowers law enforcement to abuse their power in new and creative ways.

    Remember the cautionary tale of Eric Garner, detained and ultimately suffocated to death by a policeman for selling “loosies” outside a corner store? Bentley reminds us of this, and other flaws with the seemingly “liberal” policy of protecting people from themselves.

    Guy joined me to review the evidence on relative harms to adults and children of various nicotine and tobacco products, and put the proposed FDA rule in its proper historical and modern context.

    • 51 min
    Rethinking Industrial Policy

    Rethinking Industrial Policy

    We’ve been hearing about the end of globalization for the better part of the last decade, and yet rumors of its demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. The latest calls for American energy independence and re-shoring manufacturing are part of this broader trend, which seeks to insulate the domestic economy from turmoil in faraway regions. COVID-19 also brought the idea of “industrial policy” back to the forefront. While it’s hard to pin down an exact definition, Scott Lincicome of the Cato Institute relates some key features behind the misguided notion that the government must steer critical industries for reasons of national importance.

    Whether we’re talking about steel, oil, or semi-conductors, the proponents of a robust industrial policy argue that we’ve become too reliant on our potential foes for strategic resources, and must set national production goals through legislation rather than impartial market forces. This can range from Soviet-style central planning (which led to the ultimate collapse of the USSR), to the use of trade barriers, tax incentives and subsidies - i.e., “picking winners and losers.”

    Even with the latter approach, Lincicome points out many flaws in modern American industrial policy. In a recent Cato white paper, Questioning Industrial Policy, he highlights the inefficiencies brought about by injecting politics into the market’s discovery process, and notes how most recent attempts to “improve” the outcomes of global competition have tended to hinder even our vital domestic industries.

    Scott joined me to break down the report, and make the case for embracing globalization and free trade in the 21st century rather than hunkering down in our domestic silo.

    Check out Scott’s excellent newsletter “Capitolism” at the Dispatch.

    • 52 min
    Evan Bernick on the Dobbs Draft

    Evan Bernick on the Dobbs Draft

    Politico’s publication of a leaked draft of the Dobbs decision has turned the Internet upside-down, with rampant speculation about who the leaker was, whether the decision is final, and what will happen next if early-term abortion once again becomes a policy issue for states to decide rather than a right upheld by the Supreme Court.

    I find the details of the leak uninteresting (except insofar as it impacts the legitimacy of the court). I am much more interested in how the five Justices voting in the majority arrived at their tentative opinion.

    Evan Bernick, a law professor at North Illinois University’s College of Law, is an expert on Originalism the judicial philosophy on which the Dobbs decision is ostensibly based. Bernick joined me to dissent from this assumption. Instead, he argues, Alito’s decision stems from a judicial philosophy that seeks to “stop the Court from recognizing unenumerated rights.” Bernick believes in a more activistic judiciary when it comes to defending individual rights, as we discussed [the last time he was on my show.
    We discussed the constitutional considerations behind both the Roe decision and the *Dobbs* reversal of an almost 50-year-old precedent. I’ll also ask Evan how the policy issue is likely to play out in the states, with progressive states becoming destinations for women seeking abortions.

    Follow Evan on Twitter, and check out his book, The Original Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, co-authored with Randy Barnett.

    • 50 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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