This interview first appeared on "Bills" with Luke Scorziell found at https://theedgeofideas.com/2018/07/11/ep-39-movement-brian-nichols-libertarian/
2016 changed how the world viewed politics. This change gave prominence to the libertarian, limited-government ideology. Brian Nichols is an adamant supporter of libertarianism and the philosophy of “Don’t hurt people. Don’t take people’s stuff.” We sort through the Republican Party’s flaws, the dangers of big government, and the importance of personal responsibility.
“I really didn’t have much of a choice when it came to being involved in politics.” ~ Brian Nichols
Brian grew up in a very political household. His grandfather was the town supervisor, and his father was the county representative for his home county. While his family-life exposed him to politics, Brian has taken a very hands-on approach to the field himself.
“I’ve spent pretty much my entire life involved in some way, shape, or form of politics. I’ve loved every minute of it.” ~ Brian Nichols
Brian has served on multiple New York State Assembly and Senate Campaigns. In 2012, he was the mobile field representative for a candidate for Congress from northern New York. He’s now the associate editor at the Libertarian Republic and host of The Brian Nichols Show.
“The main goal of my show is to bring people on from all walks of life and all political persuasions to really have meaningful conversations that will help us find some common ground.” ~ Brian Nichols
Brian’s Ideological Journey
Post 2012 Election
“I found myself embracing the small “l” libertarian ideology.” ~ Brian Nichols
After serving on the congressional campaign in 2012, Brian was a very dedicated member of the GOP. However, he began to notice some libertarian tendencies easing their way into his ideology. These tendencies were a broad social acceptance with limited fiscal economics.
Parties as Vessels
“I believe parties are nothing more than vessels to bring these different ideologies into government.” ~ Brian Nichols
Brian looks to candidates like Austin Petersen, who interviewed on Bills, as using the Republican Party to promote libertarian ideology to a wider audience. He believes the role of the Libertarian Party, however, is to keep the other two parties honest.
“You didn’t deserve our vote just for existing. You have to earn our vote.” ~ Brian Nichols
While Republicans often blame Libertarian’s from taking their votes, thus handing seats to Democrats, Brian has a different perspective. He believes the GOP must earn Libertarian votes, they are not entitled to them.
“Why do Republicans feel they automatically deserve Libertarian votes?” ~ Brian Nichols
The Republican Party, Brian says, lacks principles. Rather they have become a tribalist group calling for voters to vote for anyone with an “R” next to their name.
“There is a vast difference in ideology between Linsey Graham, Tom Cotton, and John McCain versus Rand Paul, Justin Amash, and Thomas Massey.” ~ Brian Nichols
“Don’t hurt people. Don’t take people’s stuff.” ~ Brian Nichols
Libertarianism, Brian describes, isn’t doing whatever you want. Rather, libertarianism not harming people and not taking their things. In terms of the social side, libertarians believe government should not force it’s beliefs upon it’s citizens. Individuals should be able to exercise their ideas as they see fit.
“Yes you can be a social justice warrior and be a libertarian, but that means you have to change minds. Not use government to forcibly change people’s actions.” ~ Brian Nichols
An Overreach of Government
“You’ve created a massive government that is really able to do whatever it wants without fear of recourse…and that’s insanity.” ~ Brian Nichols
Both parties should be realize, Brian tells me, that the time will come for the other side to take charge. Right now, it has been the separation of families at the border, an issue that occurred for years under Obama. But it will also be the nuclear option in the Senate during the confirmation of newly selected Judge Brett Kavanaugh, which was created by the Democrats and is now being used by the Republicans.
“Our founders must be rolling in their graves seeing the inflated Executive Branch right now.” ~ Brian Nichols
The pendulum sings both ways, Brian describes, and soon it’s going to be the other guys in power.
“Libertarians don’t see government as the arbiter of morality.” ~ Brian Nichols
“We, as a society, have ceded so much personal responsibility to the government. We’re really at behest of government to the detriment of society.” ~ Brian Nichols
Rather than taking responsibility for our actions, we are just handing it off to the government. Brian feels that we need to stop on this track, and change our mindset to promote true positive progress without looking for the government for the solution.
Problems from Government
“We don’t have to have the government constantly meddling in our business to try to make things better. When you look at everything that was wrong with the United States, it was the government.” ~ Luke Scorziell
We discuss how many of our nation’s problems have originated from government, such as mandated discrimination by Jim Crow laws in the South.
“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” ~ Milton Friedman
Masterpiece Cake Shop Case
“It’s not that religious liberty should trump LGBTQ rights. It’s that personal property rights trump the government mandate.” ~ Brian Nichols
Brian doesn’t think it’s right for the baker to refuse service to the LGBTQ couple, but he sides with the personal rights of the baker. When he is asked by people on the left why he sides that way, he flips the question on them. Would it be right for a Jewish baker to refuse to serve a Nazi group?
“We have the right, in the marketplace, to shame that person for not providing their services to an individual.” ~ Brian Nichols
The problem, Brian describes, is when government is called in to fix the situation. This leads to overregulation of everyday, voluntary transactions. He mentions the case where Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Whitehouse Director of Communications, was refused service at a restaurant. That’s their right, he says.
“Nobody should force you to provide some type of service because the government says so.” ~ Brian Nichols
American Privilege: A Lack of Perspective
Brian believes Americans forget how privileged they are, especially relative to the rest of the world.
“If we’re able to objectively look at our own position in the world and in life, that would lead to a better, more meaningful discourse.” ~ Brian Nichols
We both discuss the importance of being grateful and taking responsibility for our own success. People today believe the best person to help them to success it not themselves, but a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.
Brian Nichols on Trump
While Brian detests many of President Trump’s actions, he has agreed with many of the policies the Trump Administration has advocated for. However, he also believes that Trump has no principles, which is part of a larger problem of combining politics and celebrity.
“I like some of what Trump does, but I think that as a personality and figurehead, he is going to do a lot more damage than he’s going to do good [to the Republican Party].” ~ Brian Nichols
Brian says it is unlikely he will vote for Trump in 2020; however, he will not vote for the Democrat candidate either.
What Could Happen in 2020?
I ask Brian if he is willing to support a Libertarian candidate at the expense of Trump in 2020. Interestingly, he cites studies saying a Democratic president and Republican Congress governs much more fiscally conservative than a Republican president.
“There have been many studies showing that the United States operates in a much more fiscally conservative manner when you have a Republican-led Congress and a Democrat in the White House.” ~ Brian Nichols
The Importance of State and Local Government
“People don’t realize that state sales tax and local property taxes are some of the most costly taxes.” ~ Brian Nichols
Rather than investing all of your political passion into federal politics, Brian advises people to first make change in their local government. The federal government, he says, was set up to get things done as slow as possible.
“Government was actually built by the framers, at the federal level, to not be productive.” ~ Brian Nichols
Be sure to tune in to hear Brian’s answers to these questions:
With the ever increasing acceptance of Executive orders as a substitute for congressional action, do you believe America could, at some point, become a dictatorship?
If you were to run for POTUS, what would be the first item on your agenda? How would you handle it?