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In honor of the fact that Sheldon and I are doing another podcast tomorrow, here is the most recent one we did on guns and the absurdity of suggesting bans. Charles C.W. Cooke was praised, liberals and conservatives hated upon, rants were had. Check it out. And then tune in tomorrow at 8 PM because for some reason we’re talking about Benghazi? But maybe there will be tangents. Hopefully.

I never get tired of running my favorite photo — a dead Pittsburgh Yellow Cab being hauled away on a flat bed, taken while I was Ubering.

It’s now my lot in life, as a good libertarian who as a working journalist tried his best to bring an end to the Yellow Cab racket in Pittsburgh, to stick up for Uber whenever I get the chance.

It’d be nice if Uber’s bad boy CEO Travis Kalanick would hire me so I could get paid for my pleasure, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

The Insider blog of Crain’s business magazine in New York City ran this article Oct. 6:

Uber doubles number of drivers—just as de Blasio feared

More than 20,000 UberX drivers are roaming the streets of New York City, twice the number from September 2014. The mayor is scrutinizing their impact.

In reaction to the usual idiot cab hacks who wrote in to call Uber names, predict its demise and accuse it of various war crimes against the working man, I wrote this:

Uber has succeeded and will grow exponentially because of one simple reason – consumers love it. Uber has ended 80 years of consumer abuse by monopoly cabs and their political patrons in cities. That racket has been blown up forever and society is better off in numerous ways. From now on no politician who ever hopes to get re elected can come out against uber for long. The people who’ve suffered from taxi cab abuse for so long — while the local media didn’t notice or care and public officials said nothing – are voting by the millions with their uber apps every day. I’m an uber driver in Pittsburgh with 1700 trips and 3000 total riders siince January. As far as I can tell — and I “interview” my passengers like the ex-journalist I am — only a handful of those 1700 riders will ever consider using yellow cab again. Uber is micro transit at its best and it’s changing the way young people are moving around the city. Smart democrat mayors like Pittsburgh’s Bill Peduto know it’s great for their city and their poor and rich constituents and it is.

By the way, the Boston Globe reported that Uber drivers carried two million passengers just last month. That’s about 100 riders per each of 20,000 drivers. Their average wait time was under five minutes and as far as I know, not a single rider was robbed, murdered or raped.

 

Here’s the latest podcast with Sheldon Richman. In it we kind of expand on last fortnight’s chat about limited government, and delve this time into decentralization. We cover some of the uncomfortable clashes between practicality and morality there, and some weird libertarian clashes between federalism and what is wrong, period — using eminent domain and Kelo vs. New London as an interesting example — but as usual, just begin to touch the subject when the hour is mysteriously up. Check it out, and check out past chats on Liberty.me including my moderation of the left libertarianism debate between Richman and Walter Block.

Further reading material: the Roderick Long piece that Sheldon Richman used as a jumping off point for the talk.

Steve Hill says he’s not trying to defend Big Taxi but then does a great job of doing exactly that. Big Taxi is not a victim and Uber is not a villain. Big Taxi deserves to die and it’s in its death throes. It got big about 80 years ago when, thanks to foolish New Deal thinking that thought competition was bad, nearly every state and city granted monopoly status to favored or politically connected cab companies. Most cities got one cab company that was able to charge high fares, screw cabbies with high leases ($800 a week now in Pittsburgh), screw customers with horrible often racist “service” and take advantage of the bad regulations that OUTLAWED all competition. (Meanwhile, states and cities pretended to regulate cab companies but really didn’t.) Those who think Uber — and I drive for Uber in Pittsburgh part-time — should be regulated like taxis have it backwards. Taxis should be deregulated like Uber. Uber is finally doing what no politician has ever done and no national or local news media have ever called for — opened up local transportation markets to legal competition and liberated people from the chains of Big Taxi and Big Public Transit. Make fun of Kalanick for his hyperbole if you want, but he and his pals deserve medals for disrupting and destroying Big Taxi and aggressively challenging all the bad laws that have made Big Taxi and its owners big and wealthy. I’m happy to report that based on the smiling faces of hundreds of my under-30 Uber riders, our children will never voluntarily use Yellow Cabs again.

That’s a nice face I’m making.

Anyhoo, here’s the latest podcast with Sheldon Richman. In it we chat about minarchism versus anarchism, and whether government can ever be limited. Check it out, and check out past chats on Liberty.me including my moderation of the left libertarianism debate between Richman and Walter Block.

On Friday at 9 pm, I am going to moderate a talk between Walter Block and Sheldon Richman. The topic of discussion is left libertarianism, what that is, and why some people choose that term to describe their political beliefs. If you have a question or an issue you’d like me to bring up, please leave it here. Regardless, you can — I believe — watch the talk her on Friday at 9. So, you know, do that.