What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Does libertarianism have a chance to win people from the Republican party?

Rick Perlstein: Well, among conservatives, saying you're a Libertarian has always been a way to say, “I believe in everything having to do with conservatism except the embarrassing stuff.” You know, except the stuff - except the, you know, the spiritual warfare, casting out demons from certain zip codes which was, you know, a big part of Ted Haggard’s paradigm and the church - the Pentecostal church that Sarah Palin is involved with. So, it’s always been more of a gesture than anything else. Of course, the people who call themselves Libertarians within the Republican Party at least, have been quite will to, you know, go along with, you know, these kind of violations of civil liberties. They have kind of gone along with the war on terrorism. Although there are, you know, genuine Libertarians on the right who’ve been actually quite heroic, you know, at preserving the principles of civil liberties.

You know, on - among Democrats, among liberals who find themselves enraptured by the concepts of Libertarianism, it’s not as good a fit. I mean, some folks have been talking now about Liberaltarianism which is the idea that liberalism can be stripped of its kind of paternalistic elements and respect the autonomy people better. Well, the problem with that is that’s always been, you know, the ideal of liberalism and liberalism at its best and the Democratic Party in its most mature form has always, you know, attempted to create the maximum amount of a quality alongside the maximum amount of freedom. Now, it’s something that’s often honored only in the breech because that’s the hardest thing for human societies to be able to accomplish. But, you know, I mean, the liberal vision, you know, dovetails with, you know, what’s called in the rest of the world, social democracy, which is that you can’t really enjoy anything like liberty unless you have some minimum standard of living. You know, unless you're free to change jobs if you hate your boss and you're not afraid of losing your health insurance, you know, that’s neither paternalistic, you know, nor is it socialistic. It’s entrepreneurial. Right?

So, that’s, you know, that’s, you know, straight down the center of liberalism and that’s something a Libertarian would reject because it involves expanding the role for the state. But, a liberal, at its best, understands that sometimes expanding the state can actually enhance liberty in pretty profound ways.

Recorded on:  October 19, 2009

 

 

The Truth About “Libertari...

Newsletter: Share: