I was very happy to get the chance to speak with Jason Stapleton via email. It was very fruitful, talking about Black Lives Matter, the future of the liberty movement and, maybe, a potential presidential run?
I’m sure most of our readers are very familiar with you, but if you could tell a little about yourself that most may not know?
Sure, I’m a former Marine turned soldier of fortune. I spent about 5 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. While I was there I got to be a pretty good currency trader and I came home to start a trading education company that has turned out to be one of the largest and most successful in the world. About two years ago I decided I wanted to start teaching people about economics and talk a little about the problems in American politics today so I started the podcast “The Jason Stapleton Program” that now has about twenty thousand listeners a day.
Where did the idea for ‘The Jason Stapleton Program’ come from? And what do you see as the future of the show?
You know, as I said I just wanted to speak my mind. American politics has become very divisive. People have picked sides and everybody acts like you have to join one of the two teams and then defend them to the death. I felt like there were a lot of people out there looking for a third option but I didn’t feel like there was anyone doing a good job of courting those people. As libertarians, we do a great job of preaching to the choir but we do a really bad job of recruiting. I wanted the show to be about spreading the message of liberty to people who were tired of the same old predictable talking points.
As far as what I see for the future of the show, I intend to grow it into the largest political podcast in the world. In the last 12 months we’ve grown 500% and we haven’t even gotten started yet. We’re shooting for a hundred thousand listeners a day. Once we hit that, we’ll raise the bar. I intend to create a movement so large so active and so organized that it is unstoppable.
What is your opinion of the recent deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the 5 Dallas Police Officers?
I’m not sure. It would certainly appear in Philando’s case that something smells fishy. Alton’s case looks a bit different. We’ll have to wait for all the facts to come out before I can pass judgment either way.
Along with that, what is your view of the current state of Black Lives Matter? As well as, the relationship the police has with the public?
The black community suffers from many disadvantages, some of them of their own creation. Young black men are disproportionately targeted by police. They also commit a disproportionate number of the violent crimes in America. Black lives matter sprung up out of a sense of injustice I think and there is certainly ample evidence that we have a problem with policing in America today. But when you say you’re protesting police brutality and you do that by burning down neighborhoods and looting stores there’s a disconnect with your message and it makes it hard for me to take you seriously.
I know you have a very unique perspective on these issues, having been a marine, then a police officer, and now a libertarian. What do you see as being the solution to the issues of race and class that divide us?
Until the black community starts putting an emphasis back on the family there is no hope. For generations black men have been leaving the home. Young black women are forced to raise their children without a father. Those kids grow up without a stable family and a strong male role model. The mothers are young and uneducated so they turn to the State. They learn to work the system and before you know it, you’ve got institutional poverty, boys who don’t know how to be men and a cycle of drugs and violence few escape from.
On the other side you have a police force that no longer understands its role in society. Cops are not enforcement arms of the government and they’re not tax collectors. They are there to serve and protect the communities that pay them. Unfortunately, to many cops working in cities today think their job is to write tickets and harass generally good people. Today citizens view police as the enemy and police in many cases view their community with contempt. Departments need to do some serious reworking to their officer training programs and put the emphasis on community. Every small business owner should be on a first name basis with the cops that work their streets. Cops should know the names of the people in the communities they serve. None of that is happening today.
I’ve heard you talk many times about the messaging problem that the Libertarian Party has, and I can’t agree more. What does the party, and the liberty movement as a whole, need to do to make liberty mainstream?
Well the first thing they could have done is nominate a real libertarian to represent us but they screwed that up. I don’t have a lot of faith in parties. I’m not a “party man”. I think if libertarians want to spread the message of liberty to the mainstream the first thing they have to do is stop being gigantic douche bags. Have you ever been in a libertarian group on Facebook? Ever trolled through a libertarian forum? It’s outrageous. I wouldn’t want my name associated with anyone in those groups. I think we as libertarians think that if we’re going to be libertarian that we have to support and defend terrible behavior in the name of the NAP.
Take prostitution for example. I listened to a podcast not long ago where the host had a prostitute on to extol the freedoms and virtues of being a hooker. Are you kidding me? Prostitution is terrible. I don’t think we should have laws that tell people what to do with their bodies but if someone says, “Hey Jason, I’m thinking about moonlighting as a prostitute” I’m going to do everything I can to talk them out of it.
The same goes for drugs. I hate drugs, I think drugs destroy lives, ruin marriages and wreck families. I don’t think anyone should be using drugs. Now again, I’m not going to tell you what to do with your body, that’s your business but if you think I’m going to spend my time promoting and defending drug use you’re crazy.
Too many libertarians are being controversial for the sake of controversy and some are just giant a-holes. They’re hurting our message and hampering the movement.
Of course you have been highly critical of Gov. Gary Johnson and Gov. Bill Weld being the representatives of libertarianism. Which showcases the battle within the liberty movement, of principle versus electability. Where do you draw the line on this issue? How “libertarian” does an individual need to be in order to represent these ideas? In other words, do we need to sacrifice principle for electoral success?
I don’t think principle and electability are mutually exclusive. Gary just sucks as a candidate. To call yourself a libertarian you must, at the most basic of levels, believe in the right to free association. Gary doesn’t believe that. I’ll cite the Nazi cake comment as evidence.
As far as where I draw the line, I’m just looking for a candidate that holds liberty as a primary political value. I think every decision a politician makes will ultimately move us closer to liberty or closer to tyranny. I’m looking for a candidate who, in every decision, tries to choose the path that leads us closer to liberty. Thomas Massie is a great example. He hasn’t always got it 100% right but I know how that man thinks and I know he loves and defends liberty.
What’s your opinion of The Constitution Party’s candidate, Darrell Castle?
I haven’t looked into him at all.
Is the future bright for liberty?
I think so. People are hungry for the message; my show is proving that. We just need better messengers.
Do you see yourself as a leader in the liberty movement?
I don’t know. I think some people see me that way. I think I’m quickly becoming one of the leading voices in the movement. If that makes me a leader, then I guess I am.
And finally, when watching your show I can’t help but get the feeling that you’re on the verge of jumping into politics. Could we possibly see a ‘Jason Stapleton For President’ campaign in the future?
There is zero chance of that happening. Actually, not a zero chance. I’ve let it be known that the day someone shows up with a million dollar check to jump start my campaign I’ll run. A million dollars in a presidential campaign is a rounding error. If a big donor thinks enough of me to give me a million dollars to play with I’ll go out and win a primary. But I’m not going to go looking for it. Short of that, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, and love every minute of it.
I would like to publicly thank Jason Stapleton for taking the time to be apart of this conversation. If you would like to know more about Jason and his fantastic show then go to jasonstapleton.com. You can also find him on Facebook and YouTube.