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Prometheus Unbound Podcast: Libertarians Talking About Science Fiction and Fantasy
80 minutes | Mar 27, 2013
PUP003 | Interview with Jeffrey Tucker
In episode three of the Prometheus Unbound Podcast, Matthew and I have a fantastic interview with the wonderful Jeffrey Tucker, editor of Laissez Faire Books. It's a long one, about an hour and fifteen minutes, and we knew you'd be eager to listen to Jeffrey, so we wasted no time with chit-chat and got right down to business. We covered a number of topics ranging from LFB, intellectual property, and Jeffrey's favorite fiction. We started off by asking Jeffrey Tucker what it's been like working for a commercial publisher and bookseller after having worked for a nonprofit educational institution, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, where he was editorial vice president, for so long. Then we went on to talk about the business model of Laissez Faire Books and the role of the publisher in the digital age as a curator and service provider (curation as a service); the compatibility of open source and business; intellectual property; the nature of competition; how many entrepreneurs and businesses misidentify the source of their profitability and don't understand why people buy their goods or services; how copyright has held back the publishing industry; markets as institutions of teaching and learning; his favorite works of fiction; his plans for Laissez Faire Books; and more.
83 minutes | Mar 24, 2013
PUP002 | Libertarian Speculative Fiction
In episode two of the Prometheus Unbound Podcast, Matthew and Geoffrey discuss libertarian speculative fiction and introduce the Book of the Month, Today's Tomorrows Writing Prompt, and Fiction Forecasts segments of the show. We break the ice with some brief chit-chat about what we've been reading before seguing into our discussion of libertarian spec fic. The Book of the Month is Coyote by Allen Steele. In Today's Tomorrows Writing Prompt, we turn a speculative eye on the very real possibility of an intellectual-property dystopia. And in Fiction Forecasts, we talk about upcoming (at the time of recording) television shows, movies, and books.
65 minutes | Jan 24, 2013
PUP001 | Interview with Stephan Kinsella
For those who don’t already know him, Stephan Kinsella is a patent attorney and prominent libertarian legal scholar. He is best known for his opposition to intellectual property. We invited Stephan on the show to discuss the problems of intellectual property and piracy in the Digital Age. But first we had to ask him about his love of science fiction and fantasy. We got him to mention some of his favorite authors and books (see below for a list), and we even talked about the Hobbit movie for a bit. Then, at about 23:15 in, we dove into the meat of the interview. Stephan explained the historical origin of copyright (censorship) and patents (government grants of monopoly privilege, which is what copyright is now too really), how intellectual property has shaped and distorted the film and publishing industries, including Hollywood’s move to California to avoid patent disputes, and why reform is not enough. We also discussed how the Digital Age — the age of the internet, smartphone, ereader, and globalization — is making the evils of copyright and patents more obvious and acute while at the same time undermining traditional business models built around intellectual property. And finally, we explore ways artistic creators might earn a living in a world without intellectual property laws.
2 minutes | Jan 15, 2013
PUP000 | The Prometheus Unbound Podcast Promo
Matthew and I recorded a brief promotional spot for the Prometheus Unbound Podcast. It includes part of the intro and outro that you will soon become familiar with as well as information about what listeners can expect from the podcast.
20 minutes | Jan 14, 2013
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | Ayn Rand and the Early Libertarian Movement
In this January 12, 2010 episode of the Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute's online media library, Jeff Riggenbach discusses the important role played by novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand in the early libertarian movement. In light of then recently released books on Ayn Rand — Jennifer Burns's Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right and Anne C. Heller's Ayn Rand and the World She Made — Riggenbach discusses Rand's role in the early libertarian movement. Along the way he highlights Heller's defense of the quality of Rand's writing against mainstream literary critics. He goes on to argue that Heller's book is the better of the two and explains what mars Burns's book. He plays a couple of clips of Rand herself explaining why she and her philosophy of Objectivism are not conservative, and challenges the coherence of Burns's conception of the American Right. If you're unfamiliar with Ayn Rand and her importance in the libertarian tradition, this episode offers a good primer on the subject as well as on what differentiates libertarianism and conservatism.
20 minutes | Jan 14, 2013
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | A History of Ayn Rand
In this January 6, 2010 episode of the Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute's online media library, Jeff Riggenbach takes us on a biographical tour of the life of libertarian novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand. In light of then recently released books on Ayn Rand — Jennifer Burns's Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right and Anne C. Heller's Ayn Rand and the World She Made — Riggenbach goes on to chronicle Rand's early life in Soviet Russia, how she got out and immigrated to the United States, her work in Hollywood and her Broadway play, Night of January 16th, and her marriage to Frank O'Connor. Riggenbach then covers the publication of her four major works of fiction: We the Living, Anthem (a novella), The Fountainhead (adapted to film with a screenplay by Rand), and her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged. He also discusses Rand's relationship with Nathaniel Branden, the formation of her inner circle, the publication of Rand's nonfiction works, and the growth of the Objectivist community.
20 minutes | Dec 28, 2012
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | Yevgeny Zamyatin: Libertarian Novelist
Yevgeny Zamyatin was born in rural Russia on February 20, 1884. He died just a little more than 53 years later, in exile, in Paris, on March 10, 1937. His only novel was not widely read during his brief life, nor is it widely read today. It’s become one of those classics people would rather acknowledge as classics than actually sit down to read. But it has exercised an immense influence, especially in the English-speaking world, thanks to writers like George Orwell, who did read it, and writers like Aldous Huxley and Ayn Rand, who probably read it. By influencing their more famous dystopian novels — 1984, Brave New World, and Anthem — We has made itself an honored place in the libertarian tradition.
17 minutes | Dec 17, 2012
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | J.R.R. Tolkien as Libertarian
In this episode of the Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute's online media library, Jeff Riggenbach makes the case that the author of The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien, can be counted as a libertarian. Riggenbach argues that The Lord of the Rings is "both an allegory of the inevitable fate that waits for all attempts to defeat evil power by power and an allegory of power exerted for domination." The story is a dramatization of Lord Acton's famous dictum that "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
21 minutes | Aug 14, 2012
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | Robert A. Heinlein
In this episode of the Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute's online media library, Jeff Riggenbach discusses the life of Robert Anson Heinlein (1907–1988), author of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and many other wonderful novels and short stories, and addresses the question of whether Heinlein was a libertarian.
16 minutes | Jun 15, 2012
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | Revisit Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
In light of Ray Bradbury's recent passing, it may be apropos to revisit an old episode of Jeff Riggenbach's Libertarian Tradition podcast from 2010 in which he discusses why we should revisit Bradbury's Fahrenheit 45. You can also read the transcript below: Ray Bradbury celebrated his 90th birthday this past Sunday. He was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois, a medium-sized town of around 20,000 people about midway between Chicago and Milwaukee on the western shore of Lake Michigan.
24 minutes | Aug 28, 2011
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | Robert Bidinotto’s Hunter and Objectivist Subculture
In a recent addition to the Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute's online media library, Jeff Riggenbach uses Objectivist as a launchpad to discuss Objectivist subculture and fear. You can also read the transcript below: In a recent conversation with a younger libertarian, I heard something that I found somewhat surprising and somewhat disturbing at the same time. But later, on reflection, I realized that what I had heard should not have surprised me, however much it may still disturb me.
28 minutes | Aug 15, 2011
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | Robert Anton Wilson
In a recent addition to the Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute's online media library, Jeff Riggenbach discusses the life of Robert Anton Wilson (1932–2007), author of the Illuminatus! trilogy. You can also read the transcript below: Robert Anton Wilson was born January 18, 1932 in Brooklyn.
17 minutes | Jun 18, 2011
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | C.M. Kornbluth and The Syndic
In a recent addition to The Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute's online media library, Jeff Riggenbach discusses the brief life of C.M. Kornbluth (1923–1958) and his novel The Syndic.
18 minutes | Apr 17, 2011
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | The Ambiguous Utopias of Ursula K. Le Guin and Samuel R. Delany
In a recent addition to The Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute's online media library, Jeff Riggenbach discusses The Ambiguous Utopias of Ursula K. Le Guin and Samuel R. Delany.
17 minutes | Apr 14, 2011
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | Friedrich Hayek and American Science Fiction
In a recent addition to The Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute's online media library, Jeff Riggenbach discusses Friedrich Hayek and American Science Fiction. You can also read the transcript, which was later published as a Mises Daily article. In the podcast, Riggenbach discusses the dramatization of Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek's ideas in William Gibson's novel Pattern Recognition and Alfred Bester's short story "Time is the Traitor.
20 minutes | Apr 14, 2011
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | Libertarian Science Fiction II
When I wasn't paying attention Jeff Riggenbach did two more audio podcasts on libertarianism and science fiction in his series for the Mises Institute, The Libertarian Tradition. Here is one, a followup on the previous podcast on libertarian science fiction. You can also read the transcript, which was later published as a Mises Daily article: "Some Further Notes on Libertarian Science Fiction.
20 minutes | Feb 1, 2011
THE LIBERTARIAN TRADITION PODCAST | Libertarian Science Fiction
In a new addition to the Mises Institute's online media library today, part of The Libertarian Tradition podcast series, Jeff Riggenbach discusses libertarian science fiction. Riggenbach discusses the role of science fiction in keeping individualism alive, the phenomenon of all the best known libertarian novels being science fiction novels, Eric S. Raymond's "A Political History of SF" in which Raymond argues that science fiction has a natural affinity with libertarianism, and the importance of dramatizing our values (pdf).
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